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Tampico Churches 1877

Source: History of Whiteside County, Illinois
Edited by Charles Bent
Morrison, Illinois  1877
Reprinted by: Higginson Book Company, Salem, Massachusetts

Transcribed by: Denise McLoughlin
Tampico Area Historical Society

Pages 459-460

St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church - St. Mary's Church, of Tampico, was first organized in April 1875, by a Committee of four, consisting of Maurice Fitzgerald, George Dee, Thomas Burden, and Peter Burke. The officers of the Committee were: Maurice Fitzgerald, President; George Dee, Vic President; Peter Burke, Secretary, and Thomas Burden, Treasurer. On the 20th of May, 1875, Right Rev. Bishop Foley, of Chicago, granted a charter to the Committee authorizing them to raise subscriptions to build a church edifice. The Committee went immediately at work, and in a comparatively short time raised an amount sufficient to erect and complete it is its present form. A part of the amount was raised by notes from parties in that section of the county, and the other part, amounting to $2, 520, by a Fair held at Tampico. At the Fair a tea-set was put up, two young ladies, one the daughter of Mr. Thomas Burden, and the other a daughter of Mr. John Gaffey, to be the contestants therefor. The tickets were one dollar each, and parties could buy one or more as they chose, each ticket being a ballot for one or the other of the young ladies. At the close of the Fair it was found that Miss Burden received 1,518 votes, and Miss Gaffey, 1,002. The prize was therefore awarded to Miss Burden

The church building was commenced on the 26th of June, 1875, and completed on the 18th of September following, an incredibly short space of time, when we consider the size and finish of the building. The edifice is 40 by 99 feet, and 30 feet high, giving ample space for all interior arrangements required, besides sufficient room to seat the large congregation. The height of the spire from the ground is 112 feet, making it the highest in the town. Great credit is due to the Committee for their indefatigable efforts in raising the funds neccessary to erect and properly furnish the edifice. Father O'Gara McShean was the first pastor of the parish, and was succeeded by Father P J. Gormley, who still continues in the position. The church has retained the same Committee through whose efforts it was established.  The parish is made up of a part of the northern portion of Bureau county contiguous to Whiteside, and the towns of Tampico, Hume, Prophetstown, Hahnaman, and Montmorency. There are now 963 members of the church, old and young, throughout the parish. The land upon which the church edifice stands was very generously donated by John W. Glassburn, Esq. and is 100 feet front by 150 deep.

RELATED LINKS: St. Mary's Catholic Church history (Tampico Centennial Year Book & Dr. S.W. Callaghan)
St. Mary's Catholic Church Web site (off-site link)
St. Mary's Catholic Church History 1908
History of Tampico Churches - 1885
United Methodist Church - Tampico (off-site link)
Index to Church Histories

Methodist Episcopal Church - At the time the Grand Trunk Railroad, now the Mendota branch of the C.B. & Q Railroad, was built, and Tampico became a village, the society now known as the Tampico M. E. Church and Society, belonged to the Spring Hill and Yorktown Circuit, Rev. G. W. Carr being pastor. In the fall of that year, 1871, the members residing in Tampico concluded to establish a church of their own. Previous to that time meetings had been held only once a fortnight in the old town house, a mile south of the present village. After removing to the village the first meetings were held in Sheldon's Hall, on Main Street, the Society employing their own pastor, the Rev. L. A. Sanford, of Sterling. The membership then numbered about thirty. Mr. Sanford remained with them until the meeting of the next Annual Conference in the fall of 1872. The Conference sent Rev. H. T. Scoville to take charge, who remained for one year. During the fall of 1872 the Society built a church edifice at a cost of $1,300. The building was 30 by 44 feet, and 18 feet high. The next pastor was Rev. J. P. Morris, who remained until the fall of 1874. On the 6th of June in this year the meeting house was completely destroyed by the tornado which then swept over the place. There were no regular services held during the balance of that year, as the pastor was engaged for most of the time in soliciting subscriptions for the erection of a new edifice. When there were services they were held in the school house. The present building was commenced in the fall of 1874, and the main part completed that year, the balance, with the steeple, being finished in 1875. Its size is 32 by 62 feet, and 20 feet in height. The height of steeple from the ground is 100 feet. The whole cost of the building was $2,500. In the fall of 1874, Rev. C. H. Huffman was sent as pastor, and remained until the fall of 1876. The next pastor was Rev. A. B. Mettler, who was succeeded the present fall (1877) by Rev. F. Pomeroy, who has charge of the Tampico and Spring Hill churches. The first Board of Trustees, consisting of J. P. Badgley, A.M. Smith, John W. Glassburn, Joseph Jacobs, John Miller, Thomas Passmore, and T. M. Wylie, was elected April 17th, 1871. T. M. Wylie was chosen Clerk. The present Trustees are, J. P. Badgley, A. M. Smith, George W. Apley, G. A. Stilson, and T. M. Wylie, the latter still retaining his position as Clerk. A Sabbath School has been connected with the church ever since its organization, Mr. T. M. Wylie filling the position as Superintendent from the commencement until the fall of 1876, when Rev. A. B. Mettler succeeded him. The present membership of the church is about sixty. See the UMC of Tampico website

Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church - The church society known as the Swedish Evangelical Church of Tampico was organized in May, 1874, with a membership of forty-five persons, heads of families. The first pastor was Rev. H. T. Sanstrum, and the first trustees Oliver D. Olson, Thomas Pearson, and Lewis Wilson. In 1875 the same pastor and the same trustees were continued. During that year the church edifice was built at a cost of $2,500. The building is 40 by 60 feet, and 20 feet high. The steeple reaches a heighth of 110 feet from the ground, and is a landmark which can be seen for miles and miles around. The church is of a capacity capable of holding a congregation ofover five hundred people. In 1876 the church had no stated clerical supply, the pulpit being temporarily filled by John Elander, a student of the Augustana College and Theological Seminary, at Rock Island. This College is under the supervision of the Swedish Lutheran Augustana Synod of the United States, the special object of its founders being to provide means for the education of young men to become pastors and teachers among the Scandinavian population of the Northwest. Mr. Elander is still officiating a pastor. The Trustees of the church for 1877 are: Oliver D. Olson, Thomas Pearson, and O. B. Kelsen. The membership now consists of fifty-five heads of families, besides the younger members. At present services are held every month, although it is expected that regular services will be held every Sabbath within a short period.

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