on these days in the American Restoration Heritage: April 5-11

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

April 5

April 5, 1902 – J.W. McGarvey pens a piece entitled ‘Heresy-Hunting‘ speaking to the subject of heresy, the defense of the gospel, and Christian liberty … and does so with a bit of racial insensitivity characteristic of his time. The piece in its entirety reads:

“Some people have very confused ideas about hunting for heresy, and about Christian liberty. If a man advances and seeks to propagate teaching which I regard as very injurious, if not ruinous, and I assail it with vigor, such vigor as he feels unable to resist on the merits of the question, it is common for him and his friends to cry out, ‘Heresy-hunter! Heresy-hunter!’ If a lot of us should go prying into some man’s utterances to find something wrong, somewhat as W. T. Moore’s hounds kept up a yelping all night because, as the old darkey said, ‘dey smell something’, but can’t ‘zac’ly locate it,’ we might be charged with hunting for heresy; but if those hounds had seen a fox coming out of some man’s hen-roost, nobody would have objected to their giving him chase. The fox might cry out for personal liberty, and say, ‘I have just as good a right to take a chicken as you have to take a fox,’ nevertheless, the common judgment of mankind would say that to chase the fox away would be a righteous act. Out West there are bear-hunters. They go creeping around among the hills and rocks trying to slip up on a bear and take the advantage of him. In this they are like real heresy-hunters. But if a man is walking along the public road, and meets a bear reared on his hind legs, and reaching for him with his fore paws, there is bound to be a fight or a foot-race; and if the man should fight the bear, nobody could on this account call him a bear-hunter. The bear might say, ‘I am free, and have as much right on this road as you have,’ and the man could answer, ‘I am free, too, and have as much right on this road as you have.’ And if the man should also say, ‘You are after hugging me, and you hug everybody you can get hold of, so I will put a bullet through you,’ the average citizen would say that the man was in the right. So, if heresy does not want to be shot at, it should play sly and not walk out into the public road.”

April 6

April 6, 1862 – The two-day Battle of Shiloh (aka: Pittsburg Landing) begins. It’s sheer scale is unlike any other previously experienced in U.S. history: more men will die at Shiloh than have died in all of the nation’s previous wars put together. No small number of the combatants, on both sides, are either members of the Stone-Campbell Movement or will become so following the Civil War. Many more, though not members of the Restoration Heritage, are closely connected to those who are. Mark it: this is not “merely” a brother vs. brother conflict, but often a brother in Christ vs. a brother in Christ battle to the death. The irony is made even greater by the name of the location of the battle church known as “Shiloh” (“Shiloh” means “place of peace”). Among those who were at Shiloh, and who survived the terrible fighting there, are the following examples:

* It is T.B. Larimore who provides Confederate (CSA) General Albert Sydney Johnston with “his first information of the approach of Federal gunboats at Pittsburg Landing preparatory to that terrible Sunday slaughter.” Many years later Larimore will write in the Confederate Veteran:

“… I wrote the dispatch and remember well how those two gunboats [the U.S.S. Tyler and the U.S.S. Lexington] and three transports looked as they silently slipped up the river.”

It is precisely the knowledge afforded through this communiqué that prompts Johnston to attack Union General Grant’s forces at Shiloh before Union General Buell’s force can unite with those of Grant and reinforce him.

* A Captain in the Confederate Army is seriously wounded in the fighting, but manages to recover. The Minnie ball that causes the wound remains lodged in his right shoulder the rest of his life. The Captain is the father of C.R. Nichol.

* John J. Thompson, Sr. is crippled for life by a wound he receives as he serves with the CSA, 5th Tennessee Infantry regiment. Following the war he will be instrumental in building up a congregation in Henry County, Tennessee.

* William Franklin Thompson serves in the CSA, 5th Tennessee Infantry Regiment. The Union troops the 5th Tennessee spends most of its time engaged with on both days of battle at Shiloh are troops from Ohio infantry regiments. Thompson survives the war and at some point (during, or shortly thereafter) becomes a Christian and is a minister among churches of the Restoration Heritage for many years. He and his first wife, Artimissa (married in Jan. 1864) have eight children. Upon Artimissa’s death in 1884, Thompson remarries, but soon divorce (within a year) due to his second wife’s cruelty to his children. He marries a third time, Melissa Elizabeth Turner, and she survives him by ten years (Thompson dying in 1914 at the age of 75). Thompson’s body is buried in Coffeyville, Kansas.

* William Henry Fudge, a great-grandfather of our well-known contemporary, Edward Fudge, wears the Confederate gray and fights at Shiloh.

* Edward James Legg is a drummer in the CSA, 26th Alabama Infantry (Coltart’s) Regiment. At the start of the battle, the 26th Alabama has 440 men listed as “effectives” (i.e. – available for service); however, by the end of the first day’s fighting, due to casualties, sickness, and exhaustion, the number is less than 150. Lieutenant Colonel William Davidson Chadick (a Presbyterian minister known among his troops as “The Fighting Parson”) writes concerning the 26th’s action at Shiloh:

“The Twenty-sixth was hotly engaged, contributing a full share to the driving back of the enemy. When the charge was made upon the lines and into the camp of the enemy, the Twenty-sixth was among the first to penetrate them.”

The 26th Alabama (also confusingly known as the 50th Alabama) sees much more combat during the war and suffers serious losses during the battles of Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, and Franklin. Relatively few of the original members of the regiment survive the war, but Legg is one of them and sometime after the Civil War, likely during the 1880’s, he becomes a Christian and a part of the Restoration Heritage. Dying in 1930 and buried in Comanche, Oklahoma, his obituary notice in The Comanche Reflex notes that he was “a consistent member of the Church of Christ for more than forty years.”

John J. Stobaugh, a minister of the Christian Church, is mortally wounded at Shiloh, in his first experience with combat, as he serves as a Lieutenant in Capt. Jennings’ company of the CSA, 10th Arkansas Infantry. He finally succumbs to his grevious wounds twenty days later on April 26 at Corinth, Tennessee.

* Louis David Shockley is wounded while serving in CSA infantry (in the same regiment in which T.B. Larimore is a part). Recovering from his wound, he continues to serve until the following April (1863) at which time he then becomes listed as a deserter. Decades later, he and his wife, Rachel, donate the land needed for the erection of the building for the Shockley Church of Christ in Van Buren County, Tennessee.

* James McCleery, an officer in the USA, 41st Ohio Infantry Regiment, is so seriously wounded that his right arm is amputated. He recovers, only to be wounded again later that same year (Dec. 30, 1862) at the Battle of Stone’s River. Recovering once more, he serves for the duration of the war, being steadily promoted in rank throughout. As a Republican he is elected in 1871 to the U.S. Congress; however, McCleery dies in November of that same year. His body is buried in the cemetery of the Cortland Christian Church in Trumbull County, Ohio.

* William (“Willie”) Izora Bush is the 3rd Sgt. of Co. C in the CSA, 9th Texas Infantry. Shiloh is his regiment’s first major battle and during the fighting Willie is wounded in the neck. He recovers from his wound, but he will spend much more time hospitalized than not until he finally leaves Confederate service a year and a half later in Dec. 1863. Upon Willie’s death in 1905, the local newspaper notes that he “was a member of the Christian Church and was known far and near for his most exemplary life always having a kind word for those with whom he came in contact.”

