SALEM CHURCH - GOODFARM TOWNSHIP
Written in 1952 by ??? Thanks to Linda Willibey for this copy, which was in her mother's papers. Probably written for the centennial of the church.
Salem Church and the beginning of Evangelical work in Goodfarm Township, was started in 1852-1855 when Ellas Musselman and G. Vetter made an appointment in the home of Peter Haag in Goodfarm township and met with the family. To confirm this fact, that they visited here we have the baptismal record of Mary Pfeifer, the daughter of George and Mary Pfeifer, who was born August 18, 1852 and baptized in Goodfarm township, Grundy county in October 1852 by Rev. Musselman. Therefore we believe that this was the first recorded and earliest act of one of our ministers in this township. Five families met at the home of Peter Haag to hold prayer meetings. These familes were Peter Haag, George Pfeifer Sr., John Klughart, Leonard Fisher, and Christian Burkhart, all of whom had come from Oswego between the years of 1850 and 1862. Others who came were- Michael Schaufler, John Meir, and Michael Sindel.
This was in the summer of 1852 that they went from house to house to hold prayer meetings each week. They had gotten enough enthusiasm at the prayer meetings to ask Muselman and Vetter to preach for them during that fall. These brethren were stationed on the Naperville circuit which was made up of Oswego Prairie, Plainfield, Wheatland, Aurora, Naperville, Kankakee, Salina, Grand Prairie and Salem. They preached at Salem every fifth Sunday.
Our early pioneers went through the school of hardship. Cholera came to Grundy County in 1854 when General Scott came by boat to Chicago over Lake Michigan and marched across Illinois through Kendall County, to stop an Indian insurrection and Massacre in western Illinois, his soldiers had contracted the disease and some died by the way with cholera leaving the germs behind for the settlers. Three of our early pioneers died in 1854. Michael Schaufler and his wife Margaret and their child. Mrs. Schaufler was a sister of Fred and Andrew Burkhart. Fred and Christian Burkhart made three caskets of rough boards then they buried the three behind the barn on the L.Tanner farm. Shortly after this Christian Burkhart contracted the cholera and died and was the first one to be buried in the Goodfarm cemetery. This was the reason for starting the cemetery at this time.
In those days they had very few modes of transportation. They had to go to Morris as things were shipped down the Illinois and Michigan canal. The canal was opened in 1847 and there were no bridges to cross the river till 1857. They had to ferry across the river. The Alton railroad was built in the fall of 1854 and this was a boon to them. It is told that when Mr. Klughart was at Morris his wife had to stand at their hay stack in the winter and drive off the deer or they would have no hay for their cattle during the winter months. Fred Burkhart carried his breaking plow on his shoulder, walking home from Morris with it, a distance of fifteen miles.
To show the desire of the people to go to church, we have the example of the Klughardts' who drove an ox and a horse hitched to a wagon, in which the family rode, the three and a half miles to church. Much has been written about pioneer life - of the early cabins, homemade furniture, lack of doctors - women dried herbs which they prescribed if any one got sick aid was not in reach of a doctor, practically no roads or bridges, low prices for produce, scarcity of money, ten percent interest, mostly barter and exchange. Women using their wooden butter bowls, would make the butter which was exchanged for calico cloth, for dresses and other dry goods and groceries, also she would barter their hams and bacon for things for the home. Women would dry the hops in summer to make yeast mixed with corn meal which was dried into cakes; they would set their bread dough at night wrapping it with blankets and coats so it did not chill and they would sell all night putting wood in the stove so that the fire would not go out when they were raising their bread. They dried raspberry leaves for their tea, also parched rye for making coffee. They made tallow candles for their light. There was great drudgery carrying water from the well and all the back breaking things that women had to do. The modern housewife with running water and up to date kitchens can see how our pioneer women had to toil with all the back breaking stopping that was involved in every household operation of that day. No wonder that at thirty they looked old and those who were forty years old were ready to retire to the chimney corner.
One of our pioneers had remarked that in the morning they had two inches of snow on their bed. This came through the cracks in the cabins, but made an added covering which made it warmer for them. The pioneers who went through this school of hardships and endured, paved the way for our enjoying the heritage we have today, and ton which we ought to be duly thankful.
Peter Haag's home was open to the Evangelical preachers and the family's interest
brought the preachers back time and again, to preach to then and to the families
who were neighbors and friends. When this family came to Goodfarm township and
bought land, they were accompanied by other friends from the Oswego community,
where they had formerly been members of the Evangelical church. Consequently
these people drew together under the ministry of Rev. Musselman and Rev. Vetter
and formed a class, with Peter Haag as the first class leader. The first members
were Peter Haag, Christian Burkhart, George Pfeifer, Leonard Fisher,
and John Klughart. They and their families made up the beginning of the Evangelical congregation which later came to be known as tha "Mazon Church".
According to Rev. Willman, who some years later put the records in order and recorded things of historical note, among them the birthdays and baptisms of all the members of the congregation during his pastorate. (See record and translation.)
