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Cantrall, Illinois

The First Church of Sangamon County, Illinois
Organized May 15 1820
Stephen England

John England Family and His Ministry
Pages 275 - 279

Page 275
John England and his Ministry

John England followed in his father’s footsteps-even organizing a church himself. Quoting from the Times-News, Mt. Pulaski, Illinois Souvenir Edition 125 Yesteryears-Thursday July 13, 1961:


Quoting from a reprint of what was a souvenir pamphlet of the history of the Copeland Christian Church that was printed about 1918:

Dedicated to the memory of Rev. John England, Mr. and Mrs. S. M. Harbert, Mr. and Mrs. David Birks, Mr. and Mrs. John Birks, Mr. and Mrs. William Copeland, Mr. and Mrs. Roland Birks, Mr. and Mrs. Abner Copeland, Polly Peters, George Whitesides, Maria Copeland.

In the years 1855 and 1856, Rev. John England was a frequent preacher at the new Copeland school house and on the authority of the charter members of the Cope land church, we must give Rev. John England the honor of being the founder of this congregation and by his efforts the church was organized at the Copeland school house August 11, 1866.

The first Church building was erected the following year (1867), and John England preached the dedication service, only after many members said “If you don’t get Uncle Johnnie to do the dedicating, we don’t pay our subscription.” So, Uncle Johnnie England did the dedicating.

Quoting from a small booklet “History of Copeland Christian Church” 1866-1966:

John D. England had united with the Christian Church in 1832, and from that time on, he was one of God’s faithful ministers.

His early library consisted of the Bible and a few school books, but what he lacked in education, he made up by his charities and wholeness of heart toward his fellow men. Upright and conscientious; just and kind; he won the hearts of all who knew him.

At Cornland, Illinois, Mr. England attempted to alight from a moving train. He fell, and was seriously injured. He was carried to the home of the station agent, K. Greening, where he passed away.

The funeral was held at the Mt. Pulaski Christian Church with the whole town turning out to honor this good and great man.

Uncle Johnnie England is dead, but the good deeds of his life are immortal. (The above account was taken from an old scrapbook.)

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John England and his Ministry

John England, son of Stephen and Anna (Harper) England was a minister of the gospel for many years as well as being a farmer.

This article tells quite a lot about his ministry. It was taken from the book, “History of the Disciples of Christ in Illinois 1819-1914” by Nathaniel S. Haynes, A. M., author of “Jesus as a Controversialist.” The book is in the Disciples of Christ Historical Society at 1101 19th Ave. So., Nashville, Tennessee 37212.

Pages 511 and 512:

John England
Kentucky 1811 - 1884 Illinois

John England was a son of Stephen England. The family came into Sangamon County in 1819, where Stephen England formed, in the following year, the first church of Christ in central Illinois. It is now known as the Cantrall Christian Church.

John England’s education was very limited. He grew up before the schoolhouses were built. What he learned, he knew well. He became a blacksmith, wagon-maker, farmer and preacher. As a minister he was well and widely known and very useful. He moved with his family to Logan County, where he entered forty acres of land, and as the years passed added to it until he owned 140 acres, where he resided the larger part of his life. This was near Mt. Pulaski.

He preached at the Antioch Church, now Cantrall; Athens; Wolf Creek, now Barclay; Fancy Creek, now Williamsville; Mt. Pulaski, at different places along Lake Fork, and elsewhere. His memory of the Scriptures was surprising. He always had conscientious scruples about taking money for preaching. This, to some, was a very wholesome doctrine and full of comfort. Indeed, in everything Mr. England was finely conscientious. His son, A. T. England, says that his father was “always, in his deals, afraid he would get the better of the other fellow.” Further: “If, in the evening, the topic of conversation would run upon anything of a financial character, in five to ten minutes he would be sleeping; but if there would be anything said pertaining to the Scriptures and the life beyond, he would be standing on his feet in a few minutes talking. He never seemed to be the least tired or skeptical about his hope for the future world. His mind was earnestly set on what good he might do other people. I have known him to ride fifteen miles home after preaching at night before he went to bed. I used to think the people gave him such wonderful troubles about coming to settle difficulties in the churches. One of the sisters sent for him one day, and when he got there she told him that she ‘had terribly fell out with her man’ and was so troubled that their little boy would necessarily ‘have the husband’s stock somewhat.’ There and then she wanted father to tell her if they couldn’t cut one of the boy’s blood veins and let the husband’s part of the blood run out of him-then he would be purely of her blood.’

“Uncle John” England’s hospitality was known afar in that day, when the latch-string always hung outside of the door. Quoting again from his son: “Billy Brown, A. J. Kane, Walter Bowles and the Picrells from Mechanicsburg would often come to our place. You better believe I had a hustling time taking care of their horses. It didn’t make any difference what denomination a preacher was, we always kept him for nothing. Sometimes the old folks would go away, and my older sister and I concluded we would charge the

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John England and his Ministry

people for staying all night. She did the cooking and I tended to their horses and made out their bills. The first thing I bought with my part of the money was a pair of boots with red on the tops. I was ten years old, and oh, but I stepped high, for this was the first pair of boots I ever had. Father would scold me like everything when he got home.”

