THE STORYOFTHE METHODISTSIN THE PORT OF BEAUFORTbyAmy MuseandA COLLECTIONOFMEMORIESas collected byLou Nicks
ANN STREET CHURCH TODAY
vignette of a Gaff Ketch sailing ship
This story has been a coöperative undertaking starting with the idea which was our pastor's, The Reverend Stanley Potter. He also selected and brought invaluable books to the writer from the Library of Duke University. Mr. M. Leslie Davis has generously furnished documentary material and stories from his rich store; Miss Annie Rumley has given access to hitherto unpublished material from her father's papers; Miss Nannie Potter has lent early scrap books of “Miss Lilla” Willis and “Miss Sue” Buckman; Miss Marybell Delamar of Raleigh has been most coöperative especially with material bearing on the Bell family and the old Anglican Church; “Miss Vera” Stubbs has placed her scrap books at the writer's disposal; Mr. Aycock Brown has given access to his personal file of old Beaufort papers. In addition, a manuscript autobiography of “Miss Lilla” Willis in the possession of the author has been of enormous help.
Besides these, the writer is indebted to over seventyfive members and friends of the Church here and elsewhere, who have, under questioning, patiently and graciously contributed, either by word of mouth or letter, those bits which have been assembled to make the story more complete.
The writer also wishes to express her gratitude to Paul Neff Garber, Ph.D., Professor of Church History in Duke University; Clifford J. Hornaday, Ph.D., New York City; and others who have read the manuscript in its entirety and made valuable suggestions.
|Before the Societies||11|
|A Church South—1844-1938||41|
I agreed to write the story of our church thinking naïvely that I would collect the precious fast disappearing anecdotes and legends of early days and fit them into a framework of fact—nothing profound, a story of homely things and early struggles that would warm the hearts of homecomers as does the old caster on the dining room table or the stereoptican in the parlor beside the family Bible. It was to be the story of a church which, in part, is the story of a people and a town. It was to begin more than eight score years ago with a hymn singing group, exuberantly and enviably happy in their religious life, gathered together to organize a church. I thought it would be interesting to give the roll call of those first members since their descendants move among us to-day.
Research has but confirmed the old truism that “beginnings seldom have records.” Many facts have already slipped making the job largely a matter of running down one thing that leads to another and tediously fitting the whole together like a mosaic.
I have not blurred nor omitted facts for the glorification of the Church. It has not been my plan to extol early leaders. If occasionally it sounds so, it is but an unintentional spilling over of admiration for those who endured hardships unimaginable to us and did so with joy. Even St. Paul never travelled on horseback on a hot day through pathless swamps beclouded with mosquitoes, finding his way only by marked trees, nor did he know the experience of following strange paths infested with wild animals and hostile savages through rain and wind and storm not sure where night would find him. These leaders sometimes stopped “to bait at an ordinary,” sometimes shared the board of a hospitable settler, sometimes ate nuts or berries from the woods. They had no homes, no families, few possessions except their horses, saddle-bags, Bibles, and hymnals. So rigidly were they deprived of anything remotely bordering on self-indulgence that it gave a feeling of elation to discover that they were allowed such comfort as they could extract from a chew of tobacco.
Bishops Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke wrote members of the Methodist Societies in the United States thus simply of the founding of Methodism here:
“We think it expedient to give you a brief account of the rise of Methodism (so called) both in Europe and America. In 1729, two young men, in England (John and Charles Wesley), reading the Bible, saw they could not be saved without holiness, followed after it, and incited others to do so. In 1737, they saw likewise, that men are justified before they are sanctified: But still holiness was their object. God then thrust them out to raise a holy people.
“During the space of thirty years past, certain persons, members of the society, emigrated from England and Ireland, and settled in various parts of this country.”
George Whitfield was one of those that God “thrust out to raise a holy people.” Before the end of the year (1739) in which the first Methodist Society was organized in London, he was preaching in New Bern, North Carolina, and writing his friends that his preaching “was attended with uncommon influence.” Because he and John Wesley did not agree on some matters of doctrine, Whitfield was not properly classed as an itinerant Methodist preacher. He organized no societies and spoke of himself as a member and minister of the Church of England. However, in 1760, we hear of those in New Bern who called themselves by the name of Methodists. James Reed spoke of them as “ignorant, censorious, and uncharitable,” and in 1761 complained: “The Methodists of late have given me a great deal of trouble along the borders of my parish by preaching up the expediency of dreams, visions, and immediate revelations.” “The borders of my parish” may well have included Beaufort since one year before this, the vestry of the Church of England here appointed old Colonel Bell “to agree with Reverend James Reed to preach twice at the Chapel (Bell's) for once at the town (Beaufort) and Straits.” Some of these enthusiasts that
troubled Reed were probably converts of Whitfield's who often referred to themselves as Methodists; others, scattered Methodists who had joined one of the societies in England and come to the Colony. Reed's accusations do not preclude the assumption that these were Methodists, for Wesley in an early Discipline had to warn his followers more than once against such: “Beware of that daughter of pride enthusiasm! O keep at the utmost distance from it: give no place to heated imagination. Do not hastily ascribe things to God. Do not easily suppose dreams, voices, impressions, visions, or revelations to be from God.”THE SOCIETIES
The first Methodist Societies in America were formed around 1766, in a room in the house of Philip Embury in New York and in the home of Robert Strawbridge in Maryland. Joseph Pilmoor in 1772 was the first itinerant Methodist preacher to visit North Carolina after the organization of the Societies. However, the first Conference, held in 1773 showed no members at all from North Carolina, 1160 in all the colonies, all but one hundred of which were above the Virginia line.
In 1775, Robert Williams either visited the Colony or made a plan for a six weeks Carolina Circuit on which Edward Drumgole, Francis Poythress, and Isham Tatum were sent as preachers in 1776. Six hundred and eighty-three members were reported in the Colony at the beginning of this year, showing considerable work had already been done.
Theoretically, Beaufort was on this Carolina Circuit, for the field was unlimited, and there was no circuit south of it, none west of it; but, added to difficulties such as wildernesses, swamps, and numberless bodies of water, scarcely five weeks from the date of Conference, the Declaration of Independence was signed causing war talk and preparations to interrupt the work. Carteret County that June, for the first time, failed to mention and recognize King George III. To make matters worse, leaders in early Methodism were, according to Jesse Lee, whose Memoirs are preserved, “imprudent in speaking too freely against the proceedings of the Americans.” Feeling between Whigs and Tories was strong. Once classed as a Tory, a preacher's usefulness was impaired and persecution followed. In spite of all this, at the close of the year, nine hundred and thirty members were reported in the State.
In 1777, the circuit appears as the North Carolina Circuit with John King, John Dickens, Lee Roy Cole, and Edward Pride as preachers. John King is said to have
visited New Bern and Beaufort. To him John Wesley wrote an interesting personal letter which tells us something of the man and of the current style in pulpit oratory. In part it reads: “My dear brother, always take advice or reproof as a favor; it is the surest mark of love. I advised you once, and you took it as an affront; nevertheless I will do it once more. Scream no more at the peril of our soul. Speak as earnestly as you can, but do not scream. It was said of our Lord, ‘He shall not cry’. The word properly means, ‘He shall not scream’. Herein be a follower of me as I am of Christ. I often speak aloud, often vehemently, but I never scream. O John, pray for an advisable and teachable temper. By nature you are very far from it; you are stubborn and headstrong.” Such a man may have been our first apostle of Methodism.
The date of the organization of Methodists in Beaufort has been generally accepted as 1778. This was a year of distress due to the War. The whole Methodist movement was intimately connected with England. All the preachers who had come over from the mother country, except Francis Asbury, returned home. It is not surprising that the membership in the new country dropped by eight hundred and seventy-three for whole circuits were abandoned: they either could not be served or were in the hands of the British. Not only the Methodist preachers but those of the Anglican Church returned to England or went into hiding.
The Anglican Church had been the only church in Beaufort before this time. Minutes of the vestry meetings are extant from 1742, but they stop suddenly with the meeting of June 1776, and we assume that the church ceased to exist then. With no other church functioning, it is not strange that the early Methodist congregation should have been made up of those who had been active in the old Church. There is a feeling among those whose roots go deep here that, at the close of the War, the Church of England just “faded” into the Methodist. There seems no definite date except that one existed before, the other after the Revolution.
Immediately back of our church is Lot 81 which was deeded to The Town of Beaufort in 1731 by Nathaniel Taylor, Proprietor of the Town of Beaufort, for use as a “burial ground.” On the lot between the burial ground and the colored church stood “the house appointed for a Court House.” It had been deeded to the Wardens of the Parish of St. Johns by Richard Rustell in 1724. In it during the middle years of the seventeen hundreds, the service of the Anglican Church was read. A church building was erected on the same lot some time after 1774 so was practically new when the Methodists began using it. L. A. Potter, born 1844, remembered the old church which, he said, stood until a short time before the Civil War, and described it in a manuscript “History of Methodism in Beaufort”: “This building was what we would now consider a quaint, old fashioned affair, with immense stone underpinning for a foundation. The superstructure was of native pine, heavy sills, joists, and plates, and doors calculated to insinuate that supernatural strength would have to be exercised by the emissaries of the evil one who effected an entrance with felonious intent. The seats were straight benches with center supports but no backs, one half being assigned to either sex, and he would be considered a bold bad man who ventured to walk up the aisle set apart for females in search of a comfortable seat.” Mr. Potter's hypothetical man who went to the ladies side for a “comfortable seat” would have been worse than “bold”. He would have been expelled from the Society, for the rule, “Let the men and the women sit apart” was established among the Methodists from the beginning and reiterated in regulations following the organization of the Church. The “comfortable seats” on the ladies side, according to “Miss Aurora” Mace Bushnell, were their own chairs which the ladies took to the church and used in preference to the backless benches.
Continuing from Mr. Potter's account: “The pulpit, for it was then a pulpit and not a rostrum with a stand, was a structure resembling somewhat a watch-tower on an ancient wall, erected at one end of the Church near the
ceiling and approached by a flight of steps. It was enclosed by a tight box as high as an ordinary man's waist and contained a bench and a desk for the Bible and Prayer Book.”
Robah F. Bumpas in his “History of Methodism in Beaufort” says this building was purchased by Captain John White who moved it to the lot on which his residence stood on Water Street, now Front, and used it as a storehouse and shop. It was blown down by the storm of 1879 when the Atlantic Hotel went to pieces. The material was afterwards constructed into a building which stood in the rear of the old White residence where “Miss Lula” Duncan now lives.
Between the founding of the Church here and Bishop Asbury's visit of 1785, the Methodist Societies of America went through a crisis that threatened the whole movement. The situation in many communities was as here. The Church of England clergy had abandoned their churches and dropped from sight. Our ministers were not ordained, for not until 1784 was the Methodist Episcopal Church organized. Methodists were dependent upon ministers of other denominations for administering the Ordinance of Baptism and the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and where there were no churches of other denominations, people were deprived almost entirely of these offices. In 1779, preachers in North Carolina and Virginia, recognizing the need for ordained ministers, came to the conclusion that, if God had called them to preach, he had called them also to administer the ordinances. They met together at the Conference held at Broken Back Church and chose a committee for the purpose of ordaining ministers. “The Committee thus chosen first ordained themselves, and then proceded to ordain and set apart other preachers for the same purpose, that they might administer the holy ordinances of the Church of Christ.” Most of the people accepted this, but some of the older Methodists would not recognize the self-made ordinations nor commune. The Northern States opposed such ordinations so strongly that a division threatened. The South gave in and agreed to wait twelve months, pending consultation with John Wesley.
MR. JOHN JONES’ DEACON'S LICENSE
“MISS MARY” THOMAS’ SACRAMENT TICKET
It was 1784 before John Wesley felt the proper time had come to ordain our own ministers. As no further “civil or ecclesiastical authority” was claimed over the colonies, he says his scruples were at an end and he conceived himself at perfect liberty to exercise that right which he doubted not God had given him. He ordained Dr. Thomas Coke in England and authorized him to ordain Francis Asbury in this country that the two of them might have authority to ordain elders to administer the sacraments for the Methodists in America.
Late in 1784 Freeborn Garrettson rode horseback 1200 miles, gathering together the Methodist preachers from New York to Carolina, to attend a conference called by Asbury to discuss the organization of the American Methodists. Sixty of the eighty-three preachers were present for the historic Christmas Conference held in Baltimore that year. Here the Methodist Episcopal Church of America was born, independent of England, just as those who formed it were politically independent. Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury were elected by the Conference to be Superintendents or Bishops of the new Church, and at the same Conference they ordained elders to administer the sacraments.
The new organization was independent of England yet the founders went on record as being willing to defer to Wesley in matters of Church government. Now Methodism with John Wesley was not a separation from his former church but a drawing closer to God in his own church. With this in mind, it does not seem strange that the new Church was organized after the old pattern nor that he prepared a liturgy for the new church “little differing from that of the Church of England, or rather revised the Common Prayer Book. He advised all the travelling preachers to use it on the Lord's Day in all the congregations, reading the Litany only on Wednesdays and Fridays, and to pray extempore on all other days.
He also advised the elders to administer the supper of the Lord on every Lord's Day.”* * *“The Superintendents (or Bishops) and some of the elders introduced the custom of wearing gowns and bands, but it was opposed by many of the preachers, as well as private members. After a few years, it was given up,” and “the Prayer Book was laid aside and has never been used since in public worship.”
Picture the Beaufort Church of this period: a group of people, not one of them a congenital Methodist, all of them had grown up in the old Church of England, they are still worshipping in the old building. In their hands they hold Prayer Books not greatly differing from those which they have always used, the visiting preachers stands before them in a gown not unlike that of the preachers to whom they have always listened. This makes it easier to understand why the transition from the one to the other is hard to date.
There is a definite Methodist Episcopal Church in America from 1784. Everywhere Methodists were happy over the situation. We can think of our forebears as pleased and falling in heartily with the newly made regulations for the church. A few quotations from them tell us much about that early group:
Tickets were given quarterly to such members of the Church as were recommended by a class leader with whom they had met at least six months on trial. Those without tickets were regarded as “strangers”. “At every other meeting of the Society in every place, let no stranger be admitted. At other times they may; but the same person not above twice or thrice.”
“Let no person who is not a member of our Society be admitted to the communion without a sacrament ticket which ticket must be changed every quarter.”
Superfluity of apparel was rigidly prohibited: “Allow no exempt cases. Better one suffer than many. Give no tickets to any that wear high heads, enormous bonnets, ruffles, or rings.”
As to marrying, whoever marries an “unawakened person” (defined as “one we could not in conscience admit into the Society”) will be “expelled from the Society.”
This was revised in 1804 to read, “Will be put back on trial for six months.”
The Conference allowed a salary of sixty-four dollars a year to each preacher, which they seldom received in full, and often pay was in kind: socks, shoes, leather, hams, chickens, grain. Furthermore, the Discipline states: “We will on no account suffer an elder or deacon among us to receive a fee or present for administering the ordinance of marriage, baptism, or the burial of the dead.” Later, a preacher accepted a fee for marriage but gave it to the stewards to be applied to his “quarterage”. Not until after 1800 was he allowed to keep it.
To guard against “formality” in singing, the preacher, among other measures outlined, was cautioned to stop often and ask the people, “Now! Do you know what you said last? Did you speak no more than you felt?”
The early preacher and his horse were thought of together—a man and a horse. At the first annual conferences it was customary to take collections for preachers who had lost their horses during the year. The Discipline specified: “Be merciful to your beast. Not only ride moderately but see with your own eyes that your horse be rubbed and fed.”
What to do to guard against Antimomianism occupied much space in the early Discipline. Like early names in our own organization, this controversial subject has vanished until the very word sounds strange to our ears.
There is something else to be said for this 1784 congregation. Whereas Jesse Lee wrote in the War years, “Most of the time when they (the people) did assemble for divine worship, their conversation was principally turned upon the times and the distresses of themselves and friends. One would say, ‘My son is killed’; another ‘My husband is wounded or taken prisoner, or sickly, or likely to die’.” Now the War was over, they were victorious, they had their own church independent of the State, their ministers were ordained and could go into all parts of the country without fear of the enemy!
In 1785, the year of the first annual Conference of the new Methodist Episcopal Church of America held in
Louisburg, North Carolina, there was but one subject on which the twenty or more preachers present could not agree—the question of slavery which was later to divide the Church.
At the end of this same year, Bishop Asbury made his first recorded trip to Beaufort. Early in the year, Lee reports Asbury appearing in “black gown, cassock, and band” and expressed grief at the departure from Methodist plainness, but I find no record of his dress here. Of his visit he wrote simply: “Wed., Dec. 21, 1785. Sailed down to Beaufort and preached in the church. The people are kind but have very little religion. On the same evening I pushed down to the Straits, and the next day preached at Straits Chapel, thence I returned to town and preached again, after which we sailed back to Col. Bell's whence we started.” Lest we wince too much under his criticism, I might say that he went from here to “Swansbury” where he “held quarterly meeting” and lamented, “Many people, little religion.” Of a stop elsewhere in North Carolina on a previous trip he said, “There is the most religion here of any place in the circuit and yet nothing great.” Again of another church, “I am dejected to see so little religion”; again, “I fear there is very little religion in this place. There are evils here, the meeting not solemn; the women appeared to be full of dress, the men full of news. These people are gospel slighters”; yet again, “The people are wild and wicked enough”; Charleston, South Carolina, was “the seat of Satan, dissipation, and folly.” Let us draw such solace as we can from the fact that Beaufort was not alone in failing to measure up and the fact that, abounding in religious fervor himself, Asbury may have been supersensitive to lack of it in others!
Until 1785, Beaufort had been theoretically or actually included in various circuits as they were formed and changed with the growing church. In that year it was on New River Circuit embracing Onslow, Jones, Carteret, Craven, and perhaps Lenoir and Duplin Counties with Philip Bruce in charge and New Bern the principal appointment. That Bruce should have been appointed to
any position in 1785 or thereafter was due to an almost miraculous event: In the struggles of our War with England, much like our Civil War in that families and communities and churches were divided in their allegiance, Bruce was outspoken for the Colonies. The story is told that he was captured by Tories and about to be hung on the nearest tree. His captors rifling his pockets found his exhorter's license. It saved his life—not one of them could bring himself to hang a “priest”!
If, as R. H. Willis, in his history of the Church, says, we were on the New River Circuit until 1791, James O'Kelly also visited us. O'Kelly is described as a brilliant young preacher conscious of his own powers, who was responsible for the first schism in the Methodist Episcopal Church—the schism that led to the formation of the Christian Church. All that happened in 1792, however, and it is not likely that we were drawn into it. I will digress to say that O'Kelly withdrew not over matters of doctrine but administration. He was interested in an amendment before the Conference of 1792 giving preachers an appeal to Conference if dissatisfied with their appointments, “and if the Conference approve his objections, the Bishop shall appoint him to another circuit.” It is interesting to note that for the first year he called his new organization The Republican Methodist Church because less power was given to the Bishops, more to the Conference.
In 1790, Thomas Ware was our Presiding Elder with Joshua Cannon, M. Howe, and D. Dean on the Circuit. Ware had other circuits embracing a territory from “Burlington to Cape Hatteras and from below Wilmington to some distance in Virginia.” He got around considerably, however, according to his Journal which is simple, clear, interesting, earnest, and makes one feel that the charge that he failed to visit was the loser. Of his travels he says, “The hearts and homes of the people were open to receive us, so that we hesitated not to call at any dwelling which might first come in our way when we wanted refreshment.” Again, “I cannot but regret that I did not keep, for my own satisfaction, a record of the
number of these lambs of Christ's flock which I have held in my arms and dedicated to Him. There were so many children presented for baptism that I found it difficult and gave it up.”
The early Discipline made provision for preachers to give religious instruction to the children in groups of ten or more, when practical, and individually, as they visited in their respective homes. In the year of 1790, the Church was beginning to be awakened to the needs of a true Sunday School. At the General Conference of that year, an exhortation found its way into the Minutes in which it is said that the term “Sunday School” was first used: “Let us labour as the heart and soul of one man to establish Sunday Schools in or near the place of worship. Let persons be appointed to teach (gratis) all that will attend and have the capacity to learn; from six o'clock in the morning till ten; and from two o'clock in the afternoon till six. The Council shall compile a proper school book, to teach them learning and piety.” Schools were organized, but the greater part of the scholars were black children, whose parents were backward about sending them, so in a short time the masters were discouraged, and having no pay, and but little prospect of doing good, they soon gave it up. Dr. Paul Neff Garber in his Romance of Methodism says the Sunday Schools were not popular with the early preachers who were more interested in pulpit oratory and professed to regard the schools as a desecration of the Sabbath.
In 1828, it was made the duty of every preacher of a circuit or station to form a Sunday School. When they were revived, I do not know, but they were operating in 1843, and the long school day in effect theoretically, at least, since a Quarterly Conference in North Carolina in that year protested against the requirement thus: “On ordinary occasions the Sunday School shall not remain in session above three hours*** many of our schools have been injured by being kept in session from morning until evening.”
The Sunday School in Beaufort was probably organized promptly after 1828. Isaac Hellen was Superintendent in
1834. It is mentioned in the Minutes of January 1835 as “more prosperous than ever” with a number of teachers both male and female and a librarian.
There is a story that many old people were able to say that they got all their “learning” in Sunday School, but that goes back before the memory of those living to-day. The older members of our congregation describe Sunday School sixty or more years ago as crude compared with to-day. There were no song books, no separate Sunday School rooms, few classes, no literature. “Miss Laura” Duncan can go back to the school of seventy years ago. She describes it as starting at nine and lasting until “preaching” except the Sundays when there was no “preaching”; then until noon. Her outstanding memories of the sessions are of the responsively repeated rhymed version of the Commandments beginning:
Supt.: Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.
Children: Before no idol bend the knee.
and the never failing catechism. She says the children went over and over the latter, the teacher stopping from time to time to enlarge upon some question. The catechism was stressed even until this century and many of those who do not consider themselves old can remember when it was the thing to do to devote part of Saturday afternoon to a study of the catechism in preparation for Sunday. Miss Annie Rumley still treasures Irving Fulford's “Certificate of Admission to the Sunday School” dated June 1851, signed by J. C. Manson, Superintendent and A. C. Davis, Secretary. It states that Irving, age 12, Register No. 25, “has been admitted and is entitled to all the privileges of said Sunday School during punctual attendance and good behavior.”
In 1792, East New River was divided into Goshen and Trent Circuits. Willis says Trent “may have extended down through Craven into Carteret.” This inference is made because we know churches had been organized at Beaufort and The Straits and that this was the nearest circuit until 1797 when the New Bern District was formed. The assumption is that after that date we were on the New Bern Circuit.
Samuel Cowles and Peter Gautier served Trent the year of the division, and in 1793, Simon Carlisle was sent on our circuit. A year later, Carlisle was expelled from Conference because a pistol that had been stolen was found in his saddlebags. He was in disgrace until 1796 when the real thief made a deathbed confession, and he was restored to his place in the Conference. It is said that throughout the period of his disgrace, there were many who believed in him, but the loss of confidence of the Conference caused him deep anguish. He would frequently attend meeting and after the sermon “would take his seat out-of-doors by himself and weep during the time of class meeting.” After his restoration, Conference Minutes testify that he “sustained the disgrace with a degree of patience and Christian fortitude more than common.” The following year Aquilla Sugg was on Trent.
In 1795, Christopher S. Mooring rode our circuit. A print of a congregation of this period which the writer examined might well have been a Methodist congregation worshiping in the old church of St. John's Parish. Any of the women on the left, demure in bonnets, each a duplicate of the other except for texture of material, long untrimmed dresses falling in folds on the floor, shoulders draped in shawls and ringless hands held decorously before them in their laps, might have been Elizabeth Lovett; anyone of the men on the right in long coats, capes, boots, sitting by the big stove, the pipe of which extended over half the church, might have been Andrew Bell, Elizabeth's husband, class leader George Read, or David Hall. If the Christopher Mooring of a contemporary print, in loose coat, staff, bald head before and long curls behind falling over his broad shoulders, is substituted for the preacher in the old fashioned pulpit, the picture of our Beaufort congregation of the period will be even more complete.
In 1796, William Ormond was sent to Trent Circuit, and we learn that Methodism in North Carolina was beginning to prosper! We were second only to Virginia with our membership of 8,713! Twice in “Ormond's Diary,” he mentions trips to Beaufort: “Feb. 3, 1796, I started early
and rode to Beaufort; preached in the church from ‘To whom coming’ and so forth with liberty and had a good time.” A month later he wrote, “In the evening I went to Beaufort and preached from Gen. XIX:17 and returned.”
In October 1797, Beaufort was brought a little closer to the world by the establishment of a Post Office. Mail came out by horseback from New Bern. True it came at irregular intervals, but after 1805, it was received every two weeks! This was the year, too, when the New Bern circuit proper was formed with James Jones and John Turner as preachers. In 1800, Francis Poythress of the first Carolina Circuit was Presiding Elder and undoubtedly preached here. For the next few years, those who served the New Bern Circuit and filled the puplt here continue to be little more than names. In 1806, however, we came to the time of the great revival.
It seems appropriate to stop and say a word about revivals in Methodism. W. L. Grissom in his “History of Methodism in North Carolina” said if asked to give a definition of Methodism in one short sentence, he would say, “It is a revival of religion.” Our churches to-day may have lost much of their vital force but, nevertheless, the church grew out of a revival of spiritual life at a time when it was at a low ebb—“a revival that could not find expression in any organization of that day.” It is not my idea to attempt to explain or interpret these revivals. They were often accompanied by extravagent manifestations—penitents groaning in distress of mind waiting “to be set at liberty,” “the falling exercise,” “the jerks,” “the dancing exercise,” “the laughing exercise,” and so forth, on the part of those of both high and low estate—although to some among them religious emotion is said to have brought only unusual calm. Popular pulpit style was dramatic and stirring, yet over and over again in the early literature the word “gracious” is used in describing these revivals—an outpouring of the spirit rather than man made demonstrations. “The revival fire” is supposed to have been brought to North Carolina from Virginia in the latter part of the eighteenth century. For a dozen or more years, we read such reports as, “We had the greatest
time and the most powerful work that I ever saw. It broke out on Saturday about four o'clock in the afternoon and there was no intermission until after two o'clock in the afternoon on Monday.”
The year the great revival “struck” here, Philip Bruce was Presiding Elder, William Barnes, James E. Glenn, and Bridgers Arendell on the Circuit. According to Mr. Potter's History, Mr. Glenn led most of the meetings. So great was the awakening that Bishop Asbury wrote: “I met Elder Bruce. All our talk is, what hath God wrought! In Beaufort the Lord hath put forth his power; the whole town seems to bow to the scepter of the Lord Jesus after being left and visited again within the last twenty years by his faithful ministers.”
Tradition has it that Caleb Bell, his wife Suzannah Coale Bell, and his oldest daughter were charter members of our Church. Dr. A. H. Redford in his “History of Methodism in Kentucky” tells of Caleb's conversion: “The old gentleman was an Episcopalian but did not know the witness of the spirit. Being in great distress of mind one day he took his Bible and boat and rowed out to one of the islands of the Beaufort Sound and there read and prayed until the burden was removed from his heart. He was made very happy but did not know the nature of the wondrous change nor realize that he was adopted into God's household until shortly afterward the Methodist preachers came in preaching regeneration and the witness of the spirit * * * and at once with his wife and daughter he united with the Methodist Church—the first fruits of their labors.”
When the great revival “struck” Beaufort, Caleb Norris Bell, son of this older Caleb, was a boy living in Beaufort—eighteen years of age to the month. “One evening while out in the country sitting on a door step, he was convicted of sin. The same night he and his brother, with many others, went forward for prayers at the Church in Beaufort but found no relief. George Read, Clerk of Court and also class leader, invited Caleb and Jacob to spend the night with him; at eleven o'clock the power of God came upon them, and they were both, in the same instant,
clearly, powerfully, satisfactorily converted.” At the first opportunity, he and his brother joined the Methodist Church at Bell's Chapel built by his grandfather.” The Chapel mentioned seems to have been the chapel on the West side of the Newport River authorized by the vestrymen of the Church of England in 1748. If it is, it was paid for with public funds as were improvements as late as 1766. It's location seems to have been on land which old Colonel Bell in 1755 deeded to the Parish. This and the fact that a Bell always read the service may account for the fact that it was called Bell's Chapel. It is assumed that as with St. John's in Beaufort, the Chapel was abandoned after the War and the Methodists, being the only religious sect near, took it over.
