Most of the churches that have changed in the past thirty-five years have been in the northern half of the county. In Belleview Precinct, we find churches of three denominations that disbanded, sold their buildings, and their members attending churches in other communities. They are:
BELLEVIEW CHURCH OF CHRIST
The church building was destroyed by fire in April 1947. It was not rebuilt, and most of the members started to attend the Mozier Church of Christ.
HILLCREST LUTHERAN CHURCH
This church has been combined with St. John’s Lutheran Church in Kampsville. The church building was sold about the year 1935.
THE NEBO BRANCH OF THE REORGANIZED CHURCH OF CHRIST OF THE LATTER DAY
The church building was located in Howell Hollow, about five miles south of Nebo. Then many of the members moved away in the early 40’s, the officers considered moving their services to either Nebo or Pleasant Hill. Those holding office at the time were: W.A. Guthrie, Branch President for over forty-seven years; Lora Puterbaugh, Secretary and Treasurer; and William F. Guthrie, Church School Director. In 1945, a basement building was constructed in Pleasant Hill. Later, in 1958, the upper auditorium was completed. A number of north Calhoun members attended the church in Pleasant Hill. Mr. Guthrie passed away in 1946. The building at Howell Hollow was sold in 1945 to the late Ray Johnson, who used it for storage.
In nearby Carlin precinct we find two churches closing their doors and the church disbanding. They were:
EAST PANTHER CREEK CHURCH OF CHRIST
This church disbanded in 1940 and its members started to attend sister churches in nearby communities.
PLEASANT DALE BAPTIST CHURCH
This church became inactive in 1947 when most of its members died or had moved to other communities. The church disbanded in 1964, and the building was sold two years later. The building is used as a dwelling at the present time.
This group met in a home in Mozier in the late 20’s and the early 30’s. After some of the members passed away, the other members started to attend nearby sister churches. Some of the members started to attend the other Church of Christ in Mozier. This group completed their new building in 1967.
PENTECOSTAL CHURCH OF HARDIN
This church disbanded and their building was sold to the Friendship General Baptist Church.
Hardin precinct has taken the lead in the formation of new churches. The first of the three new churches was:
ST. PAUL’S LUTHERAN CHURCH, HARDIN
Easter Sunday, April 17, 1960 saw the opening of the Lutheran Mission in Hardin. Rev. Duane Brunette, pastor of the Lutheran Church at Brussels was instrumental in starting the mission. Rev. Theodore Kriefall served as assistant pastor of the new church. Several years later, the church purchased land and buildings on South County Road from School District 40. The present pastor is Rev. Fred A. Brauer.
FRIENDSHIP GENERAL BAPTIST CHURCH
This group purchased the Pentecostal Church building located about three blocks west of the Court House. They don’t have a pastor at the present time, but Rev. Ackerman served the church for some time. Among the officers of the Sunday school are Edna Richey, Reporter; Mrs. Evelyn Bryant, Clerk; and Mrs. Portia Parke, Treasurer. Others mentioned in the report from the Treasurer are Everett Kitson, Amanda Sweeney, and Massie Anderson. There are about twenty-five enrolled in the Sunday school.
CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE
The Hardin Church of the Nazarene was organized Feb. 15, 1953 at 3pm. in the church located in North Hardin. Rev. W.S. Purinton, District Superintendent presided at the meeting. Rev. Paul Wankel was called as the first pastor of the church. At the meeting the following persons were welcomed into the church: Mrs. Ileen Cox, Dr. S.A. Miller, Beulah Cox, Melvin Johnson, Harry McDonald, Elizabeth Cox, Dean Gibson, Lyle Cox, and Mrs. Leo Matthews. The church notice in a county paper lists Marcellus Long as the pastor.
In Kampsville two churches were formed in the past twenty years.
This church was established in Kampsville in December 1954 under the leadership of Rev. Estell Bettis. He has been the leader of the church since its start.
PENTECOSTAL CHURCH OF KAMPSVILLE
A Pentecostal Church was organized in 1966 with Rev. Bettis serving as the pastor. This church has about seventy-five members.
