Gum Spring: A Community at the Crossroads
1755 Map of the British Colonies by John Mitchell
TABLE of CONTENTS
The earliest colonists to settle in what would become Gum Spring moved west from the Tidewater region. They followed ancient paths long used as trading routes by the native population in Virginia on their journey between the mountains and the Chesapeake Bay. These pathways traced the highest ground between river systems. The Mountain Road, along with the Three Notched (Chopt) Road just a few miles to the south, followed the crest between the James River and the branch of the York River known as the Pamunkey. The Pamunkey forked in Hanover and became the North and South Anna (Pamunkey) Rivers.
1745– A Visit to Gum Spring
1750— Churches Near the Crossroads
The Message from the Men Of God
1780—A Visit as The Revolutionary War Ends
Slavery in Goochland and Louisa Counties
1860—Gum Spring on the Eve of War
1865—The Aftermath of the Civil War
1950—Gum Spring During Jim Crow
Documenting Slaveholders and Enslaved
Front and back covers: Confederate Engineers Map of Central Virginia, 1864. Library of Congress
Patterns. We consciously create them in architecture, textiles and music. We are often much less conscious of the patterns we create through the decisions we make. Shown here is a linen and wool coverlet from the 1840s, whose threads were probably raised and spun by enslaved people. We hope this little book helps us all understand how decisions our ancestors made over 250 years ago shaped our community today. May it also help us envision new patterns for our common life together in this community around Gum Spring.
Introduction A simple question can have answers with enormous implications. Such was the case when Pam Richardson, whose family roots go back 200 years in Gum Spring, asked me, her history-minded friend, how many of the founders of Gum Spring Methodist Church were slaveholders. I began researching the records and what I discovered has challenged and disturbed us both. A picture unfolded of admonitions from the founders of all the churches in Gum Spring to set free their enslaved brothers and sisters. Who among us has not been warned about something we should, or should not do- but we did, or didn't do it anyway? Hence the balm in the words of the Confession, “Forgive us for things done and left undone.” The early members of our churches failed in the same way. What follows is written to point no finger and with no sense of condemnation. Rather, we offer it to pull back a veil and illuminate more clearly the story of our beginnings. Just as Gum Spring sits at an ancient crossroads where people made choices about a direction to go, so the spiritual journey of its people brought them to a crossroads time after time. Sometimes, we as people take a wrong turn and travel far down a road that leads us away from home. And sometimes the only way to get back on the right road is to return to the crossroads and choose a different path. If you’re like us, you may find that what follows challenges and troubles you, too. "You’re not alone," is all we can say. The reward for opening ourselves to something uncomfortable may just be that it brings light to darkness and a new freedom as we learn to walk together in that light. May God give us the grace to see and hearts willing to be touched by what our eyes behold. We hope you'll take the journey with us back to our beginnings. We'll start about 1750 in the tavern that once stood where the Methodists gather today. Reading through the pages with a large date on them will give you the flow of what we uncovered. Other pages provide a deeper look into what we found. Will you join us at the crossroads? Elaine Taylor
A few things by way of introduction might be helpful as you read. Land grants from the King of England provided legal ownership of the land around Gum Spring by 1720. Lest our imaginations let us think poor farmers were getting their own land for the first time on the frontier, the truth is that most of the first and best grants were to those in favor with the Crown. They received land ranging from 400 acres to over 5,000. One example is John Syme who was granted 5,529 acres stretching from where the Dairy Queen is today all the way to Perkinsville Rd. He employed one William Harris to oversee his enslaved workforce, 28 men and women, who ceaselessly cleared the fields of virgin timber, fashioned it into homes and barns, cultivated the fields and performed all the work needed on a farm.
The first kidnapped Africans were brought to Virginia in 1619. Importation of this work force, bound in chains, continued to grow larger to meet demand. It is likely that many of the enslaved Africans first brought to our area were born in Africa and had personally experienced the horrors of the Middle Passage. The international slave trade was outlawed in 1808, just as the Deep South was opening for settlement and investment. There huge plantations needed hundreds of slaves and the place to purchase them was the Upper South. By the time of the Civil War, Richmond was the largest slave trading hub on the Atlantic Coast. If you wonder where Richmond slave traders got their â€œinventory,â€? the answer is from surrounding counties, including Goochland and Louisa.
Map of Central Virginia in 1755 by Fry and Jefferson, Library of Congress
In The Year of Our Lord
What Sort of People are in This Place? Imagine, if you will, the year is 1745 and you are arriving in a small crossroads village, later known as Gum Spring, in the heart of the vast Virginia colony. Roads have improved little since the first Englishmen arrived fifty years earlier, drawn by the lucrative Indian trade. You might decide to turn into John Hillâ€™s Ordinary to rest your horse and enjoy Hill's daily fare with a pint of hard cider. It's early fall and a large herd of hogs on their way to market are penned nearby for the night. Perhaps you'll dine with one of the Huguenots, religious refugees from France, who were welcomed to Virginia by Colonial Governor William Byrd in 1700. Welcomed, that is, as long as they became good Anglicans and were willing to live on an abandoned Indian village called Manakintown. There they served as a buffer should another Indian war break out and threaten the English.
East Leake, circa 1735, located just west of Gum Spring. This was the home of Walter Leake, an early Presbyterian, and one of the larger dwellings in the area until the early 1800s.
Unlike the colonies to the north (the Massachusetts Bay colony, Pennsylvania and Maryland), religious freedom was not the primary reason the British came to Virginia. It was money and the chance to make as much of it as possible. The labor of enslaved Africans quickly became essential to meeting that goal. At Hill's an enslaved cook will prepare your meal. The hostler tending your horse and the laborers you passed in fields along the way to Gum Spring, they were enslaved, too.
The Tavern at the Crossroads John Allen received a license to operate an ordinary on the Three Notched Road from the newly formed Louisa County Court on February 14, 1742. His was one of seven establishments licensed in the county’s first two years. John Hill bought the tavern in 1746. Once located every few miles along the public roads, colonial taverns, also called ordinaries, served travelers and local residents as places to gather, seek refreshment and entertainments, and foster the political consciousness of those gathered for discourse and debate. Tavern games such as dice and cards were played in the smoke-filled public rooms. Crossroads and court house villages were the most desirable location for taverns and Hill’s Ordinary at the intersection of the Three Notched and Goochland Court House roads was ideally suited.
Hill's Ordinary stood on the site of the present Gum Spring United Methodist Church. Examination of the oldest (right) side of the building revealed evidence of post-in-ground construction indicating the building may date as early as 1700. Louisa County Historical Society
Prices for a Bill of Fare- Louisa County 1746 (Prices given in pounds, shillings and pence) French Brandy a quart 0 5 0 Canary a quart 0 5 0 Portugal or French Wine a quart 0 4 0 Madira Wine a quart 0 2 3 Western Island Wine a quart 0 2 0 Rum a quart 0 2 6 English or Spanish Brandy a quart 0 2 6 Virginia Brandy a quart 0 2 0 London or Bristoll strong Beer a quart 0 1 3 Wisky a quart 0 2 0 English Cyder a quart 0 1 3 Virginia or Pensylvania strong Beer a quart 0 0 6 Cyder not English a quart 0 0 0 ¾ Lemonade a quart with a pint of Wine therein and sweetened with double refined sugar; 0 1 3 Punch or Flip a quart with three gills of Rum therein and sweetened with double refined sugar 0 1 3 Dyet a meal of hot victuals 0 1 0 Dyet a meal of cold victuals 0 0 7½ A Servant’s dyet a meal 0 0 6 Lodging a night 0 0 6 Pasturage for a horse a day and night 0 0 6 Indian Corn a gallon Winchester measure 0 0 4 Stableage and Fodder for a horse a day and night 0 0 6 And so proportionately for a greater or lesser quantity which may be paid for in tobacco after the rate of twelve and six pence per hundred.
