Methodist Episcopal Church.—Forreston was made a station of the "Crane's Grove Mission" in September, 1853, Rev. H. Richie being appointed preacher in charge. Samuel Mitchell's family, who came in May, 1855, were the first representatives of this church to settle in the village. The first sermon was preached in July or August of that year, by Rev. Wm. Underwood, in the railroad depot. Meetings were held there until the Fall of 1856, when they were removed to the school house. Rev. C. B. Snedaker was appointed to this mission in 1855, but did not remain throughout the year, being succeeded by Rev. Christian First. In 1856, Rev. G. I. Bliss was appointed to " Crane's Grove" Circuit, and in this year the first class was formed at Forreston, consisting of Samuel Mitchell, Hannah Mitchell, Mr. and Mrs. H. G. Starr. Meetings were held in the school house for several years, and afterward in the United Brethren Church, until 1864.
The first Quarterly Conference was held at Forreston, March 21, 1857. Z. S. Kellogg preached frequently at Forreston during this year. Rev. Robert Brotherton was Pastor in 1857, and in this year Alonzo Campbell and wife, J. C. Gilbraith and wife, and others united with the church.
Then followed as Pastors, Revs. Hugh Ely, 1858; I. E. Hibbard, 1859-60 (Forreston and Brookville Circuit): Jonathan Clendenning, Assistant, 1860; M. F. HavermaJe, 1861-2 (Forreston Circuit): A. Cross, 1863; D. C. Howard, appointed, but made one visit only, and was succeeded by J. M. Clendenning, 1864; M. F. Havermale, 1865; Timothy L. Olmsted, 1866; Alonzo Newton, 1867-8; after which Forreston was made a station, with H. U. Reynolds Pastor, 1869-70; A. D. Field, 1871-2 (during these two years, a debt of $1,157, running from 1866 to 1873, was paid); G. L. Wiley, 1873; Isaac E. Springer, 1874-5; Bushby, 1876, who died after having the charge only a few weeks, and was followed by the present Pastor, Rev. H. J. Houston.
The church building was begun in 1863, and completed in May, 1864. It is a frame building, on the corner of B and Second streets, and was dedicated by Rev. Dr. Eddy. The present parsonage was erected in 1873.
Evangelieal Lutheran Church.—This church was organized, and a constitution adopted, on the 21st day of October, 1859. Rev. Ephraim Miller, Chairman. Rev. J. K. Bloom, Secretary of convention and pastor. Mission work had previously been done by Rev. J. G. Donmeyer, the pioneer minister in the northwestern part of the county. Members adopting the constitution: Thomas Botdorf, Matta Botdorf, Henry Dovenbarger, Ann Maria Dovenbarger, Charles M. Haller, Elizabeth Haller, Mrs. Sarah A. Garver, Mrs. Susan M. Hewitt, Mrs. Elizabeth Middlekauff, Mrs. Sophia Frost, Mrs. Ann Eichholtz, Mrs. John K. Bloom, and Benjamin F. Emrich. Charles M. Haller was elected Elder for three years, to which office he has been re-elected to the present date. Thomas Botdorf and Benjamin F. Emrich were elected Deacons. Provision having been made by the constitution to increase the number of officers as the needs of the congregation required to a limited extent, the present officers are: C. M. Haller, Nelson Hover and Jonathan Meyers, Elders; Henry Dovenbarger, Philip Smith and John Dovenbarger, Deacons. There have been added to the congregation since its organization 197 communing members, making the whole number 210, of whom sixty-four yet remain in good and regular standing within the bounds of the congregation. Five of the original members are in active service of the Master. The pastoral relation has been changed four times: Rev. John K. Bloom from 1859 to 1864; Rev. Reuben Weizer from 1764 to 1866', Rev. Nathaniel W. Lilly from 1867 to 1870; and Rev. W. H. Schoch from 1870 to the present time, having recently entered into the eighth year of service. The ehnrch building was built of brick, on the corner of " D " and Second Streets, in 1863 and '64; and in 1864, upon Rev. Bloom's leaving the charge, the society purchased his residence as a parsonage.
The Sabbath school was originally organized as a Union school on the 16th day of May, 1858. The first session was held in the district school house. Officers: E. J. Kingsbury, Superintendent; C. M. Haller, Assistant. At the first meeting there were enrolled eighty-seven members, of whom five remain in the school as officers, teachers and scholars, to wit: C. M. Haller, Superintendent; Seaton Halsey, Secretary and Librarian; Wm. S. A. Garver and Mrs. F. E. Halsey, Teachers, and Mrs. M. Clymer (then Mary Hiller) as a member of the Bible class.
There have been connected with the school, as shown by the records, 1,125 members, of whom 125 are now in connection therewith, making an average Sabbath attendance of 90.
