GENEALOGICAL INFORMATION FROM
THE WESTERN METHODIST 1833-1834
Compiled by Jonathan Kennon Thompson Smith
Copyright, Jonathan K. T. Smith, 2003
January 3, 1834
From the RICHMOND, VA. CHRISTIAN SENTINEL
It is our painful duty to record the departure of our beloved brother, George M. Anderson. He resigned his deathless spirit into the hands of his creator and his body to death, on the morning of the 7th dec. In this city [Richmond], in the full assurance of a blissful immortality, by the hope of the resurrection of the dead. Between two and three o'clock in the morning on Saturday, we were called up to visit the chamber where this minister and man of god met his fate. When we entered his room, we found him gasping for life and struggling in the arms of death. He raised his head and whispered, "i can't talk;" and panting a few seconds, with an audible voice said, "but all is well;" and with a stronger emphasis cried out, "glory to god!" And requested the company present to join in prayer. After praying with and for him, he requested us to "tell the preachers at conference I am gone to heaven ó come on!" One of the members of that body who was present asked him "if that was all he wished to tell the conference." He replied, "tell them to take care of my wife and child." He then desired a friend to preach his funeral sermon; " and, said he, "tell the people I am a sinner saved by grace and that grace is for all."
Circumstances requiring us to leave him about daylight we were not privileged with witnessing the closing scene which took place about 9 o'clock but we were informed by those who did that he remained perfectly in his senses to the very last moment and when able to utter a single word, spake of his prospects of happiness with the utmost certainty. The last words which he was ever heard to speak, were, "farewell, farewell! I soon shall be walking the delightful plains of heaven." While we remained with him his mind seemed as if struggling as well as his body, to reach a distant shore and he would frequently exclaim, "When shall I get
through, when will the struggle be over?" At one time, when nature seemed quite exhausted, he said, "death must be like going to sleep, as I feel so much easier."
Mr. Anderson was born in Chesterfield county, Va. On the 20th day of august, 1799, of religious parents who were members of the Methodist E. Church and he was religiously educated and as he says himself, in a diary which we have before, he was thereby "prevented, though naturally volatile, from running into many of those views to which the rising generation are subject and was early brought to realise the secrets of converting grace." It seems that at the time of his early conviction and conversion, he was going to school with an elder brother who professed religion and that when he was convicted for sin, he had accompanied his religious brother to a meeting in the neighborhood where a revival of religion was going on for the purpose of making sport of his brother but whenever he saw the Christians appear happy, particularly his brother, he could not any longer withhold his tears or the expressions of his conviction for sin and solemnly promised to seek the pardon of his transgressions, immediately broke off from his wicked comrades, fervently praying and seeking for mercy, until God spoke peace to his soul, which he records as taking place where he went to make sport of his religious brother, on the 3d of August, 1813, about the fourteenth year of his age.
Soon after his conversion he was impressed with the duty of preaching the gospel and at the conference in 1818, at Norfolk, was received on trial and appointed to Bertie circuit. At this time he was but a little above 19 years of age, yet he conducted himself with that prudence, ministerial dignity and zeal, as to "let no man despise his youth." He records this year as a year of great peace to his soul and with strong hopes that his labor was "not in vain in the lord." In 1819 he was sent to the Bedford and Lynchburg circuit. In 1820 to the Williamsburg alone, where there were added to the church about 100 members. Here he had a severe attack of affliction in October which well nigh ended his days and which perhaps laid the foundation of his long and heavy afflictions. He mentions that in this affliction, god was with him so that he was enabled to rejoice in the prospect of death. In 1821 he was stationed in Petersburg where he had another severe attack of the bilious fever in which his, good Saviour visited him so that he was still enabled to rejoice in afflictions. In 1822 he was appointed to the Raleigh station where his health continued delicate, it being a year of great affliction in that city, in which many died. In 1823 he was stationed in Richmond. On the 9th of august in this year he visited a camp-meeting in the bounds of the Williamsburg circuit. At this meeting, on the 12th, he received the most powerful spiritual blessing he had ever enjoyed before. He says, "that day and place my soul never will forget." He returned to the city happier in god than he ever had been and records this period as one in which he believes he received the blessing of sanctification or a clean heart. In the autumn of this year he lost his brother, Peyton Anderson, the presiding elder of James River district whose death was the occasion of his removal to Petersburgh to take the place of the appointed successor his brother. On the 9th of November of this year he was married in Richmond to Miss Martha A. Roe. This step he appears to have taken with much prayer and with a particular view to his usefulness and success as an itinerant minister. In 1821  he was stationed in Norfolk and on the 6th of February 1825, preached his last sermon there on the eve of leaving for conference. He attended the conference at oxford, n. C., Which commenced on the 24th Feb. and adjourned the 24th March. He received his appointment this year for Greensville circuit and on the 10th of April commenced his labors with some pleasing prospects of success though in feeble health. On the 30th he preached and after returning from meeting was taken with a chill, succeeded by a severe fever which nearly terminated his earthly existence. In this affliction, he makes the following record, after being confined to his bed about four weeks.
