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Families were split apart when the Baptist congregations separated over missionary work

No set salary for early Baptist ministers

The Baptist church at the earliest settlement of the county (Montgomery, Alabama) was the prevailing denomination. They had more churches and larger congregations. This was before the division, when there was only one Baptist denomination.


Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church Montgomery, Alabama uploaded to findagrave.com by Ruby Smith Hassell

Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church Montgomery, Alabama uploaded to findagrave.com by Ruby Smith Hassell

Democratic in views and customs

They were quite democratic in their views and customs. They claimed that each church was sovereign and independent. They did not let any one dictate to them or influence them in their mode of worship. They called their own preachers and they did not fix a salary, in fact nothing was ever said about a salary. Each member paid what he could afford, or nothing, as he saw proper.

They took the Bible for the man of their council. They claimed that they did not advocate any doctrine or principle not laid down in the Bible. They claimed that they had Bible authority for believing in the doctrine of predestination and the final perseverance of the saints.

Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) – A novel inspired by the experiences of the Cottingham family who immigrated from the Eastern Shore of Virginia to Bibb County, Alabama

First Baptist Church on the corner of Bibb Street and North Court Street in Montgomery, Alabama.

(Alabama Department of Archives and History)

First Baptist Church on the corner of Bibb Street and North Court Street in Montgomery, Alabama.

They believed in the foreknowledge of God, and that God did, before the foundation of the world, ordain that a portion of the world should be saved and a portion be lost.

Believed in immersion

They believed in baptism by immersion and close communion. They contended that the baptism of Christ by John was their authority for baptism; that they went down in the water and John did baptize him; and they both came out of the water.

They practiced foot washing, and claimed Bible authority for the same; as Christ before his crucifixion called disciples together and took a basin of water and girded a towel around his loins, and got down and washed his disciples’ feet, and wiped them with the towel, and said; “As your Lord and Master have washed your feet, ye ought, also, to wash one another’s feet.”

They were opposed to all secret societies and organizations, and contended that the Bible was a sufficient guide to control the actions of all mankind in whatever capacity.

Claimed they descended from John the Baptist

The Baptist church, at the time we write, claimed that they had descended from a direct live of succession from the day of John the Baptist. That it had been handed down from generation to generation, from father to son. Now this old Baptist family that had worshiped the same God had been baptized, as it were, at the same baptismal fount, and had partaken of the emblems of the broken body and shed blood of their Savior at the same sacramental board, was about to separate and dissolve.

Agitation over foreign and domestic missions

The question of foreign and domestic missions had been agitation the church for a number of years, part of the membership being in favor and part opposing.

At an association held with Bethel church in the southwestern portion of the county ( the old church building is still standing), on Monday after the first Sunday in October, 1837, the separation took place.

Families separated within the Baptist church

It was painful and distressing to see this old Baptist family part company. Sons leaving their fathers daughters leaving their mothers. (It is supposed that the writer is the only person now living that witnessed this separation.) The separation was final and forever.

From that day there were two separate and distinct Baptist churches, the original old Primitive and the Missionary churches. The Missionary church, from the day of the separation to the present day, have added member to member, church to church, mission to mission, and have spent millions of money in extending the cause of christianity. (sic) They have followed the Bible injunction: “Go ye into all the world and preach my gospel.”

The original old Primitive family are still in existence; they still hold to the old faith and practice. It is a good old family; they are honest, good citizens and neighbors; straightforward and correct in all their dealings with their fellowman; drink a dram whenever they want to, but never drink to excess. They were the original old soldiers of the cross, and served their day and generation, and have accomplished a good work.

(The above has been transcribed from a book titled RECOLLECTIONS OF THE EARLY SETTLERS OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY, ALABAMA -Original data: Robertson, W. G.. Recollections of the early settlers of Montgomery County, Alabama. Montgomery, Ala.: Society of Pioneers of Montgomery, 1961. *Transcriber note –At times the text has been broken into additional paragraphs to make it easier to read and names were capitalized -additional information about the family follows and is in italics.)

Faith and Courage: 2nd edition -A Novel of Colonial America (Tapestry of Love Book 2): Book 2 in Tapestry of Love Series Inspired by real people and actual events, this family saga of colonial America continues with Ambrose Dixon’s family. Faith and Courage presents the religious persecution of Quakers in Pre-Revolutionary War days of America intertwined with a love story.

