Servants Listed on the
Membership Roll of March 1849
(Although the following servants were listed on the March 1849
membership list, the Union Church Session Records indicate that most of
the following servants did not actually become members until 1853.)
sketch of the old Scotch Settlement At Union Church.
by C. W. Grafton
publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, 1906, Edited by
Franklin L. Riley Secretary. Courtesy, Dr. William D. McCain,
Director, Department Archives and History.
the name given to a large section of country in the eastern end of
Jefferson County, Mississippi. It extends about twenty miles from
West to East, running over into the present County of Lincoln for
several miles. It's average width is perhaps ten miles from north to
south. It embraces the two Presbyterian churches of Ebenezer and
Union and at a later date two Methodist churches, Nebo and Galatia.
It has figured in civil and church council for nearly one hundred
1805, just after the Louisiana Purchase, four men with their families
came from North Carolina to Tennessee and remained there for one year.
Thence by way of the Mississippi River they came to Bruinsburg, in
Claiborne County. So far as can be found out these were the first
settlers in the section known as the Scotch Settlement. These four
persons were George Torrey, his son Dougold Torrey, Laughlin
Currie and Robert Willis. They made two crops in Claiborne county and
in 1806 settled in Jefferson County, near the present site of Ebenezer
Church. They were soon followed by the Galbreaths, Gilchrists and
Camerons. A few years later all the country around Union Church,
which is twelve miles east of Ebenezer, was filled with Scotch
settlers who came mainly from North Carolina. Some of them it is
said, spoke the Gaelic language and to this day there is extant in one
of our homes, a book of the Psalms and Westminster Shorter Catechism
in that old dialect. These Scotch people were nearly all
Presbyterians and the history of the settlement is mainly a history of
the two Presbyterian churches that were organized at the very
beginning of the period. These two churches were Ebenezer and Union
Church. Thirty years ago Ebenezer Church and the building were sold
to our Methodist brethren. This was caused by the constant removals
from the neighborhood to cities and town. The record of the old
church are not accessible to the writer and therefore details must be
emitted from this sketch.
church was organized 1891 by Reverend Jacob Rickhow., During all it's
balmy days it's pastor was the Reverend William Montgomery. It was a
church of great wealth and influence. One of it's members stated not
long ago that in the days of it's prosperity it represented property
worth millions of dollars. This is not difficult to believe when we
recall the names of some of it's prominent families. There were the
Darden families, including Jessie Darden, Buckner Darden, Samuel
Darden and George Darden. There were two or three families each of
Camerons, Curries Montgomerys and Torreys. There were the families of
Malcolm Gilchrist, Duncan McArn, J.J. Warren and quite a number of
others. Now, when we remember that the soil was in it's virgin state,
that these men owned a great many slaves and that they were very
valuable, we can readily credit the statement concerning the wealth of
this part of the Scotch settlement. This section of the county
furnished it's full share of representatives in the State and County
government. George Torrey was for a long time Sheriff of the county.
His son, W. D. Torrey and M. M. Currie were at different times
members of the State Senate, while Daniel H. Cameron represented his
county in the lower house of the legislature.
people of Ebenezer were refined and cultivated and to them the Civil
War with it's result was exceedingly disastrous. When their slave
property was lost their lands became useless. Their splendid
carriages, wagons and teams rapidly disappeared. The price of cotton
was not remunerative, the old men gradually died and the young men
left the farms, so that the glory of this part of the Scotch
Settlement is mainly in the past. Some of the old houses remain and
there are good citizens in the community, but the Scotch element has
Church was organized in 1817 by Reverend Joseph Bullen before the
State was admitted into the Union. The earliest settlers came in
1808 and 1810. They were mainly from Robeson County, North Carolina.
The pioneer missionaries sent out to the Synod of the Carolinas began
preaching here in 1811. After several years Reverend Joseph Bullen
gathered the Presbyterian families that had collected from different
parts of the country and organized them into a church which has ever
since been known as Union Church. In process of time a post office
was established and a village grew up which took the name of Union
Church and which at one time was incorporated with it's Mayor and
other offices. In 1880 the Union Church High School was organized
under a liberal charter and has been maintained with more or less
success for more than twenty years.
people in the early days were noted for the simplicity of their
manners. They were not wealthy as were their neighbors at Ebenezer.
They were plain, unpretentious, honest people. Father Montgomery,
who preached so long at Ebenezer, was likewise the pastor of Union
Church. He served in this position from 1820 to 1848 and was a most
faithful minister. In a marked manner he was punctual in his
appointments for this long period of Twenty-eight years. Owing to the
sickness and death of his daughter he missed one Sabbath during this
period. He was an earnest self-denying man. On one occasion he
refused a large salary offered by the people of Pine Ridge, preferring
to give his life to the Scotch people at Union Church. He died in
1848, but his name lives in the memory of our oldest people who speak
of him with the deepest veneration.
later period in the history of the church, his son, the Reverend Sam
Montgomery, filled the pulpit for seven or eight years. He was a man
of great talent, with unusual power as a public speaker. The stories
told of his eloquence are remarkable. Thirty years ago the writer saw
him in the pulpit, and though he was infirm in body and in declining
years, no one could have helped being thrilled by the fascination of
his address during this period. In 1883, Reverend J. J. Wheat,
Professor of Greek in the State University, asked the writer, who was
on a visit to Oxford, what had become of Sam Montgomery. The answer
was, "the old man is living about among his friends." Said he, "I
once heard Sam Montgomery preach, and for power and impressiveness and
command over an audience I have never seen him surpassed." or words
to that effect. Father Montgomery lies buried in the neighborhood of
Ebenezer. His son went to the Yazoo Delta in 1884 and died soon after
in the home of his grandson.
Church was supplied several years ago by Reverend Angus McCullum, next
by Reverend John Smiley, next by Reverend Thomas H. Cleland. These
three served the church for just a few years each. Father McCullum
bought a piece of land near the village of Union Church and opened up
a good, productive farm. He was a man of fine judgment, and an
excellent manager and was very thrifty in the conduct of his business.
He had a most excellent wife and they reared a family of ten sons and
daughters, five of whom are living today. This venerable brother died
in 1885 and with his good wife lies in the graveyard at Union Church.
Reverend John H. Smiley was from New England and was a man of great
force of character. He was a rigid Calvinist of the highest type and for
many years after his death his strong presentation of doctrine remained
fresh and green in the memory of the people.
Reverend Thomas H. Cleland was a mild and gentle man. He died not
long since in Louisiana.
Reverend C. W. Grafton became pastor of Union Church in 1873.
Thirty-two years have passed away and he still abides going out and
coming in among the descendants of the ancient Scotchmen.
church has been blessed with a faithful body of Ruling Elders and
Deacons. During the hundred years now closing he following have
served the people as Ruling Elders;
Patterson, Neil Buie, Jr., John Buie, Sr., Matthew Smylie, Charles
McDougald, Murdock McDuffie, John Watson, Sr., John Buie, Jr.,
Archibald Baker, Reuben Lee, Malcolm McPherson, Lewis Cato, Daniel
Grafton Buie, Daniel H. Cameron, William B. Alsworth, Samuel Davis
McCallum, Allen Baxter Cato, N. R. C. Watson, David G. Gailbreath,
John A Smylie, George S. Torrey, Peter Wilkinson, L. A. Cato.
