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Lake Fork Predestinarian Baptist Church

Lake Fork Predestinarian Baptist Church

I originally placed a version of this on the Logan County ILGenWeb site, of which I am the County Coordinator. It remains there. Since that time there have been many changes. I no longer know the location of one copy of the records. The one I know of is too fragile to scan further. I understand the Primitive Baptist Library in Carthage, Illinois, has an old photocopy of one set. I am posting the information here using the theory that the more places it is posted the more likely the records will survive.

The Lake Fork Church of the Predestinarian Baptists was the first organized religion in south Logan County and perhaps in Logan County itself. Amazingly, two copies of the contemporaneous records of this denomination have survived. They appear to be identical and are in extremely fragile condition. Many years ago the late Dalen Shellhammer, a genealogist in this area for more than 50 years, read one copy and made some notes. I read pages of the other copy and made additional notes, including some history and genealogy related to the group and its members.

The Lake Fork Church of the Predestinarian Baptists, a strict, fundamentalist group, was organized January 20, 1827, at the house of James Turley by William Kenner, Hiram Bowman and Phillip Stephens. Hiram Bowman was chosen as moderator and James Turley as Clerk. James Turley and his wife were the first white settlers in south Logan County, arriving from Kentucky and locating in section 30 of what is now Mt. Pulaski Township.

The seven original members of the Lake Fork Church of the Predestinarian Baptists were: James L. Turley, Charles Barney, James Scot (sic), Carter Scroggin, Agness Turley, Margaret P. Turley and Phebe Scroggin.

Meanwhile, in Greene County, Ohio, the Regular Baptist Church of Indian Run, for reasons unclear, decided to migrate en masse to Illinois. Most of those who did not migrate in the first wave came within a couple years. The original members of that church were: (men) Abraham Lucas, Michael Mann, Philip Stevens, Solomon Wood, Lewis Chance, John Turner, Ebenezer Perry, James William Wilson, Peter P. Lucas, Joseph Lucas, Thomas Lucas, Samuel Nives, and William Copeland; (women) Sarah Copeland, Elizabeth Chance, Massy/Marcy Kelsey Lucas [wife of Abraham], Sarah Price Lucas [wife of Joseph], Rachel Perry, Mary Lee, Elizabeth Mann, Margaret Smith, Mary Lucas Turner, Sarah Hoblit Lucas [wife of Thomas], Sarah Lucas Copeland, Phebe Lucas Wood, and Elizabeth Stanberry. Most of them ended up in south Logan County and became part of the Lake Fork Predestinarian Baptist Church, soon to become the Regular Baptist Church of Lake Fork (1833).

Religious services were held at the home of James Turley until March 1828 when the home of Boston Finders was purchased. This served as the meeting house until June 1831 when, according to the minutes, Brother Collins and Turner were appointed to choose a spot for a new church building.  “Selected a spot on William Copeland’s land at or near a spring and Brother Copeland agrees to give one acre of land to bild (sic) said meeting house on and to make a deed to the same.”  The trustees were authorized to sell the old meeting house and “convert the money toward bilding (sic) a new meeting house”  (November 1831) [Several researchers believe this spot was north of the Lake Fork ditch a little over a mile south of Steenbergen Cemetery on the east side of the road. Nothing remains.]

In 1836 William Copeland was made Clerk and Michael Mann, Moderator.  The meetings were held on Saturday, before the first Sunday each month.  Many families would come great distances, bringing baskets of food and prepared to stay over night. Michael Mann and Stephen Hukill both preached, as a rule.

In April of 1841 John Turner succeeded Robert Burns, who later joined the church at Buffalo Hart, as trustee.  John R. Burns, who also transferred to the Buffalo Hart church, served as Clerk of the Lake Fork church, succeeding William Copeland in April 1856.

The discomforts caused by cold weather were apparent in the church minutes when in 1856 and 1857 they voted to hold their meetings in Copeland Schoolhouse.  In February of 1857 the minutes show that $618.00 was “in the hands of the building committee” and the church instructed the committee “to go on and enclose the house with windows and doors and the church will be responsible for what is lacking.” This apparently solved their problem as the winter of 1857 they used the “old meeting house as usual.”

