Bader Christian Church
Bader, Schuyler County, Illinois


By William Fowler


This place was first visited by Beverly Curry, in 1836 or ’37, the first Christian preacher, who preached at Joseph Dennis’ house. He preached occasionally in the neighborhood, either in the school-house or in the dwelling-houses, first one and then another--Philip Mulkey, Foster, and others--up to the time they organized a congregation, which was done in 1840, by Beverly Curry, with a membership of 31, who, with testimonials of a good moral and Christian character, on a profession of their faith in Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God, pledged themselves to God and to one another, according to the will of God under the government of the Prince of Peace, to whom be glory and honor everlasting, Amen.

It was then called No. 1 congregation; now it is called Bader, since the railroad came here. Elder G. P. Wilson was the first pastor employed at a salary in 1873. Henry Clay Littleton was the next in 1878 and ’79, in all two and a half years. We have had other preaching brethren interspersed along for a year or more at a time, but not on a stipulated salary--Elder Benjamin Walton, Elder Crofford, Joseph B. Royal, Wm. Grissom, President J. C. Reynolds, Henry Smither, J. Morgan, J. Carroll Stork, N. E. Cory, James M. Tennyson. M. D. Sharples is our present pastor in 1882. We have a membership of 87; church in a flourishing condition. The church building was erected in 1876 at a cost $1000; will seat 200 persons, and is insured for $900.

Source: The Combined History of Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, 1882
Transcribed by Carol Longwell Miller for Schuyler County ILGenWeb


submitted by Shirley Timberhill - Shirley there is more to this article.


History of the Church
  At the above program was read a history of the Bader Christian church written and prepared by Miss Cora Bader, and which is printed in full as follows:

  The year 1940 marks the centennial milestone in the history of the Christian church, in which we are assembled today.  We have met to celebrate the occasion and to pay fitting tribute to the memory of that little band of pioneers, who, coming to a new and strange land, must have realized, more than at any time in their lives, the necessity for the protection and guidance of God.  They wanted to worship him and to receive His blessing.  Their pathways in this new land were beset by many obstacles, danger confronted them on every hand.  Many of them lived far from village and far from each other; transportation by foot or horseback thru wooded paths.

  However, history tells us that in the year 1838, under the leadership of Elder Beverly Curry, this group met at the home of Samuel Kirkham on Sugar Creek for divine worship.  Bro. Curry met from time to time with this group during the next two years, meeting from house to house, alternating between the homes of Joseph Dennis, Phillip Mulkey, Mr. Foster and others.  In 1840 at the home of Joseph Dennis, Elder Curry organized a congregation, consisting of thirty-one members.

  In 1849 a school house was erected and permission was given the congregation to use it for a meeting place.  This served them for many years.  About this time a Sunday school was started, which has ever been a great factor in the growth and progress of the church.  Prior to the building of the church house other visiting ministers besides Elder Curry served this congregation at various times.  Among them are the names of William Grissom, H. C. Littleton, E. P. Wilson, Dr. Benjamin Walton and others.

  Bro. Grissom seems to have come to the congregation at a time when religion fervor was waning.  Many of the former members had united with other churches in nearby villages and others were discouraged or indifferent.  So it behooved the faithful few who remained, to call into service a man of strong persuasive power.  This man was William Grissom.  He began a revival and personally interviewed the members who had gone to other churches, asking them to return to their home congregation.  Many of them responded and others upon confession of their faith in Christ, were added to the church.  This was in 1872.

First Church Built in 1876

  In 1873 the congregation called to their pulpit Elder E. P. Wilson, who was the first pastor employed, receiving a salary.  Two years later, 1875-1876, H. C. Littleton was chosen and during his pastorate, the first church building was erected, with a seating capacity of 200.  The cost of this building was $1,000 and carried an insurance policy of $900.  The building of this church was given substantial impetus by the offer of the plot of land upon which the church now stand.  This was a part of the Samuel Fowler estate.  Mrs. Fowler, a devout sister of the faith, brought about the transfer of this property to the trustees of the Christian church.  The transaction was made by means of a forfeit bond which required that the building be erected within the period of two years.  The trustees at this time, were Theodore Beck, W. K. Jones and H. O. Bader.

  Of the charter members of the early organization there is no definite record, but from information gathered from various sources we list the following brethren and their families: Joseph Dennis, Philip Melkey, Mr. Foster, T. T. Lancaster, Henry Venters and W. K. Jones.

History of Charter Members

  A brief sketch has been compiled about the above brethren.  Joseph Dennis, who lived a short distance from the present site of the church and which property now belongs to Milton Cassel, was born in Butler county, Ohio, in 1811 of Scotch-Irish parentage.  He came to Illinois in 1830 and purchased a farm.  He appears to have been a man of high ideals, given to hospitality and endorsing all things that stood for the advancement of mankind.  He educated his son, James, in the best school this country afforded in his day, having sent him to Cottage Seminary in Rushville, the Academy of Macomb and finishing in our own Christian college of Abington, Illinois, a doctor of law.  Mrs. Dennis was Mary Kirkland and they were married before coming to Illinois.

  Of Philip Mulkey and Mr. Foster, we were unable to obtain any history but to them who are recorded as having so hospitably opened the doors of their homes for the gathering together of God’s people, may due praise and gratitude, be accorded.

