Jefferson County

Church Histories

First United Methodist Church Pastor David Eadie Submitted By: First United Methodist Church
Historical Overview 1818 - Organizational meeting in the log cabin of Edward Maxey of the “Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Jefferson County.” 1819 - Society selected a log school house near Old Union Cemetery as its regular meeting place. 1822 - Services were conducted by local preachers until the Society became a part of the “Methodist Circuit Riders” 1838 - Land was deeded at North Eleventh Street, north of the City Hall to the Trustees Built first church 1854 - Methodist membership continued to grow Land deeded to Trustees for present property Fine brick building was erected at the cost of $4,000.00 Zadok Casey presented a bell, which hangs in the present day church and is rung each Sunday for the Call to Worship Church auditorium used as a court room while the Appellate Court building was under construction Church became a Station Charge, Rev. James Leaton was appointed Pastor. (this means, the pastor served one church only instead of 2 or more) 1888 - Devastating tornado destroyed the brick church New brick building, west of one destroyed, was dedicated by Bishop Thomas Bowman 1893 - Church was renamed “The First Methodist Episcopal Church of Mount Vernon” 1914 - The 1888 building was completely remodeled, redecorated and basement completely renovated 1939 - Was renamed “The First Methodist Church of Mount Vernon” 1948 - Purchased new Parsonage at 1018 Maple Street 1949 - Educational Building constructed 1957 - Existing building faced with Bedford Stone With congregation contributions and a bequest of Ray Jacobsen estate made possible a financing of more than $200,000 with very little debt to the church 1959 - Bedford Stone facing debt was paid 1968 - The name of the church again changed, uniting with the Evangelical United Brethren, to become “The First United Methodist Church of Mount Vernon” Establishment of the Don R. Crocker Memorial Center to honor deceased members 1971 - Church sanctuary was completely renovated and extensive remodeling, redecoration of the church interior at the cost of $350,000 1972 - Congregation purchased corner property and transformed it into “Pioneer Park” in honor of those Pioneers who organized the first Methodist Society in Jefferson County in 1818 1973 - Dedication of the completely renovated church by Bishop Lance Webb 1977 - A 68 rank, four manual pipe organ was installed and dedicated Rev. Clyde Funkhouser was pastor 1982 - Installation of church elevator at the cost of $106,853. Dr. Billy G. Hahs was pastor 1983 - Newsletter stated “The elevator is in and working” Richard Peacock did the drawings Bob Lipps was the contractor 1986 - Elevator was paid in full 1990 - Steeple and cross installed. Dr. Billy G. Hahs was pastor Fabricated by Campbellsville Industries, Campbellsville, KY Jack Goldman did final design Bob Lipps was contractor 1991 - Angels on Assignment formed by Betty Lipps and Billy Hahs 1998 - Celebration of 180th Anniversary of continuous service of the First United Methodist Church of Mount Vernon. 1999 - The congregation voted to stay at the present location Property north on Main Street purchased for parking 2000 - Beginning February 1st, the church building was completely remodeled, redecorated and renovated including grounds at the cost of $1,126,623.95 On October 29th was the Reconsecration of the Sanctuary with Dr. Alan Rhein officiating Angels on Assignment moved to old Wood Building on Broadway 2001 - Consecration of Angel Center on Broadway, February 11th. Title Report The following has been copied from the Stationary of Webb & Harriss dated 5/1/57 Abstracts of Title - Title Reports Titles in Jefferson County, Illinois The First Methodist Church of Mt. Vernon What was probably the first property owned by the Methodist Church in Mt. Vernon was that tract of land lying between the City Hall and the Elk's parking lot. It had a frontage of 41 feet on 11th street and was bounded on the South by Church Alley. It was bought in 1835 and sold in 1853, at which time the land where the present church building is located, was purchased, according to information found in the records of the office of the Recorder of Jefferson County. A special conference was called in Baltimore, Maryland, in the year 