After the conversion of Caleb and Jacob “the preachers urged them to exercise their gifts, and sometimes sent Caleb out to fill their own appointments.” Thus Caleb was our first contribution to the ministry although he did not join the Conference until 1809; Jacob joined in 1807. There was no North Carolina Conference until 1838. Both boys joined the Virginia Conference, but Caleb's first field of service was in North Carolina; Jacob's in Virginia. A brother, Joseph, also joined the Conference but died when very young. Caleb served the Tampico Circuit in 1809. The following year his father was sick and requested that he be sent to Beaufort.
Caleb, senior, died in 1811 and young Caleb left Beaufort for another circuit. He worked fervently for the next few years, but so large were the early circuits and so great the hardships that few could stand up long under the strain. Then, too, Caleb had found a girl in Virginia whom he wanted to marry so in 1815 he asked to be “located”. Later, 1822, he went to Todd County, Kentucky. “Here he found the Methodists few and far between,” by zeal he built up the church there, and with his own hands helped build Bell's Chapel said to be the “best church house in the country at that day.” Later he lived to see the Chapel “too small for the Lord's host (in Todd County) and a magnificent brick house, large enough for the multitude erected in the same beautiful grove.” Dr.
Redford says, “The influence of Caleb Bell was universally felt and acknowledged. He was perhaps the most popular preacher in the county—preaching more funeral sermons, baptizing more children, and marrying more couples than any other.”
Beaufort first appears on the Conference Minutes in 1810 with Bridgers Arendell as preacher assisted by William Compton. This was two years before James Davis built our first Market House. According to the famous letter of our citizen J. Henry to the editor of the Star in Raleigh written at the close of the year, the town contained “585 souls, 74 dwelling houses, 10 stores, 8 shops of different artisans, and a place of worship originally designed as an Episcopal Church but now indiscriminately used by all sects of christians.” Rev. John Jones, later a member of Conference and a beloved leader in our own organization was born earlier in the year—just in time to get counted in J. Henry's census.
We infer that the Methodists worshipped for the most part in this “Episcopal Church,” but that occasional visits to town were made by ministers of other denominations although we have no record of what denominations they were. The church was clearly regarded as a community affair and not a Methodist Church. Just before this year, we find the Town Commissioners, having a little money left in the treasury, ordered that William Thompson and Joseph Bell “be appointed to lay it out towards repairing the church.”
The year that Bridgers Arendell came, one of our 585 souls, Rachael Chadwick became his first wife. She lived but a short time and twice again he married locally, each time into that large family of early Methodists—the Bells. Sarah Bell, his last wife, lies by his side in the cemetery back of the church.
For some years after 1810, the Church jogged along without much, if any, numerical growth. An early writer attributed the slowing down to the fact that excitement had worn off, most opposition had ceased, and the War of 1812 distracted.
The New Bern Circuit of which we were a part was served in 1811 by Robert Thompson; in 1812 by Humphrey Wood; in 1813 by Erasmus Stimson and R. F. Carney; in 1814 by Thomas Mann, James Thomas, and Richard Wright.
According to an article written by N. M. Jurney, after 1815 Beaufort was not on the New Bern Circuit. During that year John Doyle and Joshua Laurence were our preachers. The year is also referred to as the time that Fort Hampton “disappeared”—a sixty year old, wooden, never too substantial building undermined and washed away by a storm about which they said, “One day it was there on the point of Bogue Island near Old Topsail Inlet; the next, people looked, and it was gone.”
Our town was growing, too, and the administration of its affairs becoming a little more elaborate. In 1814 an “Intendant of Police” was appointed to discharge all business of the town between sittings of the Commissioners and to hold Court every first Saturday. A town watch was also ordained in which all males between 16 and 45 were required to take turns serving in groups of four from nine at night until five in the morning.
Straits Chapel was organized about the same time as our Beaufort Church. In March 1878 when “old Doctor Closs” was Presiding Elder there is reference in the Quarterly Conference Minutes to the Tabernacle Church (Straits) as “an old established church of a century's standing.”
In 1816 a newly formed Straits-Beaufort Circuit had a membership of 268 whites and 228 colored. Waddell Johnson was in charge. In 1817, William H. Starr served Beaufort and the Straits. Some of our first preachers who labored among our forbears, breaking bread with them, sharing their joys and sorrows, baptizing the children, praying with the sick, burying the dead, are now forgotten or remembered for some trifling peculiarity such as a lisp, an unusual mannerism, long whiskers, or a slight physical deformity. Mr. Starr, however, after more than a hundred and twenty years is remembered for his wonderful prayer! This was after the second war
with England. Times were hard. There was not even enough bread. The story goes that Mr. Starr moved by the distress around him prayed: “Oh, Lord! I do not ask that somebody may suffer injury, or that someone's property may be lost to them, but if it must be that a vessel shall be stranded, send her to these shores, may she be cast on our beach, and may her cargo be food for these poor destitute ones who are so near the door of starvation.” In less than a week, the story goes, a vessel laden with flour was cast on the beach, the flour was spread on piazza floors, dried out in short order, and the hungry fed.
After Starr came Stephen Rowe, followed by Enoch Johnson a young man serving his first appointment who was our preacher the year the amazing news reached Beaufort that a steamboat had really crossed the Atlantic. Before the year was over a steamboat, The Norfolk, was owned in North Carolina and began to ply between New Bern and Elizabeth City.
With William Harris, in 1820, we start a new era: We have our own church building. According to the deed registered in the Court House in that year, one half acre, lot 101, corner Craven and Broad Streets, was purchased from the town “to be erected and built thereon a house of worship for the use of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States of America.” The trustees to whom it was deeded were: James Chadwick, Samuel Chadwick, Elijah Canaday, Culpepper Pigott, Freeman Ellis, Peter Noe, Dillins Ellis, Jechonia Pigott, and Anson Chadwick.
Of the personalities of these men shouldering responsibilities in our first church, we know little. Jechonia Pigott was active in civic life, a Commissioner, town Treasurer, and later Intendant of Police. Elijah Canaday was also Commissioner. Anson Chadwick was one of the younger trustees. One story still extant throws some light on the quality of his religion. A revival was on at Harker's Island. A certain merchant surprised everyone by going to the altar and groaning aloud for redemption. A zealous brother attempted to talk and “pray him through.” The old man listened for a few minutes, raised
his head, looked at him in disgust, and spat out quite audibly: “You pay me for that bacon you bought and send Anson Chadwick to pray for me.” Others who filed into the new church on Sundays were the Bells, Forlaws, Reads, Arendells, Halls, Lovetts, Rumleys, Murrays, Whitehursts, Barnes, Manneys, Perrys, Mansons, Leecrafts, Dills, Merrits, Fullers, Davises, Pivers, Thomases, Canadays, Langdons, Fulfords, Buckmans, Gabriels, and many whose names are lost to us.
In 1821 when Robert Wilkinson was here the church was dedicated by Lewis Skidmore who was one of the leading ministers of the Conference. Even then it was neither completed nor paid for. The Quarterly Records, June 19, 1825, name J. Pigott, Thomas Murray, E. Whitehurst, and O. Barnes a committee to “superintend, carry on, and have said house completed.” Still incomplete, January 2, 1830, “It has never been plastered consequently is decaying fast.” It was repaired in 1836, not out of debt until 1840!
The early Discipline advises in building: “Let all our churches be built plain and decent; but not more expensively than is absolutely unavoidable; otherwise the necessity of raising money will make rich men necessary to us. But if so, we must be dependent on them, yea, and governed by them.” Our church of 1820 is preserved in the A.M.E. Zion Church back of the present Ann Street Church still referred to, unofficially, as Purvis Chapel. There have been some changes but the body of the church is still intact “plain and decent” with a dignity that those things which are plain and decent have.
During the early years the preachers of the Methodist Episcopal Church cared for the colored. In fact, the early Discipline specified that they should do so. At one time, it is said, the whites worshipped in the old church in the morning; the colored, in the afternoon. C. P. Jones in a letter written after he left said that in 1844, it was his plan to preach “one Sabbath in each month to the colored people in the auditorium, who at all regular services occupied the galleries.” To-day, on special occasions, the
tables are turned; members of the A.M.E. Zion invite the whites to visit them and sit in the same old galleries.
Lewis Skidmore Forlaw, who was to live to see Ann Street Church built and to make the prayer at the dedication of a remodelled Ann Street at the close of the century, was the first child baptized in our own church. With a life span of eighty-one years he lived past the turn of the century and together with “Miss Betsy” Buckman; Miss Sarah Davis; “Miss Nancy” Piver; “Miss Elizabeth” Chadwick (“Miss Helen” Russel's sister); Miss Mary A. Davis; and Mr. Allen Davis, was active in the 1820 church, Ann Street Church, and the remodelled and modernized Ann Street Church of 1897.
In 1822, Mann Dutton served our church; in 1823, Joseph Carle; 1824, Joshua Leigh; 1825, Thompson Garrard; and in 1826, John Pennabaker under whose ministry occurred the third great revival here, one incident of which made him remembered according to Mr. Potter's History, as “the thunder and lightning preacher.” To quote: “Weary and discouraged by the apathy of the people and their utter disregard of his pleas and warnings, he prayed earnestly at one of his meetings that the Almighty might manifest to the congregation as he did to the children of Israel at Mount Sinai, with a voice and appearance of thunder and lightning. Almost immediately the reverberations of thunder were heard in the distance. Peal followed peal in quick succession approaching nearer and nearer, and soon the flashes of lightning became almost a constant flame lighting up the church and disclosing a congregation livid with fear and trembling under the convicting influences of the spirit of God. Then started a revival that spread through the community and many conversions resulted therefrom!”
Here and there we pick up fragments from stories handed down to us that throw light on these revivals. As seems to have been the style of the day, they often lasted late into the night. There were no paved streets, no shell roads, only a wilderness of scrubby bushes and deep sand with marshy places here and there where at high tide or during storms the water came in and stood. The most
OLD PURVIS CHAPEL
frequent outlays of town funds were for “causewaying” or laying “trunks” over the low places, repairing the foot bridges on Ann Street, deepening the ditches, or grubbing” Ann Street and making it “passable.” Sandy paths radiated out from the church, through trees and undergrowth and back lots, to the homes—all without benefit of street lights. Pigs and cows and horses and geese roamed at large and when encountered on the way from church on a dark night were a common source of fright. An ordinance said, “All hogs running at large shall be liable to be destroyed by any person or persons feeling themselves agreaved,” but those who unexpectedly stumbled on one and heard the movement of other life in the darkness just hurried home. In spite of all this, by early candlelight whole families finished their chores and ploughed through drifted sand to meeting. Mothers brought babies in their arms who learned to sleep through hours of preaching and singing and shouting. Others went home at intervals to nurse theirs returning again to slip into service. The colored listened from the gallery and, under the influence of the same terror-arousing pleas, cried out in conviction of sin or rejoiced aloud over forgiveness. The more emotional ran in an out among the graves of the old cemetery shouting aloud.
After John Pennabaker, Irvin Atkinson served the Beaufort-Straits circuit and in 1828, James W. Bell. One year later, the year we first boasted of town pumps (one in Craven, one in Orange, and one in Pollock Street), George A. Bain was sent here. He was a young man yet a fellow preacher said of him, “It was as natural for him to be grave as for a healthy child to be playful. He carried his solemnity not only into the pulpit, but into his social intercourse.” Mr. Bain's contact with Beaufort was too long ago for anyone to remember him, but there are those who when they hear the name immediately recall Donald W. Bain, his son, Comptroller of North Carolina and prominent in Methodism in the latter part of the century.
As Methodism grew, the physical limitations of each preacher's field shrank. It is striking to think that in
1776, we were part of an unlimited Carolina Circuit extending on the south and west as far as a man found it possible to carry a message; by 1830, the Beaufort-Straits Circuit was too large for one man, and Beaufort became a regular charge with a membership of 164 whites and 94 colored.
In 1831 Abraham Harrell was sent to Beaufort; in 1832, F. D. Tompkins; and in 1833, Thompson Garrard returned a second time.
In 1834, mail began to come to Beaufort by stage and three times a week! One of the old folks in writing of it said: “The coming of the mail was the chief event of the day, and notice was given of its arrival by a horn blown by the stage driver as he came through town.” By the time he arrived at the old Post Office on the southwest corner of Ann and Turner Streets, the town was assembled to meet him.
In the same year that the stage began coming down, our church had its fourth great revival under James Purvis. It is the writer's opinion, unconfirmed by records, that it was at this time that the name Purvis was applied to the church as Purvis was but a boy of twenty when the chapel was built, and it was this year before we hear of any contact he had with the church. Previously the organization was probably known simply as “the Methodist Church.” In 1816 reference is made in the Bushall's family Bible to a marriage at which “Wadell Johnson of the Methodist Church” officiated. Of the revival under Purvis, it is said the “interest became so absorbing that the people would stay all night long in church, going home by daylight next morning.”
Although more than a hundred years ago, we begin now to run across names familiar to us to-day. Mr. John Rumley was one of the converts. Mr. Isaac Hellen was another. The conversion of the latter is memorialized by a speech which Mr. Cicero Bell quoted him as making. Mr. Hellen was a Master Mason. When he started forward to the altar, he is said to have turned to his fellow Masons saying, “Brethren of the square and compass, you have followed me on the square, now follow me to the
Cross.” The account from which I am quoting adds, “and many of them followed.”
In 1835, we had W. H. Kelly and in 1836, J. M. Boatright who suffered an attack of smallpox while on the charge. He was isolated in a house “up the creek” where Alice Oliver, one of the members, took him his meals which, if she carried out the letter of the town law, she placed “at a distance of not less than one hundred yards to windward of the infected place.” “Miss Sallie” Thompson, Mrs. Winfield Chadwick's mother, was taken into the church this year. She was a member for more than sixty years and can still be remembered by many. All this happened one hundred and four years ago, the year Fort Macon and the Odd Fellows Hall were newly built.
In 1837, James E. Joyner was here and in 1838, William Closs. Mr. Closs is said to have been an original character, witty, much loved, forthright in speech. He was the kind of person of whom anecdotes are treasured. Perhaps the most persistent is of his prayer at the Straits. Mr. Closs joined the Conference in 1833, was sent to the Straits in 1834. He was inexperienced, and for some reason things didn't go smoothly. As Conference time approached, he is said to have stood before his congregation and prayed: “O Lord, send this people a preacher that they will like better than they do me!” to which some brother in the congregation surprised him with a rather resounding “Amen!” causing Mr. Closs to continue: “And, O Lord, be pleased to send me to a people that I shall like better than I do these.” Dr. Closs's second wife was Mrs. Patterson, grandmother of Rev. Joseph Arrington, who served the church nearly fifty years later, and of the late Mr. W. L. Arrington and “Miss Maggie” Taylor. He seems to have been greatly loved by the people of Beaufort and is still kept in remembrance through the children who were given his name among them “Miss Laura” Duncan who was Laura Closs Nelson; Mrs. Closs Peace Harris of Morehead City, his granddaughter; and the late Mr. William Closs Rumley.
John E. Edwards, our next preacher, had a very facile pen, and we are indebted to him for much material of
interest. Of him N. M. Jurney wrote, “I would take any paper just to read his letters if nothing else.” I am going to quote fully from his “Reminiscences of Beaufort in 1839” which appeared in the “Raleigh Christian Advocate” of July 19, 1882, because they tell of a preacher's life in that day, because between the lines we learn much of Mr. Edwards himself, and because they give a picture of Beaufort, the church, and our people as they were then:
“I wonder if Brother Benjamin Perry with whom I boarded is still living. Where are the Whitehursts, the Mansons, the Leecrafts, the Rumleys, the Manneys, the Bells, the Dills, the Merrits, and many others that come to my backward glance?
“I attended the North Carolina Conference held in January, 1839, from which I was assigned to Beaufort Station. After leaving the Raleigh Circuit, at the close of 1838, I took my wife to Prince Edward County, Virginia, a distance of one hundred and twenty-five miles. From Prince Edward I went on horseback in mid-winter to Salisbury, a distance of one hundred and seventy-five miles. From Salisbury to Prince Edward again; and then, taking my wife in my buggy, I travelled a distance of nearly three hundred miles to Beaufort.
“The last two days travel was from New Bern to Beaufort. It was the month of February. The sunshine was genial. The road was level and fine, and the weary miles on the monotonous way fell behind the flying wheels of my beautiful buggy as the nimble-footed ‘Henry Day’ carried us forward on our journey. We were late in leaving New Bern and we found the sun rapidly declining westward, while yet a distance of twenty miles lay between us and Beaufort. We met no one on the road, and only at long intervals saw a human habitation. We could scarcely hope to reach the end of our journey before dark. As good luck would have it, in passing a field we saw a man at work. On hailing him and inquiring where we could spend the night at a distance of six or eight miles ahead, he said we might find lodgings at Mr. Wilson's where the canal crossed the road. I asked him if Mr. Wilson was in a condition to give us comfortable quarters
for the night? He replied, ‘Yes, he is vastly rich’. We did find comfortable lodgings.
“The next morning we went in to Beaufort. We were met on the outskirts of the town by the Rev. William I. Langdon, who was on the lookout for our arrival. With cordial greetings he welcomed us at our journey's end, and conducted us to Brother Perry's where by arrangement, we were to board.
“Beaufort was then a struggling town, stretching along for the space of a mile upon the edge of the water. The Methodist was the only denomination that had a house of worship in the town. A half dozen schooners—more or less—were laying at anchor at irregular distances from the shore—wharves there were none, or next to none. The fact is, Beaufort in those days, was as nearly out of the world as a town could well be. Communication with New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore was more direct and frequent than with New Bern. But, no better people lived than the good people of Beaufort. It was a seaport town without any of the vices that generally prevail in seaports. The coasting vessels that came into port were generally owned by residents of the town, and the sailors were young men, for the most part, whose parents lived in Beaufort. It was an exceedingly rare thing for a foreign vessel ever to anchor in Beaufort harbor. It was a quiet, moral, and religious community. Everybody went to church on Sunday. Church members were orderly and pious. Hospitality prevailed under every roof. Nobody was rich, none so poor as to be dependent upon charity. The means of subsistence was in the reach of all that could get to the water.
“I seem to see it again: I stand again upon the upper floor of the double piazza of Brother Perry's dwelling, and look out towards the open sea. Fort Macon stands on the right of the entrance to the harbor, and a point of land on the left, with an intervening inlet of two miles in width, through which—so to speak—‘the wide sea’, is seen stretching away as far as the eye can reach. At longer or shorter intervals the white sails of coasting vessels are seen gliding along like spectres upon the utmost verge
of vision, and occasionally the long trail is seen marking the track of a steamship bound from Savannah or Charleston to Baltimore or New York, or, from some Northern port to Wilmington. Inside the bar, the skeleton outline of a Naval craft is discernable under the walls of the Fort. Between the deep water and the town, scattered here and there are sloops, schooners, and smaller craft, creeping along under sail, or lying quietly at anchor. The tide, at its beginning, comes now far up on the sand near the door; and there at low water leaves the shell paved beach a hundred yards from the line of the high-water mark.
“It is morning, Capt. Merritt is passing on the other side of the street. He lifts his hat clear off his head as he politely extends to me his morning salutation. There goes Capt. Dill aboard his vessel. The sails are shaken out, anchor weighed—he heads for the Inlet. And there goes flying by a fisherman's boat. It will return before night with a supply of fish for the town. Now there is a sensation in the quiet town. A whale has been captured near the Light House just on the other side of the Banks. Everybody must go and see it—preacher and his wife and everybody else.”
Twice has our Church been served by a father and son. The first time by Sidney D. Bumpas whose son, Robah F. Bumpas spent eight years here. Mr. Bumpas came in January 1840 but was “taken with a fever” on July sixth and left in September so was active in the Church for less than a year. He recovered and served the Raleigh church in 1842 and 1843. 0f him, A. W. Mangum exclaimed in 1876 at the time of the Centennial in Raleigh, “Ah! how could a church fail to prosper with Sidney Bumpas for the pastor and Frances Bumpas for the pastor's wife!” Mrs. Bumpas was indeed an exceptional woman. At the time of Mr. Bumpas’ death in 1851, she took over the publication of “The Weekly Messenger,” a religious paper he had planned, and continued it until 1872 when the need for it had ceased. Six years later with the formation of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the Southern Church, she held an official position, and at
the time of her death had for nearly twenty years been a regular attendant of the Woman's Board of Foreign Missions. Our interest in Mrs. Bumpas, however, is not that of a pastor's wife but as mother of Robah F. Bumpas who came to us later. Sidney Bumpas was not married when he served Purvis. He was, nevertheless, quietly wooing the then Frances Webb by referring her to certain verses in the Scripture such as the passage from the second Epistle to John that says: “The elder unto the elect lady * * * whom I love in the truth * * * for the truths sake which dwelleth in us and shall be with us forever.” And, again, “Now, I beseech thee, lady * * * that we love one another.”
In 1841 we had John Tillet followed by R. P. Bibb in 1842 and in 1843 John Todd Brame for whom “Miss Suzan” Noe's husband was named.
There are several things for which Mr. Brame is remembered. Perhaps first of all for his mother's solicitude. He was single, her only child, she lived with him, and her life interest was in looking after him. It is said that she was even with him during his six years at Randolph Macon! She is quoted as saying, “I can trust everything in the hands of the Lord except my son.” In addition to being young, Mr. Brame was small—five feet, four inches in height and less than a hundred pounds in weight. He had a “throat disease” and was not equal to much pulpit work. Two years after he left, while attending the Louisville Convention at which the Methodist Episcopal Church South was organized, he suffered an attack from which he soon afterward died. His delicate constitution and early death offer a defense for his mother's apprehension and excessive care.
Mr. Brame, however, had other traits than physical weakness. He is said to have been not only pious but of brilliant mind and prodigious memory. Rev. C. P. Jones at the Raleigh Conference in 1841 referred to him as “the cleverest Roman of them all, mighty in intellect, finished in scholarship, classic in composition, and learned in the scriptures.” These words were not written as a eulogy but two years before he came to Beaufort! Among Miss
Laura Thomas’ treasures is a “sacrament ticket” for the third quarter of 1843, issued to her grandmother, “Miss Mary” Thomas, and signed by “John T. Brame.”
In addition to all his other characteristics, Mr. Brame is credited with being ready with an apt reply and what we think of as “good company.” One of the many examples of this is the story that, jogging eastward in Rev. John E. Edward's buggy after the 1841 Conference in Raleigh, the two came upon an old settlement, a dilapidated house, broken down fence, fields rank with weeds—all deserted. A cow suddenly emerged with melancholy lowing. At the sight of her Brame improvised and sang:“ ’Tis the last cow of autumnLeft browsing alone.All her brindled companionsAre butchered and gone.No cow of her kindredNo yearling is nighTo respond to her lowingOr give sigh for sigh.”
and so on through several such heart rending stanzas ending with“But who would live in this bleak worldWhen beef steaks all are gone?”A CHURCH SOUTH
In 1844 Charles P. Jones who spoke so highly of Mr. Brame followed him at Ann Street Church. It was a significant year in the church—the one in which “The Plan of Separation” between the Northern and Southern Methodists was agreed upon. The slavery question threatened the unity of the organization from the beginning. H. T. Hudson in writing of this Conference said, “The feelings on the slavery question quite stormy. Bishop Andrew having become connected with slavery by marriage, was censured by a resolution requiring him to ‘desist from the exercise of his office so long as this impediment remains’. There being no possibility of reconciliation, ‘The Plan’ was adopted by a large majority.”
It is not hard to find those who remember Thomas Page Ricaud, our next preacher. He was the first after Bridgers Arendell to marry here—Anna M. King, aunt of “Miss Lula” Duncan and Mr. Ed Martin. Ties here brought him back from time to time until his death in 1900. Those who remember him tell not of the young man who came in 1845 but “Uncle” or “Cousin Ricaud” who visited here years later, “an old man who wore a wig and was lots of fun.”
Mr. Ricaud came to us with the most romantic life story of any minister who has ever served the Church. He was born in Baltimore, orphaned when very young, adopted, and taken to Mexico to live. He was educated at the University of Mexico where he prepared for the Catholic priesthood. Later he enlisted in the Revolution that resulted in the establishment of the Republic of Mexico and was taken prisoner while acting as courier. When free again he went to France and from there to Virginia where he took up the study of law. With all these experiences behind him he ventured into a Methodist revival, was converted, and admitted to Conference “on trial” in 1841—still only twenty-four years of age. His written testimony of his stay here is that “the membership was
generally true and faithful. These two years were among the most pleasant of the early years of my life.” A remarkable revival occurred during the first year of Mr. Ricaud's stay at which William I. Langdon; W. S. Langdon (his Presbyterian cousin); and John Jones, grandfather of “Miss Annie” and Mr. Hugh Jones assisted. William I. Langdon was, at the time, like John Jones, a lay preacher. He was born in Beaufort in 1814, converted at a Camp Meeting on Harker's Island, and licensed to preach at the age of twenty. Later, he joined the Conference and served circuits in Eastern Carolina. Mr. Langdon was never stationed here but was, nevertheless, prominent in the religious and educational life of the town. He conducted The Beaufort Female Institute in the house in which “Miss Laura” Duncan lives. His mother “Miss Frances” Canaday built the house for him—the upper part to be used as his home, the basement rooms for the school. Later she built another for him on the west side of Pollock Street just back of the Inlet Inn where he was conducting a school at the time of his death in 1859.
The revival with which Mr. Langdon helped was important for many reasons. Samuel Lander, later Dr. Lander of the South Carolina Conference, was among the converts. Locally, it stands out as the time when Miss Sarah Davis united with the Church. For years proprietress of the old Davis House with a reputation for hospitality extending far beyond the boundaries of the State, she was also a “pillar in the temple” for seventy-one years until her death in 1916. She helped the needy and supported the Church and befriended the preachers perhaps more generously than any other single individual. Ministers frequented her house “to feel her holy and blessed influence” but always stayed to taste her fried chicken, soft shelled crabs, and hot rolls—and who wouldn't? “Miss Chris” Sirmond, her sister and associate in the Davis House, was as loyal in her quiet way as Miss Sarah. Nineteenth century reminiscences tell of the familiar scene of the two of them riding by in their phaeton at church time, stopping to tie “Major” to one of
the live oaks on the vacant lot east of the Church, then, with Miss Sarah leading the way, taking their places in the “Amen” corner just west of the pulpit.
Matrimonially, our next preacher followed in Mr. Ricaud's footsteps and married here. William J. Parks in 1848 married Hope Hill and his son Charles married Julia Leecraft. Charles is buried in our cemetery a few feet west of the Church.
About this time the old mail coach was superceded by a less picturesque but more efficient sulkie which brought the mail until the advent of the railroad nearly ten years later.
In 1848, our pastor was Joel W. Tucker and in 1849, William W. Nesbitt. The latter is described as “a bashful man, always fearful of attracting too much attention” which may account for the fact that we have practically no information on him.
Forty-nine was the year the prairie schooners began to push westward to California in search of gold. Beaufort was not unaffected. No prairie schooners started from our port, but we do have a record of the voyage of the barque Louisa Bliss in 1850. With A. M. Fales as master and Brian Rumley, S. S. Duffy, William Penn Hellen, LeRoy M. Piver, James Gillikin, David William Noe, William F. Hatsel, J. L. Manney, Charles Whitehurst, and James Busk as crew, she sailed around Cape Horn for San Francisco with a cargo of lumber from William C. Bell and Company. Joseph Bonaparte Martin was with us at the beginning of that church year but due to a throat ailment was relieved after a few months by J. P. Simpson. This was the year when “Miss Betsy” Buckman joined the Church. She was another who gave herself unstintedly to the cause for over half a century. She is always mentioned in connection with “The Society” for which she faithfully made rounds Monday mornings collecting dues—in her latter years with little Nannie Taylor by the hand. Exacting she was, too, about dues. Once a delinquent member answering roll call with a verse of Scripture quoted: “The Lord loveth a cheerful giver.” “Hump!” “Miss Betsy” ejaculated, “I can't even get you
to pay your dues!” Mr. Edward Buckman joined nine years after “Miss Betsy” and lacked but one year of rounding out half a century in the Church at the time of his death. It was during Mr. Simpson's ministry that Otway Burnes died at Portsmouth and was brought here for burial—not as a stranger for, after his spectacular privateering in the War of 1812, he had settled in Beaufort, served on the Board of Commissioners for the Town, and later had represented us in the Legislature at Raleigh.
