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Announcements:Mary Kathryn (Cox) Short
Posted by: Kyle Shoultz on Sep 1 2008 20:45
My Great Aunt -

75-year-old Fairfield resident, Mary Short died at 2:45 p.m. Thursday, August 28, at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville. She had been a legal secretary.

Survivors include her husband, Bill Short of Fairfield; a daughter, Kathy McWhirt of Jasper, IN; a son, Mike Short of Fairfield; sisters, Mildred Tice of Fairfield and Shirley Crider and husband D.E. "Dude" of Cave-In-Rock, IL; two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Services for Mary Short will be 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2, at the Johnson & Vaughn Funeral Home in Fairfield with burial in Maple Hill Cemetery.Visitation will be from 5 - 8 Monday evening, Sept. 1, at the Johnson & Vaughn Funeral Home in Fairfield.

Memorials may be made to the Fairfield Memorial Hospital Foundation or St. Jude's Children's Hospital and will be accepted at the Johnson & Vaugn Funeral Home in Fairfield.

She was preceeded in death by her parents, Wayne &...

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Announcements:Rodney Dale "Rod" Irvin
Posted by: Kyle Shoultz on Aug 12 2008 12:59

Rodney Dale Irvin, 43, of McLeansboro, died 12:18 a.m. Aug. 10, 2008, at DePaul Health Center, Bridgeton, Mo.

He was born May 19, 1965, to Donald and Beulah Irvin.

Rod was an attorney, serving as Hamilton County State’s Attorney from 2004 until his death; solo attorney of Irvin Law Offices from 1997 to 2004; Fayette County State’s Attorney from 1992 to 1996, and associate in the firm of Corbell & Miller of Vandalia from 1990 to 1992.

He is survived by his parents, Donald and Beulah Irvin of Dale; wife Terrie Ellis Irvin; and three children, Adam Irvin, Faith Irvin and Erin Irvin of McLeansboro; brothers, Tom Irvin of McLeansboro and Brad Irvin of Dale; sister, Ronda Irvin Hamilton of Trenton, Ga.; nieces, Jaden Irvin, Rachael Nice, Cassidy Sullivan, Carly Sullivan, Celeste Ellis and Aubrie Stover; and nephews, Kevin Irvin, Koltyn Irvin, Michael Nice, Justin Stover, Ian Stover and Noah Hamilton.

Rod was involved in his community as a member of the Hamilton Memorial Foundation Board, the Dale Convention Center Board, Ruritan Club, Summer League Committee and a volunteer team captain for the Jerry and Bobbye Sloan Hand-in-Hand Foundation. He attended the First General Baptist Church with his wife and children. He was also involved in coaching youth basketball, baseball and softball.

Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Wednesday at the First General Baptist Church in McLeansboro. The Rev. Ken Cook will officiate. Burial will follow at Hickory Hill Cemetery near Walpole.

Friends may call from 5 to 8 p.m. tonight and from 10 a.m. until service time on Wednesday at the First General Baptist Church.

Arrangements are being conducted by Gholson Funeral Home of Mc-Leansboro, where you may call 643-2321 for further information.


McLEANSBORO — The sudden death of Hamilton County State's Attorney Rodney Irvin on Sunday has left friends, family, colleagues and courthouse employees shocked.

Irvin, 43, died on Sunday at the DePaul Health Center in Bridgeton, Mo. He was elected as the State's Attorney for Hamilton County in 2004. He served as State's Attorney in Fayette County from 1992 to 1996, and had a private law practice from 1997 to 2004. He was an associate in the firm of Corbell & Miller of Vandalia from 1990 to 1992.

According to the Hamilton County State's Attorney's office, court cases scheduled this week will be reset, and the courthouse closed on Wednesday, the day of Irvin's funeral.

At this time, it is anticipated someone will be appointed from the State Appellate Prosecutor's Office to handle cases until the Hamilton County Board can meet to discuss and make an appointment to the position to serve until Irvin's term would have ended. The county board has 60 days to complete the process.

