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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
Rev. W V MeGehee   1902 - 1904
Rev. W R Edwards  1904 - 1905
Various:   1905 - 1910
Rev. W R Harber  1910 - 1915
Rev. A W Yell   1916 - 1919
Rev. R S Garrett  1920 - 1921
Rev. R E Bowmer  1922 - 1925
Rev. W R Harber  1925 - 1933
Rev. T C Stockton  1933 - 1942
Rev. L L Thomas  1942 - ?

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
J A Callaway  (Ordained at Pine Tree) 1888
J R Castleberry  (Ordained at Pine Tree) 1888
Ollie Callaway     August 28, 1898
C W Simpson     July 1910
J H Alexander     July 1910
W I Denson     May 1912
Ernest Holland     May 1912
G A Castleberry    May 1912
Dennis Magrill     June 30, 1918
Bob McKinley     June 30, 1918
S C Rundell     Dec 21, 1930
R K Johnson     May 7, 1933
Minos B Harley    Feb 21, 1943
Louie L Williamson    May 19, 1946
Walter C McGrede    May 19, 1946

The following men have served as deacons in this church:

Ollie Callaway
Dennis Magrill
Bob Mckinley
R K Johnson
Tom Clemens

The following elders have served as clerk of the church session:

Ollie Callaway      1896 - 1906
J H Alexander  1910 - 1930
G A Castleberry 1930 - ?

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.

The following found in the vertical files at the Longview Library-----shows birth and death dates and where they are buried.     * Denotes listed in 1880 and 1900 Gregg Co Census Precinct 7 (Pine Tree).

John Fisher                     Jun 6, 1859      Apr 27, 1941        Fisher Cem
Mrs. Mollie Fisher       Apr 16, 1865        Feb 24, 1939  Fisher Cem
Mrs Lottie Hunter       Nov. 1, 1847        Jul 11, 1925  Hunter Cem
Robert McKinley         Sep_1872      *
Miss Kittie McKinley
John T McKinley           Dec _ 1867      *
Joe McKinley              Aug _ 1874      *
Acie Castleberry            1861         1932   Elmira Chapel
        (Asa Anderson)
Mrs Willie Castleberry            1868            1949   Elmira Chapel
Mrs J R Castleberry           1866           1908   Grace Hill Cem
Mrs. Ida Castleberry
Sanders Callaway           May 21, 1861          Oct 29, 1906  White Cem
Mrs Carrie Fisher Callaway           Aug _ 1864          Dec 24, 1906  White Cem
Charles McKinley            Jan 4, 1883           Oct 23, 1918
Mrs Dumphie McKinley            1881           1951   White Cem
Ed Fisher               Apr _ 1874      *
Mrs Pearl Fisher             Mar _ 1879      *
Mrs Belle Rodden              May _ 1865             1921   Elmira Chapel
Mrs James Rodden
James Morris
Mrs Ada Callaway            Feb 15, 1854           Mar 27, 1941  Fisher Cem
Alice Davis
Mrs Mary Hye
Bessie Hye
Tull Magrill               Oct 30, 1879            Jun 6, 1903  White Cem
Mrs Maggie Magrill              Jan 17, 1873           Nov 11, 1934  White Cem
James Bridges                Jan _ 1860      *
James L McKinley              Mar 18, 1875           Nov 10, 1904  Fisher Cem
Mrs Annie McKinley               Oct _ 1876      *
Mrs Carrie Robinson
Charles Smith
Mrs Minnie Briggs             May _ 1877      *
Mrs Mollie Castleberry
Mrs Elmira Magrill             Dec 12, 1877           Feb 11, 1962  Elmira Chapel
Mrs Mary Morris
Mrs Cora Denson               Nov 17, 1880           Jul 6, 1956  Elmira Chapel
M G B Morris
Mrs Annie Fisher              Mar 39, 1864             Oct 2, 1957  Fisher Cem
Mrs Annie Eliza Lee
Mrs Alice Magrill
H D Magrill
Tom Briggs
Mrs Ivy Briggs
Mrs Evie Walker
Claude Walker              Jan 25, 1878            Oct 8, 1915  White Cem
Mrs Susan Graham
William Broadway
Elizabeth Darthula Rodden
Fannie Elizabeth Broadway
Warren Eleazer Hunter               Nov 21, 1880           Oct 23, 1902  Hunter Cem
        (Warner E  ?)
Callie Alexander Magrill
Mary Castleberry
Ottie Hye
Etta Hunter
Ike Denson                   Apr 17, 1874             Nov 27, 1942  Elmira Chapel

Four Elders who were charter members:

R W Castleberry                Feb 12, 1844            Mar 3, 1924  Elmira Chapel
J R Castleberry                1849            1925  Grace Hill Cem
J A Callaway               Jul 9, 1848             Aug 18, 1931  Fisher Cem
Ollie Callaway                  Oct 29, 1873            May 1, 1906  White Cem

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