That They May All Be One, That The World May Believe; 1909 Centennial Program

Frontispiece to Program of the International Centennial Celebration and Conventions of the Disciples of Christ (Christian Churches). Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1909.  Kromer Columbus Ice attended some of these proceedings.  His first child, a son, was born 5 October.  In October 1909 the Ice family lived in a duplex on the campus of Bethany College.  KC practiced medicine for Bethany villagers on one side; they lived on the other side of the house.

The full Program is available online, free, here.

Brush Run Church

This is from Christian Standard very likely ca. 1928.  The emergence of the congregation at Brush Run, Pennsylvania in 1811 marked a formative milestone in the nascent Restoration Movement.  Two hundred years later what happened here and why it matters are still topics of research and discussion.

Suggested online reading:

–Richardson’s Memoirs of Alexander Campbell

–Calvin Warpula’s article in Christian Standard

–Hal Doster’s website explores the significance of Brush Run.  (Perhaps I should mention I assisted Hal with some research on Brush Run in about 2008, and I assisted Peter Morgan with research in 2010…  Full disclosure and all).

–You can even like Brush Run on Facebook!

Though Brush Run meetinghouse was constructed of some of the material you see in this photo,  technically it is not a photo of the Brush Run church.  This is a reconstruction of it as it stood on the grounds of the Campbell Mansion at Bethany, WV in the early 20th century.  Hal’s PowerPoint presentation discusses this in detail…I wish there was an audio file to accompany his presentation.  You really need to hear Hal talk about it.

Shortly, I’ll blog about the stash of paper that yielded this clipping.  More to come!

Why I Became A Preacher, James A. Harding, concluded

[see part one here]

… after their business transaction was closed. No amount of business, no success, no adversity could cause him to forget God and the souls of men. The good he did is incalculable. Blessed is the memory of “Uncle Minor.”

I had not been long at Hopkinsville, teaching, before he wanted to make appointments for me in the country churches and schoolhouses round about. With some hesitancy and dread I consented, as I have always done, to the call to preach; and I was soon pretty busy with me teaching during the week and preaching on Sunday. At the end of five years’ work at Hopkinsville I was full of malaria. I fainted in the schoolroom, and had to be taken home in a carriage. So I left Hopkinsville and went back to Winchester, Ky., to get well. I was idle for several months, but was slowly getting well when Bro. John Adams of blessed memory, came for me to go with him back into the mountains to conduct a protracted meeting. I told him I had never conducted a protracted meeting; that it would be better for him to get some one else. But he said he could not get any one else, that I had been brought up in church and Sunday-school, that I had been to Bethany College, that I ought to be killed if I could not preach and that I was to shut my mouth and get my horse and come on with him. “Besides,” he said, “you know I can exhort like five hundred, and you come and preach the best you can, and I will exhort, and we will have a grand meeting. So I went with him; I doubt if I could have gone with a truer, bolder, kinder, better man. My eyes moistened with tears, and my heart is full of sweet, tender memories as I think of him. Sweet indeed to me is the memory of brave, strong, gentle, loving John Adams. I look forward, too, in hope to the day when he and I shall walk together the golden streets of the celestial city.

I went with Bro. John to each of his four preaching places that fall. We had five baptisms at the first place, five at the second, about seventeen at the third, and about twenty-seven at the fourth. Then I felt like I was man of not a little experience in evangelistic work, and was prepared to give points to the uninitiated. For four years my field of labor, for the most part, was the mountainous region of Eastern Kentucky. The people were very poor, the church houses were built of logs, and frequently lighted with tallow candles. They were poorly educated, if at all; but many of them were strong in native good sense and wisdom. Some of my most highly esteemed friends I found in those regions, and a number of them are there still. I know well, I have had goo opportunities to learn it, that a man is a man, whether in a mountaineer’s cabin or a brownstone front; and that a moral coward is just as likely to be found clothed in broadcloth; as in blue jeans.

After my father, the men of whom I am most indebted, I believe are Alexander Campbell, Benjamin Franklin, J. W. McGarvey and David Lipscomb. I have not named them in order in which I think they have been helpful to me, but in which I came under their influence. Campbell’s Christian Baptist, Franklin’s American Christian Review, McGarvey’s commentaries, in articles for the papers, Authorship of Deuteronomy and other writings, and Lipscomb’s editorials have furnished me the best reading I have found out of the Bible. I have used, of course, more or less, many of the great commentaries of ht sectarian world, but they have been of little value to me in comparison with the benefit I have received from the brethren just mentioned.