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Obituaries:Delilah J. (Bond) Echols
Posted by: Kyle Shoultz on May 17 2007 15:58

5th great grandmother

Delilah J.(Bond) Echols

Was born August 24 1823 and died March 19 1892. Her father, Mastin Bond, who came here from Kentucky was one of the first settlers of this county. She was united in marriage to Lofton Echols on Dec 18 1840. She leaves a husband who is 76 years old, three daughters and three sons to mourn her absence she united with the Missionary Baptist church at Ten Mile and was baptized by Rev. Hosea Vise in
1842. She was one of the charter members of Blooming Grove Church and remained in that Church until she died. Her devotion to the cause of Christ was admired by all who knew her. Her place in the church was always occupied as long as she was able to go.
She was greatly Devoted to her family and never left anything undone that she could do for her children, and offered sympathy and encouragement in their troubles. No wife was ever more devoted to husband or husband to wife.

{Her father's millston...

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Obituaries:Lofton Echols
Posted by: Kyle Shoultz on May 14 2007 17:00
Lofton Echols was born near Lebanon, Wilson County, Tennessee in the year 1816 and lived in that state until nearly 25 years of age.
In the year of 1840, he set out on horseback alone and after a tedious journey northward through the wilderness of Kentucky and Southern Illinois finally came to a group of huts surrounded by woods wore McLeansboro now stands. He settled upon 16 0 acres of government land in the northwest part of what is now Mcleansboro Township, and the same year at the age of 25 married Miss Delilah Bond, the daughter of Mastin Bond, one of the early immigrants from Kentucky.
He had learned the bricklayer's and brickmaker's trade before leaving Tennessee and for many years pursued that occupation after migrating to this county. The Hamilton County jail and the south portion of the Grand Hotel Building are still standing s. relics of his early work, the bricks having been made and laid by him.
In 1842 he became a member of Ten Mile Ch...

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Family memories:Another Blooming Grove History
Posted by: Kyle Shoultz on Apr 23 2007 16:03

A History of

Blooming Grove Missionary Baptist Church

Hamilton County, Illinois

1850-1975 by Mildred Rawls Neal

(Written in 1975 for the 125th Anniversary)

Blooming Grove Missionary Baptist Church is located two miles north and one mile west of McLeansboro, Illinois between U.S. 460 [142] and Route 242 on a hill overlooking tbe surrounding countryside.


After spending some time a few years ago reading the minutes of Blooming Grwe Church, notes were taken as it was a slow process reading the handwriting which had microfilmed in order to preserve the original. It now seems that a look back might be in order. The church has been in continuous operation for one hundred and twenty-five years

Dates can be very dry, but let us remember that the church began approximately ten years before the Civil War. The first building of logs was erected soon after. The second building, the first white frame building, was constructed in 1867 or soon after the close of the Civil War The third building which burned only four years ago on January 17, 1971, was dedicated in 1905 soon after the turn of the century. The present brick building was finished later in the year of 1971 and dedicated September 12, 1971.

Ten Mile founded in 1820, and the oldest church in Hamilton County, gave permission for some members to constitute an independent body which became Blooming Grove

No picture was found of the log church which was the oldest or of the schoohouse; in which the first meetings were held and presumably that of the first three years. John Mitchell was said to have taken the picture of the first frame house.

Rev. John B. Maulding, former pastor wrote and read a history of the church for the centennial celebration in 1950. In it he tells the story told him by our mutual grandfather Presley Maulding, of the naming of the church and another on settling some disturbance difficulties and is quoted verbatim from his paper.

Since this is a history, an effort is made to use names of the departed rather living.

-Mildred Rawls Neal

State of Illinois, Hamilton County, April 19, 1850. On Saturday before the Third Lord's Day in April, 1850, after worship, the brethren of the name of Ten Mile sat in council at the school house near Anderson Daily's whereas we have received a grant from Ten Mile Church in order that we may be constituted an independent body. On motion proceeded to call a presbytery to wit: Elders R. Lee, C. P. Pitmann, R. Shirley.

