Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ministers and preachers of Township 5: 1860: William Thomas, B.B. Culbreth & Pearce W. Gorrel

In the 1860 Census for Goodings District, Craven County, NC, I was able to locate three white Methodist Episcopal Ministers residing within Township 5. One was living in the household of William Temple where my husband's great grandfather* was apprenticed with his siblings following their parents' death.

William Thomas:
1860 Census; Goodings, Craven, NC;
Roll: M653_894; Page 9; Image 18;
 Family History Library Film: 803894.
Since first locating this document some years ago, I have often wondered how much exposure Isaac*, Nancy, Annanias and Zaccheus (recorded here as Zachariah) had to the teachings of the Rev. William Thomas. Only ten years before, Mr. William Thomas was enumerated as a 46-year-old farmer, living with his wife Elizabeth (30), and his children: John (12), Susan (10), William (7), Eliza (2), and Benjamin (0).

What happened during those years that his wife and four oldest children no longer lived with him, and that he and his youngest son no longer lived in their own home? And what events would cause him to leave farming and become a Methodist Episcopal Minister?

After reading the book, Rebuilding Zion: The Religious Reconstruction of the South 1863-1877, by Daniel W. Stowell, my thoughts drifted toward Cousin Hattie (Carter) Becton's emphatic, "We were always Methodist."

Could it be that my husband's ancestors had been part of a biracial Methodist Episcopal church? . . . or had they broken away into an independent free black Methodist Episcopal congregation sponsored by the white church? . . . had they their own black preachers by 1870? or did they still listen to the white minister's sermons on Sunday morning? Another mystery to ponder. . . .

B. B. Culbreth:
1860 Census; Goodings, Craven, NC;
Roll: M653_894; Page 18; Image 36;
FHLF: 803894.
The Rev. B. B. Culbreth and wife, Ada M., were also enumerated in another's household: that of Marcus C. and Margaret Bogay.
Pearce W. Gorrel:
1860 Census; Goodings, Craven, NC;
Roll: M653_894; Page 11; Image 21;
FHLF: 803894.

The Rev. Pearce W. Gorrel was the only Methodist Episcopal to own property (valued at $6,500) in Goodings District in 1860.

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