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Big Woods Congregational Church


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

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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

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[Box 1],
[Box 2],
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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

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