William Davidson Chadick

1817 - 1878

Cumberland Presbyterian Minister


William D. Chadick, of Huntsville, Ala., was, by two years, an older brother of Dr. S. R. Chadick. It was in the early fifties that he was pastor of the Huntsville church and he would often come up to Winchester, to assist my brother, A. J. Baird, and I have heard some of the grandest sermons from his lips that abide with me to this day. And dear old venerable Brother Montgomery Cowan would bring up the response. Oh, those halycon days! Brother Cowan was the father of Dr. J. B. Cowan, of Tullahoma. Myself and brother A. J. Baird, both lived in Winchester before the war.-Dr. C. P. Baird, Arcadia, Fla.
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian Banner, Volume V Number 21 March 26, 1909, page 5]



From the promptings of my heart I submit this humble tribute to the memory of this brother beloved. I met him first at the meeting of Columbia Synod in the city of Huntsville, Ala., on the first Sabbath of November, 1840. Rev. S. M. Cowan preached in the forenoon on justification by faith, in the Methodist church. Brother Chadick was in the pulpit with him, and, as was the custom in those times, followed the sermon with an exhortation and prayer. He was then young and ruddy. It was his first term as a member of Synod, being a member of Jackson Presbytery, in which he was made a preacher. In this service he developed more than ordinary talent and spiritual gifts. He was lucid, forcible, zealous, earnest, and pathetic. His audience was moved and melted to tears.

From that time on we met on various occasions, and our associations drew us steadily closer together in fraternal friendship and love.

In 1856, he took pastoral charge of the Huntsville church, and became a member of our (Tennessee) Presbytery, and for years in succession we were intimately associated in pulpit labor and presbyterial work. During the period of six years we assisted each other in our sacramental and protracted meetings. We baptized some of each other's children; labored together in meetings in which each had children converted, on which occasions we mutually shared each other's joys. During this time I was in Athens, Ala.

In 1867, when brother L. C. Ransom, of precious memory, accepted the call to the church in Memphis, he immediately wrote me to know if I could take charge of his church in Murfreesboro. I had just made pastoral engagements with Mount Moriah congregation in Giles county, Tenn. In my answer, I nominated Dr. Chadick, and urged him to do what he could to secure his services, which was soon accomplished.

During August, 1868, Dr. Chadick and brother M. B. DeWitt (then of Huntsville), assisted me in a protracted revival at Mt. Moriah. On this occasion these dear brethren were unusually spiritual and successful in their ministrations, and left a sweet odor in that church, and many converts that will doubtless be as stars in their crowns of rejoicing in the day of Jesus Christ. During the next month I assisted Dr. Chadick in a protracted meeting in his church. Again, in February and March, 1874, he assisted me in a protracted meeting for the last time in Athens, Ala.

There is much of interest in regard to his history that I hope will be given by some one or more who are possessed of the facts, which I am not able to furnish.

I add, according to my information, though Dr. Chadick was not a graduate of any college, yet under the faithful instructions, mainly of our venerable brother, Rev. M. B. Feemster, now of Mississippi, he obtained a liberal education; and devoted a portion of time, in the early part of his ministry, in teaching a high school for the education of females in Fayetteville, Tennessee. From this he was called to the pastoral charge of the church in Lebanon, Tennessee. There he became connected with editorial charge of the Banner of Peace for some years. About the year 1854, he became soliciting agent for the endowment of the Theological Department of Cumberland University. During his pastorate in Huntsville, and while Dr. Felix Johnson was president of Lagrange College, in Alabama, on invitation, brother Chadick preached the baccalaureate sermon at said institution, with great satisfaction to its board and faculty, and the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred on him by said institution.

This brief sketch, though imperfect and possibly in some of its details incorrect, is cheerfully and affectionately given in memory of one whom we regarded as among the ablest ministers of Christ in our Church.

