Primitive Baptist Church and Family History
Research Assistance for Bureau County, Illinois



Bradsby's county history, page 188, gives the following: "The Baptist Church, of Princeton, was organized in 1836, with thirteen members, as follows: Stephen and Polly Triplett, Aquilla Triplett, Elizabeth Triplett, W. H. Wells, Lucinda Wells, Isaac Spangler, Rebecca Spangler, Edward Triplett, Lucinda Triplett, Josiah Bagley, Seldin Bagley, and James Hamrick." On page 196, the same book continues as follows: "A young man named Henry Headley had come [to Indiantown] in company with Elder Root, and he laid claim to great piety, and professed to only desire that he might learn grammar enough to preach. He was sent to Princeton to be taught grammar, but the first thing the good Elder [Chenoweth] knew, Headley had had himself ordained Elder, and claimed himself to be pastor of the Princeton Church, and co-pastor all around the country. Elder Chenoweth attended meetings in Princeton, and Headley marched into the pulpit and preached. Elder Chenoweth was much surprised and humiliated. He asked for letters of withdrawal for himself and wife, and some of his members. This was refused. The end was a split, and the Princeton branch took Elder Headley, and attempted to build a church of their own. The effort failed. Elder Chenoweth then went to Ox Bow, [Putnam County] and was made pastor of that church [Sandy Creek], where he met with the greatest success." Elder Chenowith had many friends, and drew much respect and sincere love from his flocks, who left a warm testimony to his memory.

Further research shows that this church was actually organized September 6, 1835, at the Center Grove schoolhouse, five miles west of Princeton. After a few years, the missionary party moved their meetings to Princeton.


The Baptist Church at Indiantown (now Tiskilwa) was organized in 1836. Elder Jeriel Root, of Peoria, made a visit for the purpose of organizing the church and ordaining James B. Chenowith an Elder. The founding members were Sampson Cole, Rebecca Cole, Stephen Triplett, William H. Wells, Lucinda Wells, Jesse Sawyer, and James Mason. "The next morning after the constitution, Elder Root ordained Elder Chenowith "by imposition of hands" as Elder, who at once entered upon the duties of his sacred office."


Bureau Church, located near Tiskilwa, was organized in about the year 1843 or 1844, and dissolved in 1879. The Bureau Church first united with the Sangamon Association, in 1844; in 1850, it became a charter member of the Sandy Creek Association. Elder James B. Chenowith and his wife, Elizabeth, were charter members of this church, and he became the first pastor. Among the other early members were George Gilbert, Eddy Ketchum, Eliphalet Ketchum, Noah Long, Benjamin Newton Sr., David Potter, and John H. Power. Elder James W. Thompson was also a member of this church. The records having been lost, we could not ascertain the exact location of the church's meetings, or whether they ever had a meeting house of their own.


Chenowith, Gilbert, Haynes, Ketchum, Long, Newton, Potter, Thompson, Vandike (very incomplete list due to loss of records).


Zion Hill Church is listed as being a charter member of the Sandy Creek Association, in 1850, but no other information regarding this church has been found.


Barren Grove Church was organized on Saturday, November 19, 1870, at the Union Schoolhouse, near Kewanee. The charter members were Lewis Brasel, Mary Brasel, Michael West, Phebe West, and Eliphalet Ketchum. The presbytery was composed of Elder William A. Thompson, moderator (Sandy Creek), and Elder Isaac N. Vanmeter, clerk (New Hope). Other brethren in the council included Lic. Joseph Richardson (Salem); Andrew W. Simmons (New Hope); William Thomas and William Bloomfield (Henderson); J. W. Thompson, Lic. Noah Long, and E. Ketchum (Bureau). On the following day, the church received five new members by baptism, viz., I. E. Ketchum, Orrell Ketchum, Smith Ketchum, Jane Hamilton and Sarah Hickerson. Elder W. A. Thompson was called to the pastoral care of the church. He was succeeded by Elder Smith Ketchum.


Brasel, Eckard, Elmendorf, Gordon, Hamilton, Hickerson, Jordan, Ketchum, Markle, Robinson, Stewart, West, Winchell (very incomplete list due to loss of records).


Minutes of the Sandy Creek Association; writings and obituaries of members in the Signs of the Times.

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