Horace Jewell.

History of Methodism in Arkansas online

. (page 1 of 36)
Online LibraryHorace JewellHistory of Methodism in Arkansas → online text (page 1 of 36)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook








Columbia ©niUf m'tp


Bequest of

Frederic Bancroft




Methodism in Arkansas


little rock, ark.:

Printed and Bound bv Press Printing Company.,



Chapter I 1-4

The Methodism of Arkansas. The Type of
Preachers. The Difficulties. Similar to the
Older States. Agreeable Coincidence. The
Original Territor/. Methodist Organizations in
the State. History of the Church a Part of
the History of the State.

Chapter II 5-9

The Geography of the Country. Character of

the People. A Definition of Methodism. v^

Chapter III 10-18

Origin of Methodism John Wesley. At Ox-
ford. His Conversion. Organizationjof Soci-
eties. Lay Helpers.

Chapter IV 19-27

Introduction of Methodism in America. Robert
Strawbridge. Philip Embury. Capt. Webb.
Richard Boardman. Joseph Pilmore. First
Annual Conference. Dr. Coke. The Forma-
tion of Conferences. Western Conference.

Chapter V 28-36

Introduction of Methodism in Arkansas. Wm.
Patterson. Kentucky Colony. John Patterson.
Helena. Eli Lindsay. Spring River. First
Circuit. Wm. Stephenson. John Henry.

Chapter VI 37-44

Local Preachers. Alexander. Maxwell. Eli
Lindsay. Jacob Shook. Daniel Propps.
Henry's Chapel. Charles Seay. Dr. Briggs.


John M. Carr, Joseph Renfroe. William G.
Guise. G. W. Sorrells.

Chapter VII 45-59

Arkansas Admitted as a Territory. Gov. Miller.
Arkansas Post. Gazette. Washington Orr.
Thomas Tennant. Isaac Brookfield. John
Scripps. Gilbert Clark. W. W. Redman.
Rucker Tanner. District Conference. Green
Orr. Jesse Haile.

Chapter VIII 60-79

William Stephenson. John Harris. Thomas
Tennant. James Lowery. Henry Stephen-
son. John Scripps. Dennis Wiley. Thomas
Johnson. John Kelly. William Sliores. Ed-
ward Perry. Jerome C, Berryman. Answer
to Prayer. Uriel Haw. Nelson R. Bewley.
George W. Bewley.

Chapter IX 80-96

An Increase of Laborers. New Fields Opening.
New Districts. Transfers. Indian Work.
Burwell Lee. Conference at Cane Hill. Ar-
kansas Church Paper. Church Music. Con-
ference of 1835.

Chapter X 97-123

Arkan.sas Admitted as a State. The Organiza-
tion of the Arkansas Conference. Batesville.
List of Members. Statistics. Transfers. Rob-
ert Gregory. William H. Bump. Jerome B.
Annis. Peter McGowan. John L. Irwin. A.
W.Simmons. John B. Denton. Uriah Whate-
ley. John C. Parker. Jacob Custer. John
M. Steele. Letters from Bishop Andrew.
Hiram Geering. Charles T. Ramsey. Wil-
liam Mulkey.


Chapter XI 124-127

An Eventful Period. Admissions. Transfers.
John J. Roberts. A. S. Bell. J. Wayland.

C. H. Edwards. J. H. Biggs. G. W. Cot-
tingham. W. H. Goode. S. G. Patterson.
Great Floods,

Chapter XII . . .' 128-137

Division of the Church. A Decline. Slavery
. Agitation. Bishop Andrew. Louisville Con-
vention. Thomas D. Stroud. Jacob Shook.

Chapter XIII 138-143

Wm. Moores. R. H. Carter. G. N. Boyd. J.
J. Crouch. T. Q. C. House. Marcus Manly.
John Revill. John S. McCarver. J. D. An-
drews. Wm. B. Mason. Juba Eastabrook.

D. L G. McKenzie. Jerome B. Annis Jordan
Banks. Geo. A. Dannelly. Thomas Hunt.
A. L. P. Green. John M. Bradley. A. B.
Winfield. H. O. Perry. Benton Williams.

