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History of Schools and Churches in Blue Mound, Illinois
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The town is now provided with suitable schoolhouses, and good schools are maintained. From the report of 1877, the following figures are taken : _N-umber of districts. 9 ; whole number of children under 21 years, 621 ; number between 6 and 21 years, 429; number enrolled in schools, 384 ; value of school property, $6,000 ; amount of town fund, $6,823; amount paid teachers, 82,523. Total expenses, 83,626. The citizens of Blue Mound very early took the matter of religious service and religious instruction in hand. Mr. John Speed Stagner, who, in many respects, is a pioneer in every good work, had, by a recent consecration of his life to religious work, and ordination to the work, according to the custom and rule of the ” Christian ” Church, come into his new home determined to build up religious institutions. Meetings were at first held in his house. Elders David Sharpless, Anderson and Knight were the first to hold religious services in this neighborhood. After the schoolhouse was built, meetings were held with considerable regularity there by the same preachers, followed by Elder U. H. Watson, Father Johnson and others.
In 1865, the present ” Blue Mound Christian Church ” was built under the direction of Messrs. Stagner, Arnold, Doyle and Willhoite. The building is about 26×40, plain, without spire or decoration, and cost about $1,200. A Sabbath school is maintained during the warmer part of the season. The ” Grand View Prairie ” Presbyterian Church is located on Section 2, on land donated by Mr. Golden. The edifice was erected in 1872. Messrs. J. S. Campbell and -Newton Cook, of Lexington Township, and Robert Barr, of Blue Mound, were Building Committee, and had charge of the work. The church is about 30×42, and had a tower, which has been blown away in a storm. The name was taken from a town in Ohio, which was dear to the remembrance of those who organized the church here. Rev. Mr. Elliot, who was stated supply of the church at Pleasant Hill, preached in the schoolhouse here occasionally. Later, Rev. Mr. Criswell, who, since the church organization, has regularly supplied the pulpit, held a protracted meeting, which resulted in a request for regular church organization, which was accomplished by the Bloomington Presbytery, April 19, 1873, Rev. Mr. Conover, a member of that Presbytery, officiating. The original members were Mr. and Mrs. Davis, Spears, Barton, Campbell, Barr and Hastings, who were received by letter, and twenty-three others on profession.
The ” Union ” M. E. Church was built on Section 5, about 1861. Rev. George Snedaker, of Pleasant Hill Circuit. formed a class at Union Schoolhouse about 1860. After him, Rev. David Carmack preached and organized Union Church, consisting of some twenty-five members, among whom were the families of Andrew Smith, R. M. Hopkins, H. C. Hayes, S. W. Evans, William Russell, A. Brumhead and M. S. Sill. The edifice is about 30×4.5, plain, and cost about $2,000. It is now the head of “Union” Circuit, and has a comfortable parsonage, costing $1,000.
The names of those who were in this enterprise, and to whom the church is indebted for their nice buildings, were A. Smith, R. M. Hopkins, H. B. Downey, S. W. Evans, 31. S. Sill, I. Smith, H. C. Hayes, F. 11. Bowers and S. M. Beebe. The clergymen who have in turn served this church, are the Revs. Robert Pierce, John Lucock, Dr. Aldrige. Frank Smith. Mr. Ferris, Isaiah Giddings, J. Kern, Jacob Souders and J. W. Flowers. A Sabbath school, numbering about seventy-five, is maintained by R. M, Hopkins. The church numbers one hundred.
The”” Free-Will” Baptists formed a society in 1868. Elder Thomas Blanden came here from Kentucky and held meetings in the schoolhouse, and organized a church of about twenty members, and built a large, plain edifice, about 28×36. The loading men in this enterprise were James Scott and H. P. Thompson. The organization is weak, and does not now maintain regular religious services. The church is used irregularly by other denominations.
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