AFTER THE CREEK
It was about this time that Ira Byrd
and Peter James entered the Tombigbee territory, the last of Nov. 1813.
Early in the spring, having Gen. Claiborne's forces between them and the
Creeks, most of the families left the forts and returned to their homes.
With most of them it was like starting over. They collected what
stock they could find, and planted new crops. Most of them had had their
homes burned and had to rebuild, their personal property stolen or destroyed.
They found it extremely difficult to obtain garden and plantation seeds,
so it was late spring before much could be planted. They were forced
to used much of their crops before they were ready. They supplemented
the crops with fish and game. But these brave families endured more
hardships and became their old industrious selves, and made the best of
The two young preachers, Ira Byrd and
Peter James, sympathized with the people in their privations and poverty,
and were content to fare as they fared. The war had improved the
piety of the people, especially the women and children. Soon Societies
were reformed. There were occasional visits from small war parties
even then, and sentries had to be posted. The friendly Indians became impudent
at the distrust the white settlers showed the whole race.
One day Mr. Byrd had filled his appointments
near Mt. Vernon and Mobile, and was on his way along an unsettled
road going to the Chickasawhay settlements. Few hostile Indians were
ever seen west of the Tombigbee, so he allowed himself the luxury of reading
while on horseback, as he ambled on. He was reading his new copy
of Joseph Benson's celebrated sermon on Proverbs xi 30. He became
so absorbed in his reading that he was oblivious of the approaching Indians
until he was surprised by to armed warriors. He saw escape was impossible,
so he surrendered quietly. The Indians stepped forward and seized
his bridle, one on either side, holding the rein in one hand and the gun
in the other. One demanded bread and the other tobacco. Mr.
Byrd, by signs and a few sentences he had learned, informed them he had
neither. With angry looks, they told him in their own language that
he was a "great big liar." Thrusting his hand into his saddlebag,
he drew out a book, which he opened on his saddle pommel, and pointing
his finger to the page, he gave the Indians mostly by signs, a reading
from the Bible. The confused Indians let his bridle go, and stepped
back to let him pass. Mr. Byrd
bowed a polite if not affectionate good-bye and passed on without future
After the August 9th treaty, the country
became quiet as far as the Creeks were concerned, the only remaining trouble
being in protecting Mobile and New Orleans from being captured by the British
forces on the Gulf for that purpose. The war was responsible for
the scattering and decrease of members of the church that year.
Next / Return
John S. Ford and Jonathan Kemp had a
small increase of members, and on the Amite that year, under the labors
of John Phipps and Josiah Daughtry, there was a decrease, but on Wilkinson,
Elisha Lott and Thomas Owens had a significant increase of well over 100.
Thomas Owens was an extraordinary man
from the beginning of his ministry. Of limited literary education,
his talents in the pulpit were never above mediocre, yet there was a charm,
a fascination, an attraction, an arousing power in his style, voice and
manner that were extraordinary. Dr. Winans said that if the gift
could be purchase, he knew not what he would give for Thomas Owens' gift.
Thomas Griffin and Simon Gentry had
no report that year, or it was lost, so statistics were unavailable.
The writer, John Jones, was a lad when he first met Thomas Griffin.
His moving, melting, subduing songs, prayers and sermons yet resounded
in his ears, and thrilled Jones' heart at the time of this writing.
The height of his ambition was to sing like Samuel Sellers, Thomas Griffin,
and James Griffing. The first person Jones ever saw shouting at church
was a rather elegant looking lady who was overcome be Thomas Griffin's
Messrs. Nolley and Schrock were prepared
for the tasks they undertook that year, as they expected no better than
the conditions were. Mr. Nolley kept to his habits of self denial
in food and sleep, which gradually declined his health. In addition
to that, he constantly kept to every duty, public and private, large and
small, with the extent of his abilities the only allowable limits for himself.
He was known as a liberalist by the Methodist Church. He
was remembered for such small things
as not passing through a home's door with lifting his hands and pausing
to say a prayer, like "peace be on this home." Nothing that he could
do was undone in his calling to save souls.
