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Crawford County, Missouri

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Baptist.—The Steelville Baptist Church, of Steelville, was organized about 1836, when there were but a few log houses in the town; but some time subsequently the organization was removed to the country for the better accommodation of the few scattered members. This organization, so removed, at length became the nucleus of Bethel Church. In 1856 this long abandoned field again attracted the attention of the Baptist denomination. Rev. E. R. Fort, who was living near Steelville at the time, made occasional visits, and preached as opportunity presented itself; and, after due deliberation, the organization of a church was decided upon. A council convened in the Masonic building. May 31, 1856, consisting of Rev. E. R. Fort, L. G. Rutter and J. B. Smith, together with several deacons of sister churches, and on that day organized the Steelville Baptist Church. The constituent members were Samuel Bunyard, John and Elizabeth E., Keziah Anderson, J. B. Smith, Parthenia , Rev. E. R. Fort, Harriet Fort, Gustavus F. Fort, Walter S. Hopkins, Ann Eggers, J. R. Arnold, A. R. Dyson, Elmedia A. Robinson, Harriet England, William Campbell and Sarah A. Farrar. The first members taken into the church, after its organization, were A. R. Dyson, Miss Rowena Hawkins, Mrs. Catharine Maxwell and Mrs. Levica Wilkinson. The church struggled along for several years, weak in members, influence and financial ability, and without a house of worship, meeting only once each month in private houses and other places, until, in 1874, Elder G. Seymour, of Lebanon, Mo., visited the town, and through his encouragement and assistance the church decided to erect a house of worship. A subscription paper was circulated, a lot was donated by R. G. Clark (now of Colorado), and work was commenced on the building in May, 1874. With some assistance from St. Louis, Rolla, Salem, Washington County and the Franklin Association, the house was built, at a cost of about $1,200. It was completed and ready for dedication in the following December. The amount expended in its erection was collected from over 200 persons, mainly in sums of 25 cents and upward, the largest contribution being that of Capt. Joe Davis, now of California, notwithstanding he was not a church member. The congregation met in their new house of worship, for the first time, December 23, 1874. On Sunday, the 27th, the church was dedicated—Rev. R. S. D. Caldwell making the opening prayer, and the Rev. Joseph Walker, of Rolla, Mo., delivering the sermon. The closing prayer was made by the Rev. E. R. Fort, the first pastor of the church. The church was admitted into the fellowship of Franklin Association in August, 1856, and in July, 1880, a letter of dismission from this association was asked for, in order to join the Meramec Association, which union was effected in the following October.


The pastors of the church have been as follows: Rev. E. R. Fort, commencing in 1856; Rev. R. S. D. Caldwell, in 1864; Rev. E. R. Fort, in 1865; Rev. J. S. Rice, in 1868; Rev. R. S. D. Caldwell, in 1870; Rev. G. Seymour, 1874; Rev. A. M. Johnson, 1875; Rev. George Boulsher, 1877; Rev. A. F. Randall, 1878; Rev. R O. Lowers, 1880; Rev. Thomas E. Carr, 1882; and the Rev. T. A. Bowman, in November, 1884, present pastor. The church building was enlarged, repaired and refurnished, at a cost of $400. The membership of the church is now about 100, and the Sunday-school, of which J. M. Sanders is the superintendent, has eight teachers and officers, and about seventy-five scholars. The thirtieth anniversary of the church was celebrated May 30, 1886. At this time W. M. Robinson read an interesting paper on the history of the church, from which, by permission, most of the above facts were obtained.


Mount Pleasant Baptist Church was established about 1850. It is situated in Section 30, Township 40, Range 5 west. The original membership of the church was about thirty, and their first building (a frame one) was erected at a cost of $350. The first minister was a Rev. Mr. David, and the present minister is the Rev. Benjamin Leach.


