S E C O N D    P E R I O D .



After the commission had delivered its verdict, the revival party organized themselves into a council. They agreed on several things. First, that they would not cease preaching on account of any interdict of the commission; second, that they would refrain from official presbyterial action; third, that they would try to keep the revival churches alive and foster the revival; and finally, that they would labor for a reconciliation with the synod and the Presbyterian Church.

The revival party failed to appeal from the decision of the commission, because they utterly repudiated its right of jurisdiction in trying and silencing ordained ministers. The next meeting of the synod put all chances of appeal in the prescribed form out of their power, by dissolving the Cumberland Presbytery and remanding all the parties and their complaints to Transylvania Presbytery. It is plain that no appeal could have relieved the doctrinal difficulty, though all the other difficulties might have been settled.

The council spent four years in a vain struggle for reconciliation. It was not God's will that any reconciliation should be effected. The council sent a letter of remonstrance to the General Assembly in 1807. The case was warmly debated. The Assembly [83] sent two letters, one to the synod approving some of its actions, but disapproving its assumption of right to originate trial against a minister, and advising the synod to revise its action. The other letter was to the members of the council, condemning their course in rejecting the doctrine of fatality, but expressing sympathy in other things.

The synod did revise its action, but it reaffirmed its decisions; explaining, however, that its interdict against the ordained preachers was not meant for suspension in the technical sense.(1)

Owing to the failure of the synod to send up its Minutes, the case did not reach the Assembly again till 1809--not in the regular way, at least. The council, however, had a letter before the Assembly of 1808. To this letter an unofficial answer was sent. It was written by Dr. J.P. Wilson. It pronounced the commission unconstitutional, and advised an appeal in the regular way.

In 1809 the Minutes of synod were sent up, accompanied by a letter from the synod, and John Lyle, the bitter enemy of the revival measures, was their bearer and defender. Lyle had, in a high degree, the donum lachrymarum--the gift of tears--and in his speech before the Assembly his weeping and his oratory carried the whole house. Dr. Davidson's account of Lyle's speech represents it as having completely turned the tide, so that the Assembly voted unanimously for sustaining all the actions of the synod, in this case, and added a vote of thanks to the synod for its fidelity.(2) Dr. Davidson uses these words about Lyle's speech: "Bursting into tears, he made a most impassioned appeal, and the Assembly were so affected that their final judgment was very different from that to which they had at first inclined." {History of church in Kentucky, p. 119.} The case was now finally and hopelessly decided against the revival party.

In August of the same year, 1809, the council decided to make one final effort at reconciliation with the synod, and if that failed, then to organize an independent presbytery. The council submitted to the synod its ultimatum, the chief point of which was that those who chose to do so should be allowed to make the reservation [84] about fatality. To this the synod would not agree. The council met in October, 1809, and heard the synod's decision. McGready and Hodge being genuine Calvinists, withdrew and made terms for themselves with the synod. This left the council with only four ordained members--McGee, Ewing, King, and McAdow. McAdow was in feeble health, and had not been meeting with the council. The name of Rankin never appears on the rolls of the council at all. He went off to the Shakers. McGee drew back from carrying out the resolution to organize an independent presbytery. This left them without the constitutional number. They adjourned with the understanding that the solemn obligation into which they had entered to form an independent presbytery should remain in force till the next March, when, if a presbytery was not previously constituted, the council was to be disbanded.

Things looked gloomy. Ewing was willing to constitute with only two ordained ministers. James B. Porter, a licentiate, exerted himself to enlist a third. Ewing and King met together and went to the house of Ephraim McLean to consult with him. McLean's wife joined earnestly in the consultation.(3) This was the second day of February, 1810. The party remained till a late hour that night at McLean's before reaching their decision, which was that they would go next day to the Rev. Samuel McAdow's house, in Dickson County, Tennessee, and ask him to aid in ordaining McLean. It was a long ride, but they were at McAdow's before night. McAdow hesitated. It was a grave step. He spent the whole night in prayer over the case. Next morning his face was all aglow with light. He said God had given him clear assurance that the proposed step was approved of Heaven.

On the fourth of February, 1810, they organized, or reorganized, the Cumberland Presbytery, and ordained Ephraim McLean. Years afterward, on his death-bed, Mr. McAdow spoke of that action, and said that he had never since doubted the rectitude of their course in organizing that presbytery, and believed it was done under divine sanction and direction.

Against these three men no charges had ever been brought by their own presbytery, which was the only ecclesiastical court to [85] which the written constitution of the church gave the right to originate process of trial against an ordained minister. The Kentucky Synod itself, after the action of its commission had been called in question by the General Assembly, explained that the action of the commission was not meant for suspension in the technical sense of that word.

Dr. Ely, who held a high position in the Presbyterian Church, published a long article in the Philadelphian in regard to the Cumberland Presbyterians. In this article he uses the following words: "Of these three men (Ewing, King, McAdow) it is admitted on all hands that they were never deposed from the Christian ministry." This whole article is published in the Revivalist of May 14, 1834, and brings to light the fact that the General Assembly sent a committee to the Kentucky Synod to remonstrate with that body about the proceedings of its commission. Ah, well! Lyles' tears set that all right afterward.

After the organization of the new presbytery, a judicature of the mother church proceeded to silence or depose these three preachers, but these acts were as harmless as the bulls of the Pope hurled at Luther, after Luther had renounced the Pope's authority. As the new presbytery grew, circulars and other publications were sent out warning the people that the new church had no right to administer ordinances. This provoked a smile from some, and drew forth from others a sharp reply. The reply held up in contrast the ordination of the first Presbyterians by Roman bishops, with the ordination of Ewing, King, and McAdow by a regular presbytery. It pointed to the fact that a large majority of the Westminster Assembly divines got their ordination from a single bishop. It contrasted the first presbytery of the mother church, organized by Viret and Farel, with the organization of the Cumberland Presbytery. It called attention to the fact that neither of these two men--Viret and Farel--had ever been authorized to ordain, but only to preach, when they proceeded to ordain Calvin. The efforts to break down the young church by this mode of attack utterly failed, and were soon abandoned.

I have used the language of Dr. Davidson in calling this "the Cumberland schism," but this epithet is misleading. Only four [86] ministers came out of the mother church into ours at that time. The first meeting of the new presbytery had no churches represented. The second meeting, regular, had just one. The third meeting had none. The fourth meeting, after a year of wonderful toil, had six. The fifth had eight. Several of these had been organized by the new presbytery. By and by some more of the churches, which had been with the revival party before the split, cast in their lots with the new church, but never enough of them to amount to a schism. The membership of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church today is, ninety percent of it, made up of converts won from Satan's dominion, and not of proselytes won from other churches. In the beginning it was an exceedingly little church.

Our concern now, and for the remainder of this history, is with the work of the new church. The new Cumberland Presbytery held four sessions the first year. At these four meetings it ordained four men to preach the gospel. Besides these four, William McGee came in. He had been with them in heart all the time. Never was there greater activity and zeal than the new presbytery manifested in trying to carry the gospel to everybody within its reach. Grand meetings were held; new churches were organized, and missionaries were sent into the most destitute regions, even of the mountain districts. Dr. J. Berrien Lindsley has rendered the church good service by publishing all the Minutes of the Cumberland Presbytery, but ecclesiastical records can not be given here. Some important actions of the new presbytery must suffice. One of these was a last effort at reconciliation. Commissioners met for the purpose, but they not only failed, but made the breach wider, because our people refused to surrender their reservations about fatality. Another matter worth mentioning was the purchase of a circulating library by the presbytery for the benefit of its probationers. This was a policy long kept up in all the presbyteries. [87] Another was the temporary adjustment of the difficulties about "the union" with the Methodists, mentioned in a former chapter. Another, and a very important measure, was raising a fund for the education of some of its candidates for the ministry.

There was in this presbytery, as there was in the other denominations of that day, a mode of dealing with probationers for the ministry which belongs now to the returnless past. The same feeling which gave rise to college laws requiring a freshman when he saw a senior approaching, to stand to one side, hat in hand, till the senior passed, and which required freshmen to black the seniors' boots, showed itself in all the treatment of boys, whether by parents, school-teachers, or presbyters. To curb, to humble, to train to physical endurance, and the endurance of wrongs and outrages, was considered an essential part of the discipline through which a boy had to be taken. Authority was a tremendous thing in those days. A presbyter was an autocrat among the probationers, and woe be to that youth who, in presbytery or out of presbytery, disregarded that autocrat.

While this was the accepted rule in such matters, there were men whose naturally kind hearts made them, in the eyes of their stricter co-presbyters, grave defaulters in enforcing this system. I fear they felt very guilty when they remembered their delinquencies, but those delinquencies left a warm glow of hope and courage in many a poor boy's heart. About the close of this presbyterial period a new order of things came about. Men began to break the old regimen. At a later day still, spirits as sweet as an angel's, even in dealing with boys, were led by such genial souls as John L. Dillard, George Donnell, and James K. Lansden. What a thrill of gratitude comes along with the recollection of these blessed servants of God!

One more item about this first presbytery deserves commemoration. All its preachers had a thorough Presbyterian training, and were scarcely behind the Puritans themselves in their profound regard for the Sabbath. The customs of their families in this matter were regulated strictly by the Jewish law. No wood was gathered or carried, much less cut, on the Sabbath. No visiting, no pleasure-riding, no cooking, no strolling through the woods, no [88] whistling, no traveling, except to church, no conversation or reading, except on religious subjects, was tolerated. If a child committed an offense worthy of stripes the penalty was delayed till Monday morning. Stripes were not scarce in those days, except on the Sabbath. An illustration of this Sabbath observance is here given. In my boyhood I went to Thomas Calhoun's to board. My training on Sabbath observance had been of the modern character. Sabbath morning came, and, seated in "Aunt Polly" Calhoun's room, I picked up a newspaper and went to reading. Mrs. Calhoun. stared at me a moment, and then said, "That's a political newspaper, sir." I wondered why she told me that. Did she think I had not sense enough to know what sort of paper it was? I read on. Presently "Aunt Polly" raised her glasses and, with an emphasis that frightened me, she said, "We don't read political newspapers on Sunday, sir." O I knew then why she told me what sort of paper it was. That was lesson number one in a Presbyterian Sabbath. I counted those lessons by the hundred before my acquaintance with "Aunt Polly" closed. The precious, sterling, kind hearted old Puritan that she was! She used to put sugar in my sweet milk; she used to mend my clothes, and fill a mother's place to me, but she would not let me do wrong. I am thankful for that last item now more than for the sugar in my sweet milk.

There was another candidate for the ministry boarding at Calhoun's, going to school. One Saturday he went visiting, stayed all night, came to church next morning, and then came home. There was nothing said that day, but Monday morning before breakfast the Sabbath-breaker was called. The head of the household then began to clear his skirts of the disobedience to God which one who lived under his roof had been guilty of. That one had been away from home on a visit on the morning of God's holy day, not only sinning himself, but disturbing the Sabbath rest of others, and setting an example of Sabbath-breaking, all the more dangerous because a candidate for the ministry was its author. Worse still, the Sabbath-breaker lived under the authority, as well as under the roof-tree, of an old preacher, and might be supposed to represent the views and practices which that old preacher tolerated. [89] Turning to the offender with holy indignation, while those eagle eyes blazed with Sinai's fires, he shot words like bullets at the poor fellow till he quailed, and withered, and writhed like a tortured martyr flayed alive. The offense was not repeated by that boarder while he remained at Calhoun's house, although he was a mean man and never came to any good. Calhoun knew him and was intentionally severe.

From the nature of the case the little handful of preachers who composed the presbytery could not settle down into permanent pastorates. In this, as in the matter of education, they wisely adapted their actions to their necessities. In both, that action has since been unwisely urged as a precedent under circumstances wholly different. In the true sense of the word pastor, there was none in the church till many years later. All the ministers of the second period were missionary evangelists. There is no grander chapter in all church history than the record of these evangelistic tours. Their circuits extended over vast fields, some of them five

hundred miles in diameter. They were usually sent in pairs, one of the older men and one of the boys. They carried bell and "hobble" for their horses; crackers, cheese, and a tin cup for themselves. To these were added blankets for a bed. If they found lodgings in a house it usually had but one room and they slept on their own blankets. In the morning the owner of the cabin would take his gun and go out to hunt meat for breakfast. Yet in such cabins they held grand meetings and organized churches which stand today in the midst of wealthy communities. In many neighborhoods the pioneer farmers were just planting their first crop.

Robert Donnell held a camp-meeting near where Huntsville, Alabama, now stands, before any town was there. Timber grew thick around the great spring, though the camp-meeting was not at that, but at another spring a mile below. Calhoun and others held a camp-meeting at the spring where the town of Monroe, Overton County, Tennessee, was afterward built. None of these men got much, if any, pay at first. They wore homespun clothing made by their mothers or wives, and were at little expense. They often swam the rivers, because there were no ferry-boats except on the thoroughfares.

[90] The ordained missionaries of the presbytery were King, Donnell, Calhoun, McSpeddin, Foster, McLin, Chapman, Harris, Kirkpatrick, Barnett, Bell, and McLean, with large additions to the list toward the close of this presbyterial period. A course of study prescribed by presbytery was regularly kept up by the young men on all these tours of evangelism. They recited to their seniors as they rode along on their horses. This was the normal school of science and divinity for the first Cumberland Presbyterians. While it had its disadvantages, it generally made grand thinkers. Testimonies from the ablest alumni of the old colleges are in existence showing with what a grasp of original thought these men took up an investigation. A college president once sat down with Reuben Burrow to investigate a Bible question. They had gone but a little way in the investigation before the college man saw that he was in the presence of his master. In vigor of original thought, in grasp, and depth, and clearness of discernment, he could hold no hand with Burrow. Dr. Anderson, of the Presbyterian Church, warned his friend, Dr. Blackburn, against entering into any controversy with Finis Ewing, on the ground that Ewing would prove too hard for him. He said Ewing had already given Blackburn a Braddock's defeat. {See Life and Times of Ewing, p. 203.}

What heroism it required to enter the ministry under our first presbytery! There were no pastorates, no salaries, no possibility of earthly honors. To travel unpaid on horseback across wild wastes to the homes of pioneers in the new settlements; to swim rivers, and sleep on the bare ground; to go hungry and half clad; to belong to a struggling little church whose doctrines and practices were diligently misrepresented, as they are even to this day; to preach in floorless log-cabins, or gather the rough frontiersmen in camps around some spring, and there labor day and night for a week that poor lost men might be saved, and that our new territories might not all be given over to infidelity; and after all this, to die in poverty at last, was the prospect before that generation of our preachers. Thank God there were men equal to the occasion!

Brief biographical sketches of the ordained ministers of the new presbytery, up to the time it was divided, are here given:

Samuel McAdow was born in North Carolina, April 10, 1760, [91] and was converted in 1771. He was a graduate of Mechlenburg College; was married to Henrietta Wheatley, in 1788; licensed in 1797, by Orange Presbytery; ordained in 1798 or 1799. He moved to Kentucky in 1799; aided in forming the new church in 1810; moved to Illinois in 1828; and died March 30, 1844.

Finis Ewing was born in Virginia, in July, 1773; was married January 19, 1793, to Peggy Davidson; was a candidate in 1801, receiving licensure in 1802; was ordained in 1803. He assisted in the organization of the new church in 1810, and helped to make the Confession of Faith in 1814; moved to Missouri in 1820; died in 1841.

Samuel King was born in North Carolina, April 19, 1775; was married to Ann Dixon in 1795; licensed in 1802, and ordained in 1804. He aided in forming the new church in 1810; moved to Missouri in 1825; died in 1842.

Ephraim McLean was born June 26, 1768; married Elizabeth Walton Byers, of Virginia; was a candidate in 1802; was licensed in 1803, and ordained by the new Cumberland Presbytery in 1810. He died January 1, 1813.

James Brown Porter was born February 26, 1779, in North Carolina, and was converted in 1801. He became a candidate in 1803; was licensed in 1804, and ordained in 1810. He was twice married. He died in 1854.

William McGee was born in North Carolina, in 1768. He was licensed and ordained in North Carolina before 1796, at which time he was sent West as a missionary. He joined the Cumberland Presbytery in October, 1810, and helped to form the Confession in 1814. He died in 1817.

Robert Bell was born December 16, 1770. He married Grizzell McCutcheon. He was licensed in 1804; was ordained in 1810, and was sent as a missionary to the Indians in 1820. He died October 9th, 1853.

Thomas Calhoun was born in North Carolina, May 31, 1782. He became a candidate in 1803, and was married to Mary Johnson in 1809. He received licensure in July, 1810, and was ordained in 1811. He helped to make our Confession of Faith in 1814. He died in 1855.

[92] Hugh Kirkpatrick, the date of whose birth is not known, was a licensed preacher at the time the commission met in 1805. He was ordained in 1810. He died in 1864.

David Foster was born in North Carolina, May 4, 1780; was licensed in 1805. He married Ann Beard in 1806; was ordained in 1810; moved to Illinois in 1827. He died in 1833.

William Harris was born in 1772, and married Nancy Highsmith in 1797. He was a catechist in 1804, a candidate in 1810, licensed in 1811, and ordained in 1812. He published our first hymn book in 1824. He died in 1845.

William Barnett was born April 24, 1785; was licensed in 1810, and ordained in 1813. He was twice married. He died at a camp-meeting in West Tennessee in 1828.(4)

Alexander Chapman was born in Pennsylvania, January 2, 1776. He married Ann Dixon Carson in 1805; became a candidate in 1805; was licensed in 1811; ordained in 1813. He died in 1834.

David Wilson McLin was born December 24, 1785. He became a candidate in 1810, was licensed in 1811, and married Nancy Johnson Porter in 1812. He died in his adopted home in Illinois, in 1836.

Robert Donnell was born in North Carolina, in April, 1784. (The family records were destroyed by the Indians.) He was a candidate in 1806, was licensed in 1811, and ordained in 1813. He helped to form the Confession of Faith in 1814. He married Ann E. Smith in 1817. His second wife was Clara W. Lindley, to whom he was married in 1832. He died in 1855.

The licentiates under the care of the first presbytery were Philip McDonnold, William Bumpass, Samuel McSpeddin, and Samuel Donnell. The candidates were Robert Guthrie, John Barnett, John Carnahan, Elisha Price, Green P. Rice, Daniel Buie, Robert McCorkle, James Stewart, Ezekiel Cloyd, Francis McConnell, and Elijah Cherry. A few others conversed with the presbytery about their call to the ministry, and were advised to defer their decision. Most of these came into the ministry after the presbytery was divided, and after a melancholy period of doubt and struggle.







It is indicated clearly all through the records of the first presbytery that a separate denomination was not at first aimed at, but only an independent presbytery of the Presbyterian Church, with reserved hopes that in some unforeseen manner the breach would one day be healed. These hopes were not all given up even when a synod was formed, as the preamble to the resolution establishing a synod clearly indicates; but the failure of all past efforts at reconciliation, and the necessities of the great work committed to their hands, required them to take one more step.

The Cumberland Presbytery, at the meeting held at Lebanon church, Christian County, Kentucky, November 3, 1812, put on record the fact that it had been struggling for a reunion with the Presbyterian Church, and that it still desired such reunion. {See Minutes in the Theological Medium, October, 1878, pp. 494, 495.} The preamble to the resolution to form a synod is as follows:

Whereas, we, the Cumberland Presbytery, have made every reasonable effort to be reunited to the general Presbyterian Church; and, whereas, from the extent of our bounds, the local situation of our members, their number, etc., it is inconvenient to do business in-but one presbytery; and, whereas, the constitution of a synod would be desirable, and we trust of good consequences, in various respects, and particularly as a tribunal having appellate jurisdiction; therefore, resolved, etc.

[94] The Elk and Logan presbyteries were formed. The Elk Presbytery extended from the mouth of Duck River northward to Tennessee Ridge, thence east to the Cumberland Mountains in Middle Tennessee. Its southern boundary was indefinite, but extended as far as the white settlements, and followed up the advancing wave of these settlements. Its first members were William McGee, Samuel King, James B. Porter, Robert Bell, and Robert Donnell. Its first meeting was at Mount Carmel, and William McGee preached the opening sermon.

The Logan Presbytery was bounded on the south by the other two presbyteries, but extended northward indefinitely. Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana territories were in its field, as were also Pennsylvania and New York. Its members were Finis Ewing, William Harris, Alexander Chapman, and William Barnett. At the organization the sermon was preached by Ewing.

The Cumberland (Nashville) Presbytery was composed of the following members: Thomas Calhoun, David Foster, D.W. McLin, Hugh Kirkpatrick, William Bumpass, Samuel McSpeddin, and Ezekiel Cloyd. The boundaries of this presbytery were limited only by the fields assigned to the Elk and the Logan. The first synod was organized on the 5th day of October, 1813, at the Beech meeting-house, in Sumner County, Tennessee. There were sixteen ordained ministers within its bounds. William McGee preached the opening sermon.

There is a pen and ink sketch of the men who composed this synod at its second meeting, when the Confession was adopted. It was drawn by E. Curry, who was present at the meeting described:

The Rev. Samuel King was the moderator, and with modest step advanced to the chair,(5) and with a solemnity and dignity of countenance peculiar to himself, entered upon the duties of his station. Upon the right sat Finis Ewing, with a keen eye, ready to scan every thing that came before the synod. Near him sat Hugh Kirkpatrick, with a heavy brow, prepared to define hard words and sentences. On his right sat James B. Porter, with a pleasing countenance, as though he was delighted that they were about to smite off the old shackles. ... On the left of the moderator sat Robert Donnell, writing resolutions to [95] offer to synod. Behind him was David Foster, with a critic's eye to detect any error. In this group sat my favorite, Thomas Calhoun, who once spoke terror to my heart and caused me to cry aloud for mercy. Just in front sat Alexander Chapman, with a serene look and attentive ear, that he might be prepared to give a judicious vote. A little back lay Samuel Donnell, brother of Robert (in an advanced stage of consumption), who seemed to be a sort of concordance to whom all applied for scriptural proofs. Farther back in the house William McGee was seen, tossing to and fro with deep thoughts and heavy groans, soon to be vented in a powerful speech. A little in front sat William Bumpass, a man of ready wit and good judgment, who always had language to tell what he knew. In a corner of the aisle stood William Barnett, about to deliver one of his thundering speeches, which made the walls of the church reverberate with his loud, shrill voice. Several more of the fathers of the church took part in the deliberations of that synod.

We regret that Mr. Curry did not continue his picture. At that meeting were William Harris, D. W. McLin, Robert Bell, Samuel McSpeddin, Ezekiel Cloyd, and Philip McDonnold. These men were "the fathers" of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

I often, in my boyhood, saw McSpeddin. He used to preach at my father's house on his circuit in the mountains. "Uncle Sam," everybody called him. He was a plain, earnest, honest, good man, and a great favorite with the mountain people. His favorite theme was experimental religion. I once heard Dr. Cossitt beg him to leave his thoughts on that subject in writing for posterity. "Uncle Sam" lived to great age and retained his memory fresh to the last. It was customary with all our writers on biography or history to go to McSpeddin for facts. Even his dates were always found to be reliable. Several times they were questioned, but investigation proved them to be right. His youngest son, Judge McSpeddin, of Center, Alabama, still lives.

I also knew William Harris. He presided in the examination when I was received as a candidate for the ministry. Dr. Beard has given us a beautiful biographical sketch of Harris; the most interesting, I think, of all his biographical sketches. Harris has sons and grandsons still living. One of his grandsons was a little child, two and a half years old, when Father Harris died. The dying man had this child brought to his bed, and laying his hands [96] upon his head poured forth a prayer of great earnestness for God's blessings on the life of the boy. That grandson is now the senior editor of the Cumberland Presbyterian.

Philip McDonnold died before my day, but as his father, Redmond McDonnold, was my father's uncle; and as his mother and younger brother, Barnett, long survived him, I used to hear his wonderful career discussed very often. The family lived in what was then called Stoglan's Valley, on the borders of what was then Wayne County, Kentucky. I made many a visit to their home, and the name of Philip was spoken with profoundest veneration. By some strange freak the orthography of his name is perverted into McDaniel, even in the published minutes of his own presbytery. The McDaniels were another family and no kin to the McDonnolds, but a noble preacher rose up among them at a later day. I know that Dr. Beard tried to collect material for a biography of Philip McDonnold, but as he never published the biography, it may be that he failed to secure the necessary facts.

McDonnold was an extemporaneous orator and left no writings at all. The old people said that when he came from the woods (which was the closet of prayer in those days) and went into the pulpit, he was often as white as a sheet. When he began his sermon, pouring down torrents of oratory and of fire upon them, there was but one way to resist, and that was to run as quick as possible out of hearing. Wonderful things are related about the effects of his oratory. People said he often made them feel as if the day of judgment had already come. Many of our old people, David Lowry among the number? insisted that the spiritual power of Philip McDonnold's oratory was never equaled on earth. He married a daughter of General Robert Ewing, who was Finis Ewing's oldest brother, and died in 1815, at the close of his twenty-first year. His only son, Philip Monroe McDonnold, entered the ministry, receiving licensure. He married, and then, like his father, died, leaving only one child. After Philip McDonnold's tongue had been dust for more than fifty years old men still wept when some of his thrilling appeals to sinners were mentioned in their presence.