On one occasion where Nolley was a stranger
to the home, the wife became quite discomposed when he did that.
Her first impression, with his emaciated look, was that he might be a deranged
outcast from society seeking food and shelter. She was quite embarrassed
when Mr. Nolley introduced himself as the new preacher. He was ever
after a welcome guest when the lady realized he cared enough to pray for
her home when he did not even know her. He must be a Holy man.
He gained support from many people even with his eccentricity. Once
when a group of rowdies drug him from the preaching house in St. Martinsville
for the purpose of ducking him in the pond, a negro woman threatened the
rowdies with a weeding hoe until they released the minister. She
took him by the hand and led him back into the house, up to where he usually
stood and said for him to preach, that no one would bother him now.
Mr. Nolley gained an estimable amount of 30 members there.
Elsewhere in Louisiana, Samuel Sellers
was seen. There lived in the region of the Attakapas on the island
in Berwick's Bay, a cultivated lady by the name of Rice. She was
considered a Christian lady but had been misled about Methodists and was
prejudiced against them, and opposed to emotional religion. She determined
to hear Sellers preach, regardless of her distrust, as preachers were rare
there. She said she received no blessing from the sermon. Then Sellers
began to sing and strange feelings stirred in her heart. Mrs. Rice
was said to run a brilliant race as a feeling Christian, after that.
Mrs. Rice had a most congenial companion
in the person of Mrs. Martha Skinner, who lived in the town of Teche, not
far from the town of Franklin. The houses of these elect ladies were
the houses of the early itinerants. The traveling preachers were
always welcomed in their homes.
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SCHROCK AND THE RAPIDES CIRCUIT
John Schrock was on Rapides Circuit
this year, adjoining Mr. Nolley's charge. Mr. Shrock was a man of
a different temperament. He was pious, active, bold, self-reliant
and uncompromising. He felt that his calling was to "attack sin"
in all of its forms and degrees, and to denounce it boldly. He soon
made many warm friends and some very bitter enemies. Toward his enemies
he was defiant as in the following example.
Alexandria was a hard place, difficult
for a preacher to even find a place to sleep. There lived in the
suburbs, in a small house, a woman with two grown daughters. One
night a group of mischievous young men surrounded the house, teasing and
frightening the woman and girls. The woman had been boiling a pot
of soap. There was a small opening in the back of the chimney through
which the assailants could take a peep at the infuriated inmates.
The old woman threatened to throw a gourd of boiling soap in the next face
she saw there, and made ready to do so. Just then a young man came
along unaware of her threat, and approached the hole for a peep and was
met with the gourd of soap. The affair soon became public and was
met with rude jests and laughs.
Soon after, some of these same fellows
decided to try their hand teasing Mr. Schrock. One Sunday, while
preaching in the courthouse, the disorderly men came to the window outside
and tried to disturb his sermon. Shrock turned and looked at them,
telling them if they did not desist from their wicked ways, they would
soon get something hotter than boiling soap. The men became enraged that
the preacher would refer to the soap that had marred the vision of one
of their own, and swore lustily that if Mr. Shrock ever tried to preach
there again, they would take him and duck him in the Red River. Some
of the concerned citizens attempted to dissuade him from returning for
his safety. Shrock enjoyed the excitement of the opposition too well
to back out. His friends secretly formed a company for his protection
in case he was assailed on his return.
When Schrock came back the next time,
he rode boldly up, hitched his horse and detached the lash from a loaded
horsewhip, took off his coat, and with the whip handle reversed, he walked
toward the courthouse. The astonished crowd watched as he invited
everyone to hear the sermon. Walking up the the judge's desk, he
deposited his coat and saddlebags, with his whip in easy reach and began
to preach. He prayed with open eyes, watching for the rowdy boys
to attack him. He informed the crowd he was fully intent on meeting
the threat of execution made toward him. He raised his shirt sleeve
and showed them the size of his arm, telling them he was brought up a blacksmith
and knew the strength of his arms. Then he unbuttoned his collar
and showed his short thick Dutch neck and asked the congregation if they
thought God have given him such a muscular body to let a set of ruffians
run over him in a free country for doing his duty. He had been told
that the ruffians had threatened the life of Drury Powell, his predecessor,
who had left the area because of it. Shrock told them he was not
the running sort, and if they intended to do him like they had done poor
Nolley, he would advise them not to try it.
