Friday, October 23, 2009

Pardon while we move ....

Been quite awhile since I posted any history here -
- not because history is dead, indeed i got some interesting stuff in.
A list of sermon topics by Rev Nellie Opdale, when she was preaching
in Maine, etc.

But work has been busy, as well as my upcoming move. (finding a place
to live, etc)
Said move should give me more free time to blog.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Consolation Universalist Church, "Christian County" Kentucky

The Consolation Church was one of the first Universalist churches in the west of the pre-1830s. The church in the home by a traveling universalist minister - who was not ordained by the Universalists, but apparently by the frontier branch of what is now the Church of the Brethren. The church apparently officially affliated with the Universalists around 1835. (if we are to believe the 19th century registers)

In northwest Christian County, Kentucky - 8 miles from Hopkinsville, Ky - on the current Dawson Springs Road.
Consolation Church- 16 May 1819- circa 1940s or 1950s
house church 1819- 1840, first building 1840-1870, second building 1870-1917, third building 1917- torn down c1972

1885 had 175 members

historic marker placed as the first Universalist Church west of the Allegheny Mountains. N 37° 01.812 W 087° 34.896 16S E 448271 N 4098380

Consolation School c1912 - 1940s high school and grade school

church was founded by William Lowe, an Universal Redemption minister.
It originally met in the home of James E. Clark (1770-1841).
While the Clark family was from Virginia, James and his brother Jonathan lived in the
Pendleton district of South Carolina in the 1790s (apparently in Anderson County).
Rev. Joab Clark (1807-1882) was a native of Christian County, ordained in 1835, was the regular preacher at Consolation from 1833 to 1882, replacing William Lowe.

His son Hosea Ballou Clark (1834-1913) was a member of the Universalist Church, and
a Republican state Representative in 1885. His wife was a Methodist. Hosea was the President of the Kentucky Universalist Convention in 1893.
Joab "Joe" Clark Junior (1856-1946) son of Rev Joab, active in the Universalist Church.
Hosea's son, Claude R. Clark (1870-1943), was also an Universalist. His wife was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterians. Claude owned 6 grocery stores in the Hopkinsville area.

The church was still active in the mid1930s (leaders include Pool and McCord).
it was apparently gone by the time of the consolidation of Universalists and Unitarians.
At one time, there were apparently at least three Universalist Churches in Christian County.

View Larger Map

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Outlaw's Bridge - the Life Magazine Article

Outlaw's Bridge Universalist Church was featured in an 1944 issue of Life Magazine. That issue is now on Google Books.

(if the link stops working, then go to and search for "Outlaw's Bridge" )

it features the work of Rev Gustav Ulrich, who is said increased the membership of the church to 79 (in a "town" of 94 families). The Church building burned in
1950 - and it's worth reading the story on Outlaw's Bridge Universalist Church website - to see what dedication the members had to save what they could.

(disclaimer: this blogger is related to the founder Julia Kent Outlaw, via her husband, Bryan Outlaw - a very distant cousin)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Allen Fuller travels in 1834

Trumpet and Universalist Magazine. April 11, 1835.

Br. A. Fuller's Journey
Newberry District, SC, December 14, 1834

Br. Whittemore - I have arrived home after an absence of ten weeks , during which i traveled above 800 miles. I left home on the 4th of October, on account of the poor state of my health, being afflicted with intermittent fever, and proceeded by short stages toward the Mountainous parts of the State. On the 12th i preached for the first time after my sickness, in Greenville District; and at the meeting of the Convention in Anderson District on the 17th, my health was so much improved that i performed the part of the services which were assigned to me, without any apparent injury. There I enjoyed the satisfaction of participating in the consecration of the house of worship erected by the spirited exertions in that place in the past year, and had the pleasure of welcoming one brother to the cause of the ministry, and sixteen to membership in the society. it was truly one of the most joyous occasions i have every witnessed.
From the Convention I proceed to Georgia, preaching in Oglethorpe, Walton, Henry, and Pike counties on my way to the dedication of the First Universalist meeting house in the State of Georgia, situated in Harris County. At that place i had expected to meet our worthy brethren Andrews and Atkins from Alabama, but being disappointed, the whole of the services devolved on me. Having fulfilled this appointment of 3 days in succession, and preached again on the following Sunday, I proceed to Montgomery Alabama, where Br. Atkins was ordained on the 16th of November. With Br. Andrews and family, I had the pleasure of becoming acquainted at the time of their visit to South Carolina, the past summer, and it was truly refreshing to meet them again after traveling so far among total strangers. By his zeal and perseverance, Br. Andrews, has given our cause a powerful impulse in that section of Alabama, and nearly silenced that overbearing opposition which the Partialist clergy generally exhibited on his arrival. His labor and exertions to establish the SOUTHERN EVANGELIST are truly laudable, but I fear that his support is not equal to his necessities.
With Br. Atkins I had no acquaintance until this visit. He also is a brother with whom I am much pleased. Added to a good education and as strong mind, he posses a good practical knowledge of our doctrine, and an unspotted reputation.
Before he was expelled from the Methodist church, of which he was a worthy class leader, the church in that place numbered 66 members; it has not now more than 15. Then the meeting House, which stands on his land, which would not hold near all who assembled therefor worship; now is never filled on any ordinary occasion; and these changes are traced without difficulty to the arbitrary proceedings against him, and the influence of his opinions on others. The charge by which he was condemned by his Judges (the church not being permitted to be present) was holding and advocating heretical and unscriptural doctrines. he admitted that he held and was ready to defend the doctrines alluded to, but denied that they were either heretical or unscriptual. They, however, decided that they were, and proceeded to accordingly to expel him from their church. Br. Atkins preaches in various places in Alabama , but does not devote his whole time to the ministry.
Having delivered two discourses in the Universalist Meeting House in Montgomery, (which is a very neat building, pleasantly situation, and furnished with elegant SETTEES
and adorned with a beautiful chandelier; and it was expected that it would soon be supplied with a bell and organ,) and two at Mount Olympus, the Universalist Meeting House in the fork of the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers. I returned to Georgia, and thence home. I preached twice in Talbot, and twice in Jones Counties; in the former of which i could not learn that any of our faith had ever before preached. my first discourse there was on the day of the TOTAL eclipse of the sun, and though it was nearly half obscured before the close of my services, yet so fixed was the attention of my audience, that scarcely one showed any sign of impatience. This I regarded as somewhat extraordinary, considering the seldom occurrence of such a phenomenon.