1784 at which a religious organization was formed, and given the name of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Later throughout the states, small groups of the Methodist faith were formed in various communities, and were know as Societies of the Methodist Episcopal Church. It was in the year 1818 that such a group was formed in Jefferson County, Illinois and after the founding of the town of Mount Vernon, this group became known as the Mt. Vernon Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1894 when the Union Street M. E. Church (new Wesley Methodist Church) was organized, the Mt. Vernon Society changed its name to First Methodist Episcopal Church, for convenience in designating it from the other societies. This name was retained until the year 1939, when at a Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church South and the Protestant Methodist Church, the three organizations were merged under the name of the Methodist Church. At this time, the word Episcopal was eliminated and thus the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Mt. Vernon became the First Methodist Church of Mt. Vernon, without any organic change. The title to the land on which the present church building is situated dates back to January 24, 1813 when William Casey entered it from the United States. His patent was issued May 24, 1824 and signed by James Monroe, President. The block on which the First Methodist Church is located contained 10 lots. On July 18th, 1853, the Church acquired four of these lots from Ambrose C. Hankinson and wife for the sum of $300.00. The two west lots were purchased from George Dixon and wife on March 23, 1867. Some of the early trustees of the church were such prominent men was John N. Johnson, Downing Baugh, William J. Stepehson, Darius C. Warren, R. W. Lyon, Stephen T. Stratton, James E. Ferguson, R. L. Strattan, Charles W. Pavey, Albion F. Taylor, Jeremiah Taylor and Christopher D. Ham. The beautiful present day structure of the First Methodist Church at 12th and Main Streets in Mt. Vernon new stands as a tribute to these early trustees, and as a symbol of the early Christians influence which was continued to exist here in Mt. Vernon since the town first came into being in 1819. Webb & Harris by: George N. Webb
The Methodist Church History Mt. Vernon IL Register (Weekly) - December 26, 1888 Submitted By: Mary Zinzilieta The first religious denomination represented in this county was the Methodist. In the spring of 1819, or about that time, the first religious organization was effected. It was at a meeting held in Edward MAXEY's cabin. The society thus formed comprised Edward MAXEY and wife, Wm. MAXEY and wife, Burc(h)ett MAXEY and wife, Fleming GREENWOOD and wife and Zadok CASEY. Several of the very earliest settlers were Methodist preachers. Among these were Zadok CASEY, Edward MAXEY and Lewis JOHNSON, Sr. John JOHNSON, another pioneer preacher, came in later, He moved to this county in 1824, though he preached here as early as 1820, at which time he baptized two persons present in the congregation on Sunday. The first sermon preached in this county is said to have been delivered by Zadok CASEY. It was preached in the fall of 1817. Every man, woman and child within the present limits of Jefferson County is said to have been present. In the fall of 1820 a meeting house was built at Union, subsequently noted as a campground and sacredly remembered for its great and glorious revivals. At the Missouri conference which met in the fall of 1820, David SHARP was sent as Presiding Elder, with five circuits in Illinois. On the Wabash circuit was Thos. DAVIS, and he included the church at Old Union in his work. He was succeeded in 1822 by Hachabah VREEDERBURGH and Thos. RICE. In the general minutes of 1823 Mt. Vernon first appeared upon the record, Illinois District, Samuel H. Thompson, P.E.. In 1827 and again in 1828, Thos. FILES was sent to Mt. Vernon circuit, Chas. HOLIDAY, P.E. of the Wabash district. Files was succeeded by John FOX in 1829, Geo. LOCKE (father of John W. LOCKE) P.E.. In 1830 John H. BENSON and Miles HUFFATEER were sent to this circuit; in '31 J. H. BENSON; in '32 Jas. WALKER; in '33 Simeon WALKER, (John S. BARGER, P.E.). In 1834 we had T. C. COLLINS, and in 1835 Warren L. JENKINS, who left before the expiration of the year dissatisfied with the people