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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 3
Box 20
Folder 49: History of Church, 1835-2010
Folder 50: Church Brochures and Programs, 1915-2008
Folder 51: Boy Scout Troop History and Charters, 1933-2012
Folder 52: Dedication Day Services Pamphlet, January 16, 1966
Folder 53: Church Memorial Garden Registration and Certificates
Folder 54: Congregational Church DVDs, 2005-2012
Folder 55: Church Directories, 2006, 2010
Box 21
Folder 1-4: The Tower, 2007-2010

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],

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