on these days in the American Restoration Heritage: June 7-13

Among the things that happened on this week in American Restoration Heritage history:

June 7

June 7, 1838 – Today, a preacher gets a hearing – while losing much of his own.

The Stone-Campbell movements have now been officially unified as one for the past six years. And today, in Indianapolis, Indiana, a gathering of Restoration Heritage churches gets under way. No less than one hundred and fifty churches are represented by those present. Naturally, this is deeply gratifying and thrilling to the featured speaker, Barton W. Stone. He addresses the crowd five times during the course of this six-day meeting (June 7-12).

However, during the course of this conference, Stone inexplicably suffers a sudden and significant loss of hearing. His health had been seriously challenged by illness two years previous, but he had long since made a full recovery. Three years from now he will suffer a stroke and be partially paralyzed, but he will make a full recovery from that, too. However, Stone will never regain any of the hearing he loses during this week’s conference. In fact, he will steadily lose much of the hearing he has left during his six remaining years of his life, a hard blow to one who has helped so many hear the good news of Christ.

June 8

June 8, 1814 – Never underestimate the power of granddaughters.

The three year-old Brush Run Church is located in Washington County, Pennsylvania (near the southwestern corner of the state) and Alexander Campbell has been its preacher for the past two-and-a-half years. Alexander, having resolved when he entered ministry to never accept money from a church for his work, serves the church “for free.” He had gone against his father’s advice when he had made that decision, and so, his father (Thomas) had predicted that Alexander would wear many a tattered coat through the course of his days. Thus far, Thomas’ prediction has proven correct; Alexander is anything but a prosperous man and his father can do precious little about it.

Now, to the west, in neighboring (eastern) Ohio, opportunities for growth are developing. Consequently, many of the members of the Brush Run Church have their heads turned that way, so much so that they’re seriously considering relocating the church to Zanesville, Ohio (a hundred miles to the west). And today, the little church votes on that very matter. Their decision? Move to Ohio.

Now at this time, Alexander and his wife, Margaret (Brown) Campbell, have been married just over three years. They have two children: two year-old Jane and eight month-old Eliza. Margaret’s father, fifty-two year-old John Brown [no, not that John Brown] is a very well-to-do farmer and carpenter who owns no small amount of land in several places. Margaret is the apple of his eye and his two young granddaughters have a hold on his heart. To say that he is disheartened by the thought of them moving far off is an understatement.

And so, John makes Alexander an offer he can’t refuse: he’ll give Alexander a 140 acre farm in nearby Bethany, Virginia (about ten miles from Brush Run) if he’ll just not make the move to Ohio.

When all is said and done, Alexander and his family are set for life with a farm in Bethany, the church doesn’t move … and John Brown gets to keep bouncing his two granddaughters on his knees far more often than might have been. Land for granddaughters; good trade. And especially so since John will outlive his daughter, Margaret (who dies in 1827 at the age of 36) and one of these two granddaughters, Jane (who dies in 1834 at the age of 22).

June 9

June 9, 1851 – I say, preacher, when are you ever going to get around to talking about dancing … and how on earth are you going to do it?

Today, a frustrated John Rogers pens Alexander Campbell a letter, a portion of which reads:

“It is now seven years since I felt myself called upon, in view of the increasing disposition to frivolity in our churches, to prepare and publish a discourse against dancing, as an amusement. … most certainly it is still on the increase in this section of Kentucky. … ‘Watchman, what of the night?’ I call upon you, my dear Bro. Campbell, in the name of God – the the name of the crucified one – in the name of poor, bleeding Zion; upon Bros. Richardson, Pendleton, and every editor and every scribe who can lift a pen, and every orator in this Reformation, to speak out in a voice of thunder, and say, O say! is this the goal to which you have been driving the car of this Reformation! … to introduce … the elegant, healthful, inoffensive, improving practice of social dancing into our families! …

“Bro. Campbell, more than a year ago I wrote you in reference to some of these matters, and urged you strongly to present your views concerning them. You promised me you would; but a press of business, I suppose, has prevented. … Are Christian parents to be allowed to send their children to dancing school, and have social dancing in their houses? Is the church to tolerate and encourage all this? Circus going, card playing, as an amusement – theatre going, and all kindred practices? Give us, my dear brother, your best thoughts on this subject.”

Campbell publishes Rogers’ letter in the August 1851 issue of the Millennial Harbinger (MH) and responds:

“The subject laid before us in the above communication from its excellent author, merits our profound consideration and that of all the brethren. We will attend to it in our next. – A.C.”

Campbell does just that in the September 1851 issue of the MH (pp.503-507). He confesses that he has not:

“… for more than forty and five years, seen a dance [Campbell is 63 years of age at this time], and but once before that, (having been, by mere accident, precipitated in its midst;) and, still more unfortunate, having, during its progress, fallen most profoundly asleep, acquired no accurate knowledge of the curious affair.”

To fill in his gap in understanding, Campbell then turns to Webster’s dictionary and references to dancing in the Bible “to make amends” for his “shameful ignorance of the mystery.” Having done so, he continues:

“… in New Testament manners and customs, in evangelical ordinances and usages, the word, nor the idea of dancing, is not found. ‘Is any one merry,’ says the Apostle James, ‘let him dance.’ That is an Episcopalian Testament. It is not our version of it. We read it by authority of King James, ‘Is any merry, let him sing psalms.’ He does not say let him dance. Still, if I saw a Christian man or woman hymning or singing psalms and dancing, I could not condemn him, because I read of one so joyful in the Lord that he entered into the temple walking, and leaping, and praising God. …

“But why introduce Bible authorities in this case? Who claims precedent in Holy Writ for courtly balls and midnight masquerades? Surely no disciple of Christ!! To play the fool at a masquerade, is no very honorable amusement for a saint or sinner. … Why look to Paris, the metropolis of atheism, sensuality and crime, for any other fashion or custom than those which drown men in destruction and perdition? I would say, if need there be, to every brother in the land, ‘Lift up your voice like a trumpet, cry aloud and spare not. Show Israel their transgressions and Jacob their sins:’ for because of these things ‘iniquity abounds – the love of many waxes cold.'”

June 10

June 10, 1880 – Today, as both a close friend and fellow brother in Christ within the Restoration Heritage, Jeremiah Sullivan Black writes a letter to James A. Garfield. At the time, Garfield is running for nomination as the Republican candidate for the office of the President of the United States. Jerry Rushford continues the story, and as he does so, he quotes an excerpt from Black’s letter to Garfield:

“Another Disciple who could not conscientiously give his support to the Garfield candidacy was Jeremiah Sullivan Black. When Black heard the news of Garfield’s nomination, he was torn between old Democratic loyalties and his strong personal friendship with Garfield. But he could not bring himself to vote for the Republican party.

“‘I am sure that if elected you will try your best to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before God,’ he wrote Garfield. ‘But to a certain extent you are bound to fail, for in our country the leader of a party is like the head of a snake—it can only go as the tail impels it , and your tail will be a very perverse one.’

“When Black was called upon to campaign for the Democratic ticket, he willingly complied. In the heat of the closely contested race, Black took the stump aggressively against Garfield.”

Garfield replies:

“I know how grounded you are in the ways of political thinking which seem to you just and for the highest good of your country — and so all the more for that reason I prize your words of personal kindness. … Succeeding or failing I shall none the less honor your noble character, great intellect, and equally great heart.”

