Church and Family History Research Assistance
for Primitive Baptist Churches in Tazewell County

CHURCHES:

PLEASANT GROVE (TREMONT)(1832)

Pleasant Grove Church was organized at the home of a Brother Lucas, near Tremont, probably in December 1832, with (according to one source) fourteen charter members, viz., Joseph Lucas and wife, A. W. Vanmeter, William Kinsey, Elizabeth Kinsey, Margaret Wright, Sister Wright, Edith Varble, Eva Varble, Thomas Goforth and wife, Sister Broyhill, Sister Briggs, and Peter P. Lucas. Elders Michael Mann and Charles Harper probably composed the presbytery which in organized this church.

On Saturday before the second Sunday in September 1833, Pleasant Grove Church requested admission to the Sangamon Association, and was received. The messengers, Thomas Goforth, Brother [Ezra] Fisher, and Joseph Lucas, reported 38 members in fellowship, of whom ten had been baptized, and sixteen received by letter since the church was constituted. In 1835, the church reported 54 members, of whom 5 had been received by baptism and 14 by letter.

Elder Michael Mann served the church as pastor at first, traveling fifty miles (at night) on horseback, each month, for two years. Elder Thomas Brown came to Tremont from New York, in 1835, and served the church as pastor for a short time. Elder William Bocock also served the church for a short time. Elder Brown and sixteen others, including the clerk and two deacons, were excluded, in 1836, for advocating the modern mission system, when a majority of the church (including almost all of the original members) opposed it. The records were turned over to the majority of the church, which reported 29 members in their letter to the Sangamon Association the following year. The missionary party declined, and finally reorganized in 1842 with 12 members.

The mission system was introduced in this part of Illinois by the appointment of "missionaries" sent and sponsored by the Home Missionary Society of Massachusetts, against which the Sangamon Association had declared non-fellowship as an unscriptural institution, in 1823, and again, in 1837.

Pleasant Grove Church hosted the Sangamon Association in September 1836. In 1850, however, Pleasant Grove Church was dismissed from the Sangamon Association to become a charter member of the Sandy Creek Association, of which it thereafter remained a member, being represented by letter and messengers as late as 1865.

Pastors who served Pleasant Grove Church after Elder Michael Mann, probably included Elders Hiram Bowman, William Bocock, Robert F. Haynes, and James B. Chenowith. Elder Robert F. Haynes was ordained at Middle Creek Church, in Hancock County, in May 1844, and immediately obtained a letter of dismission, moved to the Tremont area, and joined Pleasant Grove church. It appears that Elder James B. Chenowith, of Tiskilwa, also served the church for many years, until his death in 1866.

In 1858, the church had 18 members, and was still meeting in Tazewell County, about six miles southwest of Peoria, with occasional preaching by Elder James B. Chenowith. In 1865, the church had 16 members.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Bobbitt, Bocock, Boling, Briggs, Brooks, Brown, Broyhill, Davis, Fisher, Gillum, Goforth, Harris, Haynes, Hinsey, Jones, Kinsey, Lakes, Lantz, Lewis, Lucas, Mondon, Motten, Roberts, Vanmeter, Varble, Wright (very incomplete list due to loss of records).


ADDITIONAL REFERENCE MATERIAL IN THE PRIMITIVE BAPTIST LIBRARY:

Minutes of the Sangamon and Sandy Creek Associations; obituaries of members in the Signs of the Times.

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