July 12, 1859 – James Cheatham was appointed deacon to replace late Carter Scroggin
August 1860 – A. L. Clayton replaced Stephen Hukill as trustee
April 1862 – James Cheatham replaced J. L. Mann as Clerk
May 31, 1866 – Michael Mann, pastor for 30 years, died

In July 1868 the members voted to move the building from “where it now stands to a place near Brother J. L. Mann’s residence.” J. L. Mann and G. N. Simpson were to be superintendents of the moving.  In Nov 1869 they voted to “fense house known as Lake Fork Baptist meeting house with a good plank fense”. The moving committee was discharged and the deed received for the land from J. L. Mann and his wife.

Brothers and Sisters from Buffalo Hart Grove who requested letters of dismissal to form their own church (December 1871) were: Robert and Patsy Burns, John and Lucy Burns, Benjamin and Ellen Luckett, W. A. and Emily Burns and James Elder.

The records for the Lake Fork Baptist Church end in August 1894. There was no mention of the church closing but it is believed that the church closed its doors about this time. No one has located any pictures of any of the church buildings.

To view the records click on the links below. The scans were done by Pamela Erlenbush, a triple descendant of Abraham Lucas.

Lake Fork Church 1

Lake Fork Church 2

Lake Fork Church 3





How many generations in your direct female line do you know? This question is for females. The way records were kept men can generally go further back with data on male lines than females with their female lines. Mitochondrial DNA is inherited solely from the mother and thus enables the trace of your maternal line back in time. Unfortunately it can’t put a name to the members of the line.

Obviously you are #1 and your mother is #2. My maternal grandmother #3 was Leona Ethel Ryan Downing who was born in 1892 and died in 1975. Her mother was Lillie Margaret Wood Ryan #4. Lillie was born in 1871 and died in 1956. I knew all of these people. Lillie’s mother, #5, was Sarah Katherine Lucas Wood. Sarah was born in 1835 and died in 1896. Sarah’s mother was Mary Turner Lucas #6. She was born in 1813 and died in 1855. Lillie, Sarah and Mary are buried in the same area of Lake Bank Cemetery, Lake Fork Township, Logan County, Illinois.

Mary’s mother was Margaret Low Turner. Margaret #7 was born in Maryland around 1793, had 13 children and died, presumably, in DeWitt County, Illinois, after 1870. Her husband Allen had died in DeWitt in April 1846. Margaret’s mother was Mary Low, maiden name unknown. We know her name was Mary from land records in Ohio. Mary #8 was born about 1771 in Maryland, married Nathan Low and died after 1827, presumably in Madison now Clark County, Ohio, where her husband died a few years later.

What’s In A Name

What’s In A Name

I came across a genealogy involving one of my ancestors. There was a dispute over his name. I could offer my argument for the name IF I could offer proof. Of course, there is no birth or death certificate and this case there is no marriage certificate due to a courthouse fire. I know where the body is buried but there is no readable stone. I have several pictures of him which prove nothing. My grandmother, for reasons unknown, always referred to her grandfather as Berryman B. Wood. Something about that amused her but I never thought to ask. I have no doubt as to his name. And there was certainly no provision to add the following.

Berryman Baughan and Solomon Wood were close friends. They married sisters. Solomon Wood married Phebe Lucas and Berryman Baughn married her baby sister Jane Lucas. The story is they each agreed to name a child after the other. When they made this arrangement is unknown. Both married in Greene County, Ohio, and then came to Logan County, Illinois, settling in Corwin Township.

In researching families we frequently see sons named after grandfathers with the third son named after the father.

Berryman and Jane had six children, four of whom were girls. The boys were Abraham and Hiram, probably the grandfathers – we know Abraham was Jane’s father. Then Jane died. Berryman remarried and had four children, three girls and one son, Solomon Wood Baughan. His second wife died. He remarried again and seven children, two of whom were boys. He promptly named the first son Berryman but the child died. The second son was also named Berryman. In the end Berryman Baughan had 17 children, only five of whom were boys. But one was named after his friend Solomon Wood.

Solomon and and Phebe had eight children before Phebe died. Only two were boys. The first was Joel, which was Solomon’s father’s name, and the second was Berryman Baughan Wood. After Phebe’s death Solomon, who was the second coroner of Logan County, married Rhoda Turman. They had one son, Solomon S. Wood, before Solomon died.

How can there be doubt as to the name of Berryman Baughan Wood?

