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Methodism, 1846 -1870

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05/30/14 was the last day I modified this page.

    Methodism in the Mississippi Conference 1846 -1870
    By J B Cain
    Chapter VI  Pages # 47-48-49. The Year was 1848-1849

    The Pleasant Valley Revival

    During the autumn of this year occurred the noted Pleasant Valley revival on the Bayou Pierre Circuit in Copiah County. The pastor of the circuit, Henry J. HARRIS, writing about this revival many years later, give the following account of the revival and other incidents connected with the work of the church curing his pastorate:
    "There was no parsonage on the circuit, I could find no place to board a family so large as mine - there were six of us altogether.  After diligent search and inquiry I found a small vacant house not far from Pleasant Valley Church, owned by Mr. John R. MATTHEWS, who was not than a member of the Church. I secured this for the year 1848 on accommodating terms.  J. R. MATTHEWS was my nearest neighbor and I had none more generous and kind.
    "That much loved man, Dr. PEETS, was the neighborhood physician, and practiced in the  preacher's family. He was then at his zenith as a successful practitioner, and no man had stronger hold upon the affections of the people.
    Thomas, Rueben, Green, 'Uncle Buck,' and Hon. Jackson MILLSAPS, John WHEAT, David McREE, J. H. THOMPSON, Horace GILMER, Uncle Tommy CARTER, Charles J. HENDRY, and Asa L. POTTER were the prominent men of the Church and in the neighborhood."
    "A notable revival of religion took place at Pleasant Valley near the close of my second year on the Circuit (as well as at other places I shall mention). A tidal wave of salvation rolled over the field, but the fruits of the wonderful meeting at Pleasant Valley will not be gathered until the great harvest time in eternity. With the assistance of that grand preacher in his day, Samuel ~ L SCOTT, we began a meeting there in the latter part of October that lasted for twenty-five days and nights, and resulted in the conversion of over one hundred souls, and the addition of one hundred and twenty-three to the Church. There are incidents of this memorable occasion I can never forget. The good work began with the little children."
    On the writer's (See Note 41) first circuit there was a sainted soul, Mrs. Adaline WRIGHT LAZARUS, who joined the Church at Pleasant Valley during this revival. Her memory of that eventful occasion was clear and strong, though she was only a little girl at the time. When she passed away, about fifteen years ago, she was the last living link with this noted revival.

    Some accounts of this community was written by Honorable Rueben W. MILLSAPS of Hazlehurst several years before his death in 1931 and was published in the county paper;
    "Pleasant Valley Church was built in the forties, about forty - five. My father lived about two miles from the Church, and wanting a direct road, took me there and put me on the steps with a blowing horn, and told me to blow until they came, and by the sound of the horn they blazed a way through the woods7 then cut the road by the blazes.  After building the Church they built a school house on the bank of the creek near the Church and got Mr. John SPENCER, a highly educated Christian man to teach the school.  In that log school he prepared a number of boys for college, entering the sophomore and junior classes.  Among them were Dr J. J. WILLIAMS, Dock WHEAT, Judge Uriah MILLSAPS, William G. and Major R. W. MILLSAPS, William R. and E. MILLSAPS, and others.
    "In the mean time they had great revival of religion, known as the Scott revival. These boys were converted and eight or ten entered the ministry and others developed into strong laymen.  Since the organization of the Church it has turned out twelve preachers, namely; Dr. J. J. WILLIAMS, Andrew WHEAT, William G. and Jack MILLSAPS, William R. and Green MILLSAPS, William and Elisha MULLINS, Jim SMILEY, Wallace GRAVES and Robert EDWARDS.

    "Pleasant Valley Church was supported by strong, Godly men and women, deeply pious, family altars in every home. God and the Church came first in their lives, and God wonderfully blessed them. My mother's favorite reading book next to the Bible was Wesley's Sermons. I have the copy.
    "Seats were reserved in the Church for the Negroes, then slaves; They worshiped with the whites, taking the communion service at the same table after the whites had been served. Fast days were observed in that day. Class meetings and prayer meetings were kept alive. The sick were visited, sung and prayed with and never given up until converted and ready for heaven. One day at school, during playtime, the little boys assembled in the Church to play Church, and while singing and praying one of the boys was happily converted. The supporters of the Pleasant Valley Church in its early days were the WHEAT's, WRIGHT's, THOMPSON's, McGEE's, MATTHEW's, PEET's, MAGEE's, GILMORE's, WATSON's, DECELL's, GRANBERRY's, REMBERT's, MULLEN's, GRAVES,' and others, all Godly people, well-to-do and prosperous farmers."
    It is not certain just how many future ministers were converted in this Pleasant Valley revival, but the following list is usually considered correct, John J. WHEAT, Andrew J. WHEAT, William H. MULLINS, Elisha F MULLINS, Seth MULLINS, and Solomon BUFKIN (both Baptists), William G. MILLSAPS, John Jackson MILLSAPS, William R. MILLSAPS, John J. SMYLIE, David WATSON, Wallace W. GRAVES, and Robert A. SIBLEY.
    Note #1. Dr CAIN was a Methodist preacher. He gathered his information in the 1920-1930s.  His book is copyrighted l939.

