Timeline of early churches
Church History Timeline
1819 Methodist circuit established. Minister met with people for a first service in a home. For two years the group met in a log building on West 2 nd Street
April 11, 1819 Presbyterian Sabbath school held at the home of Stephen Bliss, later a Monday night prayer meeting began there also.
July 1819 Barney Prairie Christian Church organized on the banks of Crawfish Creek at Arrow Point.
August 1819 Coffee Creek Christian Church organized near Rochester
1822 Wabash Presbyterian Church organized after a traveling minister stopped for the night in Mt. Carmel and could not travel on immediately because his horse was injured at the stable.
1824 Sabbath School established by Presbyterians at the home of Squire Gould near Timberville. Many adults and children learned to read together there.
1836 Evangelical Missionary came to Mt. Carmel , groups established at Jordan Creek (west of Lancaster and in Mt. Carmel )
1836 Roman Catholic services begin in Mt. Carmel
1838 Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church organized
1839 Episcopal services start— St. John the Baptist
1842 Evangelical class begins at Lancaster
1847 Evangelical Association begins in Mt. Carmel
Oldest church buildings
1871 St. Sebastian,
1880 Zion Evangelical United Methodist at Lancaster,
1881 Lick Prairie,
1884 Wabash Presbyterian,
1886 First Presbyterian in Mt. Carmel,
1878? St. John the Baptist Episcopal (building started by Presbyterians after 1877 tornado destroyed their church),
1896 Maud Christian Church,
1904 Zion Lutheran in Mt. Carmel,
1907 Keensburg Christian Church,
1922 First Christian in Mt. Carmel,
1922 Allendale Christian,
1926 Bellmont Christian,
1933 Barney Prairie Christian
History of Churches by Congregation
Free Methodist Churches get their name from their stand on equality of all mankind. They trace their heritage back to the teachings of John Wesley but separated from other Methodists in 1860 when they took a stand against slavery and also stopped the practice of selling pews to families in their churches. This practice had separated the rich from the poor within congregations.
The Mt. Carmel Free Methodist Church was organized in 1889. The first church was built in 1891 at 410 Poplar Street . A new church was built at 412 Poplar in 1915. The church began a bus ministry in 1945 and added an educational wing in 1953. The congregation voted to expand the building in 1976 but it remains in the same location.
The Cowling Free Methodist Church began as an interdenominational church called Cowling Mission in 1934. It became a Free Methodist church on December 20, 1953. The building was given to the people of Cowling by William Dunn in that year. It had been a school and was also used for grain storage. The building was built as two stories and has been renovated extensively over the years. Sunday School rooms and a shelter porch have been added as well as modernizing the exterior. The church is located on Illinois Route 1 in the center of the community of Cowling.
Baptists take their name from the fundamental belief that all believers should be immersed in water (by the example of Jesus Christ being baptized by John [the Baptist] in the Jordan River) as a symbol of faith in a crucified, buried and risen Savior and the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the sinful life and resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. This belief in baptism is further marked by the belief that each person must make their own decision for Christ in contradiction to the practice of infant baptism. The first Baptist church is documented in 1609 as a separation from the Anglican Church in England . Many other New Testament churches have come from this movement.
The First Baptist Church of Mt. Carmel was founded May 7, 1891 in an upper room on Market Street where the Uptown Theatre was located. It was founded as a Missionary Baptist congregation and joined the Southern Baptist Convention in 1907. The group met at several locations including the Schneck building and the Wabash County Courthouse. Mrs. Agnes Chambers invited the congregation to worship at her home at 422 West Second Street and they met there for 3 years. Eventually with much community support a building was built at 218 West Seventh Street . It was dedicated in 1894. In 1926 the lot at the corner of 6 th and Chestnut streets was purchased. A basement was constructed and the group worshiped there for many years. In 1942 red brick was installed on the outside of the basement walls. This was a great improvement over the black tar painted walls. A vigorous visitation program by the pastor Rev. J. F. Gettings helped the congregation to grow and a new sanctuary was completed June 4, 1950 . Later that day the first wedding took place, that of Georgetta Hayes and LaMoine Armstrong. The church has continued to expand and build and celebrated its 100 th anniversary in 1991.
The First General Baptist Church was founded in Mt. Carmel on West Second Street (in the 100 block) in a building previously owned by Zion Lutheran Church . It was dedicated in 1905. In 1957 the old Bancroft School property at 120 West Twelfth Street was purchased. Church services were first conducted in the school annex and a new sanctuary was built in 1959-60. The school buildings were used for education until 1972 when the 2½ story brick building was removed so a new educational wing could be added to the sanctuary.
Grace Memorial Baptist Church was founded July 29, 1940 at the corner of 4 th and Poplar Streets. It had separated from the First General Baptist Church over the doctrine of continuing grace, from which it takes its name. In February 1954 the congregation began a new building at Bainum and Broadmoor Streets. The new building was dedicated June 5, 1955 .
The Emanuel Baptist Mission church began in 1987. It was located at 1030 Market Street . Most of the members came from the First Baptist Church . The emphasis of all Baptist churches is spreading the gospel. The church was started as a mission outreach supported by the Home Mission Board and sponsored by a Grayville church. The emphasis was on missionary work through traditional methods of visitation and services. The church closed in 1994.
The Christian Churches of this area are from the “New Light” movement of New Testament churches founded after a prolonged camp meeting at Cane Ridge, KY in the early 1800’s. Some of the county’s earliest settlers brought their strong beliefs with them and founded the Barney Prairie Christian Church and all others have come from it. The fundamental belief is that the Bible is God’s holy word and the only creed is the words of the New Testament. The motto “Where the Bible speaks, we speak. Where the Bible is silent, we are silent” has been the only principle for many years. Eventually some of the Christian Churches joined the Disciples of Christ national convention for assistance with placing ministers and governance. Most others have remained entirely independent, being governed only by local members. The Church of Christ body has some congregations which are non-instrumental but these are not so numerous.
July 17, 1819 Barney’s Prairie Christian Church organized at a spot called Arrow Point on the banks of Crawfish Creek. Several of the county’s first pioneers were charter members. Open air church services were held during the early years during fair weather. In bad weather services were held in the nearby Peter Keen barn. That location was donated to the church later. In 1843 a church house was built with two doors, one for men, and one for women. There was no heating in the building. After remodeling in 1874 a single door was built. In 1933 a new building was built after an explosion of the gas light plant and subsequent fire. The new building had a basement, furnace, stage, and kitchen. The Barney Prairie Christian church is part of the Disciples of Christ convention and is a New Testament church. It is Wabash County ’s oldest church.
