Sunday, September 13, 2009


"Sun, Sept. 13, 1926: Friday and Saturday was spent doing the usual work. On Saturday we were busy with baking and etz. and etz. But in the evening Dad, Ma & I went to town. On the way home we stopped in at Aunt Annie’s. Today, we all went to town to church in the forenoon. Rev. Smith had a sermon on the sins of Galena. It was very interesting. He is quite worked up over the Eagles’ doing last Sunday. Lots of drinking went on there. This afternoon we all went to Scales Mound to Aunt Lizzie’s [Dittmar], while Len went to visit with his folks*."

The church was more than likely the First United Methodist Church on Bench Street in Galena - pictured above. The family vascillated back and forth between the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches in Vol. 1 of Lillian's Diaries but evidentually Lillian's mother, Amelia Dittmar Trudgian and Ruby, Lillian's sister joined the Methodist Church. She never says in her diaries that she has joined also. The years 1920 thru 1924 are missing and it is possible that she did join during that period.

One of the treasures from the Galena house was a small Methodist Hymnal - the kind you see the women in the late 1880's carrying in their gloved hands as they enter worship service. Inside, written in black ink, is Mrs. Mary Trudgian's Book Sept 4th 1889. Below that in another hand is written Chas Trudgian. Mary is my great-great grandmother - the one who came from St. Austell, Cornwall, England to Galena in 1852. Chas is Charles Trudgian, Lillian's father.

*Ruby married Leonard Stauss in 1920 [one of the missing diary years. He was the son of Jacob and Sophia Sachs Stauss who also lived in Scales Mound. Some of Sophia's handwritten recipes are included in Vol. I.

1 comment:

  1. I find this interesting because this is in the middle of Prohibition and the Eagles are serving booze at their function (only goes to prove you cannot legislate morality), and I have other sources from my family histories where the local authorities are chasing bootleggers around the county on a daily basis. This is in little old Jo Daviess County, IL, so you can imagine how bad it was in the big cities!

    The Dittmars were German Presbyterian. One of the first things Erhardt Dittmar I did after he settled his family into their Woodbine Township farm just south of Schapville in Thompson Township in 1854 was to help establish a German Presbyterian Church in Schapville. The church is known as Zion Presbyterian Church today. The Dittmars were from Unterfranken, Bavaria and the area was chock full of German Calvinists and Mennonites who had fled Switzerland about 1710 when the Swiss authorities kicked them out. When the Mennonite Church in Guilford Township (near Scales Mound) closed in 1867 for lack of membership, those members still remaining transferred to the Zion Presbyterian Church in Schapville, since both sects are based on Calvinistic principles. My own great-grandmother, Elizabeth Bahr Dittmar, was the granddaughter of John Bahr, the Mennonite minister in the Guilford Mennonite Church, but she married my great-grandfather, Erhardt Dittmar II, who was a member of the Zion Presbyterian Church.

    My grandparents, Charles and Ella Dittmar Siemen, were Presbyterians as well after their marriage, but Charles was from Woodbine and grew up in the Evangelical Church (he was basically a Methodist). Story goes when the furnace in the Elizabeth Presbyterian Church went out one cold winter in the 1920s the congregation moved up the hill one block to the Methodist Church for their church services. After the furnace was fixed, however, Charlie and Ella Siemen chose to remain at the Methodist Church, and that's why my mother and eventually my sister and I were raised as Methodists rather than Presbyterians! My grandfather's sister and her husband, who was raised Presbyterian, returned to the Presbyterian church and remained members there all their lives, however.

    There seems to be very little distinction between Presbyterians and Methodists in the history of the Midwest. My Gilmore family were Presbyterians from Scotland and Northern Ireland and remained such in Massachusetts, New York and Ontario, yet my g-g-grandfather Silas Gilmore, who settled Delaware County, IA in 1838 west of Dubuque, and every generation since have been Methodists.

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