Dr. Beard's Biographical Sketches give pen-pictures of most [97] of the fathers of our church. There is need of a few additions. In the sketch given by Mr. Curry of William McGee there is mention made of his groaning and restlessness. McGee had a long, hard struggle about doctrine. He rejected the stern features of the Westminster Confession, but he could not frame another system of theology which left out these objectionable teachings, and at the same time avoided the opposite extreme. He declined to aid in organizing the independent presbytery. He refrained a long time from preaching. Alone in the woods he labored and prayed over the system which was to take the place of the one he had rejected. A little light dawned on him and he went then and joined the independent presbytery. Still it was an unsettled question what new creed would be adopted under the new conditions. This was the pending question when McGee showed the anxiety described by Mr. Curry. He helped to make the new creed and voted for it. It was unanimously adopted. At last McGee's troubled heart had rest.







The Cumberland Presbytery, before the organization of the synod, had felt the need of a more definite creed. Its candidates for the ministry all adopted the Westminster Confession, with exceptions about fatality. This was too vague. At the very last meeting of the presbytery before the organization of the synod, Finis Ewing and Robert Donnell were appointed a committee to prepare a synopsis of doctrines. Their synopsis was reported to the synod and unanimously adopted. The synod ordered this outline statement of its doctrines to be published. It appeared soon after in Buck's Theological Dictionary. It was as follows:

1.--That Adam was made upright, pure, and free; that he was necessarily under the moral law, which binds all intelligences; and having transgressed it he was, consequently, with all his posterity, exposed to eternal punishment and misery.

2.--That Christ, the second Adam, represented just as many as the first; consequently made an atonement for all, "which will be testified in due time;" but that the benefit of that atonement will be received only by the believer.

[99] 3.--That all Adam's family are totally depraved, conceived in sin, going astray from the womb, and all children of wrath; therefore must be born again, justified, and sanctified, or they never can enter into the kingdom of God.

4.--That justification is by faith alone as the instrument; by the merits of Christ's active and passive obedience, as the meritorious cause; and by the operation of God's Spirit as the efficient or active cause.

5.--That as the sinner is justified on the account of Christ's righteousness being imputed to him, on the same account he will be enabled to go on from one degree of grace to another, in a progressive life of sanctification, until he is fit to be gathered to the garner of God, who will certainly take to glory every man who is really justified; that is, he, Christ, has become wisdom (light to convince), righteousness (to justify), sanctification (to cleanse), and redemption (to glorify) to every truly regenerated soul.

The sixth item asserts the traditional doctrine of the Trinity. Then the synopsis states its dissent from the Westminster Confession as follows:

1. That there are no eternal reprobates. 2. That Christ died not for a part only, but for all mankind.
3. That all infants dying in infancy are saved through Christ and the sanctification of the Spirit.  4. That the operations of the Holy Spirit are co-extensive with the atonement; that is, on the whole world, in such a manner as to leave all without excuse.

After stating this dissent, our fathers then add:

As to the doctrines of election and reprobation, they think (with many eminent and modest divines who have written on the subject) they are mysterious. They are not well pleased with the application that rigid Calvinists, or Arminians, make of them. They think the truth of that, as well as many other points in divinity, lies between the opposite extremes. They are confident, however, that those doctrines should not, on the one hand, be so construed as to make any thing the creature has done, or can do, at all meritorious in his salvation; or to lay any ground to say, "Well done, I;" or to take the least degree of the honor of our justification and perseverance from God's unmerited grace and Christ's pure righteousness. On the other hand, they are equally confident that those doctrines should not be so construed as to make God the author of sin, directly or indirectly, ... or to contradict the sincerity of God's expostulation with sinners, and make his [100] oath to have no meaning, when he swears he has no pleasure in their death; or to resolve the whole character of the Deity into his sovereignty without a due regard to all his other adorable attributes.(6)

On this platform of doctrine they (the fathers of our church) dared spread their banner to the breeze; and we, their sons, hope, through God's grace, to keep it flying till the grand mission of the everlasting gospel is accomplished. This platform came not from human schools. It owes no debt to ancient or modern philosophy. In the great revival men who studied their English Bibles while laboring for the salvation of souls, rejected the medieval fatalism in that system to which their church adhered, and without being scholastic enough to attempt a theodicy, they confined their creed to the plain middle of the track of revealed truth.

A cold scholastic logic applied to theology always terminates in one or the other of two extremes. Grace and freedom are Jacob and Esau struggling in the womb together. Logic destroys one or the other and ends the struggle. Practical pulpit theology lets both live, and lets the struggle go on, nor makes any effort at reconciling things which, though both clearly revealed, are, in appearance, irreconcilable. We have far more confidence in a system of theology growing out of a revival, than in a system made by scholastics writing in the midst of their books and aiming at logical consistency.

The synod appointed a committee, consisting of William McGee, Finis Ewing, Thomas Calhoun, and Robert Donnell, to prepare a fuller creed. This committee worked first in two sections. They simply read over the Westminster Confession, item by item, changing such expressions as did not suit them. Then the two sections met and all went through the same process. By order of the synod, all the churches were observing a day of fasting and prayer for divine guidance to be given to the committee. Thomas Calhoun gave the writer a history of their meetings. They prayed much and had a clear assurance that divine direction had been granted.

I have Robert Donnell's memoranda of the action of the synod [101] of 1814 on the proposed creed. Though there were some amendments made by the synod, yet it is recorded by Donnell that the vote on every item was unanimous. What the proposed creed was before the synod's amendments we have no means now of knowing. Donnell's memoranda state the action in words like these: "Motion to strike out second clause carried unanimously."

The following exhibit of the principal changes made in the Westminster Confession, which I cut from an article published by Dr. C.H. Bell, will place the doctrinal status of our church before the reader:



Of God's Eternal Decrees.

God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

3.--By the decree of God for the manifestation of his glory some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death.

4.--These angels and men thus predestinated and foreordained are particularly and unchangeably designed; and their number is so certain and definite that it can not be either increased or diminished.


6.--As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath he, by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore they who are elected being fallen in Adam are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by his spirit working in due season; and justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power through faith unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.

7.--The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by, and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.


Christ the Mediator.

8.--To all those for whom Christ hath purchased redemption, he doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same, making intercession for them, and revealing unto them, in and by the word, the mysteries of salvation; effectually persuading them by his spirit to believe and obey. ...


Effectual Calling.

All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, he is pleased in his appointed


and accepted time effectually to call, by his word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ. ...

3.--Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ, through the Spirit, who worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth. So also are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the word.

4.--Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet they never truly come to Christ, and therefore can not be saved. ...


Of the Perseverance of the Saints.

They whom God hath accepted in his Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.

2.--This perseverance of the saints depends, not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ; the abiding of the Spirit and of the seed of God within them; and the nature of the covenant of grace; from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.



Of God's Eternal Decrees.

God did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, determine to bring to pass what should be for his own glory.

2.--God has not decreed any thing respecting his creature, man, contrary to his revealed will or written word; which declares his sovereignty over all his creatures, the ample provision he has made for their salvation; his determination to punish the finally impenitent with everlasting destruction, and to save the true believer with an everlasting salvation.

Section 3 omitted in Cumberland Presbyterian Confession.





Christ the Mediator.

8.--Jesus Christ, but the grace of God, has tasted death for every man, and now makes intercession for transgressors; by virtue of which, the Holy Spirit is given to convince of sin, and enable the creature to believe and obey. ...


Effectual Calling.

All those who God call, and who obey the call, and those only, he is pleased by his word and

Spirit to bring out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ. ...

3.--All infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth; so, also, are others who have never had the exercise of reason, and who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the word.



Of the Perseverance of the Saints.

They whom God hath justified and sanctified he will also glorify; consequently the truly regenerated soul will never totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.

2.--This perseverance depends on the unchangeable love and power of God; the merits, advocacy, and intercession of Jesus Christ; the abiding of the Spirit and seed of God within them; and the nature of the covenant of grace; from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.

[104] The great majority of the chapters in the Westminster Confession were placed in the new creed without any change at all, the changes here indicated being the only vital ones made. The Catechism was also changed in the matter of decrees to correspond with the views set forth in the new Confession. The chapters on faith, repentance, depravity, and imputation, in the new book, are the same substantially as in the old. The new Confession clearly enunciates the truth that "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life;" and that "the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal." Through Christ's atoning grace, and by the Spirit's aid, man can be saved. What need have we of more metaphysics in our creed?

Besides these principal changes, the Confession of Faith of 1814 made some additions to the deliverances of the Westminster standards on the subject of sanctification, and about the gift or baptism of the Holy Spirit. On the former, our fathers, after giving all the thirteenth chapter of the old book, just as it stands, added the following words: "Although the remains of depravity may continue to affect the true believer in this life, yet it is his duty and privilege, through grace, to maintain a conscience void o~ offense toward God and toward men."

Finis Ewing tells us, in substance, that the compilers of our Confession of Faith aimed at medium ground on the sanctification question. He was one of those compilers. They did not believe that sanctification is all finished until the soul leaves the body; neither did they believe that a life of sin is compatible with that Christianity which has received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. They believed that a Christian could and should maintain a conscience void of offense, and so live free from condemnation.

While they retained as true the phrases about the remains of depravity continuing to affect the believer as long as he remains in the body, yet they feared these expressions might be abused so as to "make provisions for the flesh," and they sought to guard against this abuse by two very strong declarations. {Chap. xiii., sec. 4, and chap. xvii., sec. 3.}

It has been shown in a previous chapter that our fathers believed [105] in the baptism of the Holy Ghost as a distinct blessing after conversion. They changed the wording of the seventeenth chapter so as to give emphasis to this belief.

The Westminster Confession reads (chap. xvii., sec. 3):

Nevertheless, they {Christians} may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins, and for a time continue therein: whereby they incur God's displeasure, and grieve his Holy Spirit; come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts; have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded; hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves.

The book adopted by our fathers reads (chap. xvii., sec. 3):

Although there are examples in the Old Testament of good men having egregiously sinned, and some of them continuing for a time therein, yet now, since life and immortality are brought clearer to light in the gospel, and especially since the effusion of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, we may not expect the true Christian to fall into such gross sins. Nevertheless, they may, through the temptations of Satan, the world and the flesh, the neglect of the means of grace, fall into sin, and incur God's displeasure and grieve his Holy Spirit; come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts, and have their consciences wounded; but the real Christian can never rest satisfied therein.

If the quotations from McAdow's sermons, in the chapter on the Paraclete, are compared with this change in the Confession, the reasons for the change will be understood. Of all the doctrines held by our fathers, the one about the baptism of the Holy Ghost was most esteemed by them. Gradually it was allowed to be crowded into the background, after our fathers went to their rest. In nearly all our early judicatures of this period, strong resolutions are placed on record about the necessity of a godly life. It is constantly affirmed by all our early writers that all Christians should live in abiding communion with God. A state of full assurance was insisted on in every protracted meeting which these men held.

But enough of this digression. The Confession, studied as a whole, interpreting the scraps and phrases by the general tenor of [106] the book, and not interpreting the whole tenor of the book by these phrases, teaches "the medium system "--a medium between the old time Calvinism and Arminianism.

It has been so often denied that there can be any medium ground between Calvinism and Arminianism, that a few words on that subject seem necessary. The assertion of impossibility is a father's hat on a boy's head. Originally it was, "There is no medium ground between fatality and freedom." If there can not be a free volition with no antecedent cause outside of the fact that there was a free actor, then fatality follows inevitably. The impossibility, if it exists, applies to God's volitions as well as man's. The claim to medium ground was not to a medium between fatality and freedom, but a medium between the Calvinism of that day and Arminianism.

An attempt is here made to exhibit the representative creeds of Christendom, graded according to the amount of Calvinism or Arminianism which they contain. You begin to read the diagram in the middle. Each step upward is supposed to contain one shade more of Calvinism, till it passes Calvinism into atheistic fatality. Each step downward is supposed to be a step further away from Calvinism. Up and down refer only to the page, and not to any superiority in the creeds. From this diagram, if it be a true exhibit, the justness of the claim to a medium position, which we Cumberland Presbyterians set up, will be clearly seen. The place assigned some of the creeds was determined by averaging, some of their doctrines belonging to a higher grade and some to a lower than the one assigned. The fact that the New School Presbyterians and the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland both adopt the Westminster standards modifies their grading. Private and individual systems give other shades not here noticed. The pulpit theology of the New School Presbyterians was often far more Arminian than the system held by Cumberland Presbyterians; so, too, is the theology of many a modern Congregationalist. A large part of the Baptist churches hold about the same amount of Calvinism that the Cumberland Presbyterians do. While many reference books have been examined, Schaff and Hagenbach have been relied on more than others.



9. Atheistic fatality.
8. Theistic fatality. God under fate.
7. Two-seed Baptists. Antinomians.
6. Supralapsarian Calvinists. Dort.
5. Infralapsarian Calvinists. American Old School Presbyterians.
4. New School Presbyterians.
3. The Savoy Declaration, 1658.
2. The United Presbyterians. Declaration of 1879.
1. The Baxterians.
English Congregationalists, 1833 }
Evangelical Free Church of Geneva, }
Cumberland Presbyterians, } Medium.
Reformed Episcopal Church, }
Free Italian Church, }
1. Lutherans.
2. Freewill Baptists.
3. Evangelical Union of Scotland.
4. Methodists.
5. Quakers, "orthodox," not "Hicksite."
6. Campbellites.
7. Pelagians.
8. Socinians.
9. Atheistic freedom. No divine influence.

The range of our easy and hearty fellowship in work for the Master's kingdom takes in all the grades from five above to five below, and sometimes stretches over the sixth above and below. The sixth below has two wholly different elements among its membership, one class believing in experimental religion, the presence and power of the Holy Ghost, and in revivals. With them our people can cooperate in Christian work. The other class we can not work with, and might do them injustice if we tried to give their views. There are individual exceptions also in the grades which we fellowship. Men of any grade who oppose revivals can not work well with us, nor we with them.

[108] As to communing at the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, we put no barrier in the way, but refer the question to men's own consciences. I have seen Unitarians communing with our people. It is not our custom to require any test--church membership, baptism, or any thing of the sort. If a man believes that he is a Christian and his own conscience is clear in coming to the Lord's table, we invite him to come. This has always been our custom, and is the obvious meaning of our standards. There have been a few dissenting voices to this interpretation of the standards. These insist on church membership, in some orthodox church, as essential. Baptism is, according to them, prerequisite to communion.

One thing can be clearly proved as a historical fact, and that is that slowly but surely the doctrinal views of the Presbyterian Church, so far as the pulpit can be taken as their exponent, have been drawing nearer and nearer, ever since 1814, to this medium platform.





Thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee.--Deuteronomy 7:2.


From the organization of the synod, in 1813, until the organization of McGee Presbytery, in 1819, there were just three presbyteries. These had the whole world for their field. It may be interesting to mention several customs which prevailed among them then, and which have long since passed away. The old custom among all Presbyterians of requiring tokens from communicants was kept up a little while by our people, but, without any ecclesiastical repudiation, was gradually dropped. James B. Porter made the first vigorous denunciation of the system. He had seen Colonel Joe Brown driven by it out of the Presbyterian Church, and he ever afterward refused to use tokens. The token was a little piece of metal like a trunk check, given by the session to a church member on communion day. It was his pass to the Lord's table when the sacrament was administered. The communicants took their seats at a long table. They always used real tables in those days. Then one man, appointed for the purpose, went round the table to see that all seated there had tokens. If any one there seated had no token he was pointed out to those who distributed the bread and wine, and they skipped him in their distribution. For many years the mother church withheld tokens from those of its members who had communed with "the Cumberlands," as they insisted on calling the members of the new church.

Colonel Joe Brown gave me, with his own lips, the history of his case. He had communed with the Cumberland Presbyterians, and his pastor ordered the session to refuse him a token. His sympathies were already with the new church both on account of its revivals and its doctrines. When the token was withheld, by [110] Gideon Blackburn's order, Colonel Brown then and there rose in the great congregation and told them that the Cumberland Presbyterians were God's people; that the attempt to bring them under the odium theologicum would recoil on its authors; and that he, for one, intended to cast his lot in with the church under whose ministry his children had been led to Jesus. While Mrs. Frances B. Fogg's little biography of this hero of Nickajack is interesting, it fails utterly to give the thrilling story of his life after his release from Indian captivity. I myself once took down from ColoneI Brown's own lips full memoranda of his whole life, but the memoranda were destroyed with most of my library during the war. It is hoped that some of Colonel Brown's family will yet preserve to the church and the world a full account of his wonderful career.

What was called "fencing" the table in the days of our fathers included this business of the tokens, and also the code of rules by which the token was either given or withheld. The preacher who publicly announced these rules, and presided in their application, was said to "fence the table." "A fence for communion," "a good fence for the Lord's table," was often published in church papers--that is, a code of rules which ought to be applied in distributing tokens. I have heard old people regret the laxness of discipline which took down the fence from the Lord's table. Whether this removal was censurable or praiseworthy, our own church was a prominent actor in its accomplishment.

All three of the presbyteries had a custom which lingered a dozen years, and whose origin is hard to trace. A presbytery was composed of preachers, elders, and representatives. As in synod, so also in presbytery, every preacher was expected to have his own elder. Then the churches also were expected to send representatives to presbytery, but as the distance was in some cases five hundred miles, it was the custom of the remote churches to club together and send one representative for several congregations. There were instances where one man represented six congregations, so that there was no superabundance of elders even when both classes, the preachers' elders and the churches', were counted. In the synod the churches had no representatives. The preachers and their elders made the synod; but the preachers' elders were ap [111] pointed by the church sessions in obedience to a requisition made annually by the presbytery. For example: the Elk Presbytery, at its spring session, would designate what congregation should send an elder with Robert Donnell, and the session of that church was held responsible for the presence of said elder in the synod. The utmost rigor was used at first to enforce this arrangement. The elder appointed and failing to go, unless for good reasons, was to have charges preferred against him. Such was the rule in all the presbyteries.

All three of the presbyteries had vast fields to cultivate, and those fields were continually expanding. The Nashville Presbytery, a few years after it began its separate presbyterial existence, found the whole western end of Tennessee opened by the purchase of the country from the Indians. But this expansion of that presbytery was a little thing compared with the vast fields thrown open on the frontiers of Logan and Elk presbyteries. In the case of the latter, soon after its organization, South Alabama was opened to American settlers, then Arkansas, then North-western Alabama, then Missouri. At one session of this presbytery petitions for preachers were received from five hundred pioneers in the new settlements of Alabama alone, and also from vast numbers in Arkansas and Missouri. Both Logan and Elk presbyteries tried to evangelize Missouri. In the wide bounds of Logan Presbytery Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio were opened to white settlements, and the earnest petitions of emigrants begging for the gospel were part of the stirring business coming up at every session.

In all three of the presbyteries fast-days were repeatedly appointed, and all the churches were urged to pray for more laborers to be sent into the harvest. After these fast-days the presbyteries invariably received large accessions to their number of candidates. Yet the growth of the new settlements and the demands for the gospel kept far ahead of this increase in the supply of ministers. It was folly to talk about settling down into pastorates under these circumstances. Men were called pastors, and they will be so designated in these pages. The name existed, but the reality had no place in all the church till near the close of the second period in this history. Thomas Calhoun is called pastor in the next chapter, [112] but he made frequent tours of evangelism which required six months each. He attended camp-meetings for two or three months every year, and he cultivated a large farm.

The plan which all the presbyteries fell upon was threefold. All the vast fields under their care were districted, and itinerants sent to each district. These itinerants established circuits of preaching places, and made appointments for preaching every day in the week. This was generally missionary work, outside of all organized congregations. If the missionary could collect enough members to organize a church, he took their names, pledging them to form a church as soon as an ordained preacher could be had to organize them. The missionary was not usually an ordained minister. This was the first branch of the system.

The second branch pertained to organized congregations. In these the presbytery appointed sacramental meetings semi-annually, and designated the preachers who were to officiate. The fall meetings were camp-meetings, as well as sacramental, and every ordained preacher, no matter what his pastoral relations might be, was required to attend these camp-meetings during the fall months, and was also required to perform his part of that other work on the circuits which unordained men could not do. The presbytery, at every session, designated what portion of these duties fell to the lot of each ordained minister, and each was held to rigid account for his fidelity in the work assigned him.

The third branch of the system consisted of such features of regular pastorates as could be made consistent with the two preceding branches. In the orders of these presbyteries I find it no uncommon thing for a so-called pastor of this period to be required, in the course of a year, to attend as many as a dozen sacramental meetings, distant from fifty to three hundred miles from his home; and when called on to report at the next meeting of the presbytery, it was a rare thing for any one to report a failure. When failure was reported, the reasons were investigated.

The chief question at every meeting of these presbyteries was about the supply of itinerants and their support. These itinerants were always called missionaries by the Logan Presbytery, but they were frequently called circuit riders in the other presbyteries.

[113] Nashville Presbytery consumed one whole session in ?IBIS in discussing plans for the support of itinerants. The Elk Presbytery came with shorter steps to decided measures. It required every member of the church to pay one dollar to the itinerant fund. This action was taken in 1816, and for three years produced good results. Afterward we find R. D. King and others traveling under order of the presbytery six months on the frontier, without receiving a cent of pay. Nashville Presbytery tried several schemes. The best one, perhaps, was a central board, with auxiliary societies throughout the presbytery; but in two years' time this plan lost its vitality, and again the wail of "no circuit riders" made the meetings of presbytery a Bochim. This whole system of machinery broke down first in the Nashville Presbytery. It failed in all the presbyteries before any other system was introduced.

The first crash of the falling fabric came at the fall meeting of the Nashville Presbytery, in 1816. No itinerants could be secured, whereupon the presbytery apportioned its field and its churches among its ministers, requiring each one to supply the congregations assigned him as often as the circumstances permitted. The fact that no itinerants could be secured was regarded by the presbytery with alarm. A fast-day was ordered in all the congregations, and, after two years of mourning, the system had another brief resuscitation, only to break down more hopelessly than ever. In the new presbyteries organized from time to time, the original scheme was invariably employed. It was a scheme for planting churches, not for training them after they were planted.

This system of itinerant missionaries followed the system of circuit riding among the Methodists in some particulars, but differed from it in many others. In theory it was voluntary, but sometimes the pressure on a young man to induce him to take the circuit was very great. With shame be it recorded that many a dear boy has left his half-finished course of studies under this pressure, and gone out "to ride the circuit." Many such, when old men, left in writings, now in my possession, their bitter protests against a policy which robbed them of their education and crippled their life-work. Popular usage assigned to these itinerant missionaries the name which the Methodists used, but Logan Presbytery [114] refused to accept the name, and never used it in official records. A part of the church accepted the name with cheerfulness, since it was a true designation of the thing to which it was applied, and since, moreover, it came to us all perfumed with grateful odors from the fields of heroic toil for Jesus by Methodist itinerants.

The name Cumberland Presbyterian originated in a somewhat similar manner. The whole of Middle Tennessee, so far as it was settled, and some of Kentucky, was, in an early day, called Cumberland--not at first "the Cumberland country," but just Cumberland. The settlement in the eastern end of Tennessee was called Watauga. These were germs for two new States, and not till long after were they the eastern and middle portions of one State. Cumberland included all of McGready's field. Here the great revival, which was so bitterly opposed by some, began. Before the Cumberland Presbytery ever existed, the two parties of Kentucky Synod were designated by names which the people saw fit to apply. One was "the Cumberland party," which was also called the revival party. When Transylvania Presbytery was divided, and all that country which was called Cumberland assigned to a new presbytery called Cumberland Presbytery, the epithet "Cumberland Presbyterian" was already in popular use as designating all that part of the Presbyterian Church which favored the revival. All this was years before the organization of our church. When the church was organized in 1810, it adopted no denominational name. There was no intention then of starting a new church. It was an independent presbytery of Presbyterians, which still hoped for restoration to its old status in the mother church. The people called its adherents Cumberland Presbyterians. It was not till 1813 that the new church indirectly adopted the name which the people had already given. Associated with all that was most sacred while the new doctrines were costing men their ecclesiastical lives, and endeared on that account to such an extent that no subsequent effort to shake it off could be tolerated by those who knew and held sacred the traditions of our origin, the name remains to this day what the people and God's providence made it. It has been often mocked at, but, by God's grace, the church will make it as dear one day to all who love true work for Jesus, as it [115] is now to those whose ears still ring, when it is mentioned, with the holy songs of the great revival and the fearless sermons of those who first proclaimed a general atonement in Presbyterian pulpits.

Another custom originating in the Cumberland Presbytery, and kept up by its three successors for many years, was that of having a presbyterial library whose books were exchanged at every meeting of the presbytery. Each minister paid five dollars into the library fund, and also solicited contributions from the wealthy for the purchase of books, so that the library grew in a few years to a considerable collection. A list of the books allowed each preacher form part of the minutes of every presbyterial meeting. The itinerant system failed first in the Nashville Presbytery; so did the custom of having a presbyterial library. In 1819 that presbytery sold out its books. Cities, dense populations, and schools superseded the itinerant library, as they did all the system with which it stood connected.

Another custom was universal all through this period. At all the camp-meetings there was at least one sermon preached on a call to the ministry. The pressure on the presbyteries for more preachers was perhaps greater than was ever before brought to bear on any church judicatures since the days of the apostles. Several causes co-operated to produce this pressure. The first was the constant opening up of new territories to immigrants; for the period when these presbyteries were the only ones in the church is precisely the period when there was the grandest expansion of our national territory. The second cause was the emigration of Cumberland Presbyterians from Kentucky and Tennessee to these new fields. Let the population of Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Alabama, and Mississippi be examined to-day, and a very large portion of the people will be found to be descendants of Kentuckians and Tennesseans. These two States were the birthplace of the new church. Cumberland Presbyterian emigrants settled over all these vast fields, and they all wrote back to the presbyteries begging for the gospel. The point of special interest is that all that vast Western and Southern field, which drew its population largely from Tennessee and Kentucky, was opened to white settlers at a time when [116] the Cumberland Presbyterians of those two States were intensely active in sending out missionaries.

