History Leaves of the Methodist Tree
Compiled by Johnny Cordell
In a previous article, I alluded to the partial dismantling of the original church (Henniger’s Chapel) by the federal troops in 1863. They removed the outside planking and transported it to Bridgeport, Alabama to construct barracks or sleeping quarters. This unfortunate act of church vandalism was apparently sanctioned by Major General Thomas L. Crittenden who was Commander of the 21st Army Corps. I have often wondered if Henniger’s Chapel was targeted for a specific reason, or was this the accepted mode of military operations within enemy territory. Was Henniger’s Chapel the only church in the valley to be exposed to wartime military requisitions? After conducting research on other valley churches, I discovered that at least two other churches were utilized by federal troops to support military operations.
Another Methodist Church affected by the Civil War was McDaniel’s Chapel located at Shellmound, Marion County, Tennessee. The church was built during the 1850’s on land donated by Goodson McDaniel who was a Methodist Circuit Rider. During the war, the son-in-law of Reverend McDaniel, watched from the house and saw Federal Soldiers rip the planks from the Chapel with their hatchets and build a shelter for themselves. In 1880 a larger church was built, but in the 1900’s church services were discontinued. Today a silent graveyard and remnants of the church testify to the passing of a stalwart people and a beloved community that once rallied around McDaniel’s Chapel.
Whiteside Methodist Church has an interesting history due to the course of events during the Civil War. This church was physically located in two different states, and this is not because of boundary lines being moved. Before the Civil War, the Methodists worshiped in a building known as “Meeting House Hollow” located in Dade County, Georgia. Then, during the war, the Federal Soldiers needed the building for their headquarters; so they moved it three miles over into Marion County from Dade County and placed it beside Running Water near the spot occupied by the present church building. After the war, the Methodists came to the present church building in its new location and continued to worship.
Source: “The Circuit Rider and Those Who Followed” by Mary Thomas Peacock
Last month’s question: True or False. Chapel Hill community suffered greatly under Union Occupation during and after 1863 because Sequatchie County voted for succession. False. Sequatchie County voted twice on succession . The first vote was in favor for succession, but the second vote was against. Both votes were close.
Footnote: Generally soldiers were not interested in local politics but more about survival.
Next month’s question: Volunteers from this community (Sequatchie Valley) served in West Tennessee Units during the War of 1812. Why were they not assigned to the East Tennessee Units?