Washington County, Illinois

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St. John's UCC of Johannisburg
Washington County, Illinois

By : Gloria Dettleff

Church Records
Baptisms: 1838-1880 & 1881-1930
Burials: 1843-1880 & 1881-1981
Marriages: 1843-1882 & 1883-1930

These records were transcribed by Gloria Dettleff from microfilm Roll # 1458, which was purchased from
Concordia Historical Institute -- http://chi.lcms.org/
This microfilm is also available for viewing at the
St. Louis County Library, Headquarters Branch

For a brief history of this church please read the article on its 125th anniversary. See Below
This early church in the western part of Washington County, IL also served many Protestants of neighboring St. Clair County, IL since it was the closest Protestant church in the area. This is noted often in these records by the pastor by specifying that the persons are from "Mud Creek," which is present-day St. Libory, St. Clair County, or by a general statement of Fayetteville, which is the Township that St. Libory is in. You can read more about St. Libory here: http://www.stlibory.com/

The first members and pastors of this Johannisburg (Venedy, IL) church were German immigrants and therefore the records were written in German. The German pastors recorded the entries using a mixture of Old German script and conventional letter writing. Because these styles of writing differ greatly, errors in transcription can be expected. Also note that the pastors often spelled the names differently from one entry to the next. Where it was observed that the different spelling was probably the same family, a reference was made to check the other spelling but the researcher should be aware that not all of these similarities were necessarily noticed. As with all genealogy research, the researcher should consult the microfilm for further clarification.

The pastors tended to abbreviate many of the names. The names were expanded in this database and in most cases left in the German spelling. It would be impossible to know which person went by their German name and which went by the English equivalent. In other words, Hein. is always Heinrich and not Henry. There are exceptions such as the use of Elise. This could be a short form of Elisabeth or it could be the name of the person. It was always left as-is.

Many of the pages were very light and the writing was skimpy. Therefore, there are several "Best guess" entries. There are also several light entries that were made possible from the help of a friend. On several occasions one section entry helped fill in another section entry. For example, being able to read the date of birth for a child who died, if the child was also Baptized in this church, the parents' names could be garnered from the Baptism records. However, there are still some incomplete entries due to the light microfilm.

Copyright 2008

The Washington County portion of this Directory was transcribed by Gloria E. Dettleff. All materials contained on these pages are furnished for free use of those engaged in researching their family origins.
Any commercial use, without the consent of the host/author of these pages is prohibited.

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The following article appears
with permission of Debbie Stricker, editor;
Okawville Times, Okawville, Illinois


"Okawville Times"
September 1962

St. John's Church at Johannisburg to Mark 125th Anniversary

This Sunday, September 9, the Johannisburg Church will celebrate its 125th anniversary with special services at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. and two guest speakers at each service. Rev. J. M. Hertel and Dr. John Schmidt will speak in the afternoon and Rev. Edwin Eigenrauch and Rev. Kurt Schmiechen will be the speakers in the evening service. Everyone is invited to attend.

The Johannisburg Church and community were founded by German immigrants who came to this country in the early 1800s seeking freedom and a better life. Due to the Napoleonic wars they had endured hardships of all kinds and looked to America for help. These people were of the Lutheran and Reformed religious background and sought religious freedom here from the State dominated church in Germany, namely "The Evangelical Church of Prussia." Therefore, they organized the Independent Evangelical Lutheran St. Johannes Congregation.

In 1842, a part of the congregation, seeking a closer tie with an organized religious body, split off and organized the St. Salvator Lutheran Church of Venedy, uniting with the Missouri Lutheran Synod.

In the year 1857, again a group left the Johannisburg Church and formed the St. Peter's Church nearer their homes and farms in the Elkhorn Prairie. These were horse and buggy days and a journey of five to eight miles was quite a trip for Sunday morning. This congregation is known as Stone Church.

So we see that St. John's Church of Johannisburg is the mother church of its two neighboring congregations.

In the year 1891, the congregation changed its "independent" nature and joined the Evangelical Synod of North America. There after St. John's called its ministers from this body rather than depending upon so called "free" ministers for their leaders. The Rev. C. J. Kniker, the father of Rev. Alvin Kniker was the first pastor so called.

The Evangelical Synod has since gone through several mergers: one with the Reformed Church in America in 1934, and another with the Congregational Christian Churches in 1961, and is now a part of the United Church of Christ.

The physical aspect of St. John's also went through stages of change and improvement. The original log church has long ago disappeared and in its place a gleaming white frame church was built in 1851. This building was also improved through the years, a steeple and Sunday school rooms being added in 1883, arched windows and a complete renovation in 1891, a utility room and furnace in 1948.

The Christian education of its children has also been a concern of St. John's. At first the log church served as schoolhouse. In 1865, a new brick schoolhouse was built. In 1912 this building was destroyed in a storm and the present frame building was built, which now serves as class room and meeting place for organizations. The parsonage also went through similar stages of change and improvement. However, at the present it is not used to house the pastor because Johannisburg and Stone Church have formed a "charge" and share a minister who resides at Stone Church.

Transcribed by Gloria E. Dettleff - Jan 2008

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Photograph by Marie Hinton


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Church Records

Baptisms 1838-1880

Baptisms 1881-1930

Burials 1843-1880

Burials 1881-1981

Marriages 1843-1882

Marriages 1883-1930

The Washington County portion of this Directory was transcribed by Gloria E. Dettleff.
All materials contained on these pages are furnished for free use of those engaged in researching their family origins.
Any commercial use, without the consent of the host/author of these pages is prohibited.


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2008 Wayne Hinton

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