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1882 History - Chapter 18

[Page 158] Chapter XVIII - LaGrange Precinct

Settlements were not made in what is now La Grange Precinct as early as in some other portions of Bond County. Among the pioneers of the precinct may be mentioned John BERNEATHY, Jonathan TEASLEY, John A. LAWS and Fielding LAWS, Abner and Allen THACKER, Richard SAVAGE, Elizabeth MALLARD, John and George DENNY, T. G. McCASLAND, James WHITE, Thomas WAFER, C. D. McLEAN, Charles WOOD, a Mr. PARR, Humphrey JETT and others. Who of these are entitled to the honor of being the first settler we do not know; most of them settled prior to 1830. BERNEATHY, TEASLEY, the LAWS, THACKERs, SAVAGE and Elizabeth MALLARD were from Kentucky, and some of them still have descendants in the county. The DENNYs came from North Carolina and settled on Section 33; McCASLAND settled on the northeast quarter of Section 29; WOOD settled also on the same section in the fall of 1828; WAFER and McLEAN settled on Section 30, and PARR on Section 35. Settlers were now coming in too rapidly to keep track of them. And after this long lapse of time, it is not strange if names have been overlooked that are entitled to mention in the list of early settlers.

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... The first teacher in this cabin was McCASLAND, and he taught at $1 and $1.25 per scholar for three months. ...

Another of the early schools of this precinct was taught by Rev. John BARBER on Jett Prairie. It was also taught in a small log house, which has disappeared with other pioneer landmarks. ...

On the land of Thomas BOOKER in this precinct is a mound, supposed to have been made by the pre-historic races. Bones, it is said, have been dug up, which show their owners to have been of extraordinary large size. This corresponds with many writers upon the Mound-Builders, who are represented as a race large in stature.

If the citizens of La Grange Precinct are not a God-fearing people, it is certainly their own fault, and not for any lack of church facilities. There seem to be almost as many churches in the precinct as schoolhouses. Nothing speaks more loudly for the civilization of a community than its churches and schoolhouses. Where plenty of these evidences of enlightenment exist, the people cannot be very bad or very ignorant. One of the first churches organized in the north part of Bond County was by the Old School Presbyterians in this precinct in 1825. Among the principal members of this pioneer organization were George DONNELL, Newton and Joseph LAUGHLIN, Robert STEWART and John DENNY. These were from Ohio. DENNY was a prominent member of the church from its organization, and Elder, and an upright and zealous Christian. Robert STEWART's remains lie buried in the cemetery adjacent. He was the first person buried there, about 1826; one of the LAUGHLINs is also buried there. This was an old log building, and stood upon the site of the present Union Grove Church. It was heated by a charcoal fire in the center of the building and the floor and "loft" were laid with broad puncheons. A Sunday school was organized about the time the church was, which was kept up for a number of years. Services were finally discontinued at the church about 1831, when the building, grounds, etc., were vacated until the organization of Union Grove Church.

The church originally known as "Union Grove Church" was organized January 12, 1855, under the superintending care of the Vandalia Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The minister at this time was Rev. William T. HUTCHINSON; the Elders were Thomas CLINE, S. N. JETT and Thomas M. DAVIS. The members were William T. and M. C. HUTCHINSON, Thomas N. and Jane DAVIS, Thomas and Sarah CLINE, S. N. and Agnes E. JETT, John M. and Sarah JOHNSON, Thomas and Elizabeth SCOTT, Henry C., Elizabeth and Patty HUTCHINSON, James HUNTER, Isaac and Minerva KERSHNER, Caroline CROCKER, Newton BARR, J. L. and Martha MATHERSON, Mary ENLOE, Maria BALCH, and William and Lucy DAVIS. The society occupied the house known as the Union Grove Church and grounds, which had been deeded by William T. HUTCHINSON to four de-

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nominations, viz.: The Old School Presbyterians, United Baptists, Cumberland Presbyterians and the Methodists. This organization continued until the formation of Maple Grove Church, since which time the other three denominations have occupied Union Grove until recently. It is now occupied by the Free Methodists. The church is a frame structure, about 20x30 feet, and was built in 1854-55 by voluntary labor of the people.

Maple Grove Church alluded to in the above sketch, was organized by Rev. William T. HUTCHINSON, and worshiped at Union Grove until their church here was built in 1868. It is a frame building, 30 x 40 feet, and cost about $800. The present officers are N. A. HUGHEY, Wm. SMITH, D. D. JONES and J. M. JETT, Elders; Madison JETT, D. D. JONES and W. H. VAUGHN, Trustees. Rev. Thomas McDAVID is the present minister, who preaches twice a month, and has a membership of about sixty-five. A Sunday school was organized at the same time of the church, and it is still maintained.

Hopewell Christian Church was organized in 1869, of scattering members - some from Walnut Grove Church and some from other points. Among the original members were Jacob YOUNG and wife, James BAKER and wife, Charles BAKER and wife, John DAVIS and wife, Mrs. RAHM, William T. GWINN and wife, Mrs. Caroline JETT, William CLOUSE and wife, Miss Mary OAKS, Mrs. Eliza HARRIS, Miss Caroline LAUGHLIN, Miss Jennie EAST, Mrs. Sarah A. SHARP, Mrs. Nancy J. WHITE and John HALEY. The society first worshiped in the brick schoolhouse at Elm Point, then at the schoolhouse on Section 33, where they remained until they built their church in 1870. The first minister was Elder O. HULEN, J. G. BAKER and W. T. GWINN, Elders; present Elders, Ezra WOOD, Hiram CROCKER and William VAUGHN. The Sunday school was organized since the church was built, and is flourishing at present.

The Mount Carmel congregation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was first organized by the Rev. Joel KNIGHT, in Montgomery County, Ill., February 24, 1868, and after one or two changes in reference to name and place of worship, said congregation having erected a house of worship in Pleasant Prairie, Bond County, they therefore petitioned Vandalia Presbytery at the regular session at Blue Mound (in Bond County) in the fall of 1868, to change the name of the congregation, so that it should be known as the Pleasant Prairie Congregation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

After leaving Mount Carmel, the church worshiped at Willow Spring Schoolhouse until the erection of their house of worship. The trustees of the Pleasant Prairie Church are Jas. E. RANKIN, James F. NICHOLSON and Imbert H. DENNY. The church is in a good condition.

Mount Tabor Baptist Church was organized about the year 1857 by Richardson GRIGG. J. D. DAVIS, Gabriel JETT and Kinley HITTLE were the first Deacons, Robert HORTON, Clerk. Among the original members were J. G. DAVIS and wife, Gabriel JETT and wife and daughters, Kinley HITTLE and two sisters, Richard SAVAGE and wife, Parmela and Mary TEASLEY and others. The church was built by the voluntary labor of the neighbors, and was 30 x 40 feet in size. It has prospered since organization, and at present has some sixty-five members, under the pastorate of Rev. Mr. DUFF. The present Trustees are Thomas JETT, James T. DAVIS and George SHARP; Deacons, John G. DAVIS and Martin NELSON, and Robert SAVAGE, Clerk. A Sunday school has been in existence for a number of years, the first Superintendent was Elijah THACKER; the present Superintendent is Jesse DENNY, and the school is in a flourishing state. This church was built by three denominations, viz.: Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian; but is now only used by the Baptists.

Thus we see from the foregoing that the people of La Grange Precinct have no lack of religious facilities, and if they are not good Christians it can certainly be the fault of none but themselves.

Transcribed by Norma Hass from the History of Bond and Montgomery Counties Illinois, published in 1882, Part I, pages 158-161.

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