SOLITUDE AND RELIGION. The isolation of the early settlers was conducive to religious thoughts, especially among the uneducated ministry of that day. This is impressively told in the following paragraph:
"There was naught in the scene to suggest to a mind familiar with the facts an oriental landscape- -naught akin to the hills of Judea. Yet, ignorance has license. It never occurred to Teck Jepson [a local preacher in the novel] that his biblical heroes had lived elsewhere… He brooded upon the Bible narratives, instinct with dramatic movement, enriched with poetic color, and localized in his robust imagination, till he could trace Hagar's wild wanderings in the fastnesses; could show where Jacob slept and piled his altar of stones; could distinguish the hush, of all others on the "bald," that blazed with fire from heaven when the angel of the Lord stood within it;… saw David, the stripling, running and holding high in his right hand the bit of cloth cut from Saul's garments while the king had slept in a cave at the base of Chilhowie mountain. And how was the splendid miracle of translation discredited because Jepson believed that the chariot of the Lord had rested in scarlet and purple clouds upon the towering summit of Thunderhead that Elijah might thence ascend into heaven?"
EARLY PREACHERS. Staunton, Lexington and Abingdon, Virginia, and Jonesboro, Tenn., and Morganton, N. C., have been largely Presbyterian from their earliest beginning. Not so, however, Western North Carolina in which the Baptists and Methodists got the "start" and have maintained it ever since, notwithstanding the presence almost from the first of the Rev. George Newton and many excellent ministers of the Presbyterian faith since his day. The progress of the Methodists was due largely, no doubt, to the frequent visits of Bishop Asbury.
THE FIRST METHODIST BISHOP. "In the year 1800 Bishop Francis Asbury began to include the French Broad valley in his annual visits throughout the eastern part of the United States, which extended as far west as Kentucky and Tennessee." He was so encouraged by the religious hunger he discovered in these mountain coves that he continued his visits till November, 1813, notwithstanding the rough fare he no doubt frequently had to put up with. Following extracts are from his "Journal":
AT WARM SPRINGS IN 1800. (Thursday, November 6, 1800.) "Crossed Nolachucky at Querton's Ferry, and came to Major Craggs', 18 miles. I next day pursued my journey and arrived at Warm Springs, not, however, without an ugly accident. After we had crossed the Small and Great Paint mountain, and had passed about thirty yards beyond the Paint Rock, my roan horse, led by Mr. O'Haven, reeled and fell over, taking the chaise with him; I was called back, when I beheld the poor beast and the carriage bottom up, lodged and wedged against a sapling, which alone prevented them both being precipitated into the river. After a pretty heavy lift all was righted again, an we were pleased to find there was little damage done. Our feelings were excited more for others than ourselves. Not far off we saw clothing spread out, part of the loading of household furniture of a wagon which had overset and was thrown into the stream, and bed clothes, bedding, etc., were so wet that the poor people found it necessary to dry them on the spot. We passed the side fords of French Broad and came to Mr. Nelson's; our mountain march of twelve miles calmed us down for this day. My company was not agreeable here-there were too many subjects of the two great potentates of this Western World whisky, brandy. My mind was greatly distressed."
CURIOUSLY CONTRIVED ROPE AND POLE FERRY. "North Carolina, Saturday 8. We started away. The cold was severe upon the fingers. We crossed the ferry, curiously contrived with a rope and pole, for half a mile along the banks of the river, to guide the boat by. And 0 the rocks! the rocks! Coming to Laurel river, we followed the wagon ahead of us-the wagon stuck fast. Brother O'H. mounted old Gray-the horse fell about midway, but recovered, rose, and went safely through with his burden. We pursued our way rapidly to Ivy creek, suffering much from heat and the roughness of the roads, and stopped at William Hunter's."
AT THOMAS FOSTER'S. "Sabbath Day, 9. We came to Thomas Foster's, and held a small meeting at his house. We must bid farewell to the chaise; this mode of conveyance by no means suits the roads of this wilderness. We obliged to keep one behind the carriage with a strap to hold by, and prevent accidents almost continually. I have health and hard labor, and a constant sense of the favor of God."
