A Letter to the Baptist Newspaper
Submitted by Wiley R. Gandy, a loyal member of Ebenezer Church during its early years, mailed a letter to his Baptist newspaper in which he stated some interesting facts about the history of his church. This communication is quoted below.
"Ebenezer Church, Bibb County, Alabama, was constituted on this, then howling wilderness, on the 31st day of July, 1819, by Isaac Suttle, Lewis C. Davis, (old club axe) and William Herrod, presbytery. In the constitution there were but seven members, Samuel Crenshaw, John Allen, and John Gandy. The two first named were Deacons. The above named are all long since dead, perhaps Mr. Harrod may be still living. Ebenezer Church stands within one mile of the Perry county line, not more than three hundred yards from the Alabama and Tennessee Railroad, 27 miles North of Selma.
"Mr. Isaac Suttle was forthwith called to take the pastoral charge. A precious revival commenced immediately, about 50 were baptised in a few months, five of whom made ministers of the gospel, viz: William Clark, Enoch Hayes, Robert Martin, David Moore, and Wm. Allen. The last two only are living; Martin, Hayes and Moore were ordained by this Church. About 1825 there was another glorious revival,--the venerable Suttle still pastor, Ebenezer then began to be strong. Mr. Richard West, too, about this time was licensed to preach, and as such, he moved to the West. Some right curious things might be said. For example, September 1822, 'Appointed bro. Monk as clrk to set tunes,' also concluded 'not to join the Missionary business'. I suppose about this time the great Missionary question began to be agitated, which was kept up in some sort until 1835, when new Churches and Associations were formed.
In 1839, about this time, that man of God, Isaac Suttle, again pastor, a revival commenced eclipsing all other revivals put together, continued in some degree for about two years. (In those old fashioned days, men and women joined the Church, little boys and girls were not known, but it is a little changed now, it is easy in, easy out). The result of which was a new batch of preachers, viz: D. M. Loyd, George W. Scoggins, A. B. Hill, and G. W. Scoggins. The two first, Loyd and Scoggins, were ordained by this Church. About six years ago that venerable old brother, Josiah McGee, was ordained by this Church. -- About 1842, that great and good man, Isaac Suttle, left us forever, removed to Mississippi, and soon after died. He was the father of the Baptist in this region.
Old Mother Ebenezer has not only given the world many preachers, but she has also baptized others who have held high political stations, viz: Charles A. Dennis, John W. Suttle, Pendleton Murrah. Mr. Murrah joined this Church about 1841, a poor obscure boy, but now, it is said, that he is one of the most imminent judges in Texas. General Julius Goodwin, too, held a high station whilst a member of this Church. Old Mother Ebenezer has had days of rejoicing, and many days of deep sorrow and sore affliction. Well does the writer remember the days of humiliation, trials, that would seem to almost upheave the very pillars of her foundation. The good Lord most surely helped in time of great need. Old Mother Ebenezer is still here, a little green spot, and perhaps exactly in the center of the State of Alabama. We are about 70, mostly rather poor, a good house, shingled roofed and glass windows. A. Andrews is our pastor."
Wiley R. Gandyp