Rev. Golman Buford Hancock and his Family
Donna Cooper's Family Connections
Rev. Golman Buford Hancock's Family
The family of Rev. Golman Buford Hancock
Pictured Front Row: Clara Elizabeth, Martha Ella, Golman Buford, Ina Cordellia, Mary Minerva, & Sally Pearl
Back Row: Oscar Jeff, Martin Luther, Trusa Etta, Minerva Emmaline, William Calvin, Charles Tuggle, & Ben Abner.
Rev. G. B. Hancock and wife Mary Minerva Burris are buried at Mars Hill Cemetery, Sholton, MO - near Crane, MO. Rev Hancock was a pioneer minister in Barry County, MO.
Rev. Hancock wrote a book entitled
Mormonism Exposed in or about 1902. It was about the debate that he had
with Mormon leaders in 1902 in Fayette, PA. An original copy of the book
is in our family. It is signed by G. B. Hancock and was given to his daughter
Clara Elizabeth (Hancock) Berryhill.
Many years ago Imogene Hancock May copied Rev G. B. Hancock's family notes which were later kept by Pearl Williams Wilson. A number of years later the notes were printed in book form by Imogene Hancock May. My Life is an Open Book is a collection of writings which are nothing more than some handwritten notes that G. B. Hancock wrote. The booklet gives a lot of data about his family background and his family life back in the hills of Kentucky. It extends his life into those hard struggles of being left alone as a small child and how he struggled to make it on his own.
Rev Hancock lived with one relative then another until he came to Missouri at which time he taught school and lived with families of the community. One of his first stops was in the Macon County, MO area where he met and married his wife, Mary Minerva Burris, daughter of William Burris. It was not until later that he moved to Barry County, Missouri. He and Mary are buried at Mars Hill, near Crane, MO.
When Rev G. B. Hancock's daughter, Sally Pearl, died on Nov 13, 1905, the "notes" or "Hancock scrapbook" became the precious possession of her Sally Pearl's child, Pearl, who so graciously loaned it to Imogene Hancock May and Imogene took it to a hometown publisher and then the Hancock notes were passed around to family members and it became "Grandpa's Book" published under the name of My Life is an Open Book. In the front of the booklet is a picture of G. B. Hancock, his wife Mary Minerva Burris, whom he married 1859 in Macon County, MO. Along with all his children that are listed as such: Martha Ella Newman, Martin Luther Hancock, Clara Elizabeth Berryhill, [my great grandmother] Oscar Jeff Hancock, William Calvin Hancock, Trusa Etta Wilson, Minerva Emmaline Smith, Charles Tuggle Hancock, Sally Pearl Williams, Ben Abner Hancock, and Ina Cordelia Hancock.
This minister's notebook has been included because it gives a lot of information about
who lived where and what was happening during certain time periods. There are some religious ideas included in the text
they were left in the text as printed. That sort of information may seem unusual
but it adds to our
understanding of the genealogical process in gathering background material of
our early pioneers.
My notes that were added are enclosed in brackets.
BY REV G. B. HANCOCK
Under the above caption, though borrowed, we purpose for the benefit of others giving something of our own life. We do not design in the common acceptation an autobiography.
Biographies of noted and worthy men, men that have been properly considered benefactors, when properly written, are among the most interesting and profitable of uninspired books. We do not propose that our sketches shall ever appear in book form, and the conclusion that we write with the idea that we deserve the rank among the class mentioned above does us great injustice. Yet, as we ever write with the motto before our mind, "He who writes for the public eye would write for the public good," we certainly conclude that in some respects these sketches will be beneficial, otherwise they would not appear.
My father, Benjamin Hancock, was born in NC. near the Virginia line, in the year 1778. The old family record was lost during the late war -- we cannot give many dates. He was the son of Benjamin Hancock, a brother, we learned from an old uncle on my mother's side, of John Hancock, whose name stands at the head of the list of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.[My Note: I believe this should have read Benjamin Hancock was a brother to John Hancock of Virginia who helped with the writing of the Declaration of Independence.] [Editor's note: The descendants of John Hancock and his wife Elizabeth Maddox VA all have a similar family story about the Declaration of Independence except the story goes that it was John Hancock, of Virginia, who helped with the writing of it. The Corn family of Franklin Co., TN, also tell the declaration story and are without a doubt related. So, it was John D. Hancock who married Elizabeth Maddox who was the brother and who G. B. Hancock's old uncle on the Vickery side of the family who thought that Benjamin of Kentucky was a brother to the signer. According to Goodspeed in a Franklin County, TN, an account given by someone related to the Corn family stated that John D. Hancock helped with the writing of the Declaration of Independence. It was John's daughter Nancy who married Jesse Corn and through their line of descent the story was carried down.] My grandfather was a soldier through the entire War of Revolution. [Editor's note: Ben Hancock received a military grant on Gap Creek for his military service. He was a Revolutionary Veteran from Fluvanna County, VA, then Randolph County, NC.] At an early date he moved to what was called the new purchase of Kentucky. [Family lore has that he was one of the first ones to cross the Cumberland Mountains.] As land was not valuable convince was the main item in selecting a allocation, they settled on Gap Creek, Wayne County. He was the second settler in that part, a family by the name of Stockton having preceded him. [Story matches with family lore.] Here game, timber, water and Indians were plentiful, but they had to go one hundred miles to get their grinding. At the age of forty-two years my father was married to Elizabeth Vickery. [Editor's note: Wayne Co., KY records indicate that they were married in Dec 10, 1820] To them ten children were born six sons and four daughters. Three of the daughters died in early childhood. June 7th, 1839, the writer of these lines was born.
I dreaded that trip, but thought I could behave myself nice enough to escape a castigation. I went into the house and told the lady I wanted my clothes. She handed them to me. Mr. ___ was present, but did not speak to me. I saw that he wanted a chance to give us a place of his mind. That chance he did not get. A few days at the widow Beck's convinced me that my fondest hopes were to be realized. I had found the place I had been looking for ever since my father's death. I was where I could be somebody's boy. Grandma and Aunt Sallie were kind as heart could wish, and F. E. was a gentleman. He was, of course preaching under the commission as recorded in the tenth chapter of Mathew. A man that lived twenty-five miles from there was owing Mr. Beck some money. He happened to be a neighborhood where Mr. Beck was holding a meeting. He called and offered to pay it, but Mr. Beck refused, saying that when preaching the Savior forbade him taking purse or script. The man had to wait till he could see Mr. Beck when he was not engaged in a meeting to pay that money.[My Note: His Grandma Vickery, Mary nee Broyles, wife of Francis Vickery may have died in or about 1845. Researchers have Mary Broyles and Francis Marion Vickery's death places as Macon Co., MO. This may be she that he is calling Grandma. And I think that his Grandpa and Grandma Hancock died before he was born. Benjamin Hancock, Sr., died in 1811, I believe. I am not sure who he is referring to here and who he is calling Aunt Sallie.]
From the time I left Uncle Fleming's till the time I went to Beck's to live I knew but little of kind treatment. I was abused, insomuch that I was inspired with a degree of difference I will never overcome. Mr. Beck would speak kindly and endeavored to inspire me with lofty motives, and holy ambition. For the first year they were to clothe me, send me to school three months, and give me twenty dollars.
Mr. Beck bought a fine young mare and told me she was mine to care for and ride so long as I should live with them. Aunt Sallie bought cloth and made me a nice suit of clothes. I could not go to meeting and hold my head up. By mid-summer I was a member of the Baptist Church and had no thought but that Becks would be my home through my youth. I was, in this, however, doomed to disappointment. William Beck, a brother to the preacher, but more demon than man, bought an interest in the farm and moved into the house. Not only did the boy have to get out, but also grandma and aunt had to hunt a home elsewhere. He compromised with me by giving me $17.00.