And Rushford tells us the rest of the story:

“When the Credit Mobilier scandal [of 1872] became an issue [just a little later] in the campaign, Black testified that Garfield had actually held stock in the company and had received dividends as well. This accusation seriously damaged the Garfield-Black friendship. They never saw or wrote to one another again.”

[Aside: Garfield faces William H. Hancock, another former Union General of the Civil War, as his Democratic opponent in the 1880 Presidential election. Hancock’s running mate (for Vice-President) is William H. English. English had edged out Richard M. Bishop in the bid for the VP nomination and Bishop, like Garfield and Black, was a fellow Christian within the Restoration Heritage.]

June 11

June 11, 1835 – Today, the tension between the kingdom that is not of this world and the kingdoms that are of this world manifests itself in the life of a man.

Today, in Overton County, Tennessee, William Harrison Fleming is born to a veteran of the War of 1812 and his wife, William & Mary (Hall) Fleming. God grants son William seventy-five years of life. In 1859, at the age of twenty-four, he marries. The following year he is baptized into Christ and, soon after, decides to become a preacher. However, before he can take up preaching, the passions that flame up into the Civil War build and on July 30, 1861, Fleming chooses to enlist as a Corporal in Co. B of the CSA, 25th Tennessee Infantry Regiment. Just short of a year later (August 10, 1862) he is simultaneously transferred to Co. D and promoted to serve as its Captain.

During the war the 25th will experience some of the worst the war has to offer. In January, 1862, the 25th reports that it has six hundred and eighty-three men present for duty. During the Battle of Murfreesboro (aka: Stone’s River; Dec. 31, 1862 – Jan. 3, 1863), over one-third of the 25th’s men become casualties. Nine months later at Chickamauga (September 19-20, 1863) the regiment loses so many of its men (nearly forty percent) that it is necessary to consolidate those who remain with those of the 44th Tennessee. [Chickamauga is the Civil War’s second bloodiest battle. In it the 25th is a part of Fulton’s Brigade, a force that engages John T. Wilder’s famed “Lightning Brigade’ at the Log School House on the first day of battle. During the battle’s second day of fighting, the 25th engages, among others, W.C. Whitaker’s command at Horseshoe Ridge. Many of Whitaker‘s troops are from Ohio and a percentage of them are a part of the Restoration Heritage. Whitaker himself is a graduate of Bethany College (though he spends this day “deep in his cups ” [drunk]). And, during the Battle of Drewry’s Bluff (aka: Fort Darling; May 12, 1864) the 25th/44th again loses over a third of its men.

At the time of the 25/44th’s surrender in April 1865 only four officers and twenty-one men are present.

Regarding Fleming’s service in the military, H. Leo Boles writes (in 1930):

“He was reputed to be a gallant soldier who commanded the respect of his fellow soldiers and superior officers. The scenes of a soldier’s life were registered vividly upon his mind, and he never forgot the hardships which he and his comrades had to endure.”

“Scenes” and hardships.” Such understatement for man’s inhumanity to man.

After the war, Fleming returns to his wife, Martha, and to farming and, in 1868, begins to preach. Boles tells us something of his ministry:

“He preached in Kentucky, Texas, and Tennessee. However, most of his work was done in Tennessee, in the counties of Jackson, Overton, Clay, Putnam, Pickett, Fentress, and White. … Brother Fleming was a farmer by occupation. He cultivated his farm and made his support for himself and family on his farm. He received very little for his preaching and expected nothing. … Brother Fleming worked through the week during ‘crop time’ and preached on Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes he would ride horseback more than twenty miles on Sunday morning and preach twice on Sunday, and return home the same night and be ready for his farm work early Monday morning. … Brother Fleming baptized hundreds of people, and is said to have married more couples than any other preacher in that part of the country.”

Fleming dies in 1910. His body is interred in the cemetery of Flat Creek Church of Christ in Overton, Tennessee. The stone is the most prominent one in the cemetery, located close to the center of it and towering over all of the other stones. A person is naturally drawn to it by its appearance to take special note of it; however, it is not grandly adorned. Other than the text of inscriptions, a single image is engraved on it: an open Bible. And like many gravestones, aside from the usual listing of name, birth, and death, a quote is included. However, the quote on W.H.’s grave are the words of Scripture (2 Timothy 4.7-8a):

“I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course
I have kept the faith
henceforth there is laid up
for me a crown of
righteousness.”

Another Scripture quotation is included for W.H.’s wife, Martha (d. 1933). The words are those of Jesus in Matthew 5.8:

“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”

From what is included – and what is not – on the Fleming family gravestone it is quite clear exactly which kingdom and which battles in life the Flemings wanted emphasized and remembered should a person stands at their grave: life, death, and the word of God. The utter simplicity of it and the emphasis on the rule of God “preaches” still.

However, many years later, no doubt with many good intentions, some well-meaning soul(s) added something to the grave, something Fleming and his immediate family had deliberately elected not to include: a large bronze marker noting W.H.’s allegiance to the Confederacy, his military rank, and unit. Indeed, a small Confederate flag often adorns the site. And so, at least as it seems to me, the subject has been changed; changed from pointing toward the holy and good deeds of God to the horrific and deadly deeds of men. And so, the struggle between kingdoms continues. And so, let us preach the word, the good news of peace.

June 12

June 12, 1812 – Today, a church witnesses the baptism of their preacher and six others.

In Buffalo Creek, Washington County, Pennsylvania, about noon today, Thomas & Jane (Corneigle) Campbell, Alexander & Margaret (Brown) Campbell, Dorothea Campbell, and James & Sarah Hanen (Henon), are immersed by a Baptist minister, Matthias Luse (Luce). Most of the members of the Brush Run Church, as well as a large number of others “attracted by the novelty of the occasion,” witness the event. The following excerpt from Robert Richardson’s Memoirs of Alexander Campbell gives us a glimpse into the moment.

“[In days prior to their baptisms, Thomas] … suggested … that in view of the public position they [Thomas and Alexander] occupied as religious teachers and advocates of reformation, it would be proper that the matter should be publicly announced and attended to amongst the people to whom they had been accustomed to preach; and he requested Alexander to get Mr. Luce … at whatever time might be appointed.

“[As everyone was gathered for the baptisms] … Thomas Campbell thought it proper to present, in full, the reasons which had determined his course. In a very long address, he accordingly reviewed the entire ground which he had occupied, and the struggles that he had undergone in reference to the particular subject of baptism, which he had earnestly desired to dispose of, in such a manner, that it might be no hindrance in the attainment of that Christian unity which he had labored to establish upon the Bible alone. In endeavoring to do this, he admitted that he had been led to overlook its importance, and the very many plain and obvious teachings of the Scriptures on the subject; but having at length attained a clearer view of duty, he felt it incumbent upon him to submit to what he now plainly saw was an important Divine institution. Alexander afterward followed in an extended de fence of their proceedings, urging the necessity of submitting implicitly to all God’s commands, and showing that the baptism of believers only, was authorized by the Word of God. …”

“Alexander … stipulated with … Luce that the ceremony should be performed precisely according to the pattern given in the New Testament, and that, as there was no account of any of the first converts being called upon to give what is called a ‘religious experience,’ this modern custom should be omitted, and that the candidates should be admitted on the simple confession that ‘Jesus is the Son of God. …’

“The meeting, it is related, continued about seven hours …”

“At the next meeting of the church of Brush Run, which was on the Lord’s day [Sunday, June 16] succeeding the baptism of the seven, thirteen other members … requested immersion, which was accordingly administered by Thomas Campbell, each one making the simple confession of Christ as the Son of God. On subsequent occasions, some others came forward in like manner, so that the great majority of the church speedily consisted of immersed believers, upon which, the other individuals who had been in the Association abandoned the cause, being unwilling to follow the reformatory movement any further. …

“Immersion had been unanimously adopted as the only true scriptural baptism; infant baptism had been finally and absolutely rejected as a human invention, and the simple confession of Christ, made by the early converts to Christ, was acknowledged as the only requirement which could be scripturally demanded of those who desired to become members of the Church.”

