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Cantrall, Illinois

The First Church of Sangamon County, Illinois

Organized May 15 1820
Stephen England

Some of the Known Ministers of the Church
Pages 163 - 175

Page 163

The picture above is Leonard Alkire, who ministered for a time at the Antioch Christian Church in the early 1830’s. Leonard was married to Katharine Davis. He was the son of Rev. John Alkire and Susan Nation.


The pictures above are Milem Alkire, son of Leonard above and Milem’s wife, the former Eliza J. Barnes, daughter of John and Mary Barnes.

Leonard Alkire was born December 24, 1785 and his son, Milem, was born September 10, 1810.

Page 164

Mr. and Mrs. Lewis P. Fisher

The picture above, taken July 1940, is Rev. Lewis Partiman Fisher and his wife, the former Edith (Lake) Fisher. Rev. Fisher was one of the ministers of the Antioch Christian Church. He was the son of Benjamin F. and Sarah (Coffman) Fisher. Edith Lake was the daughter of John S. and Mary (Brittin) Lake. Lewis P. was born November 21, 1883 and died September 8, 1955. Edith was born Feb. 18, 1881 and died May 18, 1963. Both are buried in the Brittin Cemetery at Cantrall, Illinois. Their two sons are also buried at Brittin Cemetery:

Allyn Lake Fisher born August 30, 1910 died August 30, 1928

Arthur E. Fisher (Major) born Oct. 2, 1913 died September 24, 1943
Died in the service of his country 486th Coast Art.

Page 165


Some assorted pictures of Rev. Elmer Stackhouse and his wife.

Lower right: Rev. & Mrs. Stackhouse sitting in front of Joseph Cantrall’s home in Cantrall, Illinois

Page 166 (Possible living persons photos, so not including.)

Page 167

Rev. Elmer Stackhouse baptizing Miss Lea Etta Myers in the Sangamon River, Sangamon County, Illinois. I have no date for this picture, but the following obituary and poem, also undated, tells that Lea Etta died when but 17 years and 21 days old.

Miss Lea Etta Myers

Funeral services for Miss Lea Etta Myers were held Saturday morning at the Cantrall Christian Church, the pastor, Rev. Elmer Stackhouse officiating, assisted by Rev. Lathrop, Athens.

Miss Myers died at St. John’s hospital in Springfield last Thursday after an illness of four months.

She was the oldest child of Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Myers.

At the time of her death she was 17 years and 21 days old. Besides her parents, she is survived by one sister Ruth, five brothers, Paul, Harry, James, Robert and John.

Miss Myers was one of the most highly respected young ladies of the community and an earnest worker in the church. She was a member of the junior choir and Treasurer of the Christian Endeavor Society and a teacher in the Sunday School.

The public school attended the services in a body. This was one of the largest funerals ever held in this church. Just a short time before her death, she wrote this beautiful poem while lying on her bed in the hospital.

Page 168
Miss Lea Etta Myers obituary continued:

These words express her own life.
Listen, my friends, I have a word for you, Keep smiling,
No matter if things do look sad and blue, Keep smiling,
A smile is a password in this world of ours,
It’s closed in with beauty, with birds and flowers,
It may help some one in his loneliest hours, Keep smiling.

What if in your place you are smiling alone, Keep smiling,
Some one will respond with a smile like your own, Keep smiling,
If fate leaves some trail for you at your door,
Just smile, for a frown will make you feel so sore,
And if you will smile, so will many more,
So keep smiling.

Page 169

From a letter, folded, and loose inside one of the church record books:

Letterhead from First Christian Church-corner Fifth and Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas-A. E. Underwood, A. B. LL. B-Minister-dated May 7, 1920. Envelope addressed to Rev. C. E. Stackhouse-Box 146-Cantrall, Ill. From A. E. Underwood-430 Beaumont Ave.-Port Arthur, Texas-postmarked May 7, 1920 6 PM Port Arthur, Tex. With a 2 cent stamp.

Rev. C. E. Stackhouse
Cantrall, Ill.

My Dear Brother Stackhouse and Members of the Cantrall Church; It was a delight to my soul to receive the invitation to your Centenial Celebration May 23, but greatly regret that I am so far removed from the scene of action that it will be impossible for me to attend. Never-the-less I thank you for the invitation.

Since I was your Pastor I have preached in many states and have been very successful in the work. It may be pleasing to you to know that Cantrall was my FIRST pastorate. This is of much importance to me because my subsequent career depended upon my first years ministry.