He announced his next appointment and
set about preaching his sermon, telling them that he knew he would probably
be denied the use of the courthouse on his next visit, but if so he would
preach under a cottonwood tree on the bank of the river when he returned.
When he neared his horse, he heard his name called and turning, squared
off for a fight. The gentleman came as a friend, not foe, and invited
Schrock to go home with him, thereafter giving him welcome in his home.
Mr. Schrock told the author that most
of the ruffians met with an untimely end, and died in their wickedness,
while those who favored the Gospel being preached lived long and prospered.
Schrock was later ordained elder, settled and married in this area.
He was instructed by the Conference to "put up his sword," after they heard
of the incident.
At the Conference held at the home of
Rev. John Ford's on Pearl River in November, 1814, Schrock located and
never returned to the itinerancy after the rebuke. He was an active
local preacher for many years afterward. He was an extensive reader
of biographical, historical and theological works, a counselor for young
preachers, known to leap over the "book board" like a cat and jump into
the midst of penitent sinners during his sermons. At one camp meeting,
while in a storm, he preached seven times in one night in different tents.
He was economical, hard working, industrious but unsuccessful as a financier.
He expected to accomplish too much in too short a time with too little
money. At several times he was in
possession of considerable property,
but was nearly always embarrassed with debt until the great financial crash
that came on Mississippi in 1840, when he was forced to abandon his property
to his creditors to satisfy his debts. He moved to the Republic of
Texas soon after, where he died.
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WINANS and THE BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS
One of the most promising young ministers
was William Winans, who was sent to New Orleans with a mere $30 to pay
his expenses and board him for a few days until he could let what few patrons
of the Church as he could find know that he was was on hand. No preparation
was made for his reception, nor had he any place to preach. He had
obtained a few items of information form his dying predecessor, Lewis Hobbs.
There were only a few homes that would welcome him in the 20,000 people
of the city. Winans knew he could not sustain himself on what he
made from preaching, so he opened a day school during the week, and preached
Toward the end of the year, the city
was threatened with a speedy investment by the British fleet under Gen.
Packenham, and the whole population was in such a state of excitement and
alarm that little could be done about Church matters. No members
were reported from New Orleans that year. Winans left the city
in time to meet his Conference at John Ford's on Pearl River, November
14, 1814. The whole territory was in a high state of excitement over
the threatened investment and capture of the New Orleans, which had been
concentrating for several months in the Gulf of Mexico for that purpose.
Most of the men liable to military service in our Conference were called
to the army of defense under Gen. Andrew Jackson, as volunteers or drafts.
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MISCELLANEOUS REPORTS OF PEOPLE AND EVENTS
The author writes a miscellaneous chapter
before commencing on the year 1815, to cover some historical items of prominence.
and to illustrate some facts that were not embraced in any particular year
but should be embraced as part of the Church's History.
First is the case of Rev. Drury Powell.
He came from the South Carolina Conference as a missionary in 1812, and
labored one year on the west side of the Mississippi. He was spoken
of as a plain, practical, and uncompromising preacher whose plain-dealing
with the prevailing vices of the people stirred hostility toward Methodists.
The first effort to damage his reputation and hinder his usefulness
was by circulating false and slanderous reports, such as his being a horse
thief. Then a half dozen of the "baser-sort" attacked him.
Powell had no friends near to help him, and he assumed an attitude of defense,
telling them if they would come one at a time he would whip the whole lot
of them. They "quailed" under his defiant attitude, and slunk away
for the time being. They plotted later to way-lay him in the tall
grass, take his horse and possibly his life. Powell learned of the
plot and decided to leave the territory for South Carolina, where he traveled
two more years, then located.