 

Faith and Courage: A Novel of Colonial America (Tapestry of Love) (Volume 2)


Features: Faith and Courage A Novel of Colonial America
By (author): Donna R Causey
List Price: $13.87 USD
New From: $13.51 USD In Stock

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me
All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
She has authored numerous genealogy books.
RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE)
is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2)
is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series)
Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1)
is the continuation of the story. .
For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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19 comments

  1. Nancy Tosh

    Interesting read.

    1. I agree.

      Here is information on another Bethlehem Baptist Church, near Lewisville [later Louisville], AL Pike (now Barbour) Co, AL

      “It is not known exactly when John & Mary Williamson Pruett left Jones County, GA but it is believed that they went first to Pike Co., AL, probably around 1819/20, settling in that part of Pike County which in 1832 became Barbour Co. Many of their descendants settled in Barbour & Bullock counties, Bullock having been formed from part of Barbour Co. There they reared large families.”
      Source: ‘Pruett Past & Present with Feagin Johnson Connections’ Compiled by Dorothy Sturgis Pruett 1982, p. 20, part of 21

      1824 Mary Pruit [sic] was listed as one of the “Founding Members” of the Bethlehem Baptist Church, near Lewisville [later Louisville], AL Pike (now Barbour) Co, AL, founded 25 April, 1824.
      ‘Pruett Past & Present with Feagin Johnson Connections’ Compiled by Dorothy Sturgis Pruett 1982

      “The Bethlehem Baptist Church was located on the Clayton-Louisville road, about three miles from Louisville and seven miles from Clayton. The 13 founding members were James [Matthew] Cadenhead [Jr.] and his brother William Cadenhead, Warren Jackson, William Anglin, Randol Jackson, William Cox, James A. Head, Elizabeth Jackson, Elizabeth Cox, Elizabeth Head, Mary Pruit, Elizabeth Warren, and Anna (a woman of color). The First Presbytery consisted of James McLemore, ordained minister, Richard Head, ordained deacon, and Francis Baker, clerk of presbytery. James Cadenhead was the first preacher and moderator and in 1825 the moderator, and James A. Head was the first church clerk and in 1825 chosen deacon.”
      Source: ‘Pike County, Alabama, Bethlehem Baptist Church Records,’ contributed by Mrs. B. W. Grandrud, Tuscaloosa, Alabama – The Alabama Genealogical Register, Vol. V, No.’s 3 & 4, September-December 1963 (Willo Publishing Company, Tuscaloosa, Ala., 1962), pp. 192-193.

      Would like to hear from anyone researching Pruetts.
      Eugenia Hobday [email protected]

    2. Bethlehem Baptist Church, near Lewisville [later Louisville], AL Pike (now Barbour) Co, AL

      “It is not known exactly when John & Mary Williamson Pruett left Jones County, GA but it is believed that they went first to Pike Co., AL, probably around 1819/20, settling in that part of Pike County which in 1832 became Barbour Co. Many of their descendants settled in Barbour & Bullock counties, Bullock having been formed from part of Barbour Co. There they reared large families.”
      Source: ‘Pruett Past & Present with Feagin Johnson Connections’ Compiled by Dorothy Sturgis Pruett 1982, p. 20, part of 21

      1824 Mary Pruit [sic] was listed as one of the “Founding Members” of the Bethlehem Baptist Church, near Lewisville [later Louisville], AL Pike (now Barbour) Co, AL, founded 25 April, 1824.
      ‘Pruett Past & Present with Feagin Johnson Connections’ Compiled by Dorothy Sturgis Pruett 1982

