Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in the world by JSTOR. Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial purposes. Read more about Early Journal Content at http://about.jstor.org/participate-jstor/individuals/early- journal-content . JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact email@example.com. 193 PRESBYTERIANISM IN STEPHENSON COUNTY, ILLINOIS. By Mrs. D. A. Knowlton. The histories of the State of Illinois contain little accu- rate information a^ to the early days in the northern tier of counties, all the pioneers from the East choosing the central and southern portions of the State for their settlements. From the community formed around Fort Dearborn to the town of Galena the country remained in its primitive condi- tion, no attempt being made to cross directly from one point to the other until after the Black Hawk War had freed the region from hostile Indians. The soft, rich soil was unsuitable for road building and the lack of timber a drawback for home building. The rolling, flower-starred prairies eventually attracted venturesome pioneers, and as scattered settlements were formed, the home missionaries found their way to them. The seeds of Presby- terianism were sown in this region by Aratus Kent, a young man of fine education and ardent spirit, sent from the East to Galena, then a mining town, where after two years of hard work a church was organized. While still making his headquarters at Galena he was in charge of the missionary work extending east from that point. The Methodists and Baptists pursued their methods of missionary effort by hold- ing camp meetings, the Presbyterians joining with theiH whenever convenient. Father Kent spent his whole life in arduous toil for the upbuilding of the Kingdom of Christ in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, and not only helped to organize churches, but was instrumental in the founding of Beloit College and Eockford Female Seminary, now Eockford College. A beautiful tribute to him and his devoted wife may be found in Dr. Norton's " History of Pres- byterianism in Illinois. ' ' * * In 111. State Historical Library and in McCormick Seminary Library. 194 Not long ago the older people of Stephenson County spoke lovingly of Father Kent, whom they had entertained when on his missionary journeys. Stephenson County, of which Freeport is the county seat, had many New Eng- enders and Pennsylvania Germans among the early set- ters, while the immigrant population was at first largely Irish Eoman Catholics, followed by Germans, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, and also a number of rationalists. The only Protestant religious services held in Freeport before 1842 were such as a few Christian people of whatever denomination prevailed could hold, either with or without a home missionary present. In 1842 a few of Freeport 's leading men determined to start and sustain a Sunday evening prayer meeting, with a view to organizing a church. Within six months a home missionary was sent from Oswego, New York, and the First Presbyterian Church of Freeport was organized with four- teen members. Seven of these were of Freeport and seven from Cedarville and Buena Vista. The growth of the church was similar to many others of that period, their place of worship being in the frame building used as a court house, except when the weather became very cold they were obliged to use the smaller school house. It took hard work and faithfulness on the part of the members to overcome ob- stacles and keep up interest enough to support the pastor, even with the help of the Home Mission Board. Eev. Calvin Waterbury was with this little band five years, when he was obliged to leave on account of failing health. Efforts to build a church had begun and a dark time followed his departure, but the arrival of the Eev. J. C. Downer revived the spirit of enterprise, and the church building was completed and dedicated in December, 1849, a bell being hung in the tower in time to ring out 1849 and ring in 1850. It was the first church bell in town or county. Presbyterianism secured a strong foothold in Stephen- son County, as this First Church of Freeport grew con- stantly in numbers and in proportionate influence. The able pastors succeeding the earlier ones were the Revs. I. E Carey, H. D. Jenkins, D. D., Edgar P. Hill, D. D., Charles 195 E. Dunn and David L. McNary, there being very short in- tervals between the pastorates. The first building was replaced by a large, substantial stone edifice, which was dedicated in 1866. The fiftieth and seventy-fifth anniversaries of the organization of the church were appropriately observed. The membership is at present (1918) about five hundred. A number of young men have gone out from this body into the ministry, and a goodly number were in the World War, several of whom gave their lives for the great cause. The Second Presbyterian Church of Freeport was organized in 1847, fifteen members withdrawing from the First Church, twelve others joining with them. This was probably owing to the existence of old and new school doc- trines, otherwise so small a community would have been content with one church of that denomination. The Second Church dedicated its first building in 1851, free of debt, having been helped by the Board of Church Erection to the extent of $125, the building costing $6,000. During the pastorate of Rev. J. D. McCaughtry a new building was erected and dedicated in 1896, costing $18,000. This building was destroyed by fire in 1910, and replaced by the present structure at the cost of $30,331, Rev. H. M. Markley being pastor at that time. Since then a church manse has been built, Rev. Marion Humphreys being the first pastor to occupy it. Rev. R. E. Chandler is the present pastor (1918) and the activity and growth of the church has been excellent during the past decade. The two churches in Freeport are some distance apart and the town grew rapidly enough to justify the existence of the two organizations, after their earliest years of struggle. The organization of the sister churches of Cedarville and Dakota was the outgrowth of a German Presbyterian Society. The First Presbyterian Church of Cedarville be- ing organized in 1851, the Rock Run Church in 1850, afterward called the Dakota Church, having its First Pres- byterian Church building in 1856 in Cedarville, was followed by a building in Dakota village for that church, which had previously held services in buildings between Dakota and Rock Run. 196 The two churches have been under the care of one pastor since 1867, previous to that time the Dakota Church having depended upon stated supplies. The Cedarville members of the Freeport Church withdrew their letters to join the Cedar- ville Church. In 1865 a few members of the Cedarville Church withdrew their letters to form a church in Eidott, which did not have a long life. With the increase of railroad facilities and the coming of several nationalities into Stephenson County, the smaller churches did not grow as the Freeport churches did. Not- withstanding the large proportion of Germans in Freeport and on the surrounding farms, many of whom were Luther- ans, Catholics and Eationalists, the Presbyterian Churches in Freeport maintained a strong hold upon the well educated and active members of the community. A German Presby- terian Church existed for some years in the town, but was given up as the old people passed away. The quaint town of Cedarville, whose leading citizen for many years was John H. Addams, father of our renowned Jane Addams, still has no railroad station nearer than Red Oak, a mile or more distant. The church has a good working force, and both Cedarville and Dakota Churches sustain missionary socie- ties and contribute to all the boards of the church. The sister churches have been cared for by a succession of de- voted pastors, among whom were Eev. J. M. Linn, son-in- law of John H. Addams ; Eev. Henry Cullen, and others. The present pastor is Eev. J. M. MacGowan. While many other denominations have large and small churches scattered over Stephenson County, there is prob- ably no other Protestant denomination so deeply rooted as the Presbyterian, except the Methodist. The membership of the Presbyterian Churches is made up of the people from sev- eral denominations, which bespeaks a growth of liberal thought and Christian brotherhood. The restrictions as to membership have been gradually removed, only the vital points of faith being required. The two churches of Freeport have an almost equal number of members, approximately about 500 each.