BY ROBERT A. IVEY
According to tradition, the first meeting-house in the Grindal Shoals community was built in the Littlejohn and Nuckolls settlement as early as 1767. This building, constructed by William Marchbanks and William Sims, was used for a number of years as a place of worship for all denominations. The Goucher Baptist Church, the Salem Presbyterian Church and the Asbury United Methodist Church had their early meetings in this place.
The 1805 minutes of the Bethel Baptist Association state that the Gilead Baptist Church was constituted September 27, 1804. Seventeen members were dismissed from the Fairforest Baptist Church in order to establish this new church. Gilead Baptist Church was the second church constituted in the Grindal Shoals community. The Goucher Baptist Church, first called Thicketty, was the first.
The Gilead Baptist Church was established through the efforts of a group of Revolutionary War veterans. Six of the following constitutional members of the Gilead church served as Patriot soldiers in the Revolutionary War: Robert Coleman, Sherod James, James McWhirter, John Gibson, John Coleman and Abner Coleman. Abner Coleman was with the Loyalist Militia at first, but joined with the Patriots in the latter months of the war.
A list of possible constitutional members is given as follows: Robert Coleman and his wife, Elizabeth (Trecy) Smith Coleman; Sherod James, and his wife, Mary (Polly) ? James; James McWhirter and his wife, Trecy ? McWhirter; John Gibson; John Coleman and his wife, Betty ? Coleman; Abner Coleman, Sr. and his wife, Susannah ? Coleman; John Hames and his wife, Sarah Liles Hames; John Stovall and his wife, Dorcas Abigail Poole Stovall; and Hugh Moore. John Gibson’s wife was probably a constitutional member, but the writer has been unable to locate her name in any of the early documents.
Robert Coleman was a son of Christopher Coleman and a grandson of Robert Coleman, Sr. His father operated Christie’s Tavern mentioned in the book, Horse-Shoe Robinson, written by John P. Kennedy. Christopher Coleman was a Justice of the Peace for the Grindal Shoals area several years before the Revolutionary War.
Robert’s father and grandfather first fought under Col. Brandon with the Patriots until 1779. Then, they joined the Loyalists and fought with them until they were forced to refugee to Charleston S. C. Robert Coleman, Sr. died there in 1781.
Robert Coleman, son of Christopher, served as a Patriot soldier under Col. Thomas Brandon.
Sherod James came to the Grindal Shoals community after the Revolutionary War. The Reverend J. D. Bailey in his book, History of Grindal Shoals, states that Sherod James served as a Patriot soldier while residing in North Carolina. Traditional accounts state that he lived to be 108 years of age and was buried in the Gilead cemetery in an unmarked grave. His first wife was a Miss ? Johnson. His second wife was Mary ? . Sherod and Mary (Polly) seemed to have alternated their membership between Gilead Baptist Church and Pacolet (Scull Shoals) Baptist Church through the years. They were members of the Gilead church at least three times and the Pacolet church at least twice.
He had a son, Jessie (Buck) James, who married Susan Hodge, daughter of Samuel and Martha Wright Hodge. Jessie James belonged to Major Elijah Dawkins’ command and served at Charleston during the War of 1812. This information was taken from the Reverend J. D. Bailey’s History of Grindal Shoals. There was a funeral for a child of Sherod James at the El Bethel Baptist Church on April 5, 1845. Dr. F. W. Littlejohn conducted the services. This Sherod James was probably a son of the above Sherod James.
Shadrack James, was buried in the Gilead Baptist Church cemetery, but there is no record of his membership in the church. His grave is marked. He served as a Patriot soldier while residing in North Carolina. David James, member of Gilead was his son.
James McWhirter served as a Patriot soldier while residing in Union District. Dr. Bobby Moss, in his book, Roster of South Carolina Patriots, states: “He was born in Rockfish Creek, Virginia. After enlisting while residing in Union District, he served under a Captain Thompson and Col. James Steen. In addition, he served under Capt. Nicholas Jasper, Maj. Jolly and Gen. Sumter. He was in the battle at Blackstock’s Plantation. During 1782, he served as a sergeant under Col. McFarr in the Indian Nation.”
John Gibson was a Patriot soldier in the Revolutionary War. He fought while residing in the state of Virginia. He was the son of John Gibson, Sr. and Elizabeth Call Gibson and was born in Frederick County, Virginia, November 28, 1748. He moved to Union District after 1783 and died in Union County, South Carolina, September 16, 1837. John Gibson, III and Herod Gibson were John Gibson, Jr.’s sons.
According to Dr. Moss, John Coleman, son of Christopher Coleman, served thirty-four days as a Patriot soldier in the South Carolina militia during 1782.
Abner Coleman served with the British Loyalists and the American Patriots. Dr. Bobby Moss, in his notes on South Carolina Loyalists, states: “Abner Coleman served from 14 June 1780 under Capt. Shadrack Lantrey and Maj. Daniel Plummer in the Fair Forest Militia. He was in the battle of Kings Mountain. Coleman evacuated Fort Ninety Six with Lt. Col. John H. Cruger. Prior to 13 April 1782, he deserted to the Patriots.” Abner Coleman was a son of Robert Coleman, Sr.
John Hames was the son of Randolph and Faithful Coleman Hames. His father first fought as a Patriot soldier under Col. Thomas Brandon, but switched sides and became a British Loyalist in 1779. He was executed by the Patriots. There is no record of John Hames having fought as a soldier on either side. John Hames’ mother was a daughter of Robert Coleman, Sr.
John Stovall purchased two tracts of land on Mill Creek from Thomas Draper, Sr. on the south side of Pacolet River on August 7, 1786. The land he purchased was in the Grindal Shoals section of Union County, South Carolina. He married Dorcas Abigail Poole, daughter of William and Elizabeth Stovall Poole. She was born in North Carolina on November 3, 1770, and was probably her husband’s first cousin.
Thomas Draper, Sr. married Lucy Coleman, daughter of Robert Coleman, Sr. In sentiment he was a loyalist, but there is no record of his membership in the Gilead church. A part of the Draper family belonged to the Goucher Creek Baptist Church.
Most of the members in the early years came from the Grindal Shoals community, a pre-Revolutionary War settlement. The land that contains the shoals was part of the property first granted to Richard Carroll in 1752. He named the shoals, Carroll Shoals, but the name was changed to Grindal Shoals several years after John Grindal acquired the property. The shoals were first called Grindal Shoals in 1773.
II. THE FIRST TWENTY YEARS (1804-1823). During this period the church was disbanded and re-established, and did not attain a membership of higher than 28.
Gilead’s First Pastor
Hugh Moore was selected as first pastor of the church and served through 1810. He and his family lived in the Thicketty Creek section of Spartanburg County (now Cherokee County), in the Goucher Creek community, a pre-Revolutionary War settlement. They lived on waters of Goucher Creek.
He was the son of Patrick and Anne ? Moore. Captain Patrick Moore was a noted officer with the Loyalists during the Revolutionary War and was in charge of Fort Thickety (Anderson).
John Jefferies, Esq. in his, Reminiscences of the Revolutionary War, states: “Patrick Moore’s Tory bands went out and plundered Whig families in every direction, stole horses and everything else they could & desired. They plundered my father’s house, stole his horse, drove off his cattle, built up a fire on the door, and abused my mother as the meanest of all rebels.”
He further states: “Col. Patrick More had a son-Hugh More, who was a Baptist preacher. He was put in the penitentiary for forgery.”
J. B. O. Landrum, in his book, Colonial and Revolutionary History, states: “Patrick Moore was born within a few miles of the present town of Lincolnton, North Carolina, a son of another noted Loyalist of that region and a brother of Lieutenant-Colonel John Moore of Colonel Hampton’s North Carolina regiment of Loyalists. It was from Thicketty Fort that Moore and his Tory associates would sally forth to plunder Whig families in the surrounding country.”
Patrick Moore, son of the Reverend Hugh Moore and grandson of Captain Patrick Moore, in a letter written to Lyman C. Draper, January 10, 1881, states that his grandfather was born in Virginia, before they moved to North Carolina. Patrick Moore was living in Cartersville, Georgia, at this time and was 85 years of age.
Lyman C. Draper, in his book, King’s Mountain and Its Heroes, states: “Moses Moore, the father of Colonel John Moore (also Patrick and Hugh), was a native of Carlisle, England, whence he migrated to Virginia in 1745, and married a Miss Winston, near Jamestown, in that Province, and in 1753 settled in what is now Gaston County, North Carolina, eight miles west of Lincolnton.”
Draper states: “Patrick Moore was captured by a party of Americans, according to the tradition in his family, near Ninety Six and was supposed to have been killed (probably hanged) by his captors, as his remains were afterwards found, and recognized by his great height, six feet and seven inches. His death probably occurred in 1781.”
Tradition states that his remains were re-interred in a church cemetery in Ninety Six, South Carolina. Inventory on his estate was made June 20, 1783, by William Thompson, David Allen and George Taylor. Anne Moore, his wife, and William Tate were administrators of the estate.
Hugh Moore, son of John and Levicy Petty Moore and great grandson of Captain Patrick Moore, in a letter written from Gaffney, South Carolina, to Lyman C. Draper on November 21, 1880, stated that Captain Patrick Moore and his wife, Anne ? , had one son, Hugh, and three daughters: Polly, Betsy and Patsy Moore.