BLACKSMITH, CARPENTER, COBBLER, SADDLER AND HATTER. "Tobias Gibson had given notice to some of my being at Buncombe courthouse, and the society at Killyon's, In consequence of this, made an appointment for me on Tuesday, 11. We were strongly importuned to stay, which Brother Whatcoat felt inclined to do. In the meantime we had our horses shod by Philip Smith; this man, as is not infrequently the case in this country, makes wagons and works at carpentry, makes shoes for men and for horses; to which he adds, occasionally the manufacture of saddles and hats."
REV. GEORGE NEWTON AT METHODIST SERVICE. "Monday, 10. Visited Squire Swain's agreeable family. On Tuesday we attended our appointment. My foundation for a sermon was Heb. ii, 1. We had about eighty hearers; among them was Mr. Newton, a Presbyterian minister, who made the concluding prayer. We took up our journey and came to Foster's upon Swansico (Swannanoa)-company enough, and horses in a drove of thirty-three. Here we met Francis Poythress-sick of Carolina-and in the clouds. I, too, was sick. Next morning we rode to Fletcher's, on Mud creek. The people being unexpectedly gathered together, we gave them a sermon and an exhortation lodged at Fletcher's."
A LECTURE AT BEN. DAVIDSON' S. "Thursday, 13. We crossed French Broad at Kim's Ferry, forded Mills river, and made upwards to the barrens of Broad to Davidson's, whose name names the stream. The aged mother and daughter insisted upon giving notice for a meeting; In consequence thereof Mr. Davis, the Presbyterian minister, and several others came together. Brother Whatcoat was taken with a bleeding at the nose, so that necessity was laid upon me to lecture; my subject was Luke xi 13."
DESCRIBES THE FRENCH BROAD. "Friday, 14. We took our leave of French Broad-the lands flat and good, but rather cold. I have had an opportunity of making a tolerably correct survey of this river. It rises in the southwest, and winds along in many meanders, fifty miles northeast, receiving a number of tributary streams in its course; it then inclines westward, passing through Buncombe in North Carolina, and Green and Dandridge counties in Tennessee, in which last it is augmented by the waters of Nolachucky. Four miles above Knoxville it forms a junction with the Holston, and their united waters flow along under the name of Tennessee, giving a name to the State. We had no small labor in getting down Saluda mountain."
AGAIN AT WARM SPRINGS. In October, 1801, we find this entry: "Monday, October 5. We parted in great love. Our company made twelve miles to Isaiah Harrison's, and next day reached the Warm Springs upon French Broad river.
"MAN AND BEAST 'FELT THE MIGHTY HILLS.' "Wednesday, 7. We made a push for Buncombe courthouse: man and beast felt the mighty hills. I shall calculate from Baker's to this place one hundred and twenty miles; from Philadelphia, eight hundred and twenty miles."
CAROLINA RESTING AT GEORGE SWAIN' S. "Friday, 9. Yesterday and today we rested at George Swains.
QUARTERLY MEETING AT DANIEL KILLON'S. "Sabbath Day, 11. Yesterday and today held quarterly meeting at
Daniel Killon's, near Buncombe courthouse. I spoke from Isa. lvii, 6, 7
and I Cor. vii, 1. We had some quickenings."
A SERMON FROM N. SNETHEN. "Monday, 12. We came to Murroughs, upon Mud creek; here we had a sermon from N. Snethen on Acts xiv, 15. Myself and James that gave an exhortation. We had very warm weather and a long ride. At Major Britain's, near the mouth of Mills river, we found a lodging.
AT ELDER DAVIDSON's. "Tuesday, 13. We came in haste up to elder Davidson's, refreshed man and beast, commended the family to God, and then struck into the mountains. The want of sleep and other inconveniences made me unwell. We came down Saluda River, near Saluda Mountain : it tried my lame feet and old feeble joints. French Broad, in its meanderings, is nearly two hundred miles long; the line of its course is semi-circular; its waters are pure, rapid, and its bed generally rocky, except the Blue Ridge; it passes through all the western mountains."
