The first churches to become important in Calhoun before the Civil War were the Catholic, Methodist, and Church of Christ.
The circuit riders of the Methodist Church entered the county at an early date. Peter Cartwright, most famous of the circuit riders of the west, had charge of the district, of which Calhoun was a part. In his "Autobiography" he does not mention Calhoun by name, but tells of being in the neighboring counties. He said, "I was the first preacher who ever held a camp meeting in the Military Tract . . . We held a camp meeting in Pike County in 1827." During the same year he had attended a Quarterly Meeting in Madison County and on returning north passed through Calhoun County. "I crossed the Illinois River," he said, "on to the Military Tract, aiming for the Atlas Circuit Quarterly Meeting . . . several families had moved out here, and had been living here three or four years, and perhaps, had never hear a sermon since they had settled in the new country." In 1836 Rev. Cartwright's district embraced all of the territory between the Illinois and the Mississippi Rivers from the mouth of the Illinois to the Wisconsin line.
After 1840, Catholic priests use to come to the county occasionally to say Mass. The Methodists had an advantage over the Catholics since their organization permitted the use of local preachers in the community to take care of the church in the absence of the circuit rider. By 1863 the Methodist had two churches in the county, one at Hardin with a membership of 145, and one at Summit Grove with 35 members. In the same year there were seven Sunday Schools which had forty teachers and officers and two hundred and twenty scholars. By the year 1874 the Summit Grove Church had one hundred and eighty-nine members and Hardin had one hundred and sixteen members. There were two ministers and three local preachers living in the county at the time. The Methodist Church lost many of its members when other Protestant churches were organized.
The Church of Christ entered the county many years before the Civil War. They did not build any churches but held many meetings in different parts of the county. Probably the first Church of Christ that was organized in the county was at Indian Creek. The old log school, that stood at the mouth of the hollow, was used at a meeting place.
The connection between the churches and the schools in the early days is very close. Often a building would be erected with the understanding that it was to be used as a church and a school. A few of the schools were still being used by the churches as late as 1910. No churches were ever built in Gilead Precinct, but school houses were frequently used by different denominations.
A summary of the history of the different churches of each precinct will be given on the following pages.
One of the first churches to be organized in Calhoun was the Catholic Church at Brussels. The earliest Catholic settlers near Brussels were Irish and French. They had no church building and no resident priest.
In 1843, a great number of Germans began to arrive and settle in the Brussels neighborhood. In 1848, under the leadership of Casper Blooms and Theodore Schleeper, a church was constructed. This was a frame building 40 feet by 30 feet, with four living rooms to the back of the building. It was located, on the land at the northwest corner of the Catholic Cemetery where the house of Joseph Menke, Sr., later stood. By 1850, thirty Catholic families had arrived. Among them were the Kelleys, Cunninghams, Gleasons, McCauleys, Wittmonds, Telkamps, Blooms, and Schleepers.
Until 1852, there was no resident priest, but in that year Father John Molitor, a Belgian Priest, arrived. He lived but three months after taking up his work in the community. After his death the people of the parish decided to name the little village "Brussels" after Father Molitor's native city, Brussels, Belgium.
Father S. J. Nerreydt served for a short time and was succeeded by Father J. C. Regal who served from 1853 to 1860. During his stay he established a mission at Michael, which was twenty-four miles to the north. After seven years of strenuous work in the county he died and was buried in the Brussels Cemetery.
During the time of Father C. Raphael, who served until 1863, five acres of land were given to the church by Theodore Schleeper and work on a new church was started. The church, a brick structure forty feet by eighty feet, was completed in 1863. A new residence for the priest had been completed during the previous year. Father Peter Rustemeyer served from 1863 to 1865 and from 1867 to 1870. It was due to his efforts that the Sisters of St. Joseph from St. Louis were secured and a Catholic School established. During the period of 1865 to 1867 when he was away his place was taken by Father Marks, a native of Bavaria.
In the year 1871, Father Blasius Winterhalter was appointed pastor and served until 1907, a period of 36 years. It was through his efforts that a new priest's home and a hall were constructed. Father Joseph Mauer served from February to November, in 1907, and he was followed by Father Joseph Becker who remained until 1910. Father A. J. Stengel came in that year. During his stay he secured the Sisters of the Precious Blood to replace the Sisters of St. Joseph who had left the parish. A new two story brick home was constructed as a home for the Sisters.
Father John J. Brune was appointed to the parish in 1919 and served until July, 1924, at which time Father Henry B. Schnelton became the pastor.
In the fall of 1930 a new Catholic School was dedicated by Bishop James A. Griffin of Springfield.
