St Johns Lutheran Church, Bartonville, Peoria Co, IL

St. ]ohnís Lutheran Church

During the middle of the nineteenth century, Evangelical Lutheran immigrants, mostly from East Friesa, Germany, settled in Limestone Township, Peoria County, Illinois. These early settlers had come by way of New Orleans, then up the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers to Peoria, at that time a small village.

These Lutherans longed for their Own familiar liturgy and the Holy Sacraments. The first Lutheran service held by this group was conducted by Pastor H. Kopmann in the fall of 1851, at the log home of Gerd Ojemann on a farm four miles west of Peoria. Pastor Kopmann conducted services regularly for about two years and taught parochial school four days a week. Two years later, in 1853, St. ]ohnís Evangelical Lutheran Church congregation was organized.

In the fall of 1855, the first church building was erected; its dimensions were 16' x 16' and it was built of rough lumber, the pews being of the same material. As the congregation grew, it became necessary to build another building, 18' x 36', with a smaller addition used as a parsonage.

St. ]ohnís called its First full-time Pastor in 1855. Pastor J. T. Warnke was installed and began his pastorate. The young congregation dedicate a cemetery on February 4. 1857.