McGarvey C. Ice, Harding College 1929

Rendering printed texts generally, and photographic images in particular, into a digital form provides wide access to all sorts of wonderful things.  Colleges and universities, including my employer, undertake these projects with institutional publications like yearbooks, campus programs and other documents.  Not only are these ventures a service to the alumni, they are a great boon to genealogists.

One example is how I know that my grandfather spent some time in the late 1920’s at Harding College, then in Morrilton, Arkansas.  Graduating high school a year early, he then spent two years at Christian Normal Institute in Grayson, Kentucky and completed what would be today an associates’ degree in 1928.  I know he took courses at Harding and at Cedarville College in Ohio.  By the early 1930’s he was teaching high school science and coaching basketball in Vinton, Ohio.  Later he would pursue graduate study at The Ohio State University, National College of Audiometry and others.  But Harding intrigued me, and seeking to learn more, I discovered that Brackett Library at Harding University has scanned many bulletins and yearbooks, plus oral histories and more, dating back to the early days in Morrilton.

I find in the 1929 Petit Jean that McGarvey C. Ice took more than a few courses at Harding.  It appears that he graduated with a B.A. in Science in 1929.

MC Ice Harding College 1929

Look for him here, fourth row, center:

Harding College Senior Class 1929

If a Harding yearbook was among his effects I do not recall seeing it, and thought that he only took a few courses at Harding one summer.  Seeing these, though, it appears to me that he spent more time at Harding than I previously knew.  A new discovery opens more doors, raises more questions, suggests new avenues and horizons.


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.

Christian Normal Institute, January 1920

Sometimes kind serendipity kisses you on the lips.  Some of my neatest finds come while I’m looking for something else.  Here is a serendipitous find from the January 20, 1920 issue of Christian Leader.  It is a short newsy item sent in by R. B. Neal about an infant school, Christian Normal Institute, in the eastern Kentucky mountains.  Grandad went to CNI in about 1926, and his father (my great-grandfather) Dr. KC Ice taught biology there gratis.  The school was oriented towards training teachers and preachers, not necessarily in that order.  It was then, and is now, a “Christian Church” school.  That is, it was established and supported by and considered as “one of our schools” by Stone-Campbell folks who favored the use of instrumental music and missionary societies.  It appears from this notice that from the very beginning they were a good deal more conservative than the Disciples who operated schools in Lexington, Hiram or Bethany.   It is now Kentucky Christian University and remains affiliated with Christian Churches and Churches of Christ (sometimes called Independents, or 4C’s).  Interesting that Neal writes to the Leader, a moderate Cincinnati paper aligned with acapella Churches of Christ.  It would seem that the lines were not in 1920 so clearly drawn as the came to be in subsequent decades. I find the appearance of this notice in CL significant for that reason in addition to what light it sheds on the life of the school which trained my grandfather.


Our Bible school took a collection yesterday of over $300 for the building of the new church home.  The new home will cost us about $10,000 more than we counted on, owing to the high cost of lumber and labor.  We have in marble in front, “Church of Christ.” The old building had “Christian Church,” which was an eyesore to many of us.

The Christian Normal Institute for mountain boys and girls has been incorporated.  We had a fine attendance last year.  Look for much better this year.

Grayson, Ky., Jan. 5.  R. B. Neal


Is the building shown on this postcard the “new home” mentioned in this notice?  May well be.  If so, by the time the building was finished and the card issued, it was known as the Christian Church, not the Church of Christ, in Grayson, KY.

Genealogical Workshop

Religious Archives-Registration Form (2)Genealogists in the Nashville area will want to know about this event:

Located in the buckle of America’s Bible belt, Nashville, Tennessee is home to several major repositories of religious records.  Denominational archives, publishing boards, and local congregations offer a wide array of research opportunities.  In addition to documenting de­nominational histories, religious archives also preserve information that tells the stories of the individuals and families who comprise each faith. This workshop provides an overview of historical records, manuscripts, and other documents in Nashville’s religious archives.

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Andrew Jackson Ice

AJ and Mary Ann Ice

A. J. Ice was, like his father, a farmer in and near Center Point, Doddridge County (West) Virginia.  At age 14 in 1861 he enlisted, with his father Isaac, in the Union Army.  And like his parents, he is buried at Center Point Christian Church Cemetery.

AJ Ice grave marker

Andrew and his wife Mary Ann Roberts had six children, all boys.  The oldest, Melvin, was twelve when A.J. died of appendicitis in 1882.  The baby, James Abram Garfield Ice, was still an infant.  My great-grandfather, Kromer Columbus Ice (I have seen it spelled Cromer in one of A. J.’s journals) was six years old when his father died.

I inherited a few books with A. J.’s signature in them.  Among them are James Challen’s Question Book on the Acts of the Apostles, designed for Sunday Schools and Bible Classes (1868), Alexander Campbell’s Familiar Lectures on the Pentateuch… (1867) and a small pocket testament.  My hunch is that the testament may have been presented to him upon his baptism.  The scan below, if I am reading it correctly, says “A. J. Ice’s Book/presented to him/ By Mr. R. V. Miller/Sept. the 1st 1866/Presented to him/R. V. Miller/(your guess is as good as mine).”  Of the books I have with his signature inside, this date–Sept. 1, 1866–is the earliest.  He acquired the Campbell book April 14, 1868 and the Challen book May 15, 1869.  The testament, unlike Challen or Campbell, was presented to A.J. Ice.  The others, I can only presume, he acquired somehow else.  Is this presentation evidence of his baptism at the hands of R. V. Miller?  I cannot say, but I wonder nonetheless. (I see there is an obituary in the Christian Standard for an R. V. Miller in 1939, but as yet I have not laid my eyes upon it.)

