A HISTORY OF THE MT. ZION METHODIST CHURCH PREPARED FOR THE DEDICATION
SERVICE BY S.D. BROADBENT,JR.
October 31, 1943
My only hesitancy in preparing and presenting to you this History
of Mt. Zion Church is that I do not enjoy the blessings of the knowledge
of by-gone years. Neither am I blessed with the ability to cause you to
live the days of yore and feel the sadness along with the gladness, the
coming and going of tired and stooped pioneers who planted the first seeds
here one hundred - eleven years ago. I wonder if you or I would brave the
storms of yester -centery as did they. So it is with some incomplete self-satisfaction
that I proceed to carry you back. May I begin by using the opening remarks
of Mrs. E. W. Banister as she so ably gave
the history of the Mt. Zion Sunday School in 1938. I am reminded of the
bible Story -- where Moses viewed the Burning Bush and was about to turn
aside to see why it was not consumed, when God called him and said "Moses
take off they shoes for the ground theron thou standest is holy". . . So
it is with great reverence that I proceed with a few things that I have gathered
here and there concerning this holy ground. In the beginning may I ask that
you go with me in your imagination back to the year 1832 -- a time when there
was no meeting place where believers in Christ could worship. Here to fore
each worshipped along with his humble family. New we can imagine the conversation
that passed between families which always included an appreciation of their
blessings and a desire to live a closer fellowship. These meetings led to
the establishment of a small class at the residence of Robert Hawkins near
here. As we visit this small class who do we see besides the Robert Hawkins... Yes, well there are Peter Wade and family and Jesse Adams and family, Ervin
Brandon and family, Isaac Husk and
wife, Lewis Husk and family and Jackson Hutson.
These few families met in this residence and that of Jesse Adams for four
years. They were faithful in their attendence and weekly during their worship
hour planned for the construction of a house set aside for the worship of
God. So in 1836 Mr. Ervin Brandon, the
father of Mr. Sam Brandon who is present
here today, offered a spot of ground on a rise of wooded land near the road.
This spot seemed a good place. Any place would be good to build a church
on -- if it were not good the church would make it good. So a day was set
apart. These men came with their axes and other carpentry tools. Their
wives came with their baskets full of food to the top, a tradition that has
been handed down to present generations. The spot of ground on which this
church stands was cleared by honest efforts of courageous men possessed
with an unshakeable faith as the trees were falled, the logs squared and
placed one on top of another -- the walls were up. These same men made the
boards for the roof and the benches inside. These same women brought the
first flowers and placed them near the alter. We have builded by the side
of the road where all men can see a house of worship on Holy Ground. This
log church stood and served well until 1848 -- at which time a new frame
church was erected. This church I am told was known as the box since it
was square. No doubt a lot of old time religion was good enough for the
worshippers here. And it was about this time that many of the patriarchs
whom you watched and admired worshipped here as you came here in your teens.
The first Sunday School was organized in the year 1886. Do you remember
your teachers? D. M. Hancock, James Richardson,
Jesse Cameron, and Starling Russell. Their songs resounded through
trees and down the little traveled road. There was no music which was no
handicap to the Watkins's, Cameron's, Wades, Richardson's
and others as they sang "Amazing Grace" and "How Firm a Foundation".
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Some of the early preachers who ministered the early churches were: Lewell Campbell, Elijah Sutton, Robert Turner, James
Bristow, Abraham Long, Abraham Quick, William Randolph, P. T. Hardison, Richard
Love, T. Peters, J. W. Bigham, P. E. Edwards and J. C. Mc Daniel.