To the west of the village of Brussels, many Germans of the Lutheran faith settled. They founded a congregation on October 31, 1861, with Reverend J. F. Buenger of St. Louis conducting the first meeting.
On May 6, 1862 Revenend R. Biederman was installed as the first resident pastor. The contract for the building of the church was given out in 1862. A tower was added to the building in 1891. In 1909 a parochial school was conducted near the church. In the summer of 1922, a new home for the pastor was constructed.
When the church was first organized, the Lutherans of the Batchtown neighborhood attended the church, but about the year 1893 they withdrew from the Brussels congregation and organized a church at Batchtown. They withdrew because of the distance between their town and the Brussels church.
The Ebenezer Methodist Church was built on the Thomas Andrews place, about three miles west of Brussels, in the year 1870. Rev. Charles Atkinson, a circuit rider, was the first pastor. The circuit at that time included four points, Hardin, Oasis, Batchtown, and Ebenezer.
The trustees of the church were: Dr. Robert Andrews, William Love, and Gus Greamba. Those active in church and Sunday school work were: Sue McCurdy, Candace Greamba, C. W. Jones, William Love, Caroline Jones, and Lucinda Lippincott.
Reverend Atkinson was succeeded by the following ministers: H. C. Turner, H. M. Short, Howard Miller, Rev. Howard, J. Stout, W. S. Hawkings, W. S. Reid, P. L. Turner, and W. S. Bailey, Jr. Reverend Bailey was the last of the ministers to serve the congregation.
The Ebenezer Church was destroyed by fire in 1889, and was never rebuilt. Sometime later a church was constructed at Beechville and many of the members of the Ebenezer Church attended this church at Beechville.
The first building of the Batchtown Methodist Church was constructed in 1876. A deed, signed by William Batchelder and wife, gave the property upon which the church was built, to the Trustees of the "Richwoods Methodist Church". The trustees at that time were: A. C. Wilson, James Berrey, C. W. Twichell, James Watson and Henry Flagge. The present building was constructed in 1891, John Earley being the contractor.
The early ministers were: Charles Atkinson, H. M. Short, H. C. Turner, and H. P. Carson. Rev. Carson was the pastor of the small Presbyterian congregation at Hardin. During the years that he served as pastor, 1876-1886, he resided at Hardin and held services at Batchtown, Casis, Hardin, Hamburg, Summit Grove, and Kampsville. He made his rounds on a small pony and for the first year of his pastorate he was paid about $400.
Before the building of the M. E. Church at Batchtown, most of the church services were in the nature of revivals, and after the revival, the minister who, had conducted it, returned only for a few services and depended upon the people to keep up the interest by means of Sunday School and prayer meetings. Services were held by different protestant ministers in the stone school which was built about the year 1852.
Before the year 1900, the Catholic families in and about Batchtown had to go over the dividing ridge to Meppen in order to attend church services. Soon after 1900 the people asked Father Wand of St. Joseph's Church at Meppen to come to their town once a month and say Mass. He consented and the Old Rock School building was used for a time, but it was too small to accommodate the congregation, so the Woodman Hall was procured. After a year or two the Weishaup Hall was rented and this building was used until a church was built.
In 1909, the people decided to build a frame church and the late John Eageny was chosen to do the work. The corner stone was laid on Thanksgiving Day, 1909. The building was completed on August 1, 1910.
The first pastor of the church was Father Wand of Meppen. In the latter part of 1910 he was succeeded by Father J. B. Wardein of Meppen who had charge of the parish until 1919. Father S. C. Schauwacker served the people until 1924 at which date Father Jerome Morley was made the first resident pastor of the St. Barbara Church. During this stay in the parish a new home for the pastor was erected. In 1930, Father A. J. Blesser was appointed pastor.
For twenty-two years the Lutheran people of the Batchtown neighborhood attended church at Brussels. But to do this was rather difficult because of the distance and the bad roads in the winter months. So they decided to organize a church of their own at Batchtown.
The land upon which the church was built was given by Henry Johnes, Sr., and Dr. J. R. Douglas. A bell was donated by Henry Jacobs. The contractors for the new building were Joe Robeen and Henry Woehler. The corner stone for the building was laid sometime in May or June of 1893, and in the fall of that year the church was completed and the dedication services were held.
Some of the first members of the Lutheran Congregation were: Henry H. Johnes, Charles F. Mager, Herman Becker, William Dorris, Henry Woeler, Fred Gruck, August Brinkman, John Krashel, Fred Mager, Justis Franke, Gustav A. Becker, Otto H. Becker, J. C. Gueck, and T. P. Broadhack.