The beginning of the keeping of the church book was made in 1879 by Rev.L.Willman who brought together the records as well as be could after nearly twenty-five years. The historical happenings were recorded in the book by Rev. Philip Hahn. It is possible, that much may not be exactly as is recorded. However, the assurance is given that the happenings are recorded faithfully according to the statements of the first members still remaining. (This typewrriten copy is made from a translation from the German, in the Church record by Rev. Sebarartz of the Trinity Lutheran Church, Goodfarm township, who kindly helped Frank Gantzert and Rev.E.E.Schaefer in the shaping of this history.)
Rev.Willman made the following entries: "Until 1856 preaching was done
in the homes, also the prayer meetings under the direction of Peter Haag. Peter
Haag was the first class leader-1852-1855, and John Klughart followed 1854-1856.
In 1655 Rev. C. Speilman came to work among the congregation. He worked in blessing
for one year. At this time the need for a church was felt. This was started
in 1856." From the Trustee record signed by Rev. L. Willman we have this
statement: About 1856, at the time Rev. Fred Schreiber served here, the first
church was built, trustees elected and the Evangelical administration of Church
property was started, and gradually according to experience things were ariended
and carried on. While no certain sources of information regarding the church
available, we still are inclined to believe that the worthy congregation with its officers and preachers did the best they could with God's help to work upwards and to keep what they had." Under Rev. Schreiber the church was built on the land of Peter Haag, which is at present (l952) on the farm belonging to Wayne Hoffnan, just about 90 rods north of the east and west road, on the east side of the road. The church was built 18 x 28, without tower or bell, at the cost of $500.00. It was a modest building and plain, but adequate for the congregation at that time. The congregation consisted of the following families - Peter Haag, George Haag, Christian Burkhart, George Pfeifer, Fred Burkhart, Martin Hoffman, Philip Gantzert, Leonard Fisher, Michael Sindel, John Meir, John G.Schrotberger. Rev. Schreiber was the pastor for two years and his work was a success.
(Excerpt from an old record book-torn and water soaked.)
The brethren met for the purpose of forming themselves into a Society for the purpose of religious Worship at the house of George Haag in the County of Grundy and State of Illinois. The meeting was organized by electing Pastor Bernhard Ruh, as chairman and J. Constantine as secretary. The following resolutions were adopted;
1. Resolved that this Society shall be called and known by the name of the Mazon Society of the Evangelical Association of North America.
2. Resolved that three Trustees shall be elected for the term of three years or until their successors are elected according to the rules and regulations of said Association.
The following persons were then elected to the office of Trustees; G. Zingreber, G.L. Pfeifer, Fred Burkhart. On motion the meeting adjourned.
Bernhard Ruh (l865-1867) Chairman
J. Constantine secretary
During the next twenty or twenty-one years preaching was held every two or
three weeks by the ministers of the circuit and that usually was during the
week. The Rev. Noah McLain was the pastor from 1858 to 1860 and the "work
of the Lord went its normal course." Rev. Lutz came in 1860 and carried
on the work for two years, which went forward wonderfully under his direction.
People were converted and the work of the Lord became revived. At this time
Peter Rickey came to this place as a local preacher. From 1863 to 1865 the work
of God progressed and grew under the leadership of Rev. Gagstaetter. Conversions
occured at the revival meetings and it was so thought wise to divide the congregation
into two classes. In 1865 Rev. Ruh came and remained for two years. During this
time he sought to
build a parsonage, but did not succeed, However the congregation continued to grow under his leadership. Bro. Stuewig became his successor and the work went forward with success, in spite of some hindrances. During his pastorate a parsonage was built by the Grand Prairie circuit in Dwight. Bro. Stuewig was succeeded by Rev. J. C. Kiest, who labored for two years among the congregation. His pastorate was characterized as sound, thorough and successful, with a number of conversions at the revival meetings. Rev. B.C.Wagner followed in 1871 to 1873. He was an active consecrated and successful worker, who especially took care
of the wants of the youth. During his and Bro. Kiests' ministry the need was felt to build a new church since the congregation had grown. From here on there were two preachers for this field. Brethren W.Beitz, J.Fuchs, and Q. Eller served here from 1873 to 1876. There was regular preaching every Sunday. The work of Rev. Neitz was blessed especially in protracted meetings which were hald each winter. Sometimes these meeting extended into a number of weeks. The preachers preached every night of the week and people were converted and the churches revived. In 1876 Rev. L.William, C.Dormer and E.Schuete were appointed to
this field. It was in this year that plans were made for a new and larger church. Rev. L. Willman writes; "At last in 1876 and the beginning of 1877 the dear Lord influenced things so, that the hearts of the dear brothers and sisters were enlivened and the building of the new and good church, in Christian earnestness, was discussed. Fortunately, the good Lord had blessed the congregation with temporal goods, but also with willing hearts and thus the matter of building a church as started with the gathering of subscriptions, and the preachers L.Tillman and E.Donner and Will Gaegstatter, head elder, saw with pleasure now on the 6th and 7th days of March 1877 the subscription list had passed the two thousand dollar mark. Praise God, that is the way it should be. After due announcement the congregation met March 8th in order to acquire a lot for the building of the church. While it was a stormy day, whoever wanted to come, came. The following were present: Will Gaessele-District Elder, L. Willman - presiding officer, assistant preacher-E.Dormer} furthermore - George Pfeifer, Fred Burkhart, Christian Burkhart, U. Hoffman, Willliam Constantine, L.Seeger, Chris Rieke, H. Risks, George Schrotberger, Andrew Burkhart, Jr., George Schrotberger Jr., and Fred Burkhart, Jr. So the congregation proceeded to establish a legal organization, and elected a chairman Rev.William Goesaele, District Elder. After the matter had been committed in prayer to God asking for His help, steps were taken to select the location of the church. By majority vote it was resolved to have the place where the Church now stands and since it was understood before the election, that whatever the election decides, it is to stay that way, and thus cannot be changed. Furthermore it was mentioned since the Mazon congregation does not live in Mazon but in Goodfarm township, the name was considered out of place and it was discussed and resolved in favor of the beautiful name-the Salem Church of the Evangelical Association. This carried unanimously. This means Church of Peace, May God grant this evermore. Amen.
