Name Authority for Nashville Tennessee Stone-Campbell Congregations, 5th edition, revised and enlarged. April 18, 2020. This list comprises 440 variations of time, place and character names for 247 known congregations of the Stone-Campbell Movement in Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee from 1812 to March 2020.
I published a chapter in The Faithful Librarian: Essays on Christianity in the Profession. (McFarland and Company, 2019) in which I provide for the first time a critical, source based account of Claude Spencer’s career and contribution to archival sensitivity in the Stone-Campbell Movement. Below are the opening and closing paragraphs of the chapter:
As the pioneering archivist of the Restoration Movement or Stone-Campbell Movement, comprising the Christian Churches, Churches of Christ, and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Claude Elbert Spencer (1898-1979) came onto the scene during the emergence and professionalization of library study and the concomitant higher expectation of library work in the academy; he possessed a native impulse and a unique vocational imperative to collect history; and finally he owned a theological subjunctive to embrace the breadth of Stone-Campbell material in a single archive. This essay narrates the contours of his life’s story and work as it relates to the formation of the archive he conceived. Further, it attends to the values and virtues that compelled his collecting and guided his service. Spencer’s bibliographic work was exemplary and his archival work was peerless in his denomination. The story behind this work and the values that undergird it invite contemplation by those who would serve as archivists in denominational settings.
It is remarkable that a boy who learned to read at age nine would five years later become de facto librarian of his high school, and five years after that lead the library at his college in exchange for tuition, room and board. It is remarkable that librarian who wouldn’t have known a Disciple book if it hit him in the head would compile a bibliography so authoritative it remains unsurpassed after seventy years. It is remarkable that he formed a collegial society to serve the academy and the congregation, the graduate seminar and the Sunday school roundtable. It is remarkable that he maintained an unrelenting commitment to charity and equal representation in collecting scope in the face of bitter intramural disputes over bureaucracy the very existence of which fractured the ecclesial fellowship he loved and served the entirety of his career. It is remarkable that he recognized the need for, and advocated for needed research topics that were years ahead of their time. It is remarkable that though he held no degree beyond the ars baccalaureus in education, no less than 84 master’s theses and doctoral dissertations credit his advice, counsel, and assistance.* It is remarkable that he attained expertise with minimal formal coursework and professional training, but so mastered ‘library economy’ and was so productive in keeping up a demanding schedule, that the upon his retirement he was replaced by two and one-half full-time equivalents with graduate degrees in history, library science, and theology.
Spencer’s legacy survives in the several bibliographic works he authored, in the catalog records he generated, in the finding aids he assembled, and in the indexes he compiled. His legacy survives among the holdings of Disciples of Christ Historical Society, of which he was visionary and architect. His legacy endures in the community of librarians, archivists, historians, students and independent scholars he formed. His legacy endures in the scholarship he facilitated by virtue of his quiet diligence in collecting, organizing, describing, preserving, and advocacy for print and archival materials of the Stone-Campbell heritage, consisting of the Christian Churches, the Churches of Christ, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and related groups.
The chapter was a sheer pleasure to research and write. Stone-Campbell historical scholarship came into its own because of Claude Spencer. First he raised awareness of its need, articulated that vision in plain terms, and then set about sourcing everything a scholar would need to write. Look at the footnotes of the historical works published by or about anything Stone-Campbell since World War 2. Look hard enough, and follow the references long enough, and you will find precious few that do not cite materials he gathered, inspired others to gather, or quote those who deal with those primary sources. I think he surpasses all historians as the most significant single figure who has contributed to ‘Restoration history.’
*– I have since located two additional theses, for a total of 86.
I thought this postcard sent by the Charles Reign Scoville Publishing Company in 1913 would make an interesting holiday-themed post. I set about to compose a paragraph or two accompany it.
An afternoon later I had as an exhaustive bibliography as I could manage and almost three pages of biographical notes. I would like to consult a few articles in Christian Standard and Christian-Evangelist before I publish the full biographical sketch. That will have to wait until January when I am back in the office. In the mean time here are a few scans of Scovilleiana and the bibliography.
Scoville was active as an evangelist throughout his career. These scans are of ephemera from his 1906 Atchison, Kansas revivals. The leaflet on baptism is from the middle-to-late 1910s and possibly circulated in response to criticism that his meetings downplayed baptism.
In 1906 he left congregational ministry in Chicago to devote his full time to evangelistic services. By 1909 he was regarded as one of the foremost national evangelists among the Disciples and exercised a leading role in the Pittsburg Centennial.
