Back in December of 1881, the Greenville neighborhood --- southeast of Russell in Washington Township --- had a Chariton Democrat correspondent who identified himself as "Peck." And a Christian (Disciples of Christ) preacher, Elder Samuel Henry Rice (1842-1908), who served a small congregation that alternated with the Methodists in using the Greenville School as a site for services.
Elder Rice, a circuit-rider who lived with his wife, Nancy, and children at LaGrange --- a few miles north --- was known widely for what some considered to be the thoroughness of his sermons. Others called in long-windedness.
On Sunday, Dec. 11th of that year, Elder Rice preached a sermon of extreme length and "Peck" was on hand to time it, resulting in the following report in his Greenville News column in The Democrat of Dec. 15:
"Elder Rice preached a sermon at Greenville on Sunday, 3 hours and 43 minutes long by the watch. Just think of it. A person could start from Des Moines in the morning as he was giving out his text, change cars twice on the way, hoof it over from Zero (three miles), get there in time to hear the benediction in the afternoon and still have a few moments to reflect on. Strange but true, and yet the world is not without sin."
Zero was a short-lived coal mining town located in 1881 three miles east of Russell along the C.B.&Q. railroad tracks and three miles north of Greenville --- the closest a body could get by rail to the Greenville School.
Greenville never had a church building of its own and I don't know how long Elder Rice continued to preach in the neighborhood. He eventually accepted a call to serve the Disciples in Wayne County's Seymour, then moved west to Osage City, Kansas, where he died during 1908.
Here's another sample of Peck's reportage from The Democrat of Dec. 15: "Our blacksmith was severely injured the other day by the premature discharge of a mule which he was attempting to shoe. Charley says he had no idea the cussed thing was loaded, but nevertheless thinks he will be around in a few days. Don't know when the mule will be around again though."