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marker commemorates the first religious service (Baptist) in what
was to become Greene County. The marker is mounted on the north
wall of the Shiloh Baptist Church several miles northeast of Springfield.
To reach this marker go East on Hwy YY (Division Street) 9.2 miles
from Hwy 65. Take FR 134 left to Shiloh Church on the right at the
top of the hill. The text of the marker reads as follows:
IN 1827 OR 1828, THE REV. WILLIAM MOONEY, BAPTIST MINISTER,
CONDUCTED THE FIRST RELIGIOUS SERVICE IN GREENE COUNTY AND,
SO FAS AS KNOWN, IN SOUTHWEST MISSOURI, IN HIS AND NEIGHBORING
CABINS. THE MOONEY HOME WAS APPROXIMATELY 5/8 OF A MILE NORTHWEST
OF THIS SPOT, IN SW COR. OF SE 1/4 OF NE 1/4 OF S 13, 7 29,
R 20. ERECTED JUNE, 1934 BY GREENE COUNTY BAPTIST ASSOCIATION.
UNIVERSITY CLUB HISTORICAL MARKER NO. 20".
The Baptist Church in Missouri had its beginnings in about 1798
in the St. Louis area, as recorded in The History of the Baptists
in Missouri, authored by Robert S. Duncan. In 1801, Thomas R. Music
established Missouri's first Baptist church, in Bridgeton. The first
organization of Missouri Baptists was formed in 1816, three years
before Missouri attained statehood. The earliest Baptist church
to be built in what was to become Greene County was the Mount Pleasant
Baptist Church, near Willard, in 1838.
The summary of the University Club markers, written by Dr. H. Lee
Hoover and dated December 5, 1959, states that the first religious
service in what was later Greene County was held (as in the marker
text) in the home of a "William" Mooney near the Shiloh Baptist
Church, in 1827 or 1828. Actually, historical data indicate that
only a John and an Edward Mooney are recorded as early residents
of the area and that Edward was probably the preacher of the sermons.
Also, the date is not entirely certain, since records do not prove
that anyone had a cabin, in the area cited, at that early date.
The earliest settlers in the locale of present-day Springfield proper
were of course the Campbells and the Fulbrights in the 1830-1831
time frame. In any event, the services were Baptist, the preacher
was a Reverend Mooney, the location was his and others' homes, in
what was to become Greene County.
--Prepared by Albert I. Decker
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