Contributed by Robert Taylor, JAN 2002
The Constitution of the Church
On April 30, 1859, Pilgrim's Rest was constituted as a "Baptist Church of Christ of the primitive faith and order." The organizing presbyters were Elders Allen Driskell and Daniel Dozier. There were ten charter members: Brothers James Jackson, Joseph G. Curenton, Robert R. Mancill, and James Rowell; Sisters Nancy Jackson, Martha Jackson, Mary Jackson, Elizabeth Jackson, Rebecca Curenton, and Mary Driskell.
These ten charter members subscribed to the following Articles of Faith:
1. We believe in one true and living God and that he revealeth himself under the character of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and these three are one.
2. We believe the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the revealed word of God and are the only rule of faith and practice.
3. We believe in the doctrine of original sin.
4. We believe in man's incapacity to reinstate or recover himself from the fallen state he is in by nature of his own free will and ability.
5. We believe in the doctrine of eternal and particular election.
6. We believe that sinners are justified in the sight of God only by His imputed righteousness.
7. We believe that God's elect are sanctified by God, preserved in Jesus Christ, and called.
8. We believe that baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances of Jesus Christ and that true believers are the only subjects of these ordinance and that the mode of baptism is immersion.
9. We believe in washing the saints' feet in a church capacity immediately after communion.
10. We believe that no minister has a right to administer the ordinance of the gospel but such as are called of God as was Aaron and came under the hands of the presbytery.
11. We believe the saints shall persevere in grace and never fall.
12. We believe in the resurrection of the dead, small and great, and in a general judgment.
13. We believe the punishment of the wicked shall be eternal and the joys of the righteous shall be everlasting.
The Articles of Faith were typical of all except "Freewill" Baptist churches of the time. The Articles reflected the "Philadelphia Confession of Faith." Calvinistic in doctrine, it was generally accepted by both Primitive and Missionary Baptist churches.
The major differences between the "Missionary" and the "Primitive" Baptist churches were not, at this time, primarily confessional. The differences were practical. The Missionary Baptists contributed to missionary programs that sought to preach the gospel throughout the world--an effort that required a board which collected money and commissioned missionaries. The Primitive Baptists resisted any auxiliary organizations. The Missionary Baptists went on to embrace Sunday Schools and women's unions while the Primitive Baptists insisted that their churches had no other activities than what they perceived to be those of churches in the New Testament: prayer, singing, preaching, baptizing, and communing.
All the Baptist churches agreed that communion or the Lord's Supper should be limited to baptized believers, and that communion was not open to members of other denominations. The Primitive Baptists believed (as a general rule--there are exceptions) that the Supper should be concluded by the washing of feet. Most Missionary congregations regarded this practice as unnecessary; they interpreted Jesus's mandate in John's gospel that "you should wash each other's feet" as symbolic rather than literal. Most Primitive Baptists regarded the washing of feet as an essential conclusion to the communion service. It was the practice for the washing of feet to be done in a segregated fashion; that is, the male members washed the feet of other male members, and the female members washed the feet of other female members. Each member's feet would be washed once.
Over time, other differences developed between the Missionary and Primitive factions. One was church music. The Missionary Baptists adopted the use of musical instruments in their worship services, usually the piano and/or the organ. Primitive Baptist churches insisted that only the human voice should be used for praise of God; they rejected all musical instruments in the worship services. Another difference was membership in "secret societies." As a general rule, Primitive Baptist churches excluded members who joined the Masonic order or other such groups; the Missionary Baptists seem to have allowed members the option of retaining membership in the church and in the Masonic order simultaneously. One more difference was the matter of insolvency or bankruptcy. The churches of the Primitive persuasion tended to exclude members who took advantage of the bankruptcy laws. Most of the Missionary churches were not so adamant on this point of discipline.
When it came to supporting colleges and seminaries, the two factions also disagreed. The Missionary faction worked for the establishment and support of colleges and seminaries. The Primitive faction opposed all such efforts on the grounds that such institutions were "unscriptural." The opposition to sponsoring institutions of higher education, unfortunately, led to the impression that the Primitive Baptists opposed education. This supposition is inaccurate. When it came to public, tax-supported schools, many Primitive Baptists were strong supporters of the schools. In fact, numerous Primitive Baptists were school teachers and school administrators.
In the late 1800's and early 1900's, the Primitive Baptist Churches of Covington and surrounding counties in Alabama fractured into several splinter groups. The major doctrinal concern which caused the splintering was that of "absolute predestination of all things." This doctrine stated that everything that occurred in time was the absolute predestination of God. Logically, that statement meant that all good as well as all evil was pre-determined by God. The original Articles of Faith endorsed by the Pilgrim's Rest Church left no room for such a doctrine.. Since I do not have the minutes after July 1891, I cannot tell how the Pilgrim's Rest Church came to deal with this issue. It is certain that the founding members of the church would have had no sympathy with the "absoluter" position.
Discipline in the Church
One of the major items in each conference concerned the discipline of church members. The ultimate imposition of discipline was "a test of fellowship." This phrase meant that a member was accused of an offense worthy of exclusion from membership. If that member was found guilty of such an offense, he/she was usually excommunicated. In most cases, the member could later come before the church and acknowledge the offense. If the member showed a contrite heart, he/she could be restored to membership.
The history of Pilgrim's Rest Church shows a relatively liberal attitude towards matters of discipline. Under both Elders Dozier and Hudson, the church sought the "restoration" of an erring member rather than his/her permanent exclusion. As the excerpts from the minutes of the church's conferences will show, whenever possible, the church forgave misconduct. And, even after having to exclude members, the church would always leave the door open to the offending brother or sister to make "acknowledgements" and be restored to membership. A number of members were, in fact, restored to the membership after having made such acknowledgments, including some who had been outside the church for several years.
Perhaps, the most common reason for exclusion was non-attendance. In such cases, the church appointed a committee to examine the matter; the church did not proceed without due caution. Another common reason for exclusion was drunkenness. Again, the church seems to have been careful not to exclude members without an examination of the circumstances. In the case of sexual misconduct, the church excluded only one member, a woman who was accused of "whoredom." In some cases, the church seemed unsure as to how it should act. Such was true in the case of bankruptcy. In that instance, the church sought the counsel of other churches belonging to the Association.
One of the problems the church faced in exercising discipline was admitting members whose record at another church to which he/she had been a member was tainted. In those cases, the Pilgrim's Rest Church sought to find out the truth of the matter and to deal with it graciously.
The First Conferences of Pilgrim's Rest Church
Immediately following the constitution of the church in April 1859, Pilgrim's Rest Primitive Baptist Church held its first conference. At this conference, two new members were received by experience and baptism: Rebecca Curenton and Mary Driskell. The church also chose Joseph G. Curenton as the church clerk, a position he held very briefly. Elder Daniel Dozier was elected pastor, a position he was to hold until his death. Like most Primitive Baptist churches, pastors were called annually. Their duties were not only to preach the gospel and provide pastoral care, but also to moderate the monthly conferences of the church; therefore, in the church records, the pastor is often referred to as the Moderator.
Membership in the Conecuh River Association
From its beginning Pilgrim's Rest Church was a member of the Conecuh River Association of Primitive Baptist Churches. The association met annually, and, Pilgrim's Rest always sent delegates and collected money to help defray the expenses of printing the annual minutes of the association. Elder Daniel Dozier was a leader in the work of the Conecuh River Association, often serving as its moderator and preaching the introductory sermon at the meetings
In addition to associational membership, Pilgrim's Rest was active in "district meetings." A district consisted of several churches of the Association that were located in fairly close proximity to each other. The record indicates that district meetings were also held anually and that churches in one district of the association would often correspond with other districts on matters of doctrine and discipline. Pilgrim's Rest was a member church of the fourth district of the Conecuh River Association. Other churches in the fourth district were Ivy Creek, Consolation, Good Hope, Shiloh, New Providence, and Black Rock. Like the associational meetings, district meetings involved worship services as well as business sessions. Within little more than two years of its constitution, Pilgrim's Rest was the host church for the meeting of the churches of this district during the fourth week-end of July, 1861.
The district meetings were not only business meetings, they were also a time of preaching and fellowship. From the records of the Pilgrim's Rest church, it is obvious that members could be received and baptized during these meetings. Undoubtedly, they were times of participation, not only by the members of the host church, but of many of those in the communities who were not members of the church, but who opened their homes in hospitality to delegates and their families.
The Agenda of Pilgrim's Rest Conferences
At the church's second conference on June 4, 1859, the church resolved that
its regular meeting time would be on the "first Sabbath (Sunday) and the
Saturday before." This remained the church's regular time of worship for
many years. It seems that a worship service was held on Saturday morning and
that the conference followed. In the conference, an agenda was followed strictly.
Although there was, on occasion, some deviation from the order of items, this
was the usual pattern:
First, visiting members of the same faith and order were invited to sit with the church members during the conference. Those visiting members could not take part in any of the discussions unless expressly given permission to do so. And, of course, under Baptist polity, visitors could not vote on any matter that came before the congregation.
Second, the church would "open the door for the reception of new members." Applicants were usually received into membership in two ways. Many were received by "experience and baptism," which meant that the person testified to an experience of grace and faith that qualified him or her for baptism. Other applicants for membership were received "by letter," which meant that the applicant had a letter of dismissal from another Primitive Baptist Church attesting to that member's good standing with the church granting the letter. At times, the church clerk had to write the applicant's former church for such a letter. On some occasions, Pilgrim's Rest did not receive a timely response and would admit a person to membership on "declaration of faith."
Third, the moderator would call for "acknowledgments." During this time, a member could come forward and confess to the church a fault or sin. The church usually would note a "repentant spirit" in that member and forgive him/her of the misconduct.
Fourth, the moderator would call for "reference." This term meant that the church would take up items introduced at an earlier conference which had been incompletely dealt with at that time. Matters of reference often involved items of business, such as the letters to the district or associational meetings which the clerk was required to write. Other items of reference involved "tests of fellowship" of church members. If, for example, a member was absent for long periods, the church in conference would appoint a committee to meet with the member and inquire into his/her reasons for failing to attend. The committee would report their findings to the church at some later conference and the church would then deal with the matter, either by accepting the excuses of the member for non-attendance or by "excluding" him or her from membership. The minutes contain many such instances. As the summary of the minutes will show, it was not uncommon for members to be excluded for a variety of infractions, and it was also not unusual for excluded members later to come before the church in a spirit of repentance and be "restored" to membership.
Fifth, the moderator would call for new or general business. During this time, the conference would deal with such matters as reimbursing the clerk for the purchase of paper, authorizing work on the church building, electing associational or district meeting delegates, and so on.
In its first few years, Pilgrim's Rest grew dramatically in membership. During its second conference on June 4, 1859, the church received Allen Driskell, Jr. (son of one of the organizing presbyters) by experience and baptism; and, by letter, James Parker, Mary Turbeville, and Martha Mancill. James Parker had previously been a member of the Union Primitive Baptist Church in Covington County. A very literate man, James Parker had married Elizabeth Ann Cauley, a daughter of Bartholomew and Winneford (Taylor) Cauley. James Parker operated the store at Cauleyville, later known as Rose Hill. He was also active in county politics. In the conference of August, 1859, James Parker replaced Joseph G. Curenton as the church clerk, and, in July 1860, James Parker was appointed church treasurer as well as church clerk.
