I find that even at the ripe old age of 46 the mind is a terrible thing to waste. Television is nothing more than mindless entertainment and the reading material I find lacks a lot to be desired. With today’s modern English lacking much of its former grace and elegance I find myself reading old classics online. So many beautiful words are never even used these days.
While reading this evening I learned three new words.
I spend much of my free time studying my two favorite subjects family genealogy and history. There are so many free digitized books on the internet studying in the comfort and quiet of one’s own home has never been easier. With much of my family’s history being in Illinois I have consumed many hours studying that great state especially the Peoria, Washington, and Bloomington areas.
Books I have read
Books I am currently reading
Where to find digitized books
My Cousin Delia Miller Is the 6th Person In This Photo
Matilda Miller, “Aunt Till”
My Cousin Delia Miller Is the 11th Person On The Back Row
Have you ever heard of a Congregational church before? Neither had I until one day I found this book on The History of The First Congregational Church Of Peoria, Illinois 1834-1910, Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Book. I have thumbed thru its pages and read it thoroughly often wondering why I had the possession of it. Mom has a book shelf with many old books on it and since I am very interested in rare and antiquarian books I frequent it when I am visiting. She didn’t know why she had the book, but after noticing my interest in it told me I could have it. After researching my family history and finding old obituaries and other documents on the internet with family names in them I realized why I now possess this book and I have discovered that many of my family members belonged to that church Matilda Miller, “Aunt Till” and her daughter, my cousin Delia Miller and several Fash’s which I believe are relatives. I have commenced going thru the pictures contained in the book and found several of Delia Miller and one of Matilda, Aunt Till. I never had a problem spotting photos of Delia Miller as she bore a remarkable resemblance to My Great Grandmother Elizabeth Ann Fash Willis Ingersoll. I am blessed to have found such a remarkable treasure and will keep it always.
The First Congregational Church Of Peoria, Illinois got its beginning in December of 1834. It was first known as The Main Street Presbyterian Church. Peoria was mostly an uninhabited Prairie at that time and was a small village of not more than twenty or twenty five log cabins and eight or ten wood frame houses. In the center was the courthouse which was a mere 14 by 16 feet in size. During the week the law was dispensed. The prisoners were kept in the cellar and when there were no prisoners the cellar was overtaken by sheep, cattle and horses. On Sunday the courthouse became the place for preaching and worship. Split logs standing on pegs were the first pews. Jonathan Goodenough Porter, a Calvinistic Methodist was the first preacher. The citizens of Peoria desired a different kind of Pastor one who would not only preach to them but one who would care for them and administer regularly the ordinances of the church marriages, baptisms, communion, dedications, funerals, and things of that nature. These desires were stirred in them by the fervent preaching of two young missionaries Reverends Flavel Bascom and Romulus Barnes. The church was organized on December 28, 1834. Moses Pettengill and Enoch Cross were the first Elders. The original church was compromised of a mixture of Congregationalists and Presbyterians, the Congregationalists being in the majority. In spite of that fact the church took on a Presbyterian form of government. The church was sometimes referred to as the “Abolitionist Church” as most of the abolitionists in Peoria at that time were members of the church. The church suffered considerable hardships because of their anti slavery veiws and the membership dwindled down to a precious few, but still the church went on and remained a Presbyterian church until 1847 when by vote it became a Congregational Church and was renamed The Main Street Congregational Church. In 1875 the church was reorganized and renamed The First Congregational church and flourished greatly until 1936 when the church was totally destroyed by the massive fire that consumed it. After considerable time was spent in thinking on what to do the church was invited to worship with the Second Presbyterian Church. Not long after that the two churches began talking of uniting and a federation agreement was drafted the two churches merged and in 1937 became The First Federated Church bringing together the best of the Congregational Church and the Presbyterian Church.
One thing I found of interest while researching the churches history was the old anti slavery bell which had first been used for many years for the signaling of the opening of the draw bridge for passing boats. Afterwards it had been in the hands of the Peoria Bridge Association. M. M. Aiken realized the historic value of the old bell and donated it to the church where it was mounted and placed on The Congregational Church in 1836 with the inscription “The First Bell Heard In Peoria For God, Freedom And Native Land.” The old bell was destroyed in the same fire that destroyed the old church. These old church bells remind me of the Jewish “Shofar”, the rams horn which was used to signal the people for many things one of which was a call to worship God. We should find and restore these old bells and place them on our churches and ring them every Sunday morning as a reminder to us of the old principals which the founding fathers of our country lived by and our call to worship the one true and living God!
Grandma Willis and GG Aunt Laura
GG Aunt Laura and Grandma Willis
Today I was out at mom’s reading Aunt Laura’s diary. Hers was handwritten and mine on the computer. Nevertheless it’s still the same, each of us writing what our heart remembered about the day. She in her way and I in mine. It seems that to each of us it was the simple things in life that mattered most. Writing letters, chatting with sisters, special moments with friends, remembering smiles and happy days gone by. I want my life to be measured by more than the jewels I wore, my home, my clothes, the type of car I drove, or my bank account. So I’ll say, “Laura, thanks for the memories. They are more precious to me than anyone could ever know.”
If only you were here right now
And I could see you smile awhile
How happy I would be-
Grandmother and Granddaughter
Sharing a special moment in time-
Yes, oh yes, how happy I would be!
John and Grandma Ingersoll May 31, 1942 At Laura’s
Grandma Ingersoll, Uncle Charlie Fash, Aunt Laura Wolf 1919
Grandma Ingersoll in 1977 At Aunt Laura’s Apartment
Grandma Ingersoll, John, and Aunt Laura Taken Oct. 23, 1949 At CMR-126 Crost Rd. Peoria Ill.
Betty Lois Howard “Mom” and Grandma Ingersoll 1900 7th In Peoria Illinois Oct. 27 1952
Wendy, Debby, and Jennifer Howard, Grandma Ingersoll November 2, 1968
Jesse Lagree, Aunt Laura, Grandma Losche, Grandma Ingersoll
GG Aunt Laura Wolf, Cousin Irma Habecker Berger, GGG Aunt Louise Matthison, G Grandma Ingersoll Sept. 2 1926 At Aunt Suzie’s In Morton, Illinois
Fash/Faesch/ Boniface, Schafer, Oertle, Connor, Mulligan Willis
Howard, Fremstad, Thingstad
Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony; heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free.
Ezechiël 36:26 Een nieuw hart ook zal ik het u, en een nieuwe geest zal ik in u, en ik zal het stenige weg; hart uit uw vlees, en Ik zal u een hart van vlees.
Johannes 8:36 Als de Zoon dus maakt u vrij, gij moet vrij zijn.
Hesekiel 36:26 Ein neues Herz will ich auch Ihnen, und einen neuen Geist werde ich die in dir: und ich werde Mitnehmen der steinigen; Herz aus Ihrem Fleisch, und ich werde Ihnen ein Herz aus Fleisch.
Johannes 8:36 Wenn der Sohn daher wird euch frei machen, ihr werdet frei sein in der Tat. Esekiel 36:26 Jeg vil gi eder et nytt hjerte, og en ny ånd vil jeg gi inneni eder, og jeg vil ta bort stenhjertet av eders kjød og gi eder et kjødhjerte.
Johannes 8:36 Får da Sønnen frigjort eder, da blir I virkelig fri.
Esekiel 36:26 Jeg vil gi eder et nytt hjerte, og en ny ånd vil jeg gi inneni eder, og jeg vil ta bort stenhjertet av eders kjød og gi eder et kjødhjerte.
Johannes 8:36 Får da Sønnen frigjort eder, da blir I virkelig fri.
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