These baptisms are not the first for Brush Run Church members. On July 4 the preceding year (1811), Thomas Campbell had baptized Abraham Alters, Joseph Bryant, and Margaret Fullerton in Buffalo Creek.

Earlier today, one of those previously baptized, Joseph Bryant, had received word that war had been declared on Great Britain and that a muster of volunteers was to take place. Bryant had ridden off to be a part of this muster, only to learn on his arrival that the word is false (the declaration of war will not occur for another two weeks yet). Galloping back to Buffalo Creek, he arrives in time to hear just a bit of preaching before witnessing the baptisms. One of those baptized, seventeen year-old Dorothea, is one of Alexander Campbell’s little sisters … and Bryant’s future wife.

June 13

June 13, 1803 – Today, a man is born who rises to mightily influence many who will touch the lives of far many more.

Today, Benjamin Franklin (“B.F.”) Hall is born in Nicholas County, Kentucky. During the course of his years of ministry, Hall, among other things, influences John Mulkey and Barton W. Stone on the matter of baptism being “for the remission of sins,” is instrumental in the baptism of Tolbert Fanning (the future editor of the Gospel Advocate) and John A. Gano (father of R.M. Gano), mentors Mansel W. Matthews (a fellow dentist, Sam Houston’s physician, and a preacher in north Texas), plants the Restoration Heritage in Little Rock, AR, keeps company with men like Alexander Campbell, T.W. Caskey, and Jacob Creath, Jr., and becomes a long-time, close friend of Collin McKinney (planter of many Restoration churches in north Texas).

However, between grave financial difficulties, a torturous second marriage that ends in divorce, and his spirit during the Civil War that can perhaps best be described as macabre, his influence for good becomes seriously crippled and wanes through the years. In his autobiography, Hall laments:

“Owing to my second marriage my life has been a sad disappointment.”

Hall’s fascinating autobiography is available for reading online.

[cf. the post for March 7 in this series for more on B.F. Hall]

on these days in the American Restoration Heritage history: May 31 – June 7

Among the things that happened this week in American Restoration Heritage history:

May 31

May 31, 1858 – Today, the cornerstone is laid for a new, main building for Bethany College (the old building having burned down not quite six months ago on December 10, 1857). Alexander Campbell and son-in-law W.K. Pendleton (W.K.’s first wife, Lavinia, Campbell’s daughter, died in 1846) had set out on a tour of the South in January to do fund-raising for the building’s construction. However, due largely to effects of the run up to and recovery from the Civil War, it takes fourteen years to complete the building (1872). However, this structure still stands today and, referred to as “Old Main,” is on the National Register of Historical Places.

June 1

June 1, 1823 – Today (or very close to it), a young Hispanic teen by the name of José María Carbajal, having been mentored by Stephen F. Austin,  arrives in Kentucky and soon comes under the influence of Alexander Campbell.

During the winter of 1822/1823 in San Fernando de Béxar (what will in future years become known as San Antonio, Texas), Stephen F. Austin befriends a young Hispanic widow, María Gertrudis Sánchez Soto. Austin arranges for one of her sons, José María Carbajal, to go to Frankfort, Kentucky with Littlebury Hawkins and learn the trade of tanner. Carbajal lives with his instructor in leather-working, a brother-in-law of Hawkins, a “Mr. Blanchard.” However, after two years, young Carbajal has had enough of Mr. Blanchard – Carabajal says “him and I could not agree” – and so, leaves him and winds up under the care of a “Peter Hedenbergh” in Lexington, Kentucky. Hedenbergh teaches him saddle-making and Carbajal enjoys it. Those who know him take a shine to him and speak well of him. The local postmaster, a “Mr. Ficklin,” describes young Cabrajal’s conduct as “affectionate and praiseworthy” and that such “endeared him to his acquaintances.”

While in Lexington, Carbajal leaves his Catholic faith behind and is baptized in the Baptist church. In 1826, he hears Alexander Campbell, Sr. preach in the Baptist church and winds up going back to Bethany, Virginia with Campbell. He lives with the Campbell family for two years. Selina Campbell, reminiscing in her later years of this time and Carbajal, writes:

“… he was very bright and prepossessing in his manners. He was a member of the church, and quite consistent as such. He became a great reader of Mr. C’s writings, and when he returned home [to Texas in 1830] he took many of them with him.”

In the spring of 1830, at about the age of twenty, Carbajal makes his way back to Texas. He is engaged in selling Spanish Bibles. However, through his continued connections with Stephens F. Austin, his life is soon swept up in the whirlwind of political and military activity of the time and place. After briefly working as a land surveyor (he laid out the city of Victoria), Carbajal works his way through several government positions and becomes increasingly sympathetic to those who want to separate the region from Mexico. Arrested in 1835 by Mexican authorities as one trying to stir up rebellion, Carbajal manages to escape and becomes something of a force with those seeking revolt. However, his loyalty is ultimately misunderstood and through the course of complicated events, Carbajal and his family, as well as his wife’s family (the powerful De Leon family), are ejected from their property in Victoria in July 1836 by Thomas Jefferson Rusk. Needless to say, this burns Carbajal’s toast with the newly formed Republic of Texas.

Understand that Carbajal is his own man. Referring to himself as “a true Mexican,” he has no use for either the Mexican dictatorship of Antonio López de Santa Anna, the advance of the interests of the United States government, or now, the Republic of Texas. Carbajal believes the best way forward is the establishment of a new republic in northern Mexico, independent of those three governments: the Republic of Sierra Madre. He spends the remainder of his life serving in whatever capacity he can, to further that interest, which gets him in trouble with the authorities on a number of occasions. For example, in one instance, Carbajal is arrested by Juan Davis Bradburn and brought to Anahuac (in what is now Chambers County, Texas). Relating something of Carbajal’s actions and his response to them, Bradburn writes to Commandant General Vicente Filisola of the Eastern Interior States, Republic of Mexico:

“Carbajal, speaking English, promoted discord and absolute disobedience among the colonists. In my opinion, this was the only certain way to insure tranquillity there, and also to protect against an attack on the small military troop under my command. These events resulted in continuing ill feelings towards the General Government by many of the settlers. My conduct in this affair was approved by His Excellency, Señor General Don Manuel Mier y Terán and the General Government.”

And yet, over a decade later in the mid-1840’s, Carbajal supports the Mexican Army in its fight against the United States in the Mexican-American War. In time, Carbajal is twice arrested by U.S. authorities, but twice he is released. He spends nearly the last thirty years of his life (1846-1874) in a variety of military and political posts, always seeking the way of “a true Mexican.”

Little is known of Carbajal’s involvement with faith after he gives up selling Spanish Bibles in Texas in 1830. We do know that during the American Civil War, Carbajal enrolls two of his sons, Antonio and Joseph, in Bethany College and these young men live with Alexander & Selina Campbell, the older of the two actually graduating from Bethany College.

