Tell Me the Old, Old Story of Buffalo Hart

The Rededication Ceremony of the Church Building

October 7 and 8, 2000

The story is a familiar one, having been told over and over, how the early travelers through this northeast corner of Sangamon County found acre upon acre of hardwood – oak, hickory, linn, elm, ash, sugar & walnut – a beautiful grove that seemed a haven from Indian troubles and recently endured military engagements.  Starting in the 1820’s, men and women from the eastern and southern states, some only a generation or so removed from England, found this land “so new and wild”, but decided to settle among the “grove” and call it home.  This place was first called Buffalo Heart Grove – history isn’t clear when, or why, the name changed to, simply, Buffalo Hart.  The early maps, even as late as 1912, show both Buffalo Heart Station and Buffalo Hart Post Office.             When the men and women settled, they brought only remnants of previous homes and lives, but their religious foundations were carried to this new location in their family Bibles, and in their desires to hold regular church services.  Traveling ministers first served families in their homes – the first record of a church service was in 1826 in the home of Mr. & Mrs. James Lynn and children, attended also by Mr.& Mrs. Robert Burns.  A few more families settled in the neighborhood – names that even now sound familiar – the Constants (John & Susan), the Casses (Robert & Mary), the Ridgeways, the Greenings and the Starrs, the Robinsons, though not brothers (James T & John) – before the “Big Snow of 1830-1831”; the Enos family came in the Spring of 1831.    Some of the families had entered into membership of the Predestinarian Baptist Church of the Lake Fork community, southwest of Mt. Pulaski.   When the brother of James T. Robinson built the “Chapel” in 1832, situated somewhat southeast of Elsie Smith’s home, church services could be held with more regularity and convenience, and the structure also served as a schoolhouse and meeting place for social and political gatherings.  The first Sunday school was organized in 1859, and held at the Chapel on Sunday afternoons, welcoming all the families of the Grove, although church worship could only be held whenever the services of a minister could be obtained. No other church was erected in the township until 1867, when four denominations banded together to build the Buffalo Hart Union Church; the cost was $2,400, the location was the second crossroads south of Buffalo Hart, now known in the neighborhood as “the rock pile corner”.  The Christians, Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians shared responsibility for securing a minister for assigned Sundays, who would arrive by horse or train.  By 1871, the people of the community who had attended the Lake Fork church withdrew their memberships, “came back home” and joined the Buffalo Hart Union Church.  For 29 years, this church served the people of the community; the last years of the century saw Rev Simon Benson, a Presbyterian, in the preacher’s chair every other week, serving Williamsville Presbyterian on alternate Sundays.   In 1896, the Presbyterians who were left at the Union Church petitioned the Presbytery to organize a Presbyterian church at Buffalo Hart.  The church was formally organized on May 16, 1896, with Rev Benson continuing to serve the Buffalo Hart and Williamsville churches for a few more years.   The Women’s Home & Foreign Missionary Society that had been organized in 1894 collected 2 cents each week from attendees, and shared the proceeds between the Home Missionary Board and the Foreign Missionary Board.    Sunday school continued to thrive, and attendance was high each week.  August 27, 1896, a Thursday, was witness to a large group of children from Buffalo Hart transported to the First Annual Sangamon County Sunday School Rally held at the state fairgrounds – how exciting, and dusty, the two-hour ride to town must have been for the children, 75 in all.  Events started 10 AM; with a reported 4,000 children in attendance, musical performances, sharing of basket dinners, speeches and marching, the day was a glorious success!  Our church received the prize banner for having the highest percentage of enrolled members in attendance.  There is no record that this “first annual” event was followed by a second, and if Buffalo Hart participated again, but the memories of the 1896 Rally would be told and re-told, to become as part of the permanent foundation of our present structure.   