Rutherford County Historical Society.

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in 2010 with funding from

Lyrasis IVIembers and Sloan Foundation

Rutherford County Historical Society

Publication No. 7


Summer 1976

MurFreesborO/ Tennessee 37130



The Cover
Hcpewell Church near Milton, Tennessee, about 1925.

Hopewell Church was established in 1816 about one mile north
of Milton. In 1840, four acres of ground were purchased on a hill
at the eastern edge of Milton on the road to Porterfield and a
church was built. In 1900, a new church building was constructed
on this lot and is shown on the cover as it appeared about 1925.
This building was demolished in 1938, and the present brick building
was erected in Milton on the site of a Cuntaerland Presbyterian Church
v^ch had burned in 1917. The sketch of Hcpewell Church is from a
postcard owned by Mr. Clyde Brantley of Milton, Tennessee. The
sketch was done by Mr. Jim Matheny of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Mr.
Mather^ is owner and operator of an artist-sign firm on South Church
Street in Murfreesboro. He is a mer±>er of the Society and a brother
of Dot Mather^/ 'th® Society's efficient secretary- treasurer.

Thanks to Rutherford County Jixige Ben Hall McFarlin and Mrs.
Susan R. Jones for their work in the publishing of this book.

Marf reesboro , Tennessee

MIDDLE ^f^^^^f ^ /'tsSEt 37130



Published by the


President Mrs . Sue Ragland

Vice-President Dr. Robert B. Jones III

Recording Secretary Miss Louise Cawthon

Corresponding Secretary and Treasuier. . .Mrs. Dorothy Matheny
Publication Secretary Mr. Walter K. Hoover

Directors Mr. Ernest K. Johns

Dr. Fred Brip;ance
Miss Mai-y Hall

PUBLICATION NO. 7 (Limited Edition-350 copies) is distributed to members
of the Society. The annual membership dues is $5.00 (Family-$7.00) which
includes the regular publications and the monthly NEWSLKITER to all members.
Additional copies of PUBLICATION NO. 7 may be obtained at $3-00 per copy.

All correspondence concerning additional copies, contributions to
future issues, and membership should be addressed to

Rutherford County Historical Society

Box 906

Murfreesboro, Tenn. 37130


The Rutherford County Historical Society was organized with
the idea of writing a new general county history. Someday this
project may be accomplished, but at the present time the Society
does not plan to even begin working on a general history. The
Publications issued twice each year contain about 100 pages each
of material on various phases of our past. The Historical Society
is well pleased with the way our history is being published in
this manner. A general history of the county could not have many
of the small everyday, humorous, and local facts that make inter-
esting reading. Eight or ten years from now a general county
history could be written using some of the material from each of
our past publications.

The Publications are furnished to each Society member (those
who have paid their dues), and the remainder are sold. At the
present time Publications No. 1, No. 2, and No. 4 are sold out.
Plans are being made to publish a 2nd edition of No. 1. We have
about 4o copies of Publications No. 3 and No. 5 left, and these
will be gone by the end of this year. The Historical Society
published 350 copies of No. 6, and they are going rapidly.

These Publications have not appeared in any old book or
antique markets and apparently are being kept by their owners.
They are not published by the Rutherford County Historical Society
as a profit making or collectors item. The Society wants these
booklets to be low in cost and easily accessible to people inter-


ested in history. Copies of the Riblications are furnished to
Highland Rim^ Linebaugh, Smyrna, Middle Tennessee State Univer-
sity, and Eagleville Library as a public service.

The Rutherford County Historical Society is an incorporated
non profit group. The Society tries to present articles in each
publication that are accurate and of interest to all residents
of our county. It is realized that some facts of history cannot
be proven, but the authors of articles in the publication are
asked to use footnotes or give their sources for their material
if possible. The Society has also tried to cover the entire
geographical area of Rutherford County and not just Murfreesboro
(which so far has had little coveage) or a few prominent early
families. The Publication is not a genealogical magazine either,
although every article published does contain much genealogical
material. The Rutherford County Historical Society is quite
proud of its Fublications and plans to continue publishing them
in place of writing a general history.

The Board of Direct' rs

Fred Brigance
Mary Hall
Ernest Johns


of the

The publication of the records of the Hopewell Presbyterian
Church of Rutherford County, Tennessee is the major bicentennial
project for I976 of the Colonel Hardy Murfree Chapter, Daughters
of the American Revolution. The records of this historic church,
established in l8l2, were discovered quite by accident by Laura
Lou White Coffey of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. It is apparent to
the reader that this church record and others of a similar nature
are invaluable to the genealogist and historian. We of Rutherford
County are indeed fortunate that Mrs. Coffey realized the relevance
of this material to our local research and we are deeply indebted
to her for her contribution to our heritage.

