Cameron, Cold Brook Township,



            The Christian Church is the same society that was organized at Peter Peckenpaugh’s on section 30, April 30, 1831, and is one of the first church organizations in the county.  The first members were among the first settlers of county.  As they were somewhat historical, their names are given below:


William Whitman, Sarah Whitman, Julia A. Whitman, Henry C. Haley, Elizabeth Haley, John C. and Francis Murphy, John G. Haley, Richard H. Ragland, Nancy Ragland, William M. and Elizabeth Davidson, Josiah Whitman, Elijah Davidson, Sr., Margaret Davidson, Sr., and Margaret Davidson, Jr., Elijah Davidson, Jr.  Six of the above members are still living:

Julia A. Whitman, now Mrs. Davidson; Elizabeth Haley, now Mrs. Jones; Francis Murphy, now living in Oregon; Margaret Davidson, Jr., also in Oregon; Elijah Davidson, Jr., in Oregon; and Elizabeth Davidson, now Mrs. Lucas, and living at Abington.


            This church was constituted upon the belief that the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the word of God, and the only rule of faith and practice, and sufficient for the government of the Church.  They erected their first church building at Savanna, afterward called Cold Brook, which was completed in 1839.  Rev. William Whitman was their first pastor.  Before their church building was constructed, meetings were held in school-houses and in private families.  This society at one time numbered over 200 members.  In 1851 many of its members went to Oregon, enough to form quite a congregation there.  The place where settled was called Monmouth, after the town in Warren County.  In 1860, Cameron having become a thriving railroad town, and the business of Cold Brook having been transferred to that place, it was decided to move the church also.  Accordingly and edifice was put up at Cameron, at a cost of $2,300.  In an early day the people attended this church from far and near;  from Abington, Monmouth, Ellison, Gerlaw, etc. 

            Among the preachers that have served this church are:


Revs. William Whitman, Alexander Reynolds, James R. Ross, Livy Hatchett, John Rigdon, Cousin of Sidney Rigdon of Mormon fame, William Davenport, A. J. Kane, Isaac Murphy, John G. Haley, Josiah Whitman, Alex Johnson, L.S. Wallace, J. S. Edwards, John E. Murphy, and T. H. Goodnight, now in Kansas.


          Some of these early preachers are still living.  When the church had no regular pastors, Elder S. T. Shelton, one of Cold Brook’s most prominent and favored citizens, would preach to the congregation.  Recently they have secured the services of Rev. Charles Laycock, a talented young preacher.  They  have now about 125 members with a large and interesting Sabbath-school.  This society is prosperous and is doing good work in the Christian field of labor.

 The Methodist Episcopal Church

            The Methodist Church was organized in 1856; M. B. Morey and wife, J. B. Porterfield and wife, Benjamin Tinkham and wife, and William P. Crosby and wife, constituted the first members.  Their building was erected in 1857, at a cost of $1,300.  This building was burned in September 1877.  A new edifice was erected in 1887, and was dedicated July 1st, the same year.  Revs preached the dedicatory sermon. George W. Palmer, pastor and Thomas H. Pryon.  It is a neat frame structure, costing about $3,000.  They have good parsonage, which cost $1,000.  Rev. J. B. Snedaker is the present pastor who presides over about 60 members.  In connection with the society is an interesting Sabbath-school with about 45 members.


The First Baptist Church   

            A number of members of this church assembled June 30, 1866, for perfecting an organization.  Rev. J. N. Talman of Monmouth preached the sermon, when Rev. H. H. Parks was called to the chair.  J. N. Talman was chosen clerk pro tem.  D. F. Smith, C. C. Manford and F. G. Manford presented letters.  Several others gave their names and declared themselves in favor of uniting as soon as they could receive letters from their former churches.  After this, articles of faith were adopted.  Rev. John Balton was the first pastor.  The church was completed and dedicated in August, 1869.  Rev. Balton terminated his labors with the church, March 4, 1871.  J. K. Pennington, who remained until 1878, when Rev. C. G. Kent, who served until 1880, succeeded him, followed him.  Rev T. W. Jones then took charge and remained for awhile, when Rev. Mr. Depperman succeeded him.  At present the society is without a pastor, but occasionally they have services at the church.






     The Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood was organized in 1856, and was first called South Henderson Church. Meetings were first held in the school house about two miles southwest of town. A committee had been appointed by Schuyler Presbytery to assist in the formation of the church. This committee was Rev. J. H. Nevins, R. C. Matthews, D. D., and Elders Hiram Norcross and James Boggs. At the organization there were twenty-six members, "of whom many have fallen to sleep, but a few remain until this day." The first elders were Jacob Ackerman, Alex. M. Harvey and Nathan Carr. Of these, Fathers Carr and Ackerman yet live, having more than fulfilled their four score years. The first stated preaching was by Rev. J. H. Nevins for one year. Then Re. W. L. Lyons for three and a half years. From July, 1863, to April, 1865, was a vacancy, with occasional preaching by Dr. J. M. Jamison and others. At this latter date Rev. J. W. Ash began his labors here, and was the regular supply for two years. Then Rev. J. W. Allen was here for two years, and during his administration a new and commodious church was built, 40 by 65 feet, and cost $11,000./ In 1870 Rev. G. N. Johnson supplied for six months. Then Rev. J. H. Marshall was stated supply for two and a half years. the present minister, Rev. E. W. Thompson, is the only installed pastor the church has ever had. He began his labors here in 1874. The first house of worship built by this Church was a small frame structure, 20 by 30 feet, in the south part of town, in 1858. For two or three years it was occupied by the M. E. congregation on alternate Sabbaths. This was afterwards sold to the Roman Catholics and moved off the lot. In 1868, the present church was erected, and is an elegant gothic structure. It was thoroughly refitted in 1875. The present membership is 125. An interesting Sabbath's school is maintained throughout the year, with an attendance of 125. E. P. Clauson is superintendent. The church is in a prosperous condition. 

