Brush Creek at Liberty, established Salem Church at the latter place in August 1809, becoming the elder or pastor.
A house of worship was erected about 1858. The pastors have been: Jesse Allen, 1847-60; Hall Bethel, 1860-70; J . C. Brien, 1870-73; J. R. Bowman, 1873-75; A. J. McNabb, 1875-76; T. J. Eastes, 1876-78; J. J. Martin, 1878-; J. J. Porter, about 1880; J. C. Brien, about 1881-85; J. T. Oakley, about 1885-88; N. R. Sanborn, 1889-90; William Simpson, 1890-91; W. H. Smith, 1891-92; J. H. Grime, 1893-95; J. T. Oakley, 1896-; and A. P. Moore. Clerks to 1902: J. L. Bond, Abner Witt, P. P. Johnson, J. A. Wilson, and L. W. Beckwith.
Stephen Robinson. The Church was named for Isaac Cooper, a Mexican War and Confederate veteran. Though a Methodist (but afterwards uniting with the Baptist congregation), the erection of Cooper's Chapel was due mainly to his efforts.
W. H. Smith, J. B. Fletcher, Rutherford Brett, T. J. Eastes, and R. L. Bell. Early clerks: J. A. Walker, J. M. Walker, C. E. Bailiff, and C. B. Bailiff. Deacons in the first years: L. E. Jones, Isaac Cooper, Levi Foutch, J. H. Snoddy, H. H. Jones, A. P. Smith, G. A. Measle, Samuel McMillan, J. A. Walker, J. S. Rowland, and James Stark. Livingston Tubb is the present clerk.
pastors, these are recalled: Henry Bass, Hall Bethel, J. R. Hearn, William Simpson, J. H. Grime, G. A. Ogle, Stephen Robinson, and W. J. Watson. Of pathetic interest is the fact that one of the young ministers trained in this Church, J. T. Hancock, was called to its care, but died before his first appointment.
tors-no boundaries given. In 1838 the name of Short Mountain Circuit is given, with J. A. Walkup as pastor (no boundaries). I have no data by which I could tell you when the societies at Liberty, Alexandria, or Smithville were started. Neither Alexandria nor Smithville became a circuit until after the War between the States.
S. Pressley, P . P. Hubbard, Jacob Custer, J. H. Mann, J. Lewis, J. A. Jones, Isaac Woodward, B. F. Ferrell, Jehu Sherrill.*
the pulpit and altar on the first floor, that the slave members, who occupied that floor, might see and hear the minister. The framework of the building was so stanchly mortised and dovetailed and pegged that citizens said it would not have come apart had it been blown from its foundation and rolled out of the village. This church was occupied by negro soldiers in the war of 1861-65, and when they left the hogs and town cows appropriated it. Soon after peace the Methodists put it in as good condition as possible, and it was used for Church and school purposes until about 1874, when the present building was erected. The writer recalls the church's appearance well. The doors faced east and west, and on the eastern end of the roof comb was the belfry, a favorite place for bats and owls. The membership seems never to have been very large; but, considering the intolerance which used to prevail, it was "game." Some of the pulpit orators of ante-bellum days were heard in this old building, among them Fountain E. Pitts, J. J. Comer, and Ferdinand S. Petway. Dr. Foster wrote in 1914: "Sixty or sixty-five years ago one of the grandest characters I ever knew lived in Liberty- Stephen Moore, a Methodist preacher. He was goodness personified, and his wife was a worthy companion." In the same year Mrs. Polly Youngblood, the oldest inhabitant of Liberty and the widow of William Youngblood, said: "Yes, I ought to remember Brother Moore, as he officiated at my wedding." Joseph Banks and Isaac Woodward (the latter from Warren County) often preached at Liberty.
B. Adamson, E. Jane Whaley, A. T. Vick, M. C. Seay, Matilda Burton, B. W. Seay, Mary F. Seay, Ellen Seay, Lydia A. Barkley, James Foster, John W. Lamberson, and Len F. Woodside.
