Today in Restoration History: 17 June 1810

After a long hiatus, I intend to resume blogging on a fairly regular basis by the end of the summer.  In the mean time, here is a little gem from Herald of Gospel Liberty of Friday morning 22 June 1810, p. 192.


Hymn on Baptism.

The following Hymn was composed by a Brother, in Portland [Maine], and sung at the water side, Lord’s day, June 17, 1810, where 4 were baptized:–

1 Constrain’d by Love we come,
Down to this water side,
To imitate God’s only Son,
The CHRISTIANS only guide.

2 He has commanded us,
To be Baptiz’d with him;
And cheerfully take up the cross,
Renouncing ev’ry sin.

3 Here then we would begin,
His blessed cross to bear,
In token of our death to sin,
We would be Baptiz’d here.

4 Here we would shew his death,
And resurrection clear;
And him through grace while we have breath
We’ll worship, love and fear.

5 O all that love him come,
What now can hinder you;
Here’s water, you believe the Son,
Then be baptized too.

6 Sinners this is the way,
Christ and th’ Apostles faith;
Believe and be baptiz’d to day,
We’re sure you will be bless’d.

7 As servants here we sing,
And that for joy of heart;
We have believ’d, and will obey,
O God thy grace impart.

Horace Busby preaches at Hillsboro Church, April 18-25, 1943

The Apostolic Times carries this ad for the Busby-Neal [sic, Neil] meeting at Hillsboro Church of Christ, Nashville, TN, seventy years ago this week:

Busby, Neal at Hillsboro April 1943

By April 1943 Horace Wooten Busby, age 59, had engaged in full-time ‘meeting work’ for over thirty years.  By 1952 he held 1,000 meetings like this one at Hillsboro resulting in about 18,000 baptisms.  Busby says of himself: “was member of the Presbyterian Church until grown.  Read the Bible and made own decision to leave error.”  H. E. Warlick baptized him in November 1904.  See Batsell Barrett Baxter and M. Norvel Young, eds. Preachers of Today. The Christian Press: Nashville, 1952, pages 58-59.

Robert Gill Neil, age 33, was a beloved teacher and coach at David Lipscomb College.  Though comparatively young, by 1943 he led singing for gospel meetings across Nashville and beyond.  His mentors in song leading were C. M. Pullias and B. H. Murphy (who led singing for N. B. Hardeman’s Tabernacle Meetings in the 1920’s).  While a student at Vanderbilt School of Religion, Neil took courses in church music and sang in the School of religion choir.  But before 1943 ended Bob Neil was no longer employed at David Lipscomb College.  Perhaps more on that story at another time.  See Jim Turner, Brother Bob: The Life and Times of Robert Gill Neil. David Lipscomb University: Nashville, 1997, pages 102-104.

Serving Hillsboro as Minister was Benton Cordell Goodpasture, Editor of Nashville’s Gospel Advocate.

Today in Restoration History: 15 November 1842

.Another gem from The Bible Advocate:


Nashville, Tenn., Nov. 15th 1842.

The Bible cause is gaining ground here.  The labors of our excellent and talented brother Wharton have been truly blessed in this city; and many are coming forward daily and obeying the Lord.  Several Methodists and Baptists have also cast in their lot with us, and are taking their stand on the Bible alone and prepared as valiant soldiers for the faith given to the Apostles.  Brother Jones of Missouri has also been with us about two weeks, and was listened to with much attention by crowded houses and I trust has sown the good seed which will soon yield a plentiful harvest.  During his stay between twenty and thirty, if my memory is correct, made the good confession, and obeyed the Lord.  Some gained from the Baptist at the same time.

On Sunday night, October 30th as Bro. Jones has just commenced speaking from the 19 chapter of Luke, 17th and 23rd verse inclusive, a colored woman in the gallery fainted, and in a few moments expired.  After his sermon was concluded, brother Wharton made a few beautiful and appropriate remarks on the awful event, and of the dread and fearful enemy that had come unseen among us, and this suddenly hurried his victim, without a  moment’s warning, into eternity!  He exhorted the careless sinner to delay no longer, for who could assure him that he might not be the next one summoned hence; and entreated the Christians to keep their lamps trimmed and burning, for they knew not when their Lord would return.–My mind was deeply impressed with the solemn truth of these words:  ‘That in the midst of life we are in death;’ and before I slept I pencilled down the following lines, which I send you at the request of a friend, but fear you will scarce think them worth the perusal,  Yours truly in the Lord, CLARA.

