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CLINTON M.E. CHURCH


ABOUT 1851-'52 THE ILLINOIS CENTRAL RAILWAY WAS  COMPLETED TO CLINTON, AND A
LARGE INCREASE OF POPULATION SOON FOLLOWED; AND IN THIS WAY CONSIDERABLE
ADDITIONS WERE MADE TO THE MEMBERSHIP OF THIS CHURCH BY LETTER. SO MUCH,
THAT IN 1855 THE CHURCH HERE BECAME SELF SUPPORTING, AND A STATION WAS
ORGANIZED SECURING THE SERVICES OF A MINISTER EVERY SABBATH. THE STATION
MINISTERS WERE IN 1855,-'56, A. SEMPLE; 1857,'58, WM. McELFRESH; 1859, J. MONTGOMERY; 1860-'61, 
JAMES  SHAW; 1862,'63, PRESTON WOOD; 1864, A.S. McCOY; 1865, W.H.H. MOORE; 1866, W.H.H. MOORE,
H. BUCK;  J.C. RUCKER C. ARNOLD. RESIGNATIONS THAT YEAR BEING UNUSUALLY  IN ORDER. FROM
FEBRUARY AND THROUGH THE MONTH OF MARCH DURING THIS YEAR, EXTENSIVE REVIVAL
INFLUENCES PERVADED THE METHODIST AND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCHES.iN THE WINTER OF 1863, A
CRUSADE  WAS MADE ON CLINTON BY THE ADVOCATES OF MODERN SPIRITISM. FOR SEVERAL
MONTHS SOME OF THEIR ABLEST LECTURERS DEVOTED THEIR  E NGERIES TO ESTABLISH THAT
SYSTEM IN THIS COMMUNITY. PUBLIC CURIOSITY BECOME AWAKENED.  LARGE NUMBERS NIGHTLY
PAID ENTRANCE FEE TO HEAR THEIR ADDRESSES AND WITNESS THEIR "SEANCES." THEY AFFIRMED
THEIR SYSTEM WAS A NEEDED SUBSTITUTE FOR THE 'BIBLE AND CHRISTIANITY, AND CHALLENGED
ALL CLERGYMEN FOR CONTROVERSY; THE MINISTERS IN THE CITY DECLINING, ABOUT TWENTY
CITIZENS SENT A REQUEST TO THE WRITER OF THIS ARTICLE TO MEET ONE OF THE SPIRIT
CHAMPIONS IN DEBATE, WHICH THE WRITER DID, FOR THREE DAYS IN THE COURT- HOUSE. REV. MR.
FRANKLIN, OF CINCINNATI; REV. D.P. BUNN, OF DECATUR; REV. RUBEN ANDREWS, OF
BLOOMINGTON;AND REV. JOHN S. BARGER WERE PRESENT, AND LENT THEIR MORAL
SUPPORT TO THE WRITER DURING THAT DISCUSSION. ON THE LAST DAY AN INCIDENT
OCCURRED IN THE DEBATE THAT REVEALED TO ALL THE TO ALL THE TRUE "INWARDNESS'" OF THAT
SYSTEM. THE SPIRITUALIST HAD SAID THE DIVORCE LAWS OF MOSES WERE "IMMORAL AND CRUEL,
&c," AS HE HAD IT.; "WHENEVER A HUSBAND FELT LIKE ABANDONING HIS WIFE , BY THAT LAW HE
WAS ONLY REQUIRED TO GIVE HER A LITTLE BIT OF WRITING CALLED A DIVORCEMENT, AND THEN
SEND HER ADRIFT." HIS OPPONENT IN REPLYING TO THIS CHARGE SAID, "SPIRITUALISM IN SUCH
CASES DID NOT REQUIRE  ANY NOTICE AT ALL TO BE GIVEN THE WIFE. IF A BELIEVER IN
SPIRITUALISM FALLS IN LOVE WITH ANOTHER WOMAN IT PERMITS HIM TO SEND HIS
WIFE ADRIFT, AND TAKE ANOTHER WOMAN TO HIS EMBRACE, WITHOUT NOTICE OR EXCUSE
WHATEVER."  AT THIS, THE SPIRITUALIST BECAME GREATLY EXCITED, AND RISING TO HIS FEET
LUSTILY EXCLAIMED, "NO PERSONALITIES HERE. YOU SHALL NOT INSULT." &.  FOR A WHILE
NEITHER MODERATORS NOR AUDIENCE KNEW WHAT WAS HURTING HIM.  THE CAUSE WAS, HE HAD
CAST AWAY HIS WIFE AND TAKEN UP WITH A WOMAN, WHO WAS SITTING NEAR HIM IN THE ROOM.
HE SEEMED AFTER THIS RETORT TO BE DISABLED, FOR HIS THOUGHTS ONLY RAMBLED TILL UNTIL
THE DEBATE CLOSED THAT AFTERNOON. HE LEFT TOWN NEXT DAY, AND ADVOCATES OF THAT
SYSTEM HAVE NOT HAD AN AUDIENCE IN CLINTON SINCE.