"Thank God, though much afflicted, I was resigned and willing to die. Indeed, I cheerfully submitted." He was not able to leave the place where he was sick until the 14th of June and was not able to preach until the 9th of September, in Richmond, which was followed by an increase of affliction. On the close of this year, he made preparations to teach school in Richmond the ensuing year and after much conflict in his own mind, determined to apply to the conference for a location. For this mark of their affection, he makes a record of his gratitude for such kindness and
expresses a hope that should so far recover his health as to be able to join them again in effective labors.
From this time until the day of his death, Mr. Anderson was a man of great bodily affliction and was never able to do much for his Masterís cause in the public administration of his word. He finally settled himself in Richmond and continued to be a man of sorrows and acquainted with much suffering. But his mind appeared to be always calm and stayed upon god, never murmuring or repining at the dispensations of divine providence. His greatest anxiety appeared to be an ardent desire to be at work in his master's vineyard. He truly loved the cause of god and rejoiced in the prosperity of his church. His mind was well furnished, both from experience, observation and reading, with the sacred principles and doctrines of Christianity. He knew and happily applied the promises of the gospel to his own comfort and happiness in all his seasons of trial and deep affliction and found their supporting and consoling influence to be great in his last hours of conflict with the monster death. But,
'Tis finished, 'tis done, the spirit is fled,
The Christian is gone, the minister's dead;
The Christian is living, through Jesus's love,
And gladly receiving, a Kingdom above.
All honor and praise are Jesus's due,
Supported by grace he fought his way through,
Triumphantly glorious, through Jesus's zeal,
And more than victorious, o'er sin, death and hell.
February 7, 1834
The newspaper carried the news from the January 8, 1834 issue of the Norfolk, Virginia Herald, that S. H. Miller, formerly a lieutenant in the United States Army, had recently spent some time in that city at a hotel, had checked out, had been seen in another hotel and equivalent of a saloon on Saturday, February 1, 1834, on which date he was apparently murdered, having been found bruised and injured and almost nude.
May 2, 1834
MURDER AND ROBBERY AT FLORENCE
We are called on to record another crime, one of a most daring character. John Marrs, a respectable citizen of Lauderdale county, Ala., left the public square in Florence about half past two o'clock on Friday last [about April 18, 1834], for his residence about six miles in the country. He proceeded on his way about one mile from the courthouse, in full view of town, and in the immediate vicinity of some of our most respectable citizens when he was shot dead by some villain or villains and robbed of about seven hundred dollars. On this being announced to the citizens of Florence, they immediately assembled at the courthouse and [determined to offer] a reward of six hundred dollars for the apprehension of the murderer on conviction. They appointed a committee of vigilance and call upon the [smeared word] of justice and moral order everywhere to aid them in detecting and bringing to justice the author of this outrage.
S. H. Stockton, one of the publishers of the Mobile, Ala. Register had been shot and killed by Charles A. Stuart on April 3, 1834. No particulars of the incident were given but a few days ago, after his trial, Stuart was acquitted by the jurors.
