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History of Union Church

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Source: Paris Mercury, June 15, 1917,

The new Christian church at Union, southwest of Paris, was dedicated Sunday free of debt and that historic congregation now has one of the most modern and convenient country church buildings in this part of the state. The dedicatory sermon was preached by the pastor, Rev. Powell, and nearly $600 was raised during the day. About $200 of this was necessary to clear the debt and the remainder will be used to complete the basement and equip it with a kitchen and other conveniences. The new building is the third on the present site and was erected at an approximate cost of $3,000, representing sacrifice on the part of every giver. It has furnace heat, thanks to the women ,and the pews bought at a cost of over $500 are as handsome as those of a city church. The floor is inclined, the interior tastily decorated, and one must go far to find a more attractive country church building. Perhaps no church in Monroe county has a more enthusiastic set of young men directing its affairs, and the circumstance is unusual. They not only gave liberally of their money, but dug the basement and laid the foundation as well, laboring at spare times. They are the sons and grandsons of the men who made Union church, no community in Monroe county having shown so little change in nomenclature, and are animated by the same great faith. The same may be said of the women, who seated and carpeted the church.

Sunday was a historic day and the scene presented in and about the church, with automobiles parked in every direction and vehicles by the score, was a study in contrast when one remembered the long and notable history of this church on a hill. The old graveyard, where the fathers and mothers of the church and the beautiful ones of long ago sleep, added to the sacredness of the occasion and lost some of its gloom by reason of the pretty children playing among its vine-covered stones.

Fully 1,000 people were present and the big dinner, spread at the edge of the grove back of the church, sent memory racing back to other historic gatherings on the same spot. The big crowd was fed without stint on the the best the land affords.

The day's program was interesting and did not tire. In the forenoon the choir did some especially good chorus singing and Mary Alice Curtright sang a solo. There was a duet by Ray and Elwood Curtright followed by Rev. Owens of Holliday in the communion address. Rev. Powell read the history of the church and following this the money was raised, the finance committee, was made up of Jas. Young, Jr., E. B. Dry, R. A. Curtright and Rev. Powell, doing good work.

In the afternoon Rev. Powell, an exceptionally able man, preached a splendid dedication sermon, REv. Shively preceding him in scripture reading and prayer. Miss Essie McGee of Paris sang and was followed by the Madison lady quartette, Mesdames Ragland, Noel, and Frank in "Lord, is it I." A day well near perfect ended with singing of "God be with you until we meet again."

Flags figured largely in the decorations and patriotism and religion were happily blended.

Union church was organized in 1835 with 14 members--

John. A Holloway and wife
Benjamin  Mason and wife
Thomas Watts and wife
James Hawkins and wife
Joseph Foreman and wife
John Foreman and wife
William Foreman and wife
Mrs. Woodward
Eliza Chapman

John Foreman and Benjamin Mason were the first elders, Joseph Foreman and James Hawkins deacons. They first met at a school house nearby and for two years at the old Foreman mill, Elder Thompson doing the preaching. Later there came to the congregation from Kentucky Thomas Barker and Henry Glascock and their families. The first big meeting was held in 1839 just south of the James Foreman house, "near a good spring", and there were 17 additions. Barton W. Stone of Kentucky, who with Alexander Campbell, started the Disciples movement, was present and did part of the preaching. The other preachers were Henry Thomas, Jacob Creath, John R. McCall and Alfred Wilson.

Another meeting, with 26 additions, was held on the Samuel Curtright place in 1846, with 26 additions, and at this time the first church building was projected, being finished the following year. Thomas Barker furnished the lumber and Wm. H. Foreman dressed it, the men of the congregation building the church. Last Sunday Pleasant Curtright and Sant Stone were the only two men on the scene who were there as boys when the first building was dedicated. The latter rode there horseback behind his mother. With exception of two or three farms, it was all open country between Paris and Union at that time. The second church even more famous, was built in the seventies and it was the scene of many notable gatherings.  The present elders are R. A. Curtright, E. B. Dry, Austin Forman and the deacons, Dave Dawson, Mart Wills, Tom Curtright, and A. and K. Curtright.

Union has many beautiful traditions behind it and is upholding them with the fine spirit that has always pervaded its membership. It is gratifying to note that some of the money raised is to be used in beautifying the historic churchyard, where sleep so many men and women of blessed memory, who helped to make Monroe county what it is.