William Henry Perrin.

History of Jefferson County, Illinois online

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en to carry letter to Salem Association, ask-
ing for recognition as a church. September



316



HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.



21, 1868, J. W. Brooks was elected Pastor,
and G. J. Mahew and R. A. Grant, Deacons.
After being some time without a pastor, the
church called I. S. Mahan, for a quarter of
his time; but for some reason he rejected the
call, June, 1871. The following July, D.
W. Morgan was called, and served as pastor
for one year. July 31, 1872, J. F. James
was called, and remained till after the first
Sabbath in January, 1873. In May, Mr.
Wilson, then Principal of our public school,
consented to preach for this church while he
remained here. W. Sanford Gee was the
next regular pastor, from March 4, 1874, to
June, 1876. Then Mr. Crawford was em-
ployed for three months, and in October
Crawford and Calvin Allen were invited to
preach on alternate Sabbaths. In April,
1879, Allen resigned, and Charles Davis was
elected. W. W. Hay was employed Febru-
ary 1, 1880. and W. B. Vassar in February,
1881. After an interval, the present pastor,
Mr. Medkifl", was employed. Februaiy, 1883.
From the tu-st, the building of a house of
worship was discussed. Various changes
were made in the Board of Trustees, and
various plans were proposed and rejected.
April 17, 1871, a deed was made by Pollock
Wilson, conveying Lots No. 9, 10 and 12, in
Block 3, to the following Trustees: James
M. Pollock, R. P, Rider, Daniel Sturgis and
James M. Ferguson. To perfect their title,
they afterward obtained a deed from Peter
Haydea. of New York, November 28, 1873.
The building, begun in 1871, was finished,
and dedicated by Rev. Mr. Ford, of St. Louis,
the second Sabbath in August, 1872. In
1875, the Southern Methodists were granted
the use of the house one Sabbath in each
month, paying for lights and fuel; but this
did not last long. Perhaps the most mem
orable service in this church was tiie ordi-
nation of Mr. Vassar, April 5, 1881. There



were present Rev. I. N. Hobart, D. D. , Su-
perintendent of Missions for the State of
Illinois, as Moderator; Rev. Gilbert Fred-
erick, of Centralia, as Clerk; Rev. D. Sech-
man, of Ashley; Rev. William Lowry. of
Moore's Prairie; Rev. W. H. Carner, of
McLeansboro; Rev. W. W. Hay, of Zion's
Grove; Rev. John Washburn, of Ewing, and
Rev, J. Barry, of North Star Church, Chi-
cago.

This church was first connected with Salem
Association: then with Vandalia, and is now
connected with the Association of Centralia,

It was much embarrassed for several years,
the cost of the church building having run
up to about §4,000; but it is now in a com-
paratively easy financial condition. The
membership is about sixty; average attend-
ance at Sabbath school, sixty-five, with seven
teachers.

The Catholic Church. — For many years
there was scarcely a Catholic in Mount Ver-
non, Then a few came in — Mrs, T, S. Casey,
Mr. Maloney and others; and these were
visited occasionally by their priests, and the
rites of the church performed. Their meet-
ings were held at the private houses of the
members, seldom in more public places. The
first step toward an organization was taken
by Rt. Rev. Peter Joseph Baltes, Bishop of
Alton, and Very Rev, John Jansen, Vicar
General of the same dioces ■. January 20,
1871, they appointed Rev. John F. Mohr,
priest of the church at Alton, and William
O'Connell and Lorenz Fahrig, laymen, as
Trustees of the diocese. May 20, 1872,
Bishop Baltes and Vicar General Jansen,
with Rev. John Neuhaus, who had been ap-
pointed pastor of "St Philip Neri's Roman
Catholic Church and Congregation of Mount
Vernon, Illinois," appointed Michael Ward
and Phillip Russell to act with themselves as
Ti-ustees for the church in Mount Vernon.



HISTOKY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.



