Friday, December 12, 2014

Shiloh Church 175th Anniversary 2014

Shiloh Church 2012
175 years ago the Shiloh Baptist church was constituted on December 9, 1839.  At that time, most of the surrounding country was in forest and the roads were mere cart tracks through the woods.  The United States of America had been established less than 65 years. The state of Illinois had been in existence approximately 20 years and Lawrence County was less than 20 years old.  The town of Bridgeport did not exist.  It was not laid out until 1857.

The first minutes recorded for the Regular Baptist Church called Shiloh indicated that the congregation had been meeting at Springhill Meeting house.  James Highsmith and William T Young, both from Lamoote Church  were appointed to be moderator and clerk.  Prayers were led by G. W. Riley from Bloomfield.  Letters of Transfer were presented from Jesse Lott and Bazil Parker from Wabash Church, and G. W. Walker, William Hacket and Simon Portwood from Indian Prairie. New members were presented:  J. S. Black, Mary Ann Black (his wife), Wm. Black and Mary Black (his wife) Samuel F. Black and Harriet Black (his wife), Richard Shipley and Sarah Shipley (his wife).  Daniel Black, Mrs. Mary Black and Elizabeth Black (wife of Daniel Black) were baptized on December 8, 1839.  The next Church meeting was to be held at Richard Shipley's house. (NOTE:  Of the eleven founding members, all were members of the Black family except two --Richard and Sarah Shipley.)

Seven new members were added on February 1840.  G W Cooper, Morten G. Epperson, Louisa Epperson, Elizabeth A. Shipley and Phebe A. Black were added by Baptism.  (NOTE: there was no indoor plumbing and all baptism were done by immersion...lets hope February was warm then)

The meetings were still held at Springhill but on July 11, 1840 the members met at Morris School.  On August 9, 1840 A. Lackey was received as a member and at this same meeting it was decided to call the new church Shiloh.  ( It was known before as the First Regular Baptist Church of Christ in T3NR12W Lawrence County, Illinois. )

In April 1843, a piece of land was selected to build a meeting house.  In August, the Church met on its own ground at the cross roads, the ground being formerly owned by the Widow (Alsa) Miller at whose home the church had frequently met.  (The one acre property was not formally deeded or recorded until 1855.)

At the close of 1843 the church had a membership of 55.  At the end of the first decade the church had a membership of 50.

Rev Clarence West of Shiloh church in the late 1920's
In January 1863  a motion to build a new meeting house was made and carried. In 1872 the preacher's salary was $350.  In October 1873, William Miller agreed to donate the ground south of the small graveyard for cemetery purposes when needed.

In January 1940 the church building was destroyed by fire. Saved from the fire were the original hand-hewn pews made of walnut which had been cured by early church member Jacob Hershey in the Wabash River at S. Francisville.

The Minute Book is recorded on Microfilm at the Byron Lewis Library, Vincennes University.