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From Saddle to City 


BuuuY, Boat AND Railway 




I- '^ v. ^ 

3 1924 050 051 964 

The original of tliis book is in 
tlie Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 924050051 964 

D. G. C. BUTTS AND B«IDB, 1872. 

From Saddle to City 


Buggy. Boat and Railway 



D. Gregory Claiborne Butts 

of the 

Virginia Conference 

Methodist Episcopal Church, Sowth 


Being the Personal Recollections and Observations of Fifty years 

service in the Itinerancy, with Pen Portraits of 

Leaders and Places and Times. 




Who won vie Tjy the charm of her native modesty; 
Who has held me a willing captive 'by her -fidel- 
Who has inspired me with courage hy her faith 
in God; 
The solution of the problem of my success; 
The one human explanation of my long life: 
God'' 8 best Gift; 



Personal and Introductory 9 

The Conference of 1870 and Caroline Circuit. . 13 


The Conference of 1871 and Montross Circuit. . 26 


The Conference of 1873 and Heathsville Cir- 
cuit 49 


The Conference of 1887 and King George Cir- 
cuit , 87 

The Conference of 1881 and Middlesex Circuit. 127 


The? Conference of 1885 and Princess Anne Cir- 
cuit 166 


The Conference of 1887 and Wright Memorial, 
Portsmouth 199 

The Conference of 1890 and Mathews Circuit. 235 


The Conference of 1894 and Accomac Circuit. .267 


The Conference of 1895 and Albemarle Circuit. 290 



Tlie Conference of 1898 and Gloucester Circuit. 327 


The Conference of 1902 and Centenary, Lynch- 
burg 1. ..,.../.. 377 


The Conference of 1906 and Laurel St., Rich- 
jnond 418 

The Conference of 1907 and Franktown and 
Johnson's Circuit 444 


The Conference of 1911 and North Princess 
Ann© Circuit 481 


The Conference of 1915 and Central, Hampton. 502 


The Conference of 1919 and Hilton Circuit. . ,525 


When my Semi-centennial Address, delivered at 
Norfolk in November, 1920, met with such general 
acceptance, and brethren from everywhere wrote 
me letters of praise, I thought the matter would 
end tHfere. 

Later, some of my warmest friends united in the 
request that my experience and observations cov- 
ering the fifty years of service in the Conference 
be given the Church in the form of a book. The 
thought startled me : I am a novice in the world 
of letters. I thought of myself as the ragged boy 
at the baseball park peeping at the game through 
a knot-hole in the fence. He had never thought 
of getting inside. 

Then I recalled that my Journal of Daily Events 
through thirty-six years had been burned in the 
fire that consumed the Franktown Parsonage in 
December, 1909. And I was at a loss for material. 

The brethren insisted. In an unguarded mo- 
ment I consented. Here is the result. I have been 
compelled to rely on memory largely, on some help 
from contemporaries, on Bennett's "Memorials of 
Methodism in Virginia." The errgrs in relating 
events are mine. 

If the story brings out on canvas the names of 
men and women whom the world never knew, 
and so had no chance to forget, the object of the 
writing is attained. 

Hilton Village, Va., 
May 1st, 1922. D. G. C. Butts. 





I am the only child of Col. Augustine Claiborne 
Butts and Anna Maria Claiborne. He was the son 
of Genl. Daniel Claiborne Butts and Elizabeth Ran- 
dolph Harrison, of the "Berkeley," James river 
family. My mother was the daughter of Rev. John 
Gregory Claiborne, of "Roslin" Brunswick county, 
and Mary Elizabeth Weldon, daughter of Daniel 
Weldon of N. C. I was born at "Roslin" October 
10th, 1848. Our home was at Lawrenceville. 

My grandfather Claiborne was a Local Preacher 
''on the old Brunswick circuit for sixty-two years. 
He died in 1887, at the home of his son. Dr. John 
Herbert Claiborne, in Petersburg. 

In 1853 father removed to Hicksford, (now Em- 
poria,) and in 1855 to Petersburg. My parents 
took me with them to High Street Methodist 
church, that being the nearest church to our resi- 
dence on High St. We were living there in the 
great snow storm of 1857. In 1858 father bought 


a home on Lawrence St. This move brought us 
so near Washington Street church, that mother 
joined that church and placed me in that Sunday 
School. Mr. Willie Cowles, the son of Rev. Henry 
B. Cowles, of our Conference, was my teacher. 
When Market Street church was completed, under 
Dr. John E. Edwards, my mother withdrew from 
Washington Street, and joined that church, and be- 
came a Leader of one of the Ladies' Classes. I 
entered the Sunday School at the same time with 
Mr. W. C. James as my teacher. 

I publicly confessed Christ during a great meet- 
ing held in this church by Dr. R. N. Sledd in 1862. 
I took up my studies for the work of the minis- 
try in anuary, 1868, under Dr. (afterward Bishop) 
John C. Granbery, and, having secured the posi- 
tion of Station Agent at Stoney Creek on the 
Petersburg & Weldon R. R. in February, continued 
with the valuable aid of Rev. Jas. A.- Riddick, then 
a retired member of the' Conference. In the last 
week of September of this year I entered Randolph 
Macon College at Ashland, Rev. John Hannon en- 
tering the same day. 

I was licensed to preach by the Fourth Quarterly 
Conference of the Hanover circuit, held at North 
Run Church, Henrico county, Va., March 6th, 1869, 
and the paper is signed by Jacob Manning, Presid- 
ing Elder. Dr. John Hannon was licensed the 
same day by the same body. 

In the summer of 1869 I was employed by the 


Presiding Elder of the Richmond District to serve 
through the summer as junior on the old Glou- 
cester circuit under Rev. E. M. Peterson, D. D., his 
patience, his courage, his wise counsel, his kindly 
care for all that concerned my improvement in 
knowledge and my growth in grace, had much to 
do with the success of my ministry in after years. 
He was a most valuable teacher. 

When College opened in the fall of '69 I returned 
to Ashland and completed my second year under 
the supervision of Dr. Duncan. The death of my 
father in August, 1870, and the breaking up o^ my 
home in Petersburg, led me to cast myself upon 
God absolutely for guidance, not knowing which 
way to turn. I returned to my room in Ashland, 
my only home, and waited for the answer to my 
prayer. It came in a very short while in a very 
singular way. Rev. Geo. W. Nolley had been taken 
from the Caroline circuit and made Agent of Ran- 
dolph Macon College. Bro. P. C. Archer, my room- 
mate of the last session, had been selected to fill 
out his term on the charge. Archer wanted help, 
and sent for me. I went. At the Fourth Quarterly 
Conference, held at Hopewell church at Guinea's 
Station, on the E. F. & P. Railway, Bro. J. H. 
Davis, the Presiding Elder, informed us that Bishop 
Pierce had written him that one of us must join 
Conference. The lot fell to me. I went to the 
Hanover Quarterly Conference which met soon 
after this, passed the required examination, was 


duly recommended for Admission on Trial, and 
went up to the Annual Conference at Lynchburg 
in November, with my papers in legal form. 

Conference was held in the old Court Street 
church, and on Friday, November 11th, 1870, I 
was Admitted on Trial, Bishop Geo. F. Pierce, Pre- 
siding, the other members of the Class being 
Joshua S. Hunter, James T. Lumpkin, and Geo. 
W. Matthews. Bro. Matthews was immediately 
transferred to Arkansas. He and Brother Lump- 
kin have long since gone to their great reward. 
Brother Hunter and I alone remain. 

Of the one hundred and sixty-five members of 
the Virginia Conference living November 11th, 
1870, the following remain October 19th, 1921:— 
Wm. E. Judkins, John P. Woodward, James O. 
Moss, S. S. Lambeth, Charles E. Watts, James C. 
Reed, J. Wiley Bledsoe, Richard Ferguson, Joshua 
S. Hunter, and Daniel G. C. Butts ; Ten. 

The following pages record my travels for nine 
years in the Piedmont region of Virginia, and 
forty-two years in Tidewater, I have travelled 
over every mile of this territory by "in the Saddle" 
and "By Buggy, Boat and Railway." My last 
move was made in an automobile. The speed un- 
der the steady eye and the strong hand of my dear 
brother. Waller L. Hudgins, of Central, Hampton, 
was too great to place in the title of this story. 

Much remains untold because the records were 
not within my reach. I regret that I have been 
unable to do better work on such an important 


The Conference of 1870 and Caroline Circuit. 

This Conference was remarkable for many things 
which should not be forgotten. 

Dr. Paul Whitehead, President of the "Society 
for the Relief of the Preachers of the Virginia 
Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, and Their Families, Their Widows, and Or- 
phans," reported to the Conference the organiza- 
tion of the society under a charter obtained from 
the Legislature of North Carolina, and asked the 
ratification by the Conference of the same. This 
was done on the following Thursday, the 17th, 
and the following directors were elected : Paul 
Whitehead, J. J. Yeates, John R. Kilby, Geo. M. 
Bain, Jr., J. H. Dawson, Richard Irby, D'Arcy 
Paul, Alex G. Brown, and Thomas Whitehead. 

Another event which transpired at this Confer- 
ence makes it historic, namely; the Virginia Con- 
ference of the Methodist Protestant Church, 
united with the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 
Several useful ministers and valuable laymen, and 
a score or more of churches were enrolled with 
our membership. Among the ministers I men- 
tion Rev. Wm. A. Crocker, father of our very use- 
ful brother, Frank L. Crocker, at Monumental, 


Portsmouth, Rev. F. A. Davis, Rev. T. C. Jennings, 
Rev. John McClelland, and Rev. Wm. McGee. At 
the Conference of 1871 three more ministers came 
into our Conference and were enrolled: Rev. W. 
W. Walker, father of our State senator, Harding 
Walker, Rev. Starke Jett, grandfather of Rev. 
Starke Jett, one of our promising young men, and 
Rev. Wm. T. White. 

My first appointment was Caroline Circuit, with 
P. C. Archer, as "one to be supplied," for my jun- 
ior, the arrangement having been made that we 
should be sent there in that order, and attend col- 
lege to the end of that session, June, 1871. Our 
salary was $250 each, and with this we paid our 
expenses ; a remarkable instance of Providence 
coming to my aid in solving the problem of how 
to remain at school the third year. Here on this 
charge at Rehoboth Church I met the lady who 
later became my wife, the daughter of Dr. Geo. 
F. Swann, the leading steward of that church. 
The circuit had seven appointments, and extended 
from Doswell to Summit on the railroad, and from 
Spottsylvania to King William. Geo. M. Wright 
was my neighbor on the east, and John Q. Rhodes 
on the west. 

One can imagine, who remembers his first year 
in the itinerancy, the awkwardness of the meth- 
ods, (or rather lack of methods), which character- 
ized this years' history of the Caroline circuit. 
At College five days ; on the circuit Saturday and 
Sunday, there was no time to meet the people in 


their homes, and study the needs of these seven 
congregations. Perhaps the one redeeming fea- 
ture in this "plan of service" was that we came in 
contact with the leaders in the churches, who gra- 
ciously sent to the railway station for us on Satur- 
day and delivered us to the railway station early 
Monday morning that we might return to our 
studies at Ashland. 

There was much to be gained, even in this unsat- 
isfactory visiting, for we met men and women who 
represented the strength, both spiritual and finan- 
cial and social, of the communities in which they 
lived, hence we obtained a first hand view of people 
who set the pace for church work. 

The fathers, who laid the foundations of Meth- 
odism in Caroline county, laid them broad, and 
deep, and strong. Notwithstanding the Baptists 
had been in the county for years before the pio- 
neers of Methodism arrived, and their congrega- 
tion^ were comfortably housed in commodious 
brick church buildings at central points, yet these 
early circuit riders succeeded in reaching some of 
the finest material in all that region, and brought 
into the Methodist fold as fine a lot of converts, 
intellectually and socially, as could be found any- 
where in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Swann, 
Hancock, Dejarnette, Waller, Wright, Smith, Car- 
neal. Stern, Doggett, jarrell, Burruss, Catlett, 
Chandler, Broaddus, and hosts of others, werp 
names which stood for a high grade of intellec- 
tuality, incorruptible morality, and social pr?§t,ige, 


which under the lead of Methodist teaching now 
took first place in the county for spiritual power 
and devotion. "The Church of the Regenerate 
Heart," (as Dr. Gilby C. Kelly aptly calls our Meth- 
odism) had none who more consistently and beau- 
tifully illustrated the worth of Experimental Re- 
ligion than the men and the women from the fam- 
, ilies named above. 

The following notes on the planting of Method- 
ism in Caroline county, Virginia, were furnished 
me by Rev. Samuel Wesley Day, (a grandson of 
Rev. Luther Wright,) of Crozet, Albemarle coun- 

"In the latter part of the eighteenth century 
the Methodists were holding a Camp Meeting at 
Fork Church, (Epispocal) in Hanover county. A 
number of people from Caroline county attended, 
and among that company was William Wright. 
The said Wright became so much interested in 
the way the Methodists conducted the meeting 
that he invited them to go over into Caroline coun- 
ty and hold a meeting at his house. The invita- 
tion was accepted, and the Rev. Chas. Hopkins was 
sent over to hold the meeting. 

"When this meeting closed William Wright off- 
ered his house as a preaching place for the Meth- 
odists, thus turning his own house into a Methodist 
Chapel, or "Meeting House" as it was then called. 

"This arrangement continued for a number of 
years, and then the said William Wright gave an 
acre of ground, and built upon that sacred spot a 


little "Meeting House" at his own expense. That 
was the first Methodist Meeting House in Caro- 
line county. The Methodists of Caroline can look 
at "Wrights Chapel" and exclaim "She is the moth- 
er of us all." 

"What is somewhat remarkable, William Wright, 
through all these years was not a member of the 
church, but united with the church on his death 
bed and received the Sacrament of the Lord's Sup- 

"Out of this home dedicated to God, came three 
noble women, — Elizabeth, Rebecca, and Rachel: 
and four sons, Durrette, Luther, Wesley, and Cal- 
vin. Of these sons, two were Local Preachers, and 
teachers, one a Medical doctor and the other, Cal- 
vin, died a minor. 

"There are today preachers, lawyers, doctors, 
and literary men who can look back to that his- 
toric ground as the home of their ancestors." 

When I went to Caroline in December 1870, 
Old Uncle Luther Wright was a well-beloved Local 
Preacher on the Charge, and lived in the house in 
which the first Methodist sermon was preached in 
the county by Rev. Chas. Hopkins referred to 
above by Bro. Day. Bro. Day was quite a small 
boy in those days, but very much in evidence, as 
Uncle Luther, his grandfather, and the young cir- 
cuit rider talked under the shade of the tree in the 
yard, for spring was well advanced and the fruit 
trees were in bloom. When we went in to dinner 
Uncle Luther said "This is the room where it all 


began." It was enoug-h for me. I felt that I was 
in one place, at least, where the Holy Ghost had 
fallen on the people "as it did on them in the begin- 
ning." I was very young in the work, but my 
emotions were aroused, and I prayed then, a silent 
prayer, that the same power might fall on Bro. 
Archer and me during the year as we went about 
among the people. There were proofs that the 
earnest petition reached the Throne and was an- 
swered in the salvation of souls. 

"Uncle Luther," (as everybody called him), came 
into the church in these early days. He was made a 
Local Preacher very soon after conversion. He was 
familiar with the writings of the English Wesleyan 
writers, such as Wesley, Clarke, Watson, and As- 
bury. He was well read in the scriptures, and be- 
came a sound preacher of the gospel. He used 
the word of God liberally in the pulpit and in con- 
versation, and told me on one occasion, when I re- 
ferred to his familiarity with the Bible, that he 
"knew no better help in proclaiming salvation than 
the message itself." Other books, he hinted, he 
could use for his own entertainment and infor- 
mation, but for seeking the lost sinner the Word 
was enough. 

I have heard him preach some sermons of great 
power, and results were immediate and satisfying. 
"Not in words which man's wisdom giveth, but 
which God giveth." He died at a ripe old age, and 
went to his reward in triumph. 

His sister R^chd, (Mrs. Jarrell), was a woman 


of deep piety, and great influence for holiness. The 
preachers in going the rounds of the work, and 
in revival season, depended much on Sister Jar- 
rell to lead in prayer and help at the altar among 
penitents. The fruit of her toil in the vineyard of 
the Lord was seen throughout the circuit. Her 
deep piety, her natural humility|, reinforced by 
grace divine, her great faith, and her untiring ef- 
forts for the kingdom, made a profound impres- 
sion on this young preacher, and aided him might- 
ily in many a critical hour. Her prayers spoken 
into the ear of God as simply and with a childlike 
trust, seldom failed of an answer, either the direct 
answer, or a wonderful peace and a contented feel- 
ing that the Father would give the needed mercy, 
if His wisdom and His love withheld the thing 
desired. Oh, she was a mighty' wrestler at the 
throne of grace ! 

Dr. Wesley Wright, (another one of the brothers 
alluded to by Bro. Day,) was a fine specimen of the 
old time Virginia country gentlemen. At the time 
I first visited his home near Penola station on the 
Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Railway, 
he had abandoned the practice of his profession, 
and was enjoying the quiet of a comfortable home, 
the love of his interesting family, and the confi- 
dence of his fellow citizens. It was a great privi- 
lege to share the gracious and bountiful hospitality 
of this courteous old gentleman and his beloved 
wife and grown children, and to feel that here, at 
least, was a good place to begin an itinerant 


career with the encouragfement and; advice be- 
stowed under such conditions. Dr. Wright, on be- 
ing reminded that he and his brothers and sisters 
bore names that were somewhat famous in the an- 
nals of the church, would reply with modest pride, 
"Yes, my father, William Wright, the first host of 
Methodism in Caroline, believed with all his heart 
in the glory and perpetuity of the Church of God, 
hence he named us Luther, Wesley, Calvin, Eliza- 
beth, Rachel, and Rebecca." 

As I have already said, the circuit at that time, 
December 1870, was composed of seven appoint- 
ments, as follows: — Rehoboth, Wright's Chapel, 
Bowling Green, Hopewell, St. Paul's, Vernon and 
Shiloh. The people got preaching twice monthly 
such as it was. P. C. Archer and I did the best 
we could, and the people did the best they could, 
and right charitably did they listen to two young 
men who were sincere in their service in the pul- 
pit, whatever might have been thought of their 
qualifications. We had revivals at every point, 
and the blessing of God rested upon the work. 

In the fall of 1871, my colleague, Bro. Archer, 
married Emma, the cultured and attractive 
daughter of Rev. Geo. W. Nolley, and went west and 
joined the Little Rock Conference. There she died 
a few years afterward, and Bro. Archer was trans- 
ferred to one of the Texas Conferences, and was 
there when I last heard from him. 

A most confusing situation was precipitated at 
the Third Quarterly Conference on the Spottsyl- 


vania circuit that year by the extreme courtesy of 
two unsophisticated young preachers. Bro. Jos. H. 
Davis, the Presiding Elder, was sick somewhere 
up in Culpeper, and sent Bro. Jas. F. Twitty, spend- 
ing the summer at Culpeper, to this quarterly Con- 
ference to do the preaching. I went up as a visi- 
tor, glad to meet Twitty, my college mate, and wel- 
come him to the field. When the time came, after 
a bountiful dinner, to hold the quarterly Confer- 
ence, Brother Rhodes insisted that courtesy "com- 
pelled him to invite Brother Twitty, his guest, to 
preside," and I agreed that "it was the proper 
thing to do." After some persuasion (necessary in 
handling a modest man like Twitty) Twitty con- 
sented, and presided. J. P. H. Crismond was exam- 
ined by all three of us, passed, and was licensed to 
preach. Then we separated, mutually agreeing 
that it was a most delightful occasion. When the 
Fourth Quarterly Conference came, the deluge 
came also. Brother Davis pronounced the whole 
thing illegal ; Crismond had to go through the mill 
the second time, and the records were declared 
null, so far as a third quarterly Conference was 
concerned. Brother Rhodes got a dose of law on 
the half-shell that day. Twitty had already gotten 
his dose when he reported to Brother Davis what 
had happened. As for me, I was far away from the 
scene of the disaster, visiting Dr. Swann's davighter 
in Caroline. 

George M. Wright, my neighbor on the east was 
serving the King William circuit. He was a whole- 


souled, faithful man, popular with everybody, and a 
successful man in the pastorate and in the pulpit. 
His was a clean life,-^a life of prayer, so he had 
power with God and man. People believed in him, 
and in the gospel he delivered. One of his most 
valuable co-workers was Rev. Chas. H. Boggs, 
known to many in recent years as "Dear Old Broth- 
er Charlie Boggs." He was a Local Preacher, and 
lived at Aylett's, King William Co. 

Archer and I planned a meeting at one of the 
churches on our circuit, and during its progress 
Brothers Wright and Boggs came to the services. 
They preached alternately for us on Wednesday 
and Thursday. They would have done the same 
on Friday, but a most absurd incident prevented 
their return. The interest on Thursday was very 
great and swept everything before it. Wright 
preached in the afternoon, and penitents fell before 
the "sword of the Spirit." In the midst of the tri- 
umphant songs of the Church, and the agonizing 
prayers of confessed sinners, I went down the mid- 
dle aisle to speak to a young man who, it seems, 
could not decide for Christ. But before I got to 
him, a blessed old sister, with a heart overflowing: 
with joy, stood in my path, took me up in her arms, 
singing all the while in perfect accord with the con- 
gregation, "There's a lilly white robe in Heaven 
for you." When she put me down again, (I was 
5 ft. 4 in. and weighed 120 lbs.) I looked around in 
helpless confusion to find out "what Israel would 
do," but Israel, (that is, the Church people) had sat 


down, stopped singing, and with handkerchiefs, 
fans, and naked hands were busy at the impossible 
task of trying to smother merriment. I could 
find Wright and Boggs nowhere. I found Archer 
hidden behind the pulpit desk laughing a quiet, 
hysterical laugh which brings tears. I dismissed 
the congregation as best I could, and went out to 
the woods where a strange noise attracted me. 
There I found Wright on his back on the pine 
straw, and Bro. Boggs by his side. Wright was 
in such a paroxism of laughter that he could not 
speak, and Boggs was in no better condition. They 
hitched the horse, got into the buggy, laughing 
all the while, and drove off at full speed down the 
road, bidding Goodbye to no one. Of course they 
did not return next day: they dared not; and 
laughed over that incident as long as they lived. 

The meeting closed the next day, a pretty dry 
affair ! 

If there is a case in the records of the Southern 
Methodist Church furnishing a reason why the 
General Conference did the wise thing in granting 
women equal rights with men on the Official Roster 
of the Church one woman in the Caroline circuit 
in the Virginia Conference furnishes the example. 
Miss Lizzie Walton at Wright's Chapel was that 
woman. Her intelligent apprehension of Meth- 
odist doctrine and law and usage, her zeal, her pru- 
dence, her prayerfulness, commended her to every 
pastor, and gave her an influence with the congre- 
gation that was felt over the entire circuit. What 


she said at Wright's Chapel indicated the success 
or failure of any enterprise. Not that she "lorded 
it over God's heritage/' no, not that: but she car- 
ried her plans, and her suggestions had weight with 
the Stewards and the congregation by the sheer 
force of good sense, and irresistible power of a 
Christian spirit. Her piety was known throughout 
the Charge. Her consecration to the Lord was 
without any reservations or qualifications, com- 
plete and beautiful. She was beloved by every- 
body, but her influence in her own home was 
a proof of her sincerity. Her light shined 
afar because it shined brightest in her nearest 
circle of friends. 

The leading Stewards at that point were Jen- 
nette Carneal and Robert Oliver, earnest and faith- 
ful men ; but the inspiration of every onward move- 
ment at Wright's was Miss Lizzie Walton. 

Dr. George F. Swann, my wife's father, was one 
of the leading Stewards at Rehoboth church. Dr. 
Joseph Dejarnette and Mr. L. Partlow were the 
other two. The present substantial brick church- 
building was erected about 1858, and Dr. Swann, 
Dr. Dejarnette, and old Bro. Hancock, the father 
of Dr. F. J. Hancock, (who later moved his mem- 
bership to Hopewell, at Guinea Station, and later 
still to Clarksbury in Middlesex,) were members of 
the Building Committee. 

Old "Pisgah," located on the road leading from 
the Telegraph road near Bethany Baptist church. 


to Guineas Station, was abandoned after the civil 
war, and "Hopewell" at Guinea Station erected in 
its place, and most of the members then living 
went to the new church. 

These were Dr. Hancock, (as noted above,) the 
Catletts, and others whose names escape 'me now. 

Wm. T. Chandler, whose splendid wife founded 
the Bowling Female College, and Wilbur Broad- 
dus at Bowling Green, the Broaddus family at Shi- 
loh, Edgar Swann, Atwill Burruss, and the con- 
verted Jew, Levi Stern, at St. Paul's formed a 
strong Official Board of sensible, consecrated men 
who followed the lead of the pastor in all good 

At the end of the Conference year we reported 
some increase in membership as the result of 
revivals in every church, but the financial exhibit 
showed little advance over the previous year. The 
county was slowly recuperating from the ravages 
of the Civil War, and the churches were weak in 
proportion to the poverty of the people. 

26 raoM saddle to city 


Montross. 1871—73. 

From the Portsmouth Conference in 1871 (held 
by the courtesy of that congregation in the Court 
Street Baptist Church, because the old Dinwiddie 
St. Church could not accommodate the large at- 
tendance,) I was sent by Bishop Paine to the Mpn- 
tross circuit, with Headquarters "in the saddle." 
Rev. Chas. E. Hobday was my successor in Caro- 
line circuit. Montross was on the north-east side 
of the Rappahannock river, over on the Potomac. 
My route lay from Ruther Glen, on the R. F. & P. 
Railroad, where I spent the last night on the Caro- 
line circuit at Bro. Levi Stern's, through Bowling 
Green, the county-seat, to Port Royal on the Rap- 
pahannock, thence down the Northern Neck thirty 
miles to my destination. A new experience lay be- 
fore me. It was a great cross to leave friends I 
had served one year, and go out into a strange land 
to serve a new people, in strange churches. And 
I was young — barely twenty-three. Friends had 
been made who bound me to them by their pa- 
tience with my mistakes, their faith in my sincer- 
ity, their determination to help the young preacher 
in every emergency, and their unfaltering love for 
Christ and His Church. Ties had been formed 


that were priceless, and inseparable. ■ To leave 
these and "Go," relying on God and confident of 
my own integrity of purpose, was something new. 
I had no doubt of my call to preach, and three 
years had been given to preparation; and this is 
one phase of it. Am I equal to it? was the ques- 
tion that first night, after I was shown my room in 
the home of Mr. Wilbur J. Broaddus just beyond 
the town of Bowling Green. I fell asleep late in the 
night, weary from meditation and prayer. The 
next morning the real test came. The time had, in 
reality, come to go. The Broaddus home was, to 
me, the border of an "unknown land." Port Royal 
was beyond the wilderness, and Westmoreland was 
"across the sea." There must be giants over there : 
I had read of them in the books, — George Wash- 
ington, James Madison, James Monroe, Light 
Horse Harry Lee, Robt. Edmund Lee, William 
Wirt. Broaddus said they were "big folks," and 
"such folks always mercifully put up with small 
preachers, dealing out sermons with nothing in 
them." With this farewell shot in my system, I 
set out Tuesday morning, the day after the Decem- 
ber Caroline Court day, on "Dexter" for Port Royal, 
thirteen miles away. My outfit comprised a pair 
of saddle pockets, a heavy brown shawl thrown 
over my shoulders, and an umbrella strapped to 
the saddle behind me. My trunk had gone to 
Fredericksburg to be taken down the river on the 
steamer to Carter's Wharf, in Richmond county, 
six miles from Montross in Westmoreland. 

28 from: SADDLE TO CITT 

I arrived in Port Royal at mid-day and went by 
direction of Bro. Davis, my Presiding Elder, 
straight to Brother Gibbs' home, and introduced 
myself as the new preacher for the Montross cir- 
cuit, on my way to my home beyond the Rappa- 
hannock. Miy reception was very cordial, and I 
was informed after dinner, that no preacher ever 
passed through that town who did not have to pay 
for his meals and his lodging with a sermon : hence 
the bell in the tree in the church-yard would pres- 
ently ring to let the people know that there would 
be service in the church that night. You will ob- 
serve that I was not invited to preach: I was 
simply put up to preach, and I preached. When I 
retired that night I thought, "The people in his 
burg are mighty willing to take small pay for three 
meals and a good bed." 

The little congregation of, perhaps fifty choice 
citizens heard the youthful itinerant patiently 
through a rambling exhortation, and dismissed him 
at the end with many kind words, and the promise 
of prayer to follow him in the new field beyond. 

Next morning I crossed the river with my horse 
in the ferry-boat, with a negro ferryman and a 
younger negro at the long oars. The ferryman 
started an inquiry which ended in my confusion; 

"Whar you gwine?" I replied . confidently, "To 
Westmoreland Court House. I think the place is 
called Montross." Then looking at me with a re- 
spectful, yet dubious gaze, he asked, "What's yo 


biznis down dar?" I answered, "I am a preacher 
of the gospel, and I am going down there to take 
charge of a circuit of three churches."* He looked 
up the river as if expecting some more rubbish 
like me coming down on the ebb of tide, grunted, 
and exclaimed, "You looks lak it." I sat the re- 
mainder of the tedious journey across, hotding 
"Dexter" by the bridle rein, and wrapt in the mag- 
nificent folds of my cloudy meditations revolving 
those mighty conceptualities, which, in a priori 
principles, constitute the fundamental conditions 
on which my youthful brain might discover its 
normal inferiority so strongly suggested by the 
dusky American of African ancestry. 

The ferry landed me at Port Conway, immediate- 
ly opposite Port Royal, in King George county. 
Bro. J. Ham Stiff, kept a store on the north side 
of the road, and there 1 found him "diligent in 
business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord." Two 
or three boys, his boys, gathered around the young 
preacher taking his measure, I suppose. Bro. J. W. 
Stiff, now a member of our Conference was in the 
group. I picked up some historic facts as I loi- 
tered about the store porch. Across the way, there 
in that old house, or in one that once stood on 
that foundation, James Madison was born. I had 
reached the land where giants were once made. I 
dined at Brother Walter W. Stiff's next door to 
Bro Ham Stiff's. Here are the parents of several 
boys, and a bright little girl named Kate. One of 


the boys developed into a sturdy manhood, and for 
years has been a credit to his county, — Dr. Frank 
Stiff. Kate became a very useful woman in the 
Church of her choice, the Methodist, of course. 

After tarrying around Port Conway till Thurs- 
day afternoon, spending the night at Bro. Ham 
Stiff's, I pushed on down a dreary road through 
Rollin's Fork to Brother Charles Robinson's hos- 
pitable home, arriving about sunset. A night in 
this gentleman's home was profitable to me in 
many ways. He had travelled very much on the 
seas, and could spin the yarn of the tumbling wat- 
ers in charming form, and without weariness to 
the hearer. Besides he was an authority as to my 
whereabouts just at that time. He told me that I 
would pass within a mile of the old home of Will- 
iam Wirt : at Oak Grove I would be very near the 
birth-place of James Monroe : that as I passed 
down the main road southeast, I would have "Hay- 
wood," and "Blenheim," and "Wakefield," and 
"Longwood" on my left-hand, all in the great tract 
of the original Washington homestead, and "Leeds- 
town" on my right, another place famous in the 
colonial history of Virginia. That three miles this 
side of Montross, a road branching off to the left 
would carry the traveller to "Stratford," the home 
of "Light Horse Harry" Lee, and the birth-place 
of the south's great soldier, Robert E. Lee. 

And so after a good breakfast, with the bless- 
ing of my good friend and his dear old mother, T 


set out on the last lap of my long journey to Mon- 
tross. As I threaded the woods and passed the 
fields to my destination, I was moved mightily by 
the reminiscenes of the dead past, stories of the 
great, the wise, and the good, to whom all these 
scenes on both sides of my route were familiar. 
Their boyhood was spent in these parts, they had 
gone out from this to make Virginia great, and 
so became great themselves, such is the reflex 
influence of unselfish service for country and for 

I arrived at Montross about noon on Friday, De- 
cember the 15th, 1871, closely followed by a driv- 
ing snow-storm. At the Clerk's office I found 
Brothers J. Warren Hutt and Chas. C. Baker, the 
former the Clerk of the County of Westmoreland 
and Steward of Andrew Chapel near by in a beau- 
tiful grove of oaks. I introduced myself as the 
new preacher. He received me cordially, and re- 
mained my warm friend to the end of his life. His 
house became my resting-place after many a weary 
day. His wife, a gracious Christian woman of 
many virtues, his sister, Miss Bettie, and sons 
and daughter, my faithful companions. The 
home of Charles Baker was another place where 
I had constant reminders of my childhood. A 
noble woman was his wife, a safe adviser and 
firm friend. Through all the years since then, 
none of the family of three sons and three 
daughters, has ever lost an opportunity to 


S.l^q^ tjieir regard for us. Across the big ravine, 
in the pld Atwill home, the young preacher found 
^ind friends and quiet, where his trunk was placed, 
and a haven secured to which he could return oc- 
casionally from a two or four weeks round of pas- 
toral visiting. Capt. Wm. E. Baker and wife rend- 
ered valuable service to me in a thousand ways, and 
made work on the charge, lighter by home-like 
treatment at times when fatigue and the care of 
the churches made life not altogether "one sweet 
song." Those manly boys, Thomas and Willie, 
and the sweet little girl, Susie, took me for a play- 
mate, and many a time became my excuse for a 
return to "Atwillton." 

There were six legal giants in that clerk's office 
that dismal Friday. I was presented to each one 
as "the new preacher in charge of the three Meth- 
odist churches in that section." As Mr. Hutt and 
I left the room on his invitation to dinner, I heard 
pne of those big men, through the door that was 
left ajar, utter words which nearly broke my heart, 
but which proved, after all, the compelling force 
tliat led me to put into my work the best that was 
in me, and taught me also that I was up against 
a proposition that would tax the courage of an older 
man. This is what I heard the big man say : "Why 
did old Bro. Davis let them send that boy to such 
a place as this! Hie had better be at school!" 
The words, spoken, -out of the kindly feelings of a 
warm heart, sent me to my knees, to my books, 


to my daily round of pastoral .duties with a fixed 
purpose to make the best use of the "horseback 
university." God became "my refiuge and strength" 
in a newer sense than ever before. 

The Montross Circuit was only one year old 
when I took the charge. It was composed of three 
appointments; — ^Andrew Chapel, located in a beau- 
tiful grove near the village ;. Lebanon, three miles 
southeast at Templeman's Cross Roads : and an 
unfinished building at Chilton's Cross Roads 
known as Providence. These churches had been 
severed .from the old Westmoreland circuit at the 
Conference of 1870 at Lynchburg, and Rev, Walter 
C. Taylor appointed to the new charge, with Rev. 
E. A. Gibbs on the Westmoreland circuit, Rev. 
W. A. Crocker on the Heathsville, Rev. Thos. J. 
Bayton on Lancaster, and Rev. W. F. Bain on the 
King George circuit. This was the clerical force 
in the Northern Neck for the year 1871. When I 
took the Montross circuit in the fall of 1871, Bro. 
Taylor was sent to West Amherst, Bro. Gibbs be- 
gan his second year in Westmoreland, Bro. Crock- 
er was returned to Heathsville, Bro. Bayton to 
Lancaster, and Bro. Bain to King George. 

I held services for the Providence congrega- 
tion that winter in a private house at the Cross 
Roads, and in the spring commenced a movement 
to complete the building, and succeeded in the work 
by the time the Conference met in the fall at Pet- 
ersburg. There were hindrances, but the rallying 


of the scattered members in the spring and sum- 
mer, -brought about a revolution in the community 
which culminated in a great meeting there the 
next year under the leadership of Rev. R. M. 
Chandler, and the addition of more than fifty peo- 
ple to the church. 

At Lebanon the small membership co-operated 
with the young preacher most heartily, and the 
outcome of the year's work, both in pastoral visi- 
tation and pulpit service was very encouraging to 
all. Broun, Sutton, Claridge, Edwards, Parker, 
Courtney, Branson, Omohundro, Jenkins, and oth- 
ers carried on the gracious work there with enthus- 
iasm and faith, although overshadowed by a strong 
Baptist Church hardly a fourth of a mile away. 

But it was at Andrew Chapel that the great tri- 
umph of my two year's stay on the charge w'as 
won. A struggling few stood by the work, but 
very little was accomplished till the meeting was 
held the latter part of August, 1872, and the first 
week in September. Capt. Wm. .E. Baker, J. War- 
ren Hutt, and their families, the Porter family, 
C. C> Baker's family, the Tififey family, the, San- 
fords, the Parkers, the McKenneys, the Atwills, 
formed the base of a strong movement for the 
conversion cf sinners and the upbuilding of the 
religious sentiment of the people. 

The meeting began on the fourth Sunday in Au- 
gust and continued two weeks with increasing in 
terest from night to night. Such was the over- 


whelming sense of responsibility that burdened my 
soul that on the second Sunday of the revival, I 
requested every one who felt the same sense of 
incompetence and dependence on the Holy Spirit, 
to join with me in spending the whole of Monday 
in fasting, humiliation, and prayer before God for 
help and salvation. I suppose twenty or more. 
Episcopalians, Baptists and Methodists stood up 
in response to my call. I shall never foreet that 
holy Monday. It seems that the influence of that 
service Sunday night swept through the community 
like the irresistible rising of the silent waters of 
a mighty flood. When the hour came for service 
Monday night, I went into the pulpit feeling that 
the battle was already won: that the Holy .Spirit 
had charge : that the untrained and poorly 
equipped young preacher must simply declare the 
plain word of the Lord in the best way he could, and 
not attempt any unusual methods, as I was sorely 
tempted to do in the presence of a great crowd 
that came from far and near. And God honored his 
message. More than thirty people professed con- 
version at that one service. Some of the best cit- 
izens of the community were brought into the 
Kingdom, among them I rejoice to count my dearly 
beloved brother, Rev. R. M. Chandler, an honored 
member of the Virginia Conference since 1876. 

In addition to these mercies God sent . me a 
good wife, the eldest daughter of Dr. Geo. F. 
Swann, a prominent and successful physician of 


Caroline county, and a steward in Rehoboth church 
in that circuit. Guided by Divine grace, a woman 
of prayer, and a constant reader of the Bible, 
she became the builder of my home, the teacher 
of my children, and has been the inspiration and 
strengfth of my ministry, my companion and advis- 
er for more than forty-nine years. Blessed with 
good sense, strong convictions, an humble spirit, 
the broadest sympathies, and a sound judgment, 
she has captured the hearts of the people wherever 
I have served, from the mountains to the sea; 
and, oftener than otherwise, has been their reason 
for requesting my return. Hence, you will not 
be surprised to, learn that I have served the full 
term of four years on nine charges, and three 
years each on. two others. The remaining years 
were spent on six charges. 

We were married at "Mt. Tero," the home of 
her father, Nov. 13, 1872. Rev. Chas. E.Hofeday, 
performed the ceremony. We went to Conference 
the next week. The session was held in Washing- 
ton Street Church, Petersburg, on the 20th. We 
were graciously entertained by my uncle. Dr. 
John Herbert Claiborne. My Grandfather and 
his wife were guests at the same home. My uncle 
gave a dinner during.Conference week in honor of 
his nephew and his bride, with Dr. Leo Rosser, 
Dr. Leroy M. Lee, Rev. Joseph H. Davis, Rev. Wm. 
B. Rowzie, and Rev. Henry B. Cowles, old friends 
of my grandfather, and John Hannon, Jas, F. 


Twitty, Jas. T. Lumpkin, and L think, Herbert M. 
Hope. It was a g^reat occasion to at least one 
preacher. I thought^ as I sat and heard those old 
i men talk, heart,- of the experience of.sal- 
vatipn, and the power of the word faithfully de- 
clared, of the march of Methodism from Norfolk 
on through Nansemond, Isle of Wight, Southamp- 
ton, Greensville, Dinwiddle, Brunswick, and on, 
and on to the ,piue fiidge mountains, under thelpad 
of the fathers who had fallen asleep, — I say, I 
thought. Where are our s^reat preachers today? 
That was in ,1872. We, young men, just 
sat and listened. There was nothing else for us to 
do. We did not belong to the period, which boasted 
of theological goslings on stilts, who, with tire- 
some and silly contentions, and absurd pomposity, 
assign older and worthier men a place in the cor- 
ner; silent, prayerful, that the good Lord will 
have mercy on the wordy monstrosity who had the 

Presently we assembled at the dinner, table. As 
the mistress of the occasion, and the head of my 
uncle's house since he had been a- widower several 
years, was our cousin. Miss Josephine Claiborne. 
She was a woman of splendid spirit, very- devcrtit, 
well educated, and beloved by all of the family. 
She had been my grandfather's pride and Cohso- 
lation ' since her childhood, when bereft' of her 
parents she came with her little brother 'to Hve 
in-.theold home -at "RoslJn" - > - '" 


John Hannon sat very near that end of the table. 
She felt it her duty to perform her part in making 
matters as pleasant for her guests as was in her 
power. It was the same John Hannon whom all 
know who have ever met him once. Hannon at 
college, in the pulpit, at a Camp meeting, on the 
Conference floor, everywhere. It was John Han- 
non at Dr. Claiborne's elegant reception that day. 

Our Cousin said "Brother Hannon, where did 
you spend the summer vacation, if you were so 
fortunate as to get a vacation?" John replied, "Oh, 
yes, I had a vacation. I was at Wesley Grove 
Camp meeting near Washington City." Miss Clai- 
borne said, "Ah, I have heard of Wesley Grove : I 
hope you had a very profitable, as well as enjoy- 
able meeting." The irrepressible John replied, 
"Yes, we had a bully meeting." 

The company was startled for a moment. Miss 
Claiborne was overcome with amazement and con- 
fusion. John went on eating, utterly unconscious 
of the tragic situation. My uncle, always ready to 
see humor in every situation, suppressed his merry 
mood, till Dr. Leroy Lee broke the ice With a loud 
guffaw : then the company gave way to the strain, 
and everybody laughed except John Hannon and 
our perplexed and indignant Cousin. And John 
never did see what he had done. That was John 
in those far away days in the dim and dusty past. 
That is John today, devout, sincere, innocent of 
any wrong or irreverence, a hallelujah in trousers. 


an Amen ready dressed for any occasion, sitting 
daily at gate of the City of God, awaiting the open- 
ing thereof, that he may not be out of place when 
the gates swing open, and Coronation ceremonies 
begin ! Rare, holy old John ! It would not sur- 
prise me in the least if you should startle the angels 
in heaven when you arrive with some reverent 

On Sunday, Nov. 24, 1872, in Washington Street 
Church, where I first attended Sunday School in 
1859, and had for my teacher, Mr. Willie Cowles, 
son of Rev. H. B. Cowles, of the Conference, I was 
ordained a Deacon. It was a most impressive mo- 
ment to me. The memories which thronged that 
hour pointed the way to a new life, and brought to 
my heart the renewed pledge of "grace to help" in 
the scores of prayers sent to the Throne for me, and 
answered there at the altar as Bishop Paine laid 
his hands on my head! The hopes of father and 
mother yonder in the home of the soul, and of an 
aged grandfather and other kin who witnessed the 
solemn ceremonial, were realized at last! 

The Conference session was overshadowed with 
sorrow by the untimely death on August 22, of 
Rev. Chas. H. Hall, one of our most successful 
and devoted men, and pastor of the church in which 
the session was held. He was a young man, in 

*Since the above was written Dr. Hannon has 
passed through the gate into the City, and is very 
near the Throne. 


the prime of life, having been born in Fayetteville, 
N. C, in 1831. He joined the Conference in 1853, 
and nearly six years of his nineteen years' service 
were spent in the pastorate of Washington Street 
Church. "Rarely has it fallen to the fortune of 
any minister in the same space of' time," says his 
Memoir, "tO' gather to himself such universal ad- 
miration, esteem, and affection as he enjoyed from 
the citizens of Petersburg. Nature had endowed 
him with rare gifts, and such was the fidelity with 
which he had improved them, and the refining pow- 
er of Divine grace upon them, that he rapidly rose 
to distinction, and took a position by public suf- 
fragCj as well as that of his own church, among the 
ablest ministers of the State." 

The most notable feature of the session was the 
opening s.ermon delivered by Dr. John D. Blackwell 
on the text "Quit you like men; be strong." 1. 
Corinthians, XVI. 13., and published by request 
of the Conference in the Annual for that year. It 
was a great deliverance, and made a profound im- 
pression on the great congregation. 

He quoted Tertullian's great defense — "Our 
battle field is the tribunal where we fight for truth 
at the peril of our lives.. Victory consists in gain- 
ing that for which men fight. Our victory is the 
glory of pleasing God, and our gain eternal life. 
We are put to death, what of that ? Death giVes 
us our ci-owHi Our sacrifice is our triumph. Cru^ 
cify, torture, condemn, crush us. What avails, in 


fine, all your refinement in cruelty, but to add one 
charm more to our sect? Decimated by you, 
we grow in numbers ; the blood of the martyrs 
is the seed of the church. The flaming vestute 
which enwraps us is our purple robe of royalty. 
Thus it is we gain the palm and mount the car of 

At the close of the Conference I was returned 
to Montross for the second year. The reception of 
the young preacher and his bride made a bright 
spot in the life of the couple, who knew so little 
as yet, of the trials incident to the life of the itin- 
erant. Board was secured for us in the family of 
Dr. William H. Fairfax, members of the Episcopal 

We could not have been more fortunate in the 
selection of a delightful home if we had made the 
choice ourselves. She was a Miss Griffith, from 
The Hague neighborhod, below Nomini Ferry, and 
he was a scion of the celebrated Fairfax family, 
which had dwelt in this region from the early days 
of Colonial Virginia. Of course we were among 
people whose ancestry and rearing made it unnec- 
essary to substitute the airs of pride and show for 
the real thing. There is a something in the blood 
of gentle breeding which carries in any company. 
The coarseness of the low-bred, the boorish man- 
ners, the stranger to the finer traditions of stock, 
need no advertisement. They are ill at ease any- 
where except among their own slazy crowd. The 


man or the woman of noble birth is at home any- 
where, and elevates and purifies by his very pres- 
ence any atmosphere. There is an aristocracy of 
blood, notwithstanding the protest from certain 
quarters, and the County of Westmorelriad, in Vir- 
ginia, had it. 

The year 1873 began with plans well on the way 
to consummation looking to the completion of old 
Providence Church at Chilton's Cross-Roads. Rich- 
ard M. Chandler was granted a License to Preach 
at a Quarterly Conference held sometime in the 
early spring, and together with brother "Ned" 
Porter was elected Delegate to the District Con- 
ference held that summer at "Shady Grove" on 
the Hanover circuit. 

The dedication of Providence took place late 
in the summer, the latter part of August, I think, 
and Chandler took entire charge of the protracted 
meeting which followed of which mention has 
already been made. 

On the 14th of October, 1873, our first child, 
Mary Claiborne, was born at "Mt. Tero," Caro- 
line county, the home of my wife's father. I was 
on my work at Montross when the memorable 
event occurred. There was joy and consternation 
in my soul when the letter announcing the fulfill- 
ment of our hopes was opened and read. It was 
written by Dr. Swann, my wife's father, in 3 
vein of make-believe distress at the "additior 
to my family, predicting" a corresponding subtrac- 


tion in my $235.00 salary." He went on to say 
that "in these distressing times when so many 
Banks had failed the coming of this girl had aroused 
his sympathy," and so on, until my very bones 
ached with apprehension of some impending catas- 
trophy. But as the days speeded by, and I was at 
length permitted to see wife and babe, the clouds 
passed away, and the sun came out again to shine 
for many years on our home as the children came 
and tarried for a few years, and then departed to 
make homes for themselves. 

The middle of November I left Montross charge 
and our scores of friends, and set out for Confer- 
ence in Norfolk, by way of my wife's former home 
in Caroline. It was a sad season to me, for I knew 
that, the charge being a single man's appointment, I 
must move. The Fairfax family, the doctor, his 
noble wife and interesting boy, Fred, had contrib- 
uted much to my young wife's comfort and con- 
tentment. The refinement of blood was exhibited 
in tender ministries and delicate kindnesses shown 
in hours of need. The highway of gentle living and 
natural hospitality was a familiar road to these 
real folks. No extra touch nor padded familiarity 
ever tarnished the pure gold of their daily behav- 

The Conference of 1873 was held in old Cumber- 
land Street Church, Norfolk, Nov. 26th, to Dec. 
4, Bishop John Christian Keener, D. D., presiding. 

I had a delightful home in the family of Bro. 


Wm. R. Hudgins, near St. Mary's Catholic Church. 
Dr.S. S. Lambeth and Dr. W. W. Duncan, (after- 
wards Bishop), often visited the family during the 
nine day's stay, and I derived much pleasure list- 
ening to these two bright young men spin yarns. 
They were the charm of the circle, and frequently 
during the week were "the reason why" midnight 
foiind us sitting aroun^ the fireside. 

It was Bishop Keener's first visit to our Con- 
ference since his election to the office of Bishop 
at Memphis, Tenn., in 1870. He was stout, about 
medium height, quick in action, ready in speech, 
and systematic in method. His finely formed 
head indicated a well-developed brain, his keen eye 
showed a power of penetration that was a terror 
to me as I stood up before him for the first time 
to read my report. His ckancut phrases left no 
doubt on the hearer as to his meaning. I have 
known presiding officers over more insignificant 
bodies than the Virginia Conference of 1873 who 
would have consumed two weeks in dispatching 
the business disposed of by this vigorous South- 
erner in nine days. 

Paul Whitehead was Secretary, of course, and 
P. A. Peterson and Geo." C. Vanderslice were, his 
Assistants. A few days later Bro. Peterson re- 
signed on account of sickness and S. S. Lambeth 
was elected in his stead. 

, The election of delegates, clerical and lay, to 


the General Conference of 1874, resulted in the 
choice of a strong delegation ; as follows : Jas. A, 
Duncan, Leroy M. Lee, W. W. Bennettj P. A. 
Peterson, John E. Edwards, Lemuel S. Reed, and 
John C. Granbery, clerical; D'Arcy Paul, F. H. 
Smith, Geo M. Bain, Jr., J. E. Broadwater, Rich- 
ard Pollard, Wm. Grant, and Thos W- Garrett, 
Lay. J, 

W. W. Bennett, Geo. M. Bain, Jr., and. J. W. 
Hinton, a Committee appointed to consider the 
question of a "Memorial of Robt. Williams," re- 
ported the following interesting document. It is 
history, hence I record it in full: 

"The Committee to whom was referred th? 
papers in reference to a Memorial to Rev. Robt. 
Williams, the pioneer of Methodism in the South, 
beg leave to report that they have had the matter 
under consideration, and are highly gratified to 
learn that the members of our Church in Ports 
mouth have in course of erection a new and beau- 
tiful churth building, which stands on the site of 
the old DlnWiddie Street Church, which is in fact, 
the original church organized in the SoUth by 
Rev, Robert Williams. As the new church edifice 
will be a fitting Memorial of this good man and 
faithful minister, and as all our people are interest- 
ed in such Memorial, we cheerfully corhniehd the 
enterprise of our brethren in Portsmouth to them", 
and trust" that such aid may be given as will enable 
us to'erect -a monument' that will do credit to us 


as a great religious denomination. We recommend 
that this new building bear the name, "THE MON- 

. Rev. J. Powell Garland was returned for the 
second year as pastor of the old Dinwiddie Street 
congregation, and the name appears in the list of 
appointments as "Monumental, Portsmouth" for 
the iirst time. 

Memorial services were held in honor of the late 
Bishop John Early under a resolution offered by 
W. E. Judkins, in which a committee consisting of 
Geo. W. Nolley, Leroy M. Lee, H. B. Cowles, W. B. 
Rowzie, W. W. Bennett, A. G. Brown and W. E. 
Judkins submitted "a suitable paper expressive of 
the feelings of the Conference in view of" the sad 

"After introductory worship conducted by Bishop 
Keener, Leroy M. Lee, and Henry B. Cowles, 
Bishop D. S. Doggett, (at the request of the Con- 
ference,) preached a sermon in memory of the late 
venerable Bishop ; and after the reading of a letter 
from Bishop Robert Paine, Geo. W. Nolley, from a 
special committee, presented a report. 

Both the report and the sermon appear in the 
Conference Annual of 1873, and are monumental 
and eloquent documents. 

"The death of Rev. Wm. G. Cross, of the Balti- 
more Conference, formerly and for many y^ars, a 


prominent member of this body," was reported by 
A. G. Brown, and suitable resolutions adopted. 

Bishop Keener enjoyed sallies of wit as much as 
any one I ever saw presiding over a dignified body 
of preachers. His spicy satire and humor are 
fully and effectively shown in his book, "Post Oak 
Circuit." He had his opportunity frequently dur- 
ing this conference. One incident I recall. Brother 
Joseph H. Davis, Presiding Elder of the Rappa- 
hannock District had to go up the Potomac River 
to Washington on a day boat from Nomini River, 
and then take the night boat to Norfolk in order to 
reach the seat of the Conference. The day boat 
having been delayed by heavy freight, arrived in 
Washington Tuesday night, Nov. 25th, after the de- 
parture of the boat, "Lady of the Lake," for Nor- 
folk. Consequently Bro. Davis did not arrive at 
the old Cumberland St. Church, where the Confer- 
ence was in session till the morning of Thursday, 
the second day. When the Bishop called Bro. Da- 
vis's name he remarked : "You are late getting in, 
Bro. Davis." The dear old man explaining his tar- 
diness, said, "I was left in Washington, Bishop, by 
the Lady of the Lake." The Bishop replied with a 
smile with those keen eyes almost closed: "And 
you are not the only man who has gotten left in 
that city by a lady." Bro. Davis sat down in sub- 
lime unconsciousness of the humor of the thrust, 
and the conference laughed till the gavel called for 


This long session came to an end at last. Many 
had obtained leave of absence, and had departed, 
but quite a full Conference remained to the end. 



When the appointments were read at the close 
of the Conference I was sent to the Heathsville 
circuit in Northumberland county. Dr. Leo Rosser 
succeeded brother Davis as Presiding Elder of the 
District, then called "Randolph Macon." Rev. Jas. 
H. Maynard succeeded me on the Montross circuit. 
Rev. Wm. A. Crocker was returned to the West- 
moreland circuit, Rev. Thos. H. Boggs to the King 
George circuit for the third year, and Rev. Alfred 
Wiles was sent to Lancaster circuit, and became 
my next-door neighbor. I immediately returned 
to Caroline to get my wife and baby, and within a 
week began the long journey of more than One 
Hundred miles in an open buggy to my destina- 
tion, Mrs. T. S. D. Covington's, at "Surprise Hill, 
in the lower part of Northumberland. 

The journey was quite trying on the young 
mother and the little girl eight weeks old, weigh- 
ing eight pounds. Both stood the trip finely. My 
wife is yet alive after forty-nine years, and the 
little girl has grown to, be a comely wife and the 
mother of nine children. 
' We broke the journey into small pieces,, spend- 


ing the first night out from Dr. Swann's at the 
Bowling Green parsonage as the guests of the 
preacher, Rev. Jas. L. Spencer, beginning his sec- 
ond year on the Caroline circuit. His motherly 
wife took charge of the baby, and gave the little 
mother a well-earned rest, after her first day in 
the itinerancy with this added burden — and joy. 
The next day we crossed the Rappahannock at 
Port Royal, and dined in the home of Brother 
W. W. Stiff, and in the afternoon went on to Bro. 
Wm. E. Baker's at Shiloh, King, George county. 
They were my friends at Montross, and had re- 
moved to this place just one year before. The 
next day we resumed our journey, and by the early 
afternoon covered the twenty-two miles to Mon- 
tross, and were hilariously welcomed by the nu- 
merous family of Bro. Warren Hutt. I think, how- 
ever, the little baby girl was the center of attrac- 

Leaving my little family at Montross I hurried 
on to the Heathsville circuit, completed arrange- 
ments for board at Mrs. Covington's and returned 
to Montross. With wife and baby I left the good 
friends at Montross on Saturday before the Third 
Sunday in December 1873, arriving at the most 
restful and hospitable home of Bro. Andrew Jack- 
son Brent, just outside of the Village of Heaths- 
ville the same day at about 2 P. M. On the next 
day, Dec. 21, 1873, I preached my first sermon on 
the charge in old Bethany church. The old build- 


ing, worn with age and use, stood under the oaks, 
near the residence of Mr. Thos WiUiams, at the 
head of the eastern prong of Cockrell's creek. A 
large congregation, among them the leaders of 
the host, together the elect women, not a few, gave 
the young preacher a cordial welcome, and stood 
with him faithfully in all the work of the four years 
which followed. My predecessor. Rev. Jas. H. 
Crown, a Christian gentleman of the highest grade, 
made my ministry easy, as far as his word and 
deed could accomplish such a result. 

The circuit at that time was composed of Hen- 
derson's Chapel, Cherry Point School House, 
Heathsville, Smyrna, Corinth, and Bethany. The 
church buildings at Heathsville and Smyrna were 
in the Courts, the Methodist Protestant Confer- 
ence of Maryland claiming them, notwithstanding 
all the members except one had united with the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, at the Confer- 
ence session of 1870, as noted in the early pages of 
this record. The Courts, several years later, gave 
the title to the Methodist Protestants on the 
ground, I believe that the rights of that denomina- 
tion were not impaired by the withdrawal of the 
membership. A few years later the Methodist 
Episcopal congregation at Heathsville, erected a 
substantial and attractive house of worship on the 
parsonage property, at the junction of the Fair- 
fields and the Lancaster roads. Rev. C. R. James 
was the Preacher in Charge at the time. Later 


Still the Smyrna congregation united with the 
Methodists of that neighborhood and built the 
"Edgley" church adjoining the land of Judge Sam- 
uel Downing. 

We remained at Sister Covington's till I realized 
that the demands of the work required the preac''er 
to live nearer the center of the field; so therefore, 
having secured board in the family of Mr. David 
Dawson, at Heathsville, we moved our simple be- 
longings there about the first of July 1874. This 
home placed me in close touch with the Corinth, 
Smyrna, Cherry Point and Henderson's communi 
tics, and, at the same time, did not remove me too 
far from Bethany. Moreover, I was planning 
for the future expansion of the work, and the Of- 
ficiary of the circuit saw the meaning of the move* 
and endorsed it with all the weight of their valua- 
ble influence. A very few years vindicated the wis- 
dom of the movement, for in the fall of 1879, when 
Bethany Church was made a station, the Heaths- 
ville circuit became a compact and easily managed 

The Baptist preacher at Coan and Fairfields 
Churches, the venerable and devout Dr. Wm. H. 
Kirk, and his equally devoted wife, were boarders 
at Mr. Dawson's at the same time. We became 
warm friends. His wife was a great comfort too, 
and a valued companion of, my wife. This attach- 
ment lasted to the end of the consecrated lives of 
these two faithful Christian people. 


Our sojourn in the family of sister Covington, 
though short, was most dehghtful. She was a, 
real mother to the little babe, Mary Claiborne, to 
whom she gave the pet name "Quates,'* and a 
source of consolation and strength to the young 
mother in many a trying hour. Her two manly 
boys, Tommy and Charlie, likewise added the zest 
and inventive genius of enterprising boyhood in 
the care of the child, passing many an hour with 
her out under the trees, where the singing birds, 
the flying clouds, and the jolly boys, made life joy- 
ous for the child and lighter for the mother with 
her duties in the house. 

Besides the Covington family. Dr. J. W. Tankard 
and wife boarded there and lived in a separate 
house on the east side of the spacious yard. Mrs. 
Tankard was Miss Olivia Covington, daughter of 
Rev. T. S. D. Covington, deceased, by his first wife, 
who was a Miss Taylor. No nobler man than Dr. 
Tankard lived. He served his generation as a 
Christian physician, setting an example of Christian 
excellency that was an encouragement to those 
who were living the life, and a standing rebuke 
to the ungodly and profane. His prayers and his 
wise use of his medical knowledge brought many 
a failing body back from the very jaws of death. 
In his church, as an officer, his counsel was safe, 
his vision far ahead of that of most of the men of 
his day, his zeal an inspiration to his co-workers, 
and his gentle courage and faith the crowning 


glory of a consecrated life. His practice covered 
a large area of Northumberland known as "Fair- 
fields." His popularity was not limited to his own 
church, but extended to almost every home in that 
region. He was a living illustration of the claim 
held by sensible folRs that a strong Christian char- 
acter makes the highest grade of citizen in any 
branch of civic life. He did not permit his pro- 
tiency as an up-to-date Doctor of Medicine, nor 
his sterling Democracy, to render his service as 
an Officer in the Church of Christ spasmodic or 
secondary, nor destroy his familiarity with the 
Throne of Grace. He believed in and practiced 
the "law of the Spirit of life," that access to the 
Mercy Seat is vital to efficiency in any sphere. 

Dr. Tankard was born and reared in Northamp- 
ton county, on the Eastern Shore. He was a mem- 
ber of the large and influential family of that 
name. His brothers were John, P. Bernard, and 
Edward G., of Franktown, and George, of Cape- 
vill'e. At the urgent call of his many friends in 
Northumberland, he settled on this side of the Bay, 
and united with old Bethany church. He died in 
1909, lamented by hundreds, both white and col- 
ored, whose lives he had touched for good in a 
hundred emergencies. 

Another strong character at Bethany was Rev. 
Starke Jett, an Elder in the Methodist Protestant 
Church (who united with our Church with scores 
of others when the Va. Conference of that Church 


united with the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 
in 1870. He was a man of devout spirit, great faith, 
uncompromising devotion to his Lord, a very sen- 
sible and practical preacher, of unlimited influence 
among his people, and very successfvil in the pul- 
pit and in the home in molding the daily life of the 
community. No revival service failed to win the 
unsaved if the pastor in charge had the good sense 
to call Bro. Jett to his help. Frequently he stood 
on the platform in "the very nick of time" and 
turned the tide of waning interest toward the up- 
lifted Cross, and won the day for Christ. He 
taught his household the way of the Lord, and 
his children and grandchildren are following in 
his footsteps. His county honored him with a 
seat in the State Legislature, and he honored his 
constituency by holding high the standard of a 
clean representative. He died of pneumonia in 1876, 
developed from a deep cold contracted on a fish- 
ing trip in Chesapeake Bay, with Bro. Lewis Ev- 
ans and this writer. We were caught far away 
from land in a terrific hail-storm, and before we 
could reach shore and secure dry clothing both 
Brother Jett and I were chilled to the bone. I hur- 
ried to the parsonage at Heathsville where 
I lay in bed till the crisis was passed. But he grew 
worse till at length, there in Brother Evan's com- 
fortable home, three miles only from his own, sur- 
rounded by his sorrowing family, amid the ten- 
derest ministrations which a devoted people could 
bestow, he went triumphantly, exultantly, with a 


song upon his lips, "through the gates liWashed in 
the blood of the Lamb." His funeral wis conduct- 
ed at Bethany by Rev. W. A. Crocker, attended 
by a vast multitude of citizens from all parts of 
the county. I was present, but could take no 
part in the services on account of my own recent 
illness, from which I was slowly recovering. 

"Bro. Jett's son, Hon. T. A. Jett, was Superin- 
tendent of the Sunday School, and a Steward at 
Bethany for many years, a member of the House of 
Delegates of Virginia two terms, a man of gentle 
spirit and noble deeds, a splendid specimen of the 
fruits of faithful training of father and. mother. 
He died in 1920, an humble Christian gentleman, 
ripe for his unfading crown. His son. Rev. Starke 
Jett, is a member of the Virginia Conference, 
treading the "same pathway which his fathers 
trod, that leads to glory and to God;" an indus- 
trious and successful preacher, giving promise of 
increasing usefulness and acceptability among the 
churches as the years roll by. 

Brother Littleton Cockrell was another Meth- 
odist Protestant who joined our Church in 1870. 
He was a layman of unusual abilities, strong con- 
victions, candid without coarseness, fearless with- 
out bluster, and faithful without boasting. He was 
the Director of Finances, a Steward without a su- 
perior. When Cockrell got behind a Job, things 
assumed a definite shape, laggards or objectors 
fell into line, got left, or run over. He was true to 
his pastor, whoever or whatever he was, because 


he loved the church. He would "tell the preacher 
what he thought wrong in him" and show him "how 
to do things," and lead the way. He had enemies, 
because he pointed out the double-minded and 
warned of ruin. Then he kept in the middle of 
the road himself. If anything wounds the devil 
more than any other thing it is to leave no vul- 
nerable place for his assaults after oi* has given 
him a sound thrashing. 

Brother Cockrell's youngest daughter, Lizzie, 
is the wife of Rev. Dr. W. H. Edwards of our Con- 
ference. She has filled her place in the Church 
with becoming grace and modesty, and made the 
preacher's home a model in many ways. 

The second Betthany was erected during my 
pastorate and was dedicated by Dr. Leo Rosser 
in August, 1874. 

At Corinth Church Rev. Albert F. Rice was the 
pastor's aid in every movement. He was a splen- 
did fellow, a preacher of no mean ability, singular 
piety, and a cheerful disposition. The "people 
heard him gladly." His prayers, like Starke Jett's, 
were "talks with God." The answers were often 
direct: "The Father rewarded him openly." He 
was as true a friend to me as any I have found in 
all the journey to this hour. One of his boys, a 
manly fellow, is a member of our Conference — 
Rev. A. S. J. Rice: another is Supt. of Bethany 
Sunday School at Reedville, Va. The eldest was 
drowned in Great Wicomico years ago, and the 
mother died of a broken heart. Faith in "Jesus 


and the resurrection" was the joy and strength 
of his heart till a, few years ago he went to his 
crown and home about which he had preached so 
many times to others. 

It was at Gorinth that I found Joseph R. Stur- 
gis, a Local Preacher in the M. E. Ghurch, living 
in the home of his wife's father, Capt. Bradshaw, 
lately sett||d in Northumberland, having come 
there from Smith's Island opposite the mouth of 
the Potomac River in Chesapeake Bay. I discov- 
ered in Sturgis a gentle, modest, humble Christian 
doing wha;t he could for the cause of religion with 
the talents he had. He was Captain of a vessel 
running oysters and cord wood and railway ties out 
of Presley's Creek to Baltimore, Crisfield, and 
other points on the Bay. It was not long before 
I had secured the transfers of Captain Bradshaw's 
family, including Sturgis, arid the,y all became 
useful members of the Southern Methodist Church. 
He rendered valuable service as a local preacher 
and I am indebted to him for many uplifting ser- 
mons, and altar work on revival occasions. He and 
Rice often came to the parsonage at Heathsville 
on Court Day "to get a cup of Sister Butts' good 

The 16th and 17th days of September, 1876; are 
days long to be remembered by me. Bro. "Sturgis 
had to take a vessel over to Smith's Island to its 
owner and invited me to take the trip with him 
promising to get me back to meet my Sunday ap- 
pointments. When we retired in the home of Capt. 


Ben Marsh, Friday, the indications for a storm 
were so plain that we all decided that the trip home 
Saturday morning, the 16th, must be given up. In 
my slumbers that night it came to me plainly in a 
dream that my wife was ill, that I must go not- 
withstanding the storm. I awoke Sturgis and he 
he awoke Capt. Marsh about 4 A. M. and I told 
the dream. I added that I believed a Kind Prov- 
idence would guide us safely over the thirty-two 
miles of stormy waters. Sturgis replied that for 
my wife's sake he would risk it. So calling up 
Willie Spriggs, the white boy, and the colored man, 
(the crew Sturgis took with him to manage the 
Schooner coming overj we four went aboard the 
Bugeye (a large canoe) in Tyler's Creek about 6 
o'clock. Sturgis, who was a skilled sailor, steered 
the boat to the northern-most end of the Island, 
and then laid his course Southwest, aiming to enter 
the Potomac River with a fair wind. This course 
would also enable us to make the mouth of Pres- 
ley's Creek direct and enter on a smooth sea. This 
we did, but it was the roughest experience on 
water I ever had in all my forty-two years on the 
coast. We went through safely, but not without a 
good wetting from the heavy seas which time and 
time again dashed over the stern of the little craft. 
On landing at Capt. Bradshaw's wharf up the 
creek, we found a negro boy awaiting to inform 
me that Dr. Harding at Heathsville had sent word 
that my wife was seriously ill and I must hurry 


home. And Capt. Bradshaw had my horse and 
buggy ready for me when we reached the house. 
I drove rapidly to the parsonage and found that my 
dream was true and that God's good hand had 
brought me safely to her bedside. 

On Sept. 16, 1916, I wrote Bro. Sturgis remind- 
ing him that it was the fortieth anniversary of 
the great "Centennial Gale" in Eastern Virginia. I 
insert his letter here to give the reader "The Heart 
of Sturgis" as I knew him. The letter is charac- 
teristic of the mental and spiritual attitude of one 
of the truest men I ever knew. 

"Blackstone, Va., Sept. 24, 1916. 
"My Dear Brother Butts: — 

I am sorry that I did not at once acknowledge 
your letter with the promise to write more at 
length later on in reply. You so stirred my heart, 
that I felt a strong desire for a quiet, untrammelled 
moment when I did write you. I now have that 
kind of an hour, but it was a long time on the way, 

No letter ever came to me more unexpectedly. 
And I can recall no other that ever came to me 
that was more prized and appreciated. More and 
more I am impressed with the reality, and perma- ' 
nence of the "things not seen ;" and I am affected 
more and m.ore by the pre-eminence and glory of 
that which "abides." One proof of its pre-eminence 
is seen in the fact that through faith we stand 
without fear and smilingly look on. the passing 


and wreckage of "things that are seen," and things 
that are very near to us too. Take' our physical 
being. You refer to your forty-six years in the 
ministry. Has it been that long? Why, it seems 
but a short step back to the days when you were my 
pastor. ! And my pastor then was a young man, 
with a wife still in her beautiful youth, and the one 
daughter so young that on a Christmas morning she 
told me, with all of her heart in the telling, how 
Santa Claus came down the chimney to fill her lit- 
tle stocking ! And you were a specimen of physical 
health and young manhood. But what has become 
of that young preacher who was my pastor then? 
Where is the youth that then was full-flowered in 
a splendid physique? You do not have to write me 
the sad answer to these questions. All that I saw 
of him then belongs to the "things that are seen." 
And everything that is seen is under the law of 
the "passing away." And youthful manhood went 
down, and maturer manhood is going down in 
wreckage before your own eyes as well as be- 
fore mine when I see you. And mine has thus 
gone and is going. But while the "outward man 
perishes" day by day, what of the unseen man, the 
real self? In your case and in mine what of the 

"Strewn along our backward track?" 
Its challenge comes to give up hope, to yield to 
fear and despair, and thus to go down ourselves 
with our wreckage in a final plunge. But you are 
smiling down on your wreckage with its challenge. 


— and so am I. We defy the very law that is pull- 
ing down the "seen" structures around us and of 
us, to even touch the youth and immortality of 
our hearts. And over everything, and all that is 
"passing away" from us. Faith is triumphant. For 
Faith knows that the passing and the wrecking 
is only of that which can be spared, and means the 
treasuring and the final manifestation of "that 
which remains." They used to sing, 

"I come to find them all again. 
In that eternal day !" 

"I do not like the process of growing old. I nev- 
er appreciated youth and young manhood so much 
as I do now. But the ageing and its wreckage has 
no terrors for me. I am a sinner; one of the chief 
of sinners ; but blessed be God, I am a sinner ; 
SAVED ! And I can look on the passing away of 
the glory of the bodily and the seen because faith 
dwells in the spiritual and the unseen with the 
things that remain, that abide forever. And I be- 
lieve, Brother Butts, that my tranquility regard- 
ing that which is going and that which is doomed 
to go, would itself "abide" amidst the universal 
"Wreck of matter and crush of worlds." 

"I have thought much lately of what David said, 
— "We will not be afraid, though the earth be re- 
moved." Think of it ! A man swinging out foun- 
dationless in the depths of. space, as the earth slips 
from under his feet, so that the feet rest on noth- 
ing! "We will not be afraid" in advance should 


it happen, for as the earth passes away the gravi- 
tation of the skies, HIS HOME, would not mere- 
ly hold us up safely, but would draw us up to HIM 
and to home, as it once drew Him from Olivet and 
the sad disciples; "Therefore," 'we will not fear 
though the earth be removed.' Your own state- 
ment as you face the future with its approaching 
Conference is as fearless as that. You say, 

"I am ready for work or otherwise ! Joyfully 
will I do either !" I really believe it requires more 
of grace for a preacher to face or to enter the Su- 
perannuated (your "otherwise") relation than it 
does for him to face death — either in advance or 
at hand. 

"But I did not intend to write so much on that 
sweet thought. Your stressing of the forty-six 
years in effective service, and the spirit in which 
you are facing the future set me going, and it is 
much easier to keep on than it is to stop. One of 
the most precious things included with those that 
"abide," is FRIENDSHIP. Based on a sincere re- 
gard and affection it can never die. By virtue of 
the very facts and their memories, John will still 
be a little closer to the Master than most of us. 
And who would or could be jealous of the fact? 
How can I ever forget or ever ignore the memory 
that you came into vital and divinely helpful touch 
with my life at a most critical period? You 
strengthened my convictions regarding my call. 
You encouraged me in taking the first steps toward 


the door of the itinerancy. You were with us when 
God removed my last objection and barrier when 
he took dear little Maggie to himself. We stand 
connected with so many interesting incidents and 
events. From the days of "Dexter" (you "trotted" 
him uphill as well as down as you swayed in the 
two-wheeled — something; — what was it?) on, while 
you were both at Heathsville and King George and 
afterward we were associated in special trips, and 
sharings and happenings. Do you remember — but 
I know you do, as also Sister Butts does— the trip 
to Montross and the organization of their Good 
Templars Lodge? And the shower, rather the 
hard rain that overtook us on our returning the 
next day, with the glorious vision we had of a 
transfigured earth and firmament as the rain ceased 
and the Sun broke through the dark cloud bank be- 
fore us, A year afterward at a Quarterly Confer- 
ence at Corinth brothers Crocker (P. E.) and Br'ari- 
nin insisted that I preach that afternoon. I am 
sure now that it was a sort of a "trial" sermon. T 
preached on The Transfiguration, and used the 
Sunlit storm and landscape as an illustration. I 
wrote the sermon and its illustration soon after 
our return from Montross, and while I was under 
the influence of the trip and facts. Concerning the 
illustration, brother Brannin afterward asked me 
privately if T did not quote from some flight of 
Henry Ward Beechcr, and I think he died some- 
what in dread of its not being my original produc- 


tiotl. I turned on him with something of slight re- 
sentment, and told him to ask brother Butts if the 
storm and after vision were not actually like I de- 
scribed them. I think I have the descrintion scme- 
where now. If I have I will send you a copy as 
a long delayed souvenir. 

''Of course you remember the establishment of 
Marvin Grove. But do you remember the night 
of the almost-midnight caucus held by DeBerry 
Butts and myself around a stump, East (I think it 
was) of the Camp ground. There had been no "Go" 
in the meeting and we attributed it to the peculiar 
way in which our P. E. was managing it, owing to 
his desire to be complimentary or considerate 
toward all the visiting brethren. We decided tliat 
a different plan and policy must be adopted. The 
}'. E. must be tackled and shown a better way. All 
of which was done, and "go" was henceforth in 
the services of a splendid and most successful meet- 
ing. But the stump caucus I shall never forget. 
"And out of many others, you have mentioned, 
one happening forever etched and displayed on 
memory's walls. You speak of it as 

'The perilous trip you and 1 took across Ches- 
apeake Bay on Saturday, September the' 16tli. 
Yes, forty years ago it was, but it does not seem 
that long. No, I can never forget it. Even the 
amazement occasioned ])y the Potatoe Bugs oti the 
buoy (in the middle of the Bay) still stirs and per- 


plexes me when I recall it. And do you remember 
that we crossed the bows of a very large, full rigged 
ship, with all sails furled except a few lower ones 
adjusted to and driving her through the storm? 
The wind being from the east gave her a 'leading 
breeze ;' and you will recall, also, how she 'listed,' 
or careened, even under the few sails open to the 
', gale : it is still known as the 'Centennial gale.' 
But, most impressive of all, was the stately mag- 
nificence, even grandeur, of her appearance, as she 
seemed to be flying over, rather than through the 
angry waters. A living, sentient thing she seemed, 
in majesty and mastery, defying wind and wave, 
and compelling them to do her bidding. An Em- 
press of the seas she was, and it is seldom given 
to men to see one like her, as she appeared just 
then. Ignorfng our own danger, except to steer 
our little craft wisely, our eyes were held by her 
until long after she had passed our wake, not more 
than a hundred yards away. 

"One final fact in the history of that trip stands 
out vividly in line with many other facts. Do you 
recall the great contrast between crossing the wjld 
and dangerous waters of Chesapeake Bay, and the 
mouth of the Potomac river, with the quiet, placid 
waters of Pressley's creek, into which we glided 
so tranquilly? It gave us welcome and havening! 
All tossing and rolling and roughness were past, 
all danger back of us far away, as we entered that 
Haven of Rest, whose shores spelled, with their 


welcome, that word of words, — 'Home, sweet 
Home !" Those dearest to us on earth were there, 
and we knew they were waiting, longing for us ! 
Other similar experiences of passing from stress 
of storm and seas had been mine, but that experi- 
ence, above all, that escape and safe arrival, types 
for me what lies ahead of us when we reach 

'The Other Side, Beyond the stormy Tide, 
Where loved ones are waiting for me.' 

"You and I, and all of us in the ranks of the 'Old 
Guard' are not so far away from the thinning verge 
of life's last zone that ends at the Other Side." 
(signed) J. R. STURGIS. 

Well, Joe has landed safely on the "Other Side," 
"on the bright eternal shore ;" and, stretching far 
away into the stormless eternities, the "sweet 
fields of Eden, where the tree of life is blooming," 
invite his blood-washed soul to that "rest that re- 
mains for the people of God." My glorified friend 
and brother, the young preacher who showed you 
the land looming in the distance, and the light 
that shined to guide, and bade you steer your 
storm-tossed craft by that light, — that young 
preacher sails yet the sea of life, but the prow of 
his ship is pointing to the haven where you an- 
chored a few months ago! Meet me when the 
anchor chains sing the song of my voyage ended, 
and furled sails on spar and boom, tell the story 
of deliverance from life's perilous deep ! 


Old Bro. Thomas Doulin, at Corinth Church was 
quite a character. He was not learned except in 
the Scriptures. He was familiar with prophecy 
and the promises. He built his life and home on 
these, and never lost faith in God. Others might 
imbibe strange doctrines and wander away into a 
wilderness of spiritual confusion, but he dared not 
leave the beaten path of trust in God to be led by 
men no wiser than he, and so his hope was "an an- 
chor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, reach- 
ing into that within the veil, whither the fore-run- 
ner has for us entered, even Jesus." 

He was eccentric as some men count distinct pe- 
culiarities. He shocked our dear brother Rev. J. H. 
Crown, my predecessor on the charge one fine da}^ 
when brother Crown sympathized with him at his 
loss of a fine orchard from a dreadful storm. 
Brother Crown said, "It is a great pity, Bro. Dou- 
lin that you have lost so fine an orchard." Bro. 
Doulin replied, with some feeling — "No pity at all, 
sir, no pity at all : it is a sin and a shame for any- 
body's orchard to git blowed down this way. Sir, 
yes Sir." 

Bro. Crown dined at his home on a certain dav. 
The hospitable old man welcomed him to his table 
with that perfectly • natural brusque cheerfulness 
for which he was noted, and assured Bro. CrcAvn 
that, if he did not see what he wanted, he could 
ask for it. Brother Crown gratefully accented the 
challenge and added "If you haven't got it I can 


easily wait till I can g-et to some brother's house 
who has got it." Bro. Doulin exclaimed, "Well, 
sir, if you can eat all I can give you, I don't want 
^you to come here any more, sir, yes sir!" 

The good old man knocked the enthusiasm out 
of me one day at Corinth. My text was "Why be- 
holdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, 
and considerest not the beam that is in thine own 
e^-^e." Expounding the text I said the best author- 
ities interpreted mote to mean a chip, or splinter 
or some little foreign matter which, getting into the 
eye, interfered with a clear vision. That the con- 
trast was between a small piece of wood in the 
eye, which partially obscured the vision, and a 
great beam Avhich completely obscured the vision. 

I delivered \\4iat I considered a helpful sermon, 
and closing called on Dr. Jas. Smith, local preacher, 
to lead in prayer. At the conclusion of the service 
I was in the chancel shaking hands with my people, 
among them Bro. Doulin. He said, "My young 
brother, that was a mighty good sermon, but you 
have got a curious Bible. Your book says chips, 
but my book says mote, and that book on the 
pulpit says mote, and when Smith prayed. Smith 
said mote, and I just come within a ace of say- 
ing 'Hurrah for Smith' right down there on my 
knees before the Lord." 

I had in my pocket that day the customary white 
linen handkerchief which my wife was very care- 
ful to see that I used whenever I went out on the 


work among my people. The perspiration began 
to flow very freely as I listened to my critic. He 
noticed me closely as I wiped my face with this 
very important adjunct to a preacher's outfit. He 
was about to turn away but stopped short and 
added. "And I see that you*have your wife's hand- 
kerchief, a mighty ugly thing for a young preacher 
to carry into the pulpit. I'll give you a red ban- 
danna to use hereafter, if you cannot buy one your- 

I did not make the change in my habits as the 
good old man suggested, and he never referred to 
it again. 

I was in those days frequently the subject of 
nervous headaches. On a certain day in 1876 a 
young friend in the village went with me down 
into Hack's Neck about ten miles from home to 
drive home a fine milch cow which I had bought. 
The day was very warm, and the trip was a severe 
test of my endurance. Upon reaching home, I 
went to bed with one of these headaches, and soon 
became delirious. My wife, becoming alarmed at 
my condition, called in our family physician. Dr. 
Hiram W. Harding. He suggested a mustard plas- 
ter, and I heard him. I sat up in bed and pro- 
tested — "Dr. Harding, I think you are the biggest 
fool I ever saw in a sick man's room. That cow 
has horned a hole in my side large enough for one 
to put his fist in. Now, Sir, did you ever hear of a 
doctor wkh good sense, prescribing a mustard 


plaster for a hole of that size?" He was rather 
confused on the moment, but my wife says she 
gave him the wink, and he .replied, "Well, sir, we 
will sew up the hole and you will be a well man." 
I answered "That's sensible." Nevertheless, the 
plaster was applied, and the next day I was up and 
about as usual. Dr. Harding, who was one of my 
best friends, told me the story with much merri- 
ment a few days later. 

It was in June, 1874, that I ran up against that 
champion of Justice, Mercy, and Prayer, Rev. 
Josiah D. Hank, Pastor of the King & Queen 
circuit. He is the father of Hon. J. D. Hank, Asst. 
Attorney General of the State of Virginia, Rev. P. 
Manning Hank of the Virginia Conference, Mr. 
Wailes Hank Attorney at Law, Norfolk, Va., and 
several other valuable individual Assets. 

The circumstances were peculiar. Circumstances, 
if one has been careful to notice the movetnent of 
the machine, are usually peculiar, except when 
they are not worthy of note. The peculiar, and I 
may say incidental, accident which brought about 
our meeting was this : — Dr. Leo Rosser had pub- 
lished his Second Quarterly Conference for the 
King & Queen circuit for a certain Saturday and 
Sunday in June, at Pace's Chapel. In the mean- 
time he had held his Quarterly Conference for the 
Westmoreland circuit at Warsaw in the new church 
which was just completed and dedicated on the 
same occasion. The services were protracted, .ind 


the meeting had developed much interest. At the 
urgent request of the pastor, Rev. W. A. Crccker, 
and his people, the doctor decided to remain an- 
other week. I had been attending the meeting, but 
had returned to my work in Northumberland, to 
find our baby very sick. On Wednesday of the 
following week, I received a letter from Dr. Rosser 
directing me to "go to Bro. Hank's Quarterly Con- 
ference at t'ace's the next Saturday and bunday 
and preach for the Presiding Elder," and carefully 
informing me that "Bro. Hank will attend to the 
other matters." 

Here was a dilemma : — A sick child, an anxious 
wife, the order from the Elder, uncertain mails, and 
forty miles between the Elder and me ! I went to 
Dr. Tankard, our physician and friend, with the 
letter. He said, "Of course you must not go, and 
I will so write the doctor. In the meantime we will 
pray over it, and decide by tomorrow (Thursday) 
what you can safely do." There was the Chris- 
tian physician 1 

Late Thursday night he came to our room to see 
the child, our little Mary Claiborne. After a care- 
ful examination he said, "The crisis is passed. 
The child is better. You may go." ' I replied, 
"Wife and I have reached the same conclusion." 
Yet the child was still very ill. So, therefore, early 
Friday morning, leaving sister Covington and the 
doctor with my weary wife and sick child, I set 
Ou.t, for Bro. Boughton's, beyond Warsaw, near 


lue Tappahannock I'erry, arriving about sunset 
after a torty-hve mile drive. Here 1 spent the 
uight with a Christian household, and early next 
morning", leaving my horse in the care of Bro. 
Boughton, 1 crossed the Rappahannock and was 
met by Bro. Hank in Tappahannock. We pressed 
on behind a splendid horse, (Hank never owned 
any other kind) arriving at Pace's Chapel in time 
for the morning service. I preached as best I 
could, and that was a very lame effort, yet my 
heart was in the subject. When Quarterly Con- 
ference assembled after lunch I did not attempt 
to put up the game on Bro. Hank which John Q. 
Rhodes put on Twitty and me in Spottsylvania 
three years before, for two substantial reasons. 
First, I had an itinerant in the person of riank 
skilled in the law, and no man could tickle him in- 
to doing an illegal act. And secondly, I had learned 
my lesson well under Bro. Joseph H. Davis, and 
he is unaccountably brave, or reckless, who will 
butt his head against a wall twice under the same 
conditions. But I did one thing which brought a 
hearty exclamation from Bro. Hank. I remarked 
in a sort of an off-hand fashion, "Of course, you 
will preside over the Quarterly Conference as the 
law requires." He replied, "Of course ; what do 
you take me for?" and broke forth into one of his 
jolly guffaws, which brought the blush to my cheek 
as I recalled the fiasco of 1871 in Spottsylvania. 
And honestly, although I did not press the matter, 


I think Bro. Hank was thinking of it too; for all 
the preachers had heard of it. 

I spent that night in his delightful home, the 
parsonage. The Sunday services passed off with- 
out incident, I preaching both morning and after- 
noon. But one thing burned itself into my soul, 
and is treasured today, a precious memory of Jo- 
siah D. Hank as I knew him then: — the prayers 
he sent to heaven fresh from a heart that shared 
the burden which rested on my own, that God 
would "spare the precious life of the little babe of 
the dear brother who has come so far, and under 
such a weight of anxiety, to help us at this hour !" 

Leaving the church immediately after the after- 
noon service Bro. Hank took me in his buggy be- 
hind the same fine horse to the ferry, and I was 
soon on the Richmond county side, where I found 
Bro. Boughton awaiting me with his own horse. 
After supper I left for the long drive to my home, 
my wife, my child, at "Surprise Hill." Arriving 
early Monday morning, my wife met me with the 
good news, "Mary is improving as fast as we can 
hope for." And I was glad: I had served my 
Church, and the life of my first-born was spared. 

Time would fail me to tell of the devoted Chris- 
tian women, and the consecrated men in this region. 
Modest Jesse Crowder, the rough diamond, Lewis 
Evans, old father Billy Evans, the silent, holy man, 
Mitchell Evans, at Bethany, Hayes, and Davis at 
Corinth; W. P. Anderson, A. J. Brent, and Dr. Jas 


Smith at Heathsville, Billy French and Jas. Wright 
at Henderson's, Webb, Beane and others at Smyrna. 
Oh! they were mighty at living the life "hid 
with Christ in God," because they counted the quiet 
hour in prayer, as the commander of an army 
counts the base of supplies, a necessary thing in 
a campaign against the enemy. 

The circuit was without a parsonage, but the 
ladies of the several churches had gotten together 
money enough to furnish a house. Therefore in 
the fall of 1874 the stewards rented the DeShields 
home in the north end of the village of Heathsville, 
and my little family, (now increased to four by the 
addition of my wife's sister. Miss Sallie Swann) 
moved in, and we commenced house-keeping just 
before Christmas. 

The Conference of 1874, met in Elizabeth City, 
N. C. It is memorable for the great sermon de- 
livered by Bishop Enoch M. Marvin, on "Do we 
make void the law through faith? God forbid: 
yea, we establish the law." (Rom. HI. 31.) The 
sermon was delivered at the 11 A. M. hour Sunday. 
The multitude fell under the power of the sacred 
eloquence as I had never seen it before. Sinners 
came up the aisles and fell prostrate before the 
uplifted Christ, and a triumphant Church rejoiced 
in the victory of the day. I sat by Dr. R. N. Sledd, 
and I shall never forget the transparent glory of 
that good man's face as he followed the inspired 
orator to the end. I said something to him about 


the wonderful sermon and the effect upon himself 
and upon me. But he did not reply : he only laid 
his, hand upon my knee and closed his eyes, while 
the great tears rolled down his cheeks. It was a 
great moment in my life, never to be forgotten, 
when that flaming apostle, annointed afresh by the 
Holy Ghost, laid his hands on my unworthy head, 
ordaining me "Elder in the Church of God," and 
giving me "authority to preach the word, and ad- 
minister the holy sacraments in the congregation." 