Let's stop by for a service in midsummer 1890 and what are they talking
about. Well they are at it again -- just can't keep these Mt. Zioners from
getting big ideas into their heads. Actually they are talking about tearing
away the old Box and building a modern church with weather boarding, double
front doors, a raised pulpit and choir rails. They're getting their sights
pretty high. These young folks almost go wild at times but we have to give
over to them. So in the fall of 1890 and in the spring of 1891 this super--structure
was builded. It actually was longer than it was wide. It looked out of
proportion, judging from the box. It was in this house that perhaps all
of us have worshipped. We have had many and varied experiences.. We have
watched people come and go -- buggies, yes, wagons and horseback. Many
has been the nicker of the old horse who waited so patiently outside, while
some shouting was heard within. A preacher's prayer and an A-men a friendly
visit and a sad goodbye. It has been here that many of you brought your
best girl in her best frills only too eager to get out for a buggy race with
that fellow and his girl who beat you last Sunday. It was here that many
of your fathers and mothers met, worshipped and received their inspiration
and faith that has held them high in esteem and respect to the youths of
my age. It was here that we gathered to pay our last respects to those who
had aged -- who had finished their task only to enjoy heavenly rest and peace.
These were they who had kept this ground holy and lay the foundation for
years to come. In 1891 H. T. Watkins was
elected Supt. Of Sunday School, Jett Watkins,
Secretary and Jesse Cameron Treasurer.
Time passes on, one by one leaves, others taking their places. In July
1893 J. W. Cameron was elected Supt. Of
Sunday School for four years and then reelected in 1906 after which time
he served his people wholly until 1936. His long service reaped a swarth
through the field of life leaving behind a window of good works as the greatest
reward for his efforts.
About the year 1896, there and from here on we have our Sunday School
records. It seems that these spring-ups wanted a thing that you could play
and make musical sounds -- they thought they had heard it called an organ.
So you have to let them have their way. Our own Jesse Russell gave the first demonstration to an audience
varying from satisfied to downright disgusted. It didn't take long though
until this organ became a permanent fixture -- in fact so permanent that
when the next generation came along, that o my own, we couldn't find anyone
who would have it to make room for a new instrument. We all remember how
busy "Miss Mitt" got to buy the new piano.
The little folks coming along now may have in mind -- wonder what? A pipe
organ or a jute box.
In 1897 Mr. Marvin Smullen was elected
Sunday School Supt. And served until 1906; following which Mr. Cameron served
thirty years. In 1936 Mr. Cameron required that I take his place. This
I have filled only in one capacity, that being my attendance.
Perhaps the most vivid memory of this church comes about the year 1939
when we came to worship one Sunday morning and found our church on fire.
I recall seeing a church bench hoisted to the roof and how some good brother
climbed a slick bench I can not answer but I think it was done because when
the ladders were brought out the fire was well under control.
Now the wants of this new generation flourish again as we discuss the
improvement of the church which is now getting old and some of the grand
children are saying that they don't like this church because the wood peckers
are making sawdust out of the back end. You remember those holes don't you?
A committee was appointed to present cost figure to the group as to what
a repair bill would amount to. We were all pretty conservative until our
pianist broke through the floor.... Now a new floor called for more estimating.
Some of the pay boys readily saw that our estimates were growing so we immediately
began to talk of the practicality of a new church that the wood peckers would
not eat up. This started something-- We immediately visited every church
of every denomination that we had seen and liked. The estimates were given
-- the church was built -- the church is paid for -- simple isn't it?????
In closing let me say to each of you. You are here today to rejoice
with us and we with you as we reverently dedicate this building on holy ground
to the worship of God. Its intended worth will be governed by those who
pass in and out and not by. We have not builded a building merely for those
who drive by to see but one which we too and those of 110 years ago labored
to finish. It stands asa symbol of our love for our God, our belief that
His house deserves sacrifice. This we have given. Our purpose is to uphold
all tht has gone before ourselves and our posterity. To live, to love, to
serve, to trust, and to obey. Even tho we fill here today the pews besides
us and around us sit our paternal and maternal forefathers. This church
would not be, had they not lived and worshipped here long ago. If we could
only call the roll our day would be complete because we could faintly but
surely hear the answer of all who have turned in from the road since 1832.