What might have been for the Restoration Heritage had Carbajal given over his intellect and passion for independence for his people not to the forces of politics and military service, but to the Christ of the cross! If so, it would not be hard to imagine Carbajal having become something of “a Hispanic Alexander Campbell” to the people of Mexico.

June 2

June 2, 1828 – In today’s issue of the Christian Baptist, Alexander Campbell speaks with unrestrained excitement over how he perceives God at work in tearing down denominational walls.

“This is one of the most momentous and eventful periods of the history of christianity since the commencement of our recollection of the religious world, and, we think, from the commencement of the present century. All religious denominations are shaking. Christians in all parties are looking with inquisitive eyes into the sacred books, and examining the platforms of their respective schismatical establishments. Many run to and fro, and knowledge is increasing. What religious sect is not at this moment waking from its slumber? Even the establishments of Rome, of England, of Scotland, fed and feasted as they are with political patronage, and bolstered up with their charming antiquity, are not likely long to retain their place in the veneration of their own children. The peaceful Quaker and the dogmatical Presbyterian, the zealous Methodist and the orthodox Baptist, together with the little hosts of more recent origin, are all on the tiptoe of expectation, and the cry of ‘Reform!’ is now loudest and longest which falls upon the ear from all the winds of heaven. …

“The Bible, the fountain of religious light, is more generally distributed and more generally read now than at any former period. Even the measures often designed to uphold religious sects, are becoming battering rams to break down the walls of separation. Every day’s report brings to our ears some new triumph of light over darkness – of truth over error – and of liberal minds over the enslaved and enslaving genius of sectarian despostism. …

“… of all the good means which can be employed to promote peace on earth and good will among men, which have any influence to destroy sectarianism, or when are at all adapted to introduce the Millenium, there is none to compare with the simple proclamation of the ancient gospel. … Whatever real good is now done in the world is now done by the simple narration of God’s love of men, and all the mischief is done by the dogmas of human speculation or the regulations of schismatical establishments.If the former is universally attended to and the latter abandoned, all christians would be one in name, in affection, in faith and hope. …

“Many hundreds [in Ohio recently] have have received the ancient gospel within a few months, and have been immersed for the remission of sins, and have been filled with joy and peace in believing. Some of all religious parties embrace it and turn unto the Lord, and it has wrought effectually in the hearts of all to produce the same benign and cheering influences. …

“All sects that believe in revivals have then occasionally. The Lord is supposed to grant them. If then the Lord bestows these favors indiscriminantly upon all the sects, does he not pour contempt upon all their little shibboleths by breaking through the cobweb fences when about to bestow his benefits? If the Lord makes no difference between the Presbyterian, the Methodist, and the Baptist, in these special interpositions, why should they keep up those schismatic walls when God overleaps them in his distributions?”

Campbell pens these words on the sixteenth anniversary (1812) of his immersion for the remission of sins by Matthias Luse.

June 3

June 3, 1863 – Today, a large army sets out on an invasion and we follow the life of one of those men.

On June 3, 1863, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, led by General Robert E. Lee, sets out on its invasion of the North. The CSA, 4th Georgia Infantry Regiment makes up a portion of Lee’s men. One of the 4th’s men is 4th Corporal Alexander C. Lloyd of Company D (aka: “West Point Light Guards”). Company D is composed of men recruited from Troup County, Georgia, located on the western edge of central GA. Lloyd is a seasoned veteran, being one of the first to enlist in the 4th GA. He has fought in many a bloody battle, among them Gaines’ Mill, Malvern Hill, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and, most recently, Chancellorsville.

However, on this particular march, near a small town in Pennsylvania called “Gettysburg,” Lloyd finds himself not only engaged in combat, but as ultimately a prisoner of war. Though it certainly must not have seemed like it at the time, in becoming a POW Lloyd is one of the fortunate ones. This is true in at least two respects. First, fifteen percent of the 4th GA’s 341 engaged at Gettysburg fall as casualties there. Second, the 4th GA is decimated the year following in especially vicious hand-to-hand combat at the “Mule Shoe” during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House (May 1864). Lloyd remains a POW for a year and a half, but is paroled at Point Lookout, Maryland in mid-January 1865, a little less than four months before the war’s end.

Now despite the fact that more than one generation of Lloyd’s family are members of the Spring Road [Christian] Church in West Point, GA, during the course of the war Lloyd is not a Christian. However, in rather short order following the war’s conclusion, Lloyd bows his knee to King Jesus and begins to follow him. Except for his obituary (which appears in the November 17, 1927 issue of the Gospel Advocate) – and the fact that Christian faith his found in several generations of his direct descendants – we know little of the specifics of Lloyd’s life following his conversion. His death notice reads:

“A. C. Loyd (‘Un’ Sandy’) died in the ninetieth year of his life here below. He entered the army of the South in the early part of the Civil War, from the State of Georgia. He was a soldier his comrades were proud of. He was captured at the battle of Gettysburg. He was a Mason in good standing. He located near Bridgeport, Ala., after the war and was married to Miss Tennie Johnson. To this union ten children were born, five sons and five daughters, all living except two, and all are Christians. He knew that being a Mason or a soldier would not save him; so he became a member of the church soon after the war, at Rocky Springs, where he served as long as he lived. He was a peacemaker, always helping to adjust troubles when they would arise among his neighbors. He was affable, hospitable, and always took an interest in having the gospel preached. He was a strong believer in helping the needy. Throughout his life he was an active and busy man. I talked to him much in his last sickness. He talked with intelligence, retaining his mental faculties to the end. He said he was ready to go, and was buoyant in hope and strong in faith till the end. He had forty-two grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren. Several of these he helped to rear. Funeral services were conducted at the Rocky Springs Church [Jackson County, Alabama] by Brother Charles Holder and myself in the presence of a large crowd. – R. W. Jernigan”

Two incidental notes. First, the Rocky Springs Church claims to be the oldest Restoration Heritage church in the state of Alabama, dating its beginning back to the early 1800’s. Second, I have been unable to determine if the “C” in Alexander Lloyd’s middle name is “Campbell’, but I strongly suspect it is just that. At least one other young contemporary of Lloyd’s in the Spring Road Church is named after Alexander Campbell, Sr. (Alexander Campbell Lanier).

June 4

June 4, 1827 – If you ever used a “handle” on a CB radio or if your e-mail address today utilizes some moniker other than your name, then you can appreciate today’s blast from the past as Alexander Campbell reveals the identity of one who has been writing in his paper under a pseudonym. In a section of the Christian Baptist (CB) noting three new publications to watch (Barton W. Stone’s Christian Messenger, a Mr. Saxton’s The Inquirer for Truth, and Walter Scott’s The Millenium Herald), Campbell writes:

“Mr. Walter Scott, now of Steubenville, Ohio, has issued proposals for publishing a monthly paper, at one dollar per annum, to be entitled The Millenium Herald. The best recommendation we can give of the probable ability with which this work may be edited, and of its public utility if suitably encouraged, is, that brother Scott is the author of those essays signed ‘Philip,’ in the Christian Baptist. The first number to appear in July next, is suitably encouraged.”

Though it seems, at best, a bit odd to us today, it was not at all unusual for writers in the nineteenth century to sign their work with a “fake name.” Whether to avoid having to deal directly with fallout from a piece, attempt to gain a fair hearing on a particular point, to add a bit of mystery and literary interest or wit, or just for the sheer fun of it, a number of writers, especially in Campbell’s Christian Baptist and Millennial Harbinger made use of such. And, just as you might have multiple e-mail addresses today, or once used different handles on different channels on the CB back in the day, Restoration Heritage writers of the 1800’s sometimes utilized a variety of pseudonyms.

