Friday, September 16, 2016

Little Village Primitive Baptist Church

The research library volunteers had the pleasure of meeting Jim Allison from Oklahoma a few weeks ago. Some of you may remember his father, Dr. Allison, the veterinarian. Jim has donated over 35 genealogy books to the research library for which we are very grateful. As we inventory and process them we hope to provide some updates on the blog about this new material. One of the first things that caught my eye was the Primitive Baptist Church books.

During the early part of the 19th century the Baptists in America were divided on various issues. Those Baptists, who held to the faith and practice of their ancient religious forefathers, became known as the Primitive, meaning original, Baptists. In 1992, there were presently 50 churches of this faith in Illinois according to Elder Robert L. Webb who published a book entitled Walk about Zion. (You can also check out the Primitive Baptist Research library at )

In Lawrence County there were three early Primitive Baptist churches. Little Village Church was organized in 1817 at the home of Thomas Mills. Charter members included John Mills, Thomas Mills, Lydia Mills, Richard Highsmith, Sally Highsmith, John Allison, Richard Allison, Daniel Allison, Phoebe Allison, and John Morris who, according to the records, was listed as a man of color. 

The first business meeting was held May 30, 1817 and while church records exist, no deed has been found. The church was dissolved in 1841.

The first meeting house for this congregation was built between 1820 and 1822 and was located on the bluff between the homes of Thomas Mills and Samuel Allison, probably near Russellville. According to the records it was a hewn log building, 20 x 25’, with a clapboard roof. The records state that a new site was chosen in 1828, and the land was donated for the use of the church and also the Little Village Cemetery.

The second Primitive Baptist Church was the Glady Fork Church organized June 26, 1820. Most of the charter members came from the Little Village Church. (Perhaps a reader can enlighten me as to where Glady Fork was located.)

The third church was the Bethel Church at Sumner organized in 1887.

Have you visited the new Research Library yet?  And have you seen the Religion and Water exhibit at the History Center?  You might want to include that on your weekend list of things to do....check the times we are open here

Lawrence County Historical Society is now making reservations for the Water/Ways bus tour through flood-prone Allison Prairie, the former George Field Army Air base, Lake Lawrence, the crossing where Abe Lincoln first came into Illinois, and past an eagle's nest. 

Cost is $10, seating is limited. Reservations may be made at the History Center.  The tour is being offered two different Saturdays, September 24 and October 1 with two tours each day; one at 10:00 am and one at noon. What are you ‘wading’ for…sign up now!