METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
The first Methodist society in the townshi]j of Preemption was organized in the year 1841, at the house of Mr. Benjamin Clarke, with
six members, viz : Benjamin Clarke (leader) and wife, David Little and wife, Andrew Gilmore, and Margaret Gilmore. They held their
meetings at this place until 1846, when a house of worship was built, under the following circumstances : Judge Savage, who had been in
this section looking after his real estate interests, observing the lack of means for the develo})nient of either or both educational and religious interests, and believing, as do all intelligent men, that throughthese mediums only come true prosperity and the successful building
up of a new country, he deposited in Rock Island $50 to be used in building a house for church and school purposes. This fact Mr.
Savage communicated to John Whitsitt, who soon after conferred withMr. C. A. Spring, an agent of the American Sunday School Union of New York, who was tlien here in the interest of that society. Througli Mr. Spring's inliuence Mr. Lemuel Brewster, a benevolent gentleman
in New York, was induced to build three houses here, one at Farlow's Grove in section 34, one at Preemtion Corners in section 11, and one
in Rock Island county ; the $50 donated bv Judge Savage was finally used in improving and fencing the Union cemetery at Farlow's (irrove.
In this house at Preemption the Methodists worshiped until they erected their present commodious church edifice on the southwest corner
of David Little's farm in section 2, adjoining the village of Preemption, in 1867. The old building is still (and may it for many years to come
standing as a memorial to the memory of its benevolent builder. The perusal of the following pages will be the evidence of how the
All-wise Ruler of all things crowned these early, yet feeble, efforts with success. Reverting in the history of the Methodist Episcopal
church to 1865, we tind it in charge of Rev. Amos Morey as Pastor, with 101 members and fourteen probationers. Rev. Mr. Morey filled
this position up to 1868, when he reported three preaching places, 123 members and nineteen probationers, a church worth $3,000, and a
comfortable parsonage. The pastors succeeding him were : M. P. Armstrong, W. M. Sedore, and J. E. Rutledge (each one year), J. Q.
Adams (three years), Thomas Watson (two years), Charles Atherton (two years), who was assisted in his last year by Frank Doran. At
the close of the conference year of 1878, the charge was divided, Reynolds taking all the other appointments, leaving Preemption alone,
tacitly a station without any outside appointments, ninety-six members and three church buildings going to the Reynolds circuit, while fifty nine members, one church and the ])arsonage were left with Preemption. In 1872 Rev. Thomas Watson was for the second time appointed
to this charge. He died the May following, and his time was filled out by W. C. Knapp and the Rev. B. C. Dennis. In 1880 brother
B. C. Dennis became pastor in charge, retaining the same three years, which is the full extent of time allowed by the conference on one
charge. During the broken year above referred to no change numerically was made, but during the last three years of Brother Dennis'
labors the membership has grown from fifty-nine to eighty-six. The Sunday school is in a specially flourishing condition, and at
the present time (1882) larger than any ever before held in the township.
The charge is one of the best patrons, per member, of the missionary and other benevolent societies of any church in the bounds
of the conference, if not of the state. Their missionary collections for the year 1881 were $3,000, and during the last two years the benevo lent collections of tlio charge have averaged considerably over $11 per member, while home expenses are all paid up promptly in advance,
all of which grows out of the fact that a few of the leading liberal and wealthy men in the community appreciate the value of the church and
the benefits of its benign inliuence.
Of the church history from 1845 to 1865 nothing authentic could be obtained, as there are no records earlier than the latter date, and the
only party now living wlio could give any reliable information stubbornly refused to do so.

 

ST. JOSEPHS CATHOLlC CHURCH Quite early in the history of Preemption township, the Conways, Odays, Brenens, and a few others of the Catholic faith, settled in and around the southeast part of the township, and to them occasionally priests from Rock Island would come and minister, holding meetings at the cabins of the early settlers. This was continued up to 1875, when steps were taken to build a church, which was soon accomplished. On January 23, 1875, a subscription was drawn up by Daniel Mack. who subscribed $100. This was followed by several other $100 subscriptions. The Macks, the Conways, the McNanises, the Dooleys, and the Lucuses, leading. Many of what might be termed outsiders and members of other churches also lent a helping hand to the enteprise foremost among whom was William W. Johnston, who donated twenty five dollars. On January 30, 1875, the contract to build a church, insize 30x42, of good material, with stone foundation, was let to Mathias Schnell, who completed the work the following July.

On September 9, 1875, the church was dedicated by Rev. Father I. P. Powles. The editice cost $1,600, which was promptly paid. In 1878 a vestry, 12x14 feet was added, at a cost of $166. The building now presents a neat and substantial appearance, and the interior outfit and finish would do credit to an older and wealthier congregation. They now have a membership of about thirty families, and have services
every alternate Sabbath. Their pastor is a resident of Keithsburg,and as both this and the Keithsburg church are one charge, reference maybe had to the history of that church for the names of the past and present officiating priests. This, like all other Catholic church
property, is vested in their bishop.

 

THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH The first clergyman of the Protestant Episcopal church who performed mission labor in Preemption township, was Rev. Jacob S. Chamberlain, who was called in the month of December to minister tothe spiritual wants of Mrs. Rachel Johnston, the wife of Joseph Johnston, Jr., who was at the time on her death bed. This was his introduction
as missionary in this field. Early in tlie spring of 1868, Rev. Chamberlain commenced active missionary work, which resulted in 1869 in the erection of the present church building on land deeded by Robert Foster and wife to James Johnston, William Johnston, Thomas
Armstrong, and Thomas Doonan, trustees, and described as a part of Sec. 4, T. 15, R. 2 AV., bearing date of June 1, 1869; consideration
$100. Rev. Chamberlain closed his labors in this field, as missionary, in August, 1871.

In October, 1872. Rev. Wm. Thomas Currie was appointed missionary in the same held, and continued his labors until October 1, 1875. On September 6, 1874, permission was obtained from the standing committee of the diocese of Illinois to organize a parish, and on October 19, 1871, a meeting was held in the church, a parish organized, and others duly elected, consisting of wardens and vestrymen, as follows : William H. Johnston, John Manes, and Thomas Doonan, wardens ; Thomas L. Johnston, George Clark, and Robert
Hix, vestrymen. The organization to be known as St. John's Parish, of Preemption, Illinois. Shortly after the termination of the labors of
Rev. Mr. Currie, as missionary, the Rev. T. M. Thorp was called to the rectorship of the parish, but resigned in the spring of 1877. Rev.
N. P. Chariot was elected as the rector by the wardens and vestrymen in May, 1877, and entered upon his duties as such July 1. 1877, and
resigned, after a labor of hve years, on July 1, 1882. The present membership is small, and but little interest seems to be manifested by
them in matters pertaining to religion.

History of Mercer & Henderson Counties

 

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