History Leaves of the Methodist Tree – December 2017

History Leaves of the Methodist Tree
Compiled by Johnny Cordell

“Methodism in Hoofprints” 
Francis Asbury

   In 1984, a little book was produced by Robert L. Hilten and Marvin Kincheloe based on the Journal of Bishop Francis Asbury.  The following are excerpts of that publication. 

    The main facts of Francis Asbury’s life are familiar.  Joseph and Elizabeth Asbury were humble working people in Staffordshire near Birmingham, England.  His sister’s death mellowed him greatly.  He had no brother.  He never returned to England, but did help support his parents in their later years.

    His formal schooling was meager, cut short by a cruel schoolmaster. Fortunately, he came into an apprenticeship to a godly Methodist iron worker.  Converted while praying in a barn, he was drawn to Methodist itinerancy.  His muscles had been hardened in the forge and his heart warmed with Methodist fervency. 

    He answered the call to go to America.  John Wesley sent him and Richard Wright in the fall of 1771.  Friends bought clothes and gave him ten pounds for his equipment.  The enticement of wealth he never knew.  He did know Wesley’s circuit plan developed in England. He was a circuit-riding evangelist and, he lifted it to a continent size.  Soon he was its leader, as he pushed the ministers out of the coastal cities to follow and find people.

    The Revolutionary War storm soon broke over him.  He sided with the colonies, though under suspicion because he was British.  He had to refugee about twenty months under the protection of Judge Thomas White and other friends in Delaware.  Forced to hide in a swamp and the woods a few times, still he was active in home worship services and winning souls.  He didn’t like for these years to be spoken of as inactive years.  From there he emerged as the recognized leader of Methodism in America.  He felicitated George Washington on his position as President of the United States with all of its responsibilities and pledged support for the highest interests of the New Nation.

    An Imposing equestrian statue of Asbury was placed in Washington, D.C. in 1925.  The rider in colonial garb with hat drawn tightly looks forward despite the elements and wilderness hazards, into new lands and new tomorrows, astride a tired horse.  Wesley said he looked on the whole world as his parish, Asbury believed and fulfilled those words. 

    The Christmas Conference, in 1784, in Baltimore set Asbury free.  He was appointed by Wesley, but he would not accept the superintendence until duly elected by his brethren.  The church spilled out the coastal towns of Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and Norfolk.  Pastoral assignments were short, and Asbury was the leader.

    In the 1785-1789 period, Asbury tried a Council for governing the new church.  He said it was impractical, so he concluded that a delegated general conference would be best.  This grew up under his skilled directive hand.  The efficiency of holding fewer conferences, with wider range and greater number of preachers, was accepted in 1792-1795 period. 

(To be continued next month)

Last month’s question:  The house of Allen Kirklin, who donated land for the original church and early cemetery, is still standing.  Where is it located?  The house is located just south of the historical church and occupied by Lynn and Catherine Allen.

Next month’s question:  In the old part of Chapel Hill Cemetery is the grave of Bill Emery.  Why is his burial significant?





History Leaves of the Methodist Tree – November 2017


By Johnny Cordell

This month in honor of our Chapel Hill Methodist Veterans, I am submitting an excerpt from an article written by Glenn Smith, one of my fellow VVA lifetime members.  This is not your typical Veteran’s Day Tribute, but instead offers an insight into a Vietnam Veteran who was changed forever by the realities of an assassination and war. 

Warning:  This article may not be suitable for very young readers.

“Moon of the Falling Leaves”

   The Sioux call the November moon the “Moon of the Falling Leaves”.  Trees are bare and unadorned, like a human skeleton devoid of its flesh and organs.  Yet a tree, or even the entire woodland, still hints of life, still embodies hope for a new beginning.  A naked skeleton does not.

   In my youth, I watched war movies, cops-and-robbers movies, and movies with cowboys shooting Indians.  The killings were sanitized on the silver screen.  The good guys and bad guys went home at night to their families, then returned the following morning to make a new film.  It wasn’t real but it appeared so.  We played out those movies in our back yards, woods, and streets, good guys whooping in valor, bad guys falling and screaming in fabricated agony; then rising from the battlefield to do it again, just like John Wayne and Audie Murphy.  Death meant nothing to us in those days, but it meant much more to our fathers, who knew death yet rarely spoke of it.  We kept shooting and dying, clutching our bloodless wounds, feigning mortal injuries, and exhaling the obligatory last breath.  We were young and many moons to live.

