EARLY METHODISTS IN ALABAMA, 1808-1845
Source: "160 Years of Methodism in South Alabama and Northwest Florida, 1808-1968" by Franklin Shakelford Mosely, pp. 6-7
1808 Jan. 2, Matthew Parham Sturdivant, being the only volunteer, was appointed by Bishop Asbury at the South Carolina Conference in Charleston, as the FIRST MISSIONARY to the Tombigbee Settlements, and is said to have preached at St. Stephens, McIntosh Bluff, Lake Tensaw, Fort Stoddart, Wakefield and Wood's Bluff (Fort Easley). (Lorenzo Dow, a roving Methodist, preached the first Protestant Sermon in Alabama in 1803 in the Tombigbee and Tensaw River Settlements).
1808 Dec. 26, Sturdivant reported no members or congregations to the S.C. Conference at Liberty Hall, Georgia, but on Jan. 1,1809 was re-appointed by Asbury and McKendree to the Tombigbee, with Michael Burdge as his junior preacher.
1809 Dec. 23, Sturdivant and Burdge reported seventy one white and fifteen colored members to Bishops Asbury and McKendree at the S.C. Conference at Charleston. Methodism's "Endless Line of Splendor" in this area began with these unknown Methodists. Michael Burdge and John Woodson were assigned to Tombigbee Dec. 28, 1809 for the year 1810.
1810 Bassett's Creek Settlement was founded by John Dean and others, about two and a half miles southwest of Suggsville, says Anson West, who says that John and his family were Methodists and that there was an organized Society there in 1810. On Dec. 22,1810, Burdge and Kennon reported one hundred and two white and fourteen colored Members.
1810 Dec. 29, John Woodson Kennon and John S. Ford were appointed to Tombigbee by Asbury and McKendree, and reported one hundred and twenty-six and fourteen colored members at end of year.
1811 Oct. 1, at the Western Conference, Asbury and McKendree, appointed William Houston and Isaac Quinn to Tombigbee, and Dec. 6, 1811,the S.C. Conference sent Richmond Nolley and Drewry Powell to Alabama. The end of the year report showed one hundred and ninety-seven white and fifty-four colored members.
1812 Nov. 12, at the Tennessee Conference, Asbury and McKendree, appointed Richmond Nolley an John Shrock to Tombigbee. The past year's membership figures were reported again. (Fort Mims Massacre August 30,1813).
1813 Nov. 1, the Mississippi Conference, with Samuel Sellers presiding, appointed John Ira Ellis Byrd and Peter James to Tombigbee, and their Nov. 14,1814 report showed a decrease of thirty-five white and thirty-five colored members.
1814 Nov. 24, the Mississippi Conference, Samuel Sellers, presiding, sends John S. Ford and Thomas Owens to Tombigbee.
1815 Nov. 16, the Mississippi Conference, Samuel Sellers, presiding, sends Ashley Hewitt and Alexander Fleming to Tombigbee.
1816 Oct. 14, the Mississippi Conference at Pine Ridge, Sellers and Bishop Robert Ritchford Roberts, presiding, appointed Elisha Lott to Tombigbee. Bishop Roberts travelled the Natchez Trace (thru Northwest Alabama) and was the first Methodist Bishop ever on Alabama soil. West (page 178) tells of Bishop Robert's visit to Vernon, Autauga County, in Dec. 1822, so he appears to have been the first Methodist bishop ever within bounds of our Conference.
1817 Nov. 7, the Mississippi Conference, McKendree presiding, appointed John McLendon and Thomas Owen to Tombigbee, and Oct. 30, 1817, the Tennessee Conference and Ebenezer Hearn to Flint River Circuit, North Alabama, and in June 1818, Hearn travelled down to Tuscaloosa, and a few weeks later to Greensboro and Marion.
1818 Nov. 1, The Mississippi Conference, McKendree presiding, appointed Thomas Griffin and John Murrah to Tombigbee and on Nov. 17,1819 they reported 968 white and 172 colored members. On Dec. 24,1818 the S.C. Conference sent Alexander Talley as Missionary to Alabama where he preached in Autauga and Montgomery Counties in 1819.
1819 John French built French's Chapel in what is now Clarke County, where he had moved to near Barlow's Bend in 1811, after serving in the Virginia Conference 1805 -181l.
1819 Apr. 21, James King, Methodist local preacher, moved to Montgomery and preached the first sermon ever heard there. Nov. 17, 1819, The Mississippi Conference under Bishop George, appointed Nicholas McIntyre and Thomas Clinton to Tombigbee and Thomas Nixon to the new Alabama Circuit, mostly in Autauga and Montgomery Counties.
1819 Dec. 19 Alabama became the twenty second state of the Union, population 107,000, with the Methodists well on the way in their "amazing march through Alabama and West Florida.
1821 Alexander Talley appointed Missionary to Mobile, Blakely and Pensacola.
1824 Henry P. Cook appointed as first Methodist Minister in Mobile and was succeeded 1825 by John Russell Lambuth.
1829 John Russell Lambuth moved to near Kirkpatrick's Landing near Forkland, Greene County, where his son, James William Lambuth was born March 2, 1830. James joined Ebenezer Church near his home in 1837. The family moved in 1843 to near Pearl River in Madison County, Mississippi. James was a Missionary to China 1854-1886 and to Japan 1886-1892, and was the father of Bishop Walter Russell Thornton Lambuth 1854-192l.
1829 Sept. 16, Britton Capel presided over a meeting at Smith's Ferry, Perry County, out of which came the Alabama Methodist Protestant Church.
1832 Dec. 12, First Session of the new Alabama Conference at Tuscaloosa, with Bishop James Osgood Andrew presiding. The Conference included what is now the Alabama-West Florida Conference, also Tuscaloosa, Talladega, Blount, Shelby, Pickens, Jefferson, etc. Counties in Alabama, and Macon, Columbus, and other places in Mississippi.
1841 Jan. 2, Centenary Institute at Summerfield, Dallas County, incorporated and served until 1886.
1845 May 1, The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, organized, of which the Alabama Conference became a part.