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Congregational Church of Batavia Records


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Box 1

Box 2

Box 3

Box 4

Box 5

Box 6

Box 7

Addendum 1

Addendum 2

Addendum 3

Addendum 4

Addendum 5

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Congregational Church of Batavia Records, 1835-2017 | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: Congregational Church of Batavia Records, 1835-2017

ID: RHC/RC/082

Extent: 10.5 Linear Feet. More info below.

Date Acquired: 01/27/1981. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Batavia (Ill.), Batavia Congregational Church, Brown, Amelia, Brown, J.G., Church of the Big and Little Woods, Congregational Church (Batavia), Congregationalists, Diaries-- 1840-1869, Diaries-- 1870-1909, Diaries-- 1910-1960, Kane County (Ill), United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

Recording an important aspect of Batavia history, the records of the Congregational Church document the establishment and history of one of the oldest churches in Kane County.  Church/Congregational Society minutes (1835-1966) comprise the major series of the collection detailing church business concerns such as acceptance of members, committee appointments, church repairs, and reports from the church treasurer and various church organizations.  Trustee meeting minutes (1933-1990) supplement the church minutes with financial reports, stewardship plans, and committee reports.  Although the collection lacks a comprehensive series of financial records, several church and trustee treasurer's account books record expenditures and donations of church members.

Building records comprise a small series in the collection; only materials documenting the construction of an education facility in 1966 are available.  Architectural correspondence, construction proposals, and stewardship promotional materials reveal building alterations made during 1965 and 1966. Numerous oversize architectural drawings detailing construction plans for the project are also contained in the collection.

A fourth series in the collection comprises church organization records.  Minutes and committee reports from groups such as the Ladies Aid Society, Women's Fellowship, and Delta Alphas outline the service and social orientation of these organizations.  Church bulletins (1942-1974) supply further information on church group functions as well as listing the orders and themes of Sunday services.

In addition to church records, the collection includes records of several prominent church members.  Personal materials and diaries of Amelia Brown, church clerk from 1881-1929, record the activities and thoughts of a respected church servant.  J.G. Brown's correspondence and Civil War military records (1845-1869) provide insight into the lifestyle of a young man during the uncertain years of the mid-nineteenth century.  These materials also include over forty portraits of various church members.  Letters of transfer and dismissal (1835-1920) from various churches across the nation reflect the congregation's constant growth throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

A series of addenda were added at a later date which expands on the content of the previously donated records to 2016.

The DVD in Addendum 4 has been copied to V:\ARCHIVES\RCElectronicArchives\RC 082 Batavia Congregational Church. Access is available to researchers in the Center’s reading room.

Collection Historical Note

On August 8, 1835, Reverend N.C. Clark and Reverend Ralph Gridley organized the Church of the Big and Little Woods with fourteen members in Thompson Paxton's home southeast of Batavia: This group affiliated with the Presbyterian Church.  During the first five years of the Church's existence, members worshiped in their homes or in the schoolhouse without a permanent minister.  In 1840, fifty-three persons of all denominations subscribed over $400 for a church building.  Because of the large number of nonmember donors, the membership created a Congregational Society to include all subscribers regardless of denomination.  Society members enjoyed representation on the church board of trustees.  The Batavia townspeople dedicated the new building on January 29, 1841.  By late 1842, Reverend Lucian Farnum became the first permanent pastor.  The church served various needs of the community by permitting other denominations to worship on the premises and providing the building for use as the first district school.  In 1843, the church members voted to change their affiliation from Presbyterian to Congregational, renaming their church the Congregational Church and Society of Batavia.

By 1856, growth of population and industry in Batavia increased the congregation's size and resources.  The membership voted to construct a second church building in 1855 and raised $8,000 in subscriptions.  Builders substituted native Fox Valley limestone as the primary construction material in place of the standard wood frame.  At the final cost of $13,401 the membership dedicated the new church on September 1, 1856.  A violent storm blew off the

church steeple in 1877 and it was not replaced until 1974.  The congregation added a new Christian Education unit to the building in 1966.

During its 146 year history, the Congregational Church of Batavia responded to the needs of its members through worship services, baptisms, and marriages.  Dedicated to Christian Education, the church's Sunday School and Pilgrim Fellowship provided religious instruction to children aged three to seventeen.  In addition, church organizations such as the Women's Fellowship and Ladies Aid Society sponsored many charitable functions and enlightened members on various topics ranging from missionary work to spiritual fulfillment.  Today, the Congregational Church of Batavia continues to hold a respected place in the Batavia community.

Subject/Index Terms

Batavia (Ill.)
Batavia Congregational Church
Brown, Amelia
Brown, J.G.
Church of the Big and Little Woods
Congregational Church (Batavia)
Diaries-- 1840-1869
Diaries-- 1870-1909
Diaries-- 1910-1960
Kane County (Ill)
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865

Administrative Information

Repository: Northern Illinois University

Accruals: Additional records were added on various dates by the church archivists.

Alternate Extent Statement: 57 digital files (2.87MB)

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

Use Restrictions: Property rights in the collection are held by the Congregational Church of Batavia; literary rights are dedicated to the public.