Two facts apparently, but not really, inconsistent meet us here. In all the older settlements where other denominations had established churches, and in all large towns, where a settled pastor was considered necessary to maintain the life of a congregation, our first preachers showed great reluctance to organizing churches. As a general rule, throughout this period, they absolutely refused, even when pressed to do so, to organize Cumberland Presbyterian congregations in such places. The other fact is, that in all the wild frontier, in the sparsest and most destitute neighborhoods, their readiness to organize churches, even where there seemed to be very little hope of any permanent supply of preachers, amounted to recklessness. The feeling that it was their duty to look first after the souls of those who were least likely to be looked after by others, no doubt prompted them to pursue this course.

Another custom was universal. Every regular minister was required to assemble the congregations and examine them in the catechism. All the licensed and ordained ministers were called upon at every meeting of the presbytery to report whether they had complied with this requirement, and there were very few cases of failure. Copies of the catechism were in nearly every Cumberland Presbyterian household, and every child, as well as every adult church member, was expected to study it. The old men who survived this custom mourned over its loss, and refused to be comforted, prophesying looseness and instability of doctrines as the fruit of its abandonment. In more than one case among the literary remains of the fathers which have been placed in my hands are found large packages of our first catechism.

The subject of a school for their candidates was discussed by each of the presbyteries. Then Nashville Presbytery (1822) asked the others to meet its delegates in convention to consider the question of a presbyterial school. This action was the forerunner of the synod's determination, in 1824, to establish a school for the whole church.

A prejudice existed all through this early period against statistics. An order requiring statistical reports passed at one meeting [117] of the synod, and was repealed at the next. At some of the sessions of presbytery the missionaries would report the number of conversions and accessions in their districts; but in most of the records no mention of any numbers can be found either in the reports of missionaries or reports of the Committee on the State of Religion. Great and precious revivals, without the mention of statistics, are reported at every meeting of presbytery. The clearest index to the rate of growth is found in the organization of new presbyteries. In sixteen years the three presbyteries grew to eighteen, the least of which was as large as the Logan Presbytery at its organization. It is true that the Committee on the State of Religion, at each session of synod, did report the number of conversions for the year; but the fact that no system of gathering statistics was in use by the presbyteries shows how incomplete these synodical reports must have been.

Dr. Burrow was perhaps foremost among anti-statistical ministers in our church. He entered the ministry in the Elk Presbytery, and was one of the noblest specimens of the itinerant preacher that any church ever had. He believed in reporting only to God. He was afraid of all counting, all sounding of trumpets; and all his life he advocated the "pay or no pay" rule about preaching; and not only advocated, but practiced it till his dying day. There were several thousand converts at his meetings the last year of his ministry.

Another custom in those days was to hold camp-meetings in communities which contained not a single member of any church. Not only were such communities found on all the frontier, but there were many people also who had never heard a sermon in their lives. If a few families of unconverted pioneers could be persuaded to move to the place selected, and there entertain the visitors, the camp-meeting was held. Nor was it a difficult thing to find liberal-hearted men who would engage in this work.

Out of many examples I select one instance of the sort, described by the venerable William Lynn, of Indiana, and published just before his departure to his crown and kingdom. This camp-meeting was in Daviess County, Kentucky. There was not a single church member in all the neighborhood; but men who were willing to [118] camp and feed the multitudes were found, and the camp-meeting was held. At that meeting those twin heroes of the cross, Chapman and Harris, were present, and also several probationers for the ministry. The meeting was greatly blessed of God, and among the converts were three men who afterward entered the ministry. This was a camp-meeting held by those heroic missionaries who are better known by the borrowed name of "circuit riders." But much more remarkable cases are on record. In the tours of R.D. King, Reuben Burrow, and Daniel Patton among the destitute settlements, it was a common thing for them to persuade unconverted men to establish a camp-ground. Indeed, there were fewer and smaller obstacles to success among the rough men of the frontier, where no churches of any denomination existed, than there were where denominational prejudices were active. One thing is worthy of special commemoration: these unconverted campers generally were converted to God in these meetings, and had abundant reasons to rejoice that they had ever undertaken to camp. One dear lady of this class said God had paid her back in her own conversion and the conversion of thirteen members of her family.

In all this period and long afterward the preaching of our ministers belonged to a very thorough system. They believed the doctrine that man is spiritually dead. This, to them, was not merely figurative, it was real. They taught that in his natural state there is no element of spiritual life in man. As well talk of cultivating a rose until you make it a bird, as talk of educating and training a man up into spiritual life. In his natural state man is thoroughly hostile to God and all spiritual good. Not only some of the imaginations of the thoughts of his heart are evil, but "every imagination." Not only that; but they are evil continually. These first preachers probed deep, and generally roused opposition and anger at first. Afterward the scales fell from the sinner's own eyes, until he saw his depravity and condemnation, and then cries of alarm and remorse broke forth from his lips.

Concerning the new birth their teaching was equally thorough. Regeneration meant a new creation, pot a mere training; not "let the goat run with the sheep till it becomes a sheep;" but divine creative power was first to make it a sheep, and then training was [119] to follow. They were equally thorough in their belief in the doctrine of eternal future punishment, and they preached it everywhere. About the atoning blood--the precious blood of Christ--their preaching was equally unambiguous and emphatic. They taught that our salvation rests on no mere moral influence and example, but on a divine vicarious sacrifice. The moral theory never had any place in the Cumberland Presbyterian system. They believed and taught that the Christian's legal standing before God is exclusively in Christ, and not at all in self--not partly in Christ and partly in works, but all in Christ.

They were equally thorough in their belief of inspiration, even ad verbum. In regard to God's indwelling presence, concerning his answers to the prayer of faith, and all similar matters, they held to no shallow system. If a probationer for the ministry in that day had taught any of the shallow systems of modern times he would have been instantly thrown overboard. Yet they insisted upon the necessity for good works, not as a procuring cause but as a fruit of the new life. If the fruit were lacking it was because the life was lacking. Works, out of love to Christ as the motive, they preached with great success.

While I mention the preaching of these doctrines as a peculiarity of our early pulpits, I do not mean to teach that our people have repudiated these fundamental truths. I am quite sure they have not; but I am also sure that these doctrines are not pressed in the pulpits of this day as they were by the fathers. In my opinion we lose by this change. Leave a vital doctrine long silent, and a generation will grow up which will utterly reject it.




While it is impossible, as a general thing, to give the history of individual congregations, there are a few whose prominence requires special notice. The churches which existed before the revival, and afterward united with the Cumberland Presbyterians, have necessarily been noticed in the history of the revival. Of this class a few still exist as Cumberland Presbyterian congregations. Red River church, in Kentucky, is a center of historic interest. The old grave-yard, with dates which run back to 1730, is itself a history. Among these graves is that of the eldest brother of the Rev. Finis Ewing--General Robert Ewing--born 1760, a soldier in the revolutionary war, a member of the Kentucky legislature, etc. One of his sons still lives in the neighborhood. The grave of his daughter, Mary B., which is also there, has special interest for Cumberland Presbyterians. Her first husband was the Rev. Philip McDonnold. The parents of the Rev. A.M. Bryan lived and died in this neighborhood. When their old house was newly roofed, the old shingles were found to be pegged on. There were no nails in the country when that house was built, and iron was ten dollars a pound. Near this church the ruins of the old fort which protected the pioneers from the Indians can still be traced. It was called Mauldin's Station. Red River is still a revival church. The old log house is superseded by one of modern construction, but the old fire still burns on its altars. This church is an exception, too, among the old churches, in another [121] respect. It does not cling to the old programme of taking preacher's labors without pay.

The Beech church and Gasper River church are two more of our historic congregations. Gasper was for a time abandoned, its members going to Pilot Knob, but, since the war, it has been again revived, and still works for Jesus. The dates and names on the tombstones in its grave-yard form a precious record.

The Beech church(7) was organized in 1800. Its first house of worship was a union meeting-house. The Rev. William McGee was its first pastor. In 1810 this church joined the new denomination. After McGee died this congregation had no regular pastor, but was supplied by Hugh Kirkpatrick and other itinerants. After many years they built their present stone church near the site of the union church, not being willing to leave the old grave-yard. In 1832 they organized their first Sunday School, the Rev. John Beard officiating. One hundred and twenty pupils were enrolled. Annual camp-meetings, great revivals, with many ministers rising up from among the converts, make part of the history of the Beech church.

When camp-meetings and itinerant supplies were given up, the Beech church, in spite of its Presbyterian origin, utterly failed to adopt the new programme of settled pastors in the true sense. By supplies and annual revival meetings it did, however, manage to keep alive. Like all the churches which pursue this course, it is sadly suffering, in spite of the "old fire" which is still there.

Of the churches planted by the revival party before the division, there are several still in existence as Cumberland Presbyterian congregations. Among these are Smyrna, Goshen, and Big Spring in Tennessee, and Piney in Kentucky. There are several others, in Alabama, and in other places but I can mention only a few prominent churches of this class.

Perhaps the most interesting of these is Big Spring, Wilson County, Tennessee. In 1801 some of the revival party who lived too far from Bethesda to attend regularly there, resolved to have services at the Big Spring. They secured a monthly appointment from the Rev. William Hodge. The next fall they held a camp [122] meeting on the original plan, without tents or cabins.(8) This meeting was not held on the spot now occupied by that church, but just at the head of the great spring which gave its name to the congregation. The reasons for moving the camp-ground, years afterward to a smaller spring in the same neighborhood are unknown to the writer. In 1802 they built open sheds to camp under. These sloped to the ground.(9) When the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized, the Rev. Thomas Calhoun was called to be pastor of this congregation. The word pastor must, however, be understood in a modified sense. It was in 1810 that the final location of a permanent encampment and the erection of a house of worship took place. The site was then changed to its present position.

When the father of the Rev. Thomas Calhoun had finished his log-cabin, where the new camp-ground was located, he stuck his sycamore handspike down in the ground, and it took root and grew to a great tree which still stands. People used to go to the Big Spring camp-meeting from neighborhoods a hundred miles distant. Twenty of our most efficient ministers were converted at that camp-ground. Its first camp-meetings were glorious visitations of God's power, sending out all over the State an influence which will live forever. All the Western States owe some of their noblest church officers to the Big Spring camp-meetings. I have heard many of the orators whom this nation and Europe loved to honor, but, in my humble judgment, Calhoun surpassed them all. If Moody has a special baptism of power for his peculiar work, in a far higher sense did that baptism rest on Calhoun. Many a time at old Big Spring camp-ground have the vast assemblies gathered there felt and acknowledged that God spake to them through human lips.

Thomas Calhoun lived near this church, and was pastor of this and Smyrna congregations from the time of his ordination till the close of his ministry--forty-five years. After his death, emigration to Texas seriously crippled Big Spring. The Lone Star State has drawn to its bosom nearly all the strength of many a Tennessee congregation. When the people of Big Spring sold their homes, [123] Baptists and others were the purchasers. Yet there have been great revivals among our people there in more recent times, and there is a respectable number of members now; but the very nearest of these live two miles from the church. It has, at last, been agreed to build a new house nearer the congregation. The old house of cedar logs, and those raised seats, and that pulpit with its "sounding board," and its clerk's seat, will not be left intact.

The Smyrna church, in Jackson County, Tennessee, also has an interesting history. In the private houses of two old men, Williamson and Sadler, meetings were held by Alexander Anderson, William McGee, and Samuel King, in 1800. The next year a church was organized, a spot selected for a camp-ground, and Thomas Calhoun, then only a candidate, held a meeting on this spot. Colonel Smith, the father of the Rev. Robert Donnell's first wife, lived there. People used to go a hundred miles to attend the Smyrna camp-meetings.

Calhoun's life-work as a pastor was in Big Spring and Smyrna congregations. All of Smith County and part of two other counties lay between his home and Smyrna church. A large part of this distance was filled with dense cane brakes. When there was snow, the high cane overhung the narrow path until it was difficult to travel on horseback. Yet he never missed his appointments. Colonel Smith has left us a written statement about several of the thrilling sermons preached there by Calhoun, and about the far-reaching revivals which often resulted from the camp-meetings.

I clip from the Banner of Peace the following notice of another historic church:

In 1799 a few persons, members of the Presbyterian Church, mostly from North Carolina, agreed to meet every Sabbath to read the Scriptures and pray with and for each other. They afterward constituted the Cumberland Presbyterian Church which was organized at New Hope, Wilson County, Tennessee. Their names are William and Catherine Gray, James and Margaret Stewart, Andrew and Elizabeth Bay, Alexander and Jane Kirkpatrick, John and Ann Kirkpatrick, David and Rebecca Kirkpatrick, Samuel and Sarah Motheral, Elias Morrison, Joseph Kirkpatrick, and Margaret Motheral. "These all died in the faith." The same year (1799) the Rev. William McGee preached the first sermon in the bounds of this congregation. From this time until 1810 they [124] enjoyed occasional circuit preaching by Samuel King, Alexander Anderson, Hugh Kirkpatrick, Thomas Calhoun, Alexander Chapman, James B. Porter, and David Foster--all of whom have joined the sacramental host beyond death's stream, where parting is no more.

In the fall of 1810 this congregation, afterward noted for camp-meetings, held their first camp-meeting near the "Double Islands," on Cumberland River. At this meeting they were much revived and encouraged; so much so, that the next year (1811) they purchased a lot of ground, erected camps, and held a second camp-meeting one mile above their first encampment. The Rev. William McGee, who was present, called this new camp-ground New Hope. Here, in 1812, the Rev. Hugh Kirkpatrick, with the names designated above, organized a Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and preached once a month till 1816, when he was succeeded by the Rev. John Provine, who preached monthly until 1830. From this date to 1843 they were supplied with preaching by the Rev. George Donnell and the Rev. John L. Dillard. The former served four, the latter nine years. The Rev. M.S. Vaughan then accepted the charge and preached until 1850, when he was followed by the Rev. J.E. Davis, who continued two years.

In the fall of 1852 the Rev. William D. Chadick was regularly installed pastor of this church by the late Rev. F.R. Cossitt, D.D., and continued his labors till 1855, when the Rev. J.C. Bowden supplied the congregation one year.

The Rev. M. S. Vaughan again received a call to this congregation and preached until 1859, when he was succeeded by the Rev. William A. Haynes, who served as pastor, with the exception of two or more years during the late war, till the spring of 1866. The Rev. W.W. Suddarth succeeded Mr. Haynes, and labored till the fall of 1867, at which time he received a call from Lebanon congregation, and the Rev. M.S. Vaughan was called for the third time to New Hope.

From these facts, which I find in the church records, we learn that New Hope has enjoyed the means of grace from 1799, and an organized existence of fifty-six years' standing. During this time the church held and supported fifty-three camp-meetings. At these meetings hundreds, if not thousands, of sinners were brought to a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, and obtained through grace a good hope of a happy immortality beyond time. Among these are many able ministers of the gospel. Some of them have laid down the gospel trumpet for glittering crowns in glory. Others, trembling under the effects of age and hard service in their high vocation, are yet preaching Jesus to a perishing world, each cheered on in his "labor of love" with this most precious promise of his divine Master? "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life," FELIX H. TAYLOR, Clerk.

[125] The first church organized as a Cumberland Presbyterian Church was Mount Moriah, in Giles County, Tennessee. The Rev. C.N. Wood, lately gone to his reward, secured for me the historical sketch of this congregation which is here used. He was converted at one of the meetings at Mount Moriah, and became a member of that congregation. This church was organized in March, 1810, by Rev. James B. Porter. A very full history of its work, written by one of the elders, is before me. This congregation has had fifteen "pastors." Mr. Porter served from 1810 till the death of his wife in 1815, when he resumed the life of an itinerant preacher. There was one year in Mr. Porter's pastorate of wonderful religious interest. The camp-meeting was unusually successful. The people carried the interest home with them. The earthquake (1812) filled all the country with great solemnity. Mr. Porter knew how to follow up these impressions, and the whole year round there were conversions all through the neighborhood. The interest in the private houses resembled that in the Gasper River neighborhood fourteen years before.

Carson P. Reed served this congregation as pastor sixteen years. After Reed came J.N. Edmiston who served three years. When he resigned, the church fell upon the miserable expedient of itinerant supplies. One thing the session put on record in their history which deserves emphasis. The church, they say, did not prosper under preaching from itinerants as it did under permanent pastors.

The Rev. G.W. Mitchell became pastor of this church early in the year 1867, and served until the close of 1871. During this time the congregation enjoyed its greatest prosperity. The session testifies that the whole membership was quickened into new life and activity. This church has tested three systems: it has had regular pastors, it has depended on the ministrations of itinerant preachers, and at other times it has employed temporary supplies. Its highest success has been attained under the labors of regular pastors. During the five years in which the Rev. D.S. Bodenhamer (now of Trinity University) served as pastor, there were ninety-six accessions to the congregation. Twenty-two converts of this church have become preachers. There are some noted [126] names on the list, such as N.P. Modrall, C.P. Reed, W.S. Burney, Lee Roy Woods, C.N. Wood, all now gone to their reward, besides a noble band who still labor for Jesus.

The venerable Joseph Brown, one of our old preachers, made his home near this church, and was buried in its cemetery. When he was nearly a hundred years old he would ask permission to stand in the pulpit beside the preacher, in order to catch every word. As his hearing was bad, he would hold his ear close up to the preacher, and occasionally cry out "Glory to God!"

This congregation has now a large brick church, built in 1856, and is in a prosperous condition. Its camp-meetings were kept up, with one intermission, until 1853, when they gave place to protracted meetings.

Another one of our first churches is Goshen, in Franklin County, Tennessee, on the Boiling Fork of Elk River, near the Cumberland Mountains.(10)

Its site is beautiful. Nearly all the first settlers here were Scotch-Irish Presbyterians. In 1811 the Rev. Samuel King and the Rev. William McGee persuaded the people to hold a camp-meeting. A shed and camps were built, and King and McGee held the meeting. There were hundreds of conversions, and a Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized. An incident of this meeting is characteristic of the times. King preached on the Sabbath. As the sermon progressed the solemnity grew oppressive. The mighty power of God rested like a weight upon the people. Men almost held their breath. The preacher felt it as well as the others. By and by the solemnity grew so great that even the preacher's tongue was silent. He stood a moment with looks of unutterable awe, and then went down from the pulpit and started to the woods. When he had gone about a hundred yards, he turned abruptly back, and entered the pulpit. There was no longer any look of awe, but a holy, rapturous light on his face, and he resumed his sermon with a thrilling power which swept every thing before it. From that day on that congregation has been noted for its revivals. Several of its converts have become ministers.

[127] In 1813 Robert Donnell began preaching in Nashville, Tennessee. Mr. Craighead was then in charge of a small church in Nashville, and he exerted himself to keep the people from hearing the new minister. At first neither preaching place nor hospitality was extended to him. He preached in the court-house, and boarded at the hotel. The court-house was afterward closed against him, but the mayor offered him the city hall. After Donnell had filled a few appointments in this hall, the mayor died, and the hall also was closed against the preacher. So great was the opposition in town, that he consented to move his appointment to the dwelling-house of Mr. Castleman in the country. Here several distinguished Tennesseans were converted. Donnell's tour in East Tennessee, described a little further on in this book, interrupted his Nashville work. By and by he secured the assistance of the Rev. James B. Porter, and held a protracted meeting in the court-house. He and Porter lodged at the hotel, but when they once got a hearing, hospitality was extended to them by various families. The preaching in this meeting stirred all Nashville. Under one of Donnell's sermons Felix Grundy, an unconverted man, afterward United States senator, sprung to his feet, seized his friend, Colonel Foster, also a United States senator, by the hand, exclaiming, "That is the truth, Foster, every word of it, and it will stand at the day of judgment." Donnell and Porter organized a church at this meeting, and raised funds for a building.





The house of Samuel McAdow, in which our first presbytery was organized, was not more than thirty miles from the Indian territory. These Indians were still in their wild and savage state. There were, it is true, a few exceptions, but only a few. Most of these red men were as far away from civilization or Christianity then as the naked sons of the forest who first greeted Columbus over three centuries earlier. Some of the Mississippi Indians of that day wore no clothing, and kept up all the habits of savage life. There is a testimony of great significance from the Presbyterian General Assembly to the effect that the revival of 1800 produced new interest in the evangelization of the red man and the negro. The facts abundantly sustain this testimony. Gideon Blackburn belonged to the revival party in East Tennessee. He planted a mission among the Cherokees, and devoted years of toil to that interest. None of the anti-revival party of that day ever became missionaries.

In Thomas Calhoun's first evangelistic tours he entered the newly settled portions of Tennessee before the whites raised their first crop, and before the Indians ceased to roam over the country. He and others held a camp-meeting at the spring where afterward Monroe, the county town of Overton County, Tennessee, was built. Roving bands of Cherokee Indians attended the meeting. One of these became greatly impressed, and there are reasons to believe he [129] was there converted. He went home and named an Indian town after Calhoun. This was before the organization of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. In talking to Calhoun about these early days, I once expressed some surprise at his frequent mention of Indians attending his meetings. His reply was, "Why, the Indian line was just over here on Duck River. "

In Calhoun's and Donnell's tour in East Tennessee (1815) they held two protracted meetings for the Indians. One of these was at Pumpkin Town, and there was deep interest manifested by the hearers. The Rev. James Stewart also preached to the Indians before the existence of our first missionary board.

All three of the presbyteries which composed our first synod began early experimenting on plans for missionary work in their own vast bounds. Missionaries were sent to our new territories as fast as these territories were opened, but societies formed with a special view to work among the Indians and the heathen originated in 1818, and were organized in all three of the presbyteries in the spring of that year. The missionary impulse in the three presbyteries was simultaneous, and the indications are that it started with Samuel King, James Stewart, and Robert Bell. All of these men belonged to the Elk Presbytery. A constitution(11) for a ladies' missionary society was drawn up by Robert Bell, and submitted in March, 1818, to the congregations of Elk Presbytery; and that plan is the same one on which the missionary societies in all three of the presbyteries were organized. This points to Elk rather than Logan Presbytery(12) as the first to move in this work. But its priority, if it existed, was one of only a few days at most, for the 9th of April(13) of that year was the birthday of the ladies' society in Russellville, Kentucky. One thing can be fairly claimed by the Elk Presbytery: its missionary board (there was a central board for the presbytery) was the first to send missionaries to the Indians. In October, 1818, the Elk missionary board sent Samuel King and William Moore to a work which lay along the borders of the Indian country on the Tombigbee River.(14) When these two men returned, [130] in the spring of 1819, and reported to their presbytery,(15) they made a strong appeal in behalf of the red men, representing them as eager to hear the gospel, and to have a missionary school located among them. The language of this appeal would indicate that the schools under the American Board in Mississippi were not yet in existence. The missionary board of Elk Presbytery(16) then sent Samuel King and Robert Bell, in the fall of 1819, to travel as evangelists among the Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians. On their return Mr. King brought a young Indian convert with him, intending to educate him for the ministry. He kept this boy at his own house, and sent him to school.

These missionaries made arrangements in the Choctaw Nation to secure a location and money for a missionary school, but their plans were thwarted. Then the missionary society of Elk Presbytery sent Mr. Bell to establish a school in the white settlements close enough to the border for the Indians to patronize it. Accordingly in May, 1820, Mr. Bell opened a school on the east side of the Tombigbee River, nearly opposite the dividing line between the Chickasaws and the Choctaws. He taught here only four weeks, when the missionary board of Elk Presbytery directed him to move the school into the Chickasaw Nation, the board having sent men thither to negotiate a treaty for that purpose.

The Chickasaw Nation had never been at war with our people. It had just sold out to the whites all that portion of Tennessee and Kentucky lying between the Tennessee River and the Mississippi, a delta far better known in early times for David Crockett's bear hunts than for its cotton. The Chickasaws, so long the near neighbors of Tennesseans, were still neighbors to the white people farther south. Only the Tombigbee River (Indian name Itomba Igoba) lay between them and the white settlements.

The Chickasaws of Mississippi, at the time our first mission was opened, were in advance of other Indians. Many of them had built cabins to live in. These were plastered tight with mud. The door was in the back part of the hut. There was no floor but the ground, and the cabin had but one room. The dead were [131] buried in the cabin under the bed. The corpse was doubled up before it was buried, and the vault, after receiving the mortal remains, was closely plastered over with mud. When the body was buried the squaws present took down their hair and wore it dishevelled around their faces for one whole moon. During sickness they had what was called a sick dance. They laid the sick out wrapped in blankets, and danced around them. Some of these Indians raised patches of corn and sweet potatoes; only a few raised cotton. {See Ladies' Pearl, November, 1860, p. 76.}

The traditions of the Tombigbee River surpass in thrilling interest those of the Mississippi. At no spot do more of those traditions center than at Cotton Gin Port. Here at an early day the United States government established a cotton gin among the Indians to induce them to engage in the cultivation of cotton. Levi Colbert, the most enlightened of all the Chickasaw chiefs, moved to the neighborhood and devoted himself to persuading his people to raise cotton, he himself setting the example. Here at Cotton Gin the United States government had a post-office. The country on the eastern side of the Tombigbee, in Robert Bell's day, belonged to the white people, and some families lived there, the father of Dr. C.H. Bell among them. Cotton Gin Port as early as 1800 began to be a shipping point for emigrants to the Tensas and other new countries. Canoes lashed together and covered with a floor of cane made the boats. The wreck(17) of one such boat at night, just below Cotton Gin, furnishes one of those thrilling traditions of the Tombigbee of which there are so many; but this tradition is eclipsed in interest by the more recent one of the burning of the Eliza Battle, and the fearful loss of life on that bitter night in March, 1858. A beloved Cumberland Presbyterian minister, A.M. Newman, was among those who perished when that steamboat was burned. Many of the passengers escaped on cotton bales. A gentleman who was on the boat gave me an account of that catastrophe. Newman threw a bale of cotton into the river and placed his wife and child upon it, and then leaped in himself without any cotton bale. Mrs. Newman and daughter were [132] taken up by my informant and saved, but Newman perished in the waves.