* Brigadier General James A. Garfield, commanding the Twentieth Ohio Infantry Brigade (consisting of the 64th Ohio, 65th Ohio, 13th Michigan, and 51st Indiana), arrives at Shiloh but not quite in time to participate in any of the fighting. Recording his impressions of the sight of the Shiloh battlefield, he writes:

“Such a scene as this 30 square miles presents beggars all attempt at description. … God has been good to me and I am yet spared.”

Several days later he writes:

“The horrible sights I have witnessed on this field I can never describe. No blaze of glory that flashes around the magnificent triumphs of war can ever atone for the unwritten and unutterable horrors of the scene of the carnage.”

* When Sam Houston, Jr. (yes, the son of the Sam Houston, Sr. you’re thinking of) first enlists in the Confederate Army he is a part of the “Huntsville Grays” with Austin McGary. However, prior to Shiloh the “Huntsville Grays” are split up to serve in different regiments and so, McGary is not among those who fight at Shiloh. However, Sam Houston, Jr. is at Shiloh, serving as a Private in Co. C of the CSA, 2nd Texas Infantry Regiment. The 2nd Texas is badly cut up in the battle and Houston, Jr. is one of those seriously wounded. Supposed at first to be dead, he is laid out with them, but upon discovery that he is yet alive, a Union Army physician attends to him and nurses him back to health. [Incidentally, Sam Houston, Jr. is also well known to CSA Captain Colonel Barton W. Stone, Jr. (yes, the son of the B.W. Stone, Sr. that you’re thinking of now). Since at least 1851, Stone, Jr. and Houston, Sr. have been close friends. Stone’s regiment (the CSA, 6th Texas Cavalry) does not fight at Shiloh. Sam Houston, Sr. dies the following year (1863).]

* Union General Richard Montgomery (“R.M.”) Gano and his command arrive at Shiloh the day after the battle concludes. It is then that Gano learns that his good friend, Confederate General Albert Sydney Johnson, was killed in the fighting. Johnson is the highest-ranking officer killed during the Civil War.

* Forty-three year old Private Hiram Sowle Manchester of Co. K of the USA, 48th Ohio Infantry Regiment is killed in action at Shiloh. His five foot, nine inch body with dark complexion, dark hair, and hazel eyes is buried in grave #1009 in a section of graves for Ohio soldiers on the Shiloh battlefield.

During the battle, the 48th Ohio occupies the ground just west of the Shiloh church building, no more than a quarter of a mile away. The 48th (along with two other Union regiments, the 70th Ohio and the 72nd Ohio), is overwhelmed head-on, as well as outflanked, by ten Confederate regiments (the first wave of five under the command of Brig. Gen. Patton Anderson – the 1st Florida Battalion, the 17th Louisiana, the 20th Louisiana, the 9th Texas, and the Confederate Guards Response Battalion – and the follow-up wave under the command of Brig. Gen. Patrick Cleburne, consisting of the 6th Mississippi, the 2nd Tennessee (Bates), the 5th [aka: 35th] Tennessee, the 23rd Tennessee, and the 24th Tennessee).

[The careful reader of this series might recall that the 35th Tennessee is the same regiment in which T.B. Larimore is a part and that the 9th Texas is the unit in which Willie Bush, mentioned above, serves. The 9th Texas was largely recruited in northeast Texas where the Restoration heritage has made real inroads and therefore, the odds of the 9th Texas having a significant number of members of the Restoration Heritage is quite high.]

At the time of his death, Hiram has been a member of the Pisgah Ridge Christian Church in Brown County, Ohio for seventeen years and has been a part of the Union Army a total of two months and one day. Having made a living as a farmer and a blacksmith prior to his enlistment, in death he now leaves behind a forty year old widow, Rachel J. (Daughtery) Manchester, and six children. Starting one year from now, Rachel will receive a $12 per month pension, a pension that will continue until her death in 1895. Rachel never remarries.

Hiram’s last surviving communication to Rachel is a letter he wrote her on Valentine’s Day, just days after his enlistment. The stationary upon which the letter is written contains a poem. The letter reads:

“Dear Rachel, I take this opertunity to Let you that I am Well except a bad Cold. We got to Camp the same night at ten o’Clock. Very tired. We eat diner at Bethel Super at Gears. There we had fried chicken and Baked hen and other things in portions and Super againe in Camp. I have a good Straw bed and a Blancet.  We hav a plenty to eat. I have not ben on gard yet. We have not Drilled out of doers yet. THe Snot is abou Six inches hear to Day. The Boys is tolerable. Sivile(?) I am not in Company I, I am in Company K 48 Reg. Caption Peterson. We don’t know when we Will go away, we expect to go to Cincinnati if we go there it likly we never will leave thare til we are DIscharged. So No more at present only, remane your friend. Children be good Children and Minde your Mother. Our Drummer is not biger than Mil or Jack He is a verry nice Little Boy and as happy as if he was on his Mother’s nee he uses no bad Language and talks to the other boys if they sware. Direct your Letter Camp Denerson Co. K in care of Cap. Peterson. – Hiram S. Manchester.”

The poem reads:

“Soldier’s Farewell

“Upon the hill he turned, to take a last fond look,
At the valley, and the village church, and the cottage by the brook.
Beside that cottage porch, a girl was on her knees;
She held aloft a snowy scarf, which fluttered in the breeze;
She breathed a prayer for him – a prayer he could not hear;
But he paused to bless her as she knelt, and wiped away a tear.”

[Of course, the preponderance of examples listed here in this small sampling of men who served the CSA and had some connection with the Restoration Heritage should not be construed as indicative of the whole. I am simply more familiar at this time with specific examples of Confederate troops with such connections than I am with those who served with Union forces. Members of the Restoration Heritage were abundant in Ohio and a significant percentage of Union troops engaged at Shiloh were made up of Ohio troops; something on the order of close to thirty Union regiments. Similarly, nearly thirty CSA regiments were composed of troops from Tennessee, another state where those of the Restoration Heritage were quite numerous at the time.]

April 7

* April 7, 1862 – Private George W. Johnson of the CSA, 4th Kentucky Infantry – and exiled Confederate Governor of Kentucky – is mortally wounded during the second day of battle at Shiloh. Taken prisoner, he dies the next day in a Union Army hospital. George W. Johnson is kin to the well-known Restoration Heritage minister John T. Johnson. George W. Johnson’s son, W.V. Johnson, will enter Confederate military service just twelve days after his father’s death and will initially serve as aid-de-camp to Gen. John C. Breckinridge. Robert Adams Johnson, Jr., a nephew of John T. Johnson, is also wounded at Shiloh as he serves as a Private in the CSA, 9th Kentucky Infantry Regiment, but unlike George, he his able to make recovery from his wound.

* April 7, 1863 – Decima Hemans Campbell, the youngest daughter of Alexander & Selina Campbell, marries a missionary by the name of John Judson Barclay.

* April 7, 1863 – William Hayden dies at the age of 63 in Chagrin Falls (Cuyahoga County), Ohio. See the entry for March 2 for information about this hard-working, multi-gifted preaching associate of Walter Scott.

