Last summer at the Tracy Family Reunion we visited the old family church on Sunday Morning. We had a brief informal service where we sang some old hymns, shared memories of the church, my mom spoke about “legacy”, then we prayed and took pictures before we visited the cemetery out back. Many of our relatives are buried there and many of them were members at the church.
While there we realized that when our children were singing songs in the church they were the 6th generation to do so there. 6 generations!!! Council Church was established in 1872. By 1880 my Tracy and Rusler ancestors were living in the area. From that point on most of them were buried at Council Cemetery. And many of them were members of the church. I have fond memories as a child attending church there where my grandma would play the piano. There
was no air conditioning and all the ladies had those paper fans attached to wooden “tongue depressors” There was a picture of Jesus as the shepherd behind the pulpit and we sat on old hard wood pews. As a child it never hit me that my ancestors sat in those same pews, played the same piano, etc… But as an adult it sure means alot. I love that there is a little church in the middle of Nebraska where 6 generations of Tracys’ and Rusler’s have worshipped God – It feels like we are building on each others faith. My Faith foundation is firm because of that church and my family.
Last summer I also found some records that partially pertained to Council Church. My Great Great Grandpa Michael Anthony Rusler’s older brother Charles J. Rusler left provision for the church in his will.
Section 6: “I , give, devise and bequeath to the trustees of the Council Church of Lushton, Nebraska the sum of Twenty Thousand Dollars in trust to keep the principal sum invested in good securities; and the income to be expended by them. less necessary expenses, for the upkeep of the said Council Church, so long as it maintains its organization and maintains church services. this trust to be administered by the present trustees of Council Church and their successors. When the said Council Church shall cease the organization and maintenance of its church services the said sum of money Twenty Thousand Dollars to be divided equally among my said two brothers, my sister, my niece Mary Tracy, my niece, Minnie Burton and my Niece Pearl Wagner share and share alike, the share of any of my said sister, brothers and nieces to go their heirs if they are not living at that time.”
Charles J Rusler died April 12, 1930 and this will was filed May 4, 1931. I have no idea where this Twenty Thousand Dollars is as of now but I hope that it is what helps keep this precious church standing and in good shape. I know they still hold intermittent services there. I just hope that whatever money is held in trust for this church that it keeps the church standing and the doors open. I hope there are other wills like this one that left the church a little bit of money. I wonder if Charles had any idea the church would function for so long after his death. If that money was to be taken out and
distributed to all the heirs of the original heirs we would not really get any great amount of money. There are alot of Rusler descendants. I for one believe the money is being put to good use where it’s at for now. I pray that one day my grandchildren have a chance to worship there as the 7th generation to do so.