I had never been to school, but now determined to spend my money in school. I went to Wayne County and attended a subscription school three months. There I learned something of spelling, reading, and writing. I went to Russell County to live with a Mr. Leverage. I stayed there but a few weeks, and then went to Creelsboro, where I stayed nearly a year, working in a saddle shop and clerking in a dry goods store. Creelsboro was a hard place and my home was with a hard family. The fall that I was there the typhoid fever raged, and I was one of the victims. When I had to take the bed I was placed in a small room, without ventilation or screens, but an abundance of flies. I had no nurse, but had to care for myself. There were none, except the doctor, that seemed to care whether I lived or died - all predicated that I would die. The doctor had sixty-two cases on his hands, and could only get around about once in every forty-eight hours. I had to wait on myself. All the assistance I would get, a coup of water and my medicine would be placed on a table where I could reach it.
Sometimes I could recollect to take medicine as directed, sometimes I could not. Upon one occasion the doctor having left I undertook to take the first dose as directed. I reached for the cup of water, I was too feeble to raise up, my hand gave way and the water was tilted into the vessel where my medicine was, and all was spoiled. I did without till the doctor's return. I was then in a critical condition and the doctor realized how sadly I was neglected. He went into an adjoining room where the woman of the house was and her a sound cursing. I would doze, the files would get into my mouth, I would wake up and take them out. Say what you please, you fatalist, but I shall ever hold that in answer to my father's dying prayer I was providentially kept through such periods in my childhood.
I remained in Creelsboro till the following spring; I then went across the river into Clinton County and worked as a farm hand for Frank Irwin at $8.00 per month. When crops were made I had money enough to meet the expenses of my sickness in Creelsboro.
I then determined to learn the saddle and harness trade. With this in view I went to Monticello and made an agreement with James Warden, the saddle and harness man of that town. I was to work the first year for my victuals and clothes. I had not been there long till thoughts of the future passed through my mind. I soliloquized as follow: "I am not seventeen years old; the responsibilities of manhood will soon be upon me. For such I am not prepared; this will never do. I must go to school." I had no money, and but few clothes. A ten months school had just opened in Stocton Valley. I sent a note to the principal and gave him my condition, and told him I wanted to go to school. He wrote to me immediately, urging me to enter his school and agreeing to be surety for my board and tuition. I determined to go. Mr. and Mrs. Warden tried to dissuade me from that conclusion. I was, however, determined and was soon in school.
I missed three weeks of the first five months of school, which ended the last of December. By request of the patrons a vacation of six weeks was given, that the severest of winter might pass before the last session opened. I went to Creelsboro and proposed to the saddler there that I would make saddles on the halves if he would furnish the material. To this he agreed. I had to miss one week of school to complete the saddles that I had commenced. I was in school promptly the second week; and had saddles enough to pay board and tuition for the entire school.
When the last term ended I had gotten through with spelling, reading, arithmetic, English grammar, geography, composition, philosophy, and astronomy. I then engaged to teach a four months' school twelve miles from Albany, on the breaks of the Cumberland. They had never seen a blackboard in that part. In agreeing to teach their school I had stipulated with the directors that a blackboard should be furnished, and the school should be conducted according to the most improved methods. Of this they soon repented. They objected to the blackboard, to the silent method in school, to the classing the students, and to drilling in the art of spelling and reading. They said their children knew nothing about these things. They had been used to the students saying their lessons one at a time, and had been used to the children all spelling and reading out, so that they could be heard at least a quarter of a mile. One director could see the improvement and stood by me. The other two tried to stop the school. We taught the school. We then entered school at Albany. We had not, however, been there but one month when we determined to go to California with some young men that were going from that place.
Having determined to go to California I sold my interest in the old homestead, by giving security for a deed, when I should become of age, and was ready to start. We were to go to New York and by ship from there to San Francisco. That trip could be made once a month. In order to make the trip that month we had to start by a certain date. We were to start on Monday, but on Sunday the two young men that I was to go with came to town and informed me that their parents were not willing for them to start that month, and consequently the time for starting would be postponed one month. I determined to spend that month visiting, so next morning I started for Tennessee. I had not been gone long till those young men came after me. Their parents had consented for them to start. They could not wait and make the necessary connection, so I was left. I had said, however, that I was going to California, and when I said a thing, even in my youthful days, I generally meant it.
I had longed to see some of the great west, I hence I determined to go to Independence, MO, and go across into California with a freight or emigrant train. A young man, my senior by some years, wanted to go with me. He had no money, but had been to Missouri. I doubted the propriety of accepting him as a traveling companion. Surrendering, however, to the judgment of an older brother, I consented to make him with me, bear his expenses and wait till he could refund the money. On January 18, 1858, we left Albany. We went to Nashville, Tennessee, designing to go from there to Cairo, Ill. by water. There we had to wait there or four days for a boat.
We went to Grisham and Huffaker's wholesale grocery store. Mr. Huffaker was a brother to our oldest brother's wife. He went with us to a boarding house, told the proprietor to take good care of us till we could get passage down the river. I was now eighteen years old.
I was determined to live a virtuous life. We took, while in Nashville, extensive walks, that we might see the different parts of the city. Having taken an extensive walk one evening after supper we were returning, my companion halted in front of what appeared to me a doubtful house, and said to me, "Let's go in here and see some fun." There was considerable merriment within. I assured him that would not. He then said, "You go to our room and I will come after awhile." I then turned to him and firmly said, "Jim, you can do as you please. You are older than I am, but I want it distinctly understood that if you go into that house you have traveled your last mile at my expense," He knew that I meant just what I he said, and so went with me to our room.
The time came for our boat to start, Mr. Huffaker came, settled our board bill, accompanied us to the boat, and bade us farewell. The trip to Cairo was a lonesome one. From Cairo we traveled to St. Louis by railroad. From St. Louis we went to Jefferson City. There we expected to get boat passage to Independence. A boat was expected to start on that trip soon, but not being able to get any satisfaction as to when, we determined to go to Booneville by stage. Before reaching Cairo we had formed the acquaintance of a gentlemen bound for the vicinity of Independence. As we judged upon first acquaintance he proved to be a pleasant and safe companion.
It was after sunset when the stage left Jefferson City. The nights were dark, and it was cold winter weather. I did not like appearances. So I told my companions that I would not get inside of that stage, but would sit with the driver. The stage was heavily loaded with mail and express matter. The driver seemed willing for some accident to happen. I watched him closely. Soon he drove onto a place where the vehicle tilted. At the proper time I made a spring and landed safely on my feet. I heard a faint cry from within for help. The baggage was smothering my Kentucky companion. By the time the driver had adjusted his team I, by an extra effort, had extricated my two companions. They were somewhat freighted, but nobody was hurt. We took our valises and told the drive we could go on. We had a dark, muddy walk for some miles before we got to where we could find a place to rest.
When we reached Booneville, we telegraphed to Jefferson City to know if any boat was between there and Boonville destined for St. Joseph. The answer came no. We then started for Glassgow, reaching that place in the evening we stopped for the night. Early next morning the boat we had been expecting landed at Glassgow. We went aboard and asked the price of a ticket to our destined point. "Twenty dollars," was the answer. I told the ... that was the price from Jefferson City. He said it was the same from there. I told my companions that I could walk it for less than that. We had between two and three months to spend somewhere before time for starting across the planes, and my Kentucky friend having spent some time, on a previous trip, in Putnam Co., MO, he propose that we go there to spend the time till spring opened. To this we consented. We went to Unionville, via Bloomington and Kirksville. In Putnam County we found sever with whom we had been acquainted in Kentucky. We had been there but a few days when Jim informed me that he had determined not to go any further toward California that year. His excuse was that the Mormon War being on had the trip would be a hazardous one. We regretted to be again baffled, but he having spent about fifty dollars of our money we determined to postpone our trip one year and get our money back.