The Rev. Newet Vick and his relative,
Foster Cook with their families removed from the Spring Hill area to the
northern part of Warren County in 1814. Until then most of the settlements
in Warren County were south and southeast of the Walnut Hills. The
northern part of the county was equal in fertility but was contiguous to
the Choctaw Indians, and bordered on the east and north by the great Indian
Wilderness, which had very few white settlers. The land on the dividing
ridge between the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers on the one side, and Big
Black on the other, was covered with smaller growth of timber and cane
than the lands on either side, and
took the name of the Open Woods. In this Open Woods, about seven
or eight miles from where Vicksburg later stood, Mr. Vick and Mr. Cook
located on fine tracts of land and continued there the remainder of their
lives. They soon drew around them a considerable settlement of relatives
by the names of Vick, and Cook and other Virginia families. Soon
other settlements were formed on the margin of the hills above the Walnut
Hills and in the vicinity of Lower Yazoo Bluffs. Rev. Vick was the
minister to preach the gospel in northern
Walnut County. Soon he and Foster Cook, and others, united in building
a log church about seven miles northeast of the Walnut Hills on what was
later called the Benton Road. Here Mr. Vick preached regularly until
A lady who had lived mostly in the backwoods,
and was not familiar with Methodist worship, visited the church.
As she approached the door she saw several ladies sitting inside engaged
in conversation. When she entered, she halted on the threshold and
addressed them in the usual interrogative on visiting a neighbor, "Who
keeps this house?" Of course she met a Christian welcome and was
cordially invited to sit among the sisters of the Church.
Mr. Vick had an unusually large family
of children to bring up and educate, so he had to devote a large amount
of time to making money to take care of them. He saw an extensive
system of ridges suitable for roadways, and foresaw the City becoming a
commercial site. For this purpose he purchased from Mr. Anthony Glass the
land where a large part of Vicksburg later stood. Soon after he laid
several streets near the river and sold a number of lots to persons who
built on them for commercial purposes. His death in 1819 put an end
to his connection with the newly projected city, but he had instructed
his grown children how to proceed with the development, with the advice
of relatives and kindred. The city was named for him by his children
after his death.
Foster Cook was the nephew of Mrs. Newet
Vick, and was born in Greenville County, VA on May 13, 1781, where he grew
to manhood. He married young, and after two children were born, he
lost his wife. He joined the Church and emigrated to Mississippi,
settling on the south fork of Cole's Creek in Jefferson County, within
a few miles of his uncle, Newet Vick. After a short time in Mississippi
he returned to his home in VA and married Miss Martha Wyche Sills, a young
lady beautiful in person and more than ordinarily adorned with graces of
a pure and active Christian. With her, he returned home to Mississippi
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FORD AND SONS
The older members of John Ford's family
were from South Carolina, in the Marion District. "They descended partly
from an English, Welsh and Scotch ancestry. The Scotch branch of
the family were lineal descendants of the defunct Stuart dynasty of Scotland
- so says their family tradition. Some of the ancestors of this family,
in their religion were Huguenots, and others were Scotch Presbyterian.
The Ford family, so far as the writer knew them, were
noble men and women. Intellectually
they were above mediocrity. They were graceful and dignified in manners,
trustworthy in principles, and apart from personal piety, would have been
esteemed as first-class citizens."
The parents of John Ford were converted
to Methodism in South Carolina. About 1790 John Ford married Miss
Catherine Ard, by which he had 13 children, 8 sons and 5 daughters.
One of the daughters died as an infant. In about 1800, Mrs. Ford
joined the Church at a camp meeting under the preaching of Rev. George
Doughterty. John converted soon after, while reading his Bible at
John Ford was "tall, dignified, and
princely in his personal appearance, and possessed a high order of mind,"
but having grown up in the midst of the troubles of the Revolutionary War,
his literary education was limited until, by study, he educated himself.