  Uncle Thompson Lancaster, as he was familiarly called, will be remembered by some of us here today.  His was a long and useful life, having rounded out the ninety-nine years of his life before he was called home.  He came to this community from Kentucky in 1828.  He married here and reared a family.  He was always closely identified with the cause of Christ.  He served as one of the first-elders of this congregation in which capacity he remained for many years.  One of his great grandsons, Lawrence Royer, holds that same office in this church at the present time.

Two Oldest Members

  Equally loved and admired by this community was Uncle Henry Venters and Uncle Billy Jones and their faithful wives.  We group them together because they came about the same time to this community and were closely connected by family ties.  They were both farmers, each having purchased considerable acreage from the government and their homes were several miles distant from the village and in opposite directions.  Uncle was born in 1812 near Carthage, Tennessee.  He was married in 1833 to Miss Elizabeth Jones.  In 1834 they came to this vicinity and they reared a family of six children, five of whose names appear in our church records.  Their youngest son, Maro, lived his entire life in this community and he identified himself early in life with the church where he was constant and loyal.  He was early ordained as elder, serving in that capacity some forty-five years.  He possessed unique wisdom and often met problems that arose in the church with a droll humor that had the same effect as oil thrown on troubled waters.  Equally loyal to the cause of Christ was his faithful wife, whom today we honor as our second oldest member, Sister Maggie Venters.

  Uncle Billy Jones was born in Kentucky in 1812 and came to this territory in 1835.  His life, too, is linked with our church history since it’s beginning, contributing liberally to it’s support and serving in an official capacity during his active life.  He and his good wife were the personification of hospitality, this virtue being handed down liberally to many of their descendants, as many of us can testify.  We have with us today a son of this pioneer couple whom we honor as our oldest living member, Bro. W. B. Jones, who needs no introduction.  His life of more than eighty year has been lived in our midst; a man of true public spirit, a Christian gentleman.

  Samuel Fowler and Jeremiah Bader came together from Ohio on horseback in 1834, and entered the land which later became their homesteads.  They then went back to Ohio.  Mr. Fowler returned, in 1840, bring his family.  They were soon identified with the church and were among it’s most faithful members.  Mr. Fowler’s picturesque old homestead is still standing in plain view of the church.

  Jeremiah Bader returned with his family in 1845 and lived only a few years after his arrival.  Shortly before his death he contributed a plot of ground for a cemetery where many of the Consecrated Christians to whom we pay homeage today have been laid to rest.  Mr. Bader left his wife with a large family to rear.  She early united with the church and most of her family followed her example.  Her youngest son, Oscar {Henry Oscar}, served the church as deacon and elder most of his life.  This family has given to the ministry an outstanding evangelist in the person of Dr. Jesse M. Bader, who was born in our village and received his first Christian training in our Sunday school.

  Dr. Benjamin Walton was born in Ohio in 1811.  At the age of twenty-three he married Mary John of Pennsylvania.  They came with their families. in the early 1840’s.  Dr. Walton was a physician and preacher; he early saw the necessity of a proper place for caring for the sick and erected a small hospital on his own premises, where he cared for those unable to be properly cared for in their own homes.  He was a loyal supporter of the church and gave liberally of his means as well as personal service.  In his will he left to this church a fund in perpetuity for evangelism.

  And so on 'down the line, would that we had time to mention them all, but this is not possible at this time.

Ministers Serving This Church

  Other ministers that served this congregation besides those before mentioned were: M. D. Sharples, who became a resident of our village and will be remembered by some of our  members today.  J. B. Royal held many revival meetings for this congregation and it is told that in one such meeting 100 souls were brought to Christ and as far as was known none of these ever fell from grace; his record shows 5,000 converts to his credit.  Bro. Royal lived a long and useful life and has left with this community memories of a life lived for Christ.  D. E. Hughes first came to this congregation in 1888.  He held a three weeks’ meeting with thirty-two additions.  He was a forceful speaker and held his audience spellbound.  He was talented in music, in which field there seemed to be a splendid future, but he rejected it to be able to devote all his efforts in winning souls for Christ.

  Other splendid preachers we have had are Isaac Beckelhamer, C. C. Spencer, Thomas Weaver, J. T. Davis, J. W. Carpenter, J.W. Keefer, L. R. Toomas, C. H. Shiplett, Will F. Shaw, O. C. Bolman, Guy Ferguson, Paul Bolman, Earl Hines, G. W. Zink, Lee Maynard, Joseph Burgard and E. M. Gallagher, the last two mentioned being with us today.

New Church Built In 1929

  The last service was held in August, 1928.  The building was then dismantled and services were held in the Ladies Aid hall.  The new buildings was erected at a cost of $4,150 and on May 26, 1929, the church was dedicated with Bro. W. W. Vose officiating.  A roll call showed a membership of 108.  The congregation is happy to have this splendid new building well equipped for carrying on the work of God's people.  The membership at this time numbers 128 with 98 resident and 30 non-resident members.
  This church in its history has had its joys, and it’s sorrows, its sunshine and rain, but the faithful group have realized down thru the years that God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our life through,  God hath not promised sun without rain,  Joy without sorrow, peace without pain But God hath promised strength for the day,  Rest for the labor, light for the way,  Grace for the trials, help from above,
 Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

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.

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