The Officers of Pilgrim's Rest Primitive Baptist Church
The elected officers of Pilgrim's Rest Church consisted of its pastor, its deacons, and its church clerk. Both pastors (elders) and deacons were ordained to their offices by a presbytery of elders who examined them and determined that they possessed the qualifications and gifts for their office, as required by the scriptures. The church clerk, who was not necessarily an ordained deacon, also served routinely as treasurer of the church. All officers of the church were male.
As indicated earlier, the pastor was called to serve one year; he could be--and usually was-- called to succeed to one annual term after another. Pastors were not paid a salary; it was said of Elder Daniel Dozier, for example, that he "never received a dollar from the churches" he served. Deacons served for life, unless they moved their membership to another church or were excluded from membership. The church clerk served indefinitely, usually until such time as he asked to be relieved of the duty or moved his membership to another congregation.
Pastors held the title of elder and were responsible for preaching, baptizing new members, serving as presbyters for the ordination of new ministers and deacons, officiating at the annual communion service, providing pastoral care, and exercising leadership within the district meeting and the Conecuh River Association.
Deacons were responsible for taking care of the business matters of the church, such as acting as trustees of the church property, preparing elements for the annual communion service, offering prayer, serving as delegates to district and associational meetings (when elected to do so), and otherwise assisting in the ministry of the church. On occasion, a deacon would serve as moderator "pro-tem" of a conference in the absence of the pastor.
The church clerk was responsible for keeping a minute of each conference, preparing annual letters/reports to the divisional meeting and association, providing letters of dismission for members wishing to join another church, and taking care of other church correspondence.
The Pastors of Pilgrim's Rest Church, 1859-1891
From its constitution in the spring of 1859 until the summer of 1891, Pilgrim's Rest Church had only three pastors--and one served so briefly that his tenure seems more of an interim position than that of a regular pastor.
I. Elder Daniel Dozier: First Pastor of Pilgrim's Rest Church
First, Pilgrim's Rest was served by Elder Daniel Dozier (1805-1878) from the date of its constitution in April 1859 until Elder Dozier's death in November 1878. Elder Daniel Dozier was, by all accounts, a gifted servant of God. A native of South Carolina, Elder Dozier's mother died when he was an infant, and he was reared by her family. His maternal uncle Elder Thomas Wall was perhaps the most important influence on his early life. Elder Thomas Wall, along with his aged father and a couple of brothers, came to the territory of Alabama quite early--certainly by 1817, perhaps before. Elder Thomas Wall was among the earliest ministers of the gospel to labor on the frontier, and he was his nephew's mentor in the study of the Bible and the rudiments of theology and church polity.
Elder Dozier joined the Good Hope Primitive Baptist Church in young manhood
and was soon recognized for his "gifts" of ministry. He was ordained
soon thereafter and began his long career in ministry. Elder Dozier served as
pastor of the Good Hope Church for many years until his death. In the preface
to Family Records of the Descendants of Daniel Dozier, published in 1936, his
grandson-in-law Morgan D. Jones wrote of him:
He was in the constitution of the Conecuh River Association and was its moderator for more than fifty years. . . He was recognized as one of the ablest preachers of his faith and order. He was self educated and broad-minded. His library, which I remember, indicated that he was not narrow in his opinions. He owned a farm and a gristmill. He was also a good blacksmith and wheelwright. He worked with his hands during five days of each week and preached on the other two.
Elder Dozier's grandson, J. Daniel Handley, aged 85 and living in Dale, Texas, in 1936, also shared memories of his grandfather in the preface of that family history. He reminisced:
He gave me my name: "John Daniel, the first rail in the pannel," he said, as my mother has told me. He was a poet and often spoke in rhyme. He had a clear voice and was a good singer and speaker. . . He got but little schooling, yet he was self educated, had a good memory and a wide range of reading and information. He was a good farmer, blacksmith, carpenter, and physician for man and beast. His neighbors relied on his skill and judgment in sickness and his usefulness went without question. . . . I was at grandfather's when Aunt Prudie was married to James Dorman. A big gathering of neighbors and friends were there. He came up to a crowd of men, out in the yard, and remarked that "I can claim more than any man present." Someone asked, "What is that, Uncle Daniel?" He said, "I have seven boys and seven girls; seven married and seven single; seven black-eyed and seven blue-eyed." He was heard, in naming his blessings, to repeat this in the pulpit. He always looked for the bright side in life, and radiated sunshine and cheer to those with whom he was associated.
In 1824, at age nineteen, Elder Dozier married Elizabeth Taylor, daughter of Windol Taylor, [Sr.] from Lenoir County, NC, another of the earliest settlers of Southeast Alabama. They had, as the quotations above indicate, fourteen children. After the death of Elizabeth Taylor Dozier, Elder Dozier married a spinster Lavinia Jackson as his second wife; they had no children.
The family ties of Daniel Dozier to the Taylors and other early members of Pilgrim's Rest Church were many and intricate. Other researchers may enjoy unravelling these connections!
II. Elder John D. Hudson: Second Pastor of Pilgrim's Rest Church
John D. Hudson was ordained an elder by an act of presbytery at Good Hope Primitive Baptist Church in August 1871. He was obviously taught the gospel and the rudiments of ministry by the pastor of Good Hope Church, Elder Daniel Dozier. Upon Elder Dozier's death in November 1878, Elder Hudson was called to serve Pilgrim's Rest. He accepted that call and served the church, with the exception of two brief periods, throughout the period of the minutes (the summer of 1891); how much longer he may have served the church is unknown to this researcher.
The church continued to grow under the ministry of Elder Hudson. He seems to have been a popular minister, but he was often absent from conferences, and, in August 1881, the church called Elder W. J. Stanley as an "assistant pastor" to assure its membership of pastoral care. Elder Stanley declined the call, but promised to attend the church's needs when he had opportunity.
Occasionally, Elder Hudson seems to have deviated from established practice in matters of normal church business. And, perhaps these deviations caused some unrest. All in all, however, the church seems to have been satisfied with Elder Hudson's services. Several records indicate that he was called "unanimously" to the care of the church for the following year, yet the records of subsequent conferences show that Eld. Hudson continued a pattern of frequent absences.
As to the biography of Eld. Hudson, this researcher has no information. Evidently, he lived in the Covington and Crenshaw County areas most, if not all, of his life. Perhaps, there are descendants who can provide additional information.
III. Elder Simeon Wiggins, the Third Pastor of Pilgrim's Rest Church
Elder Simeon Wiggins was twice called as pastor of Pilgrim's Rest, both for brief periods. In September 1887, he was called to serve as pastor until January 1, 1888, "on account of Bro. Hudson's absence." He accepted this call and served the church for three months. In January of 1888, John D. Hudson was again unanimously elected pastor; he agreed to serve until the fourth Sunday in August of that year. In September 1888, Simeon Wiggins was called to serve the church until the fourth Sunday in September of 1889. Thereafter, Eld. Hudson seems to have resumed the pastorate.
I know nothing of the life of Simeon Wiggins.
The Deacons of Pilgrim's Rest, 1859-1891
Of the ten charter members, there were no men who had been previously ordained as deacons in another church. Therefore, among the earliest responsibilities of the church was the selection of deacons. Deacons, like pastors or elders, were ordained to office, and they held their office until death, dismission by letter, or exclusion. If dismissed by letter, a deacon took his ordained status to the church to which he moved his membership. The impression I reach from the records of the church is that its male members were reluctant to take on this responsibility. In fact, the church had no deacons for more than one year from its constitution.
In its conference of November 1860, Pilgrim's Rest Church was at last able
to select two of its men as deacons: Joseph G. Curenton and Allen Driskell,
Jr., son of Elder Allen Driskell, one of the organizing elders of this church.
Both of these men were ordained as deacons in December 1860. The ordination
service involved their being questioned as to their adherence to the faith and
practice of the Primitive Baptist churches and their calling to the office.
They were set apart to the office by the "laying on of hands" and
were given the Holy Bible as "the man of their counsel." This pattern
of ordination for the diaconate was followed throughout the history of the church.
Of the first two deacons of Pilgrim's Rest, the more notable as a servant of the church is Joseph G. Curenton. He performed the duties of his office efficiently and faithfully. Even before his selection as deacon, he served the church briefly as its clerk and prepared the elements for the church's first communion. As deacon, he received the deeds for the church's original property. His name never came before the church for discipline. He served until November 1869, when he, his wife, his mother, and his sister were granted letters of dismission to join another church.
Allen Driskell, Jr., the other of the first deacons had a less stellar record. Within two years of his ordination, in the July conference of 1862, Deacon Driskell made "acknowledgements for reproachful conduct" and was forgiven by the church. Then, in March 1864, the church excluded Allen Driskell, Jr. for joining the Masonic order. In July, 1866, Allen Driskell, Jr. made acknowledgments to the church and was restored to membership. In December of that same year, he applied for, and was granted, a letter of dismission.
By the beginning of 1870, Pilgrim's Rest had no deacon. For many months, the selection of a deacon was taken up in one conference after another and was "carried over" to the next conference. In fact, from the pages of photocopies I have examined, it seems that the church was without a deacon until 1873. In January of that year, J. P. Merrill and James Parker were elected deacons. In March, 1873, J. P. Merrill was ordained. James Parker was excused from ordination and serving in the office because of the recent death of his wife, Elizabeth Ann Cauley Parker. Even though James Parker had been clerk of the church for years and had never been brought up on any charges against him, he obviously felt that the diaconate was not a position he wished to fill.
In November 1876, the church chose James A. Stewart as deacon. He had been a member of the Pilgrim's Rest Church for only four months, having joined the church by letter in July of that year. James A. Stewart was ordained in December, 1876. Elevating him to this office was undoubtedly a mistake. Soon after his ordination, James A. Stewart moved to Texas. There, he joined Hopewell Primitive Baptist Church. He had returned to Covington County by March 1884, at which time he sought to reinstate his membership in Pilgrim's Rest. The Hopewell Church in Texas at first refused to grant him a letter because of his misconduct while a member there. After some correspondence, in which the Pilgrim's Rest Church assured the Hopewell Church of Stewart's determination to live a better life, the Hopewell Church granted him a letter, and he was again received into the membership of Pilgrim's Rest in August, 1884. Then, in the conference of January, 1885, Pilgrim's Rest had to exclude him for drunkenness. In the conference of July 1886, after he made acknowledgments, James A. Stewart was restored to membership "back with his bishopric" (a term that meant that his status of deacon was restored). By July of 1887, James A. Stewart was making acknowledgment for drunkenness, for which he was forgiven. But, in the next conference, that of August 1887, he was again cited for drunkenness and excluded from membership.
In the conference of October 1880, Isaac Taylor (1828-1904) was chosen as deacon. In a very unusual procedure, Taylor was examined and ordained immediately following his selection. Isaac Taylor became a leader in the church, sometimes serving as moderator of conferences in the absence of the pastor. He was liberated to preach, but had not been ordained to the office of elder by the end of the summer of 1891.