A building committee was elected unanimously, consisting of George Pfeifer president, William Constantine secretary, Martin Hoffman treasurer, and Andrew Burkhart Sr. and Rev. L.Willman were added. All served their office honorably. After this it was resolved that the church be forty-six feet long, thirty-two feet wide. The foundation two feet above the ground. Rev. Goessele is to purchase the stone in Joliet and have them sent to Dwight by freight car. It was furthermore resolved that the congregation meet again March 20th, for the purpose of being legally incorporated, and to elect the trustees for said Church. Furthermore it was resolved that on March 20th the building plan is to be submitted to the congregation, and that the contractors should be present at that time. Thereon the meeting adjourned witi a song, prayer and thanking God, in the hope that the Lord may help furthermore.
The members of Salem Church of the Evangelical Association met in their church in Grundy County March 20th, 1877. Most of the members were present. Some offered reconsideration, claiming that the location of the church lot was not in the right place, but it remained with the first resolution. Brother William Goessele, District elder, was elected on motion to serve as chairman. Rev. L.Willman served as secretary. Hereupon the following brethren were elected as trustees: George Pfeifer three years, Fred Burkhart two years, Andrew Burkhart one year. There is also this to be noted, that the incorporation and the deed for the church lot according to the instructions of our constitution, will have been nicely taken care of and recorded. It was also resolved that the itemized details are to be laid before and explained to all persons present. Several carpenters, masons and plasterers had come to attend, explanations of the whole plan for building the church were given according to the submitted plan by the chairman, and it was resolved that the work of the carpenter, mason and plasterers were to be given to the lowest bidder. Furthermore resolved, that the materials for the building are all to be of the best quality, at the same time as cheap as possible. Everything is to be built strong and enduring. Resolved that the building committee, the trustees and the carpenters are to meet March 27th with Mr. Pollard in Dwight, and the bills are to be handed in at that time.
The contract to build the church was signed March 27th, carpenters S.W. Winters and P. Ackerman had the lowest bid for $590.00 and are to be finished within six months of date. They are to furnish bond for $500.00 to guarantee good work. Everything went off fine. The subscribed money for the building was paid in so that the contractual payments could be promptly made, and there were no hindrances, so that soon it could be announced that the church is to be dedicated October 1st by Rev. William Goessele. The quarterly meeting was held in the new church September 30th. The matters pertaining to the trustees and building committee were considered, accounts examined. Everything was thus found in order and correct, except that several hundreds of dollars subscribed was not paid at that time. Resolved, if the proper security is given for the needed money, the church is to be dedicated. This was done Sunday morning and afternoon rmidst rejoicing, and everyone gave according to their circumstances, and a number of people from Dwight, especially those of the English churches helped along. May the Lord reward everyone. It is also to be noted, that brother George Pfelfer, who died shortly after, gave a good example and was faithful to the end. May the Lord Jesus give him eternal rest of the saints. Sunday evening, the church was dedicated to the service of Almighty God debt free, by Rev. William Goessele and the keys were turned over to brother Pfeifer, president of the board of Trustees. It is of the Lord's doings. Whoever hears and reads let him say Amen."
Brother George Peifer, one of the first members and founders, who just before his passing covered the last of the debt, was the first one to be buried from the new church. March 27th, 1878 an election was held for trustees. Andrew Burkhart was elected for three years; May 30, 1878 Martin Hoffman was elected as trustee succeeding the late George Pfeifer. A few days be6ore this election, the last bills for the church were submitted and approved, and the total cost 6or the building of the church amounted to $2,419.00. Every cent was honestly paid. The trustees and the building committee hive done their work well, that is fine. I Peter 4:10-"As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."
