File submitted for USGenWeb/MOGenWeb Lincoln County Missouri History Page by Neal Underwood, 9 November 1998.  Link change or update: 4 Dec 1999

History of
The Methodist Churches in Lincoln County
From The History of Lincoln County, Missouri, (Chicago : Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1888) pp. 480-485.

Methodist Episcopal Churches

The Missouri Conference of the Methodist Church was organized in 1816, by the General Conference, while in session at Baltimore, Md. The first session of the Missouri Conference was held at Shiloh meeting-house, near the city of Belleview, in Illinois, commencing September 23, 1816. At this time there were two circuits only, in the territory of Missouri--Belleview and Saline--the former lying southward and the latter north- ward, and both together including all the settlements west of the Mississippi. The dividing line between these circuits was some distance south of St. Louis. At the first conference above men- tioned, John C. HARBISON and Joseph REEDER were appointed "circuit riders" for these two circuits. The second session of the Missouri Conference was held at Goshen settlement, in Illinois, commencing October 6, 1817. At this session Rev. Thomas WRIGHT was appointed circuit rider of the Belleview and Saline Circuits. The third conference was held at the Bethel meeting house, at the place of the meeting of the previous session in Illinois. At this session Thomas WRIGHT and Joseph PIGGOTT were appointed to the Missouri Circuits. The fourth session of the Missouri Conference, and the first one held west of the Mississippi, was held at McKendree's Chapel, in Cape Girardeau County, beginning September 14, 1918. John PIGGOTT and John McFARLAND were appointed to the Missouri Circuits.

The fifth session of the Missouri Conference was held at Shiloh meeting-house, St. Clair County, Ill., commencing September 13, 1820, and a new circuit, called St. Francois, was formed in Missouri.  John HARRIS was appointed to Belleview Circuit and Samuel BASSETT to Saline and St. Francois.

The sixth session of the Missouri Conference was held at McKendree Chapel, in Cape Girardeau County, commencing October 17, 1821, and the seventh session was held in St. Louis commencing in October, 1822.  About this time the territory east of the Mississippi was cut off from the Missouri Conference, and
thereafter the sessions continued to be held in the newly admitted State of Missouri.

NEW LIBERTY METHODIST EPISCOPAL was organized in 1818, at some private house (probably that of the father of Judge S. T. INGRAM), near Corso, in the northwestern part of the county.  It is believed that it was organized by Rev. John SCRIPS.  The Ingrams, Owings and Hudsons were some of its constituent members.  No church building was constructed until 1848, when a log chapel was erected.

The present frame building was erected in 1874, at a cost of $850.  It was dedicated in July, 1875, by Rev. N. SHUMATE.  It is located on Section 1, Township 50, north, Range 3 west. Among the pastors have been Revs. HENDERSON, ALDERMAN, HYDE, ANDERSON, THOMPSON, McMASTER, SHUMATE and FERELL.  This is the oldest Methodist Episcopal Church in Lincoln County, and probably the first one organized therein.  It is also among the first Methodist Episcopal Churches organized in Missouri Territory.   In the division of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which took place in 1844 and 1845, only about four members of New Liberty Church withdrew and went with their Southern brethren into the Methodist Episcopal Church South.  The rest all remained true to the old church, but, after the division, owing to the many persecutions of the adherents of slavery, this church did not prosper well until after the Civil War closed, and slavery, the cause of the division, was abolished.  At the close of the war she had about sixteen members--at the present time she has about fifty.

There is but one other organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Lincoln County, and that is at the village of Truxton, where they have no church edifice, but worship in the schoolhouse.  Rev. SMILEY, probably the only resident minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Lincoln County, resides at Olney, at this writing.  He preaches at Truxton, in this county; at Pin Oak, in Warren County, and at Union Chapel, in Montgomery County.  Prior to 1845 there were other Methodist Episcopal Churches in Lincoln County, which lost their identity when the division took place, their members going mostly in a body into the newly-organized Methodist Episcopal Church South.


The church had its origin in name, as has been stated, when the people composing it withdrew from the old church.  It has been fairly prosperous in Lincoln County, but owing to the large German population, among whom other churches have been organized, it has not become as strong as in some other portions of the country.  The records not having been kept, it is not possible to give the dates and particulars of the several individual church organizations.

The Troy and Wentzville Circuit embraces a church each at Troy, Moscow and Slaven's Chapel, in Lincoln County, and at Wentzville, in St. Charles County.  The membership of the circuit, not including Wentzville, is 175.  These are very old organizations.   The church edifice in Troy, known as Monroe Chapel, was erected in 1859.  It is a commodious brick building, and is well preserved.  Brussells Circuit lies wholly within Lincoln County, and has organizations at Brussels, Old Alexandria, Fairview, Winfield and New Church, the latter being about four miles east of Troy.  This circuit has 380 members, according to the last conference minutes.  Rev. O. B. HOLIDAY is the pastor of the Troy and Wentzville Circuit, and Rev. W. J. BLAKEY of the Brussells Circuit.

