Rock Island County, Illinois Genealogy Trails




The First Methodist Episcopal Church of this city has had an organized existence since 1833. The first meetings of those holding to this faith were held in the house of John W. Spencer, during that year, the Rev. Asa McMurtry conducting the services, and organizing a class composed of the following named members: Calvin Spencer and wife, Zerah Spencer, Sally Case, Wm. Brasher, James M. Brasher, James Thompson and Caroline Thompson. Meetings were held at private houses until 1836, when, a schoolhouse having been erected, they were held therein until their first house of worship was built in 1844. This house stood on Union Square. The present Church edifice was erected in 1855, at a cost of $20, 000.
The Church has prospered in numbers, mateterial  wealth and spirituality. [Source: Portrait and Biographical album of Rock Island County, Illinois; 1885 -Transcribed by Candi H. 2009]

The first class of which there is any record, and which became the nucleus of the church, was organized December 6, 1836.  At an earlier date Rock Island, or as then known, Stephenson, was recognized as within the bounds of the Illinois Conference, which at that time covered the entire state.  Services were occasionally held at an earlier date than above mentioned.  Peter Cartwright being presiding elder of a large territory.  This noted pioneer preacher was a power in early Methodism.  His autobiography is of thrilling interest.  The names of those forming the first class are as follows:

Michael Hartzell, class leader; Jane Brashar, Pera Vandruff, Nancy Trickell, John Tindall, John Spencer, Elizabeth Sandford, Lucy Bardwell, Ann Tindall, Nancy Hartzell, Eliza Spencer, John Sanford, Hanna Pendleton, John Tuttle, Mary Butler, Esther Morris, Abigail Curtis, Mary McLaughlin, John Metzgar, Elizabeth Vandruff, Amos Moore, Leah Brashar, William T. Brashar, Catherine Vandruff, Nancy Wells, Morgan Ferguson and Thomas Brittingham.

The only surviving member at the present time is Nancy Hartzell, widow of the late Michael Hartzell, and mother of Joseph Hartzell, bishop of Africa, who for a number of years has been accomplishing a wonderful work on that continent.

During the formative period of the church it had no place of worship of its own.  In its beginning the society met at the home of J.W. Spencer.  This was a log house that stood near Seventh Avenue and Nineteenth Street.  There Methodist preachers always found a cordial welcome.  Without disparagement to others it may safely be said that Mr. and Mrs. Spencer stood sponsors for the church; a relation that they worthily maintained during the remaining period of their lives. About the year 1836 a brick school house was erected in Union Square, now known as Spencer Square, and Methodist services were held in it. In 1843 preparations were begun for the building of a church to occupy the northwest corner of the same Square; a site set apart by the then proprietors for that purpose. The church was finished in the year 1844, under the pastorate of Reverend Isaac Searles. This was a brick building, without ornamentation, built at a cost of about $4,000/ It was dedicated in December of the year of its completion. It remained the home of the church for eleven years, until the erection of a much more commodious and imposing structure, on the site of the present church. The conference of 1843 made Rock island a station, and Reverend Andrew Coleman was appointed pastor. During the pastorate of Reverend G.L. S. Stuff, 1851-51, the first parsonage was built; a brick building still occupied as a residence, on Nineteenth Street just north of Fifth Avenue. This house when built was in a field belonging to Mr. Spencer. The second church, as above referred to, was undertaken during the pastorate of Reverend William Tasker, and finished in 1855, Reverend S.G. J. Worthington being pastor.

The first conference at Rock Island was held in this church the same year, Bishop Janes presiding. The dedication did not take place until April 20, 1856, when its entire indebtedness was provided for.

On the evening of December 5, 1855, four months before the dedication, a supper was served in the basement of the church, by the ladies, at one dollar per plate, and six hundred and fifty dollars was realized. It was spoken of as the largest festival ever held in the city. The ferry boat ran free and people came from Davenport, Moline and other adjacent towns, while the good Methodists kept open house for all.

A new parsonage was built adjoining the new church in 1856. The Holbrook bell, which still faithfully calls to the several services of the church, was purchased in 1869, at a cost of $1,200. Reverend Richard Haney was pastor. In 1870-71, under Reverend J.H. Rhea, the church was thoroughly repaired, an alcove built in the rear of the pulpit for the occupancy of a new pipe organ, the whole expense being about $8,500, which amount was fully met at the time of reopening, on which occasion Doctor E.O. Haven, afterwards bishop, preached.

The Central Illinois Conference convened, for the second time at Rock Island, in 1864, Bishop Scott presided. AT this time the war of the rebellion was being fought to a finish the second election of Abraham Lincoln was pending. It can truthfully be stated that of the 2,299 soldiers which went out from this county this church sent her full quota.

Bishops Simpson, Peck and Bowman, at different times, occupied the pulpit of this church, as did Doctor William Butler, who told of his wonderful experiences in Mexico and India.

The third conference held in Rock Island was in 1883, at the close of the pastorate of Reverend J.S. McCord. Bishop Andrews presided. His sermon, preached on Sunday morning at the opera house, was one of exceeding power and beauty of diction. At this conference Chaplain McCabe was present, delighting all by his beautiful rendering of Christian song. Reverend R.G. Pearce followed Doctor McCord as pastor.

The personnel of the laity of the church is worthy of mention, but space forbids the naming of more than one, who was notably zealous and full of good works, viz: Edward W. Spencer. His birth antedated the organization of the church by two years. He was nurtured in a Christian home and at the altars of the church. He did not disregard the obligations thus imposed upon him. For nearly a third of a century he was Sunday school superintendent and choir leader. He organized and largely maintained by untiring services the young people's and children's meetings, while other services of the church were a special care.