AT WILLIAM NELSON'S AT WARM SPRINGS. "Wednesday, 3. We labored over the Ridge and the Paint Mountain: I held on awhile, but grew afraid of this mountain, and with the help of a pine sapling worked my way down the steepest and roughest parts. I could bless God for life and limbs. Eighteen miles this day contented us, and we stopped at William Nelson's, Warm Springs. About thirty travelers having dropped in, I expounded the scriptures to them, as found in the third chapter of Romans, as equally applicable to nominal Christians, Indians, Jews, and Gentiles."
DINNER AT BARNETT'S STATION. "Thursday, 4. We came off about the rising of the sun, cold enough. There were six or seven heights to pass over, at the rate of five, two or one mile an hour~as this ascent or descent would permit : four hours brought us to the end of twelve miles to dinner, at Barnett's station; whence we pushed on to John (Thomas) Foster's, and after making twenty miles more, came in about the going down of the sun. On Friday and Saturday we visited from house to house."
"DEAR WILLIAM MCKENDREE." "Sunday, 7. We had preaching at Killon's. William McKendree went forward upon 'as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God;' my subject was Heb. iii, 12, 13. On Monday I parted from dear William McKendree. I made for Mr. Fletcher's, upon Mud creek; be received me with great attention, and the kind offer of everything in the house necessary for the comfort of man and beast. We could not be prevailed on to tarry for the night, so we set off after dinner and he accompanied us several miles. We housed for the night at the widow Johnson's. I was happy to find that in the space of two years, God had manifested his goodness and his power in the hearts of many upon the solitary banks and isolated glades of French Broad; some subjects of grace there were before, amongst Methodists, Presbyterians and Baptists. On Tuesday I dined at Benjamin Davidson's, a house I had lodged and preached at two years ago. We labored along eighteen miles, eight ascent, on the west side, and as many on the east side of the mountain. The descent of Saluda exceeds all I know, from the Province of Maine to Kentucky and Cumberland; I had dreaded it, fearing I should not be able to walk or ride such steeps; nevertheless, with time, patience, labor, two sticks and above all, a good Providence I came in about five o'clock to ancient father John Douthat's, Greenville County, South Carolina."
AGAIN AT NELSON'S. On October, 1803, we meet with this entry: "North Carolina. On Monday, we came off in earnest; refreshed at Isaiah Harrison's, and continued on to the Paint Mountain, passing the gap newly made, which makes the road down to Paint Creek much better. I lodged with Mr. Nelson, who treated me like a minister, a Christian and a gentleman."
IVY HAD BEEN BRIDGED IN 1803. "Tuesday, 25. We reached Buncombe. The road is greatly mended by changing the direction, and throwing a bridge over Ivy."
SISTERS KILION AND SMITH DEAD. "Wednesday, 26. We called a meeting at Kilion's, and a gracious season it was: my subject was I Cor. xv, 38. Sister Kilion and Sister Smith, sisters in the flesh, and kindred spirits in holiness and humble obedience, are both gone to their reward in glory. On Thursday we came away in haste, crossed Swamoat (Swannanoa) at T. Foster's, the French Broad at the High (Long) Shoals, and afterwards again at Beard's Bridge, and put up for the night at Andrew Mitchell's : In our route we passed two large encamping places of the Methodists and Presbyterians: it made country look like the Holy Land."
HE ESCAPES FROM FILTH, FLEAS, AND RATTLESNAKES. "Friday, 28. We came up Little River, a sister stream of French Broad: it offered some beautiful flats of land. We found a new road, lately cut, which brought us in at the head of Little River at the old fording place, and within hearing of the falls, a few miles off of the head of Matthews Creek, a branch of the Saluda. The waters foaming down the rocks with a descent of half a mile, make themselves heard at a great distance. I walked down the mountain, after riding sixteen or eighteen miles; before breakfast, and came in about twelve o'clock to father John Douthat's; once more I have escaped from filth, fleas, rattlesnakes, hills, mountains, rocks, and rivers; farewell, western world, for awhile!"