The Keensburg Christian Church was organized August 28, 1819 at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Keen and was known as the Coffee Creek Christian Church. It is the second oldest church in the state of Illinois . It’s charter members included Dennis Sayless, a freed Negro slave brought from Kentucky by Daniel Keen. In 1853 land was deeded to the church at the present site of the Coffee Cemetery . A log building which served as the Christian church and Coffee Creek meeting house was built there. In 1880, about 8 years after the village of Keensburg was platted along the new railroad, `lot 11 in Block F was purchased and in 1882 a building was completed and dedicated. August 6, 1905 , lightning struck the building and it burned to the ground. Services were held in the W. E. Keen store until the present building was completed in 1907. In 1930 a basement was added and the church updated its windows, carpeting and piano. In 1948 a parsonage was added to the rear of the church. In 1953 new Sunday school classrooms, an organ and a baptistery were completed. During the oil boom of the 1950’s many new families attended services. In 2002 a new steel building was built to the north of the church which houses a fellowship hall, library and classrooms.
The Lick Prairie Christian Church was first known as the Lick Prairie Church of Christ, later the name was changed to The Garfield Memorial Church of Christ and in 1928 changed to its present name. The congregation began meeting in homes in 1828. Later they met in an old log school house on the site of the present building, at the intersection of county road 400 E with the Goodson’s Orchard Road or Wabash Hwy 17. Written records date back to 1851. In January of 1853 a paper was circulated to raise funds and pledges “to build a meeting house in Lick Prairie, Wabash County , Illinois , to be free for all religious worship”. Pledges or subscriptions ranged from $1.00 to $10.00 and were to be paid within 1 year. In 1881 the log school was removed and a frame meeting house was erected just a little west of the present building. It faced north. At this time it was called the Garfield Memorial Church of Christ. In 1948-49 the church was turned to face east and a basement and baptistery were constructed. Dedication services were held May 12, 1949 . Recently the church expanded again building education rooms and a fellowship hall to the south.
According to church records, the Lancaster Church of Christ was born on the third Sunday in October, 1842. The congregation organized in the home of C. W. Reed. Meetings were held in the homes of members and in a large barn owned by Horace Woodward until 1857. There were 70 members at that time. The first building was used as a union church (used by more than one congregation) along with the Methodist and Evangelical churches. In 1866 the Evangelical church built a new building and left their interest to the other groups. In 1891 the Christian church was able to build their own white frame building with a steeple. In 1960 a stone building was erected next door to the old building and additional rooms were added in 1967. Also in 1967 a parsonage, located one block south of the church, was purchased. In 1969 a new baptistery was installed in the sanctuary. In 1974 a nursery, classrooms and restrooms were added. In 1977 the old parsonage was sold and a new one constructed. In November 1982 the congregation purchased the Lancaster Grade School property and in 1984 a Christian Day School was opened.
The Bellmont Christian Church was founded on May 1, 1876 when Elder Lathrop of Lawrenceville called a group of brethren together at the office of Dr. J. A. McClane in Bellmont to organize a congregation. 32 members met there until January of 1879 when they purchased the abandoned Siloam Church northeast of Bellmont, dismantled and rebuilt the building in Bellmont. This wood frame building was used until Sunday January 28, 1924 when it caught fire during a service and was totally destroyed. Services were held in the town hall until 1926 when a new brick building was completed on Persimmon Street .
The Bellmont Christian Church purchased the building of the closed Siloam Methodist Church and moved it from north of Bellmont to Bellmont for its own use. That building was built near the park in Bellmont. It burned and the church moved to its present site.
An organizational meeting for the First Christian Church of Allendale was held October 11, 1890 at the office of Dr. A. J. McIntosh. A board of trustees was elected for the purpose of building a church. At the next meeting one man and one woman were appointed to solicit funds, donations and subscriptions to be used for construction of a building. The first building was at the corner of 3 rd and Mulberry Streets in Allendale. It was made of brick and was 40 x 60 feet. The cost was $2167.27 and was paid in full when dedicated in June of 1891. The attendance was 77 and the offering was 62 cents. The church continued to grow and in 1906 a parsonage was built on the adjoining lot. At that time the church employed its first full time minister, Rev. I. G. Williams. By the 1920’s the congregation had grown so much and the financial picture was so much better that a new church was planned. Construction began August 4, 1921 and was completed April 23, 1922 on the structure used to this date. The cost was $23,300. That building is at the southwest corner of 2 nd and Oak Streets. A new brick parsonage was built next door in 1927. When the 1989 tornado struck Allendale, the roof and some of the art glass windows were damaged but repairs were made. The congregation has added an elevator, additional parking and a rear entry vestibule in recent years. The old building, very simple in structure, later housed an oil company’s supplies and equipment. That building is no longer standing.
Parkview Christian Church was founded in May 1960. It first met in the Farm Bureau building on West Ninth Street in Mt. Carmel . Its first name was Mt. Carmel Church of Christ (Christian). The first worship services were conducted on Mother’s Day. The congregation purchased the building at 230 East Fifth Street in May 1964 from the Evangelical Church when it merged and built on North Cherry Street . The congregation continued to grow and in 1982 completed the first church in the county with a circular floor plan. The new building was located at the intersection of Illinois Highway 1 and Poor Farm Road . In 2000 work was completed on an adjoining gymnasium which doubles as a fellowship hall. The new building also houses a large kitchen, 11 classrooms and a nursery.
The Antioch Chapel was dedicated in 1870 as a union chapel which served the Baptist, Free Methodists, Congregationalists and the Church groups. January 28, 1886 the Antioch Christian Church organized with 12 charter members. The last service was held in December 1975. The building was subsequently torn down. A cemetery remains and a small monument including the bell marks the spot where so many worshiped for over 100 years.
A listing of Christian Churches from 1883 mentions the Shiloh Christian Church who organized November 2, 1870, a Church of Christ at Kitchen Bridge, a Church of Christ at Friend’s Gove near Lick Prairie which had declined.
Disciples of Christ churches are united to support missions with each region deciding where to place emphasis. This region sponsors children’s home, a retirement home and Bible colleges. Their unity permits their employees and pastors to have an insurance plan and a retirement program. The communion table is open to all baptized believers.
The First Christian Church of Mt. Carmel —Disciples of Christ congregation organized December 14, 1862 . Their first meetings were held at the court house. The first meeting house was built in 1864 on Cherry Street south of the alley between 7 th and 8 th streets on the east side. In 1893 the congregation had outgrown their building. After a building campaign part of the old church was torn down and a new addition was added. In October 1904, the church purchased additional footage near the building but continued to grow until it had also outgrown the second church building. For several years it considered other locations, purchased lots and then sold them until settling on a new location at its present site at 8 th and Market. The cornerstone was laid November 6, 1921 and the building was completed August 6, 1922 . The old church building on Cherry Street was rented to the Second Baptist Church who occupied it for two years. It was then rented to the school board and used of school until it burned on March 4, 1926. A later addition housed education rooms, office, minister’s study, library and board room. In 1970 the Mt. Carmel Day Care Center opened in this space also and was organized by the Christian Action and Community Service Department. It served hundreds of children over its course of service before closing recently.
Before the First Christian Church of Mt. Carmel moved to its 8 th and Market location, it was located at 715 Cherry Street in this building. This building was built in 1864 and used until 1922. It was then rented to the Baptist church for 2 years, leased by the school district for school and burned in 1926. The church parsonage was built there and was used until the early 1990’s.