Mrs. Coffey is a Cumberland Presbyterian, an active member of
the Buffalo River Chapter, DAR, and of the Lawrence County Chapter,
United Daughters of the Confederacy. Largely due to her efforts
genealogical materials declared useless by Court authorities in
Lawrence County were saved from the dump and these have subsequently
been published in her column "From the Old Courthouse Attic" in the
Democratic Union, Lawrenceburg Newspaper. Other materials copied
by Mrs. Coffey include records of the Mt. Moriah Cumberland
Presbyterian Church and Sharon Cumberland Presbyterian Church,
both in Giles County, Tennessee.

The Colonel Hardy Murfree Chapter expresses gratitude to the
Rutherford County Historical Society for their cooperation in the
publication of the record.


Articles on the following subjects :

Index of Publications 1-5 of Rutherford County Historical Society

History of the Square In Murfreesboro

Nice's Mill or Ward Mill

Wright Mill (recently burned)

The Hoover family of Hoover's Gap.

The Slkes Family and their old home

Material on the southern part of Rutherford County - Rockvale,
Christiana, Eaglevllle and other communities

Civil War letters and diaries from Rutherford County people
also Mexican War

Church histories (these do not have to be pre civil war or very
early as Hopewell Presbyterian

Mllltla documents - letters, orders, rosters

Copies of old pictures If they can be Identified

Old hotels and taverns of Murfreesboro

Ijlst of Civil War soldiers from Rutherford County.

Anyone having material can contact Mr. Gene H. Sloan, 728
Greenland Drive, Murfreesboro, Telephone: 893-5'^27. If material
or pictures are submitted the Society will have a copy made
for the publication and the original will be promptly returned
to the owner.


The Anniversary of Two Churches

by Moses Cranor, I916 1

Minutes of Hopewell Church, 1816-I82I I8

Records of Hopewell Church 1832-I833

by Laura Lou White Coffey 22

History of Stones River Presbyterian Church

by Esther Couch 72

History of Cripple Creek Presbyterian Church

by Miss Pearl Youree jh

Militia Order from Library of Congress

furnished by Fred Brigance 85

Petition of Cornelius Sanders for Revolutionary War Pension

furnished by Christine Farrar 87

Index 92

(stone's River and Hopewell)


Moses Cianor. 19 l6

As we gather today to celebrate the Anniversary of Hopewell and Stone's
River Presbyterian Churches, it is iny purpose to malce it a histoiy of Faith
and facts for the churches at these places.

Faith is a reliance on testimony that which is real truth, a desii-e for
something good, with the evidence of trust that will be a proof of out- beliel
The Characters to be represented will furnish an adequate conception of the
Divinely vital and exuberant doctrine of Presbyterianism. Oui- creed is a
Christian faith briefly summed up in the two Catechisms and the Confession
of Faith, not three but one, with the word of God as fjuide.

V/hat is the chief end of man? It is to Glorify God and enjoy him for-
ever. The historic faith of the Pi-esbyterian Church as a body in latter
years has been assailed with the most searching criticism by a merciless
vivid and eloquent abuse, however, she stands today a monument toweling over
the frailties of man. These fathers and mothers, creators of the modern
world, born of heroes, saints and martyrs, crown it the greatest Creed of
Christendom. I will not stop here to defend its origin, history of govern-
ment. One thing I will say, it has "Tlius saith the Lord" for every word it
has incorporated therein.

As the footprints of the red man of the forest were scarcely gone, when
a steady stream of Scotch and Irish with a mixed blood of thirsty liberty
loving souls, could be seen wending their way across the mountain plateaus
of the east, along blood stained beaten trails that the savage

hiinter trod, as he fled before civilization's massive wheels, which has
transformed these fertile valleys and her circling hiUsidos, from natures
garb to ooe of lovely grandure, that seldom fails to attract the passer-t.y,
and bring fi'om their lips praises of delight. As we muse over the all absorb-
ing thought of one hundred years ago, and those devout men and women who
banded themselves together to serve the Lord God of their fathers, in a land
which has already been won for freedom by bravery, niese men we/e of command-
ing personality, of strong faith and courage, of intense energy, who exercised
a wonderful influence upon the moral and spiritual life and ideals, over a
large portion of the surrounding country. In theli- dwellings nestling along
the range of hillsides to the East, running North and South; between two noted
points or peaks that stand as sentinels of trust, they are known as Solomon
George on the north and Pilate Knob on the South. The Bible was their inhei'-
itance. Their SEunctuary was around the hearthstone, a place of more vital
religion in that day than all others combined. A need that has been sorely
neglected. The two points above mentioned, one north, the other twelv^ miles
south, in sight of each other, stand as sentinels to the faith and bfotherly
love that existed between the two ext'^emes.

