"History of The Baptist Church"
Mr Lee Delves Into Records of Local Baptist Church and Finds Many Things of Interest
(Published in The Franklin Press, May 2, 1929)
The church some time ago made request that its ancient minutes be found and brought to light. No one could give an information concerning them. Now, however, Bro. Johnny Rogers comes and brings the old church book which was begun in 1822. It was found at the Roger's home, having been left there by a former clerk of the church, Bro. Allman.
The minutes recite how the church was constituted in the Cherokee Purchase, Haywood county, NC, on the 7th day of May, 1822. The presbytery consisted of Elders, Stephen White and Adam Corne. Twenty members came from different churches to form the body.
The following are the members who entered the constitution:
Thomas Kimsey, deacon; Zachariah Peek, Green H Freeman, John D Moore, Benjamin Stiles, John Stuart, and James Bryson.
The female members were as follows:
Nancy Kimsey, Sarah Peak, Nancy Freeman, Milley Moore, Nancy Hall, Charity Stiles, Mary Davis, Rachel M McConnell, Mary Ann Stewart, Ann Bryson, Elizabeth Brison, Catherine Shields and Elizabeth Redmond.
Thomas Kimsey, having formerly been a deacon of Crabtree church, was admitted as a deacon. James Brison was examined and ordained as a deacon, May 7, 1822.
After being consulted in May 1822 the church met at Cowee, Sugarfork, and Franklin indiscriminately during the first several months of the life of the body. Bro. Benjamin Stiles was appointed the first clerk at the organization. Elder, Humphrey Poser became pastor of the church in July, 1822.
In 1822 the church was united with the French Broad Association, sending Bro. Posey as messenger to that body. The church was still meeting alternately at Sugarfork and at Coweta before locating definately at Franklin.
The church continued to meet at Sugarfork and Coweta until June 1823 when they agreed to meet at Franklin, and decide definitely the place for the church to be located. July 13, 1823, it was decided to make Franklin the permanent place of meeting for the body. The first communion was celebrated at Franklin Aug. 18, 1823.
The meetings at Coweta were discontinued, but the church met occasionally afterward at Sugarfork.
A new meeting house was built at Franklin in 1823.
It is said that the first building erected for the Franklin Baptist church about the year 1823 was located near the mouth of the Cullasaja river near Franklin. It is certain that this church from 1822 onwards became the mother of several other organizations in the county or section. It was in 1824 and 1825 that many members were received at a branch arm of the church located at Dillard's school house, most likely near the town of Dillard. In 1827 this arm of the church became an independent body.
James Whittaker was a competent clerk of the Franklin church over one hundred years ago. He kept neat records. His records show that Cowee church was organized in 1828 after exisiting as an arm of the Franklin body for some time.
The Franklin church contemplated the erection of a new building in the year 1828, but it was decided to wait until the grant of land should be secured from the state, which was done in 1829. The records show that the grant called for three acres and 22 poles and cost $11.15. This is the land on which the present pastorium is located.
Coweta church was organized out of the membership of Franklin in the year 1831.
Close contact was maintained with the pioneer work at Valley Towns among the Cherokee Indians. Rev James Kimsey was ordained to the ministry at Franklin, about this time. He was afterwards pastor of franklin.
It was in 1834 that the church first considered the matter of organizing a Sunday School. Rev Humphrey Posey was pastor at the time. He and others cordially recommended to the church the project of organizing a Sunday School, commenting on the advantages of such an organization. A conference of ministers and laymen was held at Franklin in 1835. It was about this time that a portion of the members resided at Cartoogechaye. The Franklin church permitted them to form a body of their own. A manual labor school was contemplated in 1836. This indicates that there was an appreciation of culture among the early members. Rev H Posey was pastor from 1823 to 1835, when he moved his residence to other parts. He preached extensively all over the mountain districts, going as far as Anderson, SC on his preaching tours. His evangelistic labors were highly appreciated by the South Carolina brethren, as is indicated by references to his work by the writer near Walhalla.
