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Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Macomb

The church of the above denomination in the city of Macomb, was organized at a meeting held on the 7th of November, 1851, by Rev. W. S. Campbell, in conjunction with Elders Levi Hamilton and John B. Stapp. At that time the following persons came forward as members of other churches, and signified their wish to form a church of this communion: William Stapp, Hiram Russell, Elizabeth Russell, Sarah Anderson, Mary Cannon, Jerusha Garrett, Ann Jones, Margaret Hale and Mary Smithers. On due organization the congregation held services until Saturday, June 19, 1852, when at a meeting held for the purpose, William Stapp and Hiram Russell were elected to the office of elders. The former, who lacked ordination, had that rite administered by the Rev. W. C. McKamy, and received their charge from that gentleman. The first meetings were held in the court house. Among the clergymen that ministered to this congregation were many in its first years as irregular supplies, but in July, 1858, the congregation procured the service of Rev. E. Canaday, a regularly ordained minister, as regular pastor. This gentleman remained with the church, in the ministerial capacity, until October 16, 1859, when he resigned. Brother J. H. Bates was employed by the congregation to preach to them once in four week, in March, 1860. After about a year this service ceased and the church depended on the various supply preachers until in March, 1862, when Rev. Samuel Richards was called to the pastorate. This gentleman was soon succeeded by Rev. J. W. Stapp. In 1866 Rev. J. W. Cleaver was the pastor. The church flourished greatly up to this time, but from some unexplained cause the congregation diminished in numbers and finally disbanded. The congregation had erected a neat and commodious church edifice in the fall and winter of 1857-58, which was dedicated on Sabbath morning, March 28, 1858. The record of the church says, in speaking of this interesting occasion: "The house was filled to overflowing, and many persons left for want of room. Before the sermon there was money enough raised by subscription and cash to pay off all debts against the church house. The dedication sermon was preached by Rev. S. T. Stewart. The dedicatory prayer was offered by Rev. John B. Hubbard; a solemn time. The sacrament of the Lord's supper was administered at 3 o'clock p. m. The attendance was very large, and great solemnity prevailed over the entire congregation. The session met and invited Rev. S. T. Stewart to act as moderator pro tem." The elders at that time present, were J. A. Chapman, Hiram Russell and P. Hamilton. When the congregation finally broke up in 1866 or 1867, the house was sold, and the denomination had no church in Macomb for many years. The church was reorganized in May, 1888, as the record states: "After our harps had been hanging on the willows for over 20 years, during which time many of the members of this congregation had removed from the field, while others had gone to their rewards above, leaving a few who would make spasmodic efforts for life." Rev. B. W. McDonald, of Lebanon, Tennessee, preached two weeks during the month of March, 1884, but having to go away, Rev. Thomas Potter came by request, and continued preaching some seven weeks, when he was regularly employed as pastor. In November, 1884, he was succeeded by Rev. R. W. Norris, who is the present pastor. The present officers of the church are: R. W. Norris, moderator; Hiram Russell, T. J. Caldwell, Loven Garrett and Anthony Thornton; and A. Thornton, clerk.

Source: The History of McDonough County, together with sketches of the towns, villages and townships, educational, civil, military and political history; portraits of prominent individuals, and biographies of the representative citizens, 1885, pages 442-443. Transcribed by Karl A. Petersen

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