MethodistEpiscopal Church History

In the foregoingchapters we have noted the fact that Methodist services were held in SchuylerCounty as early as 1823, but it was not until several years afterwardsthat an organization was effected. In August, 1826, Rev. William See, ofthe Peoria circuit, which extended a hundred miles along the east sideof the Illinois River, came to Schuyler County and a church of twenty memberswas formed. All united by letter except W. H. Taylor, who united on probationand was converted a few days afterwards, being the first convert in thecounty. Regular services were afterwards held every three weeks by thecircuit preacher, Rev. Levin Green filling the pulpit on intervening Sabbathdays.

The first quarterly meetingin the county was held in 1827 by Rev. Peter Cartwright at the home ofLevin Green. Schuyler County was at this time attached to the Atlas circuit,with William Medford as minister. In 1828 the first society was organizedin what is now the city of Rushville, the meeting being held at the homeof Richard Black. Among the early preachers may be mentioned Asa D. West,1828-30; James Bankston, 1830; Barton Randle, 1830-31; David B. Carter,1831-32; Henry Summers, 1832; Thomas N. Ralston and Peter Borein, 1833;W. H. Window, 1833-34.

In February, 1834, planswere made for a revival meeting, and Rev. W. C. Stribling, a celebrateddivine from Jacksonville, was engaged to assist. Such a religious awakeninghad never before been witnessed in Illinois Methodism and, at the closeof the conference year, 544 members were reported to Conference.

At the session of 1834 thetown of Rushville was separated from the circuit and made a station. Upto this time services had been held in the court house and in the roomover Rev. John Scripps’ store; but, with the rapidly increasing congregations,there was a demand for a church edifice and a fine brick church was erected,which at that day was the finest church building north of the IllinoisRiver. This church was completed in 1836 and that same year the IllinoisConference met in Rushville. The preachers came from Green Bay, Lake Superior,St. Peter, Minn., Prairie du Chien, Cairo and Shawneetown, and were accordeda warm welcome by the citizens of the village.

The conference sessions wereheld in the new brick church and were presided over by Bishop Morris. TheIllinois Conference then included not only our own State, but Iowa, Minnesotaand Wisconsin and there were many questions of importance to be discussed,which kept the conference in session from Wednesday, Oct. 5, to Friday,the 14th. The routine business of the conference had little interest forthe lay members, but the camp meeting held a mile north of town was largelyattended and great interest was shown.

Among the new members admittedto the conference in Rushville were a number of young men, who later playeda prominent part in the church work. Prominent among these were ChaunceyHobart, afterwards known as the Father of Methodism in Minnesota, who spentmore than fifty years in active ministerial work. Richard Haney, one ofthe best known and beloved ministers in Illinois, was admitted at thistime, as was also John P. Richmond, afterwards missionary to Oregon, andNorris Hobart and Wm. H. Taylor, who were both residents of this county.

By this time Methodism inSchuyler County was firmly established, and it has since had a steady andconstant growth as the city grew in population. In 1867 the present churchbuilding was erected.

Excerpted from HistoricalEncyclopedia of Illinois and History of Schuyler County, 1908, editedby Howard F. Dyson.
Transcribed by Karl A. Petersenfor Schuyler County ILGenWeb

Copyright 1999,2000 Robin L. W. Petersen; all rights reserved. For personal use only.Commercial use of the information contained in these pages is strictlyprohibited without prior permission. If copied, this copyright must appearwith the information.

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