Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Argyle
This church was organized January 19, 1834, by Rev. C. P. Jewel. The organization took place at the residence of John McCord in the southwestern part of Emmet township. The first ruling elders were John McCord and E. Durant. Wm. McCord was appointed clerk of the session. The ministers who first supplied this congregation with preaching were men who were willing to make sacrifice for the cause of Christ, often traveling many miles from different parts of the state to reach their places of preaching.
Until recently this congregation was known as Bersheba but it is now changed on the prebyterial record to that of Argyle. The first camp meeting was held near the place where the church was organized, in the year 1838, and was conducted by Rev. Peter Downey, Cyrus Haynes, John Crawford and William McKamy. The church held its meetings at the place of organization until the year 1854, when it was transferred to Argyle, its present location, in the southeastern part of Hire township. The church edifice which was erected in 1853, was held for several years jointly by the Cumberland Presbyterians and Baptist's, but now belongs to the former. G. W. Welch, one of the early settlers of Illinois, did more than any one else for the construction of this house of worship. Knowing well the value of religious influences in a community, he gave of his means liberally for the building fund, and also for the support of the Gospel. He was one of the ruling elders and held this office until his death. He also superintended the first Sabbath school, organized in the spring of 1855, at Argyle, in the new church. James C. Bowles, who came from the state of Tennessee, and located near the church was the second superintendent of the Argyle Sabbath school. He held this position for a number of years and was an efficient worker both in the Sabbath school and church.
Among the numerous ministers who have labored at this place we mention here the names of T. K. Roach, Rev. Carter, J. W. Cleaver, John Crawford, J. L. Crawford, Milo Hobart, Frederick Naunce. Rev. J. W. Stapp was pastor of the church most of the time for 20 years and was instrumental in doing great good. He was very successful in revival work, and also in pastorial work. Many were converted under his ministry at Argyle and at various other points in Rushville presbytery. His life and work will live on to the end of time and his name will long be remembered by those who knew him, to be a true servant of the Lord.
Rev. David Hogan took charge of the congregation March 1, 1875, and remained for four years in which time the parsonage was built. C. P. Duvall had the pastorate of this congregation in 1883. Rev. J. L. Riley was the last minister who had charge of this congregation; he began preaching in November, 1883, and continued until January, 1885. The present ruling elders of the church are Allen Murray, A. T. McCord, John W. Russell and Scott Rodgers; deacons, E. A. Welch and Albert Welch. Just east of the church edifice the cemetery is located where many loved ones are quietly resting in the silent city waiting the resurrection, at the last day. The old time honored church house is growing older still and needs to be replaced with a new building, which we believe will be erected at no distant day. Many precious memories of the past are linked in with the history of old Argyle. The pure doctrines of the gospel have been extensively preached here and a wave of influence has been set in motion that is destined to go on through all time.
Rev. McKamy is the only one of the old preachers now living. He lives in Industry township.
Rev. J. T. Murray, of this church, was born in Marion county, Kentucky, on the 29th day of April, 1847, and when but one year of age, came to Illinois with his father. He was educated in the rudimental branches in the district schools, and labored on the farm until 1867, when he entered Lincoln university, Logan county, Illinois. In the spring of 1868, he returned to the farm, where he stayed until in October, of the same year, when he began teaching school. The school where he played the pedagogue for the first time was in Tennessee township. In February, 1869, he made a trip through Kansas and Missouri, returning to his home in March, about a week previous to the death of his brother, W. D. In the fall of 1869, he entered the Normal school, at Macomb. In the spring following, he resumed his labors on a farm and in the school room, being engaged in agricultural pursuits in the summer, andin the winter teaching school. He entered the ministry, joining the presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian church, of Rushville, in August, 1877, and was licensed by that body in February, 1881, to preach the gospel. He took charge of the Point Pleasant congregation, Warren county, March 1, 1880, and continued preaching there for four years. He is now engaged in the missionary work, a branch of church work, which he entered upon in the spring of 1884. Mr. Murray has enjoyed considerable literary reputation, having, in 1876, written the "Voyage of Life," in four parts, viz: Childhood, Youth, Manhood and Old Age. He has also written and published in the various county papers, several meritorious poems, among which are those entitled, "Life on the Farm," "The Pilgrim Fathers," "The Bright Side of Farm Life," and "The Messenger Bird." "Meditations in the Graveyard," and the "Home of Love," were contributions of his two religious journals.
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 443-444. Transcribed by Karl A. Petersen