Chapter XIV 144-153

Tulip Ridge, Bishop Andrew. Jesse Griffin.
Casting Out Devils. James E. Caldwell. W.
J. Scott. C. M. McGuire. Whipping the
Blacksmith. Bishop Early. Bishop Kava-
naugh. Division of the Conference. Bishop
Pierce. Winbourne. Gaddie. Eppes. Crouzon.
Travis. Owen. James E. Cobb,

Chapter XV 154-185

Bishop Kavanaugh. A Great Sermon. Dr.
Henderson. H. Perry. J. W. Owen. J. A.
Stanley. Simeon Walker. R. C. Atchley. W.
C. Haislip. James E. Cobb. Ouachita Con-
ference. Arkansas Conference Transfers. M.
C. Morris. H. M. Granide. Joseph Andrews.


Stephen Carlisle. Benjamin Kellogg. Jacob

Chapter XVI 186-191

Conference Sessions of 1865. Admissions on
Trial. Thomas Howard. S. G. Colburn. John
H. Riggin. Geo. Butler. Transfers. Obituary
Notice. Conference Roll.

Chapter XVII 192-210

General Conference of 1866. New Departure.
Changes Wrought by the War. Lay Delega-
tion. District Conferences. Election of Bish-
ops Wightman, Daggett, McTyiere, Marvin.

Chapter XVIII . 211-272

Review of Decade 1860-70. Statistics of 1860-70.
Reminiscence. Changed Conditions. General
Conference of 1870. Bisliop Keener. Organ-
ization of White River Conference. Lewis
Garrett. Julius A. Stanley. Elijah McNabb.
Marcus Manley. Richard P. Davies. Arthur
Davis. Isaac Ebbert. Letter from Bishop
Wightman. John Harris.

Chapter XIX 273-296

Eli C.Jones. George A. Schaeffer. M. J. F. Beas-
ley. William P. Laney. Julius Stanley. Opti-
mus C. Robinson. James A. Anderson. Alfred
P. Melton. Elijah Dickens. Thomas J. Smith.
Statistics of Conferences. W. J. Dodson.
Semi-Ccntennial. The Conferences.

Chapter XX 297-329

Conferences of 1887, James F, Hall. Augustus
R. Winfield. Samuel Parker. Towns and
Cities. Little Rock. Early Settlement. First
Preaching. List of Pasiors. The Ames-
Stanton Order. Church on Spring Street and


Winfield Memorial. Asbury Chapel. Lay-
men. Elect Ladies. Other Methodists.

Chapter XXI , 330-357

Monticello. The Churches. Circuit Preachers.
Organized as a Station. List of Pastors.
Mount Pleasant Circuit. Prominent Local
Preachers. Laymen. Magnolia. Introduction
of Methodism. Lists of Pastors. Adjacent
Circuits. Towns. Batesville. First Settle-
ment. Early Days. List of Pastors. Type
of Inhabitants. Quitman. First Settlers.
The College. Adjacent Charges. Fayette-
ville. The University. The Pastors. The
Type of People. Arkadelphia. The First
Settlers. Mary Dixon. The Colleges. Wal-
dron. The Fourch LeFevre.

Chapter XXII 358-373

History of Methodist Schools. Methodism the
Friend of Education. Kingswood -School.
Cokesbury. Mission Schools. Conference of
1844. Ratcliffe, Agent. Washington Semi-
nary. Soulesbury. Bluff Spring. Camden
Female College. Quitman College. Wash-
ington High School. Arkansas Female Col-
lege. Altus College. Hendrix College. Gal-
loway College. Arkadelphia College.

Chapter XXIII 374-379

Other Methodisms. Protestant Methodist Church
in Arkansas. M. E. Church. African Metho-
dists. African Zion Church. Colored M. E.

Chapter XXIV 380-382

Methodism Among the Negroes. The Friend of
the Negroes. Wesley's Visit to Charleston.


Chapter XXV 383-384

Arkansas Tribes. Pierre Francois Charlevoix.
The Indian Forms of Worship.

Chapter XXVI 385-395

Methodism Among the Indians. Treatment by
the Whites. Old French Missions. Presby-
terian Mission. Rev. Cephas Washburn.
Original Boundary. Capers. Removal West.

Chapter XXVII 396-400

Conclusion. The Annual Conferences. First
Things in Arkansas.

Appendix A 401-410

Conference Sessions from 1820 to 1840.

Appendix B , 4 11-419

Conference Roll for 1891. Date, Place of Meet-
ing and President of Conferences in Arkansas
from Organization Until 1891.

Appendix C 420-43 1

A List of Traveling Preachers from 1816 to 1886,
with the Manner of Their Disconnection with
the Conference.

Addenda 432-445

An Account of Bishop Bascom, Bishop Capers,
Bishop Andrew.


