OUR HISTORY

The First Baptist Church of Murphysboro, Illinois was organized June 27, 1867, with approximately sixty members, by Rev. Monger of Carbondale, Illinois. On October 10, 1869, a deed was made by Colonel John A. Logan and his wife, Mary, to the trustees of the church for a parcel of ground at 12th and Walnut for $400. A building was started and the cornerstone laid for the church in that year, however the building was never completed. In 1875 Rev. D.P. French connected with the American Baptist Home Missionary Society as pastor. The church had 22 members. The Sunday School was organized in 1876.
 
Later this congregation acquired the old Southern Methodist Church at the northeast corner of Locust and 12th streets where the congregation worshiped many years. Jacob Cole, who had been the Chaplain of the Thirty-first Illinois Regiment, commanded by Colonel John A. Logan, became pastor in 1884. The church bought the present site of 15th and Logan streets on September 9, 1890, for $900 and a wood building was built in 1893.
 
Billy Sunday held a revival in Murphysboro in the spring of 1908. Over 100 new members came into the church making a total about 200. In February, 1911, the Lampkin Revival Meeting was held. There were about 250 professions in the campaign and 113 additions to the church.
 
In 1912 a consolidation was made with the members of the First Baptist Church and the members of the Free Will Baptist which was organized in 1875 by Rev. G.A. Gordon. The consolidation of the two churches formed a membership of approximately 400.
 
Soon after the consolidation the congregation voted to raise the existing building and put in a basement to handle the fast growing congregation. The church membership continued to grow and the beginners Sunday School class was moved to a house dwelling adjoining the church property. It then became necessary to build an annex for the Junior department of Sunday School.
 
In 1922 the church, feeling the need for larger quarters and more adequate equipment voted to raise a building fund of $65,000.00 for a new house of worship. The membership had increased to more than 900 members. The church had interim services in the Liberty theater on Walnut street and started construction on a new brick structure at the old site with the cornerstone laying on September 16, 1923. The Rev. H. T. Abbott was pastor during these years and the church was completed in 1925. But before the first service could be held in the new sanctuary a tornado hit Murphysboro on March 18, 1925 destroying the new church as well as killing many of the members.
During the tornado there was a funeral service being held in the basement of the church, but not one person in attendance was injured. The funeral director went up the steps and looked out the door and received a cut on his face. He was the only injury on the site despite the upper part of the building being destroyed. “Come Back Sunday School” was held in a temporary tabernacle until the new church was completed in the summer of 1927. The church building was replaced with the same brick design and the building is still in use today. The church has an educational building annex and spacious parking areas. The latest addition has been an elevator system for the disabled and elderly. Membership today is approximately 492 with an active attendance of approximately 228.