Blandinsville Baptist Church
By reference to the minutes of Salem Baptist association for 1870, we get sight at the organization.
"Rev. S. Pickard, during the month of June, came among us and held a series of meetings which resulted in our organization. By the blessing of the Great Head of the church, saints were revived and sinners made to bow.
"We were organized as the Baptist church of Blandinsville, on the 24th of June, 1870, by Elders S. Pickard and W. Hobbs, and publicly recognized as the Baptist church of Blandinsville, by a regular council called for that purpose. We now ask admission in your body as a member of the same. We have commenced the erection of a house of worship, which we expect to complete before winter.
"Have preaching every alternate Thursday evening by Elder J. J. W. Place, and occasionally by Elder N. Parks, of Raritan, on Sunday."
The constituent members who went into the organization of the Blandinsville church were: Harriet Harmon, Mary A. Ward, Helen Gruber, Eliza Faigley, Edith Porter, Jane Ray, Paulina Logan, Eleseph Ray, James C. Faigley, Matilda Seybold, Isaac H. Bozarth and Henry Harmon.
The recognizing council met the first Thursday in August, 1870. The churches represented were: Sciota, Elm Grove, Bushnell, Independence, Hillsborough, Raritan, and St Mary's. Was organized by electing Elder J. G. Ward, moderator, and E. Rogers, clerk. During the first year the membership increased to 34. The house was located on Maple street, on the east end of town; but was not finished as anticipated in the report to association in 1870. It was then thought that the house would be finished by the coming winter, but the association minutes of 1871, show some reverses that retarded the work. "Our church building which was in course of erection, and upon which we had expended some $1,200, was blown down by the severe storms of last spring." Consequently, the house did not reach its completion until 1872. That year the Salem Baptist association met with the Blandinsville church, September 14, 15, 16, 1872. At which time we get the following: "Blandinsville--We welcome the delegates and visiting brethren to our house of worship, and to our homes, etc. Have succeeded in completing our house of worship; have paid on it $2,256, leaving a balance of $850, yet due." Elder J. M. Harrington, then of Kentucky, had been written to, to be present at this association and dedicate the new church house. He complied with the request. Held a series of revival meetings in which the church was greatly strengthened and dedicated the house free from debt. At this time Elder Wm. Hobbs was pastor, preaching once a month for the church. The house was of good size, frame, without any gaudiness in appearance, or style.
The grounds, house and church property, has been estimated at $4,000, without including its recent improvements.
The line of pastors, as the record shows is as follows: Elder J. H. Delano was called to the care of the church in March, 1871, and served but a short time, as it appears that Elder Hobbs became his successor, February, 1872. After which, Elder Delano was recalled in 1873, and resigned in 1876. After this resignation, Rev. G. E. Eldridge served for a while. Eldridge was followed by Elder J. Wood Saunders, who came to the pastorate, August, 1877, and resigned July, of the year following. Next was Elder T. W. Jones, who served but a short time and resigned. Elder S. J. McCormick was successor to Jones, and resigned in November, 1881. Elder W. McNutt, then of Indiana, was called to the church in December, 1881, for one year, to serve Blandinsville and Hillsborough churches for a salary of $1,000. At the expiration of the year, the call was made for time indefinite, for the Blandinsville church, each party having the right, upon three months notice, to sever the relation of pastor and church. During the last year, 1884, the church has had many improvements made, both inside and out, until it now compares favorably with any in this part of the state. Among the improvements may be mentioned the additional building of ample dressing rooms and baptistry, all beautifully constructed, with a vestibule in front, having appropriate doors of entrance. The outside of the house is deeply painted in stone color, while the inside is finely papered after the most approved style of church work. These improvements cost about $800.
The present membership is about 135. As a class of citizens, the Baptists of Blandinsville will not suffer in contrast with any other people, in point of wealth or intelligence. The church is in sympathy with all of their great denominational interests, schools, colleges, missions, etc. The officers are: W. H. Grigsby, S. J. Grigsby, H. K. Prather and James N. Pennington, deacons; J. V. M. Hardesty, A. Pennington and 0. P. Pennington, trustees; James R. Ward, church clerk; and W. H. Grigsby, church treasurer.
On the 3d of January, 1885, Elder McNutt offered his resignation as pastor, to take effect the last of March following.
Preaching is held every Sunday, morning and evening; covenant meeting Saturday before first Sundays, at 2 p. m.; prayer meetings every Thursday night, and Sabbath school every Sunday morning.