From 1906-1921 he was heavily involved in hymnal publishing through the Charles Reign Scoville Publishing Company, which he sold to Standard Publishing Company in 1922. His publishing interests also included the ‘Cross-Reference Bible’ which he co-edited with Harold Monser and others. First published in 1910, it was reprinted by Baker Book House as late as the 1970s.
When H. H. Peters published this ‘authorized biography’ Scoville was at the zenith of his influence and activity among the Disciples. He meetings regularly drew immense crowds, his preaching was in constant demand, and his activity in parachurch affairs was broad. W. T. Moore included him as one of a new generation of preachers featured in his New Living Pulpit in 1918.
Acts of Apostles.
Parents: Please Read This Copy of a Letter Written by Dr. Scoville to Mr. and Mrs. Joslyn. [place of publication not identified] : [publisher not identified], [19–/]. 1 folded sheet ( pages).
Instructions for Workers in Gospel Meetings Conducted by Charles Reign Scoville. Jacksonville: Printed for the author from the Press of Henderson & DePew . 32p.
Compiled with Gabriel Charles H., J. E. Hawes, and W. E. M. Hackleman, Twentieth Century Songs, Part One, A Collection of New and Popular Sngs with Standard Hymns for Church, Sunday School, Young People’s Societies, and Special Services. Indianapolis: Hackleman Music Company, and Ada, Oklahoma: J. E. Hawes. 1900. 192p.
Evangelistic Sermons Delivered During the Great Meetings at Pittsburg and Des Moines Des Moines: Christian Union Publishing Company, 1902. 298p.
Gospel and Revival Sermons. 1904? 300p.
Calvary’s Praises, for Church, Sunday School and Gospel Meetings. Chicago: Charles Reign Scoville, n.d. [ca. 1906] 256p.
One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism: Paul, Ephesians iv, 5. Cincinnati: Standard Publishing Company, 1906. 52p.
Compiled with Smith, DeLoss, Songs of the King. Chicago: Scoville & Smith, 1906. 247 hymns.
The Gospel of the Helping Hand: An Address Delivered as the New Orleans Convention, 1908. St. Louis: National Benevolent Association . 15p.
Every Christian An Evangelist. Chicago: Charles Reign Scoville Publishing Company, [ca. 1906]; reprinted [?] as Centennial Leaflet no. 2. [1908-1909?] 8p.
Edited with Excell, E. O., Christian Gospel Hymns, for Church, Sunday School, and Evangelistic Meetings, Contains the Cream of All the Old Songs and the Very Best of the New. Chicago: Charles Reign Scoville, 1909. 224p.
Edited with Monser, H. E., J. W. Monser and D. R. Dungan. Cross-Reference Digest of Bible References, A Topical Index of the American Standard Edition of the Revised Bible. New York: Cross-Reference Bible Company, 1910. 681p. Various printings through 1910s. Reprint Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1960 and 1979 under title Monser’s Topical Index and Digest of the Bible.
Compiled with Excell, E. O., Crowns of Rejoicing, for Church, Sunday School, Evangelistic and Young People’s Meetings. Chicago: Charles Reign Scoville, 1912. 224p.
Front Rank Songs, A Very Choice Collections of the Best Standard Hymns and Gospel Songs, for Sunday-School and All Religious Services. Chicago: Charles Reign Scoville, 1913.
Sermon to Railroad Men: Also a Thesis on Hebrew Poetry. Chicago: [Charles Reign Scoville Publishing Company?], [ca. 1914]. 13p.
Scoville’s Sacred Solos: Solos, Duets, and Quartettes. Chicago: Charles Reign Scoville, [ca. 1915?]. 61 hymns.
Crown Hymns for Church, Sunday School, Revival and Chorus Choirs. Chicago: Charles Reign Scoville Publishing Company, 1916. 36p.
Songs of Beulah. Chicago: Charles Reign Scoville, 1920.
Edited with Towner, D. B., King of Glory, Choice Gospel Hymns for the Church, Sunday School, and Evangelistic Meetings. Cincinnati: Standard Publishing Company, 1923.
Compiled with Hackleman, W. E. M., et al., Wonder Hymns of Faith, A New General Purpose Song-Book Compiled by Charles Reign Scoville, W. E. M. Hackleman, J. E. Sturgis, orchestration by J. C. Blaker, Responsive Readings Selected by E. E. Violette. Cincinnati: Standard Publishing Company, n.d. [ca. 1924]. 282 hymns.