In January 1884, John J. Ganus was chosen as a deacon, and he was ordained to that office in February, 1884. The records of the church, up until the summer of 1891, show no impropriety in his service. In June of 1890, Willis J. Wiggins (1850-1935) was ordained a deacon of the Pilgrim's Rest Church. He must have been a relative of Eld. Simeon Wiggins. Since there is nothing more in the record to examine, I cannot state how well Bros. John J. Ganus and Willis J. Wiggins performed the duties of their office as deacons.
The Clerks of Pilgrim's Rest Church
Pilgrim's Rest Church was fortunate in its clerks. Although the men who held this office obviously varied in their writing skills, all were literate and their minutes are still legible. The spelling, grammar, and handwriting are superior to those in several other church books that I have examined over the years.
The first clerk of the church was Joseph G. Curenton who served for only the first four months of the church's history. In August 1859, James Parker (1809-1883), who had transferred his membership from Union Primitive Baptist Church to Pilgrim's Rest in June of that year, was elected clerk. James Parker served as clerk for twenty-two years. In October of 1881, he asked to be relieved of his duties and was replaced by J. J. Ganus, who served until May 1884. J. J. Ganus was succeeeded by A. H. Nelson. His writing and spelling indicate a man of superior education. By May 1887, A. H. Nelson had been succeeded by Morgan D. Jones, by far the most literate of the five men who served in this office between 1859 and 1891.
The minutes recorded by James Parker are clearly written in a plain, legible hand. James Parker must have had a superior schooling for that time and place. Only the minutes written in the late 1880's and early 1890's by A. H. Nelson and Morgan D. Jones are superior in clarity and fluency.
The family relationship of clerks James Parker and Morgan D. Jones is worthy of note. Morgan D. Jones was the stepson of James Parker. After the death of his first wife Elizabeth Ann Cauley (1813-January 1873), James Parker married the widow of John Hollinger Jones (28 December 1826-3 October 1873). John H. Jones had also been a member of Pilgrim's Rest, having been baptized into the fellowship in 1870. John Hollinger Jones's widow Mrs. Lurana Stewart Jones was much younger than James Parker at the time of the marriage. Lurana had one daughter and three sons by her first marriage: Mary Elizabeth Jones (who married a Straughn), Morgan D. Jones, John Isham Jones, and Richard Henry Jones. Morgan D. Jones and Richard Henry Jones would later become lawyers and men of distinction in the political and civic affairs of the county and state. In addition to the children of his first marriage, James Parker and Lurana Stewart Jones Parker had one child, a son Benjamin Franklin Parker, born February 18, 1876. After the death of James Parker on 23 September 1883, Lurana married a third time to John Goolsby. And, even though her son Morgan D. Jones and both of her first two husbands had been active members of Pilgrim's Rest, Lurana herself did not become a member until November 1889.
Morgan D. Jones (1862-1954) was the most noteworthy clerks of Pilgrim's Rest, and he was among the church's most accomplished citizens. According to notes left by his brother Judge Richard Henry Jones, Morgan D. Jones was a civil engineer, abstractor, and pioneer in hydro-electric power development. He held offices of Tax Collector, County Superintendent of Education, and member of the state legislature, all in Covington County. At various times, he lived and worked in Dadeville and Montgomery, AL as well as in south Florida. He was married on May 2, 1886, at Dozier, AL, to Melita Dozier, daughter of Green Berry and Arenna (Rowell) Dozier. She was a granddaughter of Elder Daniel Dozier. Morgan D. and Melita (Dozier) Jones were the parents of eight children, six of whom lived to adulthood. The four sons of this couple all served in World War I. Morgan D. Jones and his wife Melita Dozier Jones (1870-1924) are buried in the cemetery of Pilgrim's Rest Church.
The Property of Pilgrim's Rest Church
For the first nine years of its history, Pilgrim's Rest seems to have owned no property. Yet, there are references in the minutes to a meeting house. Apparently, the church had built a structure on property to which it did not legally have title. Then, in the conference of May 1868, the church voted to appoint a committee "for the enlargement of the meeting house site." The committee consisted of James Parker, James Rowell, and James M. Jackson. In the June conference of that year, the church voted to purchase "one acre from W. B. Stewart and two acres from Sister Martha Jackson."
The work of the committee was routinely deferred in the References until the conferences of March, April, May, and June of 1869. In March 1869, the church took up the reference "concerning the meeting house site and purchased from Sister Martha Jackson two acres of land at $5.00 per acre." The church also authorized the committee to "take a deed for the land" between that meeting and the next conference and that the members "come prepared at our next conference to pay the purchase money." In the April conference, the minute records that the church "contributed $10.00 for the land purchased of Sister Martha Jackson and paid over the same." The May conference laid the matter over until the June conference. At this conference, the clerk or moderator read the deeds to the congregation, at which point the church turned the deeds over to the deacon for safekeeping and "discharged the committee."
Unfortunately, there is no copy of the above deed in the records of the church. The one deed that is preserved is dated 21 September 1868. It reads:
This indenture, made and entered into this 21st September 1868, between G. B. Rowell and his wife Emily Rowell, of the State and County aforesaid, of the first part, and J. G. Curenton, now deacon of the Baptist church at Pilgrim's Rest in the same state and county, of the second part, witnesseth: that for and in consideration of the sum of one dollar to them in hand paid by J. G. Curenton, deacon of said church, for the following tract of land, to wit: two acres situated in the northeast corner of the south half of the southeast quarter of the southwest quarter of section 22 of Township 6, Range 17. The said land being one acre south and two acres west. The receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, we do bargain, grant, convey, and sell unto J. G. Curenton and his successors in office forever in Pilgrim's Rest Baptist Church two acres of land for the sole benefit of the above named church, with all and singular the hereditaments and appurtenances thereunto belonging.
The above deed is signed by both G. B. Rowell and his wife E. J. Rowell. It was witnessed by J. Adkison and Albert Curenton. What is one to make of these facts? This researcher believes that Pilgrim's Rest Church probably owned at least four acres of land by the end of 1869: the two acres mentioned in the above deed plus the two acres purchased from Martha Jackson. Since the record is silent on the other acre which the church intended to purchase from W. B. Stewart, this researcher can only surmise that the owner refused to sell that acre to the church or that somehow the clerk failed to record that purchase in the minutes--a possibility that this researcher considers unlikely given the fact that the clerk James Parker was a member of the committee charged with the responsibility of acquiring the property.
One other record in the minutes book indicates that the church had established a cemetery--or, that its property included a cemetery, by the late 1880's. This document is undated, but it is in the handwriting of Morgan D. Jones, a fact which helps to date the description to the late 1880's or very early 1890's. This description is headed "Description of the Graveyard Plat":
Begin at a point seven chains and one rod west of the southeast corner of the northeast quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 22, Township 6, Range 17; thence north three and one/half chains; thence west three chains [and] ten feet; thence south three and one-half chains; thence east to the starting point, three chains and ten feet.
The description indicates that the surveyor was T. W. Straughn and that the chain bearers were Morgan D. Jones and H. H. Rowell.
This researcher's impression is that, by the time of its dissolution, the Pilgrim's Rest Church owned several acres of land. This conclusion is based on the fact that the remains of the meeting house are quite a distance from the cemetery. Why the cemetery is so far from the meeting house itself is a mystery. Perhaps, the original meeting house was located nearer the cemetery; perhaps, the cemetery antedated the church. At any rate, those who visit the site today are likely to notice the contrast between the condition of the meeting house, which is at the bottom of a hill and the condition of the cemetery at the top of the hill. The meeting house is a frame structure overgrown by vegetation and gradually rotting away. The cemetery, by contrast, is beautifully maintained. It has an entrance with brick pillars and a marble tablet. The cemetery grounds are impeccable. The setting is one of peace. There are neither houses or businesses nearby to shatter the silence and tranquility of the final resting places of those who are buried in the Pilgrim's Rest Cemetery. It continues to be an active burial ground for descendants of the members of the church. Whoever manages and maintains the burial ground has done a superb job of preserving this place of final rest for their families and friends. They are to be commended.
Pilgrim's Rest Church and Race Relations
One of the surprising facts in the records of Pilgrim's Rest Church is the relationship of blacks and whites. It is often said that the most segregated period of American life, even in the year 2000, is the Sunday worship hour of Protestant churches. That statement was not true of the congregation of the Pilgrim's Rest Church. From its earliest days, the Pilgrim's Rest membership consisted of both white and black congregants. Admittedly, black members were a minority within the congregation. Black membership totaled no more than eight or nine at any given time, but this was a sizable portion of total membership that rarely, if ever, exceeded twenty-five. Oddly, black membership increased in the decade following the Civil War.
Even during slavery, black members were referred to respectfully in the minutes. For example, black members joined the church in the same way white members joined; they professed their faith and expressed an experience of grace that convinced the congregation of their election. For example, in October 1860, the church received by experience and baptism "Sarah, a colored sister belonging to Brother J. A. Taylor." Similarly, in June of 1861, the church received "a colored brother belonging to Mr. Spicer (named Lewis)" under the watchcare of the church and "resolved to write for a letter of dismission for him." When the church at which Lewis was formerly a member failed to send a letter, the congregation voted Lewis into full membership "on declaration of faith," a term that meant the church accepted his word that he had been baptized into the membership of another church of the same faith and order and that he had left that church in good standing. Unfortunately, the church was later unwilling to recognize Lewis's "gift" for preaching and ultimately excluded him for "heterodoxy."
It is instructive that the term "slave" is never used in the church minutes. Instead, the black members before emancipation are consistently referred to as "servants" and "colored brothers and sisters." Although the record does not specifically say so, this researcher assumes that as full members of the church, black members had the same rights as white members, including the right to vote and participate in matters of conference business. Admittedly, no black member was ever voted to office or authorized to represent the church at associational or district meetings.
One incident recorded in the minute for the conference of June 1882 demonstrates
that Pilgrim's Rest Church not only retained black members at that point, but
that the church would not tolerate mistreatment of those members. In that conference
the church charged "Bro. Samuel Bowers with refusing to fellowship colored
members of the church" and voted to exclude him from membership.
Several black members are clearly identified by name and race ("colored") in the lists of church members. These include: Sarah Taylor, Lewis Spicer, Bryant Stewart, Henrietta Bryan, Samson Brooks, Milla Brooks, Lucy Brooks, and George Clark. One other name has been marked through; it seems to read C--- Bryan. Whether the name was marked through because of a clerical error or for some other reason cannot be determined.