Others who went out from this church and entered the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church were William B. Frizzell, J. W. Frizzell and William A. Spencer. The last named after an honored career has passed on to the other shore.

The semi-centennial jubilee of the church was held April 2-5 inclusive, 1887, daring the pastorate of Reverend G.J. Lucky. It was an occasion of great interest, and spiritual profit to the church. The principal addresses made at that time fortunately are preserved in book form, entitled, "Fifty Years of Methodism in Rock Island". There is no relation in life outside of the family, so close and tender as that experienced in the church, that which constitutes Christian fellowship.

Reverend G. W. Gue followed Reverend Luckey in the pastorate. Not later than the second year as pastor, he began to whisper in the ear of one here and there that, the proper thing to do was to build a new church. It was not a little thing to undertake, and, furthermore, very many seemed quite satisfied to continue to worship in the old sanctuary, so long their spiritual home; as at its
altars many have been born into the kingdom of their Lord and savior; while from its doors loved ones had been borne to their last resting place. Hallowed associations made it precious. Having put his hand to the work, Reverend Gue was not one to turn back. He was persistent and continually at it, two very important elements in the accomplishment of a purpose. To write the history of this enterprise is more than now can be undertaken. Consummate thought sanctified by prayer and the earnest effort of all the people made possible the accomplishment of the work undertaken. The corner stone of the edifice was laid September 24, 1899; Bishop Ninde, by invitation, was present and made the principal address. Many of the pastors of other churches in the city were present and participated in the service. A year and a month from the laying of the corner stone the church was dedicated, October 26, 1890. The long cherished hope had eventuated in ultimate fruition. The cost of the building was about $45,000, which amount was provided for previous to the dedication. At the end of four years as pastor Reverend Gue was transferred to Portland, Oregon. He has since, together with his estimable wife, passed to his final reward.

Reverend F. W. Merrell succeeded Reverend Gue as pastor. He served the church faithfully and well for five years, the membership of the church being largely increased during that period. Near the close of his pastorate, at the instance of Captain T. J. Robinson. who made the donation, a new pipe organ was placed in the church. This necessitated quite a change in the auditorium whirls, together with other improvements, made an expense of about $7,000.

Reverend C. O. McCulloch succeeded Reverend Merrell as pastor. His service for a period of five years was fraught with great blessing to the church. During the fourth year of his ministry a new parsonage was built, at a cost of $4,000. To secure that amount, besides nearly as much more of indebtedness before the work was undertaken, required strenuous effort. Reverend McCulloch, however, proved equal to the task. At the end of his fifth year he was appointed to Macomb.

Reverend R. B. Williams was the successor of Doctor McCulloch. An event of no little interest occurred during his fifth year, being the occasion of the meeting of the board of bishops, lasting for the most part of a week. Also the same year the church was beautifully frescoed.

The conference that met for the fourth time in Rock Island, September 11-18, 1907, through its presiding bishop, Earl Cranston, gave him the appointment to the Rook Island charge for the seventh consecutive time. This action which was in accord with the request of the local quarterly conference for his return, makes further comment on his pastorate unnecessary.

In 1908 the society purchased the adjoining lot on the west, adding greatly to the sightliness and value of the church property.
As an auxiliary society, the first to be organized was the sewing society, in 1843. In many respects it has proven the better half of the church. It would be monumental if the total of its giving and providing could be shown. Other societies have added greatly to the usefulness of the church. The Woman's Foreign Missionary Society, organized in 1870; the Home Missionary Society, organized in 1883; and the Epworth League, with other minor organizations, are all working to the one end, the upbuilding of Christ's kingdom. The Sunday school, the most important arm of service, must not be overlooked; indeed it is from this source, more largely than any other, that the church recruits its membership. An a distinctively Methodist Sunday school it was organized in 1845. J. W. VanSant being elected superintendent. In the years that have intervened much earnest effort has been put forth. Sometimes the superintendent and teachers have felt despondent, but the work has gone bravely on and it certainty is beyond human ken to measure the good that has been wrought. Surely God has been gracious to his people.
Historic Rock Island County, 1908, Transcribed by K. Torp


The First Baptist Church was organized June 4, 1837, at the house of Lemuel Ludden, with Titus Gilbert, Z. Cook, Barbara Cook, Lemuel and Silah Ludden, Phoebe Skinner and Nancy Taylor as charter members. They met first in private houses, then in the court-house, and in 1844 purchased the old brick school-house on Union Square, at a cost of $45.36, which they fitted up and used until 1848, when they built a house of worship, at a cost of $3,500.
This house was used until 1870, when they erected their present Church edifice on the corner of Third Avenue and Fifteenth Street, at a cost of  $18,ooo.
In the 48 years of its existence it has given three of its members to the ministry of the Word W. W. Phares, N. Elton and John L. Jackson.
The present membership of the Church is 190. Its Sunday-school has an average attendance of 150, with an enrollment of over 200.
J. W. Welch is Superintendent. A mission school is held in the eastern part of the city, with Geo. P. Lyman as Superintendent. Rev. I. W. Read is the present Pastor.
[Source: Portrait and Biographical album of Rock Island County, Illinois; 1885 -Transcribed by Candi H. 2009]

This church was organized June 4, 1837, at the house of Lemuel Ludden, which stood just east of the present city limits. near Sechler's carriage works. There were only seven members at that time, viz: Reverend Titus Gillet, Zachariah Cook, Barbara Cook, Lemuel Ludden,Silah Ludden, Phoebe Skinner and Nancy Taylor. They selected Reverend Titus Gillet as pastor. Meetings were held in private houses, and later in the Court House. On June 8, 1844, the "brick school house," then standing on Union Square- now Spencer Square -was purchased for $45.34 1/4, and fitted as a place of worship. The first real church building was erected in 1848, on the northeast corner of Third Avenue and Fifteenth Street, where the Memorial Christian Church now stands, at a cost of $3,500. That building was sold, and the present edifice at the southwest corner of the same streets was erected in 1870, at a cost of $18,000. The parsonage on Fifteenth Street, adjoining the church, was built in 1879, at a cost of $2,250, and was presented to the church July 31, 1879, by Mrs. Zeruiah R. Boyer.

