Carrollton Churches

Eight Carrollton Churches Offer a Creed for Everyone's Conscience
It speaks well for Carrollton that its churches were its first established institutions. The pioneer settlers began looking for Divine guidance and instituting public worship as soon as their log cabins were finished or their first crops planted. Four churches in this city have long passed the century mark. In early files of The Patriot the personal recollections of an old settler told that three church organizations, Baptist, Methodist and Christian, had buildings in 1837, and that the Presbyterians held services in the Baptist building. The Baptists were popularly known as "Emancipating" or Missionary" Baptists. The Presbyterians, because of pronounced anti-slavery views, were called the "Abolition church."
"First Presbyterian Church in Greene County" was the name adopted by an organization effected at the old log court house May 4, 1823. Membership in that first organization was scattered over the country, and largely north of Apple creek. As Carrollton's population increased it became desirable to organize a local church. This was authorized at a meeting of Illinois Prebytery, held in Carrollton July 23, 1832. The organization was effected under the ministry of Rev. Henry Herrick, and the ruling elders chosen were Julius A. Willard, Joseph Gerrish and Anthony Potts.
For several years the congregation worshiped in a blacksmith shop, near the northwest corner of the square. In 1837 during the pastorate of Rev. Hugh Barr, a church building was erected at a cost of $2500. Rev. Barr was pastor for ten years, and 103 members were added to the church during that period. A partial disorganization occurred a few years later, but the church was reorganized in 1850. Rev J. G. Rankin was pastor from 1851 to 1861, and it was during his pastorate that the old academy building was erected on the corner south of the present church building, and a school opened there.
Rev. S. H. Hyde was pastor for fifteen years, 1864-1879. In 1867-8 the church edifice that has since been the house of worship was erected at a cost of $11,000. Some years ago the old brick academy building, then used as a chapel, was razed and a part of the materials used in building an addition on the north side of the church edifice. A basement dining room and kitchen were added about twelve years ago.
Pastors since 1879 have been: W. L. Tarbet, 1880; W. M. Campbell, 1883; G. D. McCulloch, 1890; W. P. Hoskin, 1894; Thos. B. Greenlee 1897; W. Bryson Smith, 1902; R. L. Evans, 1905; J. F. Lackey, 1909; W. B. Shirey, 1912; G. E. Smock, 1916; E. P., Leick, 1920 to 1930; pulpit then suppled by A. B. Van Schoik. The present pastor, Rev. Lyle D. Stone, came to the church in 1934.
According to one of the county histories, the Carrollton Christian church had an auspicious beginning in 1832, with some 180 members, which, considering the population of the village was then only about 300, indicates it was the leading religious organization. Edward D. Baker, years afterward the distinguished U. S. Senator from Oregon, was not only a member of the congregation, but Dr. Willard's sketches of early Carrollton say that he sometimes preached from the pulpit, and was recognized even then as a magnetic orator. The organization is said to have been effected under the ministrations of Elder Barton W. Stone. The early church records were lost, and information is more or less traditional. Through deaths and removals the organization dwindled, but was revived in 1841, and reorganized with 28 members. D. W. Kennett was elected elder, and W. R. Montague and J. H. Marmon, deacons.
The first church building was erected on the present site about 1835, and the present building in 1857. Elder E. L. Craig, who was the first editor of The Patriot, became pastor in 1860, and continued through that decade and until about 1872. Elder Dunkerson, who was dentist as well as minister, served the congregation for some time during the '70s. In June, 1882, Elder J. A. Berry, who had previously held revivals here, became pastor, and remained until November, 1890.
Pastors since then have been: Rev. W. M. Groves, 1892; C. H. Bass, 1893; Hugh A. Orchard, 1896; J. S. Smith, 1899; J. E. Lorton, 1902; J. D. Arnold; 1905; G. J. Ellis, 1906; J. V. Clark, 1913; C. E. Barnett, 1914; James Todd, 1916; A. M. Laird, 1919; Roy G. Ross, 1921; C. R. Porter, 1927; W. Marion Rowlen, 1930. Since the latter's resignation in 1937, the congregation has been without a pastor, but Sunday school meets regularly, and occasional church services are held. The 100th anniversary of the church was celebrated in June, 1932.