A Sunday School was in existence from the year 1856, when it was organized with Leonard Fisher as the first Superintendent, J.G Schrotberger followed him and George Zingreber followed him. The first record the Sunday school is given in an old book of the Treasurer beginning with his record of collections made for the support of the Sunday School for the year 1879. Then appears a record of the gifts of the member's from ten cents up to one dollar, totaling; $7.50. The expenditures were for 50 Lection Blotter (Lesson Papers) at $3.00, for Post Office order to Cleveland, Ohio 15 cents, for 9 class books 75 cents, to W. .F.Schnelder for 12 Jubaltone $3.65, express 50 cents, for Post Office order to Cleveland, Ohio 15 cents, total $8.20. There were 8 classes with a total enrollment of 48. There is another entry for the year 1880 - for 15 Song books and express $2.14. A report of the election of Sunday School officers was in the year 1891 and result: Superintendent Leonard Bower, secretary and treasurer George Klughart, Librarian Edward Constantine and Minnie Seeger. Teachers were-Andrew Burkhart, Leonard Hoffman, Theodore Zingreber, William Constantine, Peter Stubenrauch, George Unz, Margaret Hoffman, Margaret Peifer, and Rebecca Hoffman. The first officers of the Sunday School elected for the year 1879 were; George Schrotberger Superintendent, George Zingreber assistant, George Hoffman Librarian, Martin Hoffman treasurer and William Constantine secretary. See book for further records.
The records of the congregation were not kept too well and we have the next entry in the Church Book "Remarks to the Introduction": Since the history of this congregation was not recorded, the quarterly conference at Goodfarm resolved: "That the records be straightened out". For this purpose Bro. George Schwartz called a meeting, at which the older sisters were present, whose recollection of the history was written down. It cannot be expected, that this history will be complete under the circumstances, but it will give a small idea of the last forty years given according to the statements of the first members still living at the time. But from now on all the important happenings of every year are to be recorded as they happen. Signed C.C.Storey, recorder.
Brethren Zahn, Dismeier, and J.Gross succeeded Bro. Willman from 1879 to 1882 and things went their normal course. Most of the youth of the congregation were kept from the begining. The work also went, forward under Roloff and Relmenschneider in 1882 to 1884, "Especially that many of the young sisters were converted. Nothing of importance is to be recorded under the ministry of Bros. Wingert and Thoren who served from 1884 to 1885. Under the prevailing circumstances the work of the Lord proceeded on it's normal course under Bros. Johnson and Thorn 1885 to 1886. During the pastorate of W. Forkel, J. Stengel and Woehr 1886 to 1888, there was success and another class was organized, so that there were now three classes in the congregation. Already at this time one could feel the coming of the church controversy, also it was the first time, that in one year, three preachers were sent, inasmuch as other parishes were added. Their successors were Bros. B. Brose and P. Fitterer 1888-1889, under whom the churchi controversy developed. Neither did they give any satisfaction, and they tried to get the church away from the people and win them over to the rebels. Their successors were J. Lintner and A. Wagner from 1890 to 1891. Things went their usual course, except that the "split" which occurred had caused great difficulty, since the confindence of the members over against the preachers had suffered greatly and thereby caused the failure of the work and lack of success to any great extent. In 1891 Bros. Elfrink, A Wagner, and D.Stege served the field until 1895. There is nothing special to report, the work went on in its normal course. Rev. G.Schwartz and L.Storey served the circuit from 1895 to 1894 and the work went on its normal way. In 1894 Rev. George Schwartz was sent as pastor with Rev.C. Marth as assistant, who served in the usual way in building up thp cause of God's kingdom. In the spring of 1895 the Illinois Conference sent Rev F. Schawartz along with A. Sender to the Grand Prairie Circuit. Since, however, circumstances in the conference made it necessary, Rev.A.Sender was transferred after three months to Streator, and A.Wagoner, local preacher for the circuit took his place. Salem Church was served by the preachers of the circuit according to previous arraingements. Every Sunday either morning, afternoon, or evening preaching. On Saturday one to two hours school was held during the summer and visits made to the families. In winter protracted meetings were held and Bro.Philip Beuscher of Kankakee helped for several meetings. Also in the previous year a young peoples' society had been organized, which however never got going; and gradually, in spite of all efforts died out. The congregation consisted of three classes. The Sunday School lay under the leadership of John Schrotberger.
Rev. Fred Schwartz and C.A.Kofcen served the circuit and Salem Church 1896 to 1897. The work was as in the year before and the work of God had some progress. Rev.Schwartz made a trip to Europe during the months of May, June and July in order to visit his friends. During this time Father A.Wagoner took his place on the circuit. During the winter Bro.F.Richert of Manhattan helped several evenings with protracted meetings. In spite of appeals and prayers, that were made, there were no conversions. During the yenr 1897 to 1898 Rev. Fred Schwartz and Philip Beuscher served the circuit and worked in the Salem Church. However the Saturday school, which had been doing poorly, cashed in. Several families-George Unz, J.Schrotberger had moved away to Mazon, six miles, and their children could not come. In this year death visited the congregation and claimed on December 16, 1897 William Constantine, who for many years was steward and class leader; and on February 18, 1898 the aged father G. J. Schrotberger, the oldest member of the congregation died. William Hoffman was superintendent of the Sunday School. Because of bad roads during the winter, not much could be done with the revival meetings. May the dear God in grace bless the congregation with growth and strength, with more sincerity and zeal inwardly and growth as to numbers outwardly. Amen.
