“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Chesterfield in St. Louis County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

The Old Stone Church

(Old Bonhomme Church)

The Old Stone Church Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, December 4, 2021
1. The Old Stone Church Marker
Inscription.  Stephen Hempstead, a Revolutionary War hero and early settler, wrote to the Connecticut Home Missionary Society in 1815 to ask them to send a missionary to organize Presbyterian Churches in this area. On December 26, 1815, The Reverend Mr. Salmon Giddings of Connecticut started out, alone and on horseback, to come to Missouri to answer this call. By the time that Reverend Giddings arrived, the settlers were harvesting their crops. They asked him to return after the harvest season, so he went south to establish the first Presbyterian Church west of the Mississippi at Caledonia, MO.

After the harvest, he returned to organize Bonhomme Presbyterian Church at the home of Captain Joseph Conway on October 4, 1816. The first service was held on October 6, 1816 at the home of Elizabeth Smith. Among the charter members were Stephen Hempstead, eminent Revolutionary War patriot, and father of Edward Hempstead, Missouri's first delegate to Congress, and the wife of Joseph Conway Sr., who served as a captain in the War of 1812 and was an associate of Daniel Boone.

Services were held in a log cabin (which burned) and then at members'
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homes for 25 years. In 1841 Joseph Conway Jr. donated the land for the Old Stone Church. The congregation hired a professional stone mason and carpenter and some of the construction was done by church members. The building was constructed of limestone quarried from a nearby farm, and held together with quarried lime and sand mortar.

Inside the church were sturdy, cushion-less white wooden benches that seated about 60 persons on the first floor, and another 40 in a "slave" balcony. A parlor-size pump organ, purchased for $35 in 1896, sits at the front of the church. Kerosene lamps provide the artificial light in the sanctuary. Below the sanctuary was room for a school and schoolmaster's quarters.

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 few Presbyterians moved in, so the Bonhomme Presbyterian Church's membership declined severely. 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 Church is located, about a half mile west of this building. In 1959, with only six members, they built a chapel, educational building and manse were built. The main sanctuary
The Old Stone Church Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, December 4, 2021
2. The Old Stone Church Marker
in use today was dedicated on October 6, 1967.

With the completion of the new building, the Old Stone Church lay idle, and deteriorated. When vandals defaced and practically destroyed the sanctuary of the Old Stone Church. This prompted Bonhomme's Session to establish a committee to care for the "Old Stone Church" and its cemetery. This committee continues to care for the Old Stone Church today.

More than 150 individuals are buried in the cemetery located at the Old Stone Church. The oldest identified grave is from 1844, that of Nancy Sappington Baxter. There are a number of graves from the Woods Family (after whom Woods Mill Road is named), from the Yokel Family (who donated the funds for land for the new church), and from the Smith Family (descendants of Elizabeth Smith, in whose home the first service was held).

The Old Stone Church is also available for special tours, and for special events, such as weddings. For more information, please contact the Bonhomme Church office at 636-532-3486.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial SitesChurches & ReligionSettlements & SettlersWar, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is October 4, 1816.
Location. 38° 38.96′ N, 90° 31.45′ W. Marker is in Chesterfield, Missouri, in St. Louis County
The Old Stone Church Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, December 4, 2021
3. The Old Stone Church Marker
NRHP plaque
. Marker is at the intersection of Conway Road and Hoffman, on the right when traveling west on Conway Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 14483 Conway Rd, Chesterfield MO 63017, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Sellenriek Barn (approx. 1.4 miles away); Davis House (approx. 1˝ miles away); Conway House (approx. 1˝ miles away); Mertz Log Home (approx. 1˝ miles away); Miles A. Seed Carriage House (approx. 1˝ miles away); Hoch House (approx. 1˝ miles away); Alt School House (approx. 1˝ miles away); Thornhill (approx. 1.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Chesterfield.
Also see . . .  Old Stone Church on Wikipedia. Added to the National Register of Historic Places (#73002274) in 1973. (Submitted on December 5, 2021, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 5, 2021. It was originally submitted on December 5, 2021, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 173 times since then and 69 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on December 5, 2021, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.

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May. 30, 2023