Tennessee Records Repository

Davidson Co. TN

Genealogical Information from the Western Methodist

compiled by Jonathan Kennon Thompson Smith
copyright, Jonathan K. T. Smith, 2003

Table of Contents

Prefatory Remarks

With the encouragement of several ministers and layman, a Methodist newspaper was organized in which religious topics and news and a wide variety of general information would be published.            Thus was born THE WESTERN METHODIST, published in Nashville, Tennessee.

Western Methodist

The first issue of this newspaper was dated November 1, 1833. Its editors were Lewis Garrett, Jr. and John Newland Maffitt, both Methodist clergymen. Subscription cost was $2.50 per annum.

After sometime, Maffitt "transferred his interest in the paper to Mr. Garrett, who became the sole proprietor, publisher and editor." Garrett sold the newspaper to the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1836; the name of the paper was changed to the SOUTH-WESTERN CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE with a new editor in Nashville. (HISTORY OF METHODISM IN TENNESSEE by John Berry McFerrin, volume 3, 1875, pages 108-109) It in turn became the NASHVILLE CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE in 1848 which remained the official periodical of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South for the better part of a century.

Among the most popular features of this newspaper were the formal obituaries as well as mentions of deaths and marriages, generally, that were submitted to the newspaper.

The present compiler has abstracted the basic genealogical information from THE WESTERN METHODIST, 1833-1834. He is grateful for Laurel Baty, Columbia, Maryland, who supplied him with the microfilm copies of this newspaper for his research purposes. He is also grateful for the assistance rendered for collateral information by Jackie Wood, acquisition librarian and Memphis Conference archivist, Lambuth University, Jackson, Tennessee. Staffers at the Jackson/Madison County Public Library and the Memphis Public Library and Information Center, Memphis, Tennessee, have also been helpful to the compiler in his search for additional information about topics found in THE WESTERN METHODIST.


In an age when there were few effective medicinal painkillers, an "afflicted", i.e. diseased or seriously ill individual had to resort to whatever emotional strength he/she could muster to suffer with sanity until death relieved him/her. Religious faith served as the anodyne for many sufferers, as is illustrated in the testimonials related in these old-time obituaries. It would be easy for us, in a medicinally-blessed era, to scoff at the deathbed accounts of the obituarial writers. True, some of these writers "went over the top," became more interested in their articulate cleverness or religious enthusiasm but most writers seem to have spoken reasonably from their hearts. The best of these old mortals tried, as the best among us do now, to cope with the inevitable misfortunes of life as well as circumstances allowed.

Jonathan K. T. Smith
Spring 2003
Jackson, Tennessee