317



For several years' the services were still
held in private houses, and at irregular inter-
vals. At length, under the leadership, in
this undertaking, of Mrs. T. S. Casey —
without whom, it is safe to sa}% it would not
have been done for years — means were raised
to purchase ground; and May 21, 1880,
James Bell, of Cobden, in Union County,
for SI, 500, conveyed to the Trustees of this
church the block — foui* lots with the vacated
alley — north of the Supreme Court House,
Lots No. 1, 2, 3, 4, etc., Casey's Second Ad-
dition. Father Hissen, of Belleville, now
took charge of the chiu-ch, and under his su-
pervision the present very neat church edifice
was erected in 1881. It cost about $2,000,
mostly raised by the untiring efforts of Mrs.
Casey. And we are requested by some of
their own people to say that without the
generous aid of Protestants and "outsiders,"
the means to secure the completion of the
house could not possibly have been secured,
as the members were comparatively few in
number, and a large proportion of them
poor. Father Becker succeeded Father His-
sen, and after remaining about a year went
to Kaskaskia. Just at present, the church is
without a settled pastor, but is under the
oversight of Father Spaeth, of Carmi.

The Episcopal Church. — For some years
Bishop Seymour, Episcopal Bishop of Illi-
nois, now of the diocese of Sj^ringfield, re-
siding at Spriuglield, has been hunting up
his scattered sheep in Southern Illinois, and
seeking to gather and crystallize whatever
strength could be found in this section, by
sending out missionaries and organizing
churches. Rev. Martin Moody was appoint-
ed to labor in this part of the field, giving
special attention to Ashley, Mount VernoD,
McLeansboro and Carmi. These were, and
we believe still are, called mission stations.
On the 15th day of March, 1878, a church



was organized in Mount Vernon by Mr.
Moody, when William Pilcher and H, W.
Preston were elected Wardens, and H. H.
Simmons, T. T . Wilson and J. J. Beecher,
Vestrymen, and the name adopted was " Trin-
ity Episcopal Church." Still under the pas-
toral charge of Mr. Moody, the church
services were held first at a private house;
then at a room in the Supreme Court build-
ing; then at Strattan's Hall. After the death
of Mr. Moody, Rev. I. N. W. Irvine was ap-
pointed as his successor. Mr. Irvine was a
man of remarkable zeal and energy, and, to
the admiration of every one, succeeded in se-
cm-ing handsome church edifices both at
McLeansboro and Mount Vernon.

It will be remembered that the Methodists
went into their present church in 1854.
They had already sold the old church to
Harvey T. Pace November 3, 1853, for $345.
Pace at once improved it in every part, even
supplying cushions for the seats, so that its
old acquaintances could hardly recognize it.
It was then used as a church by the "Chris-
tian order," or Campbellites, all at Pace's
expense, until his death, August 13, 1876. As
he grew old, however, services were less reg-
ular, he being Seston and everything else
but preacher. After his death, his heirs
divided his estate by deeds, and this lot fell
to W. H. Pace, a grandson of H. T., and
the only child of George T. Pace. W. H. P.
now rented it out to anybody that wanted it,
and for almost any "purpose. It was once
rumored that a saloou and billiard tables
were going into it; but instead of this, Fer-
guson went in with his carpenter shop, the
steeple was cut oflf, and a huge sign put up
on top, 80 its old acquaintance could hardly
recognize it again. Pace at length sold out
to Mrs. Cramer, and after a few turns, " the
Trustees and Rector of the Protestant Epis-
copal Church of the city of Mount Vernon "



318



HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.



got a deed to the property from Mrs. Annie
Pace, wife of W. H., February 25, 1881,
and a deed from Gottsworth and Minnie
Eilenstine April 27, 1881. The lot is forty-
one feet north and south by sixty- sis feet
east and west, at tlie southeast corner of
Block 19. This was accomplished chiefly by
the efforts of Mr. Irvine, who also had the
whole biiilding renovated within and with-
out. After Mr. Irvine's te m expired, the
Bishop appointed as pastor the present in-
cumbent, Mr. R. B. Hoyfc. Last April's pa-
rochial report shows 27 families, 39 commu-
nicants, 7 baptisms, 6 teachers and 85 schol-
ars in Sunday school, and a total of contri-
butions of $167.79, parochial and diocesan.

