W. E. Hightower, Methodist Minister

William Edward Hightower

The Reverend W.E. Hightower of Remerton, Georgia served as the first pastor of the Ray City Methodist Church. He served at Ray City during 1910-1911. According to the history of the Ray City Methodist church, there was no church building in the town during his appointment.  Originally the services were held in a tent on the north side of town near the homestead of Mr. and Mrs. Will Clements.  Among the first members were Mr. and Mrs. W.F. Luckie, Will Terry, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Turner, Mrs. Julia Dudley, Annie Lee Dudley, and Marie Dudley. Later Reverend Hightower held church services in the Masonic Hall.
In 1914, Hightower served as pastor of the Methodist Church at Warwick when a church building was being constructed there. A story is told that Rev. W. E. Hightower walked from the parsonage to the W.D. Etheridge place to pick cotton to pay his part on the new building
Obituary

Butler Herald
December 7, 1950

Rev. W. E. Hightower Claimed By Death Friday Afternoon

Had Made His Home in Butler Since His Retirement Several Years Ago.

Following a long period of declining health, altho confined to his bed at short intervals, laid down to final rest and permanent dwelling place in Heaven, Rev. William E. Hightower breathed his last at his home in Butler Friday afternoon, Dec. 2, the hour of his passing given as 4:05 o’clock.

Rev. Hightower was born April 3, 1879 at Mountville, Ga., the son of the late Mr. Hillard Jones Hightower and Mrs. Frances Elizabeth Hightower. He united with the South Georgia Methodist Conference at its regular annual session December, 1912 from which time until his retirement, due to declining health in December, 1945. During his ministry he served many very fine charges in the conference including two separate appointments at Butler of 2 to 4 years each and six of the nine Methodist churches in Taylor county. His last year with the active ministry in the conference was served at Doerun. Appointments he served included the following: Oakfeld, 1912-13; Nichols, 1914; Valdosta Circuit, 1915; Pineview, 1916; Hamilton Circuit, 1917-18, Howard Circuit, 1919-22; Bronwood, 1923-26; Butler, 1927; Glenville, 1928-29; Uvalda, 1930-31; Butler, 1932-35; Attapulgus, 1936-38; Byronville, 1939-40; Doerun, 1943-44; Retired, 1945. His schooling included, besides grammar and high school in Harris county graduation at Young Harris with the class of 1909 and one year at Vanderbilt.

Upon his retirement from the South Georgia Conference Rev. Hightower purchased and with his lovely and faithful wife, occupying one of the most comfortable homes in Butler. On land adjacent the home he established, more for physical exercise for himself than otherwise, a nursery for the cultivation and sale of floral plants of the highest type and greatest in demand. He loved flowers to the greatest extent as he worked with them as his strength permitted. –t now that he is gone the many fine examples he set by his Godly living and energetic spirit are to be appreciated.

At the Butler Methodist Church Sunday, December 3rd, 1 p. m. was held the funeral services for the departed muchly be loved one followed by interment of the body in the family lot, Hamilton cemetery. Rev. C. W. Hancock, pastor of the local church was in charge of the funeral service and was assisted by the following ministers: Rev. J. Ed Fain, District Superintendent, Columbus District; Rev. T. O. Lambert, assistant pastor, St. Luke church, Columbus, and who joined the conference at the same time as did the deceased, and with whom he has been closely associated ever since; Rev. J. W. M. Stipe Soperton, pastor Butler charge four years previous to 1949; Rev William Childres, Butler. Others occupying the pulpit at the same time were: Rev. W. S. Johnson. Macon County; Rev. W. E. Scott, District Superintendent, Macon D. District; Rev. W. W. Taylor, pastor Reynolds Methodist church; Rev. Ralph Brown, Waverly Hall, Ga.: Rev. Fred Vanlandingham, Smyrna, Ga.

Speaking on behalf of the deceased Rev. C. W. Hancock, pastor of the local church and officiating minister made the following remarks from the pulpit:

“Once again we are in the still and silent presence of death. Yet I am more convinced than ever that for those who love the Lord, death is but the call of God to a larger and fuller life where the limitations of mortal flesh are known no more and the soul rejoices in its liberation. “Did I not already believe in ‘immortality—I would believe today. For a God of infinite power and merciful goodness could do none other than to grant life immortal as the reward for the earthly life of W. E. Hightower. He was blameless in life; devoted to His God; faithful in the ministering of the word; diligent in his service to his fellowman. Many live and pass on—and the world is none the worse off for their going—but not so with our beloved friend. Life will miss him for his usefulness and for the high quality he gave it.

“Immortality is real because already we are beginning to feel the immortality of his earthly life. There are his deeds done that will never be undone. There is the influence shed that will never lose its alluring charm; there is his spoken word that will ever echo in our memory; there are sinners saved who will know sin no more; there are Christians advanced through his inspiration who are attaining unto the high calling of God in Christ Jesus; there are churches with wider visions and larger service that will not fail.

“There is this town and this county. Who among us has done more to bring the Kingdom of God into full fruition in this place than has he° Across a number of years as active pastor of six out of nine Methodist churches in this county and through a number of years as an active superannuate minister he has touched the hearts of men with the healing presence of Christ.

“Many will never forget that he led them to Christ through the illumination of the way. Many will never forget those loving attempts he made to introduce them to Christ and to bring them into the service of Christ’s Church.

“This church will never forget his persistent loyalty, his wise counsel. You men of his Sunday School class will not forget his immortal words from Sunday to Sunday.

“We of the ministry will live in the influence of his moral and spiritual nature and of the consecration to his calling of God. More—God has not forgotten. We are here in the blessed assurance that God has called and issued a welcome summons to this His noble servant. And it can be said of him as it was said of one long ago—‘And he walked with God—and God took him.’ It is the testimony of his life that he pleased both God and man. “As he gave honor to life, he has given dignity to death. In life he testified to the power of religious experience; in death, he declares the church triumphant unto life eternal.

“So may the God of his life be the God of our life that we, like him, can come to the end of the way as one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.”

The floral offering was one of the largest and most elaborate ever witnessed in this section of the state besides a number of memorials in the form of large contributions to the S. S. Annex of the local church and for which Rev. Hightower had been teacher of the Men’s Bible class during the past four years.

The deceased is survived by his widow; one brother, Mr. Claude Hightower of Blairsville, Ga.; two sister, Mrs. Edgar Vandiver, Atlanta; and Miss Aldora Hightower of Mountville. Following funeral service at the local church the body was transferred to Hamilton for interment in the family lot Union cemetery Mr. J. W. Edwards II, of Edwards Bros. Funeral Home was in charge of funeral arrangements.

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Pledger W. Parker, Ray City Minister

Reverend Pledger Wilson Parker came to Ray City, GA in 1946 to preach in the Ray City Methodist Church. He was a veteran of World War II, and fresh out of seminary; Ray City was his first appointment. He brought his newlywed bride, Emily Britton Parker, to Ray City with him.  In addition to supporting the church, she taught in the Ray City School in 1947.

Reverend Pledger Wilson Parker, minister of Ray City Methodist Church, 1946-1947

Reverend Pledger Wilson Parker, minister of Ray City Methodist Church, 1946-1947

Obituary

Pledger W. Parker, 92, of Macon, Georgia, went to his eternal home on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, after a short illness at McKendree Village in Hermitage, TN. Pledger was a retired United Methodist minister and a member of the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church.

