History of the Buffalo Hart Presbyterian Church
settlers came to Buffalo Heart Grove in the fall of
1824. Mr. Charles
Moore came from the south and built a
cotton gin at the
east side of Buffalo Heart township and ran it for several years, then
moved farther north. Mr. William Bridges, a native of South Carolina,
was a gunsmith and blacksmith.
fall of 1825 Mr. and Mrs. James Lynn, formerly from North Carolina and
Kentucky, and Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Burns, formerly from West Virginia
and Kentucky, settled in Buffalo Heart Grove.
religious service was held in the summer of 1826 in the home of Mr. and
Mrs. Lynn by a traveling minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
There were only four adults and four children present: Mr. and Mrs.
Robert E. Burns and Mr. and Mrs. James Lynn and their four children.
years later other families came before the “Big Snow of 1830-1831”.
There were John and Susan Constant, Robert and Mary Cass, the Ridgeways,
the Starrs, John and James Robinson and the Greenings. The Enoses and
several others came in the Spring of 1831. All the religious services
these families had were held in their homes by a traveling minister when
he came through the “Grove”.
In the minutes of
the Predestinarian Baptist Church of the Lake Fork community, southwest
of Mt. Pulaski, the Burns, Cass, Constant and later other families
attended church there and entered into membership.
Barton Robinson, a brother of James T. Robinson, purchased 80 acres of
land in West ½ of N. W. ¼ of Sec. 28 upon which he built the first frame
structure …. the first church in the “Grove” called “The Chapel” in
1832. He built it to be used by the Episcopalians, but there were not
enough people in the community of that faith, so it was then used by all
faiths and later purchased by the community to be used as a school.
Chapel” was used as a school, a church, a general meeting place for
political meetings and a social center for the neighborhood. It was
located on grounds southeast of Arnott Smith’s home.
facts about the “Old Chapel”: it was 24 ft. by 36 ft., the exterior was
clapboard, the interior had a puncheon floor with a 2 ft. high platform
across the front, the pulpit was 6 ft. wide and 4 ft. high. The
building was heated by a wood stove; the women and children sat on one
side, the men sat on the other side. Church services were held on
Sundays when the traveling minister or circuit riders came to Buffalo
Sunday School was organized in 1859 by Miss Fedelia Merrick, teacher at
the Pottle School (later East Side), at the Chapel and was held on
Sunday afternoons, families from all parts of the Grove attended.
years later four denominations …. Baptist, Christian, Methodist and
Presbyterian …. built a church south of Buffalo Hart …. at the second
crossroads south of Buffalo Hart on southwest corner at a cost of
$2,400, which was dedicated in August 1867 and called “Buffalo Hart
Union Church”. The Union Church had no officers except Trustees. Five
trustees were elected March 5, 1869 at 3 p.m.: Christian, Horace B.
Enos; Baptist, S. R. Campbell; Methodist, O. F. Priest; Presbyterian,
Harry Cass; Fifth trustee, R. F. Constant. The Sundays of each month
were assigned to a different trustee and he was responsible for having a
minister of his denomination to preach that particular Sunday. They
would arrive on the train at Buffalo Hart or if one lived near enough,
he would drive or ride a horse to the service.
the people of the Buffalo Hart Community who had attended the Lake Fork
Predestinarian Baptist Church withdrew their letters of membership and
joined the Buffalo Hart Union Church. For 29 years this was a Union
Church and the last few years Rev. Simon Benson, a Presbyterian, was the
Pastor. He held services every other Sunday. He lived at
Williamsville and served the Williamsville Presbyterian Church on the
other Sundays of the month.
the families who attended Union Church at this time had moved from this
community or went to churches in nearby towns. The Presbyterians who
were left and the members of the Williamsville Presbyterian Church held
a meeting on March 15, 1896 and voted to petition the Presbytery to
organize a Presbyterian Church at Buffalo Hart. The petition was
presented to the Presbytery signed by 73 members. It was granted and
Rev. E. W. Thayer and R. W. Diller from Springfield were appointed to
organize the Buffalo Hart Presbyterian Church. It was organized on May
16, 1896 and the following officers were elected: Elders: G. C.
Edwards, John B. Wright and John T. Wilson. Deacons: F. L. Priest,
Harry Cass and George W. Wright. John B. Wright was clerk of Session.
Rev. Benson continued to serve the Buffalo Hart and Williamsville
Presbyterian Churches until April 22, 1898.
Home and Foreign Missionary Society was organized in 1894 by Mrs. R. F.
