and Biographical Sketches of Deceased Ministers.
"The study of our history will evoke and sustain a true denominational spirit, and so minister effectually to the progress and triumph of our distinctive principles. Our fathers labored Itinerating among the new settlements of this country; and planting the seeds of the gospel with the first opening of the soil to cultivation, they understood with distinctness the character of their work, and felt its high inspiration. We shall catch their spirit by studying their deeds."
SEWALL S. CUTTING, D. D.
MARTIN B. ANDERSON, LL.D.
PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER, NEW YORK
This volume embraces the first half-century of the Baptist annals of Central Illinois. The purpose intended in its preparation has been to place upon permanent record such facts connected with the early settlement of the country, and the planting of its religious institutions, as shall show to the present and future generations what interest was taken by the fathers in laying the foundations of society upon the firm basis of the Gospel. The sources from which these facts have been drawn are the very complete records of the Baptist Church in Springfield, and the original records of the Association, together with a complete file of its minutes from its organization to the present time. In addition to these, the minutes of the American Baptist Home Mission Society, and those of the Illinois Baptist Convention, as also of the Baptist General Association of Illinois, have furnished incidental facts which have been woven into the warp and woof of the book.
In addition to the documents thus made use of, valuable information has been furnished from the personal recollection of persons still living, who were among the constituent members of the Association. Of these, and worthy of special mention, is our venerable brother, Josiah Francis, who was a delegate from the Springfield Church to the Association in 1838, and who was also its Treasurer from 1840 until 1850. Intimately connected with all our denominational interests for the last forty-five years, and with his natural vigor of intellect still unabated, he has given from his personal knowledge many facts which hitherto have been preserved only in his memory, but are now embraced in these pages.
The most scrupulous care has been taken to preserve historical data, and to secure accuracy of statement upon every point within the sphere of inquiry proposed. The method chosen has been to let the fathers speak for themselves, in the resolutions which were passed, in the reports made, and in the action taken from year to year in the furtherance of the work of giving the Gospel to the world. The providential planting of our Foreign Missions in Burmah was the era whence dates, if not the beginning, yet the more vigorous growth of the Missionary spirit in our own land.
The impetus given by reports from the foreign field is traceable in the early work of the Association, within its own bounds. The record made by the fathers of forty years ago, shows that whatever elements of weakness were peculiar to the churches, they also had elements of strength; they earnestly contended for the faith once delivered to the Saints, as they understood it. They were sturdy Baptists. They believed something and they did not seek to conceal that faith under any pretentious form of liberality. They were persuaded that they held God's truth and were always ready to declare it. The SUMMARY OF PRINCIPLES which they adopted as their Confession of Faith was, as will be seen, brief and imperfect, yet it served to identify them with the great Baptist family, which was enrolled under the Confession of the seven churches in England, in 1643, and the later and more complete Confession of 1689, which, with emendations, subsequently became known as the Philadelphia Confession.
The earliest Baptist churches in Central Illinois, were constituted, in the main, of members who emigrated from Kentucky, and hence, brought with them the creed-statements of the churches of that State. These creed-statements were, at length, modified by the commingling and intermixture of the New England element, which a few years later came in to do its work in laying the foundations of society in the great west, so that now every church connected with the Springfield Baptist Association holds the New Hampshire Confession, as its Declaration of Faith.
Certificate of Incorporation.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE.
To whom these Presents shall come — Greeting:
WHEREAS, A Certificate duly signed and acknowledged, having been filed in the Office of the Secretary of State, on the eighth day of September, A. D. 1880, for the organization of the
Under and in accordance with the provisions of "An act concerning Corporations," approved April 18th, 1872, and in force July 1, 1872;
Now therefore, I, GEORGE H. HARLOW, Secretary of State of the State of Illinois, by virtue of the powers and duties vested in me by law, do hereby certify that the said
In Testimony whereof, I hereto set my hand, and cause to be affixed the Great Seal of State.
Done at the city of Springfield, this eighth day of September, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and eighty, and of the Independence of the United States, the one hundred and fifth.
GEORGE H. HARLOW,
[L. S] Secretary of State.
IN the year 1830, there were only four Baptist Churches in the State of Illinois, which were what might be termed Missionary Churches. At that time there prevailed very extensively in Illinois, as in nearly every Western State, a spirit of opposition to missionary effort, which cast its chilling influence over society. The heterogeneous character of the population which first settled in those counties embraced within the bounds of the Springfield Baptist Association, so widely differing in origin, habits and education, made the labors of the ministers of Christ at once difficult and arduous.
The United Baptist Church, of Springfield, constituted July 17, 1830, with eight members, adopted the following SUMMARY OF PRINCIPLES. This being the oldest church organization, save one, in the Association, and the one from which several others sprung, adopting the same Summary of Principles, they are worthy of permanent record here. They remained unchanged in the Springfield Church until 1865, when they were superceded by the adoption of the ARTICLES OF FAITH, known as the New Hampshire Confession
1st. We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be of Divine Authority, and the only Infallible rule of Faith and Practice.
2d. We believe in one only true and living God, the Father, the Word or Son, and the Holy Ghost, equal in wisdom, power and glory.
3d. We believe in the total depravity of human nature, and that a recovery from that situation is wholly and entirely of the sovereign, free, unmerited grace of God in Christ Jesus.
4th. We believe that God purposed, in himself, for his own glory, to make a display of his Wisdom, Power, Justice, Goodness and Faith, in the works of Creation, which he hath made in the Dispensation of his Providence.
5th. We believe that God from eternity proposed to save a people from their sins, for his Holy name sake, and that Infinite wisdom devised the plan and appointed every means necessary to accomplish the great end of their redemption, which he effects ill his own time by the operation of his Holy Spirit.
6th. We believe that sinners are justified before God, alone by Righteousness of Jesus Christ, imputed to them.
7th. We believe the doctrine of atonement for sin by the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ.
8th. We believe all such as are born of the Spirit of God are kept by the power of God, through faith, unto eternal salvation.
9th. We believe that good works are effects of the faith of God's elect, and follow being born of the Spirit of God, and in this point of view are evidence of a gracious state.
10th. We believe Baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances of the Gospel instituted by Jesus Christ, and none but those who profess faith in Christ and obedience to his will are fit subjects of either.
11th. We believe immersion, according to the Scriptures and Apostle's practice to be the only proper mode of Baptism.
12th. We believe the sanctity of the First Day of the week, or Lord's Day, ought to be observed and spent in public or private worship of God, and that we should abstain from our worldly concerns, except in cases of necessity and mercy.
13th. We believe in the resurrection of the body, both of the just and the unjust, and that the Son will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom he has appointed.
14th. We believe the righteous will abide in the peaceful presence of GOD their Redeemer, and his pardoning grace and forgiving love to be the theme of their song; while the wicked shall remain in everlasting torment.
Elder Aaron Vandeveer, who assisted in its organization, was very soon after called to "take pastoral care of the church, to attend her whenever he can," which call he accepted, and continued to serve as pastor for five years, preaching once a month.
During the first year of its history, the church united with the Sangamon Association, which organization was made up of five or six small Anti-Mission Baptist Churches in the vicinity. During the pastorate of Elder Vandeveer
11there were ten additions to the church by baptism and eighty by letter and experience. In no essential particular did the church at that time differ from other Anti-Mission Churches in the Association.
Illustrative of the customs of that day is a recorded case of discipline in the church, wherein one Deacon John Owens, was called to account, by the church, to answer for the use of unguarded expressions made to Elder Vandeveer, pastor of the church, and who, in answering for himself, made the plea of justification by proving by brethren present that Elder Vandeveer did drink in their presence an immoderate quantity of ardent spirits, and was very much intoxicated at two several times, on one of which it is supposed the alleged "unguarded expressions" were used by the Deacon to his pastor.
From 1835 to 1836 the church was without a pastor. During this interval Chas B. Francis and Josiah Francis, formerly members of the Baptist Church in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, became connected with the church, and brought with them those ideas of the objects and mission of Christian Churches which were common to the churches of New England. Previous to that time there was no interest taken by the church in missions, either home or foreign. The results of the labors of Dr. Judson had then just begun to be made known in this country, and growing out of the success of the foreign missionary work and its necessities, the American and Foreign Bible Society was founded in 1836, as a coadjutor of the American Baptist Missionary Union. The American Baptist Home Mission Society, organized in 1832, had just begun to prosecute its work in Central Illinois, one of its earliest fields of labor. Monthly concerts of prayer for missions had been for sometime observed by our churches in the Atlantic States. To introduce their observance here at the West, among Anti-Mission Churches was no easy service. Bro. C. B. Francis, however, with an earnest zeal in the service of his Master, commenced by inviting members of the church to his house to read and talk over the news from Dr. Judson and other missionaries in the foreign field. These meetings were the first Monthly Concerts of prayer for missions ever held in Illinois, though without
12that name at the time, for to have given them that name would have defeated the object itself. As these meetings were repeated, the interest felt by brother Francis was communicated to others and the spirit of the Lord was manifest.
In October, 1836, the church extended a call to Rev. Jonathan Merriam, of Passumpsic Village, Vermont, to take the pastoral care thereof, which was accepted. Mr. Merriam was then in the prime of life, a stalwart man in both body and mind. After reaching manhood he devoted himself to the work of the ministry. Having previously enjoyed only such advantages for education as were afforded by the common schools of New England, when about thirty years of age he spent two years studying English branches and Theology, at Columbian College, Washington, D.C., then under the presidency of the eloquent Dr. William Staughton, somewhat of whose spirit and zeal he imbibed and carried into the work of his ministry.
He entered upon his work in Springfield with an earnest purpose, and prosecuted it with success. Previous to that time the church had no Covenant, and after full consideration one was drafted and adopted.
At the Annual Meeting of the Sangamon Association, in 1836, a resolution was passed changing the name of the association from "United Baptist" to "Regular Baptist" as a measure of resistance to the influences already set at work in the Springfield Church, to countenance and promote the cause of Missions, Sunday schools, Bible societies and Temperance societies.
In July, 1837, the Springfield Baptist Church took up the minutes of the Sangamon Association, above referred to, for consideration, when it was Resolved, that if the said Association at its next meeting refuse to reconsider the resolution passed in 1836, by which the name of the Association was changed from "United" to "Regular Baptist," the delegates of the church be instructed to have the letter of the church entered upon the records of the Association, and withdraw therefrom. The delegates of the church attended the Association, and upon presentation
13of the letter of the church were refused a hearing, and all action upon its request was evaded.
On the 15th of September, the church, upon hearing the report of its delegates, voted to take immediate steps to organize a new Association, and a meeting for that purpose was appointed to be holden in Springfield on the 7th of October, following. Invitations were sent to such other churches and individuals as were known to be in sympathy with such a movement to organize an Association, to consist of such churches, and such only, as were based upon "Gospel Principles," which would cooperate with all organized forms of Christian benevolence, to send delegates to the proposed Convention.
Previous to the time fixed for the assembling of the Convention, in order to place itself squarely upon record, the Springfield Church passed the following
"Resolved, That any member of this church who is dissatisfied with it on account of its being favorably disposed to the cause of Missions, Bible Societies, Sabbath Schools and Temperance, and desires to withdraw from it on that account, be granted his or her request, on application to the church, with a letter certifying the cause of separation."
IN compliance with the invitation given, such a Convention met in the house of worship of the Baptist Church in Springfield, on the 7th day of October, 1837. It was called to order by Rev. Jonathan Merriam, and, on motion, Rev. Jonathan Sweet was chosen chairman, and Charles B. Francis, clerk.
Delegates from the following named Churches presented their credentials as members of the Convention.
|Springfield||JONATHAN MERRIAM, Charles B. Francis, Foley Vaughn, J. C Crowder||86|
|Diamond Grove||JONATHAN SWEET, JOEL SWEET, Peris Holmes||27|
|Island Grove||Richard Rhea John Rhea||33|
|Salt Creek||WM. RANDOLPH, Obed Hooper.||14|
|Indian Creek||WM. KINNER, D. Conover, James Daniels||40|
|Mount Tabor||Eli Barbre, Elias Copenbarger||10|
After mature deliberation it was Resolved, That the Convention deem it expedient to proceed to the organization of an Association.
A committee, consisting of Jonathan Merriam, Joel Sweet, William Kinner, Richard Rhea, William Randolph, Eli Barbre and Charles B. Francis, was appointed to draft and report a Constitution and Rules of Order for the proposed Association.
The committee reported the following, which, having been considered, article by article, was unanimously adopted:
ARTICLE 1. This body shall be called the SPRINGFIELD BAPTIST ASSOCIATION.
ARTICLE 2. This body shall be composed of churches embracing in substance the following summary of Christian doctrine:
The existence of God; the Holy Trinity; Divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures; apostacy and total depravity of all mankind; Jesus Christ the only Mediator, revealed to us as God manifest in the flesh; sufficiency of His atonement for the sins of the whole world; justification by grace; perseverance of the saints; future happiness of the righteous; endless misery of the wicked; resurrection of the dead; final judgment, and the imperative duty of all intelligent creatures to love, serve and obey God, in all His commands; also in believer's baptism; the Lord's supper, the peculiar privilege of baptized church members, and the religious observance of the first day of the week as the Christian Sabbath.
ARTICLE 3. The officers of this body shall be a Moderator, Clerk, and Treasurer.
ARTICLE 4. The object of this body shall be to promote by correspondence and personal intercourse, unity of faith and practice, fellowship, cordiality of feeling, and union of effort in promoting Missionary, Education, and other objects connected with the interests of Zion.
ARTICLE 5. Churches composing this body shall meet annually by their delegates, at such time and place as shall be previously designated.
ARTICLE 6. Churches composing this body shall send, by their delegates, letters, exhibiting their alterations for the past year, and their present state.
ARTICLE 7. This body shall recognize the power and independence of the churches; and in no case exercise any authority or jurisdiction over them. Nevertheless, it shall have power to drop from its connection any church which in the opinion of the body may have essentially departed from the faith or practice of the gospel; and to preclude from a seat in her meeting any minister or delegate, who is manifestly corrupt, either in principle or practice; and the facts in either case, may be ascertained in any way, not incompatible with the rules of the Gospel.
ARTICLE 8. This constitution may be amended at any regular meeting, by a vote of two-thirds of the members present, provided notice shall have been given of the proposed amendments at a previous meeting.
RULES OF ORDER.
1. The annual meeting of this body shall be holden on the Wednesday preceding the first Thursday in October, at ten o'clock A. M.
2. At each annual meeting a moderator shall be chosen, whose duty it shall be to preside in all its meetings, give the hand of fellowship to the churches to be received, direct the business of the body; keep order and put to vote any motion when duly seconded after suitable discussion, if not withdrawn.
3. A clerk shall be chosen once in four years, whose duty it shall be to enter in a book provided for that purpose, all the doings of this body; and perform such other duties as are usually assigned to such an officer, and transmit to his successor any papers belonging to this body.
4. A treasurer shall also be chosen once in four years, whose duty it shall be to receive and safely keep all moneys belonging to this body, and pay them out only as directed by this body, (unless specified by the donor) and transmit to his successor in office the books, together with the moneys that may remain in his hands, at the expiration of his office.
5. There shall be a sermon at the opening of each annual session.
6. Any church applying for admission into this body, after giving satisfaction of being sound in faith and practice, may be received.
7. Any church, wishing to withdraw from this body, is at liberty so to do, and shall not be considered out of fellowship on that account.
8. Any church not represented for three successive years, shall be dropped from the minutes.
9. This body shall publish its doings annually.
10. Visiting brethren shall be invited to a seat with us, and allowed to discuss all subjects but not to vote.
11. No delegate shall absent himself in time of business, without leave of the chair.
12. Every person wishing to speak, shall first rise from his seat, and respectfully address the chairman, and speak on no one subject more than twice, without special permission.
13. All personal reflections shall be particularly avoided, in all the deliberations of this body.
14. No subject shall be discussed without a motion made and seconded, and reduced to writing, if required.
15. If, when a motion has been made and seconded, a member opposes its being discussed, the chair shall immediately put this question, "Shall this question be discussed?" which, if negatived, shall be dismissed.
16. If any proposition under debate contains two or more points, it shall be divided at the request of any member, and the vote taken separately.
17. The first motion and last amendment, the largest sum, and the most distant day, shall have the preference in the order they stand. Motions for adjournment shall always be in order.
18. The Rules of Order may be altered by a majority of votes, at any annual meeting.
The Association being thus organized, Rev. JONATHAN SWEET was chosen Moderator; Charles B. Francis, Secretary, and Foley Vaughn Treasurer.
Resolutions were passed at this session cordially approving the formation and objects of the AMERICAN AND FOREIGN BIBLE SOCIETY, and expressive of the judgment of the Association, that the work of that society should not be limited to the foreign field, but made co-extensive with the wants of the whole world.
It was also resolved, that the Association recommend to the several churches, of which it is composed, a hearty co-operation with the ILLINOIS BAPTIST CONVENTION, in its efforts to build up the Redeemer's Kingdom.
Delegates were appointed to represent the Association in said Convention at its next annual meeting.
It was voted that the Constitution, Rules of Order, and proceedings of this Association be sent for publication to the BANNER AND PIONEER, a Baptist newspaper published at Louisville, Kentucky.
The object of the meeting having been accomplished, the Association adjourned to hold its first annual meeting with the Church in Springfield.
The first anniversary of the Association was held pursuant to adjournment, on the 3d and 4th days of October, 1838. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. Thomas W. Haynes, of Edwardsville, from Col. ii, 8, after which the Association was called to order by the Clerk, and Rev. Jonathan Merriam was chosen Moderator.
Two new Churches, the Sangamon Bottom Church, consisting of 7 members, located in Cass county, and the Lebanon Church, located at Loami, Sangamon county, consisting of 29 members, were received into the Association, the hand of fellowship being given to their delegates by the Moderator. The Salt Creek Church, in Mason
18county, did not report this year, and was no longer a member of the Association.
During this first year of its history, the Association had increased its membership, by baptisms, from 210 to 302. Two venerable fathers in the ministry, members of the Association, Rev. Jonathan Sweet and Rev. Wm. Spencer, were, during the year, called from their earthly labors to their reward on high. In token of respect for their memory, the Association resolved, "that while we bow with submission to this afflictive dispensation, and deeply sympathize with their bereaved families and congregations, we feel it to be our duty to labor more assiduously in the same glorious cause; and pray the great Head of the Church that He will send forth more laborers, equally faithful, into His harvest." This brief tribute to the memory of those fallen soldiers of the cross — "faithful" — was, to those who remained, an index of character which they might justly emulate.
The following resolutions indicate most unmistakably the scope and breadth of that Christian enterprise which characterized the founders of our denomination in Central Illinois. The Sunday School work, ministerial education, temperance, religious publications, missionary work, sacred music, and Sabbath observance, all combined to engage the attention of those hardy pioneers. How much we owe to them for their far-sighted wisdom in the beginning of our history, we may never know in full, but the great Head of the Church will never forget
Resolved, That we highly approve of Sabbath Schools, as a means both of mental and moral improvement, and as a method of communicating religious instruction, which God has abundantly blessed to the salvation of souls; and that we earnestly recommend that the members of the Churches make the most vigorous efforts to sustain the cause by a persevering attendance themselves as learners or as teachers.
While we recognize the strict independence of each gospel Church, and the exclusive right of every Church to judge of the qualifications, and the internal and special call by the Holy Ghost of any of its members who may be looking forward to the office of the Gospel Ministry
Resolved, That we are in favor of an intelligent ministry, and recommend to all our ministers, and to those designing to enter the ministry, to avail themselves of every means within their reach to attain, by
public instruction or private study, to the highest point of literary and theological improvement within their power.
Resolved, That the diffusion of general intelligence in regard to the progress of the Redeemer's kingdom is an object most desirable, and that we regard it as the duty of every Christian parent, who has the means, to furnish himself and his family with such periodicals as will make them acquainted with all the great religious and moral enterprises of the day.
We therefore for this purpose recommend the more extensive patronage of the WESTERN PIONEER.
Resolved, That the cause of temperance commends itself to the patronage of the patriot, philanthropist and Christian, and therefore deserves our bold, uncompromising support.
Resolved, That the principles and objects of the Illinois Baptist Convention, deserve the unqualified approbation of all Baptists throughout the State, and that we renew our recommendation to the Churches represented in this Association to contribute to its funds as the Lord shall enable them.
WHEREAS, The cultivation of sacred music, besides adding interest to the exercises of religious worship, has a direct tendency to aid the cause of virtue and religion; therefore
Resolved, That we approve of all efforts which tend to excite more general attention to this important subject, and believe it to be the duty of all, so far as practicable, to prepare themselves to join in this part of divine service.
Resolved, That this Association regard the prosecution of a journey on any part of the Sabbath, whether by ministers or Church members, for the sake of convenience or of avoiding expense, as deserving of special notice, and unqualified disapprobation.
Resolved, That we recommend to the Churches, according to their ability, to sustain those ministers who devote themselves to their work, whether as pastors or missionaries to the destitute.
Resolved, That we recommend to the several Churches composing this body, to take active measures to procure and sustain an itinerating missionary, to labor within the bounds of the Association.
Each of the foregoing resolutions was separately considered, and passed unanimously. In a few moments $200 were pledged to put the last one into effect, and a committee of three was appointed to secure a missionary. Five delegates were appointed to represent the Association in the Illinois Baptist Convention at its next annual meeting.
The corresponding letter of the Association, this year, says
"We now number eight Churches, four ordained ministers, and one licentiate, and three hundred and two members. One hundred and four were baptised into our Churches during the year."
Although beset by all the difficulties incident to life in a new and sparsely settled country, these little churches "in the wilderness" showed most remarkable vigor, and attained wonderful growth during this first year of their associational history. Fifty per cent addition to their membership, by baptism, is a ratio seldom reached by any Association of churches in this, our late and more favored age. It is a record of which we do well to make note, as showing how our Lord used the zeal and the talents of those plain, and many of them uneducated pioneers, in so impressing the great truths of the gospel upon the hearts and consciences of the people, that such marked signs followed and blessed their work.
On the 2d of October, 1839, the Association met with the Diamond Grove Church, in Morgan county. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. John Sears, of Wayne county, New York, from Malachi iii, 14, after which the Association was called to order, and Rev. JONATHAN MERRIAM was chosen Moderator.
The committee appointed at the last annual meeting to carry into effect the resolution providing for the employment of an itinerating missionary within the bounds of the Association, reported that immediately after the adjournment of the Association, they secured the services of the Rev. Jonathan Merriam, pastor of the Springfield Church, who, upon resigning his charge of that church, entered at once upon his missionary labors. Success attended his ministry. God blessed the truth to the conversion of sinners, and the building up and establishing of the churches of the Lord and Saviour.
From the report of Rev. Mr. Merriam, still preserved in his own handwriting, the following summary is given of his labors during the year:
"Attended 185 religious meetings; preached 89 sermons; constituted 3 churches, comprising 35 members; baptized 23; added to Churches by letter 15; making the whole number gathered into Churches, 73; the whole number converted in meetings, in which I have taken a part, 80; distributed several thousand pages of tracts; received on the field $66.40; received of Treasurer of the Association, $77.50: total, $143.90."
Space forbids the details of the missionary work of this devoted servant of Christ, thus briefly summarized, further than to say that it was accomplished in a year, amid frequent interruptions on account of ill health, the result of overwork, and exposure in travel over four or five counties embraced in his field. Winchester, in Scott county, the Church on Salt Creek, Diamond Grove, Whitehall, Lebanon, Springfield, Clary's Grove, Mechanicsburg, where the Mount Tabor Church had been organized, but soon became extinct, the Forks of Sugar creek, in Tazewell county, all were witnesses of his toils, and sharers in the blessings which followed them. To him, as the prime mover in the organization of the Association, and as its first missionary, is due more than to any other one man, the credit of that intelligent and wise forecast which laid the foundation of our Baptist churches in this region. His works do follow him. Rev. Joel Sweet labored two months in connection with Mr. Merriam, as missionary of the Association, visiting Manchester, Clary's Grove, the head of Apple creek, Mechanicsburg, and Sangamon Bottom, 12 miles above Beardstown, at several of which places revival influences attended the protracted meetings held, and many professed conversion and were baptized, making the number 110 added to the churches during the year. It was truly a great cause of gratitude to God for His blessing upon this first missionary work, crowning it with such abundant success, appreciating which the Association resolved, if practicable, to continue the service for the following year.
Three new churches, namely: Clary's Grove and Rock Creek, constituted under the labors of the missionaries of the Association, June 29, 1839, Stonington, Christian county, with 18 members, and Manchester, Scott county, with 71 members, applied for membership in the Association, and after giving satisfactory evidence of being sound
22in the faith, and orderly in practice, were received, the right hand of fellowship being given to the delegates by the Moderator. The aggregate membership of the Association this year, was ten Churches, four ordained ministers, and three hundred and ninety-six members, an increase of ninety-four during the year.