For nearly seventy-five years after the Revolutionary War, as an old timer said, “If a body wanted any place to worship, he had to go to the Methodist Church.” It is true that there is no family with roots deep in Beaufort, members of which have not at some time had a heart interest in the Methodist Church as their church home. In 1850, however, Mr. Rolfe, an Episcopal minister from New Bern, began the organization of a Protestant Episcopal Church although it was not until 1855 that the organization was completed with D. D. Van Antwerp as rector and 1857 before the organization had its own church home. In 1851, while our Church was still served by Mr. Simpson, the Baptist Church was organized and within a few years their church building was erected.
We had no parsonage at this time. Sometimes a preacher stayed at Captain Dill's, sometimes with Mr. George Dill, sometimes at Brother Perry's, sometimes with others. Our next preacher, Abram Weaver stayed with “Miss Susan” Wharton on Ann Street where “Miss Jennie” Bell now lives. In 1853, James A. Dean was sent to Beaufort but was soon called away to take charge of South Lowell Academy in Orange County. LaFayette W. Martin came in his place. Mr. Martin was the brother of J. B. Martin who was with us three years earlier. This is the only instance we have of brothers having served the Church. They were sons of General Joseph Martin of the Revolution, four of whose five sons were ministers: LaFayette W. and Joseph Bonaparte in the Methodist Conference, another a Primitive Baptist, and the fourth a Presbyterian. Mr. Martin was the fourth preacher to find a wife here. He married Sarah Jane King soon after
he came and when a diseased throat made it necessary for him to leave the ministry, he settled here and practiced medicine. His daughter and son and grandchildren may be seen in the Church any Sunday—“Miss Lula” Duncan, Mr. Ed Martin, Miss Mattie Duncan, and our Church Treasurer “Miss Mary” Tillet.
Our present church is on what is said to be the site of the first dwelling ever built on the north side of Ann Street. The property was entered in 1775 by Martin Ferns, and it is said that he built the same year. On December 27, 1854, it was deeded from Benjamin Perry to John P. C. Davis, George Dill, John Rumley, Samuel L. Dill, Elijah W. Pigott, John C. Manson, and Benjamin T. Howland, Trustees of the Church, and the new building was erected during the year that D. C. Johnson was here. However Mr. John Rumley was in charge of the work and so completely shouldered the responsibility that according to Mr. Bumpas, writing in 1897, no mention of the church was made in Quarterly Conference records, nothing about a building committee or method of collecting money. The following notes found among Mr. Rumley's papers by Miss Annie throw some light on his activities as a one man committee. Headed simply “Cash belonging to the new M.E. Church,” he lists sixty-four contributors specifying the amount given and whether cash or note. Totalling these, I find them responsible for nearly $700.00 which in Beaufort of 1854, represented considerable money. It seems appropriate to me that these names should have a place in this record even though I recognize the fact that it may be but a partial list of those who had a part in the work:
|F. L. King||25||Note||Wm. Leecraft||10||Cash|
|B. L. Perry||25||do||B. Chadwick||23||Note|
|Isaac Ramsey||25||Cash||Jas. L. Manney||10||Nate|
|J. P. C. Davis||25||Mip Hollister||10||Cash|
|Thomas Duncan||25||Cash||M. Hansel||5||Note|
|J. C. Manson||25||Note||J. M. Pigott||10||Cash|
|Jas. Howland||25||Cash||S. I. Latham||25||Cash|
|Sarah W. Jones||25||Note||Mary Leecraft||5||do|
|P. W. Yarrell||25||do||B. Oglesby||5||do|
|Kitturah King||25||Cash||I. A. Cherry||3||do|
|S. B. Bush||10||do||Jacob F. Scott||3||do|
|J. F. Clark||10||do||H. and Susan Murray||5||do|
|Caroline Jonas||10||do||Southy I. Nelson||5||do|
|Caroline Davis||10||Note||Henry Rigger||5||do|
|Sarah Davis||10||Cash||Wm. Fuller||5||do|
|Mip Mary Davis||5||Note||Jas. C. Davis||2½||do|
|Sam'l L. Dill||5||Cash||Mrs. Franks||5||do|
|George W. Dill||5||Note||Sam'l Howland||5||do|
|N. F. Arendell||10||Cash||Brian Grimes||7||do|
|James Busk||5||Note||Mip R. Rumley||5||do|
|P. W. Yarrell||5||Mary Whitehurst||5||do|
|Mip H. Jones||10||Cash||Matthew Phelps||5||Note|
|Wm. F. Bell, Sen.||5||do||N. F. Leecraft||5||Cash|
|Wm. H. Piver||5||Note||Cicero Bell||5||Note|
|P. W. Yarrell||10||Note||Wm. A. Blount||5||Cash|
|E. W. Pigott||10||do||B. Gormus||5||do|
|B. F. Howland||10||Cash||B. Leecraft||10||do|
|Wm. W. Rumley||10||do||F. P. Gutherie||5||do|
|Wm. A. Thomas||10||do||Wm. Fulford||5||Note|
|A. C. Davis||10||do||E. Whitehurst, Jr.||5||do|
|J. Franklin||20||do||John W. Noe||5||Cash|
|L. S. Forlaw||25||do||J. F. King|
Of Mr. Johnson, pastor when the Church was built, Mr. Bumpas said, “He preached plain, very short sermons, and drew, I am told, the largest congregations the church has ever had. Men of intelligence and talent of other communities frequently waited upon his ministry.” We owe much to Mr. Rumley, but we must remember that he was working with the support of a minister who inspired unusual confidence in his followers.
This first Ann Street Church is described as a white clapboard building—“just plain and neat and ordinary.” It was in a setting of live oaks and grey moss and graves new and old, for even then the cemetery had been in use almost a century and a quarter. Above the main entrance was a square tower and steeple by which according to an early U. S. Coast Survey Map of Beaufort, mariners entering the Inlet, charted their course. The windows, in two rows, upper and lower, were rectangular with very small clear glass panes and green shutters. It still stands remodelled into the building used to-day.
In 1854, there were no Sunday School rooms, no Sunday School auditorium. The present church auditorium represents
the whole of the old church. Then the pulpit was on the north where the big “Chadwick window” is now. Across the Ann Street end and down the sides was a gallery designed for our one hundred and fifty-two colored members, for this was before the Civil War and the spiritual care of the colored was still the responsibility of the whites. Worshippers entered the vestibule through a door in the center where the “Davis window” is to-day. Inside, stairs on the right and left led to the gallery and two doors into the main body of the church. The pulpit was simply furnished with an old fashioned horsehair upholstered seat designed for two people and a stand for the big Bible from which hung a cream silk book mark heavily fringed with gold after the style of the day. Around it a rail enclosed a spacious chancel. Later marble slabs were placed on the sides: one on the left in memory of Rev. Joseph Arrington; the other, those of the Sunday School who died in the yellow fever epidemic of 1864 and 1865. These are still preserved: one is in the vestibule of the Church; the other marks Mr. Arrington's grave. The pews are said to have been comfortable. They were arranged in three sections with two red-carpeted aisles between. About two-thirds of the way up, the order was broken to make room for the two wood stoves, one on either side. Lamps and reflectors were attached to the gallery supports, and a chandelier was suspended from the ceiling lighted by a dozen or more lamps.
Our Organ Guild has done good work in 1940 and 1941 collecting funds with which to have our organ rebuilt. There is a feeling of warm appreciation among us for it, but an Organ Guild in 1854 would have been not only unnecessary but something to be wary of. Instrumental music in church! The only music admitted was that made by the God given voices of the worshippers! Even twelve years later when a reed organ was allowed by popular vote, old members shook their heads at the worldliness entering the church.
It is all well remembered by many to-day—that is all except the slaves in the galleries. Those who reminisce about it now tell of the organ and choir and a library in
the gallery or of a still later day when the choir was east of the pulpit opposite the “Amen” corner. Nearly everyone who remembers it at all will tell of the colored janitor—John Henry “Sweetening.” The Henry had probably once been Henri for his father was Pierre Henry of French and Indian descent, and the “Sweetening” had been acquired somewhere along the way just because he liked sweets, but it stuck faster than the name his father gave him. He is reputed to have lacked a great deal of being handsome, but he loved Ann Street Church, and the people of Ann Street Church loved him. After his duties were over, it is said that he would sit way up in one end of the old gallery, as near the pulpit as he could get, and punctuate the sermons with, “Amen, Brother, tell it!” or “Dat's right, Brother, preach it!” On Communion Sunday, after the white people had been served, everyone waited while John went forward, knelt at the chancel rail, and the pastor administered the sacrament to him.
The year of 1854 not only brought us a new church but something else of importance. A railroad was being talked. In fact, there was a possibility of its coming to Beaufort. There were those who wanted it, but some were uninterested. Things were pretty good as they were. A railroad would smoke up the town, kill the cows and chickens, run over the children, fill the town with tramps. Nevertheless, it was built to Shepard's Point which in 1858 was incorporated as Morehead City. When it was completed, Steve Turner and Palmer Davis sailed over early week-day mornings with mail and passengers, and at night met the train and brought the incoming mail and passengers to the expectant group gathered at the dock, around dark, to meet them.
In 1855, the young Thomas W. Gutherie was our preacher. Under his ministry, occurred a revival of spiritual life to which Mr. Bumpas referred in his writings as the “laughing revival” because of the marked manifestation of rejoicing. Mr. Gutherie himself, writing in 1894, is quoted as saying of it, “All ages and sexes were its subjects. I have never in all my ministry seen such a display of divine power as I witnessed. Beaufort, from
ANN STREET CHURCH 1854-1897
that time on, was considered one of the strong appointments of the Conference.” That year, in Wilmington, Marcus Cicero Thomas, who had joined in the early days at Purvis, was admitted to Conference of which he was a member until his death in 1912. He married Henrietta Lea, daughter of another minister, Stephen Lea, the first President of Greensboro Female College. Miss Lea was one of the teachers in Mr. Langdon's Beaufort Female Institute.
Mr. Thomas was never stationed here but was always interested in Beaufort and the people of the Church. When he returned to town, he visited around in the homes, and after the fashion of an earlier day, gathered together the members of each family for prayer. To those looking back thirty or forty years, these sessions seem to have been, also after the fashion of an earlier day, unduly loud and long. Mr. Graham Duncan, our raconteur, likes to tell of the time when the Duncan children were assembled to hear him offer up a prayer in their behalf. In the midst of it, the fire alarm sounded. The boys overcome with a desire to investigate, stepped over Mr. Thomas’ kneeling form which blocked their passage to the door, visited the fire, were able to get back and take their places again before he had finished.
In 1856, L. L. Hendren, D.D. was sent to Beaufort. Besides a wife he had three children. During his ministry “Miss Kitty” Buckman gave a lot for a parsonage, materials were purchased, and the new house was ready for the preacher who came the following year. It was on Ann Street, 160 feet from Moore running westwardly with Ann, and was the place where “Miss Mary” Noe now lives. It is said that “Miss Kitty” hoped a house there would keep folks from cutting through her chicken yard to get to Duncan's Store in the west end of town and stop the traffic through her place between the Store and Duncan's saw mill on the north side of Ann. It didn't seem to make much difference as they circled the house and went through just the same. Later a five foot strip was cut from her property and the parsonage property to make the northern end of the old lane that has since connected
Ann and Front Streets. The new parsonage confirms the story of a growing church. It is also an expression of a trend in the church at large. This year was very near the peak of the parsonage building era, according to Dr. Paul Neff Garber, who says that in 1858 the church was building an average of one parsonage for every two days of the year.
It was the policy in the early days for pastors to be changed each year to give variety. As Hudson wrote, “One year they have a logician to defend the doctrines of the Church, next they have a son of thunder to awaken and arouse the sleepers; this year a revivalist to get the people converted, the next an experienced disciplinarian to train them.” Mr. Ricaud was the only exception to the one year rule until Joseph Halsted Wheeler came in the fall of 1867. He was with us for three years, and in 1872 he was sent for another three years. He was the second minister to serve here twice; Thompson Garrard in 1833 was the first. Mr. Wheeler was born in Newark, New Jersey, served in the South Carolina Conference, and was transferred to the North Carolina Conference just before he was sent to Beaufort. There are many still living, not old enough to remember his first pastorate here, who remember him affectionately from his second pastorate or from later visits and refer to him as “Uncle Wheeler.” Mr. Wheeler's son Warren taught school here and married Miss Betty Lindsay, aunt of “Miss Mamie” Hill. His son “Jimmie”, J. W., spent the year of 1877 as pastor of Ann Street leaving at the end of that time because of ill health. Two other sons, Joseph and William were among the “travelling preachers elected and ordained elders” at the North Carolina Conference held in Beaufort for the first and only time during Mr. Wheeler's ministry.
This 1859 Conference was in session during the week December 14 to 21 with Bishop John Early presiding. Our church was small for such a gathering—apparently too small for in the records we find a resolution passed “thanking the Baptist Church for the use of their House of Worship.” Ann Street Church on the opening Sunday probably had the privilege of hearing three of the most
outstanding ministers ever to have visited Beaufort: Bishop Early preached in the morning, Dr. C. F. Deems in the afternoon, and Dr. Peter Doub in the evening.
Through a copy of The Beaufort Journal of June, 1859, we see something of Beaufort as it was when the Methodist ministers of the State visited it as a group. There was a Baptist, Episcopal, and a Methodist Church here for whites and Purvis Chapel Mission for the colored. The guests came to Conference neither by stage over the old New Bern Road, nor by buggy as did Dr. Edwards in 1839, nor by automobile or bus as they would today but over the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad to Morehead City. From there Capt. S. J. Nelson brought them to Beaufort in his “steam ferry boat—Caldwell”—fare twenty-five cents—unless he gave the preachers a cut rate which he probably did for the Conference Minutes contain a resolution thanking him for his courtesies. The preceding June, The Atlantic House (operated by Pender and Page) and The Ocean House (operated by Mr. N. W. Taylor's father) carried advertisements in The Journal: Rooms at “$2.00 per diem” with “bathing in ocean or surf, in the sound, or in bathing houses immediately contiguous to the hotel.” Elsewhere the editor enlarges on the grandeur of the Atlantic House with its one hundred rooms: “Probably no hotel short of our large cities can make such a display of splendid silverware for dinner service. We noticed among other things: splendid magic wine stands; magic casters; egg cups; cups lined with gold, very beautiful; egg spoons; pickle stands; fruit baskets” and so on. T. Duncan and Sons advertised stores “one in the extreme west end of town the other on the corner of Front and Craven Streets”; “Dr. J. L. Manney respectfully tenders his professional services to the citizens of Beaufort.” Beaufort Female Seminary with Stephen D. Pool as Principal and Beaufort Male Academy with R. W. Chadwick as Principal were soliciting pupils. Windmills stood on Front Street, one about where “Miss Lutie” Jones lives now and one east of it. A notice of A. C. Davis, City Clerk, reflects some of the municipal problems of the day: Warning is given that ordinances
relative to horses and dogs running at large; running or draying horses at such a rate as to endanger the safety of pedestrians; removing sand from the streets; obstructing the streets and sidewalks, washing clothes near the pump, remain in full force and will be strictly enforced. Moreover, persons congregating before the doors of any church in the town during the service and conducting themselves in such a manner as to disturb are threatened with a fine or commission to the guard house. The colored are ordered not to assemble in the streets or public places on the Sabbath and notice is given that they are to give the sidewalks to all whites. Furthermore, they must not be away from their homes after nine in winter or ten in summer. A column of the paper is given over to advertising the Georgia State Lottery. Beaufort people were lured to invest in tickets by the offer of one $60,000.00 prize and hundreds of lesser prizes.
The whites and the colored had worshipped together at both Purvis and Ann Street, but about this time the whites turned Purvis over to the colored for their exclusive use. In 1860 James L. Fisher was sent to Ann Street and Isham H. Hill to Purvis for, although in a separate church, the colored were still members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. R. G. Barrett was sent to Ann Street and John Jones to Purvis in the fall of 1861 when our country was torn with civil war. Fort Sumpter had fallen the preceding April, North Carolina had seceded in May, and Jefferson Davis was calling for volunteers to defend the Confederacy. In the spring of 1862, according to an unpublished paper by “Miss Lilla” Willis, when Federal troops had captured Hatteras and were on their way to New Bern, Mr. Barrett and his family left by boat through the sound. She censured him for leaving the church “to the mercy of invaders” and felt a consequence of his evacuation was that “the parsonage and lot were made soldiers quarters and afterwards our church was used as a hospital for refugees.” At any rate, by April, Fort Macon had fallen, Federal troops occupied the town, and the Union Flag was flying in Beaufort. The northern sick and wounded were enjoying The Atlantic
House and The Taylor House and the enemy was bragging in the New York Daily Tribune about the breezes and comforts so neatly come by through successful conquest. Late in the year Mr. James Rumley wrote in his dairy: “Our town is crowded with runaway Negroes, not only the able bodied, but the lame, the halt, the blind, and crazy have poured in upon us, until every available habitation has been filled with them. Even the Methodist parsonage and the Odd Fellows Lodge have been desecrated this way and are now filled with gangs of these black traitors.”
From then until the end of the War were uncertain and troubled days. Because the town was in Federal lines, we were cut off from the ministry of members of Conference. Furthermore, being unable to meet payments of debt incurred when the parsonage was built in 1856, we lost it in January 1865 together with the money invested. Benjamin L. Perry, John Rumley, R. W. Chadwick, and George Walker are the trustees whose names appear on the deed.
It was during these years that Rev. John Rumley father of Miss Annie, “Miss Jule Manney” Martin, and Mr. James Rumley; and Rev. John Jones, grandfather of both “Miss Annie and Mr. Hugh Jones made a unique contribution to the Church and the spiritual life of the community. Had it not been for them, we could not have had a continuous Ann Street Church. It was in recognition of this that the twin windows were placed back of the pulpit in memory of these men. In July 1862, Mr. Van Antwerp, rector of St. Paul's, a northerner and Chaplain in the Federal Army, sailed for Philadelphia, the Baptist Church had no minister after W. B. Jones until Jacob Utley came in 1867, so it was left to these two local preachers to carry on. They visited the sick, buried the dead, and married those who wished to be married by a minister of the Gospel. In 1865, assisted by Dr. E. A. Yates, Mr. Rumley conducted a great revival at which Mr. Bumpas says one hundred and five whites and perhaps as many colored were added to the Church. The church building was still used as a hospital, but private homes
were opened for prayer meetings and other services were held in the Court House. “Miss Lilla” Willis, a school teacher, wrote of her joy in a religious awakening in which so many of her older pupils “professed faith in Christ and were easily controlled in school.”
Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter, U.S.N., aided General Terry in the capture of Fort Fisher in 1865. Chief Justice S. P. Chase and his daughter accompanied him South. On the way down bad weather made it necessary for the ship to put in at Morehead City and lay at the Railroad Pier for three days including Sunday. General Sherman referred to the incident in his “Memoirs” and told of coming down from Goldsboro to confer with Admiral Porter. The late Mr. Hollister Potter use to tell of seeing Chief Justice Chase and his daughter worshipping with our congregation on the Sunday morning of their stay.
Lee surrendered in April, 1865, and that summer Dr. Charles F. Deems, Presiding Elder of the District came to visit and help. In Dr. Deems members of the Church came in contact with an unusual and brilliant man—a man of education, travel, force, and uncompromising integrity. He left North Carolina a year later, went to New York City and organized The Church of the Strangers there. Old “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt gave him a $50,000.00 home for his organization, proved a friend and admirer of his throughout life, and was a pall bearer at his funeral.
In addition to sorrows in connection with the War, yellow fever had raged in 1864 and 1865. Quoting the New York Daily Tribune for November 8, 1864: “The yellow fever is raging in Beaufort; eight or nine cases a day. Fifteen hundred deaths have occurred. This is pleasant news.” The number of deaths was certainly upped wishfully by the enemy paper, yet the fact that we had a town of tents nearby filled with refuges makes the figure more plausible. “Miss Lilla” Willis writing as one of us finds nothing pleasant about the news: “Our congregation was robed in mourning, many seats were vacated, and many hearts were saddened. It was difficult
to get straightened and at regular work again. Everything seemed changed. Some had been killed in the War; others had been removed by diseases that succeeded war, and it almost seemed like beginning anew.”
John B. Williams was sent by Conference in 1866. The church had been much abused and had to be repaired. Even the cemetery was in a sad condition, for it is said that those who occupied the church used the grounds for cooking and ate from the table-like grave stones. According to the town records, James L. White asked the Commissioners for “a fence around the graveyard.” They refused to take the money from the sadly depleted Treasury but had “subscription lists drawn up” to raise the money and requested “Misses Mary A. Davis, Florida Gibbs, Laura Davis, Suzan Roberson, Emma Duncan, Drusilla Potter, and Orphia Lindsay” to circulate them through the town. The fence was secured and a gate with a lock and key “the key to be kept in the Mayor's office.”
With all this sadness and discouragement, for some reason the congregation at Ann Street for the first time overcame objections of some of the older members and bought a reed organ! Just who our first organist was, I do not know, but Miss Sallie Piver took it in 1870 and in 1875 turned it over to her fifteen year old music pupil, Mary Buckman, who played until her marriage with Mr. Taylor. “Miss Mary” still trembles in memory of her trepidation when she learned on her first Sunday at the organ that ex-Governor Vance was in the congregation. She declares yet that she could never have gone through with her part if her brother Samuel had not sensed her fright and stood by whispering, “Keep on, Mary, you're doing fine!”
For some years prior to the War, the colored had carried on at Purvis with a substantial membership under the care of ministers appointed by the Methodist Episcopal Conference. It was the policy of the whites, at the time, to hold the colored people in one great church under their care. After the War, however, A.M.E. Zion, organized in New York in 1819, came into various communities including Beaufort and persuaded the colored to
join them. This was upsetting to the white Methodists so they appointed Robert O. Burton to see what he could do about it. He secured an appointment and came down to preach at Purvis Chapel.
In telling of the experience in 1923, Mr. Bumpas said: “He told them that the mother church still loved them although they had strayed from the fold, and as evidence of their love, he had been charged with the duty of gathering all the colored Methodists under our care to be known as the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church of America. He invited them to come back home to the fold, urged them to reunite with us, and took his seat with the feeling of a man who had won his cause completely.”
The pastor of the A.M.E. Zion Church was present. That he fully understood what was on foot cannot be doubted; that he could skillfully confound the opposition is almost an understatement. He arose, announced, and read the lines of Charles Wesley's hymn:Jesus great Shepherd of the sheep,To thee for help we fly;Thy little flock in safety keep,For O, the wolf is nigh!He comes of hellish malice full,To scatter, tear, and slay,He seizes every straggling soulAs his own lawful prey.Us into thy protection take,And gather with Thine arm,Unless the fold we first forsakeThe wolf can never harm.We laugh to scorn his cruel power,While by our Shepherd's side,The sheep he never can devour,Unless he first divide.O! do not suffer him to part,The souls that here agree,But make us of one mind and heartAnd keep us one in Thee!
Mr. Burton withdrew as there was nothing else he could do. Purvis Chapel Mission appears in the Conference Minutes of 1863. It is never mentioned again.
Dr. James B. Bobbit who followed J. B. Williams at Ann Street purchased The Episcopal Methodist, now the North Carolina Christian Advocate, and became editor in 1868, and J. W. Jenkins came here for three years. Mr. Jenkins had four children. Private schools offered the best advantages at that time. Mr. Jenkins found it hard to finance four in school so he paid for their tuition by supplementing his ministerial duties with teaching in “Miss Lilla” Willis’ school.
From 1872 to 1875, “Uncle Wheeler” was here for the second time preaching at Ann Street and part of the time, in absence of a preacher there, he held services at The Straits. Alexander R. Raven who was here in 1875 and 1876 also preached at the Straits having an appointment there once a month. It is not hard to find those who remember Mr. Raven well. He holds a special place in the story of the church because of the large number added to the church under his preaching and because that number includes so many faithful to the church through the years: “Miss Lula” Duncan, Miss Sabra Adair, “Miss Laura” Duncan, the late Mr. Thomas Duncan, “Miss Celia” Dudley, “Miss Celia” Williams, and “Miss Belle” Jurney.
As already stated, J. W. Wheeler was here in 1877. Apparently, the Church was feeling the loss of the parsonage for in this year, according to a deed recorded at the Court House, Frances Canaday, “In consideration of the love and affection I bear the Methodist Episcopal Church” deeded “part of the western half of lot 61” on Ann Street across from our Church for a parsonage to be erected within ten years from the date of the deed. If not built within that time, the deed was void. It was a bad time to raise money in Beaufort, and the land had to be forfeited for lack of it.
W. P. McCorkle followed Mr. Wheeler. He was here through the crisis of the great storm of 1879 when the tide came in four to six feet higher than any person could
remember before or anyone has seen since. It was the storm that destroyed the Atlantic Hotel, other smaller buildings, and piled furnishings, trunks, boats, and debris of all kinds high on the shore. After leaving Beaufort, Mr. McCorkle went back to the Presbyterian Church with which he had been associated before.
Rufus Cicero Beamon came in 1880 and was here when our first sharpie was launched. He was only twenty yet this was his second appointment. It is written of him that he had “little education but was master of eloquent English through study * * * reserved * * * never a long list of intimates.” He had served the Conference forty-nine years when he died in 1926. The writer remembers him as he appeared in later life. After years of contact with people, he was still a poor mixer with no gift for small talk but enviable eloquence in the pulpit and in prayer.
Just to the west of the Church, literally in the shadow of the building, is the grave of our next pastor, J. T. Arrington—another young man only twenty-three who died at the old Davis House while he was serving here. He was sick for a week only with what they use to call “hemorrhagic fever.” “Old Dr. Closs,” his stepgrandfather reached his bedside, but his mother was unable to do so. His last concern was for her: he asked that the news be broken easily to her, “She takes trouble so hard.” Deep and personal was the sorrow of everyone even though he had been here but eight months.
In a copy of The Telephone for 1884, leap year, the editor playfully listed the marriageable gentlemen of the town presenting them to the young ladies as, “Creatures to whom you are permitted to pay your addresses this year.” Among them was “N. M. Jurney, preacher, very dark brunette, full beard and black eyes, five feet ten inches high, one hundred and sixty pounds, thirty years old, quick, energetic, smart, a general gallant.” Those living today who well remember him at the time say this is an excellent description of Mr. Jurney who was with us for the next three years. He was here the summer of the Charleston earthquake, and he was here that winter
so cold that no one remembered its like before or has acknowledged its equal since. The winter when the Chrissie Wright foundered on Shackelford Banks, the crew lashed to the rigging and freezing while men who would rescue them could only signal helplessly from our shore unable to put out a boat in the storm. The Nellie B. Dey, Mr. Dey's fish boat, finally brought the victims in to the wharf at the foot of Turner Street. But one man was revived; the others were laid out in the sampleroom of Mr. Billy Dill's hotel on the southwest corner of Front and Turner Streets and Mr. Jurney buried them in the graveyard back of the Church. “Miss Daisy” Hatsell tells of standing in the cold of the upper piazza of her home on Queen Street watching as the men were borne to the cemetery on improvised biers, and “Miss Lutie” Jones tells of the feeling of awe that came over her when as a child she ran in to the cemetery and saw so many graves open at the same time. None of the men were from Beaufort, but it was an incident that would have stirred any people and to a people as compassionate by nature as those in Beaufort, it left such an impression that voices are hushed to-day as the story is retold. A small compensation for the tragedy was the establishment of the Cape Lookout Life-Saving Station in 1887 which is said to have been a direct result of the event.
Julian Leecraft Rumley, for thirty-six years a member of the North Carolina Conference, joined the Church on profession of faith under Mr. Jurney's ministry. During the same period, Mr. Charles P. Dey joined by certificate. A second contribution to our Church from Newark, Mr. Dey immediately took an active part in the work. He was steward and trustee. The organ, which has just been rebuilt and which we are now enjoying as if it were a new gift, was presented to the Church by him in 1918 as a memorial to his wife.
The year after Mr. Jurney left Beaufort, while serving in Kinston, he married Miss Belle Sabiston from here. She still comes down with her daughter, Mrs. J. W. Wilkins, who has a cottage on Front Street. “Miss Belle”
is as loyal, beloved, and admired a guest as Beaufort and Ann Street Church ever entertain.
