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.”

on these days in the American Restoration Heritage: May 10-16

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

May 10

Today, death is close at hand. Very close, indeed.

* May 10, 1816 – Having made a recent trip to Kentucky, eighteen year old Thomas Miller (“T.M.”) Allen and a young female friend are making their way back to Virginia on horseback. However, they are caught out in the open as a storm envelops them. The storm’s strong winds blow over a large tree which lands on them, killing Allen’s friend and the horse. Allen escapes death, but suffers injuries to an arm that will leave that arm crippled for the rest of his life.

Seven years later, Barton W. Stone, Sr. will baptize Allen into Christ and he will come to be used as a mighty instrument of God for the advance of the Restoration Heritage in the state of Missouri. [cf. the entry for March 24 in this series for more information on Allen]

* May 10, 1863 – With his army outnumbered two-to-one near Chancellorsville (Spotsylvania County), Virginia, Confederate General Robert E. Lee risks all and defies conventional military wisdom by dividing his troops in the face of his foe, Union General Joseph Hooker. Sending many of his men out on an attempt to outflank the Union Army of the Potomac, Lee selects Lieutenant General Thomas J. (“Stonewall”) Jackson to lead the effort. Jackson’s attack is more than just a little successful and the Union Army is served one of its greatest defeats of the entire American Civil War.

However, the victory comes at great price to Lee and the Confederacy for Jackson himself is one of the battle’s casualties, suffering three wounds, all of them from a volley of friendly fire. In efforts to save his life, surgeons amputate Jackson’s left arm, and though the surgery is a success, the doctors are no match for the case of pneumonia that follows. Still, death does linger long enough in claiming its victim for Jackson’s wife to arrive and be at her husband’s side at his passing. Jackson’s last words are: “Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.” Upon learning of his friend’s death, Lee says: “I have lost my right arm.”

Jackson’s deathbed is on Fairfield Plantation, the property of a man by the name of John Chandler .. and Chandler is one of the elders of a nearby Restoration Heritage church in Guinea Station. Just before what was to become known as the Battle of Chancellorsville, Chandler, sympathetic to the Confederate cause and having sons in Confederate service, had offered his home to Jackson to use as his headquarters. Jackson graciously declined that offer, but he now has no say in the same serving as his deathbed. Ironically, the following spring (1864), this same elder’s home is taken over by the staff of Union General U. S. Grant for use as their headquarters during the Battle of the Wilderness.

To this day, the National Park Service maintains John Chandler’s home, Fairfield Plantation, as a shrine to Stonewall Jackson. The property is located just south of Fredericksburg.

May 11

May 11, 1800 – Today, William P. DeFee, the first Restoration Heritage preacher known to regularly minister in Texas, is born to William & Delilah DeFee in Darlington County, South Carolina. He will labor hard for Christ’s kingdom for several decades among people who are largely unreceptive, his most effective sermon being his godly life.

We know precious little about DeFee’s youth; however, we do know that at the young age of fourteen he serves with General Andrew Jackson’s army in the Battle of New Orleans. He marries Nancy Ann Partee in 1820 and he determines to become a doctor, and so, enters a medical school in Tennessee. And it is there, in Dyer County, Tennessee in 1827, that a man by the name of “Goodman,” an elder in a Stone-Campbell Movement church, baptizes DeFee into Christ.

Making his living now as a travelling physician, DeFee’s growing family (William and Nancy will come to have at least fourteen children) move to east Texas in 1833. As DeFee travels and treats people’s physical ills, he also seeks to address their spiritual health through sharing Scripture and preaching in homes. And it is somewhere in the region we know today as Sabine, San Augustine, and Shelby counties in Texas that DeFee takes a moment to pen an ever so brief report of his ministry for publication in Barton W. Stone’s Christian Messenger. The note reads:

“I have started a society on the Christian doctrine.”

We would likely refer to such today as a “community Bible class.” Three years later (1836), in Rhoddy Anthony’s home just a few miles outside of San Augustine, DeFee gathers enough members together so as to organize a church known as “Antioch.”

DeFee continues to practice medicine and preach throughout the area. In Shelby County in 1847, DeFee and W.K. Withers plant a church in the home of Richard Hooper in Shelby county. The little flock of eight charter members put forth the following statement of their intent (church covenant):

“We, the Christians of the church called Zion, have met together this day, the 18th of July, 1847, and give each other our hearts and hands and all agree to take the Bible as the only infallible rule of faith and practice.”

However, not everything is roses. In brief reports through the years during this time, DeFee communicates to the brotherhood that the work in east Texas is more than just a little difficult. Preachers are exceedingly few and far between and DeFee describes Christian faith in general as being in a “cold state” in that portion of the world. Indeed, if one judges by the number of Christians of the heritage and the number of congregations, east Texas lags behind any other portion of Texas in terms of growth even as late as 1860, and the coming of the Civil War decimates what is found there. In the words of one preacher, J.H. Cain, in 1866:

“Our churches in East Texas, most of them, have come to nothing.”

The following year (1867), DeFee concurs, once again using the word “cold” to describe the difficulty of the field and the state of the churches in East Texas.

But, DeFee is made of tough material and he soldiers on, sowing the seed of the kingdom until his dying days. J.A.A. Hemphill authors Defee‘s obituary notice that appears in the Nov. 4, 1869 issue of the Gospel Advocate. In it Hemphill notes:

“Never, perhaps, at least not in modern times, has any man lived nearer the cross, for near a half century than did Father Defee. Always hopeful and cheerful, he went forth battling for the cause of his blessed Redeemer. When he began preaching he was completely alone in contending for the faith and for the Gospel as the power of God to salvation. He lived to be able to count good and true brethren by hundreds among his acquaintances. He was possessed of a piety that put scorners to the blush, and, though not eloquent as a preacher, his influence as a Christian was great, owing to his orderly walk and Godly conversation.

“About a year before he died he was stricken with paralysis, and for the remainder of his life had but little use of one arm and leg, and was almost wholly unable to ride on horseback. Yet, so earnest was he for the perseverance of the Saints that he would walk for miles around in his neighborhood, encouraging the brethren and sisters to be faithful. When death came he was ready, and by his words and acts showed that he desired to be absent from the body and present with the Lord. An aged wife, the companion of his youth, and a numerous offspring join his spiritual brethren in mourning his loss.”

May 12

Today, we (A) hear a careful scholar make a grand boast and (B) play “name that county and church” (though precious little “play” ever happened there).

* May 12, 1863 – A writer, editor, publisher, and book lover gushes praise today for a book that is about to come from the press. Speaking in regard to J.W. McGarvey’s forthcoming Commentary on Acts, Benjamin Franklin writes in his paper, the American Christian Review:

“It is a commentary on the part of the New Testament most needed and one of the kind demanded. We are satisfied this work will meet the expectation of the brotherhood as fully as any book that has appeared for many years.”

Just a few days earlier, in an article in the Gospel Advocate, McGarvey himself had written about the making of his commentary. Aside from his most pressing work related to ministry, the research and writing of this commentary has been his point of focus during the past three-and-a-half years. He penned his work so that it would be “a book to be read, and not merely a book of reference.” And, he sees it as a work “adapted to circulation among sectarians and the unconverted” as well as “for the edification of the brethren.”

However, it is McGarvey’s claim for his brethren, not his commentary, that is perhaps most interesting (amazing?) of all. In his words – and McGarvey, if anything, is a man not prone to exaggerate anything in the slightest degree and of a deliberate habit of stating matters precisely as he believes them be – his commentary on Acts:

“… presents the real meaning of the text, as developed in the writings and teachings of our brotherhood, the only people of modern times who have understood and appreciated this book [the book of Acts].”

One hundred and fifty two year after its initial publication, McGarvey’s commentary on Acts is still available, now in both paper and electronic formats. However, McGarvey’s boast that we are “the only people of modern times who have understood and appreciated” the book of Acts is a bit … suspect.

* May 12, 1864 – It’s now time to play “name that county and church.” You’ll receive six clues as to the identity of both.

(1) This church was begun in 1832, rather early on in the Restoration Heritage. Eighty-one year old Samuel Alsop led the design and construction of the existing church building.

(2) On several occasions before the American Civil War, Alexander Campbell himself preached in the county where this church is situated.

(3) The county in which your church building is located is the setting not only for a great deal of all kinds of fighting throughout the course of the war, but serves as the battlefield for four – yes, f-o-u-r – major battles.

(4) During the course of one of those major battles – the last of the big four and one in which there are over thirty thousand casualties – your church building is made use of as a hospital for Confederate soldiers. The Zion Methodist Church will serve as a hospital for Union troops.

(5) What is agreed on by many veterans, both Union and Confederate, as being truly the most horrific hand-to-hand combat of the entire war, not just in this particular battle, goes on rather close to your church building, some of it as close as half-a-mile away.

(6) And as a part of that battle, today, a cannonball flies through the front doors of your church house/hospital, lodges in a wall … and by the grace of God, does not explode.

Name that county and church building. Five bonus points will be rewarded if you can name the specific battle referenced; ten points if you can identify the battle and the scene of the battle’s most gruesome combat.