Cumulative Roll of Church Members, 1893
There are at least three cumulative rolls of church members in the records. The most complete, legible, and accurate roll was made by Morgan D. Jones in 1893. He lists the membership in the chronological order of their joining the church. Here is the list:
1. James Jackson In the constitution
2. J. G. Curenton In the constitution
3. Robert R. Mancill In the constitution
4. James Rowell In the constitution
5. Nancy Jackson In the constitution
6. Martha Jackson In the constitution
7. Mary Jackson In the constitution
8. Elizabeth Jackson In the constitution
9. Rebecca Curenton By baptism
10. Mary Driskell By baptism
11. Allen Driskell By baptism
12. James Parker By letter
13. Mary Turbeville By letter
14. Martha Mancill By letter
15. Elizabeth Parker By baptism
16. William Carpenter By letter
17. Savannah Carpenter By letter
18. James R. Brazil By baptism
19. Windal Taylor By baptism
20 Albert Curenton By baptism
21. Martha Caroline Jackson By baptism
22. Sarah Taylor (colored) By baptism
23. Margaret Scofield By baptism
24. Lewis Spicer (colored) Confession of faith
25. James Price By baptism
26. Bryant Stewart (colored) By baptism
27. Nancy Price By baptism
28. William Jones By baptism
29. Joshua Davis By letter
30. Hannah Davis By letter
31. Nancy E. Jones By baptism
32. Jane Branham By letter
33. Charlotte Taylor By letter
34 Mary Carter By letter, April 1864
35. Elizabeth Taylor By baptism, April 1865
36. Isaac Taylor By baptism, August 1865 (?)
37. Molsey Fortune By letter, March 1866
38. Nancy Hicks By letter, February 1867
39. Rhoda Hicks By letter, February 1867
40. R. A. Dozier By letter, February 1867
41. Elizabeth Carter Confession of faith, July 1866
42. M. M. Hicks By baptism, May 1867
43. Nancy Williamson By baptism, June 1867
44. Mary B. Stewart By letter, August 1868
45. Mary Jane English By baptism, April 1869
46. Luannah Curenton By baptism, August 1869
47. L. V. Curenton By baptism, August 1869
48 Lodge Langley By letter, October 1869
49. Judia Langley By letter, October 1869
50 Celia McMichael By letter, October 1869
51. Jacob P. Merrill By letter, February 1870
52. Elefare Merrill By letter, February 1870
53. John A. Taylor By letter, May 1870
54. Rebecca Taylor By letter, May 1870
57. Mary J. Atwell By letter, February 1871
58. Henrietta Bryan (colored) Confession of faith, February 1871
59. J. E. Rowell By baptism, February 1871
60. Samson Brooks (colored) By baptism, February 1871
61. George Clark (colored) By baptism, February 1871
62. Nancy Keil (?) Confession of faith, March 1871
63. Mary Frances Rowell By baptism, March 1871
64. Milla Brooks (colored) By letter, May 1871
65. Lucy Brooks (colored) By letter, May 1871
66. Martha McLaughlin By baptism, June 1871
67. Name Marked Through Comments Marked Through
68. Francis P. Cox Confession of faith, July 1872 (?)
69. James M. Straughn By baptism, November 1874
70. A. C. Straughn By baptism, April 1875
71. M. E. Straughn By baptism, April 1875
72. Winnafred Feagin By letter, August 1875
73. Mary Straughn By letter, August 1875
74. Samuel Bowers By baptism, June 1876
75. Mary Ann D. Stewart By baptism, June 1876
76. J. A. Stewart By letter, July 1876
77. Mariah Brady By baptism, July 1876
78. Sarah Bowers By baptism, July 1876
79. J. S. Kilpatrick By letter, August 1877
80. J. F. Edwards By letter, May 1879
81. H. L. Edwards By letter, May 1879
82. Annie C. Dauphin By letter, May 1880
83. Eld. J. D. Hudson By letter, March 1881
84. Mary Ann Hudson By letter, March 1881
85. Winnefred Straughn By baptism, August 1881
86. M. A. Bowers By baptism, August 1881
87. E. C. Ganus By baptism, September 1881
88. J. J. Ganus By letter, February 1882
89. Alice Wetherford By baptism, June 1882
90. A. H. Nelson By letter, December 1882
91. A. S. Nelson By letter, December 1882
92. C. H. Holloway By baptism, May 1883
93. Daniel Ganey By baptism, May 1883
94. Martha Mancill By baptism, July 1884
95. W. H. Caraway By baptism, July 1884
96. Morgan D. Jones By baptism, November 1884
97. Martha Robbins By baptism, May 1885
98. E. M. Hudson By baptism, June 1885
99. C. E. Nelson By letter, August 1885
100. S. E. Nelson By letter, August 1885
101. T. B. Williams By letter, December 1885
102. W. T. Williams By letter, December 1885
103. Isaac T. Williams By letter, December 1885
104. E. A. Williams By letter, December 1885
105. S. A. Williams By letter, December 1885
106. N. E. Williams By letter, December 1885
107. N. A. Campbell By baptism, May 1886
108. W. T. Robbins By baptism, May 1886
109. Melita M. Jones By letter, May 1886
110. H. E. Edwards By baptism, May 1887
111. LeRoy M. Straughn By letter, November 1887
112. Jordan Godwin By baptism, May 1888
113. Willis J. Wiggins By letter, May 1888
114. Ida Wiggins By letter, May 1888
115. Nancy Wiggins By letter, May 1888
116. Sarah Price By letter, May 1888
117. Mary M. Godwin By baptism, June 1888
118. Mary J. Blair By letter, September 1888
119. Lurana Goolsby By baptism, November 1889
120. T. W. Wells By baptism, November 1889
121. Nancy Taylor By baptism, May 1890
122. Mattie Wells By baptism, May 1890
123. H. M. Price By baptism, September 1891
124. S. J. Martin By baptism, May 1892
125. John Hawkins By baptism, July 1893
126. Zachariah Scofield By baptism, July 1893
Excerpts from the Church Records, Minutes of Conferences
April, 1859-July, 1891
The following excerpts include every incident of note in the conferences. If no business occurred during a conference, or if the church did not have a conference in a particular month, I do not include that month in the following synopses. These synopses are made from prints of the microfilm of the Pilgrim's Rest Church Book. That microfilm is part of the genealogical and local history collection of the Andalusia Public Library.
The Library allowed Mr. Robert Taylor, a direct descendant of early members of the Pilgrim's Rest Church, to copy the microfilm. Mr. Taylor provided this writer with legible copies of most of the pages of the church records for 1859 through 1891, with the understanding that I would read the record and make a typed history of the church which would be available to those interested in either the religious history of the county or in the families that belonged to this historic church. For those periods during which no transcription of a conference appears one of the following situations holds: (1) there was no paper copy from the microfilm provided for me to transcribe; (2) the church had no business to transact during this time; (3) there were no records of these conferences in the microfilm. In many instances, I do not know which of the above situations is accurate.
April 1859 Constitution of the church, as summarized in the above narrative. Received Allen Driskell, Jr. by baptism; James Parker, Mary Turbeville, and Martha Mancill received by letter.
July 1859 Refer until August the matter of a clerk to fill office of J. G. Curenton. [He must have resigned from the clerkship. Later records reveal that he was elected deacon of the church. Until he and Allen Driskell, Jr. were ordained as deacons, it seems that the church had no men to fill this office.]
August 1859 Elected James Parker church clerk.
September 1859 Chose James Parker, James Rowell, and J. G. Curenton (alternate) as delegates to the Associational meeting.
October 1859 Read and received letter to the Association and donated $2.25 towards cost of printing associational minutes.
April 1860 Daniel Dozier called to pastor church for the ensuing year.
May 1860 "Resolved that we set apart the first sabbath in July for our communion and that we appoint Brother Curenton to prepare the elements and furniture for the same, and that we come prepared at our next conference to pay for it."
June 1860 Chose James Parker, R. R. Mancill, J. G. Curenton, Allen Driskell, Jr., and James Rowell (alternate) as delegates to district meeting. Instructed the clerk to prepare a letter to be inspected at the next conference.
July 1860 Received Sis. Elizabeth Parker by experience/baptism; received Brother William Carpenter and Sister Savannah Carpenter by letter. Read and approved letter to district meeting.
September 1860 Received James R. Brazill by experience/baptism. Chose J. G. Curenton, James Parker, and Allen Driskell, Jr. (alternate) as delegates to Associational meeting.
October 1860 Received Bro. Albert Curenton, Sis. Martha Caroline Jackson, and Sarah, a colored sister belonging to J. A. Taylor--all by experience/baptism. "Sabbath morning at the water received Sis. Margaret Scofield and her baptism protracted until the first Sabbath in November." Read and received letter to the association "with an alteration from 19 to 22 members." Donated $3.85 for "printing of the minutes and other contingencies."
November 1860 Chose Allen Driskell, Jr. and J. G. Curenton as deacons. "Set apart the first Saturday in December next for the ordination and called upon Bretheren A. Driskell and J. Davis as a presbytery to assist in the ordination."
December 1860 Received $1.35 as an "over plus of contribution for the printing of minutes from the hands of the delegates." The presbytery "ordained the bretheren set apart for deacons of the church.
January 1861 Received and distributed minutes of the Association.
April 1861 Allen Driskell, Jr. confessed "an error he had been guity of, and desired forgiveness." The church granted forgiveness. Chose Daniel Dozier as pastor for the ensuing year. "Resolved that Bro. Allen Driskell lay in a bill for sawing one thousand feet of lumber to furnish our district meeting and that the church sustain him in the same."
May 1861 Resolved that "the church authorize Bretheren J. G. Curenton and Allen Driskell to contract and purchas a lot of lumber from William Taylor and the church to pay for it, and the above committee to withdraw the bill laid in for the sawing of the lumber."
June 1861 Received Lewis, a servant belonging to Mr. Spicer, under the watchcare of the church and resolved to write for a letter of dismission for him. Appointed Allen Driskell, J. G. Curenton, James Parker, James Jackson, and Robert R. Mancill (alternate) as delegates to the district meeting. Clerk to prepare the letter.
July 1861 Read and received letter to the district meeting. Resolved that "as many as feel an interest to meet on Tuesday preceding the district meeting and make accommodations for the same."
Minutes of 4th District are included. Dated Friday before the 4th Sabbath of July 1861. Opening sermon by Eld. Solomon Long. Heard letters from the churches of the district: Ivy Creek, Consolation, Pilgrim's Rest, Good Hope, Shiloh, New Providence, and Black Rock. Chose Eld. Daniel Dozier as next moderator and James Parker as clerk. Returned correspondence to the third district. "Appointed committee on preaching: M. B. Stinson, T. J. Lasitor [?], J. I. Taylor, R. S. Hughes, B. Staggers, together with the delegation of the church." Read letter from third district. Appointed Eld. Dozier to preach at next district meeting. Voted to hold next meeting with Ivy Creek Church. Expressed thanks to Pilgrim's Rest Church for hospitality.
Gave opportunity to receive members. Received Brother James Price by experience and Bryant, "a boy belonging to J. L. Stewart," also by experience.
August 1861 J. R. Braswell [Brazill] made acknowledgements of "reproachful
conduct" and was forgiven. Resolved "that the church put in money
to their several wills for the relief of Bro. Rowell. J. G. Curenton, Allen
Driskell, Jr., James Jackson, William Carpenter, Albert Curenton, James Price,
Windal Taylor, Robert R. Mancill, James Parker, and M. Wells [contributed] one
Appointed a "building committee to superintend the making of an addition to this house (viz): James Parker, Windal Taylor, and Allen Driskell, Jr."
September 1861 Received Sister Nancy Price by experience and "Sabbath morning at the water" Brother William Jones by experience and baptism. Resolved to donate $2.50 to association for printing minutes. Authorized clerk to prepare church letter to association. Appointed James Parker, James Jackson, and William Carpenter (alternate) as delegates to association. Resolved to write again on behalf of Lewis the colored brother belonging to Mr. Spicer.
October 1861 Received Bro. Joshua Davis and Sis. Hannah Davis by letter. Approved letter to association and donation for printing, leaving $1.60 in church treasury.
December 1861 "Took up the case of Lewis our colored brother belonging to Rowan Spicer and resolved that we receive him into full fellowship on declaration of faith."