He served two terms in the South Carolina Legislature, and after removing
to the Natchez Country, was a member of the Convention that framed and
adopted the first Constitution of the State of
About 1807, John Ford united with a
small colony, and leaving Marion County, settled in the Tennessee Valley
about where Huntsville later stood. Such was the isolation of the
area, that they knew not what state or country they belonged to.
For self protection they formed their own military government, and Mr.
Ford was elected Governor, magistrate and military commander. After
one year they became dissatisfied with their isolation and exposure to
the savages by whom they were completely surrounded, and they built flatboats,
descending the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers to seek homes in the far
famed Natchez Country. It is presumed that they debarked at the mouth
of Bayou Pierre, as they stopped one year not far from Red Lick in Jefferson
County. From there Mr. Ford moved to Marion County and settled on
the west side of Pearl River, where he remained until his death on February
4, 1826. When or by whom Ford was licensed to preach is not known,
until 1817 when Bishop McKendree visited the Country and elected Ford and
elder. The Bishop took sick and remained at John Ford's for two or
three months before he was able to resume his Episcopal tour.
Of Mr. Ford's eight sons, four became
Methodist preachers. John Ford Jr. was many years a local preacher
and died in Harrison County Tennessee in 1842. Thomas Ford, was about
19 when he went to Georgia for his education. While there, at the
age of 20, he was converted at a camp meeting and was soon employed by
Rev. Samuel K. Hodges, presiding elder of the Athens District, to travel
the Sparta Circuit. In about 1824 he married and returned to Mississippi,
where he spent a long and useful life as a local preacher, mainly
in Hinds County. He contributed
largely to the growth of the Church around Raymond, Clinton and Jackson.
In 1836 John Jones, the author, was on the Choctaw Circuit and was surprised
to find no preacher in the state capitol of Jackson. He asked Thomas
Ford to take on the position as a missionary. Ford did so, two Sundays
a month, preaching in a small two story building "ycleped the State House."
For the Legislature and the hangers-on, this house was equipped with drinking
saloons and all their usual attachments. In this house, with quarterly
visits from Jones, Thomas Ford preached. He soon collected a
good congregation, composed partly of families who moved into the town.
Among the first members were a gentleman and his wife by the name of Finucane.
They soon became zealous Methodists, and opened their home to traveling
ministers. The next year Jones and Ford commenced to build a church
which was still occupied at the time of this book. The church was
built in time to hold a convention in 1839, for the purpose of arranging
the centennial celebration. Ford preached in Jackson in 1836-38,
while continuing to reside on his farm in Clinton until his death.
He had built up a competent estate for his comfort in
his declining years, but it was all
swept away by the late war so that he died poor. He was a cultivated
man, and a polished gentleman.
Rev. Washington Ford, the next son that
entered the ministry, commenced preaching in his youth, in about 1830 when
he entered the Conference, and spent about ten years as an itinerant.
He was a local preacher for the remainder of his life. After his
first marriage, he settled his family about the line between Madison and
Leake Counties, where he lived until his death. He was an excellent
man and a popular preacher, though not the equal of his
brother Thomas, in the pulpit, according
to the author.
David Ford was several years older than
his brother Washington, and though he was consistent and active in the
Church he hesitated many years before he consented to follow his convictions
of duty by entering the ministry. He moved from Madison County to
Texas, where he was an active preacher living in Newton County.
One of the daughters of John Ford, Sr.
became the wife of Rev. Miles Harper, and another married Thomas Griffin.
All of Mr. Ford's children lived and died as members of the Methodist Church,
except Samuel Ford, the youngest son, who died as a Protestant Episcopal.
Next / Return
THOMAS C. WARNER
Another historic family of Methodists
was that of Hon. Thomas C. Warner. He moved from Orangeburg District,
South Carolina about 1802 and settled a while in St. Helena Parish, and
finally on the waters of Bogue Chitto, in Washington Parish, Louisiana,
where he brought up a family of seven sons and six daughters. His
pious wife survived him by 20 years.
