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Big Woods Congregational Church


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

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Box 8

Oversize Drawer 24

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Big Woods Congregational Church, 1836-2006 | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: Big Woods Congregational Church, 1836-2006

Predominant Dates:1920-1996

ID: RHC/RC/311

Extent: 3.75 Linear Feet

Date Acquired: 05/17/2011

Subjects: Church of the Big and Little Woods, Congregationalists, Frontier and pioneer life, Prohibition, Religious Institutions- Illinois- Naperville, Underground Railroad, Women--Societies and clubs.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Big Woods Congregational Church (BWCC) collection represents a modest portion of the historical records pertaining to the church’s establishment in 1835 and growth throughout the years.  Types of records include church histories, membership and pastor lists, building renovations plans, land purchases, and Big Woods’ withdrawal from the United Church of Christ (UCC) and joining the National Association of Congregational Christ Churches (NACCC) in 1975. There are numerous church histories written by members, newspapers, and historians due to the church being established in the early settler period of Illinois.

Care was taken to maintain the donor’s original order of the collection.  The donor’s container lists can be found in the case file.

Collection Historical Note

In August of 1835, fourteen pioneers organized a “Church of Christ,” with the assistance of Presbyterian Rev. R.W. Gridley and Rev. N. C. Clark. The group met in the log cabin of Thompson Paxton; it was named the Church of Big and Little Woods because of the surrounding wooded areas.  In 1824, twenty members organized as a Congregational Church, but it was not until 1850 that they were able to build a sanctuary.  Members pledged abstinence from hard liquor and later became part of the Underground Railroad.  

Mission stipends from the Home Mission Society and the American Missionary Society allowed Big Woods Church to act as a base for establishing Congregational Churches in Aurora and West Chicago, as a regional base for the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), and as a training ground for Christian Endeavor. The Church also has an active Women’s Missionary Society that serves in Chicago, Aurora, and abroad.  Pastors have included four professors, over a dozen students of Wheaton College, and student interns of North Central College and Seminary in Naperville.  Big Woods also participates in local ecumenical missions in and around the surrounding community.

Subject/Index Terms

Church of the Big and Little Woods
Frontier and pioneer life
Religious Institutions- Illinois- Naperville
Underground Railroad
Women--Societies and clubs.

Administrative Information

Repository: Northern Illinois University

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

Use Restrictions: Property rights in the collection are held by the Regional History Center; literary rights are dedicated to the public.

Acquisition Source: David Nasgowitz

Related Materials: Big Woods Congregational Church is a branch from the Batavia Congregational Church, reference RC 82 for additional information.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],
[Box 3],
[Box 4],
[Box 5],
[Box 6],
[Box 7],
[Box 8],
[Oversize Drawer 24],

