Church and Family History Research Assistance
for Fayette County, Illinois

CHURCHES:

CLEAR SPRING

Clear Spring Church, in Fayette County, was organized in 1829 or earlier, as it united with the Illinois Association in September 1829, James Beck and Guy Beck being the messengers, who reported 9 members. William Sidwell and James Beck were messengers to the Illinois Association in 1830. In 1830, this church was dismissed to go into the constitution of the Kaskaskia Association. The Kaskaskia Association met here in 1834. Elder Isaac Sidwell was also a member here for a few years before moving to northeast Missouri.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Beck, Sidwell, Goodwin (very incomplete list due to loss of records).

SHADY GROVE

Shady Grove Church was organized July 10, 1830, by Elders James Street, Willis Dodson, Larkin Craig, and Henry Sears, with twelve charter members, viz., Jeremiah Evans, James Stone, Irvin Curlee, James Farrell, Lydia Curlee, Eunice Jones, Rosanna Farrell, Drucilla Sherrin, Sally Runnels, Lydia Forrister, Polly Seagraves, and Rebecca Stone. Elder Willis Dodson was chosen to serve them as pastor In September 1830. In April 1831 the church agreed to build a meeting house on the south end of Brother Evans land. In April 1835 the church called for helps from Hurricane and Bear Creek churches to assist them in dissolving their constitution, and turned their book over to the church with which their clerk united.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Curlee, Evans, Farrell, Forrester, Jones, Lockhart, Reaves, Runnels, Seagraves, Sherrin, Shumake, Stone, Williams.

SALEM

Salem Church, near Ramsey, was organized in about 1831, and was a member of the Kaskaskia Association. Ministers who were members of this church included Elders T. T. Nave, and Z. F. Watwood. Very little information is available about this church.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Ally, Ammons, Gardner, Harris, Miller, Nave, Nowlin, Stapp, Watwood (very incomplete list due to loss of records).

FOUR MILE PRAIRIE

Four Mile Prairie Church was organized on January 7, 1832, at the home of Brother James Pilcher. The presbytery was composed of Elders Henry H. Howell, Thomas Whiteley, and Job Hobbs. James Pilcher, Winslow Pilcher, Rutherford Shelton, and W. D. Brown were some of the charter members. A total of 109 members are listed in the records which have been found.

Four Mile Church united with the Little Wabash Association in the fall of 1832, at which time Rutherford Shelton and W. D. Brown were the messengers, who reported 12 members in fellowship. In 1833, the membership increased to 16; in 1834, 18; in 1836, 9; in 1839, 12; in 1842, 7; in 1846, 9; in 1848, 12. In 1846, Four Mile Prairie Church hosted the annual session of the Little Wabash Association. In 1848, the church was dismissed, at her request, to join the Okaw Association, where she remained a member until 1924.

Minutes in the existing record book begin with a call meeting dated October 1, 1842. The church appointed a committee to go to the former clerk who has the old church book and obtain a copy of the constitution. The minutes of July 1844 include a brief statement to explain that a division had occurred in 1842, as a result of a majority of the members following Elder S. H. Dickens, who had been excluded from Liberty Church.

In 1843, Elder A. Carroll ws ordained at Crooked Creek by the request of Four Mile Prairie Church and called as their pastor. Elder Isaac Sidwell attended the church during the summer of 1848. Elder S. H. Pullen was chosen pastor in 1849. Elder Benjamin Mahon served as pastor here for about fifty years. In 1919, Elder D. W. Lovelace was chosen pastor.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Baity, Bales, Barnett, Bateman, Beckley, Bennett, Blurton, Branson, Brazel, Brown, Buckley, Burnett, Chandler, Chessor, Conner, Crane, Crowder, Daily, Davis, Dunham, Dunn, Garrot, Gassard, Gatewood, Griffeth, Harpster, Haworth, Hurst, Kelley, Kirkman, Lansford, Lovelace, Mahon, Manion, May, McVicker, Mellott, Miller, Mitchell, Nelson, Norris, Pilcher, Pruett, Pryor, Rockwell, Sanders, Shelton, Smith, Springer, Vicer, Wallace, Washburn, Wimpey.