This Hugh Moore was an outside man for the Curtises when they had charge of Limestone College. Hugh Moore was a 2nd Lieutenant in Co. I, 6th S C V, in 1861. He was a 1st Lieutenant in Co. H., 7th S C Reserves, from 1862 to 1863, and a private in Co. H., PSS, from 1864 to 1865. He died April 1, 1904, and was buried in the Petty Family Cemetery in Gaffney, South Carolina.
The Reverend Hugh Moore (son of Patrick) was born January 31, 1775. This information was obtained from a note on the margin of a copy of the 1805 minutes of the Bethel Baptist Association, which was reported to the Gaffney Ledger and printed in the October 30th 1903 edition of the paper. Dr. Bobby Moss included the above statement in his book, “Cherokee County Calendar (1897-1906).
He married Elizabeth (Betsy) Low, daughter of John and Jane ? Low. His father-in-law was a Patriot soldier. Hugh and Elizabeth were members of the Goucher Creek Baptist Church (now Goucher). He was ordained to the gospel ministry by this church circa 1803, while the Reverend Joshua Richards was pastor.
Hugh Moore was pastor of Goucher Creek Baptist Church in 1820 and continued in this position until the fall of 1822. He had the Reverend Joshua Richards arrested by a constable the latter part of October 1822, charging him with “publishing and sending a false scandalous letter to him”. He had Jane Low, Dicea Sherbet and Nancy Low, members of Macedonia Baptist Church, indicted, charging them with the writing of the letter known by the name of “the Sinner’s Letter”.
On November 16, 1822, Joshua Richards, in a church business session, cited the above circumstances to members of the Goucher church and brought charges against Hugh Moore. Richards also accused him of taking a pair of overalls from Thomas Betterton for “swearing against Moore”.
The church in that early day did not look favorably upon Christians taking Christians to law, but Moore would not rescind his charges against Richards and the ladies from Macedonia. Goucher Creek church tried him and determined that he was guilty of acting improperly in this matter. He was excommunicated from their fellowship in November of 1822. Abraham Hembree was appointed to visit Hugh Moore and request him to give up his preaching credentials, but Moore refused to surrender them.
Hugh Moore, Sr. made a contribution of $2.00 to the Goucher Creek church in 1829, and his son, John Moore, was excluded from the fellowship of Goucher Creek in 1830.
From August 22, 1828, to June 4, 1832, Hugh Moore was engaged in suits and counter suits with John Low, Sr. until Low died and then with Jane Low, wife of John, and her family. His 1,451 acres of land on which he had resided was auctioned and sold on June 4, 1832, while he was in prison. Henry Griffin purchased the land for $141.00.
The federal government indicted Hugh Moore for forgery (counterfeiting). Tennessee Prison Records, RG, Roll No. 23, page 97, state: “Hugh was received in the Penitentiary the Sixteenth of September eighteen hundred and thirty one. He is Six feet 2 ½ inches high, weighs one hundred & Sixty one pounds but is now in bad health. His common weight is two hundred and twenty pounds. Grey hair, blue eyes, fair skin, thin beard, a small mole on the chin, no scars perceivable.”
“Born and raised in Spartanburg district, South Carolina on Thicketty creek waters of Broad River, ten miles from the Court House & three miles from Pacolet Springs where his family now lives consisting of a wife, five sons and two daughters. Also a son Married lives in the same neighborhood. He is fifty-eight years old. He has no trade but is a farmer and has preached for thirty years of the Baptist persuasion. Found guilty of forgery at the Circuit Court of the United States at Nashville for the district of West Tennessee, and sentenced to five years imprisonment in the Jail and Penitentiary house of the State of Tennessee. Hugh Moore died of Cholera on the 15th day of June 1833.”
Patrick Moore was administrator of the Rev. Hugh Moore’s estate, and his bond was dated March 12, 1835. John Moore was attorney for the administrator. A sale was conducted on May 13, 1837, and the purchaser was Elizabeth Moore, his wife. Patrick and John Moore were children of Hugh and Elizabeth. Other children were: Jenny, Robert, Hugh, Davis, William and Elizabeth (Betsy).
He was not pastor of a church for thirty years, but kept his credentials and preached at times during these years.
Gilead joined the Bethel Baptist Association at its 1805 session that met with the Fellowship Meeting-House near Cambridge (Greenwood County) on Saturday before the first Sunday in October. Delegates from Gilead were Robert Coleman and John Hames. The church reported a total of seventeen members at this meeting.
Robert Coleman was selected as the first church clerk; John Hames was appointed first treasurer; and Sherod James and Abner Coleman were ordained to serve as the first deacons. All but one of these men had served as Patriot soldiers in the Revolutionary War.
The church building was called “Coleman’s Meeting House” in the early years.
Delegates from Gilead church to the Bethel Association in 1806 were Hugh Moore and John Stovall. Eighteen members constituted the church body at this time.
Susannah Hames Eison was an early member of the Gilead church. She was the daughter of Randolph and Faithful Coleman Hames, 2nd wife of John Eison, Esq. and daughter-in-law of John Eison, Sr. and Mary Swink Eison. She married John Eison in 1813. Her mother was the daughter of Robert Coleman, Sr., and her husband was the grandson of Frederick Eison and his wife, Kathy ? Eison. Fredrick Eison moved his family to Union District from Pennsylvania.
The church had increased to 32 members by 1809. Robert Coleman and his brother, John Coleman, were delegates to the 1809 Bethel Baptist Associational meeting.
Hugh Moore resigned as pastor of Gilead and ended his ministry with the church in 1810, after serving for seven years.
A Period of Supply Pastors
In 1811, Gilead had no regular pastoral leadership, and church membership declined to 12. For several years, Gilead used supply pastors to conduct their services.
According to a history of the church written circa 1838, the church was dissolved in the early part of 1817. The history states that the remaining members joined other churches. Date given for the reorganization of the church was November 13, 1817, the “second Lord’s Day”.
A committee composed of the Reverends Thomas Greer, Hezekiah McDougal and Elias Mitchell, Sr. was formed, and the Reverend Thomas Greer was chosen to preside over the re-organizational meeting. The conclusion of the committee and those attending was to re-establish the church, and the scattered members were accepted back into the fellowship of Gilead once again. Robert Coleman was listed as the clerk of this special meeting.
James Kirby and his wife, Sarah Harrison Kirby, joined Gilead Baptist Church shortly after the reorganization in 1817. James Kirby was the son of Bolin and Millie Campbell Kirby. Others joining during this period were: Mary Reeves, daughter of John and Mary ? Reeves; Nancy Little; Susannah Berry; and Anne Jackson. Mary Reeves was a distant relative of the writer’s wife and of present-day member John Carroll Morris.
Gilead’s first tract of land, containing 2.35 acres, was given to the church by George McKnight on October 15, 1819. The land was given “for the purpose of building a Meeting House and for a Burying Ground.” This property was adjacent to land belonging to Ruth Haile, widow of John Haile, and land belonging to Womack Fowler, son of Ellis Fowler. The church building was probably already constructed on this lot.
Water rights were also given with the land. This probably included rights to the spring across the road from the church. The congregation used the spring for many years, and a baptistry was later constructed there. The first church building erected was a long rectangular log building. Godfrey Fowler and Charles Jones both owned land near this property.
Gilead’s First Trustees
Trustees for the Gilead Baptist Church were listed as Robert Coleman, John Hames, John Gibson, Nathaniel Gist and William Henderson.
Charles Jones and Hiram Coleman witnessed the transaction. These men were also members of Gilead church.
Nathaniel Gist built a house between what is now known as Pacolet and Jonesville in 1815, and called it Wyoming. During the days of controversy over the Nullification Movement, he and his wife, Elizabeth McDaniel Gist, stalwart believers in state sovereignty, gave birth to a son in 1831, their seventh child, and named him, States Rights Gist.
Nathaniel moved his membership from Gilead church in the latter 1850’s and joined the Fairforest Presbyterian Church. He died during the War Between the States in 1861, three years before the death of his son, General States Rights Gist, who was killed during the Battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864.
William Henderson was the son of John Henderson and his wife, Sarah Alston Henderson. His mother was the widow of Solomon Alston, Jr. from Halifax, North Carolina. His father was a son of Samuel and Elizabeth Williams Henderson, and a Patriot soldier in the Revolutionary War.
Dr. Bobby Moss in his book, Roster of South Carolina Patriots, states: “John Henderson served as a lieutenant colonel in the militia and was wounded at Eutaw Springs on 8 September 1781.” J. D. Bailey, in his book, History of Grindal Shoals, refers to John Henderson as Major Henderson and states that William (his son) was familiarly called by his neighbors the ‘Commodore’.
William, a lawyer in his younger years, never married. His sister, Betsy, married Henry Fernandis and his sister, Sallie, married Benjamin Haile. He had a half-brother, Lemuel James Alston, who graduated from William and Mary College and, after living with his stepfather and mother for several years, moved to Greenville, South Carolina, and was living there in 1893. He acquired several thousand acres of land and built a large mansion in the area. Theodosia Burr Alston, daughter of Aaron Burr, and wife of Joseph Alston, spent a summer in the Lemuel Alston mansion in Greenville, S. C. Lemuel Alston sold his house and lands to Vardry McBee, Jr. and moved to Alabama.
