Bethel Baptist Church
The following excerpts were submitted by ©Dan Vass. They were taken from Church Minutes which are now located at Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
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Church Minutes, Vol. 1, 1814-1827:
After sermon by Elder Books, the members convened, and being found to be in peace with each other proceeded to business.
A door was opened for the reception of members Sister Mary Vass from Zoar, Orange Co. Va. produced a letter of recommendation from said church and was received into fellowship.
Sister Susanna P. Hancock from Little River Church, Louisa Co. Va. was received into fellowship by letter.
John Hancock received by experience.
All other entries came from church minutes Vol 2 for Bethel Baptist Church, 1828-1871
Received Eliza Vass into the Bethel Church.
June 27, 1829
Thomas Vass received into Bethel Church.
The Friday before the 4th Lord's Day in July, 1829
Madison Vass, Alfred Hancock received by experience.
The church entered into a contract with Bro. T.Vass, who agrees to keep the meeting house the present year, on the same terms as hereto fore.
Adelia Hall was received for baptism.
On motion appointed a committee of six, namely, brethren, N.M.Perry, B. Garnett, A. Hall, M. Vass, C. Hall, and D.M. Christian, whose duty it shall be at our meetings to see that the laws are not violated in the sale of spirituous liquor within the distance prescribed by law.
On motion agreed unanimously to request Bro. T. Vass to keep the meeting house the ensuing year. Bro. Vass, being present, consented to keep the house on same terms as heretofore.
On motion, appointed Bro. Christian, and T. Vass a committee to wait on Bro.Jamison and request him to attend the next meeting, to show cause why he has absented himself from church meetings for many months past.
On motion, brethren J. Garnett and T. Vass were appointed a committee to settle the accounts of our Treasurer, and reported that they find a balance of $9 1/4 in his hands, which was paid over to the church, after which Bro.
Perry resigned the office of Treasurer, and Bro. James Brown was appointed to fill his place.
The following excerpt is from the book "A history of Bethel Church 1813-1838" by John Pendleton, p. 40
" The year 1838, opened inospicious, on the 25th January our beloved Bro. John Pendleton who had acted as Deacon and clerk nearly since the commencement of the church with fidelity fell asleep in the arms of Jesus. At the July meeting a revival of unusual power broke out. The Brethern in the ministry were animating and comforting to believers, bold in warning sinners, sympathizing with mourners and fervent in prayer for their salvation. the members of the church alive to the interest of the cause and the glory of God, bore their humble part with delight. The meeting be protracted on the 12th day the ordinance of baptism was administered by Bro. Ross to 66 willing converts nearly all of them professing during the meeting. In a few weeks after the close of a season of delight, sorrow came on the pious and esteemed sisters, Elizabeth High, Mary Vass(1783-1838), and Nancy Lunderman, with christian resination to the will of God left this world of sorrow to rest with our blessed Jesus. But affliction stopped not there our beloved pastor, William Tandy was also taken from us."
After sermon by Elder Ross proceeded to business in conference. On motion, chose Bro. Thomas Vass our deacon to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of Bro. J. Pendleton.
On Lord's Day Bro. Vass was ordained to the office of Deacon.
Appointed brethren William Tandy, D.M.Christian, W. Hancock, and Thos. Vass to attend the Union meeting at Mt. Zion the second of August and William Tandy, James Garnett, Thos. Vass and James Shelton to attend the Union at Salem on the first Saturday in August.
Sarah Hancock, Angelina Vass, Susan Vass, Mary Vass, Melvina Vass, Jackson Vass received for baptism.
Received into the church, Susan A. Garnett, Eliza C. Garnett.
James T. Garnett received for baptism.
Jan. 26, 1839
"After sermon by Elder Rutherford entered on business in conference. Door was opened Joseph, a colored man the property of Bro. J. Garnett was received for baptism."
Aug. 24, 1839
"Appointed brethren, John Hancock, Thos. Vass, Caswell Hancock and Mills Tandy messengers to attend the union meeting at Lebanon on Saturday before the 3rd Lord's Day in September."
Received James M. Hancock by letter of recommendation from the church at Oakadelphia.
Benj. Lain was received on profession of faith in Christ.
After sermon by Elder Ross proceeded to business in conference. Opened a door for the reception of members. When Thursey J. Vass, Thos. Vass, and John McReynolds was received for baptism.
( membership at this time was 243.)
Aug. 22, 1841
Catharine Ann Hancock came forward and was received by experience.