******* 2009 notes:
Some of the preaching stations mentioned in Georgia had regular services, just not a meeting house. The Harris county meeting house is 24 by 34 feet, on the road from Columbus to LaGrange. **** added - This would be the Mulberry Grove Church. Im not sure if it made it up to the Civil War, or ended a few years before. - McMorris and Hubbard were ordained there, part of the Chattahoochee Association. ***** These three meeting houses would be all the non-union houses for Georgia and Alabama, all in land that just opened for settlement slightly over a decade before. The migration from SC to Alabama and Mississippi was starting to heat up about this time, leading to the decline of the congregations in SC.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Alabama 1935 in Conecuh County

From "The Trumpet and the Universalist magazine" April 4, 1835
taken from "The Southern Evangelist"
The Cause of the South
Extract of a Letter from Br. H. F. Sterns
Belville, Conecuh Co., Ala. March 1, 1835

Brother Andrews: As it relates to my tour in this vicinity, I will, with cheerfulness acquiesce with your proposals; but taking into consideration the size of your paper, you will excuse my brevity.
I left Montgomery, as you well know, on the 16th ult, on the Dover, a very splendid boat, with fine accommodations, a gentlemanly Captain, and a social company of passengers, some of whom enjoyed themselves with "Jack's Primer," as is usual "to kill time," which the eternal variegated scenery of Southern rivers renders mortally tedious. But the afternoon, evening, and succeeding day passed away, and we arrived at Claiborne, where Left the boat and tarried until the next day at noon. I there got on board a THING they call the Southern Mail Stage, a queer concern to be sure, and after riding for nearly six hours over a space of a country which is well calculated to hold the world together, and a road well adopted to the country, I arrived at the plantation of Squire Boney, in the neighborhood of Burnt Corn. Being somewhat fatigued, I tarried for the night,and shared the hospitality of this gentleman, whom I found to be intelligent, and sharing a good degree of wealth. Through his politeness I was conveyed to the plantation of John Green, Esq. where I arrived on Friday the 18th. This gentleman, I can say in justice, is the father of the blessed doctrine of Universalism in this section of the State of Alabama. He is allowed to be, even by those who who oppose his sentiments, a man of unimpeachable character, a worthy citizen,
and a kind obliging neighbor. He was once a Methodist, but a more intelligent and well-instructed Universalist , and one who has experienced more buffeting, I have seldom found in all my travels. But these things are fast dying away, and the pleasurable gratification which he now enjoys, exceeds all expectations. You may be surprised when I tell you, that upon my arrival in this, to a passing observer wild wilderness, i found that our venerable father Ballou had been here before me, with his unanswerable arguments in favor of Universalism [By way of his books.]
on Saturday, the 14th, after making an appointment for the following Sunday, Mr. Green accompanied me to this place, a distance of eight miles, where I had the extreme pleasure of meeting some few friends, and in the evening returned to a Mr. Jones, an elderly and very worthy man, who has recently embraced the faith of Abraham, and left that of Methodism in the back ground. On Sunday, I repaired to the Meeting House, built of longs, in the pine woods, where I found a very respectable number of persons assembled, though it was a very rainy day, and withal cold. i addressed them from the subject, "God is Love", after reading to them the chapter in which it is found, and some really thought, as I have since been told by them, that I had an Universalist Bible,and they were not satisfied until they found it in their own. The people paid strict attention, and not a few were evidentially surprised to find that "God is Love" and that his JUSTICE would be executed, the sinner punished, and all be holy and happy.
The week following i spent in visiting several neighborhoods, and on Sunday morning I visited Sparta to fulfill my engagement. The day proved to be very fine, though it had some appearance of being wet, in the morning, which probably kept some away, but several observed that they seldom if ever had seen that number before at meeting in that village. I stood in the seat of justice, in the capacity of a pleader for mankind, to believe that they had a kind Father, who would do them no injustice, but would remember their sins and iniquities no more. The excitement, I have since learned, was considerable, and probably the next time I go there I shall occupy the Methodist Meeting House. I returned to Belville the same evening, where I have been since. *****
This day, Sunday, the first of March, I preached under the broad canopy of heaven, to a numerous and attentive audience, surrounded by three or four Methodist preachers, who I previously understood, were to reply, but from some cause, they did not do it. Next Sabbath, the Lord will, I shall preach at Monroeville.

Belville was founded around 1818, by the Brothers Bell.
Conecuh County was formed in 1818; previously it was Indian territory.
Brother Andrews was Rev. L.F.W. Andrews, the editor then of the Southern Evangelist.
Brother Henry Franklin Sterns (also Stearns) was born in Province of Ontario in 1805 ordained in September 1833 in Vermont. by July to September 1834, he was settled in New Hampshire. While histories of Conecuh county state that he was in Alabama in 1830 teaching, Universalist publications suggest that he moved sometime between September of 1834 and February 1835. He began to practice law around 1835. In December of 1835, he replaced Rev. Andrews as the minister of the Universalist Church in Montgomery Alabama. Around 1837 he became a Judge in Conecuh County. In 1856 he went to Texas on business, returning, he did not make it home, dying in Claiborn Alabama in 1857.
Squire Boney
Burnt Corn, Alabama - on the old Federal Road
John Green born in SC, moved to Georgia as a child, became a lawyer and practiced in Burnt Corn, as well as being the first teacher in the county.
Father Ballou -
Mr. Jones
"faith of Abraham" - not Judaism, but apparently Universalism. Ive seen this term in the 1880s as well
Sparta, Alabama
Monroeville, Alabama - county seat of Monroe County,