John England was a true servant of God and his fellowmen-self forgetful, self sacrificing and supremely loyal to his Christian convictions. He died in great hope of the life to come.

Page 278

From “The Lincoln Herald” newspaper, Thursday, December 4, 1884:

Death of Elder England

The painful news reached this place Sabbath noon that Elder John England had passed away from his earthly labors at 12 o’clock Saturday night. To fill an appointment to preach at Cornland, a week ago Sabbath last, he took the 5 o’clock train reaching that place thirty minutes later, at which time it was quite dark. Being alone and to get off the cars easier, he threw his overcoat and wrapping on the platform, and then tried himself to get off. Immediately after the train pulled out, he was discovered by Mr. Greening and others, half lying on the end of the platform, helpless and apparently in much distress. He was carried to Mr. Greening’s house where medical aid was called, when it was discovered that several ribs were broken and that he was suffering very much from the shock to his general system. Mr. England could give little information as to the accident, that after throwing the coat and wraps, he had no further recollection of the accident that befell him.

Dr. Phinney, of this place, was called in consultation with Dr. Hamilton of Cornland, and while it was not thought that he was seriously injured, yet with his great age and recent paralytic stroke, might prove more serious than was then apparent. His relatives were immediately summoned to his bedside and all that it was possible for kind hands to do, was done to relieve and ease the aged sufferer. With no alarming symptoms arising, Dr. Mathews, of Springfield, was called Saturday morning, as was Mr. Abner England, a son, from Monticello. But, while hopes were entertained for the better, the aged invalid felt different; his days to him seemed numbered and he so expressed himself to his friends. And they too discovered it Saturday evening about six o’clock, when further hope vanished. He was fully conscious of his condition and surroundings. After that, he declined rapidly until the end.

The remains were brought up yesterday to this place and taken to the residence of Mr. Clay Noel, who was recently married to a daughter of Mr. S. C. Turley, and grandchild of the deceased. The funeral occurred this morning from the Christian church, services commencing at 11 o’clock, the sermon being preached by Elder Northcut, of Blue Mound. A very large concourse of people was present to pay their last and tribute to the worthy and honored dead. The pall bearers were: Mr. John Buckles, Mr. Miller Copeland, Mr. Andrew Buckles, Mr. L. K. Scroggin, Mr. James Dingman and Mr. Tolbert, the two latter of Harristown.

Elder John England was born in Kentucky, January 15, 1811, thus living to near the good old age of 74. He moved with his parents to Ohio in 1813, and to Illinois in 1817, settling in Sangamon County. In 1832, he was married to Miss Mary A. Smith, to whom was born nine children, seven of them still living; she dying in 1852. Mr. England was again married in 1853 to Mrs. Sarah Grimes (Graves), who bore him two children, one of whom, John England, is a resident of this vicinity. Two brothers also survive him.

He was united to the Church of Christ in 1833, since which time he has been not only a good and consistent member, but an able exponder of his church,

Page 279

having been a preacher of the gospel for about fifty years.

His life was spent in ministering good cheer to the well, offering sympathy and love to the sick and afflicted. His walk in life comported with his teaching; in or out of the pulpit he was the same. Christianity was the daily thought of his life and a glorious future in heaven was his abiding faith. No better man lives and none are better prepared to die. He was a good and faithful servant, worthy the esteem and rampart which he was held. He will be greatly missed, not only by his church, but by the host of people who were acquainted with him. The widow and relatives have the sincere sympathy of the many friends of the family. Peace to his venerable ashes!

Among others at the bed side of Elder England while lying at the home of Mr. Greening beside himself and family, were his sons, John and Abner, Mr. and Mrs. John Buckles, Mr. Andrew Buckles, Mr. H. A. Baldwin and wife, Joshua Day, Mr. John Lynn and wife, Geo. Keeler, Mrs. Thomas Capps, Mr. H. B. Enos, Z. T. Greening, J. E. Constant and Mother Laughlin and Mrs. Masterson. Mrs. England, the widow, was present from Monday evening until the end.


Family of John England

John & Mary Ann Smith had the following children:

William A. England m. Olive Stanton
Sarah England m. William Fraikes
Adelphia (Duff) England m. Samuel C. Turley
Francis M. England died Sept 15, 1866-26y 5m 20d
Matilda A. or E. England m. W. Harvey Rankin
Albert T. England m. Harriet E. Plunk
Mary Jane England (twin) m. Azariah Robinson
Marion England (twin) m. Catherine Groves
Lucy Ann England m. David Hubbard
Elizabeth Catherine England m. #1 Ezra D. McMasters

Adam & Sarah A. T. (Horn) Groves had the following children: Jacob A. Groves, Susan Groves

John & Sarah A. T. (Horn) (Groves) England had the following children:
Charles N. England, d. Jan. 25, 1857-9m 17 d
John C. England m. Mary Frances Buckles

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