Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Consolation Universalist Church, Gratis, Ga

The formal name of the Universalist Church in Gratis Georgia was "Consolation church". The Universalist Register says the church was built in 1886 (and organized in 1887), made of wood and costing $500. That would make it the same age and likely construction as many other southern Universalist Churches. The church was gone by the great depression, but still active as of 1902. I have no source of data from the 1900s to the early 1930s. Ellen Adams was the clerk of the Church in 1902. I'm not 100% sure where that church was in Gratis. Next to the Adams Family Cemetery?

Gratis in the 1890s was the home of two Universalist ministers.
James Harrell Park (1829-1903) ordained to the Universalist ministry in 1860. Missionary Baptist minister up to that time. Called by some "the Love Minister" -back when that would be a band of honor. Not sure when he moved to Gratis, seems to be in the late 1880s. He is no known kin to Martha Ellen Adams Parks.
T. H. Gunter, I admit to knowing nothing about, other than he was in Gratis in the 1890s.

Ellen Adams lived to 1941, and is buried beside her husband in the Adams Family cemetery.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A. C. Bowers of Boone Creek, Tennessee

That debate book I mentioned on the previous post was originally owned by Augustus (A.C.) Bowers of Boone Creek, Washington County, E. Tennessee.
He dated the book March 14, but neglected to put the year. It's an 1875 edition, so it was after that time, and published by Universalist minister E. Manford. Copies of Manford's Magazine from 1882 -1887 are glued in his book.

A. C. Bowers (1847 - 1921) was born in Boone Creek, which is now a suburb of Johnson City.He was a member of the Union Army during the War Between The States, serving (if I read this right) as part of Stoneman's Calvary. In 1879 he was a internal revenue collector and in 1890 was a census taker.

The Johnson City area was the home to Dr. William Hale, who was ordained in 1877, and founded a Universalist church in "Free Hill" in 1880. I'm not sure how long the church lasted, up to the 20th century, I believe. Universalist was also believed in that area by some in the Church of the Brethren and there is a Primitive Baptist Universalist Church in the area.

1872 gossip about an anti-Universalist debater

I have a copy of "A Discussion on Universal Salvation and Endless Punishment" (1875 edition) between Universalist Rev. E. Manford and Disciples Rev. J. S. Sweeney.

My copy was owned by a southerner who had glued in various pages from Manford's Monthly. An article about a later debate (1882) between Manford and Sweeney, and an 1887 article about a debate with Rev Thomas Abbott and JR. Now I won't name JR because his grandchildren might still be alive, he had children still alive 30 years ago.

The last line of the article ( actually a debate summary) is thus "(JR) made no reply here, but referred to the vengeance of God, and said it was an attribute of God, which (Abott) could not meet. "Vengeance is Mine and I will repay."

"Nix" is written by the books original owner next to that. "I know that the law of retaliation belongs to God; but how cruel vengeance can be an attribute, I can't see.
(JR) is the man THAT married (VK) and left her and took up with another woman."

JR was born in in 1846 in Tennessee, he married (LK - the V could be a nickname for L)in Feb 1868, when he was 21 and she was 26. They moved to Illinois with her brother a Baptist minister. JR went to college to become a minister, and then got a pulpit in Mississippi. His last child with LK was born in 1871 in Illinois. In 1872 he married ST (who was 10 years younger than LK)in Mississippi. JR and ST moved to various states until they made it to Arkansas, where the debate with Rev Abbott was held in 1887. (I could not find a death date for JR). The previous owner of my book was living in the area where LKs grandparents and cousins lived - I have no proof of his statement, but the facts fit.

Are there morals to this story? Sure, one could be that even with scant clues, someone could find your flaws from 135 years ago. Since JR keep his side out of his official biography, we'd dont know his reasons. LK could have been a horrible person, well worth getting rid of, and the family themselves were upset to get her back.
- but another moral is, that we look at flaws - your sins, as basic ones: you dont make promises that you cant keep, if you are in the ministry or public service, you must be better than normal. It's a cold cruel world (but lots of fun for those of us who like to research - because even your sins will out).