January 1862 Received Sister Nancy E. Jones by experience.
March 1862 "Agreed to take into consideration the gift of Lewis a colored brother belonging to Rowan Spicer and deferred it until next conference." ["Gift" here evidently means a gift for preaching. The matter was delayed at the Apil conference.]
May 1862 Took up the reference of Brother Lewis from earlier conference and "agreed to drop the same." [The church thereby decided not to authorize or license Lewis to preach.]
June 1862 Chose Joshua Davis, J. G. Curenton, James Parker, James Jackson, and Robert R. Mancill (alternate) as delegates to district meeting.
July 1862 District letter read and received. Allen Driskell, Jr. made acknowledgement of "reproachful conduct;" forgiveness granted.
August 1862 Agreed to communior at next meeting. Resolved "to come prepared at our next meeting to raise a contribution to defray church expenses and the clerk to report the amount of funds on hand."
September 1862 Agreed to "pay our deacon $2.00 for church expenses and
make $1.75 as a church fund." Chose Joshua Davis, Robert R. Mancill, and
James Jackson (alternate) as associational delegates.
October 1862 Read and received letter to association. Contributed $2.50 for printing associational minutes.
April 1863 Daniel Dozier unanimously called as pastor for another year.
May 1863 Received Sis. Jane Branham [sic] by letter.
July 1863 Authorized clerk to prepare the district letter. Chose Elder J. Davis, James Parker, Albert Curenton, James Rowell, and Robert R. Mancill (alternate) as delegates to district meeting. [This is the first indication I notice in the minutes that Joshua Davis was an ordained elder or minister.--SRS]
September 1863 Chose Elder J. Davis, Albert Curenton, and James Parker (alternate) as delegates to the association. Authorized a contribution of $5.00 for the printing of the associational minutes and for the clerk to prepare the letter.
October 1863 Received Sister Charlotte Taylor by letter. Contributed $7.50 to association. Took up the case of "Brother Rowell and our colored brother Lewis which resulted in exclusion of Brother Lewis for heterodoxy." [I assume that Lewis must have continued to preach without permission.--SRS]
November 1863 Received $2.50 as an "over-plus" for association expenses.
December 1863 "Took up the case of Allen Driskell, Jr. attaching himself to the Freemason fraternity and preferred a charge against him for the same and that the clerk notify him to meet at our next conference and give his sentiments. Request for letter of dismission for Brother Davis and wife was granted.
February 1864 Referred Driskell case to next conference.
March 1864 Took up the case of Allen Driskell, Jr. "for joining the Masons and excluded him for the same in consequence of a defect in his acknowledgment concerning breach of fellowship."
April 1864 Received Mary Carter by letter. Granted letter of dismission to Nancy Jones. Called Daniel Dozier as pastor for ensuing year.
June 1864 Chose Albert Curenton, William Carpenter, R. R. Mancill, James Parker, and James Rowell (alternate) as delegates to district meeting. Authorized clerk to prepare the letter.
July 1864 Read and received letter to the district meeting.
September 1864 Chose James Rowell, James Parker, and Robert R. Mancill (alternate) as delegates to associational meeting. Authorized clerk to prepare the letter and donated $5.00 for printing of minutes.
October 1864 Read and approved the letter. Made contribution of $14.50 for the printing of the minutes.
November 1864 Clerk returned $4.50 and Brother Curenton paid in $1.00 which make $5.50 of church funds in the hands of the treasurer.
January 1865 "Exhortation by Brother Kimbro." He acted as moderator pro-tem in absence of Elder Dozier.
February 1865 Resolved to compensate the clerk from the surplus fund of the church for the purchase of paper.
March 1865 Elder Allen Driskell acted as moderator pro tem.
April 1865 Received Sis. Elizabeth Taylor by experience. Elected Daniel Dozier pastor for ensuing year.
June 1865 Eld. Kimbro acted as moderator pro-tem. Chose James Parker, James Rowell, Albert Curenton, William Carpenter and R. R. Mancill (alternate) as delegates to the district meeting. Clerk to prepare letter by next conference. Resolved to petition that next district meeting be held at Pilgrim's Rest.
July 1865 Read and received letter to district meeting.
August 1865 Received Bro. Isaac Taylor by experience and baptism. Chose W. W. Taylor, J. G. Curenton, and James Jackson (alternate) as delegates to associational meeting. Clerk to prepare letter. Donated $2.00 for printing minutes of association.
September 1865 Read and received letter to association.
October 1865 Took up the case of "Sister Mary Carter for the act of whoredom and appointed Sister Scofield, Sister Mary Jackson, and Sister Elizabeth Parker in case of failure, to labor with Sister Carter and report of their labors at our next conference."
November 1865 Heard the report of the committee appointed to labor with Sis. Mary Carter. On move and second, voted to "test her fellowship" and excluded her from membership.
December 1865 Sister Branham [sic] granted a letter of dismissal.
March 1866 Received Sis. Molsey Fortune by letter.
April 1866 The church "took up the case of Brother James R. Brazill for his long absence and misconduct in camps and the clerk to write and get an answer whether he desires fellowship with us or not." Then took up the case of "Bryant a colored brother and Sally a colored sister for absenting themselves without applying for letters of dismission and tested their fellowship of the church which terminated in their exclusion." Called Eld. Dozier as pastor for ensuing year.
May 1866 Continued the case of James R. Brazill until next conference.
June 1866 Chose James Parker, J. G. Curenton, W. W. Taylor, J. R. Price and James Jackson (alternate) as delegates to district meeting. Clerk to prepare letter.
July 1866 Received Sis. Elizabeth Carter "on confession of faith." Restored Bro. Allen Driskell, Jr. to fellowship. Continued the case of James R. Brazell. Read and received letter to the district meeting.
August 1866 Authorized the deacons to make further inquiries as to James R. Brazell's present post office address and report at next conference. Chose J. G. Curenton, W. W. Taylor, and James Parker (alternate). Clerk to prepare letter. For printing minutes of association: $2.50.
September 1866 Continued case of James R. Brazill. Read and received letter to association.
October 1866 Took up case of Brazill "and continued the same and the clerk to write to him concerning the charge."
November 1866 Tested the fellowship of James R. Brazill and excluded him.
December 1866 Took up the Brazill case again and continued it [?]. Granted letters of dismission for Allen Driskell, Jr. and his wife.
January 1867 Continued the case of James R. Brazill.
February 1867 Received by letter Nancy Hicks, Rhody Hicks, and Sis. R. A. Dozier. Took up case of James R. Brazill and "disposed of same which terminated in his exclusion."
April 1867 Unanimously called Eld. Daniel Dozier as pastor for ensuing year.
May 1867 Received Bro. M. M. Hix [Hicks] by experience. Chose delegates to district meeting: J. G. Curenton, James Jackson, Albert Curenton, J. R. Price, and James Rowell (alternate). Clerk to prepare letter. Brother Curenton to get lumber "for the accommodation of the district meeting and call on the bretheren to assist him in the same."
June 1867 Received Nancy Williamson by experience. Read and adopted letter to district meeting.
July 1867 The following minutes (dated July 26, 1867) of the district meeting. Introductory sermon delivered by Eld. T. J. Gardner. Chose Eld. Dozier as moderator and S. E. Williams as clerk. Heard correspondence from third district and extended right hand of fellowship to their visiting delegates, J. Stinson and C Magouirk. Returned correspondence to the third district. Appointed Eld. Dozier to preach introductory sermon at next district meeting and Eld. Long to be his alternate. Granted request of New Providence to host next district meeting.
August 1867 Chose delegates to association: J. G. Curenton, W. W. Taylor, J. R. Price (alternate). Clerk to prepare letter. Contribution of $3.00 for printing associational minutes.
September 1867 Resolved "that our delegates form a committee to inspect our letter to the Association."
October 1867 J. M. Jackson served as clerk pro-tem. No business.
February 1868 H. Parrish served as clerk pro-tem. No business.
March 1868 Margaret Scofield granted letter of dismission. Eld. Dozier called as pastor for ensuing year.
April 1868 Took up the case of M. M. Hicks for non-attendance. Appointed J. G. Curenton and J. R. Price to visit him and determine cause of his delinquence. Appointed committee of James Parker, James Rowell, and James M. Jackson to "purchase land for the enlargement of meeting house site."
May 1868 Took up the Hicks matter and indicated that Hicks "gave satisfaction;" discharged the committee. Chose J. G. Curenton, James Parker, J. R. Price, W. W. Taylor, and J. M. Jackson (alternate) delegates to district meeting. Clerk to prepare letter.
June 1868 Read and received the letter to the district meeting. Heard the report from the committee and agreed to purchase one acre of W. B. Stewart and two acres of Sister Martha Jackson.
August 1868 Received Mary B. Stewart by letter. Took up the matter of land purchase and referred it to next conference. Chose James M. Jackson, J. R. Price, and W. W. Taylor (alternate) as delegates to the Association. Charged the clerk to prepare the letter. Changed the regular communion service to the September meeting. Established regular meeting times as 11:00 a.m. on Saturdays and 10:00 a.m. on Sundays.
September 1868 Read and received the letter to the Association.
October 1868 Continued the business of the meeting house site until next conference.
November 1868 Continued the business of the meeting house site until next conference.
January 1869 Continued the business of the meeting house site until next conference. Then, took up the case of Brother [William] Carpenter "for taking the benefit of the insovent oath and that we call on Good Hope and Union churches for help in our counsel at our next conference. Bretheren Rowell and Jackson [appointed] as messengers to Good Hope Church and Bretheren Curenton and Parker [appointed] as messengers to Union Church. [Obviously, in this case, the Pilgrim's Rest Church did not know what to do. Some churches were of the opinion that those who declared bankruptcy were unworthy of membership.--SRS]
February 1869 Continued the business of the meeting house site. Then, took up the case of William Carpenter "for the act of bankruptcy and at his request excluded him."
March 1869 Took up the matter of the meeting house site and "purchased from Sister Martha Jackson two acres of land at $5.00 per acre; resolved that the committee meet at their own option between now and next conference and take a deed for the land and that next conference to pay the purchase money."
April 1869 Received Mary Jane Inglish [English] by experience. Took up the reference concerning the deed for the two acres of land and paid Sis. Martha Jackson the purchase price of $10.00. Called Eld. Dozier to serve the church as pastor for ensuing year.
May 1869 Continued the business of the land deed until next conference. Granted Sis. Rhoda Harvill, at request of her mother, a letter of dismission.
June 1869 Read the deeds and returned them to the deacon and discharged the committee. Chose J. G. Curenton, J. R. Price, James Parker, J. M. Jackson, and W. W. Taylor (alternate) as delegates to district meeting. Clerk authorized to write letter.
July 1869 No conference.
August 1869 Received Sisters Luannah and L. V. Curenton by experience. Chose J. G. Curenton, J. R. Price, and James Parker (alternate) as delegates to Association. Clerk to write letter to be inspected at next conference. Authorized $5.00 for associational minutes.
September 1869 Contributed $3.25 for minutes, "which left 25 cents in the hands of the treasurer." Read and approved letter to Association.
October 1869 Received Lodge Langly, his wife Judia Langly, and Celia McMichael by letter.
November 1869 "Brother J. G. Curenton made application for letters of dismission for himself and his wife and mother and sister, which were all granted."