Jim engaged to teach a school in the country. We applied for the school in Unionville. Being a mere boy and a stranger the directors paid but little attention to us. We had about concluded that our application was in vain. Having called one day to see a Mr. Bradshaw, one of the directors, and getting but little encouragement we concluded to go into the country and try to get a school. We stepped into the store of Davis and Simpson, leading dry goods merchants. Some one called our name, an elderly gentleman arose and called for the man of that name. Learning that I was a son of Uncle Ben, of Wayne County, Kentucky, he spoke of my parents to those present, and gave the a family such a recommendation that Mr. Davis went immediately to see the directors. Mr. Bradshaw came immediately and told me that I could have the school.
Our school in Unionville opened with one hundred and twenty-five pupils. It was taught in the court house, which was a log building, one and one-half stories high. It had two rooms, a lower and upper room. The lower room was the court room, the upper room was the clerk's office. William Shelton, a young Kentuckian, and a few years my senior, had charge the upper room. During the school term, except when court would be in session, we had full control of the lower room. As Mr. Shelton was from the same part of Kentucky that I was, and our parents had been associates, we were soon intimates and confidants. He was the only one that I counseled during the school term. He willingly assisted me all that he could. One thing he seemed to conclude that I did not need assistance in, and that was the use of the rod.
I soon found that I had a Herculean task on my hands. I was told that a public school had never been taught in the town, that one or two had been commenced but the boys proved to be master of the situation. One thing I saw had to be settled first of all; namely, would I or those boys prove to be master? There were two or three ring leaders. One of these was in his seventeenth year. I was aware that they were secretly armed. I kept my eyes on them, and determine to give them no advantage. I talked to them till it was evident that words were of no avail. After school one evening I visited in a brush patch, secured a good switch and placed it convenient to my place in the court room. At an early hour of the next morning the sixteen year old began, as usual, a disturbance. I spoke to him, he replied, "Sir, I'll let you know I will do just as I please." I replied, "We will see." Taking my switch I walked to him, he rose and placed his right hand in his bosom. I halted at a proper distance taking hold of my switch with both hands I let him have it with all the power I could summon. Soon his hand dropped from his bosom and he yelled pitifully. He was quiet till noon, when he gathered his books and left school. The ring leader was now gone, but the spirit of insubordination remained, and for some days that court room was a lively place; for if I could get along without whipping less than twenty five a day it was a remarkably quiet day. Many concluded that that school room was not a healthy place and left us; so, with the remainder we went through the session very pleasantly. One thing was not demonstrated, namely, a public school could be taught in that town. That, of course, made it an easier task for subsequent teachers.
As soon as our school term ended, we went to Macon County, and stopped with an uncle on our mother's side, Abner Vickery. After about two months we ____ horse and went back to Unionville for some things we had left there. ... then building a brick court ... spirit of enterprise seemed to be taking possession of the place. After that trip I saw Unionville no more till Feb. 189_. Being in those parts at that time we visited the town and made our home with Judge Shelton. The Judge laughed heartily when I asked him if he remembered that school. He told me that when he would hear me commence on the children he would go stealthily to the stairway, lie down on the floor and watch me till I would get through. I did not find him but one of my students. One of the merchants for the place told me that he was one of my students. I was then on my way to West Grove, Iowa, to meet Elder Thompson, of Indiana, in debate. I regretted that probate court was then on hand in Unionville, otherwise the Judge would have gone with me and hear the debate.
Recently we held a meeting near the road that I traveled from Macon to Unionville. While there we lived a part of our boyhood days over, and many incidents came to mind. I suppose I was born a dyspeptic, and often suffered from indigestion, which made it necessary at times to keep medicine with me. Not far from where more recent meeting was held we remembered stopping over night at a farm house, when on our way from Unionville to Macon, after the expiration of our school term.
It was not night but it was raining very hard. The old gentleman said that he would not deny me shelter, but could not promise me anything to eat, for his wife was sick. I went in, and saw that the old lady was suffering. I asked the man if he was not going to do something for her. He said she had not been sick long, but if she did not get better soon he would have to do something. I told him I had some medicine with me I thought would do some good., that it had been great benefit to me, and I knew it would do her no harm. The decision was that I should treat the case. I gave a dose and soon it vomited her severely. That was something I did not expect, and I began to wish that I had not stopped, for I thought maybe I had given a medicine that my patient had no business taking. The old gentleman saw that I was alarmed, but said I need not be for that was just what she needed. That gave me relief, and soon my patient was easy and slept well all night. Next morning she got up and got us a good breakfast, and said shat had not had any medicine to do her so much good for a long time. I had her to take another dose before breakfast. That paid for all night's lodging, and I was requested, if ever convenient, to stop with them again.
Another incident, but not so pleasant, came vividly to mind. That was then a sparsely settled country, and between Ninevah and Unionville there was a space where one traveled many miles without seeing a house. The time I made the trip to Unionville on horseback, on starting back to Macon I knew it would take till noon to reach the last house to pass before entering that uninhabited part, so I had decided to stop at that house, have my horse fed and get my dinner. A short turn in the road brought me within a few yards of the house, just when I heard a masculine voice, in a very angry tone cry, "You Sal." Just then a nice looking woman, with long, black, wavy hair came running out of the house, and a large, rough looking man after her. She got about half way across the yard when he caught her by the hair, jerked her down, and began to beat her. I thought, "I will not stand that." I reigned my horse in and was just in the act of dismounting, when, I suppose he discovered my presence. He straightened up and looked at me in a daring manner. Neither of us spoke but I sized him up. He was about twice my bulk. If I had been armed with David's sling and one of his pebbles I might have tried him a round. As it was, however, I thought, a boy has no business with you. I reigned my horse to the middle of the road, and without speaking rode on. I did without dinner. I was sorry for my horse, and I was sorry for that woman, and for that man. I thought, "Can it be that such have an offspring, or even will have? What good could be expected of the offspring of such! Is it not from such that the inmates for our country and state prison come?" I wished afterward that I had pleasantly spoken to them, got the man to feed my horse, and the woman to prepare me some dinner, and then paid each well for what they did, and tried, without any reference to their domestic troubles, to give then a lesson on the subject of human kindness, and the law of love.
While in Unionville I determined to abandon the idea of going to California, and determined to study medicine, with the idea of being an M. D. With that in view I gave all my spare moments to that study. I often sought solitude, and even before the beginning of my complete orphanage, I was wont to visit the closet our secret grove, and implore the divine protection and guidance. After a deliberate weighting of the matter I concluded that the position of a physician would not suit me.
Having now all my effects in Macon County, and being undecided, as to a calling for life, and not wishing to be idle I hired to work in the saddle and harness shop in Bloomington, Missouri. I had not, however, been there but a few weeks when I determined to go to Texas. Some of my connection were preparing to go there, and some of them that were in Texas were writing and urging me to come there. All was in readiness to start, when, in spite of my inclinations, the conclusion was reached that the change would not suit me. I then applied for a district school near College Mound, Macon County, MO. The school was given me without hesitation.
William Burris, a well-to-do farmer, lived near the school house, and being well prepared to pleasantly keep me, I engaged board there. Mrs. Burris was one of those nice pleasant, motherly women, such as it is pleasant to be with. My mother's brother Captain Adam Vickery of Tennessee, married her mother's sister so we felt somewhat akin, and my home there was very pleasant. Near the close of our term of school Mr. Burris proposed to put up a general furnish store, furnish me half the means at six per cent per annum, and board me gratis if I would superintend the business, and we would be equal partners, for the space of five years.
I was now settled, spring opened, a union Sunday-school was started at Antioch meeting house. I was appointed superintendent. I had been for some time a pretty close student of the Bible, and determined that, to the best of my ability, the teaching of one Book should be given that school. My faith had wavered as to the correctness of Baptist teaching, and soon I was ready to abandon that and take my stand in the pure teaching of Christ. There was a large congregation of disciples meeting at Antioch, but not keeping house strictly after he New Testament order. With these I had determined to take my stand. One Lord's day when Sunday school had closed, E. H. Lawson, who lived near there, was present with an appointment to preach at eleven o'clock. We spoke to him and made know our wish. After the close of his sermon I was received into the fellowship of that congregation.
