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Trinity United Church of Christ (Elliston, Ohio) - MS 9

Introduction | Agency History | Scope and Content | Series Description | Inventory

 Introduction

The records of the Trinity United Church of Christ date from 1867 to 1974 with an emphasis on the 1930s. The collection consists of two linear feet of documents and one roll of microfilm. Included in the collection are minutes, membership records, annual reports, financial records, and printed material.

Willis H. Milbrodt, acting on behalf of the church, donated the collection to the Center for Archival Collections on October 15, 1974. Milbrodt dedicated the literary and property rights to the public and agreed to allow the documents to be duplicated for the purpose of research and preservation. The register was prepared by Mark I. West in March 1982.

 Agency History

The Trinity United Church of Christ traces its origins to the 1860s. During this decade a number of German immigrants purchased land in what is now Benton Township, Ottawa County, Ohio. Most of these immigrants were members of Lutheran and Evangelical churches in Germany, and they felt a need to establish a place of worship in their new home. In 1862 they began holding religious services in a local schoolhouse. Six years later they erected their first church building on land donated by Lorenzo Ellis, and in February 1870 the congregation accepted a constitution.

The first resident pastor of the Trinity Church, as it was then known, was Reverend Franz Wolff. He assumed this position on May 28, 1870, and served the church until his death in April 1874. During his pastorate, a parsonage was built across the street from the church. From 1874 to 1877 Reverend Gottlieb Kuenzler served as the church's minister. His ministry was marked by a large increase in church membership due to an influx of new settlers. Shortly after the arrival of Reverend Christian Fetzer in 1877, it was decided that an addition was needed in order to accommodate the larger congregation. In 1880 the addition was completed, and a few years later a pipe organ was installed.

In 1885 Reverend August Stange became minister, serving in that capacity for twenty-three years. During his ministry the Parochial School he established grew, but the overall membership of the church declined. This was due, in part, to the formation of other churches in the community. Reverend Stange's successor, Reverend Albert Dietze, served from 1909 to 1914. Reverend Dietze began phasing out the use of the German language, and Reverend Carl Bizer, who served from 1915 to 1918, continued this trend. By 1918 English was used in all of the church services and meetings.

From 1918 to 1933 Adolph Abele, Herman Schoettle, and Hilbert Peters served as ministers. During this period the Trinity Church affiliated with the Evangelical Synod of North America. In 1922 a new parsonage was built at a cost of $7,833 and in 1930 the church was extensively remodeled. The expenses involved with renovating the church totaled $31,913.

Since 1933 Herbert Schowe, Leonard Weigel, Walter Vonderohe, and William Homeister have held the position of minister. In 1957 Reverend Homeister attended the convention at which the Evangelical and Reformed Church merged with the Congregational Christian Churches. After the merger, the Trinity Church was renamed the Trinity United Church of Christ.

 Scope and Content

The records of the Trinity United Church of Christ date from 1867 to 1974 and consist of two linear feet of documents and one roll of microfilm. The collection includes minute books, membership lists, correspondence, annual reports, and printed material. Almost all of the correspondence and annual reports, however, are limited to the 1930s. Also, the records that date before 1915 are usually in German. Nearly all of the records had suffered water damage before they were donated, andthis has caused some of the documents to be difficult to read.

The collection is of particular value to historians interested in religious and regional history. The Congregational Record, the Council Minutes, and the financial records provide extensive information on the history of the church and its surrounding area. The collection also includes a wealth of information on several of the church's auxiliary organizations, such as the Churchmen's Brotherhood and the Youth Fellowship. Researchers interested in immigrant history could use the collection to study the experiences of German immigrants in northern Ohio.

For those engaged in genealogical research, the Record Books would be of particular interest. They span from 1867 to 1974 and provide data on baptisms, marriages, funerals, and confirmations. The Record Books are on microfilm. Genealogists should also consult the Cradle Enrollment and Family Records.

 Series Description

PROCEEDINGS

BY-LAWS OF THE EVANGELICAL TRINITY CHURCH
n.d.
Copy of the by-laws.

CHURCH CONSTITUTION
February 16, 1870
Two copies of the constitution are included. One is in German and the other is in English.

CHURCHMEN'S BROTHERHOOD MINUTES
1932-1958
Arranged chronologically
Contains motions, agreements, and financial reports.

CONGREGATIONAL RECORD
1870-1962
Arranged chronologically
Contains the minutes of the annual meetings of the congregation. Motions, election results, resolutions, and committee reports are included.

COUNCIL MINUTES
1923-1951
Arranged chronologically, both in original and on microfilm roll.
Contains motions, agreements, and financial reports. The minutes are in two bound volumes, and the minutes in the second volume are more complete than those in the first. A duplicate copy of the Council Minutes is on microfilm.

CRADLE ENROLLMENT
1919-1964
Arranged chronologically
Contains names and birthdates of children who attended the church's Sunday School.

FAMILY RECORDS
1934
Arranged alphabetically
Contains names, addresses, birthdates, and church related information for each family in the congregation.

RECORD BOOKS
1867-1974.
Arranged chronologically on microfilm roll.
Contains information on baptisms (1867-1974), confirmations (1871-1974), marriages (1867-1974), funerals (1897-1974), Lord's Supper (1910-1965), donations (1897-1963), and annals (1933-1954).

SIXTH ANNUAL CONFERENCE--NORTHWEST OHIO REGION--MINUTES
October 1934
Summarizes the proceedings of this conference. Motions, resolutions, and committee reports are included.