AT FLETCHER'S ON MUD CREEK. Again in October 1805 we find the following entry: "North Carolina. We came into North Carolina and lodged with Wm. Nelson, at the Hot Springs. Next day we stopped with Wilson in Buncombe. On Wednesday I breakfasted with Mr. Newton. Presbyterian minister, a man after my own mind : we took sweet counsel together. We lodged this evening at Mr. Fletcher's, Mud Creek. At Colonel Thomas's, on Thursday, we were kindly received and hospitably entertained."
BEDS A BENCH AND DIRT FLOOR OF SCHOOL HOUSE. Again in September, 1806, we find the following entry: "Wednesday, 24. We came to Buncombe : we were lost within a mile of Mr. Kilion's (Killian's), and were happy to get a school house to shelter us for the night. I had no fire, but a bed wherever I could find a bench; my aid, Moses Lawrence, had a bear skin and a dirt floor to spread it on."
HIS FOOD BRINGS BACK HIS AFFLICTION. "Friday, 26. My affliction returned: considering the food, the labor the lodging, the hardships I meet with and endure it is not wonderful. Thanks be to God! we had a generous rain- -may it be general through the settlement!"
CAMP MEETING ON TURKEY CREEK. "Saturday, 27. I rode twelve miles to Turkey Creek, to a kind of camp meeting. On the Sabbath, I preached to about five hundred souls it was an open season and a few souls professed converting grace."
RODE THROUGH SWANINO RIVER. "Monday, 29. Raining. We had dry weather during the meeting. There were eleven sermons and many exhortations. At noon it clears up, and gave us an opportunity of riding home : my mind enjoyed peace. but my body felt the effect of riding. On Tuesday I went to a house to preach: I rode through Swanino River, and Cane and Hooper's Creeks."
LITTLE AND GREAT HUNGER MOUNTAIN. "North Carolina, Wednesday, October 1. I preached at Samuel Edney's. Next day we had to cope with Little and Great Hunger mountains. Now I know what Mill's Gap is, between Buncombe and Rutherford. One of the descents is like the roof of a house, for nearly a mile: I rode, I walked, I sweat, I trembled, and my old knees failed; here are gulleys and rocks, and precipices; nevertheless the way is as good as the path over the Table Mountain-bad is the best. We came upon Green River."
WARM SPRINGS IN 1807. Again on October, 1807, we find the following entry: "Friday 16. We reached Wamping's (Warm Springs). I suffered much today; but an hour's warm bath for my feet relieved me considerably. On Saturday we rode to Killon's."
GEORGE NEWTON, AN ISRAELITE INDEED. "North Carolina, Sabbath, 18. At Buncombe courthouse I spoke from 2 Kings, vli, 13-15. The people were all attention. I spent a night under the roof of my very dear brother in Christ, George Newton, a Presbyterian minister, an Israelite Indeed. On Monday we made Fletcher's; next day dined at Terry's, and lodged at Edwards. Saluda ferry brought us up on Wednesday evening."
LABORED AND SUFFERED, BUT LIVED NEAR GOD. Again in October, 1808, we find the following entry.
"On Tuesday we rode twenty miles to the Warm Springs, and next day reached Buncombe, thirty-two miles. The right way to improve a short day is to stop only to feed the horses, and let the riders meanwhile take a bite of what they have been provident enough to put into their pockets. It has been a serious October to me. I have labored and suffered; but I have lived near to God."
MR. IRWON (ERWIN), A CHIEF MAN. "North Carolina, Saturday, 29. We rested for three days past We fell in with Jesse Richardson: He could not bear to see the fields of Buncombe deserted by militiamen, who fire a shot and fly, and wheel and fire, and run again; he is a veteran who has learned to endure hardness like a good soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ.' On the Sunday I preached in Buncombe courthouse upon I Thess. i, 7-10. I lodged with a chief man a Mr. Irwon. Henry Boehm went to Pigeon Creek to preach to the Dutch."
