30 May 2013

Parrish Brothers of Berrien County, Georgia

I would be thrilled to find a description of one of my ancestors in a history book, let alone a set of seven! The following is from Lucian Lamar Knight's Georgia's Landmarks, Memorials and Legends (pg. 303, pub. 1914).
The Parrish family of Berrien holds a somewhat unique record. Seven sons of the Rev. Ansel Parriash, an itinerant Methodist minister, represent an aggregate weight of 1,568 pounds, or an average weight of 224 pounds each. They recently held a family reunion at the home of Mr. J. A. J. Parrish, of Adel, at which time the scales were brought into use, showing the weight of the brothers to be as follows: J. W. Parrish, of Adel, 308 pounds; E. C. Parrish, of Adel, 229 pounds; A. B. Parrish of Savannah, 221 pounds; J. A. Parrish, of Adel, 218 pounds; J. W. Parrish, of Lois, 209 pounds; H. W. Parrish, of Sparks 202 pounds; and J. A. B. Parrish of Valdosta, 181 pounds...not a single member of the family has ever known a serious illness. With ages ranging at present from 42 to 63 years, they are vigorous, energetic, industrious men, showing no signs of corpulent or surplus flesh, engaged in widely different occupations, well-esteemed, prosperous, intelligent and high-minded men. It is a custom of the brothers to hold a family reunion each year in the month of February; and no matter how far from home this season of the year finds them or on what business intent, they always return for these festive gatherings.

Image Credit: VintageKin.com

29 May 2013

Do You Know the Ryman Auditorium was Built for a Georgia Preacher?

[I certainly did not until recently! The following was originally posted at the Southern Graves blog.]

Sam P. Jones
Mentally heroic, magnetic to a degree which drew all men to him, physically and morally a man militant and unafraid, Sam P. Jones was known to thousands in all parts of this country. [1906]

But I had never heard of Rev. Jones before arriving at his draped obelisk at Oak Hill Cemetery in Cartersville, GA the spring of 2011. And still didn't think much of him until learning he was the reason Nashville's famed Ryman Auditorium was built. Yes, the home of the Grand Ol' Opry. That Ryman Auditorium. A little factoid such as that will make this fan of country music dig a little deeper.

Photo © 2011-2013 S. Lincecum

The story goes that Samuel Porter Jones, born 16 October 1847, was quite the whiskey drinker. It ruined his law career and strained familial relationships. He even described himself as "the wickedest young man in Georgia," and further stated: "I was going to hell a mile a minute when I stopped and went the other way." That turnabout came on the deathbed of his father in 1872. Sam P. Jones never looked back, becoming one of the most well-known evangelists and revival preachers in the United States.

One of the things Rev. Jones was known for was his epigrams. Here are a few:

"The devil can run a mile while the church is putting on its boots."

"Deathbed repentance is the retreat of a coward and an insult to God."

"I hate theology and botany; I love religion and flowers."

"The tune of America is pitched to the dollar."

Ryman Auditorium
from Wikimedia Commons
Reason for the Ryman
On 10 May 1885 Thomas Ryman, owner of several saloons, hears Rev. Samuel P. Jones speak: "According to legend, Thomas Ryman was fed up with Sam Jones' preaching against drinking and gambling, so he and a few friends went to Jones' tent revival to raise a ruckus. But something in Jones' speech affected Ryman so deeply that he repented his sins and vowed to build Jones a great tabernacle so that he would never again have to preach under a tent again in Nashville. Ryman became wholly focused on the construction of the Union Gospel Tabernacle which would later be renamed the Ryman Auditorium in his honor." [Ryman.com]

Rev. Sam P. Jones died 15 October 1906, the day before his 59th birthday, near Little Rock, Arkansas. He had just completed a preaching stint at a revival in Oklahoma, and was on a train bound for his home in Cartersville, preparing to celebrate his birthday with a family reunion.

Prior to his funeral in Cartersville, Jones' body lay in state at the capitol rotunda in Atlanta. The day and atmosphere surrounding his funeral was described in the Biloxi Daily Herald (Mississippi), 20 October 1906:
"Living, the Rev. Sam P. Jones was loved with a tenderness that one sees but once in a life time. Wrapped in the cold arms of death, this love was given an expression which was confined to no class or condition, no age, color or sex.

Cartersville, where Sam Jones was best known, by reason of the fact that it was his home, seemed paralyzed by paroxysms of grief which followed one another in quick succession whenever the name of the dead evangelist was mentioned or when some familiar object reminiscent of his was seen.

Even nature was in accord with the grief of the city. The sky was overcast with banks of dull, threatening clouds, which seemed at any moment ready to turn loose the full flood of their sorrow. Cartersville had the silence of the sepulchre during the entire day...Religions for the once were as one...Knots of people congregated at each corner, and Caucasian and negro freely fraternized, their common grief being a bond which brought all together and for the time obliterated all barriers."
This is a long winded post, I know. But I must note that Rev. Sam P. Jones of course had his detractors. And the following article from the 17 October 1906 Jonesboro Evening Sun (Arkansas) seemed to sum "things" up nicely:

Rev. Sam P. Jones
Born Oct 16, 1847
Died Oct 15, 1906
"They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the
stars for ever and ever." -- Daniel 12, 3.
The only Sam Jones is dead, and with his death one of the most unique characters in the later times passes from the stage of action. It is not difficult to estimate a character like Sam Jones. His work was so individual, and stands out in such well defined proportion that it may be viewed with definite entirety.