and the people with him. He was followed by Joshua BARNES, and in 1835 William MITCHELL, an excellent young man and a good preacher, was appointed to Mt. Vernon circuit. David COULSON succeeded him in 1837 and John SHEPHERD in 1838, with Asael E. PHILLIPS, P.E.. In 1834 John JOHNSON's and Downing BAUGH's were the only Methodist families in town; still there were faithful ones besides these: Jas. ROSS, Candace ANDERSON, wife of Stinson H. ANDERSON, and his mother Ann ANDERSON, were devoted Christians and Methodists. For many years the Methodists had no house of worship in Mt. Vernon. Sometimes services were held in the court house, sometimes in private houses. Generally the ministers preached at Old Union and the people walked out of town. In September, 1835, what is now the Episcopal Church lot was conveyed to John JOHNSON, Thos. M. CASEY, Joel PACE, David HOBBS, Downing BAUGH. Joseph PACE and Jas. ROSS as trustees of the church. Here in 1836 of '37, they built a small, plain house, quite unpretentious, without a steeple or bell, with a small pulpit and seats of a primitive style. Preaching was had here monthly. Owing to the unfinished or uncomfortable condition of the church, it is well remembered that in 1837 or '38 Jas. MASSEY, J. S. BARGER, and Benjamin F. CAVANAUGH preached in the court house and at Downing BAUGH's house. CAVANAUGH was a powerful preacher even at that early date in his ministerial career. In 1840 steps were taken to finish the church in better style by adding eight or ten feet to the east end and putting a new roof on it, seating it neatly, and putting in an old-fashioned, wide, tall box pulpit that almost concealed a small preacher from view. Before it was finished Circuit Court came on and as the court house had fallen down, court was held in the unfinished church, as it was the only house in town large enough. During this term of court at the church and elsewhere Abraham LINCOLN and John A. McCLERNAND, Presidential electors discussed the issues of that campaign. So it seems this was not one of the churches in which neither politics or religion was allowed. It was about this date that Wm. EDWARDS, a local preacher, settled in this place. He was a pillar in the church and a power for good, a faithful worker in the Sabbath school, where he will long be remembered. In 1840, Wm. T. WILLIAMS was appointed to Mt. Vernon circuit, Jas. M. MASSEY in '41, Jas. H. DICKENS in '42, Jas. I. RICHARDSON in '43, Allison McCord in '44, Arthur BRADSHAW in '45. In the year 1846, at Old Union, we had one of the greatest revivals ever witnessed in this county, attended by the most marvelous displays of divine power. John THATCHER was sent to the circuit in 1847, I. F. KIMBER in '48, Jas. A. ROBINSON in '49, John H. HILL in '52. (J. I. RICHARDSON, P.E.), T. W. JONES in '53, (J. H. HILL, P.E.). In 1853 the place where we were being "too straight for us," four lots in block 11, lying east of this church, were purchased and deeded to the trustees, Downing BAUGH, D. C. WARREN, Wm. J. STEPHENSON, Lucelius C. MOSS, John N. JOHNSON, Joel F. WATSON and Chas. T. PACE. Here a neat brick church was erected in 1854, costing about $4,000. At the laying of the corner stone Zadok CASEY gave a thrilling narrative of the rise and progress of Methodism in this community. The dedication sermon was preached by John VANCLEVE the Sabbath before conference here in 1854. The following Sabbath Bishop AMES preached a sermon that few who heard it will ever forget. At this conference Mt. Vernon was made a station and James LEATON put in charge of it. There were 84 members and 11 probationers. The official members were: John JOHNSON, L.E.; Z. CASEY, L.D.; John H. WATSON, H. DAVISSON and Samuel SCHANCK, The Stewards were Z. CASEY, J. F. WATSON, John N. JOHNSON, Chas. T. PACE and Downing BAUGH. At the first quarterly conference the Sunday school report showed 75 scholars and 10 teachers. The pastor's salary, including table expenses, was fixed at $423. In 1880 this brick building was enlarged in order to accommodate a rapidly increasing membership, a fine tall steeple erected at a cost of several thousand dollars, and which left the church some in debt. This debt,however, had all be liquidated several years ago. The building was then destroyed by the cyclone of last February.

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