J. R. Raush was the first pastor. Other ministers were N. P. Fedderson, organizer from St. Louis, O. C. Horn, who was stationed Kampsville, W. E. Barchers, L. Baumgartuer, Walter Bloomkamp, Herman Schreck, Frank Wiegman, and Fred Branschitsch. The last two men named were stationed at Brussels. The present pastor is Rev. C. G. Georgi. There are 85 members of the church, representing 50 different families.
After the burning of the Ebenezer Church in 1889, the people of Point Precinct and the southern part of Richwoods Precinct had no Methodist Church nearer than Batchtown. About 1913 a church was constructed at Beechville. The land was given by B. F. Ingle and wife to the trustees, F. C. Deverger, Columbus Ingle, Clem Wallendorf and W. W. Smith.
The first minister of the church was Rev. Lackey. The active members were: W. W. Smith, Ida Ingle. F. C. Deverger, Eve Deverger, Ella Ingle, and Cuba Ingle.
The Catholic Church at Meppen was built in the year 1864. It is located about four miles north of Brussels and twelve miles south of Hardin.
The first pastor of the Meppen Church was Father Francis Witthaut who came to Meppen December 23, 1864. When he arrived the new church was not completed and he said Mass in the Henry Kiel house. A two-story rectory of eight rooms was built, through the efforts of Father Witthaut, in the year 1866. A parochial school was erected in 1874. After serving the parish for thirty-eight years, Father Witthaut resigned. He was succeeded by Father Henry Becker. During his stay a large pipe organ was installed in the church (1903), and a home for the Sisters was built in 1905. Up to that time parochial school had been taught by lay teachers.
In 1908 Father J. B. Wand who served, until 1910, and he was succeeded by Father J. B. Wardein. The present pastor, Father S. C. Schauwecker, was appointed in 1919. During his stay a new building has been erected which serves as a parochial school and a hall. This was erected by the people of the parish in 1927.
The first trustees of the Meppen Church were Henry Kiel and John Droege. The present trustees are Henry Seimer and Ben Kiel.
The land upon which the Methodist Church at Oasis was built was given to the trustees by Capt. Thomas Mortland in 1870. The church trustees were: C. W. Twitchell, John Mortland, A. G. Squiers, George Hayn, and Augustus Smith.
Local preachers of the church were W. P. Fowler and W. W. Smith. They not only preached at the Oasis Church during the absence of a regular minister, but often went to the other churches: Ebenezer, Batchtown, Hardin, and Summit Grove, and conducted services.
The regular ministers who visited the Oasis Church were Charles Atkinson, H. C. Turner, H. M. Short and H. P. Carson.
The Oasis Church was located, about eight miles south of Hardin in the southern part of Hardin Precinct. It was located on the side of a large hill, just west of the Hardin-Brussels highway, and a short distance south of the George Mortland home.
During the last ten years services were seldom held in the church. In 1932 the building was sold to the newly organized Pentacostal Church of Hardin. The members of this church had the old building torn down, and removed to Hardin. The material was used in building the Pentacostal Church, and is used by that denomination at the present time.
For many years the Catholic people of Hardin attended the same church as did the people of Michael. The first Mass to be celebrated in the neighborhood was at a house located three miles north of Hardin, at the site of the old Paul Godar home. This was in the year 1850, and the priest came from St. Charles, Missouri.
In 1852, the priest from Brussels came to the neighborhood once a month and said Mass at the home of Mr. Degerlia, Mr. Ewens, and Mr. Bokamp. In 1861 the log church at Michael was constructed and a priest from Fieldon was obtained. In 1877, Father Freimuth was appointed resident pastor at Michael and he was instrumental in having the frame church built at Hardin. This building was dedicated by Bishop P. J. Baltes of Alton on April 25, 1878. The priests who were stationed at Michael attended the Hardin Church and were Father Summers, Father Johannes, and Father Connelly.
In 1908 rectory was built and the first resident priest, Father Kelly, was installed. Other priests who served before 1910 were Father Francis Smith and Father O'Flarethy. In 1910 Father Edward Hickey was appointed. It was due to the efforts of Father Hickey that the new church was built in 1914 and 1915. On November 1, 1915 Reverend Michael Enright succeeded Father Hickey. He remained in the parish until 1922, at which time he was succeeded by Father Daniel Daly who is serving the parish at the present time.
The parochial school was organized in 1928.
In 1932, the newly organized Pentacostal Church of Hardin purchased the old Oasis Church building, and used most of the material in that building in constructing a building of their own, which is located about three blocks northwest of the court house. The dedication services were held on Thanksgiving Day, 1932.
