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The History of Andover Township Churches

This history of Andover, Henry County, Illinois was originally published in the Portrait and Biographical Album of Henry County IL, written in 1885. Copies provided by Linda Lang and transcribed by Susie Martin-Rott.


The Swedish Lutheran Evangelical Church, of Andover, was organized March 18, 1850, with ten communicant members. Rev. Lars P. Esbjorn was the first Pastor, remaining in the active work until 1856. Under his care the first church building was commenced, in 1851, and completed and dedicated in 1854. For one year after Esbjorn left, the Church was not regularly supplied. Rev. B. J. P. Burgendler was then stationed here. In 1858, Jonas Swenson, the father of John S. Swenson, at present in charge of the Orphans' Home, was ordained in Swedona and took charge of the Church. This Church and the one at Moline and New Sweden received $1,500 donation from the celebrated singer Jenny Lind. Mr. Swenson remained in charge of the Church to the time of his death, in December, 1873. The vacancy thus caused was supplied by transients until April 28, 1875, when Rev. Erl Carlson, the present minister, took charge. The present new church was completed and dedicated in August, 1867. The total cost was $41,000. It is supplied with an organ costing $3,000. The Church trustees are Jonas W. Larson, Peter Esterling, S. P. Johnson, Gustav Benkston, Ostoff Stephenson. The number of present communicants is 950, and the whole membership is 1,535.


Swedish Methodist Episcopal Church probably owes its existence to Jonas Hedstrom, who came here in 1850 and at once took up the subject. He called a meeting in the house of Mrs. Lobecks and incited the few friends to enter upon the good work. In 1854, a little church was built, at a cost of $536. This church eventually was too small for the growing congregation, and in 1863 the present church edifice was erected, at a cost of $3,200. During the past ten years, several members have removed to the West. Present membership, 140. Sunday-school, 75. The following Pastors, in order of their succession, have been in charge: Jonas Hedstrom, Victor Witting, Peter Newburg, A. J. Anderson, Andrew Ericson, Albert Ericson, I. Lindquist, John Wigreen, O. Gunderson, James Iverson, H. Olson, J. H. Ekstrand, Alfred Anderson, and the present Pastor, Rev. John Bendix.