Warner probably obtained the title of
Judge from filling at an early day the office of Parish Judge in Washington
Parish. His position in society was elevated. He served as
a Colonel in "Jackson's war." His large family was noted for moral,
steady and industrious habits. His home was open to the traveling preachers
who visited not only for their own entertainment but for the access to
the hearts of the large family of promising children who were all converted
to the Methodist Church at an early age.
Of the seven sons, four became preachers,
and a fifth became an exhorter. Cornelius Warner and Richard J. Warner
were admitted into the Conference, Cornelius in 1826 and Richard in 1829.
Judge Warner had twin daughters, Elizabeth and Nancy Warner. Elizabeth
Warner married Rev. David Pipes of East Feliciana, and Nancy married Rev.
J. P. Haney who was admitted into the Conference in 1824. Haney died
in 1831, leaving a wife, a son and a daughter. Haney's daughter married
Rev. Thomas Price, who was admitted into Conference in 1839.
Daniel C. Warner, one of Judge Warner's
sons, and his wife joined the church in 1825, at a camp meeting in what
was called Bickham's on Hay's Creek, a tributary of Bogue Chitto.
Daniel had a daughter named Henrietta who was converted at the age of eleven,
under the ministry of Rev. James Applewhite. She was a pious, devout
young woman, raised in the Church. Henrietta Warner married William
J. Scott, and after holding their membership for 20 years at White Bay
Church, not far south of Hazelhurst, the moved to Harrison County
Texas where they lived about 12 miles from the city of Marshall.
At the writing of this book, the author says the Warners were scattered
over Louisiana, Mississippi and several branches in Texas. He called
them the salt of the earth.
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MINISTERS AND PARISHIONERS
Some of the ministers that the author
gives credit to are James Jenkins, George Doughtery, Stith Mead, Lewis
Myers, Daniel Asbury, James Russell, the brothers Lovick and Reddick Pierce.
Some of the leading families that the
author mentions as being hospitable to the traveling ministers are Adams,
White, Winbourn, Tarver, on the Amite. On the Tangipahoa and Bogue
Chitto are Peter Felder (a man with a large soul, whose house seemed to
be right in the way of every traveling preacher,) Sandell, Bullock, Bickham,
Connerly. On the Pearl River was John Ford, Rawles (2 of them preachers),
John Regan, Hope H. Lenoir. On the Tombigbee was Carr, Boykin, Funches,
McRae, Godfrey. In the Fork was Mrs. William Cade and her partially
paralyzed widowed sister, Mrs. Harper, and their brothers the Easleys in
the Marengo Circuit.
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CONFERENCE NOVEMBER, 1814
The Mississippi Conference assembled
at Rev. John Ford's house in Marion County, west of Pearl River on Nov.
14,1814. Samuel Sellers was President and William Winans was re-elected
as Secretary. Also present were Richmond Nolley, Thomas Griffin,
Thomas A. King, John I.E. Byrd, John Schrock, and Elisha Lott.
The Committee of Appropriations consisting
of John S. Ford, Thomas A. King and Thomas Griffin reported that they had
on hand $29.25, which the had appropriated to John Shrock, who had spent
more than $30 in traveling expenses, and he only received in return, $2.25.
Roswell Valentine, recommended from
Natchez Circuit, and Wiley Ledbetter from Amite were admitted on trial.
Thomas Owens, Peter James and Jonathan Kemp were continued on trial.
Elisha Lott was received into full connection and elected to elders orders.
John I. E. Byrd and John Shrock were elected elders orders, and Shrock
located at his own request. All preachers' characters and administration
passed in review before the Conference and were approved. A resolution
was decided on how to deal with misconduct of a minister.
It appears that the Conference had previously
obligated themselves for a small lot of books granted to William Winans
to enable him to fill his station in New Orleans. At this meeting,
the Conference formally withdrew that obligation, leaving the Tennessee
Conference to settle the claim. The Conference adopted as one of
its governing rules that the President had the right to nominate all committees.
When he nominated William Winans and Thomas Griffin to the committee "to
prepare and address to the Tennessee Conference, "the rest of the Mississippi
Conference voted to have the President on the committee also, as he could
not nominate himself, and they trusted his maturity and judgment.
