Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- March 21, 1872The Evangelical Community in Chicago. By Rev. M. Stamm.
Late in the summer of 1836, a considerable number of German families, mostly Alsatians, moved from the town of Warren, Pa., to the state of Illinois, and settled in four different groups, partly in the city of Chicago, at Dutchmans Point, and at Wheeling, Cook County; also at Naperville, and at Sharon on the Rock River. As they were in these vast prairies without any pastoral care, they addressed together several petitions to the Western Conference of the Evangelical Community, whose activities at this time extended to Ohio, to send them a preacher. In the first days of July, 1837, a member of the Conference, Rev. F. Boos, undertook the long and hazardous journey on horseback, arriving in Chicago, after endless hardships, on July 23rd. He was the first Protestant minister to proclaim God's word in the German language to the Germans of Chicago, 2Dutchmans Point, Wheeling, and Naperville. In these places he organized the first German Protestant communities in the Northwest, and made them elect so-called class leaders who would preside over their meetings till they could get their own ministers. This done, Rev. Boos immediately returned to his district in Ohio, which had an extent of 300 to 400 miles.
For eight months these communities were without a preacher. Then the Western Conference took up activities in Illinois and sent Rev. M. Hauert. Mr. Hauert reached Chicago on September 3rd, 1838, and travelled, as the second German Protestant minister, to most of the German settlements in Illinois. His salary for a whole year then amounted to only $74.32. At the Conference he could report a total of 78 members in Illinois.3
The first German Protestant church in all the Northwest states was built by the community in Wheeling of squared logs. Wheeling became the center of all church activities of this Protestant community. From 1840 on, every Sunday a German sermon was given in Chicago. In this year the Rev. J. Hoffert and Rev. D. Kern preached; in 1841 Rev. H. Stroh, and again D. Kern; in 1842 the Rev. Dr. Wahl and Rev. A. Plank. Wahl who, a few years later, left the church on account of his insufficient salary, became the first permanent German minister in Chicago. His community was given two excellent lots by the "Canal Camp ", corner of Wabash and Monroe, on which they built the first German-Protestant church in Chicago. Rev. G. Augenstein succeeded as minister in 1844.
In 1854 the community sold its property for $6,000 and split into two parts, each receiving $3,000. One part built with this a church, first on S. Clark Street, sold it, and built in 1856 on the corner of Third Ave. and Polk Street, for $8,000, one of the best German churches of brick, which it still owns.4
The Illinois Staats Zeitung gave a detailed account of its dedication. This community was again divided in 1864, on the initiative of the Illinois Conference, and on a far part of it, Rev. J. G. Escher built a pleasant mission chapel, on the corner of 12th and Union streets.
The other half of the old Wabash Avenue community built a church, corner of N. Wells street and Chicago Avenue. Internal difficulties led to a division in 1869. One part built one of our best city churches under the leadership of Rev. J. Schafle on Second and Noble streets. The main part of the Wells Street community built in 1869 our biggest and finest church at Sedgwick and Wisconsin streets, under the active guidance of Rev. J. Miller. The third and smallest part of the old Wells Street community built a magnificent hall on N. Wells Street community built a magnificent hall on N. Wells Street with three beautiful shops; separated completely from the Evangelical community, and elected the Rev. J. P. Kramer 5its temporary minister. In the great fire this hall and the church on Wisconsin Street were destroyed. The Wisconsin Street community will rebuild early in the summer. The independent community has already built during the winter, under the supervision of the Rev. Augenstein. At the dedication they declared themselves willing to return to the Evangelical community..........
To sum up: The Evangelical community now has five communities with 550 members, five churches and four parsonages, and 3,000 volumes in its libraries. Out of the five small communities of 1836 have grown in 36 years, six conferences with about 725 permanent ministers, 30,000 church members, 400 Sunday schools, and a flourishing college at Naperville. This church also possesses the oldest and largest German church paper in the U. S., with 20,000 subscribers distributed over most of the Western States. A similar spiritual propagation no church or organization in the whole United States can boast.
III C, I A 2 b, II B 2 d 1, II F, III A, III F, III G, III H, V A 1
Secondary listingsGerman // Attitudes > Education > Parochial > Foreign Languages (I A 2 b) ?
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