Constant and Mrs. F. L. Priest.
Roberts was the next minister; he lived at Williamsville and served the
Williamsville and Buffalo Hart churches on alternate Sundays from the
summer of 1898 to January 1901.
Presbytery of Springfield held its fall meeting at Buffalo Hart,
September 19, 1899. The visiting ministers and elders were entertained
overnight in the homes in the community. The following day, after
church services, a basket dinner was held on the lawn of the old country
Christian Endeavor Society was organized and met each Sunday evening.
There was a large attendance of young people.
show an attendance of 72 in Sunday school.
1896 the Sangamon County Sunday School Convention was held at the
Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. There were 4,000 children in
attendance. Buffalo Hart took the prize for the highest percentage of
attendance at the convention. Madeline Cass and Tommy Wilson led the
Buffalo Hart Procession. This trip meant a two hour ride through the
dust, in buggies, carriages or surreys to the Fairgrounds and a two hour
ride home. R. F. Constant was Superintendent; Mrs. R. F. Constant
taught a young Men’s class; Miss Macie Lyon (Priddle) taught a class;
Miss May Lyon (Enos) was organist.
pastor, Rev. John Roberts, began talking of the possibility of building
a new church at Buffalo Hart Station. On June 27, 1900 a congregational
meeting was held and by a vote of 19 for and 3 opposed … “it was
therefore determined to build said church”. The building committee
was: G. C. Edwards, O. F. Priest and John T. Wilson. “The church was
required to give a mortgage on said new church in order to secure loan
of $500 from the Board of Church Erection” … Mr. Robert Cass gave one
half acre of land. Some money was received from the sale of the Dawson
Presbyterian Church and money was voluntarily contributed by members of
the church and citizens of the community, also from interested
Carpenters who worked on the building came from Mt. Pulaski on the
Illinois Central Railroad train each day.
1900, this church was dedicated. Rev. Roberts, Mr. R. W. Diller and
Rev. E. B. Rogers had charge of the service. The budget for 1900 was
$437 … there were 63 members.
Roberts left the pastorate at Buffalo Hart in 1901 and Rev. Elmer P.
Loose, from Kentucky, who had been holding evangelical meetings here and
at Williamsville was called to serve both churches. He lived at
Williamsville and preached at Buffalo Hart on alternate Sundays.
some new officers were elected: Elders: F. L. Priest, G. C. Edwards,
J. W. Richardson and John E. Constant. Deacons: James Telfer, John A.
Enos, W. S. McCue and W. H. Lyon. J. W. Richardson was clerk of
were always sent to Presbytery throughout the year, meeting at Spring
field, Jacksonville, Lincoln, Decatur, Taylorville or Virginia,
Illinois. It was a long trip and usually an over night one by horse and
buggy or by train.
noted that May 12, 1901 the Session met and voted for application to the
Home Missions Board for $375 for Pastor’s salary. In the minutes of
session meeting of March 19, 1901 when Rev. Loose received a call from
Williamsville and Buffalo Hart churches for his pastoral services …
“that your ministrations in the Gospel will be profitable to our
Spiritual interests …. and that you may be free from worldly cares and
avocations, we hereby promise $700 per year and also to supply and keep
in repair a manse at Williamsville.”
1901 a committee was chosen to procure material for hitch racks and a
wood walk. This walk extended out from the front doors and then turned
south in front of the hitching racks for a distance to top of hill going
down to the store.
Christian Endeavor Society was still active and they raised money by
having box socials, ice cream suppers and strawberry festivals, to
purchase the bell for the new church at a cost of $75. It was installed
in 1902. John Enos was its leader at this time.
the Session voted to discontinue asking the Board of Home Missions to
contribute to the Pastor’s salary and appointed a special committee to
raise the money for salary due the Pastor.
Loose left in September 1902 and the following April Rev. C. E. Kalb
offered to take charge of the Buffalo Hart Church in connection with the
church at Bates, Illinois. He preached at Buffalo Hart the second and
fourth Sundays of each month. Rev. Kalb served Buffalo Hart until his
death on April 27, 1904 after a brief illness.
Logan, Springfield, was Moderator at this time and he sent a Princeton
Seminary student, Mr. C. R. Pires, to supply the pulpit two Sundays a
it was decided to dissolve the union between Buffalo Hart and Bates and
go with the Chatham Presbyterian Church in sharing a minister. October
4, 1904 Rev. Paul Heiligman came to serve the church two Sundays a
month. He served for one year.