Among the founders of the church were: Brother L. L. Hampton of Jerseyville, Mr. and Mrs. Cochran of Granite City. Among the first members were: Mrs. Edith Watson, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Cook, William Lawson, and A. H. Hopkins.
This is the first Pentacostal Church to be established in the county. The present membership is about thirty. The Sunday School has fifty members, and the Young People's Organization has about eighteen members. The present pastor is Rev. T. D. Peach.
The Presbyterian Church at Hardin was organized October 17, 1851, with a membership of twenty-five. They conducted services in the dining room of the Childs home, then in the court house, and at a later time in the old public school building.
The people then decided to construct a building of their own. The late Alexander Crader of Hamburg was in Hardin the day that the first services were held in the church. He said:
"On July 21, 1872, I stood and watched Henry Fisher nail the steps to this church building, while the people were going into their new place of worship."
The building was dedicated on October 17, 1872. On the same day H. P. Carson was ordained and installed by the Alton Presbytery.
This church building was destroyed by fire in 1908. The Calhoun Republican of November 21, 1908 said:
"The Trustees of the Hardin Presbyterian Church have let a contract for the building of a new church to replace the one that was destroyed by fire on August 27th, to H. J. Eberlin of Hardin whose bid was $600 under a St. Louis contractor."
The building was, completed and dedicated on May 17, 1908. In the fall of 1925, the building was enlarged. A modern pipe organ, probably the only one in a Protestant church in the county, was given to the church by Chris Ringhausen.
The membership of the church in 1931, was about 147. The Sunday School had 250 members and is said to be the largest in the county. Wm. Fisher has served as the Superintendent for the past twenty-five years. The record of perfect attendance is held by Roy N. Bailey, who has not been absent since January 1, 1917.
Between the years 1850 and 1852 there were a number of Catholic families living in what was called the "Gleason Settlement" which was located between Michael and Hamburg. Jesuits from St. Charles, Missouri, came to the neighborhood and ministered to the people.
In 1852 Father Molitor was appointed to the Brussels parish, and he came to the home of Antione DeGerlia once a month and said Mass. Father Regal of Brussels served from 1853 to 1859. He was succeeded by Father Rapael who celebrated Mass in the home of Mr. DeGerlia, Leonard Ewen, and Mr. Bokamp.
In 1871 a small log church was constructed. Three and a half acres of land which is now church property was donated by Andrew Ulrick, who then owned the land.
In 1864 Meppen received its first resident pastor and from that time until 1871, the Michael congregation was attended twice a month by a priest from either Meppen or Brussels. In 1871 Father Quitter of Fieldon had charge, but from 1872 to 1877 it was a,gain in charge of priests from Brussels or Meppen.
In 1877 Father Friemuth was appointed resident pastor and he started mission churches at Hardin and Kampsville. He was followed by Father C. A. Sommers who came on December 8, 1878 and remained until 1892. During his stay he built a new parsonage (1883) and a new frame church (1884).
Rev. Clement Johannes came to Michael July 4, 1892. He had the present parsonage constructed soon after his arrival. He also had the parsonage at Kampsville constructed and was the first resident there. Father Connelly came in November 1895 and remained until 1905, when he was succeeded by Father J. B. Wardein. He worked in the parish until 1910 when he was succeeded by Father Hickey of Hardin who served the needs of the parish until the appointment of Father Kippling. He remained until 1912 and was succeeded by Father O'Mullane who remained as the pastor for nine years. On November 1, 1921 Father Sheehy was sent to the parish and he is serving at the present time. In 1929 a new building was constructed. This serves as a home for the Sisters and as a school building.
About the year 1905 or 1906, the members of the Baptist Church at Kampsville bought an old school building and used it as a church building until 1912. At that date a new concrete block building was erected, the cost of which was about two thousand dollars. The old school that had been used was sold for six hundred dollars and the money was used in building the new church.
The first members of the church were: Dr. Y. O. Hardesty, John Oettle, Maud Panteous, Rebecca Piper, Carrie Quiller, and Mollie Hayn.
The first Sunday School was organized in 1910, and its membership at the present time is about twenty-five or thirty. The Baptist Church is attended by nine families with a total membership of forty.
Among the pastors who served the Baptist Church at Kampsville were: D. D. Ballard, O. A. Carmeon, W. M. Gaither, Wm. Lumley, and Fred Probst.
In the year 1897, the Presbyterian Church was organized at Kampsville. Thomas Haynes was sent from the Presbytery of Alton to organize the church, but the sentiment had been created and fostered by Rev. M. A. Stone, Sunday School Missionary, who first organized the Sunday School.