The Second Baptist Church. — This is a
church of colored people. For many years
there were very few of these in Mount Ver-
non. Cesar Hodge and Mai-ia his wife,
their daughter Amanda Guyler, and Sam, her
husband, Guyler'e two boys, William and
another, and Old Nick, were all. But about
1850, others came in, and in three or four
years they became quite a colony. They had
meetings in the old academy, and Overton
and Loggins and others preached for them.
Thoy settled in between the creeks east of
town, till that section became well known
under the name of Africa. They had Sunday
school and a church organization, and so
moved on for a few years, till about 1857,
when some evil-disposed persons played Ku-
Klux on them, and they soon scattered;
Africa was depopulated, and scarcely a col ■
ored family was left in the county. After the
war, their numbers increased very slowly for
a time, then more rapidly, until they found
themselves in force sufficient to again organ-
ize a church. This was done in the spring
of ]879, Willis W. and Rosa Wilson, Mar-
shall and Margaret Campbell, Margaret Scott,
Henry Bradford and William H. Jones were



the members. Wilson was their preacher,
and. May 27, Bradford, Campbell and Jones
were elected Trustees. They had Sunday
school awhile in the house south of Hobbs'
mill; then they rented the Pace chiu'ch of
Mrs. Cramer, tried to buy it, failed, and at
length bought of Mr. Strattan their present
house of worship, west of the Episcopal
Church, for $300. Wilson was pastor two
years; then Henry Jackson, of Richview,
two years; the pastor last employed is named
Williams, of Carmi. There are seventeen
members; all attend Sunday school, in which
are two regular teachers.

The Colored Methodist Church. — Perhaps
our readers know that, after the war, the
Southern Methodist Church encouraged its
colored members to form a separate organiza
tion; and by easy steps they at length, in
1875, reached the point of absolute inde-
pendence, under the name of " The Colored
Methodist Episcopal Church in America." A
section of this was called the " Missouri and
Kansas Conference." A member of this con-
ference, formerly from Kentucky, W. C.
Davis, visited the colored people in Mount
Vernon in May, L881, and organized a church
of ten members — G. W. Persons, S. P. Tandy,
Charles Steager, and their wives, D. B. Bell
and his two sisters and Thomas Slaughter.
G. W. Persons was appointed pastor, and has
continued. Their meetings have been held
sometimes in private houses; for a time they
used the Colored Baptist Church, and now
hold meetings up-stairs north of Wlecke's
Hotel. They have secured a lot, and are pre-
paring to build a chm'ch.

The Camp Ground, or Pleasant Hill. — The
first house erected here was for the Cumber-
laud Presbyterians. David Summers moved
down from the Samson Allen place, south of
Rome, to the place in this township, where
he lived so long, in 1888. It was not long



HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.



319



before Rev. Mr. Finley, of the Ciimberland
Preebyterian Church, found him, and began
to preach at his house. There being neither
church nor schoolhouse on that side of Seven
Mile, the neighbors agreed to build a church.
The host included David and Oaltin Sum-
mers and their boys, Coleman Smith, Nathaniel
Parker and his boys — "only that and nothing
more." But they built a small house of logs.
It -was used for several years as a place of
worship. But Mr. Finley was sent to labor
in other fields, and Arthur Bradshaw, preach-
er on Mount Vernon Circuit, formed a Meth-
odist Society here, 1846-47, A camp ground
was prepared, and for five or six years camp
meetings were held here every fall. August
8, 1848, George Leonard, son-in-law to Mr.
Parker, conveyed a lot beginning at the
northeast corner of the southwest quarter of
the northeast quarter of Section 23, Town-
ship 2, Range 3, thence running south twelve
rods, east twelve rods, north twelve rods to
beginning, to Bennett Short, Thomas Short,
William Brookman, Benjamin Webber, Na-
thaniel Parker, Aaron Yearwood and W, H.
Lynch, Trustees of Pleasant Hill Mee ing-
Hoiise. The description of the lot was imper-
fect, but every one knew where it was. The
camp meetings were now less regular, and
finally ceased; but it was a regular preaching
place, services being held in the house in cold,
and under the " shed " in warm, weather.
October 10, 1853, James T. Parker conveyed
an additional lot, beginning at the northwest
corner of the southeast quarter of the north-
east quarter of Section 23, Township 2,
Range 3, south twelve rods, east six and two-
thirds rods, north twelve rods, antl west to
beginning, to the Trustees; the board then
being Coleman Smith, R. A. Grant, Aaron
Yearwood, George Grant, Thomas Short, Jr.,
Littleton Daniel, Samuel Musgrove and
James Kelly, But deaths and removals made



