Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Mt. Carmel Church - Comments on omissions, errors

Comments on omissions, discrepancies and errors

The extant minutes of Mt. Carmel Church cover a period from October 1867 to November 1871. But there are no entries for 1869, two for 1870 and only one for 1871. It is possible that some conferences were not held during that period, but unlikely that no conferences were held. In fact, the membership list indicates that some business was transacted during the period of time between August 1868 and April 1870. H. J. & T. S. Brock were granted letters April 17, 1869, William Brandon was excluded in July 1869, and several joined by experience in September of 1869. What might be most likely is that the clerk never transferred his notes of these meetings into the official record book.

When the church disbanded in November of 1871, she evidently had a membership of a little over 30 persons. 31 entries in the membership were recorded as dismissed by letter in either Nov. 1871 or Nov. 4, 1871 (probably all the same time, since this was the first weekend of the month). Two other entries record dismissals as Nov. 4, 1870, but it is likely this is intended to be 1871.

There are some discrepancies between the minutes and the membership list, most of which may be created by a misunderstanding or misplacing of the ditto (") marks. For example, the dittoes seem to indicate the Galloways and the John Sparkman family were dismissed by letter in March of 1871. The Galloways are found calling for their letters in the minutes of May 1870, and Zion Hill Baptist Church and Mt. Zion Association records show John Sparkman in the Zion Hill Church at least by the end of 1870. Other discrepancies might eventually be resolved with a full finding of the facts. For example, according to the membership list, Panila Lyles united with Mt. Carmel by letter August 18, 1868 while the conference records that when opportunity was extended to receive members "none came forward". But consultation of a perpetual calendar reveals the minute entry is for August 15th. Most likely Mt. Carmel "protracted" its meeting and Mrs. Lyles came forward on Tuesday. The May 18th dating of the May 1868 conference is probably a simple "carry-over" mistake from the correct date of the 18th for the April conference.

There is at least one discrepancy between the Mt. Carmel minutes and the Mt. Zion Association minutes. Mt. Carmel elected delegates to the Association in August 1868, but the church is not listed in the 1868 Mt. Zion minutes of the meeting held at Beulah Church in Sept. 1868. Perhaps the elected messengers did not attend. Maybe the clerk of the association simply failed to record them. It is possible that they sent messengers to another association, but this seems quite unlikely.

© August 2006


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