George C. Lennington supplied the pulpit during the winter of 1906 … two
Sundays a month.
the summers of 1906 and 1907 George T. Arnold, a student at McCormick
Seminary, served the church twice a month.
School was held every Sunday during all these years with church services
only two Sundays a month. Very elaborate special programs were given on
Children’s Day, Easter, Rally Day and Christmas, for many years under
the direction of Mrs. F. L. Priest, Mrs. R. F. Constant, Macie Lyon
(Priddle), May Long (Enos), Katherine Constant (Peterson), Ina, Frances
and Bessie Priest and Mrs. William McCue.
officers elected May 20, 1906 were: Elder, John A. Enos; Deacon, B. F.
1908, 1909, 1910 and 1911 Dr. Logan, Moderator, would supply or send a
minister occasionally to preach. The ministers came on Saturday, stayed
all night at the home of F. L. Priest, and after services son Sunday
departed on the train.
School remained active each Sunday.
Ladies Aid Society must have been organized shortly after the new church
was built but the first records now available start January 1910 … Mrs.
Una C. Richardson was Treasurer and amount on hand, in Sangamon Loan and
Trust Co., was $339.26. The ladies met regularly to quilt. They were
paid $1.00 to quilt a quilt, 75 cents to tack a comfort, aprons were 50
cents and sunbonnets 50 cents. They served sale lunches, election day
lunches, had ice cream socials, strawberry festivals, chicken suppers
and sponsored lawn socials. On the expense side, there were such items
as kerosene, candles, express on ice cream, express on bread, meat and
supplies for a sale, etc. They were always generous in their giving to
the Pastor’s salary, repair and redecorating of the church, new red
carpet (32 yds. @ 75 cents), board and room for minister overnight, to
Mrs. Priest from September to May, $10, digging church basement under
sanctuary $157.68, paid for regular cleaning of church and cutting lawn
in summer and for concrete walks.
the social life of the community centered around the church and church
societies. For a period of several years, lawn socials were held each
month with different families taking turns entertaining at their homes;
one winter a box social was held at the Misses Hickman home … the New
Years social net $3.80.
December 4, 1910 until March 23, 1913, there were no minutes in Session
book … Sunday School continued every Sunday, church services
occasionally. Ladies Aid and Missionary Society met regularly unless
the “January and Spring thaws” made the roads impassable with mud “hub”
1913 Rev. Robert B. Irwin, Decatur, came as pastor and served the church
six years for two Sundays a month. During this time, usually in the
fall, he held several revival meetings, every night for one week.
Sunday, the well-known evangelist and his song leader,
came to the Armory in Springfield and held evangelistic meetings for
several weeks. One night about 30 persons from Buffalo Hart attended,
going in on the Illinois Central train, and because of such a large
group, the midnight fast train stopped at Buffalo Hart to let them off
on their return.
records show history in the making … October 18, 1917 the Ladies Aid
Society purchased seven
Liberty Loan Bonds for $350 … World War I was
beginning for U.S.A.! May 2, 1918 two Liberty Loan Bonds purchased for
$100. The church was used as a Red Cross center. The red carpet in
Sunday School room was taken up so the room could be more easily
cleaned. Tables were moved in, to be used for rolling bandages and
cutting out hospital supplies. An auction was held on the church lawn
for the benefit of the Red Cross. Grain and livestock prices were at an
all time high; the farmers were prosperous and bid liberally at the
sale. A rooster sold for $25. All eligible young men from the church
and community were in service; some were overseas.
1920, 1921, 1922 Rev. Humphrey, Moderator, supplied the pulpit two
Sundays a month or sent a student.
1923 Rev. A. J. Davis, Boy Scout Executive of Springfield, was called to
serve the church two Sundays a month. The budget was $600 for 1923.
Ladies Aid paid the $500 mortgage on the church, to the Board of Church
Erection August 6, 1923.
Young People’s class purchased two trays with the individual communion
glasses to replace the two silver goblets formerly used.
G. Bergen was Moderator from 1925 to 1928.
Missionary Society contributed generously to Missions and always sent in
1926 the West Side School burned and the school term was finished in the
church. The first four grades in the Sunday School room and the upper
four grades in the Sanctuary. On April 19, 1927 a short time before the
school vacation, a tornado struck the community and did a great deal of
damage to Buffalo Hart. The leaded stained glass windows of the church
were demolished. At that time the timber to the south and east of
Buffalo Hart was being cut and many families of the timber workers were
left homeless. After the storm passed, dozens of them, many injured,
came to the church for shelter. They lived in the church basement for
several weeks until shacks could be built for them. The Red Cross
helped refurnish the rebuilt dwellings and clothe the people.
