Marion County

Churches

Alma.

Organized 1867, by John Ross; present membership, 50; value of property, $2,500; Bible school began 1867; present enrollment, 83.

There were fifteen charter members. The church grew steadily for a time. It, like many others, came under the reactionary spirit of the early seventies, by which the numerical growth and spirituality were crippled for years.

Cartter.

Organized 1866, by W. C. Hill; present membership, 35; value of property, $2,400; Bible school began 1866; present enrollment, 36.

The Cartter Church is the outgrowth of the Harvey's Point congregation. In 1808, Captain Harvey and his companion overtook two horse-thieves on the road leading from Salem to Old Foxville, and captured them. In order to get some water, Captain Harvey left his companion in charge of the outlaws. But he left his gun, and when he returned one of the thieves fired upon the captain and killed him. So in his honor the place was named Harvey's Point. This church, in the early years of its life, built a large frame house on the spot where Harvey died. Mins. William C. Hill, J. M. Mulkey and James Snow did much for the church in its earlier years.

G. W. Stevenson came from this congregation to the ministry.

The church grew feeble by removals, so in September, 1911, it was reorganized by Min. J. F. Rosboro in Cartter, the near-by railway town.

Centralia.

Organized 1856, by John A. Williams; present membership, 675; value of property, $35,000; Bible-school enrollment, 835.

This church was formed at Central City. It soon became apparent that the center of business would be moved to Centralia, and hence the church was transferred to that place. The eight charter members were the following: Jacob, Harriet and Simpson Frazier; Daniel Meyers, James and Jane McCarthy, Margeret Whitton and Louisa Hawkins. A lot was bought and a commodious frame building erected thereon. In 1866 this building was burned. Thereafter, for several years, the meetings were held in rented halls. As a consequence, the church continued to become weaker and weaker. In 1872 another frame chapel, costing $2,400, was erected. This gave place in 1909 to a new, modern and beautiful edifice, costing $32,000. This was during the pastorate of J. F. Rosboro.

During the Civil War and for years following, the church sustained serious injury from the bitter political feeling that then existed. The church is alive to all good works.

Donahue Prairie (Kell).

Organized 1898, by C. A. Burton; present membership, 100; value of property, $1,000; Bible school began 1898; present enrollment, 100.

About 1850 a congregation was formed and met for worship in the residence of John Hill, Sr. As the years passed and churches were organized in that section, many of these members united with them. Through the work of W. C. Hill and others, the remnant of the old church was gathered up and a new start was made. The chapel was finished in 1899. The Church Extension Board loaned this country congregation $250, which has been paid. There were sixteen charter members. S. S. Turley, S. C. and Isaac Hill are elders, and the last named is clerk also.

Gaston Grove (Cartter).

Organized 1884, by J. H. G. Brinkerhoff; present membership, 89; value of property, $900; Bible school began 1887; present enrollment, 46.

A meeting was held in the Huff Schoolhouse in 1886 by Minister Brinkerhoff and was followed up by a year's work. There were forty-two charter members, most of whom came from the Mt. Moriah and Harvey's Point Churches. The site was selected and the Gaston Grove chapel was built. Like most country churches, there have been many losses by removals, but the work is maintained.

This church has given A. Leroy Huff to the ministry. Bessie Huff is clerk.

Kell.

Organized 1896, by J. F. Rosboro; present membership, 15; value of property, $1,200; Bible school began 1895; present membership, 30.

The preachers having served the church were C. A. Burton, Clark Braden, W. J. Simer, R. M. Philips, F. O. Fannon and George Foley.

Kinmundy.

Organized 1899, by J. H. Smart; present membership, 110; value of property, $5,000; Bible school began 1899; present enrollment, 134.

E. C. Bargh and his family, with a few other Disciples, had held meeting irregularly for thirteen years. Min. J. H. Smart, then the pastor of the church in Centralia, was engaged by the mission board of the district to hold a series of meetings and organize a church. This was done in the summer of 1899. These meetings were held in the M. E. Church South, and in a public hall. There were fifty charter members. A lot was bought and a good building finished the next year. The church has continued to grow in members and influence.

Lovel Grove (Iuka).

Present membership, 60; value of property, $1,050; Bibleschool enrollment, 34.

This church is about one mile south of the village of Omega. In the early fifties this congregation met in a log house about two miles south of the present chapel. It was known as Bee Branch Church. A nice, up-to-date country chapel was built in 1880. In the earlier years, H. A. Vandusen, John A. Williams, John Tinkler, Rolla B. Henry, William T. Williams, H. A. Harrell and William Chaffin ministered to the people. All these have gone to their reward. W. J. Simer has served the church for the past thirty years. What better proof could be given of a genuine preacher and a fine people?

From this church there came to the ministry H. A. Vandusen, F. M. Philips, John Tinkler, W. J. Simer and A. A. Millican.

Mt. Moriah (Mt. Vernon).

Organized 1829; present membership, 135; value of property, $500; Bible-school enrollment, 134.

This is the oldest church in Marion County. It was organized as a Free Will Baptist church and held this name until 1837. In that year it renounced this name for "Church of Christ" and came into full accord with the principles of the Restoration movement. Among the consecrated leaders in the early years there were William Chaffin, David R. Chance, Samuel Shook and Charles Drennen. They were pioneer preachers who underwent hardships and dangers uncomplainingly for the truth's sake.

