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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

 

 

So Many Children He Had To Marry and Marry and Marry

So Many Children He Had To Marry and Marry and Marry

Thomas Lucas didn’t live in a shoe but he had a lot of children, 16 in fact, possibly 17.

He was born April 27, 1814, in Liberty Township, Clinton County, Ohio, to James Lucas and Hannah Bowman. He came to central Illinois with the rest of the Abraham Lucas clan – Abraham was his grandfather – and members of their Baptist Church from Greene County, Ohio, in the later 1820s. Within a short time after their arrival, James Lucas died. John Lucas and John Turner, uncles, were named guardians of Thomas, age 13. John Lucas was married Hannah Bowman’s sister Mary. John Turner was married to James Lucas’ sister Sarah.

On June 10, 1834, Thomas married one of John and Sarah Bowman Turner’s granddaughters, Mary Turner, a sister of the infamous Spencer Turner. Thomas and Sarah had 10 children. There is a long-held story that their first daughter was named Minerva. She apparently was born before they were married and she died. I have found no evidence of this child. Mary Turner Lucas died on October 4, 1855, leaving seven living children. Two months later their two oldest daughters married. Thomas was left with an adult son, a not so healthy teenage son who did not survive his mother long, a 9 year old son and two young daughters.

On May 1, 1856, less than seven months after the death of his wife, Thomas Lucas married Harriet Gambrel, widow of John Lanham. She was 38 and had no children of her own. However, she added two daughters to the Thomas Lucas family before she died on January 5, 1867. By then there were two of Mary’s daughters and two of Harriet’s daughters at home but one of Mary’s daughters married in April of that year. Thomas was down to three minor children.

On July 10, 1867, six months after the death of his second wife and on the 33rd anniversary of his first marriage, Thomas Lucas married Charlotte Bowman, the widow of Jacob East and a relative of Thomas’ mother. She was also the sister of the soon to be husband of her new stepdaughter Arminda Lucas. Probably it was Thomas’ marriage to Charlotte that introduced the young couple.

We know Charlotte had three children by her first marriage but not what happened to them. It does not appear they survived infancy. Thomas had three children at home and soon he and Charlotte had more, four more to be exact. Thomas’ last child was born posthumously and only lived about six weeks.

Thomas Lucas died August 18, 1874. Both of Harriet’s daughters were at home although one married within months. (Parent dies, child marries. Seems to be a pattern.)

Thomas Lucas was buried at Lake Bank Cemetery with two of his wives, several children and, later, other children and grandchildren.

Letters of Administration issued to Allen Lucas, eldest son, on August 22, 1874, same date as his Petition. The estate contained 918 acres of land. The widow received $234.88. The surviving children or their heirs each received $46.97.

Sometime after 1880 Charlotte and her surviving children moved to Oxford, Kansas, where there were other Lucases and Bowmans as well as others who had left central Illinois for the promise of land in Kansas. She did not remarry but is not buried in Lake Bank.

FEMALE ANCESTORS

FEMALE ANCESTORS

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.

Spencer Turner Revisited

Spencer Turner Revisited

I have recently done more research on the Turners, not enough but more. Spencer Turner was one of the first settlers in DeWitt County, arriving in Wilson Township near Waynesville just east of Logan County in 1835. His parents had moved to Illinois in 1827 living first near Athens in Menard County, then Rocky Ford in Logan County, then to Waynesville in what became to DeWitt and eventually to Wapella.

From transcribed newspaper accounts of social goings on, which I read on the DeWitt County ILGenWeb site,  he apparently was not seriously damaged by being charged with murder and stiffing Abraham Lincoln. If I hadn’t read the court record I would have strongly suspected the story was not factual or heavily embellished but no, it is true.

Spencer’s stone in Sugar Grove Cemetery near Wapella does not look like that of a man who couldn’t pay his legal bill. You can see the stone here. When his widow Nancy Hoblit died in 1900 she had three lots in the town of Wapella and an 80 acre farm.