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Mike Seeger (1933- 2009)

i don't claim that Mike Seeger was a Universalist - I dont have a clue as to his religious views. Although I do know that his half brother is an Unitarian Universalist. But his career in music did touch one of the joys of the south - the True Vine music of the pre-war south. Seeger was the most popular and I believe the original revialist of the old time music tradition. He recorded with and re-discovered dozens of old-time musicians. He named bluegrass music.
The rural folks of the south loved old time country music - as did the Universalists of the south. And frankly, one of the appeals of Universalists was that it wasn't a sin to play the fiddle. The Baptist said you would go to hell if you danced, the Universalists would let the dance be right there, fiddles and banjo going. As I read about southern Universalists, I sometimes hear about fiddles - one of the Rev Strains won a fiddle contest! About Clayton McMichen, who's granddaddy helped him learn to play (McMichen grew up in an Universalist household).
i knew bluegrass, but in 1972, with Seeger's Second Annual Farewell Reunion LP, I begin to know old time. From that I discovered that my opera loving father was able to ID Uncle Dave Macon by his voice.
I picked this song, because stuff like this confuses folks - its corny. yep, it sure is, ain't that nice?
RIP Mike, thanks for helping me rediscover my own roots.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Gospel Anchor 1832/3

the below is a list of material related to southern Universalism that appeared in the Troy NY Universalist paper, The Gospel Anchor in 1832.
This listing is both a way to extract information as we wait for some future where it can be reconstructed into articles - and as a way to look at one view of Southern Universalism from northern New York. Ministers are mentioned by their known, to me, connection with the southeast. I may have left out a Rev Newell, but think that he is different than the one in Charleston SC. Rev I D. Williamson is mentioned frequently, as he was a co-editor ("Junior Editor" it says in an article).; he later served briefly in Mobile Alabama, and did a preaching tour of the south.

Gospel Anchor 1932-1833 Volume 2; co-edited by I. D. Williamson; Troy NY; weekly

June 30, 1832 a sermon by T. Fisk -
August 11, 1832 Rev L. F. W. Andrews is announcing the publication of "The Gospel Witness" a 4 page half royal weekly to be published in New Haven, Connecticut.

August 18, 1832 Junior editor ID Williamson "W." reports that he has been sick, now nearly recovered.

August 25, 1832 ID Williamson did circuit travels up to Brattleboro, etc.
Currently Universalists have 14 periodicals, issuing weekly 20,000 copies.

September 15, 1832 Sermon by ID Williamson, delivered at Universalist Convention, held in Utica May 9, 1832

October 6, 1832 married at Newberry District, SC, by Rev Elijah Lynch on the 6th ult, Rev. Allen Fuller, formerly of Middleboro Mass to Tabitha Worthington, all of Newberry. ((modern note: Fuller was invited to SC by the SC Convention. The bride is the granddaughter of Rev Joseph Summers and niece of Rev Giles Chapman, both small u universalist ministers.))

October 13, 1832 'The Mother" a sermon by T. Fisk

October 20, 1832 Sermon by I D Williamson given at the installation of Rev D. F. Le Fevre in Troy NY September 1832

October 27, 1832 -circular letter done at the behalf of the General Convention, state conventions were recommended. There were 6 State Conventions at the time: New York, Maine, South Carolina, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. A South Carolina representive was able to attend the General Convention at Concord NH.
LFW Andrews reports that he will help edit the Herald of Freedom, and thus will not be publishing The Gospel Witness. The Herald of Freedom was published by P.T. Barnum.

December 8, 1832 now 30 Universalist newspapers

December 15, 1832 taken from the "Christian Messenger", LFW Andrew's views on ministerial qualifications. He objects to official qualifications.

January 5, 1833 Rev T. Fisk gave the oration at the release of P.T.Barnum from jail - he had been convicted of saying that Rev Seth Seelye defrauded an orphan of $17. Barnum was not allowed to speak in court. There were over 1500 attending the oration. Upon Barnum's way home, the music played was "Home Sweet Home".

January 12, 1833 in an article take from "The Magazine and Advocate", there is an article dated November 7, Newberry SC by A.F. ((Allen Fuller)) entitled Universalism Progressing Toward the South. It was a response to an article in the "Washington (Ga) Observer". Fuller states that "Universalism in not merely as he says, looking towards the South, it has already arrived in all parts of the South., and it's there exerting its influence. Not only is its' Trumpet sounds in North Carolina, as he observes, but it is heard in South Carolina and Georgia and Alabama, where it is accompanied by its Messenger, and its Inquirer is also there found seeking for the right way, and its Magazine well stored with truth, and its Advocate pleading its cause. he seems to regret that we have obtained a church in Baltimore, and that another is being erected in Richmond Va, and we would inform him that there are three meeting houses owned exclusively by Universalists as far south as South Carolina and that another is in progress there. That there are five regularly organized societies or churches in that state, and two preachers of that doctrine: and we hope to have another faithful laborer in this part of the Lords vineyards...."
((the words in capitals are of Universalist newspapers, Trumpet, Messenger, Magazine, Inquirer, and Advocate)).
From the Trumpet: Why do the Universalists have no Doctors of Divinity? Brother Fisk answers that "Because our divinity is never sick."

January 26, 1833 an excerpt from a funeral service by T. Fisk, dealing with the death of a child.

February 2 and 9, 1833 - An account of the hearing of Dr. Thomas Cooper, President of the College of South Carolina (now the University of South Carolina) for heresy. Cooper was an associate of Joseph Priestly. He was acquitted.

April 6, 1833 - "New Publication - Brother Fisk of New Haven, Conn who furnishes newspapers with as much apparent ease as other editors do paragraphs, has established another paper, entitled the "Herald of Universal Salvation". The paper is to be published semi-monthly. "

Monday, July 27, 2009

Misc and more misc II - mostly Georgia

After serious contemplation, I won't be attending the Georgia Convention - my car is needed elsewhere, and it really doesn't make sense for me to rent a car to go to the convention. The fact that i was seriously considering it - says just how excited I was, and how disappointed I am to be missing it. I hope that someone reading this, does go and can give us a report.
(the car being needed elsewhere is for a not-so-secret project of my wife).

I have been studying Georgia some, particularly looking at Monticello and Jasper County were a small band of Universalists were in the early 20th Century. Descendants of Archibald Standifer (of Jasper county) had claimed him to be an Universalist preacher. I've seen no mention of him in the Universalist Registers, but then I've seen others who I know were ministers not in the Registers either (ok, usually because they died before the registers got good and acurate). I then learned that Standifer had been a Christian (Diciples of Christ) minister in the 1830s - preaching at the Republician Meeting House nee' Antioch (still in southern Oconee county near Watkinsville). He was also a subcriber to CFR Shehane's Georgia/ South Carolina DOC newspaper from around that period of time. Did Standifer, like Shehane become Universalist? Not enough information to really know.

