Newspaper Clippings for
loose clipping, source unknown 12 January 1935
OLD MILLBURN CHURCH BURNS
Flames Ruin VIllage Church That Served
Community For Past 69 Years
The First Congregational church in Millburn, the weather-beaten frame
structure that has served that community as a house of worship for 69
years, burned to the ground shortly before noon today.
Three fire departments stood by and unsuccessfully fought the blaze
but prevented the fire from spreading to other buildings. Gurnee, Lake
Villa and Antioch departments all responded to the call from Millburn
The fire presumably started in the chimney. A fire was lighted in the
heating plant this morning as the women of the community were to
gather there to prepare a banquet for the annual meeting of the members
of the Millburn Mutual Fire insurance company today.
Flames Spread Fast
Flames first were noticed about the chimney, it was learned. There was
no chance to save the building as the flames ate into the timbers with
The fire started about 10 o'clock in the morning and by 11 o'clock little
was left standing of the building, which was one of the oldest church
buildings in the county.
The structure was built in 1866, the year after the men of Newport township
community returned from the Civil war, but was remodelled and
modernized in 1887 and in 1905.
It replaced, when first built, the original church which had been built
starting June 1, 1847, but as a matter of fact the congregation's
organization dated back to 1841 with Rev. Flavel Basom being the first
pastor. The congregation was organized less than ten years after the
treaty with the Indians and the settling of Lake county by the white
There were 14 persons who organized the congregation and they held
their Sabbath worship in the school house at first. They were William
and Eliza Abbott, Mark and Harriet Pitman, Robert and Elizabeth Pollock,
George and Jane Trotter, Merrill and Lydia Pearson, Samuel
Dowst, Alesander Kennedy, Mary Thayer and Abigail Berry.
In Use Constantly
The church has been in constant _______________________
about 15 January 1935
BURNED CHURCH TO BE REPLACED
Millburn Congregation Will Meet Wednesday
To Discuss Plan For New Building
The congregation of the First Congregational church of Millburn
will meet Wednesday for the purpose of laying plans for the
building of a new church. The meeting will be presided over by
the pastor, Rev. Samuel Holden.
The church burned to the ground Saturday morning from a chimney
fire although three fire departments, Gurnee, Lake Villa and
Antioch, pumped water from Mill Creek in an effort to save it.
The grove of tall pine trees surrounding the building were
undamaged by the fire and will live.
The church, it is understood, is free of debt and has some
investments. The investments, however, are of little value as the
money was tied up in bonds that defaulted later.
The insurance on the building was small a policy for $2,000 was
carried on the building, and a second policy of $300 on the
contents of the building.
The new structure will rise on the ashes of the old building which
was constructed in 1866 after the men of Millburn returned from
the Civil war. It was remodelled in 1887 and again in 1905. In
1905 a huge brass bell weighing more than 500 pounds was placed in
the belfry. This came crashing down when the steeple tumbled into
the burning ruins and the top of the bell broke away. This may be
welded successfully, members of the congregation stated.
There are 109 members of the church. About 14 new members were
added a year ago when the church at Hickory corners was abandoned
permanently. Originally there were 14 persons who organized the
congregation in 1841, a matter of 94 years ago.
Formed After Indian Treaty
Church was held by these 14 pioneers who came to the country after
the treaty with the Indians in the school house that was there.
Then they built a log church about two years later, and then
replaced it with a frame building in 1847 which gave way to the
church that burned down to the ground Saturday.
The old frame church that was abandoned in 1866 for the present
structure that was lost by the fire was a point in the
"Underground Railway" during the Civil war and many negroes
escaping from slavery in the Southern states were harbored there
until they could push on northward and make new homes in a free
There were two "underground railroad" stations in Newport township
during the Civil war. The other was on the Charles Heydecker farm
near Wadsworth. Heydecker, a Bavarian gardener, settled near
Wadsworth several years before the war of the rebellion and raised
a large family there. The sons and daughters all are dead.
The church was held yesterday, including Sunday school services,
in the Millburn school. This will continue to be the place of
worship until the new church is built.