He was born September 20, 1921, to George and Eulalia Parker at Camilla, Georgia. He served as a United States Marine during World War II. Upon his return to the States, he heard the call to preach and went to seminary at Candler School of Theology of Emory University. He served the following United Methodist congregations in Georgia: Ray City; Talbot Circuit; Duluth; St. Luke UMC in Columbus; Ocilla; First UMC in Swainsboro; Aldersgate in Savannah; Centenary in Macon, GA.

Pledger is survived by his wife of 67 years, Emily B. Parker; daughters, Giglia Anne Parker of Loma Linda, CA, Karen Parker DeVan (Jim) of McDonough, GA, Cherie Parker (Jack Keller) of Nashville, TN; grandchildren, Ben DeVan (Kartini), Allison DeVan (Justin Wienke), Juliana Parker Keller, Josh Parker Keller; great-grandchildren, Grace DeVan, and Caroline Wienke.

A Memorial Service will be held at Mulberry Street United Methodist Church on Tuesday, July 22, 2:00 p.m. The family will greet guests in the Fellowship Hall immediately following the Memorial Service.

Honorary Pallbearers are the ministers and spouses of the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, and the members of the Interest Group Sunday School Class of Mulberry Street United Methodist Church.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Memorial Fund of Mulberry Street UMC, P. O. Box 149, Macon, GA 31202, or to your favorite charity.

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Emily Britton Parker, Ray City Teacher

Emily Britton Parker taught at Ray City School in 1947.  She was a fresh graduate of Wesleyan College, Class of 1947,  where she was a schoolmate of Barbara Swindle of Ray City, GA. She was the bride of Reverend Pledger Parker, who served as minister of the Ray City Methodist Church in 1946-1947.

Emily Britton Parker, Wesleyan College senior portrait, 1947.

Emily Britton, Wesleyan College senior portrait, 1947.

Emily Britton Parker, Wesleyan College senior portrait caption, 1947.

Emily Britton, Wesleyan College senior portrait caption, 1947.

Ostensibly Emily is majoring in religion, but her real major is an important man named Pledger. Her religious sincerity, her straightforward honesty, her sympathetic listening ability and her warm friendly smile endear her to all Wesleyannes. Emily, with her sparkling eyes, and untiring energies in a variety of fields, have made her a real asset to Wesleyan.

Emily Britton Parker, Wesleyan College accomplishments, 1947.

Emily Britton, Wesleyan College accomplishments, 1947.

Emily Britton
Camilla, Georgia
Religion

Pres. Freshman Commission; Hiking Club 1; I. R. C. 1, 2, 3, 4; Sophomore Council; Advisor to Freshman Commission 2; Glee Club 3, 4; Chairman Macon Church Activities on “Y” 3; Junior Marshall; Dance Club 4; National Methodist Church Scholarship 4; Vesper Choir 4.

Obituary

Emily Elizabeth Britton Parker
6/21/1925 – 11/2/2017
     

Emily Elizabeth Britton Parker, 92, of Macon, Georgia, went to her eternal home on November 2, 2017. At the time of her death, she resided at McKendree Village in Hermitage, Tennessee. The Reverend Pledger Wilson Parker, a member of the South Georgia Conference, and Emily were married for 67 years prior to his death in 2014.

Emily was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on June 21, 1925, to The Reverend Charles Britton, Jr., and his wife, Eleanor. Since her father was a member of the South Georgia Conference, Emily spent her childhood in several South Georgia communities. After graduating from A. L. Miller High School in Macon, she attended Wesleyan College, graduating cum laude in 1947 with a degree in Christian Education. She later pursued graduate studies in Library Science at Georgia Southern College, University of Georgia Extension Service, Georgia College at Milledgeville, and Mercer University.

Emily was the Director of Christian Education at Mulberry Street United Methodist Church for three years. She was also the Head Librarian of the Junior Department of Macon’s Washington Memorial Public Library for four years, an Elementary School Media Specialist for nine years, and a school teacher.

She was actively involved in the South Georgia Conference as a youth and as an adult. Emily organized the South Georgia Conference Ministers’ Wives Retreat and served as President for two years. She was an avid participant in the Women’s Society of Christian Service and United Methodist Women on the conference and local church levels. She was active in the life and ministry of the churches Pledger served, often working with college-age students. After his retirement from the pastorate, they connected with Mulberry Street UMC, where they particularly enjoyed being part of the Interest Group Sunday School Class and the “Scampers” Camping Group. In 2010 they moved to Nashville to be near their daughter, Cherie.

Emily was devoted to her family. She was the consummate hostess and loved to cook for family, friends, and the many people that ministry brought into her sphere. She loved hiking, camping, and bird-watching, was a charter member of the Georgia Wilderness Society, and was active in the Ocmulgee Audubon Society. She also served on the Board of the Friends of the Library. Emily loved attending cultural events and playing and teaching board games. She possessed a powerful will and boundless energy. It can truly be said of Emily: “Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of our Lord.”

Emily is survived by three daughters: Giglia Parker of Loma Linda, California; Karen Parker DeVan (Jim) of McDonough, Georgia; and Cherie Parker (Jack Keller) of Nashville, Tennessee; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

A graveside service officiated by The Reverend Dr. Peter van Eys was held on November 6 in the Westview Cemetery in Atlanta. A memorial service, officiated by The Reverend Creede Hinshaw and The Reverend Jimmy Towson, was held at Mulberry Street UMC on November 7. Phillips-Robinson Funeral Home in Nashville was in charge of funeral arrangements.
– Book of Remembrance, Southe Georgia Conference, United Methodist Church.

 

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In Salem Church

Salem Methodist Church

Salem Church, Lowndes County, GA circa 1866

Salem Church, Lowndes County, GA circa 1866

Salem Church is among the earliest Methodist churches in this section. The church would have been on the Troupville Circuit ridden by Reverend Peurifoy, a Methodist circuit rider of Wiregrass Georgia. Other Methodist churches on the circuit included Troupville, established about 1832, Oak Grove Church, Concord Church, and Bethlehem Church. Pre-dating any of these churches was the annual Methodist revival held at the old Lowndes Camp Ground, later called the Mount Zion Camp Ground. The earliest Methodist church in Ray City was organized in 1910.

About Salem Church

“The exact year this church was organized is unknown but it is believed that the original church building was a small log structure constructed near a spring fed branch behind the present 110-year-old home place of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Folsom. The existing Salem UMC was built on its new location in 1856, on land that was deeded by Eli Driver Webb. The first trustees were Randall Folsom, Joseph T. Webb, William Varn, William D. Smith and Berry J. Folsom. It is believed that the first pastor of Salem was either Rev. Joseph T. Webb or Rev. Hamilton W. Sharpe, both local Methodist preachers of that era. Many of the citizens of the community attended school in a one-room school across the street from the church and, when needed, the church was also used for classroom space.”  – South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church

Salem Church was attended by slave owners and slaves, as well. The church kept two graveyards, a white cemetery and an  African-American cemetery. There is still a distinct line between the two cemeteries, one with unmarked graves, the other with neat white headstones and plush grass.  Laying in the marked graves are many of the Folsom family connection, among them Dr. James Rountree Folsom, father of Montgomery M. Folsom.