The circular letter of this year, in speaking of the importance of the field, says
"Let us realize our location in this vast Valley of the Mississippi, as laying us under mountain weights of responsibility in relation to the multitudes around us, to labor for their salvation, * * * watching and waiting the coining of the Lord."
Such was the spirit of the fathers who wrought in the early days of the settlement of Illinois. Truly they were heroic men, whose example of faith and devotion is worthy of our imitation to-day. At this meeting the time for holding the annual meetings of the Association was changed from October to Wednesday before the 3d Sabbath in September.
Resolutions urging the importance of liberal contributions for Foreign Missions, the American and Foreign Bible Society, and the promotion of Ministerial Education, were unanimously adopted.
To the Rules of Order were added the following
18. Every ordained minister belonging to any Church composing this body, is a member thereof by virtue of his office.
19. Every Church composed of a less number than twenty, shall be entitled to a delegate, and every Church numbering twenty shall be entitled to two delegates, and an additional delegate for every twenty members.
20. Whenever ministers and members of Churches of this Association, whose names are on our minutes of the last session, are present at the session of any of the Associations with which we correspond, they are hereby authorized to be our messengers to that body.
On the 16th of September, 1840, the Association met with the Indian Creek Church, at Princeton, Morgan county, The introductory sermon was preached by Rev.
23Alvin Bailey, of Carrolton, from Rev. iii, 20, after which the Association was called to order, and Rev. JOEL SWEET was chosen Moderator.
The Apple Creek Church, at Waverly, Morgan county, with 77 members, was received as a member of the Association, and the hand of fellowship given to its delegates by the Moderator.
Foley Vaughn resigned the office of Treasurer of the Association, and Josiah Francis was chosen to fill the vacancy.
The total number of Churches represented was 9, with 4 ordained ministers, and 524 members, 97 having been added by baptism during the last year. Protracted meetings were held by the Diamond Grove, the Lebanon, and the Manchester Churches, Revs. Joel Sweet, and Thomas Taylor serving as itinerant missionaries in the Association. The Springfield Church was the only one in the Association which enjoyed the preaching of the word every Sabbath, Rev. O.C. Comstock, D.D., having served that church one year from October, 1889. Rev. Thomas H. Ford served as pastor of the Diamond Grove Church. The letters of the churches all express strong desire for the regular ministry of the word, and in the resolutions adopted the Association well and truly said
"We consider that the education of a pious ministry is of the highest importance to the prosperity of the Churches. That in our estimation this subject is indissolubly connected with the highest interests of the Redeemer's kingdom. Men have been raised up who have done what they could, have done nobly without the advantages of early literary and theological training, but those who have been eminently useful, have been men of study, men of strong minds, and ardent piety have labored in the vineyard whose labors God has abundantly blessed in the conversion of sinners, but those very men, no doubt, would have accomplished more had they enjoyed the advantages of a thorough education.
"In the Judgment of this Association it is the indispensable duty of the Churches to aid such young brethren as are indigent, and yet give satisfactory evidence of being designed of God for the gospel ministry, in procuring an education suited to their high and holy calling."
A noble record this made forty years ago. No better plea for an educated ministry can anywhere be found, as condenses the whole matter as it were into a nut-shell. They were men of "strong minds and ardent piety," who
24showed that although not trained in the schools, some of them were "men of study." Every age has produced such men, men like the "old man eloquent," Rev. Bartholomew T. Welch, D.D., whose memory is fragrant in our Baptist Zion, as one of the most eloquent preachers and successful winners of souls. He learned to preach by preaching, though without the advantages of early literary training himself, he was its most earnest advocate.
Resolutions relating to Sunday Schools, Temperance, the dissemination of religious literature through the medium of the American Baptist Publication Society, and religious intelligence through the BANNER AND PIONEER, to the diffusion of the word of God, through the agency of the American and Foreign Bible Society, and the work of home and foreign missions, were passed unanimously, showing a deep interest in every good work.
From the report of Rev. Joel Sweet, Missionary of the Association, it appears that he preached 176 sermons, attended 95 prayer meetings, and baptized 76 persons, during the year, which faithful service the Association acknowledged, with gratitude to God for his crowning blessings. The year 1840, although a year of great political excitement, and great financial stringency, was marked with a good degree of spiritual life in the Churches, wherever special efforts were made for the advancement of the cause of Christ.
On the 16th of September, 1841, the Association met with the Church at Island Grove, Sangamon county. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. M. Dutton, from Matt, vii., 15th to 20th verses, after which Rev. JOEL SWEET was chosen Moderator, and Charles B. Francis was re-elected Clerk for the term of four years.
Four new churches applied for admission to the Association, and after examination of their Articles of Faith,
25were received, the hand of fellowship being given to their delegates by the Moderator. These churches were: Virginia, Cass county, Rev. J. H. Daniels, Pastor, with 9 members; Jacksonville, Morgan county, with 26 members; Big Spring, Scott county, with 62 members, and Winchester, Scott county, with 117 members. The total number of churches represented this year was 14, with 6 ordained ministers, one licentiate, and 746 members, 121 having been added by baptism during the year. There seems to have been no general revival this year, though the Church at Manchester, under the pastoral care of Rev. Joel Sweet, assisted by Rev. Thomas Taylor, a missionary of the American Baptist Home Mission Society, and the State Convention, and Rev. Jacob Bower, a missionary of the American Baptist Home Mission Society, enjoyed a season of refreshing from the Lord, resulting in the conversion of seventy souls.
The Church at Stonington, with seventeen members, having no pastor or stated preaching, plaintively say in the letter to the Association: "We desire that God would send us some one of His ministering servants to feed our hungry souls, and break unto us the bread of life. We meet on the Sabbath, and keep up prayer and conference meetings. We have a Bible Class. Our congregations are not large. Dear brethren pray that God would send us a minister to preach to us, that God would guide us by His word and Spirit. We send $15 for missionary purposes."
This is the way in which churches struggle into life in many of our Western fields. Casting the horoscope of the future at that day, an intelligent Christian faith would have said, such a church will live. Seventeen members maintaining Sabbath services, a Sunday School or Bible Class, and prayer meeting, and contributing $15 per annum for missionary purposes, constitute an invincible company of Christian soldiers. They embraced the world in the arms of their faith, and freely gave of their substance for the preaching the gospel to others, poorer than themselves, and in still greater need. That church is now, after the lapse of forty years, as well might be supposed, one of the best and most liberal in the Association.
This year Rev. Henry W. Dodge commenced his labors as pastor of the Springfield Church, where during the
26next four years great blessings attended his ministry. Rev. Alvin Bailey, whose memory is still fragrant with devoted service in the vineyard of our Lord, became a member of the Association, having been pastor first of the Church in Winchester, and afterwards of the Church in Jacksonville.
Resolutions similar to those of former years were passed, with two others, which are appended, being noticeable as favoring the instruction of the rising generation of every color and condition throughout the whole country, and the Monthly Concert of prayer for foreign missions
Resolved, That the Sabbath School cause commends itself to the patriot, philanthropist and Christian, and we recommend to the Churches to sustain Sabbath Schools in their congregations, and embody an account of them in their letters to the Association, and that unceasing prayers and efforts be directed to the extension of the benefit of Sabbath Schools, so as to secure instruction to all the rising generation of every color and condition, throughout the whole country.
Resolved, That the success attendant upon the faithful and efficient labors of our beloved brethren in foreign fields, calls upon us to exercise fervent gratitude to God; and we earnestly recommend the punctual attendance of the Monthly Concert for prayer; and while we say, Lord! Lord! be not neglectful to contribute as the Lord hath prospered us.
On the 2d of September, 1842, the Association met with the Church at Winchester, Scott county. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. Joel Sweet, from Phil, ii., 15,16, after which Rev. JOEL SWEET was chosen Moderator.
The Hopewell Church, in Mason county, with twenty-five members, was received as a member of the Association, making the total number of churches fifteen, with an aggregate membership of seven hundred and ninety. During the year ninety-five additions were made by baptism, forty-five of which were to the Church in Springfield.
Illustrating somewhat the condition of the Society in some localities, a note in the minutes of this year, states
27that five members were received into the fellowship of the Lebanon Church, on recommendation, which recommendation was, their "Having been excluded from another church for joining a Temperance Society."
As a new departure, Rev. H. W. Dodge, and M. Brayman, were appointed a committee to prepare a summary of the letters of the churches, to be printed in the minutes. This year also the Treasurer's report was for the first time printed in the minutes. It shows the contributions of two churches, and three brethren, for Home and Foreign Missions, and Bible Society, $90.93, which sum was paid into the Treasury of the Illinois Baptist Convention for the purposes specified.
Some advance was made this year in securing the stated preaching of the word, by most of the churches. The Springfield Church was the only one which had preaching every Sabbath. Lebanon, Island Grove, Indian Creek, Jacksonville, Winchester, Apple Creek, Sangamon Bottom, Big Spring, Diamond Grove, Clary's Grove, and Manchester Churches, each had preaching once, and some of them twice, a month. But five of the churches sustained Sunday Schools, as most of these churches were located in sparsely settled places, and met for worship, some of them, in small houses, it was difficult, if not impossible, for them to maintain Sunday Schools. Society was in a formative state, and obstacles, such as now we know little of, continually presented themselves to discourage the infant churches, which year by year were struggling to maintain their existence.
The circular letter of this year contains these impressive exortations
"BRETHREN: Let us labor and pray that God may increase the number, and strengthen the hands of the ministry. The field is ripe for the sickle.
BRETHREN: Let us send the gospel to the heathen. ‘The isles wait for His law’ with prayerful impatience.
BRETHREN: Let us sustain the Sabbath Schools. On the children depends the fate of all our institutions, civil, moral, and religious.
"VOTED that the next meeting of the Association be held with the Clary's Grove and Rock Creek Church, at Richland, Sangamon county, at A. Smith's, near Kile's Store."
Such were the specific directions necessary to show where some of the churches were located at that early
28day. It might trouble a later generation to find the location of the hospitable dwelling of that good brother, A. Smith, of days gone by, wherein there was room to hold the Annual meeting of the Association.
The Association met September 1st, 1843, with the Clary's Grove and Rock Creek Church, at Richland, Sangamon county. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. Henry W. Dodge, of Springfield, from Matthew xvi., 3. Rev. ALVIN BAILEY was chosen Moderator.
Two new churches, the Sugar Creek Church, Sangamon county, and the Martin's Prairie Church, Greene county, were received as members of the Association, and the hand of fellowship given to their delegates by the Moderator. The whole number of churches represented this year was fifteen, with an aggregate membership of nine hundred and ten. During the year one hundred and twenty-three additions were by baptism. The number of ordained ministers laboring within the bounds of the Association, was eleven, and two licentiates.
Attention was specially called in the resolutions passed by the Association, to the cause of ministerial education, and the interests of Shurtleff College, as follows
Your Committee, to whom was referred the interests of Shurtleff College and Ministerial Education, report that the College is advancing in influence, in usefulness, and in favor, with the churches and community. The number of students in attendance the present year, is sixty, of whom fourteen have in view the gospel ministry
Resolved, That we urge upon the churches more liberal contributions to its funds, and commend it to the patronage and prayers of the denomination.
Considering the great destitution of ministers, and the importance of an efficient ministry to the growth and activity of the churches
Resolved, That we recommend to our brethren to look out and encourage such gifts as the great Head of the Church has bestowed, and by contributing to the funds of the Illinois Baptist Education Society, to aid such young men in acquiring a suitable education.
The interest in Sabbath Schools and Temperance, which began in former years to be manifest, was unabated
The Committee on the Sabbath and Sabbath Schools, submitted the following Resolved, That the appointment of the Sabbath demands at our hands gratitude to its author, and that we regard it to be the duty of every friend of humanity conscientiously and habitually to observe it
Resolved, That we have abundant reason for thanksgiving to God for the signal success that has attended the Sabbath School cause, and the greatest encouragement to pray and labor with renewed diligence in this holy cause. C. B. FRANCIS, Chairman.
The Committee on Temperance report, that in view of the great benefits which have resulted from Temperance Societies, not only to the people of the United States, but to Ireland and the European countries, we have great reason to thank God and take courage; therefore,
Resolved, That we recommend the cause of Temperance to the prayers of all Christian people, earnestly requesting them to use all gospel means, for the eradication of drunkenness from our land.
E. G. MINER, Chairman.
The Foreign Mission and Bible Work were urged upon the attention of the churches, in the following terms, showing that these new and struggling bodies were not unmindful of the great fact that ‘The Field is the World:’
Resolved, That it is our duty to God, to aid in sustaining the cause of foreign missions, and that we will make a vigorous effort to do so, regarding this as one of the most important branches of Christian effort.
Resolved, That in the opinion of this body the American and Foreign Bible Society has peculiar claims on the affections and benefactions of our denomination.
The session was harmonious and profitable. Although upwards of one hundred additions were made to the churches, by baptism, the CIRCULAR LETTER of this year speaks of the growth being "slow," showing that those fathers of our denomination expected growth, and great results from the preaching of the word. In this they were, as shown by the resolutions adopted, awake to the importance of laying the foundations of the new communities substantially upon the Divine word of the Heavenly Shepherd.
Charles B. Francis, who was one of the leading Spirits in the organization of the Association, and who had served as its Clerk continuously ever since — a brother of marked
30ability and devoted piety, one whose counsels were always regarded as wise, and whose example worthy of all imitation, performed his last service for the Association at this meeting.
The following obituary notice, prepared by M. Brayman, Secretary of the Illinois Baptist State Convention, and published in the proceedings of that body for 1843, shows how soon his earthly work was finished, and how, when he died the cause of Christ lost one of its most devoted and faithful servants
The Secretary would be wanting in respect to the feelings of the members of the Convention, as well as deaf to the voice of friendship, should he fail to notice a most afflicting and solemn event, which transpired immediately after the adjournment of that body. Allusion is made to the sudden death of our beloved brother, CHARLES B. FRANCIS, a delegate from the Springfield Church. He arrived in Jacksonville, on Wednesday evening, October 4th, and on the succeeding day, took his seat in the Convention in good health. He bore a conspicuous part in its proceedings, and labored with ardent zeal and wisely directed energy, to perfect those measures of gospel benevolence, which the Convention met to advance. On Friday he complained of slight illness. On Saturday he suffered from burning fever and accute pain, but such was his anxiety to participate in the business of the Convention — such his energy of character and entire devotion to his Master's cause, that he remained at his post throughout the day, and though feeble in body, the whole strength of his mind and fervor of his heart shone out in his eloquent and feeling addresses and fervent prayers. The influence which his labors of that day shed upon the hearts of those who stood by him, will live when all, save his virtues, are forgotten.
On the adjournment of the Convention, on Saturday night, he took his bed His illness remained slight, and caused no alarm, until, at noon on Tuesday, the fever assumed a congestive form, and terminated in death at six o'clock the same evening. His wife and youngest daughter arrived barely in time to receive his parting blessing. He died at the residence of Brother E. Burditt, and received every attention and kindness, which Christian sympathy and affection could dictate.
Bro. FRANCIS was a native of Massachusetts — he resided in this State about eight years, and at the time of his decease, was nearly 44 years of age. He was a man of much energy of character — sound judgment, and great singleness of purpose — one who, in all relations of life, was
"— Resolved, and steady to his trust,
"Inflexible to ill, and obstinately just."
But an undying devotion to the cause of religion and morality — a consistent life and exemplary Christian deportment were the crowning
glory of his character. As a husband, father, and friend, he was kind, affectionate and steadfast — as a citizen, ever active in doing good — as a deacon and leading member of the church, he was always in his place, urging others to "a closer walk with God," and leading the way. His last labors were given to the cause he loved — he fell, like a faithful soldier, with his burnished armor in his hand. It is well with him — he "kept the faith" and has received a "crown of righteousness." May the remembrance of his Christian virtues, while it consoles his surviving family and friends, excite to equal usefulness — and inspire the same hope of a blessed immortality!
The Association met with the Lebanon Church, on the 30th of August, 1844. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. Alvin Bailey, of Jacksonville, from Isaiah xlii, 4, after which the Association was called to order, and Rev. ALVIN BAILEY was chosen Moderator, and M. Brayman, Clerk, in place of Charles B. Francis, deceased.
Seventeen churches, comprising a membership of nine hundred and fifty-one, reported this year, including the Church at Decatur, which was received into the Association at this time.
During the years 1842 and 1843, Rev. H. W. Dodge, pastor of the Springfield Church, visited Decatur, and preached occasionally. His labors were blessed in the conversion of quite a number of persons, who were baptized by him into the fellowship of the Springfield Church. Being too remote from Springfield to worship with the church there, it was deemed advisable to form a separate organization. Accordingly letters of dismission were granted, and on the 14th of September, 1843, twelve members residing at Decatur, were organized into a church, under the name of the "Decatur Baptist Church," Rev. H. W. Dodge, of Springfield, officiating at the recognition services. Rev. Moses Lemen commenced laboring with this church about the 1st of June, sustained jointly
32by the church and the Illinois Baptist Convention. During the year, eighty-nine members were received into the churches of the Association by baptism, thus showing a continuous increase, and encouraging fruits of that missionary service which characterized the early history of the Association.
The minutes of this year embrace strong resolutions, urging more liberal contributions to the work, of both home, and foreign missions; and in view of the destitution of ministerial labor in the Association — there being only five ordained ministers, the Committee recommended the appointment of a traveling missionary for one year. A Committee of one from each church, was appointed to ascertain what amount could be obtained from the respective churches, to be paid quarterly, for this object, and a Committee of three was also appointed to select a missionary for this service.
The letters of the churches speak of the prevalence of a spirit of harmony, and some of them enjoyed seasons of revival.
Rev. H. W. Dodge, whose labors as pastor of the Springfield Church, had been blessed in large measure to the upbuilding of the cause of Christ, having closed his work with that church, Rev. Ambler Edson, of Griggsville, Illinois, was called to be his successor in April, 1843.
Rev. Amos Dodge, pastor of the Stonington Church, died during the year. He was a good man, a beloved brother, and pastor. His illness was short, and his death triumphant.
"The Jacksonville Church reports monthly Missionary Concert, prayer meetings, etc., well sustained. Sabbath School flourishing; fifty pupils, six teachers, and sixty-three volumes in the library. Rev. A. Bailey, pastor. Has commenced a house of worship 40 by 44, to be completed next season. Contributed for missions $12.85. The Female Bible Society has transmitted $15, and $4 besides have been raised for the Bible cause. Raised for the Education Society $8.
"The Winchester Church has been blessed during the year, in the use of God's appointed means. A revival has been enjoyed. Preaching every other Sabbath by Rev. E. Dodson. The brethren meet every Lord's day, following the apostolical example, in reading the Scripture, prayer, singing, and exhortation. The benevolent operations of the day are sustained with efficiency and regularity. Raised
for foreign missions, $9.31; for education, $2.70; American and Foreign Bible Society, $4. A proper sum is about to be raised for home missions. The Sabbath School, and monthly and weekly prayer meetings are kept up."
The circular letter of this year closes with these significant words
"Brethren, let us labor and pray for the spread of saving truth; for the objects of the Redeemer's mission cannot be accomplished until the uttermost parts of the earth are lighted up by the ‘Sun of Righteousness.’ We have need of more efficiency and united action in sustaining the gospel ministry. Many of our churches are without stated preaching, and many of their laborers who are already in the field are not sufficiently sustained. The churches need a new impulse. We feel that much more may be done than has yet been accomplished."
Rev. Alvin Bailey published a Baptist, semi-monthly newspaper at Jacksonville, this year, called THE WESTERN STAR, the second Baptist newspaper ever published in Illinois.
The Association met with the Indian Creek Church, at Princeton, Morgan county, on Friday, September 5th, 1845. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. Porter Clay, from Hebs. xii, 28, after which the Rev. ALVIN BAILEY was chosen Moderator.
Sixteen churches, with an aggregate membership of eight hundred and sixty-two, were reported, and only twenty-two baptized during the year. Only four ordained ministers are reported as being employed within the bounds of the Association this year, showing great lack of the regular ministration of the word of life.
Pursuant to a resolution of the Association, passed in 1844, the churches, during these two years, made more strenuous efforts in raising money for missionary work beyond its own bounds, than ever before. The Treasurer's report is most instructive, as showing how the seed planted in earlier years had begun to show fruitage;
34about $160 having been raised for Home, and Foreign missions, including $100 for the support of a native Karen preacher. When we remember how the whole field occupied was a new and undeveloped country, the people mostly poor, and living in log houses, most of the churches having no houses of worship save as meetings were held in private houses, or in log school houses, we can appreciate the spirit which animated those pioneer Baptists of Central Illinois. This remembrance may teach us of this favored age, lessons of self-denial and devotion, which we have never yet learned. The Church at Jacksonville, the only one in the Association which had preaching every Sabbath through the year, under the pastoral care of Rev. Alvin Bailey, this year built its first house of worship, at a cost of $2,200. With but forty-seven members, this was an outlay which shows how freely that church gave of its substance in its infancy, to lay enduring foundations for future growth. Constituted only four years before, its progress was both rapid and substantial. Whilst bending every energy to build a house of worship, that church raised during the year, $22.63 for foreign missions; $14.15 for the American and Foreign Bible Society; $3.81 for the Illinois Baptist Education Society, and $5.37 for Home missions. A worthy example of missionary zeal which should be held in lasting remembrance.
The church hitherto known as the "Clary's Grove and Rock Creek," was reported this year as the "Richland Church," under which name it has since been known in the Association. Rev. John H. Daniels was pastor of this church during the year.
The resolutions passed this year embrace every department of Christian endeavor, and have the ring of genuine enthusiasm, such as is so often noticeable by its absence from our Associational meetings in later years. Church pslamody, among other subjects, came in for its share of attention in the resolution, "That a more general introduction of hymn books, of a uniform character, would greatly tend to the edification of Divine service; and that the Association recommend the PSALMIST as a work well
35adapted to the general use of the churches." The Hymn Book war had not begun then.
The Committee on Home Missions presented the following report, which was adopted
"We consider the Home Mission department of Evangelical effort, of primary importance to the promotion of everything we hold sacred and valuable. In promoting it we regard the American Baptist Home Mission Society, and the General Association of the State, to be under God, principal agents. To the former we are indebted for the labors of our brethren, who have planted many of our churches, and have been instrumental in promoting precious revival seasons within our Associational bounds; to the latter for uniting and arranging our energies in every good enterprise; therefore
Resolved, That a public contribution be taken up at this meeting for Home Mission purposes, and that each minister take up a collection for the same object during the year."
As one of the first attempts towards the establishment of a Baptist newspaper in Illinois, note the following
"Resolved, That we recommend the WESTERN STAR, as a religious newspaper, most ably edited by our beloved brother, A. Bailey, and eminently calculated to subserve the great interests of religion, and will use our utmost endeavors to sustain it, and procure its weekly issue."
Deeply conscious of the need of Divine assistance in every effort to build up the Redeemer's kingdom, and following the example of the forefathers, it was
"Resolved, That in view of the low state of religion within the bounds of the Association, we recommend to the churches to devote Friday before the first Sabbath in October, as a day of special fasting and prayer before God, if peradventure He may have mercy on us, and on the souls of men."
The Association met with the Sugar Creek Church, in Sangamon county, on Friday, September 4th, 1846. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. Thomas Taylor, from Joshua xiii, 1. Rev. ALVIN BAILEY was chosen Moderator. The stated Clerk, M. Brayman, being absent, E. G. Miner was chosen temporary Clerk.
Sixteen churches were reported, with an aggregate membership of eight hundred and sixty, only three having
36been added by baptism during the year. The remarkable advance which characterized the churches during the first seven years of Associational history, reaching as high as one hundred and twenty-one baptisms in the year 1841, the flood tide of revival influence, had now reached the ebb tide, as though God had almost forgotten to be gracious. What was the cause of so great spiritual declension? As the minutes for this year contain no digest of letters from the churches, but little information can be gained from them in answer to the question, other than the fact shown by the statistics that there were but five ministers laboring among all the seventeen churches during the year.
The Committee on Ministerial Destitution, said in their report
"Your Committee find from the letters of the churches of this body, but two churches that are regularly supplied with the ministration of the word; therefore
Resolved, 1st. That this destitution calls for deep humiliation on the part of the churches.
Resolved, 2d. That we recommend to the churches to humble themselves in the sight of God, and pray the Lord of the harvest to send more faithful laborers into His harvest.
Resolved, 3d. That it is the duty of the churches to sustain their ministers by their contributions and their prayers."