The charter members were: Mrs. Maggie Cloniger, Mrs. Becky Piper, Mrs. Reca Thomas, Miss Dinah Becker, Charles A. Piper, Miss Katie Becker, John Ranolde, Miss Mary Farrar, Mrs. Mary Lawler, Miss Bernice Hauser, Roy Farrar, Miss Delia Armstrong, Miss Louise Miller, John Oettle, Fred Oettle, Mollie Oettle, Fred Eipper, Mary Eipper, and Miss Flora Armstrong.
When the church was first organized, the services were held in the school house. Later they were held in the hall over the Rose Store. The present building was erected in 1908. The lot upon which the church stands was purchased from Dr. Runde for three hundred dollars. The building cost about $2,500.
The Sunday School was organized by Rev. M. A. Stone. One of the men who has done much for the church is Mr. C. P. Becker. His four sisters were charter members of the church but did not unite with it until later. It was through his efforts that the new church was built and paid for.
Some of the pastors who served the church were: George B. Smith, James R. Sager, C. P. Grahma, Thomas A. McElewain, S. S. Moore, W. J. Caldwell, W. B. Worrel and Lyle D. Stone the present pastor. Reverend Stone has been the pastor of the church for the past two years.
The church has about forty-five members and the average attendance at the Sunday School is about one hundred.
The Catholic congregation of Kampsville was organized in 1877 as a mission. It was attended by Father Otto Freimuth who was the pastor of St. Michael's Church at Michael. During that year a frame church building was erected. It was 75 feet by 35 feet by 50 feet, with a steeple 80 feet high. Morris Fisher of Hardin was the contractor, and the cost of the building was about $2,500. The land upon which the buildings were erected was donated by M. A. Kamp. He also donated three acres for use as a cemetery. The first trustees were M. A. Kamp, Joseph Hayn, and Bernard Kinscheriff.
The Church was dedicated in the fall of 1877 and the bells were blessed on April 24, 1878. The church was served as a mission by Father Sommers, 1878 to 1892, and by Father C. Johannes from 1892 to 1897. He had the present ten-room rectory built during his stay. On November 1, 1895 he was appointed the first resident pastor. Father DuVal served from 1897 to 1901.
The first parish school was opened in 1898 with the Sisters of the Precious Blood in charge. Father F. X. Sturm came in 1901 and remained for a short time. Father Reinhart, the assistant at Michael looked after the parish until the arrival of Father A. Ulric in November 1902. He remained in service of the parish until his death in 1909. His body was buried in the center of the Catholic Cemetery at Kampsville.
On Palm Sunday, 1909, Father F. Neveling came to the parish and remained in the parish until 1911, when he was succeeded by Father Edward Douglass. During his stay a new home for the Sisters was built and a new building to replace the parish school, which had been destroyed by fire.
Other pastors who have served the church in recent times are: Father James A. Telkamp (1919 to 1922), Father George E. Faller (1922 to 1924), Father A. J. Blesser (1924 to 1930), and Father Jerome Morely, who is serving at the present time. The parish now numbers about eighty families.
When the first German settlers of the Lutheran faith came to northern Calhoun, they settled in the Hillcrest neighborhood and in the hills west of the present site of Kampville. Those settling west of Kampsville built a small church near what is now called the "Hauseman Cemetery". For many years the building remained there and then it was moved to Kampsville (then called Farrowtown). Some of the ministers who served when this building was in use were: Rev. Bremer (1870), H. Reichman (1871-1873), W. Wilkine (1873-1875), Hornbastel (1875-1877, Ludwig (1877-1880; Schaberhorn (1880-1881), Kerstan (1881-1886), Lieberherr (1889-1892).
The present church building was constructed in 1894 during the time that Rev. W. C. Borchers was serving the congregation.
Rev. Kavasch served the church after Rev. Borchers. Others who served as pastors were: Rev. Baumgaertner (1905-1907), Rev. Shultz (1909-1929), Rev. E. Wiedenhoeffer of Brussels (1929-1930), and the present pastor, Karl J. Baumgart, who came in July, 1930.
A parochial school was maintained until about 1920. The pastors served as the teachers of the school.
The membership of the church is 260 baptized members, 53 voting members, and 145 communicant members.
The Baptist Church of Hillcrest was organized July 19, 1897 by J. M. Hartly, a, missionary worker, under the direction of the Northern Baptist Association.
The charter members were: Hester Dierking, Emma Likes, Levi Thomas, Emma Thomas, Perry Day, Parthena Foiles, Mrs S. M. Ash, and William Likes.