The library numbers 434 volumes. The present officers are: C. M. Haller, Superintendent; A. B. Savage, Assistant Superintendent; Seaton Halsey, Secretary and Treasurer; G. B. Covell, Librarian; Frank Dovenbarger, Assistant.
The first withdrawal of membership was made by the organization of another Union school by the United Brethren and Methodist Episcopal, in the United Brethren Church. The next was by the Evangelical Association withdrawing and forming the Union Sunday School of the Evangelical Association. About this tune, the school became virtually an Evangelical Lutheran Sunday School, if not in form, in fact, so that on the llth day of September, A. D. 1871, a new constitution was adopted, and the name of Evangelical Lutheran Sabbath School of Forreston printed in its catalogues. Thus it has passed through two decades under the same superintendency, with the exception of one year, when Dr. J. B. E. Albright was Superintendent.
Zion's Reform Church, of the Reformed Church of the United States, was organized about 1857, by Rev. George Weber, he having been preceded in mission work by Rev. John A. Leis. Then followed as Pastors: Revs. Henry Bassler, George Weber again in 1859, Charles W. Seaman, Francis A. Edmonds, Charles Kuepper, Cyrus Cort, a supply, and C. G. A. Hullhorst, for one year, after whom came Rev. Daniel Lantz, who has continued five years to the present time.
. The brick church building, 38x54 feet in size, was erected in 1870 at a cost of $7,000, and is located on the comer of B and Third streets. Sabbath School was organized in January, 1874. The present parsonage was built in 1867", at a cost of $2,500.
The United Brethren in Christ—A local branch of this church was organized at the school house in Forreston. September 8,1858, by Rev. A. B. Frazier. the same year the church building on Fourth street was commenced. The then consisted of Michael and Margaret Bovey, David and Catherine Reinhart, Jacob Reinhart, Levi and Sarah Stouffer, Mary Ann Stoufier, E. 0. Baxter, Josiah Mullen, Elijah and Catherine Detweiler. Then followed as preachers the following: Revs. S. S. Osterhoudt, 1858-9; T. B. Burrows 1860; Moses Crum, 1861; Aquilla Davis, 1862; J. K. M. Looker, 1863-4-5- C. Wendel, 1866-7; J. J. Johnson, 1868-9; J. H. Young, 1870; Samuel F Medler, 1871; T. F. Hallowell, 1872-3; W. H. Chandler, 1874; D. H. Healy 1875, now Presiding Elder; J. W. Burd, 1876; E. D. Palmer, 1877; Job Darr, 1878, who still continues in charge. The present membership is fifty, seven. A Sabbath school will soon be organized.
Bishop's Church of the Evangelical Associatian.—This society was organized in 1860, and services were held in the school house until 1869, when the present church was erected at a cost of $7,000. It is a frame building with commodious auditorium and a basement for Sabbath school uses, situated on the southwest corner of Front and "E" streets.
.In 1860, Rev. Mr. Freeden became Pastor, and after two years was succeeded by Rev. H. Bucks, for one year. The following Pastors then succeeded to the charge in their respective order: Rev. J. Dangle, two years; Rev. A. Nebe, one year; Rev. A. Staley, two years; Rev. Mr. Stamm, one year; Rev. J. W. Moore, two years; Rev. S. Schwartz, one year; Rev. J. G. Klein-heit, two years; Rev. L. B. Tobias, two years ; Rev. C. H. Cramley, two years, who has just completed his term, and will be followed by another appointment. The membership at present is about seventy-five.
The Sabbath school was organized in 1869, with Rev. A. Staley as first Superintendent. The present officer in that capacity is L. J. Bowers.
Bishop J. Long was a resident of Forreston, at the time of the erection of the church building, and from him the church took its name as "Bishop's Church." He died in June, 1869, the beloved leader of the entire brotherhood.
The Reformed CJiurch was organized some years before the coming of the first regular Pastor, by Rev. J. Muller, of Silver Creek, Stephenson County, and was then known as the " Reformed Protestant Dutch Church," but was changed to the present name in 1867. Rev. J. H. Karston settled as Pastor in 1865.
As the first records are in the Holland language, it is difficult to ascertain the particulars of this pastorate. Services were also conducted in the Holland language by the first Pastor, since when they have been held in the German tongue.
In 1866, the church was erected and dedicated the same year by Rev. J. Muller. The first officers were J. R. Heeren, B. Daneks, Ja'eob Smith and M. Reintsema.
In 1867, Rev. J. B. DeBeer was called to the charge and remained for two years. In 1871, Rev. F. J. Reichert served the congregation for a term of six months. The present Pastor, Rev. F. E. Schlieder, has filled this pulpit since 1872.
The Sabbath school in connection with the church was organized in 1869. but as many of the church members are residents of the country, it does not maintain a very large attendance.
The Church of God have services in Geer's Hall, every Sunday and Thursday evening, under the charge of Rev. J. A. Smith.
History of Ogle County-1878
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