When Robert Bell's two comrades (the commissioners of Elk Presbytery) arrived at Cotton Gin Port, they went to Levi Colbert's house. Bell had preached in that house on his former visit. Colbert was eager for the establishment of the school, and to have it located near him. He assembled the king and chiefs of the Nation at his house, where the three commissioners of the Board of Missions of Elk Presbytery entered into treaty with them. The commissioners promised instruction in mechanic arts and agriculture, as well as in the literary course. They promised, also, within the limits of their ability, to teach, board, and clothe the indigent gratuitously. The chiefs promised protection, and the free use of land for cultivation. This treaty was signed the 11th of September, 1820, the names of the white commissioners standing on the right and those of the king and chiefs on the left. The names affixed to this agreement are: Robert Bell, Samuel King, and James Stewart, for the mission. On the part of the Indians the names are: Shako Tookey, king of the Nation; Tisho Mingo, Appa Suntubba, Samuel Sealy, William McGalba, James Colbert, and Levi Colbert, chiefs.

Three miles below Cotton Gin Port, at the base of the bluff, were some springs of pure water. This spot was selected for the school. It is seven miles from what is now the town of Aberdeen, Mississippi.

At the same time that the Elk Presbytery was taking these steps for an Indian mission, it was also urging upon the General Synod the propriety of having a board of missions for the whole church. Elk Presbytery was not alone in this view of the case. In the fall of 1819, at the meeting of the synod, it was resolved to have one central board, and to make all the others tributary. The arrangement made was certainly novel. The ladies' missionary society of Logan Presbytery, without ceasing to be a presbyterial society, was also made the general society of the church, and all the ministers of the church were appointed trustees. Robert Donnell, of Elk Presbytery, became the president of the general board at Russellville, and Bell's mission was turned over to this board.

[133] The antecedents of the Russellville board deserve a passing notice. In September, 1817, H.A. Hunter, of Russellville, Kentucky, professed religion at Liberty church, near Russellville. His mother also became concerned about her soul. The young convert, Hunter, with one other Christian to aid him, began a weekly prayer-meeting in his father's ball-room. This was with the consent of his parents. Then the Rev. Finis Ewing and the Rev. William Barnett(18) came and held a meeting in that ball-room. There was no meeting-house then in the place. The town had been nick-named "The Devil's Camp-ground." This meeting in the ball-room was greatly blessed. The whole town was revolutionized, and several of the converts entered the holy ministry. At the close of the meeting Finis Ewing organized a ladies' missionary society in that same ball-room.(19) By request of the ladies of this society, the Logan Presbytery(20) became its board of directors. After the action in 1819, consolidating the missionary work of the church, this society had two boards of directors. As the society of Logan Presbytery it had the ministers of that presbytery for one of these boards; as the general missionary society of the Church it had all the preachers in the church for the other. Cumberland Presbyterians had no chartered board of missions until 1845. Men even opposed chartered boards as savoring of Church and State.

It was under this curiously organized society that Mr. Bell's mission was placed soon after the school began. The site chosen for Bell's mission was in a beautiful country; but in the early settlements there was a good deal of sickness. Bell and his wife opened their school in the fall of 1820, in Levi Colbert's house, which he generously tendered for that purpose.

Robert Bell was one of "the young men" (licentiates) arraigned before the commissioners in 1805. A memorial for his ordination was pending when his presbytery was dissolved. His heroic wife belonged to the McCutcheon family of Logan County. Bell professed religion at McGready's meeting, September, 1800. When he felt himself called to preach he commenced a thorough classical [134] course of study; but under the heavy pressure of calls from the destitute regions, and by the advice of the old preachers, he abandoned his studies and took the circuit. In his later writings he expresses his profound conviction, based on a life-time of close observation, that it would have been better for him to have completed the required course of study. Bell's manuscript autobiography is thoroughly interesting. He was living in Logan County, Kentucky, when McGready's great meetings began. He attended every one of them. His account of the commission and the council is also deeply interesting.

Robert Bell was the grandfather of the Rev. Dr. C.H. Bell, so well known in the church as general superintendent of missions. The father of Dr. C.H. Bell superintended the erection of temporary buildings on the site chosen for the mission, while Robert Bell and his wife taught temporarily in Colbert's house. In four weeks these temporary buildings were ready, and the school was moved into them.

In 1823 the Rev. John C. Smith and his wife were sent to assist in the mission. With a variable amount of hired help a tan-yard was built, a farm cleared and fenced, and a blacksmith shop and a saddler's shop established. Much of the manual labor was done by the missionary himself. With a family of thirty boarders, Mrs. Bell often had less, never more, than two assistants in the cooking and washing departments, though she generally had some ladies to aid her in the work of teaching the girls to spin and weave.

Government aid, under a general regulation of the United States, was secured for Bell's mission. The United States was aiding schools, under certain restrictions, in all the Indian tribes within our domains. Often, however, rivalry sprung up in the struggles of different churches to secure this aid. It was thus our first bargain for a school among the Choctaws was lost, and thus other far darker wrongs blackened the annals of our Indian schools in the North-west. Mr. Bell's mission secured government aid to the amount of about three hundred dollars per annum. This is the average, for there was an unaccountable irregularity both in the government aid and also in the contributions sent by the missionary board. The latter amounted, in 1824, to over a thousand [135] dollars, but sunk to $272 in 1826, and to $142 in 1830. Until the last two years of the mission's life, during which no help was sent, the annual receipts from both these sources ranged between $367, the lowest, up to $1,494, the highest. The average, omitting the two years just mentioned, was $640. Out of this Mr. Bell paid all his assistants, and boarded, taught, and clothed gratuitously an average of twenty indigent students annually. His chief reliance for support was on his farm, which the students helped him to cultivate. There were also ten or twelve students who paid their own way. The assistant teachers were often changed. I find half a dozen persons mentioned at one time or another as assistants, who had grown weary of the hardships and the poverty, and left the institution; but Mr. Bell could not be driven away by hardships. If his meat gave out, he mounted his horse, rode back to Tennessee, and begged hogs from his old acquaintances, and drove them himself to the mission. If the money gave out, he drew on his own little estate, hoping perhaps to be repaid, but if he had such hope, he had to wait till he got to heaven for its fulfillment. If his teachers left him, he put his son and daughter in their places, and doubled his own labors until other help could be had. He was farmer, preacher, traveling agent, government agent, with orders to collect information in philology, Indian archaeology, Indian traditions, and to report in detail on the ornithology, zoology, and all the other "ologies" of the land he lived in.

It was hard enough to struggle as he had to do, without having burdens of heartache super-added by opposition from ministers of his own church. One of the dark backgrounds to every beautiful picture of the Cumberland Presbyterian ministry is the element of opposition to foreign missions which has always been found among the preachers. It is never opposition to foreign missions per se, but opposition on the plea of some fancied inexpediency. This element has never been very large, but it exists even today in all its mischievous power. It is no native growth. Its fitting home is with the Antinomians.

At the close of the late civil war, while the South was still a smoking ruin and the people impoverished, the General Assembly of the Southern Presbyterian Church had one man who raised the [136] question of expediency in regard to foreign missions. Then there rose in his place a man who still wore his army suit because too poor to buy any other, and uttered a sentence which deserves to be written in gold. He said: "To debate whether we shall now undertake missions to the heathen is to debate whether we shall now do what the Lord Jesus told us to do." There was not another voice raised in that Assembly against the expediency of foreign missions.

A suggestive history showing how a strong man was cured of his opposition to Bell's mission is found in a letter written by the Rev. Thomas Calhoun. This man was the Rev. William Barnett. The missionary society fell upon the expedient of sending him to inspect the mission for them, and report its condition. He accepted the appointment, and made his tour of inspection. Mr. Bell showed him all the exercises of the school, and had the children sing for him. This completely won him, and from that day onward the mission had no warmer friend than William Barnett. It would be well if all opposers of foreign missions could be brought into contact with those who are now laboring among the heathen, and see the fruit of missionary work. There were at least half a dozen cases of opposition to Bell's mission cured by visiting the institution. Opposition to missions, by good men, only needs to have the light shine on it, and it dies.

There is another interesting case. The Rev. William Moore, who was one of the first advocates of a mission school, removed, before Bell's school was established, to South Alabama, where at that time we had no organized churches. A few families of Cumberland Presbyterian immigrants were scattered in the vast whirlpool of new settlers from different countries, like Virgil's wrecked Trojans in the boiling waves of the ocean.(21) He wrote to Mr. Bell that he could do nothing in that new field for the mission. Mr. Bell made a vigorous presentation of the laws of success in home work, and their relations to a faithful discharge of our duties to the heathen; and Mr. Moore became a regular contributor himself, and collected money also from that pioneer people for Bell's Mission.

Among Mr. Bell's papers are letters from nearly all the minis [137] ters who belonged to the synod at that day. Bell's correspondence with the Hon. John C. Calhoun, Secretary of War, is in these files. A copy of a letter from the Indian chief, Levi Colbert, is here given:

Friend and Brother of the Cumberland Missionary Board:

I suppose you wish to know what the people of this Nation think of your missionary school, and what encouragement they seem disposed to give it. They talk favorably of the school, and are well satisfied with the manner in which it has been conducted. They wish it to be continued and carried into full operation, so that our poor people who are not able to board their children can have them educated. The more wealthy part of our Nation will give some assistance. ... I have talked to the chiefs in council two or three times, and have met but little opposition. ... We want our nation to be enlightened, and to understand that gospel which you missionaries preach, and we wish all our good friends among the white people to pray for us.

Mr. Bell, like all our first preachers, considered camp-meetings an indispensable part of the church machinery. We are not surprised, therefore, at finding annual camp-meetings at the mission mentioned in these records. Among the names of men who assisted in these meetings I find Alexander Chapman, David Foster, James S. Guthrie, James Stewart, and William Barnett. At one of the camp-meetings held at Bell's Mission Station was a convert whose name afterward became a household word in West Tennessee. I mean the Rev. Israel S. Pickens. He and his wife had been employed to assist in the establishment. Several of the Pickens family had, from time to time, been employed as assistants in some of the many departments of work about the mission, and thus it came about that Israel Pickens was at one of the camp-meetings.

Some extracts from Mrs. Bell's diary will now be given. The first is for 1823:

June 11.-- Mr. Blair left us this morning on his way to Florence, after supplies for the use of the school.
June 14.-- Received a letter from the sub-agency of this Nation informing us that the United States government had appropriated the sum of four hundred dollars for this institution this year for the pay [138] ment of the tuition of poor children; also informing us that five hundred dollars had been sent us last year, of which we never before heard. This was owing to the absence of the agent. We humbly trust that this, assistance, when obtained, will enable us to bring a number more of these poor destitute heathen to a knowledge of the gospel.
June 15.-- Mr. Smith, with most of the mission family, crossed the river to preach to the white people, just on the margin of a Christian land, where we had the inestimable privilege of worshiping God along with a respectable congregation.

It must have been sweet, after so long a time spent with uncivilized heathen, to meet a congregation of at least nominal Christians; but Mrs. Bell and the mission family were just as eager to attend meetings among the red men.

She says, in another place:

Mr. Smith preached at Cotton Gin Port today, from Matthew 16:26. There was a good audience, and they gave uncommonly good attention. Two of our scholars left the station today without leave, or any known cause. We suppose they have gone home to see their friends. They have been but a short time in school, and were greatly attached to their old habits.

June 20.-- Attended to our weekly examination, which was satisfactory. The exercise in vocal music made us hope for the day when Indian congregations, instead of engaging in war songs and superstitious dances, will join in singing the songs of Zion.

June 21.-- Received a letter from Mr. Bell, dated Limestone County, Alabama. He is well, and has encouraging success in raising funds for the mission.

Thus often did the missionary have to leave his work and go out to raise funds.

June 22.-- For lack of an interpreter, Mr. Smith was prevented from filling his appointment today at Mr. James Wolf's, three miles distant.

Complaint about the great difficulty in securing regular and persevering attendance comes up in all Mr. Bell's reports, as it does in all the accounts which I ever saw of schools for Indians. The wild, free sons of the forest will not be bound down to hard study. They can learn well enough while they are at it, but they will not stick to their task. Of the twenty Indians sent to Cumberland University during my connection with that institution, only one was graduated and he only in the scientific course. [139]

June 26.-- Mr. Smith saw four white men on their way to see a dance among the Indians. These white men were all drinking, and some of them were already drunk. It is bad enough for white people to encourage the superstitious dances of the Indians, but to carry drunkenness among them is too bad. It is this which makes the chief obstacle to the success of missions.

July 16.-- We were visited today by Colonel G, who has been bitterly opposed to our mission. The children read and sang for him. He is completely won over. O that all our people who oppose the mission would make us a visit!

The mission boarded, taught, and clothed the pupils. Over half of these were charged no fees at all, they being too poor to pay. By order of the board the free list was limited to twenty. The school usually numbered thirty-five. A touching case is given in Mrs. Bell's diary of two bright Indian children below the regulation age, who were brought to the school by their parents. They were very poor. The school was overtaxed and oppressed by the number of beneficiary pupils, which was already two more than the board's limit. But these naked children of the forest were specially bright, and Mrs. Bell determined to take them.

The hardships and sufferings of these missionaries were equal to any borne by missionaries to distant heathen lands. Often the money sent the mission was so greatly under par that it was difficult to use it. Mr. Bell, besides all his other labors, cultivated a considerable farm, and in this way helped to keep the establishment from starving. Many of the Indians who paid either all or part of their boarding, paid in cattle, and the supply of milk was largely depended on as a means of support. The contributions from the churches were a curious medley. Cotton cloth was a chief item. Raw cotton, beeves, socks, flax cloth, and jeans were also among the contributions.

At different times persons sent by the missionary board to visit the mission made stirring reports of the hardships and privations suffered by the missionaries. At no time was there a sufficient supply of either money, clothing, or provisions sent to them. The Rev. David Foster and the Rev. James S. Guthrie, after a visit to this mission, wrote to the board as follows:

Mr. and Mrs. Bell have more labor of different kinds than their [140] strength can stand, and unless they have in future some assistance their days must be shortened.

An extract from Mrs. Bell's journal will show how painful it was to the missionaries to reject the applications of the destitute:

January 4, 1823.-- Mr. Pitchland has visited us again this day, soliciting us to take under our care another little son, ... . But we were obliged to turn him off; and, with hearts full of regret, we informed him that we were obliged to circumscribe our wishes for want of funds to furnish the necessary support.

It was the custom of Mr. Bell and his assistants, one of whom was always a preacher, to go out into the Indian country and preach. Levi Colbert, the chief already mentioned, opened his house on such occasions as a preaching place.

Regular quarterly reports of the work done by this mission were sent to the missionary board. The average number taught per session was about thirty-five. The programme for daily duties in the mission was reported to the board. It was as follows:

At daylight the trumpet is blown, the signal for all to rise. In half an hour it is blown again, the signal for family worship, which all, black, white, and red, are to attend in the dining-room. After worship Mr. Bell and the boys go to the farm and Mrs. Bell and the girls to spinning and weaving. At eight o clock comes breakfast: then come school hours till twelve; then an hour's interval for dinner and rest; school again from one till four; then labor in field and loom till six; then supper and worship. All the students share alike in the manual labor, which amounts, in summer, to four hours daily.

Manual labor schools for white people as well as for Indians had just come into fashion.

Two or three years before the purchase of this country from the Indians its cession to the whites was agitated to an extent that seriously interfered with the mission. Then came the startling tidings that the chiefs had signed a treaty with the United States government agreeing to vacate all the soil of Mississippi. Although the promised exodus from the State dragged its reluctant fulfillment through many bitter years, yet even the prospect of a treaty two years before its ratification terminated all aid for the mission, both from government and church.

Mr. Bell tried for two years to carry on the school without aid, [141] relying on the farm, tuition fees, and his own private funds for support; but the excitement among the Indians over the sale of their country, and the clamor of government agents who were struggling to remove the Indians, made it absolutely necessary to close the mission. Mr. Bell's final settlement with the board was made in 1832, but he remained in the same country the rest of his days, preaching to the white people. The fruits of this mission are abundant today among the Indians of the West, as well as among the redeemed in glory. As the second period of this history extends only to 1829, all further discussion of the church's work among the Indians belongs to a later chapter. A noble biographical sketch of Mr. Bell has been published by Dr. Beard, to which sketch the reader is referred. It is evident, however, that Dr. Beard never saw Mr. Bell's autobiography. It is in manuscript and will be placed in the Cumberland University library. It deserves to be published.




In the very states where the church originated there were new fields opened to white settlers after the church was organized. These were the Hiwassee Purchase, in East Tennessee, all of what is now called West Tennessee, and all that portion of Kentucky lying west of the Tennessee River. All of East Tennessee up to 1815 was unbroken soil, so far as our people were concerned. Long before our evangelists went to this field pressing demands for the revival preachers to visit East Tennessee had been made. Early in 1800 visitors to the camp-meetings had carried the revival spirit over the mountains and spread it among the churches. Opposition arose there, as it did in McGready's field. The ministry were divided there too on the revival question. The doctrine of a general atonement began to stir the Presbyterian Churches there also. The cry for more preachers rang through those mountains as it had rung along the banks of the Cumberland. From Mr. McMullen's MS. we learn that all the presbyteries of East Tennessee were stirred on the question, "Did Christ die for everybody?" The revival awakened that question wherever it entered Presbyterian communities. The cry for more preachers also arose wherever the revival went. This, while historically a fact, was also a logical consequence. Itinerant preaching also followed wherever the revival entered new settlements.

[143] The outcry against disorder in church was raised by the Old Side party in East Tennessee, as it had been in Cumberland. Dr. Henderson led one party and Dr. Blackburn the other. But justice to Dr. Henderson requires me to state that his opposition to the revival never went to such extremes, nor resorted to such ecclesiastical violence as characterized the anti-revival party in the Kentucky Synod.

We have preserved to us a letter of remonstrance written by Mr. McGready to his Old Side brethren in East Tennessee. He says:

Tell my brethren to let the Lord choose his own way of working; to bid the Spirit of God welcome, even though he should choose to work among them as he does among the Methodists. Tell them to be more afraid of sinners being damned for want of religion, than of what they call disorder when sinners cry out for mercy.

Before our church sent any evangelists into East Tennessee, an ecclesiastical barrier was interposed between them and even the revival party of that country. The Presbyterian Church had forbidden its clergy recognizing as ministers any of the Cumberland Presbyterian preachers, and had also forbidden its members communing with the members of our church at the Lord's table. Therefore our first missionaries there had to encounter the open opposition of one party and the lack of co-operation from the other. Our first evangelists in that field were Thomas Calhoun and Robert Donnell. The published dates of this first mission to East Tennessee are all wrong. I have before me Calhoun's written history of it, and I also have Robert Donnell's diary, kept throughout that whole tour. That diary says: "Through the mercy of God we met in McMinnville, Tennessee, the last day of June, 1815, according to agreement."

They began their meetings in Sequatchie Valley first, where they had good success; and then they crossed the mountains to the field which they had chosen. Their first work was at Washington. Then they went into the Hiwassee country, though Indians still occupied large portions thereof. They next visited Morganton and Maryville. They expected to preach in the Presbyterian Church at Maryville, as its pastor, Dr. Anderson, was one of the [144] revival party. They had sent their appointment to him, but the ecclesiastical interdict was not to be trampled on. When they entered the church, though a little in advance of the preaching hour, Dr. Anderson was up preaching. At the close of his sermon he called on Donnell to conclude. "Donnell gave an exhortation which set the house on fire."(22) The soberest of Dr. Anderson's members, and even his elders, went to shouting. The people rose to their feet and crowded around Donnell, begging him to stay and protract the meeting. Dr. Anderson took the evangelists home with him to dinner. At the table he said, "The Methodists (!) gave Mr. Donnell a very hearty welcome today." The evangelists then left an appointment for a meeting to be held at the seminary, and went to some of Dr. Blackburn's churches, where they were kindly received. The doctrines they preached were indorsed by Dr. Blackburn's members, and his congregations received some valuable accessions. No effort was made to take advantage of his courtesy by organizing a Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Then they returned to Maryville and held their meeting in the seminary. Dr. Anderson not only attended that meeting, but followed them to one they held in the country. At the country meeting Donnell's sermons set the people to shouting, old Presbyterian elders being the chief performers. Dr. Anderson caught the fire and leaped over rigid boundaries for a moment, but, recollecting himself, he returned to the order required by his church. Thus the evangelists went on through all of East Tennessee, helping to build up the congregations of the revival party, but refusing in all cases throughout that tour to organize any Cumberland Presbyterian Church. They held a meeting in a grove near Kingston, and there Calhoun was taken sick. Thus ended this campaign.

The next year an unconverted man by the name of Miller came all the way from East Tennessee to Smyrna church, Jackson County, Tennessee, to beg Calhoun to make another visit to his country. Calhoun gave him a long list of appointments. One of these was at the Indian town named Calhoun. Another was at the Indian agency, now Athens. In this trip Calhoun met with, and preached to, W.C. McKamy, who afterward became a very [145] efficient minister. All through East Tennessee the solitary evangelist went, preaching where Miller had previously published his appointments.

The next account we have of preaching in East Tennessee by our people is in the records of Nashville Presbytery, spring of 1818, in which David Foster is ordered to a regular circuit in East Tennessee, to spend his whole time there till the next meeting of the presbytery. He complied with the order. In 1821 J.S. Guthrie was sent to the Hiwassee circuit. It is to be regretted that we have none of the details of these two tours of evangelism, but what we know about the two noble evangelists leaves us no room to doubt that their work in East Tennessee, as in all the other places where they labored, was abundantly fruitful. The language used by the presbytery in Foster's and Guthrie's appointment to this field would indicate known and established circuits, on which former missionaries had labored. It is quite likely that evangelists were sent thither the next year after Calhoun's voluntary mission (1816) or that such evangelists went voluntarily to that field, but if this is so we have no record of the fact.

J.S. Guthrie was a "rough ashlar," just out of nature's quarry, but he had an intellect full of native vigor, and was well versed in Scripture and in the doctrines of his church. His work was everywhere owned of God, and its results still abide. All the numerous anecdotes about Guthrie have something ludicrous mixed with an awful solemnity. He was continued in East Tennessee till 1823.

The same year Robert Baker and Abner Lansden, two men like minded, both sweet spirits, were sent to that country. In 1824 George Donnell and S.M. Aston were also sent thither, and for many long years these two noble spirits preached Jesus in that field. They were very unlike in many things, yet they were deeply devoted to each other. We have a grand biography of George Donnell, written by President T.C. Anderson. It would be an effort "to paint the rose" should I try to add to that truthful picture; but we have no biography of his noble fellow-laborer. S.M. Aston was a strong thinker, outspoken, independent, rather blunt in his utterances, fearless, and fully persuaded that God was [146] with him. While Donnell could make the people weep and win the enemies' hearts, Aston could wield strong arguments that would convince the gainsayers. Abner W. Lansden was often sent to this field. Once S.Y. Thomas was sent to assist in this work. All these were then young men and not ordained. The anti-revival party of the Presbyterian Church mocked at their youth, their homespun clothing, and their lack of classical education; yet these young men gradually made their way, winning the hearts and confidence of even the Old Side party.

One little sketch, taken from President Anderson's excellent biography of George Donnell, is here given to illustrate how these "boys" overcame prejudice:(23)

You may have some idea of our meeting if you will fancy yourself looking over the weeping congregation, and beholding here an Old School man on his knees bending over four children, all come to years of maturity, and all crying for mercy; and there an old gray-headed sire, with streaming eyes, in great agony for a whole family of children;

and yonder a mother in Israel on her knees, bending over a husband and four grown children, all unconverted.

The meeting here alluded to was held in the midst of an Old Side community, and these parents were Old Side in their antecedents. But their prejudices were swept away when all their children found Jesus and salvation.

Many Presbyterians offered their private dwellings for these missionaries to preach in. One case of this kind deserves special notice. Thomas Gallagher was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, and had a son who was a faithful minister in that church. Yet he, like many others, offered the use of his house to George Donnell for regular circuit appointments. Four of Mr. Gallagher's children afterward claimed George Donnell as their spiritual father. Thus the Lord compensated the old elder for his liberality to a youthful missionary of a proscribed church.

There are many accounts of bitter prejudice against the missionaries among those belonging to the Old Side party in that day, but it is a source of great comfort to know that no such prejudice is to be encountered in that country now. In a long preaching [147] tour among the people of East Tennessee a few years ago, I met nothing but kindness and cooperation from the ministry of the Presbyterian Church.

The first camp-meeting which our people held in East Tennessee was at Low's Ferry, in 1823. Thee second was at a spot long ago endeared to a thousand hearts. This meeting was held in 1824, at Concord, in Knox County, by the missionaries, assisted by two of the old men who came across the mountains for this purpose. These old men were Thomas Calhoun and Samuel McSpeddin, and along with them came Robert Baker. The meeting was a great victory, and laid the foundation for several churches.

In 1826 a curious spectacle greets us. The Lebanon Presbytery crossed the mountains and held its meeting in a private house belonging to Mr. Cowan, in Grassy Valley, East Tennessee. This fact indicates the deep interest felt for that field, and will do so all the more when we remember that "horseback" was the only mode of travel.

