September 15, 1904
George W. Casey was pastor of this church in 1835, with R. Williams as junior preacher. Dawson Phelps and Henry P. Turner followed: Charles B. Harris and J. P. Stanfield, 1837: Jared Van Buren and T. P. Holman, 1838: James Gaines and E. C. Slater, 1839: Van Buren was returned in 1840 with William Burr, junior preacher. This year the Holston and Memphis Conferences were set off from the Tennessee. In 1838 this district was called the Pulaski District and changed back to Huntsville District the next year.
Elisha Carr and Cornelius McGuire were here in 1841. Reverend Carr was a Godly man. He was a native of Tennessee. In 1831 he was admitted into Tennessee Conference and was a preacher for thirty five years. He died in Nashville, February 2, lB66. His methods in all matters was unique. He was a missionary to the negroes and was a real reformer among them. His catechism of them was original and often mirth provoking, yet he impressed them effectively. He would ask questions in a blunt way. One time he asked a lady if she was raising her children in the fear of the Lord. The lady was a spinster. He repeated the question to a married woman who had no children, and never took notice of the result. In 1842 Thomas L. Young and I. W. Phillips were on this charge. Young was the son of Thomas Young, a camper at this place. He died while traveling this work. James Henning and one named Echols came in 1843. Sion Record and Albert G. Kelly 1844: L. D. Harwell and Golman Green, 1845: Mention will be made of Reverend liar-well later. Reverend Green was was a great exhorter. With his remarkable eloquence he played upon the emotions of his hearers, until all were melted into tears. He could shake a multitude as few preachers could. There were twenty four appointments this year with three camprneetings - Salem, Shiloh and Pisgah. There were 200 conversions. The pastors had to preach twenty four times a month, hold class meetings and attend to the other duties of the pastorate.
Smith W. Moore and W. H. Hughes'were on this circuit in 1846; W. R. Husbands and George W. Lentz, 1847; Dawson Phelps and William R. Warren, 1848; Loyd Richardson and William M. Harwell, 1849; A. Jackson Gilmore and Jessie Rice, 1850; J. R. McClure and William Brown, 1851; the same with James McCracken, 1852; Loyd Richardson and Samuel D. Ogborn, 1853.
Reverend Elam Stephenson was a noted preacher who lived in Giles County many years, near Bee Springs. He was third son of James Stephenson, a captain in the Revolutionary War, and was born in Irewell, now Alexander County, North Carolina. He was the first of the family to join the Methodist Church. His parents were Presbyterians. He was licensed to preach in 1813, and came to Tennessee that year, settling near Bee Springs. He attended the second campmeeting at this place and many subsequent meetings. Four of his sons were Methodist preachers. Peter Randolph, a wag of this place for years, Said that he had called him to preach seven times, but before he could accept, a Stephenson answered the call. James C. Stevenson was a local preacher, who made a reputation of being a man of power. He was born June 23, 1813. He married Miss Margaret Brown, a sister of ex-governors Neil S. and John C. Brown. Eleven children were born of this union. He was licensed to preach September 1838 and was a minister for sixty one years. In 1842 he took the place of Elisha Carr on this charge. In 1843 Thomas L. Young died on this work and Reverend Stevenson took his place. There were twenty seven or twenty eight appointments. There were over 1,000 conversions on this circuit that year. In 1861 he was on the Elkton Circuit in the stead of Mark Williams who was made Chaplin of the 3rd Tennessee Infantry. In 1864 he was invited by the Presbyterians at Swan Church, in Lincoln County, to preach for them. He preached for twelve days, and had 120 conversions and fifty accessions. He was an invalid five years and died February 23, 1899, aged 86 years and eight months. His wife died thirteen years and twelve days before he did. Reverend Abner A. Stevenson lived to be very old and was a Godly man. Reverend Elam A. Stevenson was a member of the Tennessee Conference several years but he transferred west and died.
Reverend John B. Stevenson was a member of the Tennessee Conference and helped L. D. Harwell on this circuit in 1845. He went to the North Alabama Conference and died in 1890.
William Beaty, James Dugger, Nicholas Grubbs, John and James McKnight, James Derr, Jessie Creasey, Sam Hall, Richard Blow, Henry Briggs, Robert Williams. Thomas Evans, Hartwell and Robert Lucy, Richard Miller, Dr. G. D. Taylor, Lewis and Edward Williamson, Cornelius McGuire, Thomas McCracken, William Connor, John Kennedy, Charles C. Abernathy, Alexander and Paschal Tarpley, Adam Bell, and William Webb, were regular campers here for years. Raleigh Brown with sons-and daughters were excellent singers. Finis, William ("Good Billy"), Alexander, John, Sallie Milly, Susan, Prah and Martha, his children, were splendid workers at the camprneetings. Thomas F. Brown, a one-time useful member of the Tennessee Conference for several years, was the son of "Good Billy" Brown. Earnest W. Brown, a member of the same conference at present, is a son of Thnmas F. Brown. Jeff, a son of John Brown, -was a local preacher in Alabama. Davis Brown, brother of Raleigh, had two sons who were preachers - Henry, who was an itinerant, and James D. Milton, son of James D. Brown, belonged to Tennessee Conference a number of years, and was located in the bounds of North Alabama Conference. William Davis Brown was a member of "Old Jerusalem" for several years and located.
Thomas Batte, of Elkton, was a camper. He was gifted in prayer and exhortation and worked in the altar. He was the father of Dr. William Batte and Dr. Summerfield Batte, who was accidentally killed in Pulaski fifty years ago last April near where the new Methodist Church stands, by the discharge of a pistol in the hands of a careless policeman.
Henry Birdsong, son of John H. Birdsong, was a local preacher, who died in 1891, aged 71 years. Reverend Meshac Boyce was another camper. He had two sons preachers, William, who traveled awhile, and Leonidas, who preached awhile.