Nineteenth Hundredth Anniversary of Pentecost. [ca. 1932-1933?] folder. 10p.
ESSAYS or CHAPTERS
“Introduction,” in Coombs, J. V., Christian Evangelism. Cincinnati: Standard Publishing Company, 1908, v-vii.
“Preaching of the Cross—the Power of God” in Moore, W. T., ed. The New Living Pulpit of the Christian Church. St. Louis: Christian Board of Publication, 1918, pp. 181-191. Includes portrait and biographical sketch.
PERSONAL PAPERS AND ARCHIVAL MATERIALS
Archival materials are held at Disciples of Christ Historical Society, Bethany, West Virginia. See note in Discipliana 25:5 (November 1965), 78, describing “six well-filled note books containing sermons, sermon notes, sermon outlines and clippings—all having to do with his evangelistic ministry….and a book in Dr. Scoville’s own hand in which he has alphabetized his sermon topics.”
BIOGRAHICAL AND INTERPRETIVE
Brown, L. E. Europe and the Orient: As We Saw It. Frankfort, IN: News-Banner Press, 1901. 96p.
Nichols, James Thomas. Story of the Des Moines Campaign in the Year Nineteen Hundred and Nine: With a Brief History of Our Churches in Des Moines. Des Moines: [publisher not identified], [1909?]. 78p.
Scoville Gospel Meetings: A Great Man-Making Community Uplifting, Soul-Winning Campaign, First Christian Church. Marion, IL: Republican-Leader, . 1 folded sheet ( pages), portraits
Peters, H. H. Charles Reign Scoville, The Man and His Message. St. Louis: Bethany Press, 1924. 401p. Illustrations.
Thornton, E. W., ed. Who’s Who in Churches of Christ, Biographical Sketches and Portraits of Ministers and Other Leaders, John T. Brown. Cincinnati: Standard Publishing Company, 1929. Brief biographical sketch, with photograph, on p. 239.
Charles Reign Scoville, In Memoriam, October 14, 1869—January 23, 1938. 32p.
Horton, Roy. Visitation Evangelism. [United States] : [publisher not identified], [19–]. 96, 7 p. illustrations. Related to Scoville’s estate ‘Inspiration Point’ near Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Horton, Roy F. Inspiration Point and Its Personalities. St. Louis: Bethany Press, 1961. 96p.
Brewer, Robert Sidney, The Preaching of Charles Reign Scoville in His Evangelistic Campaign in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1912. MA Thesis. Louisiana State University, 1966. vi, 173 leaves with illustrations and facsimiles.
Shaw, Wayne E., “Charles Reign Scoville: Awakening in Anderson,” in Krause, Mark S. Essays on the Restoration Plea In Honor of Dr. Harold W. Ford. Edmonds, WA: PSCC Litho, 1986.
Gresham, Charles and Keith P. Keeran, eds. Evangelistic Preaching. Joplin: College Press Publishing Company, 1991. 367p.
McAllister, Lester G. “Just As I Lived It,” Discipliana 53:4 (Winter 1993), 128, in which McAllister remembers a Scoville meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas 1923-1924.
In 1818 at Portsmouth, New Hampshire Robert Foster (1789?-1835) used the presses at the Gazette office to print a pamphlet of twenty-two pages containing one dozen hymns. Nearing 30 years of age, Foster was a young preacher among the ‘Christian’ movement. The decade ahead would hold for him several opportunities to preach and especially publish. Before his death in 1835 he served as secretary to the General Christian Conference, edited a major periodical among the movement, (Herald of Gospel Liberty, later The Christian Herald) and issued a major hymnal in 1824, (Hymns, Original and Selected for the Use of Christians, revised and reissued in 1828). His singular contribution to the literature of the Christian movement is as a publisher and editor.
Though he may have been involved in publishing as early as 1812, it appears the 1818 book was the first he compiled:
[Robert Foster, compiler] Hymns, and Spiritual Songs. Original and Selected. Portsmouth, N.H.: printed at the Gazette Office, 1818.  22 pages.
It appears that the first half or so (remember, only a dozen texts) are ‘original’, presumably original to Foster. They appear in many subsequent Christian Connection hymnals for forty years hence, in a few books even after the Civil War.
Hymn XI, though, is an Isaac Watts text:
1 Blest are the humble souls that see
Their emptiness and poverty;
Treasures of grace to them are given,
And crowns of joy laid up in heaven.
2 Bless’d are the men of broken heart,
Who mourn for sin with inward smart;
The blood of Christ divinely flows,
A healing balm for all their woes.
