Hartwell Church History

Hartwell Church was the original name tor Lake Creek Baptist church. Generations found it a landmark in the northeast corner of section 29, Lake Creek Township, on the old road between Marion and Jeffersonville. The original church was a log house built in the form of a broad-armed Greek cross, in which each arm is of equal length. This unique building was called twelve point church, each point or corner in honor of one of the twelve apostles.

Lake Creek Church was organized May 22, 1852 with seventeen members   Elder Joseph T. Williams was the first pastor. Elder J. M. Shadowens was the other member of the church council.

L. D. and Sicily H. Hartwell brought their elder children into Williamson County about the time of the division and made a new home on a farm five miles northeast of the new village of Marion. Lorenzo Dow Hartwell (1803 1866) was born the year the great New England evangelist Lorenzo Dow made has first trip into the Carolinas, Tennessee and Virginia. True to his name’s inheritance was Mr. Hartwell’s interest in theology, and he was one of the charter members of the first Missionary Baptist Church in the county, opened on Davis prairie in 1839. Mr. and Mrs. Hartwell are buried in their home churchyard.

Six Hartwell sons gave their services to the Union during the Civil war. Joseph W. Hartwell and L. D. Hartwell Jr. enlisted under John A. Logan in the 31st Illinois infantry and both were severely wounded in action. Jo W. Hartwell was elected county treasurer immediately after his discharge from the army in 1865. He then served as circuit clerk and state’s attorney.

Lorenzo Dow Hartwell Jr. (1843-1925) studied law when the war was over and followed his brother into Republican politics. He began his public service as justice of the peace and city attorney in Marion, was elected county judge in 1890, and state’s attorney in 1900. His own son became a lawyer during this term as state’s attorney and together they prosecuted one of the famous murder trials of the county, ending in the execution of Jerry Graves and Calvin Price.

DeWitt Talmadge Hartwell (1879-1933) was the eldest son of L. D and Cora (Simmons) Hartwell. He chose for himself the name of the great preacher and lecturer who had a charge in the city of Washington at the time young Hartwell studied law there. After he was admitted to the bar in Illinois, he held office continuously until his death: seven years as city attorney of Marion, seven years as state’s attorney, and almost eighteen years as circuit judge. Throughout the first judicial circuit Judge Hartwell was affectionately known as “Dee.”

Hartwell men have furnished other professions in Marion. William Hartwell, who spent his life on a farm, was the oldest son of the first L. D. Hartwell and came to the county as a child in 1839. His oldest son was John L.D. Hartwell, who taught in the county more than thirty-six years. His position as principal of the Lincoln school in Marion made Professor Hartwell familiar to the present generation (in 1939). His oldest son was Dr. Dausa D. Hartwell who began practice in Marion as soon as he graduated from medical college and endeavored to build a hospital for the city.

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