Family History Research Assistance for Primitive Baptist Churches in Morgan County, Illinois

CHURCHES:

INDIAN CREEK (ARENZVILLE)(1822)

Indian Creek Church was organized in 1822, or earlier, by Elder Samuel Bristow, who immigrated to Morgan County from southern Indiana, having been a charter member of Little Pigeon Church, in southern Indiana, (where Thomas Lincoln and Sarah Lincoln Grigsby, and Abraham Lincoln's stepmother were also members) in June 1816. He was dismissed by letter in good standing from that church in February 1819.

The exact date, and details of the constitution of Indian Creek Church have been lost. This was probably the first church of any faith organized in Morgan County. Among the earliest members were Elder Samuel Bristow, Moses Carlock, Aaron Houghton, Abraham Burgan, Peter Conover, and Gorham Holmes, the latter of whom was soon ordained as a minister, by this church.

Indian Creek Church applied for membership in the Illinois Association in October 1822, at which time they reported 17 members. The following year their number increased to 40 members. In the Fall of 1823, Indian Creek Church was one of the churches dismissed from the Illinois Association to form the Sangamon Association. When the Morgan Association was formed, in 1831, this church became a member of that body, and continued in that relationship until 1908, when the association dissolved. It appears that this church may have suffered a division over the modern mission system; those who adopted the new measures went into the formation of the Springfield Association in 1837.

Among the pastors of this church were Elders William R. Dyer, Baxter Hale, and Orvel B. Prior. Names of the earlier pastors are not known, due to the loss of records.

The church was located on about one acre of land at the west half of the west half of the S.E. 1/4 of Sec. 10 in Twp. 15 North and Range 10.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Armstrong, Biddlecom, Braner, Bristow, Brunk, Burgan, Campbell, Carlock, Clark, Conover, Coons, Cooper, Crow, Davis, Deatherage, Dyer, Gimblin, Hale, Hamilton, Hatfield, Henderson, Holmes, Houton, Hughett, Jones, Keltner, Laughery, Matthews, Miller, Moss, Murphy, Ore, Peters, Reed, Robeson, Sample, Sims, Smith, Stanley, Stout, Watson, Wilson, Yaples (very incomplete list due to loss of records).

DIAMOND GROVE (1823)

Diamond Grove Church was organized April 26, 1823, with twelve members, viz., Royal Tefft, Eunice Tefft, Henry Robley, Eliza Robley, Henry Kinney, Dicey Kinney, Calvin Goodel, Martha Goodel, John Hill, Susannah Hill, Nancy Woolams, and Margaret Dorance. The presbytery was composed of Elders Samuel Bristow, Aaron Smith, and Jonathan Sweet. Meetings had been held as early as September 14, 1822.

Diamond Grove Church first united with the Illinois Association, in the fall of 1823, with Elders Jonathan Sweet and Theophilus Sweet as its messengers, who reported 14 members. A month later, it was a founding member of the Sangamon Association, and Elder Jonathan Sweet, a member of this church, was chosen to serve as the first association moderator.

This church soon thereafter departed from the faith, and went into the modern mission movement; Elder Jonathan Sweet became the first moderator of the Springfield "Missionary Baptist" Association, which was formed in 1837.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Carson, Clark, Dorance, Goodell, Hill, Hoag, Holmes, James, Kinney, Morton, Robley, Smith, Solomon, Sweet, Tefft, Westrope, Woolams (very incomplete list due to lack of records).

SANDY CREEK (1825)

Sandy Creek Church was organized on the fourth Saturday in June, 1825. Charter members included Richard Griffin, Joseph Sweet, Francis Elledge, William Scholl, David Casebier, Jesse Elledge, John Finley, Jamima Beall, Patsy Scholl, Elizabeth Casebier, Katharine Casebier, Elizabeth Finley, Sally Sweet, and Dulsena Scholl. The presbytery was composed of Elder Samuel Bristow and Gorham Holmes, and Brethren Moses Carlock and Andrew Reed, from Indian Creek; and Elders Jonathan Sweet and Theophilus Sweet and Bro. Robert Smith, from Diamond Grove. In December 1825 the church called Elder Bristow to serve them as pastor, and he agreed to attend as often as he could.

