In the Lincoln Decatur Presbytery, 1827 - 1963
Shiloh Church was organized in 1827, just 9 years after Illinois was admitted to the Union as a state. The first settlers came to this county in 1816 and the first school in the county was begun in 1827. In 1827 most of the country was uncleared and Indians were plentiful. it was only 4 years later, in 1831, that the Governor of Illinois called the first troops for the Black Hawk War. These troops were assembled in the then small river town of Beardstown, only about 10 miles from the young church.
The church records from 1827 to 1872 were lost but they are more or less complete since that time. In 1872 a manuscript written by the Rev. J.H. Berry, the founder of the church, was found and transcribed into the Clerk's record book. Therefore, the information regarding the early church is taken from that manuscript and from various volumes of the "History of Cass County" which were published at an early date.
The congregation, which was then known as Mt. Pleasant, was organized in the home of Nathan Compton, Jersey Prairie, Morgan C., Illinois, (That part of the county was changed to Cass County later) by the Rev. J.M. Berry in the fall of 1827. Abner Tining and Nathan Compton, elders from other Cumberland Churches, and Rev. Wm. McCord, a licensed preacher from Christian County, Ky., were also present. After the usual form of procedure, the congregation elected N. Compton and A. Tining elders. During the same fall or Winter, Samuel Thompson, and elder from the Bethel congregation, Christian Co., Ky., joined the church and was elected an elder. Nathan Compton was appointed clerk of the session. Since the church was then fully organized and had a constitutional number of members it was reported to the Sangamon Presbytery under whose care it was taken in 1827 or 1828. It was represented at the semi-annual meetings of the Presbytery up to 1834 or 1835. It was supplied with preaching until 1833, chiefly by Rev. Berry and rev. McCord. Rev. McCord died Aug 19, 1833 at the age of 53 years. He was laid to rest in the little country cemetery about 3 miles North of the present church building on the farm of the late Jacob Kruse, who served as deacon for a number of years.
The same year, 1833, Rev. Benjamin Cauby, a circuit rider, moved into the bounds of the congregation and preached to this and other new churches until 1836. The next year, history records, he saw the great need for ministerial labor in the surrounding counties and rode and preached the entire year.
In the meantime elder N. Compton moved out of the bounds of the presbytery and elder Samuel Thompson died April 26, 1835. this left only one elder, to wit A. Tining. It seems that this pioneer congregation which had begun so courageously and which seemingly had met in the homes of its members was slowly passing out of existence. But from the very beginning it seems that Lord had a work for that church and a place for it to fill and he again touched the heart of Rev. Cauby who had recently purchased land about 1 1/2 miles South of the present church building. On this land Rev. Cauby erected a log meeting house. (See deed on the last page of history) When it was completed in 1837, he called the congregation together and reorganized the church, the organization was effected Dec. 3, 1837.
29 people signed the following statement, "Whereas, we the undersigned believe it to be our privilege and duty to attach ourselves to some branch of the Church of God: and so far as we have read and examined the Government and Discipline of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, also believing that it agrees with our views most in accordance with the Apostolic Mode do and have hereby ordered our names to be enrolled as members of the Mt. Pleasant Congregation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church."
The following are the charter members of the reorganized church:
|Rev. Benjamin Cauby
Mary Townsend Beasley
|Amy J, McCord
Susan B. McCord
Sarah J, Thompson
Eliza Jane McCord
Elizabeth D. Thompson
James B. Thompson
Richard D. Thompson
John B. Thompson
Samuel B. Thompson
Matilda S. Thompson
Matilda Jane Thompson
Catherine C. Pratt
Rev. Benj. Cauby died June 2, 1841 at the early age of 43 years, 3 months and 20 days. His body was laid to rest in the same little cemetery mentioned above in which Rev. McCord was buried. Large flat stones still mark their graves. Rev 14:6,7 is etched on rev. Cauby's stone.
Little did he know, or - did he dream? - that the little congregation he helped and encouraged for 4 short years later would become strong enough to weather severe storms. It is interesting to note also that there was a log school house built close to that first log church thus indicating that our forefathers realized the importance of education along with religion. Not much is know of the little church from 1841 until 1872 when its name was changed to Shiloh. It is known, however, that it continued to grow and prosper and in 1857 a frame church made of all mill sawed, white pine about 30'X40'was erected about 200 yards North of the log church. *(See deed last page) This building remained the place of worship until 1888 when the present building was erected a little more than a mile North of the second church in order to be nearer to the center of the congregation.