Huguenot Records at

Huguenot Records at

The Lucases came to the US in 1710, having fled up the Rhine from Otterberg, Germany. Before that they lived in France. They were Protestants and fled France to Germany. For some reason the records of the French Protestants in Otterberg survived three centuries of war. Now you can look them up on The Otterberg records show up in Germany Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898.  []

Just because I could I checked out France, Protestant Church Records, 1612-1906. []

There are Lucases there, haven’t checked those out yet. There are images of the French Protestant records so I can check out nearby names.

Whatever happened to Jacob Bowman?

Whatever happened to Jacob Bowman?

Richard Bownam was born on October 20, 1767, in Somerset County, NJ. He married Mary Senteney and they had 10 children. By the time he was ready to draw up his will in April 1829, he was living in Hamilton County, Ohio. Apparently the first child Abraham and the last child William were deceased by that time as he does not mention them. George was living nearby in Ohio. Ezekial was in Indiana on his way to Illinois and the remaining children were in Logan County, Illinois. Three of the four girls and Ezekial were married to Lucases.

The remaining children except for Jacob that is. It is obvious from the will, which names every living child regardless of sex, that no one knows where Jacob is. Twice in the will Richard writes: “if my son Jacob return or call for his share within two years…” Richard thinks Jacob is alive and might return although he prudently makes provision for Jacob’s share if he doesn’t within two years.

All we know about Jacob is that he was born between 1802 and 1808 and that in 1829 his father did not believe he was dead. Did he run away? Did he go off on a trip and never return? I have never seen any research which finds Jacob.

It seems to have been a close family. They traveled together and lived in proximity even as adults. Four of them married into the same family, to three siblings and their cousin. After Richard’s death Mary moved to Illinois to Mt. Pulaski Township to be with her family and is buried in Steenbergen Cemetery.

So what happened to Jacob?

Thomas Franklin Lucas

Thomas Franklin Lucas

Thomas Franklin Lucas was born in what is now Logan County on April 14, 1831. He married Mary Jane Buckles, a daughter of Robert and Mary “Polly” Birks Buckles [and my 4g grandparents], about 1852/53 [records lost in courthouse fire]. Thomas was the son of John T. and Sarah Bowman Lucas [both siblings of my 4g grandparents James and Hannah Bowman Lucas].

Thomas Franklin Lucas died on February 19, 1855, and was buried at Steenbergen. His widow married as his second wife Abner Copeland, a son of William and Sarah Lucas Copeland, and moved to Iowa and then Missouri.

When I asked for probate papers on Thomas Lucas, son of James and Hannah Bowman Lucas, I guess it is not a stretch that I was sent the probate file – or rather a portion of it – for this Thomas Lucas.

How Did You Meet Grandpa?

How Did You Meet Grandpa?

Sunday, April 14, 1907, was Ethel Ryan’s 15th birthday. Although not a member, she went to the dedication of the new Mt. Pulaski Christian Church building with her friend. There was a social. Also at the event was Ellis Downing whose minister ancestors and their family founded several of the Methodist Churches in Logan County and across central Illinois. Ellis enjoyed music and dancing, which the Methodist Church in 1907 did not, so he and his brother were attending the Christian Church. The couple met that day.

Ellis was the second of the four sons of William Nelson and Eliza Sciota Harding Downing, our Lida of prior posts. Ellis’ father, who farmed land his family originally settled, had died of typhoid in 1903.

Ethel was the third daughter of Edward Daniel and Lillie Margaret Wood Ryan [“A Family Affair”]. Teddie was a bricklayer whose ancestors came from Ireland in the 1830s. Both of Lillie’s parents were descendants of Abraham Lucas. To be kind, Teddie liked his drink. The families did not know each other, certainly were not in the same social or economic circles. Most would have said the couple had nothing in common.

Ellis’ older brother Clarence was dating Lena Drake. Her stepfather was Charles Brooker. The Brookers lived half a mile west of the Downing household. The families were friends and the couple seemed well suited.

Eventually the talk to turned to marriage and it seemed natural to have a double wedding. Lena could afford a wedding. Ethel could not. In order to have the double wedding Ellis paid for Ethel’s dress. The couples, joined by their mothers, went by horse and buggy to Lincoln on January 19, 1910, where they were married at the Lincoln Christian Church. Both couples settled down to farming.

Ellis and Ethel had five children. She died on January 8, 1975, 11 days short of the couple’s 65th wedding anniversary. Ellis wrote his family story to be placed in the cornerstone of the new sanctuary of the Mt Pulaski Christian Church, starting with the story of their meeting in 1907. He witnessed the dedication of that new sanctuary in 1977 and died on June 28, 1978.