May meeting 1850, Blooming Grove, Hamilton County, Illinois. This will certify to whom it may concern that on the 19th day of May in the year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Fifty, the undersigned presbytery attended at Blooming Grove, County and State aforesaid. Whereupon the brethren and sisters whose names are hereunto annexed below presented themselves for constitution and after examination were pronounced orthodox according to the faith and order of the United Baptist denomination and the presbytery extended the right hand of fellowship and recommended the church to God in prayer. Elder R. Lee, Elder C. P. Pitman, Russell Shirley. Clerk J. T. Ingram.

1.Job Standerfer12.Tabithia Bond

2.Anderson Daily13.Mary Standerfer

3.Lofton Echols14.Delilah Echols

4.William Reeder15.Sarah A. Reeder

5.Joshua Haile16.Nancy J.Haile

6.John C. Compton17.Larkin Brumley

7.John Standerfer18.Susan Daily

8.John W. Daily19.Mary A. Daily

9.Lev! Daily20.Phoebe Brumley

10.Louis Daily21. Mary Brumley

11.Joseph M. Haile22. Elizabeth Compton

The church met on Saturday preceding the third Lord's Day in June 1850, and elect Brother Job Standerfer and Brother Joshua Haile as candidates for deacons. They also elected Elder C. P. Pitman to be their pastor, but after being visited by the committee, Bro. Pitman said he could not serve the church that year. They elected Eld. R. Shirley who became the first pastor of the church. They also elected Lofton Echols the first church clerk

At this meeting also they adopted certain rules of decorum (business). They further adopt an "Abstract of Principles (belief)."

Rev. John Bailey Maulding tells these next two stories in his history and after reading the we can guess where the family got the name Bailey for him.

The ground for the cemetery and the first church was donatated by Tabithia Bond from the estate of her husband Mastin Bond. These are the same Bonds who had the buhr incorporated in the bell tower. The first church was erected in the old cemetery. I am indebted to my grandfather for the following story. He was a chairman of the building committee. The church was built of logs and had a clapboard roof. He went to McLeansboro to secure nails for the roof from a hardware man by the name of Bailey. Mr. Bailey offered to furnish the nails provided he be permitted to name the church. This was agreed to and he named it after his home community in Kentucky, Blooming Grove."

"The question of order was a problem in the early church, and at one time when disturbances were being made around the windows of the church and when anyone went outside the disturbers immediately hid in the woods. The church voted to stop it and appointed my grandfather Presley Maulding and John W. Echols to break it up. They decided to each get a good hickory, roast it in the fire, and hide near the windows. Each grabbed one by the collar and gave him a sound whipping. There was no more trouble."

The church agreed that a school be taught in the first building but no further mention of it was found in church minutes.

Collections were often less than $1.00. In 1856 Raby Daily, first sexton received $1.00 per year for keeping the house and fires. In 1856 there was 22 1/2 cents in the church treasury

A committee on discipline was very active in the early church. Members were excluded for failure in attendance, intoxication, heresy, immoral and unchristian conduct, being destitute of religion, and other causes. They were often reinstated. In 1874 the church agreed to withdraw sending a committee and talk privately with members. In 1869 a man was excluded for trading off another man's horse and not returning the property. Dancing, horseracing and horsetrading on Sunday as well as ball games on Sunday were offenses for exclusion or discussion as late as 1916.

Church was on the third Lord's Day of the month with business meetings on the preceding Saturday at 12 o'clock in the beginning. A later hour was eventually chosen on Saturday afternoon and continued for 68 years or until changed to Saturday night in 1918. In 1943 Saturday meetings were discontinued and business meetings began on Wednesday.

The church has continued to use the third Sunday of the month throughout its history. In 1944 the first Sunday was added for preaching and in 1961 full time services began.

