By William Fowler
From the best informationto be gained from the oldest persons connected with this organization itis as follows:
Elder John Hughs, of Ohio,on a preaching tour through Indiana and Illinois, on his way to Missouri,accompanied by Henry Johnston, passed through here and stopped with Mr.Benjamin Chadsey, the son-in-law of Henry Johnston, where they remaineda few days. Elder J. Hewes preached a few discourses in Mr. Benjamin Chadsey’slog cabin, 2 ½ miles northeast of the town of Rushville, in theyear 1829, which was the first preaching in the county by this denomination.He was a very zealous speaker and a good expounder of the Holy Scriptures.His audience was composed of a few pioneer settlers, who listened withgreat interest to the venerable man as the doctrine was promulgated byhim. The next week, Elder Hughs set out on his way to Missouri.
Mr. Henry Johnston remainedhere and bought a farm 4 miles north of Rushville, where he improved andbuilt a house, and in the fall of 1830 Barton W. Stone, of Kentucky, camehere and held a meeting in the log court house with a great interest. RobertChadsey and wife were the first to be immersed in the county that wereadded to the church. In the spring of 1831 Elder James W. Davis and JamesUrbank came from Kentucky to this place, where Elder J. W. Davis preachedevery Lords day, and getting up an interest, they began making preparationsto build a house of worship. Meanwhile they commenced a meeting in thelog court house, conducted by Elders Hewett and Boker, where they organizeda congregation in the fall of 1832, consisting of ten or fifteen members,who set apart Thomas Paydon as an elder, and Thomas P. Garrett as deaconof the first congregation in the county.
This meeting was in the fallof 1832, and continued until the weather became so cold that they movedthe meeting to the house of Alexander Campbell, on the southeast cornerof the public square, where the City Hotel now stands. In the spring of1833 the meeting was moved to a small school house near where the churchnow stands. In the fall of 1833 the first church was finished, and theyheld a meeting in it with many additions. This meeting was conducted byBarton W. Stone on his second visit to this place. They now reorganizedpermanently on the 29th day of December, A.D. 1833. This organization wascomposed of persons, with testimonials of a good moral and Christian character,who, in coming together as a congregation, had been immersed upon a professionof their faith in the Messiah as the only begotten of God; and declaredit to be their full purpose and determination to acknowledge no leaderbut Jesus Christ; no infallible teacher but the holy apostles and prophets;no articles of faith and practice but the Old and New Testaments, and toregard the latter as containing their faith and rule of behavior as Christians.Thus giving themselves to the Lord and to one another, according to thewill of God, they have agreed to walk together as one common family, underthe government of the Prince of Peace, to whom be glory, honor everlasting,Amen.
Thus this congregation beganto build up, holding their regular meeting on every Lords day, havingpreaching when some good brother would come to their help, and at othertimes social meetings, conducted by the elders. The preachers were generallyemployed by the month on account of not being able to do otherwise at thetime. Thus this congregation continued worship, and increased in numbersabout 100 or 180 members, and in 1846 or 47, they remodeled the houseinside by changing the pulpit in front between the two doors, and raisingthe seats or elevating the floor in the back part of the audience room.This was done at some considerable expense, to which some took offenseand caused the others to leave the church with them, and so the congregationwas weakened.
But there was a majorityof the congregation determined not to give up to the stubbornness of Satanand his coadjutors, and went on having preaching as usual. The congregationwas again increased by the labors of Billy Brown, who held a months meeting,and added 25 or 30 to the congregation. In 1850 a Sunday School was organizedand put in working order, and has been continued ever since, with encouragementsand discouragements, with the natural ebbs and flows which such institutionsare subject to, numbering, at times, from 20 to 125 members.
From 1850 to 1862 there was,most of the time, pastoral preaching; some intervals, however, between;William Brown one-quarter of his time that year, and in 1863 McGinnis gaveall his time to the church. In 1865 the congregation employed A. H. Rice,who preached for a year and a half, and, at the expiration of his term,employed J. B. Corwin in 1867, and then the congregation was without preachingfor five years, and when there was no preaching they continued their socialmeetings. In 1872 they employed John Lagrange who preached one year,and afterward they employed David Sharples, who ministered part of threeyears. In 1876 they employed Henry Puett. The next preacher was WilliamM. Londy–1880 and 1881. At present we have no preacher.
In 1874 this congregationput under contract the building of a new house of worship, which was finishedin February, 1875, and furnished complete, and was dedicated by PresidentThompson of Abington College, March 1st, A.D. 1875, at a cost of $5,600.Its dimensions are 40×60 feet, 24 ft. ceiling, with a capacity of seating400 persons comfortable.
The charter members of thiscongregation in 1832 were as follows: Robert Chadsey and wife, Rachel Chadsey,Henry Johnston and wife, Alexander Campbell, wife and daughter, WilliamBeverly and wife, Mary Delapp, Ira Bridge and wife, Thomas J. Garratt andwife. Preachers: James Hewes, B. W. Stone, Hewa & Baker, James W. Davis,O. S. Osborn, William Brown, Pardee Butler, William Malery OCane, D. P.Henderson, Sylvanous Bagby, William Lambert, Alexander Campbell, presidentof Bethany College, W. Va., Apison Moughan, Zibey Brown, Thos. Butler,Dawson McGinnis, A. H. Rice, John M. Sweeney, J. B. Corwin, Donan Roberts,Walling Lucass, Allen Johnston, Lagrange D. Sharples, M. D. Sharples, S.M. Connor, Tricket Puett, W. M. Londy, and others.