As a result of the conference order Rev. M. Groenwald and Wm. Albrecht came in the spring of 1898 to this field, which includes Salem.The attendance at the services was moderately good, nor did there lack anything in the material way. Unfortunately it left much to be desired as to sincereity and consecration. Every winter protracted meetings were held, which in part, because of the unfavorable weather, but especially because of the inner disunity, had a poor result. One soul was concerted according to confession, in the first year that joined the church. "Oh, it is still the time of drought." Rev. M.Groenwald and B. Reuterpoehler served this congregation 1900-1901. More unity prevailed, since the quarrels have been settled. Services were well attended, participation with the Sunday School was good. The weather in spite of the cold was fairly favorable for the revival meetings. Even though there was no visible success, "Lord God comfort us, let Thy countenance shine, we shall be whole." But the love of the world and the love of money kills every germ of truth, noble exceptions are always to be found, thank God. Some of the younger Sunday School pupils were converted in other revival meetings elsewhere. May they remain faithful. Rev. M.Groenwald and G.J.Dagenkolb served 1901 and 1902. J.V.Storkman with several brethren as helpers served the congregation from 1902 to 1906. The Young Peoples Alliance was organized, and was carried on in the English language. See the Youth Fellowship record.
Bros.A. H. Zahl and H. B.Schaeffer served with blessing end moderate success
in 1906 and 1907. In 1907 Rev. J. Marth was sent to the newly formed Dwight
Misslon, by the Annual Conference held in Washington, Illinois. The Mission
consisted of the congregations af Dwight and Salem, thus severing their relations
with the Grand Prairie circuit and having one pastor to serve both churches.
In the first year, revival meetings were held in Salem Church. A number of the
Sunday School pupils were converted. Late summer of 1908 a tent meeting was
held on the farm of Fred Pfeifer, which was led by Rev.W. B. Rilling, presidiing
elder of the Naperville District. The same was crowned with great blessing had
eighteen conversions, of whom fifteen joined the congregation. In spite of the
tent meeting, which
was attended by so much blessing, they were two years of constant battling on the language question. There were controversies to be settled in the first year; in the second year the language question in the Salem Sunday School caused some difficulty. Then, too, a big majority seemed to be disatisfied on account of being separeted from the Grand Prairie circuit.
In 1909 Rev. H.F.Ebert was sent to Dwight Mission and writes: "When I came to Dwight, I was entertained at the home of Father Andrew Burkhart, who at the time was afflicted with a severe cold. Nevertheless, this dear brother was able to be about and give me many a timely suggestion and much valuable help in connection with my newly begun labors. But, I was not permitted to have such a strong support in the work very long for within three weeks of the beginning of my pastorate in Dwight, Father Andrew Burkhart passed unto his eternal rest. The death of this earnest man was a great loss to me as well a.a to the Dwight Society." In
the year 1909 to 1910 we had some unpleasant experiences to go through because of the language question that, had already been considerably agitated beforeour removal to Dwight. The Dwight congregation as well as the Salem Society was in the midst of a crises - the transition period came upon them. My predecessor, Rev. John Marth had introduced a notable feature of Christian work in the form af a tent meetirg. Rev. W. B. Rilling, presiding elder of the Naperville District, conducted the first tent meeting on this feild of labor. His earnest efforts were richly blessed and resulted in the conversion of many souls. His sermons were powerful and lad a tendency to Impress the Binds of tlie people with a sense of their responsibility to God - for every opportunity of doing good. In consequence many Indifferent Christians were awakened and aroused to greater interest and activity in the Church of God. I attribute all the success and the progress of the kiogdom in this community to the annual Tent meeting, which, like a mighty lever, seems to lift the whole body of communicants to a higher levet of Christian life. Tlie Salem Society has made vast strides along financial lines. It has almost doubled the pastor's salary within the laat two years. The Missionary subscriptions are gradually running higher. They have become more systematic in their methods of work. Upon the request of the Presiding Elder, Rev. W.B. Rilling, they made arrangements to provide the feed for the pastor's horse in a more business like, if not humane way. Instead of the old custom, that the pastor takes a bag or two usually of the largest size that can be obtained) with him in his buggy as he makes his rounds thru the country, and here and there, solicit for grain for his faithful horse, we have found the "more excellent way" of providing for the Pastor's horse, in that a special steward has been appointed to bring the pastor a load of hay, oats, or straw, whenever needed. And at the end of the year, the grain bill is paid by levying assessments upon the individual members of the church. The plan works spendidly.
In 1911 and 1912 many improvements have been made on the parsonage and the barn. A cement walk was placed in front and around the house, back to the barn door. The chimney on the house was repaired and several rooms in the parsonage papered. The barn was changed considerably. When I came to the field there was scarcely room enough in the barn for two loads of straw; now there is room for four or five loads. A buggy shed has been built on the east side of the barn. The chicken house and yard were in a delapidated condition, when we came to the field, so I determined to fix up things. I tore the old fence down and built a new one and made the yard and the chicken house considerably larger than they had been before. I have spent a great deal of labor in improving thp lawn and the chicken yard and barn. There is still room for improvement.