The little Presbyterian church in the country must have held sufficient stature in the eyes of the Springfield Presbytery, since Buffalo Hart hosted the group in September of 1899.  The community opened their homes to the visiting ministers and elders, and a basket dinner was held after Sunday church services for the visitors.  We can only imagine the scrumptious feast that was prepared by the ladies of the congregation, for their enjoyment!  Another block in the foundation.   It was 1900 – William McKinley was the President, Richard Yates was the Governor of Illinois.  And it was decided that a new church should be built at Buffalo Hart Station.  In June, communication was read from the Board of Church Erection, giving favor “to a grant of $500.00 to be used in the erection of a church at Buffalo Hart Station”…. “A subscription list asking for donations to said building was prepared for use.  The terms of said subscription list that the amts subscribed be paid on or before Oct 1st 1900.”   A congregational meeting was held two weeks later to discuss the possibilities and explain the conditions.  “Many questions were asked and were answered by the session apparently to the satisfaction of the congregation.  Among other items it was explained that the Church would be required to give a mortgage on said new church in order to secure the grant of $500.00 by the Board of Church erection to aid in building said church. ….  There were 23 members present, 19 of which voted for a new church.  3 opposed & one (1) not voting.  It was therefore determined to build the said church.”  (quotes are taken directly from session minutes, June 12 and June 27, 1900)  The session minutes provide no more detail of the pledges gathered, or the actual construction of the building, but family stories tell that carpenters came on the Illinois Central Railroad each day from Mt. Pulaski, and funds received from the sale of the Dawson Presbyterian Church boosted the building fund.  A penciled entry in the Session minutes tells us that the new church was dedicated in October 1900.  A photo of the event, provided by Dorothy Burrus and displayed in our “Church and Community” room today, shows Rev Roberts, Mr. R. W. Diller, and Rev E. B. Rogers presiding at the dedication ceremony.   By April 1901, the church reported a membership of 63, an outstanding increase by anyone’s standards!    The Young Presbyterian’s Christian Endeavor Society (C.E. Society) and the Ladies’ Aid would figure prominently in the financial structure and support of the Buffalo Hart Presbyterian.  The monthly collections of C.E. Society in 1900-early 1901 varied from 35 cents to two dollars, but proceeds of $23.20 received in February 1901, recorded as “Received from Entertainment”, with a corresponding debit entry of  70 cents as “Expenses of Entertainment”, allowed them to pay $15.00 for church furnishings on March 23, 1901.  We wish we knew what they had purchased!   Mr. William Theobald hosted a social in June ’01, clearing $6 – perhaps that helped pay for the new hitch racks and boardwalk that went nearly to the store, that were built in fall of 1901.  C.E. Society accepted the responsibility of canvassing for subscriptions to pay for a bell; they had already donated $20 by July ’02 – perhaps some of those funds came from the Easter Social in March ($11.57) and the strawberry social in May ($18.82) – by August, they had $75.00 set aside for purchase of the bell.   We know that the C. E. Society (and also the Ladies Aid) often provided the Pastor’s salary – most often the salary was paid by members of the congregation, and then reimbursed.  A February ’06 Masquerade social netted $13.80.  But it didn’t take long to spend the proceeds – in July of that year, they spent $6.25 “paid out for Pew Racks” and $5.75 “paid out for Library”.  In July ’11, $110.50 was “rec’d at stands”, and an August lawn social netted $12.65, after paying for 10 gal. cream ($7.50), ½ gal gasoline (.10), 500 dishes (.65), ½ lb. Candies, and $1.00 for express.   Likewise, the Ladies Aid was busy in 1911 – in December, they paid $1 to “rent hall”, $1.95 for food expenses (celery 60 cents, bread 50 cents, sugar 20 cents, cranberries 45 cents, coffee 20 cents) – we don’t know the specific occasion but $14.70 was taken in, before expenses.  By May & June of  ’12, the Ladies Aid paid over $200 for the excavation of the basement; it was a project well worth the investment, because by November, they were receiving proceeds from dinners held in the church basement.  