Friday, September 29, 2006

Mt. Carmel Church - Introductory Matters

Introductory Matters

Mt. Carmel Baptist Church was constituted before October 30, 1857. Mt. Carmel was a charter member of the Mt. Zion Baptist Association when that association was organized at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Rusk County on October 30-31, 1857. Several charter members of the Mt. Zion Association – Bethel (Panola Co.), Cool Springs, Holly Springs, Mt. Moriah, Shiloh (Rusk Co.), New Salem, Union (Nacogdoches Co.) – were members of the Judson Baptist Association in 1856. Mt. Carmel was not, possibly indicating they were not yet organized. But it is also possible they were in another area association, such as the Soda Lake Association, or were not in any association previous to 1857.

Transmission of records
The records probably came into the hands of Smyrna Church through either Robert P. Goldsberry or F. O. Galloway, who were members of Mt. Carmel and charter members of Smyrna Baptist Church. Robert P. Goldsberry was the clerk of the last meeting of the Mt. Carmel Church, when they voted to disband and grant letters to all who called for them. He was a charter member of Smyrna Baptist Church. They had probably used only a few pages in the Mt. Carmel book, so started recording the Smyrna minutes in the same book. This is just a guess since all we have is a photocopy of the handwritten copy. It is not known whether originals still exist, or whether there were two books or just one. Another possibility of transmission would be through F. O. Galloway (Frank Owen Gallaway), who was the regular church clerk of Mt. Carmel and also a charter member of Smyrna. But Galloway had moved his membership from Mt. Carmel over a year before the church disbanded, so it is more likely that the transmission of the Mt. Carmel minutes to Smyrna was through Goldsberry. Note, though, that F. O. Galloway was clerk of the organizational meeting of Smyrna Baptist Church. After the church was constituted, J. F. M. Reid became the first church clerk of Smyrna Church.

M. L. Vaughn was clerk pro-tem of Smyrna at the last two meetings recorded in the first book of minutes of Smyrna Baptist Church, and this is probably how he came into possession of that book.

Location of Mt. Carmel church building
The location of the meeting places of Mt. Carmel Church has not been determined. In fact, the last minutes seem to indicate that the Church met in several different locations. The 1858 minutes of the Mt. Zion Baptist Association state that Mt. Carmel is 18 miles south of Henderson.

Place names and/or post offices associated with Mt. Carmel Church are:
(1). Iron Mountain. Post office “Iron Mountain” is on a handwritten sheet about the 1857 Mt. Zion Association in the Pauline Shirley Murrie collection at Stephen F. Austin University’s East Texas Research Center.
1 Iron Mountain is south of Laneville in the area of the Gould Cemetery.2
(2). New Salem. In three different years of minutes of the Mt. Zion Baptist Association, the post office is given as New Salem. New Salem was possibly the post office of the church clerk.
(3). Henderson. In two different years of minutes of the Mt. Zion Baptist Association, the post office is given as Henderson. This might be the post office of the church clerk.
(4). Garland school house. In April of 1870 the church voted to change its meeting location to the Garland school house. The location of Garland school house is yet to be discovered.
(5). John Sparkman’s well. In March 1868 the church selected John Sparkman’s well as the location to build a church house. It is not clear from the minutes, but it seems the building was never built. So this may have not been an actual meeting location of Mt. Carmel Church. This location is also debatable. John Sparkman settled “first at Pine Hill, then Laneville, later moving to Minden.”
3 His last residence was north of Minden. Laneville was likely his residence in 1868 (son Amos probably born there in 1869), and for a location the church might consider building a house of worship during this period.
(6). Glenfawn. There was once a church building located across the road from the Glenfawn Cemetery, and some believe Mt. Carmel may have met there. Though the denomination is not known, Julien Sidney Devereux wrote, “I and my family went to a little church about a mile from Monte Verdi.”4

(7). Mt. Enterprise. In 1871, the name of the Mt. Carmel Church is printed in the statistical table, with the post office as Mt. Enterprise. There is no other information. This could be the post office of the church clerk, indicate the move to the Garland schoolhouse put the church on a Mt. Enterprise route, or it might simply be a mistake.

In January 1868 the church selected a committee to confer with the Masons about building a lodge “at Mt. Carmel Church”. It is not known where this was. The minutes do not record the substance of their report, but evidently nothing ever came from it.

One can get a rough idea of where Mt. Carmel was probably meeting based on the location of her membership. They seem to have ranged from about Sulphur Springs east to New Salem on the west, and perhaps from the Laneville area north and towards Cushing south. Reuben and Frances Carmichael lived “…beyond and to the right of Sulphur Springs about 8 miles from [unreadable]”.5 William Howerton is buried at Glenfawn. Martin Baysinger is buried in an abandoned cemetery in Rusk County near the Nacogdoches County line. The Galloways lived near Laneville. The Fraziers and Vaughns lived in the Oak Flat community. Both the Gould/Iron Mountain area and the Glenfawn area are fairly central to the residences of the membership. It is quite likely that both places were home to the Mt. Carmel congregation at some point in the church’s history. The connection of several early families to the Devereux plantation lends weight to the idea that the church originally met in that area.6
1 I found no address given in the 1857 minutes. Is it possible there were two printings of the Mt. Zion minutes? I have seen two printings (different booklet sizes) of the 1856 Judson Association minutes.
2 “About seventeen miles south of Henderson, at Gould Postoffice, is the northeastern exposure of Iron Mountain, formerly Elkins Mountain.” Second Annual Report of the Geological Survey of Texas, 1890, p. 260, 261. (Also known as Bagley Mountain, Surrey Mountain)
Second annual report of the Geological Survey of Texas, 1890
3 The Rusk-Panola Missionary Baptist Association, Merline Moon, research paper, Stephen F. Austin State College, 1948, p. 14. These locations fit geographically and chronologically with the churches of Sparkman’s known membership – 1st Holly Springs, then Mt. Carmel, and finally Zion Hill.
4 Ninety-One Years of History, Glenfawn Baptist Church 1892—1983, Louis F. Asher, 1983, pp. iii, 3; Perhaps the church he mentions was Baptist. In his book on Devereux, Dorman Winfrey writes, “[Sarah Devereux] went to quiltings and sometimes Julien would share her company at a Baptist preaching.”, p. 91
5 In a letter dated April 1, 1866, from Nancy Jane Parker Pierce to her son Wiley Matthew (Doc) Pierce
6 John Landrum was father-in-law of Julien Sidney Devereux; William Howerton was Devereux’s overseer; Martin Baysinger was probably a hunting companion. On January 30, 1852, Devereux wrote, “Basinger, Howerton & myself went hunting in swamp. killed a Panther & Bear, both very large and fat.” (Winfrey, p. 90) Elizabeth Ann Stamps, a daughter of Mt. Carmel member B. F. Stamps, married Albert Devereux in 1869. In an 1852 will, Julien Devereux mentions a cemetery and a Baptist Church at nearby Anadarco.
© August 2006


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