New Hope Baptist Church
By Elder W. McNutt, Pastor
The Blandinsville Baptist church is a separate and distinct organization, having a history peculiar to itself. Yet, some have thought that it is a mere continuation of the old New Hope Baptist church, which was organized near this place years ago, and which eventually became extinct. Hence it becomes necessary in order to have a true history, that the history of each church be given.
New Hope church, according to the most reliable records now available, was organized by Elder John Logan, and Deacons Thomas Matthews and Thomas Burnett, two and a half miles northeast of Blandinsville, in October, 1830, with a constituent membership of seven. The house erected was called a union house, was built mainly by Baptists and Reformers, called Campbellites. Very soon, great dissatisfaction was experienced by the Baptists, which lead to the abandonment of the union house, and they built a house south of Blandinsville one-half mile, known by the name of New Hope church. Around, and near this church building became a prominent burying ground, and since the burning of the house the place is known as the South grave yard. This pioneer church was the religious home of Elder John Logan during the last years of his pilgrimage. He died a worthy member of New Hope church January 29th, 1851, having been its pastor for more than 13 years. He also had the honor of organizing the Salem Baptist association, which held its first session with the New Hope church in 1834. This church, in its day, was a beacon light in the "Military Tract," particularly in McDonough county. It is to be regarded as a kind of mother church, as many other congregations seem to have grown out of this pioneer church. At one time his society numbered as high as 140 members. But in the slow movement of sluggish years, the house became old and somewhat dilapidated and shard an evil fate at the hands of some one who had more respect for the bible of God than for the house that contained it, and when the house had fallen to ashes, the bible was found in good shape, laying on a stump in the yard. This burning seems from the best evidences now among us to have been on the night of March 22, 1868. There has been no record kept that shows the burning, or date. The only direct evidence we have as to the time, is that a well known citizen died on the night of the burning and was buried in that graveyard next day. His tombstone says: March 22, 1868. This church, though in a depressed condition, in its latter years kept up its meetings and was represented in the association until 1868, or 1869. The minutes of 1868, is not at hand; but 1869 says, "no letter." We are informed that there was a meeting called at a private house for the purpose of giving out letters to those who wished them. This seems to have been the death struggle of New Hope church. The line of pastors so far as we have means of knowing, were: Elders John Logan, Joseph Botts, J. L. Trower, W. F. Forrest, W. Welch and J. Ray. So ends the history of New Hope church.
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 462-463. Transcribed by Karl A. Petersen