April 19, 1927 Carrollton, Springfield, Riverton, Chestnut,
Buffalo Hart Grove, Cornland suffered from an F4 tornado.
This was the result of two separate tornadoes. The first
one began in Missouri and moved into Illinois near Hardin,
and moved across Carrollton before lifting west of
Springfield near Loami.
a big repair job on the church; new windows, the walls papered, floor
painted and a new carpet, but as usual the Ladies Aid, members and
citizens of the community helped; a play was presented in the hall above
the store and the proceeds given and soon the total amount was reached.
Buffalo Hart General Merchandise
Store and Post office where the Ladies Aid, members and
citizens of the community helped by presenting a play.
Today the old store still stands, however; it remains
Davis resigned in September 1928 to devote full time to his duties as
Boy Scout Executive and Rev. W. C. Shaffer, Superintendent of the
Sangamon County Poor Farm, at Buffalo, Illinois, came to fill the pulpit
on the second and fourth Sunday of each month.
lights were installed in the church in 1936.
Shaffer served from 1929 to 1935 when he was called to Fancy Prairie
L. Gould, Greenview, Illinois, was called to serve the church two
Sundays a month from 1935 to 1938.
S. Crouse, Rochelle, Illinois, served from 1938 to 1940. He held
services each Sunday and lived in Springfield. He resigned because of
Kale, Springfield, was Moderator from April 1942 until April 1945 and
from April 1947 to April 1954.
1940 Rev. F. L. Smith, Fancy Prairie, Illinois, came as the first
resident minister; a house was rented for him in Buffalo Hart and later
they moved into the manse.
Harbor … December 7, 1941 … World War II had begun! Ladies Aid bought
six United States Savings Bonds
for $444. The young men from the church
and community were called to serve their country in the European theatre
and the Japan area. They were scattered in many parts of the world.
$3,500 was collected for building a parsonage in the church yard. Due
to war priorities, building materials weren’t available and the money
was invested in government bonds. Then in 1944, a proposition was
presented to the church concerning the W. O. Cass property south of
Buffalo Hart. On May 19, 1944 the church purchased the house and twenty
acres of land for $4,200, the house to be used as a manse. Since then
the farmers in the community, under the direction of the trustees, have
farmed the land and the proceeds put in the church treasury. The Ladies
Aid cashed their U. S. Bonds and put the money in the farm fund.
anniversary of the organization of the Buffalo Hart Presbyterian Church
was celebrated May 26, 1946. A large attendance of former pastors,
members and friends came to spend the day and attend Sunday School and
church services in the morning with a basket dinner at noon and a
special program at 2 p.m.
early spring of 1947, electric lights were installed in the church.
ill health, Rev. Smith resigned in March 1947.
William E. Skadden, a minister and lecturer, came to serve the church on
April 6, 1947. During 1947, the manse was repaired and modernized.
Rev. Skadden was instrumental in bringing noted lecturers, singers and
entertainers to the church.
vacation church school was held in the summer of 1947 with 102 children
in attendance and in 1949 the first communicants class was held for six
30, 1940 the Dossal curtains were dedicated and two paintings by Salzman,
“Head of Christ” presented by Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Enos and “Christ
Knocking at the Door” presented by Mr. and Mrs. James Cravens in memory
of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Cravens.
In 1950 a
new south entrance was built on to the church.
September 1951 Presbyterian Life Magazine was subscribed for and has
ever since been sent to each family in the church.
26, 1952 Rev. Skadden held his last service; he had resigned in order to
devote full time to his lecture tours.
Club had been organized by the young married couples and led by Mr. and
Mrs. Arnott Smith. They met monthly for Sunday supper meetings. They
served suppers, sales lunches, etc. and sent flowers to those ill in the
1952 Frank Hodson, a student at McCormick Seminary came and remained
until he graduated in May 1956. He was then called to the First
Presbyterian Church, Hominy, Oklahoma.
meeting of Springfield Presbytery was held at Buffalo Hart in 1953.
Richardson Club House was built in the summer of 1954 and most of the
dinners, suppers and meetings formerly held in the church basement are
now held in the club house.
Rev. Hodson’s pastorate, there were plans made for an addition of three
educational rooms, but work was not started until the spring of 1957.
