Our History

Church History

Bonhomme Presbyterian Church, the oldest Presbyterian church west of the Mississippi River, was founded on October 4, 1816, under the pastoral guidance of Reverend Salmon Giddings.

For many years worship services were held in the log cabin homes of the members if and when a circuit minister was able to ride out from St. Louis. In 1841 the members of the congregation built a Meeting House of limestone quarried from a nearby farm. The design accommodated a public school on the first floor and a galleried place of worship upstairs. The site was approximately one half mile east of the present campus and is now referred to as “The Old Stone Church.” Rev. Giddings, who died in 1828, is buried there.

The Church was active until the outbreak of the Civil War during which it was closed by the military. After the War, many members moved from the Bonhomme area, and new residents, who were primarily German and Lutheran or Evangelical, moved to the area. Bonhomme Presbyterian Church’s membership declined severely. During the 1940’s and 1950’s, worship services were held at the Church only monthly during the summer. In fact, in 1955, the congregation consisted of only three members. When one of those members, Miss Annie Yokel, died in 1956, she left a bequest to Bonhomme which contributed significantly to the purchase of the property where the current campus is located.

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