History Leaves of the Methodist Tree – August

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

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.

History Leaves of the Methodist Tree – March 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.  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?

History Leaves of the Methodist Tree – February 2017

History Leaves of the Methodist Tree
Compiled by Johnny Cordell

Did you Know?

That in gathering data for his work “Winning of the West” Theodore Roosevelt, traveling through the Holston country, wrote: “In 1783   Methodism, destined to become the leading creed of the west, first gained a foothold along the Holston, with a congregation of 72 members.  After Methodism cut loose from British connections in 1785, the time of great advance began.  The circuit riders were speedily eating bear meat and buffalo tongue on the frontier.  Wherever there were a group of cabins, thither some Methodist circuit rider made his way.  The fiery zeal of the Methodist made them leaders.”


Did you Know?

That on a more humorous note Methodist preachers two hundred years ago were big eaters, as they are today??  The Reverend Jesse Lee in his journal in 1800, gave the following report:  “After we finished our business in Conference, four of the largest preachers amongst us went to a friend’s store and were weighed.  My weight was 259 lbs.;  Seely Bunn’s 252, Thomas Lucas’s 245; and Thomas F. Sergeant’s 220; in all 976 lbs. and and all of us travel on horseback.”


Did you Know?

That seldom do churches achieve unique fame, but State Line Church did in May of 1937 when Ripley’s Review listed this church in their column, “Believe It or Not”. The church was built part in Alabama and part in Georgia which is in the Holston Conference.  The original State Line Church was built in 1890 as a church and school house.  In 1933, it was deeded to the Methodist Episcopal Church, South and even though it was originally given as a community church, the M.E Church, South was the only denomination to serve the church continuously for forty-nine years.  State Line Church (Sulphur Springs, GA) appeared in Ripley’s review, May 1937, “Believe It or Not”.  In that article it was stated   that the ministers were all Methodist while the Sunday School Superintendent was a Presbyterian and all the Sunday School teachers were Baptist.  As the church sat across the State Line, the minister stood in the pulpit in Georgia and the congregation sat in Alabama.  Another interesting tidbit is that E.R Lewis, one of the ordained ministers produced by Chapel Hill, was the minister of State Line Church from 1921 to 1925.  Also W.L. Tate, who followed E.R. Lewis, was married to Lillie Johnson, a member of Chapel Hill Church.  Ministerial support from the conference ended in 1947. 


Did you Know?

For several years a non-denominational Sunday School   was held in the Center Point School Building, which is adjacent on the north side of the Chapel Hill UMC Family Life Center, currently owned by David and Fern Lockhart.  Church services were held at Chapel Hill Church at a later hour on Sunday morning.  However, due to an official ruling that the school could no longer be used, the non-denominational Sunday School was without a place to meet.  Chapel Hill Church proposed to add a Sunday School Wing if this group agreed to attend.  So, in 1951, this non-denominational group agreed to attend with the understanding that the Sunday School would continue to be non-denominational.  This understanding has been adhered to and is still in effect.  The Chapel Hill Sunday School maintains its own financial account of which Mark Allen is currently the Treasurer and Chairman.  We appreciate his service in this area.


Sources: Holston Historic Heritage Vol 5   November 2, 2005

“Chapel Hill” Edna Susong Jackson

Next article will be excerpts from the original journal of a Methodist “Circuit Rider” within the Holston Conference 1867-68.

Question:  Since 1852 how many counties has Henniger/Chapel Hill Church been located within, and what are the names of these counties?  Answer is in next month’s article.