I looked briefly at the southwest corner of Georgia looking for (and at) the small Universalist Churches there. I cant come up with family names yet - although a few towns show up. What I really find is my lack of knowledge of Georgia geography and history (once we get past 1-95). So I'm looking at maps and reading history. and the same is true for other parts of the south.

I spent some time at Newberry with G - she showed me where the Hartford Meeting House is (now a rental home) - and we tried to find the Huntsville cemetary is (and thus the old Huntsville Union Church. Now, I had found particuarly good directions to within a few hundred yards of the site. And much to my irritation, the terrian has changed so much, that we couldnt find the cemetary. anybody reading this blog have co-ordinates to it?
the Teague family was mostly burried at their family cemetary, so we didnt expect much to find, it was the idea. The revoluntionary war battlesite nearby remains unmarked as well.

Friday, July 10, 2009

2009 Georgia Universalist News

I was forwarded a copy of some recent news.

The 2009 Georgia Universalist Convention meets in early August, in connection with the Rockwell Church annual Homecoming.
The 2009 Windsor Homecoming will be in September.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

History of Universalism in North Carolina (link)

History of Universalism in North Carolina

I commented on this book when it came out - and now I'm glad to say that there is a webpage devoted to selling it . You still can't order on line - but you can print that page out, add your name and address and check, and mail it in. And the publisher's email address is there.

And while you're at it, check out the homepage too

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Why read history and old books? (Universalist Movement In America 1770-1880)

At the Universalist Convocation in May 2009, I was on a panel to discuss Ann Lee Bressler's 2005 book, "The Universalist Movement in America 1770 - 1880" ---
I and co-panelist, Rev Richard Trudeau, both liked the book. I found it an excellent summary of the original Universalist theology, written in a style easily for non-theologians to understand.
With chapter titles like "Calvinism Improved", "the Challenge of Communal Piety", and "Universal Redemption and Social Reform" what isn't there to like?
Answer: folks who like later versions of Universalism understandably don't like the dismissal of the later version. While I understand their concern, I like the book for what it does show us.

anyway, I ended the panel by reading this from the author's acknowledgments

"Our children ... have grown up with this book. Almost every summer they have endured trips to historic Universalist sites and New England graveyards. The names and teachings of nineteenth-century Universalists must be lodged somewhere deep in their minds. As I complete this work, that is not an unhappy thought. "

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My odyssey in Alabama

We went to Alabama this past week, mainly to attend the Universalist Convocation, but also to explore history, local geography, food, and friends. Since this is a history blog, I will talk just about southern Universalist history here - and hope (hope) to mention the rest on my other blog.

A sign off I-20 beckoned us to the Edgefield SC museum. It didnt say how far away it was, or we may or may not have gone - but we did, and the museum was fine, but the genealogy library was better. Sharon looked up files, looking up the Boones and Sundays, while I tried to find out if there were anything to suggest if the body of Allen Fuller was buried in Edgefield SC (where he died) or if it was shipped back to Trussville Alabama where he lived. I found nothing about his death -nice conversation about his friends, the Teagues, however. Sharon got her material, including a newspaper article on the murder of her ancestor and lots of material on that ancestor lawsuit against his mother. On the newspaper article, she asked me if I had read the article two paragraphs up. It seems that then (in the 1850s) Universalist minister E. H. Lake was to preach at the Edgefield courthouse. We had visited the graves of several of his children in Forence SC a few weeks earlier. I also picked up large maps from the 1820s of Newberry County, Laurens County, and Sharon, large maps of Edgefield County in the 1820s and 1850s.
There was Universalist Churches in all three counties - and the large size means I won't have to use my magnifying sheet to try to read them on my small Mills Atlas.

The next day after eating Alabama version of Eastern Carolina BBQ (not bad), we headed south to the mountains, and then down to Lineville Alabama , where Sharon's ancestor Mrs. Sunday moved in the early 1830s. Later exploration through history (including a visit to Horseshoe Bend Military Park and a book on the Federal Road) shows that western Georgia and Eastern Alabama were closed to settlers up to the late 1820s- after the removal of the Creek Indians. This opening of land, brought many settlers from the Carolinas there, including Universalists from the Coleman, Gardner, Cawthorn families. This explaining the explosion of Universalist Churches in the 1830s-1850s there. Sharon found her ancestor's daughter's grave in an Disciples of Christ (Christian) graveyard. There was an 1830s style unmarked grave in the family plot - likely - but not positively - to have been Mrs Sunday's grave.
To Birmingham: the public library had a good section on genealogy, but nothing in that section on local universalist churhes. I did find the cemetary listing of the Universalist Church in Ariston (even though the compliers of the book called it a "Primitive Baptist Universalist" Church. Have you ever noticed that Genealogists are not good church historians?
Then to Trussville, where Sharon's keen eye spotted the headstone of Tabitha Fuller, the wife and daughter of Universalist Minsters. For some reason, she is burried in what is called the First Baptist Cemetary. Rev Fuller, was an Universalist until his death a few years later (and died while on Church business in Edgefield).
the Convocation was based on Biblical and modern history (I should mention here that the sermon on Jonah had lighting and thunder at appropriate parts) - but I participated in a conversation with Rev Richard Trudeau about the book the Universalist Movement in America.
We both liked it, I especially thought it was a good explanation of Ballou's Calvinism Improved beliefs. Upon re-reading it, I was struck by some of the more possible consequence of early Universalism: radical equality and elimination of social barriers (this wasn't perfect here in the south - but progress isnt usually).
Then to Camp Hill - nice old church, building is over 100 years old. The congregation is 160 years old. From what I can tell, it's the second oldest surviving UU Church in the southeast? (oldest being Charleston SC Unitarian which is older than the AUA,). I was pleased to see old familiar names, like Coleman in the stained glass. I was surprised to see Rev CFR Shehane as a co-founder - this only a few years after his conversion from Disciples of Christ (Christian) to Universalist. I speculate on the possibility of his having preached while still a DofC at the church in Lineville... Camp Hill used to be one of the largesr churches (over 200 active members), but is now down to monthly services -- just like the old Universalist (and most other rural denominations) churches back when it was founded.
I went down to Auburn to look at old Universalist Heralds, they have both issues and their collection on microfilm. My job was to see what issues they had. it was a joy to read various articles, seeing familiar names - Rev Clayton's schedule - he was selling Universalist books, and he was even occasionally preaching at Cash's Depot - about 20 miles from my home. the shock of knowing that I knew the first name of Rev. Gardner of Mississippi who was preaching at the Church of the Restoration - he was Marmaduke Gardner, later the main spirit of the Universalist Church in Texas - and who happened to also have been lived in Edgefield County, SC. An article by Rev James Inman of Cold Mountain fame, of Rev. Mrs Billings who strengthened and expanded the work at Texas. I didnt have time to read full issues or even to skim most of them, so I just jotted down a few notes, looking for Universalists who lived near me- I do admit that I liked one of the mastheads of the old Herald "Devoted to Temperance, Moderation, and Reasonable Religion"