Richard P. Graebel of the First Presbyterian Church, Springfield,
Illinois was chosen our Moderator September 20, 1954; since then there
has been an annual congregational meeting with regular election of
1957 the three Sunday School rooms were dedicated at a special service,
by the Moderator, Dr. R. P. Graebel.
1956 Thomas D. Brown, a student at McCormick Seminary, was called to
serve as pastor. He resigned May 25, 1958 after graduation, to accept a
call to Yates City Presbyterian Church.
Graebel suggested Rev. W. E. Skadden, our former supply pastor, to serve
the church. He returned June 1, 1958.
1959 the Fall District meeting of the Springfield Presbyterial met at
Buffalo Hart Church with an attendance of 125 women.
1961 church membership was 95. Budget for the year was $5,390.
Hart Church was honored by the selection of Sydney Roberts as a delegate
from Springfield Presbytery to the General Assembly at Buffalo, New
York, May 1961.
1961 Buffalo Hart Church entertained Springfield Presbytery for an all
day meeting with lunch served at Richardson Club House.
1962 there were 103 members and the budget was $6,110 of which $700 was
and September 1962 false beams were placed on the Sanctuary ceiling and
the church redecorated.
Association with three circles was organized in November 1962; this new
organization combined the Ladies Aid Society and Missionary Society.
1963 Dr. Graebel received new members into the church and dedicated the
remodeling and redecorating of the church, and also dedicated the new
hymn books given by the Presby Club. The club is no longer active.
membership January 1964 was 107 and Sunday School attendance 71.
Fellowship group under the direction of Mr. and Mrs. George Drake was
formed in 1963.
memorial service was held November 25, 1963 at 11 a.m. for President of
the United State, John F. Kennedy.
1963 anonymous donors presented a lovely Baldwin organ to the church.
Guest organist Mr. Wendell Kennedy of Springfield presided at the organ
for the Christmas church service at 11 a.m. and for the Vesper service
at 4 p.m., December 22, 1963.
Throughout the years many changes have taken place in the community
since the organization of the church in 1896.
World War I, the model T Ford was popular; road improvements were
necessary; with the economic Depression of the 1930’s, the exodus began
from farm to cities; radios were installed in homes; Route 54 was built
through Buffalo Hart; livestock markets were established in Springfield
so the live stock loading pens were not used at the railroad siding and
eventually torn down … passenger train service was curtailed … tractors
and mechanized equipment replaced the horses and mules on the farms …
television was being used … Community Unit School Districts replaced the
country schools with their various programs and tended to decentralize
community centered church affairs … REA brought electricity to the
community; homes were modernized … heating and cooking units were
changed from wood or coal to oil, propane gas or electricity.
our young men were involved all around the world in World War II, Korean
Conflict, Berlin Crisis, the Cuban Crisis and Vietnam War. Medical
facilities in Springfield were enlarged. The general merchandising
store at Buffalo Hart owned and operated for many years by David J. Ross
closed in November 1967. The Post Office was closed. Many students
were attending college and universities from high school and the country
church continued on, ministering to all and having an honored place in
Progress Show, an agricultural exhibition sponsored by the Prairie
Farmer Magazine, was held September 30, 31 and October 1, 1969 on the
James Cravens farm. All the churches in the surrounding area were
invited to help serve the food. Buffalo Hart was the host church and
many friends from all the Presbyterian Churches in the Springfield
Presbytery and many other people volunteered to help. Mrs. Mary Moody
was General Chairman. Proceeds were $5,265. This money has been used
for improvements to the church, and $1,500 given to the Illinois
Presbyterian Home in Springfield.
1970 the front entrance was rebuilt and redecorated; the front double
doors on the west side were removed and new doors installed in the south
entrance. New carpet was laid in the vestibule.
Women’s Association, which is now one circle, in November 1970
distributed the New Testament “Good News for Modern Man” throughout the
entire community as their part in the state-wide crusade.
1970 Mr. and Mrs. George Wilson gave 20 ft. of land on the east and
south of the church yard to complete a circular driveway around the
church. It is covered with crushed rock.
Illinois was restructured in 1971; there are four Presbyteries instead
of the original ten in Illinois. Buffalo Hart is in the Great Rivers
Presbyter; the others in Illinois are: Blackhawk, Chicago and
Southeastern. The State of Illinois and the State of Indiana is the
Synod of Lincoln Trails, with headquarters at Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Lincoln Trails Synod has seven Presbyteries, the four above
mentioned in Illinois, and the three in Indiana are: Ohio Valley,
Wabash Valley and Whitewater Valley. Lincoln Trails Synod has
approximately 300,000 communicant members.
