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Christian Churches in Brown County
The Restoration Movement in Illinois: Brown County

Source: History of the Disciples in Illinois; 1819-1914, pages 117 - 121
Transcribed by Sara Hemp

The Restoration Movement in Illinois: Brown County


Organized 1881, by T. W. Cottingham, present membership, 103; value of property, $1,000; Bible school began 1881; present enrollment, 81.

Before this date Mins. A. P. Stewart, Cottingham, Patterson and Stanley had preached here. Like all village churches, this has lost many by the continual change of people. However, this one is still vigorous.

Hazel Dell (Mt. Sterling).

Organized 1870, by Minister Robison; present membership, 70; value of property, $600; Bible school began 1870; present enrollment, 89.

The location is two miles east of Mt. Sterling, on the Ripley road. The chapel was built the same year. The work has been regularly and faithfully maintained, although subject to constant changes in the community. Among the leaders in the earlier days were George Kendrick, Lemuel Coppage, John Dennis and Lewis C. Perry. Mr. Perry was the efficient superintendent of the Bible school for many years.

Mt. Sterling.

Organized 1838, by John Taylor; present membership, 383, value of property, $10,000; Bible-school enrollment, 300.

The first preachers of the Christian Church came to Brown County as early as 1836, and began their work among the scattered pioneer settlers in the vicinity of Mt. Sterling. They were strong, rugged men, deeply rooted in the gospel, and staunch advocates of the Restoration movement. Among these were John B. Curl, Alexander Reynolds, Thomas Brockman, Barton W. Stone, John Rigdon, Jacob Creath, James Ross, W. P. Bowles, Pardee Butler (of Kansas fame), Robert Foster, with an occasional sermon by Alexander Campbell.

John Price, a well-to-do farmer residing two miles east of Mt. Sterling, was one of the first to identify himself with the new movement. He became the most active servant of the Lord. Meetings for preaching, prayer and communion were held in his home, and others in the village in an old blacksmith and wagon shop and next in the courthouse. The first chapel was built in 1853 and still stands on the original site. The city owns it.

The next preachers were D. P. Henderson, J. S. Sweeney and John Taylor, the latter of whom for many years was the resident minister of the church. He was a man of modest mien and limited education, but had large native ability both as a preacher and leader of men. His long and faithful service gave permanency to this church and introduced the gospel into other communities. Evangelist W. H. Brown also helped the church much.

The pastorate of J. F. Stewart was especially fruitful in both spiritual and material results. On lots that were given to the congregation by him and George F. Tebo the present building was finished in 1887. This was enlarged and reconstructed during the pastorate of Mr. Lorton. The church is well organized and carrying on aggressive work under Mr. L. G. Huff's capable leading.

New Salem (Mt. Sterling)

Organized 1875, by J. T. Smith; Bible school began 1875.

Four miles north of Mt. Sterling, at the Bell Schoolhouse, a congregation of about fifty members was formed. Among them were some excellent families. Meetings were held regularly on the Lord's Days. In 1877 a chapel was built nearer town, which is known as above written. The pastors at Mt. Sterling have usually served this congregation.


Organized 1842, by John Taylor; present membership, 72 value of property, $4,000; Bible-school enrollment, 112.

For many years Alpheus Brown, a pioneer preacher, resided here and cared for this congregation. During this period it grew steadily and came to have near three hundred members, who controlled the bulk of the wealth in the village and community. Later the church was divided by the Seventh-day Advents and has never regained its power and influence. Ministers Taylor and Brown were the chief factors in its growth. Associated with them as active servants of God there were P. A. Hows, Marion Stout, Nancy Tebo, W. A. Clark, John Adams. L. D. Stoffer. S. Glen, Mrs. Hawkins and Mrs. Hardin. Some of its later preachers were J. S. Sweeney, Mr. Price, J. T. Smith, C. H. Patterson, A. P. Stewart and Mr. Stanley.

A modern house of worship was built in 1904. J. D. Williams is the present pastor.


Organized 1868, by P. D. Vermillion; present membership, 194; value of property, $12,000; Bible school began 1868; present enrollment, 210.

The former name of this town was Mound Station. Previous to 1868 there were some scattered Disciples of Christ in the community, among them Mr. Laughlin, the Coopers, Webb, Oliver Ausmus and other good men. A strong congregation was organized and a good house built.

The ministers who served the church were Wm. Gressom, Mr. McPherson, D. R. Lucas, T. W. Cottingham, A. P. Stewart, T. M. Weaver and E.
T. Lampton. Two public discussions were held in this house. In 1878, A. P. Stewart met Minister Yates, of the Missionary Baptists. In 1879, D. R. Lucas met
Minister Thompson, of the Regular Baptists.

This is a strong church. Pastor W. A. Taylor led in the erection of the present fine structure.


Organized 1869, by W. S. Henry; value of property, including parsonage, $5,300.

Mr. Henry was one of the first elders and A. G. Lucas the first minister. The growth in numbers was slow. In 1874 the frame of a new church building was swept away by a storm. Renewed determination soon rebuilt it. In its earlier years George F. Adams and A. P. Stewart held successful meetings, when some of the most influential people of the community were included in its membership. This church has done good work. During Mr. Bassett's pastorate A. P. Cobb led in a great meeting.

A new and modern building was erected in 1907 during the pastorate of R. S. Campbell.

The church is doing aggressive work.


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


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


New Salem Church, near Timewell, was organized 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. 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, 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.
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 (incomplete list due to loss of records).
Church and Family History Research Assistance for Primitive Baptist Churches in Brown County, Illinois]


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


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

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