Christian Church at Macomb
The first discourse ever delivered by a Disciple in Macomb, was by Elder Livy Hatachitt, at the house of David Clarke, in the year 1835. Elder H. came to Macomb and endeavored to get the use of some public building, but was refused on account of his supposed heterodoxy. Mr. Clarke, who had read much of the writings of Alexander Campbell, and who subscribed generally to his views, offered his house, which was accepted. No special results followed the preaching, but it was supposed the "good seed" was sown, which brought forth fruit in after years.
By 1845 quite a number of Disciples had gathered in the neighborhood of Macomb, and they resolved to organize, if possible. They sent for Elder Davenport, of Walnut Grove, now Eureka, Illinois, who, not being able to come, sent A. J. Kane, now a resident of Springfield, but then a young evangelist. Elder Kane came, and securing the court house, preached with such force and power as to turn 29 souls to the Lord. Dr. Young organized the congregation September 16, 1845, with 17 members, which, adding to the 29 obtained under Elder Kane's preaching, made a band of 46 earnest disciples.
The following are the names of the original 17 members: Benjamin F. Martin, William H. Franklin, James S. Palmer, James Clarke, William B. Pile, Hannah B. Pile, William Maxwell, Lucy Maxwell, Elizabeth G. Palmer, George Booth, Isabella Booth, Lucy Beard, Margaret Broaddus, Emily J. Sweeney, Sarah Bacon, Rachel Hampton, Maria J. Franklin. The following officers were chosen: B. F. Martin and W. H. Franklin, elders; James S. Palmer and James Clarke, deacons.
No regular preaching was had for some months, but the congregation met regularly upon the Lord's day to break bread. In 1845, a church building was erected, on Carroll street, east of Lafayette, which was in use until in 1877, when they erected the present house of worship, on West Jackson street This edifice is 38x78 feet in ground area, and was built at an expense of $4,400, including the price of the lot. The following named have served as pastors of the congregation: Elders Livy Hatchett, W. W. Hopkins, W. P. Shockey, W. 0. Miller, Samuel Lowe, J. C. Reynolds (about 11 years), J. H. Garrison; P. K. Dibble, J. H. Smart and G. W. Mapes. Several successful revivals have been enjoyed by the church under the preaching of such men as A. J. Kane, William Brown, Ziba Brown, William J. Houston, Dr. Hopkinson, John S. Sweeney, Samuel Lowe, J. C. Reynolds, Dr. Dunkeson, D. R. Lucas, P. K. Dibble and J. H. Smart. Since the organization nearly 1,000 persons have united with this church, and the present membership is about 200. A Sabbath school has been kept up by this congregation for at least 35 years, and is well attended.
Christian Church, Colchester
The denomination of protestants known by the name of Christian, have a church and congregation at Colchester. This was organized during the month of March, 1867, with the following original members: David Blazer and wife; Daniel McKinley and wife; James Hood and wife; Mrs. Samuel Parks and one or two others. About the first of the next month following its inception, a revival was held under the charge of the first minister, Rev. C Ades, who was assisted by J. C. Reynolds. This meeting was held for six weeks, and a great awakening occurred, and 117 members were added to the new church. This placed the church on a firm footing. The first officers were S. Stevens, Daniel McKinley, M. Stookey, John Patrick and David Blazer, elders; James Dickinson and Thomas Honn, deacons; S. Stevens, M. Stookey, J. Patrick, James Dickinson and D. McKinley, trustees. The church edifice, which is a neat, substantial frame structure, was erected in 1868. It is 36x56 feet upon the ground and cost some $3,400 to build. The present membership of the church is about fifty. S. D. Mills and William Morrison are the present elders; John H. Stevens and Adam Taylor, deacons; J. H. Stevens is the clerk, and Mrs. A. J. Stevens, treasurer. The present minister is Rev. J. S. Gash. A Sabbath school is held in connection with the church, over which S. D. Mills presides as superintendent.