The church in the country was renovated on the inside. A new chimney was built on the church. The old chimney was a source of great discomfort. Somehow, it would not draw, in spite of all effort made to that effect. And on many a Sunday the Church was filled with smoke to the almost suffication of the preacher who had to open his mouth in order to talk, and every time the lips divided the smoke poured down his throat like black ink. But, the dear brethren, soon grew weary of experimenting and decided to replace it with a new one. Plans have been made to have the church painted on the outside. In the fall of 1911 we had another tent meeting. Rev.Rilling had charge of it; twelve souls were converted and fifteen united with the church. It was a season of rejoicing and a time of triumph In October, a class of catechumens was graduated. There were six girls and four boys. Bro. Rilling preached the sermon and following it, the pastor examined the members of the catechetical class before an interested congregation. Bro. Johnson was on the field and collected money in the interest of the Logan Square Mission. Our people gave him suscriptions to the amount of nearly $100. Bro. A. J. Voegelein canvassed this field for subscriptions in behalf of the Deaconess Hospital. Our dear people came very nicely up to the help of the Lord's work in this worthy cause. Rev.Rilling, our Presiding elder, whose heart and soul has been bound up in the Naperville Church project solicited subscriptions on this field for that remarkable undertaking. He set his aim at $500, and the people laughed and said afterwards "I am very sorry for Bro. Rilling, he'll be very disappointed when he comes to collect." But Bro. Rilling simply came and went at it and worked like a beaver and he is not far from his goal. I think he'll make it at this next Quarterly meeting. It should be on record as a matter of history, that our Presiding Elder has advanced the finances of the church in this communily in a remarkable way, not by impulse, force, or compulsion, but by informing the poeple of their unexampled opportunities in the spirit of kindness and brotherly love. A new organ has been purchased for Salem Church at the factory price of $104.
A Woman's Missionary Society has been organized recently. Mrs. George Hoffman has the honor of beirg its first President. Long live this noble organization and may it, be a source of blessing and inspiration and power to the church, of which it is now an essential part. The charter members of the W.M.S. were the following: Mrs. George Hoffman president, Mrs. Leonard Bower vice president, Mrs. Frank Gantzert secretary, Mrs. Wm. Pfeifer corresponding secretary, Mrs. William Hoffman treasurer. See the "W.S.W.S. history. The Salem people have been very kind to the pastor and his family too, and have remembered them with various gifts. The first year of our ministry in Dwight, the pastor was surprised at Christmas and presented with a fine fur coat, fur cap and fur laprobe. May God help me to prove worthy.
The years on this field have been years of peace and blessing. And one's heart rejoices as one sees how some of the young people have gorwn up and are becoming important factors in our church-life, May God keep them faithful. Rev.Fred Schawartz of Peotone, Illinois assisted in the revival meeting and rendered excellent services. The people were newly quickened, No conversions cnn be reported, simply, because of the fact, that no non-Christian people were present.
1914 Rev.C.A.Koten took up the work. He writes; "We did not find the church
very spiritual. In June we paid the indebtedness for painting and papering the
parsonage which was done three yors ego, during my predecessors administration.
In October a new sewer was laid and toilet conveniences put into the parsonage
at the expense of $80. In this same month we held a protracted meeting at. Dwight
which was greatly blessed of the Lord. One soul was saved and five joined the
church. In the month of November the Salem church bought new pulpit furniture
- table, pulpit and three chairs at an expense of some $60. During 1915 the
Lord's work went on very harmoniously - pastor and people worked nicely together.
1916 was in a measure a successful year. At Salem new horse sheds were built
which were very necessary. A class of nine completed a two year's catechism course and were graduated in September with honor. It was a very interesting service. In the month of June Bro. E. P. Kisser was on the field soliciting funds for Mission Churches to the amount of $30. That was good. Bro. George Johnson. General Missionary Treasurer also visited us in the interest of missions and received $190 for the General Treasury. The District W.P.A. convention was held in the month of June in our Dwight Church which was a big success in every way and helpful to the church. In 1817 we organized a Teacher Training class at Salem and at Dwight with 36 members. Good interest was shown. One soul was saved during the year. The new finance plan was adopted in the Salem congregation, which is to be in
operation April 1, 1917. This will be a fine plan and a good thing for the church. On January 1, 1917 the Sunday School adopted the Sunday class collections, which up to date could not be done; also two organized classes were formed in Salem Church. The Salem I.P.A. voted to have monthly business meetings, which is very necessary to the life and effectiveness of the Y.P.A., but this seems could never be done before. We had a harmonious and pleasant pastorate. In my first year - 1914, this field was made self-supporting; the quarterly conference voted $1000 pastor's salary and $70 for the Presiding Elder. In the fall of 1916 six storm windows were procured for the parsonage and is a good improvement; but some increase is needed.