But it wasn’t long before they were collecting for a furnace fund, and by February 1913, they were able to pay C. F. Shafer $145 for a furnace, with the April coal bill being $1.50; other 1913 expenditures were $7.00 for a church safe, $3.75 for a table, and $4.00 for oil stove, offset by $16.80 cleared from a November oyster supper.  Eat and spend, seems like that’s what the congregation was good at!!   1914 socials and chicken fries cleared over $32, the apron bazaar netted $10.25 and a Thanksgiving dinner brought in $21.65.  But the Ladies spent $30.75 on church painting, $278 to C. F. Johnson for “addition on church”, and $32.29 for paint and varnish.  Whew – makes us tired to think of all that cooking, hauling all the water and food to the basement, sewing, cleaning, carrying.  These socials/bazaars/meals went on for years and years.  In the words of Myrabel Theobald, “In the days when our children were young, the annual Bazaar was a must.  We made aprons – I have several in my closet.  If it didn’t sell, you brought it home.  Also made knitted and crocheted doilies, and sometimes food.  We helped serve the meal to people in the basement and took food for its preparation.  People sat at the homemade tables which were placed on sawhorses – there was no water on the premises so the water had to be carried. .… The women produced good food – I wish I could remember what people paid to eat – and I’m sure there was a lot of good humor, too – the dishes were real and had to be washed by hand.  By the time family took food, ate, bought something at the bazaar, it might have been better to give the money.”   The Ladies Aid dues in 1915 were 25 cents per member.  Meetings were missed only when the spring rains or winter thaws made the roads impassable with mud.  Cement walks were poured that year, cost of $17.04; the church was papered for $65.  And January 1917 was swept clean with two new brooms for $1.00.  Church cleaning cost 50 cents per week, as did lawn mowing.   Paul Theobald remembers when the church yard would be mowed once or twice a year with a team of horses and a five-foot bar mower.  Hand sickles were used to trim corners and around the outhouse.  He vividly remembers fighting off the bumblebees.  Over the years, payments would be made for mowing expenses, around $200/year; now, many un-named, but well appreciated, church members are anonymously donating their mowing services to keep the lawn looking nice.   The war was interrupting lives, abroad and close to home.  The history compiled by Dorothy Burrus informs that the church was used as a Red Cross center in 1918, with ladies rolling bandages and preparing hospital supplies. (Iva Rae Andrews Gobleman wrote of attending a Ladies Aid meeting with her mother, Alice Andrews, and helping to prepare bandages for the soldiers.)  Funds were used in the most patriotic way possible – seven Liberty Loan Bonds were purchased in October 1917, for $350, and 2 more were purchased the following May.  The interest from these bonds continued to show as line entries in the budget books, and more bonds were purchased during WWII.  Some bonds were cashed in 1923 to pay expenses, and the remainder were finally cashed in 1944 to help pay for the newly-acquired manse. We can be certain that the strong faith of the church community and continual prayers had as much to do with the end of the conflict, as the rolled bandages and Liberty bonds.   By August 1923, the Ladies Aid was able to pay the balance due ($385) on the original $500 mortgage acquired to build the church – the debt was cleared!  There was enough left over for lamps ($25).    April 19, 1927 is an unforgettable date in the history of this church.  The West Side School had burned, and classes were being conducted in the church.  A tornado struck the community, but Miss Dorothy Enos saved the children in “the nick of time”, getting them all to the basement right before the stained glass windows imploded into the sanctuary.   Dorothy Burrus recalled how the injured in the area were laid on doors and carried to the train, and that after the tornado hit, “the church was filled that next Sunday”.  The clean up and repair work were costly, but lives had been saved – and the prayers of thanks still endure.  Thanks was also given by the families whose homes were destroyed in the storm and were able to take shelter in the church basement for several months; these people were referred to as the “Timber Rats”, itinerant workers living here to cut the grove.    