Rock Island County, Illinois Genealogy Trails

Cordova Churches

Cordova has had four churches during it's rich history.

The first church founded was the Advent Church (Carney, History of Cordova). This foundation did not last too long and finally Daniel Pinneo purchased the building for a home. Soon after Pinneo bought the building it was destroyed by fire.
Submitted by Cordova District Library - Jo Cohrs
The second church was the Cordova Methodist church which was founded in the 1840's when the building was built on 4th Street. The brick was made in the Kincaid Brickyard in Cordova. The church was closed for some time but was remodeled in 1909 but was then closed again. The church was used as a high school for two years.

Then, the building was sold to the Gospel Tabernacle. Rev. Charles Adee was the pastor for the church. Pastor Adee was assisted by his gifted wife. They both received their training at the Moody Bible Institute. Rev. Adee came to Cordova in 1925 and this church was still operating at the time of the centennial of the city in 1936.

When the Gospel Tabernacle closed, Jack Guinn purchased the building and converted it into a home. Jim Stratton now owns the building and is refurbishing it. Submitted by Cordova District Library - Jo Cohrs

Cordova Methodist Church
The Cordova Baptist Church was organized in 1843 and had 16 charter members. The first church building was built in 1844. Soon this building became too small and a larger building was built in 1858 at the cost of $8,000. This is the same building that the church uses today. The building was originally heated by eight stoves. A new Sunday School addition was built in 1852 which consisted of six classrooms, an office and rest rooms. The present pastor is Reverend Kathy Remley. Submitted by Cordova District Library - Jo Cohrs

Cordova Baptist Church

In the Fall of 1843, Elder Jesse N. Seeley, a missionary under the American Baptist Home Mission Society, held a series of meetings, resulting in the conversion of a number of persons, ten of whom were baptized by Elder Jesse N. Seeley. These, with others in this vicinity who were members of Baptist churches in other places, united in measures for church organization, and called a council of delegates from other churches for a meeting on December 28, 1843.

The following brethern were present: James Turner, Enos French, John Campbell, William Hubbard, William Parkhurst, Bath
Church; Luther Edwards, Reverend E. Marcellas, O. Blanchard, William W. Pierce, D. Wilson, Port Byron Church; Reverend J. N. Seeley, Davenport, Iowa; J. H. Swartwout, Galena, Illinois; E. Calkins, Rock Island, Illinois.

The council was organized by appointing Reverend J. N. Seeley moderator and Daniel Wilson clerk.

The church letters were then called for and presented by the following: Levi Hungerford and Betsey Hungerford, Madison, Ohio; Frances Swartwout, Francis D. Swartwout, Thomas Swartwout, Clarissa Swartwout, Clarissa E. Swartwout, Elizabeth Swartwout, Port Byron, Illinois; William Armstrong, Rebecca Passmore, Joseph R. Sexton, Mahala Sexton, J and L. Cool, Margaret Cool, Andrew S. Ege, Mary Ann Ege, Charity Golden, Amanda Adams, these were baptized by Reverend J. N. Seeley, and led to the organization of the church.

The afore named eighteen were the constituent members of the Cordova Baptist church, organized the 28th day of December, 1843.

On August 24, 1844, it was decided to build a meeting house, which on February 13, 1845, was dedicated. Sometime in 1856 a parsonage was built and the church decided to build a new meeting house, and on November 17, 1858, the new meeting house was dedicated, which is the one used by the church today.
Historic Rock Island County, 1908, Transcribed by K. Torp


Rock Island County, Illinois
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Port Byron Churches

The Port Byron Congregational Church was organized in 1849, on the first and second days of September, through the instrumentality of Reverend Julius A. Reed, home missionary agent for Iowa. Previous to this time there had been Congregational preaching in the town once or twice.

The church edifice was started in 1854 and completed in 1856. The parsonage was built in 1894. The original number of members was twelve and now it is about one hundred and forty-nine. At present we have no pastor, as Reverend W. B. Shaw resigned October, 1907.