The church has had a long and varied history, having numbered in its membership many of whom the city has been proud, and who have given character and helpfulness to the entire community. The largest membership at any time was September 23. 1906 when the total reached four hundred.

The church is entirely free of debt, and all departments of the work are in active and successful operation. The property is carefully kept by a board of five trustees, and is all in first class condition. The organization is in a thoroughly prosperous condition, and is doing an aggressive work in the evangelization and Christian teaching of the community.

Harry W. Reed, Doctor of Philosophy, has been pastor of the church since May 1, 1902
Historic Rock Island County, 1908, Transcribed by K. Torp


Reverend J. G. Allemann came to Rock Island, Illinois, in 1850, started to organize a church and began building in the Summer of 1851 a stone church, the size being forty by sixty-six feet, and dedicated it St. James Church, it being the first Catholic Church in Rock Island, and Reverend J. G. Allemann being the first pastor.

Reverend J. G. Allemann getting advanced in years, in May, 1856, was succeeded by Reverend John P. Donelan, he remaining as assistant to Reverend John P. Donelan until 1859, when Reverend John P. Donelan was transferred to Rockford, Illinois. Reverend P. J. R. Murphy taking Reverend John P. Donelan's parish here and remained pastor until the Summer of 1861, when he was appointed chaplain of the Fifty-eighth Illinois Regiment. Next came Reverend P. J. McElherne, who succeeded Reverend P. J. R. Murphy.

St. James' congregation grew so large that Reverend P. J. McElherne began the building of the present St. Mary's Church, now occupied by the German Catholics. The building was begun in 1863 and completed in 1865. Reverend P. T. McElherne remained as pastor until 1870, when Reverend J. P. Roles was appointed pastor.

In 1874 Reverend J. P. Roles transferred St. Mary's Church to the German Catholic and bought the Presbyterian Church, corner Fourteenth Street and Second Avenue, and dedicated it St. Joseph's Church. In 1877 Reverend J. P. Roles was transferred to Chicago, Illinois, and Reverend Thomas Mackin was appointed to fill the vacancy of Reverend J. P. Roles. He remained here until his death, which occurred February 22, 1904, when Reverend J. Roach came here as temporary pastor until October, 1905, when Dean J. J. Quinn, from Chatsworth, Illinois, was appointed the present pastor.
Historic Rock Island County, 1908, Transcribed by K. Torp


Some time prior to 1853, Reverend Louderback held Episcopal services in Rock Island; the first recorded vestry meeting being held at Trinity parish November 12, 1853. The organization of Holy Trinity Church was effected about this period. Among the original members were Mr. and Mrs. S. M. Harris, Mrs. Langley, Mrs. Joseph Brackett, Mrs. Goldsmith and Mr. Bailey Davenport.

The first church was finished June 11, 1857, at a cost of $2,000. The present church was completed January 30, 1870, at an original cost of $16,000. Reverend L. Goodall was elected first rector October 18, 1854. Trinity Episcopal Church belongs to the Quincy diocese, and is one of the most representative of the Episcopal denomination in this state. Reverend Granville H. Sherwood succeeded Doctor Richard F. Sweet, deceased, who was rector for twenty-seven years.

Trinity Chapel, at the northwest corner of Seventh Street and Fourth Avenue, is a branch of this organization.

Historic Rock Island County, 1908, Transcribed by K. Torp


Historic Rock Island County, 1908, Transcribed by K. Torp

The United Presbyterian Church of Rock Island, Illinois, was organized as an Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, July 1, 1854, by direction of the second A. R. P. Presbytery of Illinois.

The Reverend Matthew Bigger, together with Ruling Elders John Colins and William Haverfield, met in the seminary building, in the rear of the Memorial Christian Church. The organization was effected by admitting into membership fourteen members from the A.R.P. Church, five members from the A. P. Church and one on profession of faith, making a total of twenty members. The first elders were Erskin McClellan, James Todd and Hugh Warnock. The congregation received new members every year except 1857 and 1861. The total number received from July 1, 1854 to July 1, 1904 is five hundred and fifty-four. The decrease kept pace with the increase for a number of years.

The services were held in the seminary building and in the Court House for the first six months. In the meantime, by the hard work and self-denial of the acting pastor, Reverend J. R. McCalister and the membership, a plain frame building was built on the site of the present church. This building was removed in 1873 to the corner of Fifth Avenue and Eleventh Street, where it yet stands, doing service for the German Presbyterians first, and now for the Swedish Free Evangelical Church.

The building was entered the first Sabbath of January, 1855. The pulpit furniture was not upholstered, for the Reverend J. R. McAllister's pulpit sofa was a nail keg with a board across it, while the pulpit itself was a dry goods box. The pews were planks laid across nail kegs or boxes. The lights were plain tallow candles. Most of the work on the building was done by the members, under the direction of Mr. James Todd, who is with us today, though his membership has not been with us all these years. By degrees the pews were made, and grained by other members. They are still in use. Their backs were not very high, and were anything but comfortable.