J. G. Molloy, H. W. Carter, D. M. Barr, J. W. Pearson, J. W. Estes ( Smithville and Keltonsburg Circuit).
tion; so the dear old Baptists said the Methodists had brought water from the earth and fire down from heaven. There were over two hundred conversions on the circuit that year, among whom I may mention Judge Robert Cantrell and wife, both of whom I baptized by immersion at Smithville. And I mention Colonel Stokes and Dr. Foster. Stokes was lying stretched full length on the floor when he was powerfully converted. I saw him in Alexandria after the war, when Stokes's Cavalry had become history, and we gladly greeted each other. Years afterwards I was sent up there as a presiding elder for four years-1871-75. Holding a quarterly meeting at Asbury, I found Uncle Joe Banks present, and we had a great service. Though he was now in the Northern branch of the Church, we met in the altar at the close of the sermon and fell into each other's arms, and the thing was 'catching' all over the house.
Myers and Russell Eskew. They were rather unique. Myers assisted me in the Asbury meeting. Arch Bain was a young preacher famous for leading the songs at camp meetings. Ferdinand S. Petway was the finest singer I ever heard. After the great meeting at Asbury, let me add, it fell to my lot to immerse more than a score of converts in Smith Fork. Six young ladies decided to kneel in the water and have it poured on them-'went down into the water' and were baptized by water or with water. Judge Robert Cantrell and wife professed at Bright Hill, three miles from Smithville, and joined our Church at Smithville after immersion. In 1873 or 1874 I stood on the scaffold and preached John Presswood's funeral before the swing-off by request of the sheriff. Some eight thousand people were present. At Smithville lived Wash Isbell, a hopeless cripple, but for many years he was county court clerk. William Magness, a brother of Judge Cantrell's wife, was a prominent merchant. So was Bob West. The hotel belonged to John Savage and was conducted by Mr. Stewart, whose wife was a sister of M. M. Brien."
ganized. Soon the ministers of that wing were preaching in DeKalb. As a lad the writer remembers when they appeared at Liberty, one of the ministers preaching being a Mr. Stephens, who had located at McMinnville. Then there was Rev. D. P. Searcy, who had been a Southern Methodist prior to the war. Rev. Joe Banks, of the county, also joined the Northern wing. It seemed that it made more advancement around Liberty than elsewhere. There was considerable hard feeling for a time between the two wings. Mr. Searcy located at Liberty, and shortly he and his interesting family became much beloved by all the neighbors. He was a son-in-law of Alex Robinson, of the county.
and school purposes, and at an early date a Methodist church was organized here. Who the preachers were, I do not know. This house was finally burned to the ground by an incendiary, and a commodious house for that time was erected in its place. This house also was used for Church and school purposes. About twenty years ago the members of the M. E. Church bought the property, tore down the old house, and erected an up-to-date building, perhaps the best country church in the county, with a thriving membership of one hundred and a Sunday school that has run more than fifteen years consecutively. The organization was effected by Rev. D. P. Search. Thomas Chapman was the first to join and was followed by Joe Banks, Jep Williams and wife, and about fifteen others. Judge W. T. Robinson and wife also joined soon. afterwards.
years the editor and publisher of the Conference minutes.
Baxter Barbee, H. Lamon, J. R. Goodpasture, Ira W. King, and Mr. Sanburn. A number of theological students from Cumberland University have from time to time held services in the church.
fied with the congregations may be mentioned Dr. Drake, Dr. T. J. Potter, Judge J. E. Drake, Prof. H. L. W. Gross, Brackett Estes, Samson McClelland, Hon. J. M. Allen, Judge W. G. Crowley, Judge M. D. Smallman, editor and educator W. D. G. Carnes, William Floyd, Dr. T. P. Davis, the Lincolns, Wades, Magnesses, Cantrells, Griffiths, Webbs, Martins, Hayses, Tyrees, Potters, Pritchetts, and Smiths.
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