Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HR0533
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Full Text of HR0533  98th General Assembly




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2    WHEREAS, The members of the Illinois House of
3Representatives are pleased to congratulate the First
4Presbyterian Church of Vandalia on its long and storied
5history; and
6    WHEREAS, In 1823, the Illinois General Assembly donated 5
7lots to the City of Vandalia so that the capital city could
8have a church; Vandalia city leaders sold 4 of the lots and
9built the little House of Divine Worship on the 5th lot with
10the remaining money; and
11    WHEREAS, The American Home Missionary Society sent the
12Reverend Solomon P. Hardy to organize the new church; the first
13members of the church included Jeremiah Abbott, his wife,
14Betsy, Mrs. Ruth Russell, Mrs. Amy Davidson, and Mrs. Martha
15Gorin on certificate; Mr. Samuel Russell and Miss Ruth Russell
16were on examination; and
17    WHEREAS, Following the completion of the House of Divine
18Worship, all people were invited to worship there, although it
19was used primarily by Presbyterians and Methodists; the House
20of Divine Worship was also used as a school; and
21    WHEREAS, Many important government officials and



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1outstanding members of the community were members of the House
2of Divine Worship of Vandalia and it is believed that Abraham
3Lincoln worshipped there; and
4    WHEREAS, One of the most revered artifacts of the early
5Presbyterian Church and Vandalia was donated to the church
6after a Philadelphia department store owner and extensive land
7owner, Romulus Riggs, read an article about the poor little
8Presbyterian Church way out in the Wilderness Capital of
9Illinois; Mr. Riggs sent a bell in honor of his newly-born
10daughter, who was named Illinois; and
11    WHEREAS, In 1837, legislators voted to move the capital to
12Springfield; since Vandalia was built as the seat of the State
13government in 1839, many Vandalia citizens moved to
14Springfield, which caused the population to drop greatly; as a
15result, the church's membership dropped to 5 people; and
16    WHEREAS, Five people could not support the House of Divine
17Worship; therefore, the church was rented to a farmer who
18raised sheep on the premises until 1848, when it was
19reestablished by Reverend Joseph Gordon; and
20    WHEREAS, In the early 1860s, a maiden lady of the church
21passed away and left $800 in her will to the church, requesting
22that the money be used to build a new church; and



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1    WHEREAS, In 1867, the House of Divine Worship land was
2purchased for $500 by the trustees of the Presbyterian Church,
3which included Trustee James Hall, who is known as the first
4man of letters in Illinois; and
5    WHEREAS, The women of the church hosted strawberry
6festivals to raise money and with the help of Matthias Fehren's
7donation of $4,000, Fred Remann, Sr.'s donation of $3.000, and
8Dr. J. N. and Calvin McCord's donation of $1,000, the new
9Presbyterian church was built on the corner of Main St. and 3rd
10St. at a cost of $15,000; and
11    WHEREAS, The House of Divine Worship was moved to the back
12of the lot during construction and was later sold to the First
13Christian Church; and
14    WHEREAS, After the First Christian Church built a new
15church, the House of Divine Worship became a private residence;
17    WHEREAS, In 1970, the Presbyterians built a new church;
18Historical Vandalia, Inc. purchased the old building, with
19plans to open a museum on the first floor; on June 10, 1979,
20the Fayette County Museum was opened to the public for the
21first time; and



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1    WHEREAS, In March of 1982, the old Presbyterian Church
2building joined the National Register of Historic Places; and
3    WHEREAS, The Fayette County Museum is now one of Vandalia's
4major tourist attractions; the museum is staffed by volunteers
5and operates on donations; each year, thousands of school
6children and tourists have the opportunity to view artifacts
7dating back to the days when Vandalia was the capital of
8Illinois from 1820 to 1839; therefore, be it
11we congratulate the Vandalia Presbyterian Church on its
12enriching role in Illinois history and wish the church's
13congregation success and happiness in the future; and be it
15    RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be
16presented to the Vandalia Presbyterian Church as a symbol of
17our esteem and respect.