William’s father, John, purchased the property on which they lived from his brother, William, circa 1784. John Henderson was appointed Judge of the County Court in Union County, South Carolina, in 1791 and became sheriff of Union County in 1795, continuing in this position through 1799. John’s son-in-law, Henry Fernandis, assisted his father-in-law while he served as sheriff. John Henderson died in 1824 and left most of his estate to William. With his inheritance, he became a wealthy farmer. William also served as a Justice of the Quorum.
The Jones’ brothers, John and Charles, and their wives, joined Gilead Baptist Church after the reorganization. They came to Grindal Shoals from Newberry County, South Carolina, where they married sisters, the daughters of Captain John Floyd and his wife, Nancy Andrews Floyd. John Jones married Eustacia (Stacey) Floyd, and Charles Jones married Rebecca Floyd.
Stacey and Rebecca’s father, John Floyd, was a Patriot soldier in the Revolutionary War. He fought first with the militia from Cumberland County, North Carolina, and then moved with his father to the Beaver Dam Creek waters of Thicketty Creek in Union District near the Grindal Shoals area. Here he fought with Colonel Thomas Brandon.
Before the war was over, John Floyd had moved back to Lunenburg County, Virginia, his birth state, and fought with the militia there. He was at the battle of Guilford Courthouse. He married in Virginia, just after the war, and moved to Newberry County, South Carolina, and became a wealthy farmer. He died in 1834 and left slaves, Delcy, Reny and Rebecca, to John and Stacy Jones, and slaves, Dicy and Hanner, to Charles and Rebecca Jones.
Charles Jones built a two-story brick house, called the Wayside Inn, about one mile north of present day Jonesville in 1811. In addition to running the inn, he was a schoolteacher and also the first postmaster in the area. Members of the Gilead church built a small log school building on church grounds where Jones taught for several years. William Meng, his son-in-law, also taught in this school. Charles Jones received rights to establish a post office, which was called Jonesville on May 9, 1828. He operated the post office from the Wayside Inn. W. F. Eison succeeded him as postmaster.
John Jones was a delegate to the Bethel Baptist Association from Gilead church in 1820. The church reported a membership of 22 at this session of the association. John Jones’ land was in the Grindal Shoals area.
Gilead’s Second Pastor
Hezekiah McDougal was the second pastor of Gilead. He was the son of the Reverend Alexander McDougal (one of the pastors at Fairforest Baptist Church). He was pastor of Fairforest when the seventeen members were dismissed to form the Gilead church.
The Reverend Alexander McDougal, assumed the pastoral leadership of the Fairforest Baptist Church after the Reverend Philip Mulkey, a Tory, refugeed to Tennessee circa 1775. He continued as pastor through a part of 1803. The Fairforest church was a Separate Baptist Church and was the first of its kind in the Back Country (Upper South Carolina).
Dr. Bobby Moss, in his book, Roster of South Carolina Patriots, gives the following account of the Reverend Alexander McDougal: “He was born 1 May 1742 in Ireland (Dublin). He enlisted in the Third Regiment on 6 February 1777. He enlisted during June 1777 under Capt. Thomas Blessingham and Col. William Farr.”
“In September 1778, Alexander McDougal was under Lt. John Blessingham and Col. Hammond. In the summer of 1780, he served as a lieutenant under Capt. Thomas Blessingham and Colonel Steen. From October 1781 until sometime in 1782, he served as a lieutenant under Capt. Blessingham and Colonel Brandon and was in charge of a blockhouse near his home.”
Alexander McDougal moved to Elizabethtown, Kentucky, in 1803, and became pastor of the Nolin and Severns Valley Baptist churches, serving them for a number of years. He died March 3, 1841, aged 98.
Hezikiah McDougal moved closer to the Grindal Shoals community circa 1821, and joined the Gilead Baptist Church. In 1822, he was selected to serve as their pastor. He served jointly with the Reverend Elias Mitchell as pastor for three years (1823-25).
Previously, Hezekiah McDougal had served the Fairforest Baptist Church from 1802 through 1820. During part of this time he shared pastoral duties with his father and the Reverend Willis Walker.
His biographical sketch in the book, Sketches of the Broad River and Kings Mountain Baptist Associations, by John R. Logan, states: “Elder Hezekiah McDougal was said to be of Scotch descent. He was a good pious brother, but possessed no extraordinary preaching talent; was somewhat formal in his religious exercises.”
Elder Barnett, speaking of Elder McDougal in his, Sketches of the Broad River Association, wrote: ‘I remember the benediction of old Bro. Hezekiah McDougal, who was a long time pastor of Cedar Springs church, which, though it was very affectionate, seemed to me to be a very unnecessary circumlocution. It ran about this way: Now may the rich and saving grace of our once humbled, but now highly exalted Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the love of God, His and our Heavenly Father, and the comfortable communion of the Holy Spirit, rest, remain and abide with you and all the Israel of God, now, henceforth and forever more. Amen.’”
Hezekiah McDougal was pastor of the Cedar Springs Baptist Church from 1814-1815; 1822-1823; and 1825-1829. He served jointly with Thomas Weathers for two of these years (1822-23).
Hezekiah McDougal’s father, Alexander McDougal, was pastor of the Cedar Spring Baptist Church, Spartanburg County, from 1701-1800, though he served jointly with other pastors during all but one of these years.
The Reverend Hezekiah McDougal was also a blacksmith. He submitted a bill for blacksmith work to the estate of John Reeves who died in 1814. John Reeves lived near the Grindal Shoals community. Hezekiah’s wife, Martha Mathis, daughter of William Mathis, died September 2, 1847, and was buried in the old Goucher Creek Baptist Church cemetery. After his wife’s death he moved to Gibson County, Tennessee, and died there in December 1847.
John Hames and Hezekiah McDougal were delegates to the Bethel Baptist Association from Gilead in 1822. The church reported a membership of 23 at this session of the association.
Gilead’s Two Pastors
Elias Mitchell, Sr. moved to the outskirts of the Grindal Shoals area circa 1822 and joined the Gilead Baptist Church. He and Hezekiah McDougal served jointly as pastors of the church from 1823 through 1825.
They both served as delegates from Gilead church to the Bethel Baptist Association during these years. The church maintained an average membership of 28 while these two preachers served the church jointly.
Robert Coleman, first church clerk, died June 18, 1823, and was buried in an unmarked grave in the Gilead cemetery.
III. THE SECOND TWENTY YEARS (1824-1843).
Gilead’s Third Pastor
From 1826-1834, Elias Mitchell, Sr. served as pastor. Elias Mitchell, Sr. was born circa 1759 and married Milly Hill who was born in 1760. They lived in Chester District, South Carolina, until 1822. While living in Chester District, he was pastor of Unity (Brown’s Creek) Baptist Church and the Hebron Baptist Church. Both of these churches are in Union County, South Carolina.
After moving into the area of Grindal Shoals circa 1822, he began to serve as pastor of Gilead. He had been invited to return to the Chester District on November 30, 1834, for the purpose of preaching in a protracted meeting and died instantly on that date after singing and praying at a stand set up for the services. His death left the Gilead church without a pastor.
His estate was settled May 14, 1841, and eleven legatees were listed. Col. Elias Mitchell, Davidson Mitchell and John Mitchell were children of the Reverend Elias and Milly Hill Mitchell.
John Hames and Elias Mitchell, Sr. served as delegates from Gilead to the associational meeting in 1825. The church reported a membership of 30 for the year.
The post office address for the church in 1828 was Hancockville. Thomas Hancock received a commission to establish this post office on January 22, 1814. It was located in a store building on the Elijah Dawkins farm in present day Cherokee County. General Elijah Dawkins, who married Nancy Nuckolls, youngest daughter of John and Agatha Bullock Nuckolls, built the house that still stands (now called Goudelocks).
Elias Mitchell, Sr. and John Jones were delegates to the Bethel Baptist Associational meeting for the Gilead church in 1830. Church membership was 37.
John Haile and John Jones served as delegates from Gilead church to the Bethel Baptist Associational meeting in 1832. Membership had dropped to 35 at this time. John Haile was a grandson of John and Ruth ? Haile.
John Haile, grandfather of the above John, was a Patriot soldier. He was an early settler and built the “block house” in what later became the town of Jonesville, designing the house so that it could offer protection against the Indians. The house was later sold to John Long, Jr. The Jonesville Baptist Church was started in this house.
During Elias Mitchell, Sr.’s pastorate, the controversy over nullification led the newly elected governor of South Carolina, Robert Y. Hayne, to issue a proclamation calling for volunteers to defend the state. Many armed camps were created throughout South Carolina.
One of these camps, established at Grindal Shoals, was commanded by Major Joseph Starke Sims and called the Pacolet Blues. Several members and other men who later became members of Gilead were numbered among the volunteers including: William Ward, Reubin Coleman, John Gibson, John Hodge and John Hames Eison.
Zachariah Reeves, Sr. and his wife, Cynthia Hodge Reeves, joined Gilead in the early 1830’s. Zachariah was the son of John and Mary ? Reeves and Cynthia was the daughter of John Hodge. They were the great, great grandparents of the writer’s wife, Elizabeth Reeves Ivey, and present-day member John Carroll Morris.
Gilead’s Fourth Pastor
The Reverend Hezekiah McDougal, member of Gilead, again served as their pastor for the years 1835-1837.