At the close of the Conference I was returned 
to the Heathsville circuit, with Rev. Edward P. 
Wilson, Presiding Elder. The winter was a hard 
one. In February 1875 Bro. Wilson and I came 
near freezing to death in a snow-storm on a bitter 
cold Sunday afternoon, travelling in Bro. Brent's 
rock-a-way drawn by my horse, from Heaths- 
ville to Bro. Richard Lyell's at the village of Farn- 
ham Church in Richmond, Co. Both of us fell 
asleep in the conveyance thoroughly benumbed by 
the intense cold. The faithful horse^ "Dexter,", 
familiar with the road,, carried us down the side 
lane leading to the barn, and soon aroused the en- 
tire population by pawing at a side gate near 
an out-building where two colored men slept. 

When Bro. Lyell was informed that "Mr. Butts's 
horse was out thar hitched to a kerridge with no- 
body in it." He came out to investigate. He very 
soon discovered that Bro. Wilson and I were there, 
and fast 4sleep. We were quickly carried into 


his warm parlor, where his very practical daughters 
put in some successful rescue work with blankets 
and hot coffee. We slept the rest of the night in 
that comfortable room on the sofas, not caring to 
undress and get in bed. Late next day I returned 
home, none the worse for my thrilling experience. 
Brother Wilson was more than a week from that 
day getting back to his home at Ashland, on ac- 
count of the Rappahannock being locked up with 
ice. When he reached home he had been away 
about a month. 

Rev. Alfred Wiles, as I have already said, was 
my neighbor on the Lancaster circuit. That cir- 
cuit at that time was composed of Bethel, Reho- 
both, Whitemarsh, Whitestone, and Irvington; 
strong appointments, with large congregations 
made up of some of the best people in the county. 
He and I formed a compact for co-operation, and 
joining our forces, conducted at several revival 
services in Northumberland and Lancaster which 
resulted in the conversion of hundreds of souls : 
notably at Bethel, Whitemarsh and Whitestone in 
his circuit, and at Smyrna, Corinth, and Hender- 
son's on mine. More than Six hundred were added 
to the churches in the two circuits in two years, 
and the people of God, baptized with the Holy 
Spirit, were confirmed and strengthened in our 
most holy faith. The vision of the Church was en- 
larged, and the convictions of the people on per- 
sonal responsibility for the salvation of sinners 
were deepened. There was a mighty uplift of all 

78 FfiOM SADDLE *0 Cil*t 

the interests of the Kingdom in all these parts in 
these two years, — 1874 and 1875. 

I cannot let this opportunity pass for naming a 
few of the leading men on the Lancaster circuit. 
Judge Samuel Downing, wise, faithful, zealous, 
hospitable, and a man of prayer. He had faith in 
God, and enjoyed the confidence of the people. He 
read me a lecture on prudence, one certain Court 
day, when he sat upon the Bench at Heathsville in 
the trial of three young men for disturbing public 
worship. I thought there were mitigating cir- 
cumstances such as would indicate that there was 
no deliberate infraction of the law. Instead of 
speaking of the matter to the Attorney for the 
boys, I laid myself open to a more serious charge 
by writing the Judge a note expressing my con- 
viction that the boys were innocent of any wrong 
doing, and pleading with the Judge to be as lenient 
with them as possible. It was a fatal mistake for 
anyone, even a Methodist preacher and a close 
friend, to take such a liberty with so incorrupt- 
ible a man as Judge Downing. He said nothing 
to me then, but sentenced the young men to "Five 
minutes confinement in the county jail." On the 
adjournment of court that day the Sheriff told me 
"Judge Downing wants to see you in his office." 
I went in haste, remained with him ten minutes, 
and came out having more intelligence in my sys- 
tem on the subject of what contempt of Court 
meant than I ever thought I could learn in the 
course of a life time. He said, "Bro. Butts, you 


have done a very foolish and a very dangerous 
thing, and I think I can save you some trouble in 
the future if you will take to heart what I have to 
say. Had you written that note to certain Judges, 
whom I might mention, either one would have fined 
you heavily. But I know you. And I propose this 
method of censure in a private way, because no 
one knows what you did but myself. Don't dare 
ever to do such a thing as that again. God bless 
you: you may go." And I went. 

His daughter Kate, (afterwards Mrs. Rozzie 
Broun,) was converted in the great meeting at 
Whitemarsh. She was a beautiful girl, a skilled 
musician, with a well trained voice. She had prayed 
at the altar several days. Moved by a consuming 
desire to get this promising young life into the 
Master's service, I asked her on a certain day as 
she knelt in prayer, "Miss Kate, can't you trust 
your Saviour?" She thrilled me with this reply; — 
"Yes, I can, with all my heart : and I want to 
sing!" I answered, "Well stand up here and sing 
with all your heart." She arose from her knees 
with a beaming face, and joined the congregation 
in the song they were singing, and Whitemarsh 
never heard such music from the human voice be- 
fore. The congregation was melted to tears, God's 
people gave evidence of their joy in shouts of 
praise, and the triumph of the day was complete. 

Judge Edwin Broun was another one of God'? 
noblemen. He was a safe adviser, a man well-read 
in the Scriptures, humble, consecrated. He was true 


as steel, faithful unto death, zealous as an Apostle. 
The preachers depended on hiim. He was the 
leading man at Rehoboth. Rev. William Brent 
a modest, earnest, scriptural local preacher. Dr. 
Wm. Newbill, cultured, enthusiastic, aggressive, 
"the beloved physician." Irvington owes much to 
Newbill for the development and cultivation of 
that interesting field. And there Svere others, 
true men and elect women who made Methodism 
in that region strong, uncompromising, clean-cut, 
the very best experimental interpretation of a 
vital religion. Later there came into he active 
membership of the church a vigorous young north- 
erner named Bellows, whose personal piety, arid 
good deeds were known throughout the county, and 
beyond in other parts of the Conference. 

The Fourth Quarterly Conference of 1875 author- 
ized the Parsonage trustees to secure a suitable 
property for the circuit parsonage as soon as prac- 
ticable. During the session of Conference held 
that year in Danville, Va., I received a note from 
Bro. Littleton Cockrell, enclosed in a letter from 
my wife, urging me to "hurry home as soon as 
Conference adjourns :" that "the parsonage Trus- 
tees have a parsonage in the village of Heaths- 
ville, and you (I) must raise $333.33% to make the 
cash payment thereon on Jan. 1, 1876." I came 
directly home as he requested, the money was 
raised, and the present parsonage property was 
secured to our Church in "fee simple" under the 
lead of some of the wisest laymen in Methodism. 


The other two payments, making a total of $1,000.- 
.00, and interest, were made before I left the cir- 
cuit, Dec. 1, 1877, and the charge was equipped 
with as fine a piece of property as there was on 
the District. A few years later, during the pastor- 
ate of Rev. W. H. Edwards, the old building was' 
remodeled, and a very comfortable and beautiful 
home for the preacher constructed. 

Here in the old house on the 9th of December 
1875, our second child, Anna Maria Waller, was 

Mr. Joseph Anderson's wife. Wm. P. Anderson 
and family, the GuHck's. (staunch Presbyterians 
from Northumberland Co.. Pa.,") were valuable 
units at the Heathsville Church. Down in Cherry 
Point the Hardings, and the Travises formed the 
nucleus for a growing congregation, which in after 
years erected a neat house of worship called "Mel- 
rose" unto this day. 

Bethany church was made a station in 1879, and 
Rev. W. H. Edwards was the first pastor, followed 
by such men as J. T. Mastin, R. M. Chandler, and 
others among the strong, enterprising, and devoted 
young men of that day. 

Hopewell church, which stands at the corner of 
the Lancaster, Heathsville, and Richmond circuits 
was built during the terms of Bro. Wiles on Lan- 
caster, Brb. Crocker on Westmoreland circuit, and 
my own on the Heathsville circuit, under the di- 
rection of a Joint Committee from the above 
charges, consisting of Rev. W. A. Crocker, Chair- 


man, Rev. Alfred Wiles, Judge Samuel Downing, 
Mr. Richard Lyell, Mr. Andrew J. Brent, and my- 
self. This was in 1875 and 1876. 

All of this territory, on both sides of the Rap- 
pahannock river, was called "Fredericksburg Dis- 
trict" until 1866, then "Rappahannock District" 
until 1871, when the name was changed to 
"Randolph-Macon" in recognition of The College^ 
town of Ashland, then the District headquarters, 
and was known by that title until 1890. In the 
midst of this period, that is from November 1876 
to November 1878, the Northern Neck, composed 
of six circuits, namely: — King George, Montross, 
Westmoreland, Heathsville, Richmond, and Lan- 
caster, was raised to a separate district with Rev. 
Wm. A. Crocker as Presiding Elder. Somebody 
(it would be unwise to enquire who,) at the Con- 
ference of 1890, suggested that the whole territory 
on both sides of the Rappahannock be named the 
"Northern Neck District;" but an error that con- 
tradicted the physical geography of the State 
could not stand, so at the Conference of 1891 it 
went back to its ancient title of "Rappahannock," 
and so remains to this day, with the Presiding Eld- 
er's residence at Urbanna, Middlesex Co. 

The Richmond circuit was created at the Con- 
ference of 1876, and Junius B. DeBerry, a devout 
Christian, a good pastor, and a fine preacher, was 
the first to fill the appointment, with the parsonage 
near Calvary church. The churches on this new 


charge were Warsaw, Calvary, Oakland, and, (I 
think,) Hopewell. 

Out of this part of the Northern Neck came 
J. R. Sturgis, J. R. Gill, A. S. J. Rice, Starke Jett 
and J. T. Sewell from Northumberland ; W. H. At- 
will, R. M. Chandler, J. G. Unruh, H. P. Balderson, 
Wilbur F. Davis and C. T. Thrift, from Westmore- 
land, and W. B. Beauchamp and G. T. Forrester 
from Richmond County. 

Before leaving Northumberland I wish to add 
to this record. Marvin Grove Camp Ground was 
secured, and the first meeting held August 2-11, 
1878, by the co-operation of the laymen of the 
four counties of the Northern Neck of Virginia : 
namely, Richmond, Westmoreland, Lancaster, and 
Northumberland. The first Board of Managers, as 
I recall them, was composed of those sturdy Chris- 
tian men, whose good name was rife on all tongues' 
in that region: Littleton Cockrell, Samuel Down- 
ing, Edwin Broun, Richard Lyell, and James 
Walker. Dr. Leonidas Rosser was Presiding Elder 
and ex-ofiicio in charge of the religious forces of the 
meeting. Bishop David S. Doggett was the lead- 
ing preacher, and delivered several of his great 
sermons. The fame of the man, who was born in 
Lancaster county not far from this hallowed spot, 
had gone before him, and "multitudes came from 
all the region round about" to hear the great 
preacher. All they had heard of him was fully con- 
firmed, and the provincial pride of the old country 
was wonderfully stimulated. A Methodist Bishop 


of such dignity, such magnetic rhetorical abilitv. 
swaying crowds of simple country folks, as well 
as high church aristocrats who did not comprehend 
the great spiritual power of the man, going- out 
from the very shades of old "King Carter's" Co- 
lonial church on historic Corotoman river, where 
tlie big people of the James, the York, and the Po- 
tomac came in olden times to do their courting, 
was a severe shock to the ecclesiastical sensibili- 
ties of certain religionists in those parts. But when 
they were reminded that Enoch George, another 
Bishop of the Methodist Church, was another con- 
tribution from the same section sixty years earlier, 
amazement took the form of consternation, and 
presently settled down into silent protest. 

Between Marvin Camp Gr'pund and Horner's 
Corner, is a road leading down westward into the 
woods to the old home of Rev. Griffin Forrester, a 
local preacher licensed by Philip Bruce, Presiding 
Elder, about one mile from the main road. 
Adjacent to the yard of that old residence is an an- 
cient grave yard, containing the grave of a young 
preacher who died while serving the old Lancaster 
circuit more than one hundred years ago. I found 
that grave by the help of Brother George Forrester 
of Oakland church when I lived at Heathsville. 
Recently, through the kindness of Rev. John S. 
Wallace, the present pastor at Heathsville, I have 
located the grave afresh, and secured a copy of the 
inscription on the broken tomb. It reads as fol- 
lows : — 


"In Memory of 
Rev. Henry Padgett, who was born in Cecil 
Co., Md., on the 8th of December, 1791, and de- 
parted this life on the 10th day of September, 1817." 
"Mark the perfect men and behold the upright : 
for the end of that man is peacer" 

Psalm 37: 37. 

The father of Rev. G. T. Forrester of our Con- 
ference was born about this time and called "Rich- 
ard Padgett" after this young preacher. 

Among the leading men who stood as the repre- 
sentatives of vital godliness on the Westmoreland 
circuit at this time, I mention only a few of the 
most eminent. At Carmel was John W. C. Davis, 
and Rev. Wilbur F. Davis, for awhile an active and 
efficient member of the Conference, sons of my old 
Presiding Elder, Rev. Joseph H. Davis ; Bro. Geo. 
Murphy, a son-in-law ; the Sanfords and Baileys ; 
Rev. W. W. Walker, the silver tongued preacher 
and lawyer, Bro. James Walker, his brother, and 
the Wright family at Oldham's X Roads, Omohun- 
dro and others at Warsaw ; Richard Lyell and Bro. 
Yeatman at Calvary ; — these men and their families 
represented the standard of the social, intelectual 
and spiritual forces of all that region. Their fath- 
ers laid the foundation of Methodism on the sohd 
rock of Faith in God, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, 
and in a conscious salvation by Regeneration and 


the Witness of the Spirit. These sons built the 
Church of the present on that and it stands today. 
"The gates of heli shall not prevail against it." 

bt BUQGt, BOAl* ANb ftAlLWAY St 



The Conference of 1877 met in the City of Lynch- 
burg in old Centenary church on Church Street. 
It was the saddest gathering of preachers and lay- 
men that had assembled in Virginia for many years. 

That peerless preacher and successful College 
President, Rev. Dr. Jas. A. Duncan, President of 
Randolph-Macon College died during the year. A 
cloud of sorrow hung over the entire Church. Vir- 
ginia Methodists stood appalled in the presence of 
the catastrophy, and no one seemed to know which 
way to look for his successor. Rev. John C. Gran- 
bery, D. D., (afterwards Bishop,) read a very el- 
oquent and appropriate Memoir of the distin- 
guished minister at the Memorial service held in 
Centenary Church Tuesday, November the 20th. 
On Thursday, Nov. 22nd, the Committee on Edu- 
cation, Rev. R. N. Sledd, D. D., Chairman, sub- 
mitted a Resolution requesting the Presiding 
Bishop to appoint Rev. W. W. Bennett, D. D. Presi- 
dent of Randolph Macon College, he having been 
elected to that office by the Board of Trustees and 


the problem of a President for the College was 

The year, 1877, had been an unusually fatal one 
to the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in the 
loss of some of its most prominent men. Dr. Wm. 
E. Munsey, and-Rev. Mr. Coe of the Baltimore Con- 
ference, Dr. Duncan and Dr. Albert Taylor Bled- 
soe, and Bishop Enoch M. Marvin, died this year. 

Besides these men of church-wide note, our Con- 
ference lost David F. Hodges, and Alexander Don- 
iphan, two men well-beloved, devout, and useful. 

The Class "continued on Trial" at this Confer- 
ence included the names of some young men who 
have wrought well, and made a fine record in the 
Itinerancy. Here are the names : — R. M. Chandler, 
B. F. Lipscomb, J. T. Mastin, J. M. Burton, N. B. 
Foushee, R. H. Younger, W. H. Edwards, W. O. 
Waggener, J. E. Barrow, J. C. Rosser, S. H. John- 
son, W. E. Evans, C. E. Wren, and J. B. DeBerry. 

Waggener was transferred to one of the western 
Conferences, Evans and Wren withdrew from our 
Church to join other Communions, Rosser, Younger 
and DeBerry have gone to their reward, Barrow 
has escaped my following, and the rest are with us 
yet, enjoying the confidence and love of their breth- 
ren, and serving the Church efficiently under the 
blessing of God. 

It was at this Conference that Bishop Doggett 
delivered that great sermon on "Therefore every 
scribe wjio hath been made a disciple to the king- 


dom of heaven is like unto a man that is a house- 
holder, who bringeth forth out of his treasure 
things new and old." (Matt. XIII. 52.) The Bishop 
was at his best that day. He stood in a pulpit 
facing the lot across the street on which once stood 
the old church in which the Methodists worshipped 
in the first decade of the 19th century. (A brick 
building afterward took its place.) The pall of 
sorrow, which rested on the session on account of 
the loss of Dr. Duncan, added greatly to the general 
interest. The theme itself, the wisdom and in- 
dustry of the ministry when moved by the com- 
pelling impulse of a conscious salvation ; these, 
and many other considerations inspired the cul- 
tured mind and fired the sensibilities of a man nat- 
urally gifted as an orator. The great congregation 
was swayed by his perfect rhetoric, and lifted on 
the exultant wing of an imagination which was at 
home in the highest heights. Added to this was 
the skill of the preacher in analysis and exposition 
of the word of God. 

At the close of the service the people gathered 
about the chancel, anxious to hold the hand of the 
prophet who had carried them on the wings of 
sacred eloquence to the very highest heaven. 
Among them was our dear brother Rev. Geo. M. 
Wright, whom everybody knew and loved ; dear old 
George, who had more souls, saved through his 
instrumentality, to meet him at the pearly gates 
when he swept through, "washed in the blood of 


the Lamb," than any man of the same talents and 
time for work, since the days of the Wesleys and 
Whitefield: yes Dear old George put his hand on 
the Bishop's shoulder and made a remark which 
startled .all who heard him, except Bishop Doggett. 
The Bishop knew George, and honored him for his 
work's sake, and loved him for his rugged honesty, 
and his Christian simplicity and humility through- 
out a successful ministry. George said, "Ah, 
Bishop, you certainly did handle yourself pretty 
today!" The Bishop replied, with a hearty grasp of 
the hand, "God bless you George : you have always 
had my love !" 

No one but George Wright could have taken such 
a liberty with Bishop Doggett: and Bishop Dog- 
gett would not have received, in such a cordial 
spirit, an apparently light-hearted criticism from 
any one else. The Bishop knew his man, as a sin- 
cere, generous soul, who had no thought of dis- 
turbing the holy atmosphere of an occasion long 
to be remembered. 

Prom that Conference I was sent to the King 
George circuit, with the parsonage in a rented 
house at the Court House village sixty miles north- 
west of Heathsville. I succeeded Rev. Charles E. 
Watts, a Christian gentleman of blameless life, a 
clear mind well stored with the learning of the 
best schools, and an apt scholar in the use of the 
purest English. He was a capital preacher, and a 
skillful and safe expounder of the Scriptures. L 


was succeeded on the Heathsville circuit by Rev. 
Jas. F. Brannin, a holy man, who "walked with 
God," and led the church into the higher life. Mr. 
Joseph Gulick kindly agreed to put my family on 
the steamer at Monaskon Wharf on the Rappa- 
hannock, so, therefore, in order to meet them at 
Port Conway, King George, it was necessary for 
me to go the day before. I loaded as much of thy 
property as I could get into my rockaway, and 
Dexter and I struck out up the ridge of the back- 
bone of the Northern Neck for our destination, 
spending the night at Montross, among old friends, 
arriving the next afternoon. Bro. Walter Stiff and 
his good wife took charge of my family when they 
arrived at Port Conway, and I joined them the 
next day. With the assistance of some of the 
church ofificials I quickly had them and all my var- 
ious boxes and barrels and packages housed and 
unpacked for another term. A hot dinner was 
served by the kind ladies of the church, and Miss 
Carrie Jones, daughter of our chief steward, and 
county Treasurer, James E. Jones of "Edge Hill," 
was there acting as hostess. 

King George circuit was made up of Fletcher's 
Chapel, in the Passapatanzy hills. Trinity at the 
Court House, Union at Shiloh village, and a preach- 
ing place in a school house below RoUin's Fork 
just over the line in Westmoreland. The leading 
men at this point were Chas. Robinson, William 
Spilman, Robert Marshall, John T. Payne, (after- 


ward a member of our Conference,) Dr. Wheel- 
wright, and Josiah Hayes. A year or two later 
Bro. Walter StiflE removed from Port Conway to 
Rollin's Fork, and added his valuable personality 
to the strength of the class. In 1880 the work had 
obtained such prominence that a nice, comfortable 
church-building, at a cost of about $1,800.00, was 
planned and erected near Josiah Haye's residence, 
and named "Grace." The meeting was protracted, 
and about 60 souls were added to the church. Dr. 
J. Powell Garland, our Presiding Elder, was pres- 
ent on the memorable night when I received these 
people into the church. He and Bro. Payne were 
witnesses to a conversation between me and a 
certain citizen, whose name is omitted for ob- 
vious reasons. 

As we came out of the church after service that 
Friday night, I noticed this man and his wife stand- 
ing there by the steps as if hesitating to go home. 

I said, "Mr." , you professed to be converted 

last Tuesday night ; you did not join the church 
tonight: you have made a serious mistake." He 
replied, "I can't jine de church, sir; and I'm sorry 
to say I can't." "Well," said I, "What's wrong?" 

He replied, calling his wife's name, "Me and 

ain't married, sir, and dat's got to be fixed up be- 
fore we can jine." Said I, "You are right, broth- 
er; go to Westmoreland court house and get 
your license, and I will marry you Sunday morn- 
ing and receive you into the (Church." Said he, "I 


got no money to pay for cle license, and no horsc 
to ride, and it is too far to walk." Well, I ended 
the whole matter by giving him a note to Bro. 
Warren Hutt, the Clerk of the County Court, and 
Bro. Robert Marshall loaned him a horse. Early 
Saturday morning Dr. Garland and I went up to 
Fletcher's Chapel where the 3rd Quarterly Con- 
ference was held. Then leaving Dr. Garland to 
handle the Sunday service there I returned to 
Josiah Hayes's, arriving about 8 P. M., having 
stopped, in passing the parsonage, long enough to 
eat supper. Sunday morning, accompanied by Mr. 

and Mrs. Hayes, I went to Mr. 's home, 

and married him to the woman he had been living 
with for seven years. All of us then went to the 
church nearby, and after a most impressive ser- 
vice I received this man and this wife into the 
Church of God, and at their request baptized their 
two little girls, the one three years old and the 
other five ! This was one of the victory days of 
my ministry. 

Do not say these were illiterates, and obscure 
people. That is true : but the kingdom of God 
is meant for such. If not, where is the haven of 
refuge? There are thousands of so-called "re- 
fined," "cultured," "society" people in this coun- 
try living in adultery, and worse, who would come 
into the Kingdom today if they were willing, as 
these "obscure" people were, to publicly confess 
and forsake their sinful life. Instead of doing the 


honest thing, they persist in their infamy, turn 
up their nose at practical religion, and make the 
ministry the butt of ridicule. 

I want to place the credit for beginning the ref- 
ormation of this community where it belongs. 
When Bishop Payne, the Protestant Episcopal 
Bishop on the West Coast of Africa, was compelled 
to give up his work in that Foreign field on ac- 
count of ill health, he located in this neighbor- 
hood, and decided that this was a good field for 
Home Evangelization. He planted a school, 
preached in the building to as many as came, vis- 
ited among them and taught them morality and 
religion. He was greatly beloved for his work's 
sake, and sincerely lamented when he ended his 
useful life. When I took charge of King George 
circuit a few years later, I found the Rev. Mr. 
Latane carrying on the work the Bishop began. I 
knew this was a field where Methodism could feel 
at home, so I went into the work with all my heart, 
and, under the blessing of God, succeeded. 

At Union church there was a strong organiza- 
tion. Jones, Baker, Edwards, Quesenberry, Stiff, 
Omohundro, Ninde, Payne, Dishman, Brown, 
Gouldman, and Playes, are names of families which 
formed a devoted, intelligent, and influential body 
of men and women, both in the Church and in the 
social life of the county. They were Methodists 
of the "most straightest sect." Preachers "count- 
ed it all joy" when they were read out for King 


George. It was here that I found Jas. W. Stiff, 
Richard O. Payne, and John T. Payne, and con- 
tributed somewhat to their advancement and ad- 
mission into our Conference. Out of this same 
charge came Wm. E. Payne, the rugged, stalwart 
giant in righteousness, and a successful ministry. 
He ceased from his labors and got his "crown'' in 
1895, while Presiding Elder of the Charlottes- 
ville District where he had just begun his term of 

In the summer of 1878 we had a great meeting 
at Union, not great in point of numbers added to 
the church : but on account of the profound im- 
pression it made upon the community, and the 
character of the conversions. Among the many 
who came into the church at that meeting I note 
Mr. Isaiah Hayes, his son Lawrence, his daughters 
Hattie and Elvira, also Mr. Hayes' brother, Jo- 
siah, his son Henry, and daughter. 

Isaiah Hayes' people and mine have remained 
warm friends ever since. 

About this time there came into Hayes' business 
and family, a young man of quick mind, high moral 
standard, and great industry. Time and again I 
met him at brother Hayes' home, and he impressed 
me most favorably. At the Marvin Grove Camp 
meeting of 1879, he professed conversion, and 
joined the Methodist Church. The next year, 
Sept. 9, 1880, I performed the ceremony of mar- 
riage which made Hattie Hayes and Ed. White- 


house man and wife. I baptized the first babe, 
Susie; the second babe was named for me, Law- 
rence Butts, and is a successful druggist in Lynch- 
burg. Then when Susie married and became a 
mother I baptized her babe. Thus through the 
years we have kept pace with each other on the 
changing road of Hfe, ever keeping in sight of each 
other's home, rejoicing together, and mingling our 
tears sometimes when we look around us and find 
the empty chair. But hoping and singing again 
when the light of the other life breaks through 
the rift of some impending cloud, and above the 
storm of sorrow we hear the familiar voice of Je- 
sus, — "I am with you alway, unto the end of the 

At Fletcher's Chapel there was a plain, faithful, 
earnest membership, who did things for the King' 
dom, and largely dominated the moral and relig- 
ious life of that whole section. Pratt, McCarthy, 
Henderson, Grigsby, Rollins, Robinson, Morgan, 
Arnold, Taliaferro, Lee, Elkins, are names dear to 
this preacher's memory, and reminders of co-oper- 
ation in hard work, and patient planning, and bound- 
ing joy when the days went by with a song. 

There lived among them a practicing physician, a 
staunch Presbyterian of the old school, whose re- 
ligion was broad enough to take into his confidence 
any who named the name of Jesus. He dedicated 
to active service a talented brain and a warm heart 
for building up the Kingdom of God in that com- 
munity. I refer to Dr. John W. Ayler. I rather 


congratulated myself when I found so wise and 
good a man heartily engaged in the Sunday School, 
in the prayer meeting, in aiding to solve the finan- 
cial problems of the church at that place. When I 
told him on my first visit to his house, "Ardenvohr," 
how glad I was to find so capable a Methodist 
among these people, he replied, "I'm no Methodist : 
I am a blue-stocking Presbyterian." But during 
my whole term of four years on that charge I 
never saw any diflFerence between his religious 
zeal and activity and the most active Methodist 
in that section ; except, perhaps, his was a regulated 
systematic movement as a rule, destitute of emo- 
tion, while their's, when not fired by emotion, had 
little motion that produced results. 

The queenly wife and splendid children shared 
with the father in his devotion to his Lord. He 
died a few years ago, while I lived in Hampton. 
He had become a well-known and sincerely be- 
loved citizen of Newport News, and it was my priv- 
ilege, granted me by Dr. Welford, pastor of the 
First Presbyterian Church of that city, to speak a 
few words of appreciation at his funeral. 

James McCarthy was a "Rough Ashler" in the 
temple of God. He had very limited advantages for 
an education when a boy; nor was he permitted, 
by circumstances over which he had no control, to 
become familiar with those finer conventions 
which dignify the better class : yet there was not a 
man on the charge who was his superior! in the 
practice of those virtues which distinguish men as 


gentlemen and examples in a field where the high- 
est morals and the most rigid rules govern. As a 
practical Christian I have never known a man 
whose sense of dependence on the blood of Jesus 
was so acute, and whose trust in the guidance of 
the Holy Spirit was so evident, including in its 
sweep all the activities of a consecrated life. He 
may have worn a grammatical head-ornament 
quite ridiculous when tested by the pattern of the 
books, but his garment of righteousness, made 
white by the blood of the Son of Man, so covered 
his "flesh" that one could see that it was his own, 
made for him alone in response to the demands of a 
firm faith in the Living Christ. He was swift to 
run to the help of the needy, for "uncomely" feet 
were shod with the preparation of the Gospel of 
peace." His shield, "faith," quenched the fiery 
darts of the wicked," and with "the sword of the 
Spirit" he was a match for Satan and his emissar- 
ies. Rare old Jim! All heaven heard you sing as 
you entered the gate ; and many a preacher's horse 
wept, if he could weep, when he was told that you 
were dead, if his equine intellect took in the full 
meaning of that distressing news ! 

Wm. S. Brown was Clerk of the Courts of the 
county for years, succeeding his father in that of- 
fice ; himself a veteran of many years' experience in 
the service of his county. He was the leading 
Steward at Trinity Church in the village, and a man 
of influence on the entire charge. He had a most 


interesting family: — a refined and cultured wife, 
six fascinating daughters and two sons. They were 
kaders in the work of the church, and held the 
standard of efficiency high. I had the singular 
privilege of performing the Ceremony of Marriage 
in that family oftener, I reckon, than any other 
preacher in any other family anywhere. That's 
pretty broad ; but I'll risk it. A niece living in the 
lovely home, "Waverly," Miss Julia Carpenter, was 
married there in the parlor, Dec. 27, 1877, to Mr. 
Lawrence Washington. Another niece. Miss Kate 
Ashton was married March 28, 1878, in the same 
room to Mr. James Barron. A daughter. Miss 
Belle, was married Dec. 10, 1879, in the same room, 
to Mr. Henry T. Garnett. Miss Nannie, the eldest 
daughter, was married May 31, 1881, to Mr. W. J. 
Dougherty, but the event occurred in Trinity 
Church. Several years later, our dear brother Paul 
Bradley won to his home and heart Lucy, next to 
the youngest of these attractive girls : but another 
performed the ceremony. Brother Bradley went 
to his blessed reward in 1907. Mrs. Dougherty was 
bereft of her devoted husband in a few years. She 
was an accomplished, beautiful, useful and popular 
young woman. She had a sweet little baby girl, 
which grew to woman-hood to be the strength and 
comfort of an invalid mother throughout long years 
of suffering. In January 1921 this devoted Chris- 
tian "widow indeed" passed to her place in the 
"Saint's eternal rest." 


The Ninde family at that lovely home, "Middle- 
boro," was another interesting group. Dr. Ninde 
was a Baltimorean, but came to King George in 
early life, and married the sister of the Brother 
Brown above referred to. Dr. Julian Ninde, the 
eldest son, died during my pastorate, ending what 
promised to be a lucrative and successful career 
as a practicing Physician among his own kinsmen 
and friends, who knew his worth and lamented his 
untimely death. His younger brother, Falirfax, 
early prepared himself to succeed his deceased 
father and brother in the profession, and has be- 
come one of the leading Physicians of the county. 
Sister Ninde, was, for years, a prisoner in an in- 
valid's chair, a victim' of Rheumatism. Yet from 
this strange pulpit, as Paul did from a Roman 
prison, this patient and cheerful sufferer directed 
her house-hold, and delivered, to all within reach of 
her influence, the gospel of Life and Consolation. 
Hundreds turned to this prophetess of a trium- 
phant faith for thoughts and inspiration to guide 
when days were dark and doubts were strong. 

Across the road, far off from public view, as if 
built to "blush unseen," was a quiet Christian home. 
Brother Eddie Brown, his amiable wife, and sons 
and daughters, lived in modest comfort and plenty. 
One of these refined and cultured Christian girls be- 
came the wife of Rev. Chas. H. Williams of our 
Conference. Williams is a wonder ! How he won 
her no one seems to know. But I have this to say 


in extenuation of the act of either one in choosing 
the other; — They both showed pretty good judg- 
ment. A distressing bereavement visited the home 
of Brother Brown during my pastorate : — Henry, 
the eldest boy, fell a victim of typhoid fever. In 
this "valley of the shadow of death" the family 
found comfort in the assured presence of the Great 
Comforter. "As thy days may demand" was solid 
ground for feet, over against the insecure founda- 
tion of the world's vain hope. 

There were many noble men and women in that 
section, whose names stand out strongly in con- 
trast with others of smaller make. They repre- 
sented the strength of Methodist principles in the 
times of which I write. No better type of Chris- 
tian character could be found in any county, and 
the Methodist doctrines of sin and a conscious re- 
demption through the saving grace of Jesus Christ, 
is the best explanation I can give of their worth 
to the community. 

Methodism has always had a hard fight for a 
living in King George. There prevailed in all that 
section at this time a "form of godliness without 
its power." Such a religion is always popular with 
a certain class of sinners who confound the exter- 
nals of Christianity with Christianity itself, as if 
one could hold in one's embrace the corpse of a 
lovely woman or a splendid young man, for the 
living, joyous, helpful being that once lived in the 
now lifeless form. And this corpse of a once liv- 


ing force "vaunted itself," and was "puflfed up," 
and "behaved itself unseemly" on all occasions, and 
frequently made occasions, claiming for itself the 
prestige of age, and struck at anything which had 
life in it as being new and man made. Two of 
these sects had "water on the brain," and were 
constantly disputing among themselves about 
which had "the right to eat the Lord's Supper." 
The other had no life of any sort, and therefore 
made little noise : only now and then could be 
heard out in the ecclesiastical cemetery, mumbling, 
in sepulchral solemnity, "WE ARE IT." Nobody 
disputed it. 

A vigorous religion like Methodism always has 
a fight to wage when it lifts its voice, in a com- 
munity like that for righteousness. A sinner who 
has made up his mind to go to heaven by the eas- 
iest road does not take easily to the rigid demands 
of "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus." He 
prefers to substitute the manipulations of priestly 
hands, or the plunge into water, for "repentance 
toward God and fkith toward our Lord Jesus 

Nevertheless, the preaching and careful pastoral 
work of Wm. F. Bain, Thos. H. Boggs, Chas. 
E. Watts, and other sturdy apostles of the Spirit, 
who preceded me, laid well the foundations of the 
church on "The Impregnable Rock of the Holy 
Scriptures." Their work and their teaching ac- 
counts largely for the type of men and women 


who formed the rank and file of the Methodist 
Church in King George at that day. Out of this 
circuit have come into the conference Wm. E. 
Payne, Wm. B. Jett, John T. Payne, J. Wil.lard 
Stiff, and Rich. O. Payne. Among the laymen who 
have thrown the influence of their strong charac- 
ters with the church in other sections are Dr. 
Frank W. Stiff, so long useful at Centenary, Rich- 
mond; Edward B. Whitehouse, Fred. Brown, Eu- 
gene Ninde, and Dr. John Stiff in Fredericksburg; 
and numbers of others "whose names are written 
in heaven."' 

On the 14th day of April 1878, our son Herbert 
Swann, was born, and there was great joy in our 

The Conference of 1878, held in Petersburg, Va., 
Nov. 13-19, ended the life of the "Northern Neck 
District," which began its existence in November 
1876, under the Superintendence of Rev. Wm. A. 
Crocker, as Presiding Elder. The territory was 
too small, (covering only five counties) and held 
out no hope for expansion. Bro. Crocker was an 
ideal friend and brother, clean and true ; a holy 
man in all manner of conversation. He possessed 
the "wisdom which is first pure, then peaceable, 
gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good 
fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy:" 
a man of prayer, imitating his Lord with child-like 
faith and beautiful simplicity. He was a fine 
preacher, a close student, an expositor of no mean 
ability, as his little books on "Daniel" and "Rev- 


elation" abundantly show. He excelled as a pastor, 
succeeded in every charge he served. The rich and 
the poor, the learned and the unlearned alike 
claimed him as a friend, and delighted in his preach- 
ing because they knew him in the home. 

He died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Mo- 
reau Blackwell, in Northumberland County June 
27, 1901. He was nearly 76 years of age. 

Rev. Dr. Wm. G. Starr, in the Memoir of Bro. 
Crocker, read at the session of Conference held in 
Trinity Church, Newport News, November, 1901, 
describing the last illness "of this ascended minis- 
ter, says ; 

"During his last illness, he remarked to an at- 
tendant at the bed-side : 'Only the body dies. I 
will leave that behind me. It is so weak and help- 
less now. It is drifting away from me. It will 
soon go ashore in the graveyard, but I shall be 
with God.' 

Only two hours before his death, he exclaimed: 
T feel that a wonderful change has taken place in 
my flesh. The physical fact I cannot account for, 
but it seems as if the sweet peace of God has taken 
absolute possession of both body and soul.' 

He refused to use an opiate which was adminis- 
tered to alleviate pain when death drew near, be- 
cause, as he said, 'I want my mind to be clear so 
that I can understand everything around me as I 
go gliding out of this world into the next.' 

When the end came he was ready to go over and 
rest with God. As the chill of death crept up 


from feet to heart, he was heard to say, 'The arms 
of my Father are strong enough to carry me 
through the valley of death;' and again, 'They are 
calling me across the narrow stream ; many voices 
are calling me; I am going home to meet the 
friends who are waiting for me on the other side.' 

And so, with the world behind him and heaven 
in full view, this saintly man of God met the hour 
of his translation as calmly as might an arch- 
angel returning from his post of duty to make re- 
port of the work he had wrought in building a new 
world for the glory of Christ Jesus the Lord." 

When the Northern Neck was re-incorporated 
with the Randolph-Macon District at this Con- 
ference Dr. Leonidas Rosser became my Presid- 
ing Elder for the second time, he having served 
the District in 1873-4. He gave me many a profit- 
able hour as we travelled together up and down 
the Northern Neck. His long itinerant life had 
furnished him with an inexhaustible store of very 
interesting material. His cheerfulness was nat- 
ural, perennial, contagious. His constructive 
method of teaching the fundamentals of Method- 
ism was very helpful to the young preacher who sat 
by his side and permitted the trustworthy horse to 
find his own way. Often he selected a tedious 
journey as the occasion for a sermon, and preached 
it as we went. I "hid these things in my heart" 
and head. Once upon a time, in a hot August pe- 
riod, I trarvelled all night in my buggy from the 
King George parsonage to Marvin Grove Camp- 


meeting arriving at the breakfast hour. L-Iearirig 
that I had come he came to the Preachers' Tent 
and informed me that I must preach at 3 o'clock 
that day! I protested that I could not, on ac.:ount 
of my all-night drive, face a congregation for any 
profitable results. He replied, "O yes, you can: 
you know the hour; you can prepare while rest- 
ing from now till then, six hours." "Well, doctor," 
said I, "If you will not release me I shall be com- 
pelled to use one of those good sermons you have 
been giving me in our travels." He replied, "That 
settles it ; but it will be a very unwise thing to do," 
and left me without another word. 

So, therefore, recalling the story which I had 
heard when a boy, of one of our preachers who 
used Bishop Early's sermon in the Uishop s pres- 
ence at a camp-meeting, I set my mer.;ory to work 
to reproduce Dr. Rosser's sermon on the text, "He 
that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." As 
I faced the congregation he sat on my right, and 
watched me with ill-concealed astonishment when 
I announced the text. As I proceeded to develop 
the thoughts indicated in the anahsis, just as he 
had done as we travelled the sandy roads of King 
and Queen County, his" interest, either in the des- 
perate young preacher, or in the ian'.iliar method 
of discussion, quickened, so that I could feel the 
cut of his eagle eye to the very center of my being. 
At the end of the service, which was, of course, 
without results, I turned to find him standing just 
behind me. I extended my hand, and said, "Doc- 


tor, I did the best I could." He replied, "Yes, you 
did well ; and used my material. You are the most 
impudent preacher on my district," and turning, 
left me there waist deep in a flood of mixed emo- 
tions that almost swept me oflf my feet. 

I drove into the parsonage yard on a certain day 
and found him there just arrived from somewhere. 
My buggy was loaded with good things the peo- 
ple had given me. He examined the supplies mi- 
nutely, and then lifting his hands above his head, 
cried out, "Aaron with the golden calf!" Said I, 
"And who are you?" "Moses on the mountain 
with the Lord!" "Ah!" said I, "Moses fasted 
forty days : you seem to be hungry, doctor ; share 
with Aaron and his family these good things the. 
people of God have sent, anticipating your need." 
He laughed aloud at the simplicity of my answer, 
and replied, "I will indeed." 

The average congregatioii seldom thought in 
the rich, logical lines along which he delighted to 
lead them ; hence in the first few days of his great- 
est meetings, the interest lagged. But, after that, 
certain folks began to see a master in the pulpit, 
and the tide began to rise. Crowds filled our 
largest churches, and in the end, with mighty spir- 
itual power, he gathered the best elements of the 
community into the Church. He was a great 
preacher because he was a great expounder of the 
Word of God, and had unlimited faith in the prom- 
ise of the Holy Spirit to own the Word. 

He died at Ashland, Va., January the 2Sth, 1892. 


"For thirty-six years he was a Trustee of Ran- 
dolph-Macon College. Educated himself, he was 
fully enlisted in the educational work of the Church. 
He was a regular attendant upon the sessions of 
the Board, participated in its discussions, entered 
heartily into its plans, and did faithfully what- 
ever duties were assigned him." 

He was the Elijah of the Church of the New Tes- 
tament, the grey eagle of the Conference, at home 
on the peaks of an exalted Christian experience; 
never at rest till he had carried his congregation to 
Pisgah's summit ; mighty in prayer and at the 
altar with a struggling penitent. He was a cul- 
tured preacher of great power, whose elegant dic- 
tion and finished periods cut their way to convic- 
tion, and then pointed the trembling sinner, in 
high life as well as low, to "the Lamb of God" as 
the remedy for acknowledged sin. 

I saw life as a minister of the Gospel in its real- 
ity in King George. In Northumberland I had 
"plain sailing with fair breezes,'' as the waterman 
would say. In Ring George head winds prevailed. 
But, by the grace of God I did not drift : I an- 
chored my craft in the haven of changeless truth. 
When compelled to put to sea, I gave the helm to 
Christ, and rode out the storm. Dropping the fig- 
ure, let me say ; — vice prevailed and was unblush- 
ing in its boasting and threats. I realized in ex- 
perience that no man knows the power of Divine 
grace to direct, to vitalize human determination to 


win, and to defend, and to deliver, till he is com- 
pelled, by the taunts of enemies and the weakness 
of some who claimed to be friends of right, to 
trust it altogether. As a true minister I had fre- 
quently to stand out in conflict, with a few faith- 
ful men and women, and wage a losing fight. The 
men in authority, from the highest to the lowest, 
were against civic righteousness, took sides with 
the liquor power, the gamblers, and other lawless 
elements : called in question our motives and be- 
labored me with infamous epithets. This was not 
at all to my liking, but I held on to the end, and 
God greatly blessed my labors in adding to the 
church about 260 souls, and building up the peo- 
ple in vital religion and solid morality. 

On the 10th day of July 1880, our fourth child 
was born, and sunshine flooded the parsonage 
again. We named her Carrie Weldon, for her 
Great-grandmother Mrs. Caroline Waller, and her 
Great-grandmothers Mrs. Caroline Waller, and 
Mary Elizabeth Weldon. She was quite an in- 
dependent Miss, and ruled the family from the be- 
ginning of her interesting career. She is now 
Mrs. John T. Fitzpatrick, of Nelson county, Va., 
and the mother of three splendid children. 

The Conference of 1880 met in Main Street 
Church, Danville, Va., Nov. 17th-23rd, Bishop 
Keener presiding. Virginia was blessed with a 
glorious Autumn. Balmy breezes, clear skies, fine 
roads, g'ood crops, a great abundance of fruit. 


made a happy prosperous people. Some com- 
plained, but they were chronic grumblers, to whom 
the good Lord had failed to commit the job of run- 
ning the government of the world. 

I had closed a good year, and, in gladness of 
heart, planned a visit to my grand-father's. Rev. 
John Gregory Claiborne, in Brunswick county, 
one hundred and forty-eight miles through the 
country with my wife and four children. Brother 
Robert Marshall, of Grace church, father of the 
noble wife of Rev. W. L. Ware, of our Conference, 
loaned me an extra horse to help "Frank" draw 
the load. A right merry time we had all along the 
way, after we got fairly started. My route lay 
across the ferry at Port Conway, on through 
Bowling Green and Milford to the Old Telegraph 
Road, and then by that road to Richmond and 
Petersburg. At the very outset our plan was upset. 
A strong wind was blowing right down the Rap- 
pahannock. We got the team and carriage into 
the ferry-boat and started across. We had gone 
scarcely a hundred yards when one of the great 
oars, called "a sweep," broke in two, leaving us 
with all that precious cargo of wife and children, 
and horses and carriage drifting at the mercy of 
wind and tide. However, skillful management 
brought the boat safely back to King George shore, 
but about a half a mile down the river, in a gentle- 
man's field. 

Then we had to drive up the river road, 25 miles 


to Fredericksburg and cross the river at that 
point on Scott's Bridge. This threw us off our 
Bowling Green road several miles, so that night 
found us at Dr. W. J. Hancock's near Thornsburg 
in Spotsylvania county. The next morning we 
struck the Telegraph road near by, and stopped at 
a big grove near Ruther Glenn in which stood a 
brick church owned and occupied by the Baptists. 
Here we got good wate.r and ate our dinner. The 
children made much of our resting place, and trans- 
formed the sojourn of an hour into a period of 
frolic. We then, refreshed and in fine trim pushed 
on across the North Anna, the Middle and the 
South Anna, rivers to Richmond, arriving after 
dark. We found the residence of Dr. John J. 
Lafferty on Leigh St., and received a hilarious wel- 
come from the doctor and his household. They 
were not expecting us, but the suddenness of our 
coming, and the number of children we unloaded 
in front of his home, seemed to bewitch the entire 
company of Laffertys, and gave both wife and me 
the feeling that we were sorry we had not done 
that deed before. Next morning, Saturday, we 
left the gracious hospitality with regret, and ar- 
rived at my Uncle's, (Dr. John Herbert Claiborne) 
in Petersburg about 1 P. M. Monday morn- 
ing we began the last leg of our long drive to my 
Grand-father's arriving there late in a drizzling 
rain. Excepting the last ten miles of the one hun- 
dred and forty-eight, the children made merry of 


the trip. Whenever they became tired of the car- 
riage we put them out, (except the baby,) in the 
road to run and play, to chase the birds, to find 
now and then a gushing spring of clear, cold water, 
then to get back into the carriage to fall asleep 
quickly from sheer exhaustion. Thus for three 
days and a half we travelled, and not even the five 
months old baby, Carrie Weldon, put up the lux- 
ury of a real first class cry or whine. When we 
disembarked that Monday night, just when dark- 
ness made driving over a twisting country road 
both difficult and dangerous, I told the weary little 
folks that they were at "Roslin," the place of my 
birth, and of their grand-mother's birth and child- 
hood's home, the only one who was wide awake 
enough to appreciate the situation and the romance 
of it, said, as he staggered up the pathway lead- 
ing to the front porch, "I don't care ; I want to go to 
bed now." 

Leaving my family at "Roslin" on the morning 
of the 16th of November, I took the train at what 
is now Blackstone for Danville where Conference 
assembled the next day. 

Bishop John C. Keener Presided. Paul White- 
head was elect-Secretary, and Peter A. Peterson 
and Geo. C. Vanderslice, Assistants. 

The entire session was marked by interesting 
items. On motion of P. A. Peterson, "A memorial 
service for Bishop David S. Doggett" was "held 
at 2 P. M., on Sunday," and, at the request of the 


Conference, Rev. R. N. Sledd, D. D., delivered an 
eloquent sermon on the occasion. 

Among the Deacons ordained at this session we 
find the names of T. O. Edwards, J. W. StifJ, R. O. 
Payne, W. T. Green, W. T. Williams, A. A. Jones, 
W. W. Sawyer, W. F. Davis and J. B. Askew. Those 
ordained Elder were R. M. Chandler, J. T. Mastin, 
J. M. Burton, N. B. Foushee, W. H. Edwards, W. O. 
Waggener, S. H. Johnson, W. E. Evans, N. J. Pru- 
den, C. D. Crawley, B. F. Lipscomb, and W. R. 
Smithey. All these are brethren beloved, who 
have wrought well in every field to which the au- 
thorities have sent them. Some of them have gone 
to "the great reward," the others are among us yet, 
"serving their generation by the will of God." 

The following in regard to "the proper date of 
the beginning of the sessions of the Virginia Con- 
ference," is of special interest. The paper was of- 
fered by A. G. Brown, from the Committee ap- 
pointed at the last Conference to investigate and 

Whereas, we believe that the sessions of our Con- 
ference should be numbered from the first meeting 
after the organization of the M. E. Church by the 
Christmas Conference of 1784; and whereas, its 
first session thereafter was duly appointed and 
held by Bishops Coke and Asbury, at the house of 
Mr. Mason, Brunswick County, Va., May, 1785; 
and whereas, from that day to this, a session 
thereof has been held in regular succession, year 


after year, with in the geographical limits assigned 
to it by the General Conference of 1796, except as 
to the years 1791 and 1841, when changes in the 
time for the meeting of Conference made it neces- 
sary to hold two sessions in each of these calendar 
years ; 


Resolved, That the Secretary of the Conference 
be, and he is hereby instructed to conform the Con- 
ference Journal to these historical facts, numbering 
this as the Ninety-eighth Session of the Virginia 
Annual Conference M. E. Church, South. 

W. W. Bennett, J. B. Dey and J. D. Blackwell 
cfifered a paper on Friday, Nov. 19th, which was 
read ; and, on motion, it was laid upon the table for 
the present, and ordered to be printed. On Tues- 
day, 23rd, it was taken from the table, and after 
some discussion, was adopted as a whole, under the 
operation of the previous question, moved by J. E. 

Its contents are so vital, as indicating the views 
of the majority of the Conference forty-one years 
ago, that I desire to aid in its preservation by in- 
serting it at this place. 

"Whereas, the work of Methodism for above a 
hundred years, fully attests its value as one of the 
branches of the Church ' of Christ on earth ; and 
whereas, we believe that no changes can ever oc- 
cur in the social, intellectual or moral condition of 
mankind to demand a departure from the essential 


doctrines and features of the system; and whereas, 
there exists in the minds of many of our people a 
fear lest Methodism should drift from its anchor- 
age in the great principles held and practiced by 
our fathers, lose its efficiency, and fail in its 
work by a gradual departure from the premises on 
which it has achieved its grand results ; and where- 
as, the Virginia, one of the original Conferences 
in America, is Convinced that the success of our 
Church has been due to a clear apprehension of 
the value of the following leading principles of 
the system, and a steady adherence to them — to 
wit : 

1. A ministry experimentally religious, thor- 
oughly sound in Christian doctrine and entirely 
consecrated to the work of preaching the Gospel 
on the Methodist plan. 

2. A membership soundly converted, carefully 
trained in the doctrines and duties of religion, 
and completely separated from the world in spirit 
and practice. 

3. An itinerant system of supplying the people 
with the Word of Life, wisely, firmly, and impar- 
tially administered in all its departments, so as to 
secure to every field the preacher best suited in 
all respects to cultivate and develop it as a part 
of the Lord's vineyard; therefore, 

, Resolved, That we feel bound by our sacred ob- 
ligations to the great Head of the Church, who has 
called us out of darkness into light, and counted us 
worthy, puttirig us into the ministry, to use our 


Utmost efforts to ground Methodist people deeply 
in the doctrines held by our Church, and to urge 
them to a complete separation in spirit and prac- 
tice from the world, and to constant and careful 
cultivation of family and social religion. 

2. Resolved, That we recognize the wisdom of 
the principles on which our itinerancy is based — 
to wit, the surrender of natural rights both on the 
part of the ministry and the laity, of the former to 
choose their charges, and of the latter to choose 
their pastors, and the reference of this extremely 
delicate matter to the General Superintendents of 
the Church, to be decided by them in the fear of 
God and according to the best lights before them, 
without improper interference either on the part 
of preacher or people ; that this plan, distributing 
as it does the varied talents of the whole body of 
travelling preachers to every part of the entire 
work, and recognizing no class as entitled to spe- 
cial places or special favors, and never leaving a 
church without a pastor, has in it excellences and 
advantages fully attested by the unprecedented 
success of Methodism in every part of the world, 
and has so positively commended itself to the best 
minds in other Churches that they are seeking by 
evangelism -fo engraft it upon the congregational 
system; that we feel that any departure from this 
time-honored and heaven-approved plan, would be 
the opening of our system to an antagonistic prin- 
ciple which would in a shorter time than we may 
suppose result in the obliteration of one of the 


marked features of Methodism, and necessitate 
what would be probably a fatal change. 

3. Resolved, That we fully recognize the wis- 
dom of the fathers of our Church as shown in the 
method of administering the itinerant system, 
and feel assured that a wise, firm and impartial 
distribution of the ministerial talent of the Church, 
under this system, keeping in view the size and de- 
mand of the families of the preachers for a fair 
support and for educational facilities for their 
children, though it may work in some cases hard- 
ships, self-sacrifice, and even suffering, will re- 
ceive the cordial approval of all who, in the true 
spirit of Methodist preachers, have given them- 
selves to this work; for no such system can be 
successful without serious personal inconven- 
iences ; but these are nothing when compared with 
the general benefits secured to preachers and 

4. Resolved, That we are convinced that the 
office of Presiding Elder is of. great value to the 
Church, and we have not been able to see what 
substitute for it can be introduced into our system 
which would equally as well meet the demands of 
our work ; that in full accord with the teachings 
of MtKendree, Soule, and other illustrious Meth- 
odist leaders, we look upon the Presiding Elders 
as sub-bishops, representing in their districts the 
General Superintendents, who are charged with 
the careful and faithful administration of all mat- 
ters essential to the success of Methodism in every 


part of our work; and in this view of the case, we 
feel that this most valuable office demands the 
very best talent that our ministry can furnish, 
men in all respects qualified to take charge of our 
Districts and to oversee personally and conduct to 
complete success, all the work of the Church com- 
mitted to their care. 

5. Resolved, That we will earnestly strive to 
awaken all our people to the work of the Church 
in every department, especially the great work of 
missions, of education, and the circulation of a 
sound religious literature, and thus secure the el- 
evation of our people to a higher plane of spir- 
itual life, and bring each one of them to a life- 
long effort in the work of 'spreading scriptural 
holiness over these lands'; thus retaining for our 
cherished Methodism, to the latest generation, 
that high title conferred by the great Chalmers — 
'Christianity in earnest.' " 

P. A. Peterson, J. D. Southall, J. E. Edwards and 
A. G. Brown offered the following paper on the 
evening of the last day. J. J. LafiE.erty moved that 
it be laid on the table, but the motion was lost. 
Here is the paper, and there was a warrn discus- 
sion over the contents. 

"Whereas, it is deemed expedient to divide 
the Virginia Conference so as to make two 
Conferences ; therefore. 

Resolved, That a committee of three cler- 
ical and two lay members of this Conference 
be appointed to consider this matter, and re- 


port to the next Conference a plan for said di- 

The Board of Missions reported having received 
the past, year 

For Domestic Missions $4,409.62 

For Foreign Missions 7,419.69 

Total $11,829.31 

The following in regard to Dr. W. W. Royall may 
be of interest to his many friends and brethren 
both in the ministry and laity of our Conference. 

On motion of P. A. Peterson, this paper was 
adopted : — 

Whereas, since the last session of our Confer- 
ence one of our number, Rev. W. W. Royall, has 
been accepted by the parent Board of Missions 
as a Missionary to China, and is at this time on 
his journey to that distant land ; therefore 

Resolved, That we profoundly sympathize with 
the spirit of devotion to the spiritual welfare of the 
heathen evinced by Brother Royall; and that we 
will follow him with our prayers for the blessing of 
God upon his labors, and for the protection and 
preservation of himself and family." 

Another item of interest just at this time when 
all who knew him are lamenting the death of Dr. 
John Hannon is the following: 

"In answer to question 6, Bishop Keener an- 
nounced the transfer of John Hannon from the 
Louisana Conference to this Conference." Bro. 
Hannon had been transferred to the Baltimore 


Conference from our Conference in Nov. 1872, and 
stationed at Warrenton, Va. 

Returning to Blackstone after Conference ad- 
journed I found my little family at the Nottoway 
parsonage, then occupied by Rev. J. C. Reed. This 
is the first time I had ever been thrown with 
Brother Reed, and we have been warm friends 
ever since. No man ever had a truer friend than 
I have found him, and my wife has had a very pro- 
found regard for the entire household since that 
bitter cold day when Brother Reed's first wife and 
children ushered that cold bunch of travellers 
into a warm room where a blazing fire started the 
sluggish blood through frozen (arteries till the 
laughter and stories of the dreadful trip took the 
place of tears. The next morning, leaving Bro. 
Reed making preparations for moving to Peters- 
burg, where he had been sent to the pastorate of 
High St. Church, we went on as far as Mr. Charles 
Harris's near Wilson Depot, where Mrs. Geo. F. 
Swann, my wife's stepmother, had her temporary 
home. From thence we travelled to Ettrick, a 
suburb of Petersburg, to the parsonage of Rev. 
Jos. R. Sturgis, taking with us my wife's half 
sister, Annie Swann, as a choice addition to our 
family. The weather was very cold. Upon the 
snow already on the ground, a cold drizzle had 
formed a sleet, which made travel very disagree- 
able. One of the children was sick, and Sturgis 
had sickness in his home. Times were out of 
joint. Yet Sturgis and his good wife, did all they 


could to give us the spirit of content and help to 
keep it alive. Sturgis permitted me to preach for 
his people twice on Sunday, and took that service as 
pay for the board of part of my gang, whilst Bro. 
Wheary, (who by the way, was the father of the 
wife of Rev. N. J. Pruden,) housed my boy Her- 
bert and myself, and furnished stable room and 
feed for the horses. 

My Uncle, Dr. John Herbert Claiborne, having 
been called in to see our sick child, decided that it 
would be unwise for my family to travel by pri- 
vate conveyance the eighty-five miles to Fred- 
ericksburg. Therefore I departed on Tuesday, 
leaving Sturgis to send them to me on Thursday, 
December the first. I met them at the station, 
and after lunch, hastened on across the river, and 
down the Neck, twenty-two miles to the King 
George parsonage, arriving at almost the close of 
day. The next day, Friday Dec. 2nd, winter began 
in earnest, (hitherto it had only threatened,) and 
continued, with very few moderate days, till late in 

This was the commencement of my fourth year 
in King George. Dr. Leonidas Rosser was re- 
moved from the District, and Rev. Dr. J. P. Gar- 
land placed on the work in his stead. Dr. Gar- 
land came to us from that magnificent church, 
Market Street, Petersburg. He became my trusted 
friend and adviser from the time he first entered 
my home to the end. 

He was very cordial. His generous view of men 


and movements, his strong devotion to the doc- 
trines and discipline of the Church, impressed me 
greatly. Some, who think they knew him, may 
not agree with me in this view, but I am giving my 
estimate of the man after the closest possible in- 
tercourse for a number of years. He was with 
me on occasions when my courage was severely 
tested, and, by his firm stand, made me brave to do 
that which I might not have done if I had had a 
less courageous supporter. The result was, cer- 
tain troublesome men and women were excluded 
from the Church, and Methodism and your speaker 
made stronger in all that region. 

I never saw him weaken but once. It was in 
February, 1881. The Rappahannock was frozen 
over from Fredericksburg to Chesapeake Bay. Dr. 
Garland was on his first visit to the churches of the 
Northern Neck, and his fitjst appointment over 
there was my First Quarterly Conference on King 
George circuit. I met him in Port Royal and 
pushed him across the river in a chair on the ice. I 
had on my best skates. He presented an absurd 
picture of fear and melancholy as he took his seat 
in the chair with his grip in his lap, and gazed 
across at the other shore, half a mile away. As he 
sat waiting for me to tighten my skates for the 
run, he remarked, in droll but honest conviction, 
"I may never see my family again, but I am trying 
to meet my appointments.'' I could not resist the 
temptation to be a little merry, and replied, "You 


will soon be a sliding Elder indeed." He noticed 
the remark, and said, "You don't seem to realize the 
seriousness of the situation, bait some men are 
made that way." 

We reached the Port Conway side of the river 
safely. At Bro. Ham Stiff's store I had another 
thrill ready for him. My horse was there hitched 
in a pair of shafts, and these shafts were shackled 
to a strong set of sleigh runners. On these run- 
ners I had fastened a large dry-goods box, in 
which was a comfortable seat for two persons, and 
a good supply of warm buggy blankets. Dr. Gar- 
land examined the outfit critically, then, looking 
me full in the face, "Bro. Butts, how far is it to 
your parsonage?" I replied, "Seven miles." With 
a pathetic emphasis that no printed words can con- 
vey he asked, "Am I to ride in that thing?" I re- 
plied, "Yes,^Doctor, it brought me here: it will 
certainly take us both back." As he took his seat 
in the box, he said, with profound seriousness, "I 
hope this method of conveyance on the District is 
out of the usual, at least as far as I am concerned." 
The ride to the parsonage was without incident. 
The roads were as slick as a thick coating of ice 
could make them, and the horse swift and full of 
the spirit of his mission. There was no "let dov/n" 
in "Frank" when he felt the weight of a new Pre- 
siding Elder fresh from the pastorate of a great 
city church. 

The Quarterly Conference was held the next day, 


Saturday, at Trinity church, at the Court House 
village. He preached finely in the same church 
Sunday morning and at Union in the afternoon. 
He made a good impression on both congrega- 
tions both in the pulpit and socially. We spent 
the night at Bro. Isaiah Hayes's hospitable home, 
where I was counted as one of the family. The 
next morning young Robert Baker, Brother Gar- 
land and I, with Brother Hayes as our driver, set 
out, in a cariage drawn by two horses, twenty miles 
down the Northern Neck to Montross over a road 
covered with ice and snow the entire distance. We 
left him at Bro. Hutt's in good hands. When we 
were ready to depart on our return trip the same 
day, he said, "I have survived my trials since Fri- 
day: I think I can live through the winter." 

I have already said the winter of 1880-81 was 
a hard winter. The snow and ice covered the 
ground from Dec. 2nd till the last weeTc in March. 
The Rappahannock did not open for traffic till about 
the same time, although the Baltimore steamers, 
which had been tied the whole winter did cut their 
way through for a trip a week in February; sail 
vessels found it very dangerous till April. The 
country mails were greatly demoralized. The 
heavy "through mail service" was abandoned en- 
tirely, and was banked up in Fredericksburg and 
Tappahannock, awaiting a time when wagons 
could be used for transportation. The work of 
the churches was seriously handicapped. But with 


the aid of the faithful few the Sunday Schools and 
congregations were kept at work the whole year 
round, as usual. 

A story I omitted to relate in its place can be 
easily inserted here, because it occurred on this 
charge. The District Conference of 1872 was held 
at Union Church. Rev. W. F. Bain was the pastor, 
and Rev. Joseph H. Davis was Presiding Elder. Dr. 
Jas. A. Duncan attended the conference and 
preached on Thursday afternoon a sermon which 
greatly impressed the large congregation which as- 
sembled under the arbor to hear the great preacher. 
His text was "The same Lord over all is rich unto 
all that call upon him." I had preached at 11 A. M., 
but after Dr. Duncan's wonderful effort, the con- 
gregation forgot that such an one as I had ever 
stood on that platform, except one good old Bap- 
tist brother. A few days after the conference this 
old gentleman, beloved of everybody in the neigh- 
borhood, went to Lewis Jones's store at Shiloh. 
Bro. Jones said, "Uncle Johnnie, I have not seen 
you since the District Conference : how did you 
like the preaching?" Uncle Johnnie replied, "I 
didn't hear but two sermons ; that young preacher 
Thursday morning, and the other one in the a.fter- 
noon. That young preacher used so many big 
words and climbed so high, I never did know what 
he was talking about. But, when the' other man 
preached after dinner. Dr. Somebody, I dunno who, 
he was just my kind, and I understood him from the 


time he started twell he finished. I never did hear 
no such preaching as that before, and I never ex- 
pect to hear nothing like it again. It done tny soul 

And so when I heard the story some months 
later I made up my mind that God's old saints 
should never complain against me again for using 
big words and "climbing." Uncle Johnnie Owen's 
sermon delivered in Jones's store had laid bare some 
of the faults of one young fooL 

The Conference having ended I made prepara- 
tions to go to the session in Charlottesville. Dr. 
Garland was delighted with the reports handed in 
at the Fourth Quarterly Conference held at Union 
Church, and declared, after he had heard the fare- 
well words of the preacher and the stewards, that 
"This has been a busy session which has ended in 
a Love Feast." 




The Conference of 1881 met in Charlottesville, 
Va., Nov. 16-21. Bishop Holland N. McTyeire, 
D. D., presided. At its close I w^as sent to the Mid- 
dlesex circuit as the successor of Rev. M. S. Co- 
lonna, the father of our Dr. M. S. Colonna and of 
Mr. W. B. Colonna of Newport News. Rev. Thos. 
H. Boggs succeeded me in King George : — his sec- 
ond term on that work, to the delight of hundreds 
of the people of that county who loved this modest 
Christian gentleman and faithful pastor. 

I had served three charges in the Northern Neck 
through a period of ten years. I had become at- 
tached to the people in that section, not only in the 
congregations I had served, but to numbers of the 
people on the other charges. I had assisted my 
brethren in revival work at every church between 
the Potomac and the Rappahannock rivers, and 
had been entertained in the homes of some of "the 
salt of the earth." And annually at Marvin Grove 
for four years, (or each year since the establish- 
ment of that great Methodist Institution in 1878,) 
we had met to hear the word preached, to tell, in 


experience meetings, of the mercies of the Lord, to 
help with our prayers and private counsel any who 
might be "seeking the Lord while he might be 
found," and rejoicing together over the victories 
of the uplifted Cross. I had formed many strong 
ties of friendship which have lasted to this day. 
Strong men and splendid women stood with me 
throughout all this period. I had baptized hun- 
dreds of Adults and Infants, married scores of 
couples, ministered to the sick and bereaved, and 
buried their dead. The entire section from a few 
miles inside of Stafford county to the Chesapeake 
Bay, and from river to river was engraven on my 
heart, and written into the warp and woof of my 
life, as historic scenes in Oriental tapestry. It 
seemed to me that I was "leaving home" when I 
bade farewell to the Northern Neck and boarded 
the Weems Line Steamer that would take me down 
the Rappahannock nearly to its mouth and land me 
on the south side in a strange land, among people 
I had never seen before. Brother Eddie Brown, 
father of the wife of Rev. Chas. H. Williams, of 
our Conference* was the last one of our dear 
friends over there from whom we parted. He car- 
ried the last load of my freight to Port Conway, 
and was about to leave for his home when I and 
my family arrived at the wharf. He bade my wife 
and children farewell as best he could, for his emo- 
tions were fast reaching the flood stage. When he 
and I grasped hands we lookd into each other's 
face, and realizing in the depths of our souls the 



mutual sorrow, we turned away in tears, neither 
saying a word! 

We had parted with Brother Isaiah Hayes' fam- 
ily early that day. Brother and Sister Hayes had, 
from the first, received me and mine into the home 
as "a part of the brood." The children loved me 
with a sincerity which could never be translated 
into human tongue. Ed Whitehouse and Hattie 
Hayes I had united in the holy bond of marriage, 
and they have always occupied a warm place in 
the esteem of both myself and wife. The Hayeses 
were Pennsylvanians, and Ed was a down east 
Maine Yankee, whilst I was an "unreconstructed 
Virginia Rebel," yet it can hardly be said that more 
devoted friends could be found anywhere than that 
devout, intelligent, unpretentious family. In an- 
other place I have spoken of the singular ties that 
bind us to each other : I will add only this ;> — 
through the years agone we have never failed to 
exchange visits at longer, or shorter periods as 
Providence opened the way. And it will be thus "till 
death us do part !" 

The Conference was, as usual, a very busy ses- 
sion. Delegates to the General Conference of 1882 
were elected, and this took up much time. It was a 
strong delegation, composed of the best minds of 
the church, consecrated men whose work on hard 
fields in other days had contributed to the spread 
of Methodism in the state. On the first ballot W. 
W. Bennett, R. N. Sledd, John E. Edwards, and 
John C. Granbery were elected. There was no 


election on the second and third ballots, so in order 
to save time, S. S. Lambeth offered the following, 
which was adopted : 

"Resolved, That if, on the next ballot, there shall 
be an election of the two clerical representatives 
yet remaining to be chosen, the three next highest 
in the vote to those elected shall be declared re- 
serves to serve in the order of their votes, respect- 
ively, in case any of the clerical representatives 
shall be unable to attend the next session of the 
General Conference.'' 

The same resolution was adopted in regard to 
the Lay delegates. 

On the Fourth ballot J. D. Blackwell, and Peter 
A. Peterson were elected, and E. P. Wilson, Paul 
Whitehead and A. G. Brown were chosen as re- 

The Lay delegation was just as representative 
of the piety and wisdom of the Conference, as fol- 
lows :.— W. W. Walker, Geo. M. Bain, Jr., Richard 
Pollard, F. H. Smith, Richard Irby, and L. L. 
Marks, with T. B. Hamlin, M. H. Garland and Thos. 
Branch as reserves. 

W. W. Bennett from the Committee appointed 
at the last Conference to report a plan for division 
of the territory of this Conference so as to form 
two Conferences, made a report which was adopted 
"unanimously," as follows : — 

"Resolved, That in the judgment of this Con- 
ference, unless by a readjustment of the Confer 
ence boundaries we can secure an accession of ter- 


fitory, there is no line by which to effect an equable 
and judicious division of the Virginia Conference 
territory into two Conferences." 

A substitute was offered by J. H. Amiss and J. E. 
McSparren, but it was defeated, after full discus- 

J. B. Askew, R. F. Gayle and J. S. Wallace .were 
admitted into full connection. Brothers Gayle, 
Wallace, J. M. Campbell, J. W. Carroll, W. E. 
Grant, and J. T. Routten were ordained to the order 
of Deacons. Bro. Askew was already a Local Dea- 
con. J. W. S. Robbins, John O. Moss, W. H. Rid- 
dick, T. McN. Simpson, T. P. Duke, R. B. Scott, 
A. B. Warwick, R. B. Blakenship, A. J. Bradshaw 
and R. H. Younger were ordained Elders. 

The following paper in the regard to the re- 
tirement of Dr. L. M. Lee from the "active work 
of the ministry" was reported by Dr. A. G. Brown, 
from the Committee appointed for the purpose, and 

"Deeply regretting that his failing health has 
made it necessary for Dr. Lee to retire from the 
active work of the ministry, to which his life has 
been devoted for more than half a century, there- 

Resolved, That his venerable age and the dis- 
tinguished ability, fidelity and success with which 
he has served the Church as preacher, editor and 
author, endear him very tenderly to our hearts, and 
justly entitle him to the warmest gratitude as well 


as the generous sympathy and care of his breth- 

Resolved, That carrying into his retirement a 
spotless reputation, as wide as the domain of M'Cth- 
odism, if the providence of God should not permit 
him to be present at the future sessions of this 
Body, with which he has been so closely identi- 
fied for fifty-three years, we will ever hold him in 
loving and grateful remembrance, and will fer- 
vently pray that the period of his retirement may 
be as peaceful as his active life has been laborious 
and useful." 

Here is an item of business which reads strange 
to the men who lived to see the great Bishop and 
leader of the Southern Methodist Church at the 
summit of his career: 

"Dr. A. W. Wilson, Missionary Secretary of the 
M. E. Church, South, made a short address to the 

Upon the adjournment of Conference I returned 
to King George and completed arrangements al- 
ready begun for moving. Boarding the Weems 
Line Steamer at Port Conway with my family, 
(which consisted of wife, four children, my wife's 
brother, (Bascom Swann,) arid sister, ;(Annie,) 
on Thursday, Dec. 1st, at 6 P. M., we began the 
tedious trip down the Rappahannock rii^er to West 
Urbanna wharf. The steamer "tied up," as usual, 
at Leedstown for the night, and resumed the voy- 
age Friday morning at 4 o'clock, landing us at 
West Urbanna at about 3 P. M. We were met by 


Bro. Thos. G. Jones, Commonwealth's Attorney 
and Steward at Forest Chapel and taken care of 
that night in his hospitable home near by. Our 
brother, Bascom Swann went on to the parson- 
age at Saluda with the baggage. The next day, 
Saturday Dec. 3rd, I moved my tribe to the par- 
sonage. We found the house open, and a good fire 
burning brightly, but provisions as scarce as 
money. The people were prepared to meet us the 
day before, but we had disappointed them by stop- 
ping at Urbanna. However, with a brave and eco- 
nomical wife, I took up the work, made myself fa- 
miliar with our surroundings, and hoped for the 
best. It all came in good time. Good neighbors 
called and made themselves acquainted, and we 
called and found a field that invited honest toil 
and promised good results. Congregations were 
large but backward in many of the things which go 
to make up a strong church. The liquor element 
was in control, and vital Christianity known to a 
few faithful people who gave me unqualified sup- 
port when they learned that I purposed to wage a 
relentless war on the traffic. The year, was spent 
in righting wrongs in the Church, and placing em- 
phasis on experimental religion as the only cure 
for our troubles. He who, with a steady hand and 
anxious heart, has tried to purge the Church, knows 
I had no easy task. And he knows, also, that I 
made enemies. 

The circuit had one of the best Official Boards 
I had met up to that time. Thos. K. Savage, Dr. 


Wm. F. Bland, Dr. Jas. E. Bland, T. M. Wyatt, 
M. P. Maxwell, T. G. Jones, J. H. Archibald, R. T. 
Bowden, John L. Groom, Jos. Milby, Wm. Palmer, 
Wm. R. Segar, B. B. Button, Southey Grinnells, 
and Ed Moffitt. These men stood by me in my 
work, and carried cheerfully their share of the 
burden. Besides these there were scores in the 
Church who were strong for the truth. And in- 
numerable women, inspired by a strong faith, added 
their invaluable influence to the cause of vital re- 

The circuit was composed of seven churches, 
namely : — New Hope and Old Church in King and 
Queen, St. Andrews in Gloucester, Hopewell, For- 
est Chapel, Lower Church and Clarksbury in Mid- 
dlesex. There was a mid-week appointment at 
Urbanna, with a strong constituency, but no 
church building. The pastoral' work extended from 
Bro. Savage's above Little Plymouth to six miles 
below St. Andrews : and from "Montagues" in 
Essex to "Stingray Point," Middlesex Co. at the 
mouth of the Rappahannock river, at Chesapeake 
Bay. There were about five hundred members in 
this territory, covering thirty-five miles north- 
west and south-east, and twenty miles east and 
west from Urbanna to Dudley's Ferry, opposite 
West Point. There were in the limits of this 
charge eight Baptist churches with an aggregate 
membership of about fifteen hundred. So the 
Methodist circuit rider was "up against it," as the 
saying' goes, so far as the question of water is con- 

BV BtfGGf , feOAf AKD SAfLWAf 135 

cerned. But I had a great many warm friends in 
that church who co-operated with me in my work 
for Christ and good morals. 

I began my pulpit work on the charge at New 
Hope and St. Andrews on Sunday Dec. 4th, 1881, 
and kept on the move till November 1885. 

In July, 1882, the Presiding Elder, Dr. Garland, 
sent me a Helper in the person of Rev. E. P. Par- 
ham, a Local Preacher of Sussex Co. He proved 
to be a pious, studious, prudent, and energetic 
young man, a good preacher and a faithful pastor. 
The Lord rewarded our labors that summer in the 
conversion of eighty souls. Bro. Parham labored 
with me on the charge till the next Conference, 
when he was received on Trial into the Travelling 
Connection, and sent to Chatham, Pittsylvania Co. 
He served the Church faithfully as long as his 
health permitted, was superannuated in 1914, and 
passed to his reward in heaven Nov. 5, 1918, leav- 
ing his church the legacy of a good name. 

On the 15th day of October, 1882, our fifth child, 
and second son, Emmet Dabney, was born. He 
still lives ; the comfort and strength of our advanc- 
ing years. He served his country as Sergt. -Ma- 
jor in the First Va. Infantry on the Mexican bor- 
der in 1916, and as First Lieut, of Artillery in the 
42nd ("Rainbow") Division in France during the 
"World War." He is now in business in Richmond, 

His only brother, sleeps in an honored soldier's 
grave in St. John's Cemetery, Hampton, Va. He 


went to France with the 60th Coast Artillery, "E" 
Co., 8-inch Howitzers, from Fort Monroe. Having 
been marked as "Expert Gunner" by the War De- 
partment, after a service of fifteen years in the 
Regular Army, he is made First Sergeant. On his 
arrival "Over Seas," he is detailed as Instructor in 
the Artillery School at Clermont-Ferrand, in the 
Province of Pay de Dome, and died there Oct. 22nd, 
1918, of Bronchial-Pneumonia. His body was 
brought to this country in May, 1921, and deliv- 
ered to us in June. My beloved old Church, Cen- 
tral, Hampton, took charge of the funeral ceremo- 
nies on the 18th of June, and followed the precious 
remains to their last resting place. This is the boy 
who was born at King George Court House, April 
14th, 1878, Herbert Swanri. 

Bro. Thos G. Jones, who received us at his home 
so graciously, was a sensible, broad-minded, de- 
voted Methodist, with a beautiful wife, who was a 
Miss Perciful, educated under Dr. Paul White- 
head at Murfreesboro Female College. He grad- 
uated in Law at Georgetown University at the age 
of twenty-six, came home and announced himself 
candidate for the office of Commonwealth's At- 
torney for the county, and was elected over Hon. 
A. Brown Evans and Robert McCandlish, combined. 
He served in this position forty-three years. He 
enjoyed the respect and confidence of the profes 
sion, as well as of the best element of his fellow- 
citizens. His usefulness as a Steward in the Meth- 
odist Church was recognized over the entire cir- 


cuit, and his advice sincerely sought, and oftener 
than otherwise followed by the Preacher in Charge 
who valued the support, and trusted the leadership 
of such men. He passed away in 1912, lamented by 
the entire county. He was blest with a large fam- 
ily of attractive children, — four sons and four 
daughters. One of the girls is the wife of Rev. 
Otis M. Clarke of our Conference, another married 
a Mr. Motley at Sharpe's wharf, two are still un- 
married, and the fourth died a few years ago. One 
son. Dr. Percy Jones, married the daughter of Rev. 
R. F. Gayle, Lewis is Commonwealth Attorney of 
the county, Thos. G. jr., is a Banker in Urbanna, 
and Carey, the fourth, is a farmer. 

Another trusted official of the church was Bro. 
Muse Wyatt, the rugged conscientious, popular 
Druggist at Urbanna. Everybody liked him, and 
numbers loved him. He was level, square, and up- 
right in all his dealings with the people. He was a 
great lover of his Church, his home, his pastor, his 
business, and good eating. Big oysters and fat 
were his specialty, and many a time has this writer 
made a special visit to his home when notified that 
the luscious sea-food would grace the evening meal, 
and that no other dish would incumber the table 
to divert the guest's attention from the point of 
attack, or claim a share in the excitement of bat- 
tle and the shame of going down in utter defeat. 
Wyatt was my friend. When the end came the 
family sent to Princess Anne county for me to 
conduct the funeral services. I knew no more ap- 


propriate text for the occasion than "We believe, 
therefore have we spoken.'' It was in itself the 
content of an analysis of his faith and of his life, 
and many were kind enough to say that the choice 
was divinely directed. 

Lum Burton lived in Urbanna also, with a jolly 
wife and a set of lively children. Sparkling eyes, 
merry laughter, the rough and ready romp with 
anybody am' everybody placed the entire family in 
strange conlrast with quiet, easy-going Lum. And 
yet he was not altogether sedate. He knew a good 
joke and could tell it, as well as hear one told. He 
furnished by honest toil the means by which his 
home was free from care, and life, at its best, was 
the heritage of his children and the crown of the 
devoted woman who had given him her heart. 

Down on the creek at West Urbanna lived hon- 
est John Gayle, who gave a daughter to the Con- 
ference in the person of the wife of Rev. E. F. 
Garner. And the Chandlers were there on the 
creek, solid, dependable people, who loved God and 
blessed the community with good lives and strong 
faith. Higher up the creek lived Brother Blake 
and his wife, (sister of Mrs. Burton,) at the old 
Hackney home. These sisters were the daughters 
of Brother Hackney, for many years a steward at 
Forest Chapel. He died before my going to Mid- 

There were others in the community, some Bap- 
tists, some Episcopalians, who won my esteem by 
their cordial and most appreciative attendance upon 

D. G. C. BUTTS, 1880. 


my ministry, and their visits to my home. Dr. Wm. 
S. Christian, the courteous Christian gentleman and 
beloved country doctor. He was a leader among 
the Temperance forces of the county and the State, 
having been elected Grand Worthy Chief Templar 
of Good Templars of Virginia at least twice and 
perhaps oftener. Then there were the Marstons, 
the Bristows, Fitzhughs, and many others who 
brought me under lasting obligations by tender 
ministries and unaffected friendship . They sel- 
dom failed to honor my ministry with their pres- 
ence at my services, and showed in many v/ays 
their appreciation of my honest desire to give them 
the word of life. 

Ten miles above Urbanna, down near the river 
on an out-of-the-way road that skirted the farms 
of some of the most noted families of Virginia, 
(the Montagues in particular,) was old "Hopewell" 
■ Church. The membership had either died, or 
moved away, or joined the Baptist Church. The 
building was in a sorry plight, and the few mem- 
bers left were not able nor willing to rebuild. 
Therefore, under the lead of Bro. Maxwell, (whose 
wife was also a Hackney,) a lot was secured, out 
on the main road from "Church View" to Essex 
near Jamaica, and "Bethel" Church was erected 
upon the site. M. P. Maxwell was a Steward at 
Forest Chapel, an industrious lumberman, and the 
people readily followed his wise, courageous and 
devoted leadership. Since then, 1884, a goodly 
membership has been gathered, and a flourish- 


ing Sunday School has confirmed the wisdom of 
Bro. Maxwell's undaunted and self-sacrificing pur- 
pose to build at that point, and sell the old Hope- 
well building. Bro. Fleet Lawson has become a 
worthy successor of the man who began the work. 
The building was completed in 1884, at a cost of 
about $1,800.00, (if my memory serves me right,) 
and dedicated by Rev. R. N. Sledd. 

About three miles above Saluda was Forest 
Chapel, the oldest established congregation in that 
part of the county. The Church was organized 
sometime between 1840 and 1844, for the records 
of the old Gloucester circuit for The First Quar- 
terly Conference of 1844, held at Bethlehem, Feb.' 
10th, contains this note: "The preachers had gone 
over into Middlesex with Methodism." So the 
name "Gloucester-Middlesex Circuit" appears on 
the book for several years afterward, and the 
names of Robert Healy and Lewis Jones appear as 
having been elected stewards at that meeting. G. 
M. Keesee is Presiding Elder, and Kinchin Adams 
and Allen Carner are the preachers. Robt. Healy 
has grandchildren living yet in Middlesex. Lewis 
Jones was the father of T. G. Jones, already men- 
tioned in this narrative, and of Lewis Jones, Ex- 
Treasurer of the County and father of Ashby Jones, 
a recent addition to the Lower Church. 

A singular story is related of the coming of a 
Methodist Circuit Rider to Middlesex sometime in 


In the fall of 1840 the children attending the 
"Old Field School" located a short distance up the 
road from Forest Chapel, the Methodist place of 
worship, noticed a man in the church yard acting 
in a very peculiar way. As children will do when 
their curiosity is aroused, the whole school went 
down to the church in a body to see who the man 
was, and why he acted in such a very "funny way." 
When they reached the church yard the man got 
"down on all fours" and galloped around the church 
building several times, and then walked up to the 
group of astonished children standing there look- 
ing on, and told them his name was "Rev. Mr. Hun- 
nicut. Circuit Rider for Virginia,'' and that his cir- 
cuit was so large that he "had to date his preach- 
ing appointments six months ahead." And that 
six months before he had notified, some of the mem- 
bers of that church that he would "be there that day 
to preach, and he had found no one to hear him." 
He charged the children to "tell their parents what 
they had seen him do, and that he would be at 
that church six months hence, and preach." He 
told the children that he "wanted a congregation to 
hear him, and would depend on them to give the 
notice of that meeting six months hence." The 
time came and the preacher came with it on 
horse-back, with large saddle-bags strapped to 
his saddle. He found not only the members 
of the church, but every man, woman and child 


in the neighborhood had come out to hear this 
"curious old man" preach. 

I have been unable to locate this "Rev. Mr. Hun- 
nicut." There was a Rev. Mr. Hunnicut in West- 
moreland, who, just preceding the Civil War, es- 
tablished an appointment near Chilton's Cross 
Roads, and beg'an the erection of old Providence 
church. The work was abandoned when the war 
came on, but the appointment was taken up and 
carried on by the ministers on the Westmoreland 
circuit of our Conference. Bro. Walter C. Taylor, 
who was the first pastor of the "Montross circuit" 
in 1870, held a meeting there in the summer of 1871. 
When I went to the circuit in November 1871, the 
cfiurch building was a mere skeleton, and I held 
service every two weeks in a private house at the 
Cross Roads. In the summer of 1872 I succeeded 
in completing the church-building at a very small 
cost. A meeting held there by Rev. R. M. Chand- 
ler in 1873 resulted in many additions to the church. 
Whether the Hunnicut who started this building 
was the same one who created the unusual excite- 
ment at Forest Chapel in Middlesex in 1840, I 
know not. 

Dr. Wm. S. Christian, a sterling Christian gen- 
tleman and a Baptist, as well as a practicing Phys- 
ician in Middlesex several years ago, is responsible 
for the story of Hunnicut. He, with the curiosity 


of the other folks, was one of the congregation 
that heard Hunnicut that day. 

Another interesting item is, that, while the Pub- 
lic Schools of the State were not organized until 
1873 in Middlesex, this school near Forest Chapel 
was virtually a Public Free School. There were 
three of these "Free Schools" in the county, one in 
each Magisterial District. These schools were 
made up of all the white children of the neighbor- 
hood who desired an education. Those parents 
who were able paid the fee for tuition : while 
those who were unable to pay had the expense paid 
out of the "Poor Fund." This fund allowed the 
sum of 6 and J4 cents per day for tuition for each 
child. The teachers were generally bright young 
men from College who solicited the children's at- 
tendance in each district. Dr. Christian, at one 
time taught one of these schools. The teacher of 
the Forest Chapel School was a man named Mon- 
tague, who was preparing for the practice of Law. 
He was killed in battle during the Civil War, and 
was a member of Dr. (Col.) Christian's command. 
I am indebted to Mr. E. C. Perciful, formerly of 
Middlesex, for rescuing this interesting story from 

It appears that there were three substantial brick 
churches erected in Colonial times for the use of 
the clergy and congregations of the Church of En- 
gland arnong the original settlers. The "Upper 


Church" at Church View, was bought by the Bap- 
tists, and is called "Hermitage"; the "Lower' 
Church" became the property of the Methodist 
Church through the liberality of Mr. Robert Healy, 
St., who bought it from the county Glebe Fund. 
"Christ Church," near the home of 'Mr. Lewis 
Jones, has been improved and kept in good condi- 
tion by the few Episcopalians in the county, and is 
still in use by them for regular services. 

Six miles below the Lower Church is "Clarks- 
bury," founded about 1843, as recorded in the min- 
utes of the 1st Quarterly Conference of the Glou- 
cester circuit at Bethlehem Church, Feb. 10, 1844. 
A new church building has taken the place of the 
one in use in my day. The congregation is large, 
and the work of the Master is well cared for. 

This part of the county is very populous. The 
people live in comfortable houses on small tracts 
of land, and are engaged in trucking, fishing and 
oystering. There are few renters, and prosperity is 
the normal condition of the mass. Education was 
at a low ebb thirty years ago, but the public school 
system has made a change for the better. Moral- 
ity and religion dominate the thought and life of 
the people generally. Of course like the average 
community, there are citizens there who neither 
believe nor practice either. Seventy-five per cent 
of the people are professors of faith in Christ. 

The remaining three churches, — St. Andrews, 


New Hope and Old Church are on the west of the 
Dragon Swamp, which separates Middlesex from 
upper Gloucester and King and Queen counties. St. 
Andrews, nearest to Saluda, is near Glenn's. It 
was organized, I think, under the administration 
of Brother M. S. Colonna, Sr., my predecessor, 
growing out of the needs of the children of Sun- 
day School age in that community who lived too 
far away from Salem on the Gloucester circuit. 

Out in the forest five miles from Glenn's is "New 
Hope." It first appears in the minutes of the Glou- 
cester Quarterly Conference held at Shackeliford, 
Dec. 15, 1810, as "Groom's." But in 1823, the name 
was "New Hope," and so remains today. This 
church has never been very strong, but it has served 
its generation well considering the material at 
hand, and the talents it possessed. , They are 
hemmed in by Shackelford's on one side, and the 
Old Church and the Dragon on the other. They 
were not an aggressive people, but did the best 
they could in the circumstances. 