Here too, is a list of the Deacon's names;
Gilbert M. Buie, Daniel N. McLaurin, Isaac N. Buie, Joseph Josling
Warren, John A. Galbreath; John L. Scott, S. D. McCallum, E. E.
Smiley, Allen B. Cato, Dr. D. C. Warren, A. Schaefer, John Lee Scott.
have been in all, three buildings. The last one was erected in 1852,
has been repaired two or three times and stands today upon the old
site surrounded with venerable oak trees and crowned with blessed
memories. During it's existence many hundreds have been received
into it's communion. All it's friends will recognize these leading
family names. To begin with there are twenty-three sets of Mc's
enrolled within it's sacred register of names;
period between 1820 and 1830 may be called the romance period of the
Scotch Settlement. Everything was young, bright, fresh and full of
life and vigor. The country abounded in game and the streams in fish.
The lowlands and sometimes the hills were covered with canebrakes.
Farming was an easy matter at that day. Burn away the brakes, plant
your corn and you would be sure of a harvest. Natchez was the market
town for all the country and Union Church was a point on the highway
between the eastern counties and Natchez, and in the fall of the year
long trains of wagons pulled by trains of heavy oxen were strung out a
hundred miles from the interior of the State to the Mississippi River.
It was a great occasion for a farmer to yoke his oxen and start to
market with the whole week before him for going and returning. Some
of the Scotch were not averse to strong drink, and coming back with a
jug of Scotch whisky their animal spirits would be stirred on the way
and their homecoming would be loudly advertised. But such an one
would unfailingly be brought before his brethren in the church and he
would be certain of a reprimand and would probably be excommunicated
for awhile. The old records of Union Church abound in illustrations
of the faithful dealings of the elders with their brethren. Let a man
be overtaken in a fault, such as violating the Sabbath day, or taking
God's name in vain, or becoming intoxicated and he was certain of
discipline by the church and this faithful attitude of the Ruling
Elders doubtless saved many an erring brother.
period was famous as the camp-meeting period. On the slope of the
hill where the church has stood so long, great rows of wooden sheds
were built and in the fall of the year the people came together. The
best preachers of the old Presbytery of Mississippi assembled, and for
many days at a time, morning, Mid-day, and evening, the voice of
prayer and praise and preaching was heard. No one can tell the
far-reaching influence of those sacred gatherings. People would come
to them from a distance of forty miles and more, would profess faith
in Christ; they would go back home to spread the leaven of gospel and
truth and grace.
Surely in the coming day when the King takes the roll of his
people, it will be said, "This and that man was born there."
Father Montgomery, Zebulon Butler, Jacob Rickhow, Joseph Bullen,
James Smylie and other Godly men who were faithful Heralds in the old
Scotch Settlement passed away long ago but "they being dead still
speak." They live today in the monumental churches which they founded
and fed in those early days. Many men of very fine talents were born
and reared in this old heart of the Scotch Settlement.
was one old Buie family out of which came some wonderful men. There
was the Reverend Whitfield Buie, who took first honors at Oakland
College. He was a man of fine intellectual power. He studied at
Princeton College, but he had scarcely begun his earthly ministry when
it was closed by death. He had a brother, Dr. William E. Buie, who
for intellectual ability and skill in the medical profession was
easily the peer of any man in all the land. He was a man of great
gentleness and self denial, of chaste speech and behavior, and lived
for the good of his fellow man. He had calls to lucrative positions
in distinguished medical institutions but he declined them all and
gave his life to his humble friends of the Scotch Settlement. He
moved with his brother, Newton Buie, to Texas during the war, but
returned like a pilgrim to the old spot that gave him birth, and died
a man of stainless name and sleeps with his fathers in the sacred dust
of our Scotland.
Reverend William G. Millsaps was also a man of unusual power and
influence. He studied theology at Danville, became a Minister in the
Methodist Church and for a long time served his people faithfully and
effectively. He was the brother of our friend Major R. W. Millsaps of
the Civil War broke out the first company that left Jefferson County
for the seat of war was the "Charley Clark Rifles," from the Scotch
Settlement around Union Church. It was a sad and
long-to-be-remembered day when those young men paraded in the shade
of the trees close to the old church and received from the hands of
Miss Flora Buie a silken banner of the Southern Confederacy. Dr. J.
J. McLean was the first Captain of the company and Dr. Rufus
Applewhite was his successor. Of the 105 men who formed that first
company there are now just twelve living. Their names are worthy of
at least a mention in this short sketch of the old community and I
gladly put them here on record. They are; Dr. Rufus Applewhite,
Captain B. L. Applewhite, C. C. Erwin, William Ferguson, Jake
Garrett, Joe Garrett, Sam King, Winston King, F. Krauss, S. D.
McCallum, Tom McNair, and Lewis Vaughn. Their comrades lie all the
way from Sharpsburg in Maryland to the Rio Grande.
men of those former days were men of great faith and prayer. A few
old people now living tell many stories of the fervency and length of
their prayers. They were deeply devoted to the Calvinistic
interpretation of the Bible and to the traditions and memories of the
old church of the Covenant, the Presbyterian church, the church of
their love and veneration. Here is an instance;
McDougals was received into the church in her young girlhood. Quite
young, she married a Scotchman named McEachern and moved with him to
Carroll County, where they formed a new home. She carried with her all
her love for the church of her fathers. She was earnestly solicited
to join a church of another denomination which at that time held the
field in her neighborhood,. Said she; "No, I will help you all I can.
I will sing with you and pray with you, and give money to you, but I
am a Presbyterian and can never be anything else, and when we have a
chance we will organize one right here." This good mother in Israel
died in 1903, leaving behind her one hundred and twenty-one children,
grandchildren, and great-grandchildren and nearly every one of whom
that has reached mature years is now a member of the church in full
communion. She lived to see seven white Presbyterian churches
organized and one colored, all of which trace their origin directly
to her influence. The life of this good woman spans the whole century
of the Scotch Settlement at Union Church.
Another noted good woman was Aunt Mary Wilkinson. She was the
daughter of Ruling Elder Matthew Smylie, the brother of Reverend James
Smylie. She married Daniel M. Wilkinson of fine Scotch parentage.
She was a true, outspoken member of the Presbyterian church,
perfectly loyal to the last in her love for the old settlement at
Union Church. With her husband, she moved to Jackson in 1842. She
gave one of her daughters to Col. J. L. Power, another to John D.
McArn, another J. B. Cadwallader and she, too, spanning nearly the
whole century passed away two or three years since, wearing a crown of
sweetness and joy, triumphant in the hope of gospel. Her children and
grandchildren and all her friends bless her memory.