Joining the Gilead church in the mid 1830’s were: Fredrick William Eison (son of John Eison, Esq. and Susannah Hames Eison), Caroline Jones Eison, (wife of F. W. Eison and daughter of Charles and Rebecca Floyd Jones), John Hames Eison (brother of F. W. Eison), Eliza H. Jones (wife of John H. Eison and daughter of John and Eustacia Floyd Jones), Sarah Jones Meng (daughter of Charles and Rebecca Floyd Jones), Lemuel Hames (son of Edmund and Nancy Foster Hames) and Nancy Jones Hames (wife of Lemuel Hames and daughter of John and Eustacia Floyd Jones). Lemuel Hames was the nephew of Randolph Hames.
Gilead’s Fifth Pastor
The Reverend Ambrose Ray was selected as pastor of Gilead in 1837. Claude Ezell Sparks in his book, A History of Padgett’s Creek Baptist Church, stated: “Ambrose Ray, was the eldest son of Hosea Ray and Mary Lamb Ray and was born in the Cross Keys section of Union County, South Carolina, October 17, 1798. On February 2, 1819, Ambrose Ray married Mary Garrett, born September 21, 1800. To this union thirteen sons and daughters were born.
His wife joined the church on June 20, 1829. On September 15, 1832, during a great revival in the church, Ambrose Ray and his brother, Elijah, were called forward and ordained to preach the gospel. The presbytery was composed of the Reverends Nathan Langston and Thomas Ray.”
Gilead Baptist Church records state that the Reverend Ambrose Ray preached his farewell sermon on December 8, 1844. He had served as pastor of the church for seven and one-half years. Eighty members joined Gilead by letter and by experience during his pastorate, most of them by experience.
Herod Gibson, son of John Gibson, joined the church by letter on June 16, 1838. His wife, Patsy ? Gibson, was already a member of Gilead. Absalom Ward joined by experience and Bartley Coleman and his wife, Elizabeth Poole Coleman, also joined by experience at this time.
Absolem Ward, son of Nathaniel Ward and Susannah Trail Ward, was the great, great, great grandfather of the writer’s wife, Elizabeth Reeves Ivey, and present day member John Carroll Morris. He was the grandson of James Ward and his wife, Susannah ? Ward and great grandson of Francis Ward.
Absolem Ward married Nancy Coleman, daughter of Robert and Elizabeth (Trecy) Smith Coleman. His father, Nathaniel, was a Patriot soldier and according to Dr. Moss in his book, Roster of South Carolina Patriots, served as a horseman under Col. Henderson and Gen. Sumter.
Bartley Coleman was the son of Robert and Elizabeth (Trecy) Smith Coleman, and Bartley’s wife, Elizabeth Poole Coleman, was the daughter of William and Elizabeth Stovall Poole. He was a veteran of the War of 1812.
Bartholomew Stovall (son of John), his wife, Kiziah, and their daughter, Susannah Stovall, joined Gilead by letters from the Goucher Creek Baptist Church on July 14, 1838. Mary Alberson, Betsy Knight, Nancy Ward, Barbara Gibson, Mary Kirby and Polly Coleman joined by experience at this time.
Nancy Ward was the wife of Absolem Ward and the daughter of Robert and Elizabeth (Trecy) Smith Coleman. Nancy Coleman Ward was the great, great, great grandmother of the writer’s wife, Elizabeth Reeves Ivey, and of present day member John Carroll Morris.
Bartholomew Stovall was elected church clerk shortly after joining the Gilead church in 1838.
Elizabeth (Trecy) Smith Coleman wife, of Robert Coleman, died on July 15, 1838, and was buried in an unmarked grave in the Gilead Baptist Church cemetery. Robert Coleman and Elizabeth (Trecy) Smith Coleman were the great, great, great, great grandparents of the writer’s wife, Elizabeth Reeves Ivey, and present day member John Carroll Morris.
On August 17, 1838, Josiah Sparks joined Gilead by letter from the Pacolet (Scull Shoals) Baptist Church. He was a distant relative of the writer’s wife. Elizabeth McCafferty joined Gilead by letter at this time. Her son, George, was either killed or died of disease during the War Between the States. Both are buried in marked graves in Gilead cemetery.
The Fowler’s began to join Gilead in September of 1838. They were descendants of Ellis and Catherine Puckett Fowler. Ellis Fowler was from Virginia and fought as a Patriot soldier in the militia, while living in Virginia. His sons: Mark, Godfrey and Womac, were the progenitors of most of the Gilead Fowlers. Womac and Mark fought with General Andrew Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812.
On September 8, 1838, Sarah James, joined Gilead by experience. She was the wife of David James, and daughter-in-law of Shadrack James, who served as a Patriot soldier during the Revolutionary War. Shadrack was living in North Carolina at this time.
Delegates to the Bethel Baptist Association from Gilead in the fall of 1838 were John Hames and Bartley Coleman. The church had 51 members (36 whites and 15 blacks) at this time.
Nancy Jackson joined the Gilead church by letter on December 15, 1838, and James Jackson joined by letter on January 12, 1839. Hannah and Mary Jackson joined Gilead by letter on March 9, 1839. James Jackson was ordained as a deacon of Gilead on May 11, 1839.
The Reverend Willis Walker and the Reverend James Huett supplied at Gilead for the Reverend Ambrose Ray on July 10, 1839. William Ward and his wife, Nancy ? Ward, joined Gilead by experience on the above date. William Ward was a brother of Absolem Ward.
On July 15, 1839, Emmanuel Kirby and Jeremiah Kirby, sons of Bolin and Milley Campbell Kirby, joined Gilead church by experience. They were grandsons of John and Jemima ? Kirby, who came to Union County, South Carolina, from Pittsylvania County, Virginia, circa 1790. John Kirby‘s daughters married into the Draper and Easterwood families.
Frances Kirby, wife of Terry Kirby (son of Bolin and Milley Campbell Kirby), and Levicy Kirby, daughter of James and Sarah Harrison Kirby, were received by experience July 15, 1839.
James Means, son of Hugh Means, Sr. and Hannah ? Means, and grandson of James and Mary ? Means, was received by experience into the Gilead church on September 7, 1839.
His father, Hugh, was a Patriot soldier in the Revolutionary War. Dr. Bobby Moss in his book, Roster of South Carolina Patriots, states: “Hugh Means served in the militia during 1779 and 1780 as a lieutenant under Capt. Matthew Patton and Col. Brandon. From 8 June to 17 December 1780, he served as a captain.” Hugh Means operated a sawmill and gristmill on Fairforest Creek before his death in 1825 and had previously been a merchant in Chester County, South Carolina.
The following joined Gilead church by experience on October 12, 1839: Terry Kirby, husband of Frances, and (son of Bolin and Milley Campbell Kirby); his brother, Goolspring Kirby; Davidson Mitchell (son of the Reverend Elias Mitchell and Milly Hill Mitchell), his wife, Elizabeth ? ; Anne Jackson, Nancy Gordan; Frances Michael, Nelly Dillard; W. Thompson’s black male servant, Buck; and Jane Thompson’s black male servant, Dennis. Buck later was permitted to preach in the Gilead church.
James Jackson and Bartley Coleman were delegates to the Bethel Baptist Association in the fall of 1839. A report from Gilead to the association revealed that the church had 72 members on their roll.
David McCullom was excluded for disorder on January 11, 1840.
Eli Mitchell (son of the Reverend Elias Mitchell) and his wife, Sophia ? , joined the Gilead church by letter February 7, 1840, and Dr. Moore’s, black servant, Sarah, joined by experience.
Abram Nott, lawyer, had a black servant, Ben, who joined Gilead by experience July 11, 1840. Abram Nott was never a member of Gilead, but his wife, Anglica Mitchell Nott, was a first cousin to member, William Henderson.
Preachers for the Protracted Meeting at Gilead in August of 1840 were the Reverends Felix Littlejohn, Edward McBee, Landrum Brooks and Ambrose Ray. The following joined Gilead by experience during August of this year: James Thompson’s black servants, Annie and Rose; Reubin Coleman; and the Easterwoods’ black servant, Teney. Reubin Coleman was the son of Robert and Elizabeth (Trecy) Smith Coleman.
The revival seems to have continued into September of 1840 as the following joined by experience at this time: Alfred Ward, (son of Absalom and Nancy Coleman Ward); Trecy Ward; David James (son of Shadrack James); Christopher Coleman (son of Bartley Coleman and grandson of Robert Coleman); and James Coan. Levina Littlejohn joined by letter.
Reubin Coleman was elected church clerk in place of Bathomew Stovall on September 12, 1840.
Nearly all of the Littlejohns, who have affiliated with Gilead through the years, are descendants of Samuel Littlejohn through his son, Thomas Littlejohn, and his grandson, William Littlejohn (son of Thomas). Both Samuel and Thomas Littlejohn were Patriot soldiers during the Revolutionary War.
Absolem Ward and James Kirby were delegates from Gilead to the Bethel Baptist Associational meeting in the fall of 1840. The report to the association from Gilead disclosed that the church had 93 members (43 whites and 50 blacks).
In October of 1840, Ransom, the black servant of Thomas Littlejohn (son of Samuel) joined Gilead by experience and Nathaniel Gist’s black servant, Tom, joined by experience. During the business service in November of 1840, Levicy Kirby was excluded from the fellowship of the church.
