Currently, there are no churches in Milks Grove Township. But years ago, there were two churches in Section 26.
Where is section 26? Go three miles south of the Kankakee-lroquois County line on Park Road and then two miles east.
Along the south border of Section 26 or the 3100N Road, there is a school, a former Catholic church, and home. And on the west border of Section 26 or the 400E Road, there is a church and a residence on the west side of the road is the location of a former Lutheran Church.
What do we know about the Catholic Church?
ln 1890, Lemuel Milk donated 8 acres in Section 26 plus a $5000 donation for the construction of a church, dwelling and school. Currently, those 8 acres are enclosed in a fence and is a separate piece of property. (From the lroquois Co. Genealogy Society)
The church was called St. John's Catholic Church. It was served by a priest from Chebanse. ln 1895, it became a part of the Clifton parish and was used until October of 1950. (From Norma Meier)
The church was a mission of Assumption BVM Catholic Church in Ashkum. The church records were kept by an Ashkum priest and included in Ashkum church entries. It doesn't seem logical that the Milks Grove parish was a mission of Ashkum rather than Clifton, but I have transcribed all the Ashkum church records and know that to be so.
What do we know about the Lutheran Church?
The Chebanse Herald reported in May of 1899 that a petition to construct a church was circulated in the Milks Grove area for the German Lutherans. Thus in September of 1899, 5 acres were given to the church by Henry Siedentop, the grandfather of Art Schultz, located 8 miles west and three miles south of Chebanse for the construction of a house of worship for them. Prior to that, the German and Danish Lutherans had met as early as the 1880's in the town hall of Milks Grove.
According to reports and the records of confirmations, Rev. Seehausen served that congregation for the greater part of his ministry at Zion Lutheran Church, Chebanse. Services were held on Sunday afternoons. When the weather was bad, Pastor Seehausen would make the trip on Saturday afternoon with horse and buggy, stay with the Henry Siemring family who lived about 7 miles west of Chebanse and then return later Sunday or early Monday morning. And so God's Holy Word and the Sacraments were brought to the people west of Chebanse by Pastor Seehausen.
Confirmation certificates of relatives of Art Schultz of Zion, Chebanse, indicate Pastor Seehausen was serving the Milks Grove Lutheran Church as late as 1917.
Since in 1909, Trinity Lutheran Church, Herscher, was founded as a daughter congregation of Zion Lutheran Church, Bonfield, some of the members of Milks Grove Lutheran Church transferred to Trinity and others eventually to Zion Lutheran Church, Chebanse. One article in an early Chebanse Herald indicated that the Milks Grove Lutheran Church was named "Zion". (From Zion’s Outreach Mission)
Per Norma Meier: There was a cemetery and most were reinterred at the Evergreen Cemetery in Chebanse although a few remained. Can they still be seen?
There was also a Lutheran parsonage which was moved a few miles south.
It appears that the Catholic Church had services from 1895 to 1950 and that the Lutheran Church was open from 1899 until 1917? A picture of the Zion Lutheran Church can be viewed at the Herscher Area Historical Society along with other historic pictures of Milks Grove Township. Please stop by and view this display.
lf you know anything further on these churches, please email Robert Voss at email@example.com.