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Welcome to C Boyd's Wiregrass Roots XV

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Nora Bessie and Walter Aldridge
Elder W O Gibson & Wife
Dempsey Griffin
Mt. Olive Newly Resided
Pleasant Dempsey Griffin Family

The above picture is of Elder Moses Thrift (17 May 1850-21 Nov 1919. Moses is my 1st cousin 3 times removed.) Thanks to Cousin Luther Thrift of Waycross, GA.

Excerp from a letter to Cousin Gregory Wainright regarding the building of this new section on my web page, dated 6 February 1999.

I am feeling rather moved as I construct this new page and think of the people who were making this history. Jimma and Nanny still there at Mt. Olive and others sleeping there as well. (As I write this history I am also becoming a part of it and it is larger than my small imput. BUT, what a privilege to be privy to it and be able to pass it along. As I record it here and really get into it and think about what makes me, made me, who I am, I say to something out there beyond my ken that I am thankful. In a split second I am on the front porch at the Griffin Place with Granny Nan in her high back rocker, Granddaddy and Grandmother in theirs and me in the swing with Jeff the dog under foot. Grandmother is reading to us all from the Waycross Journal Herald in the quiet of that country setting. Not a radio nor tv, just the sounds of the farm and the woods as the day comes to its end.)

A Coveanent of the Church

For as Much as Almighty God by his grace has pleased to call us whose names are under writen subscribed out of darkness in to the marvilous light and all of us haveing been Baptised upon a confession of our faith in christ Jesus and has given up our selves to the lord and to one another in a gospil church there to be governed an gided by a gospil deciplin agreeable to the word of god we do therefore in the name of our lord Jesus an by his assistance covanent an agree to keep up the disiplin of the church we are member of and in the most Brotherly affection towards each other whilst we endever functilly to observe following rules in brotherly love to pray for each other to watch over one another an if needs be in the most tender affectionate maner to reprove one another that if we discover any thing amiss a brother to go an tell him his falts acording to the direction given by our lord in the 18th of St Matheus gospel and not to backbiting we also agree to atten our Church meetings an not absent our selves from the communion of the lords supper with out a lawful excuse to be ready to communecate to depraying of the church expernces and not to depart from the fellowship of the church nor remove to distant churches with out a regular disimission. These things we do covenent an agree to abserve and keepe sacred in the name of and by the assistance of the trenity amen. Sined by the mutual consent of the members whose names are under subscribed.

Names of males

Bro Richard Lee
James M. Herrin
W T James
Bev Morgan

Names of females

Elizabeth Lee
Jane E Herrin
Sarah A James
Litha Morgan

There is no date with this entry. I have typed it from a xerox copy which my cousin, W. Kenneth Sylvester, sent me. It was copied from minutes from Mt. Olive Primitive Baptist Church located out of Manor, Ware County, Georgia by Kenneth's mother, Mabel Aldridge Sylvester Hinson. From other materials I have I believe the above was written by Richard Lee.

I transcribed the spelling and the punctuation exactly as I saw it. There is a squiggly line separating the men's names from the women's with the men's names on the left side and the women's on the right.

Richard Lee (23 Feb 1838-28 Jan 1923) son of George Lee (1801-13 Oct. 1890) and Rebecca Griffis (1808-before 1869) a daughter of Samuel Griffis (1775-1859), married Elizabeth Cason (1 Dec 1841- 26 April 1923) was a daughter of Allison Cason. Richard was a grandson of John Lee, R.S. (born between 1750 & 1760-died about 1838) and Elizabeth Jordan?. "Richard Lee lived near Ruskin in Ware County, and he and his wife were members of High Bluff Primitive Baptist Church. He was an ordained minister and pastored churches of his faith in Ware and Charlton and Brantley Counties. They were buried in the cemetery at High Bluff Church." POWG, Huxford, Vol. 7. pp. 240-241.
Richard and Elizabeth had eleven children. Richard is brother to Ardelia Lee who married Moses Thrift and James Lee who married Catherine Miller a daughter of Ezekiel Stafford Miller.(q. v.)

W T James is William Thomas James (3 Mar 1827- 20 April 1896) a son of Benjamin James (4 Mar 1796-1861) and Sarah Riggins (7 Aug 1796-27 Jan 1872), daughter of Ebenezer Riggins. He married Sarah Bennett (13 April 1833-3 May 1908) a daughter of Richard A. Bennett (1803-abt 1865) and Lavinia Newman (1806-abt 1845). W T and Sarah had fifteen children. The James became members of the Providence Primitive Baptist Church and are buried there. Their plantation is about two miles away. The cemetery holds the remains of many of my family members. It is located near the Clinch County and Ware County line. A quarter of a mile away is the Camp Branch Holiness Church and cemetery. Many of the people buried in these two cemeteries were related.

Update: I got the information about the James being buried in Providence Cemetery from POWG Vol. 2. Since I wrote this Cousin Tom Corbett notified me that they are buried in the James Cemetery on the Randal McQuaig Farm outside of Manor. Also in a booklet entitled History of the James Family by descendents, Richard Arnold James and John Henry Watts, I read that W. T. and Sarah were "buried in the field near the house." Perhaps this is the way this cemetery was begun. Does anyone know?