MT. ZION CHURCH CEREMONIOUSLY DEDICATED
W.C. BROADBENT, CHAIRMAN, BOARD OF TRUSTEES PRESENT CHURCH
REV. VIRE ON BEHALF OF STEWARDS AND TRUSTEES
S.D. Broadbent, Jr., Presides
At Afternoon Services Last Sunday will become a memorable day for many
hundreds of citizens of the county, for in a perfect setting on a perfect
day with proper solemnity and dignity the new Mt. Zion Methodist Church was
dedicated. The present offers all too few opportunities to gather together
to dedicate a house built for worship, but on October 31 such an occasion
was held and that day climaxed the construction of the beautiful Mt. Zion
Church, located on the Wallonia-Cerulean Road. Actual construction of the
building began a year ago last June, and this day, this dedication service
has been uppermost in the lives and hearts of its members of the Mt. Zion
pastorate, but for Methodism and Christianity. The official ceremonies started
at 11 a.m. when Mrs. Thomas Baker sounded
the first strains of the Prelud.e There followed the Call to Worship and
the singing of the Hymn "I Love They Kingdom Lord". The Apostles Creed was
then read followed by a Prayer spoken by Rev. Vire.
The choir, then rendered "King of Kings" and the responsive reading,
"The Hallowed House", by all in attendance, was read. The pastor gave the
Scripture lesson followed by the offering and collections. Mrs. Henry R. Vinson sang a special number, "Bless
This House" which was followed by the sermon, "A Church Dedicated To The
Worship of God" given by the pastor. There then followed the Dedication
ceremony wherein Mr. W. Clarence Broadbent,
Chairman of the Board of Trustees, acting on behalf of the Stewards and Trustees,
presented the building to the Minister. Upon completion of the dedication
Rev. Vance, who preceeded Rev. Vire as pastor of Mt. Zion, issued the Prayer of
Dedication, then followed the Doxology, The Benediction and The Postlude.
The entire service was withall a very touching, dignified ceremony and well
befitted the beauty of the building for which it was held.
Following the morning service the assembled crowd enjoyed a picnic style
meal, the likes of which has not been seen in this section for many a day.
Food, good food, was on hand to gratify every person on the grounds and
it was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
At 2:20 P.M/ the assemblage was called to order by the presiding officer,
Smith Broadbent, Jr., who is chairman of
the Building Committee and the Secretary of the Sunday School. Mr. Broadbent,
after calling the group to order and explaining the afternoon program introduced
Mrs. Smith Broadbent, Sr., President of
the Woman's Society of Christian Service and who was largely instrumental
in securing the beautiful windows which were admired by everybody present.
With perfect dignity and poise and delightfully chosen words Mrs. Broadbent
impressively dedicated the exquisite windows which have such a gret part
in the adornment of this temple of worship. The church building sets facing
west and the beautiful stained glass window representing "Christ Feeding
His Lambs" makes a fitting background for the pulpit, this, the east end
window was dedicated by the speaker as the children's part in the construction
of the Church and to the children, Mrs. Broadbent spoke of the windows on
the Northside facing the gravestones in the little plots and termed them
"Gods Acre", for in these grave yards rest many of the pioneer members who
worshipped at the alter and had their part in the construction of three previous
churches that stood on this site -- The windows on the South side explained
Mrs. Broadbent, are being reserved for those members, living today, who with
their untiring efforts and unfaltering devotion for this, their church, have
helped to bring about the erection of this edifice. The West windows (front)
were dedicated to Annie Watkins Bannister,
president emeritus of the Women's Society of the Christian Service of Mt.
Zion Church, who throughout the years of the history of this society played
such a prominent part in keeping interest in the Society alive. The Society
presented this window thus contributing its part to the construction of the
Church. Following the window dedication, Mrs.
Broadbent, Sr., presented to the Church, the Service Flag which was
given to the church by Mrs. Thomas Baker,
it enfolds seven stars, each a member from this church.