He was an enlightened and liberal man of God. He made some enemies but his integrity was unimpeached.
He was held in high regard by his Georgia brethren and frequently preached from the same pulpits as Jesse Mercer and others of his type.
Rev Joshua Ammons was ordained by the Franklin church to the gospel ministry. It was he that is said to have taught an Indian how to keep the Sabbath by boring seven holes in a log, and instructing the Indian to put a peg in a hole every day for six days, and when his six pegs gave out, the vacant hole represented the Sabbath day. It was to be kept holy and no work was to be done.
A small pox scare came to Franklin in the year 1836. This was the year in which Sugarfork church was established, having been formerly a branch of the Franklin church. Burningtown church was organized in 1829. It also had been an arm.
There were only 51 members at Franklin in 1840. This number dropped to 43 the next year. However, many members went out to form the above named new churches. Wautauga was also organized out of the Franklin church. J D Franks joined at Wautauga when it was an arm of the Franklin church in 1842.
It was in this year that the church made a great effort to encourage the reading of the bible among her members. The old school house was sold to raise funds for the new Female Academy.
In 1847 Holly Springs was a branch of the Franklin church.
Rev Joshua Ammons followed H Posey as pastor at Franklin. He was in turn succeeded by E Hiden. Seven black members were in the Franklin body in 1855. The black membership was never very large.
Minutes of the church were kept on scraps of paper in 1854 and 55 and they were consequently lost and not recorded in the church book. Scraps of paper are usually lost. The church records should be kept up to date and plainly written in the book.
Rev J R Arkons was ordained to the ministry in 1861. He assisted his father at times. Joshua Ammons continued to pastor until about the time of the Civil War. M Rickman and E D Brendle followed him. The building at Franklin was burned about the time of the Civil War and the body worshiped at Holly Springs for some time, returning to Franklin when the new church was built about 1879. Rev J S Woodard was pastor about 1871. M Rickman ws pastor in 1873.
Francis Elmore was an aged and much respected member at Franklin. He died in 1874, aged 84 years.
A more detailed mention may be given to the members of the church for the past one hundred and seven years at a later time. Many of the prominent families of the county have been connected with the body during the last century.
"More History Of Macon Churches"
"Names of Pioneers Who Settled in Various Valleys"
(Published in The Franklin Press, 23 May 1929)
Rev Stephen White was in the first presbytery which led in the formation of the church. Little is known about him. He was a member of the Stekoe church, Rabun county, Ga. He wrote the circular letter of Tugalo association in 1820. Only men of ability, discernment and degree of literary expression were selected to write these circular letters to the churches. In this letter he deplored the destitution existing in the mountain sections. He noted the scarcity of ministers in the territory. North Georgia had only begun to be settled in 1818. Stekoe church was one of the first in the region. Stephen White was an early minister and missionary, who looked across the border into North Carolina and saw the destitution there. He urged his Georgia ministerial brethren to visit the destitute sections to the north, He also sent out notice to ministers of other associations to look over the fields at the white harvests in the mountains. One writer says of him: "He was evidently a public spirited zealous and far-seeing man." He led in the misssionary development of the Little Tennessee Valley. He saw by faith in this little valley a score or more Baptist churches a century from his time. He envisioned a wealthy paradise of agricultural and pastoral beauty among the hills. He saw the site of the future county seat of Macon county. He and Rev Corn doubtless consulted and gathered a little band of believers at Franklin to form a mother church of the present thirty-two Baptist churches in Macon county. It was a wise step. This missionary vision was given him by God, and he was led in the enterprise by the Holy Ghost.
How much has come from his vision! Baptists have established churches in every valley and on many hillsides.