Turn, thoughtless mortal, turn and view

The dangers of delay!

Behold death in the midst of life!

Look on this senseless clay!

This breathless form, a moment since,

Was fill’ed with life’s warm glow!

Death came in silence through the crowd,

And struck the fatal blow!

He loosed the silver cord of life!–

He broke the golden bowl!–[79]

And to its long and dread account

Hath sent th’ immortal soul!

But whither gone? as, who can tell!

Hath heaven received its own?

or hath it sunk in dark despair,

Where mercy is unknown!

And death is passing every where,

With swift resistless pow’r!

He pauses not for list’ning crowds,

Nor waits the silent hour!

Aye, even here in God’s own house,

Where Christians meet to pray,

He came, unnoticed by us all,

And bore a soul away!

Then turn, ye careless sinners turn,

In vice no longer roam;

God, by his faithful servants, calls

His wandering children home.

Then harden not your hearts, I pray–

His mercy’s free for all.–

Behold, he saith, I stand and knock–

On every soul I call.

And, Christian, let thy soul apply,

The warning of this night;

And mind, thy lamp be trimm’d and burn,

With pure and steady light:

That when thy master doth appear,

He may thy walk approve;

And say, Thou faithful servant come,

Reign with thy Lord above!


Sunday night, Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 30th, 1842.

“Progress of the Gospel, News from the Churches, &c.” The Bible Advocate 1:5 (December 1842),

Today in Restoration History: 4 September 1842

Nashville, Tenn. Sept. 4, 1842.

Bro Aden:–There is much interest here upon the subject of religion.  There was eight added to our church to-day who were immeresed, & several to be immersed to morrow; besides, they are coming in daily.

Our bro. Wharton, who is living here is able to compete with our oppenents anywhere, provided they will keep within the limits of the Bible, for out of it he says nothing, as he remarked to-day.  With he Bible we are everything we could wish, and without it, we are nothing.  As ever your bro., J. T. BROWN.

“Progress of the Gospel, News &c.” Bible Advocate 1:3 (October 1842), 46.

Aden is S. B. Aden, who with Gist and Howard, publish The Bible Advocate from Paris, Tennessee.  Wharton is W. H. Wharton, who was one of the teachers of the Nashville church who also travelled around Middle TN with Tolbert Fanning and did considerable preaching.  There were several Wharton’s in the Nashville church through the end of the 19th century; I have not yet sorted them all out.

Barton W. Stone preaches at Spring Hill Presbyterian Church, Nashville, September 1796

Part fifth (and final installment), a continuation from Barton Stone preaches at Mansker’s Station, August-September 1796, part 2:

My colleague, J. [John] Anderson, having preached through the settlements of West Tennessee, determined to visit Kentucky.  We had our last appointment in father Thomas Caraighead’s congregation, in which neighborhood we had often preached.  As we expected a large and intelligent audience, we endeavored to prepare discourses suitable to the occasion.  My companion, Anderson, first rose to preach from these words: “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.”  I shall never forget his exordium, which, in fact, was also his peroration.  Holiness, said he, is a moral quality–he paused, having forgotten all his studied discourse.  Confused, he turned with staring eyes to address the other side of his audience, and repeated with emphasis–Holiness is a moral quality–and after a few incoherent words, he paused again, and sat down.  Astonished at the failure of my bnrother, I arose and prached.  He declared to me afterwards, that every idea had forsaken him; that he veiwed it as from God, to humble his pride; as he had expected to make a brilliant display of talent to that assembly.  I never remembered a sermon better, and to e it has been very profitable; for from the hint given, I was led to more correct views of the doctrines of original sin, and of regeneration.

Thomas Craighead was the first Presbyterian minister in the Cumberland settlements, having arrvied in 1785 from Kentucky.  He settled on the northern bluff overlooking the Cumberland River at the Madison/Opryland/Briley Parkway part of town.  Haysboro, as it was known then, was for a time a rival settlement to Nashborough down the river a bend or two.  Nashville eventually eclipsed the other hamlets, but the little stone church/school built there left an indelible impression on the larger community.  Opened on 25 September 1786, Davidson Academy was not only the first school in the Cumberland settlements but ancestor to the University of Nashville and Peabody College.  The stone building served as meetinghouse for Spring Hill Presbyterian Church, of which Craighead was pastor.  It was here that Stone held forth in the early autumn 1796.

