T H I R D   P E R I O D .




The third period, from the meeting of the first General Assembly in 1829 to the removal of Cumberland College in 1842, is the great transition period in the history of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. It seems proper, before taking up any thorough notice of details, to sweep over this period with a sort of general survey.

When the first General Assembly met at Princeton, Kentucky, the church extended into only eight States, six of which had become States since the church was organized. The other two States had both acquired large areas of Indian territory since the organization of the church, and even in these two older States work among the pioneer settlements had constituted a large part of our denominational activity, while all the work in the new States had from necessity been accomplished by missionary evangelists. Born on the crest of the great wave of emigration which was rolling into the immense western territories, as one after another these territories were thrown open to white settlers, this church was specially raised up and fitted by a wise Providence for pioneer work in this field. The ministry of the new church filled this pioneer mission nobly; but the time came when all the circumstances were changed, and Providence pointed to other missions. [208] That period begins with the meeting of the first General Assembly. There were still new territories acquired by the nation on the western frontier, but there were also many old established communities in which our people had churches that needed training.

There were eighteen presbyteries at the time this period began, sixteen of which were represented in the first General Assembly. Not one of the preachers who attended this General Assembly had ever been a pastor in the true sense of that term. Missionaries who had borne great hardships all their lives, who had shown themselves ready and willing to suffer for the sake of leading souls to Jesus, but had little or no experience in the management of financial affairs, found themselves in charge of all the great enterprises of the denomination. It is not to be wondered at that they made many a blunder in the business department of their transactions. We know not whether smiles or tears are most called for when we see the General Assembly year after year appointing agents to travel over all the United States for the college, without any salary whatever. Were they not ministers who were thus appointed? Had they not all been thoroughly trained in working without any pay? But our smiles turn to admiration when we find that the Rev. Matthew Houston Bone, the Rev. France way R. Cossitt, and the Rev. John W. Ogden did all three comply with this appointment made by the first General Assembly, and make extensive tours in the interest of the college through half a dozen States. We are not surprised, however, to find in their reports the next year much more about the number of poor sinners converted at their meetings than about the amount of money secured for the college.

Much of the business of the General Assembly during this transition period had reference to the difficulties and the struggles of the college. Another matter of a most embarrassing nature, over which there was much trouble, was the church paper. A third source of trouble and loss was "the book concern." There were also heart-burnings and distress over the case of the Rev. John Barnett, who was financially wrecked while trying to carry on the business department of the college under contract with the General Assembly. Another source of embarrassment was a difficult and [209] protracted discussion about the pastoral office. The home missionary work in Pennsylvania, Texas, Louisiana, and other fields was a hopeful feature of the church's progress during this period.

While the General Assembly uniformly indorsed the American Board of Missions, and recommended the churches to contribute to that board, it also clung to the theory of having a missionary board of its own both for domestic and foreign missions. The General Assembly of 1836 resolved to cooperate with the American Board in the foreign work. The Cumberland Presbyterian Board of Missions, which originated in the second period and continued through the third, never had any charter. While voices in favor of a chartered board of foreign missions were heard at every General Assembly, still no such board was created. The unchartered board was considered sufficient. Expecting neither legacies, law-suits, nor defalcations, a majority thought a charter unnecessary. All the congregations were required to have auxiliary missionary societies, tributary to this board.

At all the General Assemblies during this period the great benevolent enterprises of the day received hearty indorsement, and the churches were urged to cooperate with them. The Colonization Society and Tract Society seem to have been favorites, though the Bible Society, Temperance Society, and Sunday School Union were never forgotten.

While the General Assembly declared itself in favor of full statistical reports from the presbyteries, and, with constantly diminishing opposition, resolved at every annual meeting that these reports must be sent up, yet up to the close of this period only about half the presbyteries complied with the order. There was a strong feeling against statistics among some of our best men. The first synod to make a full statistical report, accompanied with a directory of its ministers, was the Synod of Missouri, in 1836.

At every General Assembly the reports on the state of religion speak of extensive revivals, but do not give full statistics of conversions. At one meeting half the synods sent up statistics. The number of conversions in their bounds for that year was a little over eight thousand. In 1835 the Committee on the State of Religion reported that secularization of the ministry prevailed [210] to an alarming extent. At two meetings the General Assembly held a fast-day in the midst of its sessions, the members gathering at six o'clock in the morning for prayer. General fast-days for the whole church were twice appointed during this period, and the people called on to pray for more men to be called to the ministry. Camp-meetings were still universal, and the General Assembly constantly gave them its official indorsement, and urged the churches to hold them. Even in the very few old churches which, after the middle of this period, had settled pastors, nobody thought of abandoning the camp-meeting. The church papers teem with accounts of revivals at these meetings. Nowhere else did the preachers of this period appear to such advantage, or preach with such power. It was customary to hold the sessions of the church judicatures during or immediately preceding a camp-meeting.

The General Assembly solemnly declared holy living on the part of God's people to be greatly needed and sadly lacking. In 1836 it declared it to be part of the policy of the church for presbyteries to license lay exhorters. It is a pity that the church ever departed from that policy.

It is remarkable how very few appeal cases came up from the lower church judicatures, and what a mild nature characterized those which did come. The first appeal case was at the fifth General Assembly, and the question was whether Hiram McDaniel belonged to the Princeton or to the Anderson Presbytery. Nor were there any appeals or any graver questions during all this period. Questions about the right way of appointing elders to attend synod were constantly coming up. Occasional memorials to abolish the synod were laid on the table, or voted down.

Two of the early ministers of the church were superannuated and in destitution. The General Assembly at every meeting made some provisions for these sufferers and their families. For one of them it bought a little farm.

The first part of this period presented few exciting debates. There were no great speeches. Oratory found its field in the pulpit, especially at the camp-meetings. The last Assembly of this period (1842), however, was more like one of our modern judicatures. There were animated debates and long and earnest speeches [211] on the question of removing the college from Princeton. Local and party feelings made their first decided exhibition in this Assembly. According to all accounts the speeches in all the former sessions were short, and utterly destitute of any ill-feeling. This was true even in the discussion of the questions about which it is known that there were bitter heart-burnings. The peace and harmony of the church were at that day held in very high esteem.

In 1833 the General Assembly resolved that it would be a gratifying thing to have the three men who organized our first presbytery visit all the churches. The Rev. Samuel King, therefore, after some preparation, took with him his son, the Rev. R.D. King, and started in April, 1834, on the grand tour. His first year was spent in the South-west, during which time he aided in organizing the Louisiana Presbytery. He reported good meetings all through the year. The next General Assembly asked him to continue the work, which he did, and reported to the Assembly of 1836. He visited Logan, Kentucky, and Knoxville presbyteries, the Creek and Cherokee Indians, and the Elyton, Alabama, and Mississippi presbyteries, holding meetings all along the journey. He says that he everywhere found the old preachers more zealous than their juniors. Several precious revivals and other good results of the mission are mentioned. For the whole two years he and his son received compensation nearly equal to their traveling expenses.

In 1836 the General Assembly declared that making, selling, or giving away ardent spirits was an offense requiring discipline. It put on record a declaration about fraternal intercourse with all orthodox churches, and directed its preachers to maintain this intercourse so far as possible with all God's children. The same Assembly formed a society for the purpose of aiding candidates for the ministry in securing a thorough education.

Owing to the financial embarrassments into which the college was plunged at the very beginning of its career, the first General Assembly decided to defer indefinitely the scheme of establishing a theological department in that college. The church, however, was clamorous for a theological school, and the Genera] Assembly of 1834 submitted the question to the presbyteries whether it would be better to have one school under Assembly auspices, or several [212] schools under synodical control. The replies from the presbyteries were not in harmony: some wanted presbyterial, and some synodical schools, and some one school under the Assembly. Others thought that the time for action had not yet arrived. Under this state of things the whole question was again postponed. The General Assembly of 1838 resolved to try the plan of holding biennial instead of annual sessions; therefore no Assembly met in 1839.

During this period the number of synods in the church grew from four to twelve, and the number of presbyteries from eighteen to fifty-three. The period began under the dispensation of missionary evangelists; it closed with a recognized pastoral system thoroughly indorsed by church authority, but not yet established in the hearts of the lay members. This was in some respects the darkest epoch of the church's history, the war period itself not excepted. The darkness arose from troubles over the college, the paper, and the publication of books, and from the transition from missions to pastorates. A list of the new presbyteries established during this period, with the dates when they are first mentioned on the rolls of the Assembly, is here given: Kentucky, 1830; Elyton, Forked Deer, Hatchie, Mississippi, Vandalia, and Wabash, 1832; Lexington, New Lebanon, Obion, Pennsylvania, Salt River, and White River, 1833; Jackson and Red River, 1834; Louisiana and Richland, 1835; Chapman, King, Rushville, Shiloh, Talladega, and Wolf River, 1836; Athens, Hiwassee, Mackinaw, Neosho, Ohio, and Uniontown--now Union (Pennsylvania)--1837; Oxford, Texas, and Washington, 1838; Columbus and Union (West Tennessee Synod), 1840; Charity Hall, Foster, McGready, and Memphis, 1841; Ewing (Illinois), Mound Prairie, and Ozark, 1842. Several of these, however, were not new presbyteries, but new names for old ones. The new synods added in 1832 were Mississippi, Illinois, and Western District, afterward called West Tennessee; In 1834 Arkansas Synod was created, and the name of Missouri Synod changed to Washington, but the original name was soon after resumed. Union (now Alabama) Synod was organized in 1836; Indiana in 1837; and Pennsylvania, MeHaca, and Middle Tennessee in 1838. The name MeHaca was afterward changed to Sangamon. The Franklin Synod was dissolved, and its presbyteries [213] attached to other synods. Finis Ewing, David Foster, David W. McLin, William Barnett, Alexander Chapman, and H.F. Delany died during this period, and the Rev. Samuel King just at its close.

One thing is fully manifest from the study of this whole period: At the bottom of all the financial trouble about the printing of books, about the paper, about the college, and about John Barnett's embarrassments and losses, lay one and the same foundation of rottenness--the credit system. Let the church heed the danger signals which its past experience has raised so high over the wrecks of its early enterprises.

The same period furnishes another danger signal demanding present and perpetual attention: No body as large as the General Assembly is competent to manage financial enterprises. A small board of experts selected for this special work may do so; no General Assembly in any church has ever done so successfully. During this period the whole church, through its General Assembly, entered into half a dozen or more business contracts, making solemn pledges which it did not and could not keep. Trouble and disaster came from every one of these contracts. The inconsistency of attempting the direct management of financial enterprises by so large a body is well illustrated in the history of the church's first general Board of Missions. This board was composed of all the ministers of the church. Among them were a considerable number of men who were opposed to foreign missions; yet they helped to manage our first foreign mission!

What then is the conclusion? "Look ye out seven men" fit for such business, and leave its management to them. What if they prove false? Then the immorality, not the business management, is a fit subject for ecclesiastical reckoning. Unfitness for the trust may call for a change of men, but it never justifies an Assembly in taking into its own hands the financial direction of any business enterprise.





"Si monumentum queris circumspice."


A church college necessarily has two histories--one outward and ecclesiastical, the other internal and domestic. The first Cumberland Presbyterian college has been very fortunate in the writer of its outward history, but much of the material for a record of its internal workings has forever perished. Dr. Richard Beard's article, secured by Dr. J. Berrien Lindsley, and published by Dr. M.B. DeWitt in the Theological Medium, April, 1876, is a full and reliable presentation of the official and ecclesiastical side of the history of this college. With all the official records of the college and the General Assembly to guide him, besides a personal connection with most of the events he recorded, there could not have been found a more accurate historian than Dr. Beard. One of his dates is no doubt a misprint. It was not 1844, but 1842, when the General Assembly forever severed its connection with Cumberland College.

The antecedents of the action establishing the college were given in a former chapter. The following reasons were urged in favor of a manual labor institution: Health will be promoted, economy will be secured, the poor will have a chance for a collegiate education, and the ministry will thus be trained for that life of hardships which pioneer missions call for.

The commissioners appointed by the synod in 1825 to arrange for the location and establishment of the college visited Hopkinsville, Elkton, Russellville, and Princeton. The synod felt obliged to locate the school in Kentucky. The people of Princeton made the largest bid ($28,000) in subscriptions, and the college was located there, and a board of trust chartered. A large farm was bought on a credit, tools and stock were bought with borrowed money; buildings were erected on a credit. "Here beginneth our [215] morning lesson." Less than one fourth of the subscriptions made by the people of Princeton were ever paid. Thus the institution was born in embarrassments. The conditions on which the location at Princeton was made were thus violated at the beginning, and the church began immediately to regret that some other place had not been selected. There were many strong men in the church who from the first seriously doubted the fitness of the location at Princeton. Prominent among these was the Rev. Robert Donnell. He predicated his doubts solely on the weakness of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in that town. He said that a temporary interest aroused among members of other churches by local considerations could not be relied on for a long struggle. To all this he gave utterance before Princeton was selected, and while different locations were under discussion. The results showed that Donnell's doubts were well founded. A few men of other churches were true helpers to the last, but there was lacking that strong local support which every college imperatively requires. Cumberland College was my own alma mater, and for half of my lifetime Princeton was the dearest spot to me on the earth. No community anywhere could have shown more kindness to the students. The trouble did not lie in that quarter.

The college opened on the first of March, 1826, with six students, but the number soon increased. The large, hewed log house, which afterward was Dr. Beard's residence, now burned, was the college building. Dormitories, some good and some rude, were on the other side of the street. The refectory was a little nearer the town. Before the institution was a year old the farm was mortgaged to raise money to meet the most pressing debts In 1831 debts had accumulated until the institution was about to be sold. Several agents had been sent out, but very few of them secured any thing more than traveling expenses. The Rev. John W. Ogden, who canvassed the churches in South Alabama, paid over to the trustees seven hundred dollars, but that was "only a drop in the bucket." The others altogether paid just seventy-eight dollars and forty-seven cents. Debts to the amount of twelve thousand dollars were then pressing. The case was pronounced hopeless. When the General Assembly met that year, many people thought [216] it would be better to abandon that enterprise, and start a college in some community which had never arrayed the prejudices of the church against it.

The Rev. John Barnett and the Rev. Aaron Shelby, both possessed of considerable estates and both warm friends of the college and of its location also, made a proposition to lease the institution for four years. Their proposition was accepted. Its terms and conditions are here briefly stated: (1) The lessees assumed all the debts and all the expenses both of college and refectory; (2) They were authorized to charge eighty dollars a year for boarding and tuition, instead of sixty dollars, the former price. There were four conditions: First, It was stipulated that the individual members of the General Assembly should give their notes for $2,400, due in one and two years. Second, It was agreed that the General Assembly should keep an agent constantly in the field soliciting aid for the college. Third, All the net profits from the church paper were to be given to the lessees. (This item was changed afterward.) Fourth, All the assets of the institution of every description, and all its net income, were to be given to the lessees. After this contract was entered into, the trustees, whose chartered existence and general oversight of the college still continued, agreed to extend the lease to Barnett and Shelby to twelve years in payment for a large brick building to be erected by them. They erected the building which was so long the chief home of the institution.

The details of the trouble and complaints which grew out of this lease would be neither interesting nor profitable. Shelby was shrewd enough to get his head out of the halter while the rope was slack. Young, who bought out Shelby, died of cholera, and the trustees bought his half of the lease. Both the lessees and the General Assembly failed in part of their pledges. The lessees never paid off the debts against the institution, and the General Assembly failed to pay the $2,400 pledged to the lessees. Crimination and recrimination followed. The cholera visited Princeton year after year. There was great dissatisfaction among the students with the labor requirement, and with the refectory. These things combined to make Barnett's connection with the college disastrous to him. Some thought the Assembly ought to [217] indemnify him, but a majority voted against such a proposition. Many hard feelings and heart-burnings there were, but it is needless to follow the subject further.

When the General Assembly of 1836 met, Barnett proposed to surrender his lease; and declared himself unable, by reason of many losses, to carry out his contracts. The General Assembly then asked the trustees to form a joint-stock company. They failed to do so, and bitter complaints were made in the church paper about this failure. Some of the trustees replied, representing the condition and prospects of the college as utterly hopeless. The General Assembly of 1837, which met at Princeton, urged the formation of the joint-stock company. The trustees replied that the property of the college was all under the hammer, and no joint-stock company was possible. Thereupon various members of the Assembly agreed to become stockholders, and these members, aided by a few citizens of Princeton, formed the company and Barnett surrendered his lease.

This company was to be independent of the Assembly and to relieve the church of all responsibility for the debts of the institution. It had its own chartered board of trust chosen by itself. The main consideration in view of which the Assembly agreed to surrender all control of the institution and all title to its property of every description was that the Association should pay off all the debts against the college. A two years' breathing spell was gained by the new arrangement and money enough was secured to stave off the most pressing debts, but not enough to liquidate them.

An Episcopalian minister was placed in the faculty, and people thought it was through his influence that the new board of directors began to talk about transferring the college to the Episcopal church. To the General Assembly in 1840 the college authorities reported their determination to transfer the college to some other church unless that Assembly would make reliable provisions for endowment. They told how much the people of Princeton had done for the institution, and lectured the Assembly about its failures. A new plan was then adopted. On condition that all the property, real and personal, should be transferred back, free from [218] debt, to a board of trust to be appointed by the General Assembly, that body undertook to raise an endowment of fifty-five thousand dollars.

In 1841 the college reported that the charter for the new board had been secured and that the institution had better patronage. The agents reported fifteen thousand dollars subscribed for endowment. Hopes began to revive. In 1842 the new board reported to the General Assembly that the property was not turned over to them free of debt according to the contract, but was then levied on for debts far exceeding in amount what the real estate was

worth. A large number of those who had subscribed to the endowment were at this Assembly, and with great unanimity they declared themselves absolved from the payment of their subscriptions.

The Committee on Education then reported in favor of selecting a more eligible site for the church college. Their report was adopted, it is said, with only three dissenting voices. It recommended the appointment of a commission to receive bids, to locate the school, and to make arrangements for buildings and for all other necessary things, so as to enable the new college to begin its work in September; but with the distinct understanding that the commission was forbidden to contract any debts. The General Assembly had sufficiently tested the credit system, and was thoroughly sick of being in debt. After this motion was carried, it was resolved to allow Princeton also to put in its bid. Other and different statements concerning this final action have been published, but the original records of the General Assembly are followed in this account. The removal of the college had long been spoken of, and for some time had been distinctly foreseen by leading men of the church.

The commission met in Nashville, July 11, 1842. It was composed of the ablest and purest men of the church, among them Robert Donnell, Reuben Burrow, and James B. Porter. The bid of Lebanon, which was by far the best, was accepted, and the school was located there. The history of this college belongs to another chapter, but one item deserves to be put on record here. Every dollar of Lebanon's bid was promptly paid. When the commis [219] sion met a vigorous protest from the Cumberland College Association against the attempt to remove the college from Princeton was presented.

To the next General Assembly, May, 1843, the commissioners made their report, announcing that they had located the college at Lebanon, Wilson County, Tennessee, and that the school was already in successful operation. This report referred to the remonstrance of Cumberland College Association against the removal of the college from Princeton, but declared that since "the General Assembly had decided on a removal of the college, and appointed commissioners to locate it, the Association's remonstrance, unaccompanied by any proposition or any guarantee that the institution would be disenthralled from its pecuniary embarrassments, did not present sufficient reasons to the commissioners to justify their departure from the instructions of the General Assembly."

It set forth four reasons which had influenced the Assembly to provide for the removal of the college: First, Many had been led to regard the location at Princeton unfavorable because less than one fourth of the subscription originally made by the citizens of that town had been paid. Second, During several years after the location of the college at Princeton, agents appointed by the General Assembly had traveled in different directions soliciting and receiving donations. An impression had gone abroad that a large amount had been received, and this impression, though to some extent erroneous, had, when viewed in connection with the continued pecuniary embarrassments of the college, created in many minds a prejudice against the location. Third, the report declared that the disastrous failure to relieve the institution of debt by leasing it to individuals, and its continued and augmented indebtedness in spite of all measures for its relief, had done much to alienate the minds and feelings of the people from Princeton as a suitable location for the college. Fourth, The final effort to relieve the institution from its embarrassment by the formation of the Cumberland College Association was also described, and the failure of this effort, the report said, had tended still more to discourage the church with regard to the success of the college at Princeton.

The commissioners then gave their reasons for selecting Leb [220] anon as "a more eligible site" for the church college. The citizens of that town proposed the erection of a large and commodious edifice for the school. Lebanon was known to be a healthful place, and was one of the most flourishing towns in the State. A large number of its citizens were intelligent and energetic members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, who were interested in the college and able to help it. The people generally were well disposed toward the church, and in Wilson and adjoining counties there was a strong Cumberland Presbyterian influence. The society of Lebanon was refined and moral; its people were hospitable; dissipation was banished from the town.

The Lebanon people had promised to build an edifice two stories high and one hundred feet long; but this report informed the General Assembly that the building actually erected was "three stories high, one hundred and ten feet long, and forty feet wide," conveniently constructed of substantial materials, and covered with cedar shingles, and that "the comb???? of the roof" was about fifty-five feet from the foundation, and the highest part of the dome seventy-five feet. This building, the report said, was to be completed in July. There were then forty-five students in attendance. The trustees had made arrangements by which young men preparing for the ministry might be educated without the payment of tuition.

