Big Hill Methodist Church Minutes 1881, Cleveland County, NC

Big Hill Methodist Church Minutes 1881

Editor’s Note:

Rev. John T. Hoyle’s life has been somewhat intriguing to me, since I was bitten by the genealogy bug back in 1997. My mother-in-law, Eleze Hoyle Sain, told me bits and pieces about her grandfather, John T. Hoyle. She told me he was a circuit rider preacher, but didn’t know what denomination.

We found his name on a list of preachers for at least one church, St. Paul Baptist, in Casar, NC. Up until that time, I was inclined to believe he was Methodist. While going through some old papers we found that his affiliation with the Methodists changed and he became affiliated with the Methodist Episcopal Church.

John obviously did not have paper on which to write. He used the backs of picture pages in bound books, such as, The United States Department of Agriculture book for the year 1901. He also used little blank sheets at the backs of these books to jot down how much he owed and to whom, and also when others borrowed from him, and how much. I believe he would have been a great journalist, if he were living today, because I have found so many of his notes.

Eleze always had a yearning to learn where her grandmother, Eliza Jane Swofford, wife of John T., was buried. One summer afternoon, Eleze brought two or three boxes of old antique books to my house that had been owned by John. Well, I could hardly wait to get into those books. I was hoping that he had written something somewhere that would give us that nugget of information! Laboriously, I thumbed through each and every page of each book. Some had little notes, but I finally came upon what I was looking for. He tells us that Eliza Jane died in 1891 in Clifton, SC, but does not give us the place of burial. He also gave us an idea of the torment he and Eliza had gone through by writing “Much trouble”. They had five children who died before the age of three. I have never found out the cause of their deaths. There was so much information on this one page, I just couldn’t believe it! I was rejoicing and crying at the same time. I took this book and a copy to Eleze so that she could rejoice with me. It was so wonderful to have someone to share this genealogy hobby with me. We have never found out exactly where Eliza was buried, but Eleze was convinced that wherever she may be, that her grave would be marked with a stone. All the children’s graves are marked with stones, and it is very unlikely that he would not have marked Eliza’s grave. Later, in this same book, I found about the same information on another page.

In the collection of books of John, there is one called “The Abbott’s Great Work”, copyright unknown as the first several pages are torn out.  In the back of this book were several blank pages. It was on these pages that John recorded the minutes of the South Mountain Mission, of which he was the secretary. I would appreciate it, if you claim any of these people as yours, some information on them, and if anyone knows anything about the Clifton, SC area, as to where Eliza may have been buried, I would appreciate the information.

Big Hill Methodist Church Minutes 1881

“Third quarterly conference for South Mountain Mission held at Big Hill August the 23, 1881. A.M. Long, P.C. in the chair opened with prair by Peter Hoyle, J.T. Hoyle elected Secretary. The roll was called. The following were present: A.M. Long, PC, W. M. Swofford, L.P, J.T. Hoyle, LP,Peter Hoyle, Exhorter.

Question first Are there any appeals? None.
2. Are there any complaints? None
3 Is there a written report from the preacher in charge of the number in state of Sunday School. _____Report A. Sunday Schools on this work have been doing good work during the past quarter there are 3 schools in operation in _______ union school. In these schools about ______ officers and scholars have been doing work for the church.
AM Long
4. Report B State of the general state of the church in tolerable good on this work at present though not what it should be 11 children have been baptized the past quarter. Some indications for good being done at some point, also a fair prospect for revival meetings before the close of the year. AM Long

6 What amount have been apportioned to this charge by the distribute stewards. One hundred dollars. PE38 Bishop $1

7 Amount raised $7.74 cents. Paid to P.C. $5.7 PE $2

10 Who is elected recording steward? J. T. Hoyle

13 No vacancies

15 No applications are for licenses to preach nor exhort.

17 Have the _____preached in __________in examination of charcter have there been at ___the __________.

22 Who is elcted superindendents of Sunday Schools. Big Hill N S Jonson, Massedonia Jeremiah Smith, Horse Mountain Gap John Denton. Missionary Ridge George Stacy, Rich Mountain, Wesley Smith, Scot’s Chapel L. M. Scot.

23. None

25. None _____the place for the next quarterly meeting, appointed at Pleasant Gap
A. M. Long. PC
J. T. Hoyle Secretary

Minister of 4th quarterly conference South Mountain Mission Shelby District NC Conference ME Church South. Held at Pleasant Gap Oct 15, 1881. Rev A. M. Long PC in the ______. The conference was open with prair by Marey Clark. Marey Clark was elected Secretary. Roll called the following were present
A M Long, PC
J P Denton
M L Clark
T C. Taylor
John Navy
John Chapman

Question 1st no appeals
2 no complaints
3 Report of Sundy Schools have done good work, this year. 2 of them is still operation
6 Report B 4 adults have been baptized
7. Children received into the church 4? Persons
10. John L Navy was licensed to exort
11 $7.65 paid to PC
23 No report
24 ………
25 ………
26 Pleasant Grove was appointed

Minutes of the first quarterly conference held at Massedonia Feb 25, 1882. South mt. Mission Shelby District, NC Conference ME Church South. Rev F. K._____ in the chair J. T. Hoyle elected Secretary. Roll called the following were present F K Kaylor? PC, W. M. Swofford LP J.T. Hoyle LP, Peter Hoyle, exorter, Jeremiah Smith, David Smith ____________
No appeals
No complaints
The assessment _______
14 The rules have not been read
19 Board of Steward, Missionary Ridge George Stacy, Jos. Bowman,
Pleasant Gap John Denton, Marene Clark, Rich Mountain Jessey Hudson, David Smith Massedonia George King, Antioch Riley York. Big Hill Eli Hoyle, John T. Hoyle
26 Missionary Ridge appointed
H K Kaylor PC
J. T. Hoyle Secretary


Norman’s Grove Cemetery Links

Just thought I would give you a link where you could muse over the interments of Norman’s Grove Cemetery in your leisure. Sometimes we  can take trips to the cemeteries without leaving home.  Derick Hartshorn and Ann Propst posted the WPA Cemetery Listing  that was done before 1940.  Some of the graves at that time included Norman, Davis, Hoyle, Downs, McEntire, Wellmon, and Towery.