A Sabbath School was added to the church in 1869. It has been continued.

An organ was admitted in 1892. Previously there had been much "harmony" or usually called "old-fashioned singing" which did not use an instrument and seemed to be in a minor key.

In 1867, the church agreed to build a new church building. The committee appointed was Lofton Echols, J. C. Compton, John W. Daily and subscription committee: Presley Maulding, Job Standerfer, James Trotter. This was the first frame building. It faced the north and stood near the front of the old cemetery.

In 1860 an association was held at Blooming Grove. In 1892 John D. Hooker and Henry Cravens were sent as messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention.

Other Baptist churches mentioned in the early minutes included: McLeansboro, Sugar Camp, Knights Prairie, Antioch and Texas Grove which was located on the present Rout 460 [142 in 2000] between the curve and road to Blooming Grove. It was later moved an renamed Delafield.

W. M. Maulding served the church as clerk most of the early years.

Two Cals were often mentioned by older people as early pastors. Rev. Cal Allen was the last pastor of the log church and later in the first frame church at two different times as well 2 holding very successful revivals. Rev. Calvin Richardson was the last pastor of the same church and the one which burned was begun.

Signals for Bell Tolling for Funerals - 1902

The bell was tolled an hour before funerals—not too hard, not too fast. For a child in infancy to 10 years it tolled three times. For 10 years to 20 years it tolled five times. For a person 20 to 40 years it tolled seven times. For one 40 on it was tolled 10 times. The bell was never to be tolled unless someone was dead or something wrong.

The buhr or burr (spelled both ways by Webster) [a hard siliceous rock used to make grinding stones] now incorporated in the bell tower has been the subject of much interest, is said to have been in the grist mill of Mastin Bond, pioneer settler, originally and waslocated east of the church. It became a part of the first frame church. It was razed after th newer building was finished and the parts purchased by J. D. Hooker, W. C. Daily and George Rawls. The amounts paid are told in minutes. The buhr lay in the latter's feedlot until sometime in the 40s when before his passing his son James Rawls brought it back to to church yard where kids had fun jumping from it. Mastin Bond's will mentions a grist-mil His daughter Delilah married Lofton Echols and Susan married Anderson Daily. They with Tabithia Bond were charter members of the church. We can use our imagination and see how the buhr came to be used in the building.

In April 1904, a committee was appointed to recommend whether the church would repair ( build. The committee was: J. W. Echols, George Rawls, A.C. Tedford, Will Henson, J.T Daily, and added in May were W.C., Daily Wm Compton and Shelby Echols.

They recommended and the church agreed to build.

Plans were begun for a new building 32' by 52' located 50' west and as far north as the committee sees or thinks best. The old meeting house and such things as could not be used in the new house were to be disposed of.

The impressive white frame house with large gothic windows, vaulted ceiling and steeple was dedicated in August 1905. Committee for the arrangements was Joe Daily, Douglas Daily, and George Mitchell. The debt of the building was paid in less than a year. In 1915 a gas lighting system was added and a coal house built. In 1950 a basement and furnace were added. Electricity became available and was installed about this time.

In 1960 an Educational Building Annex to the north was dedicated. It contained several classrooms. Also in the sixties several other improvements were made: New hardwood floors, replaster the ceiling and install central air conditioning. Gifts of $1,000 each from J. E. Rawls and Edith Lev did most of the last two. A baptistry was installed and a painting behind it. The first bus was purchased in 1958.

This building which had been Blooming Grove for 66 years burned on Saturday evening, Jan. 16, 1971. After thinking the fire under control the flames burst anew in the dry wood of the old building loft and it was a complete loss. Sorrowing onlookers said the bell tolled as it fell from the burning belfry. It is now in the bell tower as is the one from Belle City and the afore mentioned buhr.

For the first time since the church began, there was no meeting place on the hill. Services were conducted the next day which was Sunday and for the next three months in the Senior Citizen's Building near the High School in McLeansboro.

