Church and Family History Research Assistance
for Primitive Baptist Churches in Brown County, Illinois

CHURCHES:

MT. PLEASANT (CAMDEN)(1829)

Mt. Pleasant Church was organized in the summer of 1829, the first church of any faith in what is now Brown County, and was the first of three churches to be established by the Primitive Baptists before Brown County was organized as a county. Many of the earliest settlers in the county were of the Primitive Baptist faith, and the Indians assisted some of them (e.g., Willis O'Neal) in building their crude homes. The ten charter members, struck off from Mauvaisterre Church (see Morgan county), were: Elder John Foster, William Davis, John Ausmus, Mark Riggins, Daniel Shelby, Sister Ivens, with others whose names have been lost, mutually agreed to organize themselves into a church of Jesus Christ.

This church met at private houses and schoolhouses at different places until 1854, when they built a good church house which seated about 200 persons, about four miles north of Mt. Sterling. The church was probably a member of the Sangamon Association, and afterward a charter member of three different Associations, viz., Spoon River (1831); Salem (1835); and Mt. Gilead (1842).

Pastors of the church included Elders John Foster, Elijah Bell, John Harvey, William Harper, John Harper, William Hogan, James W. Singleton, John Fanshier, James Harper, T. B. Ausmus, B. R. Warren, J. L. Bennett, and H. S. Peak.

The church stood in a grove of trees on the Camden road at the north edge of Sec. 29, in the Bell school neighborhood.

SURNAMES:

Ausmus, Clark, Cox, Davis, Debell, Estes, Foster, Ivens, Newland, Parker, Rigg, Riggens, Rush, Shelby, Sims, Singleton, Watts, Wilson, Witty, Yowell (very incomplete list due to loss of records).

CAMP CREEK (NORTH FORK OF MCKEE'S CREEK)(VERSAILLES)(1832)

Camp Creek Church was organized on the fourth Saturday in September, 1832, under the name of North Fork of McKees Creek, with ten charter members, viz., Elijah Bell, James Bullard, Nathan Perry, William Taylor, Rebecca Perry, Sarah Bridges, Nancy Brown, Annis Bell, Susannah Briggs, and Elizabeth Perry. The presbytery was composed of Elders Jesse Sutton and John Foster, and Bro. William Taylor.

Elders Elijah Bell, Mastin Doty, Brice Alsbury, William Hogan, John Fanshier, James Harper, and D. W. Owens served as pastor of this church.

Camp Creek Church belonged to the Spoon River, Salem, and Mt. Gilead Associations, respectively, during its history.

In June 1842, the church dismissed several members to form a church on the LaGrange Road at a school house near Henry Grove's (this was Mt. Gilead Church).

The church met in homes and schoolhouses until the year 1837, when they built a log house to worship in, near the waters of Camp Creek in southeast Brown County. In 1875 they built a house northwest of Versailles about two miles, with a capacity of about 175.

SURNAMES:

Ausmus, Bell, Bridges, Briggs, Brown, Bullard, Carter, Casteen, Cavender, Davis, Doty, Fairchilds, Fanshier, Felch, Figgins, Forsyth, Hall, Harbour, Harris, Hill, Hills, Jackson, Kendrick, Kindred, Lamb, Martin, Meeks, Myers, Nighswanger, Norvel, O'Neal, Perry, Richardson, Riggin, Robertson, Rose, Rush, Summy, Taylor, Vance, White, Wood.

NEW SALEM (TIMEWELL)(1834)

New Salem Church, near Timewell, was organized at the home of Otha H. Bennett, by Elder John Harvey and others in late 1833 or 1834, with sixteen members, most of whom were dismissed from Mt. Pleasant Church for that purpose. This church united with the Spoon River Association in September 1834, at which time her were messengers Philip Ausmus, John Ausmus, and William Hobbs. They chose Elder John Harvey as their first pastor. The Salem Association was organized at this church in October 1835 (at that time, the church was meeting in Adams county). In 1842, it was one of the churches which went into the constitution of the Mt. Gilead Association. In the year 1844 they built a log house to worship in, at which time Elder William Hogan was the pastor; in the year 1869 they erected a large frame building with a seating capacity of about 300, at the same site, about 2 miles southwest of Mounds Station on the Wabash road (across the road from the Orton Cemetery). No picture of this building has been located.