The answer? That would be the Berean Christian Church in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. Whether Alexander Campbell ever preached in Spotsylvania, I don’t know, but it is known that he preached a number of times in nearby Fredericksburg. The four major battles fought in Spotsylvania County are Chancellorsville, the Battle of the Wilderness, Fredericksburg, and Spotsylvania Court House. Some of the war’s most gruesome fighting takes place at what becomes known as the “Bloody Angle” portion of the “Mule Shoe” (about four miles from Berean Christian Church) and at “Heth’s Salient” about a half-a-mile away from Berean Christian.

Today, the Bearean Christian Church building serves as the Spotsylvania County Museum.

May 13

May 13, 1846 – A preacher confesses his deep regret over having left some things unsaid.

Today, war between the United States of America and Mexico begins. And two years later, Alexander Campbell expresses the trouble in his heart over having not spoken more freely and fully against Christian participation in warfare before the Mexican-American War began. Indeed, Campbell fears that his relative silence may have cost some young men their very lives. Campbell poignantly writes in an 1848 issue of the Millenial Harbinger:

“I must confess that I both wonder at myself and am ashamed to think that I have not spoken out my views, nor ever before written an essay on this subject … I am sorry to think, very sorry indeed, to be only of the opinion, that probably even this much published by me some three years, or even two years ago, might have saved some lives that have been thrown away in the desert—some hot-brained youths. We must create a public opinion on this subject. We should inspire a pacific spirit, and show off on all proper occasions the chief objections to war.”

May 14

May 14, 1861 – Today, while one man helps steer men toward heaven, his nephew helps lead the way to the creation of (what John Denver famously styled) “almost heaven” here on earth.

Less than one month ago (April 17), a convention assembled and voted for the secession of the state of Virginia from the United States. The matter is anything but unanimous with over one-third of the delegates present voting in opposition to secession (55 of 143). Those on the losing end of the vote now schedule their own convention and meet today in Wheeling, Virginia for the explicit purpose of condemning the recent vote to secede. By means of a referendum a little over one month following (June 20), the dissenters announce that the western portion of Virginia is now separate and apart from the rest of the state. It is decided that the city of Wheeling will be the seat of government for this new “state.” Two years later, to the day (June 20, 1863), West Virginia is admitted into the union of the United States of America.

A leading figure in all of these doings toward the formulation of the new state of West Virginia is the editor of the Wheeling Intelligencer, Wheeling’s newspaper: Archibald Campbell, Jr. Archibald is a nephew of Alexander Campbell, a son of Alexander Campbell’s younger brother, Archibald, Sr. In fact, a letter Archibald penned to President Abraham Lincoln is considered by some to have played a significant part in tipping the scales in favor of West Virginia’s admission to the Union.

At the time of today’s dissenter’s convention, Archibald, Jr. is twenty-eight years of age and his uncle, Alexander Campbell, Sr., is seventy-two.

There is no shortage of abolitionists in the immediate, and extended, family of Alexander Campbell; however, there are others, such as Alexander Campbell, Jr., who serve the Confederacy. As one might imagine, the relations between all of the Campbell family members are, as we are apt to put it today, “complicated.” Following the war, the strained relations between Archibald, Jr. and Alexander, Jr. eventually heal, with Alexander, Jr.’s wife, Mary Anna, being the prime mover for their reconciliation.

May 15

May 15, 1896 – Death knows no bias today as a preacher and his wife – James Daniel & Martha Frances Shearer – are among several dozen killed by the effects of a rare F5 tornado that cuts a twenty-eight mile long swath of destruction through north-central Texas. An obituary notice in the Gospel Advocate (June 11, 1896) reads:

“Shearer, J.D.

“Brother J. D. Shearer and Sister Shearer (“Nee” Taylor) [Martha Frances (Taylor) Shearer] were both killed by a cyclone that swept away their house in the suburbs of Sherman, Texas, May 15, 1896. Mistaking the noise of the cyclone for a passing train, there was no effort to escape until it was too late. Two of their sons were with them in the same room, and were badly bruised, but not seriously. Brother Shearer was instantly killed. Sister Shearer lived a few hours, and, it is supposed, died of the shock. Almost everybody was wild with excitement. What words could describe the feelings of the son who were away from home when they heard that their father and mother were thus taken away? One of the sons was so far away that he could not come in time to see the remains. The hearts of the entire community went out in sympathy toward the distressed ones; and one of the largest audiences ever assembled in Grayson County at a funeral gathered around the grave, where I tried to say some fitting words in memory of my schoolmate and fellow-laborer, J. D. Shearer.

“Brother and sister Shearer had struggled hard to rear their large family, and had seen them grow up to be useful and honored citizens, a happy family. The sons great desire was to see their parents comfortable in their declining years. Alas, how bitterly disappointed! Brother Shearer had spent his life since he was a student at Kentucky University in preaching and teaching, and Sister Shearer has toiled faithfully by his side. The mother’s life seemed wrapped up in the lives of her boys. To care for them and to help them was her sweet joy, and to dote upon and care for their mother was happiness itself to these sturdy young men. Responsibility was thus suddenly removed, but there came the greatest of all earthly affliction. May the Father of the fatherless comfort and help them to bear their heavy burden, and may they be brought at last to their Fathers house on high.

“O. A. Carr”

The man preaching the funerals and writing this obituary notice is Dr. Oliver Anderson (“O.A.”) Carr, considered to be “perhaps one of the best known educators in the South” at the time. O.A., and his wife, Mattie, former missionaries to Australia, had recently (1894) founded Carr-Burdette College, “a school for young ladies” in Sherman. Mattie raised the money to build the school by selling two hundred and fifty $200 lots in the rapidly growing city. The school continued until the onset of the Great Depression (1929) brought its work to an end. O.A. Carr and the deceased preacher, J.D. Shearer, were the same age (both born in 1845) and, as noted in the obituary, were both graduates of Kentucky University.

May 16

May 16, 1811 – Today, a twenty-two year old preacher by the name of Alexander Campbell embarks for the first time on what will become a very common thing in his life: a preaching tour. He journals his experience and in the course of reading over his shoulder we learn of the connections he makes, where he preaches, what Scriptures he preaches from, and how he is received.

“I set out from my home on Thur., May 16, 1811, and stopped first evening at Lutham Young’s. Conversed upon the fundamental doctrines of the Christian religion. Next morning, accompanied to the river by Mr. Young, I crossed [into eastern Ohio] opposite Steubenville. Introduced myself to Mr. James Larimore and Dr. Slemmons, and was received with courtesy. Was introduced by Dr. Slemmons to Mr. Buchanan, lodging at the Doctor’s. After dining, reasoned with Mr. Buchanan on the general state of religion, and argued the principles with him which we advocate; but he would not see. In our discourse a Mr. Boyd, of Steubenville, interrupted by vociferously taking Mr. Buchanan’s side of the argument. Finished in a disorderly manner. Appointed to preach in the courthouse, Sabbath day [Sunday], at 12 o’clock. Proceeded to James McElroy’s, where I tarried till Friday morning, hospitably entertained. On Sabbath day, I preached, according to appointment, in Steubenville. Had a crowded house, notwithstanding Messrs. Buchanan, Snodgrass, Lambdin, Powel, etc. I had a mixed audience of Presbyterians, Unionists, Methodists, etc. Mr. Lambdin, the Methodist preacher, was present. I was introduced to a Mr. Hawkins, a most respectable citizen, and a Methodist. Sabbath evening, preached at Mr. McElroy’s, among whom was Mr. McMillan, with whom I sojourned that night at Mr. Thompson’s. Reasoned with him upon our principles. He granted me three things of magnitude.: 1. That independent church government had as good a foundation in Scripture as the Presbyterian. 2. That the office of a ruling elder was not found clearly in the Scriptures, but was a human expediency. 3. That he did not believe that the Confession of Faith was the system, that is, the precise system, the whole system, or the only system of truth contained in the Bible. Preached on Monday, at the McElroy’s, to a respectable assembly, from Gal. iv. 15,16 – On the Sabbath at Steubenville, my text was Heb. ii.3. In the evening, Mark xvi.15. On Wednesday morning, left McElroy’s, and arrived at Cadiz. That evening lodged at Squire McNeeley’s. Thursday morning, proceeded to Dr. McFadden’s; tarried with him until Sabbath morning. Preached, Sabbath day, two sermons, to a large audience – one from John v. 39, and the other from Acts xi.26. Sabbath evening, lodged at Samuel Gilmore’s. Monday evening at James Ford’s. Preached at James Ford’s, Tuesday, two discourses – one from Rom. viii.32, and the other from 2 Tim. 1.13. Tuesday evening lodged at a Methodist exhorter’s. Wednesday at James Sharpe’s. Preached, Thursday, at William Perry’s. Stopped all night. Friday, stopped at Samuel Garret’s. Preached, Saturday, at Samuel Patten’s, in Wheeling, from Phil. iii.8. Lodged with him, and preached, Sabbath day, June 2, at St. Clairsville, from Rom. viii. 32, and secondly, from Isa. lxvii. 14, with lxii.10, and lodged at Mr. Bell’s.”