Plans were immediately begun to rebuild and a contractor engaged, but when it was found that he could not construct the building for some time he released them from the contract. Among the members were a retired contractor, an electrician, a heating and cooling specialist, several who did carpentry work, earth-moving machinery and many willing and industrious workers wherever needed. A brick-layer was engaged. The spirit of cooperation was wonderful. The ladies served from a trailer brought to the grounds by one known for his innovations.

As a result, the east wing or Educational Building was ready for Easter services on April 11, 1971. The treasurer of building funds, Cecil Myers passed on suddenly the same month and his funeral was conducted there.

The sanctuary was finished and the building dedicated on Sept. 12, 1971. It is an inverted L-shaped brick veneer, a few feet west and to the north of the one which burned. The sanctuary is on the west and faces the south. The east wing contains an auditorium and reception area, several classrooms, restrooms, well equipped kitchen and a nursery on a higher level. A new wing of classrooms were added in 1978.

Several gifts include: the painting behind the baptistry by Don Ross of SIU and given by the Terry Sneed Family, the organ replacing a smaller electric one was a fift of Dr. and Mrs. Donald E. Mitchell in memory of their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Mitchell and Herman Cullins. A clock in memory of Cecil Myers and Wilburn Cullins and a framed church covenant were given by their wives. A painting of the church which burned was done and given by Ava Ingram and another by a friend and given by Edith Lev. The gifts of time, money, love and prayers cannot be all told.

At present [1975] the Sunday School is having its best attendance on record, we believe with over 100 each Sunday. Within the past few months a hard-top road has replaced the gravel one from Route #142 [242] to Route #460 [142] past the church. The bus is used each Sunday.

Church expenditures the past years have been several thousands of dollars, reflecting the economy of the times. Quite different from the early collectionf of the $1.00 more or less and the 22 1/2cents in the treasury in 1856.

May there be continued growth for another 125 years!

The first building was a log building built in 1853. A picture of this building is not available.

The first frame building which followed the schoolhouse which apparently served for the first three years and the log house erected in 1853 was erected soon after the close of the Civil War and was located near the front of the old cemetery. It faced the north. The buhr was used in this building. Located near the front of the old cemetery it served from 1867 to 1905.

The second frame building 1905-1971 was Blooming Grove Church for nearly 66 years or until destroyed by fire on Jan. 16, 1971. It was 50 feet west of the previous building and a few feet north. An Educational Annex was added to the rear and dedicated in 1960.

The fourth building of the Blooming Grove Missionary Baptist Church was dedicated in September 1971. Easter services were conducted in April of that year in the east wing. The sanctuary is on the west and faces south. The east wing contains an auditorium and reception area, several classrooms, restrooms, well equipped kitchen and a nursery on a higher level.

The get-togethers and good times our young peoples group had at each others houses included those from the Tolley, Williams, Cullins, Myers, Rawls, Gibbs, Hayter, Sneed, Compton, Henson, Bolerjack, Cocke, Huffstutler and several Mitchell families. Most of these are now scattered to other locations due to economical reasons. Several have passed on.

The oldest part of the cemetery is the third row from the front eastward in the middle part between the cemetery road and the ravine. This can be determined by the type of stones and dates on them. The first church, the log one, is said to have been in this area.

In 1905 a row of lots on the west was laid off and in 1906 another row to the west of that. This was after the removal of the first frame church. The graveyard was then fenced.

In 1916 P/2 acres as far south as the Holland cemetery was purchased from D. W. Daily. This includes all south of the cemetery road. In 1916 the trustees were to take the matter of the Holland Cemetery and report. It was started by Berryman Holland as a family cemetery on his farm.

In 1958 after the road was changed and cut across the church yard, a triangular piece of land cut from the Willie Echols farm was purchased by J. E. Rawls and given to the church for a cemetery addition. This is the newer north part.


