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Illinois Genealogy Trails

 Jefferson County Illinois
First United Methodist Church


First United Methodist Church
First United Methodist Church
Pastor David Eadie
Submitted By: First United Methodist Church

Historical Overview

1818 - Organizational meeting in the log cabin of Edward Maxey of the “Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Jefferson County.”

1819 - Society selected a log school house near Old Union Cemetery as its regular meeting place.

1822 - Services were conducted by local preachers until the Society became a part of the “Methodist Circuit Riders”

1838 - Land was deeded at North Eleventh Street, north of the City Hall to the Trustees Built first church

1854 - Methodist membership continued to grow Land deeded to Trustees for present property Fine brick building was erected at the cost of $4,000.00 Zadok Casey presented a bell, which hangs in the present day church and is rung each Sunday for the Call to Worship Church auditorium used as a court room while the Appellate Court building was under construction Church became a Station Charge, Rev. James Leaton was appointed Pastor. (this means, the pastor served one church only instead of 2 or more)

1888 - Devastating tornado destroyed the brick church New brick building, west of one destroyed, was dedicated by Bishop Thomas Bowman

1893 - Church was renamed “The First Methodist Episcopal Church of Mount Vernon”

1914 - The 1888 building was completely remodeled, redecorated and basement completely renovated

1939 - Was renamed “The First Methodist Church of Mount Vernon”

1948 - Purchased new Parsonage at 1018 Maple Street

1949 - Educational Building constructed

1957 - Existing building faced with Bedford Stone With congregation contributions and a bequest of Ray Jacobsen estate made possible a financing of more than $200,000 with very little debt to the church

1959 - Bedford Stone facing debt was paid

1968 - The name of the church again changed, uniting with the Evangelical United Brethren, to become “The First United Methodist Church of Mount Vernon” Establishment of the Don R. Crocker Memorial Center to honor deceased members

1971 - Church sanctuary was completely renovated and extensive remodeling, redecoration of the church interior at the cost of $350,000

1972 - Congregation purchased corner property and transformed it into “Pioneer Park” in honor of those Pioneers who organized the first Methodist Society in Jefferson County in 1818

1973 - Dedication of the completely renovated church by Bishop Lance Webb

1977 - A 68 rank, four manual pipe organ was installed and dedicated Rev. Clyde Funkhouser was pastor

1982 - Installation of church elevator at the cost of $106,853. Dr. Billy G. Hahs was pastor

1983 - Newsletter stated “The elevator is in and working” Richard Peacock did the drawings Bob Lipps was the contractor

1986 - Elevator was paid in full

1990 - Steeple and cross installed. Dr. Billy G. Hahs was pastor Fabricated by Campbellsville Industries, Campbellsville, KY Jack Goldman did final design Bob Lipps was contractor

1991 - Angels on Assignment formed by Betty Lipps and Billy Hahs

1998 - Celebration of 180th Anniversary of continuous service of the First United Methodist Church of Mount Vernon.

1999 - The congregation voted to stay at the present location Property north on Main Street purchased for parking

2000 - Beginning February 1st, the church building was completely remodeled, redecorated and renovated including grounds at the cost of $1,126,623.95 On October 29th was the Reconsecration of the Sanctuary with Dr. Alan Rhein officiating Angels on Assignment moved to old Wood Building on Broadway

2001 - Consecration of Angel Center on Broadway, February 11th.

The following has been taken from the "Stationary of Webb & Harriss" dated 5/1/1957

Abstracts of Title - The First Methodist Church of Mt. Vernon

What was probably the first property owned by the Methodist Church in Mt. Vernon was that tract of land lying between the City Hall and the Elk’s parking lot. It had a frontage of 41 feet on 11th street and was bounded on the South by Church Alley. It was bought in 1835 and sold in 1853, at which time the land where the present church building is located, was purchased, according to information found in the records of the office of the Recorder of Jefferson County.

A special conference was called in Baltimore, Maryland, in the year 1784 at which a religious organization was formed, and given the name of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Later throughout the states, small groups of the Methodist faith were formed in various communities, and were know as Societies of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

It was in the year 1818 that such a group was formed in Jefferson County, Illinois and after the founding of the town of Mount Vernon, this group became known as the Mt. Vernon Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1894 when the Union Street M. E. Church (new Wesley Methodist Church) was organized, the Mt. Vernon Society changed its name to First Methodist Episcopal Church, for convenience in designating it from the other societies. This name was retained until the year 1939, when at a Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church South and the Protestant Methodist Church, the three organizations were merged under the name of the Methodist Church. At this time, the word Episcopal was eliminated and thus the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Mt. Vernon became the First Methodist Church of Mt. Vernon, without any organic change.

The title to the land on which the present church building is situated dates back to January 24, 1813 when William Casey entered it from the United States. His patent was issued May 24, 1824 and signed by James Monroe, President. The block on which the First Methodist Church is located contained 10 lots. On July 18th, 1853, the Church acquired four of these lots from Ambrose C. Hankinson and wife for the sum of $300.00. The two west lots were purchased from George Dixon and wife on March 23, 1867.

Some of the early trustees of the church were such prominent men was John N. Johnson, Downing Baugh, William J. Stepehson, Darius C. Warren, R. W. Lyon, Stephen T. Stratton, James E. Ferguson, R. L. Strattan, Charles W. Pavey, Albion F. Taylor, Jeremiah Taylor and Christopher D. Ham.

The beautiful present day structure of the First Methodist Church at 12th and Main Streets in Mt. Vernon new stands as a tribute to these early trustees, and as a symbol of the early Christians influence which was continued to exist here in Mt. Vernon since the town first came into being in 1819.

Webb & Harris by: George N. Webb


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