I hesitate not to say that he was a man of positive character; of genial spirits; generous (if possible) to a fault; of an ardent temperament and impulsive; of true courage, knowing no danger where duty led; the soul of chivalry; as patriotic as a Washington or a Henry, as undaunted as a Paul, as intrepid as a Peter, and as child-like and tender as a John. His labors were greatly successful, and many doubtless will rise up in the judgment and call him blessed.

"Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; yea saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them."

May God's tenderest care ever be over our dear sister, his bereaved wife; and all his children; and may he, by his grace, bring them all to him at last in heaven.


[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, October 24, 1878, page 2]



The lives of good and useful men are a property of the Church. The daily toils, daily greetings, meetings and partings, preaching and prayers, singing and exhorting, joys and tears, are past and dead with the actors, but the hot crucible of a long life has within it a pearl or jewel of refined gold of rarest value. This the fire cannot consume; this death cannot destroy; this the Church delights to wear in her coronet. See her bedecked all over her venerable head with these jewels of life as lived by her noble sons for ages past! The life of our brother was one of her jewels.

William D. Chadick was born in Overton county, Tenn., on the 22d of January, 1817, and died at McMinnville, Tenn., on the 4th of September, 1878, and was sixty-one years and some months of age. His parents moved to Jackson county, Ala., when he was about twelve years old. He professed religion at Mink's Creek camp-ground, Jackson county, at about the age of sixteen, and joined the Church then and there. The ministers in attendance (as he recollected them) were Hiram A. Hunter, M. B. Feemster, Henry Larkin, S. W. and Robert Frazier, and S. W. Donathan. The two latter were the preachers of that immediate section, with whom he was familiar.

About this time the war with the Creek Indians arose, and young Chadick volunteered at the age of seventeen, and served out his time, until the Creeks were removed to where they now live. Soon after he came home, being impressed with the duty of preaching the gospel, he joined the Jackson Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Columbia Synod, when about nineteen years old. His education was then limited. He did not have, as young men now have, the advantages of collegiate training. Helps for poor young men were few. But, at this time, he went to school to M. B. Feemster, who was considered the great educator of the day in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in that region. That teacher performed a great work for young Chadick.

"A dew-drop on the baby plant,
Hath warped the giant oak forever."

After a short time with books and the old log school-house, he was licensed to preach, and rode the circuit five or six years in Jackson, Morgan, Madison, and Clay counties, North Alabama, and in Franklin and Lincoln counties, Tennessee. This extensive field of labor was truly his Alma Mater, his university, where the foundation of his future usefulness and position in the Church of his choice was laid. And it is much to be doubted whether any of his subsequent years of labor were more useful and eminently successful than these years of circuit-riding. Many prominent and useful men now living, with many more of the pious dead, are some of the fruits of these years of toil and sacrifice.

But the young preacher was not a mere circuit-rider, content to move in its sweet but limited circle. He was possessed of aspiring views, and he early regarded the ministry as of vast moment, and its preparation a great work. His mind was active and he resolved to grasp extended education from books, papers, and men. He became a student. He laid hands on books as he might find them in the houses where he stopped; he studied the Divine goodness and power in nature as he traveled alone among the native mountains; he studied human will and the philosophy of the mind in his contacts with men; he studied the forms of grammar, the methods of rhetoric, and the powers of logic; he studied the methods of gospel presentation under the fervid appeals of Matthew H. Bone, Robert Donnell, Hiram A. Hunter, Robert Frazier, and others of the day. With a mind originally philosophic and intuitive, and with these helps, he, in the course of a few years, made himself a good scholar and an orator. He went further and studied the Greek language, so as to draw bible interpretation from the original text. He, in fact, soon advanced in knowledge beyond his contemporaries, and became to be regarded as the wisest young man in his home territory. In due time he was ordained. He was first called to preside over the church at Bellefonte, Ala., where he labored and also taught about two years with great acceptance. He also taught at Warrenton, Ala. His field was yet local, but, by his visits and powerful preaching at the Presbyteries, Synods, and other great meetings, he became known and his name began to sound through the churches.