How I wish now that I had established such a habit of journaling so early in ministry and had faithfully kept up with such through the years! If you are “in ministry,” let me encourage you to “just do it.” And if you do have such a habit, exactly how do you do it: on paper or electronically?

on these days in the American Restoration Heritage: April 12-18

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

April 12

April 12, 1861 – Since it seceded from the United States in December 1860, South Carolina has been steadily seizing Federal property and today, Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard orders artillery batteries to open up on Fort Sumter in Charleston Bay. Though, remarkably, not a single man will die in the day-and-a-half long bombardment, this incident effectively marks the start of the American Civil War. The cost and consequences of the war to the nation are truly incalculable, the deaths of at least 750,000 American soldiers being only a small portion of the price paid and the endpoint of the generations significantly affected still yet to be reached.

With the shelling of Fort Sumter, the iconic leader of the American Restoration Heritage, Alexander Campbell, Sr., immediately feels the effects of war on his ministry. In the days just before the shelling of Fort Sumter, he had been speaking in Charlottesville, Virginia (roughly 70 miles NW of Richmond). Hearing of the bombardment, Campbell cancels future speaking appointments and he and his wife, Selina, make their way back to Bethany. If speaking tours, The Millenial Harbinger, and Bethany College form the backbone of his work, the lifeblood of his ministry is surely the funds that come in to fund, funds that come largely from the South. However, with the coming of war, travel through, and mail service with, the South comes to a halt. Military recruitment and the decline in funding threatens to close Bethany College and brings the Harbinger to its knees.

Further, what torment in spirit he feels as he knows that a huge percentage of those he has poured his life into leading toward greater light and Christian union are now about, daily, trying to kill each other off, and are greatly succeeding at the task. His lifelong dream of Christian union and his age being a harbinger of Christ’s return, is literally being shredded apart before his very eyes and, much of the fruit of his ministry being left to rot on battlefields unburied.

All this of this pales in comparison, of course, to the emotional distress that comes to him, a long-time pacifist, as those of his own family choose sides and march off to war. Heavy on his heart is the fact that his namesake son, Alexander Campbell, Jr., enlists and becomes a colonel in Confederate cavalry while a favorite nephew, Archibald Campbell, Jr., casts his lot with the Union. And there are others.

Perhaps it is the apostle Paul who can convey to us something of the misery in Campbell’s heart at this time:

“Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?” (2 Corinthians 11.28-29)

Campbell, Sr.’s health, particularly his amazing mental abilities, had been slowly deteriorating prior to the war, but his decline now becomes much more obvious, seemingly accelerating, as the war years (1861-1865) go by. He will hardly survive the war. He dies the year after (1866) the cease of military hostilities.

War is hell. So our ancestors, and the experience of our heritage, would tell us. And so, in the name of Christ, may we ever flee from it. For the sake of all who are yet to believe, as well as for those who do, in this generation, and the generations to come.

April 13

April 13, 1861 – The final blow is struck today to the mind of Walter Scott. Long consumed with depression over the state of the nation’s affairs and worry over the specter of coming war, Scott learns today of the bombardment and fall of Fort Sumter … and what is left of his sixty-five year old heart is broken. Just a very few days later, Scott pens a letter to his oldest son, John, and says:

“Alas, for my country! Civil war is now most certainly inaugurated, and its termination who can foresee? Who can predict? Twice has the state of things filled my eyes with tears this day. Oh, my country! my country! How I love thee! How I deplore thy present misfortunes!”

The depth of Scott’s depression has been obvious and troubling to others for some time. Of late, he has been unable to even bring himself to share in the Lord’s Supper. An excerpt of a letter he wrote just a few months earlier (also to his son John) tells us of the very great weight of the burdens on his heart:

“You say: ‘ I am so disheartened and cast down, so overwhelmed with the general gloom that overspreads my dear, my native land, that I can scarcely think of anything else.’ These words, my son, precisely describe my state of mind. I can think of nothing but the sorrows and dangers of my most beloved adopted country. God is witness to my tears and grief. I am cast down, I am afflicted, I am all broken to pieces.”

To understand Scott’s grief, one must appreciate his understanding of eschatology. Scott passionately believes that the United States is destined by God to lead the world’s nations to faith in Christ, ushering in the millenium. As he stated in the last book he penned (just two years earlier in 1859), The Messiahship: The Great Demonstration:

“… there are in the elements of the Revolution of 1776 unmistakable proofs that the Republic of the United States is a historical and political verification of the unerring prediction of prophecy touching ‘a new government’ and ‘a new people.'”

Just three days after Sumter’s fall, Scott comes down with typhoid pneumonia. He will live only ten more days, his physical condition steadily deteriorating. His dear friend and associate, John Rogers, visits him, as does L.B. Streator. Scott ever so briefly, but ever so remarkably rallies, a bit right after one of Streator’s last visits, and spends this moment of greater strength and clarity speaking of the happiness and delight of the saved as they’re ushered into heaven and then, after a brief nap, he awakens once more, this time to speak of some of the men who have blessed his life. Alexander Campbell, Thomas Campbell, John T. Johnson, ‘Raccoon’ John Smith, and Barton W. Stone are among the names he mentions.

Scott then becomes too weak to speak any further and two days later, on April 23, passes away peacefully. His current marriage, his third, is by no definition of the term a pleasant one; indeed, it is the polar opposite of his preceding two (both having ending by deaths in 1849 and 1854). No mention is made of the presence of his wife, Eliza (Standidge) Scott, at Scott’s death [at least no mention that this writer has yet to see]. Further, though trying to make it to him in time, none of his six surviving children are able to be with him while he is on his deathbed. John Rogers and L.P. Streator conduct Scott’s funeral service and his body is buried in May’s Lick, Kentucky.

It seems exceedingly difficult to escape the conclusion that Walter A. Scott is one of the first of a multitude of “unnumbered casualties” of the American Civil War.

April 14

April 14, 1895 – Not far from LaVergne, Tennessee and close by the Rock Spring Church of Christ, in a farm pond owned by Columbus Brittain, Samuel Harris baptizes a man who, for several decades, will be the most mocked and reviled man in the entire Restoration Heritage. And perhaps the greatest irony of it all is that this will all come to pass simply due to the steady, godly teaching of men like James Harding and David Lipscomb.

At the time, no one could have possibly guessed that twenty-year old Robert Henry (“R.H”) Boll would become the brotherhood lightning rod, including – especially – Boll himself.

Born in Germany and raised in the Catholic church, Boll comes to the United States at the age of fifteen. He is exposed to the Restoration Heritage when he is befriended by a public school teacher and a state lawmaker who are of our ilk. Their friendship shapes him so that he is baptized into Christ and sets off to be a student at Nashville Bible School (NBS). He does well in his studies at NBS (1895-1900) and enjoys peaching, but he excels at writing. When he takes up preaching with the Portland Avenue congregation in Louisville, Kentucky in 1904, he takes it up for life, a ministry that lasts over half a century. But, it is his writing that is Boll’s forte, so much so that the Gospel Advocate (GA) names him as their front page editor in 1909. For six years he will serve in this capacity – and it is his writing for the GA that builds the fire over which Boll will be slow-roasted for the rest of his life. In 1915, he is ousted by the GA and in the following year, he takes the editorship of Word and Work, moving its base from New Orleans to Louisville.

What makes Boll’s teaching and writing so upsetting to so many is that he deliberately swims against what is now the popular tide. He lives in a time when our tribe is hungry for respectability and the establishment of physical progress, but it is Boll who continues to call  for simplicity. The proclamation and understanding of grace has peaked and is now on the downhill run, but it is Boll who doesn’t just keep talking about it, but emphasizes it. A generation earlier the work of the Holy Spirit was more often seen as personal and direct, but now the Spirit is largely perceived as working indirectly, only through the revealed word, and is, therefore, rather impersonal. Still, Boll views the Spirit’s work through old glasses. While the churches in our branch are becoming known for their being distinctive and as “a peculiar people,” Boll preaches tolerance and practices much greater openness and diversity. The book of Acts and the epistles are where it’s at with most brethren now, but Boll emphasizes what he sees as largely, and terribly, forgotten: the prophets. And as this world’s nations and powers rush off to murder each other in World War One, most of the relatively few pacifist elements that remain in our heritage run to catch the train of nationalism, patriotism, and social acceptance. Even so, it is Boll who continues to call believers to view their role in life as a part of a kingdom that is not of this world. Our heritage, having jettisoned Campbell’s postmillenial views with the coming of the American Civil War, is now racing toward an amillennial stance … while Boll takes a determined premillenial posture.

Quite simply, Boll is a man out of step with the rest of the troops and those who would back him in most of these views – indeed, who raised him in faith – are quickly fading away with age (Lipscomb dying in 1917 and Harding passing away in 1922). But, he will become the champion of a portion of our heritage that has all but faded into oblivion: premillenial Churches of Christ. Until his death in 1956, Boll will be the whipping boy of many a preacher and he will have to face the slings and arrows of other giants among us virtually alone, most notably in a debate with H. Leo Boles (1928) and one who will make a name for himself primarily due to his relentless and belittling attacks on Boll: Foy Esco Wallace, Jr.