I was near twenty years old [near June of 1859]. I felt that I was free, and to be forever free from all human eclecticisms. I wanted others to know what true soul-liberty was, to see the beauty and simplicity of God's arrangement in Christ. I wanted to tell people of Him who was the way, the truth, and the life. I made an appointment at Antioch, thinking that, as I was a mere boy, none would come to hear me but the young folks. When, however, the hour arrived the house was full. Old men and women and men came for miles to hear the boy's first effort.
I thought, maybe, by the time I had read a lesson and offered prayer my embarrassment would, to some extent, be gone. In this I was disappointed, for when I faced that audience and saw all eyes fixed upon me, with evident anxiety to hear what I had to say, I knew I was in the pulpit, and I knew the purpose for which I had entered it, but what I had prepared for that occasion was gone, I knew not where. I aimed to tell them that the 15th, 16th, and 17th verses of a certain chapter in Matthew would be my text, but told them that the 15th, 16th, and 17th chapters of Matthew was my text. I saw many of them smile, and supposed that they were laughing at my awkward appearance. I wished I had not made the appointment. I, however, talked about thirty minutes, asked the audience to bow with me in prayer and dismissed them with the conclusion that I had better wait awhile before making another appointment. It was not, however, very long till I felt it to be my duty to make another appointment. Some were making an effort to implant soul sleeping in the congregation there, and I have, from my first acquaintance with that doctrine, ever considered that it undermines the very fundamentals of Christianity. Our second appointment was made for the purpose of speaking against that doctrine. We now began to feel that, perhaps, we had begun in the work for which we were designed.
For some months we did no talking publicly except what we did in the prayer-meeting and Sunday school. I was not twenty years old. That fall we had the privilege of meeting with, and hearing A. Campbell preach. Mr. C. talked very flatteringly of us, and insisted on our taking a course at Bethany. This we promised, and determined to do. In this, however, we were disappointed; for we were unable to make the necessary arrangements. We then determined to settle for life.
Farming was by far our choice of a calling for life. As we expected to be a farmer we determined to select a truly domestic girl as a companion, one that would be a true help mate. I had been in Mr. Burris' family one year. His daughter, Mary, was one of my students during our term of school, during which we became intimate friends. As our acquaintance extended our affections grew, so on Lord's day evening, Nov 13, 1859, by A. Vickery, we were united in the holy bands of wedlock. If ever a boy felt the solemnity and importance of that change I did. When, a day or two before we started to our uncle's to engage his service for that occasion we wept and prayed till well on the road to his house. He met us at the yard gate and we went in the barn to put up our house, he told me that he knew my business. I asked him how he knew it? He said he could read it in my expression. After we were pronounced one, in secret, and on my knees I poured out my soul in pray to God. And if ever I prayed in earnest it was then.
Early the next spring, at my request, my sister [Annett Minerva] [Minerva Hancock was listed as a teacher, age 17, born in KY, in 1860, Chariton, Macon, MO in the J. M. Burris house and his wife Martha, age 22. He was age 26. Also listed in the house was Rebecca Baker, age 80, born in VA. This was Joseph Martin Burris and his wife Martha Ann Webster, Mary Minerva [Burris] Hancock's brother.] came from Kentucky to make my house her home. We remained in the store till the later part of that summer. Times were now becoming very close, and, as I viewed it, we were making very little money merchandising. I proposed to Mr. Burris [William Martin Burris married Martha Susan Summers and were Mary Minerva's parents.] that if he would sell me a small farm that he owned in that neighborhood, the goods and accounts, settle all business of the firm, pay me twelve dollars and a half per month for the time I had been in the store, and give me time to pay for the land I proposed to buy I would be a farmer. My proposition was accepted, and soon I was a granger.
Although I chilled for twelve months I cleared land and raised a good crop of tobacco, but an early frost ruined it. August 23 [Minerva Emmaline Hancock, was born August 23, 1860.] of that year our first baby was born. The next year the war began, and the tobacco crop was a failure. In 1862 time were very squally, and our crop was light. The people were now full of the war spirit, a spirit decidedly antagonistic to the spirit of Christianity. [Aug 16 1862 G. B. Hancock was called into duty for service in the Civil War and was relived of duty Nov 7 1862.] We canceled our trade with Mr. Burris [Mary's father was William Burris. Once in this writing G. B. referred to her as Molly.] for the land we bought and early in 1863 moved to Chariton Co., MO. [The children born between 1863 and 1869 were thus born in in Chariton Co., MO.] We now had two children, a girl and a boy, [William Calvin Hancock, born February 03, 1863] and we determined to own a home. We cultivated five acres of tobacco that year. When our neighbors learned that we were going to plant that amount they tried to dissuade us from it. Mrs. H. [Hancock] made a faithful hand, and we made a success.
Early that spring  the Antioch Church licensed us to do the work of an evangelist, and we did considerable preaching in the vicinity of home. We then bought forty acres tract of land in Macon Co., and the next two years we cultivated our five acres of tobacco, and during that time spread out somewhat as a preacher. We now determined to give our entire time to the work of an evangelist, and that we might be the better prepared, we determined to go to school. The Kirksville Normal had been established, and Professor Baldwin offered us inducements to move to that place. Our efforts to carry out our purpose were all thwarted, for the Lord had a schooling in reservation for us that we knew not of.
I had often expressed the wish that I could be situated so that I could support myself, and preach in destitute parts, for in boyhood I abhorred a hireling clergy, wanted to be a missionary, and had, I suppose, a feeling akin to that of Paul, when he spoke of building on another's foundation. I continually, and earnestly, took all things to the Lord in prayer. My prayers, however, up to that time seemed to be answered by adversity.
The spring of 1869 was now opening. [This means the first four children were born in MO.] I was seated one night to look over my mail, and, as was usually the case, the A. C. Review was the first to examine. Under the head of "Correspondence" was a letter from the southwest, giving an account of the destitution there, spiritually, and praying that some one might come there and break to the perishing ones the bread of life. I said, "Mollie, here is a call for us. If we can sell our land here we can get us a good stock ranch there, and I can superintend it and preach to the benighted. We are needed there, here we are not needed."
After due consultation we decided to make the change. Providence need to favor the change, for in a few days all was in readiness to start. My sister [Annett Minerva Hancock had married August 15, 1861 to James Madison Powell] had married and settled in that neighborhood, and was very much grieved over the idea of our being again separated. I told her that it was from a religious sense of duty that I purposed making the change. And while the change would be for the up building of the cause of Christ it made evidently be beneficial to my wife, for, as she knew, my wife had overworked herself, her health had become poor, and a change would be beneficial. She had not only made a good hand in the tobacco crop, but also made the cloth for our winter ware. We now had four children - three girls and one boy.
Our trip to the southwest was without let or hindrance. Soon we were settled on the head waters of Yokum Creek, Carroll Co., Arkansas, and as nicely situated for raising cattle and hogs as heart could wish. Having settled the next thing was to look after the prospects for a church home. We learned that there were three or four families a few miles north and east of where we settled that were meeting the first day of the week to worship. We took a day to visit them. Learning that a Brother Thompson was their speaker we went first to his home, but as he was busy in his young crop we did not tarry long, but having learned that Brother John Parker was their recognized bishop we got directions to his house and reached there near noon. We asked if we could get out horse fed and get dinner. We were answered in the affirmative. Our horse being cared for we were soon seated in the house. We had talked freely of things in general, but saw that the old brother eyed us all the while with suspicion. Just before dinner was announced we told him who we were. He said that he suspect something of that kind from first sight of us. He then called for the old sister, and as she entered the room he said, "Wife, the Lord has answered our prayers, this is Brother Hancock, a preacher from Missouri, that has come to live among us.
The country had not recovered from the devastation wrought by the war. All were poor. Religiously the country was benighted, the preachers, as a rule, were the more ignorant class. In a few days business called us to the town of Berryville, and as I wanted to get my horse shod I rode to a blacksmith shop. I concluded that while waiting for my work I would see if I could find any disciples of Christ there.