A story has been handed down by word of mouth that when the last church was built in 1888, there was a debt on it when the people wanted to dedicate it. It seems they had tried every way possible to raise the money but it was not forth coming. Finally, elder Henry Campbell, who had deeded the ground, (free) to the church as long as Cumberland Presbyterians held services in the building said that he would pay off the debt, which was reported to be about $250.00, if the congregation would give him the old frame church building which they had now ceased to use. (See transfer last page) (Lumber from that church building now stands as a double corn crib on the farm which still belongs to the Campbell heirs.) This was agreed to and the new church was dedicated in 1889.
There was a Sunday School in the old log church, but several years later the S.S. was moved to a school house about 3 miles North of the church where it remained until shortly after 1888 when it was brought back to the, then new, church. History states that a new organ in the church added greatly tot he music. At that time the S.S. had a membership of about 25.
It is known that there was in existence a Missionary society in 1883 and the church record records that an offering of $3.05 was taken for Foreign Missions on July 22, 1888. The record also shows that and an offering of $8,29 for "Old and Disabled Ministers" was taken Nov. 7, 1886.
The Sunday School was never discontinued. The Missionary Society did not function for a few years and was last reorganized in 1917 with 15 members.
There is also a record of a committee from the Ladies' Aid Society (Then called the Pastor's Aid Society) having met with the session on Dec. 17, 1877 to plan some work for the community. There were later years when this organization did not function, also, but it was last reorganized in 1913 and included practically every woman in the community. Since that time the women have had a mind to work and through their efforts several hundreds of dollars have been contributed to pastor's salaries and to the upkeep and improving of the church.
The Christian Endeavor Society was organized in 1890 and flourished for a number of years. It was reorganized with 20 members in 1930. Too much could not be said of the splendid group of young people who carried on this organization until the war took practically all of them. 35 boys from the church and community were in the armed forces of our country in World War II and scattered in every part of the world. We believe that these boys, most of them trained in the church and C.E. society, were great witnesses for Christ. One would be an ingrate, indeed, if history failed to mention the fact that only one gold star had to be placed on the service flag, The Lord be praised.
There was a children's band in the church for several years after 1915. That band ceased to function, but the children were reorganized in 1937 and are still active.
The church in 1872 had about 40 members. It appears, from the records, that the church, after the very earliest years, had one half time preaching all of the time until Jan. 11, 1942 when it began full time preaching with Rev. Wm. H. Jones, the pastor. Since 1872 the longest time that the church had been without a pastor at any one time was 2 years. The records also show that the church has entertained presbytery during a number of regular meetings. It entertained synod in 1935.
On Jan 31, 1944, the church brought property adjacent to the church, consisting of 10 acres of ground with a house, barn and garage on it for $2000.00. In August and Sept 1944 the men and women of the community reroofed the house, covered the outside with imitation brick siding, put in one new hardwood floor, repapered and painted the whole interior and did countless other repair jobs.
A full basement was put under the church in 1938. A furnace was installed and a well dug in 1940 and water was piped to the basement. When on Nov 17, 1940 fire destroyed part of the church roof, it was immediately reroofed with fireproof shingles. The tall spire of the church holds a bell, which was purchased in 1919, and whose clear ringing tones can be heard for miles around calling people to worship in the little white church in the grove by the side of the road. The interior of the church was completely redecorated in 1943.
It appears that none have gone out of this church as ministers, but several have held places of responsibility in the Presbytery, Synod, and General Assembly.