This place was first visitedby Beverly Curry, in 1836 or 37, the first Christian preacher, who preachedat Joseph Dennis house. He preached occasionally in the neighborhood,either in the school-house or in the dwelling-houses, first one and thenanother–Philip Mulkey, Foster, and others–up to the time they organizeda congregation, which was done in 1840, by Beverly Curry, with a membershipof 31, who, with testimonials of a good moral and Christian character,on a profession of their faith in Jesus Christ as the only begotten Sonof God, pledged themselves to God and to one another, according to thewill of God under the government of the Prince of Peace, to whom be gloryand honor everlasting, Amen.
It was then called No. 1congregation; now it is called Bader, since the railroad came here. ElderG. P. Wilson was the first pastor employed at a salary in 1873. Henry ClayLittleton was the next in 1878 and 79, in all two and a half years. Wehave had other preaching brethren interspersed along for a year or moreat a time, but not on a stipulated salary–Elder Benjamin Walton, ElderCrofford, Joseph B. Royal, Wm. Grissom, President J. C. Reynolds, HenrySmither, J. Morgan, J. Carroll Stork, N. E. Cory, James M. Tennyson. M.D. Sharples is our present pastor in 1882. We have a membership of 87;church in a flourishing condition. The church building was erected in 1876at a cost $1000; will seat 200 persons, and is insured for $900.
Seven miles north of Rushville,Bethany was organized in 1830 or 40, preaching by Elder King, and afterwardby Elder Patton, then Wm. Ross, in a school-house known as the Garrisonschool-house, where they had preaching at intervals, as they could securethe services of some worthy brother, and the cause flourished for a while.Then there arose a dissatisfaction between some of the members, and thecongregation went down, and they had no meeting for a long time.
In 1870 A. Brown, in companywith A. S. Robinson, came into the neighborhood and held a meeting in theGarrison school-house again and got up a good interest, and had some newadditions, and some of the old parties had passed away. They reorganizedin the Garrison school-house, and in the summer of 1871 they built a houseof worship about one mile south of the school-house, which will comfortablyseat 200 persons, at a cost of about $1,400 in all. The first regular pastorwas A. S. Robinson, followed by Joseph Morgan, M. D. Sharples, and G. F.Adams, after which A. Brown preached for them three years. At the presenttime M. D. Sharples is employed again for one year; his term has not yetexpired. So ends this history.
The first preaching thatwas done by the ministers of the Church of Christ was in 1840, or nearthat time, by James McHatton, and the next by D. P. Henderson. In 1859Thomas Butler held a meeting and organized a congregation of 14 members.Not being able to support a minister they held social or Lord’s Day meetings.B. Pwatt was the first added to this small group of disciples.
In the fall of 1866 ElderHenry Smither of Rushville, held a meeting that lasted for two or threeweeks, assisted by A. H. Rice, the result of which was 25 good, substantialmembers (mostly heads of families), making in all thirty-five members,which enabled them to employ a regular pastor. The first pastor was Thos.Butler, and the next employed was Dr. David Ross, then living in Plymouth,who served one year. In 1872 Dr. Thomas Dunkiser of Mt. Sterling, becamepastor, and afterward David Sharples, of Fairberry, and the next year hewas succeeded by his son, M. D. Sharples, who was associated with the churchat Camden. In 1875 Henry Puett preached one year, and his labors were attendedwith great success in adding to the church of Christ many souls. Then A.Brown, of Macomb, preached part of his time; then J. Morgan, and the nextand present pastor, M. D. Sharpless, in 1882. The congregation consistsof one hundred members.
The church was built in thesummer of 1868. The audience room is 30×40 feet, with a 16 ft. ceiling.It cost $1,800, and has a seating capacity for 200 persons.
On the 24th day of September,A. D. 1881, a terrible tornado swept through the town of Camden, completelydemolishing the church, leaving nothing but the foundation and floor. Theywent to work in the fall of 1881 and spring of 82, and rebuilt the houseat a cost of $1,000, using all the old material they could in the building,which is completed, a meeting having been held, conducted by M. D. Sharples,June 5th, A. D. 1882.
A. H. Rice was the firstto preach in our place the doctrine of the Christian Church, where he addedquite a number to the membership. In 1867 J. B. Corwin preached part ofhis time in the same church, also making some additions. Having moved intothe school house, John Lagrange, in 1870, commenced a meeting in the M.E. Church, with some assistance and they organized a congregation, andin 1871 and 72, they built a house of worship, with a seating capacityfor about 180 persons, at a cost of about $800. They have had preaching,more or less, since that time, and kept up a congregation ever since. Theregular pastors, since they have had a house of their own, have been asfollows: David Sharples, Joseph Royal, P. D. Vermillion, Elder Black, andat present M. D. Sharples. The congregation is in a flourishing condition,but few in number.
This is a very short sketchof the history of this congregation.
Source: The Combined Historyof Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, 1882
Transcribed by Carol LongwellMiller for Schuyler County ILGenWeb.
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