I asked the smith, who was an elderly man, if there were any members of the Church of Christ in Berryville? He gave no answer, only a sarcastic smile. I repeated my question. He replied, "I claim to be a member of that church, but I am a Baptist." I replied, "I don't read anything about that kind of a church in the New Testament. I want to find members of the church I read about in that book. People that claim to be Christians, without any handle to their name." He said, "I suppose there are two in this town that are the kind you are enquiring for, one old man, and one old woman." He then went to the door of his shop and showed me me where they lived.
I went to the old man's residence, but he was not at home. I then went to where the old lady lived. She was sitting on the porch fronting the street, and as I walked along the yard fence to the gate I thought she looked at me rather earnestly, and with marked surprise, and when I halted at the yard gate she said, "Come in." As I stepped on the porch I said, "You know nothing about me, but I hope I do about you." She said, "Yes, I do, Bettie Hancock was your mother. [His mother was Elizabeth (Vickery) Hancock] She and I were raised together and your father held me in his lap many times when I was a little girl, for your father was getting up in years when he married. I recognized your mother's features as soon as I got my eyes on you as you approached the gate." I then told her of the conversation with the blacksmith, and that I had come to that country to teach the people the way of salvation. On receiving this information she fairly shouted, and when her excitement had subsided she told me of the destitute and benighted condition of that country and asked me to set a time when I could preach in Berryville.
Our presence in that country had now created some excitement in religious circles. The two by four lights were bestirring themselves to corral their flocks and guard them against the wolf. Isaac Standlee lived in the northern part of Carroll County and was justly considered the big preacher of that country. He began to conclude that it behooved him to look after his laurels. He began to challenge for debate, and the smaller lights in the Baptist ranks ... threaten us with "Uncle Ike".
Oat harvest being on hand we went to Brother Parker's on Monday to assist him in his oat harvest. At noon Sister Parker told me of an elderly woman in that neighborhood that had been a mourner for several years, but had failed to get religion, and said she was at the mourner's bench the day before, that her people were all Baptists and that she was so prejudiced she would not listened to any of the disciples talk. I remarked, "I sympathize with such, and I will go there this evening and spend the night, if they will let me."
When I reached the house the woman kindly invited me in, informing me that the man of the house had gone on errand but would return soon. I told her that I was tired and warm, so would take a chair and sit in the yard till her man returned. As soon as I was seated she brought a chair for herself and said, "I understand that you folks deny a change of heart. There is something strange in this to me, for I see so many get religion without much trouble, but I have been trying for several years to get it and have failed." I said, "You have been imposed upon, madam, and I sympathize with you, but get your work done and I will talk a while upon these matters." All being in readiness to listen I read the New Testament, and talked of the obedience of faith for abut three hours. When I close the old lady said, "I did not know that such was in the Bible." she left the room with more amazement than delight. When I went to leave the next morning I told them that I would preach the next Lord's day a week at Brother Parkers, and had them promise to hear me.
The next Lord's day I went to Berryville to fill my first appointment there. As Sister Owens, my mother's associate, had predicted, everybody was on hand, with anxiety, to hear the new preacher and strange doctrine. Saturday night I took for my subject "The Kingdom of Christ." The effort was a failure, but fortunately, or rather, perhaps, unfortunately, the people did not know about the Bible to detect it. Lord's day at eleven o'clock the whole country gathered to hear me. I took as a foundation the question, "What is man"" The attention was profound. My talk was not of an exiting nature, but I was at myself and deeply in earnest. When I close and a song was commenced an elderly woman began to shout, and I concluded that she could equal one at that business I ever hard. I went to Sister Owens' for dinner and that woman was there. Sister Owens introduced us and said, "Sister Wood lives in the country. She heard the gospel all her life, but has lived here ten years without the privilege of hearing a sermon, and when she heard the old time gospel again she shouted because she could not help it."
The next Lord's day we filled our appointment at Brother Parker's. Our Baptist mourner and her husband were there, and listened with marked attention to what we had to say. By their request we spent that night with them, and gave them a lengthy talk in the elementary principles of Christianity. When we closed our talk the old woman was too much overcome to speak, and left the room, evidently, to weep in solitude. We, of course could not tell where her tear were tears of joy; or otherwise. We saw her no more till called to breakfast next morning.
She was as pleasant and cheerful appearing as I ever saw any woman. While we were eating a neighbor called. The old man invited him to eat, remarking that they had some nice new honey. The woman said, very pleasantly, "I told the old man that after having such a good sermon as we had last night the preacher must have some nice honey for breakfast." Our next appointment in that vicinity was two weeks off, and we promised that wife and I would get their house Saturday evening before. The Baptist became alarmed and sent for "Uncle Ike." He came and labored very hard to make her believe that she had religion, and was prepared to join the Baptist Church. They were, however, too late, for she had obtained too much light. At our next appointment she obeyed the gospel. This so stirred the Baptists that a challenge was submitted for debate. The challenge was accepted, but the debate was slow in maturing, for they evidently aimed to run a bluff. Additions to the one Body were now constant, and the war began in earnest. People talked religion everywhere, and many, wherever we went, expressed themselves delighted with the simplicity of the gospel of Christ.
Our second appointment had been filled at Berryville, and four or five discourses were delivered. It was now evident that Berryville was destined to become the seat of war. The place was noted for its educational enterprise. Clarke's Academy was located there and was well patronized. When we preached there, hence, we had the privilege of preaching to the young form many parts. The sects concluded to mass their forces there in a big union meeting. They had eight preachers engaged, Uncle Ike among the number. The meeting had been in progress a few days and we concluded to go and see how they were getting along. We reached town late and none of the preachers learned that we were in town. Just as they were ready to commence services we went to and busily engaged with Bible, turning down its leaves in various places, evidently arranging his discourse for that occasion. As soon as I was seated I saw a general whispering commence among the preachers, and soon one of them stepped to the old brother that was in the pulpit and whispered something. Immediately the old brother closed the Bible, laid it on the stand, left the pulpit and took a lower seat. There was a general whispering among them for some minutes, then Uncle Ike went into the pulpit, but his effort was a failure. Uncle Ike told Mr. Owen that when the preachers learned I was present they all backed out and he had to preach or there would have been no preaching that night.
Our field of labor was continually widening. We were in a missionary field indeed, the war was an incessant one, lies flew like rockets in the sky. I could, I now thought, understand the providential interference with my plans in the past. I look back over that period, I see a mere boy canopied with the amour of heaven, standing against the Midianites and the Philistian hosts combined, and with the sword of the Spirit putting theses allied powers to flight. I asked no quarters, I gave none.
By the close of 1870 we had traveled over Carroll and Boone Counties. A little congregation had been planted in Berryville. The sects had united their efforts to prevent this. Dr. Ellis, dear man, had proposed that he could stop it, that if they would furnish him two or three men that would stand by him he would put a stop to my work there. When, however, it came to the test they concluded that the reckoning before the civil courts might be more than they cared about having on hand. So, you see, the civil law kept me from bearing in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus, and perhaps from being numbered with the martyrs of Jesus. I kept near the Savior, and his guardian care was with me. [My young brother, be true to God's eternal truth, and he will never leave you nor forsake you. It has been my rule, from the first to the present, never to enter the pulpit without, before doing so, seeking some secret spot, and there pour out my soul in earnest prayer to God. I have never, as I have seen some do, on entering the pulpit, bowed in silent prayer. Such always seemed to me too much like the ancient custom of praying at the corners of the streets, to be seen of men. I never offer a secret prayer in a public place, nor a public prayer in a secret place.] Dr. Ellis was born of Methodist parents, christened in his infancy and had been educated for the ministry.
