ROBERT MANNING STROZIER
Florida State University
Mrs. Francis R. Bridges.
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
BY JOHN C. LE Y.
NASHVILLE, TENN.: DALLAS, TEX.:
PUBLISHING HOUSE OF THE M. E. CHURCH, SOUTH.
BARBEE & SrITr, AGENTS.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1899,
BY JOHN C. LEY,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
_n .n ..eo it I~I L~L Lvr
TO MY BELOW VED WIFE,
WHO FOR NEAR FIFTY YEARS HAS BEEN THE PARTNER
OF MY TOILS AND HOPES;
TO MY SONS,
INTO WHOSE HANDS I COMMEND THE BANNER
I MUST SOON RELEASE; AND
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE FLORIDA CONFERENCE,
WHO HAVE HONORED ME WITH A PLACE AMONG THEM,
THIS VOLUME IS DEDICATED.
THE Florida Conference, at its session of January,
1885, having by resolution requested the author to
write a series of articles for the Wesleyan Christian
Advocate "with reference to their publication in a
book," and recognizing that the object of said resolu-
tion was to save from oblivion some names and inci-
dents which may in the future be useful to the Church,
he did not feel at liberty to decline; and in an attempt
to meet the spirit of the resolution in this humble vol-
ume has tried to give not only reminiscence, but also a
brief outline of the history of the Church and State
from the days of Juan Ponce de Leon to the present.
He has attempted only a connected outline, as limited
space would allow no more. In doing this he lays no
claim to originality, but has gathered facts from every
source within reach, condensing them into as small
space as possible, and presenting them in his own lan-
guage. He here acknowledges obligations to Mr. Fair-
banks, from whom he has drawn largely in dates and
The book as it is has commanded his earnest efforts,
and as such it is commended to the Conference and
public with the prayer that the critic may deal gently
with an old man, whose life has been spent in talking
-not writing-and begging the generous reader to re-
member that the preservation of facts has been his
CHAPTER I. PAGE
Discovery of Florida-Juan Ponce de Leon.............. 9
Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon-Panfilo Narvaez-Cabeza de
Vaca....................... ....... ..... ............. 11
Hernando de Soto ................... .............. 13
Fort Caroline-The French Massacred-Retribution ..... 15
Indians Troublesome-Treaty of 1745-Florida Ceded to
Great Britain ............... ..... .............. 19
PAR T II
John J. Triggs-Elijah Sinclair-Donald MacDonell-
John Slade............................................ 24
Missions in the East-J. N. Glenn-Allen Turner-J. L.
Jerry-St. Augustine ............................... 28
Tallahassee-Josiah Evans-Adam Wyrick.............. 31
Extracts from the Diary of Isaac Boring .............. 36
Indian Atrocities-John L. Jerry-James B. Jackson-
W. M. Crumley-R. H. Howren .................... 50
8 FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
PAR T II.
CHAPTER I. PAGE
The Author Transferred to the Florida Conference ...... 58
Our First Conference and Its Members.................. 60
Second Conference-The Armed Occupation Act-A. J.
Deavours-Extracts from Journal ................... 64
Our Third Conference-Hamilton Circuit-Affliction .... 69
From 1849 to 1853 .................. .............. 72
From 1854 to 1858 .............. ... ............. 78
From 1860 to 1863 ......................... ....... 84
From 1863 to 1866 .................................. 93
From 1867 to 1876 ............... ..... ............... 99
From 1877 to 1880 .................... ...... .... . 107
From 1877 to 1883 .......... ......................... 111
From 1884 to 1889 ..................................... 114
From 1888 to 1895 ................. ............. 119
Conclusion ........................ . ......... 126
Centenary of Methodism............................. 133
A Sermon ..................................... ...... 146
Discovery of Florida-Juan Ponce de Leon.
IN attempting to trace a brief outline of Florida's
early history we meet at every step the most serious
difficulties. We are carried back to the days of ro-
mance and chivalry, long before any other settlements
were made in the wilds of America.
The character and objects of the explorers, the fe-
rocity and cruelty of the natives, throw around
chivalry and heroism the horrors of deception and
carnage. The first, and perhaps the most impor-
tant, of these explorers was Juan Ponce de Leon.
He was a companion of Columbus in his second
voyage to America, afterwards he held an office
under Orvando in Hispaniola. Under orders from
Spain he visited and conquered Porto Rico. He
had heard of a famous country lying to the north-
west, possessing all the charms of an El Dorado, and
also of a fountain capable of affording perpetual
youth. Having acquired considerable wealth and
having been supplanted as governor of Porto Rico,
in the spring of 1512 he fitted out an expedition of
three vessels, left Hispaniola, and landed near where
St. Augustine now stands, on Palm Sunday. It be-
ing the day for church decorations, the wild luxuri-
ance of flowers naturally suggested the name of Flor-
ida for the country.
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
Ponce de Leon's first object was to obtain gold and
precious stones. These he obtained not. He sought
the fountain of youth. This he found not. The au-
thor of these lines, after over three hundred and fifty
years from that time, having floated upon the waters
of Silver Spring, Crystal River, and other enchant-
ing streams of beauty in Florida; having bathed in
her fountains and eaten her golden fruit, feels that
Ponce de Leon's fountain was within the reach of
fancy, though not of fact.
But Ponce de Leon came not to develop the coun-
try, but to obtain what he could from it. Thus dis-
appointed, he returned to Spain, making, however, a
In 1521 he returned as adelantado (governor) of
Florida, or Bimini. He made proclamation of his
adelantadoship, and demanded allegiance from the
natives. But the answer was by no means satisfac-
tory, for the natives fiercely attacked his forces, kill-
ing many of his troops and sorely wounding the gov-
Thus wounded in body, and sorely crushed in spir-
it, Ponce de Leon returned to Cuba, where after a
few days he died. His gubernatorial honors were to
him sad failures. Instead of obtaining gold and
precious stones, he squandered his own vast wealth.
His El Dorado was a barren waste. Instead of finding
a fountain of youth, the fountain of his life passed
away. His brief epitaph reads in Spanish: In this
sepulcher rest the bones of a man who was a Lion
by name and still more by nature."
Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon-Panfilo Narvaez-Cabeza de Vaca.
AMONG the early adventurers who came to Florida
was Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon. He was an officer of
some distinction in Hispaniola. With six of his
neighbors, he fitted out an expedition in 1520 for the
purpose of procuring laborers. They landed at vari-
ous points, receiving only kindness from the natives.
By gifts and protestations of friendship he finally
induced about one hundred and thirty to go aboard
his vessels, and immediately struck sail for Hispaniola.
One of his vessels foundered at sea, and all aboard
went down. The other reached its destination: but
the proud spirit of the Indians could not brook their
fearful lot, and we are told that these Indians prof-
ited them nothing, because they all died of care and
Not discouraged by the fruitless attempt, he again
returned to Florida, in 1524, with three vessels. The
Indians received them with every mark of friendship,
until all fears were allayed. They then attacked them
so vigorously that nearly the whole expedition was
massacred, Vasquez de Ayllon perishing in the havoc.
We cannot follow the various expeditions nor notice
the duplicity, sufferings, and heroism of the Span-
iards on the one hand, and the cunning, bloodthirsty
spirit of the Indians on the other. This one adventure,
with a change of names, numbers, and incidents, is a
clear representation of nearly all.
But we must not pass unnoticed the expedition of
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
Panfilo Narvaez, who left Spain in 1527 with five
vessels and six hundred men. Stopping at Hispa-
niola, one hundred and forty of his men withdrew.
In April, 1528, he reimbarked with four hundred men
and eighty horses. On the 15th of April he anchored
in what is supposed to be Tampa Bay. The follow-
ing day he took formal possession of the country in
the name of the king of Spain. One hundred men re-
mained with the vessels; and three hundred men, with
forty horses (all that survived the voyage), undertook
to make their way through the country. They met
the fiercest opposition from the natives, and, worn by
hunger, disease, and savage warfare, they pursued a
northerly course, crossing the Withlacoochee and Su-
wannee Rivers. The survivors at last reached either
St. Mark's or Apalachee Bay, Here they constructed
rude boats and all of them but four went aboard and
attempted to make their way to the coast of Mexico.
After untold perils, hardships, and hunger, the last
of them perished on Mobile Bay.
Cabeza de Vaca, with three others, refused to go
aboard, went to the Indians and presented themselves
as great "medicine men," and were spared. After
seven years they succeeded in making their way
westward, crossed the Mississippi River, and final-
ly, meeting a party of Spaniards from Mexico, es-
caped and reached Spain.
To De Soto is ascribed the discovery of the Mis-
sissippi, but Cabeza de Vaca and his companions
had rested upon its banks before De Soto left Spain."
Hernando de Soto.
AMONG the Spanish cavaliers who undertook the
conquest of Florida none occupies the prominence of
Hernando de Soto. At an early age he went out un-
der Don Pedro Arias de Avila, then governor of the
West Indies, who placed him in command of a troop
In 1531 he was dispatched with one hundred men
and a supply of horses to join Pizarro against Peru.
He became a valuable auxiliary to Pizarro, rose rap-
idly, soon became second in command, and with a
small force captured the Inca.
To avoid disagreement between the leaders, he took
his share of the vast booty and returned to Spain in
1536. The laurels already won, and his great wealth
and influence with the Spanish court, could not satisfy
his restless and daring spirit. He undertook the con-
quest of Florida. Having received from Spain the
title Governor of Cuba and Florida, and marquis
of all the lands he might conquer," he landed at
Tampa Bay May 25, 1539, with about one thousand
men and three hundred and fifty horses. They soon
began their northerly march, passing, as nearly as
can now be ascertained, close by where Ocala now
stands; thence northwest, to the region of Tallahas-
see; thence northeast, crossing the Altamaha; thence,
pursuing a westerly direction, passing near the pres-
ent site of Rome, Ga., and crossing the Mississippi
about Memphis. Such a journey, with no supplies
14 FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
but such as could be secured from savage foes, and
especially through an altogether unknown country,
as far as we know, has no parallel in history.
It was his intention to pursue a southwesterly
course from thence into Mexico. Soon after cross-
ing the river they met insurmountable difficulties.
Disease arrested the commander, who, after making
the best arrangements he could for his followers, died
May 21, 1542, having spent about three years in his
explorations. His followers buried him in the river,
and, having constructed rude boats, they descended
the river to its mouth, thence coasted westerly until
they reached the Spaniards in Mexico.
Fort Caroline-The French Massacred-Retribution.
HITHERTO we have followed the Cavalier, whose
object was glory and spoils, but we now come to a
different class of emigrants. At this time Europe
was in a state of war between the Romanists and
Protestants. Charles IX. was king of France, and
Coligny was head of the Protestant party. An ex-
pedition was fitted out by the latter, for the purpose
of extending the possessions of France, and at the
same time, in case of reverses at home, to provide an
asylum for the Huguenots. The expedition consisted
of two vessels, and sailed in 1562, under Jean Ribault.
A prosperous voyage brought them to Florida, near
St. Augustine. Sailing northward, they landed at
the mouth of St. John's River and erected a monu-
ment of stone having on it the French coat of arms.
Again sailing northward, they reached Port Royal,
S. C., where they left a colony of twenty-five men.
Ribault returned to France for supplies and rein-
forcements, but, owing to the fierceness of the civil
war then raging, he was unable to do anything for
his settlement in America. His little colony waited
long for his return, and at last, in despair, construct-
ed a rude vessel and attempted to return to France,
and were finally rescued by an English vessel.
After the truce in France, Coligny turned his at-
tention to America, and fitted out an expedition un-
der Rend de Laudonnibre, who had accompanied Ri-
bault, They reached shore June 22, 1564. The de-
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
scription of their landing place corresponds to that of
St. Augustine. The next day they sailed north and
settled at what is known as St. John's Bluff. Here
they built a fort, which they called Fort Caroline.
A fleet of seven vessels was sent May 17, 1565, for
the relief of the fort. Menendez set sail from Spain
July 1, and reached St. Augustine August 29, the
same day that the French cast anchor at the mouth
of the St. John's. The Spaniards learning through
the Indians the position of the French, a council of
war was called. The officers generally were in favor
of returning to Hispaniola and making preparations to
attack the French in the spring, but Menendez could
brook no delay and resolved to attack them at once.
Preparations were made accordingly, and about day-
break the Spanish vessels began moving toward the
French transports. These, fearing the design of the
Spaniards, slipped anchors and put out to sea. The
Spaniards, seeing them, fired their heaviest guns, but
at too great distance for effect. Pursuit was kept up
all day, and, failing to overtake them, they returned
at night. Ribault watched their movements, and at
once resolved to make an attempt to surprise them.
Accordingly on the 8th of September he re6mbarked
with most of his able-bodied men, leaving Laudon-
niere with an invalid force to defend Fort Caroline.
Two days afterwards Ribault encountered a fearful
gale, which drove him helplessly before it and strand-
ed his vessels on the beach south of St. Augustine.
In the meantime Menendez determined to make a
prompt attack upon Fort Caroline. His force was
about six hundred, and he supposed that of the
French about the same, or perhaps a little more,
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
Having obtained guides, he resolved, against the ad-
vice of his officers, to move forward at once, especial-
ly as the raging storm seemed to favor his design of
surprising the French. Accordingly, on the 17th
of September, at the head of five hundred men, he
reached the vicinity of the fort. LaudonniBre had
done all he could to repair the fort, but he was sick
himself, and had only about sixteen well men in his
command. The night of the 19th was stormy, and at
dawn the sentinels were withdrawn under shelter.
Soon after, Menendez reached the fort and commenced
the attack, there was a sudden rush, a feeble resist-
ance, and the fort was taken; the garrison was cut
down without regard to age or sex; the captives were
hung upon the neighboring trees, and an inscription
in Spanish was placed over them: "I do this not as
to Frenchmen, but as to Lutherans."
Menendez changed the name of the fort to San
Mateo, whose festival occurred the next day. His
return to St. Augustine was signalized with great re-
joicing, a solemn mass and Te DeIu in honor of the
The news of the disaster to Ribault's vessels was
carried to St. Augustine by Indians, and Menendez
set out with a party of his men and reached Matan-
zas inlet that night. In the morning he saw a num-
ber of men on the opposite shore. One of them
swam over and informed them that they were French-
men under the command of Ribault, whose vessels
had been wrecked. He demanded an unconditional
surrender, and brought them over ten at a time,
marched them out of sight of their comrades, and had
them put to death.
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
The Spanish court rejoiced greatly over the victo-
ry. The pope sent Menendez a congratulatory letter,
and the French court, in consequence of religious ani-
mosities, received the news with perfect indifference.