Box 1
Folder 1: "Spirit of the People", Church History, 2006
Folder 2: Notes of David Nasgowitz used for "Spirit of the People, ", no date
Folder 3: History: Church histories by various authors, no date
Folder 4: Inventory, Records of the Congregational Church of Batavia, 1981
Folder 5: "A History of the Congregational Church of Batavia", 1985
Folder 6: "History of the Fox River Baptist Association", Tolman, 1859
Folder 7: First Congregational Church booklet, Naperville, 1933
Folder 8: History: "Big Woods Congregational Church Centennial Pageant," HM Triplett, 1935
Folder 9: History: 115th Anniversary of Big Woods Congregational Church (BWCC) and Centennial Dedication of Church Building, 1950
Folder 10: History: 125th Anniversary of Big Woods Congregational Church (BWCC), 1960
Folder 11: History: 135th Anniversary and Rededication, 1970
Folder 12: History: 140th Anniversary, 1975
Folder 13: History: 140th Anniversary and IL Senate Resolution, 1975
Folder 14: History: 150th Anniversary and Historic Marker, 1985
Folder 15: History: 143rd Anniversary, 1978
Folder 16: History: Historical Marker by Daughters of American Colonists, 1975
Folder 17: History: 160rd Anniversary, 1995
Folder 18: "A Chronology of God's Care", Pastor List, Nasgowitz, 1982
Folder 19: Big Woods Annual Pork and Kraut Dinner, no date
Folder 20: Big Woods Claim Society, 1836
Folder 21: Apostolic Communion, Lenten, and Easter Articles, no date
Folder 22: "In Commemoration... " Fiftieth Anniversary of the Organization of the General Congregational Association of Illinois, 1894
Folder 23: History: "Narrative of Aurora Association," Lewis, 1927
Folder 24: Aurora Beacon News, "Then and Now,", 1928-1935
Box 2
Folder 1: History: Various Articles on Big Woods' Pastors and Members, no date
Folder 2: Paxton Cabin Research, Schuster, 1985
Folder 3: Big Woods Withdrawal from United Church of Christ (UCC) and Joining National Association of Congregational Christian Churches (NACCC), 1975
Folder 4: Organ Dedication, 1951
Folder 5: Hynm Book Subscriptions, 1983
Folder 6: Survey - Road: Ferry, Sunrise, Meadow, Barclay, Rigi, no date
Folder 7: History: Abolition documents, Batavia, circa 1843
Folder 8: Free Church Polity Report to Congregational Christ Churches of the US, 1954
Folder 9: Congregational and Christian Conference of Illinois, 1957
Folder 10: Historical Booklet Commemorating the Centennial of the Batavia Congregational Church, 1935
Folder 11: "A History of Central Church"; and "100th Birthday of Yorkville Church Today,", no date, 1934
Folder 12: "First Congregational Church of Aurora"; and "Oldest Church Closes Sunday,", no date, 1968
Folder 13: History: Underground Railroad, no date
Folder 14: Our Little Farm Rhymes, Bartholomew, 1883-1933
Folder 15: National Association of Congregational Christian Churches (NACCC) Annual Meeting, 1975
Folder 16: National Association of Congregational Christian Churches (NACCC) Yearbook, 1975
Folder 17: List of Church Members, 1835-1841
Folder 18: Membership Lists, 1902-1940
Folder 19: Church Membership by County and Denomination, 1980
Folder 20: "Local Church Report", 1922-1966
Folder 21: History: "Organization of the Church...", no date
Folder 22: Letters of Transfer, 1834-1852
Box 3
Folder 1: Big Woods Congregational Church (BWCC) Ledger, 1899-1904
Folder 2: Ledger - Records of Big Woods Church, 1842-1890
Folder 3: History of Big Woods Congregational Church (BWCC), Letters and Correspondence, 1851
Folder 4: Biographies: Ferry, Wayne, Marquart, McKee, Paxton, Town, Gregg, no date
Folder 5: Correspondence to Reverend L. Foote, 1842
Folder 6: Church Minutes, 1887-1905
Folder 7: Missionary Society Secretary's Reports, 1907-1930)
Folder 8: Big Woods Temperance Union (Women's Christian Temperance Union - WCTU), Secretary's  Report, 1904-1909
Folder 9: Big Woods  WCTU (Women's Christian Temperance Union) Organization and Records, 1893-1904
Folder 10: Big Woods WCTU (Women's Christian Temperance Union) Secretary's Report, 1910-1927
Folder 11: Letter from Ronald Reagan, 1981
Folder 12: History: "The Ideals from our Church School,", no date
