Marshall County

1976 Deep Are the Roots

Bell Plain Township

Pattonsburg Christian Church [Page 5]

Early records of the Pattonsburg Christian Church are brief and often sketchy. The first families to settle around Pattonsburg built their cabins near timber and it is believed that Crew Creek influenced their decision to build here. The pioneer families who settled in Marshall County traveled great distances over rough terrain to meet together to worship the Lord, They met in homes and sometimes in barns. They tried to attend services once a month at a Church located in Richland Township, near the present home of Wayne Buck. The distance, however, was great and it was impossible for many to attend in winter months; so, in l845, a group of fifteen persons met for the purpose of organizing a separate congregation nearer to their homes. The Church was organized May 10, l845 at the headwaters of the Crow Creek. Records show members of the following families as charter members: Bennington, Polk, Taylor, Vanderwoort, Martin, Hester, and Rattan. The site at Pattonsburg was selected as the place to build, and a fine brick building was built in 1856, This was called, "Liberty Church of Christ." This building burned, however, a few years later. The present Church building was erected in 1865. Records show that Reverend James Robeson was the first minister.

This building is a wooden structure that stands tall and stately, a short distance from the banks of Crow Creek. For many years baptisms were held in the creek; records show that ice was broken on numerous occasions so that this event might take place. A baptistry was later installed.

Throughout the years there has been extensive remodeling and redecorating, always in a continuing effort to improve and beautify the building that has been a hub of this quiet little community in Bell Plain Township. This Church is just as dear to us living today as it was to those wbo lived here over a century ago.

Among those who ministered to the Pattonsburg congregation, was Sam Crabtree who preached during the Depression years, which were lean years for farmers of this agricultural community. Brother Sam offered encouragement to those of this small congregation and helped keep the Church active and growing at a time when it easily could have closed its doors.

The late Leon Appel ministered to this congregation during the late 1940's. He later was President of Lincoln Christian College, He was well-known throughout the Midwest for both his public speaking and preaching.

Milford Arndt, of Fisher, Illinois is minister at the present time, having served this congregation faithfully since 1953.

[Page 6]

The Civil War still was five years in the future when Marshall County's unique "eight-sided house" was built. The ten-room, two-story house with full basement was built in I856 by John Ramsey, a settler from Maryland, and great-grandfather of Mrs. Harry Tweddale, former owner of the house and its surrounding l40 acres located in Section 14, Richland Township.

The octagonal floor plan of the venerable farmhouse still is attracting visitors to the farm, about six miles north of Washburn. Choice of the unusual shape was without precedent so far as can be determined. Nor was there any particular functional reason for settling upon the odd shape, Ramsey apparently multiplied his building problems when he chose the unorthodox plan, because most of his materials had to be hauled from Chicago, over uncertain roads on wagons drawn by horses and oxen. A simpler plan probably would have been more economical in both construction time and materials.

The original foundation was of brick, which may have been made locally. It was replaced by concrete block in 1946 when the house was given a thorough overhauling and remodeling. Heavy support beams under the house are the old hand-hewn logs, probably hacked from huge butternut trees growing at or near the site. They appear as sound today as though installed a year ago.

George Spangler, as tenant on the Tweddale farm lived there forty-seven years until his death in 1972, and his father, Ray Spangler, operated the farm fifty years before him. Since George Spangler 's death, the farm has been purchased by his wife, Reinou, and his son, Douglas Spangler operates it.

When the Spanglers renovated the house shortly after their marriage, they covered it with asbestos shingles, replacing the original wood siding, installed a stocker-fed air furnace, and put a concrete floor in the basement. An outside stairway was added when the home temporarily was used as a two-family dwelling. The stairway and a small balcony became rickety, and the Spanglers decided to remove them.

A central circular stairway runs from basement to second floor and would be the only emergency exit. The rooms on both floors are laid out around the spiralling stairway, each of the eight sides of the structure lopping off a large comer of each room. All clothes closets in the house have been carpeted with large triangular pieces salvaged from the irregularly shaped floors. Furnature settings are no particular problem, for the rooms are large enough to permit a wide variety of arrangements. And the odd-shaped floor plans present a challenge to Imagination and ingenuity not found in ordinary houses.

