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

CHURCHES:

MT. TABOR (MUDDY BRIDGE, MT. VERNON)(1820)

Mt. Tabor Church was the first religious society in Mount Vernon township, having been organized in the old log court house in 1820, by Elder Chester Carpenter. Among the charter members was Jacob Norton, Joseph Jordan, Oliver Morris, and Overton Harlow. Not long after, a little log church was raised between where Isaac Garrison lived and the creek, this location being considered nearer the center of the population than the court house. This place of worship was not used as such more than a year or two, when the frequent floods in winter and spring proved that the site was not well chosen. The meeting was then, perhaps in 1823 or 1824, moved to William Hicks', two miles west of town, and continued there for five or six years. But in the spring of 1829, a very nice and spacious house, for that day, was built near the creek, the site later being inside the Fair Grounds. Elder Chester Carpenter served as pastor for ten or fifteen years, at each of the places mentioned above.

Mt. Tabor Church united with the Muddy River Association in 1821, with Joseph Jordan, John Gibson (Gilson?), and Oliver Morris being her messengers, who reported 17 members in fellowship. The next year, the membership had increased to 31. In 1824 the name of the church was changed to Muddy Bridge, and in 1828 it was changed again to Mt. Vernon. In 1829 Mt. Vernon Church was dismissed from the Muddy River Association by letter to become a member of the Bethel Association, which was being organized at that time.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Baugh, Dodd, Gilson, Harlow, Hix, Jordan, Morris, Norton (very incomplete list due to loss of records).

MOORE'S PRAIRIE (ST. ELMO)

Moore's Prairie Church was organized by 1828 or earlier. The church's records have not been located, but local history indicates that Elder Isaac Smith probably organized this church, its early members being among the pioneer families of Spring Garden township. Elders Isaac Smith, Solomon Goddard, Noble Anderson, William Davis, and William Braden are named as being active ministers in this area. Moore's Prairie Church united with the Muddy River Association in 1828, her messengers being John Gibson, Samuel Reed, and Oliver Morris, who reported 17 members. Elders Solomon Goddard, John H. Gammon, Thomas E. Hopper, J. E. Mossbarger, and Thomas A. Turner, were all members of this church later in its history. In 1829, Moore's Prairie Church was dismissed from the Muddy River Association to help organize the Bethel Association.

The records of Moore's Prairie Church have not been found, but we do know that in the 1920's Moore's Prairie Church had a nice meeting house, built in the shape of a cross, where the church met for many years, located on one acre of land, joining on the south of the St. Elmo School House acre.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Cochrane, Davis, Duncan, Gammon, Garner, Gilson, Goddard, Greer, Hopper, Jones, Jordan, Killebrew, Lemke, Morris, Mossbarger, Pettipool, Pierce, Randall, Reed, Smith, Stringer, Turner, Vaughn, Weatherford, Whitlow, Willeford, Young (very incomplete list due to lack of records).

SUGAR CAMP CREEK (LOWRY HILL)(1831)

Sugar Camp Creek Church had its beginning with meetings held as an arm of Ten Mile Creek Church. The minutes of Ten Mile Church for April 1830 say "received the proceedings of the arm at Sugar Camp up to the present time." Sugar Camp Church was organized in (August) 1831, with nine charter members, viz., Abel Allen, Silas Downen, Patrick Ross, Delphia Scrivner, William Sturman, Martha Sturman, Sally Sturman, Daniel Wilbanks, and Jane Wilbanks.

The minutes of Bethel Association for October 1832 reveal that Sugar Camp Creek Church was already a member of that body, and her messengers, Elder Patrick Ross and William Sturman, reported that the church had 15 members, four of whom had been received during the current associational year. This information also proves that Sugar Camp Creek Church united with Bethel Association at the annual meeting in October 1831. The minutes of October 1832 show no members being dismissed from Ten Mile Church, which is consistent with the date of 1831 for the constitution of Sugar Camp Creek Church.