Reverend J.R. McCalister continued as stated supply until July 1, 1860. In the mean time the congregation of Davenport was organized and he supplied both congregations. Fifty-four persons were received into the membership during this pastorate. Among them was A. Conner, who afterward became a minister, but was unable to continue in the ministry long on account of ill health.
Following Mr. McCallister was Reverend W. H. Jefferes, who continued for fifteen months. Then the congregation was without a regular pastor until April, 1863, when Reverend Henry Wallace was called and continued until April 1871.

During the pastorate of Doctor Wallace there were seventy-five persons received into membership, yet the decrease seemed to be as great as the increase, on account of removals. After another season without a pastor, Reverend J. A. Reynolds was called for full time in July of 1872. There were but thirty-five members to again take up the work. There had been one hundred and fifty-eight persons received in the eighteen years.

As the church building was not very inviting, there was an effort made to build a new church, so in the Spring of 1873 the present building was planned and begun, but was not entirely finished until 1876, by which time the membership had increased to seventy members. The cost of the new church was $10,000, of which amount the people paid nearly $7,000. The balance was from the board of church extension and outside help.

At the close of Doctor Reynold's pastorate the membership was ninety. Immediately following Doctor Reynolds, Reverend J. H. Bown, Doctor of Divinity, took up the work, continuing for three years, after which there was a season without a pastor. In the summer of 1889, Reverend T.H. McMichael, Doctor of Divinity, then a student, filled the pulpit, and in the Fall of 1889 Reverend H. C. Marshall became stated supply and continued eight years.

Many of the members living in Moline desired either their letter to connect with some church there or that we give them preaching so a mission was started in 1895, which was afterward formed into a church, May 14, 1898, with twenty-seven members from the Rock Island congregation, and became independent in 1901. At the close of the Reverend H. C. Marshall's pastorate the membership was about one hundred and thirty, counting the two fields, Moline and Rock Island.

Again we were without a pastor for a year, when in September of 1898 the Reverend D. L. McNary became stated supply, devoting his time to the two congregations for a time, until Moline became independent.

Of the original members, as far as is known, there are but two living. Mr. James Todd and Mrs. Margaret Caughey, of Coal Valley, Illinois, while J. M. Logan and wife of Monmouth, and Mr. J. R. Johnston, of Los Angeles, California, were received in 1855. There may be others we have lost track of.

The following are those who have served as elders, the elders elect, and clerks of the session.

Erskine McClellan, installed July 1, 1854, withdrew December 7, 1865; died January, 1904;
James Todd, installed July 1, 1854, withdrew early in sixties;
Hugh Warnock, installed July 1, 1854, died May 12, 1898;
Thomas McCall, installed August 17, 1864,died early in seventies;
Samuel F. Cooke, installed March 20, 1867, withdrew January, 1898, died December 13, 1898;
Joseph McKee, Doctor of Medicine, March 18, 1877, withdrew July 9, 1888;
James McConnell, installed March 18, 1877, died February 9, 1881;
Alex White, installed March, 1877, withdrew April, 1878;
Edwin B. McKown, installed November 19, 1890,
Samuel H. Montgomery, installed November 19, 1890, withdrew May 14, 1898;
James D. Warnock, installed November 19, 1890.

Elders Elect - Charles E. Bryan, James A. Weed, F. P. Lysinger, M. Bollman.

Clerks of Session- Hugh Warnock, no date given, to July 1, 1870; Samuel F. Cooke, July 1, 1870 to November 22, 1890; Samuel H. Montgomery, November 22, 1890 to May 14, 1898; James D. Warnock, May 14, 1898 to the present time.

Upon our roll was the name of one who has been appointed to a position that will bring to him national, yea, world wide fame, if he shall he permitted to carry out the work our government has placed in his hands. The work he has done for various railroads the past twenty-five years bespeaks, for him success. I refer to Honorable John F. Wallace, Doctor of Laws, who was with us when the present church was being built. He has been appointed engineer in charge of the Panama canal.

An interesting item we wish to speak of is that the three succeeding generations of the first superintendent, Mr. Hugh Warnock, are represented in our school today in J. D. Warnock, our treasurer; Miss Mildred Warnock, one of our teachers; and Dorothy and Margaret Soule, who are enrolled in our primary department.

Our superintendents since organization have been Hugh Warnock, Reverend J. R. McCallister, Alexander White and E. B. McKown. Excepting about four or five years Mr. Hugh Warnock served as superintendent for nearly thirty-five years.


Historic Rock Island County, 1908, Transcribed by K. Torp

This body of Lutherans - as indeed the whole Missouri Synod, of which it is a part, takes a firm stand on the basis of the Church of the Reformation; accepting the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, as being throughout the inspired Word of God, and the only rule and standard of doctrine and life. It accepts, as a true and correct exhibition of the doctrines of Scripture, the entire confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, as contained in the Book of Concord of 1580. Its central doctrine is: full atonement by Christ, and justification by grace, through faith in Christ Jesus. Holding that two can not walk together except they be agreed, it rejects altar fellowship, and practices close communion.

Holding that no one can serve two masters, it will not receive into voting membership any person belonging to an oathbound secret society. Holding that the command to bring up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, is still binding it has always aimed to establish and maintain parochial schools.

The affairs of the congregation are managed by the members, every male member of the age of twenty-one years, having signed the constitution, is entitled to a vote. Regular sessions are held the first Sunday of each month at 2:30 p.m. One-third of the members constitute a quorum. Majority rules. Absentees waive the privilege of voting.