Clarence and Lena had one son, Darwin. They eventually divorced. One September day in 1942 Clarence showed up at Ellis and Ethel’s’ home and said he felt ill. They put him to bed and called the doctor but Clarence died on September 28, 1942. Lena died in October of 1985.

Thomas Lucas and Wives

Thomas Lucas and Wives

The Thomas Lucas Family at Lake Bank Cemetery

The stone on the far right, the tall stone, is that of Thomas Lucas. Thomas had three wives and 17 children. The first wife was Mary Turner. She had 11 children before she died in 1855. Her stone is on the far left. The next stone belongs to her son George. Mary was the maternal grandmother of Lillie Margaret Wood Ryan and sister of Spencer Turner.

Seven of the children were under 15 at the time of her death. This might explain why seven months later Thomas remarried to the widow Harriet Gambrel Lanham. Harriet was 38 and apparently without children. Thomas and Harriet had two daughters before she died in 1867. Her stone is third from the left. Five months later he married the widow Charlotte Bowman East who had three children. Charlotte and Thomas were first cousins through his mother Hannah Bowman. I don’t know what happened to her first three children but the happy couple had three children before Thomas died in 1874 leaving a pregnant widow. That child died about six weeks after birth.

Charlotte soon moved to Kansas where she died in 1908 and was buried in Sumner County.

Although his father died when he was 13 Thomas was not a poor man. This may account for his ability to find a new wife so speedily each time.

The Mystery of Berryman B. Wood

The Mystery of Berryman B. Wood

This is about Berryman Baughan Wood. Berryman B. is not related to Lida although all but three of her grandchildren are his great grandchildren.

Berryman was the son of Solomon and Phebe Lucas Wood. His parents came from Greene County, Ohio, with the migration of church members who formed the Lake Fork Predestinarian Baptist Church in Logan County, Illinois. Phebe’s parents, Abraham and Marcy Kelsey Lucas, and living siblings also made the move. The couple bought land and settled at Rocky Ford in Corwin Township, about 15 miles from the rest of the family. Berryman was born there on December 22, 1834.

What happened next is a mystery due to the 1856 courthouse fire. We know that Solomon Wood was the second coroner of Logan County. We know Phebe died after 1839 when her last child was born, probably before Solomon sold his land on what is now Lucas Chapel Cemetery and moved in 1842. [Land records survive.] It assumed that Phebe is buried in Lucas Chapel but time and the regular spring flooding of Salt Creek have erased all traces of burials in that section of the cemetery.

Solomon remarried by 1847 and his last child was born February 23, 1848. Less than two months later Solomon was dead. Rhoda Tuman Winn Hoffman Wood, the widow, was Administrator of the estate [notice published in Springfield paper]. On April 23, 1849, the widow deeded all interest in Solomon Wood’s land to his heirs and they in turn deeded all interest in her premarital property to her. John Lucas signed as guardian of Joel, Berryman, Lucinda, Rebecca and Solomon. By 1858 the record indicates Ezekiel Bowman was guardian of the two remaining minor children, Solomon and Rebecca, and executor of the Wood estate.

Berryman was apparently raised by John Lucas, his mother’s brother, who was married to Sarah Bowman, a sister of Hannah who was the widow of James Lucas, another brother of Phebe. [Remember this. It will come up again.] Ezekiel Bowman was their brother. The 1850 census lists him as “Benjamin.”

On December 22, 1855, Berryman married Sarah Katherine Lucas. Berryman was a grandson of Abraham Lucas. Sarah was a great granddaughter of Abraham Lucas. Her grandparents were Hannah Bowman and James Lucas. Berryman and Sarah produced 13 children while bouncing around the country. They went to Missouri but returned to Logan County. They went to Texas and returned to Logan County. They went to Kansas and returned to Logan County. On January 20, 1896, Sarah died.

The above picture is of children and grandchildren of Berryman B. and Sarah Katherine. We suspect it was taken when they gathered after Sarah’s death. They placed a stone for her.

The rest of Berryman’s life is also a mystery. My grandmother remembered him with love and amusement. No children or grandchildren survive and almost all of the great grandchildren have died. No record of Berryman’s death has been located. We know it was 1911-1915, probably 1912-1914. When he died no one put up a stone. Years later a grandson made a marker out of concrete and put it on the grave. The death year is unreadable.