The earliest religious gatherings were held in private homes, schools, or public buildings until the individual congregations organized and constructed structures. Congregations formed quickly: the Methodists in 1807, the Presbyterians in 1821, and the Baptists in 1834. In 1824, three one-acre lots were set aside for each of these congregations to build churches.
Replacing a frame chapel (1808, site unknown), Methodists used one of the original lots to erect this brick edifice (1844). In 1838, Baptists built their meetinghouse near the town spring; in 1859, they moved to S. Main Street. The Presbyterians built on S. Main Street (1842). Episcopalians organized in 1846 and built a chapel near the W. Central Avenue gate (razed 1939 and added to Old Cemetery).
Churches were centers for religious and social life, often hosting orations of the Morgan County Temperance Society, Martinean Society, and Masonic celebrations. By 1850, both the Baptist and Methodist congregations would also pioneer and fund advanced education institutions for women.