* April 7, 1866 – With Alexander Campbell’s body having been in the ground for only a month, the first issue of the Christian Standard (CS) is published in Cleveland, Ohio. Due to his having served as chairman of the American Christian Missionary Society during the Civil War, the CS’s editor, Issac Errett, is generally despised by the vast majority of Christians of the Restoration Heritage who live in the South. This burr in the saddle to Southern Christians is not at all helped by the fact that James A. Garfield, a former Union general, is one of the members of the incorporating board. Consequently, in the coming years, the CS (big on mission societies and holding a ‘take it or leave it’ position as to instrumental music in worship) will become “the standard” by which weekly journals among those of the Restoration Heritage in the North are measured and the Gospel Advocate (no fan of societies or instrumental music) will assume that place among Christians in the South. The obvious and deep rift between Northern and Southern churches of the Restoration Heritage (perhaps more accurately spoken of as a grave wound) will continue to grow.

* April 7, 1896 – In an article on this date in Daniel Sommers’ Octographic Review, Robert W. (“R.W.”) Officer tells of how that it was in June 1892 that he and T.B. Larimore made a trip to what is now Anadarko, Oklahoma for the purpose of securing land for use as a preaching point to the Indian tribes in that area. On 160 acres of land granted there for use by the Churches of Christ, G. S. Yates and G. W. Taylor organize a congregation.

* April 7, 1927 – T.B. Larimore writes in the Gospel Advocate of how he deeply and daily greatly misses his brother, Cassander Porendo (aka: “Prendo”) Adolphus Larimore, who went missing during the Civil War. Earl West tells the story thus in volume four of his work entitled Search for the Ancient Order (4:43-44):

“Above everything he recalled the Civil War and especially Shiloh, memories he cherished all his life. He thought often of the ‘sanguine sixties,’ as he often called them, and the numerous sadnesses he had encountered. Above everything he remembered his ‘beautiful little brother,’ Cassander Porendo Adolphus. Larimore called him ‘Porendo’ by his middle name. He disappeared in the war. None of the family ever saw or heard from him after this. Never a day passed that Larimore did not look for him. He would frequently meet a stranger walking toward him on a busy city sidewalk that he imagined looked the way Porendo would if he were now that age. But he never saw him. He reflected somberly:

“‘The shadow of this sorrow has hung over me, giving a touch of sadness to my life and countenance, more than threescore years. Well, I am nearly fourscore and four years old now, and shall soon emerge from the shadow of this sorrow and sadness and go into the fathomless depths of this blissful Beyond where sorrow is unknown, if Jehovah and my Savior shall judge me worthy, I am willing.'”

April 8

* April 8, 1807 – One week after contracting his way of passage, Thomas Campbell sets sail for the United States from Ireland on the ship Brutus. [cf. the April 1 entry in this series for more info on Thomas Campbell]

* April 8, 1866 – Just over a month after Alexander Campbell’s death, David Lipscomb writes in the Gospel Advocate as to what he believes was Campbell’s worst error in judgment; it concerns the concept of financial endowment of colleges and the training of preachers. He writes:

“We think the most fatal mistake of Alexander Campbell’s life, and one that has done much and we fear will do more to undo his life’s work, was the establishment of a school to train and educate young preachers. …

“We think the idea of training young men and withdrawing them in a preaching school to make preachers of them, results in evil in many ways, without one particle of good attached. Christ did not take his teachers from that class. …

“All schools conducted by Christians ought to teach the Bible thoroughly to all who attend no matter what their anticipations for life may be.”

April 9

April 9, 1870 – In an article in the Christian Standard, James Challen reflects on the late Walter Scott, his care of his voice, his sense of humor … and the fact that he was a coffee drinker.

“Brother Walter Scott took great care of his voice. If the instrument was in perfect tune, how admirably he could play upon it! When out of tune, he was as weak as Samson when shorn of his hair. Dear Walter! he was a great dyspeptic; and like all such persons, at times eccentric. He would change his diet to keep his voice, and consequently, his mind, in working order. Sometimes he would drink coffee, and then tea, and then water; and now and then milk. He was taking supper once with a good sister who had heard of his fondness for milk (he had just laid aside the lacteal diet and had gone back to coffee and tea), when she said, ‘Brother Scott, will you have a glass of milk?’ ‘I thank you, sister. There is no music in a cow,’ said Walter, in his blandest way. Of course he thought that milk was injurious to his voice.”

April 10

* April 10, 1809Charlotte Fall, Phillip Slater (“P.S.”) Fall‘s much younger little sister, is born. She grows up and marries a widower by the name of Tolbert Fanning. Charlotte (Fall) Fanning devotes herself to the education of children, primarily orphans. She outlives her well-known and very influential husband by twenty-two years. When she dies, she requests that her grave be placed in front of the schoolhouse where she taught and that her husband’s grave be moved so as to be placed beside her there. Why? So children can play on their graves. Her request is respected and children play and dance on their graves for over forty years. Then, the property on which the school is built is sold and her body, as well as the body of her husband, are relocated to the Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee. At that time, her neighbors pay to have the following inscribed on the back of her tombstone:

“She spent her life in training girls for usefulness and doing good. She founded a school in which girls would be taught the Bible daily and trained in the domestic and useful callings of life. ‘I was sick and you visited me.’ – Her neighbors”

* April 10, 1834 – What does our $20 bill today have to do with the Restoration Heritage? Or to out it another way: who did Tolbert Fanning think was the most “self-sacrificing, independent, earnest, humble, and faithful teacher of the Christian religion” that he ever knew? On this day in 1834, that man, largely forgotten, James Jenkins (“J.J”) Trott, a very effective Methodist missionary to the Cherokee Indians in Georgia since 1823, serves notice to the Methodist Church that he’s leaving the Methodist Church. His reasons are threefold:

“(1) I believe the holy Scriptures are the only divinely authorized and all-sufficient rule of Christian faith and practice; (2) I cannot, with a good conscience, subscribe to those institutions of ‘Methodism’ which I believe to be additions to primitive Christianity; (3) I do not believe my divine Master requires me to adhere to Mr. Wesley’s creeds as the standard of my private and public preaching … Thus … I am compelled to refrain from preaching what I believe to the truth, to preach what I cannot believe, to suffer expulsion, or to withdraw. I prefer the latter.”

Fanning, a close, long-time friend of Trott, brings us up to speed as to Trott’s experiences (in the early 1830’s) leading up to his departure from the Methodist Church and entrance into the Restoration Heritage:

“It will be remembered that during the Presidency of Andrew Jackson [the man whose portrait appears on the front of our $20 bill], the effort was made to bring the Cherokees, and all sojourners in the Nation, under the formal and practical workings of the American Government. To accomplish this object, a law was enacted requiring the oath of allegiance of native Indians, mixed bloods, and dwellers in the Nation—missionaries included.

“The penalty for refusing was a berth in the State Prison. Very soon many of the missionaries, Bro. Trott amongst them, were thrown into prison. These missionaries were native-born citizens of the Government of the United States had never, to their knowledge, violated it, loved it for their fathers sake, and, of course, having never become aliens, they refused to subscribe to the oath. … after severe privation and extreme sufferings, Bro. Trott, with two Presbyterian preachers, were sentenced to a series of years at hard labor in the Georgia Penitentiary. They were driven on foot a hundred or two miles to the prison. The Presbyterian ministers went in and served for more than a year; but the Georgia Governor’s heart, at the prison door, in looking upon the noble person, and into the manic and innocent face of our brother, relented. He broke his manacles, and set the righteous man at liberty. But his cruel imprisonment, with ‘the mock trial and conviction at what was called the bar of justice,’ had worked a complete revolution in the sentiments previously entertained regarding human government. By his revolutionary ancestors he had, from early childhood, been taught to reverence his government; but his sad sufferings deeply impressed upon his great heart the frailty of every institution modeled by man’s device. Even Methodism itself, whose divinity he had never doubted, began to evince its rickety construction, and its ragged exterior. In the meantime, while in prison, by some means he had been enabled to read some of the writings of Alexander Campbell, who had directed his attention back to the primitive church, and the matchless authority of the Holy Scriptures.