In the beginning of 1856 a small number of Lutherans, foremost among them Mr. M. Kurz, applied to the Missouri Synod for a faithful Lutheran pastor to attend to their spiritual wants. By request of Synod, Reverend C. A. T. Selle, of Crete, Illinois, investigated matters, and preached the first Lutheran sermon in this section of the country. This was April, 1856. On June 19, the congregation organized with a membership of seven. Reverend F. Ahner being duly called was ordained and installed August 31, by Reverend W. Mueller, of Chicago. Having, as yet, no house of worship, services were held in the old Second Presbyterian Church until the Summer of 1857, when a building site was purchased on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Thirteenth Street. A frame building on the ground was remodeled for parsonage and school.

During the following Winter and Spring a neat brick church was erected by Mr. George Riess, contractor. It was dedicated on the third Sunday after Easter. Though the membership had by this time increased to seventeen, yet it was quite a venture, as
neither of the members was possessed of earthly goods.

The rapid growth of the congregation soon necessitated a larger building. A more convenient location being desirable, a new site on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Twentieth Street was procured at the cost of $2,500. Thin was in March, 1865. Plans were submitted by the Messrs. Riess and Schlueter; the contract was awarded to Mr. Hartman. The new church, forty by sixty, with an annex twenty-three by thirty, to serve as dwelling and school, was dedicated in the Fall of 1886, the Reverend C. A. Mennicke officiating.

By the grace of God the congregation experienced a steady growth, and again it became necessary to provide more room. A building committee, consisting of the board of trustees and the Messrs. C. Haensgen, W. Schroether, J. Kirsch, J. Bruchmann. W. Kurth, C. Schillinger, H. Lange, H. Brunswig. C. Schoede, with Teacher E. Selle as secretary, was appointed in November, 1895. Plans were furnished by Messrs. Drack and Kerns. The contract. was let to Mr. Nic Juhl. The following year, the old church was torn down and the new one erected. This magnificent building is a Gothic structure, sixty-two by one hundred and two, surmounted by two spires one hundred and eight and one hundred and sixty-two feet respectively; seating capacity 1,000; cost. $25,000. The interior is tastefully decorated with friezes and paintings by Artist H. Voege. It was dedicated December 20, 1896, by Reverend C. A. Mennicke, assisted by the Reverend E. D. Mennicke, Reverend A. Brauer, Reverend Professor F. Streckfuss, Reverend Professor L. Wessel.

The first pastor, Reverend F. Ahner, served from August, 1856, until August 1857, when he accepted a call to Grafton, Wisconsin. His successor, Reverend C. A. T. Selle, was installed in July, 1858. During his pastorate the congregation formally connected with the Missouri Synod. In 1861 he accepted a call as professor of the Teachers Seminary at Fort Wayne, Indiana later on at Addison, Illinois. He was succeeded by the present pastor, Reverend C. A. Mennicke. This eminent divine, a graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, arrived at Rock Island, May 14, 1861. He preached his first sermon on Whit Sunday and was ordained the ninth Sunday after Trinity. He is still serving faithfully, sharing the joys and sorrows of his flock.

In 1880, his health being greatly impaired, he was granted a vacation for a trip to Germany. During his absence Reverend August Haensgen gratuitously served as pastor pro tem. Upon his return he entered upon his duties with renewed vigor. In 1886 his son, Reverend A. C. Mennicke, was installed as assistant pastor, serving in this capacity until April, 1892, when he accepted a call to Edford, Henry County, Illinois. In 1893 Professor Reverend Selle, having resigned his professorship, located at Rock Island and served as assistant pastor until March 1898, when be resigned. Shortly afterward, while on a visit to Chicago, he departed this life; his remains were brought to Rock Island and interred in the Lutheran Cemetery.

Since July 31 1898, Reverend E. D. Mennicke, second son of Reverend C. A. Mennicke is ably filling the office of assistant pastor.

The parish school is as old as the congregation. It. was taught by the pastors until the Summer of 1862, when Mr. F. Moeller was installed as teacher. He held this position for forty years, resigning in 1902. He was succeeded by Mr. I. Kaspar.

In 1856 a second teacher was added in the person of Mr. H. Brakesuehler; he was followed successively by the Messrs. Trenhold Kleinsteuber and Doescher. The latter resigned in 1873.

In 1866 a third teacher. Mr. A. Schoeverling, was called. In 1869 he was succeeded Mr. E. Selle, a gifted educator, who is still in active service.

The schools were carried on separately, one on Twentieth Street and one on Thirteenth street, until 1876 when the Twentieth Street school moved to Thirteenth Street. in 1885 the Thirteenth street property was sold and the schools were transferred back to Twentieth Street, where a commodious school had been built.

In 1900 it was found necessary to branch out. Teacher F. Moeller began teaching on the bluff. Teacher E. Selle retained in charge of the Twentieth Street school and Reverend E. D. Mennicke gathered and taught a class in the lower part of the city. Being successful a school house was as built on Eighth Street (1901) and placed in charge of Mr. F. Lustfeld; he was succeeded by Mr. E. Rolf in the Summer of 1906. In 1903 a new school was erected on Thirty-sixth Street, and placed in charge of Mr. I. Kaspar.


The following anniversaries were celebrated:
Twenty-fifth anniversary of the congregation July 19 and 20, 1881.
Twenty-fifth anniversary of the pastor Reverend C. A. Mennicke, July 18, 1886
Twenty-fifth anniversary of Teacher F. Moeller, August 26, 1887.
Twenty-fifth anniversary of Teacher E. Selle, July 19, 1891.
Fortieth anniversary of the pastor Reverend C. A. Mennicke, July 23, 1891.
Fortieth anniversary of Teacher F. Moeller, September 26, 1902.
Fortieth anniversary of Teacher E. L. Selle, Tune 25, 1906.
Fiftieth anniversary of the congregation, June 24, 1906.


