Autobiographical and Historical Notes

As Submitted to the

Historical Society of the Southern Illinois Methodist Conference

Written by his son, Levi S. Walker around 1905

1. Birth, Parentage and Nativity: In Jackson Co Georgia Aprile 13th 1802 – Fathers name Abram Walker, Mothers name Rhoda = her maiden name BEAUCHAMP. Paternal Grandfather James Walker – Maternal Grandfather name was William Beauchamp – Both families were truly pious and life long members of the M. E. Church = Grandfather Beauchamps house being a place of public worship and a home for the Itenerant Preacher Louie PIERCE a mear boy; preached frequently in Wm. Beauchamps house. In 1809 with his Fathers family he came to the Teritory of Ill & settled on the little Silver Creak two miles south east of where Lebanon now stands.

2. Childhood – Home Training: The Indians being verry troublesom they mooved back to Livingston Cou., Ky – where his father died Jan 1812. In 1813 his mother mooved back again to Ill and settled on Turkey Hill just east of where Belleville now is. The Indian ware still raging; they were compelled to go into a fort on Silver Creak for one year. In the year 1815 his Mother was agan married to Henry SHARP. His home training was decidedly of a religeous typ with few other advantages.

3. High School, Academic or Collegiate Education: In those days there was no schools of aney kind in this part of the country excep subscription schools and they generally of a low grade: so his Education was such as he obtained mainly by his constant aplication and personal effort in study under great Disadvantages unaided except by a little help from a personal friend and yet he obtained a farely good English Education for his day and time: and he made such use of his opertunitys as to render himself more than ordinarily acceptable and usefull as a gospel Minister.

4. Conversion - Church membership - Religious Life - Participation in Sunday School, League, Revival and Temperance Work: I copy his account of his conversion from some notes and incidents of his life writen by himself. I was converted in 1819 in August at a camp meeting held at Old Shiloah St Clair Co Ill – I attended the meeting intending to seek religion – on Sabath afternoon. A might work broke out and I was Deeply convicted = and at night the grounds were brilliantly lighted and hundreds and hundreds were ingaged in the various exercises of the great battle of the Lord – some singing; some shouting; some weeping; some exhorting while the slain of the Lord were to be seen all over the ground = and nois like that at the laying of the foundation of the second Temple at Jeruselem; was heard afar off seense I was brought up a Methodist and had been accustomed to hearing shoutings; yet I had never heard any thing to compare with that – and now if I had the toung of an Angel and were to undertake a discription of it I should uterly fail – indeed I doubt not that angels were hovering over that vast asembly filled with joy & wonder. I went into the crowd, fell prostate on the ground and began to pray and cry for mercy; I prayed as best I could, but it seemed to me that the more I prayed, the worse my case grew untill I was allmost in utter dispare = after struggling for hours lost sight all all around me = the next I knew I was at full length on my back on a bench: the lights all out; the people all gon; and the whole place bore the stillness of Death; The first thought was now you went to sleep. The people all thought you a hipocrit and therefore left. I at once appealed from that sugestion to my Heavenly Father = I told him that he he knew verry well that I was not acting with deceit – my load of guilt was gon measureably but I could not rejoice and I was unhappy because I could neither moan nor rejoice = I could not then, I cannot now, and I suppose I never shall be able to tell the presise condition I was in during those hours that I was unconcious of what was passing = I lay on my bench, still & was still trying to Pray = It was suggested you will never be converted here – get up and go away from this ground – I said the Lord is every where at one and the same time & can convert me here as well as any where = But the oposit reasning finally prevaled = Then I said I will go to a Deep revene of which I knew and there I will remaine untill I die or know that God for Christ sake has pardoned my sins = This settled I made an effort to get up but could not; My blood had so nearly seaced to circulate that I had not power to rise = After sometime spent in efforts I succeeded in getting to feet = but could not walk for sometime; I finally started and staggered like the Drunken man but fully resolved never to come back unless I should become converted = my course led through the grave yard = While in the grave yard I stoped and thought I would cast one more Prayer to God for mercy = It was a clear star light night. As I utered that prayer, I cast my eyes to Heaven – As quick as a flash I thought I litterly saw larg star winkin & the range of my vision leap from their place and shine with a brightness and beauty I never had seen before = I leaped like a Lamb = I shouted my words were Glory; Honor; Power; Might; Magisty and Dominion, be ascribed unto God and the Lamb forever & ever = Alalulia, God for Christs sake has Pardoned my sins = I did not make a nois to be heard of men. I did not want aney one to hear me and at the same time I did not care who heard me = I was converted soul, body & spirit and I felt it was my duty as well as my Heaven born privlage to give God all the glory and I went at it with all my might = it was Monda morning between midnight and day Aug 30th 1819 when God for Chirst sake most Glouriously Powerfully and Overwhelmly converted my soul = and Glory to his glorous grace I have stayed converted and expect to untill I shall be a final conqueror through Jesus Blood. I was converted a Preacher = I thought I could show aney Person in five minutes how they could be saved – and altho like the man in the Gospel I was literally among the Toombs = I longed for an opertunity to Preach Jesus as the only and all sufficient Saviour = Just one week from my conversion I was yoked into the work: an Exhorter 6 years and had appointments as regulerly as I ever had as a Preacher.

