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Home History >> Jenkins Memoir >> PART TWO

My Dear Britton's Neck, South Carolina
--from Memoir of James Jenkins, 1842

Contributed by Sandra Richardson Pound, 15 August 2000


1793 Conference held at Charleston, the first of the year; indeed, it commenced the 24th of Dec., '92. At this conference Samuel Richer, James Donthet admitted on trial I was sent to the Oconee circuit, in Georgia; left still in company with the friends of my choice, Lipsey and Gibson (58). In consequence of the Indian settlements bordering on my circuit, I was again exposed to danger from this quarter. They killed two young men within three miles of one of my appointments. The whites were alarmed, and raised a block-house in Pullen's neighbourhood; they also assembled at Gen. Irvin's seventeen miles above the former place, on the Oconee; but did not fortify there. On one occasion, after preaching at Irvin's some friends said it would not be safe for me to go down to the fort, at Pullen's, inasmuch as the way lay through a swamp where several murders had been committed. I concluded at first that I would not go; but afterward feeling uneasy about it, I told them I must go at all hazards. It was then said, "Well, if you will go, some of us must go with you;" whereupon, four young men, armed with guns, set out with me for the fort. We reached there about dark, unharmed, unmolested; but as soon as I entered the enclosure, I had to face the great enemy of God and man, (the devil,) by reproving sinners, of whom there were not a few (63).

I became convinced this year that wicked and unprincipled men were the cause of most of the outrages and cruelties committed by the Indians. A large company of such wretches wished to plunder an Indian town on Flint River, and for this purpose marched toward it with guns, dogs, and horns, hoping, by the great noise they made, to frighten the Indians and drive them away. In this, however, they were disappointed; the Indians determined to defend their property; and accordingly concealed themselves under the banks of the river. As soon as the white men had forded about half way across the river, the signal was given, and a volley was poured forth by the Indians from the banks which seemed to be in one entire blaze. At the first fire, two men were killed and several wounded; the young man who related to me the whole affair was himself saved by the pommel of his saddle, into which a ball entered, that would otherwise have proved fatal (65).

I will here mention an instance of Indian cruelty, which happened a few years before, and which I learned from brother D. Jackson, in whose family it occurred. Brother Jackson had gotten about fifty yards from his house one morning, going after his horses, when, hearing a yell, he looked round and saw several Indians entering his house. They murdered his wife and two servants; shot his daughter, about twelve years of age, through the body, scalped her, and then placed the infant on the hearth almost in the fire. Soon after they left the house, the girl they considered as dead, revived, and seeing the position of the infant, moved it away from the fire; it, however, soon died in consequence of this exposure. The girl recovered entirely, and was married about he time I entered the circuit (65-66).

1794. Conference, January 1st, at Finche's, in Broad River circuit. At this conference, James King and Richard Posey were admitted; and Jno Crawford and James Holley located. Brother Ellis was transferred to the Virginia Conference, and Philip Bruce to this, and made presiding elder in his place (67). Santee circuit was formed by Richard Smith, in 1786, and included the districts of Sumter, Kershaw, and a part of Richland (68). The commencement of the year had been rainy; but about July the weather became dry, and the fever prevailed with great fatality. While the sickly season lasted, brother Cannon and myself preached about forty funeral sermons (68-69).

1795 Conference at Charleston. I think Methodism was introduced into Charleston in 1785. Brother Henry Willis visited the place early in this year, and having obtained a letter of recommendation from brother Wayne of Georgetown to Mr. Edgar Wells, a respectable merchant of the city, he called on him. Bishop Asbury visited the city for the first time about the last of February of this year; and before he left, this same Mr. Wells was converted, and his wife brought under powerful convictions (70).

The first conference held here was on the 12th of March, 1788; at which time Duke W. Hullom, Henry M. Gains, Benj. Matthews, Wm. Guiry, were admitted. Thos. Humphries, Hope Hull, Wm. M'Dowell, Coleman Carlisle, Arthur Lipsey, and Jno. Crawford, located. But to return to our conference of 1795. The bishop brought two additional labourers from Virginia: Samuel Cowls and James Rogers. From this conference S. Cowls and myself were appointed to Broad River circuit, which was formed in 1785, by Stephen Johnson. It commenced in the Dutch Fork and extended north on both sides of Broad River as far as the Pacolet Springs, including a part of Newberry, Fairfield, Chester, and Union districts. Within this circuit lived several local preachers, who had been the pioneers of Methodism in that section; among these were brothers Gossett and Partridge (70-71).