Of course, in some instances we know today who wrote what under what pseudonym (e.g. – Walter Scott being known as “Philip”). However, as we might also expect, we remain clueless as to the identity of others. Following is a list of some of the pen-names several authors within the Restoration Heritage made use of in the 1800’s:

  • Alexander Campbell – Bonus Homo, Candidus, Clarinda, Reformed Clergyman
  • Thomas Campbell – T.W.
  • Isaac Errett – Eusebius
  • Philip S. Fall – Querens
  • Archibald McKeever – Christianos
  • Robert Richardson – Alumnus, Disciplus, E, K, L, Luke, R, Silas, U
  • Walter Scott – Partenos, Philip
  • Joseph Thomas – The White Pilgrim

June 5

June 5, 1826 – Today, a preacher reminds us that it is unhealthy to concern ourselves with, or engage in speculation about, things not explicitly revealed in Scripture, and that Scripture’s objective is for us to behave differently. Or, to put it another way: when the Bible is silent about something, that silence says something, and when the Bible speaks of a matter, it is to be acted upon. What God has revealed is for our living out, not merely knowing about.

Today, in the Christian Baptist, in part two of an article series entitled “Christian Morality,” Alexander Campbell writes:

“There is as much wisdom exhibited in concealing some things as there is in revealing others. Parents, in relation to their own children, have incontestible proofs of this, if they are parents of discernment. Our heavenly Father in revealing himself and his designs to the children of men, has purposefully concealed many things which it would have been unwise in relation to all ends and results to have discovered. …

“… the inference is unavoidable, viz: – That the Bible is designed for, and adapted to, the children of men in their present circumstances, to improve their condition here, and to fit them to become members of a pure, refined, and exalted society hereafter.

“Curiosity has prompted a thousand queries to which the Bible designs no reply. And why? because if answered, they would contribute nothing to the purification of the heart, or to the reformation of the life – God’s sublime and glorious scheme of ameliorating and reforming the world is predicated upon the actual condition of man. And as intelligence, purity of heart, and rectitude of life, are as inseparably connected with present and future happiness, as ignorance and guilt are with bondage and wretchedness both here and hereafter, the Bible is prepared, was bestowed, and is adapted, to the promotion of intelligence and purity, as prerequisites, as indispensibles, as a sine qua non to happiness. … Intelligence, purity of heart, and uprightness of life are the sole objects for which the Bible was bestowed on the world. …

“Christians then eggregiously mistake, who value themselves on the account of their superior intelligence; or who pursue information in the things revealed, merely for its own sake. Unless this knowledge is conducive and allied to the art of living well, it merely puffs up and avails nothing. … In fact, a man who glories in his intellectual attainments in the Bible (and of this class there are not a few) and pursues the knowledge of volume for its own sake, resembles a foolish husbandman who boats of his thousand measures of wheat, and his thousand measures of corn, who, as yet, has ploughed his fields, and intends nothing more until harvest.”

June 6

June 6, 1800 – Today, Thomas Campbell prays to Jesus and writes it down. From an entry in his diary we read of his emotions in the moment as well as his prayer:

“Spent this day in study, with great barrenness; little spirituality or love; feel a sense of deep depravity of my heart before God. I desire to lie in the dust at his feet, and even to feel his precious mercy lifting me up. That, I may be low in mine own eyes, and forever ascribe free, saving, abundant mercy unto my God, Lord Jesus reveal thyself in me, manifest thyself to me; make me strong through thy strength. I do heartily and forever resign myself to thee, as the fruit of they purchase.”

on these days in the American Restoration Heritage: May 24-30

Among the things that happened this past week in the American Restoration Heritage history:

May 24

May 24, 1879 – A pioneer preacher, summing up his experiences to his son, speaks of what was and what should be.

Nathan Williamson Smith is one of the earliest preachers from within the Restoration Heritage to minister in the state of Georgia, serving there since the mid-1830’s. In a series of six letters written to a son, sixty-five year-old Smith relates what life for him was like “back in the day.” These letters are then published in the May and June issues of the Christian Standard. The fourth of the six letters is published today. In that letter Smith writes, in part:

“In 1836 I spent the summer months in traveling and preaching in some of the adjacent counties; but with very little success. Also in 1838 I spent about half of the year evangelizing; received four dollars for my salary, but thank the Lord that year, among others, I immersed two of the best of brothers we ever had in Georgia. One is gone to his reward with the Lord; the other is away in Texas, proclaiming the glad tidings as his health will permit; has been sorely afflicted of late.

“In 1849 I traveled around at my own expense, and got up the first cooperation meeting held by our brethren in the State. The delegation was small, and nothing practical accomplished, more than to make a beginning in that direction, and appoint another meeting for the same place twelve months thereafter.”

Smith continues this same thought in his next letter (May 31):

“Since the year 1849 there have been several cooperation or yearly meetings. But as far as my information extends, they have not been very successful in their results. And if I had to guess the reason, would say, too many resolutions, only on paper.

“During my labor as preacher I have served as pastor in different places, 14 churches in Georgia, when not engaged as an evangelist. While some of them paid a very small salary and some paid nothing, I do not think I exaggerate by saying that near one half my labors have been given to the good cause gratuitously; but do not complain at all, although I am now old and afflicted, and not able to support my family by manual labor.”

Smith’s final letter (June 7) gives us a snapshot of the state of things for our heritage at the time in Georgia, as well as some of Smith’s take on it all:

“So far as my information extends there are abut twenty-five preachers now in Georgia, and about six of them are devoting all their time to preaching. The rest are laboring now in various callings to support themselves and family, some of them preaching monthly pretty regularly, others preaching very little. …

“I am not able to say positively how many organized churches we have in our State, but I would say, to the best of my knowledge there are between fifty and seventy-five, varying in numbers, some of them not having a great many, and others from one to two hundred. During my observations our churches have lost many members, both by death and emigration to the West. There are a goodly number of brethren that are scattered in the country, not convenient to any church for worship. I am sorry to say that among the churches very few of them meet regularly on each Lord’s day to worship, read, and study the Scriptures; and furthermore, I am sorry to say that there is not that interest manifested in the Sunday-school cause, that I would like to see and know. Oh, when will our brethren learn that their spiritual life, grow in grace, peace and prosperity as churches, does not depend entirely on this old fashioned way of monthly meetings, waiting and depending on the preacher to come and do the work? If allowed to express an opinion, I must say that I do not think that our Georgia churches have increased and prospered as they might, even with the many difficulties they have had to encounter. I know the opposition has been courageous, more zealous, more humble and devoted, and, withal, more benevolent to the poor and more liberal with our means in sustaining the cause of the Lord – his word and his word alone.”

What advice would Smith offer to young preachers in preparation for ministry? Marry well. In his first letter (May 7), Smith says:

“In the year 1834 I married your mother in the county of Wilkes, Georgia … She was an orphan whose parents both died when she was a child. She, like myself, had but a very limited chance to go to school and improve her mind when young. But possessing naturally a strong mind and untiring energy, she was well calculated for a preacher’s wife, for a truth, I confess, that I am more indebted to my wife for what I am and what I have done as a preacher, than any other human instrumental in it. And I would say to all young men that expect to preach, be careful as to the disposition of the lady you choose for a wife. Many a good preacher’s usefulness is destroyed by the conduct of his wife. I knew once a very talented and fine preacher, whose wife would use every stratagem in her power to keep him at home, and from going to his appointments. One Saturday, trying to prevail on him not to go to meeting, and finding she was not successful, she secretly got some fire and went out and set the woods on fire, so that her husband had to go to fighting fire to save his fence.”