      “The Bethlehem Baptist Church was located on the Clayton-Louisville road, about three miles from Louisville and seven miles from Clayton. The 13 founding members were James [Matthew] Cadenhead [Jr.] and his brother William Cadenhead, Warren Jackson, William Anglin, Randol Jackson, William Cox, James A. Head, Elizabeth Jackson, Elizabeth Cox, Elizabeth Head, Mary Pruit, Elizabeth Warren, and Anna (a woman of color). The First Presbytery consisted of James McLemore, ordained minister, Richard Head, ordained deacon, and Francis Baker, clerk of presbytery. James Cadenhead was the first preacher and moderator and in 1825 the moderator, and James A. Head was the first church clerk and in 1825 chosen deacon.”
      Source: ‘Pike County, Alabama, Bethlehem Baptist Church Records,’ contributed by Mrs. B. W. Grandrud, Tuscaloosa, Alabama – The Alabama Genealogical Register, Vol. V, No.’s 3 & 4, September-December 1963 (Willo Publishing Company, Tuscaloosa, Ala., 1962), pp. 192-193.

      Would like to hear from anyone researching Pruetts.
      Eugenia Hobday [email protected]

  2. Brenda Benjamin Bradshaw

    My great grandfather Ashley Bartow Metcalfe was an attorney in Dale County, Al in the 1880’s…then received his Doctor of Divinity and became a Baptist preacher in the 1890’s. He was a pastor in Al an Ga until 1940. He Moved Back To Montgomery where he lived until his death in 1947. His father Rev Henry J Metcalf was a Methodist preacher until 1887.

  3. The article would lead readers to believe that Baptists are a traditionally Calvinistic body, but in fact they were historically a blend of both predestinarian and free will elements. The initial missionary split came with the free will Baptists (also called general Baptists because of their belief in general atonement offerd to all mankind) arguing for evangelistic missions, while predestinarians (also called particular Baptists because of their belief that God desires to save only certain people) argued that mission work was pointless since God would save whomever He wanted.

    Also, there are several references to “the Baptist church.” Baptists, though, do not conceive of themselves as a church, but as an association of many churches (each local congregation being completely independent of all others).

  4. Three of my ancestors were Baptist ministers, and one of them became a missionary as he grew older. Two were father and son, James Harvey Reuben Carden was a minister in Shelby County, Alabama, and his son, Llewellyn Judson Carden also preached the Gospel in Shelby County. JHR Carden is mentioned numerous times in the Shelby County Baptist Association Annual Meeting Minutes, and L.J.Carden’s biography was included in “Notable Men of Alabama.”

    Reverend Phillip Belcher, originally from Georgia, worked as a minister in Sumter County, Georgia, and then moved to Barbour County, Alabama, where he founded the Belcher Beulah Baptist Church in Baker Hill. He continued to perform the Lord’s work in a variety of churches in Henry County, Alabama. His last known address was Franklin, Alabama, now covered by the waters of Lake Eufaula and directly across the river from Clay County, Georgia and the town of Fort Gaines.

    Reverend Belcher was mentioned numerous times in the Judson Baptist Association Annual Meeting Minutes as a missionary whose income was subsidized by the member churches of the Association. He died in 1874 or 1875, prior to October of 1875. We do not know where he is buried; to date, no Belcher descendant has found his grave, or the graves of his two wives: Mary Causey Belcher who died prior to the family moving to Alabama, and his second wife, Annice Albritton Belcher of Macon, Georgia.

  5. Chris VanCleave

    Mike Shaw interesting read

  6. Regenia Avery Ordoyne

    My great great grandfather did not accept a salary at his Baptist Church in Alabama. He was a surveyor and a farmer.

  7. Mike Shaw

    I talked with a DOM ( Director of Missions s

  8. Mike Shaw

    As far as I know all of my family were “Missionary Baptists” but Mary’s family were Primitive Baptists ( or “Hardshell Baptists ” as my Dad used to call them). They were extremely Calvinistic in doctrine and practice and most churches met once or twice a month. They are still around but are small because of their doctrine of predestination. They do little outreach but they were the leaders in providing care for widows and orphans.

  9. John H. Allen

    I cannot find a connection between the picture above and this particular story. The building in the picture looks a lot like the old Huntsville Bank on the courthouse square. I would post a picture of it form the same angle, but this comment box apparently does not allow for pictures (why is that?)

  10. R Matthew McCombs

    more than 43000 Christian denominations world wide.

  11. Jeanna Kervin

    Isaac Kervin you might enjoy this

  12. Michael Gilbreath

    And the members of the church would follow along in their Bibles with the minister. If they disagreed or didn’t understand something they met the preacher after church with their questions!

