Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What kind of work does amateur historians do to find information?

i've been doing a little work on Georgia Universalist congregations,.

What this generally means is
(1) finding mentions of Parishes
(2) finding out what city and town were nearby
(3) finding out what years those Parishes existed
(4) finding out who attended

Let me give some examples of what I do --

I found a mention that Rev Lake officiated at a funeral in Edgefield, SC pre-Civil War.
There is no record of any actual Parishes in Edgefield, although several Universalists are known - Tillman and Teague. The deceased is not in the 1850 census under her married or maiden name. Later, i find her listed in the cemetary listings for Edgefield Village Cemetary (which is behing the Edgefield Baptist Chruch) - her tombstone mentions the name of her husband. she is burried near a known Universalist. this found information tells us a couple of things - There is no Universalist cemetary prior to the Civil War in Edgefield. We do not know if she or her husband were Universalists or just picked a traveling minister (we assumed one of the former, but we dont know).

I've know that an "Alford Chapel" existed in Meriweather County, Georgia - but I didnt have a
town nearby. I knew who the church was founded by, and when - but not where or who was there. I then found mention of an Alford who was an officer of the Georgia Universalist Convention just prior to the founding of the Church. I find that he lived in Meriweather County and burried in the "Alford Cemetary" and find the location of the cemetary. We take this as a tentative location of the church.

I get an email from someone asking about membership of a Universalist Church in Rome Georgia, which their family had attended, until they moved west. The information I find is scant - but it does confirm a Church in that location - about the time that that family was there. We now have a tentative family to have attended that Church.

Then I find webpapges to search for more info -- I just found these and have done no research on the information

Elbert County Georgia Universalist Cemetary
about here
not that incredibly far from Canon -no doubt a church that ended in the 1920s farmers depression. Hard to say if folks burried here are Universalists or family members.

Macon County Georgia "Mt. Zion"
while not giving us a location other than Macon County, these incorporation notes do give us names of the Board. Macon County was formed two years earlier in 1837. County seat in 1839 was Lanier. Parts of what was Macon County in 1839 are now in Peach and Taylor counties.
I (or someone) will have to research these trustees. Obviously they would be Universalists in 1839.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fredonia - part 2

To find if Fredonia was actually the first Universalist Church (as unlikely as that is), we have to keep resarching it. it might also help if we could find it! this this below written in the 1880s, but with first hand information.

""Up to the events of which an account was given in the last chapter, Rev. Allen Fuller was the only Universalist minister the writer (D.B. Clayton) had ever met. But the summer of 1842 bought him into contact with several others. The occasion was the annual session of the South Carolina State Convention of Universalists, which convened that year at Fredonia church, seven miles above Newberry Court House, some time during the month of August, if he is not mistaken. There were present at that meeting Revs. Allen Fuller, Spencer J. McMorris, L.F.W. Andrews, M.D., Philo Brownson, and John A. Chapman."... "Only the day before the commencement of that session of the Convention, Rev. Elijah Linch had been laid to his last rest."

"On the fifth Sunday in that month (October 1844) he had appointed to preach at Fredonia church, Newberry County, SC., which was forty-five miles from where he then lived. The distance was to be traveled on horseback. "

"the arrangement agreed upon (circa November 1844) required him to preach one Sunday in each month at each of the following places: Feasterville, Fairfield District, as the counties were then called; Huntsville, Laurens district; Partlow's, Abbeville District; the other Sunday alternating between Fredonia and Hartford churches, the former situated about seven miles northwest from Newberry C.H., and the later nearly as far southeast of that town, if memory is not at fault as to distances and courses. The last two churches had been served for a good many years previous to his death (in 1842) by Rev. Elijah Linch, and had since that event, had very little preaching. These houses were owned, as were also those at Feasterville and Partlow's, entirley by Universalists, that at Feasterville is the only one standing, the other three having gone into decay."

"In July (1845) he had appointed a three days' meeting at Fredonia church, in which Rev. Allen
Fuller promised to assist him. "

this from D.B. Clayton's memoirs...

this tells us that the church did exist from -1842-1845- and that it had been previously served by Rev. Linch. Linch is considered the minister who changed the demoniation (but not the doctrine) from Brethren to Universalist. It tells us that Fredonia is not any of the other Universalist Churches in the area. It shows that it is in Newberry county (or what was Newberry county in the 1840s). A story I left out, suggests that it was approachable by carriage. It was not an Union Church, and the building was gone by the 1880s.

so, it remains somewhere in northern Newberry County.....