History Leaves of the Methodist Tree – January 2017

History Leaves of the Methodist Tree

Compiled by Johnny Cordell


The United Methodist Church, with at least 12 million members as of 2014, is the largest denomination within the wider Methodist movement of approximately 80 million people across the world.  In the United States,

UMC ranks as the largest Protestant Church, after the Southern Baptist Convention, and third largest Christian denomination.  In 2014, its worldwide membership was distributed as follows:  7.2 million in the United States, and 4.4 million in Africa, Asia, and Europe.  Yet, this Christian denomination only began in the mid-eighteenth century in Britain, due in large part to the strong leadership, extensive traveling,  and organizational abilities of John Wesley, celebrated today as the most prominent “Founder of Methodism”.  While studying at Oxford, Wesley, his brother Charles, and several other students formed a group devoted to studying, prayer, and helping the underprivileged.  They were labeled “Methodist” by their fellow students because of the way they used “rule” and “method” to go about their religious affairs.  Wesley and his brother Charles brought the movement to the colony of Georgia, arriving in 1735 as the Church of England missionaries to the American Indians.  After two years, they returned to England,  believing for the most part, that they had been a failure.  In 1738, Charles experienced Pentecost, and three days later, John had his Aldersgate Street conversion in which his “heart was strangely warmed”.  With the established church closed to his ministry, John Wesley took to the fields, preaching to coal miners, and commoners.  Despite recurring opposition, his itinerant evangelism soon expanded throughout the British Isles.  It is estimated that he rode over 250,000 miles on horseback and preached 40,000 sermons.  His use of lay preachers and small “societies” spread the movement to some 120,000 followers by the time of his death in 1791.  Today many Methodist denominations still embrace notable elements of the Wesleyan ministry:  an emphasis upon preaching; the organization of small groups for prayer and bible study; the importance of tract distribution; and concern for the poor, oppressed, and disenfranchised.  The Wesleyan theology also has an ongoing influence outside of strictly Methodist denominations.  The role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer and the church has affected the holiness movement, the Pentecostal movement, and even the recent charismatic movement.  The concern of both John and Charles Wesley was an educated clergy and knowledgeable laity, leading to many Wesleyan colleges, and seminaries.  The balance between the life of the mind and the life of the spirit is still critical to the Wesleyan tradition, which seeks to preach the gospel to whosoever, convert the sinner, and raise up the saint.

The U.S. Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1784. The denomination grew rapidly and was known for its “circuit rider” ministers on the advancing frontier. A split occurred over slavery but the church reunited in 1939.  In 1968 the merger of the Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren Churches created the United Methodist Church.  The United Methodist Church does not have a central headquarters or a single executive leader but is governed by the General Conference, the Council of Bishops, and the Judicial Council.  The General Conference, the primary legislative body of the UMC, is the only body that speaks officially for the Church.  Meeting once every four years to determine legislation affecting connectional matters, it is composed of no fewer than 600 and no more 1,000 delegates split evenly between laity and clergy.  Every UMC congregation is interconnected throughout the denomination via a unique, interlocking chain of conferences.  The United Methodist Church practices representative democracy in its governance. Conferences elect delegates who are authorized to act and vote.  Within the United States, the United Methodist Churches are divided into 56 conferences. Each conference is headed by a Bishop.  Chapel Hill is a member of the Holston Conference which is located in the mountains and valleys of East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and Northern Georgia.  The Holston Conference is named after the Holston River which in turn was named after a German settler family of Holstein.  The conference is home to over 900 congregations with the membership of approximately 164,500.  The conference is divided into 12 districts as follows:  Abington, Big Stone, Chattanooga, Cleveland, Johnson City, Kingsport, Knoxville, Maryville, Morristown, Oak Ridge, Tazewell,   and Wytheville.  Chapel Hill is a member of the Chattanooga District. At the local church level, such as Chapel Hill, The Book of Discipline requires each church to have a Charge Conference, Church Council,  Committee on Staff (Pastor) Parrish Relations, Board of Trustees, Committee on Finance, and Committee on Nominations.  Also the local church may have as many additional committees as required to fulfill the work of the church.

Basically, United Methodists trust free inquiry in matters of Christian doctrine. Faith is guided by scripture, tradition, experience and reason.  Of paramount importance, however, is scripture as the witness of God’s creating, redeeming, and sustaining the relationship with God’s people.  United Methodists have an obligation to bear a faithful Christian witness to Jesus Christ, the living reality at the center of the Church’s life and witness.  To fulfill this obligation, we reflect critically on our biblical and theological inheritance striving to express faithfully the witness we make in our own time.  All persons are welcome to attend Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, receive Holy Communion, and are eligible to be baptized and become members.