From records and histories available, it seems that "Old Shiloh", as this church was fondly referred to by "Old Timers", was the first church group to be organized in this entire county. In this brief history of the growth of the church, it must be remembered that it was not a steady growth nor was it without storms. In 1906 when the Presbyterian U.S.A. Church bid for the hand of the thriving Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Shiloh played an important roll in the history of Cumberland Presbyterianism in this part of Illinois. It is believed that this church was the only organization that kept its property in the whole of Sangamon Presbytery. But this was not just a happen so. At that time the Church had three elders, Daniel Biddlecome, ordained in 1868, Henry Campbell, ordained in 1879 and John V. Kruse, ordained in 1897. Elder Biddlecome strongly favored union with the Presbyterian Church. he was the clerk of the session at that time. It seems that he did all in his power to draw Shiloh into the union. The other elders remained loyal and arose to the emergency. When the Sangamon Presbytery met at Greenview, Illinois, in the Spring of 1906 to vote on the question, every vote in the presbytery was cast for organic union except that of elder Kruse from Shiloh and Rev. R.D. Miller, then pastor of the Cumberland Presbyterian church in Petersburg, Illinois. those two votes, though lost in the din of the yeas, went down in history as votes that did not betray the hearts and wishes of true Cumberland Presbyterians. But that did not end the troubles for Shiloh. Immediately the other church began every means possible to take the church property, if not the organization. Finally, as a last resort, they examined the deed to the property and found that by the guiding hand of providence, the deed was so written that if the CUMBERLAND Presbyterian church failed to hold services in the church for 2 years or ceased to be a Cumberland Presbyterian church, the property would return to the heirs of Henry Campbell who deeded it. thus the property was saved and the membership also.
Although that seemed to be settled, the trouble left a great open wound in the church which took years to heal. Elder Biddlecome remained with the church and held his place of eldership. On March 17, 1907, the church elected elder S.A. Gould to the place of eldership in the Shiloh church. He had been an elder in the Cumberland Presbyterian church in Virginia, Illinois and had remained enthusiastically loyal when that church and organization were lost to the Cumberland church. After the reorganization of the synods and presbyteries, Shiloh became a member of the Lincoln Decatur presbytery.
The present (1963) elders of the church are: Floyd M. Leonhard, ordained in 1923, Donald Beirhaus, ordained in 1930, Carlos Kruse, ordained in 1947, Russell Cox and Ralph Wedeking, both ordained in 1951.
Rev. Gam Sing Quah our own missionary from China visited the church in 1916. Rev. Paul Brown, a missionary on furlough from South America, visited the church in 1944. Dr. Samuel King Gam, son of Gam Sing Quah, spent 4 days in the community in 1947. A number of other missionaries and denominational leaders have visited the church on numerous occasions.
During the past 2 decades many improvements have been made on the church building. New concrete steps and platform on the church were made in 1948. In 1950 a hard wood floor was laid in the sanctuary, new pews installed and new carpeting put down.
The memorial stained glass windows were installed and dedicated on Sept 28, 1952.
The Lord's Acre plan to raise money for a new manse was begun in 1952 and has continued quite successful every year since.
It is interesting to note the dream of a new manse was in the minds of several before that date. History should note that a penny was found by Lisetta Dour which she put into the manse fund and it was probably the very beginning.
Too much could not be said for the loyal women of the church who shucked corn, stripped cane and did many other jobs to increase the fund.
The kitchen and Educational room above were added in 1954. The Hammond organ was bought in 1958.
Perhaps the largest cooperative the church has ever undertaken was the "Fall Festival" in Nov. 1962 when men, women, and children, with the cooperation of Virginia business men and friends worked to swell the manse fund. It netted over $1,500.
How can history of such recent events give full credit to the members and many friends of the church who gave of themselves and their substance unreservedly to bring into being their dreams of more than a decade - A new manse?
It was another great day for the people of Shiloh and friends in the community when, on Sunday morning, May 9, 1963, the people watched the first shovel of dirt turned for the new manse.
Five months later, on Sunday October 13, 1963, the dream became a reality and the new manse dedicated to the glory of god in this part of his kingdom.
Shiloh has a great and glorious heritage. We would like to think that in its 136 years of life it has played its part well in making the world a little more Christian. As it has been a great blessing to hundreds of people, our prayer is the we of this generation and coming generations may serve our Master well so that hundreds more people will be blessed.