No sooner does a great man die than the world hastily takes account of its loss -- that perhaps, being the world's selfish way of showing its appreciation -- and in the death of Sam Jones the loss is large. The first thought of those who regret the material loss of his work might be that it is fortunate he lived so long.

There are those who did not admire Sam Jones and his methods. They were not exactly canonical. And the host of imitators who succeeded only in impressing the fact that they were imitators, is one of the results of Sam Jones' not edifying but for which he could not be held to account. But good resulted from his work and in generous proportion. His galling satire reached many a hardened sinner, who repented because he admired the manner in which he was called to account."

15 May 2013

Centuries Have Not Dimmed the Glory

..."Surmounting a pedestal of granite, the figure of Sergeant Jasper, heroic in size and wrought of bronze, is portrayed in the act of seizing the colors of his regiment. It reproduces the heroic scene of his martyrdom, on the Spring Hill redoubt, during the siege of Savannah. With the flag in one hand, he raises his gallant sword with the other, to defend the emblem of his country's liberties." 1

The monument to Sgt. William Jasper, unveiled in 1888, stands in Savannah, Georgia's Madison Square. It is inscribed:

To The Heroic Memory Of
Sergeant William Jasper
Who Though Mortally Wounded
Rescued The Colors Of His Regiment
In The Assault
On The British Lines About This City
October 9th, 1779
A Century Has Not Dimmed The Glory
Of The Irish American Soldier
Whose Last Tribute To Civil Liberty
Was His Noble Life
1779 - 1879

All photos © 2010-2013 S. Lincecum.

More about William Jasper from Wikipedia.


1. Ancestry.com. Georgia's Landmarks, Memorials and Legends [images on-line]. Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.
Original data: Knight, Lucian Lamar. Georgia's Landmarks, Memorials and Legends. Atlanta, Ga.: Printed for the author by the Byrd Print. Co., state printers, 1913-1914.

10 May 2013

About Andrew Bryan, Noted Negro Preacher (A Friend of Friends Friday)

From Georgia's Landmarks, Memorials, and Legends by Lucian Lamar Knight, page 95:
Caesar, one of the numerous slaves owned by Jonathan Bryan, lived to be a centenarian. But long before his death he was made a free man by the voluntary act of his master. Andrew, a son of the old ex-slave, became a noted negro preacher of Savannah during the early ante-bellum period. The following brief items, copied from the records, tell a story of some interest. First, the death notice of Jonathan Bryan's faithful servant Caesar. This reads as follows: "Nov. 27th, 1798. Savannah, Ga. Died at the plantation of Col. Wylly [son-in-law of the late Hon. Jonathan Bryan] aged 103 years, negro Caesar, father of the celebrated Parson Andrew. Caesar was a faithful servant of the late Jonathan Bryan, Esq., for forty-two years, when he gave him his freedom." -- In Book B. Chatham County Records, pp, 213, 214, dated May 4th, 1789, will be found an entry showing where William Bryan, planter, son of Jonathan Bryan, sets free Andrew, a former slave on the estate of Jonathan Bryan and by division of estate, William Bryan's slave. -- In Book N. Chatham County Records, p. 117, dated Sept. 4th, 1773, there is an entry showing where a plot of ground at Yamacraw in what was then called the village of St. Gall was deeded to William Bryan and James Whitefield, in trust for a black man, named Andrew Bryan, a preacher of the gospel. The consideration involved was thirty pounds sterling. On this plot of ground was built the negro church of which Andrew Bryan was the pastor until his death. As an item of interest for the future historian, this fragment illustrative of life under the old feudal regime at the South is worthy of preservation.

07 May 2013

The Mother Church of Georgia & Washington's Southern Tour

Photo © 2010-2013 S. Lincecum
"On the original spot where the Colonists established a house of worship stands today the beautiful and classic proportions of Christ Church. Here Wesley preached and Whitefield exhorted -- the most gifted and erratic characters in the early settlement of Georgia." 1

The edifice from 1838 stated the church building, founded in 1743, was destroyed by fire in 1796. After rebuilding, it was partially destroyed by a hurricane in 1804. It was later added that the church was again partially destroyed by fire, and the current structure was a rebuilding and improvement dating to 1897. The historical marker in Savannah's Johnson Square details this as the "current and third structure" designed by James Hamilton Couper.

Early and noteworthy members of the parish include William Scarborough, who built the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean; Dr. Theodosius Bartow, father of Col. Francis S. Bartow; Dr. George Jones, a U.S. senator; and R. R. Cuyler, a famous railroad pioneer.

George Washington attended services in the original Christ Church 15 May 1791.


1. Pleasant A. Stovall, as quoted by Lucian Lamar Knight in Georgia's Landmarks, Memorials and Legends (pub. 1914).