The Methodist Episcopal Church of Lacon dates back to the spring of 1836,
when so far as known the first sermon heard in the place was preached in the
unfinished Jesse Smith mill, by the Rev. Quinn Hall. The families of Hartley
Malone and Henry L. Crane, both Methodists and ardent workers, had reached
the place a few days before, and took an active interest in the cause. At
this meeting a large congregation assembled, coming from the country round
about, and notice was given that service would be held the Thursday
following at the cabin of James Hall, east of Lacon, and the Rev. A. E.
Phelps would officiate. This worthy and pious man, of remarkable ability,
and John McMurtry, a sweet singer of Israel, traveled the Pekin circuit,
embracing all the country between Hennepin and Pekin and the Illinois and
Vermilion Rivers, making the "round" once in two weeks. The Methodists of
Lacon, requesting the appointment be changed to the village, on his next
arrival Mr. Phelps held services at the cabin of Mr. Malone. At this meeting
the little band of Methodists handed in their "letters" or credentials of
standing, and from this may be dated the first organized class and society
of the place. The names of those uniting at this time were: James Henthorn,
Sarah Henthorn, Nancy Henthorn, Sarah Effner, Jonathan Babb, Maiy Babb, E.
H. Williamson, Catherine Williamson, H. L. Crane, Elizabeth Crane, Hartley
Malone, Julia Malone, William Hadley, Sarah Hadley, D M. Robinson, Elizabeth
Robinson. James Henthorn was appointed leader, but died in September. He was
the second person interred in the new cemeteiy, a daughter of Virgil
Lancaster being the first. After the death of Mr. Henthorn, H. L. Crane was
appointed leader, in which capacity he served faithfully for many years. He
died in February, 1880, and with a single exception (Mrs. Hartley Malone)
was the only survivor of the original class. For the first year services
were held in a frame building erected by Dr. Condee that stood near the
Fisher Mill. It had neither fire-place nor stove, yet during this time
served both the Methodists and Presbyterians.
The first Church was erected in 1837, and dedicated in November by the Rev. Wm. Cundiff, pastor. It served the Society for twenty years, or until the completion of the present fine structure. After that it became a workshop, and then a store. At present it stands on the south side of Fifth street, and is used as a merchant tailor's shop. The building of the present Church was begun in 1855, and dedicated Sunday, June 24, 1860. At eleven A. M., Dr. O. S. Munsell preached in the audience room, and A. C. Price in the basement. F. Smith preached at three P. M., and Dr. Munsell in the evening. The dedicatory services were held at the close of the evening service.
1838, Z. Hall was pastor.
1839, Lacon became the head of a "circuit" embracing all of Putnam and Marshall Counties east of the Illinois River, with what is now Tonica, and Cedar Point, in La Salle County David Blackwell, pastor.
1840, David Dickinson.
1841, C. Atkinson, J. B. Houts.
1842, J. C. Pinckard.
1844, J. F. Devore.
1845, Francis Smith.
1846, C. Babcock, T. F. Royal.
1847 and '48, W. C. Gumming, A. D. Field.
1849, Lacon became a station, B. C. Swartz, pastor, who was succeeded as follows:
1850 and '51, L. R. Ellis.
1852 and '53, Z. Hall.
1854 and '55, Joseph S. Frost.
1856, Ira Norris (supply).
1857, Ahab Keller.
1858 and '59, B. Applebee.
1860, S. B. Smith.
1861 and '62, C. C. Knowlton.
1863, J. S. Millsap.
1864, G. M. Irwin.
1865, '66 and '67, J. W. Haney.
1868, William Watson.
1869 and '70, Jarvice G. Evans.
1871, W. P. Graves.
1872, P. A. Crist.
1873 and '74, A. Bower.
1875, L. B. 'Kent.
1876 and '77, S. Brink.
1878, A. C. Price.
1879, L. Springer.
Extracted 23 Feb 2014 from Records of the Olden Time