Menendez now applied himself zealously in strength-
ening his forts and looking after his missions.
Although the French court treated this outrage
with indifference, the people did not; and one Do-
minique de Gourgues fitted an expedition and ob-
tained a license for a voyage to Africa to purchase
slaves. After passing San Domingo, he revealed to
his followers his true design, which they received
gladly. On approaching the shore the Indians men-
aced his landing with great bitterness; but learning
that they were Frenchmen, and enemies to the Span-
iards, they welcomed them to the shore, and brought
their warriors to aid them.
De Gourges surprised and captured the fort, and
upon the same trees upon which the Frenchmen had
been hung he hanged their executioners, and in the
same place where Menendez had raised his inscrip-
tion, "I do this, not as unto Frenchmen, but as unto
Lutherans," De Gourges engraved on a pine board
with a red-hot iron: I do this not as unto Spaniards,
but as unto traitors, thieves, and murderers." De
Gourges, after returning thanks to God, went back to
France, arriving in La Rochelle June 6, 1568.
Indians Troublesome--Treaty of 1745-Florida Ceded to
MENENDEZ had established his settlement at St.
Augustine, destroyed the French settlement at Fort
Caroline, and returned to Spain. He was at Mad-
rid when De Gourges so fearfully avenged the trag-
edy at Fort Caroline. He returned with funds and
reinforcements for the further amplifying of his
plans. He brought missionaries for the conversion
of the Indians, and immediately began to strengthen
his defenses, and plant outposts and missions, at va-
rious points along the St. John's River and the At-
lantic coast. Five years after this the son of a chief
became dissatisfied with the restraints and reproofs
of the priest, and formed a conspiracy for the de-
struction of all the priests and mission stations of the
colony. The utmost savage ferocity and cruelty fol-
lowed. Its details can be found in any of the histories
of Florida. But we are not inclined to follow the
bloody recitals; suffice it to say, no station outside of
St. Augustine escaped. Some of the priests were
slain in their robes before their altars.
From this time English settlements had been
formed at Jamestown, Va., and the Carolinas and at
Savannah, Ga. Jealousy of territorial rights, antip-
athy of nationality, with the bloodthirsty spirit of
the savages, who were always ready to aid one party
in the destruction of another, kept up a chronic war,
savage in spirit and bloody in detail. But the de-
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
sign of this work will not allow us to follow them
A treaty was concluded in 1745, between Great
Britain and Spain, by which hostilities between the
colonies were suspended, but they were renewed in
1762, and Havana fell into the hands of the English.
A treaty was finally concluded in 1763, by which Cuba
was restored to Spain, and Florida was ceded to Great
Britain. By treaty stipulation free toleration was
granted to the Catholics in Florida.
The policy of the English was very liberal to set-
tlers. At the time of the change of flags the Spanish
flag had floated over St. Augustine for one hundred
and ninety years, but, with the exception of a few
military and mission stations, the country was but
little better known than in the days of De Leon.
But liberal government, fertile soil, and genial cli-
mate made rapid development of her resources.
During our Revolutionary struggle Florida as-
sumed considerable importance. The policy of Great
Britain had been liberal to her, the citizens had just
commenced developing their resources, and with al-
most unanimity were loyal to the crown. Loyalists
from the southern colonies fled to her as a rendezvous.
To the British it was of incalculable importance; the
strong fort at St. Augustine served them for a pris-
on; predatory bands crossed the river and laid waste
the country, carrying off provisions and slaves. The
Indians also became an important factor in the strug-
gle; but the war finally closed, and, in 1783, Florida
was receded to Spain without the treaty stipulation
of religious toleration, which she had demanded of
Great Britain for Catholics. No tongue or pen can
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
describe the sad disappointment of the settlers upon
the change of flags. All progress was arrested. For
twenty years every encouragement had been extend-
ed to immigrants, and thousands had flocked in, built
houses, opened farms, planted gardens, and were just
beginning to extend to the markets of the world
specimens of her golden fruits. But the change of
government, policy, and religion paralyzed every-
thing. Those who had left the colonies before the
war could return, but the wounds were too fresh for
those who had deserted them during that fearful
struggle, and had identified themselves with their
enemies, to find a welcome in the homes they had
To every English and American settler, with but
very few exceptions, a move was necessary. After
the English and American settlers had left Florida
the development was slow. The contracted policy of
the government, and the hostility of the Indians,
rendered progress impossible.
Things continued in this state till near the opening of
the war with Great Britain in 1812. As the prospects
of the war became imminent it was supposed that
Great Britain would seize Florida. To forestall that
move, commissioners were sent by the United States
to make stipulations for the occupancy of the terri-
tory, and, in case of failure of negotiations, should
there be room to entertain a suspicion that a design
existed on the part of any other power to occupy
Florida, they were authorized to take possession of
the province with the.forces of the United States.
The Spanish government refused to surrender her
province, and in the spring of 1812 settlers from be-
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
tween the St. John's and St. Mary's Rivers, with
numbers from Georgia, organized in the name of Pa-
triots. Gen. J. H. McIntosh was elected governor of
the "Republic of Florida," and on the 17th of March
captured Fernandina. Although the government of
the United States did not acknowledge the acts of her
agents, yether troops occupied portions of the terri-
tory for several years, during which time they con-
ducted sanguinary wars with the Indians, especially
in Alachua against King Philip and Billy Bowlegs.
In August, 1814, the British occupied Pensacola,
and Gen. Andrew Jackson was sent to dislodge them.
He sent forward a flag of truce, which was fired upon,
whereupon he took the town and fort by storm. The
British and Indians escaped to their vessels. Jackson
blew up their forts and marched to New Orleans.
Col. Nichols, having been expelled from Pensacola,
devoted his attention to forming an Indian and negro
rendezvous upon the Appalachicola River. A fort
was built of massive walls, heavy cannon were
mounted, and the garrison was well armed. They
were protected by the river in front, a dense swamp
in the rear, and a creek above and below. It was
garrisoned with three hundred British troops, a large
number of Indians, and also a large number of ne-
groes, who had escaped from the States. After the
war was over the British troops were withdrawn,
leaving the fort and defenses in the hands of the In-
dians and negroes. In 1816 Col. Clinch reduced this
fort and returned the negroes to their owners.
Instigated by the British, the Seminole Indians,
with the aid of other small tribes, kept up an almost
unceasing predatory war with the whites bordering
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
on Florida. In January, 1818, Gen. Jackson con-
cluded a treaty of peace with the Creeks, and engaged
them to aid him against the Seminoles. The follow-
ing spring, with five hundred regulars, one thousand
militia, and about two thousand Indians, he marched
into Florida. At Miccosukee he routed the Indians,
and found some three hundred scalps of men, women,
and children, mostly fresh, which had recently been
exhibited to grace their triumph. From thence he
marched to Fowlstown, where he met but feeble re-
sistance; from thence to St. Mark's, which was strong-
ly fortified and had twenty guns. The fort surren-
dered without resistance. The prophet Francis and
another chief were captured and hanged. From St.
Marks he marched to Suwannee, where he dispersed a
large force and took many prisoners. Among the
latter were two Englishmen, Arbuthnot and Ambris-
ter. They were tried by court-martial for furnish-
ing the Indians arms and ammunition, were found
guilty, and executed. This for a time so humbled the
Indians that the settlers enjoyed peace.
John J. Triggs-Elijah Sinclair-Donald MacDonell-John
ON the 22d of February, 1819, a treaty was con-
cluded between Spain and the United States, in which
Florida was ceded to the latter. This was ratified
February 19, 1821, and the change of flags took place
the same year, at St. Augustine July 10, and at Pen-
sacola July 21. From that time it was under milita-
ry control until March 3, 1822, when, by an act of
Congress, it was organized into a territorial govern-
Soon after the exchange of flags population com-
menced flowing rapidly into the Territory. The fer-
tility of the soil and salubrity of t4e climate called
loudly for population, and the response was prompt.
The Indians were scattered all over the country, and
looked with extreme jealousy upon all encroachments
on the part of the whites; while the latter had no
idea of leaving the vast and fertile lands to a few
thousand Indians for hunting grounds.
Soon after immigration began we find the mission-
ary in various places, but so brief and disconnected
are the notices that we have been unable to gather
the names and dates of their labors, so as to present
them in anything like connected form. In 1821
John J. Triggs was sent to a new mission called Ala-
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
paha (printed in Minutes Lapaha). It extended from
the Ocmulgee to the Florida line, and, from the tes-
timony of old settlers, he extended his labors into
Florida, and he was, from all that I can gather, the
first Protestant minister that ever preached in the
Territory, unless it may have been during the English
occupancy of the same. Mr. Triggs was an English-
man by birth, a strong reasoner, and a thorough
Methodist, ever ready to defend the doctrines of his
Church, and often in sarcastic language. He finally
located, and spent his last years in Burke County,
Qa., an honored and useful local preacher. His name
was often spoken of with highest respect during my
first years in the State.
Elijah Sinclair was appointed in 1822 to St. Mary's
and Amelia Island. During the war of 1812 Fernan-
dina had attained considerable importance. Being
the northeast corner of Florida and a fine harbor, it
became a center for exchange of contraband goods.
I have heard my father-in-law, John Pottle, say that
he had seen some hundreds of vessels in that port at
once. After the war it declined in importance.
Still for years there was a slave mart, and a consid-
erable town there; but when the author served St.
Mary's, in 1848, the town consisted of a few families
who kept the lighthouse.
After the purchase of Yellow Bluff by the Florida
Railroad Company and the locating of the eastern
terminus of the railroad there, it again came into im-
portance and .has continued to improve, though its
development has not kept pace with the expectations
of its friends. Here Mr. Sinclair found a few sym-
pathizers, among them Donald MacDonell, who was
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
one of the first fruits of Methodism in the State.
His house was the home and preaching place of the
young itinerant. He left a large family, whose de-
scendants fill many important positions both in Flor-
ida and Georgia. We might also name Mr. Seaton,
who gave the young preacher a welcome. Smith
says: "We may safely say that the first Protestant
preaching in Florida was on Amelia Island." Yet
the same year (1822) Mr. Triggs was sent to organ-
ize a mission in Southwest Georgia. This mission
embraced parts of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida,
to say nothing of his work the previous year on Ala-
paha Mission, which doubtless extended into Middle
Florida. Be that as it may, we know that in 1822
the gospel was preached by Methodist itinerants in
Florida, both east and west of the Suwannee River.
In 1823 John Slade was sent as junior preacher
with Mr. Triggs to the mission formed the previous
year. Though not the first, he was among the first
preachers who brought the gospel into the Territo-
ry of Florida, and from his continued connection
with the country, and his great success as a pioneer,
he has been called the "Father of Methodism in
Florida." He traveled one year, and then began his
regular itinerant career on the Chattahoochee Mis-
sion. He traveled several years and then located,
giving much useful labor to the Church. He was
readmitted at Tallahassee in 1845, when our Confer-
ence was organized. Here I first met him. His
locks were white; he was tall, straight, and com-
manding in appearance; a powerful voice, though
somewhat cracked by overstraining. He preached
from a heart overflowing with love. To him the
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA. 27
cross, heaven, and hell were awful realities, and
while he preached sinners trembled. The chief
source of his power, under the Holy Ghost, was his
own deep conviction of the awful truths he uttered.
He continued a faithful and useful member of the
Conference, till called to his reward in 1854.
Missions in the East-J. N. Glenn-Allen Turner-J. L. Jerry
WHILE Triggs and Slade carried the gospel to the
pioneers in the West J. N. Glenn was sent to St. Au-
gustine. He was the first missionary whose work lay
entirely in Florida. During the Spanish occupancy
Protestants had been excluded, but now that it was
open to them our Church was prompt to enter the
Mr. Glenn found only one member of his church
in the "Ancient City," but succeeded during the
year in organizing a society of ten members.
Allen Turner was presiding elder of Oconee Dis-
trict, which extended into Florida. "He held a
quarterly meeting in St. Augustine, the first ever
held in our Territory. We are told that forty-two
persons knelt at the communion. A church was
finally built in the city, and for some years had a
feeble existence; but after the growth at Jackson-
ville and the opening of interior towns it was aban-
doned." (Smith). The communicants referred to
above were doubtless chiefly blacks. Methodism,
from the first, in that place was successful with
them; but the whites, nearly all being Minorcans and
Roman Catholics, were inaccessible. The society of
blacks maintained their existence until the mission
was renewed by our Conference in 1845.
I do not know the year, probably 1823 or 1824,
when John L. Jerry was sent to St. Augustine, but
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
from hearing him often speak of it I know it was
not long after the change of flags. He was a native
of North Carolina; born May 11, 1793. In 1818 he
was admitted into the South Carolina Conference,
and was one of the early missionaries sent to Flori-
da. I know not the bounds of his work, but know
from his own lips that it embraced St. Augustine,
Cowford (Jacksonville), Fernandina, Newnansville,
and Micanopy. The character of the work may be
inferred by one or two incidents which I have heard
In St. Augustine the population was nearly all
Catholics. Soon after he began preaching there the
priest met him, and after some violence of language
absolutely forbade his preaching in the city. Mr.
Jerry simply pointed to the stars and stripes floating
from the top of the fort, and said: "No Inquisition
where that flag floats." His society of blacks still
exists, though at the close of the war they went to
the Methodist Episcopal Church.
From St. Augustine to Cowford (Jacksonville),
forty miles, he traveled without seeing a house; from
thence to Newnansville, sixty-five miles, by Indian
trail; thence to Micanopy, thirty miles, etc. These
lonely rides the missionary made on horseback, car-
rying his clothes, books, lunch, and a little sack of
corn to feed his horse. He told me that during one
of these lonely rides, his money reduced to less than
one dollar, he stopped to lunch and feed his horse.
Feeling deeply depressed, he went to a cluster of
bushes to pray. Seeing something glitter in the sun-
shine and supposing it was a button dropped by some
Cavalier of the olden time, he thought he would go
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
and pick it up as a relic. But what was his surprise
when,, on taking it in his hand, he found it a Spanish
doubloon ($16). This met all his wants until Quarterly
Conference, when he received his installment of mis-
sionary money. Beyond this, it established in his
mind that faith in God's special promises which he
During the darkest days of the Indian war he went
from post to post preaching the gospel, and, although
massacres were frequent around him, he was never
disturbed. He remarked to me: The people say
the reason I was not troubled was because the In-
dians knew me, but I say God protected me."
In 1836 he was on the Tallahassee District. At the
organization of our Conference he was in the local
ranks, but was readmitted at Monticello in 1846, and
filled many of our most important places until, in
1859, in holy triumph he passed to his reward.