“But in all Georgia he knew no one who could sympathize with him in his enlightenment. The consequence was he soon started for Tennessee, and having no personal acquaintance with an advocate of the ancient order of things spiritual, he visited the very popular Baptist minister, Peyton Smith, and demanded immersion at his hands into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The timid Baptist faltered, and said, ‘Go before the Church, and relate your Christian experience.’ The clear headed Trott said, ‘Nay, I have not been in the Kingdom of the Savior, and have no experience therein; but I believe now, and have long believed, with all my heart in the Lord, and I desire to put him on in baptism.'”

“The Baptist trammels fell from the pious Smith’s hands, and they went to the nearest water—Overall’s Creek, four miles from Murfreesboro, Tenn.—where the earnest Methodist missionary, Jas. J. Trott, sought and obtained a good conscience by baptism into Christ. Being a free-born citizen of the kingdom, and by his birth having been constituted a king and a priest, after spending some time, like Paul, with the Disciples, he was strengthened and confirmed, and conferring not with flesh and blood, he straightway preached Christ to all who would hear, and proved himself an able minister of the New Testament.

“It was my good fortune, in a very short space after his adoption into the heavenly family, to form his acquaintance, and from the year 1837 to 1859, we were co-laborers in the Lord’s vineyard. … and it affords me the highest satisfaction to state, that in my whole forty years work I have not found a more self-sacrificing, independent, earnest, humble and faithful teacher of the Christian religion than was our departed Brother J. J. Trott.” (Gospel Advocate; March 25, 1869)

Until his death, Trott spends most of his years as a missionary to the Cherokee Indians primarily in the north-east portion of Indian Territory (what will later become the state of Oklahoma) and Tennessee. God works many good things through him with the people, but he receives precious little financial support for his work and it is this long-standing, deeply-ingrained lack of interest on the part of churches outside of the Cherokee Nation for the Cherokee people that is a source of constant frustration and discouragement to him. As Trott once put it in 1856:

“… a few dimes or dollars was all that they could .. do for the conversion of the children of Shem!”

The coming of the Civil War in April 1861 exacts a very heavy toll on the people Trott has devoted his life trying to reach. Trott’s good friend, John Ross (aka: Guwisguwi), is the Cherokee’s head chief, and Ross (at least at first) counsels neutrality on part of the Cherokee people, but the Cherokees wind up as divided as other people, some serving the Union, some serving the Confederacy, and some trying to stay out of it all. Trott will lose everything he owns due to the ravages of both invading armies. One of his sons (Timothy) is killed in the process.

Trott’s health, and to some degree his spirit, broken by lack of support and the effects of the war, dies of pneumonia in 1868 at the age of 68. Overlooked still today, the tiny cemetery in which Trott’s humble grave is located (north-east of Nashville, TN) is completely overgrown and his gravestone is fallen down and broken.

[An aside: I don’t know how many of you think of “The Trail of Tears” whenever you see Jackson’s portrait on a $20 bill, but being part Cherokee, I certainly do. Now, after learning of J.J. Trott, I’m sure I always will, and will remember J.J. Trott, as well.]

April 11

April 11, 1878 – Remember the “good ol’ days?” You know, back when times were easier and just more … holy?” Well, maybe they weren’t so much. And remember when it was generally agreed by both Christian men and Christian women that a woman’s place was in the home? Well, maybe that wasn’t so generally agreed upon.

For in a speech today to the Women’s Reform Club in Centerville, Ohio (later reported in the Christian Standard), sister in Christ H. Jennie Kirkham speaks of the pressing need (“duty”) for women to take on a much more active role in matters outside of the home because seeking to be influential only within the life of home just hasn’t been getting the job done. She says:

“We must work if we would save truth, purity, and liberty, home and native land from the falling chains of vice and intemperance. … Great changes are not only coming on the world, but are even now upon us.”

on these days in the American Restoration Heritage: March 1-7

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

March 1

* March 1, 1829John William (“J.W.”) McGarvey is born in Hopkinsville (Christian County), Kentucky. He will grow up to be one of the Stone-Campbell Movement’s most highly respected and internationally-known scholars.

Baptized into Christ in Buffalo Creek shortly after entering Bethany College in 1847, J.W. grows close to the Alexander Campbell family and is often found reading the Bible to the now virtually blind Thomas Campbell. Graduating as valedictorian of his class (1850), he will go on to preach with the Christian church in Dover (Lafayette County), Missouri (1852-1862) and Lexington, Kentucky (1862-1902), but the real impact of his life is felt through his teaching in the College of the Bible in Lexington, an institution over which he also serves as president for sixteen years.

Through his high respect for, and deep devotion to, careful study of Scripture, his vocal pacifist perspective during the Civil War, and his prolific writing, J.W. is a huge influence on the minds of many a young preacher in the Restoration Heritage of the time. Two of his most important books, the impact of which cannot be overstated, are his Commentary on Acts and Lands of the Bible. During a time of great challenge and change in the field of hermeneutics, J.W. is a champion of conservative interpretation of Scripture. And he will grow increasingly conservative with age. One example of this is seen in his shift in views regarding the Holy Spirit, a shift most evident in his commentary on Acts. In the first edition (1863), J.W. advocates for direct and personal work of the Holy Spirit in every Christian’s life, but moves to a word-only position in the revised edition of 1892.

* March 1, 1936 – Foy E. Wallace, Jr., editor of the Gospel Guardian, makes the following statement:

“If war is incompatible with Christianity, then a Christian’s participation in it is impossible. It would comport far more with the gospel of Christ for our preachers to be exhorting Christians to follow Christ and the apostles even to prison and martyrdom than to be instilling within them the spirit of militarism, war, and hell. … God help us in time of war to remain Christians, live or die.”

However, such sentiments on Wallace’s part are not long for this world. Wallace will completely forsake his pacifistic views and will announce his shift in the March 1942 issue of his paper The Bible Banner. He will become a vigorous proponent of Christian involvement in government and military service and will, therefore, in effect seek to undo (at least in terms of these two matters) all of the effort of his polar opposite of a preceding generation, David Lipscomb.

March 2

March 2, 1799 – A woman who will come to be known as “Mary Hayden” is born. Her maiden name is unknown to me.

Mary’s husband, William (1799-1863), a close associate of Walter Scott, is a preaching and singing dynamo during some of the earliest years of the Restoration Heritage. His memory is nothing short of phenomenal; it is believed that he has the vast majority of the New Testament memorized and he always has right at hand, without the aid of journal or notes, copious, accurate information regarding his travels and doings.

Speaking of travels, during the first twenty-five of William’s thirty-five years of ministry, he spends, on average, two out of every three days preaching or travelling to preach. His travels total 90,000 miles, two-thirds of those miles made on horseback. Nine thousand sermons proceed from his lips and he baptizes over 1,200 people. No wonder Walter Scott once said of him:

“Give me my Bible, my head, and William Hayden, and we will go forth to convert the world.”