M.M. Folsom was one of the best known and most versatile newspaper men in the South, according to his obituary. He was a great and prolific writer of prose and poetry, which was widely read and copied.  In the September 14, 1885 Atlanta Constitution, Montgomery M. Folsom recalls Salem Church of his youth.

 

In Salem Church

The Memory of a Middle Age Man Stirred Up.

M.M. Folsom in Valdosta, Ga, Times.

        Let me see, the old church must be getting old indeed, now; I am shiffling along toward the dim and mysterious regions of the third decade of life, and, I am beginning to feel right patriarchal. Yes, I was walking along the street a few day since when a diminutive specimen of the genus homo accosted me with “hello, old chum,” and I came very near rebuking him on the spot, but on second thought I remember how fine a sense of ridicule the modern ragmuffin is blessed with, so I contented myself with a withering glance, and then winked to keep him from thinking hard of me. Good gracious! How egotistical I am growing. But never mind, I’m going to be a country editor, some day, and then I can use that delusive pronoun “we” and then we’ll make ourself just as great an ass as we choose, and no one will molest us or make our cheek to blush.
       Well, that church is a few months older than I, but I trust it hasn’t half as much to answer for. When last I threw a ball at its stately front I tried to hit the figure “6” in the date, “1856” painted above the tall columns which support its venerable front.
       Long time ago there was another Salem, built of logs, clap-boards and puncheons. “H.W.S.” could tell you all about it. The good Methodists decided to build a new one, and the present site, fronting the old Coffee road, was selected. I think William McGuire was the master carpenter in the job, but I don’t know, it has been so long. Oh! what a flood of sweet old memories come trouping along as, in fancy, I sit once more within those sacred walls. A goodly space, in the rear of the pulpit was partitioned off for the negroes who were then slaves, of course.
      Certain seats were recognized as the special property of certain old people, not that we had any pew renting, and the like of that, but they came so regularly, and occupied the same seat so often, that younger folks soon learned to look for Uncle Randal on a long bench near the partition, with the south window at his back. Dear old man! How I loved to watch his portly figure as he waddled up the isle, and the few scant locks glistening like a glowing silver light above his ruddy brow. Uncle Billy Sineath was bent with age and hard labor. He would plow hard all the week, and till near meeting time Saturday, then he donned his meeting clothes, and started for the church just like the true Christian that he was. His face was rugged, and the dark eyes glowed beneath a pair of cavernous brows, but never a kinder heart beat in the bosom of any man. Uncle Hamp was always there, too, with a kind word and a hearty handshake for every one. What made him more conspicuous was the tall beaver, that he took off at the door. Now there is a great deal of individuality about a hat. Grandpa and Uncle Billy Sineath wore broad brims, and the brim had to turn up in certain places, while in others it must lay flat, or curve around in a peculiar manner. I used to wonder how much time they spent training a new hate ere it acquired the regulation flop. Our old teacher was straight as an arrow and nearly as slim, his hair was always gray, I suppose, but when he patted one of us little urchins on the head as he stepped into the porch, we were of the elect the balance of that day. But why try to describe such individual? It would require volumes simple to record their goodness and the act of Christian charity which they did in their days.
        I remember one sermon that touched me, boy as I was, deeply and it stirred the depths of the hearts of every individual in the vast congregation that were packed in the church. Leonard C. Peake had lately been blind, but his sight was now restored. A man of venerable aspect and commanding presence, he stood in the pulpit that day and preached as I never heard man preach before. His text was “And Moses said unto——-” but I can’t remember, it was so long ago but it read on- “we are journeying unto the land which the Lord God hath given us. Come thou and go with us, and we will do thee good.” In the course of his sermon he told how, after a season of darkness, he had been allowed to look again on the blessed light of Heaven. Oh, that was a time long to be remembered.
      Then there was Jesse J. Giles, the happiest looking man I ever saw. His soul knew no wintry season. His face eternally beamed with the smiles of a perpetual spring season. To look at him was to love him, and to love him was but a step removed from the worship of that God whom he worshiped with the most sublime adoration. His voice was a s a woman’s and the musical tones were like the strains of music from some faraway land. The old well-worn copy of “John Wesley” that he gave me so many years ago lies before me as I write. Unhidden tears bedim my eyes as I think of the last words he ever said to me.
       But the grandest old warrior was big, burly, tender-hearted John Hendry. His voice was of that deep, rich kind which men of slender chests are wont to covet. The tawny beard covered his face and hung down on his breast. When he ascended the pulpit steps the evil doer trembled, and the first syllable of that deep voice sent a thrill through me like an electric shock. And oh! you ought to have heard him sing,
“I’m glad salvations’ free!”
      The great voice filled the whole building, and the thunder tones went reverbating and re echoing among the dark pine woods. Wafted by the soft evening breeze the echoes grew fainter and fainter until the word “Salvation” died away on the hilltops faraway, away, where the autumn moon shed such a wondrous shower of golden light.
       But we had one funny parson, I’ve forgotten his name. He said that when he left his last circuit he left “six crowing roosters sitting on the front yard fence.” He never stayed long.
       Another was a vissionary and a dreamer. In fact, he was so fond of relating his wonderful dreams, that there grew a proverb out of it, and we sacrilegious boys were in the habit of illustrating our opinion of a doubtful yarn by saying, “Ah! you thought like—–dreamt when you studied that up.”
      There was one man who could never pray without weeping. His voice would grow husky and broken and his petition always ended in a heart-broken sob. If that many wasn’t a Christian I never knew one.
Good men they were. I have not mentioned a tithe of them. The subject is too big for me. I cannot write of things that touch such tender chords, and wake such sacred memories. All that was best in my wasted life is interwoven with the story of old Salem. How often in my wanderings have I cast my longing eyes thitherward, and sighed to think of the days that are past forever more.

“Blest scenes of enjoyment long have we been parted,

My hopes almost gone, and my parents no more;
And now as an exile, forelorn, broken-hearted,
I wonder alone on a far distant shore.”

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Constitution of Union Church

Located on the banks of the Alapaha River about two miles south of present day Lakeland, GA, the old Union Primitive Baptist Church lies about 10 miles east of where Levi J. Knight settled on Beaver Dam Creek (now Ray City, GA).  It was the first church constituted by the pioneer settlers of this region and became the mother church of many Primitive Baptist churches in south Georgia and North Florida. Levi J. Knight’s parents, Sarah and William Anderson Knight , were among the organizing members of the church.  The history of Union Church, also known as Burnt Church, was the subject of a series of sketches by Folks Huxford.

Like the Knights, the Carters were among the earliest settlers in this section of land which would later become Berrien County, GA,  the Knights arriving in 1824 and Carters in 1825.    Jesse Carter settled his family on the west side of the Alapaha River about one and one half miles south of present day Lakeland. The Knight and Carter families were soon connected.  About 1826, Jessie Carter’s  daughter, Rachel Carter, would marry William Cone Knight, son of William Anderson Knight and brother of Levi J. Knight.

