1915 History of the Disciples of Christ

About 1837, Min. B. W. Henry organized a congregation near his home on the west side of Okaw Township. Two or three years later a log house was built for the double purpose of school and church, and was so occupied for about twenty years. Among the pioneer preachers who worked there were B. W. Henry, Tobias Grider, Fleming, Goodman, Storm, Mulkey and Sconce. In the early fifties it was active in co-operative missionary work. The changing tides of human life later on carried it away.

In 1871, Min. P. P. Warren organized the Bethany congregation in Windsor Township with fifty-three members. From 1860 preaching had been kept up at this point by Ministers Warren and Tobias Grider, under the direction of the Sand Creek Church, and the converts thus made were received by this congregation until the new organization. Minister Warren served Bethany once per month for more than twenty years. The chapel was built in 1871. The congregation gave A. J. Nance to the ministry. It died by conservatism.

The Green Creek congregation was formed in Big Spring Township about 1850 and did good service. In 1855, Evangelist Thomas Goodman organized the Mount Pleasant congregation in Prairie Township, and this absorbed the first named. The meetings were held first in the Baker, and next in the Forrest, Schoolhouse.

James Carr preached for this congregation for thirty years, and died there in 1880 in a good old age, loved and respected by all. Others who preached here were Tobias Grider, Wm. Colson, A. A. Lovins, J. I. Seward, J. M. Morgan and Isaac McCash.

In January, 1880, Min. L. M. Linn held a meeting of days in Shelby Township and formed the Oak Grove congregation with thirty-six members. A union chapel, part Unitarian, was built. The spiritual life is feeble.

In 1873, Tobias Grider formed the Union congregation in the Hidden Schoolhouse, on the line of Okaw and Shelby Townships, with fourteen members. It died at the close of thirty years.

Min. B. R. Gilbert organized the Zion congregation on the west side of Todd's Point Township in 1878 with thirty-two members. The same year a chapel costing $1,200 was built. The church met regularly for worship on the Lord's Days and maintained a mid-week prayer-meeting. It died of conservatism.

In April, 1860, Min. John Sconce formed a congregation in a log schoolhouse near the northeast corner of Todd's Point Township with fifty-eight members, which was known as Welborn Creek Church. A chapel costing $1,200 was built in 1871, located three miles north of the site of Findley. The growth of towns on railways reduced its strength, but its dissolution was hastened by a contention of two of its men over a stalk-field. It disbanded about 1900. The house still stands there. Its remnants went to Findley and Bethany Churches.

The Pleak congregation, six miles southeast of Moweaqua, was formed with twenty members by Min. J. D. Morgan in 1880. A substantial chapel was built in a few years, but the title never passed to the congregation. A political quarrel divided the membership and killed the church. F. M. Pleak, the leader of this work, died in 1902.

Many of these were sincere but mistaken efforts to justly apply the great principles of the gospel.

Ash Grove (Windsor).

Organized 1832, by Jackson Storm; present membership, 400; value of property, $4,000; Bible school enrollment, 80.

This location is four miles southeast of Windsor. For many years it was known as the Cochran's Grove Church. It was organized in a log residence. Some time later a log chapel was built, which was used till 1858. Then a large frame building was erected, which in turn gave place to the present building in 1887. The site of these four buildings has changed but little. The lot, with the adjacent cemetery ground, was given to the congregation by Greenup Storm, one of the strong and godly pioneers. The thirteen charter members were: John Storm, Sr., and wife, Wm. Duggar and wife, Wm. Bennett and wife, Daniel Green and wife, John Storm, Jr., and wife, Joseph Dickerson and wife, and Stella Good. The church has had a long, useful and honorable life. It was the mother of Windsor, Gays and Lower Ash Grove, a conservative society. W. B. Bennett served the congregation fifty years as an elder. Most of the pioneers of that section preached there. H. H. Harrell served the church ten years. It is now in sympathy with world-wide missions. It has given to the ministry James Brady, W. R. Storm and Homer Storm.


Organized 1860, by B. W. Henry; value of property, $2,000; Bible school began 1869; present enrollment, 57.

