Gilead was organized as a Cumberland Presbyterian Church Saturday, November 27, 1842, by the Rev. James Alexander. The meeting was held in the log cabin home of William Barnwell with 13 persons representing the following families: Barnwell, Elders, Gray, Hays, Matthews, Nichols, Simmons, Simpson, Stalkamp, and Thomas.
They continued to meet in homes for about seven years. Then, by permission, they met in the School House which had been built on the southwest part of the Dr. T. B. Kerley land. This log school house furnished the limited educational opportunities for early members of Gilead Church. Lawrence Fern was the teacher.
With humble perseverance and determination to improve conditions, they selected the present site as the permanent location of Gilead church and cemetery, widely chosen for its perfect drainage.
The new and ample log church served the members for 14 years, and then was replaced by the first frame building (1870), of which they were justly proud and thankful. In this frame building, the first oil lamps were utilized. Memories of past members are recorded remembering those fine lamps with reflectors hanging on the walls.
In October 1884, Milton Trigg and J. C. Barnwell drove two days to Metropolis, Illinois and bought the bell for Gilead Church for $6.00.
Another building was constructed in 1912. With laudable ambition for improvement, T. C. Barnwell and others remodeled the building in 1937 by enlarging the floor plan and adding a basement.
Still seeking to improve and enhance the appearance, in 1945, new, modern white siding was placed on the building. In 1955, the basement was enlarged. At the last count Gilead, members have worshipped in eight different buildings.
On August 16, 1954, one hundred years had passed since the first interment in Gilead Cemetery. By count, there were 516 graves in 1955 and countless more at today's date.