Why were these two churches, Hopewell and Stone's River organized on the
same day, April 1, 1816? At or near the two points designated, by the ilev.
Jesse Alexander, a licentiate of Shiloh Presbytery. (Their pla.ce of vrorshlp
in the few years that had past was near the center under no name that either
of our recor-ds mention, in brotherly love and feeling no doubt the two
extremes were anxious for a place of worship dividing near the centci-.

Hopewell, one mile east of north from her present position; two ::iiles
south of that noted peak, Solomon George, Wiose head was covered with a lu::-
urient forest looking down upon the rudely constructed log house near the old
bui-ying ground, where many of theii- members lie beneath the sod awaiting the

resurrection morn. Two of their niunber, the records tell us, were taken to
the beyond in the first year of Hopewell's organization, Capt. Thomas Black,
a soldier of Revolutionary fame, and his wife, Polly (Polk) Black. The
blood of these two pioneers flows in the veins of over one fourth the member-
ship of Hopewell today. Out of over two hundred of their descendants we can
trace fully three fou'ths that were and are members of some branch of the
Pi-esbyterian church. A history that few of the chuj ches of this Presbytefy
can parallel.

Hopewell was organized April 1, 1816 as above stated with members then
in communion 38^ six of which were elected and installed elders, namely:
Ezekiel Sharp, William Rea, Zacheus Alexander, Ephram Farr, Joseph Shai-p &
Abner Alexander, Clerk of Session. Hopewell received as stated supply from
Rev. Jesse Alexander, Licentiate, from Apr. 1, I816 to Apr. 7, 1817.
Hopewell's histo;ry I will divide into four periods.

Period 1, was one of 15 yeai'S with no very active demonstration recorded.
Each year had one informal record of additions, deaths and disraissaJs, with
only three session meetings in regular fonn recorded. Members added on cei-
tificate & examination, 62. Baptized adults, 10, Infants 39^ benevolent
causes $5^.00. Deaths lU, Dismissed 15. Suspended for heresy, 2. The
report to Shiloh Pi-esbytery for April I83I was kO members. In concluding
this the 1st period, three new elders had been elected and installed, William
McKhight (Dr. Billy) usually called, was a ruling elder fiom Stone River
Church received into Hopewell in I825. On July 2k, I829, he was chosed Clerk
of Session. Elders John H. Baxter and David Morrison were elected and instal-
led July 30^ 1830. Of the old remaining elders, William Rea was born in
Ireland I^fe.r. 6, 1752. He professed religion at the age of I8 years, remained
an elder in Hopewell ^ years, died at the age of 104 years. The other, Abner

Alexander, serving as Clerk of Session 13 years. (oo far unable to find his

Period 2. In the beginning this Period of 23 years, from the past you
can plainly see that Hopewell, with all her struggles, barely held her own.
I hope that no one will feel that it is my purpose to digress in the least
from the subject, for if their ever was two sister churches organized on the
same day, by the ssune man, out of a united brotherhood, who had been woi'king
together in love and unity, it was Hopewell and Stone River. It may be
safely said that nine tenths of the past one hundred years the same ministers
have filled the pulpits of both churches.

A little ways up Stone's River near its banks stands that noted Peak,
(Pilate Knob) alx'eady mentioned as a Sentinel of peace and unity. Until 50
years ago her- head was uncovered by the ravages of war by Federal authority.
Redoubts were built constructed upon her crest and a light towet' on her sum-
mit that displayed a beacon of calmness and peace, or the red
flashing signal of the approaching enemy.

