Genealogy and History
Atlanta Early Churches
Baptist Church of Atlanta (aka Big Grove Baptist Church
The present Baptist Church of Atlanta was established in 1830, under the name of the Big Grove Baptist Church, by the Rev. M. Mann and Rev. H. Bowman. There were fourteen members at that time, from whom John Hoblit was chosen deacon, and Samuel Hoblit, clerk. Rev. Bowman was called as pastor, remaining with the congregation six or seven years. In 1839, the society built a house of worship in New Castle, and changed the name to the New Castle Baptist Church. They were then under the charge of Rev. J. D. Newel. From this date until 1855, the pastors were Revs. Jonathan Merriam, Joel Hulsey, Lewis Morgan, N. Alwood, H. D. Mason, Z. Hall, and A. S. Dennison. About the close of Rev. Dennison's pastorate, they sold the church in New Castle, and removed their place of worship to Atlanta, and there assumed there present name. Here they erected a house of worship capable of seating five hundred persons. In June, 1856, they called the Rev. E. J. Thomas, who had charge of the congregation eleven years. In 1872, the church was destroyed by fire, when Rev. Cole was pastor. Since that time, they have met for worship in the Congregational church. The present pastor, Rev. J. S. Primm, entered on his duties September 30, 1877.
The Congregational church was formed from the Mt. Hope Church, in 1840. Until 1853, they were served by different pastors, prominent among whom was Rev. S. Spencer, under whose pastorate the membership was greatly increased. In 1853, Rev. S. Foster was called, and that year the place of worship was removed to Atlanta, where they occupied Seminary Hall until the completion of their church, in 1857. Rev. Drake was pastor here for some time, and was succeeded by Rev Hubbard, the last regular pastor.
The Methodist Church was organized as a class, in the house of John Satoris, in 1854. There were then twenty-three members. The organization was effected under the labors of Rev. James Newbegin, assisted by Rev. John Preshaw. One year later, the organization was perfected by Revs. Benjamin Bartholow and William McVeigh. James M. Cantral, H. Maltby, Ezra Kenyon, A. J. Ludlow, A. J. Corthon and John Pallady were elected trustees. The erection of a house of worship was at once begun, and dedicated, in 1856 or '57, by Rev. Jonathan Stamper. Since then the following persons have filled the pulpit of this church as pastors: Revs. Benjamin Bartholow, A. Semple, Preston Wood, G. R. S. McElfresh, A. Semple, James Shaw, C. D. James, John S. Barger, D. W. English, J. B. Seymour, C. A. Obenshain, G. W. Bates, J. Miller, and the present pastor, Rev. J. C. Keller. During Rev. James Shaw's pastorate, the house of worship was badly damaged by fire; but it has since been repaired, and the congregation is now in a prosperous condition.
The Christain Church was organized, in 1855, by Rev. George Minier, with twenty-four members. The next year, they erected their present house of worship, the steeple of which becoming unsafe, in 1869 was torn down that year, and replaced by the present one. Their second pastor was Rev. W. M. Guilford, whose successors have been Revs. Leroy Skelton, John Lindsey, J. W. Monser, Samuel Lowe, T. T. Holton, and the present pastor, R. D. Cotton. The congregation has prospered well all these years, and is now in excellent condition.
Cumberland Presbyterian Church
The Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized about 1856, but, the denomination having three or four houses of worship within a few miles of town, no building was erected in Atlanta until 1866. This building they yet occupy. For several years, Rev. Joseph Roach had charge of this church, during whose ministry the house of worship was completed. Rev. Bell afterward preached some time, but, the people being unable to support a regular minister, none have been employed since.
The Presbyterian Church has been organized several years, but, prior to 1867, worshiped in a hall rented for that purpose. That year they completed their house of worship, a comfortable brick structure, which they now occupy. Rev. Crissman was called to the pulpit of this church, which he filled very acceptably several years. He was succeeded by Rev. A. Bartholomew, who remained five years. Since his time, the congregation has been without a pastor, being unable to support one. They still maintain occasional services, and sustain an excellent Sunday-school.
[History of Logan County, Illinois, 1878; transcribed by cddd]
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