St. Paul Ev. Lutheran
Church and Cemetery
Beecher, Will Co., IL
50th Church Anniversary Jubilee 1865-1915
Officers listed in this program:
A.H. Brauer, Pastor
W.G. Bewie, Lehrer
H. Rust, W. Langebartels, L. Kregel, Kirchen-Schulvorsteher
H. Pauls, A. Hasemann, R. Salzmann, Trustees
R. Salzmann, J. Storbeck, A. Hasemann, Kollektoren
H. Pauls, Kassierer
H. Tegtmeyer, Kirchendiener
A. Siefker, Kirchhofs-Supt.
H. Matthias, Vorsitzer
Th. Wille, Vize-Vorsitzer
H. Wilkening, Fest-Marschall
St. Johns at Eagle Lake was the mother church to St. Paul Lutheran Church at Beecher and St. Pauls was the mother church to the Sollitt Zion Church near Grant Park in Kankakee County, formed in 1872. In 1903 St. Pauls and St. Johns again lost members when residents of Beecher decided to for another Lutheran church in the village of Beecher.
From a book titled "Beecher, Quaquicentennial 1870-1995", by Shirley Biery, 1995: Beginning in 1862, a group of German Lutherans met periodically for worship in the home of John Haseman (about 1/2 mile east of the present church). Rev. Gustav Polack from St. Johns Lutheran Church served as their pastor. In 1864, when more space was needed, worship services were moved to a public school house (probably the old Dutcher school) north of Washington Center on the Vincennes Trail. Then in the spring of 1865, about 20 families, with the assistance of Rev. Polack, organized St. Pauls Lutheran Church. Eleven acres of land were acquired, 1/2 donated by a Mr. Busse, the other purchased for $80. In early summer, construction was begun on the new church. It was a 2 story 24 x 30 building with a 12 x 16 addition.. The first floor would serve as church and school. The second floor was living quarters for the pastor and his family. The addition contained the kitchen. Construction cost was $1700. Some of the charter members were Carl Lange, Peter Pauls, Fred Plagge Sr., Friedrich Seitz, and William Tegtmeyer.
The first pastor was the Rev. Herman Lossner, who arrived by horse and wagon from Jefferson, MO in Aug., 1865. The church dedication and installation of Pastor Lossner occurred mid-Oct, 1865. The parsonage was built in 1876 for $1250. With remodeling, the same parsonage is in use today. By 1878, it was a big congregation and plans were for a church. On May 11, 1879, the cornerstone was laid for a 40x60 church. On the main floor there would be 14 foot long benches in the center with shorter benches on either side, thus providing seating capacity for 800 people. The cost of the new church was $3375. It is still in use today. At the time the congregation was organized, a Christian Day School was established with about 20 pupils. Pastor Lossner taught the children from 1865-1869, when the first teacher, Mr. J. Brackmann was called. In the early years, enrollment was over 100 children between 6-14 years.
St. Pauls Golden Jubilee: This was celebrated on June 29, 1915. Members of all area churches were invited. The day of the celebration, special railroad cars were provided. They stopped at Eagle Lake Road and the people walked from there to the church for the day-long activities, returning to the cars at the end of the day. The main speaker was Rev. Pfotenhauer, president of the Synod. At the close of the service, guests were invited to "partake of a bountiful dinner" prepared by the Ladies Aid. It was served under a large tent. Over 1000 were served following the morning service and 2000 -after the afternoon service. The celebration was reported to be the largest gathering of Lutherans in the history of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Will County.
Before the celebration, the steeple had been renewed and a larger finial placed on top. A cement sidewalk was laid around the church. Improvements inside the church included a new floor in the vestry and a new front hall. The gala celebration was marred in Sept. when Pastor A. H. Brauer collapsed in the pulpit and died. He had served the church 35 years. Other early pastors at St. Pauls were Ernest Zucker 1916-1922; Enno A. Klaus 1923-1926; Paul J.Eickstaedt 1927-1942.
(Contributed by Carole Goetz.)