An old diary in my possession pictures these early 1880's as peaceful happy days of autograph albums, dominoes, croquet, swinging lamps, hoop skirts, cisterns, feather beds, mosquito nets, ice cream festivals, “poundings”; days when granulated sugar was a rare treat, when ice was brought from the North by boat for packing fish—not for individual use unless there was sickness or one luckily found a broken piece. They were days when courting couples gathered down on Whitford's wharf and when at dusk everyone went to meet the mail boat. They were days when babies were sung to sleep and rocked to sleep in cradles; when funeral notices were neatly written on letter paper, a piece of dull black ribbon inserted between the sheets and sent from door to door; and, without the ribbon, party notices were sent in the same manner with the names of all invited guests on the sheet. They were days when it was the habit to read the Bible before going to bed, when a young man had to formally ask a girl's father for her hand, when one of the questions the father was apt to ask next to his financial prospects was, “What are your views on the temperance question?” They were days before Sunday papers, when Sunday was spent in going to church and visiting friends and relatives.
Following Mr. Jurney was John Wesley Jones. During his stay Charles Wesley Byrd served the Morehead City church, and we had the distinction of a revival conducted by John Wesley assisted by Charles Wesley. It was a meeting, however that stands out for more significant reasons than such a coincidence. It was the time when a number of our present day members joined the church including “Miss Lutie” Jones, Miss Rose Felton, “Miss Daisy” Hatsell, “Miss Mary” Arrington, “Miss Nancy” Beveridge, “Miss Sunie” Bell, and perhaps others, each of which have rounded out more than half a century in the Church.
Under the next minister, F. A. Bishop, 1887, we acquired the present parsonage on Queen Street and a lot
extending on the north to the old Ireland place. Five-sixths of the lot was deeded by heirs of Alice P. Wolfe on July 15; one-sixth by heirs of Denard Rumley on August 20, 1887. The parsonage, the old Denard Rumley house, was remodelled by the addition of rooms on the south. Between it and the Ireland place stood a little four room cottage in which Mr. Wolfe had operated a bakery. George F. Smith followed Mr. Bishop but as he was single, he stayed at the Davis House and the newly acquired parsonage was rented to “Miss Sarah” Hill. During his second year here, Mr. Smith married Lena M. Nelson, sister of “Miss Laura” Duncan. This tie brought him back repeatedly on visits and although he died in 1927, his family are annual visitors. It was during Mr. Smith's first year here that Willie Potter, son of L. A. Potter, and John Davis, Jr., brother of Mr. M. Leslie Davis, were drowned off the shore of Piver's Island, then Still Island, with only an empty boat and clothing from which to reconstruct the story. C. F. Sherrill followed Mr. Smith in 1892, and in 1893 Robah F. Bumpas served the Church and the North River Church was added to the Beaufort Charge. Of Mr. Bumpas someone said, “He was a scholar, a christian, and a gentleman.” To this all with whom I have talked agree unreservedly. His interests were broad. At his death he is said to have left Greensboro Female College a legacy of a valuable telescope, microscope, and seven hundred volumes including scientific as well as religious works.
In the 1890's the spirit of change was in the air. A popular subscription was taken to build a shell road from the oyster factory up Ann Street to Ward's Bridge. Mr. Dey had a naphtha launch built, The Sadie, to take passengers and mail to and from Morehead City, but travel was still confined to week days. People were giving away the old Colonial whatnots and drop leaf tables and “improving” their homes with heavy scrolled factory made rolled oak pieces, Morris chairs, and such. Under Mr. Bumpas, the improving interest began to work in the Church. In April, 1894, a strip of land between the Church and Craven Street was bought from Miss Sarah Davis. On this, the present Sunday School auditorium
was built and the old building remodelled at a cost of $5,568.00. When completed according to a newspaper account written at the time of the dedication, we had, “A new and magnificient church.” During part of Mr. Bumpas’ stay he suffered from a serious condition affecting his eyes. At the New Bern District Conference of 1895, held at Newport, resolutions of sympathy were passed “as he had been compelled to remain in a dark room for several months on account of his eyes, the light causing the most excruciating pain.” It was D. H. Tuttle, the next minister, who finished the work, raised the money to pay the indebtedness, and had the glory of serving the charge when the building was dedicated.
When asked about the Church, a large number of people of all ages begin with Mr. Tuttle: “He ran the saloons out.” “He was a good person to build churches.” Sometimes one story comes first, sometimes the other. Accounts have been as varied as the emotions of the tellers. He was undoubtedly a colorful, forceful, and courageous character. Militant for prohibition, he reiterated again and again, “I love the men, but hate the business!” Behind the pulpit he had the words, “Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only” which passage seems to have been exemplified in his life in an unusual way.
When Mr. Tuttle arrived, work on the Church was at a standstill, the congregation was sometimes worshipping in the Masonic Hall, sometimes in the Baptist Church. He announced upon arrival, “We've a job ahead of us, I cannot do it alone, no one in the congregation can do it alone, but we can all do it together.” This struck the keynote of his ministry here. Within a week, the carpenters were at work on the building and the congregation working that they might be paid. Mr. Tuttle had a marked gift for enlisting cooperation. Everybody worked and everybody enjoyed it. He gave out needs from the pulpit as they arose and had Sunday School classes and individuals pledge a bench or a pulpit chair, a door, a window, or even so small a thing as a brick. Jim Potter tells of gathering coon oysters, taking them home, opening them, and selling enough for a pound of nails. Jule Duncan dealt in clover. He says he pushed a wheelbarrow load
through eight inches of sand from the old Duncan Place to Mr. Ben Jones old home where he was paid off—five cents. He bought roseattes with his money—those little four petalled wooden ornaments that dot the ceiling. They cost ten cents each, and he claims that it took two days work at the clover business to buy one. Lillian Duncan bought roseattes, too, but confesses that at the time she thought somehow they were going to be something that she could wear on her coat. Maggie Jones (Manson) and Lollie Duncan (Sellers) sold big hominy at five cents a quart to finance their part, and Mamie Lindsay (Hill) and Corinne Chadwick (Uzzle) had a colored boy trundle a freezer around from house to house on a wheelbarrow while they sold icecream at ten cents a saucer to make money for the offertory plates. These were days before children's ready made clothing could be bought for little more than the cost of material, and the Ladies Aid at their regular meetings cut and sewed, selling their finished work to busy mothers. It was the time, too, of the Spanish American War. Colored troops were garrisoned at the Fort. The report was current that no one could visit. People were already interested in seeing colored troops drill and this but sharpened their interest. “Miss Laura” Duncan tells how she took advantage of this interest and her business contacts with Colonel Young, the Commanding Officer, to plan a sight-seeing trip for the benefit of the new church. A boat trip to the Fort and view of the troops all for twenty-five cents! There were individual gifts made also. Miss Julia Read gave the Communion Table in memory of her mother, “Miss Charity” Read; “Miss Chris” Sirmond gave the Baptismal Font in memory of her husband, Captain D. D Sirmond; and all about are memorial windows which were given by individuals or families.
“Miss Nannie” Whitehurst, who was a Sunday School teacher during these years, says that Children's Day was celebrated on the last Sunday in the old church. They were out of it for a year. The next celebration of Children's Day was the first Sunday in the remodelled church.
Dr. J. C. Kilgo, then President of Trinity College, Rev. N. M. Jurney, Rev. R. C. Beaman, Rev. R. F. Bumpas, and Rev. L. S. Massey of Morehead City, were special guests at the dedication. After the group assembled, Mr. Tuttle announced that a debt of $350.00 still standing would prevent the consecration of the building. Cards were passed out and $90.00 above the required amount was raised, making a total of $1,600.00 raised among less than 400 members between Wednesday and Sunday, less than $180.00 of which was contributed from outside the charge. Mr. Bumpas preached on “The History of Methodism in Beaufort,” Miss Jennie Watson sang The Holy City, then five white haired stewards stood in a semicircle around the chancel rail: B. J. Bell, B. L. Jones, W. B. Duncan, C. P. Dey, and L. S. Forlaw. The latter being senior steward in both years and service made the prayer of dedication.
Miss Gertrude Wheatley and Mr. John Rumley, parents of Mr. Jim Rumley, were supposed to have had the distinction of being the first to marry in the new church, but Mr. Rumley was away on the water and the winds and tides prevented his returning at the appointed time so the first weding to take place was that of “Miss Annie” and Mr. Hugh Jones. An old newspaper clipping tells of it as “too beautiful for description” as the couple and their attendants stood before the new altar under an archway of white covered with green vines on the top of which were “two beautiful doves.”
In 1897, the Lenoxville Church property was deeded to us, and the following year the Yearly Meeting of Friends at Guilford College, North Carolina, deeded the Core Creek Church, since known as Tuttle's Grove to the trustees of Ann Street Church reserving only the right to hold Quaker services at any time not conflicting with the regular church program.
In 1885 a Committee of Citizens leased lots 136, 144, and 152 on the northwest side of the Court House Square which had been “reserved for an Academy by an Act of the General Assembly in 1816.” They agreed to pay an annual rental of $6.00 and were to erect upon it a school
building for white children, the building to cost not less than $1,000.00. The following were on the Committee: Thomas Thomas, B. L. Jones, W. F. Dill, William Sabiston, J. B. Davis, N. W. Taylor, S. M. Buckman, S. J. Moore, Sarch A. Davis, J. B. Jones, J. C. Davis, W. B. Duncan, B. J. Bell, T. D. Noe, N. L. Carrow, M. R. Geffroy, F. Borden Mace, J. D. Davis, W. S. Chadwick, R. W. Bell, James R. Bell, and R. W. Bell, Sr.
This school was built facing Market Street, now Turner, and for fifteen years was operated as the Beaufort High School. In 1900, the Methodists leased the land for ten years with the privilege of renewing for fifty years and operated it as a Methodist school. The records do not show just what the transaction was, but the Methodists seem to have come into possession of the building at this time. A member of the original Committee, with whom I talked, said that those of other denominations who were on the Committee sold their interest in the building to the Methodists who were already in the majority. He says the money received by the Episcopalians was put into St. Paul's School, and he thinks that the Methodists likewise gave their part in it to their church. As there was no real estate transaction involved, no deed was required.
Two years before this St. Paul's School had been founded, and it existed until “Miss Nannie” Geffroy's death in 1936. In all walks of life, and in all denominations are those who were educated there. It was this school which competed with that operated by the Methodists. Apparently the Methodists had some difficulty in selling their school to all of their people for the Beaufort Bulletin, paper of the school and also of the town, states in one issue, “The Episcopalians of Beaufort have their church school and without exception members of that church patronize their own school. This is as it should be. The Methodists of Beaufort have their church school * * * yet some of our good Methodists patronize the other school. This is as it should not be.” Incidentally, Misses Grace Duncan and Bernice Hornaday
were authorized agents for the paper—price twenty-five cents a year.
The Methodists never exercised their privilege of renewing their lease for fifty years. Instead in 1907, after operating the school for only seven years, the Church sold a strip of land on Broad Street, back of the A.M.E. Zion Church to the town for $1,250.00 “also that certain school house building now standing on the public Court House Square in the said town of Beaufort and commonly called the Beaufort High School Building.” The trustees signing the deed were T. M. Thomas, C. P. Dey, T. W. Lindsay, H. C. Jones, C. L. Duncan, B. J. Jones, Charles L. Abernethy, and W. L. Arrington.
The town offices were then in a little building on the east side of Craven Street owned by Mr. Winfield Chadwick—the “lock up” down stairs, the Town Hall upstairs. Now the old school building was moved across the street to the strip of land purchased by the town where, with the removal of the cupola and a few other changes that grew out of the fire that burned the western end shortly after it was acquired, it stands to-day as our Town Hall.
The last minister to serve the Church in the nineteenth century was Milton Davis Hix who was here for one year, followed by J. A. Hornaday from whose ministry our local Epworth League dates. With the turn of the century there was a church membership of 364 and Beaufort had a population of 2,145. In 1899 there had been a Fisheries Laboratory operating in a rented building; in 1900 Congress authorized a regular biological station; and in 1902, the Government Laboratory on Pivers Island was opened.
Mr. Hornaday was followed by Rev. Hilliard Manly Eure in 1903, the year of the famous first airplane flight at Kitty Hawk. Mr. Eure was father of our present Trustee, Steward, Sunday School Superintendent, and Lay Leader, Mr. Numa Fletcher Eure. In 1906, Rev. J. H. Frizelle came. During his stay the present Court House was built and opened with a speech by Governor Aycock, and the railroad was brought from Morehead City to Beaufort.
At some elusive period early in this century, Beaufort changed considerably. Banker ponies were prohibited on the Town Marsh and Bird Shoal, so they were no longer able to swim across the channel at low tide to graze along the sidewalks or run up and down the streets at night. Artesian wells took the place of the old town pumps. A factory was built to manufacture our own ice. Sheds overhanging the sidewalks were removed, the picket fence around the cemetery was replaced with a wall, Dr. Maxwell came out with his Maxwell automobile in 1911, and from then on the familiar two-wheeled carts drawn by banker ponies began to disappear from the streets. The old ordinance prohibiting travel at more than ten miles an hour on straight roads or six around corners soon seemed foolish and later was repealed. The old fence around the town and the town gates were kept in condition until after 1910 then gradually people stopped closing the gates and no longer kept in repair, they disappeared. The picturesque net reels that stood on Bird Shoal fell into disuse and one by one disappeared the last going just about the time the board walk went. Somewhere along these years, too, women dropped their widow's bonnets with the narrow white ruching about the face and the heavy black veils falling sometimes all around the head; sometimes from the back only. Days of the bonnets were days when a woman mourned for life. A dress for a second wedding was supposed to be at least “light mourning.” The railroad had something to do with the change, the light and water plants in 1909, the Inland Waterway in 1911, the World War, the radios that began to come around 1918—everything that tended to put us in closer touch with a larger world.
In 1908 J. H. McCracken came for three years. During his stay Mr. and Mrs. A. F. Doan joined our Church. Like the Deys, though not Beaufort people, for the period of their stay here they shouldered an unusual amount of responsibility in the Church. Mr. Doan was both Trustee and Steward and Mrs. Doan served as President of the Missionary Society.
In 1912, the year of the founding of The Beaufort News that has been publishing our church notices and bringing us the news for nearly thirty years, Rev. Solon A. Cotton came to the Church. The next year, the year our old Colonial Court House was torn down, Rev. T. A. Sikes served the Church. In 1914, Rev. A. S. Barnes was sent, but after a few months he was appointed to the Methodist Orphanage at Raleigh where he still serves, and Rev. Frank Culbreth came here for three years. It was during Mr. Culbreth's ministry that Rev. Arthur J. Moore, who a dozen years later was to become a Bishop in the Church, was sent by Conference to hold a special meeting at Ann Street. During Mr. Culbreth's ministry, too, old Purvis Chapel in which the members of A.M.E. Zion had been worshipping since the Civil War was formally given to them according to the deed “as a present.” Trustees who signed the deed were W. P. Smith, Thomas Duncan, G. W. Duncan, A. F. Doan, H. C. Jones, D. M. Jones, C. L. Duncan, C. P. Dey.
Mr. Bumpas came a second time in 1917 and was here for four years including those of our First World War—the wheatless and meatless and porkless days when stores were closed and lights shut off at intervals to save coal, when we were buying Liberty Bonds and War Savings Stamps, singing Keep the Home Fires Burning or Beautiful Ka-ty, and young men were registering for the first draft or already in camp or “over there”. He was here also when plans for the Centenary of American Methodism were launched—that great world movement in behalf of missions. According to the records of the Church, forty-nine were taken into the Church on one Sunday of Mr. Bumpas’ last month here—the largest number at one time in our records. Incidentally, it was Mr. Bumpas’ forty-ninth year in the Conference. He lived to serve the Church sixty-two years, dying in California in 1933.
Rev. E. B. Craven followed Mr. Bumpas. At the time he left, after serving three years, the two congregations—North River and Ann Street,—for the first time aggregated five hundred and thirty-six members. It was
during his stay that a modern Beaufort Graded School was erected on the Court House Square and our own Educational Building—Sunday School class rooms in the rear of the Church—was built. The strip of land at the back of the Sunday School auditorium on which it stands had been bought from Mr. H. H. Hamlin and his wife in 1916. The Queen Street property had been mortgaged in 1889 when the parsonage was remodelled. Now it was mortgaged for a second time to do something constructive for the Church. Again the women busied themselves with a frenzy of lawn parties and suppers and children went out and sold candy and cookies until the very phrase “for the benefit of The Methodist Church Annex” became a byword. There were many personal subscriptions also, but it was in 1927 when Mr. James Rumley bought the lot between the parsonage and the Ireland place before the entire amount was raised and the parsonage released. During Mr. Craven's ministry, too, Mr. Cecil Buckman gave the electric motor for our Church organ. Previous to that time sacred sounds same only when colored Skidmore Stevens—Skid for short—was there and worked the hand pump except for that one hot Sunday that Ben Jones was pressed into service in the absence of the usual incumbent—the Sunday unfortunately that Mr. Craven selected for a revival of some old forgotten hymns none of which stopped short of six or eight stanzas!
In 1924, the year work was started on our street paving, Rev. Eli Frank Lee came. A man with excellent training—a Masters degree from Columbia University, New York, and a Bachelor of Divinity from Union Seminary—he previously served Presbyterian Churches in both New York and North Carolina. Beaufort was his first charge in the Methodist Conference. It was during his stay here that the modern heating plant was installed in the church at a cost of $1,800.00 financed, it is said, by volunteer subscriptions made on one Sunday morning. Mr. Lee died in 1930, but his wife has a cottage in Beaufort, and she and her daughter come down in summer.
For the next three years, we had another minister given to us by another church. Rev. Leland LeRoy Smith was first a minister of the Free Will Baptist Church. He joined our Conference in 1916. He was serving here the momentous year that our new highway bridge was opened, and the year of Lindberg's historic flight to Paris. Rev. R. F. Munns came in the fall of 1929 and was back again each fall until 1932. He was with us when the depression and bank failures came taking away security from those who had felt secure and confusing and saddening everyone in town. Rev. C. B. Culbreth came in 1933 the year of the latest big storm that all but demolished whole sections of the County and our Town. Rev. C. T. Rogers was sent by Conference in 1934. During Mr. Rogers last year here, Paul Green's Lost Colony was shown for the first time at Manteo and the following year, Rev. L. D. Hayman from the Manteo section was our minister.A CHURCH
The outstanding event of Mr. Hayman's stay was the long considered and awaited union of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and the Methodist Protestant Church. It was his privilege to preach the first sermon after the union was an assured fact. At the 1939 Conference in Fayetteville, the unification for North Carolina was completed and Rev. W. Stanley Potter was sent to our Church. The following September, 1940, the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society joined the obsolete class meeting, Ladies Aid, and Bright Jewels. In its place was formed The Laura Duncan Society of Christian Service with the three-fold program of prayer, giving, and service to help develop and support Christian work around the world. Mrs. Edward H. Potter was the first to head the new group composed of three Circles: Circle No. 1 under the leadership of Mrs. W. S. Chadwick; The Lizzie Chadwick Circle under the leadership of Mrs. F. R. Bell; and The Alma Potter Circle of young women, organized in March 1941, under the leadership of Mrs. William Potter. Two charter members of the new organization had also been charter members of the old Society when it was organized in 1887: “Miss Lizzie” Chadwick and “Miss Laura” Duncan.
The writer has been able to find record of five Bishops having visited the Church in Beaufort: Bishop Francis Asbury, Bishop John Early, Bishop A. Coke Smith, Bishop William W. Duncan, and Bishop Paul Kern. The latter was here in the interest of the Centennial Movement, but did not preach. Bishop Asbury preached twice, making five times we have had the privilege of listening to sermons from our Bishops. Dividing the 163 years of the Church's existence by five, we find it has been our privilege to listen to sermons from our Bishops about once every thirty-three years. If these visits had been spaced at even intervals, Beaufort children could be born and practically live out their life span, miss but one
church service, and never hear a Methodist Bishop preach. This makes a visit from our Bishop a tremendously important occasion!
Mr. Potter's place in the history of the Church can only be determined with the passage of years. He may be remembered for inaugurating fellowship suppers as a means of gathering the congregation for informal “breaking of bread” before prayer meeting hour at intervals throughout the winter; he may be remembered for his wise thoughts on world peace at a time when the world was torn with a Second World War; he may be remembered for inspiring the renovation of our pipe organ re-dedicated January, 1941; or he may be remembered because he planned our homecoming day and brought the Bishop down to help make it an occasion worthy of the one hundred and sixty-third birthday of a church.
Remove not the ancient landmark which thy fathers have set.
—PROVERBS 22, VERSE 28.THE METHODIST CHURCH
Southeastern Jurisdiction Charlotte Area
North Carolina Conference
New Bern District
|District Superintendent||REVEREND J. A. RUSSELL|
|Minister||REVEREND WILLIAM STANLEY POTTER|
|Director of Music||JAMES WHEATLEY|
|Organists||MRS. HOWARD C. JONES—MISS RUTH LEWIS|
N. F. EURE, Chairman
|B. H. Noe||H. C. JONES|
|C. S. MAXWELL||F. R. BELL|
|D. M. JONES||G. W. DUNCAN|
BOARD OF STEWARDS
G. W. DUNCAN, Chairman
MRS. MARGARET DAVIS, Secretary
MRS. ROBERT F. TILLETT, Treasurer
|JAMES POTTER, III||N. F. EURE||MRS. M. S. SNOWDEN|
|R. W. SAFRIT, JR.||W. S. CHADWICK||MRS. FRANK PINNER|
|F. R. SEELEY||MRS. JOHN RICE||J. A. RATCLIFFE, JR.|
|B. H. NOE||C. G. GASKILL||C. B. MORNING|
|CALVIN JONES||F. E. HOOPER||J. O. BARBOUR|
|MRS. LELA WILLIS||MRS. T. A. RICHARDS||R. H. HILL|
|MRS. WILLIAM WILLIS||MRS. I. N. MOORE||C. F. CHAPPELL|
CHARGE LAY LEADER
N. F. EURE
LAURA DUNCAN SOCIETY FOR CHRISTIAN SERVICE
President, MRS. E. H. POTTER
|Circle No. 1||Leader, MRS. W. S. CHADWICK|
|Lizzie Chadwick Circle||Leader, MRS. F. R. BELL|
|Alma Potter Circle||Leader, MRS. WILLIAM POTTER|
|Senior||VIRGINIA STANTON, Counselor—CLAUD MORNING, President|
|Intermediate||WILLIAM BLADES PARKIN, Counselor|
|Junior||MRS. JAMES NOE, Counselor—MRS. BEN JONES, Asst. Counselor|
Superintendent, NUMA FLETCHER EURE
Secretary, JOHN RATCLIFFE
|Superintendent Children's Division||MISS CHARLOTTE V. SANDERS|
Nursery Department—MRS. JAMES WILLIS.
Beginners’ Department—MRS. TOM GIBBS
MRS. LELA WILLIS.
Primary Department—Class I—MRS. H. C. JONES, JR.*
Class II—MRS. WILLIAM POTTER
Class III—MRS. E. H. POTTER*
|Superintendent Junior Division||MRS. J. H. NEAL|
Class I—MISS SADIE MOORE
Class II—MRS. J. H. NEAL
Class III—H. C. JONES, JR.
|Superintendent Intermediate Division||MRS. FRANK PINNER|
Class I—WILLIAM BLADES PARKIN
Class II—MRS. FRANK PINNER
Class III—MRS. H. C. JONES, SR.*
Class IV—MISS LILLIAN DUNCAN*
|Superintendent Young People's Division||MISS VIRGINIA STANTON|
Class I—MISS VIRGINIA STANTON
Class II—F. R. SEELEY*
Class III—N. F. EURE*
|Superintendent Adult Division||MRS. A. A. PRIVETTE|
Young Adults—MRS. F. R. BELL
MRS. VERA STUBBS
Woman's Bible Class—MRS. W. STANLEY POTTER
Men's Bible Class—J. F. DUNCAN** Those whose names are starred have served for ten years or longer.ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-THIRD
JUNE 15-22, 1941
|June 15||11:00 a.m.—Rev. A. S. Barnes|
|8:00 p.m.—Rev. J. H. McCracken|
|June 16||8:00 p.m.—Rev. L. D. Hayman|
|June 17||8:00 p.m.—Rev. C. T. Rogers|
|June 18||8:00 p.m.—Rev. C. B. Culbreth|
|Rev. T. A. Sikes|
|June 19||8:00 p.m.—Rev. E. B. Craven|
|Rev. Frank Culbreth|
|June 20||8:00 p.m.—Rev. R. F. Munns|
|June 22||11:00 a.m.—Sermon by Bishop Clare Purcell|
Reception in Church parlors each evening after services for former ministers, visitors, and church members.
A COLLECTION OF MEMORIES
A brief record of the years at Ann Street United Methodist Church, Beaufort, North Carolina, since 1941, as collected by Lou Nicks, upon the request of the 200th Anniversary Committee.
National Printing Company
Greenville, North Carolina
Ann Street United Methodist Church corner of Ann and Craven Streets, Beaufort, North Carolina painted by Stephen Sebastian presented at Christmastime, 1976, by Integon Corporation Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Ann Street Church - 1978
The altar. The twin windows are in memory of the Rev. John Rumley and the Rev. John Jones, the two local preachers who carried on with the work during the Civil War..The wooden cross between the windows was hand-carved by Charles Moore, son of the Eric Moores and grandson of the faithful Mrs. Ikie (Polly) Moore who was known for years as THE WSCS.
This educational building was dedicated to the glory of God on February 4, 1962, at a cost of over $200,000.
By Carol Bessent Hayman
Used by permission of the author and written especially for the 200th Celebration, Ann Street United Methodist Church. Used first time in program, “A Heritage Celebration with Music and Poetry,” September 17, 1978. Mrs. Hayman, reared in Beaufort, is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. G. H. Bessent. She married Dr. Louis Hayman, whose father was the Reverend L. D. Hayman, a former minister of Ann Street Church.
When the 200th Anniversary Planning Committee, consisting of Glen L. Harris, Mrs. James (Dot) Piner, James Wheatley, Mrs. Charles (Joyce) Griggs, James Potter, George Garrett, Mrs. Neil (Alice) Windley, and the Reverend Douglas Byrd decided that Ann Street United Methodist Church needed to bring Miss Amy Muse's history up to date, the one person who was unanimously considered for heading the project was Miss Emily Loftin. “Miss Emily” worked enthusiastically and diligently until her health demanded a curtail of her activities.
Thus this story has become a collection of memories, instead of a history. Credit is given throughout to those who have contributed to make this a worthwhile keepsake for the next one hundred years.
When this picture of Lou Nicks (on left) and Miss Emily Loftin was
taken in June 1976, little did they realize that they would be in-
struments through which a book such as this would come into
|Since Miss Amy Muse's Story||13|
|W. C. Martin Follows Stanley Potter||17|
|Theodore Jenkins Came Next||19|
|B. D. Critcher's Short But Meaningful Stay||23|
|Like Father, Like Daughter||24|
|Birth of the Eure Building During Young Administration||26|
|The Early Years of a District Superintendent||30|
|Double Blessing - Two Ordained Ministers||37|
|Now Program Director of the North Carolina Conference||40|
|Ah, To Retire In Beaufort||46|
|Our 200th Year||55|
|Reflections From Those Sent Out||78|
|From God and Country to Campus Crusade||79|
|“Train Up A Child...”||81|
|Christi Diener nach Wien, Österreich||83|
|Serving as a Minister of the North Carolina Annual Conference||84|
|The Influence of a Christian||86|
|Assistant Director of Admissions of Louisburg College||87|
|From England to Ann Street||91|
|Where Do We Go From Here?||94|
After having enjoyed and digested Miss Amy Muse's Story, I wonder why I ever had the slightest notion that I could even touch a project to bring her magnificent record up to date. And yet I have felt driven to make an effort to do something before our 200th year slips away.
This, however, is really not my work. It is the work of those who have contributed their memoirs and many others who have lived Christian lives among us. How much better can a story be told than to hear it first-hand from some of those who walked and talked and shared in its making? There are many others who could have added insights and perhaps one day will.
In 1939 when the North Carolina Annual Conference completed its part in the unification of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and the Methodist Protestant Church, a new era began for Ann Street Church in Beaufort.
Bishop W. W. Peele presided over the Annual Conference in Fayetteville when he appointed the Reverend William Stanley Potter to Beaufort. Dr. Potter stayed six years from November, 1939 to November, 1945 — longer than any other minister in the history of our church — and lovingly shepherded his flock through the difficult years of World War II.
It was Dr. Potter who was instrumental in encouraging Miss Amy Muse to write The Story of the Methodists in the Port of Beaufort, which was beautifully done. This record covers a time beginning in 1739 when George Whitfield preached in New Bern, North Carolina, and closes with this paragraph:
Mr. Potter's place in the history of the Church can only be determined with the passage of years. He may be remembered for inauguarating fellowship suppers as a means of gathering the congregation for informal ‘breaking of bread’ before prayer meeting hour at intervals throughout the winter; he may be remembered for his wise thoughts on world peace at a time when the world was torn with a Second World War; he may be remembered for inspiring the renovation of our pipe organ rededicated January, 1941; or he may be remembered because he planned our homecoming day and brought the Bishop down to help make it an occasion worthy of the one hundred and sixty-third birthday of a church.
