Christ Episcopal Church One Of Earliest, This Faith, In State
In the history of the Episcopal church of Illinois, Rushville stands pre-eminent as one of the first towns to establish a church of that denomination. Altho the diocese of Illinois was not organized until March 9, 1835, Christ Church parish, Rushville, was organized in February, 1834. At that time there were only three or four other Episcopal churches in the state of Illinois, and when Bishop Chase, the first bishop of Illinois, made his visitation to the state, Rushville was included in his itinerary.
Little is known of the early history of the church in Rushville, but it is a matter of record that a church was erected, and on March 19, 1837, was consecrated. There is added interest in the local history of the church for the reason that the annual convention of the diocese of Illinois was held in Rushville, June 4 and 5, 1838, and again in 1842. In the latter year, church records reveal that there were but 491 communicants in the entire state.
It is impossible to review the early history of this church, for all of the older members have long since passed away. As early as 1840 the church maintained its own building, and Rev. Robert J. Walker served the parishes of Rushville and Beardstown, giving alternate Sundays to each. He was succeeded by Rev. Clotworthy, who remained for a few years, and after the year 1850 regular services ceased and the building reverted to the donors. About the year 1898, Rushville was made a station in the missionary field, and regular services were held every fortnight in a mission room which had been fitted up for the local congregation.
For many years Rev. B. E. Diggs of Peoria made regular trips to Rushville to conduct services in a room up over what is now the Rowland & Sons store. This location was used as a meeting place until 1910, when the new church was dedicated at its present location on West Washington street.
This church was given to the small congregation by Miss Virginia Scripps, who let a contract for same in July, 1909, George A. Whitson being the general contractor. Oak timbers from a dismantled barn on the old Scripps homestead farm (that is now Scripps park) were used in construction of this church, which is 26x42 feet in dimensions, of mission style, and with stucco exterior finish.
The building given by Miss Scripps in memory of her parents, who were originally members of the Episcopalian faith, was consecrated on May 29, 1910, by Bishop Edward Fawcett of Quincy.
Shortly after completion of this church, Rev. J. M. D. Davidson of Macomb was assigned in charge of this parish, and he held services regularly for a number of years. He was followed by two resident pastors, Rev. Stephen Gardiner and Rev. H. A. Burgess. When the latter retired, Father J. K. Putt of Griggsville was assigned here as non-resident pastor, and he has been coming here at irregular intervals for about eight years.
The Rushville Times, October 7, 1948
The Rushville Times by permission.
Copyright 1999-2006 Judi Gilker; all rights reserved. For personal use only. Commercial use of the information contained in these pages is strictly prohibited without prior permission. If copied, this copyright must appear with the information.
Return to Episcopal Church index
Return to Rushville Township index