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

This church was organized in 1836, with a membership of six or eight, among whom were Archibald Allen, Candaee Allen, J. H. Lyford and wife, and John Mitchell and wife. The earliest meetings were held in a log cabin, but a good church was built some years later, at an expense of $3,000. The church is in a flourishing condition, with a good membership.
Historic Rock Island County, 1908, Transcribed by K. Torp

Rock Island County, Illinois
Genealogy Trails History Group is a Volunteer Organization Dedicated to providing FREE access to Historical and Genealogical Data.
2006 - 2014 byGenealogy Trails -  All Rights Reserved - With full rights reserved for original submitters.












The Church of the United Brethern in Christ was organized at the house of Father John Walker, on Canoe Creek, in 1847, where the earliest meetings were held. The first church was built in 1849, at a cost of three hundred dollars, but replaced by a new one in 1868, at an expense of $3,000. The pastors have been Herman Scott, Moses Clifton, E. Church, John Dollarhide, W. E. Henry, F. Dietz, Merrit Lathrop, J. K. M. Looker, A. B. Frasier, J. H. Young, G. Brisby, George Snyder, C. Wendle, J. H. Grimm, W. R. Coursey, S. F. Medlar and C. Bender.Historic Rock Island County, 1908, Transcribed by K. Torp



The Methodist Episcopal Church of Bethesda, was built in 1859, by Reverend Stephen Odell, Perry Henderson and others. It is located about a mile southwest of Hillsdale. It has a fair membership, with a good Sunday school attendance.Historic Rock Island County, 1908, Transcribed by K. Torp



The first Methodist Episcopal class organized in Zuma was in March, 1870, in the Wake school house, and the following named persons composed the class: John A. Donohoo and wife, L. W. Beal and wife, Mrs. Mary Moody, Mrs. Knowls, Mr. and Mrs. J. Dillon, Mr. and Mrs. William McKeever, Mr. and Mrs. George Wake, Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel Mumma, and quite a number joined on probation and came into the church later, and others wandered away forever. The first Methodist Episcopal church that was built was dedicated in September, 1870, by Reverend Worthington; the first pastor was Reverend Jemerson, and the first elder was the sedate, efficient and Godly Reverend Doctor Hunter. The first church built was taken down in 1903, and during the thirty-three years it was occupied we had twenty-one pastors and ten elders, and among them was some grand, good men, consecrated men, and all were faithful to their trust.

In January, 1904, the new church was dedicated by the Reverend Smith of Aledo, and the pastor was Reverend Mecham, and after him came Reverend T. Wood, then A. A. Waters. The present pastor is Reverend W. Hull, and the present elder is Reverend Doctor Wiley. When we built the first church the circuit was called Zuma, Cordova, Carbon Cliff and Pleasant Valley, belonging to the circuit. In the seventies, Fairfield built a church; Cordova and the other two places were added to Port Byron, and Hampton, then in 1895 or 1896 Hillsdale built a church and it was dedicated by Reverend Elder Head, and since then the circuit has been called Hillsdale.

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


The first church organized in Rapids City was the Church of Christ, on September 8, 1856, by Elder G. W. Smith, with a membership of twelve. Commencing May, 1857, A. G. Lucas, an evangelist, was pastor for two years, and added eighty members, he being succeeded by Elder H. C. Brown, who added forty-two members in a year and one-half. The church owns a commodious brick house, built upon the land donated by Jonas Barber.
Historic Rock Island County, 1908, Transcribed by K. Torp

This church was organized July 27, 1865, by Elder H. S. P. Warren, Laura J. Warren, Mary A. Bayte, Mary E. Newton, and E. Warren. The first pastor was Elder H. S. P. Warren. They built a house of worship in 1877, which was greatly improved in 1906. The present pastor is Reverend H. W. Parker
Historic Rock Island County, 1908, Transcribed by K. Torp


Coal Valley is well supplied with churches.

The Welsh Baptist Church was organized in 1866, under the supervision of Reverend T. M. Matthews, remaining its pastor until 1870.