The Maud Christian Church began in April 1896 when a series of meetings began at the schoolhouse. By May the group decided to build a church. The building committee decided to build a church similar to one at Calhoun and contracted Lewis Sawyer of Bellmont to build the building for $900. This was the cost of labor and materials. The building was ready for occupancy by October 10, 1896. The basement was added in 1956. In the 1970’s the congregation dwindled to just a few members and the church closed. The building still stands at the crossroads at the railroad in Maud.
The Adams Corner Christian Church began in June of 1851 and was formed for the convenience of the members of Barney Prairie Christian Church who were living near Adams Corner. The first services were held in a union house which burned. The congregation built their own building on the same site (just north and adjoining the Adams Corner Cemetery ). Services stopped in the 1950’s after a significant number of the older members of the congregation had died. The building burned later. The records were removed to members’ homes and seem to have been lost through time.
The “History of Lawrence , Edwards and Wabash Counties ” (1883) notes that there were Shiloh Christian Church which organized November 2, 1870 and a Church of Christ at Kitchen Bridge . It also mentions a Church of Christ at Friend’s Grove near Lick Prairie which had declined. No other record of these congregations has been found.
May 4, 1930 was the first meeting of the Mt. Carmel Church of Christ (called The Lord’s Church at that time). The congregation met at 218 West 7 th Street in the former Baptist church building. Pews, pulpit stand and songbooks were given to the new congregation by the Freedom Church at West Salem which had disbanded. In 1934 the building was sold to the Nazarene Church and the group met in homes. In 1939 the group built a small church on a half lot at the corner of 11 th and Market streets. In 1948 when radio station WVMC went on the air the congregation broadcast its services each Sunday from 8:30 to 9:00 until 1951. In 1962 the group purchased lots in Oressa Heights , sold them and purchased four lots on Cedar Street . The church completed a building at 1121 Cedar Street and moved in December 26, 1962. A house at 818 Sweeney was purchased as a parsonage in 1963. In 1967 the congregation sponsored “Words of Truth” daily on WVMC and held services at the nursing home once each month. In 1967 a preacher school began and The Joy Bus ministry ran 10 buses a week. The church began meals on wheels and offered free Bible correspondence courses from a booth at Ag Days. The church purchased 18 acres on Highway 1 north of Mt. Carmel , the old drive-in theatre property. In 1984 $63,000 was raised toward a new church in that location. The building at 1121 Cedar was sold and services were held at the 4-H center for a time. The new building was completed in May 1986. Sonshine School, a pre-school program for area children, began providing Christian education two mornings each week in 1986
The Wabash Valley Church of Christ was founded on May 16, 2003. The founding families had first started a Church of Christ in Albion and after that group was firmly established, began a church in Mt. Carmel . It is a noninstrumental conservative church. They presently meet in a rented building on outer West Ninth Street . The church distributes correspondence and home study courses in the Bible and emphasizes personal spiritual growth. The current pastor is Brett Berger who emphasizes the services are open to all. The current membership is 29.
The Church of God began in 1881, emphasizing the unity of God’s people and holy living, being led by the Holy Spirit and using the Bible as their statement of belief. There were other Church of God bodies which began as part of the holiness revival out of Tennessee and the Carolinas . This Church of God , based in Anderson , IN is not related and does not emphasize the charismatic gift of speaking in tongues. The Church of God is located presently at 1532 College Drive in a structure built in 1960 but the congregation began locally at the old Riverside Chapel on Cherry Street . In 1924 the group was able to build at the corner of 2 nd and Cherry (presently used by Jacob’s Well). The congregation continued to grow and do God’s work for several decades. In 1960 a new parsonage was constructed on Cherry Street and the group intended to expand their building on Cherry. But a tract of land was given to the church on Maysville Road where the church built instead. The church operates buses to bring children to youth programs, opened Wee Care day care center in 2003 and has a very active missions program.
The Mt. Carmel branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly called the Mormons, was organized March 14, 1955 at the home of Carl and Virginia Roberson. There were 17 in attendance. Initially meetings were held in the home of Mrs. Maggie M. Crow on Hinde Street and then later at the Roberson home of Sweeney Avenue . In April 1955 a two-story block building at 214 West First Street was purchased and meetings began there on May 26. During 1975 the church moved to the building at 1030 North Market which they purchased. (Formerly the Church ofChrist ) Ground was broken for a new church building on October 23, 1985 at2600 North Cherry Street . Construction was complete in the spring of 1986, with the first meeting on May 26, 1986. The congregation is made up of members from Wayne, Wabash and Edwards counties in Illinois and Gibson County, IN. The doctrine of the church is based on the visions and teachings of Joseph Smith, which deal with restoration of the true church on earth. These teachings were controversial and Smith and his brother were killed in 1844. Brigham Young took over leadership and led a group of pioneer Mormons to the Salt Lake Valley, Utah in 1847. The intense genealogical work of the church is done because of the belief that family members, properly baptized and part of the church, will be together eternally in Heaven.
Union Mission Congregational Christian Church is located in East Mt. Carmel . The church was built by the people of the community in July 1928. Previously Brother Humphrey preached in the school house located near the present church ball diamond. Anyone could preach at the church, from any denomination, with the congregation’s permission. Union Mission joined the Fairfield Association in 1963, feeling the need to belong to a body of Christ. This association was formed in 1905 and was formerly called the Southern Illinois Christian Conference. In 1931 there was a merger with the Congregationalists and became known as theIllinois Christian Conference for a time. The basic beliefs are that the Bible is the only rule of faith and practice, Jesus Christ is the head of the church, Christian character is the test of fellowship, the followers of Christ should be known as Christians, each individual is free to interpret the scriptures and that there is a oneness of the body of Christ and union of all Christians.
The Church of the Nazarene is located at 218 West 7 th Street inMt. Carmel . The congregation has occupied three separate buildings on that same site over their life span. Organized in August 1934, the group met in a tent on outerWest 9 th Street at first. The building on West 7 th became available from the Baptist church and was purchased. This building was used for about 25 years. Rev. Paul White was the prime figure in building the next building which was dedicated November 27, 1960. Rev. White taught himself how to lay blocks and bricks and did much of the work himself while caring for his infant son Steven. This space was sufficient for about 25 years also. After purchasing adjoining property the church broke ground in the spring of 1988 for a completely new building. The first service was heldOctober 2, 1988 . The group holds certain beliefs to be true: there is one God-the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the Old and New Testament scriptures, given by plenary inspiration, contain truth necessary to faith and Christian living; man is born with a fallen nature, and is, therefore, inclined to evil, and that continually; the finally impenitent are hopelessly and eternally lost; the atonement through Jesus Christ is for the whole human race and that whosoever repents and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ is justified and regenerated and saved from the dominion of sin; believers are to be sanctified wholly, subsequent to regeneration, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; the Holy Spirit bears witness to the new birth and to the entire sanctification of believers; our Lord will return, the dead will be raised and the final judgment will take place.