"Let them remember that men are as chaff compared to principles." So read an admonition dated 1846 from the Louisa Senatorial Convention after announcing: "Our friends will remember that this body meets on Tuesday at Micajah Parrish's, Gum Spring, Louisa." In the decades leading up to the Civil War, Hill's Ordinary was operated by Micajah Parrish, postmaster for Gum Spring and one of the original trustees of Gum Spring Methodist Church. Among its other purposes, his tavern served as the meeting place for the local Democratic party in the 1840s. Among their most important concerns of that time was whether runaway slaves who escaped to free northern states should be returned to their owners if caught. The same tension that split churches over the issue of slaveholding was also fracturing the new American experiment in democracy. Fearing that Federal laws put forward by the Whig party would not protect their slaveholding interests, local Committees of Vigilance formed in the late 1840s. Louisa members near Gum Spring included Micajah Parrish, Stephen Farrar, John Shelton, Dr. Thomas Shelton, and John Woodson, and these men from Goochland: George Mayo, John Allen, James T. Isbell, and John Martin.
In the absence of telephones, or any other communication tools, it was common practice to announce meetings in newspapers. Meetings at Parrish's tavern (once Hill's Ordinary) can be found in Richmond papers throughout the 1830s-60s.
As you'll see in the following pages, the questions of conscience posed by the early itinerant preachers who founded the churches in Gum Spring had been answered and the answer was that Virginians would keep their slaves. The questions were now about statesâ€™ rights, particularly the right to hold those slaves as property. "Men are as chaff compared to principles," and Virginians were determined to hold to their principle of statesâ€™ rights to self -governance without interference. 9
In The Year of Our Lord
1750 Allow your imagination to return you to Hill's Ordinary in 1750. If you ask other patrons about the religious spirit of the people in the area, you would quickly discover their interest in the new religious movements making their way through the colony. An Anglican minister, Reverend William Douglas, lived nearby and married and baptized almost everyone in the area. However, he was part of the British colonial government in Virginia. The people here had more independent leanings and many of them in this community on the old Three Notched Road welcomed preachers bringing a different call, a call to personal holiness and renewal.
John Todd wrote that George Whitefield preached at Providence meetinghouse in 1755, bringing "gentlemen to tears expressive of their sorrow that they had long neglected their souls." The rooms at Hill's Ordinary were filled with discussions about the injustice of being forced to pay tithes for the support of the Church of England when local people attended other gatherings for worship. Indeed, there were strong currents of spiritual interest here. But the people around you were also Virginians. As such they faced disturbing questions about the humanity and souls of the people they held in bondage and who worshipped with them in their churches. Before God they were their brothers and sisters. But they were also their property and the labor force upon which their own wealth depended.
You might find a few Quakers with you at the ordinary, members of the Society of Friends. One might be from the Quaker families to first move into Goochland and Louisa Counties; Pleasants, Woodsons, Hutchins, and Hunnicuts. New Light Presbyterian ministers Reverends Samuel Davies and John Todd likely gathered a crowd right where you are seated. By 1747, there were enough converts that Davies left Todd in charge of the congregation at Providence meetinghouse. Among the families who joined the Presbyterian Society were Leakes, Sheltons, Slaydens, Woodsons, and Whites. 10
Inset from the Fry Jefferson map 1775. Library of Congress
The other patrons at the Ordinary could easily tell you about Samuel Davies and the churches he was planting in Virginia, among them Byrd meetinghouse in Goochland. If your conversation was with a Presbyterian, he would surely remind you that the Church of England was the only official church at that time. Any other form of worship required a license from the governor, which Davies prudently sought. He might recount, in contrast, the flogging and imprisonment of the Baptists who held they owed no such deference to anyone but God.
Providence Church as it appeared about 1930 when Works Progress Administration staff conducted a photo documentation of historic buildings in Virginia. Image held by the Library of Congress.
Virginia imported English notions of class stratification in society. Here in Gum Spring, further away from the seat of colonial power in Williamsburg, the appeal of equality in Christ being preached by these dissident preachers held a particularly strong appeal, on a social level as well as spiritual. Enslaved members of these congregations, and there were hundreds, could find a sense of the dignity and worth of their souls in the preachers' messages. Unlike the Baptists who allowed some enslaved members to be deacons, vote in church matters, and preach, the Presbyterians could not bring themselves to hold with the notion of Africans as their equals in the Kingdom of God on earth. By 1800, the Baptists would also adopt that view. Most historic churches still have balconies built so black worshippers were seated separately, out of view of whites.
Many early Quakers who remained in the area became Presbyterians. One was Tucker Woodson who allowed the Presbyterians to meet in his barn near the courthouse. Other groups met at Licking Hole meetinghouse referenced in this 1836 runaway slave advertisement in the Richmond Enquirer.
The gravity of the issue of slaveholding among Christians is almost impossible to overstate. The following pages express, with quotes from writings of the time, the depth of the struggle church leaders faced in the 1700s. Anglican, Quaker, Presbyterian, and Methodist leaders all warned of the perils slavery placed on men's souls. 11
The Church of England (The Anglicans/Episcopalians) All Virginians were expected to be members of the colony's official church, the Church of England. They were taxed to support the church, could be fined or put in the stocks for not attending, and were limited in their rights to hold public office, etc., unless they were members of the church in good standing. While most Church of England clergymen were slaveholders themselves, one voice among them rattled the status quo. It was that of George Whitefield (1714â€“1770), the most influential preacher of the First Great Awakening during the 1730s and 40s in America.
"God has a Quarrel with you for your Abuse of and Cruelty to the poor Negroes." George Whitefield
Whitefield drew massive crowds with his dramatic, passionate preaching. He regularly spoke outdoors, in part because he often found himself banned from local churches, and because church buildings could not hold the thousands who attended his revival meetings. During one of his travels through Virginia, he preached at Providence meetinghouse in Gum Spring. Enslaved people were undoubtably present to hear his message. Whitefield's writings indicate he was concerned about the spiritual state of enslaved people. Whitefield taught that Africans were the spiritual equals of European colonists, and that masters should not abuse their slaves out of fear of God's judgment, but he did not demand their freedom from bondage. During the Revolutionary War, most Church of England clergy returned to England. Following the war, American Anglicans became Episcopalians, but the power and influence of the Methodists and Baptists overshadowed all other denominations in Virginia and most of the South. 12
Anglican George Whitefield preaching during America's first Great Awakening. Benjamin Franklin once calculated that Whitefieldâ€™s voice was loud enough to be heard by a crowd of 30,000.
