Illinois Genealogy Trails/Alexander County
If you know of any churches 100 or more years old, please send a picture and the church history to Anna.
Source: Part of this list was obtained from Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)
AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
ANTIOCH BAPTIST CHURCH
BEECH GROVE BAPTIST CHURCH-Thebes
CAIRO CHURCH OF GOD
ELCO METHODIST CHURCH
FIRST CENTRAL M. B. CHURCH-Cairo
FOURTEENTH STREET BAPTIST CHURCH-Cairo
IMMANUEL LUTHERAN CHURCH-Cairo
MARTIN TEMPLE CHRISTIAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH-CAIRO
MOUNT ORANGE BAPTIST CHURCH-CAIRO
MOUNT UNION BAPTIST CHURCH-CAIRO
MOUNT ZION CHURCH-CACHE
MOUNT ZION CHURCH-THEBES
ROCK SPRINGS CHURCH PICNICS
ST. JOSEPH CATHOLIC CHURCH
SECOND FREE BAPTIST CHURCH-CAIRO
SEXTON CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH
TAMMS FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
THEBES FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
THEBES METHODIST CHURCH
ELCO METHODIST CHURCH
Picture taken in 2004 and provided by Stephen Newell
Excerpts taken from the One Hundredth Year Anniversary booklet, dated October 28, 1979.
Before Elco came into existence about the year 1867 several gentlemen built a large hewn log building at what was then known as Hazelwoodtown, and later called Schillings Creek. There the first services of the new Methodist Church were held. In those days services were conducted by the Circuit Riders and the only salary was a free will offering. Miss Paralee Williams was christened in this building at the age of four years by the Rev. Foss. Paralee Williams Kee was the last surviving member of the original church.
About the year 1875, the church was moved to the new town of Elco. Services were held in the upstairs of the Briley Building and was called Briley Chapel. The people worshiped here for about three years.
During the winter of 1878 donated labor under the supervision of Miles Cauble, W. W. White, Croft Braddy, and Miles Coleman, Sr., cut timber on the farm of Miles Cauble to construct a new church. The timber had to be snaked out on the snow by the use of a "lizzard." This was a crudely constructed drag made from a forked tree and smoothed off on the under side to slide on the ground or snow and the front end of the log was placed on this for moving. In the bitter cold of that winter this timber was moved into Elco to the sawmill of Ben Duncan and the pattern for the present church was cut. All the weather boarding and finished material was planed by hand, as modern tools were unknown in those days.
In April 1879, Lafayette and Nancy Whitaker agreed to sell the church Lots No. 7 and 8 in the Whitaker's Addition to the town of Elco for the sum of $20.00. They would not give the church a deed until the building was completed and a dedication service was held. In the cornerstone of the church was placed the following: A Holy Bible, a Methodist Discipline, a hymn book and a copy of the county newspaper. The cost of the building was about $800.00.
The trustees of this church were the following: Thomas Smithey, H. F. Putnam, C. E. Miller, James W. Durham, Miles Cauble, Salmon Hazelwood, and J. W. Renfro. The first minister was Rev. John Harris. All of the material with the exception of the plaster and wainscoating is still within the walls of this church. At that time the church was heated by two wood and coal burning stoves and the pastor was often a school teacher and janitor.
In 1949 the membership, under the pastorate of Rev. A. N. Burris decided to remodel the church. A basement was dug and the church was moved approximately fifty feet East and thirty feet North to it's present site. The church was completely remodeled inside and out with an annex built on the East side. Services were held in the basement while the sanctuary was being finished. The building program was completed in 1950 and a dedication service was held. A baby grand piano was purchased at that time.
In 1952 new pews were added. A chord organ was purchased in memory of Harriet Cauble Van Sandt. New offering plates and a new Bible were purchased in memory of Effie Greer, and the estate of Joshua Cauble left a sum of money to be used for upkeep of the church. With this a new heating and air conditioning system was installed. A bathroom was installed about 1979 with money given by Cleta Cauble Moore's family. And a new bulletin board was erected about this same time by Donald Jordan.
--Sunday, 7 Sep 1879, Cairo Daily Bulletin; transcribed by Darrel Dexter--The M. E. church that is being built (in Elco) under the supervision of Esq. Samuel Briley, promises to be a very neat structure.
FIRST CENTRAL M. B. CHURCH
CHURCH TO CELEBRATE 106TH ANNIVERSARY
First Central M. B.
Church is celebrating their 106th church anniversary on Sunday, April
27 (2014) at 3 p.m. The theme is from Revelations 3:8, "The
Church with an open door." "I know thy works: behold, I
have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for
thous hast a little strength and hast kept my word and hast not denied
Dinner will be served about 1:30 in the Fellowship Hall at 2601 Sycamore in Cairo. --The Cairo Citizen, April 24, 2014.