AJ Ice's NT 1

Isaac and Elizabeth Ice

Isaac and Elizabeth Ice

I can trace my Ice roots in the Restoration Movement back to my great-great-great grandparents, Isaac and Elizabeth Ice, residents in and near Center Point, Doddridge County (West) Virginia.  They are buried in the cemetery at Center Point Christian Church.  I know next to nothing about them, except that Isaac was a farmer and he enlisted in the Union Army in 1861 with his then-fourteen year old son Andrew Jackson Ice (my great-great-grandfather). He then cared for some if not all of Andrew’s sons after he died unexpectedly of appendicitis in 1882.

Isaac Ice grave

Center Point Cemetery

Center Point Christian Church

Weekend Genealogy

Returning to Ice family history this weekend, I scanned:

–several photographs of Isaac and Elizabeth Ice, Andrew Jackson and Mary Ann Roberts Ice, K. C. and Rosa Birdie Sandidge Ice and McGarvey and Ella May Dudley Ice

–some pages from KC Ice’s journals concerning his courses and expenses at Hiram College in 1898-1900

–a few items from Franklin University in Columbus Ohio, where MC Ice taught for 33 years

–some photos and documents relating to the Ice’s spiritual home in the Stone-Campbell tradition

I have been able to trace my Ice roots in the Restoration Movement back to Isaac and his son Andrew Jackson Ice in 1866.  The Dudley’s were Congregationalists and Methodists, the Sandidge’s Missionary Baptists; the Roberts may have been Campbellites, but I’m not sure about that.  As far as the Ice’s, I may be able to go back in the Movement to the 1830’s, but I’m afraid an afternoon or more of genealogical spade work will be needed to confirm whether, and if so how, the Abram Ice who subscribed to Barton Stone’s Christian Messenger in 1832 is my kin in the flesh or only in the faith.  This is all on my father’s side; I have much more work to do on my mother’s side.

I have blogged a little about my Ice family history at  As time permits this fall I want to add not only more of those documents and photographs I inherited, but also some of my research.  For example, First Christian Church of East Sparta and the Church of Christ in Jerry City, Ohio:  I have one photograph each of these churches, and I have a rough idea when KC and Rosa Ice lived in these villages.  I’d like to see what I can find on these congregations, what they were up to in the kingdom of God and in the Stone-Campbell tradition.

Then there is a story to be told about Kromer Columbus Ice, who at age 15 was a subscriber to Austin McGary’s Firm Foundation, at age 22 entered Hiram College, in 1907 was graduated with a Master of Philosophy degree from Bethany College and who in 1927 moved with his son (who he named after JW McGarvey) to teach at Christian Normal Institute in Grayson, Kentucky….among other things…

I keep these handy

The summer of 2009 has been, without question, the busiest research season in my three years at DCHS.  It’s been terrific: lots of people are working on congregational history, personal family history and genealogy, scholarly articles and presentations, theses and dissertations, plus an array of books.

In one sense our stacks are my reference shelf, but here are a few books I keep handy and use constantly in assisting patrons with their research:

1. Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement, Eerdmans, 2004.

2. Survey of Service, Organizations Represented in International Convention of Disciples of Christ, St. Louis: Christian Board of Publication, 1928.

3. Churches of Christ, by John T. Brown, Louisville: John P. Morton, 1904.

4. Periodical indices, especially for Millennial Harbinger, Christian Standard, Christian-Evangelist, Christian Magazine, Christian Record, World Call and Missionary Tidings.

5. Directories and Yearbooks (Yearbook of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); Directory of the Ministry, A yearbook for Christian Churches and Churches of Christ; and Churches of Christ in the United States).

I’m curious: what resources do you use often?

Save the Paper

Regular readers of this blog know that one of my research interests is Nashville’s Stone-Campbell heritage.  Judging from the folks who find my blog by searching for old Nashville churches like Foster Street Christian Church or Vine Street Christian Church or South College Street Church of Christ, I see I am not alone in my interest.  Here’s my appeal:

I am assembling information from, by and about these churches, ministers and related organizations.  Do you have paper (like directories or bulletins), photographs, sermons, postcards, old issues of periodicals like Gospel Advocate or Apostolic Times or ephemera from Nashville events like the Hardeman Tabernacle meetings or the Collins-Craig Auditorium Meeting, or the Nashville Jubilee?  Do you have photographs or postcards of church buildings?  For that matter, do you have an old map of Nashville that shows what the city was like in the 1940’s?  or earlier? Do you have clippings from the newspapers about people or events or congregations in the Nashville or Davidson County area?   Do you have memories of growing up at Vine Street Christian Church when it was still downtown?  Or Reid Avenue Church of Christ, Russell Street Church of Christ or Charlotte Avenue Church of Christ (all three are now closed)?  Would you be willing to talk with me–in person or by email or even by postal mail–to share your memories?  Would you allow me to borrow your old paper, copy it and learn from it?

Old paper is the stuff from which history is written.  And if it isn’t preserved then not only will vital data be lost but a story will be silenced.  I believe the Nashville story is a rich story, and a story worth keeping and worth telling and worth preserving.   With every funeral we lose some memory or story.  The time has come for us to assemble what remains while we can, and ensure that through its preservation the story will not be forgotten.

Check the steamer trunks in your attics, the boxes in your basements and the files in the closets.  Before you throw it away, email me.  Let’s preserve it.

icekm (at) aol (dot) com