About this time there was a revival meeting held at Fayetteville, Tenn., and a special deputy (brother W. L. Berry, now of California), and a request was sent to brother Chadick at Bellefonte, to come and assist the church at Fayetteville. He came and labored with great power and success. Of this meeting brother W. L. Berry says:

His labors during that meeting endeared him very much to that church and congregation, and as the pastor was about removing to another state, they gave him a pressing call to settle with them, which he accepted and labored there for several years, and was much beloved not only by his charge but the entire community. A portion of the time he lived at Fayetteville. He filled very successfully the important position of principal of the Female Academy of that town.

At Fayetteville, in 1842, he married Miss Malinda P. Davis, daughter of Dr. Davis, and a relative of Judge Morgan of Mississippi, and niece of the distinguished lawyer, Col. James Fulton, an accomplished young woman, of noble qualities of head and heart, by whom he had two daughters, Sue and Jennie, and two sons, William and Edward. She died at Fayetteville.

It was about this time, 1845 or 1846, that the writer first saw Rev. Wm. D. Chadick, and heard him preach at Union chapel, Madison county, Ala. The house was crowded. The preacher was glowing with youth and early manhood and graceful looking. He was dressed in a fine suit of black, and wore a white neck-tie, and his linen bosom was snowy white. He looked finer than any preacher I had ever seen, except Matthew H. Bone, and I wondered "how he was going to do." I was not long in finding out. He took his text, "Come, let us reason together," etc. It was leveled at sinners, and especially at scoffers, moralists, and infidels, and he boldly attacked them and logically confuted them, and poured down the vials of God's wrath on them, and demolished their hiding places so completely, that my soul turned to admiration of the strange preacher, while it began to quake with fear. I was afraid of him from that moment. He had shot and killed me. I bless that day. [Why should I not, dear reader?] It was the beginning of my unrest. Not long after that I met him again at O'Banyon camp-ground, with Bone, Robert Donnell, A. G. Gibson, James C. Elliott, Jackson Steele, A. A. Bell, and others. It was a glorious time. Chadick stood on Monday at eleven and preached to a vast audience. "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength?"-Isaiah LXIII, 1.

Then and there, up to Tuesday night at two o'clock, this "poor man cried" unto the Lord, and while this lamented, dear brother Chadick was sitting in the altar by my side, persuading me, the light of heaven broke into my soul and I was a new creature. I bless his memory to-day, and now record this fact with blinding tears of gratitude and joy.

About 1848, Rev. Robert Donnell resigned the pastorate at Lebanon, Tenn., and brother Chadick was called to that pulpit, one of the most important in the Church, the seat of its greatest college. Here for about two years he preached and labored with power and acceptance. He was a great favorite with the young men, though he was constantly after them. He found no higher pleasure than to corner one of the leaders in an argument. In all his career, he struck at the leading men of society, and he persuaded many of them to be Christians.

On his retirement from that pulpit, he became editor of the Banner of Peace, which, in 1850, was united with the Religious Ark, of Memphis. He was associated with W. L. Berry, Esq., now of Oakland, Cal. His energy and taste for literature, and his extensive experience with Church affairs, combined to make him a worthy editor, but he position was too confining for his ardent temperament, and he longed for the open field of the gospel, and in 1853 he sold his interest in the paper to Rev. W. S. Langdon, and the paper was removed to Nashville.

Brother Chadick then, about 1854, entered the field as agent for the endowment of the Theological Department of Cumberland University. He traveled and preached and labored in this great work for a year or two.

While a resident of Lebanon, it was the good fortune of brother Chadick to meet with an intellectual, literary, highly accomplished, and Christian woman, Miss Jane Cook, who became his second wife, and who bore him four children, a daughter, now Mrs. Gillespie, another, Mary, who died in childhood, and two sons, George and David, and who, with singular fidelity helpfulness, patience, and matronly love and tenderness, walked with him down life's vale to its close.