FOURTEENTH STREET BAPTIST CHURCH
so long a time, the Fourteenth Street colored Baptist church is being
crowned with its cupola. It will add very considerably to the
appearance of the structure. --Cairo Daily Bulletin, July 23,
1879; transcribed by Darrel Dexter.
The new cupola and spire of the colored Baptist church reminds one
so strongly of a shut-up telescope, that the impulse to climb up and
pull it out about three joints is almost irresistible. --Cairo
Daily Bulletin, Aug 9, 1879; transcribed by Darrel Dexter.
ROCK SPRINGS CHURCH PICNICS
Contributed by Evelyn Caldwell
Rock Springs was a popular spot for picnics and gatherings in early years. I have pictures of large church gatherings, picnics held at the springs especially on Easter Sundays. No one is available today, that can identify the participants. Recorded in church records in September 1, 1912, the Thebes Baptist Church would hold a Sunday-School Convention and Picnic at the Rock Springs area. The Sunday school lesson was taught and a basket dinner enjoyed at 12:00 on that day. Area churches providing exercises during the afternoon were the Thebes Baptist Church, Pence Baptist Church, Beech Grove Church, Methodist Church of Thebes and the Fayville Missionary Baptist Church. Everyone was asked to bring baskets well filled and make this the best convention ever held in the county. The Iron Mountain Railroad was also asked to stop at Rock Springs on this day and their request was granted. Some of the names listed on the program are W. J. Margrave, John T. Bishop, P.C. Shaver, C. W. Gillespie, M. V. Norris, Andrew J. Honey, D. W. Sammons, J. G. Sadler, Blanche F. Miller, Rev. R. J. Mitchell, Harry Brown, and Lloyd F. Cox. A neighbor received this program from Gaynelle Berndt. The Pence School stands today along Rock Springs Road. The Church was located across the creek from the school and later moved to the present day site of the Rock Springs Baptist Church. The original church burnt and was re-built.
NOTE: Martha Ann Kelley Vines states that this photo is a 1905 Thebes School picture. She has an exact copy of the image. Her great-aunt Letha Douglas and her grandfather, Owen Kelley, can be identified.
(If you have history of this church, please email.)
THEBES FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
Picture courtesy of Ron Mansker
Information contributed by Evelyn Caldwell
First Baptist Church, Thebes, Illinois
1841 - 1941
The First Baptist Church of Thebes, Illinois, was first organized as ‘Sexton Creek Baptist Church’. The following information was copied from the Historical Resume of the Churches prepared by the church clerks in August of 1900 for the Clear Creek Baptist Association’s annual book. Sexton’s Creek located at Thebes , Illinois, is recorded in the minutes of 1841, but the clerk, Sister Amy A. Corzine, writes that the records of the early days of the church are misplaced or destroyed, and all the older members are dead. However, a notable event in the history of the church was the entertainment of the association in 1861. At that time, General Sterling Price’s command was shelling the woods across the Mississippi River, and Jeff Thompson’s band was everywhere and nowhere in particular; hence the association was very fearful of being “took in,” for Baptists are always patriots. It is said that they met, organized, appointed committees, heard their reports without discussion, and a majority of them started home before supper! As the association in those days held an all-day session, without stopping for dinner, it is probable that the membership had less burdens of hospitality than for any session before or since. The association also met with this church in 1843. In 1869, the church was reorganized and changed its name to the Union Baptist Church of Thebes, Illinois. The first service was held in the Liberty School just two miles east of Thebes. Union Baptist Church remained the name of the church until 1879 when it changed back to ‘Sexton Creek’. In 1906, the name of the church was changed to the First Baptist Church of Thebes.
In August 1879 the church bought the building known as the courthouse for $242.50. They worshipped in this building until 1900. They sold the building for $500. and deposited the money in the Sturdivant Bank at Cape Girardeau. In September 1879 Mrs. Merida and Cyrille A. Marchildon donated a bell to the church. In October 1879 Elder Bernard Reeves preached the dedication sermon found in I Kings 8:13. Lots were bought in the Brawn Subdivision for $50.00 on which to erect a new building. This building was destroyed by a wind storm in 1921, during the pastorate of Rev. H. B. Atherton and was replaced by the present brick structure. The church purchased the adjoining property east of the church in 1954 to be used as an educational building, which has since been rebuilt for use as a parsonage. New pews and furniture were added in 1959. A new addition in 1969 included classrooms, choir room, a baptistry and rest rooms. The pastor in 2006 was Carl Fisher.
Note: To the right of the picture you will notice the railroad bridge across the Mississippi River and also the Old Thebes Cemetery.
Source: Alexander County Illinois: History & Families 1819-1989. Volume I-1989. Paducah, Kentucky: Turner Publishing Co., 1989.
Page 40, Louise P. Ogg and Monica L. Smith..
(cited with permission of MLS: 07/06/2010)
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