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



The first record of The Regular Baptist Church of Jesus Christ, of Edwards River, is the minutes of a meeting of the members, held at the house of George Miller, on Edwards River, July 21, 1838, of which meeting Jeremiah Swofford was chosen moderator, and Abraham Miller Jr., clerk. This meeting was held within the present limits of Perryton township. Meetings were held in the private houses of members until a meeting held in the house of Gabriel M. Barkley, in Farlow's Grove (now in Preemption township), December 22, 1838, the next regular meeting was appointed at the school house in Sugar Grove (now Perryton township). March 23, 1839, they voted to appeal to Henderson Church for letters of dismission and help to constitute them into a separate church. Their prayer was granted, and the Edwards River church was constituted June 29, 1839, by Elders Joseph Jones, Charles Vandeveer, and Hiram Bowman. The members at the constitution were: Joseph and Rebecca Jones; George, Mary Ann, and Julia Ann Miller; Abraham Miller, Jr.; John and Sarah Farlow; Roswell and Mehitable Stanard; Youngs Green; Michael Donahoo; Gabriel M. and Hannah R. Barkley; Mary Miller; and Susannah Shelley. Gabriel M. Barkley was chosen first deacon of the church, and Abraham Miller Jr., first clerk. Elder Joseph Jones was the first moderator and pastor.

The records of New Hope Church for May 1839 show that a request was received from the brethren of the arm of Henderson Church, delivered by brethren Joseph Jones and John Farlow, and agreed to send brethren the Saturday before the fifth Sunday in June, Charles Vandeveer, Peter Butler, John Riggs, and James Kelsey.

The Edwards River Church united with and remained a member of the Spoon River Association during its existence.

The first delegation from this church was Joseph Jones, Gabriel M. Barkley, George Miller, John Farlow, and Abraham Miller Jr., who were appointed to sit in council with and constitute a church at William Denison's. It was agreed at this time (1839) to hold meetings one-half the time at Sugar Grove and one-half the time at Farlow's Grove.

The last regular meeting of this church was held October 9, 1847, when, "after consultation and due deliberation being had the church and council thought it expedient to letter each other out and so become dissolved, inasmuch as the members are moving away out of the bounds of this church." Most of these members shortly thereafter removed to Oregon territory.


Barkley, Crooks, Donahoo, Farlow, Green, Jones, Miller, Shelley, Stanard (very incomplete due to loss of records).


Concord Church was organized at the home of William Denison, in the vicinity of New Boston on the second Saturday in August 1839. Elder Joseph Jones, of Edwards River and Elder Charles Vandeveer, of New Hope in Warren Co., and possibly others, formed a presbytery which organized seven members into the new church. Concord Church was a charter member of the Des Moines River Association in August 1840, and continued as a member of that body until 1845, when the records state that the church was dropped as a result of "departure from the faith." Jeremiah Swofford, a licensed preacher, was the messenger to the Des Moines River Association in 1840, and the church reported nine members.


Minutes of the Des Moines River and Spoon River Associations; obituaries of members in the Signs of the Times; minutes of the Siloam Association of Oregon (to which many of the people belonged); Diary of an Overland Journey to Oregon, including a poem written by Elder Abraham Miller, Jr., concerning the journey over the Oregon Trail in his beautiful handwriting.

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