Levi Thomas and Perry Day were elected deacons and George W. Trash of Roodhouse was the first pastor. The services were held in the old school building until the present building was dedicated, July 2, 1905. The dedication sermon was preached by Edward Ford.
A Union Sunday School has been maintained at Hillcrest for fifty-six years. John Connell was the first superintendent and Sarah Williams, Mattie Tharp and Josephine Labby were charter members.
The church is a member of the Bay Creek Baptist Association. The membership in 1932 was 132. Rev. Fred Probst of Nebo was serving as the pastor at that time.
The Sunday School has 125 members on the roll, with an average attendance of 68. Floyd Freesmeyer is the present superintendent. The Sunday School has contributed to the South African Missions for many years.
The church was organized in the year 1860. The earliest members were the Quillers, Martins, and Sudbracks. The present church building was constructed in 1877. The land for the church and the cemetery was donated by Christian Kuck.
The services have usually been conducted by the Lutheran Pastor from Kampsville. Services are held every second Sunday at 2:30 P. M. The membership is small at the present time. Rev. C. Baumgart of Kampsville serves as the pastor.
This is the only church of this denomination in the county and possible in this part of the state. The church is located in Howell Hollow, some distance north of the Elm Grove School.
The church was built in 1901 by W. A. Guthrie, Marion Johnson, and Timothy Johnson with the aid of some of the people in the community. The building is 22 feet by 40 feet, and was dedicated in the year 1904.
Regular services are usually held, with W. A. Guthrie serving as the local pastor. The church has about twenty-five members and the Sunday School has twenty members.
The Church of Christ at Farmers' Ridge was organized in 1856 by J. W. Greer and James Burbridge.
Until 1882, the Farmers' Ridge School was used as a place of worship, but in that year the school district was divided and a new school was built at a different site. The church then purchased the old school building and a piece of land on the opposite side of the road from where the school stood. Since the old school building had been purchased at a reasonable price and most of the labor on the remodeling of the building was donated, the people were able to have a building of their own for less than four hundred dollars. The present building was erected in 1898.
The leading members in 1875 were: Samuel Bunn (Elder), James Dyson (Elders), A. W. McConnel, J. A. Bunn, L. E. White (Deacon), G. H. Hank (Clerk).
The present organization is: A. W. Bunn and D. E. Bunn, Elders; A. Battershell and L. C. Turnbeagh, Deacons; D. E. Bunn, Clerk; and A. W. Bunn, Treasurer.
The ministers who have labored since 1875 are: John McIntire, David Foremen, C. H. Maynard, J. W. Miller, Ezekial Burns and Richard Williams. All of these were local men. In more recent times J. C. Roady, T. D. Roady, C. W. Witty, and J. C. Dunn have served.
At the present time Elder Jesse Smythe and Elder John Wilson preach at the church occasionally. Elder J. G. Bunn, now of Winatche, Washington, conducted the last revival, in 1931.
There are about forty members enrolled in the Bible School at the present time. The church membership numbers about 100.
The Catholic Church at Belleview was built in 1900. Father Duval, the pastor of the Kampsville Church, was instrumental in having it built. It is a brick building 40 feet long, 20 feet wide, 30 feet high, with a 60 foot tower.
At the time that it was built there were about twenty families in the parish, but that number has since decreased. Services are now held in the church the first Sunday of each month. Some of the early members were: J. C. Harrison, Will Osterman, and Mr. Seifers.
In 1869 a building was constructed at Belleview that was used as both a church and a school. The Methodist Church of Belleview is mentioned in the Minutes of the 1871 Conference of the Methodist Church. According to the report there were 50 members, 2 churches, 1 parsonage, and 3 Sunday Schools which had a total of 20 officers and teachers, 110 members and a library of 500 volumes. W. W. Smith was listed as the pastor. These figures probably included the Summit Grove Church, as reports made in previous years had listed Summit Grove and had not mentioned Belleview. Since the two churches were not far apart, services were probably held at both points.
About 1893 a Methodist Church was built at Belleview. Some of the first members of the church were: Mary Keightly, Martha Childs, and Mr. and Mrs. Emmett Bennett. The church seldom had a resident pastor but was served by the ministers from Summit Grove and Hamburg, or by local preachers.
On the 19th of July, 1920, Brother J. C. Roady and Brother C. C. Hanks came to Belleview and raised a tent and began a series of meetings. The first of the meetings was attended by about seventy-five people. Meetings were held each night for about a month. On August 15th, the night of the last meeting, a congregation was formed and thirty-nine people joined. A number of these were baptized and others came from other congregations.
In this meeting the people decided that a church should be erected Brother Warren Wilson donated the land upon which the tent was then standing.
