St. John's Lutheran Church Preface
Two distinct groups founded the Lutheran Churches of Kendall County. Norwegian and German Lutherans both played important roles in the development of the Lutheran faith in Kendall County. Early German immigrants were served by pastors from Aurora who periodically traveled "the circuit." Pastors who traveled the circuit kept records of births and baptisms, confirmations, marriages and deaths. This record was called the Kirchen Buch der Evangelisch Lutherischen Germeinder zu Lang Grove und Oswego, Illinois, which translates into, Church vital record book (or parish register) of the Evangelical German Lutheran Church at Long Grove and Oswego, Illinois. Marvellously, from a genealogical standpoint, that record has survived in tact to this date. The earliest entry recorded was dated October 1853. The last entry was made in September 1873.
While the church was referred to as the church of Long Grove and Oswego, ministers served many other areas as well. Kirchen Buch entries indicate that, in addition to the parishioners from Long Grove and Oswego, parishioners from Northville (La Salle County), Somonauk (De Kalb County), Sandwich (De Kalb County), Aurora (Kane County), Bristol, Yorkville and Plano were served by the circuit riding Lutheran pastors.
The earliest Plano entry in the Kirchen Buch was the baptism of Joseph Bode, July 3, 1863. A scattering of Plano entries occurred over the next decade or so. By November 1877, the German Lutherans of Plano banded together to organize their own church, St. Johannes Gemeinde zu Plano, Illinois, which translates into Saint John's Church (parish) at Plano, Illinois. Entries in St. John's parish register were made as early as November 1877 and as late as February 1953. There are, however, major gaps of time in the record leaving one with the feeling that the church was not in continuous operation during this period. After about 1919 entries became more and more infrequent. As far as I have been able to determine, Saint John's Lutheran Church of Plano, Illinois, no longer exists. I have no information as to what form, if any, it might have taken.
A small notation in the Bates and Shelby Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Kendall County, (1914) Volume II, page 827, stated "The Plano Lutherans sometimes hold service in a small building of that city." I do not know if St. John's ever had its own edifice but the forgoing would indicate they did not.
It should be noted that another Lutheran Church was founded in Plano. The First Lutheran Church of Plano was formally organized in October 1883 to serve the Norwegian Lutherans of Plano. However, worship services began about five years before their formal organization. Source: A Bicentennial History of Kendall County, Illinois, edited by Kathy Farren, page 182. The First Lutheran Church of Plano remains in existence today.
The original copy of Saint John's Lutheran Church of Plano, Illinois, records are stored in the Eden Archives in Saint Louis, Missouri. The following was transcribed from a microfilm copy of the original records filmed by the Latter Day Saints church. I know nothing about the Eden Archives but assume it is a repository for Lutheran church records. All of the early records were written in what is referred to as "old German" script. This comprised the majority of the records. Thus, what follows is a translation of the records. Given space limitations and differences in the amount of information provided by the various scribes, it was necessary to decide what should be and what could not be included. It is recommended that researchers use this compilation as a guide or index. If a record is found that the researcher is interested in, the original record should be consulted for any additional information that may be included.
In many cases, but by no means in all, some marvellous additional information may be found. For example, some death records included information on the decedent's place of birth, parent's names, spouse's name, when the decedent came to America, survivor's names, place of burial, as well as the information provided. Some marriage records included information on the bride or groom's date and place of birth, their parent's names, names of witness, and whether or not they had obtained a license from the county.