Upon arrival, Jesse Carter established the first place of worship in the wilderness of the newly opened Lowndes County. According to Folks Huxford, “The first church building was known as ‘Carter’s Meeting House.’ Of course the name came from the early Carter family that played such a big part in establishing the church. The meeting houses took their names generally from some family that was most active in building the house. Jesse Carter gave the land for the meeting house and built the original building, which was a small log house.  The church records do not show that Mr. Carter was ever a member of Union Church but his wife, Mary, was a member.”  Jesse Carter would later fight under the command of Levi J. Knight in the Skirmish at William Parker’s Place during the Indian Wars of 1836.

Primitive Baptist Meeting House. Image source: Florida Baptist Historical Society

Primitive Baptist Meeting House. Image source: Florida Baptist Historical Society

In 1825 the primitive baptists convening at Carter’s Meeting House constituted as Union Church.  Fleming Bates and Mathew Albritton acted as the presbytery for the constitution of the church.

State of Georgia
Irwin County

1st October 1825

By the goodness of God we whose names are after ritten having been baptized upon a profefsion of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ having heare before lived in Kettle Creek Church and in Hebron and Macadonice Churches from them, have removed to this wilderness counteary, finding each thereout constituted together.  The propriety of becoming a constituted church and we’re on a greede uanamously. Then made application to our several churches for letters with dismission with leave to be come a constituted body at Carter’s Meeting House on the Alappahaw River by which we with the sefrutance of a presbylen intend to be come with the help of God a church independent (as our internal rights) of aney church or churches Presbytory or —— and we do set apart this day for the purpose of becoming constituted for which purpose we do call the following ordained preacher of the Baptist order to act as the Presbytery Lay – Fleming Bates and Mathew Albritton.

These are the names of the members on which the church was constituted.

William A. Knight
Jonathan Knight
Joshua Lee
James Patten
Josiah Sirmans, O.D.
Sarah Knight
Elizabeth Knight
Mary Knight
Martha Lee
Elizabeth Patten

The 1st of October 1825 being pronounced a church of Christ in order have united upon equal turmes and heare after be called and known by the name of Union Church.

 

Note:  Jonathan and Elizabeth Knight were members of Hebron Church (present day Brantley County, GA) before being dismissed by letter on November 8, 1823, to join in organizing Kettle Creek Baptist Church in Ware County which it seems, was near where they lived.

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Old Union Primitive Baptist Church, also known as Burnt Church

Ray City Catholics served by St. Theresa’s Parish

The August 25, 1945 edition of the Augusta Bulletin newspaper relates that Ray City was a mission station of St. Theresa’s Church at Albany, GA.

The construction of St. Theresa’s Church began before the Civil War.  The bricks were handmade by slaves on the Barbour Plantation near Newnan, GA. During the war the building was used as a Confederate hospital.

St. Theresa's Church, Albany, GA.

St. Theresa’s Church, Albany, GA.

“In 1859 work was begun on the erection of the little brick church within whose hallowed, ivy-clad walls, the Catholics in Albany still gather to worship before the Alter of God. In 1861, war between the North and the South came to cause a delay in the completion of the edifice, but when the Conquered Banner of the Confederacy had been furled, the grey-clad warriors had trod the weary miles back home and with their unconquered courage they began to rebuild their lives, the task of completing the interior of the church was taken up again.”

The first resident pastor of St. Theresa’s Church was Father Stephen J. Beytaugh, appointed in 1875 by Reverend William H. Gross, Bishop of Savannah.

“Father Beytaugh had been in Albany just about a year when he died from yellow fever, contracted while administering the Last Sacraments to a member of his mission parish in Americus. Father John Murphy, who succeeded Father Beytaugh, died in less than a year after going to St. Theresa’s as pastor. In 1879, Father P. H. McMahon, of blessed memory, went to Albany as pastor, but the rigorous hardships on the many missions attached to the parish impaired his health, and he was succeeded by Father Charles Clement Prendergast, who was pastor in 1882 when St. Theresa’s Church was formally dedicated by Bishop Gross.”

In the following years, “the far-flung mission territory of Albany embraced an area of 15,000 square miles in extent, covering about one-third of the whole State of Georgia, and including forty-one counties. There were churches at Albany, Alapaha, Americus, Bainbridge, Fitzgerald, Moultrie, Thomasville, and Willacoochee, and in other places Mass was offered in private homes. In visiting their mission stations, the priests traveled by rail, on trains, good, bad and indifferent, by mule-drawn vehicles, and by T-Model Ford, which last method of transportation made possible the celebration of two masses at two different places on a Sunday. Mission stations were Adel, Andersonville, Arlington, Cordele, Cuthbert, Cecil, Dosia, Dupont, Dawson, Douglas, Golden, Hahira, Iron City, Milltown, Naylor, Nashville, Ocilla, Quitman, Rhine, Ray City, Sylvester, Sycamore, Stockton, Tifton, Valdosta, and West Green.”

Reverend Bob Brown, Master of Theology

Reverend Bob Merrill Brown (1936-1984)

Reverend Bob M. Brown and his wife Sherra Mashburn Brown lived in Ray City, GA in the 1960s.  Rev. Brown’s sister, Francine Brown McCall, was also a resident of the town.

Reverend Bob M. Brown, became pastor of Ray City Baptist Church in 1964.

Reverend Bob M. Brown, became pastor of Ray City Baptist Church in 1964.

 

Bob Brown attended Mercer University, Macon, GA, graduating with the Class of 1958. He later attended New Orleans Baptist Seminary (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) in New Orleans where he met his wife, Sherra Mashurn. Sherra Mashburn Brown was born on August 30, 1937 in New Orleans, LA. She was the daughter of Rev. James and Sherra Mashurn.

Bob Brown was an Army Chaplain, commissioned captain, and served in Korean and Viet Nam.

Captain Bob Merrill Brown, Army Chaplain. Image source: Betty Anne Greene Spear

Captain Bob Merrill Brown, Army Chaplain. Image source: Betty Anne Greene Spear

 

Houston Home Journal
September 14, 1967

FT. HAMILTON, N. Y.-Army Reserve Captain Bob M. Brown, whose mother, Mrs. Lucille D. Brown, lives at 719 Charles Dr., Perry, completed a military chaplain orientation course Sept. 1 at the Army Chaplain School, Ft. Hamilton, N. Y. He received nine weeks of training in psychology and coun seling, methods of instruction and principles of character guidance. Instruction was also given in standard military areas such as administration, customs of serv ice, drill and techniques of study. Capt. Brown received his B.A. degree in 1958 from Mercer Uni versity, and his B. D. degree in 1962 from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. His wife, Sherra, lives in Ray City, Ga. 

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Houston Home Journal
May 26, 1966

Rev. Bob Brown Receives Degree at Jacksonville

      The Rev. Bob M. Brown, son of Mrs. Lucille D. Brown of Perry, received the Master of Theology degree from the Luther Rice Baptist Theological Seminary in Jacksonville on May 15.
      The Reverend Mr. Brown, a graduate and former teacher of Perry High School, was ordained to the ministry by the First Baptist Church of Perry.
He also holds a Bachelor of Arts from Mercer University and a Bachelor of Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
       Since 1964 he has served as pastor of the Ray City Baptist Church, Ray City, Ga.