5. Call to Preach - License - Probation in Conference - Ordination - Membership: In 1825 I was Licened as a Local or Lay preacher = In the fall of 1830 I was admitted on probation in the Ill Conf & appointed to Grand Prairie Mission which had no existance except the name – I organised a work of 28 appointments to be filled every 4 weeks – Samuel H. THOMPSON was my P. E. I was returned to this charge a second year – the 1st year I received from the Missionary Society $50 and $30 from the people – The 2nd year from the Missionary Society $50 and $40 from the people. I returned the mission as a circuit with 28 appointments and a membership of between 3 & 4 hundred. The fall of 32 its name was changed to Salem Circuit. The fall of 1832 Conf. held at Jacksonville Bishop Joshua SOUL presiding my appointment was Mt. Vernon Ct. covering most of Washington – Jefferson; Hamilton & a part of Marion Countys. I had to travel about 500 miles every round on evry 4 weeks. There were 500 accessions to the church on the circuit that year and more than that number of conversions, I received this year $724.12 ½. The Conference in 1833 was held at Union Grove Sinclair Co. A camp meeting in connection with the conf. Bishop Soul was to have presided but failed to get there untill late Saturday evening and Peter CARTRIGHT presided – My appointment this year was Carlyle and my pay about $700 dollars.

Having been 14 years constantly at hard work, 6 years as Exhorter 4 as Local Preacher & 4 as traveling Preacher = with my health measurably broken = my earthly store spent with a wife & 7 children – I felt it my duty to Locate and try to recuparate = which I did in the fall of 1834.

I think I am the 1st Pastor that ever had a regular appointment in either Salem or Mt. Vernon. There was a Mt. Vernon Circuit but no reglar preaching in the town.

6. Appointments Served, with experience in Pasotral Work, Revival Incidents, Church or Parsonage Building, Missionary and Benevolent Contributions of Charges, Debt-Paying, Settlement of difficulties among brethren, and other matters of interest:

In 1830 Grand Prairie Mission with nothing but the name but organised into a circuit with 28 appointments & a membership of between 3 & 4 hundred.

1831 – Returned to Grand Prairie Mission

1832 – Mt. Vernon Ct. 500 accession & more than that no. of conversions.

1833 – Carlyle Ct.

1834 - Located – Readmitted S. Ill. Conf. in 1856

1856 - McClainsborro Ct.

1857 & 8 – Mt. Vernon Ct.

1859 & 60 – Carlyle

1861 – Pocahontas

1862 - Tamaroa

1863 – Chaplain in the Armey

1864 – Superannuated

1865 – Supernumerary

1866 to 79 – Superanuated

Died in Peace Feb 22” 1880 – Burried at Richview Ill.

Licened as Exhorter in 1820 signed John KIRKPATRICK Pastor

Licened as Local Preacher Aug 22’ 1826 by Q. C. at Greenville Camp Ground signed Joseph FOULKS P. E. protem.

Ordained Deacon by Bishop ROBERTS at Indianopolis Ind Oct 9th 1831.

Ordained Elder by Bishop Josua SOUL in Father PADFIELD’s house at Union Grove St. Clair Co Ill Oct. 3’ 1833.

Note: A copy of this handwritten bio was obtained from the Methodist Church Archives located in the McKendree College, Holman Library, Lebanon, Illinois, with a big thanks to Linda Isbell, Volunteer Archivist.

Transcribed by Dorothy Falk.

Submitted by: Dorothy Scott Falk

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Database table Bio_Index modified:5 Nov 2016
Page modified:15 Nov 2011