There are many others whose names are found upon our gravestones
who had in them the stuff to make them stand in Senate halls or wear
the crown of martyrs, but like "many a flower that wastes in sweetness
on the desert air," they rest sweetly in their quiet beds with no
sculptured urn or monument to tell their story.
Ebenezer, Union Church has suffered immensely by the loss of it's sons
and daughters. During the last thirty years more than seventy
families have moved away from this community. Memphis, Vicksburg,
Port Gibson, Natchez, Jackson, Hazelhurst, Wesson, Brookhaven,
different parts of Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas claim the sons and
daughters of our old Scotch settlement. It seemed at one timed as if
the entire settlement was destined to share the fate of it's twin
sister, Ebenezer. But the school and the church are wonderful
conservators of neighborhood life, and these two factors have worked
hand in hand to keep alive this old community. The school bell still
rings and pupils and teachers meet in the school house. Sabbath after
Sabbath the congregations assemble at the old church and sing the old
songs, - Arlington, Mear, Rockingham and Uxbridge. The doctrines of
grace still sound from the pulpit. Girls and boys make love as of
old, and evergreens and flowers adorn the marriage alter, while again
and again people weep in the house of mourning.
might be asked how the neighborhood still lives if it's families move
away and none move in. The answer is, it grows from within. The
Scotch settlement is an endogen. John D. McArn married Lizzie
Wilkinson and he has twelve children, Peter Wilkinson married Mary
Faris and he has ten living children. J. E. Lamb married and had
thirteen. Clint Faris and Jim Currie have ten each. Would not Queen
Victoria, the model mother of Great Britain, have smiled on these
descendants of the ancient Highlanders? Would not the men who love
large families feel at home at Union Church? So the church still
lives and has two hundred members on it's rolls.
settlement is twenty-five miles from Brookhaven on the east, and
twenty-one miles from Fayette on the west. Port Gibson is
twenty-eight miles north and Meadville twenty miles south. The scotch
settlement, therefore, with Union Church as a nucleus, has been in the
center of a wide influence for one hundred years.
talk of building a railroad from Hattiesburg to Natchez a route has
been surveyed through Union Church. That road may be built and we may
get more strength. We may be opened up better to the commerce and
methods of the world, but the history of Union Church for these one
hundred years past is beyond the reach of change. It is embalmed in
precious memories that lie hidden away on old tombstones and in Bibles
all over the land.
reverent hearts we bid adieu to the past and with courage born out of
that past, we hope for the future.
Dr. Grafton, as all Southern Presbyterians knew, was one of the truly
great leaders of the Presbyterian church. Not only a great
Theologian, but a man of broad intellect, first honor graduate of the
University of Mississippi. He had calls to the Presidency of more
than one great university or college, but he preferred to spend his
days ministering to the people of the Old Scotch Settlement so dear to
him and gave his life to the people of that little community. His
influence spread wherever his name was known - one of the consecrated,
Godliest men the Presbyterian Church has ever known.
writer knew him from her childhood days. Every foot of the old Union
Church settlement has precious memories. Her Maternal grandparents
"pure Scotch," settled there from Amite County in the early "80's"
and here our mother was born and spent the first eight years of her
life, coming to Jackson with her parents, Daniel and Mary Campbell
Smylie Wilkinson, in 1842.
adored Aunt Dodie," our mother's younger sister Elizabeth Wilkinson,
was the wife of John Duncan McArn of the old community and from the
time we as children, were old enough to stay away from home, we spent
our entire summers at the old McArn Plantation home. The great
rambling house was overflowing with children but there were plenty of
servants, sons and daughters of former slaves that overran the place
during slavery times. On Sundays, the closed carriage, with it's silk
curtained windows, and driver's seat in front, drawn by two mules or
horses, and less pretentious vehicles, were loaded with men, women and
children for the eight mile drive to the old Presbyterian Church to
hear Dr. Grafton preach. The great occasion of every summer was the
three-days "meeting," when people came from many miles distant. After
the morning sermon, dinner was served on long tables under the
mountains of fried chicken, potato salads, buttered biscuits, pies
cakes, and everything that those wonderful home makers knew best how
to prepare, with the aroma of steaming coffee blown by the wind to
hungry people. After dinner, and a rest period, a sermon in the
afternoons, then home eight weary miles through the summer dust and
the glory of a setting sun.
see now, in the memory, the old spring at the foot of a gentle slope
back of the church, and we drank it's cooling thirst quenching water
from cups made of the old "cowcumber" leaves that grew in luxuriance
on all sides.
ante-Bellum McArn home was destroyed by fire, with all it's priceless
relics, at the turn of the century, but another took it's place, a big
rambling two-story, twelve room house set in broad acres, and it is
here that the children of the second, third, and fourth generations
call "down home," and where they gather on all occasions, especially
on Sundays, for the day. The writer is one whose great pleasure is to
join her cousins on these occasions. On one Christmas day recently
when she was with them, twenty-nine were seated in the dining room,
the little children at smaller tables and fourteen adults at a table
loaded with every delicacy that a successful plantation could yield.
name "Union Church" is precious to all who have ever lived there. The
old church stands on the original site and across the roadway is the
well kept cemetery where lie the bodies of generations of the old
Scotch Settlers and their descendants, many of the writer's own loved
"Aunt Mary Wilkinson" of whom Mr. Grafton writes so beautifully is the
writer's maternal grandmother, "Grandma", who lived to the rich old
age of 92, and spent her last years in our home blessing every soul
with whom she came in contact.
PAGES FROM AND OLD SCRAP BOOK
BY ANABEL POWER
"THE SMYLIE FAMILY IN AMERICA"
BY: KATE MARKHAM POWER
"IN MEMORY OF MY GRANDMOTHER
"MARY CAMPBELL SMYLIE WILKINSON"
Smylie married Matthew Bolls, "a man of substance. He was likewise a
man of brains and high social culture and possessed a keen sense of
humor. Their home was near Rodney. In ante bellum days a section of
great wealth and culture and very gracious living. The Bolls were
greatly interested in the building and support of Oakland College,
about midway between Rodney and Port Gibson, in that day an
institution of learning famed throughout the South, especially by the
Presbyterians in the South. In addition to generous money gifts to
the building of Oakland College Matthew Bolls sent many of his slaves
to make and burn the brick for the buildings. That they did excellent
work we are assured when we look upon the three stately buildings of
Alcorn College, a State-owned and controlled institution for the
education of the Negro youth of Mississippi. How strange a quirk of
fate it was that this beautiful establishment built as it was by slave
holders, as a fitting place for the training of gentlemen's sons,
should, after the wreckage of the War, come to be a place for the
training of the children of these former slaves.
