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.
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 -
"faith of Abraham" - not Judaism, but apparently Universalism. Ive seen this term in the 1880s as well
Monroeville, Alabama - county seat of Monroe County,