Church and Family History Research Assistance
for Primitive Baptist Churches in St. Clair County, Illinois

CHURCHES:

RICHLAND (OGLE'S CREEK, CLINTON HILL)

Richland Church, the third Baptist Church to exist in Illinois, came as a church body to St. Clair County, having a "traveling constitution," prepared by authority of the Mt. Tabor Church, in Barren Co., Kentucky. The following members were dismissed from Mt. Tabor Church on Friday, May 18, 1804, viz., Joseph and Sarah Cook, John and Mary Baugh, James and Jean Downan, William, Esther, and Honor Downan, Eleanor Maggs, Downey Hooper, Margaret Newell, James Bradsberry, and Sarah Bradsberry. The next day, these members petitioned for helps to be constituted, which was granted, and Jacob Lock, John Baugh Sr., and Thomas Ferguson were appointed for that purpose. (Elder William Jones wrote that the "traveling constitution" was prepared by Elders Jacob Lock and Robert Stockton.) The date when they began meeting in Illinois territory, and how many of these specific members came to Illinois, is unknown, but on January 9th and 10th, 1807, a counsel meeting was held at James Downing's (Downan's), of Richland Church, in the Ridge Prairie, preparatory to forming a new Association, which took place on the third Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in June, 1807.

Elder John Baugh Jr., one of the original members, was ordained at the Illinois Association in June 1808, and served as pastor until the division of the Illinois Association, over slavery, in 1809. The Illinois Association, at its October 1809 session (there were sessions in June, October and December 1809), "split asunder," and the churches desiring to "support the general union of United Baptists at large," (another way of saying that they would still fellowship United Baptists in other parts of the country who were slaveholders) chose William Jones as clerk, and five churches were enrolled. Richland Church changed its name to Ogle's Creek Church in 1809 or 1810.

The seceding party did not attempt to gain any fellowship or correspondence with any other associations, until 1817, when they obtained correspondence with the Wabash District Association for a short time. They did, however, meet annually, beginning in 1810, under the name of South District Association, Friends to Humanity. By others they were called "Emancipating Baptists." They later amalgamated with the Missionary Baptists.

Richland Church constructed a meeting house in 1809, one of the earliest erected by the Baptists in Illinois. Elder David Badgley joined this church by letter about the time of the division over slavery, and continued as pastor until his death in December 1824.

In 1807, Richland Church reported 11 and 19 members at the two sessions; in June 1808, 24 members; in 1809, 14 (probably due to dismissing members to organize Looking Glass Prairie Church); in 1810, 13 members. In 1811, 20 and 23 at the two sessions; in 1812, 55; in 1813, 66. By 1820, as a result of dismissals by letter, the church reported only 26 members; and due to a division in the church, the membership was reduced to only 8 members in 1822. In 1823, the church reported 9 members. In 1824, Ogle's Creek (or rather, Clinton Hill, as it was now called) reported 17 members; in 1825, 24; in 1826, 25, and in 1827, 25. The church failed to represent in the Association after 1827.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Badgley, Baugh, Beer, Bradberry, Brazel, Cook, Downing, Hand, Johnson, Little, Martin, Miller, Moore, Rentfro, Sample, Stockton, Wilbanks (very incomplete list due to loss of records).

SILVER CREEK (TURKEY HILL)

Silver Creek Church, an arm of New Design by 1806 or earlier, was organized as a distinct church in May 1807, in Fayetteville precinct, with seven members, by Elders David Badgley and Joseph Chance. The name of the church was changed to Turkey Hill sometime between 1809 and 1810, probably due to a change in location of the meetings. A cemetery (destroyed in recent years, and tombstones dumped in a ravine) was established, probably near the meeting house, in Smithton township, near Belleville. Corporal Joseph Carr, an American Patriot in the Revolution, was among the early members, and was buried here. A log building was constructed at a very early date. This was the fifth Baptist Church in Illinois.

It was short-lived, as the association minutes for 1816 reported that it had been dissolved.

Location: Fayetteville township; Smithton township.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Arnett, Balls, Carr, Chance, Garelson (Garrison), Mitchell, Radcliff, Riter, Short, Stuckey, Thompson (incomplete list due to loss of records).

RICHLAND CREEK (BELLEVILLE)(1806)

Richland Creek Church first met as an arm of New Design Church as early as June 14, 1806, at the home of William L. Whiteside. It was organized as a separate church on September 12, 1807. Elders Joseph Chance, Robert Brazil, and Edward Ratcliff signed the constitution of the church, which took place at the home of Brother Isaac Enochs, one of the first four people baptized in Illinois territory. Richland Creek Church joined the Illinois Association, at its second session, in the fall of 1807. The earliest members included (males): Larkin Rutherford, James Lemen Sr., Joseph Lemen, Robert Lemen, Anthony Badgley, William Kinney, Isaac Enochs, John Capps, John J. Whiteside, Davis Whiteside, William L. Whiteside, John Steel, James Mason, Aaron Robinson, John Philips, Jacob Ogle, Benjamin Ogle, and (female): Mary Kinney, Elizabeth Luster, Polly K. Lemen, Hetty Lemen, Jean Mason, Ann Lemen, Medusa Mather, Sarah Enochs, Patience Basye, Elizabeth Badgley, Catherine Lemen, Susanna Rutherford, Sally G. Whiteside, Ann Whiteside, Clarissa Stout, Catherine Steel, Sally Shook, Margaret Philips, Hannah Miller, Anne Messenger, and Ann Simpson.

