Mt. MoriahGeneral Baptist Church| BethlehemGeneral Baptist Church|


1853 - 1978


   The first Mt. Moriah General Baptist Church was erected in May 1861, just a few days after the Civil War began. It was located about ¼ mile northeast across the road from the present structure. It was built of logs and thatched with clay. The acre of ground on which it stood was obtained from Uncle John Holmes, father to William Holmes, grandfather to Rev. Bennie L. Holmes and Edith (Loless) McCormick.

   The Rev. W.M. Smart organized the church which consisted of eight charter members. The church joined the Ohio Association of General Baptists, which was organized on November 25, 1853. The old church burnt and a second structure was built. The date of this is unknown, as the old records were destroyed. The second church was T shaped and stood where the well now is (1978).

   The church body met once a month for services, every fourth Saturday before the Lord’s Day. They had services Saturday afternoon and night, Sunday morning and Sunday night, meeting only for Sunday School the other Sundays.

   In October 1917, a building committee was appointed to build the third church in which we worship today. Brothers T.E. Holmes, C.V. Loless, W.M. Holmes, and G.S. Evetts were on that committee. The Church began meeting again in October 1919. The church attendance grew to around 70, and by 1925 consisted of 91 members. Rev. J. W. Lemmons was pastor at that time.

   In the 1930’s the church attendance fell to only three families. Rev. H.T. Little, the Home Mission preacher, came and held a revival in 1937. Bro. Carolos McCormick, who for many years was choir director, was converted in that revival along with many others in the community. Bro. Herbert Little was elected as pastor in 1939.

   Our oldest member (1978), Mrs. Anna (Holmes) Powell was 104 years old in March 1977. Mrs. Edith McCormick has belonged to our church for 58 years (1978), which is longer than any other living member.

   Former Pastors of the Mt. Moriah General Baptist Church: Revs. W.M. Smart, Rev. Larkin Toler, Rev. J.B. Tucker, Rev. I.A. Ledbetter, R.F. Throgmorton, Arnold S. Barger, D.A. Ledbetter, M.F. Oxford, Alfred Dunn, Joe Rose, W.E. Dutton, Charles Durfee, W.B.T. Harris, Herbert Little, Albert Harris, Melvin Mitchell, Willie Deaton, Rev. Arnold Shuffleberger, J.W. Lemmons, James Potter, Lorimer Hicks, Walter Holmes, Vernon Buchanan, James Harley Rose, Wilson Rister, William Mosbey, Roy Biggerstaff, Edward L. Alsip.


In the book, “A History of Johnson County Illinois’, pages 119 and 120 read: “There are two General Baptist Churches in this county. They belong to the Ohio Association which was organized in 1854. Bethal is the name of one of the churches. It is situated in the northern part of the county and was organized in 1864.

We believe this to be the “Bethlehem” (Bethel) church as it fits the descripton. Membership of Bethlehem in 1902 was 72. The pastor was Rev. Larkin Toler. Membership dropped steadily from 1902 until 1957 when the membership was 18. There were no services held for almost 20 years until 1976, when it was reorganized with 9 members.

Early pastors in the turn of the century were Revs. Larkin Toler, N. J. Thorton, T. H. Ragsdale, R. F. Trogmorton, N. H. Redleman, T. M. Ozee and Arnold S. Barger. In the 1920’s pastors were Revs. Alfred Dunn, W. E. Dutton, and Sylvester Tyner. In the 1930’s pastors were Revs. Lee Dunn, James H. Crites, W. E. Dutton and H. T. Little. In the 1940’s, the Revs. Bernie Ewell, Earl Henderson, Wm. Stacey. In the 1950’s, Revs. Edward Boyd, Bennie Holmes, Buck Williams. Present Pastor is Rev. Jerry Lingle (1978).

HISTORY OF THE CHURCHES OF THE OHIO ASSOCIATION OF GENERAL BAPTIST 1853 - 1978: Compiled & Edited by Rev. W. T. Parish. Published in the commemoration of the 125th annual association of the Ohio Association of General Baptist Churches held at Camp Oxford September 7-8-9, 1978.

(This book given to Linda Holmes White, at the death of her father, Rev. Bennie L. Holmes in 1990. Rev. Bennie Holmes had been a member of Mt. Moriah Church over 40 years.)

Submitted by Linda Holmes White

This page was last updated Friday, 02-Sep-2011 22:37:55 EDT.
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