Folder 13: Maps and Pictures, no date
Folder 14: History: Ordination of David Nasgowitz; and service of Recognition, 1984, no date
Folder 15: Constitutions of the Big Woods Congregational Church (BWCC), no date
Folder 16: Bulletins, Various Pastors, 1984-1996
Box 4
Folder 1-16: Annual Report, 1957-2011
Folder 17: Directory, notes and calling tree, no date
Folder 18: Big Woods Congregational Church (BWCC) in National Register of Historic Places, 1962
Folder 19-21: Sunday School Attendance Records, 1878-1901
Box 5
Folder 1-3: Sunday School Attendance Records, 1905-1926
Folder 4: Minutes of Winfield Township Sunday School Association, 1906-1910
Folder 5: Minutes: Winfield-Wayne Township Sunday School  Convention, 1920-1936
Folder 6: Christian Education Newsletter, 1993-1996
Folder 7: Sunday School Friendship Class Treasurer's Report, 1935
Folder 8-9: Sunday School Treasurer's Report, 1890-1922
Folder 10: Women's Missionary Society, Treasurer's Accounts, 1895
Box 6
Folder 1: Sunday School Treasurer's Report, 1945-1978
Folder 2: Big Woods Missionary Society Treasurer's Books, 1928-1946
Folder 3: Memorial Fund and Building Fund Information, no date
Folder 4: Minutes, Board of Trustees, 1979-1980
Folder 5: Record of Subscription Payments, 1899-1900
Folder 6: Record of Contributions, 1906
Folder 7-9: Treasurer's Reports, 1946-1963
Folder 10: Book of Accounts, 1911-1918
Folder 11: Tidings Newsletter, 1982-2006
Folder 12: Marriage Records, 1979-1981
Folder 13: Women's Missionary Society, Secretary's Reports, 1961-1970
Folder 14: Yearbook, National Association of Congregational Christian Churches (NACCC), 1982-1983
Box 7
Folder 1: Articles and Clippings on Big Woods Congregational Church (BWCC), no date
Folder 2: Journal Entry, Unknown Author, no date
Folder 3: Sesquicentennial and Materials of M. Mann, no date
Folder 4: History: "Out of the Wilderness," Mann, no date
Folder 5: Olympia Brown, Speeches and Writing, 1983
Folder 6: Luvisa Steck, Early Poetic Writings, no date
Folder 7: Genealogy and Local Histories, no date
Folder 8: National Association of Congregational Christian Churches (NACCC) Yearbook, 1980-1981
Folder 9: Church Activities, Membership Transfers, Conway Living Trust, 1948, 1992
Folder 10: Meeting Minutes, 1973-1979, 2001
Folder 11: Treasurers Reports: Net Worth, 2000-2002
Folder 12: Monthly Meeting Agenda and Pastors, 2000-2001
Folder 13: Notebook, no date
Folder 14: Edwin More: Genealogy and Family History, 1997
Folder 15: Eulogy and Card for Passing of Elmer Ferry, 1998
Folder 16: Tax Exemption Records, 1997
Folder 17: Directory, Address and Phone, 1986-1998
Folder 18: Early Records: Deeds, Constitution, Missionary's Journal Separation from Cemetery, 1850
Folder 19: Petition to Warrenville for Rezoning, 1990
Folder 20: Container List Inventory, 1993
Folder 21: Newspaper Articles and Clippings, no date
Folder 22: Appraisal Report, 1987
Folder 23: List of Former Ministers of Bigwoods, 1842-1926
Folder 24: African American Heritage, no date
Folder 25: Newsletter Copies, Children's Ministry, 1995
Folder 26: Newspaper Articles Concerning Eola Road Extension, 1998
Folder 27: Pastoral Agreement between Mr. Cate and Big Woods Congregational Church (BWCC), 2011
Folder 28: Petition to Aurora for Annexation, 2002
Folder 29: Correspondence: Caithamer to Pastor Nasgowitz, 2003
Folder 30: Church Membership Records, 1966-1996
Box 8
Folder 1: Women's Christian Temperance Union: Day Book, 1894-1906
Folder 2: History: Letters Reverend Gridley, 1835-1836
Folder 3: History: Letters Nathaniel Clark, 1833-1837
Folder 4: History: Letters Reverend Farnam, 1843
Folder 5: Pastor and Memorable Events List, 1922-1983
Folder 6: Bigwoods Purchase of Land, 1994
Folder 7: Meeting Minutes, May 16, 2010; April 2011-2014
Folder 8: Big Woods Cabinet Meeting Minutes, October 16, 2011-August 27, 2012
Oversize Drawer 24
Folder 1: DuPage County Map, 1862

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],
[Box 3],
[Box 4],
[Box 5],
[Box 6],
[Box 7],
[Box 8],
[Oversize Drawer 24],

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