North Prairie Methodist
Episcopal Church

 transcribed by Claire Crandell

“North Prairie” is almost a forgotten name now; only a few remain of those who once lived on the “Prairie”. And of those who live here now, few are aware of the name and its significance.

As for that, I am not too sure that I know how the name came to be. North Prairie was a rural community of indefinite bounds, located in the northern part of Bureau County in Ohio, LaMoille, Berlin and Dover townships. Its area was probably six or seven miles square in the early days but now it is only about two miles square. It lays a few miles north of Dover, one of the oldest towns in the county, and a few miles further north of Princeton, which was to become the county seat of the county. It is prairie land and probably the combination of circumstances gave it its name of “North Prairie”.

The North Prairie Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1859 with George Stevenson, George Hammer, Hamilton F. Corey and others as corporate members. There had been services here earlier, for the Church records show a minister here in 1856. Probably the services were held in the homes or in a schoolhouse. As the county grew and the towns sprang up, churches of various denominations were organized. As the older settlers died off or their families moved on further west or retired to the neighboring towns, the membership of this Church dwindled until soon after the turn of the century the Church was disbanded.

The North Prairie Cemetery located about half a mile east of the church was in existence by 1851, if not earlier. Only an occasional burial now opens the gates to this final resting place.

The cemetery is well cared for although the stones are showing the effects of the elements in many instances.

Among the early settlers who remained on the Prairie for a considerable time were the following:

George and Elizabeth (Hayes) Stevenson who broke the Prairie in 1850, coming from Jefferson County, Ohio. This land remains in the family to the present day.

Abram and Mary (Hayes) Jones who came from Greene County, Ohio to Bureau County, Illinois in 1833 and to Ohio Township in 1853.

Albert Lewis came from Belmont County Ohio to Ohio Township, Illinois prior to 1855.

George and Magdalena Kiser came from Pennsylvania to Government land here in 1843.

The Garten family arrived from Indiana in the early 1850's.

George and Rebecca (Pearson) Hammer came from Lawrence County, Indiana to Cook County, Illinois in 1834 and to Bureau County, Illinois in 1849 [my own great grandparents - EC]

Oziel White came from Warren County New Jersey in 1850.

John and Mary (Park) Hildebrand came from New Jersey in 1847.

William Turnbull came from New York in 1857.

Melvin J. Keith and Betsey (Perkins) Keith, his wife, came from New York but the date of their arrival is uncertain.

Hamilton and Esther (Mead) Corey came from Cayuga County, New York via Morgan County, Illinois to Dover Township in 1846.

Charles and Martha (Snyder) Baird came from Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania to La Moille Township, Illinois in 1855.

Elias and Mary (Black) Isaac came from North Carolina and Kentucky respectively via Edgar County, Illinois to Berlin Township on the fringe of the Prairie in 1835.

John R. Cass came from New Hampshire via Michigan to La Moille Township in 1860. This land is still in the family and my brother and I are about the only descendants of the old-timers who remain here.

John B. Burress was here by 1853.

John Hooker Williams came from Northampton, Massachusetts to LaMoille Township, Illinois in 1853. [my grandfather - EC]

There are a few other families whom I have not included in the previous list but who should be mentioned here. They were a Scallon family, a Doran family and the families of Thomas Aughey, Dennis Driscoll and Thomas Quinn. As these families were of a different faith they were not too much a part of the Prairie although they resided there. The Aughey farm and the Quinn farm are still in the hands of the descendants. These settlers came in the 1840's and 1850's. The two former families came to Ohio Township, Illinois and the others to LaMoille Township, Illinois.

I find the names of Elias Isaac and Enoch Pratt among those serving on the first Petit Jury in Bureau County which was organized in 1837. I also find the names of Enoch Pratt with his wife Amanda and several children, John, Susan and George, in the County in 1835. However, I cannot state definitely that they were on the Prairie at that time. Clark Norton who owned a lot in the cemetery was in the county in 1834.

References for the dates of settlement and former homes of the settlers are Bradsby’s and Harrington’s Histories of Bureau County, Illinois and the old obituaries which I have.

If I have omitted some who should have been named, it is because I have no personal knowledge of the facts; and because those omitted were not named in the Church records of were not in the North Prairie Cemetery.

NORTH PRAIRIE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH

This Church, located in the southeastern part of Ohio Township, Bureau County, Illinois was organized 10 December 1859 by Rev. P. S. Lott. Corporate members were George Hammer, H. F. Corey, George Stevenson and others.

Ministers serving this church were:

J. S. David: 1856
P. S. Lott: 1858
B. Lowe: 1859
T. C. Young: 1861
A. S. W. McCausland: 1862
M. H. Plumb: 1864
Philo Groton [Horton?]: 1867
George Lovessee: 1868
C. Combs and Robert Beatty: 1870
Theo. H. Hazeltine: 1871
M. L. Averill: 1874
P. S. Lott: 1877
J. L. Bachus: 1880
James Bush: 1882 (died Nov. 28, 1883)
J. Nate: 1884
A. B. Mettler: 1885
G. A. Griswold: 1888
F. B. Hardin: 1889
Edward Breen: 1892
L. Pitner Warrington: 1894
W. J. Thomas: 1895-6
W. W. Batchellor: 1896-7
S. M. Hilliard: 1897

Compiled by Elizabeth C. Cass.
Ohio, Illinois
1956

 

 


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