Carroll County IL

Photo & History contributed by Glenda Richter

Trinity Lutheran Church, known in the community as Salem Lutheran was organized in January 1880. The membership consisted mainly of people from Hesse-Darmstadt in Germany. They had been members of Black Oak Lutheran Church in Fair Haven Township up until that time. In 1878 when a split occurred in that congregation over the use of certain hymnbooks, many members left together with their pastor to organize a congregation of their own. When the new congregation was organized it consisted of about 35 voting members. The church was built in the spring of 1880 and is located 4 miles southeast of Mount Carroll. It was dedicated in July 1880 and still serves as the sanctuary for the congregation today.

Beginning in 1880 the congregation supported a full-time parochial school on the church grounds. The enrollment of this school reached a high of about 40 pupils. The pastors did the instructing. After a period of approximately 10 years the school was discontinued.

Pastor Louis Schwarts was called as the first regular pastor. His salary consisted of housing, hay and oats for his horse, wood for fuel, and as much cash as was contributed for that purpose. This turned out to be a fluctuating figure, around $250.

On June 2, 1890 the original parsonage with all the church records was destroyed by fire. The parsonage was rebuilt immediately and the following year a separate schoolhouse was erected. In 1898, the pastor’s annual salary was set at the definite figure of $300.

The work of the church was done exclusively in the German language until after the First World War when two languages were introduced. Today all work is done in English.

Through much of its history the congregation was affiliated with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, but it never became an official member of that church body. In 1956 the church turned to the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod for the right to call a pastor from its midst. Since that time it has been served by Wisconsin Synod pastors. In September of 1972 the congregation voted to join the Wisconsin Synod, and it was officially received into membership that same year.

Early Pastors Who Served the Congregation

Louis Schwartz 1880-1888
J.B. Graupner 1888-1898
C.H. Mueller 1898-1902
C.H. Sommer 1902-1906
PH. S. Estel 1907-1919
John Buenger 1919-1932

Transcribed by Glenda Richter - Centennial issue of Trinity Lutheran Church and Carroll County “A Goodly Heritage” Supplement No. 4.

Baptism certificate for Johannes Wilhelm Richter signed by the first pastor of the church dated 1889
Baptism certificate of his son Carlyle Edward Richter dated 1913