January 1870 "Brother James M. Jackson made application for letters of dismission for himself and wife and mother and two sisters which was granted."
February 1870 Jacob P. Merrill and his wife Elefare were received by letter. Lodge Langly requested letters of dismission for himself, his wife, and his daughter, which letters were granted. Took up choice of a deacon and referred to next conference. William Carpenter restored to fellowship.
April 1870 Matter of deacon referred to next conference. Eld. Daniel Dozier elected unanimously as pastor for ensuing year.
May 1870 J. P. Merill appointed clerk pro-tem. Received John A. Taylor and his wife Rebecca by letter. Chose as delegates to district meeting J. A. Taylor, J. R. Price, William Carpenter, James Parker, and J. P. Merill (alternate). Clerk to prepare letter.
June 1870 Choice of deacon referred to next conference. Letter to district meeting read and approved.
July 1870 Received John H. Jones by experience. James R. Price made acknowledgement of a fight and was forgiven.
August 1870 Continued the reference of M. H. Hicks from last conference [?]. Chose John A. Taylor, J. P. Merill, and James Parker (alternate) as associational delegates. Clerk to prepare letter.
September 1870 M. H. Hicks matter referred to next conference. [Copy is very dim.] It seems that Mrs. Hicks applied for a letter of dismission and that the church also made John A.Taylor treasurer.
October 1870 The matter of M. H. Hicks was again taken up and the clerk was asked to write to Hicks. John H. Jones was clerk pro-tem for this meeting. [Copy very dim; this is the writer's best approximation of the minutes.--SRS]
November 1870 Received Sis. A. R. Dozier by experience and received two colored sisters under the watchcare of the church. Only the name of Lucy Brooks is legible. The case of Hicks was continued. [Copy very dim; this is the writer's best approximation of the minutes.--SRS]
[The materials I examined do not contain minutes for the rest of 1870; nor are there minutes for 1871 and most of 1872. The legible copies resume with the minute for the conference of October 1872.--SRS]
October 1872 Reference from last conference of choosing a deacon was continued.
November 1872 Reference of choosing a deacon continued.
December 1872 No conference.
January 1873 The church chose J. P. Merill and James Parker as deacons and asked that the ordination "be postponed until the Saturday before the first Sabbath in March and we respectfully ask for a presbytery of Elders Solomon Long, Allen Driskell, and J. D. Hudson together with Brother Dozier our present pastor and that Brother Rowell be ---- [indecipherable]."
February 1873 No conference.
March 1873 Miscellaneous business: "Taken up when the church considered the nomination of James Parker to the deacon's office and that he be exonerated by reason of the death of his wife Sister Parker, on motion the Presbytery went into the examination and ordination of Brother J. P. Merrill to the office of Deacon and finding nothing to prevent his ordination, he was brought under the hands of the presbytery and set apart to the office of Deacon, done by order of the church while in conference."
April 1873 Eld. Daniel Dozier unanimously called as pastor for the ensuing year.
May 1873 Chose district delegates to district meeting: James Parker, W. W. Taylor, J. E. Rowell, J. P. Merill, and J. R. Price (alternate). Clerk to prepare letter.
June 1873 Read and received letter to the district meeting.
August 1873 Chose delegates to the Associational meeting: J. P. Merill, James Parker, and W. W. Taylor (alternate). Clerk to prepare letter. Donation for associational minutes [indeciphrable].
September 1873 Read and received letter to association; contributed $3.00 for associational minutes. Committee to examine church book finds the record correct. Charge against Sis. Mary Stewart for joining the Methodist society which "terminated in her exclusion."
May 1874 Chose J. P. Merill, J. M. Price, W. W. Taylor, J. E. Rowell, and James Parker (alternate) as delegates to district meeting. Clerk to prepare letter. Daniel Dozier unanimously called to serve church in ensuing year.
June 1874 Read and received letter to district meeting.
August 1874 Chosen as delegates to Association: J. P. Merrill, W. W. Taylor, and J. E. Rowell (alternate). Clerk to prepare letter. Make contribution of $3.00 for minutes of Association.
September 1874 Received the letter to the Association and made contribution. Took up the case of Samuel Brooks (colored) and excluded him for theft.
November 1874 Received James M. Straughn by experience and baptism.
January 1875 Sister [Savannah] Carpenter made application for letter of dismission, which was granted.
April 1875 Received A. C. Straughn and Sis. M. E. Straughn by experience and
baptism. Called Daniel Dozier as pastor for the ensuing year. Referred the case
of choosing a deacon to next conference.
May 1875 Continued choice of deacon to next conference. Chose delegates to district meeting: J. M. Straughn, A. C. Straughn, W. W. Taylor, James Parker, and J. R. Price (alternate). Clerk to write letter to be "inspected at next conference."
June 1875 Read and received letter to the district meeting with a "petition that the next district to convene with us."
August 1875 Received Winneford Feagin and Mary Straughn b letter. Chose A. C. Straughn, W. W. Taylor, and J. R. Price (alternate) as delgates to the Association. Clerk to write letter to be "inspected at our next conference." Church should come "prepared to make contribution of $3.00 for printing of minutes."
September 1875 Read and received letter to Association and made contribution for printing of minutes.
November 1875 Colored brother George Clark made application for letter of dismission, which was granted.
March 1876 Eld. Daniel Dozier called as pastor by unanimous vote. "Resolved to set apart our meeting in May to nominate and choose our deacons."
May 1876 Referred choice of deacons to next conference. Eld. Dozier accepted care of the church for coming year.
June 1876 Received Samuel Bowers and Mary Ann Stewart by experience. Dropped inquiry into deacons. Delegates to district meeting: W. W. Taylor, J. R. Price, J. M. Straughn, James Parker, and James Rowell (alternate). Clerk to prepare letter.
July 1876 Received J. A. Stewart by letter, a colored sister by the name of Mariah Brady by experience, and Sarah Bowers by experience. Read and received letter to district meeting. "Resolved that we debar all other denominations from this day forward the use of our pool for baptising."
August 1876 Delegates to the Association: W. W. Taylor, A. C. Straughn, and J. A. Stewart (alternate). Clerk to prepare letter and church to make contribution of $2.00 for printing minutes of Association.
September 1876 Church collected amount for minutes.
November 1876 J. A. Stewart chosen as deacon. Elders Long and Russell to constitute a presbytery for his ordination.
December 1876 Ordination of J. A. Stewart to office of deacon. Elders Long and Dozier were the ordaining presyters.
February 1877 Application having been made by "S. A. Dauphin, Esquire for a letter of dismission for Sister Molsey Fortune, which was granted, to be placed in the hands of Mr. Dauphin to mail the same." Resolved that members would come prepared to make contribution for half-dozen hymnbooks and a Bible for the church.
March 1877 Collected $4.55 for hymnbooks and Bible; asked Eld. Dozier to act as church's agent in their purchase.
April 1877 Elder Dozier delivered the books with $1.45 left owing; church resolved to come on Sunday and repay Elder Dozier. Resolved that Bro. A. C. Straughn "take charge of the hymnbooks and make a case for the keeping of the same." Appointed J. A. Stewart and James Rowell to visit Bro. Windol Taylor and report at next conference.
May 1877 Took up the case of Windol Taylor for not coming to the conferences, heard the report and discharged the committee. Authorized the clerk to write to Bro. and Sis. Bowers inquiring about their absences. Called Eld. Daniel Dozier as pastor for ensuing year.
June 1877 Read a letter of acknowledgment from Bro. And Sis. Bowers and received it. Excluded Windol Taylor for non-attendance. Chose J. A. Stewart, J. M. Straughn, J. R. Price, James Parker, and A. C. Straughn (alternate) as delegates to the district meeting. Clerk to write letter.
July 1877 Read and received letter to district meeting.
August 1877 Received J. S. Kilpatrick by letter. Chose J. A. Stewart, J. M. Straughn, and A. C. Straughn (alternate) as delegates to Association. Clerk to prepare letter.
September 1877 Read and received letter to the Association. Received contributions of $2.95 for printing minutes.
May 1878 Chose J. M. Straughn, A. C. Straughn, J. R. Price, James Parker, and James Rowell (alternate) as delegates to the district meeting. Clerk to prepare letter.
June 1878 Read and received letter to the district meeting. William Sport moderated the conference; Eld. Dozier was obviously absent.
August 1878 Took up the case of Bro. Bowers and wife "for departing from our faith and joining the Methodist church." Appointed Bros. Rowe and James Parker "to visit them and request him to come forward on tomorrow and his reasons for doing so." [This was on Friday; the conference continued on Saturday.] "Took up the case of Bro. Bowers and wife for departing from our faith, heard the report of the committee, and discharged the same, tested the fellowship of Bro. Bowers and his wife and excluded the same from us." Chose A. C. Straughn, James Parker, and J. M. Straughn as delegates to the Association. Clerk to prepare letter.
November 1878 [There had been no conferences in September and October.] "In consequence of the departure of our beloved Brother Daniel Dozier from our midst, we went into the choice a supply for the year, which choice resulted in Brother John D. Hudson unanimously." Appointed A. C. Straughn and J. R. Price to acquaint him of the call. William Sport moderated the conference.
January 1879 Heard from the committee to acquaint Eld. Hudson with the church's choice of him as pastor and dismissed the committee. [Eld. Hudson evidently accepted the call to the church, but he did not begin his ministry with Pilgrim's Rest until April 1879. This conference was moderated by William Sport; there was no conference in February. The March conference was moderated by Eld. Solomon Long. No business of note.]
April 1879 Granted Nancy Hudson a letter of dismission. Eld. J. D. Hudson moderated.
May 1879 Received Bro. J. F. [?] Edwards and Sis. L. Edwards by letter. Chose J. Straughn, J. Price, J. H. Edwards, James Rowell, and A. Straughn (alternate) as delegates to district meeting. J. D. Hudson was appointed to write the letter. [James Parker the clerk was absent for several conferences. Eld. Hudson evidently took minutes as well as moderated.]
June 1879 Letter for the district meeting was called for but not presented.
August 1879 Chose J. F. Edwards, James Price, and James Rowell (alternate) as delegates to the Association. Called on Moderator to write letter. Agreed to send $2.50 for minutes.
September 1879 Read and received letter to the Association.
November 1879 Restored Bro. S. Bowers and wife to fellowship. [There are no minutes in the record for the next four months.]
April 1880 Eld. J. D. Hudson called as pastor (unanimously) for the ensuing year.
May 1880 Received Annie C. Dauphin by letter. "The church went into the choice of delegates to the district meeting. On motion, the moderator appointed one, and he appointed the next, and so on. The appointment is as follows: James Straughn, Samuel Bowers, James Price, F. J. Edwards (alternate). Clerk to prepare the letter. [This marked a dramatic departure from the normal practice of electing the delegates.--SRS]
June 1880 Read and received the letter to the district meeting.
August 1880 Chose James Straughn, Andrew Straughn, and James Price (alternate) as delegates to the Association; set aside $2.50 for minutes. No mention in the record of preparation of a letter to the Association, but one was written.
September 1880 Read and received letter to the Association. Isaac Taylor moderated this conference.