The report explained that the General Assembly did not have or claim to have any right or title to the incorporated powers or privileges, or the property of Cumberland College Association, or contemplate the removal of any of these. It said that the Assembly's trustees, an incorporated body entirely distinct from the Cumberland College Association, held, and were intended to hold, the endowment of the college, of which the interest alone could be used. All that was understood or intended by the removal of the college was the appropriation of this endowment at another place. The report expressed the opinion that the General Assembly had the right "to direct the application of the endowment to such place as the college might be removed to," but suggested that for the sake of peace subscribers who had pledged money to the endowment fund should be allowed to pay it for the use of either [221] the college at Princeton or the one at Lebanon, at the election of such subscribers. It also declared that, should the General Assembly desire to endow a college at Princeton, the commissioners were assured that the friends and patrons of the Lebanon school would make no objection to any equitable arrangement; but denied that the resolves of former General Assemblies to raise an endowment for Cumberland College were legally binding on the Assembly then sitting or on the church.

The ground taken by the friends of Princeton was that the General Assembly had no power to sever its connection with the college at Princeton, and that that connection still existed. They presented these views in a communication to the General Assembly. The decision was against them, the vote being thirty-six to twenty-eight. This decision is embodied in the report of the Committee on Education, to which this question was referred, and of which Richard Beard was chairman. After declaring that the committee "entered into the investigation with a settled determination most rigidly to follow truth and justice to whatever decision their consciences and their judgment might be conducted," this report goes on to say that, after an elaborate review of the facts, the committee but yielded to the overwhelming weight of these facts and the clearest convictions of justice in coming to the conclusion that the action of the General Assembly in dissolving its connection with Cumberland College Association "was not only altogether justifiable, but imperiously demanded by a proper self-respect and the dearest interests of the confiding community for whose good that high judicatory is appointed."

The report continues:

What loss has that Association sustained by the action of the General Assembly of 1842? All the debts against it are understood to be now paid by the sale of the college property. Not a dollar is pointed out to as actually lost by the Association on account of that action. The pretended wrongs complained of seem to be a withholding of the prospective munificence of the General Assembly from them.

After declaring that the General Assembly and not the Association was the injured and suffering party, the report closed with two resolutions:

[222] Resolved, In view of the premises, and in the exercise of the rights recognized in the amended Charter of 1841, that the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, in the exercise of its just rights, and in view of the facts which in its opinion at the time fully justified that action, did on the 22nd day of May, 1842, intentionally dissolve its ecclesiastical connection from Cumberland College Association thereby leaving the property and rights of said Association to revert to the same, according to the provisions of its charter.

2.--That in view of the rights and interests of all concerned, the present subscribers to the endowing fund be authorized and advised at their own discretion to determine the place to which they will pay over their subscriptions, they being fully competent to act for themselves.

Dr. Beard did not vote for his committee's report, but joined in the strong protest against it, which was put on record.

This protest denied that the General Assembly of 1842 did sever its connection with Cumberland College Association, or that the General Assembly had fulfilled all obligations to that Association. It claimed that a more vigorous effort should have been made to endow the college, that the zeal and unanimity of the General Assembly in 1840 had led to hopes that had not been realized, and that if the members of the Association had expected so sudden an abandonment of the institution they would have preferred to look elsewhere for endowment and patronage. The protest further expressed the belief that the Association had sustained losses through the General Assembly's action; that "if the affairs of the institution had been wound up in 1840 the property would not only have paid the debts but returned to the members of the Association their original stock." This, however, was charged not to any wrong intention on the part of the General Assembly, but to hasty and unadvised legislation. The protest admitted that the General Assembly had been injured and had suffered from its connection with Cumberland College Association, but denied that the injury and suffering originated with that Association.

Dr. Beard, and the minority of the Committee on Education, had presented a plan for the settlement of these difficulties, in which it was proposed to transfer the General Assembly's legal powers and responsibilities in relation to Cumberland College, and [223] the control of the Board of Trustees, to an association composed of eleven individuals, and to bind Cumberland College Association to relinquish its claims on the General Assembly and to allow the moneys subscribed to the endowment to be invested at Princeton or Lebanon, or elsewhere, as the donors might direct. The protest expressed the solemn belief that this plan would have met the views and wishes of the Cumberland College Association, and that it would have effectually disencumbered the General Assembly of the affairs of the college without compromising any essential or important principle.

Any wish to embarrass the General Assembly was disclaimed, and it was declared that those who made this protest were the fast, unwavering friends of the church, and that they wished the General Assembly to be freed as far as possible from all causes of agitation and confusion. This protest was signed by Robert Sloan, Caleb Weeden, Elam McCord, James Smith, William Henry, G.A. Fleming, Joel Lambert, F.C. Usher, David Negly, H. McDaniel, A.H. Dudley, Richard Beard, Milton Bird, James Ritchey, William Halsell, James Ashmore, A. Shelby, and P.G. Rea. John S. Sawyer appended a personal protest in which he added other reasons for objecting to the action of the General Assembly.

After the adoption of the report and the presentation of this protest against it, the friends of Princeton introduced a resolution declaring it inexpedient for the General Assembly to have control of any financial enterprise. Dr. Cossitt, Robert Donnell, J.S. McClain, and the friends of Lebanon generally supported the resolution. Only six negative votes were cast, while fifty-nine voted in the affirmative. The resolution was in these words:

Resolved, That it would be unwise, impolitic, inexpedient, and contrary to the genius of presbyterian government for the General Assembly to enter into connections of a pecuniary nature giving it the supervision of any literary institution or newspaper, or otherwise to become embarrassed by the control of pecuniary matters, so as to give occasion for its moral integrity and good faith to be called in question.

When the General Assembly severed its connection with Princeton College, the authorities of that school resolved to keep it alive. They allowed the farm to be sold, reserving the buildings and ten [224] acres of ground. After a brief suspension they reorganized a faculty, and spread the banner of the college again to the breeze. The Rev. Richard Beard was elected president, and accepted the position. The career of the college after its abandonment by the General Assembly was happier and more useful than ever before. It kept clear of debt. It secured the services of that excellent agent, the Rev. W.G.L. Quaite, who, in spite of all the limitations placed upon him by the unfortunate history of the school, succeeded in securing considerable subscriptions to the endowment. Green River Synod took the cast-off child under its care. A good faculty was secured, and the existence of the institution was protracted till 1858. At that time it ceased to be an institution of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

The outward history of the college has thus far been followed. A few words are added about its inner domestic history. Let us go back to the origin of the college in 1826, and take glimpses only, until the close in 1858.

Economy was a standing text of the General Assembly, on which it annually preached the college a sermon. The faculty began their administration in cap and gown a la mode, but the General Assembly notified them that it wished both faculty and students to dress in home-made clothing from head to foot. The order was obeyed, and Dr. Beard says his jeans suit was made too large for him, but he wore it obediently. The students were required to have long linen aprons to wear while working on the farm. Many of the Southern boys, reared where slaves did all the work, met the labor requirements with bad grace, but there were no exemptions. Difficulties between students and the overseer of the farm were very frequent. The daily college routine had many details which would seem strange now. Every two hours a horn was blown for a new section of laborers on the farm. This horn and the ringing of recitation bells made the place seem quite lively. Those recitation bells were unlike any others I ever heard. A big bell hung near by. Each professor did his own ringing in his own peculiar way, so that his bell could be distinguished from all the others. One gave three clear taps, another gave two clear taps, another gave one tap and a jingle. When the hour was out it did [225] not follow that the class would be dismissed, even if it had a recitation in some other room, until the professor who had possession got ready to let it go.

Every student was required to board at the refectory and sleep in the college dormitories. The spiciest part of this history belongs to the refectory. The pigeon-holes in the old library used to be full of documents about that department of the college. Poetry, records of trials, testimony of committees sent to examine the fare, memorials of students praying for changes, complaints--sometimes by the students, sometimes by the managers--were all filed there. The students used to express their dissatisfaction with their fare in doggerel verse, and these satirical effusions were filed with other refectory papers. When it is remembered that the college undertook to furnish boarding at forty dollars a year, we need not wonder that the fare was often complained of.

Concerning those honored gentlemen who served as presidents of this institution a goodly volume might be written, and no doubt will be at some future time. Under the five different presidents there were five administrations of the college, each deserving a much longer notice than can here be given. The first president was Dr. Cossitt. His management of the young men was wise and fatherly. There were precious revivals of religion among the students at different times during his administration. Dr. Cossitt's sermons were one of the chief agencies used of God in bringing these revivals about. For many years the graduates and foster children of this school who were trained under Dr. Cossitt's influence were the noblest workers for education in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and among them were many faithful and efficient laborers in other departments of the work.

The men who at one time or another assisted Dr. Cossitt in the work of instruction were James L. Morrison, Bertrand Guerin, David Lowry, T.C. Anderson, Livingston Lindsay, Richard Beard, F.C. Usher, and C.G. McPherson. Several of these became distinguished teachers, and their record is well known. Dr. McPherson has spent a large part of his life in educating young ladies. Mr. Lindsay went early to the practice of law, which he still pursues. Anderson and Beard will come before us in other con [226] nections, as will David Lowry. But it is proper to introduce here an interesting item about Lowry's dwelling-house. When he was elected professor in the college ten acres of the college farm were allotted for his cultivation, and fifty dollars were appropriated to build him a house back of the camp-ground spring. In that fifty dollar house, the man who afterward spent the best years of his life as missionary among the Indians, lived without murmuring.

Of the next administration, under the presidency of the Rev. Richard Beard, D.D., I can speak with the confidence given by personal knowledge. Dr. Beard took charge of the college in 1843, after the Assembly abandoned it; when it was officially pronounced dead; when its faculty had transferred their labors to the new institution at Lebanon, Tennessee; when, indeed, it was said and thought too that the college itself had been removed to Lebanon. Finding itself abandoned by the church, Princeton rallied and called Dr. Beard to the presidency. The loss of the farm and the manual labor feature proved to be a good riddance.

The administration was all new. There was no more refectory; no more restrictions laid on a student in selecting his boardinghouse; no more laws requiring students and faculty to dress in home-spun. It was like passing out of Mosaic rigor into Christian freedom. True, there was still a printed code of by-laws nominally in force, but the example of Dr. Beard's holy and dignified life, and his appeals to the young men's sense of right were more effective than all by-laws. The students respected, honored, and loved their president, and were proud of being under such a leader.

They were like a family of brothers with Dr. Beard for their father. Each one felt that he had a friend and counselor in the president. Never under any circumstances laying aside his dignity, never tolerating any lack of respectful demeanor in his presence, he yet was felt and known to be the true friend and counselor of every one of his pupils. When these young men left college they never ceased to write back to him for advice in every perplexity. Of the thousands of old letters which he carefully kept, a large part are from his old students asking his counsel in some emergency. None ever asked in vain.

All through the college life of his students there was a silent, [227] invisible influence, a subtle, indescribable power going out from Dr. Beard's life and impressing all around him with the truth of Christianity and the high destiny of cultivated, sanctified, immortal manhood. Scholarship put on a new aspect under this influence; an undersong awakening thoughts of personal responsibility and immortality blended with every lesson and recitation. This influence soon spread over the whole church. Noble men, trained under Dr. Beard and his colleagues, carried this power with them wherever they went, and the precious fruits of his administration are earnest and consecrated men in the pulpits and colleges in all parts of the church.

Those habits of severe study which Dr. Beard formed while a student of this institution, and which were a part of the town-talk for thirty years afterward, were strictly kept up by him all through his life. An idle student, strolling about at night, always met a silent rebuke when he turned his eyes toward Dr. Beard's library where the inevitable lamp burned on until late bed-time. His lectures in the chapel were one of the potent moral and educational resources of his administration. With an equanimity of temper rarely equaled, with a clock-like regularity of life which governed even the length of his footsteps, his uniform faultless precision was the talk of all the students.

The faculty who labored with him in the work of instruction at one time or another were the Rev. F.C. Usher, the Rev. J.G. Biddle, Philip Riley, W.S. Delany, and the Rev. Azel Freeman, D.D. Except Dr. Freeman, these were all alumni of Cumberland College. Mr. Usher had also been graduated in the Theological School at Princeton, New Jersey. Riley and Delany were graduated under Dr. Beard. Mr. Delany soon turned his attention to the legal profession, to which he is still devoted. Professor Riley spent his life in teaching. He was one of the purest and truest of men. His memory and his very looks are still enshrined in many hearts. One incident will illustrate his conduct toward his students: A young man who was very poor, and often unable to buy text-books, went one day to Professor Riley to borrow a copy of Smellie. He was told to come back next day. That evening Professor Riley went to town and bought a copy of Smellie, and when [228] the student returned he loaned him the book. An accident revealed the fact that he had bought the book specially for this student.

Mr. Biddle remained only a short time in Princeton College, and then took charge of the school for young ladies at Winchester, Tennessee, devoting the remainder of his life to teaching in this school and to preaching the gospel. He labored as both teacher and preacher even while at Princeton. He has a son now in the ministry, the Rev. A.C. Biddle.

The Rev. Azel Freeman, D.D., afterward president of three of our colleges, was for a while professor of mathematics in Cumberland College. The closing years of his life were spent in pastoral work in Pennsylvania and Ohio. He died at Cumberland, Ohio, December 3, 1886. Dr. Beard closed his connection with the institution in 1855. That was its death blow. The church everywhere so felt. Still three good men struggled, each for a short period, to save the dying institution, and some noble alumni were sent out by them; but the three administrations averaged only a year apiece. Then the institution was given up by Cumberland Presbyterians and other churches tried for a year or two to sustain it, but finally abandoned it. Princeton still has a college on another site and under new auspices, but it is in no sense the successor of old Cumberland College. The latter has utterly passed away, every vestige even of the old buildings having disappeared.

Of the alumni of Cumberland College, the Rev. W.G.L. Quaite once said: "I can track every one of them by a path of light." This dear old college, even in its mistakes, bore good fruit. Our people had to learn by experience. Cumberland Presbyterians will hardly attempt another manual labor college. They have seen and felt the curse of the credit system. They will not be likely to locate another college where the church is weak, expecting the members of other churches and outsiders to give the institution the necessary local support. Nor will they again make the fatal blunder of placing the financial management of such an enterprise in the hands of the General Assembly. Even these mistakes bear fruit; but the grand and deathless fruit which outweighs all else is found in the men who were trained in this institution, and in the souls that have been won through their labors.




"Mente manuque potens."


The chapter now to be written is the darkest one in all the history of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church; and, perhaps, the very hardest to write correctly. Two parties, with wholly different views of what was right, and also with different views about what were the facts, have left us their conflicting testimony.

The formidable difficulties which grew out of the church paper can not be explained without a general sketch of that paper's history. At Princeton, Kentucky, early in the year 1830, Dr. Cossitt, aided by the faculty of Cumberland College, started a weekly paper called the Religious and Literary Intelligencer. There had before this been several abortive attempts to start a church paper, but this was the first Cumberland Presbyterian paper which was really published. It was purely a private enterprise. The press was owned by the Rev. David Lowry, who at that time was one of the faculty of Cumberland College, and who was Dr. Cossitt's chief assistant in the editorial work.

The General Assembly of the church met in Princeton that year, as it had done the year before. A strong feeling was manifested in favor of a church organ, whose editor should be under the control of the General Assembly. When the men who were publishing the Religious and Literary Intelligencer met this General Assembly, they submitted to that body a proposition to have their paper made the recognized organ of the church. In consideration of this advantage they agreed that the Assembly should [230] have the exclusive right to appoint the editor. The records show that the proposition was accepted with the understanding that the General Assembly should neither own the press nor assume any financial responsibility in the matter. The Rev. David Lowry was chosen editor, it being understood that he should resign all his former relations to the college and devote his whole time to the paper. He proved to be well suited to the place. His administration was a good one. His financial management was wise. His editorials were able and his spirit Christ-like.

In 1832 he moved the paper to Nashville, changed its name to The Revivalist, and made the Rev. James Smith his partner. This was not exactly authorized by the contract under which the paper became the organ of the General Assembly, but it was allowed to pass. The publication had prospered under Lowry's editorial and business management until he felt able to have an assistant. Smith was a Scotchman of great learning, and a preacher of strong influence throughout the West. He, however, liked to lead and expected others to follow.

Before a year passed away Lowry sold out to Smith, leaving the latter in sole management of the paper. It is by no means certain that the Assembly, if left untrammeled, would have chosen Smith for its editor, but when it met in 1833 and found him already in possession, it "accepted the situation" and continued him in this position. In business matters Smith carried far more sail than ballast. He issued his paper to subscribers on a credit. He borrowed money extensively and gave his brethren in the ministry for security. When he was "in funds" instead of paying off these debts and saving his securities, he started new enterprises and made more debts. He contracted to publish all the books of the church, and these books were generally sold on a credit. He edited and published a monthly magazine of his own. He was "pastor" of the Nashville church. He published books, too, of his own, large works which required the best energies of his strong manhood, so that, in his own editorials, he tells us the paper was neglected on this account. Nor were these all the labors which he undertook. He was stated clerk of the General Assembly; he was treasurer of the church fund, and he taxed himself with various smaller matters.

[231] In 1834, the name of the paper was changed to The Cumberland Presbyterian. When the General Assembly met that year, Smith was hopelessly in debt. He laid all the blame of his embarrassment on the church because the people had not patronized the paper as he expected. The Assembly resolved to do two things for his relief First, to raise twelve hundred dollars then and there, to be loaned to Smith or exchanged for unpaid subscription bills. Second, to extend the patronage of the paper during the next year to four thousand subscribers. The first resolution was carried out, but the second was never fully made good.

On this action was based the best semblance of just ground for complaint which the editor ever had against the General Assembly. The subscription was never raised to four thousand. While some exerted themselves to secure new subscribers, old ones were constantly withdrawing. There were several reasons for these withdrawals. One of them is greatly to Smith's credit. He kept up incessantly the cry for reform in paying preachers and in having settled pastors. He was sometimes very severe; the facts called for severity, but subscribers grew sore under it and discontinued their subscriptions. Another source of dissatisfaction was the multiplied engagements of the editor, and his frequent and protracted absence from the office. But greater than all other causes of trouble were the alienations which grew out of his business management.

For two years the Rev. T.C. Anderson was employed by Mr. Smith as assistant editor. In his manuscript autobiography, written from time to time long before he began to fail in his memory, is an extended account of Smith and his paper. Dr. Anderson says that he himself, though working for a definite salary, and in no wise sharing in any profits which the paper might realize, was obliged to bring in all his own funds, and all his own credit, and to draw into the same snare all his personal friends who were willing to loan money or indorse Smith's notes; and that he retired from his connection with the paper because he saw clearly that Smith's management would bring bankruptcy, no matter what help the church might be able to render. He also states that Smith was often absent from the office three or four months at a time engaged in selling his books,

[232] In 1835 the General Assembly renewed its determination to secure the four thousand subscribers. The list still fell six hundred short of that number. In 1836, in spite of the renewed exertions, the number of subscribers had declined rather than advanced. Bitter attacks had been made on the paper and on Smith. The General Assembly declared that so long as the paper was the church organ, those attacks were really on the church and not on Smith. The members renewed their pledges to struggle for an increase of the subscription list, and struggle they did, but it was like pouring water into a sieve.

In 1837, when the General Assembly met, Smith resigned. He stated in his resignation that when he was elected editor it was understood that the church would buy the press, own the paper, and indemnify him for all the losses he might sustain in the business. The General Assembly did not so understand matters. The official papers are preserved, and have been searched in vain for any hint of such an agreement. The records of the General Assembly show that Smith was to publish the paper on his own responsibility, so far as its finances were concerned. Smith stated in editorials, year after year, that he was publishing the paper on his own responsibility, except that the church had chosen him as editor, and his paper as the church organ. He had simply, of his own accord, stepped into Lowry's place, and the church allowed him to continue in it. That individual members had assured Smith, on their own responsibility, that the church would buy the press and indemnify him for any losses which he might sustain is quite likely; that the General Assembly never gave any such assurances is absolutely certain. He had often urged the church to buy his subscription list and his press and pay him a salary as editor. His failure to secure the adoption of this policy had long chafed him.

The committee to which Smith's resignation was referred, submitted two plans for the publication and management of the paper. The first recommended that a joint stock company should be formed to own the paper and the press, and that the General Assembly should still elect the editor. The other plan was for the General Assembly to buy the paper and the press and conduct the enterprise through a publishing committee. Investigation showed that both [233] schemes were impracticable. Then the General Assembly appealed to Smith to state the conditions on which he would be willing to continue the publication of the paper. He named three conditions. (1) That the members of the General Assembly should individually pledge themselves to help collect unpaid subscriptions. (2) That the members should pledge themselves to use all practicable exertions to bring the list up to four thousand subscribers. (3) That the General Assembly should publish a circular calling on all the members and friends of the church to aid in carrying out these pledges. All of these conditions were unanimously agreed to. Smith then pledged himself to carry on the work until the volume then commenced should be completed, and then either to hand the paper over to an association or continue it himself, or else cease to publish it.

When the General Assembly met in 1838, Smith, without any conditions, asked to be continued as editor, and his request was granted. It was decided at this time that the next General Assembly should not meet until 1840. Therefore, the dissolution of the General Assembly of 1838 was equivalent to an adjournment for two years. The first of January, 1839, Smith began a series of editorials on reformation in the church. The pastoral relation, the pay of preachers, the mode of raising money for preachers, and the education of the ministry were the themes. While justice requires it to be said that the evils which he denounced were beyond the possibility of exaggeration, and the excoriations which he gave the church were all richly deserved; yet the terrible denunciations were not always of a nature to be endured, even by those who believed about those matters as the editor did.

