Life And Times Of Benjamin Van Pelt Letter Size


2 7 Bishop Asbury Visits the Van Pelt Family  Bishop Asbury Visits the Van Pelt Family  in Western Greene County in Western Greene County When Asbury was headed wes he often rode from the Earnest home to the Benjamin Van Pelt home and "meeting- house" in the Thula Community of western Greene County. The Reverend William Burke wrote, "At an early time,  Benjamin Van Pelt moved from Alexandria, Virginia, and seled on Lick Creek, Greene County, Tennessee. He had  considerable talent and was useful in that new country; several societies were formed by his ministry, and one of  the ï rst Methodist chapels in this country was Van Pelt's Meetinghouse. He was one of the "Fathers of Methodist  Class Meetings in Tennessee." Like Felix Earnes Benjamin Van Pelt was ordained as a Methodist minister by  Bishop Asbury. Although Van Pelt's Meetinghouse did not survive to our day, it was an important place of Christian  worship for this community from 1790"“1816. Asbury was introduced to Benjamin Van Pel Sr during his visit  with Peter Van Pelt on Staten Island in 1771. Filled with the hope of land and opportunity, Benjamin and Mary  Collins Van Pelt moved from Staten Island to Alexandria, Virginia. From there, they joined the movement of selers  from Virginia into the wilds of Western North Carolina; now East Tennessee. The astute Bishop Francis Asbury  realized his evangelist mission would require him to follow the people in this westward journey. And so he did,  preaching the gospel to all who would listen. It is no surprise that Asbury would ï nd awarm welcome at the Van  Pelt's home, his old friends from Staten Island who preceded him to Greene County. The Van Pelt and Crosby Families  The Van Pelt and Crosby Families  of Western Greene County of Western Greene County The Crosby and Van Pelt families moved from Fauquier County, Virginia to Greene County, Tennessee between  1789 and 1790. Caleb Pickens Crosby compiled The Crosby Family History, which is available in the T. Elmer Cox  Historical Library in Greeneville, Tennessee. According to his repor Susannah Conway Crosby and seven of her  and Uriel Crosby's older children moved in 1789 in the company of her nephew, Thomas Conway. Uriel and the  other children arrived on or about 26 Jun 1790. The Crosby's have been prominent members of this community  and were instrumental in the organization of Concord Baptist Church. Crosby family records indicate a Christian  worship community dating to 1796; however, the ofï cial charter for The Concord Church is 1823. The ï rst Baptist  church in Greene County was Lick Creek Baptist (now Warrensbur which was organized 14 Sep 1793 from  Bent Creek (now Whitesbur Baptist Church. Geneva Dyer provided acopy of the 1822 Concord Church minutes,  which notes ameeting of those who organized Concord Baptist Church, were to meet in Van Pelt's Meetinghouse  on at least one occasion prior to construction of their own building in 1823. Fairview Baptist Church, whose charter  members moved from Concord, was organized in 1912. It appears Van Pelt's Meetinghouse was the ï rst Christian  It is difï cult to imagine how rued and dangerous East Tennessee was at this time. Roads were lile more than  cleared paths and the maintenance of those roads was delegated to those who lived along the way. Francis Asbury  often rode his buy as far as the Van Pelt's, where he left them and borrowed one of their horses for his ride  into Kentucky. Van Pelt's provided asafe and comfortable way station for Bishop Asbury. Benjamin became an  enthusiastic follower of Christ and eventually was ordained as alocal Methodist preacher. His meetinghouse,  no doubt atypical crude log structure so common in that day, served the entire community as aplace of frontier  worship. Early Roads in Western Greene County Early Roads in Western Greene County The August 1796 Greene County court minutes describe the order for aroad to be laid off from the county line  near Fines Ferry to the Warm Springs. Among the various locations assigned were these two in Western Greene  County: Nehemiah Peit from Blue Springs to Wood's Ford of Lick Creek on the middle road. Nehemiah Peit was  overseer for the road from Mosheim through Midway to the ford of Lick Creek. Benjamin Van Pel Sr. assumed  responsibility from the Ford of Lick Creek to the Line of Jefferson County. This is now the Hamblen County line.  The Van Pelt Great Road, as it is referenced in some early deeds, was the section from the ford at Lick Creek near  the Crosby Family Cemetery to what is now Mc Donald Elementary School and turned west along War Branch  Creek to the mouth of Lick Creek and the county line. When Bishop Asbury rode into Kentucky from Van Pelt's, he  most likely traveled what is now the Westwood or Warrensburg Road west through Mahews Gap to Russellville  and then turned northwest at Cheek's Crossroads to the Cumberland Gap. On other occasions, he would travel  down the Van Pelt Great Road to what we know as the Mc Donald Community, where the road followed War  Branch and Flea Ridge to the mouth of Lick Creek and the Bend of the Nolichucky. Life on the Road with Bishop Asbury Life on the Road with Bishop Asbury We are fortunate to have the journal of Bishop Asbury, where he recounts his experiences on the road along his far- ï‚ ung circuits. The following excerpts from Bishop Francis Asbury's journal related to his travels in Greene County,  Tennessee provide aglimpse of the difï culties in that day. Saturday, April 6, 1793 Asbury had left the Earnest family in Chuckey; he writes Icame alone through heavy rains,  over bad hills and poor ridges, to Brother Benjamin Van Pelt's, on Lick Creek. He is abrother to Peter, my old, ï rst  friend on Staten Island: Iwas weary, damp, and hungry; but had acomfortable habitation, and kind, loving people, who  heard, refreshed, and fed me. We had alarge congregation at Brother Van Pelt's chapel, where Ihad liberty in speakin  Ileft the young men to entertain the people awhile longer, and returned and read Mr. Wesley's sermon on riches. Saturday, May 11, 1793  We came to Brother Van Pelt's, with whom we rested on the Sabbath. Ihave traveled between  ï ve and six hundred miles in the last four weeks, and have rested from riding ï fteen days at Conferences and other  places. Ihave been much distressed with this night work  no regular meals, nor sleep; and it is difï cult to keep up  prayer in such rude companies as we have been exposed to; Ihave also been severely afï‚ icted through the whole journey. April 1795. Even in challenging times, our forebears retained asense of humor. Bishop Asbury recorded the following  observation after his April 1795 overnight visit within the conï nes of asmall log cabin in the wilderness: "I spent anight  with brother Whitaker, Iwish his wife may not love him to death." Iwill leave it to the reader's imagination what might  have occurred to prompt such anotation by the good Bishop! Friday, September 26, 1800  We rode twenty-one miles to Benjamin Van Pelt's upon Lick Creek; we fed our horses  twice, the riders not once! Here (Van Pelt's) Ileft the horse and carriage, and borrowed ahorse to ride to Kentucky.  Tuesday, October 4, 1800  Rode twenty miles up Nolichucky to Benjamin Van Pelt's, where Ihad left my horse and  chaise. In this neighborhood the land, except afew spots, is lile beer than barren; nevertheless, good cultivation will  make it productive. From the twenty-seventh of last month, the day on which we left the pleasant mansion of our friend  Van Pel to the day of our return, we rode; Ipresume quite six hundred and sixty if not seven hundred miles. Hitherto the  Lord hath helped us. We have had twelve proper appointments; two of which were near failing because of rain. Bill Bradley near Felix Earnest's grave in Ebenezer Cemetery with  Ebenezer United Methodist Church in the background. Photo by Ron Mahews 10 Table of Contents Table of Contents Preface   i   Introduction   i Francis Asbury "“ Methodist Missionary to America      1 Bishop Asbury Visits the Earnest Family in Eastern Greene County      1 Bishop Asbury Visits the Van Pelt Family in Western Greene County      2 The Van Pelt and Crosby Families of Western Greene County   2 Camp Meetings in Greene County   4 Early Roads in Greene County   7 Life on the Road with Bishop Asbury   7 Epilogue   8 Additional Historical Notes   9 Special Appreciation   10 References   10 About the Author  11 Map of Greene County circa 1795     Back Cover The Pioneer Trails The Pioneer Trails The early Indian and buffalo trails were the corridors for this westward ï‚ owing caravan of people. As the migration  continued, the Native Americans were forced to concede their homeland to the seemingly unending ï‚ ow of  Europeans. Between 1778 and 1783, this ï‚ ow of selers continued to increase. East Tennessee became home to  many of these ï rst families, but others stopped for abrief time and continued on their westward journey. There were two primary routes of travel into Tennessee. The Great Indian Warpath was originally one of the great  trading and warpaths between northern and southern Indian tribes. This route was expanded to handle the seler's  wagons and became known as The Great Wagon Road. Interstate 81 and Highway 11 ï‚ ow through the Shenandoah  Valley along this same basic route. This road started in southern Pennsylvania, came down the Shenandoah Valley  to Staunton and Roanoke; where it split into two routes. The Wilminon, Highpoint and Northern Trail entered  North Carolina near the present town of Eden and ï‚ owed south-east to the coast at Wilminon, NThe other  route continued down the Great Wagon Road into East Tennessee. After the Cumberland Gap was discovered  selers began ï ling into what would become Kentucky and West Virginia. These trails were one of the few ways  families could move through the territories in the middle of the 18 th  Century.  