Episcopalians, also known as Anglican, are members of a church which considers itself directly descended from the early church of Jesus’ disciples, as are Roman Catholics and Orthodox churches, but are a reformed church. They celebrate mass in ways similar to the Catholic tradition but do not recognize a single authority of the pope in Rome . Their Book of Common Prayer is used by all Anglican worshipers. St. John the Baptist Episcopalian Church in Mt. Carmel began as early at 1839, but written history is sketchy. For 100 years or more a single priest brought services to both the Mt. Carmel and Albion congregations. The church apparently had its first building due to the financial problems of the Presbyterian church. After the tornado of June 4, 1877 , when the Presbyterian church was utterly destroyed, that congregation began to rebuild at 6 th and Mulberry. They were able to complete a chapel and a portion of a new church before running out of money. Unable to finish their ambitious work, the congregation turned it all over to the Springfield diocese on the condition that the debt be paid off and the building finished. The complex was sold to the Episcopalian group. In 1882, a rectory was built behind the incomplete church and adjoining chapel. In 1891 construction work resumed and in June 1892 the mission of St. John the Baptist was organized.
Lutheran churches accept and teach Bible-based teachings of Martin Luther that inspired the reformation of the Christian Church in the 16 th Century. Those teachings can be summarized in three short phrases: “Grace alone, Faith alone, Scripture alone
Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, now at 703 Market Street in Mt. Carmel began on March 27, 1838. The first location was at 119 West Second Street in a former blacksmith shop. Fire from a nearby house damaged that building and it was replaced by a brick church. Sometime between 1840 and 1844 the church divided when a new pastor came who did not speak German. A large number of people, desiring to hear the services in the German language, left and formed the Evangelical Association. After 1850 the church grew and prospered greatly. In 1868 a general division occurred in the Lutheran Church . Zion joined the General Council, formed in opposition to the General Synod. In 1880 the old brick church was rebuilt and dedicated. In April 1902 the congregation planned for a new site. In March 1903 the congregation purchased the lot at 7 th and Market Streets. The new church was erected at a cost of $16,000 and was dedicated in May of 1905. A parsonage was built in 1912. In 1962 there was a merger of the United Lutheran Church into the Lutheran Church of America . In 1988 5.3 million Lutherans merged into one denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America which takes a more liberal position than the Missouri Synod.
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church has been identified as meeting near Lancaster in a schoolhouse. The congregation at one time had 30 members.
Hope Lutheran Church is located at 1512 North Cherry Street in Mt. Carmel . It began in 1936 and is part of the Missouri Synod. The pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church north of Cowling canvassed Mt. Carmel for interest in starting a church there and the first services were held in the home of C.C. Dorsch. Space was rented to hold services in the Episcopal church for a time. In 1942 the minister left and since it was war time, it was difficult to hold services. The group ceased to meet for a time. In 1945 with a student minister, services began again in the American Legion Building . It was decided to share a pastor with St. John’s church. A former store building at 1026 North Cherry was purchased for a church and the church was incorporated. Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new building at 1512 North Cherry were held in February of 1960 with the cornerstone laid in August. Since St. John’s church closed, Hope Lutheran shares the duty of maintaining the St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery with Christ Lutheran Church of Fairfield and Our Savior Lutheran Church of Carmi.
Friedens United Church of Christ was founded in 1903 by second generation German farmers whose families had emigrated from Lippe Germany by way of Posey and Vanderburg counties in Indiana . The church sits in the heart of the German community in southernWabash County , equidistant from Cowling, Browns, Keensburg and Bellmont. The first worship service was held on December 26, 1903 and it included the baptism of Gilbert, infant son of Jacob and Elizabeth Schmidt. After finding a suitable four acre site the men of the congregation began to clear the ground and prepare the site during the winter months when no farming could be done. The cornerstone was laid on May 23, 1904. The name of the church means peace which stood for the spirit of brotherhood and cooperation which was evident from the beginning and that all members with God’s blessing would be children of peace forevermore. The building was completed and dedicated on October 6, 1904. An anchor was placed on top of the steeple, symbolizing the conviction that their faith was anchored in Jesus Christ. March 11, 1923 the church building was partially destroyed by a tornado. But it was reset on its original foundation and renovation was completed by May. In 1924 a Sunday school was begun for children. In 1927 the congregation joined the Evangelical Synod. Services were held in German for many years and the early records are in German. In 1948 the basement and classrooms were added. In 1962 Friedens voted to become a part of the United Church of Christ which was a merger of the Evangelical and Reformed and CongregationalChristian Churches . The congregation celebrated 100 years with a series of celebratory services and activities in 2004.
The first church of the United Brethren in Christ was organized in a schoolhouse ½ mile west of Friendsville called Buzzard Roost School in 1862. In 1866 the group of 13 (called a class) moved to Cabbage Corner in a building which belonged to the Baptists, located on the northwest corner of the crossroads. In 1874 moved to the Stoltz schoolhouse, 3 miles west of Friendsville at a crossroad. The membership grew rapidly in that location and in 1879 the Board of Trustees voted to build a church. It was erected next to the Gard’s Point Graveyard and was named Nye Chapel. The building was an oblong one room church. The building may have gotten its name from the pastor that year but no record exists. Nye Litherland, grandson of one of the charter member families, was named after the pastor. The land for the church had been donated to the county back in 1861 for the purposes of building a church for any Christian denomination or a school house for general education purposes by William R. Wilkinson and his wife Sarah. In 1929 the parsonage at Adams corner (which shared the United Brethren pastor) burned, destroying some of the old records. A class book beginning in 1896 did escape the fire. Membership between 1896 and 1922 ranged between 49 and 110. In 1947 the United Brethren and Evangelical conferences merged to form the Evangelical United Brethren Church . Historian Mary Blythe writes that in 1958 during a revival preached by Rev. Max White he “was preaching on the ‘Second Coming of Christ.’ The pictures on the church walls began to shake, the stove pipe and stove started rattling and the pulpit even shook for a few seconds. It was all so timely that we all thought the Lord was coming that very night. It was only an earth tremor.” In 1969 the congregation united with the Methodists and became the United Methodist Church . Soon afterwards the conference closed Nesbit Chapel and some of its members came to Nye Chapel.
In the spring of 1869 the people of Adams Corners felt the need to have a place to worship. Abner Spidel donated land and James and Samuel Stillwell donated timber. Men and boys from the area cut pre-marked trees, and moved them to the site. The church was completed and dedicated as the Lutheran and Evangelical Union church on June 15, 1869. It was a union church with both groups alternating its use.
Adams Corner United Brethren in Christ church organized in 1869 and worshiped at the home of Henry Viehman a short distance north of the crossroads. This group continued to grow until it was able to purchase the church belonging to the Lutheran and Evangelical Association in 1877. In 1925 the congregation had grown and needed to expand the church. Adjoining land was purchased. A basement was dug and the sanctuary rolled onto it. The front steps, porch, belfry and south entrance were built at that time. A door was cut into the north wall and a small room was built to give entrances to the basement and sanctuary. In 1948 there was a merger with the Evangelical church to form Evangelical United Brethren. April 23, 1968 the group merged with the Methodist church, forming United Methodist church.
