A few years ago someone asked me if I knew of a Methodist Church that might have existed in early Schaumburg Township.  At the time I said no.  Today, I might say, “Sort of…”

In 1853 a small class of people related to the Evangelical congregation began meeting in the homes of its charter members who lived near the border of Elk Grove and Schaumburg Townships.   They were the families of Ludwig Biermann, Gottlieb Biesterfeld, Henry Gathmann Sr., Christian Pflueger, Henry Schuette and Henry Twachtmanns.   Rev. J.G. Escher of the Dunklee’s Grove circuit (which is most of modern day Bensenville) served them from 1855-1856.

The class became a congregation in 1858 and purchased an old school house on the Biesterfeld farm in Elk Grove Township.  By 1875, the congregation had outgrown the school house and erected a new church on 3/4 of an acre on the Louis Gathmann property on Rohlwing Road, north of Nerge Road in Schaumburg Township.   (This is near today’s Wilma Lane in Elk Grove Village.)   When dedicated in 1876, the white, wood-frame structure contained one room and officially became part of the Zion Society of the Evangelical Association.

Activities increased in the church when the first Sunday School class was held in 1879 and again in 1897 when the Young People’s Society was formed.   By 1906 it was evident that the congregation needed more space so the church was enlarged by adding a wing and a basement.  The June 29, 1906 edition of Paddock Publications’ paper says, “The corner stone of the new Zion Evangelical church at Deikeville, will be laid with appropriate ceremonies, Sunday, July 1, at 2:00 p.m.  Good speakers will be present to address the people.  Plenty of good singing.  Everybody invited.”  (Deikeville was the name given to this Rohlwing Road portion of Elk Grove and Schaumburg Township.  Deike was a prominent family name of the area.)

(Photo above is courtesy of the website of Bethany United Methodist Church of Itasca, IL)

As indicated by another article from August 29, 1913, the church continued to make improvements and expand its activities.  It mentions that “Will Chessman is papering the Zion Evangelical church” and that there would be “no service Sunday in the Zion church on account of the Evangelical camp meeting at Naperville Park.”

In yet another edition from June 28, 1918, the church appeared to be the cornerstone of the Deikeville community.  “Children’s Day at Zion Evangelical church was well attended.”  Fun was to be had when “the Elk Grove Evangelical church will hold their Sunday school picnic July 6 in Albert Cosman’s Grove.  Everbody welcome.  Picnic starts at 10 o’clock.”  Yet it wasn’t all entertainment because a “quarterly meeting will be held at the Zion Evangelical church Sunday June 30.  Sunday school at 10:00 and preaching at 11 o’clock.”

Shortly after the Women’s Missionary Society was begun around 1920, an account that appears in Rootsweb’s  IL-COOK-SCHAUMBURG mailing list, mentions that, “in 1924, a major move for the church took place.  Permssion was granted by the Church Federation Commission to move the white frame church into the Village of Itasca.  Land for this purpose was purchased at the northwest corner of Division and Walnut Streets for $1300 and the church was rededicated as the First Evangelical Church of Itasca.”

In a nationwide movement in 1946, the Evangelical Church and the United Brethren in Christ merged under the name of The Evangelical United Brethren Church.  Five years later, this particular church became known as Bethany Church, Evangelical United Brethren.

This photo is after the church’s move to Itasca and is taken from The History of Itasca.  It is published with permission of the Itasca Historical Commission.

After 80 years of service and its beginnings on a farm in Schaumburg Township, the building was torn down in July of 1955.  Then, in 1968, the Evangelical United Brethren merged with The Methodist Church to form the current congregation, Bethany United Methodist Church.

So, what is the answer to the question about whether there was a Methodist church in early Schaumburg Township?  I would say that, in 2012,  it’s safe to say that a Methodist church in Itasca actually does have its roots on a number of the farms of  Elk Grove and Schaumburg Township.

This posting was written with the help of the The History of Itasca, centennial edition, Rootsweb’s IL-Cook-Schaumburg mailing list, and articles from Paddock Publications. 

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


  1. randy schallau Says:

    On topo maps dated between 1923 and 1938 a church is denoted on the west side of rohlwing rd. and about 100 yds. south of the intersection with biesterfield. It is missing in later maps.

  2. Tammy (Biermann) Wood Says:

    One of the charter members of The Evangelical Church mentioned in this article, Ludwig Biermann, is my Great Great Great Grandfather.

    • jrozek Says:

      Hello Tammy,

      Thank you for making the connection! If you’d have a photo of your grandfather, I’d be happy to include it in the blog post. I’m always looking for ways to flesh out the story and the information.

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian

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