After penning these letters, Smith lives another twenty years. His body is buried in Cobb County, Georgia. His ministry took him to forty of Georgia’s counties and at different times, he was the only preacher from among the Restoration Heritage in those counties.

May 25

May 25, 1894 – Today, the author of the first “study Bible” produced by a Restoration Heritage author goes on to be with the Lord and his body is buried in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Or, to put it another way: today, a man who helped shaped the mind of many of your church members with gray hair today, passes on.

The man is B.W. Johnson. His initials stand for his namesake: “Barton Warren” Stone. His mind is largely shaped by his education at Bethany College, the president of which is Alexander Campbell. His professors there include such men as Robert Milligan, W. K. Pendleton, and Robert Richardson. In 1863 he serves as the corresponding secretary of the American Missionary Society (let the reader understand). He works for years as the editor of the paper begun by Walter Scott, The Evangelist (aka: the Christian Evangelist).

And in 1891, the second volume of the first edition of Johnson’s two-volume work entitled The People’s New Testament: The Common and Revised Versions with References and Colored Maps, with Explanatory Notes, rolls off the press. Johnson’s Notes, as the work comes to be popularly known, quickly becomes a part of the library of many an average-Joe-in-the-pew within Restoration Heritage churches. This holds true for something close to a century in time.

I can’t recall with certainty if a copy of Johnson’s Notes was given to me as a gift by a fellow church member or if I purchased it at the recommendation of one of the staff ministers with our congregation (me thinks it was likely the latter), but I do recall it was one of the very first books to be added to my library upon my baptism at the age of seventeen. In the same way one never notices just how many cars on the road are identical to your own until you own a particular car, I never noticed how many fellow church members toted a one-volume edition of Johnson’s notes to Sunday class and worship services until I acquired my copy. At the time, the fact struck me that this was something like “the Church of Christ Bible.” Nearly forty years have passed since my baptism and I now live over four hundred miles further south, but I still occasionally encounter a church member referencing or quoting Johnson’s Notes today.

May 26

May 26, 1833 – Today, a preacher learns that his writing has led people unknown to him to a closer walk with the Lord and has resulted in the planting of a church.

In faraway Calloway County, Missouri, a man by the name of Greenup Jackson sits down and pens a letter to Alexander Campbell. He writes:

“I have your Christian Baptist and a few numbers of the Millennial Harbinger; also your Debates with Owen and M’Calla, and have read them with peculiar delight. I have been more instructed in the Christian religion by them than by any other composition of human origin. I have laid aside my ‘Discipline,’ to which I have been a slave for four years, and have vowed allegiance to the King of kings and Lord of lords. Seven of us have been immersed in the name of the Lord Jesus for the remission of our sins, and are trying to exhibit the primitive order of Christianity. We expect a considerable increase.”

May 27

May 27, 1893 – One Bible scholar hammers another – rather, a whole group of others – with satire today.

In the late 1870’s, Julius Wellhausen publishes two volumes that come to dominate the field of Old Testament scholarship for decades following. The first volume concerns the JEDP theory of the source origins of the Pentateuch and the second volume deals with the history of the people of Israel. The effects of Wellhausen’s work reverberates throughout Christendom, the Restoration Heritage being no exception.

Within the Restoration Heritage, J.W. McGarvey is deemed the champion of conservative Biblical scholarship. And, by means of articles published on a weekly basis in the Christian Standard, McGarvey continually takes liberal scholarship to the woodshed. Today, a certain “Professor Nordell” [presumably P.A. Nordell] is McGarvey’s whipping boy.

A Specimen
May 27, 1893

“I commend to the consideration of Professor Nordell and his class of critics a specimen of criticism on an English classic, which he has probably never seen, and which may be of service to him in his future efforts at literary criticism. As the document has not yet been copyrighted, I will not disclose the name of the book from which it is an extract. It is entitled “The Literary Analysis of an Ancient Poem.” As the poem is a brief one, we shall quote it in full:

“‘Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard,
To get her poor dog a bone.
When she got there, the cupboard was bare,
And so the poor dog had none.’

“In the uncritical ages of the past this poem was believed to be the composition  of a  single  person — a very ancient English woman by the name of  Goose. Whether we should style her Mrs. Goose, or Miss Goose, we have no means of deciding with certainty, for the stories which have come down to historical  times concerning her are mostly legendary. It might be supposed that the title “mother” would settle this difficult question; but, as in certain convents of our own day, venerable spinsters are styled Mother, so may it have been in the days of Goose.

“But, leaving this interesting question as one for further historical inquiry, we turn to the poem itself, and by applying to it the scientific process of literary analysis, we find that the document did not originate, as our fathers have supposed, from a single author, but that it is a composite structure, at least two original documents having been combined within it by a Redactor. This appears from the incongruities between the two traditions which evidently underlie the poem.

“One of these traditions represents the heroine of the poem, a venerable Mrs. Hubbard, as a benevolent woman, who loved her dog, as appears from the fact that she went to the cupboard to get him some food. If we had  the whole of this story, we should doubtless find that she did this every time the dog was hungry, and as she would surely not go to the cupboard for the dog’s food unless she knew there was some in the cupboard, we can easily fill out the story of her benevolence by assuming that she put something away for the dog when she ate her own  meals.

“Now, in direct conflict with this, the other tradition had it that she kept the dog “poor;” for he is called her “poor dog;” and, in keeping with this fact, instead of giving him meat, she gave him nothing but bones. Indeed, so extreme was her stinginess toward the poor dog that, according to this tradition, she actually put away the bones in the cupboard with which to mock the poor dog’s hunger.

“A woman could scarcely be represented more inconsistently than Mrs. Hubbard was by these two traditions; and consequently none but those who are fettered by tradition, can fail to see that the two must have originated from two different authors. For the sake of distinction, we shall style one of these authors, Goose A, and the other, Goose B. In these two forms, then, the traditions concerning this ancient owner of  a dog came down from prehistoric times. At  length there arose a literary age in England, and then R put together in one the accounts written by the two gooses, but failed to conceal their incongruities, so that unto this day Mother Hubbard is placed in the ridiculous light of going to the cupboard when there was nothing in it; of going there, notwithstanding her kindness to her dog, to tantalize him by getting him a mere bone; and, to cap the climax, of going all the way to the cupboard to get the bone when she knew very well that not a bone was there.

“Some people are unscientific enough to think, that in thus analyzing the poem, we are seeking to destroy its value, but every one who has the critical faculty developed, can see that this ancient household lyric is much more precious to our souls since we have come to understand its structure; and that, contradictory as its two source documents were, it is a blessed thing that, in the providence of God, both have been preserved in such a form that critical analysis is capable of separating and restoring them.”

May 28

May 28, 1830 – Today, a law is passed that results in the death of thousands upon thousands of people in the United States … and the resulting virtual silence on the matter by prominent leaders of the Restoration Heritage is deafening today.

Today, United States President Andrew Jackson signs the Indian Removal Act (IRA) into law. The bill has been a controversial measure, passing the House and Senate by a total of only thirteen votes. However, its passage now gives Jackson the authority to do what he wants done: the removal of all Native Americans living east of the Mississippi River and their relocation to what is known today as Oklahoma. Though the IRA is extremely popular with Southerners, the result of the IRA’s implementation is devastating to Native Americans, resulting in, among other things, what is known as “The Trail of Tears.”