sad inroads on the society; churches sprang
up in adjoining neighborhoods; uther denom-
inations came in, and after the war there was
little of the old society left. I suppose it
would be impossible to tell just at what point
the organization went down. The house
went into a heap, and was finally hauled
away.

As Pleasant Hill began to decline, W. F.
Johnson and other born Methodists, some
four miles northwest, could not be satisfied
without a church. John Thatcher was the
circuit preacher. The neighbors agreed to
build, and met to select a site, but failed to
agree. Some wanted it east of where Mont
Morrow lives, some west. They compromised
by leaving it to Tommy Casey and Jick
Maxey. Mr. Thatcher would not interfere;
he sat on the groand, leaning against a tree,
and read Peter Parley. At length, the
" Commissioners " drove down the stakes
just east of where the present handsome
church stands, and there the house of logs
was built. It was several years before they
got a deed of the ground. At length, July
15, 1854, James A. Donoho conveyed the lot,
beginning at the northwest corner of the
northeast quarter of the northwest quarter of
Section 4, Township 2, Range 3, running
south eleven chains, east eighteen rods, south
seventeen and three-fourths rods, west eight-
een rods, north seventeen and three-fourths
rods to beginning, to James J. Slaxey, Mont
Morrow, W. H. Chastain, S. D. Misenheim-
er, W. F. Johnson, John Sproiil, James
Dodson, Matthew Humphrey and William
H, Maxey, Trustees. This log house stood
for aboiTt fifteen years, when it was sold to
Dr. Cam Frost, who moved it home and uses
it for an ofBce, In 1869, it was determined
to build a better house; but they were in
danger of being shut out from the public
roads, so they got an outlet by two deeds,



HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUXTY.



one from John McLaugblin, for twenty feet
off the west side of the northeast quarter of
the northwest quarter of Section 4, Town-
ship 2, Range 3, and one from Ed R. Collins,
bea'innino' three rods west of the southeast
corner of the southwest quarter of southwest
quarter of Section 33, Township 1, Range 3,
north eighty rods, west one rod, south eighty
rods, east one rod to beginning; the latl er dated
November 7, 1870, the former dated August
19, 1807, and made to J. Sproul, M. Morrow,
G. A. Collins, F. -M. Bates, W. F. Johnson,
Jehu J. Maxey, M. Wilson, A. S. Way and
E. R. Collins. The new building is one of
our best country churches, and the society
there honor themselves and their profession
by uprightness of life and zeal in maintain-
ing the institutions of their church. Their
Sunday school is of the evergreen variety.

