Morton Church History
The first settlers came to the Morton area as early as 1826, and primitive cabins soon began to dot the area. From 1830 to 1836, a steady stream of immigrants arrived in Morton. By 1837, names like Ackerman, Belsley, and Hartman began showing up in the general vicinity. Families arriving in Morton in the late 1850's and early 1860's had names such as Voelpel, Welk, Rapp, Beyer, Getz, Hauter, Frank, Miller, Balzer, Dauchert, Reuter, and Freidinger.
The momentum of the early assembly at Morton had advanced to the point of building a small church in 1867. A small white frame building was built on the corner of what is now Jefferson and Third streets. The church was lighted by kerosene lamps that hung from the ceiling.
George Welk became the first resident Elder of the Morton church about 1865. After serving as Elder for almost three decades, he met an untimely death on March 17, 1865. A few days before this, he was standing beside his buggy when the horses inadvertently backed up and pinned him between the buggy and the wheel, leaving him badly crushed. The mantle of church leadership subsequently fell on Andrew Rapp, who was the husband of Welk's daughter, Katherine. He served until his death on May 2, 1911, and was succeeded by his younger brother (by two years), Barthol. Barthol was ordained in 1911 and served until he died on January 24, 1924. Eli Winzeler and Emil Schubert of the Tremont and Peoria churches served the Morton congregation until a resident Elder was ordained.
Carl Rassi, a native of Bavaria, Germany, was ordained as Elder in 1932. He died July 4, 1952 and was succeeded by Joe A. Getz, who served from 1948 to 1966. He was the first American born Elder to serve in Morton. Russell Rapp was ordained Elder December 11, 1966 and served until 1974. Joe J. Braker was installed as Morton's seventh resident Elder on September 8, 1974 and served until 2001. Ted Witzig, Sr. was ordained on April 22, 2001 as Morton's eighth resident Elder.
By 1891, the first little church building became too small, so a larger one was built on the same site. To the rear of the building was a row of stalls which accommodated the horses, as well as the hearse used for funerals. On the twelfth month of the twelfth year - December 12, 1912, this church was burned to the ground by an arsonist.
Construction of a new church building began in 1913. This building was completed a year later, at a cost of $50,000 with a seating of over 700. Many physical improvements were made over the years. A large expansion project was initiated in 1957. Air conditioning, an elevator, canopy, and other improvements were added in the 1970's and '80's.
On June 9, 1988 the church was again burned by an arsonist. The actual fire damage was restricted to the dining room and kitchen, but smoke and heat caused damage to nearly all parts of the church. A vote was approved to restore the church with an expansion to the kitchen on the east side. The heating system was replaced, and the center stairway to the Sunday School classes were held on the lawn and the rear parking lot. In the Fall, the classes were moved to Apostolic Christian Timber Ridge. Services were resumed at the church on Good Friday, 1989.
After 103 years of worship in the brick church on the corner of Jefferson and Third, a new church facility was built at our present location on Veterans Road, adjacent to our Fellowship Hall and Apostolic Christian LifePoints. After moving into the new church, the old brick church downtown was torn down and the land sold to the city. The last service at the old church was held on October 2, 2016, with the first service at the new church conducted on October 9, 2016. The new church was dedicated on November 13, 2017.