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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy


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First United Methodist Church
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Lexington, Illinois


Church History
(1830 - 1976)

[Source: "1976 Bicentennial Issue of First United Methodist Church member directory" by Mrs. Franklin (Berdean) Freed, Mrs. Robert (Marilyn) Donnell, Mrs. Leslie (Dorothy) Stewart and Mrs. Kenneth (Beverly) Dunahee ]

Transcribed by: Teri Moncelle Colglazier



      Before the Methodist E. Church emerged in Lexington, it’s roots were developing in small pioneer settlements in surrounding areas. For all practical purposes, these settlements, as visited by circuit riders Stephen Biggs, William Crissey and Henry Maynard as early as the 1830’s were located on water banks. The Patton settlement was located on the Mackinaw River at Pleasant Hill, Smith’s Grove was located on Money Creek near Towanda, and another small group was located on Henline Creek. The earliest built “Church House”, as it was called, was built in 1845 by the Patton settlement in Pleasant Hill. This was recognized as the first church body organized in McLean County. The structure was crudely built of native black walnut. The siding, shingles, floor and window frames were all hand-sawn and hewn at a local sawmill. Dressed basewood planks served as pews where men and women were seated separately. The pulpit, also made of walnut, was enclosed within wooden hinged gates with steps leading up to it. It had been in use four years, when Rock River Conference appointed Rev. Nimrod H. Gregg pastor.
      His enthusiasm and zeal rapidly spread into the Lexington area, too, where he gained adequate support to establish a “Methodist Society”. This group met in houses, a school building on the square and in the United Brethren Church. By 1855, under Gregg’s influence a frame building measuring 45 feet by 65 feet and costing $2,700 was erected on the same sight as the present First United Methodist Church. In contrast, the present title is brief, compared to the legal charter given in 1856 which read “The First Society in Lexington, McLean County, Illinois of the Methodist Episcopal Church of the United States of America” From the beginning, the congregation grew and the same pastors served at both Pleasant Hiill and Lexington until 1858.
      On two occasions the Lexington Church had the distinguished privilege of hosting the Central Illinois Conference Meeting, first in 1866 and again in 1882. The later meeting came one year after the brick auditorium of the present structure was built at a cos of $5,361.
      In 1907 the addition of classrooms to the north of the sanctuary proved an area large enough to accommodate the needs of a growing congregation. At the same time the beautiful chandelier which still hangs in the sanctuary, and the pipe organ were installed. Traditionally, the congregational singing was conducted by qualified leaders and a mere tuning fork from early beginnings until the organ was introduced. In the 1930’s an orchestra was developed and many beautiful musical programs were given. During the same decade a basement and kitchen area was excavated under the original brick structure. It became necessary to replace the pipe organ in 1970 with an electric organ.
      For its 100th birthday in 1955, the church spread even further to the north gaining an education wing of 8 classrooms and a full basement.
     In the year 1975 a repetition of history was evident. Once again the church body was sharing a pastor with another church. This time it was the Evangelical United Methodist Church.

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Pastors of the Church
(1856 - 1976)
N. R. Gregg (1856)
W. Shepherd (1858)
P. A. Crist (1850)
L. B. Kent (1860)
J. B. Evans (1861 - 1862)
J. G. Mills (1863)
J. E. Rutledge (1864)
J. S. Millsap (1865 - 1867)
E. P. Hall (1868 - 1869)
J. Hart (1870 - 1871)
U. J. Giddings (1872)
J. B. Dille (1873)
B. W. Baker (1874 - 1875)
J. Wilkinson (1876)
R. B. Williams (1879)
F. M. Chaffee (1880)
L. R. Cullom (1881)
S. Van Pelt (1882 - 1883)
H. S. Humes (1884)
G. C. Shaffer (1885 - 1886)
H. C. Eugmus (1887)
J. R. Wolf (1888 - 1889)
R. B. Williams (1890)
J. W. Frizzle (1891 - 1893)
Northrup (1894 - 1895)
C. W. Ailing (1895 - 1896)
H. K. Metcalf (1897 - 1898)
J. E. Connor (1899 - 1902)
William Woolley (1903 - 1907)
R. B. Seaman (1908 - 1909)
J. C. Craine (1910 - 1912)
J. Fletcher (1913 - 1914)
R. J. Ballew (1915 - 1920)
L. F. Zinser (1921 - 1924)
H. H. McCall (1925 - 1928)
W. G. Anderson (1929 - 1934)
T. R. Jones (1935 - 1937)
Fred Payne (1938 - 1943)
W. J. Teesdale (1944 - 1950)
A. J. Scott (1951 - 1952)
Fred Buchholz (1953 - 1954)
Clinton Buck (1955 - 1956)
Irving Kenyon (1957)
P. E. Pierce (1958 - 1960)
M. Semingson (1961 - 1964)
Carl Coker (1965 - 1970)
Ken Conant (1971 - 1975)
Raymond P. Harrison (1975 - )
[Transcriber note: Successive pastors since the time of this publication:
Robert Rosebraugh, Ron Melzer, Ray Owens and Garry Gromley]