     The United Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood, Ill., was organized in 1858 at Center Grove school house with about eighteen members, among whom were David Irvine and wife, Dr. J. Biddle and wife, John Woods and wife, and I. H. Martin and wife. The meetings were first held at the above named school house, also at Mr. Edward Wray's hall. Their church was built in 1863 at a cost of $2,800. The pastors who have served at this church are Rev. I. B. Foster three years, Rev. W. J. McSurely two years, Rev. I. B. Waddle seven years. The present membership is one hundred and fifty-seven. Average Sabbath school attendance is eighty.

     The Young America Church was organized August 12th, 1855, with ten members. their present house of worship was built in 1858 at a cost of $877.50. Rev. I. B. Fuller presides. There are at present seventy members and forty Sabbath school scholars.

     The Universalist Church was organized in 1860 at Rap's Hall. Thirteen members were received, among whom were N. A. Chapin and George. Williams. For some time services were held at Rap's Hall, where they remained until the completion of their church, which was dedicated in 1866, its cost being $4,00. The Church was rebuilt in 1869 at an additional cost of $3,000. Rev. C. L. Walsh preached two years, Rev. A. Clayton one year, Rev. A. Tidbits two years, Rev. Hibbard eighteen months, L. H. Tabor three-year. The present number of members thirty, with the same number of Sabbath school scholars.

     The M. E. church was organized in 1856 at Young America Hotel. The first sermon was preached by Rev. O. Swartz January 5th, 1856, in hotel. Afterward meetings were held at the Presbyterian church on alternate Sabbaths. The members of the first class were John Ramsdell, leader, Elizabeth Ramsdell, Mary E. Youmans, Daniel and Matilda Tinker, Oliver and Rachel Hall, William L. and Margaret Roberts. The pastors in charge have been as follows:

Rev. James Tubbs, three years;

Rev. C. Springer, Two years

Rev. B. C. Couch, two years

Rev. M. Spurlock one year

Rev Jesse Smith, two years

and the present pastor Rev. C. H. Brace, who began his work in September, 1876.

     The first trustee election was held in the old Presbyterian house, March 20th, 1865 and the following were elected: Henry Tubbs, Alex Youmans, B. Logan, E. H. Randall and T. W. Beers. The house of worship was built in 1865 at a cost including grounds and parsonage, of $8,300. Dedication services were conducted by Dr,. Eddy, from Chicago. Preacher in charge, Rev. James Tubbs, to whose labors may be largely attributes the origin and completion of the work free of debt.

     The present pastor is Rev. Charles H Brace. The present membership about 250. The Sabbath school numbers 225. Superintendent, Rev. C. H. Brace. This charge is in a prosperous condition.



The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized at Center School house in the spring of 1875. The first meetings were held at this place. the members were David Vangilder, Jennie Vangilder, E. F. Dehart, L. A. Dehart, J. A. Williams, J. Chapman, M. Chapman, C. Gunn, Cath, Gunn,  M/ B. Torrance, Sarah J. Morey. Their church was built in the spring of 1875, at a cost of $1,700. Rev. J. W. Coe served six months. He was followed by Rev. P. S. Garretson, who took charge September, '75, and is the present pastor. There are at present thirty-five members and a Sabbath school of thirty-five scholars.

New Hope

The Predestinarian Baptist Church was reorganized in 1836 at the house of Caleb Hedges. The earliest meetings were held at this house, also the Downie School-school-house. Among the original members were Joseph Rogers and wife, John Murphy, B. Lewis, and John Riggs. All the original members are supposed to be dead, except John Riggs.

     This Church has had three pastors, namely Rev. Charles Vandiveer, who served serveral years, Rev. George Tracy, and Rev. I. N. Vanmeter, thier present pastor. The clerks were Wm Tunter, R. M. Simmons, and Alfred W. Simmons. The present deacons are John Vandiveer, and Andrew W. Simmons. Elder, R. W. Simmons. There are now thirty-nine members.


     About 1870, the members of the Baptist denomination met in the school house for divine worship and in 1873, were organized into a church. it is known at the Swan Creek Baptist Church. Soon after the name was changed to correspond with the town and as such is now known.

The membership at first was small but now is largely increased, and sustain a minister one half the time, he devoting the other Sabbath to the Pleasant Baptist Church.


Utah, Tylerville Church


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