Freda Kruse Leonhard
October 13, 1963
Transfers from original land grant on down to Cauby who donated 1st. church. Following deed is to the 2nd church. (There is no deed to 1st. church since it was a donation.)
|USA to Wm. Lamme||N.E. 1/4||6-17-10||Nov. 4, 1826|
|Lamme to Boyer||E 1/2 N.E.||-do-||Apr. 29, 1831||- 1 TR. 148|
|Boyer to Cauby||E 1/2 N.E.||-do-||June 3, 1833||- 2 Tr. 54|
Cauby died June 2, 1841
Cauby heirs -to- church trustees Aug. 20, 1857
13 rd X 13 rd in S.W. corner of E 1/2 N.E. sec. 6
|JOHN BRADLEY THOMPSON and
ROSANNAH THOMPSON, his wife,
WILLIAM D. DODDS and ELIZABETH ANGELINE DODDS, his wife, MARY A. CAUBY, ELIZA ANN CAUBY, JAMES M. CAUBY and ALBERT BURNS CAUBY
TRUSTEES OF THE MOUNT PLEASANT CHURCH OF THE CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.
DEED dated August 20, 1857 and recorded February 10, 1858 in
Vol. "J" of deeds at page 322.
CONVEYS: commencing at the Southwest corner of the EAST HALF of the NORTH EAST quarter of Section SIX (6) Township SEVENTEEN (17) North, Range TEN (10) West of the Third Principal Meridian in Cass County, Illinois Running thence North 13 rods, to a stake, running thence East 13 rods, to a stake, running thence South 13 rods, to a stake, thence running West 13 rods to the place of beginning, to have and to hold the above described premises unto the said Trustees of Mount Pleasant Church of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and their successors in office for the Church purposes alone forever.
CONSIDERATION: "Donation for church purposes."
DULY ACKNOWLEDGED: September 25, 1857 before John Haskell, a Justice of the Peace of Cass County, Illinois. (The grantors Mary A, Cauby Eliza Ann Cauby, James M. Cauby and ALbert burns Cauby sign said deed a Cauby)
The above transfers show that there were only 2 transfers from the original land grand to the time in 1833 when Benjamin Cauby purchased the land on which he built and donated to the early church that first log building. This above deed is the one to the ground donated to the church by the Cauby heirs on which the second church was built.
Copy of deed to present church site.
|HENRY J. CAMPBELL and MARGARET CAMPBELL, his wife
TRUSTEES OF THE SHILOH CHURCH OF THE CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.
DEED Filed at 4:00 P.M. February 23, 1899 in Volume 50 of Deeds
at page 191.
"This deed is made and accepted upon these express conditions. Said trustees shall hold said premises for the sole use and benefit of said congregation for religious worship. So long as such church, society of congregation shall be and remain in its faith, doctrines, teachings, discipline and practices in harmony with the Cumberland Presbyterian church of the United States of America, and no longer and whenever said described premises shall cease to fail to be used and occupied by a church building in which religious worship shall be held as aforesaid for the space of two years, or whenever such church, society, or congregation shall fail in its faith, doctrines and practices to be in harmony with the faith, doctrines, teachings, discipline and practices of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of the United States of America, then in either case, said premises shall revert to and become the property of said Henry J. Campbell his heirs, executors and administrators, anything in this deed to the contrary not withstanding.
List of Ministers, 1872-1963
|J.S. Stevenson||1883 -|
|J.W. Elder||1886 -|
|J.C. Momyre (second call)||1895-1899|
|S.B. Zarcor||Oct 1, 1904 to Mar. 1, 1905 1/2 time|
|H.C. Yates||May 1, 1905 to Mar. 1, 1906 1/2 time|
|J.M. Shelton (second call)||1907-1908|
|H.C. Sharp||1909-1912 1/2 time|
|E.M. Johnson (a supply)||1914|
|R.S. Lamb||1928 1/2 time|
|V.M. Hill||1929-1936 1/2 time|
|L.E. Mathews||Feb 25, 1940 - Jan 1941|
|Wm. M. Jones||Feb 9, 1941 - 1945|
|Clarence Baeger||Mar. 1946 - Oct 1947|
|H.W. Dougherty||Dec 1948 - Mar 1950|
|A.J. Terry||Aug. 1951 - Jan 1954|
|W.O. Talley||Apr. 1954 - Sept 1957|
|Morris Springer||Jan. 1958 - Nov 1960|
|James Miller||September 1961|
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