Edwardsville Baptist Association
As a Christian denomination that rejected all forms of hierarchy beyond the individual congregation, Baptists linked multiple churches in local associations for mutual support and common goals. As was common practice, the association formed by three Baptist churches in Edwardsville, Illinois, in 1830 kept careful records. The minutes of its annual meeting in 1842, when it had grown to thirteen churches, include a plan to raise scholarship funds for ministerial training for poor young men throughout the state and a commitment to “aiding the daughters of Baptist preachers, and other indigent females, in obtaining . . . education.” Attention to practical charity has typified religious associations throughout the nation’s history.