April 15

April 15, 1869 – Though Lard’s Quarterly had a short run and folded the previous year (1863-1868), Moses Easterly Lard still sees a strong need for an additional paper in our heritage and so, on this day, the first issue of a new weekly paper, the Apostolic Times (AT), is published. Moses Lard, Robert Graham, Winthrop Hopson, J.W. McGarvey, and Lanceford Wilkes are its editors.

If we descend to the level of thinking in terms of “Left” and “Right,” perhaps we can categorize the AT’s placement among some of the brotherhood’s papers at that time in the following fashion. Ben Franklin’s American Christian Review (ACR) holds the ground of the distinct right and David Lipscomb’s Gospel Advocate (GA) is not far from that same position. Isaac Errett’s Christian Standard (CS) is perhaps representative of those in the center or just to the left of it. The AT attempts to speak for the moderate right. For example, while the AT supports the work of missionary societies (something unthinkable for the ACR or GA), it opposes the use of instrumental music (as does the ACR and GA).

The upshot of this stance is that the AT is widely perceived as a more moderate, even independent, voice in the discussion of matters, one not necessarily beholden to any one wing of the Restoration Heritage. However, the downside to its attempt to occupy ground closer toward “the center” is equally obvious: it manages to often either let down, or somewhat offend, since for most it just never quite goes “far enough.”

Lard’s hand at the AT’s tiller will soon end (Jan. 1873) as he takes time off to pen what will become his magnum opus, his commentary on Romans (published in mid-1875).

April 16

April 16, 1861 – Is following a flag to war consistent with following Christ? What is the good news a preacher is to preach as a multitude of men consider military enlistment? Is there a tipping point that can be reached that changes the answer and response to such questions? And so, why do we believe what we believe and what price are we willing to pay for it? Today, one of the most prominent pioneer leaders of the American Restoration Heritage sounds the alert on such concerns and digs in for the battle to come.

As the clouds of war rapidly build in the spring of 1861, the question of military service is naturally the hottest topic on the table among all, including church members and Church leaders. Often contrary to the practice of their recent ancestors, the vast majority of the most prominent opinion leaders of the still quite young American Restoration Heritage are thorough pacifists. However, their ability to persuasively make the case for such convictions to the younger generation and for them to embrace and practice those beliefs when the cost of doing so is now at its greatest, are thrown into the crucible. What will be considered slag, fit for nothing, and what will be the resulting, refined metal of belief in terms of actual practice, remains to be seen.

One of the great opinion leaders in our tribe at the time is Benjamin Franklin, a great-nephew of the not so pacifist American hero of Revolutionary War days by the same name. Nephew Benjamin is a well known preacher and the editor of the widely-circulated and well-respected Cincinnati-based American Christian Review (ACR), arguably the flagship publication of “the conservative wing” of the Stone-Campbell Movement, particularly among adherents in the North. Just as surely is the case with every leader of the time, Franklin converses with others about the coming war and one of those he communicates with is his good friend J.W. McGarvey. In a letter Franklin pens today to McGarvey we’re allowed to overhear how Franklin attacks the war question. His answers are classic Franklin: sharp as steel and uttered with a mind made up to give no quarter. It is equally clear that he expects others to follow him up the hill, no matter the personal price to be paid.

“I know not what course other preachers are going to pursue, for they have not spoken; but my own duty is now clear, and my policy is fixed. … Whether I remain a citizen of this Union or become a citizen of the Southern Confederacy, my feelings toward my brethren everywhere shall know no change. In the meantime, if the demon of war is let loose in the land, I shall proclaim to my brethren the peaceable commandments of my Savior, and strain every nerve to prevent them from joining any sort of military company or making any warlike preparation at all. I know that this course will be unpopular with men of the world, and especially with political and military leaders; and there are some who might style it treason. But I would rather, ten thousand times, be killed for refusing to fight than to fall in battle or to came home victorious with the blood of my brethren on my hands.”

Commenting further, this time speaking specifically to what everyone knows will be a frequent venue on the battlefield – Christians trying to wound or kill other Christians – Franklin adds:

“… however things may turn or whatever may come … we will not take up arms against, fight and kill the brethren we have labored for twenty years to bring into the kingdom of God. Property may be destroyed and safety may be endangered, or life lost; but we are under Christ, and we will not kill, or encourage others to kill, or fight the brethren.”

Franklin courageously and consistently backs up his walk with his talk. Despite the vast majority of the ACR’s subscribers being residents of the North (roughly 7,500 of 8,500), he continues to hold his pacifist position throughout the years of killing and will keep the ACR’s stance during the war neutral, not showing favoritism toward North or South. His view costs him a great many Northern friends and support and garners him frequent mockery as a coward, great suspicion of being a traitor, and a host of real enemies. In addition, since mail service to the South is cut off during the war, the times cost him all of his Southern subscribers. And, Southerners are unhappy with him for the same reasons those in the North are put out with him: though personally against slavery, he keeps the ACR’s stance on the subject neutral and he does not align his paper with either cause. For choosing a third way, Franklin is caught in a deadly crossfire.

Midway though the war in 1863, the American Christian Missionary Society’s passage of a resolution of support of the Union marks the start of a change in Franklin’s views. Not on pacifism, but as to missionary societies and other para-church organizations. Within a very few years, he will be adamantly and vocally opposed to such. Naturally, this conviction only adds fuel to the fire others are building under him. Due to several factors, Franklin moves his family from Ohio to Indiana in 1864 to be close to one of his sons, Joseph.

And what of the ACR? Resuming publication in 1866, David Lipscomb’s Gospel Advocate (GA) speaks well of the ACR, but doing so doesn’t salvage much for the ACR’s subscription base in the South. The GA assumes the flagship status of brotherhood papers in the South. With those in the North, the ACR still has something of a loyal fan base, but the war has crippled it seriously. It will remain that way the rest of Franklin’s life and for a nearly a decade more. However, it will experience a revival of strong influence during the days following its purchase by Daniel Sommer in 1886. And, remarkably, it will continue in publication until 1965.

As for Franklin himself, his star has peaked. His influence will never be nearly so great after the war as it was before. He will work hard – too hard – to attempt to regain much of what was lost and his health breaks in 1868. He lives yet another ten years, but does so as a virtual invalid, dying in 1878 at the all too young age of sixty-six. Still, his legacy of faith will continue through his sons and daughters, with preachers, as well as missionaries to India, counted among their number.

As I rehearse the experience of Ben Franklin, my mind is caught up into an endless loop of four questions:

First, is it actually Scripture that determines my values and beliefs or, in reality, are they more subtly shaped by the culture and other influences around me? Just exactly why do I believe what I believe?

Second, with what tenacity would I continue to preach and practice the convictions I now hold if they were suddenly put to the ultimate test, that test lasting perhaps even for the rest of my days and costing me, as well as those nearest and dearest to me, much in every way? If seemingly the whole world turned against me, how would I respond?

Third, what lasting effects will the troubles I face in life for my beliefs, and the way I handle those troubles, have on my wife and children? Will they continue in vital, active belief or will they grow bitter and jettison faith?

Fourth, isn’t it exceedingly odd how pacifism was once the consensus “conservative” position of our tribe, but is now commonly viewed today as a “liberal,” if not altogether stupid, perspective? We’ve come a long, long way, baby – but, in what direction and by the influence of what and whom? Which leads me back to the first question, and the cycle begins again.

April 17

April 17, 1866 – What is the most difficult thing in the walk of life? Some say it is repentance, for repentance is a very long walk uphill away from something toward which we are mightily drawn. But, perhaps it is reconciliation that is more difficult still, for it involves two trips: the journey of repentance and the journey of reconciliation itself, which is an equally long, pack-laden walk uphill toward someone who might want little, if anything, to do with us … or still worse. In addition, dangers of all kinds await along the way.

Just over ten months ago the Civil War ended and now the arduous task of the South’s Reconstruction is underway. At the war’s start, people North and South asked themselves the unthinkable: “Dare I try to kill my brother?” A significant majority decided, “Yes, I will, or help with the process.” Now, during Reconstruction, these same people – many of them members of the Restoration Heritage – ask themselves a new, scarcely imaginable question: “Dare I trust my brother who just tried to kill me or mine, and to some degree, succeeded?”

Today, in the Gospel Advocate, a revered leader of the Restoration Heritage in the South, Tolbert Fanning, reveals to us some of what is in his heart and how that he is still contemplating whether or not to even pick up the pack and start what appears to be a death march toward reconciliation. He unzips his heart, er, the pack, and shows us some its contents: many items of sharp bitterness, weighty distrust, and unwieldy reservation.