Oh, but wait – this entry was supposed to be about William’s wife, Mary, wasn’t it? And there’s just something about her.

Quietly, at home, behind the scenes, raising the children by herself, is Mary. During the last two years of William’s life, Mary will increasingly care for him as he’s slowly robbed of his mobility and strength by a rare neuro-muscular disease (the symptoms of which sound much like what we know today as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; aka: ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease). And then, following William’s death, Mary will go on to live out her remaining fourteen years of life as a widow, dying at the age of 78 (1799-1877).

Truth be told, we know nearly nothing of Mary. What we do know is that she, William, and their children are referred to as “an excellent family.” But, while some of her husband’s life is well-documented, precious little exists to tell Mary’s story of quiet, hard-working, steady service to others.

And yet, that is her story, isn’t it? Quiet, steady service to others. It’s a story very familiar to many of us, isn’t it? For standing beside many a minister, then and now, is a “preacher’s wife,” one who is typically and truly in every sense of the phrase, “the better half.” And this world is a far better place because of such Christian women.

And so, thank you, Mary Hayden. For surely far better than most, you can appreciate the fullness of the meaning of the Scripture inscribed on your gravestone:

“There remaineth therefore a rest for the people of God.” (Hebrews 4:9)

March 3

March 3, 1866 – Via the Gospel Advocate, David Lipscomb continues to air out his heartbreak and bitterness over the effects of the Civil War on the people and churches of the Restoration Heritage. He loathes the American Christian Missionary Society (ACMS) and the effects of its resolution in 1863 to throw its moral support behind the cause of the Union.

“I feel intensely the degradation to the Christian religion and the Lord Jesus Christ, of making his church in any way the tool of the politicians of the partizans, to any of the strifes and conflicts of the institutions and governments of the world. The … Society [ACMS] in our esteem did this so far as it was in its power …

“… the action of this society … sent men into the Federal Army; we know it sent some brethren of good intentions, but strong impulses and feelings, into the Southern Army. Some, too, who never returned. We felt, we still feel, that that Society committed a great wrong against the Church and cause of God. We have felt, we still feel, that without evidence of a repentance of the wrong, it should not receive the confidence of the Christian brotherhood.

March 4

* March 4, 1866 – “The Sage of Bethany,” Alexander Campbell, Sr., first-born child of Thomas & Jane (Corneigle) Campbell, dies at his home in Bethany (Brooke County), West Virginia at 11:45 p.m. at the age of 77.

Through the years, Campbell, and those who drank deep from his wells, have often been interpreted by others as being intransigent and divisive. While this is certainly true of many who came after him, it was not true of Campbell himself. Hope and unity were two of his greatest life values. For example, shortly before Campbell’s death, Robert Richardson visited him and reported to him of a meeting between some of the “Reformers” (those of the Stone-Campbell Movement) and the Baptists. The meeting’s purpose was to discuss the possibility of unity. Upon hearing this news Campbell told Richardson:

“There was never any sufficient reason for a separation between us and the Baptists. … We ought to have remained one people, and to have labored together to restore the primitive faith and practice.”

Fittingly, it is Campbell’s last published article (Nov. 1865), “The Gospel,” that perhaps captures some of his perspective and efforts in life best of all. It is a perspective long since either deliberately forsaken or just plain forgotten by a great many of the Restoration Heritage, namely, that there is a distinction between the preaching of the good news of Christ and the teaching of doctrine by Christ’s apostles. Leroy Garrett sums up Campbell’s understanding thus:

“Campbell’s plea for unity since Christian Baptist days had been related to the distinction he made between preaching the gospel and teaching the apostles’ doctrine. The gospel consists of [seven] facts that we accept or reject [specifically, the birth, life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and coronation of Christ], while doctrine involves theological opinion over which we can and will differ. Campbell never understood believing facts to be simple intellectual assent to information but, a transforming appropriation of the reality to which the facts point. In the case of the gospel the facts point to the proposition that God is love. Campbell had long maintained that this proposition alone had the power to unite believers to God and one another. Believing and obeying the gospel unites us in Christ and is the basis of our unity and fellowship. The apostles’ teaching is the curriculum we study once we are enrolled in Christ’s school. In that school we are in different grades and we can and will differ in understanding.

“This distinction was so vital to Campbell that he presumed one could not have a proper understanding of the New Testament without recognizing it. It is not surprising, then, that he made it part of his last essay.” (The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement; pp.133-134)

Echoing her husband’s lifelong emphasis on hope and oneness with Christ, Campbell’s wife, Selina, says to him on his deathbed:

“The blessed Savior will go with you through the valley of the shadow of death.”

With his last words, Campbell makes reply:

“That he will! That he will!”

* March 4, 1880James A. Garfield is sworn into office, inaugurated as the twentieth President of the United States of America, by Chief Justice Morrison Waite. During the course of his (relatively) poorly-attended inaugural address, Garfield cautions the nation to diligently safeguard the rights of African-Americans so that they do not become “a permanent disfranchised peasantry.”

March 5

March 5, 1871Dr. John Thomas dies and is buried in the Green-Wood Cemetery in Kings County [Brooklyn], New York.

(a) Have you ever known anyone to be convinced that their specific branch (leaf?) on the tree of Christendom is “the one true church?”

(b) Have you ever dealt with someone who thinks all churches not like their own are suspect, at best, more nearly “synagogues of Satan?”

(c) Have you ever encountered anyone who believes that if a person isn’t baptized specifically “for the remission of sins” that their baptism isn’t valid and that they must, therefore, be re-immersed or else, their soul is in jeopardy?

If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of those three questions then you need to know the name John Thomas.

Born in London, England, John Thomas is an intelligent individual. Teaching himself Hebrew while in his teens and taking up the study of medicine at the age of sixteen, Thomas is a determined and focused spirit, too. These traits will only intensify with age.

In 1832, Thomas comes to the United States. His trip aboard the Marquis of Wellesley is a stormy one, the lives of all aboard being in constant peril. During this voyage Thomas vows to God that if he survives the storm that he’ll spend the rest of his life in the study of religious faith and the truth about life and death. Twenty-seven year old Thomas survives, and winds up in Cincinnati, Ohio, ready to make good on his promise to God.

While in Cincinnati, Thomas encounters the Stone-Campbell Movement. In October 1832 he is baptized by Alexander Campbell. Campbell urges this bright young man to take up preaching and Thomas does just that. He then travels back east, marries (Ellen Hunt on January 1, 1834), and takes up residence in Philadelphia.

As an outlet for the fruit of his study, Thomas starts up a paper, the Apostolic Advocate (AA). It is soon filled with the teaching that if a person’s baptism isn’t specifically “for the remission of sins” then their conversion isn’t genuine. He believes this is not a matter for private, personal opinion, but for a test of fellowship; the line in the sand, so to speak. Harsh denunciation of all Protestant churches also fills the AA.