December 5, 1869, a number of members organized as the German Lutheran Cemetery Association, and purchased a twelve-acre tract on Twenty-fourth Street, South Rock Island. Two acres were resold. Four of the remaining ten acres were immediately plotted out for sale. Subsequently the whole tract was donated to the congregation. rm. W.F. Schroeder, treasurer; Mr. H. Schoeve, sexton.

(1) Mutual Aid Society in case of death
(2) Mutual Aid Society in case of sickness
(3) Ladies Society
(4) Mission Society
(5) Young Men's Association
(6) Young Ladies' Association
(7) Mixed Choir

The Church Council, comprising all the officials, is a board of supervisory character; it consists of:
Pastors - C.A. and E.D. Mennicke
Teachers - E.L. Selle, Imanuel Kaspar, E. F. Rolf
Elders - Charles Haensgren, W.F. Schroeder, H. Lange, J. Roeher, W.A. Schroether
Trustees - N. Juhl, H. Clemann, C. Schoede, E. Hoffmann, W. Scharmann
Schoolboard -H.W. Horst, chairman; C. Borst, A. Seidlitz, Reverends C.A. and E.D. Mennicke, E.L. Selle, Imanuel Kaspar, secretary; E.F. Rolf
Janitor - J. Rohwedder
W.F. Schroeder, chairman of congregation
E.L. Selle, secretary of congregation
C. Haensgen, treasurer of congregation
H. Lauge, assistant treasurer of congregation



The German Methodist Episcopal Church of Rock Island was organized in 1855. In 1856 they erected their first house of worship, which, in 1874,
was superseded by the present building, on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Fourteenth Street, which cost about $4,000.
Among the original members were H. Brockmann, J. Rawser, Ph. Sherer and C. Wagner. Rev. J. B. Schwietert is the present Pastor.
[Source: Portrait and Biographical album of Rock Island County, Illinois; 1885 -Transcribed by Candi H. 2009]

The Rock River Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church began a mission among the German people of Rock Island in September of the year 1855, sending Reverend Ullrich von Guter as first missionary, and after two years work among the Germans he had succeeded in gathering a membership large enough to build the German Methodist Church on Twentieth Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenue, where also the first parsonage was built. This church was dedicated by Reverend Haas in 1857. By this time the St. Louis German Conference had been organized and this mission was turned over to said German Conference.

After having labored for fifteen years more among the German people the membership had increased to such an extent that the church on Twentieth Street became too small to accommodate the people. That church and parsonage were then sold and a lot with a small house on the corner of Fourteenth Street and Sixth Avenue was bought. The small house with only two rooms had two more rooms added to it and became the parsonage. About five years ago another story was put on this building and it was otherwise remodeled into the present parsonage. On the corner of the lot the present church was built and dedicated in the year 1874.
The membership has never been very large, but much good has been accomplished through this church among the German people of this city. W.C. Schultze is the present pastor.
Historic Rock Island County, 1908, Transcribed by K. Torp

On October 28, 1874, a little company of Presbyterians met at the home of Mr. D.T. Robinson to consider the advisability of organizing a Presbyterian Church in the eastern part of the city. The conclusion was "we deem it expedient to organize." A petition to the Presbytery of Rock River, presented at Princeton, IL on April 13, 1875, by a committee consisting of Mr. C.C. More and Doctor J.W. Stewart, was favorably heard and the Presbytery sent Reverend Josiah Milligan, Rev. J.H. Moore and Elder Snyder to Rock Island to canvass the field and organize the church. The new church was organized April 28, 1875, and the following officers elected: Elders D.F. More, C.C. More, H. Lee Mitchell and J.W. Stewart; Deacons, Doctor S.C. Plummer, H.A. Smythe, W.C. Welch and H.E. Woods; Trustees, D.T. Robinson, Alexander Steel, S.J. Keator, C.C. More, W.C. Welch, A.F. Fleming, T.J. Rodman, W.H. Truesdale and Spencer Gregg.

Fifty members were received by letter from the mother Presbyterian church, now known as the Central, and seven united upon profession of faith. These organization services were held in the basement of the Central Church, the auditorium of which was in the hands of workmen repairing the damages wrought by the tornado of September 18, 1875.

Lots were purchased for the new church at the corner of Broadway and Spencer Streets, now Seventh Avenue and Twenty-third Street, and the name Broadway chosen. On May 9, 1875, a Sunday school was organized with 61 scholars, in what was known as Greenbush Chapel, at the corner of Twenty-eighth street and Ninth Avenue. Doctor C. D. Nott, of the First Presbyterian Church, Davenport, preached on Sunday afternoons until the coming in November, 1875, of Reverend T. H. Hench, who had been called as the first pastor. May 2, 1876, the cornerstone of the new church building was laid. The Sunday school room of the new building was ready for occupancy February 11, 1877. Here the congregation worshiped until the auditorium was completed, in 1878.

Reverend W. S. Marquis, who was called in March, 1884, and installed as pastor on June 15, 1884, and who, up to the present time (1908) is still serving the church.