A church bell was purchased in 1900 and it was placed on top the north end of the 1867 structure. A bell was given to the church in 1971 by Marie Cullins which was in a previous Blooming Grove Church structure and also in the Elm Grove School building. The church had purchased a bell from the Methodist Church in Belle City in 1971 at a cost of $50.00, but it was decided that this bell would be to heavey to be put in the church belfry. Therefore, the bell from Mrs. Cullins was installed in the belfry and a tower was built as a historical marker to hold the bell from Belle City as well as the bell which was burned in the old Church. Also included was the old mill stone from Mastin Bond's mill which served as a step in the first church.


Ebington Daily 1873Cyrus Maulding 1919

Henry Cravens 1873Ed Cravens

John D. Hooker 1880Russell Henson 1922

Leonard Bond 1881 &nbs

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Family memories:Berryman Holland Letter
Posted by: Kyle Shoultz on Feb 14 2007 15:47

February 22, 1939

Dr. Dean Holland Echols
Tulane University School of Medicine
New Orleans, Louisiana

My Dear Dean:

My grandfather, Berryman Holland, would be surprised to know that I am writing about him on this, the one hundred thirty-fourth anniversary of his birth. Yes, he, too, was born on Washington's birthday, and only five years and two months after Washington died. Thomas Jefferson, the forgotten man, was about to begin his second term as president. Napoleon was at the zenith of his fame. Indeed, it was only because Napoleon was sorely in need of more millions to prosecute his military conquests that Jefferson had been able, two years before, to execute the shrewd bargain in the purchase of New Orleans and the whole Louisiana territory. Daniel Boone, in his coonskin suit, had already made Kentucky reasonably safe for white settlers.

When Berryman Holland was born, his future wife Delilah Minor by name, was already a two-year o...

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Family memories:Belle Praire Baptist Church ~ Closed January 28 2007
Posted by: Kyle Shoultz on Feb 10 2007 18:23

Grandparents James and Pernecia Rawls were charter members here in 1866.

The church was closed on January 28 2007

Belle Prairie Missionary Baptist Church

A 140th Anniversary Celebration

Sept. 17, 2006

Deacons of Belle Prairie Baptist Church have been: Clay Kennedy;

Oliver Rose; George Hays; Alf Simpson; George Millenbine; and Dave


Much of the Information on Belle Prairie Church and Belle Prairie City

was burned In a fire at the home of Bessie Claunch.

The United Baptist Church of Belle Prairie later called Belle Prairie Missionary Baptist Church was built in 1866. The ground It sat on was not sold to the church until 1870 by James A. Mauldlng and Sarah J. Maulding for $40.00. The deed was drawn up between John Simpson, Kinith Rawls and William Warfield. They later purchased the ground south of the Church, known as the grove, for $100.00. This also was purchased from Sarah J. Maulding and James A. Maulding In the year 1894

It’s said in the early years, probably the late 1800's or early 1900's membership was high. During Revivals people would stand outside by open windows to hear the singing and preaching. Around 1940, a piano was donated to the church by the Rawls family. We are told that still have the same piano today.

There have been many happy times at Belle Prairie Church and also many changes. The old Kerosene stove was replaced with a gas furnace. The walls were paneled and the windows were dressed up with amber plexiglass. We also got a new podium around 1974.

The Church experienced growth in the 1970's and felt the need for a new addition of classrooms, fellowship hall, bathrooms and kitchen. Later In 1990's the old part of the church got a new roof and siding. Around 2002 or 2003, new windows were put in the old part of the church.

Belle Prairie Church has seen many great Revivals and lots of Spiritual experiences. There have been many young preachers start their ministry here. It's sad to see the decline in membership in these little country churches and ours is one of them. Attendance on Sunday averages from 4 to 10, but Jesus said "for where two or three are gathered tether in my name, there am I in the midst of them".