IN 1867, REV. S.S.MEGINNIS, A YOUNG MAN OF UNCOMMON FORCE OF CHARACTER, WAS
APPOINTED TO CLINTON STATION AND CONTINUED FOR THREE YEARS; AND WHILE HE WAS
NOT A FIRST CLASS PREACHER, HE HAD SUPERIOR ABILITIES IN ADMINISTRATION. HE
WAS ABLE TO TO AWAKEN AN INTEREST IN CHURCH BUILDING TILL THEN NOT DREAMED
OF BY THE PEOPLE HE WAS SERVING. A TEN OR TWELVE THOUSAND DOLLAR HOUSE OF
WORSHIP HAD BEEN TALKED OF FOR SEVERAL YEARS, AND MR. MEGINNIS MANAGED TO
ENLIST ALL CLASSES OF CITIZENS SO
STRONGLY FOR THE ENTERPRISE THAT MANY WERE "PROVOKED TO GOOD WORKS," AND A
GENEROUS DESIRE TO EXCEED THE LIBERALITY PERVADED THE COMMUNITY.  THE PLANS WERE
MADE , AND THE PRESENT ELABORATE AND BEAUTIFUL EDIFICE WAS ERECTED, AND THE
BASEMENT WAS OPENED FOR RELIGIOUS SERVICES DURING MR. MEGINNIS' PARTORAL TERM;
COSTING WHEN COMPLETED $32,000. AFTER SERVING FOUR YEARS AS PRESIDING ELDER OF
MATTOON DISTRICT MR. MEGINNIS DIED, LAMENTED BY ALL WHO KNEW HIM BEST.
HIS MONUMENT IS THE CHURCH IN CLINTON.

REV. R.N. BARNES SUCCEEDED MR. MEGINNIS IN 1870; HE REMAINED TWO YEARS. HE PUSHED
FORWARD THE WORK OF HIS PREDECESSOR TILL THE AUDIENCE-ROOM AND TOWERS WERE
FINISHED, AND THE ENTIRE BUILDING STOOD OUT A GEM OF ARCHITECTURAL RICHNESS AND
BEAUTY FOR SOME MONTHS; AND THEN A STORM OF WIND PROSTRATED THE MAIN TOWER, WHICH
WAS 180 FEET HIGH. IN 1872, REV. W.H.H. ADAMS WAS PLACED IN CHARGE, AND FOR THREE YEARS
HE HAD PERHAP-MORE ATTENTIVE LISTENERS THAN ANY MINISTER WHO HAD PRECEDED HIM IN
CLINTON. WITH A WIDE RANGE OF THOUGHT AND CONCISENESS IN STATING HIS VIEWS, HE HAD AN
EASY ELEGANCE IN LANGUAGE AND MANNER THAT WAS UNUSUALLY ATTRACTIVE AND PROVED
HIM WORTHY OF ANY PULPIT, EVEN IN METROPOLITAN CITIES. DR. ADAMS IS NOW THE ESTEEMED
PRESIDENT OF ILLINOIS WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY. DR. H. BUCK HAVING DEDICATED THE BASEMENT
IN 1870. REV.DR. IVES, OF NEW YORK, AS LISTED BY REV. BISHOP BOWMAN, OF ST. LOUIS, MADE THE
LAST DEDICATION DECEMBER 20th, 1874. IN 1875,'76, '77, G.W. GRAY; 1878, JAMES LEATON; 1879, A.
SEMPLE; 1880, W. STEVENSON, SERVED AS PASTORS. DURING DR. GRAY'S TERM A CONSIDERABLE
RELIGIOUS INTEREST WAS AWAKENED IN HIS CONGREGATION IN HIS FIRST YEAR, AND IN 1877 HE
CONTRIBUTED LARGELY TO THE SUCCESS OF THE CAUSE OF TEMPERANCE SPREAD IN THE CITY
AND COUNTY. THIS YEAR, THE "TIDAL- WAVE"  OF TEMPERANCE SPREAD OVER EVERY STATE
IN THE UNION. IN 1881, MR. STEVENSON'S REMOVING IN MAY HIS VACANCY WAS SUPPLIED BY REV.
G.W. HENNING, AND IN SEPTEMBER HE WAS REAPPOINTED. END.	
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