Welcome to the
Historical Web Site Tribute To
Preachers of the Past
A Note to the Family and Friends of Shingleroof.
This web page will undoubtedly be a long term project, as we attempt to uncover the identities of as many Shingleroof Preachers of the past as possible. The difficulty of this project is based in the lack of consistent record keeping over Shingleroof's history. Anyone having information regarding a name and date of service of any past Shingleroof Preacher is asked to participate in this documentation by sharing your information with us. Your information will be appreciated as we gather the identities of those that have served since 1821.
This recognition is offered in tribute and appreciation of those that have served Christ with faithful dedication by the sharing of His truth with us.
Circuit Riding Preacher
The father of Methodism, John Wesley's plan of multiple meeting places called circuits required an itinerating force of preachers. A circuit was made up of two or more local churches (sometimes referred to as societies) in early Methodism. In American Methodism circuits were sometimes referred to as a "charge." A pastor would be appointed to the charge by his bishop. During the course of a year he was expected to visit each church on the charge at least once, and possibly start some new ones. At the end of a year the pastors met with the bishop at annual conference, where they would often be appointed to new charges. A charge containing only one church was called a station. The traveling preachers responsible for caring for these societies, or local churches and stations, became known as circuit- riders, or sometimes saddlebag preachers. As illustrated in the early 19th century engraving above, they traveled light, carrying their belongings and books in their saddlebags. Ranging far and wide through villages and wilderness, they preached daily or more often at any site available be it a log cabin, the local court house, a meeting house, or an outdoor forest setting. Unlike the pastors of settled denominations, these itinerating preachers were constantly on the move. Their assignment was often so large it might take them 5 or 6 weeks to cover the territory. The Methodist saddlebag preachers, like cowboys, were wholly committed to their horses. It was no wonder because the nineteenth-century preacher, either by saddle horse or carriage, had no other way to reach the people. At Conference, after appointments were made, there would often be a great time of horse trading among the preachers. Those who were assigned to distant circuits would trade horses with those who were going to towns or villages where stronger horses would not be needed. The horse was appreciated.
Methodist Circuit Rider
of Henry County"
Within the written accounts of the History of Henry County, Mr. Morgan Bellah has been referred to as the "first Methodist Circuit Rider" and "the first Methodist Minister of Henry County".
We have a written record of Mr. Bellah's service as a Methodist Preacher from the Methodist Episcopal Church South, Annual Conference and know he was born in Oglethorpe County, GA., November 24, 1799 and died on March 26, 1880.
At this time, the single most complete source of information documenting Mr. Bellah's life of service as a circuit riding preacher is contained within his obituary. The author of the obituary refers to "some intervals in his history which we cannot fill from the imperfectly-preserved records of the Conference". It is possible that some written documentation currently exist that proves his position as "the first Methodist Circuit Riding Preacher of Henry County", although we have not uncovered any. It is also probable that the only record of Mr. Bellah's position as the "first", is a verbal record which was later recorded within the History of Henry County.
You will see from the geographic areas of his service appointments recorded within his obituary, that Henry County is well situated. To read a duplicate of Mr. Morgan Bellah's obituary, follow the link below.
Revised April 26, 2005
Created by Scott Rowan Copyright (c) June 01, 2000. All Rights Reserved.