Church and Family History Research Assistance for Livingston County, Illinois


Bethel Church, at Indian Grove (called "Bethel on Mackinaw" in the earliest references found in the Sangamon Association minutes), was organized in about June 1832. Lake Fork Church in Logan County sent help to constitute this church on the head timber of the Mackinaw (this was in McLean County). The names of the presbytery and charter members have not been obtained. Bethel Church united with the Sangamon Association at the session of September 1836, her messengers being Elder John Darnall and J. B. Thompson.

Bethel Church continued to represent in the Sangamon Association, and hosted the annual meeting several times. The church was listed in the minutes as Bethel M. C. (McLean County) as late as 1861. In 1859, reference was made to the church as Bethel Indian Grove. In 1878, the church was listed simply as Indian Grove, but probably as an abbreviation rather than an actual change in the name of the church. For many years the church met at the home of Bro. Robert Cunningham, a veteran of the War of 1812, in McLean County (near Saybrook). After his death, in 1858, the church began meeting at least part of the time in a union church house which was built in 1857 at Indian Grove in Livingston County for the use of several denominations. By 1862, the church apparently held all of its regular meetings at Indian Grove.

An account of a meeting held in May 1842 at this church by Elder Moses W. Sellers, of Indiana, states that some of the members lived in McLean County, including his Cunningham relatives, and most of the meeting he described was held there.

Ministers who held membership in this church included Elders John D. Darnall, Levi Hess, Joseph Richardson, and J. L. Ludwick. All of these, and also Elder W. A. Thompson, served the church as pastor. Other brethren who served as messengers included Hugh Steers, John Steers, M. Adams, J. Spence, Spencer Cates, John G. Steers, R. S. Cunningham, F. R. Gibson, Martin J. Steers, G. Phalmer, A. J. Phillips, and Joseph Lucas.


Adams, Arnold, Cates, Cunningham, Darnell, Dingman, Gibson, Hess, Lucas, Ludwick, Oldham, Owens, Phalmer, Phillips, Richardson, Smith, Spence, Standish, Steers, Thompson (very incomplete list due to loss of records).


Salem Church, near Toluca, in Marshall County, also held meetings near Flanagan, probably at the home of one of their ministers, Elder Ellis Ingrey, in Livingston County. The Sandy Creek Association was held there a few times.


Minutes of the Sangamon Association; obituaries of several of the members in church periodicals.

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