After all, it may have been necessary to make the crew angry and bring the ship within an inch of hopeless wreck in order to insure better navigation in after years. God's merciful and overruling hand was doubtless in it all. Men began to reply to Smith's severe denunciations of the church in his own columns. Several of Smith's editorials had prophesied secession. All the best ministers, he predicted, would be driven out of the church, unless certain reforms took place. As there was to be no General Assembly that year, he called for a convention. His call was seconded, and [234] a convention was agreed upon to meet in Nashville at the time usually appointed for the General Assembly's meeting. A year before Smith had sold his printing office, and agreed to take his pay in printing. Before the convention met the publication of the paper was suspended, and the closing editorial, as well as several previous editorials, declared in the most unequivocal manner that Smith was forever done with all connection with the church paper. He urged the church to have an organ, but declared his purpose to be unalterably fixed not to be its editor.(1) The last issue of the paper at Nashville was dated April 30, 1839. If editorial declarations could settle any thing, it was settled that Smith was, under no conditions, ever to be church editor again.

Although Smith was not appointed by his presbytery as a delegate to the convention, yet he was allowed to take his seat as a member, and he occupied one whole day in a set speech on the necessity of reforms. He published this speech afterward in a pamphlet. I have only some extracts from it, not being able to secure a copy. He said: "The ministry of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church are a mass of ignorance, heresy, and fanaticism." He charged lying and fraud upon the General Assembly, and other pleasant little compliments to the denomination inflated his sails in that wonderful harangue. But all this was mild compared to the wormwood, the gall, the pus atque venenum which his private letters for the next few years poured forth. Several hundreds of these letters have been placed in the hands of the writer of this history.

The convention passed resolutions in favor of reform. It appointed a committee to form a stock company to continue the publication of The Cumberland Presbyterian. It decided to have this paper issued from Lebanon instead of Nashville. The Rev. George Donnell was chosen editor. Its publication was to be delayed till the fall meetings of the presbyteries. At this point in the history some conflict as to facts begins. Members and friends of the convention say that Smith asked such an enormous price for his subscription list that no one could think of paying it. Smith denies that any conference with him on the subject of his subscrip [235] tion list was ever sought. T.C. Anderson is very positive on the other side. One thing all are agreed upon, the subscription list of Smith's Cumberland Presbyterian was not purchased; but the convention resolved to start a paper with the same name to be the organ of the church. It was at this point in its action that the convention proved afterward to be vulnerable. The committee which reported the plan of action which was adopted by the convention was composed of Hiram A. Hunter, J.S. McClain, Carson P. Reed, George Donnell, T.B. Wilson, Jesse Ford, and George Williamson.

The first of September, just before the fall meetings of the presbyteries, lo! Smith's paper reappeared! This time it was issued at Springfield, Tennessee, and some brethren, who had plenty of money, were meeting its financial wants. It claimed still to be the organ of the church, and the only organ. It explained its reappearance as a necessity, since the Lebanon committee had neither bought out its subscription list, nor made any provisions to supply the paper to subscribers whose time had not expired. It denounced the convention as a clique, and declared the action of that body in assuming to publish an organ for the church unconstitutional and seditious.

The defense made by the friends of the convention is all summed up in a few words. They said that the convention claimed no power to make any paper a church organ, but met and acted simply to keep alive the organ which the General Assembly itself had started; that it had the strongest evidences that Smith was forever done with the paper; that it met on Smith's call, without any hint or dream of any conflict like the one which had arisen; and that Smith himself cooperated heartily with the convention until he found that another man was to be chosen editor, and that his subscription list was not to be bought at an extravagant price. They said further that the convention had resolved to do its utmost in the next General Assembly, and before the meeting of that body, to have Smith indemnified for all the losses he had sustained through any fault of the church. They showed that the convention was composed of fifty delegates, among them many of the purest men of the church, appointed by the presbyteries in obedience to a public call; and that if any presbyteries were not repre [236] sented it was their own fault; that the convention acted in an emergency, under the pressure of great necessity; and that the changes made in regard to the business arrangement were such as the imperative necessities of the case required, and such as the General Assembly resolved on in 1837, when Smith first tendered his resignation.

That Smith had the legal right to resume the publication of his paper and call it the organ of the church was generally conceded; but the propriety of his course, after his unequivocal declaration, in April, was questioned. Parties rapidly formed. Angry feelings were stirred up. The presbyteries nearly all took action in favor of one party or the other. Finis Ewing and John L. Dillard, both threw their great influence on the side of Smith's paper. Logan Presbytery passed resolutions condemning the convention, and declaring Smith's paper the true organ of the church. Alabama Presbytery did likewise. Richland Presbytery and all of Columbia Synod, with Robert Donnell at their head, took the side of the convention and requested the members of their congregations not to take Smith's paper.

Secession, division, disruption were the words floating in the air. After nearly all the presbyteries had arrayed themselves as partisans in the contest, and many of our best men had utterly despaired, a synod in Illinois passed resolutions calling on all parties to agree to submit the whole question to the next General Assembly, and to forbear all further discussion of the merits of the case till that Assembly should meet, and urging all true lovers of Jesus to join in prayer to God for the peace of the church.(2) That voice for peace and prayer, without taking either side, was surely a voice from heaven.

The committee appointed by the convention to issue a paper from Lebanon resolved to delay this publication until the meeting of the General Assembly, and to refer the whole matter to that body, but this wise decision of that committee was robbed of some of its peaceable fruits by the course of Smith's paper. In October, 1839, the Rev. George Donnell wrote a private letter to the Rev. John W. Ogden, who was corresponding editor of Smith's paper, [237] correcting the rumors which even then were afloat that the Lebanon committee had declined publishing a paper. This letter, with no dates affixed, was kept standing in the editorial columns of Smith's paper until the Assembly met, in May, 1840.

I have not felt at liberty to quote Smith's private letters, but have used them in investigating questions about which the other authorities are in conflict, especially when the evidence of these letters is on the side of the convention. These private letters shed much light on various editorials about "The Union College," and other cognate subjects which appeared in the paper while it was published at Springfield, Tennessee. Their contents, moreover, are a complete vindication of the people of Lebanon from some of the charges which the friends at Princeton made at the time the "removal" of the college took place. While Mr. Smith had all the time ably advocated an educated ministry, he seemed to have a deep-seated dislike to Cumberland College. His bargain with the General Assembly, in 1833, taxed him ten cents on each subscriber, for the benefit of that institution; and although John Barnett, after his lease began, voluntarily released the paper from all tribute to the college, yet there was a sting left. Editorials in the paper declared the college to be of little or no benefit to the church. Mr. Smith visited Lebanon, Tennessee, in 1839, for the purpose of inducing the people of that place to establish a church college. The account of his conference with R.L. Caruthers, under Smith's own signature, is in my possession. Caruthers took just the ground which his known loyalty to the church would have led us to expect. He thought the college at Princeton a doomed enterprise; but so long as it continued to be the college of the church, he would do nothing in conflict with the General Assembly's plan. Smith's account of that conference is dated September 10, 1839. At Springfield his persuasions proved more effective than at Lebanon. Here he not only found men to set his paper going once more, but he secured subscriptions amounting to six thousand dollars for a church college. Through his influence the school and buildings then in use in that town were transferred to this new "college." He urged the presbyteries to send their candidates for the ministry to Springfield, promising every presbytery fifty dollars on each two hun [238] dred subscribers for the paper, the money to be paid in tuition at Springfield. He afterward made extensive tours among the southern churches, raising money to endow his college. He always speaks of it as "my college." He says, in one letter, that he secured several thousand dollars from the Cumberland Presbyterians of Mississippi for his school. He never raised a farthing for Cumberland College.

Smith was ubiquitous. He traveled, he wrote letters, he delivered lectures, and in all places he struggled to stir up the church against the convention and its proposed paper. He visited the presbyteries at their spring meetings in 1840, calling attention to his sufferings and arousing sympathy. Some presbyteries which had shown strong aversion to him and his course as editor turned over under his vigorous speeches, and passed resolutions indorsing him and his paper, and denouncing the convention. It was evident to all true friends of the church that there was danger ahead. Smith had an army of old camp-meeting friends; for his camp-meeting preaching had been, from the first, his most powerful work. But there was another army, made up of sufferers from his financial recklessness, who said that every enterprise of the church which had ever been touched by him had either been injured or ruined by the contact.

There were still alarming symptoms of approaching schism, when, in March, 1840, the Rev. F.R. Cossitt, President of Cumberland College, commenced issuing a monthly pamphlet, which he called the Banner of Peace. He made no charges for this periodical, but sent it, at his own expense, throughout the church. He declared his aim to be the peace and unity of the church. He said that this monthly would be published until the meeting of the General Assembly as a free magazine, but if continued longer a subscription fee would be charged. His editorials were powerful appeals to all parties for peace. He showed no leaning, in his paper, to either party; but he published an article for Smith which declared the church to be in its death agonies.

True friends of the church rallied to the support of Cossitt's views, and many a noble plea for peace appeared in the columns of the Banner of Peace. To F.R. Cossitt, more than to any other [239] human agency, does the church owe its escape from wreck in the General Assembly of 1840.

When that Assembly met the mind of the majority was made up to leave both Smith's paper and the proposed Lebanon paper without either recognition or condemnation, and for the time being to have no church organ, but to settle on something like liberal terms with Smith, and to be forever done with him. Smith claimed large things, especially on account of his losses arising from the failure of several General Assemblies to secure the promised four thousand subscribers. He proposed arbitration, but the General Assembly declared this unnecessary, as a satisfactory settlement seemed practicable without it. A committee was appointed to investigate the matter. This committee reported that a patient inquiry into all the facts had satisfied them that the General Assembly did not owe Mr. Smith any thing; but, as he made a large claim, and as some of the members of the church believed his claim to be just, they recommended that nineteen hundred dollars be paid to him as damages.

The recommendation was adopted. The nineteen hundred dollars were paid before the Assembly adjourned, and Smith's receipt was spread on the Minutes.

After this Smith's course was a strange medley. While the General Assembly maintained control of the college at Princeton, Smith wrote the most abusive private letters against that institution and all connected with it. But when the Assembly abandoned that school, and Smith was forced also to abandon his college, then he became a very earnest partisan of the college at Princeton and against the college at Lebanon. All through his editorial career he had been an advocate of a church organ, to be owned and controlled by the General Assembly. When the Assembly failed to continue him as editor, he at once suspended the publication of his paper, and warmly denounced the policy he had defended before, declaring that the church should not own or manage either college or newspaper. This he did through the columns of Milton Bird's paper. There were two weekly newspapers now published--one by Dr. Cossitt, and one by Milton Bird. Bird was then a young man. Smith, it is said, did his utmost to array [240] Bird's paper against Cossitt, and against the college at Lebanon. In this way alone is it possible to account for some of Mr. Bird's editorials, they are so unlike all that noble man's record before and afterward. Smith had been stated clerk of the General Assembly; but he did not deliver the records over to his successor till three years after his resignation, though he was twice ordered to do so. He came very near involving Milton Bird in a serious difficulty by inducing him to make a proposition to publish these old records, and sell them as private property. Not friendship to Bird, but schism in the church was thought to be his aim. Once he talked of forming a church of his own.(3) He tried to enlist various parties, but could not secure the followers that were necessary for such a scheme. Then he struggled to persuade many of our best men to go with him into the Presbyterian Church; but his only success was in the case of John W. Ogden.

The evils growing out of the lack of proper compensation to ministers, of which Smith so bitterly complained; had already driven out of the church several strong men. Among these the strongest, perhaps, was the Rev. W.A. Scott, D.D., who recently died in San Francisco. Mr. Ford, of Louisiana, who also left the church about the time Scott did, was influenced by purely doctrinal considerations, so he declared in a letter to Dr. Beard. Smith was very confident that he would take Dr. Beard with him. He told various persons that Dr. Beard was going to leave the church. Beard wrote to Smith calling him to task for these reports. Smith defended his statements as a prophecy based on the nature of the case. He said to Beard: "You will be obliged to go; they will drive you out as they are driving me."

It was once generally believed among Cumberland Presbyterians that W.A. Scott tried to induce Dr. Beard to leave the church. There was not a particle of foundation for this belief All Dr. Scott's letters to Dr. Beard have been examined, and there is not the remotest hint at any such thing. While there were tempting offers made to Dr. Beard, most of them originated with Smith.

[241] The impression was long current among our people that systematic and unlawful means were resorted to to entice our educated men to join the Presbyterian Church. Careful examination of private diaries, correspondence, and other records, reveal no trace of any such efforts. Had the facts been as our people once thought they were, the evidence would inevitably exist in some of the documents now in my hands. The main motive for withdrawing from the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and joining the Presbyterians is correctly stated in a letter to Dr. Beard, written by one who had taken this step. He says: "There is no hope of my ever getting a living as a pastor in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Between being secularized and false to my ministerial vows, and adopting the Westminster Confession with such mental reservations as I know to be made by many of the Presbyterian ministry, I chose the latter as the far lesser evil."




A library imitated in wood

The learned Erasmus declared that no king's office is equal in dignity to the office of the humblest pastor. In a heathen country, under peculiar circumstances, it was all right for Paul to work with his own hands to earn his own bread, and preach without any pay. Likewise the state of things in the new settlements to which the self-denying missionaries went, made it absolutely necessary for them, at first, to earn their own bread by some secular pursuit. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that there should have grown up in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, all of whose preachers were at first missionaries, loose views about the pastor's office and pastors' salaries. Indeed, many of our preachers and people came to think that pastorates were invented by self-seeking men who dreaded the hardships of an itinerant life and wanted big salaries. An element of positive opposition to the office of settled pastor, in the true Presbyterian sense of that word, sprang up. There was, along with this, a disposition to apply the name pastor to any minister who had regular appointments, however rare, to preach in any one congregation.

When the second Cumberland Presbyterian General Assembly met, 1830, this opposition to the pastoral office had reached its zenith. That General Assembly, by a large majority, voted to submit to the presbyteries the question of striking out of the Form of Government the whole section recognizing the pastoral office.(4) [243] The General Assembly not only submitted this question but declared the change desirable.

There were then only eighteen presbyteries: of these, only two voted for striking out that chapter. Thirteen voted no. Three made no report--perhaps did not meet--as there were often failures to secure a quorum in the new presbyteries. The effort was never renewed, but year after year the feeling grew in the General Assemblies that the regular pastoral office, in its true sense, would have to be established. In 1835 a faint utterance in favor of settled pastors was given by the General Assembly. In 1836 an unequivocal declaration of the importance of the pastoral office was placed on record.

The first battle was won; but let it not be supposed that all opposition to the pastor's office had disappeared. I give one example: At the meeting of the West Tennessee Synod in 1849 the Committee on the State of Religion brought in a report which contained a paragraph about the deplorable lack of settled pastors. This report was met with the most uncompromising opposition. Earnest and eloquent speeches were made against it by some of the oldest ministers present. The chairman of this committee and the Rev. Samuel Dennis, D.D., then pastor of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Memphis, were the only men who stood up in that meeting in favor of the regular pastoral office. Yet, in that synod, the largest in the church, there was not at that time any genuine evangelist, and not as many as a half dozen men devoted exclusively to the work of the ministry. A system of supplies, on Sabbaths, by preachers who through the week earned their bread in secular callings, was depended on in that synod, and is, alas, the system by which many of our churches are still kept up.

Very few of the early Cumberland Presbyterian ministers had any correct idea of the true nature of the pastors office. When the necessity for real pastorates was urged, many seemed to think that installation was all that they lacked. The people soon understood, however, that he who served them under the name of a pastor, was in fact but a secularized supply who preached on the Sabbath and then went back to his worldly pursuits. In many cases these preachers rode eight or ten miles on Sabbath morning [244] to their appointments, and rode back Sabbath evening. Thus an utter lack of any correct knowledge of what a true pastor is, was a serious difficulty in the way of introducing true pastors.

Even now the truth is but slowly dawning upon our people that pastor and evangelist belong to two very different vocations; so different, indeed, that fitness for one is presumptive evidence of unfitness for the other. The standards by which the churches have usually judged of a man's fitness for the pastor's work, or of his success when in that work, are standards which belong rather to the other vocation, that of the evangelist. To preach thrilling, popular sermons, to attract a great crowd, to gather in many wealthy members, to build a fine meeting-house--such things as these have been regarded the ne plus ultra of pastoral success. There may be no systematic beneficence in the congregation, no entire personal consecration to Christ's service in the daily practical life of any member; the missionary spirit may be wanting in both pastor and people; no child of the church may ever go to labor among the heathen or enter the holy ministry; family prayers may be neglected in the households, and the members be untaught in the great fundamental truths of Christianity; there may be as little separation from the ways of a godless world as the devil himself could wish--still if the attractive sermons draw great crowds and a handsome salary is paid, the man who occupies the pulpit is regarded by many as a successful pastor. Ah! the great day will reverse many a human verdict.

The long-established custom of looking upon thrilling popular sermons as the sole test of a pastor's fitness has built up a stubborn barrier against right measures. Let a man who knows what real pastoral work is studiously avoid all sensational discourses and all mere spasms, and set himself to work earnestly to organize, drill, train, and indoctrinate his flock in real, personal consecration to Christ; let him strive to cultivate love to Jesus by enlisting every member of the flock in a thorough study of the Bible and in active efforts to do good and win souls, and in a large majority of cases, the church will rebel. That is not what they want; they want to be thrilled with eloquence on the Sabbath and left to themselves through the week.

[245] That the pastor's office is the most difficult and important of all human callings can be easily proved. It is a calling from God, yet those who engage in it need special training, more careful than that required in any secular employment or profession. But when the transition from circuit preaching to settled pastorates became a necessity, there were in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church no men trained to the pastoral office. Our people had no school to teach the theory of pastoral theology; no experienced pastors to lead and train the rising ministry, and there were no churches willing to sustain a pastor decently. It is a wonder, under all the circumstances, that the preachers of that period succeeded as well as they did.

Men who know nothing about a difficult calling generally underestimate the labor required to master it. Many of the preachers failed to understand the difficulty and importance of pastoral work. A leading minister, one of the most beloved and successful pioneer missionaries in the church, declared in a public discourse that the whole science of pastoral theology could be mastered in two hours! Even yet few among us know what careful and extensive preparation is needed for the pastor's work. Discussing the extreme difficulty of a true pastorate the learned Bengel said: "Many things are needed in order to create a true community." The care of individual souls is like preparing the individual stones for a temple. To create a true spiritual community--the temple in its finished state--is a life work. It is never done by any one great revival or under frequent change of pastors. As well talk of one painter beginning a painting and a whole "apostolical succession" of other painters carrying out the original design. A true pastor, by a whole life-time of toil, may accomplish the work, but even then the inner fountain of power must be the Lord of glory himself dwelling in the pastor. When one such spiritual community is secured the results are abiding.

The pastors in this transition period had to unteach some wrong lessons which the church had learned. The silence of the pioneer preachers about money had created a strong opposition to paying preachers. This existed not only among the covetous and the worldly, but among people who had considerable reputation [246] for piety. Indeed, congregations which were celebrated for demonstrations of religious fervor were often the very ones which gave the least money.

All the first Cumberland Presbyterian preachers started wrong. Bitterly did our old men regret their failure to teach and train the people in this duty, but their regrets came too late. It will take several generations yet to get rid of the leaven of their example. In the midst of the great congregation at Big Spring, Thomas Calhoun, near the close of his life, used substantially these words: "I am now old, and must soon go to meet my Judge. I have been one of the actors in establishing the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and in all that pertains to its early history. I have a clear conscience save only about one thing. We have all failed to do our duty in training the people to pay their preachers. I have lived to see the ruinous consequences of that failure, and I don't want to die without confessing my sin in this matter in the most public manner possible." So too, did Ewing and others make public confession, but it came too late. The evil continues.

In several instances synods sent men to preach on this subject throughout their bounds, the order in one case extending to a whole State. One can not, however, help doubting whether any man of the class and type to which the first Cumberland Presbyterian preachers belonged, would be likely to accomplish much in such a mission. That whole generation of preachers had false views on this subject. "Supporting the gospel" was the text; a pitiful hat collection, which furnished the ministers who held the meeting from one to three dollars apiece for a week's labor, was the application. The men who gave the money were, in their self-complacent views, "supporting the gospel." Many of the efforts of the presbyteries to remedy the difficulty were as pitiful as these hat collections. One presbytery(5) resolved that every member of the church ought to give twenty-five cents a year to "the support of the gospel;" another, that all church members should give fifty cents apiece annually for this purpose, and another had the daring to ask every member of its congregation to pay a dollar a year to secure the means of grace. In one of the oldest and richest por [247] tions of the church, a presbytery named ten dollars per annum as the amount which each of its congregations ought to try to pay its "pastor."

Now place by the side of these "heavy burdens" which the presbyteries were laying upon the churches, the burdens which these preachers were themselves patiently bearing. From a number of examples recorded in the church-paper, one is selected. In the spring of 1832, when a minister of good talents was ordained, he volunteered to go as a missionary to a new State. He had fifteen hundred dollars in money and no family. He went on his mission without any provision for compensation. He traveled and built up several small churches, paying his own way, until all his money was gone. He had said nothing about compensation, though the people he preached to were generally getting rich; but the time now came when he could no longer pay his own way and travel as a missionary. He went into secular business, and continued to preach on Sabbath without one cent of pay. The church paper commenting on this case and others like it, calls them cases of necessity. But did not the neglect of duty have something to do with creating this necessity? The ministers of that day were too sensitive and timid about preaching on the duty of giving. What they did say often made matters worse.