Sandy Creek Church was gradually led into the modern mission movement, by Elder Jacob Bower, who united with the church in December 1828. First, the abstract of principles was changed, then the church moved its membership to a new association, and finally, the dissatisfied members withdrew from the church and formed a new church, called Friendship (see Scott County).

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Bartlett, Battershall, Bell, Bentley, Bower, Brazel, Bunch, Burch, Carter, Casebier, Chenowith, Clark, Coffee, Conkins, Cooper, Cowhick, Dewitt, Duvall, Elledge, Finley, Fletcher, Frier, Goodwin, Griffin, Hale, Hamilton, Handback, Haynie, Hearn, Hill, Hite, Humphrey, Jackson, Key, Lee, Lieb, Martin, McClain, Meredith, Michael, Moore, Reeder, Richards, Roberts, Rogers, Scholl, Shelly, Simon, Sitton, Smith, Summers, Sweet, Thomas, Tucker, Ventner, Wells, Wilson, Young.

UNION (YATESVILLE)(1825)

Union Church was organized August 6, 1825, at the home of Brother Henry Keltner. The presbytery was composed of Elder Samuel Bristow, moderator; Elder William Crow, clerk; and Brethren Peter Conover, Abraham Burgan, Moses Carlock, Aaron Houghton, William Miller, and Claibourn Jones, from Indian Creek and Richland (formerly Sangamo) churches.

The charter members were struck off from Indian Creek Church. Their names were: James B. Watson, William Miller, Henry Keltner, Andrew Armstrong, Samuel Robeson, Austin Sims, William Sims, Aquillar Hall, James Sims, John Robeson, Jacob Yaples, David Gimblin, Tabitha Cooper, Betsy Miller, Polly Gimblin, Sally Keltner, Mary Clark, Polly Armstrong, Malinda Davis, Nancy Sims, Nancy Robeson, Nancy Sims, Sally Sims, Rhody Hall, Peggy Sims, Betsy Jones, Esther Matthews, and Polly Campbell.

In September 1825 the church agreed to build a meeting house 24 by 20 feet, of logs seven inches thick, with a puncheon floor, a cabin roof and two chimneys. A second building was erected on the northwest corner of Brother I. R. Bennett's land in about 1837. The third, and last, meeting house of this church was in the village of Yatesville.

Pastors of Union Church, during its history of over 100 years, included Elders William Crow, Isaac N. Vanmeter, John L. Scott, and L. P. Harris. Elders Micajah B. Rowland and William Bradley were early members of this church.

For an account of the life of Elder William Crow,
CLICK HERE

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Antle, Armstrong, Bailey, Baker, Baldwin, Ball, Barrow, Baxter, Bennett, Best, Bingam, Bond, Bone, Bradley, Brewer, Buchanan, Buracker, Butler, Byars, Campbell, Carnell, Clark, Combs, Cooper, Copperage, Cox, Creed, Crow, Cummins, Curry, Davis, Dobbs, Dolen, Dolson, Dunlap, Edwards, Elmore, Enyart, Finley, Fischer, Fitch, Fitzhugh, Flinn, Garner, Gimblin, Gore, Grider, Hall, Hamilton, Harding, Harris, Hewett, Hill, Hughett, Hunter, Jones, Keltner, Kimble, Koontz, Lamb, Lathom, Lee, Lemmons, Litter, Lynn, Magill, Mathews, McDaniel, Meacham, Miller, Mitchell, Morris, Murphy, Nall, Newburg, Olanion, Parrott, Paul, Peacher, Pogue, Polk, Potts, Reatherford, Robeson, Robinson, Rowland, Runkle, Sage, Sally, Sample, Scott, Severe, Sheppard, Sims, Sinclair, Smith, Spencer, Spitler, Springer, Stice, Stout, Tanneyhill, Thompson, Upton, Vance, Virgin, Walker, Watret, Watson, Welch, Willet, Wood, Wright, Yaples.