COLD SPRING

Cold Spring Church (also called Beck's Creek Church in early days), was organized in 1833 or earlier, and was a member of the Kaskaskia Association throughout most of its existence. The names of the charter members and of the presbytery have been lost, but the Beck family seems to have been prominent in this church throughout most of its history.

Some of the ministers who were members of this church were Elders John K. Beer, Miles H. Abbott, James Beck, and Z. S. Price. Cold Spring Church was described as being located in Shelby County in the Kaskaskia Association minutes of 1852. In later years (date unknown), the church apparently built a frame meeting house, near Hanson.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Abbott, Beck, Beer, Boyd, Brown, Davidson, Dodson, Dye, Freeman, Goodwin, Hilyard, Jackson, Powell, Price, Robertson, Stafford, Wall (very incomplete list due to loss of records).

BEAR CREEK

Bear Creek Church, near Ramsey, was organized by 1833, or earlier, and was an early member of the Kaskaskia Association. Elder John Lawler was a member of this church. Very little information is available about this church due to loss of records.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Brown, Browning, Combs, Dudley, Dunaway, Durham, Jones, Lawler, Lockhart, Long, Mathews, McCaslen, McFarland, Row, Rush, Rustin, Smith, Snodgrass, Stubblefield, Williams (very incomplete list due to loss of records).

LIBERTY

Liberty Church was organized by members dismissed from Hurricane Church in July 1836. Names of those dismissed for this purpose included Elder Willis Dodson, Jane Dodson, Mary Donaldson, Franky Loyd, Elizabeth Little, Eliza Harris, Nancy Dodson, Charley Reeves, Susannah Donaldson, Sister Andrews, a Bro. Gardner, and others whose names are too difficult to read.

In July 1837 the church "met on Ramsey Creek, and received four by experience and three by letter. On the Hurricane (creek) two joined by letter and one by recantation." From 1887 until 1907, this church enjoyed considerable prosperity, over 125 new members being received during that time. In July 1894, several members were dismissed to constitute Sharon Church, near Vera. In 1934, members of Liberty Church were granted the privilege of meeting twice each month in Vandalia and receiving members there.

Pastors have included Elders Willis Dodson, T. T. Nave, T. K. Melton, A. J. Williford (1868), Frank McCaslin, M. A. Harris (1888), Perry Vandeveer (1895), C. F. Stuckey (1900), J. B. Hardy, Jr. (1901), W. A. Pinkstaff (1903), F. M. Pope (1904), Delbert E. Baker (1909), L. E. Sutton (1947), Orvel B. Prior (1952), and James R. Harris (1974). Elders M. A. Harris, Francis M. Pope, and Delbert E. Baker were all ordained by this church.

The records do not state when the first meeting house was built, but it was probably a log structure. In November 1878, the records state, "the church house being uncomfortable, our next church meeting was appointed to be at Alfred Cole's." Construction on the present meeting house was begun in 1879, but the building committee was not discharged until 1884. There is a large, well-kept cemetery at the site of the present meeting house, which is about six miles west of Ramsey, near Bingham. The land for the church and cemetery was given by John L. Meyer and wife. During World War I, the church granted the Red Cross permission to use the building for Red Cross purposes.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Adams, Alexander, Allen, Ammons, Andrews, Baker, Baldwin, Baugher, Beck, Benda, Bost, Bowles, Butler, Card, Carter, Casey, Cole, Davidson, Davis, Deaton, Denton, Dillbeck, Docker, Dodson, Donaldson, Eckard, Edlefson, Elam, Emrath, Enloe, Forbis, Fraley, Freeman, Frizell, Gardner, Garland, Garret, Grissom, Haliford, Harpster, Harris, Harrison, Hayes, Hicks, Hill, Hinton, Holmes, Isabel, Jerden, Jernigan, Kirk, Laigh, Lawson, Lindhorst, Little, Lloyd, Lovelace, Loyd, Lynch, Mahon, Mason, Masters, Matthews, McCaslin, Melton, Merriman, Meyer, Miller, Moreland, Morris, Murphy, Nave, Overeen, Owen, Paris, Patten, Pearson, Phillips, Pope, Price, Prior, Probst, Pruitt, Pyatt, Randall, Reeves, Rhoads, Rogers, Ruth, Rutledge, Sears, Seaton, Shoemaker, Sickman, Smith, Stickland, Stokes, Tabor, Todd, Vandeveer, Virden, White, Willeford, Wilson, Womack, Wright.

