Randall United Methodist Church

Norwood

A big thank you to Norman Coyle for permission to use the information here.

The congregation of Randall Church began meeting about thirty years before it was formally founded in 1784. In the course of its history, the church and its cemetery was shared with slaves owned by members of the church. Two hundred years later, many of the slave headstones  were little more than slate stones with no discernable markings. The cemetery had become severely overgrown, and those involved with the cleanup inadvertently removed the "rocks". Thankfully, the stones
were recognized and salvaged by a descendant of the church founders.

As an Eagle Scout project, Spencer Hinson chose to honor and preserve an important part of the Randall Church history. His work in the historic section of the church cemetery will help preserve the rich history that had been threatened by neglect. The monument he created from the unmarked headstones of slaves buried in the cemetery will remain a tribute to our unnamed and unknown brothers and sisters for many generations. Spencer has used those salvaged stones to create a monument in the area of the old cemetery where slaves were buried. Because of Spencer’s assiduousness, the slaves, though unknown and
unnamed, will not be forgotten.

(Following information from History of Randall United Methodist Church, Bicentennial issue 1984 pp. 9-10 compiled by Marie S. Leist and committee.)

In 1828 the log church was destroyed by fire and was replaced by a frame (clapboard) church. Slave labor was used in the construction, and a balcony was built where the slaves sat during worship services. The slaves and their families who died were buried in a section of the cemetery designated for them. Most slave graves were identified by unmarked flagstone slabs which through the years have deteriorated. The slave graves are not identifiable now, only the location of the section of the cemetery.

List of slaves members on the church rolls:
Harriet Huckabee
Willis Parker
Caroline Swaringen
Lilly Alexander
Harriet Forest
Josh Allen
Toots Kirk
Si Melton
Angeline Huckabee
Emmaline Swaringen
Davidson Swaringen
David Forrest
Cindy Randall
Tobe Allen
Tom Snuggs
Sid Swaringen
Betty Biles
Chaney Snuggs Parker
Lilly Rose or Ross
Lige Parker or Parker's Lige
Susan Blalock
Pris Shankle
Josie Boysworth
Gin Russell

After gaining their freedom, many of the slaves remained in the community, lived out their lives near their former masters, and
continued to attend church at Randall's. Many were buried in the section of the cemetery designated for the slaves.

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