Up to that time we had, as memory now serves us, received by way of remuneration, one side of bacon, two bushels of wheat, one pig, one colony of bees, and one dollar in money. I could give no though to dealing in stock, the work demanded of us called for all our thought. It did no take a prophet to see the inevitable. Mrs. H. [Hancock] and I consulted carefully, and talked of the propriety of moving to more favored regions. That, however, under existing circumstances, would seem like beating a cowardly retreat, to our sin in doing so would be more heinous than that of Jonah. Wife told me to get her an outfit for making cloth and she would furnish wearing apparel for the family, and we could raise some grain and hogs and we could live as those among whom we lived. We wrote a letter to the A. C. Review, and gave the condition of affairs in that country. Some wrote to us and sent words of condolence, expressions of sympathy, and told us how thankful they were that the good work was going on; but not one, so far as we ever learned, were thankful for the opportunity of having fellowship in a apostolic mission. Brother J. W. McGarvey did send us the Apostolic Times, which was then being edited by himself, Lard, Hopson, and Graham, gratuitous for one year.
The sects at Berryville, having failed to check our work there on the Dr. Ellis plan, held a counsel of war. The decision was to get Uncle Ike to deal with a death blow to heresy there. It was announced that Isaac Standlee would expose Campbellism [I think that Campbellites were in those days members of the Church of Christ.] in the town of Berryville upon a certain fifth Lord's day. We had appointment in a different part for that day, but we decided to hear Uncle Ike. We entered the hall just as the speaker was ready to commence. Preachers and people were present, and evidently ready to rejoice over the demolishing that we were to get. We got a seat in front of the pulpit, and there was a fluttering in the camp when our presence was discovered. The old veteran's face showed the disappointment and embarrassment he felt. A few minutes' meditation seemed to bring relief. He started off calmly, but soon warmed up and turned his batteries upon the pedos [I am not sure what this word is supposed to be.] and gave them as severe a castigation as we ever heard. They were now in a similar condition to the hosts of Midian when Gideon made his attack. This, however, did not excuse him with us. I told him, soon as he dismissed, that I had been informed of the purpose of his appointment for that occasion, that I did not propose to defend Cambellism, but knew enough of these matters to know that the pure and unadulterated gospel of Christ was nicknamed Campbellism in order to poison the minds of the people. and I was ready to defend that gospel under any and all circumstances. He seemed a little disappointed in that the whipping he gave the pedos did not excuse him with us.
We were now preaching in Carrolton once a month. A few disciples lived in that vicinity, but none lived in town. Captain Tenison, a brother to preacher Tenison, of Missouri, lived in town, and kindly requested us to make his house our home. The Methodist had threatened to import a man that could show up our teaching. On Lord's day we were waiting for time to go to church, being governed by Mr. Tenison's clock, as to time. It was, however, a little slow. An old brother came after us, and said, "The people are waiting for you at the church. There is a stranger there, a fine looking man that appears anxious to have something to say, for he is sitting on his seat and talking to the people." I said to Mr. Tenison, "They have brought their man, I guess we'll have a lively time."
When we entered the house our stranger was selecting a song, still talking as he did so, and had not noticed our presence. I took him for a preacher, but his hymn book gave him away, it was a Christian hymn book. I thought, "That won't do for a Methodist." Reaching his seat I halted, he arose, we shook hands, and he said, "You are the preacher, it is time you were a t work. My name is Burns." I thought, "A. Burns, what are you doing here? I can preach before you." I said "You are a preacher?" He said, "No, I won't. I will introduce, but you will do the preaching." I thought, "Well, if you are as intelligent as I have understood you can hear with a boy, and if you not principle enough to do so I don't care much for you." I entered the pulpit very much embarrassed. In compliance with a request previously handed in we discoursed from Roman 6:1-6. After dismissal our stranger and I walked out together. I said, "I want to know who you are and where your are from, and I will quiz you till I find out." He said, "I would not think much of you if you did not". He then handed me a letter. I was with John Burns, of St. Louis. I said, "Well, I guess you don't often get to hear such sermons in St. Louis as you have heard today." He replied "No, I must say I do not. That clear, logical exposition of that subject is worth more, in my estimation, that all the learned exegesis and criticism that I ever listened to."
It was now evident that there would be no debating to do in those parts. The preachers were, as a rule, an ignorant class, and moral cowards. They cold superintend a mourners' bench exercise, but were profoundly ignorant of God's plan of justification. We kept a challenge before them proposing to meet any man that they would put forth, and if nothing more, affirm the proposition, "The mourner's bench system is idolatrous." They renounced such a proposition sacrilegious, yet they could not fine a man possessed of courage enough to negative that proposition.
There was no church house in Berryville. The public school had been given into the hands of Professor Clark, principal of the academy, and the public school building appropriated to church purposes, to be free to all. One Lord's day was vacant when we commenced there and we had held that day. The conclusion was that they could take that day, and so deprive us of any place to preach in town. When we went to our appointment, which was always for Saturday night, Lord's day and night, we found an elderly man there with an appointment for each hour that we had been occupying. We succeeded in compromising with him in an agreement to divide the time. At our next appointment we found another man there with there appointments covering our time. He was more stubborn than the first, but we succeeded in compromising with him as with the first. That was a disappointment to those who had engineered the matter, and they concluded that they would, at our next appointment, have matters more to their notion.
At our next appointment it was between sunset and dark when we reached town. The brethren were watching for us, and five or six of them met us in the street and asked us what we would do, for, said they, "There are three Presbyterian preachers here in a protracted meeting, and have had meeting several night." I replied, "I will preach here tonight and tomorrow." They said, "You cannot for they will not allow that." I said, "Go to meeting and I will manage the preaching part." When I got to the meeting house two elderly men were in the pulpit, and the audience was singing. I walked direct into the pulpit and sat down between the preachers. I had never seen either of the preachers, but, of course, they knew who I was, and their looks were as though they thought that Satan had again presented himself among the Sons of God.
When the song closed I told the preachers who I was, that I had been preaching there for some time, and that was my regular time; that I was glad to be with them, and I thought we could get along in a brotherly manner - that I had not come there to interfere with their meeting, but to meet my own appointment, and beyond that I would have no farther claims. I proposed to divide the time that night and next day at eleven and I would leave town. To my proposition they objected and made excuses, but I would not listen to excuses. I told them that I thought it would look fearful bad for us, as preachers, to show that we did not have the spirit of Christianity enough to preach together the two hours with you?" "Yes," I said, "I promised that and will make my promise good." "With that understanding," said he, "We will divide the two appointments with you. I will preach tonight and you can follow me, and you can preach in the morning and we will follow you." He preached from John 7:17, but showed profound ignorance as to the subject matter contained in that language. I followed with a short discourse upon the leading thought in the fore part of that language. He then announced that I preach next morning at 10 O'clock. The hour was set without consulting me, so I did not get there till half past ten. The preachers were very impatient and told me that the time had passed. I called for a song, and when the introductory service were concluded it was 11 O'clock. The disciples felt good over our success in managing the arrangements.
Old Father Walker, one of the two disciples to who we were referred at the time of our first visit to Berryville, was an Israelite in whom there was no guile. He was full when we entered into our discourse. He was eighty-four years old, and just waiting for his summons to go to the other shore. We had the two old preachers to sit in the pulpit. I took as a subject, "What must I do to be saved?" I preached one hour, and, I suppose, as earnestly as I ever did. I made my talk chiefly to those preachers, and showed the erroneous of the anxious seat system. I concluded with an invitation and had four candidates for baptism, prominent citizens. When the success was seen, Father Walker could hold in no longer. He began shouting, two old sisters joined in with their hallelujahs. We sat down and let them shout as long as they wanted to, then took the confession of the candidates, and announced baptism at four O'clock. It was then too late for them to preach. There were more like it if someone had carried out Dr. Ellis' purpose.
The oldest of the preachers announced that they would preach at two o'clock. He made a tremendous effort to get up an excitement, but they were, evidently, nearer a religious chill, all were cool. The song having closed, and nobody moved, he said he wanted to go to heaven to give him their hand while another song was being sung. It was nearing the time for the baptizing. I walked out, and as I did so I passed tow of the candidates, and said to them, "It is time we were going to the water." It was but a short distance where my clothes were. I got them and started for the water, and by that time the people had all left the meeting house for the place of baptizing. The preachers left for other parts, without any arrangement for their appointment at night.