Minutes of Bethel Association for 1843 reveal that Sugar Camp Creek Church had 28 members at that time, and was represented by Elder Noble Anderson, John Lowrey, and Thomas Whitlow. This offers proof that a majority of the church opposed the modern mission system, as the pro-mission faction had already departed and organized themselves into a United Baptist Church called Sugar Camp Creek, in 1842.

Sugar Camp Creek Church continued to represent in the Bethel Association. In 1851, messenger Reuben D. Boyles reported 11 members; in 1857, John Gibbs and John Lowery reported 10 members; in 1871, Elder Y. S. Lowery, John Lowery, and Martin Sewel, reported 13 members; in 1874, John Lowery and Martin Sewel reported 14 members; in 1876, messengers were John Lowery, T. L. Hunter, and Martin Sewel.

The original location of Sugar Camp Creek Church was on one acre on the north side of the old Goshen Trail Road, which became the site of the Sugar Camp Cemetery. The deed for this property was received by the trustees of the Regular (Primitive) Baptist Church known as Sugar Camp Creek, in April 1841. In 1877, John and Nancy Lowery deeded two acres of land adjoining their home, about two and one-half miles southwest of Dahlgren, to the trustees of the Sugar Camp Creek Regular (Primitive) Baptist church. The place of church meetings was then moved to this site, which is now known as Lowry's Hill. Lowry's Hill Cemetery marks this site, where a meeting house was built, and where the Sugar Camp Creek church continued to meet for many years. In 1900, Sugar Camp Creek Church was represented in the Bethel Association by Daniel Lowry, D. R. Lowry, and John Durham, who reported 34 members. In 1905/1906, the church dismissed 12 members by letter. In 1907 Sugar Camp Church hosted the Bethel Association, two miles southwest of Dahlgren. The church was last mentioned in the minutes of the Bethel Association in 1925. The last church clerk mentioned in the minutes was G. W. Glenn, of Dahlgren.

Elders Patrick Ross, Noble Anderson, Young S. Lowery, Thomas E. Hopper, Daniel Lowery, and Osby L. Weatherford are the names of those we have found who served as pastor of the Regular (Primitive) Baptist church as Sugar Camp Creek.

Note: The church divided over missions in about 1842, and those who went to the United (Missionary) Baptists built a meeting house in 1843, south of the Regular (Primitive) Baptist Church at the original site. A deed dated November 1847 gives the legal description for the two acres belonging to the United Baptists.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Allen, Anderson, Boyles, Bosley, Bradford, David, Downen, Durham, Gibbs, Glenn, Hopper, Hunter, Lowrey, Ross, Scrivner, Sewel, Sturman, Taylor, Tittle, Weatherford, Whitlow, Wilbanks (very incomplete list due to loss of records).

PLEASANT GROVE

Pleasant Grove Church united with the Little Wabash Association in 1840, and was dropped in 1842.

HICKORY HILL (SPRING GARDEN)

Hickory Hill Church hosted the Bethel Association in 1843, at which time it had 34 members. Elder Solomon Godard was pastor here.

SURNAMES:

Godard, Hays, Hampton, Satterfield (very incomplete due to loss of records).

UNION (SESSER)(WALTONVILLE)(1842)

Union Church was organized May 7, 1842, at the home of Elder Joseph Hartley, with nine charter members, viz., Elder Joseph Hartley, Mary Hartley, Sarah Hillman, Clabourn J. Cash, John Fleener, Sarah Fleener, William Miflin, Anna Miflin, and Fanny Clampet. The presbytery consisted of five Elders, from Nine Mile, Holt's Prairie and Salem Churches.

In August 1844 Union Church petitioned the Southern Illinois Association for admittance, which was granted; but in 1846 Union Church was granted the privilege of being dismissed in order to unite with the Bethel Association.

In 1857-1858 the Union Church erected a frame meeting house at the north edge of Horse Prairie, in Elk Prairie township. Prior to that time meetings had been held primarily at the homes of the members.

Elder Joseph Hartley was the first pastor and served until he was released at his own request in December 1864, shortly before removing to the state of Oregon. Pastors who followed him included Moses Neal, Elijah T. Webb, Josiah Harriss, W. E. Weaver and C. C. Mitchell (all at the Elk Prairie township location).