In 1882 a United Brethren in Christ class organized at a school house 1½ miles southeast of Lancaster called Pleasant Hill . It 1883 it had 27 members.
In January 1883 Pleasant Grove class of United Brethren in Christ organized at a schoolhouse four miles southwest of Lancaster . It began with 11 members.
In January of 1993 Reverend S. Keagy organized a United Brethren class at Pleasant Grove with 11 members. They met at the Mundy or Frogeye school. Around the same time another class began meeting at Burton or Texas school. After 1890 steps were taken to combine these two classes and build a church. After a site was selected from 3 possible choices, a canvass or popular subscription was held to collect money for the new building. Church members, non-church members, residents of the community, merchants and businessmen of Lancaster, West Salem and Mt. Carmel were solicited regardless of religious belief and some of no religion belief. Residents of the community gave chickens, eggs, pigs, calves, colts and etc. There is no record of how much the church cost or how much was raised. The church was dedicated in 1895. In 1947 the United Brethren Church united with the Evangelical Church to form EUB. Over the years the church has been in several circuits and has shared a minister and a parsonage with other churches. The EUB church joined with the Methodist denomination in 1969 to become United Methodist. In 1990 a 28 x 60 foot fellowship hall was built. This is currently being used for worship services and the old church was torn down in the summer of 2004.
The Patton Church began in a log schoolhouse as a nondenominational church. When another schoolhouse was built the church also met there. A church building was built in 1904 and became the Patton United Brethren Church . On June 7, 1967 lightning struck the bell and the belfry was destroyed. There was also interior damage. The church was redecorated, the belfry rebuilt but the bell was moved outside the building. The church became United Methodist with a merger. The church closed sometime after 1976.
Nondenominational churches are those with no ties to any established denomination. They are independent churches, locally owned, which welcome people of all faiths. They are Bible based groups, believing in personal decisions and interpretation of the scriptures and accept all people into their congregations as long as their beliefs do not contradict the Bible.
Hope Fellowship Church is located in the Crystal Building at 123 West 4 th Street in Mt. Carmel . It began on November 18, 1990 and met at the Mabel Courter 4-H Center until September 4, 1993. The congregation split from the Church of God in Mt. Carmel under the leadership of Rev. Pat O’Brien. It is a nondenominational church.
New Life Fellowship Church is located at 1121 Cedar Street . It is a nondenominational church but its beliefs are very similar to the Pentecostal churches. Its’ charismatic services use a combination of contemporary and traditional hymns. It is very strong on Biblical teaching. Communion services are held with some frequency, not on a structured basis but as the spirit leads. Baptism is by immersion but those from other traditions are accepted into the congregation without repeating the act of baptism. The church formed in the spring of 1984 and held its first services at Wabash Valley College and at the Mt. Carmel Senior Citizens Center . When the Church of Christ built its new building on North Cherry Street the old location at 1121 Cedar was sold to New Life later that year.
Jacob’s Well is a nondenominational charismatic church which separated from what is now Heartland Worship center in 1998. The first services were held in a commercial building on outer West Ninth Street which had formerly been an oil well service business. The church at 2 nd and Cherry Streets was purchased from Deckard Ministries in 2001. The services are a contemporary style with low key, low pressure preaching. The church is progressive with no dress codes for men or women. In fact, the congregation does not “dress up” for services. The emphasis is on teaching and on spiritual gifts. The group believes that one need not speak in tongues to receive the Holy Spirit. Future plans are to move into another building and have the current facility serve as a house of prayer open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Heartland Worship Center began in 1914 as the Pentecostal Mission. Members had been attending services held at The Riverside Chapel which began in 1906. After a flood in 1913, the church moved to another location on Hinde Street just in front of Hilgremyers Grocery. The congregation was the subject of ridicule and many pranks in this location. Rotten eggs were thrown at the preacher and once someone put pepper on the stove causing people to sneeze. When a Pentecostal minister preached a revival in 1914 there was a great spiritual awakening and the Holy Ghost fell on many who spoke in tongues and glorified God. The baptism of the spirit with speaking in tongues was so diverse to the original church that a division quickly occurred. During the spring of 1914 services were held in homes. This was the beginning of the PentecostalMission . During the summer a small building on Wabash Avenue was secured and services were held there until 1918. Prayer meetings were held in homes and upstairs in the old poultry house on West 5 th Street where the Knights of Columbus Hall now stands. In 1919 the group moved to the Tabernacle Under the Hill. This was near the present water plant. It was a simple structure with a concrete floor. In March 1927 the group began to hold two preaching services a day. Many people came and the tabernacle was too small to hold everyone. Meetings were moved to the largest theatre in town, at the Masonic Hall, which held 600. Over 35 people received the baptism of the spirit and over 100 were saved. A new tabernacle was soon built at 212 West 2 nd Street (spring of 1928). The wooden structure was built by the men of the congregation. In 1940 the name changed to Pentecostal Assembly of God of Mt. Carmel . During the pastorate of Rev. James Eastman the church was enlarged. In 1969 the education unit, fellowship hall, pastor’s study were added. Later a lot across the street was purchased and a steel building put up. In May 1985 a ground breaking service was held for a remodeling. A basement was dug and a roof structure was built to cover the old building and new building. Members of the congregation did much of the work for the remodeling and making two buildings into one. In March 1999 the name was changed toHeartland Worship Center .
The Pentecostal Churches came out of the holiness movement. The holiness movement takes its roots from John Wesley, an Anglican priest ordained in 1728. After studying the writings of the early church father Clement of Alexandria (177 AD) and the Moravians, Wesley was convinced that true holiness is an attitude, a love for God now how much sin you do or how much righteousness you do. Beliefs in the holiness churches are Trinitarian, Arminian (free will, not Calvinist), teach entire sanctification (you can be sinless in this life); sin is willful disobedience as opposed to just missing the mark. The Pentecostal church emphasizes the gifts of the Holy Spirit as demonstrated by speaking in tongues and prophesying and some churches have several banned activities and dress codes, particularly for women and girls.
The Lighthouse church began on Easter Sunday in 1999 in the home of Rev. Ricky Clendenin on West 8 th Street in Mt. Carmel . In June of 1999 services were moved to 812 West Ninth Street . The church purchased property in Patton in March of 2001 and has nearly completed their new building there. The group brings church services to local nursing homes on Monday evenings and also has music and preaching services on radio station WSJD at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings.
The Full Gospel Tabernacle Church began March 9, 2001 at 2 nd and Cherry Streets in Mt. Carmel . The church did not receive the support it needed to continue in that location. Services moved to a home in Bellmont. The group continues to hold Bible studies in the summer months. Its background is similar to Pentecostal or Assembly of God churches.