SUNSHINE CIRCLE MEMBERSHIP LIST
n.d.
Lists the names of sixteen members

YOUTH FELLOWSHIP MINUTES
1909-1956
Arranged chronologically
Contains motions, summaries of activities, resolutions, and committee reports. From 1909 to 1919 the group was known as the Young People's Society, and from 1920 to 1948 it was called the Young People's League.

CORRESPONDENCE

INCOMING CORRESPONDENCE
1934-1937
Arranged chronologically
Includes letters from religious figures and business people.

REPORTS

ANNUAL SYNODICAL REPORT
1936
Contains membership figures for Sunday School classes.

BROTHERHOOD ANNUAL REPORT
1935
Contains financial information and a summary of the organization's activities for the year.

EVANGELICAL AND REFORMED CHURCH
1935
Contains statistical information on the church as well as the names and addresses of the officers of the church's auxiliary organizations.

EVANGELICAL SYNOD OF NORTH AMERICA
1933-1934
Arranged chronologically
Contains statistical information on the church as well as the names and addresses of the officers of the church's auxiliary organizations.

PASTOR'S ANNUAL REPORT
1934
Contains attendance figures for services and other statistical information.

SENIOR YOUNG PEOPLE'S LEAGUE
1935
Contains financial information and a summary of the organization's activities for the year.

LEGAL DOCUMENTS

INSURANCE POLICY
1969
Two copies of a form from the Mutual Fire and Storm Insurance companies are included.

TITLE ABSTRACT
1930
Contains history of ownership for several lots of land in Elliston, Ohio. Prepared by H. J. Goodman.

WARRANTY DEEDS
1868-1968
Arranged chronologically
Contains deeds for property owned by the church.

FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS

BENEVOLENCE REPORT
1952
Includes information on receipts and disbursements.

CASH BOOK
1916-1959
Arranged chronologically
Includes information on receipts and disbursements.

CONTENGENT, ORGAN, AND REDECORATING FUNDS
1952
Contains records of receipts and disbursements as well as names of donors.

FINANCIAL REPORTS
1929-1936
Arranged chronologically
Lists amounts each member gave to the church in dues and gifts. Also contains information on disbursements. Reports from 1931 and 1932 are missing.

FINANCIAL SECRETARY'S REPORT
1952
Contains records of receipts and disbursements.

PREACHER'S ACCOUNT BOOKS
1952
Contains records of receipts and disbursements.

RECORD OF FIRST MORTGAGE BONDS AND COUPONS
1930-1940
Contains information on members who purchased bonds.

INCOME AND EXPENSE LEDGER
1926-1955
Arranged chronologically
Lists amounts members gave to church. Also contains information on disbursements.

WOMEN'S UNION REPORT
1935
Contains records of receipts and disbursements.

PRINTED MATERIAL

ANNIVERSARY PROGRAMS
1932, 1962, 1972 - on microfilm roll
Contain information on special services, and brief histories of the church and its auxiliary organizations. Some photographs also are included.

CENTENNIAL BOOK
1962 - on microfilm roll
Includes a history of the church and its auxiliary organizations. Photographs are included.

HYMNS
n.d.
Contains the lyrics for sixty hymns.

TRINITY TIDINGS
July 1938 - on microfilm roll
This copy of the church's monthly publication includes financial information, reports on church activities, and advertisements.

 Inventory

Box 1

Folder
  1. By-laws of the Evangelical Trinity Church, n.d.
  2. Church constitution, 1870
  3. Churchmen's Brotherhood Minutes, 1932-1944
  4. Churchmen's Brotherhood Minutes, 1945-1950
  5. Churchmen's Brotherhood Minutes, 1951-1958
  6. Congregational Record, 1870-1962

Box 2

Folder
  1. Council Minutes, 1923-1939
  2. Council Minutes, 1940-1951
  3. Cradle Enrollment, 1919-1964
  4. Family Records, 1934
  5. Sixth Annual Conference--Northwest Ohio Region--Minutes, 1934
  6. Sunshine Circle membership list, n.d.
  7. Youth Fellowship Minutes, 1909-1923
  8. Youth Fellowhsip Minutes, 1924-1951
  9. Youth Fellowship Minutes, 1952-1956

Box 3

Folder
  1. Incoming correspondence, 1934-1937
  2. Annual Synodical Report, 1936
  3. Brotherhood Annual Report, 1935
  4. Evangelical and Reformed Church Report, 1935
  5. Evangelical Synod of North America Report, 1933-1934
  6. Pastor's Annual Report, 1934
  7. Senior Young People's League Report, 1935
  8. Insurance Policy, 1969
  9. Title Abstract, 1930
  10. Warranty Deeds, 1868-1968
  11. Benevolence Report, 1952
  12. Cash Book, 1916-1959

Box 4

Folder
  1. Contingent, Organ, and Redecorating Funds, 1952
  2. Financial Reports, 1929-1936
  3. Financial Secretary's Report, 1952
  4. Preacher's Account Book, 1879-1886
  5. Preacher's Account Book, 1881-1885
  6. Record of First Mortgage Bonds and Coupons, 1930-1940
  7. Income and expense ledger, 1926-1955
  8. Women's Union Report, 1935
  9. Hymns, n.d.

Microfilm - One Roll

  1. Record Books, 1867-1974
  2. Trinity Tidings, 1938
  3. One Hundredth Anniversary Program, 1962
  4. Centennial Book, 1962
  5. One Hundred and Tenth Anniversary Program, 1972
  6. Seventieth Anniversary Program, 1932
  7. Council Minutes, 1923-1951

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