While I am anything but a top-shelf Restoration Heritage historian or researcher, I have been reading my eyes out and Googling my fingers off … and have yet to find much at all penned by one of the primary leaders of the early years of the Restoration Heritage regarding the relocation, and resulting decimation, of Native American people. However, one article has been pointed out to me, an article penned by Alexander Campbell not quite six months before the passage of the IRA. And significantly, this article, entitled “The Cherokees,” appears in the very first issue of Campbell’s paper, the Millennial Harbinger (Jan. 4, 1830; vol.1, no.1). Campbell’s take on things is 180 degrees opposite of those of President Jackson. The article reads:

“The ‘rights of man,’ one would think, are any thing and every thing which any body and every body pleases to make them, if we yield to the opinions of those who maintain that any state in this Union has a right to seize the property and exile or banish the owner, because he is red, or yellow, or some other unfashionable color. But that is not the question–it is this: Have treaties any sanction, any validity, any faith? Have the parties to any covenant or compact any right? Or is it the right of the strong always to plunder the property and insult the person of the weak. Has one man, because he is rich and has many friends, the right to seize the farm of his poor neighbor and give him a tract in the moon, or in ‘No Man’s Island’ for it, just as he pleases? All this, and even more than this, is assumed by Georgia in reference to the Cherokee Indians, as I understand her wishes respecting this most important community of the aborigines, to whom God gave this continent. I am glad that the eyes of christendom and of the world, are now upon the representatives of this nation of republics–this government of principles and laws; for if none but the eyes of God were upon some of them, I think they would send these poor defenceless Indians beyond the Rocky Mountains, if it would not cost too much.

“On the question whether the Cherokees, in part civilized, and some say, in part a christianized tribe of Indians, now residing within the territory of Georgia, are under its jurisdiction, ipso facto, in despite of all treaty, Mr. [William Lloyd] Garrison, junior editor of the Genius of Universal Emancipation [a Quaker, abolitionist newspaper in Baltimore, Maryland] makes the following very pertinent and forcible remarks:–

“‘Questions of national justice are above the spirit of party: their discussion, therefore, is within the province, and becomes the duty, of every editor. In the selections of candidates men may honestly differ, without impeaching their integrity or discernment; but the principles of equity are too broad and palpable to be misapprehended, or to render division excusable.

“‘The question of INDIAN RIGHTS should unite the hearts and voices of the American people, from Maine to the Rocky Mountains. It is simple, significant, weighty. It is not whether the Indians would gain or lose by emigration–whether their removal would better secure the safety of Georgia or Alabama–whether they have cultivated ten or ten thousand acres of their lands–whether they have been reclaimed from their former savage habits, and are now a civilized and christian people; but it is simply, Whether the faith of the United States is not only solemnly plighted to protect them, for ever, from invasion, violence, and fraud? Expediency and policy are convertible terms, full of dishonesty and oppression. Justice is eternal, and its demands cannot safely be evaded.”

“‘It is not a fact that the Cherokees are within the jurisdiction of Georgia, or of any other state. They are as distinct as any member of the Union, and as national and independent as Great Britain itself. A hundred and fifty treaties can be produced to sustain their pretensions. The laws of Georgia can no more be justly imposed on them, than upon individuals residing in Massachusetts or Maine, or in the Persian Empire. They have never submitted themselves to the government of the whites–they probably never will submit–and no power, we trust, will compel them to submit. They do not infringe upon state or national rights. Their location interferes with nothing but the avarice of Georgia, and a better one, for themselves and the country, cannot be found this side of the Pacific. In fine, their forcible removal would brand this country with eternal infamy, and expose it to the accumulated vengeance of heaven.’

“I humbly trust there is yet so much justice, so much pure republicanism, so much regard to truth and national faith, in the bosoms of the American people and of their representatives in congress, as will not permit them to give up an innocent and harmless nation to the cupidity of a few capitalists in Georgia or any where else.”

The preacher in me enjoys Campbell’s alliteration in his sentence of summation: “the cupidity of a few capitalists.” And the historian in me appreciates Campbell quoting from Benjamin Lundy‘s paper, The Genius of Universal Emancipation. Lundy’s name is not well-remembered today, but he was a loud voice crying in the wilderness in his time, arguably the first person in the U.S. to deliver lectures in speaking tours across the country against slavery. It is Lundy who, just a very few years later, helps carry the flag, as it were, in the denunciation of the Texas Revolution. Why? Because he believes he sees it for what it is actually about: an attempt to continue, and further, slavery (Mexico having outlawed it). Lundy, if anything, is a consistent and courageous man, and these are traits that Campbell greatly admires.

While Campbell apparently said precious little regarding the eviction of Native Americans from their homes after the publication of this article, one wonders what else could have been said. Campbell’s position is candid and clear, leaving no room for compromise. Indeed, it makes this part-Cherokee proud that he said what he did and when he did. Jackson had outlined his policy in his Second Annual Message to Congress less than a month earlier (Dec. 6, 1829) and this article, in effect, is Campbell’s “reply” to Jackson. That Campbell spoke at all, especially with the knowledge that his position would be exceedingly unpopular with many – and would prove to be in vain – is significant. Campbell spoke at the crucial moment, while the matter was still yet to be decided, and in a prominent way, in the first issue of his new paper. No small thing.

And yet, there were more leaders in the Restoration Heritage than Campbell who write and/or who were editors – and where were their voices on this matter? We can’t help but wonder what future generations will wonder about our near silence today on matters that will appear large in their eyes.

May 29

May 29, 1913 – Death, like life, can be very complicated. And today, by means of words of eulogy, we learn a strong lesson in honesty, grace, humility, hope, and brotherly love through the complicated, intertwined lives of two brothers in Christ: one a courageous pacifist, the other a military hero.

Richard Montgomery (“R.M”) Gano is the most prominent of Restoration Heritage veterans who served the Confederacy. And during the Civil War, there is hardly a more vocal pacifist in our heritage than David Lipscomb. During the war, Gano leads no small number of the men Lipscomb had helped lead to the Lord to their deaths in combat. Men Lipscomb taught to be peacemakers, Gano trained to become killers, and in a great many instances we know, killers of fellow brothers in Christ. A significant portion of that fighting took place in the heart of Lipscomb’s primary place of influence: Middle Tennessee. Make no mistake about it: there is a pool of blood, deep and wide, between R.M. Gano and David Lipscomb.

However, aside from Gano’s and Lipscomb’s dramatic differences as to the relationship of the Christian toward military service, there is no question as to either man’s sincerity, service, and strength in the Lord Jesus Christ. The fruit of the Spirit is obvious to all in the lives of them both. And, Lipscomb owes Gano much in that after the war he helped lead some of Lipscomb’s kin to the Lord … and thousands of others. Yes, here is another pool of blood.

And so, upon Gano’s death, David Lipscomb, editor of the brotherhood’s most prominent paper, the Gospel Advocate, must say something; he cannot not write about the passing of such a figure. But, what will he say and how will he say it? Lipscomb writes:

“We have seen notice of the death of Gen. R.M. Gano, of Dallas, Texas. He was in his eighty-fourth year. He was born in Bourbon County, Ky., a son of John Allen Gano, a preacher of force and power. The Ganos were of a family of preachers. They were from the French Huguenots. Two or three members of the family were Baptist preachers of note in New York before and during the Revolutionary War. Some of the family removed to the blue-grass region of Kentucky; and when the division between the Baptists and disciple of Christ came up, John A. Gano, the father of R.M. Gano, stood with the disciples firmly for the sufficiency of the word of God to lead and guide men in the way of righteousness and truth.