At a later day there were a few men in the church who knew how to present this subject. Dr. A.J. Baird was one of these. There was a church in one of the wealthiest portions of Middle Tennessee whose pastor had resigned because his salary could not be raised. Dr. Baird visited this church with a view of bringing it up to its duty in this matter. He first conferred with the session and learned that the difficulty was not about the man, but only about the salary. The people could not raise enough money to support that man or any other, and had decided to dismiss the pastor and depend on monthly supplies from some non-resident minister. Baird plead and argued, but the session finally told him that he would not even be permitted to canvass the congregation for subscriptions. All this was on Saturday. On Sabbath Dr. Baird preached, discussing the whole subject in that practical and common-sense way of which he was a master. At the close of the [248] sermon he described his interview with the session. Then he added, "I am not going to ask either this session or these church members to give one cent; but I am going to raise the pastor's salary here today among the unconverted people. These sinners have a higher appreciation of the blessings which stand forever connected with the regular means of grace than this session has. I want some of these rich old sinners to start the subscription. Who will pledge a sum bearing some little proportion to the inestimable worth of the gospel?" Tn less than a half hour the whole salary was raised, and that without the name of a single church member. Dr. Baird then delivered a scathing lecture to that session, and proceeded to install the preacher as pastor for those sinners.

Dr. Baird was often called to present this subject, but in no two cases did he use the same methods. Once at Lebanon, Tennessee, where the congregation had generally maintained a standard of liberality above the average, they fell sadly behind in the pastor's salary, and sent for Dr. Baird to help them. He came and met the congregation, making just a little talk in which were only three points. In the first he assumed that the people of Lebanon would not consent to be left destitute of the means of grace. In the second he discussed, very briefly, one way of supplying this acknowledged necessity--the old scriptural way of having one man exclusively devoted to that work and paying him for his labors, as we pay lawyers, doctors, and others. Thirdly, he stated that this scriptural method had been tried in Lebanon, and had broken down, and he had been sent for to help devise ways and means to meet the emergency. He said, "Sometimes when people want a new meeting-house, and can not raise money enough to hire a carpenter, they divide out the work among the members and do it themselves. Inasmuch as we can not raise money enough here to have one man do all the preaching and pay him for it, we shall have to divide out the work among the members and not try to have any pastor. I have made," said he, "the best distribution of the labor I can, and will now proceed to read the appointments. 'Squire McClain, you will preach next Sunday morning and Sunday night." "No I won't," said the 'Squire. "No dodging," [249] answered Baird, "there will be some rare head-scratching in 'Squire McClain's office the next few days. It is not quite as easy as it looks to prepare two sermons in one week." "I am not going to prepare any sermons," said McClain. "What will you do then? Are you going to do without the gospel?" "No," he answered, "I am going to pay my full share of the salary and have a pastor to do my part of the preaching." The pastor was retained, but we are not told whether he was adequately paid or not.

To go forward and preach the gospel, pay or no pay, is certainly right. In that, the example of our fathers is worthy of all commendation. But there is also another line of duty. To be silent about money, to say nothing about consecration to God in pocket as well as profession, to leave unrebuked a habitual course of conduct which robs God and robs his own called ministers who stand before the church in his name and by his authority as his own ambassadors--this is a criminal neglect of part of the very work committed to those ambassadors. It is useless to try to conceal the fact that our fathers were sadly delinquent in this part of their duty. This is a blot on the record of their heroism and their spirituality which we can not wash off. The heroism and spirituality are with the dead past. Old established communities, crystallized into a life devoted mainly to worldly things, is what we have now. This silence on the subject of money which was persisted in by the first Cumberland Presbyterian preachers even while actual want pressed upon some of them and their families, and the general secularization of the ministry which followed it, suited well the carnal hearts of nominal church members who gloried in a "free gospel." As a consequence, it is hard now to find any church which is willing to pay a pastor a living salary. Our churches have been trained to take a preacher's labor without pay.

Grave as was the fault of the ministry, a far more grievous complaint is recorded in heaven against the churches. With some honorable exceptions, they stand charged before God with robbing their own pastors, and that, too, where there is no chance to plead any lack of plain teaching from the pulpit as an apology for the robbery, nor any lack of ability on the part of the robbers. A painful array of historical facts might be here presented, but to [250] publish the details, with the names of the preachers and of the churches which took their services without pay would, perhaps, give offense and not cure the evil. An old preacher, in extreme poverty, and utterly helpless in body, says "I spent forty years giving my whole time to such and such churches." The list is omitted. "In no one of these churches" he continues, "did I ever receive more than half the salary which they promised to pay me. If I had these unpaid balances, I would now be in easy circumstances." This man was an able preacher in his day, and there were many conversions under his ministry. The position taken here is indorsed by the authority of one of the noblest servants and truest friends the Cumberland Presbyterian Church ever had. In Dr. Beard's diary for September 18, 1855, is the following entry: "Went to Brother Mansfield's; found him in his field at work. He is a good and useful preacher, and yet is laboring on a farm to support his wife and children. Will not the church have to render a fearful account for her treatment of such men?"

The reports of several hundreds of circuit riders show that about one third of them received no pay at all. Perhaps another third received some socks, and from five to twenty dollars a year in money. The largest salary reported by any one of them was eighty dollars a year. Only one reports so large a sum. The compensation of the first "pastors" in the church was still more meager. It was not expected that men who did not travel would be paid any thing for preaching. It was said that the church to which a leading minister devoted the best years of his life did not, during the whole time, pay him as much as twenty dollars. But we are improving; people and preachers are improving. Perhaps when all the formidable obstacles which had to be overcome are taken into the account, the improvement ought to be considered remarkable. One of the largest and most central presbyteries may perhaps be taken as an average sample of what the whole church is now doing. It has forty ministers. Three of these are entirely supported by their congregations. Two others, whether supported or not, give their whole time to the work of the ministry. Six others are devoted to church work under some of the boards, and twenty-eight are secularized, though they preach [251] on Sabbath and get some little compensation. Now that circuit riding is no more, and camp-meetings are generally abandoned, our churches must employ regular pastors or cease to exist. The chief hope of the church is with the young men who take a regular course of theological studies and enter the pastoral work. Every true pastor is a light-house among the churches. The work of many such in town and country stands as the strongest argument in favor of permanent pastorates.

The sermon which this chapter preaches needs to be followed by an exhortation. The credit system, pledges forfeited by church judicatures for future payment of money, the failure to pay subscriptions and even notes given to church enterprises, the injustice and robbery of neglecting to support pastors and evangelists, or of refusing to pay the meager salaries promised them, are all forms of financial mismanagement and wrong-doing. From just such things as these the greatest dangers and losses of the church have come in the past. It will be well if such causes of trouble are avoided in the future.

Not only to Barnett and Smith did the General Assembly make pledges which it had no power to fulfill, but there were other similar cases. The particulars of one such instance are found in the manuscript autobiography of the Rev. R.D. King. When the General Assembly of 1834 asked the Rev. Samuel King and his son to go on their long evangelistic tour among the churches, it included in the request a solemn pledge that the evangelists should be compensated for their services.R.D. King took his wife to the home of her relatives in Kentucky, where she and her children remained during the twenty months of her husband's absence. When these evangelists made their final report to the General Assembly, they stated that their compensation had been one hundred and fifty dollars less than their unavoidable traveling expenses. One member then arose in the Assembly and moved that steps be taken to redeem the pledge for compensation made to these evangelists. Another member made a speech against the motion, declaring that neither he nor the Assembly then sitting had ever made any such pledges. "This Assembly," said he, is not the same body which pledged compensation, and we are not bound [252] either morally or legally." The matter dropped there. There being no second to the motion, no vote was taken. When the clerk read in the Minutes the words, "compensation nearly equal to their traveling expenses," Samuel King objected. But being appealed to to let the record stand "for the sake of the church," he withdrew his objection.R.D. King had to borrow money to remove his family back to his little home in Tennessee. On his arrival he found that his note for the borrowed money had preceded him and was in the hands of an officer. His property was sold under the sheriff's hammer. He says that for a considerable time after that his purpose remained fixed to preach no more for Cumberland Presbyterians. In that state of mind his communion with God was cut off. Heart-searching followed, and the conclusion was reached that his preaching was for Jesus and not for any denomination, and he girded on his armor once more. There have been many other cases like R.D. King's, belonging to all the periods down to the present day.

There are scriptural methods of transacting financial affairs, but the credit system forms no part of these methods. Church debts are unscriptural, and whether they be contracted by congregations or church judicatures, or chartered boards, they are always a curse. A chapter might be devoted to the history of such debts. It would tell of college buildings which have been sold to meet the claims of creditors; of houses of worship mortgaged, and at last forfeited; of pastors disappointed and crushed; of good men alienated from the church because its pledges were not redeemed; of donations from the wealthy turned away from our institutions by disaffection and want of confidence caused by financial failures. The materials for such a chapter are at hand. Among other things is the record of a consecrated pastor, an able and holy man, who in his last illness, only a few years ago, was kept from starving, not by his congregation which still owed him large balances on his salary, but by unconverted men whom God sent, like the prophet's ravens, to feed his servant. But let these sad records of failure and wrong rest in oblivion till the great day of reckoning shall bring them to light.






In the chapter on Bell's Indian mission, notice was taken of the first work of Cumberland Presbyterians in the territory which now forms the State of Mississippi. That work was exclusively among the Indians, who throughout that period occupied the northern portion of Mississippi. The condition of things south of the Indian country presented few attractions for Cumberland Presbyterian preachers. The settlers did not come from the field occupied by this new church; they sent no pressing calls for its missionaries, while far more such calls than the presbyteries could possibly respond to came from other fields. The Tombigbee Presbytery, organized in 1823, included Bell's mission, but there were then in Mississippi no congregations of white people belonging to this church.

White people, and some of them Cumberland Presbyterians, had penetrated the Indian country, and were making their homes there, the treaty of 1816 having opened the door for such settlements. Robert Bell, John C. Smith, and James Stewart, all connected with the Indian mission--Stewart only a short time--preached to these pioneers. But the whites who settled in the Indian country were, with some noble exceptions, people of bad character, and their influence was a serious barrier to the success of the gospel among the Indians. One of these white men was a slave trader from Princeton, Kentucky, who circulated slanderous reports about a mission which the American Board had established in Mississippi. This negro trader, on his purchasing tours, frequently visited Kentucky, and spread his slanders against the missionaries wherever he went. These missionaries held anti [254] slavery views, and were sadly in his way.F.R. Cossitt and David Lowry, knowing the vileness of this man's character, publicly denounced his slanders, and warned the people of Kentucky against him. They also wrote to the Cumberland Presbyterian missionaries, begging them to furnish the means of vindicating their brethren in the Monroe mission. This Mr. Bell did in such a thorough manner that the neighboring mission was not again assailed. This generous interference against a dangerous ruffian in behalf of a mission planted by another board illustrates the magnanimous spirit of the Cumberland Presbyterians of that day.

One of the men who settled in Monroe County, Mississippi, long before the Indians moved away, was Colonel John S. Topp, an elder in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Among the anecdotes told by him is one connected with the final removal of the Indians from this territory. Various pretexts for delay had for years retarded this promised removal. Finally, all things were supposed to be ready, but still the Indians failed to assemble for their journey. The agent inquired, "What is the matter now?" They told him that their chief, Tisho Mingo, was in prison for debt. This was strange, for Tisho Mingo had been rich. It seems, however, that he had been robbed while preparing to move, and could not pay his debts. Colonel Topp suggested to the agent that the old chief should take the insolvent debtor's oath. This was done, and Tisho Mingo released. The Indians, who stood around when the oath was administered and their chief released, exclaimed in wonder: "Talk a little on the book, talk a little off the book, and Indian's debts paid." This was the last obstacle of any serious character to their removal.

The agent who removed the last company of the Chickasaws completed his task in the spring of 1839. Only a few wealthy families of this tribe remained till a later period. The Choctaw country was opened in 1833. The sudden opening to settlers of all the vast cotton lands vacated by the Indians, synchronizing with that wonderful inflation of the currency, together with the fabulous stories of vast fortunes to be accumulated in Mississippi, caused an immense rush to that territory. It was said, and perhaps with some truth, that a man without one cent of capital could [255] go there, buy land on a credit, and negroes with borrowed money, and make enough on his cotton to meet every payment. Speculation ran wild. Many preachers of different churches went to Mississippi under its promptings. Others who went there to preach were told by older settlers to seize the golden opportunity to make themselves independent first. "We will loan you money. Get you a plantation and hands to cultivate it; get that paid for; and then you can go and preach as much as you please." One preacher writes in the church paper that he was told that Mississippians would not listen with any respect to a preacher who let "this golden opportunity for independence slip, and then expected the people to support him." Thus it came about that most of the preachers of all the churches were secularized. The statement was published at that time that nine out of every ten ministers in Mississippi were secularized. From a long series of letters in the church paper on the condition of things in Mississippi between 1832 and 1834, we learn that the capital of the State for fifteen years had neither church-house nor school-house. Ten whole counties in the poorer regions east of Pearl River had only one preacher who could read and write. The richest county in the State had neither bookstores, academies, nor pastors. According to this writer, people going to Mississippi caught the mania for speculation, and lost all concern about books, schools, churches, or any thing else. He wrote over a fictitious signature, and his statements are perhaps exaggerated.

Other writers, who do not use fictitious names however, give a sufficiently dark picture of the wild spirit of speculation which prevailed for five or six years after the Choctaw country was opened. The Clinton Presbytery (Presbyterian) sent forth a strong protest against this state of things; and inasmuch as it had previously given official indorsement to the zeal and consecration of the few Cumberland Presbyterian preachers in that field, it now published through our church paper an earnest protest against the course which some preachers of our church in Mississippi were then taking.

In the diary of the Rev. Isaac Shook is an account of a visit to a Mississippi town in 1834. There were seven hundred inhab [256] itants, and among them five Protestant ministers all secularized. One was a merchant, one a school-teacher, one a lawyer, and two "slave drivers," as Shook calls them. They were "seizing the golden opportunity to secure independence. " Shook began a series of meetings. By and by the school-teacher began to attend. There was a revival. Then the merchant, who also sold whisky, came of nights, and grew wonderfully zealous, but he still sold whisky. The others would drop in occasionally, but took no special interest. The meeting closed. One of these preachers afterward was silenced; all of them utterly lost the confidence of the people. The town became noted for its contempt of Christianity.

In 1836 the church paper stated that all the Cumberland Presbyterian congregations in Mississippi had been organized in the preceding five years. At the meeting of Columbia Synod, in the town of Pulaski, Tennessee, on the fourth day of November, 1831, the order was passed for the formation of Mississippi Presbytery. Its limits on the south-west were indefinite; on the south it extended to Mobile. Its original members were to be Thomas J. Bryan, Robert Molloy, Samuel W. Sparks, and Isaac Shook; and its first meeting was to be held in the town of Gallatin, Copia County, Mississippi, the fourth Thursday in April, 1832, Thomas J. Bryan to be its first moderator.(6) Different statements as to who were the original members of this presbytery have been published, but this is the correct list as ordered by the synod. These varying accounts are thus explained: Several ministers from different synods were living in Mississippi, but not enough from any one to form a presbytery. The Rev. S.W. Sparks and the Rev. Isaac Shook, both of Columbia Synod, volunteered to go at their own expense to Mississippi and cooperate with Molloy and Bryan--who also belonged to that synod, but lived in Mississippi--in the formation of a presbytery. As soon as the presbytery was organized it received as members the other resident ministers, and then Shook and Sparks returned.

In going to Mississippi they had traveled on horseback to Memphis, thence by boat to Vicksburg, and thence on horseback [257] to Gallatin. They expected to return by the same route, but God, in his providence, had other plans for Shook. He was induced to visit some old friends in Mississippi and hold meetings for them. He afterward made arrangements to go all the way back to Huntsville, Alabama, by stage. Saturday, May 19, 1832, Mr. Shook was traveling homeward in the stage. He would not travel on the Sabbath, and his only alternative was to spend two days at the hotel in a strange town, which had the reputation of being a very wicked place. Stages passed only on alternate days, and hotel bills in Mississippi were very high. Late Saturday night Shook put up at the Columbus hotel. Sunday morning he found the hotel keeper to be an old acquaintance and a special friend. Through him an arrangement was made for Shook to preach that day in the Baptist church. Shook says that he preached with the feeling that he would never see his congregation again till the great judgment-day, and he prayed God to enable him to be faithful. Early Monday morning he was waited on by the pastor and one elder of the Presbyterian Church who urged him very earnestly to remain till the next Sabbath, when their communion meeting was to begin. He hesitated, but said he would give them an answer before stage time. In the course of the day, he found that his sermon the day before had awakened several sinners. He resolved to remain. Mr. Byington, of the Choctaw mission, came and assisted in the meeting. At the close of Shook's first sermon, he "called for mourners," and two ladies, who were leaders in society, came forward. At the close of his second sermon, the school-mistress and nearly all her school came forward. The interest spread to the country, where it seemed to be greater than in town. It was finally decided to hold meetings at different points all around Columbus. On, till the first of August, over two months, Shook continued preaching every day. In Columbus and the surrounding country, three hundred persons claimed to be converted at these meetings. Of these, Shook took twenty into the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He says he encouraged no one to join the Cumberland Presbyterians because he saw no prospects of any reliable supply of the preached gospel from our ministers. He even apologizes for receiving the twenty, but says they would not [258] agree to belong to any other church, and were willing to put up with sermons by occasional circuit riders. The Rev. Samuel Nelson rode that circuit and supplied this little flock with the gospel for a few years. In 1839 this little church at Columbus called Mr. Shook as their pastor at a salary of $800. He served them faithfully for many years. The war came near destroying this and many other Southern congregations, but in spite of the war and of other hindrances, this faithful band still perseveres in the work.

A member of the Mississippi Presbytery, rather short of funds, rode one hundred and fifty miles to attend one of the early meetings of that body. He found the members all quartered at the town hotel, each paying $3 a day for himself and horse. There was no meeting-house in the town, but the forest was near by, and the presbytery convened under the trees. The clerk wrote on his hat crown. The largest Cumberland Presbyterian congregation in the State in 1836 numbered only twenty-eight members. Small as was this beginning our membership in that State at a later day was among the foremost in the whole church in every good work. This is especially true in reference to the payment of pastors' salaries. In all the important financial enterprises of the church from 1840 to 1860, Mississippi and Alabama took a leading part. They were favorite fields for agents appointed in any part of the church to raise money. Before the war the contributions of Alabamians and Mississippians to the endowment of the colleges of the church far exceeded those made by the people of any other two States. Notwithstanding the losses caused by the war, Mississippi still stands among the foremost States in supporting all church enterprises.

In 1832 the Mississippi Synod was organized. Its presbyteries were the Mississippi, the Alabama, and the Elyton. This synod extended its jurisdiction into Louisiana and over all Texas. By it Louisiana Presbytery was organized in 1835, and Texas Presbytery in 1837--ordered in 1836. Three new presbyteries created by Mississippi Synod were soon dissolved. These were named Columbus, Charity Hall, and Shiloh, Two other presbyteries were organized in this State during this period, which still exist--Oxford and New Hope. The efficiency and energy of the New [259] Hope Presbytery, its admirable organization, and the consecration of its preachers and people, deserve special commendation.

In 1832 the Rev. H.H. Hill traveled in Alabama and Mississippi, holding meetings. His work was greatly blessed. The Rev. R.L. Ross was a convert of these meetings, as were his father and nearly all the family. In 1834 the Rev. W.S. Burney was engaged in holding camp-meetings in Mississippi. He was assisted by the Rev. A.P. Bradley, and their work was abundantly successful. Jefferson Brown, Joseph Harrison, and Cyrus Wilson all labored in this field about this time. Wilson was afterward a candidate for governor of Arkansas, but was defeated. Elam Waddell, Jabez Hickman, and F.M. Fincher came next. In 1838 the Rev. Richard Beard took charge of the Sharon Academy in Mississippi, and his influence and labors were a great help to the church in that State. James Mitchell, Andrew Herron, J.B. Jopling, Wayman Adair, and John P. Campbell, all preached in Mississippi during this period. Of all this list, only a very small number were free from secular pursuits. The New Hope Presbytery (1838) was united with the Columbus Presbytery in 1840, and then had among its members, Wayman Adair, Thomas Tabb, Joe Bell, James W. Dickey, W.C. Ross, F.E. Harris, Isaac Shook, and some others. Perhaps W.C. Ross is the only one of the list who still lingers on earth.(7)

The Rev. R.L. Ross entered the ministry in Mississippi soon after his conversion in 1832. He has always been a liberal helper in church work. By good management and rigid economy he has been enabled to give more money to our church enterprises than any other preacher in the denomination. He has often aided Cumberland University, in some cases "just in the nick of time," when his contributions saved the institution from disaster. There are some touching incidents of his early work in the ministry, one of which deserves to be recorded here. There was in Mississippi a neighborhood made up of Scotch emigrants, and Mr. Ross became very much attached to them and married one of their daughters. They were all Presbyterians, and had brought their Scotch pastor along with them. This pastor, whose name was McDonald, [260] was an earnest Christian but very much afraid of "disorderly" revivals, and especially afraid of Cumberland Presbyterian revivals. Still he became attached to Ross, and finally consented to have Ross and Leftwich, both Cumberland Presbyterian preachers, hold a camp meeting for him. It was not long before the Scotch pastor was startled by loud shouting from some of his "orderly" members. Throngs of penitents were at the "mourner's bench," and the conversion of some of them made parents and relatives forget all about "order." The pastor, along with the elders, looked on with great displeasure. One of these elders was named McKee. The pastor soon discovered, to his great disgust, that McKee's little daughter, only eleven years old, was one of the mourners. He advised the father to take her away, saying they would "frighten her to death." The father acted on the advice immediately. She was taken to a tent and put under medical treatment. She was given a camphor bath, then a strong toddy was administered, and she was put to bed. The pastor and elders then decided to put a stop to such a disorderly meeting, and so announced to Ross. The latter, believing the pastor to be a sincere Christian, asked him first to go alone to the forest and spend a season of earnest prayer for divine guidance. The old Scotchman was a believer in divine guidance, and he took Mr. Ross' advice. When he returned his mind was made up to let the meeting go on one more day and see what the results would be. In his prayer he said he had asked God if there was any good in such meetings to let him see convincing proof of it that day. That night a curious spectacle was presented. The Scotch parents, with their children seated by them, all occupied the outside seats as far away from the pulpit as possible. They had all given orders to their children not to go to the mourner's bench. Ross preached with great power, and then "called mourners." The pastor stood leaning on the pulpit. Mourners came in great numbers, among them Elder McKee's son, thirty years old. His two married daughters also came. Mr. Ross then went to Mr. McKee's wife and insisted that she should go to her children who were seeking salvation and give them instruction. She went and commenced talking to her daughter about "waiting the Lord's own time." But just as the mother began [261] her instructions the daughter rose shouting. Her face shone with heavenly light, and the mother then and there acknowledged that the work was from God. She went and knelt by her son, and began a silent prayer for him. Her prayer soon grew audible. Then it was poured forth with all the ardor of a Methodist. The son was soon rejoicing. Then another son; and then the mother was on her feet preaching Jesus and crying "glory to God." By this time every doubt vanished from the pastor's heart, and mounting a chair he gave a thrilling exhortation to all sinners to come at once to the arms of the Redeemer. He told them all that he was now fully convinced that this was God's work, and that resistance to it was resistance to God's Spirit. All barriers were now swept away and many were gathered into the fold. Several of the converts joined the Cumberland Presbyterians. The Rev. J.F. McDonald, of our church, is a descendant of this old Scotch pastor. It is gratifying also to know that the little girl who was dragged away from the mourner's bench was, in after years, converted. She became the Rev. R.L. Ross' second wife.