Elder Wm. McNutt was born in the eastern division of the state of Tennessee, March 19, 1823. He professed faith in Christ Jesus, August 22, 1847, and was baptized by Elder W. F. Forrest, then of McMinn county, Tennessee, but whose mortal remains now rest in the city cemetery at Macomb. Mr. McNutt was baptized into the fellowship of New Friendship Baptist church, in Bradley county, Tennessee. He was licensed to preach the gospel of Christ by the New Friendship Baptist church, on the 6th of April, 1850, and ordained on the 3d of August following, by order of New Friendship Baptist church, under the hands of Elders Isaac Chrisman, James Scarbury and J. H. Cawood, who constituted the presbytery. He was married to Mary A. Gatewood, of Polk county, Tennessee, March 17, 1853. He removed to Indiana in August, 1864, and from that state to Blandinsville, McDonough county, in April, 1882. He is still a resident there, and the pastor of the Baptist church.
Elder John Logan was born in Rockbridge county, Virginia, February 14, 1793. His father, Samuel Logan, was a native of Ireland, who emigrated to this country when about 20 years of age, and was married about the year 1789 to Ann Wylie. A short time after the birth of John, his parents removed to Garrett county, Kentucky, making the journey with two pack horses, on which all their worldly goods were borne. He was a self-made man in every sense of the word. On account of the extreme poverty of his parents, he only obtained such education as the common schools of that early day afforded, but he had a thirst for knowledge, and read with avidity every book he could get, thus storing his mind with information that was of service to him in after years in the proclamation of the gospel. On the 28th of November, 1816, he was married to Nancy Newell, in Simpson county, Kentucky, and at once removed to Sumner county, Tennessee, where he lived for five years. It was here, under the preaching of Elder Lee Allen, that he was converted to Christ, and where he and his estimable wife were buried in baptism on the 3d day of October, 1819, and on the first Sunday in November of the same year they united with the New Hope Baptist church, in Simpson county, Kentucky. From the time of his conversion he began the proclamation of the gospel. In October, 1823, he removed to Dubois county, Indiana, where he remained for four years. When he first settled here he thought to engage no more in the preaching of the gospel, imagining his labors were fruitless. He had been in the neighborhood but a short time when he attended a religious service at the house of a neighbor, when the following dialogue occurred: "John, did you ever preach?" "I don't know." "Did you ever try?" He had to admit that he had. "Why, don't you know the Lord will kill you if you don't do His work? Now, we must have preaching, and you must do it." A load was lifted from his mind, and never after that did he fail to preach as an opportunity offered.
He was regularly ordained by Elders Graham, Charles Harper and David Hornaday, and in the spring of 1828 moved to this county, and settled near the present town of Industry, living one season in the old block house, of which mention is made elsewhere in these records. The block house at this time was the property of William Carter, who learning Elder Logan was coming to the neighborhood to live, was watching for him, and when he made his appearance with the two-horse team, with his family and entire household goods packed therein, he was hailed by Mr. Carter, who asked him where he was going to live. He replied that he had arranged with a family in the neighborhood to occupy a part of their house. Mr. Carter then said: "Now, see here, Mr. Logan, I have lived long enough in this world to know that no house is large enough for two women. There is that old block house over there, if that will suit, you can take it and use it as long as you like, and it shan't cost you a cent." The offer was thankfully received, and the place was soon made ready for the use of the family. Here they lived until fall, when they moved into a more comfortable house, where they remained until the following year, when another move was made to Schuyler county which place was made their home until he fall of 1835, when they again returned to McDonough, this time settling near the present town of Blandinsville, and where they lived until the day of Mr. Logan's death. While living in the old block house he preached in the neighborhood, and organized the first Sunday school ever held in the county. As a preacher, Elder Logan was energetic and earnest in the extreme--an off-hand speaker, never writing his sermons, and seldom using notes. His whole heart was in his Master's work, and he labored earnestly and zealously in the field in which he was called upon to occupy. In the spring of 1832 he received the appointment of missionary from the Home Missionary society of Boston, Massachusetts. For this he was excluded from the Spoon River association in the September following. Previous to this he was what is known as a Regular Baptist, a branch of the Baptist family opposed to missionary societies and salaried preachers, but which, we believe, up to this time had never made the same a test of fellowship. His exclusion from the association did not cause him to lose interest in the work, but rather made him the more zealous, and we find him preaching everywhere in the region known as Military Tract, the unsearchable riches of God, and his work seems to have been specially blessed to the salvation of many. As a citizen he was eminently a man of peace; a christian father and husband, ever teaching his children that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. While living in Schuyler county he was elected justice of the peace, but held the office but a short time, believing it incompatible with his duties as a minister of Christ. The result of his union with Nancy Newell was the birth of 13 children, eight of whom are now living.
Source: The History of McDonough County, together with sketches of the towns, villages and townships, educational, civil, military and political history; portraits of prominent individuals, and biographies of the representative citizens, 1885, pages 463-467. Transcribed by Karl A. Petersen