“The Ganos, so far as their lives are known, possessed a happy combination of qualities and characteristics. They were men gentle and kind in spirit, with true courage of convictions and strength and force of character. They could be strong and firm for the truth and the right, yet kind and gentle toward all men, especially toward those who opposed the truth. The Christian religion is intended by God to school and train men for these qualities, that they may be effective in exhorting and persuading men to become Christians. It is a happy condition when men inherit these helpful qualities. They could speak in kind and gentle tones, yet be steadfast in their convictions. Such men make good exhorters and are successful in persuading men to do their duty. The Ganos were good exhorters and successful preachers. General Gano was gentle and suave in his manner, but firm in his convictions and steadfast in his purposes.

“He graduated at Bethany College with a degree of honor, studied medicine, and began practice at Baton Rouge, La. Though no a preacher at that time, he soon gathered a band of disciples who met to worship God. After a year or so he moved to Grapevine, Texas. The Indians gave the people trouble, and he raised a company of soldiers and began a military life. About this time he was elected to the Legislature of Texas and served a term in this position.

“The Civil War came on; he entered the army, was put forward as a soldier, and made for himself a military character. He was through Middle Tennessee, and figured at Lebanon, Gallatin, and Hartsville. He was pleasant and popular as an officer with the soldiers and with the people.

“After the close for the war, he went to preaching. His reputation as a soldier commended him to the mass of the people in this country, and he held meetings  at the placed mentioned and in Odd Fellows’ Hall in East Nashville, which gave the churches of Christ a start in East Nashville. Prof. James F. Lipscomb [one of David Lipscomb’s older brothers], who died in Texas a few years ago; Horace G. Lipscomb [another older brother of Lipscomb], who died in this city about a year ago; and Mrs. L.V. Clough, of Fort Worth, Texas [relationship unknown to me], were staying at my house, and all, with others, became obedient to the faith during this meeting. I became well acquainted with General Gano during the meeting and learned to respect and honor him for his earnestness and fidelity to what he thought was right. I used to boast sometimes of abstemious habits; that I had never drunk a cup of coffee, smoked a cigar, or took a chew of tobacco or a drink of spirits as a beverage. I told this to the general. If I mistake not, he added that he never had drunk a cup of tea, in addition to my restraints. I yielded the palm of praise to him, as he had been through the war, and especially as he had been in the Legislature. He was entitled to higher credit than I could claim.

“There was a year’s difference in our ages. He spent the years of the war in fighting for his country and took and active interest in the political affairs of the country. I spent the years of the war in teaching that Christians cannot fight for the kingdoms of earth and give their lives to building up these kingdoms. I trust God for approval of my course. I hope the General may be justified and saved. This my seem strange, ‘But with God all things are possible.’ (Matt. 19:26). The last years of this life he served as an elder in the church of Christ in Dallas, Texas and died respected and honored by those who knew him.”

As one who has read hundreds and hundreds of death notices of Civil War veterans, I can say this eulogy is truly unique; I have seen nothing quite like it anywhere else. Conspicuously absent are any words lauding the veteran’s exploits in the military. Rather, the emphasis here is on the man’s exploits in the harvest fields for Christ. No mention is made of what the veteran gave for his patriotic beliefs; instead, it is Gano’s faith in Christ and his submission to him in even the smallest of matters of conscience that is highlighted. There is no name-dropping or list of associations, only how Gano helped steer men and women to the One who alone is Great. And in place of remarks as to how noble it was for Gano to “serve his country” for some days, there is stress on how the deceased sought to serve Christ as he saw best until his dying day.

What Lipscomb did in this piece, in effect, is nothing short of turning a frequently used template for a veteran’s funeral service on its head! This reversal of praise would certainly not be lost to the general public of 1913. I have to wonder what Lipscomb’s contemporaries said to him about it. I suspect it received a mixed review: some thinking it inspiring and others likely seeing it as insufficient. To me it comes across as one Lipscomb’s finest pieces of writing; indeed, it is my personal favorite. It’s gutsy, grateful, gracious, personal, and real; not glib, grasping, grandiose, distant, and forced … as some eulogies were then, and are now. And in it all, Lipscomb honors the truly best of his brother in Christ while not watering down or compromising any of his own convictions. Such is very difficult ground to traverse, but Lipscomb stumbles not at all, rather, he blazes the trail for us to follow.

Lipscomb himself dies four years later in 1917. I wish I knew what the Gano family said of Lipscomb at his passing.

May 30

Among the things that happened on this day in American Restoration Heritage history:

* May 30, 1810 – Today, Eliza (Campbell) Stone, Barton W. Stone, Sr.’s first wife, dies at the age of twenty-six. Stone is now a widower at the age of thirty-seven. Years later, Stone writes of Eliza:

“In the winter of 1809, my only son, Barton Warren, died; and in the spring following, May 30, my dear companion Eliza, triumphantly followed. She was pious, intelligent and cheerful, truly a help-meet to me in all my troubles and difficulties. Nothing could depress her, not even sickness, nor death itself. I will relate an incident respecting her of interest to me, and may be to her children. When my mind began to think deeply on the subject of the Atonement, I was entirely absorbed in it, yet dared not mention it to any, lest it might involve other minds in similar perplexities. She discovered that something uncommon oppressed me. I was laboring in my field — she came to me and affectionately besought me not to conceal, but plainly declare the cause of my oppression. We sat down, and I told her my thoughts on the Atonement. When I had concluded, she sprang up and praised God aloud most fervently for the truth. From that day till her death, she never doubted of its truth.

“At her death, four little daughters were left to me, the eldest not more than eight years old. I broke up housekeeping, and boarded my children with brethren, devoting my whole time gratuitously to the churches, scattered far and near. My companion and fellow laborer was Reuben Dooley, of fervent piety, and engaging address. Like myself he had lately lost his companion, and ceased house-keeping, and boarded our his little children. We preached and founded churches throughout the Western States of Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Occasionally we visited our children. All my daughters when young, professed faith in Jesus, and were baptized. The youngest, Eliza, has long since triumphantly entered into rest.” [cf. the post for March 11 in this series for more information regarding this preaching tour of Dooley and Stone]

Oh, and did you know that Eliza (Campbell) Stone was a niece of Patrick Henry (yes, that Patrick Henry; the “Give me liberty or give me death!” Patrick Henry)? ‘Tis true: Barton W. Stone, Sr.’s mother-in-law, Elizabeth Henry Campbell Russell, was a younger sister of Patrick Henry.

The year following the death of his wife and his preaching tour with Dooley (1811), Stone remarries. His second wife, Celia Wilson (Bowen) Stone, is one of Eliza’s cousins. God will grant them several children, one of them a son, whom they name “Barton Warren Stone, Jr.”

* May 30, 1856 – Today, in an address before the Henry Female Seminary in New Castle, Kentucky, Alexander Campbell tells us that women are the “better half” of humanity – although he does qualify his statement – and he then goes on to specify precisely why.

“What is woman? She is … only the one-half of humanity. But she is, or may be, the better half. She is of a finer tissue, in body, soul, and spirit. The last, and, we think … that she is decidedly the better half. … in delicacy of thought, in sensitiveness of feeling, in patient endurance, in constancy of affection, in moral courage, and in soul-absorbing devotion.”