In 1856 brother Chadick was chosen and entered as pastor of the church at Huntsville, Ala., and joined the Tennessee Presbytery, and for many years was a leading and shining light in all that region. His services at Presbyteries, Synods, and Assemblies, in protracted and camp-meetings, at funerals and marriages and baptisms, are a part of his noble record. He worked as a true yoke-fellow with his brethren in the ministry, who were always glad to see him come. Revs. George W. Mitchell, Chapman, Modrall, Power, Bone, Sanders, Elliott, Felix Johnson, Stockton, and many others will bear good testimony. He was a representative and liberal man. About this time a wealthy bachelor of Alabama died and freed his slaves, and left money to have them settled in Ohio, and to brother Chadick the court committed this delicate task. He took them to Ohio and advised with Gov. Chase, and settled the negroes and made his report back to the court.

About 1858, on the occasion of his preaching the baccalaureate sermon at Lagrange College, Alabama, under the presidency of Rev. Dr. Felix Johnson, he received the degree of Doctor of Divinity from that institution.

Next came the great war between the North and the South. Dr. Chadick was always a positive man. He loved his friends and his country, and he was not the man to be idle in a great conflict. He became chaplain of the fourth Alabama regiment and went to Virginia. Col. Egbert Jones was mortally wounded at Warrenton, Va., and Dr. Chadick fought with the regiment in the battle of Manassas. Afterwards he participated in the battle of Shiloh. He was then made chief of staff to Gov. Shorter, of Alabama, and was for some time in command of the North Alabama forces acting under the Governor. We have heard it amusingly told that he raised then the "bed-quilt regiment." When pressed by the Federal troops, more men were needed, and Col. Chadick as sent out into the hills of North Alabama to raise them. He brought them in, old and young, mounted on old horses, colts, and mules, and, as it was cold, and blankets scarce, every man of them brought a bed-quilt, and as all these quilts were of different colors, there was not a more grotesque picture then this "bed-quilt regiment" during the war.

In 1867, Dr. Chadick was called to the charge of the church in Murfreesboro, Tenn., where he labored effectually for four years. He was next called to the McMinnville church, and labored there three years with great power and success. The membership was revived and increased, and so much interest awakened as to result in the building of one of the finest brick churches within our bounds.

Dr. Chadick was next called by our Board of Missions to the church at Chattanooga. He labored there three and a half years, and greatly strengthened the churches of East Tennessee. Here his health failed through an attack of rheumatism, and he and wife spent several months at Hot Springs, Ark., with his daughter, Mrs. Fordyce, but to little purpose. He returned to his favorite friends at McMinnville, Tenn., where, for about a year, he suffered great pain, and was mostly confined to his room. He had the constant attention of Drs. Black and Smart, Gen. Hill, Rev. H. A. Jones, pastor, and many citizens, and the visits of his devoted children, and the nursing of his noble wife.

In February, 1878, I visited Dr. Chadick at McMinnville, when, as he supposed, he was approaching death. His emaciated form lay on the couch. The shrunken cheeks, thin lips, and gray beard were so unlike him of long ago. But the broad and lofty brow and the great wide eyes, then full of sympathetic tears, were true to life. A narrative of his sufferings was first in order, and next of his state of mind and of his persistent faith in Jesus. Clear and strong in mind as he ever was, and having just been down to death's door, he leaned upon his elbow in bed and said to me: "It seemed to me that I never felt so happy as when I looked death straight in the face. And I was really reluctant at the thought of coming back to life."

In September, 1878, when it became clear to him that the end was near, he said one evening to his wife: "Watch with me to-night. I am going to change my habitation." "Where are you going?" said his wife. "I am going to rest-to rest in the arms of Jesus." He was at the gate and it was open. The immortal lines of Pope will tell the story:

"The world recedes, it disappears:
Heaven opens on my eyes!-my ears
With sounds seraphic ring!
Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!
O, Grave, where is thy victory?
O, Death, where is thy sting?"