Smylie's husband, Matthew Bolls, was a man of high ideals and great
courage and he was one of the few who dared to express disapproval of
any position taken by the acknowledged Chief of the Clan, his beloved
friend and brother-in-law, the Reverend James Smylie.
have before me a letter from him to Reverend James, regarding a
pamphlet which had just been issued; "Brief History of the Trial of
Dr. Scott." - by James Smylie. The writer believed that the action of
the General Assembly had not been sufficiently decisive or prompt in
the matter of Dr. Scott's trial. Dr. Scott was a pastor of a church
in New Orleans, when in 1844, he and Dr. Lyon of Columbus, were
passengers on a Mississippi River steamboat on which Henry Clay, then
a candidate for the Presidency, was traveling. Soon after the river
trip was ended it began to be bruised about that the Presidential
candidate had spent the Sabbath day gambling with friends. Clay's
supporters claimed to have traced the gossip to the Reverend. Fellow
passengers of Mr. Clay demanded a retraction. Eventually Dr. Scott
retracted - but not Dr. Lyon and the former's church desiring that he
be cleared of the charge, if possible, demanded a trial of Dr. Scott.
This dragged it's unpleasant way up to the Assembly and it was
because the rigid old disciplinarian James Smylie, felt that all had
not been done that might have been done that he wrote the "brief
history" referred to. After having read it, Matthew Bolls wrote the
Author, "You have what David said in his haste. viz: That ALL men are
liars". Further he said to the stern old man and preacher, who did
not know how to compromise. "With so many traits of an Ishmael, if you
are permitted to dwell in peace among the brethren, it will be rather
from fear than from love. You certainly bear hard on many...You will
have to account for tearing the scab from this old sore which was so
nearly healed...your reasons, like Polk's War get beyond the
defensive. You are fairly across the Rio Grande and have fired your
shot into the Capitol...Watch out for guerrillas!!"
letters of this gentleman of an ancient day are clever as well as
informative chronicles of his day and this writer was greatly
entertained to find him, now and then, resorting to slang and getting
a kick from its use.
Bolls had four children, James Smylie, who died in his youth; Jane who
married James Watson; and died at the birth of her first child; Mary, who
married a Scotchman, Andrew Allison, whose descendants are numerous and
Emmaline, who was thrice married before she was twenty one. (1) to a Mr.
Shaw (2) to a Mr. Fisher (3) to Benjamin Shaw. Reverend Matthew Bolls
Shaw of blessed memory, was her only child to reach maturity. His wife
was Jane McDermott, Arkansas and the mother of another, Reverend Theodore
Smylie of St. Louis, Missouri. Other children of the M. B. Shaws are
living in the Mississippi delta and in Baton Rouge, Louisiana - the
Kibbingers, in Baton Rouge, the James Shaws in Shelby, and the Charles
Shaw's family in the delta.
Andrew Allisons (Mary Bolls) lived for a number of years in Louisiana
and held high place in New Orleans and other cities in that state.
After her husband's death, Mary Bolls Allison made her home at Way,
Mississippi, where she owned the valuable property now known as
Allison's Wells, a popular health resort. It was a great joy to my
grandmother to have this favorite cousin - near her in their latter
days and they were often together. In fact, the Allison home was the
only one left in this section in which the post war generation of
young relatives could find gay hospitality, as most of the families
had been completely wrecked by the war. At many a happy house party
did the youngest daughter, May play hostess then.
Allison children were; Matthew Bolls, who married Martin Griffin;
Alexander, who married Elizabeth Bartlett; Andrew, who was twice
married, (1) Mattie Perrin, (2) Hallie Watts; Emma Jane, who married
Edward Hunt of Chicago, and May, who married Dr. T. J. Ray and lives
in Kentucky. The next generation of Allisons counts two Presbyterian
preachers among them; Alexander's son, Andrew, a Missionary to China
and May's son T. J. Jr., a P. G. student in Theology. May's other son
Dr. E. H. Ray, is rapidly achieving distinction as a physician.
Smylie, was born 17__ in North Carolina and died in Mississippi in
18__. His first wife was Susan Sellers, and his second was a "widow
Montgomery." He was one of the Original Elders of Bethany Church, as
was his father, James Smylie and his brother Nathaniel. His brother
James was Pastor of Bethany at the time. John Smylie was a Godly man
and rejoiced that in his father's house even unto the end, Family
worship was always held and was conducted by his father in his native
tongue, the Gaelic. John Smylie's children were: Reverend John A.,
who married Isadora Jackson. She was a daughter of one of Andrew
Jackson's gallant Captains, James, who died a bachelor and Ella, who
married _____ Anderson. The Andersons had no children.
son, Rev. John A. Smylie, was born in 1812 and lived until 1878, thus
being privileged to share in the South's great era of change and to
live during Andrew Jackson's campaign, through the War with Mexico and
the War between the States, in all of which his kinsmen fought. He
knew, too, the tragedy of Reconstruction and died in Texas, September
26, 1878. When his native state was crushed under the heavy hand of
disease - yellow fever having then been epidemic and many of his
relatives having died of it.
Smylie was a man of great learning. As a youth he was one of the most
brilliant students at Oakland College, which he entered at 18,
intending to study law. Under the influence of Rev. Zebulon Butler,
however, he changed his plan of life and studied for the ministry in
Oakland's Theological department and under his uncle, James Smylie,
having been graduated in the class of 1834 with such men as J. W.
Buell, S. M. Montgomery, Henry McDonald, David McNair, B. P. Magee,
and Richmond McInnis. During his busy life he preached at Bethany,
Brandon, Madison and other points in Mississippi, taught in Louisiana
and after the death of his wife, in 1866, he moved to Meridian,
Mississippi, and opened a Classical School For Boys, where his own
sons were students.
1861, Reverend John Smylie, With Reverend Dr. B. M. Palmer, was
delegated to attend the General Assembly at Augusta, Georgia, and
their names appear upon the list voting to form a separate
organization of the Southern Presbyterian church upon that momentous
occasion. After the war he moved to Texas and became a powerful
influence for good in that State, organizing many of the churches
which are today flourishing in Texas cities. He and his wife, Isadora
Jackson, had a large family and Reverend James A. Smylie had a
privilege enjoyed by a few, that of receiving all of his children into
church membership. His children were; Mary Archibald, J. W., Louis
H., Louisa P., Alice, Robert J., James, Calvin and Nathaniel.
Archibald died in Texas in 1882, leaving two daughters. Mary married
- Means and still lives in San Antonio, Texas; Louis died in Fort
Worth in 1930; Louisa P. married Frank Wilson and has children living
in Oregon, New Mexico, and Texas. J. W. died in Texas and left
children who live in Houston, Plainview, Salina and Silvertown.