MAUVAISTERRE (1826)

Mauvaisterre Church was organized in November 1826, but the other details are unknown, except that it was an arm struck off from Indian Creek Church. It was located about five miles north of Jacksonville. The Sangamon Association minutes of 1828 show that this church had grown to 80 members, having received 14 by baptism and 14 by letter during that year. Elders Samuel Bristow and John Foster, and Bro. Frederick Bolinger were the messengers in 1828. In June 1829, several members, including Elder Foster, were lettered out to organize a new church in the vicinity of Mt. Sterling, in Brown County. Mauvaisterre Church probably went into the constitution of the Morgan Association in 1831, but may have dissolved before 1840, being weakened by the removal of so many members to organize other churches of the same faith.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Ausmus, Bolinger, Bristow, Coons, Davis, Foster, Ray, Riggens, Sample, Shelby, Stanley, Stout (very incomplete list due to loss of records).

SOUTH FORK OF MAUVAISTERRE (1827)

South Fork of Mauvaisterre Church was organized January 27, 1827. The charter members were Richard Wood, Joseph Buchanan, Martin Grider, William Rodgers, Johnston Shelton, Joseph Waters, Hessa Wood, Nancy Sample, Malinda Rogers, Elizabeth Rogers, Sarah Shelton, and Celia Waters. The council which organized the church were as follows, viz., Elders Micajah Rowland, William Crow, and William Kenner; and Deacons Austin Sims, Peter Robinson, David Gimblin, and Aquillar Hall.

The records seldom state the election of a pastor, but many brethren preached for the church, and several were ordained here. Some of the names who preached regularly, or served as pastor, were Elders Micajah B. Rowland, Isaac Conlee, William Rodgers, William Grimsley, Joseph Buchanan, Thornton Sheppard, William Crow, Isaac Daniels, A. W. Murray, G. W. Murphy, Edmund T. Morris, George W. Murray, Whitfield Conlee, John A. Conlee, Lewis E. Frazee, Josiah B. Dobbs, H. S. Peak, S. A. Elkins, J. L. Ludwick, D. W. Owens, W. I. Carnell, James L. Dobbs, Ancil J. Conlee, and W. A. Chastain.

For twenty-four years after the organization, the regular meetings were held sometimes at the school house, sometimes at private homes. They evidently met in a primitive log cabin part of the time, until 1850, when a new meeting house was built at the same site, at a cost of $456.35. The third and last meeting house was an attractive white frame structure, built in 1890, at a cost of $1,800.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Akers, Alexander, Antle, Ash, Baldwin, Barrow, Beasley, Bell, Berry, Boyer, Briley, Broaderick, Buchanan, Bundy, Butt, Camp, Carpenter, Carson, Clark, Cline, Conlee, Conquest, Cox, Crawford, Cross, Cunningham, Dalton, Daniels, Davenport, Davis, Dodd, Duncan, Fanning, Feathercoile, Folden, Foster, Garner, Grider, Grimsley, Haney, Hufford, Hughett, Jackson, James, Johnson, Long, Lowery, Lynn, Martin, Masters, Meacham, Morris, Owens, Parmenter, Peak, Pemberton, Purcell, Radford, Ransdall, Ratekin, Reding, Reynbolds, Robinson, Rodgers, Rogers, Royal, Salaner, Sample, Shelton, Shepherd, Sheppard, Smith, Solomon, Sorrels, Spainhower, Sparks, Spires, Stagner, Stella, Stevens, Stout, Sturgis, Switzer, Taylor, Turner, Warner, Waters, Wells, Westrope, Whitlock, Wilkerson, Wood, Woolens, Young.