   I was just seventeen when the world witnessed an assassin’s bullet strike down President John Fitzgerald Kennedy late in the “Moon of the Falling Leaves” in 1963.  This man seemed to have the world in his hands, answers to humanities problems, power to stop ogres, a smile to warm a chilly room, and visions of peace balanced with the carriage of a proven warrior.  Time seemed to stand still, maybe even reverse itself, without us realizing it, and moons whirled around us like a tornado.  Life as we had known it was different, less fun, more uncertain.  And in just a few more moons, the movies would come to life in a stifling, humid jungle eight thousand miles from home.  There, where suns became moons in a steamy mist and moons seemed rare, the agony and mortal injuries become real. The stillness of our fathers screamed in our ears and we wept.  In the jungles and rice patties of Vietnam, many were felled by senseless, impartial bullets; not on the ground of Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, or Shiloh, but on the distant shores of Da Lat, Hue, and Pleiku.

   For reasons that may never be understood, the youth of America; African American, Caucasian, Asian, Spanish, Native American, really just Americans in the end, fought and died in Vietnam for over ten years.  To what end?  My own sons did not have to go to war, and for that I am thankful.  But it is regrettably inevitable that the silence of falling leaves on hillside monuments or visions of full moons rising will not stifle war.

Compiler’s note:  After reading this article, I am again reminded of Matt 24:6

Source: “The VVA Veteran” September/October 2016 Vol. 36 No. 5

Last month’s question: What are the two oldest Methodist Churches in the Sequatchie Valley?  According to my research, the oldest documented churches are Welch’s Chapel (Thomas Chapel 1826, Nichol’s Chapel 1850, Welch’s Chapel 1883) and Chapel Hill (Henninger’s Chapel 1852, Chapel Hill 1884).  In the Sequatchie Valley, in the early 1800’s there were, at one time, 23 churches on one circuit.  What they were, and where, we do not know.  Undoubtedly some are lost in oblivion.  Churches have come and gone without a traceable record.  Some trails were long but have been closed forever.  “Methodist were so busy making history they were too busy to record the history they were making.”

Next month’s question:  The house of Allen Kirklan, who donated the land for the original church and early cemetery, is still standing.  Where is it located?

Source:  The Circuit Rider and Those Who Followed by Mary Thomas Peacock

History Leaves of the Methodist Tree – October 2017

History Leaves of the Methodist Tree

Compiled by Johnny Cordell


Camp Meetings and Circuit Riders: Did you know?

             In most camp meetings, the focal point of the gathering was receiving Communion.  The circuit rider often over saw the preparations of the site for the camp meetings.  A site previously used could be “reclaimed” in a single day, and he would direct volunteers in clearing away fallen branches and making any needed repairs to the plank seats.  Preparing a new site, however, took three or four days.  Many camp meetings lasted six days or even nine days.  Eventually, four days became the fixed number, with meetings beginning on Friday afternoon or evening and continuing until Monday noon.  One saying was “The good people go to camp meetings Friday and backsliders Saturday, rowdies Saturday night, and gentlemen and lady sinners Sunday.”  Many people at the early camp meetings displayed unusual physical manifestations:  fainting, rolling, laughing, running, singing, dancing, and jerking (a spasmodic twitching of the entire body), where they hopped with head, limbs, and trunk shaking “as if they must…..fly asunder.”

          Camp meetings were one of the few opportunities for young people to meet future spouses since everyone they knew in the immediate community were relatives.  At some camp meetings, watchmen carrying long white sticks patrolled the meeting grounds each evening to stop any inappropriate conduct.  Enemies of camp meetings sneered that “more souls were begot than saved.”  After several days of courting at the camp meetings, many couples were married after the meeting concluded, or soon thereafter.

