Miscellaneous Stories – Mary Church


Mary A. (Vandersteen) Church

   The scrapbook donated and shown by Ruth Martin (January 8, 2001) contains many photos, articles and lovely drawings of flowers and birds done by her great-grandmother, Mary A. (Vandersteen) Church.

A drawing by Mary A. Church done in 1937 when she was 81 years old. (Church scrapbook at Catlin Heritage Museum)

   She has a note in the scrapbook saying, "I had the mumps February 12, 1937. I was nearly 81 years old. M.A.C.". This was printed around a poem which she had written entitled "Contentment".


Content, to let Thee be my guide.
I do not ask for more.
If I am rich in love and faith
A little money, oftentimes
Helps us, to be sure
To keep that awful, awful Wolf
From snarling at our door.
I do not want the riches
That others seem to crave,
For they might prove a millstone
Instead of help to save.

Mary A. Church

   Mary listed her grandmother as Mary Ann (Ivet) Burney, born in London, England. Her grandfather was John Burney, also born in London. Her father's family consisted of William Vandersteen born August 1, 1782 in London; his wife, Henriette May Vandersteen, born March 18, 1787. They married April 10, 1810. Mary's parents were George Vandersteen born December 10, 1824 and Jane (Burney) Vandersteen born December 14, 1819, both in London.

Mary A. Church

Mary A. (Vandersteen) Church and four-legged friend. Mary was born May 5, 1856, the daughter of George and Jane (Burney) Vandersteen.


   Mary A. Vandersteen married Charles C. Church on November 6, 1880. Mary was born May 5, 1856, in Danville, Illinois. Charles was born May 28, 1847, in Catlin. They had two boys, Alexander Vandersteen Church (known as Alick or A. V.) and George B. Church.

   A. V. Church was born December 21, 1881, and married May Sanford Church on January 1, 1904. May was born March 13, 1884. They had 5 girls and 1 boy. A. V.'s oldest girl, Grace V. Church, was born on October 12, 1904. She married Ed Martin on August 16, 1924. Ed was born June 30, 1900. They had 2 girls and a boy -- Edna Ruth Martin, born September 11, 1925; Audrey Grace Martin, born November 7, 1933, and George Edward Martin, born October 23, 1934. Two other boys, Richard B. and Paul David Martin, sons of Ed and Grace Martin, were born in the 1940s after the death of their great-grandmother.

   Here are two more of Mary A. Church's poems.

My Thankful Prayers

I thank Thee O my Savior
Once more I turn to Thee
To thank Thee for the blessings
Thou has bestowed on me
When I am weak and weary
Stand ever at my side.
And let me work for Thee alone
And in Thy strength abide.
I thank Thee, O my Father
For all this lovely land.
I know we could not live alone
Without Thy guiding hand.

Mary A. Church

My Thankful Prayers

I thank Thee for the woodland
I thank Thee for the dell.
I thank Thee for the valley where
The wild creatures dwell.
I thank Thee for the sunshine
And also for the rain.
For the one is almost useless
Unless we get the twain.
I thank Thee for the harmony
And peace that comes with song.
That I can sign for Thee alone
In this big earthly throng.

Mary A. Church


Mary Ann (Ivet) Burney

Mary Ann (Ivet) Burney was the grandmother of Mary A. (Vandersteen) Church. She was born in London, England.

William J. and Mary A. Vandersteen

Mary Ann (Vandersteen) Church wrote in her scrapbook, "William J. Vandersteen and Me, at 17 years of age." William J. was Mary's older brother.

Four generations of the Church family (from left): Edna Ruth Martin, daughter; A. V. Church, grandfather; Mary A. Church, great-grandmother, and Grace Martin, mother.

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