Now if all of sounds strangely reminiscent of Campbell’s Christian Baptist, The Third Epistle of Peter, etc., a decade earlier, you’re spot on. However, Campbell (and the other leading figures in the Restoration Heritage) are now appalled by Thomas’ views. Campbell quickly and strongly takes Thomas to task, even issuing a special supplement to the December 1837 issue of the Millenial Harbinger regarding Thomas’ sectarian teaching. Understand, the John Thomas affair is the context for Campbell’s article series ‘Any Christians Among the Sects?’ and quite likely even the exchange known as ‘The Lunenberg Letter.’

Campbell’s perspective is clear:

“I cannot … make any one duty the standard of Christian state or character, not even immersion.”

Thomas’ view is equally clear, being the exact opposite of Campbell and all of the other major leaders of the Stone-Campbell Movement of the time.

Thomas will remain stone deaf to Campbell’s arguments and entreaties. He will becomes even more dogmatic in his views and will go on to do all he can to disturb the churches of the Restoration Heritage within his sphere of influence, especially in a church in Richmond, Virginia, a church in which Thomas Campbell had preached the first sermon (back in March 1832).

Thomas has himself rebaptized, leaves the Stone-Campbell Movement, and consolidates his followers into the group now known as Christadelphians, which, like most groups, through time, splinters even further into even smaller, exclusive fellowships.

The John Thomas affair does not go unnoticed by those outside of the Restoration Heritage and some observe, rightly so, that the mid-1830’s, 1837 in particular, marks a time of real change in Campbell’s tone, though not trajectory, in regard to the place and work of the American Restoration Heritage within greater Christendom. Campbell will, you might say, mellow; becoming markedly kinder and more gentle in his dealings with other tribes.

Similarly, the John Thomas affair also reveals all too clearly for all to see that sectarianism is alive and well even among the members of the tribe that claims to fight sectarianism. Just who is and who is not a Christian (on the basis of baptism) will continue to be an issue in the decades following within the Heritage, even to our own time, and the specific issue of baptism/rebaptism will come to a head in the 1880’s in Austin McGary’s clash with David Lipscomb [cf. the Feb. 6 in this series].

March 6

March 6, 1826 – As he addresses someone who strongly disagrees with him, Alexander Campbell says in an article in the Christian Baptist (vol. 3, no. 8; p.223):

“I will esteem and love you, as I do every man, of whatever name, who believes sincerely that Jesus is the Messiah, and hopes in his salvation.”

March 7

March 7-8, 1862 – During the Battle of Pea Ridge (aka: Elhorn Tavern) near Fayetteville, Arkansas, Benjamin Franklin (“B.F.”) Hall, chaplain of the CSA, 6th Texas Cavalry Regiment (Stone’s), distinguishes himself – with his lust for blood.

Hall had come into the Restoration Heritage at the age of twenty through his reading of the Campbell-McCalla debate. Upon noting that baptism was “for the remission of sins” he had literally jumped to his feet, begun clapping his hands, and shouting,

“Eureka! Eureka! I have found it! I have found it!”

Hall will go on to become a widely-travelled and well-known preacher in the Stone-Campbell Movement. And it is during travels in Texas in 1849 that Hall becomes mightily impressed with the spirit of the people there. He writes of them:

“The people of Texas, among whom I have travelled and preached, are hospitable, intelligent, independent, every man claiming the right to believe and act for himself in religion. I have never seen a people more ready to hear and … obey the gospel. I know of no country which presents so fine a prospect for usefulness as Texas just now. The people are not yet sectarianized.”

Hall cannot keep himself away, and so, finally moves to Texas in 1856. However, as the cyclonic storm of impending civil war bears down on Texas, and the entire country, Hall’s spirit is slowly but steadily caught up in its rage.

Shortly before the Battle of Pea Ridge, fifty-six year old Chaplain Hall is paid a visit by fellow Stone-Campbell Movement preachers William Baxter and Robert Graham (respectively, second president and founder of Arkansas College in Fayettville). Baxter and Graham are horrified and stunned virtually speechless by what they encounter in Hall: a man who loves war and counts all of his brethren in the North as “infidels.” One excerpt from their conversation tells all. Hall relates to them, with joy and laughter, as to how a friend of his, Alf Johnson, “had gone over the battlefield after the Battle of Wilson’s Creek and who, when seeing a wounded Federal soldier begging for medical assistance, instead ruthlessly shot him.”

Louis & Bess White Cochran continue the story:

“At the Battle of Pea Ridge near Fayetteville, Arkansas … [the regiment of which Hall was a part] was engaged in battle under General [Benjamin] McCulloch, and ingloriously routed. But the taste of blood was evidently sweet to Dr. Hall, and the desire for revenge obsessed him. It was reported that he behaved more like a fiend than a Christian gentleman. His total concern was to kill. His stated ambition, legend has it, was to catch every Yankee soldier he could find and cut off his right hand, and then send him back to his command with the severed hand tied to his saddle.” (Captives of the Word; p.145)

Some of the deep irony in all of this is not to be missed. It was Barton W. Stone, Sr. (a died-in-the-wool pacifist) who officially set Hall out on his way in ministry in 1825 and, ironically, it is Stone’s son, Barton W. Stone, Jr. (who is anything but a pacifist) who commands the regiment in which Hall serves as chaplain during this battle. Hall will serve as chaplain of the 6th Texas for nine months, the same period of time during which Stone serves as its Colonel.

To capture a sense of just some of the horrors of war – and such having quite the opposite effect on a man than they did on B.F. Hall! – hear the remembrances of Isaac Smith. Smith served as a Private in Co. E of the CSA, 3rd Missouri Infantry. Listen to his reflections on the night following the second day of battle:

“It was a very cold night and it was pitiful to hear the wounded calling all through that night in the woods and alone for some water or something to keep them warm. I hope I never will hear such pleadings and witness such suffering again. Such cruelty and barbarity ought not to be tolerated by civilized nations. Young men, the flower of the country in the bloom of youth to be shot down and left on the field of battle to suffer untold agony, and die the death of the brave, to be forgotten by their countrymen and all that can be said of him is ‘He was a brave man and died for the cause he thought was right.’ Some were buried and some were not; left on the field of battle to be devoured by wild animals. Oh, these things are fearful to contemplate. Yet men will say from the stump and in the Halls of Congress that it is a war of Humanity and that it is a war for humanity. My observations are that humanity has no part in it. Everything that is barbarous and savage is put in full force by all who engage in war.

“In writing these lines forty years after this battle, above referred to, I have been forced to stop in the middle of it and express my feelings with regard to this matter and to let all who may read these lines know that I am utterly opposed to this thing called War, and hope I may never hear of one nation going to war with another nation. No matter what the grievance, these things ought to be settled without blood shed.”

During the Battle of Pea Ridge, the 6th Texas suffers the loss of nineteen men (3 killed, 3 wounded, 13 missing).

Of course, as is the case with all of the large battles of the Civil War, there are no small number of men involved in combat who are either Christians in the Stone-Campbell Movement or who will become such following the war. As we’ve seen, some of them are, or will become, preachers. And among those who fight in the Battle of Pea Ridge who later become preachers in the Restoration Heritage, we’ll note three here.

Isaac Polk Scarborough serves in the CSA, 19th Arkansas Infantry Regiment. He will become one of the earliest preachers to work in West Texas.

Amos Josephus (“A.J.”) Lemmons (grandfather of Reuel Lemmons, who will be a very influential editor of the Firm Foundation and Image) serves in the Union Army.

