Marshall County

Baptist Church of Whitefield

At teh head of Theinius' Creek steps were early taken to organize a Baptist Church. October 12, 1854, a number of persons holding to the tenets of that denomination gathered at the school house to consult upon the propriety of establishing a Society, upon which occasion it was agreed to organize a church based upon the articles of faith set forth in the "Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge," and an ecclesiastical council was called to meet November 9th, Solomon Nighswonger being appointed to answer the questions of the council. At the appointed time the council met, and organized by electing Elder B. H. Weston moderator, and after due deliberation the First Baptist Church of Christ of Whitefield was duly declared established.

A sermon was delivered at this meeting by Elder H. G. Weston, of Peoria.

Elder W. G. Gordon was chosen as their first pastor, and a subscription was started to raise funds for the support of the preacher.

July 14, 1855, an effort was made to unite with the Baptist Society in the neighboring town of Stueben, with a view to building a church edifice for the accommodation of both, but after several ineffectual efforts the project failed.

Elder Gordon remained pastor of the Church from the start, holding meetings at the school house at the head of Thenius Creek until February, 1862, when the congregation, having outgrown its narrow limits, the question of constructing an edifice of their own was broached. Mr. E. Burson tendered the Society a n icely located piece of ground, which was accepted, and the people enthusiastically voted to put up a house of worship, but the necessary funds were not so enthusiastically forthcoming, and the project failed.

A call was extended to Brother Carnes to become their pastor, but he failing to respond, Elder Gordon remained until June 7th of that year, when, weary of his long service, he asked to be relieved.

March 26, 1864, the question of building a house of worship was renewed, and on this occasion with more success. THe same site was agreed upon as before, and the work pushed forward with surprising vigor, so that we find them dedicating their new meeting house October 23, 1864. It is a frame structure, capable of seating about 300 people, neatly finished and comfortable, but not especially attractive in the exterior. It cost about $2,200.

Brother Hoyle preached in 1865, for a salary of $650 per annum. Since then Brothers Stoddard, William Parker and others have officiated at the sacred desk. The membership of the church is not numerous, but is made up from among the wealthiest, oldest and most respectable people of this region.

A good Sabbath School has for years been maintained in connection with the church.

Extracted from Records of the Olden Time

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