It was in 1906 that I was with you, having stayed out of school at Canton, Mo. To take the pastorate. I was a freshman and as usual thought I knew all the mysteries of the universe.-To bad men have to go thru that period. I left Cantrall for school at Canton, Mo. Where I remained five years. From Canton I went to Enid, Okla. Where I graduated in the College of Liberal Arts. After some years of Pastoral and Evangelistic work I went to Washington University, St. Louis, Mo. Taking a Legal Course, obtaining my LL.B. degree. I subsequently passed the bar examination at Jefferson City, Mo. And also received my admission to the bar of Indiana. Still all the time I was preaching and even now I am preaching. Nothing seems so good to me as the Message of the Master to a world filled with sadness and strife. When men all over our land seem bent on oppression and depression; so prone to grewsom graft and gluttonous gain; so bent on strangulation and starvation of the common people, I want to preach the message of a common brotherhood day and night. Law may be well and good in its place, but MEN NEED GOD.

It is not my desire to philosophize in this letter, neither preach a sermon, but rather give you a brief letter of christian greeting and love. The manner in which the Church there “set me forward” in my ministerial journey was worthy of a church of the Christ. They knew I was a beginner and a boy of little experience so they kindly and lovingly passed over my errors and mistakes and encouraged me to larger things. Sometimes I feel they knew I had some ambition and get-up and therefore were indulgent, knowing I would learn more. I have tried to merit their confidence and do as much as was possible.

I call to mind one of my staunch supporters in the person of the late Bro. Sales. I remember also with great love the Englands, Mellingers, Cantralls, Grants, Canterberrys, Clines, and especially the ones who

Page 170

took me to their hearts as a mother father, J. Y. and Mother Taylor. I remember also the host of young people with whom I used to “run” while pastor there. One of my delights is that my successor in the work baptized some 70 of them within a month after I left, during his meeting. If I have failed to mention any names of my friends there I beg to say it is not because they are forgotten but because space will not permit in this letter. I still have a clipping from a paper telling of the surprise given me when I started back to school. The entire list is given.

I am now located with the church at Port Arthur, Texas, in the land of sunshine and roses. I am married and have the sweetest baby girl in the world. My wife is a Southern girl and a great helper in the Lord’s work. I am bald-headed but not much older. Someday it would be my delight to hold another meeting for the church there as I began my ministry there with a revival meeting.

Let me assure you in closing that I truly love the church there and shall always remember. “Lest We Forget” does not apply in this case.

I send you greetings and love and congratulations for the long and useful ministry of the church. May God preserve you to reach your second centenial of service in his Vineyard is my prayer.

Thanking you once again for your invitation, I remain,

Fraternally Yours,
(Signed) A. E. Underwood
430 Beaumont Ave.


Another letter from the books:

Letterhead from Arizona Christian Missionary Society-Auxiliary to the American Christian Missionary Society-R. E. Dunlap, Superintendent-Box 342-Douglas, Arizona-dated May 13, 1920-

Mr. C. E. Stackhouse
Cantrall, Illinois

Dear Brother Stackhouse:

I have your letter of the 3d instant announcing the celebration of the ONE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY of the Cantrall Church and inviting me to attend or to write a letter to be read on that occasion. I shall be obliged to forego the pleasure it would give me to attend in person.

I was baptized in the baptistry of the old Antioch church, which stood across the road from the present church building; on the 17th day of December, 1867, by Frank M. Jacobs at that time the minister of the church.

Page 171

My early boyhood life was with Henry H. England and others of the now older members of the congregation, and with many who have gone to the Home beyond.

I have somewhere in my files the letter written by J. J. Stevens, in 1871, commending me to the fellowship and oversight of the Church where my lot might be cast.

I think I was not distinguished for any special promise of developing into a preacher of the Gospel worth while when I left the old home to make a home in Missouri. It was in my heart, but I knew no more of the way that I was to go than Abram did when he left Ur of the Chaldees.

I remember with gratitude the many kindnesses of the dear people of that community in those early days. Here was the scene too of entering into social life, making the acquaintance of Nellie Richards, who was to have a very large place in all that came to me. In fact she is right here getting breakfast for me while I write these lines.

It is now nearly 42 years since I returned to the Cantrall Church and by their grace served as their minister for more than two years. I hope there may be some of the boys and girls that I baptized during that period (1878-1880) present at this Centennial.