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OBITUARY

Houston Home Journal
March 1, 1984

Deaths

Brown

Bob M. Brown, 47, died Friday, February 24, 1984. Services were held at 11 a m. Tuesday in the First Baptist Church in Perry. Burial was in Liberty Baptist Church Cemetery in Pinehurst. The Rev. Dr. Gene Bowman officiated. Mr. Brown, native of Vienna, had lived in Perry for several years before moving to Brooksville. He graduated from Mercer University in Macon and received a bachelor of divinity degree from Southern Baptist School in New Orleans and a master of theology degree from Luther Wright Seminary in Jacksonville, Fla. He taught at Southwest College in New Mexico and at Perry High School. He was formerly the pastor of Ray City Baptist Church and of Alexander Baptist Church. He served in Korea and Vietnam as a chaplain. Survivors include a daughter, Maranatha Brown of Brooksville, Fla.; four sons, Nathan Brown, Ethan Brown, Merrill Brown and David Brown, all of Brooksville; his mother, Lucille Brown of Perry; two sisters, Franceen McCall of Nashville, Ga., and Wylodme Blaylock of Sherman, Texas; three brothers, Carry Brown of Carnesville, Allan Brown of Texas and Kenneth Brown of Key Biscayne. Fla. Pallbearers were Nathan Brown, Ethan Brown, Merrill Brown,. David Brown, Larry Brown, Alan Brown, Kenneth Brown. Watson-Hunt Funeral Home of Ferry had charge of arrangements. 

Grave of Chaplain Bob Merrill Brown, Liberty Baptist Church Cemetery, Pinehurst, GA

Grave of Chaplain Bob Merrill Brown, Liberty Baptist Church Cemetery, Pinehurst, GA

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Riders of the Troupville Circuit: Tillman Dixon Peurifoy

In 1840,  Reverend Tillman Dixon Peurifoy was a circuit-riding Methodist preacher on the Troupville Circuit in Lowndes County, GA, which then also encompassed Berrien, Cook, Tift, Lanier and Echols counties.  Two years earlier, on April 1, 1838,  Peurifoy’s family and slaves had been massacred by Indians in Florida, about 20 miles from Tallahassee, FL.

Troupville was then the seat of government of Lowndes County.  Methodist pioneers in Lowndes county had been served from the creation of the county first by riders on the Tallahassee District, then the Lowndes Mission and later, when there were sufficiently strong churches to support at minister, the Troupville Circuit. Among these early Methodist ministers were Josiah Evans, John Slade, George W. Davis, and  Robert H. Howren.

The earliest Methodist church in Ray City was organized in 1910, but a Methodist church had been established at Troupville about 1832. Other Methodist churches that would have been on the Troupville Circuit ridden by Reverend Peurifoy included  Oak Grove Church, Concord Church, Bethlehem Church,  and Salem Church.  Pre-dating any of these churches was the annual Methodist revival held at the old Lowndes Camp Ground, later called the Mount Zion Camp Ground.

Tillman Dixon Peurifoy. Image source: Robert C. Peurifoy

Tillman Dixon Peurifoy. Image source: Robert C. Peurifoy

Tilman Dixon Peurifoy was born January 21, 1809 in Putnam County, GA.  At nineteen years of age he was admitted to the Georgia Conference [Methodists], having been converted at the age of fifteen.  He was married when a young man to Miss Louisa Ann Bird, daughter of Captain Daniel Bird, of Edgefield, SC.  After a few years he moved to Florida and settled in Jefferson County in 1833.  The war with the Seminoles was then going on, but from the place of his settlement the nearest Indians were a hundred miles distant, and no apprehensions of danger were felt by him or by any one in that section. Mr. Peurifoy was frequently absent for a long time attending to his preaching appointments.

It was during one of these absences, and he was sixty miles distant attending Quarterly Conference, when the attack, so disastrous and terrible, was made upon his home.

Newspaper accounts document that the attack on the Peurifoy home occurred April 1, 1838.  The attack was part of the continuing violence between Native Americans and encroaching pioneer settlers. In Florida, hostilities were greatly escalated in December 1835 by the Dade Massacre, where Seminole Indians resisting forced removal to the West wiped out a force of 110 regular army troops under the command of Major Francis Langhorn Dade.  When violence spread across the Wiregrass  in 1836 local militia units fought engagements in Lowndes county, 200 federal troops were detailed to Camp Townsend near Franklinville, GA, and conflicts continued into the 1840s.

In terrible grief, Reverend Peurifoy wrote to his Bishop, William Capers, reporting the death of his children and slaves, and the grievous wounds inflicted on his wife. Peurifoy’s tragic letter was published in the Southern Christian Advocate, and the story was picked up by the Raleigh Weekly Standard and other newspapers all across the 24 states.

Reverend Tillman D. Peurifoy writes of the massacre of his family, April 1, 1838

Reverend Tillman D. Peurifoy writes of the massacre of his family, April 1, 1838

Raleigh Weekly Standard
June 13, 1838

Murder of a Missionary Family

The Southern Christian Advocate publishes the following letter, giving a moving description of a massacre by the Florida Indians. The writer is Superintendant to the Alachua Mission on the Tallahassee District:

        “Dear Brother Capers, I am ruined! While engaged in my labors in the Alachua mission I received a letter bearing awful tidings. It informed me that the Indians had murdered my family! I set out for home, hoping that it might not prove as bad as the letter stated; but O my God, it is, if not even worse! My precious children Lorick Pierce and Elizabeth, were killed and burned up in the house. My dear wife was shot, stabbed and stamped, seemingly to death, in the yard. But after the wretches went to pack up their plunder, she revived and crawled off from the scene of death to suffer a thousand deaths during the dreadful night which she spent alone by the side of a pond bleeding at four bullet holes and more than half a dozen stabs – three deep gashes to the bone on her head and three stabs through the ribs, besides a number of similar cuts and bruises. She is yet living – and O help me to pray that she may still live. My negroes lay dead all about the yard and woods, and my every thing else burned to ashes. Pray for me.
        My family was on a short visit to my father-in-law, for the purpose of having some supplies sent up from our plantation to our temporary residence in the mission, and during this brief period the awful catastrophe took place.

T. D. PEURIFOY”

By mid April, newspapers all over the country were reporting on the Peurifoy Massacre and Indian attacks in Florida. On April 19, 1838, the story was published in the Edgefield Advertiser.  Edgefield, SC was the birthplace of Mrs. Peurifoy.

Edgefield Advertiser reports details of the Peurifoy Masacre.

Edgefield Advertiser reports details of the Peurifoy Masacre.

Edgefield Advertiser
April 19, 1838

MORE INDIAN MURDERS.