Bethel Missionary Baptist Church was organized in 1846, by Rev. R. S. D. Caldwell, with the following members: Rev. R. S. D. Caldwell, Obadiah Ferguson and W. J. Devol, and their wives. A log house of worship was built immediately upon organization, which, with an addition, is used to the present time. Its location is Keysville. Bethel is the mother church of nearly all the Baptist Churches in Crawford County, and of many in other counties, and she has now about thirty members. Her pastors have been Rev. E. A. Hight, for about twenty years; Revs. J. R. Hamlin, C. H. Smith, Robert Fortune, P. D. Cooper and T. E. Carr.


First Baptist Church of Cuba was organized December 17, 1870, by Rev. W. O. Gibson, Joseph Steel and William Deffebach, with the following members: James B. Simpson, Mary Simpson, D. B. Snody, Mary A. Snody, J. H. Short and Nancy J. Short, in a log schoolhouse, one and a half miles northeast of the present town of Cuba. At that time the little log schoolhouse was surrounded by forests. Religious services were held in private houses until the Presbyterian Church edifice was built, when that was used for some time, but, owing to what the Baptists considered too high rent, services were then held again in private houses and other places until the completion of the present church building, by this organization, in 1885-86. It was dedicated by Rev. S. M. Brown, assisted by Rev. T. A. Bowman, Rev. C. A. Cooper and Rev. W. D. Turner. The building is a frame one, 21x4:0 feet in size, and cost about $800. The pastors have been Rev. W. O. Gibson, commencing in 1870; Rev. N. O. Sowers, 1874; Rev. A. M. Johnson, 1876; Rev. George W. Boulsher, 1877; Rev. J. H. Hamlin, 1880; Rev. T. A. Bowman, 1886; and Rev. J. A. Hamlin, August, 1887. At present the membership is about twenty-eight. The Sunday-school was organized immediately after the dedication of the new church building. Its first superintendent was Mrs. Mary A. Snody, and its present superintendent is William Jesturs, who has been church clerk since 1874. The assistant superintendent is Z. T. Maxwell. There are four officers, three teachers and about thirty scholars.


Cook's Station Baptist Church was organized March 8, 1879, by Rev. A. F. Randall, T. E. Carr and John Godby. The following were the first members: Richard Roberts and wife; William Taff; C. B. Vaughan and wife; John B. Roberts and wife; Thomas M. Roberts and wife; Mrs. Sarah Roberts; T. E. Carr and wife; Charles H. Lay and John M. Lay. The schoolhouse in District No. 1, Township 36, Range 5 west, is used for religious worship. The pastors have been Revs. T. E. Carr and John Godby. The membership is now twenty-four, and, though composed of men of wealth, the congregation has been for some time without a minister.


The following summary of the Baptist Churches in Crawford County Avas furnished by Rev. J. R. Hamlin: "The Meramec Baptist Association, the first in Crawford County, and a part of Washington County, was organized November 11, 1870, with six churches, three ordained ministers and 143 members. At that time there were but five Baptist Church buildings in Crawford County, worth about $1,100. At the present time the association has twenty-one churches in her fellowship, thirteen ordained ministers and 869 members; and in Crawford County there are twelve church buildings, worth $63,000, and there are seven Baptist Churches worshiping in schoolhouses, and in union church buildings." The Meramec Association has been in existence eighteen years, and of this time Rev. J. R. Hamlin has been moderator twelve years.


Cumberland Presbyterian.—Steelville Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized about 1845, by the Rev. John E. Braley, with R. C. Dunlap and Samuel Lofton as elders. Up to 1850 religious services were held in the courthouse, except that occasionally they were held in the schoolhouse which stood in the south part of the town. The seminary building was erected in 1851, under the authority of the St. Louis Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and this seminary building was used as a sanctuary on Sundays until 1868, when the basement of the Masonic Hall was rented and fitted up as a church. Here services were held until the completion of the present frame church building, standing on Seminary Street north of the railroad, erected in 1874, at a cost of about $2,500. It is 35x55 feet in size, and was dedicated in 1874, by Dr. C. H. Bell, of St. Louis. The first pastor of this church was the Rev. John E. Braley, who was succeeded by his brother, the Rev. James B. Braley, in 1844, who remained until 1851. The succeeding pastors, with the dates of the commencements of their pastorates, have been the Revs. I. B. Allen, 1852; James B. Braley, 1855; W. P. Renick, 1859; James B. Braley, 1867; E. M. Johnson, 1875; James B. Braley, 1877; W. T. Rogers, 1883; J. P. Campbell, 1884; and W. D. Hawkins, 1887. The membership of the church at present is eighty-one. Services are held every second and fourth Sunday in each month. The Sunday-school was organized in 1883. Of this school J. C. Jadwin is the superintendent. Previous to 1883 the children attended the Union Sunday-school.