Further away, also in King and Queen Co., be- 
tween Centerville and Little Plymouth is "Old 
Church, figuring in the old records of Gloucester 
circuit in 1817. It is a colonial structure, solidly 
built in the 18th century by the Enghsh govern- 
ment. At the time I served Middlesex circuit it 
was a strong appointment, containing some of the 
best people intellectually and morally in that 


county. Their spirituality was not of the highest 
type, but they were a staunch set, sustaining the 
church and supporting its institutions with zeal 
and wisely. 

The Conference of 1882 met in Portsmouth, Va., 
in November. I had a delightful home at Brother 
Geo. L. Neville's on London St., and many a time 
I have had occasion to thank God for bringing me 
into the fellowship of this rugged Christian man 
and his cultured family. As the years have passed, 
I have time and again enjoyed their gracious hos- 
pitality, and discovered the real worth of the peo- 
ple there. Bro. Neville was a leading merchant 
of the city, and one of the official members of 
Monumental Church. His house was a place of 
meeting, rest and refreshment for the preachers, 
travelling and local. The family seemed never to 
tire of the coming and going of folks. I have often 
thought that, if there happened to be a halt of a 
week or ten days in the procession of migratory 
saints and sinners across the front-door sill, some 
one in that cheery household would be selected to 
examine the daily paper for a railway wreck or 
steamboat disaster. When folks didn't come as 
fast as the lovable hosts expected them to move, a 
wire was sent to inquire for the reason. 

Besides myself during this Conference, Bro. 
Neville entertained Rev. Oscar Littleton, Louis L. 
Marks, Secty^ of the Joint Board of Finance, and 


Bro. Bunkley of Isle of Wight county. Marks 
and Neville were a lively pair, diligent servants 
of the Church, and as devoted to each other as a 
pair of lovers. 

Good beds kept the guests asleep in the morning 
till the smell of breakfast broke the chains of 
slumber.. Smithfield ham, turkey, and other things 
coaxed us from important meetings, and kept the 
procession to the table punctual in the advance upon 
the tempting dishes, and slow to learn the meaning 
of retreat. 

The Conference was a most interesting occa- 
sion : epochal, in that it was the One Hundredth 
session, and, by a happy coincidence, held its meet- 
ings with the first Methodist Society organized in 
the State, and in the building, — Monumental 
Church, — erected to the memory of Robert Will- 
iams, the first preacher, and the recognized Founder 
of Methodism in Virginia. The Centennial Cel- 
ebration was held on Thursday night, Nov. 16th. 
Bishop Geo. F. Pierce, the President of the Confer- 
ence, presided. Rev. W. W. Bennett, D. D., de- 
livered an address on The Rise and Progress of 
Methodism in Virginia. Rev. John E. Edwards, D. 
D., then followed with an address on The Persona! 
History of the Virginia Conference, including those 
who formed the North Carolina Conference in 
1836. Then brief speeches were made by Rev. Le- 
onidas Rosser, D. D., and Rev. John B. McFerrin, 


Agent of the Methodist Publishing House at Nash- 
ville, Tenn. 

At the close of the Conference I was returned to 
Middlesex for the second year, with Rev. J. F. 
Boggs, Presiding Elder. There were some who re- 
sented my return because I had succeeded in get- 
ting rid of the Liquor element in tha church. 
The greater majority, however, welcomed my re- 
turn as an endorsement of my administration, 
among these were the best people in all the 
churches, people who wanted to see righteousness 
upheld by the pastor. I will recite a significant in- 
cident, not by way of self-praise, but to point a 
moral. Here it is : — A score of worldly men, who 
loved their dram, but despised hypocrisy, sent me to 
Conference clothed in an elegant suit, with over- 
coat and hat to match : and these men were among 
the first to welcome me back to the circuit. 

I have said the parsonage is in Saluda, the county 
town. There was in that town a noble citizen- 
ship. Shackelford, Marston, Hewitt, Archibald, 
Bowden, Bristow, Anderton, Clemments, Davis, 
Smither, McCandlish, and Dr. Wa'lker. Outside of 
the town, but near by, lived Woodward, Perkins, 
Street, Lee, Jones, and Beasley. Some of these 
were Methodists, and some were Baptists and 
Episcopalians : yet with cordial and sincere spirit 
gave the greeting of brethren on my return. 

In a short while a movement was begun for the 


erection of a church in the town for our Method- 
ist congregation. Forest Chapel, three miles away, 
was deemed too far for our children to attend Sun- 
day School. My wife organized a Sunday School 
in the Parsonage, to furnish the proof that such a 
building was needed. Very soon the three rooms 
down-stairs and the pastor's office in the yard, 
were filled with eager parents and children. Bro. 
William Shackelford, our neighbor, rendered val- 
uable aid as Superintendent, assisted by the Hew- 
itts and Archibald, and the consecrated Methodist 
'women, who had already joined my wife in the 

I enter here some leaves from my Journal which 
was destroyed in the Franktown parsonage fire, 
Dec. 26, 1909. 

Janusury 9th, 1883. "Immediately after Confer- 
ence, taking Anna, our second daughter, we vis- 
ited my dear mother's only sister, Mrs. G. J. 
Thomas, at 639 Fulton Ave., Brooklyn, N. Y. I 
heard Henry Ward Beecher preach the modern 
gospel, which, if true, is really good news to the 
sinner who has determined to have a good time in 
this life, and then "pass out of existence like a dog," 
according to Beecher. But if untrue, and God's 
Book says it is, how great is the guilt of the man 
who preaches it ! and how great is the blindness of 
the man who receives it ! At the evening hour I 
th eman who receives it ! At the evening hour I 


comforting, gospel message. Anna and I returned 
to Virginia Dec. 2nd, and I at once took up my 
work for the year. 

January lO'th. Yesterday a terriffic snow-storm 
began about 1 P. M., and continued till today at 
noon. The snow drifted in many places to the 
depth of four feet. On a level in our yard it is 16 
inches deep. Today is cold and bleak. I am grate- 
ful to God that my family is comfortable. We have 
a plenty to eat, and an abundance of fuel. My peo- 
ple have supplied us with many of the neqessaries 

. * 
of life, and by other acts of kindness have mtensi- 

fied my desire to^ serve them faithfully in spiritual 
matters. Some folks know how to do a nice thing 
nicely : others do not know how to make a home, 
either for themselves or any one else. 

Yesterday I received a very queer letter from a 
very natural young lady. She wanted my advice 
about accepting an offer of marriage from a certain 
young man, whom I did not know. I gave it. She 
will follow my advice if she feels like it, which is 
very doubtful. 

I am weather-bound by the deep snow, so I 
have the opportunity to spend the day in reading 
and meditation. Since beginning my ministry in 
1869 I have the conversion of 1173 souls in -my 
own meetings. 

January 12th. After three days of snow the 
weather has cleared up, a,tl<jl we tiav? a beautiful 


day. I have picked up some rich reading in Han- 
na's "Life of Christ." Would that I could take in 
the glorious meaning of the Incarnation of the Son 
of God ! 

I have studied much yesterday and today the 
first chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians, espe- 
cially the 17 to the 20 verse inclusive. The swreep 
of the Apostle's thought is vast, and the vision of 
the exalted Son of God which his enraptured soul 
obtained must have thrilled him with speechless 
wonder. And he tells us that the same power which 
lifted up Jesus, and made Him to be the "Head 
over all things to the Church, which is His body, 
is pledged to every believer on Christ to lift such 
a believer to an exalted height in Christian expe- 

January 15th. Travel was so rough on Satur- 
day that I could not get to Old Church. I have net 
preached there since the second Sunday in Novem- 
ber. But I cannot control the weather. It is clear 
today, but intensely cold. 

I went with a number of young men from the 
village skating today on Urbanna creek. We had 
fine sport. The ice was smooth, and about four 
inches thick. I do not think I am losing anything 
by mixing with the young men around this town. 
They are very respectful, very fond of me, because 
I have won their confidence. I may win some of 
them to Christ. 

January 2l8t. I have not written a line in this 
record since Monday. It rained yesterday. Tt 


rained today till 10 A. M., and I had abandoned all 
hope of getting to Forest Chapel till I saw some of 
brethren going; then I decided to go. I am glad I 
went. I gave a rambling talk on "Mistaken Zeal," 
"And Saul was consenting unto his death." I hope 
some good was done. I am sure I was in earnest, 
for I felt the force of my talk myself.. This has 
been a hard winter, but "the Lord of Hosts is with 
us : the God of Jacob is our refuge." 

January 31st. It has been ten days since I wrote 
in these pages. The snow has disappeared, but has 
left the roads a perfect quagmire. Wednesday 
night I preached at Urbanna. I am grateful to God 
for much liberty. I am trying to lead my church 
to a higher plane of living. No heart is thoroughly 
imbued with the Spirit of Christ that consents to 
admit as consistent a life which is worldly in the 
least. There is a difference between a Christian 
and a man of the world, and woe be unto that 
church-member who fails to show it in his or her 

Saturday I was at Lower Church holding a 
Church Conference. One young man who joined 
the church last summer, has followed the advice of 
an ungodly father and sells intoxicating liquors 
in his store. Of course he was excluded from the 
church. "The love of money is the root of" this 
"evil," also. Rain Sunday morning prevented me 
from preaching at Lower Church, but I met my ap- 
pointment at Clarksbury. 

February 17th. On Friday the 9th I went to Old 


Church and delivered two Temperance addresses to 
an attentive and intelHgent audience. After the 
afternoon speech I went to West Point to met our 
Presicjing Elder, Bro. F. J. Boggs, brought him 
over to Bro. George Shackelford's at Centerville, 
where we spent the night. Next morning, the 10th, 
he held our First Quarterly Conference at Old 
Church. The church is prospering, except in spir- 
itual matters. We had a capital sermon from Bro. 
Boggs on Sunday, and spent the night at Dr. W. F. 
Bland's. Fine folks these. Monday, after dinner 
at Bro. Morris's we went on up to the King and 
Queen parsonage, where we had a royal welcome 
from Bro. W. W. Lear, the pastor of the circuit, and 
his good wife, who was Miss Mary Nolley, daugh- 
ter of Uncle Geo. W. Nolley, one of the fathers of 
the Conference. A pleasant night, profitable talk 
and spiritual strengthening were the features of 
this visit. Tuesday I went on my journey alone 
to Ed. Whitehouse's mill, near Logan Church in Es- 
sex. Here I found old friends from King George, 
— I. F. Hayes and wife, Whitehouse and wife, Law- 
rence Hayes, Aubrey Sutton, George Edwards, and 
a colored friend named Henry Lomax. That night 
I baptized Ed's and Hattie's babyj girl. — Susan 
Charlotte. My soul was in the service and Hattie 
fled from the room in tears. Two pleasant days 
passed away quickly, and I hastened home to my 
work, arriving at 10 o'clock last night." 

Here is another entry in my ruined Journal ; 
read: — "March 31st. Notwithsanding the rain, I 


lectured last night to a good size audience, (at 
Bethel near Jamaica). I came on home in the 
darkness, arriving at midnight. I am resting today, 
Saturday, and getting ready to go to New, Hope 
and St. Andrews tomorrow. 

Monday, April 2nd. Yesterday was a remark- 
able day. The morning was bright and beautiful. 
At mid-day it had clouded over thickly, turned very 
cold, and the day closed with a heavy north-east 
snow-storm, through which I drove three miles to 
Saluda without curtains to the buggy, and with only 
a light robe over my lap." 

I have quoted from these leaves of my diary 
enough to give the reader some idea of the con- 
stant grind of the year's work. 

Early in May of that year, 1883, I visited my 
grandfather. Rev. John Gregory Claiborne, at the 
old home, "Roslin," Brunswick Co., Va. I stopped 
in passing through Petersburg at the residence of 
my uncle, Dr. John Herbert Claiborne. Since my 
visit in January, 1882, his third daughter, Joe Als- 
ton, had become the wife of Wm. B. Mcllwaine, a 
young lawyer, and the friend of my boyhood days. 
My grandfather was eighty-five years old, (hav- 
ing been born in 1798,) and had preached the gospel 
in that county for three generations. He was loved 
and revered by the people, and they yet delighted 
to hear his inspiring sermons, delivered with the 
enthusiasm of youth and the wisdom of mature 
manhood, as well as the positive assurance of the 
old man who had tested wellnigh every promise of 


his Lord. His second wife is rapidly failing from 
the infirmities of age, and the painful inroads of a 
virulent cancer. Our cousin, Miss Josephine Clai- 
borne, gentle, sympathetic, vigilant, is their only 
attendant. Her whole life has been one of service 
for others. 

The District Conference for the Randolph-Ma- 
con District, (as it was then called,) was held in 
July of this year at "Lower Church" in my circuit, 
and of course the burden of transportation and en- 
tertainment fell upon me and my people. But we 
were all equal to the demands made upon us, and 
everybody went away satisfied at its close. Our 
beloved Presiding Elder, Rev. F. J. Boggs, was 
taken quite ill on the last day of the session with 
an old complaint, and was carried to the residence 
of Dr. B. B. Dutton, near by, where he received ex- 
pert medical attention. Dr. W. W. Bennett was 
with him, and accompanied him home to Ashland 
the next day. By the way, it was at this Confer- 
ence that Dr. Bennett delivered his great sermon on 
"The Inevitable Awakening of Conscience," — a 
sermon which swept the great crowd with its spir- 
itual power, and made impressions which brought 
many into the kingdom later on in the year 

August 1st was a high day in Saluda. Tbe cor- 
ner-stone of the new church was laid by the Ma- 
sons of the Lodge at Urbanna, a big diantjr and 
also a supper were served. Rev. S. S. Lambeth. D. 
D., of our Conference delivered a fine lecture on 
"Courtship," and the gilt-edge day was placed in 


the archives of a grateful memory. Besides this 
we put away in our treasury $325.00, clear of all 

The ijext day Dr. Lambeth and I, accompanied 
by Miss Belle Northern of Washington, D. C, and 
Miss Jennie Collins of King and Queen, went over 
to Marvin Grove Camp Meeting for a ten day's ab- 
sence from work and travel. There was much 
fashion and show, but little spirituality. 

The Annual Conference of 1883 met in Broad St. 
church, Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Nov. 14th. 
Bishop H. H. Kavanaugh presided. Bishop Geo. 
F. Pierce being also present. The Secretary was 
Dr. Paul Whitehead, with P. A. Peterson, S. S. 
Lambeth and Geo. C, Vanderslice assisting. Bishop 
R. K. Hargrove was later introduced to the Con- 
ference. Rev. Jas. A. Riddick and Rev. Joseph 
Lear completed their Fifty years' service in the 
itinerant ministry, and a resolution was adopted 
requesting Rev. John E. Edwards, D. D., to deliver 
a semi-centennial address at the jiext session of 
Conference, it being the close of his fiftieth year in 
the active work. 

At the end of Conference when the appointments 
were read I was returned to Middlesex for my third 
year, with Rev. E. E. Harrell as Junior Preacher. 
The Fourth Quarterly Conference of the charge 
had requested the division of the circuit ; but, under 
a misapprehension, our dear Brother Boggs, the 
Elder, had asked for a Junior instead. However, 
an agreement among, the stewards of the circuit 


was reached by the middle of January, 1884, and 
"by the authority of Bishop Pierce the circuit was 
divided Feb. 1st, into Middlesex and East King and 
Queen. Bro. Harrell was placed in charge of the 
three churches in the latter, — Old Church, New 
Hope and St. Andrews, leaving me in charge of 
the former, composed of Bethel, Forest Chapel, 
Urbanna, Lower Church and Clarksbury. Brio. 
Harrell established his Headquarters at Center- 
ville, and went to work in earnest to develop the re- 
sources of this promising field. 

Bro. Harrell was a strong young man in robust 
health, a fine preacher, and a faithful pastor. The 
new work grew strong under his wise and courage- 
ous ministry, and it was a source of profound regret 
to me that he was removed at the end of the year. 
My association with him as a neighbor placed me 
in close touch with the man and his work. I 
learned to love him for his splendid qualities as a 
Christian gentleman, and to admire his courage in 
administration of his office, as well as the firm 
grip he had obtained on the fundamental princi- 
ples of our faith. His fidelity in proclaiming the 
truth from point of view of M'ethodism surrounded 
as he was by the strongest sort of Baptists in the 
Old Church section, and defending the faith in his 
visitations among the people, won for him a high 
place in the esteem of the thoughtful, and chal- 
lenged, and received, the respect of the rest. Bro. 
Harrell was every inch a man. When I learned of 
his death in July, 1909, I felt a personal loss for a 


young brother beloved had fallen in the battle too 
soon for the weal of the world. 

The church building at Saluda was completed 
sometime in the summer of 1884, and dedicated. 
The work was carried forward to success by a sen- 
, sible and devoted Building' Committee. Capt. Mark 
Hewitt, William Shackelford, John H. Bowden are 
the names as far as I can now recall them : but 
the co-operation of a number of other gentlemen, 
as Mr. Phil. T. Woodward, (a Baptist,) and Mr. 
Lewis Jones, (a member of no church,) Geo. 
Shackelford, Albert and Geo. Hewitt, John H. 
Archibald, was cordial, and substantial. And the 
women added the graces of courage, faith, inven- 
tion, perseverance and prayer to the movement. 
Among these Mrs. Lewis Jones, (a devoted Pres- 
byterian, who has since joined our church,) Mrs. 
Geo. Hewitt and my wife, and others, whose names 
now escape me, never for a moment lost heart in 
the enterprise. And when the Sunday School was 
moved out of the parsonage into its new quarters 
in the completed building, and the first service was 
held, everybody was glad and praised the Lord who 
had answered prayer and brought to pass the de- 
sire of our hearts. 

The year '84 was without further incident, ex- 
cept it was the Centennial year of the organization 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore at 
the "Christmas Conference," 1784. Dr. Sledd came 
to my charge on my invitation and delivered three 
or four addresses on the "History of Methodism." 


A Quartette of Circuits, to wit : King and Queen, 
East King and Queen, Essex and Middlesex, under 
the respective pastoral charge of Revs. W. W. 
Lear, E. E. Harrell, R. H. Potts, and D. G. C. 
Butts, organized four "All Day Ceiitenary Meet- 
ings," — one on each circuit, which were addressed 
by these preachers on "The History of Methodism," 
"The Doctrinal Basis of Methodism," "Methodism 
in the Sunday School Field," and "Methodism in the 
Field of Education." Dr. Lear spoke on the first 
theme, to me was assigned the second, Bro. Har- 
rell the third, and Bro. Potts the last. It was not 
our fault if the dear people were not well informed 
on Methodism as an evangelizing force in this 
country when we got through. Large crowds at- 
tended each meeting, free dinners were furnished 
by the congregations, and great good was done the 
cause of our beloved church. Ministers and Lay- 
men of other communions honored us with their 
presence, and commended our zeal, and expressed 
joy at the marvellous movements of Methodism. 
Of course some discounted the validity of our 
claims, and tried to discredit the victories which 
had been won by the Itinerancy, but these did not 
belong to the thoughtful, the broad-minded, or the 
sincere. They were of the class which counts no- 
where in the great movements of the church ex- 
cept at the dinner table, when there is nothing to 
pay for what one gets. 

The Conference of 1884 met in Lynchburg, Nov. 
12^18. Bishop John C. Keener presided. Bishop 


Granbery was also present during the session. He 
was once an honored member of this Conference, 
and is beloved by all who knew him. 

The Conference was memorable because the 
Memoir of Rev. Geo. W. Nolley, one of the fathers 
of Virginia Methodism was read, and was given a 
deeply interested hearing by the large audience, 
few of whom had not been touched by the life of 
this man of God. 

Another item of interest was added to the ses- 
sion. At the last session, held in Richmond, two 
Bishops, Pierce and Kavanaugh, sat on the plat- 
form together. Since then they have both died. A 
memorial service was held for these at the same 
hour that the service was held for father Nolley. 
Dr. W. W. Bennett read the Memoir of Father Nol- 
ley, Dr. Paul Whitehead read that of Bishop Pierce, 
and Dr. A. G. Brown read that of Bishop Kava- 
naugh. Seldom has an audience been permitted to 
hear such eloquent and well-deserved tributes to 
her leaders departed from such representative men 
as prepared these papers and delivered them that 

A very large Class was received On Trial into 
the Travelling Connection, an unusually large 
class. The men were V. W. Bargamin of Centen- 
ary Station, Richmond; Thos. J. Wray, of the 
Gloucester circuit ; Jas. A. Duncan, of Albermarle 
circuit; Theodore H. White, of Prospect circuit; 
John L. Pribble, of Mt. Pleasant circuit; McDaniel 
Rucker, of Madison and Danielstown Station ; Chas. 


H. McGhee, of Court St. Station, Lynchburg: 
Thomas N. Potts, of Appamattox circuit ; Jas. W- 
Howell of Centenary Station, Lynchburg; Henry 
J. Brown, of East Halifax circuit ; John T. Payne, 
of Spottsylvania circuit ; Edgar H. Rowe, of Bowl- 
ing Green circuit ; T. G. Pullen, of Eastville circuit ; 
and John T. Bosnian, of Queen St. Church, Norfolk : 
Fourteen. Of these, Bargamin, Pribble, Rucker, 
Potts, Rowe, Pullen, Brown, and Bosnian are still 
with us. Duncan, McGhee and Howell are in other 
Conferences, whilst Wray, White, and Payne have 
gone to the Church Triumphant. Of the eight with 
us, two, Pribble and Rucker, are Superannuates. 

On the adjournment of Conference I found my- 
self returned to the Middlesex circuit for the fourth 
M year, with V. W. Bargamin as my neighbor on the 
East King and Queen circuit. 

With few exceptions, the people were better 
satisfied with the service rendered by the 
ministry: for now each church had service 
twice each month, whereas heretofore the services 
were a month apart when the weather permitted : 
and time and again the people had preaching after 
sixty days. These were the "good old days," we 
read about, salaries were low, and the substantial 
gifts of the well-to-do people filled up the larder, 
and kept the preacher's family in a cheerful mood. 

There were other fine people in that charge be- 
sides those already spoken of. J do not think the 
names of these good folk should be allowed *o per- 
ish. Phil. T. Woodward, County Clerk, and a Dea- 


con of Hermitage Baptist church at Church View, 
was one of my warmest friends ; too large hearted 
to be narrow, too devout a Christian to be exclus- 
ive, too sensible a man to be a bigot. He was never 
untrue to his own faith, but he could see good in 
any movement that was projected in the name of 
His Lord. Hence he did not hesitate when I offered 
him a place on the Building Committee of the Cen- 
tenary church at Saluda. His good sense helped us 
in many a trying hour, and his prudence was a 
balance wheel which kept us from many a rash 

Capt. Mark Hewitt was the business head of the 
movement at Saluda. His faithfulness, his punct- 
uality, his sincerity, his generous contributions, 
wthout noise or bluster, were the charming fea- 
tures in this good man's make-up. His boys were 
as true as he : they carried his blood and had to 
stand by the job of living the right life. 

Wallace Woodward, the young Baptist lawyer, 
his father's reflection, the modest Christian gentle- 
man, ready at all times with his clean cut legal ad- 
vice, backed up by an incorruptible character. 

William Shackelford, enthusiastic, consecrated, 
a skilled worker in the Sunday School of that day. 
For years he travelled every Sunday morning from 
Saluda over to Salem on the Gloucester circuit, at 
least ten miles to superintend that interest for that 
congregation. I had a big job persuading him that 
Saluda was the place that needed his brain and 
heart, but I succeeded at last, and the work at Cen- 


tenary began the upward movement as soon as he 
took hold. He was the next door neighbor to the 
parsonage. His wife was the constant friend and 
companion of the preacher's wife, and the children 
of the two yards mixed indiscriminately and with- 
out cessation. 

George Shackelford, blessed old George ; always 
looking on the dark side of every question, whether 
of politics, business, or religion : and even the 
weather bothered him terribly. He constantly 
claimed to be on the verge of bankruptcy : he could 
never lead himself to balieve that his candidate 
would be elected, but he would vote for him if 
everybody in the United States voted against him : 
and as for the weather, he was eternally complain- 
ing because, said he, "Nobody can never tell what 
kind of weather we are going to have, and this un- 
certainty will be the death of me yet." If one 
would just remind him that "the good Lord would 
look out for the weather," he would reply that that 
was his only hope. On the subject of religion he 
was always talking about what a hard time he had 
trying to serve the Lord, but I have never known 
him to express doubts about getting to heaven at 
last. George Shackelford was all right, but he 
didn't believe it. 

One of the most generous, hospitable, and faith- 
ful attendants on the church services during my 
ministry was a gentleman who was not a professor 
of religion, and, so far as outward signs are re- 
liable, was far from being a Christian. He never 


hesitated to stand by me in every move I inaugu- 
rated or approved of for the furtherance of the 
interests of the Church of God in the county. He 
was my strong financial backer in erecting the 
Centenary church at Saluda. I never failed to en- 
list his sympathy from the beginning of that en- 
terprise to its consummation -when it was an- 
nounced that the debt was paid. He was mainly 
instrumental in securing the chandelier and the 
pulpit furniture, although he placed it all to the 
credit of his devoted wife. And she, a devout 
Presbyterian, was the "live wire" in carrying for- 
ward the agencies of the church to which the 
ladies were pledged. The parsonage had no wiser 
friend than she, nor more helpful visitor, nor the 
preacher and his wife and children more sincere 
friends than Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Jones. She joined 
our church a few years after my term ended, but 
neither myself nor any of my successors could per- 
suade him to surrender his heart and his life to 
the service of the Lord Jesus. 

The year 1885 ended. The time for the quadren- 
nial move arrived, and preparations went forward 
rapidly for leaving my successor, whoever he might 
be, a plain account of the state of affairs in the cir- 
cuit, the packing of my belongings began, and 
farewell visits to special friends were made. Sup- 
pers and dinners were the order of the day and of 
the early evening hours, and Baptists and Episco- 
palians vied with the members of my own congre- 


gation in giving us "a send off" which made part- 
ing a painful duty. 

We had all the agony of departure that mortals 
generally endure, and only awaited the word of the 
Bishop to know how to mark the stuff. This we 
learned in a very short time at Petersburg, the 
seat of the Conference session. 




The Conference of 1885 met in Petersburg Nov. 
11th and adjourned Tuesday the 17th. Bishop 
John C. Keener presided. 

The Delegates to the General Conference which 
met in the city of Richmond in May, 1886, were 
elected. They were our piG MEN. Read the 
names, — John E. Edwards, R. N. Sledd, W. W. 
Bennett, John D. Blackwell, Paul Whitehead, P. A. 
Peterson, and J. J. Lafferty. Reserves, L. S. Reed 
and A. G. Brown. The Lay delegates were W. W. 
Walker, Richard Irby, L. L. Marks, R. W. Peatross, 
W. T. Chandler, T. W. Mason and W, W. Berry. 
Reserves were W. M. Jones, James Cannon and 
C. V. Winfree. 

"Bishop Keener laid before the Conference the 
action of the General Conference of the M. E. 
Church, South, taken on the 25th of May, 1882, as 
follows : 

"Resolved, That the matter of changing the name 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, to the 
Methodist Episcopal Church in America, be 
referred to the several Annual Conferences during 
the ensuing, four years, and that they report the 


result of the vote to the General Conference of 
1886 for ratification." 

The roll was called, and the Conference voted 
as follows : 

In favor of changing the name 1 

Agfainst changing the name 147 

Statistics showed at this Conference 63, 996 mem- 
bers of the Church, and 46,960 Sunday Scholars. 
Raised for Superannuated preach- 
ers, widows and orphans $ 6,666.00 

For Foreign Missions 12,079.38 

For Domestic Missions 6,871.59 

By Rosebud Missionary Society 4,731.85 

By Woman's Missionary Society 2,160.00 

Total for Missions $25,843.82 

I give these figures that we may get an accurate 
idea of the DISTANCE travelled since 1885. 

Conference adjourned with the appointments read 
on the night of the 17th. Rev. A. B. Warwick suc- 
ceeded me in Middlesex, and I was sent to Princess 
Anne in the Norfolk District, after fifteen years' 
service on the Randolph Macon District, five years 
on the south side, and ten years on the north side 
of the Rappahannock river. 

As I packed my stuff, and counted my packages, I 
thought of a description of that process given by 
a certain preacher and picked up by me in my trav- 

It reads as follows : — "The greatest curiosity in 
pastoral life is the' parson's baggage when he 


moves. No ordinary packer can arrange that het- 
erogenous, mass so that the public carrier will fe,- 
ceive it. You know it is said that 'a rolling stone 
gathers no moss.' The principle is not always sus- 
tained by the facts. A parson was sent to a cer- 
tain section. He carried with him a horse, saddle 
and bridle, a pair of saddle-pockets stuffed with 
books and clothes. He had, also, % linen duster, 
a faded umbrella, and a dingy shawl thrown over 
his shoulders. This was the aggrfegate of his 
earthly possessions and the young fellow thought 
himself rich. He remained in that region ten solid 
years, serving in that time three good circuits. 
When he left he carried with him a horse, carriage, 
harness, saddle, bridle, wife, four children, three 
trunks, three suit-cases, one satchel, four barrels, 
three big boxes, one little box, one box of pictures, 
a small keg, a pair of saddle-pockets, a baby's 
chair, and a cradle. A dog and a colored girl had 
to be left behind. It required, besides his own horse 
and carriage, three two-horse wagons to move him. 
The packing of these treasures was a task. There 
were new quilts and pillow-slips, honey and shoes, 
pickle and sausage, meat and under-clothing, pre- 
serves and sermons, lard and books, pamphlets and 
souse, butter and hats, socks and soap, canned fruit 
and baby clothes. This miscellaneous collection of 
a preacher's wealth filled numerous receptacles, and 
the freight bill left his pocket-book as thin as a 

That may be a very exaggerated inventory of a 


moving preacher's baggage, but it differs very little 
from my own at the time we made that long move 
from Middlesex county on the Rappahannock river 
to Nimmo's in Princess Anne county, eighteen 
miles east of Norfolk, in that bleak December 
weather in 1885. The journey began on Tuesday 
the 1st day of the month, and ended on Saturday 
the 5th about sunset. Brother J. D. Hank my pred- 
ecessor on the Princess Anne circuit, made all nec- 
essary arrangements for the transportation of my 
goods from Norfolk to Nimmo's. I had all my fam- 
ily and "stuff" at the Urbanna creek wharf early 
Tuesday afternoon, but on account of a heavy north 
east storm the steamer did not get into the creek 
until Friday night about 7 o'clock. Then the real 
journey began. My family, which had been dis- 
tributed around the village since Tuesday, was got- 
ten together, and followed the household goods 
aboard the boat. The river was rough, but Ches- 
apeake Bay was a storm-tossed fury, the waves 
dashing against the sides of the old "Mary Wash- 
ington" making a noise like the bursting of a 
blast in a quarry. It was a night never to be for- 
gotten, but our five children slept through the 
horrible hours with never a complaint. 

Brother Hank with Brothers Sandy Brock and 
Jonathan Hunter, met us on the dock on our arrival 
in Norfolk next morning. Bro. Hank took us to 
his parsonage on Park Avenue for lunch, while the 
brethren named above, Stewards of Nimmo's 
church, took charge of our effects to be sent by 


wagons to our new home eighteen miles away. 
After lunch we set out in two conveyances, — 
Brother Hunter with a portion of the tribe in his 
carriage, and I with the rem^indjer, with Bro. 
Hank's horse hitched to my buggy, followed. We 
suffered from cold, but after two hours of travel 
we found in the parsonage a glorious fire and a 
hot supper. Two of the thoughtful ladies, Sister 
John Brown and her daughter, received us cor- 
cordially, and then left us to occupy to our heart's 

I opened my commission at Charity church, 
eight miles south, on Sunday morning the 6th, to 
a small gathering of enthusiastic Methodists who 
had turned out in the bitter cold winds to see and 
hear the new preachr. At 3 P. M., a large congre- 
gation, which filled the house to its capacity, 
greeted me at the Tabernacle. Joe Herrick, the 
son-in-law of Brother Hank, guided me to these 
churches, and introduced 'me to sundry saints and 
others. I returned to the parsonage at the close 
of a delightful day and told my wife that the out- 
look indicated a pleasant and profitable year on 
the Princess Anne circuit. 

Rev. Wm. E. Judkins, D. D., was my Presiding 
Elder. He was at Market St. church, Petersburg, 
during the last year of the life of my father, and 
conducted the services at his funeral. His sym- 
pathetic ministrations during these dark days 
when the main support of the home lay an invalid, 
and on that darker day when the precious remains 

St StJGGt, bOA* A*fb tt-«tLWA* 1?1 

were brought home from Buflfalo Springs, gave 
him a warm place in our hearts. He was deeply 
interested in my preparations for the work of the 
ministry, and when the home was broken up, his 
interest was intensified. Hence I had always car- 
ried in my heart a boy's love for this preacher, and 
when I was sent to his District he welcomed me 
warmly, and aided me by all means at his command 
in the delicate and difficult work of this large and 
important field of eleven churches. 

Bro. Judkins did not get to many of his Quar- 
terly Conferences on the first round of this, his 
third, year. On his way to his Currituck appoint- 
ment in a buggy owned and operated by Rev. J. T. 
Routten, Preacher in Charge, an accident befell 
them which came very near putting both P. E. and 
P. C, permanently out of the business of "dis- 
pensing with the Gospel" in these parts. Routten 
owned a splendid horse, fast and furious, and ri- 
diculously rude in his behaviour should his nerves, 
set on a hair-trigger, receive a shock of any sort. 

Bro. Routten met the Presiding Elder at the 
Station on the Norfolk Southern Railroad in Cur- 
rituck Co., N. C. The morning was cold ; Rout- 
ten's horse was on his mettle arid wanted to go : 
and Routten let him. Down that level lowland 
road, this hurricane built on polished hoof and 
wrapped in shining hide, rushed as if linked with 
the forces of the rolling Atlantic. The swift re- 
volving Wheels rattled over the icy track, and the 
frigid air, set in motion by the speed of the zeal- 

172 fSoM SADDLE fO.Cttt 

ous animal, swept by the ears of the silent preach- 
ers like the rush of a flood of waters. Suddenly, 
and without warning', a "North Carolina Bald Ea- 
gle," commonly known as a "Fish Hawk," arose 
gracefully from an adjoining fence and laid his 
course to the summit of a towering pine. In that 
instant the horse changed his course and started 
back, with no slacking of speed, to "the place from 
whence he came,'" carrying with him the front 
wheels and shafts : the body with the hind wheels 
attached stopped abruptly in the road; the cush- 
ion seat sailed out over the dash ; Bro. Judkins 
went out over on one side, and Routten lit out for 
the zenith, where the sun, in his glory, daily lights 
the way. But this aspiring genius, having had no 
time to prepare for the flight, fell into a ditch by 
the wayside. 

This explains the absence of Brother Judkins 
from the First Quarterly Conference of the Prin- 
cess Anne circuit for that year: but Rev. J. D. 
Hank came in his stead, told us all about the ac- 
cident in his own inimitable style, (we had heard 
nothing of it till then,) preached finely, and admin- 
istered the Sacrament to his old flock, and returned 
Sunday afternoon to his own new field, the East 
Norfolk circuit, leaving us all refreshed by his un- 
expected visit. 

Virginia Beach was a very insigniifieant, but 
promising, village by the sea in the days of my 
pastorate in Princess Anne. There were the rail- 
road station, one house on the Ocean front at the 


foot of 17th Street, the Princess Anne Hotel, and 
a new hotel erected south of the present Lake Sta- 
tion during my term. Between the Princess Anne 
Hotel and the Life Saving- Station there was not a 
building: nor was there one north of that Sta- 
tion till you came to Cape Henry Life Saving Sta- 
tion, known as No. 1 — five miles. There was no 
railway to Norfolk by way of Cape Henry. The 
Norfolk and Virginia Beach Railroad was a steam 
narrow guage affair with its terminus at the Prin- 
cess Anne Hotel. Tunis Station, now Oceana, was 
the port of departure and entry for all that re- 
gion as far south as Nimmo's, and to most of the 
farmers in Great Neck. 

Since that far away period the sons of the farm- 
ers have fallen upon better facilities for travel. 
The Norfolk Southern R. R. runs an Electric Line 
of cars to Virginia Beach, on northward to Cape 
Henry, thence by way of Lynnhaven Inlet, across 
the Inlet on a substantial bridge, to Norfolk. Vir- 
ginia Beach is an incorporated town fully three 
miles long. The Baptists have a large Auditorium 
for their Sunday School Summer encampment, and 
a very attractive little church edifice. The Meth- 
odists have an excellent brick church, erected dur- 
ing my pastorate; the Episcopalians occupy the 
old Gallilee chapel, used so long as a place of wor- 
ship by all. The Presbyterians also have erected 
a church in the last few years. 

The Beach is a popular resort for the monied 
people, our "poor rich folks," who live throughout 

174 t"ftoM sAbDiE TO crtit 

the year, as the wild fowl lives, hatching elsewhere, 
but living in the north in Summer, and in Florida 
in Winter. They pause at Virginia Beach going 
either way to rest their wings, and get some good 
old Virginia food, cooked as only a Virginia col- 
ored cook knows how. The bathing is fine, the 
boarding houses are unexcelled anywhere, north 
or south. 

My visits to Great Neck in '86 and '87 were con- 
fined to a limited field. I remember Harrison 
Brock's, Wm. T. Brock's, and Geo. E. Ferebee. I 
was at Mr. Shep. James's home once I think. The 
latter Brock and Ferebee lived on Link Horn and 
Broad Bays, Mr. James on Lynnhaven river. The 
oysters were fine, the fishing good, the boat rides 
delightful, and the general air of things around and 
about those parts such as a tired young man en- 
joyed greatly after a heavy day's visiting and 
preaching. Wm. T. Brock I remember as a good- 
natured, cheerful, industrious fellow, excelled only 
by his brother, Harrison, in his delight in a good 
yarn and a hearty laugh. I married two couples 
down in that end of the work; January the 27th, 
1887, Mr. N. B. Godfrey and Miss Sallie F. Over- 
street, and February the 17th, Mr. J. Willie Bon- 
ney and Miss Mary V. L. Woodhouse. On the 25th 
of February, 1886, I united in marriag^e Mr. M. T. 
Ives and Miss Mary E. Braithwaite, and on March 
3, 1887, Jonathan Hunter and Miss Laura F. 
Nimmo, at Nimmo's. 

From Tunis' Station on southward I had a mini- 


■ber of members and visited their homes about 
twice a year, except when sickness among them 
called, then my visits were repeated as long; as 
need required. Jonathan Hunter was the preach- 
er's friend and his door stood open at all times to 
him. Emerson Land with his two daughters and 
many sons were in the same section. Sandy Brock, 
the splendid bachelor, who with Bro. Hunter and 
Bro. John Brown, had the lead at Nimmo's church, 
were dependable men of faith and sterling piety. 
in the home, on the highway, everywhere : con- 
secrated, devout, at public worship, or at any other 
time, without aflfectation, and sincere. Claude 
Nimmo, Charlie Brock, The Flanagans, the James 
families. Major Woodhouse, and John Woodhouse 
at the store, and Miss Kate.Dyer, Charlie Brock's 
wife and Mrs. Styron, — all these and others placed 
us under life-long obligations for thoughtful arid 
timely attentions to the pastor's family in his 
constant and protracted absences from home, meet- 
ing the incessant calls made upon him by this 
large circuit. 

The size of the work and the miles to be trav- 
elled were sufficient to discourage any man of 
ordinary nerve: but I was not that man: hence 
I entered upon the task of visiting my people daily, 
and preaching to them when I could. There were 
eight regular churches in my charge, as Charity 
and Tabernacle on the first Sunday, Nimmo's and 
Providence on the second, Salem and Beech Grove 
on the third, and Knott's Island and Bethel on the 


fourth. There were three others under the care 
of Rev. Saml. B. McKenny, a Local Preacher, 
which were under my supervision ; namely, Little 
Neck, Wash Woods and Currituck Inlet. We had 
1069 members to visit. So I divided up the work 
by roads, and communities, and tackled the prop- 
osition with all that w^as in me. By the beginning 
of the summer I had been inside of every home on 
the charge, and had held family worship with nine 
out of every ten. The result was this, when the 
time for revival meetings came the people were 
ready, for they had not only heard the preacher 
pray in their homes for a great year, but they 
heard him preach for a great year from every pul- 
pit. And we had a great year! Congregations had 
been large all the year, but now they actually re ■ 
moved the sashes frorh the windows and listened at 
these points from the outside. 

The campaign began on July 21st, at Knott's Is- 
land. Many souls were converted and the church 
revived. The brethren there said it was a meeting 
of great power. But it was only the forerunner of 
what was to come on the circuit. I began a meeting 
at Charity church on Sunday, Aug. 1st, that contin- 
ued till the iSth, — two weeks. There were two 
hundred penitents from beginning to end, and one 
hundred and ninety-six professions. The six days 
of thunder storms, with a downpour each time did 
not stop the people from coming. They came, re- 
joiced or pled for salvation, or sat in silent awe at 
the mighty power of God, then, either went home 


in the hot sunshine, or in the pouring showers, got 
dry clothing and came back the next day. In one 
day thirty or more professed faith in Christ, sav- 
ing faith, and scores went from the meeting day 
after day with an experience of the power of Jesus 
to save from sin that abided with them for life. In 
fact, many of them passed to their reward in a few 
years rejoicing on the bed of death that the meet- 
ings in Princess Anne in 1886 had swept them into 
the kingdom. 

From Charity church I went to Salem, near 
Kempsville. and began a meeting there which re- 
sulted in the saving of some valuable souls, but. 
worn out from constant preaching and travel, I 
had to close the meeting at the end of the week and 
takie my bed for three days. A severe bilious at- 
tack had rendered me utterly unable to do any- 
thing. I had preached twice daily for a month, and 
went down easily under the attack of fever. 

Having recovered I began another meeting of 
great power at Bethel church, fifteen miles from the 
Nimmo's parsonage, on Morse's Point. Bro. Hank 
had faithfully tried to put it upon a solid basis for 
work, but had had little encouragement from the 
community. A "faithful few" met him there at 
his regular appointment every fourth Sunday, 
listened to the sermon in an uncomfortable and 
contracted building, and went home. Wm. N. 
White, Chas. V. Dudley and Jas. Salmonds with 
their families and the families of Calvin Beasley 
and Milton Seneca, made up the congregation. A 


few others above Dudley's road augmented some- 
what the crowd. The meeting at Charity threw 
its ever widening influence into this neighborhood, 
with the conversion of John Cason, Letcher Giiynn, 
and half a dozen more. So; when the meeting bcr 
gan at Bethel on Sunday September the 19th, the 
interest in the preached word was manifest from 
the very first sermon delivered. And the crowd 
increased day after day. At the end of the meet- 
ing, on the 26th, we received into the church about 
thirty souls, and the church was saved, for the ques- 
tion of abandoning the work there had had serious 
consideration for a number of years. 

From that point I went to Nimmo's and Provi- 
dence, but whilst some few were saved there was 
lacking that irresistible influence of the member- 
ship with the unconverted so evident in the other 
meetings. Nearly four hundred were added to the 
church in the year 1886, the year of the greatest 
results of my ministry. I did all the preaching my- 
self. But with the co-operation of such people as 
I had around me it would have been an amazing 
thing if I had not had a sweeping revival. 

The year closed with a battle with the Liquor 
forces of the county. We swept them clear off the 
field in the Pungo District, but in the District in 
which the Coftrt House, and London Bridge, and 
Virginia Beach were located the Liquor crowd won 
by a majority of twelve. That was all, but it was 
too great a majority for a section that contained 
four Methodist churches, one Baptist church and 



an Episcopal church, all pretending to represent the 
unselfish and strictly moral principles, not to say 
spiritual principles of Jesus, the enemy of all evil. 

Conference met in Cumberland Street church, 
Norfolk, in November', and the liquorites were 
much exercised about having me removed bcause I 
made it my business in the Local Option fight to 
make speeches to the Negroes. Hence they wrote 
a letter to Bishop Granbery asking him to "send 
them a white preacher." Of course, Bshop Gran- 
bery returned me to the circuit and then the real 
meanness of the opposition to good morals showed 
itself as it had opportunity, and frequently manu- 
factured the opportunity. 

My predecessors on this venerable circuit had 
gathered around them as officials and otherwise, 
some of the finest examples of manhood to be found 
anywhere in Methodism. They were not all edu- 
cated men, in the sense in which the term is under- 
stood by the common people ; but they were of the 
class of men who have made Methodism a great 
force on the earth. Knott's Island, in Currituck 
county, N. C, had Timothy Bowden, Wilson 
Cooper, William Cooper, Zach. Simpson, Malichi 
Corbell, Jon Waterfield, Devaney Waterfield and 
Ferdinand Bonney. Charity had John A. Shipp, 
Caleb White, Thos. Ayers, John Bonney, George 
Dawley, Jeremiah Lane, John Early Whitehead, Jim 
Vaughn, Walter Dawley, Wm. Harrison, George 
Garrison and a dozen others. Tabernacle had W. B. 
Bonney, Joshua Whitehurst, Jas. White, Early Ea- 


ton, Ed. Atwood and others. Ninuno's had SKndy 
and Charles Brock, Jonathan Hunter, John Brown, 
Claud Nimmo and others. Providence had Will- 
iam and Harrison Brock, and George Ferebee. 
Salem had Jesse Ewell, Henry Land, Caleb Land, 
Jos. Whitehurst. Beech Grove had W. T. Straw- 
hand and the preacher Jas. Strawhand and W. D. 
Woodhouse and others. These names, and the 
women associated with these names are graven 
on my memory in ineffaceable characters. Through 
the two years I served the circuit they co-operated 
"with me in every work and were the reason for my 
great success on that laborious field. Some of these 
men were wonderful in prayer, some were great in 
handling the financial problems always vexing on 
a large circuit, others were influential in giving the 
church the "go" in any throng, and all were con- 
secrated Methodists. The great revival brought 
others into the official board whose broad views 
placed the church in that section on a high plane, 
frojn which it has never retreated. 

Timothy Bowden, the leading steward on the 
Island, was one of the most remarkable men I 
ever knew. He was deficient in education, but had 
a double supply of common sense, a brave heart, 
saving faith in Jesiis Christ, and the confidence of 
the entire population. The preacher could depend 
upon him because he had no "wild-cat" ideas. He 
made a comfortable living on the gaming waters 
with his gun, and he could bring down ducks and 
geese as easily with his steady aim, as he brought 


down sinners with his holy living and fervent pray- 
ers. He could appreciate a joke, and would laugh 
until he seemed to suffer from head to foot with 
shaking of his bones, but he had mighty little use 
for an unfaithful church-member, or a worthless 
citizen. He said "The Lord would settle with such 
people," and "I will not bother with 'em : I am too 
busy minding my own business." 

John A. Shipp was a brainy man; a leader among 
men ; courageous and prudent. Hence some said 
he was backward in doing certain things. There 
was never a greater mistake. He was a farseeing 
man, and would not jump into a movement of any 
sort with the only reason for doing it that brother 
So-and-so, a dear good man, had cried and prayed 
over it. John Shipp prayed over it, too, and if 
after praying, he found that all the indications 
pointed to the thing being the thing to do for the 
good of the church and the glory of God, he would 
go into it with his mighty influence among the peo- 
ple who trusted his judgment, and his money which 
he had earned with the sweat of his brow and the 
load from his trusty gun. But if he didn't see it 
that way no amount of coaxing or pleading would 
move him. And as for threatening, he would only 
smile and go about his business, — and he was al- 
ways busy, too busy to fuss with anybody, not even 
a fussy pastor. He was a good man, who loved 
God with all his heart, and served his church with 
mind and money. Hence some folks who did not 
know said he "bossed Charity church." Well, my 


judgment is that any church is fortunate to have 
a "Boss" like Shipp at Charity and Tim Bowden at 
Knott's Island. A few years later when certain 
brainless influences threatened the life of both these 
great congregations, many a Godly heart cried 
to heaven, "O Lord, send Shipp and Bowden back 
right here now, for we need 'em !" The proof of 
his good sense and consecration to God is to be 
found in the character of the children he gave to 
the church and the community. Men may say what 
they please about instances in which the childr-en 
of good men and women have gone astray in spite 
of home-training, bu^ my judgment is the "in- 
stances" are exceptions to the general rule.^The 
character of the boy or the girl is formed at home : 
good or bad; — depending absolutely upon the kind 
of training it gets. If they go astray, either a 
blunder has been made somehow that has aided in 
some way the malformation, or the home in- 
fluence was not what the public thought it was. 

My work on the Princess Anne circuit extended 
from the mouth of Lynnhaven river and Cape 
Henry to Currituck Inlet in North Carolina, and 
from Kempsville to the Ocean. It was about fifty 
miles long and fifteen miles wide. It included the 
famous ducking section of Back Bay, SKipp's Bay, 
North Bay, Ragged Island, Cedar Island, Knott's 
Island Sound, and Currituck Sound all the way 
down beyond Church's Island. Knott's Island was 
inhabited by a sturdy people, about one thousand 
at the time of which I write. There was a Meth- 


odist church on the Island, belonging to the cir- 
cuit, of about 250 members. There was also a 
Baptist church with a small membership. The 
Island was ten miles long, — three miles in Vir- 
ginia and seven miles in North Carolina. Over on 
the ocean opposite the Island were two Life Sav- 
ing Stations, — No. 5, or "Wash Woods," and No. 6, 
or "False Cape." Farther south yet was No. 7, or 
"Currituck Inlet." 

The two appointments, "Wash Woods" and "Cur- 
rituck Inlet" were intensely interesting to me. 
There were two ways to get to these appoint- 
ments, a drive from "Sand Bridge," near Taber- 
nacle church, down the beach when the tide was 
low, past "Little Island," No. 4, and "Wash 
Woods," No. 5, and "False Cape," No. 6, to Cur- 
rituck Inlet," No. 7. The distance is about twenty- 
one miles ; and when the tide has gone down, leav- 
ing beach as firm as the terrific pounding of the 
sea waves upon it can make, rolling in with an ir- 
resistible force from a thousand miles away, the 
drive is exhilarating, inspiring, romantic, if the 
weather is good. But anything else when the 
weather is bad. When one arrives at "Wash 
Woods" he is ready to spend the night in at the Sta- 
tion with the hardy Watchers, for he knows that 
a comfortable bed offers him a good night's rest, 
and solid food, and tales of the sea will make his 
stay a delight. Captain Neal, Otis Ewell and the 
other fellows were always glad to see the arriving 
preacher, and speed his departure when it suited 


him to go. Five miles further south "False Cape," 
with Captain Corbell and his brave lads oifered the 
next place for a homely, but hearty reception. At 
the next Station south, "Currituck Inlet," I knew 
few of the Patrol, but I knew the people who heard 
me preach at the little school house back of the sand 
banks in the Live Oak forest. And they were ever 
ready to hear the Word of Life by whomsoever de- 
livered, for they were a plain people who "hun- 
gered after righteousness," and only wanted to 
know "the way of the Lord." 

My intercourse with the Life Savers and their 
families brought me into contact with as true and 
faithful a body of men and women as I have ever 
known anywhere. In many respects they were men 
above the average in courage, patience, intelli- 
gence, and, in many instances, reverence for holy 
things. Some were godless, without hope, reck- 
less, profane, but these were few. I have seen them 
in the prayer-meeting, at public worship, at the 
bedside of the sick ; I have walked the lonely beach 
with them at night, getting up from a warm bed at 
midnight, or two A. M. to go; I have witnessed 
their daring in time of danger, when a cool head 
and consummate skill in snatching success from 
the raging ocean; and nothing but these qualities 
could have brought victory. They have taught me 
the lesson of perseverance in the hard school of 
practical "doing for the other fellow," never stop- 
ping to ask the nationality or the color of the un- 

tit tittooY, lioA* Aiib SAtLWAt 183 

fortunate out yonder where Death is shaking his 
white fist from every wave crest. 

The wreck of the German merchant ship "Eliza- 
beth" at Sand Bridge, eight miles south of Vir- 
ginia Beach, and five miles east of the parsonage, 
at Nimmo's church on Saturday, Jan. 8, 1887, burned 
itself into my soul as one of the most distressing 
events that has ever occurred on that dangerous 
coast. A great snow-storm set in on Friday 
morning the 7th, from the northeast, and increased 
in fury until night-fall when the wind attained the 
velocity of a gale. Early Saturday morning the 
patrol on the beach reported a large full rigged 
ship aground on the inner bar. Her crew had taken 
refuge in the yawl boat under the stern, and were 
in comparative safety. The Captains of No. 3, 
"Dam Neck" station, and No. 4, "Little Island," 
got out their apparatus, and were on the spot op- 
posite the stranded vessel ready to render any as- 
sistance the high wind and sea would allow them to 
give. But going out to the wreck in the Life Boat 
was deemed too dangerous to attempt just then, 
so more than two hours were spent trying to shoot 
a Life Line across the deck; but even this was im- 
possible. Then Captain Webb Balangee, of "Little 
Island" station, determined to man the Life boat 
with a volunteer crew from both stations, and go 
out to the rescue of the strangers. Besides Cap- 
tain Balangee, there were Jas. E., (his brother) 
Joe Spratley, (his brother-in-law) of the "Dam 
Neck" station, and John Etheridge, (another 

186 t-fioM SAbbtii *o tit** 

brother-in-law,) Frank Tedford, George Stone and 
John Land from the "Little Island" station. On 
reaching the ship at about 10:30 A. M., twenty-two 
Germans including the Captain, whose name was 
Hulberstadt, were found in the ylawl boat. A 
transfer of eight Germans to the Life boat made 
fifteen men in that boat, leaving fourteen in the 
yawl. Then the perilous return trip to the beach 
began. The sea was still running very high, and 
hardly had the boats cleared the protecting stern 
of the great ship when a big wave upset both, leav- 
ing twenty-nine struggling- men in the icy waters 
of the Atlantic. Every German lost his life by 
freezing or drowning, and of the Life-savers, only 
two, Frank Tedford and John Etheridge reached 
the shore alive, and these on the very verge of col- 

I heard nothing of the disaster, on account of 
the dreadful weather prevailing, which broke up 
all travel in that section, till Sunday morning: 
then in company with my friend, Mr. George Bow- 
den, I went to the sea-shore more to be with the 
bereaved families of the men than to satisfy "turi- 
osity ; for these families had been members of my 
congregation at Ta.bernacle. Rev. Mr. Savage, of 
the Episcopal Church, (an Evangelical preacher 
and a faithful pastor, besides honoring me with his 
friendship) ministered to the widows and orphans 
at "Dam Neck." He conducted the funeral ser- 
vice over the remains of Spratley and the Balan- 
gee brothers at "Sam Neck," whilst I performed 


the same service over the remains of Stone and 
Land at Tabernacle on Monday the 10th, after 
which the first three were interred in the old Cem- 
etery at Tabernacle, and the bodies of Stone and 
Land in the family burying ground near Capp's 
Shop on Pungo Ridge. Here, also, was a double 
bereavement. Brother Andrew Land, the father 
of John, the dead surfman, had married Mrs. Stone, 
the mother of George, the other surfman. So the 
tragic event assumed the proportions of a tremen- 
dous family disaster, in which kin wept with kin, 
or stood in silent awe in the presence of an appall- 
ing calarnity that came near engulfing all they held 
dear in the pitiless depths of the ocean. 

The remains of Capt. Hulberstadt were taken 
to Baltimore by one of the Masonic Lodges of that 
city. The bodies of nineteen Germans were car- 
rid to Norfolk, and the funeral obsequies conducted 
by Rev. J. B. Merritt, at that time Chaplain of the 
Seaman's Bethel. The body of the twentieth vic- 
tim came ashore about a month later, and was in- 
terred by the side of his unfortunate comrades in 
Norfolk. The body of the last of this unfortunate 
crew had not been found when last I heard from 
that section. 

The wrecks on that beach are not so numerous 
in these years as formerly. The crews are better 
organized, are supplied with improved apparatus, 
and the service all along the coast is more efficient. 
But the men of this day are no braver, nor more 
skillful in their work than the men of that day. 


The service has never had truer men, nor have 
there been more examples of deliberate and un- 
selfish sacrifice than the surfmen made in the days 
of Barco, Balangee, Neal and Corbell. I obtained 
many a valuable lesson out of the lives of these 
men, and of the sturdy crews that served under 
them, on that storm-sw^ept beach. 

I vi^as at the "False Cape" Life-Saving Station, 
(No. 6,) the night of the 31st of August, 1886. It 
was the night of the historic Charleston, (S. C.) 
earhquake. The tremors were very perceptible 
there, although at the time of the happening none 
of us suspected the cause. Captain Corbell and 
several of his men, and my young friend George 
Bowden, of Middlesex, were sitting in the boat- 
room at the south door. The two young ladies 
who had accompanied Bowden and me from Nim- 
mo's to witness the going of the men on duty 
this, the first night of the season, had retired to 
their room upstairs. When the shaking began the 
Captain remarked "The ladies upstairs are having 
a good old romp : - their antics are shaking the 
house." It was a most unusual thing for one of 
these stations to shake, for they are firmly an- 
chored deep down below the sand on a clay founda- 
tion. So I went to the foot of the stairs and called 
them aloud to tell me "what they were trying to do 
with the house?" They replied, "We were asleep: 
the shaking awoke us ; we thought you men were 
up to some of your antics." Then the Captain said, 
"There has been an earthquake somewhere," and 


called several of the stations over the phone for 
information. No one knew, but each station called 
reported that the shaking was plainly felt. Next 
morning our party went over on Knott's Island to 
gather hanging moss, and there learned that the 
quake was so heavy that many people left their 
houses, and spent the remainder of the night in 
wagon sheds or in the woods. The atmosphere on 
the beach was thick, sultry, a perfect calm, with 
presently a heavy sea that set in suddenly, and with 
no apparent cause, and then subsided. This was the 
situation before the quake was felt, and aroused 
comment among these veterans, who knew the 
ocean as the plowman knows his field. 

Many are the queer stories told of the doings of 
the Islanders that night when the mysterious 
trembling of the earth aroused them from their 
slumbers. One old man and his wife dragged a 
feather-bed out of their humble home, turned a 
cart-body bottom upwards under a tree in the 
yard, and spent the remainder of the night under 
that cover in comparative comfort. It is said that 
an early traveller coming over to the Island met a 
man, his wife and several children, driving a cow 
and her calf, and carrying a coop of chickens. 
The man said in reply- to the question, "Are you 
moving away?" "Yes, the Lord shook everything 
to pieces last night; you might have known 'twas 
gwine ter happen : that Island is jest setting out 
there in the mud anyhow, so I'm gwine where 
there is something substantial ter live on !" And 


SO he went on toward the mainland : for you un- 
derstand, this great body of land lying between 
the mainland and the ocean is cut off from the 
mainland by a great marsh, and the waters north of 
the marsh are connected with Currituck Sound, 
south of the marsh by creeks ; and the Island is 
reached by a road, as rough as any in this country, 
and as crooked, from M'orse's Point five miles long. 
There are eleven bridges and twenty-two bends in 
that road. It is said that if you see a person trav- 
elling on that road a long way off you cannot tell 
which way the person is travelling till you get 
opposite on a parallel stretch ! This may be a se- 
vere tax on the imagination, but of this I am sure, 
the road is about as crooked as the proverbial 
ward politician, and as rough as corduroy can 
make it. When the south wind prevails the wa- 
ters of Currituck Sound back up through the hun- 
dreds of creeks and "runs" in the vast stretches of 
marsh, and flood that road, making travel both 
rough and dangerous. My wife and I crossed the 
Marsh on that road on the evening of July 26, 1886, 
and we have never forgotten the horrible hour re- 
quired to make the trip. I was in the midst of a 
protracted meeting on Knott's Island, and was 
called away to unite in matrimony Mr. Keeling 
McLin and Miss Mary Stewart, a sister of whom 
in later years became the wife of Rev. W. L. Mur- 
phy, of our Conference. I drove home, twenty-five 
miles to the parsonage at Nimmo's, got a fresh 
horse, took my wife with me to the marriage, and, 


after the ceremony, drove down through West's 
Neck, across "East River" over "Brooklyn Bridge," 
to Capps' Shop on Pungo Ridge. There George 
Bowden met me with my old reliable "Sam Tilden," 
about 6:30 P. M. It was just getting dark when 
we struck out from Morse's Point on the dreaded 
Marsh Road to Knott's Island. The road was 
flooded with the back-water from the Sound. The 
eight foot ditch on either side six feet deep was a 
sleeping giant, into whose gaping mouth a fall 
meant death. I gave "Sam"' a loose rein, and be- 
sought him to do his best. And he did it! Neither 
Mrs. Butts nor I spoke a word during that entire 
tedious, miserable, terrifying hour. When we 
struck the hard ground on the Island I asked my 
wife, "Are you glad?" She replied with an air of 
relief, "Yes, ain't you?" On our arrival at the 
church at 8:30 P. M., I found a meeting of great 
power in progress as the fruit of a very strong ex- 
hortation by Bro. Devany Waterfield, and the altar 
crowded with penitents. The brethren asked me, 
after service, when I crossed the Marsh Road. 
When I told them I had crossed since dusk, they 
were rather inclined to doubt my word, but when I 
referred to my wife as a witness, they "caved in" 
one by one, and a very good friend of ours said, "I 
would not have done that for ten dollars." "Ah," 
said I, "When one has a good wife by his side to 
steady his nerves, a good horse to do the pulling, 
and the Good Lord to guide the horse, there is a 


positive elimination of danger." He replied, "I 
reckon that is true." And I knew it was true ! 

Many a good hour have I spent on the Marshes 
of Back Bay, Shipp's Bay, North Bay, and other 
good points, waiting for the coming of the wary 
wild game flying up against a head wind, look- 
ing for some quiet feeding place. I got very few 
shots, but I had a great deal of excitement, and 
many a bag of ducks and geese and swan. When I 
did, by some strange conjunction of fortuitous cir- 
cumstances, (or words to that effect,) get a shot 
my enthusiasm was intense, and the conversation 
on the rernarkable incident would cover many 
days : in fact, till some weary mortal, whose pa- 
tience had been taxed to the limit, would cry out, 
"Oh, give us a rest: ducks are shot on this marsh 
every day!" Then my collapse into indignant si- 
lence could be heard a long way off. On several 
occasions, my thirst for wild game blood would 
stir some one of these non-communicative duckers 
to play a trick on me by sending me out in the 
dark to walk a narrow plank to find a duck-blind 
located somewhere out there in the grass. I went 
out on a certain night from Cedar Island, on such 
an expedition. John Williams and my son-in-law, 
G. S. Marchant, insisted that just about dusk two 
elegant swan had been seen feeding off the north 
end blind. Young Simpson, (Mrs. Williams' 
brother) offered to go with me if I wanted a good 
shot. Of course I went. We trailed through the 
field and then through the tall grass, and suddenly 


came out upon the water's edge. We hid ourselves 
there ; then Simpson went oflf to another point to 
reconnoiter. He soon returned and reported two 
"big fellows" close up to the shore feeding in im- 
agined security, oblivious of the fact that the 
"mighty hunter" of the Virginia Annual Confer- 
ence, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 
lay there on the shore in ambush awaiting the set 
time for their death. Simpson said in a whisper, 
"Follow me." I followed so stealthily that it 
seemed to me that I was actually creeping in a 
whisper ! We reached the point of opportunity, and 
Simpson told me he would count "three" in a whis- 
per, and then both of us would fire, simultaneously 
and at the same time. He counted oflf the fateful 
seconds with cruel precision, and I fired. But the 
swan did not fly! They sat as if chained to the 
bottom with a ton of lead. Then Simpson ex- 
claimed, "Them's made swan: sister made 'em." 
Disgusted, ashamed, that we should have been the 
victims of so heartless a scheme, we tramped back 
to the house, through the dark and the briers to be 
greeted at the door with the serious inquiry, 
"Where is you swan?" We did not learn till next 
day that the jesters with our dignity were under 
that roof and in that room when we returned from 
our fruitless tramp, and that John Williams' wife 
added much to the success of the conspiracy against 
our innocence by furnishing her husband and Mr. 
Marchant with the stuffed decoys. 

On this same trip, and from the western side of 


Cedar Island I had better luck. We had waited 
throughout three warm days for the ducks to fly. 
Nothing came our way. At length, when weary 
with waiting, and almost exasperated from lack 
of luck, the wind changed Friday morning to the 
north-east. This brought first a cold driving mist, 
then snow and sleet. About 3 :30 P. M. that day a 
large bunch of Red Heads were seen from our 
blind, coming toward us with the speed of the 
"Fast Mail." We, (young Simpson and I,) made 
ready to shoot ; and, when this cloud of flying life 
almost reached our decoys, each of us let them have 
a load right in the face. After they passed we 
gave them the other barrel. Ducks fell all around. 
Mkrchant and Williams up in the yard of Will- 
iams' home said "It rained ducks for about a min- 
ute." That must have been true, for Simpson and 
I picked up on the water eleven dead ducks and six 
cripples ! That was fun enough for one trip, so 
Marchant and I quit and went home. I was serving 
the Mathews circuit at that time. 

Mr. Marchant and I were down there on another 
trip when we had the, to us, unusual experience of 
being present and lending some assistance to .the 
Life Saving Service at Wash Woods and False 
Cape in landing a crew of eight Italians, seven 
Swedes, and a negro from the wreck of the Bark 
"Clythia," on its way from Genoa, Italy, to Balti- 
more, Md., loaded with marble. The crews from 
the two stations named were on the beach, await- 
ing the subsidence of the sea, when Marchant and 


I arrived from the Duck Blind over in the marsh 
opposite False Cape. Bill Bowden carried us 
ashore quickly when both of us expressed the wish 
to visit the wreck. The Captain came ashore first 
in the Breaches buoy to learn his whereabouts. He 
said he thought he was entering Chesapeake Bay 
off Cape Henry, and was surprised to find himself 
ashore between two bars cut oflf from retreat until 
too late. He went back to the vessel in the Buoy, 
and began sending his men ashore, one at a time ; 
then he himself came. When the negro came he 
brought with him a large market basket, and in the 
basket a beautiful brown haired ducking dog, which 
he gave to John Williams. This splendid animal 
became the brood dog for scores of ducking dogs 
throughout that region, and died at last of old age. 

Throughout the summer and fall of 1887 the lead- 
ing men on the circuit were planning the division 
of the work. It was the judgment of my prede- 
cessor, Brother Hank, that this should be done, but 
the people were not ready for the movement at the 
time that he left the charge. In the meantime the 
work had developed so that the pastoral care of 
nearly 1,250 members in eleven congregations de- 
manded a change of some kind. Then, by resolution 
of the Fourth Quarterly Conference of 1887, the re- 
quest went up to Bishop Ke)'' at the session in Dan- 
ville in November that a new circuit be formed com- 
posed of Beach Grove, Charity, Bethel, Knott's 
Island, and Wash Woods to be called the South 
Princess Anne circuit, leaving Nimmo's, Taber- 


riacle, Salem, Providence and Little Neck in the 
old circuit. The question of the location of the 
parsonage for the new circuit had to be settled be- 
fore Conference, and the settlement of that matter 
brought about a feeling in certain quarters which 
threatened the spiritual life of many of the people 
on both sides of the question for a while. But the 
better spirit prevailed, and the simmering pot 
which had threatened to boil over cooled dowfl, 
and everything went off pleasantly. The site was 
finally selected at Capps' Shop, or "Pleasant Ridge," 
as it was called later on. The Norfolk Southern 
Railway to Munden's Point now passes within 
one mile of the preacher's home, and that whole 
county has moved out into the world. 

At my suggestion the old Providence church at 
Sea Tack, which was nothing but a dilapidated hull, 
not worth repairing, and located out of reach of 
the bulk of the congregation and too near Virginia 
Beach, was sold, and a new building begTin near 
Tunis's (now Oceana) station on the Virginia 
Beach Railroad. Miss Jaca Brock, daughter of 
Bro. Harrison Brock, was one of the enthusiastic 
workers in this movement, and it was mainly 
through her intelligent and persevering leadership 
that this enterprise was carried forward. The 
lumber was put in place for the construction of the 
new building at the head of the Great Neck road 
near the residence of Bro. Harrison Brock: but 
later it was decided to build on its present location 
on the corner of the farm of Mr. William Gornto 


nearer the station. The work was begun and I 
went off to Conference. 

I am about to relate an incident now that may 
start a little guessing, because I shall not give any 
names for the simple reason that all the brethren 
who were actors in the drama are dead, and it 
would do no good to name them. A member of 
the Virginia Conference had been appealed to for 
a few names of efficient men from whom a pastor 
might be selected for a certain church. He Was a 
warm friend of mine, and wrote to know if I 
would agree to let my name go down on the list. 
I consented, with this proviso ; if the Princess Anne 
circuit is divided I shall move, and shall be free to 
go there or anywhere else. If the work is not 
divided I ought to return. Within two weeks he 
wrote me they had selected me, understanding the 
conditions, but I must "write him long enough be- 
fore Conference to give them a chance to get 
on another fellow's tracks." This I did, and he 
replied, "Go through a certain towti on a train 
that will put you there about lunch time ; Che 
named the train,) go to a certain lunch-room, and 
you will find a certain brother there when you 
arrive, or coming in a little later. After you' 
have greeted him, say 'I'm free,' and he will 
reply, 'So am I.' Then go off and eat your lunch 
at another table." Therefore on my way I car- 
ried out these instructions to the letter, and saw the 
dear brother at the lunch-room: greeted him 
pleasantly; gave him the "I'm free" in most ex- 


cellent style ; got his reply in due form ; arrived 
in Danville wreathed in smiles at my luck, and 
with head filled with plans for the coming year; 
sat through Conference in an easy chair of per- 
fect contentment regarding the future; and heard 
another man read out for that place! Why, cer- 
tainly ; and the lucky brother went there and stayed 
four years ! And 1 went somewhere else! The 
fact is, I had been sent to two different places be- 
fore I arrived home from the seat of the Con- 
ference, and was entirely uncertain about where 
I would finally settle for two days more. That was 
an up-setting session to a great many of my breth- 
ren in the Conference, and to quite as many con- 
The story of the Conference follows. 




The Conference of 1887 was held in the city of 
Danville, November 16th-23rd. Bishop Joseph S. 
Key, D. D., presided. Paul Whitehead, D. D., P. A. 
Peterson, D. D., and S. S. Lambeth were the Sec- 
retaries as usual. And there were none better in 
the entire Southern Connection. Prompt, alert, 
careful, skilled in those necessary elements which 
make it doubly easy for the presiding officer to 
push the business, and yet overlook nothing. 

Eleven of our preachers had died during the year, 
—J. D. Lumsden, T. H. White, J. W. Howard, 
W. W. Bennett, J. D. Blackwell, T. A. Ware, E. N. 
S. Blogg, P. F. August, B. M. Williams, a super- 
annuate living in North Carolina, R. A. Gregory 
in the Western State Hospital at Staunton, and 
E. H. Pritchett. 

The loss of two of the Representatives of the 
last General Conference, Rev. W. W. Bennett, D. 
D., and Rev. J. D. Blackwell, D. D., was a serious 
blow to Southern Methodism, as well as to the Vir- 
ginia Conference. Each was a leader among the 
brethren, strong in doctrine, and discipline, and 


history of the Christian Church in general, and 
of Methodism in particular. 

Dr. Bennett was the historian of Virginia Meth- 
odism, a great preacher at times, swaying mul- 
titudes with his weighty words, his irresistible 
reasoning, his clear understanding of the deep 
things of God, and his unreserved surrender to 
the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Rev. F. J. Boggs, 
who wrote his Memoir, said, "He, in health, will 
always be remembered by his acquaintances as an 
incomparable specimen of physical manhood, with 
a face bearing the lines of strong character. In- 
deed, he seemed moulded for any work or position 
in Methodism. His mental endowments were of 
a high order ; and in all the responsible places that 

he filled, there are no traces of failure.^ As a 

preacher he occupied the front rank in pu-lpit power, 
and his discourses were such as lived in the mem- 
ory and hearts of his hearers." "His sermons," 
said Bishop Granbery, "were stately, elaborate, 
and massive, mighty discussions of great truths, 
with wide range of thought, lucid and forcible ar- 
gument, earnest, solemn, and often impassioned 
supplication." "Then before he was elected Pres- 
ident of Randolph Macon College, he received from 
that institution the degree of D. D., was a member 
of every General Conference from 1858 to 1886, 
and was a Representative of our Church at the 
Ecumenical Conference in London in 1881. He was 
the father of our Richard H. Bennett; of William 
Wallace Bennett, M. D., a practicing physician 


at Blackstone ; of the wife of Bishop James Can- 
non, Jn; of Miss Nellie Bennett, Missionary to 
Japan, principal of Frazier Institute, Hiroshima, 
Japan; and of Miss Mlary Lee Bennett, teacher in 
Blackstone College for Girls and Superintendent 
of Mission Study and Publicity of the Woman's 
Missionary Society, Virginia Conference, Black- 
stone, Va., and Edward Sangster Bennett, Assist- 
ant Secretary and Treasurer, Blackstone College 
for Girls. 

Dr. Blackwell was the father of our Dr. R. E. 
Blackwell, President of Randolph Macon College. 
He was an urbane and cultured gentleman, learned 
and devout, gracious and invincible in debate, a 
splendid preacher who did not "handle the Word 
of God deceitfully." He used two weapons : — the 
strong blade of logic, ground to a keen edge on 
the impregnable rock of truth, and a terrible court- 
esy that spared no antagonist till he brought him 
to the ground in the shame of conscious defeat. 
He was too large a man to resort to personalities. 
He was too humble a man to appropriate to him- 
self the glory that belongs to the Truth. "Nothing 
little or low or mean found in him a moment's tol- 
eration. Singularly gentle, even as a woman, he 
was also brave and heroic. The high models which 
the Gospel set before him were ever kept in view. 
His example, spirit and teachings, as he moved 
among men, were a benediction. They inculcated 
fealty to every 'duty in every relation of life." His 
death was a distinct calamity. The Conference 


could ill afford to lose so strong and good a man. 
His congregation reeled under the blow: hun- 
dreds of his people did not know of his illness till 
told of his death. The whole city, — the two cities 
of Norfolk and Portsmouth, — on that hot Sun- 
day morning, June the 26th, 1887, stopped, caught 
its breath, exclaimed "God have mercy on us !" and 
went to its accustomed places of worship, with 
bowed head and falling tears when told that the 
gentle man, the scholarly preacher, the tender 
hearted pastor, had fallen into the sleep of death. 
All classes, all denominations, felt a sense of be- 
reavement, and there was "a wide-spread lamen- 
tation.'' Dr. Judkins, who wrote his Memoir, says 
"His funeral at Monumental Church, the Tuesday 
following, was attended by some twenty-five min- 
isters of our own Church, Bishop Granbery in- 
cluded, besides many of other denominations, and 
over a thousand of his admirers and friends." 

It was at this session of the Conference that our 
John Hannon Vv-as transferred to the Pacific Con- 
ference, and stationed in San Francisco. This was 
another loss to the Conference, but of a different 
kind. We all thought it a mistake for a man of his 
talents and growing usefulness, to be carried away 
from Virginia, where the churches needed him and 
loved him, to so distant and unpromising a field as 
California, to be buried under the masses, with a 
constituency that could hardly give him hope of 
a resurrection. But the authorities said they 
needed John "out yonder," and John went. In 


a few years John came back, bringing a wife with 
him ! John was never known to "get left." He 
could have no revival, nor could he build up a 
church in any of the places which tried him ; so he 
took one of the best young women on the coast 
while the multitudes were frolicking, and brought 
her to old Virginia, and the two together went to 
work to build a Methodist preacher's home, and 
succeeded ! Great was our John ! Then he spent 
the rest of his holy life, joyously and devoutly, 
serving the churches here with significant results, 
and punctuating his every stroke with an "Amen !" 
which was heard everywhere. John went to 
Heaven from Lynchburg this year, (1921) and has 
learned to sing at last! But he left us in tears, 
for we miss him as the years roll on, this sincere, 
true, devout child of the Triumphant Christ. 

When Conference adjourned I was read out for 
South Princess Anne. The big circuit had been 
divided, and I had been assigned to the south end. 
It was a great surprise to me, for I had thought it 
best to go elsewhere, because each end of the old 
charge put in a claim for me. And in some author- 
ity thought as I did. But I was young in the Con- 
ference, accustomed to "obey them that had the 
rule over me," so I made up my mind to make the 
best of it. 

On reaching Norfolk one of the first men I met 
was Brother W. W. Vicar, who informed me that 
there was an important telegram at his store, (cor- 
ner of Church and Main Sts.,) for me. I hastened 


there and found a wire message from Bishop Key, 
instructing me to "turn over (my) work in South 
Princess Anne to Rev. W. P. Wright, and pro- 
ceed to Portsmouth, and take charge of Wright 
Memorial church." This was a shock to me. I 
was totally unprepared for such an appointment, 
expected to go to another place, and turned to my 
brethren in the store, and, in utter despair, asked, 
"What shall I do?" One of them exclaimed, "Why, 
do what the Bishop says : that's all you can do." 
And that's what I did. How it happened, and why, 
I did not know for a long time, and I sometimes 
think I have never yet learned the real facts in 
the case. Rev. Jas. E. McSparren succeeded me 
in the Nimmo's parsonage. 

Well, I got aboard the Virginia Beach train, 
and, arriving at Tunis's station, was met by my 
wife. Her first question was, "Well, where are we 
going to live, with our big family, till those peo- 
ple down at the south end can build a parsonage?" 
I replied, "That's not the question." She quietly 
asked, "What is the question, then?" I replied, 
"The real question is, how are you going to like 
living in a city?" She cried, "What do you mean: 
aren't we going to South Princess Anne?" Said 
I, "No ; we are going to Wright Memorial, Ports- 
mouth !" She, in utter consternation, exclaimed, 
"What in the world shall I do with my fowls and 
my pigs?" And I said, "The main point of the 
whole mess is, what's going to become of me !" 

I received in a day or two a very cordial let- 


ter from the Official Board of Wright Memorial, 
extending to me and my family a hearty welcome, 
and requesting that they be notified of the time of 
my proposed arrival, assuring me of their purpose 
to co-operate with me in all things that would con- 
tribute to the good of the church. So, therefore, 
with this very much appreciated letter as a pro- 
pelhng aid, I set about planning for my departure 
from the rural districts to- the paved streets and 
urban surroundings of a city pastorate, with its 
decorated citizenship, its staring' congreglations, 
and its uncertain fame. Our teacher. Miss Pierce 
Lawson, found a new home down in the south end 
among an appreciative people, our poultry was 
disposed of amid regrets that we had seen the 
last of fresh eggs for some time to come, our hogs 
were killed and the meat salted down, our goods 
were packed and sent to the narrow guage rail- 
way station, Tunis, and we followed with fear and 
trembling. My Middlesex prize horse, "Snakes," 
had been sold to my good brother, Wm. T. Straw- 
hand, in "West's Neck," and my distance anni- 
hilator, "Sam Tilden," had been turned over to 
my warm friend and brother, George Garrison, 
for safe keeping during the Winter. 

We were met at the station in Norfolk by Bro. 
Chas. Sturtevant and transported across the ferry 
to the parsonage at 318 — 3rd Street. A very com- 
fortable home we found it. That dear Westmore- 
land lad, my predecessor, Rev. Wm. H. Atwill, had 
departed for Richmond, leaving behind him a whole 


congregation weeping upon the sidewalks, and 
wondering what kind of man the Bishop had found 
to take the place of so popular a pastor and so at- 
tractive a preacher. So they gazed and wept, 
shook their heads in serious skepticism of the prob- 
ability of this new man filling the bill. They ob- 
served his slouch hat, his sack coat, his number 15 
collar on a number 14 neck, his black neck-tiewith 
a bow which sat north-west and south-east, his 
trousers bagged at the knees, and so on. Old 
Brother Townsend said, "Just what I said we was 
going to get." Old Bro. West said, "It makes me 
cry to look at him and then think of Atwill." But 
when Sunday came and the preacher, just out of 
the sand and marshes of Princess Anne, stood up 
in the pulpit and delivered his introductory mes- 
sage, all went home, muttering in ghastly aston- 
ishment, "How could any Bishop put a man like 
that in Atwill's place ! We are ruined !" Old man 
John King said, "The only fault I have to find with 
him is that he will not let me sleep : I have to 
keep awake to find out which way he was going. 
I always slept well under Brother Atwill because 
I knew which way he was going, and where he 
would take up at ; but this countryman don't give 
me half a chance to get my morning nap." The 
others were divided up into squads. Some said 
one thing and some another. After a few weeks, 
matters settled down into the normal state of 
the, usual ratio of approval or disapproval, and the 
new man became the old preacher, and the work 


went ahead with good promise of a comparatively 
successful pastorate. 

The history of this congregation is found in two 
very carefully prepared papers, written by Mr. 
Chas. A. McLean, and read by him at the Re-open- 
ing exercises of Wright Memorial Church, Sunday, 
Sept. 9, 1900. He was at that time Superintendent 
of the Sunday School. 

From these papers I glean the following notes : 

"In the early forties God impressed upon the 
mind of some of His children the necessity of ex 
tending the boundaries of His terrestrial king- 
dom : the impression thus made culminated in 
the organization and establishment of what is now 
known as Wright Memorial Church. A few in- 
terested ones met one Sunday afternoon in an 
old carpenter shop on Wythe Street, at the head 
of Second Street, in Gosport. The membership at 
that time was only eight persons. At the Quarterly 
Conference held Oct. 5, 1841, the Rev. George W. 
Langhorne, pastor in charge of what is now Mon- 
umental Church, reported as follows : "We have 
under our supervision two Sabbath Schools ; one 
meets in this church, the other in New Town. The 
school in New Town has two superintendents, six 
male and five female teachers and sixty scholars." 

"At the Quarterly Conference held Nov. 7, 1843, 
James Scott was elected superintendent, and Josiah 
Shipp, assistant. There were 40 male scholars and 
48 female." 

The church was first called "Wesley Chapel," 


then "Gosport Station," then "Second Street M. E. 
Church," and finally "Wright Memorial." "Wes- 
ley Chapel was dedicated on Sunday, March 17, 
1844, Rev. G. M. Keese, preaching the sermon on 
the text "For a day in thy courts is better than a 
thousand," etc. Psalm 84, Verse 10. The writer 
notes that "There was a violent snow-storm that 
day." "The first stewards were Wm. Moore, Thos. 
Rudd, Geo. O. Poulson, J. H. Myers, John Dick- 
erson, and Wm. Outten." The first pastor was 
Rev. Vernon Eskridge, a local preacher who filled 
the pulpit acceptably until relieved by the Rev. Mr. 
Bell, the first appointed pastor. The charge re- 
mained a mission "under ^the oversight of the Din- 
widdie Street church till 1849, when the congrega- 
tion paid Dinwiddie Street church $1,050.00 for 
their interest in the house and lot," and called their 
church "Gosport Station." The First Quarterly 
Conference for the new appointment was held 
June 5th of that year. "Rev. Thos. Crowder, Pre- 
siding Elder of the Norfolk District, organized 
that Conference in the home of J. H. Myers. The 
following members were present : Rev. Wesley 
H. Rohr, preacher in charge, Rev. Edward Cavendy, 
local preacher and steward, Thos. Rudd and Jas. 
Walraven, exhorters and stewards, Wm. R. Guy, 
Wm. Outten, John H. Myers, stewards, and John 
Dickerson, class, leader. John H. Myers was Sec- 
retary. In 1861 the name was changed to 'Sec- 
ond Street.' " 
"In November 1882, while under the pastorate 


of Rev. Geo. M. Wright, a lot on the corner of 
Fourth and Randolph Sts., was purchased through 
Capt. W. H. Elliott. In July, 1883, the foundation 
was laid for a new church edifice, to be called 
Centenary, and in September of the same year the 
corner stone was laid by Naval Lodge, No. 100, 
A. F. & A. M. The address was delivered by Rev. 
R. N. Sledd, D. D. The first ground was broken 
by Miss Jessie Meads, now Mrs. D. W. Murden." 

"On April 12, 1885, the house was formally ded- 
icated. Rev. Leo. Rosser, D. D., read the first les- 
son. Rev. Geo. M. Wright, read the second les- 
son, and Rev. Dr. Sledd delivered the sermon from 
Galatians, 4th Chapter, 26th verse." 

"On the 23rd of September 1885, Rev. Geo. :M. 
Wright, our beloved pastor died. Too much honor 
and praise cannot be given for his great work in 
our midst. Coming to us when our membership 
was less than 100, he served well and faithfully 
for nearly four years. At the time of his death the 
membership of the church exceeded 300. When he 
came to us we were worshipping in old Second 
Street, but when he died we had already accom- 
plished the great work of our lives, all due largely 
to his untiring energy and zeal." 

Bro. Chas. A McLean, who wrote this story 
from which the above notes have been copied, says 
"directly after the death of Bro. Wright, at a meet- 
ing of the officers and teachers of the Sunday 
School held to take action on the sad occurrence, 
thinking to perpetuate the memory of his name. 


offered a set of resolutions asking the Board of 
Stewards to petition the Quarterly Conference to 
change the name of the church from Centenary to 
Wright Memorial, which was subsequently done." 

I have made these extensive notes from Bro. 
MtLean's "History" because it is clear concise, 
authentic; valuable on account of its being an ex- 
ceptional instance in which the story of the birth 
and growth of one of our churches has been pre- 
served. And I wish to add my effort to preserve 
this record. The names of the successive pastors 
are given, as follows : — "Revs. Vernon Eskridge, 
Mr. Bell, W. H. Rohr, C. W. Petherbridge, J. J. 
Edwards, Oscar Littleton, E. M.' Peterson, R. S. 
Nash, Geo. McD. West, J. C. Hummer, John S. 
Briggs, Thomas Y. Cash, John D. Still, B. F. Ten- 
nille, H. C. Bowles, L. K. LeCato, W. E. Allen, 
W. G. Williams, J. L. Fisher, J. H. Crown, J. N. 
Jones, J. B. Merritt, Geo. M. Wright, Bascom Dey, 
W. H. Atwill, D. G. C. Butts, J. W. Carroll, T. J. 
Taylor, J. T. Bosman, W. G. Boggs, R. B. Blaken- 
ship, and Geo. E. Booker.'' The men who have 
served that church since Dr. Booker's pastorate 
are Geo. H. McFaden, J. K. Jolliff, S. J. Brown, J. T. 
Green, John Hannon, A. L. Franklin, V. W. Bar- 
gamin and the present pastor, L. J. Phaup; forty- 
four pastors in seventy-seven years. 

My term of service at this church extended over 
three years, in some respects the most laborious of 
my entire ministry, beginning November, 1887, and 
ending November, 1890. I had been in circuit work 


from the time I joined Conference in 1870. I knew 
nothing of the problems of the city church. The 
pastoral work seemed easy, when contrasted with 
•that of the country, but to me it proved the most 
difficult. The busy men could not be seen except 
at their stores, workshops, offices, and then for a 
short time only. The busy women in the home 
often embarrassed and perplexed me with the ques- 
tion, When can I go so as not to feel that I 
am upsetting the morning duties, or interfer- 
ing with the proposed afternoon shopping, or some 
other scheme looked upon by the household as im- 
perative? Then, the absent children, out at play 
or late from school was another thing that per- 
plexed me. The non-church goer was the great 
bug-bear to me. In the country it seemed to me 
everybody went to church on Sunday. 'Twas not 
so from my point of view when I took up the work 
in Portsmouth. The disregard for the sanctity of 
the Sabbath, and the deliberate assertion from men 
and women that "Sunday meant no more to them 
than any other day," was all new to me. Men who 
would sue at law if you dared allow a debt go 
unpaid; men who had a profound contempt for a 
liar or a libertine, would not hesitate to profane 
the day of the Lord. Now I do not mean to say- 
that I had never seen one of this class in the 
country, or that country folks are not sometimes 
found to be great sinners. What I mean is, in that 
day there was more real regard for the Sabbath 
in the country than in the city, and if you wanted 


to talk to a countryman about his sins, and set to 
work to try to get him into the church, he would 
stop to give respectful hearing to what you had 
to say, and in nine cases out of ten, would heed 
your invitation and come out to hear the word 
preached on Sunday. But the city fellow, if you 
ever got a chance at him, it was when he was busy 
doing something else. If you went to his home 
at night, nobody was there but the children and 
the nurse, the rest were "down town," or just go^ 
ing. If you ever made up your mind that the fellow 
"ought to be talked to," you had to chase him 
down or never get him. 

And the pulpit opportunity was just as unsatis- 
factory in results. True there were the "regulars," 
many of whom took it in just as they would take 
in the door-mat if it rained. But as for getting 
dose after dose of the same saving truth, each time 
in a new form, down their listening tube, "the try 
would not work." Seven-tenths of the people who 
attend public worship in the city, do not know 
what the preacher is talking about, and this is not 
"bad on the preacher," either. It only means that 
the city folks have so many diversions that the 
"message from the sky" has not the right of way. 