The Cumberland Presbyterian Church was never strong in Louisiana. At a camp-meeting held by Rainey Mercer and Robert Molloy, near Springfield, on Lake Pontchartrain, in Saint Helena Parish, October, 1831, the first congregation of our people in that State was organized. Here, as everywhere else, the pioneers formed a temperance society when they organized a church. The next account we have of the work of Cumberland Presbyterians in that State is from John W. Ogden, March, 1832. He had organized a church at Opelousas, with forty members; and another at Alexandria. Each of these congregations began at once to build a suitable house of worship. Ogden also reported great revivals at his meetings throughout his circuit, especially in Bayou Cotile and Bayou Rapide. In 1835 the Rev. Samuel King and his son, R.D. King, rendered some valuable assistance to the church in Louisiana.W.A. Scott, then a licensed preacher, was also in that field. So, too, was the Rev. Thomas B. Reynolds, and probably Wiley Burgess. The Louisiana Presbytery was organized March 13, 1835. Its original members were John W. Ogden, Rainey Mercer, and Thomas B. Reynolds. At this first meeting [262] it ordained W.A. Scott, P.M. Griffin, and Sumner Bacon.(8) This presbytery had a hard struggle. After many vicissitudes, it was finally dissolved. Of its ministers, Scott, Ogden, and Ford left the church. Thirty years later, October 19, 1872, a new Louisiana Presbytery was organized, which, in spite of discouragements, maintains its organic life. Its preachers and congregations are accomplishing a good work. They deserve help.






The Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.--Acts 13:2.

While Texas was a part of the constitutional and federal Republic of Mexico, various colonies of people from the United States settled in that province. Most of these colonies obtained large grants of land from the Mexican government. In 1834 it was said that sixty thousand of these colonists were living on Texas soil. Though all these Anglo-Saxons were from a Protestant country, yet they lived under laws which forbade all public Protestant worship. There was at first no Protestant preacher in all the province.

In 1826 Sumner Bacon, an unprepossessing son of Massachusetts, living then in Arkansas, presented himself to Arkansas Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church as a candidate for the ministry. He was dressed in buckskin clothing. His manners were rough, like his dress. He gave a very unusual account of what he considered his call to the ministry. He said he was only called to one special work, and not to the general work of the ministry. He was called to go to Texas, where there were no Protestant preachers. On account of the strange appearance and strange call of this young man, the presbytery declined to receive him. At a subsequent meeting of the same presbytery he presented himself again, and was again rejected.(9) How blind we all are! God had specially trained up a man of his own choosing for a special work which no ordinary man could do. As a soldier in camp, then as a surveyor on a dangerous frontier, with Yankee energy and Cumberland Presbyterian zeal, this rough man was furnished for his wild, hard, dangerous, but exceedingly important [264] mission. Because he was rough, wore buckskin, and had a special call, the dear brethren of Arkansas rejected him; but God will not be thwarted if men are blind.

At the same time that Bacon was receiving these impressions, a Cumberland Presbyterian lady living in one of the Anglo-Saxon colonies in western Texas was daily making it a matter of special prayer that God would send to her neighborhood a preacher of the everlasting gospel. Meantime Bacon, nothing daunted by rebuffs, gathered up what means he could control, and in 1828 set out to perform his mission to Texas, without human authority. At his own expense he managed to secure some Bibles and tracts, and began his work as an independent lay evangelist among the people of western Texas. He was the first Protestant who ever preached on Texas soil. As it was dangerous for people to open to him their houses, he held his first meetings under the trees, near the house of that praying lady.

But Bacon encountered far greater danger from ruffians than from Mexican laws. If there had been any very great rigor in enforcing those laws his out-door meetings could not have been held. Only a small part of the population were Catholics. The priests were generally extremely ignorant.

Bacon was acquainted with a regular agent of the American Bible Society in Louisiana, the Rev. Mr. Chase, and often obtained Bibles from him. Chase was a minister in the Presbyterian Church, and took great interest in Bacon. The question of lay ordination had been pressed upon Bacon, as there was no ordained preacher of any Protestant Church in Texas. His friend, Chase, did not favor this plan, but urged him to wait and trust God to open up the way for ordination in some regular channel. In 1832 Mr. Chase obtained for Bacon a commission as agent for the American Bible Society, which he accepted with the distinct stipulation that he was to receive no salary.

Sometime in 1833 Bacon's life, which had often been endangered and often threatened, was nigh being taken by some desperadoes of western Texas. There are some variations in the many different accounts of this adventure, but the authority here followed is the church paper, whose editor compiled his statements [265] from correspondence with Bacon at the time.(10) Bacon was informed, before starting to an appointment to preach, that he would certainly be waylaid and killed if he went on that journey, and earnest efforts were made to dissuade him from going. Failing in that, the man who warned him against attempting the journey, and who some say was a Texas ruffian won over to be Bacon's friend, armed himself, saddled his horse, and went along with the preacher. Passing a narrow ravine, in which it was necessary to ride single file, the armed friend saw two men rush upon Bacon and knock him from his horse at a single blow. His companion fled, and reported that Bacon was killed. It seems, however, that he was not dead. The assassins dragged him into the thicket for the purpose of concealing their bloody deed, when they discovered that their victim still lived. They were proceeding to complete the work, when Bacon asked them to allow him a few minutes for prayer. This was granted. The man of God knelt and poured forth a most earnest prayer for his murderers. When he rose, the assassins were in tears, and declared to him that they could not kill so good a man.

Sometime afterward Bacon was to hold a camp-meeting. His first camp-meeting,(11) and the first ever held in Texas, was in Sabine County, in 1833. It is not certain whether it was at this or some other camp-meeting in the same year that his life was again in jeopardy. Ruffians went to the meeting armed, declaring their purpose to kill him. On the appearance of these desperadoes, one of the men who had been prayed for in the former attempt on Bacon's life, rose with his gun in his hands, and, planting himself in front of the preacher, told the people that he was there to defend Bacon. He stood guard while the minister delivered his sermon, and no violence was attempted. Amid scenes like these the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the first Protestant church of Texas, was planted.

Bacon kept a book in which he took the signatures of all those who claimed to be Christians, and of all others who were willing [266] to enter into a solemn pledge to live a Christian life. As yet, he had no human authority to preach, nor was there in Mexico any Protestant church court to give such authority. Mr. Bacon's work, as Bible agent, was characteristic of pioneer life. He had a pack-horse to carry his books, and bear skins to cover them in rainy weather. His chief difficulty was in crossing the watercourses. When he reached a deep river he went into camp and remained till he could construct a raft which would bear him and his books. That done, he swam his horses over beside his raft, and went on his way again. A number of his private letters written to friends "in the States" show that he made earnest appeals for help. In these letters he says that he found the Mexicans destitute of the Scriptures, and generally eager to be supplied. He seemed to feel no fears of being arrested for distributing the word of God, and always spoke in terms of tender interest about the immortal souls of the people among whom he labored. His circuit was from the Gulf of Mexico to the western border of Texas. He preached and scattered Bibles as he went. The heavens were the roof over his head at night. The prairie grass furnished him forage. Indians, Mexicans, persecuting priests, and rigid laws, bloody assassins, and wild beasts, were all in the hands of his God who sent him to that special field.

Arkansas Presbytery had refused to recognize his special call, but the Great Head of the church raised up another presbytery to enjoy the honor of commissioning him to preach. In 1835 the Rev. Mr. Chase wrote to Mr. Bacon that a Cumberland Presbyterian Presbytery was to be organized at Alexandria, Louisiana, in March, and urged him to attend. Bacon did so. Mr. Chase also attended and made a statement to the presbytery of the peculiar and pressing nature of the case, whereupon the presbytery received Bacon as a candidate for the ministry, licensed, and ordained him all on the same day.(12) Mr. Chase preached the ordination sermon. God not only raised up the man of his own choosing for this work, but he raised up also, in the bosom of the Presbyterian Church, a friend to stand before a Cumberland Presbyterian judicature and [267] plead for a suspension of the educational rules in that particular case. It was with some difficulty that Mr. Chase succeeded in this matter, and the presbytery spread on its minutes a declaration that this case was not to be a precedent in the future. Ah, God rules!

Before Bacon's ordination, some two or three other ministers of other churches had penetrated the wilds of Texas and lent their aid to the good work. They and Bacon often met at camp-meetings, and through their united efforts many souls were brought to a knowledge of Jesus.

Meantime, other features in the plans of the heavenly Father were slowly brought to light. The usurpations of a military despot drove the Texans into revolt. Men from the States rushed to their assistance, and among these was Andrew Jackson McGown, a son of one of Andrew Jackson's old colonels. His parents were then living in Texas, and though he was a probationer for the ministry, going to school, when he heard the cry for help he left school, and books, and native land, and went to join the patriot Texan army. He reached Texas in the darkest period of the revolution. Citizens fleeing in wild dismay from the cruel invader first met him; next the retreating army. All the woe and alarm which such things always involve, greeted him. Casting in his lot with the army he gave his whole heart to the struggle. The books, the songs, the histories, and the oratory of Texas, all dwell fondly on the name of A.J. McGown. One of the Texas poets represents it as the loftiest achievement of any man to pass through such a war with both a soldier's heroism and a Christian's integrity unsullied by a single spot, and then ascribes this high honor to McGown.

His service with the patriots of Texas was in the providence of God a means of fitting him for his special work afterward. The fact that he had shared in the dangers and triumphs on the battlefields of 1835 and 1836 appealed, as nothing else could, to every Texan patriot's heart. All the rest of his days, in his work in the ministry, McGown used the influence thus acquired with wonderful effect. Many a time he visited neighborhoods where mob violence had been used against preachers, but an appeal to his comrades of San Jacinto never failed to call forth daring friends [268] who would protect him from all attacks On one occasion, in a thrilling appeal to his army comrades while "calling mourners," he saw a man who had been an officer in his regiment, rising, and as he advanced saying, "I'll come, Andy, for your sake." McGown cried out, "Stop, stop, not for my sake, but for your poor soul's sake, and for Christ's sake." That day was one of great victory for Christ and his cause. Not even the historic fields of the 21st of April, 1836, can compare with it. The books of earth keep one record, the archives of eternal glory keep the other.

McGown traveled and preached with as much zeal and energy as he had manifested in the struggle for Texan independence, laboring as all other Cumberland Presbyterian preachers on the frontier had to do, without any pay. On one occasion he came to a ferry, but had no money. He told the ferry man that he had a pair of new socks which he would give him for his ferriage. The offer was accepted, and the preacher went on his way rejoicing. On another occasion, his clothing was worn and threadbare. The Rev. S.W. Frazier, who was traveling with him, was also in need of clothing. A gambler, who saw their need, went into a store and bought a suit of clothes for each of the preachers. Thus they were supplied.

In 1836 McGown and Bacon first met. Both of them had their hearts earnestly set on the interests of Christ's kingdom in the Republic of Texas, for the Lone Star banner then floated over that field. A presbytery, a newspaper, and a school were three things which they agreed to work for. To secure the first they attended the meeting of Mississippi Synod, whose jurisdiction extended indefinitely to the south and west. At their request this synod authorized any three ordained ministers of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church who could be got together on Texas soil to organize a presbytery. McGown was not yet ordained. Next year, November 27, 1837, the Rev. Amos Roark of Hatchie Presbytery, and the Rev. Mitchell Smith of Talladega Presbytery, met at the house of the Rev. Sumner Bacon of Louisiana Presbytery, and there constituted the Texas Presbytery.(13) At this first meeting R.O. Watkins was received as a candidate for the ministry. The [269] organized churches of our people then in the Republic were but four in number. One was in eastern Texas, then supposed to be in Arkansas, and was organized by Milton Estill, in 1833, the first in the State. Another was in Sabine County, where the first camp-meeting was held. It was organized by Bacon, in 1836. A third was in the Watkins neighborhood (Nacogdoches) and was organized in 1837. With war still raging, with only three ordained preachers, and four churches, the first presbytery had a dark prospect before it. It however adopted brave and decided measures. It resolved to establish a school and a religious paper, and seek help from the church in the United States. It adopted the platform of total abstinence. Its memorial to the General Assembly asking help, was a document of great ability and earnestness. It sent Amos Roark to the next General Assembly (1838), and that body resolved to send the Rev. Samuel Frazier as missionary to Texas. Roark, accompanied by Frazier, returned to Texas overland, on horseback, holding meetings along the way. In a letter to the church paper, written on this long journey, they say that in every place people bade them farewell with tears, imploring God's blessings on their labors in that distant field.

Before the Texas Presbytery was organized, the Rev. Robert Tate; one of the most devoted of Tennessee's young preachers, resolved to make Texas his home. This young man had property enough to enable him to preach without pay, and it is said he uniformly refused to accept any compensation for his preaching. His was a wonderful religious experience. After thrilling adventures in a life of sin, he had been almost miraculously rescued by divine grace. He went to Texas in 1835. He spent less than a year preaching as an itinerant missionary in that country when his financial interests called him back to Tennessee. After transacting this business he started on his long journey back to the land of his adoption, but died on his way, September 17, 1837. Tate was not the only pioneer preacher in that field who was called to heaven after a very brief season of toil. Samuel W. Frazier entered on his work there, and died the same year at Houston, December 9, 1838.

That year also witnessed the accession of two more ordained [270] preachers to the Texas Presbytery. These were James McDonnold and Milton Moore. In those days the journey to Texas from any of the Eastern States was a very different thing from what it is today. There were two routes, one by river and Gulf, and then by ox wagons; the other overland in ox wagons all the way. Emigrants generally chose the latter route. Santa Anna, while a prisoner, had acknowledged the independence of Texas, but Mexico refused to abide by the acts of a prisoner. War was not over. Indians and Mexicans made common cause, and the Comanches were more dreaded than the Mexicans. When James McDonnold started from Tennessee to Texas great crowds of people gathered to see the family take their departure. He had a large circle of kin besides numerous church friends whom his preaching had won. His eldest son was with Houston's armies, and stories of battle and blood were still coming from that land which was farther off than British India is today. When the ox wagons began to creak along the highway, bearing our friends away, it was to us who were left behind very much like seeing them led to execution. Everybody was weeping. On McDonnold's arrival in Texas he entered on his old life--"a circuit rider." With a large family to support, he yet managed to give himself to the work of the ministry.

One measure adopted by the Texas Presbytery at its second meeting had in it the ring of 1800. In the vast destitution which that pioneer field presented, the presbytery resolved to send out elders to help to organize churches. Another fact shows the character of the times and the dangers to which these pioneers were exposed. At one time the place appointed for the meeting of the presbytery was invaded by the Indians, and the whole settlement broken up, so that a called meeting had to be held to select another place. Along with this fact is another of similar significance.R.O. Watkins had a regular circuit assigned him. The whole circuit was invaded by Mexicans and Indians and the settlers all driven off. Watkins being unable to pursue his circuit work, went to Mississippi and entered school. Still another incident sheds light of the same character. In 1840 the presbytery was to meet at Fort Houston. When the time for the meeting arrived, it [271] was considered necessary for all the members to arm themselves and travel in a body, like a band of soldiers, for mutual protection At this meeting of the presbytery, R.O. Watkins was ordained. This was the first ordination of a minister by Protestants on Texas soil. At the same meeting Watkins' horse got away and he had to walk home, a distance of eighty miles, through a country over which hostile Indians were constantly roaming. He traveled mostly by night.

Meantime, other valuable men were joining the ranks of Texas Cumberland Presbyterians. The Rev. J.M. Foster, and the Rev. F.E. Foster, natives of Wilson County, Tennessee, but Missourians by adoption, arrived in Texas in 1841, and spent the rest of their days in labors for the church in that country.

There was a period of great darkness to the members of this solitary presbytery. Warlike invasions, and other difficulties, drove them to the verge of despair. Roark went back to the United States.A.J. McGown went also, but expected to return. His mission was to seek aid for Texas, and especially to try to raise money to start a newspaper: Some powerful appeals for help were at that time published by Texas preachers. They said that other churches were sustaining several missionaries there, while the little band of Cumberland Presbyterian pioneers were left without help. They did not complain of their own hardships, but pleaded that others should be sent and sustained. Very little, however, was ever done by the church through its boards or General Assembly toward planting missions in that country.

In 1841 McGown returned to Texas. God wonderfully blessed the meetings held by Cumberland Presbyterians in different parts of that Republic. It was like life from the dead. The Texas Presbytery, after being ready to disband, was now ready to extend its work. In 1842 it asked for and obtained the order for the formation of Texas Synod. This synod was organized in March, 1843. It was made up of the Texas Presbytery, whose members were Sumner Bacon, Milton Moore, Milton Estill, and R.O. Watkins; the Red River Presbytery, whose members were Mitchell Smith, James McDonnold, Robert Wilkerson, and Samuel Corley; and the Colorado Presbytery, whose members were A.J. [272] McGown, J.M. Foster, and F.E. Foster. In 1837 our people had three preachers and four churches in Texas. In 1842 there were three presbyteries and eleven ministers; and churches, which had been planted amid the horrors of a civil war, had grown up in all parts of the Republic.

It will be seen from this little sketch that Cumberland Presbyterians had the start of all other Protestants on Texas soil. They had the first preacher, the first camp-meeting, the first church judicature, and the first religious newspaper in that field. Texas, made a State of the Union in 1846, with a territory sufficient to sustain over thirty millions of people, with soil of unsurpassed fertility, and resources varied and inexhaustible, with a rapidly growing population, is an inviting field for our people. Among the martyrs who died to rescue this country from Mexican misrule were the sons of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church; and the ministers of this church were with the patriots at San Jacinto. Our people have historic and traditional advantages which ought to give them ready access to the hearts of Texans as long as the Alamo and San Jacinto are remembered.


1821 to 1827. Colonization by Missourians and other Anglo-Saxons.
1828. Bacon preaches the first Protestant sermon in Texas.
1833. Bacon, assisted by a Methodist preacher, holds the first camp-meeting.
1835. Bacon ordained in Louisiana. The revolution begins.
1836. Independence declared. McGown arrives.
1837. Texas Presbytery organized. Arrival of Roark and Smith.
1838. McDonnold, Frazier, and Moore arrive. Frazier dies.
1839. Dark period. Invasions.
1840. Roark returns to the United States. Watkins ordained.
1841. The Fosters arrive. Great revival.
1842. Organization of Texas Synod ordered.
1846. Texas annexed to the United States.






In1829 a Presbyterian minister who held and taught the doctrine of a general atonement lived on Ten Mile Creek, Washington County, Pennsylvania. His name was Jacob Lindley. In the same presbytery was another minister with equally liberal views about the provisions of divine grace. His name was Cornelius Loughran. The churches of these two men shared in these views, as did several other Presbyterian Churches in western Pennsylvania. When the outline of Cumberland Presbyterian doctrines appeared in Buck's Theological Dictionary, many of these people read it with intense interest.