The next year (1827) Knoxville Presbytery was organized. Its original members were George Donnell, S.M. Aston, Abner W. Lansden, and William Smith. These four men were our ministers in that field till about the close of this period, when another noble band took their places.

It ought to bring a blush to the cheeks of East Tennessee as even to this day to know how poorly all these early missionaries were paid. That George Donnell should be laughed at for his homespun coat, worn out at the elbows, is no credit to our people, especially when we remember how unspeakably precious the labors of this man of God were. In a MS. history of the Presbyterian Church in East Tennessee I find the same kind of bitter complaints. These early preachers were not paid. Great improvement has been made in this respect, but there is room for yet further progress. Nor is East Tennessee the only field needing such improvement.

In Thomas Calhoun's manuscripts are several glimpses at the hard life which pioneer preachers encountered in East Tennessee. Once in his journey he stayed all night at the house of a preacher. There were cracks or openings between the logs of the cabin [148] through which the hogs passed in and out with uninterrupted freedom. Often his meals consisted of nothing but hominy. Bridges and ferry-boats were a luxury reserved for the great thoroughfares or for later times. Swimming rivers was a pastime whose attractions would meet small appreciation in our day.

In Hugh Kirkpatrick's manuscripts he speaks of his feet being frost-bitten in one of his preaching tours. His meetings were eminently successful. At a camp-meeting held by him in East Tennessee there were two hundred conversions. In such a sparse population that was a great number. He says of this meeting: "We worked up all the material."

The country west of the Tennessee River was bought from the Indians in 1819. It was settled very rapidly. Many Cumberland Presbyterians were among its pioneers. An anecdote of the Rev. N.I. Hess, a Cumberland Presbyterian minister, who had explored all of West Tennessee before it was bought from the Indians, is here given. When the friends of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad were making a canvass to secure subscriptions to its stock they employed two orators, one a distinguished congressman and the other Mr. Hess. At each barbecue Hess would tell some incident of his early travels and adventures in that very neighborhood before the country belonged to white men, and would so adroitly use it as to leave the congressman clear behind in popularity. The congressman chafed at this and resolved on a remedy. He determined to transfer their canvass to the other side of their field, where, he supposed, the pioneer tours of Hess had not extended. The plan was agreed to and a barbecue was prepared at a big spring on the other side of the district. The congressman spoke first, and being confident of victory he made a great effort. When Hess arose his first sentence was, "Just forty years ago, in company with two red men of the forest, I drank water out of that spring;" and then, with more than his wonted felicity, he painted the wonderful progress and grander destiny of West Tennessee.

The Nashville Presbytery established circuits in West Tennessee just as soon as that country was settled by white people. The first itinerants sent thither were John L. Dillard and James McDonnold, and they began their work in 1820, less than a year after [149] the purchase of the country from the Indians. In 1821 Richard Beard was sent to the "Forked Deer" circuit. Dr. Beard, to his dying day, loved to talk about his experience on this circuit. There were no bridges. The country is flat and its water-courses spread for miles over the bottoms in the rainy seasons. Some of these bottoms are three miles wide, with sloughs at intervals over all their extent. When the water covered all the bottom there were stakes or blazed trees to indicate where the road was. Between these stakes, in water often coming up to the horse's sides, the missionary would make his way until a deep slough was reached, into which he plunged without warning, and across which the horse had to swim. Nor were water-courses the only difficulty. There were quicksands. A crust over these would bear a horse safely one time, and perhaps the next trip the crust would break, and horse and rider would then be fortunate if they ever got out alive. Besides all this, a large part of the pioneer population was shaking with the ague. The missionaries shared in this affliction, but were not thereby kept from filling their appointments.

Robert Baker, J.S. Guthrie, and J.W. Rea (1823) were also sent by the Nashville Presbytery to this land of cypress knees and quicksands. Thomas Calhoun made a brief tour through this region on his own responsibility, and was so delighted with the country that he determined to make it his home. He secured a tract of land for this purpose, but finding his congregations arrayed against his removal, he sold his West Tennessee land, and never again tried to leave his first field of labor.

Camp-meetings came, of course. Other preachers besides Calhoun bought lands in this splendid cotton delta, and were not dissuaded from settling on them. At Robert Baker's camp-ground, Old Shiloh, in Carroll County, David Crockett, the bear killer, would sometimes attend the meetings, dressed in homespun shirt and without any coat. This camp-ground could itself furnish ample material for a volume. It has ever been famous for its precious revivals. The name of Robert Baker is a household treasure in all West Tennessee. Having known him well in my boyhood, I think I could give an epitome of his biography in one sentence: He was noted for sweetness of character, holiness of life, and a loving ear [150] nestness in the pulpit which never failed to win the hearts of his hearers.

The Rev. S.Y. Thomas, of precious memory, was another pioneer in this field. At the old Yorkville camp-ground many were converted under his ministry, and his name and memory are still fresh in all that country.

The Rev. William Barnett was among the preachers who took up their permanent abode in West Tennessee. He immediately established a camp-ground and a church. From Dr. Beard's biographical sketches I extract an item about Barnett's preaching in this country. He was at a camp-meeting at McLemoresville, and the sermon here spoken of was on Monday. Dr. Beard was present, and gives the description from his own observation. We all know that Dr. Beard did not at any time make his statements too strong. He says: "On Monday he preached on the subject of the judgment. It was a sermon of great power. ... It was terrific. The crowd trembled under the influence of its awful and overwhelming appeals. Such appeals are seldom heard, and such impressions are seldom made now. He closed with a great movement in the congregation. Many were convicted and hopefully converted that evening." By universal consent William Barnett was called the Boanerges of the church.

In 1824 the order for the organization of the first presbytery in that field was issued. It was called Hopewell, and still bears that name. Its original members were William Barnett, Richard Beard, Samuel Harris, and John C. Smith. The first meeting of this presbytery was at McLemoresville, in Carroll County. West Tennessee soon became one of the great strongholds of the church, and remains so to this day.

What was called Jackson's Purchase in Kentucky now contains seven counties of that State. This country and the Forked Deer region of Tennessee were opened to white settlers about the same time. Cumberland Presbyterians in both Tennessee and Kentucky seemed to feel some responsibility for the religious cultivation of this field, but it was many years before our people in either of these States assumed the sole oversight of this work. Lying in Kentucky, it was separated from the circuits of our missionaries in [151] that State by two great rivers, which flow only twelve miles apart. The inconvenience this caused will be better understood when we remember that the lower Tennessee River is too wide to swim, many horses utterly failing to reach the farther shore when they are made to try the dangerous experiment.

An illustration of the trouble a Kentucky missionary had on account of these rivers is here recorded. The Rev. B.H. Pierson, D.D., now of Arkansas, was one of the pioneer preachers in this field. He is now (1886) in his eighty-third year. He says:(24)

We traveled with but little if any remuneration. ... My circuit was arranged so that I had to ferry the Cumberland four times each round. Once I came to the bank of this stream without a cent. How I would get over the river I knew not; but having to call on a brother who lived close to the ferry, when I started from his house he, without knowing the state of my finances, handed me a "bit"--twelve and a half cents--remarking, "This will pay your ferriage."

Still there were other ferriages to be paid, but the preacher went on his way. He says: "I had the altar and the wood, but where was the sacrifice?" God provided it. He preached that day, and after the benediction was pronounced, and he was ready to set out for the next ferry, a lady in shaking hands with him left a whole dollar in his hands. With overflowing thankfulness of heart the preacher went on his way, with money enough in his pocket to pay eight ferriages. This was the amount received for a whole year's labor.

Dr. Pierson says there were no meeting-houses in this region at that day. All the preaching was done in private houses, or out under the trees. He speaks of a two days' meeting in a private house where there were seventeen conversions. In this year's work in this new field Mr. Pierson had for his associate in missionary labor the Rev. Adlai Boyd, of Kentucky.

I have been able to secure only very meager accounts of the church's early work in Jackson's Purchase. This mention of Dr. Pierson's experience will have to suffice for a sample, and it is doubtless a fair sample of what all our first missionaries in that field could relate, were they still living.

[152] The Logan Presbytery, when its territory included what are now five States, could not cultivate all its field. It sent men to Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and Missouri, when, if a selfish localism had governed it, it might have employed every preacher it had in its home field. Yet that noble presbytery, though it was sending so many missionaries to the West, still struggled to build up the church in Kentucky. The whole State was divided first into two districts, and later into four. In each of these districts evangelists preached every day in the week. The biography of those evangelists would include the whole history of our church Chapman, Harris, Hunter, Lowry, Bryan, Knight, Delany, Johnson, Philip McDonnold, John and William Barnett, McLin, McDowell, Lynn, and many others, were on the roll of evangelists sent out in that day. Stirring accounts of their meetings come to us in great numbers.

In the later years of this second period the number of noble workers in our Kentucky pulpits grew to such proportions as to render it impracticable to give special individual descriptions. Only sample incidents can be indulged.

The Rev. Matthew Houston Bone, began his career in Kentucky. At one camp-meeting where he expected to have the assistance of several older preachers, he being then only a licentiate, he found himself to be the only preacher in attendance. He spent nearly all the first night in prayer. His soul was distressed not only about the overwhelming responsibility which had fallen upon him, but he could decide on no text for the morrow's sermon. However, a text on which he had no sermon was impressed on his mind, and he accepted it as from the Lord. He preached next day from this text with wonderful freedom and power. The whole vast audience was deeply moved, and a work of grace began which resulted in a great number of conversions.

"Scotch" Smith and Dr. Cossitt both entered the ministry in our Kentucky pulpits during this period. One was a camp-meeting preacher, the other made his grandest record in connection with our educational enterprises.

The incident in the life of Mr. Bone just cited, is characteristic of our early preachers. They believed not only that God guided them in the selection of their texts, but they earnestly believed [153] that on some occasions he gave the whole sermon as well as the text. An incident in point is given from the autobiography of the Rev. H.A. Hunter. It was at a camp-meeting at Mount Moriah, near Russellville, Kentucky. Hunter was to preach, but could think of no suitable text or sermon. He was just beginning his ministry, and had but few ready-made sermons. In those days the senior minister who managed such matters often issued his orders to the young preacher only a short time before he required him to begin his sermon. Hunter, receiving orders thus, fled in dismay to the woods. Falling prostrate there he poured out his complaints to the Lord. There were only a few moments for prayer. The time to preach came, but there was no light, no text, no sermon. He rose and went to the pulpit. They sang a hymn, and while they sang, text and sermon too were impressed on the young preacher's mind. He rose and read, "Ye have said it is a vain thing to serve God." He testifies that each successive sentence came like an inspiration, until, the sermon over, he "called for mourners," and more came than could find room to kneel. That was at the nine o'clock morning service. The usual second sermon had to be omitted, and all the rest of that day was spent instructing and praying for anxious souls. Many were made glad in Jesus that day. Many cases in which the Holy Spirit did undoubtedly guide the minister in his arguments have occurred among the truly consecrated preachers of the Cross in all churches and all ages. These cases have by no means been confined to ignorant and visionary men; but in instances coming within my own observation, men of the profoundest scholarship and severest habits of study have been led out beyond all their accustomed fields of research into arguments and illustrations not their own--arguments whose divine origin was abundantly vindicated afterward when the preacher discovered their exact fitness to a state of things of which he was profoundly ignorant at the time he delivered the sermon. The writer, in his own experience, has seen and felt and known enough of this truth fully to convince him of the fact of the Holy Spirit's presence and power in such cases.

The Rev. G.W. Reynolds, of Berdan, Illinois, describes a Kentucky camp-meeting in which the Rev. Henry F. Delany set forth [154] in a sermon the contrast between the eternal future destiny of the saved and the lost. The two worlds were so vividly painted that they seemed to be right before the people. An awful sense of their reality filled all hearts. The sermon closed, and the preacher took his seat without "calling for mourners" or asking any one to conclude the services. In silence and tears all sat for ten minutes, when M.H. Bone rose to his feet and without uttering a word walked slowly down from the pulpit and out to the woods. The congregation followed his example. In the woods, that universal resort for private prayer in those days, more than a thousand people were soon prostrate before God. No dinner nor supper was eaten that day. At night the praying multitude gathered at the place of public worship, and the Holy Spirit was poured out in converting power to the salvation of great numbers. Mr. Reynolds thinks that this was the meeting which the Rev. Dr. Samuel Miller attended when he got those impressions about Mr. Delany's preaching which he described in the letter spoken of in a previous chapter.

Mr. McGready's field of labor was in Logan County, Kentucky, and the history of the origin of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in all the older portions of the State belongs to the first period of this history. Two things conspired to prevent our church from gaining that pre-eminence in this field which seemed at first to be its heritage. One was the bitterness of the anti-revival Presbyterians, and the other was the immense emigration of Kentuckians to the new territories. In most cases these emigrants sold their Kentucky lands to Baptists from Virginia. The Cumberland Presbyterians had no churches in Virginia, from which State nearly all these land buyers came. Still the church grew in Kentucky. Before the close of this second period, Cumberland Presbyterians had three strong presbyteries in this State, all remarkably like their mother--old Logan Presbytery. They all held special fast-days to pray for more ministers to be called into the great harvest, and sent many of these ministers, when they were called, to labor among the destitute in the new countries. They also tried, so far as they could by the itinerant system, supplemented by camp-meetings, to cultivate their home field.






A glance at the history of Alabama is necessary to a correct understanding of the church's work in that State. The country was all claimed by Georgia under its original charter from England. Several efforts were made by Georgia to place colonies on this soil, but as the whole land was in the hands of Indians and Spaniards, who also claimed the country, it generally cost the Georgians their lives to settle there. Those who escaped did so by promising allegiance to the Indians or the Spaniards.

Then the United States bought Georgia's claim to this country, but Spaniards and Indians still had not only their claims, but also what is called "nine points in the law"--possession. A territorial government was however established, and all the country was called Mississippi, and continued to be so designated till 1817.

In 1805 the Indian claim to a small portion of what is now Madison County, Alabama, was purchased, and settlements were established and the Indians withdrawn in less than two years afterward. In 1813 the long-promised, long-delayed evacuation of South Alabama by the Spanish was accomplished. In 1814 the Creek claim to that portion of Alabama was extinguished, but hostile Creeks still roamed over it and made it unsafe for Americans.

In 1816 the country east of Cotton Gin Port, on the Tombigbee River, was bought from the Chickasaw Indians. In 1817 the first Territorial legislature assembled, Alabama being then severed from Mississippi. In that legislature there was but one senator. Some of the counties represented had in their elections cast but ten votes. [156] There were just three settlements of Americans in the Territory--one centering at Mobile, one at Huntsville, and one on the Tombigbee River. There were hostile Creek Indians, and a Creek war on Alabama soil as late as 1836. The way to the American settlements in South Alabama was open and free from danger only by the sea, though Georgians and Carolinians sometimes took their chances and traveled along the land route from the east. Travel from Tennessee and Kentucky was sometimes accomplished on rafts down the Tombigbee, but there was very little emigration by that dangerous route.

When the country about Huntsville was first settled, and before the organization of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, "the council" sent Robert Bell to the new settlements around Hunt's Spring. The next year, 1808, the council sent Thomas Calhoun to the same field, and he preached in Hunt's house before that house was finished. The next year (1809) the council sent Robert Donnell to that field, and kept him there till the new denomination was organized. It was a favorite field with him all his life. His ashes rest in North Alabama. Our old churches all over that country were planted by him.

In 1817 a family that had just arrived from South Carolina visited Donnell's camp-meeting at the Meridian Church, and several of its members were converted. One of these was a boy seventeen years old, who from that day to this has been helping to preach Jesus to the people of North Alabama. His name is A.J. Steele. John Carnahan(25) and he rode the circuit together, in 1819, through North Alabama, attending all of Donnell's camp-meetings. A little later John Morgan and Albert Gibson joined the band of Alabama preachers. Then came other noble laborers, and North Alabama bloomed like the garden of the Lord.

In John Morgan's diary he states that the distance around his circuit was four hundred miles. From Steele's autobiography (MS.) we learn that three new camp-grounds were established on his circuit the first year. This was everywhere the order of things. The young men, as soon as they were received as candi [157] dates, were sent out as evangelists on circuits; and they went, too, pay or no pay. The old men attended the camp-meetings, and occasionally made tours of evangelism, but sustained also, in some cases, the nominal relation of pastor to some congregations. This relation, in many cases, was so loose, that any preacher of the church living within reach of a congregation which had one of these nominal pastors might, without asking the pastor's or the session's consent, send an appointment for regular monthly preaching on any unoccupied Sabbath. While all the work of the church was devoted to planting congregations, the absurdity of such Presbyterianism was not keenly felt. There came a time, however, when it sent a wail of woe throughout the denomination.

The Elk Presbytery, in 1820, ordered two of its members to establish a circuit in South Alabama, but for satisfactory reasons they both failed to comply. In 1821 the General Synod appointed certain preachers to go to South Alabama and organize a presbytery. There were candidates for the ministry who wanted to settle in that field, and it was believed that a presbytery might soon secure a local supply of ministers; but this attempt to form a presbytery composed entirely of non-resident ministers was a failure. A quorum never met. This, as will be seen elsewhere, was not the only instance in which the church sent non-residents to such a work.

In 1817, just one year from the time the country east of Cotton Gin Port was purchased from the Indians, we find Cumberland Presbyterian pioneers from that region petitioning Elk Presbytery to send them a preacher. The presbytery requested Robert Donnell to go to their relief, but for satisfactory reasons he failed to do so. The next year (1818) the ladies' missionary board of Elk Presbytery sent Samuel King and William Moore to that field, and to a portion of the Indian country west of the Tombigbee. From the autobiography of the Rev. R.D. King (son of the Rev. Samuel King), there are indications that these two men labored more among the Indians than among the white emigrants; but they reported at the next meeting of presbytery that they had complied with the instructions of the missionary board.

The manuscript autobiography of the Rev. R.D. Ring says:

[158] In April, 1821, I was ordered by the presbytery to form a circuit on the south side of Tennessee River, in the counties of Morgan, Lawrence, and Franklin, in Alabama. I had to hunt my own preaching places, and make my own appointments. The country was all newly settled, having been lately purchased from the Indians. Here I found many good Cumberland Presbyterians. I formed a circuit of four weeks' extent, with regular daily appointments. I succeeded in getting up three camp-meetings, one in Morgan County (then Cataco County); Here I was assisted by the Rev. James Stewart, the Rev. James Moore, and my father. ... The results of those three camp-meetings were one hundred and fifty professions. Besides these, there were a good many professions at my circuit appointments. I never failed to reach my appointments. I received in compensation from the people sixty dollars. During all this time I was only a candidate.

In the fall of 1821 Elk Presbytery ordered R.D. King, then a licentiate, and Daniel Patton, then a candidate, to go to South Alabama and form a circuit. They began their work on the head waters of the Black Warrior. The Pleasant Valley, Jones Valley, and farther south to Cahawba were their fields of action. King's manuscript says:

South Alabama was newly settled, mainly with people from the Carolinas and Georgia. They had never seen a Cumberland Presbyterian before our visit. What they had heard of us was from our enemies; so we had to fight our war against prejudice and opposition. We traveled separately, and never failed, either of us, to reach our appointments. We often had to swim the rivers. We preached every day. God blessed our labors, We gathered societies under a written compact to organize regular congregations as soon as an ordained minister could be had for the purpose. This was the beginning of the church in South Alabama. On our way to the meeting of presbytery in the spring we swam five streams in one day. Hundreds of persons petitioned for us to be sent back. For this winter tour, I received nothing.

These evangelists were not sent back, however, but sent to other destitute fields, and for a little season the seed planted in South Alabama was left to grow without cultivation or to perish.

The Tombigbee Presbytery, organized in 1823, extended partly into Alabama but the first successful effort to form a presbytery in the southern portion of the State was made in 1824. The manner in which the new presbytery was organized is typical. The Rev. [159] Benjamin Lockhart and two licensed preachers had settled in that portion of the State. The Rev. William Moore declared himself ready to move to South Alabama for the sake of the church. The Tennessee Presbytery, which was cut off of the Elk Presbytery in 1821, resolved to hold an intermediate session in South Alabama for the purpose of ordaining the two licensed preachers who had settled there, and in this way to provide a quorum for the organization of Alabama Presbytery. All this was in obedience to an order of synod. It was a long journey for a whole presbytery to make, but men did not shrink from such journeys in those days. Hostile Indians roamed between Tennessee Presbytery and South Alabama, but a quorum was present at the appointed time. At this meeting the presbytery ordained John Williams and James W. Dickey, the two licentiates. William Moore attended, and he and Benjamin Lockhart, together with the two newly-ordained ministers, constituted the Alabama Presbytery, and made that field their permanent home.

This presbytery had a strange, hard field. With hostile Indians near at hand; with a population mainly from States where Cumberland Presbyterians were unknown; with one of its members already past the period of life for much active labor; with the bitterest misrepresentations, both of its doctrines and its practices, actively circulated; with a location isolated from all the rest of the church: it is not strange that this presbytery did not grow as did some others.

It has been my aim to avoid the discussion of all those prejudices which once embittered the spirit of many in the Presbyterian Church; but the history of the early struggles of our own church absolutely requires some mention of these things. An incident taken from the manuscript autobiography of the Rev. R.D. King will suffice to illustrate the state of things in South Alabama when Cumberland Presbyterians began their work in that field. The State legislature then met at Cahawba, and it was in session while King was there. Several of its members knew King, and invited him to preach for them, which he did. As there was no house of worship in the place, the three denominations of the town each had procured the use of the State-house for one Sabbath per month.

[160] This left one Sabbath unoccupied. By a formal and official resolution the legislature invited King to take possession of the house for that vacant Sabbath. He accepted their invitation, and left an appointment. When the time for his appointment arrived, and he was on his way to the place of preaching, the resident minister of the Presbyterian Church came driving rapidly past him in his buggy. When King, who was walking, entered the house, which was then thronged with people, this Presbyterian preacher, whose name was Sloss, was up lining out a hymn. After song and prayer, Mr. Sloss announced a text and proceeded to preach. The sergeant-at-arms of the legislature came to King and said: "Sir, with your permission, I will put him out." King, however, begged him not to interfere. Mr. Sloss gave a horrid caricature of the doctrines, the practices, and the ignorance of the Cumberland Presbyterians, and warned everybody against having any thing to do with them. After the benediction, King announced preaching for the afternoon. When the hour arrived, he had a crowded hall, and there was a solemn and precious meeting without the least allusion to Mr. Sloss or his caricature of our people. When Mr. Sloss came to his own appointment the next Sabbath, his wife was his only auditor. He tried one more time to fill his regular day, and again his wife was his only hearer, the members of his own church reprobating his conduct as much as others. Then he closed out his work in Cahawba.

The Rev. Gibson W. Murray, whose parents were South Carolina Presbyterians, was brought in early life to South Alabama. While visiting relatives near Elyton, this young man attended the first Cumberland Presbyterian camp-meeting he had ever seen. It was all new and strange to him, and the newest and strangest thing of it all was the preaching. He says in his manuscript autobiography, which is before me, that the preaching he had been used to from childhood was about the decrees, about the absolute certainty of all the elect being saved, and that all this had never in any way disturbed his conscience. He felt that nothing he could do would in any wise change his predetermined destiny. The religion upon which he had been brought up consisted in keeping the Sabbath sacred, and in being whipped on Monday for any failure in his cat [161] echism lesson the day before. But this camp-meeting opened up a new world to him. A preacher of splendid figure and lovely countenance rose in the stand, and with a voice which won its way right into his heart, began to discuss the text, "What is truth?" This preacher was the Rev. William Moore; and this remarkable sermon, though it continued four hours, Mr. Murray says, held the whole congregation spell-bound to the last, so that they were sorry when it ended.

In that sermon Mr. Moore stated that there were so many misrepresentations abroad as to what his church believed, and his denomination as yet had so few books, that he felt it to be his duty to give, that day, a synopsis of the doctrines which his people held as the system of Bible truth. Mr. Murray says that from that day on he was a believer in the Cumberland Presbyterian system. He went home and re-preached Mr. Moore's sermon to his father's family, and the result was that the whole family joined the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Mr. Murray had impressions from that sermon which he never shook off. His own heart was laid bare to his gaze; his own responsibility was revealed, and he found no rest until he cast himself irrevocably upon the crucified Redeemer. He immediately began to plead with sinners to flee from the wrath to come, and spent the remainder of a long life in work for Jesus.

The Alabama Presbytery had eleven candidates for the ministry in five years. Only one of the eleven ever made a preacher. Five of these candidates were dropped from the roll at one session of the presbytery. This, like all the other presbyteries of this period, had pastorates only in name, for all its so-called pastors were really evangelists. After several years the Rev. William Moore took regular pastoral charge of one of its churches. The Rev. J.S. Guthrie came into the presbytery at an early day, and made a live evangelist of the original type. He became an efficient instrument in carrying the gospel into many destitute places, and in planting new congregations.

South Alabama is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. In 1860 I was traveling among its churches, and wrote some sketches, historical and descriptive, from which I here make few extracts:

[162] "In company with the Rev. Wiley Burgess I visited the site where long ago our people had a camp-ground. `Fallen, fallen, a silent heap of ruins now!' Here I saw the old Bible which once belonged to Canaan pulpit. On a fly-leaf were the notes of a sermon preached at the opening of presbytery by J.S. Guthrie long ago." At Canton Bend, in the house of the Rev. J.C. Weir, this was written: "Mr. Weir is one of our pioneers in this field. He has held on to this post for more than thirty years, begging all the time for more men, more help. Alabama has not fallen below the third State in rank for contributions to our missions, yet she has never received any aid from our missionary board. It is a newer State than either Ohio or Illinois, but the general church gives no help to this frontier field. At Pleasant Hill, Alabama, one of our oldest ministers sleeps--the Rev. William Moore. I often hear him mentioned in the South. His work here was for many years a difficult one. Sometimes the wicked threatened to kill him. Lawlessness and violence were quite common in this town at that early day, and the minister of Jesus was looked upon as a dangerous intruder. "Often while Mr. Moore was engaged in family prayers, sons of Belial would stand outside mocking and making disturbance. Meeting no check in their lawlessness they were encouraged to continue it, and finally they fired a whole volley of balls and shots through the window into the room where the family were kneeling in prayer. Two of the household were wounded, and the indignation of all the better class of settlers was so aroused that they organized a vigilance committee, and gave notice to the leaders among these desperadoes that the very next time Mr. Moore was molested every one of these leaders would be hanged. Mr. Moore had quiet after that.