Well, I had measurable success at Wright Mem- 
orial. I am not giving the opinion of that congre- 
gation at that time. I am only giving my opinion, 
based upon substantial results, with the additional 
observation of thirty years to count up the mean- 
ing and worth of it all. I did not reach the multi- 


tude : I did not know how : hence I did not try. 
It is criminal for a man who has never prepared 
himself for the job to try his pills on a sick man. 
There were some things I knew how to do, and I 
confined myself to this sort of practice, and suc- 
ceeded. When I left that charge in November, 1890, 
I had brought into the church, by faithful preach- 
ing of the saving truth, the experimental facts of 
our faith, about forty men with their families, who 
added strength to the body of believers, and gave 
the church a meaning in the community. Then I 
got rid of some who had no name in the commun- 
ity for settled convictions and solid spiritual worth. 
They were "carried about by every wind of doc- 
trine, and the sleight of men, and cunning crafti- 
ness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive." These 
had little patience with me. I had none with them. 
Perhaps they were more pious than I, hence could 
stand more opposition. But the church grew. In- 
dividuals, young and old, grew in grace, and the 
uplift the church got from this class of its mem- 
bership, told on the general life of the church in 
after years. 

The "Old Guard" stood firm and fought well 
against the "devices of Satan." George T. Town- 
send was the man of iron; plain of speech, some- 
times rough, chargeable to his settled convictions 
and strong views on matters of right and wrong, 
but kind and patient and devout. He was a worker 
in iron and steel, hence the dust from the anvil 
went into the very fibre of his soul, and the solid 


strength of his nature transformed all his work for 
God and the Church and the town into a permanent 
structure, uninjured by the criticisms of men or 
the ravages of time. Eldred Cross was a man of 
prayer, who loved his Saviour, his Church, his fam- 
ily. Men trusted him as they trusted a stone 
bridge re-inforced with steel rods throughout. The 
gospel of Jesus covered him as with a garment : 
his heart was mellowed by the Spirit, and his mind 
broadened by his knowedge of the truth : his hands 
were wide open with helpful gifts for the needy, 
while his feet travelled easily the highway in which 
his Saviour's footsteps shined: and his lips were 
busy with words of cheer, but silent when harm- 
ful criticism characterized the talk of the group. 
R. H. McLean was a gentleman of the old school, 
non-communicative except when his opinion was 
sought, then clear, brief, using English instead 
of the double meaning phrases of the trade. He 
was not demonstrative, yet clear in his interpre- 
tation of the word, so that "the joy of the Lord 
was'' in reality, "the strength of his soul." John 
T. King had brains, and a rugged creed that fitted 
the curb-stone and the ditch bank. Unselfish, in- 
dustrious, careful in the use of his resources, ready 
for all good works, backward in the experience 
meeting, but forward in the practice of the high- 
est principles of the Christian faith. Edward Pow- 
ell was the quiet, faithful, liberal Christian gentle- 
man. Capt. W. H. Elliott was the trained water- 
man, the earnest believer, the careful financier, the 


willing toiler anywhere in the vineyard of the 
Lord. A. C, Bushnell was the ready-made Sunday- 
School Superintendent and Quarterly Conference 
Secretary. He fitted thesei two pjaces just as 
snug-ly as the skin fits the flesh. No adjustment 
was needed because the law of Psycho-physiology 
had settled the question before you took hold. You 
could not remove him because, like taking the 
skin from the flesh, you left the entire surface raw 
and bleeding. Look at the bark on a tree, the wa- 
ter seeking its level, the clouds flying before the 
wind, the ocean wave breaking on the beach; that 
was Al. Bushnell ; he was made that way, and could 
not be unmade. And he was so sincere and nat- 
ural that you fell in love with him at first sight. 
Albert Cherry the well trained tenor, Chas. 
McLean, the organizer, John J. King, all right 
from head to foot, and all the way through, no 
matter where one pushed in the probe. And old 
Brother John West, the Contractor and Builder, 
who had his Headquarters on the street, on the 
tops or inside the buildings he was erecting. He 
was "the architect and builder of that beautiful 
edifice, the one member of the church who was 
able to carry the work on to a successful comple- 
tion." As Bro. McLean declares in his admirable 
"History," "but for Brother West this building 
would not have been undertaken." Alonza Cuth- 
riell, with good purposes, a clean heart, a fine in- 
telligence, ready for every good word and work; 
and Geo. Broughton, my warm friend, and rare Bob 


Heath, good old Is^aac Bailey, and solid Theodore 
Tyler. Chas. Sturtevant led the service of song 
and loved the children till death. 

That is the size and calibre of the group that 
worked with me, and loved me, and criticized me, 
and held me up in their arms, and made my efforts 
as successful as they were ! Some of these have 
gone home to heaven, — others are on the way : 
blessings upon them ; thank God for the whole 
hustling gang ! 

When I took up my work in December 1887, I 
found a debt of about $3,800.00 on the church 
building. Brother Atwill, through systematic busi- 
ness management, had reduced the heavy obliga- 
tion of nearly, or quite $10,000.00, to this small 
sum. The Official Board could get no better plan 
out of me for paying the last penny, so continued 
to work Brother Atwill's plan. During that year 
and the next the debt gradually melted away, so 
that in the middle of my second year we were given, 
by the blessing of God, the privilege of having a 
"Bond Burning service" in the main auditorium. 
Sister Eldred Cross, who with Brother Richard 
H. McLean, was present at the organization of 
the Sunday-School in the carpenter shop on Wythe 
Street in 1841, was selected to set fire to the 
Bond in a brazen urn on a table inside the chancel 
rail. It was a great service, and Zion rejoiced with 
great joy before the Lord that night. 

When I left the church in November, 1890, to 
take charge of Mathew's circuit, the Ladies' Aid 


Society, under the lead of Mrs. Albert Cherry- 
had in Bank for the erection of a Sunday-School 
Building, $700.00. 

Dr. James C. Reed was my Presiding Elder. My 
neighbors were Rev. Wm. E. Edwards, D. D., 
at Monumental, Rev. F. M. Edwards at Central, 
Rev. B. F. Lipscomb at Chestnut St., Berkeley, 
Rev. Dr. A. G. Brown at Cumberland St., Norfolk, 
Rev. Dr. W. V. Tudor at Granby St., Rev. W. H. 
Christian at Centenary, Rev. J. L. Spencer at Ash- 
bury, Atlantic city, Rev. Wm. McGee at McKen- 
dree, Brambleton, and Rev. Joshua Hunter at 
Queen St. This was the clerical force which led 
the people in the way of life in the Cities by 
the Sea .thirty-four years age. And it was the 
age of giants among the laity. Owens, Porter, 
Thomas, Neville, Scott, and Scott again. White 
bnd others in Portsmouth, Keeling and others 
in Berkeley, Dawson, Whitehurst, Hudgins, Gritf- 
ith. Vicar, Odend'hal, Roper, Jones, Bokover, Davis, 
Allmond, Pettitt, and a host of others in Norfolk. 
And I am moved to remark, with all due apologies' 
to the present leaders, the stock has never been 
unproved. The old spirit of evangelical and 
aggressive Miethodism, glorying in the experience 
of saving grace may have been transmitted to 
the present workers, but that is all that can be 
said. There has been a widening of the field, and 
an increase in church buildings and members, but 
it is "the same Spirit given to each" generation 
"to profit withal." The contributions may look 


larger, but I dare risk the statement that the 
percentage is the same. 

Dr. Wm. E. Edwards was emphatically my friend. 
He was approachable, considerate, commending 
my every effort to the thing that should be done, 
and pointing out the causes of failure on any point 
without impatience or harshness. He had travelled 
the rugged road of training himself, and knew 
when and how to do to help the stumbling and sin- 
cere. His study was the drSll-ground, as well 
as the haven for relaxation, recuperal/i'otij, and 
spiritual strengthening. He delighted in the best 
books and pointed out to me their excellences. 
He revelled in humor, and pushed me, time and 
again, over the edge of the clift of clarical de- 
corum into the chasm of side-splitting and healthy 
laughter. The fragrance of a clean heart exhaled 
in his jokes ; he felt that, even if there were no 
gentlemen present whose sense of propriety might 
be offended, he himself was such, and self-re- 
spect restriained him. The vulgar jester fared 
"badly in his hands if once he got his foot on his 
neck. The rude traveller on a certain train on 
a certain day learned something from Dr. Edwards 
that he should have been taught when young. He 
wore costly raiment ; a heavy gold chain was boldly 
displayed across a silk vest ; a diamond sparkled 
on his tie. One of Edward's boys occupied a 
seat the strutting dude desired. He invited the 
boy, in language becoming the brothel, to give 
way to his majesty. The boy moved. Then the 


dude said, "You can sit here if you wish." Df 
Edwards, who occupied, a seat across the aisle, 
replied, "No, he will not ; neither my boy nor I are 
accustomed to occupying a seat with a hog." The 
crushed human stood it as long as he could, then 
retired to the smoker. Dr. Edwards was perfectly 
fearless, generous to the^ limit of his powers, and 
true amid a thousand difficulties which have given 
others an excuse to change. He was candid with- 
out rudeness, affectionate without gush, submissive 
without complaint, devout without ostentation, 
prayerful without phariseeism. His studies in the 
word of God brought out in distinct outline the 
standard set by his Lord, and challenged his trust, 
and beckoned him to the higher life for the sake of 
others. His hold upon his congregation was the 
grip of a giant; his throne in the confidence of 
men was undisputed and life-long. I knew him 
when, a boy of 16, he was at his father's home in 
PetersbKirg on his vacation, and his father was 
pastor, first at Washington Street church, and then 
at Market Street. I was a little boy of ten, and 
he called my by my home-name, "Gee Butts." 
When he and I met at Portsmouth as Pastors of 
neighboring churches I was, to him as always, 
"Gee Butts." And he made it his business to count 
me as his special charge. And I was proud of the 
place I held in his esteem. His friendship and his 
care of me were profitable to me in a thousand 

On the 3rd of Jiily 1888, a pretty little girl baby 


came to our home on 3rd Street. For six years no 
child had come to us, so, the birth of this one 
was as if some one had thrown open the shutters, 
flung up the curtain, and let in the sunshine 
long hoped for. She has grown to be a stately 
woman, the wife of Mr. Swepson A. Brock, of 
Oceana, and the mother of two very live children, 
a boy and a girl. 

Before I get too far away from the Conference 
of 1887, there is an important historical fact that 
should be noted in this narrative. At the Con- 
ference of 1886, Rev. John T. Bosman, one of our 
most promising young men, who had just been 
ordained a Deacon and received into full connec- 
tion, was sent to Newport News to take charge of 
the newly established work in the young town. 
He returned to the Conference of 1887 with the 
following report: — 

Number of Members, 36. Number of Churches, 
2 worth $5,000.00 ; Preacher's Salary $500.00, Pre- 
siding Elder $60.00, and $1,400.00 raised for Build- 
ing purposes. The Mission Board paid him $240.00. 

He was returned to the Newport News Mission 
and came up to the Conference of 1888 with a 
fine report which showed the aggressive and con- 
structive spirit of the man. 

The Conference of 1888 met in Monumental 
Church, Portsmouth, Bishop ■ Granbery Presiding. 
It was my first experience in the sublime(?) task 
of finding homes for the preachers and Delegates. 

The Committee of entertainment at this sies- 


sion had so much trouble getting homes that the 
question of "somei other plan" was freely dis- 
cussed on the floor of the conference, and the 
following preamble and resolutions offered by 
"W. W. Berry and J. P. Pettyjohn" was referred 
to a special Committee with instructions to report 
next day, and that "the subject be made the order 
of the day for 10 o'clock." 

"Whereas, the grace of hospitality is commended 
of St. Paul, and in the sacred scriptures ; and 
whereas, this blessed privilege ought to be par- 
ticipated in by all the churches ; therefore, 

1. Resolved, That the Joint Board of Finance 
be authorized to appoint annually a committee of 
five, two preachers and three laymen, of their own 
members or from the conference, to be called 'the 
Committee on Conference Sessions,' whose duty, 
in connection with the Board, shall be to select a 
jjlace for the seat of the Conference, to secure rail- 
road and hotel rates, and to receive and disburse 
funds raised for Conference expenses. 

2. Resolved, That our ministers give occasion to 
each charge to contribute to the entertainment of 
the Conference, and that the sum of $1,500.00 be 
raised and graded according to the Educational 

On motion of P. A. Peterson, the paper was re- 
ferred to the following Committee : W. W. Berry, 
J. P. Pettyjohn, Richard Irby, J. J. Lafferty, T. 
McN. Simpson, A. C. Bledsoe, and Geo. C. Vander- 


On the next day, "Friday, Nov. 9th.," at 10 
o'clock, the order of the day, tHe report of the 
special Committee on "Conference Entertainment," 
was taken up. 

The Conference Annual says that "After much 
discussion the report of the Committee was adopted 
by a vote of 109 to 86." 

This plan adopted then has been the plan of 
Conference Entertainment, practically,' to this 
day. The Annual for the Conference of 1889, places 
the cost of that session at $912.09. The Annual for 
1921 places the cost of that session at $7,565.15. 
Both sessions were held in the city of Richmond, 
Va. The comparison of cost is iriteresting ; but 
he vvho can see at all can easily, see why it is so. 
Board for 126 guests for eight days was paid at 
the session of 1889, while practically the entite 
Conference was fed and lodged for the 1921 ses- 
sion on the sum indicated above. And when we 
take into consideration the higher cost of living 
now the difference is almost negligible.. 

At this Conference of 1888, two of the "fathers" 
of the conference were reported in answer to Min- 
ute Question 19, "What preachers have died during 
the year?" Samuel T. Moorman and Wm. B. Row- 
zie. Both of these old men I had known for almost 
the whole of my life. They were infrequent visi- 
tors at "Roslin," the home of my gi'andfather, 
Rev. John Gregory Claiborne, in Brunswick county. 
Uncle Moorman joined the Conference in 1828, 
and Uncle Rowzie in 1826. My mother was a 


child when Uncle Moorman first came to "Roslin" 
as a Junior preacher under John Wesley Childs on 
the old Brunswick circuit. My grandfather had 
just been converted, joined the Methodist church 
and licensed to preach, 1828. The Virginia Con- 
ference met in Raleigh, N. C, Feb, 27th. There are 
the dates and the facts. My mother was six years 
old. My grandfather was thirty. Uncle Rowzie 
was born in 1806, converted under the preaching 
of the Methodist preachers who travelled Han- 
over circuit in 1826, and joined Conference in 1829, 
at Lynchburg, Bishop Roberts, Presiding, and be- 
gan his itinerant life on the Gloucester circuit. 
The records of the old Gloucester circuit have this 
entry: — "The first Quarterly Conference for 1829 
was held at Bethlehem Meeting House, in Glou- 
cester county, the 4th day of April. Lewis Skid- 
more is Presiding Elder, Samuel Harrell is As- 
sistant elder, and William B. Rowzie is Helper." 
That is all, but it gives us the beginning of a long, 
faithful, useful, successful ministry. Dr. John E. 
Edwards in his memoir of Uncle Rowzie says, "No 
preacher among us ever had a clearer perception 
of the sinner's relation to God and His holy law. 
nor a clearer conception of the great doctrine of 
Justification by Faith, than he ; and perhaps no 
preacher connected with the Virginia Conference 
ever preached this doctrine with more demonstra- 
tive effects and immediate results than he. The 
instances are not few in which conversions, clear 
and scriptural, occurred while he was preaching the 


doctrine. He was wonderfully successful as a 
preacher in leading sinners to Christ." His re- 
mains lie buried in the old family burying ground 
near his birth-place in Middlesex county, where 
two or three generations of his kindred sleep. A 
cousin of Uncle Rowzie, Dr. Edward Rowzie, of 
Hanover county, married the sister of my wife's 
grandmother, a Miss Pleasants, of Louisa county. 

It might be of interest to some to note that in 
answer to Question 1, "Who are admitted on 
Trial?" the following names, with the properly ex- 
ecuted papers were reported: — James H. Moss, a 
local preacher of Mathews circuit; W. A. S. Con 
rad, a local preacher of Laurel St. Station, Rich- 
mond ; Stonewall J. Brown, a local preacher of Floyd 
St. Station, Danville ; Porter Hardy, a local preacher 
of Brunswick circuit ; James Cannon, Jr., a local 
preacher of Chestnut St. (Berkeley) Station ; and 
C. Rosser James, a local preacher of York circuit, 
and they were admitted. That's a brilliant group 
when criticically examined from this end of the line. 
They have wrought well through all these years, 
one of the number having risen to the office of 
Bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 
and is known throughout the nation as the man 
who has waged a successful war against the Traffic 
in Liquor as a beverage, being one of the most 
distinguishd leaders in this battle. 

It was at this session in Portsmouth that our 
Brother, Rev. D. J. Traynham had a good home 
with some very worthy people, and was enjoying 


their bountiful and cheerfully bestowed hospital- 
ity. But the good lady of the house could not re- 
member his name. This difficulty with a faulty 
memory troubled her, so she appealed to Brother 
Traynham to tell how to recall his name at the 
critical moment, for instance, how could she intro- 
duce him to visitors or call him to breakfast. 
Traynham said, "Now, sister, just think of a train 
of cars and a good Smithfield ham, and you will 
have no further trouble with my name." Next 
morning Brother Traynham was called to break- 
fast by the dear good old sister at the foot of the 
stairs in this form : — "Brother Carham, breakfast 
is ready!" And Brother Traynham answered to 
his new name without a protest. 

When Conference adjourned the suggestion I 
made to Dr. Reed, the Presiding Elder, regarding 
the qualifications and merits of two promising 
youths out in the rural districts, was carried out 
to the letter, and the Conference was amazed at 
seeing these innocent, yet worthy, young men, 
drifting ashore on a high tide of unusual promo- 
tion, and landing safely in a snug harbor, each : 
W. H. Edwards floated in from Heathsville in 
Northumberland and anchored at McKendree, Nor- 
folk, while R. H. Potts drifted in from Charlotte 
and tied up his craft at Asbury, Norfolk. The 
incident is referred to in the first chapter of this 
Narrative, and is only mentioned here to give it 
the chronological setting it deserves. 

The Conference of 1889 met in Broad Street 


church, Richmond, and some very promising lads 
came in at that season ; — "Who are admitted on 
Trial?" Answer: — Leroy J. Phaup, Richard H. 
Bennett, E. V. Carson, John L. Bray, M'unford S. 
Elliott, Jas. H. Pike, Elijah S. Gunn, Randolph T. 
Clarke, Wm. R. Proctor, and Arthur R. Goodchild, 
were recommended according to the requirement 
of the Discipline and admitted. Just read the 
names of the men in that list, and in the list re- 
ceived at the last Conference, and then read up on 
the story of the life of the owner of each name, 
and tell me, Didn't the Virginia Conference start 
some solid humanity to the top of the hifl at these 
two sessions, — the hill up which the fellow in the 
school book was climbing, and screaming, 'Excel- 

Bishop Wilson presided at this Conference, 
Bishop Granbery being also present. I was re- 
turned to Wright Memorial for the third year. 

An incident occurring during the year 1889 
should not escape this record. I refer to the great 
North East storm of April 7th. The Atlantic 
ocean drove the waters of Hampton Roads all 
over the low streets of Portsmouth, Berkeley, and 
Norfolk. Gamage's Lime Ware House was flooded 
and caught fire, the great marsh between Ports- 
mouth and South Portsmouth was flooded, the At- 
lantic and Danville Railway bridge was swept 
away, the Navy Yard was flooded and the Man of 
War "Pensacola" was sunk in the Dry Dock. The 
water was up over the bottom step of residences on 


Harrison Street, between 3rd and 4th Sts,, and up 
Fourth St., as far as the corner of Randolph- That 
Saturday night was an awful night in the history 
of the cities by the sea. 

On the 9th of June while preaching in Dr. Ed- 
ward's pulpit at Monumental, (he exchanging with 
me,) I was taken ill with Malarial Fever and did 
not get out to my pulpit again till July 14th, the 
brethren of the two cities and Berkeley supply- 
ing the preacher every Sunday. Their kindly at- 
tention to the sick man is remembered Very grate- 
fully to this hour. My people got some rich food 
during my enforced absence. When convalescent, 
a week spent at Judge Cashell's in Montgomery 
county, Md., restored my health and strength. 

I was with Bro. E. E. Harrell in two very prof- 
itable meetings this year on the Newsom's circuit; 
— "New Hope" in August, and "Mt. Horeb" in Sep- 
tember. Souls were converted and brought into 
the Church, and the people of God encouraged on 
every side. Harrell had a firm hold on the sub^ 
stantial folks in all that section, and did a 
great work for his Lord. The Holy Spirit, through 
his administration and ministry, removed a num- 
ber of formidable obstructions to the movement of 
the Gospel of righteousness among the masses. He 
insisted upon "the perfect man, the measure of 
the stature of the fullness of Christ" as the stand- 
ard for Leaders and Stewards, as well as for the 
rank and file of the church membership. A healthy 
spiritual atmosphere pervaded the entire field of 


his work. One of his officials placed me under ob- 
ligations for material facts sustaining this view of 
Brother Harrell's worth to the community. 

I was called upon in the summer of this year to 
preach the Commencement sermon at the close of 
the session of the Suffolk College, under the man- 
ageme;it of the Misses Finney. Bro. Francis J. 
Boggs was the Preacher in Charge of the First 
Church, Suffolk, at that time, and right royally did 
he use me, although my Host was the College man- 
agement. He had been my Presiding Elder in the 
Middlesex circuit in 1885, and "the tie that binds" 
still held us firm in the grip of a strong attachment. 
Our eldest grls, Mary Claiborne and Anna Maria 
Waller, were pupils at the College, and it was his 
pleasure and that of his devoted family, to give 
them special attention. He had not forgotten the 
children who played around his knees a few years 
back in Saluda. 

Providence Church at Runnell's station (now 
called Oceana,) on the Virginia Beach Railway, in 
the Princess Anne circuit, was dedicated *o the 
worship of God August 11, 1889. I preached at the 
morning hour. There was a great crowd, and great 
joy that after nearly three years the work had 
reached this crowning service. 

I think it was in the summer of 1890 that Dr. 
J. C. Reed and I had the pleasure of a memorable 
trip through the Albemarle & Chesapeake Canal, 
(an inland waterway connecting the Southern 
branch of Elizabeth river with the North river,) on 


board the side wheel steamer "Bonito." This ma- 
jestic craft was used for the transportation of pas- 
sengers and freight from Norfolk to the landings on 
Currituck Sound as far south as "Church Branch" 
in North Carolina. The route lay up the Southern 
branch of the Elizabeth river, thence through the 
above mentioned canal to the head of North river, 
thence down that narrow but deep stream out into 
Currituck Sound, touching at North Landing, 
West's Neck, Munden Point, Knott's Island, and so 
on till night overtook the boat, then she spent the 
night and made the trip back to Norfolk next day, 
if the Captain and crew felt like doing so. Dr. 
Reed was on his way to the Quarterly Conference 
of the South Princess Anne circuit to be held at 
Wash Woods chapel, on the beach opposite Knott's 
Island. I was on my way to join my family, spend- 
ing the month at No. 6 Life Saving Station, on the 
invitation of the big-hearted and big-bodied Cap- 
tain, Malichi Corbell. We ate a hearty breakfast 
in Portsmouth early that morning, and such fore- 
thought was vindicated by the experience of the 
day. When midday arrived we were still going 
down the zigzag current of the North river. Very 
unexpectedly dinner was announced. We had seen 
no signs of the approaching feast. We did not 
know there was a dining-room on the boat. Cer- 
tainly the dinner would not be served ^in the sa- 
loon, for that was not large enough for more than 
five passengers to move about in unless the big, 
fat female cook stayed out. We followed our 


guide, and she led us forward of the cook-room 
to a room, large enough for two men the size of 
Dr. Reed and me to enter carefully and sit per- 
fectly still ; and there she served our dinner spread 
out upon a table adjusted to the side of the wall. 
We had coflfee which had seen its best days when 
quietly sleeping in a bag somewhere. Then we had 
stewed beef served in what seemed to be the 
steamer's wash bowl. We were mistaken about 
this, for, upon inquiry, we learned that the steamer 
had no wash bowl ! that if any of the passengers 
desired a bath before eating, a rope was attached 
to the aforesaid passenger's waist, and, while the 
other end was held in the strong grip of a dusk)'^ 
deck-hand, the unclean traveller would hang over- 
board, and bathe himself freely in the cypress 
stained waters of the placid stream. This infor- 
mation brought us peace of mind for we had long 
ago decided, that, in view of our surroundings, it 
would be entirely needless to bathe. 

Dr. Reed and I pitched into the stewed beef, but 
accomplished very little. It was too tough a sub- 
ject for discussion, therefore we tackled the stew 
in which the beef was stewed, but that was too 
thin ; so we gave up that, and tried the coffee : 
but we could easily see through that piece of de- 
ception. We paid our quarter for the dinner, com- 
plimented the flavor of the pepper and salt, and 
went out on deck for fresh air. Luckily for us, 
there were two watermelons exposed to view. We 
bought one, cut it in half, and settled down to busi- 

1st euggV, boat and iJAiiAvAT 231 

iicss. The sun went clown as we turned eastward 
into the channel which carried our tub to the wharf 
at Knott's Island, and we landed at dark. A boat 
awaited us, and we were at the Life Saving Sta- 
tion within an hour and a half. 

Next morning- was Saturday. I awoke with a 
raging headache, and about the worst attack of 
indigestion a poor preacher ever had. My diges- 
tive machinery got on a rampage, because I had 
sent a few pieces of that beef down there to be 
ground up. Every part of that machine went on a 
strike. The dust kicked up by the row inside of 
me sent the fumes of failure up into my brain, 
turned me giddy as the dancer of the fox trot, and 
it was thirty-six hours before I could open my 
eyes and look up at the ceiling without the sensa- 
tion of feeling that the house would topple over. 

In the meantime. Dr. Reed had been up to the 
chapel, held his Quarterly Conference, gotten 
through with preaching service, and was on 
Knott's Island ready for the Sabbath services. 

My family consisting of six children, my wife, 
and Miss Lee Harris, returned to Portsmouth af- 
ter a month's outing on the sand dunes around 
False Cape, much refreshed and improved in health 
and spirits. We had carried our own provisions, 
except such as could be easily purchased from the 
housekeepers around the Station, and were at 
charges to no one except for our lodging in the 
nipst substantial house we had ever occupied. A^d 
this we were charged to keep scrupulously clean. 

232 FEoar saddle to citT 

because that was the law of the United States 
Government. The Captain could not have selected 
a more careful hand at this than my wife, and the 
girls made the keeping of that rule a matter of 
conscience. . " 

While convalescent from the protracted illness 
to which I referred on page 83, a most distressing 
event occurred in my congregation, and I was in 
no condition physically to go to the help of the dear 
family which was bereaved. The wife of our young 
brother, Charlie McLean, was prostrated by 
what proved to be a fatal illness. Four days 
before her death she gave birth to a splendid boy. 
When she passed away, knowing that I could not 
summon strength sufificient to take me through 
the testing task of conducting the funeral services, 
I wired for the old Pastor and friend, Rev. W. H. 
Atwill, at Clay Street church, Richmond. On the 
day of the funeral, with the consent of my physi- 
cian. Dr. Hope, I yielded to the urgent request of 
Bro. McLean and his wife's family, to come to the 
house and baptize the little babe at the side of the 
coffin in which lay the lifeless body of the beauti- 
ful little mother who had given him life. I sat in 
a chair and held the little boy in my arms, sprinkled 
the clean water upon his head, a symbol of that 
innocence of soul which made hifli a type of be- 
liever's purity, and prayed a merciful God to spare 
his precious life, and if in His infinite Wisdom, He 
would in due time count the child worthy of a 
place in the Ministry of the New Testament Church, 


the desire of all hearts in the family would be ful- 
filled. I prayed thus because the dear young 
mother, lying there cold in death, had been one of 
our most useful members, a Teacher in the Sun- 
day School, very influential with the young of both 
sexes ; and it seemed but proper for us all, in the 
church and in that stricken home, to desire that 
the work his mother had to lay down should be 
taken up by this boy when he had become a man. 
When Frank E. H. McLean was received into the 
Travelling Connection on Trial at the Conference 
session at Salisbury, Maryland, in November, 1911, 
in the presence of his step-grandfather, and his 
father, and the pastor who had sent the fervent 
prayer to Heaven twenty-two years before, we all 
felt that God does answer prayer when offered in 
the scriptural form. The young man yet lives, but 
in health not very strong, with a good wife, and a 
babe (or two, perhaps,). The wife is a daughter of 
brother Russell Dawson, and a grand-daughter of 
one of the representative men in the Methodist 
Church of thirty years ago, — Brother J. H. Daw- 
son, of precious memory. 

Late in the summer of 1890, Rev. Dr. J. Powell 
Garland, P. E. of the Richmond District, stopped 
at Bro. Geo. L. Neville's in Portsmouth on his way 
home in Richmond, from the Mathews Quarterly 
Conference, and sent a note over to my parsonage 
on Harrison Street, requesting my presence at 
Brother Neville's; the messenger adding, "He 
wants to see you on important business." I, found 


him in the dining room enjoying a rest in the midst 
of that hospitable, cultured and Christian family. 
In a few rnoments the family withdrew, and left 
Dr. Garland arid myself alone. He opened the in- 
terview by saying that he had "heard" that I "de- 
sired to take up circuit workvagain." I told him 
that he had heard the correct story. Then said he, 
"I want you for the Mathews circuit, but I will not 
ask the Bishop to send you there without your con- 
sent." I expressed my cordial appreciation of his 
interest in me, gave my consent, and that ended 
our very pleasant interview. 

As the time for the Copference session in Lynch- 
burg approached I perfected all my arrangements 
for the move. Numbers of my friends in my con- 
gregation and in the city expressed their regret at 
my going, and insisted on my remaining to the 
end of my term, one year more. But I thought I 
had better "go while the going was good." I had 
noticed that some of my dear brethren in the Vir 
ginia Conference did not know when "going is 
good :" hence, I have known of some who moved 
when no one wept. 




The Conference of 1890 met in the city of Lynch- 
burg, Wednesday, Nov. 12th, and continued in ses- 
sion from day to day till Monday night, Nov. 17tji. 
Bishop R. K. Hargrove in the Chair. 

Paul Whitehead was Secretary, with P. A. Peter- 
son, S. S. Lambeth, and A. C. Berryman, Assistants. 

By the action of the General Conference in Miiy, 
1890, that portion of the Murfreesboro District 
made up of Murfreesboro, Garysburg, Northamp- 
ton, Meherrin, Bertie, Harrellsville, Dare, and 
Kitty Hawk Mission was transferred to fhe North 
Carolina Conference, and the following brethren 
serving these charges were transferred with the 
territory:— F. M. Edwards, T. J. Bayton, C. W. 
Cain, and John M. Campbell. The following breth- 
ren transferred with the territory at the same time, 
were transferred back to our Conference at their 
request :— N. J. Pruden, W. H. Riddick, and R. H. 
Mullen. At the Conference of 1891 F. M. Edwards 
and T. J. Bayton were transferred back to us and 
a few years later C. W. Cain and John M. Camp- 
bell came back by the same route. With the trans- 
fer of the charges named above the old Murfrees- 


boro District ceased to exist, and "Sufifolk Dis- 
trict" became the title of the territory left, with 
the following charges added to make up for the 
loss : — South Norfolk circuit and Smithfield and 
Benn's from the Norfolk District, and Surry cir- 
cuit and Isle of Wight circuit from the Peters- 
burg District. 

At this Conference Dr. W. W. Royall is trans- 
ferred to the West Virginia Conference and Stone- 
wall J. Brown to the Southwest" Missouri, and our 
dear young Brother, Willie O. Waggener to the 
East Columbia Conference. Our brother R. O. 
Payne locates in order to join the East Ohio Con- 
ference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Heck- 
man, Rawlings, W. B. Jett, and Garner were ad- 
mitted on Trial, and Maxey, McFaden and Rowe 
were ordained Elders. 

The dead this year were from our choice men, 
as usual. Jlead these names, J. H. Crown, a prince 
among men ; J. S. R. Clarke, bulky in body and 
brain; B. F. Woodward, "the Asaph of the Con- 
ference choir ;'' Alfred Wiles, the gentle and faith- 
ful friend; T. L. Williams, the scholarly preacher 
and successful pastor. 

A strange thing was done in the cabinet at this 
session of the Conference ; the name of the "Ran- 
dolph Macon" District was changed to "Northern 
Neck" District ! How it happened it would be un- 
wise to inquire, but an act which contradicted the 
geography of the State was soon corrected, and the 
natural name for that work, lying on both sides of 


the Rappahannock river, was bestowed at the ses- 
sion of 1891, and the District has borne the name 
"Rappahannock" District to this date. 

The following changes were made in the bound- 
aries of certain Districts, to wit: Two Districts 
were formed out of the old Richmond District, 
the dividing line falling somewhere between 5th 
and 10th Streets, the territory west taking the name 
of West Richmond, and that east retaining the old 
name. Mathews and West Mathews were trans- 
ferred from the Richmond District to the so-called 
"Northern Neck" District, and Williamsburg, York 
arid Newport News were transferred from the East 
ern Shore District and East King and Queen from 
the said "Northern Neck" District to the old Rich- 
mond. Other changes were made in the general 
shaking up growing out of the formation of the 
West Richmond, but these were all outside of the 
region in which I was operating, and therefore are 
omitted from this story. 

Bishop Granbery had just returned from a visit 
to our Mission field in Brazil, and was present at 
this session of his old Conference. Hence a paper 
offered by Dr. A. G. Brown, and signed by him- 
self, Paul Whitehead, J. A. Peterson, Louis L. 
Marks, J. Powell Garland, B. F. Lipscomb, Little- 
ton Cockrell, Geo. C. Vandlerslice, W. E. Judkins, 
E. B. Brown, Geo. L. Neville, and W. W. Vicar, was 
most timely and appropriate, and "was adopted by a 
unanimous rising vote : — " 

"Resolved, 1st, That the safe return of Bishop 


Granbery from his long and perilous visit to our 
Missions in Brazil, and his iDrovidential presence at 
this session of his old Conference, gives us sincere 
personal pleasure and fills our hearts with profound 
gratitude to our Heavenly Father.'' 

When the appointments were read I was so busy 
taking them for the "Norfolk Landmark" that I did 
not hear my own name read for the Mathews cir- 
cuit, nor for any other work. I was listening with 
my pencil instead of with my ears ! I had beaten 
Bro. Wm. P. Wright in a race to the Telegraph of- 
fice ; (he was writing for the "Norfolk Virginian") ; 
as soon as he entered with his notes for 
the wire, I asked him if he could tell me where I 
had been sent. When he said "Mathews ; didn't you 
know?" I replied, "Yes, I knew it two months 
ago, but I have been waiting for the Bishop to sav 

I watched Wm. E. Evans, as he sat up close to 
the chancel in old Centenary that night, in a chair 
brought in for the occasion, the house being densely 
crowded, awaiting the long-prayed-for moment 
when Bishop Hargrave would throw that luscious 
plum, "Granby Street, Norfolk," right into his out- 
stretched hand ! I saw him catch it : smile ; swal- 
low it : and then grow indifferent as the other 
plums fell to other m&n, but none so sweet as this ! 
The taste did not abide ! James Cannon, Jr., re- 
turns to "Newport News," with the word "Mis- 
sion" eliminated from the charge, and E. H. Rawl- 
ings goes to "Ashland and Ashland Mission," with 


"One to be supplied." W. B. Jett strikes out across 
the country for "Marvin Grove," a new circuit 
right around there in the old territory once cov- 
ered by the "Richmond circuit." Heckman hits the 
hill country on the "Snow Creek Mission," while 
Garner goes, to "Montross," the training ground 
for many an itinerant recruit, where the legal 
giants got my measure in '71, and the big folks 
listened with pra)'erful patience to my slazey, but 
sincere, sermons through two trying (to them") 

'Twas good to sit there and watch the boj^s go 
out into the night that night, "not knowing whither" 
they were going. A man, clothed with authority 
by the church to do that thing, had said 
"Go." To these boys, as it had been with hundreds 
of us before, it was the voice of Heaven! They 
had prayed, as many before them had done, for 
the spirit of obedience : the prayer was answered 
that night : so they went in the name of the Lord. 
and returned a year afterward with the flush of 
triumph on cheek and brow, for they had won vic- 
tories in His name ! 

I returned to Portsmouth and marked my packed 
stuff "Williams Wharf," and then set out to tell 
my people at Wright Memorial "Farewell." Here 
I found myself "up against it" sure enough. John 
Carroll was my successor, and I spoke a good word 
for him all around, but after that I had to say. 
"Goodbye." In street after street, and house after 
house I found them "sorry I was going," "didn't 


know I was going till they saw it in the paper," 
till actually J got sorry myself. There were some 
who didn't say much either one way or the other. 
I did not press the matter with these, neither did 
I prolong the interview. I carefully refrained 
from extended conversations with this class, hence 
I could truthfully say, (had any inquisitive preach- 
ers asked me,) "No, I heard no one say they were 
glad I was leaving." Brethren of the Virginia Con- 
ference, do not talk to "one too many" folks when 
you are leaving a charge : some folks will stick to 
the habit of telling the truth. Pick your crowd, 
then "push in your question punch," and you will 
leave with tears of regret, to be followed by smiles 
of gratitude that the Good Lord led you to talk 
to the right persons. 

When I asked George Wray at Central if he 
thought the time had come for me to leave, George 
said, "Yes, by all means. Butts ; you have been at 
Wright Memorial too long already ; get out and 
go." But I did not take George seriously, because 
I had been bleeding his congregation, and he did 
not like that sort 'er thing, neither would you. So 
I went to Dr. Willie Edwards for his opinion, and 
he replied, without a moment's hesitation, "No, 
Gee Butts, T am sorry you did not ask me before 
Garland got hold of you. You know I've got to 
have somebody I can abuse when the notion strikes 
me ; and I have thoroughly enjoyed having you to 
use in that way. You take it as a matter of course, 
so no harm came of it. But now I am at a loss to 


know which way to turn to find a providentially 
adjusted punch bag. John Carroll will not stand 
it, neither will George Wray. Farewell." And I 
left him in much sorrow. 

Thanksgiving, November, 1890, witnessed my de- 
parture from the Harrison Street rented house, 
and the removal of the furniture to the newly pur- 
chased parsonage on Randolph St. between 3rd and 
4th Sts. At Williams' Wharf, on East river in 
Mathews county, a goodly company of people met 
us with conveyances to convey us and our multi- 
tudinous packages to the parsonage at the Court 
House Village. It was located in a spacious lot 
on the other side of the head-waters of what is 
known as "Put In" creek, commonly called '*Pud- 
din creek" by citizens careless of the refinements 
of good society and the rules of classic English. 
The dinner served by our new friends was one 
never to be forgotten. It measured up to the stand- 
ard set for all Thanksgiving dinners, and went be- 
yond. Besides the turkey and his "accoutre- 
ments," there were the best oysters the county 
boasted of, served raw, stewed and fried. It would 
have done your heart good could you have wit 
nessed the interest those children manifested in 
turkey and oysters which had not seen a city mar- 
ket house. Then, after they romped over the big 
yard, and inspected the creek with its promises 
for summer sport, they got a big supper and went 
to sleep, some of them at the table, others in the 
chamber, and those able to climb the stairs found 


the room up there, and were soon "asleep in the 
arms of morphine," as a very self-;important ac- 
quaintance of mine in Westmoreland used to sa}'. 
He it was who said that "Mrs. Hemans was the no- 
ticeable authur of that most eloquent saying, 
'Judge not that ye be not a judge.' " 

But hold on: I think I was in the Mathews par- 
sonage when the above interruption was inter- 
jected. I will resume the narrative at that point. 
When the good friends had taken their departure 
late in the afternoon, wife and I commenced an in- 
vestigation to find out "the damage." The pantry 
was filled with good things for the inside of folks, 
and the woodyard was piled up with the thing 
needed to keep out the cold. The stable had no 
horse, but there was enough for a reasonable horse 
for many weeks. We were "at home" as we had 
a habit of being through eighteen years of married 
life ; and were satisfied ! 

My circuit comprised five churches, namely : — 
"Central," in the parsonage yard; "Salem," in "The 
Havens," a section north east of the village, 
"Bethel," in the "Garden Creek" and "Winter Har- 
bor" section, "Point Comfort," six miles, and "Beu- 
lah" two miles farther down the road, in the sec- 
tion known as New Point, with Mobjack Bay on the 
west and Chesapeake Bay on the east. In fact. 
Chesapeake Bay was on the east of the entire work. 
with Mobjack Bay on the south and west, and East 
river on the west. The Cricket Hill section of the 
West Mathews circuit was on the north. My charge 


in shape, resembled a scientifically trimmed South- 
ampton ham, and it was as delightful a field to 
work as the said ham usually is to the taste. 
This was my judgment after going around the cir- 
cuit once. 

The history of three of these churches dates 
back to the Quarterly Conference of the Glouces- 
ter circuit held at "Shackelford's Meeting House. 
Dec. 15, 1810. The three churches mentioned are 
"Point Comfort," "Bethel," and Billups's, later 
called "Salem." Thos. Logan Douglass was Pre- 
siding Elder, John Ballew was Preacher in Charge, 
and Joseph C. Bell was Helper. The Quarterly 
Conference of August 30, 1811, was held at 
"Bethel." Two names appear on the record, that 
of "Thomas Lilly, Local Preacher," and "John 
Thomas, a Class Leader." I found the descend- 
ants of these two men living, the Lillys at Salem, 
and the Thomases in Point Comfort. Rev. Thomas 
Cooper, Junior Preacher, or "Helper" as he. is 
called, presided. At the next Quarterly Conference 
held at "Shackelford's Chapel, the Presiding El- 
der is still Thos. Logan Douglass, and the Preacher 
in Charge is named Hezekiah McClelland, with the 
same Brother Cooper as Junior." At the Quarterly 
Conference held at "Providence Camp-meeting, 
September 3rd, 1812," Humphrey Billups, Thos. 
Lilly, and John Thomas are present from churches 
in this section, and Humphrey Billuns is Licensed 
to preach. He died May the 30th 1871. a Super- 
annuated member of our Conference, and his Mem- 


oir was read at the Portsmouth session in Novem- 
ber of that year. It was my first year in the itin- 
erancy and I must have been present at the ser- 
vice. At the next Qua,rterly Conference, held at 
Olive Branch, Dec, 12th, "Richard Billups is rec- 
ommended to the Annual Conference for Deacon's 
orders." He was from Salem neighborhood. 

The writer obtained from good, old sister 
Stoakes, mother of Brother Walter Stoakes at 
Salem, the following incident illustrative of the 
"good old times." She was a young girl on her 
way to Quarterly Conference up in Gloucester 
county, with her father perhaps. At Church 
Branch they overtook Bro. Henry Fleet going 
that way also. She asked him if he had collected 
much for the. preacher that quarter. He replied 
that he "had collected 87 and Yz cents, and paid 
most of that myself." 

Here is the financial report from the three 
churches on my present charge made at the Quar- 
terly Conference held at Mt. Zion, June 21st 1817. 
Read it, ye Mathews saints, and think of your be- 
ginningis \ — B'illups's $2,875^, (thiat was S&lem,) 
Bethel $7.68, and Point Comfort $6.48. I might 
add for the entertainment of the West Mathews 
brethren that Mathews Chapel paid in at the same 
meeting $2.50, and Providence $3.87^. 

Another Quarterly Conference is held in the 
bounds of the present charge at "Bethel, June 12th 
1819." Edward Cannon is Presiding Elder, Sam- 
uel Garrard is the Preacher and Geo. Chesley is 


I discovered in these old Gloucester records (pre- 
served so carefully by Bro. Jefferson Stubbs, a 
steward at Bellamy's church,) an important item 
showing when the first move was authorized by the 
Quarterly Conference to erect a church in "The 
Havens." Here is a paper adopted by the Quar- 
terly Conference held at "Shackelford's Chapel 
Sept. 22, 1821, Edward Cannon, P. E., Caleb Leach, 
Preacher, and Wm. Eastwood, Deacon." 

"We appoint the following persons, to-wit ; 
John Billups, Wm. A. Billups, Jos. Knight, George 
Forrest, John Forrest, Wickham Billups, August- 
ine Diggs, William Brooks, and Bailey Diggs as 
Trustees of a meeting-house to be built in the 
neighborhood of Richard Billups' for the use of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church." Humphrey Bill- 
ups was the Secretary of that Quarterly Confer- 

Here is a record which must go into this nar- 
rative for obvious reasons. The Presiding Elder 
is Caleb Leach at the Quarterly Conference held 
at Olive Branch, in Gloucester county, August 21, 
1824. The Junior, Chas. Witherspoon, is also pres- 
ent, but the Preacher in Charge, Samuel Cushen. 
had died since the last Quarterly Conference, and 
here is the note bearing upon that sad event: — 
"Paid by consent of the stewards to James W. 
Howard, expenses for carrying Sister Cushen home 
$5.00. Paid John P. March for making Brother 
Cushea's coffin $10.00. Cash in hand to pay in 
part Dr. Shepherd's bill against Brother Cushen 


$10.52. Paid for wine for Brother Cushen while 
sick $1.00." 

Rev. Samuel Cushen died near Mathews Court 
house in July, 1824, and his body lies buried in 
the cemetery in the field in the rear of the resi- 
dence of Bro. Walter R. Stoakes, in.Milford Haven, 
near Salem Church. He left a widow and one 
child, a little girl, who married Jas. E. Jones, a 
prominent official in the Methodist Church in King 
George county, Va., and became the mother of 
the first Mrs. Alexander Pratt, Mrs. Chas. Rob- 
inson, Mrs. Charles Pollard of Baltimore, Md., 
Mrs. Taylor Rollins, Mrs. John T. Payne of our 
Conference, and Frank Jones, Esq., of King George. 
Cushen's widow later married a Mr. Johnson, of 
King George county. Mrs. John T. Payne was 
named "Ellen Cushen" for this, her grandfather. 

The First Quarterly Conference for 1825 was 
held at Providence church April 23rd, and the fol- 
lowing members from this section of the work 
were present: — Humphrey Billups, William A. 
Billups, Armistead Stewart, Caleb Hudgins, John 
Thomas, Joseph White, Thos. Hunley, Augustine 
Diggs, and John Forrest. At the next Quarterly 
Conference William Lane is made one of the Par- 
sonage Trustees. The Fourth Quarterly Confer- 
ence for 1828 was held at Bethel. The Fourth Quar- 
terly Conference for 1829 was held at Billups' Meet- 
ing-house in Milford Haven, Mathews county, Nov. 
14th," and is the first Quarterly Conference ever 


held at that point. Lewis Skidmore is P. E., Sam- 
uel Harrell is Preacher in charge, and William B. 
Rowzie is the Junior preacher. The Fourth Quar- 
terly Conference for 1830 was held at "Point Com- 
fort Meeting-house, in November, but the exact 
date is not given. The preachers are Lewis Skid- 
more, P. E., George A. Bain is Preacher in Charge 
and Robert L Carson is Junior." This is the first 
time the Quarterly Conference had ever met in 
Point Comfort. Humphrey Billups is recommended 
to the Annual Conference for Elder's orders. 

I have traced the history back thus far in order 
that we may get at the very beginning of the work 
in this region. As far back as 1810 the record is 
plain, beyond that we have very little on which to 
rely. But the travelling preachers had been 
through Milford Haven, Garden Creek and Win- 
ter Harbor sections, and then down into Point 
Comfort with the Gospel, so that the seeds of 
Methodism are carefully sown in Mathews from 
Church Branch, on the borders of Gloucester, to 
the end of the Neck in Point Comfort one hundred 
and ten years ago. At a Quarterly Conference 
held in "Point Comfort Aug. 15th 1831," I noticed 
these names in addition to those already given in- 
dicating the survival of Methodist stock: — Thos, 
Banks, Geo. lanson, Bartlett Gayle, and William 

Now we come to an epoch in the history of 
Methodism in this region. At the Third Quarterly 
Conference "held at Bellamy's, the 22nd day of 


August 1839, Henry B. Cowles, P. E., Jas. McDon- 
ald, P. C," the following resolution was adopted : — 

"Resolved that the Parsonage Fund be equally- 
divided between the Mathews and Gloutcester cir- 
cuits, and that John Summerson be appointed our 
agent to receive from their agent our portion of 
the fund." 

It appears from this that Mathews circuit was 
organized and set apart in 1839, and was composed 
of Mt. Zion, Mathews Chapel, Providence, Billups', 
Bethel and Point Comfort. This is the record. 
But it seems that the act of separation was 
not pleasing to our Mathews brethren, for they 
sent up a request to the Fourth Quarterly Con- 
ference of the Gloucester circuit, held at Bethle- 
hem, Oct. 16, 1841, "asking that arrangements be 
made for re-uniting the two circuits :" "but the 
Gloucester brethren" "returned the paper to the 
Mathews brethren with the statement that Glou- 
cester is satisfied with the present arrangement." 

However, the Gloucester brethren recanted, as 
the following, adopted at the "2nd Quarterly Con- 
ference held at Salem church, Gloucester circuit, 
on Saturday the 28th day of May, 1842," proves. 

"It being known that considerable dissatisfac- 
tion has been created in said (Mathews) circuit 
by an alteration made in the circuit at the Con- 
ference held in 1839, when Mathews and one ap- 
pointment in Gloucester was cut off and was es- 
tablished into a separate circuit, and against the 
wishes thereof. It is resolved that we respectfully 


solicit and petition the Presiding officer who may 
preside at the next \^irginia Conference to re- 
unite Mathews and Gloucester into one circuit, 
and do also request Brother G. M. Keesee, our Pre- 
siding Elder, and Brother Askew, our Preacher in 
Charge, to use their best endeavors to effect the 

The Bishop, (Waugh) presiding at the Annua! 
Conference held in Petersburg, Va., November, 
1842, granted the request contained in the above 
paper, and re-united the circuits. At the First 
Quarterly Conference for the re-united work, 
held at Bellamy's Feb. 13, 1843, a re-organization 
of the Board of Stewards was had, and the fol- 
lowing from Mathews were elected: — Wm. M. 
Brownley from Point Comfort, John Hudgins from 
Bethel, and Bartlett Gayle from Providence. The 
Preachers are Joseph Lear and Allen Carner. 

This re-united plan was tried only one year, — 
scarcely that,' — for at the "Third Quarterly Con- 
ference for the year 1843, held at Providence church 
in Mathews county, (date not given) "The follow- 
ing preamble and resolution were moved and 
adopted without a dissenting voice." 

"To the Bishop who may preside at the next \'ir- 
ginia Annual Conference to be held in Richmond: 

Whereas, we the official members of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church, since the reunion of the 
Gloucester and Mathews circuits find that the said 
union does not answer the end anticipated, and 


that it would be much better both for the minis- 
ters and people that the circuit be again separated, 

Therefore, resolved, that we most respectfully 
and earnestly request the Bishop who may preside 
at the next Annual Conference to re-divide the 
present Gloucester circuit." 

Bishop Morris presided over the Conference of 
1843 held in Richmond, and Mt. Zion, Mathews 
chapel, Providence, Billups', Bethel, and Point 
Comfort were the second time in three years, made 
a circuit called the MATHEWS CIRCUIT, and the 
arrangement stood. 

The records of the Mathews circuit from the 
time of its formation in 1843 to 1870 are not within 
my reach, but from the latter year to the time 
of my appointment to the charge in 1890 I have 
the Annuals, kindly furnished me by friends at 
my request through the Advocate. From these I 
learn that the circuit is yet on the Rich- 
mond District, Leroy M. Lee, P. E., and F. M. 
Edwards, Preacher in Charge. That Brother Ed- 
wards is succeeded in 1870 by Alfred Wiles who 
remains three years. Dr. Lee remained on the 
District four years and is succeeded by D. P. Wills, 
and Brother Wiles by Alex. M. Hall, who remains 
two years, with W. H. Atwill, as Junior in the sec- 
ond year. Wm. G. Williams follows for one year, 
W. C. Vaden three years, with Dr. Lee, P. E., again 
for three years. At the Conference of 1877 the 
West Mathews circuit is formed by cutting oflf 
Mathews Chapel, Providence and Emanuel, from 


the M'athews circuit, and probably with Gwynn's 
Island added. W. W. Royall is the first pastor. 
Geo. C. Vanderslice succceeds Bro. Vaden on the 
old Mathews circuit in November, 1879, and is fol- 
lowed by J. Carson Watson in November, 1882, E. 
M. Peterson in November, 1884, Jas. O. Moss in 
November, 1887, and D. G. C. Butts in November, 
1890. Dr. Sledd was Presiding Elder two years, 
succeeding Dr. Lee in the fall of 1880, and was 
succeeded by Dr. Paul Whitehead in November, 
1882, and he by Dr. J. P. Garland in 1886. 

In the fall of 1890 both of the Mathews circuits 
were shifted over to the (so-called) Northern Neck 
District, and Wm,. E. Payne is Presiding Elder. 

It will be seen from this record that the men who 
served the circuit up to 1890 were men of no mean 
ability. And the character of the work they had 
done indicated, if nothing else did, the fact that 
it was the standing aim of the Bishops to send 
skilled, consecrated, faithful ministers to this im- 
portant field. Hence the Mathews circuit had 
long been recognized among the preachers of the 
Virginia Conference as a first class charge. So, 
when I arrived on the field and took in the char- 
acter of the work, as indicated in the size of the 
congregations, the spirituality of the leaders, and 
their standing among the citizenship of the county, 
I saw my utter insufficiency to meet the demands 
upon me without an especial endowment of Divine 
grace : and I threw myself upon the Divine mercy 
at once, and cried to Heaven for help. My prayer 


was answered, for I never entered upon the busi- 
ness of visiting my people, and preaching on Sun- 
day with such zeal and confidence in the grace of 
God, and the joy in the daily tax upon me, as I 
did that December day in 1890 when I "entered 
into the labors" of the worthy men whom I had 
been appointed to follow. And at every church 
I found a God-fearing and faithful band of leaders 
who pledged the new preacher support, sympathy, 
co-operation, and prayer to God for His blessing 
on my pastorate. 

At Salem there was Walter Stoakes, devoted to 
his church, "knowing and loving the Methodist 
doctrine and discipline," true to his pastor because 
he was his pastor, a leader among his people, pray- 
erful, sincere, calm in emergencies, wise in deal- 
ing with the backward, inventive of means and 
measures for carrying on the work, the preacher's 
right hand man in every case w'here a mediator was 
needed between the pulpit and the pew. His dear 
old mother, Mrs. Harriet Stoakes, was the light 
that shined for him on all problems, the hand that 
guided him in all he sought to do for his church 
and community. She had been blind for a long 
time, but the word of God was open to her, and 
her feet walked steadily in the pathway of holi- 
ness. She was President of the Ladies Aid So- 
ciety for the circuit, and did as much work for it 
with her own hands as many who were blessed with 
unhindered vision. She was very necessary to me 
in scores of instances when wisdom, and patience. 


and prudence, and firmness were taxed almost be- 
yond the limit. She looked upon me as her special 
charge, and placed all the treasures of her con- 
secrated life on deposit payable to the order of my 
constant need. It was her 'joy to entertain the 
preachers in her home. Presiding Elders and pas- 
tors had a room under that hospitable roof, and a 
seat at the table at meal-time, and the horse a stall 
and abundant feed. She had adopted at various 
times during her long life, homeless children, and 
gave them the careful. Christian training of a God- 
fearing mother, and a fireside welcome which de- 
stroyed the feeling of servitude in the growing 
boy or girl. It was told the writer by more than 
one person in that section that not one of these 
boys or girls, brought up at her footstool and wit- 
nessing her example of fidelity to her Lord, had 
disappointed her in after, life. She was success- 
ful with the most unpromising cases. 

She often reminded me of Oliver Mead, Sr., in 
Brunswick near my childhood's home. He was a 
great fiddler. When called, upon he could play 
his violin on any number of strings from one to 
six : it made no difference to him ; he asked that 
the violin have one string, and he would play lis 
tune on that, while an astonished audience sat and 
listened. So with Sister Stoakes and her charges, 
whether they were her own four daughters and 
son, or the waifs picked up for the Lord's sake; 
she got the right tune out of any Hfe that fell to 


her care. She only asked that the child had a fac- 
ulty that she could touch with her skilled hand. 

At Bethel was the largest number of men who 
prayed in public I have seen in any one congrega- 
tion anywhere. It was a large congregation with 
a large membership, and a noble band of men and 
women noted for their piety, their faithfulness, the 
clear understanding of the fundamentals of experi- 
mental religion. Elkana Diggs and Jack, Jethro 
Thomas, Oscar Hudgins and Oscar Hudgins again, 
Alex. Diggs, Laban Hudgins, Uncle Bailey Diggs, 
Ed. Owens, Billie Brooks, Anthony Hudgins, Ri- 
enzi Brooks, and a host of others whose names I 
cannot now recall, constituted a solid front for 
righteousness, and opposing every evil thing. The 
preacher of a saving gospel felt himself sure of an 
Amen ! and a shout ere he proceeded far in the de- 
livery of his message. The impress of such a 
body of men and women on the community for 
godliness, as well as morality, was powerful. Of 
course, there was a small majority, as there is in 
every neighborhood, whose claim on the people's 
confidence lacked the commanding evidence of a 
sincere purpose to serve God. But these did not 
count when the great revival campaigns were jn 
progress. And sinners easily detected the differ- 

On that road leading from Winter Harbor to 
Port Haywood, is the old home of Sands Smith, 
Clerk of the County in my day. Near by is the 
home of Colie Borum, whose wife was a Smith. At 


Port Haywood Charles H. Hudgins and Thomas 
Hudgins, (Long Tom) kept stores. Here, also was 
the resting place for the ministers of the circuit. 
Two miles down the road in The Point as it was 
called, was Point Comfort Church. Two miles be- 
low this is Beulah Church. This whole eastern sec- 
tion of Mathews county, from Fitchett's Wharf in 
"The Havens" to Newpoint beach is a stronghold 
of the most faithful grade of Methodism. No other 
denomination has a family in all that region. 

What I meant by saying that no other denomi- 
nation has a family In all that region is this : such 
was the faithfulness of the first preachers in de- 
claring the merit of the blood of Christ as the only 
remedy for the burdened sinner, no one going into 
that section recommending the high church non- 
sense of water, or gowns, or anything else, has ever 
been able to get a hearing. And it is so all over Ma- 
thews, and Gloucester, and everywhere else that 
I serve the Church as Pastor. That is the reason 
a holiness preacher gets a hearing among our peo- 
ple. Our folks are seeking higher ground: if a 
preacher comes along who says he can show them 
the way, some of the thoughtless and unwary, and 
most of the spiritual deficients will listen. When 
the sensible discover, that which others knew all 
the time, they acknowledge that they have been 
deceived, and come back. They have learned that 
Methodism teaches the highest standard of holiness ; 
that it was born among a group of young men who 
were seeking the Highlands of Christian experi- 


ence, and never rested till they found themselves 
"saved by the blood." 

One of the first things that arrested my inter- 
est on the Mathews circuit was the need of two 
good church buildings : — one at Point church, and 
the other at Salem. The people rallied at both 
places to supply the need when I told them those 
buildings did not represent the people of the church 
correctly. I said moreover, that if a, stranger trav- 
elling that way should judge the people by the 
kind of house in which they worshipped God, such 
a stranger would put them down where they did 
not rightly belong. That started them, and did not 
let up in their interest till "St. Paul's," supplanted 
the old "Point Comfort" church, and was dedicated 
by Rev." A. Coke Smith, D. D., thftn at Granby 
Street church, Norfolk, and the present large and 
comfortable building took the place of the old 
structure at "Salem." My plan for the roof at 
Salem was upset by a dear good old brother who 
changed the sharp roof that the plans called for, 
for the flat roof yet on the building, on the plea 
that a flat roof church was more in keeping with 
his ideas of "a solemn, religious building." I call 
no names : I only give the fact. The dedication 
service for Salem was conducted by Rev. F. M. 
Edwards, who was Preacher in charge of the big 
circuit in 1870. 

Methodism was a strong force in Point Com- 
fort in those days. Mrs. Chas. Hudgins at Port 
Haywood, one of "the salt of the earth," Ransome, 


Foster, White, Enos, Capt. Smith, the Jameses, 
Gayle, Diggs, the father and mother of our dear 
brother Waller L. Hudgins at Central, Hampton, the 
Millers, Tom Borum and Bill Ransome, (gems, if 
there were ever such in trousers,) then further on 
down the road was Brooks, and Brooks again, 
Morgan, and Hudginses on the right and on the left 
all the way down till one gets past a Brooks and 
strikes a Hudgins in the New Point Light House ! 
And there were Thomases down there : old brother 
John (Rock) Thomas, coming down to us from the 
olden times, telling- of the revival days when the 
old time preachers won so many for the Lord 
in the old house that had been laid aside for the 
new one; and John William Thomas, the Keeper 
on "Wolf Tra^" Light House in the great freeze 
of 1893, when the Chesapeake was frozen from 
shore to shore, and the Light House was carried 
away by the ice, and he was saved by the merci- 
ful intervention of Providence with a Tug Boat 
stuck fast three hundred yards away. He was a 
praying man, and Beulah needed him about that 
time, when "Speak-easys" prevailed in the Point, 
and the Church had to fight them at the Throne of 
Grace. And Rev. Geo. E. Thomas was there ; the 
splendid Christian gentleman and popular Local 
Preacher, the Pastor's "right arm," the communi- 
ty's guide, and adviser, and standard in all good 
living and labors ! Then there was Kirwan, Buck 
Armistead, (whose oysters, cultivated carefully in 
Horn Harbor, I have eaten at Murphy's in Rich- 


mond,) and John Brownley. At Central, Dick Wes- 
ton, the Richardson's, Tom Weston, the father of 
ou,r Harry, (a small boy then, but now in the Con- 
ference with a wife,) Dick Foster and Capt. John 
Miles, and old brother Guion, the grandfather of 
Harry Weston, and father of Rev. W. H. Atwill's 
first wife. Down the creek near the rear of the 
Parsonage were the twin brothers, Carl and Marion 
White, just reaching a sturdy manhood, and their 
devoted aunts, the Misses Minter. Further down 
the creek, on a beautiful point looking out into 
creek and river, the faithful James sisters Misses 
Harriet and Laura, and their brother. But time 
would fail me to tell of others. 

Outside of the Methodist Church we found some 
very valuable friends. There was the Sears fam- 
ily. Judge Taylor Garnett and his numerous and 
happy household. Dr. Hunley our family physi- 
cian and his neighborly wife. Dr. Thos. B. Lane, 
and Geo. E. T. Lane, father and son of the old 
Virginia stock, noted for refined and genertous 
hospitality, Mr. John B. Donovan, the skilled At- 
torney and conscientious Counsellor, the Millers, 
the Pughs, the Sibleys, and a score of others. 

There is nothing better for a hard-working pas- 
tor to do, when he wants relaxation from the 
wearing tasks of regular work, than to get "out- 
side" sometimes and hear what the other folks are 
thinking and talking about. The vigilant military 
officer reconnoiters the fields and forests to put 
himself in touch with the enemy's movements. 


Such foresight saves him from the humiliation of 
surprise and possible defeat. This is not saying 
that people of other faiths, or no faith, are our 
enemies. It has probably not occurred to you 
that the thinkers in other faiths have confined 
their criticisms of Methodism to those phases of 
our faith which we have placed in our catalogue 
of non-essentials. So far have they kept away 
from attacking the fundamentals of our Creed, they 
have either incorporated these into their own 
statement of doctrine, or tacitly admitted the basic 
character of these principles, giving that as the 
reason for our marvellous growth, after centuries 
of vehement denial. Therefore a Methodist 
preacher can afford to go around on the outside 
sometimes if for nothing more than to learn that 
Methodism has always contended for "the faith 
once delivered to the saints," and has not wasted 
her consecrated energies in "beating the air." So 
I have frequently said to my congregations in these 
latter days, "Our Episcopal brethren say you have 
not an ordained ministry, scripturally authorized 
to administer the Sacraments ; our Presbyterian 
brethren say you| cannot be saved unless you are 
one of the elect ; and our Baptist brethren say you 
have never been baptized; therefore, if 'the blood 
of Jesus Christ,' in answer to your trust in Him, 
has not 'saved' you from your sins, there is no 
hope for you." . 

Our brethren of other Churches have always 
been very fraternal in their intercourse with me. 


entertaining me in their homes, honoring me with 
their presence at the services of my church, and in 
many other ways showing their regard for me and 
my message. True, I found in some of my travels 
a fellow so ignorant of the fundamentals of Chris- 
tianity that he would exclude from the Kingdom 
people of his own church who did not think as he 
did, and so narrow in his conception of the value of 
personal grace among such that no showers of grace 
from the visitation of the Holy Spirit could fall 
upon him, and remain on him long enough to wet 
the soil of liis heart and make fruitful the seeds of 
truth sown there by some faithful disciple. But 
these were strangers to the power of the Gospel 
to set one free from the bondage of darkness, and 
did not appear to know that the Holy Land is not 
in America, and that the birthplace of Jesus is in 

The enlargement of Bethel church became a cry- 
ing need during the third year of my pastorate. It 
was a very easy matter to accomplish such a work 
with the kind of men and women who gave me 
their support. A more devoted and enthusiastic 
body of people I had not found in all the past of 
my ministry. Some, of course, would endorse, 
nothing' unless they originated and headed the 
movement, but as their movement was either 
backward, or a-'standstill, I selected my leaders 
from the consecrated and progressive element, and 
the church, with its face to the sunrise, moved 


forward at a word from this preacher, and the 
work was done and paid for. 

The annual gathering of the churches on the 
circuit at the great Tabernacle for a ten-days' re- 
vival service was a well-established and profitable 
institution when I went to the circuit in Novem- 
ber, 1890. I think Rev. Wesley C. Vaden was the 
father of the plan ; or, perhaps it was founded 
during his term on the charge. The multitude 
came from all parts of the two Mathews circuits. 
The dinners were abundant, substantial, good for di- 
gestion, with no attempt at show. The preaching 
was done by the Preachers in Charge, and fre- 
quently by visiting ministers. The spiritual 
strengthening of the membership and the salvation 
of sinners was definitely set forth as the purpose 
of the meeting. Anything that failed to contribute 
to this end was cast aside as harmful and hinder- 
ing. The old time Methodist hymns and the deeply 
spiritual and fervent prayers ofifered by laymen 
whose deeds illustrated the soundness of their pro- 
fession were the forces used to give point to the 
pulpit message. Results were not always to the 
hopes of either the ministry or the laity, yet good 
was always done and the triumphant Christ was 

There was one thing which counteracted the holy 
influence of that meeting and of Christianity in 
general throughout that county more than any- 
thing else, namely : the custom of the Old Domin- 
ion Steamship Company to run an excursion 


steamer to East river during the summer, and es- 
pecially whilst that meeting was in progress. Ev- 
ery Sunday crowds of vehicles met the boat at 
Williams' Wharf. Scores of Norfolk people, for- 
mer residents of Mathews, took advantage of the 
low rates to "come home" for the day. Many 
quasi church-people who only needed an excuse 
for evil-doing, and many others who gloried in 
their irreligious principles, flocked to the wharf 
in the, morning to meet their friends, and flocked 
back to the wharf in the afternoon to see them 
off; thus throwing to the winds the teaching of 
the fathers and the sanctity of God's holy day. A 
community that yields to the temptation to dis- 
regard the Divine law of the Sabbath upon any 
pretext whatsoever, must pay the price at last in 
a decadent moral sense among the younger gen- 
eration of the time. And Miathews has not failed 
to reap a harvest of this sort. 

Rev. Wm. E. Payne, Presiding Elder of the 
Rappahannock District at this time was one of our 
most successful circuit preachers before his pro- 
motion to this office in the Church. He had filled 
acceptably every charge since his admission on 
Trial in 1869. He was a good preacher, following 
the hortatory method. His sermons were not or- 
nate, nor constructed with the skill of a scholar. 
Without the training of our schools, he was a full 
graduate of the "Horse-back University," depend- 
ing upon a careful and prayerful reading of the 
Bible of his mother, and the Methodist Standards 


as indicated in the Discipline and the Hymn Book. 
He was a man of stalwart frame, robust, and the 
picture of health. He prayed much, and had power 
with God and men. His prayers in the family, as 
well as in the great congregation, were fervent 
appeals inspired by the Spirit in a heart conscious 
of a sincere purpose to leave the time and method 
of the answer to the God of wisdom and love. I 
have often thought that he adopted Rev. Wm. F. 
Bain as a model, for they were as near alike in 
this respect as any two men I ever knew. He was 
at ease in any home, perfectly natural, wearing 
his everyday manhood and simplicity because they 
suited his idea of a minister's responsibility, and 
had never learned how to adjust to his person the 
uncomfortable squeeze of that other thing known 
as "put on for the occasion." Hence he was a man 
of influence among sensible people : his person and 
spirit commanded respect. The office of Presiding 
Elder was not injured by this occupant, nor did his 
brethren smile the sickly smile of pity at the com- 
ing and the going of this Apostle of simplicity, as 
at the movements of a smaller man with louder pre- 
tensions. He was not whimsical, nor impulsive, 
nor erratic, nor obstinate ; n.either was he a dreamer 
or a coward. He would fight when the need arose, 
not with fist nor scurrilous tongue, (he had more 
invincible weapons, than these,) and make amends 
when clearly convinced' of a mistake. He was 
never guilty of knowingly inflicting a wrong upon 
another. He was too pure in heart to contend for 


a blunder for fear of the charge of inconsistency. 
The blunder might harm another; he feared noth- 
ing for himself : his case was in the hands "of a 
faithful Creator." His administration was impar- 
tial, sensible, helpful to his younger brethren, and 
firm. He went from the Rappahannock to the Char- 
'lottesville District at the Conference of 1894, sent 
from the session in Charlottesville. He was mak- 
ing his first round of Quarterly Conference, and 
had held his Quarterly Conference for the Albe- 
marle circuit at Mt. Moriah and had preached to 
a delighted congregation at 11 A. M., Sunday. He 
went home with Bro. Thos. L. Rodes, a leading 
Steward at that church, and was stricken with 
paralysis at the dinner table. He never recovered 
his health sufficiently to permit him to continue his 
w^ork, and died at the District parsonage in Char- 
lottesville July 30, 1895. His death was a serious 
loss to our Conference. To me it was a personal 
bereavement. He had been my warm friend for 
years. He was one of our waiters at our marriage 
in 1872. In my home he was a trusted arid welcome 
visitor. Our children greeted his coming as the 
return of an absent member of the family. He per- 
formed the ceremony of marriage for our eldest 
daughter when she became the wife of Mr. G. S. 
Marchant of Mathews. When the news of his 
death reached us at Temperanceville, Accomac 
county, we mourned his demise' as the loss of one 
of our home circle. 

I reached the end of my four-year term on this 


circuit in November, 1894, with the love of nine- 
tenths of my people. I did not hope, nor did I try- 
to please everybody. But "my rejoicing is this, 
the testimony of my conscience, that with simplic- 
ity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, 
but by the grace of God, I had my conversation 
with" this people. Some had misjudged me, and 
had fallen away from me, denying me their sup- 
port to the last. Many had stood with me through 
all my trials, and tried to interpret my spirit and 
my aims to those who opposed me. God will re- 
ward them for their fidelity to the pastor and to 
the Church. They commanded my respect and 
challenged my gratitude and my love, and received 
both out of the fullness of my heart. My record 
is with God. 

When I had packed all my belongings that could 
be packed before going to Conference, I sat down 
and wondered where I would land in the reading of 
the appointments. For the second time since 1873 
I was in the dark on the subject of my next ap- 
pointment. My going to Heathsville at that time 
was a surprise to both wife and me, but I was in- 
formed befo/e Conference of 1877 that I would go 
to King George, and in 1881 that I would go to 
Middlesex, and in 1885 that I might go to Princess 
Anne. Then came the Wright Memorial shock in 
1887 ! Mathews was in sight at the end of my third 
year at Wright Memorial. Now the moving time 
had come again, and not a hint did I have as to 
my destination. Lawrenceville, West Dinwiddie, 


Louisa, and even Campbell was whispered to me 
during the session of Conference, but I was kept 
so busy with my newspaper duties I had no time to 
"run the rumour down." When "Accomac" fell 
from the Bishop's lips I halted in my writing- and 
looked up into the vacancy above me, and imagi- 
nation pictured a whole county with my parsonage 
in the center, where I could go an occasional vis- 
itor. Rev. Wm. P. Wright was the Presiding El- 
der, and when I asked him what I had, he calmed 
my anxious soul with the information that I must 
serve only three churches in the northern part of 
the county of Accomac, with Temperanceville as 
my home. So I felt better after this. But that is 
another story. 




The Conference of 1894 assembled in Charlottes- 
ville Nov. 14th, and adjourned Tuesday, Nov. 20th. 
Bishop Atticus G. Haygood, D. D., presided. Paul 
Whitehead, S. S. Lambeth and' Ernest Stevens 
were the Secretaries. 

Bishop Haygood had visited our Conference be- 
fore his election to the office of General Superin- 
tendent, when representing one of the connectional 
offices at Nashville, the Board of Missions I think. 
He delivered a sermon of great power on Sun- 
day morning during this session which stirred the 
large congregation mightily as they listened for 
more than an hour to his simple analysis, his im- 
passioned appeal. He won his way to the heart of 
the Conference by his generous bearing, his firm- 
ness in handling a great Conference that likes to de- 
bate, and warm sympathy for all the men committed 
to his care for an appointment by the law of the 
Church. Brother Wm. E. Payne and I had an in- 
terview with him on a very important subject, not 
our appointments. He was exceedingly kind and 
merciful, and we left his presence impressed with 
the manliness of the man. 

During the quadrennium from 1890 to 1894 many 


changes had taken place in our Conference. The 
increase in membership was 9,721. Eighteen min- 
isters had died, five were discontinued, and two 
had withdrawn from our Church. Fifty-seven had 
been admitted on Trial, and nineteen had been 
received from other Conferences. A very amusing 
situation found Brother R. H. Mullen over in the 
North Carolina Conference on transferred territory 
twice within five years so that he had to be trans- 
ferred back to the Virginia Conference each time. 
The following brethren were brought back to 
their home Conference at the same time, 1894; 
C. H. McGhee, J. W. S. Robins, J. W. Stiff, C. C. 
Wortenbaker, C. D. Crawley, A. C. Jordon and 
J. K. JolliflE. R. H. Bennett was returned to us 
from the Baltimore Conference, and Langhorne 
Leitch from the China Mission Conference. The 
Suffolk District was discontinued and a new Dis- 
trict formed at this session called the "Portsmouth 
District." This move was made necessary by the 
loss of all the territory in North Carolina, (former- 
ly served by our preachers,) by the action of the 
General Conference of 1894. Dr. W. J. Young 
was transferred to us in 1891 from the Baltimore 
Conference, and F. M. Edwards and T. J. Bay- 
ton came back from the North Carolina Conference. 
Some of the men admitted on trial during the 
four years, 1891-1894 were : B. M. Beckham, G. H. 
Spooner, J. B. Winn, E. T. Dadmun, J. N. Latham, 
H. E. Johnson, S. C. Hatcher, J. Sidney Peters, 
T. K. Jolliff, Geo. F. Greene, W. Ashbury Christian, 


Geo. E. Booker, jr., A. B. Sharps, R. T. Waterfield, 
W. B. Beauchamp, M. S. Colonna, Jr., L. T. Will- 
iams, W. T. A. Haynes, Gus W. Dyer, Geo. Wesley 
Jones and F. G. Davis. That is a list any Confer- 
ence might be proud to receive in four years. Sup- 
pose we count from the session of 1890, and we have 
W. B. Jett and E. H. Rawlins to add to the num- 
ber, making twenty-three young men of the fifty- 
nine admitted at five sessions of Conference who 
have made remarkable advance in coming to tiie 
front as representatives on some important field 
of toil, and some of these have won applause over 
the whole Church as successful leaders of the 
Church's forward movement. 

Among those who had ceased from their labors 
and had fallen asleep in Christ, I note the following : 
Dr. John E. Edwards, who died at the end of a 
long ministry, in March '91, Dr. Leonidas Rosser. o[ 
whom I have spoken at length, iti January "92, 
Dr. Peterson, for a long time one of the assis- 
tant secretaries, Rev Thos. H. Boggs, the modest 
successful pastor and preacher. Rev. John D. South- 
all, the sweet singer, Rev. F. J. Boggs, the zealous 
and faithful friend and popular Presiding Elder 
with preachers and people. Rev. Thos. M. Beck- 
ham, the man with the pleasant countenance and 
the warm heart. Rev. John B. Laurens, ("Uncle 
Larry,") and Rev. Jas. F. Twitty, of whom I wish 
to speak particularly because he was my friend 
at college, and I knew him there better than I 
did after he entered Conference. Dr. Whitehead, 


who read his Memoir at the Conference of '92, 
expresses my estimate of the man founded on daily 
contact with him at college. "A man of lovelier 
disposition and purer character has not belonged 
to our ranks. Obliging, unassuming, cheerful, 
sweet-spirited, those who knew him best loved 
him most. * * * * Faith in Christ was with 
him the clearest, simplest, act of religious life, 
and in his lile it brought forth the fruits of a 
pure righteousness. He had no weaknesses of 
self-seeking, maneuvering, or grasping, nor any 
offensive or hampering faults." That is a fine 
pen-portrait of this devout young man, whom I 
met first in Petersburg on my return from the 
west, and afterward at Randolph Macon, where 
he and I entered at the same time in the fall of 

"On the morning of the 28th of November, 1893, 
in Danville, Va., while our Conference was in 
session in Main Street church, the soul of one of 
its veterans, John D. Southall, separated itself 
from its 'muddy vesture of decay,' and joined 
the goodly company" of saints in the better land. 
"None saw his departure. The tent of clay was 
found without a tenant, in the sacred building" 
where his brethren were busy with the urgent 
matters of the church. He died in the basement 
with no one near to help in the last moment. 
He was a native of Surrey County and we^-^ j"st 
59 years old. "He was a Christian gentleman. 
His friends gave him complete confidence. His 


sermons contained the marrow and fatness of the 
Gospel. He brought men to God. His death starts 
streams of tears on a thousand cheeks. He was a 
counsellor in perplexity." (Lafferty.) 

Brother Frank J. Boggfs had died Jan. 3rd, 1S94, 
He was my Presiding Elder while I served tlie 
Middlesex circuit. He was one of the most lov- 
able men I ever knew. He was an artillery officer 
during! the Civil War, and never lost his martial 
spirit. In the pulpit he was natural, spiritual, 
earnest. In the chair patient, careful, courteous, 
firm. In social life an agreeable companion, an 
entertaining talker, a polite listener, jovial, honest, 
clean, transparent. As an adviser and friend he 
was safe, sincere, loyal. "He knew how to grow 
oki gracefully, and retained to the last his cheerful 
humor." "Asbury Chapel in Richmond was one 
of his first charges in the Virginia Conference. 
Here an extensive revival of religion crowned 
his ministry and blessed our church in the metrop- 
olis of the State. That suburban charge so pros- 
pered that a larger and more attractive church 
took its place, which from that time has been 
known as "Union Station." In recent years the 
growth of this church has been phenomenal. Its 
members, numbering nearly a thousand souls, 
have just completed, (1894) on the old site, one of 
the most substantial, commodious, and attractive 
houses of worship anywhere to be found in South- 
ern Methodism." To the gratification of Brother 
Boggs, and of the good people of "Union Station," 


he was present and took part both in the last 
services held in the old church and in the cere- 
monies connected with the laying of the corner • 
stone of the new and beautiful edifice." 

Rev. John B. Laurens, the children's "Uncle 
Larry," died May 17th, 1894. He was the Founder 
of the "Rosebud" Missionary Society which has 
had a marvellous growth and a wonderful history. 
Dr. Lafferty tells it: "While connected with the 
Richmond Advocate he turned his attention to ths" 
children, and starting with a mite society origi- 
nated in the family of the Rev. T. H. Campbell of 
our conference, he nourished the tiny plant till 
its boughs bore fruit among the heathen beyond 
the Pacific Sea, also in the land of the Aztecs, 
and among red men of the plains." 

"The story of how this broken soldier of the 
church militant mustered the thousands of in- 
fants in our homes into bands of rosebuds, has 
become a thrilling and engaging tale known to 
the utmost verge of Methodism and beyond. The 
recruits at first were few ; the finances were num- 
bered in nickles. By inviting the letters of the 
tiny tots to the paper; by exhortations short, 
stirring, simple ; by organization ; by personal visits, 
the Church saw, with glad wonder, a children's 
crusade for Christ that seemed marshalled by 
magic and moved by magnetism. The gifts went 
up to $55,000.00. The little men and the little 
women have erected a college in the country he 
campaigned and conquered (he was a Mexican War 


veteran) when a lad for the children of the men he 
met in battle around Monterey." 

During the General Conference in Richmond, 
May 1886, in the Academy of Music a notable 
Rosebud Rally was held. Thousands of Rosebuds 
were there. "On the platform were the mighty 
men of Israel. The one figure that caught all 
eyes was a tottering old man, with flowing beard, 
presiding over the vast assembly of little children — 
'Unlce Larry.' The orators, statesmen, editors of 
our Church, gave him reverence, and saluted the 
most marked man of Providence in our bounds." 

"It is needless to add, he lived a life of honor, • 
godliness and stern integrity. He died in peace." 

Dr. John Ellis Edwards died March 31st, in 
Lynchburg. He was the platform summer breeze, 
the instructive preacher, the great word-painter, 
the tireless pastor, the friend of the children and 
of the old folks, everybody's counsellor and sym- 
pathizer. He was my mother's pastor at Wash- 
ington Street church, Petersburg, and again at 
Market Street, of which he was the founder. 
I loved him as a boy loves the pastor who comes 
to his home as one of the family, and charms 
the circle with yarns and laughter — the preacher 
who leaves his stilts outside, and keeps folks awake 
on Sunday in church with his fascinating pictures 
and thrilling incident. He was the father of Leroy 
S. Edwards, my brother's chum at College, of Rev. 
Dr. Wm. E. Edwards of our Conference, and of 
Dr. Landon B. Edwards of Richmond. "He was 


born in Guilford county, N. C. Aug. 1st, 1814. He 
was converted in 1832, and joined the Virginia 
Conference in 1833." In 1837 when the North 
Carolina Conference was formed he had served 
two circuits over there, and afterward two more ; 
then he served one year in Beaufort, two in New- 
berne, and two in Raleigh. After eight years in 
North Carolina Conference, he was transferred to 
the Virginia Conference, and put in charge of 
Centenary, Richmond. The remaining years of his 
ministry were spent in Richmond, Norfolk, Peters- 
burg, Danville and Lynchburg. He was eminently 
a city pastor by adaptation and by length of ser- 

"Peter A. Peterson, D. D., was born in the city 
of Petersburg, Va., Sept. 28th, 1828. He learned 
the carpenter's and builder's trade under his uncle, 
and applied himself with diligence and success in 
the pursuit of his calling. When about eighteen 
years of age the Mexican war had commenced, 
and volunteers were called for. He enlisted in 
the company raised in Petersburg by Captain 
Fletcher H. Archer, and was commissioned a lieu- 
tenant.'' Returning to his home after the war, 
"he married Miss Lucy A. Williamson" of the 
same town. Renewing his covenant with God, 
he was "licensed to preach and exercised his gifts 
awhile, and joined the Virginia Conference held 
in Fredericksburg in 1852," and "was sent to Din- 
widdle circuit as junior preacher, Jesse K. Powers 
being in charge," His development in mind and 


soul was continuous and sound," and he reached 
the position of an able and widely influential 
minister of the gospel." He was not only assist- 
ant secretary for a long time, but he was the 
leader of song, in the Conference. With a mellow 
voice, of far reaching power and perfect harmonj'', 
he led our Conference congregations with ease, 
and to the delight and edification of all. He was 
wise in counsel, patient under the most trying 
conditions, and devout withal. He died Oct. 6th, 
1893, in his third year at Trinity church, Richmond, 
"after a term of forty-one years of unbroken effec- 
tive relation." He was the grandfather of our 
William Archie Wright. 

One item of interest must not be omitted from 
this story. When Rev. Wm. E. Evans, D. D., pastor 
of Granby Street church, Norfolk, surrendered his 
credentials and withdrew from our church, his 
place was immediately filled by the transfer of 
Dr. A. Coke Smith, (at that time a Professor in 
Vanderbilt University,) from the South Carolina 
Conference. This was speedily brought about by 
the firmness and wisdom of Dr. William E. Ed- 
wards, Presiding Elder of the District; who was 
in the Eldership only one year in all of his career, 
the year 1891-2, and seems to have been brought 
"into the kingdom" of the Bishop's Council "for 
such a time." The Conference lost a Gunn the 
same year in another district. 

Dr. Smith won a place in our hearts at the very 
beginning of his service in our Conference, and 


held it to the end of his life, which terminated 
while holding the high position of a Bishop in the 
M. E. Church, South. 

Another transfer in 1892 was Jas. W. Moore, 
from the Holston Conference. He was taken from 
US' a few years later by Episcopal authority, but 
he has been returned to us recently fresher, strong- 
er, brighter than before he went away. He holds 
a high place among us a brother beloved, a man, 
and a preacher. 

Conference adjourned on Tuesday, November 
20th. I was sent to Accomac circuit. Rev. Wm. P. 
Wright, Presiding Elder. I returned at once to 
Mathews, and made preparations to move. Tem- 
peranceville was the town in which the parsonage 
was located, and "Bloomtown" was marked on 
my stuff, and was the limit of my railroad tickets. 
The Eastern Shore had never appealed to me. It 
seemed to be across the seas somewhere too far 
from home, and I had no desire to go ; but the 
authorities said "Go"; therefore I went. We left 
our many friends, and our eldest daughter, Mrs. 
G. S. Marchant, with many tender words at part- 
ing, and began the journey to the land of strangers. 
The one night in Norfolk, the ride across the Bay 
to Cape Charles, and the speedy run to Bloomtown 
on the New York, Philadelphia, & Norfolk rail- 
way, fifty miles north of the steamboat terminus, 
brought us to our destination by 2 P. M. Our 
reception at the parsonage was cordial and re- 
freshing. Dr. J. E. Broadwater, whom I had often 


met at our Conference sessions, had sent his car- 
riage to transport myself and wife and five chil- 
dren to the preacher's home, and an ample dinner 
met the call of appetite, and placed it hors du 
combat in a little while. After this abundant 
feast, and we were sitting around viewing the 
surroundings, the neighbors began to come in to 
pay their respects, and to get the measure of the 
man. Pruitt, Broadwater, Matthews, Byrd, Jones 
and others showed themselves for awhile, and we 
got their measure. They were just like other 
folks. Plain, religious, common sense white folks, 
trying to find out whether "the wife of the new 
preacher needed the whole creation, or would be 
satisfied with just such a slice of it as the church" 
in that community "was ready and anxious to 
supply." So we all went to sleep that night in 
our new home as well satisfied as we had ever 
been anywhere among strangers. 

And Bill Nocik came the next night: solid, de- 
pendable, silent Bill. The children came, the chil- 
dren of the town, and soon had the youngest of 
my set on terms of intimacy with almost the entire 
population. They came back home from these 
clandestine visits with information, exultation, con- 
solation, and every sort of thing that a child picks 
up in its migrations through a community. 