October 1880 Church went into consideration of a deacon and chose Isaac Taylor. Elders J. D. Hudson and M. L. Dauphin then formed a presbytery, laid hands on him and ordained him deacon. [Again, this matter is unusual. Normally, some time would elapse between selection of a deacon and formation of a presbytery for his ordination.--SRS]
March 1881 Offered opportunity for reception of members: "One came forward who did not give satisfaction and was put off until next meeting." Eld. J. D. Hudson and wife presented letters of dismission from Good Hope Church and were received.
May 1881 Elected Eld. J. D. Hudson, Samuel Bowers, J. M. Straughn, Isaac Taylor, and A. C. Straughn (alternate) as delegates to the district meeting.
June 1881 Letter to the district meeting read and received. Letter from Mary R. Stewart was read; after consultation, received her into fellowship, after which the church granted her a letter of dismission.
August 1881 Received Sisters Winney Straughn and M. A. Bowers by experience and baptism. Chose delegates to Association: Eld. J. D. Hudson, J. M. Straughn, and James Price (alternate). "On motion of the church, agreed to write a letter to Elder W. P. Stanley requesting him to serve as assistant pastor to the Pilgrim's Rest Church for the present year. On motion, it was agreed that the moderator appoint a committee of two to notify Bro. Stanley of the call of the church;" J. M. Straughn and James Rowell were appointed.
September 1881 Received Sis. E. C. Dauphin on experience and baptism and Sis. M. A. Stewart by letter. Read and received letter to association. Contributed $3.00 for minutes. "Brother J. D. Hudson came forward and gave the church satisfaction for some idle tales which have been reported on him, and the church forgave Brother Elder J. D. Hudson and say they are satisfied." Received report that Eld. Stanley "agreed to attend them as often as possibly could, but did not agree to serve them every meeting. On motion of the church, James Parker was released of his duties as church clerk and Isaac Taylor was appointed to that office. Made up $15.00 as a "church pot." [Following this very eventful meeting, there were no conferences in October, November , and Decemberof 1881]
January 1882 Received J. J. Ganus by letter. On motion, "the church relieved Bro. Isaac Taylor of the clerkship and appointed Bro. J. J. Ganus to the office.
April 1882 The church conducted no business. Isaac Taylor served as moderator pro-tem. This normally would be the conference for calling a pastor.
May 1882 Eld. J. D. Hudson moderated the conference; no business.
June 1882 Received Sis. Alice Wetherford by experience and baptism. Chose district delegates: Eld. J. D. Hudson, Isaac Taylor, J. F. Edwards, James Price and A. C. Straugh (alternate). The church charged Samuel Bowers "with refusing to fellowship colored members of the church and asked to be expelled. On motion, the fellowship of the church was tested, and Samuel Bowers expelled from the church."
July 1882 On motion, "the church gives Bro. Isaac Taylor the right to exercise in public, according to his feelings." [This was, in effect, a license to preach.]
August 1882 Chose Eld. J. D. Hudson, Isaac Taylor, and Andrew Straughn (alternate) as delegates to Association.
September 1882 Read, amended, and received letter to the Association. Contributed $3.00 towards printing minutes.
December 1882 Received A. H. Nelson and his wife A. L. Nelson by letter.
February 1883 Granted letter of dismission to Sis. Mary J. Atwell.
March 1883 The case of Caroline Bryan was taken up "for using profane language; her being insane, [the case] was postponed until called for."
April 1883 Eld. Joel Helms moderated the conference; no business reported and no indication that the church called a pastor.
May 1883 Received brother C. H. Holloway by experience and baptism. Received "at the water Sabbath morning brother Daniel Ganey by experience and baptism. Eld. J. D. Hudson chosen pastor; he agreed to give an answer at next conference.
June 1883 Eld. J. D. Hudson agreed to serve as pastor "as long as he stayed with us." Chose delegates to district meeting: Isaac Taylor, Eld. J. D. Hudson, A. H. Nelson, A. C. Straughn, and Daniel Ganey (alternate).
July 1883 Read and received letter to the district meeting, along with petition that next meeting be held with Pilgrim's Rest.
August 1883 In the minute for the conference dated "Saturday before the fourth Sabbath in August," the church went into the matter of a charge against Bro. A. H. Nelson and read into the record a letter received from Valley Grove Church, Cowpens, AL, dated September 9, 1883: "We the Church of Christ at Valley Grove have received your request from Pilgrim's Rest and have investigated the charges against Bro. A. H. Nelson and by gospel testimony have found them to be false. We know nothing against Bro. Nelson. Done by the church in conference . Yours in gospel bonds." [The date of this letter must have been miscopied by the clerk. It could not have been written in September of 1883 if it was received a month earlier by Pilgrim's Rest.--SRS] J. J. Cleveland moderated this conference and G. W. Sims acted as clerk.
September 1883 Read and received the letter to the Association. "Read and received a letter to send to the Hopewell Church in Texas asking them to call in the joint letter that they granted James A. Stewart and Sis. M. A. Stewart his wife, also stating a reason for the same." Heard report from committee appointed to visit Bro. J. F. Edwards for non-attendance; the church was satisfied and the committee discharged. Contributed $2.50 for minutes of Association. Heard letter from Valley Grove Church in Tallapoosa County, AL stating that "the charges that George Y. Jarvis charged . . ." [The remainder of the minute of this conference is missing. I believe the material was miscopied into the minutes for the August conference, as indicated above.--SRS]
November 1883 By request of Elder John D. Hudson, the church granted a letter of dismission to him and his wife Sis. Mary A. Hudson and Bro. J. F. Edwards. J. D.Hudson moderated the conference. There was no conference for December.
January 1884 Went into the choice of a deacon; chose John J. Ganus. Chose Elders Joel Helms and Marcus L. Dauphin to "assist in the ordination of Bro. John J. Ganus to the office of a deacon and that Brothers Isaac Taylor and James Rowell prepare and bear a letter to Elder Helms stating the request of the church and that Bretheren J. R. Price and A. H. Nelson prepare and bear a letter to Elder Dauphin stating the request of the church to him." The church then went on to call the pastor for the year. Eld. John D. Hudson was called. Isaac Taylor made application on behalf of Sis. Alice Wetherford for a letter of dismission, which was granted. Appointed Isaac Taylor treasurer.
February 1884 John J. Ganus was examined by the presbytery and "finding him orthodox, he was brought under the hands of the presbytery and set apart for the office of deacon." On motion, the church appointed Bros. James Rowell and John J. Ganus "to visit Bro. J. A. Stewart in regard to the charges brought against him from Hopewell Church in Texas.
March 1884 Reference: "The committee that was appointed to visit Bro. James A. Stewart made their report and the church was satisfied and the committee was discharged." The clerk will prepare a letter for inspection at next conference indicating that Stewart gave satisfaction to the church and that "he desires to live a different life." Note: Isaac Taylor moderated this conference.
April 1884 Read, revised, and received letter to Hopewell Church in Texas stating that Bro. James A. Stewart "has made satisfaction to us and we desire the church at Hopewell to forgive and send Bro. James A. Stewart a letter of dismission." Eld. John D. Hudson authorized to buy a church book for one dollar.
May 1884 Chose delegates to district meeting: Isaac Taylor, J. J. Ganus, A. C. Straughn, Daniel Ganey, J. R. Price (alternate). On motion, J. J. Ganey relieved of clerkship. Appointed A. H. Nelson as clerk.
June 1884 Bro. Ganus was to prepare a letter to the district meeting for the
July 1884 Martha Mancill and W. H. Caraway received on experience and baptism. Minutes of the Fourth District Meeting at Pilgrim's Rest. Introductory sermon by Eld. M. L. Dauphin. Eld. J. D. Hudson named moderator and L. T. Wells clerk. Took up matters of correspondence, especially with churches in the third district. Next meeting to be at Ivy Creek Church near Rutledge in Crenshaw Co., Eld. Y. E. Hughes to preach the introductory sermon. Vote of thanks to Pilgrim's Rest "and many kind friends in the vecinity" for their hospitality.
August 1884 Received James A. Stewart by letter. Chose delegates to Association: Daniel Ganey, J. J. Ganus, and J. R. Price (alternate).
September 1884 Read and received letter to Association. Donates $2.50 for printing associational minutes.. [No copies of minutes for the remainder of 1884.--SRS]
January 1885 Excluded James A. Stewart for drunkenness. The new church book received. Committee appointed to look over old book and report back as soon as possible. Committee: Samuel Bowers and Daniel Ganey. [Obviously, Samuel Bowers had been restored to membership in an earlier conference.--SRS]
March 1885 Reference: "received the report of the committee on the examination of the church book and the committee discharged."
April 1885 Bro. W. H. Caraway applied for a letter of dismission which was granted. The treasurer asked the members to come prepared to make contributions at next conference. Bro. Samuel Bowers made a request for the liberty to talk in the church and the church gave him this liberty.
May 1885 Received Martha Robbins by experience and baptism. Donations of $1.50 to church treasury. Chose delegates to district meeting: J. J. Ganus, J. R. Price, A. H. Nelson, Isaac Taylor. Church gave clerk 25 cents for paper and authorized the treasurer to buy a bucket for the church.
June 1885 Received Sis. E. M. Hudson by experience and baptism. Read and received letter to district meeting.
July 1885 Sis. A. R. Dozier granted letter of dismission.
August 1885 Bro. C. E. Nelson and Sis. S. E. Nelson received by letter. Chose delegates to Association: J. J. Ganus, A. C. Straughn, and J. R. Price (alternate). Clerk to prepare letter. Authorized contribution of $2.50 for minutes. [The copies of the minutes for the next several months are illegible.--SRS]
November 1885 Bro. Windol W. Taylor came forward, made acknowledgments, and was restored to fellowship. Choice of supply fell unanimously upon Eld. Harmon Gatlin. The clerk to send a letter informing him of the call and report back at next conference.
December 1885 Received Bros. T. B. Williams, W. L. Williams, Isaac Williams, and Sisters E. A. Williams, S. A. Williams, and N. E. Williams--all by letter. Reference: matter of the call to Bro. Gatlin referred to next conference.
January 1886 The matter of the call of Bro. Gatlin was taken up and the committee discharged; Gatlin declined the call. Matter of supply then re-opened and John D. Hudson unanimously called.
March 1886 Business of fixing the pool for baptisms taken up. Bro. Bowers undertakes the work. A. C. Straughn, J. F. Edwards, and M. D. Jones serve on committee to inspect the work and "report the value thereof."
April 1886 Bro. J. F. Edwards was restored to fellowship. Church promises to fix the pool for baptismal purposes. [I believe whoever transcribed the record got the dates of March and April conferences mixed up.--SRS]
May 1886 Received N. A. Campbell and W. T. Robbins by baptism and Meleta Jones by letter. Reference: took up the matter of the baptismal pool; committee reported the work worth $10.00, which the church promised to pay. Appointed Isaac Taylor treasurer. Chose delegates for district meeting: A. C. Straughn, J. R. Price, J. G. Ganus, W. W. Taylor, and Isaac Taylor (alternate). Appointed A. H. Nelson, M. D. Jones, and C. E. Nelson to examine church books and report at next conference.
June 1886 Committee reported the church books were in good order.