Pastors include the names of Elders John Harvey, William Hogan, Peter Ausmus, Bushrod R. Warren, Asher Cottrell, James Harper, D. W. Owens, and Thomas B. Ausmus. Elders John Harvey, Peter Ausmus, Asher Cottrell, Ware S. May, Henry Robinson, William Hogan, William Hobbs, and Lazarus C. Webb were all members of this church during its history.

SURNAMES:

Ausmus, Baker, Beckman, Bennett, Black, Bolinger, Briscoe, Brunk, Byars, Campbell, Carpenter, Cogburn, Corfield, Cottrell, Craft, Davis, Edwards, Foster, Gray, Harper, Harvey, Hobbs, Hogan, Huddleston, Humphrey, Jarvis, Jefferson, Lindsay, Long, Mahurin, May, Milegan, Phillips, Preece, Rigg, Robinson, Walker, Ward, Webb, Williams, Worthington, Wristen (very incomplete list due to loss of early records).

NEW SALEM (PERRY)

New Salem Church, northeast of Perry (see Pike County), was also organized in about 1833 or 1834, and united with the Spoon River Association in 1834. The messenger at that time was Stephen Pool, who reported nine members, three having been received after the church was organized.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Akin, Alsbury, Carpenter, Elledge, Etherton, Ingram, Mason, Pool, Rigg, Robertson, Suter, Tucker (very incomplete list due to loss of records).

MT. GILEAD (HERSMAN)

Mt. Gilead Church, located on a blacktop road, three miles east of Hersman, Illinois, was organized July 16, 1842, by Elders William Harper and Elijah Bell, with nine charter members, most of whom were from Camp Creek Church, viz., Elder William Harper, Mitchell Kendrick, William Putman, Mary Harbour, Anna Harper, Sarah Bridges, Martha Richardson, Lucy Perry and Nancy Putman. The church united with Salem Association in September 1842, and later the same year, with several other churches, formed the Mt. Gilead Association. Early meetings were held at the schoolhouse until December 1851, when the church agreed to build a frame building, with a capacity 200. This work was completed at a cost of about $600, and a deed secured by January 1853. The first building was replaced with a new building, which was erected in the summer of 1891, and the seats were obtained the same year.

Pastors have been Elders William Harper (1842); Masten Doty (1850); William Hogan (1853); John Fanshier (1865); James Harper (1871); D. W. Owens (1886); Baxter Hale (1921); J. Bryan Adair (1931); Orvel B. Prior (1936); and Alan Curtis (1994).

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Aber, Allentharp, Ash, Beard, Bell, Benner, Black, Bridges, Briscoe, Bump, Cummings, Cupp, Davis, Doty, Edwards, Fanshier, Felch, Glenn, Gilkey, Gosser, Grover, Hammons, Harbour, Harper, Hill, Hills, Hornbuckle, Houser, Howell, Hunt, Hurst, Jackson, Jones, Keith, Kendrick, Kindred, Koch, McConnell, McCoy, Mcgaugh, Moore, Noel, Owens, Palmer, Parker, Perry, Putman, Reische, Richardson, Riggins, Schultz, Sickman, Smith, Stites, Stone, Surrat, Taylor, Thomas, Vance, Walker, Walls, Webb, Wilkerson, Wilson (incomplete).

ADDITIONAL REFERENCE SOURCES IN THE PRIMITIVE BAPTIST LIBRARY:

Minutes of the Salem Association of Illinois; Minutes of the Mt. Gilead Association of Illinois; records of Camp Creek Church; records of Mt. Gilead Church; records of New Salem Church; obituaries of church members in our periodicals.

Early History of Mt. Pleasant Church, by W. T. Rigg

Obituary of Elder William Harper

Obituary of Elder James Harper

In Memory of Elder Elijah Bell

Obituaries of Jacob Long, Arthur Preece, and others

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