(membership was 258 at this time)
"Bro. F.A. Hall and sisters Susan Hall and Rebecca M. Jones, also Bro. Benj. Lain and sister Eliza Lain applied for letters of dismission request granted."
Oct. 22, 1842
"Sister Elizabeth A. Billingsley presented a letter of recommendation from the County Line church, Caroline county, Virginia and was received into the fellowship of the church and Benjamin R. Yancy and Jas. J. Yancy was received by experience."
"Fountain and Kitty, a coloured man and woman belonging to Jas. Garnett was received by experience."
"After sermon by Elder Nixon, sat in conference on motion agreed to set apart Saturday of our next meeting to select with prayerful deliberation a deacon to supply the place of Bro. James Garnett who departed this life since our last meeting."
"Proceeded to the choice of a deacon when the vote was taken the call was unanimous on Bro. Benjamin C. Garnett who desired the privilege of considering on the subject till our next meeting before he should give a decisive answer to the call, and the request was granted."
"proceeded to the ordination of Bro. Benjamin C. Garnett to the office of deacon in our church. Elders R. Ross and T. Watts officiating presbytery."
"on application received by experience Ann, a coloured woman belonging to Wm. Carrol."
"After sermon by Elder Watts proceeded to business in conference. Opened a door for the reception of members when Bro. Benjm. Lain and sister Eliza Frances his wife presented a letter of recommendation from the Church of Christ at Mount Nebo, Cooper Co., Mo. and was received."
April 26, 1845
"Sister Zilpah Hancock presented a letter of recommendation from the church at Little Westfork, Montgomery Co., Ten. and was received into fellowship."
(membership- white, 158, black-104, total 262)
" Since our last, Bro. John Hancock departed this life."
"Opened a door for the reception of members. when sister Susan J. Mosely presented a letter of recommendation from the Baptist church at Antioch, Charlotte county, Va. and was rec'd into fellowship."
On application of Bro. J. M. Hancock and sister Ann Hancock, his wife, a letter of dismission was granted them.
"Since our last, we learn that Bro. J.J. Yancey have departed this life."
Sept. 11, 1847
coloured-108 total 289 (this is how the members are listed word for word).
"On application of Bro. Benjamin F. Wood and sister Angelina Woodson a letter of dismission was granted them."
"With sorrow we record the death of sister Matilda Mosley who departed this life since we last met."
"Sister Angelina Woodson presented a letter of recommendation from the Baptist Church at Harmony and was received into fellowship of this church."
"Died at residence, after a protracted illness, on the 10th of May, our esteemed brother, Thomas Vass."
Sept. 11, 1852
"A door being opened for the reception of members Wm. H.E.Trice, Alex Fulcher,Jr., L.B. Moody, Mary S. Hancock, Elizabeth F. Hancock,Susan Brame, Lucy Mosley and Eliza Crowder were received by experience."
"Received by experience and baptism, Mary F. Vass, Eliza C. Vass, James belonging to H. J. Vass."
"United with the church by experience and baptism, Francis M.Layne,W.H. Layne."
"added to the church, James E. Purcell, Thomas E. Layne, Ellen servt. of Bro. W.A. Hancock."
membership, white- 172, black-122, total 294.
"Appointed brethren, A.G.Slaughter,James Richardson a committee to wait on Bro. James E.Purcell and advice him not to apply for license to sell ardent spirits at his grocery."
"During the progress of the meeting which was protracted the following persons united with the church, viz Katharine J. Clark, Susanna Moody, Elvira Hancock, Wm. Woodford, J.F. Garnett,Wm. Hancock, Thos. Vass, Katharine Hancock, and Sarah J. Thacker by experience and baptism, Richard
Thacker by letter."
Sept. 25, 1858
membership, white- 178, colored- 122, total 300
3rd Sunday in Sept. 1860
"The church in conference, received Wm. W. Sergeant by experience. The ordinance of baptism was administered to him this evening 4 o'clock."
Saturday before the 4th Sunday in Sept. 1860
"The door of the church was opened for reception of members, when the following persons presented themselves and were received by experience, to wit., Manerva Sergeant, Elizabeth Sergeant. Manerva Sergeant, Elizabeth Sergeant were baptized by Bro. Morehead at 4 o'clock."
members, white-192, colored-130, total 322.
(From the annual letter to the Bethel association)." We have an interesting sabbath school connected with our church consisting of 10 teachers, 52 scholars, and about 260 volumes in library."
Saturday Oct. 27, 1860
"A letter of dismission was granted to sister Susan B. McCleland, formerly Vass."
