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

CHURCHES:

HOPEWELL (BARNHILL)

Hopewell Church was organized August 5, 1820, at the home of George Close, with nine members, viz., James Bird, Susan Bird, Anna Blissitt, Stephen Coonrod, John Coonrod, Naomi Close, James Taylor, William Watkins, and Polly Watkins. Elders Benjamin Keith and William Hanks composed the presbytery which organized Hopewell Church.

The messengers, chosen in 1821, to petition for membership in the Muddy River Association, were James Taylor and William Watkins. This church was a member of the Muddy River (1821), Little Wabash (1825) and Skillet Fork (1840) Associations during its existence.

Elder William Watkins was serving as pastor in about 1840. The only records of the church which have been discovered begin in 1845, with an account of trouble resulting in a division in the church caused by Elder John Kimmel. In July 1846, Elder Isaiah Walker was ordained, and served the church as pastor or moderator. He was followed by Elders Felix Potter, William Thomas, John Hunsinger, Nathaniel Williams, Lewis Hunsinger, James D. Jones, Isham Caudle, and Jeremiah Wooten, up to the year 1874.

In 1845, the church was meeting in a schoolhouse near William McCullough's. In March 1850 the church agreed to build a meeting house after the model of Mt. Pleasant's, and appointed members to select a site. Jacob Baird and wife gave two acres of land, in 1855, on which the church erected a building. It was located about a mile east of Barnhill, in Barnhill township.

A three-day centennial service was held in August 1920, with Elder M. L. Gwaltney (the pastor), and Elders A. J. Coale, Charles Jones, A. D. Hancock, and others in attendance. The church was shown as a member of the Skillet Fork Association as late as 1934.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Atterberry, Baird, Bird, Blissit, Buckels, Butler, Carter, Caudle, Churchwell, Clark, Close, Coonrod, Copeland, Corley, Day, Doris, Eskridge, Felix, Friend, Gray, Hall, Harl, Hodge, Hodges, Howard, Jerrels, Kennedy, Kimmell, King, Lock, Martin, McCullough, Meeks, Murphey, Murphy, Musgraves, Nunn, Odell, Palmer, Pendleton, Potter, Reed, Rentfro, Reynold, Rhodes, Simpson, Smith, Taylor, Tombs, Upchurch, Wade, Walker, Watkins, Wheeler, Wilson, Wood (very incomplete list due to loss of most of the records).

ELK PRAIRIE

Elk Prairie Church united with the Muddy River Association in September 1822, the messengers being John Taylor and Edward Platt, who reported 23 members in fellowship. The church was listed in the minutes as late as 1827. It appears that the charter members were probably dismissed from the Ten Mile Creek Church, for that purpose, in 1822.

Location: Probably in Orel township, near Wayne City.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Albert, Dawdy, Drew, Harris, Platt, Stull, Taylor (very incomplete list due to loss of records).

HARGRAVE'S PRAIRIE

Hargrave's Prairie Church united with the Muddy River Association in September 1823, the messengers being Alexander Jones and James Martin, who reported 19 members. In 1825, it was one of the churches dismissed to help organize the Little Wabash Association.

Location: Probably in Jasper township.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Jones, Kelly, Martin, Owen, Posey, Taylor, Wier (very incomplete list due to loss of records).

BIG MOUNT PRAIRIE

Big Mount Prairie Church united with the Muddy River Association in September 1823, the messengers being Thomas Lee (a licensed preacher), David Jones, and Elder Elsberry Armstrong. They reported 28 members in fellowship. In 1825, this church joined the Little Wabash Association where it represented for a number of years.

Location: Probably in Big Mound township.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Armstrong, Arrington, Downen, Elledge, French, Jones, Lee, Sims, Watkins, Wood (very incomplete list due to loss of records).

BURNT PRAIRIE

Burnt Prairie Church united with the Muddy River Association in September 1825, her messengers being Elder Stephen Williams, Tolliver Simpson, and James Taylor, who reported 29 members in fellowship. In 1824, Tolliver Simpson and James Taylor were members of Hopewell Church, which received 21 members by baptism that year. It appears that the charter members of Burnt Prairie Church were dismissed from Hopewell Church for that purpose.

The same year, 1825, Burnt Prairie Church was dismissed from the Muddy River Association to go into the constitution of the Little Wabash Association. In 1840, this church went into the organization of the Skillet Fork Association.

