Genealogy and History
Part of the Genealogy Trails History Group
April 14, 1938 (Freeport Journal) - Morning worship service at 9:45. Sermon by Rev. B.F. Grenoble of Freeport. Easter program entitled "Christ Risen for All".
April 29, 1938 (Freeport Journal) - Morning worship service at 9:45. Sunday school at 10:45. The regular meeting of the Willing workers society will be held at the home of Mrs. Claude Wideman next Wednesday afternoon. May 4, with Miss Flossie Zeigler and Mrs. Conrad Henze assistant hostesses Mrs. Orla Clark will present the topic.
September 1, 1938 (Freeport Journal) - Rev. T.B. Harsch will preach his first sermon. Regular meeting of Willing Workers society will be held Wednesday Sept. 7 at the home of Mmmmiss Flossie Zeigler, with Miss Emma Dundore and Mrs. Harold Bennehoff as assistant hostesses. The topic "Christ in Education" presented by Mrs. D.L. Thoren.
September 3, 1938 (Freeport Journal) - Rev. and Mrs. T.B. Hersch of East St. Louis have moved their household goods to St. Paul's Lutheran parsonage. Rev. Mr. Hersch will serve Rock Grove St. Paul's Lutheran church and State Line Lutheran church for the coming year.
September 13, 1938 (Freeport Journal) - Seventy-five members and friends of the St. Paul's Lutheran Church of Rock Grove held a reception for Rev. and Mrs. T.B. Hersch in the basement of the church. A short program was given. Clare Bennehoff spoke in behalf of the church, welcoming the pastor and his wife, who started their services in this parish Sept. 1. In response Rev. Hersch gave an outline of the work to be carried out this fall, including the 90th anniversary services which will be held Saturday and Sunday Sept. 17 and 18. During the summer the congregation made various improvements, redecorated the interior of the church and made a large dining room and kitchen in the basement, also put in a water system and bathroom in the parsonage.
September 29, 1938 (Freeport Journal) - The regular meeting of the Willing Workers society will be at the home of Mrs. Ray Fehr next Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 5, with Mrs. Conrad Henze and Mrs. Frank Bolender assistant hostesses. The topic will be presented by Mrs. Walter Iserman.
October 12, 1938 (Freeport Journal) - The church council will meet Monday Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. The Luther League will sponsor a Halloween party in the church social rooms Friday Oct. 21 at 8 p.m. All the members of the church and their friends are invited. The pastor will be installed October 28 at 9:30 a.m. Rev. W.C. Satre of Lena, will preach the sermon and conduct the act of installation. Rev. T.B. Hersch, D.D. Pastor.
October 27, 1938 (Freeport Journal) - Willing Workers society meets Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 1:30 in the home of Mrs. Arthur Kramer. Mrs. Walter Lang and Miss Pearl Frankeberger will be assistant hostesses. The topic "Looking Forward to Madros" will be presented by Mrs. Thurl Zimmerman.
March 1, 1941 (Freeport Journal) - The Willing Workers of St. Paul's Lutheran church will meet Wednesday at the home of Mrs. John Veach, instead of with Mrs. Clare Bennehoff. Members are asked to take notice of the change of place.
[1848 - 1973 from Melissa Crusinberry]
St. Paul's Lutheran Church
150th Anniversary 27 September 1998
[Contributed by Karen Fyock 1848 - 1998]
A little country school, Kramer's School, located just north of the present Rock Grove Union cemetery near Rock Grove, Illinois was the location of meetings and services held by and for a newly-organized Society in 1848. The "Society" included two churches - the Lutheran Church and the German Reformed church. At first, they met as one, but after three years each had its own service - one with a German speaking pastor and the other with an English-speaking pastor. trustees from each church served as the Church council and they still met in the school.
In 1854, Joseph Kramer, on whose land the school was located, donated some land from the southeast section of his farm to be used for "the interment of the dead and to be built thereon a house of worship."
The church was built by the Lutheran Congregation and members worked many hours. Those hours are listed in record books in the library along with the cost for various items. One such item stated that 2,000 bricks cost $12.00 and hair purchased from a Dakota, Illinois barber cost $1.80. This was used in the plaster. The building was 40 feet by 50 feet with a ten-foot portico and belfry. All this was built on the southeast area of what is now the Rock Grove Union cemetery, The members were very proud of this "substantial" little church and eventually built a picket fence around it and the cemetery. The fence had to be strong enough to tie horses to, although later they built an open shed to protect the horses from stormy weather. This church was remodeled in 1881.
