Rev. W. M. J. Elder 1804-1870
Rev. Wytch M. J. Elder was born in Clarke County, Georgia, October 5, 1804 and died in Chambers County, Alabama, March 19, 1870. He was one of the pioneers of the Christian Church in that part of the State. He entered the ministry about the year 1824, and had been a minister forty-six years.
About the year 1888, he, Jacob Callahan and George L. Smith were compelled to withdraw from their brethren, who embraced the views of Alexander Campbell. In 1840, he was living in Harris County, Georgia, eight miles from West Point, where he organized a Christian church. It was at this church he baptized and received Jubilee Smith into his charge.
Moved to Chambers County, Alabama
In 1849, he moved to Chambers County, Alabama, where he organized Now Hope Christian church in 1850. In 1853, he met his brethren at Elder Callahan’s where they organized the Conference under the name of the Georgia and Alabama Christian Conference. The next session of the Conference was held at New Hope in Chambers County, Alabama. In 1855, he writes from Milltown, Alabama, under date of July 2: “Brother Wellons, I am well pleased with the ‘Sun,’ and am sorry to see that many of the old subscribers have discontinued since its removal to Suffolk. [The church paper was published at Raleigh, North Carolina, previous to its removal.] The Christian cause has just made a start in this section. Our Conference will be held at New Hope Church, Chambers County, Alabama, to commence, on the 17th day of August, and continue as long as is thought proper. Now brethren, I wish to meet with as many of you as possible at that time. Brethren, come up to the help of the Lord, I shall look for you, especially some of the fathers in the gospel, such as Elders J. Callahan, G. L. Smith, James O’Kelly and John O’Kelly. The younger ministers such as Francis D. O’Kelly, Jubilee Smith, John R. Smith, L. J. Smith will, of course, be expected. I hope many more will be able to attend and preach Christ for us. . . . . All that is wanting here is ministers that will write, act, and preach the gospel. The time is coming when men will read and judge for themselves and all forms of doctrine not in accordance with the Bible will be laid aside.”
In 1857, he was actively engaged in the work of his church; he sent to the Christian Sun $8.00 on subscriptions from Georgia. This work he kept up, and was with the church of his choice in all her struggles for the faith once delivered unto the saints.
Source: Lives of Christian Ministers by P. J. Kernodle, 1909.
Note: New Hope Christian Church Cemetery tombstone eiptaphs: Wyche M. J. Elder October 5, 1804 – March 11, 1870. Mary Burt Elder January 11, 1809 – February 2, 1884 “Founders of the Christian Church in Alabama”