Estella Smith, the 17-year-old daughter of John & Sarah Smith of Checkrow, died of typhoid fever on January 1, 1888. The Smith Family was living south of our church where John & Cindy Emory currently live. She is buried in Rigdon Cemetery. John & Sara gave land for a church to be founded in Estella's memory.

The church was built in 1890 by Southern Methodists at Checkrow (and called Estella Chapel). The building was sold to the community in 1925 for a place of worship.

William Spangler kept a diary as a student at Western Normal College in Bushnell in 1891. He wrote, "walked home on Saturday and went to prayer meeting at Check-Rowe Sunday evening. There were ten baptized in the Spoon River today. I saw many old acquaintances. I attended prayer meeting Sunday night at Check-Rowe, at the Estella Chapel."

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