The Methodist society at Liberty was or-
ganized by Rev. J. Thatcher or J. A. Robin-
son, in 1851. It included Anthony and John
Waite, James Hails, Ransom Wilkerson and
a few others. They built a log church in
the usual way, every man working at what-
ever he could do t.ill it was done; and it was
a preaching place as long as it stood, the so-
ciety experiencing the vicissitudes of decline
and revival common to country churches.
The house stood on James Hails' land, and
he was always willing to make a deed, but
never ready. So it went on till 1874, when
H. began to talk of selling out, when, Feb-
ruary 4, a Board of Trustees was elected to
receive the deed. It was composed of George
Stitch, James Hails, John Waite, Elijah
Thickston, John W. Coates, James D.
Askew, Alonzo Paine, Patrick Presslar and
Joseph Howard. But even this effort failed.
Mr. H. sold his land to the present owner,
Daniel Hershey, conveyed to him without re
serve, and Mr. Hershey took the house down
and moved it away. The meetings are now



held in the sehoolhouse. The society is
growing in numbers and in activity, main-
tains a good Sunday school and has regular
services.

The Baptist Church at Salem was organ-
ized in 1856, by James A. Keele. Some of the
earliest members were Bird Warren, Johnson
Motield, Zebulon Sledge, R. Hawkins, R. A.
Grant, Robert Harlow, G. W. Luster, Will-
iam Stroud. Jesse Clark and William
Hutchinson and their wives.

Their meetings were held for several years
in the Seven Mile Sehoolhouse. They pro-
cured a lot from Bluford Harlow, March 13,
1860, beginning at the northwest corner of
the southwest quarter of the southwest quar-
ter of Section 11, Township 2, Range 3, run
east twenty- three rods, south eight rods for
beginning corner, then south sixteen rods,
east twenty-three rods, north sixteen rods
and west to beginning. The Trustees were
Richard V. Hawkins, William Hutchison,
William C. Beal, George W. Lester and Zeb-
ulon Sledge. Here was erected a substantial
house of hewn logs, and afterward a large
shed in front to accommodate the ovei'flow
on special occasions. Thus it remained till
last year, when a new house was begun on a
lot bought from Hiram Duncan, November 1,
1882. It was finished this spring. This lot
begins 12.57 chains east of the southwest
corner of the northwest quarter of the north-
west quarter of Section 11, Township 1,
Range 3, runs north 6.20 chains, west 2.75
chains, south 12|° west 1.85 chains to road,
south 57^ west 3.U6 chains, south 2.68
chains, east 5.72 chains to beginning, being
just half a mile north of the old one. The
pastors of this church, since its organization,
have been James A. Keele, George W. Grant,
Thomas J. Burton, W. P. Proffitt (for a short
time), F. W. Overstreet. J T. Tenison, B. D.
Esmon and S.W. Derrickson.



HISTORY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.



321



Southern Methodist Church. — The career
of this denomination in Mount Vernon has
been rather inglorious. After all its strug
gles, the writer remains almost its sole rep-
resentative, and has to confess that he feels
like a tall rag- weed in the middle of a frost-
bitten turnip patch, " whose lights are fled,"
etc. Soon after the war closed, and largely
through the efforts of Eev. — or Hon. , per-
haps both — John "\V. Westcott, the Methodist
Episcopal Chm-ch South was planted in
Mount Vernon— planted a little too deep,
and the ground was heavy, so it didn't come
up well. They got the use of the Presbyte-
rian Church, and Rev. Dr. Eeed had services
there for some time in 1867-68. A preacher
by the name of Frost organized a church at
the Summers Schoolhouse; and this church
being planted while the Froft was on the
ground, the soil was mellow, and under good
cultivation the crop turned out well —about
sixty bushels; that is, about sixty members.
Davis, Halsey, Jones and others preached for
us, but we still grew " small by degrees and
beautifully less." Then, for a year or two,
we had no preacher. Afterward, about 187'2,
a little man by the name of Ward — a sickly
young man, with a Bible and hymn-book and
two shirts in one end of his saddle-bags, and
about five bottles and three pill-boxes in the
other — came to preach for us. He was irri-
table, of course. We got the use of the Bap-
tist Church awhile, and he preached and flew
around like whiz; but the bottom of his
tender fell out, and he blew the crown sheet
off his boiler and quit. The writer then
switched off, and ran on the Presbyterian
track awhile, but his drive- wheel slipped on
the rails so badly that he went back to the
Southern Methodists. In the meantime,
1877-78, we tried to build a chui-ch in East
Mount Vernon, for the joint use of the Pres-
byterians and Southern Methodists. Vi'e met