July 18, 1834
REV. GEORGE W. ASHBRIDGE
Permit me to present you for publication a few extracts from a sermon delivered on the 11th May, by the Rev. Joshua T. Russell, occasioned by the death of the Rev. George W. Ashbridge, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Louisville [Kentucky].
George W. Ashbridge is no more! Truly a [word smeared] man has fallen in the church of Christ! Christians! Weep for him but only shed tears of joy. Shout aloud your hosannas, let the welkin [sic] ring with praise to god that his death has been a death of gain. Let him be to you a bright and brilliant example of true piety and godliness, shape your conduct by his Christian rule, walk in the path in which he trod and you will obtain a glorious gain in death. Sinners! In his death, you behold the Christian's triumph over death, the "king of terrors." When he was translated to the "church triumphant in heaven" you lost a friend and benefactor who was deeply interested in your present welfare and the salvation of your souls. Sinners! If you desire a pattern of Christianity, contemplate his life from the early age of 15 when he dedicated himself to god, to the hour of death, when he was removed to "mansions in the sky." Contemplate his works, his course through life and think how pleasant it will be to die the death of the righteous. May our death be like his death, may we enjoy his peace of mind, may we be assured of his hope in Christ, may we rejoice in god as he rejoiced and express the same willingness and anxiety to die and be with Jesus and when our spirit leaves the earthly tabernacle for the realms of purest bliss, may our lips articulate his last, his dying words, "Home, home, I am going home."
Alas! Though his death to himself was gain to the world it was a loss, for
. . . in his duty prompt at every call,
He watch'd and wept, he prayed and felt for all;
And as a bird each fond endearment tries,
To tempt its new-fledged offspring to the skies,
He tried each art, reproved each dull delay,
Allured to brighter worlds he led the way.
Rev. George W. Ashbridge was born in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] in 1800. At the age of four years his father died; at the age of 12 he was committed to the charge of a friend in Paris, Ky., and there united himself to the Presbyterian church when 15 years old. In 1820 he graduated at Transylvania University; he took a full theological course at Princeton, N.J. and in 1823 was licensed to preach the gospel. He was soon after sent as a missionary to Florida. After 2 years spent in missionary labors he took charge of a church in Tuscumbia, Ala. where he married. He resided here until 1831 when after mature, anxious and prayerful deliberation, he became the stated minister of the First Presbyterian Church in Louisville where he continued to labor with truly commendable zeal and fidelity as a minister of the new testament until the period of his dissolution, Sunday, May 4, 1834.
From the age of 15 years when our deceased brother first consecrated himself to God and united with his visible church upon earth, up to the very hour of his transition to the church triumphant in heaven, he was enabled by divine grace steadily to persevere in a life of practical godliness. His piety was pure, enlightened and energetic. As a Christian he was distinguished most of all for his kind and benevolent and holy actions, benevolent actions seemed to constitute the very element of his soul.
The clock had struck ten on Saturday evening, when urged by the fond partner of his bosom, who had discovered his danger, and sought from god, fortitude and grace to meet the painful crisis, his physician communicated the certain, fearful, startling intelligence that the hour of dying was at hand. This was the first intimation of immediate danger. The tidings fell upon his ear like a sudden death-knell! But
they failed to awaken either grief or fear or even painful agitation. For a single moment, in eloquent silence he paused and in the impressive stillness of that fleeting moment, loosened all the ties which bound him to earth and made a final transfer of his thoughts, his affections, his whole soul to heaven! To the doctor he said, "Tell me, doctor, tell me truly, how long can I last?" "Possibly, till tomorrow, not longer," was the reply. Turning to three friends who were at his bedside he said, "pray, each of you offer a plain, short prayer to God." When this was done, he broke forth himself in audible, eloquent and impassioned tones and in a brief, fervent, elevated invocation, he besought for his congregation, for his friends, for his infant children, for his bosom companion, for his own departing soul, the grace and benediction of his covenant-keeping God. "From my sins and from my duties, O my God, I flee, to the perfect, finished righteousness and atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. Into thy hand, blessed Saviour, I commit my body and my spirit." Here we must stay with our extracts and refer all who desire to know more of this truly Christian man to the eloquent sermon of Mr. Russell.