“There are reasons … which lead us to doubt the propriety of a hasty religious reconstruction with the friends of Christ North or South … the report has reached the disciples South, that the Brethren generally in the North, like a few, and very few in the South, have been employing the fist of wickedness for a few years past to put down transgressors and subjugate rebels against governments. … passing and approving RESOLUTIONS in Christian missionary meetings. We charge no one, but it occurs to us that men engaged in such service, may not be very well prepared to engage in genuine spiritual cooperation.”

Eight years after these remarks and three years before the South’s Reconstruction is said to be complete, Fanning dies in 1874, gored to death by a bull.

The Civil War was fought over the course of four years and Reconstruction took twelve more. But, in a great many ways we are still fighting the consequences of the former and wrestling with the heavy pack of the latter today. Our journey’s end is still not yet in view and many dangers face us along the way. But, let us continue, let us pray for strength for each day, let us not grow weary in the task, and test, of seeking to get along and going on.

April 18

April 18, 1864 – Missouri native Lewis Bradford Grogan is a Private in the CSA, 31st Texas Cavalry (Hawpe’s) Regiment and is a participant in the atrocity-laced Battle of Poison Springs in southern Arkansas. Grogan survives the battle, and the war, and in either 1865 or 1866, becomes a Christian within the Restoration Heritage.

Not long after his conversion he begins to preach. He marries Julia Emily Bates of Hunt County, Texas in 1870 and serves for a time as postmaster in Ravenna (Fannin County), Texas. In 1895, Lewis & Julia move from Texas to Chickasha, Indian Territory – twelve years prior to Oklahoma statehood – to work with a congregation there. Lewis’ ministry in Chickasha includes starting up a school (1906) and penning a history of mission work in the Indian Territory.

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 29 – April 4

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

March 29

March 29, 1859 – On this day, Leonard Daugherty is born. He becomes the music editor for the Christian Standard (Standard Publishing Co.) and will serve many years with them, compiling several songbooks commonly used among us from the 1890’s until the mid-twentieth century. He is an associate of James A. Harding and commonly conducts gospel meetings with Hall L. Calhoun (arguably J.W. McGarvey’s chief protege).

March 30

March 30, 1830 – On this day, someone – who addresses Alexander Campbell as “my dear brother” and who signs his name only as “F” – pens Campbell a letter. Campbell reproduces the letter in its entirety in his paper, Millenial Harbinger. A portion of the letter reads:

“Last evening I attended in this place a meeting of a Bible Class, composed chiefly of members, both old and young. I being pro. tem. the acting ‘Elder,’ was requested by the Deacons to take the lead. No chapter having been previously given out, I asked, What one shall we consider? Elder B____, (an Elder indeed, a blind teacher, 75 years old, who has been the leader of this people upwards of 30 years) named the 13th chapter of Luke. Very well, we all turned to this chapter. After prayer I remarked that I had before me a different translation from the one in common use; and as it was desirable that we should avail ourselves of every means in our power for coming to a right understanding of the Sacred Oracles, if the class would look over, I would read the chapter in Dr. George Campbell’s translation; after which we might note the difference, and profitably consider it. I read. The Elder sat uneasy. As soon as I got through he gave his mind unasked. ‘He was an old-fashioned sort of a man,’ he said, ‘and liked the old Bible better.’ He marked several differences. ‘There is “reform” for “repent,”‘ said he. ‘Now a person may reform, but that isn’t repentance. Repentance means something more. It is a very different thing. Evangelical repentance is a godly sorrow for sin,’ &c. &c. After speaking much against the New Translation, he called upon the Deacons to instruct me into the proper manner of conducting these meetings. I turned to them for instruction. They wished me to take my own way. I therefore proceeded to make some further remarks on this translation, to ask and answer, to hear asked and answered, questions upon the chapter.

“I will only add, if not deceived, I do ardently desire to see a pure speech, the ancient gospel, and ancient order of things, fully restored among the people of God. Yours in hope of immortality, through a crucified Savior – F.”

Sound familiar? Apparently, some things never change (e.g. – disagreements and disgruntlement over versions of the Bible, differences and tensions between generations, the view that the older ways were better ways, etc.).

* Also on this same day and year (March 30, 1830), David Statts (“D.S.”) Burnet marries Mary Gano. Mary is the youngest daughter of John Stites Gano and a cousin of John Allen Gano (who was mentioned in the March 24 post in this series).

It is interesting to note just how many of the leading figures of the earliest years of the Restoration Heritage are related to each other by blood and/or marriage. This seems to me, at least in the course of my research thus far, especially true of the second-generation of leaders (as might be expected). While I haven’t attempted to keep a tally, the number is not insignificant.

March 31

* March 31, 30 – The exact date of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ has been a matter of scholarly debate for centuries, and remains a question today. However, it is on this day in 30 A.D. that the Restoration Heritage scholar J.W. McGarvey believes Jesus died in Jerusalem at the hands of men for the sins of all of humanity and to defeat the powers of darkness. This date is recorded in The Fourfold Gospel, a work of J.W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton, first published in 1914 (three years after McGarvey’s death).

Interestingly, this date disagrees with the commonly held belief among the rank-and-file members of Churches of Christ that the crucifixion occurred in 33 A.D. In fact, a great many church buildings constructed by Churches of Christ in the 20th century will have affixed to them a plaque stating that the church of Christ was “established in 33 A.D.” Had McGarvey lived to see one of these signs (he died in 1911) he would surely have given it an eye-roll.

* March 31, 1881 – On this day J.M. Mathes, one of the earliest and most influential preachers in our heritage in the state of Indiana, has an article published in The Evangelist (the paper started by Walter Scott). The article is entitled “The Organ Once More” and speaks to the use of instrumental music in corporate worship. Mathes, watching a steady stream of churches in Indiana adopt the use of instruments, would rather have things otherwise, but despite such convictions, he refuses to make such a test of fellowship and continues to wok and worship with brethren on both sides of the aisle. He says:

“I am opposed to the organ in the worship, but make no factious opposition to it. I suffer no organ to drive me from my place in the church of Christ, nor from my duty as a disciple of Christ.”

Mathes‘ forbearance, as well as his valuing union over a particular stance on this issue, is intriguing. As for us today, whether we’re looking back into history or thinking of matters of the present day, we do well to keep more than just two colors on our palette with which to paint our understanding of things on the canvas of our mind. After all, which one of us sees everything in black and white? J.M. Mathes understood that well.

April 1

* April 1, 1807 – Thomas Campbell leaves Ireland and begins a roughly five-week journey to the United States. His intent is spy out the land, so to speak, and move his family to the States. His trip is prompted by health factors; his doctors are urging him to find a different occupation on account of the stress of (1) overwork and stress (he is a school teacher and a Presbyterian minister, greatly frustrated over the entrenched attitudes and pervasive disunity of his church tribe) and (2) to relocate to a climate more conducive to improvement in his health. Thomas acts on their advice and so, sets out on this journey alone, his wife and children remaining in Ireland for now. He leaves his son, nineteen year-old Alexander, in charge of the academy that he and Alexander have operated together at Rich Hill. It will be the fall of 1809 before Alexander, and the rest of Thomas’ family, arrives in the States.

All of this gives me pause to wonder: would any of us be doing anything close to what we’re doing these days in terms of faith if Thomas Campbell had simply acted like a great many of us guys – shrugging off, or postponing acting on, a doctor’s advice?

* April 1, 1834 – In a letter to Peyton C. Wyeth in England, Alexander Campbell speaks of his estimation of the current membership size, organization, and growth rate of those associated with the Stone-Campbell Movement in the United Sates. Campbell’s reply, in part, reads:

“From the best information I can gather, there are about one hundred and fifty thousand brethren in the Reformation in the United States: but of those there may not be organized into churches more than from five to eight hundred into churches. Many of them are large – from one to four hundred members – many from fifty to one hundred. But the revival has been very great. Since you left us last year, there could not be less than ten thousand immersed in the United States and Canada.”

John Allen Hudson records this matter in his book entitled The Church in Great Britain.

April 2

April 2, 1841 – It is Barton W. Stone’s understanding of Scripture that Christian union will usher in Christ’s return. And it is today that his dream of a grand meeting of leaders from across the spectrum of Christendom to discuss Christian unity and to bring an end to sectarian strife is finally realized.

Depressingly so. For though the gathering’s objective is to be “a convention of all denominations of Christians” in the state of Kentucky with Alexander Campbell being one of the chief speakers, it is poorly attended.

Knocked down, but not out, Stone gets up, regroups, and takes another run at organizing the same sort of event two years later in 1843 … with even worse results. At that time, not enough people even commit to be representatives for the convention to make.

Stone is broken-hearted, but not in despair; he continues to hold on tight to his dream of Christian unity, even though now he is much more muted about it. He dies the following year (1844).

April 3

April 3, 1826 – Alexander Campbell writes in the Christian Baptist regarding some of his relationship with his father, Thomas, and also how he seeks to be his own man when it comes to understanding the Bible.