1866-1872 Not Listed

1873 J. L. Overstreet

1874-1875 K. G. Hays

1876-1877-1878 J. L. Overstreet

1879 J. B. Smith

1884 Seth W. Derick

1886 William Lowry

1887 B. D. Esmon
1889 H. P. Cravens
1896-1899 D. L. Elliot
1898-1900-1901-1902-1903-1904 J.H.Voliva (7 Years)

W. A, Weigant


1907 C.C.Allen
1908-1909 Cal Richardson
1911 O. A. Barnwell
1912-1921 Minutes did not list Pastors for 11 Years
1922-1923 Lafe Perry
1924-1925 Ed Kieger
1928-1929 Birchal Page

1930-1931 -1932 W. M. Gloyd

1936 Everett Apgar

1938-1939 Hulbert Perry

1940 H. F. Menke

1942 Birchel Page

1943-1945-1946 Hulbert Perry

1948 F. Lloyd Trotter

1949 Hulbert Perry
1951 Orval Overturf
1962 Minor Butler
1953-1954 Russell Monroe
1957-1958 Carroll Phillips
1961-1962 Jim Fitzgerells
1983-1966 J. H. Carr

1967-1977 Harold May berry (11 Years)

1978-1979 Vemard Ile

1980-1985 Donald Williamson (6 Years)

1986-1987 Richard Huston

1988-1989 Bill Hampton

1990-1992 Donald Williamson (3 Years)

1993-1998 Alan Monroe (6 Years)

2000 Scott Webb

2001 -2006 Donald Williamson (6 Years)
Present Pastor, Brother Donald Williamson -15 Years of Service

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Other:History of Blooming Grove Church
Posted by: Kyle Shoultz on Dec 7 2006 07:43

Blooming Grove Missionary Baptist Church

In the State of Illinois in Hamilton county on April 19, 1850 some brethren of the Ten Mile Baptist Church sat in council at the school near Anderson Daily's home. A grant was received from the Ten Mile church that we be constituted into an independent body. A motion proceeded to call a presbytery, to wit--Elders: R. Lee, R. Shirley and C. R. Pitman.

At the may 1850 meeting the record certifies that on May 19 the undersigned presbytery presented themselves for constitution and examination and were pronounced orthodox according to the faith of the United Baptist Denomination—Elder Lee, Elder C. R. Pitman, Elder R. Shirley, and Deacon J. A. Ingram.

The first building was completed in 1850 and Elder R. Shirley was called as the first pastor. Mr. Daily, a hardware merchant in McLeansboro, donated nails for the privilege :of naming the church, Blooming Grove, for his native community in Kentucky.

The first meeting house was completed in March 1850 at the cost of $65.00. The house, said to be log, was located in the cemetery grounds and also served as a school.

The first Deacons were Lofton Echols, Johon . Echols, P. M. Echols, Pressley Maulding, A. D. Bettes, F. Daily, and William Henson Trustees were: Levi Daily, W.A. Compton, A.D. Bettes and William Daily. Discipline consisted of Lofton Echols, John W. Echols, Pressley Maulding, A.D. Bettes, and T. Daily. W.M. Maulding was the church clerk. The collection was small in the early years, averaging from $0.50 to $1.00 each meeting, which usually was held monthly.

In January 1867, the second building, a frame house, was constructed near the front of the present cemetery. A Sabbath school was added in 1869 and an organ was admitted in 1862. In 1905 a third building was built across from the cemetery on top of the hill. For 66 years this structure, know as Blooming Grove, served its congregation. During this time improvements included a basement, hardwood floors, baptistry, eduactional annex and air-conditioning.

On January 16, 1971 the building was destroyed by fire, and for the first time in its 121 years there was no meeting place on the hill. Services were held the day after the fire and the following three months in the Senior Citizen Center in McLeansboro. The educational wing of the new building was ready for Easter Sunday, April 11, 1971- The new structure has several class rooms, kitchen, reception hall, nursery, restroomS and large auditorium. In 1978 an additional wing was added with more classrooms and a library. This addition gave the building a "T" shape with the auditorium in the front.

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