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Early Churches of Downs, Illinois

Elder 1. D. Newell, a home missionary of the Baptist denomination, was in this field at work, holding meetings as early as 1836. He organized a church, and a building was erected at Lytleville about that time ; and soon after him, Elder Elijah Veatch preached there and in the surrounding country. There was a church organized, and preaching maintained by it for a time, at the Macedonia Schoolhouse, in this township; but it has disbanded. Rev. Joel Hulsey, of the same denomination, came from Kentucky and preached at Lytleville awhile, and, in 1835, came to this town and bought land on Section 19, and remained here for some years.

There was an organization of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and meetings were regularly maintained along the Grove; and a union church was built by that denomination, co-operating with the Methodists, on Section 2, and was occupied by those two denominations in harmony for several years. Rev. R. D. Taylor, Revs. Neat and Archie Johnson and James McDonell were the preachers of the former, and Father Shepherd, Father Royal and Rev. Miflin Harker were the Methodist preachers.

Rev. William Bishop; a minister of the Cumberland Church, lived here a few years, preaching and teaching. He went to Mexico in 1846.

The United Brethren early held meetings, and formed an organization very early. In 1844, that terribly rainy season, when it rained so much that people could [lot work their land, and they had not much else to do but attend to their religious interests, Rev. Mr. Zook came here and held meetings around in the schoolhouses, and re-organized the church. While holding his protracted meeting, the people built rafts to get to his preaching, and the attendance was large. A church was decided on, and Solomon Mason, Lawson Downs, S. T. Richardson and other leading men took hold and erected the one standing near the township line. They have generally maintained preaching here, and usually a Sunday school.

A Methodist Church was built about 1863, on Collins’ land, in Section 25. Mr. Collins, Elias Walls, Jesse and John Karr were the principal men in this enterprise. Preaching is regularly maintained. It belongs to Le Boy circuit.

The United Brethren built a church in the northwestern quarter of Section 14, about 1873, called the ” Pleasant Grove ” Church. James and Matthias Killian were largely instrumental in building it. It is about 26x+16. It belongs to Randolph’s Grove circuit.

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