Author unknown - Submitted by Rick Moore

The written records of the Gholson Grove Baptist Church, Saline Association, Hamilton County Illinois, prior to 1909 have been lost by fire, but the following information has been told to this writer:

The United Baptist Church of Gholson grove was organized in 1891 as the result of a brush arbor revival in the Pemberton woods west of the present church site. Brother Tom Mathis of the Long Branch Church in Saline County, and the brother-in-law of Mrs. Felix Gholson was the evangelist. The number of charter members is unknown, but Mrs. Felix Gholson was a charter member. Several of her descendants have been members in the past, but at present there is only one, Mrs. Lee Porter.

The first frame building was built in 1893. Various families, though not members of the church helped physically and financially with the raising of the building. J.R. and Roenia Gholson deeded one-half acre for the church site. The trustees were W.T. Gholson, Jr., T.N. Brown and Felix Gholson. The other officers are unknown. Services were held for a number of years once a month on Saturday afternoon and evening, Sunday morning and evening, with business conducted on Saturday afternoon after preaching services.

The business sessions were called "conference" and differed somewhat with modern meetings in that other brethern were invited to sit in council and discuss matters but could not vote. Also, anyone wishing to join the church presented themselves at the business session and not during the preaching service.

The finances of the church were taken care of by various members pledging certain amounts toward the pastor's salary each month. The Sunday School collections were used for literature and other expenses. Tithing was not common in that time and budgets were unheard of for several years to come.

The church seems to have gone through a preriod of decline for a time after 1893 because in 1898 a reorganization was held with 8 new members taken in. Bro. Danbury preached the dedicatory sermon and Bro. Jackson, of Eldorado, was called as pastor with the following officers: Ed Hughes, S. S. Superintendent, Carson Hughes, Clerk, and Dica Pemberton, Organist

. In 1909, the record shows the following officers: Bro. Marion Russell, Pastor, Aaron Curry, Clerk; W.D. Pemberton, Treasurer. In 1911, Bro. O.L. Barnwell was pastor followed by G.E. Slavens in 1912. During his pastorate the Ladies Aid Society was organized. The officers were: Lora Tyler, Pres.; Vernia Anderson, V. Pres.; Icyville Barger, Sec. This group worked in various ways to aid and support their church. Ice cream socials were a popular means of raising money at that time and are well remembered.

Another event well remembered during this period was the singing school conducted by Bro. Raymond Allen of Carrier Mills. This was a paid school to teach singing to all who were interested and was well attended by the entire community. About this time the original building was damaged by strong winds and was replaced in 1913 with the present building at the same location.

The finance committee for this building were: H.V. Driskell, Walter Anderson, John W. Allen, Homer Pemberton, Paul Tyler, J.L. Stevens, B.R. Gholson and Arthur Gholson. The Building committee was W. D. Pemberton, A.B. Porter, Fred Pittman, B.R. Gholson and Arthur Gholson. The building was dedicated the Second Sunday in June, 1913.

In 1917 this church entertained the annual meeting of the Saline Baptist Association. During this event, guests at the two day meeting were given meals and overnight lodging in various homes in the community. Many were not members of this church but readily welcomed these visitors.

The record of this church continues on much like other churches of that day and time with the exception of the matter of church discipline. Very few instances of discipline are mentioned in the written record, but the procedure for trials in such cases are strictly outlined.

It is not known for sure when regular Sunday School was started but by the late 1920's a Standard Sunday School had been reached. Although the church was small, provisions for classrooms was made and all ages cared for. Also, near this time Bro. arthur Gholson organized Baptist Young People's Union which was very well received even though the church was only one-quarter time. Working toward a Standard Training Union involved the church in various Study Courses which served to strenghten the church in many ways. Eventually Training Union became Standard, which speaks very well for the group of faithful members who worked together to accomplish this. Training Union socials were very popular during this period and were looked forward to by the entire community.

As a result of the above mentioned Study Courses, and a greater knowledge of God's Word, tithing began to be more prevalent and about 1934 under the Pastorate of Bro. Kunath, the first church budget was adopted as follows: Insurance $15-5%, Fuel $17-6%, Janitor $24-8%, Repairs $50-16%, Pastor $144-45% Orphanage $17-6%, Ass'n. Missions $12-14, Co-op. Missions $24-8%.

At a later date, a budget of 50% for local use and 50% for outside causes was adopted. This budget has been changed in various ways from time to time. For a number of years this church led the state in per capita giving to missions even though the membership was only about 25.

In 1937 the church sponsored a Mission Sunday school in the Murray school building near Eldorado. This continued for about a year with some 20 people in attendance. Workers from the mother church led in the Bible classes and Bro. Lee Porter was Superintendent.

In 1938 the church went to half-time preaching and continued in this until 1953 when it began full time service. At the present time services are held every Sunday morning only.

There have been two men ordained to the gospel misistry during the church's history. bro. Joe Gholson was ordained August 12, 1928 and Bro. A.B. Plunkett, November 25, 1951. Both are actively serving our Lord to this day. The oldest living member is thought to be Mrs. Gertrude Gholson Allen who is no longer able to attend services but still resides in the community. She served as church clerk for many years.

This church has never been large in numbers (51 being the largest number on the roll) but its influence has been far reaching and has much to be proud of in the service of our Lord.

The following is a list of Deacons recorded since 1909: W.D. Pemberton, A.B. Porter, John W. Allen, Arthur Gholson, Everett Porter, Alva A. Gholson.

The following is a list of trustees since 1909: John Griffin, Fred Pittman, John R. Gholson, John W. Allen, Lemuel Pittman, Lee Porter, Alva A. Gholson.