You know, to do these things, to explore this, to have this much fun with this; just shows how deeply blessed I am. It also shows how important these people and their history is, because they can still touch me in such a wonderful moving way.

(corrected 1.0)

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Universalist Society of Mount Olympus, Alabama 1833-1837+

The Herald of Truth issued August 16, 1834, takes a news item from the Southern Evangelist (an Universalist newspaper from Montgomery) and cites the creation of the "Universalist Society of Mount Olympus", mentioning that this is the second Universalist society in Montgomery County, Alabama. Mount Olympus is mentioned in Rev George Rogers book of his missionary travels, where he mentions that it is 16 miles across the River from Montgomery. it's good that he mentions the distance because "Mount Olympus" is a lost town, and is not listed in "Place Names in Alabama" or the US site, Geonames.

we know the church lasted from 1833-1837+ (1833 because services and the building were there a year before the church was organized), 1837 because Rev Rogers preached there.

Preacher is Willis Atkins, who was a former Methodist, and a member of the Mount Olympus community. He rates his own eventual biography on this blog. He died in 1842.

William Townsend (1787 - 1881) born in Georgia, dies in Wetumpka, Alabama.
wealthy - in 1860, had the equivalent of 2007 $1.5 million.

Dr. Thomas Mitchell (1773-1843) born in Georgia, dies in Montgomery County, Alabama. Home was off the Mitchell Creek Road, near Ware (11 miles SE of Wetumpka) . Tombstone stated:
In Memory of Dr. Thomas Mitchell
of Montgomery County, Alabama. Who Departed this life on the 22nd of
November, 1843, in the 66th year of His age, like a full ear of corn
Ripe for the Harvest. It may be truly said of him "An honest man's the
Noblest work of God". In the resurrection according to his faith he will be greeted
With the shouts of a ransomed Universe. When parting shall be no more, God shall be
All in All "For as in Adam all died" And so in Christ Shall all be made alive. "

Mrs. Mitchell (per Rogers) was a member in 1837, as was all of her family.

Ludwell F. Taylor (c1801 - 1842)
brother of Greenwell Wooten Taylor, born in Georgia, moved with parents to Alabama circa mid 1820s, bought land in 1829 and 1831. died in Rock Springs - a community that is between Wetumpka and Tallassee Alabama, about 20 miles east north-east of Montgomery and 11 miles east of Wetumpka. married July 1832 in Montgomery County. in the 1830 and 1840 census.
On the same cenus page as Willis Atkins in 1830.

Greenwell Wooten Taylor (c1805-1852)
brother of Ludwell F. Taylor, born in Georgia, moved with parents to Alabama circa mid 1820s, very well to do, bought land in Texas, but died on the boat between Mobile and Galveston, buried in what is now Danville Texas. Married in Montgomery County Alabama April 1832. in 1850 census . Buying and selling land from 1837 to 1852

"a free colored man and family" -1837- member of Mount Olympus congregation, per Rev. George Rogers.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

SC Convention 1847 and Henry Summer of Newberry


South Carolina

The following letter from that excellent and devoted friend of our cause, H. Summer, Esq. of Newberry, S. C., though not designed for publication, contains so much information appertaining to the conditions and prospects of our cause in that State, that we have judged it worthy of being laid before our readers. --- Br. S. will pardon the liberty we have taken, and let us hear from him often.
A few men like Br. S. would make our cause flourish any where.

Newberry C. H., August 17, 1847

Dear Brother Balch --
I believe that we of this State took a step at the Annual Convention of Universalists, which will be productive of great good. I have just returned from the Convention, which met at Feasterville, Fairfield District, Liberty Meeting house. The friends met, and we had a good meeting. We passed, in council, a resolution of Br. Walker, adopted a report by myself as chairman, containing the Profession of Faith and Articles of Church Goverment, recommending the same to the friends scattered abroud the State. We have been hereto almost as good as without organization. The procedings will be published in the STAR IN THE WEST, prepared by Rev. A. Fuller, the standing clerk. It devolved on me to sustain the report and reccomend it to the Convention. On its merits, I suspose I spoke at least two hours; and by way of presenting and enforcing it, at least half an hour; so that in refrence to this point particuarly, and some other closely connected with it, I spoke about three hours. I felt the importance of the movement,and believing, that upon its adoption depended the fate of our glorious doctorine for years to come.
Br. S. M. Simons, from the Baptists, recieved the fellowship of our order as a preacher of the Gospel. He left the Baptists after he was ordained. He is a plain but zealous man. Br. N.P. Walker, a man of about 30 years, was ordained a preacher of the Gospel by Brs. A. Fuller and S. M. Simons. Br. Walker is a man of very good talents. Br. Fuller preached the Ordination Sermon from this text, "Preach The Word, " and gave us an excellent discourse. The Profession of Faith,. and Articles of Church Goverment, were taken, with a few variations, from Br. Whittemore's Plain Guide. We have now a platform on which I believe we can go to work and do something. I met an old father (David Coleman) eighty-two years old who had been a Dunker and had heard David Martyn, and was a member of his Church, believing in the doctrine of Universalism for 55 years now. After I finished my address at council in advocacy of the report of which I have abouve given you some account, that old father shook me cordially by the hand, the tears tricking down his cheeks, unable to speak - but his countenance uttered the language of his heart.
Oh Brother Balich, I feel we need help! We must depend upon that God of mercy that we adore, and we must all live according to the vocation wherewith we are called. Dear Br., you can let our friends know what we are doing; and though the work is begun in weakness, yet we look forward to a day of better things. This is with us a day of small things; but we shall go on, turning neither to the right nor to the left. We appointed Delegates to the U.S. Convention of Universalists; but none, I presume, will attend. Next year, Br. Fuller will, he thinks, be with you at your Convention, and he will be able to tell you how we have done.