For a number of years I have greatly desired to see a
•well-written history of Methodism in Arkansas, and sincerely
hoped that some one thoroughly qualified for the work
would undertake the task. In 1869, the Little Rock Annual
Conference passed this resolution :

" Resolved, That the Presiding Elders be, and are hereby
constituted, a Committee on the History of Methodism in
Arkansas, to collect items of interest connected therewith."

If anything ever came of this action of the Conference I
have never heard of it. In 1878, or near that time, the
White River Conference requested Rev. John M. Steele to
undertake the work of preparing a history of Methodism
in Arkansas. He immediately began the collection of ma-
terial for the work, and had succeeded in collecting much
■valuable information, but was called away by death before it
was completed. It was left in such condition that no one
else could properly arrange the material he had collected. I
have undertaken to gather up the material that has
been preserved in the minutes of the Annual Conferences,
in District and Quarterly Conference records ; in manuscripts
written by some of our old pioneer preachers, in articles
written for our Church papers; in memoirs of our deceased
preachers ; in letters from brethren and friends ; in inci-
dental allusion found in books, and in conversation with old
residents of the State. From the information gathered from
all these sources, I have endeavored to present a connected
history of Methodism in Arkansas. In many instances
where I had to depend upon the personal recollection of
brethren, I found the dates to be conflicting, and in such
cases I have reconciled the dates as best I could. In the
acknowledgment of obligations to others for help in the


preparation of this work, I am more indebted to the mate-
rial collected by Brother Steele than any other one source.
I am largely indebted to Dr. Hunter for the privilege of using
material furnished by him in a series of articles to the Ar-
kansas Methodist. Valuable aid was received from manu-
scripts left by that faithful old pioneer, Rev. John Harris.
I am under obligations to a number of brethren whose names
will appear in the body of the work for letters of informa-
tion and valuable suggestions in the preparation of this
work. In this connection I must publicly return my thanks
to Mr. Fay Hempstead for his kindness in permitting me to
make use of his very excellent History of Arkansas, in gath-
ering material for this history of Methodism. It has been my
purpose to give proper credit in every instance to the au-
thors from whom I have made quotations ; if in any instance
I have failed, I desire in as public a manner as possible to
correct the mistake. The practiced reader will no doubt
find missing links in the narrative ; in many instances I
found it impossible to obtain the information I needed to
complete the chain.

It has been my design to give the reader a book of relia-
ble facts, and great pains has been taken to verify all the
quotations made from other authors. Whatever faults there
may be in the style of the book, I believe the reader can
trust the accuracy of the facts given, and rely upon the cor-
rectness of dates and numbers as found in the body of the
work. If the study of the History of Methodism in Ar-
kansas should inspire our people with a greater love for the
Church and to greater zeal for Christ, by recounting the
noble deeds of those who planted the Church in the early
days of the State, I shall feel that my labors have been
richly repaid.

Horace Jewell.


The author lays no claim to literary merit in the following
pages, liowever desirable this might be in a history of this
kind. If he can only present the record of the past in a
clear and consistent way so that the reader can gain an
accurate knowledge of the history of Methodism from the
time that it was first planted in Arkansas until the present
date, he will be perfectly satisfied with his effort. If he can
only rescue from oblivion the names of the noble men that
dared the privations and dangers incident to a pioneer
ministry, and so successfully laid the foundations of the
Church in the Territory of Arkansas, he will feel that he has
been more than repaid for all the labor and trouble incident
to the preparation of such a work. He feels that such a
work, if successful, will meet the approval of all his brethren
throughout the State.

The following glowing tribute to the memory of the
pioneers who laid the foundations of Methodism in the West
is from the pen of Bishop Paine :

" The Methodism planted by the heroic and holy pioneers
in this region was truly Wesleyan; no wild or spurious*
offshoot of the original stock, producing fanaticism and de-
grading its disciples, but a genuine root of the true vine
which Paul planted, ApoUos watered, which Luther pruned,
and Wesley nourished, and whose fruitful foliage was now
rapidly spreading over England, the West Indies and the
great Western continent. Its fruit was healing the chronic
ulcers of the nations. It introduced order, social and moral ;
it subdued the vices, restrained the passions and vitiated
appetites; refined the taste, enlightened the minds of men,
and spread peace and happiness through society. It insti-
tuted an unequaled system of propagandism, the very plan.


introduced by the great Master himself, and called forth the
moral heroism of martyrs in its ministers. Its doctrines
were scriptural, its forms and ceremonies simple and signifi-
cant, its spirit catholic, its discipline strictly evangelical and
its system of government subordinated to the great cardinal
object of spreading scriptural holiness over all lands by an
itinerant ministry. No wonder it succeeded ; it would have
been far more wonderful if it had not. Every attribute of
the God-head was on its side, and every intercession of the
world's Redeemer was virtually a prayer and a pledge of its
triumph. The highest interests of humanity were involved
in its efforts, and some of the purest and noblest of earth
sacrificed their earthly all in its behalf."