Experience taught circuit riders that “Christians enjoy those meetings most which cost them the greatest sacrifice.”  A fifty-mile journey was “a pretty sure pledge of a profitable meeting.”  An observer describing the preaching of James Mc Gready, an early leader of camp meetings, said “He would so describe Heaven, that you would almost see its glories…he would also describe hell and its horrors before the wicked, that they would tremble and quake, imaging a lake of fire and brimstone yearning to overwhelm them.”  Defending camp meetings, James B. Finley said, “Much may be  said  about camp meetings, but, take them all in  all, for practical exhibition of religion, for unbounded hospitality to strangers, for unfeigned and fervent spirituality, give me a country camp meeting against the world.”

           Methodist Francis Asbury (1745-1816) became one of the best know circuit riders in America.  Letters addressed “Bishop Asbury, United States of America were promptly delivered.  Plagued by illness all of his life, he continued to visit circuits even when he had to be tied to the saddle to remain upright.”  The early American Methodists asked four questions:

  1. Is this man truly converted?
  2. Does he know and keep our rules?
  3. Can he preach acceptably?
  4. Has he a horse?

          Methodist circuit riders were also book distributors.  Their commission on sales provided some of them the only cash they ever saw.  This helped spread Bibles, hymnbooks, and other religious material throughout the frontier.  Peter Cartwright, long time circuit rider, was twice elected to the Illinois legislature.  His one defeat was in a congressional race when he lost to a lanky opponent by the name of Abraham Lincoln. Beef or venison jerky was the circuit riders staple food because it would not spoil easily.  Riding a circuit was demanding on those who undertook this grueling ministry – half died before reaching age 33.  Yet many ministers thrived on the rigors of the circuit.

          Peter Cartwright likely held the record for endurance:  he enjoyed 71 years as an itinerant.  A circuit rider was to take good care of his horse.  The First Discipline of the Methodist Church said “Be merciful to your Beast.  Not only ride moderately, but see with your own eyes that your horse is rubbed and fed.”  When Francis Asbury came to the colonies in 1771, there were only 600 American Methodists.  When he died 45 years later, there were 200,000 American Methodists, largely because of camp meetings and circuit riders.

Source:  Timothy K. Beougher “Christianity Today, Issue #45”

Last month’s question:  What Methodist Civil War General helped to establish a well-known college within the Holston Conference following the War?   College was named after a U.S President located in East Tennessee.  Answer: Major General Oliver Otis Howard, who was known as the “Christian General.”  He lost an arm in battle in 1862, yet he continued to command and lead troops until the end of the war.  Helped to establish Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee.  Compiler’s Note:  If you ever occasion to be in the vicinity of LMU, I would recommend to visit the Lincoln Museum located on campus which houses memorabilia and history of the Lincoln Era.

Next month’s question? What are the two oldest Methodist Churches in the Sequatchie Valley?



History Leaves of the Methodist Tree – September 2017

History Leaves of the Methodist Tree
Compiled by Johnny Cordell

Did you Know?

     There are at least 23 other churches in the United States that have the same name as Chapel Hill United Methodist in Dunlap, TN.  The following list may not be complete, but If you know of any more Chapel Hill United Methodist Churches, let me know.

Alabama Chapel Hill UMC Decatur
Georgia Chapel Hill UMC Rome
Indiana Chapel Hill UMC Indianapolis
Kansas Chapel Hill UMC Wichita
Kentucky Chapel Hill UMC Henderson
Michigan Chapel Hill UMC Portage
  Chapel Hill UMC Battle Creek
  Chapel Hill UMC Sodus
  Chapel Hill UMC Kent City
Mississippi Chapel Hill UMC Pope
  Chapel Hill UMC Ackerman
  Chapel Hill UMC Sandersville
  Chapel Hill UMC Duck Hill
North Carolina Chapel Hill UMC Chapel Hill
  Chapel Hill UMC Denton
  Chapel Hill UMC Reidsville
  Chapel Hill UMC Statesville
Ohio Chapel Hill UMC Mansfield
Oklahoma Chapel Hill UMC Oklahoma City
Tennessee Chapel Hill UMC Chapel Hill
Texas Chapel Hill UMC Farmers Branch
  Chapel Hill UMC San Antonio
West Virginia Chapel Hill UMC Buckhannon