Henry Summer
"Henry Summer .... had a strong interest in Universalism." Fireside Tales: Stories of the Old Dutch Fork (1984)

there were two Henry Summers in the Newberry area, but most evidence would seem that he was the (1809-1869) lawyer. But his obituary states that that Summer was active in the Lutheran Church. At this point we know that the Universalist Summer was writing and reading Universalist materials from at least 1845 to 1867. That he met with other Universalists in Boston in 1845 at the general convention. Obituaries are written by the living, and not by the deceased - his wife and children were very active Lutherans.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fredonia - part 3

as indicated earlier in the blog - there have been folks who stated that the first Universalist Church (in what is now the USA) was the Fredonia Meeting House in Newberry County, SC.

We still havent found the location or the dates of the Meeting House... but we've found things on the name.

NAMES ON THE LAND (1945) by George R. Stewart, states that Fredonia (the word) was created after 1800 by Dr. Samuel Latham Mitchell. This coinage was an attempt to rename the United States of America, much like "Columbia" was also intended. See the wikipedia biography .
the term is used in his book MEDICAL REPOSITORY (1804) He mentioned the word in a letter to Thomas Jefferson in December 1803 - and apparently in 1804 published " An Address to the Fredes or People of the United States."

It is therefore probable that the name of the Meeting House was based on the term Fredonia created in 1803 by Dr. Mitchell and popularized by him in 1804. If this is so, then we must also find likely that the Fredonia Meeting House was not the first Universalist Church in America (of course if Fredonia was the renaming of an early Church, then we still cant say that it wasnt -it just lessens the possiblity).

(note to GW - the Halfacres bought that land in 1792 - so the term being created in 1803 actualy strenghts your idea that Fredonia was on their land...)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cloud's Creek Massacre Off-topic

(note: no religious content) I get a lot of hits from folks looking to find information on the Cloud's Creek Massacre. Apparently not much on the web, and this blog is listed as the number 2 google spot! so while off topic, let me help those folks (students? American revolutionary buffs?) but to the regular readers of this blog, it's off-topic, no Universalist known here - it just was close to the universalist Dunker church.

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this is where the Butler Cemetery and site of Massacre are.

leading up to the Massacre
Major William Cunningham was placed in charge of a command of dragoons after Lord Rawdon abandoned Fort Ninety-Six (circa June 1781). With the death of Major Dunlap, Cunningham established a base on Cane Creek on the Keowee River (July 1781) and began raiding the Ninety-Six district. August 1, 1781 raids across the Saluda River with deaths of eight "noted" rebels, and increase in his loyalist troops.
August 31, 1781 Parker's Ferry -British Commander Lt. Colonel Ernst Leopold von Borck vs General Francis Marion. The British suffered much causalities, but not Cunningham's troops. September 3, 1781 Cunningham attacked Ridgeway's Fort (on the Reedy River) capturing the fort without losing a man.
October 3, 1781 Cunningham attacked Pratt's Mill (on the Little River, 8 miles northwest of Abbeville, SC) burned mill and captured horses
circa October 1781, Hartley's Creek - Hell Hole Creek Massacre. Not much known, supposed 28 massacred.
October 19, 1781 Surrender by General Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia.
November 13, 1781 Cunningham and Hezekiah Williams began their long raid -basically attacking the homes of the Rebel officer's homes. They started by attacking Colonel Christopher Rowe's Plantation south of Orangeburg, SC. Cunningham then went to Fair Forrest Sping on the North Pacolet River, killing Edward Hampton. Crossed the Fork of the Edisto River, and troops were sent to Mount Willing. Then crossed the Saluda River into Newberry County.
Then north to Moore's plantation where Captain Steadman was killed (it is said) in his sick bed at his fiance's parents house. 16 November 1781, Tarrar's Springs (near present day West Columbia) a cease fire for this skirmish

17 November 1781 Cloud's Creek Massacre
30 members of the South Carolina Militia (Richland Creek and Edgefield district) were camped at the house of "Mr. Carter" on Cloud's Creek. They were surrounded by 300 of Cunningham's troops. The SC Militia attempted to surrender, but terms given by the Loyalists were the execution of James Butler Jr. Shots were then exchanged, and Captain Butler was killed, The remaining rebels surrendered, but all were put to death by sword and saber, except for two who managed to escape. Killed in the massacre were James Butler, Sr and Captain Stirling Turner.
the troops then left the site, stopping to shoe their horses at the Towles Blacksmith shop , then killing the blacksmith and his assistants and burning the buildings.


November 19, 1781 Hayes Station - Cunningham rode to the house of Major John Caldwell, invited him out, and shot him dead. They then crossed to the south side of the Saluda and went up to the Cherokee Path. Burned Anderson's Mills, , and then crossed the river to Laurens County and Hayes Station. A battle went on for several hours, until the rebels surrendered after the roof of the station was set on fire. Two rebels were killed in the fighting, 12 other killed by hanging and sword afterwards. That night, they stayed at Oddell's Mills.

November 1781, Cunningham headed to the home of John Boyce at Duncan's Creek in southern Union County - while surprised, Boyce managed to escape to the home of Captain Christopher Casey. Casey and his troops captured a few where the Duncan's Creek meets the Enoree River. Casey hanged them at the intersection of the Charlestown Road and Ninety-Six Road.
December 2, 1781 Cunnigham split his troops into three divisions. One went to the Cherokee lands, one went through the Long Canes to Charleston.
December 20, 1781 General Pickens attacked one of Cuningham's camps on the Edisto River, killing everyone there
December-January Cunningham makes it back to Charleston
Feb 1782 Cuningham active in the defense of Charleston.
May 24 1782 Dean's Swamp Captain William Butler, son of James Butler killed at Cloud's Creek, attacked Cunnigham's troops that were were attempting to rescue prisoners.
September 1782 - Lorick's Ferry - while Pickens was out fighting Cherokees, Cunnighman made a raid to the Saluda River area. Again the rebels led by William Butler attacked them. During this fight, Butler was able to obtain Cunnigham's sword.
December 14, 1782 British evacuate Charleston and Cunnigham goes to East Florida.