The Carolina Road or Occaneechie Path lay on the east side of the Appalachian Mountains. Beginning in Northern  Virginia, Highway 15 follows this old pathway to Occaneechie Island, an Indian trading post on the Roanoke  River. This trail started on the James River, through Henry (later Petersbur Virginia southwest to the Indian  trading town of Occaneechie, where it crossed the Roanoke River. The trail continued southwest to the Haw River  in Chatham County, North Carolina, through present day Charloe, North Carolina, and continued to Augusta,  Georgia.  Special Appreciation to the Following Individuals Special Appreciation to the Following Individuals    William "Bill" Bradley. Bill is adear friend from my years as his pastor at Carter's Station United Methodist Church from  1972"“76. Bill is retired from the Magnavox Company and now lives in the MCarmel Community of Greene County,  Tennessee. He is now amember of MCarmel United Methodist Church. Bill helped inspire my love of local history and he  and Ihave spent many hours "diing up bones" and trying to understand the stories of those who came before us. We have  also learned that we are related by marriage through George Redenour, our common ancestor, who is buried in the MCarmel  Cemetery. Wayne Conduff. The discovery of Van Pelt's location is the direct result of Wayne's work researching old deeds in Greene  County. Wayne is retired from the former Magnavox Company in Greeneville and is now aprofessional historian and  genealogical researcher. Wayne is amember of the Pine Grove United Methodist Church. Irecommend Wayne's services  to anyone seeking such assistance. Ancestor Homeland Locator: Specializing in Land Grants & Old Deeds, Location of  Old Roads and Trails and Location of Grave Sites. Wayne lives in Mosheim, Tennessee and may be contacted by e-mail at  [email protected] or phone at 423/638-6896.  Geneva Dyer. Geneva is amember of Concord Baptist Church and was generous in giving her time allowing us to visit the  Concord Church and provided acopy of the minutes from 1822, which included areference to Van Pelt's meetinghouse. Jim Snowden. Jim is the son of the late Lloyd Snowden and grew up in this community. His mother, Laura Maude Ailshie  Snowden, and his uncle, James "Spud" Ailshie, remembered the location of the old unmarked cemetery where we believe  Benjamin Van Pelt is buried. Jim and his wife Shirley live in Morristown and are members of Morristown First United  Methodist Church. Millie Meese. Millie is the Graphic Designer for Holston Conference who created the Map of Greene County and prepared this  document for publication. References: References: R.N. Price. Holston Methodism. 5 vols. Nashville; Dallas: Publishing House of the M.E. Church, South. Smith & Lamar, Agents. 1908,  Vol. 1, pages 134-135 & 193f.  The Journal of Francis Asbury. Greene County Tennessee Deed Book 6, page 438 December 23, 1801. Benjamin Van Pelt to Joseph Van Pel i 9 Preface Preface This article is not intended to be an exhaustive work to cover all the people and places related to the time of  Francis Asbury. Information of ageneral nature is included to provide historical context for the readers. My  primary purpose is to unveil the story of Benjamin Van Pel apioneer preacher who moved to the Fairview-Thula- Mc Donald community in western Greene County in 1790 and died there in 1817. This is the community where  the author was born and completed high school. Iam indebted to the many historians and writers who across the  years have inspired me to read and appreciate the history of our region. The words in this document are largely my  own interpretation of the facts as others and Ihave discovered them amid awide variety of sources and personal  conversations. Iam especially indebted to the following for their assistance: William "Bill" Bradley, Wayne  Conduff, Geneva Dyer and Jim Snowden. Introduction Introduction This report links Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury (1745 "“ 1816) with another pioneer friend and pastor, Benjamin  Van Pel who moved to western Greene County in 1790 and very soon thereafter established ameetinghouse for  the beneï tof his community. Church historians have identiï ed several key historic sites within Holston Annual  Conference, which encompasses Southwest Virginia, East Tennessee and aportion of Northern Georgia. The  relationship between Francis Asbury and Benjamin Van Pelt has long been known, but the location of Asbury's  frequently mentioned "Brother Van Pelt and his meetinghouse" remained amystery. Bishop Asbury's journal gave  the only clue: Van Pelt's was located on the north side of Lick Creek, on what is now the road from the mouth of  Lick Creek to the village of Mosheim, about four miles north of Warrensbur In reading Asbury's journal, one notes  that the Van Pelt home was afrequent stopover for Asbury. Ibecame intrigued with the idea this meetinghouse must  have been located in my home community. Bishop Asbury notes in his journal avisit to Warrensburg in the fall  of 1809; following which the Warrensburg Methodist Church was organized in 1810. We may safely assume that  Van Pelt was aparticipant in the organization of this congregation. During the late 1700s and early 1800s, Greene  County was awild and untamed country. It was adifï cult time and into this raw wilderness would ride ayoung  British Methodist preacher by the name of Francis Asbury. Of course some days were beer than others, as the  cartoon below by John Lawing in a1978 issue of Christianity Today magazine illustrates so well. Additional Historical Notations Additional Historical Notations AChronology of a Few Key Events in Early Tennessee History:   1750   Dr. Thomas Walker and other Virginians explore East Tennessee.   1757   British soldiers from South Carolina construct Fort Loudon on the Lile Tennessee River.   In the ongoing strule between the French and British; both of whom manipulated the Native Americans in  their efforts to control the region.   1760   Fort Loudon surrenders to the Cherokee, who kill most of the residents.     1763  France forfeits all claims to land east of the Mississippi River to Great Britain in The Treaty of Paris, ending       the French and Indian/Seven Years' War.   1769  Early selers begin the push into East Tennessee often in violation of treaties with the Cherokee people.   1772  The Watauga Association is formed and selements begin along the Nolichucky River.   1776  The Territory of Tennessee is annexed to North Carolina as the Washinon District and is named           Washinon County in 1777.    1783  Greene County is formed in 1783 from Washinon County, North Carolina.      1784-88   The State of Franklin era.   1789   Following the demise of the State of Franklin, North Carolina cedes their control of the East Tennessee area  to the federal governmen It was commonly known as the Southwest Territory. North Carolina had  previously conveyed large tracts of land to speculators, Revolutionary War veterans and pioneers seeking a fresh star William Bloun aland speculator, serves as the governor with John Sevier and James Robertson  as military commanders for East Tennessee and the Middle Tennessee regions respectively.   1790  The Crosby's, Van Pelt's, and others sele in western Greene County.   1796  Tennessee experiences apopulation surge and statehood is granted June 1, 1796.  The Mouth of Lick Creek and the Bend of Chucky is the area of the Cooper Farm in extreme western Greene  County. This is the same area where in October 1776, John Sevier and his army camped overnight before their  march across the Nolichucky and up Long Creek to its head, then down Dumplin Creek to the French Broad River.  