     A gentleman, just arrived from Tallahassee, says the Darien Telegraph, of the 6th inst. informs us that on the night of the 1st inst. a family of the name of Purifoy, were murdered within 20 miles of Tallahassee.  The Indians burned the dwelling and two white children in it; two negro women were also killed; and Mrs. Purifoy received two shots through her body and was stabbed by the Indians. She crawled, however, into a thicket, where she concealed herself. Dr. Taylor, of Monticello, stated to our informant, that she could not possibly survive.
     The Jacksonville Courier of the 5th inst. says: -By a letter to our excellent Mayor, Col. Dell, from his brother in Alachua county, dated April 1, from the bearer of the letter, Mr. Brooks, our worst apprehensions of farther – indeed, of continued Indian murders, are confirmed.  “They killed two Irishmen on the place that Brush cleared on the Micanopy pond.” Signs near Camp Fanning are spoken of.  “God only knows what we are to do; but still hope Jesup will be able to relieve us.”  Hope deferred; and still farther to be deferred as may be seen by the General’s own showing.
     Mr. Brooks gives the further information that two volunteers were fired upon at Suwannee, Old Town – and severely wounded; that Indians have been seen at the Echetokamy Springs [Ichetucknee Springs], and signs about Fort White, and near Newnansville.

Further Particulars. – On Saturday evening last, about dark, a party of Indians, supposed to number 30 or 40, attacked the dwelling of Mr. Purifoy, residing in the vicinity of the previous depredations, murdered to children and three negroes, plundered and set fire to the buildings, and made their escape – the children were burned in the dwelling. Mrs. Purifoy, although severely wounded, miraculously made her escape from the savages.  When the attack was made there were none but females about the premises, a fact supposed to have been known to the Indians.  Mrs. P. was lying in bed with her two children, heard a noise in her room and on looking up found it filled with Indians, who commenced discharging their rifles, several of them aimed at herself and children.  The children it is supposed were killed at once. Mrs. P. received a ball in her shoulder, which passed out at her breast. The savages next commenced hacking and stabbing her with their knives, and inflicted a number of severe wounds on her head and several parts of her body.  Their attention was a moment directed from her to a noise made by the servants in an adjoining rom, when Mrs. P. taking advantage of this circumstance escaped to the yard, where she was again shot down, but succeeded in gaining the woods, intending to reach her father’s residence, Capt. Daniel Bird, about two miles distant.  Faint from the loss of blood and the severity of wounds, she was unable to proceed more than half a mile, where she was found next morning.   Mrs. P. received, we understand, ten distinct wounds, several very sever, but her physician entertains strong hopes of her recovery. – To heighten the catastrophe, Mr. Purifoy, whose children and slaves were slain, was absent from home, fulfilling his ministerial duties.
     As soon as the attack was discovered, the troops at Camp Carter, under Capt. Shehee, were sent for, but the Indians had dispersed in three parties and fled. Maj. Taylor with Capt. Newsam’s company joined Capt. S. on Monday morning, and have followed the several trails, but with what success we have not understood.
   The house attacked is several miles within the frontier settlements – the houses of most of which are picketed in. We trust the occurrence will awaken the United States authorities to do something more for the protection of our frontier. – Tallahassee Floridian

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A longer narrative of the event appeared some 5o years later in a text titled History of Edgefield County: From the Earliest Settlements to 1897 : Biographical and Anecdotical, with Sketches of the Seminole War, Nullification, Secession, Reconstruction, Churches and Literature, with Rolls of All the Companies from Edgefield in the War of Secession, War with Mexico and with the Seminole Indians.

Mrs. Peurifoy was lying quietly and happily upon her bed reading that comforting book, “Heavenly Recognition,” when the door was suddenly opened almost without noise, and a tall Indian, in feathers and war paint, quietly entered the room. The house, which was a double log cabin, with a wide passage between, had been surrounded quietly by a party of fifty or sixty Indians. A negro girl about twelve years of age, who was in the room with Mrs. Peurifoy, quickly understood the situation and tried to make her escape. She immediately darted out of the room between the Indian’s legs as he stood for a moment in the door. She made her escape, but was fearfully wounded in the effort. She was still living near Augusta at the close of the year 1890, and may be living even now, 1891.

Before Mrs. Peurifoy swooned away she remembered seeing the savage kill her daughter, Elisabeth. The fate of her little boy she did not know. When she revived and came to herself she found the room full of Indians, and they were hurriedly eating the ham and potatoes and what other food they were able to find. Hoping that she would not be observed she made a great effort to escape. She was able to get out of the house and had reached the ground when she was shot and the bullet pierced her shoulder blade. Almost at the same time another bullet struck her thigh and she fell forward on her face. The savages then surrounded her, stabbed her in the back and cut her person fearfully. They cut her throat, but a shawl or handkerchief about her neck and shoulders saved her from death. They then beat her over the head with a lightwood knot, but unconsciously she raised her right arm to protect her head, and that was terribly bruised and broken. They did not scalp her. She became unconscious, and they left her for dead. When she came to herself again the savages were plundering the house and setting it on fire. She then crawled towards the kitchen, hoping that her cook, who had nursed her when she was a baby, might be able to help her. The cook herself was dying from wounds she had received, and could only spread her handkerchief on the ground for her mistress to lie on, when she quietly passed away.

After this, suffering from intolerable thirst, Mrs. Peurifoy dragged herself to a swamp or pond three quarters of a mile distant, where she was able to get some water to assuage her thirst. Here she lay that night, and until sunset next day, when she was found by the searching parties. Her father, who lived only a few miles distant, was with the searchers; and he, it seems, had a presentiment that she was still living, and would be found alive. The charred remains of the two children, Elisabeth and Lovick Pierce, were found in the ruins of the building. Mr. Peurifoy, on his return from Conference, was within twenty miles of home before he received any intimation of the terrible disaster. Upon sheets Mrs. Peurifoy was carried to her father’s, near Monticello, Florida. For many weeks she breathed through several of her wounds, and for months she could only be moved and turned upon sheets. After these terrible events they removed to Georgia, and in 1849, came to Edgefield County and settled near Butler Church, where Mr. Peurifoy died June 3rd, 1872, and Mrs. Peurifoy, July 5th, 1878.

Three negroes, besides the cook already mentioned were killed in a house which was used for a church. One woman, who fought them to the last, was killed by having her head beaten to pieces with a lightwood knot. Her baby was saved by the door being thrown down in the scuffle and falling over the cradle in which the baby lay. This child was alive in 1890.

Mr. and Mrs. Peurifoy left several children; Eliza, who married Mr. [Frank] Yarbrough, and Hon. D. B. Peurifoy, named after his grandfather, Captain David Bird. D. B. Peurifoy, familiarly called “Dan,” by his friends, has been a member of the Legislature, but declined to be a candidate in 1890.

Thomas Bird, whom I knew at school, and who, I thought was a young man of very lovely character, was, if I mistake not, a son of Captain David Bird, and brother to Mrs. T. D. Peurifoy.

The Peurifoy Massacre was one of many violent episodes on the Florida/Georgia border preceding the 1838 campaign to eradicate Native Americans from the Okefinokee Swamp.  By July, 1838, Brigadier General Zachary Taylor was at Camp Gilmer, at the confluence of the Suwanee and the Suwanoochee rivers on the western margin of the swamp.

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Reverend Robert H. Howren ~ Methodist Circuit Rider

Reverend Robert H. Howren ~ Methodist Circuit Rider

Reverend Howren brought his family to old Lowndes County in 1836 as conflicts with Native Americans were rising in Florida and Georgia.  The Howrens settled on Coffey’s Road and became neighbors of fellow Methodist Hamilton W. Sharpe.  Sharpe’s Store, on the Coffee Road, was the first commercial establishment  in Lowndes County, and became an early post office for the area.  Sharpe was a captain of local militia in the Indian Wars and was active in politics.  Salem Methodist Church was about five miles south on Coffee road.