There has been much speculation over a small cupola erected atop the house sometime since its original building. Many have thought it was a lookout tower where anxious settlers may have watched for marauding bands of Indians. There is no record that any ever were sighted.

Stonier Barn [Page 8]

Four generations have dwelt on the farm, section 35 and 36, in Bell Plain Township, three -fourths mile south of Pattonsburg community, Daryle and Betty Stonier, R. R. 1, Minonk, report that their great-grandfather, Joseph Stonier acquired the property about 1860. It was then owned by grandfather Charles Stonier, later by father, Floyd Stonier and now by them.

Joseph Stonier emigrated to the United States when he was twelve years old and from that time, imbued with the pioneer spirit, he was "on his own." He built up a farmstead through the years of which the barn, well over 100 years old, is still standing. Wood for the barn was hewed from trees on the farm. The original structure was put tof^ether with pins and pegs and had not a nail in it. Yet it stands straight and sturdy to this day. It was sheathed in metal some time ago to preserve the wood and is still used.

Another day saw other uses for the barn. Churches were not built until the matter of survival was secure. In the meantime people found common meeting places, like this old bank barn in the Pattonsburg community, across the road from the present home dwelling of the Stoniers.

Trinity Lutheran Church in LaRose [Page 9]

In 1865 when the boys came home from the Civil War, plans were being made by a group of German families in LaRose for their future religious life and education. Most were immigrants come to Americas. With few funds but great determination and love of God, they gathered in homes and schools for non-denominational services. By 1868, preaching was offered at Bennington Grove and near LaRose.

A congregation was organized in 1868. Among charter members were Henry Zilm, C. K. Schumacher, Adolph Schumacher, Casper Pries, William Schumacher, Henry Wink, Joseph Wink, John Sommerfield, Fred Zilm, and Daniel Koch. Today, the third, fourth and even fifth generations worship here. On Pentecost 1869, they decided to build a place to worship. A small church, 24 feet by 38 feet was built and dedicated in 1872. Teacher Kaeppel provided music on the little cottage organ he brought with him.
This was the first church in LaRose and served the congregation for 26 years. In 1871, a new congregation was formed in Varna, but the same pastor served both churches until 1919.

With a church for worship and a pastor to serve their congregation, the members turned their energies to founding a school. In 1877 a building was erected. The pastor was also the schoolmaster. Land was purchased for a cemetery south of LaRose and the first organ installed in 1883. Before this time three men had been appointed at regular intervals to lead the singing at the services.

Always with an eye for expansion an entire block had been purchased with a view of larger buildings. The little church was sold and moved from its location and the present one was built, 30 feet by 40 feet with a tower, 10 feet by 10 feet, and a chancel and vestry 9 feet by 24 feet. A l,400 pound bell was hung and still peals its invitation. The cost of the church was $3,000.00; it was dedicated November 22, 1898. Clean, simple exterior lines, a traditional interior and a beautiful altar adorned with a statue of Christ, a gift from Pastor Behrens, make it even today a very beautiful building. No additions have ever been made to the original building.

The Depression years were a struggle to keep alive. Pastor Glock from neighboring St. John's was asked to also serve LaRose. He accepted and problems were solved and slowly the congregation began to prosper again. The parsonage and all the lots except two were sold to Ed Gibbs in 1934 for $2,500.00. In 1936, on one of the two lots, a new parish hall replaced the old schoolhouse. Ralph Kimpling was the main contractor and the men of the congregation helped. As usual the Ladies Aid was to furnish interior decorations. The First Trinity Hall echoed many good times until it too became too small.

In 1918 many men left to serve their country. The bronze cross on the altar is a memorial to all those who served; the baptismal font is in memory of one who did not return and the books of altar and lectern are in memory of another. In 1949, a two manual Wicks organ was installed. Also a series of remodeling jobs were done in the interior. In 1958, a new church hall was dedicated. While Trinity Lutheran has remained small we are grateful God has granted her loyal and faithful members to carry on His work.

Historic LaRose
by Edith Theobald

Visit Our Neighbors
Bureau Putnam
Stark La Salle
Peoria Woodford
Search the Archives