Church and Family History Assistance for
Primitive Baptist Churches in Jasper County, Illinois

CHURCHES:

THE REGULAR BAPTISTS OF JASPER COUNTY (LATER KNOWN AS REGULAR PREDESTINARIAN OR PRIMITIVE BAPTISTS)

NORTH FORK (OF EMBARRASS RIVER) CHURCH

North Fork Church was organized on February 10, 1829, at the home of Richard Eaton, about two miles west of present-day Oblong, about one-half mile west of the river from which it took its name (another account says 3 1/2 miles east of Willow Hill on what was then known as Blue Grass Ridge). The charter members were dismissed from Grand Prairie Church of Crawford County. They were: Thomas Young, William Griggs, James Kennedy, Abigail Kennedy, Richard Eaton, Mary Eaton, Jesse Eaton, and Rhoda Eaton. The presbytery was composed of Armstead Bennett, Abraham Conrad, Jesse Page, William Griggs, and Elder Thomas Young.

In about 1855, the church built a meeting house on land donated by Daniel Doty. In 1883, the present building was erected in Doty's Second addition, on Lots 4 and 5, which were deeded to the church by Jeremiah Doty and wife. The church continued to meet there until it closed, in 1979.

Pastors of the church included Elders Thomas Young, Daniel Doty, William H. Smith, A. J. Lanter, William Lewis, James George, J. C. Biggs, H. C. Bell, Cina Greathouse, Jasper Dalby, Benjamin Ferguson, George W. Inyart, T. J. Parr, Jerry Brown, William E. Wright, Oscar Wallace, J. D. Vandeveer, and Cecil R. Fuson.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Allen, Allison, Anderson, Armstrong, Arnold, Baker, Bartlett, Bartley, Baughess, Beel, Biggs, Bonom, Bridges, Brooks, Bruner, Burcham, Cable, Carpenter, Cawhorn, Chriss, Conrad, Cottrel, Cox, Daubs, Dillman, Dispenny, Dodd, Doty, Eaton, Erwin, Fear, Ferguson, Fowler, Gardner, George, Graves, Greene, Griggs, Hambric, Harrison, Highsmith, Hill, Hilton, Holensaic, Holmes, Hon, Hone Hume, Hunt, Ireland, James, Jeffers, Jennie, Johnson, Jones, Kasserman, Keen, Kennedy, Kermicle, Kibler, Kinkade, Lameron, Lanter, Laws, Lewis, Manning, McCoy, McDaniel, McKenzie, Metcalf, Miller, Mock, Musgrove, Neal, Nebergall, Newkirk, Odell, Oef, Parr, Phelps, Pierson, Pile, Portlock, Powell, Price, Purcell, Rice, Richards, Ridlen, Robinson, Rodd, Rowe, Salisbury, Sheller, Skidmore, Smith, Stall, Stone, Tarpley, Taylor, Todd, Trowbridge, Van Black, Watts, Weaver, Welch, Wolensaid, Wright, York, Young.

PARKER'S CREEK CHURCH

Parker's Creek Church was organized by members dismissed for that purpose from North Fork Church and Glady Fork Church (of Lawrence County), in December 1843. The members who organized the church were living "in the vicinity of the brushy fork of the Embarrass River."

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Rich, Norton, Highsmith, and Kennedy (very incomplete due to loss of records).

GALILEE CHURCH

Galilee Church was organized on July 11, 1846, at the home of Samuel Weaver, with eleven members. Pastors who served this church included Elders Daniel Doty, Jesse Eaton, J. H. Price, Robert Jeffers, L. Baker, C. B. Dawson, W. H. Smith, and possibly others.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Allison, Bennett, Biggs, Cox, Eaton, Grizzle, Grove, Gwin, Harris, Jeffers, Johnson, Jones, Lamon, Lanter, Matheny, Miller, Peck, Skidmore, Vanover, and Weaver.