Two agents for Cumberland College, the Rev. M.H. Bone and the Rev. John W. Ogden, whose commission embraced the whole United States, extended their labors into western Pennsylvania. They began their mission in June, 1829. Smith's history says of them:

They spent the following summer and autumn in the State of Ohio and in western Pennsylvania, preaching with power and demonstration of the Spirit, especially in Ohio, where through their instrumentality many souls found redemption. Their mission paved the way for the opening of a door for extensive usefulness to the church in Ohio, western Pennsylvania, and New York. In January, 1831, by request of a congregation of Presbyterians in Washington county, Pennsylvania, five of its members wrote a letter to the president of Cumberland College, stating that they had lately heard of the existence of the Cumberland Presbyterians in the West, that they had examined, in Buck's The [274] ological Dictionary, the brief expose of their doctrines and discipline. which the congregation sincerely approved; that although they were members of the Presbyterian Church, they could not adopt the whole of its Confession of Faith, and were solicitous to become better acquainted with the CumberLand Presbyterians, who were viewed by them as their brethren in Christ Jesus. They requested that the president should adopt some measures to provide them, at least for a short time, with the ministrations of a Cumberland Presbyterian missionary. Mr. Cossitt informed them that he would lay their case before the next General Assembly, and urge upon that body to meet with their wishes on the subject. To this the committee replied: "Immediately on the receipt of yours, we called a meeting of the congregation, and, having read your letter to them, they expressed their gratification at the prospect of becoming better acquainted with the Cumberland Presbyterian ministers. They entreated us to continue our correspondence with you, and to renew the request that your Assembly would send us a missionary for a short time. Should you succeed, we wish you to inform us as early as possible; and, if practicable, we are solicitous for him to reach here by the first of June, which will enable us (should we agree with you in faith and practice) to obtain our dismission from the Presbyterian Church at the session of presbytery which meets about the middle of that month. We are also authorized to state that our minister heartily approves of our procedure, and will with us attach himself to your body as soon as an opportunity offers.(14) We think that nine tenths of our sister congregations of the Presbyterian Church believe as we do, and for some time, especially since two of your preachers were in Washington, an anxious desire has been manifested by them to become better acquainted with your ministry. Many who make no profession of religion are solicitous for your ministers to operate in this country; and we believe that if your Assembly will send us one or more zealous preachers, they will prove a great blessing to the church of Christ. We do request that you will press the matter upon the General Assembly with as much ardor as possible."

These documents, together with others of the same nature from the western section of the State of New York, were laid before the General Assembly of 1831. The Assembly viewed these pressing calls as an intimation that the Head of the Church was opening a more extensive field of labor to the Cumberland Presbyterian ministry, and appointed Alexander Chapman, Robert Donnell, Reuben Burrow, John Morgan, and A.M. Bryan missionaries to visit the congregations that had applied for the ministrations of Cumberland Presbyterians. Imme [275] diately after their appointment, Chapman, Morgan, and Bryan proceeded to western Pennsylvania. Donnell and Burrow passed through North Carolina and Virginia, and in the autumn met the others in the vicinity of Washington, Pennsylvania. An extract from a letter to Mr. Cossitt from a member of the Pennsylvania congregation that had applied for a Cumberland Presbyterian missionary, exhibits the reception of the missionaries by that people, and the success of their first labors: "Messrs. Chapman, Bryan, and Morgan reached us about three weeks ago, and were received with joy and thankfulness. Their first business was to declare their doctrinal views. This they did with such clearness and perspicuity, that almost all who heard them appeared to be convinced that their peculiarities were founded on the word of God, and none were disposed to controvert. Having declared their peculiar views, they dropped non-essentials, and commenced preaching Christ and him crucified. This they did with such power and demonstration of the Spirit, that many were cut to the heart. At the close of the sixth sermon preached by them, Mr. Morgan invited all who desired to obtain an interest in the blood of Christ, to distinguish themselves by meeting him before the stand, and to our astonishment forty-two went forward, and at this time more than a hundred have thus distinguished themselves. God has often revived his work among us here, but we have never before witnessed any thing to compare with the blessed work which is now in progress among us through the instrumentality of these missionaries from the West."

John Morgan gives this account of the work:

Messrs. Bryan and Morgan, after visiting and preaching at many points on the way, reached Washington, Pennsylvania, July 14, 1831. At this time there was not a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in any part of the State of Pennsylvania. The Methodist brethren received us kindly, to some of whom we had introductory letters from the Rev. C. Cook, a Methodist preacher then stationed in Wheeling, Virginia. We preached several sermons in the Methodist Episcopal church in Washington, then under the pastoral care of the Rev. John Waterman, who received and treated us in a most courteous and Christian manner. Nothing of special interest occurred at this time under the preaching at Washington. In a few days a committee from those persons who had written to Dr. Cossitt asking for missionaries waited on us, and told us an appointment had been published for one of us to preach on Wednesday, the 20th of July, in the afternoon, at a small church belonging to the Methodists, called Mount Zion, about twelve miles from Washington. Mr. Bryan was now quite unwell. Mr. Morgan accompanied the committee to the place appointed, where [276] we found a large and promiscuous crowd of people, all anxious to hear what these Cumberland Presbyterian preachers would say. The Rev. Jacob Lindley, then pastor of a Presbyterian Church in that neighborhood, was present, and after receiving an introduction to "the strange preacher," was invited to take a seat in the pulpit, which he did very cordially. During the sermon there was nothing remarkable but a fixedness of attention on the part of every hearer, and many tears from many eyes, which bespoke the searching influence of gospel truth. Mr. Lindley closed the meeting with an unusually feeling and powerful prayer, the tears streaming from his eyes all the time.

An appointment was then made for preaching the next Sabbath in a sugar camp in that neighborhood. We had no meeting-houses of course; and, indeed, if we had had, unless they had been large enough to cover from a half acre to an acre of ground, they would have been of but little use to us, so large were the crowds that attended. Sabbath came, and the people from all directions came pouring into the sugar camp, a most delightful and beautiful spot, and one now dear to many hearts from the recollection of what it pleased the Lord to do for them in that place.

By this time Father Chapman had reached us, who was a most precious instrument in the hands of God in winning souls to Christ. Our hearts were cheered by this valuable accession of ministerial help. Mr. Bryan was still unable to preach, though convalescent, and in a few days was able to join our feeble band.

The hour for preaching arrived. Mr. Morgan preached, and was succeeded by Mr. Chapman immediately with another sermon. During the preaching a deep solemnity pervaded the vast assembly. All was still and orderly however, only that one lady fell from her seat as if she had fainted. Dr. B----, being on the ground, was called to her, but was unable to determine the nature of her disease--a strong mark of the doctor's discriminating medical judgment--for, indeed, it was a case which demanded the presence and skill of the Physician of souls, to whom she made fervent application in prayer, and was made every whit whole.

In the afternoon of that day we preached at a private house (Mr. Marsh's), where the mighty power of the Holy Ghost was realized by all present. Christians were melted into penitence and thankfulness, many of the unconverted were cut to the heart, and some cried out, "Sirs, what must we do to be saved." It was manifest the Lord had begun a great and good work among the people. We continued preaching from house to house and grove to grove every day during the whole week, and convictions multiplied daily in every direction.

The people in the neighborhood had enjoyed religious instruction [277] under Presbyterian influence during all their lives. No people could be more opposed to noisy excitements than they were. . . . Their exercises were not the result of education in favor of such things, but of the mighty power of the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.

Many of the ministers and members of the Presbyterian Church had received information that we were coming to this country, and had taken timely measures to prevent their people from hearing us preach. But this only increased their anxiety to hear what we had to say, and go they would. One would be the means of another's going. All who went seemed to have their prejudices greatly abated, and became more and more anxious to go again, and to have others go. The very means intended to hedge up our way only tended to build us up, and taught us this very important lesson, that gag laws and proscriptive acts will never answer the purposes of those who enact them among a free people. They tend directly to promote the things they are intended to defeat.

The first Presbyterian minister to open his church to the missionaries was the Rev. Mr. Dodd, of "the Brick church." He had heard them preach, and he gave them a hearty invitation to hold a meeting in his congregation. Many members of this church afterward joined the Cumberland Presbyterians. Philip and Luther Axtell, both faithful and beloved ministers of our church in western Pennsylvania, were sons of one of these members.(15) It is said that when a large part of this flock joined "the heretics," and the Presbyterian congregation ceased to exist, the remnant preferred tearing down the house to letting the Cumberland Presbyterians use it.

The next invitation came from Jacob Lindley, of Ten Mile. The meeting in Mr. Lindley's congregation is minutely described by Mr. Morgan. When "mourners" were called for, seventy-five responded. Some of the old elders began to oppose the work, but the pastor encouraged the missionaries. Mr. Morgan says:

In the arrangement for preaching on Monday Mr. Chapman was appointed to occupy the pulpit at 11 o'clock A.M. He preached from the text, "Strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." His manner was naturally agreeable, his person dignified and commanding, his voice clear, strong, and musical. He seldom preached without leaving a deep sense of religious [278] awe upon the minds of his hearers, but on this occasion he far surpassed himself. He became awfully sublime in his descriptions of the sinner's danger and of the love of God in Christ to a perishing world. The house was large, and crowded full of people. Every eye was fixed on the preacher during the whole discourse; every heart melted; not one careless person could be seen in all the crowd. The service closed very happily, leaving a favorable impression on every heart.

After a recess of thirty minutes or more the people came together again. Mr. Morgan was to preach. After reading a hymn he remarked that some thought the anxious had been called forward the evening before under too much excitement; and to prevent this charge being made again, he was going to invite them forward at the very commencement of the service, before singing or prayer, and without making any appeal to their feelings. The seats being prepared, one hundred and two came forward. A more moving scene has seldom been witnessed. When their sons and daughters and neighbors of all ages, from the children of but ten to men and women of seventy years of age, from the most intelligent and moral down to the most ignorant and profligate, were seen deliberately coming forward in the public assembly deeply affected with a sense of their lost condition, even many of those who had found fault before now melted and said, "It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good." A most powerful and general revival of religion ensued. Hundreds were hopefully converted to God, and Christians of different sects were revived and stirred up to take a deep and lively interest in the promotion of the Redeemer's kingdom.

In regard to the formation of the first Cumberland Presbyterian Church in that State Mr. Morgan says:

After having preached some time, and the work having progressed to a considerable extent, those individuals who had applied for missionaries to be sent desired the formation of a church. To this the ministers replied, "We do not expect to remain in this country; we wish to return South." This, however, was strongly objected to, and the strongest appeals made to induce them to remain. To this they did not consent until late in the fall of 1831.

The first church was organized on the 18th of August, 1831. The appointment had been previously made for preaching and the organization of the church. Many people came, some from a considerable distance: some to join the church, and others to see who would join. The service was held in a beautiful grove on the premises of William Stockdale, Washington County, Pennsylvania. The minister arose and read this beautiful text, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." [279] When he closed his sermon, it seemed that all present had imbibed the sentiment expressed by the apostle. I do not now remember the number who associated themselves together at this meeting as a church, but the number was large, and the promptness and zeal manifested showed that they were in good earnest, and understood what they were doing. This little band grew rapidly in numbers, zeal, and usefulness.

The circumstances under which this church was organized were truly trying. Think of a people publicly adopting the religious views of a denomination which they had but very recently known, and against which rumor, with her ten thousand tongues, was scattering abroad every kind of slander that prejudice and bigotry could invent. Add to this the fact that there was not another congregation of the same church within five hundred miles, and it will be plain that it required strong faith and unshaken confidence in God, and in the power of his truth, which they believed they were adopting, to enable them to take the step they did.

Mr. Morgan describes the first camp-meeting held by our missionaries in Pennsylvania in these words:

Cases of deep awakening had become so numerous, and the subjects were so remote from each other, that the missionaries thought best to propose holding a camp-meeting as the best method of getting them together, and of bringing them more directly and effectually under the influence of the means of grace. But the idea of a camp-meeting was shocking to most of the people in that neighborhood. They urged that it would be impolitic--look too much like the Methodists. Such meetings, in their opinion, were calculated to produce disorder in worship, and bring religion into disrepute. To this the missionaries replied that there was nothing peculiar in camp-meetings further than the fact that the people stay on the ground and do not return home after one service is over; that there was nothing in this calculated to produce disorder, that it was this remaining on the ground, secluded from domestic and worldly cares, worldly company and influences, which give camp-meetings their chief advantage over other meetings; that more people could be thus brought together and kept on the spot where the means of grace are brought to bear directly and continuously upon the mind. They insisted that, under proper regulations, camp-meetings might he conducted with as good order and as much religious dignity as any other. After many meetings and much conversation on the subject, it was decided to hold a camp-meeting. The first Sunday in September, 1831, was the time agreed on. The people went to the ground to make the necessary preparations. The pulpit was erected of boards, and made large enough to contain nearly a dozen persons. Before it seats for [280] the accommodation of many hundreds were arranged. Tents made of logs, boards, and canvas were arranged so as to form a hollow square of about an acre of ground. Two hundred and fifty families tented on the ground, one hundred wagons and carriages stood round the encampment. The services commenced on Thursday evening with a lecture on the duties of Christians on such occasions. Friday was observed as a day for fasting and prayer. The services from the beginning were unusually interesting and solemn. Christians were in the spirit, and abounded in prayer. The irreligious were attentive, and scores of anxious souls who had been awakened before came here to ask what they must do to be saved, and to seek an interest in the blood of Christ. The power of the Lord was present to heal, and there were happy conversions at the commencement of the meeting. The concourse grew larger every day until Sunday, when the number present was estimated at from five to seven thousand people. We have attended many meetings, but this surpassed any we had seen. Several times when the anxious were invited forward, two hundred and fifty were counted on the seats at one time. Not one light, trifling countenance was to be seen in all the crowd. Convictions for sin were more general, deeper, and more rational than we had ever before noticed, and conversions were the clearest, and attended with the most overwhelming joy and peace. It was common to see persons of age and intelligence, overwhelmed by a sense of their sins, in the deepest anguish of soul as if they could not possibly live. From this sad and affecting state they would seem all of a sudden to awake into light and life and joy the most ecstatic and indescribable. We can never recur to those blessed scenes but with the deepest emotions.

Three hundred conversions were reported to the church paper at the time. Jacob Lindley, who was a Presbyterian, says(16) that the missionaries had such a hold upon the sympathies of the young converts that nearly all of them would have joined the Cumberland Presbyterian Church had the opportunity then and there been given; and that, in view of this fact, the missionaries proposed the plan of waiting four weeks, and then having the officers of all the cooperating congregations meet the converts at Mr. Lindley's church for the purpose of receiving members. As a large number of the converts were members of Mr. Lindley's Sunday School, this measure saved his congregation from heavy loss. In four weeks all had time to think soberly, and Mr. Lindley received one [281] hundred of the converts into his church. According to Mr. Lindley this was not the only time that these missionaries might easily have taken advantage of the tide of popular sympathy and carried whole congregations into the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He mentions four other instances in which they refused to take such advantage, and he testifies most earnestly to their disinterested love of souls, and their freedom from all partisan and sectarian motives. He wrote this testimony while he was still a member of the Presbyterian Church, and he says that he had no expectations at that time of ever becoming a Cumberland Presbyterian.

The foregoing description of this first Pennsylvania camp-meeting was published by Mr. Morgan in 1840. There is another account of these events which was written by Mr. Morgan, and published in the church paper the same year in which they occurred. There is also a manuscript account of this meeting written by Reuben Burrow. From these sources we learn that the meeting continued seven days, and that such crowds of people gathered on Sunday that no one man's voice could reach them all. Though the services were out of doors, yet two sermons were preached simultaneously. Donnell preached at the stand where there were seats, and Morgan under the trees where no seats were prepared.

Among other interesting incidents Mr. Morgan tells about the conversion of an old man who just before the beginning of this camp-meeting became so violent in his opposition to the missionaries, and so enraged because some members of his family had joined the Cumberland Presbyterians, that in a drunken fit he attempted to kill his wife. With his gun in his hand he drove the family away from home, and remained for three days alone in his house raging and blaspheming. But at the end of this time he sent for his family to return, and, to their astonishment, they found him praying. He asked to be taken to the camp-meeting, which was to begin the next day. He was unable to walk, but supported by his two sons he appeared on the camp-ground early in the morning before the services began. He went to the preachers' tent and implored their forgiveness, begging them to pray for him. He professed conversion that day, and soon afterward joined [282] the church, and continued a consistent and worthy Christian until his death.

This first camp-meeting was held in the neighborhood of the church now known as Concord. When this camp-meeting was just beginning, Burrow and Donnell arrived. Burrow was sick, but Donnell preached throughout the meeting. There are old people still living who describe his wonderful discourses, quoting the very texts and giving many of the main points of the sermons. Several of these aged members seem to be deeply imbued with the spirit which reigned in that first camp-meeting. This church is not on the same spot where the meeting in the grove of sugar trees was held, but is in the same neighborhood. This first camp-meeting silenced all the objections to such meetings, and another was soon held in another neighborhood.

This incident is related about Burrow. He and Donnell made an agreement that if either one felt specially impressed to preach on some particular subject when the other happened to be the one appointed to preach, the fact was to be made known, and the one appointed to preach was to give way. While they were in Pennsylvania, Burrow was appointed to preach on a certain day. All the morning, in prayer and study, he had struggled in vain to get hold of some text, some old sermon or new sermon which he could take an interest in, but every thing was dark. He could not decide on any text. In this state of mind he went into the pulpit. The introductory services were over, and he rose to his feet, but still utterly in the dark as to what his text or sermon should be. He opened the Bible and began reading a chapter, his heart crying meanwhile to God for some gleam of light. While he was reading, Donnell pulled him by the coat, and said: "Reuben, I think God wants me to preach today." Burrow said afterward that if ever his heart went out to God in thanksgiving it was then; and that of all the many powerful sermons he had heard Robert Donnell preach, that was the most powerful.(17) All the first Cumberland Presbyterian preachers believed that God gave special indications of his will in such matters, and they were very careful to obey those indications.

[283] There were enough of the missionaries to hold meetings simultaneously in different places. The Rev. A.M. Bryan was the first to work in Pittsburg. No church was opened to him; but he preached on the streets and elsewhere, and soon won many friends. In the church paper, The Religious and Literary Intelligencer, the missionaries gave regular reports of their work. There were reported by them for the whole period of their first mission, June to November, 1831, about eight hundred conversions. These letters state that the only obstacle in the way of forming Cumberland Presbyterian congregations throughout that field was the impossibility of supplying them with preaching. Two of the missionaries had made up their minds to make Pennsylvania their permanent home, and the number of churches was limited by this scanty prospect for the means of grace. The congregations organized were one at Washington with fifty members, one twelve miles from Washington with two hundred members, another in Washington county with forty members, and another in the town of Jefferson with fifty-two members.(18)

The Rev. Mr. Loughran, who preached the doctrine of a general atonement, had ministered to the Presbyterians of Waynesburg. He afterward became a Cumberland Presbyterian. In November, 1831, Mr. Morgan, just before he returned temporarily to the South, and after the other missionaries had gone, assisted Bryan in a meeting in Waynesburg, and they organized a small church in that place. It had but twenty-two members.

In the autumn of 1831, Burrow, Donnell, and Chapman returned to the South. Morgan remained till late in December, and then he returned. Bryan was now alone, but before December passed away the Rev. Milton Bird arrived. The reports published by the missionaries had stirred the whole church. Mr. Bryan had made up his mind to make Pennsylvania his permanent field of labor, and although Morgan went South in December, it was only to make his arrangements for a permanent settlement in Pennsylvania.

All the missionaries jointly addressed a letter to Green River [284] Synod, whose jurisdiction extended indefinitely northward, praying for the organization of a presbytery in Pennsylvania. This letter was sent to the synod before the missionaries left that State. It was published October 20, 1831. In the same month Green River Synod passed the order for the formation of the presbytery. It was at first called Washington, and included the States of New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Its original members were to be William Harris, Alexander Chapman, A.M. Bryan, and Milton Bird. Friday before the first Sabbath in May, 1832, was set for its first meeting. That Chapman and Harris went horseback from Kentucky to Pennsylvania, simply to constitute this presbytery, and that they did so at their own expense, was nothing at all remarkable then. The Rev. S.M. Aston was also at this meeting with his letter ready to join the presbytery as soon as it was organized. It was his purpose, also, to make this field his permanent home.

In the manuscript autobiography of the Rev. Lee Roy Woods is an interesting account of Mr. Morgan's efforts to secure help for Pennsylvania. Morgan visited the presbyteries pleading for men. His zeal was a flaming fire. He had long private conferences with the young preachers on this subject. With arguments, appeals, and tears he labored to enlist recruits for the Pennsylvania work. The Rev. S.M. Sparks and the Rev. Lee Roy Woods finally consented to accompany Mr. Morgan. The Assembly of 1832 commissioned all three of these men to go as missionaries to Pennsylvania.

We have in Mr. Woods' manuscript another glimpse of the habits of that time. He bought horse, saddle, and bridle on a credit, borrowed money for traveling expenses, and, on the 4th day of June, 1832, he and his comrades set out on their long journey. They reached their destination on the 7th of July. Mr. Woods was appointed to preach to the Greene County churches, and he puts on record his grateful acknowledgment of the liberality of this people--especially those of Carmichaels. His debts back in Tennessee were promptly paid, and all his financial wants fully provided for. Mr. Woods also puts on record a noble tribute to his wife's helpfulness to him in all his ministerial life. She was a [285] daughter of the Rev. Jacob Lindley. Mr. Woods married her after he went to Pennsylvania. He gained that, as well as other benefits, by his mission.

The manuscript autobiography of the Rev. Jacob Lindley shows what were his own relations to this mission. He had been president of the University of Ohio; but in 1831 was the pastor of a very large country church in western Pennsylvania. He says that he had heard the statement often that the "Cumberlands" and "Schismatics," or "New Lights," were the same body. He had met with the Schismatics, and had no use for them. When, therefore, he learned that missionaries from the Cumberland Presbyterian Church were to hold meetings in his country, and within reach of the lambs of his flock, he was filled with alarm. That the missionaries were men of power only increased his apprehensions. He determined to prepare for battle. First, he took up the records of his own General Assembly and other works, and studied the history of the case. This study amazed him. The "Cumberlands" and "New Lights" had nothing in common. They originated in different parts of the country, at different times, and had never affiliated. They were not alike in doctrines, polity, or history. The Cumberland Presbyterians, he was surprised to find, had a Confession of Faith. He had been told that they denounced all human creeds. What still more surprised him was that they held that very same system of doctrines which he had avowed to his presbytery, at the time of his ordination, thirty years before, and which he had been preaching ever since without any charge of heresy being brought against him. Still more, he saw clearly that the final cause of the separation of the "Cumberlands" from his church was an unconstitutional usurpation of a presbytery's rights. He was puzzled.