In December 1809 the church split. The Minutes of the Association for 1830 give an account of the proceedings, as follows: "'James Lemen, Sr., (now dead) who, it is well known, was the leader and founder of the people called Friends to Humanity, was a member of the Association when the above rule was adopted. All things appeared to be peaceable and in order until 1809, when said Lemen gave distress to the brethren of Richland Creek Church, in which he was a member, and was taken under dealings by said church which then belonged to the Association; and while the church was investigating the several charges against him, he rent himself from the church and refused to be dealt with by her, and drew a part of the members with him, some of whom now are known and ever have been amongst the leaders of that people. And as further evidence that they went out or rent off from us, we quote the following extract from the records of said church: 'The Baptist church of Christ at Richland Creek, met according to appointment on Saturday the 9th of September, 1809, Bro. Best Moderator. First, - The business of the day to choose delegates to the Association. Second. - To exclude Brother James Lemen, Sr., for rending himself from the church and drawing a party with him, and other accusations too tedious to mention, and lay under censure all those who justify his conduct. Signed by order of the church. John Philips, clerk.' Also, 'The Baptist church of Christ met according to appointment on the second Saturday in October, 1810. Brother Samuel Best, Moderator. We the members of Richland Creek church have been accused of excommunicating Brother Lemen for the principles of emancipation, and in order to show the world and to convince him that we did not, we lay the excommunication of Brother Lemen down and set him on the same footing that he was before - that is, we hold him under censure for some distress which is not occasioned by the aforesaid principles which have not been removed. Signed by order of the Church, William Kinney, clerk.'"

Richland Creek Church continued to meet until at least 1864, at which time it reported 13 members in the minutes of the Illinois Association. Elders William Kinney, Joseph Chance, Thomas Deremiah, John C. Simmons, and Gideon Simpson were all members of this church, and most of them probably served as pastors here.

Location: 2 miles north of Belleville on the Old Collinsville Road. The church was located on the northwest corner of the present historic John Messenger Cemetery plot. The cemetery is still used. In later years the church building was used as a school house, but no trace remains now.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Badgley, Baker, Basye, Best, Boyakin, Capps, Chance, Deremiah, Elliott, Enochs, Gillstrap, Kennedy, Kinney, Lemen, Luster, Mason, Mather, Meggs, Melvin, Messenger, Miller, Ogle, Overum, Peach, Phillips, Pilcher, Robinson, Rutherford, Shook, Simmons, Simpson, Steel, Stout, Whiteside (very incomplete list due to loss of records).

LOOKING GLASS PRAIRIE (LEBANON/MASCOUTAH)

Looking Glass Prairie Church was organized in late 1808, or early 1809, with ten members, by Elders Joseph Chance, John Baugh, William Jones, and David Badgley. Elder Robert Brazil was ordained to the ministry here, in 1808, and William Brazel as deacon at the same time. Brethren Robert Brazil, Valentine Brazil, and William Brazil, were appointed by the church as messengers, to petition for membership in the Illinois Association in June 1809. They reported nine members. By 1811, the church had declined to only six members. However, in 1815, the church reported 12 members. By October 1819, the number in fellowship had increased to 18. Looking Glass Prairie Church continued to represent as a member of the Illinois Association until about 1825. A remnant of the church united with the Big Spring Church in about 1827, which met part of the time at the home of William Bridges. An account from the church records was published in the Western Evangelist, in August 1854, written by Enoch Bridges.

Location: Met part of the time in the Fort on Looking Glass Prairie, and in homes of the members, probably between Mascoutah and Lebanon.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Badgley, Brazel, Bridges, Brisco, Chapman, Huffman, Lindley, Little, Paydon, Riggin, Roberts, Townsend, Wilkes (incomplete list due to loss of records).

TWELVE MILE PRAIRIE

Twelve Mile Prairie Church was organized in 1820, or earlier, and united with the Illinois Association in October 1820, Samuel Smith and Timothy Higgins being the messengers, who reported 5 members. Elder Samuel Smith was ordained by this church in December 1823. The membership in 1821 was 5; in 1822, 7; in 1823, 4; in 1824, 4; in 1825, 6; in 1826, 6; in 1827, 9; in 1828, 18; in 1829, 20; in 1830, 22; in 1831, 28; in 1832, 28; in 1833, 22; in 1834, 20. In 1835, the church divided and two factions sent letters of representation to the Association, which resulted in a meeting being appointed at the home of Bro. Abner Carr, to try to effect a reconciliation. In 1838, the church was represented in the Association again, by Elder John Kennedy, but he reported only 4 members. The church was not mentioned again, presumably because it had dissolved shortly afterwards.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Chany, Cowell, Higgins, Kennedy, Ralls, Smith, Temple, Williams (very incomplete list due to loss of records).

BIG SPRING

Big Spring Church was organized in 1825, or earlier, and united with the Illinois Association the same year, Elder Zadok Darrow and William Bridges being the messengers, who reported 17 members in fellowship. In 1827, this church was represented by Elder John Baugh and Bro. John Hart, as messengers at the Association. The church was represented as late as 1830, but no explanation was given for its absence after that date. It is probable that if the church continued at all, it was led away into error by John Mason Peck.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Bridges, Darrow, Hart, Paydon (very incomplete list due to loss of records).

NEW MOUNT ZION (NEGRO)

New Mount Zion Church, in East St. Louis, was listed as a member of the Primitive Baptist Sipsey River Association (composed mostly of churches in Alabama), in the minutes of 1973, with Elder Jimmy Wilkins as pastor and Deacon Brannon Shamery, who reported 17 members.

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