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History of the Baptists of Illinois
By Edward P. Brand


[p. 138]
Wilfred Ferrell emigrated from Tennessee to Illinois, Williamson county, in 1833, and in 1836 was ordained as a Baptist minister. For a quarter of a century he was an itinerant preacher of wide influence. In 1856 he emigrated to Texas and died there.

Hezekiah Ferrell followed his brother Wilfred to Illinois in 1835, and was ordained there in 1838. He served a number of churches as pastor, but his greatest work was as an evangelist. He is best remembered for his success in revival meetings. He died in 1860.

William Ferrell, father of Wilfred and Hezekiah Ferrell, was born in North Carolina in 1788, removed to Tennessee in 1812, followed his sons to Illinois, Williamson county. His first coming was because of a split in the Bethel Association over antimissionism. The church to which his sons belonged was divided, and they and fifteen others were excluded because they refused their consent to disfellowship those who favored missions. The Ferrells thereupon sent to Salem, Tennessee, Association for a "presbytery" to examine them and see if they were not "in order" and adhering to the original practice of the churches. Three pastors were sent, of whom William Ferrell was one. They recognized the seventeen as a church, now known as Davis Prairie. The elder, Ferrell decided to make this state his home, and for twenty yeats he was one of our most efficient ministers. He died in 1867.

John Paden came from Virginia to Madison county, Illinois, in 1814, and at his death at his home near Troy, in 1873, he had been in Illinois longer, than any other Baptist preacher then living. He was ordained in 1835. He was a quiet man, inclined to timidity, but true and faithful.

William Hill, to escape the blighting influence of slavery on his family, removed with them from Virginia to the neighborhood of the Friends to Humanity in Illinois, in 1835. He was a minister of fourteen years' standing. He soon removed to Greene county, and after a time to Macoupin county, where he died in 1874. He did not serve much as a pastor, but rather as an itinerant supply.

Isaac Van Brunt was a native of New Jersey, and settled with his family at Rock Springs, St. Clair county, in 1836. He was a man of prayer and patience, and an instructive preacher. He died in 1848.
[p. 139]
S. S. Whitman, teacher of Hebrew in Hamilton Seminary, was born in Vermont in 1802, and settled at Belvidere, Ill., in 1836. He was pastor there twelve years, and during that time the church greatly increased, and the Sunday school grew from nothing to three hundred. He preached for the church at Rockford, also, which he helped to organize. He was a useful and successful minister. In 1851 he removed to Wisconsin, and died there in 1852.

David W. Elmore, from New York, was a graduate of Union College, Schenectady, and of Newton Seminary, and was one of the most finished scholars in the Baptist denomination. He came to Illinois in 1836 full of new educational plans, which however all turned to disappointment. It was a sore trial to him as the years passed without his being able to realize his cherished purpose. He was killed by lightning while at work in the harvest field, July 20, 1854. It was Saturday afternoon, and his work was done!

J. H. Daniels came from Virginia to Cass county, Illinois, in l836. He removed afterwards to Mason county, where he died in 1881. He was a great student, and had committed a large part of the Bible to memory.

R. B. Ashley, with his brother, deacon Cyrus Ashley, came to Will county, Illinois, in 1836. He was born in Corinth, N. Y., in 1799, and was ordained in 1827. He was strong in his opposition to slavery, the liquor traffic, and secret societies. He was for many years a fellow laborer with J. E. Ambrose. He died at his home in Plainfield, in 1880.

Aaron Trabue was from Kentucky, and removed to Illinois in 1837. He was of Hugenot ancestry; the gift to this country of the religious persecutions of papal France. He settled, first in Alton, but in 1847 removed to Jersey county, where he died in 1877. His entire life was characterized by industry, integrity and charity.

Joel Wheeler was born in New Hampshire in 1808, and emigrated to McHenry county, Illinois, in 1837. He was both in faith and by birth a descendant of Roger Williams. He combined teaching with preaching and made a success of both. His labors extended in all directions from his home. He was for more than a generation one of the most widely known men in northern Illinois. He died in 1886.

Porter Clay was a brother of Henry Clay, and was a Baptist preacher. In 1836, when an elderly man he removed to Illinois, making his home in Jacksonville. He was pastor for a time at Carrollton, and afterwards at Quincy. He died in 1850.
[P. 140]
William Steele was born in Virginia, removed with his parents to Kentucky in 1798, and in 1808 he came to Illinois. He made his home on Silver creek, St. Clair county. He was ordained in 1838, when fifty years of age, and faithfully preached the gospel for fourteen years. He died at Carlyle, Illinois, in 1852.

S. M. Williams came from Tennessee to Franklin county, Illinois, in 1837. He was a faithful preacher and pastor until his death in 1876.

Joel Terry was a native of this state, born in St. Clair county in 1808. His parents were from Virginia. He was ordained by the Bethel church Friends to Humanity in 1839, though he had been preaching as he had opportunity for some years before. The council called at his ordination was J. M. Peck, James and Joseph Lemen, Joseph Chance and Nathan Arnett. After his ordination he took a two years' course at Shurtleff College. His subsequent ministry was in Greene county, where it was greatly blessed. He died in 1860.

James Hovey was born in Pennsylvania, but the larger part of his life was spent in Ohio. In 1839 he removed to Henderson county, Illinois. He was pastor at Rozetta eleven years, and at Kirkwood six years. He died in 1873.

William Stillwell came from New York to Winnebago county, Illinois, in 1839, and was pastor at Rockton until his death in 1850. He preached also at Burritt, Roscoe, and other points. His funeral was conducted by Ichabod Clark and Jacob Knapp.

B. B. Carpenter, son of Burton Carpenter, was born in Vermont in 1810, took a partial course at Hamilton, and came to Illinois in 1839. He was ordained as their pastor by the Dixon Baptist church, and was there six years. In 1845 he entered on a pastorate at Griggsville which continued twenty-five years, until failing health compelled him to desist. The church procured an assistant, in the hope that after a time he might be able to resume his work, but the hope was vain. In rest however, and in other employment, he partially recovered, and lived until 1887. He was a man of God; and a man of talent, tact and scholarship.

[Edward P. Brand, Illinois Baptists -- A History, 1930, pp. 138-140. -- Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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