They forded the French Broad near Buckingham Island, went up Boyd's Creek to it's head and then down Ellejoy  Creek to the Lile River in Blount County. The army passed the present site of Maryville and on to the Cherokee  towns on the Lile Tennessee River near present day Vonore. Pilot Knob. Aprominent landmark near the Gap Greek Community along the road from  Van Pelt's to Carter's Station. Photo by Ron Mahews About the Author About the Author Ronald "Ron" H. Mahews is the son of Elvis D. and Minnie Peit Mahews. He  grew up in the Mount Hope Community and graduated in 1964 from Mc Donald High  School. The communities of Mount Hope, Fairview, Thulaoncord, Warrensbur  Scoo and Mc Donald all share the common postal address of Mohawk. Family and  friendship connections in all the churches, schools, and communities has ensured  atradition of ecumenical fellowship that goes back to the earliest times in western  Greene County. For example, the Mahews family and most of the early seler  families can trace their roots back to the Concord Baptist Church. My Great-Great  Grandparents were once members of Concord church and my father was baptized  and received into membership at Fairview Baptist Church on March 19, 1927. When  my parents married, they lived close to Mount Hope United Methodist Church, where my mother was reared and  thus Mount Hope became the church we aended. Following seven years of work at American Enka, Ieventually  completed college and seminary and became a United Methodist pastor. Patsy Hogan Mahews and Ihave been  married for 43 years and now live in Maryville, Tennessee. We aend Broadway United Methodist Church. In  this aempt to tell Benjamin Van Pel Sr.'s story, Iam like the Native American who was asked by a Judge if he  promised to tell the court "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." The translator seemed to strule,  and at lenh rendered the man's reply: "I don't know what the whole truth is. Ionly know what Iknow." So  if you, dear reader, should discover anew truth about anything herein wrien, Iwould greatly appreciate your  sharing that knowledge with me so that Imay know more truth. Ron Mahews141 Ostenbarker StreetMaryville, Tennessee 37804865/982-9015 [email protected] Warrensburg United Methodist Church. Photo by Ron Mahews 6 3 worship location in western Greene County and may in fac slightly predate Ebenezer in Eastern Greene County. Benjamin Van Pel Jr. (b. 01 Jun 1775 d. 1842) married Susannah "Sucky" Crosby (b. 22 Aug 1772 d. unknown)  in 1793 in Greene County, perhaps in Van Pelt's Meetinghouse. Susannah was the daughter of Uriel and Susannah  Conway Crosby. Benjamin Van Pel Jr was the son of The Reverend Benjamin Van Pelt and Mary Collins  Van Pel They lived on property adjacent to Benjamin's parents from 1793 until sometime after the death of his  father in 1817. Benjamin Van Pel Jr and family moved to Ohio, where he was known among the pioneers as a wheelwrigh and also as an occasional preacher for the Methodist church. He was aman of wide inï‚ uence, and  one of the important ï gures of the early days of Adams County, Ohio, where he lived twenty years, and after that  in Highland County, Ohio. He served his country as asoldier of the war of 1812. His children were fourteen in  number: Joseph ABenjamin, John, Ptiley, Anna, Susannah, Nancy, Margare Mary, Elizabeth, Maria, Penina,  Sarah and Lydia. They are buried in Jackson Township, Highland County, Ohio in Coss Cemetery on Coss Road,  Belfas Ohio. (Source: Tony Keltz, descendent of Benjamin Van Pel Jr and Susannah "Sucky" Crosby Van Pel Joseph Van Pel abrother of Benjamin, Jr in 1801 received by deed transfer his father's 200 acres in the Fairview- Thula community on which Van Pelt's Meetinghouse was located. Following the death of his father in 1817, Joseph  sold the property and moved his family to Blount County, Tennessee. The Van Pelt family had moved from Greene  County by or before 1820. The organization of Concord Baptist Church and the death of Benjamin Van Pelt most  likely resulted in Van Pelt's meetinghouse becoming obsolete and it faded into history. The Reverend R.N. Price, who wrote the classic ï ve-volume work, Holston Methodism: From Its Origins to the  Present Time (1904) describes Benjamin Van Pelt in volume one, page 135f: One of the ï rst Societies in East Tennessee was organized in the residence of Benjamin Van pel in Greene  County, and achapel named Van Pelt's Chapel was built before the year 1792. This was the fourth Methodist  meetinghouse in the Holston Country, and the third in Tennessee, of which we have any account  At an  early date there was acamp ground at Carter's Station, in the western part of Greene County, and possibly a Society and chapel. In 1792 asociety was organized on the south bank of the Nolichucky, afew miles east of  Greeneville. This Society consisted at that time largely of the families of Henry and Felix Earnes Soon after  the organization of the Society ameetinghouse was built and christened Ebenezer. The Society having been  organized between July and September, 1792, it is possible that the meetinghouse was built that fall It is  safe to say that the meetinghouse was erected either in 1792 or 1793. Price continues on page 193f: The Bishop speaks of Vanpelt's Chapel. This, therefore, must have been one of the earliest chapels built in  the Holston Country, erected, no doub about the time of the erection of Ebenezer meetinghouse (1792) in  the Earnest selemen" R. N. Price, quoting from Jesse Cunningham, in the Methodist Episcopalian, 1850,  continues: "The principal man of the selement was Benjamin Vanpel alocal preacher, who lived on Lick  Creek, in Greene County, Tenn. The meetinghouse was situated on the north side of Lick Creek, on what is now  the road from the mouth of Lick Creek to the village of Mosheim, and about four miles north of the present  village of Warrensbur It was named for Benjamin Vanpel whose house was one of Bishop Asbury's favorite  stopping places. His free and disinterested hospitality has become the means of transmiing his name to  posterity, along with the name of the chief founder of Methodism in the New World. About the year 1790 Mr.  Vanpelt removed from Alexandria, Va. He was alocal preacher, and well adapted to the country and the times,  bein as he was, well versed in the Bible and the Methodist Discipline, and being a Christian in experience  and practice. He was, therefore, able to guide those who were seeking salvation, to instruct and encourage  new converts, and to edify those who were more advanced in the divine life. He was aplain, unostentatious  man. In gifts and usefulness he compared favorably to the preachers of his day. In his private deportment  he was calm and cheerful. As apreacher he exhibited much ingenuity in his efforts to interest his hearers,  and he seldom failed. He was lucid in argumen apt in illustration, and his conclusions were generally  irresistible. He had no affectation of learnin and his sermons were not embellished with gems of science and  literature, but were plain, maer-of-fact discourses. He appealed to the understandin leaving the passions  unmoved, except so far as to argument and facts were calculated to arouse them. He studied the subject maer  beforehand what he intended to say. He did not repea and made it arule to quit when he was done. He  seldom preached over thirty or forty minutes and never went beyond an hour. When he was done preachin he  had said something worth rememberin something upon which his hearers might ruminate for some time to  come. He not only preached near home, but he exercised his gifts in adjoining counties with acceptability and  usefulness. Our next mission was to discover the location of Benjamin Van Pelt's grave. To date, we have found no identiï able  grave stones in the local cemeteries with the Van Pelt name. The Reverend Doug Smith, former pastor of  Morristown First United Methodist Church, and friend of Jim Snowden, who grew up in this community and  whose father once owned the local store, told Jim about our ques Jim questioned his mother, Laura Maude  Ailshie Snowden and his uncle, James "Spud" Ailshie, who told him about an old cemetery on this former Van Pelt  property located on the opposite side of the road from the Ailshie Cemetery. James recalled alocal tradition that  this cemetery contained Revolutionary War soldiers. All the markers were crude ï eldstones and they were removed  when Mr. Ben Bible purchased the property. Mr. Ailshie also remembered there was aspring near the store, but  it was covered over when the store was buil We will never know for certain, but it is reasonable to assume that  Benjamin Van Pel Sr. who died 23 Aug 1817 was buried in this cemetery. Van Pelt lived in the Fairview-Thula  community from 1790-1817. During that time, Bishop Francis Asbury often stopped to visit in the Van Pelt's home  and preach in the community meetinghouse located on the road to Mosheim. Lto R: Geneva Dyer, Wayne Conduff, and Ron Mahews standing on the west side of the Fairview  Baptist Church parking lo The store building on the left and the Bible house near center background  are on property once owned by The Rev. Benjamin Van Pel It is most probable that his chapel was  located somewhere in this view and perhaps in the area immediately around the Bible house.  