  13. Bethlehem Baptist Church, near Lewisville [later Louisville], AL Pike (now Barbour) Co, AL

    “It is not known exactly when John & Mary Williamson Pruett left Jones County, GA but it is believed that they went first to Pike Co., AL, probably around 1819/20, settling in that part of Pike County which in 1832 became Barbour Co. Many of their descendants settled in Barbour & Bullock counties, Bullock having been formed from part of Barbour Co. There they reared large families.”
    Source: ‘Pruett Past & Present with Feagin Johnson Connections’ Compiled by Dorothy Sturgis Pruett 1982, p. 20, part of 21

    1824 Mary Pruit [sic] was listed as one of the “Founding Members” of the Bethlehem Baptist Church, near Lewisville [later Louisville], AL Pike (now Barbour) Co, AL, founded 25 April, 1824.
    ‘Pruett Past & Present with Feagin Johnson Connections’ Compiled by Dorothy Sturgis Pruett 1982

    “The Bethlehem Baptist Church was located on the Clayton-Louisville road, about three miles from Louisville and seven miles from Clayton. The 13 founding members were James [Matthew] Cadenhead [Jr.] and his brother William Cadenhead, Warren Jackson, William Anglin, Randol Jackson, William Cox, James A. Head, Elizabeth Jackson, Elizabeth Cox, Elizabeth Head, Mary Pruit, Elizabeth Warren, and Anna (a woman of color). The First Presbytery consisted of James McLemore, ordained minister, Richard Head, ordained deacon, and Francis Baker, clerk of presbytery. James Cadenhead was the first preacher and moderator and in 1825 the moderator, and James A. Head was the first church clerk and in 1825 chosen deacon.”
    Source: ‘Pike County, Alabama, Bethlehem Baptist Church Records,’ contributed by Mrs. B. W. Grandrud, Tuscaloosa, Alabama – The Alabama Genealogical Register, Vol. V, No.’s 3 & 4, September-December 1963 (Willo Publishing Company, Tuscaloosa, Ala., 1962), pp. 192-193.

    Would like to hear from anyone researching Pruetts.
    Eugenia Hobday [email protected]

  14. Or as my father–Grover Carpenter of Oxford, Alabama– a longtime deacon and adult Sunday School teacher would do (oft to my mother’s dismay), clear his throat loudly and say “Unh. unh, unh. Let’s get it right now.” Right during the preaching!! My dad was usually correct about Bible teaching as he read the Bible often and deeply. I got my nerve, or as some might say “gall,” from him. No bashfulness allowed. I think a forthright attitude, a “straightshooter” personality, was and is common among country, old-way Alabamians. But always with good manners.

    We attended Bethlehem Baptist in Friendship community (Oxford). Years ago it was WAY out in the country, near where Hillabee heads toward Cheaha. Now it’s all built up. I hardly know it. I haven’t been back for 8 years as we live in Wilmington, NC.

    I very much enjoy your writings about the strong Indian influence and presence in Alabama. Most of what I’ve learned about Indians has been through my own reading and study. Native Americans were given little to no attention all through my school years. What a shame. I do hope it’s better nowadays.

    Can anyone tell me about the hill at Oxford that was destroyed for fill dirt to build the Walmart there. I believe it was a mound with NA graves and that some people didn’t care if it were removed . Roughly to the south of the hill is where Bethlehem BC is located. I lived in Friendship community for over 20 years and must say I never heard a peep about that hill/mound being Indian related.

    Thanks for all your wonderful information.

    Carolyn Funderburk

    1. Yes, we did a story about the Indian mound being destroyed here. http://alabamapioneers.com/choccolocco-9622/#sthash.DiK9p140.dpbs
      Thanks for your comment! We enjoy finding these stories.
      Donna

  15. My great, great grandfather, Philip Sieber, Jr. came to Benton Co.,now Calhoun Co. In the early 1830’s. They settled in what is now the New Liberty Baptist Church community. I understand that he was a Baptist preacher and help found several churches in the Jacksonville area. Has anyone aware of any historical articles about Baptist churches in this area of Ala.? I am interested in furthering my knowledge about this area in the 1800 hundreds.

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