This picture is not overdrawn. The planting of Method-
ism in this country did indeed cost the "all" of many of
the noblest men. While we know something of the hard-
ships and privations to which they were exposed, we can
never know the half they suffered. Even the patient, heroic
Asbury, with all his powers of endurance and sublime faith,
was made to exclaim :

"Sure I am that nothing short of the welfare of immortal
souls and my sense of duty could be inducement enough
for me to visit the West so often. Oh ! the roads, the hills,
^the rocks, the rivers, the want of water even to drink, the
time for secret prayer hardly to be stolen, and the place
scarcely to be had."

When he saw the destitution among the preachers at the
Conference of 1806, he wrote: "The preachers weie in
great want, and to help them so far as I could I parted with
my watch, my coat and my shirt."

While this language was applied to the laborers in other
fields, it was just as applicable to the early preachers, who
planted Methodism in the wilds of Arkansas. It is equally
true of such men as Stephenson, Harris, the Tennants, the
Orrs, Scripps, Medford, Whitesides, Henry, Ratcliffe, Hun-


ter, Steele, and others of equal fidelity to the work of Christ.

The time has come for us to gather up the incidents con-
nected with the early history of Methodism in Arkansas be-
fore they are irrecoverably lost to the Church. A few of
the old veterans who were conversant with the scenes of
early Methodism in the State are still living ; but in a very
short time they will have passed away, and much of inter-
esting information in their possession will be buried with
them, unless the pen of the historian shall preserve it for the
edification of the Church. It will be the purpose of the
writer to gather up as much possible of the unwritten his-
tory of early Methodism in Arkansas. Doubtless there are
many incidents and names that should find a place in the
history of the Church, but they are lost beyond recovery.
There are saints and heroes who sleep in unknown graves,
but their record is on high. It is a sacred duty we owe their
memory to rescue, as far as we can, their honored names
from oblivion. As an illustration of the fact that the mem-
bers of other communions regard the Methodist Church as
the great pioneer organization, in supplying the new countries
and outlying districts with the gospel, and that they are
expected to be the first to enter new fields and prepare
the way for others, the following incident is related :

Some years ago the writer was traveling one of the large
districts in Arkansas, and holding a Quarterly Conference
in a rather sparsely settled neighborhood, when a gentleman
of another denomination — a man of more than ordinary in-
telligence — complained bitterly of being somewhat neglected
by the Methodist Conference in not being as prompt in
sending them a preacher as he thought they ought to have
been. The writer asked him what his own denomination
were doing for the community. The answer was, nothing
at all ; he said it had not occurred to him that anybody but
the Methodists could supply them. This man voiced the feel-
ing of many others, that the Methodists were the only ones


who could successfully enter new and sparsely settled por-
tions of the country.

It is just as true in regard to communities as it is in re-
gard to individuals, that the after-life is largely influenced
by the training and culture they receive in the early forma-
tive period of their existence. Whatever of success the
Church has achieved in Arkansas, has been in a very large
degree the result of the labors of these old pioneer preachers.
We of a later generation have entered into their labors, and
we are now reaping a harvest from their patient labor in
sowing. They often went forth sowing in tears ; we who
have entered in, reap in joy. If the author succeeds in
doing nothing more than to rescue the names of these
noble men from oblivion, he will have performed a lasting

service to the Church in Arkansas.

Horace Jewell.


On page 142, seventeenth line from top, read one of the
tnost instead of the most widely known.

On page 174, eleventh line from bottom, read to jmite in-
stead of to zvrite.

On page 189 there is a repetition of a paragraph on page

On page 239, fourth line from top, read for 1874. instead
of for this year.

On page 276 read William Manley instead of William

On page 348, where the name of William L. King appears,
read Wilbur L. King ; also in the list of preachers for the
White River Conference read Wilbur L. King instead of
William L. King.


The Methodism of Arkansas — The Type of Preachers —
The Difficulties — Similar to the Older States —
Agreeable Coincidence — The Original Territory —
Methodist Organizations in the State — History of
the Church a Part of the History of State.