The first meeting-house was of logs. After its decay three successive frame buildings have been occupied. The second of these was partly wrecked by a windstorm, but was repaired and used till 1904, when the present neat chapel was built. It is located about eight miles southwest of Salem. John A. Williams was the gift of this church to the ministry a magnificent contribution.

Odin.

Organized 1878, by James M. Hawley; present membership, 188; value of property, $2,000; Bible school began 1878; present enrollment, 113.

There were sixteen charter members. A neat frame church, costing $2,000, was built and occupied early in 1880. Before that the meetings were held in a public hall.

This church gave to the ministry R. Leland Brown. He had served as a deacon and an elder before he was set apart to the ministry of the Word. He has served a number of strong churches, as well as the evangelist of the Seventh and Eighth Districts.

Patoka.

Organized 1875, by Samuel Hawley; present membership, 125; value of property, $2,000; Bible school began 1882; present enrollment, 129.

This church made but little progress for five years. In 1880 it was reorganized by Min. J. D. Morgan. There were then twenty-nine males and eleven females composing the membership. The church then began to grow. A church building was erected in 1882, and in 1905 an addition was built, making it a very neat structure. A large portion of the membership reside in the country south of town. They have erected a chapel and maintain a Bible school there as well as in town. C. M. Ashton is clerk.

Salem.

Organized 1866, by John A. Williams; present membership, 265; value of property, $25,000; Bible school began 1867; present enrollment, 310.

This church was formed in the house of John A. Williams. The members were few in number, but they at once bought a frame building that had been used by the Cumberland Presbyterians. They repaired and used it until 1879. The next year a brick chapel was occupied. This gave way in 1906 to a new and modern building, costing about $22,000. This was during the ministry of F. O. Fannon.

Mr. Williams preached for this church a long time. In its earlier years it was also served by John W. Monehan, John Bradley, J. O. Henry, J. H. G. Brinkerhoff and others.

Sandoval.

Organized 1889, by A. Martin; present membership, 320; value of church property, including parsonage, $6,000; Bible school began 1889; present enrollment, 144.

The meetings of the congregation were held the first year in the Congregational Church. In 1890 the building now in use was erected during the ministry of J. H. G. Brinkerhoff.

Smith's Grove (Kinmundy).

Organized 1882, by Joseph D. Morgan; present membership, 25; value of property, $400; Bible school began 1882; present enrollment, 67.

This church is about seven miles east of Omega. About eighty years ago a log church stood two miles east of Smith's Grove. It was known as the Bluff Church because it stood on a high bank of Skillet Fork, by a rock-bottomed pool that has been used in baptizing through all these years. When the old log house burned down, some of the members formed the Old Union Church in Clay County. In the early eighties, J D. Morgan gathered together members from the Old Union Church, and others living in Krutchfield Prairie, and formed the Smith's Grove Church. The organization was in a schoolhouse, but a chapel was soon built which the congregation has outgrown. W. J. Simer has preached for this church for twenty-five years. Of it he says: "This place can show more little folks out to Sunday school and church to the square foot than any place that I have ever been. Nearly all of the young folks are members of the church."

Turkey Creek (Odin).

Organized 1867, by A. Martin.

This is a country church that has not grown much in work or membership. It is also called Deadman, and is three miles south of Odin.

Young's Chapel (Salem).

Organized 1883, by John A. Williams; present membership, 82; value of property, $500; Bible school began 1883; present enrollment, 46.

A country church. Preaching services had been held in a schoolhouse in the community for forty years, but no organization was made till 1883. There were about twenty charter members. J. H. G. Brinkerhoff and F. M. Morgan have served the church.

Little Grove Church was two miles southeast of Centralia, and formed in the thirties or early forties. It dissolved about 1870.

Ministers.

]. W. Monnahan was a farmer, teacher and county superintendent of schools in the sixties and seventies. A good preacher and able debater; an energetic and useful man.

Samuel Shook resided on his farm three miles southeast of Centralia. His work was mainly in Marion County in the thirties. He traveled on horseback, followed by his dog "Trip," that lay under the pulpit while his master preached.

William Chaffin also resided on his farm in this county, where he preached in the thirties and also in Clay and Jefferson Counties. He had a habit of placing his hand upon his cheek while preaching, and often said: "I would work my finger-nails off before I would make a price for my preaching." He died before the Civil War.

David R. Chance lived on his farm five miles from Iuka. He was a forceful and useful man, going all over that region. At the table he would sometimes say: "You can tell a preacher by the cups of coffee he drinks one, two or three; I take three."

Richard Huelin's home was near Walnut Hill in 1840. He was a plain man who knew the Bible and traveled and preached much.

James Snow resided in the same community. He was a good man with a gentle disposition and his preaching contrasted with most of that of his brother ministers. He resided on his farm and traveled widely.

H. A. Vandusen lived on his farm near Omega. He was told that he had hurt a congregation by serving it for nothing. He replied: "I don't know but what that is true." He was a conservative, but earnestly opposed any thought of division on questions of opinion.

It was in this county that an aged M. E. preacher said: "A man can be a good Christian in any denomination except the Campbellite or Mormon."

Extracted 15 May 2017 by Norma Hass from History of the Disciples in Illinois 1819-1914, pages 311-318.


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