"In February 1740, Whitefield's friend Benjamin Franklin published Three Letters from the Reverend Mr. G. Whitefield in Philadelphia. The third was addressed "To the Inhabitants of Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina" and registered Whitefield's concern for the enslaved and their treatment. "As I lately passed through your Provinces â€Ś I was sensibly touched with a Fellow-feeling of the Miseries of the Negroes," Whitefield wrote. "God has a Quarrel with you for your Abuse of and Cruelty to the poor Negroes." He excoriated slave masters for mercilessly beating their involuntary laborers and for failing to provide basic food and clothing for them. He also suggested that white southerners were keeping the gospel of Christianity from the slaves for fear that salvation would make them restless for freedom. Over time, Whitefield's prophetic stance against the abuse of slaves dulled, and he himself became an advocate for slavery in Georgia, which had once banned it. He also came to own a plantation and slaves in South Carolina, donated to him by planters there who had converted under his preaching. Whitefield's moderate approach to slavery became typical of white southern evangelicals: he believed that slaves needed salvation, and he argued against their maltreatment, but he would not ultimately challenge the institution of slavery itself. " Drawn from Encyclopedia Virginia article contributed by Thomas S. Kidd
George Whitefield eventually moved to Georgia where he opened an orphanage. His need for funding for the orphanage led him to drop his opposition to slavery and he privately owned many slaves at the time of his death. Painting by John Russell, date 1771.
The Quakers, Society of Friends The first "dissenting" church to make a significant impact in colonial Virginia was the Society of Friends, or Quakers as they came to be known. And no individual had more influence on the Friends than their itinerant missionary John Woolman. In 1757, Woolman made an extensive journey through the Upper South, including a late spring visit to the Friends in Hanover and Louisa. His soul was heavy as he traveled due to what he perceived as a hardness of heart among the Friends who lived at the expense of the labor of their slaves and profited from the buying and selling of human beings. After being with the members of two meetings just north of Gum Spring in Louisa County, he wrote the following on May 14, 1757: "These are the souls for whom Christ died, and for our conduct towards them we must answer before Him who is no respecter of persons. They who know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent, and are thus acquainted with the merciful, benevolent, gospel spirit, will therein perceive that the indignation of God is kindled against oppression and cruelty, and in beholding the great distress of so numerous a people will find cause for mourning." A few years later, the gentle Quaker Woolman wrote that slavery was "a dark gloominess hanging over the Land," and he predicted "its future consequence will be grievous to posterity." 14
"Many slaves on the continent are oppressed, and their cries have reached the ears of the Most High. Such are the purity and certainty of his judgments that he cannot be partial in our favor." John Woolman
Woolman made it his personal practice to pay any enslaved person who served him while he was a guest in the home of church members, much to the slaveholder's embarrassment. He would not wear the deep blue clothes of the day as indigo die was produced in South Carolina by enslaved labor. In 1769, he wrote, â€œA heavy account lies against us as a civil society for oppressions committed against people who did not injure us, and that if the particular case of many individuals were fairly stated, it would appear that there was considerable due to them.â€?
John Woolman died in 1772. Within four years of his death, slave holding was officially prohibited among the Friends..
Journal of John Woolman on his travels in Virginia 1757. On the eleventh Day of the fifth Month ..., we crossed the Rivers Patowmack and Rapahannock, and on the Way we happening in Company with a Colonel of the Militia, who appeared to be a thoughtful Man. I took Occasion to remark on the Difference in general betwixt a People used to labour moderately for their Living, training up their Children in Frugality and Business, and those who live on the Labour of Slaves; the former, in my View, being the most happy Life: With which he concurred, and mentioned the Trouble arising from the untoward, slothful, Disposition of the Negroes; adding, that one of our Labourers would do as much in a Day as two of their Slaves. I replied, that free Men, whose Minds were properly on their Business, found a Satisfaction in improving, cultivating, and providing for their Families; but Negroes, labouring to support others who claim them as their Property, and expecting nothing but Slavery during Life, had not the like Inducement to be industrious. After some farther Conversation, I said, that Men having Power too often misapplied it; that though we made Slaves of the Negroes, and the Turks made Slaves of the Christians, I believed that Liberty was the natural Right of all Men equally: Which he did not deny; but said, the Lives of the Negroes were so wretched in their own Country, that many of them lived better here than thereâ€Ś To which I then replied, if Compassion on the Africans were the real Motive of our purchasing them, that Spirit of Tenderness would incite us to use them kindly; that, as Strangers brought out of Affliction, their Lives might be happy among us; and as they are human Creatures, whose Souls are as precious as ours, and who may receive the same Help and Comfort from the holy Scriptures as we do, we could not omit suitable Endeavours to instruct them therein: But we manifest, by our Conduct, that our Views in purchasing them are to advance ourselves. We came amongst Friends at Cedar-Creek (near Scotchtown, Hanover) in Virginia, on the 12th Day of the fifth Month; and the next Day rode, in Company with several Friends, a Day's Journey to Camp Creek (western Louisa). As I was riding along in the Morning, my Mind was deeply affected in a Sense I had of the Want of divine Aid to support me in the various Difficulties which attended me; and, in an uncommon Distress of Mind. After some Time, I felt inward Relief; and, soon after, a Friend in Company began to talk in Support of the Slave-Trade, and said, the Negroes were understood to be the Offspring of Cain, their Blackness being the Mark God set upon him after he murdered Abel his Brother; that it was the Design of Providence they should be Slaves, as a Condition proper to the Race of so wicked a Man as Cain was... I was troubled to perceive the Darkness of their Imaginations; and in some Pressure of Spirit said, the Love of Ease and Gain is the Motive in general for keeping Slaves, and Men are wont to take hold of weak Arguments to support a Cause which is unreasonable...I believe he, who is a Refuge for the Oppressed, will, in his own Time, plead their Cause; and happy will it be for such as walk in Uprightness before him: And thus our Conversation ended.
Woolman's journal provides glimpses into the arguments used to justify slavery. The recitation of these arguments in churches, government bodies, and around dinner tables for generations made them accepted as unquestioned truths. Such twists of logic and scripture have allowed many white Christians to remain silent in the face of subsequent injustices to Americans of African descent. Are their echoes still present today in white American Christianity? Are they present in our own?