The very first wedding to take place in Buffalo Hart Presbyterian Church was December 28, 1927 – at 4 p.m., on a muddy rainy day, Dorothy L. Enos was wed to Charles O. Burrus by Rev A. J. Davis – Dorothy wore a knee-length white velvet dress, plain Christmas trees decorated the sanctuary along with mums, roses and baby’s breath;  planks were laid over the mud to serve as walkways.  As a coincidence, the second wedding to take place in the church occurred exactly twenty years after the first; Marie Lynch and William Theobald were married on December 28, 1947.   The Missionary Society was formed in October 1931 with seventeen women; each month, the focus was on articles and stories of a specific country.   The ladies always took up a collection, often prepared sale dinners or had sewing days, with all proceeds to mission work, of course.  In October 1935, a “silver tea” was given at the home of Mrs. Roberts, for the Societies of Buffalo Hart, Cornland, Buffalo and Dawson; 57 attended, enjoyed the special music and speakers, each other’s company, and collected an offering of $13.   Paul Theobald recalls the oyster soup suppers and the neighborhood mothers who were great cooks!  Evon Rogers remembers the chili suppers and the great pies!  And speaking of weddings, and bazaars, the story goes like this:  It was nearing the close of a bazaar, and an unusual swan planter was still on the “for sale” table.  Orville Rogers spied two bachelors chatting, leaned up against a tree (Billie Theobald and Forrest Cravens), and told them that he would buy the planter, and present it as a wedding gift to the first of the two to marry.  Mr. Rogers remembered to give the planter to Bill and Marie Theobald on the occasion of their wedding in 1947.  You can see the swan of renown in our display room today, recently liberated from Bill & Marie’s basement.   The majority of the early session minutes (up through the 1940’s) deal primarily with examination of Christian values of those wishing to join the church, children to be baptized, and those being dismissed to other congregations.  Myrabel remembers, “As a bride of two months or so, I had to appear before the board of elders (all men) and answer questions of faith.  I was 21 years old – scared to death – as a Methodist, I had not had to do that routine.” (March 31, 1943)   Our new communicants class that joined the church in June of this year was not subjected to that sort of inquiry – we are certain that they do not know how good they have it!   It wasn’t until 1940 that church services were held every week.  The basement had been enlarged, and Sunday school, held weekly at 10 AM before worship service, was still the big draw, with 6 classes of different age groups.  Helen Roberts McLaughlin remembers struggling down the narrow dangerous stairway, and that “Dorothy Burrus was a Peerless Sunday school teacher.  In winter, our class met in the unfinished basement, behind the coal furnace.  The black janitor (George Cook) sat nearby, reciting with us, sotto voce.”  Viola Tracy also recalls that Dorothy was very patient with her S.S. students, and Mary Moody remembers the vase of flowers on the table every Sunday.  Ray Theobald remembers, “….Sunday school classes being held in several places in the basement, the back room (then called the Sunday school room), and the sanctuary.  As a teenager, Glenn Blackwell taught a group of children about where the children sermons are held now.  I was in Olive Rogers’ class and have very fond memories of her and her class.”  Glenn Blackwell remembers proudly showing off his new shoes to Mrs. Rogers – she must have shown appropriate appreciation.  Paul Theobald recalls Sidney Roberts, Arnott Smith and Ancil Cravens as some of his Sunday school teachers.  The Birthday collection held during worship service is a hold-over from those days.   More from Ray:  “I suppose my special memories were of Olive Rogers and her class of small children.  I think she was my first teacher.  When Paul and I were older we played 1st and 2nd trumpets with Roberta Roberts as accompanist.  We enjoyed playing with her as she played well and at a good speed.”  Paul’s memory of the trumpet playing was of the same “tune” as Ray’s – wouldn’t you love to hear them now?!  Arlene Archer recalls having “so many kids together, about the same age – Ronnie Archer, Keith Cravens, Judy Theobald, Kenny Hodson, Jr Gillman – what a time they all had together”.    