But the most valuable gift I ever received, I believe, was a little Bible my father gave me while I was yet a small child. It had pictures in it; and very plain and simple they were; not at all to be compared to the splendidly illustrated volumes of today. But those pictures were marvelous to me. My father trained me to turn the leaves without tearing them; and he and my mother would tell me the stories the pictures illustrated. For a long time that Bible was my chief treasure, and those stories my greatest delight. I was the first born in our house, and in course of time I showed the pictures and taught the stories to the other little ones. God only knows how much of blessedness that little book brought to be and to our house. I have made it a rule to have plenty of picture-books for my little ones, and their mother has given much time to telling them the stories. The sooner God’s truths are impressed upon the mind the better. He who is full of God’s truth, who delights in it, will preach. Not in public, may be, but he will preach; and his life will be a benediction to those who come under its influence. –James A. Harding.

Why I Became A Preacher, James A. Harding

Terry Gardner posted this in a comment several days ago.  I copied it into its own post so more folks will see it.  I see an elipse at the bottom, so it may be that there is more to this item.  As Terry has time he might provide more (if there is more) and a citation.

Thank you, Terry.  All, enjoy…


Why I Became A Preacher
By James A. Harding

Some children are born with a bent in one direction, others, in another. To my mind this seems certainly true. I was talking, some months ago, with an old gentleman, a market gardener, who has made a snug little fortune at his calling. He likes to raise vegetables, and always did. When he was a small boy he was fond of working in the garden, would beg his mother to let him “hill up” the plants, and cut and pull the weeds. He delighted in the work, and thought not of toil, heat, and sweat while he was at it. And of course, he succeeded.

On the other hand gardening was my special abomination. When I was a little fellow my father used to insist that I should work the garden. Not that he had need of my help in that particular work; he had not: for he delighted in it himself, and commonly had better helpers than I. But he thought I ought to learn to work, that I needed the discipline and development which came from work. My father was a merchant in a small town where there were few opportunities for a small boy to work during the vacations of the schools except in the gardens. But I, in those days would far rather take a whipping than to work in the garden, unless my mother, or grandmother would go out with me, and sit near by with sewing or knitting, while I worked. It was endurable then: otherwise, not. I have lived about thirty-two years of married life, but I doubt if I have worked thirty-two minutes in the garden in all that time. My [son is] a hand to work in my place.

The first pay I ever received for anything, in so far as I remember was for teaching. My mother had in her employ as a nurse a good-humored colored girl, about 14 years of age, I suppose, who wanted to learn to read. I, being about seven years old, had just finished the first reader. I gave the book to her, and became her teacher. And I magnified my oiliee. She had to get the lessons up well, or be thumped or switched just as the neglectful students were in the school that I attended. To her credit be it said, she rarely deserved punishment, but took it with becoming meekness when I thought best to administer it.

When I had finished my second reader she was ready for it: and so she was for the third. She was a grateful student and an eager learner. One day her father, an old black slave came in and emptied a sack of water melons at my feet, to pay me for teaching “his gall” to read the Bible to him. I do not know what has become of that girl, but if meet her in the eternal city, I am sure it will give me peculiar pleasure to know here there. The memory of her is very pleasant to me.

When about fifteen years of age, I left home to attend an academy preparatory to going to Bethany College. I paid for tuition by teaching. I attended the academy several years except that I dropped out for three months during the time to teach a country school, for which I received $100—the first money I ever earned. When I was graduated at Bethany, in 1869, I went to Hopkinsville, Ky., and became a principal of an academy there. This I conducted for five years.

While at school and college I was fond of public speaking, especially debating. I made orations only when I had to, but was ready for a debate at any time, or at least would get ready on a very short notice. My work in the literary societies while at Bethany, it seems to me, was almost as valuable to me as the regular class work; and the learning and training which I received while teaching at Hopkinsville were invaluable. I am grateful to God in the belief that in answer to the prayers of my father, mother and myself he was educating and training me for my life work.

About the time I was born my father began to preach. He continued his merchandising till he was 70 or more, but from the time he was 25 he preached on Saturdays and Sundays, and commonly conducted several protracted meetings each summer. He was richly endowed in evangelistic power, and often led from fifty to a hundred people to Christ in one such meeting. His preaching made a great impression upon me even while I was a little boy, and I thought that preaching was the grandest and best of all callings. Now I know it is. No Christian should be content to live without preaching and teaching. Women are not allowed to preach and teach publicly in the church, and some men can not do it; but all can preach and teach; some in public, some in private. Let us see to it that we lose not the blessing of doing well this noblest of all noble works. As far back as I can remember I had it in mind to preach when I became a man; so when I was about 19 I began to seek for opportunities to speak in the school houses away back eight or ten miles from town. My father’s son could get an audience almost anywhere in that country for the asking, and I preached and sweated. I certainly did sweat, regardless of the temperature. Just to sit on the platform and face the audience was enough to bring the perspiration out, and cause it to roll down over my face; but speak I must. It was in my blood and bones, and had to come out. I thought more than once, when up before an audience, that if I should get down alive I would not try it any more, but when the net opportunity came I tried again. I did not get over this distressing embarrassment till I began to preach daily.