Membership in 1972 was 97 and the budget was $6,070 plus $700
benevolence … $400 of this benevolence for National Presbyterian work
and $300 for Illinois Presbyterian Home. $180.45 was given to One Great
Hour of Sharing and $556 to the Salvation Army Building Fund.
trees in the church yard had died and had to be removed; some new trees
were set out.
piano was purchased July 1972.
William Skadden was stricken in August 1972 and died at his home in Door
County, Wisconsin, October 11, 1972.
Rev. Skadden’s illness and after his death, Rev. Shroeder, Rev. Maietta
Sr., Rev. Charles Hindman, Rev. Lewis Andrew, Dr. R. P. Graebel and Rev.
Gideon Krein filled the pulpit on various Sundays.
room was built in 1972 in the northwest corner of the north Sunday
School room and toilet facilities have been installed.
charter members of the church died in 1972 … Mrs. May Lyon Enos on
August 26 and John A. Enos on November 8.
Lewis Andrew answered the call to serve Buffalo Hart November 26, 1972.
Presbytery appointed him Moderator for Buffalo Hart.
100 members. The budget for 1972 is $6,750 plus $700 benevolence. Mr.
and Mrs. Robert Richardson, Helena, Montana, have given 191 shares of
stock in St. Paul Companies over a period of years.
Missionary Society and now the Women’s Association has always sent in
the yearly apportionment and their serving quotas; overseas has been
hospital supplies and blankets. The national sewing has also been
hospital supplies and garments sent most often to the Appalachian
Mountain area and Ganado Mission in Arizona.
reorganization of the Synod and Presbyteries, there was a need for a
smaller unit for local communication to Presbytery. So the Springfield
Area Mission Council was formed, composed of the six Springfield
Presbyterian Churches, Chatham, Farmingdale and Buffalo Hart which meets
monthly, first Monday night, on a rotating basis.
budget for 1974 is $6,810 plus benevolence $700 … $300 of this
benevolence goes to Illinois Presbyterian Home.
agricultural area, farms are larger, hence, there are fewer families and
children so our Sunday School has dwindled, but the little white country
church still stands as a Monument to the Christian Faith of this
community and our future lies in God’s hands.
“One thing I have
asked of the Lord,
That I may dwell in
the house of the Lord
all the days of my
To behold the
beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in
his temple.” Psalm 27
Thanks to my
mother, Mrs. May Enos, for writing parts of the first six pages.
Compiled by Dorothy E. Burrus, July 1, 1974
community celebrated its sesquicentennial September 15, 1974, worship
service was celebrated at the church with Rev. Lewis Andrew in the
pulpit. In 1975 there were 104 members with a budget of $7.660.
Mission council was active meeting once a month at various churches.
Part of our benevolences went to Illinois Presbyterian Home.
Paul Graebel, our former moderator from September 1954 to March 9, 1976,
died on that date.
Women’s Association met once a month and has always met its
apportionment and sewing quotas. The sewing was sent to the Appalachian
Mountains and Ganado Mission in Arizona at that time. Women’s
Association served Easter Breakfast and sent flowers to those in the
hospital. A family night was combined with the Annual Praise Service in
communicant’s class was held in 1977 with four young people in
attendance. In 1978 there were 75 members and the budget was $8,085. A
committee attended a conference of small churches in Jacksonville in
1978. The church hosted the Springfield Mission Council and served
refreshments. The Small Church Task Force was working with Buffalo Hart
Church to find a minister. Rev. Howard Milkman, of First Presbyterian
Church, was to be our moderator.
church participated in the Major Mission Fund; members pledged $3,000,
which was given over a period of three years. It was used for Indians
in the Southwest and the poor.
Lewis Andrew left in June 1979 for Bethany, Oklahoma. A silver bowl was
presented to them and a potluck dinner was held.
was held at the church July 30, 1979 and it was decided to yoke with
Fifth Presbyterian Church and hire Margaret Zedan as stated supply. She
would serve 2 days for Buffalo Hart and 3 days for Fifth, with Buffalo
Hart sharing the other expenses. Rev. Zedan attended Dubuque Seminary
and her ordination was held at Fifth Church with Buffalo Hart assisting.
Kaleidoscope, a group of Williamsville High School singers, sang at our
church service in December.
Stephens served as temporary supply from June to October in 1979.
there were 67 members. In December the pews were upholstered in red
plush velvet at a cost of $1,449.50. Rev. Zedan held a Bible Lenten
Study from February 20 to April 2, and Good Friday services were held at
Gideons spoke at the church in June 1980.