HICKORY CREEK CHURCH

Hickory Creek Church was organized May 18, 1855, by Elders Billings, Ransom Riggs, A. B. Nay, and other council, including J. G. Jackson, W. Powell, I. Treese, M. Parr, A. Vantreese, and H. Morris (all members of the Conn's Creek Association of Indiana). The organization took place at the home of John Bartley, with twelve charter members. The church joined the Conn's Creek Association of Indiana in 1855, but later joined the Central Association of Illinois. This church was located about a mile south of Brockville at an intersection, and the Brockville cemetery is nearby.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Armstrong, Bartley, Beals, Brandon, Brock, Broderick, Campbell, Creed, Fear, Feeser, Ferguson, Ford, Greer, Harlen, Hilton, Hume, Ireland, Jones, King, Koffman, Lanter, Laws, Layman, Lewis, Manning, Martin, McVeigh, Melton, Newsome, Parr, Pierce, Portlock, Powell, Ridlen, Simms, Smith, Snyder, Stretchesr, Todd, Walls, Whitney, and Wright.

THE CENTRAL ASSOCIATION

A Primitive Baptist Association was organized in this area, in 1891, which met annually, the last session held being in 1947. The annual minutes have been preserved for most of the years, but the following minutes are missing: 1892, 1893, 1895, 1897, 1898, 1900, 1903, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1909, 1911, 1912, 1914, and 1915.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

The Primitive Baptist Library of Carthage, Illinois, welcomes the assistance of any descendants or others, who can provide additional photographs of the church buildings, minutes of the association which are missing.

Also, the library would like to obtain a copy of the deed for the earlier location of North Fork Church in Willow Hill township.

TYPES OF RECORDS AVAILABLE

The records in our collection are being carefully preserved, and a database of the names of members of the Jasper county churches, as well as all areas of Illinois, is being maintained and updated. We also have many volumes of bound periodicals which include obituaries of many members.

HISTORY OF THE PRIMITIVE BAPTIST CHURCH

by Elder Robert Webb

The Primitive Baptists (or Regular Baptists, as they were called in the first half of the 19th century) were among the earliest pioneer settlers of most parts of Illinois, including Jasper County. North Fork Church, organized in 1829, was probably the first church of any faith organized in Jasper County. The Primitive Baptists have a very simple form of worship: Singing of hymns (without musical instruments) by the congregation, prayer, and preaching. They were and are, a devout people who believed in honesty, morality, and fair dealings, as well as having an aversion to innovations in religious matters. They were and still are, not opposed to modern conveniences, education, or advancement in their homes and in the business world and civil society, but were and still are, opposed to mixing the programs for education, entertainment, benevolence, etc., with the church, as they believed the elements of organized religion based on money and human works would corrupt and burden those who needed religion but could not afford it, and that carnality would replace spirituality as a result. They do not believe the scriptures teach that the new testament church is under the law service, to practice tithing, a salaried priestly ministry, sacrificial offerings, musical instruments, harps or dancing, or other ceremonies of the law dispensation. They believe in teaching their children, and raising them to live moral and upright lives, but have not adopted formal Sunday Schools (which was invented in 1781) or formal Bible studies, believing rather that God has called men to preach and teach the whole congregation without dividing it into classes.

They believe that God has all power and wisdom, and is able, and will save all whom He purposed to save (including infants, and many who have never heard of the church or the gospel), and is not frustrated, nor is He dependent on the works of men to save souls, and will save all of His people whom He chose before the world began, and purposed to save. Yet, they believe in good works, and preaching (but not to save souls, but to "feed the sheep", instruct God's people, etc.). They believe men should obey God because they are His children, not in order to become his children, making good works and worship sincere and from the motive of LOVE rather than only for the sake of a reward or out of FEAR of punishment. They believe salvation is in God's hand alone, and that He is sovereign in choosing and giving eternal life, and that men cannot obtain it by anything they do or say, but also that men would not sincerely choose life unless God had already changed their hearts and given it to them (often without their realizing what had happened to change them).

The Primitive Baptist Library in Carthage, Illinois, is conducted by Elder Robert Webb, pastor of the Carthage Primitive Baptist Church, as a private endeavor, to preserve the heritage of the Primitive Baptists, who were pioneers in most parts of the state of Illinois and other states. The Carthage Primitive Baptist Church was organized in July 1997, and welcomes interested persons to contact their pastor, Elder Robert Webb. Visitors are always welcome at the services of the Carthage Primitive Baptist Church, 220 S. Scofield Street, Carthage, IL, each Sunday at 10:30 a.m.

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