Newspaper Clippings for
05 June 1937
NEW CHURCH DEDICATION AT MILLBURN
Fourth Building of Old Congregational Parish Center
of Attraction at Tomorrow's Dedicatory Services.
By Gladys Priddy
Tomorrow at 2 p. m. the people of Millburn will dedicate a new
church home, the fourth building of that Congregational
And taking part in the program and mingling in the audience will
be men, women and children of the parish who are the children,
grandchildren and great-grandchildren of that first little band of
Congregationalists who met for services 97 years ago in the little
hewn log church the men of that pioneer community had built
It was on Jan. 12, 1935, that the third home of the Millburn
Congregational church burned. The parish immediately sought to
replace it, and good fortune fell upon them when the Third
Congregational church of Oak Park united with the First
Congregational church there. Thus, there was an extra church
building, and it was given to the Chicago Congregational union.
This organization in turn gave it to the Millburn parish, and the
Millburn men hauled bricks, pews, windows, fixtures --an entire
church in their trucks and cars from Oak Park!
"Bit of Scotland"
Millburn was originally and still is a "bit of Scotland." The
original settlers came from land of plaid and heather, and the
present pastor, the Rev. Samuel Holden, is the son of Scotch and
English parents and has spent much of his time in Scotland.
The original group formed the First Religious Society of Millburn.
The Rev. Flavel Bascom of Chicago and the Rev. E. G. Howe of
Waukegan assisted in the beginning. The organization was based on
the old New England parish system, this probably brought by
"Father" W. B. Dodge, a member of the seventh generation of his
family since the immigration to America from Cheshire, England.
Under this system everyone had to support the church. The entire
community was one unit, one parish. It is still. Millburn has had
only one church.
Of the first generation of Scotch settlers, all are gone now
except one, James Bonner, now a very old man, who was brought to
Millburn as an infant. He was born in Scotland. Other pioneers
besides the Bonners whose descendants are still in the community
are the Whites, the Mintos, Thaines and Strangs.
Second Structure Built
After the first hewn log building was outgrown by the Millburn
congregation, a second frame structure replaced it. The log
building had served as both church and school and stood very near
the "Robert Strang home," according to the church history
published in 1902. The second structure, erected in 1847 was
situated across the street from the first one and stood on land
donated by George Strang.
In 1844 "Father" Dodge, no longer a young man, came to Millburn.
His service to the church is legend, and his constant efforts
further strengthened the already firm religious life of the
The famous pastor was a leader in the forming of the Millburn
Mutual Insurance company, the oldest mutual company in the state.
He served until 1862 when his age compelled him to ask to be
relieved. He stayed on in Millburn until his death which occurred
a few years after his retirement. The Rev. Calvin Selden replaced
"Father" and Dodge, and he, in turn, was succeeded by the Rev. Mr.
Bross who married Miss Lydia Johnson of Fremont while serving in
the Millburn pastorate.
South African Missionary
From the Congregation church of Millburn have gone many members to
become well known for service in far places. In the Philippines,
Hawaii, and Africa, this church is represented. At present, Miss
Una Minto, sister of Harold Minto, is working the mission field of
So long established is this little church that a delegation from
it attended the council of welcome for the first Congregational
church in Chicago.
Besides the gift of much of the material from the Oak Park church,
the new building has been made possible by the cooperation of
Congregational benevolent societies and the gifts of members and
friends in this area.
The Ladies' aid of the church is especially active. This group
purchased the carpet for the building. The women, incidentally,
serve church suppers every so often, and when they do, there is
always an abundance of delicious food. One evening last fall they
served 700 persons!
The dedication of the new church occurs in the fifth year of the
Rev. Mr. Holden's service. It was in 1932 that he began preaching
in Millburn after serving for a quarter century as assistant
superintendent of Congregational home missionary work in Texas,
Louisiana and Oklahoma. His preaching career began in pastorates
where the church law brought to Millburn by the Rev. Mr. Dodge is
still enforced, that is, the old New England parish system.
The architect of the fourth home of the Millburn Congregational
church is Arthur R. Rhenisch of Oak Park. The builders were
Arthur Rich of Grayslake and Charles H. Cashmore of Wadsworth,
with the assistance of the men of the parish. The building is
entirely modern including shower baths and partial gymnasium
Officers of Church
Jesse Denman, Harold Minto and Leslie Bonner are deacons of the
church. Emmet King, Carl Anderson and Ralph McGuire are trustees.
Harold Minto is church clerk, and Gordon Bonner is parish
secretary and treasurer. Officers of the Bible school are:
Harold Minto, Frank Edwards, Vivien Bonner and Kenneth Denman.
Officers of the Ladies Aid society are Mrs. George White, Mrs.
William Bonner and Mrs. Emmet King. Serving in the Christian
Endeavor offices are: John V. Edwards, Juanita Clark, Richard
Martin, Mrs. W. A. Bonner and Mrs. Frank Edwards. Victor Strang
is the church janitor.