BELLEVIEW COMMUNITY CHURCH
In October 1965 a new Inter-Denominational Community Church was dedicated at Belleview. The new building had been completed in June of the same year. Floyd Freesmeyer Sr., Floyd Freesmeyer Jr., Cleve Long, and Allie Suhling were instrumental in organizing the church and having the new building erected. They have no regular minister.
CHANGES IN THE PARISHES
Changes were made in the summer or late fall in Calhoun County that affected four of the Catholic Parishes in the county. At Hardin, Msgr. Henry Knoedler was transferred to Godfrey, and Father Walter Deppish, pastor of St. Michael’s Church at Michael was named as Administrator of the St. Norbert’s Parish. In November, Father Peter Donohoo, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church at Meppen, was transferred to Quincy, and Father Henry Mack of St. Barbara’s Church at Batchtown was named Administrator of the Meppen Church.
Last year the St. Joseph’s School at Meppen was closed and the pupils were transported to the St. Mary’s School at Brussels or to the public school at Hardin. The old school building was removed during the summer of 1967, and a new parish hall erected on the site. At Batchtown, the Catholic Church was destroyed by fire during the first part of August. Plans are being discussed for the building of a new church at Batchtown.
Official title of church: Immaculate Conception Church, informally called
First occasional Masses in this region-began in 1843 by a Jesuit from St. Charles, MO. When this territory was still under the Chicago Diocese (Quincy-Alton-Springfield Diocese did not exit yet.) Within five years a 40ft x 30ft frame church was constructed in 1848, with a small 4-room rectory attached (located on the north side of the road, just west of the parish cemetery).
The First parish established in Calhoun County was St. Mary, (Brussels), with a resident priest (Fr. John Molitor) sent here in 1852 under the Chicago Diocese. This priest was from Brussels, Belgium, serving just 5 months from May12, 1852 to his death in October, 1952. He is buried in St. Mary Cemetery, the village (which had been founded in 1840) was named in memory of him (The County of Calhoun began in 1825.)
The parish became a part of the Diocese of Quincy, IL. Which was established in 1953.
Four years late (1957) the See was renamed the Diocese of Alton, IL.- (why Sts. Peter and Paul Church is still called "the cathedral parish).
The present parish site (5 acres) was donated to the parish by Theodore Schleeper in the early 1860’s. Then a rectory was built in 1862. In 1863 the present brick church was begun, 40ft by 80ft. In just 7 years (1869) the church was extended on the south end to its present form. (This can be seen in the outside brickwork; inside, the sanctuary /sacristy areas).
The present two-story school building was built in 1930 of native stone. A previous two-room schoolhouse had been built in 1869 and had been in use till the, serving 8 grades.
In 1972 there were 236 families in the parish with 155 grad-school students. Today we list 225 families with 95 students in attendance from our three South Calhoun County parishes.
The present Parish Hall began functioning in 1978, located just east of the driveway circling behind church. (Previously this building had served as a bank and a small grocery store.)
The existing Rectory house east of church was built in 1871 and 1901; it became a private rented residence in 1984, when the pastor moved his residence to Meppen, IL.
The brick building between church and school was the Sisters’ convent; now it serves as the parish offices for the three South Calhoun parishes (Brussels, Meppen, and Batchtown).
Grounds to south of church (ball field and area for gym) - eventually given by the parish to the public school in 1932. The gym and adjacent playground were to be used jointly for all area children.
The Religious Sisters who served here were:
Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Louis, MO. (1869-1910)
Sisters of the Precious Blood of Ruma, IL. (1910-1926)
Sisters of Divine Providence, Pittsburgh, PA. & St. Louis, MO (1926-1991)
One Notre Dame Sister served from 1991-1993.
An engraved list of all pastors serving St. Mary’s can be found in the parish cemetery in front of the crucifix there (a block east of the church, on the north side of the road).
The Outdoor Crucifix was dedicated in ______
The Outdoor Pro-Life Memorial was dedicated May 31, 1998
The above hand out was in the back of St. Mary in July of 1999. I was able to look through the marriage records and baptismal records, and funeral records. Just call ahead to make sure there is no one else looking at the records that day. The churches alternate their Sunday Masses, Father Tom Hagstrom was the pastor in charge of covering the three parishes.
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