In 1917 to 1919 Rev.G.J.Dagenkolb served this field. He writes " by the
help of God we have spent two years on this circuit. We have kept our own, but
that is all, Like all other churches we had to suffer under the stress and strain
of the world war. We attempted faithfully to point the people to Him from whom
alone our blessings flow. How many heeded it God alone knows. In 1918 we graduated
the first class of catechism in Zion Church, after it having been given up for
serveral years. On Easter Day the first Class of the three years Teachers Training
course of the denomination graduated. Members were: Ruth Kelch, Alice Dagenkolb,
Ed Gantzert, Fred Ganzert, John Klein. The last years work was greatly hindered
by repeated influenza epidemics and very poor roads. May God in great mercy
the efforts that have been made to make Him known in His saving and keeping power, and grant unto my beloved brother in Christ, Rev. K. J. Bauerle, my successor appointed at the Elgin Conference, a blessed harvest of souls which would be my greatest reward.
In 1919 Rev. K. J. Bauerle writes; "These were seven years rich in experience.
The Lord has been good to us. He was our strength and help, every morning his
goodness was new. The labors of my predecessors was not in vain, the seed they
have sown bore fruit. The revival meetings were crowned with conversions. The
brethren J. A.Giese, J. Widner, Doede, Stroebel, William Beuscher, S. Moehl,
Kasch brought the messages and became a blessing to the people, Rev. H. .B.
Schaeffer became a special instrument in God's hand, winning souls for Christ
at Salem . During the seven years 81 members were added to the two churches.
The Quarterly Conferences under the leadership of Rev. Burgi and Schaefer were
times of inspiration. Three classes grauated from Catechism. The Ministers Fellowship
meeting, the W.M.S. convention held in the Dwight Zion Church, October 28, 1924
were instructive to the churches. A Mission Band was organised in the Salem
Church. The church in Dwight was repaired and decorated. The parsonage was remodeled
and painted at a cost of $1000. A piano was bought at the Salem Church costing
$350, also new hymnals were purchased and the Salem Church was remodeled at
a cost of $12,000.(This included a full basement, an addition of fourteen feet
on the front to provide for an entrance to the basement, a class room and a
cloak room. The steeple was taken down and a tower built; the whole church was
brick veneered.) The remodeled church was dedicated Novanber 20, 1925 by Bishop
J.F.Dunlap, D.D. The total raised for all purposed was $42,600. The members
and friends of the church were kind towad the pastor and his family. He was
presented with a new car the first year. On the 25th anniversary of their wedded
life, Rev. and Mrs. Bauerle received from the congregation, $25.00 at the banquet
given in their honor, looking back on the seven years of labor, I,
K.J.Bauerle feel and confess before my Master: I have been a failure. To my beloved successor Rev. Paul Giese I wish God's richest, blessings, great success and much joy in his work
In 1926 Rev. Paul E. Giese cane to take up the work. He writes; "Just one year! Contacts were formed, plans made, but no time to go on. Yet we thank God for what has been done. May we mention briefly; 1. One convert, 2. Parsonage Improved inside to the extent of $700 including new furnace, bathroom fixtures and kitchen sink, 3. The first Vacation Bible School held and the interest of the community in this type of work most intensely aroused. 4. A survey of Dwight made by the Zion young people giving the pastor valuable information. 5. The Zion Church purchased a Kimball piano. 6. The first White Gift Service put on in the town church by the young people at Christmas time, attracting the interest of the whole town. Over 300 packed into the church, many turned away, the offering was $85. 7. Revivals held, musical interest aroused, new impetus of life and interest, and new recognition of the churches vigor by the community, 8. Pastor and wife given elaborate shower at the time of their marriage. We deeply regret leiving after such a short time, but wish Rev.C. T. Krell the finest of success and God's blessing.
1927-1934 Rev. C. J. Krell. He writes: "These were seven fruitful years. There were no sporadic responses or efforts, but a steady development. The young people were very active; for seven summers a vacation Bible School was held at each church with fine interest and cooperation. The pastor had the privilege of teachig six units of the Standard Leadership training course to classes in the local church. Five young people graduated, having completed at least twelve units, other young people had taken a number of courses also, so that 110 units of credit were earned. The young people under the direction of the pastor and his wife put on several religion plays each year, and received a good reputation for their fine efforts from the community at large. Some kind of special services were held either in the fall or during the Lenten Season of each year, during which twenty made their confession of Christ and joined the church, sixteen joined by letter. New Church Hymnals and new Evangelical Church School hymnals were purchased at the Zion Church. A colored lighting system was installed at Zion which proved very helpful in presenting' the religious plays. About $800 was made up by the Salem Church in deducing their church indebtedness. The Sunday School Board, Finance Boards and E.L.C.E. executive committees were given considerable attention, in order that, better planning of the program might be effected. Two autumns we joined in the Community leadership Training schools, and two years in a County School, the pastor being the Dean in 3 of these 4 schools. The last year our church cooperated in Union Passion Week Services with the Methodist and Corgregational churches, each pastor preaching one evening, with each church arranging one special program also. Easter Sunday evening, the last evening of Union Services, was the night. of our special program, and the religious play "Simon, the Leper" was wonderfully given, Many folks could not get into the church to hear it. Rev. George Schwartz was on the field twice, for Superannuation Fund and for clearing up pledges on the Forward Movement Campaign, receiving for the latter $555 or 45% of pledges outstanding. The amount given for the Superannuation Fund was $500. The Centennial was observed according to suggestions, both churches cooperating in producing the play "One Hundred Years."