Sunday came in due course of time. It fell into 
that habit centuries ago, and has kept up the prac- 
tice everywhere once a week, except where the 
Athletic Associations find it unhealthy and un- 


profitable. Perhaps you have noticed this. The 
preacher with an old sermon, which |had been 
thoroughly tested on other congregations in other 
parts, looks forward to the time when he can 
test it on a new congregation. My sermons were 
in a box in a freight-car somewhere between Nor- 
folk and Bloomtown. Nobody knew when they 
would arrive, flhe new congregation at Tem- 
peranceville and Guilford would be treated to 
something old and easily delivered without notes 
of any sort. The morning service at the former 
place, and the afternoon service at the latter, 
brought out a large attendance, and the people 
went away satisfied of two things, nanaely: that 
the new preacher had the best foot forward even 
if he did limp on the other; and, that they had 
a willing man on the work. ' And the new preacher 
went back to the parsonage thanking the Lord 
that the day contained so much to gladden his 
heart, and so little to discourage. ■ 

The circuit was triangular, occupying both sides 
of the New York, Philadelphia & Norfolk Railroad, 
from Bloomtown to Hopeton, northeast and south- 
west, and from the Chesapeake Bay to the Alan- 
tic Ocean east and west. It included three churches, 
namely; Temperanceville, Sanford and Guilford, 
with an extra appointment in a new church build- 
ing called St. Thomas's, in the neck below Guilford. 
There were some fine examples of the abounding 
grace of the Lord Jesus Christ in these congre- 


gations of men and women won to the service of 
God and humanity who had once been "the servants 
of sin." And yet there were some who knew 
neither the form nor the power of our holy relig- 
ion, and the world marked them and avoided them. 
No man with his eyes open, be he saint or sinner, 
will trust the "light, if the light that is in thee 
be darkness." But the examples of consecrated 
good sense, of spiritual resourcefulness, and fruit- 
fulness were many, and offset in some degree, at 
least, the evil done by the inconsistent. 'My neigh- 
bor on the north, and only three miles away, at 
"Downings" church was one of our best and truest 
men. His charge was called "Atlantic," and was 
made up of Downings, Horntown, and Pocomoke. 
And in order to reach my church at Sanford I had 
to pass by the door of his church, Pocomoke. And 
our membership in that section was badly mixed. 
It was an unnatural and cumbersome arrangement, 
brought about to accommodate certain contentions 
which it would serve no purpose to discuss. I re- 
mained on the Accomac circuit long enough to 
bring to pass some things which, in my judgment, 
needed to be done, and then I left. One was to 
put the charge in better shape, so as to make 
it easier for the pastor to do his work; and the 
other was to put churches together that would 
make a homogeneous body, and thus make the 
circuits stronger by this very fact. I insisted that 
two pastors, living within three miles of each other, 
and serving six churches in an overlapping terri- 


tory, as it was required of Bro. J. C. Watson and 
me, was contrary to the ordinary rules governing 
business, and was certainly in opposition to sound 
Christian expediency. Hence I recommended that 
a new circuit be formed of Saxis Island, Sanford 
and Pocomoke, and another be formed of Down- 
ing's, Horntown, Assawamman and Temperance- 
ville. And that Guilford, Thomas's and Wood- 
bury be made a circuit to be called "Bloxom." 
The first suggestions were not adopted then, but 
they were a few years later. The latter was 
adopted, however, at once. A parsonage was built 
at Bloxom, and a lot secured for the erection of 
a church at some future time. And that has 
already come to pass, and "Bloxom circuit," even 
with Woodbury cut off and attached to Drummond- 
town, is a good charge. Now we have three com- 
pact circuits, with a preacher in a parsonage at 
Sanford, another in a parsonage at Temperance- 
ville, and the third in a parsonage at Bloxom. 
There was opposition, but it was based upon a 
local prejudice, and not on that broader view of 
the interests of the universal Kingdom of Jesus 
Christ as the controlling spirit. 

A very laughable situation was precipated at 
Guilford on a certain night during a revival ser- 
vice conducted by our dear brother. Jack Rosser. 
There were some people in that neighborhood that 
could not be trifled with. They took everything 
seriously, especially if a preacher said it in the 
uulpit. Moreover, there were no cowards in that 


class, as many an unwise man has discovered, 
to his life-long regret. For any man' to walk 
around through that set with a chip on his shoulder 
was a dangerous thing to do. Well, Jack tried 
it, — tried it once, — only once. The very first ser- 
vice brought out a crowd that filled the little coun- 
try church to capacity. Jack stood up behind the 
pulpit, and, looking over "the sea of upturned faces," 
before announcing his text, said, with a wave of his 
hand, "I can whip anything in this house." There 
was consternation, but nothing was said. I was 
filled with dismay, and knew not what to do. Then 
Jack preached, made a fine impression, and the 
incident apparently was forgotten ; but it was not, 
as the sequel shows. Two or three nights afer- 
ward a little boy gave me a neatly folded note 
as I entered the church. When I took my seat in 
the pulpit I saw that the note was addressed to 
"Rev. Jack Rosser," so I gave it to him seated 
on the sofa with me. As he read it his face colored, 
and I knew something had occurred to upset Jack. 
He then handed it to me to read, and it read 
thus : "My Dear Brother Rosser : I was not in the 
church the other night when you said you could 
whip anything in there : I was coming down the 
bay. But if you still think that you can, I will 
meet you anywhere at any time, and we can 
settle it." A name was signed that gave me some 
very unpleasant feelings, for there sat the owner 
of that name on the front pew, and he was a man 
who could stand by any proposition he chose to 


submk. Jack looked at me and said, " He has lost 
his senses : doesn't he know that I didn't mean it 
that way?" I repHed, "No, Jack, he has not lost 
his senses, but you have. You cannot joke these 
people in that form." But I did not indicate the 
brother on the front pew ! After the sermon, 
(which was the best I ever heard Jack deliver,) 
and while the cong-regation was singing, and pen- 
itents were coming to the altar, I went to this 
brother, requested him "not to say a word to 
brother Rosser tonight," and made an engagement 
to dine at his house the next day. 

We had a fine meeting that night, and on our 
way to the place where we were to spend the 

night I told Jack that "Bro sat on the front 

seat tonight, and seemed to enjoy the services 
very much, and that we would dine with him to- 
morrow." "Butts are you crazy?" "No," said 
I, "but I am going to cure a crazy preacher, if the 
Lord will help me." "I am not going," exclayned 
Jack. But he slept it off, or prayed it off, and we 
did go. We met with a cordial reception, got a 
fine dinner, parted in the afternoon to go else- 
where, and neither of them mentioned the subject 
which was uppermost in each man's mind, as it 
was in mine, during the whole delightful visit. 
Surely the grace of God prevailed in this instance, 
and brother Rosser was charmed with his meeting 
at Guilford, as well as with the people in general. 

A singular custom prevailed among certain of 
these people Which I have never seen anywhere 


else in all my travels. They had the habit of tak- 
ing the solemn vows of matrimony sitting in a 
buggy, (which, by the way, they called a "car- 
riage,^') in the main road, while the officiating min- 
ister stood on the ground between the front and the 
hind wheel. I married eleven couples in the one 
year I was on this charge, — one in the church at 
'Temjjeranceville, one in the church at Guilford, 
arid nine on the road, — as follows : two in Guilford 
church yard, four at the parsonage gtite, and three 
on the road at a spot agreed upon by this preacher 
and the hopeful swain. I was told that these folks 
inherited this custom from their forefathers from 
way back in the dim and distant past, and that the 
descendants feared to depart from the custom lest 
some awful luck should overtake them. 

They had another custom, that of going over the 
line into Maryland to be married. About ten miles 
above .Tem^eranceville on the main road to Poco- 
.raoke .City, there was a stone indicating the boun- 
dary .between thie states of Maryland and Virginia. 
jThisiwas the ''Gretna Green" for parties matrimo- 
■aaiaUy inclined. On the north side of this stone, 
vfrhich was about four feet high, and a foot square,, 
the feet of scores of couples without a license have 
;trainpled the earth till the grass has decHned to 
'grow. I had an engagement with a young man to 
imeet him and his sweetheart at this stone on De- 
cember the 26th, 1894, the very first month of my 
residence on the Eastern. Shore. The tirhe was 2 
P': M., and the day was raw and threatening ;to 


snow. Wife went with me for the novelty of the 
trip, and to be a witness. We kept comfortable 
with warm wraps. We awaited in vain the arrival 
of the pair, and, at the end of an hour, returned 
home without the usual two dollar fee, in a shower 
of "the Beautiful Snow," arriving at the parsonage 
just in time to perform the ceremony at the gate 
for a couple of whose purpose to be married that 
day, or at any other time, I knew nothing, till I 
found them there impatiently awaiting my return. 
That night in the church, near by, in the presence 
of a large company, I married the second couple 
for the day. Business along this line would have 
been considered brisk for one day, at least, if the 
young man who promised to m'eet me at the State 
Line Stone had kept his engagement. I hope he 
did not skip his promise to the girl : but I have not 
heard to this day whether he did or not. 

There are some men around Guilford of whom I 
wish to speak. A. W. Short was the guiding spirit 
in that congregation, and had the hearty co-op- 
eration of Bro. Saml. Matthews, Bro. Major Mason, 
and the other leaders. These men stood at the 
, front and led the people in true apostolic style, 
not "lording it over God's heritage," but by 
strength of character, faith in God, and an unselfish 
love for the Church of Jesus Christ, and for the 
Methodist Church as the clearest interpretation of 
the Gospel, they carried the church with them in 
all good things. Matthews has gone to get his 
crown, but Short and Mason are still there, ex- 


amples of consecrated common sense and practical 
religion. Brother Short has represented his charge 
at District Conferences, and his District in our 
Annual Conferences for a number of years. And he 
has been elected Lay Delegate to at least one Gen- 
eral Conference, and perhaps more than that. He 
is the preacher's friend, and the church's faithful 

Around Temperanceville there were others, be- 
sides those already named, who were my friends : — 
Henry Byrd, a member of "Downings," the enthus- 
iastic man with gun and dog, and always the best 
dog in the county. Well, if anybody had the right 
to an opinion about a dog, Brother Henry was that 
man. He lived with a dog at his feet, he carried 
the dog on his mind and in his heart; and had the 
weight and worth of the dog at his finger tips. He 
knew dogs. Brother Byrd was one of my friends. 
He spent ten days with me down on the Currituck 
Marshes the winter of '95, and we had a good time 
with Seneca, my Bethel church friend, and with, 
others. We took home some game, and talked 
about it "right smart," but it was too slow for 
Brother Henry, and he lost his patience. He 
wanted to hunt game that would do what he said 
they must do under the drive of a well-trained dog: 
and the ducks were not that kind. One had to get 
into a blind and await the decision of the duck 
as to what was best to do ; and Brother Henry fell 
out with the ducks, and went home. Nevertheless, 


he spent the winter of '95-6 in those marshes wait- 
ing for ducks to learn obedience. 

S. Wilkins Matthews was my friend. His hos- 
pitality knew no limit but his ability. His warm 
heart was ever alert to another's call. He was 
•brusque, candid, truthful, sensible, a lover of his 
church, his family, his county. He represented Ac- 
comac in the Legislature several years, and was 
Secretary of the Board of Fisheries a long time. 
He was trustworthy and diligent, and made ene- 
mies among the opposition gang. That's proof of 
his manhood. 

Joe Bill Taylor was a quiet, good man, and in- 
dustrious. So busy attending to his own business 
that he never got in anybody's way. The folks 
who knew him, pinned their faith to him, and sailed 
away on any statement of which Joe Bill was the 
author or circulator. 

And good Lem Chesser "stood by the stuff till the 
cock crew in the morning," so, therefore, the As- 
sawamman church was planted, and developed and 
has thriven under the leadership of this plain man 
' with a big soul. 

And Joe Jones ! Did you ever hear of a neigh- 
borhood without a Jones that could be counted in 
■ the census, in the marts of trade, in the corn 
field, or on the battle-field? I never did. The 
Joneses'have kept the country intact ever since the 
aggregation of mortality that landed at Jamestown 
sealed the fate of the Red man. And my Joe Jones 
at Temperanceville was that sort. He was addicted 


to fair-dealing- without fuss, good deeds without 
the use of the horn, and firmness without laying 
himself open to the charge of being the descend- 
ant of the mule. 

There were young men coming along at the time 
of my pastorate who carried in them the "making 
of men;" and since then in the movement of the 
years, the report has reached me that they are mak- 
ing good in the church and out of it. 

I remember very well my introduction to the 
town of Drummondtown. It occurred the week 
after my arrival at Temperanceville. The Presid- 
ing Elder, Brother Wright, had called the District 
Board of Stewards to meet at Oriley. My Dis- 
trict Steward, Dr. J. E. Broadwater, invited me to 
go with him that I might see the country, and get 
acquainted with the roads and the pedple, and I 
consented with delight. We had to pass through 
the old shire town of Drummondtown. Just in 
front of the Hotel Dr. Broadwater stopped his 
horse to spealc to a gentleman on business. Brother 
Turlington, also on his way to Onley, was di-iving 
close behind us, but we did not know it. So when 
our horse stopped Bro. Turlington's horse came 
right up on top of our left hind wheel with his head 
close to my shoulder. I decided instantly that 
proximity to a stfuggling horse on top of a bUggy 
wheel was no place for me, and jumped! My foot 
hung in the driving reins, and I went down at full 
length on my back in the sand. Men sitting on the 
Hotel porch rushed to my assistance, and picking 


me up, asked if I was hurt. I replied, "No, gentle- 
men, I am not hurt. This is my usual method of 
entering a town ; I go my whole length." 

Somehow I never did get the right swing on the 
Sanford congregation. Bro. Wm. P. Wright, my 
Presiding Elder, on our way to the First Quarterly 
Conference at Guilford, heard me preach at Sanford 
at 11 A. M. the Second Sunday in December, 1894. 
It was my first sermon at that point. There was a 
great crowd, and I had great liberty. He thought 
I had landed my congregation at the first attempt, 
and so did some of the ofificers of the church. But 
they were doomed to disappointment. As the year 
sped along into months pastor and people drifted 
apart. We did not travel in the same groove. We 
did not get the same point of view. We did not 
think alike. I did not approve certain customs 
which prevailed in that neck of the woods, and 
which some thought were entirely correct : and 
when I mentioned these things in the pulpit I 
raised a storm that darkened the horizon of my 
career in that locality permanently. I was de- 
nounced in public places and at the fireside, and 
treated with such an array of vacant pews that 
any painter would feel certain that it was a safe 
place to scatter varnish without fear of damaging 
clothing. And then it occurred to me that my re- 
moval at the next Conference was the best thing 
for the Church in that section. 

The parsonage at Bloxom having been completed 
and ready for the incoming preacher, the Quarterly 



Conference having confirmed the plans submitted 
by me for a re-arrangement of the work, I made 
ready to leave for another field, and packed my 
goods with that prospect in view. 

Then I set out for the session of Conference in 

290 rllOM SADDLE to GIT* 



The Conference of 1895 assembled in Centenary 
Church, Richmond, Va., Wednesday, November the 
13th, and adjourned November the 20th. 

Bishop Charles B. Galloway presided. Paul 
Whitehead was Secretary, and S. S. Lambeth and 
Erniest Stevens were Assistants. 

The Conference is memorable for the number of 
investigations and trials. Certain questions had 
arisen between three of our most useful and well- 
beloved brethren of the ministry which had pre- 
cipitated "an unhappy controversy in the church 
papers" that bordered on the tragic, in that the 
question of veracity was avoided and eliminated 
by a most capable committee, and the characters of 
the brethren passed. In the other two cases the 
report of the committees indicated that the charges 
were not sustained, and recommended the passage 
of the character of each ; which the Conference did 
at once. 

Bishoi? Galloway decided two questions of law 
"arising in the business of the Conference." The 
first was as follows : — "If during the session of 
Conference, a Presiding Elder knows of any report 


against a preacher in his district of such gravity as 
to require investigation it is his duty to mention 
it to the Conference, although no written charge 
has been presented." The other question was, — 
"Can the report of a committee of investigation, 
appointed at a session of an Annual Conference, and 
finding a charge simply of improper conduct, 
be referred to a committee of trial before all the 
preliminary steps presented in the Discipline touch- 
ing such cases have been complied with?" 
(Signed) W. E. Edwards. 

Answer, "No." (Signed) Chas. B, Galloway. 

The following were admitted on trial into the 
Travelling Connection : — C. E. Blakenship, L. C. 
Shearer, H. F. B. Martin, Alex. L. Franklin, G. E. 
B. Smith, J. D. Hoosier, G. H. Lambeth, W. L. 
Ware and P. H. Clements. The following had 
died:— D. P. Wills, E. P. Wilson, J. W. Hildrup, 
S. W. Eason, W. E. Payne, J. C. Martin, and W. F. 

C. W. Cain and C. H. Galloway came back to 
us from the transferred North Carolina territory. 

The membership of the Conference is reported as 
84,373. ' 

The Class admitted into full connection con- 
tained the names of some fine material, whose 
"gifts, grace and usefulness" during the two years 
of trial gave promise of a successful future. Sev- 
eral of these men have fully vindicated the pre- 
dictions of those who knew them well, and have 
fulfilled our highest hopes. Dr. W. B. Beauchamp, 


General Secretary of the Laymen's Missionary 
Movement, Secretary of the Centenary Commis- 
sion, and Foreign Secretary of the Board of Mis- 
sions, was a member of this Class. He was one of 
the Commission of three, (Bishop Atkins and Dr. 
W. W. Pinson being the other two,) who visited 
Europe in 1920, and succeeded in planting our mis- 
sion in Belguim, Poland and Czecho-Slovakia. His 
good sense, his Christian diplomacy, his charming 
personality, and his abounding faith were the fac- 
tors in his make-up which contributed to his suc- 

Dr. SamL C. Hatcher, Vice-President, and Secre- 
tary and Treasurer of Randolph-Macon College, 
was another member of this Class. He has suc- 
cessfully filled some of our best stations, and is 
beloved wherever he has served as pastor. He is 
quick, sensible, zealous, genial, and a preacher 
whose sermons and addresses indicate careful 
preparation and prayer. At times the holy fire flies 
from his strokes, and the conscience and heart of 
the hearer are won to, his cause. 

Dr. George E. Booker was another member of 
this class of the 2nd year in 1895. If Bishop Gallo- 
way was the "Prince Charlie" of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South, our inimitable George is 
the "Prince George" of the Virginia Conference. 
He is a fine specimen of the culture4 Christian gen- 
tleman. He is clean in purpose and method, cou- 
rageous and firm when a question of principle is 
involved, devout and faithful as a pastor, and pre- 


eminently successful in getting a hearing from the 
pulpit and the platform. He is an attractive 
preacher, holding his congregations with eleffant 
diction and well-rounded periods. He distinguished 
himself at College by winning the prize for oratory. 
He has filled many of the leading churches in Vir- 
ginia Methodism. Add to this the notable fact 
that he has been a member of three General Con- 
ferences, and you have the measure of the man 
as his friends have measured him. Everybody loves 
George because George is a lover. 

On the adjournment of Conference a whisper, 
which had come to me concerning my appointment, 
was confirmed by the Bishop reading "Albemarle, 
D. G. C. Butts." Rev. Joshua Soule Hunter was 
made Presiding Elder of the Charlottesville Dis- 
trict, and I was glad. Brother Hunter and I en- 
tered Conference together in the Class of 1870, and 
we had remained warm friends through all these 
twenty-five years. I saw much of him during his 
splendid pastorate at Queen Street church, Nor- 

I was delighted with the prospect of tarrying, 
if only one year, in the Piedmont section of Vir- 
ginia. The change, I was sure, would be beneficial 
to my whole family. Ripe fruit and good water are 
a sure cure for torpid livers : and some of my tribe 
had that trouble. Besides, I wanted to come in con- 
tact with a class of people I had never known. I 
had never met the mountaineer. I wanted to see 
him in his own home, in his rocky field digging dol- 


lars out from under barrifers that make a tidewater 
citizen tremble at the thought. I wanted to mfeet 
him in his churches, and learn to know the kind 
of faith that served him amidst insUpei*a'ble diffi- 

So I prepared to move to the hill country with 
"great expectations." It was a long move, and an 
expensive one from the Atlantic seaboard to the 
foot hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Before 
leaving the seat of Conference I had an interview 
with my predecessor, Rev. M. S. Watts, (he going 
to the Middlesex circuit,) arid we traded hof'ses on 
the spot. He agreed to leave his horse, "John," at 
the Albemarle parsonage for me, an<l I promising 
to ship my horse, "Kingbolt," to hiriT at Saliida, 
Middlesex county. ' ■ ■: 

Before leaving Temperanceville, Mr. O. W. 
Byrd, received the shock of his life, when he gained 
my immediate consent to his marriage with my 
daughter Anna as soon as he could complete his 
plans for such an event, with the proviso that he 
would be obliged to make a journey to Albemarle 
to get her. My shock came later on. It appears 
that they had planned to carry out their purpose 
early in the summer of 1896. When I arrived at the 
Albemarle parsonage, and looked over the field, 
and learned the condition of the churches; and 
discovered that my salary would be very much 
less than it was on the coast, I wrote them both, 
(she at her sister's in Mathews Go.,) that it would 
please me if they would postpone the happy event 


till the fall of the year. He replied that he "would 
consult Anna," and she replied that she "would con- 
sult Otho." Now everybody knows that "love 
laughs at lock-smiths," hard times and Almanacs. 
When they replied to my proposition, they said, 
"As times are hard, and your family is large, and 
your salary is small, wo have decided to give you 
the speediest relief we can; so we will be married 
in February!" Can you beat that for a display of 
affectionate solicitude? Or was it that, after all? 
And they were married in the new parsonage at 
Whitehall Feb. 26th, 1896, Rev. J. S. Hunter and 
Rev. E. T. Dadmun performing the ceremony. 

Sending my wife with four of the children and 
niece to Mathews to remain till the people in Al- 
bemarle were ready to receive them, my eldest 
son and I went direct to Crozet, on the C. & O. rail- 
way, and to Whitehall the next day. The new par- 

. sonage was in course of construction there, (the old 
one. having been destroyed by fire,) and was not 
ready for. us till February. In the meantime Her- 
bert and I had good quarters at the home of Bro. 

..Georgie Brown in the village. He was the brother 
of Mrs. Dr. Lafferty, and one of our oldest mem- 

,bers. The ladies of the church prepared rooms for 
my family over Wyant's store next door to Bro. 
Brown's residence, and there we lived till the new 

.home was completed. These quarters were rather 
limited for a family of eight, but the people were 

„considerate of our needs, and made us so well sat- 

(isfied with what they were doing for our comfort, 


that we scarcely felt that we were suffering any 
special inconvenience. And we knew all this was 
only a temporary affair; that when we got into 
the new house, now receiving the finishing touches, 
we would be amply repaid for this climbing up the 
narrow stairs, cooking and eating in a small room, 
and all sleeping in one big room with the beds 
separated by curtains. The children enjoyed the 
novel experience, and when shut in by the win- 
ter's cold, made the old brick store echo with the 
noise of play. 

The blacksmith across the road, a colored man of 
some pretensions to the higher society of his 
race, was profoundly interested in "a barrel of 
shells of some kind" that he "had never seen be- 
fore." It stood in the narrow hall at the foot of 
the steps. Bro. Ollie Hudgins, the Keeper of New 
Point Light House, had shipped me a barrel of 
fine Horn Harbor oysters, and, luckily, they ar- 
rived at Bloomtown on the Eastern Shore the day 
I was loading goods in a car for shipment to Cro- 
zet. I simply took them out of one car and put 
them in another, and here they were, awaiting the 
coming of my folks. I told the blacksmith. Slaugh- 
ter, that they were oysters, but he would not be 
satisfied with anything less than an inspection. 
I got my oyster knife and opened one to satisfy 
him that what I said was true. When he saw the 
luscious bivalve, and tasted it, he raised his hands 
above his head, and exclaimed, "Dem ain't like 
de Oysters we gits inCharlottesville. Dem oysters 


in town don't live in no shell." Then I gave him 
another, and another, and he declared, "Dese oys^ 
ters don't taste like dem town oysters neither." 
The fact is, he had never seen any oyster in the 
shell till that day. 

Brother Brown lived in the old home at White- 
hall, with his son and daughter. Miss Mollie was 
En aggregation of energy, nerves and business 
sense. The son ran the farm and kept the out- 
side affairs intact. Occasionally , they had board- 
ers. Hospitality and good food and freedom from 
care ruled the household, and everybody felt "at 

The Albemarle circuit was composed of. seven 
churches. "Mt. Moriah" at Whitehall, was a solid, 
brick building, erected before the war of '61, in a 
stately grove of oaks. From its ideal location, 
and attractive surroundings, one is compelled to 
think that it must have been the mother church 
of the other Methodist churches in that part of 
the county; in fact, the old registers carried the 
names of the forebears of that generation of fam- 
ilies that made up the stable citizenship for miles 
around. Maupin, Jarman, Wingfield, Early, Rodes, 
Brown, Parrott, Jones, Chapman, Bibb, Dunn, 
Garth, are names that can be found on the register 
of every church in the circuit, and largely make up 
the records of old Mt. Moriah for decades past. 

The fathers who built these old churches built 
them to stay. A.nd the location selected is a mon- 
ument to the good taste of the people who made 


the choice. It can be said of Mt. Moriah in Al- 
bemarle "Beautiful for 'situation." No lovelier 
spot could have been found anywhere, for the view 
from the church yard in any direction is charming. 
All around are the majestic hills, glorifying the 
Creator in silent • eloquence. Although "there is 
neither speech or language, the voice" of these 
hills "is heard" by any soul that is willing to pause 
and listen. 

Off there to the southwest is "Buck's Elbow," 
with its fore-arm stretched out towards Crozet: 
the upper part of the arm swinging from a shdfll- 
der up "Sugar Hollow," at the base of the Blue 
Ridge proper, while Whitehall, a straggling ham- 
let at the base of the "Elbow" where the funny 
bone is exposed, keeps guard at the entrance to 
"Brown's Cove." To the west, . northwest, and 
north, in that exact order, are "Pasture Fence" 
mountain, with kvel summit for miles, then "Cedar 
Mountain," rounding off gracefully to "Brown's 
Gap:" Then "Little Flat Top" to the right of the 
"Gap," and superimposed on the little (?) moun- 
tain is "Big Flat Top," resembling the lengthy 
back of ' a colossal hippopotamus, crouching in 
eternal repose. Farther yet- to the right, or north- 
east, is "Fox's Mountain," lifting two rocky peaks 
to the sky.; whilst here, almost at us, but three 
.miles away to the base, a great barrier, declin- 
ing gradually 'from the foot of Fox's mountain 
eastward to Millington ford; is "Pigeon Top." It 
is very likely that, centuries ago the base of "Pas- 

Bt BtJOGlr, BOA* AXJJ BAtLWAt 299 

ture Fence" and the base of "Pig-eon Top" formed 
a great dam across that vale yonder, and that the 
waters of Doyles river formed a great lake run- 
ning back north-ward to the foot of "Little Flat 
Top." But the rocks and soil were not enough to 
hold in check the swelling flood coming down 
through a hundred rivulets from "Blue Ridge" ten 
miles away. So, in course of time, the first break 
came when the waters tore a way through a weak 
place, just above the present location of Brother 
Charlie Brown's lovely home, and rushed down 
northeastward, cutting out "Blackwell's Hollow," 
and forming "Buck Mountain" creek. This break 
did not relieve the pressure of the waters in the 
lower basin: so the real break came in a cataclism 
which tore away the rock and earth at the "Cliflf," 
just below the present location of Thos. L. Early's 
store, Doylesville, and the great dam was broken 
forever. Doyles river was born and emptied its 
age-long imprisoned waters into another current 
which had broken out of the coves of .the Blue 
Ridge, seven miles up "Sugar Hollow," and "Moor- 
man's" river united with "Doyles" at Whitehall, 
carries the released flood down to a junction with 
"Mechum's" river, and this to the "Rivanna," till 
the final outlet is found in the James. 

The receding waters left a fertile soil, where 
waving crops of wheat and corn, and fruitful or- 
chards, and luscious vineyards, and a generous peo- 
ple have made "Brown's Cove" the Eden of Albe- 
marle. Travelling up the "Cove" the finely located 

300 flioM SAbbtE to Crtt 

residence just before one reaches Doylesville, is 
the new home of Thos. L. Early ; beyond the store 
up on the hill is the home of Mr. Jerry Early, the 
father of Tom. Farther up is the stately mansion 
of Mr. Jas. W. Early. So all the way up the homes 
of elegant people arrest attention. Very near the 
head of the "Cove" is the Church, a neat and com- 
fortable frame building, erected by the prayers, the 
gifts and the wise management of as fine a group 
of men and women as the sun ever shined upon. 
Beyond the church on the right is "Point Pleas- 
ant," the home of Brother Charlie Brown and his 
noble wife. At the head of the "Cove," the last 
residence one passes as the road turns to begin 
the climb to "Brown's Gap," is the home of Brother 
Nimrod Brown. His good old mother, nearly 90 
years old when I last saw her twenty years ago, 
has long since gone to her heavenly reward. His 
sister, who married a Brown, lives there with him. 
It was here that state senator Nathaniel B. Early, 
of Albemarle and Greene found his cultured wife, 
and Nim, the Big Boy of the Cove, and the beau- 
tiful twin girls were born. Here in this immensely 
rich basin, once covered with the waters of a lake 
ten miles long and four miles wide, are names that 
pass current in the best circles of Virginia society. 
It was in this cove that Dr. Robert Newton Sledd 
loved to tarry when a young preacher on the cir- 
cuit. And it was here in that-brick house, near Da- 
vis's ford that Dr. John J. Laflterty discovered and 

tit BtJGGlr, fiOAt AUb ftAlLWAt 301 

married his wife. This church was one of the 
seven on my circuit. 

It was over "Browns Gap" from Port Republic, 
in the Shenandoah valley down through "Brown's 
Cove" by Whitehall to Mechum's river station 
on what was then called "the^ifginia Central Rail- 

. joad, that Stonewall Jackson' iiTfarched is victo- 
rious army, when he shifted it"'f r.oin' "the front of 
the Federal forces in 1862, placed it on a train here 
at this station, carried them acrossthe Blue Ridge, 
and delivered the terrible blow in the rear of 
that army, and drove it in full retreat down the 
valley toward Winchester. 

;A story is told of one of Jackson's jokes on 
the Federal officer at Port Republic. After Jackson 
had gotten all of his troops across the Shenandoah 
river at Port Republic, the Federals placed a bat- 
tery of Artillery at the bridgi^ tp intercept strag- 
glers. But Jackson and his staff had not gone over : 

.so when Jackson found this battery at the bridge 
he boldly rode up to one of the sub-ordinate officers 
and asked, "Who ordered this battery to this 
point?" The soldier, who did not dream that he 
was talking to Stonewall Jackson, replied that 

Major had sent the order. Jackson answered, 

"Major is in error: yonder is the place; 

(indicating a hill three or four hunidreid yards 
away,) move this battery there at once." The 
order of the Confederate Chieftan was obeyed as 
he sat there on his horse watching the movement. 
Then he and his staff safely crossed over, and 

302 Fhoit sAbDLli 10 oitt 

escaped, overtaking his army some distance up the 

Leaving the Brown's Cove road, and crossing 
"Doyle's" river near the then location of Mr. Jas. 
W. Early's store, the road passes up over a gap 
on Fox's mountain, down by the Dunkard church 
on the other side, to "Wealey," another one of the 
churches on my circuit. Here were the Maupins 
innumerable, the Parrott family, the Dunn fam- 
ily, the Bibb family, and the widow and daughter of 
Brother Edwin Brown, so long the leading steward 
at "Wesley," for years representing his circuit at 
District conferences, and a regular delegate to the 
Annual Conference from the Charlottesville Dis- 
trict. Here in this hilly vale to the north of the 
church, and close by Bernard Parrott's on one side, 
and Dr. Bibb's on the other, is "Buck Mountain," 
so much alike the Pyramid of Cheops, that one 
stands in admiration of its perfect lines, and, with- 
out a thought of the keen deception, looks around 
for Egyption sand and the treeless banks of the 

Passing the hamlet of Free Union, down the 
hill and across "Buck Mountain" creek the road 
brings the traveller by a half moon bend, to "Ear- 
lysville," where a small membership worships in 
a union chapel which is cared for by no one in 
particular. Its dilapidated condition is an eloquent 
protest against that starving dog known as "Ev- 
erybody's Church." Here Dr. J. S. Richards, Mrs. 
J. Richard Early, the Loftlands, and John B. 


Rhodes kept the membership together, and cheered 
the preacher by their presence at the monthly ser- 
vice, and entertained him with a genuine Christian 
hospitality whenever his round of calling brought 
him to their homes. This appointment was four- 
teen miles from the parsonage. 

Beyond Earlysville, perhaps two miles, the road 
turns to the right towards Charlottesville by "Rio , 
Mills" on Rivanna river. At "Rivanna," the store 
and postoffice kept by Brother Worthington. the 
right hand road goes straight down by the home 
of the Misses Mayo to the "Hydraulic Ford," cross- 
ing the river there brings one to "Ivy Creek" church 
on the brow of the hill. This is the home church 
of Brother Ed. C. Wingfield, Hon. J. Richard Wing- 
field, his son. Minister to Costa Rica under Cleve- 
land's first administration, but more recently a 
member of the State Corporation Commission. 
Here we had a' small membership of plucky folks 
who kept the fires of Methodism burning on these 
beautiful hills and in these rich valleys, where the 
noise of the outside world never disturbs the con- 
servatism of this elegant people. Ah, here was the 
place for rest, and food, and good cheer of every- 
kind. Here, too, was Brother David Goodman, the 
cultivator of good milk and butter, and honey, and 
fruit. The Faculty at the University of Virginia 
ate his stuflF, and thrived on it, never dreaming 
that it came from the farm of an old time Methodist 
layman and veteran Confederate soldier, who was 
shot to pieces in the battle of second Manassas. 


Five bullets entered his person, taking away a leg, 
and badly wounding the other, but the love of 
Christ penetrj^teii his heart, and, so, "having served 
his generation by the will of God," now rests from 
his labors, and lives forever in the "country that 
is not seen" with the physical eye. 

We have travelled a long distanct since we left 
the "parsonage at the hamlet of Whitehall. We 
drove up^ the road about a quarter of a mile to 
Mr. T. E. Powers' store, known as "Piedmont," 
turned into the right-hand road there, crossed over 
M'oorman's river, and on up the banks of Doyles\ 
river to Brother Thos. L. Early's store. We got 
dinner there, and then went on up to the foot of, 
the mountain at Brother Nim Brown's, where we 
spent the night. - Then we came on back to Jim 
Early's store, crossed the river and Fox's moun- 
tain to "Wesley" church. We peeped in the win- 
dow at "Wesley" to see if young Ned Maupin was 
yet lying down on a bench during service waiting 
for the preacher to get through his sermon. We 
passed Free Union, by Dr. Richards' and Earlys- 
ville, and came to "Rivanna" to aviate dinner with 
a tired horse. We crossed the sunken ford at "Hy- 
draulic," looked at "Ivy Creek". church, and spent 
the night at Richard Wingfielcl's. We have covered 
thirty-six miles, and are now eleven miles from 

We pass a number of desirable farms, and the 
homes Of scores of first class people. There, over 
there, on thjat farm cultivated to within ten per 


cent of its limit, lives Brother Thos. L. Rodes in a 
home where every comfort is found, and a boun- 
tiful and cheerful hospitality is offered the occa- 
sional visitor. He is a progressive farmer, who 
believes that it costs less to keep a farm free of 
g:rass than it does to run a farm without corn and 
other commodities. He is a wide-awake business 
man. and a firm believer in the Methodist interpre- 
tation of Christianity. He loves his church, and is 
shy on h}fpocrites. He is candid, couraiSI'eous. sin- 
cere and generous with his means. Poor health 
hinders him fearfully, but he has settled the great 
question of belief in God and faith in Christ, and 
has "laid hold on eternal life." The reward for fi- 
delity to Christian principles awaits him yonder 
in "the City which hath foundations." 

Now we are nearng Whitehall. There is the 
parsonage on that hill just beyond the church 
grove. "Buck's Elbow" forms an extensive and 
charming back-ground for this attractive scene. 
Billy Maupin lives down there to the right on a 
hill above the mill on the river, and the Railly 
family over here to the left. Now stop here in the 
parsonage yard, and look over yonder to the east. 
That dome is the Astronomical Observatory at the 
University, fourteen miles away, on the suburbs of 
Charlottesville. This side of it, and a little to the 
right is "Turner's mountain," and to the right of 
that, and a little farther away are the "Ragged 
mountains," made "famous in story and song." I 


had an occasional preaching service up in those- 
mountains for those "Children of the Hills." 

At Ivy Depot on the C. & O; railroad, seven miles 
from Charlottesville and six miles from the par- 
sonage is "Shiloh" church, my sixth appointment. 
There are fine people all around here. They are 
the "light" of the community, "set upon a hill" and 
known for solid worth and unpurchaseable virtue^ 
The Ballards and Clarkes, old Brother Wade Via 
and his enterprising wife, and Gates Garth, and 
that noble woman, his wife and children, the leg- 
acy old Brother Edwin Brown left the county when 
he went to heaven. Since Christmas, 1895, I have 
been mixed up with this fariiily, and I am happ)^ and 
honored to count them among my most valuable 
friends. Lizzie Kemper, the eldest daughter, with 
the co-operation of a good husband, is rearing a 
family of manly boys on this excellent stock. 
These boys will carry off all the golden medals 
for personal worth that Lizzie's brothers may fail 
to take. Add to this the fact that one of Gates 
Garth's boys has taken to his heart and home a 
daughter of Tom White and Rita Rodes, the daugh- 
ter of Thos. L. Rodes, already spoken of, and one 
can see the glorious promise of the future. 

Three miles up the road from Mechum's river 
station on the railroad, by the way of "Mountain 
Plain" Baptist church, we come to Crozet, where 
my seventh appointment is located. The town is 
ideally located on the border of the immense Blair 
Park farm, at the base of the Blue Ridge, and at 


the exreme southwestern base -of "Buck's Elbow." 
It is four and a half miles from the parsonage at 
Whitehall. The place abounds in clever people, 
bubbling springs of the best water, fruitful or- 
chards, and high winds. The mountain gorges, 
recruited by the shape of "Jarman's Gap," form 
funnels through which Boreas blows his blasts. 
Hence the winters are cool and colder, till freezing 
locks the outside world outside, and the summers 
bring delightful breezes to the city-weary worker 
on his vacation. 

The church at this point is made up of a choice 
constituency. There are Dr. W. J. Jones and his 
brother Ben, (brothers of Rev. J. N. Jones, of our 
Conference, who died on the Eastville circuit in 
July 1885,) Curtis and Clifton Haden, another 
Brown from "The Cove," and Owens and Ballard 
and Laflferty. The congregation, Methodists and 
people of other faiths, were very gracious and ex- 
tremely kind to the writer of these lines. "They 
that loved the Lord gladly heard the word" from 
me twice a month, and others filled the roorny ed- 
ifice to catch the step of the crowd, and the drift 
of things. 

Rev. Dr. J. J. Laflferty lived a mile from the sta- 
tion in "The Cottage on the Cliff." The house was 
a comfortable convenient dwelling in a shady 
grove on the brow of a hill, along the f lot of v/hich 
a mountain stream cut a channel through by way 
of the doctor's mill to Mechum's river. Beyond, 
the broad fields stretched with a gradual incline 


upward to the Blue Ridge, with Greenwood and 
Afton in full view. 

Dr. Lafferty's name carries me back to the days 
of m)r childhood in Petersburg. He had been my 
friend through all these years, and I have been in 
his home at infrequent intervals, but when, in No- 
vember, 1895, I was sent to the Albemarle circuit, 
the greeting he gave me in his mountain home, and 
the introduction he gave me to the congregation 
at Crozet, excelled all his past words of kindness. 

One, not knowing me, would have thought the 
orator of the Conference, the leading theologian of 
the Church, South, the one man in the whole State 
on wTiom the trustees of Randolph-Macon College, 
had failed to confer an honorary title. (I had often 
thought the same myself), sat in the pulpit to prove, 
by a marvellously eloquent sermon, all that the 
speaker said, or could say. It was Dr. Laffei'ty 
speaking, my childhood's companion and friend, 
and certainly no man had a better right than he to 
say what he pleased. His love for the little boy 
of Lawrence street, Petersburg, was his best apol- 
ogy, now that the boy had become the pastor of 
his family. In his home for three years I found a 
cordial welcome, generous hospitality, books, man- 
uscripts, fellowship. His "Farewell to a Choice 
Pastor," published as an editorial in the Advocate 
at the time of my removal from the charge in No- 
vember, 1898, was a valued tribute, a benediction 
I shall carry on my heart to the end of my life. 
When he passed away a few years later, I lamented 


> 91' 

his going with a sincere grief, and the shadow fell 
upon my home as it di^upon his. Of his hterary 
equipment and masterful writings I have no power 
to speak, and few. have. Such a mind and such 
writings can engage no sympathetic criticism from 
any but the brain that travels easily along the 
highways of thWg;l;i|;;where the Greek and the 
Latin masters found themselves at home. 

Alas ! departed friend of my earliest pleasures, 
and of my latest labors, none seemed to see the 
glory of the sunset but the little boy you loved so 
well, and he did not, and does not yet, understand 
the meaning of the cloud. 

His wife, (as I have already said elsewhere,) was 
a Miss Brown, of "Brown's Cove," a choice speci- 
men of the refined Virginia woman, who placed her' 
thought and heart in the making of a home, and in 
the worship of God. She had no time nor taste 
for public parade and private gossip.' Her visits 
carried sunshine and help to the poor: to her kin 
and others, the blessing of good will and upright 
and joyous demeanor. She gave herself, without 
reserve, to woman's highest and holiest duties,^ — 
the cheerful sharing in her husband's burdens with- 
out complaint, and beautifully proved to the world 
how far afield faith will carry ^ soul and body and 
home when everything else has failed. 

The Hadens, Clifton and Curtis, were sound, de- 
pendable Fluvanna stock, adding weight and worth 
to Albemarle's gentry by their coming to Crozet. 
Their forefathers had set the standard high down 


at Palmyra, on the James, and these sons had 
stepped up on that moral and religious plain with- 
out a struggle. The motive power was in the blood. 
The movement upward was, to the sons, easy 
and natural, just as water seeks its level. They 
were industrious with moderation, economical 
without avarice, and pious without cant, or the 
"sounding of a trumpet." The Bible has a de- 
scription of the Hadens: — "Diligent in busi- 
ness, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord." Rev. 
Thos. H. Haden at the great Methodist College in 
Kobe, Japan, is a brother, a man of the same type. 

Dr. William Joseph Jones was another of my 
warmest friends and supporters. He was the Nes- 
tor of the church at Crozet, the poet and essayist 
for our church paper. He had a simple rule for 
living close to Christ -J- — Get up so near the Living 
Lord that in any other place in the Kingdom on«> 
wJU feel dissatisfied. His feet touched the earth 
because he had no wings. ' "His conversation (cit- 
izenship) was in heaven," and so he was prepared 
above all others in his profession to serve men. He 
carried to his home the beauty of a strong devo- 
tion to every member of the family "without par- 
tiality and without hypocrisy." He carried to 
his patients the wise discretion and practical senss 
of the physician, and the humble spirit of prayer- 
ful dependence on od. The Lord went with him 
in his practice, and the people trusted him to the 

A monument to the mighty men among our lay- 

BY BtTGQt, ftOAt Atfb «AtLWAt Sll 

men should be raised, but who shall do it? They 
have made possible the success of the preachers : 
and the reason why some one has not stoned those 
few grumbling clericals in whose thought every- 
thing is going wrong, is because these godly lay- 
men have stood between them and deserved pun- 
ishment. But why mention a monument? It has 
already been reared by these faithful men and 
women. "On this rock," the indestructible granite 
of blood-washed character, cemented by prayer and 
tears, and dried stone-hard in the sunshine of the 
constraining love of Christ, God has "built His 
church" through the centuries, and "the gates, (the 
judgment seat) of hell cannot prevail against it." 
This is their monument: it will endure through 

At the Conference held in Lynchburg November, 
1896, a fine class of eight young men was received 
on Trial : — John E. White, Francis B. McSparren, 
John C. Granbery, Jr., Jesse B. Lavinder, Jas. E. 
Oyler, Robt. C. Garland, Saml. J. Battin, and Ernest 
L. Peerman. Can you beat that? Two presiding 
elders came out of that bunch, — McSparren and 
Battin. John Granbery, when last heard from, was 
down south somewhere in a College teaching ideas 
how to sprout. Ernest Peerman is a growing man. 
He was seven years a Missionary in Korea, but is 
back in America still seeking an education. Oyler 
is a Supernumerary, and selling first-class clothing 
in Richmond. White and Lavinder are travelling 
circuits, and any one can hear them "Go" who will 


"stop to listen. Garland was located at the Confer- - 
enceof 1892. , • " 

When I was returned to the Albemarle circuit in 
1896, Lavinder was given his first appointment as 
my junior. He did good work for a,.-.yqung man 
with his equipment. He has made friends and im- 
proved year after year, till now he^is'bne of our 
trusted and Successful itinerants. Lavinder used 
to make some mighty bad slips in preaching, and 
so did I. Lavinder used to deliver some mighty 
poor sermons, and so did L Lavinder has gotten 
over that in a large measure. I am not so cer- 
tain about my own case. And there are others. 
Some of us never do. Ask the people who hear 
us when they can stand it. ".Let him that is with- 
out" a soft place in his brain,'' and splits in his rec- 
ord, "cast the first stone" at.., Lavinder and me. 
Lavinder is all right. My »-wife believed in 
Lavinder. I like Lavinder. ''■.; I had a hard time 
training him: we always" like the things that 
cost us the most labor, except Arithmetic, and 
Lavinder is not that. Lavinder is in my heart. 

I think it was sometime in the year 1897 that I 
was invited by a preacher, high in the official cir- 
cle of the Conference, to meet him at the residence 
of a certain layman somewhere in the country 
around in the vicinity of Norfolk. His letter in- 
formed me that "a grand Coon Hunt" was planned 
for that week, and certain brethren of the Con- 
ference had agreed to become members of the 
party. The rooms and beds had been provided for 

tJlf mobt, bOAt Aitb KAltWAV iU 

the entire party at the good brother's home, and 
that a royal good time was promised. 

If I should write the names of these prospective 
chasers of the gay and funny coon into this story 
it might add a little to the interest thereof: it 
certainly would give it a tinge of dignity, which, 
under the circumstances, must be discarded in 
the telling; for I think it best to let the narrative 
take the form of a comedy with the names of in- 
dividuals carefully eliminated. Then identffication 
will be almost impossible, unless the hopeful hunts- 
men come forward and confess, " 'Twas I that did 

it " " 

On account of the constant and imperious de- 
mands of my heavy work on my time and thought, 
I was compelled to decline the invitation, and 
await, in my piedmont home, the report from the 

At the end of ten days the expected report came, 
]yut it was not the report which was expected. A 
brief note, written in a fog of dejection, said, "On 
account of weather, and mud, and sickness," and a 
lot of other obstructions which no ecclesiastical 
derrick could remove, "the coon hunt was indefi- 
nitely postponed, and we returned to the city weary 
of life, and heavy laden with disappointed expec- 

This report was too much for me. My artistic 
impulse got on a rampage at once. Pictures of 
that delectable gang around Norfolk surrender- 
ing to anything began to form themselves in niy 

314 fttoM SAbbtE to cttt 

brain cavity, crying out, "Draw me !" I folded the 
dismal note, and laid it on my desk. I took a pad, 
and seated at riiy up-stairs window, where no one 
would interrupt, with the charming scenery all 
around to inspire, I began to describe in pencil 
marks, "The Memorable Coon Hunt of 1897." 

There were in that procession which took its de- 
parture from the city for the field of conflict, the 
following : — 

(excuse these indefinable initials which tell noth- 
ing : J. P., with the Book of Ecclesiastical Law in 
his hand ; W. H., perspiring freely and gracefully 
waving the needed palm-leaf fan in the still sum- 
mer air ; W. A., with cane, and gloves, and silk hat, 
and cigar ; J. T., a tired itinerant^ ready to ride any- 
thing upon the slightest pretext ; and R. C, with 
flute, and smile, and manly stride. G. S., with 
slouched hat, and Prince Albert coat, and creased 
trousers, and bonnie blue tie around a spotless col- 
lar with corners turned down, was already at de- 
voted layman's home when the hunters arrived. 
After supper the hunt began. The forest was 
penetrated and searched, and the night was almost 
gone when one of the dogs "treed !" Instantly 
J. P. summoned the brethren to stand in a half 
circle around- him, that he might read unto them 
"the Law on the catching of coons." The group 
was formed arpund the prelate while the dog 
barked, and the laughing stars looked down upon 
the clandestined ecclesiastical court. W. H., the 
fat saint, pronounced the weather too hot for him 


to bear a recital of that sort; besides, he said he 
did not know there was such a law in the Dis- 
cipline." W. A. said, "I want no law : I will show 
you how to capture coons if you will follow my 
example : I have caught bigger game than coons 
with my plan. Treat 'em courteously, and they 
will come right down into your hand." R. C. 
said, "We want no law: I can bring down any 
coon with the music of my flute." J. T. said, "I 
will not stand here listening to all this nonsense : 
I will lie down." The men in that darksome wild 
turned to look at him, and discovered that he 
brought a wheel-barrow, and was coiled up in 
that with his umbrella over him. 

This was too much for the dignity and order- 
liness of the mind of G. S., so he suggested to the 
hospitable layman that "we call off the hunt till we 
can get someone out here who knows something 
that ain't in the books." The dear brother con- 
sented. Now, if you had seen that disconsolate 
procession on its way to the home of the layman 
you would have had the laugh of your life. 

There was J. T. sprawled out in a round bunch 
in the wheel-barrow, protesting that he "would 
stay there in those woods all night before he would 
walk another step." Moaning that "everywhere 
hurts me, and I have been opposed to coon hunts 
all my life." Then those devoted men, who never 
have been guilty of forsaking a brother in trouble, 
divided among themselves the beneficent job of 
taking the tired brother home to the hospitable lay- 


man's house in the simple conveyance provided 
by this man of simple tastes and aching bones. A 
rope was attached to the front of the wheel-bar- 
row, and dear Brother W. H., the perspiring and 
popular pastor of ******* church, attached him- 
self to that. R. C, with flute carefully stored away 
in his upper left coat pocket outside, grappled the 
handles. J. P., the tall representative of the Law, 
walked in front, adding weight and authority to 
the purpose of the procession, whilst dignity and 
affability shined forth in the person of W. A. with 
silk hat, gloves and cane. The blessed layman fol- 
lowed in tears ; he remembered his meat house 
and chickens, and the distance from Norfolk. G. S. 
went to his own home not far away, declaring his 
disgust with the whole business. 

This was the picture my imagination flung on 
the canvas outlining the inglorious coon-hunt, in- 
spired by the solemn note which came to me from 
J. P., aided largely by the fascinating scenery 
which catches the eye and thrills the soul of him 
who looks out over into "Brown's Cove" from the 
upper window of the parsonage at Whitehall. 

I had many a ride through those mountain 
gorges, and along the summit of the Blue Ridge 
for miles, and down into the innumerable and 
lonely vales, and never had a fear of man or beast. 
The charm of these trips away from the care of 
the churches, the blessed silence, the thrills which 
came when I climbed the rocks, leaving my horse 
in the shadow of a graceful cliff which lifted its 


level top to the sky, these, and the fascination of 
scenery caught from a point of view where none 
had ever stood before except the mountain hunter, 
drove the goblins away, or led me to ignore them 
if they came. 

But the torrential rains and consequent floods 
were my terror. I think it was the great storm of 
September or October 1897, which shook my faith 
in the solidity of a mountain road, and the inno- 
cence of a mountain stream. The rain fell in great 
sheets through the afternoon and night. By mid- 
day the next day Moorman's and Doyles rivers 
were a resistless flood hundreds of yards wide, 
filling all the flats, and sweeping through the nar- 
row openings between the hills with appalling 
swiftness, threatening houses and stock with ruin 
and death. The roads up Sugar Hollow and 
Brown's Cove were practically destroyed, and had 
to be rebuilt at a cost of hundreds of dollars. After 
the flood had subsided wife and I drove up the 
Cove road beyond the Moorman's river bridge as 
far as we dared to go with horse and buggy. We 
stopped under a tree by the roadside attracted by 
the sight of six ears of corn brought down by the 
angry waters from some farmer's field, and caught 
here in the fork of the tree as high up as the 
waters had risen. I stood on tip-toe on my buggy 
seat, and could reach the corn with my hand 
stretched upward as far as I could. The height 
from the ground was not less than ten feet. I am 
five feet five inches high. 


I crossed the Rivanna at Rea's Ford on a cer- 
tain night in August, 1898, about twenty-four 
hours after a big rain storm in the mountains. I 
did not think of danger till I had driven into the 
cut too far to turn back. Then I heard the rush- 
ing* waters. Covering my suit-case with my horse- 
blanket, and sitting up on the back of the seat with 
the cushion in my lap, I ordered "John" to go in; 
and he went in up to his breast. The Water came 
up to the seat on which my feet rested. It was 
not broad but deep. "John" took me over quickly 
and safely. Bro. Ed. Wingfield, living on the hill 
near by, asked me a few days later, if I did really 
cross that Ford that night. When I told him I 
did, he charged me never to risk my life at that 
place again: that it is a most dangerous Ford in 
high water, and on that particular night the water 
was up to the danger line ! 

The Hydraulic Ford was a sunken road-way, 
perfectly safe in ordinarily high water. The river 
there was broad and not very swift. But no one 
ever attempted to cross at the flood stage of the 
river. Millington Ford, near Bro. Jeter Jones's 
home, was a long shallow crossing, and was easily 
negotiated except when the mountain springs over- 
flowed, and discharged their mad waters into the 
piedmont. Then no place was safe unless it was 
the hill-top and a good shelter. 

Up in the very heart of the Blue Ridge in "Sugar 
Hollow," near the head of Moorman's river, lived 
Oscar Early, a great big bodied, big hearted moun- 


taineer. He could entertain by the hour with mi- 
raculous stories of mountain adventure, hair- 
breadth escapes from bears and wild-cats, and the 
successful chase of the hundred different kinds of 
varmints that infest those parts. The hair would 
stand up on one's head as he told of the rushing 
floods that swept down the Hollow, and cut hirii 
and his devoted wife and adopted daughter off 
from civilization for weeks at a time; and of the 
cloudbursts that tore gulches out of the hill-sides 
in which one could bury a city hotel the size of 
Murphy's in Richmond. Yes, all of that, and then 
some, till one almost feared to go out of his home 
again lest one should be overtaken by one or more 
of these dreadful creatures, or an inanimate foe 
to human life. 

But after all, Oscar Early was my friend and 
brother. His home suited me : his food suited 
me : his cold spring water and milk suited me : 
his yarns held me spell-bound by day, and helped 
me to dream some wonderful dreams at night: 
his beds were what the weary body needed after 
a tramp over those hills : and his good wife never 
wearied in trying to make her guests comfortable, 
and ever ready to repeat the visit. 

Over the mountain to "Black Rock Springs," and 
up to the "Black Rock" itself affords as charming 
and romantic an outing as one can wish for. To 
get the full value of such a trip, one should leave 
the parsonage, in summer of course, after an early 
breakfast, strike out up the banks of Moorman's 


river, crossing that stream twenty-three times in 
the ten miles to Mr. Early's home. See that you let 
him know that you are coriiing, and do your utmost 
to arrive there in time' for a bountiful dinner. 
There'll be a dog under the table at your feet 
while you eat, but never mind the dog: give your 
full time to the dinner. Spend the afternoon 
lounging around the yard in the shade, or hunt 
the hill-sides for birds, and the trees for squir- 
rels, and the streams to their source for startling 
effects in water falls and springs. About a mile 
down the river from Oscar's home there is on 
your left a fall of water not more than a. yard wide, 
tumbling over a rocky ledge into a pile of loose 
stone below, with a sheer drop of more than one 
hundred feet. On the western side of the river, 
we followed, in one of our tramps, a small stream 
till we came fo a clear deep pool. Into this pool 
a sheet of water, ten feet wide and as thin as a 
sheet of plate glass, slips over an inclined plane 
from a summit of not less than twenty feet. The 
pool was a fine place for bathing in those days : six 
feet deep, clear as crystal, but not large enough 
for swimming. 

On the top of the hill, on the road from "Sugar 
Hollow" to "Black Rock Springs," is a depression 
called "The Low Place in the Ledge." Here, qn 
the right as you approach the summit, is a spring 
of the purest water, as beautiful as a fountain in 
a park, and as bountiful in supply as an Artesian 
well. Both man and beast slake their thirst at 


this place, and take a long-wished-for rest at the 
end of the climb either from the Springs on the 
west or the Hollow on the east. 

Here a road turns sharply to the north on the 
very back-bone of the ridge, which, with a grad- 
ual rise for nearly two miles, ends in a grove of 
birch and live oak at the base of one of the many 
piles of immense rock found at infrequent dis- 
tances on the top of the mountain throughout this 
region : and I suppose, the same features prevail 
on the entire Appalachian range from New York to 

A hundred yards west of this grove, where we 
tied our horses, is the edge of one of Virginian's 
natural wonders. All around are loose stones from 
the size of the fist of the normal man to that of 
the body of a short man weighing 200 pounds ; pass 
over this obstruction and you come to another of 
more pretentious character : — a wall of black rock 
rising to the height of perhaps 30 feet. The wall is 
split in pieces of varying size. Some would weigh 
500 tons, whilst others would tip the scales at 
ten thousand tons. We climb this wall by a flight 
of stone steps flung at various degrees of ascent, 
till we reach the top, and there stand in speechless 
wonder at the scene. Before you, from north to 
west, the boulders cover the mountain side for 
fifteen acres, to the depth of, no one knows, how 
many feet. The sight makes this first impression; 
— that some furious wind storm with hurricane ve- 
locity, struck this one-time majestic mountain 


home, and prostrated it in a night : that an earth- 
quake followed, with an electric storm as an ac- 
companiment, finishing, with fire and chasm, what 
the wind had left, and burying in the ruins a thou- 
sand feet deep the luckless dwellers in this doomed 

From the summit of the highest and levelest of 
the wall left standing, a view of the Shenandoah 
Valley is obtained which lingers in the memory for 
years. Over here on our right, in the north, six 
miles away, on the other side of "Brown's Gap," 
is "Big Flat Top," of which I have already spoken. 
That yellow thread you see, across the chasm, two 
miles away is the "Brown's Gap" and "Port Re- 
public" highway, over which Stonewall Jackson 
marched his victorious army to the enemy's rear 
in 1862, (see page 198). To the left, or south of 
us, is a point called "Calloway's Rocks," resembling 
the one on which we stand. Directly in front of 
us, to the northwest, is the famous Valley of Vir- 
ginia, or that portion of it lying in Rockingham 
and Augusta counties. Over there is Masanuttan 
Mountain resting on the banks of the Shenandoah 
river, looking like a yawl boat bottom side up on 
the beach, its sharp- keel outlined on the blue ho- 
rizon. In the distance the level top of the Alle- 
gheny range is plainly seen. To the west and 
southwest the city of Staunton, the Twin Sisters, 
two round cones near Fishersville, and Waynes- 
boro, are dimly visible. Above it all the blue sky 
bends, — a canopy covering the works of the Great 


Creator. The heart of the Christian leaps with a 
thrill of gratitude, and the spirit of worship 
prompts the lips to utter a song of praise. 

Among those who had died during the year 1897 
was Rev. Edward Marshall Peterson, D. D. He 
was a good man, conscientious, zealous, success- 
ful as pastor and preacher. He was an authority 
on Conference relations, baptism and hypocrisy. 
He was a terror to the Ritualist, especially to that 
particular speciman who unwisely remarked to 
Brother Peterson one fateful day that he (the 
Ritualist) could not exchange pulpits with him 
(Peterson) "'because the canon of the church for- 
bade it." Peterson replied, "I can spike that little 
canon with a three-penny nail !" He was a source 
of perplexity and confusion to our deep-water 
brethren, as many in Tidewater Virginia and else- 
where can testify. And hypocrisy sought a hiding 
place, side by side with the proselyter, in the tall 
timbers when it was "norated around" that old 
man Peterson with his long linen duster was com- 

"Never did the official record of this Conference," 
says Dr. VV. G. Starr in his Memoir read at this 
session, "contain a name that will be more affec- 
tionately treasured in time to come than the name 
of Marshall Peterson. We all love him, and the 
fragrance of his memory will linger long in the 
hearts of his brethren." 

The election of Delegates to the General Con- 
/ ference of 1898 was taken up, and consumed thf* 


larger part of the fifth day's session, morning and 
afternoon. The result was as follows: — J. P. Gar- 
land, R. N. Sledd, Paul Whitehead, A. G. Brown, 
A. Coke Smith, and W. E. Edwards. Reserves :■ — ■ 
J. C. Reed, W. G. Starr and J. J. Laflferty. Lay 
Delegates :—W. W. Smith, A. E. Kellam, C. E. 
Vawter, R. W. Peatross, R. S. Paulett, and John 
P. Branch. Reserves : — E. G. Mosley, J. C. Parker, 
and Carter Glass. 

As the close of my third year drew near I be- 
gan to feel that the charge needed a new preacher. 
The work had not improved during my pastorate 
as I had hoped. Revival services had been held at 
every appointment, but had not resulted in many 
additions to the church, notwithstanding, I, had the 
valuable aid of such men as John C. Rosser, then 
at the summit of his usefulness ; George E. Booker, 
a charming preacher who filled Mt. Moriah church 
with a congregation twice daily for a week; E. T. 
Dadmun, who won his way to the hearts of my 
people by his spirituality and tenderness ; and Chas. 
L. Bane, whose sermons compelled attention, al- 
though the manuscript was closely followed. I 
found, on my arrival on the charge in December, 
1895, that the church register had not been culled 
for several years, hence it carried one hundred and 
fifty names of people, who either disclaimed mem- 
bership, or had removed. This loss I had to bear 
at the very beginning of my term. It was not the 
first time I had had such an experience, and there- 
fore being accustomed to it, I bore it resignedly. 


But the additions from conversions did not meet 
my expectations. Eighty-four in three years at 
seven churches was not a good average. Seventy- 
eight received by Certificate helped somewhat to 
make my gain 162 in three years. But my losses 
were heavy. For instance, Deaths 27, Removals 
by Certificate 81, and Withdrawals 53; with 150 
loss to start with, and it will be seen that my net 
loss for my term was. 149. So I thought the con- 
dition of the work indicated the need of a new man. 

There was another factor entering into the in- 
vestigation which moved me to ask for a change : 
this, I had been a tidewater pastor all my life till 
now. For twenty-five years I had served the peo- 
ple on the coast, and I understood them, their hab- 
its of thought, their manners and customs. I did 
not understand the people of the piedmont region. 
The pastoral work was too heavy for me to do it 
as I had been doing it all my life. I did not know 
what to do with those long, rough roads. I could 
not do the work as I thought it should be done, 
and as my conscience moved me to do it. I would 
kill my horse and myself too. So I determined to 
leave, and let the Presiding Elder feel free to sug- 
gest any one else he pleased as my successor. 

Therefore when I went to the Conference of 1898, 
I was ready to move. Quite a number of my 
friends, both in the church and out' of it, and mem- 
bers of other churches, expressed their regrets 
when informed of my decision, and suggested 
that one year more would not hurt me. But they 


all, with one accord showed in many ways that 
their sorrow at my going was sincere, and not the 
gush and froth of sentiment. 

There are PEOPLE in Albemarle circuit:— BIG 
PEOPLE, and f have been careful to drift back 
there frequently since my removal, if for nothing 
else than to be able to say that I HAVE SAT 




The Conference of 1898 met in the Monumental 
Church, Portsmouth, Va., November the 16th and 
remained in daily session till late Wednesday night 
the 23rd. 

This was the One Hundred and Sixteenth annual 
session, and was presided over by Bishop R. K. 
Hargrove. Paul Whitehead was Secretary, and 
S. S. Lambeth, B. M. Beckham and Geo. F. Greene 

This proved to be one of the busiest sessions in 
the history of the Conference. A large class was 
admitted on trial into the Travelling Connection, 
viz: Thos. S. Leitch, William L. Jones, Wilmot C. 
Stone, L. Hunter Early, Jas. E. McCulloch, Daniel 
T. Merritt, Robert L. Busby, William L. Murphy, 
J. Franklin Carey, Henry W. Dunkley, and W. G. 

Dr. A. Coke Smith presented to the Conference 
resolutions of the Epworth League Conference 
held at Norfolk, Va., during the present year on the 
subject of establishing, through the agency of the 
League, a Methodist Orphanage for the Virginia 
Conference ; which, on motion, were referred to 


the Epwbrth League Board of this Conference.. 
The Board reported on the morning of the sixth 
day the following : — "We have carefully considered 
the paper referred to us by the Conference con- 
cerning the establishment of a Conference Orphan- 
age, and report a unanimous and most enthusiastic 
sentiment in favor of such an enterprise, and rec- 
ommend the appointment by the Conference of a 
committee, who shall take the whole matter under 
advisement, with full power to act in the premises; 
provided they incur no debt, and who shall report 
at the next session of the Conference. We rec- 
ommend the following brethren for appointment on 
that committee : Revs. A. Coke Smith, W. J. 
Young, and E. H. Rawlings, and Brothers P. T. 
Barrow, E. G. Mosely, S. S. Lambeth, Jr., W. H. 
Vincent, S. Q. Collins and W. W. Smith." 

The appointment of this committee followed the 
adoption of the report of the Epworth League 
Board, and this was the beginning of the history 
of our Orphanage in Richmond, which has won its 
way to the hearts of the people throughout our 

Dr. Young J. Allen, Missionary to China was a 
welcome visitor to the Conference. His last visit 
was at the session in Lynchburg in 1870. A mo- 
tion offered by Dr. Sledd, and adopted by the Con- 
ference requested Dr. Allen to address the Con- 
ference on conditions in China on Friday. On that 
day at 11 A. M. he delivered his memorable ad- 
dress on "China Made Willing," an address which 


created a profound impression on his great audi- 
ence. The developments of the last twenty years 
have singled Dr. Allen out, not only as a Christian 
statesman, but as a prophet of no small ability. 

At the request of the Conference Bishop John C. 
Granbery delivered his "Semi-Centennial" sermon, 
and the Conference, by resolution, requested the 
Bishop to furnish the same for publication in the 
Conference Annual. It was a fine exhibit of the 
spirit of the Bishop : full of tender reminiscences 
of men and events, a just estimate of men of mark, 
a story of the times, long gone, full of incident, 
and humor, and pathos. 

The list of those who had died contained the fol- 
lowing: — L. S. Reed, the father of our Dr. J. C. 
Reed, born in 1819, licensed to preach in 1846, 
joined the Virginia Conference in November, 1849, 
at Petersburg, granted the Superannuated Relation 
in 1893, and died in 1897. "Through fifty-one years 
he bore the title and adorned the office of a Meth- 
odist preacher. In the councils of his Church and 
the advisory boards of his community, he was es- 
teemed for his strong common sense and for his 
practical wisdom. His knowledge of men and mea- 
sures was exceedingly accurate." He was a Del- 
egate to the General Conferences of 1866, 1874, and ' 
1878, and an Alternate to the session of 1886, "serv- 
ing a part of the session when Dr. W. W. Bennett 
became too feeble to attend." 

Jacob Manning, after fifty-five years of faith- 
ful service. "No man was more loved by his breth- 


ren, and no man more generously loved them. He 
sought the good of others," and others poured the 
benediction of their gratitude into his gentle 

Geo. C. Vanderslice died in March, 1898, in the 
city of Richmond, while pastor of Union Station, 
after an illness of less than a month. His death 
was a shock to the City, to his Conference, to his 
friends everywhere. No thought of such a calam- 
ity was associated with the mention of his name. 
His lively stride, his rugged frame, his aggressive 
spirit, his discount of difficult and taxing toil, had 
g^ven those who stood nearest him only the idea 
of what life really meant. He carried a conse- 
crated soul, and a brave heart. 

David M. Wallace joined the Conference in 1853, 
and died in April, 1898, a faithful pastor, an evan- 
gelical preacher. 

Joseph J. Edwards gently breathed his last at 
the home of his son, J. Travis Edwards, in Berkley, 
(now a part of Norfolk,) April 20th, 1898. The fu- 
neral services were condticted by Rev. R. M. Chand- 
ler, and the precious remains were laid to rest in 
Elmwood Cemetery, Norfolk. "He was a good 
man," a man of faith, and prayer, and withal a 
deeply sympathetic man, carrying the burdens of 
others upon his own heart as- if they were his own. 
This is Christ-like. At the same time, as Dr. Wm. 
E. Edwards says in his Memoir, "He was as art- 
less and unsuspecting as a child. He was pain- 



fully distrustful of himself, and as modest and re- 
tiring as he was distrustful." 

Jas. L. Spencer closes the list of the worthy men 
the Virginia Conference lost this year from her 
ranks. He was born in 1826. He joined the Con- 
ference in November, 1850, but from 1858 to 1872 
was not on the effective list. As a preacher Dr. 
Spencer "was clear, scriptural, spiritual, earnest, 
pointed. Like Moses he communed with God on 
the mount. In labors he was abundant. He sowed 
beside all waters diligently, and fruits of his min- 
istry were not lacking." 

The Conference did a very unusual thing on Wed- 
nesday morning, the seventh day. The usual ses- 
sion began at 9 A. M. The minutes of the last ses- 
sion were read and approved. Then, "There being 
no business ready, on motion. Conference adjourned 
to meet again at 11 o'clock A. M. today." 

"Conference met at 11 A. M. according to ad- 
journment," and went on with a great amount of 

Late that night the appointments were read, and 
I found myself sent to the Gloucester circuit as the 
successor of Rev. Joseph E. Potts. Rev. John M. 
Burton succeeded me in the Albemarle' circuit. 

The first record of the Gloucester circuit that I 
have been able to find is in the Journal of Bishop 
Francis Asbury. The date is "December 29th, 
1781." The record reads: — "Rode to Stedham's * 
in Gloucester circuit. This man was once famous 
for racing : he is now a servant of the Lord Jesus 


Oirist." "Tuesday, January 1st, 1782," the Jour- 
nal reads : — Having preached several tiines in the 
neighborhood of the Qld Church, (King and Queen 
county,) to very unfeeling congregations, I rode 
to Dudley's Feriry, in order to cross York river, but 
v*ra« disappointed, the boat being on the opposite 
side. We retur«ed .to widow Gs, and had a. congre- 
gation of sixty or seventy people. We then rode 
back to the Ferry, -and passed over immediately." 

"Decem-ber 4th, 1783," he passicd over that route 
again. He says, "I preaqhed to abovit thirty people 
at ol4 father Stedham's m King and Que^n county, 
* GlQUcester circuit; myself and the people were 
blessed in waiting on the Lord." , "T.hursday, May 
12th, 1785," he is a,t "Yorktown, lately the seat of 
War." His note .on jthis place is short and plain, 
"Here Lord CornwAllis surrendered to ,the com- 
bined armies of America and Ffftnce. The inhabi- 
tants are di3soIute ajid careless. I preached to a 
few serious women at 1 o'clock, and at the desire 
of the ladies agajn at 4 o'clock. I caipe to Mrs. 
Row.e's." That is, he crossed the river to .GIoji- 
ce^ter I^oint, .for he ,^oes on to say, "Saturday the 
14th, I directed my course for Ur,banna. I was 
apprehensive of ji ^ust while crossing the Rjippa- 
hanjiQck.; but I reached the .other side in safety." 

The .•f-ollowing note he -makes of Gloucester cir- 
cuit is dated Sunday, Ja-nuary 21st and Monday Jan- 
uary 22nd, 1787. He has ijiust come across the Rap- 
pahannock fuom the great revival that wa^s sweep- 


ing through the Northern Neck. He says as he 
strikes this rehgious iceberg, "Cold times in ihis 
circuit compared with the great times we have had 
in Lancaster. 

"January 3rd, 1788," he "cjross.ed the Rappahan- 
nock : went on to Blake's ; came to Brother Billup.s', 
Kingston Parish, Gloucester county. Here we 
were happy in our religious exercises." This 
Brother Billups was Rev. Armistead Billups, father 
of Mrs. Harriet Stoakes, and grandfather of our 
dear Brother -Walter R. Stoakes, of Mathews cir- 
cuit. Many a preacher has been able to say of that 
home, "we were happy in our religious exercises." 
He left this delightful haven pf re^t, and "xode forty 
miles to Cappahosic ferry, but bein,g jjnable to 
cross, we ten miles to the widow Rowe's." 
He crossed the York at Yorktown, comin|^ south. 
He came into Gloucester circuit from Lancaster, 
crossing the river Urbanna, Tuesday, December 29, 
1789, went on over Turk's Ferry on the Pianki- 
tank river, to Sister Button's, where he found 
"three of the preachers waiting for us, pr-eadhing 
having been appointed for the morrow." Perhaps 
this meeting was held at a place called "Cheese 
Cake," near the present home of John L. Farin- 
hoJt. The place is mentioned elsewhere in fe-is 
J-purnal, and is on the direct route from Glouces- 
ter Point to Urbanna over Turk's Ferry, wliicjh 
he traveled so often. Thursday the 31st of De- 
cember, 1789, he is at "Rev. Joseph Bellamy's." 


Bishop Whatcoat is with him. Brother Bellamy- 
was a local preacher, living in the field adjoining 
the. lot on which the present Bellamy's church 
stands. The church was founded in 1795, says a 
headboard placed at the grave of parson Bellamy in 
the church yard by Mr. Jefferson W. Stubbs in 

Dr. W. W. Bennett, in his "Memorials of Meth- 
odism in Virginia" has this note preserved by Rev. 
Thos. Scott. "Our Quarterly Conference was held 
at the house of Mrs. Chapman, situated in a place 
called Guinea. Rev. Stephen G. Roszell came with 
the Presiding Elder, Philip Bruce, and preached on 
Sunday." A great revival resulted, the meeting 
"continued till a late hour, and several struggled 
into life." Bethlehem church must have gotten 
its start from this great meeting. This was in the 
year 1789. 

Decen;iber the 29th, 1790, he is in the Gloucester 
circuit again, and at "Brother Bellamy's," coming 
from Lancaster. 

He turns north at this point, going up through 
King and Queen, and on Christmas day is at Han- 
over with Wm. Glendenning, one of the preachers. 

Wednesday, November 11th, 1795, he comes 
across the Rappahannock into the Gloucester cir- 
cuit again, this time at Bowler's in Essex county. 
He says, "I rode eight miles to Brother Mann's in 
Essex, where I preached fifteen .years ago." 
"Mann's Meeting House" was still standing on the 


north side of the main road in 1882-3 above the 
village of Montague's in Essex, as one travels from 
that point to Center Cross. 

"November 14th, visited Brother L. R. Cole," 
is the brief entry in the Bishop's Journal. Cole's 
Chapel, in Essex, no doubt got its name from this 
worthy man. "November 16th, after a rainy morn- 
ing, I rode to Phaup's Chapel and had nearly a hun- 
dred people. Spent the evening with Mrs. J. El- 
lis, Bro. Phaup, and Bro. Perry." This was in the 
neighborhood of Pace's Chapel, for he afterwards 
speaks of the growth of the work at Pace's. No- 
vember 17th he crossed the Mattapony river at 
Frazier's Ferry and the Pamunkey at "Putney" this 
furnishing evidence that he was at Pace's Chapel 
"November 16th, 1795," the Chapel being near that 

Saturday, November Uth, 1797, he came into the 
Gloucester circuit at "the widow Rowzie's in Es- 
sex, having ridden twenty miles from Pprt Royal, 
in Caroline county. We were kindly and comfort- 
ably entertained. We then hastened on to Leroy 
Cole's. He and his wife were gone to Quarterly 
Meeting eight miles down the river." (This meet- 
ing was no doubt held at Mann's Meeting-House 
already referred to.) "A pious sister and house- 
keeper made us comfortable." After a rain-storm 
"we hastened to the meeting-house. Preached. 
Rode fife miles to Widow Hundley's: here was all 
kindness and love. We rejoiced to see our much- 


esteemed brethren, Cole, McKendree, and Mead, 
and to hear of a great and gracious work of God." 

Gloucester circuit shared in this gf^at work in 
1797, under the preaching of William McKendfee, 
Leroy Cole and Stith Mead. "Signs of revival ap- 
peared edrly in the spring' in different parts of Ma- 
thews and Gloucester. * * * * These indications in- 
creased in nuftibef and importance, until on Whit- 
Sunday, at Mt. Zion, a chapel erected by Mrs. Mary 
Mason Tabb, a lady of wealth and refinement, the 
friend of Asbury, and a mother in Israel, a most 
extraofdinary wOrk broke out." (Bennett) "While 
I was preaching," Says Stith Mead, "my own soul 
b^ing overwhelmed by a supernatural power, an 
awful trembling shook the place throughout the 
congregatiori," The revival swept through that en- 
tire section of the circuit, more than five hundred 
being added to the church during the year, and 
among them many persons of wealth and influence. 
The oldest Methodists declared that they had never 
witnessed' such displays of Divi'ne power." (Ben- 
' nett's ""Memorials.") 

Stith Mead, on account of his zeal and 'su<;cess, 
was honored with a full share of persecution. He 
writes, "Persecution has grown to perfection. The 
burdefl falls mostly on me, yet my colleague has 
his share. At' the beginning I was styled a road- 
liiafl it Was declared that I threw my Bible at a 
man's head : others said if I had ftly deserts I 
would be tied neck and heels and cast out of the 


meeting-house. I visited a neighboring Quarterly 
Meeting, and it was reported that I had murdered 
a man, stolen his money and his horse and run off. 
Some said I deserved to have my neck broken ; 
wrhile others determined that I should not return 
out of Mathews county alive. I went on board 
of a new ship on the stocks and they declared that 
I had laid a spell on her so that she could not be 

"The year closed with a great Christmas meet- 
ing at Mathews Chapel. While we were commem- 
orating the birth, crucifixion, death and resu*rec- 
tion of our Blessed Saviour," says Mead) "Satan 
assembled his agents and fixed his powder guns 
around the meeting-house. It was a time of great 
grace among the Christians, while the dlevil and 
his subjects were nnade ashamed. On Tuesday the 
Lord was with us of a truth ; the floor was strewed 
with shrieking sinners, and before: the meeting was 
over six souls professed to be converted." He 
computed the year's results at 500 converted, and 
540 added to the church, besides thos^ who united 
with other denominations." (Bennett's "Memo- 
rials," Pages 363-366.) 

Asbury's durnal continues : — "Monddy, Ndvem- 
. ber 13th, 1797, preached at Pace's on John XIV. 6." 
Now he passes oil down the' road through King and 
Queen county, and on Tuesday the 14th was at 
Shackelford's Chapel in a three hour's meeting. 
"We had a larg'e and solemn cong'regation. 


Preached on 1 Cor. II. 12." He adds, "In the 
month of July last, the Lord visited this place in 
mercy, and it is judged thirty souls not only pro- 
fessed to be, but really were converted to God." 
"Wednesday the ISth. A snowy day, and very cold, 
I rode seven miles, cased and curtained up in the 
carriage. I kept house at Brother Bellamy's— it 
is seven years since I was here. My mind enjoys 
peace, but my body is languid." 

The road from Shackelford's Chapel to Bella- 
my's is familiar to many of our preachers. It 
passes "Plain View," goes out of King and Queen 
over the Mill Dam into Gloucester, by "Adner" 
P. O., near "Mt. Prodigal," Warner P. Roane's 
old home, over Wood's Mill Hill, by Wood's Cross 
Roads, by "Church Hill," the home of Hon. Jas. 
N. Stubbs, by Enos Fork to within a fourth of a 
mile of "Sassafras," where a sharp turn to the left 
carries the traveller to Bellamy's church, one mile 
away. Bishop Asbury travelled this road on the 
14th and 15th days of November, 1797. It is five 
miles from Shackelford's Chapel to Wood's Cross 
Roads, and seven miles from that point to Bella- 
my's. It is very probable that he spent the night 
of the 14th at Wood's Cross Roads, and went the 
next day, "the 15th, seven miles, cased and cur- 
tained up in the carriage" to Brother Bellamy's" 
near the church. 

Historic and sacred soil ! Why should not a Meth- 
odist wish sometimes to pass over these highways 


hallowed by the diligent feet of holy men like As- 
bury, and tarry now and then at Wood's Gross 
Roads ? His Journal says, "A society of near forty 
here (Bellamy's) has increased to one hundred. I 
preached on Hebrews IH. 12-13. 

William Wilkinson, one of the preachers on the 
circuit died "in the midst of his labors," in 1798. 

April the 18th, 1799, Asbury is in Gloucester cir- 
cuit again, but this time in King and Queen, county, 
at "Benj. Pace's." He says, "There are one hun- 
dred members here," Pace's Chapel. "Went across 
Layton's Ferry in Essex over into King George." 

April 15th, Wednesday, 1800," he is "at Mt. 
Zion. Jesse Lee came in before us and had begun 
to preach ; I had a headache and fever, so said but 
little. I had the pleasure of beholding with my eyes 
the excellent plantation of Mr. Tabb, and receiv- 
ing every favor the heart of love and the hand of 
liberality could bestow. I am a stranger that tar- 

"Thursday the 16th, at 'Cheese Cake' I said a 
little upon James H. 5. Here is a new house and 
society." From its location and surroundings I 
should judge this to be the foundation of "Olive 
Branch" church, Gloucester, near New Upton. He 
went on from this point to Urbanna, but could not 
cross the river on account of a storm, so went up 
into Essex, by way of Jamaica, Montague's and 
Mann's Meeting-House to the Widow Hundley's. 
"Saturday the 18th, we rode fourteen miles to Le- 


roy Cole's. Monday the 20tH rode twehty-five 
miles' to the widow Rowzie's." She lived' in uppefr 
Essex in the neighborhood' of Lloyd's. At the ses- 
sion of the Annual Cortfe'renee held at Blount's 
Chapel, Isle of Wigh^^ c'dunty, April, 1800', the 
Gloucester circuit reports 1,059 memtfers on the 
roll.. The classes on the circuit are, Shackelford's, 
Groom's, Old Church, Pace's and Sheppard's in 
King and Queen, Mann's and Cole's Chapel in Es- 
sex, Thrift's, Olive Branch, Bellamy's, Guinea, Ab- 
bingdon Chapel, and Mt. Zion in GlouGester, and 
Mathews Chapel, Billups', Providence, Bethel and 
Point Comfort in Mathews county; eighteen ap- 
pointments. In 1901 there were ten charges in 
this territory reporting fiVe' thoussuid thriee hun- 
dred {uid twenty members in thirty-eisht churches ! 
King and Queen, Essex and Middlesex are strong 
Baptist counties. 

The First entry in the old Quartei^Iy Conference 
Records of the circuit is very incomplete. Neither 
the date nor the place is given, but Thomas Logan 
DougJas is Presiding Elder, and John Ballew is 

The next entry is more satisfactory. The Quar- 
terly Conference was "held at SHackelfdrd's Meet- 
ing-House, December 10th, 1810. Present Thomas 
Logan Douglas, P. E. ; John Ballew, Asst. P., Jos; 
C. Bell, Helper; Peter B. Davis, Local Elder;: John 
Brumly, Local Deacort; Wm. Brumly, Local Dea- 
con ; Wms. E. Davis, Local Preacher; David Diggs, 


Local Preacher ; Peter Brooks, John Hundley, Wm. 
Button, Wm. Thrift, Class Leaders; Thacker 
Muire, Steward. Wms. E. Davis was granted a 
License to preach. 

Williams E. Davis was promitient in Methodist 
events in Gloucester circuit for a number of years. 
He was the father of Williams T. Davis of the 
Southern Female College in Petersburg, and of 
Rev. Joseph H. Davis of our Conference. He was 
the grandfather of Hon. R. B. Davis, Attorney at 
Law, and Arthur Kyle Davis, of the Southern Fe- 
male College, Petersburg, and of Mr. Joseph Da- 
vis, of Portsmouth, father of Rev. W. H. Davis, 
1st Church, Hampton, and of Mrs. O. B. Morgan, 
mother of Mrs. E. T. Dadmun, Of Richmond. He 
lived near Gloucester Court House, and left the 
influence of a good name among the people. 

William Thrift lived near the present SaletH 
church in upper Gloucester. It was at his hoUSe 
the "Thrift's" class met, and that was the foun- 
dation of what later became "Salem" church. 

"Abingdon chapel" was an abandoned Colonial 
church, used by the Methodists for several years, 
because the state of religion among the Church 
people was at such a low ebb theire was no organi- 
zation, no congregation, and no rector : so the 
Methodists served the people with the word and 
the Sacraments, until the house was taken up by 
the Episcopalians and put in thorough repair, and 
has since been used by them to this day. 


At the next Quarterly Conference, August 13th, 
1811, which was held at face's in King and Queen, 
"Minton Thrift was recommended to the Annual 
Conference for Admission on Trial." I remember 
old Brother Thrift, as a Superannuated preacher 
living in Petersburg when I was a little boy. He 
died there in 1869. 

Cole's Chapel was replaced in later years by 
"Lebanon" in Essex; Grooms' was the original of 
"New Hope" in King and Queen; and Billups' of 
"Salem" in Mathews. There was no Methodist 
church in Middlesex in 1810. 

At a Quarterly Conference "held at Bethel in 
Mathews county December 14th, 1822, John Morris 
recommended to the District Conference for Li- 
cense to Preach." At the Quarterly Conference 
held at Shackelford's Chapel, September 22nd, 1821, 
"James Ware, James Howard, and Wm. Armistead 
Billups, (W. R. Stoakes' grandfather,) were rec- 
ommended to the District Conference for License 
to Preach." It will be seen by. these two items that 
District Conferences were held in those days, and 
that that body licensed men to preach upon the rec- 
ommendation of the Quarterly Conference. This 
law was repealed later by the General, Conference, 
and re-enacted in 1898. 

"Christopher Thomas was- recommended to the 
District Conference to be recomm,ended by that 
body to the Annual Conference for Admission on 


Trial." That is the record of the Conference above 
noted as having been held at Bethel. 

This Quarterly Conference appointed "the Com- 
mittee, John Martin, Robert Bland, and William 
Bland, to secure the ground and ascertain the' 
smiount necessary to build a house of worship in 
the neighborhood of said Martin's agreeably to 
the Discipline. Part 2. Section 2." This committee 
laid the foundation of a wooden structure, and 
erected it near the big oak tree within a few yards 
of the present brick building called "Salem" in 
Gloucester. Peyton Anderson was Presiding El- 
der, and John C. Ballew and John Thompson were 
the preachers on the circuit. Anderson, while yet 
Presiding Elder, died the next year, 1823. In July, 
1824, Samuel Cushon died in Mathews county; 
which event I have already recorded in the Chap- 
ter on Mathews circuit. 

An event, of some importance in keeping history 
straight, transpired at the Fourth Quarterly Con- 
ference for 1824-5, held at Pace's chapel, January 
22nd, 1825. The preachers were Saml. Cushon and 
Chas. P. Witherspoon, with Caleb Leach as Presid- 
der. Cushon died in July and Witherspoon took 
took charge, and at the next Quarterly Conference, 
held at Cole's chapel, a young man appears as 
Helper who was destined to figure prominently in 
some of the most stirring events of the Church. 
This was William A. Smith. Smith was secretary 
of that Conference, and he records "no business." 


At the next Quarterly Conference, the fourth 
noted above, the record shows the following: 

"William A. Smith received the approbation of 
the Conference, and was recommended to the An- 
nual Conference to be Admitted as a candidate for 
the ministry." 

(Signed) Chas. P. Witherspoon, 
Hezekiah McClellan, Sec. President. 

William A. Smith, according to the next record, 
was received, and returned to the circuit as 
Preacher in Charge. Read it: — "First Quarterly 
Conference, held at Providence church, Mathews 
county, on the 23rd day of April, 1825. Caleb 
Leach, P. E., William A. Smith, A. P." 

An important incident of the Conference of 1870 
should be noted: a committee consisting of Rev. 
Dr. Leroy M. Lee, Rev. Dr. (afterward Bishop) 
John C. Granbery, and D'Arcy Paul, was appointed 
and reported a paper expressing "the sentiments of 
■ the Conference in view of the sad event," the death 
of Rev. Wm. A. Smith, D. D., of the St. Louis 
Conference, who for forty-oiie years was a prom- 
inent and beloved member of this body, and whose 
distinguished^ services, no less than his exalted re- 
ligious and ministerial character, entitle his mem- 
ory to perpetual regard in the Church. 

The paper was read by Dr. Granbery on the even- 
ing of the eighth day of the session. "Dr. Smith wa« 
born in Fredericksburg, Va., in 1802, and died in 
Richmond in March, 1870. He was one of the great 


men of Southern Methodism, a leader in our Con- 
ence ,and on the floor of the Geijer&l Conference 
from 1832 to 1844. He was a great debater. 
In the gre^X polemic .battle in the General Con- 
ference of 1844, which resulted in the division of 
the Church, he won a reputation wide ,as the XJnitjed 
StatCjg, and inferior to th^t of no minister in .apy 
denomination for the highest deliberative and fo- 
r.ensic .eloquence,. He w^s a member ©f the Louis- 
ville Conventiqn in 1845, which organized tjie M. E. 
Church, South, and of all the General Conferences 
oj this Church to the .djiy of .his dcAth. He com- 
mande.d uniyers,^.! respect and confidence among his 
bretliren by the sincerity of his zeal, and the power 
of his .reasoning." He wa,s ^resi.dent ,of .Rando.lph- 
Macpn .College for twenty years. 

The above is a paragraph taken bodily out of 
the report of that committee. I dare not substi- 
tute my lame language for the pure English of 
those three men who represented the piety and the 
wisdom of the Church. The body of Dr. Smith 
rests in beautiful Hollywood, RiohmoM. Over the 
grave is a mpnument .er.ecte.d by order of the Con- 
ference and the donation^ of those who loved him. 

Another item is of interest to many. of us who 
knew and revered the holy man. Wm. B. Rowzie 
was junior preacher on -the circuit in 1829, with 
Samuel Harrell as Senior, and Lewis Skidmore, 
Presiding Elder. 

-.Geonge A. Bain, (father of the late W. F. Bairt, 


and grandfather of Dr. E. L. Bain, both of our 
Conference,) and Robert I. Carson are the preach- 
ers on the ciruit in 1830, with the same Presiding 
Elder. The Church at West Point is added to 
the circuit. 