Pleasant Point Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized in 1858, by Rev. James B. Braley. The original members were Addison Adams and wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Palmer, Mrs. Eliza J. Kessler, Joseph Collins, Mrs. Emeline Haley, Mrs. Margaret Laney, and J. A. Key and wife. The first place of meeting wa& Pleasant Point schoolhouse, near which, in 1882, a neat one story box church building, having a capacity of 250, was erected at a cost of $300. It stands on Section 1, Township 37, Range 5 west, and was dedicated in 1883 by Rev. J. M. Phillips. The pastors have been Revs. James B. Braley, I. C. Ritchey, I. G. Eaton, E. M. Johnson, W. D. Hawkins, J. M. Phillips, W. T. Rogers, J. P. Campbell and, at the present time, Rev. W. D. Hawkins. The present membership is 115, and the church is in an active, prosperous condition.


Crooked Creek Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized about 1834, by Frank Braley. The first members were J. Givens and wife, Obadiah, William, Elijah and John Key, John Dunlap and wife, W. Carter and wife, Mary Key, Richard Stafford and wife, and Reuben Vaughan and wife. Originally the Baptists and Presbyterians built a union log house, but disagreeing, the Presbyterians built a church of their own, also a log house, in which they have worshiped about forty-eight years. The pastors have been the Revs. Jonathan Burris, Jacob Clark, Solomon Brown, John E. Braley, I. C. Ritchey, E. M. Johnson, George Brown, A. A. Johnson, J. W. Dobbs, James B. Braley and Isaac Eaton. The membership now is about thirty-five.


Canaan Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized about 1862. It is located in the southwest part of the county, on the St. Louis, Salem & Little Rock Railroad, near the county line. Rev. E. R. Jones was probably the first pastor. Originally the church had about thirty members, and started off quite vigorously, and until within about a year had regular preaching. Rev. E. M. Johnson became pastor about 1876, and conducted a series of very interesting meetings. He remained some eighteen months, and was succeeded by Rev. W. D. Hawkins, who remained about two years. Then followed the Rev. J. W. Ritchey, for three years; Rev. W. D. Hawkins, for three years, and then the Rev, J. M. Phillips. The membership is about twenty. The church building erected in 1881 is a tw^o-story frame, the upper story being used for a Masonic Hall, and cost about $500.


Union Cumberland Presbyterian Church is located on Huzzah Creek, twelve miles east of Steelville, and was organized about the same time with the Steelville Church, by Rev. I. B. Allen, who was a very efficient worker. At the present time the church has about sixty members, but has no regular preacher, though it is in a very sound financial condition.


Black Jack Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized in 1878, by Rev. James B. Braley, who preached for about a year, built and dedicated the church edifice. He was followed by G. W. Dobbs. who remained about six months, and was followed by the Rev. W. D. Hawkins, who also remained nearly six months. Since then there has been no regular preaching. At the present time the church has about twenty members. The most noted character connected with this church is Mrs. Martha Coppedge, who was the principal actor in securing the erection of the church edifice.


Bethesda Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized in the fall of 1844, by a division of the Meramec congregation, the line dividing the two congregations being the line dividing Franklin and Washington Counties, some four or five miles below the Bethesda camp ground. The first elders were Bartlett Martin and William Crow, and the pastor Jacob Clark, who had been the pastor before the division. The members thus organizing Bethesda Church numbered thirty-three. Rev. James B. Braley was pastor in 1854, and A. O. Melvin in 1865. This church was afterward absorbed by the Boone Creek congregation.


