Early History of Mt. Pleasant Church,
the first church organized in Brown County, Illinois


I have been thinking for some time that I would write a short history of Mt. Pleasant church, which was the first church of the old Regular or Primitive Baptist order organized in Brown Co., Ill. I will say, however, that in the organization and constitution of the church the clerk failed to enter dates and through mismanagement the church unfortunately has not in possession the first book of records which covered about eight years time. I learn from a reliable source that this church was organized in 1829 through the labors of Elder John Foster, who then preached the doctrine of salvation by works. There were about ten members in the organization of the church. My father and mother came to this county in 1831, and united with the church by letter soon after arriving here and my fathers house was the place where the church met some years. I was a young man at that time and knew nothing of grace, but I do know what was inscribed in the church, and also know that her ministers sixty years ago preached the same doctrine of joyful sounds to the elect people of God that our ministers preach at the present time.

Besides Elder John Foster, the church has been under the care of Elders Elijah Bell, John Harvey, William Harper, John Harper, William Hogan, James W. Singleton John Fanshier, James Harper, T. B. Ausmus, B. Warren, J. L. Bennett and H. S. Peak, our present pastor.

In 1833, I hope and believe the Lord opened my eyes to see what I was by nature and what I must be by grace and in 1843 I was received as a member of Mt. Pleasant church. Of all who were members of the church at that time I am the only one now living. I am now in my eighty-fifth year, traveling onward through feelings of unworthiness, hoping that I have entered in at the strait gate. Experience and scripture testimony confirms me in the belief that it is only through the sufferings of Christ that I can reach the promised abode of the saints. I often wonder why I am left and all other and younger members taken away, but God knows and it is all for a purpose of his own.

The church has had her own ups and downs and for sixty-five years passed through some trying times, but the Lord has sustained her through all her troubles in the past we have had. Sweet times of joy and peace when brotherly love flowed from breast to breast, and peace and fellowship rules today. We have the labors of Brother Peak. Our church is small, about twenty members. She has had over sixty members but they have died and moved off until we are few in number. But we try to keep house the best we can. I will name a few of the pioneer preachers of this section. Elder Rowland, William Bradley, William Crow, William Roberts, and many others that I could name. Brother Cash, to you and the church, the family of God, peace, love and good will. From one of the poor and afflicted of the flock, if one at all.

W. T. RIGG. Mt. Sterling, Ill.

Published in the Messenger of Peace, September 15, 1898, edited by Elder Walter Cash.

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