The church earned a few dollars here and there in the ‘30s and ‘40s, renting out the building for Soil Conservation, Farm Bureau and Detective Association meetings, for $2 a night.  Gas lights had been installed in 1936 ($140.36 paid to Sangamon Farmers Oil Co for stove & church lights) – the road was graveled by the ‘40s, about the same time that Rt. 54 was being constructed (Paul T has memories of working on that project) – and electric lights were hooked up in 1947.  Nice place for meetings!  Fox hunts were still being organized in the neighborhoods, with the after-hunt dinners prepared by church ladies.  Wonder if that’s where Elsie Smith got her fox stole?   Special events trigger wonderful memories – Halloween of 1972 brought a snow storm, and Betty Blackwell’s child was near-due, but she didn’t miss the party – did you recognize her dressed as a cow?  Arlene Archer remembers the year the men went dressed in long underwear, and the fun at scavenger hunts.  Christmas seasons produced the expected pageants, “Mary” with a scarf covering hair, shepherds in their flannel bathrobes, carrying canes, baby Jesus in the wooden manger.  One pageant night when the blowing snow prevented “Mary” from arriving, Myrabel filled in; but when she sat on the little red chair, which was closer to the floor than expected, she dissolved in giggles, adding a new dimension to the sacred performance.  Sometimes Orville Rogers performed Santa duties at the end of the program, sometimes Ed Rice – there was usually an orange and some hard candy given to the children.  Dorothy Burrus had remembered the children singing songs & reciting poems for the Easter programs, and Betty B associated hats, gloves & new clothes with Easter Sunday; Lyle Conner remembered the Sunrise Service Breakfast.  Easter service on April 17, 1949, was a witness to “a large attendance, church almost over-flowing.  Had as special guests a group of Knight Templers in traditional attendance on Easter with their Commander, Milton Shutt…Our Self-Denial Offering…was very generous and outstanding, and will be dedicated to the work of our Church and Christian work in our community.”  (session minutes)   The year was 1943 – the discussion had centered around the need for a parsonage, “but due to a shortage of houses and the need for a resident pastor it seems wise to plan to build a parsonage on donated property adjoining the church yard” (session minutes).  Funds were solicited, and $3500 had been collected for the building fund.  However the war-time shortages prevented construction, and the money was invested in government bonds.  But by May 19, 1944, a deal had been made – session minutes read:  “Closed the transaction for the purchase of the W. O. Cass place – house and 20 acres of land.  Everett Theobald, Elder, and Wm. G. Priddle, Trustee, acted for the Church, and now after 48 years we have a manse.”  The first pastor to reside there was Rev. F. L. Smith.  The 20 acres were farmed by church members, providing needed cash for expenses; it was reported in December 1973 that 13317 bushels of corn had been harvested at $2.25, bringing in $2,883.35, beat out by November ’85 crop (2876.42 bu harvested, bringing in $6,389.16).  By 1990, the decision had been made to sell the acreage, and on November 24, 1990, the property was sold in 4 tracts.  With the last crack of the gavel, perhaps a sigh of relief was felt, that the aging church farmers no longer had to worry about the farmland & crops, but perhaps also a sigh of remorse for the end of that era, the loss of a manse, and the hope for a resident pastor.   Vacation Bible school was started by Dorothy Burrus in 1947, with 102 children in attendance.  Evon Rogers recalls the lessons held outdoors under the trees, and the great cookies.  Connie Tracy Frieden had her first taste of chocolate milk at one summer’s VBS – it didn’t taste that good, but she thought it was pretty amazing!  She particularly valued the friendships forged at VBS, and was “so proud of things we made”.  Hundreds of children, from all reaches of the area, benefited from VBS over the years – it may have been their only opportunity to learn of God’s love, and the value of community caring.  Julie Moody Hatten & Myrabel remember the week’s day camp held in Wilma Craven’s basement, with Jill Burrus, Robin Hays & Vickie Degner; the girls brought sack lunches, and they acted out the Bible stories, did crafts, and had great fun!  Does anyone remember the week that VBS was at the clubhouse because it was cold & damp, and someone had left the jug of kerosene next to the burning fireplace?  