The church has been fortunate in receiving bequests from members and others, and the church building is kept up in excellent shape. The church bell, which still summons worshipers, was secured as a gift from a St. Louis firm by the late Wm. P. Marmon in 1857.
The Carrollton Baptist church was organized April 28, 1927, at the home of Justus Rider. An Anti-Mission Baptist church, had been organized as early as 1821, and it is said that Governor Carlin was a member of that organization. It worshiped in a log cabin near the southeast corner of the square. The organization later moved out east of town and became the Providence Baptist church, but long ago abandoned its anti-mission ideas. It celebrated its centennial in 1921.
For entertaining missionaries the Justus Rider family were excluded from this first church organization, and were leaders in effecting the organization of 1827. Signing the organization agreement were Rev. Sears Crane ( a Baptist minister) and wife, Abraham Bowman and wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Rider and Miss Phebe Harris.
The first pastor was Rev. Elijah Dodson . Rev. Alvin Bailey was pastor 1834-40, and again 1853-55. Other early pastors were Revs. Jacob Bower (1841), W. H. Briggs (1843), Porter Clay, a brother of Henry Clay, J. N. Tolman (1847) and Justus Bulkley (1855-64).
The first house of worship, a frame building, in the block east of the present site, was opened in May 1834. In April, 1852, it was decided to erect a building of brick and stone, 66 x 42, feet, with basement, to cost, including the lot $5000. A little less than four years later it was dedicated-Jan. 6, 1856.
This building was remodeled and modernized, with inclined floor, art glass windows, a Sunday school room, and opera chairs in 1896, during the pastorate of Rev. Robert J. Church. Again, at the end of another forty-year period, the edifice was practically rebuilt, none of the old building entering into the new structure except the foundation and the two side walls. A large two-story and basement addition was built at the rear for Sunday school rooms with dining room and kitchen in the basement. The cost was $40,000. Rev. J. A. Carwile was pastor at that time. Pastors since 1864 have been as follows: Revs. Niles Kinne, W. D. Clark, R. F. Parshall, H., S. Guild, J. C. Bonham, 1875; J. E. Roberts 1878; W. D. Clark 1882; J. W. Primm 1885; J. J. Reader, 1892; Robt. J. Church, 1895; A. J. Young, 1901 (died here in 1908); D. H. Toomey, 1909; W. E. Munell, 1915; W. E. Pool, 1919; J. A. Carwile, 1923; H. L. Duff, 1927; W. D. Thomas, 1932. The present pastor, Dr. John W. Crouch, was called to the pastorate in 1936. Russell Wiles is superintendent of the Sunday school.
The Methodist Episcopal church of Carrollton was organized in 1832, and was then included in the Apple creek circuit. The noted pioneer preacher, Peter Cartwright, was then presiding elder of the district. Methodism in this county dated back to 1823, when what was known as "Hopewell class" was organized by the Dodgson family, two or three miles north of town.
Rev. John VanCleve was the first preacher in charge of the local church, which first worshiped in the old court house, and later in a log cabin used as a school house on the east side of the public square. In 1936, a brick church building was built southwest of the square, but is said to have been so ungainly and unsightly that it was torn down a dozen years later, and another erected on its site. This meeting house, built in 1850-51, was used for services for more than thirty years. It is still standing on South Main street west of the square was for many years a blacksmith shop, then a livery stable, and now used only for storage purposes.
The present building at Maple avenue and Fifth street, was erected in 1883 and the cost including the ground was $20,500. It is of brick with stone trimmings, in a style of architecture in sharp contract with established forms; steep gables, gothic windows, and it's tower for some years housed a town clock, which was removed after another town clock was placed in the court house tower. The upper part of the spire was also taken down. Extensive improvements were made in the building about twelve years ago, including a basement dining room and kitchen.