Robert J. was killed at Buffalo Gap in 1879; John Calvin died in
Louisiana in 1898 and Reverend Nathaniel, the youngest, was for a long
time a preacher and a teacher in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas;
residing now at Dermott, Arkansas. His son, Theodore is the pastor
of the new Central Presbyterian Church, St. Louis, Missouri.
sketch of Reverend James Smylie's life must necessarily be something
of a sketch of early Presbyterianism in Mississippi, so closely are
they connected. We shall strive, however, to gather his religious
work under the subject, "Early Presbyterianism and the Smylies,"
which will follow this record of the Smylie family.
in Richmond County, North Carolina, in 1780, James Smylie came first
to the Mississippi Territory in 1800 and from the time of that first
visit he never considered living anywhere else. He died at his Myrtle
Heath Plantation in Amite county, in 1853, honored by family, church
and state. James Smylie was an Accurate Greek and Latin scholar, a
lover of the classics, a profound theologian, endowed with social
graces a man of such remarkable foresight as to be credited by many
with prophetic vision. His youth was a busy one and he was thirty
years old before he married. His first wife was the young widow of
Thomas Smith of Jefferson County, who died a few years after their
marriage. Mary (Polly) Cottonwood Smith married the gifted young
preacher in 1810 and to them one child, Amelia Farrar (Montgomery) was
born., When this child was five months old, the young mother, Polly,
died. On the tomb above her in the James Smylie graveyard near
Liberty, are figures showing that she was born in 1792, married to
James Smylie in 1810, died in 1812, aged 18 years, 8 months and 5
days. In the brief span between her birth and death, the beloved
Polly had been maiden, mother, widow and twice a wife. Her daughter,
Amelia Farrar was educated at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at The Young
Ladies Seminary and in social circles in Philadelphia and in
Princeton, where she often visited her father's friends, she was
greatly admired because of her grace of manner and her warm southern
beauty. In her young girlhood she enjoyed a brilliant social
experience and when only seventeen came home to visit her relatives
and promptly fell in love with Joseph Addison Montgomery, the handsome
son of her father's dear friend, Reverend William Montgomery. They
were married January 28, 1829, by Reverend John Patterson at her
father's plantation, Myrtle-Heath. Eleven Children were born of this
marriage, most of whom lived to adult age and whose baptismal records
reads like a roster of the old Louisiana Presbytery, Reverends Palmer,
Mallard. Chamberlain, Planck, Price, etc., having been the officiates.
Amelia Montgomery's life was rather a tragic one,. She and her
beloved husband had, by sacrificial care and love, reared their large
family to early youth, and just before the War Between the States
began, all financial problems seemed lifted when an uncle of Amelia's
left her a handsome estate consisting of beautiful Belmont Plantation-
1500 acres, 200 (two hundred) slaves, money, stock, equipment and a
"strong box" of treasures, a part of which consisted of $30,000
(thirty thousand dollars) in gold. The uncle left instructions also
for her to pay a certain young man kinsman, upon her coming of age.
Her lands were devastate, her houses burned, her Negroes freed, her
treasures stolen, her horses and cattle driven away. It was a time of
bitter suffering for Joseph and Amelia Montgomery, and with their
large family they were, at the close of the War, facing ????. Their
own children were old enough to be making homes for themselves; the
young kinswoman had attained her majority and her guardian demanded
settlement according to the terms of the Cotton will and everything
was swept away except responsibility, taxes and returning free Negroes
who had been disillusioned about their new made friends and freedom
and were coming "back home" in great numbers, begging for food and
shelter where there was none. Amelia Farrar Smylie Montgomery died at
Belmont at sunset May 22, 1877, aged 65 years, 3 months and 9 days.
Her husband, Joseph Addison Montgomery died at the same place,
December 6, 1888, aged 79 years, 1 month and 7 days. Their children
were; James Smylie, who married Olive Scott; Anna Jane Victoria, who
married William E. Hall; Samuel Cotton, who married Jane Jeffries;
Matthew Bolls (Fink), who married Elizabeth Gossitt of La grange,
Tennessee; Alexander Thomas, who married (1) a Natchez girl; (2)
Linda Watson, now living in Cuba; Walter Lowrie who died in 1926,
Julia, Emma Abial Mills Bingham of New York. Alice Cornelia, Eliza
Amelia and Mary Emmaline Elizabeth, died in their youth.
beautiful to read between the lines in the records of this family,
their devotion to the old home and their devotion to their own people
which brought so many of them back to have the baptismal water
sprinkled on their children's brows by the same hands which had been
laid in blessing on their parents at their marriage. Particularly is
this true of the children of Anna Hall who married "a Northern man"
and whose children married wealth and position in the East and North.
Both she and her children "came home" at times of this importance
that the little Halls and Schuylers and Duychenks, Steuecks, be
baptized and the plantation at which these various Smylie-Montgomery
children and grandchildren were married or born--Edge Hill, Argyll,
Scroggy, Belmont, Myrtle-Heath, Bannoekburn and others.
The children of Anna Jane Victoria Montgomery and William Hall
were; Mary Amelia, Charles Montgomery, William Luther, Harry Merriam,
Ellen Louisa, James Allen, Anna Jane and Alfred Moulton. Of these
Charles Montgomery died in childhood. James Allen at the age of 29;
William Luther in 1902, aged 41; Alice Ann in 1899. Henry Merriam
still lives, a bachelor, of Hermanville, in Claiborne County,
Mississippi. Anna Jane is the wife of Fred Nott of Byron, Illinois.
Alfred Moulton married Mary Clarke and died in Vicksburg, Mississippi
leaving a son, Alfred Moulton, Jr., who married Roy Dualey Duyckinck
and had a son, Roy Chamberlin Duyckinck; Rutsen Van Renssaelaer
Schyuler. Their daughter, Margaret Olive, married George Steedman;
Janet Smylie who married Alfred Semen.
Louise Hall married John Randolph Stannic and left three children
Margaret Ellen, Louise and John Randolph Stannic, Jr. These and the
younger generations live around the cities of New York and Chicago.
Among the sons of Samuel Cotton Montgomery and Jeannie Jefferson,
were; Joseph Addison, Samuel Cotton and Owen.
Matthew Bolls Montgomery (Fink) married Elizabeth Robinson Patti
son and their only child, Jane Elizabeth Caldwell Montgomery, married
Frank Fox of St. Louis, Missouri and Jackson. They left two sons,
Frank and Russell, both of whom live in Claiborne County; The former
is married and has one son; the latter is a bachelor.
Alexander Thomas Montgomery and Linda Watson had no children. He
died Several years ago and she is living on her properties in Cuba.
Linda Watson is an authority on her husband's family as well as her
own. Julia Montgomery Bingham had no children. Smylie Montgomery,
son of J. S. and Olive Scott Smylie Montgomery, died in Natchez in
Reverend James Smylie's second wife was Sarah Ann BISLAND of Adams
County. One son, Alexander, the result of this union, lived to
manhood and married Catherine Ann Smith, a Louisiana girl of wealth
and social charm. To them were born numerous sons and daughters and
their father "Alex" had enough of this world's goods to start them
out in life comfortable equipped.
the death of his first wife, Alex Smylie married again, a widow whose
name I have not been able to learn. This large family has some
interesting history; the children were; Benjamin, who married Emma
Anderson; Philander Costly who married Ella Anderson; Amanda , who
married Rev. John Shaw; Sarah who married Nolan Stewart Dickson and
with him spent several years in Honduras; Charles McDermott who
married a widow; Alex BISLAND died his senior year in college and
there were several who died in early childhood. A large number of the
descendants of these children of Alex Smylie lived in Adams County and
across the river on the Louisiana side. Among these are the
descendants of Patti Dickson who married Speaker; of Vivian Stewart,
of William P., of Sarah Jeannette who married I. T. Anderson of
Lafayette, of Kate who married Robert Stewart who married Florence
Newman; of Maude Dickson HUD all; of Bettie Rogers who married (1) H.
