BETHEL BAPTIST CHURCH
Condensed from History by Weston Harper:
This church was first organized on April 29, 1837 by Elijah Williams and
Rev. Hiram Savage.
There were 23 founding members: John M & Nancy Williams
Harper and their son,
Harvey H. Harper, Abraham C. Nowell, Benjamin Barnett,
Hannah Barnett, Samuel Bishop,
Mary Carr, Elizabeth Commons, Enoch Cyrus,
Rebecca Cyrus, Eliza Donaught, Bird Estes,
Mary Estes, Sarah Harris, Joseph
Harrison, Prenilla Harrison, William Ousley, Frances Ousley,
Perkins, Sarah Powell, Elizabeth Reeves, and Hannah Roberts.
The first pastor was Littleton Lunsford. Meetings were held in homes at
first. The first structure
was a log cabin built by a portion of the members
in 1845 in northern Polk Township. St. Clair
County History is not clear
where this was located. One theory is that it may have been located
Bethel/Harper Cemetery. Another possibility is the cemetery could have been
family plot and later became associated with Bethel Church.
A second church building, of same materials, was erected in 1850.
A third building, also of hewn logs, was erected in 1870, two miles south of
per John Mills, former St. Clair County Historian.
A fourth and last location of the Bethel Church was in the town of Harper
which implies a
linkage to the Goshen Church but this is not proven.
THE GOSHEN PRIMITIVE BAPTIST CHURCH
Members of the “Regular Predestinarian Baptist” met at Fairview Schoolhouse
in April of 1873
to consider constitution of a church. Elder P. Stark was
chosen Moderator and W. P. Lindsey
was chosen clerk. Motions of agreement to
a constitution and to send a request to three churches
for their ordained
authority were passed. The meeting requested Elder Stark to prepare
of Faith and Rules of Decorum.
Signees of this agreement were Elder P. Stark, Sarah, his wife, Elder Jas.
A. Stark and Matilda,
his wife, Deacon J.A. Sims and Caroline M, his wife,
David Henson, W. P. Lindsey and
Sister Elizabeth Kelley.
Meetings were held in members’ homes and later in public meeting places. The
church then built
itself a new home. The church agreed to build in November
1900 and the house was completed
in 1901. The building was 24 feet by 36
feet by 12 feet high and was built on a lot east of Harper school. The
present church building is on the south side of 82 Highway, with the
Harper School building existing on the north side of 82 Highway.
The original Harper School was
on the east side of 82 Highway.
Pastors during the early years were: Elders Pleasant Stark, James A. Stark,
J.A. Souther, B.F. Quirry, William T. Guest, Wright
Collins, Wm R. Stout, Thomas Jackson,
J.H. More, R.M. Ogle, J.F. Sutton,
J.F. Barnes and H.W. Newton.
Submitted by Kathleen Boeth, Ethelene Stark and Macie Stark