The old Revolutionary War veterans' cemetery was nearby and we know Van Pelt's house was  "on the road from the mouth of Lick Creek to Blue Springs." Photo by Dr. Grady Winegar, 21 May 2008 This house near Fairview Baptist Church on the road from Mc Donald to Mosheim is believed to be the  approximate location of the home and meetinghouse of Benjamin Van Pel Sr. Photo by Ron Mahews 4 5 Camp Meetings in Greene County Camp Meetings in Greene County Benjamin Van Pel Sr. was active in the camp meetinrevival era of the early 1800s. Camp Meetings were asource  of spiritual nurture, social interaction, and entertainmen There were two major campgrounds in Greene County.  Stone Dam Campground, which was located near the current Stone Dam United Methodist Church and Carter's  Station Campground, which is located in the Albany Community on the same property as Carter's Station United  Methodist Church. During "camp meetings" the folks from surrounding communities would pack up their horses,  load their wagons with provisions and travel to spend aweek or more camping together for worship and fellowship.  The Reverend Jacob Young wrote of an occasion at Carter's Station as follows:  "At the close of the year Iaended acamp meeting at Carter's Station, where about ten thousand people were  assembled. Here acontroversy had been going on between Presbyterians and Methodists, the former sayin  among other bier things that the laer were hypocrites and could refrain from shouting if they would. They  were the aristocracy; we, the poor. On Monday Ipreached, preceded by the venerable Van Pel who left the  congregation calmly and silently weeping "  Some readers may question the reliability of acount of ten thousand at Carter's Station. It is always possible that a number was misread or that it is an example of "ministerial estimation." Regardless, we may safely assume there  were alot of folks at the camp meetin We know people from Warrensburg and Thula were present at Carter's  Station and that Benjamin Van Pelt was one of the preachers. Where in the World was Van Pelt's Meetinghouse? Where in the World was Van Pelt's Meetinghouse? Bill Bradley and Ihave considered possible locations for the Van Pelt Meetinghouse for many years. We assumed  it must be in the Glades"“Thula"“Mc Donald area of Greene County. At las thanks to the deed research of Wayne  Conduff and the assistance of Geneva Dyer, we have located the property once owned by Benjamin Van Pelt and  on which his chapel stood. The Van Pelt property encompassed 200 acres on both sides of the Concord Road and  Poer's Creek and west along the Mc Donald Road. It included the property across the road from Fairview Baptist  Church, the nearby community store, the Bible home and property, including the Ailshie Cemetery, and extended  west to include part of Clyde and Elizabeth Bible's farm. Although we cannot determine the exact location of the  chapel itself; we know it was on this section of property as it is named in the deed of transfer from Benjamin, Sr. to  Joseph Van Pelt and it was located on this road. Deed of Conveyance of 200 acres by Van Pel Sr. to Joseph Van Pel son of Sr. 23 Dec 1801 including  Poer's Creek: Witnesses: Benjamin Lanstrum and Benjamin Van Pel Reserves in Van Pelt's Greene County  deed states: "the use of the dwelling house said Benjamin lives in with what other privileges said Benjamin  shall think proper during his natural Life, and the Life of Mary his Beloved and Lawful wife"”likewise  because James shall have peaceably that part the said James now occupieth if he continues in his own person  seven years from this date. Likewise the meetinghouse and one acre of land shall be Judged most convenient  reserved forever for the Methodist use. In Testimony whereof Ihave hereunto set my hand and afï xed my Seal  this 23 rd  Day of December 1801 as above wrien. Signed, Sealed and Delivered in the presence of Benjamin  Lanstrum (son-in-law) and Benjamin Van Pel" The 200 acres once owned by Benjamin Van Pelt and on which Van Pelt's meetinghouse was located, may be  viewed looking south and west from the front of the Fairview Baptist Church.  Carter's Station United Methodist Church, Greene County, Mosheim, TN. This view is  near the grave site of Rev. Benjamin Williams. These grounds include the location  of the Carter's Station Campground. Photo by Ron Mahews Fairview Baptist Church is in the left of photo. Bays Mountain is in the background.  Benjamin Van Pel Sr.'s property was in the area fronting this church. This view is looking north  from Easterly Road, the old pathway to Warrensbur Photo by Ron Mahews 24 Apr 2008 Lto R: Geneva Dyer, Wayne Conduff, and Dr. Grady Winegar.  Benjamin Van Pelt once owned the acreage in the background, which is directly across from the  front of Fairview Baptist Church. Photo by Ron Mahews 21 May 2008 6 3 worship location in western Greene County and may in fac slightly predate Ebenezer in Eastern Greene County. Benjamin Van Pel Jr. (b. 01 Jun 1775 d. 1842) married Susannah "Sucky" Crosby (b. 22 Aug 1772 d. unknown)  in 1793 in Greene County, perhaps in Van Pelt's Meetinghouse. Susannah was the daughter of Uriel and Susannah  Conway Crosby. Benjamin Van Pel Jr was the son of The Reverend Benjamin Van Pelt and Mary Collins  Van Pel They lived on property adjacent to Benjamin's parents from 1793 until sometime after the death of his  father in 1817. Benjamin Van Pel Jr and family moved to Ohio, where he was known among the pioneers as a wheelwrigh and also as an occasional preacher for the Methodist church. He was aman of wide inï‚ uence, and  one of the important ï gures of the early days of Adams County, Ohio, where he lived twenty years, and after that  in Highland County, Ohio. He served his country as asoldier of the war of 1812. His children were fourteen in  number: Joseph ABenjamin, John, Ptiley, Anna, Susannah, Nancy, Margare Mary, Elizabeth, Maria, Penina,  Sarah and Lydia. They are buried in Jackson Township, Highland County, Ohio in Coss Cemetery on Coss Road,  Belfas Ohio. (Source: Tony Keltz, descendent of Benjamin Van Pel Jr and Susannah "Sucky" Crosby Van Pel Joseph Van Pel abrother of Benjamin, Jr in 1801 received by deed transfer his father's 200 acres in the Fairview- Thula community on which Van Pelt's Meetinghouse was located. Following the death of his father in 1817, Joseph  sold the property and moved his family to Blount County, Tennessee. The Van Pelt family had moved from Greene  County by or before 1820. The organization of Concord Baptist Church and the death of Benjamin Van Pelt most  likely resulted in Van Pelt's meetinghouse becoming obsolete and it faded into history. The Reverend R.N. Price, who wrote the classic ï ve-volume work, Holston Methodism: From Its Origins to the  Present Time (1904) describes Benjamin Van Pelt in volume one, page 135f: One of the ï rst Societies in East Tennessee was organized in the residence of Benjamin Van pel in Greene  County, and achapel named Van Pelt's Chapel was built before the year 1792. This was the fourth Methodist  meetinghouse in the Holston Country, and the third in Tennessee, of which we have any account  At an  early date there was acamp ground at Carter's Station, in the western part of Greene County, and possibly a Society and chapel. In 1792 asociety was organized on the south bank of the Nolichucky, afew miles east of  Greeneville. This Society consisted at that time largely of the families of Henry and Felix Earnes Soon after  the organization of the Society ameetinghouse was built and christened Ebenezer. The Society having been  organized between July and September, 1792, it is possible that the meetinghouse was built that fall It is  safe to say that the meetinghouse was erected either in 1792 or 1793. Price continues on page 193f: The Bishop speaks of Vanpelt's Chapel. This, therefore, must have been one of the earliest chapels built in  the Holston Country, erected, no doub about the time of the erection of Ebenezer meetinghouse (1792) in  the Earnest selemen" R. N. Price, quoting from Jesse Cunningham, in the Methodist Episcopalian, 1850,  continues: "The principal man of the selement was Benjamin Vanpel alocal preacher, who lived on Lick  Creek, in Greene County, Tenn. The meetinghouse was situated on the north side of Lick Creek, on what is now  the road from the mouth of Lick Creek to the village of Mosheim, and about four miles north of the present  village of Warrensbur It was named for Benjamin Vanpel whose house was one of Bishop Asbury's favorite  stopping places. His free and disinterested hospitality has become the means of transmiing his name to  posterity, along with the name of the chief founder of Methodism in the New World. About the year 1790 Mr.  