    Chapter XI, The Year was 1855 - 1856, Pages # 161 - 162
    Adams Camp Meeting
    (Note - Adams Camp Ground was located in Amite County, fifteen miles westward from Magnolia, Mississippi. this is a very long article - I include only the Pleasant Valley part. I would assume Adams would be some 50 miles southward from Pleasant Valley.)
    We are fortunate in having another first-hand account of this camp meeting at dams from the pen of Dr McTYEIRE, editor of the New Orleans Christian Advocate and one of the visiting preachers.
    "We have never heard better camp meeting singing; appropriate, inspiring, and with good voices. Pleasant Valley had its continent of singers and works at the altar there. We should like to see that Valley. It is fertile of preachers and clever people, and can pour out more than any other Valley on our map. It must be a very wide valley and a happy one. Why not hold an Annual Conference there?"
    Chapter XV, The Year was 1859-1860, Page # 251 - Ordinations

    Eight traveling preachers were elected deacons and six traveling deacons were elected elders, but none of them were ordained because of the absence of a bishop. Thirteen local preachers were elected deacons, and six local deacons were elected elders, but none of them were ordained for the same reason. Of these local brethren ****, William H MULLINS from Pleasant Valley on the Bayou Pierre Circuit, ****.

    Methodism in Hazlehurst - Page # 276

    With the coming of the railroad, a number of new towns sprang up along the line, many of them becoming substantial communities in a short time. One of these was Hazlehurst, now the county seat of Copiah County, though at tat time the courthouse was at Gallatin, a thriving community four miles west. As the railroad point nearest the courthouse Hazlehurst rapidly grew in population and wealth and soon became the chief business center in a radius of several miles.

    Chapter XVII, The Year was 1861-62- Pages # 315 -316
    John Jackson, MILLSAPS

    Less than two weeks after the adjournment of the Annual Conference that body suffered the loss of its first member to die in the army. Many members of the Methodist Church in Mississippi had already fallen on the field of Battle and had died in hospitals, but John Jackson MILLSAPS was the first member of the Conference to die in the war. He was at this time about twenty-six years of age, and was one of the most promising young men in the Conference. He was born on April 17th, 1835, in Copiah County, near the site of Pleasant Valley Church, where his parents worshipped. Here he himself, at the age of fourteen, was converted in the revival in 1849. At the age of twenty he was admitted on trial into the Mississippi Conference at Vicksburg, in November 1855, by Bishop, KAVANUAGH, and appointed to a colored mission on Bee Lake in Yazoo and Holmes Counties. Mr. MILLSAPS addressed himself to the work with fidelity, and continued there until midsummer. He was conscious of his lack of theological training and after consultation with his friends and superiors, he concluded to leave the active ministry for the time being and seek further education. Accordingly he enrolled in the Theological Institute of Concord, New Hampshire, in the fall of 1856, and remained there for two years. He was discontinued by the Annual Conference but retained his license as a local preacher and used it as opportunity afforded.

    Returning to Mississippi in 1858, he was re-admitted into the traveling ministry and appointed to the pastorate of Starkville and Pierce Chapel, a responsible position for one with so little experience in the actual work of the pastorate. Here he remained for two years. At the Conference of 1860 he was appointed pastor of Biloxi and Handsboro circuit, which included all the work on the Mississippi gulf coast except that part in Jackson county, which was in the Alabama Conference. Biloxi was a very old town; in fact the oldest town in Mississippi, but it had never been protestant in its sympathies. Early Methodist preachers had a notion that the church could be established only in the country, so that Methodism had been active in the state for nearly half a century before it entered its oldest city in 1842. Mr. MILLSAPS did not remain on this charge all of 1861, but volunteered for service in the Confederate Army as a private soldier. He was attached to the Twentieth Mississippi regiment, which was incorporated into General FLOYD's brigade, then in Virginia. He was soon appointed chaplain, and served his comrades faithfully and well during an arduous campaign, in which his own health failed. His death took place at the home of a Mr. ROSS in Monroe County, Virginia, and he was buried at Centerville by the hands of strangers.

