Church and Family History Research Assistance
for Rush County, Indiana

The Primitive Baptists established themselves in Rush County in a very early period of the county's history, almost if not quite simultaneous with the Methodists. As early as 1821 there was a church organized, known as the Flat Rock Church. John P. Thompson was the founder, and made monthly visits to them, but later left the Baptists and joined the Campbellites. Early Primitive Baptist ministers who preached in the county included Elders Wilson Thompson, John Sparks, and George Harlan, all from Fayette County. A split occurred in the Regular Baptist Church (as it was called at that time) in Rush County in August 1845. There was at that time a meetinghouse, known as the Zion Church, a church which belonged to the White Water Association. The controversy, which ended in division, began at the East Fork Church. Elder Sparks began to advocate conditional salvation, and Elder Hatfield, a local preacher for that congregation, opposed with such offensive criticism as to cause Elder Sparks to prefer charges against him which resulted in the withdrawal of fellowship from Elder Hatfield. Elder Hatfield appealed to the White Water Association for redress and the hearing took place at the Zion Church on the date as above stated. Elder Wilson Thompson defended Elder Hatfield, and David Drummonds supported the church in its action in excluding Elder Hatfield from its fellowship. The ground upon which the house stood belonged to Mrs. Nancy Cook, and she was appealed to as to which party should have possession. She decided in favor of Elder Thompson, whereupon, Elder Sparks called upon his friends to know how many would follow him to a grove about one mile south. The trial was had on Friday and Saturday, and on Sunday much the larger part went with Elder Sparks to the grove. The rights of property were finally tested in the civil courts, and by a kind of compromise or conciliator measure, East Fork's meeting house was given to the Spark's party, and Zion's meeting house to the Thompson party. (A book published regarding this trouble is located in the Primitive Baptist Library, Carthage, Illinois.)







East Fork Flat Rock Church was organized at the home of William Jackson, on July 21, 1827, with eleven charter members, viz., William Jackson Sr., William Jackson Jr., Jeremiah Coleman, George Weirick, Thomas Wells, Benton R. Cook, Abigail Jackson, Sarah Coleman, Anna Coleman, Heistis Cook, and Sarah Weirick. The presbytery was composed of Elder John Caldwell, moderator, and Isaac Martin clerk, and other brethren, George Brown, Thomas Sargent, George Zion, Richard Koll, Schuyler Jagger, Nathaniel Murphy, and William Dickey, representing Little Blue River, Ben Davis, and Lick Creek churches.




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