F. Hodge, (2) R. H. Daggers; of Lucy who married Dr. P. E. McGowan; of
Reverend James Smylie married a third time; his last wife was Mary
Ann Harriet Batchelor of Amite County, who lived but a year, having
one son, Thomas, born in 1830. Thomas moved to Arkansas and married a
Miss Montgomery; three children were born to her. James, who married
Nattier Anderson, Gaines and "Scottie".
James Smylie became great not only as a minister of the Gospel, but as
a man of business, upright and honest and rich beyond the average. He
was a man of exceptional social graces and a ruler of his kind,
whether in high church courts, in the drawing room, in busy marts or
among the scholarly men of church and state with whom he delighted to
mingle. His was a trenchant pen and it is a matter of great regret
that his writings were not more carefully preserved. Quoting from
one who married into this branch of the family, "the tribute to his
wife which he wrote just after her early death was more beautiful I
think, even than David's lament for his son."
NATHANIEL SMILEY. In the old graveyard near Bethany sleeps
Nathaniel, youngest son of James and Jane Watson Smylie, with his
beloved wife, Margaret Smith and several of their descendants.
Nearby, his parents sleep, and two of his sisters, Jeannette and Jane
Smylie Watson. He was born in North Carolina in 1784 and married
Margaret Smith, who died September 3 1839, neither of them living to
old age. Their children were James Matthew, known to the clan as "the
Judge", Catherine Jennet, Sarah Jane and Robert Patterson. Judge
Smylie was recognized as one of the greatest Jurists of his day. He
was for many years Chancellor in this State, but later moved to New
Orleans. This was during the progress of the famous MYRA CLARK GAINES
case, he being counsel for Myra Clark Gaines. Judge Smylie was twice
married. In 1841 he married the widowed daughter of Judge Lowry
Carroll, who died of yellow fever probably in 1853. When the fever
developed in New Orleans - their home - Judge Smiley sent his wife,
children and slaves to Pass Christian to their summer home for
safety. But the poison was already in the veins of the wife and
mother, and she died a few days after reaching the Pass. She is
buried there. Her children were Nanny, who married Edward Capelin,
Robert, whose widow, Ella Smylie (Smiley) still lives in McComb.
Edward Watt, who was thrice married (1) to Sarah Comely; (2) to
Mary Elizabeth Copes; (3) to Celia Adelaide Copes. All of the
younger generations hold high places in their home states - Texas,
Louisiana and Mississippi.
James Smylie died a bachelor. Nanny Capelin's children live in
Texas. Robert Smile's live in Mississippi, and Alabama. The children
of the Smiley-Comely marriage live in Texas and Louisiana; those of
the Copes sisters live in Shreveport, Abbeville and Ruston, La.
Catherine Jeannette married Moses Robinson. She was the second of
Nathaniel's children. Their children were James M. Moses,, Sarah
Jane, Mary E. and Kate, (Mary E. and Kate coming first). Of these
Mary married C. C. Germany; Sarah Jane died unmarried; James
Malcolm Smiley was killed in the Battle of Shiloh. Kate Robinson
married Garden Wren. And Moses married Lillian Wren.
this branch of the family many of Amite County's citizens have come.
Sarah Jane Smiley married Joseph Way Anderson and their children were
Nathaniel Smiley, Sarah Eilzah and Joseph; Nathaniel married Isadore
Daniels and many of their descendants are living in that section and
on the Gulf Coast.
married J. D. Rankin, Nathalie married D. R. Anderson, Smiley Shaw
married Elizabeth Coumas, Annie Laurie married (1) T. L. Shumwell,
(2) Richard Whitaker of Centreville, Joseph married Annabele McDermott
and there was a large family; Joseph, Effie Bell, Hettie Jane,
Benjamin Way, Smylie Scott, Charles Robert and James Gordon. Hettie
Jane married Henry Hughes and lives in Memphis, where her children are
prominent citizens. Dr. Smylie Scott is a physician at Hammond,
Louisiana and married Lucille Maiwood Gohn.
Charles Robert (Chum) married Annie Whittaker; James Gordon
married Mary McCrain; Annabele married Walter Posey James. All of
these have fine families and have settled in the South. Two of the
girls in this family went to France in the World War with the American
Red Cross and did fine work.
Nathaniel Smiley's son Robert Patterson, married a very gracious
lady, Eliza Alethea Wren who gave to her many descendants traditions
of beauty and elegance.
Eliza, Sarah Jane, Matthew Bolls, Mary Bolls and Robert, none of
whom married and Margaret, and Margaret, who married E. M. Carter but
had no children; Catherine-Jeannet who married the beloved Reverend
McAllister and was a fitting helpmate to a Godly man. The children
were Mary Smylie, who married Dr. E. W. Flowers, Robert William, who
married Ellie Moore, and whose interesting family lives in Jackson.
One daughter Kate, died in her youth. Helen Married A. S. Tombs of
Louisiana and they have a fine family in that state. Their son Dr. A.
Tombs, married Mary B. Dinwaddie. Three daughters, Margaret, Fannie
and Sarah Annette. Living just across the road from the old Smiley
home in their beautiful place, Ariel. They lead busy, useful lives,
but find time always to dispense gracious hospitality in their ideal
home. James Wren Smylie married Julia Anderson and their daughter was
Elizabeth (Bess) who married W. P. Field, and their son James ___ie
Saix, married Clara Swearingen. Malcolm lives in North Carolina where
he married. Nathaniel Frances Smiley married Martha Ann Anderson.
Their children were Martha, who married Albert C. Jackson, Robert
Smiley who married Lillie Wilkinson, James Malcolm Smylie who married
Wilma Jackson; Joseph Johnston Smiley, who married (1) Winnie West,
(2) Louella Putnam, Edward Patterson Smiley, who married Bessie Myrtle
Davis, Frances Wren Smiley who married Maggie Hazlewood and Reverend
George McAllister Smylie who married Isabella Stevens. Reverend
George Smiley is pastor of the Durant, Presbyterian Church.
number of Nathaniel Smiley's descendants live in or near Gloster,
Vicksburg, Durant, Clarksdale, Opelousas, Louisiana, Lake Village,
Arkansas, Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Chicago Illinois.
(Editor's note; Next Sunday, we will follow this history of the
Smylie family with a short "Story of the Earliest Presbyterian
Churches in the Mississippi Territory. Bethel (1803); Bayou Pieere,
(1808)." By the late Kate Markham Power, as a supplement to her
History of the Smylie Family.)