    Chapter XIX - The Year was 1863-64 - Pages # 367 - 368
    Samuel L L SCOTT

    Early in the current year, on February 08, 1864, Samuel L. L. SCOTT passed away at his humble home near Crystal Springs, and was buried in the old cemetery at that place. Although his name had once been a household work in the ranks of Mississippi Methodists, at this death he was a forgotten man, but time has somewhat restored the brilliance of his memory.

    Samuel L.L.  SCOTT was born in Trenton, New Jersey, on the 03rd of October 1810. We have no record of his early life. From some unknown circuit he appeared at an Annual Conference held at Natchez in November 1833, Bishop John EMORY presiding, and was received on trial. His first appointment was the Rankin Circuit, in good Methodist territory where strong churches were in process of establishment. His second work was the responsible task of ministering to the colored people in New Orleans. Each year's work in these diverse situations saw considerable gain in membership. The next two years fund Mr. SCOTT in charge of the work at Clinton, the leading town at that time in Hinds county, and one of the best appointments in the Conference. After this he had a year's pastorate at Baton Rouge' the capital city of Louisiana, while his last pastorate was at Holly Springs. When the Conference met at Vicksburg in 1840, Mr. SCOTT was assigned to some charge, which he felt was not in keeping with his ability. He arose while Bishop ANDREW was reading the appointments and asked for a location, which was granted him. He never again entered the itinerancy but remained in the local ranks until his death, nearly twenty-five years later. He was never married and the small enclosure that surrounds his grave contains no other headstones, a silent testimony of the loneliness of his later life.

    After his location he was still active in preaching the gospel in such places as he had opportunity, and rendered useful service in class and prayer meetings. In 1849 he did the preaching in the Pleasant Valley revival, in which more than a hundred persons were converted, and from which came eleven ministers of the gospel. This is rightfully considered one of the half - dozen most outstanding revivals in the history of the Mississippi Conference.

    After his location, as already stated, he made his home near Crystal Springs, where he joined in the establishment of the Methodist Church in the new town, the present Crystal Springs, which grew up after the coming of the railroad. It is said that he was the first Sunday School Superintendent in this church. He died in poverty and peace.

    Chapter XXIV, The Year was 1868-1869- Page: # 465
    Miss Clara CHRISMAN at Whitworth

    The youngest and perhaps the best known student at Whitworth during the two preceding sessions was Miss Anna Clara CHRISMAN, who entered the music department as a student in the autumn of 1867 at the age of six years. Her father, Captain Thomas CJRISMAN, had died in the Civil war and her mother, Mrs. Julia THOMPSON CHRISMAN, left the home of her father, Hon. J Harvey THOMPSON, in the Pleasant Valley Community of Copiah County, and became a member of the music faculty at Whitworth. When Clara CHRISMAN was nine years old the THOMPSON and CHRISMAN families moved to Beauregard. When she was not quite fifteen - she was born on the 25th of December 1860 - the Memphis Conference Female Institute at Jackson, Tennessee, became her home and here she graduated in 1878. After teaching for several years she volunteered for foreign mission service and was assigned to Brazil. On her way to New York to take ship she was frowned in the Johnstown Flood on the last day of May 1889. Her work on earth was suddenly and tragically ended, but her memory still lives.

    Methodism in the Mississippi Conference 1870 - 1894
    By Reverend W B JONES
    Chapter II, The Year was 1871, Pages # 23-24
    Pastoral Charges for 1871, Brookhaven District
    Pleasant Valley and Rehoboth (Note - Churches)

    Chapter IV, The Year was 1873 - Pages # 73-74

    W. W. MILLSAPS, son of William and Rebecca MILLSAPS, died at Hazlehurst on July 6th at the age of 69. He was born in Smith county and married Miss Mary WRIGHT. He joined what is now called Pleasant Valley Church. Two sons were ministers, William R MILLSAPS and John J MILLSAPS

    Chapter V, The Year was 1874 - Page # 98

    Thomas Carter GLASS, prominent Pleasant Valley layman, died August 18th, aged 77. Born in Mecklinburg County, Virginia, December 25th, 1797, when he was five his family moved to Chatham County, North Carolina, where he was reared. He was converted and joined the church in 1820, and was a class leader and exhorter for 54 years. He moved to Copiah County, Mississippi, early in the development of the Church, when preachers and Church privileges were scarce. He died at the residence of Harmon BUFKIN, August 18th, 1874.