When he met the missionaries and heard them preach he could find nothing to condemn in their doctrine or their methods, but was, on the contrary, fully convinced that they sought only God's glory, and would never harm a single lamb of his flock. Morgan especially won him. He took the missionaries to his own house and joined his session in inviting them to preach in his church. He gives us a full account of the meeting which they proceeded [286] to hold, and mentions some gray-headed infidels who were brought under the power of the gospel. After the camp-meeting, in which Mr. Lindley cooperated, the missionaries held a second series of meetings in his church, in which there were nearly a hundred converts.

When Mr. Lindley went to the meeting of his presbytery that fall he took Mr. Morgan with him. The presbytery gave him and Morgan both the "cold shoulder." When ministerial reports were called for, Mr. Lindley was questioned very closely about his cooperation with "excommunicated heretics." When he, in his answers, quoted a passage from the Cumberland Presbyterian Confession of Faith, the moderator stopped him, saying, "They have no Confession of Faith, but denounce all such things." Mr. Lindley produced a copy, greatly to the moderator' s confusion. When attention was called to the action of the Presbyterian General Assembly of 1825, in which intercourse with Cumberland Presbyterians was placed on the same footing as intercourse with other evangelical denominations, the moderator and the members generally denied that there had ever been any such action. Mr. Lindley then produced the Minutes of that Assembly, and had the words referring to this subject read. The moderator said he felt it to be the duty of all good Presbyterians to scout those heretical fanatics from the face of the earth. The presbytery then passed an order directing "the session of Upper Ten Mile congregation to close the doors against Cumberland preachers." A committee was also appointed to visit this congregation with a view to bringing it to order.

Mr. Lindley says he still had not formed the purpose of joining the Cumberland Presbyterians, but was in favor of appealing to higher courts, feeling sure that the General Assembly would set matters right. The course pursued by the committee which visited his church, taken in connection with the fact that there were among his people many anxious inquirers after salvation, finally led both him and his congregation to go together into the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. That church is now called Bethel. The fruit of its Presbyterian training is still seen in Bethel congregation, as also in Concord. They keep a pastor, and pay him.

[287] But they show also the true revival spirit which belonged to Morgan and Chapman. Old Presbyterian training, grafted on Cumberland Presbyterian zeal, makes the very best church members. Pennsylvania and Ohio furnish examples of our noblest congregations. These are, all of them, of Presbyterian antecedents.

Jacob Lindley found in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church his own sphere of usefulness, and he worked among the people with marked success until the day of his death. The second wife of the Rev. Robert Donnell was his daughter. Dear "Aunt Clara," loved by many in all parts of the church, sought by the young people for her genial company, sought by true Christians for her holy counsels, sought by ministers for her wide knowledge of church affairs, has bequeathed a sacredness to the name of Athens, Alabama, where she lived and died, and has left a pattern from which Christian womanhood may take many a lesson. Mr. Lindley's other daughters were all noble Christian women. His son went to Africa as missionary. Mr. Lindley's book called, "Infant Philosophy" is a valuable treatise on the right mode of training children. It ought to be republished.

The church at Carmichaels, organized August 20, 1832, has ever been one of the most active of our congregations. Greene Academy, the first Cumberland Presbyterian Church school in Pennsylvania, was located there. This congregation has from the first kept its own pastor. It has done much for missions, and is still liberal in its gifts for this purpose. An exceptionally long pastorate, for Cumberland Presbyterians, was that of the Rev. I.N. Carey. He served this congregation for sixteen years.

The missionaries who remained in Pennsylvania soon had encouraging intimations of accessions to their force, and they went on organizing churches all through the western part of the State. Uniontown was one of these pioneer congregations. It was a sort of mother of churches. It still flourishes. The dust of John Morgan sleeps there. A college, once under the control of our people but never owned by them, was located there. Many of our good men have served that church as pastor.

Rev. J.T.A. Henderson(19) relates the following incident which [288] occurred while he was serving as pastor here: He frequently visited in the home of an infidel whose family attended the church. This man would leave the house whenever he saw the preacher coming, but finally his poor health made it necessary for him to stay in the room during these visits. The preacher came and went several times without saying any thing to him on religious subjects, but at last ventured to ask him his views. The reply was that there was no truth in Christianity. The Bible, he said, was full of contradictions. Tom Paine had proved that abundantly. Mr. Henderson asked him to point out some of these contradictions. He replied that he would hunt them up and show them at the preacher's next visit. The next visit came and the contradictions had not yet been found. The man was confident, however, that he would find them by the time the preacher came again. At the next visit the preacher asked him if he had yet found them. He said he had not, but he had found out that the Bible was a searcher of men's hearts and lives. It had shown him that he was a miserable, lost sinner. He was sure now that the book was from God. In a short time this man became an earnest Christian.

This account is given of the origin of Hopewell congregation, Fayette County. The Methodists had a church named Hopewell, and they invited the missionaries to preach there. Bryan and Bird sent an appointment, and great multitudes attended. The pastor of a neighboring Presbyterian congregation was present, but refused to be introduced to the missionaries. Several sermons were preached, and very pressing invitations were given the missionaries to make another visit. In about six weeks two of them came back, and their preaching was so popular that the Presbyterian elders felt constrained, by public opinion, to invite them to preach in their church. When the hour came for this service in the Presbyterian Church the pastor took a back seat and still refused to be introduced to the visiting preachers. After some moments of painful suspense, Aaron Baird, uncle of A.J. Baird, whispered to one of the missionaries, "you had as well be killed for an old sheep as a lamb. Knock all the hard points of Calvinism to pieces today." Then Mr. Ebenezer Finley, one of the elders, took Mr. Bryan by the arm and led him to the pulpit, and [289] placing a silver dollar in the preacher's hand said, "We want you to preach your own doctrine today and not feel the least restraint about it." An old man, describing that sermon many years afterward, said that although he had been reared a "Seceder" of the straightest pattern, he was fully convinced before Bryan closed that discourse, that Christ died for every man. In a short time the missionaries were urged by the new converts to organize a church in that neighborhood. This was done; and, in honor of the liberality of the Methodist Hopewell, the new Cumberland Presbyterian Church was named Hopewell also.

The Rev. J.T.A. Henderson, who served as pastor of the Hopewell church for many years, states in his manuscript autobiography that his relations with this congregation were ever pleasant, and all his salary was promptly paid. He names, also, some men in this and the Salem congregation who, he says, were the purest men and the best Christians he ever knew. This he writes after a sojourn on earth of over eighty years.

While the revival in which the Hopewell church had its origin was in progress, the missionaries were invited to hold meetings in the neighboring town of Brownsville. Bryan and Bird accepted the invitation, and spent two days there. Bird preached in the forenoon of the first day in the Methodist Episcopal church; Bryan preached in the evening. Crowds of people left their work to attend the services. A large number of penitents crowded the altar. The next day the services were held in the Episcopal church. During these two days many of the leading people of the town professed faith in Christ. No effort, however, was made to organize a congregation. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church at this place was not organized until more than twelve years afterward, September, 1844.

In his missionary work, the Rev. A.M. Bryan(20) visited Meadville, Pennsylvania, to hold meetings. Not only were the churches and other public buildings closed against him, but the Presbyterian minister and some others canvassed the town from house to house to persuade the people not to give the "heretic" a hearing They denied that Bryan had any right to preach or hold [290] services. Not at all moved by such opposition, he held his meetings, partly on the streets, and partly in a private house. There were a great multitude of conversions, and Bryan organized a church with ninety-three members. Unfortunately, however, there was no preacher to place in charge of such a flock.

The Pittsburg church was organized by the missionaries in 1833, John Morgan officiating. The Rev. A.M. Bryan spent the best part of his life as pastor of this church. His ashes sleep there. From time to time Mr. Bryan reported in the church papers interesting revivals in his congregation. At one of these there were two hundred converts. If it be true that the poet is born, not made, it is equally true that A.M. Bryan was born a preacher and not made one. It is wonderful how any man, with no broad scholarship, could have had the pure style, the clear thoughts, the fine resources which Dr. Bryan always had in the pulpit.

An anecdote, which still lingers about the home of Bryan's boyhood, is pertinent in this connection. When, as a candidate for the ministry, he was called on for his first trial discourse, he stated that he had no sermon, that he could not write one That was in the days of authority, and the brows of the grave fathers portended a storm. It was expected that the boy would be treated as the sailors treated Jonah. Before the fatal vote was taken, his mother, who sat looking on with alarm, said to one of the preachers, "I tell you the boy can preach if he can't write. Appoint a time and hear him try." It is said that the appointment was made, and the boy preached with such earnestness and fervor as to make all the reverend ecclesiastics weep. So he was retained on the roll of candidates. From that day to the day of his death A.M. Bryan never lost his power to move the hearts of all his hearers, old or young, lay or clerical. The Pittsburg church was his life's best work.

When the Pennsylvania Presbytery met in October, 1833, it had twelve ordained ministers, three licensed preachers, and seven candidates. It had seventeen congregations and two thousand eight hundred members. Every preacher belonging to the presbytery then "living of the gospel." The records of no other [291] presbytery in the church furnish an instance like this. In the minutes of some of the presbyteries the record might be truthfully made that none of their preachers have ever lived of the gospel.

On the 17th day of October, 1841, in the thirty-sixth year of his age, and the fourteenth of his ministry, the Rev. John Morgan passed through the golden gates to his Father's house. Of his work in Pennsylvania, Dr. Bird says "he traveled through the country like a flame of fire." Aged Christians who were converted under Mr. Morgan's first preaching in Alabama, still live and hold his memory in a reverence as sacred even as that felt for him in Pennsylvania. To the young churches in Pennsylvania the death of Morgan seemed an irreparable loss, but the great Father still led them on. Other good preachers were raised up, but among them all there was no other John Morgan. It was in 1840 that Mr. Morgan began the publication of The Union and Evangelist, at Uniontown, Pennsylvania. It was a valuable little semi-monthly paper, but before he had been long in that work he received his summons from the King. After his death the Rev. Milton Bird took charge of the paper.

At the close of this period Cumberland Presbyterians had two presbyteries in this State. This was the growth in ten years. The Union Presbytery was organized at Uniontown, Pennsylvania, April 14, 1837, the Rev. John Morgan being the first moderator. The Pennsylvania Synod, which was at first made up of Pennsylvania, Union, and Athens presbyteries, was organized at Uniontown, October 11, 1838. Allegheny Presbytery was not formed until 1847. In mission work and in sustaining regular pastorates these Pennsylvania churches rank among the first in the denomination. They had to work throughout this first decade like Nehemiah's builders on the wall, sword in one hand and building implements in the other. Those who assailed them were, however, the losers by this policy. Various slanderous misrepresentations of the doctrines and practices of Cumberland Presbyterians were published in Pittsburg during this period. That they were slanderous was triumphantly proved then, and there is no need of reviving the old bitterness.






The same agents of the church college who were the first Cumberland Presbyterian preachers in Pennsylvania also traveled through portions of Ohio in 1829 and 1830 holding meetings and soliciting help for the college. We have no history of their work except the general fact that their meetings often resulted in many conversions. It is known, also, that they did not, during this tour, attempt to organize any Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

The first Presbyterian Church at Athens, Ohio, was organized by the Rev. Jacob Lindley. The college over which Mr. Lindley long presided was also at that town. His interest for this community was so great that he entreated Mr. Morgan to visit Athens while on his way South in 1831, promising to accompany him thither. To this Morgan agreed. They both met a warm welcome from the Presbyterian Church at Athens, and also from its pastor, the Rev. Mr. Spaulding. Mr. Lindley speaks in strong terms of Mr. Spaulding's liberality.(21) Mr. Morgan tarried nine days, and preached eighteen sermons. Although it was winter, and bitter cold, the house was crowded, and there were forty-three professions.(22) Here again, as Mr. Lindley testifies, Morgan resisted the young converts who wanted to be organized into a Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Before Mr. Morgan's departure, pastor and people united in importuning him to come by Athens when he returned to Pennsylvania in the spring. He gave his promise, and kept it, too; but on his arrival he found a very great change. Mr. Spaulding called [293] on him and told him with deep mortification and sincere regret that his session had become alarmed at the outcry for a Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and had resolved to close their doors against Morgan. A leading layman in the Presbyterian Church then informed Mr. Morgan that the members of his church had secured the court-house for him to preach in. It was evident that a movement was on foot among these members to secede and join the Cumberland Presbyterians. Mr. Morgan at once declined to preach for them. He was then invited to preach in the Methodist church, which he did, and nearly all of the Presbyterians attended. At the close of his sermon that Sabbath, he was requested to attend a temperance meeting ten miles from Athens. To this request he acceded. The Rev. Mr. Hibbard, a Presbyterian, whose church was six miles distant from Athens, also obtained a promise from Mr. Morgan that he would attend his sacramental meeting, which was to be held the next Sabbath. Morgan left Athens Monday and held his temperance meeting in a grove. An immense concourse of people was gathered. A new distillery owned by two brothers was situated right at the place where this meeting was held. The lecture, though on temperance, was all of it intensely religious. The vast crowd was in tears, and Morgan, at the close of the lecture, called mourners. Many came. He appointed preaching for the next day on the same spot. Before he closed the meeting one of the owners of the distillery and the wives of both of them were converted. The distillery was forever closed. O the power of God's Spirit is the true source of victory against rum and all other works of Satan. Instead of the distillery there arose a house of worship in a community where there had never been one before.

At the meetings in Mr. Hibbard's church the usual blessing of Heaven followed Mr. Morgan's preaching. About seventy souls professed to be saved. Mr. Morgan had some difficulty in convincing the young converts that no Cumberland Presbyterian Church could be organized for them. After he went on to Pennsylvania a large number of people who had attended the two meetings just described, wrote to him to come back and hold a camp-meeting. This he did, Mr. Lindley and his daughter accompanying him.

[294] This camp-meeting was held in Alexander township, six miles from Athens. It was here that the first Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Ohio was organized. At this camp-meeting the Rev. Mr. McAboy, of the Presbyterian Church, saw his two sons converted. They both entered the ministry afterward, and their father from that camp-meeting till the day of his death, without changing his ecclesiastical relations or having any charges preferred against him, not only adopted Cumberland Presbyterian measures, but preached Cumberland Presbyterian doctrines. His ministry was far more fruitful after he made these changes.(23) This first Ohio camp-meeting was prolific in its results. There were over a hundred conversions, and calls for Morgan's and Lindley's services poured in upon them from all the adjacent counties. Mr. Lindley relates several touching incidents of this camp-meeting. A certain militia captain, who was also dissipated, conspired with a number of rough men to break up the meeting. They entered into a regular organization for this purpose, and elected this militia officer as captain of their band. At the hour for services these men gathered under the trees near the place of worship. Mr. Morgan, before he began his sermon, invited penitents to come forward. Many Christian people rose to their feet and went out through the congregation trying to persuade their relatives to go to the mourner's bench. While this was going on, the brother-in-law of "the captain" came to Mr. Lindley and requested him to go to that promoter of mischief. Mr. Lindley went, accompanied by the brother-in-law. On seeing those Christians approach him, the captain straightened himself up with a defiant look. Mr. Lindley says that at that moment his own soul was overwhelmed with sympathy and an awful sense of this poor sinner's perilous state. So great were his emotions that utterance failed him, and for some time he could do nothing but weep. At length, finding the use of his tongue, he struggled with all his soul to warn the poor captain of his danger. Finally the hardened sinner burst into tears, fell upon Mr. Lindley's neck, and asked that his wife should be brought. When she arrived she also burst into tears, and soon both husband and wife agreed to go to the mourner's [295] bench. As Mr. Lindley led them up to the place of prayer several of the gang of desperadoes followed. The captain had a hard struggle, but he and his wife both found peace in Jesus before the meetings closed.

Another case deserves mention. An aged infidel attended the meeting, sitting afar off and watching. Finally his favorite son was converted, and with a face beaming with the light of heaven, started to find his father. When the old man saw his boy approaching, and looked into his illumined face and heard his tender, loving appeals, he was utterly broken down, and, falling to the earth, began crying aloud for mercy. Nor were his cries in vain. After some delay, and after a beloved minister had patiently instructed him in the way of salvation, he sprang up from the ground where he was lying and told to all around what a glorious light had dawned upon his soul.

There was in this neighborhood a skeptic of unusual bitterness toward Christianity. He had an interesting daughter who was very anxious to attend the camp-meeting, but he would not permit her to do so. Mr. Lindley's daughter, Louisa, who had accompanied her father to this community, where she was well acquainted, visited this skeptic with a view to gaining permission for his daughter to attend the camp-meeting. After many failures she finally won a conditional consent. The condition was that Louisa would solemnly promise him that his daughter should not go to the mourner's bench. The promise was made, and the young lady attended. Under Morgan's preaching she became overwhelmingly convicted, and when the call for mourners was made she wanted to go. Louisa went to Mr. Morgan for counsel. He told her to keep her promise, and to take the young lady off to some private place and pray with her there. This was done, and in a few moments the poor girl was rejoicing in the hope of glory, and ever afterward lived a consistent Christian.

When a church was organized, at the close of this meeting, a congregation of Presbyterians in the neighborhood, who were without a pastor, formally seceded from the Presbyterians, and proposed to unite with this new congregation. Mr. Lindley received them? and became their temporary pastor, arranging with Mr. Mor [296] gan to take care of Ten Mile until some permanent arrangement could be made for the Ohio flock. This was in the fall of 1832. The next spring Mr. Lindley returned to his Pennsylvania church. The Pennsylvania Presbytery supplied the Ohio congregations with itinerant preaching. These itinerants were changed frequently. The records show that nearly all the members of that presbytery were at one time or another appointed to this Ohio work.

Mr. Lindley had been pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Beverly, Ohio, before he took charge of the college at Athens. On his journey to his home in Pennsylvania, in the spring of 1833, he stopped at Beverly, and held a meeting. Great interest was manifested in his preaching, and fifty persons professed conversion. The Presbyterian Church at Beverly, which Mr. Lindley had organized long before, was at this time without a pastor, and its members passed a formal act, by unanimous vote, withdrawing from the Presbyterian Church, and unanimously resolved to join the Cumberland Presbyterians, and call Mr. Lindley for their pastor. He accepted the call, and, after a brief visit to Pennsylvania, returned to Beverly, where he spent four years in charge of his old flock, preaching, as his elders put on record, the very same doctrines which he had preached thirty years before.

Mr. Lindley said he found a state of moral death in all the country surrounding Beverly. The people had little or no preaching, save in Marietta, the county town. Country pulpits were all vacant, and Sabbath Schools had been abandoned. He therefore arranged with the Beverly church to be allowed to spend one fourth of his time as missionary to the surrounding country. Within a circle of thirty miles he established a round of appointments for preaching. He tried to do pastoral work in all this vast district, as well as to preach regularly. He passed none by, calling at great houses and small. He says his sole aim was the salvation of these destitute souls. He took no written sermons. He went forth with his Bible and with a loving heart. He says he looks for sheaves from many a humble home which he visited in this strange field.

In these missionary tours Mr. Lindley visited Senecaville, thirty miles from Beverly. There was a Presbyterian Church there, but for [297] a long time it had been without preaching. Mr. Lindley held an eight days' meeting, and had a great revival. The interest stirred the whole country for fifteen miles around. There were great numbers of conversions. The Lancaster Presbytery (Presbyterian), of which Mr. Lindley had been one of the original members, took the alarm. Mr. Lindley says all the members of this presbytery had the same false views about the identity of the Cumberland Presbyterians and the New Lights which he himself had before he investigated the matter. Lancaster Presbytery sent a man to Senecaville to warn the people against the heretics. But he did not investigate the subject before commencing the battle. His attacks were against a man of straw. The good people of Senecaville were much better informed about the Cumberland Presbyterians than he was, and they were disgusted at his ignorance and offended at his injustice. The members of that congregation felt themselves outraged by the severe censures poured out upon them. They met together and formally seceded from the Presbyterian Church, and declared themselves Cumberland Presbyterians. This was in the summer of 1835. Mr. Lindley agreed to give one fourth of his time to this church until better provisions could be made.

His first meeting under this. new arrangement was to begin on a Friday. It happened that the circus was to be there that day. The gaudy show bills covered walls and fences. The show arrived on time. The great tent was stretched, the brass bands played, flags waved? and mottled harlequins danced on spotted animals as the procession moved around town. But the door-keeper who stood at the entrance of the tent took in not even one single ticket. Mr. Lindley had the crowd. After a little delay the circus tent was taken down, and managers and harlequins went on their way in great disgust, cursing Cumberland Presbyterians.

An elder of the Presbyterian Church, near the village of Cumberland, attended the great revival at Senecaville. He earnestly pressed Mr. Lindley to hold a meeting in his town. This elder said the church at Cumberland was in a state of spiritual torpor. The house of worship was out of town, built there before the town existed. Mr. Lindley sent an appointment for a meeting in the town. A large unfinished dwelling-house whose partitions were [298] not yet erected, was used for this meeting. God revived his work. Many souls were converted; but the Presbyterian pastor stood aloof and opposed. Mr. Lindley visited him, and tried to win him, but failed to elicit the slightest expression of concern for the salvation of the unconverted; though the pastor did try to be polite, and played the violin beautifully for the entertainment of his visitor. Other engagements calling Mr. Lindley away, he sent the Rev. Isaac Shook to Cumberland, in 1835, and the latter organized a church of our people in that town.