Tallahassee-Josiah Evans-Adam Wyrick.
IN 1824 Florida was made a district, and Josiah
Evans was appointed presiding elder. The immigra-
tion to Middle Florida had been so rapid that the In-
dians had retired to the east and south of the Suwan-
nee. The influx of population had been phenomenal.
Tallahassee, its capital, was rapidly becoming a center
of wealth, fashion, and refinement. Mr. Evans was
a man of rather rough exterior, yet dauntless, ener-
getic, and spiritual. He presided over the district,
and was nobly sustained by such men as Morgan C.
Turrentine, John L. Jerry, with other itinerant and
local preachers, the laymen giving efficient aid. It
was a year of great prosperity, and five hundred and
seventeen whites and one hundred and seven blacks
were reported from the district that year.
In 1825 a church was built in Tallahassee. Josiah
Evans was still presiding elder. The builder was
Rev. C. Woodbury, the father of Rev. S. Woodbury,
of our Conference. The house was a plain wooden
structure without ceiling, paint, sash, or blinds; but
board shutters supplied their places, and for many
years this building served the people for a place of
worship, and, as far as I know, was the first Meth-
odist church built in Florida. I have been unable to
obtain the names of the missionaries for this year,
but Chattahoochee and St. Augustine were among
the appointments. The country around Tallahassee
was filling up, and doubtless some of the local
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
preachers who made their mark in early Methodism
in the State were here at that time, though we can
only speak for certain of Mr. Woodbury. We have
found but meager reports of the work in 1825; but,
as seen above, Josiah Evans still filled the Tallahassee
District, Chattahoochee being served by Elisha Cal-
laway and Jesse Boring.
We have been unable to procure any data of the
work in 1826 and 1827; but in 1828 Tallahassee was
made a station, it having been served previously as
one of the appointments of a circuit, Josiah Evans,
presiding elder, and Josiah Freeman, preacher in
Smith says: "The Florida work still went on in
the midst of difficulties. A body of settlers had set-
tled on Pea River, in the west of Florida, and a camp
meeting was held there. Although there were not
more than one hundred and fifty people present, there
were twenty-seven conversions. In the far west of
Florida, at Homes Valley Mission, there was also a
Adam Wyrick and D. MacDonell were on the Leon
Circuit, which included Leon, Jefferson, Madison,
and Gadsden Counties, extending from the Apa-
lachicola to the Suwannee River, and from Georgia
to the Gulf. Mr. Wyrick traveled on horseback
through the country from Monroe Circuit, Georgia,
to reach this work. He was a man of great physical
power, intellectual, earnest, and practical. I do not
know what year he located, but when I came to Flori-
da he was an honored local preacher. My first night
in Monticello was spent at his house. He loved the
preachers, loved to talk of the early days of the itin-
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
erant in Florida. He was a ripe counselor and a fast
friend. He lived to very great age, and died in peace
a few years since. Isaac Boring was moved from
Keowee Circuit, South Carolina, to Pensacola, Fla.
There was general prosperity reported from the Ter-
ritory this year, with an increase of three hundred
and fourteen members.
In 1829 Z. Dowling was sent as presiding elder to the
Tallahassee District, where he remained four years,
John D. Bowen, preacher in charge. They had a
year of prosperity: thirty-five white and twenty-four
colored members were added to the Church. John
F. Weathersby traveled in the eastern part of the
State, where, Smith tells us: "A pole cabin with dirt
floor, was his resting place, and a ride of twenty-five
miles, through an untracked wild, was needful to
reach a congregation of half a dozen hearers. This
was his daily work."
In 1830 Isaac Boring served Tallahassee Station,
and John W. Talley, Pensacola. I will here give a
few reminiscences of Talley, as recorded by Smith,
to illustrate the life of the missionaries to Florida in
those days: "He left Columbia, S. C., on horseback,
spent a few days in Greene County (Georgia), and
rode through the State to Columbus. Here he pur-
chased a sulky, but his horse, taking fright at a thun-
der storm, ran away, broke the sulky to pieces, and
though he was only badly bruised he narrowly es-
caped death. He then refitted and turned to the
south. He was now in the Indian Nation. He
reached a white settlement in Henry County, Ala.,
the next day. Making his way through the flat
woods of Eastern and Southern Alabama, he pressed
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
on. Houses were few and accommodations poor in-
deed. At a little log cabin, the home of a hunter, he
was sheltered for the night, and fed upon musty corn
bread, the meal beaten in a mortar, and the tough
lungs of a deer fried in rancid bacon grease, and corn
coffee, sweetened with sirup. On such fare the mis-
sionary could not break his long fast, and it was fif-
teen miles to the next house. He found, however, an
oasis in the desert (a widow's neat cottage and well-
supplied table). Thence he pushed through the rain,
to the house of the first Methodist he had seen since
leaving Columbus. After reaching the Florida sea-
coast, and crossing Escambia Bay, he found himself
still ten miles from Pensacola, and with no choice but
to walk. He began bravely enough, but soon his
limbs gave out. He reached the city, however, the
We have been unable to procure the minutes of the
Conferences prior to 1846; hence the works, who
served them, and when, especially in the eastern part
of our territory, we have to leave for revelation be-
fore the great white throne. A published sermon of
Rev. E. L. T. Blake, preached upon the fiftieth anni-
versary of that church, has given us much informa-
tion upon which we have drawn.
We know that John L. Jerry had married and set-
tled his family near the Suwannee, and devoted his
wonderful energies to his Master's cause, a large part
of his time being given to the east.
James Hutto was also a pioneer in that section,
whose name was precious among the people when I
first came to this country. Among the local preach-
ers were "Uncle Dick" and Thomas Taylor, with
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA. 35
others of precious memory. "Uncle Dick" Taylor
was a man of wonderful unction; his whole soul
seemed to be in his work, and perhaps few in his
day were honored with more conversions to Christ
Extracts from the Diary of Isaac Boring.
I WILL here favor the reader with some extracts
from the diary of Rev. Isaac Boring, as published by
his son, Rev. I. W. Boring, in the Florida Christian
On Monday, the 28th of January, 1828, I left my
father's house for the seat of the South Carolina
Conference, held at Camden, S. C. The mode of
travel was horseback. Starting from Jackson Coun-
ty, Ga., I arrived at Camden February 6; was ap-
pointed to the Pensacola Mission February 14; set out
for my appointment; went via Augusta, Macon, and
Columbus, Ga.; crossed the Chattahoochee River at
MarshalPs Ferry; traveled thirty-three miles, which
brought me to the Creek Nation on Wednesday, 5th of
March; rode forty miles to the Choctawhatchee set-
On Wednesday, March 12, 1828, I reached Pensa-
cola. I find by counting the distance traveled each
day that I have ridden six hundred and twenty miles
since I left Camden. Brother Hardy is in Pensaco-
la, and intended to leave to-morrow, but he has con-
cluded to wait another day, to give me an introduc-
tion to the people, and necessary instructions about
On Friday, March 14, Brother Hardy leaves Pen-
sacola, and takes my horse at one hundred dollars. I
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
find that we have no place of worship here, but use
the courthouse. I have boarded with Dr. Fanda since
I arrived here.
On March 19th I rode to Mr. Bamans', and preached
in his schoolhouse to a small congregation.
On the 21st I preached at Mr. Gains's. Here we
have a small society.
On the 25th I returned to Pensacola and commenced
to board with Brother Hannah at $12 per month.
On the 2d of May Brother Josiah Evans, the pre-
siding elder, arrived, and held our Quarterly Confer-
On the 19th of June I left Brother Hannah, and
moved into a small house in the lower part of town.
I am not pleased with my situation. I feel very un-
willing to live by myself so far from any family. I
have sought in vain to get board with a private fam-
ily in this place; only at Brother Hannah's, and it is
not practicable for me to board there at present. I
often think of my father's house; I know I could find
a lodging place there; but I am far away from home
and among strangers, and some who appear to be un-
friendly toward me. But I remember that my Mas-
ter before me had not where to lay his head. I am
better treated than he was. I have sinned against
God and deserve punishment, but Jesus never sinned.
On Sunday, June 22, for the first time the citizens
of Pensacola met in the Methodist Episcopal Church,
to worship the God of heaven. At nine o'clock Sab-
bath school commenced; at half-past ten I preached
from the Psalm cxxii., first verse: "I was glad
when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of
the Lord." At 4 P.M. I preached to the colored peo-
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
pie from 1 Peter v. 6: "Humble yourselves there-
fore under the mighty hand of God, that he may ex-
alt you in due time." I preached at night from Prov-
erbs viii. 35, 36.
On Thursday, the 26th, I rode out to the canton-
ment and preached to the soldiers.
On the 1st of July I moved to Dr. Fanday's, where
I expect to reside during my stay in Pensacola.
On Thursday, the 26th, I rode to Mr. Eubanks'.
Only two persons beside the family met. I gave a
short talk. Mr. Eubanks wrote me a letter, inform-
ing me that he was unwilling to have preaching any
longer in his house; so I left no appointment. After
the meeting closed I rode to Black Creek, and preached
the next day.
On Saturday, the 28th, I preached at John's; rode
in the evening to Mr. Ward's and spent the night.
On Sunday, the 29th, my horse had to swim the San-
ta Fe Creek; I was carried over on a raft. I then rode
to Rocky Creek and swam my horse, riding him. I
got wet, but received no injury. I soon got to Dell's
Meetinghouse and preached. After service went to
On Monday, the 30th, I rode to Mr. Burnett's and
preached. I spoke with liberty and plainness.
On Tuesday, the 31st, I preached near Mrs. Love's
in an old dwelling they have fixed up for divine
On Wednesday, April 1st, I preached at Wanton's.
On Thursday, the 2d, I rode to Palatka [spelled in
the diary, Paladkey].
On Friday, the 3d, I crossed the river; preached
at Brother Rushe's to a few persons.
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
On Saturday, the 4th, I rode to town [St. Augus-
tine], and found that Brother Evans, the presiding
elder, had preached in the morning.
I preached again on Sunday, and administered the
sacrament of the Lord's Supper; the Presbyterian
minister communed with us, but the Episcopalian
minister did not.
On Tuesday night, at the request of Mr. Ball, I
met a few colored persons in a small meetinghouse
of many years' standing, which has been occupied by
a small society of colored Baptists.
On Wednesday evening, at the request of Mr. Ball,
I held a meeting with a few soldiers.
On Friday, the 10th, I fasted and prayed; at night
met the Methodist class and examined all the mem-
bers present. We had the good Spirit with us.
On Sunday, the 12th, at 11 A.M., I heard Mr. Alex-
ander, of the Presbyterian Church, preach; I preached
On Sunday, the 19th, I preached in Jacksonville,
filling all the appointments of the week; in the even-
ing I set out for Brother Nelson's, but got lost, and
foun myself near Mr. Eubanks'. It was then dark
,and I was about four miles from Brother Nelson's. I
concluded I would try to reach his house. I started
and got about one mile; my horse left the road, and
I could not see the place. I got off my horse and got
upon my knees and prayed for direction. I concluded
to try and get back to Mr. Eubanks'. I succeeded,
and the family appeared to receive me kindly. I had
better liberty to talk that night with the family.
On Monday I rode to Mr. Gary's, where I was
kindly entertained by the family during my stay.
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
On Tuesday, the 21st, I rode to Brother Phillips'
On Wednesday, the 22d, I rode to Mr. Johns's with
the expectation of preaching, but was disappointed in
a congregation. The people in this settlement gen-
erally call themselves Baptists, and do not care to
hear the Methodists preach. I read a chapter, sang
a hymn, prayed, and closed the meeting. I told them
I would not have another opportunity until they
were more anxious to hear preaching. In the after-
noon I rode to Mr. Ward's and found about one
dozen persons present waiting to hear me preach.
I did so, and left an appointment for my next round
at Mr. Carter's, in the same settlement. I hope
the Lord intends to raise himself up a people in this
On Thursday, the 23d, I preached at Dell's Meet-
inghouse. (Appointments all filled.)
On Thursday, the 30th, I set out early in the morn-
ing for St. Augustine. I took a wrong road, and
after traveling over it for some time I left it and wan-
dered through the woods and through a very bad
thicket, and got back to the St. John's River after
traveling for three hours and a quarter. When I got
to the river I could not tell whether I was above or
below Palatka, and of course could not tell what di-
rection I ought to pursue. I got off my horse and
got upon my knees and tried to lay my case before
the Lord and ask for the guidance of his Spirit.
When I arose and got up on my horse I came to the
conclusion that I was below Palatka. I traveled ac-
cordingly, and soon got on the right road, and felt
that the good Lord had heard my prayer and set me
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
aright. Late in the evening I got to St. Augustine,
and put up at Brother Davis'.
On Sunday, May 3, I preached at the Government
House. I announced that I would preach the next
Sabbath in the Methodist church now building.
On Tuesday evening I met the class.
On Saturday, the 9th, I attended court in order to
hear law points argued by Mr. Willis, of Georgia.
On Sunday, May 10, 1829, I commenced divine
service in the Methodist Episcopal Church. The
congregation was good. My text was Matthew xxi.,
first part of the 13th verse. I was about the middle
of my discourse when a fire broke out near the
church. The people left the church to put out the
fire. They soon returned, and I finished my discourse.
Preached again in the evening; text, Matthew xxi. 24.
Preached again at night from 1 Samuel xii. 24, 25.
I spoke with considerable liberty. This closed the
labors of the day, after dedicating the first Protes-
tant church that was ever built in St. Augustine, the
oldest town in the United States. I humbly hope the
Lord will accept the house, and honor it with the con-
version of many souls.
On Sunday, the 17th, I preached in Jacksonville.
For the first time, I was allowed to preach in the
courthouse. [He does not state in what h6use he had
preached before this.] During divine service a drunk-
en man made so much noise that Mr. Hart very po-
litely led him out of the house. After preaching I met
the society, filling all the appointments of the week.
On Sunday, the 24th, I preached at Mrs. Louis'.
On Monday, the 25th, I preached at Wanton's,
after which I rode twenty-five miles to the Seminole
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
Agency. While riding through the rain and dark,
with no human being with me, my soul was comfort-
ed on the reflection of the omnipresence of my Sav-
iour; I felt he was near to bless and preserve me.
On Tuesday, the 26th, I visited Camp King [I learn
it is a few miles west of Ocala] with an intention to
ask leave to preach to the soldiers. There were but
a few present, and they were at work. I therefore
did not think it wise under the circumstances to ask
permission. I asked the commanding officer if it
would be agreeable to have preaching among his
men. He said it would be on the Sabbath day, and
requested me to call when I could.