Pentecostal Faith Assembly Church is located in Friendsville, IL in the church building which was formerly the Presbyterian church. That building was built in 1857. The church was founded by Rev. Charlie Wall and his family on June 25, 1987 and was first known as Church of God Pentecost . The church welcomes any person of any denomination to worship with them.
The Keensburg Pentecostal Church was formerly known as the Free Pentecostal Assembly of Keensburg. It purchased property at 101 West Jackson Street in Keensburg on November 24, 1941. Rev. and Mrs. Clifford Corbett came to the church to hold a two week revival in 1947. It ended six weeks later with the Rev. Corbett becoming the pastor of the congregation of 40-50 members. The name changed at that time. Rev. Corbett served until his death on January 26, 1989. Rev. Paul McGee and Rev. Jim began to minister to the church during Rev. Corbett’s 6 year illness. On April 21, 1990 Rev. McGee was voted as pastor. Rev. McGee began to hold services on Sunday and Tuesday nights. On September 16, 1990 the first Sunday School was held with 15 people attending. By the end of the year 17 people had been baptized. The church began to grow and on September 26, 1995 purchased the former United Methodist Church at 423 Railroad Street . Extensive renovation work was done on the building. First services were held on October 8, 1995. At the end of 1995 the attendance had grown to 38 and at the end of 1998 was at 74. In May of 1997 the former church building on Jackson Street was transformed into a parsonage for Pastor McGee.
In 1836 the first missionary of the Evangelical Association came to Wabash County . In 1847 the first congregation ofEmanuel Church of the Evangelical Association formed and built a little brick church on 5 th Street near Cherry. In 1873 a new brick church was built on the corner of 5 th and Cherry Streets. For many years services were held in the German language but in 1883 the congregation decided in order to retain its’ young people they would begin using English for the services. This transition was made gradually until 1898 when English was used exclusively. The congregation grew from just a few families in 1883 to 170 families in 1910. In 1918 a new church was built on the same location, using materials from the old church to keep expenses down. In 1946 theUnited Brethren Church and theEvangelical Church joined to become the Evangelical United Brethren denomination. In 1964 a new building was constructed ofBedford stone on north Cherry Street at the Cherry Hills subdivision. It was dedicated on Easter Sunday, April 18, 1965 . In 1968 the EUB united with the Methodist denomination and this church became known as theEvangelical United Methodist Church . In 1974 a new parsonage was purchased near the church in Cherry Hills.
This was the second building built by the Evangelical Church at 5 th and Cherry, constructed in 1883. Materials from this building were used to build the present building on that site when it was constructed in 1918.
The first Presbyterian sermon in Wabash County was delivered by Rev. Samuel Thompson ofVincennes in 1816 at the home of Thomas Gould in Timberville. The Mt. Carmel Presbyterian Church was organized May 5, 1939 . A brick church was built on 3 rd Street between Mulberry and Cherry. It was the finest church inMt. Carmel , but was destroyed by the tornado of 1877. Services were held over the First National Bank and at the courthouse. An attempt was made to rebuild at the corner of 6 th and Mulberry but the group ran short of funds. This property was sold to the Episcopal church. In 1886 the present building at the southwest corner of 6 th and Mulberry was built. The manse (or parsonage) was built two doors to the south. The congregation has struggled to remain open through the years but seems to be healthy now under the leadership of Bailey Pearson.
Wabash Presbyterian Church began on April 11, 1819 when twenty pioneers of Wabash County met at the log cabin home of Stephen Bliss for the first Sabbath School in the state of Illinois . In a few weeks the cabin was overflowing and classes were held on the lawn under sheltering oak trees. On March 3, 1822 a large congregation convened at the school house to hear preaching and the minister helped to organize a church with 5 members. It was called First Presbyterian Church of Edwards County (This area later became part of Wabash County .) On July 6, 1833 Adam Shepard, an immigrant from New Hampshire settled on land adjoining the Bliss farm. A few years later he donated land for a church building site and a cemetery. Adam Corrie gave $125 toward the building and a neat plain building was constructed among the trees in the fall of 1838 with native sandstones for the door steps. This church building was used until 1884 when a new building, using native bricks was erected. Wabash became a mother church creating Pisgah Church in 1835, the Mt. Carmel church in 1839, the Friendsville Church in 1857. Shiloh and Timberville churches were also created which did not survive. Ten acres across the road from the church were purchased in 1868. A wing was added to the church in 1903. The manse was built across from the church in 1910 and was a shared expense with the Pisgah church. In 1949 Wabash purchased the half interest of Pisgah church. Membership had grown to 160 people by April 1915. The church received a stone veneer in 1957 and a vestibule was added. Educational rooms in 1960 and in 1982 a new sanctuary and classroom were built to the east. A new manse was constructed on the same site as the old one in 1979. In 1997 the membership was 107.
This congregation began to hold the Orio Chowder the Saturday before Labor Day in 1920. The Wabash Cemetery Association formed to provide funds to maintain the cemetery. A chowder has been held every fall since that date. The first chowder was held at the eastern edge of the cemetery. One or two kettles were used, each containing 50 or 60 gallons. The chowder was prepared and served all on the same day with serving in the later afternoon. In 1949 the Orio Community Center , a Quonset type building, was built on the south side of the road across from the church and cemetery. Since then the chowders have been held adjacent to that building. 10 or 12 kettles, each holding 500 gallons are now used. Preparations are now done weeks and months ahead of the chowder date. Serving begins at noon and continues until the soup is gone. The ingredients are much the same except that macaroni and rice are no longer used. In the early 1970’s the Cemetery Association received a donation from a will which made it self sufficient. Since that time the proceeds have been used for mission work, special projects for the cemetery and for improvements to the chowder facilities. Chowder day is a homecoming event for the community.
The Allendale Presbyterian Church organized February 26, 1867 . We find no other reference to it. There is more than one reference to a Presbyterian Church at Timberville but not much information. Perhaps these are one and the same.
The Friendsville Presbyterian Church was founded August 25, 1857 with 28 members. The first church was built in 1860.
The Friendsville Male and Female Seminary opened in the brick church in September, 1860 and was very successful for at least 20+ years. The seminary later (1866-1868) built its own building and had an endowment fund secured in 1870. It educated 1,400 students over its course of history. It was started in the interests of higher education and Christianity. It trained multitudes of teachers for the public schools and Christian workers in various denominations. Many students went on the become elders and ministers of many Presbyterian churches in southern Illinois and some went to other states. One student became a professor at Illinois State Normal University and another became a legislator in Indiana . On May 27, 1896 a tornado destroyed the church building. A frame building was built on the same site. The church closed in April, 1978 and the building is now used by Pentecostal Faith Assembly of Friendsville.