Vanpelt removed from Alexandria, Va. He was alocal preacher, and well adapted to the country and the times,  bein as he was, well versed in the Bible and the Methodist Discipline, and being a Christian in experience  and practice. He was, therefore, able to guide those who were seeking salvation, to instruct and encourage  new converts, and to edify those who were more advanced in the divine life. He was aplain, unostentatious  man. In gifts and usefulness he compared favorably to the preachers of his day. In his private deportment  he was calm and cheerful. As apreacher he exhibited much ingenuity in his efforts to interest his hearers,  and he seldom failed. He was lucid in argumen apt in illustration, and his conclusions were generally  irresistible. He had no affectation of learnin and his sermons were not embellished with gems of science and  literature, but were plain, maer-of-fact discourses. He appealed to the understandin leaving the passions  unmoved, except so far as to argument and facts were calculated to arouse them. He studied the subject maer  beforehand what he intended to say. He did not repea and made it arule to quit when he was done. He  seldom preached over thirty or forty minutes and never went beyond an hour. When he was done preachin he  had said something worth rememberin something upon which his hearers might ruminate for some time to  come. He not only preached near home, but he exercised his gifts in adjoining counties with acceptability and  usefulness. Our next mission was to discover the location of Benjamin Van Pelt's grave. To date, we have found no identiï able  grave stones in the local cemeteries with the Van Pelt name. The Reverend Doug Smith, former pastor of  Morristown First United Methodist Church, and friend of Jim Snowden, who grew up in this community and  whose father once owned the local store, told Jim about our ques Jim questioned his mother, Laura Maude  Ailshie Snowden and his uncle, James "Spud" Ailshie, who told him about an old cemetery on this former Van Pelt  property located on the opposite side of the road from the Ailshie Cemetery. James recalled alocal tradition that  this cemetery contained Revolutionary War soldiers. All the markers were crude ï eldstones and they were removed  when Mr. Ben Bible purchased the property. Mr. Ailshie also remembered there was aspring near the store, but  it was covered over when the store was buil We will never know for certain, but it is reasonable to assume that  Benjamin Van Pel Sr. who died 23 Aug 1817 was buried in this cemetery. Van Pelt lived in the Fairview-Thula  community from 1790-1817. During that time, Bishop Francis Asbury often stopped to visit in the Van Pelt's home  and preach in the community meetinghouse located on the road to Mosheim. Lto R: Geneva Dyer, Wayne Conduff, and Ron Mahews standing on the west side of the Fairview  Baptist Church parking lo The store building on the left and the Bible house near center background  are on property once owned by The Rev. Benjamin Van Pel It is most probable that his chapel was  located somewhere in this view and perhaps in the area immediately around the Bible house.  The old Revolutionary War veterans' cemetery was nearby and we know Van Pelt's house was  "on the road from the mouth of Lick Creek to Blue Springs." Photo by Dr. Grady Winegar, 21 May 2008 This house near Fairview Baptist Church on the road from Mc Donald to Mosheim is believed to be the  approximate location of the home and meetinghouse of Benjamin Van Pel Sr. Photo by Ron Mahews 8 1 Francis Asbury: Methodist Missionary to America Francis Asbury: Methodist Missionary to America John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, commissioned Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury as missionaries to  America and they sailed from England on the second day of September 1771. Asbury left behind his beloved  country, his parents and friends never to see them again in this world.  As Asbury embarked for America the twenty- six year-old minister wrote in his journal, "Whither am Igoing? To the new world. What to do? To gain honour?  To get money? No. Iam going to live to God and to bring others to do so." John Wesley may be the founder of the  Methodist movemen areform effort within the Church of England that eventually became adenomination, but  Francis Asbury is the undisputed father of American Methodism.  Asbury landed in Philadelphia in the fall of 1771 and soon proceeded to New York, his ï rst ï eld of ministry. On  his trip from Philadelphia to New York, he became acquainted with Peter Van Pelt of Staten Island, who graciously  invited Francis Asbury into his home. Asbury wrote in his journal: "Spent the following Sabbath on this Island,  preaching at Mr. Van Pelt's " From this initial encounter in America, alifelong friendship and faith bond was  established between Francis Asbury and the Van Pelt family. True to his calling as a Christian evangelis Francis  Asbury took to the road and for the next forty-ï ve years he pushed himself beyond normal human endurance. He  suffered from colds, coughs, fevers, severe headaches, ulcers, and eventually chronic rheumatism, which forced  him off his horse and into acarriage. Yet he continued to preach and make his annual visits among the churches. In  doing so, Asbury would ultimately ride into the territory that was to become Holston Conference and his memory is  forever etched into the hearts of her people.  Bishop Asbury Visits the Earnest Family  Bishop Asbury Visits the Earnest Family  in Eastern Greene County, Tennessee in Eastern Greene County, Tennessee During his visits to Greene County, Asbury most often stayed with two Greene County families. The Felix Earnest  family who lived along the Nolichucky River near Chucky in eastern Greene County and the Benjamin Van Pelt  family, who lived near the community of Thula in western Greene County. Henry Earnest seled on the Nolichucky  in 1779 and built afamily home and community for which is located on Tennessee Highway 351hucky Pike  at the Nolichucky River. The nearby Ebenezer Methodist Church, organized in 1792 by the Earnest family, is  one of the oldest churches in East Tennessee. Bishop Asbury ordained Felix Earnes brother of Henry Earnes  Jr a Methodist preacher in 1806. Ebenezer Church was the site for at least six sessions of the Holston Annual  Conference meetings, the ï rst of which took place April 27, 1795. Epilogue  Epilogue  Francis Asbury died in 1816 at 71 years of age. Benjamin Van Pel Sr. died in 1817 at 77 years of age. For their  time, they lived along life; since the average lifespan for acircuit-rider was relatively brief. They burned with a love for God and God's people. Those who responded to such love returned it in kind. The early selers of western  Greene County and indeed, all America, are indebted to Francis Asbury for helping spread the Good News of God's  mercy and grace across America's early frontier. We also owe adebt of gratitude for the legion of unsung heroes,  such as Benjamin Van Pel Sr. and Felix Earnest and their families. They rose to the challenges of the frontier,  journeyed into the unknown wilderness, and made abeer life for themselves and their descendents. Even by  today's travel standards, it is along way from Staten Island to Greene County! Thank God they came our way and  passed along agood measure of their hope and faith for we who followed them. Ron MahewsMaryville, TennesseeJuly 4, 2008 Mahews Gap as viewed west thru Bays Mountain into Hamblen County. Photo by Ron Mahews The Earnest Family home and community "fort" where the local folks would gather for safety in  the event of threa Bishop Asbury would have stayed here during his visits with this family. This is awonderfully preserved pre-1800 house located at the Nolichucky on TN Route 351hucky Pike,  Greene County, Chucky, TN. Photo by Ron Mahews 30 Aug 2007 Bill Bradley at Carter's Station historic marker. Photo by Ron Mahews 10 Table of Contents Table of Contents Preface   i   Introduction   i Francis Asbury "“ Methodist Missionary to America      1 Bishop Asbury Visits the Earnest Family in Eastern Greene County      1 Bishop Asbury Visits the Van Pelt Family in Western Greene County      2 The Van Pelt and Crosby Families of Western Greene County   2 Camp Meetings in Greene County   4 Early Roads in Greene County   7 Life on the Road with Bishop Asbury   7 Epilogue   8 Additional Historical Notes   9 Special Appreciation   10 References   10 About the Author  11 Map of Greene County circa 1795     Back Cover The Pioneer Trails The Pioneer Trails The early Indian and buffalo trails were the corridors for this westward ï‚ owing caravan of people. As the migration  continued, the Native Americans were forced to concede their homeland to the seemingly unending ï‚ ow of  Europeans. Between 1778 and 1783, this ï‚ ow of selers continued to increase. East Tennessee became home to  many of these ï rst families, but others stopped for abrief time and continued on their westward journey. There were two primary routes of travel into Tennessee. The Great Indian Warpath was originally one of the great  trading and warpaths between northern and southern Indian tribes. This route was expanded to handle the seler's  wagons and became known as The Great Wagon Road. Interstate 81 and Highway 11 ï‚ ow through the Shenandoah  Valley along this same basic route. This road started in southern Pennsylvania, came down the Shenandoah Valley  to Staunton and Roanoke; where it split into two routes. The Wilminon, Highpoint and Northern Trail entered  North Carolina near the present town of Eden and ï‚ owed south-east to the coast at Wilminon, NThe other  route continued down the Great Wagon Road into East Tennessee. After the Cumberland Gap was discovered  selers began ï ling into what would become Kentucky and West Virginia. These trails were one of the few ways  families could move through the territories in the middle of the 18 th  Century.  