“I call no man master upon the earth; and although my own father has been a diligent student, and a teacher of the Christian religion since his youth; and in my opinion, understands this book as well as any person with whom I am acquainted, yet there is no man whom I have debated more, and reasoned more, on all subjects, than he – I have been so long disciplined in the school of free inquiry, that, if I know my own mind, there is not a man upon the earth whose authority can influence me, any farther than he comes with the authority of evidence, reason, and truth. To arrive at this state of mind is the result of many experiments and efforts; and to me has been arduous beyond expression. I have endeavored to read the Scriptures as though no one had read them before me and I am as much on my guard against reading them today, through the medium of my own views yesterday, or a week ago, as I am against being influenced by any foreign name, authority, or system whatever.”

This is one of those quotes that make me wish I could step into a time transport machine and be whisked back to the moment this statement was penned and engage the author in a brief conversation. I imagine myself standing beside Alexander, looking over his shoulder at the paper and pen, and then remarking (perhaps speaking in some way as they did then):

“Do you mean to say, sir, that such an effort is practical and essential? Do you actually believe it is wholly possible for an individual to read any portion of Scripture at all and simultaneously be completely devoid of influence by others? It seems to me that such a task can, yea, must, be a lofty, indeed, necessary, goal, but ultimately, it cannot ever be fully realized or attained. No man completely knows the exact depth of the deep waters of his own mind, does he? We all are subtly and unconsciously influenced by a multitude of others, past and present, most of whom we did not, nor ever will, know. It seems to me this is as sure a fact as the fact that we are influenced by the sunlight falling on this very page now anchored by your palm, even though we cannot see the sun directly. And so, if in stating the matter here as you just have, you actually mean to say that such a stance in attitude is a noble and necessary ‘goal,’ please add a sentence here and say so. To the point: is this mind you seek something you shoot for, though you know you are inadequate to the task and will inevitably fall short, or is it something you believe you shoot with, absolutely essential to hitting the mark? For the sake of all who seek truth, please state for us the fact of the matter.”

Oh, to hear how he would respond!

April 4

April 4, 1825 – As Alexander Campbell continues his article series in the Christian Baptist entitled “A Restoration of the Ancient Order of Things,” he makes the following statements:

“I have no idea of seeing, nor one wish to see the sects unite in one grand army. This would be dangerous to our liberties and laws. For this the Savior did not pray. It is only the disciples of Christ dispersed amongst them, that reason and benevolence would call out of them. Let them unite who love the Lord …

“… the constitution of the kingdom of the Saviour is the New Testament, and this alone is adapted to the existence of his kingdom in the world. To restore the ancient order of things this must be recognized as the only constitution of this kingdom. …”

“When the ancient order of things is restored, neither more nor less will be demanded of any applicant for admission into the kingdom, than was asked by Philip. And every man who solicits admission in this way – who solemnly declares that, upon the testimony and authority of the holy apostles and prophets, he believes that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God, should forthwith be baptized without respect to any questions or dogmas derived wither from written creeds or church covenants.”

on these days in the American Restoration Heritage: March 22-28

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

March 22

* March 22, 1829 – Today, for the first time, the Baptist church in Windham (in the ‘Western Reserve,’ as the western portion of Ohio is known at that time), begins observing the Lord’s Supper on a weekly basis. The church had been “constituted a church of Christ” the preceding May by Thomas Campbell and Marcus Bosworth. To be “constituted a church of Christ” a group of believers rejects existing creeds and confessions and begins to look to the “New Testament as a perfect rule, directory and formula for the faith, discipline, and government of the church.”

In a letter from William Hayden (a preaching partner with Walter Scott) to Thomas Campbell in May 1830, Hayden speaks of the period of change within the congregation from its existence as a Baptist church to a church within the Restoration Heritage. Matters of transition were not conducted overnight, but were gradually phased in.

“A wise forbearance ruled the church, and they eventually all came to the unity of the faith and practice of the apostolic order.”

In his letter to Campbell, Hayden also comments on the spread of the Restoration Heritage in the Western Reserve:

“The Word of God has great success with us. The churches are growing in knowledge, spirituality and numbers. New churches are rising up in very many towns on the Reserve, where we are laboring.”

* March 22, 1833 – On this day, thirty-three year old Absalom Rice, one of the earliest pioneer preachers in Missouri, pens a letter to Alexander Campbell reporting on some of the spread, trials, and influence of the Restoration Heritage in “the West” (i.e. – east central Missouri). Campbell publishes the letter in the Millenial Harbinger.

“Calloway County, MO., March 22, 1833

“Surrounded with opposition by all sectarian societies, and as far in the wilds and forests of the West, we, a few names, constituted ourselves on the second Lord’s Day of December [9], 1832, into a congregation of the Lord; there being only nine in number, three males and six females. We have since increased to twenty-three in number, and I am of opinion that the prospect is somewhat flattering for gaining many more. Our friends of the Baptists and other denominations have many hard sayings concerning our belief, but utterly refuse investigation. But I have succeeded in getting some of them to read for themselves, and they confess that they find no such views in your writings as are attributed to you. I received a request a few days ago to visit a Methodist society, 20 miles distant. They had got hold of the Harbinger, and in spite of all their priests can do, are about to blow up. Light is spreading, and men’s minds cannot be much longer manacled by sectarianism. – Absalom Rice

March 23

* March 23, 1827John Franklin Rowe is born just outside of Greensburg, Pennsylvania. He will grow to become a significant writer and publisher in the Restoration Heritage. He is most remembered for his work with the American Christian Review (1867-1886), his own paper (Christian Leader – 1886-1897), and, most significantly, his book entitled History of Reformatory Movements: Resulting in a Restoration of the Apostolic Church, with a History of the Nineteen General Church Councils (1884). Rowe’s book of history, virtually excising the record of Barton W. Stone and his influence from the work of the Stone-Campbell Movement, depicts Campbell’s work as the summit of the mountain that all preceding reformation movements have attempted to climb. This book helps seal this understanding of the Restoration Heritage’s place in history in the minds of many young ministerial students for nearly half a century. It is not until the appearance of F.W. Shepherd’s book The Church, the Falling Away, and the Restoration in 1929 (published by a son of John Franklin Rowe) that Rowe’s history is superseded.

* March 23, 1830 – On this day, Robert B. Semple, a prominent Baptist preacher in Virginia of the time, pens a letter to Alexander Campbell regarding the work of the Holy Spirit and the interpretation of Scripture. Campbell publishes Semple’s letter, and his reply, in the Millenial Harbinger (vol.1, no.3). In his reply to Semple, we learn of some of Campbell’s early quest and habits toward understanding Scripture, who he has read after, and what a change of approach and mind has taken place within him.

“From the age of sixteen I read devoutly, at intervals, the most ‘evangelical writers.’ … ‘Dr. John Owen was a great favorite with me; I read most of his works …

“… how laboriously and extensively I … examined the question of faith. For the space of one year I read upon this subject alone. Fuller, Bellamy, Hervey, Glass, Sandeman, Cudworth, Scott, M’Lean, Erskine, cum multis aliis, were not only read, but studied as I studied geometry. And I solemnly say, that, although I was considered at the age of twenty-four [1812] a much more systematic preacher and text expositor than I am now considered, and more accustomed to strew my sermons with scores of texts in proof of every point, I am conscious that I did not understand the New Testament; not a single book of it. Matthew Henry and Thomas Scott were my favorite commentators. …

“… I began to read the scriptures critically. Works of criticism from Michaelis down to Sharp, on the Greek article, were resorted to. While these threw light on many passages, still the book as a whole, the religion of Jesus Christ as a whole, was hid from me.

“I took the naked text and followed common sense; I read it, subject to the ordinary rules of interpretation, and thus it was it became to me a new book.

“… as I learned my Bible I lost my orthodoxy, and from being one of the most evangelical in the estimation of many, I became the most heretical. I can only say for the spirit which actuated me, that it was a most vehement desire to understand the truth. I did most certainly put the world out of my sight. I cared no more for popularity than I did for the shadow that followed my body when the Sun shone. I valued truth more than the gold of Ophir, and I sought her with my whole heart, as for hidden treasure. My eye was single, as King James’ Translators said. I paid no court to the prejudices of the world, and did sacrifice every worldly object to the Bible.

“… I would only add that experience has taught me that to get a victory over the world, over the life of fame, and to hold in perfect contempt human honor, adulation, and popularity, will do more to make the New Testament intelligible, than all the commentators that ever wrote.”

March 24

March 24, 1818 – On this day, a Tuesday, Barton W. Stone, Sr. conducts a wedding for Rebecca Willamson Russell and a young veteran of the War of 1812, twenty year-old Thomas Miller (“T.M.”) Allen. Given his experiences in the war, T.M. has lost all interest not only in the church in which he was reared (Presbyterian), but in matters of faith altogether; however, the friendship that is kindled between him and Stone, and hearing Stone preach, ultimately leads to his baptism into Christ by Stone in May 1823.

T.M. is, if anything, a human dynamo, being diligent in focus and labor. Between his marriage (1818) and his baptism (1823), he studies law at Transylvania University, becomes a grand master in a Masonic Lodge (the same lodge in which Henry Clay is a member), and practices law for a time in Indiana with his law partner, James Whitcomb (who later becomes the Governor of Indiana, and then, a U.S. Senator). However, within two years of his baptism, T.M. takes up preaching and John Allen Gano is one of his first converts (July 1827).