The preaching at Methodist meetings in this area was first done by circuit riding ministers. The first church began on November 9, 1817 with preaching in a home. Services were then held for 2 years in a log building on 2 nd Street between Walnut and Chestnut. In 1845 the circuit included preaching at Lebanon , Stonis, Riggs, Rochester , Centerville , Pleasant Ridge and Newley. In 1824 a brick church (the first in the state) was erected at 4 th and Mulberry Streets. The building was a simple structure, 50 x 70 feet, with a gallery at one end. People were called to worship by the blasts from a cow’s horn. This building had ceased to be used for church but was destroyed by the 1877 tornado. In 1827 the first Methodist conference was held in Mt. Carmel . Around 1848 a new building was built, Beauchamp Chapel, at 117 East 4 th Street . It was named for Rev. William Beauchamp, one of Mt. Carmel ’s founders. This 2 story building was remodeled in 1875 and was damaged in the 1877 tornado but rebuilt and remodeled again. In 1869 a brick parsonage was erected. In 1899 the congregation moved into a new building at 4 th and Mulberry Streets. This was a very grand church with an impressive pipe organ added in 1908. This building was used for nearly 50 years until it was destroyed by fire early on the morning of February 29, 1944. Services were held at the high school gymnasium and other churches in the community. A new building was built and on June 5, 1949 services were held in the first floor assembly room. The historic bell from theWabash County court house was purchased with the promise that it would be placed in the tower and rung when there was no more debt on the building. The church was dedicated on May 25, 1952. In 1968 the Methodists merged with the EUB churches and this church became known as Trinity United Methodist.
Keensburg Methodist Church was dedicated in October 1894. The Gothic windows in this exhibit came from that building when it was remodeled by the Pentecostal congregation after Methodist services ceased and the building was sold in the early 1990’s.
In 1858 Rev. Nisbett started a new church called Bethel . The congregation had previously met in homes and in a hickory pole cabin on the Alfred Rigg farm. In 1880 the congregation moved to Bellmont and built an elegant frame church 34 x 60.
The Asbury Society was founded about 1830 and organized in a log barn on the Emanuel Reel farm where a great revival had been in progress. For many years the congregation used the Simonds schoolhouse for services. The name Asbury was given in honor of Francis Asbury an associate of John Wesley and first bishop of the Methodist Episcopal church to be consecrated in America . The frame chapel constructed in 1868 was sold in 1949 to make way for a new church building. The present brick church was completed and dedicated December 17, 1950 .
Bellmont United Methodist was among the earliest Methodist organizations in the county outside Mt. Carmel . In 1825 or 1826 a society was organized in a hickory-pole barn on the Alfred Rigg farm. Services were held in homes or school houses until 1858 when Bethel Chapel was built. This was near Bethel Cemetery . In 1880 the congregation had grown so much that it moved to nearby Bellmont and built a new frame building. This building was destroyed by a windstorm in April 1909. Services were held in the town hall until a new building was completed in the fall of 1910.
The McKendree Methodist Episcopal Church was most likely located west of Lick Prairie Christian Church. It is found in a listing of Methodist churches in the 1911 Risley history of Wabash County but its location was not found on an 1888 plat map. When Mr. & Mrs. Philander Mayne celebrated their 60 th wedding anniversary in 1930, a basket dinner was held in the church grove.
The Keensburg Methodist Church was dedicated in October 1894 on land purchased from Charles A. Floyd. George W. Davis and his son E. S. Davis did most of the construction work in only two months. The church began with 8 charter members and closed on Sunday August 27, 1995 with 7 members. At its pinnacle membership was about 60 to 65 members. The building was sold to the Pentecostal congregation.
The earliest record of Lancaster Zion United Methodist Church is found in an old record book written in German. “In the fall of 1841 A.D., the first Evangelical pastor Bro. Christian Augenstein of the Mt. Carmel circuit visited this community.” Augenstein served a six county area in Illinois and Indiana with Wabash County in the center. He covered the circuit on horseback. The first services in Lancaster were held in homes and the first Evangelical Class or congregation was organized in 1842. The first name of the church was Zion ’s Church of the Evangelical Brethren. Later it became known as the Evangelical Association and in 1922, the Evangelical Church . The Evangelical Church was founded in 1803 by Jacob Albright among German people in eastern Pennsylvania and was often called the Albright Church . In 1857 a union church was built on one of Lancaster ’s public lots. The congregation worshiped here and shared the building with other congregations. This building was near the present Church of Christ and was built and used by the congregations of the Evangelical Church , Church of Christ and Methodist Episcopal. Camp meetings were very popular during the summer months with families traveling as far as Olney by wagon and staying for several days. The congregation grew and in 1865 the Evangelicals decided to build their own building. This frame building was located just south of the main road through Lancaster and two blocks east of the crossroads. The building was completed in 1866. It was sturdily built of native timber, 34 x 44. There were two front doors as in the Pennsylvania Dutch format. Men used the right door and women used the left. The division of men and women was delineated by a wooden railing which ran from front to back through the center of the church along the tops of the center pews. The railing was removed many years ago. There were 4 windows on each side of the sanctuary. At the time the church was built there were 49 members. In 1882 the church acquired a white two story frame parsonage one block south of the church on the east side of the road. In 1946 there was an official merger of the Evangelical and United Brethren denominations. As early as 1813 attempts were made to unite these two groups which shared common doctrines and had similar origins. The new church was known as Evangelical United Brethren. From the 1930’s the church experienced a gradual increase in attendance which peaked in the 1950’s. Average attendance was 97 in 1955 and 115 in 1956. An annex was added which provided education space, a fellowship hall, kitchen, furnace room and restrooms. The parish acquired a new parsonage in 1962. A tornado in 1990 damaged the church and parsonage. Repairs and remodeling brought both back into full repair. Anna Rae Anderson authored an excellent booklet on church history in 1992 for a 150 th anniversary.
In 1865 the Methodist Chapel was built in Timberville about 2 miles south of present day Allendale. The church was situated across the road from the present home of Kay and John Blair. The building was also used by the Christian Church congregation whose closest church was at Barney’s Prairie. The church building was moved to the new town of Allendale in 1874. This building was long and narrow with two doors, one for men, and one for women. In 1900 additional land adjoining the church site was purchased and a new building was built. The basement was added about 1924. Everyone helped to raise money. The Ladies Aid Society made quilts and rag rugs and held ice cream suppers. The young girls had a Little Thimble club and sewed the rags for the ladies to make rugs. The girls sold cracker jack that the ladies made. The minister at that time was a circuit rider with an Arabian horse. He stayed with a nearby family and slept on the davenport in the living room. The new building was complete by August 17, 1902. April 25, 1909 the parsonage was purchased. Restrooms were added in 1953. New classrooms were added and other improvements were made. The church burned on January 5, 1969. Everything was lost. Services were held at the Allendale School . A new brick church was built and was dedicated on July 30, 1972. In August 1988 new windows were replaced with stained glass. The church did sustain damage in the tornado on January 7, 1989 but repairs were made. Funerals were held in the church for a time since the funeral home was destroyed in the tornado.
The 1911 Risley history lists these Methodist churches located outside Mt. Carmel : Friendsville, Lick Prairie, Cabbage Corner, Asbury, Keensburg, Cowling, Allendale, McKendree, Maud and Bellmont.
