Elmira Chapel Cumberland Presbyterian Church
The Ministry of ELMIRA CHAPEL Cumberland Presbyterian Church
May 2, 1948
Leonard L. Thomas, Minister
It was in the Old Spring Hill School House some time in the year 1891 that religious services were first held. Rev. W. M. Allen was one of the early ministers to preach in this school house. A Sunday School was also held in these beginning years in the school house. The Pine Tree Cumberland Presbyterian Church sponsored these services. For a number of years the Pastor of the Pine Tree Church, when he would come to fill his monthly appointment, would preach in the afternoon at this school house. Slowly but surely this school house came to be the religious center of the community, even though most of the church members of the community belonged to the Pine Tree Church. Following is some of the minutes of the Pine Tree Church:
Feb., 14, 1894. Collection taken at Spring Hill for Home Missions amounted to $2.60.
May 6, 1894. Collection taken at Spring Hill School House for Education of Young Ministers amounted to $1.80.
The Pine Tree Church Session met at Spring Hill on the first Sunday in April 1895 at two o'clock. (The subject under discussion was the church members who had been dancing.) The members agreed to see all of the members of the church who had been dancing by next regular appointment.
?Collection taken up at Spring Hill for Foreign Missions on the second Sunday in October 1895 amounted to $3.25.?
?Pine Tree Session, July 5, 1895. On motion there was a Revival Meeting appointed to held at Spring Hill commencing on Friday before the third Sabbath in July. (Ministers to be asked to hold this meeting were Bro. E H Keasler and Dr Henrick of Longview.?
?Pine Tree Session, Oct. 28, 1897, met in home of Bun E Rodden. The purpose of this meeting was to separate Pine Tree and Spring Hill and make two distinct churches and to change the name of Spring Hill to Elmira Chapel, a division agreed upon by the elders, distance between the churches about 3 ½ miles.
Taken from the minutes of the Marshall Presbytery of July 1-2, 1898, is the following statement:
?The organization of Elmira Chapel congregation, ordered at the
last Presbytery, was reported, and its representative, Elder J
A Callaway, appeared and took his seat.?
At the end of the first year the report which appears in the General Assembly Minutes of 1899 give the Number of members as 61. The value of the church property as $1000.00 and the amount paid to the Pastor for the year was $205.00.
The Church was named Elmira Chapel in honor of Mrs. Elmira Castleberry, the mother of two of the first elders, Mr R W Castleberry and Mr J R Castleberry. Mrs. Castleberry was a charter member of the Pine Tree Church when it was organized on October 10, 1847, and her name is signed to the Constitution of the Pine Tree Church.
Elmira Chapel Ministers:
Rev. J M Robinson
1897 - 1901
The following are the names and the dates of the ordination of the elders who have served this church:
R W Castleberry (Ordained
at Pine Tree) 1872
The following men have served as deacons in this church:
The following elders have served as clerk of the church session:
Ollie Callaway 1896 - 1906
Superintendents of the Sunday School:
Ollie Callaway, R W Castleberry, Will Lamb, J H Alexander, Dennis
Magrill, W L Bussy, S C Rundell and Minos
Part of letter from Rev. J M Robinson 1947
"I took charge of the Pine Tree Church the first of September, 1896. The Spring Hill Community was conducting a Sunday School under the leadership of J W Lawrence, who asked me to assist by teaching the Bible Class, and preaching a short sermon each Sunday. We met at three p m each Sunday. About the middle of October we started a prayer meeting which grew very rapidly. The Spring Hill building was terribly dilapidated. So we began to talk about better quarters. The Public school was conducted in this building. Elder James Castleberry gave the lumber and nails, and the community did the work, in the spring of 1897.
The purpose of the building was two-fold; the first floor was for church purposes, the second for the public school. We finished the building and moved in the First of September, 1897.
Then came the agitation for separation from Pine Tree and the Session Meeting at the home of Bun E Rodden. But for some reason we postponed action. There was no friction.
But here comes another story. Mr James Castleberry and I were driving to Moss Lake. I told him of my coming marriage the third of November 1897. His answer was "you will need a place to live". He then said, "there are 33 acres plus between my place and John Callaway's. I'll deed that to the church and furnish the lumber and nails for a 5-room manse", which he did. We moved into the manse the last of March 1898. Mrs Elmira Castleberry passed away, and I suggested that we call the church Elmira Chapel as a memorial to her, which was adopted. Mr James Castleberry told the people that he was ready to make out the deed for the property but there was no organization. I called a meeting the next Sunday for the purpose of organizing Elmira Chapel Church. Quite a number entered into the organization and we elected the following elders: James Castleberry, John Callaway, Richard Castleberry, and Ollie Callaway, who was elected session clerk. Up to the time of the organization we were under the Pine Tree session. Sorry that I cannot give you the exact date of the organization.
CHARTER MEMBERS OF ELMIRA CHAPEL
Jun 6, 1859 Apr 27, 1941
Four Elders who were charter members:
R W Castleberry
Feb 12, 1844
Mar 3, 1924 Elmira Chapel
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