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Prairie City Presbyterian Church

This society was organized at the house of George Kreider, on the 19th of September, 1841, by a committee appointed by the Peoria presbytery, consisting of Rev. William J. Frazier and Elder Parnack Owen.

The first members were: George Kreider, Barbara Kreider, Celinda Woods, Jane Jackson, Phebe Woods, James Reed, Samuel Mourning, Thomas Boyd, Mary Moore, Sophronia Schofield and Catherine Mourning.

The first officers were: George Kreider, elder; Samuel Mourning, deacon. Meetings were generally held at the barn of George Kreider in those days. When the school house was built at Virgil, services were held there, and so continued until Prairie City was laid out. At that time they had lumber and material on the ground at Virgil for a church. This was all removed to Prairie City, and the structure erected there, changing the name to Prairie City church. The building cost about $3,000. The regular pastors from the organization to the present time have been: Preston W. Thompson, commenced in 1854; John S. Robertson, in 1868; John D. Howey, in 1871; Clark Salmon, in 1877; Wm. L Boyd, in June, 1880. In November, 1884, Rev. H. Magill took pastoral charge of the congregation, and has continued to the present time.

The present officers of the church are: M. K Sweeney, Chas. H. Kellough and James H. Wilson, elders; John E. Dunham, deacon The trustees are: W. Kreider, Thomas Laird and Chas. H. Kellough. The present membership of the church is about 105, and the society is in a highly flourishing condition.

There is a Sabbath school in connection with the church, with over a hundred attending members. It was organized in 1856, and was for a time a union school, of the Congregational and Presbyterian societies, held at the church of the latter. After a few years, the Congregationalists withdrew, and it has since been conducted solely by the Presbyterians. The first superintendent of the union school was J. M. Chapman. After the Congregationalists withdrew, J. H. Wilson became the superintendent. He has continued in that capacity, with the exception of one year, up to the present time, and is the present superintendent. There are nine classes in the Sabbath School, with the following teachers: Rev. Magill, Mrs. A. E. Bates, Mrs. S. E. Dunham, Mrs. S. A. Morrow, Mrs. A. E. Forsman, Mrs. M. S. Marshall, Julia E. Wilson, Mary C. Evert and Jessie Forsman.

The church has an organ, purchased at a cost of $140. Mrs. M. S. Marshall is the organist of the church, and Sadie Wilson of the Sabbath school.

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 439-440. Transcribed by Karl A. Petersen

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