3 Bless’d are the meek, who stand afar
From rage and passion, noise and war;
God will secure their happy state,
And plead their cause against the great.
4 Bless’d are the souls that thirst for grace,
Hunger and long for righteousness!
They shall be well supplied, and fed
With living streams and living bread.
5 Blest are the men whose bowels move
And melt with sympathy and love;
From Christ the Lord shall they obtain
Like sympathy and love again.
6 Bless’d are the pure, whose hearts are clean
From the defiling pow’rs of sin;
With endless pleasure they shall see
A God of spotless purity.
7 Blest are the men of peaceful life,
Who quench the coals of growing strife;
They shall be called the heirs of bliss,
The sons of God, the God of peace.
8 Bless’d are the suff’rers who partake
Of pain and shame for Jesus’ sake;
Their souls shall triumph in the Lord,
Glory and joy are their reward.
The Watts text was most commonly used in the 18th century, still rather widely used before the Civil War, but trails off sharply by 1900. It is little wonder, then that it will likely be completely new to most readers of this blog. The song has been out of fashion for several generations.
In a simple and straightforward manner Watts sings his way through the Beatitudes. Befitting the genre of ‘spiritual song’, when the church gathers and sings this song, they sing to each other that they might live into the reality envisioned by the Sermon on the Mount.
In each case the first couplet affirms the blessing of God and the final couplet declares the promises of God. The singing assembly that voices this text reaffirms the blessing of God and the promises of God though it is plainly apparent to them that humility, broken heartedness, meekness, hunger, mercy, purity, peacemaking, and suffering for righteousness are not at all valued in the larger culture. They know they stand in opposition to such powers and principalities; further, they know in this resistance they stand blessed by God. Christian conviction deeply values humility, broken heartedness, meekness, hunger, mercy, purity, peacemaking, and suffering for righteousness. Christians who resist in this way should consider themselves fortunate because God honors his word and keeps his promises.
In 1818 Robert Foster thought it vital to include this text in his little songster. Singing assemblies of the Christian movement who used this pamphlet knew this song, and employed it in their assemblies to reaffirm their faith and redouble their commitment to live into the good words of the Sermon on the Mount.
Might we sing it again?
E. W. Humphreys, Memoirs of Deceased Christian Ministers; Or, Brief Sketches with Lives and Labors of 975 Ministers Who Died Between 1793 and 1880. Christian Publishing Association: Dayton, 1880. s.v. Robert Foster, p. 133.
J. F. Burnett, “The Convention” Herald of Gospel Liberty, June 16, 1910, pp. 758-759.
Hymnals of the Stone-Campbell Movement Timeline at Lincoln Christian University.
‘Blessed are the humble souls that see‘ at Hymnary.org
Robert Foster on Find-A-Grave
Christian History Magazine will release in September an issue devoted to the Stone-Campbell Movement. Doug Foster and Richard Hughes collaborated as guest editors to assemble the first issue of CHM dedicated to the Restoration Movement. About 20 years ago Barton Stone and Cane Ridge made an appearance in issue 45 on Camp Meetings & Circuit Riders…which you can download for free as a PDF here. Judging from past issues, this installment will be a richly illustrated and accessible overview for the average reader who has some knowledge of and a keen interest in Christian history. If you plan to teach Restoration history, consider ordering a bundle for distribution to your class; see CHM_BulkPricing for details. An image from this blog and a small contribution from me even made their way into the issue!
This notice appears in the 20 November 1889 Gospel Advocate at page 739:
I have been having a protracted meeting in North-east Edgefield. I have established a congregation with nine members. I administer the loaf with them every Lord’s day. I am also teaching in South Nashville, had one addition last night, Bro. Calvin Hardison, by confession and reclamation. Please note that we will start a protracted meeting Wednesday night, the 13th of this month. I preach three times every Lord’s day, twice in South Nashville, and at 3 P. M. in Edgefield.
W. M. SLAY.
Nashville, Nov. 11, ’89.
There have been four baptisms at Gay Street church recently under the preaching of Bro. Howell.
It is difficult to compile a short list of lacunae in Nashville Stone-Campbell history. A thorough-going narrative of the rise of black Churches of Christ, vis-a-vis Gay Street Christian Church would make such a list, and high on it, too. Back of that, though, is the rise of Second Christian Church (the name by which is known Gay Street in earlier days) vis-a-vis the white Church Street Christian Church, of which Philip Slater Fall was long-time pastor. Its deep origins lie in the ‘colored’ Sunday Schools of the 1830’s and there is some connection to the slaves owned by William Giles Harding, horse-breeder extraordinaire and owner Belle Meade mansion. They worshiped as Grapevine Christian Church, very likely in the plantation’s vineyard.