The Sunday School was an active one, participating in many activities planned by the Rock Grove Township Sunday School organization as well as the Stephenson County Sunday School organization.
By 1883, the Lutheran Church became a member of the Davis Charge of Lutheran Churches and became St. Paul Lutheran church. This charge included Davis, Dakota, State Line and Rock Grove churches. One minister was hired to serve all four churches and the salary shared by all four. Rock Grove's share at that time was $80.00 per year and 19 bushels of oats.
A Ladies' Union Aid Society was organized in 1882 including ladies from the original two churches. bible studies, Bible readings, essays and music were enjoyed at these meetings. Their dues were 5 cents a month. One of their purposes was to help pay the remodeling debt so they had Oyster Suppers, Lawn Socials, Weight Socials, Quilting Bees and did sewing and mending to earn money. The Weight Social? Well, the food you ate cost each person a penny for each pound he weighed or perhaps, a penny for each inch around the diner's waist. This Society was dissolved about twenty years later and became the Willing Workers of the Lutheran Church. Their work was the same but became a little modernized as time went on. They were a proud group when they came up with the $100.00 needed to buy a lot in Rock Grove for a new church. This group was active for seventy-five years.
The little church was outgrown by 1905 and a new one was built in Rock Grove - the same one in which we worship now in 1998. The members tore down the Walnut Grove Church which had recently closed, and used those materials to build the new. Only thirteen years later the congregation planned a remodeling so that the altar was moved from the east side of the building to its present location. in 1921, a great celebration was held for the dedication.
No parsonage was available or "buyable" until 1930 when one was purchased for $1,800.00. Four years later the house was completely wired for electricity for $48.00.
Records show that the United Brethren Church in Rock Grove and the St,. Paul Lutheran Church cooperated in many ways by combining services for various holidays and sponsoring a Christian Endeavor group. The cooperation has existed through the years when Bible School became a joint project. Records show, too, that many funerals were conducted by ministers from both churches jointly. Another joint organization was the Dorcas Society starting in 1912 and lasting until the 1980's. The members, ladies of both churches pieces quilts and comforters and mended for the area needy.
The Philathea Class was organized in the late 1930's and included both men and women. They met for special programs and social events. Many were money-making affairs and it was this group that held the chicken Suppers that gained recognition from the surrounding area.
A 90th anniversary of the church held in 1938 was an event enjoyed by many. At that time, the Church Council was Conrad Henze, Arthur Kramer, Claude Wideman, Ray Fehr, Elmer Busjahn and Charles Bennehoff, Wanda Fehr (Hilton) was the pianist. Returning ministers who shared in the program were Rev. Schultz, (he President of Carthage College), Rev. King, Rev. Hersch. Rev Wetzler, Rev. Weng and Rev. Bernhard.
A 100th anniversary ten years later shows that Rev. Bernhard was again present. The First Lutheran Church Choir under the direction of Frank E. Chaffee furnished music and Rev. Bernhard and Rev. Harmon McGuire spoke.
Through the years improvements to the building and its contents were being made constantly. All members helped but one member, in her own shy way, did a great deal to physically improve the church. She was Miss Emma Dundore, a lovely tiny lady who was faithful to the Church all her life. Miss Dundore through a life of frugal living, left a large sum of money for improvements to the church, The improvements included carpeting, new hymnals, an organ, a new piano, new Narthex and entry way, new stairway and the list goes on and on.
In 1973 - another celebration - 125 years. This featured a Style Show with members modeling clothes from the past, displays of pictures, furniture and articles of long ago. A special feature to install Pastor Horst with the theme "Old Time Religion" with the men seated on one side of the church and women and children on the other. Visiting pastors this time were Rev. Bernhard ( now Director of Religion at Northern Iowa University), Pastor Munson, Rev. Wetzler, Rev. Irwin, Rev. Kott, Pastor Stone, Pastor Heckathorn and Mrs. King. An anniversary dinner was held at the local Methodist Church and all were pleased to have State Line's "Son in the Ministry" Larry Pinnow present. He was serving Grace Lutheran Church at Monroe, Wisconsin at the time. The final service on Sunday featured Rev. Johnson, President of the Illinois Synod, speaking and a Junior Choir from Orangeville, Illinois, including children from St. Paul. It was directed by Vicki Neuberger. A dinner followed and the way was paved for the 126th year.