Looking back to those days of planting, in the wilderness of the then Great West, who of us shall for one moment question the faithfulness of the hardy pioneer preachers, many of whom wrought with their own hands six days in the week, and as well as they were able to do, preached the gospel on the seventh, many of them alike without any special preparation, or any pay for their services. They had obstacles to overcome which most of them met with heroic spirits, and God blessed them and their work. There were leaders among them, men of sterling native talent, and true piety, not often surpassed in these respects by the more cultivated preachers of our own time. For rugged natural eloquence, some of them were specially distinguished, whilst the spirit of the resolutions passed in the meetings of the Association show the breadth of their sympathies, and the ardent spirit which animated them in their work.
The Association met with the Winchester Church, Scott county, on Friday, September 3d, 1847. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. J. O. Metcalf, from Proverbs xiv, 14. Rev. THOMAS TAYLOR was chosen Moderator. The stated Clerk being absent, Noah Divelbiss was chosen temporary Clerk.
The total membership reported this year, was seven hundred and sixty-four, with eleven added by baptism.
Rev. Gilbert S. Bailey settled as pastor of the Springfield Church, which had for more than a year been without pastoral labor. Rev. Alvin Bailey, pastor of the Church in Jacksonville, worn with the multitude of his labors, was laid aside from his work, not able to preach on account of ill health. The Decatur Church, for the first time, enjoyed the services of a pastor every Sabbath. Rev. Burton Carpenter having settled with the church during the year. The Stonington Church, for the first time, had preaching every Sabbath this year.
In view of the great lack of ministerial labor, the Committee on Education reported strong resolutions favoring the raising of $25,000 within the next four years for the endowment of Shurtleff College, as an institution affording necessary facilities for acquiring a thorough Collegiate education, there being no other similar institution in Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, or Wisconsin.
The Association met with the Apple Creek Church, in Morgan county, on the 1st day of September, 1848. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. G. S. Bailey, from Jeremiah xxiii, 28, after which Rev. THOMAS TAYLOR was chosen Moderator.
The total membership reported, was nine hundred and twenty-eight, there having been one hundred and sixty
38additions by baptism during the year. Earnest labor, attended with the blessing of the spirit, once more became a cause of rejoicing to the churches, and a new era of prosperity and growth opened to the Association.
To preserve the full record of the condition of the several churches at this important point in their history, we give the following
SUMMARY OF LETTERS.
SPRINGFIELD CHURCH. — Is erecting a commodious house of worship — of brick — 64 by 43 feet, to be completed next season. Is under the pastoral care of Rev. G. S. Bailey. Enjoyed a revival season the last spring, during which about thirty united with the church. The labors of Rev. E. Dodson at that time were greatly blessed. Sabbath School sustained, with about eighty pupils, seventeen, teachers, and two hundred volumes in library. Female Bible Society, prayer meetings, etc., successfully sustained.
DIAMOND GROVE. — Present condition rather discouraging, in consequence of not having regular preaching. Expect preaching one-fourth of the time by Rev. Thomas Taylor. Is engaged in a flourishing Union Sabbath School, numbering fifty pupils.
INDIAN CREEK. — Continues in harmony and brotherly love. Have enjoyed the labors of the Rev. J. H. Daniels during the past year.
ISLAND GROVE. — The cause in a languishing condition, but harmony prevails, with an increasing desire for a "closer walk with God." Is erecting a comfortable house of worship, which will be soon ready for use. Rev. Thomas Taylor labors with this church one-fourth of the time.
LEBANON. — Has in its connection two ordained ministers, Rev. W. Meacham, and Rev. Moores Bailey. Has sustained meetings during the past summer, preaching by the Rev. Mr. Taggart, one-half the time. Is engaged in a Union Sabbath School of sixty or seventy pupils.
RICHLAND. — Have been, for the past year, like sheep without a shepherd, but God, in His great mercy, has recently sent us one of his servants, the Rev. John White, who has visited and labored with us for a short time. Have invited him to become their pastor.
MANCHESTER. — Has sustained preaching one-fourth of the time, and would have had more if it could have been obtained. Could not find a preacher. "How shall they hear without a preacher."
STONINGTON. — Sustain preaching constantly. Brother Paris Pray, a licentiate, is with them, ministering acceptably. Have a Sabbath School, Bible Class, and weekly prayer meeting, and take an interest in the benevolent operations of the day.
BIG SPRING. — The year has passed in peace and harmony. Though no special proofs of Divine grace have appeared, the cause of true
religion is on the advance. Have enjoyed the labors of the Rev. Thomas Taylor one-fourth of the time.
JACKSONVILLE. — Have been deprived of a settled pastor since the sickness and absence of Rev. A. Bailey, but the Lord has visited them in mercy, and brought many into His fold. During a season of general revival last spring, Rev. W. F. Boyakin, of Jerseyville, and Rev. E. Dodson, of Winchester, labored a few weeks with them in a protracted effort, which was greatly blessed. The church is endeavoring to secure the services of a pastor. Sabbath School flourishing, with forty or fifty pupils.
HOPEWELL. — Continues in peace and harmony. Have enjoyed the labors of the Rev. John H. Daniels once a month, and occasional preaching by Rev. R. S. Cole.
SUGAR CREEK. — Have preaching by Rev. Thomas Taylor one-fourth of the time. They unite in sustaining two Sabbath Schools.
MARTIN'S PRAIRIE. — Have been greatly blessed under the preaching of Rev. Elijah Dodson. Sinners have been awakened, and many turned to the Lord. Forty have united with the church.
WINCHESTER. — Commenced a series of meetings in January last, which resulted in the addition of forty-nine, thirty-nine of them by baptism — many of those baptized being young persons connected with the Sabbath School. They have a pastor, Rev. E. Dodson, whose untiring labors of love, seconded by the church and blessed by God, will make the church what it should be — "A city set on a hill." Making arrangements to build a brick meeting house. Have regular preaching three-fourths of the time. Pupils in Sabbath School, sixty; volumes in library, two hundred.
APPLE CREEK. — Have the labors of Rev. Thomas Taylor one-fourth of the time, whose ministrations have been greatly blessed. Harmony and brotherly love prevail, and the church has welcomed into its communion seventeen by baptism, and seven by letter. The house of worship, which the church had at much expense erected, was burned down by an incendiary. Undismayed by this calamity, the church immediately went to work and erected a new and more commodious house of brick, ready for the reception of the Association. A Union Sabbath School is sustained.
DECATUR. — The Rev. Burton Carpenter labored acceptably with this church until his health compelled him to retire in April last, since which, the church has been without regular preaching. Has an interesting Sabbath School of nearly fifty pupils, with a library of two hundred volumes. Sustain the usual weekly prayer meetings, and Concerts of prayer. Have, during the year, fitted up a convenient meeting house, capable of holding the usual congregation.
New vigor was manifest in every department of christian endeavor, and the appended reports of Committees
40show the scope of the work which the churches proposed to themselves in the cultivation of Foreign, as well as Home mission fields
"The Committee on the American Baptist Missionary Union, made the following report, which was adopted:
The Committee on the American Baptist Missionary Union, would submit the following report:
In looking over the fields occupied by the Missionaries of the American Baptist Missionary Union, we find that there is great and pressing need of additional laborers. Some of the stations already occupied, are in a languishing condition for the want of men, while other interesting fields are opening on every hand, promising a rich reward to the faithful laborer in the vineyard of Christ.
We believe it is the duty of the present generation of Christians to evangelize the present generation of heathen nations, and as the church is the only Society organized by our Heavenly Father for the evangelization of the world, and it is of the greatest importance that all members of the church cultivate the spirit of benevolence to the fullest extent; therefore,
Resolved, That such a system is needed in the prosecution of our Foreign Missionary Work, as will secure to every family in our respective congregations the reading of the monthly numbers of the Magazine or Macedonian — a faithful observance of the monthly Concert of Prayer, and regular monthly contributions into the Treasury of the Union by every member of our churches.
I. D. RAWLINGS, Chairman."
"The Committee on the Duty of Christians to sustain Sabbath Schools, reported as follows, which was adopted:
The Committee on Sabbath Schools report, that the interesting fact of many of the churches have reported to this Association a number of conversions from those who were regular attendants at the Sabbath School, and that the Sabbath School is one of the means under God of ‘training up a child in the way he should go;’ therefore,
Resolved, That this Association earnestly recommends to every church, to renew their efforts, and establish a Sabbath School and Bible Class within the bounds of each church, as being calculated to give a right training to the children and youth of our land.
Resolved, That in settlements where there are Christians of different denominations, we would recommend the Union plan, and the books published by the American Sunday School Union.
Resolved, That it is the duty of all Christian parents, to see to it, that their children attend regularly some Sabbath School.
E. G. MINER, Chairman."
The Chairmen of the Committees, Brother I. D. Rawlings, of Jacksonville, and Brother E. G. Miner, of Winchester, after a lapse of a third of a century, still live, enjoying in old age, the satisfaction of knowing that the foundations they helped to lay in that early day, were
41the sure foundations of intelligence and Christian principle, upon which have been built the superstructures of well established churches, and other institutions of religion and learning. The memory of such Christian laymen as these is never to be forgotten. Would that there were more of them to give their presence and counsels to our Association meetings of this generation.
Of the sixteen churches represented in the Association, only one, viz: the Church in Springfield, was supplied with preaching every Lord's day. As a measure of relief, a Committee of two was appointed to obtain the services of an itinerant Missionary to preach within the Association, and visit all its churches during the year, and labor among them as their needs might most require.
The twelfth Annual Meeting of the Association was held with the Springfield Church, on the 31st day of August, 1849. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. J. N. Tolman, from Psalm iv, 3. Rev. W. F. BOYAKIN, of Jacksonville, was chosen Moderator.
The total membership of the churches, was ten hundred and fourteen. The baptisms reported were eighty-five.
The summary of letters shows continued and increasing prosperity, both in the formation of new churches, and building new meeting houses.
The Taylorville Church, constituted on the 23d of November, 1848, of members formerly belonging to the Stonington Church, and the German Baptist Church, of Springfield, constituted August 29, 1849, of German brethren formerly connected with the Springfield Church, were duly received as members of the Association. The Springfield Church reported the near completion of its commodious house of worship. Rev. G. S. Bailey, pastor of the church for the last three years, and whose, labors and
42influence had done much towards the promotion of denominational growth in the Association, and the State, closed his labors with the church on the 1st of October.
The Island Grove Church erected a commodious house of worship, at Berlin, and took the name of the Berlin Baptist Church.
The Winchester Church reported the erection of a house of worship, built of brick, 40 by 50 feet, which would be enclosed this year.
The Constitution of the Association was amended so as to make the 2d Article read: "This body shall be composed of messengers from churches embracing, in substance, the following summary of Christian Doctrine."
Special mention was made in many of the letters from the churches, of the mercy of God, in sparing their membership in so large measure, from the ravages of cholera, which, as "the pestilence that wasteth at noonday," prevailed so widely in this region during the summer of 1849.
The resolutions passed relating to the various objects of Christian benevolence, show undiminished interest in every branch of the work of giving the gospel to the whole world.
Two hundred and fifteen dollars were contributed for Home, and Foreign missions, and the Bible cause, during the year.
The deliberations of the Association were of deep and exciting interest, yet marked throughout by the utmost harmony.
THE Association met with the Manchester Church, on the 30th of August, 1850. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. T. C. Teasdale, from 1st Peter ii, 9, after which Rev. T. C. TEASDALE, was chosen Moderator, and J. G. Johnson, Treasurer, for the next four years, Josiah Francis having declined re-election.
The total membership of the Association, was eight hundred and forty-two. Baptisms during the year, seventy.
This year marks what may be termed, the beginning of the Second Period of the History of the Association. Thirteen years have elapsed since its organization. From six churches, with a total membership of two hundred and ten, it has increased to embrace nineteen churches, with a membership of over eight hundred. During this period many of these churches have been constituted, and ten hundred and twelve persons baptized into the fellowship of the churches embraced in the Association. At the date of its organization not one of the churches had a meeting house, meetings then being held at private houses, or in school houses. Now, in 1850, several of them have commodious, and others, comfortable houses of worship. Sunday Schools have been established in most of them, liberal and increasing contributions have been made, from year to year, to the various objects of Christian benevolence, and a large advance made in the increase of intelligence
44among the people. The decade thus passed away was in fact the formative period of the religious history of all this region of country.
The crying need of the time still was, that of ministers to preach the word, and feed the flocks, so many of which had preaching but once a month. Witness the following from the records
"The Committee, to whom was referred the subject of Ministerial Destitution, submitted the following report:
That in looking over the field of labor occupied by this Association, and the reports of the letters, and comparing the number of ministers in the Association, and the multitude of souls in its bounds, we are made to mourn, and ask: What can be done? Many of the churches have preaching but once a month, and very few all the time, and some none, except as an occasional minister passes by and gives them a sermon. It may be said, that a united and simultaneous prayer should be offered up to the Great Head of the Church for more laborers to be sent into the field. This is true, but prayers, without practice, is like faith without works — it is dead. Therefore, we would earnestly recommend to the Association to take some immediate steps to supply this great lack of the preached word.
J. M. CHAPMAN, Chairman."
The need known and realized, the source to which those brethren looked for supply, is pointedly indicated.
"The Committee on Shurtleff College and Ministerial Education, submitted the following report:
In the great work of evangelizing the world, the living ministry can never be dispensed with. Reason, experience, observation, and history, unite their testimony with the Bible in confirmation of the great principle, that it pleases God, by the foolishness of preaching, to save those who believe.
Truth, to be understood and embraced, must be presented intelligibly, clearly, and forcibly. The peculiar nature of the ministerial office, the spirit of the age, and the vastness of the field unoccupied, demand more systematic and vigorous exertions, more frequent and persevering prayer, and more liberal contributions to supply the destitute with a devoted, pious, and intelligent ministry.
Shurtleff College has long engaged the attention, and shared the prayers and contributions of the Baptists of this State, and we must still look to her with the earnest expectation that a class of ministers will emerge annually from her walls, to give the bread of life to the perishing.
Resolved, That the Illinois Baptist Education Society is indispensable to our success as a denomination in the State; that it is embalmed in our hearts; and that it is worthy the sympathies, prayers, and liberal contributions of every Baptist in this Association.
J. BULKLEY, Chairman."
The Association met with the Decatur Church, on the 5th of September, 1851. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. A. J. Bingham, from Matthew i, 23. Rev. THOMAS C. TEASDALE was appointed Moderator.
The Elm Grove Baptist Church, in Morgan county, was received as a member of the Association.
There were one hundred and sixty-six baptisms reported, and the aggregate number of twenty churches, with a total membership of eleven hundred and seventy-five, and six ordained ministers.
The meeting was a harmonious one, with cheering signs of God's presence. Stirring resolutions expressive of unabated interest in Foreign missions, the work of the American Baptist Publication Society, the American and Foreign Bible Society, Shurtleff College, and Education, were adopted.
Rev. N. Alvord, from the Committee on Home and Domestic Missions, presented the following report, which was adopted
"The Committee on Home and Domestic Missions, beg leave to report:
That in their opinion, the American Baptist Home Mission Society is doing a great and good work for our country, and deserves the hearty support of every patriot, philanthropist, and Christian. The constantly increasing demands for aid from the Society to the feeble churches in this great Central Valley, and above all, the imperious demands for assistance in the new settlements of the far West, call loudly on its friends for a continual remembrance in their prayers, and an enlargement of their contributions to its Treasury.
Your Committee regret that no more is being done in the cause of Domestic Missions throughout our great and growing State; and they can but hope that some efficient plan will be devised at the approaching anniversary of the General Association by which this cause of lamentation may be removed. It is the firm conviction of the Committee, that the vital interests of our cause in this commonwealth demand such attention as an effective State organization alone can afford. What we need is, not that we should prize the operations of the Home Mission Society less, or diminish in any respect our contributions to its treasury, but that we should prosecute with all our might the cause of Domestic Missions at the same time. The Committee would therefore present for the consideration of the Association, the following resolutions:
Resolved, That our confidence in the Home Mission Society, and our interest in its operations are unabated, and it is earnestly recommended to the churches comprising this body, that they make annual contributions to its treasury
Resolved, That we shall hail with pleasure the adoption of some efficient plan by the General Association of Illinois, to co-operate with the Home Mission Society in supplying the feeble churches and destitute districts in our commonwealth with an able and evangelical ministry."
From this report will be seen how the churches at that day realized the importance of cultivating the fields which stretched out before them, already whitening for the harvest.
The fifteenth annual meeting of the Association, was held with the Jacksonville Church, on the 3d, 4th and 5th days of September, 1851. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. Burton Carpenter, from 1st Cor. iii, 9. Rev. C. B. PHILLIPS was chosen Moderator, and A. J. Bingham, Clerk.
The total membership reported, was twelve hundred and twenty, there having been one hundred and sixteen additions by baptism, seventy-five of which were into the fellowship of the Jacksonville Church. This was a larger number than had been thus added to any one church in a year, since the organization of the Association. The Martin's Prairie Church, at its own request, was dismissed from the Association, to unite with the North District Association. The Hopewell Church was also, at its own request, dismissed, to unite with the Clary's Grove Association.
The Committee on Ministerial Destitution reported that, "Notwithstanding previous resolves and endeavors, we still find a fearful destitution of gospel laborers in the field embraced within the bounds of our Association. With twenty churches, a membership of upwards of twelve hundred, we have but four or five settled pastors,
47and have little or no itinerant labor. The Committee feel deeply the obligation and necessity of immediate and efficient action, and offered the following, which was adopted
Resolved, That a Committee, consisting of the acting pastor of the Springfield Church, with Bros. W. W. Watson, Grover Ayers, I. D. Rawlings, and K. B. Roe, be appointed by this Association, to raise funds for the support of one or more itinerant missionaries; also to employ such missionaries, and take the general superintendence of the mission."
The Association met with the Stonington Church, September 3d, 1853. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. John Teasdale, from the 85th Psalm, 6th verse. Rev. WILLIAM SYM, pastor of the Springfield Church, was chosen Moderator, and W. W. Watson, Clerk.
Fifteen churches reported by letter and delegates. The statistics this year show eighty-nine additions by baptism, and a total membership of ten hundred and thirty-three. Only three ordained ministers laboring within the bounds of the Association the past year. The South Fork Baptist Church, in Christian county, a new church organized in 1852, was received as a member of the Association. The Winchester Church, at its own request, was dismissed, to unite with the North District Association.
The Committee on Domestic Missions, appointed at the last session, reported as follows
"Our esteemed brother, A. B. Harris, was employed six months ago to labor with feeble churches in destitute parts of our general field of labor, at a salary of $400 per annum. During that period his work has been faithfully performed, and attended with a good degree of success. He has been engaged in several seasons of revival work, and reports about eighty-three cases of conversion in connection with his ministry, and that he has baptized fifty-one persons."
In view of the success attending the labors of the missionary, the Committee urged the necessity and importance
48of continuing Mr. Harris in the field, and of the churches providing means for increasing the missionary work of the Association.
The Association met with the Berlin Church, on Friday, September 1st, 1854. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. William Sym, from James i, 27, after which Rev. WILLIAM SYM was chosen Moderator, and William Stockdale, Clerk.
Sixteen churches were represented, the letters showing an aggregate membership of eight hundred and seventy-seven, with ninety-five additions by baptism during the last year. The force of ordained ministers was increased to nine. Letters of dismission were, at their request, granted to the Manchester, and Big Spring Churches, to unite with the North District Association.
The following report from the Board of Domestic Missions, was adopted, viz
"The Committee on Domestic Missions within the bounds of the Springfield Association, beg leave to present to the Association a summary view of the labors and receipt of funds by Brother A. B. Harris, who has been laboring in their service as Missionary fourteen months, up to the close of April last. Brother Harris has labored with commendable zeal and assiduity, and the blessing of God has crowned his labors with encouraging success. His reports show that he has, during the past Associational year, travelled 3,650 miles — made 1,058 religious family visits — delivered 422 sermons and addresses — baptized, in connection with labors put forth at protracted meetings, 129 converts — and held 158 prayer meetings.
These labors were performed principally with the Sugar Creek, Lebanon, Berlin, Winchester, Diamond Grove, Apple Creek, Sangamon Bottom, Centerville, Decatur, and Taylorville Churches — the Missionary assisting the pastors
during their extra labors, and otherwise aiding the general cause. Our Missionary collected in funds from the different churches, $294, and received from Brother Watson, Treasurer, $75, making in all $344, and leaving a balance now due Brother Harris of $98.
Your Board are impressed with a sense of the importance and urgent call for intelligent and well-directed Missionary labor within the bounds of this Association, and would respectfully suggest that this body give the subject the attention which its sacred character demands."
The Association then directed the Board to employ Brother Harris as Missionary within the bounds of this Association for the ensuing year.
On motion, Rev. Wm. Sym, W. W. Watson, and Grover Ayers, were continued as the Board of Domestic Missions for the ensuing year.
The Springfield Baptist Association met according to appointment, with the Baptist Church, in Richland, on Friday, August 31st, 1855, at 10 o'clock, A. M. After singing, and prayer by Rev. A. B. Harris, the opening sermon was preached by Rev. G. W. Pendleton, from Psalms xlvi, 4: "There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God." Rev. J. N. TOLMAN, of Decatur, was chosen Moderator; Rev. G. W. Pendleton, of Jacksonville, Clerk, and W. W. Watson, of Springfield, Treasurer.
Eleven ordained ministers are embraced in the list of pastors within the bounds of the Association this year. The Lord heard the cry of His people, and answered it. The fathers who first cultivated the opening fields of gospel service in Central Illinois, have now given place to others; some of them having finished their earthly mission and work, have fallen asleep in Jesus; others bowed
50by the infirmities of years, have given up active service, and await their change with joyful trust in Him whom they so faithfully served in their day and generation.
The Waverly, and Mount Pleasant Churches, were received as members of the Association.
The Executive Committee made the following report on Domestic Missions
"In the early part of the Associational year, we entered into an arrangement with Rev. A. B. Harris, to labor as a Missionary for a period of ten months, fixing his salary at $400 per annum. He commenced his labors the 1st of November, and from that period up to the present time, has prosecuted his work with diligence and success. During ten months service, he has traveled 3,402 miles; made 634 family visits; delivered 202 sermons and public addresses; attended 60 prayer meetings; baptized 7 converts; sold 216 volumes for the American Baptist Publication Society; distributed 1,300 pages of tracts, and aided in the ordination of two ministers. The labors of Brother Harris have been performed with the Lebanon, Sugar Creek, Apple Creek, Diamond Grove, Centerville, and Sangamon Bottom Churches. One-fourth of his time has been spent with the Centerville Church. He has received the following amounts of money during his ten months service
|From the Centerville Church||$82 50|
|" Sangamon Bottom Church||19 00|
|" Jacksonville Church||12 50|
|" Diamond Grove Church||1 00|
|" Apple Creek Church||8 00|
|" Lebanon Church||8 00|
|" Sugar Creek Church||8 00|
|" American Baptist Publication Society||17 00|
|" Springfield Church||40 00|
Rev. N. W. Miner offered the following resolution, which was adopted
"Resolved, That in view of the low state of religion among us, the churches of this Association observe the
first Monday in January, 1856, as a day of humiliation, fasting and prayer to Almighty God, for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and a revival of his work."
The Association met with the Centerville Church, on the 5th of September, 1856. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. J. N. Tolman, from Matt, v, 14: "Ye are the Light of the World." Rev. J. N. TOLMAN was chosen Moderator.
Eighteen churches, with a membership of ten hundred and forty, were reported. Received by baptism, one hundred and eighty-one.
Rev. Cyrus Miner, Pastor of the Berlin Church, died during the last year, highly esteemed by his people and brethren in the ministry, as a faithful minister of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Union Baptist Church, in Shelby county, was received as a member of the Association.
The Executive Committee of the Association, reported, "That they had entered into an arrangement with the General Association of the State, in which they had transferred their Missionary, Rev. A. B. Harris, to the direction of that Board for the last year." The report was approved.
Rev. B. F. Chapman offered the following resolution, which was adopted
"Resolved, That the churches of this Association be requested to send by their delegates to the next session, a full report of the condition of their respective Sabbath Schools; and that the evening of the first day of the Association be set apart for a conference touching the best means to be employed for the advancement of the Sabbath School enterprise."
The Association met at Taylorville, Christian county, Friday, September 4th, 1857, at 10 o'clock A. M. The introductory sermon was preached from Matthew vi, 10: "Thy Kingdom come." Rev. J. N. TOLMAN was chosen Moderator.
The Clear Creek Baptist Church was received as a member of the Association. The Apple Creek, and the Sugar Creek Churches were, by their own request, dismissed from the Association, to unite with the Carrolton Association.
Sixteen churches reported this year, with an aggregate membership of nine hundred and twenty-seven. Only eight were received by baptism during the year, the smallest number of any year since 1846. How true it is that "The wind bloweth where it listeth. * * * * So is every one that is born of the Spirit." This law of the Divine working upon the hearts and consciences of men, is illustrated here, as everywhere in the history of the Christian Church.
