Southern Methodist Episcopal Church

                  in Kinmundy, Illinois


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   We are looking for photos of people and/or places from around Kinmundy & Alma.  Can you help?

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   Dolores (Ford) Mobley –

                       208 Joan Dr.; Divernon, IL  62530; (217) 625-7527



            Gladys (Corrie) See –

                                         408 S. Washington St.; Kinmundy, IL 62854; (618) 547-7731







“The Kinmundy Express” - August 24, 1944: Old Church Razed: The old Southern Methodist church has been torn down and hauled away. This marks the passing of another old landmark. We know that this old church has some very interesting history but we have been able to dig it all up.  According to records found in the cornerstone of the old church, it must have been erected by a Presbyterian Congregation because in the lead container, which as poorly sealed, was found a Presbyterian Catechism. Along with this was a hymn book without music, a bible printed in 1830, a silver half dollar made in 1853, and some documents written in long hand. Water had seeped into the container and the writing on these documents were not legible. From all appearances, one document gave the charter members of the church and the other one a brief history of it. So according to this information, the church must have been erected sometime back in the 50's by the Presbyterians and later sold to the Southern Methodist Congregation. It was sold a few years ago to the Baptist Congregation. But this congregation was disbanded and the church became the property of the State Baptist Association. We were talking with Mr. George Compton of Greenville, Field Secretary for the State Baptist Association and he told us he made a trip here and looked up all the members of the Baptist Congregation and that none of them wanted to be responsible for the care of the Church.  They could have sold the Church house very easily but instead, they gave it to the South Hill Baptist Congregation southeast of Greenville with the proviso that they tear it down and erect another church.  The grant was accepted and it was not long until the building was torn down and the last load left here last Thursday. The church was donated to the South Hill Baptist Congregation southeast of Greenville with the proviso that they tear it down and erect another church. The last load left here Thursday.  Mr. Compton said that they found some excellent lumber in this building and very little of it was broken up in tearing it down.  The sills were all mortised and put together with wooden pins.  Good white oak and white pine lumber was used in it.  The bell was in excellent condition.  The church lots have been sold to Abe and Maude Baylis, whose property adjoins on the north.  We are truly sorry seeing these old landmarks leaving us but we are happy in the thought that this one will do a lot of good elsewhere just like it has here.

“Kinmundy Centennial Booklet; "Kinmundy"; Railway to Thruway; 1857 – 1957”:  A Southern Methodist Church was active from 1869 to the early 1900s but they disbanded and the members joined with Cumberland Presbyterians or Methodists. Their church, which stood on block 9 on Adams Street was torn down after having been used by the Baptist congregation for some time

M.E. Church & Parsonage [1869 – 1900] located on the west side 100 block of S. Adams St.. 

Became home of Abe BAYLIS & sister Maude (who died when house burned in Sept. 1949).   Later, this was the property of the Gesell family.



“Brinkerhoff’s History of Marion County, Illinois - 1909”; by Prof. J.H.G. Brinkerhoff 

The Methodist Episcopal Church South (pages 147-148)

            The Methodist Episcopal church South in Marion county was the outgrowth of political animosities engendered before and during the Civil war.   Political intolerance split churches and even families into warring fragments.  Many of the Methodist faith felt themselves aggrieved at the attitude of the church, among whom was Rev. J.W. WESCOTT, as minister of the Methodist Episcopal church.  He withdrew from the Methodist Episcopal church and called a convention to meet at the courthouse in Salem June 22, 1864.  The following ministers were present at the meeting: J.W. WESCOTT, Thomas L. MIDDLETON, William FINDLEY, James B. GRAY, Thomas DEEDS and William LAYSON, and lay brethren.  Thomas BORRING, Arthur FOSTER, Thomas SMITH, Charles SMITH, James M. CHARLTON, John J. HOLT, J.C. McCONNELL, Elijah WERNBERLY, Isaac MISENHAMMER, Mordecai SMITH and a few others.  This convention organized under the name of the Evangelical church.  The first class was organized in Romine Prairie at the house of John J. HOLT.   Reverend WESCOTT was present and led the exercises.  The second class was organized at Old Union.  The third at Mount Zion church on North Fork, and the fourth at Harmony.  The first council was held at Mt. Zion church in September, 1864.  The council divided into districts.  The Salem district embraced all the county except the Romine church, which was included in the Xenia district.  As most of the members of Evangelical church had come out of the Methodist Episcopal church, they, in 1867, changed their name to Methodist and were received into the connection of the Methodist Episcopal church, South, with all the privileges of the conferences, by Bishop David S. DAGGETT.  Eighteen societies were organized in the county and for a time kept pace with other churches, but as the passions of men subside the necessity for separation of forces seems to be less apparent and the church today seems not to have the vigor of earlier times.

            No mention of any Methodist Episcopal church can be found of record before the year 1830, although it is probable that preachers of that denomination had now and then preached to the people passing through, but in that year the Grand Prairie Mission was formed, taking all the territory between the Wabash and the Kaskaskia rivers, and all Illinois south of Vandalia to Maysville, except the part embraced in the Mt. Vernon circuit, which covered a small portion of the south part of Marion county.  In 1830 Simeon Walker was sent to this mission field and preached the first sermon by a Methodist minister ever preached in Salem.  In 1831 he organized the first Methodist church in the county at the home of a Mrs. JONES.  At this time S.H. THOMPSON was the presiding elder.  In 1832 Phillip T. CORDER took the worth at this point and the next year James GRAHAM was sent and the name changed to Salem mission.  These men not only preached at Salem, but at Sandy Branch, Walnut Hill and Fosterburg, then flourishing, but now decayed and gone.  James HARSHA was the next circuit rider and as there was no church-house he preached like his predecessors in private houses.  Phillip MOORE succeeded HARSHA in 1835, and in time was succeeded by Justice R. RYMAN, with James H. DICKENS as his colleague.  Salem was then a village of about 15 families and the Methodist Episcopal church at this place was at a low ebb, but the old log courthouse was bought and for many years this was the only church on the circuit.  This year witnessed an increase of about two hundred in the entire circuit, about twenty of whom were to the Salem body.  The old courthouse was used until 1850, when Isaac GROVES was sent to the circuit and the first Methodist Episcopal church house was built.  It was a fram and stood where the new Episcopal church now stands on West Main street.  It was dedicated by James LEATON, and was used until 1865, when it was removed to make room for the new church, which was commenced that year.  The first Methodist Episcopal Sunday school was organized in 1850 in the new frame church.  In 1851 the Walnut Hill circuit was formed, embracing the south part of the county.  In 1856 conference was held in Salem and Salem was made a station, with Rev. Thomas A. EATON in charge.  During this year a protracted meeting was held, at which one hundred conversions were reported.  In 1858 T.F. HOUTS, who had left the law for the ministry was in charge.  In 1865 Rev. Joseph HARRIS was pastor, and to his zeal and energy is largely due the removal of the old frame church, which was used until 1906, when it was torn down, the lot sold and the erection of the splendid new stone-faced church, on land purchased just north of and facing the courthouse square.  During the two years of the building the Rev. J.G. TUCKER, in charge, was the head and fount of the enterprise.  It stands a monument of beauty and will last for generations.  It cost about thirty thousand dollars.

(DFM note: This article continues about the Centralia area churches.)


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