Indeed he is remembered for ALL of these things.
At the time of Dr. Potter's death on August 10, 1975, Dr. Reginald W. Ponder, who officiated at his funeral (and who is presently our District Superintendent of the New Bern District), wrote to the people of St. Luke Church in Sanford and later in the 1976 Journal of the North Carolina Annual Conference Memorials:
William Stanley Potter no longer stands with us, but he has left us a legacy which I would like to mention. First, HE LOVED THE CHURCH. Though he was aware of its flaws, he believed in the Church as the mediating body of God's grace and Jesus’ love. Second, HE LOVED THE PEOPLE. Stanley Potter was a Pastor,
a shepherd of the flock. No minister I have ever known was more attentive to the needs of people than he. Third, HE LOVED HIS FAMILY. Dr. Potter was a family man. His leisure activities revolved around his family. He received strength from them and they from him.
We are grateful to Dr. Potter's wife, Marion Smith Potter, who now resides in Sanford for making the following contribution to our collection.Remembrances Of Beaufort
Marion Smith Potter
When we were in Beaufort, the parsonage was located at 119 Queen Street where the A. T. Bowens now live. Mrs. Myrtle Sutton now owns the house next door which was empty at that time. One night my youngsters announced that someone was moving into that empty house. Of course, Stanley, Jr., and the other children settled themselves in front of the window to watch every movement made by the newcomers. Suddenly someone over there said, “Hello, Stanley.” It was the Sanders family who had been members of our church in Clayton! Margie Windley, Alice Adair, and Kathleen Iversen are members of that family.
In 1939 boats came into the harbour on Saturdays to buy provisions to carry to the smaller villages near by. Stanley was impressed when he saw 20 big fishing boats docked at one time. It meant business! They would buy at least $20 to $80 worth of groceries in one order!
The second snow in 17 years in Beaufort fell in 1940. Ordinarily, however, our parsonage was in the proper Biblical atmosphere. We had pomgranate bushes across the street; tamorisk trees in the yard; and a fig tree next door.
Miss Lottie Sanders taught Stanley, Jr., in Sunday School. One day Miss Lottie asked where Stanley, Jr., got his mischievousness. When I told her that Grandmother Potter said he was his father all over again, Miss Lottie gave a gasp and said, “Well, how did he ever turn out like he is?”
In June 1941, Ann Street celebrated her 163rd anniversary. There is a schedule of the preaching services that week by former ministers in Miss Muse's Story. Each evening after the service, there was a reception that everyone enjoyed. On Sunday Bishop Clare Purcell preached. But on top of all this activity, that evening was the Daily Vacation Bible School commencement!
The following year the Honorable J. Melville Broughton, Governor of North Carolina, gave the Homecoming Day address.
Within two weeks the new pipe organ was dedicated.
The War years were busy ones. I remember one Sunday Stanley held eight services beginning at 8:30 a.m. with a service for the men at Fort Macon and ending with the regular evening worship service. Quite often on early Sunday mornings, Stanley held services as the Dawn Patrol at the Civil Air Patrol base began their day, and he also held services at the prison camp.
During those days, we had to keep provisions packed to take care of us for several days, in case we were notified to evacuate. When depth bombs were dropped off the coast, I remember well that we could feel the effects. Stanley was Home Service Chairman of the Red Cross and was involved in caring for the survivors brought in.
Even though there were sad war days, there were many happy times, too. We bought a home in Beaufort with the money that Stanley gave me that he received as wedding fees. Houses were not so expensive in those days and weddings between service men and their war-time brides were more than normal. The home is the old Allen Davis home on Queen Street, and it holds many precious memories for me.
Someone (I can't remember his name) usually sat on the single pew in the back of the sanctuary, and every time Stanley got up to preach, he would pull out his watch and wind it. Then there was “Miss Polly” who lived with Mrs. Hatsell next door to the parsonage! When Stanley was taking her into the church, Miss Polly thought that he did not get her name correct, so she turned around to the congregation and announced herself.
The Wesleyan Service Guild was organized on January 8, 1945, at the home of Ada, Ethel and Mildred Whitehurst. I remember that I served as their advisor. The officers elected at that meeting were: Virginia Stanton, president; Lucille Ritter, vice-president; Betty Jane Merrill, recording secretary; Marie Campen, corresponding secretary; and Ethel Whitehurst, treasurer.
I also remember that the Alma Potter Circle got its interest aroused by letters I received from a Mt. Holyoke College friend whose husband was a Presbyterian missionary in Barrow, Alaska.
From all reports, your 200th Anniversary Drama, “The Best of All,” written by Ruth Barbour, was a huge success. It would have been fun to have seen “Mrs. Stanley Potter” and her hubby portrayed by Luanne Davis and Royal Windley. I turned actress myself once in Beaufort when the town gave the play, “The Ship That Never Returned” by Mrs. Grayden (M. C.) Paul.
We had planned to retire in Beaufort but our plans were changed when the family scattered. We thought we would be nearer to all of the children at Sanford. I think of Beaufort as home, too, however.
The Reverend W. Stanley Potter on Easter
Stanley and Marion Potter in the Fall of
Sunrise Service 1940
September 1939 - Stanley, Jr., and
Louise on the parsonage porch. 119
Calvin and David Ward Jones with Frank
and Louise Potter.
Ann Street Church has been blessed with great preachers, which certainly includes the Reverend William Christian Martin who came in 1945. The Reverend Leon Hall said, “W. C. had the ability to see what needed to be done, the vision to plan how to do it, and the drive to get the job done.” John Waldrop wrote in the 1967 Journal of the North Carolina Annual Conference that Mr. Martin was “an eloquent orator in the pulpit like several of his contemporaries, but at public prayer he had few equals. . . . He did not move people with flowery phrases. He moved them to action. he was an evangelistic preacher of the old school and people responded in marvelous ways.”
After six years on the Wilmington District, Mr. Martin served Roxboro where his first wife died. His next appointment was Ann Street in Beaufort, and Mr. Martin was married for the second time to Elizabeth Raines of Abbeville, South Carolina. Unfortunately, Mr. Martin became ill while in Beaufort and stayed only two years. He and Mrs. Martin retired in Clayton where he died on February 22, 1967.
As in the case of Marion Potter, we are grateful that Elizabeth Martin has graciously sent the following memoirs of her stay with us.A Letter From Mrs. Elizabeth Raines Martin
My husband, the Reverend W. C. Martin, was in Beaufort in 1945-1947. I taught school there, and we enjoyed it very much. The people were nice to us, and I believe they enjoyed my husband's preaching.
I met a blind lady, “Miss Martha” Jones, whom I loved dearly. I found excuses to visit her often as I couldn't believe she could cook, but found her doing just that. I tried to do things for her.
I enjoyed going home with Patsy Daniels. Her mother, Mrs. Tennie Daniels, could make the best chocolate pies! I used her recipe today.
The best Sunday School teacher that I ever had was Mrs. Vera Stubbs. Each Christmas I write to her and send her a little gift. She and her mother (Mrs. Sarah L. Hill) were my best friends. They lived a short distance from the parsonage.
My husband's health was not good and he wanted to move nearer his folk. We were sent to Clayton, and I am here today.
When my husband passed away in 1967, we had had 21 years of life together. He taught me what real life was by his example.
The Reverend William Christian Martin
Mrs. Elizabeth Raines Martin
Mrs. Vera Stubbs, the person Mrs. Martin remembers as “the best Sunday School teacher
that I ever had.” Here Mrs. Stubbs holds her great granddaughter, Christina Gould.
Theodore and Ormah Jenkins served Ann Street as a team between 1947-52. They now live in retirement in High Point, North Carolina. They remember Beaufort with fondness as you can see.Reminiscing About Our Years At
T. R. Jenkins, D.D.
We enjoyed five wonderful years at Beaufort, serving Ann Street Methodist Church in 1947-52. During those years 235 new members were added to the church roll and 108 babies were baptized. The primary classes of the Sunday School became so crowded that Miss Lottie Sanders went before the official board to explain the problems arising and asked for additional space. A small wooden building was erected in the middle of the 500 block on Ann St., dedicated January 29, 1950 and named the Lottie Sanders Building in honor of “Miss Lottie” for her years of service to the church and especially in the primary department of the Sunday School. This building contained the church's first kitchen facilities and became a popular meeting place for committee and board meetings and Sunday School class parties.
On Sunday morning, July 31, 1949, I had the privilege of announcing that Deagon Organ Chimes were to be installed by the Norton Chimes Equipment Company of Atlanta, the donors being Mr. Henry Hatsell and Mrs. Elizabeth Davis Hatsell. They gave the chimes in memory of their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Allen Davis and Mr. and Mrs. George A. Hatsell. They also gave the hearing aides installed on the back of the pews.
Mr. and Mrs. Allen Davis once owned the house on Queen street that the Stanley Potters bought. Mr. Allen Davis was one of the few who had been a part of the church from Purvis Chapel built in 1820. The Davises’ daughter, Elizabeth Davis Hatsell, served as church organist for many years.
Mr. and Mrs. George Hatsell once lived in the George Read Home on Orange Street. It was the house in which Caleb Bell was converted as George Read prayed for him. Caleb Bell later became the first to enter the Methodist ministry from Beaufort.
We had an excellent Official Board during those years of 1947-52, and some of the outstanding leaders were Harry Saunders, Orville Gaskill, Numa Eure, Graham Duncan, and a number of
others whose names escape me for the moment.
While I am thinking of names, however, I cannot forget Mr. and Mrs. Van Potter. Mr. Potter grew up in Beaufort, and they came back there to retire.Mr. Potter was lovingly thought of as “Mr. Van,” and he taught the class of young adults for years. These young couples loved him — and this is not to mention what he meant to his preacher.
It might be interesting to recall two or three humorous things that happened during our ministry there:
Miss Lottie Sanders was for many years the head of the Primary Department of the Sunday School. One Sunday morning one of the children came in with some flowers, and made the request that Miss Lottie carry them to Jesus. Miss Lottie expressed to the child what a thoughtful thing her request was, but, she said, “I hadn't planned to go right now.”
The puppy we owned at that time soon realized that on Sunday morning the chimes would play and that we would be going to church. This meant that we couldn't let him out on Sunday morning. He would hide, and then about church time, would show up at the church.
One of the most interesting characters in our church was our sexton. He came to Beaufort during the Depression Era, but eventually became Ann Street Church janitor. When we came to Beaufort, he had become an institution at the church. No one could know the love and appreciation he had for the church until he or she had the opportunity of watching him walk down the aisle and place the hymn numbers on the Hymn Board for the morning church service. The sense of pride in that simple duty of his radiated throughout his whole countenance — and, one knew that he considered that to be an honor and privilege — and it was. Everyone knew that “Shorty” was an essential part of the church. No one knew more about what the church owned than “Shorty”, and he kept up with those things.Shorty Is An Institution at Beaufort Church
T. R. Jenkins
Pastor of Anne Street Methodist Church
(As appeared in the N.C. Christian Advocate)
Elmer Edwin DeCamp is his real name, but all of us here know him as “Shorty.” I suppose not over fifty people in the whole church know his real name. They don't need to know it. He is affectionately known as “Shorty,” and “Shorty” he is to young and old alike. He meets the qualifications for his nickname well because in height he is hardly more than five feet, and weighs in round numbers right around a hundred pounds.
We do not know too much about his background. He tells us, however, that his father's name was Edwin Ruben DeCamp, and his mother's, Sarah Jane Newman DeCamp. To this union, “Shorty” was born November 22, 1866, at Stanford. Conn. According to his version—and there is no reason to doubt what he says—he has traveled extensively north, south, east and west. He remembers when New York City was a comparatively small town, and can tell you about how as a boy he used to play along portions of Fifth Avenue which were not then within the city limits. He has come in contact with, and known intimately, some of the world's great. He takes pride in this fact, and it is well that he should. He acted as one of the pall bearers at Fanny Crosby's funeral. He was particularly fond of this great hymn writer, and any time one of her hymns is sung in our services he joins in with great gusto.Came to Beaufort in 1933
“Shorty” came to Beaufort in 1933 with a WPA crew. For some years previously he had lived in Norfolk, Va., having been associated with the shipping industry. He had not been in Beaufort very long before he joined the staff of Ann Street Methodist Church as sexton. He has been ever since, a vital part of the institutional life of the church. In fact, he is an institution within himself. There never has been before, and, I suppose, never will be again, another “Shorty.”
“Shorty” has made of his job a position. He is a full-time sexton. When I say “full-time”, I mean not only his status in relation to the amount of time he spends in the fulfillment of his responsibilities. The church is his life. Yes, the church—Ann Street Methodist Church — just about consumes all of his time and thought. In winter on Sunday mornings, he is at the church at three o'clock. Winter and summer, his janitorial duties consume the major portion of his time. Not a meeting, funeral or wedding does he miss.
Of course, “Shorty” fusses about many things—and well does he have a right to do so. By his own admission. “We never tell him anything.” We expect him to be a mind-reader and to know about our meetings, even if we don't think to tell him. Not a hymnal is removed from its rack in the church without his knowing it sooner or later, and woe be to the offender once he is apprehended. The children—“What's the matter with ’em; they didn't do that way when I was growing up.” That's his comment about them; but all of them love him nevertheless. He doesn't mean half he says in a derogatory way, the way he says it—he's got to talk, and talk he does. He loves every inch of our historical old church, and everybody who is connected with it. “Shorty” and Ann Street Methodist Church belong to each other, and each would be the poorer without the other.At His Magnificent Best
If one would see “Shorty” at his magnificent best, though; it would of necessity have to be on Sunday morning. He rises above his five-foot stature when, upon receiving the day's church bulletins from the hands of his minister, he makes his way to the hymn number-board at the front in the sanctuary, arranging his spectacles in proper fashion on his nose: for, however menial a task it may seem to others, “Shorty” knows he is performing an important chore. The confident and steady stride with which he approaches the chancel, the important bearing characterizes his very moment as he places the hymn numbers in position, would indicate to all observers that this is no ordinary took in which he is engaged And it isn't
Because of his age, “Shorty” is unable to work as he once could. He will be 85 next November. But he sees that the things are done. For, to him, being a sexton of Ann Street Methodist Church, Beaufort, is not just a job, it is a position; it is not just a series of responsibilities to assume and duties to perform, it is his very life.
In front of the parsonage at 119 Queen
Street, 1947-1952. . .
Theodore with 15-year-old Jeanne in
. . .and today.
Jeanne today with her husband, Bob
Boswell, on their 20th wedding anniversary.
At the time this book is being put together, word has been received that Martha Cotton Critcher is seriously ill. We are doubly grateful, therefore, to the Reverend B. D. Critcher for having taken his precious time from her in Raleigh to write us a note.
I might add a word here that many Beaufort residents remember Mr. Critcher as the “best preacher” ever sent to Ann Street Church. The Critcher's daughter, Cotty, came back to Ann Street later to work as Director of Chritian Education.
The Reverend and Mrs. B. D. Critcher
(Duke and Martha Cotton)
The one year that I served Ann Street Church in Beaufort was a very pleasant one. The people were gracious and cooperative.
There were two tragic deaths that year — Miss Lillian M. Duncan and Elizabeth Bell, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F. R. Bell.
The secretary and I revised the roll. In fact, I believe we made a new roll.
It was the year of the United Evangelistic Mission, a simultaneous revival and visitation evangelism in the Southeastern Jurisdiction. We had a preacher from South Carolina to help us. I was assigned to the Greenville District in South Carolina and brought the morning devotions to the entire group in one of the Methodist Churches in Greenville.
We received sixty new members into the church at Ann Street in 1952-1953!
Miss Lillian Duncan, who will be remem-
bered for the many years she played the
During the years 1953-1957, when the Reverend J. D. Young was pastor, Cotty Critcher Potter became Director of Christian Education. We gladly hear now from Cotty who lives in Roanoke Rapids.Sharing In Ann Street History
Thank you for asking me to share in the history of Ann Street United Methodist Church. Some of my fondest memories are interwoven in the life of this historic church and town. Being the first Director of Christian Education was not an easy task and yet I feel that it was one of the highlights of my Christian experience, for it entailed a great deal of courage, growth and prayer.
There were several events that highlighted the three years I served
Ann Street. First was the gigantic task of staffing a tripled educational program and furnishing a completely new and modern building, but the people of Ann Steet came through with flying colors and not only was the building completely furnished and staffed, but there was a substitute teacher for every class. This was truly a lesson in faith.
The second event that stands out in my memory is the Christmas program that first year. The entire Church School from Kindergarten up participated in a simple presentation of the Christmas story, ending with a White Christmas for needy families and candle lighting.
A laboratory school for the Kindergarten Department and a Saturday night recreation program for the youth are two other events that stand out in my memory.
I pray God's richest blessings upon this church that I have served and loved so dearly.
The Reverend J. D. (“Doc”) Young came to Beaufort in 1953. He and his wife, Rubye, now live in retirement in Durham, North Carolina. They had many happy memories of Beaufort as they tell their story.Our Life in Beaufort
J. D. Young
Being appointed to Ann Street Church in Beaufort was an entirely new experience for someone who grew up in Arkansas and his wife in Tennessee. We had thought living on the coast would be like a year round vacation. Even though the climate was delightful most of the time, we soon realized it wasn't always bright, sunny skies and balmy ocean breezes. “Hazel” struck Beaufort with devastating blows that first October of my pastorate. The natives seemed to take it in stride but to new-comers it was an unforgetable experience. During my stay of four years, we encountered three other hurricanes. I'll never forget trying to locate two TV antennas that were blown away during these storms. Of course, only pieces were ever found.
I'm sure any minister would want to leave a church feeling he had accomplished something that was worthwhile and lasting. I'm proud that the Eure Education Building was undertaken during my pastorate. On February 14, 1955, the Church Loyalty Dinner brought together almost 400 members of the church to discuss plans for the drive to raise money for a new education building. Wiley Lewis was appointed chairman of the solicitation committee. N.F. Eure chairman of the monitoring committee, and Gerald Hill chairman of the stewardship committee.
Climaxing two weeks of preparation and one week of solicitation, 55 men of the church attempted to call on every church family, the canvassers reported a total of $164,820 pledged — the pledges to be paid in three years.
The contract for the new building was let on June 19, 1956; and the Ground Breaking Service was held June 24, with Mrs. N. F. Eure, widow of the late Mr. Eure (Mr. Eure died May 23, 1955) turning the first spade of earth. Taking part in the ceremony were: Braxton Adair, chairman of the official board; E. W. Downum,
church school superintendent; Leslie Moore, superintendent of the church school at the time the building fund was started; and Lance Smith, chairman of the commission on education.
The education building was named for the late N. F. Eure who was a faithful and outstanding leader in the church and community for 40 years and served as superintendent of the church school for 20 years. He was the son of the late Reverend H. M. Eure who was pastor of Ann Street Church 1903-1906.
The building was completed my last year at Ann Street and Open House was held the last Sunday before Conference. Much of the credit goes to the diligent and faithful leadership of the building committee composed of William Potter, chairman; Leslie Moore, Braxton Adair, Mrs. Ann Neal (Brown), and Mrs. Virginia Potter.
Several things happened to the church during my stay: We were ushered into a new parsonage at 109 Chestnut Street the first Sunday we arrived in Beaufort. A Director of Christian Education (Cotty Potter) was added to the church staff. A parttime church secretary was employed and the Methodist Men's Club was organized. Last but not least the unique and memorable “Shorty,” the janitor, died. I'm sure there has never been another janitor quite like that little man.
Since it has been more than twenty years that we lived in Beaufort, it is hard to recall the many things that probably I should remember and would like to, but there are a few things that seem to be unforgetable, such as — the dining each Sunday at the Inlet Inn as the guests of Mrs. Anna Pierson. How we enjoyed that delicious food! Our first experience of an “Oyster Roast” was at the home of the Piggie Potters, and for our first “Clam Bake we were quests of the Robert Safrits. I remember the picture of “Miss Sunie” Bell driving down Front and Ann Streets in that antique coupe of hers — also how upset she was when the big clock in the sanctuary was removed. I recall the congregation bringing insect repellent at the night services to overpower the mosquitos. (This was prior to the town's spraying for the pests.) We well remember Myrtle Duncan Sutton's taking us to the Community Concerts to hear the Canadian pianist, Ray Dudley, whom our daughter later married. The Easter Sunrise Service in the church cemetery was always a moving experience as well as the many outstanding musical programs that the choir presented during our years. Virginia Hassell became choir director and organist when Ruth Butler had to give it up because of arthritis. Ruth had been a wonderful organist.
The devotion and loyalty of the members of Ann Street made it a privilege and pleasure to serve them and be a part of its progress. My sincere wish for this historic church is that the Christian spirit will continue to lead on to greater victories for the Master.
“Doc Young in his study at Ann Street — 1954-1956.
Rubye and Doc Young on the front steps of the new parsonage at 109 Chestnut Street. Also in the picture are their daughter, Edna Frances, and Rubye's mother.
A group of Sunday School friends in 1955 gather for a party: 1st row, l to r, Clara Safrit Cunnings, Bonnie Ward Hamm, (two unidentified girls), and Anita Windley Hardesty. 2nd row: Donna Sabiston, Bertie Eubanks Nealy, Elizabeth Potter Olsen, and Jennifer Tarkenton.
Ruth Butler who is loved and appreciated for
her long years as organist.
Barbara Harris Davis
During the years that Ruth Butler was organist, her arthritis gave her a great deal of trouble. However, she had the very help she needed in Barbara Harris, who later married Robert M. Davis. Barbara was in her junior and senior rears in high school but did a tremendous job at the organ. Later Barbara studied music abroad and now teaches music in Hampton, Virginia. She and Bob and their three daughters have restored an old Victorian home in Yorktown, Virginia, where they live.
Jim and Ruby Wheatley today. Jim directed the choir
for 12 years, when Ruth Butler was organist.
No one is loved more than John and Alice Cline. Now serving as District Superintendent of the Rocky Mount District, let's give John himself an opportunity to speak for Ann Street.The Clines’ Move to Beaufort
John M. Cline
When the Clines moved to Beaufort in July, 1957 our family consisted of John and Alice, Linda (2 years) and Johnny (5 weeks). We found that many things made Beaufort “Delightfully Different.” Residents of Ann Street sat on their porches to visit with neighbors; Santa Claus came to town on a boat to thrill the children; at nightfall in the autumn menhadden boats stretched out from the inlet across the ocean like a parade of Christmas trees as far as eye could see; menhadden roe was available without charge to any who would climb aboard the loaded boats to break open the fish.
The first Sunday preached at Ann Street was the Sunday following the reading of the appointments at the 1957 Annual Conference in session at Centenary Church in New Bern. This was the Sunday following the moving into the Eure Building. The building was beautiful but not yet completely finished by the workers.
The Ladies Bible Class met in the Ladies Parlor at the Eure Building but soon word came to me that they were not happy to meet in the new building. They voted to move back to their classroom in the old building. Albert Gaskill was their teacher.
The men of Jule Duncan's class moved rather quickly out of the multipurpose room to take squatter's rights in the ladies parlor and continued to meet there for the remainder of my pastorate at Ann Street.
Soon I was approached by Mrs. Provost Quidley about the need for a Sunday School class for middle adults who were not then attending any class. She and I approached Robert Safrit about taking this class. To our delight he accepted and that class, meeting in the multipurpose room, grew to be one of the largest and most influential classes of the church school.
In the Spring of 1958 we began to make plans for revival services. Stanley Potter, Jr., was Chairman of the Commission on Evangelism. Disclaiming any expertise in this area, he was eager to
do anything we requested to prepare for the revival. I requested the opportunity to preach and challenged the Commission, the Official Board, and the Church: “I'll fill the pulpit, if you will fill the pews.” And they did just that. Stanley Potter strung a banner across Ann Street proclaiming the dates of the revival. Neighborhood prayer services were held in preparation for the revival. A 24 hour prayer virgil was held at the altar of the church throughout Saturday, Saturday night and Sunday morning.
The revival was exciting and a great manifestation of God's presence and power. On Wednesday night the invitation to an unconditional relationship with Christ met with a moving response; the altar filled as others waited to find a place to kneel. This type of service and altar experience were repeated on Thursday and Friday nights, and God's blessings fell richly upon our church membership.
One of the most meaningful services at Ann Street was the Sunday evening service. Attendance was about one hundred and a large percentage were young people of public school age. The youth choir, under the leadership of Mrs. Lela Willis, sang. Other youth, not in the choir, ushered, took up the offering, and added to the congregation. Each service included, prior to the sermon, a prayer time at the altar. The lights were dimmed during the prayer, the organ was played softly, and that sacred experience at the altar was one strong cause for the vital and well-attended evening service.
The staff of the church at that time was: Director of Christian Education, Mrs. Stanley Potter, Jr.; Church Secretary, Mrs. Homer Lewis; Director of Adult Choir, Mrs. Charles Hassell; Director of Youth Choir, Mrs. Lela Willis; Janitor, Mr. W. J. Michael. (Later Frank and Frances Knight were hired to do the janitorial work of the church.)
Within a few weeks after moving to Beaufort I announced that I would be keeping regular hours at the church each morning. A committee was appointed to provide a study for the pastor across the hall from the church secretary's office. The study was well-planned and beautifully decorated and was another step in the growth and progress of the church.
Soon in the first year we began to publish each week a church paper called “Ann Street Chimes”. This added to the work of our secretary, Mrs. Lewis, but it was an opportunity to reach each member of the church each week with a message and important announcements.
The New Bern District Conference was held at Ann Street in 1959. The custom at that time was for the Conference to be held on a week-day morning and afternoon with the noon meal provided by the host church. Those attending the Conference paid for the meal which was provided by the host church. As we made preparation for the District Conference, the ladies under the
leadership of Mrs. Eulalie Potter and Mrs. Elva Safrit felt that they wanted to feed the District Conference without charge. This they did in the grand style and hospitality that was typical of the ladies of Beaufort. It was a great day and was the 100th anniversary year of the time when Ann Street, Beaufort, was host to the meeting of the North Carolina Annual Conference.
Ocracoke was then in the New Bern District. I remember that a Mr. Wahab was delegate to this District Conference from Ocracoke. He called me and said that he would have to take the mail boat the day before and would need to spend the night in Beaufort. The David Beveridges, who were friends to all the people at Ocracoke, were his hosts for the night.
A part of our memories at Beaufort have to do with hurricanes Helene and Donna. Helene began to move in upon us on Sunday and fell upon us with full force Sunday night. Most of us were so busy on Sunday that we had not had time to hear the radio and the hurricane news. This included Frances Bell, who had just returned from being a member of our North Carolina Work Team and Caravan to Europe. The evening service was set aside for her report on her trip and the showing on her slides. She was not aware that a hurricane was moving in as she made her report and showed her slides. However, a nervous few of us had great difficulty in not interrupting the program to get everyone home safely. Our anxiety was not necessary as everyone made it home without mishap. Helene did much damage to the Front Street business area but very little to our church property.
Hurricane Donna came a later year and did more damage to Beaufort and destroyed the causeway between Beaufort and Morehead City. The greatest damage was on Saturday afternoon and night. I had a wedding for Ray Willis and Mary Lou Owens scheduled for Saturday afternoon. A couple of hours before the wedding I received a phone call from Mrs. Frances Knight. She lived across the street from the church and could see from her window that one of the stained glass windows had blown out of the church. I drove cautiously to the church, and Frances met me there. The window had blown in upon the pews. I was able to hold it back in place sufficiently for her to nail it. (Later our insurance company helped us repair that and some other damage.)
The storm raged on. I was soaking wet and tried to dry my clothes by a gas heater in the study. There was no electricity, and the organ could not be used for the wedding. My pulpit robe, which I kept at the church, was dry and hid my wet clothes. As the wind moaned and the building creaked, Mrs. Virginia Hassell played the wedding march on the piano which then sat in the area we called the Sunday School room. During the counseling sessions the bride said that she wanted a large crowd at her wedding. There were six or eight people present; under the circumstances that seemed to me to be quite a large crowd.