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1976 Surname Member List
(number of families)
Addems
Arbogast
Arnold (2)
Bachman
Baker
Bane (2)
Barnard (2)
Barr
Beck (5)
Berry
Birlingmair
Blakney (6)
Blandford
Bornder (2)
Botkin (3)
Bounds
Boyd
Brammer
Brooks (3)
Brown (3)
Brucker
Brunson
Burgess
Buzzard
Cable
Center
Charlson (2)
Cheever
Christianson
Claggett (2)
Cole (2)
Compton
Conant
Crum
Cox
Dabney
Dady
Dameron (2)
Daniels
Davis (3)
Dawson (2)
Dearth
Denney
Dobbs
Dodson (3)
Donnell
Dunahee
Dunn
Durflinger
Eagan
Edmonds
Elson
Essington
Fairchild
Fasking (2)
Fawer
Fever (2)
Freed (10)
Friedli
Gentes
Gerwick
Gibson
Giles
Gleeson (2)
Greb
Green
Grimsley
Hackman
Hall
Hammond
Hardesty
Hardman (5)
Hardt (3)
Harmon (2)
Harrison
Hartman
Heaton (2)
Hefner (3)
Heineman
Hodges
Hurst
Hutson (2)
Jacobs (2)
Jackson
Jones
Kahle
Kaufman (2)
Kelley (3)
Kemp (4)
Kiper
Lauher (5)
Lauitson
Learned
Lindenbaum
Lindholm (4)
Ling (2)
Locke
Long
Lovett
Malcom
McHugh
McKey
McNeely
Mean
Mehl
Michael
Miles
Miller
Milton
Minnick
Moncelle (3)
Mool (2)
Moore
Morris
Moser
Myers (3)
Nally
Neal
Nichols
Nielsen
Owens (4)
Palmer (3)
Parmele
Patel
Patton (2)
Payne (2)
Phillips
Pick
Polk
Powell (3)
Prebeck
Pree
Prewitt (2)
Puyear
Raber (2)
Radtke
Ralston
Redic
Rediger (2)
Reum
Richard
Richardson
Riddle
Riebe
Ruckman
Samples
Sandness
Schockley
Schumm
Slagell
Slown
Smith (3)
Sonkin
Stewart (4)
Stichter
Stimpert
Stoutamoyer
Stover
Stubblefield
Thomas (2)
Thompson (2)
Tibbs
Towner
Tracy (4)
Turnipseed
Underwood
Vipond (2)
Vlastnik
Wagner (2)
Wahls
Ward
Watt
Weidner (2)
West
Wheeler
Whisman
Wick (3)
Wilcox
Williams
Woodard
Worth
Wright
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1984 Surname Member List
(number of families)

Addems
Arnold
Bachman
Barnard (3)
Beck (2)
Berry (2)
Betts
Birchler
Birlingmair
Blair
Blakney (5)
Bornder
Botkin
Bounds
Boyd
Brandt
Brannan
Brooks
Brown (3)
Brucker
Burge
Cable
Cheever
Claggett
Clemmons
Coffey
Cole (2)
Compton
Crawford
Crum
Dameron (2)
Davis
Dawson (2)
Dearth
Derango
Dietsch
Dodson
Donnell (3)
Downes
Dunahee (2)
Dunn
Fairchild (2)
Fasking (2)
Fever
Finley
Forrest
Freed (10)
Friedli
Frohlich
Gentes (2)
Gibson
Gleeson (2)
Gnagy
Hackman
Hall (3)
Hardesty
Hardt
Harmon
Harris
Harrison
Hartzler
Hawthorne
Heaton (2)
Hefner
Hively
Hodges
Hutson (3)
Jacobs (2)
Jones (3)
Justice
Kahle
Kaufman (3)
Keagle
Kelley (2)
Kemp (3)
Kiper
Kirby
Kirk
Lapp
Lauher (3)
Lauritson
Learned
Lindenbaum (2)
Lindholm
Ling
Linton
Maltz
Martin
Mayer
McHugh
McNeely (3)
Mead
Meade (2)
Michael
Miles
Miller (2)
Moncelle (2)
Mool
Morris
Myers (3)
Newberry
Nichols
Nielsen (3)
Ninesling
Noland
Oertwig
Owens (2)
Palmer (2)
Parmele
Patel
Patton (2)
Payne (2)
Polk
Poshard
Powell (3)
Puyear
Raber
Ralston
Ransdell
Redic
Rediger
Reed
Richard
Riddle (2)
Rund
Schmink
Severns
Singley
Slown
Smith (3)
Soriano
Stephey
Steward
Stewart (3)
Stover
Stubblefield
Swan
Tallon
Thacker
Thomas (3)
Thompson
Tibbs (3)
Tone
Towner
Tracy (2)
Turner
Underwood (2)
Vass
Wagner (2)
Wahls
Watt
Watts
Weidner
West
Whalen
Wick (2)
Wilcox
Wilder
Williams
Wisdom
Worth (2)


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