Thomas, Edward and Lewis Marks were substantial campers and workers in the campmeetings. Edward Marks lived to be ninety odd years old and was a member of the church upward of seventy years. He had two sons preachers - Thomas B., a member of the Tennessee Conference and John S., who joined the North Alabama Conference. Thomas B. Marks was born February 27, 1822. He joined the church October 6, 1840. He was admitted on trial at Huntsville, October 1845, and traveled five circuits and three stations each one year; Middleton Circuit, seven years; Unionville Circuit, five years; Bedford Circuit, five years; Beech Grove, four years; Rich Valley, four years; three years of war, no appointments, eighteen years supernumerary, October 1899, granted superannuated relations, which he held until his death a year or two ago. John S. Marks was a good revivalist. He was superannuated for several years. I think probably he is still alive, but old and feeble. Mrs. Press Butler is a sister. Willis McLaurine, great grandfather of Honorable Rufus H. McLaurine of Pulaski, and Edward Brown were campers. Joseph Young, and his son, Captain William Young, were campers.
Robert Richey was an influential camper. His son, James Harvey, joined the Tennessee Conference and traveled for some time and transferred to Texas.
Robert Tinnon, a prominent camper, had two sons preachers - Joseph F., a member of Tennessee Conference, who died in the work, and R. M., a Cumberland Presbyterian. James Franklin Tirinon, a present member of the Tennessee Conference, is a son of Joseph Franklin Tinnon. He was born August 15, 1853. He joined the church September 13, 1866, and joined the Conference, October 1880.
Nathaniel Graves, a camper for years, has a son, William Wallace, in the Tennessee Conference. W. W. Graves was born in this county, March 1, 1836. He joined the church in August, 1849. He was admitted on trial in the Conference in October 1860, at Clarksville.
Lewis Brown, brother of Reverend Aaron Brown, Sr., lived near Pisgah. He had two sons preachers - Hartwell and Sterling C. Harwell traveled a few years. His services were greatly in demand. Sterling was a powerful preacher, who had remarkable success. He died in the initerancy, while a young man. Robert McLaurine, William and Thomas Woodward, and the Suttles and Reynolds were campers. A large number of colored people belonged to the Methodist Church in this section, under the canpmeeting regime. The name of Bishop R. R. Roberts is mentioned among the prominent people converted at this place, by Reverend L. D. Harwell, in a newspaper account of early times at Pisgah. I think this is a mistake for the following reasons: He was made a Bishop in 1824; and, if he had been converted in the very first meeting, it would have been too short a time for that, for, the first campmeeting here was in 1813. In a sketch by Bishop Paine the following appears: "Under the ministry of the Methodist traveling preachers, he, and his father's family generally, were converted and joined the church,-. He lived in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, at that time. He came to Tennessee several times and probably was in this section.
Beside the Presiding Elders already mentioned in this narrative are the named of Thomas Maddin, John B. McFerrin,(Called the Boanerges of Southern Methodism), F. E. Pitts, A. L. P. Green, Pleasant B. Robinson, R. L. Andrews, E. P. Hatcher, A. R. Erwin. Lorenzo D. Overall, R. H. Rivers, Fed G. Ferguson, Joel Whitten, William Doss, William Burr, and John Sherrill. In 1854-55 William G. Hensley, a well known preacher, served Richland Circuit. William C. Haislip was the junior preacher the first year and Joseph J. Pitts the second year.
In 1856 and 57, John Sherrill was here. George W. Allen was with him the first year and Thomas F. Brown the second year. John Sherrill was the son of Levi Sherrill of Bradshaw. He joined the church under Dr. G. D. Taylor, in 1829. He joined the Conference 1834, and remained in the traveling connection a number of years, then transferred to one of the Texas Conferences and preached a few years and died in that State.
In 1858, L. D. Harwell and Charles Dunham were here; in 1859 M. G. Williams and Charles Franks; 1860-61, John Sherrill was returned; 1862-63, Miles Johnson; 1864, John Hanner and W. D. Cherry; 1865-66, John Sherrill again, the second year a Reverend Clark assisted; 1867, James M. Locke and A. M. Ezell; 1868, William G. Hensley and A. M. Ezell; 1869-70, R. M. Haggard; 1871-72-73, John Sherrill; 1874-75, Jerome B. Anderson; 1876, Robinson L. Fagin; 1877-78, John A. McFerrin; the present Presiding Elder; 1879, Sterling M. Cherry; 1880, George S. Byrom; 1881, A. M. Ezell; 1882, George S. Byrom; 1883, J. B. Anderson; 1884-85-86-87, R. W. Seay; 1888-89, G. W. Anderson; 1890-91, W. A. Turner; 1892-93, John G. Molloy; 1894-95, J. W. Gilbert; 1896-97-98-99, John H. Nichols; 1900-01, J. J. Shaw; 1902, George M. Gardner, five months; 1902-03, T. A. Carden. Some of these dates may be somewhat inaccurate on account of the Conference year being a part of two years; however I think the names and dates are correct as possible. These recent pastors are too well known to give a sketch as such is easily accessible. Reverend S. M. Cherry was a Chaplain in the 37th Georgia Regiment, Bate's Brigade. He is still an active preacher. John H. Nichols is an author of repute. His Theological Works have gone into several editions and hundreds of thousands copies have been sold. A. M. Ezell is on the supernumerary list. He lives at Sumac, this County. R. M. Haggard and Jerome B. Anderson are dead. J. J. Shaw transferred to Texas. There has only been two preachers who have stayed the limit. In 1879 this circuit was first called the Pisgah Charge. The three North Alabama Districts were cut off in 1870. Since that date the Conference bounds have been confined to Middle Tennessee.