In the morning he was at rest! The distant blue mountains around McMinnville were not more quiet and grand in their repose. He was buried in McMinnville. His funeral took place in the church he reared and loved so well, and on its walls his friends propose to place a tablet and memorial window.

The Cumberland Presbyterian Church never had a truer son, and few, if any, abler exponents of its doctrines. He was as logical as Paul, fearless as Peter, and loving as John. He was a sermon-builder; and his sermons were not merely strong towers of cold logic, but they were aglow with the fires of the Holy Ghost. He cut the sinner with the keen blade of the gospel, and seemed to hurl God's anathemas on him with defiance, and yet

"On his tongue the mystic bee had dropt
The honey of persuasion."

There was not a more sympathetic soul than his. His altar-work was remarkable. He hardly over wrestled with the stoutest sinner in vain. I have seen him in his fervor go to the outskirts of the assembly and argue with the strong men. He was a good singer, and often sang this song with much pleasure:

"Burst ye emerald gates and bring
To my raptured vision
All the ecstatic joys that spring
Round the bright elysian."

Dr. Chadick was a sound presbyter. Our ecclesiastical bodies will miss his presence and counsel. He presided as moderator with dignity, and yet he had a social and lively turn. He was a good pastor and greatly beloved, especially by the good women of his various charges. He was hopeful, zealous, and progressive. He was the friend of all our young men and of our colleges. His life was given to the gospel, and he never found time to lay up much earthly treasure. His treasure is in heaven. He was a vigorous and clear writer, and left many sermons and manuscripts which may some day be given to the Church.

Be patient, dear reader, with this narrative. I love and venerate the noble soul of Chadick, and I am persuaded that thousands in the great day will stand around him on the golden pavements of glory, and sing the song of redemption and praise God for giving such a life to the world.
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, December 26, 1878, page 2]

Our Dead Heroes.

XX.--William D. Chadick, D.D.

The subject of this sketch was born in Overton County, Tennessee, January 22, 1817. Twelve years later his parents moved to Jackson County, Alabama, When young Chadick was about sixteen years of age he made a profession of religion at the old Mink's Creek camp ground and straightway united with the church. Three years afterward the "woe is me if I preach not the gospel" was so vividly impressed upon his heart that he joined the Jackson Presbytery and began at once the necessary preparation for the gospel ministry. Thus far his educational advantages had been very meagre; but fortunately he was able at this time to sit at the feet of M. B. Feemster, the great educator of his day in that community. Shortly afterward he was licensed to preach and for several years "rode the circuit" in North Alabama and in Tennessee. It was during these years that his mind expanded most largely, and he soon gained the enviable reputation of being the best equipped young man in that territory.

