On the first day of January the historic congregation at Irving, Ill., began a new era in a new house of worship and under auspices the most encouraging. For a population of about 1,000 the new church is all that could be desired. It is a frame structure, with concrete foundation, and has Sunday school and primary class rooms, in addition to an auditorium that has a raised floor, comfortable pews, frescoed walls and a seating capacity of 400. The entire cost was $6,400, and all bills have been paid. A few hundred dollars needed to be raised on dedication day, but the committee took the matter in hand and secured the money privately before the morning service began, so that there was no necessity for a public collection.
The building committee has managed this enterprise so successfully, they deserve to be mentioned and commended in the most public way. They are as follows: H. M. Kelly, chairman; C. B. McKinney, secretary and treasurer; J. T. McDavid, Sr., J. E. Knight, A. Moore, A. K. Vandever and Dr. W. V. Parkhill. Frequently during the day the thanks of the congregation to these gentlemen were voiced publicly and privately in a manner that showed sincere appreciation. This was especially true of the treasurer of the committee, who was its recognized leader.
Work was begun in May, 1904, and the building finished in November.
After some weeks of delay because of small pox in the vicinity, the house was ready for dedication, and the session called W. J. Darby, D.D., of Evansville, Ind., who performed the beautiful but solemn ceremonies January 1, 1905.
The day appointed for these services was an ideal one. Dr. Darby preached a very comforting sermon, full of inspiration and hope to the believer. Rev. D. W. Cheek, the present pastor of the church, offered an appropriate prayer of dedication; then followed the impressive ceremonies by Dr. Darby of turning the building over to the officials of the church.
The other churches of the town joined in all the services. A communion service and platform meeting were held in the afternoon. Lunch was served in the basement, and many spent the entire day at the church. Rev. D. W. Cheek, the pastor, was in fine spirits and was at his best in his handling of the day's program. Now that his people are in their new home, so wisely adapted to the activates of the church, he anticipates good results, spiritually and otherwise. May this happy New Year's Day, with its triumphant success, be the beginning of the best chapter in the history of this worthy congregation.
One of the pleasant features of the day was the presence of Rev. W. J. McDavid, who has served the Irving church as pastor about twenty-five years. Mr. McDavid is now in feeble health and left Irving soon after the dedication for a protracted sojourn in the South. In 1886 he led in a remarkable revival in Irving which resulted in over 100 professions of faith. A large portion of the present membership united with the church as a fruit of that revival.
Rev. Donald W. Cheek, the present pastor, was born in Dallas county, Missouri, July 6, 1851. The first nineteen years of his life were spent on the farm in Dallas and Jasper counties, Missouri, and Macoupin county, Illinois. His conversion, union with the church, reception as a candidate for the ministry and his licensure all took place in the Cumberland Presbyterian church at Sarcoxie, Jasper county, Mo., which church he afterward served as pastor for three years.
In 1875 he was ordained to the work of the ministry. His first charge was in Kansas, where he served four congregations. One of these worshiped in a schoolhouse two miles from the parsonage; the next nearest point was twenty-five miles, the next thirty-one and the last forty-five miles. These points were reached every month on horseback; the salary was $300. Hundreds of persons professed religion and united with the churches during the five years of his ministry in that field.
On account of failing health he was forced to give up this work and return to Missouri, where he united with the Ozark Presbytery, of which he was stated clerk for fifteen years, during which time he served as pastor of Mt. Vernon church for four years, and also organized two congregations in Lawrence county, and built them up from a comparatively small membership until one of them numbered about eighty and the other something over a hundred members. In one of these he built and dedicated a substantial church under trying circumstances.
Retiring from the work in Missouri he spent five years in Indiana. For the last eight years his home has been in Illinois, except one year, and he has had charge as follows: Mt. Zion, Bethlehem group, Irish Grove, Sugar Creek, Shiloh, the Second Church of Danville, Mt. Pisgah and his present charge, Irving.
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, January 19, 1905, page 83]
44. IRVING CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 1836-1907 (1836-69, Union Cumberland Presbyterian Church; 1869-1907, Irving Cumberland Presbyterian Church [transferred to Pres. USA]), Irving, Montgomery County.
Organized as Union Cumberland Presbyterian Church April 1, 1836 with about 50 members. Name changed in 1869 to Irving Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Met for first three years, 1866-69, in Lutheran Church of Irving; previous meeting places unknown. Brick church erected in 1869. Received remaining members of dissolved Audubon Church in 1866 (see entry 141) and of Hillsboro Church in 1876 (see entry 157). Transferred to Presbyterian USA in reunion of 1907. First settled pastor, Rev. L. P. Detherage, tenure unknown.
See: William Henry Perrin, History of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Chicago, O. L. Baskin Company, 1882, 752 p.
Session Minutes: 1866-1907, 3 v. hdw., in custody of L. A. File.
Register: (members, baptisms, births, marriages, elders, deacons, deaths, communicants), 1866-1907 included in Session Minutes.
Financial Records: incorporated in Session Minutes.
[Source: Inventory of the Church Archives of Illinois Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Prepared by Illinois Historical Records Survey Division of community service programs Work Projects Administration. Chicago, Illinois: Illinois Historical Records Survey Illinois Public Records Project, February 1942, pages 78-79]