|Cool Springs MethodistChurch|
COOL SPRINGS METHODIST CHURCH
Located in the Hominy Ridge Community
Franklin County, Mississippi
Edward Graham Sullivan
Written about 1975
Copied from original pamphlet October, 2002 by Glenn Cupit e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
(with some minor corrections and church members full names added)
with permission of children of E G Sullivan
The time in history is 1798. Mississippi had not yet been made an official state. A strip of land beginning at the present Mississippi Louisiana line south of Natchez and extending north to the mouth of the Yazoo River at Vicksburg bordered on the west by the Mississippi River and on the east by the Chattahoochie River (present Alabama Georgia line) was acquired by the United States by treaty with Spain in 1796. This was known as the Mississippi Territory. Its first governor, Winthrop Sargent from Massachusetts, was appointed along with a secretary and three judges by the United States Congress.
The Natchez Indians, the principle tribe of this vicinity, had been practically wiped out by the French years earlier but small settlements of Indians from other tribes were still present in the territory.
Natchez was the largest and oldest settlement in the territory and farming was well established in a large area both north and south of the city. The area which was to become Franklin County later was called the Homochitto District. The first census of the Mississippi Territory in 1800 lists the Homochitto District as having 462 inhabitants. This figure was increasing rapidly and had more than doubled in a few years. Hominy ridge was one of the earliest settlements in the District with many families already settled prior to 1800.
Methodism was well established as a major denomination in the original colonies and adjacent settlements. As settlers moved west and south, Methodist ministers followed preaching and establishing churches. So, it was no surprise that soon after territorial government was established by Congress for the Mississippi Territory in 1798, that a Methodist minister appeared on the scene. This minister was Tobias Gibson. He arrived in Natchez early in 1799 from South Carolina. Reverend Gibson immediately set about the task at hand. He traveled by horseback both north and south of Natchez preaching the gospel wherever he could gather a few people around him. This was often in or around some residents house. By early in 1800, two churches had been established, the first at Washington and the second at Kingston.
Unfortunately, Tobias Gibson did not keep a journal of his daily activities as many early explorers and ministers did. This leaves many unanswered questions about his actions in the early 1800s as he brought Methodism into the Mississippi
Territory including the area that was to be Franklin County later. We do know that other ministers joined him early in this period and still other locals were licensed to preach.
Cool Springs Organized
The lack of records for the period leaves many gaps concerning the establishment of Cool Springs Methodist Church. Questions have been raised as to the organization date. Was it 1801, 1805 or 1809? Convincing evidence points toward its organization date as some time in 1801 making it the first organized church in what was to become Franklin County. Based on records of churches organized later, there is little doubt that the organization took place at someones residence, perhaps under a shade tree or front porch if it was warm weather or inside by candle or fireplace if it was winter. The pastor in charge at the time could have been Tobias Gibson or any of the several others who had joined him by this time. We will probably never know much about this congregation through the early years of its existence.
Some of the material gathered by Dr. J. B. Cain in his work on Methodism in Mississippi indicates that Cool Springs was probably served for the first five years by the Reverends Tobias Gibson, Moses Floyd, Hezekiah Harriman and Learner Floyd. Some of the family names of people in the vicinity who were probable charter members are the Picketts, Kings, Bislands, Gibsons, and McKnights.
For the first five years, Cool Springs was in the Natchez Circuit. It was placed on the newly formed Wilkinson Circuit in 1806. Through the years the Church was in several circuits and districts including the Meadville Circuit. After the Nebo Circuit was established in 1909, Cool Springs remained there until the last few years of existence as an active congregation. These few years were in the Union Church Circuit.
We know very little about the activities of Cool Springs until it was placed on the Meadville Circuit in 1869. Proceedings of quarterly conferences of the Meadville Circuit are available for the period it remained there. This writer spent many hours studying these records for bits and pieces of information about Cool Springs as reported by the pastor in charge. If such records of quarterly conferences of the Nebo Circuit were kept, I have not been able to locate them. This leaves another period of many years with very few written records except names of pastors, elders, etc., which are listed in the appendix. So, such questions as when and where the first building was erected, who the members and officials were, how often were services held and the many other details we would like to have will never be known unless, by some miracle, such records are discovered.