William Ward made an acknowledgement of “wrong doing” to the church in January of 1841 and was forgiven. In February of 1841, Anne Jackson was granted a letter of dismission, and charges were brought against Dennis, black servant of James Thompson. James Jackson began to exercise his gifts of praying, singing and exhorting in 1841.
Davidson Mitchell, son of the Reverend Elias Mitchell, Sr., was ordained as a deacon in the Gilead church on April 10, 184l. The Reverend Felix Littlejohn preached the ordination sermon.
Mary Scott (widow) and Mary Moseley were baptized on May 9, 1841. Mary Moseley was the daughter of John B. Moseley and his first wife, Annie ? , and the granddaughter of James (High-Key) Moseley and his wife, Nancy Jasper Moseley. James Moseley was a Patriot soldier in the Revolutionary War, and a blacksmith and tooth-extractor by profession. James and Nancy Moseley were the great, great, great grandparents of Elizabeth Ivey and present member, John Carroll Morris.
The church, in compliance with the request of the Bethel Baptist Association, voted to join the State Baptist Convention in August of 1841.
M.C. Barnett, Felix Littlejohn, Spencer Morgan, E. J. Underwood and the Reverend Whilden were the preachers for the Protracted Meeting at Gilead in August and September of 1841. Anne Jackson was again received into the fellowship of Gilead by letter.
Received by experience were: Phena, black servant of William Norris; Nancy Stovall; Armenta Stovall; Annie ? Moseley (wife of John B. Moseley); Annie Horn; Rutha Ann Jackson; and Peter, black servant of Susan Hames Eison, widow of John Eison, Esq.. Annie ? Moseley was the great, great grandmother of the writer’s wife, Elizabeth Reeves Ivey, and present member, John Carroll Morris.
Delegates to the 1841 fall associational meeting of the Bethel Baptist Association were: James Jackson and Davidson Mitchell. The report to the association disclosed that the church had 103 members (70 whites and 33 blacks).
Reubin Coleman was re-elected church clerk on March 12, 1842.
Ellis Palmer, son of John Palmer and Martha (Patsy) Williams Palmer, joined Gilead by letter in August of 1842. He married Nancy Long, daughter of William and Betsy Whitlock Long in 1815. During the business session in August, the church voted to let “stand their open door policy to all ministers in good standing”.
Delegates to the associational meeting of the Bethel Baptist Association in 1842 were: James Jackson and Reubin Coleman (son of Robert and Elizabeth Coleman). The church reported a total membership to the association of 112 members (78 whites and 34 blacks) at this meeting.
James McWhirter died October 23, 1842, and funeral services were held on January 7, 1843, at the Gilead church. The Reverend Elijah Ray, brother of Ambrose Ray (pastor of Gilead), preached the funeral sermon “to a large collection of people”. He was the last living member of the church to serve as a Patriot soldier in the Revolutionary War.
James Jackson gave an exhortation to the congregation at Gilead on March 11, 1843. Davidson Mitchell resigned as deacon on May 13, 1843.
Peter and Milly, black servants of Trecy McWhirter, widow of James McWhirter, joined Gilead by experience, June 10, 1843. Nancy (Long) Palmer, wife of Ellis Palmer, joined Gilead by letter on September 9, 1843.
On this same date, the church dismissed by letter “our beloved Bro. Eli Mitchell and wife, Sophia Mitchell”.
Ellis Palmer and Reubin Coleman served as delegates from the Gilead church to the Bethel Baptist Associational fall meeting in 1843. Membership of the church at this time was reported to be 117 (81 whites and 36 blacks).
In a business session December 9, 1843, letters of dismission were granted to: James Jackson; Hannah Jackson; Mary Coan; ? McCollum; Susannah Stovall; and Ben and Jesse, black servants of Dr. Abram Notts. This was about the time that Abram Notts moved his family from Grindal Shoals to Columbia, South Carolina.
Reubin Coleman was elected deacon of the Gilead church on February 10, 1844. His ordination took place on April 13, 1844. The Reverends Ambrose Ray and John Kindrick and deacons: M. Wilkins, Isaac Going and James Spears were members of the ordaining council.
John Hames, a constitutional member and treasurer of Gilead, died March 1, 1844. He was buried in the Gilead cemetery. His funeral services were conducted by the Reverends Ambrose Ray and John Kindrick on April 14, 1844. Ambrose Ray read I Corinthians the 15th chapter and made his remarks from this text.
Absolem Ward received a letter of dismission from Gilead on April 13, 1844. On May 9, 1844, Alfred Ward (son of Absalom), Nancy Coleman Ward (Absolem’s wife), William Ward (Absolem’s brother); and Nancy ? Ward (William’s wife) received letters of dismission from the church.
A. Lackey was elected deacon on September 7, 1844, but church records on November 9, 1844, state that he was not ordained because of his plans to move his membership. He and his wife were dismissed by letter on December 7, 1844. Herod Gibson was elected deacon to fill the vacancy left by A. Lackey’s departure.
Gilead’s Sixth Pastor
Drury Scruggs served as pastor of Gilead in 1845. J. R. Logan in his, History of the Broad River Baptist Association states: “Elder Drury Scruggs, native of Spartanburg, S. C., was born about the year 1806. He was converted in early life, and joined the church at State Line. He appeared as a lay delegate in the sessions of the Broad River Association at Cedar Spring church in 1830, and then again at other sessions in 1831 and 1832. He was licensed the latter year to preach the Gospel, and in 1833, he was ordained by a presbytery, to the full work of the ministry. He became a popular minister in the Broad River Association, and in 1842, was elected clerk, and in 1845-1849, and in 1851, was chosen to preside over the deliberations of the Association as moderator, and again in 1854-1853, and 1857.”
He married Elizabeth Price Wilkins and they had thirteen children. He was pastor of State Line Baptist Church for twenty-five years.
Herod Gibson was ordained deacon on May 23, 1845. The presbytery was made up of the Reverends Drury Scruggs, Ambrose Ray, M. C. Barnett and deacons: Isaac Going, James Spears and ? Draper.
Nancy Jackson and Susannah Lemaster were granted letters of dismission from Gilead on May 23-24, 1845.
Jack and his wife, Flora, (black servants of Charles Jones), were dismissed by letter on August 23, 1845. This was the year that Charles Jones moved his family to Lauderdale County, Tennessee.
On September 27, 1845, a letter of dismission was granted to Dina, black servant of John Hames Eison. John Hames Eison with his wife, Eliza M. Jones Eison, (daughter of Charles and Rebecca Floyd Jones) and their black servants moved to Dyer City, Tennessee, at this time. There are no records of the dismissal of members of the above Jones and Eison families. They probably had been dismissed prior to 1838.
Delegates to the Bethel Baptist Associational meeting in the fall of 1845 were Davidson Mitchell (son of the Reverend Elias Mitchell) and James Kirby (son of Boling Kirby). On behalf of the church at Gilead, the delegates called for a letter of dismission from Bethel in order to join the Broad River Baptist Association. The church reported a total membership of 96 at this meeting (66 whites and 30 blacks).
IV. THE THIRD TWENTY YEARS (1844-1863).
Gilead’s Seventh Pastor
Ambrose Ray returned to serve as pastor of the church for the year 1846. He moved his family to Tippah County, Mississippi, in 1850, and was pastor of churches in that area until his death on August 12, 1873.
The author of the book, Long Road Home, states: “Ambrose was ingenious, turning his Mississippi estate into a financially successful operation. It is thought that his land in Mississippi was actually at one time a part of Washington County, Georgia, when Georgia boundaries stretched to the Mississippi River.
Through wise management, hard toil and effort, the farmer-preacher exerted influence over much of northeast Mississippi, where he delivered on Sunday, sermons prepared largely between plow handles during the week. Ambrose Ray’s home was destroyed by fire and valuable Bible records lost at the time. He again built and that house eventually became the home of his son, Hosea.
During the War Between the States, Yankees were planning to take away some 500 bales of his cotton. Ambrose quickly summoned his sons and in moments they had the cotton ablaze.”
Claude Sparks in his book, The History of Padgett’s Creek Baptist Church, states: “He was a man of great power but his power lay in his retentive memory, his largeness of vision, his kindness of heart, and genuineness. He was above average as financier; his family discipline was unexcelled, his personal walk and conversation was unimpeachable; promptness and accuracy were his watchwords. Religious controversies were settled by his ready and accurate Bible quotations.”
Thomas Dixon (father of the Reverend Amzi Clarence Dixon and Thomas Dixon, writer) preached at the Gilead church on May 9, 1846.
Sarah Hail joined the Gilead church by letter on September 13, 1846.
Gilead church made application to the Broad River Baptist Association for membership in the fall of 1846 and was received as a member. This session of the association was convened at the Macedonia Baptist Church, Spartanburg District, on October 16, 1846. Ambrose Ray was listed as pastor of Gilead and Ellis Palmer and Davidson Mitchell were listed as delegates from the church. Gilead reported a total membership of 71 at this time.
Thomas Dixon was elected pastor of Gilead in November of 1846, and was to serve for the year 1847, but declined.
Gilead’s Eighth Pastor
T. K. Pursley accepted the pastorate of Gilead and served for one year (1847). John R. Logan wrote: “Elder Thomas King Pursely was a native of York county, S. C. Born about the year 1814. Professed conversion about 1836, and was licensed to preach soon after- ward. He was ordained to the full work of the ministry about the year 1838. Joined the Antioch church by letter, and was chosen pastor that year, and was sent as one of her delegates to the Broad River Association at Green River church. He married the daughter of Elder Spencer Morgan about 1840, and transferred his membership to Providence church, where he labored as joint pastor of the church with his father-in-law.