In 1900, the church divided, and between thirty and forty members constructed a new building in Waltonville. The first meeting was held there in June 1905. After the division, the pastors who served Union Church at Waltonville were Elders Isaac J. Fuller, W. E. Brush, and D. E. Baker.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Abner, Allen, Asbery, Atchisson, Binion, Blaisure, Blan, Britton, Carney, Carson, Cash, Cauthorn, Chalmer, Chamberlin, Clampet, Cochram, Cook, Cox, Crouch, Darington, Darnell, Defur, Dodds, Downen, Drew, Dudley, Duncan, Eubanks, Fitgerald, Fitzgerrell, Fleener, Frizzell, Gambrel, Gammon, Gilbert, Gilbreth, Givens, Graham, Green, Hail, Hall, Hamilton, Hanna, Harris, Hartley, Henley, Hicks, Hillen, Hillman, Hull, Jones, Jumper, Junkins, Keller, Keller, Kelley, Lucas, Lusk, Mannen, Martin, McClendon, McNeal, Miflin, Mooneyham, Murrah, Nash, Newbury, Norris, Pierce, Provart, Quinn, Randall, Ray, Reed, Reeves, Ridenour, Robinson, Rushing, Shanks, Spain, Standley, Stewart, Trout, Tucker, Vaughn, Ward, Watts, Webb, Weitte, Wells, West, White, Whitlow, Wiatt, Wicks, Wilkinson, Williams, Willis, Winn, Wyatt, Youngblood.

NAMES AT WALTONVILLE INCLUDE:

Allen, Beckham, Bruner, Carson, Champ, Cook, Crouch, Downen, Gilbert, Hartley, Hicks, Hoofman, Isom, Jumper, Lappin, Mannen, Martin, Norris, Randall, Webb, Wells, Willis, Wyatt.

MT. VERNON (MT. VERNON)(1905)

Mt. Vernon Church was organized December 30, 1905, in the city of Mt. Vernon, with nine charter members, viz., Elder P. H. Williams, L. L. Lain, H. W. Cochrane, J. W. Bryant, E. H. Williams, Angaline Lain, D. E. Cochrane, Rado Bryant, and Abigail Butler. The presbytery was composed of Elders W. A. Fish, Daniel Lowry, and P. H. Williams.

The church met in a frame building located on Perkins Avenue in Mt. Vernon until about 1941, when meetings ceased to be held regularly (we would like to obtain a photograph of this building). In 1955, the few remaining members agreed to hold one last meeting, to consider the propriety of dissolving the church, and disposing of the church property. However, when the meeting took place, more interest was expressed than expected in holding meetings again, and the church was soon blessed with some additions. As a result, in December 1956 a frame building was purchased by the church, in the Bethel neighborhood near the south edge of Mt. Vernon, and meetings were resumed there, the first meeting being in June 1957.

Pastors of the church included Elders P. H. Williams (1905), W. A. Fish (1914), W. E. Wright (1923), Harrison Knight (1927), George W. Inyart, W. E. Wright, J. D. Vandeveer, and Mervin Drake.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Bailey, Boiles, Bradford, Bryant, Buffkin, Bullick, Butler, Carter, Cochrane, Cornstubble, Crouch, Deichmann, Dimmett, Dirden, Ervin, Etheridge, Fleener, Hargett, Helverson, Hopper, Isam, Jones, Lain, Lennington, McAdoo, Mossberger, Murphy, Neal, Pettypool, Phelps, Pickett, Pierce, Piper, Puntney, Purce, Quinn, Russell, Solomon, Stanford, Sullivan, Taylor, Thompson, Tittle, Vaughn, Weatherford, West, Whisenhunt, Williams, Williford, Yenne.


ADDITIONAL SUGGESTED RESOURCES FROM THE PRIMITIVE BAPTIST LIBRARY:

Records of Bethel and Muddy River Associations; records of Union and Mt. Vernon churches.

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