This was a period of great religious activity. It is likely that in
this decade Hopewell was removed to her present location, though the records
m£Lke no mention of it anywhere. At this time the congregations felt the need
of closer relations, and on Sept. 23, I83I, the two congregations met in Camp
Meeting at the Contor Nursery or McKJnight's Ceimp-ground, near the dividing
line between the two congregations. The Carap-ground, w?j.e situated on a plat
of two or more acres, in the center was a large shed 35 or kO by 60 to "0 ft.
On three sides of this square were rudely constructed tents, some of logs
others of board and plank. Around this large auditorium were large beech
trees that furnished ample shade. The seats were the time honoi-ed puncheon
and a new straw floor for each general occasion. In the rear of the pulpit
the full width of the structure, was a shed for the colored man and his

family, the eacort of his master. The entrance was from the east, there was
a main aicie with two f)f more crocs aides forming sLde entrances. There
were meetings onco or Lwice a year which were looked rorward to wltli I'allli
and supplication for the outpouring of the Holy Gpirit, upon them uud t)ioir
efforts. Hundreds upon hundreds attended these meetings. Order was the pre-
vailing characteristic. It seemed that the power of God and his presence was
felt and recognized by all. As many as fifteen visiting Presbyterian ministers
are recorded as attending during a meeting; two to four and 5 at a time. I
will najne a few of them-Mui-freesboro's greatly beloved. Dr. Wm. Eagleton,
Rev. M. Marshall, Amzi Bradshaw, William Porter, E. T. Brantley and Dr. A. H.
Dashiell, that noted ministorial orator, of persu.aGive language and convinc-
ing power. It was no wonder that men thronged these meetings, coming two and
two and others alone, some walking others in deep meditation, wending their
way to the near by grove, as the sun was inking behind the western hills v/hile
twilight came, later the woild wrapped in nature's night. The burdened cry
from many a soul could be audibly heard as it v^as wafted on the stillness of
the breeze, that some poor perishing souls that night might find Jesus
precious to their souls. The records mention 10, 25, '?0, and 75 being
gathered into the garnor of the Lord; and Hopewell, Stone River, Cripple
Creek and Murfreesboro were edified and built up in the most holy faith. I
find that in the l8 meetings recorded 535 persons made pro. of religion.

On Nov. 10, 1832, Elder David Morrison (after serving 2 yrs.) and family
were dismissed, moving out of Church bounds. May 31^ iQhO., Elder V/llliam
McKnight departed this life. He served as Clerk of Session 11 years. Apr.
12, l34l Bro. Williamson Cosby was chosed Clerk of Session. Oct. 25, l3U2 he
vras dismissed at his own request in good standing, serving 1 year as clerk.
Oct. 25, 1>342 Bro. David McKnight was elected clerk of Session, serving 8 yrs.
Apr. 1, 1849, Bros. Dennis Hog\/ood & William R. Alexander were elected and

ordained elders In Hopewell. Oct. 9th of the same year, lQ^9, Elder William
R. Alexander departed this life. He was a son of the beloved Pastor., who .
WJiB near throe score and ten years. Apr. ih, l''>!)0. Elder Dennis Iloi^yood wj^s
chosen Clerk of Session.

July 20, l85if, $235-35 was collected from Hopewell and LJtone Rivet-
Churches to pay for the Presbyterian church at PJashville, Tenn.

During this period Hopewell had 19O additions, 26 deaths, 95 dismissed,
1^3 Baptisms. Church expenses $905.00, Benevolent causes $6o4.00, totaling

April 9, 1859 the report to Sliiloh Presbytery was. Rev. Jesse Alexander
pastor, John H. Bastor and Dennis Hogwood elders. 111 members.

Period 3- The period from Apr. 9^ l859 foi' seven years, was one o!" the
greatest declines in all of Hopewell's history. First, at the beginniiip; she
was an independent Church, with no ecclesiastical connection anyi-^here. The'
few years preceding this thei'e \ra,s considerable agitation in the higher
church courts over two or more much debated questions which I can explain
more fully by giving a copy of a Church meeting held in Hopewell I'lay '), l"59-

Congregational meeting

Hopewell's members were called together by order of Session on the 5th
day of May l859 for the pui^pose of choosing their ecclesiastical connection.
The meeting was constituted by calling Rev. Jesse Alexander to the chai-r, and
L. B. Creson, clerk. Rev. Jesse Alexander opened the meeting with prayei-, he
also explained the object of the meeting. A committee of three, to wit, John
H. Baxter, D. Hogwood and George Peoples, was appointed to draft and present
suitable resolutions which were severally considered and adopted.

V/hereas the Presbyterian Church of the United States cf America, divided
in the year I838 on the subject of the Excinding Acts of I837, and fonned two
Assemblies known by New and Old School, and whereas a number of the

Px'esbjrterians belonging to the New School Assembly being aggrieved with the
continued agitation of the subject of slavery in this body, withdrew from
said assembly in l857 convened at Cleveland, Ohio and formed a Synod at
Khoxville, Tenn. in IO58, known by the name of the United Synod of the
Presbyterian Church in the United States of America.