The members banded themselves together with the understanding that they were to take the Bible as their rule of faith and practice, and to carry on the work as taught by Jesus through his Apostles. On the records of the church are the names of about ninety members. But some of the people whose names are there have since died while others have fallen away. At the present time there are about fifty members that are in good standing. John S. Wilson serves as the local preacher for the congregation.
The church was first organized, in 1870, under the name of the East Panther Creek United Baptist Church. They did not have a church building, so the meetings were held in the school or in the home of some of the members. The founders of this church were Henry Strungham and William Seago. Some of the early members were: John W. Ellege, Elizabeth Ellege, Charles Matthews, Rebecca A. Thurston, Mary Saunders, Nancy Miller, Matthews Dorset, John Wash, Susie E. Ash, Charles C. Curtis, Nels Tharp, James Tharp. This organization was dissolved at a later date.
Subsequently, in 1897, the Pleasant Dale Baptist Church was organized, the leaders being J. M. Hartley and William Tharp. A building was constructed by popular subscription in 1897. The land upon which the building is located was donated by Turner Lumley. He also donated all of the timber for the frame of the church. He was not a member of the church but one of his sons later became a leading Baptist minister. The church has about thirty members and there are fifty members in the Sunday School.
A church was built by the Church of Christ in the East Panther Creek District in 1917, but services have not been held in the building for some time. Some of the early members were: Ed Field and family, George Smith, F. K Ellidge, Floyd and Clem Ellidge, and Rainey Miner.
The Indian Creek Church of Christ was organized in 1860 by Wesley Miller, E. H. Burns and John J. Greer (grandfather of John S. Wilson). The church activity lagged some during the Civil War, but the church was reorganized in 1869 by the same group of men and many new members were obtained.
The congregation did not build a church at first but used the school houses. They used the old log building that stood at the mouth of the Indian Creek Hollow and when the frame school building was erected some distance up the hollow they used it. About 1885 the members decided to erect a church building of their own. A frame building was erected on the state road just south of the cemetery. The land upon which the church was built was given by Henry T. Grader.
Among the members who were attending the Indian Creek Church in 1885-1890 were the following: Mrs. Silas Wilson, G. P. Kincaid, Silas Wilson, Jr., and wife, Henry T. Crader and wife, John S. Wilson and wife, James Campbell and wife, H. H. Williams and wife, Elmer Blackorby, Sarah Crader, Elizabeth Herron, Abner Gresham, Austin Wilson and wife, John R. Gordon and wife, W. S. Wilson, Henry Crader, Jr., and wife, Isaac Crader, Ira Lawson, Sr., and wife, William Kincaid and wife, Austin Wilson and wife, Mrs. John S. Rosa, Jacob Wilson and wife, and Jesse Wilson and wife.
Some of the ministers who served before the construction of the church building were: E. H. Burns, Henry Mains, Wesley Miller, Mr. Roberts, D. Foreman, John J. Greer, James Sitton, Henry Maynard, Mathew Brown, Ely Williams, R. P. Williamson, and son, Donahue, Mr. Troutner, and John S. Wilson.
Ministers who served the church since the building of the new church were: Henry Maynard, Wesley Miller, John S. Wilson, Henry Brainstritter, J. C. Roady, W. E. Ballinger, and many evangelist who served for just a short time.
Abraham Grader and Ira Lawson served as deacons for many years in the early times. Silas Wilson, Sr., Isaac Crader, and Austin Wilson served as elders. In the more recent times Henry T. Crader, Samuel Wilson, and Jesse Wilson have served for many years as either deacons or elders.
The first church services to be held in Hamburg were probably held under the auspices of the Methodist Church, but facts as to time and place of those early meetings are not available. They probably used the first school building, which was located near the river bank in the southwest part of the town.
When W. E. Barber came to the county in 1863, services were being held. "Religious services", he said in a letter written in 1903, "were held as opportunity offered, but the community that could have services as often as once a month was fortunate. Funeral sermons were preached when a preacher was available, sometimes two or three months after burial.”
The school houses of the town continued to be used as a place for church services until the erection of the M. E. Church in 1902. This was during the pastorate of Rev. C. E. Calame. During the erection of the building a debt was incurred and for seven years the people worked to free themselves from it.
On the 29th of August, 1909, the dedication services were held and the sermon of the day was preached by President John B. Harmon of McKendree College. At the time of the dedication of the church the pastor of the church was Rev. C. W. Moorman. The officers of the church at that time were: President of the Ladies' Aid Society, Mrs. M. A. Cloniger; President of the Bible Class, Mrs. Frank Rustemeyer; Sunday School Superintendent, Spencer Waldron; Junior League Superintendent, Mrs. B. H. Williams. For many years W. E. Barber served as the Superintendent of the Sunday School.
