Illustrated Atlas Map of Menard County, Illinois 1874
Published by W.R. Brink & Co., of Illinois


Sketch Of Tallula
Page 15

Tallula, a pleasantly located and thrifty village in southwestern Menard, was laid out in the fall of 1857, by W. G. Greene, J. G. Greene, Richard Yates, T. Baker, and W. G. Spears. The latter gentleman, who seems to have been one of the leading spirits in founding the village, in connection with Robert Ewing, erected the first buildings in the autumn of 1857. In January, 1858, F. S. Thrapp moved a building from Rushaway, a few miles west of the place, to Tallula, in which he opened a small country store. Messrs. William Epler, Martin, Morehouse & Thrapp, Bell & Roush, Carrico & Co., Wilson & Co., Greene & Watham, Dr. Robinson, N. L. Randall, and Smedley & Owens, were early business men in the village, a number of whom are still in business there. Tallula is situated on the line of the Missouri Division of the Chicago & Alton Railway, which was completed to the village in 1861, eight miles southwest of Petersburg, and in the midst of a beautiful district of farms. The population of the place is between 500 and 600, and is gradually increasing. The town is noted for quiet, moral deportment, and for the interest manifested in educational and church matters. The finest school building in the County (with the exception, perhaps, of a similar building at Greenview) is located at Tallula, and was built at a cost of about $10,000. The building is of brick, and in architectural beauty and finish is an admirable piece of mechanism. The school is operated by an accomplished corps of teachers; the course of instruction is academic in every respect, which includes all the higher branches in mathematics, and all the principal natural sciences. The method of teaching is thoroughly Normal throughout. There are in this village four church organizations: O. S. Presbyterian, Christians, Baptists, and Cumberland Presbyterians. Each of these societies has a pleasant church edifice, where regular services are held, the pulpits being filled by pastorates of ability. The church property is valued at between $15,000 and $16,000. The oldest church in the County of Menard, perhaps, is the present Baptist Church of Tallula, formerly known as Clary s Grove Baptist Church. This church was organized on the 25th of December (Christmas-day), 1824, the ordaining presbytery consisting of William P. Crow, William Rollin, and James Bradley. The constituent members were thirteen in number, viz, George Spears, Sen., Mary Spears, Jacob Gum, Samuel Combs, Sen., Jane Combs, Ezekiel Harrison and wife, M. Houghton and wife, Elijah Houghton, Catharine Houghton, Robert Conover, and Hannah White. These were all emigrants from Kentucky, except Mr. Harrison and wife, who were from Virginia. The first pastor of this now venerable church was Jacob Gum, with Robert Conover as clerk. The first church book was made of foolscap paper, bound with pasteboard. The early meetings of the society were held, for the most part, alternately at the residences of George Spears, Sen., and Robert Conover. From a period a few years after its organization until 1845, a log school-house was used by the society as a place of worship. During the year last mentioned, the society erected a substantial frame building, thirty by forty feet in dimensions, which was used as a church building until 1871. This building is thought to have cost about $2000, and was built under a contract with W. T. Beekman, who did the principal part of the carpenter work. This house stands one mile and a half north of Tallula, and is still the property of society. The present house of worship at Tallula was erected in 1871, at a cost of $8,555. During the half-century that has elapsed since the organization of the above church, it has had fifteen different pastors who have officiated in its pulpit, viz., Joseph Cogsdall, Williamson Trent, J. H. Daniel, William Spencer, Rev. Tannehill, James Evens, Theodore Sweet, Abraham Bale, John L. Turner, William Gouldsby, James Winn, A. Gross, Edward Jones, and H. P. Curry. The present pastor, Mr. Curry (through whose courtesy we were put in possession of these facts), is now serving his twenty-eighth year as the pastor of this famous old organization. From this able and devoted Christian minister we learn that there are now nine Baptist churches in this County that have grown out of this patriarchal society. It also claims paternity to one church in Cass County; one in Mason County; one in Sangamon County; and, indeed it may be said with truth to be the mother church of what is now the Baptist Association of Central Illinois. Of the happy throng who congregated on that bright, hallowed Christmas-day in the long, long ago, to organize one of the first Baptist churches of the State, but one remains this side of the grave, viz., Mrs. Catherine Houghton. In the years that have past more than two thousand persons have been received into the fellowship of this church which now numbers less than two hundred.

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