WOOTENPILE ASKS PAY IN PRAYER. In October, 1909, we find: "We crossed the French Broad and fed our horses at the gate of Mr. Wootenpile (Hoodenpile); he would accept no pay but prayer; as I had never called before he may have thought me too proud to stop. Our way now lay over dreadful roads. I found old Mr. Barnett sick-the ease was a dreadful one, and I gave kim a grain of tartar and a few composing drops, which procured him a sound sleep. The patient was very thankful and would charge us nothing. Here are martyrs to whiskey! I delivered my own soul. Saturday brought us to Killion's. Eight times within nine years I have crossed these Mps. If my journal is transcribed it will be as well to give the subject as the chapter and the verse of the text I preached from. Nothing like a sermon can I record. Here now am I and have been for twenty nights crowded by people, and the whole family striving to get round me."
JAMES PATTON, RICH, PLAIN, HUMBLE, KIND. "Sabbath, 29. At Buncombe I spoke on Luke xiv, 10. It was a season of attention and feeling. We dined with Mr. Erwin and lodged with James Patton; bow rich, how plain, how humble, and how kind! There was a sudden change in the weather on Monday; we went as far as D. Jay's. Tuesday, we moved in haste to Mud Creek, Green river cove, on the other side of Saluda."
AT VATER SHUCK'S ON A WINTER'S NIGHT. Again in December, 1810, we find the following entry:
"At Catahouche (Cataiouche) I walked over a log. But O the mountain-height after height, and five miles over? After crossing other streams, and losing ourselves in the woods, we came in, about nine o'clock at night, to Vater Shuck's. What an awful day? Saturday, December 1. Last night I was strongly afflicted with pain. We rode twenty-five miles to Buncombe."
GEORGE NEWTON ALMOST A METHODIST. "North Carolina, Sabbath, December 2. Bishop McKendree and John McGee rose at five o'clock and left us to fill an appointment about twenty-five miles off. Myself and Henry Boehm went to Newton's academy, where I preached. Brother Boelim spoke after me; and Mr. Newton, in exhortation, confirmed what was said. Had I known and studied my congregation for a year, I could not have spoken more appropriately to their particular cases; this I learned from those who knew them well. We dined with Mr. Newton. He is almost a Methodist and reminds me of dear Whatcoat-the same placidness and solemnity. We visited James Patton; this is, perhaps, the last visit to Buncombe."
SPEAKING "FAITHFULLY." "Monday. It was my province today to speak faithfully to a certain person. May she feel the force of, and profit by the truth."
THE HOODENPILE ROAD IS OPEN. In December, 1812, we find the following: "Monday, 30. We stopped at Michael Bollen's on our route, where I gave them a discourse on Luke, xi, 11-13. Why should we climb over the desperate Spring and Paint mountain when there is such a fine new road? We came on Tuesday a straight course to Barratt's (Barnett's) dining in the woods on our way."
BACK AGAIN AT KILLION'S. "North Carolina, Wednesday, December 2. We went over the mountains, 22 miles, to Killlon's."
AT SAMUEL EDNEY'S AND FATHER MILLS'S. "Thursday, 3. Came on through Buncombe to Samuel Edney's: I preached in the evening. We have had plenty of rain lately. Friday, I rest. Occupied in reading and writing. I have great communion with God. I preached at Father Mills's."
IN GREAT WEAKNESS. Again, in November, 1813, we meet with this entry: "Sabbath, 24. I preached in great weakness. I am at Killion's once more. Our ride of ninety miles to Staunton bridge on Saluda river was severely felt, and the necessity of lodging at taverns made it no better."
VALEDICTORY TO PRESIDING ELDERS. "Friday, 29. On the peaceful banks of the Saluda I write my valedictory address to the presiding elders."
Killian's, so often mentioned with different spellings in the foregoing extracts, is the present residence of Capt. I. C. Baird on Beaverdam. When the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, met at Asheville in May, 1910, a gavel made of a portion of the banister of the old Killian home was presented to the presiding bishop.