He afterwards joined Corinth church, and still continued a member of the Association from Corinth until 1850. He then moved to the State of Georgia, and connected himself with the Baptist brotherhood of that State, where, after laboring in the ministry for a time, had the misfortune to lose the use of one of his arms, which finally withered away.
Elder Pursely was an uneducated minister, and of moderate preaching talent. In the first, or early part of his ministry, he manifested a great deal of zeal in the discharge of his ministerial duties, and sometimes succeeded in waking up a good deal of interest in the cause of religion, and he baptized a number of converts into the fellowship of the churches where he labored.”
Dr. William Curtis of Limestone Springs Female High School and the Reverend Thomas Dixon preached several times at Gilead in 1847.
On May 22, 1847, Dr. W. Smith Howell and his wife, Sarah, joined Gilead by letter. At this business session of the church, Buck, a black member of the congregation, was given liberty to preach.
The Gilead church appointed a building committee for the purpose of building an addition to the church on June 25, 1847. The committee was composed of: Reubin Coleman, William Cooper, Herod Gibson, Dr. W. Smith Howell, and Ellis Palmer. The addition became a necessity because of the increasing number of black members.
David James, son of Shadrack James, agreed to build the seats for the new addition. He was to closely duplicate the seats already made. The seats were to be completed by September of 1847, and he was to be paid for his labor by “Christmas next”.
Gilead on July 23,1847, resolved to allow “Buck, the property of W. Thompson, to preach this month at the church in consideration of his master.”
In the business session of August 21, 1847, the church voted to have a camp meeting in September. Preachers were: the Reverends John Kindrick, M. C. Barnett, Alanson Padgett, Felix Littlejohn, T. K. Pursley, Thomas Dixon, and Spencer Morgan. As a result of the camp meetings the following were baptized on September 28th: Elizabeth Coleman, Caroline Coleman, and Ben, the property of Richard Thompson.
Delegates for the 1847 session of the Broad River Baptist Association were Ellis Palmer and W. K. Cooper. The church reported a total membership of 79 at this meeting.
Gilead voted on October 23, 1847, to call Dr. Felix Littlejohn as pastor for the year 1848, and he accepted.
Church records tell of a missionary meeting to be held on December 25, 1847. This is the first time a missions meeting is mentioned in the church book.
Gilead’s Ninth Pastor
Dr. Felix Littlejohn served as pastor of the church in 1848. John R. Logan wrote: “Elder Felix W. Littlejohn, a native of Spartanburg county, S. C., appeared in the Broad River Association as a licensed preacher and delegate from Goucher Creek church, in 1840, at the session held that year at Concord church, Rutherford county, N. C. He was ordained in 1841, to the full work of the ministry, and represented Goucher Creek almost consecutively until about 1855, when his health failing, he did not afterwards attend the sessions as formerly. After having served as pastor of Goucher Creek church many years, he died of apoplexy, on the 10th of October, 1860, being about 55 years of age.”
The Broad River Association, at its session in 1861, adopted the following notice: “Brother F. W. Littlejohn was ordained to the work of the ministry in the Goucher Creek church, about twenty years ago, and for a long time labored zealously and successfully in the Gospel. For some time past, owing to the infirmities of the body, he refused to take the pastoral charge of any church, still unto the day of his death he never threw off the mantle of his calling.”
Logan wrote: “We knew Dr. Littlejohn, who had the reputation, not only of being a good preacher, but a good physician as well. In early life he had the appearance of being an athletic, hale, hearty and healthy man, being of round heavy build, large chest and good lungs. His health, however, from some cause failed and for a few years previous to his death, he rapidly declined. Dr. Littlejohn was bout five feet ten inches in height, dark hair, and eyes, and visage somewhat rounded like his body, with a playful and sprightly countenance ornamenting his entire physique. We feel that the Broad River Association sustained a great loss in the death of one so popular and useful.”
On May 13, 1848, Elias Lipscomb and his wife, Artimisse Lipscomb, joined Gilead by letters.
W. K. Cooper and James Kirby represented Gilead church at the 1848 associational meeting of the Broad River Baptist Association. Gilead reported a total of 80 members at this meeting.
Susan Stovall and her mother requested letters of dismission from the Gilead church on October 7, 1848, and letters were granted. Elias Lipscomb, his wife, Artimisse, and Levnia Littlejohn received letters of dismission on December 9, 1848, and Martha, property of James Thompson, was received by experience at this time.
Gilead’s Tenth Pastor
John G. Kindrick served as pastor of the church in 1849 and 1850. John R. Logan wrote: “He traveled in company with Elder Wade Hill and others as a missionary in the bounds of the Broad River Baptist Association. His education was limited, but having much native power of thought, blest with a logical mind and Presbyterian training, he became an able and fearless defender of the faith, once delivered to the saints.
At the meeting of this Assocation, at Providence church, a few years ago, he closed the services on Sunday afternoon with an earnest exhortation, in which he worked in his description of Satan. And in speaking of the power of Satan to deceive the people, he remarked that ‘The Devil would feed them on soft corn, and choke them to death on the cobs.’ He had the facility of changing suddenly from these currents of humor to the most solid and serious discourse.
Elder Kindrick was tall and straight, somewhat raw-boned; had a massive head, thickly covered with dark hair, eyes blue, countenance rather stern or serious.”
M. C. Barnett, the associational historian, in speaking of him said: “I have thought he performed the ordinance of baptism with as much dignity and solemnity as any man that ever came under my observation. Imagine yourself at the Scull Shoals, on Pacolet river, near the church, on the 2d Sunday in September. Both banks of the river are lined with hundreds of people (the public road crossing here). You see others coming on both sides; two or three canoes are loaded with persons crossing the river, some going one way and some the other; at the same time the river is being forded by twenty at the time, in carriages, in buggies, and on horseback; the people commence singing on the opposite bank from the church, and everything begins to get still.
Bro. Kindrick has about twenty to baptize this morning. After prayer he leads one down into the water, and with one hand lifted up he said: ‘In obedience to the command of God, and after the example of Jesus Christ, I baptize thee,’ etc. As they came up out of the water he made some apt quotation from Scripture—such as, ‘We are buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him from the dead;’ and then another in like manner, until his work was done.”
Logan wrote: “He preached his last sermon at Upper Fair Forest (Fairforest) church on the Sunday before his death. He died at the home of Thomas Kelly the following Thursday. The funeral discourse was preached at Pacolet church by Elder M. C. Barnett, to a large congregation. His body lies in the grave-yard of Pacolet church.”
The church on February 11, 1849, extended a unanimous call to Dr. William Curtis, but he declined, and John Kindrick agreed to supply the church.
Martin Coleman (son of Bartley) and his wife, Emaline, joined by letter June 9th 1849. The Gilead church on June 10, 1849, baptized Drawdy, property of William Norris, and Milly, property of William Littlejohn.
On August 10, 1849, the Reverends John S. Ezell, John Kindrick, Felix Littlejohn and James Webb began preaching in revival services at Gilead. Charlotte, property of John Wright, was received by experience.
Delegates to the 1849 fall session of the Broad River Baptist Association were: Reubin Coleman, W. K. Cooper and Terry Kirby. The church reported a total of 86 members at this meeting.
Catherine Hodge joined the church by experience on October 13, 1849, and Phylis, the property of Col. Nathaniel Gist, and Kizzia, the property of Joseph Stark Sims, were received by experience on November 10, 1849. Terry Kirby’s daughter, Adaline Kirby, joined by experience on November 13, 1849, and Caroline Hodge joined by experienced on December 8, 1849.
Nancy Ward joined Gilead by letter March 9th, 1850. The church forgave Sansberry Goforth for his use of “too much spirits” April 13th 1850, and Aley, property of B. Kennedy, was received by experience.
Spencer Morgan and John G. Kindrick preached to the congregation on May 11th 1850, and Isabella, property of W. W. Meng, was received by experience.
Revival preachers in August of 1850 were: Ambrose Ray, T. K. Pursely, John Kindrick, Drury Scruggs and John Durham. Milla (property of W. F. Eison) and Mary Fowler were received by experience. Terry Kirby’s wife’s funeral was preached by John G. Kindrick.
On September 7th 1850, the church elected Ellis Palmer and Reubin Coleman, delegates to the Broad River Associational meeting. In case of failure, Terry Kirby was chosen to serve as an alternate. The report to the association indicated that the church received seven by experience; four by letter; excluded one; and two died. Total membership at this time was 93.
Sisley, property of Isaac Thompson, was received by experience on November 9, 1850, and Nancy Gordan and Terry Kirby received letters of dismission. Elizabeth Burgess was dismissed by letter on December 7th of this year.
Gilead’s Eleventh Pastor
Drury Scruggs was pastor of the church in 1851 and continued in this position through 1855. State Line Baptist Church charged Scruggs in 1863 with “immorality of lewdness” and excluded him from their fellowship. Through the agency of a council, the church deposed him from the ministry. From a small group at State Line, he managed to secure a letter of dismission in full fellowship and refused to relinquish his credentials. He continued to preach in Tennessee and organized the Concord Baptist Church, which he served from 1864 to 1873. He was buried in the cemetery of this church.