Last month’s question?  What event in 1864 eventually led to the rebuilding of the Church in 1884?  The convicting religious experience of a young girl praying in an apple orchard.  Her testimony caused quite a sensation at school the next day.  The teacher Mr. Stewart sent word by his students that there would be a prayer meeting that night at the home of Josiah Rogers.  This meeting was led by chief lay leaders Stephen D. Thurman, Josiah Rogers, and William D Stewart.  A great crowd assembled and the prayer meeting continued all night with 15 young men and women converted.  The meeting then moved to Liberty Church (located next to the Austin Farm where James Burch once resided) The meeting lasted for three weeks resulting in over 200 conversions.  This revival prepared the people for the trying times of Civil War Reconstruction and eventually paved the way for construction of a new church in 1884.

Question: What Methodist Civil War General helped to establish a well-known college within the Holston Conference following the war?   College was named after a U.S. President located in East Tennessee.











History Leaves of the Methodist Tree – August 2017

History Leaves of the Methodist Tree
Compiled by Johnny Cordell


Did you know?

   There are a dozen churches in the Holston Conference named for women.  This may be an incomplete list, so if you know of any more UMC Churches, let me know.

Addilyn Memorial, Bristol, TN
Elizabeth, Teas, VA
Elizabeth Chapel, Bluff City, TN
Ester Memorial, Bristol, TN
Hunt Memorial, Bristol, TN
Kathleen Chapel, Narrows, VA
Lou’s Chapel, South Pittsburg, TN
Mary’s Chapel, Grainger County, TN
Madam Russell, Saltville, VA
Smyth Chapel, Emory, VA
St. Mary’s, Monroe County, TN

There have been at least a half dozen which have closed.

Doing historical research inevitably leads to genealogy information.  Some people are fascinated by genealogy while others have no interest in this area.  Others are hesitant that they might uncover some physical traits they might inherit at an older age.  For this folks, this short poem is for you!

I saw a duck the other day.
It had the feet of my Aunt Faye.
Than it walked, was heading south.
It waddled like my Uncle Ralph.
And when it turned, I must propose,
Its bill was formed like Aunt Jane’s nose.
I thought, “Oh no! It’s just my luck,
Someday I’ll look just like a duck!”
I sobbed to Mom about my fears,
And she said, “Honey, dry your tears.
You look just like me, so walk with pride.
Those folks are all from your Daddy’s side.”

Sources:  Holston Heritage Vol, Number 2 Fall 2001

Last month’s question:  Chapel Hill Cemetery is a Church membership and community cemetery.  Community being the 5th Civil District and part of the 3rd Civil District.  What family name is most represented within the cemetery since 1849?  The Barker Family

Next month’s question?  What event in 1864 eventually led to the rebuilding of the Church in 1884?



History Leaves of the Methodist Tree – July 2017

History Leaves of the Methodist Tree

Compiled by Johnny Cordell


    In late August and early September of 1863, some of Union Major General Thomas L. Crittenden’s soldiers used Chapel Hill Cemetery as a campground.  Soldiers removed planking that covered the log church for construction of barracks at Bridgeport, Alabama.  During this time the remainder of the church was destroyed by fire.  It is unknown if it was deliberately or accidentally burned.  The following is a transcription of the original minutes by this compiler as written in 1904 seeking reimbursement from the U.S. Government by the Trustees of Chapel Hill Church.


April 16th 1904

    At a meeting of the Board of Trustees of Chapel Hill Church formerly Hennigers Chapel held at the office of Stewart & Stewart Attys. at Dunlap, Tenn. President W.T. Alley, J.H. Kell, and W.R. Thurman.  Being a quorum and majority of the Board of Trustees the following proceedings were had.


 Called to order by W.R. Thurman and on motion W.T. Alley was chosen Chairman of said board and Jas. H. Kell Secretary.