The Executive Committee of the Association reported, that in the early part of the year they engaged Rev. A. B. Harris to labor within the bounds of the Association as an itinerant Missionary, at the salary of $400 per annum. The following is an abstract of his annual report
During the year ending September 1st, 1857, I have performed fifty-two weeks' labor for the Springfield, and General Associations, as their Missionary. I have traveled, in the discharge of my duty, 4,580 miles; made 914 family visits; preached 101 sermons; delivered 64 public addresses; attended 34 prayer meetings; number of persons converted, 8; number joined the church, 8; baptized 5; sold 720 volumes, including 120 of ‘Theodosia Ernest;’ 80 of ‘Spurgeon's Sermons;’ besides other volumes of Baptist and religious publications.
|From Centerville Church||$42 50|
|From Sugar Creek Church||30 00|
|Collections on the field||4 00|
|From General Association||50 00|
|From sale of books||80 00|
The above labor has been performed in Morgan, Sangamon, Menard, Cass, Christian, and Macoupin counties. For nine months past I have supplied the Centerville Church, one Sabbath in a month. For six months past, the Sugar Creek Church, once a month. I have also preached at Lebanon, on Lick Creek, once a month for five months past. The balance of the time I have been itinerating over the field, sowing broadcast the good seed.
A. B. HARRIS, Missionary."
The Committee on Benevolent Operations reported the following resolutions, which were adopted
"Resolved, That the efforts of the Missionary Union, in endeavoring to spread the gospel among the heathen, are worthy of our serious consideration and earnest prayers; and that the widening field of their operations demands from the churches of this Association a more liberal support.
"Resolved, That we recommend a Domestic Board, to superintend the Missionary work within the limits of this Association, to co-operate with the Board of the General Association.
"Resolved, That the Illinois Baptist General Association, in its efforts to preach the gospel to feeble churches, and in destitute settlements and towns of this State, is doing a work which we fully endorse. The efficiency with which they prosecute the work, and the blessing of God which attends their labors, give us the highest satisfaction. In view of the pressing demands for this service, we pledge to this organization our earnest sympathy and prayers, and an increase of funds for the year to come.
"Resolved, That we recommend to the churches of this Association that they co-operate with the Illinois Baptist
Education Society, in aiding young men in prosecuting their studies preparatory to the work of the ministry, and that they take up annual collections for its treasury."
A collection and subscription were taken for the Illinois Baptist Education Society, amounting to $162.50.
The Decatur Church reported its new house of worship nearly completed; two weekly prayer meetings, and a monthly missionary meeting; a Sunday School, with forty scholars and six teachers, and a Bible Class, conducted by the pastor.
The Circular Letter for this year closes as follows
"We love the ‘old paths’ better than new ones, and prefer the simplicity of faith to any improvements of the ‘wise.’ And we rejoice that there is a growing attachment to the fundamental doctrines of grace; and a deeper sense of the truth and glory of the cross of Christ in the ministry. It is the doctrine of Baptists that we are justified by faith, that Jesus Christ is eternal and almighty, and that we worship the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three persons and one God. The Bible, and the Bible only, is our safe and sure directory on all points of religious faith and practice."
The twenty-first Annual Meeting of the Association, was held with the Church in Springfield, commencing on Friday, September 10th, 1858. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. G. W. Pendleton, from Isaiah xxx, 7. Rev. J. B. OLCUTT was chosen Moderator.
The total membership was, this year, ten hundred and sixty-five, with one hundred and fifty-one additions during the year, by baptism. Berlin, Stonington, and Springfield Churches shared most largely in the revival influences of the year. The Baptist Church of Pana, Christian
55county, constituted July 21, 1858, with eleven members, was received as a member of the Association.
The Executive Committee made the following report
That we have employed Rev. A. B. Harris as our Missionary within the bounds of this Association during the past year. He has traveled 4,087 miles; made 832 family visits; preached 140 sermons; delivered 72 public addresses; held and attended 65 prayer and conference meetings; 50 have been converted; 25 baptized; 35 united with our churches, and sold 300 volumes.
|From Diamond Grove Church||$100 00|
|From Lebanon Church||30 00|
|From Berlin Church||76 50|
|Collected on the field||3 30|
|From W. W. Watson, Treasurer||62 90|
|From Springfield Church||10 00|
|From Centerville Church||11 50|
|From General Association||91 00|
On Friday evening reports were submitted, and addresses made on the subject of Sunday Schools. The reports showed that there were five hundred and twenty-five scholars, and sixty-four teachers connected with the several schools in the Association, and twenty-one hundred volumes in the libraries. It was —
"Resolved, That the churches of this Association be requested to send by their messengers to the next session, a full report of the condition of their respective Sunday Schools; and that the evening of the first day of the Association be set apart for conference, touching the best means to be employed for the advancement of the Sunday School enterprise."
The Association met September 2d, 1859, with the Church in Stonington. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. N. W. Miner, from Job xix, 25, after which Rev. B. THOMAS, of Decatur, was chosen Moderator, and E. L. Gross, of Springfield, Clerk.
The aggregate membership reported, was ten hundred and seventy-five. There were fifty-seven additions to the churches by baptism, the Church at Decatur sharing most largely in the outpouring of the Spirit during the year, thirty-three having been added to that church on profession. The Baptist Church in Friendship, Macon county, constituted March 23, 1859, with twelve members, and the Baptist Church in Beardstown, Cass county, constituted June 9th, 1859, with twelve members, were received as members of the Association.
According to a resolution of last session, the evening was devoted to the subject of Sunday Schools. Interesting reports were received from most of the churches, giving some account of the peculiar characteristics and excellencies of each school. An hour and a half was devoted to addresses upon the topic. Among the speakers were G. S. Bailey, B. Thomas, W. C. Pratt, and J. B. Olcott.
The reports showed an aggregate of seventy-nine teachers; six hundred and ten scholars, and twenty-four hundred and forty volumes in the school libraries connected with the several churches.
Rev. G. S. Bailey, from the Committee on Benevolent Operations, recommended that each church fix some specific time in the year for taking collections to sustain the various benevolent societies of the denomination, all of which they commend to the cordial support of the churches.
It was moved and carried, that a Historian be appointed to collect material for a History of this Association; that he prepare such a History, and submit the same to this
57body at its next session. That he introduce the History with some account of the causes which led to the formation of this Association, making his sketch as complete and accurate as possible. Rev. W. S. Goodno was appointed Historian.
Rev. A. B. Harris, as Missionary of the Association, made a report of his labors during the year, moneys received, and from whom. He gave a graphic sketch of the situation of the churches in the western part of the territory where he spent most of his time
Traveled during the year in discharge of duty, 4,497 miles; made 810 family visits; preached 75 sermons; delivered 40 public addresses; attended 20 prayer meetings; number of conversions reported, 4; baptized and witnessed baptism of 7.
|Amount of salary||$400 00|
|Received from Centerville Church, cash||$135 00|
|" Princeton Church cash and pledges||30 00|
|" Diamond Grove Church, cash||20 00|
|" Berlin Church, cash and pledges||64 00|
|" Jacksonville Church, cash and pledges||25 00|
THE Association met with the Berlin Baptist Church, August 29th, 1860. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. W. S. Goodno, from Matthew xiii, 38: "The field is the World." Rev. B. THOMAS was chosen Moderator.
The total membership reported, was twelve hundred and forty; baptisms, one hundred and seven. The North Baptist Church of Springfield, constituted May 29th, 1860, was received as a member of the Association.
The Committee on reception of new churches, recommended that the Sangamon Bottom Church be received again into this Association, it having recently effected a new organization.
The time for holding the Annual Meeting of the Association, was changed to the Friday preceding the first Sunday in September.
Rev. W. S. Goodno, who was appointed at the last session to prepare a History of this Association, reported that he had done nothing toward such History, and asked to be excused from further duty as Historian.
On motion, M. Brayman was appointed to write the History of the Association, as by resolution adopted last session.
The Committee on Resolutions reported as follows
"Resolved, That all the religious societies sustained by our denomination, are benevolent in their tendencies and object, and calculated, by the blessing of God, to relieve
and elevate our common humanity, and advance the interests of the Redeemer's Kingdom.
"Resolved, That Sabbath Schools, and Missionary organizations, with the Bible Society, are entitled to the most cordial support from all the churches within our bounds."
Rev. Ichabod Clark, M. Brayman, and W. W. Watson, were appointed a Committee on Domestic Missions.
The evening session of Thursday was devoted to the interests of Sunday Schools.
After an interesting discussion, it was —
"Resolved, That Superintendents connected with the several churches in the Association, be requested to furnish this body, at its next regular session, with a full and complete report of the Sunday Schools under their charge, including the whole number of scholars; the whole number of teachers; the whole number of books in library; how many and what papers and periodicals taken, and the number of conversions, if any, that have occurred among the members of Sunday School or Bible Classes during the year."
The Clerk of the Association was instructed to send a copy of this resolution to each Sunday School in the Association.
|CHURCHES||MINISTERS AND DELEGATES.||Increase.||Loss.||Whole Number|
|SPRINGFIELD||N. W. MINER, M. Brayman, Josiah Francis, J. C. Hall, H.L. Field||63||20||—||81||6||1||400|
|BERLIN||R. R. COON, T. Foutch, M. Mowrey, J. Rhea, J. Fouch, L. G. Montague.||8||5||—||3||—||2||129|
|JACKSONVILLE||W. S. GOODNO, R, Hocking, J. W. Goltra. F. M. Coard||—||3||—||5||8||1||82|
|DIAMOND GROVE||DAVID LEWIS, S. W. Holmes||6||2||1||—||—||—||30|
|CENTERVILLE||A. B. HARRIS, P. Cowdin, O. Foster||—||3||—||1||—||—||30|
|SANGAMON BOTTOM||David Lewis, J.C. Hart..||4||6||—||2||—||—||26|
|RICHLAND||N. J. COFFEY, J. W. Beekman, T. Carter, Wm. Carter||—||4||—||—||—||—||60|
|DECATUR||B. THOMAS, D. Morgan, D.L. Allen||12||6||—||6||1||3||128|
|MT. PLEASANT||No letter||—||—||—||—||—||—||39|
|STONINGTON||C. T. CHAPMAN, M. B. Webster||4||7||1||—||1||—||100|
|FRIENDSHIP||J. Z. ZIMMERMAN, J. R. Bower||9||2||—||2||1||—||28|
|NORTH BAPTIST, SPRINGFIELD||ICHABOD CLARK, F. W. INGMIRE, W. W. Watson, J.G. Stewart||—||—||—||—||—||—||80|
|SPRINGFIELD GERMAN||No letter||1||4||—||1||—||1||36|
The Association met with the Richland Baptist Church, August 30th, 1861. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. Ichabod Clark, Pastor of the North Baptist Church in Springfield. Rev. S. G. MINER, of Decatur, was chosen Moderator.
A new church having been formed at Virginia, Cass county, where a former one had become extinct, upon request of the new organization presented by Rev. Geo. P. Guild, it was received as a member of the Association.
A letter from the Lebanon Church at Loami, which had not been represented for several years, was read, and on motion, the church was restored to full standing in the Association.
The membership of the Association this year, was twelve hundred and sixteen; baptisms, eighty-seven, of which eighty-one were into the fellowship of the Berlin Church, and six into the fellowship of the Virginia Church.
The following was offered by Rev. R. R. Coon, which was adopted
"Resolved, That according to the Proclamation of the President of the United States, we recommend the last Thursday in September, as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer; and that the Pastors of churches in their respective charges urge it upon their people, in view of the calamities of civil war, to spend the day in earnest and humble supplication to Almighty God to avert the impending ruin which seems to threaten our beloved country."
As illustrating the spirit of the denomination in relation to the civil war then just begun, the following Circular Letter, written by Rev. Ichabod Clark, and printed in the minutes, will speak for itself
"BELOVED BRETHREN: — Permit us, in our annual epistle, to invite your attention to some of the signs of the present times, and the appropriate duties of Christians in view of them. For the want of such attention, the Savior reproved the men of his time, saying unto
them, ‘Ye can discern the face of the sky, and can ye not discern the signs of the times.’
Each period of life, and every phase of society, has its peculiar trials and duties shadowed forth by the signs of the times. These indications should be carefully considered by all who desire to glorify God, bless the world, and secure the salvation of their own souls. The history of the past shows that great good has been lost, and fearful evil incurred by a heedless disregard of providential indications. Thus, Jerusalem lost her day, and the things which belonged to her peace were forever hidden from her eyes. As Christian patriots, we have fallen upon times, the foreshadowings of which should, by no means, be disregarded. As a nation, we are isolated from the old world, and therefore not exposed to be greatly affected by its political commotions. We have so long enjoyed peace in our borders, with freedom to worship God without fear, that we have come to regard our mountains as standing so strong that we should never be moved — that cloudless splendor would attend our onward course, until we reached the undimmed glories of millenial day. But how is the gold changed, and the most fine gold become dim! At this hour we stand face to face with grim-visaged war — a war of life or death to our most valued institutions and most cherished hopes. To passing events none can be indifferent; but of the signs of these many may be regardless. We do not pretend to divine all that these signs indicate. This, we think, no human wisdom can determine. Whether we are to come out of this furnace politically purified, and religiously elevated, prepared to move on in a brighter career of national glory and more interesting course of religious triumph; or, as a punishment of our great national sins, to sink in deeper gloom, is known to God. We may, however, be permitted to say that the history of the past appears to us like a prediction of the future.
Here in this wilderness, God planted His church as a choice vine. He also watered it, and caused it to grow, until its fragrance has begun to perfume and purify the contaminated atmosphere that has long rested on heathen lands. May we not, then, hope that the vine, thus planted and nurtured, will still be protected — will still be blessed and made a blessing.
But we desire to call your attention, particularly, to the duties of Christians at the present time. A moment's reflection will show that there are things against which they need to be especially guarded:
FIRST — An absorption of thought, interest and affection, in passing scenes. Important as they are admitted to be, there are other interests vastly more momentous. All governments, save one, will soon have passed away; and all worldly events are chiefly interesting and important, in their relation to that everlasting government.
SECOND — There is danger of forgetting our entire dependence on the great Ruler who is over all — who can, and will, order all things according to his own pleasure. As a result of such forgetfulness, prayer — humble, earnest prayer, may be neglected, and the needed blessing lost.
THIRD — There is also danger of cherishing an improper spirit towards those whom we regard as the authors of all our present
national troubles. Contemplating the vast expense of money, time and life, caused by this painful struggle to perpetuate our excellent government, and noble institutions, and the barbarity of our domestic foes, even Christians may indulge such feelings as the Savior cannot approve, and such as are inconsistent with the personal enjoyment of religion.
These hints in regard to dangers, naturally suggest the path that should be followed by Christians. That every Christian should be a firm patriot, standing manfully by his country's cause, is too obvious to need the support of argument. He should be more — he should be emphatically a praying patriot, keeping his heart with all diligence. The hope of our country requires it. The welfare of his own soul demands it. The prosperity of the church, and the salvation of souls are connected with it. More than all, the glory of God, and the honor of religion, are concerned. Let us then remember that God will be sought unto by his people, to do for them the good he has purposed and promised. While war is exerting its distracting and demoralizing influence throughout our country, let our constant prayer be, ‘Oh for a closer walk with God.’ Let us not forget that Christ has not relinquished his claims — that immortal souls have not ceased to be of inconceivable worth — that, out of Christ, danger is still imminent and fearful — that the voice is yet sounding in every ear, ‘Prepare to meet thy God.’"
The Association met with the Waverly Baptist Church, September 5th, 1862. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. W. F. Nelson, of Jacksonville, from Rev. xix, 12, 13, 14, after which Rev, W. F. NELSON was chosen Moderator, and S. W. Holmes, Clerk.
The letters from the churches reported a total membership of twelve hundred and fifty-three, and thirty baptisms during the year.
Upon the reading of the letter from Centerville Church, announcing the death of Rev. A. B. Harris, the Association suspended business, and united in prayer with Rev. N. W. Miner, of Springfield.
The Baptist Church at Shelbyville, was, on its application, received as a member of the Association.
64M. Brayman, who had been appointed in 1860, to write the History of the Association, having in 1861, enlisted in the service of his country as an officer in the army, was discharged from this service, and Rev. Ichabod Clark, Noah Divelbiss, and Josiah Francis, were appointed a Committee to collect the historical records of the Association, and from them compile a history of the same, and report to the next annual meeting.
In view of the present state of our country, and our entire dependence upon God, the following resolution was adopted
"Resolved, That cherishing undiminished interest in the present struggles of our country with her enemies, we will not cease to pray that the God of nations would grant wisdom to our rulers and success to our arms, that this wicked rebellion may be brought to a speedy issue, and the authority of the government established."
The letters from several of the churches speak of numbers of their members having responded to the call of their country, and enrolled themselves among the armies for the national defence. Among these was Rev. S. G. Miner, Pastor of the Decatur Church, who went forth to serve as a Chaplain in the army.
The North Church in Springfield, reported the completion of its new house of worship, free from debt, under the efficient labors of Rev. Ichabod Clark, Pastor.
Rev. N. W. Miner, and Rev. Ichabod Clark, were appointed a Committee to revise the Constitution and By-Laws of the Association, and report to the next annual meeting.
The Association met with the North Baptist Church in Springfield, Friday, September 4th, 1863. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. Perry Bennett, of
65Berlin, from Roms. XV, 13, after which Rev. N. W. MINER was chosen Moderator; Rev. F. M. Ellis, Clerk, and W. W. Watson, Treasurer.
This Anniversary, being the first year of the second quarter century of the Association's existence, marks one of the most interesting periods through which it has passed. It was held at a time when the great CIVIL WAR waged, on the one side for the destruction, and on the other for the defence of the union of the States, and the existence of the Nation, was at its height. Every energy of the loyal people was put forth to preserve and perpetuate the free institutions handed down to us by the fathers of the Republic.
The churches reporting this year, numbered a membership of eighteen hundred and thirty, with one hundred and thirty-seven additions by baptism during the year.
Rev. Nathaniel Colver, D.D., of Chicago, Gen. Mason Brayman, Rev. F. M. Ellis, and Rev. Geo. P. Guild, the Committee on the State of the Country, submitted through their chairman, the following series of resolutions
"The Committee on the State of the Country, considering it the duty of religious as well as political bodies, to give expression to the sentiments of their members on public affairs, report for consideration as follows:
"Resolved, That the rebellion now existing is a crime against God and good government, and destructive of human liberty and civilization; and that it is the duty of all Christian men to aid in its suppression.
"Resolved, That while we earnestly pray for the restoration of peace, and a speedy termination of a conflict which has brought unutterable calamities upon the country, we ask for no cessation of war involving the destruction of the national life, or the surrender of the great principle of human liberty which wicked men in arms would destroy.
"Resolved, That the rebellion was begun and is carried on to secure the indefinite expansion and perpetual recognition of slavery. That slavery is sought to be made the corner stone of a new government in defiance of the spirit
of civilization and Christian progress which characterize the age. That the institution is now made an element of strength against us, and that therefore, not only the instinct of national preservation, but the teachings of God's Providence indicate that the time has come for its utter extinction.
"Resolved, That as Christian citizens we solemnly record our gratitude to Almighty God for the victories which have crowned our arms, giving promise of an early restoration of peace and a preserved Union; and that to the integrity, patience and enlightened patriotism of ABRAHAM LINCOLN, the Nation is, under divine guidance, indebted for the national preservation.
"Resolved, That an expression of gratitude is equally due for the patriotism, courage and noble fortitude displayed by our brethren in the field, who, in the midst of hardships, toils, wounds and death, have so nobly vindicated the cause of constitutional liberty.
"Resolved, That as a religious body and as religious men, laboring and praying for the salvation of men, it is our duty to give our influence and support to all measures proper for securing success on the side of humanity, liberty and good government; and that we should seek an end of this unrighteous and barbarous rebellion by removing, as fast as possible, the guilty cause of it.
"Resolved, That we implore Christian men everywhere, to remember that it is ‘God alone who giveth us the victory,’ and that no efforts ought to be made, or can succeed without his blessing."
Interesting remarks were made upon the above resolutions by Chaplains S. G. Miner and J. H. Hazen, and on motion of Rev. A. C. Hubbard, of Springfield, they were unanimously adopted — first by the Association, and then by the congregation.
The Committee appointed at the last session to revise the Constitution and By-Laws, made their report through Rev. A. C. Hubbard, which was received. The Articles of the Constitution were taken up one by one, and adopted.
67The By-Laws were also adopted, after which both Constitution and By-Laws were adopted as a whole
ARTICLE I. — This Association shall be called the "Springfield Baptist Association," and shall tie composed of messengers, who shall be members of, and appointed by the churches which they represent.
ARTICLE II. — Every church composed of a less number than twenty, shall be entitled to two messengers, and an additional messenger for every twenty members.
ARTICLE III. — This Association shall meet annually on the last Friday preceding the first Sabbath in September, at 10 o'clock A. M., at the place previously appointed, and commence its session with public worship.
ARTICLE IV. — A Moderator and Clerk shall be chosen by ballot at each session of the Association, who shall continue in office until others are elected to supply their place.
It shall be the duty of the Moderator to preside and lead in all the transactions of the meeting, and to see that due order and decorum are observed by all the members.
It shall be the duty of the Clerk to make a fair and impartial record of all the doings of the meeting during their session, and to furnish a correct copy of the same for publication.
ARTICLE V. — A Treasurer shall also be chosen every year, whose duty it shall be to receive and safely keep all moneys belonging to this body, and pay them out only as directed by this body, unless specified by the donor, and transmit to his successor in office, the books, together with the moneys that may remain in his hands at the expiration of his term of office.
ARTICLE VI. — The churches represented, shall send with their messengers, letters, giving an account of their progress during the past year; their additions, diminution, and whole number; what they are doing for the cause of Christ at home and abroad, and in short, whatever relates to their prosperity and peace as churches of Jesus Christ. Each church is expected to forward money for the printing of the minutes, etc.
ARTICLE VII. — Any church wishing to unite with this Association, applying by letter and delegates, may be received by giving satisfactory information that they are sound in doctrine and correct in practice, on which reception the Moderator shall give to one of their delegates the right hand of fellowship, on behalf of the body.
ARTICLE VIII. — When a church shall neglect to make any communication with the Association for three years in succession, they may be dropped from the minutes, unless their continuance is requested by at least two members, who shall engage to inquire into their condition, and report at the next meeting of the Association.
ARTICLE IX. — The Association can exercise no authority or jurisdiction over the churches, each one of which is an independent body; nevertheless, the Association shall have power to refuse any church a seat in this body that shall prove unworthy of its fellowship.
ARTICLE X. — The Association shall have power to hold correspondence with other Associations as may be deemed expedient.
ARTICLE XI. — This Constitution may be amended at any regular meeting by a vote of two-thirds of the members present, provided notice shall have been given of the proposed amendments at a previous meeting.
1. Every meeting of the Association shall be opened and closed with prayer.
2. No question shall be discussed till it is regularly moved and seconded.
3. No member of the Association shall speak on any question more than twice, nor over ten minutes without special leave of the Moderator.
4. Every member speaking, shall address himself to the Moderator; shall avoid all improper personalities, and shall confine himself to the subject before the Association.
5. While a member is speaking all unnecessary noise and whispering shall be avoided.
6. Ministers and others invited to take a seat with us, may take part in discussing all questions, but vote on none.
7. No member shall leave the Association without leave of the Moderator.
8. It shall be the duty of the Moderator to appoint all Committees unless it be otherwise determined at the time.
9. A motion to adjourn shall always be in order, but it shall be put without debate.
10. These rules shall be read at the opening of every session of the Association.
Of the brethren present at this meeting, were the venerable pastor Jacob Bower, one of the earliest Missionaries in Illinois; Rev. Nathaniel Colver, D.D., of Chicago; both of whom have since gone to their reward on high; Rev. N. W. Miner, D.D., now of Trenton, New Jersey; Rev. F. M. Ellis, D.D., Pastor of Tremont Temple Baptist Church, Boston, Massachusetts; Rev. A. C. Hubbard, of Danbury, Connecticut; Rev. Melvin Jameson, Missionary of the A. B. M. Union, at Bassein, Burmah, and General Mason Brayman, of the U. S. Army.
The Association met this year with the Decatur Church, on the 2d of September, 1864. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. A. C. Hubbard, from Micah iv, 2, after which Rev. N. W. MINER was chosen Moderator, and Rev. F. M. Ellis, Clerk.
There were twenty-two churches represented, with a membership of ten hundred and eighty-seven, there having been an increase of thirty-seven by baptism during the year.
The Baptist Church at Mowequa was received as a member of the Association.