About this time the bishop was with us, I was so afflicted with pain and weakness in the breast, I asked permission to travel with him to the Western Conference, but he was not willing. I also suffered from an inflammation in one leg, (71). After this, I was afflicted with sore eyes, which for a time prevented me from reading: added to this, I received a rupture in the abdomen, which caused me many painful hours, both mental and physical (72).

1796 Conference January 1, again at Charleston. Isaac Smith, Benjamin Tarrant, Nicholas Waters, and William Fullwood, located this year (76).

In the course of this year the Methodists in Charleston were exposed to much persecution. On one occasion, while a prayer-meeting was being conducted at Mrs. Wells', on Broad-street, a mob collected, and split up the cellar door to obtain sticks, with which to fight their way among the despised Methodists; in this way the meeting for that night was broken up. Several of these vulgar and unruly men were indicted, (one of them, the son of a distinguished citizen of South Carolina,) but at the intercession of the friends of the young men, brother Blanton and sister Wells agreed to stop the prosecution, on condition, perhaps, that they should pay thirty dollars to the Orphan-house. Some of those who had been beaten were quite dissatisfied with the compromise (77).

This proved to be another year of suffering to me. Some time in April my horse fell with me, and catching my leg under him, injured it greatly. Immediately above the ankle was a bruise several inches long, which was more painful than any thing I had ever suffered. I kept it constantly poulticed, in order to allay the inflammation, and when riding, had to elevate my foot, by placing it on the upper part of the horse's shoulder. In preaching had to stand on one foot, resting the other on the seat behind me. Whenever my friends saw it, they would entreat me to discontinue travelling until I recovered, but to this I could not consent, so long as I was able at all to ride. I recollect having to travel thirty miles on a very hot day, in June, I think; and in the evening, having arrived at old mother Stephens's, on Beaver Dam Creek, after taking some refreshment I walked out to the woods, and when seated took off the dressing from my leg, when the wound appeared so black I was sure mortification had commenced; it did not, however, make me feel very uneasy, thought I was anxious to find some one to fill my place on the circuit. As I considered I must quit now at all events (78-79).

Nearly all the societies were revived, but Jeffrey's Creek meeting-house shared more bountifully than the rest (79).

1797 Conference commenced on the 5th of January at Charleston….The conference admitted Alexander M'Cain, Loammi Floyd, George Shanks, William West, Robert Gains, and Samuel Douthell. Hezekiah Arnold, Samuel Cowls, and William Moody, located. here I was ordained elder, and I felt that as I rose in the church I must make corresponding improvements in piety and usefulness (82-82). 1798. Conference again at Charleston. We used a room at the house of brother Myers. Bishop Asbury could not attend, inconsequence of affliction. Jesse Lee preached the pastoral sermon, from "And ye younger, submit yourselves to the elder," and Jonathan Jackson stationed the preachers, at the bishop's request, he being better acquainted with the men and work than any one else (84). The conference was agreeable throughout. George Dougherty, Thomas Milligan, Thomas Shaw, and Hanover Donnan, were admitted on trial. Brother James King had died of yellow fever in Charleston; it was said of him, "He gave his life, his labours, and fortune to the church and his brethren." (85). I was appointed to Bladen circuit with brothers Wilson and Milligan. Brother Jackson was our presiding elder. My colleagues entered on their work at once, but I was detained at home a few weeks, having to fix a house for my mother. The circuit lay partly in North and Sough Carolina, extending from Long Bay to Cape Fear, and including Kingston, now Conwayboro', Lumberton, Elizabeth, Smithville, and Old Brunswick court-house (85).

On my first round my course was obstructed by high water; in one instance I had to swim my horse over, and then return for my saddlebags and clothing by way of an old, precarious bridge (85-86). In the fall I took the fever, and had to stop one day to take medicine, but got my appointment filled. The next day I rode with the fever on me. I suffered some this year, but had much comfort and prosperity in my soul. Here the homespun coat, which my mother gave me, wore out, so much so that I lost one sleeve from the elbow down; but rather than lose time to go and obtain a new one, I went on round the circuit sleeveless in one arm, until a brother exchanged with me, giving me the best of the bargain (87). 1799. Conference January 1st, at Charleston. The conference admitted Lewis Myers, Zechariah Maddox, William Avants, and Moses Matthews. Josias Randle, Charles Ledbetter, Richard Posey, Henry M. Gains, Mark more, and Thomas Humphries, located. John Jones had died. I think we had a harmonious session, and left for our work with renewed strength. I was sent to Edisto circuit with brother Matthews, and Dillard; brother Blanton was our presiding elder. This circuit was first supplied by brother E. West in 1787, but Methodism was introduced here tow years before by brother Willis, from Charleston. (88-89). Some time in the spring one of our churches was burned down, where we had twenty-six members, thirteen of whom, however, I expelled. At my first appointment afterward I preached to them seated on a log, but after this me met at the house of a Baptist, living in the neighbourhood, who kindly opened his door to receive us (90).

