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Big Woods Congregational Church

Overview

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
Congregationalists
Frontier and pioneer life
Prohibition
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 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

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