Activities have continued for our Luther League which was formed in 1936. There have been trips to various churches, camps, baseball teams, ad Style Shows. Who could forget those young people looking and acting like Elvis, John Wayne, liberace and more. It was fun for all.
The adults and families have had picnics, chicken Suppers, Bake Sales, Ice cream Socials and special themes for Sunday services, indoors and out. Along with that have been good sermons, music and drama. It's been a busy little church, but the times have made it difficult to keep up a large attendance. Even so, our small group has much enthusiasm and seems to accomplish a great deal.
From bits here and pieces there we have woven a history, a history of a tiny country church - the St. Paul's Lutheran Church of Rock Grove, Illinois from its beginnings in 1848 to the present day in 1998. A record of people with strong beliefs and morals who carved a place for those of us who have followed. Hopefully, those who follow us will love the haven of St. Paul as we have.
1850 - Rev. George Donmeyer
1857 - Rev. Ephriam Miller
1864 - Rev. Stoll
1873 - Rev. Lazarus
1881 - Rev. D. E. Rupley
1884 - Rev. J. P. Schnure
1887 - Rev. W. H. Hartman
1890 - Rev. J. Kuhn
1892 - Rev. C. S. Finley
1895 - Rev. A. J. Cromer
1900 - Rev. O. D. Bartholomew
1902 - Rev. Spire
1904 - Rev. Max Herring
1905 - Rev. Pearson Albertus
1906 - Rev. E. E. Campbell
1908 - Rev. F. S. Delo
1912 - Rev. W. N. King
1918 - Rev. Paul L. Wetzler
1923 - Rev. E. J. Johnson
1926 - Rev. E. A. Giesel
1927 - Rev. E. J. Johnson
1929 - Rev. C. Ropps
1930 - Rev. B. C. Qually
1935 - Rev. H. E. Bernhard
1938 - Rev. T. B. Hersch
1940 - Rev. Glen Gilbert
1942 - Rev. Fred Heckathorn
1947 - Rev. David Melbye
1949 - Rev. Henry Neal
1954 - Rev. K. K. Olafson
1960 - Rev. Ed Kott
1962 - Rev. Robert Stone
1966 - Rev. William Munson
1969 - Rev. David Stephy
1973 - Rev. Richard Horst
1976 - Rev. Robert Butler
1980 - Rev. Jerene Houser
1983 - Rev. Roland Johnson
1985 - Rev. Roy Ryden
1986 - Rev. Richard Bonner
1991 - Rev. David Powers
Solomon Fisher -1848
Peter Emrich - 1848
Jacob Louck - 1849
Samuel Runkle - 1848
Joseph Kramer - 1848
Lepe Snyer - 1848
Henry Reese - 1853
Jacob Fisher - 1853
Benjamin Keister - 1854
George Meyer -1860
Adam Bolender - 1860
Frederick Mochle - 1860
George Bolender - 1860
John Bottorf - 1864
Jeremiah Schwartz - 1868
Runrad Rahorn - 1868
Jacob Sullivan - 1868
Jason Frankeberger - 1878
1881 - Rev. Rupley
Charles Kramer, Emma Kramer, Hugh Bennehoff, Jane E. Bennehoff, Mrs. Martin Brobst, James Bennehoff, Emma Bennehoff, Effie Bennehoff, John Wallace, Wesley Hemphill
1887 - Rev. Hartman
Susan Kurtz, Anna Kramer, Jacob Lauck, Sarah Lauck, John Weidman, Charles Bennehoff, Lydia Loss
1888 - Rev. Hartman
1903 - Rev. Spire
J. H. Rockey
1905 - Rev. Albertus
Elsie Wallace, Frank Bolender, Hattie Bolender, Grace Bolender, John Hoffmeister, Ralph Hoffmeister, Mrs. John Hoffmeister, Anna Hoffmeister, Ralph Sullivan, Minard Brobst, Emily Brobst, Jason Frankeberger, Claude Cooper, Minnie Cooper, Aaron Frankeberger, Sarah Frankeberger, Mrs. Lottie Meyers, Grace Quest, Mrs. Ray Fehr, Millie Frankeberger, Alice Frankeberger, Grace Mogle, Arminta Mogle, Nettie Wallace, Elta Bennehoff
