Baptist History Homepage

By John M. Peck
On the 26th of May, 1804, a church of eleven members was constituted at Mount Tabor, Barren county, Kentucky, by Elders Alexander Davidson and Jacob Locke, and emigrated in a body to Illinois. John Baugh, a licensed preacher, was ordained at the Illinois Association, in June, 1808. He apostatized, and finally joined the "Reformers." The immigrant church first stopped at the New Design Settlement, and afterward removed to an unsettled tract of country in the northern part of St. Clair county, and took the name of Richland. By the old book of records which we have, we think that the church made some progress, kept up watchings regularly, was attended monthly by Elders Chance, Badgley, and other preachers; had some additions yearly, until the division on the Slavery question in 1809, when it became weakened. One part formed the Ogle's Creek Church; but a large majority reorganized, adopted the principles of the Friends, and founded Canteen (now Bethel) Church. From this body, in 1808, was formed the church of Looking-Glass Prairie. Richland Church, till 1807, belonged to the Green River Association, Kentucky. In 1806, Elder William Jones removed from Beaver Bridge Church, Knox county, East Tennessee, and settled on Wood River, near the present site of Upper Alton. He, with John Finlay, caused a meeting to be held for uniting the three divided churches of Illinois, on January 9, 1807, at the house of Anthony Badgley, St. Clair county. They finally adopted the following "Summary of Principles ," which, were approved by the meeting, and subsequently by the churches, and became the basis of the "Illinois Association."


1st. There is one only true God; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
2d. We believe that the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God, and the only rule of Faith and Practice.
3d. We believe that by nature we are fallen and depraved creatures.
4th. That salvation, regeneration, sanctification, and justification, are by the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.
5th. That saints will finally persevere through grace to glory.
6th. That believer's baptism by immersion is necessary to the receiving of the Lord's Supper.
7th. That the salvation of the righteous and punishment of the wicked are eternal.
8th. We believe that no ministers ought to administer the ordinances until they come under the imposition of hands.
9th. That it is our duty to be tender and affectionate to each other, and study the happiness of the children of God in general, and be engaged singularly to promote the glory of God.
10th. We believe in election by grace.
11th. We believe that it is our duty to commune with orderly Baptists.
12th. That each church may keep their own government as to them may seem best.

How an association, retaining and professing to believe and act on these principles, can occupy anti-missionary ground, by a virtual non-fellowship with the great body of Baptists in union throughout the world, we leave to the solution of those who can reconcile contradictions. The Association met twice a year -- in June and October.

On May 31, 1807, the Wood River Church was formed, of twelve members; and William Jones became the pastor, and so continued until his death, in January, 1845. The church is now nearly extinct. There were in this Association, in June 1807, as reported at its first regular meeting, five churches, containing, collectively, sixty-two members, and three ordained ministers, viz: Badgley, Chance, and Jones. Badgley and Jones formed a church in "Upper Louisiana," (as Missouri was then called,) by the name of Feefe's Creek Church, about seventeen miles northwest of St. Louis. Baptized one, and found others seeking salvation. They then went south, to Cane Spring, near the Mississippi; constituted a church and ordained John Hendrikson to the ministry. He was a good man, but soon died. In October there were in the Association seven churches, one hundred and thirteen members, and twenty-two had been baptized since June. Robert Brazil and Edward Radcliff had been licensed to preach. In October 1808, Feefe's Creek Church was admitted into the Association. The same year, R. Brazil was ordained pastor of Looking Glass Prairie Church. He finally kept a distillery, became a sot, and thus died.

Twelve miles north of St. Louis a church of nine members was formed, called Coldwater. T. S. Music preached to them. In, June, 1809, the Association numbered ten churches; seven of which had pastors; seven ministers, and one hundred and eighty-three members. James Lemen, jr., and Benjamin Ogle were licentiates; and did much good, preaching on both sides of the Mississippi. The Association, in June, 1809, passed the following resolution: "We believe the apostles' mode of setting ministers forward in the ministry, was to find the gift in the man, and then (if thought fit by the presbytery) to be set at liberty by the laying on of hands."

At the session in October, 1809, the Association, after much debate in reference to slavery, and admitting slaveholders into fellowship, divided. Two papers were drawn up, the one headed, "United Baptists;" the other, "Friends to Humanity." A third party still held on to the "Illinois Union." About this time William Kinney was ordained in the Richland Creek Church; "run well" for a time, then became a worldling, a politician, a member of the Territorial Legislature, the State Senate, Lieutenant-Governor, and then took the downhill course in politics, and died in October, 1843. The Wood River (Mississippi) Bottom and Looking-Glass Prairie Churches continued on the principles of the Association; also Feefe's Creek and Coldwater, in Missouri. The whole Association had ninety-one members. The "Friends of Humanity" met regularly until 1820, when they formed themselves into the South District Association, and are now known by that name. The churches seemed to be broken into fragments, and out of these fragments were formed the Ogle's Creek and Turkey Hill Churches. A small one also was organized in a frontier settlement called Shoal Creek. In October, 1810, the Association assumed a regular order, and included in Illinois six, and in Missouri two churches, and in all, one hundred and twenty-three members. At this time a revival occurred in Feefe's Creek Church. James Renfro, a minister, a peace-maker, and faithful, came from Kentucky, but soon died. Another minister (Nathan Arnett) came from Tennessee, and remained a while.

From 812 to 1815 -- during which time occurred the battle of Tippecanoe -- the people were harassed by Indian depredations. Families were killed and scalped, and the inhabitants were obliged to repair to forts for protection. During this period, however, a church called Prairie Du Long, in Illinois, and Negro Fork, and Boeuf, in Missouri, were organized. Shoal Creek Church was dispersed by the war; and Turkey Hill became extinct. In 1816, Mount Pleasant Church, in Boone's Lick Settlement, in Missouri, joined the Association -- making ten churches and two hundred and fifty members. In 1817, Canteen Creek, and Shoal Creek, in Illinois, and Upper Cuivre, in Missouri, joined. Mount Pleasant and those churches west of the Mississippi, now formed the Missouri Association. In 1818, in the Illinois Association there were seven churches and one hundred and sixty-nine members, notwithstanding the new one formed. At this session we were present, and took up a collection (the first ever made in the State) for foreign missions. The Association opened a correspondence with the Board of Foreign Missions; and soon a domestic missionary society was formed. Jones and Badgley were appointed itinerant missionaries. The former for two and the latter for one month. They received sixteen dollars a month and traveling expenses. In 1819, Badgley formed a church in Greene county. The writer, being under the patronage of the Board of Foreign Missions, spent some time gratuitously to raise funds to pay these missionaries for three months' labor. Jones did not go the next year, as his church opposed it. Badgley went, but no one would pay him. Both of these men afterwards discovered that the mission plan was a speculating plan," and preached against it. It is thought that they were led astray by Daniel Parker and other designing men. Elder Bagley died December 16, 1824, aged 76.

The Association, after receiving a few small churches in Greene, Morgan, Sangamon counties, and again dismissing them to form other bodies, has continued a lingering existence. The minutes for 1845 report five churches heard from, and five marked "no intelligence;" four ordained ministers, and one hundred and six members. As ministers, Elder Thomas Ray, Gideon Simpson, John Ralls, and Silas Christler, are orderly and respectable men and devote considerable time in preaching to the destitute churches.
J. M. P.

[From Baptist Memorial and Monthly Record, December 1846, pp. 366-369. - Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

John M. Peck Index Page
Baptist History Homepage