For accounts written by Elder Thornton Sheppard of his own experience and of his brother Lewis J. Shepherd,
CLICK HERE

HEAD OF APPLE CREEK (WAVERLY)(1828)

Head of Apple Creek Church, was established first as an arm of South Fork of Mauvaisterre Church, through the efforts of Isaac Conlee and William Rodgers. It was organized as a separate church on the second Saturday in May 1828, but the other details of the constitution have been lost. Elder Isaac Conlee, a pioneer in this community, was one of the charter members, and served the church as pastor for nearly fifty years. He was buried in the cemetery on the tract where he settled, not over fifty feet from the place where the original log meeting house of Head of Apple Creek Church stood, about three miles south of Waverly. The church reported 19 members in 1828 at the meeting of the Sangamon Association.

In 1828, Head of Apple Creek Church united with the Sangamon Association; in 1830 the church became a charter member of the Apple Creek Association; and finally, in 1838, the church was a charter member of the Concord Association.

A second building, a frame structure, was later built on the James Stice farm, less than a mile northeast of the first. Services were held there until 1912, when a frame meeting house was purchased at Tanner and Kemper Streets in Waverly.

Pastors included Elders Isaac Conlee, W. J. Wright, A. W. Murray, C. C. Purvine, John A. Conlee, Elmer Sutton, Claud E. Webb, Baxter Hale, J. Bryan Adair, and James R. Harris.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Alford, Allen, Anderson, Armstrong, Atterberry, Barrick, Barrow, Beatman, Blainey, Boggess, Bradley, Brian, Brown, Campbell, Carson, Cawood, Chapman, Clayton, Conlee, Connolly, Cummings, Davis, Deatherage, Denton, Dodd, Downing, Duncan, Elder, Garrison, Grider, Harbor, Harris, Henry, Herron, Hodges, Hood, Howerton, Hudson, Hunt, Hutton, James, Johnston, Kane, London, Masters, Maston, Maupin, McCormick, McManes, Meacham, Miller, Morris, Morrow, Motley, Murray, Nevins, Ogle, Overstreet, Phillips, Purvines, Richards, Roberson, Roberts, Rodgers, Ross, Russell, Sample, Sims, Sitton, Spires, Springer, Stagner, Staton, Stice, Stuckey, Sturgis, Sutton, Thomas, Tillotson, Turner, Turney, Vance, Walker, Watkins, Weller, Whitlock, Wilkerson, Wood, Wright, Wristen.

CONCORD (1829)

A church by this name was a member of the Morgan Association and took part in a council at Diamond Grove Church in 1829, so was in existence by that date. Elder Thomas Henson was a member of this church, and took part in the constitution of Plum Creek Church in 1829. Concord Church apparently did not exist for very long. Elder Henson moved to Missouri in about 1833. Records of Union Church show that they granted permission to their ordained help to assist in constituting as a church an arm of South Fork of Mauvaisterre Church.

NEW SALEM (MEREDOSIA)(1829)

New Salem Church was first an arm of Concord (location unknown), and was organized as a church on December 5, 1829, probably at the home of Brother Elijah Evans. The presbytery was composed of Elders Thomas Henson, John Foster, Elijah Davidson, John Murphey, and Bro. Samuel B. Jones. The last record book of New Salem Church has been found. The records of Plum Creek Church refer to a petitionary letter from the arm of Concord to be constituted at Brother Evans'. There is another reference to New Salem in the records of Plum Creek Church, in March 1832, viz., a request to Plum Creek Church for help to ordain a deacon. New Salem Church (the last known site) was located about three or four miles southeast of Meredosia, south of the intersection of Rts 100 and 104, at the site of the Beagle Cemetery. There may have been an earlier building at another site.

