1915 History of the Disciples of Christ


Organized 1896, by G. L. Wolfe; present membership, 44; value of property, $1,800; Bible school began 1896; present enrollment, 54.

This church was the result of a meeting held by Minister Wolfe Berea (Vienna).

This is a country church located about five miles from Vienna. It was organized a few years after the Bethlehem Church, and its history is similar in nearly every respect. It has been served by the same preachers. The families of Fickens, Starke, Gage and Albriton have been prominent in the work here. Beverly Albriton was a local preacher who came from the South and settled here. He and his son, George Albriton, have served the church as elders almost continuously.

Bethlehem (Vienna)

Organized 1847, by Minister Wooten; present membership, 30; value of property, $600; no Bible school.

This is thought to be the oldest church of Christ in the county.

Many of the people of the neighborhood came from Middle Tennessee, as did Minister Wooten also. The first meetings were held in a brush arbor. Then a log house was built. In later years this gave way to a comfortable frame building. Norman Mozley, Sr., was the leading spirit. Associated with him were faithful men and women. The church has had the services of able preachers. It has given J. F. Hight to the ministry.


Organized 1902, by J. N. Cowan; present membership, 24; value of property, $1,000; Bible school began 1902; present enrollment, 14.

The formation of this church was largely due to the Christian activity of J. N. Cowan and W. B. Bivins, who have served it as elders since its organization.

New Burnside

Organized 1875; present membership, 50; Bible school enrollment, 27.


Organized 1866, by John Lemon; present membership, 56; value of property, $2,500; Bible school began 1866; present enrollment, 57.

During the Civil War, John Lemon and his son Josephus came as refugees from the South to Johnson County. They at once formed a church of Christ at Gum Spring, in 1863, four miles west of Vienna. Its members were also mostly refugees. The house used at Gum Spring was a union chapel. A Baptist church had been first organized there. After the close of the war, many returned to their homes in the South; thus the congregation ceased to be. However, this was the impulse that started the church in Vienna. The first meetings were held in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. It was not long until the Disciples were denounced as "heretics" and the church door was locked against them. An intelligent lady who witnessed this expulsion said: "Surely these are the Lord's people; for this is the way they treated the Saviour and his apostles." She cast in her lot with them. After Minister Lemon there came Matthew Wilson, John Lindsay and others. R. R. McCall and I. A. J. Parker were helpful in building up the church. A brick house was erected in 1871.

There was a small congregation at Elvira thirty-five years ago that met in a schoolhouse. When Minister Shelt moved away, the members were scattered.

There was a small band formed at Union Hill about 1900, but it did not continue.


In the seventies J. W. Bradley, of Clay County, preached in this county; so also did Stanton Field, of Grand Chain. Mr. Field was a farmer, but a great preacher too. He combined the logical faculty with a vivid imagination and a sympathetic heart.

J. M. Radcliff did good service in this and other counties. He was a large man of lion-like appearance, and a fine revivalist.

John F. Mecoy came from Marshall County, Ky. He grew to manhood under adverse circumstances, so that after his marriage his wife taught him to read. He spent his life on his farm, but he became a great teacher of the Bible, a brilliant preacher and a successful evangelist. In Kentucky he led many young men to the ministry. He stood first against slavery and for the Union. He was a born gentleman.

James H. Carter served in the Legislature. S. M. Glasford was a member of the State Senate, and served the Vienna Church as an elder to the close of his life.

Dr. R. M. McCall was assistant superintendent of the State Hospital for the Insane at Anna.

Other Disciples filled various county offices. J. F. Hight has earnestly contended for the faith, and held a public discussion on every occasion for a period of twenty-five years. Now he is serving as county judge. Evidently he is a diplomatist. But he continues to preach to those who are poor and neglected.

Extracted 04 Feb 2019 by Norma Hass from History of the Disciples of Christ in Illinois 1819-1914, by Nathaniel S. Haynes, published in 1915, pages 237-240.

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