The Church Buildings
As stated above, there is no record of the first Cool Springs Church building. There was certainly some type of building erected in the early 1800s. We do not even know if it was at the present church site. There is reason to believe that it may not have been because of a statement in the Meadville Circuit record for the Fourth Quarterly Conference, November 7, 1874. This was a report given by George Cope, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Cool springs which stated that four acres of land had been secured by deed. He reported further that the house was in bad condition but a new church was under construction. The building committee consisted of James Prather, George Cope and James Callander. This church property was valued at $75 at that time. At a quarterly conference a year later, Z. Lincoln, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, reported that a new church had been built except for seats. One other report in 1879 simply stated that the church property was valued at $100 and that the church needs finishing. There is evidence that these were very lean years for Cool Springs.
The present building was constructed in the late 1920s. Modernization, such as asbestos siding, the removal of wood heaters and installation of a butane system and electricity were added after WW II.
From a complete review of the quarterly conference reports of the Meadville Circuit, the following bits of somewhat fragmented information are presented. Names of persons mentioned are given for people who are interested in the part their ancestors played in the activities of Cool Springs Church.
1874 Four Sabbath schools are in operation on the Circuit; one of which was Cool Springs. George Cope was approved as a local preacher.
1875 First quarterly conference, February. All Sabbath schools closed due to heavy rains, swollen streams and extreme cold. Will reopen when weather breaks in the spring. Second quarterly conference, May. George Cope elected steward replacing Z. Linton. Fourth quarterly conference, November. Total amounts raised for the year was $8.
1877 First quarterly conference, January 20 . By vote of the stewards, it was ordered that there be no assessment made upon Cool Springs for that year. Second quarterly conference, May 18. E. F. Cobb, William Hemphill and A. J. Robinson were elected trustees. Total funds collected for the quarter was $3.75. John M. Simmons was elected steward.
1879 Second quarter conference, May. J. M. Simmons, superintendent of Sabbath School, reports three classes in operation. Fourth quarterly conference, November. A. J. Sullivan was steward. T. J. Flowers was elected to the Board of Trustees. Collected for the quarter was $7.40.
1880 Fourth quarterly conference. A. J. Sullivan and John Lee resigned as trustees. Ephraim Emfinger and William Lee, Jr were elected in their place. To give some indication of the economic conditions for this period, the assessment for pastoral support for two preachers for the Meadville Circuit was reported as: Meadville $100, Nebo $65, Oak Grove $40, Beech Groove $100, Cool Springs $20, Mt Carmel $50, Providence $30, Smyrna $50 and Greenwood $50.
The period from 1877 until around 1890 was a very difficult one for the church. Economic conditions were not good. Several of the strongest members moved out of the community though some moved back later. The A. J. Sullivan family moved to Providence Church; the Cope family to Kingston; the Cobbs and Mingees to Locust Grove in Adams County and Reverend E. A. Glowers left the community to serve a pastorate elsewhere. In fact, it seems probable that no services were held during 1886. A committee was formed by the quarterly conference in August, 1886, consisting of B. F. Youngblood of Nebo, T. J. Flowers of Cool Springs and W. M. Sullivan of Providence to investigate the property at Cool Springs and make a recommendation to the conference. This committee reported to the conference in November of the same year that it was not necessary to sell the Cool Springs property. Regular services were resumed the following year and for the next twenty-five or so years the church reached what was perhaps its strongest point. It seems appropriate to recognize the Methodist Ministers who came from Cool Springs. The Copes, George W., Sr. and George W., Jr., both became local preachers in the Methodist Church. Two other local preachers were Henry Mingee and John D Willis. Two whose names were widely known over Mississippi were Ephraim A. Flowers, a member of the Mississippi Conference from 1853 until his death in 1901 and William M. Sullivan who held membership in the conference from 1888 until his death in January, 1946. Reverend Flowers held pastorates across Southwest Mississippi including Cool Springs in 1867 and 1868. Reverend Sullivan held pastorates across the whole Mississippi Conference area and served 10 years as presiding elder in the Meridian, Seashore and Newton Districts.