Christmas offering was sent to Kemmerer Village.
there were 47 members and the budget was $15,235.
Zedan preached her last sermon at Buffalo Hart on February 14, 1982, and
went to Howell, Michigan, to serve as assistant pastor of the First
Presbyterian Church. A reception was held for her after the service and
she was given a pair of silver candlesticks.
James Webb and Rev. Charles Howe served the church in February and March
of 1982. The two churches invited Rev. Steven Plank, assistant pastor
of First Presbyterian Church of Springfield, to serve Buffalo Hart as
stated supply and interim pastor at Fifth Church from March 15, 1982
until August 3, 1982.
Church School was held and ended with a picnic at the church.
Plank received a call from Willow Green Presbyterian Church near
Rockford and he left after the service September 26, 1982.
William Peckham, Rev. Fred Roblee, and Chet June (from Westminster)
conducted services during October 1982. Rev. Roblee was called to Fifth
Church for 3 months and to Buffalo Hart as moderator and stated supply
from November 28, 1982 to February 28, 1983. Later the session asked
him to stay on three more months.
contributed to One Great Hour of Sharing in addition to regular giving,
and also to Illinois Presbyterian Home and to the New Life Presbyterian
Church in 1983. We had a very successful Bible school sponsored by the
Women’s Association, supplies paid for by the church.
Presbytery and Synod voted to reunite the northern and southern churches
into the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. They had not been together since
the Civil War.
church received the Schober organ on March 26, 1983 from Mr. and Mrs.
Kenneth McGee, and they attended the dedication.
Patricia Reid was asked to come as a candidate for stated supply in
cooperation with Fifth Church on May 15, 1983. She was asked to serve
one year. White aluminum siding was put on the entire building, and new
furnaces installed in 1983.
budget for 1984 was $19,146. On March 25, 1984 the Chapel Singers from
Blackburn College conducted the service.
budget for 1985 was $19,576. Ministry Council met at our church in
1986, Rev. Reid submitted her resignation effective August 3, 1986.
Rev. Gregg Dana began serving as temporary supply September 1, 1986.
Women’s Association has served Easter Breakfast and the Praise Service
Supper for several years. The Christmas offering was given to Joy
Giving Fund, which helps retired mission workers and their spouses and
the Southwestern Indians and the poor.
January 1987 there were 32 members and the budget was $19,423. Bible
study was held after church, led by Rev. Dana. Ministry Council held a
picnic at the club house in June. It was during this time that the
signs were put on Route 54.
Dana married Anne Fisher, also a Presbyterian minister in November 1987,
at First Presbyterian Church. During that year it was approved that we
combine the elders and trustees in one body. This board of Elders
serves the spiritual and physical needs of the church.
of Prayer was held at the church in 1988 with 9 churches invited from
the area. Again Rev. Dana taught the Lenten season Bible study. Mr.
and Mrs. Dwight Moody. Dorothy Burrus and Rev. Dana attended the General
Assembly in St. Louis June 7, 1987.
there was a budget of $19,887 and a membership of 28. Structural work
was done beneath the stained glass windows on both sides of the
1988 and 1989 saw the church celebrating, with other Presbyterians, the
200th anniversary of their church in America. A
bi-centennial worship service was held at 10:30 a.m. at Sangamon State
University Auditorium. Ray and Myrabel Theobald volunteered to assist
with the serving of communion to the 1100 persons attending the service.
were 28 members in 1990. The budget was $18,777. At the January
Congregational Meeting, the suggestion was made to sell the farm land.
At a February 2nd meeting, it was decided to farm the acres another
year, but to sell during the year. On November 24, 1990 it was sold in
4 five-acre lots.
entertained by the choir from Williamsville Methodist Church who
assisted with our candlelight communion service on December 23, 1990.
$220 to Contact Ministries for their needs.
meetings concerning small churches were held in 1991 and 1992. Rev.
William Schacht was hired as Rural Ministry Specialist to survey the
area for new members. He did a study of our situation. It became the
concern of the session and the congregation as to whether we could
continue as a church.
church participated in One Great Hour of Sharing and the Peace
Offering. Rob Hudson, of Helping Hands, spoke at the Praise Service.
Food and supplies were collected for the organization. A potluck dinner
resigned effective December 31, 1992. Rev. Dana preached his last
sermon December 23 at a candlelight service, followed by a reception.
The Dana family was presented with a gift. Rev. Dana left to be with
Inter-Faith Counseling Service in Springfield.
