History of the Spoon River
Regular Baptist Association of Illinois

The Spoon River Association was formed by churches dismissed for that purpose from the Sangamon Association in 1830. (The Sangamon Association had grown to 39 churches, and it was deemed advisable to divide into five associations at that time.) It is believed that the constitution of the Spoon River Association took place on the third weekend in September 1831, when messengers from seven churches convened with Crane Creek Church near Rushville, in Schuyler County.

The seven churches in 1831 were Crane Creek, Salem, Copperas Creek, Henderson, Mt. Pleasant, Bethel, and Crooked Creek. In 1832 this association passed a resolution against missionary innovations.

In 1832 and 1833 the Spoon River Association dealt firmly with those in her body who favored the mission system. Those who were excluded became the nucleus for the Salem Missionary Baptist Association.

By 1835 the Spoon River Association had increased to 19 churches and 546 members, and several churches were dismissed to organize, for convenience, the Salem Regular Baptist Association. The 19 churches were: Crane Creek, Bethel, Salem, Union, Crooked Creek, Copperas Creek, Henderson, Middle Creek, Mt. Pleasant, New Providence, New Salem, Mill Creek, New Bethel, North Fork, New Salem, Little Flock, New Providence, New Harmony, and Bear Creek. The last ten of these were dismissed to organize the Salem Regular Baptist Association.

Ministers of the Spoon River Association, at first, included Elders Stephen Strickland, John Howard, Amaziah Howard, John Foster, John Goforth, William Bradley, John Holcomb, Squire Willcoxen, Micajah B. Rowland, Samuel Dark, John Logan, Joseph Jones, and Charles Vandeveer.

Resolution Passed by the Spoon River Association in 1832


Spoon River Association Table for 1831, 
from I. M. Allen's Register of the Baptist Denomination, 1833.

Bethel                S. Strickland                    51
Crane Creek           J. Logan                         48
Crooked Creek                                          26 
Salem                                                  20
Henderson                                              20
Copperas Creek                                         20
Mt. Pleasant          John Foster                      16


Note: The Minutes of 1834 have been found (they were preserved as 
part of the papers of Elder David Chenault of Kentucky). The Spoon
River statistical table for 1834 is as follows:

Bethel                Lic. John Holcom                 66
Crane Creek                                            41 
Crooked Creek                                          31
Salem                 John Goforth, Squire Wilcoxson   25  
Henderson                                              40
Copperas Creek                                         26
Mt. Pleasant                                           13 
Union                                                  27 
Middle Creek          William Bradley, Micajah B.
                       Rowland, Thomas H. Owen         44
New Providence                                         34 
Mill Creek            William Roberts                  48
New Bethel                                             22
North Fork McKees Cr  Elijah Bell                      13
New Providence        Henry C. Davis                   23
New Salem, Pike Co                                      9
New Salem, Adams Co                                    16

Total                                                 481 

59 baptisms during the year. 


Spoon River Association Table for 1835,
from I. M. Allen's Register of the Baptist Denomination, 1836.

Bethel                                                 61
Crane Creek                                            38
Crooked Creek                                          34
Salem                John Goforth                      32
Henderson                                              38 
Copperas Creek                                         28
Mt. Pleasant                                           14
Union                Lic. S. Dark                      36 
Middle Creek         T. H. Owens, M. B. Rowland        51 
New Providence                                         21
Mill Creek           William Roberts                   50
New Bethel                                             27 
North Fork           Elijah Bell                       15
New Providence       J. G. Williams                    22 
New Salem            Lic. B. Alsbury                   26
New Salem                                              26
Little Flock                                           13
New Harmony                                             7
Bear Creek                                              7

Total                                                 546
45 baptisms during the year.


I. M. Allen's Register of the Baptist Denomination, for 1835, 
gives the following statistics for Illinois: 

 Name        # of Members                Name      # of Members

Apple Creek          395              Blue River           221
Bethel               352              Clear Creek          185
Illinois             225              Edwardsville         210
Kaskaskia            275              Northern             120
Little Wabash        460              North District       518
Morgan               294              Salem                217
Muddy River          260              Saline               170
Okaw                 236              South District       663
Sangamon             511              Independent
Salem                286                churches           122
Spoon River          546
Vermilion            233
Wabash District      446
Independent churches 223

Totals             4,742              Totals             2,426

In 1832, after the Spoon River Association declared non-fellowship for the modern mission system, the members who followed Elder John Logan (who had accepted an appointment as a hired missionary) were excluded, and they then organized missionary Baptist churches, which formed the Salem United (Missionary) Baptist Association in 1833. A first-hand detailed account of this trouble (including certificates from the churches involved which were written at the time) is available upon request, in pamphlet form. The Salem Regular Baptist Association was organized in 1835 by churches dismissed in regular order from the Spoon River Association for that purpose.

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