Church and Family History Research Assistance
for Montgomery County, Illinois

CHURCHES:

HURRICANE FORK (FILLMORE)(1818)

Hurricane Fork Church was organized in 1818, in what became Fillmore township, and was the first church of any denomination organized in the county.

The minutes of Hurricane Church begin in March 1818 with the following: "Joseph Wright and Ezekiel Rush, beholden to God, brothers in fellowship at Rocky Springs, believing this settlement needs God, join with George Shipman, a coventer, has a Bible and can read it, to open a door for members in a new church. Ezekiel Rush to let the settlement west know about it." In April 1818 the church met at the home of John Hill and agreed to be known as the Regular Baptist Church in Christ, Hurricane Fork, Bond County (part of Bond County later became Montgomery County). They also agreed to exclude members who refuse to help new settlers raise a house and plant corn. Those who are named as preaching in 1818 included George Shipman, Joseph Wright, Henry Sears, and David Badgley. Elder James Street was a member of this church by 1820.

The records of June 1819 show that there were 28 members at Hurricane, and 10 at the Clear Springs settlement, and the meeting was held "at Bro. Rush's timber and praysed God 3 days." At this meeting, the minutes state, "11 savages come to meetin' from camp at Blind indian spring. We are at peace if savages are at peace. Agreed to leev be if not necessary. Next meeting to be at Bro. Freeman if savages are gone." The minutes of July 1819 stated, "Bro. Freeman preached indians have souls in the morning, Bro. Harris preached savages born of the devil in the evening. Bro. Rush said it the self same as the black souls doctrine that separated the sister churches in Kentucky and spoke in righteous anger against preaching about it. Bro. Rush whipped Bro. Harris and Bro. Petit and was excluded until judged by impartial members. All members takin sides. We must pray for wisdom and love and still tungs."

In 1820, Hurricane Church united with the Illinois Association, James Street and Henry Pyatt being the messengers, who reported 25 members. In 1823, Hurricane was one of the churches dismissed to organize the Sangamon Association; Joseph Wright and Henry Sears being the messengers to the convention, who reported 16 members. In 1830, Hurricane was one of the churches dismissed from the Sangamon Association to organize the Kaskaskia Association. Hurricane Church remained a member of the Kaskaskia Association until 1898, when its request to withdraw was granted.

The first meeting house was a log building, erected as early as about 1820. The last meeting house, a frame building, was constructed in 1868.

Early pastors of the church are not easy to determine, but apparently included Elders James Street and Henry Sears. Later pastors included Elders A. J. Willeford, John Lawler, McDonald Prater, S. H. Wright, William Baker, H. C. Card, Julius A. Smith, and Oscar Campbell.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Adams, Alexander, Allen, Almonds, Andrews, Baker, Bass, Beck, Beckham, Box, Bradley, Bridgewaters, Browning, Card, Carter, Casey, Coffee, Condra, Drandall, Crouch, Cunningham, Davis, Deaton, Denton, Dodson, Elam, File, Forhan, Freeman, Garland, Gibson, Giles, Graham, Harris, Hill, Holden, Jordan, Kimbro, Kirk, Koons, Lee, Livingston, Lloyd, Mason, Massey, Mathis, Mayfield, McCoy, McKinsey, Miller, Moats, Murphy, Norton, Owens, Parrish, Pope, Prater, Pyatt, Reeves, Renfro, Renshaw, Reynolds, Rhodes, Roberts, Rowe, Rush, Scribner, Sears, Sellars, Shipman, Smith, Street, Viles, Walker, Watkins, Weathers, White, Whitten, Wilson, Wright.