From a letter from John Woolman, Quaker, to Friends at their Monthly meetings at New Garden and Cane Creek in North-Carolina, written two weeks after being in Louisa County, Virginia,
Dear Friends, It having pleased the Lord to draw me forth on a Visit to some Parts of Virginia and Carolina, you have often been in my Mind; and though my Way is not clear to come in Person to visit you, yet I feel it in my Heart to communicate a few Things, as they arise in the Love of Truth. First, my dear Friends, dwell in Humility, and take Heed that no Views of outward Gain get too deep hold of you, that so your Eyes being single to the Lord, you may be preserved in the Way of Safety. Where People let loose their Minds after the Love of outward Things, and are more engaged in pursuing the Profits, and seeking the Friendships of this World than to be inwardly acquainted with the Way of true Peace; such walk in a vain Shadow, while the true Comfort of Life is wanting: Their Examples are often hurtful to others; and their Treasures, thus collected, do many Times prove dangerous Snares to their Children. But where People are sincerely devoted to follow Christ, and dwell under the Influence of his holy Spirit, their Stability and Firmness, through a divine Blessing, is at Times like Dew on the tender Plants round about them, and the Weightiness of their Spirits secretly works on the Minds of others; and in this Condition, through the spreading Influence of divine Love, they feel a Care over the Flock; and Way is opened for maintaining good Order in the Society: And though we meet with Opposition from another Spirit, yet, as there is a dwelling in Meekness, feeling our Spirits subject, and moving only in the gentle peaceable Wisdom, the inward Reward of Quietness will be greater than all our Difficulties. And now, dear Friends and Brethren, as you are improving a Wilderness, and may be numbered amongst the first Planters in one Part of a Province, I beseech you, in the 16
Love of Jesus Christ, to wisely consider the Force of your Examples, and think how much your Successors may be thereby affected: It is a Help in a Country, yea, and a great Favour and a Blessing, when Customs, first settled, are agreeable to sound Wisdom; so, when they are otherwise, the Effect of them is grievous; and Children feel themselves encompassed with Difficulties prepared for them by their Predecessors. I have been informed that there is a large Number of Friends in your Parts, who have no Slaves; and in tender and most affectionate Love, I beseech you to keep clear from purchasing any. Look, my dear Friends, to divine Providence; and follow in Simplicity that Exercise of Body, that Plainness and Frugality, which true Wisdom leads to; so will you be preserved from those Dangers which attend such as are aiming at outward Ease and Greatness. Treasures, though small, attained on a true Principle of Virtue, are sweet in the Possession, and, while we walk in the Light of the Lord, there is true Comfort and Satisfaction. Here, neither the Murmurs of an oppressed People, nor an uneasy Conscience, nor anxious Thoughts about the Events of Things, hinder the Enjoyment of it. When we look toward the End of Life, and think on the Division of our Substance among our Successors; if we know that it was collected in the Fear of the Lord, in Honesty, in Equity, and in Uprightness of Heart before him, we may consider it as his Gift to us; and with a single Eye to his Blessing, bestow it on those we leave behind us. Such is the Happiness of the plain Ways of true Virtue. If the Lord be our God, in Truth and Reality, there is Safety for us; for he is a Stronghold in the Day of Trouble, and knoweth them that trust in him. Isle of Wight County, Virginia, 29th of the 5th Month, 1757. 17
The Presbyterians The first Presbyterian ministers in Gum Spring were Reverends Samuel Davies and John Todd in the 1740s. They shared the distress of John Woolman for the deadened condition of many white souls in Virginia. In a July 14, 1756 letter to supporters in England, Davies wrote: Last Sunday I had a sacrament, assisted by my good brother Mr. Todd. It was a time of unusual anxiety for me, I hardly ever felt so much of a pastoral heart, and yet I had not the liberty to vent it. I hope it was a refreshing time to some hungry souls. I had the pleasure of seeing the table of the Lord adorned with about forty-five black faces. Indeed, my principal encouragement of late has been among the poor negro slaves...But alas! notwithstanding these appearances, an incorrigible stupidity generally prevails through this guilty land; and there is no spot on our globe that more requires the pity and the prayers of God's people. While Davies was in Virginia, he reported to his missionary society that hundreds of slaves had converted to Christianity. The Trans-Atlantic Slave Literacy Campaign sent Bibles and hymnals to Virginia, and Davies estimated that 1,000 enslaved converts had learned to read. Davies described seeing those who could read helping new converts follow along in the Bible and hymnbooks during services and remarked at how quickly that knowledge was spreading. Image from the Re-enactment at Providence Church during the 250th Anniversary of the church's founding.
John Todd, who pastored Providence Church in Gum Spring until his death in 1793, reported "that slaves shared the books they received from Davies across considerable distances—throughout Virginia as well as “a great part” of North Carolina and some areas of Maryland and Pennsylvania." Neither Davies nor Todd called for the manumission of slaves among their members. Virginia law did not permit it and the dissenters already walked a tightrope with the Crown. The Louisa County Tithables list, taxes collected on all citizens to support the Church of England, includes the following enslaved people owned by John Todd: Betty, Dick, Pegg, Jane, Phillis, Jack, Markus, Flora, Frankey, Millia, and Kenny.
The Connecting Thread Methodists have their roots firmly planted in the Church of England as John and Charles Wesley were both Anglican priests. John Wesley gathered a group of Methodists, called the "Holy Club" by sceptics, at Oxford in the 1730s. Among the club's central members was George Whitefield. Whitefield was also a firm Calvinist. He and John Wesley worked together for a time, but later separated over Whitefieldâ€™s belief in predestination, the belief that God has determined from eternity whom he will save. Wesley regarded this as an erroneous doctrine and insisted that the love of God was universal. The rift led to Whitefield becoming the leader of the Calvinistic Methodists in 1743 and shaped Whitefield's ministry when he came to the American Colonies.
Charles Wesley wrote "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus" in 1744. In the years to come, it may have been sung by the congregation at Providence meetinghouse. Might we wonder how its words, sung at the start of each new liturgical year, expressed the longings of the enslaved worshippers among the Presbyterians and Methodists, the saints with African roots.
This helps explain why Whitefield preached mostly in the open air or at Presbyterian meetinghouses. His preaching at Providence church here in Gum Spring could possibly be the beginning of the Methodist movement in the area. It could also explain why the Methodists and the Presbyterians shared worship space until the 1850s. 19
In The Year of Our Lord
1780 "I am strongly persuaded that if the Methodists will not yield on this point and emancipate their slaves, God will depart from them." Francis Asbury, 1779
If you were to revisit the little tavern at the crossroads in Gum Spring thirty years later, say about 1780, the generation then alive would know of the Methodists. It's possible that a small band, or "class" of Methodists had been gathering since George Whitefield preached several years earlier. But, whatever its roots, you would find the presence of Methodists. So did Francis Asbury when he traveled through Goochland and Louisa, gathering crowds of several hundred and encouraging believers to stay close to each other and close to God. The Methodists would tell you they still felt themselves a part of the Anglican church, but spiritually alive through the earlier work of George Whitefield and their classes for study and growth Methodism encouraged. They were firmly Anglicans when the Revolutionary War broke out and so faced the challenges of their church being so tied to England. Most of the Anglican clergy left the colonies and there was no one to administer the sacraments. In 1780, Methodists in the South gathered in Fluvanna County at the old Broken Back Church to discern if it was time for a break from the Church of England. The decision was made there to become independent from the English church and its clergy. The early Methodists here felt they were serious about their discipleship to Christ. But they were also Virginians. Those two loyalties clashed most profoundly over the issue of slaveholding. By 1844, the abolition question had produced so much tension that the Methodist church split. When Gum Spring's church was formed in 1857, it was part of the Methodist Church South, which sanctioned slaveholding and offered no challenge to it.
“Give liberty to whom liberty is due, that is, to every child of man, to every partaker of human nature. Let none serve you but by his own act and deed, by his own voluntary action. Away with all whips, all chains, all compulsion. Be gentle toward all men; and see that you invariably do with every one as you would he should do unto you. " John Wesley, 1743 From the Journal of Francis Asbury, early edition. Tuesday, February 23, 1779… I have yet been impressed with a deep concern, for bringing about the freedom of the slaves in America, and feel resolved to do what I can to promote it. If God in His providence hath detained me in this country, to be instrumental in so merciful and great an undertaking, I hope He will give me wisdom and courage sufficient...I am strongly persuaded that if the Methodists will not yield on this point and emancipate their slaves, God will depart from them. This page from the Journal of Francis Asbury described his journey from Goochland to Fluvanna for the meeting at the Broken Back Church south of Palmyra.
