Wednesday, September 14, 2016

An Unexpected Church History Gem!

Just a few miles NE of Carthage is the little hamlet of Webster. It was originally called Ramus and I'd heard about it when I worked in the Lands and Records site in Nauvoo.  We didn't know what we'd find, but we sure found more than we expected. 

As we read this sign on the main road,  we knew there was more LDS history here than we knew about. We wondered if we could find the old cemetery mentioned on the sign. 

You have to read the sign - it's like being there!

Sure enough, with the help of a Webster resident, we turned left at the old store on the corner and followed the road left and around to the old cemetery. 

We found the graves of the original settlers who came to Ramus in 1826 and who were converted by missionary Joel Hills Johnson. As you can tell, the Perkins family decendants put up a new marker in 2000.

The exciting find of the day was this headstone of Wilkins Salisbury and his wife Katherine Smith Salisbury. She was the sister of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Salisburys lived in the area and Joseph and Hyrum visited here often.

After the cemetery, we went back onto the main road to see if we could find the town square mentioned on the first sign we'd read. Back behind the little park/playground area we found an old church. Beside it was this door. Curious! This says: "this is the foundation of original brick Mormon church. First meeting house in Illinois. Built 1840. Torn down 1897. Joseph Smith spoke D&C 130 (April 2, 1843) and D&C 131, May 16-17, 1843. Inside the perimeter of these white stakes you may probe 15 inches below the sod and touch the original stone. Foundation undisturbed since 1890's." It goes on to say that the church beside it was built using the lumber from the LDS church by this person's ancestor. By the way, it was for sale. 

Bryce is standing by one of the 4 corner markers of the LDS church.

This is the church beside the original site built out of lumber from the LDS church. Bryce is standing at the same marker. 

Interesting info.

These are some original bricks and a cornerstone from the LDS church. The whole "jaunt" to Webster was like a treasure hunt and we were not "skunked". Great little discovery.


  1. What a fun little trip!! So cool to just go explore a little around the area!

  2. What a fun little trip!! So cool to just go explore a little around the area!

  3. Interesting to read my ancestors name in your recounting of events - Joel Hills Johnson! Fun.

  4. Great blog!

    Have a Nice day
    Nat Mart

  5. Excellent blog post about "An Unexpected Church History Gem!"

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