CLEAR SPRINGS (1822)

The church at Hurricane Fork began holding meetings for part of their members in the West Fork settlement as early as August 1818, and in the Clear Springs settlement as early as April 1819. According to Elder William Jones' Memoirs of Elder David Badgley, Elder Badgley helped constitute a church at Clear Springs, on Shoal Creek, in 1820; however, the records of Hurricane Fork Church indicate that meetings were held this early in the Clear Springs or (Street) settlement, but not until in July 1822, were the following members dismissed to form a new church, viz., Elder James Street, Mary Street, John Norton, Mary Norton, Gilford Parrish and wife, George Shipman and wife, John Jordan, Abel Box, Rachel Crandall, Deborah Giles, Jane Wright, and Margaret Wright.

According to a county history, some of the early members included Elder James Street, William Clark, Roland Sheppard, Alexander McWilliams, Nicholas Lockerman, John McPhail, Joseph McAdams, David Kirkpatrick, and their families, largely, James Forehand, David McCoy, Hugh Kirkpatrick, William Griffeth, Melchoir Fogelman, and Luke Lee Steel.

A hewn log building is thought to have been erected in this community in about 1822. The pulpit was of the same material. The cemetery at the site is the oldest cemetery in the county. Elder James Street, and his wife Mary, deeded land to the trustees of the Clear Springs Church, for church and burying ground purposes, in August 1835. The trustees were John Barry, Gilford Parrish, and Richard Laswell. A later frame building still remains at the site.

Clear Springs Church united with the Illinois Association in October 1823, Brethren George Shipman and John Jordan being the messengers, who reported 26 members. Clear Springs, Hurricane, and the churches north of them, were all dismissed at that time, to organize the Sangamon Association later the same month of October 1823. At this convention, Elder James Street, and Brethren John Jordan and Thomas Mathews were the messengers of Clear Springs Church. In 1828, Clear Springs Church was represented at the Sangamon Association by Elder James Street, and Brethren John Yokum and Gilford Parrish, who reported 18 members. In the fall of 1830, Clear Springs and several other churches were again dismissed, this time to go into the constitution of the Kaskaskia Association. Clear Springs Church remained a part of the Kaskaskia Association as long as the church existed. The church hosted the Kaskaskia Association as late as 1882, at the Hart School house about four miles south of Litchfield.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Barry, Box, Chamberlin, Christian, Clark, Cooper, Corlew, Craig, Crandall, Fogelman, Forehand, Gardner, Giles, Griffith, Honeycutt, Isaacs, Jordan, Kirkpatrick, Lasswell, Lockerman, Mann, Matthews, McAdams, McCoy, McPhail, McWilliams, Norton, Parrish, Sheppard, Shipman, Starr, Steel, Street, Wood, Wright, Yokum (very incomplete list due to loss of records).

BETHEL (COFFEEN)(1826)

Bethel Church was organized September 2, 1826, by Elders James Street and Henry Sears. The charter members, dismissed from Hurricane Church for that purpose, included Holloway Prater, James Card, Mary Goodwin, Ellender Freeman, Jane Blair, and possibly several others.

Bethel Church probably united with the Sangamon Association, and was dismissed in 1830, to help organize the Kaskaskia Association in September or October 1830.

Pastors of Bethel Church included Elders James Street, Willis Dodson, Calvin Card, A. J. Willeford, Julius Smith, D. E. Baker, F. M. Pope, Charles Moore, and Oscar Campbell. For several years, between 1959 and 1966, Elder L. P. Lockhart and Bro. Vernie Masters, a lay brother, preached for the church.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Allen, Baird, Baker, Ballard, Bartlett, Beck, Bell, Blair, Bost, Bradley, Brockman, Brown, Card, Chauncy, Chumley, Clark, Cope, Corlew, Craig, Cress, Davis, Ellis, File, Fox, Freeman, French, Goodwin, Greer, Hampton, Harrison, Hawkins, Hind, Joyce, Kirkpatrick, Lawler, Lierly, Lowe, Mason, May, McCann, McClary, McDowell, Melton, Miller, Netherly, Neathery, Owen, Patterson, Pedigo, Prater, Ridgeway, Rohrer, Scott, Sellers, Smith, Star, Thacker, Tingle, Trenary, Tucker, Webb, White, Whitledge, Whitman, Williams, Williford, Wilson, Wood, Wright, Young (list is incomplete due to loss of part of the records).