Rev. Hodson calmed the panic and used a stick to lift the jug up and out of the area – another disaster diverted!   The funniest memories?  John Hawkins dropping the collection plate.  O. S. Rogers snoring in church (the kids thought it was funny), and Bill Evans Sr. wrinkling up his forehead to make the children giggle.  How about Mary Hawkins’ sayings for every occasion – remember “flat as a flitter”, or “the old gray mare just ain’t what she used to be”, or “busier than a one-armed paper hanger”?    The 50th anniversary was celebrated in May 1946 with morning worship, a basket dinner at noon, and 2 p.m. program.  (Viola Tracy played the piano, and Myrabel and Betty Lou sang a duet, among other musical offerings.)  The pastor’s salary was $800 per annum; the membership rolls counted 45.  Several building repairs were made that year – new sills in the front of the building, new steps, new roof; paint wasn’t available until the next year, and the church was painted in October of ’47.     Rev Skadden’s December 30, 1950 service included a dedication service for the new Dossal curtains behind the pulpit (removed in the remodeling of 1995), purchased and presented to the church by the girls’ Junior class.  He also gave a picture interpretation of the two Sallman pictures, “Head of Christ” and “Christ Knocking at the Door”, gifts from Mr & Mrs J.A. Enos and Mr & Mrs James R. Cravens.  (session minutes).  Rev Skadden was well remembered for his sunshine or rain poems, and also for his sense of humor & “funny tales” that he shared with the young adult classes.  His familiar poems can be viewed in the display room today.   1957 saw the addition of three rooms, dedicated on June 23rd, following (what else!) a dinner in the basement!   The addition and furnaces cost $8,522.34, but most of the expenses were already covered by pledges.  New carpeting was laid that year in the sanctuary, for $653.22.  Many repair bills show up in the books (‘61 – repairs to church building $997.20; ‘62 – interior work $1949.90; ’63 – 12 storm windows & 3 doors $401.97; ’64 – insulation $662.34).  Foley Studios of Mattoon fixed the stained glass windows in 1967 for $916.  The pastor’s salary had been increased to $50 per week, and the Ladies Aid and Missionary Society had combined to become one organization, fondly known now as Women’s Association.   But everything isn’t about money.  1967 helped turn a page in the history of this church – a woman was finally elected to Session.  Dorothy Burrus was elected to her first term, of many, as an Elder of the Church.  Her meticulous record keeping as Clerk of Session helped to preserve and record the business, and the memories, of this church community and church building.  We are ever grateful to her foresight, quiet leadership and courage, where women were just beginning to demonstrate their strengths.   Serving meals at the Farm Progress Show in fall ’69 provided the congregation with badly-needed funds – $5,265.38 was the net after expenses were paid.  Weekly attendance was low, membership had fallen, and inadequate funds were being received to cover church expenses.  It wasn’t until 1971 that the funds were used – front entrance repairs cost $684.98; rock for the driveway, which had been expanded by acquisition of 20’ on east & south side to make the circle, at $220.86; a new piano in July ’72 for $761; painting exterior of church ($700); improvements to Sunday school rooms ($275); and installation of an indoor bathroom ($650.59) in ’73.  Memorial funds provided for metal folding chairs, Baptismal fount, two pulpit chairs, trees, and the brass-top railing at front door.  Pew seats had been varnished in 1951, but had to be repaired in 1974 at cost of $2229, using both Memorial funds and Farm Progress show dollars.  The final improvement to the pews was in December 1980 when they were upholstered by Helen Brooks for a cost of $1449, funded, again, with Memorial funds.   Costly roof repairs were accomplished in 1978 ($3,690) and 1982’s siding cost $9,604.  Two furnaces cost $2,490 in 1983.  The funds received from the Farm Progress Show were used wisely, to the benefit of the preservation of the building and those comforted within.   Janice Kennedy Wray distinctly remembers her first service at Buffalo Hart, and the day she became a new member (1987), the first “outsider” (not related by family to any BH church or community member) to join in decades.  