Wednesday, the 27th. I intend to visit a large
town of Indians, in order to attempt to preach to
them. I intend first to preach to the blacks among
them. I am in hopes that if the blacks who can under-
stand English will hear preaching they will influence
the Indians to hear me. I go to them not knowing
what will be the consequences. I hope it is of the
Lord, and that the Lord will open the door for his
gospel to be preached to this nation of Indians. Into
thy hands, O Lord, I commend myself and the cause
in which I am engaged. Thy will be done.
On Thursday, the 28th, I rode about six miles to a
town of negroes near a town of Indians called Hicks-
town. I made my business known to an old man
named Pompey, the father and grandfather, and a
ruler of them. The old man appeared very glad that
I had come to talk to them of the Almighty. They
started and let the rest know that I would talk to
them. They soon began to gather, making a congre-
gation of about fifty persons.
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
Sunday, December 14, 1828. To-day I attended the
Sabbath school for the last time. The school num-
bers about twenty. May the Lord bless and preserve
the children! At 11 A.M. I preached to a large con-
gregation; at half-past three preached to a large con-
gregation of blacks. At the close four came forward
and joined the Church on trial. I preached to a large
congregation at night, and at the close of the services
many came forward with tears in their eyes to bid
me farewell; the colored people also.
On Monday, the 15th, about twelve o'clock, I left
Pensacola and rode to Brother Gaines's, about twenty-
four miles. I rode next day twenty-seven miles to
Brother Briton's, and about midnight started on my
journey, and rode fifty-six miles to Claiborne, Ala.
On Thursday I walked to Fort Claiborne. Near the
fort is the old burying ground, where lie many sol-
diers who left their homes and friends to fight for
their country, and far from home fell by death's cold
On Friday, 19th, I set out for Tuscaloosa, and, after
riding several days, arrived there on the 24th.
On Saturday, the 27th, I visited Bishop Soule, and
heard him preach on the next day; also William
On Monday night four converted Choctaw Indians
came into the altar, and by an interpreter they spoke
to the audience. A collection of one hundred and
seventeen dollars was taken for the Choctaw Mission.
On Thursday, January 1, 1829, I set out for my
father's. After riding eight days I arrived at home.
On the 19th I left home for Conference, held at
Charleston, S. C.
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
On Tuesday, the 27th, I arrived at Charleston, and
stopped with Mrs. Humphreys, widow of the mis-
sionary, who has no doubt gone to receive the faith-
ful missionary's reward.
On Wednesday, 28th, Conference commenced its
session; no bishop present except McKendree. On
the first day of the Conference I was elected elder.
On Sunday, February 1st, I attended the Cumber-
land Church, and after a sermon by Dr. Pierce the
deacons and elders were ordained by Bishop Mc-
On September 7th the Conference closed, and ap-
pointments were read. I was appointed to the St.
Augustine and Alachua Mission. I was much aston-
ished and hurt at the appointment. I hope it will be
for the glory of God. I am informed that I am to re-
ceive fifty dollars from the missionary society for my
support. I have received twelve dollars and fifty
cents of the money. I left for my work on the 21st,
arrived at St. Augustine on the 23d, and made ar-
rangements to board with Brother Davis.
On Thursday, 24th, visited the old fort to see a man
confined for horse stealing. He told me he intended
to reform and be a better man. I talked and prayed
On Thursday, 26th, I visited several families, and at
night preached in what is called the Government
On Sunday, March 1st, I attended the place appoint-
ed for worship. Heard Mr. Henderson, an Episcopa-
lian, read a very short sermon. In the evening and
at night I preached. I was aided by the good Spirit
in both sermons. I trust they were not in vain. On
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
this day, now past forever, I beheld more of the
fruits of popery than I ever expected to see. In the
afternoon I saw many lads roaming the streets with
curious apparel, and bells hung about them ringing,
like a stock of cattle. I saw several men, natives of
this place, with hands and faces made as black as
Ethiopians. They had on very unusual garments
and artificial faces; some dressed in women's clothes.
Just before sundown I saw about half a dozen females
dancing along the streets before a drum and violin
some one was playing. The Catholics call such con-
duct a masquerade.
On Tuesday evening our class met at Brother Da-
vis' house; several whites attended, and about twen-
ty blacks. There was considerable feeling among
the blacks, and some among the whites. I feel en-
couraged that God will revive his work on the mis-
sion this year.
On Thursday, 5th of March, I rode thirty-five
miles to George Pettrey's, and on the next day
preached at St. John's church; met the class after
preaching; put up with Mr. Reed for the night.
On Saturday, 7th, rode fifteen miles to Mr. Hen-
drick's, where I expect to remain until to-morrow.
May the Lord pour out his Spirit upon me, and en-
able me to do his will at all times.
On Sunday, 8th, preached at Jacksonville, and
dined with Mrs. Hart, and heard that some members
of our church have been dancing. That afternoon
I started for Brother Nelson's, got lost, and wan-
dered through the woods in the dark. I got to Broth-
er Nelson's in the night.
On Monday, 9th, rode to Mr. Eubanks', nine miles
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
from Jacksonville, preached to a small congrega-
tion, rode eighteen miles to Brother Phillips'; and
the next day left early and rode twenty-five miles to
Mr. Johns's, where I preached to a few persons.
On the 13th rode to Dell's Meetinghouse, and
found two persons. We prayed together, and I went
home with Brother Dell and wife, who were the two
On Saturday, 14th, rode eighteen miles to Mr. Bur-
nett's, and preached to a few persons.
On Sunday, 15th, I rode six miles and preached. I
labored hard; I fear, to no profit.
On Tuesday I rode seventeen miles to Mr. Wanton's
and preached. After the meeting closed I made
some inquiry about the Indians in Florida. I think
the gospel might be preached to them. I feel a great
inclination to attempt it.
Wednesday, 18th, I rode forty-five miles to Palatka.
Next day I crossed the St. John's river and rode two
miles to Brother Rushe's. No one attended preaching.
On Friday, 20th, I rode twenty miles to St. Augus-
tine, and put up at Brother Davis'.
On Sunday, 22d, I preached morning and night,
and next day I rode to St. John's meetinghouse
On the 25th I crossed the river in a small boat. It
was so stormy no one attended preaching. I spent the
night with Mrs. Hart.
On Sunday, the 5th, I preached in St. Augustine;
preached in the evening to the colored people.
On Sunday, the 12th, I preached in Jacksonville.
On Monday, the 13th, I rode to Mr. Gary's, and
the next day preached at Black Creek. I wrote a let-
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA. *
ter to Brother Roberts, living in the Alligator Set-
tlement [now Lake City], stating that if spared I
would hold a two-days' meeting in his settlement on
the 15th and 16th of August.
On Monday, the 20th, I preached at Wanton's. I
had liberty in speaking, but was disturbed by some
On Tuesday I rode to the Agency.
On Wednesday, the 22d, I visited Big Swamp and
preached to about forty or forty-five blacks. These
people heard me gladly. I lectured to them on the
relation of the rich man to Lazarus, and showed
them the end of the wicked and the righteous. After
preaching I was told by some of the most intelligent
of the blacks that a great change for the better had
taken place with these people since I commenced
preaching to them. I afterwards asked another con-
cerning it, and he told me that several of them were
leaving off their bad habits. 0, may this people con-
tinue to reform until they become fearless Christians!
After preaching I got an interpreter and set out to
visit several chiefs. The first called upon was Olack-
limoco. I requested the interpreter to tell him who
I was. He said he was glad to see me. I then told
him through the interpreter what I had visited him
for. He said he had nothing against my preaching
to his people, and that he would like to hear me him-
self, but he could not do anything toward giving me
liberty to preach to the Indians until the chiefs as-
sembled together, which would be next Friday. He
also stated that he would name my request, and do
his best to get the chiefs to grant me the privilege.
I am much pleased with the chief, and think that if
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
all the chiefs of the nation were like him it would not
be long before the Indians would hear the gospel of
Christ. After taking my leave of the chief I, with
the interpreter, went to Tuskenah-hah. I conversed
with him as I did with Olack-limoco. He observed
that I was traveling alone among them. I was cer-
tainly trying to do them good. He said he was the
governor of that part of the nation, and when the
chiefs met at the time already mentioned he would
lay my request before them and try and get them to
grant it. The interpreter and I then went to John
Hicks, who is looked upon by the whites as the chief
of the nation. He directly told me he was opposed
to the Indians having the gospel preached to them.
I labored to convince him that he was in error, but
he appeared to regard little what I said. I told him
of the Cherokees and Choctaws, who had heard and
understood the talk of the Almighty. He observed
that they were mixed with the whites and were not
full-blooded Indians. I then told him that I had
seen several full-blooded Choctaw Indians, and heard
two of them speak. He then replied that he had
been opposed to preaching, and was determined to
continue so. I also told him that persons who would
not hear the good word and continued to do bad dis-
pleased the Almighty, and when they died would go
to the bad world. To this he replied that many of
the whites did not attend to the good talk, and that
they were as wicked as himself. What a lamentable
truth! Will not the heathen rise up at the day of
judgment and condemn many who are raised under
the sound of the gospel? After finding it useless to
speak any more, I parted with the tool of Satan and
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
returned to the Agency about sunset. The influ-
ence of Hicks is such that I am afraid he will have a
majority of the chiefs in opposing the gospel. If
they do oppose, I cannot tell what will be the result;
but I am of the opinion that the blacks may be
preached to, and if they are I think it will not be
long before the prejudices of the Indians will be re-
moved, and then they will gladly hear the gospel.
May the Lord hasten the day when the barriers will
be removed when these children of the woods shall
joyfully hear the gospel, which is able to gladden
their hearts during their pilgrimage on earth!
On Thursday, the 23d, I rode to Palatka, a distance
of fifty-five miles. Next day I crossed the river and
preached at Brother Bruskens'.
On Saturday I rode to St. Augustine and put up
with Mr. Streeter.
On Sunday, the 26th, I preached in St. Augustine.
Indian Atrocities-John L. Jerry-James B. Jackson- W.
M. Crumley-R. H. Howren.
IN 1831 John W. Talley was stationed in Talla-
hassee, John C. Simmons at St. Augustine and Nas-
sau Mission. Camp meetings were then held in
Florida, and were seasons of general revival. This
year one was held near Tallahassee. In 1832 our only
information is that T. P. C. Shelman was in Talla-
hassee, and thirty-six members were added to the
church. In 1833 J. W. Talley was presiding elder,
and James T. Johnson pastor. The district em-
braced all of Middle Florida, and Decatur, Thomas,
and Lowndes Counties in Georgia.
St. Augustine District was served by George A.
Chappell, and embraced that part south of the Al-
o 4i tamaha.
We can now only give outline of these works; the
men who served them have crossed the flood, leaving
better places for us who have followed them.
The writer of these imperfect lines often pauses,
searches his little library to see if this is all that can
be said of these heroic men and their work, but re-
turns to review long stretches of miles-here and
there a herdsman's cabin, now and then breaking the
forest solitude with songs of praise, here and there
gathering a few settlers in a private house and
preaching, forming little societies of persons "who
earnestly desire to flee from the wrath to come, and
to be saved from their sins," But who is the preacd.
FtITY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
er? What are the bounds of his work? From the
great white throne it will be answered: "Inasmuch
as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my
brethren, ye have done it unto me."
During these years J. L. Jerry, James Hutto,
John Slade, and others were laboring in East Florida
and Southeast Georgia. Dr. Blake has given nearly
a full list of presiding elders and pastors of Talla-
hassee. In 1834 A. H. Mitchell was pastor; in 1835
T. C. Benning was pastor, and Joshua Knowles suc-
ceeded him in 1836. During that year he became
proprietor of a magazine and remained there some
time. He changed his relations later to the Protes-
tant Episcopal Church.
We here insert an extract written by him to Rev. G.
G. Smith: "My next appointment was Tallahassee.
I arrived there the last Saturday in December, 1835,
preached on Sunday, and married my first couple on
Sunday night. I was very cordially received by the
people. Rev. John L. Jerry was my presiding elder.
The Seminole war had just opened, and his district
comprised the whole Indian territory. He was a man
of courage and zeal, and neither tomahawk nor scalp-
ing knife drove him from his work." (Smith, p. 298.)
I suppose it will be as well here as elsewhere to give
some more extracts from Smith's "History of Metho-
dism in Georgia and Florida:" "In the years 1837
and 1838 in Florida there was call for the highest
heroism. The cruel and unconquerable Seminoles
were waging exterminating war, and the preachers
held their own at the risk of their lives. That grand
man, John L. Jerry, whose heart led him to face all
dangers, still mustered his band of heroes, and from
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
blockhouse to blockhouse his work moved on. He
says in a letter to the Christian Advocate and Journal:
'On Monday we heard that the Indians had attacked
the house of old Father Baker and killed him, his
wife, and one grandchild; the other was found in his
arms, though wounded.' He now went to Suwannee
with Howren, and preached to a large congregation of
officers and citizens, some of whom had come forty
miles. 'When I returned home my dear wife was
overjoyed to see me. They were expecting an at-
tack on Monticello. She had two pistols, a dirk, and
a tomahawk to defend herself and her children.' Yet
he and his preachers still went on with their camp
meetings. Alas! some of the preachers did not escape
so well. Tilman D. Purifoy was returning home
when he heard that the Indians had attacked his
home and killed his family. He found his wife hor-
ribly wounded, but still living. She had been shot by
seven balls, tomahawked, and scalped, but strangely
S recovered. His negroes lay about the yard killed, and
his two children, after being murdered, were burned
up in the house. This then was the condition of the
work in Florida, and these the perils which those
brave men had to face." (Page 330.)
"James B. Jackson. was admitted on trial in 1838.
He had been a very poor boy who worked as a
day laborer, and, although quite a youth, could not
read. He was employed by a good Presbyterian
to pick cotton. The children of the family took
great interest in him and taught him his letters.
One of the daughters gave him a New Testament,
which was then his first and only book. He spelled
it through. Its influence and their counsel brought
PIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
him to Christ. He now Opplied himself to study,
and improved rapidly; he began to teach, was licensed
to preach, and entered the Conference. He rose to
high place, was on all kinds of work, stations, cir-
cuits, and districts, and always did his work well.