January 1993 we had 30 members. Rev. Jack McIntyre filled the pulpit
during January 1993. 1993 was also the year we began having Sunday
School again. Janice Kennedy (Wray) was working on a huge mailing
giving information about the church, which went to a large area. As a
result of the mailing, the Illinois State Journal featured Buffalo Hart
Church and its congregation in a full-age article with color pictures in
the month of March. As a result two families attended services and one
family joined the church.
Chase Page came March 1993 as temporary supply. Holy Week services were
held on Maundy Thursday and again on Palm Sunday. Rev. Page left May 23
to serve First Presbyterian Church at Montross, Pennsylvania.
following pastors conducted services in 1993. Dr. Richard Dayringer;
Rev. Jack McIntyre; Dr. Charles Hendricks; Rev. Mary Jessup. Rev.
Jessup preached in June and additional services. She continues as our
Robert Richardson died July 5, 1993. He was a liberal donor to our
Butcher spoke to the congregation at the Praise Service. The Women’s
Association gave $100 to Flood Relief through the Pike County Farm
Bureau. The Deacons gave $400. Christmas was celebrated December 19
with a candlelight communion service. The children’s Sunday School
1994 a picnic with homemade ice cream was held at the church.
were three church fires within a 70-mile radius in 1994. The Bissell
Methodist Church burned July 22, 1994. The Session decided that
something should be done to protect our church from arson. We raised
the insurance on the building and took down the signs along the
highway. Sensors connected to motion lights were installed. The roof
was repaired after a windstorm in May.
books were purchased in November. The Praise service was held in
November with Paula Brown from the Mini-O’Beirne Crisis Nursery as
speaker, followed by a potluck dinner.
was celebrated with a candlelight communion service. The children
there were 34 members. The church will be celebrating 100 years on
September 8, 1996. The committee is: Rev. Mary Jessup; Mary Moody;
Dorothy Burrus; Janice Wray; and Myrabel Theobald.
Improvements made in 1995 included painting the interior of the church,
new carpet and a new dehumidifier. The Women served Easter breakfast.
$170 was collected for Blanket Sunday. The church furnished copies of
the Year Book of Prayer so each family might have one.
rededication service was held December 1, 1995. The new hymnals were
dedicated as well as the improvements to the church. A beautiful new
cross purchased from memorial funds given in memory of Aaron Moody was
Service was held November 19, 1995 with Cathy Swartz from Habitat for
Humanity as speaker. The Women’s Association donated $100.
Session voted to send $1,000 to Presbyterian Home, $200 to Bissell
Methodist Church for use in their new building, the Peace Offering was
sent to Contact Ministries, and $200 to Oklahoma for their bombing
disaster. Six people joined the church in 1995. There were 34 members
and the budget was $21,436. The Women’s Association gave $100 to the
First Presbyterian Church of Oklahoma City for use of victims, and $100
to Bissell Methodist Church, as well as $50 to Contact Ministries.
Deacons continue to be responsible for the communion services as well as
the changing of the paraments in season.
Hart hosted World Day of Prayer March 1, 1996. Rev. Jessup held Bible
study twice a week for 8 weeks in early 1996.
the highlights of our service on Sunday morning is the special
children’s sermon given by the pastor. It is eagerly awaited b y the
children - also by the adults present. The children attend the worship
service, through the time of sharing joys and sorrows of the
person who desires, participates in the birthday observance. This is a
holdover from the time when we had a separate opening and closing
service for Sunday School. The birthday collection was taken during
these services. The one who is celebrating his birthday puts one penny
for each year into the small church bank while the congregation sings
the birthday song, concluding with “God Bless You, Happy Birthday to
worship service has changed according to the needs of the church during
the years. The children now leave the congregation for their Sunday
School class after the second hymn and the offering. If communion is
being served, they return before the sacraments are served.
church has been ecumenical from the first having been served by
ministers of several denominations, and welcoming to its membership
those with roots in other denominations.
century has seen many changes in our small country church and the
community, but the church still stands as a place of worship for all.
Our forefathers could not have envisioned the exodus of young people
from the community as farms became larger and larger and farmers fewer
in number. Most have been educated to other fields and occupations and
have relocated from coast to coast. Many have become active in churches
in other communities. Many return for visits from time to time to make
contact once again with their religious roots.
good years and bad the church has remained - rejoicing in the good years
and consoling each other in the bad times. We continue to welcome new
members and to value those who have been with us longer.
Dorothy Burrus &