And James Harvey (“J.H.”) Garrison, highly influential editor of the Christian-Evangelist, serves as a Private in Co.F of the U.S.A., 24th Missouri Infantry. Garrison is seriously wounded (a shattered leg) at Pea Ridge, but is able to make recovery. Garrison had been prompted to enlist after seeing the effects of the Confederate victory at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek (Aug. 10, 1861) in his home county in Missouri – the very battle B.F. Hall referenced in his conversation with Baxter and Graham. [For more on J.H. Garrison, cf. the Feb. 2 entry in this series.]

on these days in the American Restoration Heritage: February 1-7

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

February 1

Feb. 1, 1763Thomas Campbell is born to Archibald & Alice (McNally) Campbell in County Down in northern Ireland. Thomas’ father, Archibald, is a Catholic who has converted to the Church of England. Archibald is by no means well-to-do, and so, when a Seceder of great means by the name of John Kinley befriends Archibald and takes a shine to obviously bright, young Thomas and offers to pay for Thomas’ college education, Archibald accepts. However, Kinley’s offer is not without strings: the proviso is that Thomas will receive training for ministry – as a Presbyterian. [A ‘Seceder’ is one who is a member of the Church of Secession; the Presbyterian Church.] Consequently, young Thomas will enter the prestigious University of Glasgow in Scotland in 1780 and will graduate from there in 1783, and through the course of five more years of study (1786-1791) at the Whitburn Seceder Seminary, Thomas will depart from his father’s church faith and will embrace the Anti-Burgher branch of the Presbyterian Church.

While at Whitburn, Thomas will study more than theology, for he will come to meet, and soon marry (1787), a young woman by the name of Jane Corneigle. They will waste little time in starting a family and will welcome the birth of their firstborn child, Alexander, just fourteen months later.

Nineteen years later, due to reasons of health, a doctor will suggest to Thomas to move to the United States, and Thomas does just that in 1807. Upon meeting with the Synod in Philadelphia, he is warmly embraced and encouraged to preach in Washington County, Pennsylvania. However, he finds the Presbyterian Church deeply fragmented there and Thomas’ experience with deeply entrenched mindsets that allow no room whatsoever for differing groups to even occasionally worship together greatly distresses him. He is thus motivated to set about all the more to strongly encourage oneness and togetherness between the splinter groups. For his efforts, he will be put on trial by the presbytery and will be rebuked. He will appeal to the Synod, and they will give him an acquittal – coupled with an additional word of chastisement.

Predictably, Thomas will soon quit the Presbyterian Church. He is now, so to speak, a man without a denomination.

We’ll revisit Thomas and his life in future posts. It is enough to say at this point that it is Thomas Campbell who will soon come to coin the phrase that will become the idealistic watchword among those of the Restoration Heritage:

“Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; and where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent.”

Oh, and for those who notice patterns in life connected with birth order, it is interesting to note that Thomas Campbell is a firtsborn child, as is his even far more influential son, Alexander.

February 2

Feb. 2, 1842 – On this day near Ozark (what is now Christian County), Missouri, James Harvey (‘J.H.’) Garrison is born to Baptist parents James Calvin & Diana (Kyle) Garrison. Along with several of his brothers, J.H. will grow up to serve in the Union Army during the Civil War. Shortly after the Confederate Army’s victory in the Battle of Wilson’s Creek – fought in J.H.’s home county (Aug. 10, 1861) – he will enlist as a Private in Co. F of the U.S.A., 24th Missouri Infantry. Serving throughout the rest of the Civil War he will ultimately exit at the rank of Major in the U.S.A., 8th Missouri Cavalry. His transfer from infantry to cavalry service comes as a result of suffering a serious leg wound during the Battle of Pea Ridge in March 1862.

Following the war, J.H. will enter Abingdon College and will marry a classmate, Judith Elizabeth Garrett, within days after graduation in 1868. During his time at Abingdon he will leave the Baptist tradition and will embrace a Restoration perspective.

J.H.’s influence among those of a moderate mind in the Restoration Heritage is substantial, being felt most mightily through his multi-decade editorship of (and over sixty years of writing for) the Christian-Evangelist (CE). In the words of one of J.H.’s biographers, William E. Tucker, during J.H.’s involvement with the CE it is known as “… the pre-eminent journal in shaping religious opinion among Disciples.”

February 3

Feb. 3, 1886Marshall Clement (“M.C.”) Kurfees begins preaching with the Campbell Street Church of Christ in Louisville, Kentucky. He will preach there until his death in February 1931, the longest known ministry of the time of any one minister with a church in the Restoration Heritage.

While ministering at Campbell Street, Kurfees will also serve as one of Gospel Advocate’s editors (1908-1924) and will author a book against instrumental music entitled Instrumental Music in the Worship (published in 1911, the same year his wife, Sallie [Eddy] Kurfees, will die). He will also collect and publish in book form (1921) many of the questions answered by David Lipscomb and E.G. Sewell (Questions Answered by Lipscomb and Sewell).

February 4

Feb. 4, 1831 – In Merton, Ohio, Thomas Campbell writes a letter to Sidney Rigdon, a preacher who, though once associated with the Restoration Heritage, has gone over to following Joseph Smith and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (aka: Mormons). Part of Campbell’s letter reads:

“It may seem strange, that instead of a confidential and friendly visit, after so long an absence, I should thus address, by letter one whom for many years I have considered not only as a courteous and benevolent friend, but as a beloved brother and fellow-laborer in the gospel; but, alas! how changed and fallen! … you … the professed disciple and public teacher of the infernal Book of Mormon …

“I, therefore, as in duty bound … shall hold myself in readiness, if the Lord permit, to meet you publicly, in any place … and defend against Mormonism and every other ism that has been assumed since the Christian era … we have no more need for … Mormonism, or any other ism, than we have for three eyes, three ears, three hands, or three feet, in order to see, hear, work, or walk.”

It is reported that when Rigdon received Campbell’s letter that after reading a few sentences he “hastily committed it to the flames.”

February 5

Feb. 5, 1942 – Persistent through the years within the Restoration Heritage is the myth that Abraham Lincoln was baptized by Restoration Heritage minister, John O’Kane. This myth has its roots in a letter by G. M. Wiemer that first appeared on this day in 1942 in the Christian-Evangelist (CE). The letter reads:

“I met Brother John O’Kane who was state evangelist in Illinois. It was at a convention. We were together about all the time. The Lincoln matter as to whether he [Lincoln] had ever been baptized came up. Brother O’Kane told me one day, ‘Yes, Brother Weimer, I know all about the affair. On the night before Lincoln was to be baptized his wife cried all night. So the matter was deferred, as she thought. But soon after Lincoln and I took extra clothing and took a buggy ride. I baptized him in a creek near Springfield, Illinois. We changed to dry clothing and returned to the city. And by his request, I placed his name on the church book. He lived and died a member of the church of Christ.'”