The board then discussed the matter of filing a claim against the U.S.  Government for the destruction of Church house known as Henninger’s Chapel and damages to the property of the Methodist Episcopal Church South being the same property now known as Chapel Hill in Sequatchie County Tenn.

    Where it was unanimously carried that the Chairman W.T. Alley be authorized and empowered to negotiate with L.B. James Claims Agent at Chattanooga and make such contracts and agreements with him in regard to said claim as he deems just and advisable, and to sign such agreements & powers of attorney as may be required to prosecute said Claim, for and in the name of said Board of Trustees and to do and perform all things required in the name of the board of said Trustees for the furtherance and successful prosecution of said Claim.

He is also authorized to ascertain and fix the value of said damages to be sought and file claim for such amount as he deems advisable after gathering all the facts connected therewith.

W.T Alley Pres.

J.H. Kell Secty.


Source:  “Chapel Hill”   Edna Susong Jackson


Footnote by Compiler: Claim was unsuccessful.  I do not have any evidence what claim was dismissed.  I surmise that was no collaborating testimony from Union sources, or no creditable eyewitnesses.

Last month’s question: John Wesley cracked open the door of Methodism in America, but what famous circuit rider literally kicked the door wide open for American Methodism?  Francis Asbury.  He was also the first American Methodist Bishop.


Question:  Chapel Hill Cemetery is a Church membership and community cemetery.  Community being the 5th Civil District and part of the 3rd Civil District.  What family name is most represented within the cemetery since 1849?



History Leaves of the Methodist Tree – June 2017

History Leaves of the Methodist Tree
Compiled by Johnny Cordell

Lost History of William Rogers

During one of my sojourns into the cemetery, I noticed a small grave marker.  It was located just inside the cemetery gate close to the Kirklan graves.  It was flush with the ground, almost unreadable due to the overgrown grass. It read “William Rogers, first to be buried in this cemetery.  Started first Sunday School class.”  I immediately wondered why there was no birth date, no death date, no information regarding his wife, or if he was ever married.  At the time I did not know this was an ancestor, but over the last year, I have gradually solved the mystery.  At one time there was a headstone, which included his wife, and dates of birth and death.  The headstone was apparently soft limestone, and over ravages of time, crumbled and deteriorated.  In the early 1950’s what remained of the headstone was removed from the cemetery and replaced with the present marker with what was known at the time.

William Rogers was born in 1793 in Halifax County Virginia.  His father was William Rogers buried in Sparta, Tennessee.  His grandfather was Dauswell Rogers who according to Virginia Militia Records served in Lord Dunmore’s War in 1774 against the Indians.  An interesting fact was that Dauswell Rogers immediate superior officer was Lt. Daniel Boone.  Also, Daniel Boone’s son Israel served   alone side Dauswell within this elite Virginia Militia.       

William Rogers married Patience Igou (Maiden name not officially documented) of Bledsoe County, raising a family on property near what is today the old Henry Barker Farm.  His brother Dauswell (namesake of his grandfather) also moved to an area south of Dunlap.  At that time this community was known as Delphi.  Dauswell Rogers was known as “Daus” and later the community was named after him replacing the name Delphi. William   Rogers started the first Sunday School in the community utilizing private homes.  Rogers died in 1849 and his wife, Patience died in 1859.  Since the church was built in 1852, we can now state with confidence that Mr. Allen Kirklan donated land for a cemetery during 1849, since William Rogers was the first to be buried in the cemetery in 1849. 

The greatest Christian gift of William Rogers manifested itself in his son Josiah Rogers.  He was an original and unique person, not following the beaten tracks, but with a man of large and lasting influence in his community.  Dr. Richard N. Price in his Holston Methodism (Vol. IV p145) says of him: “A remarkable man in his community was Josiah Rogers, familiarly known as Uncle Si.  He was the son of William Rogers and nephew of Dauswell Rogers.  He was physically stalwart, intellectually scarcely reaching mediocrity, spiritually a veritable giant.  Wise as a serpent, harmless as a dove, and in courage not deficient, he had a firmer grasp on the esteem and confidence of the people in that section than any other man in it.  He was born in 1817, born again in 1844, and ever afterwards led a joyous, Christian life.  He was known far and wide as a great shouter.  Frequently   at church, at home, in the field, on the roadside and in times of bereavement his exulting soul would rise above every cumbering care in rapturous praise of God.  He shouted because he could not hold his peace.  At some times the people hung upon his ecstatic words with profound religious awe.  His life was as consistent as his joy was exuberant.”

