Churches and Schools
The following data is extracted from Anchor Township, McLean County, Illinois.
Anchor is reasonably well supplied with churches, and the people seem to be interested in spiritual matters.
" Prairie Chapel" (M. E.), a neat and plain structure, standing near the iron bridge is 30x40, and was built in 1874, at a cost of $1,300. Preaching had been held in the schoolhouse for some years quite regularly, when it was thought best to build the chapel. Messrs. O. D. Butler, Alex. Shannon, J. C. Swatsley, Z. C. Worley and H. A. Thompson were selected to look after the work. It belongs to Fairbury Circuit, and the pulpit has been supplied by Revs. D. R. Dietch, Mr. Bealer and James Sanders. who now officiates. Preaching service is held each alternate Sabbath, and a Sabbath school is maintained.
Bethel M. E. Church was built on Section 32, in 1876. Mr. George R. Buck, a resident of the town, organized a "class " in 1873, at the Sherwood schoolhouse. After the organization of the Church, Rev. Josiah Kern preached two years. Then followed Rev. William Wiley, under whom the church was built. D. B. Spencer, Abraham Crotinger and G. R. Buck were the leading spirits in the building of this neat edifice. It is 32x46, and cost $1,600. Rev. Mr. Souders and Rev. Mr. Flowers have since officiated. This Church belongs to Union Circuit. .
George R. Buck was instrumental in starting a Sabbath school, in 1868, in the Jones' schoolhouse, on Section 21. In 1869, it became a Union Sabbath school, and was so continued until the building of the Bethel Church, when it was transferred to that building and became by general consent a Methodist school ; that is, is carried on under the officers of that Church. During its existence, Messrs. King, Spray, Parr and Moots have in turn acted as Superintendents, and since it has become attached to the Methodist Church, Messrs Grapes and J. M. Green have superintended.
In the winter of 1874-75, Rev. P. W. Bishop, whose recent insanity has been a source of deep regret to the large circle of friends which he has in McLean County, organized a Cumberland Presbyterian Church at the Rockford schoolhouse. Messrs. Pierce, Craig and McReynolds were elected Elders, and fifteen members were received. Mr. Bishop continued to preach for the little society for some time. They have no house of worship.
Rev. Mr. Field, of the " United Brethren," then a circuit preacher, now Presiding Elder, organized a class in 1869, and held regular meetings in the Rockford schoolhouse, Following him were Rev. B. F. Rhinheart, Rev. Joel Corley and Rev. F. R. Mitchell. As a matter of convenience, service was then transferred to the Fairview schoolhouse. Revs. Mr. Denton, Levick, Gilbert and Faulk have officiated. A portion of the time it belonged to Saybrook Circuit, and a portion of the time to Arrowsmith Circuit. They now contemplate building a church upon the Updike land.
The Christians have no church in Anchor, but have one just across the line in Martin, which is convenient to them. Dr. A. W. Green, of Potosi, preaches once a mouth in the Methodist Church near the iron bridge.
The doctrines of the " Perfectionists " or the " Holiness " doctrine, as popularly called, seems to be quite commonly held by members of the churches in this and surrounding towns. In some instances the avowal of this belief has been the cause of unfriendly feeling, in consequence of a lack of sympathy with the doctrine on the part of some of the members.
Many churches do not always indicate increase of religious life, but a lack lack of churches generally shows a lack of religious interest. However it may be, the people here seem, with great unanimity, alive to religious and spiritual matters. There are nine school districts in Anchor, and it has the largest township school fund of any in the county-$14,375. The school section was sold in 1869, for $22 per acre, giving a handsome sum, which seems to have been well cared for. The successive School Treasurers have been, W. H. Anderson, A. S. Dart, C. M. Grapes and J. R. Worley.
Source: Anchor Township, McLean County, Illinois