Tuesday, October 3, 1779 … Road twenty miles, crossed the James River and lodged at Tucker Woodson's (in Goochland Court House) I spoke and prayed with an old Presbyterian, who was once pleased with our preachers. 21
Indians Were also Held as Slaves Three generations of Catawba Indians had been wrongfully enslaved. Such was the verdict of the Louisa County Court in 1768 when Joseph Tyree, known as Indian Joe, petitioned the court for his freedom. Indian Joe and his family were owned by John Thompson who operated a store in Louisa County near the South Anna River on Rt 522. Joe was the son of Priss Tyree, a Catawba Indian who was sold at age 12 or 13 by her father to an Indian trader who brought her to Virginia. From the time she was first sold, she protested that she was an Indian and should not be a slave. Potential buyers knew the laws and that her claim was likely to be taken seriously at some point. She was sold several times and never for a high price in case she won her freedom and her owner at the time lost their investment. She was never freed before death. Several years after Priss died, her son, Joe, won his freedom. He then helped Priss' other descendants Nan, Barlet, Priss and Betty win their freedom, too. Free people of color were not equal to whites before the law and were vulnerable to re-enslavement. An ad for two runaway slaves (text on this page) was printed in 1780 in the Virginia Gazette. The ages of Indian Joe and Nan match those in the case above. Could they be the same people somehow re-enslaved? We may never know. 22
Virginia Gazette Richmond, October 18, 1780 RUN away from the subscriber in Goochland, a negro man named JOE, about 5 feet 6 inches high, 50 years old. He is of the Indian breed, with long black hair tied behind, took off with him, a negro woman name NAN, about 5 feet 3 inches high, of a yellow complexion, about 28 years old. The fellow has the first joint of his middle finger on his left hand cut which occasions it to stand crooked; he took with him a set of shoemakers tools. I expect they will endeavour to pass for free man and woman, for the fellow is very sensible. If any person will take up the said slaves, and bring them to me shall receive 200 dollars, besides what the law allows, if taken out of the county, or 100 dollars to secure them in any jail so that we get them again. WILLIAM WOODSON. JOHN BRUMFIELD. (image of ad not available)
Advertisement from the Virginia Gazette for Indian Isaac. Indians were enslaved as captives of war or circumstance throughout the 1600s in Virginia. By 1700, African slaves became the preferred labor force. Indian slaves were still held in Louisa and Goochland into the late 1700s, but laws became more lenient allowing them to petition for freedom if they or their ancestors had not been "justly" captured in wars with the English.
Center- Photo site of documented Indian village on Bracketts Farm in western Louisa County. Left- Images of Pamunkey Indians Mrs. George Cook and Chief William Terrill Bradly taken about 1900, possibly on the reservation in New Kent County. Pamunkey Indians were among the tribes enslaved in Central Virginia in the 1700s. Their surnames, Cook, Terrill, Bradly, are also found in Louisa and Goochland counties. No records exist to prove possible 23 connections.
The following is just one of many advertisements for the return of runaway slaves from Goochland and Louisa County. This incident involved a significant number of individuals who ran away from White Hall plantation. It describes them and their trade or skills. Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser Baltimore, June 27, 1780. TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS REWARD. FOR taking up Twelve NEGROES, who ran away from the subscriber last April--Eight of them are Men, and Four Women, namely Cyrus, Billy, Van, Chelsie, Sam, George, Davie, and Bartlett, Hannah, Lucy, Hannah, and Nan, all very likely slaves. I have reason to believe they are intending to get on board some vessel to go up the Bay towards Baltimore, and perhaps farther. They are most of them very artful, and expect to pass as free people. There is one of them a shoemaker, named Chelsie, a young man; Cyrus, his father, is much the oldest among them whose business has been an hostler and gardener. Sam is a very young man, tall and rather slender made. The other five Men are only used to plantation business; though George is a very good whiskey distiller. They are most of them young and likely. Hannah is Cyrus's wife, and is much the oldest woman, and has been used to house business. Lucy's business has been to wash and iron. Young Hannah and Nan are exceeding good flax spinners. They are all mostly clothed in Virginia cloth; but Cyrus, if not parted with it, has a very remarkable coat, having a great number of patches of different colours. They have stole some guns, and many different sorts of clothes, and I expect they will change their names. WHOEVER shall take up the said Slaves, and delivers them to me, in Goochland County, Virginia, or secures them, so that I get them again, shall receive the above Reward, if taken out of the State; or Two Thousand Pounds if taken within this State, and in proportion for any one of them. They must be well secured, Cyrus in particular, or they will make their escape. It is supposed a Negro man, named Tom Day, a carpenter, belonging to Co. Burgess Ball, is in company with them, as he is run away, and is brother to Billy and Sam above-named. Mine is outlawed. JOHN PAYNE. June 15, 1780. (John Payne's plantation was Whitehall west of Sandy Hook) 24
Brief Window for Freeing Slaves 1782-1806 Even if mercy and the right to freedom persuaded a slaveholder to grant manumission (freedom) to his slaves, Virginia laws established in the 1720s made such an act all but impossible. Shortly after the colonies won their independence from Great Britain, a group of citizens, including some former Quakers, pressured Virginia's legislature to change the laws. In 1782 a new law was passed allowing slaveholders to free their slaves. No restrictions were imposed except that they provide for the care of the young and very old. When the Goochland County Court met in October of 1782, several of the Quakers received approval for the manumissions they desired to grant. The page from the Order Book of the court is printed to the right. Notice the final entry for a less fortunate enslaved fellow named Dick. Dick had been jailed and punished with castration. The Court approved payment for a physician to visit him to determine if he was healed sufficiently to return to his master. In 1806, the Virginia legislature passed a law allowing the continuance of private manumissions, but requiring every person freed on or after May 1, 1806 to leave the state within one year unless the Virginia Legislature granted special permission for them to remain. This often forced the choice between freedom outside Virginia and family. Records from the 1782 Order Book in the Goochland County Clerk's Office.
Samples of the dehumanizing treatment which concerned the early preachers.
Virginia Gazette Williamsburg, November 7, 1751. Goochland, October 24, 1751. RAN away from the Subscriber's Plantation, near Albemarle Court House, some Time in May last, a Negro Man named Robin; he is a small Fellow, about 30 Years of Age, speaks pretty good English, his Legs are crooked; had on his Neck when he went away an Iron Collar, and took with him a Gun. Whoever brings him to me shall be rewarded according to Law. Peter Jefferson (father of Thomas Jefferson)
Iron Mask, Neck Collar (riveted in place) 18th century, from Slavery Images: A Visual Record of the African Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Early African Diaspora
"Live Stock" "Examining a Slave for Sale, Virginia, 1830", From Slavery Images: A Visual Record of the African Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Early African Diaspora
Virginia's Economy Depended on Slavery "With slavery, we have the wolf by the ears; and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go.
Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other." Thomas Jefferson, 1820 White Virginians, including those in Gum Spring, chose to keep their slaves and became economically dependent on slave labor. By the 1840s, breeding slaves for sale to the Deep South's cotton fields became more profitable for Louisa and Goochland slaveholders than farming. The result was devastating on a moral and social level. It's often said, "Most people here did not own slaves." In fact, by 1860 over 60% of white families did. The sheer scale of slaveholding is best documented by the ratio of slave to free people and economically by taxable property statistics. The 1790 Federal Census provides the first data comparing the total number of enslaved to free inhabitants. As you see, at least 1/3 of the people in each county were enslaved. By 1860 the percentage was close to 60%. 1790 Goochland County
incl. 5% free blacks
When the Revolution was over, each county took stock of its tax base. Land, of course, was taxed but land was of far less value than today. What was valuable was the means of producing wealth from the land and that took slave labor. Taxes were due each year on all males over age 16 and on all slaves of working age. The tax base for Louisa County is printed below. Goochland and surrounding counties statistics are similar. Note that over 75% of the 1782 tax revenue to the county was from slaves. That ratio continued through 1865 caused a devastating reduction in tax income when the war ended and all slaves were emancipated. 1782 Louisa Personal Property Tax Totals 699 White males over 16 4,522 Blacks of working age
9,000 Cattle (incl. oxen)
20 Whools (sheep) Total
incl. 2% free blacks
1862 Louisa County Tax Totals
1860 Goochland County
3,814 white free
6,183 white free
Total taxable property
703 free blacks
324 free blacks
9,512 slaves value $3,451,974 value $8,527,186
When the war ended, 40% of the tax base (slaves) was gone.
If your travels returned you to Gum Spring on the eve of the Civil War, you'd find Micajah Parrish's tavern full of activity. You might also notice a large number of free people of color, including many mulattos, lighter skinned children of a white parent, in the area. Although free, they experienced nothing of the rights whites held tightly in Virginia.
In The Year of Our Lord
Free people of color could not vote, hold office, serve on juries, or move about without papers proving they were free. They also lived with the constant threat of being kidnapped, sold to slave traders, and led away in chains to bondage far from home and family. In 1854, the Richmond Enquirer reported that "a white man named Mathew C. Johnson of Goochland was tried in Richmond for kidnapping a free negro boy, nine years of age, named Thomas Henry Swan and selling him for $375." Johnson was caught and send to jail. Imagine the feelings of anxiety carried by the free people of color in our neighborhood. How did church leaders respond? Did they feel the responsibility to help protect their vulnerable neighbors living in Gum Spring: Lizzie Mealy, the seamstress, or Lewis Jenkins and Levi Mealy the shoemakers, or Betsy Fuzemore the weaver, or Thomas Moss the boatman? Did they discuss whether to stand beside these people who likely attended their churches? And finally, you would find the churches firmly on the side of slaveholding. The tension over slavery had become so strong that it severed the body of Christ, splitting the Methodists in 1844 and the Presbyterians in 1858.
Richmond Enquirer Feb 1, 1853. The citizens of Goochland resolved that the legislature act to remove all free negroes and mulattos from the state. Walter D. Leake, leader of this initiative, was from East Leake just west of Gum Spring, attended Providence Church, and often held political meetings at Parrish's tavern.
In The Year of Our Lord
Imagine returning again to Micajah Parrish's tavern in the summer of 1865. You would find life at the crossroads village anything but normal. Union troops maintained a strong presence in the face of the collapse of the governments of Virginia and the Confederacy. Hopefully you had U.S. dollars to pay for your meal as Confederate currency was worth nothing. Two out of every three people in Louisa and Goochland were former slaves, freed with nothing but the shirts on their backs. Union Army officials were trying to ascertain who was responsible for feeding and supporting the women and children among the freedmen. The army was also there to approve free labor market contracts between freedmen and white landowners, who were suddenly without a workforce. The war left death in its wake for many. George Mayo's son, Washington, had married Micajah Parrish's daughter Ann just five years before the war started. Wash was killed at Yellow Tavern a year earlier, leaving Ann with four young children. Ann herself would die a year later in 1866. If you saw Ann about the village in 1865, she might tell you how she and her sister-in-law, Judith Alvis Mayo, kept faith in their new church built just before the war. Judith, the daughter of Henry Alvis who donated the first $10 to build Gum Spring Methodist church, had married Wash's brother, John, who survived the war. Ann Parrish's brother, Joseph, was also one of the Gum Spring soldiers who did not return home. Joseph died in the Union prison camp in Elmira, New York, just four months after Wash was killed, leaving Micajah Parrish and his wife with a double portion of grief.
Would you hear tinges of bitterness in those you spoke to? Maybe. We know that Old Providence Church prided itself well into the 20th century that Stonewall Jackson's biographer, Rev. Robert Lewis Dabney, was once their minister before the war. Dabney, born near Orchid, was one of the strongest voices in the South justifying slaveholding and blaming the post-war suffering on the abolitionists and the Union. He died in Texas many years after the war, stripped of his seminary professorship because of his extreme views. The tragedy of the war for white families has been well recounted for generations. What is not often acknowledged is the cost of enslavement to those who were enslaved. When emancipation came to them in 1865, they had been prohibited from learning to read or write for decades. They owned no land, nor the tools for farming. The cost to them and their descendants has continued to be incalculable. It is reflected to this day by the gap in education, net worth, and economic earning power between most whites and most blacks in our nation and, if we look, we see if clearly here in our own community. After the war, the freedmen began in earnest to form their own congregations. Prior to 1865, laws prohibited blacks from meeting without white supervision, even for worship. Now they were free to exercise their own leadership, sing their own music, and teach their children the gospel as they understood it. For them, Jesus was their Savior who also experienced life on this earth outside the halls of power. He, too, was beaten and whipped, and hung on a tree. He was the deliverer they trusted to lead them to the promised land and their faith that he would "make a way out of no way" sustained them through the traumas they had experienced as a people. They knew him as the Savior he declared himself to be in the temple: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4: 18-19 31
In The Year of Our Lord
If you returned to Gum Spring around the time of World War II, you would find little changed except for the advent of the automobile and mechanized tractors. Virginia's Jim Crow and Racial Purity Laws were firmly entrenched. Schools were segregated by law, churches were segregated by unwritten social norms, and blacks were careful to show the expected deference to white people. Blacks knew the Ku Klux Klan was present in Goochland and Louisa Counties if they failed to do so. They well remembered the lynchings of the early 1900s. Parrish's Tavern had long since closed but the family had opened a store. Later several businesses opened at the new intersection with Rt. 250 and Parrish's Store was moved up to that new intersection. The store was a stop on the bus line, the main public transportation at the time. If Deck Hayden, or his family, wanted to take the bus to Richmond, they waited in the line for "colored" riders, entered by the rear door, and sat in the back of the bus. Virginia law demanded it.
World War II saw many men, white and black, from Gum Spring drafted into service. Returning black servicemen found that the democracy they fought for abroad was not part of Jim Crow Virginia. The 1950s brought the battles over school desegregation, Massive Resistance, voting rights, and equal access to all in public places. Integration was not legislated in churches.
Photo of P-51 Mustang fighter pilots in Italy, 1944. National Archives Collection
There was a new diner which opened after Rt. 250 was built. If you walked into it for the first time, you would notice as you sat down to eat that only white people ate inside. Blacks could only order take-out from the back door where they waited for their order to be brought to them. Small humiliations for African-Americans were woven into every part of life in the South, as well as here in Gum Spring. They knew that their labor was needed by white people, but they also knew to remember their place and never act as if they were equal to whites. Such was the strange tension of life under Jim Crow.