WPA Listing for Norman’s Grove Baptist Church Cemetery

Find A Grave has  97 of the interments for Norman’s Grove on their site. They include pictures, obituaries etc. so check these out. You can participate by adding your information there or by posting some flowers and memories.

Find A Grave at Norman’s Grove Baptist, Cleveland County, NC

Saint Paul Baptist Church – A Living History

Just wanted  the Foothills NC readers to know about a recent publication about a church in the area.  Rick Blanton, Historian and long-time newsletter editor for Saint Paul Baptist Church,  Casar, NC  researched and wrote a book entitled: “Saint Paul Baptist Church-A Living History.”  He was commissioned by the conference on Sunday, March 25, 2012 and it was published in July of 2012.  If your ancestors lived in the area of the South Mountains of Burke and Cleveland County, as well as Rutherford, Lincoln and Catawba, you just might find a link in this book. Rick has turned over a lot of stones that he did not expect to find.  He has become more and more excited through the process of his research and is so ecstatic now that it is finished. The first publication sold out immediately and the second printing is almost out  the last I heard.  He is planning on doing a Second Edition in the future, so you might want to read this book and send him your comments.  He has several pastors that he is researching that he cannot find much information for and needs some help.

Rick took his information from these sources, as he commented in the Preface of the book:

1. Minutes of Saint Paul Baptist Church business meetings.

2. Saint Paul rolls, attendance records, Associational letters and reports.

3. Handwritten documents of former pastors and members.

4. Minutes of annual meetings of the Catawba River Baptist Association.

5. Minutes of annual meetings of the South Mountain Baptist Association.

6. Archived newspaper clippings.

7. Cleveland County Memorial Library in Shelby, NC.

8. Photographs provided by brothers and sisters of various Baptist congregations.

9. Photographs and personal recollections submitted by current and former church members.

Rick carefully tried to substantiate the facts, exclude errors and adhere to a chronological order.  You can reach Rick Blanton at  I am very impressed with Rick’s ability to uncover so much in such a short amount of time and his ability to sort through discrepancies in the organization of the church.  The photographs, which are many, of the folks who went to Saint Paul to church and their relatives and connections is astounding.  

Saint Paul is the church where I attended in my early and teenage years, and is the church where my husband and I were married. Many of my COOK folks were charter members and attended there until the day they died. They lie buried in this beautiful serene setting, where the cemetery is kept clean and neat.   I just love going there and visiting my kin from time to time. 

Thanks to Rick for all his hard work; we can all certainly benefit from this profound work.

Norman’s Grove Baptist Church History 1910-2003

Norman’s Grove History

This church has been an icon in the Belwood community of Cleveland County for more than 100 years.  The cover on the front of the history is what the church looks like today, except they have added an enclosed porch on the side to made it more accessible to the handicapped. With this addition, they added a few more rooms and a bathroom.  During my visit there this summer, I opened the old Sunday School Record Books, and saw that my great-grandfather John Francis Cook served as  Sunday School Superintendent for about 3 years from 1919 to 1921.  Also his daughter, Ethel Cook King served as a teacher that was recorded.  There were no names of members, just totals and amount of collections. They did mention who offered prayers during the meetings.

History of Reeps Grove United Methodist Church, Lincoln County, NC 1894-1988

Reeps Grove Church History 1988

I would like to post this history of Reeps Grove UM Church in Lincoln County that was compiled and printed in 1988 by Eleze Hoyle Sain, who was the long-time historian there for many years. As she points out, the church  in 1935 when she first started attending was called Reeps Grove Methodist Episcopal  Church, which was a member of Hebron Methodist Protestant Church.  Eleze was a great historian and detailed story teller. Spending time with her was a special treat, just to get to hear stories of the olden days. It is my hope that you will have as much excitement reading this as Eleze did when she wrote it. Please enjoy.  Here’s the link:

Published in: on October 26, 2012 at 5:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Pisgah Baptist Church, Casar, NC Minutes

Pisgah Minutes

I know a lot of you will be interested in these minutes that I found microfilmed at the FamilyHistory Library in Salt Lake City, as they tell us of our ancestors spiritual lives. You must understand that many pages had dark spots that I could barely read, except for the use of a magnifying glass and a good light. I have tried to make corrections very sparingly to these documents, but I did add all the punctuation shown here, for the original did not contain any punctuation at all. I corrected some spelling mistakes, so it would be more readable. Everything was written just as they heard it. It was so hard to read at first, but got easier the more I stuck with it. I truly hope you enjoy these and I would appreciate it, if you would contact me about any connections you may have to any of the people mentioned here. Also, if anyone has contacts with those at Pisgah, you can bet I would like to get my hands on the later years of their church minutes for transcription. Enjoy!


Published in: on June 2, 2006 at 10:39 am  Leave a Comment