Chairman Smith D. Broadbent, Jr., then
gave the history of the Church from its start when the first building was
erected in 1832 to the present. Following this enlightening history was
probably the most appealing and heartening event of the day - The Fellowship
Service, wherein various visitors and old-time members spoke. The crowning
events and one of the most impressive items of the service was the descriptive
talk give by Sam K. Brandon of Otter Pond,
Ky. Mr. Brandon had lived the major portion of his life in the Mt. Zion
neighborhood and is the great grandson of the late Irvin Brandon who donated the land for the first church
and was instrumental in its erection, and who named it Mt Zion. Quite touching
was the narrative of how the early settlers hand hewed the logs and supervised
the labor of their Virginia imported slaves, who worshipped along side of
their masters, when the building was completed. Mr. Brandon read a poem,
he had himself written more than 50 years ago concerning Mt. Zion and which
was published in the Record about a year ago. In his talk Mr. Brandon stated
he was 75 years of age and he sincerely felt that the spirit of this days
events was motivated 122 years ago by his great grandfather Irvin Brandon,
and these other pioneers in this neighborhood, and he classed this act as
the most praiseworthy act that men of his lineage had ever accomplished.
Mr. Brandon expressed his thankfulness that his forebearers had a part in
setting motion the events enjoyed Sunday.
Many Visitors From Our City
Visitors from many other counties were in attendance Sunday as well as
many from afar. They came from Colorado, Florida, Georgia and Indiana and
among them were Mrs. J. E. King, widow of the former pastor of Mt. Zion,
Mrs. F. W. Alves, Elkton, Mrs. Fannie Camerson Dawson, Pueblo Colo; Mr. and
Mrs. Will Carrigan, and Mr. and Mrs. Tom Long, Madisonville, Rev. and Mrs.
T. L. Vance, Dawson Springs; Mrs. Ida Morehead, and Mr. and Mrs. Wallace
Watkins, Henderson; Mrs. Ora Boswell, Indianapolis; Mr. Sam K. Brandon and
son, Otter Pond, Ky; Dr. and Mrs. Haydon, Princeton; Mrs. Claude Bevell,
Georgia and Mr. and Mrs. Bob Bridges and Mrs. Feltner o Henderson, Ky.
Original Bible Used In Service
An interesting sidelight on this dedication service was the use by Rev.
Vire of the Old "Brandon" Bible in his service. This bible belonging to
the original Brandon family, was brought to this community from Virginia
and was used in the first Log Church at Mt. Zion by Irvin Brandon and has been at each of the three dedications
since. The book shows sign os the wear and injury by the elements in the
past years, yet it is u sable and still very readable.
RELATING TO MOUNT ZION CHURCH HISTORY
The surging sea of human life --
Forever onward rolls,
Bearing to the eternal shore
Each day its freight of human souls,
But though our bark sails bravely on, pale death sits at the prow,
And few shall know we ever lived, a hundred years from now
It is related in the old family records in possession of a lineal descendant
of Irvin Brandon, now living, that "At sunrise
on Monday morning of October 1st 1827, Irving Brandon,
his wife and eight children, a niece of Mr. Brandon and her husband, also
negro slaves and their children including in all Twenty-Six in number, left
their splendid estate at Halifax, in Halifax County, Virginia and travelled
Westward in quest of a new home in what was at that time the practically
undeveloped State of Kentucky. The weather proved to be of the "Indian
Summer" variety for the most part, dry and pleasant and very suitable for
travel. Horses were used for the "Rockaway", mules and oxen for the wagons,
faithful old colored servants were on hand to take care of the teams, make
camp, prepare meals and otherwise lighten the hardships incident to this
primitive mode of travel. This party climbed hills, crossed mountain ranges,
ferried rivers, forded creeks, traversed fertile valleys, coverning one half
the length of the State of Virginia and three fourths the length of the State
of Kentucky before reaching the point which proved to be their destination
in the (then) new County of Trigg, on Monday December 3, 1827." This point
being referred to as "Deer Spring" and is the source from which we are told
that the Brandon party obtained a plentiful supply of water.