1906 - Rev. Campbell
Henry Wunchel, Claire Bennehoff
1907 - Rev. Campbell
Martin Rockey, Nettie Weidman, Sadie Wunchel, Frank Wunchel, Harold Bennehoff, John Bennehoff, Ralph Hoffmeister, Minnie Kramer, Arthur Kramer, hattie Emrich, Alverda Gill, Mrs. H. Orendorf, Mildred Rockey, Harry J, Wilson, Hazel Rockey, Harry McCauley, Anna Roenneberg
1908 - Rev. Campbell
Florence Rockey, Ruth Bennehoff
1910 - Rev. Delo
1913 - Rev. King
Mary Sutton, Ralph Bennehoff
1917 - Rev. King
Flossie Ziegler, Marie Kramer, Alma Bennehoff
1920 - Rev. Wetzler
Ruby Meyers, Irene Kramer, Evelyn Wilson, Clarence Ziegler, Elmer Wilson, Selie Wilson, Russell Frankeberger, Wendall Walters
1921 - Rev. Wetzler
Clara Schurch, Marie Schurch, Mildren Henze, Frederick Wolflie, Roy Pinnow, Warren Bennehoff
1924 - Rev. Johnson
Flora Wolflie, Elsie Wilson, Leva Kramer, Anna Schurch, Elsie Schurch, Ida Ruf, Marie Ruf, Irene Weimer, MIldred Walters, Earl Pinnow, Melvin Henze, Evelyn Frankeberger
1926 - Rev. Geissel
Hilda Gruber, Rose Schurch, Florence Laube, Leslie Pinnow, Marion Laube
1928 - Rev. Johnson
Ella Wenger, Lucille Bennehoff, Charlotte Weimer, Kenneth Wilson, Marvin Wilson, Melvin Wilson, Raymond Fehr, John Kramer, Clarence Laube, Dorothy Laube, Kenneth Meinert
1930 - Rev. Qualley
Maurine Wise, Elizabeth Weidman, Gertrude Schurch, Sylvia Schurch, Orville Wenger, Paul Bennehoff, Charles Fehr, Harold Wilson, Marie Wenger, Margaret Shippy
1933 - Rev. Qualley
Wanda Fehr, Dorothy Meinert, Lois Meinert, Stanley Altenbernd, Melvin Bennehoff, George Bennehoff, Robert Shippy, William Schneeberger
1936 - Rev. Bernhard
Naomi Long, Miriam Bennehoff, Ruth Bennehoff, Helen Schurch, Bessie Passett, Marvin Gluegel, John Wideman
1939 - Rev. Hersch
Dorothy Ruf, Jean Shippy, Carolyn Bennehoff, Cleo Bennehoff, Walter Ruf, Donald Ruf, George Shippy, Dale Bennehoff, Frederick Schurch, Raymond Zimmerman, Leo Leopold
1942 - Rev. Gilbert
Alice Ruf, Donald Crone, Clifford Crone, Robert Gill, Fred Kummer, Donald Wise
1944 - Rev. Heckathorn
Charlotte Bennehoff, Marian Kubly, Hedwig Grogg, Alfred Grogg, John Kummer, Howard Moellenbrandt, Ronald Zimmerman
1945 - Rev. Heckathorn
June Haas, Alice Veach, Charles Veach
1946 - Rev. Heckathorn
Roberta Breed, Ruth Henze, Norman Fluegel, Darrell Busjahn, Nathan Kubly, Leland Wise
1948 - Rev. Heckathorn
Gwendolyn Gill, Russell Miller, Albert Veach, Lawrence Crone
1950 - Rev. Neal
Judith Crone, Loretta Kubly, Suzanne Nesemeier, Richard Schneeberger
1951 - Rev. Neal
Helen Veach, David Crone
1953 - Rev. Neal
Carol Durfey, Virginia Veach, Marlene Schneeberger
1954 - Rev. Neal
Gloria Gill, Phyllis Durfey
1955 - Rev. Olafson
Natalie Bruegger, Eleanor Elmer, Shirley Marty, Jeffrey Hilton, Robert Steele, Roy Leopold
1956 - Rev. Olafson
Carol Miller, Ernest Miller
1957 - Rev. Olafson
Sally Nesemeier, Marcia Kramer, Harold Kubly, Warren Elmer, Charles Bennehoff, Jr.
