Rev. Thomas F. Luncford (1824-1888) &
Martha Rachel Hill (1822-1890)
Family Bible with notes in possession of Griffin Lunceford, Woolsey, GA.
Thomas F. Luncford was born October 14th, 1824
Martha R. Luncford was born May 13, 1822
T. F. Luncford and Martha Rachell Hill was married Nov. 12th, 1845 by M. H. Whit
1. Elisha Griffin Luncford was born Oct. 7th, 1846 was baptized Aug. 21th, 1847 by Noah Smith
2. Mary Elizabeth Luncford was born July 8th, 1848 was baptized November 21st, 1848 by A. Dorman Died February 14th, 1856
3. Thomas Jackson Luncford was born March 13th, 1850 was baptized August 13th, 1850 by E. Sweet
4. William Henry Luncford was born January 18th, 1852 was baptized August 26th, 1853 by J. Centel
5. Martha Finetta Luncford was born Nov. 14th, 1853 was baptized July 24th, 1854 by Morgan Bellah
6. John Alexander Luncford was born Aug. 13th, 1855 was baptized Oct. 23rd, 1855 by J. Cranen
7. Infant Boy was born April 27, 1857 Died July 9, 1857
8. Sarah Jane Luncford was born January (?) May 31, 1858 was baptized Oct. 27, 1858 by W. Mackhan
9. Nancy Slaughter Luncford was born Jan 31st, 1860 was baptized October 1, 1860 by M. Harp
10. Infant Girl was born Aug. 3rd, 1861 Died Aug. 24th, 1861
11. Walter Branham Luncford was born Aug. 27, 1863 was baptized January 24th, 1864 by J. B. Pinton
Note that the ministers named in baptisms are among those at Liberty Chapel/Inman Methodist
Submitted by Sara Jane Overstreet, direct descendant
Thomas F. Luncford came to Fayette County from Newton County and married Martha Rachel Hill in Fayette County. He was the son of Henry Lunsford and Mary Polly Bennett, and his birthplace is currently unknown but is likely not Newton County--as his parents were married in Oglethorpe County he was a toddler when he was listed in the 1827 census with his parents in Taliaferro County. His bride was the daughter of Elisha Hill and Martha Patsy Stubbs and had been born in South Carolina just before her parents moved the family to Georgia. She married relatively late and did not marry a man from a locally settled family as her sisters did. This couple most likely met at Liberty Chapel.
Thomas F. Luncford was the oldest of his siblings. (His father's name was recorded as LUNSFORD, although it is not clear that he wrote his name himself.) None of his brothers or sisters seem to have moved to the Fayette area. A number stayed in Newton, and some moved to the Acworth, GA area. They tended to spell their names as LUNSFORD
The Bible from his family is recorded as follows:
Retyped from DAR COLLECTION, GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF ARCHIVES AND HISTORY (ATLANTA, GA) Book # 354, p. 81-82:
Original typist Mrs. A. L. Loyd, Covington, Newton County, GA
Retyped by S. J. Overstreet, 1996 Spelling of names as reported
Henry Lunsford was born November 4th, 1804.
Polly Bennet wife of Henry Lunsford was born August 6th, 1806
Thomas F. Lunsford son of Henry & Polly Lunsford was b. Oct, 14, 1824
Alexander (Bennett) Lunsford son of Henry & Polly was b. Sept. 13, 1827
Reuben Lunsford was born Oct. 25th, 1828
Elizabeth Lunsford was b. March 11th, 1830 (she married a Morgan)
Zenus Lunsford was b. Dec. 7th, 1831
Mary Ann Lunsford was born Nov. 24th, 1834
Alla Lunsford was born Aug. 18, 1838
John Henry Lunsford was born May 19th, 1840
Richard M. Lunsford was born Dec. 5th, 1842
Leann Sarah Jane Lunsford was born January 26th, 1845
Thomas himself could read and write. A Bible commentary belonging to Thomas Luncford in possession of descendent Griffin Lunceford has his signature as THOMAS F. LUNCFORD, and his family erected a tombstone with that spelling. The Bible commentary was originally in possession of Rev. John W. McGehee, a Methodist pastor who was assigned to Fayetteville in 1860 (see Methodist Preachers in Georgia 1783-1900, by Harold Lawrence, Boyd Publishers, 1984).
At this time the details of Thomas Luncford's coming to Fayette are unclear but we do have some clues. Family tradition is that Thomas Luncford was a Methodist minister--a circuit rider--who came on assignment to Liberty Chapel church. Conference records in the 1840's were scarce, so not finding documentation of such an assignment is not unusual. It is known that a Methodist minister owning land in the Liberty Chapel area--John Simmons--was on assignment in Newton County and was having his children educated there at the time that Thomas Luncford was at home in Newton County also getting his education. There was a large addition to the local Methodist membership when a successful campmeeting was held in Newton County. It is likely that Thomas Luncford was converted and influenced to move to Fayette County--perhaps by Rev. Simmons who had made his own homesite here. If he in fact came as an assigned minister during that time period, he would have had to provide his own home and covered 20-30 churches on a circuit. This limited a minister's options for family life. Since Thomas Luncford married in 1845 AFTER coming to Fayette, he must have decided to leave the pastorate in order to support and live with his family. Records have not been found to date regarding his buying of land in Fayette, but he started selling off land in the late 1840's.
It is further noted that Thomas Luncford's name does not appear on the earliest Liberty Chapel rolls, while the names of his family are listed. He was still alive at the time of the first two recorded registers. If he were to have come as an itinerant preacher, his official membership would have remained with the conference instead of with a local congregation--a practice still in effect to this day for United Methodist pastors.