SMITH'S CHAPEL, METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH, is situated on Survey 1743, in Hurricane Township, and it belongs to the Clarksville Circuit.  It was organized, in 1869, by Rev. Thomas B. KING, with twenty-nine members.  It now has about 160 members.  The pastors have been Revs. Thomas B. KING, I. A. M. THOMPSON, J. M. O'BRIEN, Henry KAY, Jesse SUTTON, S. D. BARNETT, M. WILLIAMS, H. D. GROVES and J. W. RAMSEY, the latter being the present pastor.  W. W. JAMISON has been secretary of the church ever since its organization.  The frame church building, in which this organization now worships, is 32x40 feet in size, and was erected in the year 1871, at a cost of $1,200.  It was dedicated in the same year by Rev. William A. TARWATER.  The church at this place had formerly been Methodist Episcopal, organized in a very early day, and lost its identity after the trouble in 1844 and 1845, and before the late war.  When originally organized, services were held at the residences of the old pioneers, James SMITH and Judge PEPATORS, who, with their wives, were constituent members.

The Methodist Episcopal Church South at Elsberry also belongs to the Clarksville Circuit.  Another Methodist Episcopal Church South, located about two miles northeast of Auburn, belongs to the Prairieville Circuit, and the Olney Methodist Episcopal Church South belongs to the Ashley Circuit. The circuits of this denomination in Lincoln County belong to the conference district of St. Charles.  An account of the pro-
ceedings of the last sessions (the twenty-second) of the conference of this district, held in the last week of April, 1888, was given in the Troy Free Press, as follows:

     "The Troy Methodist Church had the pleasure of entertaining the members of the St. Charles District Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South last week.  The session of the conference began Thursday evening, April 26.  Rev. S. L. WOODY, of St. Charles, preached a most excellent sermon.
     "The conference met for a business session at 9 o'clock, Friday morning, Bishop HENDRIX presiding.  P. P. ELLIS, of New Florence, Montgomery County, was chosen secretary.  The usual committees were appointed, namely: on church records, on Sunday-schools and on church finance.
     "The next matter taken up was the reports from the management of the church schools of the district.  St. Charles College, under the able management of President MEYERS, was reported as having four teachers employed in giving instruction to 160 students.  Prof. R. H. PITMAN, principal of Woodlawn Seminary, at
O'Fallon, reported his charge to be in a most encouraging condition.  The school has four teachers, is giving full courses in art and music, and has matriculated fifty students the present session, that being all that it can accommodate.
     "The conference then heard from the different churches in the district, which is composed of twelve circuits, in the counties of St. Charles, Warren, Pike, Lincoln, Callaway and Montgomery. There was in these reports great cause for rejoicing among those who have at heart the interest of the church.  The church membership has had a steady growth, the Sunday-schools are flourishing, and the communicants show increased zeal in good works.
     "Friday evening Bishop HENDRIX preached a grand sermon on church growth.  The auditorium of the Methodist Church was crowded, and all felt repaid for the ill conveniences of a packed house by the eloquence and logic of the Bishop.
     "Conference met Saturday forenoon at 9 o'clock.  After reading of the minutes of Friday's meeting, W. O. GRAY opened the discussion of the qualifications of a steward.  A good number of members of the conference followed him in a very interesting and instructive treatment of the subject.  The rest of the time
before the hour for preaching was occupied by a discussion of the material interests of the church, led by Rev. S. L. WOODY, of St. Charles, and participated in by the Rev. H. M. MEYERS and others. Rev. J. W. RAMSEY, at 11 o'clock, preached an effective and pointed sermon on Christian service, when an adjournment was taken till 2:30 P.M.
     "The afternoon session was opened with religious services, conducted by Rev. J. M. HOGAN, after which Rev. J. W. RAMSEY made a report on the spiritual interests of the church.
     "St. Charles was chosen as the next place of meeting.   The next order of business was the choice of lay delegates to the annual conference, resulting in the election of O. H. AVERY, of Troy, Rev. J. D. VINCIL, of St. Louis, D. K. PITMAN, of O'Fallon, and P. P. ELLIS, of New Florence, with M. L. CAPE, of Jonesburg, and W. O. GRAY, of Louisiana, as alternates.
     "Resolutions of thanks to the people of Troy for hospitalities extended, and to the members of the Christian Church for the use of their place of worship Sunday, were passed.  Conference then adjourned, to meet at St. Charles on the call of the presiding elder.
     "Every one in attendance seemed to enjoy the session of conference and his stay at Troy, and pronounced it one of the most useful meetings ever held in the history of the district conference.  One of the veterans of the cross expressed his appreciation by saying that the only drawback he witnessed was the fact
that he could not accept all the hospitable invitations extended to him.
     "Saturday evening Rev. J. M. O'BRIEN, of Shelbina, preached to a large audience at the Methodist Church, taking for his theme the missionary interests of the church.  Dr. John D. VINCIL's sermon on the crucifixion was heard by a delighted audience at the Methodist Church Sunday forenoon, as was the discourse of Rev. H. M. MEYERS at the Christian Church, and Rev. H. H. CRAIG at the Colored Church.  The Methodist Church was filled Sunday evening by listeners to the last discourse of the conference, that of Prof. J. M. GIBSON, of St. Charles."


File submitted for USGenWeb/MOGenWeb Lincoln County Missouri History Page by Neal Underwood, 9 November 1998.  Link change or update: 4 Dec 1999

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