His mind was very philosophical in cast, he was a
fine metaphysician, and perhaps too fond of specula-
tion. After he had been nearly thirty years in active
service in Georgia he was transferred to Florida, to
meet a demand in that Conference. There was
promise of much work before him when, in a railroad
accident he was so wounded as to soon die, but not
before he had left his testimony to the precious con-
solations of the truths he had preached." (Page
"W. M. Crumley was admitted the same year, and
appointed to Madison, Fla. Leaving the bleak moun-
tains of Habersham County, Ga., while yet the Jan-
uary snows were on the ground, he made his way
over the muddy hills of Middle Georgia, into the
wire-grass country. Here he was forced to swim
creeks, to travel for almost whole days through the
wide sloughs of that flat country. At last he reached
his circuit. The people had fled to the blockhouses,
and those who were at home were expecting every
moment to be forced again to these shelters. He
traveled from blockhouse to blockhouse. There
was, of course, nothing like Church organization,
and the only support accorded to the preacher was
that which the people offered without solicitation.
He was compelled to travel through long stretches
of almost unbroken pine woods to find a home in
the cabin of some adventurous stock raiser, or in
I . 1 1 4 . I ,I -. 1 _- '.... '. I -" I I
54 FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
the hummock country to find shelter with some
planter, whom neither exile from society nor dread
of Indians could force from his rich cotton fields.
To ber all this exposure, and, worse than this, to
have a gentle, loving wife to submit to it, was the
introduction of this young and timid itinerant to his
work. He had left his only child, a little girl, with
her grandparents in Habersham, and brought only
his young wife with him. The tender parents were
very anxious about their child. Crumley had one
dollar left when he reached Florida. He found a
family almost starving; the husband had been killed
by the Indians, and the widow and children were
without bread. He gave them his last cent. In
Madison he went to the post office, and found a letter
from his kinsfolk concerning his daughter, but alas!
the postage was twenty-five cents, and he did not have
a farthing. Sadly he returned the letter to the post-
master and went to prayer meeting. After it was
over the owner of the solitary candle found a five-
Sdollar note in the candlestick. As no one claimed it,
he gave it to the preacher. The "work on which
young Crumley was had to be marked out. The In-
dians still lurked in the swamps, and often as he
traveled his way through the forest he would see
where the bullet of an Indian had spilled the blood of
a foe. Once he found that the family with whom he
had hoped to spend the night had fled to the block-
house, six miles away, and it was dark. At the
great hazard of being shot by the Indians, or mis-
taken in the dark by the whites as an Indian and shot
by them, he reached the fort, and succeeded in mak-
ing himself known. He passed the year in safety,
*': ;. *I ~'.
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
and was instrumental in the conversion of many
souls." (Page 340.)
R. H. Howren was also in Florida, and tells his own
"It was during the Indian war, when the torch,
tomahawk, and rifle were doing their deadly work in
this country. My work was mainly with the soldiers,
and with citizens clustered together under stockade
protection. I knew that I was exposed to sudden
and violent death every day, but the divine promise
sustained me: 'Lo, I am with you always, even unto
the end of the world.'
On one occasion, while holding a protracted meet-
ing near Newnansville, we were surrounded by
seventy-five warriors, who withdrew .without inter-
fering with us at all. We learned afterwards that
their intention was to make an attack upon us, but
seeing such an unusual stir among the people, they
became alarmed and withdrew. During one of our
night services, they climbed into the pines around
the house, intending to fire upon us, not being able
to do so from the ground owing to the stockade.
Fortunately we heard the signal given for firing, and
ran into the body of the house and escaped. One of
our local preachers, Brother McCrary, was shot from
his horse and killed while returning from one of his
appointments Sabbath afternoon. He was in com-
pany with a Mr. McNeil, who escaped with four
balls through his clothes and two in his horse. The
noble animal, though badly wounded, sprang forward
and soon bore his rider beyond the reach of danger.
A little boy, twelve years of age, riding a little be-
hind, wheeled his pony and took the other end of the
56 .irY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
road, a large Indian jumping into the road nearly op-
posite the boy. The race was nearly equal for a
hundred yards or more, the savage making sev-
eral reaches for the bridle, but at length the lad
outstripped him and escaped in safety to the
fort. Brother McCrary was talking to his un-
converted friend on the subject of religion when the
guns were fired. How literally he realized the po-
Happy, if with tmy latest breath
I may but gasp his name;
Preach him to all, and cry in death,
"Behold, behold the Lamb!'"
The war continued until 1842, when a treaty was
made and hostilities ceased; there was still danger,
and an occasional massacre. The last one was that
of Mrs. Crum. She, her daughter, Mrs. Ham, her
granddaughter, Miss Mary Harn, and Mr. J. F. Mac-
Donell were riding, the latter driving the carriage,
and Mrs. Harn riding on horseback. A number of
S Indians fired upon them. Mr. MacDonell was shot
through the chest, but sprang into the bushes and
escaped. Mrs. Crum was killed. Mrs. Harn caught
her daughter by the arm, assisted her upon the
horse, and they escaped. I have heard this related
by each of the survivors. Mr. MacDonell lived to
an old age, raised a large family, was honored and
loved in his county, and passed to his reward in Jan-
:The seven years' war was now ended. Many of
the former citizens of Florida returned. From many
States hew settlers came to build up homes and for-
tunes in the Land of Flowers, and with them came
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA. 57
many heralds of the cross whose objects were the
cultivation of "Immanuel's land," so that in 1843
:and 1844 the territory was largely occupied, missions
extending from Tampa Bay and Indian River to the
Georgia line, from the Atlantic to the Apalachicola
River. Districts were laid out, and stations, circuits,
and missions organized, and the field largely pre-
pared for the organization of the Florida Confer-
. . ... I . . . . .... . .. . . -, . . . . . . .. v . . . : .. .. . . .. . . .. .
The Author Transferred to the Florida Conference.
WE now come to the part of this work in which
the writer was a participant, and before proceeding
I will state that I was born in Burke County, Ga.,
December 20, 1822; was converted August 25, 1837;
was licensed to exhort December 22, 1842; and re-
ceived my license to preach December 16, 1843. The
health of my uncle, the Rev. J. B. Chappell, failing
on his way from Conference in January, 1844, I was
placed on the Carnesville Circuit in his place, which
I served to the close of the year. I was admitted into
the Georgia Conference at Eatonton in January, 1845,
and with seven others was transferred to the Florida
Conference, taking my place in the class of the first
year; was ordained deacon by Bishop Capers two
years afterwards, and elder by the same bishop two
years from that time. I am aware that the object of
our Conference in asking me to write these remi-
niscences was to preserve from oblivion the names of
persons and incidents which should not be lost, but
in assuming the task I realize the danger of apparent
egotism or dull monotony. The mere stringing to-
gether of names and incidents would gain but few
readers; the elaboration of these.would swell the vol-
ume quite beyond the design of the author. We pro-
pose to take the subject chronologically, giving in ,
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN PLORIDA. 59
the main an outline of our Conferences, with the
names of the men who composed them, a general
glance at the work, with such incidents as have come
under my observation, or are well authenticated, as I
may think will interest the reader.
.. ..: ... .. ; . .. .L . . i - . .. .. l-~~:~ -- -- . . ... .. . .. . , .... -- v- ..- 4 L . .r ; .* .... ',' ,i r .. '
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
preachers serving seven appointments in the week,
and with supplies from the local ranks, the work was
manned. Four districts were formed and served by
R. H. Luckey, P. P. Smith, T. C. Benning, and J.
On the 11th of February we received appoint-
ments, and with the blessing of our bishop bade fare-
well to each other, turned our faces toward our fields
of labor, with our parting hymn ringing in our ears:
The vineyard of the Lord
Before his laborers lies;
And lo! we see the vast reward
Which waits us in the skies.
In tracing the brief journal kept by me at that
time memory places me again in that Conference.
I love to linger among the heroes of that little band,
now nearly all passed away. But one answers to roll
call now in our Conference, and as far as I know only
S. P. Richardson, in the North Georgia Confer-
ence, and the author of these lines survive. But the
men of that day rise before me, the men, the work,
yea, the.very spirit that animated them. Here is R.
A. Griffin, a young man of about thirty years of age
just entering the work. He goes to Chucochattee,
next to Newnansville, thence to Hamilton, where, in
1846, he ends his labors in holy triumph, leaving to
his brethren an untarnished name and a worthy ex-
Here is a man of middle age, prematurely gray;
small, straight, nervous, a piercing eye, impulsive..
He would be marked in any deliberative body. He
goes to Madison, thence to St. Mary's District, and
is pent as delegate to the General Confereice in 1846,
% % : J T.- -. .I I I ... i .I .
FIFTY-TWO: YEARS IN FLORIDA.
This year he breaks down. Consumption has its
fangs upon him; he settles in Tampa, laboring to
build up our little church. In 1850, in the presence
of the author and two other ministers, he takes the
sacrament, and talks of death as calmly as if it were
only an ordinary journey. In the midst of friends,
engaged in conversation, a slight tremor, and the
spirit of Alexander Martin has passed to his reward,
the second from our little band.
The author was sent this year to Ocean Pond Mis-
sion. It embraced all of what is now Bradford, part
of Columbia, Hamilton, and Suwannee Counties,
Florida, and part of Camden, Ga. The extremes
were Fort Call, Yelvington's, and Sweat's in "the
big bend" (Georgia), Blount's Ferry, southwest of the
Okefinokee Swamp, through Hamilton County, via
Echeetucknee and Fort White to Fort Call. There
was no post office, church, or school house in the mis-
sion. I received my mail at Newnansville each round.
i The seven years' war had recently closed, and settlers
had rushed to this region for the range. They had
formed into settlements or colonies, sometimes twenty
or thirty miles apart, for mutual protection. I trav-
eled on horseback by pocket compass, often receiving
such directions as this: Keep this course [pointing]
for ten miles, and you will strike an Indian trail, take
the left-hand end, and it will carry you in about five
miles of the settlement."
The country was generally open, no obstructions
except an occasional pond to be surrounded, or a
branch or cypress slough to be forded. But in the
rainy season the Suwannee, Santa Fe, New River,
Cypress Creek, and three prongs of St. Mary's River
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
were all often swimming; but by this time the mis-
sionary had learned the routes, and had become a fair
woodsman. The weather was warm, and it required
no great heroism to shoulder saddlebags and umbrella
and take a pleasant bath while his faithful horse bore
him in safety to the other shore. I have often looked
with pity upon the poor specimen of humanity, whom
God has honored by "putting him into the ministry,"
when I have heard him croak and complain of its
hardships and sacrifices.
The appointments on this work were first filled in
two weeks, but as their number increased, they cov-
ered three. So the preacher was in the saddle or
preaching, or both, seven days in each week.
There were no church buildings in the mission.
The settlers opened their doors, and their neighbors
came together; but the latter part of this year we
built at Fort Call a church of pine poles, and hewed
puncheons for floor and seats. We sawed out doors
and windows, made a rude table, and the building
was complete. It would doubtless have compared
poorly with St. Peter's, yet we can say with triumph
of our Zion: "This and that man was born there."
As I pen these lines, the names of Benjamin Moody,
William Futch, Mrs. Yelvington, Messrs. Blackweld-
er, King, and a host of others who were friends of
the Church, and of the boy preacher of those days,
rise before me. God bless their sons and daughters!
Their fathers and mothers have '"fallen on sleep."
)I~;ii~; ::.: ':. ~.ii ": : ~ ~ i 'L: i1
:.. 7 *.- ',s: ..- ,., .":.., ", '.:'.. *.* *'."? .'- : :'-".. .. . .. -" : "" ... ',...' ,:." '
Second Conference-The Armed Occupation Act-A. J. Dea-
vours--Extracts from Journal.
OUR Conference held its second session in Monti-
cello February. 9, 1846, Bishop Andrew, President;.,
P. P. Smith, Secretary. George J. Arow, Franklin
Stewart, Thomas Taylor, and J. W. Carlton were ad-
mitted. John L. Jerry, J. J. Taylor, and M. Bedell
were readmitted. T. C. Benning, Anderson Peeler,
J. N. Miner, and N. R. Fleming were located. ,O
these, Thomas C. Benning was afterwards admitted
Into the Protestant Methodist Church, and died in
Brooklyn, N. Y., a few years since. J. N. Miner
remained a local preacher in florida a few years.
S He left under a cloud. His end I know not. N. R.
Fleming read medicine and was practicing in Lincoln
County, Ga., the last I knew of him. A. Peeler en-
gaged in the practice of medicine and served the
Church as a local preacher until 1872, when he was
readmitted. He served the Church faithfully until
called to his reward.
In manning the work this year the only change in
the districts was A. Martin vice T. C. Benning, on
the St. Mary's. The writer was sent to Benton Mis-
For the purpose of settling out the Indians, Con-
gress had passed what is known as the "armed oc-
cupation act.'.: It provided that any man who would
settle south $4-given line, keep a gun and so much
-qmmunitiu 4i. house fit for the habitation of
AMI U 4thehabt'tio 9
TIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
man, cultivate five acres of land, and remain on it five
years, should receive a patent for onu hundred and
sixty acres of land. As there were then but few mas-
sacres reported, the lands being fine, there was a rush
Sfor the prize, especially as this was the only hope of
many of the settlers ever owning land. They were
mostly unmarried" men, and those who had families
generally left them in places of greater safety.
Among the early immigrants A. J. Deavours is
found preaching and singing in their forest homes.
No more shall the sound of the war whoop be heard,
The ambush and slaughter no longer be feared,
The tomahawk, buried, shall rest in the ground,
And peace and good will to the nations abound.
I love to think of that noble pioneer missionary.
Full of love, full of zeal, no danger daunts him,
no hardships discourage him. The love of souls was
the all-consuming fire that burned in his bones. He
served mission fields a few years, then returned to
When the author reached his mission it was to find
the general discouragement which follows an enthu-
siasm that never pauses to count the cost. The
houses 'fit for the habitation of man had been gen-
erally built by driving four forked poles into the
ground, for plates, rafters, etc., the same kind of
poles, these fastened with withes or vines; thatch-
ing the sides and roofs with the broad palmetto
leaves, the house was completed and "fit for the
habitation of man." The farm was equally elabo-
rate. The furniture and fare were ij eping with
the surroundings. Here the mism ate and
5 :*\.,^ i'
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
prayed with the family (only one man), slept with
his host, and the next day preached to him and his
The little money the emigrant .carried with him
had generally been spent, and now the question was:
"After suffering so much, shall I abandon all and go
back to my friends, or shall I try to weather it through
and save my land?" The preacher who traveled this
work had some of what the world calls hardships,
but we did not feel them very hard. There is a sil-
ver lining to every cloud," and our trials were min-
gled with joys. We adopted as our motto: "Wher-
ever men can go for money, we can go for the love
of Christ and for souls."
