Metamora Baptist Church
Woodford County, Illinois

History of the Baptist Churches of  Woodford County, Illinois
By  A.F.Marshall,  A.B. (Shurtleff College 1879), who has been closely identified with the history of the Baptist Churches of this county for more than fifty years, 1913

CHAPTER III. The Metamora Baptist Church.

The Metamora Baptist church was organized December 26th, 1850, with 12 members, who were originally from Vermont, New York and New Hampshire. They were as follows: Elder August B. Cramb, Jonathan Sherman, James A. Sherman, Samuel Butterfield, Win. Fisher, Isabell G. Cramb, Betsy Sherman, Ophelia Sherman, Electa Sherman, Marie Sherman, Mrs. Mary Butterfield, Mrs. Abbie Fisher. Elders H. G. Weston, G. S. Baily and E S Freeman were present at the organization.

The nearest Baptist churches were Richland, five miles north and Washington, seven miles south. Elder Cramb, who had recently been ordained at Richland and preached here some time previous to the organization of a church under the patronage of the American Baptist Home Missionary Society, became the first pastor. The church united with the Association in June 1851, having 18 members. Owing to poor health Elder Cramb could not preach all the time and Elder J. M. Stooky preached every alternate Sabbath during the ill health of Elder Cramb.

In the year 1852, arrangements were made to inclose the meeting house. In the spring of 1853 the church enjoyed an interesting revival, the pastor being assisted by Elder G. W. Benton and G. S. Baily. The meeting was held in the Congregational church, where Elder Cramb had been invited to preach every alternate Sabbath. A general awakening took place thru all the community and additions were made to all the churches. At the next meeting of the Association the church reported 31 baptisms and 62 members. In the fall of 1853, owing to the failing health of Elder Cramb, he was compelled to resign; hoping that the climate of the Pacific coast would help him, he accepted an appointment of the Home Mission Society to go to Oregon as a missionary. A little later he was compelled to abandon the idea and in June 1855 he went to St. Cloud, Minn., but his health still failing he visited New York for medical aid in September 1856. He hoped to spend the winter in the south, but being too feeble to stand the trip, he returned to Metamora and died February 19th, 1857, closing his labors as a faithful church minister at thirty years of age. In February 1854 Elder C. D. Merrit became pastor of the church, preaching every alternate Sabbath, and in 1854 the church reported four baptisms and 76 members. During the summer of 1854, the house having been completed, it was dedicated November 22nd, 1854. It was a brick structure costing about $2000. Toward this building Deacon Jonathan Bacheller, of Lynn, Mass., had contributed $200. In the spring of 1855 Elder S. A. Estee assisted the pastor in a series of meetings during which three were baptized, the total membership being 81. In the fall of 1855, Elder Merrit being removed to Washburn and the church desiring his services all the time, he resigned as pastor of the Metamora church. G. S. Baily became pastor in December 1815 and in February 1856 Elder Benjamin Thomas assisted the pastor in a series of meetings and eight persons were baptized, making the membership at that time 83. The deacons were James A. Sherman, Joseph K. Stitt and Matthew Tool; clerk, Edgar Babcock. Elder Berry served the church as pastor for a few years. I am not able to find out hew long he was there and the records being lost I can not tell who the last pastors of the church were. The building was conveyed to the German Evangelical Reformed Lutheran on May 10th, 1892, by the following trustees; J. A. McGuire, Matthew Toole and J. E. Stitt.

History of the Illinois River Baptist Association and of Its Churches
by Gilbert S. Bailey, 1857
Metamora
Metamora is the county seat of Woodford county. The Baptist church was constituted there Dec. 26, 1850, with twelve members, who were originally from Vermont, New Hampshire and New York. They were elder Augustus B. Cramb, Jeduthan Sherman, James A. Sherman, Samuel Butterfield, Wm. Fisher, Isabella G. Cramb, Betsey Sherman, Ophelia Sherman, Electa Sherman, Maria Sherman, Mrs. Butterfield and Mrs. Fisher. Elders H. G. Weston, G. S. Bailey and E. S. Freeman were present at the organization.

The nearest Baptist churches were at Richland, five miles north and Washington, seven miles south. The population in the field of this church was about 1,000. In the same field were Congregational, Episcopal, Campbellite and Methodist churches and some Presbyterians. Elder Cramb had been recently ordained in the Richland church and had preached here some time previous to the formation of the church, under the patronage of the Am. Baptist Home Mission Society. He was pastor of the church from its organization, preaching for them when his health would permit.

The church united with the Association in June, 1851, and then had 18 members. An early effort was made for the erection of a house of worship. But this was no small undertaking for so feeble a band. In 1852 they reported members. Elder Cramb had been laid aside by ill-health a part of the year, and elder J. M. Stickney preached every other Sabbath during the interruption of elder Cramb's labors. This year they made arrangements to enclose their meeting-house.

In the spring of 1853 the church enjoyed an interesting revival of religion. The pastor was assisted in a series of meetings by elders G. W. Benton and G. S. Bailey. The meetings were held in the Congregational house of worship, where elder Cramb had been invited to preach each alternate Sabbath, as the Baptist meeting-house was not then in a condition to be used.   A general awakening took place through all the community and additions were made to all the churches. At the next Association the church reported 31 baptisms and 62 members. Two of those baptized are now preparing for the ministry. The health of elder Cramb continued to fail, and in the fall of 1853 he was compelled to resign the charge of the church, being entirely unable to preach. Hoping that the climate of the Pacific coast would be conducive to his health and enable him to preach again, he accepted an appointment of the Home Mission Society to go to Oregon as a missionary, but subsequently he was obliged to relinquish the idea. In June, 1855, he removed to St. Cloud, Minnesota. But his health continued to decline, and in Sept., 1856, he visited New York to obtain medical aid. He intended to spend the winter in the South, but became too feeble to endure the journey. After visiting a short time with his wife's friends in Galesburg, he returned to Metamora in November, and remained in the family of the present pastor of the church until his decease, which occurred Feb. 19, 1857. His end was serenely peaceful and his death was universally lamented. He was a man of clear, comprehensive and vigorous mind, of earnest and devoted piety, and was eminently useful in the ministry during the short period he was permitted to labor. He was thirty years of age at his death.


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