The Gospel Kingdom Church began when Rev. D. Frank Peach started holding brush-arbor meetings in Allendale at the school grove in 1936. He had been converted in 1927 at the Old Pentecostal Tabernacle behind the present water works on Hinde Street . On the day of his conversion he received the Holy Spirit as evidence by speaking in other tongues. Interest was so good at the Allendale meetings he continues services in that community, using old store buildings and homes until 1941. On December 7, 1941 , a cottage meeting was held at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Jack Dossett at the corner of 7 th and Poplar Streets in Mt. Carmel . This was also the day Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese. Shortly after that Rev. Peach bought a small grocery store at 4 th and Division Streets which he and the congregation renovated for a suitable meeting space. Services were held there for over a year then Rev. Peach purchased a larger store building at the corner of Mulberry and McDowell streets. The congregation continued to grow until that building was inadequate. In 1947 property was purchased on South Market Street where an old garage was located. The building was razed and the congregation built a building for worship services. The building was made of concrete blocks and was 40 x 80 feet with a full basement. In 1956, when the environment on South Market became undesirable, the congregation, then known as Gospel Assembly purchased the building on West Second Street from the Baptist Church . The church was in that location for about a year. In 1958 Rev. Peach purchased the building which had been the Church of God at Second and Cherry Streets. After Rev. Peach’s death on April 27, 1967 , there were several pastors. The church divided. The people who left purchased the church building at 230 East 5 th Street which had been Parkview Christian. The name changed to Gospel Kingdom . In 1987 the congregation reunited and continued to worship at 230 East 5 th Street for several more years. In the last 1990’s property was purchased at 1400 West Third Street , formerly owned by the T. W. George trust as its oil drilling and service yard. A new sanctuary was built and the existing building was renovated. John F. Peach, son of Rev. D. Frank Peach is the pastor.
Gospel Kingdom Church does not have a structured internal governing body. Its leaders are picked by God, not elected and their primary function is service. Many of their beliefs are similar to Pentecostal congregations but they have a different view of the Trinity and Holy Spirit. The view of the Holy Spirit is more that of a person which is the combined spirits of God and Jesus. The church also believes in the oneness of the Trinity. The church uses water baptism and all members are immersed.
In May 1870 Sebastian Ankenbrand donated one acre of land to build a church. St. Sebastian Catholic Church was named after him. The building was completed in 1871 and at that time was a mission of Mt. Carmel . The church was started by German immigrants who settled north of Bellmont. In 1881 Sebastian donated two more acres for a school and cemetery. The first burial was in 1893. It was the custom at that time for the church bell to toll once for each year of the deceased person’s life. The school was built in 1893. The teachers were nuns from the Precious Blood from Ruma , IL . On February 24, 1925 the school was destroyed by fire. In 1980 a parish hall was added to the church and in 1986 classrooms were also added. Father Bill Rowe is the present pastor to approximately 60 families.
St. Rose Catholic church was built near old Rochester at a spot known as Brewer’s Hill about halfway between Rochester and Keensburg. The church was in existence for 36 years. The old French settlers of the area died off and the church was removed in 1868. There was a cemetery there also but the grave markers have been removed.
This first location of the Catholic Church in Mt. Carmel was on Plum Street where the high school now stands. In July of 1871 this new church was dedicated on the south side of 2 nd Street between Cherry and Pear.
The earliest record of Catholicism in Mt. Carmel is from 1836, showing the marriage of Nicholas Peter and Barbara Wirth by Rev. P. Chackert, a Jesuit Father. He had traveled from Jasper County to minister to Catholics in Mt. Carmel . By 1842 priests were coming on horseback on a regular basis to say mass in various homes. In 1850 about 50 Catholic families emigrated from Germany . They were all very poor with just enough money to pay for their voyage. In 1851 they began to ask for a church in Mt. Carmel . A brick church was built on the hill between Cherry and Pear Streets on the south side of East 2 nd Street . The building was 63 x 30. The cornerstone was laid on August 8, 1851 and it was dedicated to St. Mary of Mt. Carmel in 1854. The Catholic Cemetery at that time was a section of Sand Hill cemetery on West Third Street , across from South School . In 1880 the parish bought a large frame building to use for a school. The nuns lived in the back of the building. In September 1881 the Sisters of the Order of the Most Precious Blood took charge of St. Mary’s School with an enrollment of 40 pupils. The school was located on the south side of the present high school where until recently the tennis courts were located. This is now a parking area. There were 5o-55 families in the parish at that time. By 1900 the congregation had grown so much that a new church was needed. Father Budde was the priest at that time and felt the church should be situated in the center of town. A school, rectory and sister’s residence were also built. The church was dedicated on October 16, 1900. The contractor was named Simon Peter. At the rear of the church building, facing Chestnut Street the priest’s house was built. The school building was built east of the new church. It was brick, two stories and contained school rooms, living rooms for the sisters in charge of the school and halls for the St. Joseph Benevolent Society and the Local Lodge of Catholic Knights. In 1904 the parish purchased land for a new cemetery at the end of Poplar Street . It is still in use. In 1920 a Silver Jubilee for Father Budde was held, celebrating 50 years at the Mt. Carmel parish. In 1953 a new school was built with 8 classrooms, a library and a gymnasium. In 1958 and 1959 a new rectory was built beside the church facing 5 th Street . In 2004 a complete renovation of the church was completed. This was the culmination of 9 years planning, fund raising and renovation.
Holy Sites--Sites Where Churches Have Been Located for Many Years
1030 Market Street
This building was built in 1939 by the Church of Christ and was used by it until 1962. From 1975 to 1986 the building was used by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In 1987 it was purchased by Emanuel Baptist congregation. Today it is a private dwelling.
Corner of 2 nd and Cherry Streets
The building was built in 1921 by the Church of God . In 1958 it was purchased by the Gospel Kingdom Church . This congregation divided in 1967 and reunited in 1987 then sold this building. Deckard Ministries held church here about a year and Full Gospel Tabernacle Church held a few meetings there in 2001. The building is now the home of the nondenominational church Jacobs’ Well.
218 West 7 th Street
1894 First Baptist Church
1930 Church of Christ
1934 Nazarene Church
119 West 2 nd Street
Originally a house and blacksmith shop
Zion Lutheran Church
Circa 1890-1893 First Baptist
1956-1958 Gospel Kingdom
Now Thompson & Pettyjohn Mini-storage
212 West Second Street
1817 set aside for a church by founders of Mt. Carmel
Log church for Methodist Congregations
1928 Pentecostal Mission ’s first church
1940 enlarged church for Pentecostal Assembly of God
1969 basement dug and church enlarge again
1985 Pentecostal Assembly of God expanded site
1999 became known as Heartland Worship Center
Corner of 5 th & Cherry
1873 Emanuel Evangelical Church -their 2 nd building
1918 Emanuel Evangelical Church -their 3 rd building
1964-1982 Parkview Christian Church
1984 Gospel Kingdom
1998 Private home of Devan and Stacey Swift