When I went to Hopkinsville to teach school, Bro. V. M. Metcalfe was there. I believe he was the most inveterate preacher I ever knew. Always engaged in business, and commonly on a large scale he never forgot to preach, whether in a hotel or private house, on a stage coach, railroad train or steamboat, either to many, to few, or to one, he would preach. He did not wait for opportunities; he made them. And he did it with such gentile courtesy, such unfailing good humor; such artless inability to take a rebuff, that he rarely, if ever, failed to win the good will of his auditors before he began to preach. In the great cities business men, wrapped up in finance sometimes “frenzied finance,’ would weep, as he preached to them …

Center Point Christian Church

The community that immediately shaped the faith of my Ice ancestors, and in which at least three generations of Ice’s participated, is Center Point Christian Church in Center Point, Doddridge County, West Virginia.  Their involvement in this congregation in the 1850’s and 1860’s is the earliest I can place them, with certainty, in the Stone-Campbell movement.

The origins of this small congregation are unknown.  ‘Center Point’ and ‘Doddridge County’ are basically absent from every indexed Stone-Campbell periodical.  As far as I can determine, the congregation was meeting in or near the building they now occupy as early as the Civil War.  Isaac Ice’s daughter, aged seven years, died in 1863 and was buried in the church cemetery.  This is not only the earliest date I can place the Ice’s at Center Point Church, it is the earliest I can verify the existence of the congregation.  Isaac, his wife Elizabeth and son Andrew Jackson Ice are buried there.  Andrew’s son Kromer was a member of this congregation for about a year before he went to Hiram College in 1899.  Kromer (K. C.) preached his first sermon at Center Point Church September 6, 1896.  Alex Kuhn, a Bethany College graduate, preached there and baptized Kromer a few months earlier.  I have no reason to doubt the Ice family worshipped there consistently from the 1850s-1890s.  The last contact I am aware of which KC Ice had with this church was in 1898-1899.  He returned to various towns in West Virginia after he completed the MD at St. Louis College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1903.  I envision him preaching here some while he was a student at Bethany College from 1904-1907 and perhaps again some while he preached at McMechen Christian Church, up near Wheeling, in 1907 and again in 1911.  But I have no proof, only hunches.  If he kept records of any preaching at Center Point other than his first sermon they are likely long gone as no one in the family has them.

The congregation has never been large.  The Wikipedia article for Center Point says it is a “village in the middle of nowhere”…a fact to which I can heartily attest…Laura and I drove to Center Point on our honeymoon in the summer of 1998 (that wasn’t the only destination on our honeymoon).  It is beautiful.  The sort of place I wouldn’t mind retiring to.  The village is rural and remote and the congregation has never had more than about 80 or so members and weekly attendance probably never matched that.

Center Point Church is listed in the Yearbooks of the Disciples of Christ from the 1910’s until 1984.  It is listed in the Directory of the Ministry of Christian Churches/Churches of Christ first in 1972 and is still listed there in the 2009 edition with a membership of 75.  In 1984 the congregation decided to discontinue their affiliation with those Christian Churches which became the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  Citing dissatisfaction with the Disciples affiliation with the National and World Councils of Churches, Center Point congregation removed their listing from the Yearbook.  To ask to be “removed from the Yearbook” is tantamount to withdrawing from the denomination.  They had been listed dually in both the Directory of the Ministry and the Disciples Yearbook for a dozen years.

Tracing the history of this congregation has not been easy.  It does not appear in the indices to the Millennial Harbinger, Barton Stone’s Christian Messenger, Walter Scott’s Evangelist, the Christian Record, Missionary Tidings, World Call, Christian Standard or the Christian-Evangelist.  Doddridge County doesn’t appear either…in any of those indices!  Without some kind of notice in the church papers it is next to impossible to locate the men who preached there since those notices invariably mention the evangelist (even if visiting for a revival or gospel meeting) and often the goings-on in the church.  As to the origins of the congregation…I’m totally in the dark.  DCHS does not have a congregational file for this church or for the county.

There was a West Virginia state paper: the West Virginia Christian.  The bad news is that the holdings at DCHS consist of fragments of three issues I contributed from my papyrological inheritance from KC Ice via Grandad (Dr. MC Ice).  Nothing on Center Point.

So, I have no idea when this church started, by whom or under what circumstances…no congregational file, not even the first mention of this congregation in any of the major indexed periodicals of the Stone-Campbell movement, no mention of it in Cramblett’s state history of West Virginia Disciples, and no idea who preached here, for how long, where they came from or where they went when they left.

The only names I have are James P. Freese who preached at Center Point in the middle to later 1970’s.  James was somehow associated with Kentucky Christian College.  Charles B. Guthrie preached there from 1972, when they first were listed in the Directory of the Ministry, until 1975.  Beyond that I am in the dark.

It may be that I can visit Center Point again someday.  More to come.