Stephen D. Winburn appears as Assistant 
Preacher at the First Quarterly Conference for 
1833, and John T. St. Clair is Helper. Moses Brock 
is the Presiding Elder, but is not present. At the 
Second Quarterly Conference at Olive Branch, 
June 15th, the Presiding Elder is present and so, 
also are the preachers. But at the Third Quarterly 
Conference held at the Camp Ground at Bellamy's 
church, John Summeirson appears as Assistant 
Preacher, and it was ordered that fifty dollars be 
paid to Moses Brock for Stephen D. Winburn's es- 
tate. The Conference records show that he died 
that year. This Quarterly Conference met at the 
Camp Ground September 3rd. His death therefore 
occurred between the 15th of June, and the 3rd of 

Rev. Gervais M. Keesee is the Preacher sent 
from the Lynchburg session of the Conference held 
in February, 1835. Moses Brock is yet Presiding 
Elder. The churches in the King and Queen, ac- 
cording to action taken at the Second Quarterly 
Conference held in June 1835, had been organized 
into the "King and Queen circuit" at the Lynch- 
burg session. 

Rev. G. M. Keesee is returned to the circuit as 


Assistant Preacher, and Moses Brock is the Pre- 
siding Elder, from Conference held in Norfolk, Va., 
January, 1836, but is not present at any of the 
Quarterly Conferences till the Third, held at Point 
Comfort, November 12th. 

Now for a little shocking history; shocking, per- 
haps, to our Protestant Episcopal friends whose 
boast in the "Historic Episcopacy" did not lead 
them, to exhibit a zealous concern for their sub- 
stantial church buildings, erected in Colonial times. 
Yet these same Churchmen kept up their splendid 
homes, their extravagant, and sometimes, intem- 
perate entertainments, where wine and cards and 
the all-night dance made famous the names of the 

Here is the fact in history, which I desire to re- 
cord: — ^The Fourth Quarterly Conference for the 
Gloucester circuit, of the Virginia Conference of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church, was held in Ware 
Church, January 28th, 1837. No Presiding Elder 
was present, but the Preacher in Charge, G. M. 
Keesee, Presided, and Caleb Leigh, is Secretary. 

John W. White is the next Preacher in Charge, 
with Henry B. Cowles Presiding Elder. This is 
from the January session 1837, held in Petersburg, 
Bishop Waugh, Presiding. Jas. McDonald and 
John H. Waitman come to the circuit in 1838. At 
the Conference held in Edenton, N. C, January 
1839, the Mathews circuit is formed including Mt. 
Zion in Gloucester, Mathews Chapel, Providence, 


Billups', Bethel and Point Comfort. Jas. McDon- 
ald is sent in charge of the old Gloucester circuit 
without help. Jas. E. Joyner is the Preacher in 
1841, and G. M. Keesee is Presiding Elder. J. F. 
Askew is sent in 1842. At this session the two cir- 
cuits are re-united at the request of the brethren 
of both charges. Here follows the resolutions : — 

"It being known at the Second Quarterly Meet- 
ing, held at Salem Church in Gloucester circuit on 
Saturday the 28th day of May, 1842, that consider- 
able dissatisfaction has been created in said circuit 
by an alteration made in the circuit at the Con- 
ference held in 1839, when Mathews and one ap- 
pointment in Gloucester was cut off and estab- 
lished into a separate circuit and against the wishes 
thereof ; It was resolved, that we respectfully so- 
licit and petition the Presiding officer who may pre- 
side at the next Virginia Conference, to re-unite 
Mathews and Gloucester into one circuit, and do 
also request Bro. G. M. Keesee, our Presiding El- 
der and Bro. Askew, our Preacher in Charge, to 
use their best endeavors to effect the same." And 
it was done. 

The Preachers sent this year, November, 1842, are 
Joseph Lear, (the father of our brother. Dr. W. W. 
Lear, who died in 1918,) and Allen Carner. On 
account of the re-adjustment of circuit boundaries 
three Stewards are added to represent the Ma- 
thews churches : — Wm. M. Brownley from Point 
Comfort, John Hudgins from Bethel, and Bartlett 
Gayle from Providence. 


The Fourth Quarterly Conference for the year 
was held at Olive Branch November 4th, 1843. 
Thos. Diggs was licensed to preach and recom- 
mended to the Annual Conference for Admission 
on Trial, and John W. Howard was licensed to 

It appears that the re-union of the Mathews 
and Gloucester circuits did not prove satisfactory, 
therefore, the Third Quarterly passed the Pream- 
ble and Resolution, which paper sent up to the 
Conference held in Richmond in November, re- 
questing the division of the circuit again. 

Bishop Morris, who presided over the Confer- 
ence, granted the request of the petitioners, and 
the history of the divided circuits begins at this 
session, — November 1843. 

Kinchin Adams and Allen Carner are the next 
preachers. At the Second Quarterly Conference, * 
the preachers having gone over into Middlesex 
with the Methodist propaganda, this work is in- 
corporated with the Gloucester circuit, three new 
Stewards are elected, — Roderick Bland, Robert 
Healy and Lewis Jones, and the circuit is after- 
ward known as "Gloucester and Middlesex." Ma- 
jor Roderick Bland was for years one of the lead- 
ing citizens of lower King and Queen county, and 
a substantial and devoted member of Shackelford's 
Chapel. His children were Hon. Geo. C. Bland 
and Mr. James Bland of Centerville, Mrs. Warner 
Roane, Mrs. D. G. Anderson, Mrs. Marston of 


West Point, and Messrs. Richmond and Joseph 
Bland of West Point. Mr. Lewis Jones was the 
father of Hon. T. G. Jones, late Commonwealth's 
Attorney for many years in Middlesex, and of Mr. 
Lewis Jones, late Treasurer of the same county. 
Mr. Robert Healy has grandchildren yet living in 
Middlesex. One of his grandsons was Mr. G. S. 
Healy, late Sheriff of Middlesex. At the above 
Conference * held at Forest Chapel, May 11th, 1844, 
Forest Chapel, Lower Church and Clarksbury re- 
port for the first time. (See Chapter VL on Mid- 

At the Fourth Quarterly Conference held at Bel- 
lamy's October 17th, 1844, Jefferson W. Stubbs is 
Secretary. A committee, consisting of Jas. W. 
Howard, John W. Howard, Hazlen Nuttall and 
Wm. R. Singleton, is appointed to "take the Dis- 
ciplinary steps for the erection of a house of wor- 
ship in Ware Neck for the use of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church." 

The next preachers for 1844-5 are Wm. H. Starr 
and Thos. H. Haynes, and Dr. Abram Penn is Pre- 
siding Elder. The First Quarterly Conference held 
at Bellamy's March 1st, 1845, adopted a strong 
body of resolutions in regard to the great division 
in the Methodist Church in this country in 1844. 
They were designed as a reply to a certain article 
appearing in one of the Northern church pa- 
pers over the signature of some one signing him- 
self "Antisecessionist," "asserting in broad terms 
that the Gloucester circuit was opposed to division 


tinder any circumstances." This paper, signed by 
"Abram Penn, P. E.," and "Jeff. W. Stubbs, Secty." 
and adopted by the Quarterly Conference declared 
"we are in favor of a peaceful separation accord- 
ing- to the plan proposed and adopted by the last 
General Conference." 

A resolution adopted at the Third Quarterly 
Conference held at Forest Chapel, July 11th, 1846, 
with W. J. Norfleet as Preacher in Charge, asking 
for a division of Gloucester and Middlesex into 
two .separate circuits, was not granted by the 
Bishop, who presided at the Conference held in 
Boydton at the old Randolph-Macon College, in 

W. J. Norfleet is returned to the charge, with 
A. W. Sale as Junior, from the Conference held in 
Charlottesville, November 1847. 

At the Conference of 1848, held in Elizabeth 
City, N. C, Bishop Capers presides and sends Thos. 
A. Hayes and Geo. W. Carter to the circuit with 
Jas. E. Joyner, Presiding Elder. The son of this 
Brother Hayes was Orderly Sergeant of "A" Com- 
pany at the Virginia Military Institute in 1864-5, 
and was the Mayor of the City of Baltimore, Md., 
in 1901, and had .been for several terms. Mrs. 
Julianna Hayes, the First President of the Wo- 
man's Missionary Society, of the Southern Meth- 
odist Church was the widow of this circuit rider. 

The same Presiding Elder, Joyner, and the same 
Preacher, Hayes, are returned for the year 1849, 


but C. W. Petherbridge is Junior in place of Geo. 
W. Carter. 

A committee consisting of Wm. Richardson, 
Robt. Bland and Peter Bray, was appointed by the 
Second Quarterly Conference held at Shackelford's 
the 12th day of May, 1849, "to make the necessary 
arrangements for building a church at, or near, the 
Old Church site." This building was never erected, 
and a few years later the "Old Church" fell into 
the hands of the Methodists. 

Jas. E. Joyner is yet on the District, but the 
preachers are John Wesley Childs and T. J. Bayton. 
This is the assignment from the Petersburg Con- 
ference of 1849, Bishop Jas. O. Andrew, Presiding. 

From the Conference of 1850, held in Richmond, 
Lemuel S. Reed and Richard Shane are sent to the 
circuit, with Joyner as again Presiding Elder. 
From the Conference of 1851, held in Alexandria, 
Bro. Reed is returned for the second year, but the 
Junior is Wm. F. Bain. 

Lemuel S. Reed was the father of our Dr. J. C. 
Reed, who retired to the Supernumerary ranks at 
the last Conference. Rev. Wm. F. Bain was the 
father of Dr. E. L. Bain, of our Conference. 

A letter from Dr. Reed at Blackstone informs me 
that his father "rented the . little house opposite 
the store of Mr. George Stubbs at Belroi, and in 
this little home Dr. Walter Reed," his brother, 
"was born in 1851. The present parsonage was 
•built by my father in 1851. At first it was a Story 
and a half, with a hall, two rooms below, one of 


them a shed ; a back porch at the end of the hall, 
and one room up stairs.'' 

The following, copied by Chaplain J. T. Moore, 
U. S. Army, (now at Walter Reed Hospital, Wash- 
ington, D. C, May, 1922) from the International 
Encyclopedia seems to be an authentic account of 
the work and death of Dr. Walter Reed, of Glou- 
cester, Va. 

"Dr. Walter Reed, Medical Corps, U. S. Army, 
was born in Gloucester county, Va., in 1851. He, 
with two other officers, was sent to Havana, Cuba, 
in 1897, to work put a system to combat Yellow 
Fever. Reed had consistently maintained that 
Yellow Fever could be contracted only by being 
bitten by a certain variety of mosquito which had 
previously bitten a person infected with Yellow 
Fever. With faith in his theory Reed submitted to 
inoculation from a thus infected mosquito, devel- 
oped the Fever and recovered therefrom. Dr. 
Reed died five years later from the effects of an 
operation for appendicitis." 

A memorial tablet was placed in Court House 
at Gloucester in his honor a few years ago. The 
Memorial Hospital at Tacoma Park, D. C, is com- 
memorative of his service to his country. A pub- 
lic School building in Newport News is named for 

I have no record of the ministers who served 
Gloucester circuit from November 1852, to No- 
vember 1868. At the Conference of 1868. Rev. E. 


M. Peterson was appointed to the charge, and was 
returned in the fall of 1869. For four months in 
the summer of 1869, I was his Junior. 

1870 J. C. Martin, four years, with L. B. Betty, 
Junior the last two. 1874, Oscar Littleton three 
years, with Bro. Betty the first two and N. J. 
Pruden the last one. 1877, Geo. E. Booker, four 
^years, with S. H. Johnson one year, and S. L. Thrift 
one year. 1881, H. C. Cheatham, with J. C. Camp- 
bell as Junior. 1882, J. C. Martin, four years, with 
T. J. Wray as Junior three years. 1886, Thos. H. 
Campbell, with W. J. Hubbard as Junior. 1887. 
C. C. Wertenbaker, two years ; and W. O. Wag- 
gener, 1889, one year. 1890, W. H. Gregory, three 
years, with C. H. Galloway as Junior one year, and 
W. C. Smith, as Junior one year. 

At the Conference of 1893 Bethlehem was cut oflf 
and the Gloucester Point circuit was formed, and 
Paul Bradley sent as the first pastor. He was fol- 
lowed by G. H. McFaden, then Jas. O. Moss, then 
Asa Driscoll, and then Chas. H. Hobday. At the 
1893 session J. D. Hank was sent to the old Glou- 
cester circuit as Bro. Gregory's successor, and re- 
mained only one year. 

In 1894 Joseph E. Potts, with his son E. J. Potts 
as Junior, went to the circuit and remained four 
years, and was succeeded by me in 1898. 

I was sent back to Tidewater where I had spent 
twenty-iir« years of my ministry, and to an ap- 
pointment where so many great men in Virginia 
Methodism had served: where Methodism got 


its rooting in the days of Asbury, McKendree, 
Stith Mead, Wm. A. Smith, and others : I was go- 
ing back among the friends of my early ministry 
when I tried so hard to preach in 1869: to the old 
parsonage at Belroi where I had my room as Jun- 
ior under dear Brother Peterson, twenty-nine 
years ago; back to Salem, Olive Branch, Bellamy's 
and Singleton's Chapel in Ware Neck, — churches I 
served when not quite twenty-one years of age. 
Some of these fine people were living still, but 
many had "crossed the flood." I would enter their 
homes joyfully, talk of the months of triumph and 
the sinners saved in the summer of '69, of the be- 
loved who had fallen asleep, and mingle our pray- 
ers and our praises once more, at the old fireside, 
before the throne of the Good Father who had 
heard us and blessed us in the long ago ! 

I was supremely happy when I learned that I 
was to go to Gloucester, and so were all my family. 
We did not rejoice at leaving the lovely Piedmont 
and the scores of sweet associations we had 
formed; but for the reasons given above, and the 
additional fact that we would live within twenty 
miles of our eldest daughter, Mary, the wife of Mr. 
G. S. Marchant at Mathews Court House. 

I sent my family by railway to Richmond and 
West Point, thence by steamer to Clay Bank, 
where the watchful and kindly officers of the 
Church at Bellamy's met them and conducted them 
to the parsonage at Belroi. I and my faithful 
horse, John, set out through the country, hoping 


to reach my destination, home, by Sunday after- 
noon, the 4th of December ; but I did not succeed 
in this as the sequel will show. 

At the end of my first day's drive I put up for 
the nig-ht at the home of Bro. John Hopkins, 
Keeper of the Albemarle Alms House, near Kes- 
wick. The second night, Thursday, December 1st, 
overtook me at Bumpass's Station on the C. & O. 
Railroad in Hanover county. The third night I 
spent at Manquin, King William county. Satur- 
day I ate lunch at King William Court House, 
crossed the Mattapony river at Frazer's Ferry, and 
arriveid at Dr. Jas. E. Bland's, at Shanghai, King 
and Queen county, after dark, in a cold rain. 

All along the route the people were exceedingly 
kind, taking in the moving itinerant and feeding 
his horse without charge and gladly. At Sum- 
pass's I was directed to the home of a fine Chris- 
tian gentlemen, a member of the Disciples' church. 
His wife had died, but his daughters and son and 
wife's mother added to a very bountiful and ele- 
gant supper an evening of song and conversation, 
which brought the hour to retire to our rooms 
all too soon. There is something in Christian fel- 
lowship, clever, clean conversation, and sacred mu- 
sic which takes the weariness out of a traveller's 
body, and sends him to the family altar, and to pri- 
vate prayer in a strange room with a glad heart 
and a stronger faith in God. And in the night- 
watches starts a song, and his meditations take a 
clearer view of eternal things. Oh, that the world 


knew the worth and inexhaustible sufficiency of 
this Fountain! 

Nearly two years later with three young men, 
companions on a vacation trip from Gloucester 
to the Valley of Virginia, I stopped for the night 
at this same home. The father had joined his wife 
in "the better land," and was reaping the reward of 
a life well spent : but the same hospitable greet- 
ing and entertainment were given us four that had 
been given to the lone itinerant on his first visit. 
And when pay was offered for food and lodging for 
four hungry men and two horses, it was firmly re- 
fused on the ground that "father solemnly charged 
us never to charge you a penny, no matter when 
■you came." When I tried to convince these g'ood 
people that FOUR made a difference, the reply 
was "It makes no difference to us." And so we 
left them with our blessing^— all that they would 
take out of our grateful hearts and willing hands. 

At Manquin, King William, I found Brother 
Thos. Cocke ready to take me in and care for horse 
and man: but he had a sick wi'fe, and therefore 
made satisfactory arrangements with a gentleman 
a-cross the road to care for the man, while he cared 
for the horse. The quarters obtained were com- 
fortable. They were Disciples also, but whilst the 
wife was a good listener, the husband was of an 
argumentative cast of mind, and would let no 
chance escape to let anybody know that he differed 
with everybody about everything, from batter- 
cakes to Baptism, from the ordination of the min- 


istry to the movement of the stars. I did not men- 
tion the fact that his wife was a very comely per- 
son and gracious in spirit toward "the stranger 
within her gates." I hesitated to give him an op- 
portunity to wound her feeHngs by contradicting 
my statement. I felt that he would not hesitate to 
do it. He went so far as to call in question the 
scriptural character of the blessing I asked upon 
the food she served and upon the hand which served 
it and the heart which moved her. With him it 
was as it was with another of his faith, of whom I 
had heard : " 'Without controversy great is the 
mystery' of everything; and controversy is the 
Heaven ordained method of solving all mysteries, 
because 'the mystery of godliness' is solved by that 
method, and that alone." 

It was a long drive from Manquin to Dr. Jim- 
mie Bland's, and haying been delayed in crossing 
the Ferry, it was dark when I arrived there, and 
raining. The doctor and his family welcomed me 
with the old-time cordiality, and a very delightful 
evening was spent around the big open fireplace, 
in which the blazing logs cheered the weary trav- 
eller, and drove away thoughts of the long road 
over which he had come since early morning, and 
the discomfort of a cold rain outside. 

Sunday inorning, December 4th, dawned with 
a north east snow storm in full swing. My in- 
tention to reach "Memorial," on my circuit in time 
to preach at 3 P. M., was upset, and I had to ac- 
cept the situation with the grace of a man who 

bt BtJGGt, bOAt AiJb SaIlway 369 

was perfectly satisfied to "let well enough alone." 
I was among my old parishioners on the King and 
Queen end of the old Middlesex circuit before the 
formation of East King and Queen circuit in 1883. 
The good hand of God had brought me here to this 
haven of rest, where warm hearts and open hands 
made the tarrying all that one could ask. Late in 
the evening of that day the wind came around to 
the north west, drove away the clouds with a cold 
blast which locked up the whole country in a 
blanket of frozen snow. The night was intensely 
cold, but I was in comfortable quarters, and noth- 
ing disturbed me but the roaring wind. 

Early Monday morning my good friends gave 
me a hot breakfast, and then a God-speed as I 
drove away on the last lap of my long journey 
from Crozet, Albemarle county to my new home, 
Belroi, Gloucester county. My route lay through 
Centerville, so I stopped here to let my friends, 
George and James Bland, know that I had arrived 
in the land of good fish, fat oysters, skillful boat- 
men, broad rivers, and rich farms. After a few 
minutes spent in talk, wherein prophecy, and hope, 
and sincere fraternal exchanges made the flying 
minutes golden, I went on my way, passing Shack- 
elford's Chapel, and over the mill dam into Glou- 
cester, arriving about 11 A. M. at Wood's Cross 
Roads. Here I got the first greeting from some of 
my own people — Mrs. Harry Bland and Brother 
Claiborne Roane, the father of Mrs. Chas. H. Gal- 
loway, the widow of our dear Brother Galloway 


of' our Conference. "Well, you have come back 
home,, have you? Now stay here, and don't run 
away," was the first sentence one of them 
uttered. But I was so glad to be '"at home" again, 
I paid no heed to the matter of locating the 
speaker. I was nine miles from . Belroi : so I 
hastened on, passing many familiar homes by the 
way till I came to Sassafras, took the left hand 
road, and witliin twenty minutes drove into my 
yard at. Belroi. My journey was ended, about onC' 
o'clock. P. M. Monday, December the 5th. I had 
left Crozet Wednesday, November the 30th at mid- 

My family had been there keeping house since 
Thursday night. I received the usual "family sa- 
lutes," then put John, my faithful mountain horse, 
in his new quarters, and prepared for the year's 
work in the low-lands. It would be different. 
There were some few depressions in the roads 
crossing ravines making back from the York and 
Piankitank rivers. The people called these de- 
clivities and acclivities "hills." But John knew the 
difference between these and the hills of Albemarle 
as soon as he tackled the first serious depression 
up near the "Old Church." The upper country 
gave John the much desired opportunity to walk a 
mile or two when climbing, and to skillfully guide 
the rolling buggy going down for about the same 
distance. The King and Queen and the Gloucester 
hill ended within fifty or a hundred yards, and the 
r.eiuainder of the highway was a sandy level, the 



terror of a horse who wants to take care of him- 
self sometimes. It was a test of my poor John's 
endurance : he developed a large amount of pa- 

Our nearest neighbors the family of Mr. Geo. 
W. Stubbs, the merchant at Belroi, lived across the 
road opposite the parsonage; and with them his 
wife's brother, Andrew J. Stubbs, a rheumatic in- 
valid, a prisoner for ye^ars in a rolling chair. On 
the adjoining lot the Howard family; down the 
road, at the Clay Bank fork, Wm. Howard, and on 
the road to Clay Bank, Saml. Pointer and his very 
useful wife ; at the wharf Mr. Chris. Weaver, and 
his interesting family, who later moved to Newport 
News to enter the lumber business. At Sassafras, 
the Newcombs, the Shackelfords, Dr. Jones ; at 
"Valley Front," the old home of Jefferson W, 
Stubbs, I found a royal welcome awaiting me. 
The old gentleman was gone, but his daughters. 
Misses Mattie and Lizzie Stubbs, were there, dis- 
pensing the old time hospitality to visitors in gen- 
eral and the preacher and his family in partcular. 
Old Stubbs had been prominent in the affairs of the 
circuit since the Second Quarterly Conference, held 
at Salem church, Saturday, May the 28th, 1842. At 
that session he was elected Recording Steward, and 
remaind in that office till liis death. 

Dr. Walker Jones was an old friend of mine. 
He carried me through a severe attack of Ma- 
larial fever at the home of John Leigh, below 
"Valley Front," when I was on the charge as Jun- 


ior in 1869. It was a pleasure to sit by the coun- 
try physician again and hear him tell of my honest 
attempts to preach, and of his honest attempts to 
practice. He was too kindly a host to draw the 
contrast too sharply. He was in feeble health now, 
and in a few months I buried the remains of the 
fine old gentleman, and commended his "spirit to 
the God that gave it." 

"Tip" Shackelford was the son of the "William 
Shackelford" whose name had figured in the An- 
nals of Gloucester circuit since the "Third Quar- 
terly Conference held at Bellamy's, August 17th, 
1829." His brother, Munson, was a leader of sing- 
ing at Salem. Another brother, Alexander, is a 
strong Christian character at Bellamy's, and an- 
other, George, was one of my mainstays at Cen- 
tenary, Middlesex. Thus the old man left behind 
him representatives worthy of him in the active 
membership of the circuit. 

And Ben Newcomb, although not a member, was 
one of the active supporters of the preacher, and 
his home was ever open for his entry. It was 
Newcomb, Shackelford and young Jeff Stubbs, the 
son of Maj. J. N. Stubbs, who carried this preach- 
er's family in their love and thought through ten 
weeks of heavy trial when two of our children lay 
at death's door with typhoid fever in the summer 
of 1902. And these men were the men who told 
me,, at the end of it all, that "somebody has paid the 
entire bill!" 

The week after my arrival on the charge was a 

Bt BtTGGt, BOAt AKD BAlLWAt 863 

very cold season, but having been informed of the 
critical illness of Sister Robin Stubbs, I went up to 
her home at Enos's fork, to see her. It proved to 
be the last time, for she passed aw^ay not very 
longf afterward. When I entered the room and 
took her poor wasted hand in mine, I thanked God 
that I could hold once more the dear hand that 
ministered so many times to my need when I was 
a boy preacher. She was very cheerful and happy, 
and greeted me with a warm hug, and said, "Have 
they sent our boy back to us, sure enough?" I 
replied, "Yes, and no one is happier than the boy." 

That house was one of my many homes twenty- 
nine years agone. This old couple was very mer- 
ciful to me in those testing days, and much encour- 
agement did I get from them,-^a thing- a young 
preacher, conscious of his limitations and his needs, 
looks for and welcomes as one of the signs that the 
Lord is with him. When she died a few weeks later 
I was in bed at the parsonage with rheumatism 
and another had to conduct the funeral services. 

December the 11th, 1898, I met my first congre- 
gations,' — Salem and Olive Branch, and spent the 
night in the home of old friends at New Upton, — 
O. J. Harcum of Northumberland, and his wife, a 
Gloucester lady of culture and a fine spirit, a Miss 

At both churches I met old friends, but many 
had "fallen asleep, and some had fallen away." 
Many attended service at both places whom I first 


met at "St. Andrew's" on the Middlesex circuit in 

The people at Salem had long seen the need of 
enlarging the old building which was erceted in 
1844. It was 30 ft. x 40 ft., with gallery on two 
sides and one end. It was filled at every service. I 
starteid a campaign for enlargement. The people 
were ready, and needed only organization and a 
leader. Within two years the plans were consum- 
mated, and double the former seating capacity, af- 
ter the gallery was removed, greeted a glad con- 
gregation which filled the house as before. These 
devoted people placed me under a heavy obligation 
of love for them and devotedness to Christ by plac- 
ing, on the front panel of the beautiful pulpit, a 
silver plated tablet commemorating my ministry 
there from December, 1898, to November, 1902. 

Just about the time that Salem got on a new out- 
fit the wide-awake folks at Bellamy's said "Me 
too." Then that host of earnest, consecrated peo- 
ple went to work with a will ; put in new pews, 
changed the approach to the gallery, got paint on 
the inside and outside, paid for it as they went 
along, just as the Salem throng had done. Sam 
Pointer, Geo. Stiibbs, Will Aheron, Tip Shackel- 
ford, and, — and, — and,^ — ^oh, \yhat's the use of call- 
ing the roll? They answered then, and some of 
them cannot answer now, but "their works do fol- 
low them." 

I went down into the depths of Bishop Asbury's 
Journal and found "Mt. Zion Meeting-House," in 


which "the' great awakening" in Gloucester be- 
gan in 1797. I attached "John" to my buggy and 
went on a search for the old building. I found it, 
"beautiful for situation," on a stately hill over- 
looking "Toddsbury" and the North river, the Mob- 
jack Bay, and beyond, out into the Chesapeake. It 
was hidden from the vision of the traveller along 
the road at the foot of this hill by rank under- 
growth and great oaks and pines. I inquired about 
the present ownership of the property. Hundreds 
had passed this way, the main thoroughfare be- 
tween Gloucester and Mathews, but had never seen 
the old church on the hill, and did not know that 
this was the old battle-ground of Methodism, where 
William McKendree, Stith Mead and Leroy Cole, 
the great Local Preachers of Essex, began the 
fight for "righteousness through faith in the blood 
of Christ" on Whitsunday and ended at Mathews 
chapel in a joyous Christmas service. More than 
iive hundred souls were brought into the Kingdom. 
I found the owner of the property, and, having un- 
raveled the legal kinks, obtained a "Fee Simple" 
deed for our Church, and held a re-opening service 
before I left the charge. 

Here are the graves of the Howards, the old 
stock from which Rev. John W. Howard of our 
Conference came. I think some of the Davis fam- 
ily are buried here on this consecrated spot: but 
I am not certain of this ; yet I am certain that this 
church yard was used as a place of burial for the 
members of that congregation up to the Civil War. 

366 rsoM sADDtK -To oitir 

A few years after I left the circuit a dear brother 
in the Conference, then in Charge, permitted the 
old "Mt. Zion" building to be taken down and a 
modern chapel erected in its place ! 

Criticism would do no good : I simply state the 
lact, and my grief at the loss of a "Meeting-House" 
erected in 1795 by a pious woman, the friend of As- 
bury, out of her own means, and made holy by the 
prayers and sacred songs of the fathers ; and which 
would have stood a hundred years more as a memo- 
rial of the zeal of Wm. McKendree, Mead and 

In Ware Neck, between the Ware and the North 
rivers, a plucky band had a flourishing Sunday 
School, and kept the church at that place together 
in a Chapel built by a Committee appointed by the 
Fourth Quarterly Conference held at Bellamy's 
October 17th, 1844, and referred to on page 124 of 
this story. Wm. K. Davis and John D. White, of 
the older membership, were still "adorning the doc- 
trine of God in all things," and testifying to the 
sufficiency of grace to save ; while a younger set, of 
more or less efficiency, heard the word on regular 
preaching days. There was one young disciple 
down in that Neck, who got angry on a certain day 
in a family quarrel, and forsook the little band of 
Methodists he tried to represent. He walked into 
an Immersionist pool, and swam out to the ex- 
clusive Island of Close Communion, and was safe 
ever afterwards from interference from any source. 

Bellamy's church during my term, 1898-1902, is 


still a strong bodj^ of stalwart men and zealous wo- 
men. The membership holds first rank in citizen- 
ship as well as in ecclesiastical matters. The pol- 
icy of the circuit was, in the main, directed by her 
leaders. From the Court House to Enos's Fork, 
across to Pinetta, the vicinity of Willie Aheron 
and Harry Moore, around by Almondsville, Sassa- 
fras and Cappahosic, Clay Bank, Belroi and to the 
Court House, this congregation lay like a vast city 
on the Western plains. There was a chapel at Cap- 
pahosic, but the congregation was an offshoot 
from the parent stock, vigorous, but handicapped 
by a limited territory. "Memorial," at Signpine, 
under the zealous and sensible leadership of Bro. 
Richard Coleman, Was another child of this prolific 
Mother of Methodism in this part of the county. 

Rev. Joseph Bellamy, the founder of this church; 
has already been mentioned on page 119. His wife 
was a Miss Leigh, sister of John Leigh, the father 
of the wife of Rev. Dr. Wm. G. Starr of our Con- 
ference, of Mrs. Addie Martin and Mrs. Frank Wi- 
att of Gloucester, and of John Henry Leigh of 
Baltimore, Md. After the death of Mr. Bellamy 
his widow married William Garrett, and became 
the mother of Rev. Joshua Garrett of our Con- 
ference. After Mr. Garrett's death she married 
Mr. John Hibble, near Belroi. 

The great snow storm of February 11th, 12th 
and 13th, 1899, will not soon be blotted from my 
memory. I left home Saturday, the 11th, against 
my better judgment, yet impelled by a sense of 


duty which had always led me to be in the neigh- 
borhood of my Sunday's appointments the day be- 
fore. On arriving' at Woods Cross Roads the 
snow began to fall on hard frozen ground, and 
Brother Harry Bland advised me to return home, 
adding that "the Richmond paper of today says 
that a great blizzard is raging in the west, and is 
coming this way." I should have followed his 
counsel, but Brother Munson Shackelford, near 
Salem, was expecting me, so I pressed on four 
miles to that hospitable home. The storm inn 
creased in fury. All night long the wind blew a 
gale, the snow fell in great blankets and drifted 
high over the fences. Sunday we sat around the 
fire, conversed and nodded, and read, and made 
only two trips to the dining room. On Monday 
about 11 A. M., I decided that I had better try to 
get back to Belroi to my family, eleven miles 
away. Munson and his devoted wife protested, 
but I wrapped up in my "Norfolk Landmark" over- 
coat, put on my rabbit-hunt leggings, and gloves, 
with my Temperanceville bufifalo robe over my lap, 
I took the reins from Charlie Shackelford, who had 
very thoughtfully brought the horse and buggy to 
the lee-side of the house, and told "John'' to go, 
and he went ! We faced the storm till the main 
road was reached, then turned our right side to 
it till we turned to the left at Woods Cross Roads. 
From that point onward the storm raged at our 
back, and all went well. I arrived home at 5 P. M., 
— having consumed five and a half hours in making 


the eleven miles. I made "John" comfortable for 
the nig-ht with "food and raiment," and then sought 
my own welcome fireside, where the children made 
merry at father's wonderful wrappings, and wife, 
with a nourishing supper, drove away the anguish 
of an aching void. 

A ridiculous incident occurred on this drive in 
the blizzard. I and others had long suspected tiie 
existence of a "speak-?asy'' on that road: but »ve 
could get no proof. In the midst of the driving 
snow I came to that store. I drove as close to the 
door as I could, and tapped on it with my buggy 
whip. The proprietor opened the door and in- 
vited me in. "No," said I, "I am in a hurry, and 
have no time to stop. Have you any palm-leaf 
fans?" He replied, "No, you block-head; but I 
have some of the best old Rye whiskey you ever 
drank!" "Thank you," I replied, "I am looking for 
fans," and went on my way amused at the way 
this fellow had given himself away. It turned out 
that he did not recognize me ;, for a few days later 
a gentleman in the neighborhood rode out to the 
store to learn the news, and casually remarked 
that his was the first track made since Monday. 
The proprietor of the shop exclaimed., "You are 
right : and no one but a fool salesman buying up 
palm-leaf fans would have been on the road such 
a day as that was." The gentleman said, "That 
was no salesman : that was Brother Butts, be- 
cause Harry Bland phoned us to stop him, and 
take him in; bot he got by our gate before we 


could get out to the road." The keeper of the 
rum-shop cried out in profound consternation, "I 
am a ruined man : when he asked for them fans I 
told him I had some good Rye whiskey !" Very 
little more was heard from that store and its men- 
ace to the community. The keeper either kept 
matters quiet around there, or ceased to keep it 
altogether. It was not many months before the 
shop ceased to do business along all lines. Amen ! 

The parsonage question was a "continued story" 
for years. The first mention of it is in the Minutes 
of the Second Quarterly Conference held at "Old 
Church" in King and Queen, August 5th, 1825, 
when Wm. A. Smith was Preacher in Charge. The 
Board of Trustees named then was made up as 
follows : "William Garrett and William Watts of 
King and Queen county, Williams E. Davis, John 
Martin and James Leigh of Gloucester county, 
Peter Brooks of Essex county, Charles Blake, Rich- 
ard Foster and William Lane of Mathews county." 

At the Second Quarterly Conference held at the 
same plkce June 17th, 1826, Wm. Garrett reported 
the parsonage bought, and asked for an inspection 
of his account. He showed a receipt signed by 
John Howlett for $450.00, and witnessed by Jesse 
Thrift. 'He turned in $32,521/^ as balance in his 

It appears that this property was later sold, 
but there is no record ; yet at the Quarterly Con- 
ference held at Mathews Chapel, June 27th, 1835. 
King and Queen churches ask for "a division of 


the money arising from a sale of the parsonage." 
That part of the circuit had been formed into a 
new charge. Then a Committe, consisting of Wm. 
Field, D. D. Hall, and James Leigh, was appointed 
to confer with "Mr. John Tabb" about "terms" 
which might be made in "erecting a parsonage at 
or near Gloucester, with suitable out-buildings," 
That failed, for on August 4th, 1838, at Shackel- 
ford's, another Committee, consisting of Wm. M. 
Brownley and John R. Lumpkin of Mathews, John 
Summerson of King and Queen, John Leigh and 
John Hughes of Gloucester, was "appointed to 
select a location and build a parsonage." That 
effort failed also, because the Second Quarterly 
Conference of 1841, held at "Hickory Hill," the 
home of Mrs. Lucy Field, the widow of William 
Field, one of the Stewards, adopted a very clear and 
bold resolution offered by Rev. Jas, E. Joyner,- 
Preacher in Charge, regarding the obligation rest- 
ing on the Board of Stewards to prrovide a home 
for the "married preachers" as soon as possible be- 
cause "no one was willing to board them." No 
date for the meeting is in the record. 

At the First Quarterly Conference held at Bel- 
lamy's, February 26th, 1842, another Committee is 
appointed "to collect funds to establish a parsonage 
at or near Gloucester Court House." Here are 
the names : — "Roderick Bland, John Leigh. Con- 
quest Royster, John Martin, Robert Thurston, 
Wm. Shackelford and John Hughes." The Second 
Quarterly Conference for 1843, held at New Point 


church May 13th, William M. Brownely is ap- 
pointed "to act with John Hughes to ascertain 
what has become of and to collect the money re- 
ceived from the sale of the old parsonage." At 
Bellamy's, July 20th, 1844, Bro. Hughes presented 
his report and it was "accepted and filed," and he 
was "ordered to secure the said fund to Brothers 
Wms. E. Davis and John Martin, Trustees of the 
Parsonage." The 13th of August, 1849, at Salem, 
"Jeflf W. Stubbs, Wm. Shackelford, John Leigh, 
John W. Backhouse and Roderick Bland were 
appointed to raise funds with which to buy a par- 
sonage." Brother Stubbs reported at the Quar- 
terly Conference at Salem, January 25th. 1851. that 
he had "paid for the property and furniture for 
the parsonage out of the parsonage fund. In 1849 
fifty dollars for the furniture ; in 1850, $37.00 worth, 
and an additional $37.00 was due two brethren on 
the feather beds." This was ordered paid. "John 
Hughes resigned as steward, and John W. Hughes, 
his son, was elected in his stead." 

That is the end of the record as I have it, and 
the property refered to above in Bro. Jeff. Stubb's 
report to the "First Quarterly Conference at Salem, 
January 25th, 1851," as having been "bought and 
paid for out of the parsonage fund" is the par- 
sonage property at Belroi. 

Revivals on the circuit had brought many into 
the Church during my term. Brothers Dunkley 
and Peerman assisted in a great meeting- at Salem 
and Cappahosic, and Olive- Branch. In the spring 


of 1901, Rev. C. D. Crawley of Mathews, Rev. R. P. 
Lumpkin, his junior, Rev. W. L. Ware of the West 
Mathews circuit, and I, planned an evangelistic 
campaign in six of the largest churches in the two 
counties. All day services were held, and each 
preacher "took his turn" in preaching. Time and 
again we were hindered by the shouts of the peo- 
ple, and it was not unusual to see sinners crowd- 
ing the altar before the sermon commenced. 
Souls were converted at all times and anywhere in 
the vicinity of the meeting. The altars were filled 
with penitents daily. The prayers of the people, 
offered up at home, on the church grounds, on the 
public highway, prevailed, and there was a great 
out-pouring of the Holy Spirit. Some who had 
left the Methodist church, on account of their pe- 
culiar views of the Second Blessing theory of Ho- 
liness, led astray by peripetetic meddlers who had 
lost their job at home, came back to the Mother 
Church, and shouted the praises of God with us. 
Doctrinal disputes arose in these meetings some- 
times, but the 'Holy Spirit moved mightily among 
the multitudes, and contention melted away like 
snow in a June sun. At Olive Branch a certain man 
who would be a leader, had been taken by these 
travelling screamers and rollers down to the Pi- 
ankitank and immersed that his cleansing might 
be complete. He came to the revival service at 
the church, and started his game for converts out 
doors during the intermission. On assembling I 
stated to the church that Bro. "had with- 


drawn from the Methodist Church and joined an- 
other church, and I desired to let them know the 
fact so that there should be no misunderstanding on 
the subject." He arose to his feet and said "I am 
still a Methodist: who told you I had quit?" I 
replied, "You have publicly, out there in the yard 
proclaiming the fact that you had to be immersed 
to get rid of your sins. That is not Methodist doc- 
trine, nor is it Scriptural." He came forward, and 
wanted to shake my hand and ask my forgiveness, 
but I said, "You have done me no wrong, brother, 
but you have belittled your Church : if you will 
apologize to the Church and take the vows over 
here at this altar that will settle it and nothing 
else will." This he declined to do so I took the 
vote of the church then and there, and he was 
marked upon the Gloucester church register "With- 
drawn." I quote these facts from a letter just 
received from Bro. W. L. Ware, who was present 
and approved the action of the preacher. 

Some dear brother may say that I made "a moun- 
tain out of a mole-hill ;" but when you are dealing 
with moles what other method do you suppose one 
should use than that of digging under the mole- 
hill? My action that day ran the moles out of that 
garden of the Lord ! I had a somewhat similar 
case in a former charge. Under the advice and 
guidance of Rev. Dr. A. G. Brown and Rev. Dr. 
Paul Whitehead a bill of Charges and Specifica- 
tions was constructed, a preacher from another 
charge conducted the trial, and the offending mem- 

fit BUGGt, BOAt Atfb RAtlWAt 375 

ber, refusing to repent, was expelled from the 
Church-, and the next Quarterly Conference refused 
to hear an Appeal. 

Brother Harry L. Weston rendered fine service 
on the circuit during the summer of 1899, and his 
name has often been mentioned to me by choice 
people of that county since then, in terms of the 
sincerest appreciation.- He has, aided by a choice 
wife, taken an advanced position in the Confer- 

The end of my term was fast approaching with 
the close of a hard year. As already mentioned 
briefly in this chapter, two members of our family, 
our younger son, Emmet, and our niece, Georgie 
Tiffey, were stricken with typhoid fever, and lay 
ill for many weeks. Our faithful and skillful phy- 
sician, Dr. Davis, carried them through to complete 
recovery, with the aid of a devoted trained nurse 
and the unfailing vigilance of my wife. My peo- 
ple released me from all "care of the churches," 
prayed daily and especially in the Sabbath service 
for our afflicted home, paid every penny of the 
cost, and glorified God when their prayers were 
answered. The recovery of our dear children was 
an instance of the direct answer to prayer. One 
is a happy wife and mother in Lynchburg, and a 
useful member of Memorial Church, whilst the 
boy, having served his country on the Mexican 
border and in the "Rainbow" Division in France, 
is a successful business man in the City of Rich- 
mond. Moreover, he has annexed a bright and 


brainy wife, the last achievement of an enterpris- 
ing youth. 

The people of Gloucester had bound me to them 
with hooks of steel. Down into the very depths of 
my ■ heart they' had buried themselves, and as I 
Was about to leave them I we-nt around that broad 
field from house to house bidding them farewell, 
and commending each family group to "God and 
the word of His grace," "praying them, with much 
entreaty," to meet me in Heaven. In some homes 
the parting was sad; I had failed to bring some 
there into the Kingdom. In others it was a "time 
of refreshing from the presence of the Lord." 




The Conference of 1902 met in Broad Street 
Church, Richmond, Virginia, Wednesday, Novem- 
ber 12th, Bishop William Wallace Duncan, Pre- 
siding, Bishop John C. Granbery being also pres- 

Paul Whitehead was Secretary, and S. S. Lam- 
beth and Geo. F. Greene Assistant Secretaries. 

Gloucester circuit was in the Richmond District 
when I was sent there in November, 1898, and R. T. 
Wilson was my Elder. 

At the Conference of 1899 the charge was trans- 
ferred to the so-called R. M. District. At the Con- 
ference of 1900 the name of the District was 
changed to "Rappahannock," and I fovmd myself, 
without moving a' single item of my junk, back on 
a District wh'ere I had travelled nineteen years of 
the thirty years' service. I was off the District 
three periods' — five years on the Norfolk, and one 
year on the Eastern Shore, and three on the Char- 

Twenty ministers had died during the quadrien- 
nium, among them some of our leading men. 

Rev. Geo. E. Booker, D. D., was not a spectacular 

378 fhom: saddle to citt 

apostle. The business that absorbed his thought 
and consumed his resources was the rescue of men. 
The instrument of his success was the Gospel, in 
its purity and pristine power. He did not dilute 
the stern element of the truth. He entered Con- 
ference in 1859, and died in 1899, February 13. 

Dr. Sledd came to Market Street as the suc- 
cessor of Dr. J. E. Edwards in 1860. He was quite 
young: had been in the Conference only three 
years. But he had "risen rapidly to high useful- 
ness and distinction," and his congregation soon 
learned that the appointment was not a mistake. 
He was a charming preacher,^ — gentle, modest, 
grave, intensely in earnest in the pulpit, not always 
eloquent, but holding attention and arousing in 
his hearers a sympathetic emotion like unto that 
which blazed in his fervid paragraphs and flashed 
in his brilliant eyes, as he caught the spirit of his 
theme. His daily converse with men gave him the 
right-of-way to thousands of hearts, and won mul- 
titudes to Christ. Under his ministry I publicly 
confessed Christ and joined Market Street Church 
in October, 1862. "He was a delegate to all the 
General Conferences from ~1878 to 1898 inclusive. 
He was a fraternal delegate to the Canadian Meth- 
odist Church in 1890, and discharged the Trust ac- 
ceptably and with distinction." 

He attended the session of the General Board of 
Missions in Nashville, Tenn., early in May, 1899. 
He left Nashville on the Sth of May for his home in 
Danville, Va., where he was serving as pastor of 


Main St. Church, going by way of Atlanta, Ga., to 
visit his son. Dr. Andrew Sledd, Prof, of Greek in 
Emory College, Oxford, Ga. He was attacked with 
a severe illness on the train, and assisted by a 
Commercial Traveller to his hotel. As soon as his 
son arrived, he had him removed to Grady Hos- 
pital, and there he died May the 15th. His death 
was a great loss to his church and his Conference. 
"A prince had fallen." His preciou's remains lie 
buried by those of his devoted wife in the old home 
cemetery in Powhatan county. 

Rev. Jas. A. Riddick was another of my valuable 
friends who had died during this year. When I 
held the post of Station Agent at Stoney Creek in 
1868, I took my meals at his home in the grove 
near by. He was a father to me, and a guide in 
my theological studies which I perused at that 
time, having been first directed to the proper 
course of study- by Dr. J; C. Granbery. His pious 
wife and splendid daughters were a help to me a 
young man, on the threshhold of life, assisting me 
in various ways to make the preparation I needed 
so badly. She, like her husband, was a diligent stu- 
dent of the Bible, and made many things plainer 
to me which I had learned as a child. Her daugh- 
ters were highly cultivated, and had ordinary sense 
along with it, a happy combination that gave them 
an attractive character which some learned people 
lack, and lacking, are ill at ease unless they fall in 
with folks of their own class. The Misses Riddick, 
like their parents, were at ease anywhere. 


Brother Riddick made opportunities for me to 
conduct prayer-meetings in the neighborhood and 
in the station waiting-room. He often carried or 
sent me to Sunday service, and to revival meet- 
ings on the Sussex circuit. By his thoughtfulness 
I was permitted to attend a meeting of some im- 
portance (I do not now recall what) at old "Jones's 
Meeting-House" in the summer of 1868. The only 
thing about Ihat meeting I recall is the fact that 
Rev. Geo. N. Guy preached and Rev. Richard Fer- 
guson sat in the pulpit. It was the first time I 
had ever met these two brethren. 

Dr. A. G. Brown was another whose death was 
a severe blow to our Conference. He was a con- 
structive worker, endowed with a vast amount of 
common sense. He was a leader, a pioneer in pro- 
gressive enterprises. "His service extended over 
a period of more than forty-five years of active 
and laborious labor. Before he was forty years 
old he began to come to the front in the affairs of 
Southern Methodism serving in the General Con- 
ference of 1870 as Alternate for Dr. Jas. A. Dun- 
can who was absent. In this, his first appearance 
in the chief legislature of our church, he made a 
marked-impression by his business ability, his judg- 
ment and power of debate. When, twenty years 
later, he again entered that body, he had gained 
largely in experience, knowledge of our polity 
and history, and influence over men, and easily 
took a commanding position in that and the two 
succeeding sessions, upon all . questions of prac- 


tical legislation." "His valuable services as chair- 
man of the Executive Committee of the Finance 
Committee of the Board of Trustees of Randolph- 
Macon College" is placed on record in the Memoir 
written by Dr. Paul Whitehead in 1900, and from 
which the above quotations have been made. He 
held fast the fundamentals of Doctrinal and Ex- 
perimental religion. He was not a great preacher, 
but he was a monumental success in every post 
assigned him. 

Revs. J. H. Riddick, Wm. A. Crocker, J. R. Wag- 
gener, W. F. Bain, John L. Clarke, and H. C. Cheat- 
ham had also put oflf the armor of conflict, had 
"fought a good fight, had finished" their "course," 
and had gone to receive "the crown that fadeth 
not away." Of Brother Crocker I have already 
spoken. Of the others I knew them slightly, but 
of Brother Bain I wish to say that he was the 
greatest pleader at the Throne of Grace I have 
ever heard. I recall that, at eight different ses- 
sions of our Annual Conference, the Bishop pre- 
siding has called upon "Brother W. F. Bain" to 
"lead in prayer" just before the appointments were 
read. Dr. Laflferty, in his admirable Memoir has 
this to say: — "In hours of woe, and to the hearth- 
stone shadowed by the gloomy wings of Death, he 
was the Jesus of the Conference, a son of con- 
solation. The living in dark days, seemed to hear 
from his lips the echoed voice of Him who wept 
with the sisters at Bethany. The dying knew that 
their Lord was leaning over and listening to the 


petition of His servant, for there was a breath and 
atmosphere about the couch bearing the fragrance 
of Paradise. During the sessions of our Confer- 
ence, in moments of profound interest when a mes- 
sage would come from a dying member, Wm. F. 
Bain seemed fittest to invoke the mercy of God. 
And the outflow of his own soul in simple words 
found response in the murmur of assent through- 
out the great congregation.'' 

The Conference of 1900 greatly honored your 
humble servant by appointing him to "preach the 
Opening Sermon" at the next session of the Con- 
ference. At the Conference of 1901, held in Trin- 
ity church, Newport News, I performed that duty 
to the best of my ability in the presence of a large 
congregation. The "dear preachers" kindly heard 
me, and prayerfully I believe, for the Spirit gave 
me great liberty. Then, to make the honor doubly 
secure, published the manuscript in the Confer- 
ence Annual for that year. A very ridiculous fea- 
ture of the last performance was, the Editor of the 
Annual failed to say why the sermon was delivered, 
and who delivered it ! And then explained the 
omission by saying that I did not attach my name to 
the manuscript, and the printer followed copy,. 
Well, I can say this, the dear Editor has always 
been my friend, and moreover my name was not 
needed because everybody who had ever heard me 
preach knew my "thought-prints ;" those who 
wanted to hear me preach that night, and heard me, 
obtained some information they did not have be- 


fore ; and others have never cared who wrote the 
"thing," and have never looked up the fScts. 

Forty-three young men were received on Trial 
during the Quadrennium, of whom the greater 
part have risen to places of usefulness and influ- 
ence, five have died, and one has withdrawn from 
Church. John C. Granbery, Jr., who had been re- 
ceived on trial in 1898, and discontinued in 1900. 
is received the second time in 1902, and transferred 
to the West Virginia Conference in 1909. W. A. 
Jeffries received in 1899 was discontinued in 1900, 
and received the second time in 1902, and given the 
Supernumerary Relation in 1921. Four have been 
lifted to that precarious elevation known as Pre- 
siding Elder, — J. J. Bradford, H. C. Pfeiflfer, twice, 
J. F. Carey, who at last Conference, 1921, jumped 
into the Missionary Secretary's office, and Boyd E. 
Hudson. The biggest leap of all was made by the 
red topped transfer from Western North Carolina, 
J. M. Rowland, in 1921, when he mounted the Rich- 
mond Advocate tripod, and cracks his whip and his 
jokes just like a well-trained teamster and joke- 
smith. Rowland has been to Palestine, and was 
caught by the jaws of War in uncomfortable sit- 
uations on the "other side of the Pond" in 1914. 
He tells it in books, and his books sell. Otto 
Wright, G. W. M. Taylor, and Forrester served as 
Chaplains in the great war, the two first in France. 
Gee goes to the General Conference of 1922. 
Lumpkin is Secretary of the Board of Managers 
of the Richmond Advocate. V. R. Turner is a 


Missionary in Korea. Hearn is Secretary of the 
Conferenc'e Board of Church Extension. Pleas- 
ants is homing Homeless Children. And Smith 
is the skilled writer on Methodist History and Doc- 
trine. And the others are climbing! We challenge 
any Conference in the Southern Church to produce 
as many men from four Classes for Admission on 
Trial who were "promising cases, Bishop," and 
have made good. This list is takeii from the 
Classes of 1899, 1900, 1901 and 1902. And although 
I have not made the test, I confidently assert that, 
"on a pinch," we can produce another list from an- 
other quadrennium almost as large as this. 

Well, if my memory serves me right, I think I 
was about to say a word or two about the Con- 
ference in Broad Street church, Richmond, in No- 
vember, 1902. 

Here is an interesting item of business that 
should go into this record. The Committee, John 
P. Branch, J. Powell Garland, W. V: Tudor and 
H. M. Hope, appointed to erect stones to mark the 
graves of Rev. Leroy M. Lee, D. D., and Rev. Wm. 
B. Rowzie, reported that with the consent of the 
surviving members of the family they have moved 
the remains of Rev. W. B. Rowzie from the fam- 
ily burying ground in Essex county to beautiful 
Hollywood Cemetery, where already rested the 
remains of Rev. L. M. Lee, D. D., and the precious 
dust of so many of our distinguished dead. 

By the generous permission of Rev. T. J. Tay- 
lor, the re-interment of Rev. W. B. Rowzie's re- 


mains was made in Hollywood. A monument hias 
been placed at each grave exactly alike in size, 
form and material. 

The expense incident to this work has all been 

Conference adjourned on the night of the seventh 
day, Wednesday, November the 19th. All along 
through the last two days there were low mut- 
terings about where I was going, but I could not 
get a soul to "speak out in Meeting." Bishop Dun- 
can looked at me now and then, in the midst of 
the debates, as if he had something on mind re- 
garding me and disliked to shift it to my keep- 
ing, but he carefully avoided saying a single word, 
I knew he had a document in his Portfolio, that, he 
said, was "the first he ever saw," relating to my 
appointment, but he did not tell me he had it. 
Bro. Amiss, my Presiding Elder, was the bearer 
of that paper to the Bishop. It was a "Petition 
from the Colored Baptist Sunday School Conven- 
tion for Gloucester, Middlesex and Mathews, re- 
questing the Appointment of Rev. D. G. C. Butts, 
as Presiding Elder of the Rappahannock District 
of the Methodist Conference, on account of his 
fine influence for good among the Colored people, 
Bro. Amiss's term having expired." But I did not 
learn that fact till after Conference, when Brother 
Amiss told me, that, when Dr. Whitehead nomi- 
nated nie for Centenary, Lynchburg, the Bishop 
said to him "Bro. Amiss, shall we let him go?" 
It was in that conversation that Brother Amiss 


told me about this petition from my colored friends. 
During the last night of the session, Bro. Amiss, 
sitting near me in Broad Street church said, "Gee, 
go back home and sell old John." Dr. Garland, 
near by, said, "Have you got a silk hat?" I re- 
plied, "No." "Have you kid gloves?" I replied, 
"No." "Have you a Prince Albert?" "No." 
Then Dr. Garland sjubsided, and Bro. Amiss 
said, "Well, you are in a bad fix." And thus they 
kept it up till the appointment was read, then my 
head got to buzzing, and swelling, and my heart 
took thfe palpitations, and my knees got so weak 
that I feared to stand up to sing the Doxology., 
I was at sea, in a tub, with a mustard spoon for a 
]?addle. I was up a tree, with not even the body of 
the tree there as a ladder to the ground; some one 
had taken that away. I was utterly at a loss to 
know how to plan for such a task. Centenary was 
one of our best stations. I was a "circuit preacher" 
by training and experience. My old grandfather, 
Rev. John Gregory Claiborne, was, for sixty years, 
one of the sturdy band of Local Preachers with 
regular appointments on the old Brunswick circuit. 
Time and again during my youth, had I gone with 
him to his appointments, and had thus become fa- 
miliar with roads, and congregations, and sleeping 
away from home in all sorts of rooms, and trav- 
elling in all sorts' of weather. "Pelham's," "Pleas- 
ant Grove," "Macedonia," "Rocky Run," "Leb- 
anon," "Bethel," "Liberty," "Lawrenceville," ex- 
pected me just as certainly as they expected him. 


When I returned each fall to Petersburg to school, 
the first question asked when he drove up to the 
church without me, was "Where is the boy?" Since 
my coming into the Conference in 1870, I had spent 
twenty-nine years in the country work, and three 
years at Wright Memorial, Portsmouth. A horse 
was a part of my paraphernalia: I had ridden 
horses since I was able to sit on a horse with a 
negro man walking on each side to hold me on. A 
saddle or a buggy had become as natural to me as 
the limb of a tree is to a bird. To get up early in 
the morning to feed and rub down the horse, 
"man's best friend," had become a habit. What 
could I do afoot, and in town, anyhow! Besides 
wife had to give up her pigs, and chickens, and 
ducks once before, and it had grieved her might- 
ily. And the children, who needed more room to 
fling themselves around than a flock of quail, 
would, in the restricted confines of a city parsonage 
yard, feel very much like the citizens of "pent-up 

The preaching part did not worry me : I knew 
I could handle that end of the job. I had heard a 
number of these city preachers itj my own churches 
when they came out into the country to stretch 
themselves, eat cherry-rolls, and get out in the 
main road and holler, and on Sunday shoot oflf a 
"Sugar Stick" on my people. And some of my 
good judges of preaching had taken me around be- 
hind the church, and asked, "Where did you get 
him?" And then solemnly plead with me, "Don't 


do it again!" So I knew, if the city folks could 
stand all that, I could make them shout at my 
coming. The contrast would more than over-bal- 
ance what I said. 

So this was not the problem with me ; mine was 
a far more serious oile. How can I leave behind 
me all my valuables except a few things that had 
never given me anxiety? Clothes and books and 
pickles and pre'sefves had never bothered me, be- 
cause my wife attended to hiy clothes, the Pub- 
lishei-s sent me books, and as' for the other things 
I was seldom at home long enough for them to 
attract my attention. But horse, buggy, saddle, 
bridle, curry-comb, pitch-fork, these, till the boys 
relieved my by assuming their share of the work, 
had been a part of my life for twenty-nine years : 
now I must substitute for these a clothes-brush 
and a shoe-brush, and tramp the streets of the 
ruggedest city in the State ! 

We spent the last night in Gloucseter at the 
sweet home of Bro. Ben Newcomb, at Sassafrasj 
and Tuesday morning, departed on th6 York river 
boat to West Point, thence to Richmond. Here we 
tarried till the next day with some of my wife's 
kin, arriving in Lynchburg the 3rd at about 2:30 
P. M. Brother John W. Lankford, one of "the old 
Guard," met us at the station, and very soon placed 
us in a comfortable parsonage on Church Street 
next door to the church. A committee of ladies 
received us, made my wife acquainted with the 
mysteries of a Methodist parsonage sittirlg up on 


a hill-side, and then left us to "occupy till removal." 
To a very fine gathering at the mid-week prayer- 
meeting in the Lecture room that night I had very 
little to say. Everything looked so big, so unusual, 
so absolutely out of my class, that I sat there won- 
dering how I could ever fit into the niche so that 
I would not rattle as I moved around. I had seen 
so many cases like the present one, small men in 
a big place, like a hand-full of buckshot in a half 
gallon tin bucket, that every move they made 
started the dogs to barking on the next block. And 
I had laughed at the noise, and wondered when the 
fellow would find out that noise was not every- 
thing. And the thought came rushing in on me, 
that my day had come, and "he laughs best who 
laughs last." And I couldn't laugh to save .■ my 
life, I was that upset. 

The good brethren talked. They spoke some 
very kind words about my predecessor. Dr. J. T, 
Whitley, and that made me feel better. I took it 
as a good sign. One can trust the prayers and 
count on the support of the man or the woman 
who hesitates to tear to tatters the good name 
of the preacher who has just left. There are ex" 
ceptions but they prove nothing except that they 
are exceptions. 

The Official Board was as fine a body of men as 
ever bore the burden of the secular affairs of any 
church. Brother John W. Lankford was the pa- 
triarch of Centenary: devout but not pain- 
fully pious : a man of great power in prayer when 


he got a vision of the Lord : true to his convic- 
tions, to his church, to his pastor, and to the poor 
and to his Saviour, Jesus Christ. He was as ten- 
der hearted as John, the Beloved disciple, as gen- 
erous as the widow who gave her mite, and as 
faithful as Abraham, the friend of God. W. Ben 
Snead, the giant in practical religion ; candid with- 
out rudeness, kind-hearted without boasting, wise 
in matters of doctrine and practice. He was my 
friend to whom I would unbosom myself as I did 
to Walter Stoakes in Mathews and to Gates Garth 
in Albemarle. I accepted his friendship as Heaven- 
sent for my good because he was sincere, his ad- 
vice because he was safe, his rebukes because he 
loved me, and defended me publicly. He Avas too 
brave to enter the holy of holies of my self-respect, 
and, with the lash of the cruel critic's tongue, de- 
mand that his will be accepted as law. He knocked 
at the door of my heart, and, having won admis- 
sion as the privilege of a brother, challenged me to 
tread the higher latitudes, and held my hand while 
my feet stood firm on a solid foundation. Then, 
with a smile, and sometimes with tears, would 
boast of his preacher, and tell of his regard for 
him. As an officer of the church he had no su- 

Chas. H. Beasley was that kind of a man also, 
but different. If he had anything to say he said 
it, and made an end of it. Devoutly consecrate? 
to his Lord without show or bluster, skilled in the 
use of his talent for the natural interpretation of 

fiY BtJGGY, Boat and railway 391 

the Bible, in his method of grappling the financial 
problems so often taxing the brains of the Board of 
Stewards, strong in his views of personal conduct 
and business integrity and constant in his devotion 
to the interests of his church, and in his faith in 
God. He was a stalwart Christian merchant of un- 
impeachable rectitude and spotless reputation. He 
died in the prime of life. His passing was a dis- 
tinct loss to both his church and his city. James 
W. Wray, timid but ever on the job, his timidity 
was not cowardice : it was consecrated prudence. 
His readiness to do, and his firmness, his silent 
courage in an emergency, his self-possession, and 
withal, his high regard for the call of duty, com- 
mended him to the pastors of his church as they 
came and wrought and departed. The pastor of 
his church was his pastor, no matter what sort he 
happened to be. If it had not been for this fea- 
ture in Jim Wray's make-up he would never have 
taken to me ; — and some others. Clayton Myers 
was a fine business man, with a high sense of honor, 
consumed with the desire to serve his generation. 
Keen to detect the untrue, the unfaithful, the un- 
clean. Open and frank in all his dealings with 
men. Candid yet kind in his opinions and measures. 
One could find him when one wanted or needed 
him, and he was never missing when truth and 
righteousness demanded a defender. He could tell 
one of his error, and help to the right way in the 
same breath. Joseph L. Thompson the other twin, 
— Jim Wray being oney — was hard to beat.' He 

392 FROM Saddle To OiTiT 

was an inveterate story-teller, (hot liar,) with an 
incident dug up out of his prolific store of reminis- 
cence, to illustrate any topic, from the conversion 
of a "sinner from the error of his way" to the 
storming of the heights at Gettysburg: (he was in 
that awful conflict,) from the gathering of stones 
to mark the triumph of Commercial grit in his 
town, to the amusing narrative of the negro who 
tried to watch all night in a haunted house for 
five dollars, and failed. Brother Joe has never been 
in a hurry. He says lives have been lost by haste. 
He learned the lesson at Gettysburg. When 
Pickett's brave men fell back across the "plain of 
death," the man in a hurry overtook the passing 
shot, and fell. He walked back deliberately into 
the zone of security, — the shot passed him, search- 
ing for fugitives ! Joe Thompson was all right : 
pure gold ; weeping the silent hallelujah tears when 
the triumphant note of the gospel was struck from 
pulpit, or prayer, or song: and smiling his honest 
smile of appreciation when imagination or fancy 
were charmed by the word pictures of the Truth. 
He was my friend and brother. Hence I tell it as I 
know it. With a stranger, or a chance acquaint- 
ance, I would not dare to say as much. A. Lee 
Beasiey, the silent lover of the honest man who 
tries to do the right, although he makes mistakes. 
Lee believes, (yet I have never heard him say it,) 
that all the people who have quit making mistakes 
are iti the Cemetery. He retails no scandal, and 
knows none, for he will not permit the foul thing 


to enter his ears. The unclean or the unjust 
thought of another never enters the walled city of 
his soul. He guards that portal as he guards that 
incorruptible gem, — his personal character, well- 
rounded by the faithful hand of early training. The 
seed of truth which fell upon the soil of developing 
youth, found no "stony places, without deepness of 
earth," nor "thorns springing up" to "choke" the 
expanding stock of manhood. 'Twas "good 
ground," and the yield was an hundred fold." 
Harvey Shepherd, old "Rough and Ready," who 
had no shine for men with shoe-string back-bones, 
slop, and sillybub. He would take to anything and 
anybody that was in "the middle of the road," and 
stay by it or them without regard to what people 
said. I have heard him say, "Wind is the cheapest 
thing we have !" Another saying of his was, "If 
wind had to be paid for by the cubic foot, there 
are some people in the church would suffocate 
within an hour after the tax is published." He was 
"the listening post" for the preacher. He was no 
eavesdropper nor tattler, but some folks had a habit 
of talking their complaints about everything that 
the church was trying to do, and Harvey had the 
habit of telling what he thought of them. And 
Harvey was right eight times out of ten. The first 
time the Officail Board met after Conference closed, 
and before my arrival, the question was passed 
around the room, "Who is this man Butts? Where 
did he come from?" Nobody knew anything ex- 
cept that a "Brother Moorman out in Campbell 


county had told Brother Lankford that "Butts is 
a sociable sort of a fellow, and would know every- 
body in Lynchburg within three months." Har- 
vey, who had sat throughout the "inquest" in si- 
lence, startled the body by exclaiming, "I know: 
he is just something the Conference has dumped 
out on Centenary because there was nowhere else 
to dump him!" Now, understand; no one told me 
this but Harvey himself. He took me into his 
little cigar shop on the south side of Main St., ■ 
about six months after my arrival, and told me 
he was "sorry" he said it, but it was exactly what 
,he thought then. We were wedded then and there 
in the holy bond of a reciprocal friendship and con- 
fidence, and "lived happily together ever after- 
ward." John Wells, the Superintendent of the 
Sunday School was a success in that field. He was 
an organizer, a peace-maker, a doer, an upright 
man who made no compromises with either ex- 
pediency, (unless it was necessary as a saving in- 
strument,) or with unsavory methods under any 
circumstances. His piety was of the Pauline type. 
He was "all things to all men if by any means he 
might save some," but to the clamorings of hy- 
pocrisy, or the protests and threats of the Phar- 
isee, he "gave no heed, no, not for one hour." He 
was popular with all, and beloved on account of 
his high character, and his influence was felt in 
every circle in which business or religion carried 
him; Charlie Offterdinger dealt in meat and good 
manners. He sold his meat to people who knew a 


good thing and bought it on the spot. He Jcept 
his good manners for daily use, a personal pos- 
session "above the price of rubies." His sense of 
justice and estimate of truth commended him to 
all fair minds as a man who had a standard of 
honor for a Christian gentleman, and tested his 
own life by that. Charlie could be depended on. 
He carried his creed in his words and behaviour, of 
the same worth to him as blood and breath are to 
a human being. 

Ernest Williams, the business expert, took me 
to. his modest home on Clay Street the first Sun- 
day night after service. There his handsome wife 
had fruit and cake for the new preacher, and V/il- 
liams had cigars. I did not smoke, so I sat and in- 
haled the rich aroma, while he expressed regrets, 
and hopes. These delightful evenings were en- 
joyed for more than a year. At last his hopes were 
realized : he had taught me the charm of a cigar. 

He was a born organizer. System was his hobby. 
He applied it to three lumber mills down south and 
a railroad, and our Centenary Sunday School. He 
always said he "didn't have much or any, religion," 
but he loved his Church, and gave his money and 
worked for it. He was of great use to the Church 
in housing the State Epworth League Conference, 
the joint Commencement of the Randolph-Macon 
System of Colleges and Schools, and was one of 
our main advisers in entertaining the Annual Con- 
ference in 1904. He befriended us in a very sub- 
stantial way during the illness of one of our 


daughters in the, first year of my pastorate. We 
have not forgotten his delicate kindnesses minis- 
tered in time of severe trouble. His generous sup- 
port of important measures, and his wise counsel 
on financial questions made a profound impression 
on me. 

The Adjuncts to the Official Board were many, 
and valuable. A'onzo and John Wray; safe, solid, 
sensible, silent except when called. Echo could not 
travel faster than they "in such an hour." There 
are two women, either dead or still alive, who lost 
a good opportunity when they allowed these two 
men to get out of the trap, or, perhaps failed to 
coax them in. John Shaner, the good feeder and 
bluff, warm-hearted friend. John Bell, sure-footed 
in word and faith ; too apt in looking at the dark 
side in some things. Strict and just in business, 
serving God and man all the year 'round. Mike 
Goodman, another good man, with a body too frail 
for the soul that lived in it ; a successful teacher of 
the Woman's Bible Class : whose life was all too 
short for the carrying out of the plans he had form- 
ulated. Perhaps, after all, God took him to the 
world where work for Him could be done without 
pain or fatigue. Joe Lee, the singer, had as warm 
a heart as ever beat in the bosom of man. Ner- 
vous, like the sensitive strings of a harp, one 
could get stirring music out of Joe if one struck 
the right key. Pitch, melody, harmony, were 
things that fascinated him. Discord made him 
tingle to his finger-tips. Unfair criticism gave him 


the jim-jams, as if a mouse had gotten into a 
piano. I loved Joe : Joe understood me. John 
Humphreys, another "sensitive plant" in the gar- 
den of the Lord. He had a strong will, and being a 
teacher of music and a trainer of others, he de- 
lighted in leadership, with its opportunities for the 
study of people. He was a "born chorister," and 
could get as much real singing out of a congrega- 
tion as any man I have ever known. He led the 
singing in the Sunday School for fifty years. 

Then there was Bill Taylor, not an adjunct to 
the Board, but my Adjunct. I annexed him early 
in the first year of my term. He annexed, me 
about the same time. He sells building material, 
and it is worth what he gets out of it, and more. 
He puts into the bill a wise head, an honest heart, 
and clean hands. He "toes the mark" in every 
trade of stuff for cash or credit, and demands that 
the buyer stand up to the same line. That's fair. 
There is no grinding process here. "As ye would 
that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto 
them." Which is best, "Get rich quick," or "Get 
honor quickly, and hold on to it?" The other fel- 
low soon loses that which comes to him through 
crooked ways ; one cannot lose this. Bill Taylor has 
been my younger brother through all these years, 
and will be to the end. 

There are others. McD. Landrum, Malony, 
Whitmore, Crutchfield, and the modest, but capa- 
ble and successful physician, Dr. Dinsmore. 

And "elect women not a few." This volume can- 

398 , FROM SADDLE to CitY 

not hold their names and deeds! The Recording 
Angel has the list ! 

Rev. W. Asbury Christian, D. D., the present 
President of the Blackstone College for Girls, but 
at that time pastor of High Street Church^ Peters- 
burg, Va., in his admirable address delivered to 
Centenary Church, at the celebration of the "Cen- 
tennial of Methodism in Lynchburg," on Sunday, 
January 14th, 1906, gave the story of the founding 
and development of the old Church and of the other 
Methodist churches in the City as follows : — 

"Among the. 'pioneers were ,Wm. McKendree, 
Presiding Elder, and Joseph Moore, the preacher 
assigned to Bedford circuit in 1798. , This year he 
added a new appointment to his already laborious 
work. It was the appointment to preach at the 
Quaker Meeting-House, the nearest place of re- 
ligious worship to Lynchburg. Although the town 
was chartered in 1786, and there were several hun- 
dred inhabitants, yet there were few besides the 
several Quaker families who professed Christian- 
ity. It is true an English Church was built dur- 
ing the reign of George III about 1765, and stood 
in the woods near where. Col. Watt's residence 
now stands on Court St., but this was abandoned at 
the beginning of the Revolutionary War and was 
later destroyed. The grave yard which surrounded 
it, however, was used for a number of years later. 
The preacher on Bedford circtiit later took up an 
appointment in town, aind once a month preached 


at Mason's Hall. He ma;de little progress, but it 
was a beginning. 

"September 1800 Bishop Francis Asbury and 
Richard Whatcoat, accompanied by Wm. McKen- 
dree, Presiding Elder of the Kentucky District, em- 
bracing the whole State, came to Lynchburg. In 
his Journal Bishop Asbury thus speaks of his visit : 
'We rode from New Glasgow to Lynchburg, twenty 
miles. Samuel Mitchell had dinner prepared for 
the preacher at Mr. Miller's. I preached in Ma- 
son's Hall (a warm day and place) on Titus H. 12." 

"Samuel Mitchell was a local preacher who lived 
on the farm afterwards owned by Judge William 
Daniel, Jr., now Daniel's Hill. He preached in Ma- 
son's Hall, and also in his own house. At his home 
in 1802 he organized the first ■ Methodist Society 
in Lynchburg. Three joined; Mrs. Barnal, Mrs. 
Roher, and Geo. Sullivan. This faithful band con- 
tinued to work in the face of great discourage- 
ments, for the town was noted for its ungodliness. 
Later Rev. William P. Martin, a local preacher, 
and his wife, Eliza:beth Martin, joined them. In 
1803 Rev. William Heath came from Eastern Vir- 
ginia and added one more to the little band. The 
Society grew Slowly, and at the beginning of 1804 
it numberled twenty members." 

Dr. Christian goes on with his story; — "If to 
any one man may be accorded the title of 'Founder 
of Methodism in Lynchburg,' that man is Stith 
Mead. A- native of Bedford county and a local 
preacher before he entered the travelling connec- 


tion, he preached in Lynchburg as early as 1799. As 
a faithful minister of Christ he cried aloud and 
spared not. His preaching was effective, for the 
public paper began to persecute him, calling him 'a 
pharisee,' 'a hypocrite,' 'a devil,' 'a maniac,' 'a con- 
temptible, vaporing brawler,' 'a greater disgrace 
than the most dissolute man in Lynchburg.' 

"He was greatly blessed as an instrument in the 
conversion of sinners, and whenever he preached 
the word was a power unto the salvation of souls. 
He was a man mighty in prayer, and near his 
home there is a rock known as 'Mead's Rock' where 
this man of God repaired daily to pour out his soul 
in supplication. A simple slab marks his grave, 
with the inscription : — 'Stith Mead, bom SepL 25th 
1767. EHed Aug. 1st, 1834.' 

But of him it can be justly said ; 'If you would 
see his monument look about you,' 

"The year 1804 was memorable in the history of 
Lynchburg. It was the year of a great revival in 
the town and in the surrounding counties. Nearly 
twelve hundred were converted. In May, Lorenzo 
Dow, a very eccentric preacher, held a series of 
meetings in 'Chestnut Grove,' which was near the 
corner of Main and 11th Streets. He says in his 
journal : 'Hence I went circuitously to Lynch- 
burg, where I spoke in the open air in what I con- 
ceive to be the seat of Satan's Kingdom. Lynch- 
burg is a deadly place for the worship of God.' 

"Mr. Mead says in his journal: 'In 1804 on my 
way from Georgia to the General Conference in 


Baltimore, I sent an appointment to manage a 
camp-meeting in my native county, Bedford. Hav- 
ing an appointment in Mason's Hall in Lynchburg, 
the old battleground, I preached and had a melt- 
ing time. I preached also in Amherst. I returned 
to town and preached again in Mason's Hall. Eight 
souls were converted. I repeated the same the 
night following and ten souls were converted ; and 
so on in town and county, until hundreds were con- 
verted and a Society of above one hundred mem- 
bers formed in Lynchburg, and .so under God I 
gained the victory over my adversary, the devil, 
and his agents, my spiritual adversaries.' 

"William Heath, writing from Lynchburg, July 
24th, 1804, to Ezekiel Cooper, the Book Steward, 
says ; 'From a class of twenty members we now 
have one of 160.' 

"This year Methodism was firmly established in 
Lynchburg, and the building of a meeting-house 
was begun. The funds soon gave out, and the work 
was stopped. The deed to a lot was not made till 
December 2nd, 1805. Geo. Sullivan, and Sally 
Sullivan, his wife, in consideration of £50, deeded 
to Stith Mead, Samuel K. Jennings, Wm. Heath, 
Wm. P. Martin, Geo. Sullivan, Thos. Wiatt, Jno. 
Schoolfield, Wm. Blake and Jas. Fox, Trustees for 
the Methodist Society, "a piece of ground on 
Church St., (then 3rd Street) between Tenth and 
Eleventh," for the purpose of building a church. 

"The first meeting of the Trustees was held at 
pep, Sullivan's house January 6th, 1806. Stith 



Mead was chosen President, Wm. Heath, Secre- 
tary, and Thos. Wiatt, Treasurer. Thos. Wiatt 
wrote to Mead in Georgia : 'Our meeting-house 
progresses slowly. I do not, however, yet feel dis- 
couraged and will do all in my power to encourage 
the workmen to go on.' Mr. Mead was transferred 
from Georgia and placed on the Richmond District. 
Now he put forth every effort to complete the 
house, and in order to continue the work, he 
pledged his private property. In 1806 the meeting- 
house was completed and the Society moved in. 

"This house, however, did not stand; the walls 
began to crack, and in 1814 it was pulled down and 
a new one was built in its place. This house now 
stands, having been once used as a place 'of amuse- 
ment, Holcomb Hall. Now it is a double tenement. 

"February 2nd, 1808, Conference was held in the 
new meeting-house, and Bishop Asbury presided. 
He rode on horseback from North Carolina. 
Among' those received on Trial at this Conference 
was John Early, afterwards Bishop. In the min- 
utes of this session for the first time it Was re- 
corded : 'The appointments of the preachers were 
read out.' " 

If the reader will remember, the Chapter XII, on 
Gloucester, Stith Mead was Preacher in Charge of 
the Gloucester circuit when the great revival of 
1797 swept through that region carrying all before 
it. Dr. W. W. Bennett in "Memorials of Method- 
ism in Virginia," preserves a fine account of this 
great awakening. 


Dr. Christian proceeds: — "Mention was made of 
Wm. P. Martin and his wife Elizabeth. He was a 
good man, a local preacher, and of fervid piety. 
Special attention must be directed to' his wife, 
'Aunt Martin,' as she was called, foi^ she was the 
early type of that noble womanhood for which 
Methodism in Lynchburg has long been noted. A 
niece of Edmund Pendleton, she was a woman of 
fine mental attainments, beautiful in personal ap- 
pearance, and lovely in Christian character. Her 
influence in the community was great, and she ex- 
erted it to lead many souls to Christ. Her public 
prayers melted the hardest hearts, her thrilling re- 
ligious experience told in the class-room often 
caused a shout in Zion, and her works of love and 
mercy made her visits among the poor and sufifer- 
ing like an angel's visit. She died in the spring of 
1831 in her 81st year, and 'being dead she yet 

"Lynchburg continued an appointment on Bed- 
ford circuit until the Conference of February, 1811, 
which met at Raleigh, N. C. Then it was made a 
station and Rev. John Weaver was appointed pas- 
tor. The membership at that time was 153 white 
and 54 colored. The next year it was put back on 
Bedford circuit. The following year it was again 
made a station with Christopher Mooring as 
Preacher in Charge. He remained one year, and 
was followed by Robert Griffith, under whose ad"- 
ministration the new $8,000 meeting-house was 
built. This house was not completed when in 1815 


Conference again met in Lynchburg. Bishops As- 
bury and McKendree were present, and John Early 
was Secretary. Fletcher Harris was appointed to 
Lynchbui-g. Thos. Moore followed him in 1816. 
In 1817 Ethelbert Drake was Preacher in Charge. 
It was during his pastorate of one year that John 
Thurman, Geo. R. Walker and Jas. McGehee or- 
ganized the first Sunday School in Lynchburg. A 
notable fact about this Sunday School is that four 
of its scholars became United States Senators." 
(William Allen, and Allen G. Thurman of Ohio, 
and Isaac P. Walker of Wisconsin, and the fourth 
from Mississippi. D. G. C. B.) Thos. Burge was 
appointed Preacher in Charge in 1818. The fol- 
lowing year Lynchburg was again put back on Bed- 
ford circuit and remained till 1821, when Geo. W. 
Charlton was appointed to the charge. He re- 
mained two years and in that time did a great work 
for Methodism. He was a man of splendid perr 
sonal appearance, gifted with stirring eloquence, 
and, though a young man and delicate, he was 
a great preacher. Large crowds attended upon 
his ministry and many were converted and added 
to the Church. 

"This year John Early came to Lynchburg to 
live, and at once became one of the City's great- 
est factors both in its civic and religious progress. 
His influence in upbuilding Methodism here is 
eternal in its duration. 

"The next pastors were Thos. Crowder, Thos. 
Howard and Caleb Leach. In 1828, Wm. A. Smith, 


that son of Anak both intellectually and spiritually, 
was appointed pastor." (He was recommended to 
the Conference for Admission on Trial by the Quar- 
terly Conference of the Gloucester circuit, held 
at Pace's Chapel, King and Queen Co., January 
22nd, 1825. (D. G. C. B.) "He was a young man, 
but one of the strongest preachers of his day. The 
summer after he came he held a great revival 
which was notable for its wonderful effects. It 
was during this pastorate that a division took place 
in the church, and sixty members left for the 
Methodist Protestant Church. The other preach- 
ers who served the church were Martin P. Parkes. 
(who was a young lieutenant in the U. S. Army 
and a man of remarkable gifts,) David S. Doggett, 
(afterwards Bishop,) H. B. Cowles, Edward Wads- 
worth, Jas. McDonald, Anthony Dibrell, and Dr. 
Wm. A. Smith again. 

"In 1849-50 Geo. W. Langhorne was pastor. At 
this time a movement was started which meant a 
a great deal for Methodism. The congregation 
had outgrown the old church and there was an ur- 
gent need for a new church in town. John Early 
led the movement. Subscriptions were taken, a 
lot on Court Street was bought, and a new church 
costing $19,000 was erected. , It was dedicated 
June 29th, 1851. The morning sermon was 
preached by Rev. John Early, the afternoon by Geo. 
W. Langhorne, the first pastor, and the night by 
John C. Granbery, (afterwards Bishop,) the pastor 
of the Third Street Church. The first Board of 


Stewards was R. S. Morris, Ambrose Rucker, Wm. 
L. Saunders, J. L. Brown, E. D. Christian and G. G. 
Curie. The new church was organized with sixty 
members and the same number of Sunday School 
Scholars. This was the beginning of the splendid 
work done by Court St. Church under such leaders 
as R. N. Sledd, Nelson Head, Jacob Manning,' Geo. 
W. Carter, John E. Edwards, W. E. Judkins, A. C. 
Bledsoe, W. E. Edwards, P. A. Peterson, L. B. 
Betty, A. Coke Smith, W. J. Young, and the pres- 
ent pastor, (1906) Gilby C. Kelly. 

"During Dr. (now Bis'hop) Smith's pastorate 
the movement for a new church was started. It 
was completed under Dr. Young, and the new 
church was dedicated free of debt November 23rd, 
1902. Bishop Granbery preached in the morning 
and Bishop Morrison at night. 

"The next forward movement of Methodism in 
Lynchburg was the forsaking of the old Third 
Street Meeting-House, hallowed by so many sad- 
red memories, and the ibuilding of a new church 
across the street. Centenary was begun under the 
pastorate of Chas. H. Hall, and was corfipleted by 
Rev. A. G. Brown. The new church was dedicated 
May 2nd, 1860. Bishop Doggett preached in the 
morning. Dr. Paul Whitehead at night. The new 
church cost $17,000. The pastors who have served 
it are: H. P. Mitchell, Geo. W. Langhorne, W. E. 
Edwards, W. E. Judkins, W. H. Christian, George 
C. Vanderslice, J. S. Hunter, H. C. Cheatham, S. S. 
Lambeth, W. H. Atwill, Geo. H. Ray, W. Asbury 


Christian, J. T. Whitley and the present pastor, 
D. G. C. Butts. 

"During the pastorate of W. H. Atwill the church 
was greatly improved at a cost of $17,000, and was 
i-e-o.pened November 12th, 1893, Bishop J. C. Gran- 
bery preaching the sermon. 

"The next child of Methodism was the church in 
Madison. This work was projected by Rev. T. H. 
Early, who with R. F. Henning, of Centenary, and 
others, carried it to, completion. It was dedicated 
September 14th, 1873, by Rev. W. H. Christian. 

"Another new church dedicated June 27th, 1880, 
by Rev. D. P; Wills, P. E., was Danielstown, after- 
ward Cabell Street. While Rev. Ernest Stevens 
was pastor plans for a new church were started. 
This present Rivermont Avenue Church was begun 
under the Pastorate of Rev. G. W. Dwyer, 1897, 
and was completed by Rev. G. H. Lambeth. The 
church was dedicated by Bishop A. Coke Smith in 

"On July 20th, 1884, Trinity was dedicated by 
Rev. Geo. C. Vanderslice pastor of Centenary. 

"This same year Conference met at Court Street 
and immediately after its adjournment, November 
.23rd, Memorial, the daughter of Court Street, was 
dedicated. Dr. David Sullins preached the ser- 
mon, and Dr. W. E. Edwards dedicated the church. 
Dr. John Hannon had already been assigned as 
pastor of the new church. The other pastors were 
T. McN. Simpson, Jas. A. Duncan," (son of the im- 
niortal President of R. M. College 1868-77. D. G. 


C. B.) "E. M. Peterson, J. C. Reed, J. W. Stiff, and 
the present pastor, Ernest Stevens. 

"In 1890 South View was established, and in 
1896 West Lynchburg and Dearington. 

"Methodism in Lynchburg has been blessed with 
many great revivals, and by means of them thou- 
sands have been brought into the Kingdom of God. 
During Dr. Sledd's first pastorate at Court Street 
a great meeting was conducted by Dr. Leo Rosser. 
Then at the same church in 1878 under Dr. A. C. 
Bledsoe there was a remarkable meeting. At Cen- 
tenary under W. H. Christian, Dr. Rosser held an- 
other wonderful meeting. Later at the same 
church while Dr. Vanderslice was pastor, Rev. 
James W. Howell held a meeting of great power. 
Then at Memorial under Dr. Hannon hundreds pro- 
fessed faith in Christ.'' 

I have quoted Dr. Christian with his gracious 
consent, and fully, because it is history, and I 
thought it the right thing to link up the deeds of 
the men who made history with the deeds of the 
men who took up the work as they laid it down 
and carried it on with such signal success. 

Lynchburg reported in November, 1921, seven 
churches with an aggregate membership of 4,585, . 
and one church across the river in Madison Heights 
with 414 members; making a total of 4,9^9; — this 
from the small beginning in 1802 in "the home of 
Samuel Mitchell," when "3 joined the Society." 
Add to this number the names of those who have 
died in the faith, and of those who, converted at 


our altars, joined other denominations, and we 
are ready to exclaim, God has indeed answered the 
prayers of the faithful saints who continually cried 
before Him for a blessing to fall on Lynchburg! 

So this was the Church to which I had been sent 
from Gloucester circuit: a Church whose history 
begins with the nineteenth century ; whose founder, 
Stith Mead, was the chief instrument of the Spirit 
in the great revival in Gloucester and Mathews in 
1797, and the object of ridicule and abuse in that 
region, and bore the indignities and won the vic- 
tory in the city of Lynchburg: a Church at whose, 
altars the strong men of Methodism, John Early, 
Wm. A. Smith, Caleb Leach, Martin P. Parks, Da- 
vid S. Doggett, Edward Wadsworth, Anthony Dib- 
rell, Geo. W. Langhorne, John C. Granbery, Chas. 
H. Hall, A. G. Brown, W. E. Edwards, Geo. Van- 
derslice, S. S. Lambeth, had ministered. Three of 
these became Bishops, — Early, Doggett and Gran- 
bery. Here stalwart laymen had taken the vows 
of Church-membership, and in the commercial and 
professional life of the City had shined forth as 
witnesses to the saving power of the Christ, and 
had consecrated their lives, their time and their 
means to building of Zion: and devout women 
had "adorned the doctrine of God" by deeds of 
mercy, and the miracles wrought in prayer through 

The thought of my responsibility as I stood to 
serve these children of a notable past overwhelmed 
me. My utter insufficiency for the task fell so heav- 

41(3 FROM SADDLE tO Cltt 

ily on my heart that I lay nigfht and day for weeks 
at the feet of my Lord, pleading for the only Help 
that could give me spiritual strength to do my, 
work. Even as I walked the streets looking for 
people that r might "impart to them some spirit- 
ual -gift," I found comfort only in feeling out for 
the Hand that must guide me. And although I 
always, in the privacy of my Study every Sab- 
bath besought the Lord to help me, when I knelt 
to lead the congregation in prayer I felt time and 
again that my heart would break under the weight 
that rested upon it. The Lord was always with 
me! To Him be glory! 

The Official Board made my work comparatively 
easy by taking! a large portion of the secular affairs 
of the church off my shoulders, and by cordial co- 
operation, timely advice, and kind "words spoken 
in season." I had trials, 'tis true, test of faith and 
courage, but I found myself at all times surrounded 
by a loyal people, who overlooked my faults, glo- 
ried in my evident intent and effort to give them 
good service, and invited and frequently challenged 
the critics to know me first, and then condemn, if 
they must. I say not these things to commend my- 
self to any, but to publish to the world the kind of 
men and women who stood with me in Centenary 
Church, and in Lynchburg, without regard to 
Church or condition. 

I was misunderstood by some, and sometimes 
misrepresented, but I determined that', amid it all, 
I would carry "a conscience void of offense." I 


knew that if I could never satisfy some, I could 
suffer in silence, and wait. I would "stand in my 
lot till the end" of my term, then go and leave the 
future to God. 