Among the more interesting and important facts in the history of this church, the following may be mentioned: The dedication of the auditorium, November 3, 1878; South Park Mission, organized July 15, 1888; South Park Chapel, dedicated October 7, 1888; plans for enlargement of church and new Sunday school room adopted September 3, 1894; corner store of same laid and Twentieth anniversary celebrated April 29, 1895; Sunday school room dedicated December 8, 1895; Reverend Graham Lee, a member of the church, ordained to the Gospel ministry and sent forth to Korea in 1894, now supported as the foreign mission pastor of Broadway church; Sunday school room used by the High school for one year after the burning of the High school building, February 15, 1901; Synod of Illinois entertained October 1904.
Historic Rock Island County, 1908, Transcribed by K. Torp


At a conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church for this district, held during the month of September, 1900, J.B. Rutter, the pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church, at Milan, asked the Elder and the Conference for the privilege of organizing a church in the Edgewood Park district, between the cities of Rock Island and Moline, and this permission was granted to him, and on the 25th day of April, 1901, he and his wife, Ella Alter Rutter, organized a Sunday school, with Mr. Rutter as pastor and Miss Maud Maxwell secretary. On June 5, he organized a society known as the Edgewood Park Ladies' Aid. Mrs. M.E. Leverich was elected president, Mrs. J.A. Pauley vice-president and Mrs. Ella Alter Rutter secretary. On the 7th day of October, 1901, at a meeting called for that purpose, the following persons - David J. Sears, S.J. Ferguson, W.E. Scott, J.A. Pauley, Andrew Olson, James Gauley and T.C. Nutter - organized themselves into a board of trustees, and elected J.A. Pauley secretary. J.B. Rutter, the pastor, gave the name of Spencer Memorial Methodist Episcopal church.

This organization then adopted the Sunday school as above organized, and the Ladies' Aid Society above organized, and together they became the congregation of the Spencer Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church.

During the time of the completion of this organization, J.B. Rutter received a donation of two lots from Mr. Frank Robinson, now deceased, and on October 23, 1901, the Ladies Aid Society undertook to put a foundation of the new church upon the lots at the corner of 43rd Street and Seventh Avenue, and the corner stone of this foundation was laid on Thanksgiving day, 1902. The church, Sunday school and Ladies' Aid Society were holding their meetings at a little chapel, known as the Old Swede Church, at the corner of Third Street and Fourth Avenue, in Moline. On October 25, 1903, through the energy and ingenuity of J.B. Rutter, the church proper had been erected and finished upon the foundation laid by the Ladies' Aid Society, and dedication services were held amid a great demonstration. The people of Edgewood Park district together with other generous minded people of Rock Island and Moline, placed the church organization in a position to do legitimate church business. The building and foundation, together with the expenses of obtaining the same, had cost over $20,000, and this enormous debt hanged over the new organization unprovided for until September 8, 1907, for while through the efforts of the pastor, J.B. Rutter, the church building had been placed in position and the congregation well organized, yet it remained for the conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, held during September, 1906, to provide a man in the person of W.P. MacVey, to systematize and provide for the raising of the enormous church debt. The new pastor, who replaced J.B. Rutter, succeeded in placing this debt in a manageable form, and now at the last conference held during the month of September, 1907, the Reverend W.P. MacVey was replaced by F.E. Shult, the new pastor. The pastorate of J.B. Rutter extended from September 1901, to September 1906 - five years. Until March 31, 1905, he had by his side, Ella Altar Rutter, his wife, and to her in great measure is due the tireless energy and effort required in the organization, management and building of this church. On March 31, 9015, she died, leaving as her monument Spencer Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church. The name, Spencer, is in honor of a well known citizen by the name of William Spencer.

Since its organization the church has gained in each of its departments, the Sunday school has increased from a membership of ten to a membership of over two hundred. The Ladies' Aid Society has increased form a membership of thirteen to a membership of seventy-five. The church has now a membership of one hundred and eighty-one regular affiliated members, and in the leadership of our new pastor, F.E. Shult, the people of the Spencer Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church expect to accomplish great things for Methodism in the Edgewood Park district.
Historic Rock Island County, 1908, Transcribed by K. Torp


Rock Island has two well established and flourishing synagogues, the largest of which is Beth Israel, located at the corner of Twenty-second Street and Third Avenue, M.Goldman, Rabbi. This congregation, in the year 1902, erected a magnificent edifice in which to worship. The Beth Israel Congregation, many years prior to the construction of their present synagogue, had occupied various quarters and had a large membership. Immediately following the building of their present house of worship, another congregation was formed, so that the Hebrews in the lower end of the city would not be called upon to traverse the long distance intervening between the Beth Israel synagogue and their homes. This second synagogue, B'Nai Jacob Congregation, is temporarily located on Ninth Street and Eighth Avenue, and is under the direction of Frederick Rudman, president of the congregation.

Historic Rock Island County, 1908, Transcribed by K. Torp


The church was organized December 3, 1905, by the coming together of twenty-seven Baptists from the First Church of Moline and Rock Island. They called H.B. Hayden as pastor on December 10, 1905. The church grew to sixty-two members. The title to the old Baptist Chapel on 44th Street was cleared by action of the First Baptist Church and the residuary heirs of Mr. Sinnett.

The building was moved to a lot on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 48th Street, donated by Mrs. Pauline Sinnett; the parsonage, also donated by her, is on this lot.
Historic Rock Island County, 1908, Transcribed by K. Torp

This congregation, a member of the German Evangelical Synod of North America, was founded September 8, 1895, by Reverend C. F. Off, with thirty members. The first officers elected were: Martin Oswald, Henry Fues, Herman Meese, John Wendt. In April 1896, Reverend Theo F. Krueger, of Cumberland, Indiana, was elected as permanent pastor of the congregation. In the Summer of this year the congregation bought the church property of the English Methodist Episcopal congregation, at 516 Ninth Street. In October, 1899, Reverend Krueger left the congregation, and Reverend J.F.C. Trefzer was elected as his successor. under his management the parsonage was built south of the church, No. 520 Ninth Street.