The following resolutions were adopted
"Resolved, That the command of our Lord, ‘Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature,’ calls for renewed and earnest effort on the part of the churches in this Association, and the success which has already attended the enterprise of foreign missions affords encouragement for this work.
"Resolved, That we are under renewed obligations to the Great Head of the Church, for the special tokens of Divine favor seen in the success attending the Missionary Union, as a great auxiliary in sending abroad the gospel among the nations of the earth, and that we recommend to the churches of this Association, the observance of one evening in each month as a Missionary Concert for Foreign Missions."
The resolutions on the state of the country in 1863, were re-adopted this year, as the great contest for freedom and union was still waging.
The session was devoted, as usual, to the ordinary business of the Association, the only noticeable further action taken, was the adoption of the following relating to Sunday School work, and organization
"DEAR BRETHREN: — Your Committee appointed at the meeting at Springfield, to ‘make a report at this session in regard to a permanent organization of the Sabbath
School enterprise in connection with this body,’ beg leave to submit the following suggestions, viz:
1. That the Sabbath School exercises be embraced as a part of the business of the Association, and not held separately.
2. That the Moderator appoint a Committee at each Anniversary of the Association, who shall arrange for the Sabbath School Exercises, at the following Anniversary, and that this Committee be a regular Standing Committee of this Association.
3. The Committee recommend that the report of the above Committee embrace at least the following provisions:
I. — A Sabbath School Address, and the speaker.
II. — Hearing of reports in full of the several schools within the bounds of the Association, embracing full statistics of members, books, average attendance, benevolence, mode of conducting school, results, etc., preceded by addresses or Sabbath School exercises, as provided for by the Committee.
III. — Also, that a provision be made for one evening for Sabbath School exercises, during the meeting of the Association.
IV. — And in addition, that the report of the Committee provide for a meeting during the sessions of the Association, for resolutions and general conference, and discussion upon the Sabbath School work.
The Committee further suggest, that the third Article of the Constitution be so amended that the meeting of the Association be on Thursday, to give time for these exercises. Finally, we recommend that the minutes of these exercises be incorporated in the minutes as a part of the proceedings of the Association, rather than have the Anniversary of the Association preceded by a Sabbath School Convention.
F. M. ELLIS, A.C. HUBBABD, Committee."
The Association met with the Berlin Baptist Church, September 1st, 1864. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. Alba Gross, from 1st Tim. iii, 13, 14, after which Rev. N. W. MINER was chosen Moderator, and Rev. Fred. G. Thearle, Clerk.
Total membership of the churches was fourteen hundred and twenty-two, of which eighty-seven were added by baptism.
The Beardstown Church having failed to report for three years, was dropped from the minutes of the Association.
Rev. S. A. Kingsbury addressed the Association on "The dangers to be avoided in connection with the work of Sabbath Schools."
Brief reports from the several Sabbath Schools were then submitted, after which the following topics were discussed
1. "What shall be the character of our Sabbath School literature?
2. "What should be the immediate results aimed at by Sabbath School teaching, and how most surely attained?"
The following resolution was offered, and Rev. G. J. Johnson presented the claims of the Publication Society
"Resolved, That in view of the great need that exists for the wider dissemination of our denominational literature, and the services of missionary colportage in our country; of the special wants of people of the South, both whites and freedmen, and for the multiplication and strengthening of Baptist Sunday Schools in all our land, and in view of the pressing demands for enlargement of our operations in Sweden, we will more liberally sustain our American Baptist Publication Society, and make at least annual contributions for this cause in our churches."
The war waged for four years, having at last been brought to a close, in the overthrow of slavery, and the preservation of our National Union.
72The Committee on the State of the Country, submitted the following resolutions, which were adopted
"That whilst with gratitude to the Great Ruler of Nations we record the fact that the war with the so-called Confederate States has closed, yet we cannot consider the rebellion at an end. The conflict of arms is over, but not the conflict of feeling and of ideas. Passion reigns where force has been subdued. It is still necessary for those who love Christ and believe in his gospel of humanity, to continue their attention to the state of the country; this Association does, therefore
"Resolve, That for the continuance of peace, and for the ultimate salvation of the Union, it is needful that the freedmen become freemen, and that every possible effort be made to educate and fit them for their new position.
"Resolved, That it is the duty of every Christian to do all in his power to send to the freedmen and whites, missionaries, teachers, colporteurs and books.
"Resolved, That upon the Baptist denomination especially is there a loud call to engage in this work; and that the Baptist Home Mission Society, and the Baptist Publication Society, are the only proper organizations through which our churches should act in this direction.
"Resolved, That loyalty to the Union, and the support of all proper measures for sustaining and perpetuating it, are clearly demanded by the religion we profess."
The Association met with the Church in Jacksonville, August 31st, 1866. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. R. E. Pattison, D.D., from Collossians i, 27: "Christ in you the hope of Glory." Rev. ALBA GROSS was chosen Moderator; L. R. Brown, Clerk, and John W. Goltra, Treasurer.
The total membership of the churches was, this year, sixteen hundred and twenty-seven, of which number two hundred and sixty-eight were baptized into their fellowship, as the fruits of a gracious revival.
The Baptist Church at New Berlin, and the Baptist Church at Chatham, were received as members of the Association.
Rev. G. S. Bailey presented the claims of the General Association, after which a collection was taken for its treasury, amounting to $64.75.
Rev. C. F. Tolman addressed the Association in behalf of Foreign Missions, and a collection was taken for that object, amounting to $59.15.
Rev. Geo. P. Guild delivered an address in behalf of the Publication Society, and took a collection, amounting to $41.85.
The Committee on Sunday Schools reported as follows, and after remarks by several brethren, the report was accepted and the resolutions adopted
"WHEREAS, We have heard with great satisfaction the favorable reports respecting Sabbath Schools connected with the churches of this Association; therefore
"Resolved, That we recommend to all our churches more earnest efforts put forth to increase the interest, enlarge the influence, and make even more effective the Sunday Schools in this Association.
"Resolved, That we recommend the purchase of the publications and approved books of the American Baptist Publication Society, for Sunday School purposes.
"Resolved, That we further recommend the setting apart of thirty minutes, to be occupied in discussing questions relating to the Sunday School."
The following resolutions, offered by Bro. M. Brayman, were adopted
"Resolved, That the preservation of the History of the Baptist Denomination in America, is regarded as indispensable to our security and success, and a proper means
of commemorating the goodness of God in blessing the labors of His people.
"Resolved, That we recognize the American Baptist Historical Society, located 530 Arch Street, Philadelphia, of which Dr. Howard Malcom is President, as a most efficient laborer in this work, and recommend to all organizations and members of our churches, to forward to that Society all books, pamphlets and written documents calculated to illustrate our Church History, encourage denominational unity, and promote the progress of truth and enlightened piety among us."
The Berlin Church reported the completion of a new and commodious house of worship, in February last.
The Jacksonville Church, Rev. S. A. Kingsbury, Pastor, reports this year a good degree of spiritual life, and well sustained meetings. They report the church as free from debt, the first time in ten years.
Springfield First, and North Churches, report large accessions, and rich spiritual blessings during the year.
Waverly Church dedicated a new house of worship on the 17th of June, which they were assisted to erect with a loan of $800 from the American Baptist Home Mission Society.
The Association met with the Loami Church, formerly known as the Lebanon Church, August 30th, 1867. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. F. G. Thearle, of Decatur, after which Rev. F. G. THEARLE was chosen Moderator; P. J. Wardner, Clerk, and John O. Rames, Treasurer.
Rev. E. S. Walker, W. S. Frink, and John W. Goltra, were appointed a Committee on Resolutions.
The letters from the churches reported a membership of fifteen hundred and eighty-seven, ninety-eight having been baptized during the year.
The Forsythe Baptist Church was received as a member of the Association.
Rev. J. H. Griffith, Agent of the Central Baptist Education Society; C. R. Blackall, Agent of the American Baptist Publication Society; Rev. S. M. Osgood, Agent of the Missionary Union, and Rev. G. S. Bailey, of the Illinois Baptist General Association, were present, to represent the several Societies.
Collections were taken up during the session for these several objects, amounting to over $200.
The Church at Pana, dedicated a new house of worship in February, which is a credit to the denomination and to that thriving city.
Revivals were enjoyed in several of the churches.
The Committee on Resolutions reported the following, which were adopted
"Resolved, That in obedience to the great commission of our Lord Jesus to preach the gospel to every creature, we recognize it as the duty of the churches of this Association, to give to the Baptist General Association of Illinois, their cordial and increased support, both in contributions and prayers.
"Resolved, That whilst we labor and pray for the upbuilding of Zion's walls in our own State, we at the same time acknowledge it to be our duty to help in giving the gospel to the whole world. The American Baptist Home Mission Society, and the American Baptist Missionary Union — twin sisters in the glorious work, are entitled to our enlarged contributions and most fervent prayers.
"Resolved, That the work of the Central Baptist Educational Society, in searching out and aiding indigent, worthy young men, who are called of God to preach the gospel, is deserving of our sympathies, prayers and support, and we heartily commend the Society and its work to our churches.
"Resolved, That we hereby express a hearty appreciation of our own Sunday School Society, the American Baptist Publication Society — the record of which, during
the past year, shows a gratifying progress in contributions received, and practical work done in the direction of Missionary Colportage and Sunday School improvement and extension.
"Resolved, That the CHRISTIAN TIMES AND WITNESS, our denominational organ for the Northwest, has, during its brief history, been largely promotive of our denominational growth and prosperity, and as a faithful exponent of Baptist doctrine, and a true Christian faith, we commend it as worthy of introduction into every Baptist family."
The Committee on Sunday Schools made the following report, to-wit
"That we feel as if the Sabbath School interests of the denomination need to be strengthened by more combined efforts.
That there is a crying demand coming up from the central portion of this, our noble State, for such a combination, which can only be met by a thorough and well organized Baptist Sunday School Convention.
That we recommend to this body, as the surest and best way to attain this end, the appointment of three delegates to the General Association, whose business it shall be to work for such a convention in Central Illinois.
Further, that the delegates to surrounding associations, be instructed to request the appointment of three delegates from each body, to confer with ours in this matter."
The following resolution was adopted
"Resolved, That having heard with sorrow and regret of the resignation of Bro. G. S. Bailey, D.D., of the Superintendency of Domestic Missions, we desire, in view of the closing of this relation, to express, as an Association, our high sense of the faithful and efficient manner in which, for the past three years, Bro. Bailey has discharged the laborious and responsible duties of that office, which, under God, have been so greatly blessed in furthering the interests of our denomination in this State."
The Association met with the Richland Church, September 4th, 1868. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. N. G. Collins, from 2d Cor. iv, 5, after which Rev. ALBA GROSS was chosen Moderator; P. J. Wardner, Clerk, and L. S. Harvey, Treasurer.
The total membership of the churches represented this year in the Association, was nineteen hundred and forty-nine; the total number of baptisms was three hundred and four, a larger number than during any former year of its history.
The venerable Father Jacob Bower, who, for thirty-six years had preached the gospel within the bounds of the Association, was present, and preached with much vigor, from Psalm 126th, 6th verse. The promise was fulfilled in his day. He saw it, and was glad. The precious seed which he helped to sow in this mission field in 1832, was now matured with the sheaves of a glorious harvest.
The Mount Zion Church, with a membership of forty-six, was received as a member of the Association.
Strong resolutions, setting forth the importance of Sunday School work, were adopted, showing a good degree of interest in that branch of Christian service.
The following resolutions were also adopted
"WHEREAS, There are several feeble churches within our borders, unable to sustain Pastors, and large sections of the country unoccupied by us as a denomination, including several flourishing towns and villages; therefore,
"Resolved, That it is the duty of the Springfield Baptist Association, to appoint and sustain a Colporteur Missionary, in connection with the American Baptist Publication Society, to labor within our bounds.
"Resolved, That a Committee of three be appointed by this body, whose duty it shall be to select a proper man for the field, determine the particular field for him to occupy, and decide on the best means of raising his salary and carrying out the intention of this Association."
On invitation of the Richland Church, the Ministers and Messengers composing the Association, met on Saturday afternoon as a Council, to consider the propriety of ordaining Bro. Benjamin Goldsby to the work of the gospel ministry. He was, after due examination as to his Christian experience, call to the ministry, and views of Christian doctrine, ordained with appropriate services, on Sunday afternoon. The ordination sermon was preached by Rev. N. W. Miner, of Springfield.
Several of the churches enjoyed gracious manifestations of the Spirit's presence, during the past year.
Never since the organization of the Association, have the churches been so fully supplied with pastoral labor.
Springfield, Pana, Berlin, and Richland Churches, were among those sharing most richly in the spiritual harvest.
The following from the summary of letters, is noteworthy
"SPRINGFIELD FIRST. — We desire to express our gratitude to God for His preserving care, and hope you will be greatly blessed in your meeting. Last fall our service was suspended so as to repair our house of worship, which was thoroughly done, and also wholly re-furnished, at an expense of about $2,400. We commenced a series of meetings by holding a week of fasting and prayer, beginning with the new year. At the close of January, Rev. L. Raymond came to aid our Pastor, and the work of saving souls by preaching Jesus to carnal hearts, was blessed by the Great Head of the Church in the salvation of over seventy persons.
"PANA. — We have been made to rejoice in the purifying streams of salvation which have made glad the city of our God. Nearly one hundred have troubled the waters of the baptismal font, and many more caused to weep with joy for grace so freely given. We are thankful for a prosperous, peaceful, and spiritual condition. Our house is crowded, and especially is it so at night. Our congregations are attentive, and often deeply affected. Prayer meetings and Sunday School are well attended. Rev. H. H. Northrup is our Pastor."
The Association met with the Baptist Church in Stonington, September 3d, 1869. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. Alba Gross, from 1st Cor. ii, 5. P. J. Wardner, was chosen Clerk, and Deacon George Wood, Treasurer.
The Good Hope Baptist Church, in Christian county, constituted February 15th, 1868, and recognized by a Council, June, 1868, was received as a member of the Association.
The total membership of the churches this year, was nineteen hundred and nineteen; baptisms reported, fifty-one; ordained Ministers and Pastors present, twelve, besides the representatives of missionary organizations.
The Chatham Church dedicated its new house of worship, February 14th, 1869.
The following resolution, introduced by Rev. F. G. Thearle, was adopted
"WHEREAS, The most prominent duty of this body is to supply the preached word to the destitute towns and villages within its bounds; therefore
"Resolved, That a Committee be appointed to devise and submit a plan for Missionary labor, and report after the reading of the church letters."
The letters from the several churches were then read, and on presenting the one from the North Springfield Church, containing an item with reference to the death of Rev. Dr. Ichabod Clark, the Moderator asked for a suspension of business, and Rev. Dr. Bead offered prayer appropriate to the occasion.
The Committee on Associational Missionary Work, made the following report
"1st. The appointment of an Executive Committee of five, whose duty it shall be to confer with the feeble churches of the Association, and aid them in securing and sustaining the stated preaching of the gospel; also to secure such preaching at important points where no church is now organized.
"2d. That, so far as practicable, the Committee avail themselves of the services of Pastors of adjacent churches; and that they also endeavor to secure the appointment, by the General Association, of such Missionaries as may be necessary to supply other destitute fields, on condition that the means for the support of such Missionaries be raised by the churches of this Association.
"3d. That the churches make earnest effort to raise the requisite funds for the above object, and that the Committee be requested to apportion such amounts, as equitably as may be, among the several churches, and that the churches pledge their best efforts to raise the amounts."
The Committee on Resolutions made the following report, which was adopted
"WHEREAS, The work of Ministerial and Christian Education is one radical in its nature, and of vital and pressing importance to our churches and our country; therefore
"Resolved, That we recommend to our churches, and brethren, that they give freely of their funds to build and endow denominational institutions at Chicago, and Alton, and that as far as possible, they educate their children in these institutions.
"Resolved, That we earnestly recommend to all our churches the observance of the last Thursday in February, as a day of fasting and prayer for Colleges and Seminaries of learning.
"Resolved, That in obedience to the great commission of our Lord Jesus to preach the gospel to every creature, we recognize it as the duty of the churches of this Association, to give to the Baptist General Association of Illinois, their cordial and increased support, both in contributions and prayers.
"Resolved, That whilst we labor and pray for the upbuilding of Zion's walls in our own State, we at the same time acknowledge it to be our duty to help in giving the gospel to the whole world. The American Baptist Home Mission Society, and the American Baptist Missionary Union — twin sisters in the glorious work — are entitled to our enlarged contributions, and most fervent prayers.
"Resolved, That the STANDARD, our denominational paper in the Northwest, is a faithful exponent of Baptist principles, calculated to promote our denominational strength, and should receive the liberal support of Baptists. We also recommend to our brethren the BAPTIST QUARTERLY, and MACEDONIAN AND RECORD, the organs of our Missionary Societies, as worthy of our attention, and necessary to our intelligent and effectual action in extending the Redeemer's Kingdom.
"Resolved, That we regard the American Baptist Publication Society upholding and disseminating, through its tracts, books, and other publications, the truth which as a denomination we support, and denouncing the unscriptural character of the errors which we oppose,
as an agency invaluable to us in our efforts to uphold the pure gospel, and doing that for us which no other Society does, or will do, it is entitled to our prayers, our sympathies, and pecuniary aid."
Rev. Dr. Read, President of Shurtleff College, then presented the claims of Ministerial Education, and took contributions and life memberships, amounting to $281.40.
The Committee on Sabbath Schools made the following report, which, after considerable discussion, was adopted
"1st. That the Sabbath School, as a nursery of the Christian Church, is, in its elements and principles, based on the word of God. Both in the Old Testament and in the New, the obligation is abundantly inculcated and enjoined, to teach our children the truths of inspiration, and the principles of our holy religion should be taught, line upon line, in the family circle.
"2d. That the Sabbath School should not be allowed to supercede the Christian ministry, neither should any other institution or service in the Church of Christ. It should rather be regarded as an outgrowth of a well developed and well regulated Church, and encouraged and sustained in its legitimate functions, as both in harmony with all the essential institutions of the Church, and highly conducive to her best interests. We, therefore, recommend the following resolution:
"Resolved, That it is the duty of all our churches, as far as possible, to organize and sustain Baptist Sabbath Schools, in which the whole Church, with its Pastor, should put forth their efforts in harmony with the Superintendent and Teachers, to inculcate lessons of divine wisdom in the minds of our youth, and lead them to the Saviour."
THE Association met with the Baptist Church at Pana, Friday, September 2d, 1870. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. Edward Jones, of Taylorville, from 2d Cor. ii, 16. Rev. S. F. HOLT, of Decatur, was chosen Moderator; Rev. D. F. Carnahan, Clerk, and Deacon George Wood, Treasurer.
The Baptist Church at Assumption, Christian county, constituted February 27th, 1870, and recognized by a Council, August 27th, 1870, was received as a member of the Association.
There were one hundred and fifty-five baptisms reported this year, and the total membership of the churches of the Association was nineteen hundred and ninety-five.
The evening was given to the subject of Sunday Schools. The following topics were discussed, the discussion being opened by the following brethren
I. Scripture Authority for Sunday Schools — Rev. S. Washington.
II. The Primary Object of Sunday Schools — Rev. E. Jones.
III. Sunday School Literature — Rev. G. J. Johnson.
IV. Duties of Members of the Church to Sunday Schools — Rev. James M. Stiffler.
V. Preparation of Teachers for their work — Bro. Geo. W. Ingalls.
VI. How Children can be detained for Church services — Rev. W. H. Stedman.
The Church at Mowequa, having completed its house of worship, at a cost of $5,500, dedicated it, free from debt, on the 17th of April, 1870.
The Association met with the Berlin Baptist Church, Friday, September 1st, 1871. After devotional services, conducted by Rev. S. Washington, the introductory sermon was preached by Rev. D. D. Holmes, from the 3d verse of Jude. Rev. S. WASHINGTON was chosen Moderator; Rev. D. F. Carnahan, Clerk, and Deacon George Wood, Treasurer.
The letters from the churches reported an aggregate membership of twenty-one hundred and thirty-three, and one hundred and fifty-three additions by baptism.
Special thanksgiving was made for the blessings enjoyed by the churches the past year, and special supplication for blessings the coming year.
The following brethren were received as Representatives of the various benevolent objects named:
Rev. W. H. Stiffler, American Baptist Publication Society.
Rev. C. F. Tolman, American Baptist Missionary Union.
Rev. I. N. Hobart, American Baptist Home Mission Society, and Illinois Baptist General Association.
Rev. J. Bulkley, D.D., Shurtleff College.
The Providence Baptist Church, in Sangamon county, constituted April 9th, 1870, with ten members, was received as a member of the Association.
The various objects of Christian benevolence, were presented, and contributions taken in their behalf.
The Committee on Conference, with the Committee from the Sunday School Convention, reported, recommending that hereafter, Saturday afternoon and evening, be devoted to the consideration of the Sunday School work, and that a Children's Meeting be held Lord's Day afternoon.
The Committee on Resolutions reported, as follows
"Resolved, That we commend to the confidence and support of the churches —
"1st. The American Baptist Missionary Union, for the promulgation of Christianity in foreign lands.
"2d. The American Baptist Home Mission Society, and the General Association of Illinois, in their co-operative work for the Evangelization of our own State and Country." Adopted.
After the lapse of thirty-five years since the organization of the Association, of the twenty-four churches which constitute its membership, only six have had preaching regularly every Sabbath during the past year. Six have had services twice, and others only once a month. With most of the churches these years have been years of struggle for a larger growth, and a better life, and still there is much to be attained in perfecting them into the fullness of the divine pattern. In several of them the gracious influences of the Holy Spirit were enjoyed the past year, and revivals encouraged the hearts of the faithful.
|BOWER, JACOB, Decatur.||KLEIN, PETER, Springfield.|
|BENNETT, PERRY, Springfield.||KING, DAVID, New Berlin.|
|BROWN, E.M., Forsythe.||KITZMILLER, M.V., Girard.|
|CARNAHAN, D.F., Springfield.||PEASE, GEO. A., Stonington.|
|COON, R.R., Pana.||PIERCE, NEHEMIAH, Springfield.|
|DAVENPORT, M., Jacksonville.||PRAY, PARIS, Taylorville.|
|GROSS, ALBA, Chatham.||STEPHENS, GEO. W., Loami.|
|HOLT, S.F., Decatur.||STIFFLER, WM. H., Pana.|
|HOLMES, D.D., Jacksonville.||WASHINGTON, S., Jacksonville.|
|INGMIRE, F.W., Springfield.||WALKER, EDWIN S., Springfield.|
|KENNEDY, J.C., Berlin.|
The Springfield Baptist Association commenced its Thirty-fifth Annual Session with the Taylorville Baptist Church, August 30th, 1872, at 10 o'clock A. M.
The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. J. C. Kennedy, from Isaiah xlix, 8; after which REV. S. WASHINGTON was chosen Moderator; Rev. F. W. Ingmire, Clerk, and Deacon George Wood, Treasurer. The First Bethel Baptist Church was received as a member of the Association, The past year was characterized by no special manifestation of vigor or growth in any of the churches, the total number of members reported being eigtheen hundred and fifty-nine, and the baptisms, forty-one. The Diamond Grove Church reported the erection of a new house of worship, at a cost of $2,000, and the Shelbyville Church, the completion of its church edifice and parsonage, at a cost of over $10,000. The latter church, however, was left with an embarrassing debt to relieve itself of, which it asked assistance. The reports from Sunday Schools this year, showed a growing interest in that important branch in Christian instruction. Heretofore but partial statistics have been given, but the tables show nine hundred and thirty-two scholar and eighty-nine teachers, as the aggregate number connected with the schools of the Association.
The Committee on Resolutions reported, recommending to the Churches and Pastors — the plan of making a contribution each year to Home and Foreign Missions, the Bible and Publication Society and Ministerial Education, and that a committee be appointed in each church to aid in securing funds, each of the objects named to have accorded to it one quarter of the year — the collections to be made in the following order: First Quarter — Foreign Missions. Second Quarter — Baptist Publication Society. Third Quarter — Ministerial Education. Fourth Quarter — Home Missions.
"Resolved, That we are in deep sympathy with the Shelbyville Baptist Church in its efforts to pay off the indebtedness now pressing so heavily upon it, and that we commend to our churches the Pastor, Rev. J. H. Phillips, who is duly appointed to solicit funds for the church."
The Report and Resolution were unanimously adopted.
The Association met September 5th, 1873, with the Mowequa Baptist Church. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. S. Washington, from Psalms lxxii, 15, after which Rev. S. WASHINGTON was chosen Moderator; Rev. F. W. Ingmire, Clerk, and Deacon George Wood, Treasurer. There were nineteen hundred and fifty-three members reported by the churches, and one hundred and thirty-nine additions by baptism the past year.
