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Several religious denominations met in the same church in Limestone County, Alabama



This excerpt has been transcribed from The Athens Post, April 18, 1867.

Page 2, Column 2.


I suppose, in this number, to go back and travel over the same ground, to some extent; and then to notice the first efforts made in this county to plant the church of God.

In the spring of the year 1808, Jonathan Blair settled a mile and a half above Mooresville just in the fork of Big and Little Piney, not far from Mr. Ruffin Gamble’s residence, and in a few hundred yards of the spot where Mr. Garrett, Sr., afterwards built a mill. In this neighborhood, settled in the spring of the same year, the Humphreys and the Piatts.

Several denominations met in this Old Brick Church built in 1839 on Lauderdale Street, Mooresville, Alabama by Carol Highsmith 2010 (Library of Congress)

While bringing up these facts, I beg to leave to correct a misstatement made in the previous number as to names to-wit: Alexander Moors the father of John and Robert, settled out a few miles, in what was called the “Barrens.”

Presbyterian Church began to hold meetings

In the spring of the year 1809, Robert Bell who coincided with the views of that wing of the Presbyterian Church, which in a few years, separated from the Mother Church, and established the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, began to hold meetings in the county.

One of his first appointments was at the residence of Mr. John Blair’s, and notwithstanding the bulk of the squatters were driven off the Indian lands in the winter of 1811 and 1812, he kept up regular appointments. In these visitations, Mr. Bell was generally accompanied by Mr. Robert Donnell, who, though as yet a young man, still showed that energy and indefatigable perseverance and fidelity which distinguished him in so marked a manner in subsequent life.

They never gave up their visitations, but continued to visit and minister to the comparatively few and scattered inhabitants, until the fall of 1816, when, as we have heretofore seen, the United States Government acquired the lands by treaty from the Indians, and opened them for occupation.

During these five years of troublous and distressing times, these devoted and self-sacrificing men persevered in visiting and preaching to the few and scattered inhabitants of this Indian territory. What was the end of Mr. Bell, or what became of him, the writer knows not, but of the labors and eminent success and great usefulness of Mr. Donnell, I propose to speak more at length in a future number.

Cumberland Presbyterian Ministers

In the year 1812, Reverends Jas. Porter and Wm. Bumpass came into the county and preached at different places, and at regular stated times, and continued their ministrations until about the year 1820 or 1821. They were Cumberland Presbyterians, were good, devoted, self-sacrificing Ministers and ended their earthly pilgrimages in peace and holy triumph.

The following Cumberland Presbyterian Ministers like-wise traveled and lived and labored successfully in this county from the year 1812 or 1813 until 1820 or 1822: Wm. Barrett, Wm. McGehee and John Canahan. The writer has not been able to obtain biographical sketches of them, and can only add that they all believed to have ended their earthly pilgrimages in great peace and respectability.

Camp-meetings held

In July 1818, Reverends Donnell, James Porter and other brethren held camp meeting near Shoal Ford, on Limestone Creek, believed to have been on the land of the late Nathaniel Davis. In the fall of the same year, a camp meeting was held by the same parties near the Cross roads of Rev. Booth Malone: Mr. Rice was at this meeting, and filled the pulpit several times!

Another Camp-meeting, believed to have been held in 1819, was carried on by the gentlemen above named, in Limestone Creek bottom, on the Pettus place, about a mile from Salem Campground. Camp meetings were held at one or all of these places until the year 1824, when the Camp ground was built up at Salem, on Mr. J. Fishers place, on the road to Mooresville.

All of these early Camp meetings were Cumberland Presbyterian meetings and were presided over and carried on by Rev. Robert Donnell, and to a large extent, sustained and directed by him. Respectfully, M.S.T. April 19, 1867

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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 All her books can be purchased at 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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One comment

  1. The Methodist also met in this church.

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