The address was soon completed, along with a protest from the group about
Miles Harper being re-admitted to the Tennessee Conference "because of
sundry complaints against him in Mississippi." (However the complaints
against him seemed to have been satisfactorily adjusted since he was indeed
re-admitted to the Conference in Tennessee, at Franklin, Williamson County
October 30, 1817, and he was sent to Nashville for the following year before
being transferred back to Mississippi. Miles Harper continued to
labor there for many years.)
It was difficult in the best of times
to supply ministers and congregations with hymn books, as they had to come
by way of the Atlantic to the ports of the gulf coast, and then be conveyed
to the interior in any available way, but during the war, it was impossible
to get them. The Conference appointed Samuel Sellers to make a selection
of suitable hymns and publish them in pamphlet form for the use of
the ministers and their flocks. The manuscript was completed and
placed in the hands of the publisher in time to be ready by the meeting
of the Conference Nov. 10, 1816. The publisher delayed in getting
the books ready, and released the Conference from the debt. "Seller's
Selection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs" was broadcast over the land eventually.
The Conference completed in two days, and agreed to meet at Pine Ridge,
six or seven miles north of Natchez, on Nov. 16, 1815.
The appointments were:
Mississippi District- Samuel Sellers,
Natchez and Claiborne- Thomas A. King,
Wilkinson- Wm. Winans, Peter James,
Amite- J.I.E. Byrd, Jonathon Kemp
Tombigbee- John S. Ford, Thomas Owens
Pearl River- Elijah Gentry
Rapides- Elisha Lott
Attakapas- Richmond Nolley
Washita- Thomas Griffin
The names of several ministers that
were on the rolls the last year had disappeared. Lewis Hobbs died,
John Phipps had returned to Tennessee, John Shrock had located, Josiah
B. Daughtry and Simon Gentry had been discontinued after one year, for
what reason the author knows not. Daughtry's name appears in the
Tennessee Conference the next year and he did many more years of service.
Gentry was reputed to be somewhat demented.
Two transfers were received, that of
Thomas A. King and Gabriel Pickering. King had been in the itinerancy
four years and came with deacon's orders, to last only one year.
He then returned to Tennessee for a year before locating.
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PICKERING AND ROSWELL VALENTINE
Gabriel Pickering was known personally
by the writer. He seemed to be advanced in age when he was admitted
to the Conference that year." He soon married a widow lady in Franklin
County, which furnished him with a comfortable home and some property.
In a short time his call to preach ceased to be imperative." His
connection with the Church was dissolved shortly after and never renewed.
"In 1824-25," says the author, "we found him living with his good Methodist
wife apparently in comfort and plenty, on McCall's Creek, in Franklin County."
He was hospitable to the traveling ministers, and attentive to the appointments,
but would take no active part in religious exercises. The author
says Pickering's countenance showed a dissatisfied state of mind.
Of the three admitted on trial at the
late Conference, Wiley Ledbetter and Elijah Gentry (the brother of Simon)
turned out to be preachers of considerable talent, and notoriety.
The author's "recollection of
Roswell Valentine was that he was a licensed preacher when he came to this
country." He came from New York with Lorenzo and Peggy Dow, and at
first made his home about Clarke's Creek in Claiborne, and Red Lick in
Jefferson County. He was "tolerably well-educated and followed school-teaching.
The wife of the writer was one of his pupils when a small girl. It
came to light that he had left a wife behind, from whom he had separated,
he averred for justifiable cause. In the meantime, he sought admission
into the Conference, but received only one appointment before he was discontinued.
He succeeded in forming a matrimonial alliance with a very estimable young
lady - the elder daughter of Rev. Randall Gibson - against the wishes of
her best friends, after which he settled at Beech Hill for the purpose
of pursuing his vocation as an educator." He died shortly after from
an open vein in his arm which caused him to bleed to death during his sleep.
Mrs. Valentine was married twice after his death.
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