Blandinsville Christian Church
We are indebted to M. P. Hayden, the present pastor of this church, for the following account of the congregation under his care:
This is the oldest church of this denomination in the county. It was formerly known as Liberty church, the place of meeting being two miles north of town. It was organized in 1832. In 1849, it was decided to change the place of worship to Blandinsville. A new meeting house was built in the town, which was finished in 1852. Since that time, the church has experienced various fortunes, sometimes enjoying prosperity, sometimes enduring adversity. During the war, the church was somewhat divided, and feelings of animosity engendered on account of disturbances and political strifes incident to that period. The following persons have served as pastors of the church: James K. Knox, Uriah Long, A. J. Kane, James D. Eads, John Rigdon, J. M. Dodge, James R. Ross, Dr. Bacon, Cornelius Ades, Patrick Murphy, Bedford Murphy, J. M. Martin, Robert Lieurance, J. H. Coffee, S. K. Hallam, H. R. Trickett, J. F. Leek, T. H. Goodnight and G. F. Adams. Through the labors of G. F. Adams, who was pastor of the church from December, 1879, to June, 1884, the church was greatly strengthened in numbers and influence, so that the membership, at one time, was over four hundred. This number, however, has been diminished by deaths, removals and other causes, until its present membership is about three hundred and fifty.
In 1881, a new house of worship was erected. It is an attractive wooden edifice, worth about $5,000. It is neat and commodious, and complete in all its arrangements. M. P. Hayden, the present pastor of the church, began his labors in October, 1884, and is an able disciple of the Master. The church has a live, successful Sunday school, with T. H. Williams as its efficient superintendent. The meetings of the church are well attended, and the church, in all its departments of work, is in a healthy, prosperous condition. The present officers of the church are as follows: Elders, M. P. Hayden, William Campbell, Preston Huston, James P. Hitch; deacons, W. P. Welch, Byers Hensley, George Russell, Frank Fuhr; trustees, Howard Campbell, E. G. Griffin, Byers Hensley, George Russell and James P. Hitch.
Mound Christian Church, Mound Township
This church was organized in 1857, by Elder J. B. Royal, with the following original members: Nelson and Elizabeth McManamie, Samuel and Sophia Henry, Emeline Harris, Daniel W. and Ann Wilson, Henrietta Thomas, Narcisses Langsford, Daniel Boughman, Jonathan Yocum, Thomas Simmons, James H. Langsford, Burton Wilson and wife, Ann Wilson, B. B. Wilson, Elizabeth Wilson, Lucinda Simmons, Joseph W. and Mary S. James, William Simmons, Thomas and Elizabeth McKenzie, Mary Honeycutt, Diana Jones, Charlotta James, Jerusha Pumphrey, George Walters, Elmira Harris, Simpson Merrill. Jonathan Slocum, Simpson Merrill and Samuel Henry were chosen as elders. Nelson McManamie was the first deacon, and Samuel Henry was the first clerk. Meetings were held regularly in school houses until 1864, when the present church structure was completed. It is located on section 14, and was built at a cost of $2,000. It is a good frame building, 3Ox45 feet in size. At one time the membership numbered 100, but many have since moved away. The succession of pastors since the organization, have been J. B. Royal, Elder Smart, David Thompson, Thomas Duncanson, Alpheus Brown, H. C. Littleton, J. B. Royal, H. C. Littleton and Thomas Weaver. This latter gentleman completed his labors with the church in 1881, since which time the society has been without a regular pastor, although services are still held occasionally.