We were hindered somewhat in our work this year by brother Matthews' horse being stolen: he had to lie still nearly six weeks. The miserable thief had just before been detected in a like crime, and narrowly escaped with his life; not long after that he was shot down while riding a stolen horse. "The way of transgressors is hard."(90).

1800 Conference again at Charleston. Six were admitted at this conference, viz.--John Campbell, Ezekiel Burdine, Levi Garrison, Jeremiah Russell, Moses Floyd, and Buddy W. Wheeler. I think no one located. My appointment, in the first instance, was back again to Edisto, with the understanding that it was to be divided, and I spend six months on each part; but about the close of the conference Floyd left us, and joined the Presbyterians, so as I was in the act of taking leave of the bishop, quite pleased at my reappointment to Edisto, he said, "You must go to Santee in Floyd's place" (92).

Santee and Catawba circuits had been united several years, and at this time reached from St. Paul's, near Nelson's ferry, on Santee River, to Providence, within ten miles of Charlotte, North Carolina. It lay on both sided of the Santee River, which we had to cross five times every round, that is, every six weeks. Soon after entering upon my work I got my leg severely bruised against a stump, by my horse taking fright. I know not that I ever felt keener pain in all my life; I screamed aloud, believing that my leg was broken; it soon inflamed, and became extremely sore. In this condition I met the bishop at Monk's Corner, according to agreement, that I might accompany him through my circuit. Next day I traveled about thirty miles, through the snow, to the widow Tuck's. Here the bishop saw my wound, and exclaimed, "I wish you were at home." In was with difficulty that I continued, but I lost no appointment on account of it. The next day we crossed the Santee, and came to St. Paul's, where the bishop preached; thence to Rembert's, Camden, and Norton's at which place we parted. So cold was the weather, one of my heels had become a little frost-bitten (93).

I continued to labour till toward the last of April, when I started for General Conference. I went by home, and spent a night in Britton's Neck. The society here was broken up, and they were raising their children like heathens. I left an appointment to preach to them on my return from Baltimore. From the Neck I directed my course to Cape Fear River, where I spent the sabbath among my old friends (94). On my return I had to lie by one day in consequence of hard and constant rain, and when I started I found nearly every river and creek overrunning. I had to cross on old bridges and floats, and frequently swam my horse by the side of a canoe. Cape Fear was truly dangerous. When I came to Pee Dee, within a day's ride of my appointment in the Neck, not being able to cross at the desired place, I went to the next ferry below, and started over, but the flat stranded on a sand bank, and finding no means of relief, I plunged my horse into the water, expecting him to swim; this, however, he did not, but the water ran over his back, and I was wet to my waist. In this condition I went to the church, where I found the congregation waiting, and without saying a word to any one, I commenced preaching in the name of the Lord (95).

Soon after this a second society was raised here, and there has continued to be one ever since. Brothers Greaves, Ellison, and Richardson, were raised up in this society. I spend the night with brother Woodbury. Next morning a boy swam my horse across the lakes or creeks, and William (now General Woodbury) carried me across in a canoe. I talked to him about his soul until I supposed he became tired of it, when he upset the canoe, pretending it was accident. I did not mind getting wet so much as getting my books ruined (96).

The addresses from conference soon reached the south, and kindled a flame of persecution against us. At Manchester a mob was raised to take brother Garrison on his preaching day; but he took to the bushes and escaped. My time was to come next, and I expected hot work, for I was resolved to stand my ground. On riding up to the village I saw them standing in the street; I bid them good morning, and went on to the church. When I was preaching, in they came, but took seats. I thought it was no time to be meally mouthed, hence I poured out the law and the consequences of sin with unmeasured severity. After sermon I began to administer the sacrament, and while on my knees, one fellow took off the loaf of bread, and another touched me on the shoulder, saying, "I wish to speak with you." When I arose, I told him, I would hear him when I was done. He then forbid my giving the sacrament to the negroes. I asked him, if any of them belonged to him? He replied, "No." "Yes," said I, "these upstarts are always the greatest opposers of religion." He then ordered the negroes out of the house, which broke up the meeting. About this time, the fellow that had taken the bread said, "if you will come out here I will give you the little end of this," holding up his whip. So I took my saddle-bags, and walked out. When I got out he said, "I suppose you have a heap of money in your saddle-bags," I replied, if I had, it did not belong to him. This, after all, they did not lay violent hands on me (96-97).