So, what were the relationships like between the white and black families in Gum Spring in past generations? Don't we wish we could back in time with more than our imagination and ask! How did white members of Gum Spring Methodist Church treat the free blacks in the community before 1865? They were scattered throughout the crossroads area, blacksmiths, seamstresses, carpenters, etc. Trustee Robert Hodges, who was one of the few church leaders who did not hold slaves, and his wife Dicy Ann lived with free black neighbors on both sides. They included: Anthony Jenkins, (b. 1789) the shoemaker and his wife Elizabeth; Thomas Moss the boatman (b. 1805) and his wife Britty; Jiles and Martha Cook (both b 1820) : Isham Fuzemore (b. 1808) and his wife Betsey, the weaver; Margaret Mealy and Everlina Mealy who lived between Hodges and George Mayo, the other Methodist trustee. Which black members of this community today descend from people once enslaved by members of the white churches around Gum Spring? Perhaps most important of all is the question, "So, what do we do with all of this?" If you've read this far, you've already made an important step. You've been open to learn some untold portions of our shared history in this community. You've probably also begun to ask questions of your own. We offer this record, both for now and for the future, with the hope that many others will add the portions, and maybe people, we have not found.
Deck Hayden (Earl Poindexter Hayden (Haden) 1886-1978) was a figure often seen at Gum Spring Methodist Church, especially in winter when he came early to light fires in the wood stoves, the only source of heat in the original church. He is shown in the photo here with Curtis Wiltshire around 1950. Deck, or Dexter, Hayden and Walter Hayden, the leader of the effort to create the Shady Grove School, were both grandsons of Woodson Hayden (b. 1814) and Polly Martin (b. 1828). Dexter and Walter are buried in the Shady Grove Baptist church cemetery. Dexter married Willie Anderson, daughter of Price Anderson and Sallie Farrar of Louisa County.
So, to what crossroads does all this bring us? Is there a path we need to seek as followers of Jesus to return us from places the decisions of our ancestors have taken us? Can we honor them best by no longer perpetuating the narratives that buttressed their lives, the ones we learned even at our parentâ€™s dinner table? Can we honor them better by forgiving their blindness and choosing to walk not by their traditions, but by the humbling light of Christâ€™s justice and love? How will any of this change our relationships with our brothers and sisters of color? We may descend from slaveholders. We may not. We may not know and be afraid to find out. I know I am a descendant of slaveholders from Louisa County and I am asking myself, "What is mine to do, right now with my remaining years, perhaps to right wrongs 400 years in the making? Is it enough to do the work of telling the untold story, urging us all to look at how we got where we are? Is finding the names, and restoring the records of family units, of those whose names were systematically omitted from public records and whose families were torn apart by slavery and Jim Crow enough?" I doubt it. All I know is that I want eyes to see and a heart of flesh, not stone, to respond with courage to what God is trying to urge me to see and do today. History teaches us, hopefully, to make different choices in the present. Reading the words of those 18th century missionaries printed in these pages begs spiritual questions; "Where are we, indeed where am I, ignoring the prophetic voices God is using to speak to us today? Are we willfully turning away the admonitions of todayâ€™s John Woolmans, and George Whitefields, and Francis Asburys on new issues facing us? Are we grieving the Holy Spirit now, as they did then? And are we just as blinded in our time by our rationalizations and self-interests as they were in theirs? I asked Pam what her hope is for this little book. She answered that she trusts it will present a more complete story and stimulate conversations, conversations she hopes bring a fuller understanding of the legacy our ancestors left us. And, convinced as she is of the redemptive mercy of God, she hopes bringing those truths before the Light of Christ will free us all from the awkwardness, shame, and silence that separate us from God, ourselves, and one another. Those conversations are never easy, but they are important enough to take the risk to begin. May God have mercy on us all. Elaine Taylor December 2019 34
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5: 23,24
Original Deed for Gum Spring Methodist Episcopal Church South This deed made and entered into on the 27th day of July, 1858 between Micajah Parrish and his wife Ann J. his wife, of the first part and George Mayo and Robert N. Hodges of the second part. Witnesseth that for and in consideration of the sum of five dollars in hand paid, to the parties of the first part by the parties of the second part the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, they (the said Micajah Parrish and Ann J. his wife) have granted, bargained and sold unto the said George Mayo and Robert N. Hodges and their successors, Trustees hereby appointed for the use and benefit of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, a certain piece of land lying in the County Louisa on the three Chopped Road and containing One Ace and on which a meeting house has recently been erected called "Gum Spring" and a plat of which is here unto annexed made by R. K. Bowles on the 11th day of Nov. 1857. The grantors hereby covenant and agree with the grantees to warranty generally the property hereby conveyed. Witnesseth the following signatures. Micajah Parrish, Ann. J. Parrish 36
Original Instrument Conveying the Church Cemetery and Parsonage This instrument of writing witnesseth that we the undersigned have this day given to John J. Winston, Walter H. Winston and Robert N. Hodges, Trustees of Gum Spring Church (Methodist Episcopal South) in the county of Louisa, State of Virginia and to their successors forever, five acres of land, it being a part of the land belonging to the estate of Micajah Parrish dec'd, adjoining the land of Virginia C. Loyall and the lot of land upon which is now situated Gum Spring Church, for the purpose of building a parsonage upon, and for a cemetery if the members of said church so desire. Given under our hands and seal the 1st day of July, 1887 Thomas J Sims, C. J. (Parrish) Sims
The Gum Spring Church Cemetery today. Stately trees shade the graves, shown above. The back of the parsonage is visible behind the cemetery fence.
Founders of Gum Spring Methodist Church The First Trustees
John D. Mills and Marion Allen donated lumber for the church
• George W. Mayo - 1802 - 1862 Spouse - Elizabeth W. Isbell - 1808 - 1887 Elizabeth Mayo - b. 1825 Calista Judith Mayo - 1827 -? Spouse - James M Siddons - b. 1823, m. 1857, d. 1900 Leticia Sarah Mayo - 1828 -1903 John Wesley Mayo - b. 1831, d. 1900 George Washington Mayo - b. 1833, d. 1864 Spouse - Ann F. Parrish - b. 1832, m. 1856, d. 1866
• John Draper Mills - b. 1814, d. 1892 Spouse - Francis E White - b. 1814, d. 1860 Nathaniel Henry Mills - b. 1837, d. 1930 William H Mills - b. 1840 Marcellus J Mills - b. 1841, d. 1879 Catherine V Mills - b. 1842, d. 1864 Lucy F- b. 1847 James L Mills - b. 1847, d. 1920 Annie Elizabeth Mills - b. 1848, d. 1932 John D Mills - b. 1850 Samuel A- b 1853
• Robert N. Hodges - b. 1824 Spouse - Ann Dicy Smith - b. 1815 Sally J. Hodges - b. 1854 Gave land for the church building in 1857. Micajah and Ann Parrish lived on the site of the present day church. • Micajah Parrish - b. 1807, d. 1870 Spouse - Ann (Nancy) Judith Woodson - 1805 - 1884 Ann F Parrish Mayo - b. 1831, d. 1866 Mary Eliza Parrish - b. 1832 Joseph W Parrish - b. 1835, d. 1864 Catharine Jane Parrish Sims - b. 1836, d. 1919 Donated the first $10 to the building fund • Henry Franklin Alvis - b. 1804, d. 1861 Spouse - Mary Isbell - b. 1818, m. 1844, d. 1861 Judith Ellen Alvis Mayo - b. 1845 Willimmina Alvis - b. 1847 Catherine or Caroline Alvis - b. 1850 Mary "Polly" Alvis - b. 1853 Julian J Alvis - b. 1854 Robert Alvis - b. 1858
• Francis Marion Allen - b. 1824 Spouse - Martha Ann Dunn 1833 - 1910 Ada Belle Allen 1862-1924 Christian All 1871 - 1939 Marion C, Allen 1874-1957 John H Allen 1879-1974 Young J Allen 1879-1959 Donated First Bible • Polly Alvis - b. 1784, d. 1853 Very active in church • Mary Elizabeth Holland Anderson - b. 1824 Spouse - Nelson Anderson (1796-?) Lead fund-raising effort in 1857 • Judith Mayo Siddons 1823-1900 Spouse - James M Siddons 1823-1900
Names in green ink are slaveholders/grew up in a slaveholding family.
