Our History

On Christmas Day, 1818, the Rev. James Phillips Edwards met with a number of residents of Jonesboro, Illinois to form a church. The day following they drew up their constitution, articles of faith. Ten brethren and sisters were constituted into Clear Creek Baptist Church. Twenty seven members were added that first year.
 
The original church structure was located in the Jonesboro Cemetery. John and Mary Mclntosh donated the two acre parcel of land on which the original log building was erected in 1819. In 1850 they relocated at the corner of Church and Walnut and erected a new building at the cost of $1,260.33. In December of 1852 the church was free of debt. Brother Caleb Frick was given a vote of thanks for his efforts in making this possible.
 
The present educational building was erected in 1964 during H.P. Benear’s pastorate. On January 5, 1969, the original auditorium which had been in use for 120 years was destroyed by fire. The people rallied and with God’s help, sacrificial giving, much prayer, and a lot of hard work the church dedicated a new auditorium December 7, 1969. The debt on this building was retired August 1, 1977.
 
One of the most widely known pastors was Rev. D.L Phillips, who served in the 1850’s. When Abraham Lincoln came to Jonesboro in September, 1858, for the Lincoln-Douglas debate, it was Phillips who met him at the train, entertained him in his home and introduced him at the debate. When Lincoln became President, he offered Phillips the governorship of the Territory of Colorado or the Marshalship of Southern Illinois, the latter of which he accepted.
 
Many churches throughout Southern Illinois are indebted to this church in that it was missionary in practice. Between 1858 and 1862 it granted 118 letters to form 11 new churches, 10 of which are still preaching the gospel today. Those in existence are Dutch Ridge, Cypress, East Cape, Big Creek, Pleasant Ridge, Anna First, New Hope, Cobden First, Galilee, and Lockard Chapel.
 
The Clear Creek Baptist Church changed its name to First Baptist Church of Jonesboro, and has become a vital part of this community.