Ministers who were moderators during the period from 1855-1861 included Elders Charles H. Clay, Isham Caudle, John Hunsinger, Isaiah Walker, Felix Potter, Nathaniel Williams, and Lewis Hunsinger.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Atterberry, Bowman, Calkin, Caudle, Clay, Friend, Gray, Hodges, Horn, Jordan, Martin, Murphy, Musgroves, Roberts, Simpson, Taylor, Tombs, Williams, Wood (very incomplete list due to loss of part of the records).

REPUBLICAN MEETING HOUSE (MT. TABOR)

Republican Meeting House Church united with the Muddy River Association in September 1825, her messengers being James Owen and Charles Wood, who reported 11 members. At the same meeting, the church was dismissed to go into the formation of the Little Wabash Association. The records kept by the church treasurer have been located, from which is shown that the members gave donations to Elder Stephen Williams, for his pastoral care, in about 1832. The name of the church was later changed to Mt. Tabor. The minutes of Hopewell Church disclose that Mt. Tabor Church requested help to dissolve, in January 1848. However, Mt. Tabor Church, of Wayne Co., was represented in the Skillet Fork Association, with three members, as late as 1865, and still listed in the minutes (in the association statistical table) as late as 1875.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Borah, Calkin, Carter, Downen, Farris, Grant, Kimmell, King, Martin, Owen, Posey, Shaw, Sims, Wilson, Wood (very incomplete list due to loss of records).

PROVIDENCE

Providence Church was organized on July 4, 1846, by Elders Richard Gardner, Jeremiah Doty and C. S. Madding, in Mt. Erie township. The charter members were dismissed for that purpose from Long Prairie Church, viz.,Thomas Travers, Jesse Williams, John Meadows, Nathaniel Travers, Reuben Whitaker, W. H. Harrelson, Nancy Williams, Hannah Vandeveer, Mary Rice Sr., Elizabeth Collins, Christiana Travers, Catharine Harrelson, and Cecelia McCollum.

In February 1851 the church accepted and sanctioned the actions of the brethren in building a meeting house on land donated by Alexander Ramsey, Sr. In June 1867 a deed was presented for the land on which the church house was located.

Pastors of this church included Elders Jeremiah Doty (1846), Champion S. Madding, J. D. Jones, Lewis Hunsinger, David S. Ford, H. C. Bell, A. J. Coale, and others. Elder Lemuel Potter united with this church in October 1863. Other ministers who were members here included Elders John Clements, A. P. Whitlow, James D. Jones, Joseph R. Gardner, and James F. George. Elder James D. Jones was ordained here in June 1860.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Allison, Beasley, Bennett, Bilderback, Blackburn, Blackford, Boultinghouse, Brown, Calvin, Cameron, Campbell, Clark, Clements, Collins, Colson, Cox, Daniel, Daniels, Day, Dobbs, Doty, Gardner, George, Gilbert, Gillard, Goldsmith, Goodwin, Graham, Harrelson, Hughes, Inyart, Johnson, Jones, Massie, McCollum, McGaughey, McKenzie, Meadows, Moutray, Murphy, Parks, Potter, Rice, Ricketts, Rodgers, Rogers, Runyon, Russell, Sharp, Simpson, Slow, Stallings, Standish, Stephens, Travers, Vandeveer, West, Whitaker, Whitlow, Willet, Williams, Winkler, Woody.

LITTLE FLOCK

Little Flock Church was organized in December 1848, in Hickory Hill township, by Elder Joseph Hartley, and Brethren John Martin and Barnes Reeves, of Union Church, Jefferson Co.; and Solomon Blisset and Brady Meeks of Hopewell Church. The charter members were Stout Atteberry, Fanny L. Atteberry, Joseph Crask, Nancy Crask, Sarah M. Crask, Abraham P. Witter, Alfred Wilson, Enos K. Wilson, Sarah M. Wilson, Wilkins Dewees, and Eleanor Dewees.

Elders Charles H. Clay and Isham Caudle were early members of this church.

The church erected a comfortable frame meeting house sometime before 1884.

This church first united with the Skillet Fork Association, and later (in 1880), with the Little Wabash Association, and remained in that body until 1916, when it was dropped without a reason being stated.

Location: Hickory Hill township. Sec. 34 probable site, near Crask Cemetery.

SURNAMES OF MEMBERS:

Atteberry, Caudle, Clay, Crask, Dewees, Dobbs, Mills, Walker, Wilson, Witter (very incomplete list due to loss of records).

UNION

Union Church, in Fairfield, was organized in 1952.


SUGGESTED ADDITIONAL REFERENCE SOURCES IN THE PRIMITIVE BAPTIST LIBRARY:

Minutes of the Muddy River, Little Wabash, and Skillet Fork Baptist Associations; Records of Providence, and parts of Hopewell and Burnt Prairie Churches; church periodicals.

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