In 1867 the Presbyterian Church was organized, with John Barton, Albert Owens, Frederic Freeburg, Hugh Caughey and Robert Lee as trustees; the membership numbering twenty-five members. A church was built the same year, costing $2,500.
The Primitive Methodists were organized in 186S, a church being erected the following year, costing $2,000. Their first preacher was Reverend Charles Dawson, who came from Kewanee once a month. It was some time before they had a regular resident minister.

The Welsh Congregational Church was organized in 1857 by the Reverend John L. Richards, with a membership of fifteen. Meetings being first held at the home of Mrs. Sarah Williams. In the year 1862 a house of worship, costing $1,000. was built.

The Roman Catholic residents, prior to 1875, were connected with the Rock Island mission. In 1870 they build a church, costing $2,000, which was formerly opened for worship by Reverend John P. Roles, who supervised the building of the church, which is in a flourishing condition.

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




Milan Churches

The First Presbyterian Church of Milan, Illinois, originally known as the First Presbyterian Church of Camden, Old School Branch, was organized in April, 1845. The town was laid out in 1843, and as the settlers were mainly God-fearing men and women, they soon felt the need of a religious organization. As the majority of those who desired the church were of Presbyterian belief, they resolved, with Mr. William Dickson at the head, to organize a church of this denomination. To this end, notice was duly given to the people of the town of Camden and vicinity to meet in the meeting house on April 5, 1845. The Reverend Samuel Cleland was the moderator, and the Reverend Thomas Vaill clerk of the meeting. The meeting being constituted with prayer by the moderator, the object of the meeting was stated. Mr. William Dickson presented a number of articles and resolutions for consideration and action, these forming the constitution by which they were hereafter to be regulated. After the second reading they were unanimously adopted. The first services in the town of Camden were held in the mill owned by F. R. Brunot and James Dickson, Reverend
Ithamar Pillsbury preaching the sermon from the text found in Luke, 17:35. During the Winter of 1844-45, the services were held at the home of James Dickson, as the mill proved too cold for comfort. It was during the Winter of 1845-46 that Father Dickson built the first church; not so much as the price of a nail was contributed by anyone else. Laborers were scarce and money scarce; so the greater part of the work devolved upon him. The timbers must be taken from the forest and floated across Rock River, as there were no bridges. The task was a difficult one, but the building was completed on May 21, 1846, and dedicated free of debt on the 22d, to the services of Almighty God. Reverend Wilson preached the dedicatory sermon, and Reverend Pillsbury offered the dedicatory prayer. The following Sunday, May 24th, the first sacrament was celebrated. Whether with minister or without, as it often was, the church depended in a great measure on this good man, Father Dickson, to afford the means of grace. Every Sabbath the voice of prayer and praise might be heard. Often he read a sermon to the little band of worshipers, and was ever their leader.

The founders or charter members were: William Dickson, Mariam C. Dickson, James Dickson, Ruth Ann Dickson, Sarah Dickson, David M. Dickson, Francis E. Dickson, William Clark, Almina Clark, Eliza Ann Dickson, Elizabeth M. Dickson, William Pinkerton, Rachel Pinkerton, Edmund Hollister and Emma A. Hollister.

During the pastorate of Doctor W. W. Morehead the little church became too small to accommodate the growing congregation. The necessity of a new church brought about the building of the present house of worship. This building, begun in 1866, was dedicated, also free of debt, by Doctor Morehead, on October 4, 1868. The committee who attended to this work were: James Dickson and N. D. Bradley. The interior of the building was remodeled in 1902, and is now one of the prettiest and neatest churches in this part of the State. In 1878 the parsonage was built, later a barn was added. In 1894 a pipe organ was placed in the church. The present membership is one hundred and forty.