Founders of Gum Spring Church (continued) Donated Land for parsonage 1877 GC DB 43, p 757 Charles Francis Sims- b. 1842 Spouse - Salina A Duggins- b. 1842 Lucien W Sims Catherine Sims- b. 1793 Kelly Sims Donated Land for Cemetery in 1887 • Thomas J Sims - b. 1832 Spouse - Cath. J. Parrish - b. 1836, m. 1860 Paul Sims - b. 1861 Allin Lee Sims - b. 1863 Isaac Sims - b. 1865 Nathan Sims - b. 1867 James Sims - b. 1869 Rosa W Sims - b. 1872 Jerry Sims - b. 1876
When this record was compiled, no one at Gum Spring could locate a complete membership list earlier than 1932. However, the 1858 deed to the church provides the names of Micajah and Ann Parrish, who donated the land for the church, and George Mayo and Robert Hodges, the first trustees. Later deeds and church histories compiled through the years provided the additional names listed here. Many of the other families in the 1932 membership list have ancestors living near Gum Spring before 1865, some of whom were also slaveholders. We do not know for certain which of those ancestors were also members of the Methodist church.
Church Trustees in 1887 • John J. Winston • Walter H.. Winston • Robert N. Hodges The Church's Early Pastors • Rev. Henry M. Linney (1857-58, 1863-64) • Rev. A J Beckwith (1859-60) • Rev. Thomas. J. Bayton (1861-1862) (could not find) • Rev. B. C. Speller (1865-68, 1871-1874) • Rev. C. E. Hobday (1869-70)
The original Gum Spring Methodist Church as it was built in 1857. A new church was built on the old site in 1957, a hundred years after the first church was built.
Enslaved People Found in the Public Records of the Founders of Gum Spring The "Brick Wall," that barrier of 1865 before which public records use only first names of enslaved individuals, makes finding relationships between slave holders and their slaves difficult. Sometimes the effort to make the connection yields fruit. Such was the case when we found the families of Mary and Daniel Parrish and Leroy and Emily Shelton in the 1861 estate inventory of George Mayo, a trustee of Gum Spring Methodist Church. They are listed below. When George Mayo died in 1861, the inventory of his estate included the following enslaved people and their value. In the next column are the surnames of these people and the names of their spouses. Ben Pleasant Margaret Sam Henry Aimy Emily Joe Andrew Willis Lewis Mary
$600 $800 $300 $800 $600 $100 $400 $600 $430 $100 $200 No Value
From the will of George Mayo, Goochland County DB 39, p 540. George Mayo mentions only two of his slaves by name in the division of his property. “…I give to my son John W. Mayo my man Pleasant at one thousand dollars. If he choose to do so he may take a little girl I have named Margaret (mulatto) at three hundred dollars. I leave to my beloved wife Elizabeth W. all the balance of any estate while she continues my widow. If any of the servants be troublesome and she request it that the executors sell such and arrange for her to have the interest on the money in place of such slave or slaves as the case may be.”
Within George Mayo's enslaved people are two identifiable families. using marriage records of their children, we can reconstruct the families of Mary and Daniel Parrish and Emily and Leroy Shelton. Mary - b. abt. 1800 - d.aft 1861 Spouse - Daniel Parrish Benjamin Parrish - b. 1820 (mulatto) Spouse - Martha A. - b. 1830 Spouse - Mary Bowles- b. 1861 m. 1885 Pleasant Parrish - b. 1830 Spouse - Martha Harris - b. 1832 Spouse - Julia Ann Payne - b. 1852, m. 1892 Emily (Pryor?) - b. 1825, d. 1866 Spouse - Leroy Shelton b. 1826 Joseph Shelton - b. 1849 Spouse - Priscilla Shelton - b. 1840, m. 1870 Spouse - Silver Watson Andrew Shelton - b. 1853 Margaret A Shelton - b. 1855 Spouse - Charles Robert Shelton b. 1845 Willis Shelton - b. 1857, d. 1919 Spouse - Bettie Shelton - b. 1856 Lucy Shelton - b. 1860 Lewis Shelton - b. 1861 Spouse - Nellie Herrington - b. 1864, m. 1882 Spouse - Mollie Pryor - b. 1850, m. 1891, d. 1927
More Enslaved People Found in the Public Records of the Founders of Gum Spring James Sims, father of Thomas J Sims who donated land for the cemetery, died in 1864. The following slaves are named in his 1864 Inventory taken by Charles Y. Nuckolls, David R. Shelton, Benjamin F. Richardson, etc. Louisa County Will Book 16, page 2 Name John Jackson Jessy Lucy Davy Robert Edward Mat Ginnie Eady Ellen Fannie Rufus a blind boy
Value $800 $2,800 $2,500 $2,500 $3,500 $2,000 $1,500 $1,500 $ 600 $3,000 $3,000 0 ($300)
Henry Alvis died in 1861. His estate was not settled until after the war and so no slaves are listed by name in any related records. The following are the list of slaves, by age and gender, from the 1850 Federal Slave Census: b. 1829 b. 1831 b. 1839 b. 1850 b. 1838 b. 1849
Female Male Male Male Male Female
Black Black Black Black Black Black
An older woman, Mary Bush, is living in Henry Alvis' household in 1860 and has 13 slaves. I could not determine her relationship to Henry or his wife Mary Frances Isbell.
James Sims, father of Thomas J Sims who donated land for the cemetery, died in 1864. The following slaves are named in his 1864 Inventory taken by Charles Y. Nuckolls, David R. Shelton, Benjamin F. Richardson, etc. Louisa County Will Book 16, page 2. Name John Jackson Jessy Lucy Davy Robert Edward Mat Ginnie Eady Ellen Fannie Rufus a blind boy
Value $800 $2,800 $2,500 $2,500 $3,500 $2,000 $1,500 $1,500 $600 $3,000 $3,000 0 ($300)
Henry Alvis died in 1861. His estate was not settled until after the war and so no slaves are listed by name in any related records. The following are the list of slaves, by age and gender, from the 1850 Federal Slave Census: b. 1829 b. 1831 b. 1839 b. 1850 b. 1838 b. 1849
Female Male Male Male Male Female
Black Black Black Black Black Black
An older woman, Mary Bush, is living in Henry Alvis' household in 1860 and has 13 slaves. I could not determine her relationship to Henry or his wife Mary Frances Isbell.