Edgington, Illinois Churches

The Presbyterian Church, organized in the Dunlap cabin in the Fall of 1837, was the first church organized in Edgington. Joseph Dunlap and Daniel Montgomery were the first elders. The organization was effected by Reverend John Montgomery, an itinerant home missionary, by appointment of the Presbytery of Schuyler. Church services were held for several years once a month, or at long intervals, in the Dunlap cabin during Winter months and in the barn in Summer. Reverend John Montgomery, the first minis-ter, was a brother of Daniel Montgomery. The Montgomeries came from Pennsylvania in 1836; Daniel locating “far out on the prairie,” on section twenty-six, and his brother, John, the missionary over in Mercer county. In those days there was a common brotherhood and sisterhood among the people of all professions. They came long distances, in big wagons, to church, some with ox teams, some on horseback, and some on foot. Church courtesies were not gilt edged, nor silk fringed. Worshipers did not stand aloof until introduced before speaking to one another. The social gulf was narrow and easily bridged by a hearty handshake and “howdy-do.” During the years 1843-44 a church was built twenty-two by forty feet in dimensions. Most of the material of which it was built was taken out of the timber surrounding it. The church thus built had added to it in 1859 a vestibule, gallery and tower. The church had no settled minister for years. Those who served the longest terms, either as pastor or supply were Reverends Samuel Cleland, A. W. Loomis, Jesse M. Jamison, Thomas M. Wilson and Thomas R. Johnson. The pastorate of the latter began May 28, 1863, and continued until June, 1904, making a pastorate of thirty-nine years. During the ministry of Mr. Johnson the community developed and enjoyed a great measure of prosperity. In this the church shared. This materialized in the present church building, which was erected in 1896. This is one of the finest and most commodious churches in the country. It has a seating capacity of about four hundred. It is provided with Sunday school roams, cloak room, vestibule and gallery. There is also a very comfortable house near by. Since December 1, 1904, Reverend J. L. Herming has been the pastor in charge; Reverend T. R. Johnson being pastor emeritus. The first Methodist preaching was by itinerant missionaries-James Smith, Jordan and McMurtrie, 1836-40 -at the residence of Charles Eberhart. A class was regularly organized in June, 1843, with H. H. Parks as leader. In 1854 they erected a commodious house of worship by the roadside, one and three-fourth miles east of the village of Edgington, and named it Zion. It is still occupied and kept in good repair. The Baptist Church was organized in 1846, and a house of worship built about one-eighth of a mile east of the Methodist Episcopal Church. It was sold to a farmer some years ago and a new house built at Taylor Ridge. The meeting at which the organization was effected was held in a barn of George D. Parmenter, in the village of Edgington, August 10, 1846, and the Reverend Mr. Brabrooks preached the sermon. Reverend Clark, of Mercer County, was the first regular minister, and in the capacity of pastor served the congregation until 1848. The Catholic Church. Through the fifties and sixties a priest from a distant parish, Rock Island or elsewhere, visited the families occasionally and held services in the homes. Then a frame house was built for worship by the roadside, opposite and a little north of the Presbyterian church, and services are still held there once a month, and the ordinances administered, and pastoral work done by a non-resident priest.

Source: Historic Rock Island County, pub. Kramer & Company, Rock Island, Illinois, 1908

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