On July 25, 1851, the following delegates were elected to represent the church at the associational meeting: Ellis Palmer, James Kirby, Reubin Coleman and Dr. W. S. Howell (probably the only medical doctor to ever belong to Gilead). John W. Darwin was received by letter at this meeting.
The report to the association stated that the church had received: two by baptism; two by letter; excluded two; and had a membership of 92.
John James was excluded and his wife granted a letter of dismission on October 25, 1851. Frances Meng, Sarah Eison, Mary Fowler, Caroline Hodge, Caroline James and Elizabeth Gibson were received by experience during the fall revival.
W. J. Sherbert, Sarah Ann Sherbert, William Coleman, Fincher Gossett, Consada James and Manerva Hodge were baptized on November 22, 1851.
David James was appointed to take charge of the table implements on March 28, 1852, and on May 22nd John G. Kindrick preached. Elizabeth Kindrick received a letter of dismission and joined Pacolet church (Scull Shoals) on June 25th.
On September 25, 1852, Gilead elected John Darwin, Terry Kirby and Ellis Palmer as delegates to the association and appointed Reubin Coleman and W. S. Howell to write the letter. For the year the church received nine by baptism; one by letter; restored one; and lost one by death.
Richard Woodruff preached for the church on September 30, 1852, and Sansberry Gossett was restored to full fellowship.
A baptismal service was held on October 1, 1852, and the following baptized: Newton Brown & wife, William Whitlock, Nancy Ward, Harriet Moseley, Susan Kirby and Elizabeth Gibson.
On October 23, 1852, Hiram Kirby and Absolem Ward’s black girl, Mary, were received by experience.
John S. Ezell preached at Gilead on April 23, 1853, and T. W. Scott presented his letter from a church in Alabama. Ellis Palmer, James Mabry and W. S. Howell served on the church disciplinary committee and recommended the exclusion of D. Mitchell on June 25th.
Elizabeth Gaston Carter joined Gilead by letter on July 23, 1853. She was daughter of William and Ann Porter Gaston and was born in Chester County, S. C.; widow of Churchill Carter, Jr; and mother of the Reverend John Gaston Carter and Vandyne S. Carter. Elizabeth Gaston Carter was the great, great, great grandmother of Elizabeth Reeves Ivey and present member, John Carroll Morris. She moved her family to Union County in 1836, after the death of her husband.
Ellis Palmer, W. Whitlock and James Kirby were elected delegates to the association on August 27, 1853. David James was elected as alternate delegate. Gilead made the following report to the association: baptized three; received by letter two; dismissed by letter three; excluded three; three deceased; and membership 111.
Elizabeth Bishop brought her letter to Gilead, September 24, 1853, and Spencer Morgan preached on October 22nd. Cindy, property of widow Clowney, was received by experience on October 23rd.
Madison Mullinax, ordained by the Pacolet (Scull Shoals) church, preached to the Gilead congregation on April 8, 1854. Buck, “a colored man”, was given liberty to preach once every two months.
John Gaston Carter, son of Churchill Carter, Jr. and Elizabeth Gaston Carter, joined the Gilead church by letter on May 15, 1854. He brought his letter from the Cane Creek (Salem) Baptist Church. He was baptized by the Reverend D. Duncan on July 18, 1842. He married Mary C. Page, daughter of Nathaniel and Lydia Page, on April 27, 1846. He was later licensed to preach by Unity Baptist Church (Brown’s Creek) and ordained by this church on August 2, 1862.
His brother, Vandyne S. Carter, joined Gilead church several months later. Vandyne married Elizabeth Ward, a member of Gilead and daughter of Absolem and Nancy Coleman Ward. He was the great, great grandfather of Elizabeth Reeves Ivey and of present member, John Carroll Morris.
Frances Meng was dismissed by letter from the fellowship of Gilead church on May 15, 1854. Spencer Morgan preached to the congregation on June 10, 1854.
At the business session on July 8, 1854, the church agreed to have a protracted (revival) meeting in August and to invite eight preachers to assist in the services.
Drury Scruggs and John S. Ezell were apparently the only preachers the congregation was able to secure. Bennett and Nancy Whitlock joined the church by letter on August 12, 1854, and Ison, property of B. Kennedy, joined by experience. Henry Ward joined by experience on August 15th.
Gilead’s report to the association for the year included: three by baptism; four by letter; five by dismission; two deceased; and membership 111.
On October 7, 1854, the church received by letter Martha Fowler and dismissed by letters Caroline Gossett, Pinckney Gossett, Henry Ward and wife, Vatina Ward and Thomas Scott.
William Lee preached to the Gilead congregation on February 10, 1855, and W. S. Howell requested letters for himself and wife, which were granted.
Delegates from the church to the associational meeting in 1855, were B. Whitlock and John Gaston Carter. For a number of years the 2nd Sunday was the day of worship at Gilead. The church letter to the association reported: received by letter one; dismissed by letter two; total membership 110.
Gilead’s Twelfth Pastor
Bryant Bonner served as pastor of Gilead in 1856 and continued in this capacity through 1859. John R. Logan wrote: “Elder Bryant Bonner was a native of Spartanburg county, S. C., born February 4th, 1817. Intermarried with Miss Hannah Foster, April 7th, 1836, in the 19th year of his age, and settled in his native county.” The Reverend James Webb baptized him into the fellowship of Buck Creek Baptist Church in 1842. “In 1848 He made his first appearance in the Broad River Association at the session held at Buffalo church; and was then a lay delegate, and continued to represent the Buck Creek church for several sessions.
In 1855 he was ordained to the Gospel ministry, and preached acceptably to several churches within the bounds of the Broad River and King’s Mountain Associations. At the session of the Broad River in 1872 he was chosen Moderator and presided with dignity over the deliberations of the body.
He was above the ordinary size of men in weight and stature, inclining somewhat to corpulency; was near-sighted, and consequently always wore spectacles, but had a genial and pleasant face. He was in the early part of his ministerial career quite lively and humorous and a great mimic.”
His granddaughter, Irene Snead, wrote: “One of Bro. Bonner’s brothers-in-law felt that he was wasting his talents in the ministry. The brother-in-law made him a proposition, ‘If you’ll quit this preaching business, I will give you a load of corn every year.’ Bro. Bonner answered, ‘Thanks, I’ll raise my own corn and preach the Gospel.’”
In Bonner’s obituary, published in the Baptist Courier, W. L. Brown wrote: “At the time of his death he was serving the Limestone Church in Gaffney. Elder Bonner died in great pain, but triumphant in the Lord Jesus Christ, exclaiming in his own peculiar way—‘It’s a powerful thing to go to Heaven in a storm.’”
Bryant Bonner and John G. Landrum were closest of friends and had made a mutual promise to visit each other at least once a year, while life should last. This promise was kept faithfully until Bonner received the summons to “come up higher” on April 7, 1879, in the 62nd year of his age. He was soon to be followed by him he had loved so much for Landrum died January 19, 1882.
The Reverend John G. Landrum conducted his funeral services at the Grassy Pond Baptist Church. At the funeral, Landrum said, “I had expected brother Bonner to preach my funeral.” At his request Bonner was buried in the flower garden of his home. Later, Landrum said, “He was a large man, with a large heart, large desires, large affections and a large soul.”
There are no extant minutes of the Broad River Baptist Association in 1856 and no church minutes.
R. Palmer and David James were delegates to the association from Gilead in 1857. The letter to the association reported: two members received by baptism; one by letter; one deceased; 108 members.
Gilead’s delegates to the 1858 meeting of Broad River association were: David James, Reubin Coleman and W. T. Bryant. Minutes from this meeting record the following statistics: baptized three; received by letter two; restored one; dismissed by letter two; excluded two; 110 members.
A resolution was passed at this meeting that read: “That our next association be held with Gilead church, ten miles north of Union Court House, and three miles southwest of Grindal Shoals on Pacolet River (near the railroad).”
On September 3, 1859, Sarah Jones Meng, widow of William Meng, “for and in consideration of the good will I have toward Gilead church, have this day given, granted and conveyed one acre of land unto F. W. Eison in trust for the use and convenience of said church”. This was probably the land on which the log school building was constructed. The deed was witnessed by: Franklin W. Coleman and John Edmund Hames.
Sarah Jones Meng was a daughter of Charles and Rebecca Floyd Jones, and Frederick W. Eison’s first wife, Caroline, was her sister. Franklin W. Coleman was a son of Reubin and Letitia Faucett Coleman, and John Edmund Hames was a son of Edmund and Nancy Jones Hames (daughter of John and Eustacia Floyd Jones).
The Broad River Baptist Association met with the Gilead church on October 14, 1859, and days following. Members were responsible for housing and feeding the delegates who lived too far to return to their homes each day. Delegates from Gilead were: Ellis Palmer; D. Moseley; and Terry Kirby. Report to the association from the church read: one received by letter; one dismissed; two deceased; 108 members.
Gilead’s Thirteenth Pastor
Philip Ramsour Elam served as pastor of the Gilead church in 1860, and in 1861, joined the Confederate army with several members of the church.