Left out of this was Cunnigham's reasons for hatred for the Rebels - and he had some good ones.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Jordan School Reunion

From 1894 to 1984, the Jordan School played an important part in the life of Suffolk Virginia.
The founders -Joseph H. Jordan (1842-1901) and Joseph E. Jordan (1863 - 1929) . (no relation between the Jordans) were Universalist ministers and members of the community. The local Universalist Church in Suffolk ended not too long after the death of the second Rev. Jordan, but the school and it's service lasted.
The Jordan Neighborhood School was one of the missions of the Universalist Church (others included Schools and Churches in Japan, the Clara Barton Birthplace, and the Churches of North Carolina). This support continued after merger into the Unitarian Universalist Association. In 1969, both changing views of missions (from long term to short term help) and the near financial bankruptcy of the UUA led the UUA to stop funding the programs there.

The importance of the reunion in the Fall of 2009 - is to show the lasting impact of the school and mission to the people and the community. While this reunion is in one way a typical High School Reunion, it is in another way, a salute to two Universalist ministers who made a difference.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Rockwell, Winder Ga - former UUA, google street view

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Rockwell was organized in 1839, and re-organized after the Civil War by Rev. LF.W. Andrews
- affiliated with the UUA up to the mid 1990s. I believe it currently has services twice monthly - no idea if currently Universalist or not....

Sunday, February 22, 2009

UU Tarpon Springs, Florida - Google Street View

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this is a rare example of a Universalist Church in the south founded by non-southerners.
No Chapmans or Feasters....

the former home of First Universalist, Clinton NC

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this is the First Universalist in Clinton, NC an Universalist/UU congregation from the 1880s to the 1970s. Peggy Rawheiser tells me that the parsonage was to the left (now a vacant lot), with a connector built between the two buildings. The connector was used to house the Clinton town Library that Rev Bryant started.
(Peggy Rawheiser is the author of "A History of Universalism in North Carolina" (2007) published by the Universalist Convention of North Carolina, Incorporation - with the help of Guild Master Grpahics. )

former home of Shinn Memorial, Chattanooga, TN

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This church originally started as a rural church on the other side of the state line, moved into town with money provided by the YPCU (the youth organization of the Universalsit Church) as a tribute to Rev Shinn. the Church fizzled out by the late 1940s and early 1950s, it was even used by the Unitarian Fellowship in the mid or late 1950s, before eventually being sold and become "Second Baptist". The Southern Universalist Institute was held here up to the 1930s.
this was known as the Universalist Evangelical Institute (or something like that) back before the word "Evangelical" changed meanings.

Our Home UU, Ellisville, Mississippi Google Street View

This is a truly awful street view, too much early morning sunlight.
This Church was founded around 1907, by folks who heard the news about Universalism and wanted an Universalist Church so much that they were determined to have one, even if it had to be in "our home"! Back in the 1970s, a local bluegrass band recorded a song about "the Free Church of Jones" making it the only UU congregation that I'm aware of, with their own bluegrass theme song.

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dormant Burrus Memorial, Ellisville Mississippi google street view

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not a current congregation, although members still live nearby and keep the building and cometary up. Nice library filled with late 19th and early 20th century books, they had a copy of Clayton's autobiography and a Manual of Faith and Duty. Congregation ran from around the 1890s to 1990s.

Red Hill Universalist Church, Clinton NC - Google Street View

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Red Hill has been around since the 1840s (or earlier) , and for good reason - wonderful people.

There are a few more historic southern Universalist Churches that I havent street Googled yet-
Our Home in Ellisville Mississippi, Canon Georgia (not on street view yet), Athens (hard for me to think of it as a historic Universalist Church), and Winder in Georgia, and Liberty in Mississippi. And then of course, I will try to do the best I can to add "former sites".

Liberty Universalist, Feasterville, SC - google street view

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No, you can't see it from the Street. You can see the sign - which is what you see here. Across the street you can see the historic marker for the Feasterville Academy. Both the Church and Academy buildings still exist . If you get out of your car and go down the road a little bit, you pass a home, and then you reach the clearing where the Church is, with "no trespassing" signs there. Please respect them and the family association that owns the buildings.
Liberty was used as an Universalist Church building from the 1840s to around the 1930s. Copies of the Myrtle - a children's Universalist Sunday School paper of the 1920s were in the building when I visited. I hear of services in the 1950s, I know it was used for weddings in the 1950s. This is the mother church of the SC, Georgia, Alabama, and continued west southern Universalist Churches.

former home of Universalist Church, Brewton, Alabama: Google Street View

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at one time one of the largest Universalist congregations in the south, with a popular radio show "The Universalist Hour" in the 1950s, the congregation ended sometime in the late 1980s.

Cornerstone Community Church occupied the building at least from 2005 -2009+ and I wouldn't be surprised from the 1990s on (Cornerstone was founded in 1987). Cornerstone appears to be affiliated with one of the Church of God denominations. (I'd be glad to make corrections, if anyone from Cornerstone reads this).
Again the Google Street address is not the real address of this building.

Outlaw's Bridge, Google Street View

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Odd that Google has the side street view, but not the main highway (Front) view yet!

First Universalist, Camp Hill, Alabama - Google Street View

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again, the address supplied by Google maps is not the actual address of the Church.
Moundville and Saluda SC dont have street views yet (although I was surprised to see that the map folks did get up to Coleman's Crossroads).

Clayton Memorial - the Google Street View

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Google maps street view -
This is Clayton Memorial in Newberry SC

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Abraham Lincoln, Universalist?

Recently over at Boys In the Band, Abraham Lincoln and his religious views came up.
Lincoln never claimed an affiliation, and everybody from Roman Catholics to Presbyterian to atheists claim him as their own. So do Universalists...

Here are some notes I made a few years back
Manford's New Monthly Magazine - January 1877 (cover misdated 1876)
- quoted from the original

" The Faith of Abraham Lincoln" by Rev. L. C. Marvin.