My research also indicates that William Rogers was possibly a veteran of the war of 1812.  Because of poor record keeping, and wooden buildings susceptible to fire, much information was destroyed that otherwise would have been invaluable to today’s researcher.  The William Rogers I have uncovered was from this area, but I cannot with absolute certainty identify him as our Chapel Hill Rogers.  This William Rogers served with the 1st Reg’t Mounted West Tennessee Volunteers.

The Rogers name was quite prevalent in the founding of this nation, and William’s forefathers migrated from the extreme southwest of Virginia into the northeastern section of what now is Tennessee.  One of the legacies of the family was the founding of Rogersville, Tennessee.  Rogers, along with the family names of the founders of the original church, do not appear on our church roles today.  Many of the original church members and families followed the westward movement as they embraced the doctrine of “Manifest Destiny”.  However there are non-Rogers descendants of William Rogers today at Chapel Hill Church.  Little Kate Cordell is a Great-Great-Great-Great-Great granddaughter of William Rogers.  Additional research indicates the same holds true for Anna Mae Hartman’s grandchildren, as well as the grandchildren of Tommy and Martha Austin.  Lula Bess Hickey has an indirect connection through her Thurman ancestors.  There may very well be others, so if you think you may be a descendant, let me know and I will attempt to research it for you. 

Having completed this research, it is my goal to replace the lost original headstone of William and Patience Rogers.  Eric Reed has given me quotes and it seems the cost will be approximately $1,000 dollars.  I feel an obligation to do this myself financially, but if anyone would want to contribute to this endeavor, it would be greatly appreciated.  I hope to have this completed by Decoration Day 2018.  As a footnote, there were three Methodist Ministers in the William Rogers lineage.


Resources:  Dr. R. N. Price “Holston Methodism”

“The Circuit Rider and Those Who Followed” by Mary Thomas Peacock

Virginia Militia Pay Records

War of 1812 Muster Rolls and widow’s pension applications

Conservations with W.B. Cordell 1896-1996

Rogers Genealogy in America and England


Answer to last month’s question?  Dr. R. N. Price, during his lifetime, authored the definitive history of the Holston Conference.  What was the connection of this venerable pillar of Methodism to the original church in 1853?  A young Rev. Richard N. Price was the first circuit riding pastor of the original church.  He conducted a revival of very remarkable scope and power in 1853.  Many who were converted later became religious leaders.


Next month’s question? John Wesley cracked open the door of Methodism in America, but what famous circuit rider literally kicked the door wide open for American Methodism?



History Leaves of the Methodist Tree – May 2017

History Leaves of The Methodist Tree

Compiled by Johnny Cordell

“Mysteries of the Cemetery”


Growing up in the church as a young lad in the 1950’s, my friends and I spent many hours playing and exploring the cemetery located adjacent to the old historical church.  Two of those friends, Tommy Austin and Stanley Barker, are still members of the church today.  One of the things that fascinated us was the Kirklin box graves located in the southwest section of the cemetery.  They were constructed out of a type of concrete and were the only two of this type in the cemetery.  Both were covered with stone slabs, and we assumed that any mortal remains were interred within the boxes.  For many years, we struggled to slide the heavy slabs just enough that we could peek inside the boxes.  Our impressionable young minds were constantly conjuring up images of things we would see and experience if we ever succeeded in our quest.  Eventually our bodies grew, our muscles developed, and the time of reckoning was upon us.  We slide one of the slabs over, anxiously peered inside, and saw????????? well, I couldn’t believe it, after all this time and effort, we saw absolutely nothing.  We were so disappointed and crestfallen, as we suddenly realized that the graves were six feet under the ground, and that the concrete boxes were simply grave markers.  Today, as I look back, our activities were probably not appropriate, but I suspect the spirits of the saints had quite a chuckle over the entire affair.