There are names of other ministers now gone to rest that are uttered amid grateful tears in these Alabama homes. Old men, in the shady portico, talk while the winds bring spices from the groves of magnolias: and in their talks their voices grow husky, and their eyes glisten with tears while they speak of Wayman Adair. Adair was the only one of the first eleven candidates for the ministry in that field who persevered in the work.

South Alabama has from the first been a field beset with trials [163] to our preachers. The early developed tendency to gather all the white people into towns, leaving the rural districts to immense cotton plantations cultivated by Negroes, was the death of most of our rural churches throughout the beautiful land of the magnolia and the cape jasmine. A people relying on camp-meetings and circuit riders found their occupation gone when there was no place to preach in except towns.






Now the long and toilsome duty,

Stone by stone to carve and bring,

Afterward the perfect beauty

Of the palace of the King.


The Rev. William Harris was the first Cumberland Presbyterian preacher to visit Indiana. In a letter to him, written by Mrs. Lindsey, of Indiana, in June, 1812, she says: "We have had but one sermon since your visit to this country. One Sabbath after another comes, but all is silent--the glad news of salvation is never heard."(26) The date of the visit by Harris alluded to in this letter can be only proximately determined. As Mrs. Lindsey moved to Indiana in 1810, and the visit was prior to 1812, we may fix its date as probably in 1811. Her pleadings finally induced Harris, accompanied by Alexander Chapman, to make a second preaching tour in that country. The date of this second visit is also uncertain, but it preceded the tour which Chapman and Barnett made by order of Logan Presbytery in 1817.

What the Methodists called circuits, Logan Presbytery called districts; and what the Methodists called circuit riders, Logan Presbytery called missionaries. Nowhere in the Minutes of the early meetings of Logan Presbytery have I found the missionary called a circuit rider, though he had regular rounds of "appointments" like a Methodist itinerant. One of the districts of Logan Presbytery at first took in several counties of Kentucky(27) along with all of Indiana; but when ministers multiplied Indiana became a separate district.

During Harris's tour through Indiana the claims, wants, and earnest pleadings of those pioneers made a deep impression on his [165] heart. At the next meeting of his presbytery he preached a sermon on the need of more laborers. In this sermon he gave a description of the West and its wants. His feelings became so deep that he could not talk, and, sinking down in overwhelming emotion, he wept and prayed, but could not finish his sermon. Several preachers date their call to the work of the ministry from that hour and that sermon, and several of these made that same western country their life-time field of labor.

The presbytery named one of its districts Wabash and one Indiana, and sent missionaries to both every year. The older preachers generally attended the camp-meetings in Indiana. There is something sublime in the struggles of Logan Presbytery to supply all this vast field with the gospel. As the number of its ministers was wholly inadequate to meet the ever-increasing demand for the grand work, a fast-day was appointed for special prayer to God for more called laborers. At the very next meeting of the presbytery David Lowry, Aaron Shelby, William McCord, and William Henry were received as candidates, and before another year four others were received--H.A. .Hunter, W.M. Hamilton, A. Downey, and Thomas Campbell. Six of these men were, at one time or another, sent to the vast districts of Wabash and Indiana. At subsequent meetings, within a few months, another long list of names was added to Logan Presbytery's roll of preachers, among others Henry F. Delany and Joel Knight. These men, along with others, helped to plant the churches in Indiana and Illinois.

When Anderson Presbytery was organized Indiana and Illinois were included in its bounds. Before this Logan Presbytery had extended over this vast field. The first mention of any representatives in Logan Presbytery from the churches in either of these States is found in the Minutes of the fall meeting of 1819, The Black River congregation of Indiana and the Seven Mile Prairie congregation in Illinois both had representatives in that meeting. The Rev. Dr. Darby and the Rev. J.E. Jenkins in their pamphlet history of our church in southern Indiana give the probable order of date for our first churches there as follows: Mount Zion, McAlisters, Shiloh, Milburns, White Oak Springs, Lester's, Osborne's, Mount Pleasant.

[166] The manuscripts of the Rev. H.A. Hunter give some touching accounts of the hardships which the first missionaries in the Indiana district endured in their winter tours. To swim rivers in midwinter in such a climate as that of Indiana was a trial to Southern men even when they were of that hardy type which was so common in those early times. Over half the first preachers of Indiana were natives of Tennessee, where the winters are mild. Others were Kentuckians, and one was from South Carolina. None of these men ever missed an appointment. If there was any exception, sickness and not the weather or the hardships was the cause.

These early preachers had other things besides weather to try their courage. Their work in this field began before Indiana was a State, and before Indian troubles ceased to fill the land with midnight alarms. The great Indian war, in which General Harrison led the American troops to victory on Indiana soil, did not end until after Cumberland Presbyterian pioneers began their work for Jesus on that same soil. Harrison's victories live in the annals of blood; the victories won by Harris and Chapman live in the annals of eternal life.

The following account of the organization of Mount Zion congregation is from the historical pamphlet already mentioned:

This congregation was organized by the Rev. William Barnett in August, 1817, at a Methodist place of worship known as Shiloh, in Gibson County. The elders were James Knowles, Samuel Montgomery, and Alexander Johnson, the two former having been elders in the Presbyterian Church. It is probable that this was the first Cumberland Presbyterian congregation in the State. At first the name of the congregation was Hopewell, and the members were accustomed to worship and hold their camp-meetings at the same place with the Methodists. Thus two camp-meetings were held each year on the same spot conjointly for a number of years. Finally, under circumstances which need not now be mentioned, the two meetings having been announced to take place at the same time, the Cumberland Presbyterians withdrew, and, with the aid of many sympathizers in the community, established a camp-ground one half mile from Shiloh, and held their meeting at the appointed time. When Messrs. Downey, Lynn, Hunter, and others were assembled at the time of meeting, the question arose as to what name the new place of worship should bear. Father Downey said: "Call it Mount Zion? for it shall never be removed." {Psalm 125:1.}

[167] There are other historic churches in Indiana, but the interesting details of their history must be left for some larger book, or for some local State history of our people. The Evansville and Newburg congregations belong to later periods, and deserve more space than I can give them. The former is now the largest church in our denomination.

Two incidents of the early Indiana camp-meetings are here given on the authority of the Rev. H.A. Hunter, who witnessed them. They are clipped from Dr. Darby's pamphlet:

A man of considerable prominence in the estimation of some, particularly of himself, who claimed to be a Universalist, heard a sermon on Monday of the meetings and became the subject of such conviction that with many others he came to the altar for prayer. The preacher went to him and endeavored to encourage him to believe and be saved. "O Mr. ---," said he, "I can believe that Christ died for and will save the whole world, but I am such a sinner I fear he will not save me."

At a camp-meeting near Mr. Lester's, in Daviess County, a young man and his bride were in attendance. The lady became exceedingly concerned about her soul, and came forward for the prayers of the church. Being deeply affected, her weeping and praying excited the sympathy of her husband, who came to her, not to encourage her in her purpose, but to oppose it. He bade her arise and go out of the congregation. She entreated him to stay with her, saying, "Let us go together to heaven." Becoming enraged, he refused his assent to her course, and threatened to leave her there if she did not come out. Then throwing her arms around his neck, she exclaimed: "I will go with you, my husband, if we go to hell." They left the congregation, and went home together. They were never in another congregation alive, but within a few weeks were both dead.

It is to be regretted that Mr. Hunter did not leave us accounts of many other thrilling camp-meeting incidents witnessed by him not only in Indiana but in other States. Such incidents show that the preaching of these Western missionaries produced results similar to those seen under the ministry of McGready and others at the beginning of the great revival in Kentucky and Tennessee. There are traditions of a wonderful character about Hunter's camp-meetings. Interesting details of Chapman's work in Indiana are given in Dr. Bird's Life of Chapman, a book that all Cumberland Presbyterians ought to read. The following account of a camp-meeting [168] held by Chapman and others just on the borders of the white settlements, and near to the Indians, is given by the Rev. William Lynn.

They commenced their operations. The Lord was present. and worked with power. Many fell to the ground under the power of the gospel. Some lay helpless for a long time, which caused a great talk among the people. There was a very strong, rough-looking man who said they could not make him tall. The meeting passed on till Monday. Mr. Chapman reached, and just as he commenced his discourse he noticed this mall come into the edge of the congregation and stop and look at him very steadily. Directly the man drew nearer the stand, and as Mr. Chapman advanced in his sermon the man came still nearer, and about the close of the discourse he was trembling in every joint. Discovering that he had lost the use of his limbs, and the people refusing to carry him away, he grasped a small tree that stood near, and cried out, "I won't fall, I won't," still hugging the tree; but at last he fell full length on the ground before the stand.

This falling helpless continued to mark the work of the great revival till about the year 1840. It was common at most of the camp-meetings where the fathers of our church preached. It disappeared gradually as the power of the great revival waned and the men of 1800 passed away.

Illinois was not a State till 1818, but daring emigrants settled there before the French and Indian titles to that country were extinguished. The father of John Crawford moved to Illinois in 1808 and settled in sight of a camp of Indian hunters. This was the first family connected with our history that became settlers in this territory. Crawford's parents were anti-revival Presbyterians, but their children heard the revival preachers in Kentucky and all sooner or later became Cumberland Presbyterians. John Crawford was one of the pioneer preachers of our church in that State. He lived to a good old age and left a treasure in the form of a brief manuscript autobiography which is now before me. The first sermon in this State by a Cumberland Presbyterian minister was preached in 1815, near Golconda, by the Rev. John Barnett, at the house of Mr. Glass, whose children were Cumberland Presbyterians. These children were the first members of this church in that territory.

[169] In Mr. Crawford's autobiography he says in reference to the early experience of his family in Illinois: "We were in constant fear of Indians, beasts of the forest, and river desperadoes." He gives an interesting picture of the impressions produced on a youthful mind by prejudice. He says he heard so much about the horrible Cumberland Presbyterians that he concluded there must be something of demoniacal nature and power in them. Finally he had an opportunity to hear one of them preach. He went on foot twelve miles to see and hear the dangerous preacher. He studied the preacher's looks, but saw no ferocious beast but a kindly looking human face. He watched his movements but saw neither the spring of a tiger nor the antics of a monkey. When the sermon began he studied every word, but he then found something else to do besides studying the preacher. His own life began to stand out before him all covered with sin. His own heart began to be revealed to him as he had never seen it before. His own startling relations to God and eternity swallowed up his thoughts till all other things were utterly forgotten. As his smitten soul found no relief that day, and as there was no other appointment for the strange preacher in the neighborhood, Mr. Crawford went twenty miles on foot to a camp-meeting in Kentucky, but he found no relief there. Then these dangerous strangers came again to Illinois, and under their ministry Mr. Crawford found Him of whom Moses and the prophets did write, and from that day onward he proclaimed the truth of the gospel and pointed the people of Illinois to the Savior.

There were many similar instances of early prejudice and its cure. Although the one here added was not located in Illinois it took place under the ministry of the same men who participated in the Crawford incidents. A young lady who was reared by Roman Catholic parents came from her home in the city of New York on a visit to relatives in Kentucky. A Cumberland Presbyterian camp-meeting was held in the neighborhood. Like young Crawford, her information about this church led her to expect something unutterably monstrous at one of its camp-meetings. She resolved, however, come what might, to see for herself. She attended the meeting and then wrote an account of it to her mother. After telling about the antecedents of the case, she says:

[170] I just went to see and be seen and, mother, I did both as never I did before. I saw, not some inhuman monster in the shape of a preacher, but my own lost, ruined self, stripped of all my hollow pretenses, guilty, and naked, and condemned before God. I saw beneath me eternal perdition and my poor soul about to plunge into its fathomless depths. I was seen, too, in all my guilt by the piercing eye of God. I felt its withering gaze and shrieked with condemnation while I felt it. Then, mother, I saw the most glorious sight any poor, lost sinner ever gazed upon. I saw the Son of God bearing my sins on the cross. I saw my Savior reconciling me to God's law and God's kingdom. O mother, I know you will be angry, but I must tell you all. I, even I, am now a happy member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church; and I thank God that I ever heard one of their faithful, honest, scriptural, and fearless sermons. Mother, they are God's people.

John Crawford, from Illinois, and the Roman Catholic woman, from New York, have gone home now, whither their spiritual guides preceded them. They see and are seen without any obscuring veil to shut out part of the glories; and among the things there to be seen are a great company of redeemed ones from the early camp-meetings of the Cumberland Presbyterians.

After John Crawford's trip to Kentucky an incident occurred which deserves a place here. Notwithstanding the bitter prejudices which Mr. Crawford's parents had against the Cumberland Presbyterians, they yielded to the wishes of one of their sons who had professed religion under the preaching of James Johnson, in Kentucky, and with many misgivings agreed that this son might invite Johnson to preach at their house. The appointment was made and Johnson came and preached. At the close of the sermon there was deep feeling and the preacher began to shake hands with those present as he went singing through the congregation. The parents of Mr. Crawford could not stand this, but springing to their feet they left the room. When, however, God used these same Cumberland Presbyterians in bringing their other children to Jesus their prejudices all gave way.

In 1817 the Rev. Green P. Rice moved to Illinois and settled not far from Saint Louis, which was then a meager village of Frenchmen. In the vicinity of Edwardsville there was a Methodist camp-ground but no preacher. Methodists, Presbyterians, and Cumberland Presbyterians united in holding prayer-meetings, [171] There was deep and solemn interest in these meetings, but no preacher of any church could be secured. Finally the people entered into a solemn agreement to invite the first preachers they could get of any evangelical church to come and hold them a camp-meeting. Mr. Paisley, a Cumberland Presbyterian pioneer, originally from Finis Ewing's congregation in Kentucky, was the first to succeed in securing a minister. He wrote an earnest appeal to the Rev. William Barnett setting forth the great need for gospel work in that new country. Barnett had no horse, but he took the letter to Finis Ewing. Ewing. read it to his congregation and they raised money and bought Barnett a horse and sent him on his way to Illinois. Green P. Rice met him, and he and Rice, at this Methodist camp-ground, held the first Cumberland Presbyterian camp-meeting in Illinois.(28) This was in 1817.

In 1818 the Rev. D.W. McLin settled in this State. He was a preacher of the original type. He organized the first regular congregation of our people in the State. This was the Hopewell(29) church (now Enfield), in White County. In 1819 the camp-meeting at this place was very precious. Among its converts was Joel Knight, whose career in the ministry has left its mark for all time on the church in Illinois as well as elsewhere.

The second Cumberland Presbyterian camp-meeting in this State was held by R.D. Morrow, John Carnahan, and Green P. Rice at Elm Point, in Bond County. A pleasant fact about all the first work of the church in Illinois is that it still abides. The churches first organized continue yet in existence.

In 1820 the Board of Missions of the church sent the Rev. Alexander Chapman on a missionary tour through this State. This was a winter tour, beginning in December, and was one of no little hardship, but the missionary reported good results. He says that the destitution of the means of grace and the great desire of the pioneers for the gospel were enough to melt the hardest heart.

Though Illinois abounded in soil of surpassing depth and fertility, yet there were so many new territories thrown open to settlers [172] simultaneously that the prairies were for a long time sparsely settled. In the manuscript autobiography of the Rev. Joseph M. Bone, he tells us that when he moved to Illinois and settled in Moultrie County his nearest neighbor lived five miles distant. Yet this was in 1829, a period much later than the principal events of this chapter.

A manuscript history of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Illinois, by the Rev. H.H. Ashmore, has been very helpful to me in preparing this chapter. Speaking of the hardships of pioneer work on the prairies, he says:

The pioneer preachers rode over the prairies in summer traveling sometimes twenty and thirty miles without passing a house. There was danger of getting lost in the rain and fog and they were sometimes thus forced to spend the night in the open prairies without food or shelter. Wherever there were a few cabins along the skirts of the timber they were ready to preach at any hour of the week-day. On Saturdays and Sabbaths the people for miles around attended the meetings, and earnest efforts were put forth to build up congregations. Many of the early settlers lived ten miles from their place of worship, yet they were rarely absent on Sabbath. The week-day appointment was a sort of skirmish line to find a suitable place for the Sunday services and for protracted efforts. The meetings were held in schoolhouses, groves, or private residences. In the winter and spring. though the circuits were long and the appointments numerous, the preacher had to be at each place rain or shine. If high waters were in the way the preacher would place his saddle-bags, inclosing his Bible and hymn book and extra linen on his shoulder, and, in less time than a ferry could cross, his faithful horse would early him over by swimming. No one who has not seen a snow-storm on the bare prairie can comprehend its driving fury. If the winds were changeable, as was often the case, the danger was great. At one time a terrible storm overtook three teams on the prairie. The wind changed. The horses could only . go with the driving snow. The travelers were separated and lost The same day my father was to cross that thirty-mile prairie on his way home. After the storm three awful days of suspense passed before we heard from him. At the edge of the timber and along the lanes near the timber lines the snow was too deep for man or beast to pass. Every man that could muster a strong horse was searching for the lost They were brought in one by one, some with fingers frozen and footsore. At last our eyes were gladdened when my father rode up with his great buffalo coat making him look three times his usual size. [173] Besides the owners of the three teams lost near my father's many other people were lost in that storm. All business throughout that whole country was suspended while people searched for the lost. Roads were blockaded for weeks, and only at great risk could men mounted on the strongest horses go from one house to another. Our pioneer preachers passed through just such scenes as this. The common people in these early days were glad to have the privilege of going to church, or "meeting," as they called it. There were no railroads and but few post-offices. Newspapers were a rarity. They were glad to meet and hear the preacher and enjoy the privilege of comparing notes. People would sometimes sit and listen to a sermon two or three hours long without growing weary. If our people of this generation could go back to the days of Isaac Hill, Joel Knight, James Ashmore, William Finley, R.D. Taylor, Cyrus Haynes, J.M. Berry, Daniel Traughber, and Archibald and Neil Johnson, they would learn how the seed of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was sown in this State. These men were giants in their day. Lincoln University is largely the result of their labors.

The first presbytery organized exclusively in Illinois was in 1822. But McGee Presbytery, which was organized in 1819, included in its bounds part of Illinois. In 1822 the order for the organization of Illinois Presbytery was passed. Its original members were to be Green P. Rice, D.W. McLin, John M. Berry, and W.M. Hamilton. Rice did not attend; all the others were present. This presbytery immediately organized a presbyterial board of missions. Nine probationers for the ministry were transferred to its care. That meant circuit riding. In 1829 this presbytery had ten members in good standing. It had been obliged to silence some of its ministers. One of these cases of discipline was mixed up with the great slavery question, and shows that the church in Illinois at an early day took a decided stand on that subject.

There is a wonderful difference between the growth of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in the two States to which this chapter is devoted. In Indiana there are now (1885) but three presbyteries; in Illinois there are ten. There is one thing indicated both by recent statistics and by this early history which may help to explain the difference. In Illinois from the beginning there was a vigorous struggle to raise up a home supply of preachers. Fast-days were appointed on which all the congregations joined in [174] prayer that God would call and send forth men of his own choosing to preach the gospel. God answered these prayers, as he will do today in all our frontier presbyteries if, instead of clamoring for more preachers to come from the older States, they will ask God to call their own sons into the work.

Another fact doubtless had its influence in causing this superior growth in Illinois. At an early day some of the oldest ministers of the church made this State their permanent home. Among these were Samuel McAdow, one of the three men who formed the first presbytery of the church. David Foster and D.W. McLin also cast their lots permanently with the pioneers of Illinois. The first preachers of the church made preaching tours in Indiana, but none of them settled in that State; and when a later generation of Cumberland Presbyterian preachers made their homes there a large portion of the ground was preoccupied. From the first it was a maxim of our people not to build on other men's foundations, but to go among the destitute. With very few exceptions our preachers have conformed to that maxim in the past, and do still conform to it.






The first great tide of American emigrants to Missouri Territory began in 1816. There were Cumberland Presbyterians in that first tide, and the usual cry soon began to come, "Send us a preacher." In 1817 the first Cumberland Presbyterian sermon was preached in the Territory by Green P. Rice at the little French village of Saint Louis. The first Cumberland Presbyterian preacher to settle in Missouri was Daniel Buie. He was a citizen already established in Howard County and had regular preaching places when R.D. Morrow made his visit to that country in 1819. In a graphic history of Buie's emigration to Missouri we are told that he made the journey in 1818 in a one-horse cart.

In April, 1819, the ladies' missionary society at Russellville, Kentucky, requested the presbytery to send the Rev. R.D. Morrow on a preaching tour through Missouri Territory. The presbytery agreed to the plan and the missionary board fixed his salary at twenty dollars per month. He had to make his own appointments and "blaze his own way" in more senses than one. A letter of instructions was placed in his hands and he was commended to God and sent forth on his responsible mission. Mounting his horse, equipped for travel through the wilderness, he started on his long, solitary journey. Could he have foreseen the glorious work for Jesus to which God was leading him his heart would have leaped [176] for joy. He carried bell and "hobble" for his horse and rations for himself Besides these things there were a few books in his saddle-bags. The wilderness between Logan County, Kentucky, and Alton, Illinois, was passed with only his horse for a traveling companion. Crossing the river he proceeded up to what is now Pike County, where he preached to a few settlers, among whom were three Cumberland Presbyterians. Proceeding westward he held his next meeting in Callaway County. At that meeting were grown men who had never heard a sermon in their lives. Many such there were in that territory--children of pioneers who penetrated the wilderness long in advance of the general tide of emigration. Settling down on some rich prairie perhaps ten miles from the nearest neighbor, these pioneers brought their children up without schools and without churches.

In just such a home amid just such destitution was our now venerable brother, the Rev. J.T.A. Henderson, reared. His rich manuscript autobiography, now before me, describes the joy of the whole family when they heard of a Methodist preacher making an appointment for occasional preaching within reach of their home. When this family and one other settled near Round Prairie, Missouri, there was no other family within a circuit of ten miles. It was many a long year before there was any school within reach. Having neither post-offices, newspapers, nor stores, the pioneers lived a lonely life. There was plenty of game and plenty of prairie grass. In some parts of the territory the grass grew higher than a man's head when he was mounted on his horse. At a later day this grass teemed with a species of flies so numerous that they sometimes killed the traveler's horse as he rode across the prairies. It is a touching thing to read Mr. Henderson's account of his rapture when at last his home was surrounded with neighbors who employed a school-teacher. Into such sparse settlements of pioneers Mr. Morrow penetrated, proclaiming the gospel and planting the standard of our King.

When time for the meeting of Logan Presbytery drew near, Mr. Morrow saddled his horse and made the long journey back to Kentucky. He was one of those who never failed to be present at the judicatures of his church. At this meeting he was pitied and crit [177] icized for his emaciated appearance. The tong journey, the arduous labor, and the indescribable hardships, had well-nigh cost kiln his life. Yet at that meeting of the Presbytery he made an appeal for the spiritually destitute pioneers of Missouri which melted the people to tears. His whole heart was enlisted for that field, and his wonderful career afterward was but an outgrowth of his deep earnestness.

Again Mr. Morrow was sent to Missouri. The orders under which the missionary went on this second trip required him to remain a year. Although Missouri now had a presbytery, and Mr. Morrow's membership was in it, yet he still worked under the missionary board at Russellville, Kentucky. His report to that board in the fall of 1820 deserves to be handed down as a precious record. Here it is, copied from the manuscript history prepared by Logan Presbytery in obedience to the order of the General Synod:

I traveled as a missionary in Missouri nine months. I passed through all the counties in the Territory except two. I rode horseback upwards of three thousand miles; have enjoyed pretty good health. I was kindly received by the people. My congregations were large and attentive. The desire for Preaching from our body surpasses any thing I have ever before witnessed. Everywhere the people were pressing me to return and preach for them again. Often I left them with tears streaming down their cheeks. while they said, "You are going away, and we shall have no more preaching. Our children are growing up in a strange land, without having any one to show them the way of life." Mothers would follow me to the gate, begging me to pray for them and their children in that wild wilderness. Young people would mount their horses and ride with me five or six days for the sake of instruction in spiritual things. Among these were many poor sinners seeking salvation, many of whom were grown men and women who had never heard a sermon in their lives till I came among them. During my tour T preached one hundred and sixty sermons. The Lord was with me, and applied his own truth to the hearts of my hearers. Sixty-five professed to find Christ precious to their souls. I received forty-nine dollars for your missionary board.

Mr. Morrow was continued in Missouri. He was now connected with another presbytery, but he wrote a letter to Logan Presbytery the next year (1821) pleading with undiminished fervor for the destitute. In that letter he says he finds that good fruits have fol [178] lowed his former visits, and that there have been several conversions among those whom he left in tears. He had held four camp-meetings since his return to Missouri, all of which were successful. Then he adds:

Brethren and fathers, permit me, through you, to address the Ladies' Missionary Society under your care. I want them to know that their labor of love in the cause of God has not been in vain. The great Head of the church has condescended to bless the weak efforts of their missionary far beyond what I had any right to expect. Precious souls in great numbers have been brought to the knowledge of salvation. But past success greatly increases the demand for more missionaries. O that you and they could hear the cries of the destitute which are coming up from all quarters of this wilderness, cries for the gospel of our salvation, cries for more preachers, coming up, too, from the unconverted as well as from lambs of the fold, who have no one to guide them in the way of life.