The committee on a Missionary Committee for the Association reported, and report accepted
"WHEREAS, There are a number of feeble churches in this Association without pastors, and also other places of interest, which ought to be occupied by us; therefore
"We recommend the appointment of a Missionary Committee, consisting of three, whose duty it shall be to look after the feeble churches and seek to have new fields occupied, and if possible, to obtain a missionary to labor in the bounds of this Association."
The following from the letters from the churches are the only matters of special note
"SPRINGFIELD, FIRST. — Regrets that it can not report more favorably, but records with devout gratitude the mercies of God. Speaks of more unity of feeling, and increased desire for the prosperity of the church. The church mourns, for the first time in its history, the loss of a beloved pastor by death, Rev. Nehemiah Pierce, who died in March last.
"SPRINGFIELD, NORTH. — During the last nine months the church has been acceptably supplied with preaching by Rev. Perry Bennett, whose death occurred on the night of September 5, 1873, while the Association was in session.
"JACKSONVILLE. — The year has been crowned with the goodness and mercy of God. Rev. S. Washington labors in word and doctrine, and the labors of pastor and people have been blessed by a number being added to the church, principally young persons from the Sabbath School."
The Springfield Baptist Association began its Thirty-Seventh Annual Session with the Waverly Church, September 4th, 1874, at 10 o'clock A. M. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. M. H. Worrall, from Isaiah lii, 1; after which Rev. S. WASHINGTON was chosen Moderator; Rev. F. W. Ingmire, Clerk, and Grover Ayers, Treasurer.
The letters from the churches show a good degree of progress this year, several of them having enjoyed gracious revivals, resulting in the addition of one hundred and seventy-four members by baptism, making a total membership of nineteen hundred and ninety-four
"The Centerville Church in Morgan county, disbanded May 9th, 1874. On April 11th the church voted to give Walker Thorndike a quit-claim deed to the meeting-house and the ground, except four rods square now occupied by graves. In consideration for the same, said Walker Thorndike agrees to keep said four rods perpetually fenced with a good and substantial fence; the friends of those buried there to occupy the grounds as long as desired. Voted, also, to deposit the records with the Jacksonville Church, with which most of the members united.
"DECATUR — Reports steady progress and much encouragement. The Sabbath School is well regulated and prosperous, and the prayer meetings interesting and largely attended. The church building is too small, and the church has purchased a more eligible lot, and obtained plans and specifications for a new house of worship.
"FRIENDSHIP — Rejoices in the continued care of the great head of the church, is making progress in the erection of a meeting-house thirty-two by forty-six feet. It is the stated purpose of the church to complete and dedicate this fall. It mourns the loss of that venerable Father in Israel, Rev. Jacob Bower, who departed this life April 20, 1874, aged eighty-seven years."
The Committee on Resolutions reported the following, which was adopted
"WHEREAS, Co-operation between the General Association, and the American Baptist Home Mission Society, will cease October 1st, and thenceforward all of the responsibility of cultivating the fields in the State and paying the small allowance of the Missionaries, will fall upon the General Association —
"Resolved, That we recommend to our churches an earnest endeavor during the coming year, to increase the amount of their contributions to the treasury of the General Association.
"Resolved, That we have heard, with satisfaction, of the organization of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society, in co-operation with the Missionary Union, and rejoice in the increasing interest thereby created in the Foreign Mission work, and we urge the organization of a Woman's Missionary Circle in each one of our churches.
"Resolved, That we express our heartfelt gratitude to Almighty God for the evident guidance of His spirit in the Woman's Temperance Movement in our country, and while praying for its success, we believe it is time for every member of every church, to teach and practice Temperance in the family, in the Sunday School, in the church, and in society everywhere.
"Resolved, That we heartily approve of the effort of the Baptist Educational Commission of the United States, to make the occasion of the National Centennial, the opportunity for an organized effort on the part of the Baptist denomination to raise a fund which shall be honorable to our great denominational strength, and which shall establish the higher schools of our denomination in the United States upon a sure and firm basis. We bid them God speed in their work, and urge upon the churches the duty of contributing largely to this grand enterprise."
The Association met with the Mount Zion Church September 3d, 1875. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. C. W. Clark, from Deut. xxx, 11-13, after which REV. C. W. CLARK was chosen Moderator, and Rev. F. W. Ingmire, Clerk. The letters from the churches show steady progress and growth, one hundred and seventy-six members having been received by baptism during the year. The membership reported was the same as the previous year, viz.: nineteen hundred and ninety-four. The following, relating to several of the churches, is of special interest
"TAYLORVILLE. — Reports herself sorry to say the Church has made little progress. Have now the pastoral labors of D. W. Morgan, and endeavoring to build a house in which to worship God, at an approximate cost of $7,000, a good portion of which has been pledged.
"WAVERLY. — Reports a year of God's goodness to the church. A series of meetings were held, and a large number were added to the church. The church feels the importance of occupying higher ground, that their views of Christian work and mission of Christ's church may be enlarged, in order to be abreast of the times. The church school is now more prosperous than formerly.
"PROVIDENCE. — This church has consolidated with the Waverly church.
"SHELBYVILLE. — Speaks of general prosperity and gaining strength; was overwhelmed at the beginning of the year with a heavy debt, but found ‘in union there was strength,’ and the brethren went to work, made personal sacrifices, and thereby the church is practically free and clear of debt. Speaks highly of Pastor Seward, and also of the officers and members of the church school.
"OREANA. — The Friendship Church has changed its name, and built a house of worship at a cost of $2,100, at Oreana, on the Champaign, Monticello & Decatur R. R., eight miles from the latter point, and invites the Association to hold its next session with their church. Rev. R. R. Coon preaches for the church one-half the time. Sustains church school, and looks and hopes for continued prosperity. The church needs strengthening, in gifts and graces."
The Committee on Resolutions presented the following
"WHEREAS, The Centenary of this great nation occurs before our next anniversary; and whereas, our denomination has been blessed with unexampled prosperity
during this centennial period, moving along gloriously in harmony with those great principles of freedom on which the Republic is based; therefore,
"Resolved, That all our people, both churches and individuals, be earnestly requested to bring princely gifts, and lay them on the altar of God, for the purpose of removing all those obligations and liabilities which retard the progress of our institutions of learning, and place those institutions in conditions favorable to their greatest efficiency and usefulness." Adopted.
The Association met with the Oreana Baptist Church on the first day of September, 1876. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. C. W. Clark, from Psalm 118, 25, after which REV. C. W. CLARK was chosen Moderator, and Rev. F. W Ingmire, Clerk.
On motion, time was granted to Bro. G. J. Johnson for an address on the Centennial Work of the Denomination.
The Committee on Resolutions reported
"WHEREAS, The labors of the General Agents, Rev. G. J. Johnson, D.D., and Rev. T. W. Goodspeed, are being efficiently and successfully performed
"Resolved, That Shurtleff College, in all its departments; the Baptist Union Theological Seminary, at Chicago, and Almira Female College, at Greenville, are pre-eminently worthy of our unwavering confidence and continued support.
"Resolved, That the wonderful ministerial destitution in our State, the large number of feeble churches, the
smallness of the number of young men entering the gospel ministry, imperatively demand that we heed the Savior's injunction to pray the Lord of the Harvest to ‘send more laborers into the harvest,’ and that we pledge our ministerial students our support, our cordial sympathies, and our earnest prayers."
There was a good degree of spiritual life in several of the churches this year, the aggregate of baptisms being one hundred and thirty-five; the total membership of the churches was seventeen hundred and sixty-two.
The following items show the progress of the churches named
"SPRINGFIELD, NORTH. — Has enjoyed some measure of refreshing and success. The Baptismal Waters have been visited, and backsliders have been reclaimed. Sister Elma Hay, one of the bright and shining lights of the church has deceased, and the church feels the loss of one of its most consistent and useful members. The church school has been prosperous, and the prayer meeting well sustained. Speaks approvingly of the faithful labors of Pastor C. W. Clark.
"STONINGTON. — Reports itself as now destitute of a pastor, and sustaining the benevolent enterprises of the denomination. Have built a parsonage costing $1,000 during the year.
"TAYLORVILLE — Speak of having a varied experience in connection with building a new house of worship, which is not wholly completed. Rev. D. W. Morgan was pastor during the past year, under whose labors new converts were added. But owing to circumstances which usually arise in connection with building and locating new houses of worship, he has thought it to be his duty to resign. School is prosperous.
"DECATUR. — The great decrease in the membership was caused by the removal of the Rolling Mill to Kansas City. Has finished and furnished a Chapel commenced April, 1875, and dedicated April 23, 1876, costing about $12,000; Bro. G. J. Johnson preaching the sermon. Out of debt, sustains good Church Schools, and Pastor W. G. Inman labors in harmony and peace."
The Fortieth Annual Meeting of the Association was held with the Shelbyville Baptist Church, commencing August 81, 1877. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. Alba Gross, from John ii, 25-26. REV. C. W. CLARK was chosen Moderator, and Rev. G. W. Inman, Clerk. The Calvary Baptist Church of Mattoon was received as a member of the Association. Total number of baptisms for the year, one hundred and six. The membership of the Association was two thousand and forty-four. Liberal contributions were made during the session as follows: For Home Missions, $100; for Shurtleff College, $260.
The Committee on Resolutions presented the following, which were adopted
"Resolved, That the American Baptist Missionary Union, the American Baptist Publication Society, the work of Home Missions, — as carried on by the American Baptist Home Mission Society, — and the Baptist General Association of the State, and the cause of Ministerial Education, merit our cordial sympathy, and earnest, liberal support.
"Resolved, That we recommend to the churches of this Association, the adoption of a system of benevolence, by which, in each three months, they shall contribute to some one of the above objects.
"Resolved, That the work of Christian women in the cause of Home Missions among the freed people of the South, the Indians, Chinese and other nationalities, is of vital importance, and that we therefore cordially approve the organization of the Women's Baptist Home Mission Society, as peculiarly adapted to this work, and commend it to the sympathy and co-operation of the churches."
The Committee on History of the Springfield Baptist Association, made the following report
Your Committee to whom was referred the subject of the History of the Springfield Baptist Association, beg leave to report that the
committee appointed last year to write the history of this Association, failed to do so. We therefore recommend that Rev. C. W. Clark and Josiah Francis be appointed a Committee to secure a complete file of the minutes of this body from its constitution, and any other facts relating to the history of this Association, and to preserve the same, to be collected into a history, at as early a day as practicable.
J. H. PHILLIPS, Chairman.
The Association met with the Church in Jacksonville, August 30,1878. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. Simeon Hussey, of Pana, from Hebrews iv, 15-16; after which REV. C. W. CLARK was chosen Moderator; Rev. G. W. Inman, Clerk, and J. O. Rames, Treasurer. The Zion colored, Baptist Church, and the Second Bethel, Baptist Church, were received as members of the Association. There were one hundred and seventeen baptisms reported by the different churches of the Association, and the total memberships was twenty-two hundred and twenty.
The Committee on Resolutions presented the following, which was adopted
"Resolved, That we sympathize with the work of the Woman's Baptist Missionary Society of the West, and recommend the formation of Woman's Missions for this Association.
"Resolved, That the American Baptist Publication Society, both in the importance of its relation to our denominational integrity and the grand results of its missionary work for the past fifty-six years, demands of us increased contributions, and more earnest efforts to enlarge the circulation of its publications.
"Resolved, That in view of the urgent need of funds to meet the requirements of our State Mission work, under control of the General Association, we recommend
that each church take a collection for this cause, which especially commends itself to the churches of our State.
"Resolved, That we rejoice in the prosperity which has attended the work of the American Baptist Home Mission Society in the West and among our Foreign population, Freedmen and Chinese, and gratefully remembering the generous aid extended by the Society to this region for forty years, we recommend it to the prayers and liberality of our churches, urging that each pastor preach a sermon, and each church make a contribution, annually, for its support."
Rev. J. H. Phillips read the report of the Executive Committee, and after discussion the report was adopted.
"Your Committee respectfully report that in accordance with instructions given at the last session of Springfield Association, we engaged Rev. W. J. Chapin as missionary to labor in the north-western part of the Association. For the nine months of service to September 7th, our missionary reports: Sermons preached, 107; Temperance Lectures, 8; Pastoral Visits, 250; Prayer and other religious meetings held, 34; miles travelled, 525; amount received on Salary from churches not on the field of labor, $33.81.
"Brother Chapin has labored under great disadvantage arising from rain, bad roads, and the slowness of the churches to respond to the call for salary; and yet the attendance on religious services has been good.
"The Church at Chatham has been greatly blessed in the payment of $225.89 of its debt of $290.89, and the repairing of the house of worship at a cost of $257.82, all of which has been paid except $30.18.
"We have great occasion to thank God for the success attending our brother, and the churches under his care, and believe we should continue our aid to him and his field.
JOHN H. PHILLIPS, Secretary."
The Springfield Baptist Association convened with the Central Baptist Church in Springfield, September 5th, 1879, at 10 o'clock, A. M. In the absence of the former Moderator, Rev. J. H. Phillips, of Shelbyville, called the meeting to order, and Rev. E. S. Walker, of Springfield, was chosen temporary Chairman, and Rev. J. H. Phillips, Clerk, pro tem. The introductory sermon was preached by Rev. J. H. Phillips, from Rom. xiv, 5, 6.
The letters from the churches report a total membership of twenty-two hundred and eighty, of which number, ninety eight were added by baptism during the year.
The letter of the Central Baptist Church of Springfield, was then read, giving a full history of the consolidation of the First, and the North Baptist Churches, and welcoming the delegates and visitors to the hospitality of the city during the sessions of the body.
Following the reading of this letter, Rev. J. H. Phillips offered the following resolutions, which were adopted
"Resolved, That this Association, with pleasure, recognize the Central Baptist Church of Springfield, as the embodiment and acknowledged successor of the First Baptist Church, and the North Baptist Church of said city
"Resolved, That this Association congratulates the Baptists of Springfield, upon the occasion of a movement, which, by the unifying and consolidation of denominational strength in this city, gives promise of renewed vigor and increased power to upbuild the Redeemer's Kingdom."
At the afternoon session, Rev. Alba Gross asked permission to read a letter purporting to be from the North Baptist Church of Springfield. The Moderator decided the request could not be granted, inasmuch as it appeared of record that the North Baptist Church, and the First Baptist Church of Springfield, had been consolidated under the name of the Central Baptist Church, and hence the North Baptist Church was no longer known to the Association.
Rev. Mr. Gross appealed from the decision of the Moderator, and pending this appeal, a motion was made and carried, to reconsider the resolutions previously passed relating to the consolidation of the First and North Baptist Churches.
After a brief debate the whole matter was laid upon the table until after the permanent organization of the Association.
Rev. J. H. PHILLIPS was chosen Moderator; Rev. M. T. Lamb, Clerk, and J. O. Rames, Treasurer.
The resolutions previously laid upon the table, were then, upon motion, taken up, and the question pending, being a reference to a Special Committee, was, after discussion, lost by a rising vote.
On motion of Rev. E. S. Walker, the resolutions were then taken up, one by one, and the first and second adopted without opposition. The third was amended by striking out the word "discountenances," and then adopted, after a somewhat lengthy debate, participated in by Bros. Young, Paine, Gross, Walker, Lamb, Hobart, and others.
The Executive Committee reported, through their Secretary, as follows
"Your Committee respectfully report their work, and the work of your Missionary, for the year ending September 7th, 1879. Soon after the meeting of the Association, at Jacksonville, September, 1878, your Committee met in Springfield, Hon. John Foutch in the chair. After due consideration, Rev. W. J. Chapin was appointed Missionary at Chatham, at a salary of $200 per year, and Rev. T. S. Dodge was appointed Missionary, for ten months, at Mattoon, at a salary of $400 per year. Rev. W. J. Chapin reports sermons preached, sixty-eight; visits made, one hundred and eighty-four; prayer and other religious meetings held, sixty; money received on salary, from the field and otherwise, $76. A new Sunday School has been organized; the church services well
attended, and improvement has marked the progress of the cause on his field of labor. No report of the labors of Rev. T. S. Dodge, at Mattoon, has been received."
Rev. W. J. Chapin was continued in service as Missionary of the Association for the ensuing year, preaching at Chatham one-half the time.
The Committee on Resolutions presented the following
"Resolved, That in view of the urgent need of funds to meet the requirements of our State Mission work, under the control of the General Association, we recommend that each church take up a collection for this cause, which especially commends itself to the churches of our State."
The following from the letter of the Central Church, Springfield, speaks for itself
"Preliminary steps looking to the union of the First and North Baptist Churches, were been taken April last; and after full and mature consultation and consideration, by both churches, and with substantial unanimity, the proposed union was perfected, and all necessary legal measures preliminary to the new organization carried out on the 13th day of June last, thus constituting the Central Baptist Church of Springfield. Extend a hearty welcome to the Association, under circumstances that promise more vigorous life, more successful work and more blessed results than have hitherto marked our history."
The Springfield Baptist Association convened in its forty-third session with the Baptist Church in Old Stonington, Christian county, on Friday, September 3d, at ten o'clock, A. M. After one-half hour of pleasant devotional exercises, the opening sermon was preached by Rev. W. H. Batson, of Decatur. Text — Acts 17,6: "These that
98have turned the world upside down have come hither also." Rev. C. W. CLARK was chosen Moderator; Rev. M. T. Lamb, Clerk, and J. O. Rames, Treasurer.
The letters from the churches were read, showing an aggregate membership of two thousand and eighty-eight, of which number, sixty were received by baptism during the year. Of the twenty-two churches which now constitute the Association, nineteen reported by letter and messengers, and of these sixteen were supplied with Pastors. Eight churches had preaching every Sabbath; seven were supplied twice a month, and one once a month. With the growth and development of the country, and our general denominational progress, the old idea of preaching "once a month" has happily passed away. Through all these forty-three years of upward striving, it is not difficult to mark the progress, from year to year, towards better methods of Christian work, and a higher type of enlarged Christian benevolence.
Bro. Josiah Francis reported for the Committee on the History of the Association, that he had secured a complete file of the minutes of the first five years of the Association's existence, and with the exception of four or five, a complete file to the present time, whereupon Rev. E. S. Walker, of Springfield, was appointed Historian of the Association, with authority to prepare a full History of the Association from its origin to the present time, and publish five hundred copies of the same, at the expense of the Association.
The Executive Board, by its Secretary, Rev. J. H. Phillips, reported as follows
"Your Committee would respectfully report, that Rev. W. J. Chapin, our Missionary, has, according to appointment of this Committee, and of the State Mission Board, continued his regular labors at Chatham, and also at Auburn, on the Chicago & Alton Railroad, and the surrounding country. An abstract of his report is herewith presented: Sermons preached, 79; prayer meetings attended, 36; pastoral and missionary visits, 187; received on salary, $120. Has baptized 16 at Auburn, one-half his time having been spent on that field."
Rev. E. S. Walker offered the following preamble and resolutions, which were unanimously adopted
"WHEREAS, Thomas Strawbridge, late of Sangamon county, deceased, by his last will and testament, dated June 80th, 1875, among other liberal bequests, made the following, to-wit:
‘I hereby give and bequeath to the Baptist Association, with which the First (now Central) Baptist Church of Springfield, Illinois, is connected, the sum of one thousand dollars, on the express condition that this sum is to be held in trust by said church (Association) for the purpose named hereafter.’
"Resolved, That this Association hereby gratefully accepts said bequest, and in order to conform to the conditions thereof, authorizes the following members, viz: Edwin S. Walker, Josiah Francis, John O. Rames, Edward S. Graham, and Lafayette Smith, representing the Association, to take the necessary steps to incorporate the same, and to procure from the Secretary of State the proper certificate of organization, under the name of the ‘Springfield Baptist Association.’
"Resolved, That the Pastor of the Central Baptist Church of Springfield, be and is hereby appointed, to preach the Annual Sermon, provided for in the Strawbridge bequest, for the year 1881, or the first year after said bequest shall become available to the Association."
Rev. E. S. Walker gave notice that he would, at the next annual meeting of the Association, propose the following amendments to the Constitution, viz
"Amend Article I, by adding as follows: ‘The object of this Association is to promote the cause of our Lord Jesus Christ at home and abroad, and by correspondence and co-operation with other Associations and missionary organizations connected with the Baptist denomination, strive to upbuild the Redeemer's Kingdom among men.’
"Amend Article IV, by adding as follows: ‘Three Trustees shall be chosen annually, by ballot, who shall manage, control, and hold in trust, all such funds as may have been, or may hereafter be, bequeathed to the ‘Springfield Baptist Association,’ according to the provisions of such bequests.’
"Amend Article V, by inserting after the words ‘this body,’ the words ‘or the Trustees thereof.’"
The Committee on Resolutions reported as follows
"WHEREAS, So many of those added to our churches come through the Sunday School; and we are now giving so little prominence to the Sunday School work in our annual gatherings —
"Resolved, That we hold, in connection with our next Anniversary Meeting, a Sunday School Convention, to commence at 2 o'clock on the day preceding the opening of the Association
"Resolved, That a Committee of three be appointed by this body, to prepare a programme for said Sunday School Convention."
After a brief discussion, the resolutions were adopted, and the Sunday School Committee, with Rev. W. H. Batson, Chairman, were designated, to carry out the provisions of the second resolution.
The Executive Committee of the Association was reduced to three persons, instead of six, and Bros. John Foutch, J. O. Rames, and W. T. Harris, were selected.
The time for holding the Annual Meeting of the Association was, by Constitutional amendment, changed to the Friday before the second Sabbath in September.
The Forty-fourth Anniversary of the Association will be held with the Waverly Baptist Church, commencing on Friday before the second Lord's Day in September, 1881, at 10 o'clock A. M., preceded by a Sunday School Convention, beginning Thursday, at 2 o'clock P. M.
The Work of the American Baptist Home Mission Society, Within the Bounds of the Springfield.
THE American Baptist Home Mission Society was organized, and commenced its work, in 1832. During that year, thirty-six Missionaries were employed in nine States, as follows: Maine, 1; New York, 5; Pennsylvania, 1; Ohio, 9; Michigan, 3; Indiana, 3; Illinois, 9; Missouri, 4; Mississippi, 1. One-fourth of the whole number employed, were located in Illinois. Pour of these, or one-ninth of the whole number, had their field of labor within the bounds of what afterwards was embraced in the Springfield Association. Their aggregate labors during that first year of the Society's history, amounted to two and one-half years time of one man, which was more than one-eighth of all the labor expended by the Home Mission Society in the whole field of its operations. Central Illinois was, at that time, regarded as one of the most important and promising fields for Missionary enterprise in the great Valley of the Mississippi. This section of country was rapidly filling up with emigrants, more especially from Kentucky, but among the names of those who early became connected with the Springfield Church, were some from Tennessee, North Carolina, New Jersey, Virginia, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, and Canada. This recent people to whom the Society sent its earliest Missionaries, were thus of nearly the same mixed character as were those to whom the Apostle
102preached the gospel in Judea on the day of Pentecost. With the exception of Saint Louis, Central Illinois was at once the western boundary of civilization, and of the field of Home Missionary labor. The population of the State was only 157,455, and there were only 110 members of Missionary Baptist Churches in the whole State. From 1832 to 1840, was a period of most rapid development — a filling up time, in which these broad prairies attracted emigrants from other States, with unparallelled rapidity. It was therefore at once a natural and a wise forecast, on the part of the Home Mission Society, to enter this field at that formative period of its history, and plant the institutions of the gospel, by aiding in the organization of new churches upon "Gospel principles." This service the Missionaries of that Society performed at the time most needed, and nearly forty years thereafter some of the new and struggling churches were fostered by the same noble charity, until with the growth of the country, they at length no longer needed assistance. Our Association owes to the Home Mission Society, a debt of gratitude, which it is fitting should be acknowledged here.
The appended Missionary table gives in detail the names of the Missionaries employed, with their respective fields of labor. They are deserving of this permanent record, as the founders of our churches, the faithful servants of Him who called them into His ministry.
Missionay Table from 1832 to 1872.