The history of Methodism in Arkansas will necessarily
resemble the history of Methodism in every other Southern
and Western State. The great similarity in the class of
people who first settled, and the character of the preachers
who first planted Methodism, in these States, would neces-
sarily produce similar results. To write the history of one
is in a large degree to write the history of every other one.
There existed in all these States the same natural difficul-
ties, connected with a sparse population, spattered over a
new country, which required the same methods to reach and
gain access to them. There were first a few scattered set-
tlements of very poor people, and then a pioneer Methodist
preacher following closely upon the advance guard of these
hardy settlers. Then came the first religious services, which
were usually held in the rude cabins of these plain people,
or, when the weather would permit, in the open air. As the
population increased, these pioneer preachers would preach
in school houses, and rude churches built in the most primi-
tive. style. Then came the formation of societies and the
organization of circuits, districts and conferences.

As the wealth of the country increased, and the popula-
tion became more densely settled, the plain and small houses
of worship would give place to better and more commodious
ones, better suited to the altered condition of the country.
New circuits and stations would be formed, and older con-


ferences would be divided and new ones formed, to meet the
growing demands of the Church and country.

There were, in all these States, similar examples of self-
denial, and heroism in meeting difficulties and surmounting
obstacles. There were similar examples of devotion to
Christian duty, followed by similar success in winning souls
to Christ.

But while there was this general resemblance in the Meth-
odism of all these States, there were some peculiarities in
the condition of each that caused it to differ from every
other. While these early preachers belonged to the same
general class, and very greatly resembled each other, a more
independent body of men never lived so that each preacher
had something about him peculiar to himself. Within these
clearly-defined limits of general resemblance, there was a
wonderful variety of character and incident. The fact that
each community was widely separated from every other com-
munity, and each preacher was left to develop any peculiar-
ity of talent that might belong to himself, would necessarily
produce a greater variety of character than can be found in
older communities, that are constantly being brought into
contact with each other.

It does not follow that because the history of Methodism
in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, Missouri and
Texas, has been written by such able writers as Redford,
McFerrin, Bennett, Smith, McAnally and Thrall, that the
necessity does not exist for some one to write the history of
Methodism in Arkansas. The dauntless heroism, the untir-
ing devotion, the burning zeal, and the fervent piety, of the
pioneers of Methodism in Arkansas, were not surpassed by
the early preachers of any of the older States. It is a sacred
duty to rescue from oblivion the names of these men, whose
labors have so enriched the Church of God. If we should
delay this work much longer, the materials from which the
history could have been written will have forever perished.


It is only here and there that an old inhabitant remains, in
whose memory are stored the recollections of many of the
most important events in the history of early Methodism in
Arkansas, from the planting of the first societies until the
present time.

In our researches into the history of the Church in Ar-
kansas, and into the civil history of the State, we will find
a singular and agreeable coincidence between the principal
epochs in the growth and development of each.

The State was originally a part of the Louisiana Territory.
The Church in Arkansas was embraced in the Missouri Con-
ference. The Territory of Arkansas was formed in 1819,
and organized into a territorial government.

The Arkansas District of the Missouri Conference was
formed in 18 18. It was called the Black River District, but
lay entirely within the Territory of Arkansas. Arkansas was
admitted into the Union, as a State, in 1836 ; and the Arkan-
sas Conference of the M. E. Church was organized the same
year. From that time until the present time the Church in
Arkansas has kept pace with the growth of the State. There
are more members in the M. E. Church, South, alonein
proportion to population than there were in 1836 in the
M. E. Church, to say nothing of the other Methodist organ-
izations within the State.

In addition to the M. E. Church, South, there are the
M. E. Church, the Protestant Methodist Church, and various
colored Methodist churches ; and taking all these into the
account, there are many more Methodists now in propor-
tion to population than there were at the organization of the
Arkansas Conference in 1836.

Methodism is a recognized factor in the civilization of
America. Men of every religious creed, and of no creed,
whatever may be their opinions about the system of doc-
trine, ecclesiastical polity or customs of the Methodist
Church, readily admit that it has had great influence in


moulding the social and religious habits of the country;
whether they approve or condemn, they readily grant that
it has had a large influence in moulding the habits and relig-
ious faith of other communions. It is one of the largest,,
if not the largest, religious denomination in the United
States, and is more universally diffused throughout the
country than any other body of Christians, There is
scarcely a community to be found in which the Methodist
Church is not represented. No one can be said to be well
informed in regard to the history of the country in which he
lives, who is ignorant of the history of so large, active and

Online LibraryHorace JewellHistory of Methodism in Arkansas → online text (page 1 of 36)