For many years this was known as the Antioch Church of Christ. The charter members were John, Sr., Sarah S., James and Mary, Andy and Elizabeth Barrickman; Martha Christman, Rebecca Galyer, W. H. Jackson, Leah James; William. Isaac, Sr., Samuel, Nathan, Eleanor, Lydia and Ellen Killam; E. J. and James Miller, Jacob Morehouse, Hiram and Rachel Pogue, Henry and Isabel Prichard, H. C. and Margaret Robertson, John and Eliza Smith, and C. L. Scott.

When the village of Brunswick grew up about the church its name was changed to harmonize therewith. The present chapel was built in 1868. An organ was first used in 1910


Organized 1899, by W. Bedell; present membership, 120; value of property, $2,100; Bible school began 1899; present enrollment, 145.

This church started right and has grown steadily in usefulness. It is well organized. The active members include the McMillen, Mason, Reynolds, Ballenbaugh, Prater and Jewett families.


Organized 1906, by H. E. Monser; present membership, 90; value of property, $6,000; Bible school began 1906; present enrollment, 94.

Mr. and Mrs. A. H. Terry moved from Shelbyville to Findley in 1903. The Christian Church there was so conservative that it was doing little. In 1905, through the influence of Mrs. Terry, an auxiliary to the C. W. B. M. of twelve members was formed. A meeting by Mr. Monser in November, 1906, resulted in the organization of a church of eighty-eight members. It is active and aggressive. A brick building was finished and occupied in January, 1909. Miss Olive was set apart to the ministry by this church. There is also a conservative church here.


Organized 1850, by B. W. Henry; present membership, 127; value of property, $4,500; Bible school enrollment, 100.

Mr. Henry and others preached for several years in this community before 1850. There were twenty-five charter members in the Prairie Bird Church. This beautiful name gave way to Henton when the railroad came and the village started. The first elders were Lindsay McMorris, Chatter Kelly and Elijah Waggoner, and the first deacons, J. T. and W. M. Smith. The first house was built in 1857. J. O. Henry was here ordained to the ministry.


Present membership, 25; value of property, $2,000; Bible school enrollment, 84.


Organized 1880, by L. M. Linn; value of property, $500.

Evangelist Linn, working under the auspices of the County Co-operation, held a meeting of weeks in the winter of this year and formed the church with fifty-one members. A union chapel was built shortly thereafter. Now there is only a small Bible school.


Organized 1896, by M. Ingles; present membership, 258; value of property, $6,000; Bible school began 1896; present enrollment, 119.

William Richhart led in the formation of this church. On his invitation the first sermons by a Christian preacher were delivered by Minister Doty. There were forty-two charter members.

A good church building was soon put up. A. R. Spicer was the first pastor.

New Liberty (Windsor).

Organized 1871.

About 1840 a log chapel was built in the northeast corner of Windsor Township. It had two chimneys and a dirt floor.

Ministeis Grider, Henry, Storm, Fleming and Goodman preached there. The resident members formed part of the Sand Creek Church till 1871, when a separate congregation, called Wolf Creek, was formed. The log house had then disappeared, for meetings were held in the Dodson and Baker Schoolhouses till 1874, when a chapel was built. The name was then changed to New Liberty. It gave Jesse Baugher to the ministry. About 1880, under the lead of P. P. Warren, it became ultra-conservative.

Rocky Branch (Tower Hill).

Organized 1850, by B. W. Henry.

Meetings were held in Rose Township by Ministers Henry, M. R. Chew and Edward Evy about this date in residences, in Black Log Schoolhouse and in a grove. One of these, conducted by Mr. Henry, resulted in fifty conversions. The consequent congregation passed through many experiences, prosperous and adverse. Many times all efforts ceased. A neat chapel was built. Now no meetings of any kind are held.

Sand Creek (Windsor).

Organized 1834, by John Storm; present membership, 25.

This place is three and a half miles northwest of Windsor. The eleven charter members were Benjamin Weeks and wife, Joseph Baker, wife and son, Ashley Baker and wife, Louis Ledbetter and wife, Sarah Bougher and Rachel Wallace. Min. Tobias Gricler gave one acre of land for the building-site. The first house was of logs, built in 1834; the second, a frame, built in 1857, and the third, a brick, built in 1874.

