This eminent man of God was with us in 1792, (if my memory fail me not) he labored faithfully-patiently enduring hardships and perils incident at that day-warning sinners to flee from the wrath to come. I know nothing relative to his parentage and early life. He was universally beloved by all who knew him. He was a man of excellent sense, gentlemanly deportment, and one of the first order of ministers. His labors were owned and blessed of God by the turning of many from darkness to light. Indeed, he was such a favorite with the people, that I heard my brother-in-law, Wilson Cage, say that if he had to hear but one sermon before dying, he would choose Stephen Brooks to preach it. I think he settled in East Tennessee. He was one of the delegates in 1796 who framed our State Constitution. Whether he is living or not, I do not know.
This holy man of God, I think, was with us in 1797 or 1798, (I am not certain which.) He was a native of Virginia, born in 1768, in Halifax county-entered the traveling connection in 1788 or 1789. It was said of him that he sowed the first gospel seeds sown in Ohio. There is little doubt that he preached the first sermon ever delivered where Cincinnati now is. He was a perfect gentleman, a most devoted Christian, and the best of preachers: he was also a most finished scholar. He labored ardently with us with great success, being exceedingly faithful in the discharge of every ministerial duty. He returned to Virginia, and died at an advanced age a happy and triumphant death.
Among the first-fruits of Methodism in this country who were noted for their faithfulness as Christians and leaders among us, I must make mention of Isaac Lindsey, William McNelly, and Lewis Crane: their names merit a passing notice. Isaac Lindsey came with the first emigrants to this country in 1780, and settled in Eaton's station, in sight of Nashville. He was a man of the very first order of talents, as before said in a preceding chapter. He was sworn in a magistrate in Nashville in 1783. He removed to Sumner County, and settled near where Sandersville now is, at what is called Lindsey's Bluff, on Cumberland river; and in 1787, when Sumner first became a county, he was again sworn in as a magistrate, and was one of the leading members of the court. That year he embraced religion under the ministry of Benjamin Ogden. Shortly after, he began to exhort. He was the father of Rev. Isaac Lindsey, who was murdered by Carrol. He died at an advanced age at his home-Lindsey's Bluff. Such a man should never be forgotten.
William McNelly was the father of Rev. George McNelly, well known to many who now live. He was among the first emigrants to this country. He was an honest, clever, harmless man-a true patriot and soldier to his country. He lived and died a devoted Christian. He was an exhorter: he and Isaac Lindsey were the first exhorters licensed among us in this country.
Lewis Crane, son-in-law of Isaac Lindsey, came to this country with him, and settled in Cage's Bend, Sumner County. He was a very devoted Christian. Some years after embracing religion, he was licensed to preach as a local minister, and labored with much zeal. He was my classmate in the first society formed in Cage's Bend: he was the father of Rev. John Crane, who died a member of Tennessee Conference: he lived to an old age, and died in Cage's Bend.
The first Methodist church built in Nashville was in 1789 or 1790-a stone building-and stood somewhere where the Square now is. It did not stand long: the town increasing, it was moved. The first Methodist church built on the north side of the Cumberland River, in Davidson County, was four miles north of Nashville, on White's Creek, near the house of Absalom Hooper, and called Hooper's Chapel. The first Methodist church built in Robertson County was Bowen's Chapel, near Springfield. The first ever built in Sumner County was on the Big Station Camp Creek, one mile north of the present pike road, and called Norris's Chapel. I assisted in its building.
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