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Wheatland-Salem United Methodist Church Records


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Box 1

Box 2

Box 3

Box 4

Box 5

Addendum 1

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Wheatland-Salem United Methodist Church Records, 1860-1981 | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: Wheatland-Salem United Methodist Church Records, 1860-1981

ID: RHC/RC/119

Extent: 3.0 Linear Feet

Subjects: Copenhagen Church, German Americans, Methodists, Religious Institutions- Illinois- Naperville, Salem Church, Sunday schools, Wheatland-Salem United Methodist Church

Languages: English, German

Scope and Contents of the Materials

A church fire in November 1927 destroyed a portion of this organization’s historical manuscripts.  Nevertheless, the remaining records provide sufficient documentation for a thorough study of the Wheatland Salem United Methodist Church’s history.  Of primary importance are the church minutes dating from 1860 to 1963 (1916-1947 are missing.) describing organizational changes, building or expansion problems, and general church business.  In addition, quarterly conference records (1920-1967) detail administration, financial, and inter-organizational policies.  The treasurer’s account books furnish a wealth of information on the church’s financial development through the Depression years to the early 1960’s (1931-1963).  Supplementary records, including membership records (1920-1948), burial records (1861-1904), and bulletins and newsletters complete the general church record series.  The remaining materials partially document the Sunday School (1916-1952), Ladies’ Aid Society (1908-1948), Women’s Society for World Service (1959-1975), Young Peoples Alliance (later the Evangelical League of Christian Endeavor, 1908-1942), Crusaders (1946-1949), Philathea Class (1923-1946), Young Men’s Bible Class (1919-1928), Salem Brotherhood (1934-1954), and the church choir and drama club.  Finally, a small series of photographs depict church construction and some of the congregation.  The addenda added at a later date consists of information on the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church archives, a family membership roll, and a church register that includes a record of pastors, members, marriages, baptisms, deaths, and statistics.

Researchers should note that one minute book discussing church construction is in German.  In addition, the historical file (Box 1, Folder 1) contains a detailed historical sketch as well as anniversary booklets.

Collection Historical Note

The missionary zeal of preachers at Naperville, Plainfield, and Oswego led to the formation of new church societies in the surrounding area.  The Wheatland Salem United Methodist Church grew from the formation of two of these societies, Wheatland and Copenhagen, both of Wheatland township in Will County.

The Wheatland society organized in 1860 under the leadership of Samuel Dickover.  A service, officiated by Bishop J.J. Esher, dedicated the church building on October 2, 1870.  The society functioned prosperously until 1894 when a declining membership forced the church to close its doors.

The Copenhagen Church’s history began at the home of Enos Stark of Wheatland, Illinois on December 26, 1860.  The society built and dedicated a church at the cross roads near David Brown’s home on May 5, 1861.  Membership increased to 53 in 1888 and the Plainfield and Wheatland circuit began serving the Copenhagen Church.  By 1905 the society deemed it necessary to either repair the old church or erect a new one.  A dispute arose when some members requested that a new church be constructed one and a half miles south for convenience.  In 1907 the members finally decided to agree on the new location.  Simultaneously, they sent a petition to the Illinois Conference Session for permission to combine the defunct Wheatland Church and the Copenhagen Church.  On April 5, 1908 Bishop S. P. Spreng held dedication services for the new church--the Salem Church.

The Salem Church continued to be served with Plainfield until 1920.  On November 23, 1927 a fire completely destroyed the church building.  Rather than remodeling the old structure, the society built a new church dedicated on November 25, 1928.  By 1936, the church association requested that a parsonage be built for the residing pastor; they dedicated the manse on December 20, 1936.  A few years later, 1947, the congregation decided to light the picture window of the sanctuary at night.  To this day, the Wheatland Salem United Methodist Church is known as the “Church with the Lighted Window.”

Subject/Index Terms

Copenhagen Church
German Americans
Religious Institutions- Illinois- Naperville
Salem Church
Sunday schools
Wheatland-Salem United Methodist Church

Administrative Information

Repository: Northern Illinois University

Accruals: A small addenda was added on April 20, 1999.

Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on access to the collection.

Use Restrictions: Property rights in the collection remain with the Wheatland Salem United Methodist Church; literary rights are dedicated to the public.

Acquisition Source: Reverend Scott Field

Acquisition Method: Reverend Scott Field, Naperville, Illinois, deposited the historical records of the Wheatland Salem United Methodist Church with the Northern Illinois Regional History Center on November 19, 1980.

Related Materials: Researchers also are encouraged to consult other church collections held by the Regional History Center for complementary information:  Unitarian Fellowship (RC 13); DeKalb First Congregational Church (RC 17); DeKalb First United Methodist Church (RC 24); St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, DeKalb (RC 55); Rockford First Lutheran Church (RC 83); Salem Lutheran Church, Sandwich (RC 84); and Trinity Lutheran Church, Mt. Morris (RC 104).

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],
[Box 3],
[Box 4],
[Box 5],
[Addendum 1],

Box 5
Folder 1: Minutes, Crusaders, 1946-1949
Folder 2: Treasurer's Accounts, Crusaders, 1946-1947
Folder 3-4: Minutes, Philathea Class, 1923-1946
Folder 5: Minutes, Young Men's Bible Class, 1919-1928
Folder 6: Minutes, Salem Brotherhood, 1934-1954
Folder 7: Minutes, Church Choir, 1929-1957
Folder 8: Minutes and Attendance Records, Drama Club, no date
Folder 9: Photograph Album (39 prints), no date
Folder 10: Photographs (4 envelopes, 51 prints), 1864-1978, no date
Folder 11: United Methodist Women Information, 1973-1975
Folder 12: Annual Report, Women's Auxiliary of Edward Hospital in Naperville, 1973-1974
Folder 13: History, The Evangelical Church, no date
Folder 14: Structure and Program of the Local Church, 1966-1967

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],
[Box 3],
[Box 4],
[Box 5],
[Addendum 1],

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