Fountain Church History

Fountain Church, in section 23 of Southern township, was a charge added to the First Methodist Church at Marion while Orson Kellogg was preacher in 1853. Rev. Mr. Kellogg would ride the six miles once a month and preach a long sermon. During the spring of 1854 a band of fox hunters camped in the churchyard and disturbed the services with their noise. Preacher Kellogg admonished the congregation in his loudest tones,

“Brethren and Sisters, I wish to warn you all that it is not safe to leave your smoke houses unlocked while such irresponsible persons as those on the outside of this house are in your midst.”

The fox hunters rode off, but their threats were carried to the preacher by his warning friends. Rev. Mr. Kellogg answered the challenge boldly, appeared on the streets as usual, and no one ever molested him.

During the last years of the Civil war, the Methodist Episcopal church south was established at Marion by an evangelist, William Finley. He was also the first pastor of Fountain Methodist Episcopal church south when it was organized in the winter of 1878-1879. The original members included Mr. and Mrs. Alexander C. Neilson, Mr. and Mrs. James Simmons, Mr. and Mrs. Scott Simmons, Mr. and Mrs. George W. Moake, and James S. Hudgens. Later T. T. Kendrick preached there as a part of his work at the Marion church.

An early preacher at Fountain church was Alexander Cummings Neilson (1810-1878). He was a member of the general assembly in 1875, and became known as the Egyptian orator. On his homestead in the same section as the church is Neilson junction, where the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy intersects the Chicago and Eastern Illinois railroad.

Rev. Mr. Neilson is buried in Fountain churchyard, where another charter-member, James S. Hudgens, also lies. Mr. Hudgens was a Civil war soldier in the 3rd Tennessee Infantry. Jesse J. Fly, the neighboorhood doctor who was also postmaster at Pulley’s Mill, and Zachariah Hudgens, founder of the village that bears his name, are also buried in that quiet place.

(Extracted from Pioneer Folks and Places, Barbara Barr Hubbs, 1939, on sale at the Williamson County Museum)