The Carolina Road or Occaneechie Path lay on the east side of the Appalachian Mountains. Beginning in Northern  Virginia, Highway 15 follows this old pathway to Occaneechie Island, an Indian trading post on the Roanoke  River. This trail started on the James River, through Henry (later Petersbur Virginia southwest to the Indian  trading town of Occaneechie, where it crossed the Roanoke River. The trail continued southwest to the Haw River  in Chatham County, North Carolina, through present day Charloe, North Carolina, and continued to Augusta,  Georgia.  Special Appreciation to the Following Individuals Special Appreciation to the Following Individuals    William "Bill" Bradley. Bill is adear friend from my years as his pastor at Carter's Station United Methodist Church from  1972"“76. Bill is retired from the Magnavox Company and now lives in the MCarmel Community of Greene County,  Tennessee. He is now amember of MCarmel United Methodist Church. Bill helped inspire my love of local history and he  and Ihave spent many hours "diing up bones" and trying to understand the stories of those who came before us. We have  also learned that we are related by marriage through George Redenour, our common ancestor, who is buried in the MCarmel  Cemetery. Wayne Conduff. The discovery of Van Pelt's location is the direct result of Wayne's work researching old deeds in Greene  County. Wayne is retired from the former Magnavox Company in Greeneville and is now aprofessional historian and  genealogical researcher. Wayne is amember of the Pine Grove United Methodist Church. Irecommend Wayne's services  to anyone seeking such assistance. Ancestor Homeland Locator: Specializing in Land Grants & Old Deeds, Location of  Old Roads and Trails and Location of Grave Sites. Wayne lives in Mosheim, Tennessee and may be contacted by e-mail at  [email protected] or phone at 423/638-6896.  Geneva Dyer. Geneva is amember of Concord Baptist Church and was generous in giving her time allowing us to visit the  Concord Church and provided acopy of the minutes from 1822, which included areference to Van Pelt's meetinghouse. Jim Snowden. Jim is the son of the late Lloyd Snowden and grew up in this community. His mother, Laura Maude Ailshie  Snowden, and his uncle, James "Spud" Ailshie, remembered the location of the old unmarked cemetery where we believe  Benjamin Van Pelt is buried. Jim and his wife Shirley live in Morristown and are members of Morristown First United  Methodist Church. Millie Meese. Millie is the Graphic Designer for Holston Conference who created the Map of Greene County and prepared this  document for publication. References: References: R.N. Price. Holston Methodism. 5 vols. Nashville; Dallas: Publishing House of the M.E. Church, South. Smith & Lamar, Agents. 1908,  Vol. 1, pages 134-135 & 193f.  The Journal of Francis Asbury. Greene County Tennessee Deed Book 6, page 438 December 23, 1801. Benjamin Van Pelt to Joseph Van Pel 8 1 Francis Asbury: Methodist Missionary to America Francis Asbury: Methodist Missionary to America John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, commissioned Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury as missionaries to  America and they sailed from England on the second day of September 1771. Asbury left behind his beloved  country, his parents and friends never to see them again in this world.  As Asbury embarked for America the twenty- six year-old minister wrote in his journal, "Whither am Igoing? To the new world. What to do? To gain honour?  To get money? No. Iam going to live to God and to bring others to do so." John Wesley may be the founder of the  Methodist movemen areform effort within the Church of England that eventually became adenomination, but  Francis Asbury is the undisputed father of American Methodism.  Asbury landed in Philadelphia in the fall of 1771 and soon proceeded to New York, his ï rst ï eld of ministry. On  his trip from Philadelphia to New York, he became acquainted with Peter Van Pelt of Staten Island, who graciously  invited Francis Asbury into his home. Asbury wrote in his journal: "Spent the following Sabbath on this Island,  preaching at Mr. Van Pelt's " From this initial encounter in America, alifelong friendship and faith bond was  established between Francis Asbury and the Van Pelt family. True to his calling as a Christian evangelis Francis  Asbury took to the road and for the next forty-ï ve years he pushed himself beyond normal human endurance. He  suffered from colds, coughs, fevers, severe headaches, ulcers, and eventually chronic rheumatism, which forced  him off his horse and into acarriage. Yet he continued to preach and make his annual visits among the churches. In  doing so, Asbury would ultimately ride into the territory that was to become Holston Conference and his memory is  forever etched into the hearts of her people.  Bishop Asbury Visits the Earnest Family  Bishop Asbury Visits the Earnest Family  in Eastern Greene County, Tennessee in Eastern Greene County, Tennessee During his visits to Greene County, Asbury most often stayed with two Greene County families. The Felix Earnest  family who lived along the Nolichucky River near Chucky in eastern Greene County and the Benjamin Van Pelt  family, who lived near the community of Thula in western Greene County. Henry Earnest seled on the Nolichucky  in 1779 and built afamily home and community for which is located on Tennessee Highway 351hucky Pike  at the Nolichucky River. The nearby Ebenezer Methodist Church, organized in 1792 by the Earnest family, is  one of the oldest churches in East Tennessee. Bishop Asbury ordained Felix Earnes brother of Henry Earnes  Jr a Methodist preacher in 1806. Ebenezer Church was the site for at least six sessions of the Holston Annual  Conference meetings, the ï rst of which took place April 27, 1795. Epilogue  Epilogue  Francis Asbury died in 1816 at 71 years of age. Benjamin Van Pel Sr. died in 1817 at 77 years of age. For their  time, they lived along life; since the average lifespan for acircuit-rider was relatively brief. They burned with a love for God and God's people. Those who responded to such love returned it in kind. The early selers of western  Greene County and indeed, all America, are indebted to Francis Asbury for helping spread the Good News of God's  mercy and grace across America's early frontier. We also owe adebt of gratitude for the legion of unsung heroes,  such as Benjamin Van Pel Sr. and Felix Earnest and their families. They rose to the challenges of the frontier,  journeyed into the unknown wilderness, and made abeer life for themselves and their descendents. Even by  today's travel standards, it is along way from Staten Island to Greene County! Thank God they came our way and  passed along agood measure of their hope and faith for we who followed them. Ron MahewsMaryville, TennesseeJuly 4, 2008 Mahews Gap as viewed west thru Bays Mountain into Hamblen County. Photo by Ron Mahews The Earnest Family home and community "fort" where the local folks would gather for safety in  the event of threa Bishop Asbury would have stayed here during his visits with this family. This is awonderfully preserved pre-1800 house located at the Nolichucky on TN Route 351hucky Pike,  Greene County, Chucky, TN. Photo by Ron Mahews 30 Aug 2007 Bill Bradley at Carter's Station historic marker. Photo by Ron Mahews 2 7 Bishop Asbury Visits the Van Pelt Family  Bishop Asbury Visits the Van Pelt Family  in Western Greene County in Western Greene County When Asbury was headed wes he often rode from