The History of Andover Township Churches
This history of Andover, Henry County, Illinois was originally published in the Portrait and Biographical Album
of Henry County IL, written in 1885. Copies provided by Linda Lang and transcribed by Susie Martin-Rott.
SWEDISH LUTHERAN EVANGELICAL CHURCH
The Swedish Lutheran Evangelical Church, of Andover, was organized March 18, 1850, with ten communicant members.
Rev. Lars P. Esbjorn was the first Pastor, remaining in the active work until 1856. Under his care the first church
building was commenced, in 1851, and completed and dedicated in 1854. For one year after Esbjorn left, the Church
was not regularly supplied. Rev. B. J. P. Burgendler was then stationed here. In 1858, Jonas Swenson, the father of
John S. Swenson, at present in charge of the Orphans' Home, was ordained in Swedona and took charge of the Church.
This Church and the one at Moline and New Sweden received $1,500 donation from the celebrated singer Jenny Lind.
Mr. Swenson remained in charge of the Church to the time of his death, in December, 1873. The vacancy thus caused
was supplied by transients until April 28, 1875, when Rev. Erl Carlson, the present minister, took charge. The
present new church was completed and dedicated in August, 1867. The total cost was $41,000. It is supplied with an
organ costing $3,000. The Church trustees are Jonas W. Larson, Peter Esterling, S. P. Johnson, Gustav Benkston,
Ostoff Stephenson. The number of present communicants is 950, and the whole membership is 1,535.
SWEDISH METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Swedish Methodist Episcopal Church probably owes its existence to Jonas Hedstrom, who came here in 1850 and at
once took up the subject. He called a meeting in the house of Mrs. Lobecks and incited the few friends to enter
upon the good work. In 1854, a little church was built, at a cost of $536. This church eventually was too small for
the growing congregation, and in 1863 the present church edifice was erected, at a cost of $3,200. During the past
ten years, several members have removed to the West. Present membership, 140. Sunday-school, 75. The following
Pastors, in order of their succession, have been in charge: Jonas Hedstrom, Victor Witting, Peter Newburg, A. J.
Anderson, Andrew Ericson, Albert Ericson, I. Lindquist, John Wigreen, O. Gunderson, James Iverson, H. Olson, J. H.
Ekstrand, Alfred Anderson, and the present Pastor, Rev. John Bendix.