Giving the Name of each Missionary employed by the American Baptist Home Mission Society, the time when he labored, the place where he labored, and the number of weeks labor for which he was compensated by the Society.
|Wm. Spencer||Morgan county||26|
|Jacob Bower||Morgan county||26|
|Wm. Kenner||Morgan county||35|
|Wm. Spencer||Morgan county||52|
|Jacob Bower||Morgan county||55|
|Wm. Kenner||Morgan county||52|
|Wm. Spencer||Morgan county||52|
|Jacob Bower||Morgan county||52|
|Wm. Kenner||Morgan county||52|
|Wm. Spencer||Morgan county||52|
|Wm. Spencer||Morgan county||26|
|Jacob Bower||Morgan county||52|
|Thos. H. Ford||Morgan county.||52|
|Joel Sweet||Scott county||52|
|Jacob Bower||Scott county||52|
|Joel Sweet||Springfield Association||44|
|Jacob Bower||Scott county||44|
|Gilbert S. Bailey||Springfield||26|
|Gilbert S. Bailey||Springfield||26|
|Gilbert S. Bailey||Springfield||52|
|Gilbert S. Bailey||Springfield||52|
|C. H. Gates||Decatur||39|
|J. N. Tolman||Decatur||13|
|J. N. Tolman||Decatur||52|
|J. N. Tolman||Decatur||52|
|J. N. Tolman||Decatur||52|
|J. N. Tolman||Decatur||39|
|R. R. Coon||Pana and Macon||13|
|J. M. Maxwell||Taylorville||52|
|G. D. Blesene||Springfield, German||52|
|J. M. Cochran||Christian county||26|
|H. H. Northrup||Pana||52|
|H. H. Northrup||Pana||52|
|R. R. Coon||Mowequa||13|
|A. W. Jackson||Jacksonville||26|
|R.R. Coon||Mowequa, and Assumption||52|
|A. W. Jackson||Jacksonville||39|
|Peter Klein||Springfield, German||13|
|D. McArthur||Oreana, and Bethel||13|
|A. W. Jackson||Jacksonville||52|
|M. Y. Kitzmiller||Chatham||6|
|R. R. Coon||Assumption||52|
NOTE. — Twenty-two different Missionaries have been employed within the bounds of the Springfield Baptist Association, whose aggregate terms of service equals forty-four years.
Church Record of the Association.
|Springfield, Central||July||17||1830||8||464||Aaron Vandeveer||F. D. Rickerson.|
|Diamond Grove||April||26||1823||12||49||Joel Sweet||D. D. Holmes.|
|Berlin||October||6||1833||33||188||John McRae||C W. Clark.|
|Stonington||October||24||1837||11||104||Amos Dodge||D. L. McBride.|
|Richland||June||29||1839||10||67||John H. Daniels||J. E. Cohenour.|
|Jacksonville||June||25||1841||26||161||Alvin Bailey||C.C. Pierce|
|Decatur||September||14||1843||12||172||Moses Lemen||W.H. Batson|
|Taylorville||November||23||1848||12||127||Paris Pray||Oswald Snell.|
|Oreana||March||23||1858||12||56||Jacob Bower||W. C. Roach.|
|Chatham||April||28||1866||27||30||C. J. DeWitt||W.J. Chapin.|
|Good Hope||February||15||1868||16||20||J.M. Maxwell||W. C. Roach|
|Assumption||February||27||1870||15||26||R.R. Coon||D.L. McBride|
|Mattoon||April||1877||30||37||Hamilton Robb||T.S. Dodge|
|Zion, Springfield||21||118||George Brents||George Brents|
Table of Churches.
|Date of Union.||Names of Churches.||No. of Memb'rs||Date of Exit.||Counties.|
|1839||Clary's Grove, and Rock Creek||10||Sangamon.|
Historical Table of the Association.
|1837||Springfield||Jonathan Sweet||C. B. Francis||6||177|
|1838||Springfield||J. Merriam||C. B. Francis||T. W. Haynes||Colossians 2:8.||8||104||302|
|1839||Diamond Grove||J. Merriam||C B Francis||John Sears||Malachi 3:14||10||46||396|
|1840||Indian Creek||Joel Sweet||B. M. Dutton||A. Bailey||Revelation 3:20||324|
|1841||Island Grove||Joel Sweet||C. B. Francis||M. Dutton||Matthew 7:15||14||121||746|
|1842||Winchester||Joel Sweet||C. B. Francis||Joel Sweet||Philippians 2:15||15||95||790|
|1843||Richland||A. Bailey||C. B. Francis||H. W. Dodge||Matthew 16:3||17||120||910|
|1844||Lebanon||A Bailey||M. Brayman||A. Bailey||Isaiah 42:4||17||89||951|
|1845||Princeton||A. Bailey||M. Brayman||Porter Clay||Hebrews 12:28.||17||22||862|
|1846||Sugar Creek||A. Bailey||E. G. Miner||Thos. Taylor||Joshua 13:1||17||3||860|
|1847||Winchester||Thos. Taylor.||N. Divelbiss||J. O. Metcalf||Proverbs 14:14||17||11||764|
|1848||Apple Creek||Thos. Taylor||M. Brayman||G. S. Bailey||Jeremiah 23:28||17||160||928|
|1849||Springfield||W. F. Boyakin||M. Brayman||J. N. Tolman||Psalms 4:3||18||85||1014|
|1850||Manchester||T. C. Teasdale||G. Wood||T. C. Teasdale||1 Peter 2:9||19||83||842|
|1851||Decatur||T. C. Teasdale||M. Brayman||A. J. Bingham||Matthew 1:23||20||166||1175|
|1852||Jacksonville||C. B. Phillips||A. J. Bingham||B. B. Carpenter||1st Cor. 3:9||21||116||1220|
|1853||Stonington||Wm. Sym||W. W. Watson||John Teasdale||Psalms 85:6||15||89||1033|
|1854||Berlin||Wm. Sym||Wm. Stockdale||Wm. Sym||James 1:27||16||95||877|
|1855||Richland||J. N. Tolman||G. W. Pendleton||G. W. Pendleton||Psalms 46:4||17||55||855|
|1856||Centerville||J. N. Tolman||G. W. Pendleton||J. N. Tolman||Matthew 5:14.||18||181||1041|
|1857||Taylorville||J. N. Tolman||G. W. Pendleton||Matthew 6:10.||16||11||927|
|1858||Springfield||J. B. Olcott||G. W. Pendleton||G. W. Pendleton||Isaiah 30:7||17||151||1065|
|1859||Stonington||B. Thomas||E. L. Gross||N. W. Miner||Job 19:25||18||57||1042|
|1860||Berlin||B. Thomas||E. L. Gross||W. S. Goodno||Matthew 13:38||17||107||1240|
|1861||Richland||S. G. Miner||E. L. Gross||Ichabod Clark||Psalms 127:2||20||87||1216|
|1862||Waverly||W. F. Nelson||S. W. Holmes||W. F. Nelson||Rev. 19:12:13:14||20||65||1253|
|1863||Springfield, North||N. W. Miner||F. M. Ellis||P. Bennett||Roms 15:13||21||137||1830|
|1864||Decatur||N. W. Miner||F. M. Ellis||A. C. Hubbard||Micah 4:2||22||39||1087|
|1865||Berlin||N. W. Miner||F. G. Thearle||A. Gross||1 Tim. 3:13:14||18||87||1422|
|1866||Jacksonville||A. Gross||L. R. Brown||R. E. Pattison||Col. 1:27||20||268||1627|
|1867||Loami||F. G. Thearle||P. J. Wardner||F. G. Thearle||Prov. 11:24||20||98||1587|
|1868||Richland||A. Gross||P. J. Wardner||N. G. Collins||2d Cor. 4:5||21||304||1949|
|1869||Stonington||P. J. Wardner||A. Gross||1st Cor. 2:5||23||51||1919|
|1870||Pana||S. F. Holt||D. F. Carnahan||Edward Jones||2d Cor. 2:16||23||155||1995|
|1871||Berlin||S. Washington||D. F. Carnahan||D. D. Holmes||Jude 3.||25||158||2133|
|1872||Taylorville||S. Washington||F. W. Ingmire||J. C. Kennedy||Psalms 49:8||26||41||1859|
|1873||Mowequa||S. Washington||F. W. Ingmire||S. Washington||Psalms 72:15||26||139||1953|
|1874||Waverly||S. Washington||F. W. Ingmire||M. H. Worrall||Isaiah 52:1||25||171||1994|
|1875||Mount Zion||C. W. Clark||F. W. Ingmire||C. W. Clark||Deut. 32:31||21||176||1994|
|1876||Oreana||C. W. Clark||F. W. Ingmire||M. C. Clark||Psalms 118:25||20||135||1762|
|1877||Shelbyville||C. W. Clark||F. W. Ingmire||A. Gross||John 2:25:26||21||106||2044|
|1878||Jacksonville||C. W. Clark||G. W. Inman||S. Hussey||Hebs. 4:15:16||23||117||2220|
|1879||Springfield, Central||J. H. Phillips||M. T. Lamb||J. H. Phillips||Roms. 14:5:6||22||98||2280|
|1880||Stonington||C. W. Clark||M. T. Lamb||W. H. Batson||Acts 17:6||22||60||2088|
NOTE. — The total number of baptisms in the Association in forty-three years is, 4,570.
List of Pastors from Organization.
|1837, Jonathan Sweet.||1849, T. C. Teasdale.|
|1837, Jonathan Merriam.||1849, Charles Thompson|
|1837, Joel Sweet.||1849, C. H. Gates.|
|1837, Wm. Spencer.||1849, W. F. Boyakin.|
|1837, John H. Daniels.||1851, Paris Pray.|
|1838, Wm. Kinner.||1851, B. F. Chapman.|
|1838, Richard Rhea.||1851, A. J. Bingham.|
|1838, Wm. Randolph.||1851, Nelson Alvord.|
|1839, Jacob Bower.||1852, J. M. Chapman.|
|1839, O. G. Comstock.||1852, J. M. Taggart.|
|1841, H. W. Dodge.||1852, B. B. Carpenter.|
|1841, Thomas Taylor.||1852, C. B. Phillips.|
|1841, Alvin Bailey.||1852, J. N. Tolman.|
|1842, A. L. Brown.||1853, Wm. Sym.|
|1842, Porter Clay.||1853, L. Schofield.|
|1843, Amos Dodge.||1854, G. W. Pendleton.|
|1844, Ambler Edson.||1855, N. W. Miner.|
|1844, Elijah Dodson.||1855, N. J. Coffey.|
|1844, Moses Lemen.||1855, J. Wrightman.|
|1845, W. H. D. Johnson.||1855, A. B. Harris.|
|1845, Moores Bailey.||1855, Cyrus Miner.|
|1845, Thomas Powell.||1855, D. S. Miller.|
|1847, G. S. Bailey.||1857, G. A. Pease.|
|1847, Burton Carpenter.||1857, F. Wiley.|
|1848, John White.||1859, W. S. Goodno.|
|1848, W. W. Happy.||1859, B. Thomas.|
|1848, R. S. Cole.||1859, D. Lewis.|
|1848, J. B. Abraham.||1860, R. R. Coon.|
|1855, G. W. S. Bell.||1860, Ichabod Clark.|
|1860, F. W. Ingmire.||1872, M. Davenport.|
|1861, Perry Bennett.||1872, J. H. Phillips.|
|1861, Geo. P. Guild.||1872, L. G. Carr.|
|1862, W. F. Nelson.||1873, S. Robinson.|
|1863, J. M. Cochran.||1873, A. H. Scott.|
|1863, A. C. Hubbard.||1873, J. C. Bonham.|
|1863, F. M. Ellis.||1873, W. A. Jarrell.|
|1863, D. D. Holmes.||1873, J. M. Bennett.|
|1864 J. C. Cochran.||1873, E. W. Daniels.|
|1864, J. C. Hart.||1874, A. J. Delano.|
|1865, C. Garrison.||1874, M. C. Clark.|
|1865, F. C. Thearle.||1874, M. H. Worrall.|
|1865, S. A. Kingsbury,||1874, J. T. Green.|
|1866, C. J. DeWitt.||1874, D. W. Morgan.|
|1866, Alba Gross.||1874, A. L. Seward.|
|1866, H. P. Curry.||1874, C. W. Clark.|
|1866, N. G. Collins,||1874, W. C. Roach.|
|1867, H. H. Northrup.||1877, W. G. Inman.|
|1867, H. M. Carr.||1877, Simeon Hussey.|
|1867, J. C. Kennedy.||1877, L. M. Goff.|
|1864, Wm. Green.||1877, M. T. Lamb.|
|1864, Edward Jones.||1877, D. King.|
|1869, S. F. Holt.||1877, S. D. Badger.|
|1869, W. H. Stiffler.||1877, D. L. McBride.|
|1869, S. Washington,||1878, George Brents.|
|1870, W. H. Stedman,||1878, W. J. Chapin.|
|1870, D. F. Carnahan.||1879, W. H. Batson.|
|1871, David King,||1879, Oswald Snell.|
|1871, M. V. Kitzmiller.||1879, T. S. Dodge.|
|1870, Nehemiah Pierce.||1880, C. C. Pierce.|
|1872, D. McArthur.||1880, F. D. Rickerson.|
Brief Historical Sketches of The Churches in the Springfield Baptist Association.
The First Baptist Church of Springfield, Illinois, was constituted July 17th, 1830, with the following named eight members: John Crowder, John Durham, Samuel C. Neal, Sarah Neal, Temperance Watson, Polly Miller, Betsey Gillock, Nancy Gillock. Two other persons having united with the church in July, Rev. Aaron Vandeveer was called, on the 21st of August, to take the pastoral care of the church, "and to attend her whenever he can," and further, "this church agrees to join the Sangamon Association." He continued to serve the church under that call until June 21st, 1835, during which time the membership of the church had increased to eighty. In June, 1834, the lot now occupied by the Central Baptist Church, on the southwest corner of Adams and Seventh streets, was purchased for a site for a meeting house.
October 26th, 1836, Rev. Jonathan Merriam, of Passumpsic Village, Vermont, became Pastor of the church,
113and continued until November 1st, 1838. During his ministry, seventy members were received by baptism, and twenty by letter.
October 1st, 1839, Rev. O. C. Comstock, D.D., of Detroit, Michigan, was engaged to serve as pastor for one year, at a salary of $400. During the year, four were added to the church by baptism, and eleven by letter.
November 22d, 1840, Rev. H. W. Dodge became pastor of the church, and continued to serve until September 1st, 1843. During his pastorate in 1841, Rev. Thomas Powell, and Rev. I. D. Newell, assisted in a protracted meeting, which resulted in largely increasing the church in members and efficiency. Among the members added by baptism at that time, was a young lad, whose father, Hon. Jesse B. Thomas, had been baptized into the fellowship of the church, February 21st, 1841, himself now one of the foremost preachers in the Baptist denomination, Rev. Jesse B. Thomas, D.D., of Brooklyn, New York, who was baptized and became a member of the church, December 6th, 1841, in fellowship of which he continued until February, 1844.
On the 24th of April, 1844, Rev. Ambler Edson became Pastor of the church, and served one year.
On the 1st of October, 1846, Rev. Gilbert S. Bailey, of Honesdale, Pennsylvania, became pastor of the church, and continued as such until October 1st, 1849. During his term of service the church erected the house of worship, dedicated April 7th, 1850, which it has since that time occupied.
On the 7th of April, 1850, Rev. Thomas C. Teasdale, of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, became pastor, and served until 1852.
In July, 1853, Rev. William Sym took pastoral charge of the church, and continued two years, until 1855.
In April, 1855, Rev. N. W. Miner commenced his labors as pastor, and served for the term of fourteen years, until October, 1869.
Rev. H. M. Gallagher, of Brooklyn, New York, was baptized into the fellowship of this church, March 2d, 1856.
November 1st, 1870, Rev. N. Pierce became pastor, and continued with the church until his death, in March, 1873.
In November, 1874, Rev. M. H. Worrall became pastor of the church, and remained until 1878.
In November, 1878, Rev. J. L. M. Young took pastoral charge of the church, and continued to serve until June, 1879, at which time the church became consolidated with the North Baptist Church, forming the Central Baptist Church.
On the 1st of November, 1879, Rev. F. D. Rickerson accepted the unanimous call of the Central Baptist Church, since which time he has served as its Pastor.
The Diamond Grove Baptist Church was constituted April 26, 1823, with twelve members. It is the oldest church connected with the Springfield Baptist Association, and was one of the constituent churches of that organization. Among its earliest pastors were Rev. Jonathan Sweet, and Rev. Joel Sweet, the former having been the first Moderator of the Association, and the latter one of its earliest Missionaries, as early as 1839.
Rev. Thomas Taylor was pastor in 1846, and the two years following.
From 1848 to 1856, the church was supplied with preaching irregularly.
In 1856 it completed the erection of a house of worship.
In 1859, Rev. D. Lewis was engaged to preach one-half the time, and served two years. These were years of more than usual progress in the church.
In 1862, Daniel D. Holmes was licensed by the church to preach, and was not long afterwards, ordained to the work of the ministry. He has served the church as pastor with great acceptance, and without interruption, from 1865 to the present time, 1880, at which time the membership has reached the number of fifty.
The Berlin Baptist Church was constituted October 6th, 1833, by name of the "Island Grove Church, Friends of Humanity." The term "Friends of Humanity," meant opposition to slavery.
During the first year, Rev. John McRae served as pastor.
The successive pastors were: Rev. —. Perigo, Rev. —. Barber, and Rev. —. Kinney, until January, 1838, when Rev. William Spencer became pastor, serving until the time of his death, late in that year.
Rev. Richard Rhea served as pastor from January, 1839, until the time of his death, in November of that year.
Rev. Thomas Taylor was chosen pastor in 1841, and continued to serve the church, preaching once a month until 1847.
In January, 1847, the church having up to that time met in a log school house in the western part of Island Grove, changed its place of worship to a school house in the town of Berlin, and soon after took steps towards building a meeting house, which was completed in 1849.
For the first fourteen years its membership numbered only about twenty. With the change of location, the name was changed to the "Berlin Baptist Church."
In June, 1853, Rev. L Schofield became pastor, and served until 1855.
In August, 1855, Rev. Cyrus Miner commenced his labors as pastor, and continued his work until the time of his death, in August, 1856.
Rev. G. A. Pease became pastor in 1856, and after three years service, closed his labors on account of the failure of his voice.
Rev. R. R. Coon served as pastor one year, in 1860, when he was succeeded by Rev. Perry Bennett, who continued to serve the church four years.
Rev. C. Garrison was pastor one year, in 1865.
In February, 1866, the church dedicated its new and commodious meeting house.
In April, 1867, Rev. N. G. Collins became pastor, and continued with the church about two years.
Rev. A. Gross served as pastor one year, in 1870. Rev. J. C. Kennedy became pastor in 1871, and served three years.
Rev. W. I. Price was pastor in 1876.
In May, 1878, Rev. Lee M. Goff was ordained as pastor of the church, and continued until January 1st, 1879.
In September, 1879, Rev. C. W. Clark accepted a call to the care of the church, and still serves as pastor.
This church was organized October 24th, 1837, with eleven members. Most of the original members were from the First Baptist Church, North Stonington, Connecticut. The meetings were held at first, at the house of A. B. Peabody, and then changed to that of Deacon Samuel Peabody.
Up to 1843, the church was destitute of stated preaching. In May of this year, Rev. Amos Dodge accepted the invitation of the church, and preached until March 19th, 1844, when he died, much beloved as a discreet and devoted minister.
Four were added by baptism, and the number of persons reported in 1844, was forty-nine.
In 1846 the church commenced a Sabbath School, and on the 17th of January the same year, Paris Pray was licensed to preach the gospel, and employed by the church as their preacher for the ensuing year.
The church was supplied alternately by Rev. Paris Pray and Rev. B. F. Chapman, most of the time until 1857, when Rev. F. Wiley became pastor, who continued with the church until 1860, when he was succeed by Rev. E. P. Barker, who resigned in 1862. Rev. J. M. Cochran became pastor in 1863, and continued three years. In January, 1869, Rev. E. J. Lock became pastor and served one year, when in 1871 he was succeeded by Rev. George A. Pease, who served one year. Rev. L. G. Carr was ordained and became pastor of the church in June, 1872, and served two years, when he was succed by Rev. W. A. Jarrell, who served two years. Rev. D. L. McBride settled as pastor in 1877, and still remains pastor of the church.
The Loami Baptist Church was constituted June 25th, 1838, with twenty-six members, who were previously connected with the Springfield Church, twenty of them having been baptized into its fellowship by Rev. Jonathan Merriam, in the month of May, preceeding. The name, Lebanon Baptist Church was at first given to the organization. Previous to 1843, Rev. W. L. Meacham and Rev. Thomas Taylor preached for the church once a month. In 1844, Rev. Calvin Goodell, and in 1845, Rev. Moores Bailey supplied the church. From 1846 to 1850, there was no regular pastoral service. In 1850, Rev. George W. Foster, and in 1853, Rev. A. B. Harris supplied the church. In 1861 Rev. Geo. P. Guild preached once a month. In 1862 the name was changed from Lebanon, to Loami Baptist Church. From that time to 1880, it had seven different preachers, and for several years of the time was without stated preaching. Those who served the church successively were Rev. A. Stott, Rev. A. Gross, Rev. J. W. Place, Rev. G. W. Stephens, Rev. A. H. Scott, Rev. D. Collins, and Rev. W. J. Chapin. In 1879 the church lost its house of worship, by fire, and since that time it has made no report to the Association
The Richland Baptist Church was constituted by Rev. Jonathan Merriam, under the name of "Clary's Grove, and Rock Creek Church," June 29th, 1839, with ten members.
The first pastor was Rev. John H. Daniels, who continued to serve as such until 1842. He was succeeded by Rev. John White, who served two years. From August, 1844, the church was served for five years by Revs. Taylor Daniels, and White. In 1845 the church erected its house of worship. In August, 1850, Rev. N. J. Coffey was called to the pastoral care of the church, and continued to serve fourteen years, until 1864. In 1865 Rev. J. C. Kennedy, and in 1866, Rev. H. P. Curry served as pastor, one year each, respectively. Rev. J. C. Kennedy served again as pastor from 1867 to 1871. Rev. G. W. Stephens was pastor three years, from 1873 to 1876. Rev. H. P. Curry was pastor from 1876 to 1879, when he was succeeded by the present pastor, Rev. J. E. Coenhour.
The Jacksonville Baptist Church was constituted June 1, 1841, at the house of M. C. Goltra, lately deceased, who was one of its constituent members. Rev. Alvin Bailey served as pastor for six years from its organization; the first two and a half years of which he preached two Sabbaths each month, and after that, every Sabbath. Its first house of worship was dedicated in 1845.
Rev. W. F. Boyakin assumed pastoral care of the church January 1, 1849, remaining with the church for one year. In June, 1851, Rev. A. J. Bingham took charge of the church and continued a year and a half. During his ministry, Rev. Jacob Knapp held a protracted meeting of six weeks, as the result of which, nearly one
120hundred persons united with the church, few of whom proved to be permanent members.
On the first of April, 1854, Rev. G. W. Pendleton entered upon his labors as pastor of the church and continued until 1858, when Rev. W. S. Goodno became pastor, serving two years. Dedicated new house of worship at a cost of $15,000, April 7, 1858.
In 1862, Rev. W. F. Nelson, and in 1863, Rev. Wm. G. Pratt, served as pastor, one year each.
In 1865, Rev. S. A. Kingsbury settled as pastor and continued to serve the church for three years. In May 1868, Rev. Wm. Green entered upon the pastorate of the church and remained two years. Rev. S. Washington became pastor of the church, November, 1869, and served five years, until 1874. Rev. Hugh S. Marshall served as pastor from October, 1875, to October 1876. Rev. M. T. Lamb served as pastor from 1877, to July 10, 1879. Rev. C. C. Pierce supplied the church from October 1, 1879, until July 4, 1880, when he was ordained as pastor, and still continues to serve in that office.
The Decatur Baptist Church was constituted September 14, 1843, with twelve members, previously connected with the Springfield Baptist Church. Rev. Moses Lemen was the first pastor, serving about one year from June, 1844. Rev. E. Maddock succeeded him, preaching for a short time. Early in 1847, Rev. Burton Carpenter settled as pastor, and for the first time the church enjoyed the preaching of the word every Sabbath for one
121year. During this year a convenient meeting house was erected. Rev. C. H. Gates served as pastor in 1850. Rev. Nelson Alvord became pastor in 1851, and served two years. Early in 1853, Rev. J. N. Tolman settled as pastor, and continued his service with the church for five years. In 1857 the church completed a new house of worship. In 1859, Rev. B. Thomas became pastor and served the church two years. In 1860, Rev. S.G. Miner having served as pastor one year resigned the care of the church to accept the position of Chaplain in the army. On May 1st, 1863, Rev. Frank M. Ellis accepted the call of the church, and served as pastor two years. In the spring of 1865, Rev. F. G. Thearle became pastor and served for three years, until 1868, when he was succeeded by Rev. S. F. Holt, who served three years. Rev. J. C. Bonham became pastor, in 1863, and continued two years. Rev. G. W. Inman served as pastor two years, 1876 and 1877, to August 1st, 1878. In May, 1879, Rev. W. H. Batson accepted the call of the church and served as pastor two years.
The Second Bethel Baptist Church was constituted in 1849. For many years it was in a depressed condition, but during the winter of 1878, it enjoyed a gracious revival resulting in the addition of twenty-seven to its membership, making the aggregate number fifty-eight. It united with the Springfield Association in 1879. Rev. H. P. Curry preached for the church once a month during the Associational year, 1880.
