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Presbyterian Church of Whitefield

May 16, 1854, the Rev. John Turbit, Robert Faris and William P. Carson, members of a committee appointed by the Presbytery of Peoria to organize a church in Whitefield Township, met agreeably in a school house one and three-fourth miles noth-west of Hosic's farm. A sermon was preached, after which the organization of Mansfield Church was effected.

June 1, 1855, a public sessions was held, at which a number joined by card and certificate, materially strengthening the organization.

The organization continued to hold services at the different school houses in the vicinity as circumstances permitted, running along smoothly enough until in March, 1857, when a business meeting was held to devise measures for the erection of a house of worship. At this meeting considerable ill-feeling was developed, chiefly upon the question of location. A prominent member, and one who by reason of his wealth and position was expected to contribute liberally to the enterprise, was consulted, but his preferences as to location were ignored by the majority, whereupon he became exceeding wroth, expressing himself with much greater force than elegance. In fact, to fully ventilate his feelings and express his contempt, he found it necessary to employ numerous "cuss words," consigning the unreasonable majority to a mythical locality more noted for warmth than piety.

For this little breach of decorum he was promptly suspended. Notwithstanding his defection, however, and the ill-feeling engendered in consequence, the church edifice was finally built, the site being upon land donated by W. H. Brassfield. It is of brick, about 40x70 feet, is a neat and comfortable structure, and cost about $2,000. It was dedicated November 21, 1858, by Rev. R P. Faris, of Peoria.

The leading ministers since have been Rev. T. T. Smith, first stated preacher, Rev. William B. Faris, James Fleming and J. S. McClung.

Near the Church is a cemetery, which contains the remains of a number of the early members and their children, but as the location is not a good one the people of late years have preferred to bury their dead elsewhere.

The first Sabbath School was established September 1, 1867. It is well conducted and largely attended by the youth of the neighborhood.

Extracted 23 Feb 2014 from Records of the Olden Time


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