    Chapter VI, The Year was 1875, Page # 112

    Mrs. Mary DURR, only daughter of William and Mary MILLSAPS, died at the home of her brother, T. E. MILLSPAS, on April 04th, aged 26. Born in Copiah County, she was educated at the State Female College, Memphis, and was converted and joined the Church at Pleasant Valley in a meeting held by Robert W. LAMBUTH.

    Chapter 1X, The Year was 1878, Page # 149

    William WADWORTH had not been able to attend the Annual Conference, but was appointed to serve Scotland Circuit by the Conference which closed on December 11th, on Christmas day, 1877' two weeks later, he closed his eyes to his earthly labors, dying at his home in the Pleasant Valley section of Copiah County.

    Born of pious parents in Hinds County, near Jackson, Mississippi, in 1830, he moved to Louisiana with his parents and other members of the family inl836. In 1847, he was converted while reading his Bible on his knees, and immediately entered upon his ministerial journey and labors that culminated only at his death. He was received on trial at the Conference of 1850. His first charge was Leaf River circuit, and he continued to serve as a circuit preacher and presiding elder till he was unable to go to the final appointment the Conference gave him. His presiding elder, W E M LINFIELD, preached his funeral sermon from John 13:26 and with saddened hearts and hands they laid his body to rest in the Pleasant Valley Cemetery.

    At his death, he left a fine family, who have made a noble record of Christian Service. Miss Lois COOPER, one of our missionaries to Japan, is a granddaughter of William WADSWORTH.
    Chapter X, The Year was 1879, Page # 180

    Dr George PEETS, born at Fort Ann, New York, died at the home of his son - in - law, Polk FERGUSON, in Beauregard on June 26 at the age of 73. He graduated in December 1829,at Castletonia Vermont Medical College. Coming to Warren County in 1827, and to Copiah County in l839, he married Sarah Ann TAYLOR in 1843. He was converted at a revival held at Pleasant Valley in 1849. By Samuel L L SCOTT.

    Chapter NII, The Year was 1881, Pages # 204-205

    James J. SMYLIE

    James J. SMYLIE died at Quitman on January O1, 1881. Born in Copiah County, October 9, 1829, of Presbyterian ancestors, he became a Methodist because his father joined the Methodist Church when he settled in Copiah County, for the time being, as there was no Presbyterian Church near him. The home was open to the preachers, and James became fund of the Methodists and joined the church at Pleasant Valley in 1849. He married, October 24, 1854, Miss Sallie E. STOVALL, an accomplished young lady, and they had a delightful home, interesting children, and became the possessors of a large estate.

    His training was received at Centenary College and at Oxford, Mississippi, and while teaching a large and flourishing school at Brookhaven two of his children died suddenly. He then turned to God again, and was called to preach. In 1871, he was admitted into the Mississippi Conference when nearly 42 years of age. Being well qualified to fill any appointment, he rapidly advanced and became useful as a servant of the Lord. He died at the Quitman Courthouse, Clarke County, January O1, 1881, leaving a wife and six children, one of whom became a Methodist Preacher.

    Mississippi Conference Appointments 1799-1995 by William L Jenkins

    Year Church Minister Presiding Elder
    1868 Pleasant Valley William G. MILLSAPS
    1869 PleasantValley & Rehoboth Wm WADSWORTH

    1870 PleasantValley & Rehoboth Ephraim A FLOWERS
    1871 PleasantValley & Rehoboth  Horace M BOOTH  Wm E M LINFIELD

    Mississippi as A Province Territory and State
    Pioneers of Vicksburg and Warren County, Mississippi - Pace # 536

    The sons of Reverend Newitt VICK were educated at Lexington, Kentucky. The daughters at the Elizabeth Academy, in Adams. (Note - Washington, Adams County, near Natchez.) They married respectively, Reverend John LANE, Colonel Henry MORSE, Dr. S. D. McCRAE, Hon. John L IRWIN, and Reverend C. K. MARSHALL, our distinguished divine, orator and philanthropist

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