The Waverly Baptist Church was constituted August 21st, 1855, with twenty-two members. It had no stated preaching for the first three years.
In November, 1858, Rev. D. Lewis became pastor, preaching one-half the time for one year.
In 1861, Rev. George P. Guild became pastor, and served four years, when he was succeeded by Rev. J. C. Hart.
In 1863 a commencement was made towards a house of worship, and some progress made. It was completed and dedicated June 17, 1866, with a debt of $175.00 in addition to $800.00 borrowed of the American Baptist Home Mission Society. Rev. Perry Bennett preached for the church in 1868 and 1869.
In 1871 Rev. M. C. Davenport was pastor, and continued his services until 1875 as a Missionary of the American Baptist Home Mission Society. The Springfield Association met with this church, the second time in 1874, and it being still burdened with debt, provision was made during the session to pay off the same.
In 1875, Rev. M. C. Clark became pastor, and a series of meetings held that year resulted in the addition of fifty members, — by letter and by baptism, — making the total number, one hundred and ten. He closed his labors with the church June 2d, 1877.
In 1878, Rev. M. C. Davenport again took charge of the church, serving until January 1, 1879.
In February, 1880, Rev. J. M. Bennett became pastor, and continues to serve the church until the present time.
The Taylorville Baptist Church was constituted November 23, 1848, with twelve members, who had previously been members of the Stonington Baptist Church. Rev. Paris Pray was the first pastor.
In 1851 a commencement was made towards building a meeting house, which was completed in 1854. The church had not a settled pastor until 1857, when Rev. T. Reese settled with them and remained two years, preaching twice a month.
In 1864 Rev. J. M. Maxwell became pastor and continued until October, 1867. He was succeeded in February, 1868, by Rev. Edward Jones, who continued two years.
Rev. E. W. Daniels served as pastor in 1873, and Rev. M. C. Clark in 1874, and Rev. D. W. Morgan, in 1875.
Rev. S. D. Badger accepted the call of the church in 1877, and served as pastor two years.
In 1879, Rev. Oswald Snell became pastor, and still continues to serve the church.
The Calvary Baptist Church of Mattoon, was constituted in April, 1877, with thirty members. Rev. Hamilton Bobb, its first pastor, served one year, when he was succeeded by Rev. T. S. Dodge, in 1879, who still serves the church, supported in part by the Illinois Baptist General Association. In 1879 a convenient house of worship was purchased, for $1,000. It has a membership of thirty-seven, in 1880.
The Pana Baptist Church was constituted July 21st, 1858, with eleven members. In 1862 the church reported to the Association, with Rev. E. E. Coon as pastor, and was received into its fellowship. Rev. Mr. Coon continued to preach for the church during 1863 and 1864 on every alternate Sabbath. During the next two years there was no report made to the Association. February 3d, 1866, the church dedicated its new house of worship.
Rev. H. H. Northrup accepted the call of the church March 1st, 1867, and continued to serve as pastor for two years, during which time a large number were added to the membership.
In 1869, Rev. W. H. Stiffler was called to the pastorate, and on the 13th of June, was ordained to the work of the gospel ministry by a Council, duly called by the church.
The Association met with this church for the first time in 1870.
Rev. Mr. Stiffler continued to serve the church as pastor during the years 1870 and 1871, and his labors were attended with a good degree of success.
In 1873, Rev. J. M. Bennett became Pastor, and served acceptably for two years, closing his labors July 1st, 1874.
During the year 1875, Rev. H. A. Guild supplied the pulpit.
In 1876, Rev. Simeon Hussey accepted the call of the church, and continued his faithful service for the term of three years, closing his labors November 1st, 1879. The membership of the church in 1880, was one hundred and fifty-two.
The Shelbyville Baptist Church was constituted, and united with the Springfield Association in 1862.
Rev. E. E. Coon was pastor from 1862 to 1864. In 1865, Rev. William Stillwell was pastor. This was the first year that the church reported its membership to the Association, the number being twenty-five. In 1870 the church reported the commencement of a house of worship, and greater prosperity than at any previous period of its history. Rev. W. H. Stedman was pastor. In 1872, Rev. J. H. Phillips began his labors as pastor, continuing for three years, during which time the church edifice, and a parsonage were completed, at a cost of $11,000.
In 1875, Rev. A. L. Seward succeeded to the charge of the church, and served one year, when Rev. J. H. Phillips resumed his work, and served as pastor for a second term of three years, until 1879.
The Mowequa Baptist Church was constituted in 1864, with seventeen members, gathered under the labors of Rev. E. E. Coon, who served as pastor for four years, preaching once a month. In 1869, the church having previously occupied a house belonging to another denomination, erected a comfortable one of its own, which was dedicated, free from debt, April 17th, 1870, at a cost of $5,500. From 1871 to 1876, Rev. G. A. Pease, and Rev. D. Robinson, served as pastors a part of the time. In 1877, Rev. C. W. Roach became pastor, and served three years, until April 1st, 1880.
The Chatham Baptist Church was constituted April 28th, 1866, with twenty-seven members. Rev. C. J. DeWitt, licentiate, preached one-half the time for two years. During this time the church having no house of worship, met in private houses. In 1868 a revival resulted in the addition of twenty members, and a commencement was made on a house of worship, which was completed and dedicated, February 14th, 1869.
Rev. A. Gross served as pastor until October following. The next two years the church had no regular preaching.
In October, 1870, Rev. M. V. Kitzmiller commenced his labors, serving two years. Rev. M. C. Clark preached to the church for a few months in 1876.
In 1878, Rev. W. J. Chapin, Missionary of the Springfield Association, took charge of the church, and continues to occupy the field to the present time, 1880.
The Good-Hope Baptist Church was constituted February 15th, 1868, and recognized by a Council in June of that year. Rev. J. M. Maxwell, who had been instrumental in the organization of the church, was its first pastor. Rev. Paris Pray supplied the church during the years 1872 and 1873. Subsequent to the latter date it had no stated preaching for several years. On the 1st day of May, 1880, Rev. W. C. Roach became pastor, and during the next six months the church built a commodious house of worship, at a cost of $2,200. The post-office address of this church is Grove City, Christian county.
The Assumption Baptist Church was constituted February 27th, 1870, and immediately commenced to build a house of worship. It was duly recognized by a Council, August 27th, 1870, and on the next day its new and completed sanctuary was dedicated, — free from debt. Rev. R. R. Coon labored on this field from the organization of the church, serving as pastor two years, when he was succeeded by Rev. Geo. A. Pease, who preached two Sabbaths a month for one year. In 1873, Rev. S. Robinson served as pastor, preaching twice a month. In March, 1874, Rev. R. R. Coon resumed the pastoral care of the church and served two years. He was succeeded in 1877 by Rev. C. W. Roach, who served one year. In 1879, the letter to the Association reported the church without a pastor, and but two Baptist families in the place — the balance being scattered. On the first of May, 1880, Rev. D. L. McBride engaged to preach twice a month. The membership numbered twenty-six.
The Oreana Baptist Church was constituted with twelve members, March 23d, 1858, under the name of the "Friendship Baptist Church."
Rev. Jacob Bower was its first pastor, and remained a member until the time of his decease, in 1874.
Rev. J. Z. Zimmerman was the second pastor, serving one year, in 1860. He was succeeded by Rev. D. B.
128Winslow, who in turn, after one years' service, gave place to Rev. W. P. Combs, in 1862.
Rev. W. H. Walters served as pastor three years, from 1863 to 1866.
In 1867, Rev. E. M. Brown was pastor, and Rev. D. McArthur, in 1871.
Rev. F. W. Ingmire served two years as pastor, from 1872 to 1874.
During the year 1875, the church erected a commodious house of worship at Oreana, costing $2,100, and its name was changed to Oreana Baptist Church.
In 1876 and 1877, Rev. R. R. Coon served as pastor.
In 1879 and 1880, Rev. W. C. Roach preached for the church one-half the time. Its membership is fifty-six.
The Mount Zion Baptist Church was constituted March 1st, 1868, with forty-seven members. Rev. Perry Bennett was pastor from its organization until Nov. 1st, 1868, when Rev. G. W. Stephens was engaged to preach once a month. In 1871, Rev. Perry Bennett was again employed and continued to serve the church once a month until 1873, when he was succeeded by Rev. D. D. Holmes, who preached once a month for one year. In 1874, Rev. W. C. Roach served as pastor. The Association met with this church in 1875. Rev. A. H. Scott and Rev. D. King, preached once a month in 1876, and 1877. Since that time no report has been made to the Association.
Biographical Sketches of Former Pastors in the Springfield Baptist Association.
Rev. Jonathan Merriam was born in Ashburnham, Worcester county, Massachusetts, in the year 1791. He removed to Vermont at an early day, and having enjoyed such educational advantages only as were afforded by the common schools, was ordained as a Baptist preacher, and began his ministry in Brandon, Rutland county, Vermont, in the year 1815. He was married to Miss Achsah Olin, daughter of Governor Henry Olin, of Leicester, Vermont, on the 19th of May, 1824. Realizing the need of a more thorough course of education, he gave up the active duties of the ministry for a time, and spent some time with Dr. Wm. Staughton, a distinguished minister and teacher, in Philadelphia, and subsequently, after Dr. Staughton became President of Columbian College, in Washington, D. C., he spent two years at that institution, studying English branches, and Theology. In the summer of 1836, he emigrated from Passumpsic Village, Vermont, at which place he had served as pastor of the Baptist Church, and came to Illinois, making the long journey, with his family, in a two horse wagon, the only means of through conveyance known in those days. They were eight weeks on the way, and arrived in Springfield on the 31st day of October. He immediately engaged as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Springfield, and served for the term of two years. The imperative call for missionary labor within the bounds of the Association, induced his resignation of the pastoral care of the Springfield Church, and on the 1st of November, 1838, he
130engaged as Missionary of the Association, continuing in that service for one year, as already noted in our First Chapter. In 1839 he removed to Alton, Illinois, where he served as pastor for one year, when he removed, in 1840, to Tazewell county, Illinois, where he spent the remaining six years of his life. He died in October, 1846.
Rev. Alvin Bailey was born in Westminster, Vermont, December 9th, 1802. His father was a deacon in the Baptist Church — a man of limited means, and large family. It thus became necessary that Alvin, in early life should, under God, depend upon his own resources thus developing self-reliance, and laying the foundation for his subsequent success. At the age of fourteen years he united with the Baptist Church. He pursued a course of study in Hamilton Literary and Theological Institution, and graduated in 1831, at the age of twenty-nine years. The west was selected as the field of his future labors. June 29th, 1831, he was ordained in Coventry, Vermont. In September of the same year he was married to Miss Emily Ide, sister of Rev. George B. Ide, and soon after removed to Alton, Illinois. In Upper Alton he opened a school, which many regard as the germ of Shurtleff College. He was the first pastor of the Baptist Church in the city of Alton. From Alton he removed to Carrolton, Green county, and became pastor there. He became successively pastor of the Baptist churches of Winchester, and Jacksonville. He remained at the latter place till 1847. At Jacksonville he published the "Western Star," which subsequently developed into the "Watchman of the Prairies." With a constitution enfeebled by disease, he returned to New York to visit his aged parents in 1847, arrange his earthly affairs and end his pilgrimage among his early friends. His health, however, improved, and he soon resumed his ministerial labors. In 1853, in answer to repeated calls, he returned to Illinois, and again became pastor of the church at Carrolton. He remained about one year. In the autumn of 1855 he left the west, never to return. A pastorate of six years at McGrawville, New York, was followed by a pastorate at Dryden, which he held until the day of his death. He died at Etna, Tompkins county, of typhoid pneumonia, May 16th, 1867, aged sixty-five years.
Was born in Franklin county, Massachusetts, October 30th, 1802. He was converted when about fourteen years of age. He removed with his father's family to Truxton, New York, at sixteen years of age, and was, two years afterwards, licensed to preach by that church. At the age of nineteen he was called to the pastoral charge of the church at Scipio, New York, and continued in that relation for nine years. Subsequently he held pastorates in the State of New York, at Lockport, LaGrange, Batavia, LeRoy, Brockport and Nunda. In 1848 he came west, under the patronage of the New York State Convention, and settled in Galena, Illinois, and afterwards at Rockford. At this point he labored with great earnestness and success for eleven years, during which time seven hundred and fifty were added to the church; nearly one-half of them by baptism. During an interim of pastoral labor he was Superintendent of Missions one year, and subsequently, held the pastorate of the North Baptist Church of Springfield, two years. He then returned to LeRoy, New York, the scene of one of his earliest pastorates, intending to spend the evening of his life among the friends of his earlier days. He remained there five years. In October, 1867, he again accepted the Superintendency of Missions in Illinois. His labors, for one of his years, were almost incredible. His success was unsurpassed by any one who has filled that position. Excessive anxiety, unwearied plannings, fatiguing journeys and unavoidable exposures undermined his constitution, and before the close of the year it became evident that his work was well nigh done. This fact was more evident in his heavenly-mindedness, in his joyous anticipations of the future glorious inheritance of the Saints. Desiring to wear his armor until the close of the conflict, he accepted a pastorate at Lockport, Illinois. He preached only a few sermons to his new charge, when he was prostrated by disease. He lingered in severe suffering until the Master called. He died peacefully and in strong faith, at Lockport, Illinois, April 14th, 1869, after having labored actively and constantly in the ministry for more than forty-eight years. Few men have performed the amount of labor that he accomplished in that eventful life. He spent all that time in the pastoral office, except two years. During that time he preached thousands of sermons in protracted meetings, in which he labored extensively for more than twenty-five years. Thousands of precious souls were gathered under those labors into the fold of Christ. His
132native preaching power was scarcely equalled by one among a thousand. His power to bring all his varied acquirements into the pulpit was rare and admirable, and his all-controlling and all-pervading piety carried his brethren captive in the strongest bonds of brotherly love, as well as giving him untold power over the hearts and consciences of the impenitent.
Rev. Burton Carpenter was born in Norwich, Vermont, March 5th, 1785. In 1816 he was ordained as a Baptist minister in Schoharie county, New York, where he commenced his long and faithful service as a preacher of the gospel. For nearly a third of a century he devoted himself unreservedly to the work of the ministry. Little is known of his early educational advantages, but living at that early day they must have been very limited. By his earnestness and studious devotion, he overcame the lack of the discipline of the schools, and was a successful winner of souls. He came to Illinois in 1838, but on account of impaired health was, after that time, often hindered in the work dear to his heart. He was pastor of the Baptist Church in Decatur, from April, 1847 to April, 1848, serving with acceptance and success. He died in Ogle county, Illinois, on the 3d day of July, 1849, of Asiatic cholera, in the sixty-fifth year of his age.
Rev. Abraham B. Harris was born in Connecticut, in the year 1808. In early life he emigrated to Illinois, and having become a member of the Fountain Creek Baptist Church, was licensed to preach on the 13th of July, 1839. On the 13th of June, 1843, he was ordained to the work of the gospel ministry, and immediately engaged as a colporteur and missionary of the American Baptist Publication Society. He continued in this service for the term of seven years, until 1849. Subsequent to that time he was employed as a Missionary of the Springfield Baptist Association for several years, as shown in the History thereof, devoting his time to the cause of Christ, within its bounds, by preaching, and the distribution of religious books. During his ministry he baptized five hundred and sixteen persons, on profession of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He died, January 24th, 1862; aged, fifty-four years. At the next Annual Meeting of the Association, in September, 1862, a Committee was appointed, of which Rev. Geo. P. Guild was Chairman, to solicit funds to erect a suitable monument at his grave. At the Annual Meeting of the Association, in September, 1863, the Committee reported as follows: "Your Committee have erected a monument at the grave of our beloved Brother Harris. It bears this simple inscription: ‘He was a faithful Minister of the Gospel.’ The entire cost was $50."
Rev. Nehemiah Pierce was born November 5th, 1837, in Londonderry, Vermont, where for twenty-five years his father was pastor of the Baptist Church. Converted and uniting with the church at twenty-one years of age, he very soon afterwards devoted himself to the gospel ministry. Realizing the importance of thorough mental training, he pursued his studies at the University of Vermont, graduating therefrom in 1865. After a brief term of study at the Union Theological Seminary, in New York, he was ordained in the spring of 1866, as pastor of the Baptist Church at Bellows Falls, Vermont. In 1868, after two years service, he closed his labors with that church, and settled as pastor of the Baptist Church in Coldwater, Michigan. He served that church two years, and in November, 1870, he became pastor of the First Baptist Church in Springfield, Illinois. Never of a strong constitution, and with inherited tendencies to consumption, the disease which had for years been lurking within him before his removal to Illinois, very soon thereafter became more pronounced, and aggravated in some degree by the duties of a laborious pastorate, he was compelled, after a year and a half, to relinquish his work for a season of needed rest. A four months trip to Europe gave but little relief. After his return, unwilling to give up the service to which his life was devoted, he entered again upon the duties of his pastorate, but it soon became evident that his earthly mission was accomplished. He preached his last sermon early in February, and overtaxed with the effort, went home to await for a few weeks, the coming of his Lord, and finally fell asleep, March 25th, 1873, to await the resurrection morn. The blessing of God attended him in each of his fields of labor, and the churches prospered under his ministry. An appropriate monument, erected by his devoted wife, marks his last earthly resting place in Oak Ridge Cemetery, near Springfield, Illinois.
Rev. F. W. Ingmire was born September 11th, 1822. He was converted February 16th, 1843, under the ministry of Rev. Z. Raymond, and by him baptized into the fellowship of the Pearl Street Baptist Church, Albany, New York. In May of the following year he entered Madison University, New York, and commenced a course of study preparatory to the Gospel ministry. He was ordained October 8th, 1848, in the Pearl Street Church, Albany, New York. Rev. B. T. Welch preached the sermon at his ordination. Immediately after his ordination he came west, and October 12th, 1848, he preached his first sermon in this State in the First Baptist Church in Chicago. Thence he went to Joliet, under the appointment of the American Baptist Home Mission Society. He divided his time between Joliet, and Lockport Baptist Churches. On the 12th of March, 1849, he began a protracted meeting which continued twenty-two days. He was aided in the meeting by Rev. Jacob Knapp. During the meeting thirty-seven professed faith in Christ. He remained on the field until October, 1850, when he removed to Quincy, Illinois, and supplied the pulpit of the church in Quincy until the spring of 1851, and then became pastor of the Baptist Church in Pittsfield, Illinois. He continued his labors in Pittsfield until December, 1855, and then took charge of the Baptist Church in Havana, Mason county, Illinois. He remained in Havana until the fall of 1859, and then removed to Springfield, Illinois. While in Springfield, he at one time supplied the church at Oreana, and during his pastorate the church erected a good meeting house. He united with the First Baptist Church at Springfield, and when the North Baptist Church was organized he united with that body, and continued a member until his death, September 22d, 1876.
Rev. Jacob Bower was born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, September 26th, 1786. His parents were devout and pious Dunkers; a sect of Christians that took its rise in Pennsylvania about the year 1724. At the age of twenty-six years he became the subject of deep religious convictions, and on profession of his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, was baptized on the first Sabbath in March, 1812. In October of the year 1816, he was licensed to preach, and was ordained to the work of the ministry, in Logan county Kentucky, February 27th, 1819. With a very limited education his progress in the ministry was slow, as he labored through the week, and preached on the Sabbath. The only books he possessed were the English Bible, the German Testament, and a Hymn book. These, together with Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, and Holy War, which he borrowed, were his only sources of theological instruction. He served several churches in Kentucky with acceptance during a period of ten years. Large accessions to the churches which he served attended his ministry. In 1828 he removed to, and made his home in Scott county, Illinois, uniting with what is now the Winchester Baptist Church, of which he very soon after became the pastor. After preaching for that church four years, so strong was the anti-mission spirit, that he was dismissed from his pastorate by vote of the church, which at the same time declared that neither he, nor any one who was in favor of missions, should be allowed to commune with the church. With a persistent and kindly spirit he continued, however, to prosecute his labors in the ministry as opportunity was offered, until the opposition gradually gave way, and the current of public sympathy in that region was turned to favor missions. He was, in 1832, connected with the Pleasant Grove, now known as the Manchester Baptist Church, in Scott county, and through the agency of Rev. JOHN M. PECK, he received a commission, November 19th, 1832, as a missionary of the American Baptist Home Mission Society, with an appropriation of $100 per annum. The church regarded the commission as an impertinence, and required its immediate return to the Society. Yielding to the behest of the church for the time, though it was difficult for him to continue to preach and provide for his family without the proffered assistance of the Society, he returned his commission. Within a few weeks, it having been again returned to him, he resolved to retain it, and act
137under it without further knowledge of the church. But it soon became known, and he was placed on trial before the church for his unscriptural missionary intentions and spirit. The anti-mission spirit aroused was bitter and relentless, but he finally succeeded in convincing the church that missions were not unscriptural. So general was the anti-mission spirit at that time among the Baptists of Illinois, that the Morgan Association, in 1832, passed resolutions strongly condemning Missions, Sunday Schools, Bible Societies and Temperance Societies. From 1832 to 1840, Mr. Bower continued almost without interruption, as shown by the Missionary Table in this volume, to serve as a Missionary of the American Baptist Home Mission Society in Morgan, Green, and Scott counties, making missionary journeys into Adams, Pike, Sangamon and Madison counties, as the call of Providence led him in the way. Since 1856 he resided with his children in Macon county, where, in 1858, he was instrumental in the organization of the Friendship, now Oreana Baptist Church, of which he was the first pastor. He died April 26th, 1874, and "like a shock of corn fully ripe," was gathered to the Eternal Harvest, in the 88th year of his age. Worthy compeer of John M. Peck, Alvin Bailey, Wm. Spencer, and Jonathan Merriam, his memory will, with that of those other pioneer preachers of Central Illinois, be cherished as one of the founders of the churches which now constitute our Baptist Zion.
Rev. Cyrus Miner was born in Stonington, Connecticut, September, 1812. At the age of twenty-seven years he was ordained as pastor of the Baptist Church at North Stonington, where he served two years. Resigning his pastorate there, he accepted a call to the pastoral care of the Baptist Church at Wakefield. Rhode Island, where he remained four years, during which time there were large accessions to the church. His next place of settlement was at Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, from which place he removed after a short pastorate, to Mystic Conn, where he served as pastor for two years. His next place of settlement was Attica, New York, from which place, after about two years service, he removed to Illinois, in 1855, and soon after became pastor of the Berlin Baptist Church, in the Springfield
138Association. He ministered to that church one year, during which brief time he endeared himself to his people, and brethren in the ministry, as a faithful minister of Christ. He died at Berlin, after a short illness, August, 1856, aged forty-four years. A monument erected to his memory by his church, marks his last resting place, at Berlin.
Rev. Perry Bennett was born in North Stonington, Connecticut, in 1824. His early life was spent with his father on a farm. He pursued his studies mostly under private instruction of ministers, who, as was the custom of that day, taught young men who desired farther education than that offered by the common schools but were not able to attend the Academy or College. At twenty-five years of age he was converted and baptized at Wickford, Rhode Island, where he was engaged as Principal of the Academy. In 1852 he was ordained as pastor of the Baptist Church at Lebanon. Connecticut, where he served two years, after which he removed to Cold Springs, New York, where he preached one year. In 1856 he removed to Winchester, Scott county, Illinois, where he labored successfully as pastor of the Baptist Church for five years. In 1861 he removed to Berlin, Sangamon county, where he was pastor of the Baptist Church four years. During the next few years he preached successively at Waverly, New Berlin, Mount Zion, and other churches as stated supply, and during the week engaged in the work of teaching, for which he had special natural adaptation. In 1871 he removed to Springfield and became Principal of one of its public schools, and for several months acted as stated supply for the pulpit of the North Baptist Church, then without a pastor. He filled both these positions at the time of his death, which occurred September 5th, 1873. His age was forty-six years. A beautiful monument marks his grave at Oak Ridge Cemetery, near Springfield.
HAVING traversed the period of half a century from the organization of the Baptist Church in Springfield, out of which, the Springfield Association grew, it is fitting that note be made in conclusion, of the progress which has marked the planting and training of our denominational vine in this Central Valley of the great West. Forty-eight churches have been connected with the Association, and twenty now constitute its membership. A part of those once numbered in its membership have become connected with other Associations, whilst others "are not." Like the early churches once planted in Asia-Minor, they have become extinct, and will henceforth be known only in history. The progress and development of this new country have, by the formation of new centers of business, so changed the centers of population that many of the locations of churches at first chosen were in a few years, of necessity, abandoned. Now, at the commencement of the second half century of our denominational work, society has become, to a good degree, homogeneous, and the era of planting has given place to that of perfecting the institutions of the gospel. The fathers have, many of them, fallen asleep. They labored, and