Hurricane Church History

Hurricane Church stands in section 1 of Carterville Township, a community it has served for more than one hundred years. On the fourth Sunday in July 1837, a little group of Baptists met at the Walker home and organized a church. Among them were William and Sarah Nolin, J.V. and Alice Crain, Cyrus and Hannah (Wiley) Campbell, Mary Campbell, Mary Reeves, Isaac and Mary Perry, and the Walkers; Mathew M., Hester, Elizabeth, and Wealthy. The daughters became Mrs. Edmond Jones and Mrs. John A. McNeill.

William Nolin and Cyrus Campbell were officials in Eight Mile prairie precinct, whose road district included workers living south of “Herricans creek” (Hurricane Creek).

Mathew M. Walker (1795-1857) married Hester Ann Moore (1795-1842) in Tennessee and in 1834 they brought their young children to Illinois in an ox drawn wagon. They bought land along Hurricane creek where their sons and daughters reared grandchildren. Mr. Walker was a member of the council who organized the church now at Chamness. His sons Seaborn and Benjamin Walker had a very early threshing machine of the ground setter type that they hauled from farm to farm in Civil war days. Benjamin B. Walker (1827-1899) married Mary Ellen Spiller (1834-1881) and their sons were the merchants at Carterville while their grandsons have made the Walker name familiar throughout southern Illinois.

The first pastor at Hurricane church was James McCowan who had Elder D. C. Crain’s help in the church council. The latter was known as a fervent exhorter, and aided in the organization of Bainbridge Church.

A brush arbor was built for outdoor meetings that summer of 1837 near the place where the church stands today. In the fall, a log house was built farther west, near the quiet little creek with the blustering name. When a larger church was needed, the congregation built a frame house. But it burned, and they rebuilt with brick. Then the hurricane foretold when the creek was named actually arrived, and wrecked the brick building. The present frame church was built in 1884. First the church joined the Saline Baptist association, then was received into the Franklin association of United Baptists. The residents of Herrin’s prairie came to services at Hurricane church, and David Ruffin Harrison was appointed church clerk. He married Julia Walker (1836-1874), a daughter of Mathew and Hester Walker.

Then Herrin’s prairie church was organized in Stotlar School, first as an arm, or subdivision, of Hurricane. Many another arm has reached out from the old church, to shelter an infant congregation until the new church could stand alone.

Captain John Brown of the Brownville school district became church clerk in 1870, and the records are clear since that time. He was succeeded after nineteen years by Columbus Wagner; then in 1912 Albert Frick became clerk. Now (in 1939) Mrs. Daisy Frick keeps the church records.

Early pastors included A. D. Weston, R. C. Keel, T.W. Chamness. John A. Rodman, Hugh McAlpin.

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