Pastors during the past sixty years were Duke Slavens, 1879; M. M. Davidson, 1883; M. D. Hawes, 1885; Frank C.Bruner, 1891; W. J. Tull, 1895; J. E. Artz, 1897; D. T. Black, 1902, C. F. Buker, 1905; A. K. Byrns, 1908; A. F. Ewert, 1911; J. P. Edgar, 1912; C. S. Boyd, 1914; Christie Galeener, 1917; J. R. Ford, 1923; S. W. Beggs, 1927, R. M. Howard, 1929; M. I. Johnson, 1930; M. A. Beger, 1934; Milton Wilson, the present pasto, was appointed to charge in 1936.
An outstanding event in the history of the church was the annual meeting of Illinois Conference, held here in September, 1908. The centennial of the church was observed in February,1932, with a series of services lasting for a week.
Devout Catholics of Carrollton vicinity first met for worship at the log cabin of Thomas Butler, when a priest made periodical visits here. In 1858, under the pastorate of Rev. Thomas Mangan, they worshiped in what had previously been the Christian church building. From that time until 1872 the pastors were Revs. John B. Meil, James Sheridan, Timothy Clifford, G. DeKlein, Peter J. Mackin.
The front part of the present building was erected in 1862, at a cost of $13,000. The former two-story frame residence, which stood north of the church was erected in 1872. Among the older Catholics helping put over these improvements were Cornelius Carmody, Michael Carmody, Thomas Carmody, Andrew Sheedy, Andrew Witaschek, Joseph Stohr, Matthew Markham, Thomas Scott, James Dunsworth, Thomas Lunneen and John McMahon.
Rev. August J. Sauer became pastor in 1877, and he remained as the spiritual consellor for fifteen years. In 1882, under his direction, the transept was added on the east end of the church building at a cost of $6,500.
Since the retirement of Rev. Fr. Sauer, the pastors have been: Revs. H. J. Hoven (1892-1903), John J. Driscoll (1903-07), D. J. Moroney (1907-20), Fr. Sheehy (1920-21), T. E. Cusack (1921-25), Thos. Costello (1926-37), the latter died Jan. 6, 1937, and was succeeded by Rev. Michael Enright, the present pastor.
Within the past sixteen years St. John's church has acquired all the remaining lots in the entire block; has built the two-story brick school building, a modern brick residence just east of it for the instructors, razed the old frame residence north of the church and erected a fine brick rectory on the south side of it.
For some time prior to 1871 the Episcopal congregation held services in the old court house, but in that year the question of providing a place of worship was taken up. At a meeting in April the sum of $1500 was guaranteed, and Judge C. D. Hodges offered a lot on which to build. The frame structure then built was dedicated March 10, 1872. This first building burned August 19, 1866. The following spring the rector, Rev. G. W. VanWinkled, rew plans for a more substantial, and architecturally a most attractive building. The new building was opened Oct. 2, 1887. It was built of brick, gothic in style, and cost something over $4000.
Rev. G. W. VanWinkle was rector for several years, and was succeeded by Rev. J. B. Harrison, who was located here for several years in the '90s.
Rev. E. D. Irvine became pastor in 1895, Rev. W. H. Stone in 1908, and Rev. W. H. Tomlins, in 1910. Deaths and removals reduced the congregation so that for a number of years no resident pastor has been employed. The pulpit has been supplied from time to time by a number of different ministers, including Rev. J. T. Lilliard of Jerseyville, who now holds services at stated times.
A Lutheran Mission was started here early in the summer of 1934, with Rev. Norman G. Schumm of Jerseyville in charge, and holding services in the Christian church building. Rev. Schumm afterward moved to this city, and the arrangement of holding services every Sunay evening, also Sunday school, at the Christian church was continued. Rev. Schumm and family, who had made many friends in Carrollton, during their three and a half years here, were called to another field Jan 1, 1838, and Rev. Max Beck supplied the vacancy until June first, when Rev. William J. Reiss came as regularly appointed pastor, and is not in charge of the Mission.
A Pentecostal church was organized in Carrollton about twenty years ago, and frame building was erected, north of the public school building some eighteen years ago. It is now known as the Church of God, and has been served for brief periods by quite a number of pastors and evangelists.

Typed 29 Aug 2003 by J. Pilkington-Harstock

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