When I began compiling data for a history of Cool Springs Church, I never realized how frustrating it would be to search for much needed information only to find that it simply was not available. My research carried me to the Millsaps College Library, the Natchez Library, the Meadville Library, contacts with some of the Mississippi Conference officials and many hours with the records at the Meadville Methodist Church.
In the records of the Meadville Circuit for instance, the pastors report would usually be in great detail. It included names of members brought in by profession of faith, transfers, names of people baptized, infant baptisms and members who transferred but in most cases it was a report of the whole circuit grouped together. There was no way to separate what happened at Cool Springs.
One point of real confusion which I have not yet been able to straighten out is the amount of land in our church property. At the fourth quarterly conference, November 7, 1874, Mr. George Cope, Chairman, Board of Trustees for Cool Springs, reported that four acres was secured by deed. No mention was made of who deeded the property to the church. From records which were in my dads (Dewitt Graham [Gray]Sullivan) hands and which I now have, I find two letters from the chancery Clerks office at Meadville concerning this property. Apparently this was an attempt to answer questions that were bothering church officials at that time. The letters are dated September 18, 1935. They are signed by Cliff Herring. He states that he could find only one deed to this property and it is from James (James McCaa, Jr ? b about 1795 - ?) and Nancy McCaa (Nancy Rutledge McCaa 1799 - abt 1880) to the trustees of Cool Springs Church given on June 23, 1838. He further states that if this is the only deed, the property consists of two and one-half acres instead of ten. The other letter describes the property as 20 poles square and states that the beginning point in the description is indefinite since none of the stakes can be located.
So, if this sounds like a document with some holes in it, you have read it correctly. I believe that some of this can be filled out if we continue to search for old records. Some of this could be in trunks or boxes that have been handed down by our ancestors. This could particularly be true in some of the families connected with Cool Springs in the first 40 or so years of its existence. For your information and help in our search, some of these family names are: Flowers, Willis, Cope, Linton, McCaa, Stroud, Hemphill, Prather, McKnight, King and Cobb. Should any person who reads this know of such records, regardless of how unimportant they may seem, I would appreciate hearing about it.
(Contact Preston Graham Sullivan [son of the writer] at PO Box 4483 Fayetteville, AR, 72702 -
phone 479-443-0609 or by e-mail at: email@example.com )
The search will continue and if sufficient data should be located, this document will be revised.
Pastors of Cool Springs Methodist Church
Caleb W. Cloud
John I. E. Byrd
Francis R. Cheatham
No Records for this period
James Watson and Henson Hawkins
James Watson and Henry H. Shropshire
Andrew T. M Fly and Daniel Dealy
John M. Hamil and Benjamin F. Impson
James Watson and Cyprian Gridley
John C. Johnson and John Lusk
James Y. Griffing and Erastus R. Strickland
William B. Harper and James Y. Griffing
Henry J. Harris
Henry J. Harris and Solomon G. Simpkins
Lorenzo Ercanbrack and Alexander A Lewis
Lysander Wiley and Edward Mortimer
Henry M. Youngblood and Archibald B. Nicholson
Henry M. Youngblood
Archibald B. Nicholson
John B. Bowen
William B. Johnson
William B. Johnson and Nathan Coffee
Robert A. Sibley, Sr.
William G. Millsaps and John B. Bowen
John D Willis
George F. Thompson
Robert A. Sibley, Sr.
