History Leaves of the Methodist Tree
Compiled by Johnny Cordell
Excerpts from the Journal of Rev. William H. Cooper transcribed by Bradley H. Scott. The following selected daily journal entries are taken during 1867-68 as Rev. Cooper rode his Holston circuit. His original spellings are retained, including an occasional “f” for an “s”.
Oct 29 This day Conference adjourned; and I was appointed to “Jonesville Circuit,” Lee County, Va. Bro. Jas. Little moved us from Parrotsville, Tenn; to Jonesville, Va. Whole cost of trip: Moving; and Bills. $25.00. We were favored by a gracious Providence and Pleasant weather not a drop of rain or snow falling on us; during the journey! Bless God!
Dec 20. Begun a meeting at Hurricane Branch of five days duration, which resulted in two conversions and five additions to the Church’ many of the members were much revived; and Greenback & Provisions contributed amt. to $23.15, upon the whole it was a meeting of vast interest. All praise be to God who is “high over all and Blessed forever.”
Dec.25. Christmas day: preached at Spencer’s S.H. Received three into the Church: Dined at Bros. John Beatys to spent the night there also.
Feb 5. My 33rd Birthday, Preached at Spencer’s S.H. Reed. One young woman into the Church and at night celebrated the rites of matrimony between Thom .J. Ely & Adaline C .Blakemore.
Feb 11. Travailed 20 miles Crofsed Stone mountain twice. Preached at North Fork Gap. 8 joined the Church. Feb17. Closed a meeting at Jonesville of 15 days and 16 nights duration. Resulting in 40 white and 1 colored conversions & 50 white & 6 colored acsefsions to the Church. On the 2nd Sabbath of the meeting we held one of the most interesting Lovefeasts I have ever attended. In which 4 of the converts arose and spoke. The Sacrement on the same day was remarkabley Interesting. There were 98 whites and 2 colored communicants. On the last evening of the meeting there were 3 conversions at a private house. A grocery was broke up on the public square and the grocery keeper was converted. On the 3 Sabbath over $200 were subscribed to repair the Church. Jonesville during the progrefs of the meeting 8 were added to the Church at North fork gap. So upon the whole I think it was perhaps the most interesting meeting for the same number of persons I have ever attended. Blefs God!
March 8. Passed through Scuffle Town, Lee Co, Va. In company with John W. Carns. Saw two covered wagons acrofs the River. (Powell) Supposed to contain movers. Passed the Forks of the Roads where seven men were sitting on a fence, horse back and etc. Talking laughing & etc. Went a little further and met a man and two boys hawling a load of corn in the shuck. Passed on a little further and he and a fellow hollowing as though he was trying to start a fox. A little further and passed three men in the road on horseback. Soon after we passed them, one saids to another “how old is that mare?” We were on the way to Church. It was the holy Sabbath! A short distance from Church on our return, we met two wagons loaded with household plunder. They were driving some stock. They were moving but a short distance. Several of the family a long. They were driving some stock. The teamster following at his team, & etc. We turned a little way from the road to dine with Rev. Gideon B. Wells. While there a man told us he had been boiling off shugar until he started to Church. While there we heard two reports of a gun, or a report of two guns. Just as we returned to the road, we met an ox wagon driven by a lad. We came a little further on & met a man coming from a mill with a huge sack of meal under him & all this in three miles of the same place. Fast passing up and down on the Lord’s day, I certainly felt like I was passing through missionary ground beyond the borders of civilization. Ah! What a picture to be presented in a Gospel Land. Poor thoughtlefs creature, what will be thar doom when he comes to judge them who has said Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy?
March 23 Closed our 2nd qr. Meeting. It was held at Cane Creek Church. The meeting was largely attended on Sabbath. Three were added to the Church. On Saturday evening I was happy in a Savior’s love.
April 15 Preached at Stone Gap. At the close of service. Baptised seven adults, two of whom were very aged men. One in his 70th year. The other about 83. The like of which I have never seen before. On the evening of the following day, the latter was drown near the church, perhaps not more than half mile distant. He made a profession of Religion to joined the Church a short time previous. “Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire.”
May 17. Spent the day at Green Hill Church, on Jonesville Circuit. Heard sermons by Revds. Steel, Belt, and Baldwin. There was a large crowd in attendance & a happy state of feelings in the congregation. In the close of the afternoon Service, I baptized two nice young ladies, & one married lady and Recd. them & ladies husband & a young man into the Church making five in all! Thanks be to the Great Head of the Church for such encouragement. The names of the above are as follows: David Orr, son of John Orr. John Litton, & wife, Sarah Litton & Rebecca Litton; children of Dixon Litton.
May 30 & 31. Quarterly meeting at Stickleyville; a large audience in attendance; a tolerable public collection. Serm. Sunday 11 J.W. Best.
Next month’s article a continuation and conclusion of Rev. Cooper’s Journal. Sources: Holston Historic Heritage Vol 1, No 2 Fall 2001.
Last month’s question? How many counties has the original church been located within: (3) Marion County, Hamilton County, and Sequatchie County. Next month’s question: Since 1880, what minister has the longest service at Chapel Hill?