The people were very patient with me and suffered me to practice my early sermons on them. I received the munificent salary of $500.00 per year for my services. In addition to the salary we were provided with so much of our living that in the two years we had saved $600.00 and with that returned to Lexington, Kentucky to complete the course in the College of the Bible.

I have had long schooling in the school of Econemy and think I could fill a chair in some one of our educational Institutions and give a course on Preacher Economics better than some are doing it.

I have wondered many times why more of my companions of Sangamon County did not become preachers of the Gospel. I have never been able to account for this strange thing. I think they were under Just as much obligations as I am myself.

Neither can I understand how it is possible for them to spend all their lives in business, accumulating fortunes, and not share it more generously with those who give up all for the Gospel’s sake.

I have been now on the Home Mission fields for a good many years. Began in 1887 in Montana. It has been a great joy to me to serve in the new places and to pioneer the way for others. I have laid the foundation in many places on which others are building.

Four years in Montana, twenty one in Washington and now eight in Arizona. For more than a year I have been in Douglas to help a small church to build an adequate house. Next Lords day we are to dedicate our new building, and then I go on to the next job. I could name single members of your congregation that have more wealth than all the church of Douglas. But we have put into the building out of our own membership over $10,000 during

Page 172

the year, raised about $1300.00 for current expenses and our budget shows about $300.00 for missions for the year. The building has cost about $28,000.00, in addition to the price of the lot.

While doing this work I have had to look after the work in all the churches of the State. Have also been State Director of the Inter-church affairs for our people. I have raised the money and superintended the construction of the building. This will tell you that I am not eating the bread of idleness.

I bring to you this brief resume of my work as you are entitled to have it. You will have to fill in the unwritten part of it. I am rejoicing that my brother Clarence and his family are in some measure taking my place among you.

I hope also that Bro. Henry B. Easterling of Decatur will be with you at the celebration. I baptized him in 1877 in my first meeting and rejoice in his successful ministry.

I have been sustained in all my work by the sympathy and prayers of my brethren. The drive this year has been so intense that there have been unusual expressions of interest. I have been notified of bands of disciples in Arizona holding circles of prayer in our behalf. May it not be that in my old home church at Cantrall there may be many who will likewise join in prayer for our strength and courage and grace.

I pray that there may rise up under your ministry in Cantrall many for the active and outstanding work of our Lord.

I cannot take space and time to mention all the Cline, Canterberry, Lake, Cantrall, Council, England, Grant, Sayles, Powers, and other families and persons that I would like here to speak of. But I have not forgotten them and the fellowship of other days.

The grace of our Lord be with you all.

Yours brother in the service of Christ,
(Signed) R. E. Dunlap
Page 173
The 1881 Sangamon County, Illinois History lists the following:
1 Stephen England 15 Robert Foster
2 James Hughes 16 Joel Hughes
3 George Sargent 17 John England
4 Ebenezer Rhodes 18 James Scott
5 William Snodgrass 19 Andrew Scott
6 Rev. Trimble 20 William Mallory
7 John Powell 21 John Wilson
8 Rev. Balls, Sr. 22 John Lemon
9 John Hughes 23 William Hally
10 Rev. Walter Balls 24 Clayborn Hall
11 Rev. Morrow 25 F. M. Jacobs
12 Rev. Sweet 26 R. E. Dunlap
13 Michael Engle 27 J. S. Rose
14 George Allkire 28 Leonard Engle
From the 11 church record books, we find these listed:
1 Stephen England 25 T. W. Ramey
2 L. J. Sweet 26 John Wilson
3 Ashley W. Center 27 Bro. C. England
4 Bro. Vawter 28 Bro. R. Foster
5 Brother Mallory 29 Cornelius England
6 Brother Tribble 30 Bro. Hedrick
7 Brother Miller 31 Benj. F. Battenfield
8 M. Brown 32 Elmer Underwood
9 David England * 33 Louis P. Fisher
10 Brother John England 34 Lewis P. Fisher (probably same as 33)
11 Bro. Wm. Mallory 35 Bro. Easterling
12 F. M. Jacobs 36 Bro. H. B. Easterling (Henry B.)
13 Bro. Wm. Steers 37 Bro. L. T. Faulders
14 J. Jones 38 Z. M. Brubeck
15 Bro. A. J. McClees 39 F. M. Morgan
16 Elmer C. Stackhouse 40 F. W. Morgan
17 C. H. Drumm 41 ________ Reavis
18 ________ Harper 42 Bro. Paine
19 Mr. Owen 43 Bro. Taylor
20 Rev. Stackhouse 44 A. E. Underwood
21 R. E. Dunlap 45 Frank M. Jacobs (Francis M.)
22 J. J. Stevens 46 Bro. Read
23 Henry B. Easterling 47 Bro. Renfrow
24 Bro. Hughes
From an article in "the Christian Evangelist" dated September 12, 1907:
1 Stephen England 6 "Watty" Bowles and his father
2 Bro. Ryan 7 ________ Bowles
3 Robert Foster 8 Philemon Vawter
4 Barton W. Stone 9 William Brown
5 James Morrow
Page 174 1 Stephen England 13 L. J. Sweet
2 John England 14 Steers Hamilton
3 U. R. Hieronymus 15 ________ Renfrow
4 Batenfield Armstrong 16 ________ McClease
5 _______ Robinson 17 A. E. Underwood
6 C. R. Piety 18 Z. M. Brubeck
7 T. M. Jacob (F. M. Jacobs) 19 John Lemmon
8 R. E. Dunlap 20 J. Fred Jones
9 _______ Sterns 21 H. B. Easterling
10 W. W. Weadon 22 ________ Overbaugh
11 L. J. Faullers 23 Lewis Fisher
12 H. T. Kerns 24 Elmer Stackhouse
We know that some of the names in the lists include duplications, but we also believe that there were others who preached at this church.