Technical Access Note: Electronic records may be accessed on the computer in the Center’s reading room.

Acquisition Source: Reverend Arthur Christofersen

Acquisition Method: Reverend Arthur Christofersen deposited the records of the Congregational Church of Batavia in the Northern Illinois Regional History Center on January 27, 1981.

Related Materials:

The Regional History Center holds other Illinois church history collections including Unitarian Fellowship, DeKalb (RC 13); First Congregational Church, DeKalb (RC 17); First Methodist Church, DeKalb (RC 24); St. Paul's Episcopal Church, DeKalb (RC 55); First Lutheran Church, Rockford (RC 83); Salem Lutheran Church, Sandwich (RC 84); Trinity Lutheran Church, Mt. Morris (RC 104); and Wheatland-Salem United Methodist Church (RC 119).

See RC 311 of the Big Woods Congregational Church, a branch of the Batavia Church, for additional information.

Related Publications: Several local church histories can be found in the Center's reference book collection as well.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],
[Box 3],
[Box 4],
[Box 5],
[Box 6],
[Box 7],
[Addendum 1],
[Addendum 2],
[Addendum 3],
[Addendum 4],
[Addendum 5],

Addendum  1
Box 8
Folder 1: Church History, 1835-1985
Folder 2: Historical Booklet Commemorating the  Centennial of the Batavia Congregational Church, 1935
Folder 3: A Brief History of the Big Woods Congregational Church, Naperville, Illinois
Folder 4: Church Brochures, no date
Folder 5: Church Mergers, 1960-1961
Folder 6: Centennial Celebration, June 14-16, 1935
Folder 7: Sesquicentennial Celebration Pageant, September 28, 1985
Folder 8: History of Church Antiques, no date
Folder 9: Forty-Five Years a Parish Minister by Ray T. Caldwell, 1957
Folder 10: Paper by Rev. Porter French, no date
Folder 11: Gustafson, John; Memoirs, 1953, 1974-1978
Folder 12: Bicentennial Poster, 1976
Folder 13: Constitution, 1991
Folder 14: Constitution Revision, no date
Folder 15-16: Correspondence, 1946-1992
Folder 17-18: Annual Reports, 1968-1992
Folder 19: Yearbook Reports, 1963-1973
Folder 20: Probate Papers, 1928-1956
Folder 21: Bank Book; Chicago Relief Fund Account Book, 1873-1876, 1871
Box 9
Folder 1: Budgets, 1936-1973
Folder 2: Financial Records, 1936-1973
Folder 3-4: Treasurer's Reports, 1974-1988
Folder 5: Financial Secretary Reports, 1937-1957
Folder 6: Loan Data, 1971-1975
Folder 7: Mortgage Loan, 1972-1973
Folder 8: Minister Salary, 1972
Folder 9: Memorial Fund and Gifts, 1892-1952
Folder 10: Burnham Memorial Fund, 1978
Folder 11: Carney-Hawse Endowment, 1990
Folder 12: Stewardship Committee, 1873, 1968-1972
Folder 13: S.S. Stewardship, 1992
Folder 14: Annual Financial Campaign, 1976-1979
Folder 15: Church Boards and Activities, 1993-1994
Folder 16: Board of Trustee, Minutes, 1920-1933
Box 10
Folder 1-7: Board of Trustee Papers, Minutes, Treasurer's Reports, Finance Secretary Reports, 1945-1974
Box 11
Folder 1-2: Board of Trustee, Minutes, 1977-1990
Folder 3: Board of Trustee, Correspondence, 1936-1971
Folder 4: Board of Trustee, Trust Deed, Mortgage Loan, Investments, 1942-1957
Folder 5-9: Diaconate Minutes, 1953-1990
Folder 10: Board of Christian Education, Annual Report, 1970
Folder 11: Board of Christian Education, Minutes, 1988, 1990
Folder 12: Christian Outreach, Minutes, 1975-1990
Box 12
Folder 1-2: Church Council, Minutes, 1971-1991
Folder 3: Past Moderators Committee, 1986
Folder 4: Pulpit Committee Material, 1949-1962
Folder 5: Special Personnel Committee, 1979
Folder 6: Ushers Reports, 1984-1989
Folder 7: Logos Program, 1991
Folder 8: Thursday School, 1974-1979
Folder 9: Mayflower Circle, 1969-1970
Folder 10: Pilgrim Fellowship, 1969-1970
Folder 11: Women's Fellowship Directories, 1974, 1976-1977
Folder 12: Women's Fellowship, May Fellowship Board, May 1977
Folder 13-16: Women's Fellowship, Minutes, 1944-1959
Box 13
Folder 1-4: Women's Fellowship, Minutes, 1960-1988
Folder 5: Building Fund Treasurer's reports, 1943-1944, 1948-1957
Folder 6: Dedication of New Church Wing, New Steeple, Organ, and Rededication of Church Building, 1956-1974
Folder 7: Plat, 1964
Folder 8: Service reproduction and distribution, 1972
Folder 9: Steeple plans, 1973
Folder 10: Cornerstone, list of contents, 1974