Concerning this account, and after careful research, Jim Martin has concluded: “It appears then, that in spite of legends, speculations, and wishful thinking, Abraham Lincoln was not extraordinarily close to the Restoration Movement. In the only public document in which Lincoln ever gave personal testimony about his religious views, he said simply, ‘That I am not a member of any Christian church, is true; but I have never denied the truth of the Scriptures; and I have never spoken with intentional disrespect of religion in general, or of any denomination of Christians in particular.’ It is perhaps fitting that his handbill published in 1846 to refute the charge of ‘infidelity’ also refutes overzealous churchmen eager to bring Lincoln into the fold.” (Restoration Quarterly 38.2)

February 6

Feb. 6, 1846Austin McGary is born to Methodist parents, Isaac & Elizabeth McGary in Huntsville, Texas. His father is a Texas hero, and Austin’s life will also drip with difficulty and drama. His mother will die when he is only seven. His father will die before Austin turns twenty. Austin will join the military and serve in Confederate cavalry (6th Texas Cavalry Battalion [Gould’s] and the 35th Texas Cavalry Regiment [Brown’s]), but will never see combat. Following the Civil War he will marry three times, outliving his first two wives (Cyrene Jenkins [dying in 1873] and Lucie Kitrell [passing in 1897]). He will father at least eleven children, but several of them will die before adulthood. He will be employed for two years, at about the age of thirty, as the sheriff of Madison County, TX and will then go on to be employed by the state of Texas to transport prisoners to the prison in Huntsville, a job that will continue to expose him to constant danger. Prior to becoming a sheriff he had killed a man in Midway, TX (1869) and once while sheriff he killed again (1787) for the same reason, self-defense.

In his mid-thirties (1881) McGary will take up, for the first time in his life, a serious inquiry into faith. Part of his research leads him to reading the Campbell-Owen debate (Owen being a famous skeptic). While reading this book, McGary will go to hear a series of sermons in Madisonville, Texas by Restoration Heritage preacher Harry Hamilton and will submit to baptism by Hamilton on Christmas Eve, 1881. However, within a couple of years McGary will come to question his baptism’s validity due to his awareness that he and Hamilton disagree on some matters. As a result, he will seek “rebaptism” at the hands of another Restoration Heritage minister, W.H.D. Carrington. However, quite quickly (by 1884), McGary will seriously question whether his baptism by Carrington is valid. Still, there is no record of McGary being baptized again by any other.

He will take up preaching in 1883 and will begin (September 1, 1884) editing and publishing a weekly paper entitled the Firm Foundation (FF). His stated objective, through the FF and otherwise, is:

“… to oppose everything in the work and worship of the church, for which there was not a command or an apostolic example or a necessary scriptural inference.”

The FF‘s readership will grow rapidly and will become the dominant (and most strident) written voice in the Texas Restoration Heritage. It will vary some in content and tone through the years as editorships change, but the FF will continue in publication until 2010, a 126 year run.

In his preaching and writing, McGary earns a reputation as a firebrand, rabble-rouser, and something like an angry man … and a great many people in the Texas Restoration Heritage at the time love it so. While he is, in the words of one historian, “rabid” in his opposition to missionary societies and the use of instrumental music, McGary’s objections regarding the subjects of baptism are equally full of wrath. He will viciously, verbally attack those who do not agree with him on this matter, David Lipscomb and the Gospel Advocate (GA) in particular (understand, the GA has a large circulation in Texas). As an example, he will refer “with charity” (McGary’s choice of words) to Lipscomb as “a religious reprobate of the most hypocritical cast,” inhabited by a “demoniacal spirit.”

How is that? Understand that Lipscomb, and most Restoration Heritage churches, believe it is totally unnecessary for those who have already been immersed in water when coming to faith in Christ, though it took place within another tribe (e.g. – the Baptist Church), to be immersed again when coming to a Restoration Heritage church family. Most churches and preachers actively discourage such “rebaptisms.” However, McGary considers rebaptism essential; to not rebaptize is to simply “shake in the Baptists” and is therefore, heresy and hypocrisy.

Ironically, though great numbers of Tennesseans influenced by Lipscomb and the GA will migrate to Texas during this time and will either start or join Restoration Heritage churches in the state, it is McGary’s perspective that will win the field and become the new, dominant view regarding baptism not only within the vast majority of Texas congregations, but, in time, within the majority of churches of the branch of the Restoration Heritage that will become known as southern Churches of Christ. To be sure, this battle continues to be fought in some quarters today, but the consensus view has radically shifted due to McGary’s efforts.

It is through an invitation made by McGary and J.W. Jackson that J.D. Tant will arrive in Austin, Texas in 1887 and will conduct a meeting, the result of which is the sealing of division between those of a Restoration Heritage perspective in the state capital. The group that leaves an existing congregation is led by McGary and Jackson and it is this group who make up the core of people who begin the University Avenue Church of Christ. The group left behind will be known as the Central Christian Church.

However, McGary’s slash-and-burn ways will catch up with him and in 1900 he will be forced to resign, due to his harshness, as editor of the paper he began, the FF. And yet, especially in McGary’s last years of life, the 1920’s, he will largely change his views and tone and will actively seek reconciliation with some of those he had editorially crucified for many years. In 1923, six years after Lipscomb’s death, he will have published in the GA, an open apology for how he dealt with brethren through the years. To seal his repentance, and in a remarkable display of reconciliation, he will spend some of his last few years of life writing for the paper he had long despised and vilified, the GA. However, his change has little effect on the brotherhood’s understanding of baptism; rather brethren will continue to cling to McGary’s original view of baptism and will view those who differ on the matter with a strong eye of suspicion.

[Sidebar: * Austin McGary’s father, Isaac, had fought in the Battle of San Jacinto (8th Company [Kimbro’s], 2nd Regiment). The 2nd Regiment led the Texan’s attack on the Mexican Army and first offered up that day’s battle cry, “Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!” Upon his sudden death in 1866, Isaac was buried in Galveston and his grave was one of those washed away by the hurricane that devastated Galveston in 1900. * We must realize just how close these matters are to us in terms of the span of a lifetime. McGary’s third wife (Lillian Otey, whom he married in 1897), died in 1959 in Huntsville, TX (where she and Austin are buried in the Oakwood Cemetery, also the resting place of Sam Houston’s body).]

February 7

Feb. 7, 1825 – In his publication known as the Christian Baptist (CB), Alexander Campbell, Sr. will begin a long series of articles which will prove to become highly influential, and truly pivotal, to a great many. The series is entitled “A Restoration of the Ancient Order of Things.” As a part of this first article Campbell will write:

“It is obvious to the most superficial observer, who is at all acquainted with the state of christianity and of the church of the New Testament, that much, very much is wanting … In what this deficiency consists, and how it is to be remedied, or whether it can be remedied at all, are the points to be discovered and determined. … We know very well that nothing can be done right which is not done according to the gospel, or done effectually which is not done by the authority, and accompanied by the blessing of God. …

“Human systems, whether of philosophy or religion, are proper subjects of reformation; but christianity cannot be reformed. Every attempt to reform christianity is like an attempt to create a new sun, or to change the revolutions of the heavenly bodies – unprofitable and vain. In a word we have had reformations enough. The very name has become as offensive as the term ‘Revolution’ in France.

“A RESTORATION of the ancient order of things is all that is necessary to the happiness and usefulness of christians. No attempt ‘to reform the doctrine, discipline, and government of the church,’ (a phrase too long in use,) can promise a better result … the thing proposed, is to bring the christianity and the church of the present day up to the standard of the New Testament. This is in substance, though in other terms, what we contend for. To bring the societies of christians up to the New Testament, is just to bring the disciples, individually and collectively, to walk in the faith, and in the commandments of the Lord and Saviour, as presented in that blessed volume; and this is to restore the ancient order of things.” (CB, vol. II, p. 136)