When Reverend Trefzer left the congregation in October, 1903, Reverend Ed E. Klimpke of Aurora, Illinois, the present pastor, was called to succeed him. He took up the work in the congregation the 1st of May, 1904. In 1905 and 1906 the church was rebuilt with a cost of $2,000. The officers of the congregation at present are: Reverend Ed E.Klimpke, pastor; John Wendt, president; Carl Krueger, secretary; Herman Meese, treasurer; Otto Woest, secretary. The congregation has at present a membership of about one hundred and fifty. The Ladies' Aid Society has seventy-five members. The officers are: Mrs. Emma Kann, president; Mrs. Fennesy, vice-president; Mrs. Dora Krueger, secretary; Mrs. Elise Seidel, treasurer; Mrs. Pomranke, financial secretary. The Young People's Society has about thirty members. The officers are: Reverend Ed E. Klimpke, president;Miss Olga Krueger, vice-president; Miss Martha Klimpke, secretary: Mr. Arthur Lenz, treasurer; Miss Bertha Pomranke, financial secretary; Miss Martha Schmidt, librarian.
The Sunday school has a membership of about one hundred.
Historic Rock Island County, 1908, Transcribed by K. Torp

First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Rock Island, is a branch of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, Massachusetts. It was organized on November 2, 1896, to take possession of and conduct services in the church edifice which had been erected for its use by a few adherents of the Christian Science faith.

This was the first church edifice erected in the State of Illinois to be used exclusively for the Christian Science worship. Its location is on 23rd Street, near Ninth Avenue, and near the geographical center of the city.

The dedicatory service, held on November 8, 1906, was the first Christian Science Sunday service held in Rock Island, the local Christian Scientists having previously attended church in Davenport, Iowa.

The Sunday services are held at 10:45 a.m., and are conducted by two readers, who are elected every three years from the membership of the church. One of the readers reads from the Bible. The other from Science and Health with key to the Scriptures, the textbook of Christian Science by Mary Baker G. Eddy. Sunday school is held immediately after the morning service.

For a number of years a reading room has been maintained in connection with the church.
Historic Rock Island County, 1908, Transcribed by K. Torp

St. Paul's Church, located on 24th St. and Eighth and a half Avenue, was opened for services for the first time on February 5, 1905. On that occasion the choir rendered beautiful music and the pastor, Reverend J.B. Ceulemans, delivered the sermon, in which he spoke of the many previous attempts which were made to organize a parish in which the Belgian Catholics of Rock Island could worship together in a congregation all of their own people.

Although their place of worship is very modest, it is quite attractive inside. The Rev. J.B. Ceulemans was born in Belgium, where he was educated and ordained a priest. In 1907 Father Ceulemans took charge of Sacred Heart Church in Moline and left Rock Island.

He was succeeded by another priest for Belgium, Father Leon E. VanStoppen. This is the present pastor, and who builded the parsonage house, which is a fine improvement to the church property.
Historic Rock Island County, 1908, Transcribed by K. Torp

The Sacred Heart parish was founded July 28, 1898, by the Reverend John F. Lockney. It includes all the English speaking Catholics between 23rd Street, both sides, to 45th Street. Father Lockney built a temporary church on 28th Street and used it two years. He moved the parochial residence twenty feet east in order to have room to build the new church.

The corner-stone of the new church was laid in May 1901, and the first mass in the new church was Christmas 1902. The new church cost $36,000. Father Lockney bought the property for $5,500. The magnificent church, rectory and grounds are worth today $60,000. The pastor and people have worked very zealously together and the parish is in a very flourishing condition. Father Lockney still presides over the destinies of the parish and is the longest resident Catholic pastor in Rock Island.

Historic Rock Island County, 1908, Transcribed by K. Torp



The Second Baptist Church is composed of colored members exclusively. Its first meetings were held in the Mission Chapel of the First Baptist Church,
and an organization effected April 19, 1875. Soon after its organization, a lot was purchased on the corner of Ninth Street and Fifth Avenue, on which they
erected a small house of worship, at a cost of $670. Rev. Edward Wilson, of Davenport, is the present Pastor.
[Source: Portrait and Biographical album of Rock Island County, Illinois; 1885 -Transcribed by Candi H. 2009]









The Christian Church of Rock Island was organized on the 23d day of March, 1868. During the winter previous C. W. Sherwood, under the direction of the Christian Missionary Society of the State of Illinois, held a series of meetings here, having in view an organization.

Those forming the organization were
P. L. Mitchell,
W. F. Gilmore,
Agenoria H. Gilmore,
Kate M. Gilmore,
Almira Holt,
Amelia Fiscus,
Adam Blackball,
Jessie E. Blackball,
John Bulley,
Isaac McGrew,
Parthena Vermillion,
Elizabeth H. McNeal,
Christina Swiningar,
Sarah Ann Ranberger,
Abraham Rinker.

The congregation commenced occupying, as a place of worship, a hall in Mitchell & Lynde's block on West 17th Street north of Second Avenue, in which they continued till October, 1870, at which time P. L. Mitchell, having purchased of the First Baptist Church the house vacated by them on the northeast corner of 3d Avenue and 15th Street, erecting a tower and otherwise beautifying it, presented it to the Christian congregation as a place of worship, in which they have continued to the present time. The Church has been fairly prosperous, now numbering 75 worthy members. J. H. Wright is the present Pastor.
[Source: Portrait and Biographical album of Rock Island County, Illinois; 1885 -Transcribed by Candi H. 2009]






German Presbyterian Church

German Presbyterian Church was organized May 16, 1871, with 33 members. The house of worship was purchased from the United Presbyterians.
The congregation is small, and at present it is without a pastor.
[Source: Portrait and Biographical album of Rock Island County, Illinois; 1885 -Transcribed by Candi H. 2009]