Stephen White led the founding of the Franklin Baptist church. Out of this church have come Sugarfork, Cowee, Coweta, Holly Springs, Cartoogechaye, Wautauga and many others. Franklin is a mother and a grandmother of churches. She led in the foundation of Dillard's church paying back Georgia for leading in the formation of the Franklin church.
Missions have no state bounds. Georgia Baptists saw a need of a church at Dillard's and established it.
The Franklin Baptist church is now one hundred seven years old. From a little band of twenty in 1822 she has sent out material to form 31 other churches, and now has over four hundred members. Do missions pay? Does it pay to have a missionary vision? Does it pay to work for Jesus.
Let us thank God that Stephen White and others loked (sic) across the state line and saw the early destitution in these parts.
Members 100 years ago. (1829.)
A neat record of the members is given in the church book as follows:
Males: Elder Humphrey Posey, pastor; Elder Stephen White, minister; Thomas Kimsey, later a minister; John Ammons, Thomas McClure, James Whitaker, clerk; John B Moore, Benjamin Stiles, John Stewart, Joshua Ammons, later a minister and pastor, David Peak, John Kerby, Thomas Jennings, Martin Angel, James Knowlin, Zachariah Peak, Joseph Pinson, Isaac Harris, Isham Davis, Fielding Forrester, Travis Elmore, James Brison, Lemuel Sanders and Thomas Plemmons.
Female members in 1828 follows:
L(?)ttice Posey, Nancy Kimsey, Sarah Ammons, Polly Whitaker, Mary White, Charity Stiles, Sarah Peek, Rachael McConnell, Maray Ann Stewart, Elizabeth Brison, Cahterine (sic) Shields, Mary Davis, Mary Clore, Nancy Phillips, Elizabeth Plemmons, Margaret Buchannon, Mary Wilkens, Mary Peek, Bertha Johnson, Polly Kerby, Mary Ledford, Abigal, a woman of color -- Elizabeth Rogers, Agnes Hood, Winifred Davis, Elizabeth Redmond, Ann Harris, Charity White, Mary Miller, Betsy Elmore, Mary Edwards, Grace Ledford, Rebecca Brison, Hannah Coocher, Sarah Miller, Winnie Knowlin, Fe(?)bie Ammons, Jane Kelley, Ann Williams, Patsey Dossey, Jane Robinson, Elizabeth Denton, Winnifred Lovingood, Susannah Scroggins, Peggy Dinsdale, Hannah Posey, Violet, a woman of color; Zilpha Trammel, Elizabeth Shields, Nancy Angel, Polly White, Sally White.
Members of the Franklin church living on Coweta in 1828 and asking to be formed into a new body at that place:
Benjamin Stiles, Lewis Fore, Jeremiah Singleton, Elijah Standridge, Charity Stiles, Ed Singleton, Martha Fore, Elizabeth Rogers, Mary Wilkins, Charity Jones, Hanah Fortenberry.
In August 1935 Rev H Posey reported to the Franklin church the organization of a new church on Cartoogechaye including the following members:
John Moore, esq., Thomas Milner, Geo W Crofford, Nathaniel Hogan, James Robertsin, Susannah Moore, Mabel Hogan, Martha Scroggins and they were dismissed by letter from Franklin. James Kimsey reported the organization of the church on Sugarfork in December 1836. The following joined that organization:
William Brison, George Loudermilk, James Brison, William ??(illegible), ?? (illegible) Moore, William Arnold, Jess Kirby, James D Franks, John Loudermilk, Zacharia Peak, Ephriam R Davis, Hiram Ledford, Wm W Loudermilk, Francis Hogan, Elizabeth Brison, Rebecca Brison, Elizabeth Mull, Rachael Kerby, Naomi Kirby, Margaret Brison, Cincy Davis, Sarah Loudermilk, Sarah Peak, Elizabeth Arnold, Susannah Ballard, Mary Ledford, and all above were dismissed from Franklin Baptist to form the Sugarfork church.