Logan wrote: “Elder Philip Ramsour Elam was born in Rutherford county (now Cleveland), N. C., March 12th, 1833; converted and joined the church in 1848, in the 15th year of his age. Licensed to preach by the new Bethel church, September 15th, 1854, and was chosen a delegate to represent said church in the sessions of the King’s Mountain Association in 1855-1860. Elder Elam was a hard-working tiller of the soil, and did a great deal of pastoral, missionary and Sunday School work. His opportunities for acquiring an education were very limited, but with a close application to Bible study and other good books as helpers, he became an acceptable preacher and successful pastor.
He volunteered in South Carolina, and was with Col. Anderson’s surrender of Fort Sumter. He afterwards volunteered in Col. Conley’s 55th N. C. Regiment, and in the engagement at Gettysburg was wounded and captured by the enemy and was imprisoned nine months at Johnson’s Island, Ohio. He was a Lieutenant of his company, and was wounded in front of Petersburg, Va., August 5th, 1864, after which he returned home and represented his church in the sessions of the Association in 1866-1867, and in 1868 was pastor of the Bethlehem church. He married Mrs. Mary J. Crawford, nee Miss M. J. Barber. At the session of 1866, he preached the introductory sermon before the body with much acceptance.”
Gilead chose Terry Kirby and David James as their delegates to the 1860 meeting of Broad River association. The church letter read: baptized two; received by letter one; dismissed by letter two; 111 members.
Gilead’s Fourteenth Pastor
William Lee, who had first preached at Gilead in 1855, served as pastor of the church in 1861 and 1862. J. D. Bailey, who wrote a History of the Bethesda Baptist Church, tells us that William Lee was the brother of the Reverend J. K. Lee. Both men were ordained to the Gospel ministry by the Bethesda Baptist Church. Bailey wrote: “When on a visit to his old home, the writer heard him preach once. He was more robust in his physique, had a stronger voice, and appeared to be a much better preacher than his brother.” William Lee moved to North Carolina where most of his ministerial career was spent.
Church ActivitiesThe Sixty-First Anniversary of the Broad River Baptist Association was held with the Gilead Baptist Church on October18, 1861, and days following. The introductory sermon was preached by Dr. William Curtis from Romans 6:3-4. “A number of the Churches were not represented at this time on account of the previous unfavorable state of the weather.” M. C. Barnett preached the missionary sermon.
The following resolutions were adopted: “Resolved, That the thanks of this Association be tendered to the brethren and friends of this community, for their kindness in the entertainment of this body during their stay with them.”
“Whereas, since the last meeting of our body, the Southern states have withdrawn from the Federal government of the United States, and formed a new Government, styled the Southern Confederacy, we as a religious body enjoying the benefit and protection thereof, feel it our privilege and duty to express our sentiments with regard to this momentous event.
Therefore be it resolved, That we do fully acquiesce and heartily concur in the action of the Southern States, and extend to our rulers and soldiers and officers of the army, our best wishes for their success, accompanied with our earnest appeal at a throne of Grace for their guidance and protection, commending at the same time our country to the Almighty God, that He may direct all things for the advancement of His kingdom and glory of His name.” The Circular Letter included a historical discourse on the history of the association. After singing and prayer by Drury Scruggs the association adjourned.
J. H. Coleman, Christopher Coleman and W. Vaughan were Gilead’s delegates to this meeting. Report to the association indicated that the church had: eleven baptisms; two received by letter; three dismissed by letter; 123 members.
Thomas Fowler, a Confederate soldier and member of the Pea Ridge Co., S. C. V., was killed at Manassas in 1861.
George McCafferty and M. S. Kendrick (Co. F), Confederate soldiers in the 15th Reg. both died in 1862. Kendrick died in Richmond.
Tom Long, a Confederate soldier in the Pea Ridge Co., died in Centreville in 1862.
Charles Lipscomb Coleman (son of Reubin Coleman), a Confederate soldier in Co. B, 18th Reg., died in 1862.
While Lee was pastor, the two Hames’ brothers, Capt. John E. Hames and Sgt. Charles Asbury Hames, and Henry M. Foster, were killed in the Battle of Second Manassas, August 30, 1862. They were members of Co. B., 18th Reg. Lieutenant N. B. Eison traveled to Virginia on a train and had the bodies of his wife’s brothers and Henry M. Foster disinterred and brought them back to Gilead for reburial. He also brought the body of Col. James Gadberry to Union, S. C.
The Hames brothers’ father, Lemuel, also fought in the Confederate army. He received a government pardon dated September 27, 1865, signed by President Andrew Johnson.
Edmund Hames, his wife, Nancy Jones Hames, and their children belonged to the Gilead church.
There are no extant associational minutes for the year 1862 and no church minutes.
The Reverend William Lee was an effective evangelist during his tenure with the church.
Gilead’s Fifteenth Pastor
Micajah Cicero Barnett was pastor of the church in 1863 and continued in this capacity through 1866. He was ordained to the gospel ministry by the Cedar Spring Baptist Church in Spartanburg County, S. C., on December 24, 1842. Drury Scruggs, Simpson Drummond, John G. Landrum, Felix W. Littlejohn and Elias Rogers constituted the presbytery. Examination was by Felix Littlejohn and the ordination prayer was by Elias Rogers. John G. Landrum, moderator of the presbytery, delivered the charge to the candidate.
He married Nazareth Lipscomb, daughter of Edward Lipscomb, deacon of Goucher Creek Church. He was pastor of the following churches: Cedar Spring, Philadelphia, Sulphur Springs, Gilead, Limestone, Pacolet, Shelby, Bethel at Woodruff, S. C., and at the time of his death was a member of El Bethel Baptist Church where he had been preaching for three years. He was moderator of the Broad River Baptist Association from 1860 through 1867 and wrote a History of the Broad River Baptist Association, which was published in 1871.
H. P. Griffith in his Life of Rev. John G. Landrum stated: “He was no revivalist, no exhorter, and hardly ever attempted to take the lead in a protracted meeting. He preached the gospel truth as he understood it in the most pointed and eloquent language the he could command, and then took his seat, having said more in thirty minutes than most men say in an hour. When once speaking of the prayer of a certain woman, which was answered by our Savior, he said: ‘she laid hold of the key that unlocks heaven and moved the mind that moves all things.’ Barnett died early, when at the zenith of his power and usefulness, and the churches mourned for him as for ‘a prince and a great man in Israel’.”
M. C. Barnett, nephew of Joroyal Barnett, was born May 20, 1818, and departed this life September 20, 1872, at Shelby, N. C. John G. Landrum delivered his funeral discourse to a large and sympathizing congregation. He was buried in the El Bethel Baptist Church cemetery with Masonic honors. Nazareth Barnett was born September 4, 1819, and died December 27, 1889. She was buried at Bethel cemetery in Woodruff, S. C., where she had moved after the death of her husband. She lived with her daughter, Martha S. Barnett Ezell, wife of the Reverend Landrum C. Ezell.
Gilead’s associational delegates in 1863 were: David James, Christopher Coleman and W. Vaughan. Their Church Letter read: baptized three; deceased four; and 112 members.
Corporal Zachariah Reeves, Jr. was seriously wounded in the leg at the Battle of Gettysburg, Pa. on July 3, 1863. He married Sarah Moseley, daughter of John B. and Annie ? Moseley and granddaughter of James (High Key) Moseley. He was the great grandfather of Elizabeth Reeves Ivey and of present member, John Carroll Morris.
Vandyne S. Carter, was killed at the Battle of Campbell’s Station in Tennessee on November 18, 1863, and was buried in Tennessee.
The summary chart of the 1864 Broad River minutes is missing and the church records for this period are also missing.
D. P. Boulware was a Confederate soldier in Co. B, 17th Reg. and was killed in 1864. John Long, Confederate soldier, was killed at the Battle of Riddle’s Shop in Virginia in 1864.
W. Vaughan and David James were elected to serve as delegates to the association from Gilead in 1865. The report from the church was given as follows: three baptized; four received by letter; one restored; two excluded; and 116 members.
William Long was a Confederate soldier in McKissick’s Rangers and died in 1865.
The following is an additional list of Confederate soldiers who were either killed or died of disease in the War Between the States. They were members of Gilead or had family connections in the church: John Fowler, William Griffin, Berry Bearden, James H. Fowler and Thomas S. Burgess. Sergeant Burgess was a member of Co. F, S. C. V. Artillery.
Over eighty veterans of the War Between the States were buried in the Gilead Baptist Church cemetery in marked and unmarked graves.
The Southern States had withdrawn from the union in accordance with what they believed to be their constitutional rights. They were not rebels, rebelling against constituted rights, but patriots demanding and defending those rights.
The battles of the Confederacy were fought not only on the battlefield, they were also fought by the women of the homes through heroic efforts to provide for their families, and through sublime self-sacrifice for the sake of our soldiers. They did not fight, but at home they labored earnestly, endured hardships and prayed fervently for the soldiers’ safe return.
After the cruel war was over the men came home, some on horseback, and many on foot all the way from Virginia. And the pastors provided comfort to those, whose loved ones had been lost in the battles, and encouragement for those who returned with emotional scars and physical wounds. The Heavenly Father sent M. C. Barnett to the Gilead church for such a time as this.
”And to those who bore the storm and stress and tragedy of those dark days, it is good to remember that the sun which set in blood and ashes over the hills of Appomattox has risen again in splendor on the smiling prospects of a New South. Its because the foundation of its success was laid in the courage, steadfastness and hopefulness of a generation who in the darkest days of disaster did not despair of their country.”