Tag Archives: james lemen

08 – January 08 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

First Baptist church in Illinois

 

1823 – James Lemen passed from this earth. Even though he was fifty years old when he was licensed by his church to preach, he was an active and zealous minister of the gospel. Lemen, along with his wife Catherine, and two others, had been baptized when they had to break the ice in Fountain Creek, to administer the ordinance in Monroe County, Illinois. James had been converted to Christ, when the first evangelical minister came into the state in 1787. However he did not receive baptism until Josiah Dodge from Kentucky came to preach in the area. John Gibbons and Isaac Enochs were the other two that Dodge baptized. On the appointed day a great multitude gathered from all parts to witness the first baptismal service in the State of Illinois. At the waters edge a hymn was sung, scriptural authority for baptism given and prayer offered.   Two years later the Lemens, along with a few others, united in forming the first Baptist church in Illinois. There pastor was Rev. David Badgley.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon; adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 10-12.

 

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144 — May 24 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

Elder James Smith

 

James Lemen, Sr., his wife and several of his neighbors, having been converted to the Baptist faith by an itinerant preacher from Kentucky, organized themselves into a Baptist church at a meeting held in the south room (of Lemen’s home) on May 24, 1796.

 

Lemen, who had served as an American soldier in the Revolutionary War, arrived in Illinois in 1786, having come from Virginia. Soon he and his family were introduced to the sterner side of frontier life. “The very summer of their arrival Mrs. Lemen’s sister and her husband, James Andrews, were killed by the Indians, and their two little daughters carried captive to Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.

 

It was into that environment that in 1787 Elder James Smith, of Kentucky, visited New Design; the first Baptist preacher and the first preacher of any denomination to enter the present state of Illinois. He held a series of house meetings which were abundantly blessed. Among those who believed the word and confessed Christ were James Lemen and Joseph Ogle and their wives, and Shadrach Bond. And a goodly number of others!

 

Three years afterwards, in 1790, Elder Smith again visited New Design, and through his preaching others were added to the converts.

 

In the midst of the work Elder Smith was captured by the Indians. In the party was a Mrs. Huff with her little child. She had been under spiritual concern for some time, and while the savages were putting her to death Elder Smith fell on his knees praying for her, and in that attitude he was taken. On this account, and because of his praying and singing while they traveled, the Indians were afraid of him. He was taken to Vincennes, from whence word came through the traders as usual that he would be returned for a suitable ransom. Thereupon $170 was collected out of the poverty of the settlers, and Elder Smith was set free.

 

Dr. Dale R. Hart, adapted from:  This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. Thompson/ Cummins) pp. 212-213.

 

 

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