From the Alabama Christian Advocate
December 16, 1885

Recollections of My Early Ministry


Thirty-eight years ago today I left my father's house, a pale, delicate, inexperienced, beardless boy, to go to Wartree Circuit, taking the place of B. B. Abernathy, who had died on the first round. I had no license save as an exhorter. Wm. Burr was Presiding Elder. My circuit lay on the Kentucky line in Tennessee, west of Cumberland river. The Obids River Circuit lay just across on the east side of the Cumberland, and was in charge of A. W. Smith. Bro. Burr placed Smith in charge of both circuits, assigning me as junior. Each Circuit had its own Quarterly Conference. As we traveled them unitedly, our work was 280 miles around, crossing the Cumberland river twice each round. We had twenty-nine appointments. Two Mondays we had for rest days. One of our rest days we had to travel thirty miles. The winter was a severe one; accommodations often poor. At the end of the year our work summed up: much suffering, great happiness, 147 conversions, 143 additions, $4.50 quarterage each, and ferriage and horse-shoeing $12.50 each, leaving me with $8.00 less than nothing. Conference was held that fall at Clarksville. There I was received on trial in the class with R. A. Young, now D. D., and J. C. Putman, yet of the Tennessee Conference, and Judge Milton Brown, of Scottsborough, a faithful local elder. From this Conference I was sent to the Cumberland Circuit of twenty-three appointments. Over 150 were added to the church, and I received $23.35. At the close of this year just before Conference I went with John F. Hughes to the Obids River Circuit to aid in a camp meeting, held at Dinis Camp-ground. Here some five infidels took offense at the preaching, and at its close followed the Presiding Elder and three other preachers seven miles and attempted to mob us. They were armed with clubs and so were the preachers, and the most wordless, bloody battle I ever saw was had right on the highway. But the preachers lost no blood and got no wounds. The infidels were brave and fought like tigers, but God helped us, and our foes raised the white feather. My third year was on the Salem Circuit with seventeen churches. A good revival resulted at the close of this year and over 100 were added to the church. I was paid this year $37.50. The next two years I was sent to the Winchester Circuit. This was a two week's circuit with ten appointments. We had fine success religiously, but quarterage was low—about $60.00 a year. My sixth year was at Russellville, Ala. This was my happiest, best and most successful year. The results stood: good meetings, $150 quarterage (the full allowance of Discipline) board, and the best wife in the world. In conclusion—this generation of Methodists and preachers do not know what the generations before them endured to hand down to them the grandest Christian heritage men and women ever had given them.

A. G. COPELAND.

Submitted by Laurel Baty