A few extracts from our journal may interest the
May 4.-This morning I left Brothel Harn's, Ben-
ton County, Fla., in company with J. W. Yarbrough,
presiding elder, to attend the first quarterly meeting
S ever held in Orange County. We made arrangements
for crossing the head waters of the, Withlacoochee,
they being swollen. Two men accompanied us to the
first and main branch. Running our vehicles one at a
time over a canoe until the axle rested upon the gun-
wales, two men swam beside and pushed to the other
shore. Getting all across, we harnessed up and re-
sumed our journey, the men returning home. On
reaching the second branch we found an old broken
military bridge sunk down in the middle. Cutting
poles and throwing them across the chasm, we slid our
carriages safely to the other shore, swimming our
horses across; then we harnessed up and proceeded. A
short drive brought us to the place of "Dade's Massa-
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
cre." Here we paused and inspected the field. The
trees scarred by bullets, the logs used for improvised
breastworks, the open graves from which the bodies
of that noble band had recently been taken and car-
ried to St. Augustine for interment, made impres-
sions upon my mind I can never describe. About 9
P.M. we reached a house, having narrowly escaped
being upset in a bad ford after dark. We gave
thanks to God for protection, and retired to rest.
May 5.-This morning we resumed our journey,
but during the forenoon our trail utterly gave out.
Retracing our steps some miles, we struck the right
trail. About 3 P.M., in coming out of a bad ford,
my horse broke one of my sulky's wheels. Brother
Yarbrough took my trunk, and a walk of about five
miles brought us to the home of Brother E. J. Har-
ris, the first house we had seen since morning.
May 6.-Borrowing a saddle, we resumed our
journey, and about 4 P.M. reached the house of Mrs.
Rogers (where Apopka City now stands), the only
house or person we had seen during the day.
May 7.-This afternoon we reached Fort Melon,
having seen no man or human habitation during the
day. We were the guests of Dr. Speer, and com-
forts and luxuries we relished. Our quarterly meet-
ing was one of interest. John Penny was the mission-
May 11.-This morning, having enjoyed the hos-
pitality of friends and the presence of the Lord in
our meeting, we started back, reaching Mrs. Rogers'
just before night.
May 12.-Resumed our journey, but before night
my horse gave out, and we stopped in the road. He
- 7 . ": iL .. ; ....... 7 . ,, Ylir"? ...... . J : ~ .. ': i : '; i7: ( ;- ].T " :F "'7 -r .. .. . .. ., ';, 7F
68 FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
had been a stranger to sufficient food for a long time,
but by resting him and walking I reached Brother
Harris' a little after dark.
May 13.-This morning I took an ax and walked
out to the place where I had left my sulky, cut a
pole and lashed it to the shaft under the axle, piled
up the debris, and led my horse back to Brother Har-
ris', and rested until morning. Then came "the tug
of war." It was seventy-five miles to the nearest
shop; so availing myself of a few farm tools, I sawed
some dry white oak raifs and made spokes, drove
them into the hub, placed the fellies as near as pos- .
sible equidistant from the center, cut tenons, drove
them on, then heated the tire, and with the assistance
of the family, tongs, and poker, we soon had a
wheel, not quite as neat as I have seen, but it an- :
swered my purpose.
SMay 14.-Started to-day for my work, and before
night my horse again gave out, but by resting, coax- -
Sing, and walking I reached a house before night. *
Here I succeeded in buying a pony by giving my
horse in the trade.
July 26.-To-day I preached at Tampa, opened the
doors of the Church, and organized a society, the
first ever organized in this place. "Dr. J. Roberts was:
appointed class leader. O that the little vine may
continue to spread and fill all these lands! .
This was a year of general prosperity in our Con-
ference; though the minutes only show an increase of
one hundred and seventy-two whites, and two hun-
.. dree and twenty-five colored members, still the work
was gaining in form and strength.
Our Third Conference-Hamilton Circuit-Affliction.
OUR third Conference convened in Quincy, Bishop
Capers presiding.. Moses C. Smith, Samuel Wood-
bury, Nelson Conner, I. N. Craven, John McPhail,
and Leroy G. Leslie were admitted. Ira L. Potter,
Henry T. Jones, and Joseph J. Sealey were received
by transfer; J. W. Yarbrough, F. A. Johnson, and
J. H. Bryan located; G. J. Arnow and J. W. Carl-
ton were discontinued; R. A. Griffin had been re-
moved by death, and A. J. Deavours by transfer,
leaving a net increase of only two men. Of those
leaving us, J. W. Yarbrough was a strong and ear-
nest preacher. To Georgia his history belongs. F.
A. Johnson was a young man of good mind but
limited education. He served the Church many years
Sas a local preacher. J. H. Bryan went to his planta-
tion, J. W. Carlton was a man of feeble health and
fervent piety. G. J. Arnow went into the practice
of law, and now resides in Gainesville.
This year J. L. Jerry was sent to the Newnans-
ville District, and James Harris to the St. Mary's.
I was sent to Hamilton Circuit. On my way to my
work, beihg very weak from protracted fevers the
previous year, I was attacked with pneumonia in
Monticello, where I remained for several days, and
then started, very feeble, and my mouth very sore
from salivation. On reaching my work I found the
streams all swollen, which required frequent swim-
ming. One day Lewam three streams, while heavy
- -- I -irli-;l~ ;- n rr.l - r -Il--ri~iu~r -r-l LL-Ul~r 0-*771l;r~1
70 : FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
rains fell much of the time. On reaching a house
near night, my clothes all wet and no chance for dry-
ing, my mouth still very sore, and not enough cover-
ing to keep me warm had I been dry, I passed an un-
comfortable night. Yet the God that takes note of
the sparrows shielded me, so that I experienced no
bad effects from this temporary discomfort. The
year was one of general prosperity on the circuit,
accessions at all the appointments. Our camp meet-
ing at Swift Creek October 25 was a time of general
refreshing and great power. There were many con-
versions, and nineteen accessions to the church. The
following is an extract from my journal:
"December 25,-To-day I meet my dear mother
and sister after an absence of two years. Glory be
to God for all his mercies! In the darkest hours
through which I have passed since I was last here he
has sustained me, My body has been afflicted, yet my
soul has triumphed. When all hope of life was gone
o I could say: 'The will of the Lord be done.' He has
raised me up and enabled me to again.meet my loved
ones, and now I vow to endeavor to be more faithful
and humble. May the grace of God ever sustain me!
for I am sure that unsaved by him I fall."
Our fourth Conference convened in Waynesville,
Ga., February 9, 1848, Bishop Andrew presiding,
and P. P. Smith Secretary. Wm. M. Kennedy and
Robert S. Tucker were admitted; G. W. Fagg was
received by transfer; H. T. Jones and David L.
SWhite located; I. N. Craven and John McPhail dis-
continued; T. W. Cooper and J. M. N. Low were
permitted to rest on account of feeble health, leaving
a decrease of four from the effective list. Of those
FIFTTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
leaving our ranks, D. L. White was a son of Dr. D.
L. White, of Quincy. He was a young man of liberal
education, deep piety, and sterling worth. He set-
tled at lola, where for many years he did good serv-
ice as a local preacher, until some years ago he passed
to his reward, leaving a widow, a son, and three
daughters. The daughters have since then, all in
triumph, crossed the flood. The widow and son still
live, and labor for and contribute liberally to the
Church. J. J. Taylor returned to his plantation in
Columbia County, where he rendered good service
to the Church until called to his reward. The
writer was sent this year to St. Mary's Station. The
charge was small, the situation pleasant. Among
the many friends of that year I must mention the
families of Mrs. Seals and Mr. A. J. Bessent, in
whose houses I found homes, and whose kindness
and hospitality have ever been cherished among the
reminiscences of my early ministry.
From 1849 to 1853.
OUR fifth session met in Albany, Ga., January 31,
-1849, Bishop Capers, President; P. P. Smith, Sec-
retary. 0. B. Stanley,. J. M. Hendry, J. H.. M.
Gardner, and T. N. Gardner were admitted. W. M.
Choice was readmitted. Mr. Choice was born in
Hancock County, Ga., in January, 1800; was admitted
into the Georgia Conference in 1832; served the Leon
Circuit in 1833 and 1834, the St. Mary's District from
1837 to 1839, Jacksonville District in 1840 and 1841;
located and was supply on the Tallahassee Station in
1842 and 1843. During this period there was a won-
derful revival, and many of our members there to-
day are either converts or children of converts of that
revival. From his readmission until his death he was
a useful and faithful preacher. He was a stout man,
with florid complexion, and a powerful voice. It is
said that in preaching his farewell sermon in St.
Mary's he exclaimed, '"You may never hear my feeble
voice again," though that voice was heard two miles.
He was earnest and had many seals to his ministry.
Passing from us in 1855, he said: "I am going to
die, but I am ready.".
This year I was sent to Albany Station, and on the
1st of May was married to Miss Ann Eliza Wade.
She was stepdaughter of Dr. White, of Quincy. She
was about my age, eduqted, refined, pious, and love-
ly-in all respects adapted to the life of the helpmeet
of an itinerant preacher.
~.*L-r~r-~r-~ ~C~--LI - I-il -.~C1ll ~ , ~- I i i ~ :-
FlTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
During this year we had a revival of considerable
power, which was renewed the following year under
the ministry of Mr. Brady, which gave much strength
to our church in that city.
Our sixth Conference held its, session in Madison.
In the absence of Bishop Andrew, Ira L. Potter was
elected President, and P. P. Smith, Secretary. Aaron
W. Harris, William C. Brady, John W. Carlton, and
James K. Conner were admitted. Anderson Peeler
was readmitted. James Peeler, J. P. Richardson, J.
M. Valentine, and Philip Pelly were received by
transfer. John W. Mills, George W. Fagg, Moses
C. Smith, and Augustus D. Russell located. Three
were allowed to rest on account of feeble health.
This year I was sent to Marion Circuit, which ex-
tended from Pilatlacaha on the south to St. Augustine
on the northeast. During the year we gave an ap-
pointment to Palatka, preaching in the courthouse.
I think there were no houses there then, except such
as had been erected during the war for military pur-
poses. There were two stores, kept by R. R. Reed
and K. R. Duke. I should think there were from
twelve to twenty families. We organized a society
of about fifteen members, which still exists. True,
the members that then constituted the roll have
passed to the other shore, but others have taken their
places. As the place changed from a village to a
city, others came in, and with help from abroad built
churches, but our little band was unable to build.
About 1860, through the efforts of the members and
the energy of Revs. William Davies and William E.
Collier, a plain house was erected. It stoodas a place
for worship for many years, but, small and unsight-
t 'FUrPTYr-TWO YEARS I 1 rORIDA.
ly, it was more a type of weakness than of strength.
While writing about this place I will state that in
1884: Palatka was made a station and J. B. Ley was
sent to it, where he remained four years, during
which time they built a parsonage and, a pretty and
Tre most important point on tle circuit was Ocala.
n 184 the county seat of Marion was moved here.
At the time I came to the circuit, there was a court-
house built of pine poles, which served for all public
purposes. It served as a church for all denomina-
tions, also as a public hall and theater.
There were three stores kept by Messrs, Tison &
Harris, E. D. House, and A. Waterman, a doggery
and post office south of the square kept by William
Roberts, and a small hotel where the Ocala House
now stands. I suppose some twelve or fifteen fami-
Slies constituted the town. The missionary had been
here and a society had been organized.
This year we secured the lots for our church, but
were unable to do anything more toward a house of
On the 5th of March of this year God called my
young and loving wife from earth to her reward.
Only about eleven months was she lent to me; then
she was translated to a fairer clime. In attempting
to account for this dispensation of God's providence
I was almost wrecked, but the same loving Fatlier
which has always sustained me enabled me finally to
realize that he is good, and that all things work to-
gether for good to them that love God." "What I
do thou lknowest not now; but thou shalt know here-
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
The year as a whole was one of prosperity in our
Conference, giving us a net increase of one thousand
and ninety-five whites, and five hundred and ninety-
two colored members. Two of our preachers had
died, Alexander Martin and James R. Conner. Mr.
Conner was a young man of deep piety, an earnest
and useful man; but in the morning of life, with pros-
pects of usefulness before him, God called him from
labor to rest.
The seventh session of our Conference convened in
Thomasville, Ga., January 9, 1851; Bishop Paine
presiding, and P. P. Smith, Secretary.
William Edwards and David R. Kellog were ad-
mitted, F. A. Johnson was readmitted, R. M. Ty-
dings received by transfer, G. A. Mallette and L. G.
Lesley located, P. Pelly and N. Conner removed by
The stewards settled with claimants at sixty-five
cents on the dollar, the best we had ever done.
The writer was sent to Palatka and St. Augustine
Mission, but the health of J. M. Valentine failing
soon after Conference, I was changed to the Jackson-
ville Station, which I served the remainder of that year.
Our eighth session met in Tallahassee January 28,
1852. In the absence of Bishop Andrew, W. W.
Griffin was elected President, and P. P. Smith, Sec-
Samuel A. McCook, Peter B. Bedford, and William
H. Turner were admitted; J. W. Mills and G. W.
Fagg were readmitted; Thomas Gardner was received
from the Protestant Methodist Church; J. M. N.
Low and T. W. Cooper took no appointment on ac-
count of feeble health; George C. Clarke was trans-
r . . r.:. f ;j . I ,.` 7. r/ .. . .. .. . . 7 . .
6 rFIIPT-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
ferred to Georgia, and Alexander Graham was sent
as missionary to California-leaving a net increase of
six to our itinerant ranks. S. P. Richardson was
sent to the Tallahassee District, and Franklin Stew-
art to the St. Mary's District. I was returned to
This year was one of general prosperity in our
Conference. In Jacksonville we nearly doubled our
membership, repaired and painted our church, and
more than doubled our congregation. The Tallahas-
see District was blessed with general revival power
and large increase of members. Our net increase
was four hundred and fifty-one whites, and three
hundred and eighty-nine blacks.
Our financial showing was not an enviable one, as
we settled with claimants at thirty-eight and one-half
cents on the dollar. When we remember that one
Hundred dollars was the maximum of a single preach-
er's salary, there was not much need of urging upon
S us the caution: "If riches increase, set not your heart
The Conference hel its ninth session in Quincy,
beginning January 26, 1853, Bishop Capers in the
F. R. C. Ellis and John F. Rivers were admitted.
The districts were served by S. P. Richardson, R.
H. Howren, F. Stewart, and G. W. Pratt.
The writer was sent to St. Mary's-Station. Here
we found the church almost broken up by divisions
growing out of troubles of the previous year. But
while unable to heal many of the wounds, we were
successful in some respects, and passed the year pleas-
antly with some degree of success.
