EDITOR’S NOTE: This historical account of the former Mountain Dale Cumberland Presbyterian Church was written by Lessie Edna Crump, known to most in Seymour as Mrs. Joe Crump, sometime in the late 1950s or early 1960s. She was a charter member of the church and was born on June 13, 1888. This historical writing was provided to the Webster County Citizen by her grandson, Bob Crump, who is a lifelong Seymour resident who has been active in the community his entire adult life, including the present. We hope that you enjoy her verbatim account of the old church’s history as much as we did.
The story of our church is a story of joy and sorrow. In the beginning, our story starts with a group of Godly people who met in the school house to worship the Lord.
As near as I can remember, the Mountain Dale Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized in the school house in 1908 by the Rev. John A. Russell, who was pastor of our church at that time and with around 40 members.
As the school house at Mountain Dale was too small to accommodate the large attendance, plans were made for the building of a new church. A good friend and neighbor, Uncle Jacob Koser, donated a corner of his land for the church.
Ross A. Alcorn gave the oak trees.
A saw mill was obtained and with willing hands, neighbors cut the trees, and after many months of labor, the logs were sawed into lumber.
Charley Coonis and John McClure were active in the building of the church, and with the help of neighbors, the erection of the church began in 1910.
Aunt Nancy Foster, a very faithful and loyal worker, rode horseback over the countryside, going from house to house, getting contributions for the church. Unfortunately, before the church was completed, Aunt Nancy became very ill and suddenly passed to her reward on Nov. 12, 1912. It was regretted very much that she did not live to see the church she worked so hard for.
But the people inspired by her devotion to the cause carried the work to completion, and in 1913 the beautiful white church by the side of the road was completed.
How well do I remember that fi rst sabbath day in the new church. How sweet the tone of the church bell echoed o’er the hills, calling people to worship.
Among the ones who joined the church when it was organized but now deceased include Mr. and Mrs. J.P. Bryant, Mrs. Minnie Hamilton, Mrs. Ben Bennett, Floyd G. Bryant and Mrs. Nora (Bennett) Vanzant.
Charter members of the church still with us include Mrs. Floyd Bryant, Mrs. Henry Moore, Mrs. Joe Crump, Harry Bennett and Tom Foster.
Some of the ministers I recall who have preached in our church include the Rev. W.A. Burney, W.R. Reid, Mrs. Reid, Mrs. Eva Hughes, Pleas Davis, Wilbur Cravens, S.E. Rumfelt and Vernon Cravens.
As goes the way of life so goes the way of churches.
As time went on, many changes were made in our community.
A number of our workers passed on to their reward, some moved to distant places. A number of our young men marched off to war.
After some years, we were awakened to the fact we had no church any more. People had grown disinterested in our church affairs. Finally, a few faithful members made plans to revive our church.
Rev. S.E. Rumfelt was chosen to hold a revival.
Our church was blessed in spiritual ways, and a number of souls were saved. The church was reorganized with 16 members. For a few years, we had good revivals, and a number of ministers were ordained in our church.
Then once again, sorrow came to our church.
Time in its fl ight brought a change once again.
It was a hard struggle to carry on with only a few workers, so 1956 was the ending of a good beginning of our church.
A number of years have passed since the building of our church.
It was on a Sunday afternoon that I took a little walk up to the church and sat on the step for awhile and began to daydream.
All at once, I seemed to hear voices coming from the church, voices of departed friends and loved ones, singing old hymns such as “I Am Bound For The Promise Land,”
“Amazing Grace, How Sweet The Sound” and “How Firm A Foundation.” Then I seemed to hear the Master say, “How often would I have gathered thy children together as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings and you would behold your house is left unto you desolate and forsaken.”
May we pay tribute to all persons who have been a part of our church and to all our beloved dead.
Though we have been through valleys of sorrow, we can look back in the years gone by, and we can see points of rejoicing in the memory of our many times of worship together at the Mountain Dale Church.
— Written by Mrs. Joe Crump