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Our Founders

The history of Middle Creek Presbyterian Church began when a group of Presbyterians families from Perry County, Pennsylvania settled in this area.  They desired a church near their homes and on June 24th, 1855 a preaching service was held.  The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was administered and a church with 16 charter members was formed.

Our Name

The name "Middle Creek" was selected the same day of the first service. The charter members of Middle Creek had previously attended the church in Millertown, PA.  In the country near Millerstown was the old Middle Ridge Church and burying ground.  The name "Middle Ridge" was considered as a reminder of their former life, but there were no ridges here, only three creeks. Since the church was organized near the middle of the three, the name "Middle Creek" was chosen instead.

Our Pastors

In our 150+ years of existence, Middle Creek has had only seven installed pastors that served our congregation. The year these pastors came to Middle Creek are listed in bold print. 

1855 - Rev. Hugh A. Brown & Rev. James Ordway of Rockford 

1856 - Rev. W.P. Carson of Marengo. He moved to Winnebago in the autumn of 1856 to teach school there as well.

1861 - Rev. M.B. Patterson.  He had been a pastor for many of the members of the church in Pennsylvania before they came here.

1862 - Rev J.L Merritt

1865  - Rev. Joseph S. Braddock, originally from Pennsylvania, was Middle Creek's first installed pastor.  He was installed June 20,1866 and served as our Pastor for 42 years.  Dr. Braddock resigned in 1907 and was elected Pastor Emeritus.  He died in 1909 and was buried in the Middle Creek Cemetery.

1907 - Rev. O.R. Newcomb was called, accepted, but never installed as a pastor here.

1908  - Rev. H.P. Armstrong was another Pennsylvanian who found his way to Middle Creek. Rev. Armstrong served Middle Creek well for 33 years, serving as Moderator of the Presbytery, Moderator of Synod, and Commissioner to General Assembly 4 times. His D.D. was bestowed by Blackburn College in 1936.  Due to poor health, Dr. Armstrong resigned in 1941 and was elected Pastor Emeritus.  He died in April 1950, and was buried in the church yard on Easter Sunday afternoon

1942  - Rev. Howard Wilbur Strong was ordained and installed at Middle Creek on May 31, 1942. He left in 1945.

1946 - Rev. George Swalve Jr. came to Middle Creek as a student supply pastor.  A call was extended to him and he became a "student minister" at Middle Creek.  He graduated from Dubuque Seminary in June, and was ordained and installed by Freeport Presbytery at Middle Creek on October 14, 1946. Rev. Swalve retired in 1985, having served Middle Creek for 39 years, and was elected Pastor Emeritus.  During his pastorate, he was commissioner to the General Assembly three times, Moderator of the Presbytery, and Synod level committees. In 1980 he was appointed vice-moderator of Blackhawk Presbytery.

1985 - Various pulpit supply and lay persons lead our congregation in worship.

1987  - Rev. Brenda K. Alexander was installed on March 1, 1987 as Middle Creek's fifth installed Pastor.  After ten years of service to Middle Creek, in 1997 Pastor Brenda accepted a call to a church in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

1997  - Rev. Richard "Dick" Harmison served as interim pastor.

1998 - Rev. Keith Jones was installed as Middle Creek's pastor on September 13, 1998. After four years of service, Pastor Keith accepted a call to a church in Abbotsford, Wisconsin.

2002 - Rev. Donna Wrzeszcz served as interim pastor.

2004 - Our seventh pastor was Rev. Anita Stuart-Steva.  Yet another former Pennsylvanian, Pastor Anita came to Middle Creek in December 2004 and was installed on February 13, 2005.  Pastor Anita retired from serving Middle Creek in August, 2022.

2022  - Various pulpit supply and lay leaders are leading our congregation in worship.   

Medill McCormick Tomb

On the heavy iron door are the simple words, "Medill McCormick, a Senator of the United States, 1878-1925".  It was the wish of this famous senator that his body should rest by the country church he loved so well.  While his remains have been moved, the tomb still remains behind our Middle House.  This beautiful arrangement of massive boulders is currently used during special worship services.

(Information compiled from "Middle Creek Presbyterian Church Sesquicentennial Photo Journal 1855-2005", and "Middle Creek United Presbyterian Church the First 125 years 1855-1980")


Cemetery Association

The Middle Creek cemetery had its beginning in 1859 when George Osborn sold an acre of ground and gave an acre for the church and a free burying ground. On July 3, 1888 J.B, Burtle, surveyor of Ogle County surveyed and plotted out the cemetery. At this time the cemetery was under the direction of the trustees of Middle Creek Church. At a special congregational meeting held April 30. 1889, it was decided to sell lots at Ten dollars each and use the proceeds in caring for the grounds. This plan did not seem satisfactory.

On April 12, 1902, a congregational meeting of the Middle Creek Church was held to discuss ways and means of turning the church burial ground into a Cemetery Associations. A motion was made instructing the trustees to obtain a charter from the state for that purpose. The motion was carried unanimously. A deed was issued on August 16, 1902 conveying all the original grounds of the church except as described in the deed to the Middle Creek Cemetery Association which was organized and incorporated under said charter. 

In the fall of 1902, Rev. J.S. Braddock offered to give the Association One Thousand dollars in stock in the Forest City National Bank of Rockford if the Association would give him Five Hundred dollars for it. This amount was raised by subscription and the sale of lots with the interest from this investment to be use for cemetery care.

In the early nineteen, there was need for expanding the cemetery grounds. On August 26,1937 two acres of land north of the original plot were purchased from the Osborn heirs. Most of this land has been cleared of timber and is now plotted out.  Over the years, 15 acres have been added to the Cemetery Association.  The present boards of directors are Mike Freedlund, President,  Dennis Herbert, Treasurer, Glenn Burkhart, Sexton, Jim Bridgeland, Gene Viel, Bruce Schandelmeier, and Warren Pollard, Board Members.