1934 to 1940 Rev. Leo Schmitt served Salem Church. He writes; "During
our pastorate for six years on this charge, the most cordial relations were
enjoyed between people and pastor. However the pastor felt constrained to voluntarily
retire from the active service in the ministry, on account of strength not fully
regained after a major operation and its hospitalization, of ten weeks during
the fall of 1959. Each summer Daily Vacation Bible Schools were held for two
weeks in each church, excepting in the summer of 1939 when a union school of
the two churches combined, was held at Salem Church. A fine spirit of cooperation
and interest was manifested in each annual endeavor. Catechetical instruction
was introduced. Three classes were graduated. In 1936 two boys ind two girls;
in 1958 four girls; in 1959 five boys. Through this inovation thirteen young
people were led to confess Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour and they all
united in membership with the
church. Nine others joined the church by letter and five others on confession of faith. A Bible study was established and since maintained in each E.L.C.E. at their regular monthly business sessions and social time, held in the homes. All regular observances such as Mother's Day, Children's Day, Foreign Day, Loyalty Month, Pioneer Day were duly kept and their offerings raised and forwarded to the respective treasurers. Every two years Anti-Saloon League Field Day was observed in each Church with the League's representative in each pulpit. Every year Psssion Week services were conducted monthly in union services, with the Methodist and Congregational Churches cooperating; the pastors alternating in preaching and the churches furnishing special numbers. In 1955 the Fvangelical Church School Hymnal was introduced into Salem Sunday School. The parsonage was in part repaired and redecorated to the extent of $100. An organ for the basement of Zion Church was procured, and Salem Church enjoyed a debt reduction of $274. In 1936 the Illinois Conference Fire Insurance effort, required by the State insurance Department of raising $100 was carried out successfully. Zion Church foundation was reinforced and its roof strengthened with iron rods for firmly holding the trusses from spreading. In 1957 parsonage repairing and redecorating costing $75 was carried out. In 1959 the parsonage was repaired and its exterior painted at an outlay of $155. Salem Church renewed their furnace for $255. Zion Church installed a furnace with a fan costing $485. All apportionments were paid in full, recording a standing of 100% throughout the six years. Deeply regretting the need of retiring from the ministry and wishing the worthy successor the finest success, and the blessing of God, with the excellent cooperative spirit of his churches, is the desire and prayer of him who bids Aieu.
1940 to 1950 Rev. Fred O. Stroebel. He writes: "These ten years of our pastorate were busy and happy years. Gradual progress has been made - the new membership has slightly increased. Our churches' have heartily cooperated with the other churches of the community. Zion Church has been twice redecorated during the ten years. And improvements have been made both in the auditorium and the basement of the church. Salem Church was once completely redecorated and the basement has been redecorated a second time. A new oil burning furnace was installed at Salem Church. Extensive improvements were made on the parsonage including the enlargement of the basement. A new furnace and blower, hard wood floors down stairs and a completely remodeled and modernized kitchen. An electric range was provided for the parsonage. (A new Ford car was presented to the pastor, Rev. Fred 0. Stroebel during the last year of his pastorate.) 1950 - 1953 Rev. E. F. Schaeferis serving as pastor. Our pastorate here at Dwight and Salem began with the generous help we received in unloading our household furniture and being moved into a newly improved and clean parsonage. This spirit of cooperation and generosity has characterized the congregation throughout the three years. A new refrigerator was purchased for the parsonage, linoleum was laid throughout the upstairs room, the outside was painted, the wiring was improved and several rooms papered. These things which make the parsonage family comfortable,.as well as the support of the pastor, make for a very fine feeling of cooperation, that helps the pastor in his work.
The regular services have been well attended, the Sunday Schools are doing good work, a few members are added each year through the catechism classes and through transfer. We have lost a few of the elderly members during these years, Mr. and Mrs Will Burkhart, Mrs. Martin Hoffman and Mrs. George Burkhart. These losses are keenly felt, but the young people have responded and carried on the work laid down by these faithful servants.
The Salem Church redecorated their church during the summer and fall of 1951,
and expended about $5000, to put in celotex ceiling, redecorate, sand and varnish
floors, raise the platfiorm and install new Communion table, pulpit and lectern
from the American Seatring Company; the brass candlesticks and cross, the brass
offering plates, the antipendia and flower stands were gifts and memorials.
A Centennial observance is planned for September 21, 1952 with Dr. H. R.Helininger
Naperville as the speaker. A pageant is being arranged for September 18, to portray the beginnings of the Church in Goodfarm township.