For fifty years this congregation was prosperous and useful. It enrolled from twelve hundred to fifteen hundred members, and gave to the ministry Isaac Miller, Nathan Rice, P. P. Warren, A. A. Loomis and L. P. Phillips. In the log chapel in 1850 a missionary co-operation, including Shelby, Moultrie and Macon Counties, was formed. Peace and prosperity continued till 1889, when Min. Daniel Sommer came and began an aggressive opposition to the use of instrumental music in public worship and other "innovations." This church had never used an organ and had no thought of introducing one until the preaching of Mr. Sommer created a desire and a demand for its introduction.

This led to a division in 1904 and to a suit at law for the property. This was decided by the State Supreme Court at the October term, 1905, in favor of the conservatives, they being the majority. It was here that the pigmy and disloyal "Address and Declaration" was issued in 1889 (see Chap. VIII.). By that act this church wrote "Ichabod" in large letters upon its record.

Those members who protested against these puerile proceedings have since then conducted public worship and work in a near-by schoolhouse. They have been faithful and blessed of God.


Organized 1831, by Bushrod W. Henry; present membership, 500; value of property, $7,500; Bible school began 1831; present enrollment, 140.

This church was constituted as the "First Baptist Church of Christ in Shelbyville." Mr. Henry's sermons reflected his growing knowledge of the Scriptures and called out the opposition of his conservative Baptist brethren. Their doctrinal differences widened so that Mr. Henry and his friends were excluded from the Baptist fellowship. By 1834 they had discarded the name Baptist, and by 1836 had fully organized "the church of God in Christ in Shelbyville." The first elders were B. W. Henry and J. J. Page. The former giving much of his time to evangelizing, the care of the church devolved chiefly upon Mr. Page. For thirty-five years he was a most faithful elder in every way as set forth in the New Testament. Reuben and Martha Wright, Mrs. Enfield Tacket and Mrs. Polly Smith were also among the first members whose devotion to the church was long known. Mr. Henry continued his ministry with the congregation as he was able. About 1845 the first church house was built. It stood diagonally across the street from the present building. This was used until about 1878, when the brick building still in use was finished. In 1849, A. D. Northcutt served the church, which prospered under his ministry.

About the same time, Min. W. H. Brown held a public debate in the Christian chapel. General Thornton served as presiding moderator. The discussion resulted in greatly strengthening the church of Christ.

Some of the pastors who have served the church were N. S. Bastian, Dr. A. L. Kellar, Theo. Brooks, J. G. Waggoner, and now W. G. McColley. It gave O. P. Wright to the ministry.

J. Fred Miller, Wm. Chew, W. F. Turney and J. W. Loyd are held in grateful remembrance. J. D. Miller and W. C. Kelly have been active and efficient members for the past twenty years.

The church is well organized, with an average aggressiveness.


Present membership, 320; value of property, $2,000; Bible school enrollment, 142.

Tower Hill.

Organized by W. H. Boles; present membership, 50; Bible school enrollment, 46.


Organized 1857; present membership, 273; value of property, including parsonage, $3,500; Bible school began 1860; present enrollment, 110.

It is not known who of the pioneers planted this congregation or the exact year. It was served in its earlier period by those ministers who laid the foundations of the Restoration movement in that section. Later, there were Z. T. Sweeney, Thomas Edwards and J. H. Hite. Many protracted meetings were held by Ellis Zound, Isaac Mulkey, W. F. Black, Wm. Patterson. James Connor and E. J. Hart. A. D. Fillmore, the sweet singer, led the church. The chapel was built in 1859. In the later seventies, Dr. Jesse Yoar left by his will $1,000 to the congregation to be permanently invested for its benefit.

J. H. Price and Thomas Henry were elders and strong men in the community. Mr. Henry served in the House of the General Assembly of Illinois. J. D. Bruce, a deacon, is the sole surviving charter member.

Extracted 28 Apr 2019 by Norma Hass from History of the Disciples of Christ in Illinois 1819-1914, by Nathaniel S. Haynes, published in 1915, pages 385-393.

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