Methodist minister Robert Hudson Howren. Reverend Howren was a neighbor of Hamilton W. Sharpe in Old Lowndes County. He was Methodist minister Robert Hudson Howren. Reverend Howren was a neighbor of Hamilton W. Sharpe in Old Lowndes County. He was appointed to ride the Troupville Circuit of south Georgia in 1841.appointed to ride the Troupville Circuit of south Georgia in 1841.Methodist minister Robert Hudson Howren was appointed to ride the Troupville Circuit of south Georgia in 1841

Methodist minister Robert Hudson Howren. Reverend Howren was a neighbor of Hamilton W. Sharpe in Old Lowndes County. He was appointed to ride the Troupville Circuit of south Georgia in 1841.

Robert Hudson Howren was born in Georgetown, SC, August 9, 1811. Born of Christian parents and trained for God, he was converted at the age of fourteen. His father was a sea captain and afterwards a local Methodist preacher – a man of strong character, some peculiarities, but of striking points of excellence as a man an ad a preacher. Young Robert moved with him to Charleston, SC, where for a while he attended school, but afterwards embarked as a a seaman on his father’s vessel. At the age of nineteen he became captain of a vessel, but God needed him for service on other seas, and quitting that boat he embarked on the “Old Ship Zion”… On May 16, 1835, he was married to Miss Martha M. Durant, who was his faithful companion in life’s voyage, and with gentle love ministered to his dying wants. – Minutes of the Florida Annual Conference, 1890

About Reverend Howren, Folks Huxford wrote:

Reverend R. H. Howren, one of the old ante-bellum preachers, moved with his family in 1836 from Madison county, Florida, to that portion of Lowndes, which now is in Brooks county, and for a few years lived near Brother Hamilton W. Sharpe of whom mention has already been made.

His [Reverend Howren’s] reminiscences contained in his article published in the Wesleyan Christian Advocate under date of December 17, 1884 is very valuable in throwing light on the early Methodist activities and the spiritual life of old Lowndes county. His article was written forty-eight years after.  At that time he was a retired minister living at Concord, Florida. From his article we quote at length:

   “We refugeed to that neighborhood (Lowndes county) from Madison Fla., on account of the Indians; rented a farm from Bro. Hamilton W. Sharpe and soon became connected with the Sunday-school and members of the large interesting bible class conducted by Bro. Sharpe that year (1836) at old Bethlehem Church in Lowndes county, Ga. The Sunday-school was flourishing, congregation full and attentive, preaching nearly every Sabbath. The style of it was Wesleyan, or if you please apostolic – in demonstration of the Spirit and power.  Often the preachers would stop and shout while preaching, and sometimes the people would shout and stop the preacher for a little while whether he felt like shouting or not, and in all this there was no confusion or disorder at all, but the very harmony of heaven.  It kept the stones from crying out. It was the lumbering of the train on the track heard at a distance while the freightage on board was born on in quiet safety.’Oh, that men now and then, would praise the Lord in the assembly of His saints’ and ‘talk of His wonderful work to the children of men!’

The Methodists first served old Lowndes county as a part of the Tallahassee District. This vast district swept across south Georgia from the Flint River to the Okefinokee Swamp. In 1832 the Methodists established the Lowndes Mission, and the first Methodist ministers riding on the Lowndes Circuit were George W. Davis, George Bishop, Capel Raiford and Robert Stripling. Tillman Dixon Peurifoy and John Slade later rode the Troupville Circuit

In 1884, Reverend Robert H. Howren  wrote of the early work of the Methodists in Old Lowndes County.

This early work was called the Lowndes Circuit and embraced Lowndes county and portions of other counties around.   Bros. Francis M. Smith and J. J. Taylor were the preachers. Bro. Smith married Miss Clementine Perry, a member of Bro. Sharpe’s family.  He traveled a few years and then studied medicine.  Wonder if he is still living? Bro. Taylor traveled on a few years, married Mrs. Lowe of Columbia county, Florida, located, subsequently was readmitted to the Florida Conference, in a few years located again, then for many long years served the church as a local preacher, and was faithful to death. He died last year (1883) in Wellborn, Fla., finishing his work, as we learned, in great peace. He was my friend. I loved him like a brother; we were young preachers together and we were old preachers together; fought side by side many a battle. He is now crowned and I’m yet “laboring up the hill.”

Continuing in his article Bro. Howren made mention of the local preachers of the Lowndes Circuit in those early days (1830s).

“The local preachers of this circuit were Thomas Clift, John Johnson and Paul Johnson, three as faithful men as I have ever known through limited in their education. They were a power in the pulpit, doing great good through all that country for many years. Bro. Clift was a natural born preacher. The first words he uttered were a flood of light to my mind on the subject; his text was ‘Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God’ (Matthew 5:9). He said ‘No man can be a peacemaker in the sense of my text until he first makes his peace with God’, etc. He had a hard struggle through life for a material support but his brethren helped him more or less every year, and sometimes at camp-meetings he would get as much as fifty dollars in presents from his friends and those who appreciated his godly labors.  Bro. John Johnson was a good and useful preacher, rode the same horse for many years; after he became blind his faithful animal would carry him to and from his appointments in perfect safety, stopping every time under the same limb or at the same tree where it was accustomed to be hitched. Bro. Paul Johnson was a weeping profit. I don’t think I ever heard him that he did not weep most of the time he was preaching, and in this way reached the hearts of many that no doubt would not have been touched by ordinary preaching. He had a son who grew up and became a preacher; held family prayer three times a day – morning, noon and night – the only man I have ever known to do it. He prospered in the world. God’s word was verified: ‘Say ye to the righteous, it shall be will with him'”.

Bro. Howren in discussing the lay members and leading Methodist families, wrote in the same article:

Outside of the ministry there was a noble band of lay members at and around old Bethlehem.  The Blairs, Folsoms, Campbells, and Granthams.  Bro. William Grantham was the class-leader and was not only a soldier of the Cross and fought bravely the battles of the Lord but was a good soldier of his country.

That year in that neighborhood they had a very heated skirmish with the Indians. Brother Sharpe, I believe, commanded the fight. A great, stalwart Indian and Bro. Grantham made for the same tree at the same time; coming from opposite sides, neither discovered the other til they met at the tree.  Then came the ‘tug of war’ – around and around that old cypress tree of a hundred years growth they went, each trying to shoot the other.  At length the Indian fired and missed; he then attempted to retreat but Bro. Grantham captured him.”

Howren’s above recollection of  “a very heated skirmish” refers to the 1836 Battle of Brushy Creek in Lowndes County, GA.  Norman Campbell’s account of the battle also relates the incident of Grantham and the Indian chasing each other around a cypress tree. Lasa Adam’s account of the Battle of Brushy Creek and actions on Warrior Creek highlights the leadership of Captain Grantham. Captain Hamilton Sharpe and Levi J. Knight also led a companies of Lowndes County men in these engagements.