The following letter was sent to the compiler, Eileen Gochanour, concerning yet another minister at this church: Letter follows is verbatim:

Leonard Alkire was born in Frederick County, Virginia on December 24, 1785. He was the son of Reverend John Alkire and Susan Nation.

In 1788 his family moved to Bourbon County, Kentucky. In about 1800 his family moved again, to Madison County, Ohio where he grew to manhood and married a young woman by the name of Catherine Davis. In about 1821 or 1822 Leonard came to Illinois and bought a tract of land near what is now Sweetwater, Illinois. He then returned to Ohio and with the help of his hired man he brought his family to the Sugar Grove.

In Illinois, he became very active in community and church affairs. He ministered at many of the surrounding churches, including the Cantrall Christian Church. He was the son of a Cambellite minister, and having been brought up with the belief of a higher tribunal existing on earth, he made a very fit individual to minister to the religious needs of others.

He lived out his life in Menard County, raising a large family of eight and farming the land he loved. On January 16, 1877, he departed this life for the eternal one.

(Signed) Debbie Hoover

Another letter sent to the compiler regarding Michael Engle:

Michael Engle was the son of Levi B. Engle and Nancy A. Engle. He was born April 28, 1795 in the state of Virginia. In an early day his family moved him and his brother and sisters to the state of Ohio by way of Kentucky, where he grew to manhood.

Page 175

Ministers list continued:

He was the eldest son, and when his brothers emigrated to Illinois, he remained in Ohio with his family and aging parents. In about 1832 or 1833, following the death of his father, he moved his family and mother to Sugar Grove, Illinois. Sugar Grove was a settlement on the Sugar Creek about one mile south of what is present day Sweetwater, Illinois.

Evidently Michael Engle preached his sermons at the Cantrall Christian Church in the years 1832 to 1835. He was a deeply religious man of the Cambellite faith.

In 1835 he and his wife Suzanna Bailey moved to Mason County, Illinois and bought an eighty acre tract of land. Later they moved to Astoria township and following the death of his wife he moved into Table Grove, Illinois where he lived out the rest of his life, which ended February 16, 1872.

(Signed) Debbie Hoover


The picture above is Stephen Jackson England and his wife, Clarinda. Stephen J. was a son of Jesse England and Hannah Mershon. Jesse was a brother to Stephen England, organizer of the Antioch Christian Church. Picture taken Dec. 27, 1897 on their 60th wedding anniversary.

Sarah Jackson England, daughter of Stephen Jackson & Clarinda (Everman) England. She was #2 wife of Rev. Francis M. Jacobs, who was a minister at Antioch Church. She later married Joseph W. Jarrett. Sarah was also a sister to Cornelius England, who is also listed as a minister of Antioch Christian Church. Picture taken @ 1878. Sarah Jackson England Jacobs Jarrett was a granddaughter of Jesse England and Hannah Mershon England.

Antioch Table of Contents
Sangamon Index

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