1801. Conference at Camden, January l. Brothers Thomas Darley, James H. Mellard, Benjamin Jones, William Jones, and Issaac Cook, were admitted on trial; and brothers Robert Gaines, William West, George Clark, Lewellin Evans, Rufus Wiley, and Josiah Cale, located. Until this conference, the whole work, both in South Carolina and Georgia had been superintended by one presiding elder, but now each state had its own district. I was appointed to the South Carolina district, extending from Charleston to the mountains, and from the Savannah to Cape Fear River (98-99).

The Guerry's, Muchatts, Remberts, and several other families, were Protestants called Huguenots, who fled from religious persecution in France, and settled on Santee, where they found a safe retreat from that intolerant spirit which induced them to leave their naïve land. From this circumstance the neighbourhood was called the French Settlement (101-102).

1802. Conference January St, at Camden again. We admitted on trial H. Porter, James Hill, and Samuel Mills. Jeremiah Norman located. The South Carolina district was divided this year into the Saluda and Camden districts. George Dougherty was put in charge of the former, and I of the latter (109). From this place I went to Union circuit, where brother Richardson preached on Saturday, and so much power attended his words I had well night fallen to the earth (109).

It will be seen, that thus far I have said nothing about camp meetings; indeed, until now, we had had none in this state. They were becoming quite common in some of the states, particularly in Kentucky and Tennessee; where they commenced about the year 1800, under the labours of William and John M'Ghee--the one a Presbyterian, the other a Methodist, minister. They unite their labours on their sacramental occasions, at which the work of the Lord broke out; and such were the gracious results of these meetings, that in a short time multitudes came from every direction: some prepared to remain only a day at a time, others in wagons to stay all night: and soon, others again put up small tents and camped during the meeting. It was not long before other ministers and communities, seeing the good effects of these meetings, were induced to hold similar ones for their own benefit, so that in two years their example was followed by nearly all our conferences (110-111).

The first ever held by the Methodists in this state was in June, of this same year, at the Hanging Rock. The particulars of these meetings may be seen by a letter which I wrote to Bishop Asbury soon after, as follows:--Camden, South Carolina, June 30th, 1803 (115).

The Methodists had another general meeting a few days past at the Hanging Rock. There were fifteen ministers, Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian, with about three thousand people. The work began in some degree on Friday night: The preachers were singing, praying, or preaching, all the night. Saturday evening it began again at the stand. Sabbath evening, at the close of the sacrament, some fell to the earth; and the exercise continued the whole night. Monday morning the people came together again, and began singing and exhorting: the Lord wrought again, and this was the greatest time. They were crying for mercy on all sides. One man, that had, on sabbath evening, been in a dreadful and unreasonable rage, at the close of this meeting the power of God brought to plead for mercy. I found him weeping; he had watered the ground with his tears. We judged twelve or fifteen had found peace A letter from Daniel Asbury informs me, he never saw such a work; and that he had joined fifty in going round the Yadkin circuit (116-117).

My next camp meeting was at Scarborough's meetinghouse, in Little Pee Dee circuit (119).

1803. Conference again at Camden, which commenced, as usual, on the first of January. We admitted James Crowder and John M'Vear at this conference; and Thomas Nelson and John Harper located. My time out of conference was almost wholly employed in receiving money from the preachers for the books they had sold; for in those days presiding elders were accountable for all the books sold in their districts (123-124).

This fall I attended a sacramental meeting in Georgetown. While brother Mellard was preaching, some persecuting sinners commenced talking near the door. This induced me to go and take my seat among them, which for some time made them look quite wild. But unwilling to be outdone, one said to his companion, "Joe, snuff that candle; it is so dark I can't hear." I ordered silence; but directly they commenced pushing the seat back, as though they would turn it over. I took the candle, and asked brother Wayne if he knew these fellows; for I thought of indicting them for disturbing us. This, however, did but enrage them, and soon after, during a prayer meeting at brother Wayne's they set fire to his house, which broke up the meeting, though the fire was soon extinguished (138).

Jenkins Memoir, Part Three

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