Dr. Ellis had changed his tactics. He concluded that he could get a preacher to meet us in debate, that could literally annihilate us. He failed, however, to find any one that would undertake such a job. Failing to find a preacher that would undertake to meet us, the Doctor concluded he was, with a little preparation, sufficient for such an undertaking. He concluded, however, that he was not as well posted as he ought to be with what we taught in order to make the necessary preparation. He wanted some of my books to read but was too stubborn to ask for them. I called at his office one day, and having spoken to him he looked at me in a very impudent manner and said, "I dare you to convert me to such a gospel as you preach." I replied, "I will do so Sir." He said, "Do so, Sir, and you will have my assistance here, for you preach the simplest gospel I ever heard of." I said, "I will convert you before I am done with you, but I cannot do you much good till you read and inform yourself." He said, "I am not afraid, Sir, to read anything you will furnish me." I took him Brother Franklin's Sermons. He went to work in earnest to gather the points and arrange his scripture to refute them. As he told a friend, however, the Bible all turned against him. This so disappointed him that he concluded to be an infidel. He was not, however, the kind of material out of which infidels are made. He then concluded that Universalism would be a good substitute for the ninth article of their Discipline - if not so wholesome, it would be very full of comfort. He soon concluded, however, that he could not be a genuine Universalistic, but that the best thing would be to obey the gospel and live a Christian. This he did, and so made his word to me good, for we had his assistance, and he worked in earnest.
When the conclusion was that all things were favorable for a protracted effort in Berryville, we secured the services of Jesse Alderson of Barry Co., MO, to do the preaching. The meeting lasted four weeks, and there we forty additions. The brethren of the entire country cooperated in the meeting, and Brother Alderson received, by way of remuneration, $40.00, and a suit of clothes. The people of those parts thought that was wonderful, and many said, a man that will accept that much money for holding one meeting was preaching for the money. The old man that came into the church during the protracted meeting wanted to get a big name, and concluded that he could do so without its costing him much. He had several nice porkers, and had six nice one butchered and sent them to Brother Alderson's family. After his liberality had been well nosed abroad, he went among the brethren privately, told them what the hogs were worth, and he thought the brethren ought to pay him for the hogs. No one, however, felt under obligation to do so, as he had not consulted any of them before making the donation. His religion did not last very long.
We received for our second year's labor about twenty dollars, for the third about thirty dollars. During the third year we preached some in the regions known as Hale Barrens. There was a congregation of Baptists there. Some of them became dissatisfied, some became alarmed. They sent for Uncle Ike, and notified him that he had to meet us there and refute what we taught or they would leave the Baptist Church.
A Brother Hanby lived there who manage the matter on our part, and arrangements were made for a debate. The founding of the church, and the design of baptism were the points for discussion. W. B. Flippin of Yellville, Arkansas was our moderator, and really constituted the board. He had been judge of the court, and a member of the legislature, and, consequently, was familiar with parliamentary usage. I met Brother F [lippin] at a point twenty-five miles east of where I lived and we reached our house the day before the debate began. I noticed Brother F [lippin] had his large saddle-bags filled to their utmost capacity. Soon as we were seated in our house he began to show us different authors on the points to be investigated. I said, Brother Flippin, I have my matter arranged, and I prefer relying upon my own resources." I then showed him what I had prepared. He said, "Your arrangement will do."
When we met at the place of debate remarks were made about the contrast between the disputants. I was thirty-one years old, and Elder Standlee had been preaching thirty-one years. Several Baptist preachers were present, evidently expecting their recognized champion to have an easy time. They, however, soon became restless, and about the middle of our second speech in the afternoon they became panic stricken and stampeded. The moderators had us to stop speaking till those preachers could get away and quietude could be restored. When we delivered our first speech in the afternoon of the second day, on the time of the beginning, and had shown that the more intelligent part of Baptist preachers had taught as we did, instead of replying to our speech, Elder Standlee arose and said that he believe himself that we were right on the point. Brother Flippin the arose and announced the debated closed, and proposed that song be sung, and that we all shake hands during the song. That was done and we all parted, feeling as pleasantly as if we had been in a protracted meeting.
It was now October, and we had been there three and a half years. Although wife had made the principal part of our wearing apparel we were some behind. We had preached considerable at a school house in what was known as the Flat Woods of Boone County. A few brethren lived there, and a man that they were willing to exchange wanted our farm. His was not so good, but he offered us difference enough to pay what we owed and make us easy. We traded, and were soon a citizen of Boone County. We were now between twenty-five and thirty miles from Berryville.
The winter was a disagreeable one, and not having an overcoat to wear we did not visit Berryville that winter. The sects concluded that we had abandoned the place, and they could, hence again build up their interest there. They united their forces, built a parsonage, and located the presiding elder of the M.D. Church South, in Berryville. He boasted that he was going to drive the heinous heresy out of Berryville. The brethren wrote to us. We wrote them to have it well circulated that we would preach in Berryville the fifth Lord's day in March, and would preach on the identity of the the Church of Christ. We set the time we did with the hope that the elder would be at home. So he was, but could not be induced to hear our effort. The circuit rider that was with him heard the effort. He spoke up a time or two and contradicted, but was loser by so doing. He announced that he would preach on the same subject the next "Sabbath," and requested our prescience. We agreed to be there, with the understanding that we were to reply to what he said. He and the elder put in the week preparing his discourse. When we me he spoke tow and one half hours, evidently thinking to weary the people so that they would not be prepared to hear out reply. We occupied one hour and a quarter in replying to what he said. When we closed he seemed to realize that, in the estimation of the people, he was badly the loser. He rather sneeringly remarked, "I don't think it is necessary to try to reply to what you have just heard, for I don't see how I could take hold of such a speech." A number of sisters immediately replied, "I guess not, I don't suppose you do." He was disappointed by this unexpected reply, and sat down. I announced preaching for that night, and then dismissed the audience.
We visited Berryville once a month that year, and while we remained in that country; though much of the time we had to walk. While we lived in Boone we preached in that, Newton, Carroll, and Madison Counties. There was in the eastern part of Boone County a congregation of some strength, the leading members of which had moved from Springfield, MO. Col. Fulbright of Double Springs was one of the leading members. I guess the Colonel never forgot our first acquaintance. Brother Dan as he was familiarly called, had been a student at Bethany, VA, and had been a Colonel in the army, and was, hence, looked upon as a leading citizen. He was kind and very companionable, and somewhat inclined to display quite an amount of etiquette. We had heard of him from the time we began laboring in Arkansas. Business having called us to that part soon after locating in Carroll, we concluded to form his acquaintance. On our way to his place we fell in company with a lawyer who lived near Fulbright. We told the lawyer our name, but nothing of our business. When we got to Fulbright's store, the lawyer introduced us using the plain Mr.
It was now time for us to know where we were to stop for the night, the company had all left, Brother Fulbright was at his desk. I step to the counter near him, and said, "Being in this part, and wanting to form your acquaintance, I thought I would spend the night with you if agreeable." He replied, "We are not prepared to keep travelers at our house, there is a hotel here I can recommend." I said, "That is all right, but I had a desire to spend the time with you while in this part." He said, "We have some company and cannot keep you." I replied, "That is all right, but I want to see you in the morning." I then handed him the letter of recommendation that I brought from north Missouri. He blushed, but said, "You can brake the last biscuit we have." I said, "That is not what I want. I will stay at the hotel over night and see you in the morning." He said, "You will not go to the hotel, but will stay with me."
We lived in Boone County three years, at the expiration of which time a change was necessary. We move to Washburn, MO. [Washburn is in Barry County] There was a little band of brethren there, but not in working order. Our labors there were blessed. We had, however, only moved from one destitute field into another. Our appearance, of course, was that of an Arkansawyer. Soon after we moved we learned that a protracted meeting was to commence at a certain time at Rocky Comfort, MO, a little town sixteen miles from where we lived.