FIRST CHURCH IN THE MOUNTAINS. According to Col. W. L. Bryan of Boone, the first church established west of the Blue Ridge and east of the Smokies was at what is still called "Three Forks of New river in what is now Watauga county, a beautiful spot." It was organized November 6, 1790. The following is from its records: "A book containing (as may be seen) in the covenant and conduct of the Baptist church of Jesus Christ in Wilkes county,… New River, Three Forks settlement" by the following members: James Tomkins, Richard Greene and wife, Daniel Eggers and wife, William Miller, Elinor Greene and B. B. Eggers. "This is the mother of all the Baptist churches throughout this great mountain region. From this mother church using the language of these old pioneers, they established arms of the mother church; one at what is now known as the Globe in Caldwell county, another to the westward, known as Ebinezer, one to the northeast named South Fork … and at various other points. Yet, it should be remembered that the attendance upon the worship of the mother church extended for many, many miles, reaching into Tennessee." After these "arms" had been established "there was organized Three Forks Baptist association, which bears the name to this day, and is the oldest and most venerated religious organization known throughout the mountains. Among the first pastors of the mother church were Rev. Mr. Barlow of Yadkin, George MeNeill of Wilkes, John G. Bryan who died in Georgia at the age of 98, Nathaniel Vannoy of Wilkes, Richard Gentry of Old Field, Joseph Harrison of Three Forks, Brazilla McBride and Jacob Greene of Cove creek, Reuben Farthing, A. C. Farthing, John or Jackie Farthing, Larkin Hodges and Rev. William Wilcox, the last named having been the last of the Old Patriarchs of this noted church to pass away. They were all farmers and worked in the fields for their daily bread. To the above list should be added Rev. D. C. Harmon of Lower Cove creek, Rev. D. C. Harmon, Rev. Smith Ferguson, who, though they have been gone for many years, yet some of those left behind."
PROMINENT PIONEER RELIGIOUS TEACHERS. Among these were "Richard Gentry, Aaron Johnson, William Baldwin Richard Jacks, David Smith, all of whom were Baptists favoring missions; and among the Methodists were James Wagg, Samuel Plumer, A. B. Cox and Hiram and Elihu Weaver."
REV. HUMPHREY POSEY. Of this good man Col. Allen T. Davidson says in The Lyceum for January, 1891, p.11, that James Whittaker of Cherokee "and the Rev. Humphrey Posey established the leading (Baptist) churches in this upland country, to wit: Cane creek, in Buncombe county, and Locust Old Field in Haywood county, where the friends of these two men have worshipped ever since…. There they stand, monuments to the memory of these pioneers…. Perhaps the most remarkable man in this up-country was Rev. Humphrey Posey, who was born in Henry county, Va., January 12, 1780, was brought to Burke when only five years old and remained there until he reached manhood, was ordained a minister at Cane creek church in 1806. About 1820 he established a mission school at what is now known as the Mission Place on the Hiwassee river, seven miles above Murphy. He removed to Georgia in 1784, and died at Newman, Ga., 28 December, 1846. He was a man greatly endowed by nature to be a leader, of great physical force, with a profile much like that of the Hon. Tom Corwin of Ohio. He had a fine voice and manner, was singularly and simply eloquent…. In fact, by nature, he was a great man, and "his works do follow him." The effect of his mission schools have been seen for many years past, and many citizens of Indian blood are left to tell the tale. The Stradley brothers of Asheville were two other pioneer Baptist preachers of note. They had been in the Battle of Waterloo as members of Wellington's army before emigrating to America. Their record is known of all men in Buncombe county, and a long line of worthy descendants attest the sturdy character of the parent stock.