The U D C of the county are nobly endeavoring to secure authenle (sic) information for the celebration of the centennial. The above is authenicated by written manuscript and is valuable in locating families in the county as they were distributed from 75 to 100 years ago.
(Transcriber's note: I haved spelled all the names exactly as printed it the article. It is interesting to note that, for example, the surname Peak/Peek is spelled differently between husbands and wives in the article.)
"Story of Early Baptist Doings"
(By Walter M Lee)
(Published in The Franklin Press, January 9, 1930)
Quite a number of the members of the Franklin church resided down the Tennessee river in 1830. They had their worship at intervals at Fruit's school house. The location of this school is not known by the writer. They desired a new organization at Fruit's school in December, 1830. Humphrey Posey was still pastor at Franklin in 1830 and Stephen White was a minister holding membership in the church. Thomas Kimsey, John Ammons, and Thomas McClure were deacons. The total membership was 99 in 1830
Coweta church was now about to be formed in 1831. They petitioned the Franklin church to give them permission. There had been an arm of the church there for years.
The head of Tennessee was aided in forming of a church by the Franklin church. This church was down toward Clayton.
Jesse R Siler had furnished the Franklin church for years with wine with which to celebrate the communion. The church gave him public thanks.
Coweta church was formed in June or July 1831, the following members taking letters for that purpose: Benjamin Stiles, Lewis Fore, Jeremiah Singleton, Elijah Standridge, Charity Stiles, Eli Singleton, Martha Fore, Elizabeth Rogers, Mary Kelly, Marthar Rodgers, Mary Wilkins, Charity Jones, and Hannah Fortenburg.
The Franklin church was still holding occasional call meetings on Sugar Fork in 1831. A certain Mr Francis was teaching in Franklin in 1831. His school boys were in the habit of playing "Fives" against one end of the church house. This was taken up in conference and disallowed. Prosecution was threatened if it continued. Now who knows what "Fives" is or are? James Angel joined the church in the year by experience. William Bryson also joined by experience.
Joshua Ammons and James Kimsey were now licentiates of the church, and were going to and from among the hills to preach the gospel in dark settlements. Their labors were extensive and their fruits numerous. Many churches sprang up, and the Franklin church was busy granting letters for new constitutions during the next two decades. The Morgans, the Barnes, and the Hughes came into the church.
The Franklin church aided the Valley Towns Indians in organizing a church in the spring of 1833. Rev Jones was missionary at that place. The Franklin brethren aided the church in settling a difficulty. James Kimsey was set apart for ordination at the request of the Simpson's Creek in Georgia. Catherine Poteat and Mary Avaline Peek were received in 1833. Elizabeth Poteat also came into the churhc.
Among the membership at this time were the Peeks, the Angels, the Elmores, the Sanders, the Brysons, the Crawfords, the Ledfords, the McConnells, the Clores, the Phillips and many other families.
The matter of Sunday schools was commended to the church in 1834.
Elder Posey and James Whitaker both spoke of the propriety and usefulness of the Sunday school. These were good leaders. The Franklin church was progressive in its ideals. William Crawford, the grandfather of Lee Crawford, was a member in 1834. He was born in the year 1801.
Some loose gentlemen from Georgia came into the section at times and wrought havoc in the peace of the church. Drink, adultery, etc, corn stealing, fighting, libels, and other things disturbed the peace of the church.
Hannah Posey, mother of H Posey, died May 31, 1834. Ministers from Georgia, Tennessee, and all parts gathered at Franklin in the union meeting in 1834. The church bought a copy of the Polygot Bible for each of his ministering brethren. The minutes spell "Cartoogechaye" as follows: "Cautoogajay." Now which is correct? The name of this creek is said to mean "Meat and Greens." They had plenty of meat and greens up that creek at that time and they still have meat and greens. This is a good name for a creek. Pity but all the farmers up all our creeks had plenty of meat and greens.