The order for the organization of McGee Presbytery was passed in the autumn after Morrow was first sent to that field (1819). Its original members were Green P. Rice, Daniel Buie, R.D. Morrow, and John Carnahan. Rice lived in Illinois, and Carnahan across the wilderness, five hundred miles away in Arkansas; yet all these men were at the organization.

The next year (1820) Finis Ewing moved to Missouri and settled in Cooper County among his old neighbors from Kentucky who had preceded him. He soon had an organized congregation, a meeting-house, and, of course, a camp-ground. This church, New Lebanon, has had a remarkable history, and has shared largely in the work for the Master in that State.

In 1821 R.D. Morrow and Finis Ewing opened a school of the prophets. Morrow taught science and Ewing theology. No charge was made for the young preachers' tuition or boarding. McGee Presbytery had already enrolled a large number of candidates for the ministry, and these eagerly availed themselves of the advantages here offered. There was a long summer vacation which was spent in preaching toters and camp-meetings, Morrow and Ewing accompanying the young preachers.

In all the history of our church there is no more interesting work than that done by this school. It was a pioneer theological [179] seminary conducted by live men who loved souls and knew how to work for them. Morrow was a man of good scholarship, and presided over a college in later years; but this pioneer theological school stands pre-eminent among the good results of his and Ewing's noble work for the Master. The roll of young men here taught includes many cherished and honored names, and one must read the history of the whole Cumberland Presbyterian Church to appreciate the precious fruits of this school. There were features about the school which deserve to be copied by our later and stronger theological seminary. It combined theory with practice, not that stupid moot practice before a professor in the recitation room, which always seemed to me to be a good way to teach lifeless routine and make hypocrites, but practice under the eyes of the professors out in the real harvest-field where souls are perishing, and where trophies for the eternal crown of glory are won by the young laborers. The teachers went along with their pupils, and held meetings during their long vacation.

In the spring of 1822 the Rev. R.D. King, a licentiate, and the Rev. Reuben Burrow, a candidate, were ordered by Elk Presbytery to travel and preach in Missouri. I am fortunate in having a full account of this tour from both the actors in it. They started on horseback from Tennessee just after the April meeting of the presbytery. Their first entertainment was swimming water-courses. After this followed a much more protracted entertainment in the form of chills and fever; yet they missed no appointments until long after, when sickness of a more stubborn nature caused a few failures. Burrow says:

I was placed on a circuit with John Morrow. The circuit was in western Missouri, including the country where Lexington and Independence have since risen up. ... About the fourth day, after Brother Morrow had preached rather a dull sermon, I was invited to conclude the services; and while trying to talk, ere I was aware of my own condition, God had raised me higher and filled me fuller of heaven than ever before. The people Present were deeply moved by the power of the Almighty. ... In the course of about two weeks the most of them made profession of religion. Captain William Jack became awakened on this occasion, and covenanted with others to seek life, but did not find peace till two weeks afterward.

[180] A camp-meeting was held not far away. Captain Jack took his family and attended. It was there he found Jesus, and his after life was full of usefulness to the church. There were over three hundred converts on that circuit that year. Burrow states:

The people were kind to us, and gave us some clothing such as they

could make, and I received eight dollars in money for the year, and felt very well contented and thankful for that.

At one time during this missionary journey Burrow's horse got out and ran off, but he was not to be thwarted by a little thing like that. He shouldered his saddle-bags and started around his circuit afoot. He had eighty miles to travel over the prairies. He says:

My feet became very sore from travel. The second day about three o'clock I entered the last stretch of my journey. It was a prairie of more than twenty miles. Here I toiled in weariness and pain until midnight before I readied a house where I could quench my thirst and rest my weary limbs.

Here Captain Jack overtook him, bringing his horse. An incident in Dr. Burrow's later life has the same ring. He was regular supply for a church fifteen miles from his home. On one occasion, he had no horse to ride to his appointment. He made no effort to borrow, but taking his staff in his hand (he was an old man then) he walked to his appointment.

While Burrow rode the circuit with the youthful John Morrow, King was taken under the guardianship of the Rev. R.D. Morrow, to travel with him and hold meetings. They spent the summer holding camp-meetings in the bounds of McGee Presbytery. In the fall, when Morrow returned to his work in the school, King was placed on a circuit in Ray and Clay counties. He kept up his work on this circuit until February, when he was prostrated by sickness. In the spring he traveled one hundred miles to be at the meeting of McGee Presbytery, although he had a chill every other day on the whole trip.

Next year Mr. King returned to Elk Presbytery, but was sent back to Missouri in company with his father, the Rev. Samuel King, on another missionary tour. Then he and his father both moved to that State, where his father spent the remainder of his life in earnest labors, preaching to the very last. Among the [181] converts of R.D. King's meetings in various fields were Lee Roy Woods, T.M. Johnston, and many others, who afterward became efficient ministers. King's ashes rest in Texas, where he closed his life of toil.

While these missionaries from a distance planted the church in Missouri, it was the home supply of ministers who grew up in that pioneer school taught by Ewing and Morrow that carried on and established the work. In a careful study of the whole field from Pennsylvania to California I find no section or State where the church has become a strong, established power without this home supply of pastors and evangelists. Looking to distant fields for missionaries instead of praying God to call our own sons to the holy work is the road to failure. It is the sons of Texas who are taking that great State for Jesus. It is Pennsylvanians who are making the church strong in western Pennsylvania. It was the sons of Missouri who, in the early history of the church, gave Missouri such a prominent place among Cumberland Presbyterians. But no native Californian is leading our forces on the golden shores. Other parts of the church supply ministers to bear our banners in Ohio. Preachers from other States are chiefly depended on to fill our pulpits in Louisiana and Georgia. We need the return of the spirit of the olden times. We ought to go with fasting, and humility, and humble prayer to God, pleading with him to call men, to call our own sons, to the gospel ministry.

In 1823 the Rev. Robert Sloan was one of Missouri's circuit riders. One of his camp-meetings, in Chariton County, was the means of bringing many of the prominent settlers into the fold of Christ. That meeting is spoken of even yet in Missouri as a wonderful work of God among the pioneers. Several of the converts were men who in after years made a deep impression on the public affairs of that country. In 1824 Mr. Sloan spent six months on what was then called the "hard circuit." For this six months' labor he received one white cravat. Mr. Sloan continued his faithful pioneer labors till the close of his life. His noble wife, who was a daughter of the Rev. Fin is Ewing, still survives.

Among the faithful workers for Jesus in this field, as in all others were noble women not a few. Those who would like to [182] read the life of one of the noblest of these are referred to the biography of Mrs. Margaret Ewing--"Aunt Peggy," as she was called written by her gifted son, Judge R.C. Ewing.

Among the hardy pioneers of the Missouri churches the Rev. Archibald McCorkle fills an honorable place. He traveled through the wilderness from one new settlement to another. He carried his own provisions, slept on the ground, and turned his hobbled horse on the grass at night. He faced the beating rains and the bitter snow-storms in order to preach Jesus to men living in the destitute regions of the frontier. In one of the camp-meetings on Mr. McCorkle's circuit there was such a general victory that, like Hugh Kirkpatrick in the meeting in Tennessee, described in a former chapter, he reported "all the material worked up"--that is, all the unconverted people present became Christians. The work at this meeting began under the preaching of the Rev. Finis Ewing. During one of Mr. McCorkle's tours over a hundred persons claimed to be converted in his meetings, and yet for that six months of successful work among the scattered pioneers he received just eight dollars; the same salary which Reuben Burrow received a few years before for six months of arduous toil with the grandest results on the records of the church's pioneer work.

Burrow and McCorkle both furnished their own horses and paid their own unavoidable traveling expenses. But eight dollars was more than the pay many another missionary received, not only in Missouri but even in the oldest parts of the church.R.D. King preached two years in Maury and Giles counties, Tennessee, before he moved to Missouri, receiving for his services neither money nor any other kind of compensation from the people to whom he ministered. He lived on the small estate which his wife had inherited till that was exhausted, and then sold his little farm for money enough to take him to Missouri.

The Rev. Hugh Robinson Smith was among those who took the infant churches of Missouri by the hand and rendered them great service. He also sought out the homes of the destitute and planted churches among the scattered cabins on the prairies. He carried Hebrew and Greek books in his saddle-bags and pursued a full course of study while on his circuits. His career, says Judge [183] Ewing, was full, complete, finished. In all its parts he accomplished his mission, and was wanting neither in literary preparation nor in soundness of doctrine, neither in unction of the Holy Ghost nor in fidelity to perform the work committed to his trust. Judge Ewing speaks also of Frank M. Braly as a representative of the best type of Missouri's circuit riders. He was among the hardy pioneers of an early day. His father went to Missouri in advance of that great wave of emigration which set in toward that territory in 1816. He was brought up in that wilderness, and to the circuit on the frontiers and to camp-meetings he devoted all the days of his manhood. For one whole year devoted exclusively to the work of an itinerant evangelist he received nine dollars and fifty cents.

Judge Ewing relates a characteristic incident of Mr. Braly's career. On his way to the meeting of presbytery, accompanied by several others, one of the young preachers was taken suddenly sick so that he could not travel. Mr. Braly remained with him. Their stopping place was a cabin in the wilderness. Neither doctor nor drugs were to be had, but Mr. Braly believed that God healed the sick in answer to the prayer of faith; so he and his friend resorted to the great Physician and his friend recovered in time to reach the presbytery. Another incident from the same authority illustrates the manner in which opposition and prejudice were often overcome. A Calvinist of the most rigid type undertook to prove to Mr. Braly that missionary work and all revival meetings and camp-meetings were uncalled for and wrong, because God would save his own elect in his own way and time. He seemed to be sorry for Mr. Braly personally, and to wish to dissuade him from undergoing all the fatigue and hardships which he was encountering. He tried to convince the preacher that no amount of exertion which he could make would change the final results. It is not claimed that this man was a fair representative of genuine Calvinism, but his perversion of the doctrine was a very common one among its professed adherents. Mr. Braly, however, went on with his meeting. Several members of the Calvinist's family were at the "mourner's bench" weeping and crying for mercy, and soon they were filled with joy and peace in Jesus. [184] Their faces shone with a heavenly radiance as they told what God had done for them. Then this man's prejudices all vanished.

Judge Ewing in his sketches gives a touching picture of Braly's faithfulness and self-denying consecration. At one time he had traveled among the destitute, holding meetings and receiving no pay until his clothing was almost worn out. His boots especially were unfit to wear and he had no money to buy new ones, yet he made a long journey through a strange land in order to attend the meeting of synod, and in spite of his worn garments he was in his place in that body. Nor were the rough frontier regions of Missouri alone in leaving their missionaries thus to suffer. There was a man, now aged and infirm, who traveled in West Tennessee in 1846 holding meetings among a prosperous people. For six months he preached nearly every day, and more than three hundred persons professed conversion at his meetings. In all that time he received no compensation, either in clothing or in money. A rich elder said to him, "Go down to the shoe shop and get your boots mended." The young man went, but having no money he borrowed tools and tried as best he could to do his own repairing. He adopted the old program me of saying nothing about money or pay of any kind to anybody. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church had its beginning under this mistaken plan, and the example of "the fathers' is still the argument which is everywhere used by those church members who want their pastor to serve them for naught.

We must remember how scattered and sparse were the settlements in all the new territories before we can appreciate the victories won in these early meetings. An account of a camp-meeting held in Missouri in 1821 Will illustrate this point. It is taken from the published biography of the Rev. A.A. Young, who was one of our early preachers in that State: The people in this sparsely settled region (now Saline County) had no Sabbath Schools, no churches, no preaching, no prayer-meetings. They determined to Secure some preachers to hold a camp-meeting. Their efforts were successful, and they selected a spot about equally distant from several settlements, but five miles from the nearest house. When the camps were erected and all the population of the adjacent set [185] elements were gathered together there were just twenty-five persons present. Yet that meeting was perhaps as fruitful in the long run as some in later times in which the converts are counted by the hundred. At that meeting A.A. Young, whose after life in the ministry was greatly blessed, found the preaching just what John Crawford, of Illinois, found it a few years before. The mask was torn off his heart, and he saw himself helpless and mined and condemned before God, and cried earnestly for help to Jesus, who alone could save, nor did he cry in vain.

The Rev. Daniel Patton, who was one of the most useful Cumberland Presbyterian pioneers in Missouri, is still living, and though now over eighty years of age, he still takes his horse and his saddle-bags and goes out on an old-time circuit as an itinerant missionary in that field. He rode the circuit in South Alabama in 1821. His history of our church in Missouri is before me. He begins with Barnett Presbytery, which was organized in April, 1828, at Lexington, Missouri. The ministers composing this presbytery were Samuel King, R.D. Morrow, Daniel Patton, and Henry Renick. Under its care were Clemens Means and William Horn, candidates, and Robert Renick, a licentiate. Of the early work of this presbytery Patton says:

To know man perfectly you must see him under the pressure of the varied phases of human life. You must see the pioneer preacher in his log-cabin built by his own hands. In frontier settlements in an unbroken wilderness of more than five hundred miles north and one thousand miles west, our first Missouri preachers with their families found their homes. In a few years other settlements are formed beyond. The cry comes up from the new settlements, Come over and help us. To answer this cry wide-spread prairies without roads and deep creeks without bridges had to be crossed. None of these things deter the pioneer preacher.

The same writer gives a sketch of the early preachers of Missouri. Of Samuel King he says:

He was preaching in my father's house, in Bedford County, Tennessee, to a crowded company, when my father professed faith in the blessed Savior. I saw father passing through the crowd clapping his hands and praising God, and many others doing the same. I was then eleven years old. I record this incident not only as a grateful remem [186] brance of the past, but to present an instance of the power manifested in all the public ministrations of Samuel King. He was preeminently a man of prayer. He lived more on his knees than any man I ever knew, hence his power in the pulpit. I believe that God gave him more seals to his ministry than to any other man since Whitefield's day. I heard Finis Ewing say more than once, "I would rat her preach after any other man." He said it seemed to him that King always said all that could be said to profit, and the state of feeling was so high that it would only be lowered by his effort. I am sure no man was a better judge of preaching than Finis Ewing.

It was Patton himself who was preaching at Bee Creek camp-meeting, Missouri, when the people rose to their feet and unconsciously pressed toward the pulpit till they were densely crowded around the preacher. There was no more preaching for two days, "altar work" taking up all the time.

Another glimpse of Patton's work is found in his history of Barnett Presbytery. He says:

The writer husked corn which grew from the soil where Richmond, the county seat of Ray County, now stands. He helped raise the first log-cabins to make it a town. He made the first wagon road running north from Richmond, crossing the west fork of Crooked River on his land one mile from town. He drove the first four-horse team that crossed this stream after digging the bank to ascend. This road was for many years the highway of emigration north. As much of this northward travel was directly by my cabin I was much questioned as to the country beyond. I entertained many weary travelers, always free. You see by these means many formed my acquaintance, so that I was known to almost all the new settlements north. As soon as little settlements were formed it was but natural for them to ask me to come out and preach for them. I veil remember my first tour to the forks of Grand River. Some of my old Ray County friends had settled there and thereabouts. The presbytery had sent out William Clark, a good young man, just licensed to preach, to form a sort of circuit to suit the frontier settlements. I was to follow, preach, and administer ordinances as needed. The first day's travel I swam two considerable streams on the back of my horse, and then steered for a "deadening" in a little grove of timber. I found a kind family in a new cabin, nature's floor and nature's fare, fat venison and good cheer. The next day with difficulty I found the place for preaching. Mr. Clark had preached in the forenoon and the people were gathering for

the three o'clock service.

[187] In a little grove between Shoal Creek and Grand River, Patton held a camp-meeting. He does not give the date, but he says of the meeting:

I was conducted to the place by an old hunter who knew the country and led the way "by course," as we used to travel in the unbroken wilds. My guide and myself were the first to reach the place. I examined the ground with a feeling of interest Which no mall can realize who has not been placed hi a like position. the lonely place, the hastily-raised pulpit, the rude, narrow "slab" seats, a narrow path ant through the brush to a good spring at the base of the hill, called to my mind Isaiah's prediction of the gospel's spread and conquests, "The wilderness and solitary places shall be glad for them: yea, the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose." Strange but true, whilst I call up the glorious scenes of the past I live over the emotions of soul of which I certainly was the subject at that time! I involuntarily and most earnestly asked, Will this solitary place be made glad today because of thy presence, O God? The answer in my poor heart was, It will. And so it was.

Most of Mr. Patton's history belongs to a later period.

Some facts recorded in the history of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Missouri, written by the Rev. P.G. Rea, are here given. Jacob Ish, a Cumberland Presbyterian elder, was the first man who drove a wagon into Big Bottom, near the place where Glasgow, Missouri, now stands. This was in 1816. New Lebanon church was organized by John Carnahan in the house of Alexander Sloan, father of the Rev. Robert Sloan, in 1820. Among the children and grandchildren of the members of the first session of this church there have been twelve preachers. It was here that the school of Ewing and Morrow was located.

Where pioneer settlers in the wilderness were destitute of the gospel, there the early Cumberland Presbyterian preachers preferred going. In a great many instances they declined to organize churches in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and New York, saying that every preacher our people had was needed in the West by those who had no minister of any church to break to them the bread of life. That there was no sectarian ambition among our people then is not asserted, but that there was far less of it then than now can be maintained.

[188] A pioneer scene in Missouri is here sketched. When Mr. William Blackwell, a Cumberland Presbyterian elder, moved to Missouri, in 1827, and settled in the wilderness, wolves and Indians were no rarity in his neighborhood. In 1829 Mr. Blackwell was living in what was then Randolph County, when tidings of an Indian invasion and of murders in the region where Kirksville now stands reached him. Joining a band of volunteers he hurried to the relief of the invaded settlements. A battle followed. The whites fought fiercely, but were compelled to retreat. In the retreat Mr. Blackwell came up with a wounded man afoot. He placed this man upon his own horse, and continued his retreat. Farther on he came upon another comrade who had stopped from exhaustion. While Mr. Blackwell was trying to help this comrade on, a shot from the Indians killed the poor fellow, and Blackwell continued his retreat. Farther on he found another comrade lying fast under a dead horse which had been shot, and although the Indians were coming, he waited to extricate him, and then again continued his retreat. His rescued comrade was soon shot down, but Mr. Blackwell escaped. It was for the sake of such men and their families that our first preachers longed to labor in these pioneer fields.

Mr. Blackwell helped to organize the first congregation of Cumberland Presbyterians in that part of the country. The preacher who held the meeting out of which that church grew was the Rev. James Dysart. The church was called Liberty.

While the French title to what is now Arkansas was transferred to the United States in 1803, yet Indian claims and Indian inhabitants long interposed other obstacles to its settlement by white people. Arkansas had its separate organization as a Territory in 1819, and was admitted into the Union as a State in 1836. Before the organization of its territorial government, and while the Indians were still in the land, the country furnished a retreat to those hardy and daring young men who loved adventure and wanted to secure good lands in advance of the inevitable white settlements. Several of these had young wives as daring as their husbands; and there yet live old ladies who on the long winter evenings tell the throng of happy children that gather around them in their now prosperous and elegant homes about their wonderful adventures.

[189] In 1811(30) some families of Cumberland Presbyterians, converts of the great revival, moved to Arkansas. James and Jacob Pyatt and their wives, and two young Carnahans, James and Samuel--sons of John Carnahan, the preacher--embarked in a flat boat and floated down the Tennessee, the Ohio, and the Mississippi, to the mouth of Arkansas River. Though they were all Kentuckians, yet it was from northern Alabama that they emigrated. Like many others, they had mailed to Alabama when some of the Indian titles were extinguished, only to find Others still in force, and to be driven off as intruders. It took them from January to May to make this journey to the mouth of the Arkansas River. Then they went up that river in a keel-boat to Arkansas Post--the oldest settlement in the territory. Here they expected to make their homes, but they soon found that the only religion there was Roman Catholicism. The population was French, Indians, and a few Americans. Things did not suit them, so they determined to go farther up the river. In 1812 they went past the spot where the city of Little Rock now stands to a bluff fifteen miles above, where they established their homes. The name of the place was Crystal Hill.

The same year (1812) the father of the two Carnahans moved to Arkansas. He had been riding the circuit as a licensed exhorter before. In the house of Jacob Pyatt he preached the first Protestant sermon ever preached in Arkansas territory. In those days our people licensed a man twice: first as exhorter, or lay evangelist, and, if "he purchased to himself a good degree," they afterward licensed him as a probationer for the full work of the ministry. At the meeting of the Cumberland Presbytery in October, 1812, John Carnahan was ordered to form a circuit on the Arkansas River, "among the people where he lived."(31) When the synod was formed (1813), Carnahan was placed on the roll of Elk Presbytery. He attended its meetings regularly till a presbytery was organized in his own field. In 1814 he was licensed in the regular way.(32) The presbytery ordered him back to his old circuit on the Arkansas River, and also addressed a circular letter to the people [190] of those settlements, commending Mr. Carnahan to them as an excellent man and a worthy minister. This solitary standard bearer determined to make this new country his permanent home, and for nine years he was the only Cumberland Presbyterian preacher in all that field. In October, 1816,(33) the pioneers petitioned for his ordination, and their petition was granted. During all the years of his lonely toil on the frontier, he was in the habit of attending every meeting of his presbytery. The place of meeting was often more than five hundred miles from his home, and he traveled all the distance on horseback. Once the presbytery kept him six months in Tennessee and Alabama for his health's sake, and then sent him back to Arkansas.

It is claimed in papers left by the Pyatt family that Carnahan held the first sacramental meeting ever held by Protestants on Arkansas soil. In all the western territories opened up between 1800 and 1840 Cumberland Presbyterians were pioneers in gospel work. God raised them up for frontier missions. Carnahan's sacramental meeting was at the house of one of the Pyatts, and he baptized a daughter of the family. Then there were five persons who joined him in celebrating the Lord's Supper. This was twenty years before Arkansas was a State, and three years before it had a territorial government. Away in this wilderness the Carnahans and the Pyatts had erected the family altar, and now they provided also for the ordinances of God's house. These families were noted for liberality. There was but little money circulating in any of the pioneer settlements, but where the heart is right liberal souls will find ways of doing liberal deeds. In 1823 Pyatt's little boy, seeing Reuben Burrow nearly shoeless, made the missionary a pair of shoes with his own hands. The pioneers had to perform such tasks as the making of their own shoes.

Another incident is here given illustrating the character, habits, and adventures of these pioneers. Jacob Pyatt kept a ferry-boat. One day there came a weary pedestrian, stating that he had met with misfortunes and had no money to pay his ferriage. Pyatt took him over the river, and kept him at his own house a week; then he mounted him on one of his horses, and, sending a boy [191] along with him to bring the animal back, thus conveyed him home to Little Rock. That young man was a nephew of the Rev. Thomas Calhoun. He graduated at Princeton College, Kentucky, and finally became governor of Arkansas.

Crystal Hill settlement was a center for Cumberland Presbyterian immigrants. Among others the Blairs, two of whom afterward became ministers, made that neighborhood their home. John Carnahan was still with them, devoting himself to the work of an evangelist, and traveling all the way to Tennessee every six months to attend the meetings of his presbytery.

After a few years Carnahan's membership was transferred to the McGee Presbytery, which included Arkansas in its bounds. That body became deeply concerned about the organization of a new presbytery in Mr. Carnahan's field. As there was a prospect for a supply of candidates for the ministry from that territory, the presbytery determined to hold an "intermediate" meeting in Arkansas. The distance was great, and much of the intervening country an uninhabited wilderness. The route was partly through Indian neighborhoods, and none of the rivers had either bridges or ferries The young and active men of the presbytery were therefore to be pressed into this distant mission. It has already been noticed that Reuben Burrow, then a candidate, and R.D. King, then a licentiate, were traveling as missionaries in Missouri. Both were at the meeting of McGee Presbytery in 1823, though King was sick in bed. The presbytery, however, licensed Burrow and ordained King in order to send them to Arkansas. King, though very sick, was held up, a good lady plying camphor in the meantime, while they ordained him. Then the moderator resigned, and King was chosen moderator in his stead, so that he might preside at the intermediate meeting of the presbytery. It was five hundred miles to the place of meeting, and one third of the way was a wilderness. Most of the nights had to be spent without shelter, but King, Long, and Burrow were with Carnahan at the appointed place on the appointed day.

The presbytery at this intermediate session received three candidates for the ministry. Two of these were James H. Black and J.M. Blair, men whose names were afterward well known through [192] out the Arkansas churches. After the close of the meeting, which was held at the house of John Craig, on White River, Mr. Long returned to Missouri, while Burrow and King remained to do mission work in Arkansas. These missionaries held two camp-meetings that same year in Mr. Craig's neighborhood, both of which were greatly blessed. Carnahan and King went to the Arkansas River, while Burrow formed a circuit among the White River settlements.

In King's autobiography he says there were grown men at his meetings who had never heard a prayer, much less a sermon. The settlements were few and far between. The largest crowd of people which even a camp-meeting could draw together might possibly reach, in extreme cases, a hundred and fifty persons. Great gaps of unpeopled wilderness stretched between the settlements; and of the one hundred and fifty persons who might possibly be at a camp-meeting, some had to come from a distance of more than a hundred miles. When forty or fifty converts are reported at one camp-meeting, we are to understand that from fifty to eighty per cent. of the entire assembly were converted.