E. F. Mullins
E. A. Flowers(Ephraim A (Arthur?) Flowers 1826-1901, husband of Ann A Griffing 1827-1887)
Columbus W. Campbell
John W. Willis
E. A. Flowers
C. D. Cecil
C. C. Watkins
B. F. Jones
W. W. Hopper
E. F. Mullins
W. G. Millsaps
Green W. Brown
John W. Sandell
Virgil D. Skipper
J. R. Whittington
H. B. Vandenberg
P. H. Howse
P. H. Howse and D. F. Guice
Robert S. Gale
Robert A. Sibley, Jr.
Robert A. Sibley, Jr. and D. F. Guice
J. Early Gray
E. J. Coker
C. C. Gibson
W. H. Lane
C. H. Herring
H. A. Maples
W. B. Alsworth
N. S. Loftus
J. W. Price
C. H. Herring
J. H. Sharp
M. H. McCormick
Emmett J. Rutledge
J. O. Williams
R. M. Gibson
W. W. Murray
W. B. Hollingsworth
Floyd W. Odom
J. A. McCraney
Daniel P. Yeager
J. C. Jackson
J. N. Lambert
W. R. Hedgpeth
R. T. Scott
C. E. Swain
F. L. Abel
Jack T. Hopper ?
The only membership roll for Cool Springs located so far is for the year 1931. It was taken from a copy of Handbook of the Nebo Circuit, Vicksburg District, Methodist Episcopal Church South. This was prepared by Reverend W. W. Murray, pastor.
Officials and Committees
Trustees: Full name added by Glenn Cupit
M. E. Saxon Marcus Edgar Saxon
A. L. Saxon Augustus (Gus) Lafayette Saxon
D. G. Sullivan Dewitt Graham (Gray) Sullivan
Sunday School Superintendent:
J. L. Cupit John Lee Cupit
M. E. Saxon Marcus Edgar Saxon
D. G. Sullivan Dewitt Graham (Gray) Sullivan
D. G. Sullivan Dewitt Graham (Gray) Sullivan
E. C. Hemphill Edgar C. Hemphill
S. E. Foy Samuel Emmanuel Foy
J. L. Cupit John Lee Cupit
Stewardship & Tithing Committee:
Mrs. Rouvella Saxon Mrs. Margaret Rovella (Vellie) Cupit Saxon
Miss Zelma Hemphill Miss Zelma Roxie Hemphill Mullins
Miss Jewel Saxon Miss Clara Jewel Saxon Tanksley
Cool Springs Church Membership Roll - 1931
C. L. Anding
J. L. Cupit John Lee Cupit 1871-1943 #43
J. S. Cupit Jaye Short Cupit 1867-1943 #50
Mrs. Emma Cupit Mary Emma Ezell Cupit 1873-1932 #51
Mrs Vernie Cupit Loulie Alvernie (Vernie) Hemphill Cupit 1879-1965 #22
Miss Madie Lee Cupit Madie Lee Cupit Osborne 1915-2000
Lloyd Cupit Lloyd Rufus Cupit 1917-1945
Cleon Cupit Cleon Cupit 1905-1981
Mrs. Lovie Cupit
Rufus Cupit John Rufus (Rufus) Cupit 1891-abt 1970
Rayford Cupit Winston Rayford (Ray) Cupit 1908-abt 1972
Mrs. Hattie Cupit Hattie Priest Cupit 1897-1990
Earnest Cupit Ernest James Cupit, Sr 1897-1971
Farrell Cupit Benjamin Fairel (Fairel) Cupit ?-?
J. W. Cupit J W (Jake) Cupit 1906-1966 #21
Mrs. Mattie Cupit Ducker Mattie Cupit Ducker 1912-1987
Mrs. Mattie Bankston
Mrs. Genia Emfinger
Mrs. Louis Emfinger Minnie Belle Cupit Emfinger 1903-1950
Mrs. Lonnie Ezell
Mrs. John Ezell
Mrs. Normie Ezell Ruby O Cupit Ezell 1896-1978
S. E. Foy Samuel Emmanuel Foy 1875-1938
Edgar Hemphill Edgar C Hemphill 1894-1951 #46
Mrs. Eva Hemphill Francis Eva Cupit Hemphill 1896-1966 #45
Miss Zelma Hemphill Zelma Roxie Hemphill Mullins abt 1913-?
