Camp Creek Presbyterian Church
The first services held by the Presbyterians in this locality was during the year 1832, and were held in log cabins, barns or in the open air. In 1839, measures were taken to organize a church, which met with the success the subject deserved. At the request of the members of the Macomb church, residing on Camp Creek, the Schuyler presbytery appointed the Revs. William K. Stewart and Samuel Wilson to organize the church. In pursuance of this they called a meeting, and on the 25th of May, they met at the barn of Joseph McCroskey, and the congregation organized with the following members:--Saunders W. Campbell, Cynthia Campbell, Mary Jane Campbell, John W. Walker, Catherine Walker, Jane Tilford, Jane Walker, Sarah Scott, William Scott, Walton Scott, Allen Walker, Amelia Walker, John Clark, Nancy Clark, Hugh McLary, Elizabeth McLary, Harriet McLary, William McLary, Alexander Provine, Jane Walker, George Provine, Mary Provine, Mary McCroskey, Mary Walker, Maria Walker and Samuel McKamy.
On organization, Saunders W. Campbell, John Clark and Alexander Provine were elected ruling elders. Session then met and was constituted with prayer by the Rev. James Staffort, moderator. David Watson and Jane, his wife, presented letters and applied for membership, and were enrolled among the original members of the church, as were Samuel G. and Jane Henderson. On the 10th of November, following, Alexander Provine was appointed clerk of the session.
At a meeting held in January, 1843, it was determined to invite Rev. J. M. Hoge to preach to them, which invitation he complied with, in the March following, and was then called to the pulpit, to devote one-half of his time. He was installed on the first Thursday in October, 1843. At a meeting held at the cabin of Joseph Walker, on the 12th of January, 1843, it was agreed to build a house of worship, 3Ox35 feet in size on the ground, and 12 feet high in the clear. One acre of ground was donated for a site by Joseph McCroskey. The building was to be erected by subscription, but on account of lack of money, most of the subscribers paid in labor or material. It was almost entirely built of native lumber. Basswood logs were then split and legs put into them and they were put into the house for seats. The hardware used in the construction was a donation from the two merchants of Macomb, W. W. Bailey and N. P. Tinsley. The members furnished wheat, which was taken to Rushville, by John Clark, and traded for stoves to warm the house. In this house the presbytery of Schuyler held its regular session, in 1844. In 1846, Rev. Mr. Hoge removed to Arkansas, leaving the pulpit vacant. The first Sabbath School was organized in this church in 1844, by E. Spring. On the removal of Mr. Hoge, the church was supplied by Rev. James M. Chase, and in 1847, by Rev. William K. Stewart. In January, 1848, Rev. James M. Chase was employed to supply the church three-fourths of the time, and continued to do so until November, 1851.
The congregation and membership having increased largely, in 1850 an addition 12 feet wide and 35 feet long on the west side of the building was erected. November 1, 1851, Rev. William F. Ferguson was employed as pastor. On the 27th of September, 1857, the congregation extended a call to Rev. C. Leavenworth, at a salary of $550, with a parsonage and stable on a lot containing three acres. The parsonage was then built, on his accepting. It was a neat, comfortable building containing six rooms, and had on the same lot a good stable. Mr. Leavenworth was installed pastor of the church on the 29th of October, 1857. This year the church determined to elect deacons instead of trustees, and Robert McNair, Alexander McLary and James C. Watson were the first elected. In 1859, Rev. Joseph Platt succeeded Mr. Leavenworth. During his ministry a schism arose in the church, that for a time threatened the integrity of the congregation, but was finally adjusted by a portion of the members withdrawing and forming a new congregation. In 1861, the present church edifice was built, on section 27, Scotland township, at a cost of $1,800. It is 36x48 feet in ground area. The old one was sold for $40.
It is beneath the dignity of history to descend to an account of the squabbles that will often arise in any body of people; suffice it to say, that the contest which arose in the church commenced in a dispute over the site of the proposed new church building, fomented by over zealous partisans of both factions. Some forty-two members separated from this church. After the separation, the first elders of Camp Creek church were John G. McGaughy, Alexander McMillan and Cyrus Walker. The latter gentleman was soon after chosen clerk. Rev. James G. Bliss was elected as stated supply, to succeed Mr. Platt, at a meeting held May 10, 1863, and nearly a year later, on the 3d of April, 1864, the church decided on calling that gentleman as pastor, which was accordingly done. At this time the church had in full communion some 67 members. Mr. Bliss remained in the pastoral relation with this church until May, 1866, when he was succeeded by Rev. John Giffen. Under his ministrations the church throve and grew, so that in 1868, there were 72 members in communion, although it had but 50 when he came here. He remained until October, 1869, when he was succeeded by Rev. W. H. Goodeson, who remained about one year, and was succeeded by Rev. P. W. Thompson, who entered upon his labors as stated supply, September 1, 1870. He was duly elected pastor April 2, 1871, and fulfilled that office until the fall of 1875. On the 7th of November of that year, Rev. J. G. Condit became the stated supply, and afterwards became the regular pastor. In the latter part of 1879, he removed elsewhere, and for a short time the church was without a minister; but on the 1st of December, 1880, Rev. B. Wall entered upon his duties as stated supply, and closed his labors November 18, 1883. He was succeeded by Rev. D. G. Bruce, January 13, 1884, who is the present incumbent of the pastorate.
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 433-435. Transcribed by Karl A. Petersen