July 25, 1834
In this issue is an article entitled, "Vindication of E. K. Avery."
On December 20, 1832 Miss Sarah M. Cornell had either been hanged or committed suicide by hanging and although the particulars are not furnished in the newspaper, it was evident that the Methodist preacher, E. K. Avery, had been indicted and tried for her murder. The paper read, "perhaps the whole records of justice in this country do not furnish a case which was attended and followed by so much excitement as the trial and acquittal of the Rev. Ephraim K. Avery, charged with the seduction and murder of Sarah M. Cornell. On trial, Mr. A. was fully acquitted by his peers but the public mind to a great extent, refused to acquiesce in the verdict of the jury and a state of unparalleled excitement, throughout the state of Rhode Island, where the parties resided, where the murder or suicide was committed, and where Mr. A. was tried, was the consequence. We were in Rhode Island, soon after the close of the trial, and never did we see a whole community in such commotion. In riding over the state, every few miles, you would see an effigy of Mr. A. as large as life, swinging on a gallows, labelled on the breast in large capitals, with the words, "The murderer of Sarah M. Cornell."
Avery had published a 72 page attempt to declare his innocence. The editorship of the St. Louis Observer, from which this article was drawn, declared its belief that the Reverend Avery was innocent of murder.
September 5, 1834
The newspaper announced that JAMES I. GREENE, a delegate to the state constitutional convention, held in Nashville, Tennessee, died august 29, 1834, at the spa, Fountain of Health. The Nashville Whig, August 27, 1834, had published thumbnail sketches about the delegates to this convention. Greene's read, "James I. Greene. Residence Blount county; born in Prince Edward county, Virginia, in 1781. Emigrated to Tennessee in October, 1803. Occupation, a farmer and merchant." [see page 82.]
March 21, 1834
An article in the newspaper of this date commented on someone's stroll through Old City Cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee, taking note of the epitaphs which interested him. One read, "Nipt in the bud. My son aged eighteen months. Died Aug. 16, 1831." No name was furnished and in the comprehensive listing of tombstone inscriptions here, published by Jeannette T. Acklen, in 1933, in tombstone inscriptions and manuscripts, there does not appear to be mention of this child. His name may be listed but the dates may not have been legible by this time. Mention was also made of the new, impressive tombstone raised by the Presbyterians to the minister, Obadiah Jennings. Acklen reports that his tombstone states that he was born in New Jersey, Dec. 13, 1778 and died Jan. 12, 1832.
September 12, 1834
The town of Lagrange in the State of Alabama is in the south section of the great valley of the Mississippi.
The silver Tennessee [river], a pure and noble stream stretches between the site of Lagrange and the Mississippi, a distance of about 200 miles.
The site of Lagrange occupies the summit of a mountain from which there is a splendid view of the beautiful vale of the Tennessee, a rich and level country, while in the distance, the noble Tennessee is partially revealed, like a thread of silver, for more than 50 miles.
In the morning, when the sun rolls up the eastern horizon, the fog clings to the wavy and circuitous route of the river, like an outline of cloud, and then rises like the lift of a snow-white curtain, assuming fantastic shapes in its ascent.
The mountain atmosphere of the locality is necessarily pure and bracing to the organs of respiration, contributing not only to general health but to a remarkable buoyancy of spirits, favorable to the efforts of mind. Its distance from a large town or populous village removes the students from many of those temptations to profligary and immorality which exist in cities or their vicinity.
Lagrange is under the patronage of the Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama conferences. There are two brick edifices [buildings], three stories high. The officers are, a president and three professors. The college is in debt. It must have additional buildings.
To enable Lagrange to assume an equal standing with similar institutions in the union and place it on permanent ground it will need a fund of $20,000. Unless this fund can be obtained, it will have to contend for its very existence with contingent circumstances, be rendered incapable of redeeming its pledges to the public and perish to an everlasting disgrace to the Christian community to which she looked for support and patronage.
Funds are needed to lay the foundation of the great university of the south west, a college which shall exert its influence from the Cumberland Mountains to the plains of Texas, from the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico; and like the father of waters, in whose value it is located, roll an ocean of moral and intellectual influence over all that land.
