History Leaves of the Methodist Tree
Compiled by Johnny G. Cordell
“Rev. Dr. R. N. Price, first preacher of Henniger’s Chapel”
In 1852 Henniger’s Chapel was built to serve and support the community of northwest Marion County. The Rev. Richard Nye Price was assigned to the Jasper Circuit in the fall of 1852. In 1853 this young preacher (age 23) conducted a revival of remarkable scope and power at Henniger’s Chapel. Individuals and entire families were brought into the church, many would become future religious leaders.
N. Price was born July 30, 1830, in Elk Garden, Russell County, VA. Son of John Wesley and Mary Miller Price. Educated at Emory and Henry College (1845-1849. At age 11 he was converted at Lebanon Camp Ground, Washington County, VA. Admitted in 1850 and located in 1857, but was readmitted in 1858, after which he served without interruption until 1898, when he was located at his own request. He had been effective 47 years. He was readmitted in 1900, His biographer says of him: “Besides being a local preacher, he served as junior preacher, circuit rider, station pastor, presiding elder, Conference secretary, General Conference delegate, college professor, college president, editor of the Conference organ, chaplain in two wars (thirty years apart) and finally as Conference Historian and author. In each of these, by all accounts, he acquitted himself with credit, the officer was equal to the office,” “A preacher of ability, and a man of power in the pulpit.” As editor, contributor to the press, and author of Holston History, he was one of the most prolific writers whom Holston Conference has produced. He ranks mentally with the best men of his Church. He was a well -known wit, and lived his life from youth to extreme age without stain or reproach.
Dr. Price was a very candid and independent editorial writer. In 1898 he discussed with critical freedom the action of the Book Committee in the Publishing House Case. The Committee on Books and Periodicals of Holston Conference said in their report: “The editorial management of the Midland Methodist has not been satisfactory.” The report was warmly discussed, and various motions to delete the above statement were made. The report was finally adopted without change. It is supposed that this action was the occasion of Dr. Price’s request for location. It would seem that the thing involved was a question as to what constitutes freedom of the press in a paper operated by a Conference. After Dr. Price’s readmission to the Conference in 1900, there was no abatement of the esteem in which he was held by the Conference. The Conference made adequate provisions, so that he might devote his time to the writing of the History of Methodism in the Holston Conference. The work done by Dr. Price in writing this History was a splendid contribution to the history of Holston Conference and of the region which it has served.
He married May 8, 1855, Miss Anne Edgewater Vance of Marshall County, N.C. They had ten children. One son, Rev. Vance Price, became a Methodist Preacher. One brother of R. N. Price also became a Methodist Preacher, then Rev. W. H. Price.
The greater part of 20 years, were spent in writing the History of Methodism in the Holston Conference and he will probably be longest remembered for the work. It comprises 5 volumes and covers the entire history of the Conference from 1783 to 1897. He was appointed Conference Historian in 1901 and continued in that appointment until 1921. He was superannuated in 1921and so remained until his death in 1923. Seventy-three years marked the time from his admission into the Conference until his departure. This is the longest ministerial service in the history of the Holston Conference. He died in his own home at Morristown, Tennessee on February 7th, 1923 and was buried in Morristown.
*Compilers’ Note: I am predisposed to think that this venerable and iconic individual was influenced in his first years of ministry by the people of the community of present-day Chapel Hill which would serve him well throughout his life.
Last month question: Who is the longest serving pianist/organist in Chapel Hill? Anna Mae Hartman has volunteered and served almost 70 years.
Next month’s question: What minister of Chapel Hill holds the record for conducting weddings and funerals in the Chapel Hill community and Sequatchie Valley?