King and Carnahan being ordained ministers, took special charge of the camp-meetings. The camps were built of rails, and covered with bushes or the leafy boughs of trees. The preaching places were not covered, except the stand or pulpit, which had over it a shed of leafy branches. In these rude frontier tabernacles God was pleased to display his converting grace, and many a church grew up where these rude encampments were erected.

After several months of circuit work Burrow joined the camp-meeting corps at Fort Smith; but before he reached the meeting he was attacked with chills. The first two camp-meetings which he attended were crowned with gracious results; but Burrow grew worse, until he was unable to preach, and finally became delirious with fever. Then Carnahan was also taken with fever. King found himself alone. Another camp-meeting, one hundred and fifty miles farther down the river, had been appointed. Neither Burrow nor Carnahan was able to sit up, but King was not to be thwarted. He bought a very large canoe, or pirogue. In this he placed dried prairie grass for beds, and put a cover on bows over [193] the beds. He then laid in a supply of provisions, hired young men to help row, and others to take the horses through by land, and, placing his two sick brethren feet to feet in the pirogue, started on his journey. The second day all the provisions were found to be spoiled, and they made the rest of their journey without food. They, however, reached the appointed place in time for the camp-meeting. Neither Burrow nor Carnahan was able to assist. Both, indeed, were delirious.(34) One day, after King had preached on the text "the harvest is past," a lady in the congregation repeated the text and fell shrieking to the ground. Others instantly fell; then others, until all over the congregation prostrate penitents were pleading for mercy. For several days King had felt his frame burning with fever; but as both his comrades were prostrate, he determined not to acknowledge that he was sick. Standing in the midst of this throng of weeping sinners, and trying to instruct them in the way of salvation, he fainted and fell to the ground. He was taken up and borne to one of the camps, bled, and put to bed in an unconscious state. There was no more preaching at that meeting, and neither of the missionaries was ever able to tell how the meeting closed. They were both carried along with Carnahan to private houses. King remained delirious eleven days, and kept his bed five weeks.

The hardships of the journey of these two missionaries back to Missouri may be taken as a type of what our pioneer preachers endured. We have a full account of this journey from both King and Burrow, and the narrative is here placed before the reader with the greater pleasure because both of these missionaries were among the very noblest specimens of true manhood that any church in any age ever enrolled among its heroes.

Dr. Burrow was a man of great physical power. He had a compact, heavy, muscular frame, and heavy eyebrows. His black hair grew low down on his forehead, and his accent betrayed just a little his German extraction. The working of his mind was like the heavy and powerful movements of some ponderous machine. [194] His eye and countenance slowly kindled as he advanced in his sermons, until at last his homely face grew beautiful with the glow of intellect set on fire by the Holy Ghost.

King was a fine specimen of the pioneer preacher. Trained in pioneer work by the Rev. Samuel King, his father, and all his life keeping on the frontier, he delighted in hardships and sufferings for Jesus with something of the same spirit which the first century witnessed in those who earnestly coveted the martyr's crown. He closed his career, at last, on the Texas frontier, leaving it as his dying testimony that, if he had his life to live over again, he would wish it to be just the kind of life which he had already passed through.

When the time came to go back to Missouri, King was still unable to travel, and Burrow set out without him. There was an appointment for a camp-meeting on the road one hundred miles distant. Eighteen young people, most of whom were unconverted, mounted their horses and accompanied Burrow to this meeting, and almost all of these souls were there blessed. After this camp-meeting Burrow resumed his journey. He was now alone, and what was worse, his horse was sick; but we have already seen that he never allowed such things to interfere with his work. Placing his saddle-bags on his shoulder, and driving his sick horse before him, he pursued his journey. Then his horse died, and he plodded on afoot, having an appointment one hundred and fifty miles ahead. It was often from twenty-five to thirty miles from one house to the next. How he crossed the rivers without a horse, in a land where there were neither bridges nor ferries, and where the settlements were twenty-five miles apart, is left to conjecture.

He reached Saint Michaels, Missouri, in time for his appointment, and there with great joy he grasped by the hand his beloved fellow-laborer, the Rev. W.C. Long. But the end was not yet. The presbytery was to meet at Finis Ewing's church, near Booneville, Missouri. He and Long, placing their baggage on Long's horse, both started afoot. On the way Mr. Burrow was again taken very sick, and was unable to proceed. Not willing to miss a meeting of presbytery, Mr. Long, although he believed Burrow to be in a dying condition, continued his journey. But Burrow's work was [195] not done. He recovered partially, borrowed a horse, ant was at the appointed place in time for the presbyterial meeting. Being unable to sit up, he was carried to Finis Ewing's house, and cared for until his recovery by that queen of nurses, "Aunt Peggy" Ewing.

In the meantime King recovered sufficiently to sit on his horse. Worn with sickness, and all alone, he set out on the long journey " to presbytery. " His first stretch of houseless wilderness was thirty miles across. It was dark when he closed that dreary ride, and he was burning with fever. At every house he was urged not to try to travel while in that condition; but, says he, " I was going to presbytery." The fifth night the family where he stayed were all sick--no one able to sit up. King himself was in a raging fever, and too weak to climb up to the loft where the fodder was kept, but he managed to give his horse some corn; and then, being wet to the skin from rain and crossing rivers, he spread his blanket before the fire and passed the night in sleep. Toward morning he awoke greatly improved, his fever all gone. He says that he felt willing to die for the sake of reaching that meeting of presbytery, and there representing the interests of the destitute people along the banks of the White and the Arkansas rivers. Indeed, by some means the report had reached the members of McGee Presbytery that he was dead; and when he entered the house in which the presbytery was sitting, the Rev. R.D. Morrow was on his feet reading a preamble and resolutions in relation to the death of their beloved brother, the Rev. R.D. King. When they saw him enter, the whole presbytery rushed to meet him with tears of joy and exclamations of thanksgiving to God.

The Rev. Hiram McDaniel, of Kentucky, spent the winter of that same year (1823) as missionary in Arkansas. He found trials too. Once when he swam the Arkansas River his horse was all covered with ice before he reached the farther shore. Such things came in as a matter of course in the work of these pioneer preachers, not only in that day but for many years afterward.

On the fourth Thursday in May, 1824, according to the order of the synod at its preceding session, the Arkansas Presbytery was constituted in the house of John Craig, in Independence County. [196] Robert Stone, one of the men appointed to assist in the organization, was absent. The ministers who were present were John Carnahan, W.C. Long, and William Henry. They lived at great distances from each other, but that was the usual state of things in the new presbyteries. They at once turned their attention to raising up a home supply of preachers. There were four candidates for the ministry to begin with. Prayer, beseeching God to call more men to preach the gospel, made part of the business of every meeting of that little presbytery in the wilderness.

At the time for the second meeting of this presbytery, in the fall of 1824, a quorum was not present, but Andrew Buchanan presented himself to the committee as a candidate for the ministry. He afterward became a leading preacher, and his name fills a large place today in the history of our church in Arkansas. From 1824 until he was an old man he was an active missionary among the Arkansas people. An old lady who long knew him and held him in very high esteem said to me: "He didn't preach at all; he just talked as if he were speaking to little children, and made every thing so plain. But I tell you Uncle John(35) preached." A natural, simple manner was a rare thing in those days of pulpit thunder.

In the spring of 1825 the Arkansas Presbytery again failed to hold its regular session, as no quorum was present. The following autumn a similar failure occurred for the same reason. Several probationers were ready for licensure. It was a distressing case, and was brought before the synod. The synod sought to remedy the trouble by extending the bounds of Arkansas Presbytery far into Missouri, so as to include the homes of several preachers of that State. A quorum was thus secured, and licensures and ordinations followed.

By this extension. of the bounds of Arkansas Presbytery several names were placed on its roll which do not belong to the history of the church in that State. Robert Sloan, however, who lived and died in Missouri, and who for a while held his membership in Arkansas Presbytery, did labor nobly as a missionary among the [197] people of Arkansas. Once while traveling in that territory his horse died; but he was more fortunate in this emergency than Reuben Burrow had been in similar circumstances. The people remounted him, and he went on his way rejoicing. Judge Ewing's excellent little volume of "Historical Memoirs" contains a biography of Mr. Sloan.

At the meeting of Arkansas Presbytery in the spring of 1826 Jesse M. Blair, J.H. Black, W.W. Stevenson, and Andrew Buchanan were all licensed to preach. In the fall meeting that year J.A. Cornwall and W.W. Stevenson were ordained. Black and Blair were ordained the following spring. In the records of this presbytery for 1827 there is an item characteristic of the men and the times. The Rev. James H. Black, who had been appointed to one of the oldest circuits, reported his failure to carry out the appointment, giving this as his reason: a Macedonian cry from the new settlements on Red River, where the people had no preaching of any kind, had greatly touched his heart. He therefore left his old circuit, where there were some other preachers of other churches, and spent his whole time in the newer and more destitute field. He said the success of that work had convinced him that the call came from God, and he hoped his brethren would excuse his failure to comply with their order. He was excused, "Red River circuit " established, and in a few more years we find Red River Presbytery organized.

In the Minutes of the Arkansas Presbytery the boundaries of the congregations are defined. These boundaries were frequently as large as a whole county. In some instances, indeed, a circuit was established exclusively within the limits of a single congregation. Of course the meetings were held in private houses. During this first period there seem to have been no meeting-houses in the territory.

In 1827 Arkansas Presbytery called on all the churches to unite in a day of fasting and of prayer to the great Head of the church for more ministers to be called and sent into that needy field. There were four immense circuits in the Territory, yet the missionaries did not reach one half of the destitute. Camp-meetings and circuit appointments were here, as everywhere else, the chief reli [198] ance for supplying the country with the gospel. At least once a year every congregation was to be examined on theology (the catechism) by one of the ordained ministers. This universal custom of all our presbyteries in that day was not forgotten in Arkansas. Another characteristic item appears on the records of this presbytery. An order was passed requiring every minister to preach to each church which he visited one sermon on "the support of the ministry," and report results to the presbytery. At the next meeting five reported that they had not complied with the order. One who reported compliance said that the people on his circuit had pledged sixty-eight dollars and fifty cents for this purpose. Another reported that he complied with the order, and that the people on his circuit all said they could not pay any thing for preaching.

In 1827 all the country around what is now Cane Hill College, Washington County, was opened to white settlers, the Osage Indians having sold their lands and moved farther west. A goodly number of the Crystal Hill people moved to this new field, and among them were two Cumberland Presbyterian preachers, Carnahan and Blair, and also two elders. They organized Cane Hill church, which has been from that day to this a center of spiritual power for all Arkansas. It soon "swarmed," and the new hive was called Salem, which still lives and works for Jesus.

Before the Crystal Hill people reached Cane Hill; another Cumberland Presbyterian family had settled there. This was James Buchanan and his household. Around the Pyatts, the Buchanans, and the Blairs clusters a large part of the history of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in that field.

One thing about Cane Hill congregation deserves to be specially mentioned--the large number of noble ministers it has sent forth, and the very high positions of usefulness which these ministers have filled. Among its converts are found not only ministers, but noble men in other callings, as, for example, Prof.A.H. Buchanan, of Cumberland University. Many of our large churches never send out any preachers. Numbers and wealth do not constitute spiritual power. Alas, no! oftener do they co-exist with a godless worldliness which causes parents to shrink from the thought of giving their sons to be preachers [199] Cane Hill church founded Cane Hill College, stamping upon it the image of its own deep spirituality, which that institution still bears and impresses on its pupils. A school for Jesus--what a precious thing it is!

"Not more than one third of the people of Arkansas have any opportunity to hear the gospel,"(36) said a writer in 1831. "There are only three Sabbath Schools in the Territory," he adds. He pleads with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church not to send men East, where other churches are supplying the people with the word of life, but to follow up the great wave of western emigrants. At the close of the period ending in 1829, when the Cumberland Presbyterian General Assembly was organized, Arkansas was still a sparsely settled territory, with wide areas between the settlements, and with the Indians still on the soil.

There were also two desperate bands of robbers in Washington County, of this Territory, and many of the pioneer families, and especially the noble women whose husbands traveled as missionaries, lived in constant dread of these desperadoes. These robber bands were especially troublesome about Cane Hill. All efforts to reach them through the courts failed. Finally, after whole families, including little children, had been murdered, a vigilance committee took the matter in hand and made quick work of the whole business. To this committee the Rev. Andrew Buchanan gave his hearty support. There was no other way to rid the country of these robbers.

There are many traditions concerning Andrew Buchanan and his adventures. A cool, fearless hero; never excited, never losing self-possession, never shrinking from any duty, however hard, he was well fitted for the field in which his lot was cast. Two of his favorite sayings are still quoted in Arkansas. One was, "I take no more trouble on my hands than I can kick off at my heels;" the other, "I never let my feelings stick out far enough for people to tramp on them."

One of the pioneer workers in Arkansas camp-meetings, Mrs. Mary Marshall, formerly Mrs. Moore, died in Williamson County, Tennessee, in 1886. She and her husband settled in Arkansas in [200] 1822. Both were converted in one of the early camp-meetings in that Territory, and from that day on were very active in all the meetings within fifty miles of their home. Mrs. Marshall furnished me several incidents illustrating the eminent piety of our first Arkansas preachers. On one occasion she and others were talking to the Rev. Guilford Pylant about religion. It was at night after services. So absorbed were they in this spiritual communion that the days began to break before they noticed how long the conference had been protracted. Mrs. Marshall says Mr. Pylant was always "in the Spirit." He is one of the surviving pioneer preachers of Arkansas.

At another time the Arkansas Presbytery held its meeting in Mrs. Marshall's parlor. After the presbytery adjourned those who remained, Andrew Buchanan among the rest, engaged in religious conversation. In a short time the whole assembly was so filled with religious ecstasy that the house rang with loud shouts of "Glory to God." Such was the confidence which our young preachers had in this woman's piety and good sense that they even went to her to read, for her criticism, the trial sermons which they prepared for presbytery.






The Cumberland Presbyterian church at an early period in its history recognized the necessity of establishing a school for the education of its preachers. When there were but three presbyteries this question was discussed in each of them. In 1822 commissioners from the Elk, the Nashville, and the Tennessee presbyteries met in convention to consider this subject. Again in 1823 a more vigorous discussion of the subject ended in the determination to bring the matter before the synod with a view to cooperation in one school for the whole church.

At the meeting of the General Synod, in Princeton, Kentucky, in 1825, the final plan for the contemplated school was adopted, and commissioners appointed to receive bids and locate the institution. It was to have a department of arts and also a department of theology. The highest judicature of the church was to be its board of trustees. The whole country was at that time taking up with Fellenberg's theory of manual-labor schools, and the synod caught the infection and resolved that their college should be conducted on that plan.

A novel spectacle greets us here. The synod, composed of all the ministers of the church, prescribes a course of study, selects the text-books, and makes a code of by-laws to govern the students; more than that, it undertakes to direct in the habits of the students about dress and other personal matters. It prohibits the use of feather beds; it requires from every student two or three hours labor daily on the farm: it directs also about the management of [202] the farm and the boarding-house. That race of hardy pioneers, brought up in a life of hardships on the frontier, undertook to train up another generation of men for the same rough work.

The synod also directed the commissioners to connect a printing establishment with this manual-labor enterprise, and to provide thereby for a church paper. It is manifest from all their proceedings at this time that the members of the synod expected large results from the cultivation of the farm by the students, but they were not wholly forgetful of the necessity for endowment. Agents in large numbers were appointed to solicit donations and remit to the commissioners, but no salary or other compensation was to be given to these agents.

The history of this college is reserved for another chapter. It was located at Princeton, Kentucky. The Rev. Franceway R. Cossitt, D.D., who came to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church from the Episcopalians, was its first president. He was also the first president of the college afterward established at Lebanon, Tennessee. His appeals in behalf of education deserve to be collected in a volume, both as a memorial of a noble life of toil and to keep forever ringing in the ears of our people the important truths which Dr. Cossitt so earnestly pressed upon their attention--truths which will live forever, and which are for all countries and all churches, but especially for this young church of the frontier. If God, in his providence, raised up and fitted McGready and Ewing to lead in a special work for the great West, much more did his fatherly care show itself in training up a special leader for the first educational work of the church. Bred in New England, taught in her best schools, graduated in one of her best colleges, brought to Christ according to the Cumberland Presbyterian ideas of "time and place" and conscious conversion, trained in a regular theological school, drilled, too, in the work of teaching, Cossitt came West and cast in his lot with this new church. From that day until the day of his death he was an active worker for our educational enterprises.

The last days of the General Synod were chiefly occupied with the various questions which the college originated, but there were also several minor matters which received attention, among other [203] things the publication of a hymn book for the church. The Rev. William Harris, on his own responsibility, had brought out a little book of hymns suited to camp-meetings, but the synod wanted a larger book and appointed men to prepare one. It also made arrangements to publish the lectures which the Rev. Finis Ewing had delivered in his theological school in Missouri. A college, a theological school, a church paper, and the publication of books were all partially provided for by the synod before the formation of a General Assembly.

The expediency of organizing a General Assembly began to be discussed as early as 1823. The question was debated and deferred at each successive meeting of the synod for five years. Two things seem to have caused delay. First, some members feared that the expansion of the church when proclaimed and acknowledged by the organization of an Assembly would cause some of our people to rely on their numbers and forget the true source of all their strength. Fin is Ewing especially feared this, and while his fears did not lead him to oppose the steps of progress which it was necessary to take, yet at every such advance his voice of warning was heard pleading with his brethren to keep humble at God's feet and to remember that all their power came from him. There seems also to have been a lingering hesitation even yet about accepting the situation of a permanently organized separate denomination. A conference with commissioners from the Tennessee Synod of the Presbyterian Church was looked to with strong hopes by some, but it ended without giving any ground to expect reunion. This conference originated with the Presbyterians and only proposed friendly relations, not organic union. The right of a synod to enter into such negotiations was, however, questioned by the Presbyterian General Assembly and the whole matter was dropped.

All of the preachers had to ride on horseback to attend the annual meetings of the General Synod. Daniel Patton, who is one of the three surviving members (1887) of that synod gives an interesting account of its last meeting. He had traveled seven hundred miles to attend, and traveling expenses had become a burden. He, therefore, laid ten dollars on the clerk's table to start a permanent fund, the interest of which should meet such traveling [204] expenses. His example was followed by many others. Four hundred dollars for this fund was secured at that meeting. But the requisite number of presbyteries sent up their responses in favor of organizing a General Assembly. It was, therefore, no longer necessary that all the preachers of the church should attend every meeting of its highest judicature. So responses to Mr. Patton's proposition were never carried beyond the four hundred dollars. A very strong feeling in favor of a delegated synod, and no higher court, existed, but those maintaining this view were outvoted. The organization was to be Presbyterian in all its details.

Some of the minor rules and transactions of the General Synod deserve to be noticed before we pass to the next period. There was, for instance, a standing order requiring every presbytery to furnish from time to time a full history of its work and progress, to be filed with the stated clerk of the synod. The Rev. David Foster was appointed general superintendent to see that this rule was complied with. While many of these histories are lost, there are enough of them still in existence to render valuable aid in the preparation of this volume. Why could not this old rule be revived, and precious material be thus preserved? Not a mere digest of ecclesiastical records, but a photograph of the work in all the churches of the presbytery is what is needed. The synod, in its official action, took high ground on the subject of temperance. It placed itself on record as in favor of all the great benevolent enterprises of the day. It was recognized in all the West as foremost in work for the Bible Society and the Tract Society.

New presbyteries were organized from time to time, and when the General Synod finally adjourned sine die, there were eighteen of these presbyteries. The date of the order for the organization of each, and a list of the original members, are here given:

Nashville,(37) 1813; Hugh Kirkpatrick, Thomas Calhoun, David Foster, D.W. McLin.

Elk, 1813: William McGee, Samuel King, James B. Porter, Robert Bell, Robert Donnell. [205]

Logan, 1813: Finis Ewing, William Harris, Alexander Chapman, William Barnett.

McGee, 1819: Green P. Rice, Daniel Buie, R.D. Morrow, John Carnahan.

Anderson, 1821: William Henry, John Barnett, D.W. McLin, Aaron Shelby, W.M. Hamilton, James Johnston, William Barnett.

Lebanon, 1821: Thomas Calhoun, William Bumpass, John Provine, J.L. Dillard, Daniel Gossedge, Samuel McSpeddin, James McDonnold.

Tennessee, 1821: A. Alexander, Albert Gibson, R. Donnell, James Stuart, James Moore, John Molloy.

Illinois, 1822: Green P. Rice, D.W. McLin, John M. Berry, W.M. Hamilton.

Tombigbee, 1823: Robert Bell, John Molloy, John C. Smith, Johns Forbes.

Arkansas, 1823: W.C. Long, William Henry, Joan Carnahan, Robert Stone.

Hopewell, 1824: William Barnett, Richard Beard, Samuel Harris, John C. smith.

Alabama,(38) 1824: William Moore, Benjamin Lockhart, John Williams, J.W. Dickey.

Indiana, 1825: Aaron Shelby, H.A. Hunter, A. Downey, William Lynn.

Barnett, 1827: Samuel King, R.D. Morrow, Daniel Patton, Henry Renick.

Knoxville, 1827: George Donnell, S.M. Aston, Abner W. Lansden, William Smith.

Saint Louis, 1828: F.M. Braly, John R. Brown, John W. McCord, John H. Garvin.

Princeton, 1828: F.R. Cossitt, David Lowry, John W. Ogden, James Johnston.

Sangamon, 1828: David Foster, John M. Berry, Thomas Campbell, Gilbert Dodds, John Porter.

The synod resolved to divide itself into four synods preparatory to the organization of a General Assembly. These new synods were named Missouri, Franklin, Green River, and Columbia. There were six presbyteries in Missouri Synod: McGee, Barnett, Sangamon, Illinois, Saint Louis, and Arkansas. Franklin Synod had four [206] presbyteries: Nashville, Lebanon, Knoxville, and Hopewell. In Green River Synod there were also four presbyteries: Anderson, Princeton, Logan, and Indiana; and four in the Columbia Synod,

viz.: Alabama, Tombigbee, Elk, and Tennessee. The General Assembly was to hold its first meeting in Princeton, Kentucky, the third Tuesday in May, 1829. Such changes in the Form of Government as the organization of a General Assembly necessitated were made by the synod, and, without any reference to the presbyteries, were accepted by common consent, and became part of the laws of the church.

This synodical period, from 1813 to 1829, was one of unsurpassed activity and spirituality on the part of our ministry. Taking it altogether, the world has never witnessed its equal; certainly the Cumberland Presbyterian Church has not witnessed any thing like its equal in the two particulars specified. I am sorry to add that there are no statistics to show even the number of ministers in the church, much less the number of members, at that time. There were eighteen presbyteries, and we know who their first members were; but what names had been added to their rolls after their organization can not now be ascertained. There were thousands of conversions every year, but God kept that roll; and the fear of "counting," which still exists among our people, did not cause one single genuine convert to be omitted from the family record in our Father's book of life. On Monday, October 27, 1828, at Franklin, Tennessee, the General Synod, composed of all the ministers of the church and their elders, adjourned to meet no more on earth.

1. Davidson, p. 248. Minutes of the Synod, Vol. I., pp. 140, 142.

2. Davidson's History, p. 250.

3. Incidents furnished by the Hon. F.E. McLean.

4. Some authorities say he was carried home before he died.

5. King was only temporarily in the chair; he was not moderator that session.-- B.W.M.

6. Smith, p. 646, et seq.

7. Revivalist, November 28, 1832. Hugh Kirkpatrick's Sketch.

8. MSS. of Alec. Aston.

9. The Calhoun MSS.

10. The facts concerning this church were furnished by Dr. J.B. Cowan, of Tullahoma, Tennessee.

11. The Bell papers.

12. This honor has been claimed for Logan Presbytery.

13. Medium, 1846, p. 326.

14. Minutes of Elk Presbytery, Vol. I., p. 40.

15. Minutes of Elk Presbytery, Vol. I., p. 45.

16. Ibid., p. 49.

17. Picket's Alabama, Vol. I., pp. 187-189.

18. Dr. Cossitt's Life and Times of Ewing, p. 253.

19. Medium, 1846, p. 326.

20. Minutes of Logan Presbytery, May, 1818.

21. "Rari nantes in gurgite vasto."

22. The Calhoun papers.

23. Life of George Donnell, pp. 190, 191.

24. Dr. Crisman's "Our Old Men," p. 76.

25. Carnahan's home was then in Arkansas, but he was under the orders of Elk Presbytery.

26. Beard's Harris, p. 129.

27. H.A. Hunter's MSS.

28. Dr. J.B. Logan's History, and other authorities.

29. Called, at first, Seven Mile Prairie.

30. The Pyatt MSS. Secured for me by President F.R. Earle.

31. Minutes in the Quarterly, 1878, p. 496.

32. Elk Minutes, Vol. I., p. 8.

33. Minutes of Elk Presbytery, Vol. I., p. 25.

34. In this account of the river trip I follow the King manuscript. Burrow's is slightly different; but Burrow was delirious or unconscious throughout the trip, and wrote from memory long afterward.

35. The Rev. John Buchanan was familiarly spoken of as "Uncle John," and the Rev. Andrew Buchanan as "Uncle Buck."

36. Religious and Literary Intelligencer, May 12, 1831.

37. The Nashville Presbytery was what was left of the original Cumberland Presbytery after Elk and Logan were stricken off in 1813, it was still called the Cumberland Presbytery till 1814, when its name was changed. Elk, Logan, and Nashville were the presbyteries composing the first synod.

38. The order to organize in 1821 failed for want of a resident quorum.

 Table of Contents  Third Period

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