We can all fondly remember Janice as the impetus behind the mass mailing that was sent in 1993 to encourage neighborhood and community dwellers to worship at Buffalo Hart, and credit her with the beginning of growth, that continues to this day.   By 1992, membership had dwindled to less than 30, and Sunday attendance was low.  Something needed to be done to revitalize the church, so Bill Schacht was hired as a Rural Ministry Specialist to study Buffalo Hart and recommend a course of action.  However his work and his recommendations were not agreeable to the membership, nor were the Pastor’s suggestions to merge, close or move.  But some “divine interventions” started to turn things around.    June 1993 was the beginning of Rev Mary Jessup’s steady pulpit supply (her first pulpit supplies had been on July 15, 1990 and January 3, 1993)  – it didn’t take Session long to offer her a steady contract; by the end of June, she had accepted.  1993 was also the first year the church received distribution from a generous trust fund established by Robert Richardson and his wife Pearl – he had been determined that Buffalo Hart Church should not perish due to lack of adequate funding, and the first distribution was truly a gift from heaven.  The sanctuary and back room were repainted, wall-to-wall carpeting replaced the aisle runners, the hardwood floors were refinished, and a new furnace and air conditioning were installed (good-bye to those paper fans!).  Many donations (pulpit cross, children’s benches, new door and exterior sign) were generously given.  This was all done in time for the wonderful Centennial Celebration in September 1996, honoring the 100th birthday of the foundation of the congregation.   Since that date, a well has been dug, providing a consistent water supply, cement walks, steps and ramp have been poured, with new handrails, and landscaping has enhanced the beauty of this simple country church.  Our ministries have expanded, along with our membership, and commitments are honored.  Life is good at Buffalo Hart!    Just as we are intrigued the by the small amounts of money collected, in a steady consistent manner, to finance the methodical enlargement and enhancement of the church building, we are also amazed by the swell and ebb of the “liveliness” of the church congregation.  But to those who remain from the original blood lines, and to those who have joined in recent years, it is not a surprise that the church has sustained.  This is God’s house.  We are God’s people.  It is in the sweet spirit we breath, in the songs of praise, in the words explained and proclaimed each Sunday morning.    As we gather to celebrate this building – this structure that has gathered the strong and the weary, the lonely, the loving and the not-so-loving, the old and young and everyone in-between – this structure that has been enlarged, enhanced, plumbed, electrified, air conditioned, carpeted and painted many times – this structure that has been packed full, and was sometimes nearly empty, we celebrate not only the building but also the people who gave it breath and strength, and saw to it is endurance, and to our gracious God who bestows these same gifts on us.   We would like to bestow special recognition and remembrance to our beloved sister Dorothy Burrus, who passed away on September 5, 2000.  She had been actively involved in the preparations for this Rededication Ceremony and Celebration, , enthusiastically sharing ideas, history and photographs.  Her influence and impact on this church and the community, both close and extended, will not be forgotten.   Resources used in writing “Tell Me the Old, Old Story of Buffalo Hart”:

  1. Buffalo Hart Presbyterian Church Session Minutes, 1896 to present.
  2. Buffalo Hart Y.P.S.C.E. Record Book, 1896-1898.
  3. Buffalo Hart Ladies Aid Account Book, January 1910 through 1962.
  4. Buffalo Hart Missionary Society Secretary’s Book, October 1931 à December 1940.
  5. Buffalo Hart Treasurer’s Account Books, October 1935 à April 1946; January 1957 à December 1972.
  6. History of the Buffalo Hart Presbyterian Church 1896-1996, compiled by Dorothy Burrus and Myrabel Theobald.
  7. Reminiscences of past and present members of BH Church and community.
  8. History of Sangamon County 1881.
  9. Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Sangamon County, Vol. II, Pt. 1, ed. 1912.
  10. The Illinois State Journal, Springfield, Illinois, August 27 and 28, 1896.
  11. The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Illinois, April 25, 1993.
  12. Illinois Times, September 12-18, 1996.