John Newland Maffitt,
The June 5, 1834 Commencement Exercises at Lagrange were held in front of the "old" college building. Among the graduating students addressing the assemblage on that occasion were (according to the June 27, 1834 issue, Page 2):
WILLIAM FORD, Madison County, Alabama;
S. TARPLEY, Clinton, Mississippi;
JOHN SALE, Lawrence County, Alabama;
THOMAS C. SAUNDERS, Lawrence County, Alabama;
F. T. PAINT, Western District, Tennessee;
E. O'NEAL, Madison County, Alabama;
WILLIAM E. SAUNDERS, Lawrence County, Alabama;
WILLIAM J. HANCOCK, Giles County, Tennessee;
JOHN W. VINSON, Lagrange, Alabama;
The Degree of A.M. was conferred on THOMAS A. WATKINS, M.D., a graduate of the University of Georgia.
September 5, 1834
DEATH OF HON. MR. GREENE
On Friday last week [August 29, 1834] James I. Greene, a member of the [Constitutional] Convention from Roane county, who had been confined to his room the latter part of the session of that body, departed this life, aged about 52 years, at the Fountain of Health, Davidson county, which place he had reached in a vain attempt to get to his home that he might die in the bosom of his family. Mr. Greene had commanded great respect in the convention for the independence and discriminating qualities of his mind. His sickness was a loss to his associates in public duty as his death is to his family and the community at large.
Mr. Greene was born in Prince Edward county, Virginia and had been a resident of Tennessee about 30 years. His occupation was that of a planter or farmer and of late years he had been somewhat interested in mercantile pursuits. For six years of his life he had served the citizens of his district as a member of the State Senate and had given such satisfaction to his enlightened constituents that with great unanimity they entrusted to his hands the important work of forming the fundamental law of the state. But he has gone to the higher judgments and awards of eternity.
We have a sort of melancholy pleasure in looking over a manuscript which we obtained from him a short time before his death and to which he affixed, perhaps for the last time, his signature to paper, evidently written in a trembling hand. In answer to a question we had proposed respecting the religious denomination to which he belonged, he communicated the following, "in connection with no religious denomination, friendly with all and an unswerving believer in the truth of revealed religion. In the manuscript to which we refer, his strength evidently failed him and in reply to our questions respecting his family descent, he dictated what was written by the Hon. Matthew Stephenson, one of the members of the Convention. The following is a copy of his answer:
"Descended from an English family who settled at an early period in the Colony of Virginia, in New Kent county. My father, Thomas Greene, came into the interior or southern part of Virginia and settled in Prince Edward county about the year 1755, where he married and raised a family of eleven children, of whom I am the youngest; my two eldest brothers, the late Colonel Berryman Greene of Halifax county and the late Maj. Thomas Greene of Prince Edward county, volunteered their services during the revolutionary war and were engaged in all the principal battles of that arduous conflict which so happily terminated in the achievement of the American independence. The former acted as commissary general to the Virginia line and the latter commanded a troop of horse attached to Colonel Washington's regiment of cavalry. My father, Thomas Greene, having taken a very active part in support of the war throughout, was singled out and visited by the traitor [Benedict] Arnold in his memorable predatory excursions through the southern counties of Virginia and
nearly reduced to poverty by an indiscriminate destruction of the houses, property and stock of every description. I will only add that it was the understanding of my father and Gen. Nathaniel Greene, that they were the descendants of a common ancestor of perhaps about the second or third remove.
Very respectfully, Jas. I. Greene
An account of his death having reached Nashville on Sunday, those members of the Convention who had not left the city, assembled, passed tributary resolutions of respect to his memory and adopted the usual badge of mourning.
[James Independence Greene served in the Senate of Tennessee, 1827-1833.]
NOTE ABOUT THE PUBLICATION OF THE WESTERN METHODIST
During the period covering these genealogical abstracts, 1833-1834 Garrett and Maffitt were editors of this newspaper. Unfortunately, the issues post-October 17, 1834 have apparently been completely lost.
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