In 1932 there were 120 members in the Sunday School. Mrs. Sterling Varner was the Superintendent. Rev. E. B. Barrett was serving as the pastor. He has charge not only of the Hamburg Church but Belleview and Batchtown churches.
The Hamburg Church of Christ was organized on January 10, 1914. W. E. Ballinger, who lived in Hamburg at the time, was one of the main organizers and he was aided by members of the Indian Creek Church and the Mozier Hollow Church.
An old store building was purchased and remodeled into a church. Some of the first members of the church were: Mr. and Mrs. H. H. Williams, Roy Williams, Mabel Roehl, Mr. and Mrs. Harrison Campbell, Mr. and Mrs. James Charlton, Mr. and Mrs. W. E. Ballenger, Mr. and Mrs. James Campbell, Mr. and Mrs. Grigsby Campbell, Sadie Waldron, Jennie Howdeshell, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Banker, and J. C. Roady.
Some of the men who served as ministers or local preachers were: M. E. Ballinger, John Roady, G. W. Williams, Stephen Settel. and John S. Wilson. The church had forty-four members in 1914.
Before the church was organized at Mozier Hollow, most of the people who belonged to the Church of Christ attended the church at Baytown. In 1910 a church was erected in Mozier Hollow. The first members or founders were: Albert Sevier, Abbott Howland, Michael Barnes, Ed Schlieper, and Oscar Crader. The church has about thirty members.
In 1933, we find three churches in Baytown. Each will be discussed separately and in order that the reader might not confuse the groups, they will be numbered in the order of their appearance.
The Christian Church was organized in the early days, probably as early as the 60's or 70's. They did not have a building of their own, so they used the Fox Creek School building which was in the neighborhood. In 1898, a building was constructed in Baytown.
Some of the first members were: Sam Merida (a trustee), Wm. Trowbridge (an elder and a trustee), Alexander Crader, Gotlieb Quiller, Wesley Bovee, (preacher), A. P. Zumwalt (elder), Elijah Bess, William Thomas (deacon), Henry Darr, John Wilson, (preacher).
N. S. Haynes in his history of the Church of Christ makes the following statement:
"A controversy broke out in the Christian Church at Baytown over the question of the use of the organ in church and over the question of having Sunday School. One group opposed both of these, so they broke away and formed a second church, now called the "Church of Christ".
This was in the year 1902 that this second church was formed. They built a frame church in Baytown, near the building of the Christian Church.
Some of the members of the Church of Christ were: A. P. Zumwalt, William Trowbridge, Albert Sevier, Sr., and William Thomas.
They hold regular services in the church. John Wilson is the preacher and he visits the church each month.
In 1927 a group of members of the Church of Christ broke away from that church and formed a new congregation which is also known as the "Church of Christ". The writer has been informed that the controversy was over the question of women reading in worship.
This congregation has no regular church building but use a dwelling house. They have no regular pastor, the services being in charge of Ralph Kitson, William Charlton, and Val Jacobs. There are about 25 people belonging to the church.
The first Methodist Church in North Calhoun was located at Summit Grove. In 1863, H. N. Howell was serving as minister and there were 35 members in the church. The Sunday School had 4 teachers and 20 scholars. They usually had a resident pastor and one or more preachers. The membership increased to 189 members in 1874.
In 1887 the people decided to build a church and a dispute arose as to where the new church and a new parsonage should be located. No decision was reached, so two churches were erected. One of them was built on the ridge near the site of the old church and near the Summit Grove School, while the other church was built to the north and down in a hollow. Only one parsonage was built, and it was located in the hollow.
In 1899, the upper church was taken over by the Presbyterian Church, and services have been conducted by that denomination ever since. The pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Kampsville usually has charge of the Summit Grove Church.
The lower church continued to be under the control of the Methodist Church until November 27, 1930 at which time it was taken over by the Nazarine Church. Services are conducted regularly at the church. There are 27 members at the present time, and the Young People's Organization has 24 members.
In June, 1920, a large Tabernacle was built in the Fox Creek Hollow, near the site of the Nazarine Church. The first preachers were: A. C. Zepp and J. W. Cooper.
Before the building of the Tabernacle, the camp meeting was held in a large tent which was stretched on the church grounds. Twenty-three camps have been held to date. The official name of the camp is "Hillcrest Holiness Interdenominational Camp."
Extracted 20 May 2017 by Norma Hass from History of Calhoun County, pages 49-66.
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