On a more serious note, I have been able to solve another cemetery mystery that has eluded me until recently.  When I was a small boy, my Aunt Bessie Easterly, on Decoration Day, always placed flowers on one of the Civil War concrete markers in the southwest corner of the cemetery.  I asked my Dad about this, and he said it was an uncle.  My next query was, “How does she know which grave to decorate, since there are not any names on the grave markers?”  He replied that the initials were etched on top of the concrete marker. I never thought much about it until several years ago as I tried to deduce who this uncle might have been.  I knew these soldiers most likely perished before or during Wheeler’s Raid in 1863.  First, I tried to identify the initials on the marker, but weather and time had eroded all evidence.  I knew it was not her immediate uncle because her Uncle James Cordell, although he was killed in 1863, met his fate in Cedar Grove, Georgia and is interred there.  Her Great Grandfather died in Vicksburg, Mississippi, also in 1863, and his grave marker is in Mississippi, however none of his sons served in this war.  So, the mystery remained for several years until I uncovered an article in February of this year.  It was a historical vignette by Sydney V. Grimes concerning Daniel Ernest Johnson and Patience Lurinda Hatfield Johnson. The information about Patience (Pate) was as follows: “Pate was small in stature and walked quickly.  She always wore a black dress, black bonnet, black apron, and black button-up shoes.  Pate had a brother, Basey, who was shot at Chapel Hill Church by the Yankees”.  Mystery solved.  She apparently wore black the rest of her life in remembrance of her brother.  The unidentified grave was not my Aunt Bessie’s uncle; it was her great uncle, and she was carrying on the tradition of her Grandmother Pate Johnson.  As a footnote, I have located in different census records a “Basie” and a “Baza” Hatfield, however according to birth records, his birthday post dates the year 1863.  “Pate” Johnson had one older brother Andrew Hatfield, middle initial unknown, who was born 1843.  This fits the time frame, and I have been unable to find him in the census records after the Civil War.  I haven’t uncovered his middle name or initial, so his middle name was either Basey, or most likely it was a nickname.  Southerners are notorious for nicknames.  The Basey that was born after the war could have been named in honor of his deceased older brother.   I do not know the circumstances of his death.  When the Union Troops removed the outside planking of the original church in 1863 to construct barracks in Bridgeport, Ala, they probably encountered resistance from the local members of the church.  During the ensuing melee, Pate’s brother could have been shot.  Another possibility is that he was a Confederate soldier assigned to one of General Wheeler’s units during the raid.  However, Confederate records were not adequately maintained, and the only Andrew Hatfield I have found was not assigned to duty in this area at that time.  The first scenario is probably more plausible explanation at this time.  This is only conjecture, so I will continue to research the circumstances surrounding his death.


If anyone has an interesting or unusual story concerning Chapel Hill history and can provide sufficient or minimal documentation, let me know so I can include it in future articles.


Answer to last month’s question?  During in 1863, what two famous generals and future U.S. President traveled by the original church?  (1) General Joseph Wheeler, who led Confederate Calvary in the largest raid in Civil War history just east of the church.  General Wheeler later served in the Spanish American War. Lt. Col Theodore Roosevelt and his “Rough Riders” served under his command. (2) General Ulysses S. Grant past near the church on his way to take command of the besieged Federal Army at Chattanooga.  He was transported by wagon since previously his horse had fallen on him and he was unable to ride.  General Grant later became president in 1868.


Next month’s question?  Dr. R.N. Price, during his lifetime, authored the definitive history of the Holston Conference.  What was the connection of this venerable pillar of Methodism to the original church in 1853?