Folder 11: Church Architectural Drawings (5), 1948, 1973
Folder 12: Church Rendering, Church School Addition
Folder 13-14: Church Directories, 1970-1992
Folder 15: Pictorial Directories, 1980, 1990, 1993
Folder 16: Church Members
Folder 17: Lucile Gustafson 75th Anniversary of  Membership, 1990
Folder 18: James A. Clark Retirement Banquet, April 29 1992
Folder 19: The Tower, 1958-1974
Box 14
Folder 1-3: The Tower, 1987-1993
Folder 4-9: Church Bulletins, 1974-1993
Folder 10: Programs, 1986, 1992, 1993
Folder 11: Certificate - Tri City Family Services, 1987
Folder 12: Boy Scout Charter and Rosters, 1916-1945
Box 15
Folder 1-5: Newspaper Clippings, 1950-1993
Folder 6: Sketches by John Gustafson
Folder 7: Thank You Notes to Thursday School from Alice Gustafson, no date
Folder 8: Ink Rendering of Church by Adolph Wink and Christmas Card
Folder 9: Notes of Appreciation, 1969-1971
Folder 10: Report of United Church of Christ, 1969
Folder 11: Articles of Faith, Names of Members of First or North Church of Christ in Portsmouth, 1842
Box 16
Folder 1: Photographs: Church Photographs (2), 1939, no date
Folder 2: Photographs: Aerial Views - Church Steeple (6), 1990
Folder 3: Photographs: Front Door - Poor Paint Job (6), 1990
Folder 4: Photographs: Church Steeple Removal (29), August 1, 1990
Folder 5: Photographs: Steeple Reinstallation (57), November 14-16, 1990
Folder 6: Photographs: Interior & Exterior of Church (17), 1991, no date
Folder 7: Photographs: New Members (13), 1986-1987
Folder 8-9: Photographs: Members (22), 1987, 1989, 1990, no date
Folder 10: Photographs: Members of the Year, Ellen Burnell (6); Annual Meeting (6), April 30, 1989; April 30, 1979
Folder 11: Photographs: Banquet - Batavia's Citizen of the Year, Ruth Burnham (7), 1992
Folder 12-14: Photographs: Sunday School Classes (43), 1985-1991
Box 17
Folder 1: Photographs: Sunday School Classes (8), no date
Folder 2: Photographs: Confirmation Sunday & Confirmation Classes (5), June 3, 1990 , 1986, 1991
Folder 3: Photographs: Children's Sermon  (3), 1991
Folder 4: Photographs: Youth Choirs (4), 1989
Folder 5: Photographs: Junior Choir Photographs, 1939
Folder 6: Photographs: Pageant Players Photograph, April 11, 1923
Folder 7: Photographs: Childrens' Play - Golden Gate (13), no date
Folder 8: Photographs: Sesquicentennial Balloon Launch (1), 1985
Folder 9: Photographs: Christmas Decorating (17); Christmas Week (13), 1988, 1988
Folder 10: Photographs: Christmas Decorating (5), 1990
Folder 11: Photographs: Spaghetti Supper (4), 1987
Folder 12: Photographs: Spaghetti Supper(1); Church Picnic  (8), 1988, 1988
Folder 13: Photographs: Surprise Party for Arnold (6), no date
Folder 14: Photographs: Over/Under 30's Event (7), no date
Folder 15: Photographs: Blue Angels Bowling (8), 1988
Folder 16: Photographs: Senior High Rafting Trip (14), 1988
Folder 17: Photographs: Senior Breakfast (2), June 10, 1990
Folder 18: Photographs: Ski Trip (1), no date
Box 18
Folder 1: Photographs: Youth Lock-In (6), December 1986
Folder 2: Photographs: Youth Lock-In (2), December 3, 1988
Folder 3: Photographs: Youth Trip (9), no date
Folder 4: Photographs: 3rd and 4th Graders Donation to Interfaith Food Pantry (3); Youth Raft Trip (5), 1985-1986, June 1988
Folder 5: Photographs: Youth Program Photographs (3), 1990
Folder 6: Photographs: Elizabeth Circle (1), 1988-1989
Folder 7: Photographs: Delta Alpha Photograph, circa 1940-1944
Folder 8: Photographs: United Church of Fox Valley (7), 1989
Folder 9: Photographs: Unidentified Church - interior (2), no date
Folder 10: Photographs: Negatives for Members and Children's Play - Golden Gate (7 strips), 1987
Folder 11: Photographs: Slides (19)
Item 1: Replacement of Church Steeple (video), September 4, 1974
Oversize Drawer 16
Folder 4
Item 1: Congregational Photograph, September 20, 1981
Item 2: Architectural Drawings (44), 1934-1974
Item 3: Letters of Transfer and Dismissal, 1835-1866
Item 4: J.G. Brown Correspondence, 1848-1856
Item 5: Sketch of Batavia, Illinois, no date

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[Box 2],
[Box 3],
[Box 4],
[Box 5],
[Box 6],
[Box 7],
[Addendum 1],
[Addendum 2],
[Addendum 3],
[Addendum 4],
[Addendum 5],

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