The above covenant had to be written before the James joined the Providence Church some years before W T James' death in 1896.

Note the names and dates in the following minutes from Mt. Olive as recorded by James Monroe Henderson (28 Jan 1854-3 Oct 1928) my great grandfather who was the church clerk. (His father was Lewis Jarrell Henderson, CSA (15 April 1828-25 Nov 1868) and his mother was Martha Ann Miller Henderson Thornton (25 Dec 1833-17 May 1918). Martha Ann's father was Ezekiel Stafford Miller (15 June 1812-4 Mar 1863) and her mother was Elender Dyess (16 Oct 1813-31 May 1869).

The Church at mount Olive met in conference may the 31 1884 called for buisness and on motion P D Griffin was apointed Clerk Protem on motion Brother James M Henderson was elected Clerk and there being no other buisness conference rose then the Church went into her annuel conference and on motion called for corresponddan letters and seven was handed in and read one from enon one from pilgrims Hope one from Mill Creek and one from Smyrna one from Shiloh one from High Bluff and one from Piney Grove all of which was received by the extention of the right Hand of fellowship to there messengers and there being no other buissness conference adjourned Sunday morning met according to adjournment and after Divine Service the Lords Supper was administerd by Elders Ruben Crawford and James H. Strickland and the washing of the Saints feet was Performed then rose and dissmist in order (P D Griffin is Pleasant Dempsey Griffin (22 June 1848-4 May 1921). He is a son of Dempsey Griffin (8 June 1825-2 Nov 1897) and Mary Elizabeth Dowling (27 June 1825-4 Oct 1902). He is a grandson of James Griffin (abt 1795-March 1860) and Nancy Burnside (between 1798-1800-Dec 1859). "Demps" was the father of 21 children. He was married twice. His first wife was Jane Elizabeth Thornton (16 Feb 1844-31 Dec 1884) a daughter of George Winfield Thornton (1822-1895) and Mary Moody (1820- Feb 1870). His second wife was Mary Lee (6 Nov 1861-30 May 1946). Mary was born on Billy's Island in the Okefenokee Swamp to James Lee and Catherine Miller Lee. P D Griffin is buried in High Bluff along with his two wives and 17 of his 21 children. His mother Mary is buried beside him. P D is my 1st cousin 3 times removed.) "The Griffin family has been associated closely with High Bluff Church for the last one hundred and seventy years." POWG, VOL. 10 page 183. (Reuben Crawford was born in Effingham Co., GA to Ukn and Marcilla Ukn Crawford on 29 Feb 1801 and died June 1887 and is buried at Shiloh.)

Mount Olive Church met in conference August the 2 1884 and after Divine Service the moderator made nown to the congragation that a door of the church was open for reception of members and none came moved and seconted that if no futher buiseness Conference ajon till tomorro ten oclock and Sunday morning according to to Saturdays adjurnment and read and received a letter. And messengers to bare the Same to our sister Church Mill creek

Elder E S Strickland moderator
J M Henderson C C

Mt. Olive Church met in conference Sept the 6 1884 and after divine service the moderator made none to the congration that a door of the Church was open for the recption of members and none came on motion called for coresponding letters and read and received and messengers to bear the same one to High Bluff Messenger J M Henderson one to Shiloh messenger J M Henderson Sister Nancy A. Herrin moved and second that J M Henderson be appointed to draw up a petition to Sister Churches for aid to asist in building of a meeting house moved & second by request of bro E.S. Strickland that we grant Sister Surenia Rowell a letter of dismission to any other Church of the Same faith and order when ever joined
moved & second that if no futher buiseness Conference rise
R Lee moderator pro term
J. M. Henderson C C

Mt Olive Church met in conference Oct 4th 1884 and after Divine Service the moderator made Known to the congration that a door of the Church was open for reception of members and one came forward & was received by experience Sister Nancy E. Thornton. moved and seconted that J. M Henderson be Appointed as trustee to hold the deed to mount Olive Church moved & second that the association & corresponding letters be called for & read read & received one to the assoceation & delegates to hear the same delegates name One to Pilgrimes hope & one to Piney grove (J.M. Henderson is written above Piney grove & M. A. Thornton is written under Pilgrimes hope.) Moved & second that conference adadjourn til tomorow morning 9 oclock.
Elder F F Kimbril moderator
J M Henderson C C

Sunday morning Oct the 5 1884 out at the water and the moderator made known to the congregation that a door was open for reception of members but received none. Then Sister Nancy E Thornton was Baptised then the congration returned to the House. (I think this Is Nancy Ellen Henderson, sister of James Monroe Henderson. She was born 11 Jan 1856 and died 28 Jan 1936. She married Felix Winfield "Uncle Fee" Thornton. I do not have his dates. Nancy Ellen is my great grand aunt.)

