Pilot Grove Baptist Church

Many new settlers to Daviess County chose the Pilot Grove Creek area to settle. Pilot Grove Baptist Church organized in 1840 and was the second church organized in Daviess County. At first services were either held outdoors or in members’ homes. The church building was built of logs in 1845 at a cost of $100. By the time the Civil Wars ended, many church members felt the need for a bigger church. Membership had grown to over 160, and some members thought the church should be closer to their homes.

Many new settlers to Daviess County chose the Pilot Grove Creek area to settle. Pilot Grove Baptist Church organized in 1840 and was the second church organized in Daviess County. At first services were either held outdoors or in members’ homes. The church building was built of logs in 1845 at a cost of $100. By the time the Civil Wars ended, many church members felt the need for a bigger church. Membership had grown to over 160, and some members thought the church should be closer to their homes.

In 1880, the Pilot Grove No. 1 Baptist Church built a new 32’x48′ frame building north of the log church at a cost of $800. The church was located near the southwest corner of Lincoln Township in Daviess County. For some time it went by the name of Woods Chapel Baptist Church and still later was to be known as the Corner Church. It is located two miles east and three miles south of Gilman City on the Bancroft prairie.

Pilot Grove No. 2 (1886– 1973) was established when the membership of the Pilot Grove No. 1 had grown to the place that several members felt a new church would be more beneficial to those living south of the parent church. Thirty-seven members left the main church to build a new 30×40 wood frame church on 1-1/2 acres deeded by George Bear. Lumber for the building was sawed by the members and friends. The first service was celebrated on Dec. 24, 1887. Other names considered for the new church were Mt. Vernon and New Harmony.

At first the church flourished with services lasting all day. Sunday School and worship services were held in the morning followed by dinner, afternoon church, and evening services. The church was furnished with kerosene lamps and walnut pews. An organ was added in later days followed by a piano. Baptismal services were either held in a creek or in a pond.

As time passed, the changing times affected attendance as farms got bigger and more and more members moved away. Members voted to close Pilot Grove No. 2; the building was auctioned and a beautiful memorial from the foundation stones was erected.

On Oct. 28, 1979, the old building was completely destroyed by fire. The members decided to build a new church on the old church’s site. Basement work was started on Dec. 14, 1979, and dedication services were held on May 25, 1980. While the building was being constructed, the congregation held their services at the vacant Primitive Baptist Church in Gilman City.