Christ's Lutheran Church in 1896

[ Our church at about this time ]

Pastor Isaiah J. Delo, conducting services in the new church building (the present one) on Mill Hill Road in the village. (To enlarge the picture, just click it.) According to church historians Magda Moseman and Mark Anderson(1),

Quoted from Moseman, Magda, and Anderson, Mark, eds., Perspectives and Patterns: Christ's Lutheran Church, 1806-1976 [Woodstock, NY: self-published monograph, 1976]. (Close)
The new church building was illuminated by a large, ornate chandelier hanging in the center of the chapel. It was balanced by a counterweight. Miss Florence Peper recalls helping her mother light the circle of kerosene lamps. The chandelier was pulled down with a long hook and the task took about ten minutes.

[ Sunday School reed organ ] It was perhaps this year (1896) that Mrs. Delo, the pastor's wife, donated a little reed organ for the Sunday School room (click it to enlarge). Here is how a later pastor described this gift:

The value of this little organ in service has far exceeded the monetary cost. Not a few children many of whom have come to mature years have gathered around this little organ to join their voices in melodies of praise to our heavenly Father. Adults, too, in mid-week devotional services and members of the Missionary Society in the monthly meetings have been guided by its sweet tones as hearts have been united in fellowship with God.(2) Quoted from Frederick, Rev. Walter, "Historical Address, Woodstock, N.Y., May 3, 1931," p. 14, itself citing, without attribution, Traver, Charles H., D.D., of West Camp, "History of Christ's Lutheran Church, Woodstock, N.Y., 1806-1906," an earlier source from the centennial, when Reverend Frederick was pastor. (Close)

According to historian Mark Anderson, prior to the 1890s, there was probably little to distinguish our services from the typical services of other Protestant sects in America. The basic pattern was: scripture reading, hymn, prayer, Gospel reading, hymn, prayer, sermon, prayer, hymn, and benediction. Four times each year there would be a communion service; the service the week before would be a service of preparation for the communion. The development and use of the common Lutheran service during this decade is seen by church historians as a turning point: It was the beginning of a liturgical renewal, a return to the historic Lutheran liturgies of the Reformation.

The Bible School was flourishing.

Evalyn Cramer donated sufficient money to purchase 24 books for the Sunday School library. The students in the "young ladies" class of Mrs. Twadell (the former Josie Krack, also an organist) raised money for another 16 books.

[ View looking up Mill Hill Road ]

Above is a view looking up Mill Hill Road just after our new church was built. It is in the distance on the left of the road. (To enlarge the view, click it.) There is no Joyous Lake or Denny's or CVS (Grand Union) to interrupt the view.

The Woodstock Region in 1896

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The United States in 1896

[ Grover Cleveland ]

Grover Cleveland (Democrat) was President. The 54th Congress was in session. A dollar in that year would be worth $22.57 in 2006 for most consumable products.

Immigrants from the British Isles and western Europe (especially Great Britain, Ireland, and Germany)--the so-called "Old Immigrants," most of them boasting a comparatively high level of literacy and accustomed to some level of representative government, who were either Protestant (most of them) or Catholic, were arriving during this decade at an average annual rate of 111,000. The "New Immigrants," those from southern and eastern Europe (especially Italy, Austria-Hungary, and Russia), largely illiterate and impoverished, who tended to be either Catholic, Orthodox, or Jewish and who had little experience with representative government, were arriving at an annual rate of 184,700--two-thirds again as much as the Old Immigrants' rate, a fivefold proportionate increase from a decade earlier and twice as many in raw numbers. The New Immigrants huddled together in large cities, such as New York City and Chicago.

Solidly Democratic white supremacists held political power all over the South. Blacks (and poor whites as well) continued being forced into sharecropping and tenant farming; former slave masters were now bosses and landlords. Through the "crop-lien" system, the serflike small farmers could get food and supplies from storekeepers by agreeing to a lien on their expected crops, a lien they would never be able to fully pay off. The economically dependent blacks who tried to vote faced unemployment, eviction, and violence. The daily discrimination against blacks grew increasingly oppressive. "Jim Crow laws," systematic state-level legal codes of segregation, maintained a way of life for African Americans that was grotesquely inferior to that of whites. Blacks had inferior schools and assigned places on such public facilities as railroad cars, theaters, and restrooms.

The Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that "separate but equal" facilities were constitutional under the "equal protection" clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In reality, of course, the facilities afforded blacks were hardly equal to those enjoyed by whites. In his dissent, Justice John Marshall Harlan noted that the Supreme Court had given states the power

to place in a condition of legal inferiority a large body of American citizens.

Blacks were continually assaulted by harsh reminders of their second-class citizenship, and the white supremacists dealt brutally with any black who dared to violate the customary racial code of conduct. Record numbers of blacks were lynched, often just for the "crime" of asserting themselves as equals.

The 21-year-old Prudential Insurance Company of Newark, NJ, headed by John Fairfield Dryden, 57, advertised in Leslie's Weekly with a picture of the Rock of Gibraltar and the slogan "The Prudential Has the Strength of Gibraltar," devised by J. Walter Thompson.

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The World at Large in 1896

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