In 1836, T.M. and Rebecca move to Boone County, Missouri, and T.M., now making a living by farming, becomes wealthy and purchases several slaves.  He treats his slaves well, so well in fact that despite the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War, most of his slaves refuse to leave the Allen family (and all keep connection with the family).

Throughout this time, T.M. continues to preach and though he continues to farm, he also travels through much of Missouri and even makes time in the early 1840’s to help edit Stone’s paper, the Christian Messenger. H. Leo Boles once said of T.M.:

“No man did more to spread the cause of Christ in the State of Missouri than did Thomas M. Allen.”

Over the course of his life, T.M. baptizes a total of 3,570 people and plants/organizes eighteen churches.

And what of John Allen Gano? It is an article regarding the weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper that appears (1831) in the Christian Messenger, penned by John Allen Gano, that powerfully influences members of the Stone Movement and so, does much to pave the way the following year (1832) for official union between the Stone and Campbell Movements. Oh, and John Allen Gano is the father of Richard Montgomery (“R.M.”) Gano, a man we will speak more of in a future post.

March 25

March 25, 1857 – In the May 1857 issue of the Millenial Harbinger, Alexander Campbell reproduces a letter penned to him on this day, March 25, 1857, telling of the advance of the gospel in Alliance, Ohio. In it we’re allowed to listen in on and overhear the private conversation of a preacher and one coming forward to be baptized. The introduction and letter reads:

“Bro. P.K. Dibble writing to us from Canton [Ohio] under date of March 25 [1857], says – ‘On Monday night last I concluded a meeting of 16 days at Alliance, in this county, which resulted in the organization of a congregation of 53 members. Of this number, 12 confessed their faith in Christ Jesus and were immersed into his death; 6 united from the Baptists, 2 from the Methodists, and 4 reclaimed; the balance were disciples living in Alliance and the neighborhood, many of them not knowing that there were any brethren in the neighborhood besides themselves.

“‘On Monday night I went to the Mahoning and immersed a young lady; as I came out of the water, a physician of that place came forward and said, “Here is water, what hinders me from being baptized?” I answered, “If you believest with all thy heart thou mayest.” He replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” We both went down into the water, and I baptized him.'”

March 26

March 26, 1830 – On this day, the Book of Mormon makes its first appearance to the public. Not wanting to lend the Book of Mormon any publicity and hoping it will die a natural death by being ignored, Alexander Campbell does not publish a review of it until the following February (1831). He feels prompted to review it then only because rather than dying a quick death, Mormonism’s influence has been increasing. His review in the Millenial Harbinger is nothing less than a broadside and is entitled “Delusions.” Following are a few of Campbell’s comments on the Book of Mormon and the head of the Mormon faith, Joseph Smith:

  • Mormonism is “… the most recent and most impudent delusion which has appeared in our time.”
  • Joseph Smith is “as ignorant and impudent a knave as ever wrote a book …”
  • In publishing the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith has set forth an “impious fraud.”
  • “This prophet Smith, through his stone spectacles, wrote on the plates of Nephi, in his Book of Mormon, every error and almost every truth discussed in New York for the last ten years. … But he is better skilled in in the controversies of New York than in the geography or history of Judea.”
  • The Book of Mormon is “without exaggeration the meanest* book in the English language … It has not one good sentence in it. … I would as soon compare a bat to the American eagle, a mouse to a mammoth, or the deformities of a spectre to the beauty of Him who whom John saw on Patmos, as to contrast it with a single chapter in all the writings of the Jewish or Christian prophets. It is as certainly Smith’s fabrication as Satan is the father of lies, or darkness the offspring of night.”
  • “Let the children of Mormon ponder well, if yet reason remains with them … Isaiah 44, and if they cannot see the analogy between themselves and the sons of ancient imposture, then reason is of as little use to them as it was to those of whom the prophet spake …”

In addition to the ‘Delusions’ article, Campbell adds a brief article entitled “Sidney Rigdon” (pp.100-101). Sidney Rigdon had once been a preacher in the Restoration Heritage, but had left to join the Mormons early on. Of Rigdon, Campbell has this to say:

“He who sets out to find signs and omens will soon enough find enough of them. He that expects visits from angels will find them as abundant as he who in the age of witchcraft found a witch in every unseemly old woman. I doubt not but that the irreverence and levity in speaking of the things of God, which have been too apparent in Sidney’s public exhibitions for some time past, and which he has lately confessed, may yet be found to have been the cause of this abandonment to delusion.”

[* As in “small-minded, ignoble, inferior in grade, of little consequence, or shabby.”]

March 27

March 27, 1824 – We all find strength in, and require strength from, others. And so we might ask: if those of us who are “mere mortals” look to “giants” in faith and scholarship for the articulate expression of matters, to whom do the giants turn? In a great many cases, we will never know, and in cases where we do, it is often people we have not heard of, or who for whatever reasons, are largely forgotten.

On this day, one is born who becomes one of those that one of the giants among us turned for insight into meaning and expression. Namely, on this day, Lanceford Bramblet (“L.B.”) Wilkes is born to Edmund & Cynthia Hartshorn (Houston) Wilkes in Maury County, Tennessee. He will become, among other things, a scholar, preacher, writer, and debater. And though not a name nearly so well remembered today as that of J.W. McGarvey, it was MaGarvey who once said of Wilkes:

“If my life were dependent statement of an argument, I would have Bro. L.B. Wilkes state it.”

March 28

March 28, 1855 – On this day, John Naylor writes a letter to Alexander Campbell from Halifax, Nova Scotia. The heart of his letter reads:

“I have been a pretty careful reader of your writings for years, with few intermissions, when I could not obtain them; and as the opportunity casually offers, to write to yourself … Dr. Jeter [Jeremiah Bell Jeter, a prominent Baptist critic of Campbell] charges you with materially modifying your views – or, rather, the expression of your views – and that you have altered your opinion of ministerial education, &c.

“Well, it seems to me, my dear Sir, that he is somewhat correct in some of these matters. You formerly used some terms, and advanced some sentiments, which do not agree with your late publications. I cannot refer to the Christian Baptist at present; but, if my recollection serve me, I think I could cull out a few paragraphs, and not take them from their connection either, which would not quite tally with your late efforts for Colleges.

“However, no person who has ever written one-tithe of the matter that you have done, is less open to the charge than yourself; and it would certainly be very strange if, by garbled extracts, such discrepancies could not be shown.”

Campbell’s reply in Millenial Harbinger begins with these words:

“Touching these changes of which you have spoken, and to which you allude, I have leisure, at present, only to state, that I am not conscious of any change in any Christian doctrine since I wrote the first volume of the Christian Baptist. That my horizon has been much enlarged during the last thirty years, I should be ashamed not to avow. But it has mainly been in deepening my impressions of the great departure, in the exhibition and practice of the present Christian world, from Primitive Christianity.”

on these days in the American Restoration Heritage: March 8-14

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

March 8

March 8, 1965 – In response to the events occurring in Selma, Alabama on “Bloody Sunday,” Fred D. Gray – a preacher within Churches of Christ and an attorney for Martin Luther King, Jr. – along with other lawyers on behalf of Hosea Williams, John Lewis, Amelia Boynton, themselves, and other plantiffs who are “similarly situated,” files a complaint, a motion for a temporary restraining order, and a motion for a preliminary injunction with the United States District Court in Alabama. The defendants in the resulting case are George C. Wallace (the Governor of Alabama), Al Lingo (Director of Public Safety for the State of Alabama), and James G. Clark (Sheriff of Dallas County, Alabama).

“The plaintiffs seek to have this Court guarantee their right to assemble and demonstrate peaceably for the purpose of redressing their grievances concerning the right to register to vote in the State of Alabama without unlawful interference. Included in the rights plaintiffs seek and ask this Court to adjudicate is that of walking peaceably along the public highway in the State of Alabama between Selma and Montgomery. Plaintiffs also ask this Court to enjoin and restrain the defendants and all persons acting in concert with them from arresting, harassing, threatening, or in any way interfering with their peaceful, nonviolent march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery, Alabama, for the purpose of protesting injustices and petitioning their State government, particularly the chief executive officer — the Governor — for redress of grievances.”

The class action suit (Williams v. Wallace) results in Governor Wallace and the State of Alabama being ordered by the court to no longer oppress, but actively protect, those who will march from Selma to Montgomery. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is the ultimate consequence of these actions.