Thomas F. Luncford is listed in conference records as a Local Preacher in 1867, with official documentation to that effect (see North Georgia Conference Journal, held in Atlanta Nov. 27-Dec. 2, 1867, Bishop Pierce, President, p. 117). As a Local Preacher he performed duties when the regularly assigned minister was unavailable--which was most of the time. Thomas Luncford performed marriages, baptisms, and preached from the pulpit. His continued association with other Methodist ministers is well-documented.
A publication by the North Georgia Conference Historical Society in 1956 defined the Local Preacher as follows:
Local Preachers: This group far outnumbered the [Bishops, Presiding Elders, and Pastors in Charge]. Sometimes there would be a dozen or more local preachers in one circuit and some of them were very superior men, superior in every way to the majority of the pastors. Some had themselves been pastors and, against their will, had been forced to locate by circumstances which they could not control. Love of their old work, however, had in no wise abated and they gladly responded to the call of settlements where sermons were few. Without waiting for invitations from their immediate community and adjacent territory, the local preachers sometimes invited their neighbors to their cabins for religious services. In some localities the first Methodist classes were formed by the local ministry, and when the regular circuit preacher came on the scene, he found Methodism already planted. In addition to their sermons, they sought to be helpful to the less experienced pastors. This better qualified group of local preachers lacked much of being a majority; but many of their brethren, who did not reach to their stature in ability and experience, were nevertheless capable and devoted men.
Taken together, local preachers were a mighty factor in the promotion of Methodism. In any given circuit they preached more sermons than the pastor and they had a sense of obligation to meet appointments, regardless of convenience, comparable to that of the circuit rider. On special occasions, such as revivals and campmeetings, they were invaluable. There can be no worthy history of Methodism which does not recognize and magnify the great contribution which they made in that early day and in less measure on down through the years. Naturally their place has narrowed as pastors have multiplied and fewer churches were necessary to constitute a charge. p. 73, A HISTORY OF METHODISM IN GEORGIA 1736-1955, by Alfred M. Pierce.
This couple married and had children that were meticulously documented in the family Bible record. The children's names read right from the family tree on both maternal and paternal sides. The oldest child was names for Martha's brother who died as a young adult in a hunting accident a short time after the child's birth. The older girls were named for their grandmothers and aunts, and the boys named for grandfathers and uncles. One daughter--Nancy Slaughter--was baptized by Mozee Harp and was named for one of Rev. Harp's daughters. Notice that a record was kept of ministers who baptized the babies. There is a strong connection with the organization of the church as the babies were baptized in the first place, and that the names of many Methodist ministers from the area were among those listed.
In 1864 there was a state census taken to see what resources were left to send to the War Between the States. Original documentation of the "Joe Brown Census" was microfilmed by the GA Department of Archives and History and shows the following:
Militia District 538, Fayette County, GA
Entry #1--Thomas Lunceford (by spelling of census taker), age 39, occupation farmer, born Newton Co., GA, no gun or horse
Entry #6--Griffin Luncford (by spelling of census taker), age 17 years, 4 mo., born Fayette Co., occupation farmer, no gun or horse
Thomas Luncford was a Local Preacher and a farmer in the southern part of Fayette County, Georgia until his death. Some of his children stayed in the area while others moved on. The spelling of the name differed even in the same family, so this is not a distinguishing factor. Thomas and Martha are both buried in the cemetery at Inman on Hill's Bridge Road in Fayette County, GA.
1--Elisha Griffin Lunceford (1846-1930, joined Liberty Chapel 1886) m. Martha Jane McLucas
2--Mary Elizabeth Luncford (1848-1856)
3--Thomas Jackson Luncford (1850-1921) m. Mary/Marian Hill
4--William Henry Luncford (1852)
5--Martha Finetta Luncford (1853)
6--John Alexander Luncford (1855-1935, joined Liberty Chapel 1888) m. Martha Belle Lee
7--Baby Boy Luncford (1857-1857)
8--Sara(h) Jane Luncford (1858-1925, lifelong member Liberty Chapel, showing as adult member in earliest known record in 1883) m. Archibald McLucas
9--Nancy Slaughter Luncford (1860)
10--Baby Girl Luncford (1861-1861)
11--Walter Branham Luncford (1863--joined Liberty Chapel 1888, removed by certificate)
Martha Jane McLucas (1860-1916)
Submitted by Griffin A. Lunceford of Woolsey, GA (grandson)
Elisha Griffin Lunceford was born October 7, 1846. He was the oldest of 11 children born to Thomas F. and Martha Rachel (Hill) Luncford. His father Thomas F. Luncford was a Methodist Circuit Rider and Farmer who preached at the Liberty Chapel Methodist Church in Inman, Georgia.
On May 7, 1864, he enlisted in the Confederate States Army in I Company, 1 Regiment, of the Georgia Reserves, Fannin's Regiment, at Atlanta, Georgia by Captain W. L. Hubbard. He acquired the rank of Corporal and was discharged at the Andersonville Confederate Prison in 1865.
When the war was over, he returned home to Inman, Georgia. After he returned home, he became a farmer and purchased a farm in Woolsey. After batching for a number of years, he married Martha Jane McLucas on January 2, 1887 the daughter of Daniel and Rebecca Ann (Chambers) McLucas of Inman, Ga. They raised 3 children: Annie Ray born Aug. 6, 1888, Daniel Thomas born May 15, 1890, and William Andrew born Oct. 2, 1892. Elisha Griffin Lunceford died on April 11, 1930 at the age of 83.
Compilation Copyright 2008 - Present by Linda Blum-Barton