The Morgan Association was held with New Salem Church as early as 1838, at which time the church was described as being near "Bethel."

The last record book of this church has now been found.

Elder Mason Beagle was a member and pastor of this church, having been ordained here in 1850. After his death, about two acres of land was given to the church by his wife, Emily, which land was already occupied by the graveyard, and meeting house. The deed was dated March 16, 1869.

Elder H. Scott Peak was also a member of this church, and was one of the trustees when the above property was received. He served as pastor until his death, in 1920.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Armitage, Arnold, Beagle, Bowers, Braden, Clay, Cline, Davis, Dobson, Dyer, Edmonson, Edmundston, Evans, Frohwitter, Funk, Gilliland, Hill, Hosier, Jones, Kimbrel, Lake, Langston, Little, Long, McClerren, McGee, Morris, Older, Orchard, Peak, Peters, Post, Powers, Reed, Rhea, Riggen, Scott, Sims, Taylor, Weightman, Wissman, Wilday (incomplete list due to loss of records).

PROVIDENCE (APPALONIA)(1833)

Providence Church was organized in 1833, at Appalonia, a small (now extinct) settlement west of Waverly. Achilles W. Deatherage was one of the charter members. It was probably located at or near the present day site of the Rogers Cemetery.


ZION (JACKSONVILLE)(1835)

Zion Church was organized in June 1835, at the home of John Whitlock, by members dismissed primarily from South Fork of Mauvaisterre Church, viz., Bro. Feathercoile, Joseph Ratekin, Robert Smith, Bro. Radford, Bro. Haney, Polly Whitlock, Ann Grimsley, Susannah Grimsley, Sally Berry, and Rachel Folden, and probably several others.

(Union Church received a request for helps to constitute a church from brethren on the Big Sandy, southeast of Jacksonville, in June 1835; the same is confirmed in the records of South Fork of Mauvaisterre Church.)

In October 1854, Zion Church sent out requests for help to ordain Elder F. T. V. White to the ministry. In June 1856, the church requested help to ordain Elder H. G. Whitlock to the ministry.

Zion Church was a member of the Morgan Association from its organization until 1859, at which time it reported 36 members.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Barrow, Berry, Feathercoile, Folden, Grimsley, Gunn, Haney, Hull, Radford, Rafferty, Ratekin, Shepherd, Shepler, Smith, White, Whitlock (very incomplete list due to loss of records).

MURRAYVILLE (MURRAYVILLE)(1875)

Murrayville Church was organized in March or April 1875, as an arm of Middle Fork of Apple Creek Church. There were eight charter members, including Elder Nicholas Sheplar.

Murrayville Church became a member of the Morgan Association and continued in that relation until the church dissolved. Elder Sheplar served as pastor until 1896, when he and most of his family moved to Bozeman, Montana, after which this church became very weak in number and ceased to represent in the association.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Bunch, Hopper, McClerren, Sheplar, Sheppard, West (very incomplete due to loss of records).

JACKSONVILLE

Jacksonville Church was organized on January 30, 1937, with seven charter members, viz., J. W. Wells, Inez Poole, Pearl Kemp, Cynthia Brunk, Anna Morrow, Maria Daniels, and Rena Shepherd.

The presbytery was composed of Elders D. E. Baker and W. A. Chastain, and Deacons L. C. Jones, Elmer Motley, and Bert Foster.

The church building was located on North Clay and Farrell Streets in northeast Jacksonville. Tully O. Hardesty purchased the building on October 24, 1934, from the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, and gave it to the Jacksonville Primitive Baptist Church on February 9, 1937, in memory of his father, Elder B. F. Hardesty, and his uncle, Elder W. J. Hardesty.

ADDITIONAL REFERENCES SOURCES AVAILABLE IN THE PRIMITIVE BAPTIST LIBRARY:

Minutes of the Morgan Association; periodicals containing obituaries of members; records of some of the individual churches.

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