UNION

Union Church is listed in the minutes of Kaskaskia Association as early as 1843, at which time A. Casey and John Allen were messengers, who reported 24 members in fellowship. Very little other information is available about this church.

NORTH FORK (PATOKA)

In either 1875 or 1876, Turkey Creek Church granted the request of some of her members who lived in the vicinity of Patoka that they be permitted to function as an arm of the church in that community. Elder Ira Turner was chosen to preach for them. Their meetings were held in a log school house for some time. Quite an interest was manifested, and in about two years the church was blessed with quite a revival, which resulted in the addition of about fifteen new members. In 1878 the new church, called North Fork, was constituted with 26 members. Elder Benjamin Coats was moderator of this meeting. Elder Turner was elected moderator, and A. T. Brumfield clerk of the church. At the August meeting in 1879 the church chose messengers to bear a request to unite with the Little Wabash Association. The same year they erected a meeting house near Patoka, where they continued to meet. The church continued as a member of the Little Wabash Association until 1933, when it was dropped, probably because of having dissolved, or ceased to meet.

The following letter indicates the church was located in Fayette Co, and another source says an acre of land was given by Erastus T. Walker, two miles east of Patoka (near the county line) for the church building in about 1878.

153 E. 10th St., RIVERSIDE, Cal., Feb. 26, 1897.
ELDER GILBERT BEEBES SON DEAR BROTHER IN THE LORD: I am in receipt of the SIGNS OF THE TIMES Feb. 15th, current volume, containing request of subscriber, to know if there are any Old School Baptists in the neighborhood of Los Angeles, Cal., or in any part of Lower California, and if so let it be known through the SIGNS OF THE TIMES. In answer I would say, that if there are any about Los Angeles, I have no knowledge of them; but at this place there are seven baptized believers, and others not baptized, and the North Fork Church, Fayette Co., Ill. Little Wabash Association have extended an arm here, and there is room for more. Come on, brethren, if you desire to enjoy our mild climate. I am much pleased with the SIGNS in its new dress and form. You have my sincere sympathy in your great loss of brother and helper, and good counselor, Elder Jenkins.
In love of the truth, I am, I hope, your little brother,
A. H. HAGANS.



SHARON

Sharon Church was organized on July 14, 1894, at the Union Church house, by Elders M. A. Harris, William Baker, S. H. Wright, Perry Vandeveer, and other helps. The charter members were dismissed from Liberty Church, viz., F. F. Kirk, Riley Carter, Irvin Rush, Louisa Harrison, Mary Rutledge, Kisiah Kirk, Marinda McFarland, Emma Alexander, Elizabeth Carter, and Nancy J. Rush. An arm had been extended by Liberty Church, a few months earlier, to the vicinity of Vera. Elder M. A. Harris was chosen as the first pastor, followed by Elder S. H. Wright.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Alexander, Browning, Carter, Donaldson, Flanigan, Harris, Harrison, Hinton, Kirk, Lawler, Neathery, Overton, Rush, Rutledge, Williamson, Wright.

ADDITIONAL REFERENCE SOURCES AVAILABLE FROM THE PRIMITIVE BAPTIST LIBRARY:

Records of some of the Churches; obituaries of members in our church periodicals.


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