Sources: Dr. Roger J. Green “Building Church Leaders” Methodist Heritage
Mary Fairchild   “Methodist Church History”
The United Methodist Church
UMC – Wikipedia

Next article will reflect on historical and sometimes humorous tidbits of Methodism




History Leaves of the Methodist Tree – December

Compiled by Johnny Cordell

During the Civil War, the congregation of Henniger’s Chapel (Historic Chapel Hill), like the community as a whole, was evenly split on their sympathies regarding support of the Union and Confederacy.  In 1861, William Stewart of Henniger’s Chapel was appointed a captain of a company of Confederate volunteers from the community, many of whom were members of the church. In later years, after the war, William’s son, the Rev. John R. Stewart, recounts one of his experiences in his book, The Story of My Life when he was a small boy in the summer of 1863.

“This was the year when the Federal troops invaded Sequatchie Valley; it was in August.  Being nine years of age then, I have a vivid ineffaceable memories of those awful times  The first “Yankee” I saw was on my grandfather’s farm (present home of Mr. & Mrs. Jim Taylor Stewart, see footnote 1) where several men were harvesting wheat.  Anderson Stewart, about my age, was there also.  The men were standing in a group around a large walnut tree when four or five “Blue Coats” rode up.  Anderson and I made a dash for safety, thinking that perhaps the soldiers would use their guns on some or all present.  After we saw that the soldiers were talking in a friendly way with the men, we ventured back that we might get a close-up of these “terrible men” about whom we had heard so much.  Although I saw them under many trying circumstances afterwards, that was the last time I was afraid of the “Blue Coats.”

“In a very short while after this  a squad of soldiers came to our home (present farm of Sam Rogers, see footnote 2).  They came through a large gate at the barn and dashed up to the yard fence and the orchard adjacent to the yard.  Peaches were ripe and a lot of shoats (young hogs) were in the orchard eaten the fallen fruit and were fat and fine but were not large.  The soldiers helped themselves to them, liberally, shot down several; and one thing that we were certain not to forget, a soldier ran his bayonet through the neck of a small shoat and put his gun on his shoulder and walked off with the small porker kicking and squalling as he went.”

“The Federal soldiers were raiding our farm and after they had gone, we were unable to find two yearlings steers; one of which my father had given me and the other I had bought from Mr. Siah Rogers with the money I had made going to mill for neighbors whose horses were gone.  We had saved old Pats, while she was fat and good looking, she had more age on her than the soldiers liked.  I was not so fortunate as to my yearlings.  They had gone with the Yankees and I was dead broke.”

“I was sent to Uncle Jim Stewart’s store (present home of Mr. & Mrs. Sam Kelly, see footnote 3) for something, and when I was ready to start back home, Uncle Jim said, “John you had better go back through the field by your Uncle Joe Lamb; the Yankees are likely to take your mare from you.”  I acted on his suggestion and before I got to Uncle Joe’s (present home of Mr. & Mrs. Cue Wilson – see footnote 4), I met two Yankee soldiers armed.  They stopped me and ordered me down.  I sat still and argued with them.  One of them got me by the bare leg and started to push me off.  Just then the one holding the reign let go and I clapped by heels against old Pat’s sides and she sprang away from them in a dead run.  They cocked their guns but I went on and left them.  Uncle Jim said when I told him about it, “It’s a thousand wonders they didn’t shoot you.”

The author, The Reverend John R. Stewart, was one of six ordained ministers produced by Henniger Chapel/Chapel Hill Methodist Church.


  1. Currently home of Keith Pickett
  2. Currently owned by Mike Lamb
  3. Currently owned by Billy & Donnie Johnson
  4. Currently owned by Sue White Manning

Sources “Chapel Hill” Edna Susong Jackson

Next article will focus on a brief history of Methodism and current organizational structure