Friends, friends, friends, I was never lacking for 
friends. They flocked to me from all quarters, and 
brought words of cheer and still more substantial 
proofs of loyalty. Some fine revival services were 
held; not the community-sweeping and irresistible 
meetings I had witnessed elsewhere, yet valuable 
people were added to the church, and a substantial, 
aggressive membership gathered at our altar, and 
God's blessing was on the work. 

I did not know until my time came to leave 
Lynchburg that I had so many friends outside of 
my own congregation. An incident will illustrate 
my meaning. 

On the eve of my departure I was called to a 
boarding house on Church Street, and presented 
with a beautiful and durable umbrella with ivory 
handle ornamented in gold. I was told that fifteen 
of my friends were the givers, and not one of them 
was a M'ethodist. There were Episcopalians, Pres- 
byterians, Baptists, Roman Catholics, and Jews. 

A gift of this sort I from such a bunch of friends, 
who represented a different faith from my own, 
made a profound impression upon me. While I 
have carried the umbrella on many occasions, and 
sometimes' have left it at home, I have always car- 
ried these generous donors in my heart. 

My co-workers in the ministry. Dr. Young one 


year and Dr. Kelly, three at Court Street, Bro. 
Stevens at Memorial, Bro. Shackford at River- 
mont Avenue, and Bros. Wertenbaker and Candler, 
each two years, at Trinity, gave me invaluable aid 
in many ways, and our fraternal intercourse was 
delightful and, the Father knows, unbroken. My 
Presiding Elder, Dr. J. C. Reed, who had been my 
Elder once before, won my admiration for his firm 
stand for righteousness, and drew out to the ut- 
most my love for his patience with me, his generous 
sympathy, and his unstinted brotherly-kindness. I 
know no other words to express my gratitude to 
him for kindly help in the trying hour. And when 
we walked down hand in hand into "the valley of 
the shadow of death" in the dreadful autumn of 
1918, we learned what co-passion meant in a very 
real way, (our boys had died in France within ten 
days of each other) and we "comforted each the 
other with the consolation wherewith we had com- 
forted others." 

When a large number of my friends, Methodists 
and others, expressed in a petition to the Presid- 
ing Bishop of the Conference of 1906, that I be 
chosen to succeed him as Presiding Elder of the 
Lynchburg District, he came to my Study and 
asked me if I "really wanted the place." I re- 
plied, "I do not : my good friends are mistaken 
in their man." He approved without qualification, 
my sentiments of gratitude and appreciation of the 
honor my friends had done me, and likewise my 
view of the matter. 


The more I thought of it the the better I thought 
of myself. I had read of the zealous, but unwise 
farmer, who, determined to milk an untamed cow, 
tied her tail to his boot-strap, and proceeded with 
his job. When he went into the house about 
twenty minutes later to be treated to a few layers 
of absorbent cotton and strips of plaster, and a 
bath of soothing oils, he told his wife, in the same 
confident spirit that he showed when he first went 
to the cow-pen, "That thar pesky critter hadn't 
drug me 'round that thar pen more'n three times 
before I was purty certain I had made a mistake." 

And I had seen somewhere in my travels a big 
fat woman with a poodle in her lap. Either of 
these, or both, the misguided farmer, or the over- 
whelmed poodle, presented to my imagination the 
"sight that must have been. seen" had I been made 
Presiding Elder of that District ! I would have 
discovered my mistake before I had been around 
the first time ! Or, if you please, imagine that 
great fat District with me in its lap! 

And there is another view, if you please. I did 
not care to appear, by contrast with the men who 
had served the District, any smaller than I really 

Besides, I had a pretty fair name in the Confer- 
ence, and I wanted to keep it. We have had some 
sensible Bishops in my day. I was not made Pre- 
siding Elder of the Lynchburg District, nor of any 
other District. 

I am a little ahead of my story. The Conference 


of 1904 met in my Church, Centenary, Lynchburg, 
and the prospect of the coming deluge of Preach- 
ers and laymen and visitors was not pleasant, un- 
til I got a clear view of the situation. Then I 
found* that fear had taken the place of my usual 
calm in an emergency, and that imagination had 
put in some very successful work. She is a great 
artist : it is her business. 

When the Lynchburg Preachers' Meeting held 
a Council for Investigation and Organization, the 
mists dissolved and the sun of our dearest hopes 
shined forth in perfect splendor. Our Committees 
were formed, the task of each was allotted, the 
work began, progressed, and was carried to a con- 
clusion successfully: the Conference adjourned 
satisfied, delighted, charmed with the hospitality of 
the city, and amazed at the ease with which the 
whole thing was done. Congratulations poured in 
on me, the Chairman, by every mail. The fact is, 
I had done nothing but enjoy the high distinction 
of presiding over the best group of Committees a 
Chairman ever had. I sat in an arm-chair on a 
soft cushion, and drew my breath and the com- 
mendations of the dear people who had enjoyed 
our food and our beds, while the consecrated men 
on the four Committees were doing everything 
they could to make the Conference a great suc- 

A very embarrassing situation as it related to 
me, but very amusing to Brothers Atwill and Sid- 
ney Peters and others, was precipitated by me on 


Conference Sunday. Everybody, except me, knew 
Bishop A. W. Wilson's habit of holding firmly to 
privileges and prerogatives of his office as sacred 
and unassailable! He came into my Study, on the 
left side of the eastern vestibule of the church, 
with Brother Atwill, greeted me cordially, and 
remarked casually that it lacked just ten min- 
utes of eleven. I repied, with the same cordial- 
ity, "I am glad to see you this morning. Bishop, 
and we will gq at once to the pulpit if you are 
ready. But before you announce your hymn my 
choir will chant the Lord's Prayer." The good 
Bishop exclaimed, "No they will not: I have no 
time for these frills and thrills. I have got to 
preach, then ordain these men, and then get my 
dinner. Besides, I am in charge of this service, 
and you have nothing to do with it." "But," said 
I, "Bishop, as this is my church, I thought I Would 
make everything as pleasant for you as possible." 
"But this is not your church. You haven't got any 
church till I give you an appointment at the end 
of the session." In the meantime. Brother Atwill 
and the others had fled from the room. Then 
thinking to end the matter, I said, "Well, Bishop 
I am very sorry that I have said anything: I hope 
you will think of it as not having been said." "But," 
said he, "you have said it, and it cannot be un- 

Filled with dismay, I sent a messenger hurriedly 
to Mrs. Christian at the organ to "leave out every- 
thing except the Doxology." But, pshaw, that 


choir, under that leader, took the bit in its teeth 
that day, and we had music, we did ! I followed 
the Bishop up the aisle to the pulpit. I knew not 
which way Atwill had fled till I found his tracks 
in that aisle from the door to the chancel. The 
mischievous messenger of truth had spread the 
news of "the scrimmage in the Study" to every 
preacher on that side of the church, for^ as I 
went up that aisle, disheveled and broken, like 
Hector dragged by the heel at thje tail-board of 
the chariot of Achilles, man after man, commenc- 
ing with Peters just inside the door, stopped 
to ask, "Butts, when is your choir going to chant?" 
For the life of me, I could not see the humor in the 
occasion; but they saw it, and that was enough. 

The music that morning was never better. The 
Bishop gave us one of the greatest sermons of his 
wonderful and inspiring career. He was a prince 
in the pulpit, one of the greatest preachers in the 
Southern Methodist Church. 

Incidentally I had to forward a package to him 
a few days later, a package which came to him af- 
ter Conference adjourned. I received a letter from 
him promptly acknowledging the receipt of the 
package, my "thoughtful care of him during the 
session," and "congratulations upon the ease Con- 
ference was entertained." His great heart was in 
every word and line of that letter. 

The close of the year 1906 came, and I prepared 
to go. I did not doubt for a moment that I had 
my destination already in my mind, but still I 


feared to mark my goods. Other men had been 
mistaken when they were "certain." I went to 
Portsmouth to a very agreeable session, spent a 
delightful week, and returned to Lynchburg with 
the Bishop's order carefully adjusted to the thought 
in my mind, and the two tallied to a dot. 




The Conference of 1906 met in Monumental 
Church in the City of Portsmouth, Va., November 
14th and adjourned the 19th. Bishop Eugene R. 
Hendrix presided. Paul Whitehead was Secre- 
tary, and S. S. Lambeth and Geo. F. Greene were 
Assistant Secretaries. 

The quadrennium ending with this session was 
costly in the loss of some of our purest and best 
men by death ; men of achievement, who had stood 
up before their brethren of the Southern Metho- 
dist Church as representatives of an aggressive 
body of consecrated ministers and laymen. Her- 
bert T. Bacon, John B. Dey, Jas. E. Gates, Thos. 
H. Early, (son of the Bishop,) J. Carson Watson, 
(father of our brother J. C. Watson in Danville,) 
M. S. Colonna, Sr., (father of our Dr. M. S. Co- 
lonna, and my predecessor in Middlesex,) Jas. M. 
Anderson, (father of Dr. D. R. Anderson at the 
R. M. Woman's College at; jLynchburg,) R. A. 
Compton, (my successor on the Mathews circuit,) 
Dr. Wm. E. Edwards, Sr., (son of Dr. John E. Ed- 
wards, and a most valuable friend to me,) John T. 


Moore, N. H. Robertson, R. H. Younger, R. E. 
Bentley, Dr. J. Powell Garland, (of whom I have 
written at length in another chapter,) Thos. S. 
Leitch, John W. Crider, Thos. H. Campbell, (in 
whose parsonage on Gates circuit the Rosebud 
Missionary Society was started in 1879,) T. J. 
Wray, and B. C. Beahm, — nineteen! "These all 
died in the faith." "Their works do follow them." 

J. M. Anderson was orthodox and faithful 

The morning after I delivered the opening ser- 
mon before the Conference at Newport News in No- 
vember, 1901, Brother Anderson met me in front 
of the Church on 29th Street, and invited me to 
take a walk. He commended in his earnest, sin- 
cere way, my treatment of my theme "The Atone- 
ment" in the sermon of the evening before. It was 
high praise from a man like him. 

About this time we met one of our most prom- 
inent preachers. He challenged me to cut out a 
certain point I had made, adding "If you cut that 
out, the sermon has not a flaw." Before I could 
reply, Brother Anderson said "Cut out nothing, 
you are absolutely correct in your position." 

The following were received on Trial during the 
quadrennium : — Henry W. Davis, Thos. Rosser 
Reeves, Frank L. Wells, Ben. T. Candler, J. W. 
* Dixon, Chas. Tinsley Thrift, (now in the North 
Carolina Conference,) Clayton O. Tuttle, J. T. 
Allen, H. V. Shenton, Jas. T. Moord, (now Chap- 
lain in U. S. Army,) L. G. Crutchfield, J. R. Laugh- 
/ ton, P. Manning Hank, and John W. Shackford, 


Supt. Teacher Training for the Sunday School 
Board of our Church. This is a fine body of men. 
Many of them now occupy places of prominence in 
the Conference, and all of them are "showing forth 
the praise of Him who called them" to the exalted 
station of a Minister of the Gospel of our Salva- 

Dr. Gilby C. Kelly came into the Conference in 
1903 from the Tennessee Conference. He is a ripe 
scholar, a profound thinker, a patient student of 
problems of faith and conduct, grappling them with 
the ease of a skilled workman who has learned his 
art from the Master of Assemblies. His childlike 
trust in Jesus Christ, his generous requital of my 
friendship, (the friendship of a smaller man than 
he,) won me, and I have honored him to this 
day. His modest reserve has not made him 
universally popular. In this respect he has been 
unjust to himself. In debate he never uses 
those ordinary weapons, known to the platform as 
invective, irony, sarcasm. He deals in the heavy 
artillery of the 16-inch rifle, — a logical movement 
from an undisputed premise to a conclusion that 
sweeps away the pleas of an antagonist as one 
would a cobweb with a broom ; a method which 
sometimes leaves the other angry; or "skulking 
in his tent ;" or, metaphorically, dead on the field of 
conflict. • The doctor often disarms his opponent at 
the outset, but if not, he has so smashed his defence 
as to make "further talk useless." His sermons 
have the charm of originality, poetic at times, al- 


ways profoundly intellectual, but never at the ex- 
pense of spirituality : concrete exhibits of the clear- 
est Christian Philosophy. There is none more sin- 
cere, nor truer, nor braver, than my Western friend 
and brother. Dr. Gilby C. Kelly ! 

A very appropriate and beautiful incident halted 
the business of the Conference for, perhaps, half 
an hour, on the morning of the first day. "Dr. S. S. 
Lambeth, on behalf of the members of the Con- 
ference, presented to Dr. Paul Whitehead, Secre- 
tary of the Conference, a Loving Cup, as a token of 
their love and appreciation of his service for many 
years in that office. The Secretary responded, and 
Bishop Hendrix made appropriate remarks." 

The question of changing the date for the time 
of meeting of the Annual Conference came up on 
a motion made by Dr. Cannon, Dr. Lipscomb and 
Dr. Reed, and a special "Committee of one preacher 
and one layman from each District was appointed 
to consider and report on the question at this ses- 
sion of the Conference." This committee was con- 
stituted as follows : — T. G. Pullen, W. H. Vincent, 
J. W. Stiff, John Hope, W. P. Wright, Geo. L. 
Stevens, L. H. Early, D. M. Pattie, C. E. Hobday, 
J. W. C. Davis, W. W. Royall, J. A. Morriss, W. H. 
Edwards, J. E. Rogers, J. K. Jolliff, A. L. Adamson, 
Jas. Cannon, Jr., W. E. Homes, E. M. Jordan, 
Isaac L. Price, J. K. Holman and N. P. Angle. A 
very able body of men, capable of reaching a clean 
cut conclusion without haste or carelessly. This 
Committee reported on the fourth day, through its 


Chairman, T. G. Pullen, as follows: — "After care- 
fully canvassing almost the entire Conference for 
the purpose of ascertaining its sentiments with 
reference to the proposed change in its date of 
meeting, and a thorough discussion of the advis- 
ability of a change, the Committee adopted the 
following resolution: — Resolved, that after care- 
fully considering the question of a change in the 
time of holding the Conference session, we are of 
the opinion that there is no pressing demand for 
such change, and that further agitation of the sub- 
ject may be safely postponed." Dr. Reed offered a 
substitute for the report, but, after discussion, it 
was rejected and the report adopted. 

It seems perfectly clear to me that the Com- 
mittee, from its own statement in the preamble, 
got the vote of the Conference before the Confer- 
ence got the report before it for consideration ! 

A feature of the Conference which added worth 
to every day's session was an address each morn- 
ing at the devotional hour by Bishop Hendrix. 
Beginning with Thursday, the 15th, he spoke on 
"The Friendship of the Senior and the Junior 
Preacher, — Elijah and Elisha." 

Friday Morning, "The, Unbroken Friendship." 

Saturday Morning, "The Interrupted Friendship, 
— The Parting of Paul and Barnabas." 

Monday Morniing, "The Perfect Friendship,' — 
Jesus and John." 

At Charlottesville in 1903 the Bishop inaugurated 
this feature of the devotional exercises. Each day 


he delivered a valuable and inspiring address on 
some phase of the work of the Holy Spirit. The 
first day on "The Authentication of the Holy 

The second day on "The Epiphanies of the Holy 

The next day on "The Friendship of the Holy 

On Monday on "The Home of the Holy Spirit." 
And on Tuesday on "The Holy Spirit in the Har- 
vest Field." 

These Addresses, brought into play the mag- 
nificent analytical powers of Bishop Hendrix, and 
the deep spiritual emphasis, together with his mas- 
terly use of the best English, aroused the emotions 
and stirred the conscience of the large congrega- 
tions which assembled each morning at 9:30 to 
partake of the feast. His eloquence was set to 
the Pentecostal note. The Holy Spirit honored 
this servant of the Church, and made effective for 
edification each day's message. 

Conference adjourned on the 19th, and I was ap- 
pointed to the Laurel Street Church in the City of 
Richmond. Rev. Joseph A. Thomas became my 
successor at Centenary, Lynchburg. 

The Laurel Street parsonage was then at 603 
West Main Street, opposite that beautiful spot, 
Monroe Park. When I was a student at R. M. 
College at Ashland in 1868-71, this field was the 
Fair Grounds, enclosed with a higli fence. Above 
the parsonage, perhaps three blocks, was "Sidney 


Chapel." "Laurel Street" Church was the hand- 
some child of the old "Oregon Hill" church where 
Duffey, Compton and Ferguson of the Baltimore 
Conference, and John Hannon and I from the Vir- 
ginia, all students at Ashland, preached during the 
College session ; testing our blades on the tender 
sensibilities of a patient people, or whetting them 
for skilled labor in the harvest fields of the future, 
or sowing seed for the reapers who might follow. 
Those were great days. The people were of a 
sturdy cast of mind and much patience. I found 
only one or two old sisters at the new church on 
Laurel Street who heard me "try to preach" in 
the old building on Church St., thirty-seven years 
ago. The others had "gone the way of all the 
earth" awaiting in the slumber of death the res- 
urrection of all. 

The year was not a brilliant one for me. Several 
■'slips'' jarred the movement of my career and 
threatened permanent ditching. I made my first 
mistake on the night of our reception in the Lec- 
ture room of the church : I said too much, and the 
people got my measure. Some never came again. 
No doubt they believed I had told them all that I 
knew ; so they decided not to attend another service 
until another preacher came. That was sensible. 
What's the wisdom of listening to the same old 
story Wednesday night and twice on Sunday? My 
next mistake consisted in getting down in bed with 
erysipelas in the face. While my dear younger 
brother. Dr. Nuckles, treated the case from 


thcv standpoint of the physical, and succeeded 
splendidly, Rev. Dr. W. J. Young, then at Cen- 
tenary, and Rev. Geo. H. McFaden, of Asbury 
church, called on me in a very fraternal sort 
of way ; sat in my best chair, (not at the 
same time, altho I do not deny that there was 
ample room for both,) and declared that there was 
none more homely than I: that I resembled an 
African, and that could the Virginia Conference in 
session get a good view of me it would disown me. 
This was the kind of medicine these clerical com- 
forters poured into my soul. Expert practitioners 
with a tough case. It is needless to say I recov- 
ered. The witticisms of George Mac, and the re- 
fined incisive style of the "Little Minister," led 
me to understand that my place was on "the trite 
and oft-trodden path" of pastoral visitation. The 
worth of linguistic deliverances in the room of the 
sick depends upon who talks, and how. The per- 
son and the tone can "kill or cure." I knew a doc- 
tor on one of my charges who drove certain folks 
out with, what I took to be, the threat of the gun, 
and went straight out and got another person and 
turned him into the room where the grave yawned. 
A couple of thin sisters of doubtful age recom- 
mending bread pills for the itch, or ipecac and par- 
egoric for bilious fever, ought to start an inquiry 
over the phone, "Can the undertaker come on short 
notice?", or a hurry-call for the police to perform 
the quick operation of excluding the loquacious 
murderers! But if you wish to heal quickly, em- 


ploy a couple of the disciples of humor and prayer : 
lead them to the bedside of the sick, and they will 
cast out the Devil of Freezing and Fire with the 
only weapon Satan hates. Dr. Hope, in Ports- 
mouth, resorted to this method with me when I 
was ill on Harrison Street in 1889. I had ex- 
changed pulpits with Dr. Wm. E. Edwards on a 
certain Sabbath morning. The strain threw me 
into a severe attack of fever. Dr. Hope brought 
Dr. Edwards and four other spirits like him, 
and put them into my room: kept the brother 
and the sister with the "chronics" out in the street, 
threatening them with a sousing application of 
city water from Lake Kilby, and I was soon well 
again. Hope was an expert at that sort of thing, 
and I got well in a hurry. I had an uncle who was 
a physician. He contended that he lost more pa- 
tients from the visits of Dyspeptics than from any 
other cause. I reckon he was correct: I myself, 
seldom sick, have often felt like calling for a Hos- 
pital Ambulance on the departure of such a visitor 
from my Study. 

Mistakes are unusual with my wife. People who 
knew her will believe that assertion. But she 
made one on the first Sunday of her sojourn in 
Richmond. She allowed herself to be blown up 
by a gas stove ! She did not look well after the 
explosion. When I responded to her call for iielp 
I had to get into the kitchen through the window 
from the back-yard. The impact from the ex- 
plosion had locked both doors leading to that room. 


Her escape from death was marvellous. Hence 
our rejoicing. 

My earliest mistake was in not arriving in Rich- 
mond till the Friday of- the second week after Con- 
ference adjourned. My goods, were all in a freight 
car in Lynchburg on Monday before sunset. I 
was ready to go on Tuesday, but could not get 
into the Laurel Street parsonage till Friday. So 
wife went to our daughter's home at Arrington 
with our diminishing family, whilst I stayed around 
town sometimes in one "home," and sometimes in 
another, till Thursday night. Then, according to 
agreement, we assembled at Sister Guy's on Col- 
lege Hill, and boarding the "Roanoke & Peters- 
burg Local" on the N. & W. at 8:30 next morning 
arrived in Richmond about 2:30 at the Byrd St. 
station. Officials of the church met us there, and 
in a short while we were in the parsonage, and at 
home, though late. 

The story of Methodism in Richmond is an in- 
tensely interesting narrative. It can be found in 
a volume edited by Rev. Dr. E. L. Pell, entitled, 
"A Hundred Years of Richmond Methodism; The 
Story as told at the Centennial Celebration, 1909." 
The addresses delivered by leading ministers are 
of thrilling interest to any one who delights in the 
triumphs of faith, and in the growth of the King- 

Rev. W. W. Lear, D. D., then at Centenary 
church, tells the story of the founding of "Oregon 
Hill Chapel." He says :— 


"On a rainy Sunday afternoon in October, 1849, 
a few earnest workers from Centenary got to- 
gether in a private house in the southwestern part 
of the City, not far from the Penitentiary, and or- 
ganized a Sunday School with Watkins Taylor as 
Superintendent. A few weeks afterwards a So- 
ciety was organized and a house of worship (known 
as Oregon Chapel) was erected on the corner of 
Church Street and Maiden Lane. The first pastor 
of the new church was Rev. Jas. E. Joyner, the 
second Rev. John L. Clarke, and the third Rev. 
Saml. L. Eskridge. For several years Oregon was 
a small and struggling church, but under the min- 
istry of Rev. Henry B. Cowles matters mightily 
improved." In the fall of 1870 that Apostle of the 
Evangelical faith, Rev. Geo. W. Nolley was sent to 
Oregon Chapel, and was followed in regular order 
by Revs. Lewis A. Guy, John T. Moore and George 
M. Wright. Bro. Wright served Oregon Chapel 
four years, beginning November, 1875. During his 
term they moved over to a new building on Laurel 
Street, and at the Conference of 1877 the name 
"Oregon" disappears from the list of appointments, 
and "Laurel St.," takes its place. Then Rev. Wm. 
P. Wright, father of our Archie Wright, is sent to 
the church in November, 1879, and was succeeded 
at the end of three years by Rev. A. G. Wardlaw 
who remained only one year. At the end of one 
year, Bro. W. P. Wright is returned to the church, 
1883, remaining this time four years. It was dur- 
ing this second term, I think, that the present 


church edifice was completed. Then the following 
ministers served the church for the terms indi- 
cated : — 

W. O. Waggener, two years, November 1887 to 
November 1889; C. C. Wertenbaker, two years, No- 
vember 1889 to November 1891 ; W. E. Judkins, two 
years, November 1891 to November 1893; T. J. 
Taylor, four years, November 1893 to November 
1897; R. F. Gayle, four years, November 1897 to 
November 1901 ; H. E. Johnson, three years, No- 
vember 1901 to November 1904; Jos. E. Thomas, 
two years, November 1904 to November 1906; D. 
G. C. Butts, one year, November 1906 to Novem- 
ber 1907. 

So I entered upon my \vork as the twentieth 
pastor of this congregation from its organization 
as a church in October, 1849, to November, 1906. 
I have no data from 1849 to 1870 but the Oregon 
Chapel reported in 1870, one hundred and seventy 
church members, and ninety-eisrht Sunday School 
scholars ; raised for all purposes, at that Confer- 
ence $515.18, by the three congregations, Oregon, 
Sidney and Rocketts. At the Conference of 1906 
there are 306 Sunday School scholars, and 512 
Church members, and $4,612.57 raised for all pur- 
poses at Laurel Street alone. In the meantime, 
Park Place had taken the place of Sidney, and Ep- 
worth had been built, and also Asbury, Bro. Mc- 
Faden's church still further out. On the Fulton 
side of the city Denny St., and Fulton Hill had 
taken the place of Rocketts. Here was develop- 


ment from the three churches existing in 1870, and 
reporting as one Charge. 

As soon as my health would permit, about the 
middle of January, 1907, I took hold of my work 
with all the zeal that was in me. I had a noble 
band to co-operate with me, and my courage never 
was on in better shape. The first work that en- 
grossed our thought was the proposal to grapple 
with the debt on the parsonage, some $700.00, and 
get that out of the way. The plan was well con- 
ceived, the organized effort was put in trim for 
work, the people gave liberally and cheerfully, and 
by the middle of April, the last dollar was in, and 
the note paid. Then we had a great "Bond Burn- 
ing Meeting" in the auditorium of the Church, and 
rejoiced accordingly. 

After about three months' rest I tried to lead the 
leaders of the church up to the point of making 
plans for improving the old building. It needed a 
new dress badly. A re-adjustment of the Lecture 
room as well as the audience room above, called 
loudly for immediate attention. . Two popular and 
attractive churches in the vicinity, — the Protest- 
ant Episcopal and the Baptist,— the former under 
the leadership of a progressive and beloved Rector, 
the latter under the pastorate of a man who had 
served the congregation for more than thirty years, 
and had built up a strong membership ; — these two 
institutions were sapping the life of Laurel Street 
Church. Something had to be done, and there was 
no time to lose. I tried to show the folks the 


need, but I failed. Then I resorted to the last rem- 
edy. I determined on my course, and I did not hes- 
itate. I went over to Petersburg and confided my 
plan to Dr. Wilson, my Presiding Elder, but be- 
fore anything more in the way of consultation 
could be had. Dr. Wilson had passed to his eternal 
reward, and the matter was dropped, till Bro. J. T. 
Mastin took up the work Dr. Wilson had left. 

On my arrival on the charge Bailey, Boltz, Ham, 
Miller, Farmer, Davis, Redford, Gilliam, the Miller 
boys. Pool, Henry Winston, and others of that size 
gave the incoming pastor the right hand of fel- 
lowship, and from that time on he had their val- 
uable co-operation. But it was hard going. It 
seemed to the preacher that the great effort made 
in the winter to pay the parsonage debt had over- 
strained a tendon in the lumbar region of the en- 
tire membership, and a weak back was the result. 
Or, whilst they were resting after the strenuous 
drive they fell asleep with the window open, and 
caught "cold in the feet." Chilled enthusiasm and 
spiritual lumbago will halt any movement except 
backsliding: the law of spiritual gravity applies 
here. The cohesive force in nature, (the power on 
the throne keeping order in the senate of worlds,) 
is paralleled in the spiritual world by "the law of 
the Spirit of Life,"' — that activity in *the kingdom of 
God is the price of vitality and development. 

Yet, after all our set-backs are considered, and 
the many times I was "ditched" during the "run," 
the year was a very pleasant one. Many incidents 


transpired to make us glad we came to Richmond. 
I was, for the first time in my ministry of thirty- 
six years within haihng distance of my old home, — 
Petersburg. Here the last of my kin resided, Mrs. 
W. B. Mcllwaine and Mrs. Bernard Mann, the 
daughters of my mother's brother, the late Dr. 
John _ Herbert Claiborne. His widow, who was 
Miss Annie Watson, lived there too in the old home 
on Union Street. Miss Nora Fontaine Maury Da- 
vidson, the "unreconstructed rebel" and founder of 
the Confederate Memorial Day, the daughter of 
my father's eldest sister, yet lived in the old town.. 
In old Blandford Cemetery my dead were sleep- 
ing "till Jesus bids them rise ;" my honored father, 
straight as an arrow, gallant, courteous, clean 
and true ; my mother, a woman of prayer, 
modest, beautiful, constant, affectionate ; my half- 
brother, Robert Emmet, the crown and joy of the 
home, the promising young lawyer, who lay down 
his life for the Confederacy in the "Battle of the 
Crater;" my grandparents on both sides, — Gen. 
Daniel Claiborne Butts and his wife, Elizabeth 
Randolph Harrison, and Rev. John Gregory Clai- 
borne and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Weldon, and 
my mother's brothers. Dr. John Herbert Claiborne 
and Dr. Gregory Weldon Claiborne. And my 
father's brother, Capt. Daniel Butts, and all his 
were buried there. For the first time since 1868 I 
was so near all these precious relics that I made it 
a matter of conscience and heart to visit the old 
shrine four or five times during the year. It gave 


me joy to sit over there in a quiet place near my 
dead, and think of them, of my duty, of the Good 
Father who gave them to me, and of the claim of 
the Church upon my faithful use of time and talent, 
the call of a needy world, and immortal nature of 
my own spirit. It was a mournful privilege in my 
grasp that year, and my soul took courage from 
the teaching of my environment. Each time I re- 
turned to my task in Richmond with a higher ap- 
preciation of life and its daily opportunities for 

Nineteen hundred and seven was the year of the 
Jamestown Exposition. Numbers of our iriends 
from other parts of the State, on their way to, or 
from, the Exposition, made Richmond a resting- 
point. We flung our doors wide open for their use, 
and we rejoiced in the privilege. Mr. B. Gates 
Garth, with several of his family, beloved friends 
from Albemarle county, in whose hospitable home. 
I and mine had found gracious and abundant treat- 
ment when on that circuit, drifted in on a certain 
kindly tide. Two daughters of Dr. (now Bishop) 
Collins Denny, of Nashville, Tenn., honored us with 
a sojourn of two days. We found them to be just 
plain folks, such as we had been accustomed to 
all our lives, — refined, sensible, not "righteous 
over-much," easily satisfied with what they found 
in a Methodist parsonage, and very pleasant young 
people everyway. It is not surprising that each 
married a minister of the Gospel,i — one a member 
of our Conference, the other a missionary to a 


foreign land. It is fine policy to send our Chris- 
tian girls out among the heathen of any country, 
that the heathen may have an object lesson on 
what Protestant Christianity can make of a wo- 
man: and still more, what a Protestant Christian 
woman can do for our social life ! 

Another very delightful occasion of the year was 
the Reunion of the Confederate Veterans. This 
was the magnetic incident which attracted the 
thinning ranks of Grey from west and south once 
more to the old Capitol of the Confederacy. They 
came, also, to fight over again the battles of '61 to 
'65 in story and song, and to retail the old yarns 
for the one hundredth time, then separate for the 
last time, possibly, till "the Roll is called up Yon- 

Into our open door they came by day and by 
night; it mattered not when to us, so they came. 
From Lynchburg came the Lynchburg Confederate 
twins Jim Wray and Joe Thompson. These in- 
creased to triplets before the day had died for Bill 
Gregory had a bed down the street in another 
house, but he stayed at our home, ate there, loafed 
there, and was one of us. Then when I hitched on, 
Mrs. Butts had the rankest quartette of "Inno- 
cents in Grey" that ever she had bargained to 
handle in all of her life of unselfish service. When 
Wray, Thompson, Gregory, and "the parson" mixed 
and meandered with that jolly multitude in the 
streets of the Metropolis that memorable week, 
four happier men could not be found within the 


corporation. They were easily fed, soundly slept, 
and quietly dispatched out upon the streets again 
when the peace of the parsonage demanded it. 
And when the three departed they left behind such 
melancholic silence that one could hear it sigh ! 

The year was not without its bereavement to 
our great Church and Conference. Dr. Richard 
T. Wilson, Presiding Elder of the West Richmond 
District, died August 28th, at his home on a farm 
near Petersburg. He presided over the District 
Conference at Beaver Dam in July, and although 
many of us knew that he was not well, few of us 
suspected that his useful life was so soon to end. A 
graduate of the Virginia Military Institute at 
Lexington, in 1870, a Professor of Mathematics in 
a college in Arkansas, later a diligent student of 
law, his career seemed to have already begun with 
the promise of such success as would satisfy the 
most ambitious. But his long struggle against the 
early call to the Ministry at last broke down. He 
abandoned the practice of his profession for the 
vocation of the pulpit and the pastorate. "A sig- 
nificant event following his joining Conference was 
the appointments he received in the midst of the 
• people among whom he practiced law-. His first 
appointment was Wesley Petersburg, where his 
ministry was eminently successful. Going from 
that church to Chestnut St., Berkeley, (now Mem- 
orial,) thence to Clay St., Richmond, he was then 
appointed to Market Street, Petersburg, where he 
had served as Steward for nine years, and as Super- 


intendent of the Sunday School for sixteen years. 
Here was his most successful pastorate. "The peo- 
ple respected him and loved him, and evidences 
of his faithful and zealous labors are still appar- 
ent." He was "a member of the General Confer- 
ence of 1906, Presiding Elder on three Districts — 
Richmond, Petersburg- and West Richmond, and 
was completing his quadrennium on the last named 
when he heard the summons to higher labors" and 
unending life. 

Dr. Paul Whitehead, who for fifty-four years had 
been the Secretary of the Annual Conference, died 
in St. Luke's Hospital, Richmond, April 3rd, 1907. 
He was received on Trial into the Conference with 
fifteen others at the sesion of 1853 in Court Street 
Church, Lynchburg. In 1856 he was stationed in 
Lexington, Va., "and was there brought into in- 
timate association with the now famous Stone- 
wall Jackson. He was nine times elected to the 
General Conference. He was appointed to rep- 
resent the Southern Methodist Church in the Third' 
Ecumenical Conference of the World's Methodism 
in London in 1901. He was Presiding Elder 
twenty-five years. He was a fine ecclesiastical 
lawyer, and contributed of his fine memory, clear 
judgment, and constructive talent in framing our 
present Discipline. 

Two Bishops died this year, both elected to this 
high office from the ranks of our Conference : — 
Bishop John C. Granbery and Bishop A. Coke 



Dr. W. J. Young, who wrote the Memoir of 
Bishop Granbery, says he "was a native of Virginia, 
having been born in Norfolk, and for many years 
served the leading stations of the Virginia Confer- 
ence. During these years he was recognized as a 
faithful, painstaking pastor, and a helpful ex- 
pounder of the pure word of God. In the vigor of 
his manhood he turned aside from the pastorate to 
become a Professor in the Vanderbilt University. 
While here he preached nearly every Sabbath to 
the edification of all who heard him, and in these 
days no one in Nashville was more gladly heard 
than he. His influence over the young men under 
his instruction, especially those preparing for the 
ministry, was uplifting and inspiring, — an influence 
created, perhaps, by his character more than by his 

"Bishop Granbery was so transparently sincere 
that his life was known and read of all men. And 
how simple he was, as humble as a little child, pos- 
sessing the sort of childlikeness of which the Mas- 
ter spoke, when he made it the condition of en- 
trance into the Kingdom of Heaven. 

"His was a spotless life. No one was ever heard 
to call in question his motives or to accuse him of 
anything short of downright uprightness." 

Dr. R. H. Bennett says of Bishop Smith: — 
"Coming to us in middle life as a stranger he en- 
tered at once the inmost citadel of our hearts, and 
grew, if possible, dearer to us with the passing 
years. His buoyant spirits, rollicking humor, won- 


derful magnetism, scorn of all ignoble things, 
abounding usefulness, chivalrous manliness, broth- 
erly sympathy, generosity of heart and humility of 
soul, were the golden keys to our interest and our 
love; while his scholarly attainments, simple yet 
profound faith, his deep and unaffected piety, and 
his prophet's vision deepened our admiration and 
increased our esteem. He was the best equipped 
man for the pastorate we have ever known." 

Paul Bradley, one of our best and truest young 
men, fell at his post of duty on the walls of Zion 
this year. I knew him as a candid, sincere, earnest 
Christian gentleman of the old school, in which 
rudeness, coarse manners, and impurity are un- 
known. His smiling face was the reflection of a 
clean heart. His courage was the product of a 
high aim. His modesty and amiability were nat- 
ural. His industry was an index to his sense of re- 
sponsibility for the wise use of his talents. None 
but the kind of man Paul Bradley was could have 
won for his wife the accomplished and lovely young 
woman who surrendered her life to him, and when 
he fell at her side in the path of duty, lamented his 
going, — becoming "a widow indeed, and desolate, 
trusting in God, and continuing in supplications and 

Dr. W. W. Lear, in the admirable Memoir of 
Bro. Bradley, says of him : — "It seemed strange to 
me when I c'ame into the Conference room a few 
days ago that I could not find, in the gathering 
throng, the smiling face of the friend whose pres- 

fit BtTOGlr, fioAt A*rt) AAitwAt 4$9 

ence for more than thirty years, at each recur- 
ring session, I had eagerly sought. But I know 
where he is, and the coming years, when my own 
work is done, I shall look him up, and once more 
we shall talk heart to heart, and our friendship 
will be unbroken forever." 

Paul Bradley died July 30th, 1907. Dr. Lear on 
February 1st, 1918, joined his "room-mate and 
chum," whom he knew so well and loved, and the 
interrupted "fellowship" between these two worthy 
men was renewed on the soul's eternal campus. 

The end of the year came on apace. My reso- 
lution, formed in July, to ask removal from Lau- 
rel Street church because, in my judgment, I was 
not meeting the needs of our Church in that part 
of the City, had become stronger as the months 
went by. My decision was unalterable. My own 
destination gave me not a moment's thought. I 
knew that the church could not afford to wait 
twelve months longer that I might try for better 
results another year. I communicated my views to 
Bro. Mastin Presiding Elder and left the matter in 
his hands. Then I concluded to "face the throne" 
with the same facts; so therefore, on the Norfolk 
& Western train, between Lynchburg and Farm- 
ville, I gave Bishop Galloway the whole story. 
When he opened the session of Conference the 
next week in Petersburg he was fully informed of 
my reasons for believing that I should give way to 
a man of different type from myself, but he was 
not satisfied with the wisdom of my decision. He 


advised that I try again, but I would not agree to 
do so, and I do not think the good Bishop was 
pleased with our interview. He asked me where 
I wanted to go. I told him I had given it no 
thought : that he and my Presiding Elder could 
settle that matter without my help. 

But as Conference drew near I found it a greater 
trial than I had thought it would be to give up my 
friends at Laurel Street, as ^yell as many outside 
of that charge, who had made my short stay among 
them so very delightful. Prof. Frank Woodward 
and John Landstreet, the friends of my College 
days at Ashland, had given me a welcome to the 
city just one year before that took away the lonely 
feeling of the first few weeks of a residence among 
strangers. Woodward had developed into a brainy 
and successful member of his profession. At Col- 
lege his studious habits, his quick mind, his vig- 
orous, abounding life, his wonderful popularity 
prophesied a future of unusual achievement. He 
entered the ministry but discovered his mistake in 
time to devote his life to the calling for which he 
was especially equipped. He was an orator of no 
mean ability; handling the best English with 
ease, exercising an imagination which placed be- 
fore his audience the topics of his theme in the 
most attractive form, and with the boldest fancy 
springing to the most daring flights of rhetorical 
speech. "Gig" Woodward, as his familiar friends 
called him, was as lovable a college boy as I ever 
knew, and he has held my esteem ever since. He 


was the son of Bro. B. F. Woodward, a beloved 
member of our Conference. John Landstreet was 
always the sturdy, rollicking, go-ahead chap that 
made him manager in one of the largest Tobacco 
Companies in this country. He looked big to me 
at College, so much so that when I saw him com- 
ing down the track I climbed the fence and let him 
have the whole road. John usually "got there" at 
whatever he attempted, except in the books. Those 
things were made in a room with four walls, a 
roof, and no ventilation. John knew that, and had 
little .sympathy with "the Fads of Filosophers," 
foB quagmires, quicksand, or drowning awaited the 
man out of step with their wanderings in the 
swamps of impossible, hence unnatural, theories. 
John stuck to the fields, the cool, fresh air, or 
climbed the stately oak of a real, undisputed fact, 
or swam out, never beyond his depth, into the 
translucent waters of positive truth. Hence John, 
with all his rugged, romping, knock-down-and- 
drag-out about the earth, the stars, the human 
family, and personal responsibility, got to be a 
man who did things, and did them well. John was 
the son of a preacher in the Baltimore Conference, 
M. E. Church, South. 

Jas. T. Lumpkin was another one of my bosom 
friends and College chums. He was a man of fine 
intelligence, clear mind, warm heart and generous 
impulses. He was of a devout spirit, praying 
much, and "content with such things as he had." 
He was not penurious but economical, saving that 


he might serve others. He counted wastefulness 
as great a sin against Providence as vulgarity is 
against grace: both condemned by a just and 
righteous God. We did not room together; we 
loved each other too well. We associated with 
each other, and studied together, and visited to- 
gether, and joined Conference at the same time in 
1870 at the Xynchburg session, and hugged when 
we met at each recurring session. When I went 
to Richmond in the fall of 1906, Tom Lumpkin 
sought me out and clung to me to the end of my 
short term. Then he lamented my leaving, up- 
braided me for the view I held, challenged me to 
be a man, and stand my ground, and all that, and 
more. He worshipped with us at Laurel St., fre- 
quently, and his presence was ever an inspiration. 

Bro. Lumpkin was an unusually strong man on 
Christian Doctrine, and the Methodist Standards 
of Theology. His prayerful and patient study of 
the Word, made him a safe interpreter of the text. 
Had he possessed talent for delivery, none could 
have withstood him in a contest over disputed 
points. He was a good man, an humble child of 

It was quite a tax on my sensibilities to meet my 
official board for the last time and bid them fare- 
well before going to Conference knowing that, 
whatever else befell me, I would no longer be 
their pastor and associate. The social gathering 
at the parsonage on the eve of my going to Peters- 
burg, was a love-feast, marred only bv the fact 


that it was "the parting of the ways." They knew, 
now, very well my reasons for asking a change. I 
had no fault to find with them, either as officials 
or individuals: my going, was for their welfare, 
and of my own choice. We sat at the table that 
evening in my own home as brethren beloved, with 
not an absentee to start regrets. And when they 
left my door at the close of the pleasant evening's 
visit, they each one left a blessing on the heart and 
head of both wife and me. 

I think I had a taste of the extraordinary feel- 
ings of Romeo the night of his farewell interview 
with Juliet on the balcony of the home of his 
sweetheart, when he sighed that tearful sigh which 
has shaken the tender emotions of the centuries : 
"Parting is such sweet sorrow that I could say 
'Goodbye' until tomorrow." 




The one hundred and twenty-fifth session of the 
Virginia Conference met in Washington Street 
Church, Petersburg, Va., November 13th, 1907. 
Bishop Chas. B. Galloway, Presided. 

"Dr. Paul Whitehead for forty-seven sessions, 
the faithful and efficient Secretary, and, for seven 
sessions preceding, the Assistant Secretary, hav- 
ing passed to his reward on the 3rd day of April 
last, the roll was called by S. S. Lambeth, the As- 
sistant Secretary of the last Conference." The 
Conference then elected S. S. Lambeth, Secretary, 
and B. F. Lipscomb and Geo. F. Greene, Assistants. 

All the preachers passed in examination of char- 
acter except Chas. L. Bane and Norman R. Smith, 
who had withdrawn fi/om the ministry of our 
Church during the year and surrendered their cre- 

The Conference through Rev. J. H. Amiss, pre- 
sented Dr. S. S. Lambeth a purse of gold in ap- 
preciation of his long and faithful service' as As- 
sistant Secretary. 

Resolutions of Respect adopted by the Board of 


Directors of The Preachers' ReHef Society, in re- 
gard to the death of Judge Wilbur J. Kilby, of 
Suffolk, were read to the Conference, and ordered 
placed upon the record. 

The following class of "well-equipped young 
men" was admitted on Trial, and the Conference 
adopted a resolution of thanks to Almighty God 
for the "unusually large number." They were 
W. A. Smart, O. M. Harris, A. K. Lambdin, J. W. 
Bouldin, R. V. Owen, G. B. King, Chas. E. John- 
son, J. Calloway Robertson, L. A. Smith, J. S. 
Maxey, and J. E. Daniel. 

Dr. J. C. C. Newton and T. H. Haden from the 
Japan Mission Conference, John L. Bray from the 
Oklahoma Conference, and C. T. Collier from the 
China Mission Conference, were received by Trans- 

A handsome gavel made from a part of the chan- 
cel of the old Union Street Church in which the 
first General Conference of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, South, was held in May 1846, was 
presented to Bishop Galloway by Rev. J. B. Winn, 
in behalf of Hon. R. B. Davis of Petersburg. 

Besides the deaths already noticed in the preced- 
ing chapter on Richmond, the following were re- 
ported as having passed away during the year: — 

Wm. E. Bullard, born in Bowling Green, Caro- 
line county, Va., and died on the South Lunenburg 
circuit aged 52 years. He was "a great-grandson 
of Rev. Isaac Lunsford, who helped to establish 
Methodism in far-away Nova Scotia." 


Jas. W. Baker of Madison county, faithfully did 
his work as an itinerant preacher for fifteen years, 
then closed his eyes upon the scene of his earthly 

Robert B. Beadles was the next. His itinerant 
life began in 1855 as Junior Preacher with Rev. 
John B. Dey on Lancaster circuit and ended in 
1907 in Richmond as a Superannuate. His "con- 
scious call of God to preach gave quality and tone 
to all his subsequent ministry, and inspired him 
with unqualified consecration to this great work." 

My home during the session of this Conference 
in ray home town was with the family of Hon. Wm. 
B. Mcllwaine, who was the husband of my cousin 
Joe Claiborne, the daughter of my mother's eld- 
est brother. Dr. John Herbert Claiborne. My co- 
laborer at the breakfast, dinner and supper table, 
was my dear brother Joseph Shackford, Presiding 
Elder of the Lynchburg District. He did well, but 
not as well as he might have done. He had a 
habit of falling down on nearly every proposition 
submitted by the exceedingly polite person who 
waited on the guests at the table. He did better 
at night when, in the privacy of his room, (Mrs. 
Mcllwaine put us in separate rooms,) he gave him- 
self to slumber and snoring. He had something 
on his mind every night that he seemed to wish 
to communicate to some one, I know not who. He 
was a member of the Bishop's Council for the first 
time. I suppose some of the discussions of men 
and places, reeled off in that mysterious conclave. 


got soaked into his anatomy, and this was his 
method of reheving his pent-up emotions. How- 
ever that may be, in the morning when I faced 
him with the charge before the entire household, 
he knew nothing about his "antics of the night," 
and the inquisition had to be abandoned. 

Presiding Elders are queer "specimens of the 
carnivorous genus of mammalia." While they are 
in the ranks of ordinary mortals they are as lo- 
quacious as a child with its first discovery of a 
tongue, meeting the "dear brethren" down in the 
basement of the church of the Conference session, 
and criticising the whole thing from Bishops to 
County Constables, making appointments and tak- 
ing men from charges that "never dreamed of los- 
ing the dear brother." But, let them once get into 
the exclusive, secretive and contemplative group, 
they will pick up whole mouthsful of information, 
meditation, prudence and silence, and walk around 
on rubber heels, with plasters on their mouths 
which are not even porous. 

The only way to annihilate the "Kitchen Cab- 
inet" is for the Bishop at the next session of the 
Annual Conference to discharge all of the silent 
saints now in the Cabinet and let in the Basement 
Solomons. If that does not cure them I recom- 
mend transfer to the Pacific Coast. 

Conference closed on the night of the 20th, whilst 
I was in Richmond officiating at the marriage of 
a choice j'oung woman of my congregation at 
Laurel Street church. I was appointed to the 


Franktown and Johnson's circuit in Northampton 
county, across the Chesapeake Bay, on the East- 
ern shore of Virginia, twenty miles north of Cape 
Charles. Rev. Jas. H. Moss was sent as my suc- 
cessor at Laurel Street. . This proved to be a most 
happy selection. He entered upon his duties with 
a zealous and intelligent grasp of the situation 
that carried the church into a season of prosper- 
ity it so well deserved. His congregation increased 
from the first service, and at the close of his 
pastorate of four years, he left the church in bet- 
ter condition every way than it had been for a 
long time. It was a source of gratification to me, 
for my judgment that I was not the right man for 
the crisis which was taxing the staying qualities 
of the congregation at that time, was vindicated. 
The Official Board was kind enough to honor me 
with a place on its program at the re-opening of 
the reconstructed building sixteen months after 
Bro. Moss went to the charge, and I was glad 
enough of the opportunity to remind them of my 
prophecy, that "another and a different sort of man 
was all they needed to put them in their rightful 
place of influence among the progressive churches 
of Richmond." And I added "the Lord had the man 
ready for you in the person of Dr. Aloss, and you 
should sing the doxology right now." 

Well, the next day after the adjournment of 
Conference I went down town, found Brother Mas- 
tin, my outgoing Presiding Elder, and said some 
very foolish things. "I had been to the Eastern 


Shore once, cut off entirely from America, and 
every other continent on the face of the earth, 
except Philiadelphia. All their complaints con- 
cerning jurisprudence and the oyster crop went to 
the Governor of Pennsylvania, unless we except 
those minor cases which can be tried in an inferior 
court, — these went to Salisbury." That was the 
kind of whining I did. And I was that upset that 
when I went back up town to the Parsonage, I 
hired two men to pack my stuff, (a thing I had 
never done before, and the proof of it is, that I fre- 
quently went to a new charge with my thumb tied 
up in a rag,) and paid them $12.00 for the job, and 
a mighty poor job it turned out to be. 

We went to Norfolk, and from thence to Cape 
Charles next day, the New York, Philadelphia & 
Norfolk train delivering us at Nassavradox about 
mid-day. The first person to greet us when we 
struck the ground at that station with the Indian 
name was a pretty, black eyed girl with dark hair 
and the neatest raiment. And we were satisfied! 
She took all of the lonely, homesick feeling out of 
our constitution at once, and bid us welcome to 
the greenest pastures and tallest clover that ever 
a poor preacher was sent to graze. And her name, 
so she informed us, was Mary Rogers. The next 
message I sent Mastin was couched in language 
something like this : — "My postofiice is on the su- 
burbs of Glory land: my telegraph sign is Halle- 
lujah!" And Alastin never did reply. I learned 
later that Finley Gayle did it: so I hung up his 


photograph in my study, with this legend in- 
scribed : — 


For the second time in my ministerial career I 
was the successor of Rev. Chas. E. Watts. Right 
glad I was to get the privilege of repeating my ex- 
perience of 1877, when I succeeded him on the King 
George circuit. He helps his successor by word and 
by deed. So I had easy going from the very start. 
We met him on the highway between the station 
and the parsonage at Franktown. He bade us a 
cheery farewell, and hoped in his earnest, un- 
affected style, that "the blessing of Heaven would 
rest upon my work on the charge." 

And so we moved in. The parsonage was an- 
tiquated, but comfortable. There was a good fire 
for warmth, a plenty of tempting food for the hun- 
gry, and cordial welcome for all the preacher's 
fartiily from the least unto the greatest. 

But a shadow rested on the church and the town. 
Brother Bernard P. Tankard's son, Bernard, Jr., 
the only child, had been desperately ill for many 
weeks with Typhoid Fever and its attendant ills. 
He required constant nursing and care day and 
night, and it was late in the spring of 1908 before 
he was out in the fresh air, recuperating slowly 
under the shade of the beautiful trees. Anxiety 
filled every breast, till late in the summer, when he 
was pronounced well again. 

The history of the "Northampton Circuit" dates 
back to the distant past. I have no data earlier 


than the session of the Philadelphia Conference 
held at Smyrna, Delaware, commencing on the first 
day of June, 1800. I have some extracts from the 
Journal of Rev. Thos. Smith, who wa^ "received 
into full connection, and ordained deacon." "My 
appointment was to Northampton circuit, Virginia, 
I received it as coming from the Lord, believing 
he had a work there for me to do. I set out for 
my circuit, rejoicing in spirit, anxious to get into 
my work." , So he begins his story. 

This preacher was born in Kent county, Mary- 
land, June 3rd, 1776, and was, therefore just 24 
years of age. When we read on further in the 
record of his travels and trials we are very apt to 
think that he was, at least, a man of middle age 
and large experience. And we can account for his 
great victories over the enemies of the faith, amid 
the most discouraging circumstances only by the 
conviction that the circuit riders of that day were 
men of unusual courage, invincible faith, and a 
great nerve for "enduring hardship." 

Let us therefore, with grateful hearts that God 
sent such men to lay the foundations of Method- 
ism in these parts, get as much of this Journal 
into these pages as may be useful in enlarging our 
knowledge of men and events, and thus stirring 
our own hearts to greater diligence in carrying on 
the work they began. Let us read : — 

"Sunday, June 22nd, 1800, I preached at Down- 
ing's Chapel. Our meeting, was well attended. In 
the afternoon I preached at the house of Captain 


Watts, on the seaboard. We had a pleasant sea- 
"Sunday, June 29th. 

At Garretson's Chapel the Master of assem- 
blies was present in his sanctuary, and I felt I 
loved the place and people. In class-meeting 
we were greatly blessed of the Lord. 

On Tuesday, while preaching, I saw, by faith, 
the little cloud rising, though small as a man's 
hand, which I believed would do much for North- 
ampton. O Lord hasten on thy coming kingdom 
with power and great glory ! 

"July 2nd. 

At Floyd's the good Lord was in our midst. 

"Sunday, July 10th. 

At Johnson's Chapel I labored hard ; looked for 
help and power from on high, but the word fell as 
on unbroken ground. I returned to brother John- 
son's and to my chamber, and wept, because I saw 
no fruit of my labor. At Northampton Court 
House in the afternoon, I had more liberty, but 
the fruit was the same ; the word made no impres- 
sion. I went home with brother Sympkins, who 
was kind to me, sorrowing much for the cause of 
God : but though Israel be not gathered, yet 
shall I be precious in the eyes of the Lord." 

"July 12th. 

' I preached at the house of Col. S. Ames, where 

we had a comfortable meeting. In class-meeting 

our much esteemed sister James was filled full of 

glory and of God. Such as she is the salt of the 


earth. I preached at night, and there was one con- 
verted: truly a brand plucked from the fire." 

"July 29th" I was taken ill of the bilious fe- 
ver, and "was carried to the house of brother Thos. 
Ames. Two physicians attended me, and three 
young gentlemen waited on me day and night in 
their turn ; all three of them were converted to 
God during my illness ; two of them were con- 
verted in my room, and the other in an orchard, 
not far from the house, in the dead of the night. 
They were all useful members ; Mr. J. Garrettson 
became a steward of the circuit ; Mr. Richard 
Ames a class-leader; and Mr. Zorobabel Ames a 
valuable private member. All so lived and all so 

"Having so far recovered my health as to admit 
it, I resumed my labor. I met a large assembly 
at B. Floyd's, on the 10th of September, where I 
preached and had a gracious season. Sister Floyd 
gave us a shout." 

"September 15th. I preached on Rom. XIII. 19, 
20. The meeting lasted from ten o'clock in the 
morning till two o'clock the next morning. There 
was so great a press of people that we knew not 
what to do with them. During the day and night 
there were many souls born again, and translated 
from the power of darkness into the kingdom of 
God's dear Son." 

"September 22nd. At Johnson's Chapel the con- 
gregation was large ; there being no other min- 
istry in the place, the rich and the gay assemble 


with US. Our Zion here is sickly ; many are turned 
aside to worldly vanities." 

"September 24th. At Col. S. Ames's our meet- 
ing held from eleven in the morning till ten at 
night. Poor sinners came crying for mercy to 
God, and we had to joy to see many souls con- 
verted, eleven of whom came forward and joined 
the church on probation at the close of the meet- 

"November 1st. Our meeting was at brother 
Thos. Ames's, where we seldom fail to have a great 
meeting. Seven joined on probation. Our so- 
cieties are getting so large I know not how to 
meet them." 

"November 6th. I preached on Math. XXIV. 14. 
From this time there was a gracious revival. Bro. 
Bonnal, at whose house we preached, was a good 
and holy man, and here the ark of the Lord rested 
for many years." 

"November 10th. Meeting was today at brother 
Thomas Ames's, that family of piety where the 
ark of the Lord has so long rested. The crowd 
was so great we knew not where to put the peo- 
ple, as the day was too unfavorable to occupy the 
yard. I preached, and the Lord worked for his 
own glory. ****** j proposed that those who had 
experienced like precious faith with us, and had 
made up their minds to join the church, should 
come and give us their names, when eighteen came 
forward. Captain Bayman and family led the way, 


followed by a number of the first families in that 
part of \'irginia." 

'^November 30th. I preached at Bro. B. Floyd's 
both morning and evening." 

"December 3rcl. I preached at brother Thomas 
Bradford's. The people came in crowds and filled 
the house to overflowing, and the Lord made one 
in our midst. His coming was glorious. We 
feasted on redeeming grace and dying love." 

"December 14th. We commenced a two days' 
meeting at Pungoteague, in the warehouse. Won- 
der at this, O people of Accomac county ! a place 
so recently overrun with vice, and where . Satan's 
seat was, is yielding to the power of grace ! And 
what is it that the God of Israel cannot do? Glory 
to his name who has taught our hands to war, and 
our fingers to fight. The change in this place has 
astonished the world. I wonder they do not be- 
lieve also. Brother William Downing, a local 
preacher, first addressed the people, and I followed 
him. There was a general move in the assembly, 
and several souls, that day and night, were con- 
verted to God. ****** 

At eleven o'clock brother Downing took the pul- 
pit, and I followed him with a subject on the gos- 
pel of the kingdom, &c. The day was fair, and 
the concourse of people was such that we knew 
not where to place them. All gave attention ; even 
the wicked were awed into reverence. The place 
was awful, by reason of that power that shakes the 
heavens and the earth. When the services were 


closed there was a great gathering of the people 
around the stand, and a solemn dedication of many 
souls to God." 

"Sunday, January 25th, 1801. Downing's chapel 
is the most northerly appointment on the circuit, 
but the south breezes of God's Holy Spirit sweetly 
l^ass over this place, thawing and melting down the 
frozen heart. My tongue was loosed, my mind il- 
luminated, and my heart warmed with heavenly 
fire, while I preached unto them. In the afternoon 
I preached on the seaboard, in the house of Cap- 
tain Watts, to a crowded house ; but here I saw 
no special good, no tears of penitential sorrow, no 
cry for mercy." 

"January 29th. I preached at brother J. Garrett- 
son's in the evening. We had a good time. The 
place and the people were solemn, and the Lord 
was in His word." 

"March 28th and 29th. Quarterly meeting was 
held at Drununondtown. The Prjesiding Elder", 
Rev. Thos. Ware, preached on Saturday and 
Sunday; his subjects were well chosen, well ar- 
ranged and well applied. The work of the Spirit of 
God was too visible in the assembly to admit a 
doubt of what God was about to do in that place. 
The enemy of souls was aroused to action, and 
while the Master of assemblies was going from 
heart to heart, four young gentlemen" (he under- 
scores that word, indicating that he uses it sar- 
castically,) "left the house, swearing that they 
would be revenged on me as soon as I should come 


out of the house, and, having provided themselves 
with weapons, they stationed themselves without, 
near the door. When the meeting broke up I 
passed the young men, brushing their clothes, and 
saw their clubs, but felt no blows. Poor Lucifer, 
he can go no further than the length of his chain. 
While brother Ware was preaching in the house 
on Sunday morning, I was preaching to at least 
three thousand people of color, where I believe 
much good was done." 

"Tueisday, April 1st. My appointment was at 
Guilford. I prevailed on brother Ware to go with 
me and preach. It was a time long to be remem- 
bered. The sky was clear, the sun was bright, and 
nature seemed smiling all around. When we ar- 
rived at Guilford the meeting house was already 
filled, and hundreds were seated in the yard out- 
side for want of room in the house. At ten o'clock 
brother Ware took the stand, and the meeting 
lasted six hours. Ministers and members were 
astonished at the power of Israel's God. The peo- 
ple were falling in all directions, in doors and with- 
out. The place was gloriously awful. Sudden and 
powerful were the awakenings, and sudden and 
powerful the conversions. Clouds of mercy over- 
shadowed the place, and shower after shower de- 
scended. Parents were seen looking up their chil- 
dren, and praying over them ; and children were 
holding on to their parents, crying, 'O, papa, come 
to Jesus ! God will bless you,' &c. ; and such cry- 


ing for mercy, and such shouts of joy, surely Vir- 
ginia never heard before !" 

(At four P. M. he received Forty-four into the 
church. They wrere joyfully received by the mem- 
bers of Guilford.) 

"As night was coming on it was thought expe- 
dient to adjourn the meeting to brother Thomas 
Evans's, where it was kept up all night till the 
sun rose next morning; and how many souls were 
converted to God that night, is a secret we must 
leave until the morning of the resurrection shall 
reveal it." 

"Friday, April 4th. As I was going to my ap- 
pointment I was waylaid by four young men who 
bound themselves under an oath that they would 
spill my blood that day, for insulting them, they 
said, on Sunday last at Quarterly meeting. On ris- 
ing a hill I saw them in the road before me, with 
clubs in their hands, and seeing no way to escape, 
I said, 'Lord, what shall I do? I will put my trust 
in thee.' I passed them on a full trot, without re- 
ceiving one blow. Whilst passing I heard one of 
them say to another, 'Damn you, why didn't you 
knock him down?' and the other said, 'Damn you, 
why didn't you knock him down?' Thus, while 
they raved and swore at each other, I happily es- 
caped as a bird out of the snare of the fowler. I 
arrived at the place of my appointment in good 
time, and preached. 

After the meeting our friends wanted me to bind 
these young men over to keep the peace, but I 


told them I had committed myself to the Lordj and 
he would take care of me." 

"Monday, May 4th. My appointment was at 
brother Thomas Burton's. We had another good 
day's work." 

"As I have mentioned the name of Captain 
Thomas Burton it may not be amiss to give some 
account of his conversion to God, and his becom- 
ing a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 
Brother Burton's change from nature to grace was 
when he was advanced in life. His youthful days 
and riper years were spent in the follies and plea- 
sures of this world. In the early rise of Method- 
ism in Virginia his mind was misled as to their doc- 
trine and discipline. He was professionally a 
Churchman, and a man of strong prejudices, and, 
being ardent in whatever he engaged in, he did 
much for his church and his parson. In the year 
1800 it pleased God to pour out his S|pirit in 
that part of Virginia in which Burton resided, and 
a great many people forsook their sins, turned to 
God, and were converted from the error of their 
way. God converted them, and they came to us, 
and applied for membership in our church, and we 

took them in, and Rev. Mr. became highly 

ofifended ; and, in order to put us down, he ap- 
pointed that he would on Christmas day, 1800, 
preach the funeral sermon of Methodism on the 
Eastern Shore of Virginia. At the time and place 
appointed a large assembly convened to see the 
final downfall of Methodism, and man of our mem- 

460 rhoM SADDLE fo cift 

bers also attended to see for themselves. Captain 
Burton, of course, was there with all his prejudices 
in favor of his own church, and against Methodism. 
The Reverend gentleman having commenced his 
discourse, dug up the ashes of our beloved Wes- 
ley, that he might show, as he pretended, why Wes- 
ley left the Church of England. I wonder the Rev. 
gentleman did not know that Wesley never left the 
Church of England. However, he tried to make 
Mr. Wesley anything but a Christian and a gen- 
tleman; and after pouring all the odium that he 
could on our church, and especially on our minis- 
try, he dismissed the meeting. The next day I 
met with our much-esteemed friend. Col. W. Par- 
amour, a member of long standing in the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, who gave me the outlines of the 
parson's discourse, and remarked, that he thought 
it would be expedient for Dr. Coke to return from 
England, and clear up Mr. Wesley's character, or 
we should be ruined as a church. I told the colonel 
I thought our cause was safe ; it was in the hands 
of God, and he would take care of it." 

"Strange to tell, under this very sermon Captain 
Burton became so troubled that he could not rest 
day nor night, through fear that his minister might 
be wrong and the Methodists right after all. Three 
days having passed and his trouble remaining, Mrs. 
Burton said to him, 'What is the matter with you ? 
You have not been yovirself since you came from 
church on Christmas day. What is the cause of 
your distress?' He told her that it was a fear that 

bt BtrOGt, BOAT AND HAltWAT 461 

he and his minister were both wrong, and the 
Methodists, after all, were right. She advised him 
to send for a Methodist preacher to come and see 
him; but he objected, saying, 'My dear, how can 
I send for a people to come to my house whom I 
have so bitterly reviled?' She replied, 'Well, Cap- 
tain Burton, I have always thought the Methodists 
were the Lord's people, and if the Lord will for- 
give you, I am sure they will'." 

The sequel of this story is that the Captain sent 
a note to this young circuit rider, twenty-five years 
old, asking him to call. He went, was received 
kindly by the family, and was informed that they 
wanted to know something about Methodism. 
Young Smith took out his Discipline, read the Gen- 
eral Rules, and compared the doctrines of Meth- 
odism with the doctrines of the Church of Eng- 
land, and stated that the difference consisted only 
in form. He then gave them a brief account of 
the rise of Methodism in England and America, 
and the opposition it had encountered, and that 
Methodism had prospered all the way through. He 
left the family in tears and went to his appoint- 
ment. In answer to another message from Captain 
Burton, requesting him to preach at his house, he 
appointed New Year's day at 3 P. M. When he ar- 
rived at the place he found the yard crowded with 
people. He preached on Romans XVL 19, 20. At 
the very beginning of the service the Holy Ghost 
fell upon the assembled crowd, and many fell under 
conviction. The meeting continued night and day 


for thirteen days and nights. Smith did the preach- 
ing and the members did the praying. At the close 
of the meeting "fifty-five who had never had their 
names on the class before were received." "Brother 
Burton's family, both white and colored, were con- 
verted to God, with many other whole families, 
and brother Burton's house was made a regular 
preaching place." 

He tells of a pious and useful family. Captain 
William Seymore, in Northampton. Seymore was 
a man "of talent and weight, both in and out of 
the church." He says, "Mrs. Seymore was a bright 
and shining light, and their children were brought 
up to know the scriptures and to fear God." "Col. 
Paramore, of Northampton, was a pious and in- 
fluential member; Sister Paramore was deeply 
pious and devoted to God; their children were fa- 
vorable to religion ; William, their son, was a stew- 
ard on the circuit." 

When this itinerant and his helper compared 
notes at the end of the Conference year in May, 
they had taken into the church in Accomac and 
Northampton, called the "Northampton Circuit," 
six hundred and seven members. 

He says the Conference of 1801, met in Phila- 
delphia, May 20th. On his way to that meeting he 
met brother Ware, the Presiding Elder, and Bishop 
Asbury at Dover, Delaware ; at the Bishop's re- 
quest he "turned back to Virginia and resumed my 
work for the second year." **** "The Virginians 


hailed my return and I was glad. Our work ex- 
tends over two counties." 

"May 30th, I preached on the Bay side." 

"June 6th, Preached at brother T. Ames's. Wc 
had a great time in class. Dear sister Scott was 
overcome with the divine presence." 

"June 13th, I preached at Downing's meeting- 
house. Brother Downing -is one of our plain, holy 
men. In the afternoon I preached at Brother 
Watts's, on the sea-side, to a good congregation." 

June 17th and 18th. Quarterly meeting was 
held at Garrettson's chapel; it began well on Sat- 
urday morning, when there was a great shaking 
among the dry bones." 

"July 13th. I preached at brother B. Floyd's to 
a large and serious congregation. They cried and 
prayed, and grace and mercy flowed all around, 
and many a cup was filled to overflowing.'' 

"Aug^ust 7th. I preached at Guilford. The con- 
gregation at this place is well known to be large 
and zealous. *** Great is the peace and prosper- 
ity of our Zion at Guilford. I am always glad to 
come to this appointment.'' 

There is a long gap in the Journal of this young 
preacher at this point, the Editor having cut out 
several months. 

"Saturday momins;, March 16th, 1802. We com- 
menced a two day's meeting at Guilford. The 
crowd was great. I preached on Isaiah XXXII. 2. 
Soon the great power of God was felt. Many sin- 
ners lay weeping on the floor ; nor would they 


give over till Jesus said, 'Go in peace, and sin no 
more.' " 

Then follows a description of one of the most re- 
markable visitations of the Spirit I have ever read. 
We have no such revivals in this day. It is be- 
cause the people are not praying for such. The 
man who invented the "Hand-shake" route into the 
kingdom, of God belongs to the class of teachers 
who are teaching sinners to "climb up some other 

"March 20th, I was called upon to preach the 
funeral of Mr. Wm. Bell, whose residence was on 
the seaboard, and where, it is said, he had found 
k vast amount of money in a hogshead, which had 
rolled ashore from some ship wrecked on the coast. 
**** A few days after this I was called upon to 
preach a funeral sermon at the house of Captain 
John Revel. I was accompanied by Captain Wil- 
liam Seymore, a relative of Mr. Revel. This gen- 
tleman had not been in the habit of attending our 
church, but from that time he and his family at- 
tended constantly at Drummondtown on the Sab- 
bath day." 

"March 24th. I preached at Johnson's Chapel. 
This congregation is generally well attended, sol- 
emn and attentive, but, strange to tell, no special 
work of God has appeared here throughout this 
extensive revival. There have been a few con- 
versions, and now and then a quickening of mem- 
bers, but no general revival, although we have en- 
deavored, from time to time, to give this place a 


start, by love feasts, watch-nights and prayer- 
meetings. In the afternoon I preached at North- 
ampton courthouse, to the court and people of 
that place. All was calm, still and attentive. We 
hope to see a better day for Northampton." 

"Tuesday, March 26th. I preached at brother S. 
Ames's. We had a pleasant meeting." 

Now as he approaches the end of the second 
year, and is certain of removal he says, "The stew- 
ards of the circuit and myself have lived in har- 
mony. They have paid us all the discipline allows 
us. The friends in Virginia have been exceedingly 
kind to me the two years I have been with them. 
They have given me plenty to do, and all things 
that I needed. Their presents to me have been 
large and many. Some would give me five dollars, 
some ten, some twenty, some fifty. On leaving 
brother C. Sympkins put a piece of paper in my 
hand, saying, 'Brother Smith, accept a small pres- 
ent.' I did so ; and after taking leave of the fam- 
ily, and riding a short distance, I thought I would 
look at my small present, when, lo, it was a hun- 
dred dollar note." 

He received 483 into the church this year, which, 
added to the 607 received last year, makes one 
thousand and ninety in the two years of his ser- 
vice on the circuit ! A wonderful work ! 

"April 20th, 1802, he met Bishop Asbury at 
Drummondtown, where the Bishop "preached to 
an overflowing congregation." After dinner he and 
the Bishop "set out for brother D. Watts's, where 


the Bishop preached at night with liberty and 

Thus ends this Journal of his work in Accopiac 
and Northampton. This Journal shows that there 
were Downing's, Guilford, Burton's, Garrett- 
son's, Floyd's, Johnson's, — six churches in exist- 
ence in 1800 — 1802, and they are still in existence, 
but apparently a long ways apart. 

Now I want to make my public bow to Mrs. S. 
B. Fox, of Franktoiwn, Va., who kindly loaned me 
the above very valuable record of the labors of 
this remarkably successful young preacher. Rev. 
Thomas Smith. 

The old "Floyd's Meeting House" was situated 
in what is now known as "Hare Valley," a negro 
settlement about two miles north of Franktown. 
The old Franktown Church, which succeeded 
Floyd's, was built in 1846, and Samuel Moorman 
was the Preacher on the circuit. The new Frank- 
town church was erected in 1893, after a long dis- 
cussion about the location, and the old church build- 
ing in Hare Valley was sold, and I am told was 
moved down to Mr. Allie B. Dunton's, and used as 
a barn. 

Through the kindness of Brother L. J. Hyslup 
and Dr. John E. Mapp, of Keller, I learn that "the 
regular preaching place," established at Captain 
Burton's house, (as noted on page 163) resulted 
in the organization of "Old Burton's Church," (now 
Oak Grove and Burton's Church.) This was in 
1801. Fifteen years before this, that is, "In 1875 
William Elliott organized in his own house in Brad- 


ford's Neck, Accomac county, a Sunday School," 
which proves, from a manuscript in Elliott's own 
handwriting in possession, of the Oak Grove 
Church, to be the oldest Sunday School in point 
of "continuous existence," in America, After the 
organization of the "Old Burton's Church" Elliott 
brought his Sunday School out of the Neck to the 
church. The people there claim that "this Church 
is the mother of more churches and Camp meet- 
ings than any tliVee churches, combined, on the 
Eastern Shore." These camp meetings were sus- 
pended during the Civil War, but after the War 
were continued in the famous "Turlington Camp- 
meeting." Drs. Duncan, Doggett and Granbery, 
(the two last became Bishops) visited this great 
Camp and thrilled the multitudes with their won- 
derful sacred oratory. 

The Church, at large, owes these thoughtful 
brethren, Hyslup and Mapp, a debt of thanks for 
having preserved these valuable records. Hence I 
thought it my duty to obtain this record and put it 
in this permanent form. Dr. Mapp is the father 
of the Hon. Walter G. Mapp, of the Virginia State 

The following preachers have served this charge 
since 1846, when it was known as the "Eastville 

Saml. Moorman 1846 

B. H. Johnson 1847-48 

Kinchin Adams and John C. 

Granbery 1849 


H. H. Gary 1850-51 "■ 

Saml. Eskridge a part of 1852, 

then a Dr. Butt. 

John B. Dey and R. S. Nash 1853 

J. J. Edwards and Heritage 

Ayers 1854 

Penfield Doll 1855 

Chas. H. Hall 1856 

Cyrus Doggett ^. 1857 

Cyrus Doggett and J. S. Porter.. 1858 

Thos. Diggs 1859 

Geo. F Doggett and M. S. 

Colonna 1860 

A. M. Hall and J. C. Martin 1861 

Local Supplies during the 

years 1862-63 

B. W. Daugherty 1864-65 

i (No name given in 1866) 

' W. H. Camper 1867 

•' (No name given in 1868) 

J. B. Merritt 1869 

C. E. Watts 1870-1-2-3 

Lloyd Moore 1874-75 

The name was then changed to "Eastville and 
Belle Haven." 

Jas. L. Spencer with Lloyd Moore 

Supernumerary 1876 

At the next Conference the old name "Eastville" 
is resumed. 

Jas. L. Spencer 1877-8-9 

John W. Hildrup 1880-1-2-3 


John N. Jones ■ . 1884 

E. H. Pritchett 1885-6 

Chas. E. Hobday 1887 

Chas. E. Hobday and V. W. 

Bargamin 1888-9-90 

W. R. Crowder 1891 

Then the Franktown and Johnson's churches are 
cut out of the Eastville circuit and called "Frank- 
town Circuit," and 

W. R. Crowder is placed 

in charge 1892-3-4 

N. H. Robertson 1895-6-7-8 

Geo. H. Ray 1899-0-1-2 

C. E. Watts 1903-4-5-6 

D. G. C. Butts 1907-8-9-10 

John O. Moss 1911-12-13-14 

John W. Gee 1915-16-17-18-19 

J. D. McAllister 1920-21 

There are two breaks in the record of the old 
Eastville circuit, no minister's name being given 
in 1866, and again in 1868. I do not know the rea- 
son for this, and I found no one in the circuit who 
seemed to know. 

The Franktown circuit, as I traveled it, ex- 
tended from Hadlock on the north to Mr. Geo. Y. 
Bell's home on the south, just a few miles from 
Eastville, and from the seaside to the Bayside. The 
travel was easily accomplished, the only discom- 
fort being found on the Bayside, indented with 
broad rivers and creeks making back from Ches- 
apeake Bay, thus forming a series of "Necks" sev 


eral miles I'ong, which made long rides necessary 
in order to visit the people living in these "Necks" 
on the large farms. Church Neck, from Hungar r. 
Church to Jas. Wyatt's was at least three miles 
long, and perhlaps more. Wilsonia Neck from 
Shady Side to the extreme point was about three 
miles. The people throughout the charge were 
thickly settled, hospitable, church-going, law-ab'd- 
ing, and thrifty. The voice of the Potato could 
be heard in the land. He regulated the price <A 
every man. He dictated the terms on which i 
man might trade in the stores, travel on the cars, 
live under his own roof, and educate his children. 
When the Automobile came the Potato took the 
Chauffeur's seat, and the horse-teams took to the 
woods. When frost covered his hiding place with 
the black mantle of death, everybody put on 
mourning, and lived on the hope of another year. 
The family of this preacher has found none 
truer and unselfish on any charge than these peo- 
ple on the Franktown-Johnson's circuit. On Oc- 
cohonnock creek were Ed. Anderson and Jeff West- 
cott. On Nassawadox lived Dick Floyd, Capt. Ar- 
nold, Bro. Frost, Tank Ames, Soule Fox, Brother 
Geo. Turner, Sr., and George, Jr., Isaac Walker, 
Brother Wm. Lankford and John Fisher. At the 
entrance to this road the Gunters. Going back 
towards Franktown one finds Darrell Kellam and 
his mother, my wife's mainstay, and Lulie, my 
sweetheart ; Dr. Sturgis's mother and sisters ; Dr. 
Phil Tankard and Sam. Kellam. In the village it- 


self lived Bro. Badger's folks, Dr. Scott, the octo- 
genarian druggist, John Finney, Hon. John E. 
Nottingham, Ira Lankford, my Dr. Downing, (none 
better,) Charlie Bell, P. Bernard Tankard, El. 
Reed, Bro. John Tankard, Charlie Lankford, Barto 
Fitchett, Otho Walker, his splendid wife, and her 
saintly mother, "the mother of us all," and Gilmpr 
Hurtt, Mr. John E. Nottingham, Sr., Sister Stur- 
gis, my wife's first mainstay, Allie B. Dunton, "old 
rough and ready," whose right name is "True Blue 
and Get There," then Sam Tankard, and lastly but 
not "leastly" Ned Tankard, making strides toward 
the uplands of faith. On the Nassawaddox road is 
Charlie' Hurtt, at the station is a dependable set ; — 
James and sister Rogers, and those nianly bo>s, 
now grown to manhood, Jeff. Walker, and a score 
of others, including Pitts Westcott, lame in his 
foot-less limbs, but a live-wire in spite of it; then 
up the road the Westcott's again, and further yet, 
John Ames and his good wife and daughters. 

I may have overlooked some ; Tom Ward, the 
Turners, etc., on the Wardtown road, and Ashby 
at the station ; but how can I carry this bunch of 
believers and unbelievers in my little brain? Of 
course the reader recalls my remark that I and my 
family got off the train into a most cordial atmos- 
phere of greeting which took all the pangs of 
loneliness out of the heart. Well, that black-eyeJ 
girl, with raven locks and tidy raiment captured 
Jeff Walker's son, Linwood, and is now the mcther 
of a frisky brood of boys ! And Charlie Turner, 


who ran a print-shop on elevated rails, broke down 
at traveling the Franktown road at all hours o1 
the day and night, and took Miss Jennie Pills 
over to Nassawadox to help him through the des- 
ert of life, Herbert Arnold captured a comely maid 
named Fox, and transported her to a farm, and 
one of Sam Kellam's boys carried off Nancy Pitts 
to another farm, while Darrell Kellam got himseli 
a Reed so that he could lean on that amid the trials 
of any untoward luck. 

It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that we 
scarcely felt the loss of so many valuables in the 
parsonage fire, when we had so many, and such 
generous people to suffer with us. 

Now we ,go to Johnson's, the old appointment 
mentioned by Rev. Thos. Smith so frequently 
Near Bridgetown lived John H. Roberts, Dr 
Dalby, old brother Sturgis, and a host of others 
down in Church Neck named for the old colonia 
Church of the Establishment, situated on the mair 
road just at the entrance to the Neck. At Bridge 
town lived Edmund Roberts, and others 
Below was Shady Side, where Bro. David Kellan 
had ample food for the inner man and a restfu 
room for tired flesh and bones. In Wilsonia Necl 
Ben Moore and a group of earnest people claime( 
the preacher every Sunday. At the Jacob's hom( 
and Geo. Y. Bell's the southern end of the chargi 
was reached. Out at Machipongo, the railwa; 
village, John Saunders, John Gibb, Charlie an( 
Theron Bell, Melson and the rest of the inhabitant 

»t BtTGGlr, flOA* AJfb ItAtLWAir 47S 

kept the front gate open and the table set whenever 
it was rumored that "the parson is coming." At 
Theron Bell's it was a little different. If "Rags," 
the big bull dog, was on the front porch, the 
trembling parson announced his arrival with a yell, 
while standing up in the buggy. If it was different, 
it was the same after all : the family welcome was 
gracious and warm, and "Rags" received a lecture 
for his lack of reverence. 

Mr. Geo. Mapp lived around in there behind those 
woods on the seaside road in an old time home 
which reminded one of the extreme care the old 
settlers displayed in selecting a location for dwell- 
ing, and the delightful comfort shown in the build- 
ing itself. A drive northward on this seaside road 
brings one homes of Frank Bell and Geo. Mapp, 
Jr., while back from the road on a graceful knoll, 
is the restful residence of Mr. Southey Wilkins, 
with its books, and its leisure, and its royal wel- 
come, with helpful talk and waffles and syrup. 
Through the woods a short distance, as neighbors 
lived in olden time, Hon. William Bullitt Fitzhugh, 
the inimitable, the jolly, the gentleman, the trav- 
eler, lives at "Sylvan Scene," the homestead of 
Dr. Geo. E. L. Tankard, the father of Mrs. Fitz- 
hugh. Out on main bayside road from Eastville to 
Franktown, lives Sidney Ames, and at Johnson- 
town, at the fork, Mrs. Sue Mapp, a devout and 
faithful mother in Israel. 

Old Johnson's Church, a few hundred yards up 
the road, was erected sometime before the. Civil 


War, and has one of the best congregations on the 
Shore. It was in a poor state of repair when ] 
went to the charge in November 1907. But witli 
some persuasion, much prayer, and much kindlj 
criticism, the people pulled themselves together or 
the question of improving the property, went tc 
work with a will, the product of faith, and on Sun- 
day, August, 20th, 1911, a comely edifice was ded- 
icated anew to the service of God. Rev. Thos. Ros- 
ser Reeves, D. D., then Principal of Blackstone 
School for Girls, delivered the sermon, and ob- 
tained from the large congregation $1,600.00, a 
sum sufficient to pay off every dollar of the cost 

The generous folks then honored themselves 
and placed this pastor under a debt of gratitude he 
will never be able to discharge, by presenting him 
with a purse, with instructions to go off on a va- 
cation of two weeks at the Blue Ridge Springs, 
The "Temple Builders," an organization of ladies 
in the church, had already placed an expensive 
Memorial window in the front end of the church, 
to commemorate my Pastorate, — "1907-1911." 

Birdsnest, another station on the railway, (New 
York, Philadelphia and Norfolk,) was still another 
community reached by this Johnson's pulpit. There 
was Sister Sue Badger, the Buchannon family, Bro, 
Dunton, the Merchant, Tank Badger and others, 
A mile away, towards Johnsontown, was my good 
friend and brother John Dunton, his wife and boy, 
a promising lad ; a place where the preacher could 
spend the night or day, or go home by starlight 


or spend a week. It made no difference to them 
so far as I could see. A little further on the Gar- 
retts lived in ease and plenty, with systematic work. 

I held several meetings at Johnson's, assisted by 
other brethren, notably, Bro. J. W. Stiff and Bro. 
Porter Hardy, but the results were never what 
they should have been. Still the church grew in 
strength of piety and numbers, efficiency and ag- 

Rev. E. C. Glenn, Evangelist, from Greensboro, 
N. C., conducted a meeting of great power at 
Franktown in 1909. Congregations were large and 
the interest continuous to the end — two weeks. The 
ice in the church, the pulpit, and the community, 
was broken, the Christians did successful personal 
work, and sinners were converted and added to the 

Glenn was a fine preacher and a skilled or- 
ganizer. His appeals for co-operation for personal 
consecration were deeply spiritual and as powerful 
as any I ever heard. In the home he was 
easily entjertained, a bright, cheerful, prayerful 
visitor, a sympathetic and patient guest. He had 
ever on his mind the thought that he was a leader 
of a campaign for righteousness ; nor did he over- 
look the other fact that his temporary home vv^as a 
human affair, run under conditions which made it 
necessary for each to help with the burden of the 
work. Glenn was sensible, as well as religious. 
Some folks are neither. Some are religious, but 
lack sense. Some have sense, but lack religion. 


To ignore God and His Son, Jesus Christ, and to be 
great sticklers for other things, is to enterprise a 
blind career, and face a tragic end. 

We got into the new parsonage Thursday, Sep- 
tember 1st, 1910, after having spent eight months 
in a rented home. 

Among the first blessings which came upon that 
new house was the visit of Bishop Walter R. Lam- 
buth, the saintly Apostle of an aggressive and tri- 
umphant gospel, and Dr. W. B. Beauchamp, my 
long time friend and brother in the Conference. 
They came into my charge at Machipongo. By 
the kindness of Dr. Downing at Franktown, I was 
enabled to furnish them with speedy and comfort- 
able transportation in a good automobile. The 
Bishop first addressed an attentive congregation 
in our temporary quarters over brother Roberts' 
store at Bridgetown, then we went to the par- 
sonage for supper. That night in the Franktown 
church a large congregation listened for an hour 
to his great sermon. He made a profound impres- 
sion on the people of the Eastern Shore wherever 
he went. In my home he was just plain folks. 
He had no swell nor strut ; he did not need these : 
he had the other things. Folks who haven't the 
other things which make a man, must get the swell 
and the strut. Can you blame them? 

Two or three delightful variations from the mo- 
notony of the daily round of work transpired. The 
first was my dear kinsman by matrimonial con- 
tract Hon. Bernard Mann, Attorney at Law, 


Petersburg, Va., executed a judgment upon my af- 
fability, and foreclosed the mortgage by paying me 
a visit. His coming was the flooding of the par- 
sonage with sunshine, and his stay was the sowing 
of seeds for better service to my people. He wea- 
ried of abiding under the roof of a man complaining 
of the tyranny of General Debility, with Major 
Complaints, a subaltern, tramping back and forth 
on the playground of nerves and muscles, and took 
himself off for a night on the ocean front across 
Broadwater Bay, with a party of young people. 
He had a strenuous time of it, fighting mosqui- 
toes and wrestling with insomnia brought on by 
the industrious actions of a score of very live 
youths and maidens who flung into his teeth the 
doctrine that A man should not live by snores 
alone> but oftener than otherwise by the music of 
the spheres. So they insisted that he sit up and 
listen to the chorus of the planets ! His visit to 
my home was profitable unto me : we traded 
books, and I got a bargain. The proof is here; — a 
devoted friend of mine saw the book in my li- 
brary ; I have never seen it since ! 

Another good thing \yhich happened to us was, 
the coming of good old Bill Taylor and his wife 
and two musical geniuses, those talented girls, 
from Lynchburg for a season. We were in the 
borrowed house down the road — (that was the rea- 
son they came to see if we needed anything) and 
we went fishing. Now Bill is a fisherman and a 
good shot, but Bill never saw fish bite as they bit 


that day out in the Broad-Water in a thirty foot 
channel. He kept bringing them in at the end of 
his line till I told him that the buggy would be 
overloaded; and then we went home. The women 
folks would have mobbed us for bringing "all those 
fish and crabs" if we had not consented to clean 
them if they would preside at the cook-stove. 
Then peace came on willing pinion, and sat on the 
rim of the frying-pan and the peak of our emo- 

Lastly, the Eastern Shore District Conference 
met in the Franktown church July 26th-28th, 1911. 
Dr. W. H. Edwards, the Presiding Elder, was Pres- 
ident. It was a most delightful and inspiring ses- 
sion. Dr. Sam Hatcher, McAllister, and others 
made a tremendous impression on the great crowd 
by their eloquent addresses. 

The parsonage was honored with a sociable sec- 
tion of the servants of the Church. Reeves came 
in late, but early enough to get a bed, and was as 
welcome as the others who had "borne the burden 
and heat" of two meals and a session already. 
Mrs. Butts was in her glory, and feeding was never 
better. It is always first-qlass at my house, and 
has been since she first took charge of a parsonage 
at Heathsville in the autumn of 1874. But there 
have been occasions when I feared she would sal- 
ivate the Itinerants who were not accustomed to 
such high living. And this was one of the times : 
yet Hatcher made the run of the meals safely, and 
Reeves was on the job whenever I inquired of 


Headquarters about the state of affairs in the din- 
ing room. As far as I could learn each visitor 
left the seat of Conference thoroughly satisfied 
with the entertainment Franktown had so gladly 
supplied, and with not a doubt that the commun- 
ity could entertain an Annual Conference if it could 
furnish rooms for the Committees to hold their 
business meetings in. 

One "advance movement" on the charge must be 
noted before I close this chapter. A very promis- 
ing Sunday School was organized at Nassawadox 
over James's store, under the lead of Brother Pitts 
and R. M. White and H. P. Myers were in the list. 
Westcott and a few devoted Methodists in that vil- 
lage who felt that they could not attend Sunday 
School and preaching service regularly at Frank- 
town. Subsequently an eligible lot was bought 
and secured to our church, and a very creditable 
building erected for the school. The work has 
grown since the beginning of its life. 