New Salem Christian Church
The congregation known by the above name, was organized, April 8, 1859, by Rev. J. B. Royal, of Vermont, Fulton county, in what was known as the Wetsel school house, with the following list of members: William A. Griffin, Francis Epperson, James D. Swartz, Daniel Wilson, Hugh Chapman, William Kelley, Jane Kerr, Julia Ann Chapman, Sarah Swearingen, Almira Hays, Josiah Herlocker, Margaret Herlocker, Mary J. Griffin, George Kerr, Caleb Hipsley, America McVey, and Jane Chapman. Francis Epperson, W. A. Griffin, and Daniel Wilson, were appointed elders. For some years previous to this, however, services were held in the school house by these same people, but no organization was formed until the above date. The following is the covenant of organization entered into: "We, the undersigned, disciples of Christ, in obedience to the Great Head of the church, do now solemnly and joyfully agree with each other, to walk together in the Lord with brotherly love, as a church of Christ, and do also take the bible as our rule of faith and practice. Done in Wetsel school house, in New Salem township, April 8, 1859." A fine church edifice was erected by this congregation in the fall of 1867, on the northwest quarter of section 34, at a cost of $2,200. It is a well built structure, 32x45 feet in size, and well finished inside and out. For the first nine years of its existence, Rev. Joseph B. Royal labored in this vineyard, and was succeeded by John Reynolds, and others. Rev. Alexander Johnson dedicated the church building, December, 1867, and preached here for about one year. He was followed by Rev. Henry Smither, A. P. Aten, and others. The committee on building the church were W. A. Griffin, W. B. Swango, William Hodgen, and William Beckwith. The elders, were W. A. Griffin and Samuel Frost. In 1871, these resigned, and Stewart Piles and W. B. Swango, were appointed in their place, but the latter refused to serve, and in 1881, Mr. Piles emigrating to Kansas, the office of elder has been discharged by Richard Pennington, alone. The church has a present membership of about 35, and is in a good, healthy condition.
Bedford Christian Church, Blandinsville Township
This congregation was organized, April 7, 1850, by Elder Milton Dodge, with the following members: Richard Brightwell, Eliza Brightwell, Elizabeth Brightwell, Charles Bradshaw, John Gibson, Elizabeth Johnson, Benjamin Moore, Margaret Moore, Robert McCaully, Margaret McCaully, Noble Ousley, Naoma Ousley, William and Grace Pennington, McKamy Ruddle, Rachel Spikers, Peter Shelly, William and Silva Arnold, James and Margaret Cyrus, Elizabeth Duncan, Margaret Emerson, Walter Huston, Sr., Walter Huston, Jr., James and Harriet Hamilton, Joel B. and Catharine Huston, Waney Huston, Sr., Waney Huston, Jr., Zelpha Huston, David Shelley, Elizabeth Shelley, Eliza Spiker, Horatus and Eliza Weston.
The following persons have served as pastors: Elders Dodge, Patrick Murphy, Bedford Murphy, Reynolds, Kern, Ades, Ross, Lieurance, Coffee, Lucy, Fisher, Wallace, Huston, Goodnight, James McGuire.
The church building is located upon the northeast quarter of section 5, Blandinsville township, and is valued at $1,500. The parsonage is valued at $1,200. Salary of pastor, $800. Present membership about 200, the annual contribution being about $1,200. The average attendance in Sunday school is about 100, with an annual collection of about $90, and much genuine interest is displayed.
Sciota Christian Church
The church structure of this congregation was erected in 1869, before the organization of the church. It is a good frame building, 32x46 feet, and cost $2,250. William H. Franklin was the prime mover in this work. The building committee consisted of W. H. Franklin, John Dew, and J. M. Russell. Before the building of the church, meetings were held in a shed, built for the purpose, on ground near the church. Here Elders, J. C. Reynolds and Coffee held a meeting, the first of this denomination in the town. Elder J. B. Royal preached the first sermon in the church, while Elder J. H. Garrison delivered the dedicatory sermon. Elder S. K. Hallam was the first pastor, J. H. Seaton, the second. The first elders were Larkin Osborn and William Smith; deacon, Silas Woodside. The congregation, which had run down considerably, was reorganized, January 27, 1876, with seven members, and at present, is in good running order, with a fair membership.
New Bradford Christian Church, Walnut Grove Township
The church edifice stands on the northwest corner of section 7, and was erected in 1876, at a cost of $2,500. The size is 32x56 feet. It is one of the neatest country churches in the county, and an honor to any community. The society was organized by Elder J. H. Breeden, with 14 members, in November, 1871. John Huston and J. H. Painter have also acted as pastors since the organization, and have done excellent work in this community and congregation.
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 476-480. Transcribed by Karl A. Petersen