REV. BRANCH HAMLINE MERRIMON. He was born in Dinwiddie county, Va., February 22, 1802, and moved with his parents as far as Rogersville, Tenn., on their way to the Great West, when one member of the family becoming too ill to travel further, they stopped there permanently. He joined the Methodist Conference at Knoxville in 1824 and became an itinerant Methodist preacher, being assigned to this section. In 1829 he married Mary E. Paxton, a daughter of William Paxton and his wife Sarah McDowell, a sister of Gen. Charles McDowell of Revolutionary fame. William Paxton was born in Roxbridge county, Va., and came to Burke county, where at Quaker Meadows he married his wife. William Paxton and wife then moved to the Cherry Fields in what is now Transylvania county, where they bought and improved a large tract of fertile land, whither Mr. Merrimon and his wife followed. William Paxton was a brother of Judge John Paxton of Morganton, a Superior court judge from 1818 to 1826. He was also a near kinsman of Judge John Hall, a member of the first Supreme court of this State. Mr. Merrimon died at Asheville in November, 1886, leaving seven sons and three daughters. Chief Justice A. S. Merrimon was one of his sons, and Ex-Judge J. H. Merrimon of Asheville is another. Rev. Mr. Merrimon was a staunch Union man during the Civil War. The late Rev. J. S. Burnett was another pioneer Methodist preacher of prominence.
UNITED THEY STOOD. "It is a striking fact in the character of this primitive people," says Col. A. T. Davidson with a profile inThe Lyceum for January 1891, "that they. were entirely devoted to each other, clannish in the extreme; and when affliction, sorrow, trouble, vexation, or offence came to one it came to all. It was like a bee-hive always some one on guard, and all affected by the attack from without. They were the constant attendants around the bed of the sick; suffered with the suffering, wept with those who wept, and attended all the funerals without reward, it never having been known that a coffin was charged for, or the digging of a grave for many long years. Is it a fact that these men were better than those of the present day, or does it only exist in my imagination? When I look back to them I think that they were the best men I ever knew; and the dear old mothers of these humble people are now strikingly engraved upon my memory. The men rolled each others logs in common; they gathered their harvests, built their cabins, and all work of a heavy character was done in common and without price. The log meeting-house was reared in the same way, and it is a fact that this was done promptly, without hesitation--regardless of creeds or sect-all coming together with a will. The Baptists, "rifle, axe and saddle-bag men," or the Methodist "circuit rider" supplied the people with the ministry of the word; and it is pleasant to look back and reflect upon the enjoyment and comfort these humble people had in the administration by these humble ministers in the long-ago. Then they came together and held what they called "union meetings," under arbors made with poles and brush, or, at the private residence of some good citizen-often at my father's. I remember distinctly that Nathaniel Gibson, of Crabtree creek, converted the top story of his mill house into one of these places of worship; and Jacob Shook, on Pigeon, the father of the family near Clyde, turned his threshing floor, in his barn, into a place of worship; and near this was established about 1827 or 1828, Shook's Camp Ground. The good old Dutchman contributed or donated to the church ten acres of land, which have ever been kept for a place of public worship.
REV. WM. G. BROWNLOW. In the year 1832 Rev. Wm. G. Brownlow, a Methodist minister, afterwards better known as Parson Brownlow and Governor of Tennessee, served as pastor of the Franklin circuit in Macon county. These were the days of intense religious prejudices and denominational controversies. Rev. Humphrey Posey, a kinsman of the late Ben. Posey, Esq., was at that time the leading minister of the Baptist church in this section.
"It was impossible for men of the type of Brownlow and Posey to long remain in the same community without becoming involved in controversy. Nor did they. From denominational discussions their controversy degenerated into matters personal, a personal quarrel. Brownlow, as is well known, was a master of invective and his pen was dipped in vitriol, On July 23,1832, he wrote Rev, Posey a 24-page letter which is still on file among the records of Macon court and which that gentleman regarded as libelous. He thereupon Indicted parson Brownlow, as appears from the court records. The first bill was found at fall term 1832. It is signed by J. Roberts, solicitor pro-tem., and seems to have been quashed; at any rate a new bill was sent and the case tried at spring term 1833. Wm. J. Alexander was the solicitor when the case was tried. The defendant pleaded not guilty but was found guilty by the jury, whether upon the ground that the "greater the truth the greater the libel" or not does not appear. He was sentenced to pay a fine and the costs. The amount of the fine was not given but the record discloses that it was paid by J. B. Siler, one of the leading citizens and original settlers, and a prominent member of the Methodist church. Execution issued for the costs and the return shows that on July 1,1833, the sheriff levied on dun mare, bridle, saddle and saddle bags. Sold for $65.50. Proceeds into office $53.83.'