the Earnest home to the Benjamin Van Pelt home and "meeting- house" in the Thula Community of western Greene County. The Reverend William Burke wrote, "At an early time,  Benjamin Van Pelt moved from Alexandria, Virginia, and seled on Lick Creek, Greene County, Tennessee. He had  considerable talent and was useful in that new country; several societies were formed by his ministry, and one of  the ï rst Methodist chapels in this country was Van Pelt's Meetinghouse. He was one of the "Fathers of Methodist  Class Meetings in Tennessee." Like Felix Earnes Benjamin Van Pelt was ordained as a Methodist minister by  Bishop Asbury. Although Van Pelt's Meetinghouse did not survive to our day, it was an important place of Christian  worship for this community from 1790"“1816. Asbury was introduced to Benjamin Van Pel Sr during his visit  with Peter Van Pelt on Staten Island in 1771. Filled with the hope of land and opportunity, Benjamin and Mary  Collins Van Pelt moved from Staten Island to Alexandria, Virginia. From there, they joined the movement of selers  from Virginia into the wilds of Western North Carolina; now East Tennessee. The astute Bishop Francis Asbury  realized his evangelist mission would require him to follow the people in this westward journey. And so he did,  preaching the gospel to all who would listen. It is no surprise that Asbury would ï nd awarm welcome at the Van  Pelt's home, his old friends from Staten Island who preceded him to Greene County. The Van Pelt and Crosby Families  The Van Pelt and Crosby Families  of Western Greene County of Western Greene County The Crosby and Van Pelt families moved from Fauquier County, Virginia to Greene County, Tennessee between  1789 and 1790. Caleb Pickens Crosby compiled The Crosby Family History, which is available in the T. Elmer Cox  Historical Library in Greeneville, Tennessee. According to his repor Susannah Conway Crosby and seven of her  and Uriel Crosby's older children moved in 1789 in the company of her nephew, Thomas Conway. Uriel and the  other children arrived on or about 26 Jun 1790. The Crosby's have been prominent members of this community  and were instrumental in the organization of Concord Baptist Church. Crosby family records indicate a Christian  worship community dating to 1796; however, the ofï cial charter for The Concord Church is 1823. The ï rst Baptist  church in Greene County was Lick Creek Baptist (now Warrensbur which was organized 14 Sep 1793 from  Bent Creek (now Whitesbur Baptist Church. Geneva Dyer provided acopy of the 1822 Concord Church minutes,  which notes ameeting of those who organized Concord Baptist Church, were to meet in Van Pelt's Meetinghouse  on at least one occasion prior to construction of their own building in 1823. Fairview Baptist Church, whose charter  members moved from Concord, was organized in 1912. It appears Van Pelt's Meetinghouse was the ï rst Christian  It is difï cult to imagine how rued and dangerous East Tennessee was at this time. Roads were lile more than  cleared paths and the maintenance of those roads was delegated to those who lived along the way. Francis Asbury  often rode his buy as far as the Van Pelt's, where he left them and borrowed one of their horses for his ride  into Kentucky. Van Pelt's provided asafe and comfortable way station for Bishop Asbury. Benjamin became an  enthusiastic follower of Christ and eventually was ordained as alocal Methodist preacher. His meetinghouse,  no doubt atypical crude log structure so common in that day, served the entire community as aplace of frontier  worship. Early Roads in Western Greene County Early Roads in Western Greene County The August 1796 Greene County court minutes describe the order for aroad to be laid off from the county line  near Fines Ferry to the Warm Springs. Among the various locations assigned were these two in Western Greene  County: Nehemiah Peit from Blue Springs to Wood's Ford of Lick Creek on the middle road. Nehemiah Peit was  overseer for the road from Mosheim through Midway to the ford of Lick Creek. Benjamin Van Pel Sr. assumed  responsibility from the Ford of Lick Creek to the Line of Jefferson County. This is now the Hamblen County line.  The Van Pelt Great Road, as it is referenced in some early deeds, was the section from the ford at Lick Creek near  the Crosby Family Cemetery to what is now Mc Donald Elementary School and turned west along War Branch  Creek to the mouth of Lick Creek and the county line. When Bishop Asbury rode into Kentucky from Van Pelt's, he  most likely traveled what is now the Westwood or Warrensburg Road west through Mahews Gap to Russellville  and then turned northwest at Cheek's Crossroads to the Cumberland Gap. On other occasions, he would travel  down the Van Pelt Great Road to what we know as the Mc Donald Community, where the road followed War  Branch and Flea Ridge to the mouth of Lick Creek and the Bend of the Nolichucky. Life on the Road with Bishop Asbury Life on the Road with Bishop Asbury We are fortunate to have the journal of Bishop Asbury, where he recounts his experiences on the road along his far- ï‚ ung circuits. The following excerpts from Bishop Francis Asbury's journal related to his travels in Greene County,  Tennessee provide aglimpse of the difï culties in that day. Saturday, April 6, 1793 Asbury had left the Earnest family in Chuckey; he writes Icame alone through heavy rains,  over bad hills and poor ridges, to Brother Benjamin Van Pelt's, on Lick Creek. He is abrother to Peter, my old, ï rst  friend on Staten Island: Iwas weary, damp, and hungry; but had acomfortable habitation, and kind, loving people, who  heard, refreshed, and fed me. We had alarge congregation at Brother Van Pelt's chapel, where Ihad liberty in speakin  Ileft the young men to entertain the people awhile longer, and returned and read Mr. Wesley's sermon on riches. Saturday, May 11, 1793  We came to Brother Van Pelt's, with whom we rested on the Sabbath. Ihave traveled between  ï ve and six hundred miles in the last four weeks, and have rested from riding ï fteen days at Conferences and other  places. Ihave been much distressed with this night work  no regular meals, nor sleep; and it is difï cult to keep up  prayer in such rude companies as we have been exposed to; Ihave also been severely afï‚ icted through the whole journey. April 1795. Even in challenging times, our forebears retained asense of humor. Bishop Asbury recorded the following  observation after his April 1795 overnight visit within the conï nes of asmall log cabin in the wilderness: "I spent anight  with brother Whitaker, Iwish his wife may not love him to death." Iwill leave it to the reader's imagination what might  have occurred to prompt such anotation by the good Bishop! Friday, September 26, 1800  We rode twenty-one miles to Benjamin Van Pelt's upon Lick Creek; we fed our horses  twice, the riders not once! Here (Van Pelt's) Ileft the horse and carriage, and borrowed ahorse to ride to Kentucky.  Tuesday, October 4, 1800  Rode twenty miles up Nolichucky to Benjamin Van Pelt's, where Ihad left my horse and  chaise. In this neighborhood the land, except afew spots, is lile beer than barren; nevertheless, good cultivation will  make it productive. From the twenty-seventh of last month, the day on which we left the pleasant mansion of our friend  Van Pel to the day of our return, we rode; Ipresume quite six hundred and sixty if not seven hundred miles. Hitherto the  Lord hath helped us. We have had twelve proper appointments; two of which were near failing because of rain. Bill Bradley near Felix Earnest's grave in Ebenezer Cemetery with  Ebenezer United Methodist Church in the background. Photo by Ron Mahews 4 5 Camp Meetings in Greene County Camp Meetings in Greene County Benjamin Van Pel Sr. was active in the camp meetinrevival era of the early 1800s. Camp Meetings were asource  of spiritual nurture, social interaction, and entertainmen There were two major campgrounds in Greene County.  Stone Dam Campground, which was located near the current Stone Dam United Methodist Church and Carter's  Station Campground, which is located in the Albany Community on the same property as Carter's Station United  Methodist Church. During "camp meetings" the folks from surrounding communities would pack up their horses,  load their wagons with provisions and travel to spend aweek or more camping together for worship and fellowship.  