One of the towns in which the Rev. M.H. Bone (one of the college agents) preached was Lebanon, Ohio. He had a very interesting meeting there. The people begged him to remain and organize a church. This he could not then do. In 1835 he was earnestly importuned by letters from the Lebanon people to return. They had seen and learned still more of the ways and doctrines of the Cumberland Presbyterians, and were anxious to be identified with them. Mr. Bone, therefore, made another visit to that town. A congregation was organized, and he consented to remain one year as their pastor. The same year he appointed a camp-meeting, and wrote for Hugh B. Hill and T.C. Anderson to assist him.(24) They both lived in Tennessee, but they responded promptly to Mr. Bone's appeal. Owing to failure in boat and stage connections they arrived too late for the camp-meeting.

Mr. Bone started a movement for building a meeting-house at Lebanon, but for some reason he gave up his charge and returned to the South. Before doing so, however, he obtained the consent of the Rev. Felix G. Black to take charge of the little church. Black was a pastor in the true sense, and did good service in this congregation. From eleven original members the church in three years grew to one hundred and thirty-eight. This growth was all under systematic and steady pastoral work. Mr. Black, in 1838, published a good report from that congregation, showing its progress in all the departments of its work. It contributed systematically to all the benevolent enterprises of the church. It paid its pastor's salary in full, and was spiritually alive and active.

The old church bell at Lebanon has a curious history. When [299] Spain confiscated the property of the convents this bell was sent to New York and sold at auction. It brought two hundred dollars. It was cast in 1636 for a convent. It was the first church bell ever rung in Lebanon, but it now calls not nuns but Cumberland Presbyterians together. It has a Spanish inscription upon it calling on the Virgin to "pray for us."

In 1833 there were supplies appointed by the Pennsylvania Presbytery for two Ohio churches--Waterford and Athens. In 1834 supplies were appointed for four Ohio congregations--Athens, Alexander, Waterford, and McConnellsburg. The Rev. James Smith and the Rev. Joseph A. Copp, made a preaching tour through that State in the winter of 1833-4. Smith says the Presbyterian pulpits were everywhere closed against them. In 1835 a grand forward movement was made by Cumberland Presbyterians in Ohio. The Rev. Isaac Shook spent that year in this field.T.C. Anderson and Hugh B. Hill were also there, as was S.M. Aston. Three or four of the ministers of Pennsylvania Presbytery were also working part of their time in this field. Aston held a good meeting at Jacobsville, and organized a church there.

The Covington congregation has an interesting history. When the Rev. F.G. Black succeeded Mr. Bone as pastor at Lebanon he found on the church-book the name of Benjamin Leavell. There was no such man living in Lebanon. On inquiry he learned that this was Judge Leavell, who lived fifty miles away. Owing to his dissatisfaction with the hard points of Calvinism he had withdrawn from the Presbyterian Church and joined the Lebanon congregation, there being no other Cumberland Presbyterian Church nearer his home. On receiving this information, Mr. Black mounted his horse and started on a pastoral visit fifty miles. He had to swim one canal before reaching his parishioner. The Judge told Mr. Black that before he heard of the Cumberland Presbyterians he had made out a system of theology for himself. On a business trip to Cincinnati he stopped to spend the Sabbath at Lebanon. Bone and others were holding a meeting there. He went to hear them. To his surprise and delight they preached his system of doctrine, a medium system between Calvinism and Arminianism. He therefore joined the new church. Then the [300] Judge told his pastor about a town called "Rowdy," noted for its drunkenness and other vices, and induced him to visit the place and hold a meeting. The first services were in a little schoolhouse. Other visits followed, and finally in 1838, Mr. Black organized a congregation. "Rowdy" is now Covington. The church there today numbers four hundred and nineteen members. It contributed to church enterprises last year (1885) ten thousand dollars. It keeps a regular pastor. Two faithful ministers have grown up among its members, the Rev. W.H. Black, of Saint Louis, and the Rev. J.A. Billingsley. It has just built an elegant house of worship, and it maintains a high standing for liberality and efficiency in church work.

The Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Ohio has never been strong in numbers. There are at this time (1886) only three presbyteries in the State; one with eight ordained ministers and no candidates, another with five ordained ministers and one candidate, and a third with four ministers and no candidate. Preaching on a call to the ministry, and praying the great Head of the church to call their own sons to this holy work, are clearly the urgent duties of our Ohio ministry and people. A home supply of preachers and provisions for their education, would certainly improve the prospect of the church in that State. In this field, as well as several others, we have this strange phenomenon: Much larger donations have been made by some of our own members to the colleges of other churches than have ever been made to our own institutions.





An account of the great revival at Bowling Green, Kentucky, deserves a place at the beginning of this chapter of miscellaneous sketches. There was no Cumberland Presbyterian Church at Bowling Green in 1833, and the presbytery refused to organize one, even when pressed to do so, because no preacher could be spared from the itinerant work and located there; and it was understood that a church in a large town could not be sustained by itinerant preaching. Some of the preachers were willing, however, to hold a meeting there for the sake of souls; but it was announced beforehand that they would attempt no organization. Chapman, Lowry, Harris, and Lewis began meetings in the First Baptist church. Lowry did most of the preaching. By Monday the whole town was so stirred that shops, business houses, and law offices were spontaneously closed for each service. There were three services a day. At these meetings some strange results, similar to those which so startled the people of Logan County, Kentucky, in 1799, manifested themselves. Men of strong frames fell to the ground and lay motionless for hours. One man was carried out and his friends sent for a physician. Mr. Lowry, however, told them that he had seen many such cases and never knew any dangerous consequences to result. After a long delay the man rose with rapturous exclamations of joy and trust. An infidel attended this meeting and was seized with deep Convictions. He went to the mourner's bench and offered up this prayer: "If there be any such person as the Lord Jesus Christ, I want him to have mercy on me, and save me." He at last found the Savior.

[302] These meetings continued seventeen days, and their influence swept over all the town and the surrounding country. All the Bowling Green churches received many valuable members. Mr. Lowry was urged to organize a Cumberland Presbyterian Church, but as he steadfastly adhered to his refusal many who would have entered into such an organization went into other churches. The now venerable Judge Burnum, of Bowling Green? was one of the converts at this meeting. The father of the Rev. J.M. Halsell was also among the converts.

The Rev. J.B. McCallan, of Illinois, relates the following incident: In 1833 he was living in Calloway County, Kentucky. No religious services were held in all his neighborhood. He and his wife were both unconverted. A camp-meeting was to be held ten miles away. He and his wife both attended, walking all the way, and both were converted. On their return home they set up the family altar. Then Mr. McCall an began holding prayer-meetings in the neighborhood. A revival soon followed with numerous conversions. Then circuit riders were induced to make regular appointments for preaching in that neighborhood. In a short time the character of the whole community was changed.C.E. Hay was the first circuit rider who preached there, and he organized a congregation and ordained Mr. McCall an as one of its elders.

A fair sample of the best Cumberland Presbyterian Churches under the old supply system was the Concord congregation, West Tennessee. The boundaries of this congregation extended from Trenton, Tennessee, to the Mississippi River--sixty miles. The Rev. S.Y. Thomas was its preacher. His financial necessities once caused him to change his field, but the Concord people loved him, and they wrote to him proposing to give him a deed to four hundred acres of good land if he would come back and stay with them, and preach regularly one Sabbath in each month. He accepted the offer. Including his work before this arrangement was made, he served this church thirty-nine years, farming and preaching. A number of ministers have grown up in this congregation, among them several members of the Thomas family. Its camp-meetings were great occasions, and people attended from all [303] parts of West Tennessee. Converts of these camp-meetings are found in all parts of the church.

The Oak Grove congregation, Sumner County, Tennessee, organized 1836, which had Hugh B. Hill for its regular pastor, long kept up its annual camp-meetings. At one of these one hundred and seventy-five conversions were reported, and at another three hundred. At the camp-meeting held in 1840, Robert Donnell and several other ministers from a distance were assisting. Of course the pastor did not expect to preach. Mr. Hill's father-in-law, then quite old, was not a Christian, and several members of his very large family were also unconverted. After the meetings had continued several days, Mrs. Hill saw her husband come into the tent "pale as a sheet," and evidently in some deep soul-struggle. She went to him and asked what it was that troubled him; but he begged her to leave him alone, and fell upon the bed groaning. Mrs. Hill inquired of others, and learned that her father and another very old gentleman, both unconverted, had sent a special request for Mr. Hill to preach at the next service. Mr. Hill remained lying on his face till the hour for service, and then went to the pulpit. The two old men who had made the request sat in front near the pulpit. The realities of the eternal world were face to face with the preacher. Something more than that was with him. God's irresistible Spirit breathed through his lips and quivered in his words. Hill always had a holy power in the pulpit, but this sermon, it is said, surpassed all his other efforts. The two old men, both past their three score and ten, were brought into the joyous liberty of the sons of God. So, too, were many others.(25)

Hill devoted the whole of his life to the ministry, and owing to the meagerness of his salary and misfortunes brought on by the war, he died in comparative poverty. Loving friends erected a monument over his grave, near Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The Middle Tennessee Synod, while in session at Murfreesboro soon after his death, held a memorial service at his grave. Hill's life was the text for an address on consecration in the ministry by Dr. A.J. Baird. The Rev. M.H. Bone, the life-long associate of Hill, said in the obituary notice which he published: "I never [304] knew Hill to utter a sentence which I wished unsaid, or to do a deed which I wished undone."

In the autobiography of the Rev. Isaac Shook is recorded a notice of the "stars falling" in 1833, which is worth quoting. Shook was holding meetings in Huntsville, Alabama, and there was considerable interest in the services. One morning at early dawn he was awakened by sounds of shouting and prayer over all the town. He rose and dressed himself, and on going out discovered the whole horizon ablaze with what seemed to be stars falling. Advent teachers had been through the country proclaiming the speedy end of the world, and this looked very much like the accomplishment of their proclamation. All over town negroes and white people, too, were either praying or shouting. It was five o'clock in the morning. Presently the church bell began to ring, and soon the house was filled with people. When Shook entered he found nearly a hundred unconverted men and women on their knees, pouring out earnest prayers to God for pardon and salvation. It is a curious fact that there were no conversions among all that number of frightened mourners. The meeting, however, continued many days with good results, not from the fright, but from the blessed gospel of the Son of God.

The 28th of October, 1834, a meeting of the Cumberland Presbyterians of Washington County, Arkansas, was held in the Cane Hill meeting-house for the purpose of taking the necessary steps to establish a school. This was two years before Arkansas became a State of the Union, and six years before Cumberland University at Lebanon, Tennessee, was born. The Rev. Samuel King, then traveling as evangelist at large, was called to the chair, and presided over the meeting. A board of trust was chosen, and the Rev. B.H. Pierson, D.D., was elected president, and Ezra Wilson, clerk. This school was opened April, 1835, and was probably kept up in some form until seventeen years afterward, when Cane Hill College was chartered. Cane Hill was only about ten miles from the Indian country. The tracks of the red man were scarcely gone from the spot. The three men who organized the first presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church were all living, and one of them presided over this meeting. This school in the wilder [305] ness, some say, was the first institution of learning ever established on Arkansas soil. Its prime object was to educate young men preparing for the work of the ministry.

Dr. Pierson, both the Buchanans, and the Pylants were all active movers in inaugurating this pioneer educational enterprise. Of John Buchanan's education it has been said: "He was like a grindstone; if not very sharp himself, he was specially useful in sharpening others. " The fruit of his work in aiding young preachers to secure an education will endure forever. John Buchanan's name everywhere in Arkansas calls forth exclamations of praise and affection. He spent many years as Bible agent. The salary offered him was more than he was willing to accept. He had it reduced two hundred dollars per annual, and out of the remainder he regularly gave a tenth to the Lord's cause. He devoted all his days to the Lord's work. Once he stopped at a blacksmith shop and had his horse shod. When he asked, " What is the bill ? " the answer was, " Pray for me. " " Uncle John " replied: "I am in the habit of paying as I go, so we will kneel down here now and have the prayer." There in the way-side shop the two men knelt, and a soul-stirring prayer went up to God for the blacksmith. Buchanan rode the circuit ten years without pay. He worked as colporteur one year for one hundred dollars and his traveling expenses. He was Bible agent five years on a salary of five hundred dollars per annum. He collected money for the society equal to six times his salary.

In 1834 President T.C. Anderson and the Rev. J.M. McMurray were traveling in Missouri. They put up at a private house on the way-side--strangers in a strange land. At table the landlady kept gazing at Anderson. After a while she heard Mr. McMurray call his name. Immediately she asked, " Are you any kin to the Rev. Alexander Anderson ? " When she was told that her guest was his son, she sprang to her feet, seized Mr. Anderson's hand, and related the touching story of her conversion under the ministry of his father. The travelers yielded to a pressing invitation to remain and preach in the neighborhood. President Anderson says, they had great difficulty in getting away from this dear lady. She clung to the son of her spiritual father [306] with a touching tenderness, and begged him to remain in that field and be their preacher.

Some of the people's favorites in the political horizon of Missouri, in 1831, had been fighting duels. Resolutions were brought before the Missouri Synod, not only condemning dueling, but earnestly advising all members of the church to vote for no man who ever gave or accepted a challenge. This was bringing matters to close quarters. Andrew Jackson and Thomas H. Benton would be proscribed by that action. Fiery Democrats in the synod declared that these resolutions were introduced for political purposes. The debate was very warm, but the resolutions passed. The minority appealed to the General Assembly, but their appeal was not sustained. A hard case.Loyalty to party or loyalty to the church courts was the question to be decided. Perhaps General Jackson did not lose many votes by the decision.

When Jackson was elected President of the United States, one of his old soldiers, the Rev. J.M. Berry, then of Illinois, was heard to say, "The 8th day of January made Andrew Jackson President and me a preacher." He said he had long felt it to be his duty to preach the gospel, but had rebelled. During the fiercest portion of the battle, on the day of Jackson's great victory, Mr. Berry found himself in a very exposed position. The prospects were very poor for escaping all the deadly missiles. In view of almost certain death, his rebellion against the duty of preaching came up before him as a very solemn matter. It seemed a fearful thing to go into the presence of the Judge from a life Of disobedience ! With these thoughts he there vowed to God that if he should be spared he would rebel no longer. He kept his vow, and was an ordained preacher when Jackson was elected President. He then made the remark here quoted, adding, "I would not swap places with him today."

In that beautiful valley which lies south of the great bend in Tennessee River, there lived, far back in the days of slavery, a wealthy doctor. He and his wife were both infidels; and what was worse, they had propagated their views far and near, especially among the young people. In their large parlor had been held many a [307] dancing party, where ridiculing the Bible and Christianity was one of the chief sources of amusement. By and by the doctor was taken very ill, and saw that his illness was unto death. Summoning a servant he sent him in haste after the Rev. W.D. Chadick, of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. When Chadick arrived the wife of the sick man met him at the gate and said to him, "Mr. Chadick, if I had known in time I would have prevented the messenger from going and so saved you a useless ride. I am not going to allow you to see my husband." The preacher mounted his horse, and returned to his home. The sick doctor, finding himself thwarted in his efforts to secure Chadick, determined on another scheme. He owned a negro, who was a preacher. This old man was called "Uncle Dick." The doctor sent for Dick, and told him that he wanted to be taught the way of salvation. Dick replied "O Lord a mercy, massa, I can't help you. If de Lord hisself don't help you, you're gone." The doctor then asked Dick to kneel and pray for him. With fast streaming eyes the old negro knelt and poured out a most earnest prayer for divine help. The prayer continued long;, and contained in it the simple lesson of trust in the Redeemer alone for salvation. The doctor grasped the blessed truth, and when Dick rose to his feet, the sick man was clinging to Christ, the one hope for lost souls. He died and was buried, and after the funeral the infidel widow returned to her home. Alone and desolate she walked through her large rooms and elegant parlor,, absorbed in earnest thought. She was an educated woman, and in her sorrow she felt the truth of what Christians had always told her about the emptiness of worldly pleasure. If they were right about that might they not be right about a future state? She could not believe that her husband was only dust and ashes. Then she sent for old Uncle Dick, and after hours of earnest prayer she became a rejoicing convert. She joined the Cumberland Presbyterians. As she had been a propagandist of unbelief, she now resolved to devote her life to the work of leading souls to Christ. Accompanied by Uncle Dick, who drove her carriage, and assisted by his prayers, she often went from house to house laboring for souls. The good fruits [308] of her Christian influence and efforts are still found in that valley. Old Uncle Dick went to his reward long ago, but she, though now quite old, still gives her strength to the service of her King.

In 1825 the Rev. R.D. King was "riding the circuit" in Tennessee, when a man described to him a wonderful prayer which he had overheard a woman offer up to God. The woman was living in a new settlement where infidelity abounded, and her husband and sons were coming under its influence. The neighborhood had no regular preaching of any sort, and this Christian woman had tried in vain to secure some one to preach the gospel to her family. In her prayer, which was by accident overheard, she opened up her heart's deep troubles to the Lord, laying before him the whole dreadful condition of the community in which she lived. She told the Lord how infidelity was making its way into her own family, and, finally, in all her helplessness, she laid the case down at the Master's feet. On further inquiry, King learned that this woman lived only eighteen miles from his usual route, and he determined to send an appointment for preaching at her house. This he did; but he happened, in the meantime, to meet with a Methodist minister who warned him not to visit that neighborhood because personal violence had been threatened against any preacher who might venture to preach there. When the day arrived the people at whose house King had spent the night, tried hard to dissuade him from going. King yielded, put his horse back in the stable, and sat down to try to study. But he could not study. He had an appointment to preach and was playing coward. Never had that been the case before. Again he brought out his horse, and this time no persuasion could stop him. When he reached the place, though it was not Sabbath, the whole yard was thronged with people. Three rooms were packed full. King preached; and began singing, "Hark, my soul, it is the Lord." As yet there was no violence, no interruption; but some frowns and scowling faces were seen, and King was not yet free from apprehension. When he was singing the second verse, a beautiful woman cried out, "Glory to God." "That," says King, "was [309] one of the sweetest interruptions ever a preacher suffered. "Rising to her feet, this woman made her way toward a man who had been looking defiance all through the sermon. When the happy man drew near him, stretching out both her arms toward him she exclaimed, in thrilling accents, "O Father." The man fell prostrate. He was the husband of the woman who prayed that wonderful prayer, and he proved to be the key-stone of the arch, and all the arch came tumbling down. This was one of the day's of the Son of mall. They had services again that night. Next day when King started on his way sixteen of the young people were at the gate, mounted and ready to go with him to his next place of preaching; and every one of these sixteen professed conversion that day. The woman who had prayed the wonderful prayer also went along with King to that next day's meeting.

The results were so different from all his apprehensions that Mr. King was puzzled to understand the case. Inquiring into the matter, he learned that after the woman had prayed so earnestly she began the regular practice of gathering all her children into her private room, every Sabbath, and there reading a portion of Scripture and trying to expound it, after which she knelt with them in prayer. A change came over these children, especially in their Sabbath habits. Their comrades, who visited the family, noticed the change, and asked the cause of it. Learning about the Sabbath lessons in that private room, they obtained permission to attend. The little private room was crowded at every recitation, and there, under the teaching and prayers of that humble woman, God was sapping the foundations of infidelity. and preparing the way for his gospel. When King next passed that way on his circuit, he again preached at this good woman's house, and then organized the Lasting Hope congregation, Maury County, Tennessee. The name was appropriate to the long clinging, and finally gratified, hope of that mother. At that second service this mother saw her husband and children become members of the church. This account is taken from King's manuscript autobiography.

1. See editorials, January 22, January 29, and April 30, 1839.

2. It is said that Rev. Joel Knight was the mover of these resolutions.

3. Proofs of all this are among many of the literary remains in my hands, especially those of the Rev. Isaac Shook.

4. It may be well to note that the chapters and sections were then numbered differently from their later form. The numbering was changed by the Rev. James Smith, publisher of the book.

5. I have all these presbyterial records before me.

6. See records of Columbia Synod, in the church paper, November 17, 1831.

7. The united presbytery was called New Hope.

8. Minutes of Louisiana Presbytery, in Revivalist, Vol. I., No. 31.

9. History given by the Rev. J.A. Cornwall, who was present.

10. See The Cumberland Presbyterian, April 25, 1835.

11. A Methodist minister aided in this meeting. See Bacon's own letter in The Cumberland Presbyterian, October 23, 1833.

12. Minutes of Louisiana Presbytery, in The Cumberland Presbyterian, April 15, 1835, and April 22, 1835; also, editorial in it.

13. Minutes published in The Cumberland Presbyterian, February 20, 1838.

14. This congregation was without a pastor when the missionaries arrived.

15. Luther Axtell died March 23, 1886.

16. Manuscript autobiography, p. 221, et seq.

17. Conversations with Dr. Burrow.

18. This is taken from the official report of their work, made by the missionaries. The names of the churches are not given in that report.

19. Henderson's MS. autobiography.

20. The church paper, February 12. 1833.

21. Lindley's MS. autobiography, from which this whole account is taken.

22. Fifteen of these afterward entered the ministry.

23. Lindley's MS.

24. Manuscript autobiography of T.C. Anderson.

25. Facts furnished by Mr. Hill's daughter.

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