March 9

March 9, 1889 – A preacher’s wife dies in Paris, Texas. The notice of her death, penned by John T. Poe, appears in the Gospel Advocate on March 27. Sadly, the story and some of the circumstances it references, are not terribly unusual. The notice reads:

“The wife of Bro. M. H. Lynn, died March 9, while he was away in the country preaching. He had been for some time on a preaching tour, and as his work was in destitute places, far from telegraphs and railroads, his children could not reach him with the news of her sickness. He did not hear of her death until the 15th, six days after death. He is left with a family of little children to mourn the loss of the good wife and mother. Her great desire was to see him again before death. She called for him in her last hours, but he was far away doing service for Jesus. Thus another instance is presented of sacrifice that must be made by the wife of the poor, pioneer preacher. While he preached she took care of family and family interests at home as best she could. And when battling at last with grim death, she wanted him with her, and called for him, but he could not hear. She was a Christian, and who shall say her crown will not be bright? We tender our sympathy to Bro. Lynn, but he needs more than that. He has traveled and preached many weary months, and was paid scarcely anything. Some churches in fair standing called him for meetings and did not pay his expenses to and from, although his preaching was good, and many have been baptized through his labors. Will not those churches where he labored make up some amount and send him word in this hour of need? Send to M. H. Lynn, Paris, Texas. Brethren if you are sorry for Bro. Lynn, just send an expression of your sorrow in something substantial to help the poor preacher in his hour of trial.”

March 10

March 10, 1845 – Alexander Campbell, Sr. sets out on a two-month, 2,500 mile preaching tour through a portion of the South. His itinerary consists (in this order) of travels through Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Some of his major stops along the way include time in Augusta, Baltimore, Charleston, Frederickburg, Richmond, and Wilmington.

Earlier, in 1838, Campbell had conducted a far more extensive tour of the South, covering twice the distance, through Alabama, the Carolinas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Virginia.

Significantly, this 1845 tour through the South begins just one month after Campbell initiates a fascinating article series in the Millenial Harbinger, the title of which is “Our Position to American Slavery.” Campbell’s stance on slavery is careful and nuanced; there is something in it to excite, and disappoint, everyone, no matter their perspective. To the abolitionist, Campbell comes across as an unquestionable ally, but a needlessly weak one; something like a thin walking cane. To the slaveowner, Campbell is most certainly challenging, to say the least, but at least he seems more sensible and less offensive, than the abolitionists.

We can summarize much of Campbell’s take on “the peculiar institution” in the form of a brief question-and-answer session:

Q. Is Campbell a slaveowner? A. At this time, no. While it is true that he once owned slaves, he freed them. Q. Is slavery a moral matter; a question of sin? A. No. “… there is not one verse in the Bible inhibiting it, but many regulating it. It is not, then, we conclude, immoral.” Q. Should slavery be a test of faith and fellowship? A. Since it is not immoral, most certainly not. Q. Is slavery even an issue then at all? A. Absolutely – as a matter of politics and practicality. Q. What of slavery now in the U.S.? A. “… in this age and in this country it is not expedient.” The peculiar institution might, “in certain cases and conditions,” be “right,” but this is no longer the right time in this country. Slavery is an institution that finds itself at the wrong time in the wrong place for it is “not favorable to individual and national prosperity” and is “not in harmony with the spirit of the age …”

Many, especially those who have more of their roots in the Stone, rather than Campbell, wing of the Stone-Campbell Movement, will urge Campbell to make slavery a more central issue and to see it as a core value, a matter of faith and fellowship. However, Campbell will consistently ignore such appeals, seeking instead to pursue what he believes to be a much deeper value, a more necessary goal, namely, the union of Christians.

March 11

March 11, 1811 – Barton W. Stone, Sr. and Reuben Dooley embark on a preaching tour through the state of Ohio and are exceedingly well received by those who hear them. In his journal, while on this tour, Stone comments:

“We preached and baptized daily in Eaton [Preble County] for many days. No house could contain the people that flocked to hear. We had to preach in the open streets to the anxious multitude. At night, after service, the cries and prayers of the distressed in many houses around were truly solemn. Almost the whole town and neighborhood were baptized and added to the Lord. We left this place and preached and baptized in many other places.”

Historian and author James DeForest Murch (Christians Only; p.91) adds that:

“… in Adams County [Stone] converted Matthew Gardener who became a giant in evangelism. In this area many churches sprang up which Stone visited every year for twenty years. In Meigs County, he went to baptize William Caldwell, with whom he had a long correspondence, and stayed to bring almost every Baptist church in the country into the ‘Christian Connection.'”

Stone and Dooley set out on this preaching expedition with precious few resources. Stone, in his journal, notes:

“We were poorly clad and had no money to buy clothes. Going on at a certain time through the barrens, a limb tore Brother Dooley’s striped linen pantaloons very much. He had no other, nor had I another pair to lend him. We consoled ourselves that we were on the Lord’s work and he would provide. He tied his handkerchief over the rent, and we went on and preached to the people. That night we lodged with Brother Samuel Wilson, whose wife presented Brother Dooley a pair of home-spun linen pantaloons.”

March 12

March 12, 1811 – At the age of twenty-three, Alexander Campbell, Sr. marries his first wife, Margaret Brown, who is twenty years of age.

Margaret (Brown) Campbell is the daughter of John & Eliza Ann (Grimes) Brown, John being is one of the most successful businessmen in that part of Virginia. Alexander and Margaret will enjoy sixteen years of marriage and the birth of four children (Jane Caroline, Alexander, Decima Hemans, and William Pendleton) before Margaret is taken away by death at the age of thirty-six in 1827. The inscription on her gravestone in the Campbell Cemetery in Bethany (Brooke County), West Virginia reads, in part:

She was in truth a good wife, a tender
mother, a faithful and affectionate friend.
She lived the life of a christian and died full
in the hope of a blessed resurrection unto Eternal Life.

The Last Lines she had sung declared her praise
and feeling in the prospect of death and the grave.

‘No terror the prospect begets,
I am not mortality’s slave;
The sunbeam of life as it sets,
Paints a rainbow of peace on the grave.’

The words of this song, The Angels That Watched Round the Tomb, were penned by William Bengo Collyer and first published by him in 1812. Years later in 1911, not many months before his own death, J.W. McGarvey will quote the words of this same song, in its entirety (eight stanzas), in a chapel talk to his students at the College of the Bible in Lexington, KY. Its meter is such that it could be sung today to the tune of Without Him I Could Do Nothing.

March 13

March 13, 1812 – At 3:00 p.m. today, Alexander & Margaret (Brown) Campbell welcome the birth of their firstborn child, a daughter. They name her after Alexander’s mother, Jane Caroline. Jane will grow up to marry (at age sixteen) Albert G. Ewing. She and Albert will make their home in Tennessee (Nashville) until Jane dies at the age of twenty-four of “consumption” (aka: tuberculosis; TB), the same illness that claimed her mother.

Alexander is twenty-four years of age at Jane’s birth. Robert Richardson, Alexander’s first biographer, tells us of the powerful effect Jane’s birth had on her father’s theology, particularly his understanding of soteriology:

“Soon after this event, a considerable change took place in his views in regard to baptism. His wife, with her father and mother, was still a member of the Presbyterian Church, and, as the child grew, it is natural to suppose that the question of infant baptism became to him one of immediate practical interest. It is certain, at least, that up to this period he does not appear to have given to the subject of baptism a sufficiently careful attention. The unity of the Church, the overthrow of sectarianism and the restoration of the Bible to its primitive position, had been the leading objects with him, and with his father; and, regarding the question of baptism as one comparatively of small importance, they seem to have left it, in a good degree, undecided in their own minds.” (Memoirs of Alexander Campbell)

March 14

March 14, 1854 – The man the famous statesman and orator Henry Clay once referred to as the finest natural orator he had ever heard, Jacob Creath, Sr., dies at the age of seventy-seven in Lexington, Kentucky.

Though having never attended school, Creath had been ordained as a Baptist preacher in 1798. His unusually fine speaking skills, coupled with great ability to just get along with all kinds of people in all kinds of situations, had lead to his being something of a force among Baptists in Kentucky. However, at the age of fifty (1827), nearly thirty of those years being invested in Baptist ministry, Creath left the Baptist Church for the Restoration Heritage. His decision, long in coming and filled with much soul-searching, resulted in a significant number of Kentucky Baptists following him into the Restoration.

Alexander Campbell, upon hearing now blind Creath preach in 1850 (Creath was totally blind the last seven years of his life), wrote of him in the Millenial Harbinger:

“Though his once brilliant eye is quenched in darkness and his subduing voice is broken into weak tones, he rises in his soul while nature sinks in years; and with a majesty of thought which naught but heaven and hope can inspire, he spoke to us a few last words, which so enraptured my soul, that in the ecstasy of feeling produced by them, when he closed there was silence in my heart for half an hour; and when I recovered myself, every word had so passed away that nothing remained but a melancholy reflection that I should never again hear that most eloquent tongue which had echoed for half a century through Northern Kentucky with such resistless sway as to have quelled the maddening strife of sectarian tongues and propitiated myriads of ears and hearts to the divine eloquence of Almighty love. Peace to his soul; and may his sun grow larger at its setting, as his soul expands in the high hope of seeing as he is seen, and of loving as he has been loved.”

Note: Jacob Creath, Sr. is not to be confused with Jacob Creath, Jr. (cf. the post for Jan. 9 in this series). The Jacob Creath, Sr. (1777-1854) spoken of in today’s post is the uncle, not the father, of Jacob Creath, Jr. (1799-1886).