En route to and from work each day I pass by the old Craighead homesite.  For locals, it was located under the Home Depot complex at the intersection of Briley and Gallatin Road opposite the cemeteries as you come into (or leave) Madison.  For a brief article about the home and its demise, click here.  There stood the Craighead place and there stood the little school which helped initiate a reputation Nashville enjoys to this hour: Athens of the South.

Spring Hill Presbyterian Church site, Nashville

Spring Hill Presbyterian Church site marker, Nashville

Spring Hill Presbyterian Church site looking across Gallatin Road/Briley Parkway intersection toward Craighead home site, Nashville

Spring Hill Presbyterian Church graveyard, Thomas Craighead grave looking toward church site. The grave is to the right of the church site.

Spring Hill Presbyterian Church, Thomas Craighead marker

Spring Hill Presbyterian Church, Thomas Craighead marker closeup 1

Spring Hill Presbyterian Church, Thomas Craighead marker close up 2

I wonder if Margaret Brown, then about age 96, was in attendance when Barton Stone preached at Spring Hill Presbyterian Church?

Spring Hill Presbyterian Church, Margaret Brown marker, age 100

Perhaps also in attendance was Dr. William McWhirter. The James Robertson party was among the first groups to move into Nashville. They constructed Fort Nashboro in the winter/spring of 1780. The Cumberland Compact was the first governmental document drafted and signed in Middle Tennessee.

Spring Hill Presbyterian Church, William McWhirter marker, signer of Cumberland Compact

Today in Restoration History: 14 August 1842

Pardon that this is three days late, but just this evening saw the below reference in John R. Howard’s Bible Advocate:


Nashville, Ten. Aug. 14, 1842.

Bro. Gist–I was at Gallatin* at a meeting held by bros. J. T. Johnson, G. W. Elley, and R. C. Rice.  Some 40 or 45 made the good confession.  Bro. Johnson will be in Nashville in Oct., on his way to the south.

Your bro. in the Gospel,


–>Cannot our beloved brother Johnson visit us as Paris, and at Dresden, [both are west/northwest of Nashville, MI] when he shall have left Nash?  He has been frequently solicited; and it cannot be much out of the way going to the south.  We are rejoiced to hear that he is going to the south, and hope he will spend the winter there.  He will no doubt effect much, particularly at Russellville, Ala., and Columbus, Miss.  Can he not on his rout [sic] also visit Tuscaloosa and Marion, Ala.?  J. R. H.


*This town was a few years since the scene of one of the celebrated Mr. Maffit’s “revivals.”–But we believe that the effects, like those of the rest of his revivals, have since vanished away like the morning vapor before the sun!–And so do all such mere animal excitements.  J. R. H.


“Progress of the Gospel, News &c.” Bible Advocate 1:3 (October 1842), 44.

Gist is C. H. Gist, one of a committee of three who publish Bible Advocate.  J. R. H. is John R. Howard, editor.  Nick Hackworth is a new name to me.  Who is he who rides up to Gallatin to hear preaching by Johnson and company?  An evangelist?  An elder or deacon in the Nashville congregation?  Whence and whither?  All good questions.

Gallatin is northeast of Nashville in Sumner County, a principal city of that county.  Even in 1842 that area has a half-century of ‘history’ under its belt…or at least a half-century of Anglo presence.  Young Barton Stone held forth in the very same neighborhood in 1796.   By 1842 Restorationist preaching was certainly not unknown in those parts.  Tolbert Fanning was active in and around Gallatin and Castalian Springs in the 1840’s.  On John Rogers, The Biography of Elder J. T. Johnson. 2nd ed. (Cincinnati: Author, 1861), 188 mention is made of Gallatin and Hopewell, among others places on this very preaching tour.  Details, however, are lacking as Rogers moves quickly to other matters and does not even mention the Nashville visit.  It may be that Johnson did not visit Nashville as Hackworth expected…perhaps plans changed..doors closed or opened.  Perhaps he held forth from the Nashville pulpit with eloquence and power and Rogers just did not record it.  We’ll see what else may turn up.

