From the book entitled: History of the Disciples of
Christ in Illinois, 1819-1914
Author: Nathaniel Smith Haynes
Publisher: The Standard publishing company, 1915
Ebenezer Rhodes was born in Holland in 1780. Coming to America, he
first settled in Maryland, thereafter moved to Ohio, and in 1824 came
to Illinois and settled in Keg's Grove, so called because a keg with
some whisky in it was found there. Within a few years the name was
changed to Blooming Grove, which it still retains. It is five miles
south of Bloomington. Mr. Rhodes was a Baptist preacher. He preached
whenever and wherever he could get two or three families together. In
those early years he preached at Hittle's Grove, Cheney's Grove, Sugar
Grove, Long Point, Big Grove, Twin Grove, Dry Grove, Blooming Grove, at
the head of the Mackinaw and elsewhere. He was the first preacher in
McLean County, and is said to have married the first couple in the
county; namely, Thomas Orendorff and Miss Malinda Walker. Mr. Rhodes
organized the first church in the county. This was in 1824, in his own
house in Blooming Grove. There, so it is said by some, were seven
charter members; namely, Ebenezer Rhodes and wife, and his sons (John
H. S. and Samuel Rhodes) and their wives, and the other, it is
believed, was Jeremiah Rhodes.
Reuben Carlock was a native of Overton County, Tenn. He came to
Illinois in 1827, and on October 10 settled in Dry Grove, five miles
southwest of the present site of Carlock. Mr. Carlock's family was the
fifth to settle in Dry Grove. That was then a part of Tazewell County.
In that year the county-seat was located at Mackinaw town. There were
then five families in Twin Grove, seven families in Stout's Grove,
three families in Brown's Grove, thirteen families in Keg's or Blooming
Grove, two families in Funk's Grove and one family in Three Miles
Grove. All of the first settlers made their homes along the timber.
Indians were then many in this section. Old Town was one of their
camps. It was a strip of timber some two miles wide, thirteen miles
east of Bloomington. The country was full of deer, wild turkeys,
prairie chickens and pigeons. These settlers traded at Springfield and
William Brown was a Christian preacher who came from Tennessee to Dry
Grove, Ill., in 1828. He was a friend of Reuben Carlock. In August of
that year, Mr. Carlock hitched up his ox team, and, accompanied by some
members of his own family and his guest, Preacher Brown, drove to the
cabin of Ebenezer Rhodes, in Blooming Grove, for a three days' meeting.
It was during this meeting that the Rhodes and Carlock families were
united in one church. Whether the organization above referred to did
not take place till this year, or whether it was reorganized upon
receiving the Carlocks, is not clear. But when these families were
united in that little church in August, 1828, Ebenezer Rhodes, the
recognized leader, said: "And now, brethren, we must have some articles
Whereupon Reuben Carlock, drawing a small copy of the New Testament
from his pocket and holding it up, said: "Bro. Rhodes, this Book has
all the articles of faith we need."
Mr. Rhodes at once in full assurance answered: "That is true."
Then and there a primitive and apostolic church of Christ was born.
From that time Mr. Rhodes was known as a Christian minister. He
continued to preach the gospel, without the admixture of human
traditions, till his death in 1842. Later the members went to other
local churches. Preacher Brown returned to Tennessee.