Presbyterian.—The First Presbyterian Church of Cuba resulted from efforts begun in August, 1865, by Rev. S. B. Shaw, then preaching in Crawford, Phelps, Dent and Franklin Counties. Interest was so awakened that by June 10, 1866, enough persons were found willing to organize themselves into a church. The following were the members: Rev. S. B. Shaw, and Mrs. Mary Ann Shaw, his wife; John and Eliza Fleming, Armstrong Glassey, J. N. Amsden, Isaac Glassey,Miss Hannah McCartney, Samuel Wilson and Mrs. Jane Greig. A confession of faith, and a covenant and a constitution were adopted. On October 7 Mrs. S. Wilson and Archibald Fleming were admitted into the church. The first elders elect of the church were John Fleming, William McMullen and Isaac Wiley, but Mr. McMullen declining to serve, there were but two ordained on November 20, 1868. The church was incorporated by the county court November 11, 1867, with twenty-six members. A frame church building was erected in 1870, costing $2,100, and is still used by the congregation. Rev. S. N. Mitchell came to this church as pastor in August, 1871; Rev. J. N. Annon in November, 1880, and is still the pastor. The membership of the church at present is about forty. C. R. Hitch is the superintendent of the Sunday-school, which has ten teachers, four officers and about forty-five scholars.


United Presbyterian.—Pleasant Ridge United Presbyterian Church was organized by the Rev. N. A. Whitehill, with John W. Hamilton and wife, Thomas B. Hamilton and wife, Eliza Morgan, T. N. Barnes and wife, Fannie Edwards and A. W. Grossman and wife as members. A frame church building- was erected in 1887, for $500. It stands on Section 2, Township 39, Range 5 west. The present membership is thirty. The first officers were N. A. Whitehill, pastor; Thomas B. Hamilton, trustee; A. B. Hamilton, secretary and treasurer, and A. M. Munrow and John W. Hamilton, elders. The present officers are N. A. Whiteliill, pastor; A. B. Hamilton, Thomas M. Barnes and H. M. McCoukey, trustees; and A. M. Munrow and John W. Hamilton, elders.


Methodist.—The First Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1872 ; a class, however, had been organized a number of years before the war by the Rev. J. S. Harris, with about twelve members, as follows: Dr. T. P. Martyn and wife, John Poor, Miss Mollie Poor, Mrs. Roderick, Louisa Poor and Eliza Poor, Mrs. Elizabeth Harris, Miss Emma M. Harris, Samuel Curtis, Philip Reser, Albert Crandall and wife, and Mr. Kimball and wife. Services were held in the grove when the weather would permit, in private houses, in the Presbyterian Church, and other places, until August, 1885, when the present frame church building was erected. It is 28x50 feet in size, and cost about ^1,500. The pastors have been the Revs. N. H. Buck, 1872; Melancthon Smith, 1873; J. S. Harris, 1874; J. N. Moore, 1875; A. H. , 1876; W. V. Hamil, 1878; Charles S. Revelle, 1880; John Clark, 1882; N. E. Boyce, 1884, and G. A. Glens, 1886. The present membership of the church is forty-seven. The Sunday-school was organized in 1885, with Samuel Curtis, superintendent, and who is now the superintendent. It now has twelve officers and teachers, and about sixty-five scholars.


Union Chapel, Methodist Episcopal, Oak Hill Township, was established about 1840, by James R. Burke. The first members were John Taylor and wife, H. R. Pinnell, William Spencer and two sisters. Wesley and Arthur Hawkins, Mary Hancock, Ellen Burke and a few others. The first church building was a log one erected in 1841. Built by the neighbors, it cost but little money, though it was a large, good building. The present frame structure was erected in 1876, at a cost of $600. It stands in Section 34, Township 40, Range 5 west, and was dedicated by John C. Williams, in 1883. The pastors have been Revs. D. F. Renfroe, AV. F. Young, J. M. Peace, John Dennis, Mr. Adkison, Andrew Fenton and J. W. Johnson. The present membership is about sixty-five, and there is a flourishing Sunday-school connected with the church. The site of this church has been a noted camp-meeting ground. There are seven acres of ground devoted to this purpose, and from 1842 to 1885 camp meetings were held annually, lasting about two weeks each time. In 1845 the camps were destroyed by fire, but the church soon rebuilt them, and carried on the work until 1885, since when it has been abandoned.