"There is a generally accredited story to the effect that when the sheriff went to levy on the Parson's horse, Brownlow was just closing a preaching service at Mt. Zion church-that he saw the sheriff approaching and knew the purpose of his coming. and before the sheriff came up Browniow handed his Bible to one lady member of his congregation and his hymn book to another and that these books are still in the families of the descendants of these ladies. It is also said that when Brownlow started to conference that fall, J. B. Siler made him a present of another horse in lieu of the one that had been sold."
William Gunnaway Browniow was born in Virginia in 1805, and became a carpenter first and then a Methodist preacher. In 1828 he moved to Tennessee and in 1839 became a local preacher at Jonesboro and editor of The Whig, but moved to Knoxville, taking The Whig with him and continued its publication till the beginning of the Civil war. He preached many sermons defending slavery, and was defeated by Andrew Johnson for Congress in 1843. He wrote several books, the most famous of which was called Parson Brownlow's Book, in which he gave his unpleasant experiences with the Confederates and his views on secession and the Civil War. He was a member of the convention which revised the constitution of Tennessee in 1865, and was elected governor in 1865, and again in 1867. He was sent to the United States senate in 1869 where he remained till 1875. He died at Knoxville in April, 1877.
CANARIO DRAYTON SMITH. He was a son of Samuel and Mary Smith, and was born in Buncombe April 1, 1813. His grandfather, Joseph Smith, was born on the eastern shore of Maryland, April 1, 1730, and his grandmother, Rebecca Dath (Welch), was born near the same place on April 1, 1739. In 1765 they moved to North Carolina, and on the journey C. D. Smith's father was born at a public inn in Albemarle county, Va., August 20, 1765. They first settled at Hawfields in Guilford county, where they were living when the battle was fought in 1780. His maternal grandfather, Daniel Jarrett, was born in Lancaster county, Pa., December 18, 1747. He was of English blood. His grandmother Jarrett, whose maiden name was Catharine C. Moyers, was born in Lancaster county, Pa., February 9, 1753. She was a German woman. They were married October 25, 1772, moving to North Carolina shortly afterwards and settling in Cabarrus where his mother, Mary Jarrett, was born June 23, 1775. Soon after the close of hostilities between the Cherokees and whites they moved to Buncombe county, where in 1796 his father and mother were married. They moved to Macon in the winter of 1819-20. At the sale of the Cherokee lands at Waynesville in September, 1820, his father bought the land known as the Tessentee towns, now Smith's Bridge, where C. D. Smith was reared to manhood. He attended the subscription schools of the neighborhood, and in 1832 went to Caney river, then in Buncombe, now in Yancey, to clerk for Smith & McElroy, merchants, where he spent five years, buying ginseng principally, getting in 1837 over 86,000 pounds which yielded 25,000 pounds of choice clarified root, which was barreled and shipped to Lucas & Heylin, Philadelphia, and thence to China. In the meantime Yancey had been created a county and John W. McElroy had been elected first clerk of the Superior court, making C. D. Smith his deputy. At a camp meeting held at Caney River Camp Ground in 1836, by Charles K. Lewis, preacher in charge of the Black Mountain circuit, he was converted and joined the church. At the quarterly conference at Alexander chapel the following June he was licensed to preach by Thos. W. Catlett, presiding elder. He continued to preach till 1850 when he went on the supernumerary list on account of bad health. In 1853 he became agent for the American Colonization Society for Tennessee and sent to Liberia two families of emancipated negroes. In 1854 he became interested in mineralogy, and continued this study of mineralogy and geology till his death. He was assistant State Geologist under Prof. Emmons and a co-worker with Prof. Kerr. He is mentioned in Dr. R. N. Price's works on Methodism, and has an article in Kerr's Geology of North Carolina. He died in 1894.