The church was not air conditioned. At the morning services the windows were pushed out to let in that pleasant Beaufort breeze, and we fared well. The evening situation was different. The temperature was not a problem, but with the falling of dark, the turning on of the lights, the opening of the windows was a cordial invitation to the mosquitoes to move in from the cemetery, which they did without any reluctance. These were not days of shouting and hand clapping at church services, but the smacking of hands was not an unusual sound as worshippers defended themselves against the mosquitoes. Some Sunday nights I went home from church, filled the bath tub with cool water and cooled my ankles from the fire kindled by the swarm of mosquitoes that found it easy to bite through my thin socks above my shoe tops.
In July of 1960 Beaufort celebrated her 251st Anniversary. Ann Street Church members were very active in this celebration, as they were in all civic undertakings such as the Christmas parade and the pirate invasion. Among the many activities of the 1960 celebration was a musical drama written and directed by Mrs. Grayden Paul that included many of the residents and friends of Beaufort. This play was presented in the Beaufort School auditorium. Ann Street, as usual, had her large contingent of participants, including myself. I played the part of Rev. J.M. Boatright, Methodist minister and circuit rider.
An Easter sunrise service was begun at Fort Macon in 1961. The responsibility for the ritual fell to me. With help from Dr. H.E. Spence of Duke University we worked out a sunrise service very similar to one used at Duke University. We had the Morehead City High School Band and a chorus made up of church choirs throughout the county. The service was an amazing success. Quite a traffic jam occurred on the road leading to Fort Macon.
Those were happy days for the Clines. The church responded with love and cooperation. The membership grew from 776 to 835. There was always an eagerness on the part of the people to be “the best” and “the most”. If all my memories were put on paper they would fill space that rightfully belongs to other pastors whose hearts were gladdened by the people of Ann Street Church and Beaufort.
John and Alice Cline today with Johnny and Linda.
A typical picture taken in 1961 that could have been made any year, with any preacher. David and Gerry Beveridge were always perfect hosts for their parsonage family. Pictured here with Cap't Dave are Mrs. Grace Eure (back to camera); Alice Cline with Johnny; John Cline between “Miss Sunie” Bell and Linda Cline. In the rear is Miss Martha Jones.
The Rev. John Cline speaking to churchgoers. Those seen in the picture from l to r: Willie Guthrie, Miss Mat Duncan, Laura Gibbs, Mildred Leister with daughters, Carol and Janet; Ruth Gibbs; Louise, Ralph and Buddy Thomas; and Mrs. Emma Webb.
A true Kitchen Crew: l to r: Mrs. Lucretia Johnson, Mrs. Eunice Lewis, Mrs. Margaret Windley, and Mrs. Julia Arrington.
The teacher of this Church School Class during the pastorate of John Cline is Mrs. Jackie Lewis. The children, from l to r are: Randy Feagle, Keith Lewis, Bill Chappell, Dianne Hill, Sammy Gibbs, Tommy Knox, Johnny Cline (with his thumb in his mouth), Joey Mason, Addie Yopp Cantrell, Royal Windley, and Wade Windley. Back to camera, Billy Manning.
Double Blessing — Two Ordained Ministers
Ralph Leister (who for years served secretly as “unofficial maintenance man”) passes the offering plate to: Front row, l to r, Mary Privette, Mrs. Sunie Bell, and Braxton Adair; Back row, Margaret Windley, Clara Quidley Inscoe and a friend of Clara's.
Not often does a church receive two ministers in one family — especially in the years 1961-1965. Ann Street Church considered herself quite fortunate to receive Dwight and Frances Fouts — both ordained Methodist ministers — for the price of one! The Fouts now live in retirement (although it doesn't sound like retirement to me) in Lexington.
Here's their story.Ann Street United Methodist Church
Dwight L. Fouts
In June 1961 I became the minister of Ann Street Church, most of whose members were dedicated, faithful, loyal, and actively engaged in the service of Christ and the church.
About six years prior to my arriving, the Eure Education Building was erected at a cost of over $200,000, including furnishings. Having paid the balance due of $10,000 after my arrival, the building was dedicated on February 4, 1962, by Bishop Paul N. Garber. Assisting in the service of dedication were Dr. A. Jarvis Hobbs, District Superintendent of the New Bern District and the Reverend John M. Cline, a former pastor.
A community-wide census sponsored by the Methodist Men was taken in October 1961. The census taken in 1050 homes revealed 171 prospective members for Ann Street Church. A visitation follow-up was organized and carried out, the visitors going in pairs.
During the four years, 1961-65, 144 members were added to the church membership roll. After allowing for deaths and transfers, the membership rose from 835 to 905.
Miss Kay Hinson was employed as education assistant for the summer of 1961 and Miss Wanda Ballard for the summers of 1962-63-64.
A number of children from the Methodist Home for Children in Raleigh were placed in the homes of the congregation during summer and Christmas holidays.
Nancy Huntley and Jeffrey Salter were selected by the North Carolina Methodist Conference as two of eight young people to go on a European Caravan for ten weeks in the summer of 1964. Nancy and Jeffrey made interesting reports to the congregation when they returned.
A new heating system for the sanctuary, including air conditioning, was installed in 1962 at a cost of $15,000.
In October 1961 a contract was let for $16,478 to the Swartz Organ Company for a new pipe organ. The Wesleyan Service Guild contributed $12,021.70 of this money. Consecration services planned and carried out by Mrs. Charles Hassell, included an organ recital on October 4 by Mr. Louis A. Potter, F.A.G.O.; vesper service and love feast on October 5; and festival choir and organ concert on October 6. The service on October 6 drew an overflowing congregation, 550 seated and standing, and an estimated 100 outside the sanctuary. The combined choir was composed of Ann Street adult choir and other choirs of Beaufort and Carteret County.
The Windley property, 132 Craven Street, was purchased in the Spring of 1965, and the Reverend John H. White was employed as full-time Minister of Education in May 1965.
During these four years Ann Street Church made much progress in emphasizing and carrying out the total program of the United Methodist Church. Many individuals and groups spent much time and effort in serving Christ and the church.
Among the many persons deserving special mention, no one was more deserving than Mrs. Nell Lewis, office secretary and treasurer. She was quite devoted to Christ and the church. She was efficient, versatile, loyal, and self-sacrificing. She always responded willingly when called upon to do many things. She was a great help to the minister and the church, especially as editor of the Chimes.
The church went all out on a gala party for us shortly before we left. It was a combination retirement and going-away dinner party. Everything was planned for fun and entertainment. Mrs. Charles (Virginia) Hassell as hostess, kept everything moving. We were presented a dining table for our new home out in the rolling hills, near Lexington, North Carolina. We also received a solid cherry bedroom suite and a chair for the dining table. The party and the days that followed made us feel welcomed to go back to Beaufort for visits. That we have done a number of times with much enjoyment.
The Reverend Dwight L. Fouts. . .
. . .and Frances
Typical of the many weddings performed in the Ann Street Church by the Reverend James Miller (whose memoirs follow) is this one of Suzanne Guthrie and Charles Gerald Letchworth. Suzanne's paternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. C.C. Guthrie, were married at this altar in 1900.
The Reverend James H. Miller, Jr., is now serving as the Program Director of the North Carolina Annual Conference and is living in Raleigh. But once upon a time he lived among us in Beaufort. Read what Jimmy has to say.The Millers At Ann Street Church — Beaufort -
James H. Miller, Jr.
We moved to Beaufort in June 1965 from St. Luke Church in Goldsboro. I remember the day on which our moving van pulled into the yard and our car was unloaded. The yard was filled with the neighborhood children who were just hoping that the new pastor would have some children, and we did. Susan was to enter the third grade at the time we moved to Beaufort and Patsy was ready to enter the second grade. They went to Beaufort Elementary School, which was nearby, within walking distance of the parsonage.
I was pleased to find that the chairman of the official board at the time we moved to Beaufort was Holden Ballou, who had been a high school classmate of mine in Morehead City.
I said many times that my moving to Beaufort was like throwing Brer Rabbit into the briarpatch, because I had spent all of my teenage years in Morehead City and had come to love the coast and its people, so Beaufort was a “natural” for me. We could not have lived in a better place during the childhood years of our girls. The neighborhood was filled with a lot of children. It was a deadend street and, therefore, was a safe place for them to play at all times.
On Labor Day Sunday, 1965, a special service was held in which people were invited to come to church wearing their work clothes, and they did - nurses uniforms, overalls, filling station uniforms and caps, etc. These were the dress for the day, and we had an excellent attendance and a fine service.
In 1965, there were morning and evening services held in the church. We began a “church night” with the Commissions and Official
Board meeting on the same night. The church bell was repaired and reinstalled in the steeple ready to be used each Sunday to invite people to Sunday school and worship.
One of the most amazing things about Ann Street Church in 1965 was that in a congregation of over some 800 members, there were 56 college students.
In 1966, we began Sunday evening fellowship, which was a family oriented worship and study and recreation occasion.
I remember what good cooks members of the Methodist Men Organization were. They prepared most of their own meals. I especially remember the good charcoaled mullet and clam chowder. I also remember the Robert Safrit Christmas parties and Harkless Wooten's baked scallop dish. I also remember the fine picnics that we shared together on Heritage Day.
It was a tradition during the years that I was in Beaufort to have Holy Week services in the chapel of the Eure Building in the early morning. These services were well attended and very meaningful.
New Methodist Hymnals were bought for the sanctuary.
When I moved to Beaufort, I discovered that the church was to have a Minister of Education for the first time. At the same time, only $20,000 of a $50,000 annual budget had been underwritten by pledges. We struggled financially all that first year, but it was not difficult to convince people of the need for an every member canvass program in the spring of 1966. We had a very successful one under the leadership of Tom Eure. From that time on, we had no real financial struggles like we did the first year.
Homecoming had been held from time to time in past years. However, in 1966 it became an annual affair called Heritage Sunday.
We had our first Heritage Day celebration in June, 1966, timed on the last Sunday in June to coincide with the Old Homes Tour. In preparation for this first Heritage Day, we asked people to look around and find items of historical interest to the church and congregation. The first communion table used in the church turned up and was purchased and placed in a museum area of the church. Also, an old flagon and chalice used for communion services many years ago was returned to the church. Sacrament tickets, pictures, old Sunday school cards, etc. began showing up at the church as we prepared for this first historical celebration.
Miss Amy Muse, who had written a very fine history of Ann Street Church was the speaker for Heritage Day in June, 1966.
Susan Miller organized a Children's Choir in 1966 with Ruth Butler as accompanist. The Children's Choir had 47 members in 1966 and increased to over 60 by 1967. They sang for the first time in the Thanksgiving service in 1966. (Three-hundred forty-five people were in Church that Sunday morning.) They had choir
robes made by persons in the church, which matched those worn by the adult choir. That same year they put on a Christmas pageant, “A Christmas Story”, by Robert and Jeanna Graham.
A brass altar set was given to the church by the Robert Safrit class honoring their teacher, Robert Safrit, Jr., on Christmas 1966.
During my years in Beaufort, we began using acolytes. The WSCS contributed paraments to the church in 1967. These were sewn by Bellzora Chadwick, who was then President of the WSCS. Bellzora and the WSCS were also responsible for raising money to furnish the church parlor in the Eure Building. Jule Arrington built two oak flower stands for the sanctuary and also an oak display table for historical materials.
Sunday, June 30, 1968, was a time for celebrating the 190th anniversary of Ann Street Church.
During my years in Beaufort, there were several student educational assistants. Joe Mann worked two summers; Patricia Potter, one summer; Lynn Moore, one summer; and Julie Ballou, one summer. Virginia Hassell, who, for a number of years had been an outstanding organist and choir director at Ann Street Church, resigned in the early part of 1968. On February 4, 1968, the church observed Virginia Hassell Sunday as a tribute to her and gave her the old organ bench which had been refinished by Jule Arrington. Mrs. Jackie Watkins served as organist and choir director for a short period of time, then Gregg Bell from Morehead City served as organist and choir director during the summer of 1967, and continued to serve as permanent organist following that time. Greg instituted the candlelight carol service the Christmas of 1968. This became an annual tradition for the church, one which saw the sanctuary filled to capacity and beauty (which cannot be described) with the pointsettias and candles that decorated the church, providing an appropriate setting for the beautiful Christmas music the congregation came to expect from Greg and the choir.
One of the things that I remember about the Ann Street congregation is how well they sang. On the first Sunday that I preached there, I remember the enthusiasm of the choir and how well the congregation sang the hymns. Very few people stood and held the hymnals without joining in the congregational singing. This was a thrilling and inspiring thing to me as a minister.
During my years in Beaufort, I served as President of the Ministerial Association. One of the projects that I started was the Volunteer Hospital Chaplaincy Program at Carteret General Hospital. This was a very meaningful program, in which local ministers served one week at a time as volunteer chaplain at the hospital. They received training for this ministry, which not only provided visitation for all the patients in the hospital, but was a means for notifying the patients’ pastors that they were patients in
There were several interesting happenings in the Methodist Church during my five years in Beaufort. In 1968, The Evangelical United Brethren denomination and the Methodist Church merged and became the United Methodist Church. There was a restructuring of the church, so that we began to have an Administrative Board and Council on Ministries structure. The WSCS became United Methodist Women. District Superintendents during this time were The Reverend Grady Dawson and The Reverend Charles Mercer.
During these years the church moved from a mimeograph machine to an offset press,which greatly improved our capacity for printing. We could do our own letterheads, bulletin backs and newsletters, as well as doing the inside of the church bulletin. Three persons served as church secretary during my years in Beaufort, Nell Lewis, Alice Windley, and Susan Miller.
Both our daughters were confirmed as members of the church during our years in Beaufort. Susan joined on Palm Sunday 1968, and Patsy was confirmed on Palm Sunday 1969. I am sure that Ann Street Church is one of the few churches that could have members go out into the woods to find palmetto palms for decoration on Palm Sunday. On both occasions when Susan and Patsy joined the church, my father, The Reverend J. Herbert Miller, participated in their confirmation.
I remember the Easter egg hunts which were sponsored by the Martha Jones Circle. I remember the first Chrismon tree in 1968 and the Sunday in February of 1968, when there was snow in Beaufort, an unusual occurrence, and only 100 people in church. There was no organist and we had to sing without the organ. I remember the Sunday just after Hurricane Gladys by passed our coast. Many of the members were wielding mops, because of the torrential rains that had accompanied Gladys, and they were mopping up water in their homes caused by wind and rain. I remember also a special service held on August 31, 1968, which emphasized folk hymns in the Methodist Hymnal and featured music by guitar, drums, clapping, etc. It was lively service, and people seemed to enjoy participating. At the close of the service, one member greeted me at the door with these words, “I want you to be sure to let me know when you have another service like this, so I can stay home”.
I remember the Methodist Men Organization for the continual building projects. They built a robe cabinet for the children's choir, and renovated a room for the choir on the second floor of the church building. On the 50th anniversary of Purvis Chaped Church, our congregation shared with theirs in a service of worship, in which I preached and the choir from our church sang.
I remember the night when I was doing some work in the study
and had to call the police to accompany me to the parking place of my automobile. The reason for this was that a number of winos stayed in the old Loftin Motor Company Building just across the street from the study and when I started to make my way across to the car that night, I could see these figures coming out of the shadows toward me. I beat a hasty retreat to the study, locked the door, and called the police.
During the five years that I was in Beaufort, I had 105 funerals.
Shortly after I moved to Beaufort, Branch Bank opened a new building and assigned Bill Branch as its manager. The interesting thing was that Bill Branch and I bore a striking resemblance to one another. In fact, Miss Matt Duncan could not tell us apart. She would often see both of us as we left the Post Office in the morning, and she would always ask on greeting us, “Am I speaking to the Preacher or the Banker?” One year, Bill Branch did the narration of the Christmas program in the church, while I sang in the choir. This was confusing to people and they wondered which of these was the Banker and which was the Preacher.
I remember a very beautiful party that was given to the children's choir one year in which Margie Windley dressed dolls in robes just like those which the children wore and had outstanding refreshments. I remember the afternoon when I was talking on the telephone and lightning struck the steeple of the church, peeling off shingles like scaling fish and knocking the decorative spire from the top of the steeple to the ground. We had the shingles replaced and replaced the decorative spire with a metal cross to which was attached a lightning rod. During the early years in Beaufort, the church purchased a fine new studio piano for the choir room, and it was purchased by persons contributing money equal to the cost of one key on the keyboard.
One summer, a man visited Ann Street Church, who said that his name was Otway Burns. He came from South Carolina. He was a descendant of Otway Burns, the Privateer, who is buried in the Old Burying Ground behind Ann Street Church under the cannon from his ship. “The Snapdragon”. By the way, Susan and Patsy were photographed in front of Otway Burns’ grave for one of the Beaufort Historical Association's brochures.
In June, 1970, the North Carolina Annual Conference moved the Millers to New Bern, where I became the pastor of the Centenary United Methodist Church. Nell Lewis told me when I moved to Beaufort that I would have every experience that a minister could have while I was there. I think Nell was right, but I also want to say that every experience I had in Beaufort was an enjoyable and meaningful one. We look back upon all our years there as very happy ones, and we always look forward to an opportunity to return and renew acquaintances.
Thelma Ward holds her grandson, Ward Tobin, as Mr. Miller looks lovingly at the baby.
The minister's wife, Susan Miller, poses with Miss Emily Loftin and, l to r, Charles Edwards, Chris Bowen, Virginia Moore, and Frederick Moore. This was the first year the church people began to dress in Colonial costumes for Heritage Day.
Jimmy Miller was the minister when acolytes were first used. However, this acolyte was serving Ann Street Church on Easter 1976. It happens to be the same one pictured on left — Ward Tobin.
Gibbs Sisters, taken one Sunday in 1966: l to r, Mrs. Ethel Dudley, Mrs. Hugh Piner, Miss Ruth Gibbs, Miss Laura Gibbs, and Miss Annie Mae Gibbs.
Virginia Moore (Jr.) sits between the “preacher's kids” —
Susan Miller, (Jr.) and Patsy Miller.
Nostalgia gets to everyone once in awhile. When the bug bites to return to Beaufort though, one might as well give in. It seems that the folk at Ann Street Church have a unique way of accepting their ministers, and invariably these ministers long to return.
Even though the Stanley Potters bought a home on Queen Street and returned often to visit, they never really returned to live permanently. However, in June 1977 Robert and Lou Nicks moved into their retirement home at 110 Gordon Street to live until death do them part.
The following year (January 1, 1978) Sadie Downum, the widow of the Reverend Edgar W. Downum, who had lived in retirement in Beaufort for many years, died leaving one other minister's widow living in Beaufort. This is Mrs. Raymond (Ethel) Bolles, whose husband served as a Supply Pastor of Sneads Ferry.
Another outstanding Methodist minister and his wife are retired in Beaufort — the Reverend and Mrs. A. DeLeon Gray. Leon never served Ann Street but the pull to return to Carteret County came from Saralee who was born in Atlantic and reared in Beaufort. Leon was for 27 years superintendent of the Oxford Orphanage and in 1972 was Potentate of the Sudan Temple.
Dr. and Mrs. R. Grady Dawson do not live within the town of Beaufort but across the bridge on Evans Street in Morehead. Dr. Dawson served as District Superintendent of the New Bern District, and Mrs. Dawson was formerly Elizabeth Howland, daughter of William Franklin Howland, who grew up in Beaufort.
The highlights of the years 1970-1975 are given to us by Bob Nicks.Highlights
Robert L. Nicks
Adventuresome excitement filled the air that March day in 1970 when my district superintendent shared the “moving list” with me. There were about six possible places I could be sent. Living in the central part of North Carolina had suited Lou and me, particularly since we were only twelve miles from my 95-year-old mother and about eighty miles from Lou's mother.
“I'm a traveling Methodist preacher,” I said to the D.S., “and I will go where I'm sent, as I promised when I joined the conference.
However, I do hope it will not be Beaufort. We have nothing against the place. It's just so far from home, and our mothers are beginning to need us more.”
Little did we realize what an unrealistic statement that was! We should have known that home is where the heart is. And we transferred our hearts to Beaufort to stay.
During our five fruitful years of service (1970-75), unbelievable things happened to us and to our people. Two consecutive years we had Christmas Open House at the parsonage, but they were held in two different places. Our guests waded through a swampy yard on Chestnut Street the first year to wiggle in and out among the small rooms of the old parsonage. The next year on Sycamore Drive the church and towns people lingered by the singing bird in the Christmas tree in the formal living room, had goodies in the spacious dining room, meandered through the beautiful country kitchen, and warmed by the fireplace in the roomy den.
The beautiful white curtains with hand-crocheted fringe hanging in the kitchen and bathrooms had been made and donated by the Whitehurst sisters. Many other small items had been paid for by a secret donor who handed Lou an envelope containing one hundred dollars with this note attached: “Moving from a small house into a much larger one, you are going to discover lots of small items you will need. This will help.” Also Lucille Guthrie, Kathleen Sadler, Aline Harris and Virginia Safrit spent a whole day with Lou at The Cloth Barn in Goldsboro picking out material for the other windows in the new house.
On Christmas Day our first year in Beaufort we considered it a privilege to drop in on Roxie Lewis to wish her a “Merry Christmas.” The next year our Administrative Board and Trustees were inspired to use Miss Roxie's last gift as a starter to replace the “pinching pews” in the rear of the sanctuary and to carpet the creeking floor.
Our sanctuary and parsonage were not the only things to take on new life. Everyone was moved the Sunday morning I received Mr. Jule Arrington (brother of our beloved “Miss Lessie”), age 75, into the fellowship of the church on profession of faith. Mr. Jule will always be remembered especially for his wise advice — straight from the GRIT — that he freely gave to Robert Safrit and the Friendship Church School Class. One Sunday in that class someone called for sentence prayers. Mr. Jule prayed, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to take.” Before the next Sunday, Mr. Jule's prayer had been answered. A piano was placed in the sanctuary in his memory by this class not too long after this.
A couple of other late beginners were the romances of Ray and Minnie Smith (who met in the washerette) and Roy and Odell Jefferson
Willis. Joining these two couples in holy matrimony sparked new life for many.
As our church family grew, so did the generosity of the people. Leslie Moore owned a building adjoining the Eure Building property that he wanted the church to have in honor of his parents, Ikie and “Miss Polly.” When the plan was presented to use the property for a larger parking lot and playground, the perfect time came to initiate a kindergarten and day care program of our own. Under the guidance of Thelma Ward this program was launched and has proven to be a very useful service to the community at large and has given our church an opportunity to love and train those who are entrusted to our care.
As Coordinator of Education, Thelma brought out the talents of others with almost a magical touch while staying in the background herself. One of the most valuable happenings of the Vacation Church School was the inspiration the boys received when working with wood under the direction of Carl Lane. Years from now when the boys still have their wooden lamps, they will remember the light that shown through Carl's eyes and will let their light shine, too, to glorify God.
At the time we moved to Beaufort, Lou was a conference officer of the Women's Society of Christian Service. This gave an opportunity for the women of Ann Street to entertain the conference executive committee. The delightful shrimp luncheon with “Miss Alma” Potter's homemade hot rolls and Grayden Paul's tales of Beaufort was a very satisfying experience. That evening the whole church heard first-hand from our workers in Robeson County and Pembroke and the Wesley Foundation at Greenville.
Other conference people came, too. For two years we were honored to have our bishop speak on Heritage Day — but again the bishops changed. In 1972 Bishop William R. Cannon was the guest preacher, and in 1973 Bishop Robert M. Blackburn preached. Each brishop reminded the packed sanctuary of the days Bishop Francis Asbury visited Beaufort twice and, on his second visit, found the people (according to his diary) “much improved”. It probably took Bishop Asbury two visits to understand the genuine ways of the coast people.
Bishops are blessings; however, Romans 12:4 has something to say about there being many parts of the body which cooperate to support the whole. One such time occurred when a truck driver from Fairfax, Alabama, coordinated our Lay Witness Mission. Lovingly he let God use him to open more doors to spiritual growth and Christian caring. Robert Safrit and Holden Ballou (and scores of other people) were the laymen who helped to make this experience great, but Milford Chewning cannot be forgotten. In fact, Milford paved the way for a wholehearted reception of the Reverend B.R. Samuels from Hydabad, India, who
spent eight days with us, telling of “his children” on the other side of the world.
Not only did outsiders come to our church to share their messages but I also had an opportunity to enrich my life beyond Carteret County. Dave Beveridge, Captain of THE SILVERLAKE, the Cedar Island-Ocracoke ferry, was chairman of the Pastor-Parish Committee in 1974. He and Gerry instigated and contributed generously to a special fund to send me to Dallas, Texas, to attend the National Conference on Evangelism. What a treat for a pastor!
Because of the need for transportation for all age groups of the church, the Jule Duncan Bible Class sponsored the purchase of a brand-new Dodge Mini-bus. It was particularly dedicated to the young people (who were led by Charles and Helen Chappell) for their activity and interest in church projects and meetings. However, all age groups have sung hymns in the bus on the way to meetings and back home again.
Many memories linger. The Sunday morning sermonette to the children always held a special place for me. But then so did Cindy. God taught me a lot through Cindy, the precious runaway who was confident she would be found in the choir loft. I shall always be indebted to the invaluable secreterial services rendered by Lucile Safrit Smith and Virginia Chadwick Moore, and for the untiring service of Harry Saunders with financial records. The men who served as chairmen of the Administrative Board also deserve praise. These were Ralph Leister, Hugh Salter, and Eugene Brooks. I can still see the loving face of our daughter, Nancy Lou, and her new husband, Pat Stephenson, as I joined them in marriage at the altar of Ann Street Church. Two grandsons, Darden Nicks and Chris Rooker, were baptized there also. (Virginia Nicks was baptized later during my retirement.) What could be more rewarding than the love of a congregation after an unsuccessful stapedectomy? Nothing — unless it is living in retirement among these same loving people.
Living here now gives me a little edge on these fellow ministers who have only memories to recall. Do you remember the Scripture that says in essence, “O, how those Christians love one another?” I can rejoice over and over that we are living among Christian friends.
Even though I don't have the “position” (nor the responsibility) that Doug Byrd has, I have the unique privilege of sitting in the congregation and being a part of the Fellowship Class. Having been here for Ann Street's 200th year has been exciting, and I am proud of Lou for having taken the time and trouble to collect and edit this history.
Speaking of my church school class, and the well-prepared lessons of Robert Safrit and the inspired singing of George Lewis
reminds me of an incident that happened while we were here that merits mention. One day Robert Safrit, who is walking high up the ladder of the Shrine Sudan Temple, said to me, “Preacher, what The Methodist Church needs is a fez!” He really thought he was getting the best of me in his teasing, but silence was the word. Then the idea hit me! In about a month our class would be having one of those out-of-this-world Christmas parties. Robert was right. What he needed was a Methodist fez to wear in conjunction with his Shrine fez. With the help of Ethel, Mildred and especially Ada Whitehurst, we designed and made Robert a fez. The brim of the hat had felt letters reading “Ann Street United Methodist Church.” It had three panels labeled faith, hope and love depicted with the use of the Christian calendar colors and gold tassel representing the pervading Holy Spirit. I presented the fez to Robert at the 1973 Christmas Party.
I had to make another little visit to the hospital in 1978 which turned out to be a blessing because I learned that we had made the right decision about a loving place to live. In addition to Emily Clyde and Wiley Lewis’ staying with Lou during my operation, I received oodles of get-well cards from my Christian friends of Ann Street.
Truly bread cast on waters through the years are coming back to Ann Street Church as she celebrates her 200th birthday and begins a new century of service for Jesus Christ our Lord.
ROBERT AND LOU NICKS
It was because of Robert's devotion to Christ and his loving understanding of me that I had the courage to attempt getting the information together for this book in such a short period of time. Therefore, I dedicate A Collection of Memories to him.
Ann Street parsonage located at 206 Sycamore Drive. This parsonage was bought in 1974 and the Parsonage Planning and Location Committee consisted of Vivian Huntley, Chairman; Robert Safrit, Leslie Moore, Eugene Brooks, Harry Willis, Dora Dean Ballou, Lucille Guthrie and Harry Saunders.
Helping his neighbors was a favorite pastime for C.Z. Chappell, pictured here in front of his home at 109 Marsh Street in 1977. Because of his years of service to Ann Street, he was made an Honorary Life Member of the Administrative Board.
In 1974 the United Methodist Women sponsored a Calendar Party under the direction of Virginia Hults. Each circle decorated a table depicting a different holiday.
St. Patrick's Day. Ann Neal Brown, standing.
Robert Nicks, Sylvia Springle, Nell Thomas
can be seen.
The Bride's Table was prepared by Hazel
Harker, Ethel Bolles (standing), Elva Safrit,
Chiyo Rice and Louise Spivey.
