The following data is extracted from Money Creek Township, McLean County, Illinois.
The first preaching on Money Creek was by Isaac Messer, a local preacher, belonging to the church of the United Brethren in Christ. The meetings were held at the residence of Mr. Valentine Spawr, who was noted as coming to Money Creek in 1827. Peter Spawr-a son of Valentine Spawr-had married one of Mr. Messer's daughters, and in that way Mr. Messer became acquainted on Money Creek. For a long time, he made semi-monthly visits to these parts, and gathered the people together to hear the preaching of the Gospel.
A society of about a half dozen United Brethren was formed in 1832. Prom inent among these were Jacob Moats and wife, and Jesse Havens and wife. The Rev.
John Dunham organized the class. After the organization was effected, meeting was held at the residence of Jacob Moats, until the building of the church in 1856. The first regular circuit preacher was James P. Eckles. In 1856. the United Brethren built a neat, substantial church. It is located about one-third of a mile north of the south east corner of Section 30, and still serves as their place of worship. The Moatses are among the strongest members. It is largely due to their influence, that the church was built where it is; and their means have been the principal source of support. The Methodists had an organization in working order, as early, perhaps, or nearly so, at least, as that of the United Brethren. Jacob Spawr and wife, and old Mrs. Trimmer, with her son David Trimmer, were the prominent members, and the only ones; so far as remembered now. Jacob Spawr's residence was the usual place of meet ing. James Latta, a Methodist preacher, held meetings there as early as 1830.
They built a church one-quarter of a mile east of the present schoolhouse, in District No. 3, but after the village of Towanda sprung up, they abandoned it, and united with those farther south in building a new church in the village. The old building was sold and used for other purposes. The first members of the Christian Church, of any prominence. were y1. N. Barn and and Young Bilbrey. Preaching was held at each of these men's houses. Their first preacher was James Robinson. He preached here as early as 1835, and has continued his services, semi-occasionally, ever since. The Christians built a church in 1857, the next year after the building of the United Brethren's Church. This sub stantial country church is located on the southeast corner of Section ?0. The Christians have quite a large membership. The Rev. Ebenezer Rhodes assisted them in the building up of their society. The Christians, Methodists and United Brithren are the principal denominations in the township. If there are others, we were unable to learn anything in regard to them. Taking the township as a whole, the United Brethren are, probably, the most numerous. They have three organized classes-one at Hefner's schoolhouse, another has a church at the old site of Clarksville, and the other meets in their church, just north of Towanda. The Methodists and Christians are by no means scarce.
Source: Money Creek Township, McLean County, Illinois