Mrs. Bertie Foy Little
Mrs. Rubie Matthews
Mrs. Hughey McCaa [Is this Ada Rosaline Sanders McCaa 1877-1965 #18
Wife of: James Elihu (Hugh) McCaa ?]
Herman D. McCaa Herman D McCaa 1901-1974
James W. McCaa James Walker McCaa 1898-1962
Joe McCaa Joe Jeremiah McCaa 1911-1976 #17
Mrs. Mary Jane McQuinn
Mrs. Allie Priest
Elmo Priest Elmo Priest 1917-2001
Willie Priest [Is this Willis Priest 1894-1976, husband of Minnie Lue Cupit?
Minnie Lue is buried in grave # 80]
Frank Priest Frank Priest 1867-1951
Edgar Saxon Marcus Edgar (Uncle Edgar) Saxon 1892-abt 1970
Mrs. Annie Saxon Annie Olivia (Annie) Cupit Saxon 1891-1980
Miss Jewel Saxon Clara Jewell (Jewell) Saxon Tanksley 1913-1979
A. L. Saxon Augustus (Gus) Lafayette Saxon 1887-abt 1968
Mrs. A. L. Saxon Saleta Roberta (Bertie) Cupit Saxon 1888-abt 1976
Mrs. Rovella Saxon Margaret Rovella (Vellie) Cupit Saxon 1887-abt 1973
Leland Saxon Leland M Saxon 1897-?
Mrs Leland Saxon Crystabel Smith Saxon abt 1903-?
Mrs. Mattie Simpson Mattye Ada McCaa Simpson 1903-1953
Mrs. Annie Smith [Is this Annie McCaa Smith ? 1909-1941]
D. G. Sullivan Dewitt Graham (Gray) Sullivan 1877-1954 #67
Mrs. Nettie Sullivan Nettie Elizabeth Twiner Sullivan 1887-1959 #66
Dewitt Sullivan Dewitt Walter Sullivan 1908-2002
W. J. Sullivan Wesley Johnson Sullivan abt 1874-?
Mrs. Beatrice Sullivan Beatrice (Beda) Twiner Sullivan ? -?
Mrs. Daniel Columbus Zumbro M Mollie Priest Zumbro abt 1891-?
Cool Springs United Methodist church closed out its long and colorful history as an active congregation with the document below:
To the Fourth Quarterly Conference, Union Church Charge, Brookhaven District, Mississippi Conference.
We, the members of Cool Springs Methodist church find that we can no longer keep up a congregation of even two or three for our regular monthly preaching appointments.
Therefore, it is with deep regret that we submit to the action of this Quarterly Conference in discontinuing the assessment of a budget and withdrawing the services of a pastor.
The Cool Springs Methodist Church Cemetery Association will continue to maintain the church and the cemetery and to hold its annual homecoming. (Presently held on the 3rd Sunday in October of each year. Formerly held on the 3rd Sunday in August.)
The doors of this church will remain open for all kinds of religious services just as it has always been.
A Board of Trustees will continue to have custody of the church.
The love for this sacred spot reaches out to other states and to other denominations to those who were cradled and nurtured in its deep spiritual influence. This love will never die.
Signed this 14th day of March, 1965
(Zelma Roxie Hemphill Mullins abt 1913-?)
(Francis Eva Cupit Hemphill 1896-1966 #45)
Mr. & Mrs. James Foy
(James Foy 1921-1996)
(Maxine McCaa Foy 1935-?)
Approved: Norman U. Boone, D. S.
Jack T. Hopper, Pastor
Note: Numbers (#45) indicate burial in Cool Springs Cemetery. Number indicates grave number.
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