The Rev. B. R. Samuels of Hybadad, India,
visited Ann Street in 1975 for revival ser-
vices. Seen l to r, front row, Lou Nicks,
Bellzora Chadwick, Joyce Griggs; back row,
Ivey Chadwick, Mr. Samuels, and Mr. Nicks.
Freda Barbour, Minnie Bessent, Elizabeth
Murphy, Dora Hall, and Neil Windley join
July 4 table shows Vonnie Smith, Stanley
Potter, Marion Potter, Elizabeth Chadwick
and Neva Bell.
Our First Kindergarden
1972 - 1973
|William Hardy||James Curtis Dudley, Jr.||Daniel Diaz||Ward Tobin|
|Ashley Garrett||Michele Stone||Sue Buchanan, Instructor||James MaChipness|
|Gabriela Diaz||Michael Lilly||Julie Lawrence||Dorothy Harker, Asst.|
|John Adkins||Barbara Hawkins||Tom Owens||Students Absent:|
|Lindsey Forsythe||Kerry Willis||Heidi Hewitt||Gaye Willis|
|Debra Russell||Shelley Buchanan||Ivey Lynn Gates||Corey Frame|
|Dana Deaton||Christina Gooding||Steven Hamilton||Luke Midgett|
And then. . .
|Jesse Thomas Garner II||Geneva Roberts Sabiston||Chantell Simpson||Joseph Edward Aldridge|
|Ward Tobin||Melissa Hill||Christopher Graham||Philip Piner|
|James Range, Jr.||Holly Beamon||Tommie Lee Culpepper||Martin Rhue|
|Scott Hobgood||Dawn Elizabeth DeVane||Kevin Golden||Sue Alexander, Instructor|
|William Louis Willis||Ashley Garrett||Gloria Gaye Willis||Thelma Ward, Director|
|James Curtis Dudley, Jr.||Michelle Stone||Julie Lawrence||Dorothy Hanker, Asst. Instructor|
|William Hardy||Debra Russell||Valerie Willis||Rev. Robert L. Nicks, Minister|
On May 25, 1975, Robert and Lou Nicks, suspecting that the upcoming N.C. Conference was planning to move them, decided to take a last bike ride on Front Street to enjoy God's beautiful handiwork. Instead, because of a bike accident, they went to Carteret General Hospital to get Robert's broken collarbone and concusion fixed. These pictures were taken in June just before leaving Ann Street. . .
“Miss Tennie” (Mrs. Burton Daniels) looks as if she will plant a kiss on the preacher. Carl Edwards is in the background.
Leonard Safrit died that year. Virginia seems to be thanking her minister again for caring.
Myrtle Duncan Sutton who lived next door to many parsonage families enjoys Clarence Guthrie's joke with Lou Nicks. Kathleen Sadler is in the background serving where she's usually found.
Singing was the order of the evening. Here Will (Fox) Downum cranks up the pianist. Jan Smith, and singers, Helen Chappel, Noma Davis, and Kathleen Sadler.
Regardless of our past, today is the only time we really have. This 200th Anniversary Year through the leadership of our present pastor, The Reverend Douglas L. Byrd, has truly been a memorable one.“Celebrations”
Douglas L. Byrd
Few persons have ever had the privilege of being a part of a church as she moved from the close of a second century into the opening of a third. What a privilege it has been to be the minister of such a church! From the first Sunday of my pastorate in Beaufort, June 8, 1975, to the closing months of this 200th anniversary it has been one of the richest experiences of my life and ministry.
Nowhere we have lived and served have we felt more at home than in this marvelous town of Beaufort. From the day we moved into the lovely parsonage my wife Carolyn, our daughter Loretta, our son Gary, and I have felt the warmth and friendship of the wonderful people of Beaufort.
Only three weeks after my ministry in Beaufort began, the rich heritage of this church began to unfold. Heritage Sunday was an experience many had known before in Beaufort, but to the new parsonage family it was a new and exciting experience. The Reverend James H. Miller, Jr., a former minister of Ann Street Church, was guest minister; and it was truly a day of celebration.
Never a week passed that more of the greatness of this church did not become evident. Each week brought a new challenge and new opportunities for mission and ministry by minister and laypersons alike. A good example of this can be seen in the outstanding service rendered by the Kindergarten-Day Care Center. This program, under the leadership of such a dedicated staff of workers, is still one of the most important ministries the church renders in our community. Another example is the renewed commitment of the “Church Family at home” to the “Church Family away at college.” In the fall of 1975 a concerted effort was initiated to keep in close contact with the youth away at college. If their notes of thanks have been a measure of whether this ministry has been appreciated, it certainly deserves a passing grade.
As the ministry grew and expanded so did the need for financial support. This increased support came as the needs were made
known and the opportunities were opened to the membership. The fall 1975 stewardship program “Let Love Guide You” literally became just that kind of experience, and through the faithful stewardship of God's people called Methodists, new channels of mission and ministry began to open both in and beyond the local community. A continuing effort to be faithful to our Lord's call to “make disciples of ALL people” began to result in increased support to the world-wide mission concerns of the Church as well as continuing support for local ministries such as the ministry of love by United Methodist Women through the Station Club (a program for emotionally handicapped persons in our county). Ann Street women have become “adopted sisters” to those who participate in the Station Club. The women are also faithful to their program of expressing to bereaved families of our church their sympathy in a tangible way as they provide meals and offer their services in ways that are helpful.
Remembering how Jesus shared food with the hungry multitude on the hillside, the Church Family rose to another challenge in the spring of 1976 — “Meals on Wheels”. This daily service of carring has literally been a “lifeline” for many persons who otherwise would find it difficult or impossible to have a well-rounded meal at least once each day. “A Holy Season of Love” was not only the theme for the observance of Lent 1976, but it could well describe what was actually happening because of the growing love of God's people called Methodists for each other and for other persons whose lives they touched.
Heritage celebration seemed to be ignited as United Methodists of the North Carolina Conference and the Western North Carolina Conference joined together in a Bi-Centennial Celebration at Duke University on April 3, 1976. Ann Street was one of the honored churches, being one of the oldest Methodist churches in the state.Nine persons represented our church in this celebration — Mrs. Neil Windley, Mrs. John Moore, Sr., Miss Virginia Sue Moore, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Jarman, Mrs. Albert McNeil, Mrs. Charles Farlow, and Reverend and Mrs. Douglas Byrd. They proudly carried the banner of our church which had been beautifully designed and made by the Young Women's Circle.
Could one find a more significant celebration for Christians than that of Easter? Easter 1976 brought joy to our church in the beautiful cantata presented by the Chancel Choir — “No Greater Love.” The celebration theme continued to mount as we joined in our “Celebrations of Methodism” in May — celebrating Methodism's birth in England, her spread to America, as well as her birth, growth, and future in Beaufort. A spring observance of Laity Sunday with a message by Mr. Ernest Smith of New Bern (a former lay leader of the New Bern District), quarterly celebrations of the Sacrament of Holy Communion, along with the weekly corporate
worship services by the Church Family helped to keep alive and growing the spirit of celebration through worship. On each occasion of worship the sanctuary has glowed with the beauty of lovely flowers, the sounds of inspiring music, a faithful proclamation of the Word, and a loyal congregation of worshipers. On special occasions such as Easter and Christmas the labors of love which added special decorations were always appreciated.
The year 1976 was a significant year in our nation as we shared in her 200th birthday. Ann Street Church, only two years younger, welcomed another opportunity to rejoice as Heritage Sunday 1976 came. There was such a response to the Heritage Sunday Worship Experience that requests from the community called for a repeat of the musical-narration program during the following week. This program brought together the rich heritage of our nation and our church.
Improvements to the physical facilities began to be quite visible. A most appreciative congregation welcomed the paving of the Eure Building parking lot by donors who chose not to be identified. The long-dreamed-of project of painting the exterior of the sanctuary building was completed in the summer of 1976 after the need for extensive repairs to the steeple was included in the project. The “Beacon to God” which has stood atop the church for these many years was given new life through united efforts of the Church Family. The landscaping of the front of the sanctuary building by one of our members who chose to remain anonymous was a project well-received by a grateful congregation and added much to the beauty of our church. Two years later the Wesleyan Circle accomplished a similiar project at the Eure Building.
As exterior repairs and improvements were taking place, the inside was taking on a new face also. The Wesleyan Circle adopted the hall in the rear of the sanctuary building as their next project; and before long new paint, carpet, and lighting gave this area of the building new life. The United Methodist Women provided a new public address system for the sanctuary replacing the hearing devices for those having difficulty with hearing. A new Bulletin Board was placed in front of the sanctuary building in memory of Frank Roland Bell by Mrs. Neva Bell, their children, and grandchildren.
Equally as important as building, is the care of what has been built. A “new day” in the care of our church facilities came in August 1976 as one of our own, A. B. Hooper, assumed the staff responsibilities for care of the building and grounds. He replaced Gib Divens who had served faithfully for several years. Members continue to marvel at the beautiful care our church receives at the hands of A.B. How fortunate we have been in having such a dedicated staff during the years! Mrs. John Moore, Sr., our Church Secretary-Treasurer, has shown outstanding dedication to her
work in the church and continues to be an inspiration to all who know her and especially to those who are privileged to work with her. We are reminded often through the beautiful music how fortunate we are to have such a gifted and dedicated Director of Music — Organist as Mrs. Jan Smith! Mrs. Jack Ward, who joined the Church Staff several years ago as Education Coordinator has for the past two and one-half years been full-time Director of the Kindergarten-Day Care Center — and what a blessing she has been to our church! We are grateful for the service Miss Jackie Hovis rendered as Director of Christian Education prior to her resignation recently.
Artists are always looking for something of beauty as the subject of their paintings. With the beautification efforts, Ann Street Church became a worthy subject for the brush and watercolors of artist Stephen Sebastian who was commissioned by Integon Corporation to paint our church for duplication on their Christmas cards to be sent all over the world Christmas 1976. In addition to this distinguished honor, each family received from this corporation an 11″ × 14″ copy of this painting suitable for framing.
Singing, rejoicing, caring, sharing — Christmas has always been an important and meaningful experience. Old Traditions that continue to give rich significance to Christmas have been joined by new experiences of remembering others, a revival of Christmas caroling in the community, and a Christmas Eve Worship Service. A greater effort was also made to have a planned ministry to persons with special needs at this season of the year.
The story of Ann Street Church could not be written without lifting out some of the major victories of the women of the church. While adopting the restoration of the sanctuary pews seemed like a modern-day “Goliath”, no task has been too large for the women to tackle. The spring of 1977 was the official starting point for this effort which upon completion made it possible to preserve as well as beautify the nearly 100-year-old curved pews in our lovely sanctuary. Seldom has there been more evidence of cooperation than evident in this endeavor. Many families and individuals shared their generous gifts to make this project possible. A Memorials and Gifts Book was placed in the Heritage Room to recognize those who shared in the restoration of the pews.
No group in the church has shown greater loyalty and commitment to missions than the women. In addition to their regular annual support for missions they have shared in many other mission projects both local and world-wide. They have recognized several persons through the years with Honorary Life Memberships. During the period from June 1975 until late fall 1978 the following persons received this great honor as a gift was made to missions in the name of the honorees: Mrs. Emma Guthrie, Mrs. Gwen Morning, Mrs. Dora Dean Ballou, Claude Morning, Jr.,
Mrs. Chiyo Rice, Mrs. Elizabeth Lewis, Mrs. and Mrs. Roy Willis, Mrs. Clara Quidley, Reverend R. L. Nicks, and Reverend Douglas Byrd. I know that each of these persons cherish this honor as much as I do.
Many other members of our Church Family have received signal honors — certainly too many to mention; but two of these could not be omitted. On October 1, 1975, the Charge Conference elected Mrs. Alma Potter and Mr. C. Z. Chappell, Sr., to the position of Honorary Life Members of the Administrative Board. What a joy it was to visit them the next day and to share with these two Christian saints the honor bestowed upon them by their grateful Church Family.
“The Life of Christ In Song” brought to the hearts and lives of our Church Family some of the real joys as well as the awesome responsibilities of being followers of Jesus Christ. Philip Cartwright, from Chatam, New Jersey, sang his way into the hearts of the people of Beaufort as he used his gifted voice to proclaim “the Gospel in song”. For many of us this was truly a “singing revival” in the spring of 1977.
In March 1977, over nine months before the beginning of our 200th year, the Administrative Board elected a 200th Anniversary Planning Committee to begin plans for what promised to be an experience that would always be remembered by those privileged to share in it. Members named to that committee were Glen Harris (Chairperson), Mrs. James I. Piner (Vice Chairperson), James Wheatley, Mrs. Charles Griggs, James Potter, III. George Garrett, Mrs. Neil Windley, and the minister Douglas Byrd. No sooner had this committee been elected than it began a journey of dreaming, planning, working, and preparing that would lead Ann Street Church through a great year of celebrating. But, there was another celebration that was to come before the 200th year began — Heritage Day 1977.
The Reverend John Cline returned to Beaufort, where he has been held in such high esteem, to share the Heritage Day message on June 26, 1977. Over 400 persons participated in the Morning Worship Service, and nearly 500 were present for the annual Heritage Picnic. The 1977 Heritage Day Committee was composed of Mrs. Neil Windley (Chairperson), A. B. Hooper, James Wheatley, Mrs. Charles Chappell, Mrs. Charles Griggs, and Tony Smith.
One of the most enjoyable features of the 1977 celebration was the Heritage Room. This room was a project of the Wesleyan Circle — taking what had for several years been two small storage areas and turning them into a beautiful museum where the heritage of Ann Street Church could be carefully preserved and gratefully enjoyed. Again, the women of the church rose to a great challenge and did not cease their efforts until their goal was
reached. United Methodist Women and the circles which compose this organization have been a major part of preparing for celebration as well as the reason for celebrating in Ann Street Church.
Summertime in Beaufort is a memorable experience. The children have enjoyed Vacation Church School and other activities that have given them fullfillment and meaning. Our youth have discovered new opportunities for Christian growth as they have enjoyed activities under the leadership of our summer Youth Directors. Dennis Goodwin, a native of Morehead City, was director in 1974 and 1975. Donald Stewart, a student at East Carolina University, was the director for the summer of 1976. In June 1977 Miss Jackie Hovis joined our full-time Church Staff as Director of Christian Education and began a ministry with children, youth, and adults.
A highlight of the summer of 1977 for the Methodists of Beaufort was the return of the Reverend and Mrs. Robert L. Nicks to make their home here in retirement. Many years earlier the minister who had received me into my home church in Wilmington, N.C., by profession of faith, the Reverend Edgar W. Downum and his wife, Mrs. Sadie Downum, also chose Beaufort for their retirement home. In more recent years the Reverend and Mrs. A. D. L. Gray chose to retire in Beaufort. It is not by chance that these families who faithfully served the Church for many years chose Beaufort as their home following their retirement.
In July 1977 a new ministry began — “Moments of Meditation” — a 24-hour telephone devotional ministry. One month later the lovely handbells arrived and a new phase of our music ministry was initiated. The handbells were made possible by donations from numerous people, but the basic gift was given by Mr. and Mrs. Dalton Humphrey in memory of their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Humphrey and Mr. and Mrs. Clem Willis. The music ministry at Ann Street has been such an important part of the total program. There are choirs for all ages — Choristers (young children), Agape Singers (youth), and the Chancel Choir (adults). There are also two handbell choirs and other occasional informal music groups such as a Senior High Ensemble and Men's Singing-Fellowship. Numerous special programs by these choirs have helped the church realize the importance of music in worship, celebration, and life.
From the steeple of the church, music is shared daily by the new chimes which were given by the Ralph Leister family and friends in memory of Mildred M. Leister. The chimes have become a familiar and loved sound in Beaufort.
With each passing year the laity have seized upon more opportunities for witness and service. Laity Sunday, an annual observance,is always meaningful; but the week by week faithfulness
of the laity explains in large part the success of the church. With a foundation none less than Jesus Christ and with building material composed of faithful disciples such as those in Ann Street Church, the church must succeed. Such was the case in the fall of 1977 as the “Big Step Forward” was taken. This stewardship theme accurately described what the church was doing as we moved from 1977 into 1978.
1978 — “The Year of Celebration”. One goal prevailed throughout the year and that was to make this experience one that would draw us closer to our Lord and closer together as a Church Family as we celebrated this great milestone of Methodism in Beaufort — 200 years.
The 200th year began with a Communion Service on January first. “Do you really have to show a Sacrament Ticket to get in church this Sunday?” someone asked as a replica of a Sacrament Ticket was sent to each member. This worship experience centered around the significance of The Last Supper but also highlighted the custom of years past when the Sacrament Ticket was necessary for admission to the meeting of the Society at which time the sacrament was celebrated.
January 8 was Covenant Sunday, and again as on the previous Sunday the heritage attire was the fashion of the day for worshipers. This custom was followed throughout the year and added a great deal of meaning as well as color to the many celebrations. The Marriage Covenant Renewal Service on February 12 was an experience that many will long cherish. Nearly 400 persons participated in this worship service as 60 couples who were maried in Ann Street Church or by the ministers of this church came to renew, with other couples who were present, their marriage vows.
Needless to say, a great deal of planning and preparation went into the year of celebration. United Methodist Women continued their efforts to beautify the church building as their Pew Project was completed and the interior of the sanctuary was repainted. The next step was the renovation of the upstairs hall, the handbell choir room, and the chancel choir room. The Wesleyan Circle completed the Heirtage Room by the installation of a lovely display cabinet in which to place items of historic value to the church. Afterwards they officially turned over their completed project to the church. But, the men would not be left behind. The J. F. Duncan Class proceeded to have the floors of the sanctuary refinished while the pews were removed and being restored. United Methodist Men also completed other projects during this time such as a new sidewalk at the Eure Building, purchase of some needed office equipment, and the addition of several tables and other needed items in the church.
Lent and Easter were highlights of the celebration year. Maundy Thursday was the occasion for a very meaningful and unusual
celebration of Holy Communion as the congregation gathered around tables in the form of a cross. This was possible since the pews were removed at this time for the restoration project. The Easter Sunrise Service on the beautiful Beaufort waterfront was attended by over 200 persons, many of whom also enjoyed a delicious Breakfast served by United Methodist Men in the Eure Building. The Easter Morning Worship Service helped to conclude a very meaningful Lent and Easter celebration.
The time for the climax of the 1978 celebration had come. Preparations had been made for a week that would implant itself in the minds and hearts of many people whose lives have been and are being touched by Ann Street Church. Never has the church looked more beautiful than when she was opened on June 23-24 for the annual Beaufort Old Homes Tour. Gracious hostesses conducted tours with justifiable pride.
On the evening of June 23 the curtain opened on “The Best of All”, a drama of Methodism in Beaufort written by Mrs. Ruth Barbour, a noted writer of the area. A capacity crowd in the auditorium of Beaufort Elementary School was drawn into the story of how Methodism was born in the Port of Beaufort and how it grew to its present position. The drama was under the direction of Miss Jackie Hovis, our Director of Christian Education. The entire cast as well as the stage crews with the exception of three or four persons came from the membership of our church; and while we were all amateurs in the drama field, a remarkable job was done in the presentation of this exciting drama.
The stage was set for June 25, 1978, our 200th Anniversary! In order to allow adequate time, the hour of the service was moved back to 10:00 a.m. as another “drama” began to unfold — not a stage drama — as on June 23 — but this time a drama of actually who we have been and who we are — what we have done and what God expects us to do — what has happened and what is happening. The Agape Ringers, the Agape Singers, the Choristers, and the Chancel Choir joined in lifting a mighty sound of praise to God as the sanctuary was overflowing with worshipers. The warmth of God's presence was real and joyful as God's messenger for the hour began his “visit to Beaufort” as “Bishop Francis Asbury.” Dr. Robert L. Curry, minister of the historic St. George's United Methodist Church, Philadelphia, dressed as Bishop Asbury would have those nearly 200 years ago, made the first Methodist bishop in America come alive and “revisit” Beaufort as he had earlier visited on two occasions in the late 18th and early 19th century. If those who were present have allowed the remembrance of this worship experience to fade, perhaps you will need only recall that immediately following Dr. Curry's moving message the congregation broke into an extended round of applause.
Following the worship celebration between 600 and 700 persons flooded the lawn of the Eure Building for the traditional Heritage Day Picnic, a fellowship gathering that will long be remembered.
The spirit of celebration did not die as the month of June ended. Neither did the spirit of enthusiasm and dedication that had become so real and visible during the preceeding months. The evening of September 17 was the occasion for“A Heritage Celebration with Music and Poetry.” Mrs. Carol Bessent Hayman, a native of Beaufort, an affiliate member of Ann Street Church, and a gifted poet, shared several beautiful poems which lifted up the theme of our rich heritage in the town of Beaufort. Mr. Gregory Bell, a former Director of Music at Ann Street, presented a concert of sacred organ music; and he was joined by his lovely wife, Mrs. Beth Marshburn Bell, who sang a number of beautiful solos. She was accompanied by Miss Susan Dermid of Wilmington, where the Bells are now involved in a music ministry.
Another musical program was enjoyed on October 22 in the late afternoon as the Carteret Chorale, a musical group of youth and adults from our own county, presented a most enjoyable concert in the sanctuary. At the request of Mr. Laurence Stith, director, this concert was dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Virginia Staton Potter to whom death came only a few days earlier on October 9.
On the eve of Thanksgiving the congregations of Ann Street, Straits, and North River United Methodist Churches united in a Service of Thanksgiving in the sanctuary of our church. This celebration was especially significant since these churches share much of the same heritage back through the past 200 years.
Ann Street Church was pleased to host the 1978 New Bern District Conference on December 10 as we shared with the Methodist leaders of our district some of the highlights from the historical drama “The Best of All.”
Advent and Christmas promise to be experiences that will help us seal a year of memorable celebrations. Outstanding musical programs, beautiful decorations, meaningful worship experiences, acts of love and sharing — all these are the ingredients that will help make the season of celebrating our Saviour's birth a fitting conclusion for a year that will go down in the history of this church as “The Year of Celebration”.
What a joy and privilege it has been to be the minister of this great church at such a significant point in her history!
The Reverend Douglas L. Byrd
and his family
his wife, Carolyn, daughter, Loretta, and son, Gary.
This banner was made by the Young Women's Circle and was carried by Ann Street delegates to the Bi-Centennial Celebration at Duke University on April 3, 1976. The steeple of Ann Street Church was used as a guide for the ships to come across the Beaufort Bar in the early sailing days. Dot Piner designed the banner and played the major role in preparing it. Alice Windley assisted.
Sacrament ticket issued to all who wanted to participate in Holy Communion during our 200th anniversary year.
Headstone located in the Old Burying Ground next to the church. There are six former pastors buried here. It seemed the right place for their final resting place since many of them had married Beaufort ladies.
Eagle Scout and Scout Master John Moore, Jr., presents a plaque of appreciation to Charles Jarman for Ann Street's years of sponsoring Troop 201. Another Ann St. member who deserves mentioning for his interest in Scouts is David Jones, holder of the Silver Beaver Award.
Covenant Sunday January 8, 1978 the men and women sat on op- posite sides of the sanctuary as done 200 years earlier.
Marriage Covenant Renewal Service February 12, 1978 All couples who had been married in the church (and others who wanted to join in) renewed their wedding vows.
Easter Sunrise Service on the Beaufort Waterfront with the Reverend Douglas Byrd leading. March 26, 1978.
Virginia Hassell, who was organist and choir director for many years, is shown here with
her husband, Charles, and Miss Lena Duncan.
Also are Mrs. Neva Bell, Miss Lessie Arrington, and Mrs. Mabel Jones, three who are always
present at church services when health permits.
Another person who has returned home to live after having been away for years is Mrs. Alma Howard. Here she smiles at her mother and honorary life member of the Administrative Board, Mrs. Alma Potter.
Mrs. Woodard smiles at her husband, Dr. W. L. Woodard, former church school teacher and a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International.
drawing of church tower, tree branch and noose, and man on rearing horse
A Historical Drama
The 200th Anniversary of
Ann Street United Methodist Church
Beaufort, N. C.
June 23, 1978
Beaufort Elementary School
|Written By||Ruth Barbour|
|Directed By||Jackie Hovis|
|Musical Direction By||Jan Smith|
|Cast of Characters|
|Hollister Dunwick||Walter Phillips|
|Alma Dunwick||Joyce Griggs|
|Ann Dunwick||Sunny Ingram|
|Thomas Dunwick||Michael Taylor|
|Scene 1 - 1778|
|Isaiah Chadwick||Hugh Lee Fulcher|
|James Hancock||Jack Williams, Jr.|
|Ephraim Gaskill||John Michael Farlow|
|Preacher John King||Keith Willis|
|Scene 2 - 1780|
|Woods near Beaufort|
|Phillip Bruce||Gary Byrd|
|Scene 3 - 1806|
|James Glenn||Jack Humphrey|
|Caleb N. Bell||Brad Griggs|
|Suzannah Bell||Betty Weeks|
|Scene 4 - 1836|
|Dr. James Manney||Gary Byrd|
|Anson Chadwick||John Michael Farlow|
|Elijah Whitehurst||Jack Carter|
|Rev. J. M. Boatwright||Keith Willis|
|Scene 5 - 1863|
|John Rumley||Jack Williams, Jr.|
|Maj. W. B. Conley||Bob Fell|
|Scene 6 - 1879|
|Ann Street Church|
|Rev. W. P. McCorkle||Will Downum|
|Mrs. McCorkle||Elizabeth Lewis|
|Mrs. Murray||Margaret Taylor|
|William Fulford||Glenn Taylor|
|Sarah Fulford||Linda Garrett|
|Zilphie Fulford||Julie Stewart|
|Gov. Thomas Jarvis||Jarvis Herring|
|Mrs. Jarvis||Edna Lewis|
THERE WILL BE A FIFTEEN MINUTE INTERMISSION
|Scene 7 - 1886|
|Ann Street Cemetery|
|Rev. N. M. Jurney||Jack Carter|
|Louis Potter||Jack Humphrey|
|Scene 8 - 1898|
|Caroline Dunwick||Doris Farlow|
|Lollie Dunwick||Tami Hults|
|Rev. D. H. Tuttle||Bob Fell|
|Scene 9 - 1940|
|Ann Street Parsonage|
|Rev. Stanley Potter||Royal Windley|
|Mrs. Stanley Potter||Luanne Davis|
|Mrs. Ed Potter||Theresa Jones|
|Mrs. W. S. Chadwick||Julie Stewart|
|Mrs. F. R. Bell||Edna Lewis|
|Scene 10 - 1978|
|Rev. Douglas Byrd||Rev. Douglas Byrd|
|Ashley Garrett||Roland Hawkins|
|Vivian Huntley||Kathleen Iverson|
|George Lewis||Esther Merrill|
|George Merrill||Gwen Morning|
|Colleen Piner||Tom Piner|
|Stage Manager||Dot Piner|
|Set Crew||Richard Harker, Julie Stewart, John Daniels, Keith Willis, Kevin Willis, Glenn Taylor, David McNeill, John Farlow, Tim Farlow|
|Sound||Jimmy Piner, Brad Griggs, Susan Willis|
|Lights||Jack Williams, Jr., Nelson Paul, Bob Fell, Jack Carter, Tim Farlow|
|Props||Thelma Ward, Vonne Smith|
|Stage Crew||Kevin Willis, Libby Chappell, John Farlow, Luanne Davis|
|Publicity||Joyce Griggs, Julie Stewart, Jack Williams, Jr., Royal Windley|
|Box Office||Doris Farlow, Dorothy Harker, Janet Przygodzinski|
|Ushers||Curtis Struyk, Carlton Lewis, Greg Piner, Beth Cantrell, Dottie Harker, Kay Williams, Lawson Bridges, Crystal Graham, Joni McKay, Angela Rogers|
Hairstyles by “Sally's” and “The Duchess”
Poster and Program Cover by Connie Mason
|Special Thanks To:|
|Beaufort Elementary School||The Christian Book Nook|
|Carteret Community theatre||Mr. Curtis Lancaster|
|Carteret News-Times||Mrs. Virginia Hults|
|Daniels Men's Wear||Stamper's Jewelers|
|Dee-Gees||Willis Gulf Service|
|Josiah Bell House||WBMA|
“THE BEST OF ALL” is produced in conjunction with the 200th Anniversary of Ann Street United Methodist Church under the guidance of the 200th Anniversary Committee:
Glen L. Harris, Chairperson
Scene 10 - 1978 - Eure Building The Reverend Douglas Byrd brings the play to a close.
Walter Phillips unfolds the church history to Sunny Ingram and Michael Taylor.
