On July 12, 1835, the First Presbyterian Church of Mt. Sterling was organized. This was the first church in what is now Brown County. A group of people gathered in a hickory grove where the present church now stands and organized the church under the direction of Rev. Cyrus L. Watson. The original 19 members were John & Patsy B. Means, Alexander & Elizabeth Curry, John & Mary Rankin, Obed Griffith, Mary Curry, Henry & Elizabeth Hersman, George & Mary Hersman, Jacob & Sarah Hersman, a second Sarah Hersman, Jane Beazelton, Samuel R. Ware, and Joseph & Cynthia Cox. These people were mostly born in other states, several of them in Kentucky. Two infant children, Susan Ann Means and James H. Hersman, were baptized June 1, 1836, by the Rev. Mr. Lattin W. Dunlap. It was under his direction that the first church was built about where the present chapel is located. This building was used as Brown County’s first courthouse. Stephen A. Douglas, then circuit judge, held court here.
Later the first church was moved a block west, and was used as a planing mill and carpenter shop as well as a blacksmith shop. The ground for the building was given by Alexander Curry, the first clerk of the session and an elder of this church.
In 1855 the congregation bought the corner lot and built a new church, one of the finest between Springfield and Quincy, at a cost of $3,900. This building is still in use today.
Different churches were formed from the Mt. Sterling church, one in Versailles in 1841. This lasted a few years, and then most of the members returned to the Mt. Sterling church.
In 1851 a Presbyterian church was formed at Walker’s Neck, not far from Fargo or Buckhorn. The Lee church at Fargo was likely formed from this group. There was also a church at Olive, just north of Mt. Sterling. On Oct. 15, 1875, 27 members were dismissed from the Mt. Sterling church to organize a church at Hersman. This made four Presbyterian churches in Brown County in 1882.
By 1875 church members living three or more miles from Mt. Sterling felt a need for a church closer to their homes, with the problem of traveling over the sometimes impassable roads. Grandpappy Hersman, as he was familiarly known, had helped to establish a Sunday School in Hersman some years ago, while he was still an elder in the Mt. Sterling church. He donated some ground for a building site and others brought stone from the quarry for the foundation, while still others sawed lumber for the framing. A subscription paper produced enough financial support to hire a carpenter-foreman and provide material for the roof, siding, flooring and furnishings. The new church was dedicated, free from debt, Oct. 14, 1875, with a charter member of 31. Grandpappy’s decendants include not only the Hersmans, but also the Pikes, Montgomerys, Frys, Lewis, Means, Elliotts, Abers, McCoys, and Wards.
In 1981 members of the Mt. Sterling and Hersman churches voted to merge the congregations, and decided to use the Mt. Sterling building and the Hersman manse for the present time. Furnishings from both churches were included as the Mt. Sterling building was refurbished. Hersman Church was demolished, and a lovely memorial site now reminds us of our old church. Our merged congregation has worked out very nicely.
Make History With Us
We want to take this space to invite you to become a part of our fellowship and make history with us as we worship and fellowship together. We feel like we have a special group of people, each offering something different to our "family of God". Please consider joining us for service together.