Dec. 22, 1860
"Sister Susan E. Hancock departed this life Dec. the 19th, 1860."
A motion was made and carried that 5 brethren be appointed to make an estimate of the probable expenses of the church for the present year, and apportion to each member the amount they believe he ought to pay. The following brethren were then appointed, Wm. Bronaugh, James T. Garnett,
M.B.Vass, R.M.Tandy, A.G. Slaughter."
Nov. 4, 1860
The following servants were baptized by Elder Morehead and received as members of the church. to wit. Betty, bel. to H.F. Townly, Emily, belg. to R. Coleman, Martha to T. Hilton, Eliza to R. Jameson, Ben to C.W. Lundeman, Abram bel. to Ben Lane."
"It was moved and carried that in view of the calamitous affairs of our country that this church observe next Saturday and Sunday as a season of fasting and prayers to the Lord, that he would avert the horrors of civil war and bloodshed from our land, and again restore peace and quiet to the
1861 Saturday before the 4th Sunday in Oct.
" A letter was received from Capt. Leavell's company asking Bethel Church to give up her pastor, Elder R.W. Morehead to accompany them as chaplain upon the tented field in the ruthless war now being waged upon our section of the country. The letter was taken up and considered. The Brethren with feelings of deep emotion decided that as much as they deplored it, they could not deny the company their request. The church therefore left Elder Morehead free to decide as to what he might feel it his duty to do. It was furthermore agreed that if Bro. Morehead decide to attend sd. company as
chaplain this church will continue to pay his salary until the confederate states pay him for his services."
It was moved and carried. That in view of the calamitous affairs of our country that this church observe next Saturday and Sunday as a season of fasting and prayers to the Lord, that he would avert the horrors of civil war and bloodshed from our land, and again restore peace and quiet to the country.
1861 Saturday before the 4th Sunday in Oct.
A letter was rec'd from Capt.Leavell's company asking Bethel Church to give up her pastor, Elder R.W.Morehead to accompany them as chaplain upon the tented field in the ruthless war now being waged upon our section of the country. The letter was taken up and considered. The Brethren with feelings of deep emotion decided that as much as they deplored it, they could not deny the company their request. The church therefore left Elder Morehead free to decide as to what he might feel it his duty to do. It was furthermore agreed that if Bro. Morehead decide to attend sd. company as chaplain this church will continue to pay his salary until the confederate states pay him for his services.
Sat. March 22, 1862
No preaching today, the church sat in conference, and on motion Bro. E.B. Garnett was appointed modr, pro,tem
Sat. before the 4th Sunday in May 1862
A motion was made by B.C. Garnett to raise the finances of the church by voluntary subscription.
Sat. Aug. 9,1862
On motion it was agreed to appoint a committee to raise the funds of the church by subscription, Bro. W.W. Sargeant was appointed sd. committee.
Sat. before the 4th Sunday in Sept. 1862
"No. of col. members 172, No. white members, 195, Total 367.
Sat. January 24, 1863
With feelings of regret we here record the death of Sister Elizabeth Downer who departed this life in Dec. 1862, Also Sister Elizabeth Tandy Jan. 27th, 1863. Also the following colored members Marcellus belonging to the estate of James Garnett dec'd, Sarah and Lewellyn, svts. of J.T. Garnett.
1863 Sat. before the 4th Sunday in Feb.
At the request of Bro. Virgil A. Garnett to be dismissed, or his name erased from the church book, it was granted.
1863 Sat. before the 4th Sunday in March.
With feelings of regret we have heard of the death of Bro. Wm. H. Pendleton, one of the Deacons of this church which was caused by drowning in Duck River about the 3rd of March.
1863 1st Sunday in Oct.
A protracted meeting was commenced at Bethel today which continued till Thursday the 29th inst. The Lord blessed the labors of his ministers and greatly revived the church and we may truly say the church enjoyed a refreshing season from the presence of the Lord. A large number of persons were convicted and converted during the meeting. The following united with the church by experience and were baptized by Eld. Morehead Oct 24th. Frank Whitlow, John D. Bronaugh, R.S. Bronaugh, Margaret M. Moody, Florence P. Sergeant, Agnes E. Sergeant, Z.Taylor Rawlings, Alice Rawlings, N.B.Smith, Sue Smith, Mary L. Garrett,Demarius P. Hancock, Thomas J. Tandy, John H.Tandy, Augustus Lane, Mary M. Lane, Alice Alexander, Edmonia Jameson, Juliet P.Hay, Margaret Lloyd, David Wood, Chalmer Leavell, Thomas L. Graham, Frank Throckmorton, James L. Garnett, Gus E. Garnett, John T. Hancock, James Hancock.