Jackie Hovis directs, l to r, Glenn Taylor, Bob Fell and Gary Byrd.
Keith Willis brings the sermon to, l to r, Jack Williams, Jr., E.W. Downum, Saundra Perry,
Tom Piner, Kathleen Iversen, Gwen Morning, Roland Hawkins, Hugh Lee Fulcher, George
Lewis, and John Michael Farlow.
Jack Humphrey conducts the funeral for CHRISSIE WRIGHT victims. Mourners are, l to r: Colleen Piner, E.W. Downum (not showing), Kathleen Iversen., Gwen Morning, George Merrill, Theresa Jones, Tom Piner, Jack Carter, Pat Humphrey, George Lewis and Blanche Williams.
Glenn Taylor comforts Julie Stewart when the Atlantic Hotel was destroyed during the hurricane of 1879.
Brad Griggs playing the part of Caleb Bell tells his minister, Jack Humphrey, that he, too, wants to become a minister.
Ann Street United Methodist Church
Ann and Craven Streets
Beaufort, North Carolina
DOUGLAS L. BYRD, Minister
Our 200th Anniversary
“AN EXPERIENCE OF CELEBRATION AND WORSHIP”
June 25, 1978
Eleven O'clock“I love Thy Kingdom, Lord, the house of Thine abode,The Church our blest Redeemer saved with His own precious blood.”(The Book of Hymns)
|THE ORGAN PRELUDE—“Toccata in G”||Eliot|
THE LIGHTING OF THE ALTAR CANDLES Laurel Simpson, Acolyte
*HYMN OF PRAISE 17—“How Great Thou Art”
WORDS OF WELCOME
CONCERNS OF THE CONGREGATION
CONGREGATIONAL HYMN SINGING—Some of Our Favorites
HYMN 228—“The Old Rugged Cross”
*HYMN 28—“O God, Our Help In Ages Past”
*HYMN 221—“Standing on the Promises”
*THE AFFIRMATION OF OUR FAITH—“The Apostles’ Creed”
I believe in God the Father almighty maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
|SPECIAL MUSIC BY THE AGAPE RINGERS (Youth Handbell Choir|
|Flutist: Vonne Smith|
|“Praise to the Lord, the Almighty”||Hymn Tune|
|THE MORNING PRAYERS|
|The Corporate Prayer|
|The Choral Response|
|SPECIAL MUSIC BY THE CHORISTERS (Children's Choir)|
|“You and I”||Sleeth|
|UNITED METHODIST WOMEN||Mrs. Gwen Morning. President|
|SPECIAL MUSIC BY THE AGAPE SINGERS (Youth Voice Choir)|
|“Walk Softly in Summer”||Butler|
|THE GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS TO GOD|
|The Offertory—“His Eye Is On The Sparrow”||Gabriel|
|Pianist: Mrs. Gwen Morning|
|Organist: Mrs. Jan Smith|
|*Dedication of Our Gifts|
|“The Doxology” (No. 809)||Congregation|
|The Prayer of Dedication|
|AN ANTHEM BY THE CHANCEL CHOIR|
|Soloist: Mrs. Sylvia Springle|
|THE LESSON FROM THE HOLY SCRIPTURES||Psalm 84|
|THE HERITAGE DAY MESSAGE—“On The Wings of a New Age”|
|(A Narration on Bishop Francis Asbury of early American Methodism)|
|Dr. Robert L'Curry|
|*HYMN OF CELEBRATION 294—“I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord”|
|*THE BLESSING OF OUR HERITAGE PICNIC|
|*AN ANTHEM BY THE CHANCEL CHOIR|
|“With a Voice of Singing”||Shaw|
|*THE CHIMING OF THE HOLY TRINITY|
|“In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”|
|*THE POSTLUDE—“A Tune for Trumpet”||Martin|
On the Lawn of the N. F. Eure Education BuildingTHE ALTAR FLOWERS
The Altar Flowers today are dedicated to the glory of God and given in memory and in honor of the members of Ann Street United Methodist Church during her two hundred years of service in Beaufort.DR. ROBERT L. CURRY
Dr. Robert L. Curry is minister of the historic St. George's United Methodist Church in Philadelphia, the oldest Methodist Church in continuous service in the world. He is providing leadership with distinction in this great church in the “City of Brotherly Love.” His unique talents, his great love for the Church and for our rich Methodist heritage, and his commitment as a faithful minister of Jesus Christ provide his best credentials as he comes to share with us in our 200th Anniversary Celebration today.OLD BURYING GROUND SPECIAL OFFERING
You are reminded by the special offering envelope inserted in your bulletin today of the opportunity to share in the restoration and care of the Old Burying Ground adjacent to our church. This cemetery is a part of our church's heritage and you are urged to share in its preservation. Please use the special envelope for the Old Burying Ground Offering.200th ANNIVERSARY PLANNING COMMITTEE
Since March 1977 our 200th Anniversary Planning Committee has worked diligently to insure that this year of celebration, and especially this day, is an experience to be remembered by all of us. We are greatly indebted to this committee.
|Glenn Harris, Chairperson||Jim Wheatley|
|Mrs. Dorothy Piner, Vice Chairperson||James Potter|
|Mrs. Alice Windley, Secretary||George Garrett|
|Mrs. Joyce Griggs||Douglas Byrd|
In addition to this committee there are many, many others too numerous to list who have helped make this a great experience for Ann Street Church. To each of these un-named, we offer our heartfelt thanks.CHURCH HISTORY TO BE PUBLISHED
Before the close of 1978, our year of celebration, a revised and up-dated history of Methodism in Beaufort will be published. It will include pictures and accounts of our 200th Anniversary Celebrations.
HERITAGE DAY — 1978
Dr. Robert L. Curry and the Reverend
Douglas L. Byrd sing lustily preceeding Dr.
Curry's monlogue of Bishop Francis Asbury.
Usherette Margle Windley passes the of-
The congregation June 25, 1978
George Lewis, Dot Piner, Jackie
Hovis, George Merrill, Dr. Curry,
Mr. Byrd, Carolyn Byrd, Florence
Phillips and Roland Hawkins
gather for a chit-chat before the
big Heritage Day service.
The Chancel Choir sings praises to God for 200 years. Members of the choir are: Alice Adair, Helen Chappell, E. W. Dewnum, Joyce Griggs, Roland Hawkins, Sally Herring, Virginia Hults, Jack Humphrey, Pat Humphrey, Patsy Humphrey, Jackie Hovis, Kathleen Iverson, Nita Jarman, Theresa Jones, George Lewis, Esther Merrill, George Merrill, Gwen Morning, Saundra Perry, Colleen Piner, Tommy Piner, Sylvia Springle, Glenn Taylor, Blanche Williams, Fanny Willis, and Alice Windley.
A typical picture of Gwen Morning, President of the UMW, who was instrumental in raising the needed money to have the pews refinished.
THE PICNIC — 1978
Following the 200th Anniversary
John Moore, Glen Harris,
and Vance Fulford arrange
Jethro Quidley and James
Willis help Aline Harris
with food and tables.
Virginia Moore, church secretary, stops to
speak to Ann Street minister, Douglas Byrd,
at the picnic, Heritage Day. Hugh and Jef-
frey Salter and Mildred Sewell look on.
An estimate of 600 to 700 ate on
the Eure Building lawn.
Kerry Smith adjusts Lucie's bonnet.
Mrs. Valerie Pavlik tends to Mat-
Michael Chadwick eyes the pot of
photo montage of church scenes and activities
Nothing tells more about a church than the quality of lives that leave her bounds to reach out to others. Ann Street has had a part in the development of Christian lives for 200 years. We are privileged to hear from a few who have gone out into full-time Christian service.
Hugh F. Jones is living on the campus of Oklahoma State University and sharing his faith with other young people. Hugh tells us what part Ann Street Church played in his life. Hugh is the great, great, great grandson of the Reverend John Jones who was one of the two local preachers who held Ann Street together during the Civil War. (See p. 53, Miss Amy Muse's Story.)
Julie Ballou Logan is now living in Raleigh with her husband, Robert, and precious little Leslie. Julie is the daughter of Holden and Dora Dean Jefferson Ballou. Julie's “easy” summer job at Ann Street Church led to a deeper life than she had ever imagined.
The writer of “Christi Diener nach Wien, ⃖sterreich,” or interpreted “Servants of Christ to Vienna, Austria,” Bill and Lou Ann Temple, along with Holly and Nathan, at present live in Loveland, Colorado, but by the time this book is published, may be already in Austria. Bill says, “Four years at Dallas Theological Seminary instilled in us a strong desire to serve where the need is great but the workers are few. The needs of Eastern Europe and the providential workings of the Lord in our lives have led us to this point.” The Temples are going to Austria as full-time field staff with the International division of Campus Crusade for Christ.
The only person at present who grew up in Ann Street Church and now serving in the pastorate of the North Carolina Annual Conference is the Reverend Charles C. Smith. At present he is serving Perkins United Methodist Church in Shawboro. Charles is the son of Lance and Allie Smith. Jill, his wife, is the daughter of Mahlon and Blanche Williams. They have two children, Chuck and Kathy Jo.
Another person who gave freely of her time in helping with the young people, singing in the choir, and who in 1976 married a minister is Brenda Edwards Goodnight, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Edwards. Brenda and Talmadge (better known as “T”) are living in Hookerton, Norht Carolina, with their son, Matthew Robert (named for the Reverend Robert Nicks who introduced them), where “T” is serving First Christian Church. Mr. and Mrs. Edwards are both ”preacher's kids” so having a daughter married to a minister is quite natural for them.From God And Country To Campus Crusade
Hugh F. Jones
My junior year in high school was exciting for me in many ways. I had just finished my work on the God and Country program with the Reverend Robert L. Nicks. One of the assignments he had me do was read through the New Testament. This had brought many questions to mind; foremost — how does one become a Christian? Up until this point I thought it was by going to church and living a good moral life. Obviously, it was much more than this. The New Testament characters exhibited a more abundant life style than what I was experiencing.
Kathy Bowen Tolson was president of the United Methodist Youth Fellowship at the time. Observing her life and hearing her talk about God as if she knew Him convinced me that I was missing much. That spring (April 1972) our church had a lay witness mission. This was the first time that I understood in a clear way that a person had to receive Christ or trust Him personally for his salvation. I was afraid that He wouldn't be real, but the possibility of knowing God personally gave me the faith to make that decision.
Mrs. Clarence (Lucille) Guthrie's class provided some good information as we were studying the Old Testment at the time. One of the biggest assets to my spiritual growth was a Bible study on the Gospel of John with Brack Tesh and Joe Moore. This was the beginning of my love relationship with Christ as we made personal application from God's word. I was learning more about my heart commitment. So many of the things I had learned earlier were now becoming a part of my life.
Upon arriving at Carolina, I became involved with Campus Crusade for Christ. Here I received some real practical training in how to share my faith as well as how to develop my walk with the Lord. Christ became a bigger and bigger part of my life as I learned more about who He is and what He has done for me. During my junior year in college I began to think seriously about His calling me into full-time service. Phil. 3:8 game me such encouragement to pursue that route. I began to see that the real joy of life is in knowing Christ and helping others know Him. Upon realizing that the only two eternal things are men's souls and the Word, I decided to invest my life in things of value. Being familiar with Campus Crusade for Christ and its objectives, I realized I could use this established platform to have the greatest impact for Christ.
Hugh F. Jones, son of Howard and Mary Fond Jones; grandson of Howard, Sr., and Carrie Lee Jones; now serving Christ on Oklahoma State University campus
“Train Up A Child...”
No two persons have given more time to their church than Howard C. Jones, Sr., and Carrie Lee Skarren Jones (who died March 21, 1969). Howard is the great grandson of John Jones who helped hold Ann St. together during the Civil War.
Julie Ballou Logan
“Train up a child in the way he should go and, when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) This is one of the most comforting promises God's Word gives to parents. As a child I was trained in God's way. My parents took me to Sunday school and church regularly. We had family devotions at home. Yet a time came when I questioned and doubted my religious heritage. I strayed from God and sought to lead my own life. My church and parents had taught me about God, but only I had the power to give Him control of my life.
Following my junior year in college I was hired to be the summer youth director here at Ann Street Church. On the outside I was an average church-goer, but inside I was empty and seeking ways to fill this void in my life. Suddenly I found myself needing to lead others into something I had not experienced. But God is faithful! During my first day at work another member of Ann Street, Bill Temple, came by the office to tell me about his work with Campus Crusade for Christ. As he spoke I could see that God had changed his life. Bill talked of knowing Jesus in a personal way — as a friend. After he left I “dared” God to come into my life and change me, too.
That summer became very exciting for me as I began to read God's Word and see Him fulfill His promises. I was priviledged to be used here at Ann Street as the MYF and I together studied the Bible. Having experienced the life-changing power of God's Word, I became involved in a church Bible study group when I returned to college in the fall. Upon graduation the Lord opened the door for me to work as assistant youth director with that church. Although I investigated other possibilities, the Lord led me to this church which emphasized developing a personal relationship with Jesus through daily Bible study, prayer, and deep relationships with other Christians.
Eight years have passed since I began getting to know Jesus in a personal way. Yet each day the Lord's love and faithfulness are shown. After five years in full-time Christian service, the Lord has led me to serve Him in a “lay” capacity as a mother and active church member. Altogether my life style is constantly changing, the Lord remains constant. “The Lord's loving kindness indeed never ceases, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
Leslie, daughter of Julie Ballou Logan and Robert, as taken by proud grandparents, Holden and Dora Dean Ballou
Bill and Lou Ann Temple with Holly and Nathan
I trust this finds you in good health and continuing to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. I count it a privilege to participate in helping bring up to date the church's history.
Mrs. W. G. Temple, my grandmother, a member of Ann Street for many years, had four sons and two daughters. My dad was the second son. In 1962 my parents, within the plan of God, fulfilled their years of life on earth. My sister, Cheryl, and I, because of the love shown us by my grandmother and my aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mr. S. T. Vick, came to live in Beaufort. In time I attended Ann Street Methodist Church.
To understand the role Ann Street Methodist has played in my life it is necessary to realize that I came to Ann Street after being steeped in the Roman Catholic faith for 15 years. I was taught that the only way to God was through a priest and involved the keeping of a system of legal observances and holy days of obligation. Needless to say, although I was “religious,” I did not know Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour. For the sake of brevity, I came to receive Christ in the solitude of my college room my third year at the University of North Carolina.
A staff member with Campus Crusade for Christ was to my own recollection the first person to sit down with me and probe my relationship with God and explain how to become a Christian. While I did not receive Christ through Ann Street, I must acknowledge that God in His unsearchable ways used the Church to overcome the prejudice I had as a Catholic towards anything not Catholic.
Subsequent to my salvation, the people of Ann Street played a major role in helping to launch me into two years of fruitful ministry with Campus Crusade for Christ. That ministry in turn led me into fulltime Christian service.
Presently, we are pursuing full-time missionary service in the region of the Iron Curtain. Again, we are hoping to be involved with Ann Street in a mutual ministry.
Charles C. Smith
In August 1964 we left Beaufort and the official membership role of Ann Street United Methodist Church. My work carried us to Jacksonville, North Carolina, where we lived until June 1974. We left there to enter a new work and a new community — Shawboro, North Carolina.
In this new community I am now the pastor of Perkins United Methodist Church. How I arrived at this new work is part of the history of Ann Street. I am the son of Mr. and Mrs. Lance M. Smith and as a child attended Sunday school at Ann Street. As I look back over those years, I have come to understand the importance of having one's roots firmly planted in the heritage of a church such as Ann Street.
The first thing I remember about Sunday school was that we met in what is now the church office. There was no education building and all of the Sunday school classes were in the church building. Miss Lottie Sanders was my teacher. When one is a child, one does not begin to love the things that make up a church. Only when you are older do you learn to see and feel the memories of youth. Then they become the things on which your life is built.
I met the girl who would become my wife in the MYF at Ann Street. Her name is Jill, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Mahlon P. Williams. Jill and I were married in June 1960 in Ann Street Church with the Reverend John Cline performing the ceremony. Both of our children, Chuck and Kathy Jo, were baptized in Ann Street.
While we were living in Jacksonville in 1972, I felt the call to enter the ministry of the church. At first I tried to ignore the call. It was hard to believe that the Lord could or would use me as a minister of His word. But the call would not leave. It had to be answered with a “yes.”
Jill and I decided that if the Lord wanted us to minister, it would have to be both of us. We believed that He would open the doors so that I could get the schooling that I needed to serve Him. Once the decision was made, the doors did open are still opening. There have been grants, scholarships, and loans that have paid for four years of schooling.
Even though we are not officially on the membership roll of Ann Street, we are still part of the church. It's a part of our religious heritage. From Ann Street we learned what it is to be a part of God's family. Wherever God leads us — wherever He sends us — Ann Street Church will go with us.
Charles and Jill Smith with Chuck and Kathy Jo
Lynn Moore Barnes with husband, Russell, and daughter, Christy.
Lynn Moore Barnes, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Moore, Sr., is a 1971 graduate of Methodist College, Fayetteville, where she majored in Christian education. Lynn now lives with her husband, Russell (Rusty), and daughter, Christy, in Fayetteville. (Two other Ann Street young people who have had schooling at Methodist College are Ricky Farlee and Vickie Loose.) Lynn Barnes’ reflections prove the value of the Christian example of those who work in the church.
Lynn Moore Barnes
My “conversion” did not take place at Ann Street although I was a member at the time. But certainly the ground was laid by the regular attendance that was required by my parents who have always been very active.
Again, I did not know it at the time, but the Directors of Christian Education who were employed at Ann Street in my growing up years were influential. In fact, I can remember watching one of them and saying, “I could never do that. One thing I'll never be is a Director of Christian Education!” How that was to change. . . When I had my conversion in the eleventh grade, Ann Street and its worship became very dear to me even though I was not bery good at explaining what happened to me. It was then that I decided to go into full-time Christian service, that is, the work of an Education Director. My number one model was the Rev. John White who had been employed as Minister of Education at Ann Street for only six months. Even now, he is a close friend of mine. He was a unique individual and one that I wanted to be like in his dedication and ability to communicate with youth. He was so honest in his faith.
In 1968 I served as Youth Director for the summer at Ann Street. Although it had its disadvantages in that everyone seemed to remember me as a little girl, or at least it seemed that way to me! I learned a lot and enjoyed it. I can remember telling my Daddy one evening that I was so happy to be doing that work — and that I knew that God had called me to do it.
Since then I have spent five years working in Christian Education. Although at this time I am not specifically in that type of position, I am sure that I will do it again someday.Assistant Director Of Admissions
Although Beaufort isn't home anymore and I seldom have the opportunity to attend Ann Street, the experience I had there are still a prominent part of me. When I recall Senior High days, I think fondly of those who influenced me most — people like Reverend Nicks and Mrs. Lucille Guthrie. Their love and understanding showed me that Jesus is very real and their knowledge of Christianity encouraged me to study the Scriptures.
Another church member, Mrs. Carol Hayman of Jacksonville, encouraged me to attend Louisburg College, the only junior College of North Carolina Conference. After receiving an A.A. from there and a B.A. from UNC-CH, I found myself back at Louisburg and am currently Assistant Director of Admissions. I travel mainly in Virginia and parts of North Carolina encouraging others to attend Louisburg.
As Ann Street is rich in history, so is Louisburg College. We are the oldest church — related junior college in the nation — chartered in 1787, just nine years after Ann Street.
I would personally like to wish Ann Street a happy 200th birthday and may you have many more!
Janet Leister standing by the fire with her father, Ralph.
When we, Robert and Lou Nicks, lived in Raleigh at the Methodist Home for Children (before we were sent to Ann Street), one of the most familiar expressions was “my people.” Each child had a sponsor (a church, a circle, a guild, a church school class) and that sponsor sent to the Home a certain amount of money semi-annually to clothe the child. When the money arrived, the child's houseparent took the child to town to buy the needed articles of clothing to replace those he or she had worn out or outgrown. Always this group was referred to as “my people.” Quite often the sponsoring church group would remember the child at Christmas, on his birthday, and other special occasions. It was a happy experience to have a child run up to us and say, “Look what my people sent,” or “my people are coming.”
One such child was Lilian Pruitt — now Lilian Pruitt Hammond — who lives in Raleigh helping young people by teaching Spanish in junior high. Lilian was sponsored by the Women's Society of Christian Service of Ann Street Church for all the years that she lived at the Methodist Home. We gladly hear what Lilian remembers.
It seems that more and more persons are seeing the values of living in Beaufort. Especially interesting are those who return after having tried their wings in other places. Sadie Moore Dill, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ikie Moore, is one such person and tells us about her memories.
Mrs. Jarvis (Sally) Herring “flew the coop” for a couple of weeks in November 1978 to travel with Mrs. Neil (Alice) Windley to England for the re-opening of Wesley's Chapel. I cannot think of a better way to close our reflections than to get Sally to tell somethings of her trip for this historic occasion.My People
Lilian Pruitt Hammond
It is with great fondness that I think of you at Ann Street United Methodist Church on the celebration of your 200th year. Some of the members of your church became very dear to me as a result of having invited me into your homes. Also your women's organization was very generous in providing me with a clothing
allowance twice a year while I resided at the Methodist Home for Children in Raleigh. For all of your generosity and kindness, I am thankful.
During the summers and Christmases of 1959 and 1960 I spent my vacations in the home of Alice and Neil Windley and their children, Anita, Kenneth and Royal. Also I recall a short visit with the Leonard Safrit family. These visits were very enjoyable for they provided me with the much needed experience of small family living. Summers were made fun by my entering into the activities of the youth of your church. My special appreciation goes to the Windleys for making those Christmases even happier.
It was requested that I tell you a little about myself since I left the Methodist Home for Children. In 1968 I was graduated from Greensboro College with a B.A. in Spanish. For one year I taught in Burlington and then moved back to Raleigh. This is my tenth year teaching at C.B. Aycock Jr. High in Raleigh. In December of 1972 Kenneth Wayne Hammond and I were married. Presently he is an assistant registrar at North Carolina State University. We hope that before too long we will have a child.
I thank you very much for your interest in me. My life has been made richer for having known you all.Back Home
Sadie Moore Dill
Coming back home to Beaufort has been a dream for many years, and it is especially nice to be a member again of Ann Street United Methodist Church. Being back at Ann Street is fulfilling a warmth and love that I have missed since being away.
I well remember Miss Lillian Duncan who taught me in Sunday school when I was about eight years old. She was the one who was responsible for my having learned the books of the Bible.
Mr. N. F. Eure was the Sunday School Superintendent when I played the piano for the Opening Exercises. My, how I admired Mr. Eure! And Mrs. Neva Bell had a class of pre-teenage girls. It is as if it were yesterday when she said, “Now, Girls, you are approaching the age of dating. Keep in mind when you are on a date that you will not do anything on that date that you would be ashamed for your Mother to see.” Miss Neva's teaching stayed with me and sustained me.
My Mother, Polly Moore, loved her church more than anyone I have ever known. I know she is happy in Heaven knowing that I am back home and picking up where I left off over thirty years ago. My family and old friends have welcomed me back with open arms, and I want also to show more love for them in the future.
Lilian Pruitt Hammond, now a teacher of Spanish, once lived at the Methodist Home for Children, and was sponsored by loving friends of Ann Street Church.
Clara Safrit's Party
— December 28, 1960. Lilian dances with Jarvis Herring, Jr. Others from left to right are: Seated on left: Bill Fulford (with white socks); standing: Charles McKee with hands on the shoulders of Wade Neal; Sarah Phillips, Anita Windley Hardesty, Clara Safrit Cummings, Patricia Potter Phillips, Margaret Pake Laughinghouse, Judy Thomas Brake and Linda Simpson Harris. Seated on the right: Mary Lee Gibbs Daughtry, Bonnie Ward Hamm, and Susan Taylor Turner.
It is unique that during this 200th anniversary of Ann Street Church, it should also be the 200th anniversary of the opening of old City Road Church in London — Wesley's Chapel. Methodism began in the heart of John Wesley, and now it is believed that the heart of Methodism will be in the restored chapel.
Ann Street is grateful to have had two of her members attend the re-opening of Wesley's Chapel — Mrs. Jarvis (Sally) Herring, Sr., and Mrs. Neil (Alice) Windley — on November 1, 1978. The North Carolina Conference delegation was led by the Reverend and Mrs. John Cline, who served in Beaufort from 1957-61.
Sally has come home jubilant, grateful, renewed. Hear her own story.“O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing. . .”
Before leaving for England, I had read John Wesley's Journals, and I was beginning to understand something of our father of Methodism. But not until I walked as a pilgrim where he had been and shared in the services with worshipers (half of whom were Americans who had contributed to the chapel's $2 million restoration), did I feel I really knew that great Christian whose heart was “strangely warmed.” We were caught up in the festive occasion and experienced ourselves the knowledge and feeling of John Wesley's devotion to Christ and his open door policy to ALL — regardless of their station in life.
The one thing that impressed me most is that Wesley's Chapel is not just a shrine to Methodism for tourists to admire. It is a living church with a minister (Ron Gibbons) and a congregation. The chapel is located in a section of London that obviously needs a center for serving the people.
Even though I was impressed with the fanfare of trumpets that escorted Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip into the chapel, knowing that never before had a reigning British Monarch (temporal head of the Church of England) attended a Methodist Service, another event meant even more to me. That took place the night before (October 31, 1978) when, at a banquet for more than 950 Methodists from all the world — nearly 800 from the United States, four from Carteret County, two from Ann Street, stood up and sang Charles Wesley's hymn:
It rang out with love for each other and for God like I've never heard before. That's when my heart was strangely warmed.
Alice and I were happy to represent Ann Street at such an historic occasion, but nothing is like home!
Wesley's Chapel, London
— “the Cathedral of Methodism,” opened in 1778. Restored and re-opened November 1, 1978.
— O for a thousand tongues to sing my great redeemer's praise!” Alice Cline said to attend the reopening of Wesley's Chapel made her proud to be a Methodist. From left to right are: Sally Herring, Alice Windley, John Cline, and Alice Cline.
This picture, taken by the Rev. John Cline, shows the Queen of England and Prince Philip riding in the royal carriage from Buckingham Palace to the opening of Parliament on November 1, 1978. This same day the queen attended the reopening of our protestant Wesley's Chapel — a historical event never before done by a reigning British Monarch. The prince read the Scripture.
Ikie and Polly Moore (now deceased) parents of Sadie Dill, who wrote the article “Back Homes.” They also have other children in the church: Eric and Leslie Moore and Nita Jarman.
One of the memorable men who taught Sunday School at Ann St. for years was “Judge” Julian F. Duncan, Sr. Here he is pictured in a characteristic pose in the Court House. The calendar on the wall reads 1938. The class he taught was named in his honor and is still quite active. His granddaughter, Lou Willis, says that he was offered judgeship but he said he could not judge his fellowman. However, the title stuck anyway.
T. D. (Tommy) Eure gave freely of his time — yet he worked behind the scene much of the time. It was Tommy's father for whom the Eure Building was named, and also his grandfather was a Methodist minister.
Miss Charlotte Sanders (better known as “Miss Lottie”) is standing in front of her home on Front Street waiting to go to church where she spent most of her time. Her home was the Sloo House (now owned by Mrs. Harvey Smith) built in 1768. Miss Lottie is buried in the Old Burying Ground adjacent to the church.
With youth like this PLUS Christ, Ann Street United Methodist Church has a great future ahead.
under the direction of Jan Smith with the help of Virginia Hults: 1st row, I to r: Michael Taylor, Kyle Willis, Sonny Ingram, Tami Hults, Donna Hawkins, Tim Farlow, and Brad Griggs; 2nd row: Beth Hill, Lene Williams, Vonnie Smith, Gary Byrd, and John Farlow. Not pictured is Pat Merrill.
Elementary II and III. Teachers: Carolyn Byrd and Lynda Garrett; I to r, a visitor, Kell Hults, Brad Taylor, Christy Bridges, Janet Carol Blerman, Crystal Lewis, Ashley Garrett, Kim Willis, and Jeff Jordan.
Kathy Lewis works with Jennifer Smith, Nathan Fulford and Tanya Fulford.
NURSERY III AND IV
Grades VII and VIII with Leonard
Safrit, Jr., Teacher.
Kelly Beveridge Janet Carol Beirman Christy Bridges Tanya Fulford Ashley Garrett Barbara Hawkins Keli Hults Jeff Jordan Crystal Lewis Lisa Lewis Franklin Pavlik Kim Pavlik Kerry Willis Kim Willis Valerie Willis
photo of children singing in choir at the church altar