And whereas Shiloh Pi'esbytery to which we belonged was not one of the
number that withdrew, but disolved by a vote of her own body on the Oth day
of April 1859^ ve being thereby destitute of any ecclesiastical connection
whatever, "Therefore resolved, first that it is expedient that we foi-m a con-
nection with some ecclesiastical body. "

"Resolved secondly, that we approve of the I'esolution of the United
Synod in excluding the agitation of slavery from its Judiciary."

"Resolved thirdly, that we also approve of its explanation and mode of
adopting the confession of faith, as embracing the doctrines contained in the

Resolved fourthly, that we in uniting with said Synod, make no sacrifice
of principal or doctrine."

"Resolved fifthly, that we the undersigned members of Hopewell Church,
unite with said Synod through some one of her Presbyteries as soon as possible."

Fifty eight of the One hundred and eleven members of last repoi-t signed
the above preamble and resolutions. To this report two were added and 5 dis-

Oct. 6, i860, Elder D. Hogwood reported to North Alabama Presbytery, two
elders and 5> members uniting with said Presbytery. Following all this came
the War Between the States.

On the 15th day of June I863, Rev. Jesse Alexander, Hopewell's Pastor,
departed this life and was laid to rest in the city of the dead among his
bretheren and friends, awaiting the final summons. His age was 82 years and

5 raonthe. Two elders, John H. Baxter and Dennis Hogwood were left with the
buidens of Hopewell Lo bear. God in hie mercy seeing Hopewnll't-, Tew upon
their- knees sent visiting ministers to their relief. Such men as the Hevs.
A. Bradshaw, M. Marshall, E. T. Brantley, Henry C. Smith and others; Rev.
H. C. Smith serving near 2 years.

Sept. 25, 1865, a call for a congregational meeting, for the purpose of
electing elders. Oct. J, I865, H. A. Baxter was ordained elder by the Rev.
Henry C. Smith.

Wearing the closing scenes of this the third Period, a peace and haimony
were being promulgated throughout our beloved land. Hopewell looking back
upon her records find only three reports to Presbytery, with 21 additions, 7
dismissed, 1 expelled and 15 deaths, with 19 baptisms. For church expenses
$155 '00^ foi' benevolent causes $7'+.00, with 10 regular sessional meetings
recorded in the 7 years period.

A report to Noi-th Alabama Presbytery, April 9, I867, with 3 elders, 5'l-
members, closed the first 50 years of Hopewell's organization.

Period h. In the beginning this the 4th or last period including a space
of fifty years of Hopewell's history, it is my purpose to deal with facts and
figures concerning the active forces of this organization, concluding with a
brief summary of the two Churches, with a few sketches from life.

Sept. 16, 1867, Rev. M. A. McFeaters was called as stated supply for
Hopewell and Stone River. For over three years he served these people. He
was a man of deep consecration and earnest piety, decisive in his denunci:.i-
tion of evil and wrong doing. It was on Oct. h, 1867 that he with Rev. W. L.
Rosser began a seven days meeting in Hopewell, which resulted in ik profes-
sions, and the church members greatly refreshed. Mar. J, I871, Rev, Robert
Caldwell was chosed as supply. He was a man of strong character, showing
distinctive qualities and traits for good. Apr. 22, 1872 the records state

that Xanthius A. Baxter was chosed delegate to Nsishvllle Presbytery, the
first date of said Presbytery mentioned in our record. The Rev. Robert
Caldwell being called elsewhere, served Hopewell only one yeai'.

May 18, I872, Rev. W. L. Rosser was called to this field as supply. He
was one who in other days had stood upon the tented field pouring forth words
of comfort and consolation with warning against sin, and a judgement to come,
to his comrades in arms. For nine years he held the banner of Prince
Emmanuel aloft in Hopewell's rank. In this decade her prosperity was above
normal. Nov. 5^ 18^7 three elders were elected. Bros. J. C. Herndon, H. G. '
Johns and Jas. M. Weatherly were ordained and three Deacons, the first that
Hopewell ever recorded. Bros. Robert F. Baxter, Jas. N. McKhight and Wm. B.
White were duly elected and installed Deacons.

Apr. 1, 1875^ the first Elders and Decons' meeting was organized in
Hopewell. Dec. 19, l875^ elder Jas. M. Weatherly was relieved from the

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