In its immediate vicinity at an early date after arrival Mr. Brandon
proceeded with the erection of log dwellings and outbuildings. After a lapse
of time necessary to make his family comfortable, built servants quarters
etc. we are told that this old pioneer realizing the need of a church in
the community, donated the land for the purpose and together with his neighbors
proceeded with the erection of a log church called Mount Zion at a location
some two hundred yards westwards from Deer spring or what now exists as an
under ground spring on the farm of T. H. Watkins.
Mr. Irvin Brandon passed on to his reward
only a few years after the first church was built, which served the community
as a place of worship until about the year 1848. All of these old pioneers
who had a hand in the building of the first church on this site have long
since joined their co-worker in eternity --- Here the lines of the borrowed
verse at the first of this article fittingly apply. But those of us "still
carrying on" who know that these old pioneers lived are fully aware that
during the period of their lives they started something worthwhile, -- A
temple of worship IN HIS NAME -- which has been successively torn down and
rebuilt and each time better, more complete and modern than before. The
first church having served its purpose for a period of about sixteen years,
the second church forty-two years and the third church about fifty years.
Last Sunday, October 31, 1943 it was our privilege to attend the dedication
services of the present new church, or Mt. Zion Number Four. A beautiful
stone building, modernly equipped and a completely furnished throughout --
a mute tribute to the progressive spirit of the community in which it is
located. A symbol of their love of God and of their belief in Him. It is
a pleasure of a former member of this church to rejoice with these people
upon their noble achievement. After the dedication service, dinner was served
on the ground for all present and thoroughly enjoyed, as the culinary art
of the good women of the community is seldom equalled and never excelled.
GEORGE I. BRANDON
Editors Note - This George Irvin Brandon is the great grandson of the pioneer.
Cadiz Record - November 1943.
Written by Sam K. Brandon, a descendent of the original Brandon
who came here from VA. It was read by Yvonne Cameron at the homecoming
and 50th anniversary of the Rock Church. This was held on 31 October 1993.
One of Mr. Brandon's great nieces was in attendance that day.
Our old church is unroofed and torn down,
Because its old walls are decayed to the ground.
Its raftes and sheatings are grown rusty and old
And its ceilings and walls are covered with mold.
Then why should we grieve if the Stately Old Pile
Is being replaced by another worth the while?
If the passing of the "Old" can make us feel sad
The coming of the "new" will make our hearts glad.
Then take them out gently, lift them with care,
For every old timber is seasoned with prayer.
Gently remove the old battered walls,
Whle sadly and faintly the last echo falls.
Take out the windows, the light streaming through;
Dim but unbroken, they light every pew.
Where fathers and mothers united in prayer
Madeus feel the Spirit of Worship that was there.
There the youth and the maiden together have stood,
And plighted their troth in the presence of God.
There parents have promised to tender rear
Their children in Holiness, Justice and Fear.
While out from the pulpit, so old and so warm,
Dark warnings and pleadings gently have come.
Ah! Gently God's promises fell on the ear,
To whisper of mercy, dispelling each fear.
Silent the choir that once sang the song
They sang with the Spirit, Oh true inspired throng.
Some have gone home, they are still praising God,
While others yet meekly pass under the rod.
Thy dasy are numbered, old church on the green,
The last of the stately pews soon will be seen
Old things must go to make way for the new,
For the hears that once loved thee are scattered and few.
Then take out the windows and unhinge the doors,
Remove the old pulpit and take out the floor.
Fon one of the lessons that here we are taught,
Is "The best works of men cometh to naught".
Goodby then, dear Old Church on the Green,
With thine old battered walls and thine aisle so plain.
O, we love thee, Old Gallery, now empty and cold,
Now frescoed all over with cobwebs and mold.
But much as we loved thee, Old Church on the Green,
thou are too old, it is plain to be seen.
Times busy fingers have done their work well,
In the aisles, in the pulpit, we plainly can tell.
While time has been spoiling our church on the green,
Clouds of time worshippers weekly were seen.
And the record is kept, for God's Angel of love,
Has written it down in the "Lambs Book Above.
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