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA. 77
On the 4th of July of this year I was married to
Miss Martha S. Pottle. For over forty-four years
she has been the partner of my joys and sorrows, my
hopes and fears. Both in prosperity and adversity,
in sickness and in health, we have walked the path of
life together. God gave us three sons, all of whom
still live and have families of their own. Two of
them are members of our Conference, and the other
is a devout Christian and a zealous worker in the
Church. My wife still lives (1897), to aid and com-
fort me in my itinerant work.
-- -- -: ;.r . ;;~. `':r-~rrr\rg~rlrp ;r :r-r::t,r--~ I(C-iln~r~
From 1854 to 1858.
Oua tenth Conference convened in Monticello. R.
H. Howren was elected President, and P. P. Smith,
Secretary. James W. Jackson, Archibald Johnson,
Robert I. McCooke, and William Peeler were ad-
At this Conference the Thomasville District was
formed. I was returned to St. Mary's, and this year
had my first experience with yellow fever. It proved
a terrible scourge, some whole families passing away,
and scarcely any that were not decimated. It was
estimated that one-fifth of the white people who re-
mained in town died. I was the fourth person taken
down, having officiated at the funerals of the previ-
ous three. Although my attack was a very violent
S one, yet through the skill of my physician, good
nursing, and, above all, the kind hand of my Heaven-
ly Father, I was able to walk about a little in ten
days. From this time I was engaged night and day,
praying for and administering to the sick, counsel-
ing with the families, and burying the dead. The
epidemic lasted about three months, and for several
weeks I attended more or less funerals every day. At
about the height of the scourge my wife was taken.
In almost every house there was sickness. Nurses
were scarce, for we had no professionals at that time.
Doctors were overworked, and were absolutely unable
to meet the actual needs of the suffering. For nine
days I did not undress, the little sleep I got being in
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN1FLORIDA.
snatches of a few moments at a time. One night I
can never forget. It was about the crisis of my wife's
illness. I was watching alone, when just in front of
my door there was a scream of a female's voice; such
a voice as I never heard equaled in power and clear-
ness. The shriek was followed by a torrent of blas-
phemy and vulgarity, which I think I have never
heard'equaled. The darkness of the night, the hour
(about 12 P.M.), the distress in the town, my own
heart bleeding for the one I was watching, with the
fearfulcursing outside, produced a feeling language
fails to describe. It was a poor crazy woman, a wan-
derer, who had come into town a few days before.
The epidemic finally passed away, leaving many sad
memories, none of which were more sad than the fact
that the people failed to learn righteousness. The
devotees of pleasure and dissipation seemed to vie
with each other to regain what they had lost by the
The eleventh session of our Conference met in De-
cember, 1854, in Madison. This was the last Confer-
ence over which the sainted Bishop Capers presided.
Going home from this, he was attacked with heart
disease in a few days, and soon passed to his reward.
We admitted on trial David L. Kennedy, Martin V.
Wells, James T. Stockton, James O. Branch, Francis
A. Branch, John L. Williams, Francis M. Wilson,
and Amos Davis.
The writer was sent to Thomasville Station. Ow
ing to family affairs, my own health, and some cir-
cumstances connected with the making of this ap-
pointment, it was the most afflictive that I had ever
received. But God overruled all for good, and it
w,: r i II- I '. " 1 r i .. . .. ".. i .. .. .. . j w ..... I 1 : -L -I
08Q FIFTY-TWO YARDS IN FLORIDAR I
proved one of thepleasantest charges I.eVer served.
Here God gave us our first son. And here let me re-
cord a: t through life the rule has been that ap- .
poinati-s received with the greatest:pleasure have
often had their greatest trials, and those which have
Sbej tiEevAd with the saddest feelings have proved
ammtg the mbo t successful and pleasant.
O~ir twelfth Conference was held in Bainbridge,
Ga., December, 1855. 'In the absence of Bishop An-
drew, S. P. Richardson was elected President, serving
until the arrival of the bishop. "The country at the
time was flooded with rain, water courses swimming
The first day less than half the preachers were present.
The following day many others arrived, and by the
lose of Conference nearly all were present, having
overcome many difficulties and dangers.
SWe admitted on trial Joseph A. W. Johfis, Valerius
C. Canion, Grandison Royster, Thomas R. Barnett,
S:'' Samuel S. Cobb, Willis P. Ocain, Thomas .A, Car-
. ruth, John EF, Andrews, Theophilus J. Johnson,
SCharles P. Murdock, Robert F. Lanier, James M.
Points, Isaac A. Towers, and James A. McCollum, a
much larger class than at any previous Confeirence.
SThe increase of members was one thousand sixhun-
dred and seventy-three. The work was largely rear-
ranged and divided into seven districts, which were
served by J. R. Plummer, William M. Kennedy,,P.
P. Smith, J. W. Mills, T. N. Gardner, J. C. Ley, and
q i.W.. Pratt.
I went to Jacksonville and R. M. Tydings went to
the station. Ne found the church in Jacksonville in
a rdeperte edition. There had been an extensive
revival the jitevious year under the ministry of D. B.
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
Lynne, but. after the revival there were varied troub-
les, and the pastor, though a great revivalist, was not
a success in managing Church difficulties.
We commenced a series of protracted services soon
after Conference, which continued through several
weeks. Some were converted, many reclaimed, many
deep wounds were healed; but alas! some were too
deep, and the parties left the Church. Yet in that
charge it was a year of prosperity. My district ex-
tended from the Georgia line, embracing Orange
County, from the Atlantic to the Gulf, yet in the
whole district we had but three ordained pastors. In
most places the children and adult members could not
receive baptism, and some who had been members for
years had never had the privilege of taking the sacra-
ment of the Lord's Supper. To meet these necessi-
S ties, I arranged with the preachers to hold services at
different places each week between quarterly meeting,
and administer the ordinances. But the work I soon
found was beyond my strength, and taking measles,
which settled in my bowels, I was able to do but lit-
tle work the last part of the year.
At that time we had at Micanopy a Conference sem-
inary. We had, as we thought, made good arrange-
ments for instructors for the fall, but a few weeks
before the time for opening we received notice of dis-
appointment in our plans. It was too late to procure
teachers, and it was thought another disappointment
would cause the entire enterprise to prove a failure.
The state of my health, the necessities of the semi-
nary, with the earnest entreaties of the trustees and
such of the preachers of the district as could be con-
sulted, induced me to make the best arrangements I
SMj.`ir -~ v -r__#. r .. . -v ?. .... a ;r FM .. .. .7 .. U -, . ... .. .. ... .. . .. .... .y ? ,y, K ,
82 KEm-TwO YFABS IN FLORIDA.
would :for my last round and accept the ppaition of
Principal of the seminary, Mrs. Ley taking charge
of the female department.
I will here state what I have to say in regard to
this enterprise. It was started about 1857 under the
management of Rev. J. M. Hendry, Agent. A sub-
#tantial house had been erected, and school opened,
but some debts upon the building, and these increased
by deficiency on teachers' salaries, had accumulated
until there seemed but little hope of saving the prop-
erty. The whole would not have sold for enough to
liquidate the debts. The Conference for 1856 had
appointed a new Board of Trustees. We obtained
time and had nearly liquidated the debts, with a re-
spectable nucleus for endowment, and a patronage of
over one hundred students; but discord among pa-
trons caused me to resign at the close of 1859. The
Local troubles, and the war, which called off most of
the young men, caused the seminary to be closed in
the latter part of 1860. After the war the fearful
state of finances forced it to be sold for a trifle, and
thus it passed from our hands.
Our thirteenth session was held at Alligator (now
Lake City), Bishop Andrew presiding, and P. P.
Smith, Secretary. We admitted B. J. Johnson, J. J.
Giles, Leroy B. Giles, J. E. Darden, W G. M. Quar-
terman, and J. K. Glover. T. W. Cooper was read-
mitted. J. M. Davis, E. F. Gates, J. M. Wright, and
J. W. Timberlake were received by transfer. Ed-
ward G. Asey was expelled.
Our fourteenth session was held in Thomasville,
Bishop Early presiding, and P. P. Smith, Secretary.
H, G. Townsend, William Williams, Henry F. Smith,
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA. 83
William A. Dyall, Isaac Mundan, Robert A. Carson,
O. A. Myers, and J. Rast were admitted.
Our Conference held its fifteenth session in Jack-
sonville, Bishop Andrew presiding, and J. C. Ley,
Secretary, beginning December 15, 1858. E. H.
Giles, J. Henderson, J. Stewart, J. A. Heming-
way, P. A. McCook, F. B. Davis, S. R. Weaver, J.
P. Holmes, W. C. Jourdan, and R. L. Wiggins were
The past year had been one of general prosperity
and one thousand eight hundred and fourteen mem
bers had been added to the church. Extensive re-
vivals were reported in nearly all parts of the Con-
...- , r . I : t . .. . : .. . . j . r ... 7. .
From 1860 to 1863.
THE sixteenth session of our Conference was held
in Micanopy, beginning December 28, 1859, Bishop
Kavanaugh presiding, and P. P. Smith, Secretary.
Robert E. Evans, William F. Roberts, Robert W.
Flournoy, Andrew R. Bird, Cornelius Parker, James
D. Maulding, James L. Carruth, R. R. Burts, Ster-
ling Gardner, J. M. Bridges, and David D. Henry
were admitted on trial. Joseph J. Sealey, J. W.
Jackson, and Robert W. Burges were readmitted.
John R. Harwell was received b6y transfer. Joshua
Carraway, J. Anderson, and Willis P. Ocain were
supernumerary. E. L. T. Blake, John Penny, M.
Bedell, William Edwards, Thomas Taylor, and Jesse
M. Valentine were superannuated. 0. B. Stanley
was removed by transfer. John L. Jerry has passed
to his reward, leaving a net increase to our effective
force of fifteen.
We still had six districts, served by S. P. Richard-
son, S. Woodbury, David L. Kennedy, T. W. Coop-
er, J. W. Mills, and W. L. Murphy.
Soon after Conference Micanopy was scourged
with a severe visitation of pneumonia. Many per-
sons died, among them Revs. T. W. Cooper and Wil-
liam Edwards. Bishop Kavanaugh removed me from
Flemington Mission to the St. John's District, to fill
the vacancy occasioned by the death of Brother Coop-
er. The work extended from the St. Mary's River to
Indian River, and had to be served mostly by private
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA. 85
conveyance. The traveler of to-day can form but lit-
tle conception of what it was then. The country was
but thinly settled, often there were stretches of forty
miles between houses. The roads, especially in the
southern part of the district, were chiefly such as had
been opened by the troops during the Indian war.
The rapid growth of vegetation rendered the roads
obscure, and often, for miles, the traveler did not.
know whether he was on the right road or not; indeed,
he was often perplexed to find out if he was on any
road. But in all such cases of uncertainty he well
knew that the country was broad, and there was plenty
of room in the woods in which to lodge. And if he
could keep out of too deep water, he would get some-
where sometime, and that wherever he reached a hu-
man habitation a cordial welcome awaited him, and
that when he reached the place for preaching he
would meet an eager congregation, some of whom
had come many miles to hear the word. I some-
times meet some to whom I preached in those days,
and as old soldiers we joyfully rehearse the battles
fought, but most of them have crossed the flood.
There were also many things to amuse the weary
pilgrim, and by way of contrast between then and
now I shall introduce the substance of a dialogue be-
tween the writer and a young man who had come
over twenty miles to the meeting:
Can't you send us a passun to preach at F. next
"' What is the distance from your settlement to
the nearest place of preaching?"
"Over twenty miles."
"How many families live in your settlement?"
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
Has no minister ever visited and preached to them."
"I have hearn that a passun came down once, but.
he never come back. I suppose they did not take
keer uv him, for you know it is the natur uv um to
go where they are taken good keer uv."
In that county we then had one young (single) mis-
sionai-y; we now (1897) have seven regular pastoral
charges and as many ministers.
The character of travel on this work often caused
my absence from home from four to six weeks, for
while the distance was too great to go and return each
week, it was comparatively light to go from one quar-
terly meeting to the next. In these long trips my
wife sometimes accompanied me, and while on one of
these trips in Orange County she fell from an unfin-
ished house, where we lodged, and came near losing
her life. This compelled my returning home as soon
as she could be carried, and also necessitated my ask-
S ing the bishop to release me from the district at our
The 'year had been one of prosperity to our Con-
ference, giving an increase of two hundred and forty-
eight whites and two hundred and ninety-two colored
This fall Abraham Lincoln was elected President;
and here began our fearful struggle, the four years
of the civil war. It is not my design to trace the
scenes of that fraternal strife, much less to enter into
the great questions of causes and effects underlying
the acts which brought about the war. We propose
to allude to the war only as it affected the operations
of the Church.
kIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
The year 1860 took from us by death Thomas W.
Cooper, one of our finest declaimers. In pathos he
had few equals. His health had always been fee-
ble, hence his zeal was far beyond his strength.
From the year 1840 he had been in Florida, and
wherever he went revivals attended his ministry.
But in a short time his health would fail, requiring a
year's rest or a location. But upon improving health
he would return to the regular work. After some
years' rest he had been readmitted and served the
Tampa District four years. At our last Conference
he was transferred to the St. John's District, begin-
ning his work with zeal. The Sunday before his
death he preached with power in Micanopy, where
he lived. On Tuesday he was taken with putrid sore
throat, and strong pneumonic symptoms, and in a few
days passed away in triumph, February 24, 1860.
William Edwards also died this year. He was a
lovely man. Though not brilliant, he was earnest
Vud faithful, and for ten years had rendered efficient
service in the Conference. He also died in Micano-
-py March 15, 1860. His end was peace. While I
stood by his dying bed his faith gave me a fresh in-
spiration of the power of grace to draw the last sting
Our 'Conference held its seventeenth session in
Monticello, commencing December 12, 1860, Bishop
Pierce presiding, and P. P. Smith, Secretary.
W. F. Easterling, Jephthah Lee, J. F. Urquhart,
Josiah Bullock, J, J. Snow, and G. R. Frisbee were
admitted on trial; J. M. Hendry was readmitted; H.
T. Lewis, S. E. Randolph, and A. J. Wooldrich were
received by transfer; J. J. Sealey, G. Royster, T, N.
,: ........... ......... T" ..... -J,' ............. j '.- : ' r ,L,' :f 1 ......... -" "r ........ *v2 ' t -x 7 i ', "" : -,7": Z ff l ........ .... q iy 2 b A
TrmT-TWO YEARS IN PLORIDA.
Gardner, and P. H. McCook located. Two were re-
moved by death and one by transfer, leaving a net
gain to our ministerial force of only two men.