Providence Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1860 by Eev. A. J. Fields; Jacob M. Baker and Josiah Wilson were the stewards, and G. W. Forbes, class leader. The full membership was James Baker, John Baker, Martha Baker, John Kellison, Jonah Willison and wife, James Willison and wife, Thomas Smith and wife, Mary Smith, John Poor and three daughters, Aury Boehm and Kebecca Eussell. The present membership is ten.


Other Methodist Episcopal Churches located in Crawford County are the Barnacle Methodist Episcopal Church, Wilson's Mills Methodist Episcopal Church, Delhi Methodist Episcopal Church, Knob View Methodist Episcopal Church, Iron Center Methodist Episcopal Church, and Davisville Methodist Episcopal Church.


One of the incidents connected with the ministry of this church in Crawford County, worthy of preservation, is the following: Rev. Stanford Ing was accustomed to preach at Cuba previous to the war. Just at the breaking out of the war, when excitement ran high against the Methodist Episcopal Church, on account of its attitude toward slavery and secession, it was understood that it was the intention of those opposed to Mr. Ing's preaching to mob him on a certain Sunday. He took his place in the pulpit, however, on that Sunday, his parishioners and friends arming themselves in anticipation of trouble, and taking their seats in the congregation. A spy sent to the church to learn the situation of affairs, reported the armed condition of the congregation, and no attack was made. But the Rev. Mr. Ing, tired of annoyances and persecutions of this kind, said that if he could not be permitted to preach, he would fight, and went into the Union army, serving with distinction as captain through the war.


The Methodist Episcopal Church South, of Steelville, was organized in May, 1886, with thirteen members. A church building was erected at a cost of $1,100, Rev. S. Richmond being pastor at the time. The building was dedicated in May, 1887, by Dr. F. E. Hill. The membership of the church is now twenty six, and the pastor, Rev. L. F. Aspley. James N. Johnson is the superintendent of the Sunday-school, which has about forty scholars.


Episcopal.—St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, of Cuba, was organized in 1880 by Bishop Robertson, who appointed George S. Robertson, warden, and J. E. Hollow, secretary and treasurer. The first members of this church were Mrs. E. H. Newman, Ramsey Robertson, Mrs. S. D. Green, Daniel Curtis and Mrs. Georgiana Hollow. Services were held in private houses, in a room over a store, in the Presbyterian Church, in the United Brethren Church and other places until 1883, when a frame church building, 22x42, was erected, at a cost of $800. It stands on the southwest corner of Block 52. The rectors have been the Rev. Mr. Dunlap, from Kirkwood, and the Rev. William Johnson, of Rolla, who is now the rector. The members now number about seventeen. The children attend the Union Sunday-school.


Catholic.—The Catholic Church of Cuba was established before the war, from which time until about 1879, mass was celebrated every three or six months by various priests from different cities. In this year a church building was erected—a frame, 20x60 feet in size—which cost about $600, and would seat 300 people. Soon after the building was accepted from the carpenter it was blown down by a cyclone, but since then it has been rebuilt at a cost of $700. At the present time ten or twelve families belong to it, and it is attended from Rolla by Rev.


Father O'Laughlin. The Catholic Church at Leasburg was organized in 1860 by Father Galaher, the members being Patrick Fitzgerald, Dennis Mullin, John O'Brien, William Wallace, Patrick Mullin, John Irvine, Ed. Irvine and Patrick McGrath. In 1881 a frame church building was erected at a cost of $500. Twelve families now belong to this church, and the pastor is Father O'Laughlin.

History Excerpts from ‘History of Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, Crawford, & Gasconade Counties, Missouri’, The Goodspeed Publishing Co. 1888



Last up-dated 09/22/2013

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