at Hinman's saloon and elected the writer,
John Yearwood and George Haynes, Trust-
ees, and got about $100 subscribed in a week
or two. We bovight Lots 8 and 9, Dewy's
Addition, and gave notes and trust deed.
We took' a deed, and while one thought an-
other had it recorded, it got lost — we have
no idea what became of it. Rev. Mr. Prine
almost wore all the nap off his plug hat try-
ing to get up a Southern Methodist Church,
but failed and abandoned the field. The
writer had to pay off the notes and assume
the debts; so he v^-as out about 1200, and in
for about $100 more. He got a deed fi-om
the Trustees and one from Hobbs & Guthrie,
and a resolution of a called meeting confirm-
ing the action of the Trustees and accepting
their resignation. The church was " busted ;"
so was the writer. He tried to sell to some
church, or somebody for a church, or any-
body for anything, at almost any price, but
no — not any. Yet the building was a church,
or stood for one, about four years. And
now, as far as Mount Vernon is concerned,
the Southern Methodist Church is no more ■
indeed, not near so much.

Schools— III Town. — The people of Mount
Vernon, for several years, patronized schools
in Shiloh Township. In 1830-31, a log
schoolhouse was erected on the point, now in
the northwestern part of city, north of the
Tolle property, or nearly south of Gen.
Pavey's. But in 1831 it was out of sight of
town — purposely so, that the children might
study with less distm-bance, and that the
neighbors north and west might be accom-
modated. Scholars came from the west as
far as Bullock's Prairie. Here Mr. Tally
taught our first schools, in 1831-32. In the
winter of 1833-34, John Baugh, Sr., taught
here; the next winter, Abner Melcher, and
his daughter Priscillathe following summer;
and both father and daughter the next win-



332



HISTORY OF JEFFERSOX COUSTTY.



ter. In 1836-37, John Downer, who is still
living among us, taught; after which I think
the house fell into disuse. Miss Kancl, one
of the teachers sent West by an association
in the East, taught in a room over Dr.
Parks's dwelling — the south end of the re-
consti-ucted dwelling in which Mrs. Thorn
lives, west of the square. To all these schools
scholai-s came from a circle six or eight miles
in diameter. We believe Joshua Grant,
brother of A. M. , taught the next school, in
the Methodist parsonage, a small frame
building on the northeast corner of Block 19,
where Varnell's three little brick houses
stand, 1838-39. Here :Miss Elizabeth Bullock
also had a summer school. It was in the edge
of the woods, and we remember seeing the
school thrown into excitement by the appear-
ance of snakes in the room.

At length the people of the town became
ambitious to do something better; it was de-
termined to have an academy, and the site
was chosen. In February, 1839, the Legis-
latui-e passed the act of incorporation, and
the names of the Trustees augured well for
the result. They were Zadok Casey, Stinson
H. Anderson, Joel Pace, \V. S. Van Cleve,
H. B. Newby, E. H. Ridgway, D. Baugh,
Thomas Cunningham, J. W. Greetham, An-
gus M. Grant. On the 5th of July, 1839,
they received from S. H. Anderson a deed to
a lot 180 feet square. It was in a very pret
ty o-rove. just out of town, on the southeast.
A Building Committee had been appointed,
Tom King, et al., and the building, furnish-
ing materials, etc., was let to John H. Wat-
son for $350. Of course, at this price, the
house was not long in being completed; John
and Asa Watson and John Leonard doing
the work. There were large schoolrooms —
one below and one above — a hall and stair-
way on the north below, and over these a
room for apparatus, etc. A fine little appa-



ratus, with chemicals, was furnished, chiefly,
we believe, by Gov. Casey's liberality, at a
cost of about $100.

The first sessions were taught by Lewis
Dwight, "a down-easter." a graduate, per-
haps, of Yale College, and a minister of the



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