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



Mississippi Bottoms Church was organized April 28, 1798, near present-day Chester, Illinois, by Elders David Badgley, Joseph Chance, and John Simpson, with eleven (another source says twenty-five) members, who were dismissed for that purpose from New Design Church. It was the second Baptist Church organized in Illinois territory, and was an arm of New Design, the first church. This church was also one of the original members of the Illinois Association in 1807. The short glimpses we are given of this church come from the minutes of the Association, which show that in June 1807, the membership was 11; in October 1807, 14; in June 1808, 14; in September 1808, 7; in June 1809, 10; and in October 1809, 11. In 1811, the last year the church was represented in the Illinois Association, it reported only 6 members. Elder David Badgley was a member of this church in 1807, and served as its pastor throughout most, if not all, of its existence.


Badgley, Clark, Henderson, Hill, Valentine, Waddle, Whiteside (very incomplete list due to loss of records).


Horse Prairie Church (originally called Zion, at Prairie de Long), was organized May 1, 1814. It was originally an arm of Turkey Hill Church. The ten charter members were: John Thompson, Nancy Thompson, William Thompson, Nancy McNail, Sarah Thompson, Mary Ralls, Polly Ralls, Absalom Evans, Mary Brickey, and Preston Brickey. The presbytery was composed of Elders Nathan Arnett, David Badgley, and Robert Brazel, and Deacon William Brazel. The church became a member of the Illinois Association in September 1814, and remained in that body until both the church and association dissolved. Elder David Badgley was the first pastor.

The church agreed to change its name to Horse Prairie, when it moved to Ralls Ridge, in Randolph County, in August 1826. This meeting house, with a cemetery nearby, was located in the southeast corner of the southeast quarter of Section 1, Township 4 South, Range 8 West. Before this time, the church met in St. Clair County, on Prairie du Long, between present-day Hecker and Smithton and a little east. The church was known as Zion or Prairie Du Long at that time.


Allen, Atkins, Been, Brickey, Brownfield, Brunt, Burnett, Case, Darrow, Day, Edens, Evans, Fields, Friend, Guthrie, Harriss, Hern, Hicks, Hill, Kinney, Lawson, Lincoln, McNail, Moore, Murray, Peach, Penrod, Ralls, Schellenger, Simmons, Simpson, Small, Smith, Stamm, Stockton, Strait, Stubblefield, Taylor, Thompson, Vermillion, Woods.

UNITY (1822)

Unity Church was organized in 1822. In early years it probably met at the home of its pastor, Elder Eli Short, who settled just north of Percy, in 1819. In 1834 a division occurred in the church over the doctrine of universalism preached by Elder Short. For a more detailed history of this church, see Jackson County's page.


Gravel Creek Church was organized on the first Saturday in June 1835, by Elder Silas Crisler, and others who were dismissed from Unity Church, viz., Polly Crisler, Jemimah Crisler, George H. Mason, and Polly Mason. The church united with the Illinois Association in 1839, at which time it reported 11 members. In 1848, Gravel Creek, Elkhorn, and Bethel Churches were dismissed at their request. In 1849, Elkhorn Church returned to the Illinois Association, and in 1850, Bethel Church did the same. No later information could be found regarding Gravel Creek Church.


Crisler, Crittenden, Mason, Sullivan (very incomplete list due to loss of records).


Records of the Illinois Association; Records of the Horse Prairie church (on microfilm); Records of Unity Church after 1834.

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