The Reverend Jacob Young wrote of an occasion at Carter's Station as follows:  "At the close of the year Iaended acamp meeting at Carter's Station, where about ten thousand people were  assembled. Here acontroversy had been going on between Presbyterians and Methodists, the former sayin  among other bier things that the laer were hypocrites and could refrain from shouting if they would. They  were the aristocracy; we, the poor. On Monday Ipreached, preceded by the venerable Van Pel who left the  congregation calmly and silently weeping "  Some readers may question the reliability of acount of ten thousand at Carter's Station. It is always possible that a number was misread or that it is an example of "ministerial estimation." Regardless, we may safely assume there  were alot of folks at the camp meetin We know people from Warrensburg and Thula were present at Carter's  Station and that Benjamin Van Pelt was one of the preachers. Where in the World was Van Pelt's Meetinghouse? Where in the World was Van Pelt's Meetinghouse? Bill Bradley and Ihave considered possible locations for the Van Pelt Meetinghouse for many years. We assumed  it must be in the Glades"“Thula"“Mc Donald area of Greene County. At las thanks to the deed research of Wayne  Conduff and the assistance of Geneva Dyer, we have located the property once owned by Benjamin Van Pelt and  on which his chapel stood. The Van Pelt property encompassed 200 acres on both sides of the Concord Road and  Poer's Creek and west along the Mc Donald Road. It included the property across the road from Fairview Baptist  Church, the nearby community store, the Bible home and property, including the Ailshie Cemetery, and extended  west to include part of Clyde and Elizabeth Bible's farm. Although we cannot determine the exact location of the  chapel itself; we know it was on this section of property as it is named in the deed of transfer from Benjamin, Sr. to  Joseph Van Pelt and it was located on this road. Deed of Conveyance of 200 acres by Van Pel Sr. to Joseph Van Pel son of Sr. 23 Dec 1801 including  Poer's Creek: Witnesses: Benjamin Lanstrum and Benjamin Van Pel Reserves in Van Pelt's Greene County  deed states: "the use of the dwelling house said Benjamin lives in with what other privileges said Benjamin  shall think proper during his natural Life, and the Life of Mary his Beloved and Lawful wife"”likewise  because James shall have peaceably that part the said James now occupieth if he continues in his own person  seven years from this date. Likewise the meetinghouse and one acre of land shall be Judged most convenient  reserved forever for the Methodist use. In Testimony whereof Ihave hereunto set my hand and afï xed my Seal  this 23 rd  Day of December 1801 as above wrien. Signed, Sealed and Delivered in the presence of Benjamin  Lanstrum (son-in-law) and Benjamin Van Pel" The 200 acres once owned by Benjamin Van Pelt and on which Van Pelt's meetinghouse was located, may be  viewed looking south and west from the front of the Fairview Baptist Church.  Carter's Station United Methodist Church, Greene County, Mosheim, TN. This view is  near the grave site of Rev. Benjamin Williams. These grounds include the location  of the Carter's Station Campground. Photo by Ron Mahews Fairview Baptist Church is in the left of photo. Bays Mountain is in the background.  Benjamin Van Pel Sr.'s property was in the area fronting this church. This view is looking north  from Easterly Road, the old pathway to Warrensbur Photo by Ron Mahews 24 Apr 2008 Lto R: Geneva Dyer, Wayne Conduff, and Dr. Grady Winegar.  Benjamin Van Pelt once owned the acreage in the background, which is directly across from the  front of Fairview Baptist Church. Photo by Ron Mahews 21 May 2008 i 9 Preface Preface This article is not intended to be an exhaustive work to cover all the people and places related to the time of  Francis Asbury. Information of ageneral nature is included to provide historical context for the readers. My  primary purpose is to unveil the story of Benjamin Van Pel apioneer preacher who moved to the Fairview-Thula- Mc Donald community in western Greene County in 1790 and died there in 1817. This is the community where  the author was born and completed high school. Iam indebted to the many historians and writers who across the  years have inspired me to read and appreciate the history of our region. The words in this document are largely my  own interpretation of the facts as others and Ihave discovered them amid awide variety of sources and personal  conversations. Iam especially indebted to the following for their assistance: William "Bill" Bradley, Wayne  Conduff, Geneva Dyer and Jim Snowden. Introduction Introduction This report links Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury (1745 "“ 1816) with another pioneer friend and pastor, Benjamin  Van Pel who moved to western Greene County in 1790 and very soon thereafter established ameetinghouse for  the beneï tof his community. Church historians have identiï ed several key historic sites within Holston Annual  Conference, which encompasses Southwest Virginia, East Tennessee and aportion of Northern Georgia. The  relationship between Francis Asbury and Benjamin Van Pelt has long been known, but the location of Asbury's  frequently mentioned "Brother Van Pelt and his meetinghouse" remained amystery. Bishop Asbury's journal gave  the only clue: Van Pelt's was located on the north side of Lick Creek, on what is now the road from the mouth of  Lick Creek to the village of Mosheim, about four miles north of Warrensbur In reading Asbury's journal, one notes  that the Van Pelt home was afrequent stopover for Asbury. Ibecame intrigued with the idea this meetinghouse must  have been located in my home community. Bishop Asbury notes in his journal avisit to Warrensburg in the fall  of 1809; following which the Warrensburg Methodist Church was organized in 1810. We may safely assume that  Van Pelt was aparticipant in the organization of this congregation. During the late 1700s and early 1800s, Greene  County was awild and untamed country. It was adifï cult time and into this raw wilderness would ride ayoung  British Methodist preacher by the name of Francis Asbury. Of course some days were beer than others, as the  cartoon below by John Lawing in a1978 issue of Christianity Today magazine illustrates so well. Additional Historical Notations Additional Historical Notations AChronology of a Few Key Events in Early Tennessee History:   1750   Dr. Thomas Walker and other Virginians explore East Tennessee.   1757   British soldiers from South Carolina construct Fort Loudon on the Lile Tennessee River.   In the ongoing strule between the French and British; both of whom manipulated the Native Americans in  their efforts to control the region.   1760   Fort Loudon surrenders to the Cherokee, who kill most of the residents.     1763  France forfeits all claims to land east of the Mississippi River to Great Britain in The Treaty of Paris, ending       the French and Indian/Seven Years' War.   1769  Early selers begin the push into East Tennessee often in violation of treaties with the Cherokee people.   1772  The Watauga Association is formed and selements begin along the Nolichucky River.   1776  The Territory of Tennessee is annexed to North Carolina as the Washinon District and is named           Washinon County in 1777.    1783  Greene County is formed in 1783 from Washinon County, North Carolina.      1784-88   The State of Franklin era.   1789   Following the demise of the State of Franklin, North Carolina cedes their control of the East Tennessee area  to the federal governmen It was commonly known as the Southwest Territory. North Carolina had  previously conveyed large tracts of land to speculators, Revolutionary War veterans and pioneers seeking a fresh star William Bloun aland speculator, serves as the governor with John Sevier and James Robertson  as military commanders for East Tennessee and the Middle Tennessee regions respectively.   1790  The Crosby's, Van Pelt's, and others sele in western Greene County.   1796  Tennessee experiences apopulation surge and statehood is granted June 1, 1796.  The Mouth of Lick Creek and the Bend of Chucky is the area of the Cooper Farm in extreme western Greene  County. This is the same area where in October 1776, John Sevier and his army camped overnight before their  march across the Nolichucky and up Long Creek to its head, then down Dumplin Creek to the French Broad River.  They forded the French Broad near Buckingham Island, went up Boyd's Creek to it's head and then down Ellejoy  Creek to the Lile River in Blount County. The army passed the present site of Maryville and on to the Cherokee  towns on the Lile Tennessee River near present day Vonore. Pilot Knob. Aprominent landmark near the Gap Greek Community along the road from  Van Pelt's to Carter's Station. Photo by Ron Mahews
  • size: 4.7 MB
  • pages: 15
  • Details

    • Title: Life and Times of Benjamin Van Pelt.indd
    • Author: millie
    • Creator: PScript5.dll Version 5.2.2
    • Producer: Acrobat Distiller 8.1.0 (Windows)
    • CreationDate: Mon Oct 6 16
    • ModDate: Thu Oct 23 14
    • Tagged: no
    • Pages: 15
    • Encrypted: no
    • Page size: 612 x 792 pts (letter)
    • File size: 4936614 bytes
    • Optimized: no
    • PDF version: 1.6