August 1886 James A. Stewart came forward and made acknowledgments and was "restored back to the church with his bisopric [deaconship?]." Chose delegates to Association: J. J. Ganus, Isaac Taylor, W. W. Taylor (alternate). Authorizes $3.00 contribution for minutes. Appointed a committee consisting of Bros. Samuel Bowers, A. C. Straughn, and W. W. Taylor to "inspect a place for holding the Association and preparing the place."
September 1886 Committee inspecting place for Association meeting reported and was discharged. Letter to Association read and adopted.
October 1886 Bros. T. B. and W. S. and J. F. Williams and Sisters E. A. and S. A. and N. E. Williams all granted letters of dismission.
November 1886 Matter of paying Bro. Bowers for building pool: $7.20 paid; balance due $2.80.
December 1886 Elder J. D. Hudson called unanimously as pastor for ensuing year. Money for pool paid to Bro. Bowers.
April 1887 The church authorized Bro. James Stewart to exercise a public gift in our own bounds. [This sounds like Stewart wanted to preach and was allowed to do so only within this church; his previous record certainly failed to commend him as a role model.--SRS]
May 1887 Conference convened after "divine service by Bro. James Stewart, and Elder B. F. Stuckey, and Elder J. D. Hudson." Received Sis. H. E. Edwards "on confession of faith, giving her experience in grace." [Bro. Stewart wasted no time in exercising his "public gift."--SRS]
June 1887 Chose delegates to the district meeting: John Ganus, A. C. Straughn, J. R. Price, Windol Taylor, and J. A. Stewart (alternate). Isaac Taylor announced that the baptismal pool was "out of order." Committee to repair it: James Stewart, A. C. Straughn, and Samuel Bowers. Isaac Taylor moderated this conference.
July 1887 Letter to district meeting read and adopted. Bro. James A. Stewart made acknowledgments of drunkenness and "requested the church to exclude him, as he thought, for the good of the church. The church was unanimous in forgiving Bro. Stewart and retaining him in full fellowship." Resolved to meet before the 4th Sabbath to clean the house and the church yards; neighbors and friends were invited to assist.
August 1887 Bro. James A. Stewart was charged with drunkenness. "A motion was made and carried to test the fellowship of the church for Bro. Stewart, which test resulted in his exclusion." Bro. Isaac Taylor acknowledged "hurting the feelings of some of the bretheren, though unintentionally, and asked their forgiveness, which was granted." Representatives to 60th session of the Association: W. W. Taylor, J. J. Ganus, and A. C. Straughn (alternate). The clerk to prepare the letter; the church to come prepared to donate $3.00 for minutes.
September 1887 Solomon Long preached and moderated the conference. Letter to the Association was read and adopted. Bro. C. H. Holloway granted a letter of dismission. On motion, to choose a pastor to serve the church the remainder of the year "on account of Bro. Hudson's absence." Church voted unanimously to call Eld. Simeon D. Wiggins to serve until January 1, 1888. Bros. J. J. Ganus and Isaac Taylor were appointed to inform Eld. Wiggins of the church's action. A contribution was made of $3.40--forty cents of which was deposited in the church's treasury.
October 1887 Heard report from the committee to inform Eld. Simeon D. Wiggins of the church's desire to call him to serve out remainder of year. Eld. Wiggins agreed to "serve the church to the best of his ability for the remaider of the year."
November 1887 Eld. Simeon D. Wiggins moderated. Received Bro. Leroy M. Straughn by letter from the church at Good Hope. Contributed $1.85 to reimburse Bro. Isaac Taylor for expenses of the last communion. [No conference was held in December.]
January 1888 Choice of a supply for the present year. The church unanimously chose Eld. John D. Hudson who answered that "he would serve us to the best of his ability to the fourth Sunday in August." Eld. Hudson moderated the conference.
February 1888 "No business claiming the attention of the church." Eld. Hudson moderated. There was also no business during the conference in March.
April 1888 "Brother Isaac Taylor presented two basins which he had purchased out of money in the church treasury for the use of the church, subject to the church's approval, at a cost of 45 cents each." The church received the basins and approved the purchase.
May 1888 Preaching by Eld. Irving Maloy. Received Bro. Jordan Godwin by experience and Bro. Willis Wiggins and Sisters Nancy Wiggins and Ida Wiggins all by letter from Bethel Church in the Claybank Association. Sunday morning at the river (Dozier's Bridge) Eld. Maloy baptized Bro. Godwin and then preached ably. Opened the doors for the reception of members, "when we received Sis. Sarah Price by letter from Pilgrim's Rest Church in Texas."
June 1888 Services by Elds. L. T. Wells and J. D. Hudson. Received Sis. Mary M. Godwin by experience and baptism. Chose delegates to district meeting: J. J. Ganus, W. W. Taylor, Isaac Taylor, W. J. Wiggins, and L. M. Straughn (alternate).
July 1888 Services by Elds. M. L. Dauphin and J. D. Hudson. Bro. John Ganus appointed to prepare letter to the district meeting. Agreed to meet on Wednesday before the 4th Sabbath in August "to clean up about the church."
August 1888 Chose delegates to Association: W. W. Taylor, W. J. Wiggins, J. J. Ganus, and N. A. Campbell (alternate). "The deacons announced the church ready for communion on the morrow." J. D. Hudson moderator.
September 1888 The church met and "having no minister went into conference. Elected Bro. Isaac Taylor moderator pro-tem." Received Sis. Mary J. Blair by letter from New Providence, Crenshaw County, AL. "By motion, the lettter to the Association was read and after some discussion the form of the letter (which was the form recommended to the church by the Association at its last session) was objected to and the clerk was ordered to prepare another to be submitted on the morrow." Bro. A. C. Straughn stated that a well had been bored in the church yard without authorization.and that its cost would be $9.50; the church contributed $5.25 and borrowed the balance from Bro. L. M. Straughn and promised to pay him back at the next conference. The church then passed the following resolution:
"By reason of our pastor's inability to serve us any longer and our destitution of a supply, be it resolved that the time of choosing our pastor be changed from the December to the September conference."
The church then went in to the election of a pastor to serve until the fourth Sunday in September 1889 and chose Eld. Simeon D. Wiggins. Bros. W. J. Wiggins and D. H. Ganey were appointed to inform Eld. Wiggins of his election by way of a letter to be prepared by the clerk; they were to report at next conference. On Sunday, "the letters were examined and approved by the church."
October 1888 The church paid L. M. Straughn the money borrowed from him to pay for the well. Eld. Wiggins accepted the call to pastor the church. He moderated the conference.
November 1888 Preaching by Eld. Wiggins. No business before the conference.
December 1888 Eld. John D. Hudson moderated the conference. Bro. Samuel Bowers
acknowledged having drunk "too much" and was forgiven by the church.
January 1889 Bro. Isaac Taylor moderated the conference "in the absence of our pastor." Bro. Jordan Godwin called for letters of dismission for himself, his wife Mary M. Godwin, and her mother Mary J. Blair. Letters were granted.
February 1889 A motion was made and carried over that the church hold its next conference on Saturday before the fifth Sunday in March. Eld. Simeon D. Wiggins moderated this conference.
April 1890 Eld. John D. Hudson moderated the conference. No business taken up.
May 1890 Received by experience unto baptism Sis. Nancy Taylor, "wife of Brother Windol Taylor; [she] came forward and related her experience which was taken as satisfactory evidence of her fitness as a member of Christ's church." Bro. Isaac Taylor reported that Sis. Bettie Hudson had joined the Farmers Alliance. By motion, "she was charged with violating our non-fellowship resolution by joining a secret institution." Her fellowship was tested, and she was excluded. The church then went into the choice of a deacon and elected Bro. Willis J. Wiggins, who "submitted to the choice of the church." His ordination was set for the next regular meeting. Requested that Elds. C. I. Maloy, S. D. Wiggins, and D. D. Williams, to form, "together with Eld. John D. Hudson, a presbytery to officiate at the ordination." Chose delegates to the district meeting: W. W. Taylor, W. J. Wiggins, M. D. Jones, N. A. Campbell, and D. H. Ganey (alternate) Sunday morning "met at the river," at which time Sis. Mattie Wells, wife of Bro. T. W. Wells was received by experience and baptism. The ordinance of baptism was administered to Sisters Nancy Taylor and Mattie Wells by Eld. C. I. Maloy.
June 1890 Letter to district meeting was read, received, and placed into the
hands of the delegates. The ordination of Bro. Willis Wiggins proceeded. Bro.
Isaac Taylor was "the mouthpiece for the church" and stated that he
believed Bro. Wiggins met all the reqirements for deacon, as set forth in the
scriptures. Presbytery was composed of Elders John D. Hudson, B. F. Stuckey,
D. D. Williams, and L. T. Wells. After questioning Bro. Wiggins, the presbytery
laid hands upon him, ordaining him to the diaconate. Eld. Williams delivered
the charge to Bro. Wiggins and delivered the Bible to him as "the man of
his counsel." Right hand of fellowship extended to Bro. Wiggins. Resolved:
"the church shall meet on Wednesday before the fourth Sunday in August
to clean upp the house and grounds preparatory for communion."
Eld. John D. Hudson moderated this conference.
August 1890 Delegates to the Association: L. M. Straughn, Isaac Taylor, and W. J. Wiggins (alternate). Motion: "that the surplus fund in the hands of the treasurer of the Association be equally divided between Elders S. Long and R. F. Misseldine." Resolved: "that we come prepared to contribute $2.00 for the minutes and $1.00 for Elders Long and Misseldine at our next conference." Elder John D. Hudson moderated.
September 1890 Letter to the Association was read, adopted and placed into the hands of the delegates. Church contributed $2.00 for minutes and $1.00 for Elders S. Long and R. F. Misseldine. Elected John D. Hudson pastor for succeeding year unanimously. "Brother Hudson promised to serve the church to the best of his ability." (Eld. Hudson moderated this conference.)
October 1890 Eld. M. L. Dauphin moderated the conference. No business conducted.
November 1890 Isaac Taylor served as moderator. Brother Andrew C. Straughn "acknowledged to having been drunk and was forgiven by the church." Granted letters of dismission for Bro. T. W. Wells and his wife.
December 1890 Isaac Taylor again served as moderator. Bro. J. F. Edwards "called for letters of dismission for himself and his wife which letters were granted."
January 1891 Eld. J. D. Hudson held services. Church "agreed to hold no conference as there was no business before the church."
March 1891 Eld. J. D. Hudson moderated. "Brother Hudson read a memorial to the life of James Rowell, which was adopted by the church and ordered recorded."
April 1891 Eld. J. D. Hudson moderated. Bro. J. R. Price "apologized for his long absence and was forgiven."
May 1891 Services by Elds. B. F. Stuckey and J. D. Hudson. Bro. T. W. Wells and Sis. M. J. Wells "returned their letter that was granted by this church, which [letter of dismission] was received." [This statement means that they decided not to move their membership to another congregation, even after asking for a letter of dismission.--SRS] Sis. Annie Dauphin "by representation" called for a letter of dismission, which was granted. Delegates to district meeting: Bros. W. W. Taylor, W. J. Wiggins, and Morgan D. Jones (alternate).
June 1891 Services by Elds. E. N. Paulk and D. D. Williams. Eld. J. D. Hudson moderated. Letter to district meeting was read and adopted.
July 1891 Eld. C. I. Maloy preached and moderated the conference. James D.
Hudson acted as clerk. No business.
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