Contributed by: Andy Miller
OF EARLY SCOTCH SETTLEMENT AT UNION CHURCH
(Editor's note - This is the second installment of the three parts of a paper which was presented to the NATCHEZ HISTORICAL SOCIETY on Jan. 20. The paper which is of general interest was written by Mrs. Mary Barker.)
(Webmaster's note: The first installment is missing. We are trying to find a copy of it!)
On the old church rolls at Union Church, kept prior to the War between the States, are the names of many colored members. Once each month, the negroes all went to the Presbyterian Church, where the elders and the pastor, the Rev. William Montgomery, held a service for them. These were always called "Servants," never "Slaves." It is said that the singing on those occasions was so beautiful that the people always came out and sat on their porches to listen. Miss Lottie Warren says that her mother, Mrs. Mary Inez Torrey Warren, taught the children of the slaves the catechism in her father's home. In later years, one of the house girls from the John Clay Torrey home went as a missionary to Africa. It is interesting to note that after the close of the Civil War, all the slaves of the Torrey families stayed with them.
The first settlers in Union Church were Neill Buie and his wife, Dorothy Mercer Buie, and his son Gilbert Buie, and his brother Gilbert Buie. In reading of the Buie families, you will find that the hereditary names of old Scotch seem to have been carefully preserved. There were no less than three "Neill Buies" at Union Church at one time. There were four "John Buies," one known as "John of Hurricane Creek," one as "Captain John" (who had served under General Jackson in the War of 1812); one as "John the Shoemaker", and one as "John the Beloved." Many of the Scotch families came to Jefferson County down the Mississippi River, but there is some evidence that the Buie family came by way of the Natchez Trace. The name Buie" in the old Gaelic was "Buidhe", which meant "the Yellow haired one". These Buie families cut their way through the cane brakes from the Natchez Trace and made their first camp at what is now the George S. Torrey Home, just a short distance from the village. This is the oldest house now standing of the original settlement.
The Buie Families were followed by many other Scottish families, a hundred families in all, and it is in the second group that came the Pattersons, Newmans, Wilkinsons, Watsons, Smylies, Browns and Barnes.
The first church building at Union Church was built on the property of Gilbert Buie, about two miles west of the village, and was built by Matthew Smylie. It was made of hewed logs. The first school house was also built on the lawn of one of the Buie families homes, where the John Torrey house now stands. The first meeting was held in front of where this house stands, under the arbor.
On the register of the Presbyterian Church at Union Church are twenty-three "Mc's". This is from a recent publication in the Fayette Chronicles, and was taken from a sketch of the community written by Dr. C. W. Grafton in the year 1905. These are the "Mc's"; McArn, McArthur, McBride, McCall, McCallum, McClure, McClutchie, McDuffie, McEachern, McFatter, McIntyre, McLaurin, McLean, McMillan, McMurchie, McNair, McPherson, McQueen, and McRae.
According to this article, there were six different sets of Buies, Sixteen families of Catos. The names of others who came in later, But were prominent in church and school activities are; Alsworth, Baker, Blue, Buckles, Clark, Fairly, Knapp, Knox, Lee, LeGette, Newman, Ray, Scott and Warren.
During the early days at Union Church, farming was an easy matter. They could burn away the cane brakes and plant a crop and be sure of a good harvest. Natchez was the market town for all the country and Union Church was a point on the highway between eastern counties in Mississippi and Natchez. In the fall of the year, long trains of wagons, pulled by teams of heavy oxen, were strung out for miles from the interior of the state, to the Mississippi River. The story is still told among the old timers that there were many of these early settlers who were not averse to strong drink and coming back with a jug of Scotch Whiskey, their spirits would be stirred on the way and their home coming would be loudly advertised. Such a one would be brought before his brethren in the church, and he would be reprimanded. It is said that the old church records abound in illustrations of the faithful dealings of the elders with their brethren.
It was during this same period that camp meetings became famous and popular over the country, and Union Church was noted for such meetings. At the spot where the present Presbyterian Church now stands, rows of wooden sheds and benches were built, and in the fall of the year, the people came together for meetings. The best preachers of the old Mississippi Presbytery assembled, and for many days at a time, the Voice of Song, praise and prayer was heard in the village. It is said camp meetings from points as far as fifty miles distant, went to their own homes and spread the gospel teachings learned at these camp meetings.
When the War between the States broke out, the first company that left Jefferson County was the "Charley Clark Rifles", from the Scotch Settlement at Union Church. Miss Mary Inez Torrey presented the company with the silken flag of Confederacy under the old trees that now stand on the grounds of the old Presbyterian Church. She was only a little girl then, about ten years old, and grew up to marry Dr. Daniel Cameron Warren in the year 1871. They married in the church at Union Church, by the Rev. Samuel Montgomery, son of the Rev. William Montgomery. Their two daughters, Miss Lucie and Miss Lottie has helped more professional and amateur historians and genealogists than anybody I know.
Many of the family records which have been compiled of Jefferson County families could never have been worked out without her help. She has sent me much material for this paper, all of which I hope I have quoted correctly and accurately.
The first "called Minister" of the churches at Ebenezer and Union Church was the Rev. William Montgomery, called "Theater Montgomery" by his flock at both churches. He first came to Mississippi in the year 1800, as a missionary. He stayed just a short time that trip, and returned home, where he married. He came back to Mississippi in 1810 and in 1811 moved his family to Washington, Mississippi and became President of Jefferson College. He resigned in a short while, to devote all of his time to the Ministry. He was Pastor of the Pine Ridge Presbyterian Church for several years, in connection with his other fields of labor.
It was while he was teaching at Jefferson College, that he was introduced to Mr. Dougald Torrey, of Ebenezer, and they became friends and remained friends throughout their lives. It was through this friendship that Mr. Montgomery got the call to become pastor of the two churches at Ebenezer and Union Church. He preached for them for the remainder of his life, and died in 1848, at the age of eighty-one years, having ridden for thirteen miles on horseback to a preaching engagement the previous Sunday.
His salary for his ministry at Union Church was three hundred dollars a year. Once, during this time, at the Pine Ridge Congregation offered him Seven Hundred dollars, to drop the people at Union Church and divide his time with Ebenezer and Pine Ridge. But although he was not a wealthy man, he would not consider this, and promised the people of Union Church that he would never leave them, as long as they needed him. He did stay with them until the end of this life and was one of the best loved of all of their ministers. The older people in Union Church always gave to Mr. Montgomery the credit for what the two churches became in the great advancement of the Presbyterianism in this part of the state.
At the time of his ministry there, many of his congregation had been born in the Highlands of Scotland, and were a rugged people, with a firm sense of duty to their church and to their pastor. Mr. Montgomery felt a keen responsibility for them, and felt a duty to be present for his preaching engagements, regardless of weather conditions. It is said that he never broke but two such engagements, during his entire ministry there - once when his wife died and again when his son died - and that on both occasions he sent a messenger to tell the congregation. His idea was that if the flock all knew that the preacher would be there, somebody would be there to hear him. No doubt this contributed much to the growth and development of the church itself, and its's position in the community.