LITTLE FLOCK (HONEY BEND)

Little Flock Church, in Honey Bend, was organized by 1842, but probably much earlier (perhaps before 1830). The first sermon preached in the North Litchfield township was at the home of Bennett Woods, by Elder James Street. The church had become a member of the Kaskaskia Association by 1843. Names of the charter members, and of the presbytery, have not been found.

Pastors of this church from the beginning until about 1908 included Elders John Wood, William Fitzgerald, B. F. Querry, D. M. Masters, W. A. Pinkstaff, and W. I. Dobbs. Elder Daniel M. Masters later served the church as pastor for many years. Elder L. E. Sutton was chosen as assistant pastor in May 1928.

According to a county history, this church met for many years in a log building in Sec. 35 of Zanesville township. After it became unfit for use, a frame church was built at Honey Bend, in 1865. The church purchased land from Charles A. Rogers in 1868 and 1873, and from Alfred Boan and B. P. Lewright, in 1870, for purposes of beginning a Cemetery. The first burial was in December 1871. In 1913, the several tracts of land were given to the Honey Bend Cemetery Association, for perpetual care of the graveyard. The Cedar Ridge Cemetery, at the site, is maintained by the Honey Bend Cemetery Association.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Bacon, Bandy, Bell, Bowles, Brown, Cass, Corlew, Davis, Fitzgerald, Huddleston, Hull, Keel, Kemp, Lawler, Martin, Masters, McDaniel, McDonald, McPak, McWilliams, Miller, Morrison, Peck, Phillips, Querry, Sheppard, Simms, Sinclair, Smith, Stanley, Stillwell, Stockstill, Welch, Westbrook, Wiggins, Williams, Wood (very incomplete list due to loss of records).

MT. ZION (COFFEEN)(1898)

Mt. Zion Church was organized in 1898, with ten members, and became a member of the Kaskaskia Association later the same year, at which time they reported 15 members. Elder William E. Wright was one of the charter members, and was ordained by this church. He served the church as pastor most of its existence. Elder Benjamin F. Murphy was also a member of this church. A meeting house was constructed by the church about six miles south of Coffeen.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Booker, Murphy, Phillips, Sears, Williams, Wright (very incomplete list due to loss of records).

LITCHFIELD (LITCHFIELD)(1906)

Litchfield Church was organized February 11, 1906, at Bennett Hall in Litchfield. Elders W. A. Pinkstaff, D. M. Masters, S. A. D. Sanders, John Willeford, and several deacons, composed the presbytery. The charter members were: G. T. Johnson, Louise Johnson and Grace King (from Hopewell Church near Gillespie); and Abel Stillwell, Elizabeth Sinclair, Eva Baker, Sarah Shepard, and Elizabeth McDaniel (from Little Flock Church, Honey Bend). Elder W. A. Pinkstaff was chosen pastor and Eva Baker clerk.

Elders W. A. Pinkstaff and Burton L. Nay were serving as joint pastors of this church in 1908, according to a church periodical which they published in Litchfield at that time, called "The Baptist Star." The church directory in this paper shows that in August 1908 the Litchfield Church was meeting at Sinclair Hall, north side of park, in Litchfield, on the first Sunday morning and evening, and Saturday evening before, each month.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Baker, Johnson, King, McDaniel, Nay, Shepard, Sinclair, Stillwell (very incomplete list due to loss of records).

SUGGESTED ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FROM THE PRIMITIVE BAPTIST LIBRARY:

Minutes of the Illinois Baptist Association (1807); Minutes of the Sangamon Baptist Association (1823); Minutes of the Kaskaskia Baptist Association (1830). Part of the Records of Hurricane Church, Bethel Church, and Little Flock Church have been preserved.

A photo of Little Flock Church, Mt. Zion Church, and Litchfield church is needed.

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