Notes from the White County Historical Society

By Charlene Shields

Notes from the White County Historical Society as they appear in "The Carmi Times."

Copyright ©2001 by "The Carmi Times" Permission to reprint granted to Cindy Birk Conley and the ILGenWeb by Barry Cleveland, editor, "The Carmi Times."

Early churches of Indian Creek

This is the fourth installment of The History of Indian Creek Township,
as told by Judge Ulys Pyle about 1960:

Among the early churches of Indian Creek is what is known as Old Sharon,
which is claimed to be the oldest Presbyterian Church in Illinois. It is
said to have been organized in 1816 by a Rev. James McGready from
Henderson, Ky. The public records at the Courthouse show a deed
executed by John McClellan to The Trustees of the Presbyterian
Congregation at Sharon Church, bearing date Aug. 25, 1863, conveying the
present church site and cemetery.

For a number of years this church ceased to function, and all the
members had died or moved away, when the citizens of the community took
it in hand, put the building in a good state of repair, and have church
services regularly, non-denominational. What developed into what now is
Walnut Grove Church was organized in 1854. While the church is in
Heralds Prairie Township, it was organized by Thomas Stokes, at the
home of William H. Stokes in Indian Creek Township, while those
participating in its organization lived in both townships. James Sallee
was moderator and W. H. Stokes was clerk. The original membership was
about 35 in number, some residents of Indian Creek Township and some in
Heralds Prairie.

The first Sunday school of this church was organized in 1868. William H.
Stokes was the first superintendent, T.J. Renshaw secretary and
librarian, and George Henson treasurer. He later became a Baptist
preacher and followed that calling the rest of his life. T.J. Renshaw,
Jesse Henson, J.P. McElyea, Amer Pyle, John W. Clark, Sarah Collard,
Mary Leathers, Mary Martin, Elizabeth Martin, Celia Garrison and Sarah
I. Leathers were the first teachers.

Another early church was Haven's Chapel, organized in 1856. Ebenezer,
another church, was organized about 1820.

The first railroad built through the township was the Springfield and
Illinois Southern, now the B. & 0, which was built in 1870-71. The
other, the Cairo and Vincennes, now the Big Four, was built in 1872.

The Village of Norris City, the principal town of the township, located
at the junction of these two railroads, was laid out in 1871 by William
A. Johnson and H.B. Powell. It was organized as a village in 1874.
(To be continued)


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