Barton Stone enroute to Nashville, August 1796

Part Second, a continuation from 14 August 1796: Today in Restoration History:

In climbing the mountain that morning, my horse lost one of his fore shoes.  At this I was troubled, knowing that it would be almost impossible to get him to the settlement in Cumberland.  He soon became very lame.  I applied to the Tennessean to let me ride his pack-horse, and put his pack on mine.  He unfeelingly refused.  I trotted after my horse, and drove him along [22] after the company, till I was overcome by weariness.  They neither permitted me to ride their horses, nor slacked their pace, and finally rode off, and left me alone in the wilderness.  I traveled leisurely along afoot, driving my horse before me, vexed at the baseness of my company in leaving me alone in this manner.

I had now arrived at the frontier settlement of West Tennessee, on Bledsoe’s creek, at the cabin of Major White.  Here I was kindly entertained, and rested several days, and then proceeded to Shiloh, near where Gallatin now stands.  Here I joyfully met with many old friends and brethren, who had lately moved from carolina, among whom were my fellow students and fellow laborers, William McGee and John Anderson, the latter of whom agreed to travel and preach with me through all the settlements of the Cumberland.  A length of time was not then required to do this, for the settlements extended by a few miles from Nashville, which at that time, was a poor village, hardly worth notice.

to be continued…

When Stone and his lame horse walked into Bledsoe’s fort, here is what he saw, at least here is the footprint of it:

The station itself looked something like this reconstruction in Goodlettsville, Mansker’s Station (in whose employ I have served since March 2011):

For a fine summary of archaeological digs conducted at Bledsoe’s fort, click here. For an account of the reconstruction of this fort layout as seen above, click here.  For Wikipedia articles about Bledsoe’s station and the Avery Trace (the road Stone walked with his lame horse), go here and here, respectively.

14 August 1796: Today in Restoration History

Says Barton Warren Stone:

I journeyed solitarily [from Holstein in far East Tennessee, MI] along to Knoxville, and went to the house of rendezvous for travelers through the wilderness to Nashville.  Traveling through the wilderness was yet considered dangerous because of the Indians.  But two travelers were at the house waiting for company.  I was overpersuaded by them to venture through.  Having laid up our provisions for ourselves and horses, we left Knoxville August 14, 1796.

My two companions were of very different temperaments.  One was a West Tennessean [now known as Middle Tennessee], a large, coarse back-woodsman, and Indian-fighter of great courage; the other was a South Carolinian, the greatest coward I [21] ever saw.  We chose the Tennessean for our captain and leader.  Nothing of any note happened until we had crossed Clinch River.  About sunset we discovered fifteen or twenty Indians about a hundred yards distant from us, n the edge of a canebreak.  They sprang up.   Our leader said to us, follow me–and rode on with a quick pace.  We followed with equal speed for several miles, then slacked our gait for a council.  It was concluded that the Indians would pursue us, but they had no dogs, we could evade them.  The Cumberland mountain was but a few miles ahead; we knew we could not ascend it at night without danger to ourselves and horses, therefore concluded to turn off the road a short distance at the foot of the mountain, and lie concealed till morning.  According to this arrangement, we cautiously rose to the mountain, turned aside into a thick brushwood,  tied our horses, and laid down on our blankets to rest.  Being much fatigued, I spelt so soundly that I did not perceive a shower of rain, which had awaked the other two, and driven them off to seek shelter.  At length I awoke, and missed my company.  Every thing was profoundly silent, except the wolves and foxes in the mountain.  My feelings were unpleasant.  I almost concluded that the Indians had surprised them, and that they had fled.  I remembered that the same God who had always protected me, was present, and could protect me still.  To him I humbly commended myself, laid down again, and securely slept till day, when I saw my companions about a hundred yards off, sheltered by a large tree.  I blamed them for leaving me thus exposed to the ravening beasts around.

excerpted from John Rogers, The Biography of Eld. Barton Warren Stone, Written by Himself: With Additions and Reflections. 5th ed. Cincinnati: J. A. and U. P. James, 1847, 20-21.  Full text of this edition available here from Google Books and the 1853 printing here from

…to be continued…

The thin black line on the map below, Avery’s trace, leads into “west Tennessee” north of the Cumberland River once west of the mountain, then drops south at Mansker’s Station for the final dozen or so miles to the river at Nashville. Barton Stone walked this road, beginning from Knoxville on this day 1796, and so begins the story of what becomes the Restoration Movement in Nashville and Davidson County.  Davidsoun County then encmpasses all of the larger metro Nashville region.  Sumner County is the triangular county through which Stone passed en route to Nashville.