1958 - Rev. Olafson
Donna Schneeberger, Patricia Fehr, Ruth Ostby, Bonnie Bennehoff
1961 - Rev. Kott
Ronald Bennehoff, Terry Bennehoff, James Elmer, Alden Fehr, Rodney Fehr, Larry Gill, Terry Nott, Judith Ilgen, Donna Elmer, Leslie Kott, Linda Leopold, Karen Marty, Ronald Schurch
1963 - Rev. Stone
Elizabeth Fehr, Diane Schurch, Ronald Harbert
1964 - Rev. Stone
Janice Wilson, Russell Thorn, Charles Elmer, Steven Schneeberger, Cheryl Friedericks
1965 - Rev. Stone
Nancy Elmer, Colleen Peterson, Linda Thorn, Gergory White
1966 - Rev. Stone
Carol Ruf, Dennis Fehr, Richard Rote, Gordon Trumpy, Christy Ann Judd, Steven Fehr
1967 - Rev. Munson
Karen Hyle, Susan Ruf, Michael Fehr, Gary Hyle, Michael Kint, Laurel McKee
1968 - Rev. Munson
Robert Elmer, Duane Schurch, Marjorie Trumpy, Darrell White, Connie Levin, Vicki Bennehoff, Carolyn Wilson, Charles Medernach, Janice Medernach, Dwight Peterson
1969 - Rev. Stephey
Pattie Kint, Connie Hyle, Gregory Shelton
1970 - Rev. Stephey
Gregory Trumpy, Toni Levin
1971 - Rev. Stephey
Danny White, Fred Wenger, Eugene Trumpy
1972 - Rev. Stephey
Cheryl Bennehoff, Brian Wilson, David Levin, Kim Shelton, Sandra busjahn, Chris Wenger
1973 - Rev. HorstAllen Busjahn, Arlen Busjahn, Marcene Gill, Dennis Jansen, Chris Ruf, Gary Schurch, Ralph Rote, Royce Rote, Lynn Wenger
1974 - Rev. Horst
Annette Elmer, Greg Hyle, Brian Jordan, Tim Oxley, Beth Kint
1975 - Rev. Horst
David Miller, Brenda Jansen, Lisa Wenger
1976 - Rev. Horst
LeRoy Gill, Helen Koester, Audrey Jordan, Roger Hyle
1977 - Rev. Butler
Herman Koester, Mark Koester
1978 - Rev. Butler
Dana Bennehoff, John Wenger, Cindy Nederland, Larry Rackow, Jim Norland, John Miller
1979 - Rev. Butler
Randy Hyle, Arlin Brudi
1980 - Rev. Butler
Ellen Ruf, David Jansen
1981 - Rev. Houser
Marlisa Meinert, Mark Nederland
1982 - Rev. Houser
1986 - Rev. Ryden
Alice Koester, Joshur Trumpy
1988 - Rev. Bonner
1990 - Rev. Bonner
1992 - Rev. Powers
Shane Riggle, Eric Koester
1993 - Rev. Powers
1995 - Rev. Powers
September 27, 1998 - 150th Anniversary
Those on committees were:
Charlotte Peterson, Elaine Cary, Dale Bennehoff, Pastor David Powers, Virgil Kramer, Helen Bennehoff, Marcia Smith, Rose Brown, Gerturde Schneeberger, Stan Cary, Clara Gill, Clara Kurtz, Carol Riggle, Eileen Bennehoff, Dennis Riggle, Bob Gill, Matt Gill, Brendon Cary, Helen Meinert, Dale and Carol Bennehoff, Vernon and Pauline Hyle, Irene Schurch.
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