Bro. Hamilton W. Sharpe in his article in the Wesleyan Christian Advocate in 1884 …, said in reference to these early local preachers: “Among the early ministers little and unknown and who were loved and prized by God for their love and patience were Revs. Thomas Cliffs, Paul Johnson, John Johnson, Thomas Carleton with many others I could name, who now mingle the redeemed in Heaven. Only a few days since while walking in the cemetery at Concord Church I remarked to my wife that among the dead there was Bro. Cliffs but nothing is there to mark his grave. Bro. Cliffs was good, poor and afflicted but he is where no sorrow ever comes.”

Bro. Howren in another article in the Advocate (April 23, 1884) tells of the time he was first licensed to preach.  It was at the old Morven Camp-ground then called Lowndes Camp-ground in 1837. He wrote in part:

“In the fall of that year I was licensed to exhort. Bro. Francis M. Smith was circuit preacher; Bro. John L. Jerry, presiding elder.  Bro. Hamilton W. Sharpe was licensed at the same time and place.  It was what was then called Lowndes Camp-ground but for many years since called the Morven-campground  which I believe is still kept up by the brethren there and is over fifty years old, has been in that country  a power for good.

“I remember very distinctly at one of those meetings that the older preachers got up a discussion on sanctification, some contending it to be a separate work from regeneration. I was young and said nothing but thought it would spoil if not break up the meeting.  A young preacher who, like myself, had nothing to say on the subject in dispute, was appointed to preach on Saturday night.  He got up and took his text ‘He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.’ He got about half through his sermon; all at once the Holy Ghost came down upon the preacher and people; he had to stop preaching, and just such a time of shouting and rejoicing I never witnessed before nor since under one sermon. That young man was the Rev. J. J. Taylor, now living at Wellborn, Fla. I never heard him preach before nor since as he did on that night. The discussion ceased, the Devil left the camp-ground and we were all of one mind and heart, rejoicing in the love of Jesus.”

Fifty appointments he received from the Bishops. Once only, did he miss a Conference session, and that from sickness. In all time he stood blameless before his brethren. During this time he never took a vacation. District Circuit and Mission work was alike, faithfully performed by him. Many times he was sent to hard and trying fields; but he made no choice of appointment, going cheerfully to the place Chosen for him, glad to labor anywhere for the Master. Once he was selected to preside over his brethren in annual session in absence of a Bishop. Minutes of the Florida Annual Conference, 1890

Reverend Robert Hudson Howren and his wife are buried at Evergreen Cemetery, Jasper, FL.

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James W. Talley, Milltown Doctor

The Talley family has a long history in Berrien County, GA. Reverend Nathan Talley came, from Greene County, GA to Berrien County  with his wife, Martha Travis some time in the 1850s.  The Methodist minister resided in the vicinity of Ray’s Mill.  He was a neighbor of  Keziah Knight, daughter of William Anderson Knight, and her husband Allen Jones.  Also residing with the Talleys was Dr. John W. Turner.  In 1861, Reverend Talley was serving as minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Milltown (now Lakeland), GA. He gave the invocation and led hymns for the Grand Military Rally for the Berrien Minute Men at Milltown, GA on May 17, 1861.

Two of Reverend Talley’s own sons were among the medical men of Berrien County.

Dr. Hamilton M. Talley practiced medicine in Nashville and Valdosta, and also called on residents of  Ray’s Mill (now Ray City), GA.  In the Civil War, Dr. H.M. Talley served as Captain of Company E, 54th Georgia Regiment, one of the infantry units raised in Berrien County.

Dr. James W. Talley, had a medical practice in Milltown (now Lakeland), GA.

Dr. James W. Talley, of Milltown (now Lakeland), GA

Dr. James W. Talley, of Milltown (now Lakeland), GA

The following biographical sketch of James W. Talley was written just before his death:

James W. Talley, M.D., was born February 22, 1826 in Henry county, GA, not far from Atlanta, and is of English ancestry.  His grandfather, with two brothers, came to this country, and the former, Caleb Talley, after serving during the revolutionary war, settled in Virginia. He was the father of seven sons, five of whom were Methodist ministers. One of these, Rev. Nathan Talley, of Green County, GA, was the father of James W. Talley. The later received a good academic education, and in 1850 began the study of medicine under Dr. William Blalock, of Fayetteville, GA.  In 1851, he entered the Medical College of Georgia, at Augusta, but took his degree from Savannah Medical College. 

Savannah Medical College, 1867.

Savannah Medical College, 1867.

He located in Milltown, Berrien, Co., where he has built up one of the most successful and extensive country practices in the state. During the war, Dr. Talley was exempted from military duty on account of his profession. Politically he is a democrat.  He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, of lodge No. 211, has been grand master, and is now past master.  One of Dr. Talley’s brothers, H. M. Talley, is also a physician at Valdosta.  Another, A.S. [Algernon] Talley, is a real estate agent in Atlanta.  For his first wife, Dr. Talley married Miss Mary Little, daughter of Zabot Little, of Henry county.  She died in 1867, and he afterward married Miss M. [Araminta Mississippi] Holzendorf, daughter of Alexander Holzendorf, of Cumberland Island, one of the best known planters in the state. [Her brother, Robert Stafford Holzendorf married Satira Lovejoy Lamb, widow of Major John C. Lamb who commanded the 29th Georgia Regiment during the War.]

Dr. Talley’s family consists of two sons and four daughters. His eldest son, Junius V., born May 8, 1872, graduated from the Louisville Medical college in June 1894; William T., born August 30, 1875, at home, attending school. The eldest daughter, born in 1854, is the wife of Huffman Harroll, a merchant of Valdosta; Mary I., born in 1864, married J.H. Bostwick [Bostic], a manufacturer of naval stores in Berrien county [and a trustee of Oaklawn Academy]; Effie C., born November 5, 1870; Lelia H., born September 6, 1873, is the wife of J.J. Knight, a merchant of Milltown.

“According to Old Times There Are Not Forgotten, he [Dr. James W. Talley] built the bungalow still standing on the northeast corner of Main and Oak Streets and raised a family…”  – Nell Roquemore

1-j-w-talley-house3

Dr. J. W. Talley’s son, Dr. Junius V. “June” Talley, after graduating from Louisville Medical College returned to Milltown (now Lakeland), GA where he also took up practice.

In October 1894, Dr. J.W. Talley was elected to the executive committee of the short lived Berrien County Prohibition Association.

Dr. James W. Talley died November 25, 1895. An obituary was published in the Tifton Gazette.

Obituary of Dr. James W. Talley, Tifton Gazette, November 29, 1895

Obituary of Dr. James W. Talley, Tifton Gazette, November 29, 1895

Tifton Gazette
November 29, 1895

Dr. J. W. Talley Dead

Death has again visited our community, and claimed as its victim Dr. J. W. Talley.  Dr. Talley came to this country in the year 1856, and has been a practicing physician here ever since. He was an exemplary citizen and a Christian gentleman, having joined the Methodist church in early boyhood, and leaves a large circle of relatives, friends and acquaintances, who were present today at his burial. The funeral services were conducted by Rev. E. L. Padrick and Rev. Wm. Talley, who read a short history of the deceased’s life. The bereaved wife and children have the deepest sympathy of the entire community.   BUTTERFLY.

Grave of James W. Talley, died November 25, 1895. Old City Cemetery, Lakeland, GA. Image source: Ed Hightower

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