If we are to meet these lacunae head-on, notices such as this in Gospel Advocate will be exceedingly helpful. I am confident others, perhaps many more, are out there in Gospel Advocate alone. Similar items exist in Christian Standard. If we ever find old issues of Christian Echo…ever…what a gold mine that would be!
I post it to raise awareness: there is a significant gap in our understanding of the local congregational context from which emerged the Womack-Bowser-Keeble orbit of black acapella Churches of Christ. Such published reports are one kind of light. Another source are congregational records. Then there are personal familial archives containing photos, letters, mementos. Any of these are immensely helpful, but I want to raise awareness that the congregational records, if there be any…if any were even kept…if anyone originated a list of members or kept tally of income and expenses…will break new ground and lift our eyes to new horizons of understanding. I also post it as an appeal: who has anything to contribute to this story? As always, I welcome input, suggestions and corrections.
My Nashville research across the last ten years has evolved from an interest in Central Church (where I was then Associate Minister) to a much, much larger scope including each congregation in the county, every para-church ministry based in Nashville, and how the larger issues within Stone-Campbell history interact with local history in one city resulting in the ministry conducted on ground, in the trenches, in the congregations. With that comes the innumerable evangelists, ministers and pastors who held forth weekly from pulpits across the city. Ambitious? Yes. Perhaps too ambitious. That may be a fair criticism, but the field is fertile and the more I survey the landscape and read the sources and uncover additional data, the more I’m convinced to stay the course.
In the last four years especially I have focused my efforts to obtain information about the smaller congregations, closed congregations, particularly congrgations which have closed in the last 40 to 50 years. My rationale for this focus is that some history here is in some cases, potentially recoverable. There are larger affluent congregations which have appearances of vitality…they are going nowhere soon. I can only hope some one among them is heads-up enough to chronicle their ongoing history and preserve the materials they produced. On the other hand are congregations which have long-ago closed and chances are good we might not ever know anything of them except a name and possibly a location (for example, Carroll Street Christian Church is absorbed into South College Street in 1920 forming Lindsley Avenue Church of Christ…no paper is known to exist from this church, and I can’t even find one photo of the old building, and there is no one remaining who has living memory of this congregation). For all practical purposes Carroll Street Church of Christ may remain as mysterious in twenty years as it does now. I’d be surprised to learn of 3 people now living in the city of Nashville who have even heard of it.
But the several congregations that closed in the 50’s-80’s (and some even in the last five years) remain accessible if only through documents and interviews. Theoretically the paper (the bulletins, meeting minutes, directories, photographs, even potentially sermon tapes) has a good chance of survival in a basement or attic or closet. Chances are still good that former members still live, or folks might be around–in Nashville or elsewhere–who grew up at these congregations. Theoretically. Potentially. Hopefully.
Yet as time marches on there are more funerals…for example in the last year I missed opportunities to speak with three elderly folks about their memories at these now-closed churches…they were too ill to speak with me and now they are gone! I did, however, speak at length with one woman in ther 90’s who I thought died long ago! She is quite alive and lucid!
So from time to time I will highlight on this blog these closed congregations…closed in the recent past…with hopes that someone somewhere might look for them (I get hits on this blog by folks looking for all sorts of things, among them are several Nashville Churches of Christ). Maybe we can stir up some interest and surface additional information.
A few days ago I posted about one such congregation, the Twelfth Avenue, North Church of Christ. I have in the queue a post about New Shops Church of Christ in West Nashville. There are more, several more.
Stay tuned, and remember, save the paper!
Nashville Churches of Christ History group is open to anyone interested in the history of the Stone-Campbell Movement in Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee. When I began the group about three years ago I said this:
I envision this community as a place to share common interest in the rich story of the Stone-Campbell Movement in Nashville. I am conducting research for a book which will highlight each congregation of Churches of Christ and Christian Churches from the 1810’s to the present…basically the entire movement from its beginning in our city until now. I envision this group as a place to share memories, photos, news and generate discussion and interest. Please join and contribute. Please feel free to contact me directly at icekm (at) aol (dot) com.
Since readership for this blog is significantly higher now than it was in 2010, let me offer another invitation. The group is open to all. Help spread the word and generate interest. (astogetherwestandandsing…)