An effort to establish a manual training school at Franklin was made by the Baptist ministers who met here in 1834. The Western North Carolina convention was at the head of this work. The grandfather of J E Rickman was for year's president of this convention. It did much to forward missions and education in this section. It circulated much good literature, formed a Bible and book society, etc. It sent missionaries to dark sections.
Cartoogechaye was now ready for a church, and one was constituted in 1835, with the following members: John Moore, Thos McClure, Geo W Crawford, Nathaniel Hogan, James Robertson, Susannah Moore, Isabel Hoga, Marthy Scoggin, etc.
Baptism was usually performed down at the river in these early days. The door of the church was always opened at the water.
Rev H Posey retired from the pastorate of the church in 1835, and Rev James Kimsey became pastor. The church gave its meeting house at Franklin to the school in 1835 to be used as an academy. Joshua Ammons was ordained to the ministry in 1836.
The church at Sugar Fork was formed in 1836. Members: William Bryson, William E Mull, Isaac Moore, William Arnold, Jesse Kirby, James D Frank,s John Loudermilk, Zachariah Peek, Ephraim R Davis, Hiram Ledford, William W Loudermilk, Francis Hogan, Elizabeth Bryson, Rebecca Bryson, Elizabeth Mull, Rachel Kirby, Naomi Kirby, Margaret Bryson, Liney Davis, Sarah Loudermilk, Sarah Peek, Elizabeth Ammons, Susannah Ballard, Mary Ledford. All were dismissed from the Franklin church. Martin and James Angel were still members at Franklin.
Noah Hill and Bro Mull were encouraged to exercise their ministerial gifts about this time. The church was forward to send her ministers out to preach. New family names are now seen in the recordsL Strains, Dalrymples, Seagles, Bartons, Corbins, Lands, Dempseys, Hefleys, Gribbles, Collins, etc.
The church had weakened itself by granting letters to organize Sugar Fork, Coweta, Cowee, Cartoogechaye, Head of Tennessee, Dillard and other bodies, but it was doing missionary work in the county. The county members from these churches are not coming back to strengthen the Franklin churhc.
A salary for the pastor was being considered by the church. John Pendergrass now appears upon the roll. Also Martha Pendergrass and Matilda Penedergrass. The members in Burningtown were now given the privilege of receiving members. A new church soon appeared up there. Bro Ammons was preaching at Burningtown in 1833. The Burningtown church was organized in 1833 with the following: Elizabeth Barnes, Polly Mashburn, Hester Welch, Elizabeth Hannah, Arrey Nannah. Churches in Cherokee were also aided into coming into existence. William Pendergrass now appears upon the records as a member. Also Ann Pendergrass. John F Pendergrass wrote a beautiful hand in the minutes, when he was clerk.
So many churches had been organized out of the Franklin church, that it now had only 43 members. Sarah, a black woman of the widow Angel's was a member of the church. The French Broad association met at Franklin in 1841.
Wautagua now desired a church constituted at that place. They were soon granted their wish. Members living in that section in 1841 were: Elder Joshua Ammons, Isiah Cook, John Ammons, Travis Elmore, Hosea Land, and Joseph Brindle. Also, Sarah Cook, Catharine Poteat, Winnaford Sanders, Zilpha Land, Sarah Ammons, Feraby Ammons, Mary Davis, Winnaford Davis, Jane Johnson, Martha Elmore, Elizabeth Sanders, Mary Ammons, Amy and Linna Sanders, Rebecca Brindle, Margaret Johnston and Mary Witherson.
Mary Kelly was a charter member of Coweta when it was organized nearly a hundred years ago. Her granddaughter is Mrs J B Stallcup, who husband served Coweta for period of seven years. Bro Stallcup found the church with 180 members, and lettered out seventeen to establish Prentiss church. When he left Coweta, the church had 250 members and was in strong condition. Bro (the rest of the article does not appear.)