His first pastorate was at Belfonte, Ala., where he preached and also taught school for about two years. Dr. W. E. Ward, who became acquainted with him a few years afterward, bore this joble testimony shortly after his death in 1878: "It was about this time, 1845 or 1846, that the writer first saw Rev. Wm. D. Chadick, and heard him preach at Union chapel, Madison County, Alabama. The house was crowded. The preacher was glowing with youth and early manhood and graceful looking. He was dressed in a fine suit of black, and wore a white necktie, and his linen bosom was snowy white. He looked finer than any preacher I had ever seen, except Matthew H. Bone, and I wondered 'how he was going to do.' I was not long in finding out. He took his text, 'Come, let us reason together,' etc. It was leveled at sinners, and especially at scoffers, moralists, and infidels, and he boldly attacked them and logically refuted them, and poured down the vials of God's wrath on them, and demolished their hiding places so completely, that my soul turned to admiration of the strange preacher, while it began to quake with fear: I was afraid of him from that moment." About the year 1818 he succeeded Rev. Robert Donnell as pastor of the church at Lebanon, Tenn., where he remained for two years, leaving that field in 1850 to become editor of the "Banner of Peace." Although his literary tastes were such as to make editorial work congenial, he yearned for the active work of the ministry, and accordingly having disposed of his interest in the paper in 1853, he returned to that work. However, in the following year he was induced to become financial agent for the Theological Seminary, and in this capacity spent the next two years, doing much preaching meanwhile. In 1856 he accepted a call to the church at Huntsville, Ala., and some of his best life-work was done while located here. When the war began he volunteered at once and served honorably first as chaplain then as officer. In 1867 the church at Murfreesboro, Tenn., extended him a call which he accepted. After four years of faithful service he became pastor of the congregation at McMinnville, Tenn., and during his ministry of three years the membership was largely increased and a handsome brick church was erected. The Board of Missions then called him to the work at Chattanooga. His work here, continuing for three and one half years, was very successful. While at Chattanooga he was afflicted with acute rheumatism and left for Hot Springs, though his trip did him little good. Shattered in health he returned to his old McMinnville friends and found a happy home with them until his death, Sept. 4, 1878. On the eve before he said to his wife, "Watch with me to-night, I am going to change my habitation," then in reply to her question "Where are you going" he said, "I am going to rest-to rest in the arms of Jesus," and when morning came his soul was indeed at rest. The widow still lives, and at this time is in the home of Dr. Chadick's daughter, Mrs. S. W. Fordyce, 3634 Washington Ave., St. Louis, Mo.
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, December 3, 1896, pages 716-717]

DIED-At her residence, in the town of Fayettville, Tenn., in the 27th year of age, Mrs. MALINDA P. CHADICK, consort of Rev. Wm. D. Chadick.

The deceased was the daughter of Dr. Wm. A. and Susan Davis. She was born in Memphis, Tenn., 19th of March, 1821-was married in the town of Bolivar, Ala., 1st of December, 1841-professed religion, and became a member of C.P. Church, in the month of August, 1845-and died at the date above.

It is due to the memory of this lamented sister, that I should say, she embodied in her character all those traits necessary to constitute the lady and the christian. She was at once intelligent, amiable and pious; she was an affectionate and confiding wife; a tender and patient mother; a kind and reasonable mistress; a uniform, faithful and benevolent christian. She was emphatically the preacher's wife. Though in feeble heath for some years previous to her death, yet she was cordial in her self-denials; so far from restraining her self-sacrificing husband, she rather prompted and urged him to the discharge of those duties that required him to be absent from home. As one of her neighbors remarked, she lived and died without an enemy. The large and tearful audience to whom I preached her funeral was illustrative of the truth of this remark. Benevolent and kind those who needed her aid, she was inoffensive towards all.

But I have said she was a christian. This was demonstrated by both her life and death. Her religion was not of that character that manifests itself only occasionally or periodically, but she served her master from principle. She moved in this, as in other departments of duty rather noiselessly, but steadily onward. Her estimate of her own attainments, religious and otherwise, was modest and humble; even, if possible, to a fault. But when the crisis came and the cold monster looked her in the face, she met him calmly, with the unmurmuring meekness, and the unfaltering faith of the genuine christian. When asked by her weeping husband, (who with a bleeding heart watched the approaching awful moment) if she was "afraid to trust all to Jesus?" she calmly replied, no:

"Jesus can make a dying bed
Feel soft as downy pillows are."

Other expressions of triumphs, "Who would live always"? Home! Sweet Home! Were repeated by her in a firm and confident tone.

But her dying charge to her husband and nurse, in reference to the care and religious training of her four lovely children; her dying exhortation to her servants, and her fervant benedictions upon them and her children, crowned her death-bed scene with an interest that was painful and pleasing beyond expression.

Her friends are sorely bereaved, especially her affectionate husband and motherless children. But they "sorrow not as those that have no hope." And

Now to the God of victory,
Immortal thanks be paid;
Who makes us conquerors while we die
Through Christ, our living head.

A. G. G.

[Source: The Banner of Peace, September 29, 1849, Vol. 8, No. 14, page 3]

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