Leaves of the Methodist Tree – April 2017

History Leaves of the Methodist Tree
compiled by Johnny Cordell

Excerpts from the Journal of Rev William H Cooper Transcribed by Bradley H. Scott

This is the conclusion of the selected daily entries from Rev Cooper’s Journal, “Circuit rider” in the Holston Conference in 1968.  His original spellings are retained, including an occasional “f” for an “s”.                                                                                                                                               

June 14th:  Two Day’s Meeting at Station Creek, funeral of Old Father Lay deceased.  Absolum Loyd perhaps four children Baptised.  One ascefsion , & considerable interest perhaps 400 persons in attendance.  $7.25 cts.  Contributed as a Conference Collection.  Funeral Discouses by R. Steele, & J.D. Baldwin.                                                                                                                     

June 26. To 29th.   Highly Interesting:  Wm. Robeson presiding:  Ministers present, P.S. Sutton, F.A. Farley, J.W Bird,  J.D. Baldwin, D.H Carr, D.R. Smith, Stephen J. Harrison,  Reubin Steele, W.L. Turner, J.T. Loyd, Arthur Ely, and Wm H. Cooper.  The Sunday School Exhibition was quite entertaining.  Addrefses by Wm Roberson & D.S Sutton.  Contributions by S.S. School $8.65ct.s March & Singing Beautiful & animating.  120 officers, Teachers, & Pupils.  Added to the Church Sarah Elizabeth Richmond.  C.C. J. Aston’s three children baptized.  An excellent Sacrement on Sunday night.  A gracious lovefeast on Monday morning.  Instructive, enerergtic preaching.  Much important businefs pertaining to the Church Transacted.  Together with many other items of interest.  Such as raising $10.  Bishop’s money & c, & c.                                                  

June 23rd   Was out near setting of the sun feeding my horse, heard a hollowing or hailing at the jail.  raised my eyes & looked, Saw a man running from the jail at full speed.  He had stolen a fine mare in KY, brought to Va, was pursued, arrested & committed to jail.  Was taken out that he might be carried back to Ky for trial.  Broke to run, was shot at first by the jailer who mifsed him, then by the man who arrested him, The shot striking him in the left ear, proding death in 15 or 20 minutes.  Haried sight indeed, a poor horse thief shot down suddenly without any preparation for death.                                                                                                                            

July 3.
  Was passing a Church near Flat Lick Scott Co. (belonging to Denomination usually known as Campbellites) which so escorted my curiosity that I lit and escamined it that I might get some of its Dimensions.                                                                                                                            

July 11.  Began a two days meeting at Green Hill, Jonesville ct. in connection with Rev. J.D. Baldwin.  The meeting was truly interesting.  Closing on Monday evening five conversions, Nine Ascfsions, a number of the membership much revived.  On Monday night Blessed be God I received the greatest blessing had for some months.  Three adults & one infant baptized!  To god be all the Glory!  Amen!                                                                                                                  

Sept 4th. This day I completed the Reading of a work on Divine Providence, Written by William Morelock; D.D. Containing Pages 336; which deem one of the ablest productions I have ever escamined; few books in my humble judgement; (the Bible escepted) are calculated to impart more important information; & solid happpinefs to the Reader.  I can heartily recommend it to all persons in quest of true happinefs in this life; if they will give it a thorough escamination; it will much better reconcile them to their condition in life, be it what it may; provided they are true followers of Christ & have honestly endeavored to make the best of life they pofsibly could.  This Book in connected with the four volumes Mr. Wesley’s sermons; I have read since I came to the Circuit, other books, newspapers, c, & c. Oh!  May God, whom I serve in the spirit of his son, make me wise unto salvation.                                                                                         

Sept. 5th.  Begun our Campmeeting, which continued four days ending on Tuesday evening.  Resulting in about 35 conversions & forty accefsions during the year.  Some of the penitents very very singularly affected having the jerks very violently; the like of which, I have seldom, or never seen to the extent; attended in some instances with cramps & c.  Many of the people of this community were remarkable wicked; and I have thought something of this kind was necefsary to convince the sinner of the reality of Religion.  Some of those who had the jerks were rather scoffers of Religian.                                                                                                                
Sources:  Holston Historic Heritage Vol. 1. No. 2                                                                
Next article will be “Mysteries of the Cemetery”          

Answer to last month’s Question:  Tom Tucker 15 years.  John Alley had   13 years of service with three different appointments.  He was also the son-in-law of Allen Kirklin who donated the land for the original church.                                                                               

Question:  During 1863, what   two famous generals and future U.S. President traveled by the original church.