Mt Olive Church met in conference Nov the 8 1884 and after Divine Service the moderator made Known to the Congration that a door of the Church is open for the receiption of members and received none. Moved & second that Mt Olive Church grant Sister Litha Morgan a letter of Dismission to any other Church of the Same faith and order moved and seconted that if no further buiseness that conference rise.
Elder E S Strickland
J M Henderson

Mt Olive Church met in conferrence January the 31 1885 and after divine service the moderator made Known to the congration that a door of the Church is open for the recept of members and recieved none moved and seconted that Brother, Moses, Thrift be called to the asistent care of Mt Olive Church for the year 1885 moved and seconted that if no futher buissness conference rise
Bro M. Thrift. Moderator
J. M. Henderson C C
(Moses "Mose" Thrift (17 May 1850-21 Nov 1919) was a son of Leroy Earl Thrift (1815-14 July 1893 and Pinky Coleman (1820-1855), daughter of William and Milly Sasser Coleman. Leroy was a son of Robert T. Thrift (1772?-1837) and Unknown Thrift and brother to Carr William Thrift (1805-1880) and Unity Unknown (1804?-1855) Carr and Unity were my gg grand parents.) Moses married Ardelia Lee (1848-1891), sister to Richard Lee and James Lee. (q. v.)

Mt Olive Church met in conference Feb the 28th 1885 and after divine service the moderator made known to the Congration that a door of the Church is open for the reception of members and received by letter three Sister Catherine Lee and brother Richard Lee and Sister Elisabeth Lee. moved and seconted to change the time of our yearley meeting from June to November moved and seconted that if no futher buiseness Conferences rise.
Elder F. F. Kimbril moderator

J. M. Henderson C. C.

Mt Olive Church met in Conference July the 6th 1912 & being our Moderator is abcent by move & second Elder J. A. Strickland was appointed & made Known to the congragation that a door of the Church is open for the reception of Members & received one to wit who came forward & was received by experience. Moved & second that if there be no futher business to claim the attention of this conference that the minuit taken be read & amended if needs be & conferrence adjourn till tomorrow morning 10 Oclock to meet at the water.

Elder J. A. Strickland Moderator

J. M Henderson C C

Met Sunday Morning according to Saterday's adjournment This July the 7th 1912 & Nora B. Henderson was Baptised by Elder J A Strickland

(Sister Nora B. Henderson is Nora Bessie (28 Jan 1895-6 Apr 1972). She is a daughter of J. M. Henderson and Nancy Ann Bennett (13 Sept-1860-14 Dec 1957), daughter of John Bennett, CSA (May 1838-Nov 1915). John is the son of Henry Bennett (5 Sept 1808-abt 1862) and Nancy Corbitt (1815-abt 1885) and Sarah Wilson (1840-1890/1900). Sarah is the daughter of Jesse Wilson (1790-ukn) and Mary Snowden (1800-ukn). Nora married James Walter Aldridge (12 Sept 1890-4 May 1919) the following November.

If you can identify James M. and Jane E. Herrin and Bev Morgan and Litha Morgan, and E.S. Strickland, please email me with the information.

I have added a picture of Mt. Olive to this page. It was taken by Cousin Sharon Maddrey last summer. Mt. Olive sat empty for years with only the chameleons, dirt daubers, and termites. Granny Nan's little chair disappeared, and the wide plank lumber stored in the rafters was stolen. Then a group of people appeared and began to restore the church. They tore the old siding off and made repairs and replaced it with green pine siding. The old windows were replaced with new glass ones, the old shutters being thrown away. I wish they would rebuild the old water shed which covered the water hand pump. The original pine floors on the men's side of the church had diamond shaped holes cut in them. These were for the men to spit their tobacco juice through to the ground below. I don't know if these were ripped out or simply covered over during the renovation and restoration.

I read with interest an account of the famous Civil War diarist from South Carolina, Mary Chesnut, about visiting a Sunday morning worship service at a Methodist Church. She wrote about how the floor was absolutely covered in tobacco juice and not only did the women have to lift up their long gowns to avoid having them stained, but also how the floor was dangerously slippery.

After reading this I decided that if men were going to chew their tobacco during a service, then these "spit holes" made more sense than just spitting on the floor. If chewing tobacco was used during the service, was cigarette smoking also tolerated? Yes. This may sound shocking to some of us but the elder who conducted Grandmother Griffin's funeral in 1981 smoked during the service. My brother Dennis was a pallbearer at her funeral and he said that our first cousin, Darrell Reese Griffin, who was also a pallbearer asked him where the smoke was coming from at the pulpit area. The elder was seated and hidden from view and was having a smoke before the funeral sermon. I am not saying this is right or wrong; I am just stating a fact.

I don't know any of these new people. But I would like to know who they are and where they came from. Is the church still called Mt. Olive? Is it still Primitive Baptist--Hard Shell? Who is the elder? Perhaps someone reading this has the answers to my questions. My great grandfather Jimma held the church deed and the last one in my family to have it was his youngest daughter, Mattie Eleanor Henderson Evans Underwood Paul (30 July 1901-24 July 1996).

This page was begun on 5 February 1999. More to follow... If you find errors and mistakes, please email me with your corrections.

I plan to create a page for Mt. Olive with the names of my relatives who are buried in the church yard with some pictures of their monuments.

Christopher Boyd
Corrections and additions made 1 April 1999