The following have served as pastors since the organization of the church: Reverend Ithaman Pillsburg, 1845-48; Reverend W. W. Bockus, 1850-51; Reverend S. T. Wilson, 1852-54; Reverend Thomas M. Chesnut, 1855-56; Reverend Jacob Coon, 1858-63; Reverend W. W. 'Morehead, Doctor of Divinity, 1863-71; Reverend Moses Noerr, Doctor of Divinity, 1871-77; Reverend S. T. Davis, Doctor of Medicine, 1878-79; Reverend G. B. Black, 1879-81; Reverend S. T. McClure, 1881-83; Reverend C. F. Carson, 1883-88; Reverend Watson Russell, 1889-90; Reverend W. B. McKee, 1890-93; Reverend D. T. Robertson, 1894-97; Reverend H. W. Reherd, 1897-1901; Reverend Marion Humphreys, 1901-05; Reverend H. Cullen, Doctor of Divinity, present pastor, began his work October 1, 1905.
Historic Rock Island County, 1908, Transcribed by K. Torp

Reverend F. Haney first held service here, as one of the stations on the Camden circuit, and was followed by Reverend John Grundy, who remained two years. The church was organized in 1848, and preaching was done in the school house, until 1854, when the church was built.
Historic Rock Island County, 1908, Transcribed by K. Torp




The earliest meetings of the Methodist Episcopal Church Society were held during 1849, at the residence of Mrs. Sarah Buffum. At this time there were only about seven church members of all denominations in the township, and ministers were doing missionary work. Subsequently their meetings were held in various places, until the organization of the class at the residence of Joseph Garnett, at Sulphur Springs, in the Fall of 1858.

The original members were: Mrs. Sarah Buffum, Elizabeth Eby, F. A. Cobb, Joseph Garnett, Mrs. Clara W. Ferguson and Mrs. Susan Garnett, at which time W. J. Giddings was pastor, succeeded by Reverend Mr. Linthecum, and Reverend Mr. Welsh in 1859. During their pastorate, the district school house was improved for the Baptist Church, and there they held their meetings. The Reverends Ashbaugh and Richmond in 1861 ; J. W. Barteles in 1864, and Mr. Martin in 1865. In 1866 the society built a house of worship, which was dedicated in March, 1867.

The first church of the United Brethern in Christ, of Andalusia, held their first meetings in the Summer of 1863 in the district school house, the Reverend John Wenger preaching the first sermon; meetings only being held occasionally. It was mainly through the influence of H. S. Thompson and wife the services were had, and led to the organization of the church by Reverend Samuel Knox in September, 1864, at the school house. H. S. Thompson and wife, M. M. Thompson and Cynthia Smith were the original four members. H. S. Thompson was the first class leader and steward. The pastorate of the church was first filled by Reverend Samuel Knox. Reverend St. Clair Ross, during his pastorate in 1868, devised means for building a suitable house of worship. The Sabbath school maintained by this church, had its origin in a Union Sabbath school organized May 1, 1859. As the various churches grew strong enough, denominational Sabbath schools were established.

The First Baptist Church of Andalusia held their first metings in 1867. Pursuant to a business meeting of the Baptist Church held at Edgington the second Saturday in November, 1866, authorizing the members of the church residing in Andalusia and vicinity, to form a separate organization. A meeting was called at Andalusia May 1, 1867, for the purpose of forming a church organization, which was done the evening of May 15, 1867, with a membership of twenty-five. They succeeded in providing a suitable meeting house at a cost of about $2,000, on a lot donated by S. M. Boney and others. Reverend O. T. Conger was the first pastor, followed by Reverends J. C. Post, Mr. Lamb, of Davenport, Iowa; James Young, S. D. Ross, Gilman Parker, Thomas A. Williams.
Historic Rock Island County, 1908, Transcribed by K. Torp



At Wrayville the German Methodists have a church, built in 1875, at a cost of $1,000. They also have a parsonage, in which the Reverend Carwell resides.

Near Foster the Baptists have a house of worship, built about 1871, through the efforts of their first pastor, Reverend E. Odell.
A parsonage was built for the occupancy of the pastor, who is now Reverend Spiller.
Historic Rock Island County, 1908, Transcribed by K. Torp


Rock Island County, Illinois
Genealogy Trails History Group is a Volunteer Organization Dedicated to providing FREE access to Historical and Genealogical Data.
2006 - 2014 byGenealogy Trails -  All Rights Reserved - With full rights reserved for original submitters.
2006 K. Torp -  2008 C. Horton