There were five districts, served by J. K. Glover,
S. Woodbury, D. L. Kennedy, J. W. Mills, and W.
The bishop kindly relieved me from the district
and placed me on the Gainesville and Micanopy Cir-
cuit, with E. H. Giles as junior preacher. This year
the civil war began, and the Church in all its opera-
tions sympathized.with the excitement. Congrega-
tions were everywhere decimated, companies and
regiments forming everywhere. Many of our min-
isters were accepting chaplaincies, others rushing to
the front as officers or soldiers. A company of cav-
alry was formed, consisting mostly of my neighbors
and former students, to go to Fernandina. They
urged me to go with them as chaplain. After con-
sultation with my charge, the deep interest I felt in
the men, with a hope that a change to the coast might
improve my wife's health, induced me to accept.
In Fernandina I found myself independent chap--
lain (for I was not commissioned, but was supported
by the company) of from two thousand five hundred
to four thousand soldiers, besides acting pastor of all
the congregations in the city. For most of the time
I was there I was the only minister engaged in that
work on the island. My congregations of course
were large, and I had plenty of preaching to do.
Visiting and ministering to the sick and burying the
dead was the hardest part of my work.
My own health failed. I had mumps, followed by
typhoid fever, terminating in camp flux, so in about
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA. .
six months after entering the service, and while camp-
S ing in the woods after the evacuation of Fernandina,
S my surgeon said to me: "My kind advice to you is,
go home and get well if you can; and if not, die
among your friends, for it is absolutely impossible
for you to get well in the army." No one who has
I not passed through a similar experience can conceive
of the sadness of that hour. To leave these men who
had shown such appreciation of my services, and had
treated Ie with such respect and kindness, to contem-
plate future diseases, wounds, and all the horrors of
war, with no one to point them to a Saviour or offet
a prayer by their dying bed, seemed almost too much
for me; yet a Power beyond myself seemed to point
out the path of duty, so I returned to my home in
Micanopy and spent the remaining Sabbaths of the
year, whenever able and opportunity offered, going
to different camps and preaching to the soldiers, and
otherwise filling appointments within my reach.
Though the year 1861 was one of great trials to the
Church, our records show an increase of five hundred
and ninety-one white and two hundred and sixty-one
Two of our ministers died. D. D. Henry, a man
of deep piety and sterling worth, fell at his post on
the Suwannee Circuit in September. S. E. Randolph,
who, moved by the impulse of patriotism, entered
the army, went to Virginia, but in three months
death claimed him for its victim.
The eighteenth session of our Conference met in
Quincy, Dccember 12, 1861, Bishop Pierce presiding,
and P. P. Smith, Secretary.
W. W. Anthony was the only one admitted; J. J.
- -- --- L I - ~~~P- i~
90 IFTY-TWO YEARS IN FL6RIDA.
Sealey was readmitted; 0. L. Smith and N, B. Ousley
were received by transfer; two had died and one lo-
cated; five of us were in the Confederate army, and
two were transferred from us.
This was the first Annual Conference I had ever
failed to attend. The districts remained the same,
except S. Woodbury was placed on' the Tallahassee
District in place of J. K. Glover, whose health had
failed, and R. H. Luckey on the Thomasville District.
Though the Church was passing through fieiy trials,
she still held her own with a net increase of two hun-
'dred and fifty-five white and two hundred and seven
Our Conference held its nineteenth session in Tal-
lahassee, December 11, 1862, Bishop Andrew presid-
ing, and P. P. Smith, Secretary.
George B. Swan was admitted, and J. G. Worley
readmitted; James T. Stockton, J. Rast, and J. Hen-
derson located; our superannuate and supernumerary
i lists embraced fifteen men, six were in the army, and
0. W. Parker and B. J. Johnson removed by trans-
fer; three had passed away by death.
This large decrease in our membership, the general
state of the country, the disorganized condition of
the Church by the absence of nearly all the white
men in the army, called upon those who remained for
more than ordinary faith. But with faith in God our
Conference work was completed.
The districts remained the same, except Jackson-
ville, which was served by J. M. Hendry in place of
J, W. Mills, who had gone into the army as chaplain.
This year was one of general. discouragement, the
large decrease in ministerial force, the fact that near-
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
ly all who remained were compelled to engage in some
secular employment to supplement their support to
the point of actual necessity, and the state of the
country at large, caused a decrease of three hundred
and fifty-seven white and nine hundred and eighty-
seven colored members. The roll call of deaths this
year was also heavy.
Peyton P. Smith was a leading member of the Con-
ference from its organization, having previously trav-
eled twelve years under the direction of the Georgia
Conference while it embraced Florida. At the time
of our organization he was presiding elder of the Tal-
lahassee District. From then to the close of his life
he filled important positions. He carried close system
into everything he touched. He kept a voluminous
diary, from which we learn that he was a preacher for
thirty years and four months, that he preached four
thousand four hundred and fourteen sermons, made
five thousand nine hundred and seventy-nine visits,
wrote four thousand nine hundred and forty-one let-
ters, traveled almost entirely by private conveyance
one hundred and three thousand six hundred and
twenty-three miles. He was tall and slender, had a
broad though low forehead, and when animated had
a piercing eye. His sermons were always systemat-
ic, and generally doctrinal. His descriptive powers
were good, and when bordering on the awful he be-
came almost overwhelming. Who that ever heard
him preach when deeply moved, from the text,
"Therefore will I number you to the sword," can
ever forget the impression made? His last illness
was short, his end triumphant.
John J. Richards was a man of fervent spirit, a
92 FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
fine singer, a good preacher, and a faithful laborer.
He died of cancer, in Madison, after having served
the Church twenty-four years, being forty-six years
Joseph A. W. Johnson was a member of the Con-
ference seven years. Earnest and faithful, he was
loved in every charge he served. But consumption
severed the silver cord, and in his early manhood
transferred him from his earthly prison to the palace
of his God.
From 1863 to 1866.
THE twentieth session of our Conference met in
Thomasville December 16, 1863, Bishop Andrew pre-
siding; F. A. Branch, Secretary. Here we admitted
Alfred Holcombe, D. L. Branning, W. A. McLean,
and A. T. Hollyman.
A. Holcombe traveled two years, discontinued, and
settled in Orange Couuty, serving the Church as a
useful local preacher.
David L. Branning was a young man of fine natural
abilities, a good academic education, a fine singer,
and faithful worker. He traveled a few years; then
the cares of a large family, and the meager support
growing out of the condition of the country, caused
him to locate. He lives in Waldo, highly respected,
a local preacher, and a faithful worker.
W. A. McLean was a young man of fine education,
a good preacher, and faithful worker, but the neces-
sities of his family caused his early location. He
went to Jacksonville and practiced law. For many
years he served as Judge of Probate, and is always
ready to preach and work for the Church.
A. T. Hollyman was also a young man of fine
preaching abilities, a useful man, but soon passed to
the local ranks. When I last saw him he was still
doing good work as a local preacher.
Though the Conference had encouragement in the
admission of these young men, still the war cloud
lowered, society was disorganized, and the general
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
prospect was far from encouraging. Few changes
were made, and the preachers returned to meet what-
ever changes might await them. I was sent to Ala-
chua Colored Mission; but owing to the fact of Rev.
T. A. Carruth leaving our Chu'rch and joining the
Presbyterian, I was changed to the Micanopy Circuit
at our first quarterly meeting.
Our Conference held its twenty-first session at
Monticello December 14, 1864. Rev. S. P. Richard-
son was elected President, and F. A. Branch, Secre-
tary. John M. Potter and J. O. A. Sparks were ad-
mitted. Thomas H. Capers and Marshal G. Jenkins
readmitted. Henry D. Moore was received by trans-
fer. James G. Acton located. Henry F. Smith,
Leroy B. Giles, R. W. Burgess, David L. Kennedy,
Amos Davis, and John P. Urquhart had died.
The white men of our State were nearly all in the
Three of our members were sent as missionaries to
the soldiers, and the rest were sent to the various
fields of labor within our bounds. But nearly all of
these were compelled to supplement their small sala-
ries by some secular occupation.
Of our comrades that had fallen during the year,
we only state that Henry F. Smith embraced religion
when quite young, joined our Conference in 1856,
rendered eight years of efficient service, was earnest
but not morose, fell at his post saying as he passed
away: "All is well."
Leroy B. Giles joined our Church when quite
young, was admitted into our Conference in 1856,
spent the remainder of his life in faithful, useful,
and loving labor, sweetly passing away in peace.
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
R. W. Burgess, formerly of the South Carolina
Conference, was readmitted in Micanopy in 1860.
Though not brilliant, he was deeply spiritual, ear-
nest, and useful. His end was peace.
David L. Kennedy was converted while young; be-
gan his ministerial work in Tennessee, and was trans-
ferred to us in 1855. He possessed fine intellectual
powers, and during the nine years of service to our
Conference his advancement was rapid. He had a
pleasing address, a consecrated heart, and a life of
Amos Davis rendered ten years of faithful service
to the Conference, ard passed to his reward in holy
John F. Urquhart rendered the Conference but
four years' service, but his earnest zeal won many
seals to his ministry. Several years ago, the now
sainted Corly, of Georgia, told me that Urquhart was
his spiritual father. He described the scene of the
young missionary going to his camp during the war,
preaching to the soldiers, then wrestling in prayer
with the young officer until he found peace. I re-
plied to him that our young brother was taken from
us early, yet he still preaches through you, and
you will doubtless leave some one to pass the word
down through the ages. Yes," said he; "no minis-
ter has a right to die until he has consecrated his
The twenty-second session of our Conference was
held in Madison November 29, 1865, Bishop Pierce
presiding, and F. A. Branch, Secretary.
No pen, much less mine, could draw a picture of
this Conference session. Since our last, the bloody
96 FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
civil war had closed, and the remainder of the armies
returned to their desolate homes. Half a million of
graves from the two armies marked the desolation of
war. There was scarcely a family that had not been
decimated by its ravages. The whole system of la-
bor was crushed, currency destroyed, plantations des-
olated, and political disabilities heaped upon us,
while home itself was insecure.
With many misgivings the preachers had left their
homes to attend Conference. We scarcely dared con-
template the future. How could we meet the actual
necessities of wives and children and yet serve the
Church, when that Church was bankrupt in purse
and almost despairing in mind? But the crisis was
met with a living faith. The work was rearranged,
as far as possible, to meet the necessities of the
W. S. Rice was admitted. J. R. Har6ld and G. C.
Andrews located. W. L. Murphy had been called to
his.-eward. He was a native of Ireland; had begun
his ministerial career in the Baltimore Conference in
1846; for a number of years had been a member of
our Conference, a devout Christian, an able minister,
and a gentleman in all the relations of life.
This year I was sent to Leon Circuit and colored
charge. This charge embraced the largest colored
population of any in our bounds. The new relation
to the freedmen involved very delicate responsibili-
ties. Previously our Church had spent large amounts
for "missions to people of color." In addition to
this, each minister was required to give one service
each Sunday to them. We had also made special ar-
rangements, for all who desired to do so, to wor-
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
ship with the whites in all our churches. Hence we
had a large colored membership all over the South.
But now with a change of circumstances there
must be a change of operations. It was utterly im-
possible for us to keep up our missions; still we tried
to render them all the service possible, and could we
have served them with the whites, until they could
have ministers of their own color, at least partially
educated, it would have been better for them. But
the perfect flood of what was known as carpetbag-
gers," in their endeavors to obtain power and wealth
for themselves by the votes of the enfranchised freed-
men, so operated upon them that before the close of
this year most of them had withdrawn from our
communion. We, however, continued to serve them
wherever practicable, and during the year preached,
generally to large congregations.
Our Conference held its twenty-third session in
Quincy December 13, 1866, Bishop McTyeire pre-
siding, and F. A. Branch, Secretary. Nathan Taley
and earnest Crum were admitted. R. H. Rogers was
readmitted. James P. De Pass was received by
transfer. Our reports showed a decrease of seven
hundred and fifty-nine whites and two thousand five
hundred aid five colored members.
The General Conference had divided the Georgia
Conference, and put all our territory in that State
into the South Georgia Conference. This took from
us nearly half our territory and involved the transfer
of nearly half of our members. By this means we
lost from our roll J. M. Hendry, M. G. Jenkins, J.
W. Simmons, S. G. Childs, C. P. Jones, M. H. Field-
ing, J. D. Maulden, Nathan Talley, O. L. Smith,
FIFTY-TWO YEARS IN FLORIDA.
James Harris, J. W. Mills, W. A. Parks, R. H. How-
ren, R. M. Flournoy, O. B. Stanley, W. M. Kennedy,
R. F. Evans, H. D. Moore, J. M. Potter, J. G. Wor-
ley, J. M. N. Lowe, and C. P. Jones.
The following tells of those removed by death dur-
ing the year:
Thomas H. Capers was the son of Gabriel Capers,
and nephew of Bishop Capers. He was born in South
Carolina in 1811, entered the Georgia Conference
when nineteen years of age, located in 1846, was re-
admitted into the Florida Conference in 1864, and
died in Monticello October 15, 1866. He was a pol-
ished gentleman, a zealous laborer, and an earnest
Francis M. Wilson, at the time of his death, was
nearly thirty-three years of age. At seventeen he
was converted, and five years afterwards entered the
ministry. His faith was strong, he labored zealously
eleven years, and peacefully passed to his reward.
Mahlon Bedell was born in North Carolina in 1806.
He embraced religion and entered the ministry in
South Carolina when quite young, where he remained
some years. He gave the remnant of his days to
Georgia and Florida. "Blessed are the dead that die
in the Lord."
This year I served the Gadsden Circuit.
From 1867 to 1876.
OUR Conference held its twenty-fourth session in
Monticello, beginning December 6, 1867, Bishop
Pierce ir the chair, and F. A. Branch, Secretary.
In some respects this was a sad Conference to the
members. From year to year we had been called
upon to see here and there a vacant seat in our body.
But now nearly half our number were gone, most of
whom we should see no more in the flesh. The ter-
ritory rendered dear to many of us by years of toil,
no longer ours, the missions which under God we had
raised to stations and circuits, now belonged to an-
other Conference. Although these are but the out.
come of progress, and necessary to the further devel-
opment of the work, yet the change means the sever-
ing of many sacred ties.
After the work had been arranged we had four
districts, the number with which we started twenty-
three years ago. We had thirty-six effective men,
only five more than we had then. Four of these were
just admitted-viz., W. McKay, T. K. Leonard, C. H.
Bernheim, and E. J. Knight.
We rejoiced in the fact that none of our number
had been called away by death. Our minutes show
an increase of four hundred and twelve white and a
decrease of nine hundred and seventeen colored mem-
W. F. Easterling, James B. Jackson, W. E. Col-