"In the Winter of 1857, I held a four day's debate in Springfield with
Rev. Mr. Johnson of the Christian Church, and Mr. Lincoln heard a
part, at least, of that debate. It fell to my lot, one evening to
make the closing speech. It was the conclusion of the first
proposition, and I summed up the arguments which I had advanced in
favor of the reconciliation of all things to God. Mr Lincoln was
pleased, and gave his undivided attention to what was spoken. At the
close he turned to the friend at the side, and in a very emphatic
manner said, "There sir, that speech will do." Now does anyone
supposed that he had come to that debate simply to find out which
disputant was the better speaker?"

and discussing another earlier incident from 1853....
"As soon as Elder C. (Rev Peter Cartwright of the Methodist Church)
had taken his seat, he turned to Mr. (Eli) Thornburg and made this
characteristic speech: "Thornburg, I thought you were too sensible a
man to believe such stuff as Marvin preaches." Mr. Lincoln, without
waiting for Mr. T. to reply, immediately took up the gauntlet himself.
"Elder Cartwright," said he, "I used to think that it took the
smartest kind of man to preach and defend Universalism; I now think
entirely different. It is the easiest faith to preach that I have ever
heard. There is more proof in its favor, than in any other doctrine I
have ever heard. I have a suit in court here to-morrow and if I had
as much proof in its favor as there is in Universalism, I would go
home, and leave my student to take charge of it, and I should feel
perfectly certain that he would gain it." Such were his words. "

now, in 1832 Cartwright had defeated Lincoln for public office, and in
1846 Cartwright had called Lincoln an infidel. Lincoln stated he had never denied
the truth of the Scriptures and defeated Cartwright in that election. Cartwright
wrote his autobiography in 1857, and doesn't mention this discussion with Lincoln
or Marvin. He doesn't mention Lincoln at all. He also doesn't seem to mention
Marvin. (He has an unnamed Illinois Universalist minister he accuses of adultery.
So no confirming source of this quote.

Erasmus Manford - Twenty Five Years in the West (1875 revised edition)
p 225/6 "I had been invited to visit that region and hold a
discussion in Springfield with a Methodist clergyman. ... We debated
four days in the Representatives' Hall of the capitol, in the
presence of large assemblies. The discussion caused much excitement
in Springfield, and all parties attended. I remember seeing Mr.
Lincoln there punctually every day and every night. He often nodded
assent when I made a strong point. Little did I think, or he, what
was to be his future position in the world."

Hard to know if Lincoln nodded because he liked the doctrine or if he liked
the debate.
Having read alot of Manford 's Magazine; I feel sure If Manford had
had any reason to think Lincoln was an Universalist, he would have
said so....

Saturday, January 10, 2009

1897 Georgia State Universalist Convention

The Annual Convention of Georgia Universalists was held in Walesca, beginning Thursday, the 2nd of September, and closing Monday night, the 6th.
The first day was devoted to the Young People's Christian Union and was helpful and encouraging. New unions have been formed and those already existing have been strengthened. The new officers are: President, R. U. Wright of Winder; secretary, Elijah Love of Atlanta; treasurer Fredonia Rhyne, Walesca.
Reports on the "state of the Church" given Friday, showed that three new Church edifices have been erected in the past year and fully paid for, and twice as many new organizations perfected.
Rev. Thomas Chapman of Winder, state missionary, rendered encouraging accounts, and $260 was raised to assist his endeavor.
On Saturday the new church recently built in Walesca was formally dedicated. W. H. McGlauflin, D.D. of Atlanta, preaching the sermon. After the dedication, all services were held in the chapel of Reinhardt College, an auditoriam seating a thousand people, and kindly offered by the Methodists.
Sunday, Rev. D. B. Clayton D.D., of Columbia SC offered the occasional sermon to a great audience.
The convention closed Monday night with a sermon by Rev. Thomas Chapman. There was a deep religious interest all through, and nineteen new members were added to the Church.
The new officers are Thomas Weaver, of Lithonia, president; Ella House of Winder, secretary;
M.C. House, treasurer; committee on fellowship, ordination, and discipline, W. H. McGlauflin, D.D., Atlanta, J. H. Parks, Gratis; Thomas Chapman, Winder. The next convention will be held in Lithonia.

- Atlanta Constitution; September 12, 1897

2009 Notes:
Reinhardt Academy was founded in 1884 as a post-primary Methodist school in Waleska Georgia. At some point, it begain offering college level courses, and was accredited as a Junior College in 1953. Accredited as a 4 years school in 1994. I see no reason to doubt the AC of 1897 that it was a college in 1897.
Waleska Georgia. It is located in Cherokee County, settled by the Reinhardt, Sharp, Rhyne, and Heard families; and a town by 1856. The spelling was changed from Walesca to Waleska to avoid confusion with another town with that name. Incorporated in 1889 - it is today a college town. It is located in the center of the top 1/4 of Georgia.
Lithonia, Georgia is located in Dekalb County Georgia, near Stone Mountain Georgia in what is now the metro Atlanta area.

Lodusca Fredonia Rhyne (October 1873-January 1968) daughter of Hosea B. and Maggie Rhyne. I would suspect his middle name is probably Ballou. Both were born in Georgia, his parents were from Lincoln County, North Carolina. Like many southerners, she went by her middle name. Married a Smith, died in Birmingham, Alabama, might have lived in Atlanta in the 1930s.

Elijah Love (July 1876 -1901+ ) born in Nebraska, cigar maker and secretary of the local Cigar makers union in Atlanta. In Atlanta.

R.N. Wright is the correct name for the article's R.U. Wright.


Thursday, January 01, 2009

Google Maps street views - a tool for history

Google Maps street views are now spreading throughout the rural south - SC has been hit
my yard is pictured with spouse opening up the car door to get in - which we found interesting; it might be disturbing if the address was correctly listed - it isnt. This also means that it wont be perfect for finding locations.

Clayton Memorial in Newberry

as you can see by the deadlink above, its not too useful for linking yet either.

I have used it to look at the old Shinn Memorial in Tennessee - the Baptist Church now there has apparently taken good care of the old building.

Neither Red Hill nor Outlaw's Bridge have been googlemaped yet - Mountville cemetary is a block or so away from the one road with a streetview. Bethel is far far from a streetview.

Looking at the old Universalist Church site near the intersection of Harris and Peachtree in Atlanta, we see that it's now the height of Atlanta downtown.

this tool will be more useful as more roads are traveled....,