As to the church buildings in the Union Church settlement, there have been three in all. The first building was a log house, and when it became too small, a frame building was erected to accommodate the growing church. This too became too small after a while, and in the year 1850 another frame building was erected, completed in 1852, which is the present church at Union Church. When I first attended services there, Dr. Cornelius W. Grafton was it's pastor, and had been there for over fifty years at the time. He completed sixty three years as pastor of that church and died while their pastor serving both the church at Union Church and the church at Ben Salem over in Lincoln County.
Many people of my generation have said that Dr. Grafton made Union Church. Others from an older generation say that Union Church made Dr. Grafton. I like to think that the village and the Minister made a nice complement for each other. The honest and deeply religious folk of Union Church would have been great and good anywhere. Judge Jeff Truly of Fayette, now deceased, once said that he believed if all the Bibles in the world were destroyed, that Dr. Grafton could re-write it from memory.
(Editor's note; This is
the third and final installment of a paper which was presented to the
Natchez Historical Society on January 20. The paper which is of
general interest was written by Mrs. Mary Barker.)
was well known to the church people of Natchez during the time of his
ministry at Union Church, and often spoke at the open-air service
which used to be held down on the bluffs of the Mississippi River.
Among the many people who heard and admired Dr. Grafton was the late
Mr. Gerard Brandon, who passed on in 1956. He has said that the most
powerful sermon he had ever heard delivered was given by Dr. Grafton
on one of these occasions when he preached to the people of Natchez.
was well known by Presbyterian people all over this section of the
country and was generally loved by people of all faiths. He never
refused a request to go and preach to people, regardless of their
church affiliations and visited the sick of his community, performed
the marriages, and conducted the funerals of people of all faiths for
the entire time of his pastor ship at Union Church. He was known and
loved by the many students who came from all parts of the State of
Mississippi, including many from Natchez, and some parts of Louisiana,
to attend the Jefferson County Agricultural High School. It was his
custom to conduct the devotional exercises at the school on every
Tuesday morning, and he knew each pupil by name. It was always a great
occasion for the entire student body to have Dr. Grafton address them
in his informal manner, and many are the lessons he taught us during
this time. The greatest lesson ever taught by Dr. Grafton was the
lesson in living itself, which he taught every day by the life he
himself lived, and the people who knew him as children themselves
during their own school lives, carried into their homes. Dr. Grafton
will never be dead as long as the principles he taught and exemplified
in his every day life are remembered by those who knew and loved him
during his sixty-three years as pastor of the Presbyterian Church at
was the sixth pastor of this church and at Ben Salem, coming there in
the year 1873. The church of course was well organized when he came.
Some of he older citizens say that when he came, it was his intention
to remain for just a short time. During his early life there, he lost
his wife and four of his seven children, all of whom are buried in the
old cemetery there. It is likely that this fact bound him to the
community, and the community to him. During the first years of this
time there, he was the principal of the high school at Union Church.
As his church duties took more and more of his time, he had to give
up his school work, but his teaching style is said to have been
reflected in the person of Miss Jennie McCallum, one of his pupils who
herself became the teacher of English and Latin there, and remained
there for many years. It was my privilege to have had Miss Jennie for
the entire four years I was in high school, and I regard this as one
of the greatest blessings of my life. Miss Jennie was the
granddaughter of the Rev. Angus McCallum, who had served as pastor of
the church there, and her character and teaching ability certainly
reflected her own ancestry, and her excellent training under Dr.
Grafton. I think Miss Jennie was, in addition to being an excellent
teacher, a perfect disciplinarian.
amazing thing about her classroom was the little lambs who sat quietly
and respectfully, with never so much as a dropped book or pencil to
disturb the quiet and the same little lambs who were little demons up
and down the study halls, in some of the other classrooms, and on the
campus. She did it without a word, or so it seemed, and it was quite
a topic of conversation and wonder among her pupils. I once asked Dr.
Grafton if he knew why it was that Miss Jennie could have such perfect
order with never a letdown at any time, and his answer was that Miss
Jennie had learned early in life, that quality of self-control, and
that the rest was just a natural consequence. Dr. Grafton said that
it was a great truth, mentioned in the Bible and other great pieces of
literary writings that, he that would govern others, must first learn
to govern himself.
story which was told to me when I first came under the influence of
Miss Jennie McCallum, was that once a young boy who had never been
compelled to do much of anything in his life, was given an order by
Miss Jennie. He asked, "Why?" To which Miss Jennie replied, "Because
I'm the biggest". I understand that she never had to make that
assertion again. From then on, her pupils understood that she was the
biggest, and to use a modern slang expression, Miss Jennie was "the
with the schools of Union Church, the first public school there was
established by Mr. Duncan McArn, ancestor of Mr. Duncan McArn, long
time Sheriff and Peace Officer of Jefferson County. He had previously
built the school at Ebenezer. The school of that period was vastly
superior to many of our Junior Colleges of today. Included in the
school curriculum was Latin, Greek, and the Sciences. Some of the old
text books are still in the homes of the families living in Union
Church today. The first school was known as the "Union Academy", and
it's graduates entered Oakland College, Zion Seminary, and a girl's
Academy in Madison County. This was of course, prior to the War
between the States. After this the school there suffered somewhat the
same fate as did other schools in many sections of the South.
house that was ever built in the village of Union Church was built by
John Watson and his wife Jane Smylie Watson, both born in Scotland and
married in Scotland before coming to America. This was a log house,
and a part of it is built into the present home of Mrs. Mary Gillis
Green. It does not stand on it's original location, however, but was
moved to it's present location when it was learned by Mrs. Green that
it was about to be torn down to make way for another building. John
Watson was an elder in the first church and is buried in the old
cemetery at Union Church.
At the present
time, the sunday school is composed mostly of sixth and seventh
generation descendants of the first Scotch settlers of Ebenezer and
Union Church. The Superintendent is John Pritchard, whose mother was
a Watson. His grandfather and his uncle are also elders in the
church. Duncan McCormick is President of the Board of Deacons. James
Meter, of the Newman and McLaurin families attends. The Cupid family,
from the Buie line, the Wilkinsons, MCARN and Smylies all attend
church and Sunday school at the old Presbyterian Church. So does Mr.
Paul Cato, he is from the family of Burn ell Cato, one of the first
settlers. The Galbreaths of Ebenezer's first families now attends
Sunday school at Union Church. As a matter of some interest the
Galbreaths are descendants also of Elizabeth Crockett, David
I would say that if this paper has dwelt somewhat on the church and
the schools of Union Church, it is because the history of the church
and the history of the school, is also the history of the people and
the history of the village. It has been said that wherever you find
the Scotch people come together and settle, you will find good homes,
fine schools, and big churches. This has certainly been true of the
Scotch family settlement at Union Church.
It has been a
great pleasure to work on this topic, and do indeed Thank the Natchez
Historic Society for the opportunity you have given me to share my
findings and thoughts with you.
Contributed by Andy
Jefferson County MSGenWeb Project - footer
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