The following by experience and baptism Oct. 26th. Matthew Lane, William Vass, John Vass.
Rec'd for by experience and baptism Nov. 8th. Walter F. Garnett.
Saturday April 23, 1864
On motion Eld. R.W.Morehead and his wife, Sister Helen L. Morehead (formerly Garnett) was dismissed by letter. With feelings of regret we record the death of Sister Eliza Lane, which occurred Apr. 30, 1864.
James L. Garnett, cl.
Saturday July 23, 1864
Bro. T. Moody was appointed modr. and Bro. W.W.Sergeant, cl.
Sat. before 4th Sunday March 1865
The church sat in conference, the regular modr presiding Previous minutes not being present, the reference to missions was taken up. After remarks from Eld. Hunt, on motion a committee of Sisters Juliet Pendleton and Jennie Vass, and Brethren W.W.Sergeant, E.W.Pendleton, J.B.Moody were appointed to take up collection for said object.
Sat. April 22, 1865
James M. Hancock and Mills Perry Vass were rec'd by experience and baptism on Sunday 23rd.
Sat. before 4th Sunday in Dec. 1865
Excluded from membership, Ellen belonging to W.A.Hancock.
Sunday Feb. 25,1866
Since our last meeting Bro. Gus E. Garnett has departed this life.
2nd Sunday in Oct. 1866.
A protracted meeting was commenced and continued 4 weeks. During the meeting the Lord was graciously pleased to reivive his work among us, and 15 were united to the church by experience and baptism. To wit. Susan Thomasson, Mary Thomasson, Anna Hord, Rose Lacy, Margaret Terrill, Lycurgus Leavell, James Henry Hall, William Walker Edins, Joseph Hancock, Edward Moody, William Williams, Eliza B. Garnett, Susan Boxley, Bettie Markas, Mrs. M. Williams.
The Discipline committee made the following report which was rec'd and adopted.
To Bethel Church.....committee on discipline met at Pembroke on 1st of Feb. to investigate certain charges against Brethren James Richardson, R.C.Jamison, W.W. Sergeant. To wit. 1st Trafficking in ardent spirits; 2nd Trading on the sabbath.
Bro. W.W.Sergeant's answer to the same charges was that they were true. That under some circumstances he would abandon his dry goods trade on the sabbath, but under no circumstances would he abandon the traffic of ardent spirits. Your committee recommend that Bro. W.W. Sergeant be excluded from the fellowship of the church on the ground of his guilt of both charges.
In conformity to the above report, W.W. Sergeant was excluded from the fellowship of the church.
Saturday July 25, 1868
membership, blacks 60, whites 189 total 249.
Saturday before the 4th sabbath in August 1868
The Discipline committee made the following reports to be recorded which were adopted
Your committee having heard charges dereogatory to the Christian character of Bro. Marion Layne, have had an interview with him and as he professed repentance, we would recommend that the church bear with him. Your committee would also report that we have heard from good authority that Sister Mary Vass (Mary Francis Vass, 1837-1928) has been guilty of immoral conduct. We therefore recommend her exclusion from the church.
Saturday before the 4th Sunday in June, 1870.
"Our present number of whites is 181, colored 58, Total 239."
On the 1st Sunday in Sept. 1870
Sister Louisa J. Yancy, Brother R.M.Vass and Thomas J. Woodson came forward to unite with the church on the 2nd sunday in Sept. After relating their Christian experiences they were received.
Saturday before the 4th Sunday in August 1870
Sister Mary E. Layne also came forward with a letter from the Baptist Church at Hopkinsville, and was rec'd. Sister Maria Bronaugh, brother Wm. Woodson and Charley Vass were rec'd after the Christian experience was heard. Letters of dismission were granted to Sister Minerva Sergeant, and her two daughters, Florence and Agnes.
4th Saturday in Sept. 1870
Letters of dismission were asked for Thomas Mosely, Ellen Slaughter, Lucy Graham, and Abram Layne col., which was granted.
2nd Sunday in Oct. 1870
came forward and united with the Church and were baptized. Henry B. Hancock, Leonard W. Hancock, W. L. Jones, Miss Annie Layne.
On the 5th Sunday in Oct. 1870
rec'd into the fellowship of the church and were baptized. Frank Vass.
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