The history of the First Christian Church, Mexico, MO began with the organization in 1842 of the first congregation of thirteen members, they forming the nucleus of what was to grow into one of the most important churches of the early Disciples movement. These charter members were William Pearson and wife, Richmond Pearson and wife, John P. Beatty and wife, Meredith Myers and wife, Mrs. George W. Turley, Mrs. Margaret Muldrow, Mrs. Phoebe Kilgore, Greenup Jackson and William Douglas. This small band of Disciples, as early as 1840, began to hold religious services, sometimes in the schoolhouse, sometimes in the old Court House, and eventually set their minds, backs and resources to a modest church house at the corner of Liberty and Clark on the east side of the street facing South. It was a very primitive frame building with two front doors on either side of the pulpit, one for the women, who always sat on the east, the other for the men. There were uncomfortable home-made benches, and at night the church was lighted for the first years of its life by tallow candles, and later by coal oil lamps. The first church was fortunate in having a number of pioneer preachers, who lived in or near Mexico and filled the pulpit during interim periods or ‘big meetin’s.’ The most noted of these was John (Raccoon) Smith of Kentucky, who often visited his daughter, Mrs. A. R. Ringo in Mexico, and who was an orator of uncommon power and persuasion.
Great revivals were held and many new members were added and the church grew and prospered. Among the great evangelicals whose preaching drew crowds from magnificent distances, the most noted was Alexander Campbell himself, who came from Pennsylvania and Kentucky to pour out upon the people of Audrain the ‘gold of his eloquence and ardor.’ The ‘baptism pool’ was a beautiful sheet of clear water in Beaver Dam Creek, just east of where the Missouri Military Academy now stands. The church suffered the ravages of the Civil War where Gen. U. S. Grant had his headquarters in Mexico and the Christian Church was used as a stable for Calvary. The church was repaired after the war and services were resumed, but the membership increased so steadily that it was seen a larger building was needed, thus resulting in the second building of the Christian Church in 1872. This building, the Odd Fellows Home, still stands at the corner of Promenade and Clark, facing the north. God blessed the growth of the church during these years, and many Christian ministries were born and thrived, such as: Christian Endeavor Society for young people, Women’s Organizations (Ladies’ Aid), the Missionary Society and the Harvesters. Under much capable ministration, the church moved ever forward to where the Sunday School grew out of all bounds and a general cry went up for a new church which would furnish the necessary room. The new church was erected and dedicated in 1905 at its present location at 307 Jackson St.
Throughout the years, First Christian Church has issued forth the bold proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and He has blessed this congregation. Many prominent men, women and children have passed through this sanctuary and gained a strong faith and character which have sent ripples of grace wherever they went. We give God all glory and praise for His faithfulness to our congregation for these 175 years! Thank you for being here today to help us celebrate this important milestone.