In the fall of 1911 the time of my departure to 
another field arrived. Wife and I did not know 
what the future had in its hand for our testing. 
But we faced the silent custodian of our destination 
with confidence that God, who had guided our 
steps all these years, would take care of us now. 
Our baby girl, Emma Gregory, the last of our girls 
to marry, had found the man of her choice, and we 
had given her in marriage to him just a month be- 
fore Conference. We saw the last star in the cor- 
onet of our married life go off at a tangent to shine 


in another orbit : so moving had ceased to be one 
of our problems. Wife and I sat, as we did thirty- 
nine years before at Petersburg in 1872, alone, 
waiting for the Bishop to say "Go," and Where. 




The Annual Conference for 1911, assembled in 
Trinity Church, Salisbury, Maryland, Wednesday, 
November 15th. 

Bishop John C. Kilgo, Presided over the body. 
It was his first visit to our Conference, and his pres- 
idency gave general satisfaction. 

It was also the first time that the Virginia Con- 
ference had ever held a session in its Maryland 
territory. The town covered itself with glory by 
the quality of its service, and the delegates and 
ministers had little difficulty in explaining their re- 
grets at the close of the session. , 

I had a good home in the family of my good 
friend, Emory Disharoon, where cordial welcome 
and gracious entertainment made my stay ex- 
ceedingly pleasant. 

The quadrennium, 1908 to 1911 had left, strewn 
along the fields of service twenty-four of our trav- 
eling preachers. Among these were several of my 
warmest friends; as for instance, J. W. Nicholson, 
E. E. Harrell, Dr. J. J. Lafferty, Joseph Shackford, 
J. D. Hank, and Charlie Crawley. The others I 


knew and loved for their work's sake but these men 
had been interwoven in my life and work for forty 
years and their going made the field of toil look 
mighty lonely to me. I have spoken of Lafferty, 
Hank, Harrell and Shackford in another place. 
"Nick," (as his close friends called him, was no 
orator,) but he was sensible, kind-hearted, brave, 
and true. His home was wide open as his heart, 
and his generous doings never found a limit till the 
bottom of his "pile" was struck. Charlie Crawley 
was a good horseman, a capital preacher, a fearless 
champion of righteousness and justice and mercy. 
He had the "whip hand" on the devil or any of his 
agents, and feared none of their threats, and cired 
less for their cavortings. Sometimes I thought 
Crawley hit 'em harder than usual because he liked 
to see them rear and kick. But with those who 
knew him well, he was as gentle as a woman. 
Everybody loved him because one was not obliged 
to search around in the rubbish of his constitution 
to find out the kind of fellow he was. He carried 
no chip on his shoulder, but he carried his soul 
on the outside. 

Thirty-two had been received on trial during the 
quadrennium. Two of my boys were in the lot, — • 
Frank McLean and Starke Jett, — both born while 
I was the pastor of their parents. Charlie Green 
and R. M. White and H. P. Myers were in the list. 
Two have been discontinued, and one, — H. P. Bald- 
erson finished his work early in his career and went 
to his reward. Jack Peters, Garland Unruh, the 


junior Bates and Archie Wright, Hopkins, Kidd, 
and Jackson came out into the open and said "We 
will go where you want us to go." And so with 
the rest of them>^a band of well-equipped men, 
workmen for God and humanity. 

Conference adjourned on Tuesday, November 
21st, at 11:30 A. M., and I was appointed to serve 
North Princess Anne circuit, at that time called 
"Providence and Cape Henry," with Dr. B. F. 
Lipscomb as my Presiding Elder. We left Salis- 
bury at about 2 P. M., and I left the dear breth- 
ren, who had to make the trip across the Bay that 
stormy afternoon, at Nassawadox. I envy no man 
his lot who has to cross from Cape Charles to Old 
Point on a day when a Northwester, or a South- 
easter, is on its mettle, making the surface of the 
Chesapeake resemble a flock of sheep on the sides 
and tops of tumbling mountains. It is said that 
scores of those Methodist ecclesiastics, getting 
news by gra.pev> telegraph of how the Baptists 
were cavorting around on the Methodist sheep 
pastures during the shepherd's absence from the 
western shore, imagined, amid the direful experi- 
ence of seasickness that the Baptists had turned 
loose the floods upon them with just a sheer love 
of fun. And some of them were hunting every- 
where on the boat for tlie men who had voted to 
take the Conference across the sea for another ses- 
sion. The report was common talk in Norfolk 
that some of these declamatory saints formed a 
chorus on the boat just before she reached the 


Norfolk wharf, and marched ashore singing, in 
doleful measures, 

When we left the land of 'taters 
We were full of food and pride ; 

Now we're empty to our gaiters, 
We've no food nor sin inside. 

We've been purged by rolling billows ; 

We've been forced to pray and groan: 
Lead us to our downy pillows, 

We can hardly stand alone. 

All this time I was in Franktown enjoying a 
good supper in the parsonage. 

The week previous to my departure for my new 
field was spent making farewell calls, and in pack- 
ing the odds and ends that must be left for the 
last minute. A part of my family went to our 
daughter's home in Mathews county, whilst I 
remained to welcome my successor, Rev. John O. 
Moss. He arrived with his good wife and daugh- 
ters and son on the morning train on Thursday, 
November 30th. Others carried his family to the 
parsonage at Franktown, whilst I took him in my 
■buggy behind "Bertie," the luiti-auto mare, who 
preferred to jump a fence, or race across a corn- 
field, or back up on the level of a wide road, then 
turn and beat the machine on the run to anywhere. 
Brother John said he could handle "Bertie," when 
he agreed to buy horse and buggy, so after I had 


told him all about her, I let go, and said no more. 
Now dear old Moss has gone to his blessed re- 
ward, and can say nothing, but I believe sister 
Moss and her very sensible daughters will testify 
that Brother got disgusted with "Bertie's" sensi- 
tive disposition before the winter was out, and 
traded her to Brother Lafayette Sparrow in Church 
Neck for a horse that could tell the middle of a 
road from a potato patch, or a corn-field ; and cer- 
tainly had the moral attitude on straight enough to 
be able to decide without argument that no kind 
of a preacher has any business racing on the Sab- 
bath* day, especially when he is on his way to 

When Brother Moss and I turned into the Frank- 
town road that midday from the station, I showed 
him first the public school building, and he was 
pleased. Then I pointed out Bro. Ed. Tankard's nice 
home and Sam Tankard's, and Allie B. Duntons, and 
Brother Nottingham's, and he said, "Butts, these 
are some folks, ain't they?" Then I pointed out 
the elegant home opposite Brother Nottingham's, 
and said "A stranger is moving into that house 
today. His family has arrived; and they are look- 
ing for his coming every minute." He said, "Who 
is he : I want to get acquainted with the man who 
lives in a house like that." I replied, "Well, that's 
your home." He was delighted with the outside 
of the "case," but when he got inside and looked 
at the "works," he talked very little. 

I stopped long enough to eat some of the good 


dinner those Franktown people know so well how 
to fix, and then I took my leave. He went out to 
the buggy with me, (Otho Walker was there to 
take me away,) and taking me by the hand said 
some very kind words to me which I had best 
keep in my heart. I spent the last night on the 
charge in the delightful home of Sister Nellie H. 
Rogers at Nassawadox. Next morning at 6 o'clock 
1 departed by way of Cape Charles and Norfolk for 
Oceana, my future home, at least for awhile. My 
first night in the new work was spent in the home 
of my dear brother, Wm. T. Brock, whose young- 
est son, Swepson, had become the husband <»f my 
youngest daughter on the 11th day of October, 
last passed. The parsonage, projected by my 
worthy predecessor, Rev. James Riddick Laugh- 
ton, son-in-law of my old friend. Dr. B. B. Button, 
of Lower Church, Middlesex, was unfinished, so, 
when my wife arrived, December 14th, we took up 
our temporary abode in the home of this daugh- 
ter, who lived in a snug little bungalow on the lot 
adjoining the lot on which the parsonage stood. 
Mother and daughter each needed the other more 
now than ever before, if possible. Dr. Lipscomb 
must have had the interest of those two worthy 
ladies at heart when he opened the matter of my 
appointment to my P. E., Dr. W. H. Edwards, and 
Bishop Kilgo placed us under lasting obligations 
when he sanctioned the bargain with the public 

Some of my brethren thought it a "come down'' 


to be appointed to this place, after having served 
Franktown four years.' But it is hardly true that 
they knew the facts in the case. I don't know 
them all, but I know this, that when the stewards 
of this charge met, they decided to give me the 
same salary I had received for the past four years. 
And somehow, I got it into my head that the ap- 
pointment pleased them. 

There is another view I intend to express at this 
point: I am obliged to say, looking back over my 
long term of service, that it is a most unfortunate 
habit many of us have of measuring a man by the 
kind of work he is given, instead of by the kind of 
work he does. It is no real discredit to an effi- 
cient man, all other things being equal, such as 
adaptability, &c., to put him on a charge which 
needs just the kind of man he is. Isn't it time to 
stop sending inefficient, lazy, unpractical, consti- 
tutional failures to charges that have been pray- 
ing the Good Lord for deliverance from this class 
of pastors, and have had to carry such burdens 
30 long that they have lost faith in the Bishop 
and the Presiding Elder too, and abandoned all 
hope for the struggling church? Why not give 
these faithful laymen a show? Their long-time 
loyalty cries aloud for recognition and corona- 

Another fact made the appointment very pleas- 
ant to both wife and myself was this : — Providence 
church was one of my apointments on the old Prin- 
cess Anne circuit in 1886 and '87. The congrega- 


tion knew me and I knew them as the children of 
the men and women whom I had served in the 
long ago. They welcomed my return as the com- 
ing of an old friend, and with delightful unanim- 
ity; and brought to our hearts the restful, home- 
like feeling that all of us were satisfied. 

Brother Wm. T. Brock was the only one of the 
old stewards of the old Providence left. Brother 
Israel Griggs was yet living, but his name was 
transferred to the Virginia Beach membership soon 
after my arrival. New men were on the Board, 
but they had familiar names ; names associated 
with my first pastorate of twenty-four years ago. 
Harrison Brock, George Ferebee and the older 
Gimberts were gone, but here was Robert W. 
Woodhouse, Sawyer Woodhouse, M. T. Ives, and 
Harvey Gimbert, all of the modern set. John 
James and George Brown and Sadie Ferebee, (the 
daughter of Geo. Ferebee,) and N, B. Godfrey. A 
stranger to the soil had come, also George Parker. 
Preston Scaff, with his mother and sisters, and 
Miss Cassie James and Mrs. Laura Hunter, all 
from Nimmo's, were there. And Dr. Broots, the 
"beloved physician," and Joe Bell about a mile be- 
yond the Eastern Shore Chapel. 

So, therefore, I took up the work with new men, 
the children, sons and daughters, of the past, but 
they soon became old to me, just as it had happened 
elsewhere, and the Master's work went on. This 
was the congregation which, at my suggestion, 
had sold the old church building at Sea Tack, and 


had commenced the construction of this building 
in the late summer of 1887 just a short while be- 
fore Conference. My prediction that the develop- 
ment of Virginia Beach would require the erec- 
tion of a church building there, and the removal of 
Providence would be a necessary action, had come 
true. A small band of enterprising Methodists at 
the Beach were struggling to get a church: but I 
will give the story later on in this narrative. 

The mantle of Miss Jaca Brock, (to whose good 
judgment and zeal the congregation owes so much 
in the work of building up this point, and who was 
torn from her task by tuberculosis in the midst of 
her labors,) — the mantle of this devoted young 
woman had fallen upon the shoulders of a dozen 
consecrated women, who took up her work in ear- 
nest, and carried it to a happy consummation. 

The parsonage was ideally located at Oceana, 
across, the field about three hundred yards from the 
church, on a road running parallel to the one on 
wh'ch the church stands. It is near enough to the 
railway station, travel infrequent, and close enough 
to the stores for the good of the purse. 

Four charges had been carved out of this terri- 
tory since I served it in '86 and '87, — namely. Prin- 
cess Anne, South Princess Anne, North Princess 
Anne, and Lynnhaven, only one church, Haygood 
Memorial, having been added to make up required 
strength to support a pastor over there. 

At Cape Henry there was a small congrega- 
tion of non-pressive people. Three men worked 


hard there to keep things moving, Capt. Holmes of 
the Life-Saving Station, Walter W. White, and a 
young brother from the Weather Service Station 
at the Cape, vs^hose name I cannot now recall. He 
was a man of strong Christian qualities. The out- 
look for development was poor, and the co-opera- 
tion of the dwellers on the beach was lacking. 
There were many who never came to public wor- 
ship on the Sabbath day, and the young found little' 
encouragement at home to serve the Lord. Some- 
how there was an absolute divorce between these 
people and the religious life. There was no recog- 
nition of the obligation to serve Almighty God. 
Death was believed to be nothing more than the in- 
evitable dissolution of the physical : there was no 
living in view of a coming Judgment day. There 
were half a dozen exceptions who cried daily unto 
Heaven for help. 

When the United States Government began to 
measure out the ground at Cape Henry on which to 
build Fort Story the great block included the lot 
on which our octagonal house of worship stood. 
This had to be taken in, and the authorities ap- 
praised the land and the building at $2,500.00. As 
soon as the check was received by the Trustees 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, it was 
paid over to the Quarterly Conference of the North 
Princess Anne circuit. That body divided it be- 
tween the parsonage at Oceana and the new church 
building at Virginia Beach. Thus did Divine Prov- 
idence furnish a satisfactory solution of a vexing 


problem. A portion of the membership at the 
Cape transferred to the Beach, a portion to. 
churches in Norfolk, and the remainder just drifted 

We moved into the Oceana parsonage January 
the 8th, 1912. It is a good building, comfortable, 
and all that a small family needs. Our neighbors, 
besides our baby daughter, Mrs. S. A. Brock, are 
cordial, kindly disposed, and very helpful in many 

The need for a church building at Virginia Beach 
to accommodate our growing congregation was ev- 
ident to me early in the first year of my term on 
the charge. Our congregation was worshipping in 
the Galilee Chapel, a building erected years before, 
for the use of the different denominations repre- 
sented in the population of the' rapidly growing 
town. The Methodists owned a lot on 16th Street, 
next door to the home of Dr. Emerson Land. But 
the route of the railroad was changed from the 
Avenue which runs back of the Cottages the whole 
length of the Beach, to its present location, — the 
lot became undesirable because of its nearness to 
the railway, and we sold it to Dr. Land, and bought 
the lot on which the church now stands. The cor- 
ner-stone was laid by the Masons of Norfolk in 
June, 1913, and the work left in its unfinished state, 
with the foundation up as high as the floor joists, 
until the following April, in order that the walls 
might settle completely. All through these months 
the Sunday Schools and churches throughout the 


Conference, in answer to my appeal through the 
columns of the Richmond Advocate, were respond- 
ing' with generous gifts in cash. The work con- 
tinued without a hitch as fast as we could pay. 
The Norfolk District Woman's Missionary So- 
ciety held a very well attended and profitable meet- 
ing in the unfinished building on the 10th of June, 
1914, and the Norfolk District Conference met in 
the same unfinished building July 28-30, of the 
same year. There was no discomfort experienced 
by the large congregations which assembled. I 
alone had one mishap. On the first day I had a 
chill, but remained at my post all day. The sec- 
ond day was one of rich reports and speeches. 
But on the third day, when I wanted to be with my 
brethren, and look after their needs, I was at home 
in bed with a raging fever and delirious. This sick- 
ness took all the spirit out of me, and although, as 
my wife, who went in my place, informed me, the 
brethren understood the situation, sympathized 
with the sick pastor in a kindly resolution, and 
all that; yet, sweet as these messages of consola- 
tion were, they could not take away the distress 
of my soul that I was not there. 

I was in a fine meeting with Rev. James T. 
Moore, of the South Princess Anne circuit, at 
Wash Woods church beginning July 1st, 1912. This 
church was constructed during the pastorate of 
Rev. Wm. P. Wright, about 1889, and is, largely 
the product, of Church Extension money. The 
building has a fine location back of the Live Oak 


forest, between Wash Woods and False Cape Life, 
Saving Stations, on the shores of Knott's Island 

I left Virginia Beach at 6 A. M., Monday in a 
sand cart drawn by one of those horses owned by 
the Life Savers, (called "Life Guards," in recent 
years,) who knows the sea and the sand so well, 
that he understands how to use the hard beaten 
surface of the one, and to dodge the heavy rolling 
billows of the other as they come tumbling in 
from a chase across from the shores of Spain. It 
is a seventeen mile drive down the beach to False 
Cape Life Saving Station, and a very delightful 
trip it is when the tide is down. I have always 
counted it a romantic opportunity which comes 
very seldom into the life of a highland mortal. It 
is not exactly the thing one wants in winter, when 
the wind is cold and blowing nearly every day. 
But even then, with all its discomfort, there is 
something thrillingly enjoyable about it. Then, 
when one comes to a Station, and is greeted 
quietly and as a matter of course by those hardy 
fellows, who seemed to be expecting you, although 
you have sent no message ahead, you are satis- 
fied that the warm house and the warm hearts are 
parallel effects of an oath and a training which 
keep them on the lookout for strangers on that 
desolate coast. We passed Dam Neck Station, 
five miles down at 7 A. M., and Little Island Sta- 
tion at 8:25. Then after a short rest here, and 
changing teams, so that the Virginia Beach Life 


Saver, who had kindly brought me thus far, might 
return to his station, with a new driver and a 
new horse, we went on southward seven miles to 
the False Cape Station, arriving at 11 A. M. 

Capt. De Lon, the Keeper, and his family greeted 
me cordially and at noon, ushered me out to the 
Station dining room to as good a dinner on fresh 
fish, just out of the sea, and fried chicken, just out 
of the fattening coop, as a weary traveler ever 
got at Jimmie Jones's in Norfolk. Then came the 
afternoon nap up stairs in the Station on one of 
Uncle Sam's first class single spring beds, with the 
cool breezes of the ocean fanning one's cheek 
whilst one drifted away into dreamland on the 
wingless zephyrs of an intangible world. 

At 3 P. M. I was called. A ride across the sand- 
dunes to the boat landing at a Gunning Club House, 
watched over by our brother, Lem Waterfield, and 
we embarked in a fast driven motor boat a little 
over a mile around the point to the Church land- 
ing. I preached at 4 P. M. to a very good con- 
gregation. The community is not very populous, 
—not more than twenty families, but the attend- 
ance is augmented by those who come from Knott's 
Island and Cedar Island to these protracted ser- 

The meeting increased in interest daily until its 
close on Friday, when Bro. Moore received eight 
into the Church, including Capt. Knight, the Keeper 
of Wash Woods Life Saving Station, his wife and 
two daughters. Capt. Knight and his family made 


US welcome at his Station, where I had spent many- 
pleasant and restful days during the years, 1886 
and 1887, when Capt. Malichi Corbell, John Water- 
field, and the rest of his splendid crew were on 
the job. 

The meeting having closed Friday afternoon I 
went over to the mainland, ten miles in a motor 
boat, and spent the night with Jim Brock, near 
Charity Church. Next morning I boarded the train 
at Pleasant Ridge at 6 o'clock, and was at Oceana 
at 8 A. M. 

July 29th I assisted brother Moore in another 
meeting, this time at Charity where we won' such 
a great victory in 1886. The power of God was 
manifested in the salvation of some, and in the 
hardening of others. There were some who, as 
young men, passed through the great revival of 
1886, declaring that "There is time enough." To 
that hour, after twenty-six years, they had not 
yielded to the claims of Jesus upon their lives and 
their service. Now they are past middle age, and 
the gospel of God's great love is an old song soon 

I was with brother Moore at Bethel in Septem- 
ber, but there was some trouble in the way, and 
"the word preached did not profit, not being mixed 
with faith in them that heard it." We could not lo- 
cate the sin, but it was sin, for nothing but sin pre- 
vents God from using his servants for his glory in 
saving others. We had another fine meeting, on 
JCnptj;'s Jslaad that summer, where the Lord madq 


bare His arm in the salvation of many, and the 
strengthening of His people. 

Brother Moore is a man after my own heart, — 
and so is his wife, — and so are his two splendid 
"chips." He is a firm believer in the need of man 
for Christ in the life, and in the sufficiency of the 
grace of God to bring deliverance to any captive 
held fast by the fetters of any vile habit. Men be- 
lieve in him because he depends on the Spirit, and 
the best results follow his labors everywhere. Dur- 
ing the great War, as Chaplain in the Army, his 
doctrine and his life lifted the office to its rightful 
place of respect and esteem both among officers 
and men. IsTone excelled him in the valuable service 
he rendered us during the dark days which fol- 
lowed the death of our son in France : when he 
kept us in constant touch with the authorities on 
both sides of the ocean. At the close of the War 
he remained in Virginia more than two years, or 
till the Army was demobilized and the camps 
around Newport News were vacated by the re- 
moval of the troops. Since then he has been on 
duty at Fort Thomas, Kentucky, still kept in his 
place, a tribute to his efficiency and worth in this 
branch of the service. 

Bro. John M. Oakey held a meeting for us at 
Virginia Beach in March 1915, which resulted in 
adding many to the church, and building up the 
membership. Besides this, it uncovered the sin 
of some who pretended to be leaders, when they 
were kickers by profession and practice. The 


mercy of the Almighty is from everlasting to 
everlasting. If this were not true, the Pharisee and 
the Hypocrite would not live an instant. The Par- 
able of the Tares in the Wheat finds its interpre- 
tation right along here. 

We had at the Beach a faithful few struggling to 
get a church building. Mr. and Mrs. W. G. Gard- 
ner, Mrs. Dr. South, (a good woman, full of en- 
ergy, but who did not live to see our church fin- 
ished,) Mr. and Mrs. Enoch Ferebee, Mr. and Mrs. 
Hibbert, Mrs. Walter Griggs and her daughter, 
Mrs. Harry Holland, and Mrs. Frank Rice. Later 
I transferred the Providence members at Sea Tack, 
and received Mr. and Mrs. Hardison by letter. 
This was the group which brought the church to 
completion and dedication October 24th, 191.5. 

The dedication service was conducted by the Pre- 
siding Elder, Rev. Dr. George Wesley Jones. The 
sermon was delivered by Rev. Dr. Gilby C. Kelly, 
the pastor of Ghent Church, Norfolk. It was a 
great sermon listened to with profound interest by 
a large congregation. No appeal for money was 
made to the congregation, because every dollar 
needed to pay the debt on the building was in 
hand. At night Rev. Fred. G. Davis, of Bramble- 
ton Ave. Church, Norfolk, preached a fine sermon. 
The day was ideal. The preachers werf; in fine 
trim. The people were glad. As for me, I was 
ready to build another church as soon as the op- 
portunity arose. 

November came and the end of my term on this 


delightful work came with that month. During 
the District Conference at Hickory, Norfolk county, 
July 20th-22nd, of that year, there were hints 
dropped from certain quarters that I had already 
been "placed for the coming year: that it would 
take care of me, but give me a plenty of hard 
work. However that may be, the fact is when 
brother Jones asked where I wanted to go, I told 
him "Anywhere." He asked my wife. She re- 
plied, "You settle that, brother Jones. We'll go." 
When he asked if I would like to remain in his 
District I replied earnestly, "I would rather stay 
in your District than go anywhere else." Then he 
said, "That settles it." 

Notwithstanding the fact that there was no way 
to stop my leaving this charge, the law demand- 
ing my removal anyhow, the other fact remains, 
I did not want to leave. There were some things 
that needed adjustment, and no man knew the best 
move to make in bringing about that needed work 
but me. I know there are a number of men in the 
Conference wiser than I, but no man loves Meth- 
odism more than I, and no man is more ready to 
rid Methodism of her hindering people than I, after 
other, and milder methods, have failed. Here is a 
place that needed the application of the new law of 
1918, and couldn't use it because we didn't have 
it; namely that the preacher can stay as long as 
the congregation wants him, and "a majority of 
the Presiding Elders can concur by ballot:" The 
people did not desire a change, nor did I. Yet a 


law moved me just when the charge needed me. 
The good brother who succeeded me knows what 
I mean, and approves my view. But I had to go, 
and I went. 

Bro. Jones had been my Presiding Elder two 
years, and we had a very good time together. Dr. 
Lipscomb had been removed to the Petersburg Dis- 
trict in 1913. His going was a grievous loss to me. 
As a visitor in the parsonage he had no superior. 
He gripped our confidence as well as our esteem; 
from the first. His administration was magnifi- 
cent, dignified, intelligent, with no sign of the 
"martinette," "clothed with a little brief author- 
ity,'' and galloping around astraddle of a broom- 
stick. He compelled admiration of the office, and 
love for the man. You just could not help your- 
self. You fell in because the edges of the pool 
were slippery. He had given me one of the very 
best appointments I had ever received in all my 
long years of traveling, and I was afflicted when 
the Bishop took him away. 

Then came Jones. Breezy, splendid, getting all 
over one the very first time he comes around. Does 
anybody know anybody who can beat Brother 
George Wesley Jones at talking against himself, 
and talking up everybody else? Listen; here is 
one of the many other good things he said to 
me "in perfect confidence :" "They have given me 
this thing, but I don't know what to do with it, to 
bless me." He talks up the Church. He talks up 
movements, and men, and measures, and, after he 


finishes, he's done. Then comes the unbending pro- 
cess, relaxation, merriment, companionable chat, 
an "all of that, and all of that !" 

Bro. Jones and Dr. Smoot, (at that time holding 
down Epworth Church, Norfolk,) came to my home 
at Oceana for , recreation and other things. My 
enterprising wife had a dinner. Jones and Smoot 
tasted the food, and called for more. It was de- 
lightful to see disciples of a city menu take to the 
natural fare, and make a fuss over it. Wife said, 
"Bring them out again !" Said I, "No : they are 
salivated now !" After the feast, we, three filled 
followers of John Wesley, went out to the spa- 
cious grove in which Providence church sits, to 
express ourselves on "The desirability of Country 
appointments as contrasted with the City." Jones 
and Smoot were decidedly and eloquently in fa- 
vor of circuit work as an incentive to piety and an 
aid in the selection of diet. But I have noticed 
that neither has profited by his philosophical dis- 
sertation, for Jones went from the Eldership to 
Monument church, Richmond, and Smoot from 
Epworth to Centenary, Richmond, and sticks there 
to this hour. Blame it on the Bishop? Well, yes, 
Bishops are good angels anyhow. 

But I am a little too fast in my story. Dr. Smoot, 
in order to demonstrate the expansive quality of 
country air, gave a most hilarious and welkin ring- 
ing shout. JoneS and I were startled from our 
meditations on the heat of side-walks and the price 
of coal, and asked our pleased companion what 


ailed him. He replied, "That is the first real good 
opportunity I have had to express myself in ten 
years." Jones replied, with reckless imprudence, 
"The two helpings to that cherry-roll have pro- 
duced this alarming state of disorder in an other-- 
wise meek and quiet man." 

Now Jones should not have said that, because he 
laid himself open to an ignominious exposure when 
we rettirned to the parsonage. Dr. Smoot quietly 
asked Mrs. Butts "how many times did you help 
me to cherry-roll. Sister Butts?" That good lady, 
who is as truthful as sunshine, replied, "I offered 
you the second helping; you declined, but Brother 
Jones accepted without a murmur." 

Now, there we have the facts laid bare by a good 
woman who always spoke the truth. Jones could 
not yell because he was too full : and Smoot yelled 
because he did not get it ! 

But ah ! man, that was a great day with me. My 
brethren had been in my home ! It was worth 
more to me than riches ! 




The one hundred and thirty-third session of our 
Conference was held in Cumberland Street Church, 
Norfolk, Va., November the 17-23, 1915. Bishop 
Warren A. Candler, Presided. 

Rev. Dr. S. S. Lambeth, on account of physical 
infirmities, declines re-election as Secretary, and 
the Conference adopted a suitable resolution ex- 
pressive of its "appreciation of the splendid ser- 
vice he has rendered the Conference through all 
the years of his incumbency of the secretaryship, 
our affectionate regard for him personally, and our 
wish that he may be spared yet many years to 
bless us in our annual sessions with his genial and 
noble presence." 

B. F. Lipscomb was then elected as Secretary, 
and J. T. Whitley and Frank L. Wells assistants. 

George F. Green had been one of the Assistant 
Secretaries for many years, but in 1907 H. J. Pay- 
lor was made Assistant and served till 1911, when 
Frank L. Wells and J. T. Whitley were made As- 

Nineteen of our preachers had died during the 


quadrennium ; namely, Jas. F. Brannin, A. Clarke 
Bledsoe, Wilbur F. Davis, Jos. E. Potts, W. E. 
Edwards, E.. M. Jordan, C. S. Wamsley, and T. J. 
Bayton among the Superannuates, J. B. Merritt 
Chaplain Seaman's Bethel, and Chas. H. Galloway, 
L. W. Guyer, C. E. Hobday, R. G. James, R. D. 
Smart, M. S. Elliott, Geo. E. B. Smith, M. L. Wil- 
liams and J. H. Kabler from the effective list. 

Forty-one had .been received on Trial during the 
quadrennium, and Dr. S. A. Donahoe, Dr. J. H. 
Light, Dr. S. T. Senter, Fred R. Chenault, Ernest 
L. Pea^rman are among those who were transferred 
to us from other Conferences. 

This session was a very busy one, and many im- 
portant matters were disposed of during the six 
days on which the Conference sat. Among these 
was action in regard to the establishment of a 
Summer School of Methods. A communication 
from the Norfolk District Conference recommend- 
ing such a movement was read, and referred to a 
special committee, which was constituted as fol- 

G. C. Kelly, J. T. Catlin, John Victor, T. S. South- 
gate, S. P. Jones, J. C. Reed, G. H. Lambeth, J. N. 
Latham and D. G. C. Butts. 

Dr. Cannon presented a paper regarding the ef- 
fort to establish a "great central Assembly Grounds 
at Lake Junaluska." 

Dr. Stuart delivered a characteristically earnest 
appeal to the body upon the subject referred to 
in the resolutions. 


The death of Thos. J. Bayton, one of our oldest 
preachers was announced, he having "passed away 
this morning, November 19th." 

The report of the special committee on the Sum- 
mer School of Methods was read on Monday the 
fifth day of the session by G. H. Lambeth, Secre- 
tary of the Committee, and adopted after remarks 
by D. G. C. Butts, and is as follows : — 

"Your committee appointed to consider the paper 
presented by the Norfolk District Conference in 
reference to establishing a Chautuaqua and Summer 
School of Methods at Virginia Beach, to be con- 
ducted under the auspices of the Virginia Con- 
ference, desires to report that it considers the plan 
both desirable and feasible. 

Your committee suggests that the following 
committee be constituted and 'authorized to orr 
ganize and promote the movement for the sum- 
mer of 1916: G. C. Kelly, D. G. C. Butts, T. S. 
Southgate, M. C. Ferebee, and Nv C. Scott." 

Immediately after Conference closed the above 
committee met and organized with G. C. Kelly, 
President, D. G. C. Butts, Secretary, and M. C. 
Ferebee, Treasurer. The Chautauqua and Summer 
School ^eld two sessions at Va. Beach, 1916 and 
1917, and although the best talent in this country 
was employed at a heavy expense for the Chau- 
tauqua platform addresses, and the Sunday School, 
Mission, Epworth League and Educational Boards, 
each, had a School of Methods for the Training of 
Workers, it was deemed advisable at the close of 


the session of 1917 to abandon the School for the 
present. In 1919, however, thq Sunday School 
Board, under the lead of our present progressive 
Secretary, Rev. J. H. Montgomery, re-established 
the School at Blackstone, and later moved it to 
the Randolph Macon Woman's CJolIege at Lynch- 
burg. The School is now a permanent and valuable 
agency in our Conference for the Training of 
Teachers and Missionary Leaders. 

Conference adjourned sine die on Tuesday night, 
November 23rd, and I found myself exactly where 
rumor said I would be, the pastor of Central 
Church, Hampton, Va., I was still on the Norfolk 
District, and Brother Jones was still my Elder; all 
of which was very pleasing to both my wife and 
"her husband." That night before I left the church 
I had my measure taken by a young man and his 
wife, members of Central. J. A. Ferguson and his 
pretty little wife were visiting the session of Con- 
ference, and incidentally to get the gauge of the 
new pastor for Central. I was pointed out as a 
"hand-me-down" from "way back." The gray hair 
and the stately steps of the sexigenarian appalled 
them. They fell into an attitude of reverential awe, 
till a closer examination revealed the sham decora- 
tions the new appointee wore to perplex disinter- 
ested saints : then they tumbled to the sign and 
declared that "Centra.1 can stand artything one 
year." I think Jones pointed out the "impending 


Brother Burdi, my beloved predecessor, had re- 
turned home before the close of Conference, . so I 
could get no interview with him, — a thing most 
desirable at that time, in view of the fact, which I 
learned that night, that his dear wife was quite 
sick, and it was uncertain when I could get into the 
parsonage. I went over to Hampton to "view the 
landscape o'er," and had confirmation of the report 
I had heard of Brother Burch's unfortunate di- 
lemma. It was true : he could not get out. Pun- 
goteague "must wait a time with patience the will" 
of autocratic events, and in the unhurried advent 
of the future get what was coming its way,"— 
"Gad, a troop cometh." Gen. 49:19. 

On my return to Oceana the day of my going to 
Hampton I found a post-card from my beloved 
brother. Waller L. Hudgins, Superintendent of the 
Sunday School at Central; whom I had known as 
a youth in Mathews circuit in 1890-94. He said, "I 
will meet you at Old Point any date you may fix 
upon, and take you and your wife to my house. 
Ship all your freight to Hampton: the Official 
Board 'will look out for that." So, the Lord had 
arranged the whole affair for us, wife and me, and 
there was no htirry nor confusion of any sort. I 
could enter upon my pastorate at Central without 
any delay, and good Brother Burch and his sick 
wife could make themselves content amid perplex- 
ities which could be borne for awhile in the hope 
of better times later on. 




























re X 

4) +J 

m 3 



We arrived at Brother Hudgins's quiet home on 
the second day of December, 1915, wife in perfect 
health, but I with the most horrible pains from 
Sciatica that I had ever suffered in all my life. 
And for twenty-one days and nights I got no re- 
lief from any remedy yet tried. At last Dr. George 
K. Vanderslice, (son of our glorified Vanderslice 
of the Conference,) in desperation said he would 
try his "last resort." I don't know what it was, 
but it struck the pain such a blow that it fled, never 
to return again, I hope ; but it left the hip and thigh 
on that side, (the right,) so weak that I dare not 
trust it in emergencies. Several months after my 
going to Hampton, indeed, a few days after the 
new postoffice was occupied, I fell down those steps 
prone into the street. Two very sympathetic gen- 
tlemen hurriedly came to my rescue, (one of them 
Mr. John Weymouth, one of Hampton's brainest 
young lawyers, the other I cannot recall now,) and 
having "set me on my feet, and estabished my go- 
ings," significantly asked, "Doctor, where did you 
get it?" I referred them to Dr. Vanderslice as the 
custodian of those remedies which heal any com- 

When I first made my bow to the Central con- 
gregation on the first Sunday in December, I was 
so lame in the right leg that I had to use a cane. 
When I went up the pulpit steps that morning there 
was much amusement in a corner of the building 
where sat two immortal jesters. 


It appears, from the best sources that are within 
reach just now, that, at the last meeting with the 
Presiding Elder, one of the leaders on the Official 
Board had addressed the P. E. in language some- 
thing like this ; — "Bro. Jones, please don't send us 
an old man who cannot do anything; nor a young 
man who does not know anything; but send us a 
medium man." Well, when these inimitable jest- 
ers saw me "go up them steps," they said, one to 
the other, "Thar now : they have sent an old man 
with a gray head, and one leg." 

Bro. Burch was one of the best pastors the 
church had ever had. His work was done thor- 
oughly, with great care and persevering industry. 
As I went around from house to house after his 
departure I found his tracks on every door-sill, 
and the imprint of his blessed influence for right- 
eousness on every life. "He pointed others to 
higher realms of conquest, and led the way." 

So I entered upon my work with this advan- 
tage : I did not have a scattered and disaffected 
membership to visit and plead with for their re- 
turn to the first love ; they were already in place, 
waiting only for a "new" shepherd to do his part 
at care-taking and "feeding time." I found a vig- 
orous band of young ladies under the tender care 
of Mrs. Annie Ashby, Mrs. J. A. Ferguson, and 
Mrs. Annie Rouse. There was a consecrated body 
of young men, such as J. A. Ferguson, Waller 
Hudgins, Will White, Norman C. Barbour, Richard 
and Geo. Moger, Pitman Bryant, Harry Owens and 


Others, who indicated in their spirit and methods 
the strength and perpetuity of the future church. 
Then were the tried and faithful old men, on 
whose shoulders the young church rested in the 
years of toil in the past : the men whose prayers 
and patience brought the young church to its pres- 
ent strength ; Isaac Wheeler, Henry Topping, Jesse 
Miller, Geo. F. Richardson, T. Jeff. Rowe, Henry D. 
Owens, Philip and Thos. Davis, R. E. Rollins, W. 
H. Haynes, and others. 

Later on as the work grew such men as Isaac 
Smith, Eddie Roche, E. R. Shields, O. C. Barbour, 
Willie Richardson, Jesse Haynes, M. M. Mann, E. 
Clif. Scott, and those transferred live-wires, Floyd 
Diggs and Jim Mitchell, mixed in with the "'mov- 
ers," and the young church moved out into a nev/ 
field where faith could exercise itself far out upon 
the promises of the Omnipotent and Unchange- 
able God. 

I must not omit the women : Those Altar-lit 
Torches, Spirit filled and unconquerablfi, who took 
their places in the fore-front of the advancing host, 
"saw the triumph from afar, and brought it nigh 
by faith," smiling at obstructions which the cal- 
culations of unbelief said could not be overcome. 
I have already mentioned Mrs. Ashby, Mrs. Rouse, 
Mrs. Ferg^uson. But there was Mrs. Ruth Hudg- 
ins, Miss Annie Wilson, Mrs. D. W. Moger, and a 
multitude, to name whom time would fail me. 
In May, 1916, Brother JefT. Rowe, one of the 


leaders mentioned above, went to his reward, after 
months of feebleness, failing daily till the end came. 
He was ready. His Master's voice the signal that 
his work was done. Sister Topping in May, and 
Bro. Topping in October, 1917, ended the long 
journey of life, and went home to rest. It was in 
this month, too, that the town was shocked by a 
boiler explosion at a saw mill, which snuffed out 
the lives of five men and desperately wounded two 
boys. Our brother, Alex. Weston, was instantly 
slain, and his eldest boy wounded. His life hung 
by a single thread for many days but he finally re- 
covered. In August, 1918, Bro. Dudley, a faithful 
man and a devoted father, died in the faith. Then 
the leader of our young people, Mrs. Ashby, full of 
faith and the Holy Spirit, closed a beautiful life of 
good deeds for Christ, and left the church "cast 
down but not forsaken." 

I have no records of the pastors in Hampton 
farther back than 1869, when J. D. Lumsden served 
"Hampton and York." The charge was on the Nor- 
folk District. Then followed Thos. C. Jennings, 
who came to our church from the Methodist Prot- 
estant Church, November, 1870. York was cut off 
from Hampton that fall, Joseph Lear becoming the 
first pastor. H. C. Cheatham was sent to Hamp- 
ton in 1871. In 1872 the appointment read "Hamp- 
ton and Warwick, B. W. Daugherty and J. W. Con- 
nelly." 1873 "Hampton and Fox Hill, B. W. Daugh- 
erty." Jas. L. Spencer came in 1874 and remained 


two years, followed by John B. Laurens in 1876, 
Jas. H. Crown in 1877, Wm. McGee in 1878, R. J. 
Moorman in 1880, (when Fox Hill was cut oflf) J*. 
P. Mitchell in 1882, E. P. Wilson in 1884, W. H. 
Christian in 1888. The work was established in 
Newport News in 1886 with J. T. Bosman as 
preacher, and that charge, with Hampton, Fox 
Hill and York, was placed on the Eastern Shore 
District, a very singular mixture, — -western shore 
charges on a District called by a name that con- 
tradicted their location. In 1875, Fox Hill was 
served by a "Supply" till 1882 when J. G. Lennon 
was sent there. Mitchell returns to Hampton in 
1883. At the Conference of 1887 the appointments 
read, "Hampton, E. P. Wilson; Fox Hill, T. J. 
Wray ; York, Chas. R. Taylor ; Newport News, John 
T. Bosman." In 1888 Jas. L. Spencer is sent to Fox 
Hill and Bascom Dey to Newport News. In 1889 
we have "Newport News, Jas. Cannon, Jr.," In 1890 
Christian is returned to Hampton, and Spencer to 
Fox Hill : Newport News has Cannon for the sec- 
ond year, but that work and York are put on the 
Richmond District. In 1891 W. F. Hayes goes to 
Fox Hill and R. M. Chandler to Newport News. 
In 1892 H. C. Cheatham is sent to Hampton for 
the second time, (having been there in 1872.) In 
1893 Bargamin goes to Fox Hill. Hobday in York, 
and Chandler beginning his fourth year' in Newport 
News, we have "Hampton and West End, E. M. 
Peterson and R, S. Baughan ; Fox Hill, Bargamin," 


and these two charges shifted over to the "Ports- 
mouth District, J. H. Amiss, Presiding Elder." 
t Here we have the beginning of "The Story of the 
Methodist Movement in the West End, Hampton, 
Va. The paper containing the recorded facts, 
was prepared by Bro. J. D. Miller and me during 
my pastorate at "Central." 

"Some time during the year 1894, while Rev. E. 
M. Peterson, D. D., was pastor of the Methodist 
Church on Queen Street, the movement began un- 
der the leadership of Rev. E. P. Wilson, a Super- 
annuate of the Virginia Conference, M. E. Church, 
South, and Rev. W. W. Topping, a Local Preacher. 
These godly men have ever been recognized as the 
fathers of the movement. 

"Between sixty and seventy people withdrew 
from the church down town and organized the 
West End Church and Sunday School, and the sta- 
tion was printed in the Annual Conference reports 
as "Hampton and West End." The building in 
which the work started was bought from the Pres- 
byterians for $600.00, the lot on which the building 
stood having been previously given by Mr. J. M. 
Willis for religious purposes. 

"The Conference of 1894 sent Dr. Peterson to the 
charge with R. S. Baughan as Junior Preacher, so 
that the work might hav« regular service and over- 
sight. On June 13th, 1895, Rev. E. P. Wilson died, 
lamented by a large circle of loving friends. At 
the end of the first year Brother Baughan was sue- 


ceeded by Rev. Graham H. Lambeth as Junior un- 
der Dr. Peterson. Brother Lambeth served the 
charge three years most acceptably, and the work 
was greatly built up under his ministry. Brother 
Topping died February 16th, 1897 ; his death was a 
great loss to the Church. 

"The rear of the lot on which the church stands 
was bought from Mr. Willis, and the new end, and 
a larger part of the frame building, were erected 
during Brother Lambeth's term. 

"Brother S. J. Battin became pastor in Novem- 
ber, 1898, and was succeeded by Rev. J. D. Lang- 
ley in the fall of 1899. All of these were young 
men, and unmarried. 

"Rev. Arthur B. Sharpe, the present Superintend- 
ent of the Virginia Conference Orphanage at Rich- 
mond, was appointed to the charge in November, 
1901, and Rev. Asa Driscoll in 1903. The latter 
served three years. During the year 1904 the old 
frame church building was moved back from the 
street, and the splendid brick church, which now 
occupies the site, was erected, and the house, next 
door to the church on the west, was bought from 
the Presbyterians for a parsonage. At the Confer- 
ence of 1904 the appointment appears in the Con- 
ference Annual as "CENTRAL." 

"Brother Driscoll was followed on the charge 
by Rev. John F. Cuthriell in 1906, and he by Brother 
Wm. P. Wright, (father of our brother Wm. 


Archer Wright, in 1907, and Brothei< Chas. E. 
Green in November, 1909. 

"Brother W. G. Burch was sent to the charge in 
November, 1911, and Rev. D. G. 0. Butts in No- 
vember, 1915. 

"The charge was on the Portsmouth District 
when organized in 1894. At the Conference of 1899 
it was placed on the Richmond District with- Rev. 
J. P. Garland, Presiding Elder. At the 1909 ses- 
sion of Conference it was put on the Norfolk Dis- 
trict, Rev. L. B. Betty, Presiding Elder. Rev. Geo. 
Wesley Jones came to the District in 1913." 

So reads the "Story" compiled in March 1917. 

The term of Rev. Geo. Wesley Jones, Presiding 
Elder, having expired, he was succeeded at the ses- 
sion of 1917, held in Court Street Church, Lynch- 
burg, by Rev. T. McN. Simpson, D. D., the staunch 
friend; the sincere Christian, the modest and faith- 
ful Administrator of the law, the earnest preacher. 
He did not supplant brother Jones in our hearts ; he 
just naturally got in along of Jones and made him- 
self at home, and everybody around our neighbor- 
hood, approved of the act. 

Brother Jesse Miller moved over to Newport 
News in the fall of 1917, and Central felt his de- 
parture seriously until the Lord, fulfilling His 
promise, "I am with you unto the end of the age," 
sent Jim Mitchell to take his place as Teacher of 
the Men's Bible Class, and led the Official Board 
to select Capt. Bill White as Chairman. Then the 



^V' ^ ^-^'^i^^^m 




1^ ^ 





j:rs. d. g. c. butts, 1921. 


"Good Ship" swung out into the channel again, and 
did some fine sailing over the sea of opportunity. 
Norman Barbour as Treasurer and Jake Ferguson 
as Lay Leader, were purser and skipper. 

Then came the end of 1918, with all collections 
paid, and $706.00 for the Japan Special. In the 
Centenary Missionary Drive, the church accepted 
its allotment of $10,000.00, and raised $19,000.00; 
devoting $17,500.00 of that sum to "Specials." And 
Central paid its Annual quota at last accounts. 
Nashville can tell. And this pastor received as 
salary that year $1,500.00. 

Central Church played its part bravely and with- 
out weariness during the Great War. More than 
a quarter of a million of troops passed our doors. 
Between fifty and eighty thousand were in our 
midst all the while from April, 1917, to late in the 
summer of 1919. At the barracks, in the canton- 
ments, at Langley Field and Camp Stuart, our 
young people and many of the older, with the 
preacher following, as best he could, this earnest 
band, ministered to the needs of the men, and fre- 
quently furnished Musical and Literary entertain- 
ment. Notably at Langley Field Balloon Gas Sta- 
tion did they make a specialty. And, to the credit 
of the officer in command at that point, let it be 
said, not one of my people ever had cause to re- 
gret our visits to those boys. On one occasion the 
Lieutenant agreeably shocked us by proposing to 
"give this bunch of splendid young men and wo- 


men An Army Dinner, if we would come at an ap- 
pointed time." WE WENT, We spent a glorious 
evening: went down in an Army truck sent up 
to the church at 3 P. M., ended the bountiful and de- 
licious feast with canteloupes and watermelons, the 
Long Metre Doxology and the Benediction by this 
preacher, then returned to town in the same way 
we had gone. 

These fine young American soldiers showed 
their appreciation of our sincere service by attend- 
ing Sunday School, public worship, and other ex- 
ercises at the church. Two or three were valuable 
aids to the choir. Others taught classes and led the 
Mid-week prayer-meeting. They came into our 
homes : big-hearted, clean, consecrated to God and 
their country. They came from Texas to Maine, 
from California to North Carolina, and brought the 
proofs of good breeding. There may have been 
some "Toughs" among the thousands that passed 
through our community. There must have been : 
few escaped. But they knew their place; they 
found the "birds" of the "same feather," and joined 
that "flock." 

I want to put into these pages the names of the 
men whoni I can recall. They must be held in 
everlasting remembrance. 

G. N. Ameson, Northfield, Minn., a splendid fel- 
low, a modest Christian,- an efficient teacher, a brave 
Airman. Young Anderson from Tangent, Oregon, 
(I forget his given name.) Alan Osborne from the 


Pacific Coast. In 1920 he wrote from Pomona Col- 
lege, Claremont, Calif. John W. Luening from 
Chicago, 111. ; Arthur H. Graham, of Den- 
ver, Col. ; and Hamilton and Miller from 
Oklahoma ; McDonald from Minnesota, and young 
Hill, with that devoted young wife who followed 
him across the continent from a camp in California, 
and remained, while he was in the Training School 
for Specials at Fort Monroe. They lived in Hib- 
bing, Minn., and she married him after he went to 
the Army. They brought their Church letter to 
Central, and entered into church life, among stran- 
gers as if they were at home. It was a shining ex- 
ample of "Christianity in earnest." Since they re- 
turned to their far western home, a little baby 
girl has appeared, and it was my privilege to write 
the young lady a letter and send her my photo- 
graph. Abernathy of Missouri captured one of our 
girls, and Umstead of North Carolina, found a 
splendid Ruby somewhere and married her when 
the war closed. 

These mixings with the boys so far from home 
became a joyous service to my young people and 
to myself and wife. We had two sons and two 
grandsons across the sea in the American Expedi- 
tionary Forces. We called the boys in for the 
sake of the mothers back yonder in the north and 
the west and the south, and we thought that per- 
haps we might be helping the Lord to answer some 
fervent prayer sent from the home altar. Two 


fine young fellows from Connecticut, in the Navy 
on the battleship "North Carolina," acting as con- 
voy to the army transports carrying our troops 
across in the years 1917-18, interested us very 
much, and I took care to write home about them. 
Alva Farrow of Newark, N. J., and Earl Boogar of 
Los Angeles, Calif., were among us to help, and 
created a bond so strong that their departure 
seemed to us like the cruel severing of home ties. 

The late autumn of 1918 was, to many of us in 
the old Virginia Conference, a period of sorrow, as 
the news from the front in France came over the 
wires of Washington. Dr. J. C. Reed, Dr. H. E. 
Johnson, Bro. John M. Burton, Bro. John T. Payne, 
and I had lost our boys over there, and Lewis 
Betty's son, George, passed away in a Training 
Camp in this country. Bro. Betty was spared the 
anguish of this bereavement, — he had gone on 
ahead to welcome his son in the sinless clime. 

Our Conference, on the motion of Chaplain J. T. 
Moore, held an impressive service in memory of 
these boys on Friday, the third day of the session. 
The solemn service was conducted in the Char- 
lottesville Church, Bishop R. E. Hendrix, presid- 
ing. The Conference was led in singing by a 
soldier choir from the University of Virginia, and 
Bishop Hendrix delivered a sympathetic address, 
which was followed by testimonies spoken by Dr. 
Johnson, Chaplain Moore, Prof. E. Sumter Smith 
of Bedford Academy, and Dr. Gilby C. Kelly of R. 
M. College, at Ashland, Va, 


At Central my beloved people went down with 
the pastor's family into this distressful "'valley" 
where the "shadow of death" had cast gloom over 
the entire community. Our son had been one of 
the young people of the church. They knew him, 
his cheerful heart, his merry face, his co-operative 
spirit, his sincere devotion to home and country. 
They lamented his death ; they embalmed his mem- 
ory in their hearts, and placed a beautiful marble 
tablet in the western wall of the spacious audience 
room of the church, then stood by the old father 
and mother patiently awaiting the return of the 
remains from Clermont-Ferrand. When in June, 
1921, the War Department delivered the precious 
dust to their keeping they assembled first in the 
sanctuary, where the dead soldier had so often met 
with them in worship. Here the services were in 
charge of Rev. H. W. Davis, of the First Church, 
Hampton, assisted by Rev. W. P. Stuart, of the 
Hampton Baptist Church.- Then in solemn pro- 
cession, led by a detail of soldiers from Fort Mo 
roe, the body was deposited in old St. John's Cem- 
etery, and the grave has had tender care ever since. 

This is not the end of the story of the devotion 
of Central Church to its Pastor. Bro. E. T, Dad- 
mun became my successor in 1919. He was a zeal- 
ous and devoted leader, a man of fine spirit, and 
capable. In the summer of 1920 he had an auto- 
mobile accident in Amherst while helping the 
preacher there in a meeting. A long period of 

520 FBOk SADDLE 'TO Olt* 

illness followed, and he was never able to do full 
work again during that year. Nevertheless, this 
brave young Official Body, backed up by a loyal 
church, asked for his return, saying, "We know 
him. We love him. We will take care of him." 
And they did take care of him through another 
year, employing "Supplies" as they could get them, 
until the Conference of 1921, when he was placed 
on the Superannuated list. For the last few months 
of that year the pulpit was served acceptably by 
Bro. John D. Hosier, a member of the Conference, 
and, at that time, Assistant to Bro. Sharpe at the 
Orphanage. Rpv. J. S. Gresham came to the church 
from -the Conference of 1921, and begins a most 
promising pastorate. 

As the end of my pastorate at Central, Hampton, 
neared, my preparations for "going" assumed a 
very serious aspect. From my point of view I 
had had a very successful term. I had not added 
many to the church, but those added were a sub- 
stantial and abiding set. My aim from the very 
beginning was to develop a strong, efficient, con- 
structive, aggressive group of Leaders, both men 
and women. My experience had taught me that 
the Church of the past thirty years needed these, 
in order that the ministry might give itself wholly 
to preaching and pastoral duty. Then Centenary 
Commission, when it made that the high aim of 
the Centenary Drive, simply put its stamp of ap- 
proval on my theory of the pastor's opportunity, 


and succeeded gloriously. If anything else ex- 
plains the wonderful development of Central 
Church along all lines of church work in the past 
six years, I do not know what it is. When I closed 
my term in the fall of 1919, there were men and 
women, from middle age down to youth, capable 
of "Doing Things," and doing them well and for 
the glory of God, than any church I have known 
anywhere in my travels. And the tribe is yet on 
the job, brave enough to attempt any work if you 
will call them to prayer first, and true enough to 
their plans and hopes and the cause of Christ to 
carry the thing through, without asking who or 
what is in the way. To them. Obstructions are 
steps heavenward: Difficulties are Faith develop- 
ers : Elnemies are proofs that Christ leads : Proph- 
ets of «lisaster are well-wishers of the kingdom of 
Satan. And that settles it : if some zealous, but 
thoughtless, backer has promised this group of 
DOERS a golden prize of any sort, that individ- 
ual had better have the prize ready for the un- 
expected call; its coming. 

The Norfolk District Conference met that year 
(1919) at "Denby Church," eight miles from Nor- 
folk towards Ocean View. It was my forty-ninth 
session: my first was at Culpeper in 1871. My 
brethren made me Secretary for the sixth time. I 
had been on the District eight years. I could not 
serve at the Virginia Beach session of 1914, be- 
cause I was the host of the Conference, and Dr. 


Whitley was made Secretary on my motion. He 
has a,lways been a pre-eminent success in that 
office. For carefulness and neatness he has no 
superior. At Hampton in 1912 Bro. Jas. T. Green 
was Secretary, and I was his assistant. 

The District Conference, knowing (I guess,) that 
I would not be on the District another year, 
adopted the following, on motion of Rev. J. M. 
Rowland : 

"Whereas, our genial and efficient secretary. 
Rev. D. G. C. Butts, has attended forty-nine Dis- 
trict Conferences, without missing a single one, 
and nineteen times serving*, as secretary, therefore, 

Be it Resolved, — That we, the members of the 
Norfolk District Methodist Conference, express to 
him our appreciation of his faithful service to his 
Church and his fellowman, aiid assure him of our 
love and our interest in his life and work. We re- 
joice with him in the great success and popularity 
which attends his ministry at Central Church, 
Hampton, and we pray God's blessing upon him 
and his family." 

The paper was offered by "J. M. Rowland and 
Emil Hauser." The Conference adopted it with 
a rising vote. I tried to respond, but the brethren 
had taken away my speech by their beautiful trib- 
ute ; so I did the best I could, and sat down over- 
whelmed with confusion and beaming with grat- 

The ministers of the different Churches of Hamp- 
ton were exceedingly cordial in their intercourse 

D. G. C. BUTTS, 1921. 


with me, — the elder brother. Their kindly spirit 
and courteous treatment were without limit and 
very gracious. Rev. Edwin Royal Carter, Rector 
of old St. John's, never forgot the blood and train- 
ing of centuries, but with unpretentious and pleas- 
ing manner commended himself to my warmest 
esteem. Rev. Qiarles Friend of the Presbyterian 
Church, placed me under a score of obligations for 
continuous and unstinted kindnesses coming from 
a kind heart, and prompted by a clean purpose. 
Those two Baptist boys, — Rev. W. P. Stuart, of 
the Hampton Baptist, vied with each other in show- 
ing the fraternal spirit toward this Methodist 
preacher, who does not hesitate to record their 
high regard for Ministerial etiquette. They won 
his respect for their fidelity to their own Denom- 
inational views, for the high grade of work they 
did for their Lord, and his love for the men them- 
selves. Their are some religionists so small in 
their apprehension of their calling that they call 
abuse of the opposition defense of their own posi- 
tion. Stuart and Haley were too big to fit in 
that small circle. An attempt to drive them in 
wih a maul would burst the little kitten ring wide 

So, we came to the end of the year, and Confer- 
ence would meet in Richmond. I made it known 
that I was opposed to the new law allowing the 
Bishop to appoint a man to a charge for a longer 
term than four years, "provided the Quarterly Con- 


ference shall request it, and a majority of the Pre- 
siding Elders shall concur by ballot." I made it 
known in May, 1918, when the law was enacted by 
the General Conference ! So, I had 'em or they had 
me : it does not make much difference which it 
was ; I was going. If I had any opposition to my 
return, I could say, "Oh, well ; you are too late : 
that's all fixed: I am going anyhow, but not to 
please you." If anybody contemplated the pas- 
sage of a drastic resolution by the assembled con- 
gregation demanding that the Quarterly Confer- 
ence fix up the "request," and send it to the Bishop, 
so that he might take the vote of the Elders "by 
ballot," I could protest that "my mind was made 
up, and it would be contrary to my principles to 
change it." Can you not observe in all this the 
conspicuous solidity of my natural courage, as 
well as the acuteness of my native intelligence? 
Of course. So it was easy work, and safe, to pre- 
dict the change of pastors, notwithstanding the 
'conditional extension of the time limit." 




The one hundred and thirty-seventh session of 
Conference rnet in Centenary Church, Richmond, 
Va., on Wednesday, November 12th, 1919. 

Bishop E. R. Hendrix presided, and B. F. Lips- 
comb was elected Secretary with Frank L. Wells 
and Roscoe M. White, Assistants. 

During the quadrennium twenty-two of our 
preachers had gone to their "great reward." 
Eleven of these. Revs. R. N. Crooks, T. J. Taylor, 
W. G. Starr, J. H. Amiss, W. V. Tudor, W. R. 
Crowder, J. Q. Rhodes, H. C. Bowles, E. P. Par- 
ham, J. T. Payne and C. C. Wertenbaker were on 
the Superannuated list ; Bro. W. H. Camper had 
been a Supernumerary for many years ; but Rob- 
ert B. Blankenship, Saml. R. Drewry, Lewis B. 
B. Betty, Bascom Dey, J. W. S. 'Robins, W. W. 
Lear, L. C. Shearer, H. P. Balderson, and W. W. 
Sawyer, Elders, and T. M. DeShazo, Deacon, ceased 
from their labors, cut down in the midst of their 
work, getting their crown before the day was done. 
Bros. Amiss, Crooks, Tudor, Camper, Starr and 


Bowles were the oldest men in our ranks to pass 
away during the quadrennium, whilst Bros. Balder- 
son and DeShazo were the youngest. Bro. Amiss 
came into our Conference in 1854, and DeShazo in 
1914, exactly sixty years between these dates. Bro. 
Amiss had been in the Conference sixty-two years, 
and Bro. DeShazo only four years. 

Bro. Payne came into the Methodist Church, 
and was licensed as a local preacher, under my 
ministry in King George in 1879, and we were 
drawn to each other in the warmest bond of fra- 
ternal intercourse since that time. He was a kind- 
hearted sincere man, who knew nothing of the 
doubtful, double dealings of the world; a Christian 
minister who preached well, and practiced his own 
doctrine of life that he might tell others that it 
would stand any test. "He married a wife." That 
brief text of scripture shows well the spirit of the 
man, when he went to find a woman to help him 
build a home. She was a true woman. Finding her 
place beside a man who had been called of God to 
the "ministry of reconciliation," she gave herself to 
the task assigned her by Divne Provdence, — the 
task of making a home that was the standard of 
home life for the churches her husband served. This 
was the typical "helpmeet" : and he honored his call- 
ing in the selection he made for this Heaven-ap- 
pointed task. He . could not have shown greater 
wisdom. She was the grandaughter of Rev. Saml. 
Cushen, the Senior Preacher on the old Glouces- 


ter circuit, who died near Walter Stoakes' home 
in Milford Haven, Mathews county, in 1824, leav- 
ing a young wife and a little babe, who lived to 
become the mother of Sister Payne, whose maiden 
name was Ellen Cushen Jones. 

Dr. Willie Lear, Lewis Betty, Jno. Rhodes, 
Travis Taylor, and Sewell Robins, each one was my 
friend and brother. I was strongly attached to 
them. They were valuable men, "holding forth 
the word of life" in the pastorate, and the more 
public work of the pulpit. Constructive workers, 
laying carefully the detail of daily toil on the im- 
pregnable foundation of the Living Christ. Of 
Bro. Parham, who was my junior in Middlesex, in 
1882, I have spoken in the chapter on that work. 

Of Bro. Wertenbaker, a native of beautiful Al- 
bemarle, born in that county in 1844, Dr. Lafferty 
writes in the Sketches of the Virginia Conference, 
as follows : "We never saw a man who slung a 
rifle that was truer to his post than Wertenbaker. 
At a prayer-meeting or a skirmish Charley was 
ready to improve the occasion. He was cocked 
and primed to put in a shot or a shout. Daniel in 
Babylon was not braver than the stripling soldier 
and boy class leader in the Confederate Army. His 
record is luminous. His courage rallied the wav- 
ering soldier ; his Christian integrity made stead- 
fast the faltering disciple." 

Dr. Wm. G. Starr was born in Rappahannock 
county in 1840. "He was a poet, a brilliant writer, 


a brave soldier, an humble Chrisi".iar, an eloquent 
preacher, a cheerful and helpful friend, a careful 
student of the Bible, an apostle of "a living gospel, 
suited to every age, to every condition and phase 
of life, the answer to every question, the solution 
of every problem, temporal and spiritual.' (Edi- 
tor Copeland, in Nev^rport News "Daily Press.") 

Of Brother Amiss I have written in another 

During the quadrennium twenty-six preachers 
had been received on trial into the traveling con- 
nection; four had been discontinued; one had 
located; and fourteen received by Transfer from 
other Conferences. Of theso. Dr. John B. Winn, Dr. 
J. W. Moore, Brothers Wallace R. Evans. 1. D. 
McAlister, and J. K. Holnian wer; simply coming 
back to the old Conference after serving a few 
years as a loan to other field.;. Perhaps some one 
thinks on reading this, that I am a little mistakea 
in the case of Dr. J. W. Moore. But I am not. 
Dr. Moore came to us years ago from Ilol'-'ton. He 
served Queen Street Church, Norfolk, very accept- 
ably; and then was taken away. Bro. Aberuathy 
has but recently joined another Church. Bro. Ship- 
ley returned to the Mission field in China last sum- 

The Methodist Church in general, and the Vir- 
ginia Conference in particular, suffered a great loss 
this year, 1919, in the death of two very valuable 
laymen, — W. W. Vicar of Norfolk, and Capt. E. V. 


White of Portsmouth. The Preachers' Relief So- 
ciety adopted the following paper and caused it to 
be spread upon their minutes : — 

"Since the last meeting of this Board, two of its 
most useful and beloved members have ceased from 
their earthly labors and gone up to their heavenly 
reward. It is fitting that we should here record 
our appreciation of their fellowship and services, 
and our profound sorrow on account of their re- 
moval from our midst. 

"Willis Wilson Vicar departed this life on the 
14th of February, 1919, having passed his sixty- 
ninth birthday. He had been a member of the 
Methodist Church from his youth, and for many 
years was a trusted and valuable officer of the 
Church. In all the various positions of trust that 
he held in the Church and community, he mani- 
fested the highest type of Christian character, and 
won to himself a multitude of friends in all the 
walks of life. It is safe to say that no more faith- 
ful and honored Christian man lived among us 
than he, and none whose departure will be more 
keenly felt. He became a member of this Board 
in 1885, and was elected Secretary and Treasurer 
on the 23rd of November, 1886, continuing through 
more than thirty-two years of unbroken service 
to discharge the duties of his office. His patient fi- 
delity, his wise business management, and his dil- 
igent administration of the important matters com- 
mitted to his charge, have contributed very largely 


to the progress and prosperity of the Society, and 
to the relief of those for whose benefit it was 
formed. In thus expressing our appreciation of 
his character and services, we tender our respect- 
ful and cordial sympathies to his afflicted family 
in their great sorrow. 

"Capt. E. V. White finished his earthly course at 
Clifton Springs, New York, on the 28th of Feb- 
ruary, 1919, in the eightieth year of his age. He 
had been for many years a prominent figure in 
the business and religious life of Portsmouth and 
Norfolk, and was held in high esteem by a wide 
circle of friends and associates. During the Civil 
War he fought bravely for the cause of the Con- 
federacy, and was an officer of the "Virginia" (or 
Merrimac) in the historic fight in Hampton Roads. 
He was largely instrumental in founding Park 
View Methodist Church in Portsmouth, and con- 
tributed much to the various enterprises of the 
Church. Captain White became a member of this 
Board in November, 1887, and was at once placed 
upon the Investment Committee, now called the 
Finance Committee. In 1909 he was appointed also 
a member of the Executive Committee. In these 
places of trust and usefulness he served with con- 
scientious fidelity, and was always ready to attend 
the meetings of the Society, and to be present at 
the sessions of the Annual Conference whenever 
possible. The Society and its beneficiaries owe 
much to his wisdom and care. We beg to tender 


to his surviving loved ones our cordial sympathy 
in their bereavement. 

"It is hereby directed that this minute be spread 
upon the records of the Society and that a copy 
be sent by the Secretarj'- to the family of each of 
these deceased brethren." 

(Signed) "J. T. Whitley, 
Secretary and Treasurer." 

On motion of E. Frank Story, "a standing vote 
of thanks was extended Thos. S. Southgate, Con- 
ference Campaign Director, for his efficient ser- 
vice rendered in the Centenary Drive." 

Surely this was a deserved recognition of sys- 
tematic, sustained, intelligent and conscientious 
work given to his Church by one of the busiest 
business men in the nation. The business relations 
of brother Southgate extended over the entire 
South, with connections north and west, and "feel- 
ers" running out to the Pacific Coast, and across 
that ocean to the coasts beyond. Yet this man, of 
not too vigorous a body, and often weary beyond 
endurance, pushed the Centenary Campaign, with 
the aid of selected District Directors to the most 
remarkable results ever achieved in the history of 
the old Conference. His presence inspired con- 
fidence : his addresses, albeit there was much 
sameness in them, were fresh, strong, courageous, 
devout, indignant at times almost to the verge of 
fiery Invective, always appealing to the faith, to 
the loyalty, to the sense of honor of the people, led 


the Conference, including his own District (Nor- 
folk) to stand in the front of all the Southern 
Church in the total amount of money subscribed, 
and the total number of leaders brought to the 
consecration altar for life service. 

Time and again during the past fifteen years 
Brother Southgate plead with his brethren to per- 
mit him to lay down his burden that another might 
take it: but they turned a deaf ear to his pleas, 
and by prayer and supplication at the throne of 
grace that the Holy Spirit might lead this able 
worker, and the power of God strengthen him 'for 
his task, they placed the commission in his hand 
year after year, awaited his plans for conquest, and 
his word to advance, first pledging sympathy and 
co-operation. The Conference has constantly called 
him to do the difficult thing: he was too humble a 
man to push himself into leadership ; he was too 
brave and too loyal a child of the Church to retire. 
Hence he is at the front yet, and will be to the 

He is the friend of the preachers. Many of them 
would speak out if they dared break the promise 
they made on a certain day when Tom Southgate 
put his arm around the heart and the home of the 
struggling itinerant, and uttered the charge, "Keep 
this to yourself." I have often been reminded, by 
his unostentatious generosity, of D'Arcy Paul in 
Petersburg, of Walter Stoakes in Mathews, of Tom 
Rpdes in Albemarle, of Tim Bowden on Knott's 


Island, South Princess Anne, and Jim McCarty, 
the unlettered man of moderate means in King 

God chooses his leaders from among the men 
and women of faith, without regard to their posi- 
tion or wealth. They furnish the instance of fidel- 
ity in the cultivation of talent, whether it be one 
or five. He furnishes the field and "grace to help 
in every time of need." I am not a traitor to the 
person of deep learning, or broad culture, or of im- 
mense riches because I place beside him the per- 
son of Jimited culture, or limited m3,terial re- 
sources. Christ did this when he placed the man 
with the two taletits beside the man with the five : 
he would have given the man with the one talent 
the same praise if he had not been "wicked and 
slothful." The point of the whole story is that 
the glory belongs to God, after all, and not to any 
accident of education, position, or wealth, to fidel- 
ity in the discharge of duty with the equipment we 
possess, and not to any inherited right, or acquired 

Conference adjourned on the 17th of November, 
and I was read out for "Hilton," Portsmouth and 
Newport News District. It was a new appoint- 
ment, out and out. I was considerably upset when 
I first heard the news. No church-building, no 
membership, no anything but an opportunity. I 
was seventy-one years old. I had been selected 
out of a lot of men twenty-five, and thirty-five 


years younger than myself to go out into a new 
field from the delightful surroundings at Central, 
Hampton, to do pioneer work, and the Board of 
Missions had appropriated $500.00 to take care of 
me. I grasped the idea in this form, and lifted my 
heart in thanksgiving to God that he had given 
me this honor at this period of life, when other 
men, far more worthy than I, had been given easier 
places, or had retired from travel altogether. 

I asked brother Simpson, my Presiding Elder, 
why I had been assigned such work at my age? 
He said "We all believed you are the man to do 
that work." So I accepted the appointment as an 
opportunity from the hand of the Lord, and I went 
to Him in prayer, and committed myself, with 
every power of my being, to the task, and begged 
for grace to help me do His will as far aS my tal- 
ents permitted. And up to this time the Lord has 
been with me. 

Dr. W. H. Edwards, who had been my Presid- 
ing Elder once before, (four years on the East- 
ern Shore,) took charge of me again, and I was 
satisfied. We had, in fact, been associated "at 
long range" for a long time. He was, in his early 
ministry, on the West Brunswick circuit, that sec- 
tion of the old Brunswick circuit, where I 
was born, and had his home at "Roslin," the home 
of my grandfather. Rev. John Gregory Claiborne, 
and my birthplace. My grandfather esteemed him 
very highly, and predicted for him a successful ca- 


reer. My step-grandmother was somewhat ex- 
travagant in her admiration of him because of his 
general usefulness in doing odd jobs around the 
place cheerfully and without coaxing. In my early 
ministry at Bethany, in Northumberland, I had re- 
ceived his devoted wife into the church when she 
was a girl just entering her teens. So, notwith- 
standing the fact that he had turned loose a stream 
of cold-water on my sensitive hide at the Salis- 
bury, (Maryland,) Conference of 1911, by telling 
me there was "nowhere for me to go," it was very 
pleasajit to have him for my Elder again. I thought 
of dear brother William E. Payne, at Charlottes- 
ville in 1894, when his term expired on the Rap- 
pahannock District, and mine expired in Mathews 
circuit. I said to him as we went on to Conference, 
— "Look out for me, brother Payne, and don't let 
me die on the auction block." He replied, — "A nig- 
ger of my acquaintance once had a dog named 
'Tige,' that his owner said would bring out a coon 
from anywhar. He and some white men took Tige 
out coon-hunting on a certain night; turned Tige 
loose in the woods, and waited for Tige to 'open.' 
The nigger said, 'When you hyears Tige, you may 
know Tige is arfter sump'n.' But presently Tige 
came out of the jungle like a streak of lightning, 
and the white men asked, 'What's the matter with 
Tige?' The nigger replied, 'Thar's sump'n arfter 
Tige.' Now, Butts, don't forget: this fall thar's 
sump'n arfter Payne." So I thought of Brother 


Edwards; it was his fourth year: there was "some- 
thing after" him. But he and brother Lipscomb 
together took special care of me that fall, and I 
have always beem grateful to them for the appoint- 
ment I received. 

I had everything at the Central parsonage ready 
to send up to Hilton Village to the rented house, 
87 Hopkins Street, by the middle of the next week. 
Nobody had to get out of my way, but I had to get 
out of the way of my successor. Rev. E. T. Dad- 
mu-n. Yet he did not hurry me. He knew the ladies 
of the church were putting things in order for his 
coming, so he came when the signal was given. I 
was delighted that such an efficient and useful a 
man as Dadmun had proven himself to be, had 
been sent to such a strategic post as Central 

Two fine congregations heard me at Central, 
November the 23rd, but on Monday night a "Fare- 
well Service" was held and Central people sur- 
prised Mrs. Butts by presenting her with a purse 
of fifty dollars in gold, and rendered me speech- 
less for awhile by presenting me, through that 
wonderful veteran Christian and Confederate sol- 
dier. Brother Isaac Wheeler, with a costly gold 
watch suitably inscribed. Will Richardson and 
Floyd Diggs said such a gift meant that I had 
bored the people there long enough, and the time 
to travel had arrived, and I had better go while 
"going was good." Yet I have noticed that these 


two men have visited my home at Hilton oftener 
than anyone else in Hampton. Perhaps they re- 
pented their rashness long ago. But, then, they 
know I am never happier than when they bring the 
sunshine of a jolly soul, and a warm heart into 
my home. 

Our last meals in Hampton were taken at Mrs. 
C. C. Marchant's on King Street, Waller Hudgins's 
and E. L. Carmines's. Thursday, November 27th, 
wife and I occupied our new home in Hilton Vil- 
lage, and Sunday, the 30th met my new congre- 
gation for the first time. The people gave us a 
warm reception, and I entered upon my new work 
in a cheerful, hopeful mood. The outlook that day 
was fine, from every point of view. The people 
were in good spirits, and predicted a successful 

The founding of the Hilton Village Church is 
the work of a band of earnest men and women 
brought together here from many states by the 
call for skilled labor in the Newport News Ship- 
building and Dry Dock Company's plant during the 
great War. 

The Emergency Fleet Corporation began the 
construction of the village in the early spring of 
1918, to provide homes for the immense increase 
in the population of Newport News, and thus give 
shelter to the large number of workmen in the 
Shipyard seeking dwellings for their families. 
The village is three miles north of the city in War- 


wick county, immediately on the C. &. O. rail- 
way between "Camp Hill" and "Camp Morrison." 
The concrete road from Fort Monroe to York- 
town passes through the place. The village is 
composed of about 475 houses, and is laid off into 
three streets running perpendicular to Warwick 
Road, on which is the car line to Newport News; 
the names of these streets being Hopkins, Main 
and Post. Parallel with Warwick Road are the^ 
following Avenues : — Piez, Hurley, Palen, Fergu- 
son, and River Road. These buildings are com- 
fortable, furnished with heating and cooking ap- 
paratus, water and electricity. 

On the 8th of June, 1919, Rev. Mr. Bomboy of 
Norfolk, Field Agent of the Presbyterians, and Rev. 
Walter Smith, a Member of Chestnut Avenue 
Methodist Church, Newport News, organized a 
Sunday School in the Firemen's Qub House with 
12 teachers and scholars. June 15th, with 37 pres- 
ent the organization was completed, with Rev. Mr. 
Bomboy, Supt., and Brother Smith, Assistant. As 
the number increased and the people decided to hold 
all the exercises out doors, under the trees, behind 
the Club House. Mid-week services were held in 
private houses by Brother Smith. As the summer 
was nearly ended other quarters for the winter 
must be had. Mr. E. T. Massey gave them per- 
mission to use the old building that had been used 
as a hospital while the village was in course of 
construction. It proved to be suited to both Sun- 






day School and Preaching Services. As the school- 
grew its departments were formed as follows: 
Mrs. G. S. McKenzie, Supt. Primary, Bro. Bomboy, 
Teacher Men's Bible Class, Mrs. H. C. Taylor, 
Teacher Ladies' Bible Class. 

Then Rev. G. T. Forrester, Methodist Camp Pas- 
tor came to the help of the little band, and held 
special revival services. A tent was secured and 
Rev. W. L. Murphy, of Chestnut Avenue came and 
did the preaching. Many were converted, and 
many throughout the village began to attend ser- 
vice, and were led to join in the movement. 

About this time a religious census was taken and 
as a result the Methodists and Presbyterians, con- 
cluded to divide and organize a church-membership 
for definite work. The Methodists continued to 
use the old hospital, while our Presbyterian breth- 
ren erected a temporary building aided by the First 
Presbyterian Church down town. Rev. Walter 
Smith was made Supt. of our School, Brother C. 
M. Pritchard, Secretary, and Miss Margaret Smith, 
Treasurer. Brother Forrester took charge as Pas- 
tor, and the work moved off in fine style. 

As the time for Conference drew nigh the people 
decided to ask for a preacher. So Dr. W. H. Ed- 
wards was notified, as Presiding Elder of the Ports- 
mouth and Newport News District. The members 
were called together, for November, 5th, 1919, and 
the following were present : — Rev. W. L. Murphy, 
Rev. G. T. Forrester, Rev. Walter Smith, W. C. 


Harris, W. H. Stine, P. F. Ware, Sr., Mrs. H. C 
Taylor, Miss Esther Taylor, J. F. Rock, and M. C. 
Barnard. Dr. Edwards, presided, Walter Smith 
was made' Secretary. W. C. Harris, P. F. Ware, 
Sr., and W. H. Stine were elected Trustees. W. 
C. Harris., R. A. Warner, Miss Esther Taylor, J. 
F. Rock and M. C. Barnard were made Stewards. 

This Official Board met as early as possible, 
and decided to let the Bishop of the coming ses- 
sion of Conference know that if their request was 
granted they would pay such a man $1,200.00. The 
request was granted, and I was sent as the First 
Preacher of the Hilton charge, the Mission Board 
agreeing to supplement the promise of the Church 
at Hilton with an appropriation of $500.00 for my 
support. After my arrival at Hilton Village I was 
informed that I must preach at Morrison and War- 
wick court house, two unorganized classes, the 
former two miles north on the Concrete Road, thf. 
latter, nine miles north on the same road. I hg.d 
tp reach these points by the Newport News and 
Yorktown Omnibus. 

The organization of the work at Hilton Village 
first engaged my attention. A squad from the Cen- 
tral Church Epworth League, on my invitation, 
came out on my second Sunday on the field, and 
organized an Epworth League with about forty 
members. To Brother N. C. Bafbour and a half 
dozen others I am indebted for this work. 

Then the Sunday School was re-organized; J. 


F. Rock, Supt.; W. I. Fielder, Asst. Supt.; C. M. 
Pritchard, Secty. ; Miss Margaret Smith, Treas. ; 
Walter Smith, Teacher of Men's Bible Class ; Mrs. 
H.' C. Taylor, Teacher of Ladies Bible Class; Mrs. 
J. F. Rock, Young Ladies' Bible Class; W. C. 
Harris, Intermediate ; W. L Fielder and Harry 
Lauterbach, Junior Boys; and Mrs. W. H. Stine, 
Junior Girls. Miss Esjther Taylor, assisted by 
Mrs. C. M. Pritchard and Miss Florence Hughes 
had charge of the Primary Department, Mrs. W. 
I. Fielder had the Cradle Roll, and Mrs. John Ma- 
this the Home Department. 

With this organization I went to work. My 
first job was to obtain Certificates of Church Mem- 
bership for about forty-six out of the fifty-two 
names turned over to me by brother Forrester. 
This was the nucleus around which I gathered in 
a few months a membeiship of two hundred people 
from New York, New Jersey, IlHnois, Missouri, 
Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Ala- 
bama, Texas and Oklahoma. The mixed mass of 
Methodists simmered down into a working group 
as fine a church-body as I have seen anywhere. 

Plans were made for a church-building suitable 
for work, definite Sunday School work, and the el- 
egant, commodious and comfortable church shown 
in the picture before you is the result. It cost 
$2S,846.00, and we owe on it $10,000.00 yet. If 
some rich Methodist would pray over'it a "little 
bit, I think the Lord would move his heart to send 


these folks $5,000.00, and they can manage the 

The Church at Morrison was scattered from 
that point to Portsmouth, but is getting in fine 
shape for progressive work. This is a monument 
to the zeal of dear old Brother John F. White, of 
York circuit, the father of Bro. John E. White of 
our Conference, and of Wm. B. White of Central, 
Hampton. We have a fine Sunday School here^ 
W. C. Pennington, is the capable Supt. At War- 
wick court house the small group of earnest wo- 
men has erected a beautiful chapel, at a cost of 
$7,000.00, and Dr. R. H. Potts dedicated it October 
9th, 1921. Mrs. W. P. Freeman is Supt. here and 
has a fine school which promises to become 

This Charge was in the list of appointments at 
the Conference of 1919. Morrison had b«en served 
by the preachers from Trinity, Newport News, for 
some time. Warwick had been served from Wil-: 
liamsburg. Hilton Village was unknown till the 
fortunes of war put it on the map. Hilton circuit 
comes up to the Conference in Epworth Church,. 
Norfolk, Va., with as good report as it could pos- 
sibly make with a Preacher in Charge who is 
seventy-two years old, and closing his fiftieth year 
of unbroken service in the Itinerancy. 


Here is the consolidated report ; — 

Church Members 239 

Value of Property $26,250 

Total raised by Sunday 

Schools $406 

Total raised on the Charge for 

all Purposes , $6,275 

Sunday Schools 3 

Scholars 419 

Epworth League Members .... 63 

Total raised by Leaguers .... $195 

The possibilities of this work are not compre- 
hended yet. A vigorous man, with God's love to 
constrain, and the responsiveness of the people 
to encourage, would develop this work on all lines, 
and honor our Lord. This entire territory, from 
Newport News to Lee Hall has been under the in- 
fluence of the principles which dominate the un- 
saved world. The Immersionist's doctrine of con- 
fession has been the ruling idea in the religious 
life of the people from the beginning. The vital 
contact of the blood of the living Christ with the 
helpless soul of the lost sinner in response to that 
sinner's despairing cry for salvation, is an un- 
known experience to hundreds of church-members 
in this section. Except in some very rare instances 
few "know Him, and the power of His resurrec- 
tion, and the fellowship of His sufferings, hav- 
ing been made conformable unto His death." They 
have not "passed from death unto life, and from 


the power of Satan unto God." And some 'few 
Methodists in this region" have been content with 
just that sprt of religion, destitute all their lives 
of a "conscious acceptance with God through the 
saving .power of a living faith." It is not so over 
on the York side of this Peninsula, where the vital 
doctrines of Methodism have dominated the 
church life and the daily life of hundreds of cit- 
izens in the Methodist Church, in other Churches, 
and in no Church. 

Hence it is true that as the business of Meth- 
odism is to "spread scriptural holiness over all 
these lands," Methodism has a mission in any com^ 
munity and among any people where the "law of 
the Spirit of life" is jiot in control. When the re- 
vival under Wesley and his lay preachers aroused 
England to thought and prayer, it saved a nation. 
When Asbury and his co-workers preached Re- 
pentance, and Faith and Holiness, they "shocked" 
a thousand churches "having the form of godli- 
ness, without its power." Opposition was rampant, 
loud in its curses, and vulgar in its methods, till 
presently it was silenced by the power of (iod, or 
the unanswerable testimony of the vilest meti 
saved from lives of sin, and under the critical eye 
of willing accusers, "bringing forth the peaceable 
fruits of righteousness." 

The soundness of our fundamental doctrines has 
been tested for more than one hundred and fifty 
years in the experience of hundreds of thousands", 



and since the day of Pentecost in that of millions 
upon millions. We can challenge any church, 
which holds the fundamentals of Christianity as 
taught by Christ and His Apostles, to gather about 
our altar and unite with us in the Evangelization 
of the world. "We are the circumcision, which 
worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Jesus 
Christ, and have no confidence in the flesh." 


In order that the reader may get some idea of 
the "March of Methodism" through the fifty years 
in Tidewater Virginia, (with a few hills thrown in 
to save it from a flat taste,) I present this 
Comparison, (exclusive of the 

North Carolina Territory.) 
The 1918 report is the last in which the sum raised 
for each cause is given. 






RliMd i« 




e .3 

O u 




















There is a reason for this. The adjustment of 
our polity to meet emergencies is the explanation 
of the material element in our growth. Johrt 
Wesley was our teacher and exemplar. He taught 


his preachers to conquer success at every cost ex- 
cept that of sound doctrine and a holy life ; and 
wherever we have carried out this instruction we 
have won our way through bitter opposition, and 
in spite of foes without, and backsliders within, 
our ranks. We have girded the earth with our 
stations, and fired the hearts of millions with the 
assurance of a present salvation, and the hope of 
an unending life hereafter. We have provoked 
others by our zeal, and many have dropped the 
unworkable theories of Redemption, (howbeit, 
they yet keep these relics of an exclusive age in 
neglected books on dusty shelves,) and have gone 
out into the highways and hedges for the lost, and 
are pressing us hard in numbers, and in occasions 
for jubilee. Other denominations, stirred by the 
triumphal march of the Methodist circuit-rider, 
call sinners to repentance with untiring earnest- 
ness on the old Arminian text, "Whosoever will," 
and announce the hymn of universal invitation, 

"Ho, every one that thirsts, draw nigh ; 

'Tis God invites the fallen race ;" 

going so far 
as to assert property rights in that hymn, as if it 
had not been written by one of the brothers Wesley, 
the founders of Methodism. Moreover, as if this 
were not enough to arouse merriment in a ceme- 
tery, they blandly declare that "The Methodist 
Church is a man-made Church, and should go out 
o{ business !" 


Mine has been a long period of unbroken ser- 
vice in the Conference that has honored me in 
every way it could. I begun in the Saddle. The 
Buggy had to be bought when the bride came 
home. After a few years my "facilities for loco- 
motion" had to be enlarged. "Children cried for 
them," and climbed in hilariously. Steamboats 
came into the service of the multiplying fam- 
ily. Then Railways, when the whirlygig of the 
Bishop's Cabinet moved us out of the woods. Then 
threading the crowded streets and climbing curb- 
stones, preaching to slumbering saints in churches 
whose artistic beauty and comfort lulled the si- 
lent soul to rest after a week of struggle to "make 
buckle and tongue meet:" who when the eloquent 
divine, just transplanted from a country charge, 
forgetful of his surroundings, cries out in rap- 
ture, "Ah, brethren, great is your reward if you 
are true to your Lord," shocks his co-worshippers, 
(or co-sleepers,) by answering his pastor, "Yes: 
one hundred dollars a month and house-rent!" 

Mine has been a happy life. "Sunshine and 
Shadow" have not had an equal share in my life: 
the sunshine has prevailed ! The shadows came, 
but did not tarry long enough to chill the soul. 
The shadows came, but the friends by the hundred 
stood by till the sun came out again. It seemed to 
me sometimes that "the fiery darts of the wicked 
flew thickest, and with a deadlier purpose when the 
sun was shining brightest. But deliverance came 
even then, but how, I know not, yet it came. 


"Grace to help" has a "charming sound" to me. 
Far away, in the days of my childhood, I heard my 
parents and grandparents talking about it around 
the fireside, when the "shades of night had fallen," 
and little folks crept into the house, and hung close 
to the old arm chair. Then there was more talk 
about it when the circuit preacher came, and the 
family gathered in the parlor, because the best 
room was used when he came. The chapter was 
read, and the old Methodist hymns were sung, 
and the frevent prayer was uttered in such sub- 
dued reverence that I found myself looking around 
to see if God was in the room sure enough. And 
when I went to my little trundle-bed I went to 
sleep thinking of "the Angel of the Lord" that 
was "encamping around" our home somewhere : 
and in my dreams I saw the camp-fires of the 
heavenly host! When I went out, as a youth al- 
most out of my teens, and mixed with the god- 
less, the profane and the unclean, and shared in 
their sins, and became as unclean as they, I could 
not drive from me the thought nor shake off the 
feeling, that a guardian angel was standing in the 
shadow somewhere, grieving that I had been "led 
captive by the Devil," having been "blinded by 
the god of this world. "Grace to help" still rung 
in my, ears, and the light that shined in childhood 
showed me the pathway back to the garden of 
peace, back to the place where conscience gave 
undisturbed repose, and the hungry soul found in- 
finite satisfaction. 


When I went to Randolph Macon I heard Dr. 
Duncan preach a great sermon in the Chapel to 
the boys on "Who always causeth us to triumph 
through Christ." Out in Caroline, my first circuit, 
I heard Sister Rachel Jarrel give her experience ; 
over in Northumberland, at Bethany, Sister Rachel 
Evans, and her old father. Uncle Billy Evans, and 
Brother Starke Jett; and up in King George, Sis- 
ter Ninde, in her invalid's chair and over in Glou- 
cester and down by the sea, in Princess Anne, — 
wherever I have served the church, the theme of 
Christian testimony has been "Grace to help." 

Such is the teaching of Methodism, and such is 
the experience of the scriptural believer, no mat- 
ter what his Church. 

It has been the theme of these pages : the one 
explanation of the progress and conquests of Meth-