I concluded to go to that meeting, and get acquainted with the brethren. I started at noon Saturday and walked to Rocky Comfort just in time for four O'clock preaching. Brother Livy Hatchet was reading his introductory lesson when I got to the school house. I took the first vacant seat I came to. Brother Hatchet was a fine speaker, a fine appearing man, and dressed as fine as broadcloth would cress him. My garb was such as wife had made. She woven the cloth and made my suit. I had on a pair of brogan shoes and a common domestic shirt. As there was such a contrast in our appearance I did not know where Brother Hatchet would care to associate with me. Soon, however, as the audience was dismissed I went to the pulpit and made myself known. He said, "I have heard of you. Why did you not come forward and let yourself be known before services?" I said "You were introducing when I got here, and I was a little tired, so I took the first vacant seat I came to." Said he, "That was not right, you should have come to the pulpit and told us who you were." Next day I could see that there was some uneasiness among the brethren. Finally one of the elders came to me and said, "We would love to hear you preach, but the people will expect to hear Brother Hatchet today." I said, "Of course they will. I did not come here to preach, but to get acquainted." Presently Brother Hatchet came to me and said, "I wanted to hear you preach today, but the brethren think it best for me to preach this morning." I replied, "Certainly, you will preach. I did not come here to preach, but to hear you, and get acquainted." Brother Hatchet made a short discourse, and when ready to dismiss the audience, without consulting any one, said, "Brother Hancock, a preacher from Washburn, MO is present and will preach here at three O'clock this evening."
A large crowd gathered to hear the stranger. When I stood up to read I could see that some of them were inclined to hang their heads, and look at me through their eyebrows, for they were somewhat inclined to put on style. By the time, however, that I was half way into my discourse, they were leaning forward, as though fearful they might miss a word. Presently we notice and M. D., who was about the third tier of seats in front of the pulpit, begin to leave his seat, and presently he was standing perfectly unconscious that he had left his seat, and he was standing perfectly erect, looking at us with all the earnestness he could summon. When I closed he looked at those near him, smiled, and sat down. An old brother asked him why he left his seat and looked so earnestly at that preacher. He said, "I wanted to see as well as hear, for it seemed to me that he had some kind of a picture that I want to look at." I had to return home that evening. The elders, however, would not agree for me to leave without giving them an appointment for future time.
About the time we moved to Washburn, J. B. Fly, of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church located there; and, evidently, concluded that he could overthrow everything else, and establish C. P. ism on the ruins. His first announcement was to deliver nine lectures on church identity. We listened to his first effort. His foundation was: "He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second." His sole effort was to do away with immersion, and establish infant church membership. He showed profound ignorance of the things of which he tried to talk. Yet, it could be seen that, in his own estimation, he was a great theologian. He said that the first covenant of which Paul spoke was established at Sinai, but the second was established 430 years before that in the family of Abraham. After dismissal I went to the pulpit and said to him: I see the design of your proposed lectures, however, have you present when I review what you say. I propose, therefore that we discuss these matters, either in a debate, or that we preach discourse about till the points are investigated." He replied, "I do not propose to be interrupted, Sir, while delivering my course of lectures." I said, "You will need to be, for you are the worst befuddled man that I ever heard try to talk on these matters. You do not seem to have a single clear idea of the covenant as treated by Paul. Can you tell me about the second man, that was created before the first man? You talk about the second covenant that was established before the first one!"
It was evident that he was not going to meet us in the discussion of the points upon ... months his preaching was mostly an effort to overthrow what we had been teaching; so for that space of time there was a pulpit fight. As we were determined that all should see the extent of his cowardice, we renewed our challenge on every suitable occasion. Upon one occasion when he had an appointment for a week-day night, the Masons and Odd Fellows had an appointment of a business meeting. The leading citizens of Cassville, and of all the adjoining country were present. All concluded to hear Mr. Fly. His effort, as usual, was one to establish the claims of his little system. And he seemed confident that he and done his work well before that large audience. As he started to dismiss the audience I arose and said, "Brother Fly, your present effort will be reviewed, and as I want your presence when I do so, I again challenge you to meet us in the discussion of these matters, either arrange proposition and debate them, or preach night about till the points of difference are investigated." This was unexpected, and was not received very pleasantly, trifled with Sir?" I replied, "I was not thinking much about that. But there is something I do think of just now. John says, "He that fears is not made perfect in love, for perfect love casts out fear.' I want you to know and I want this people to know, that I have too much love for the Word of God to fear investigation."
Some time after this I was passing the Mooney Hotel. [My Note: Timothy Patrick Mooney owned the hotel in O'Day or Washburn. T. P. was an Irishman from Dublin, Ireland, and later was the acting father of James Harvey Mooney or Jamie as he was sometimes called. At the time of the Hancock writing, Jamie may not have been born yet. It's important to understand this link since Jamie's son later on married a granddaughter of G. B. Hancock's. (After G. B. died and several years later Loyd Patrick Mooney married Ruth Berryhill.) Jamie was a woods colt and a son of America Simpson. She took him to the Mooney house at age 3 and left him there for the Mooney family to raise. She never returned. She later married John Wilkerson and Elijah Bailey. It may be that Jamie was a son of one of America's step brothers and of the Reed family. It is also possible that he was really a son of T. P. Mooney's.] Mr. Mooney was a member of the C. P. [Cumberland Presbyterian] Church. Just before I reached the yard gate I heard enough to know that they were talking about what I preached. I stopped, and asked, "Don't you want my help in that?" Mr. Mooney said, "Yes, come in." Being seated I said, "Brother Fly, I heard enough of your conversation to know what you were talking about. This matter has gone far enough. You must do one of two things, either meet me in debate, or cease your attacks upon us in the pulpit." He said, "I don't believe in agitation." I said, "I do. It is the agitation of the waters that keep them pure. We must either have agitation or stagnation. If it had not been for religious agitation you never would have been privileged to read the Bible." He said "What!" I said "Do you know that if Luther and others had not agitated the claims of Rome the Bible would have been kept form us? So far as you, or any other one can see, if it had been for agitation we would never have had redemption? For had there been none to agitate the claims of Christ there would have been none to crucify him, and without this crucifixion we would have been without redemption." He said, "I will not take any affirmation proposition, but will deny that the church of which you are a member is the Church of Christ." I said, "We will debate that one proposition in order to end this matter. I do not, however, believe that you will even debate that. I conclude that you would about as soon lose your right arm in open debate before this people. I believe you will back out."
The proposition was written, and I gave it to A. J. Johnson, one of the elders of the congregation there. He got the other elders to go with him, and they called on Mr. Fly. Brother Johnson said, "We have endorsed Brother Hancock as the man to defend this proposition, and when you produce a similar endorsement we are ready for the debate." Mr. Fly said, "I will not debate that proposition unless he will make one addition to it." "What is that?" asked Brother Johnson. Fly said, "He must add to that, that Brother Johnson replied, "He does not propose to judge the world, but to debate the proposition agreed upon, If you back out, of course, the matter is at an end." Mr. Fly said, "I will not," and left them. Early Lord's day morning I went to Brother Johnson's to learn the result.
Brother Johnson said, "Fly backed out." I said, "I knew he would do that, but he cannot rest at that. I will go now to see him and remind him of what I told him." Brother Johnson went with me. We met Fly and his daughter starting to an appointment in the country. After the usual compliments I said, "What did I tell you, Brother Fly? Did I not tell you that you would back out?" He said, "Oh, yes, you people are always ready to get up propositions for debated, band then boast about backing somebody out. " I said, "Yes, and you know that we can do it. It is written that one should chase a thousand. I can take the Bible and chase one thousand such as you are. Bring one thousand of your equals here, and I will take the Bible and chase you every one away from Washburn." He left Washburn that week and never retuned while I stayed there.
The brethren of Boliver, MO, and vicinity wrote for us to visit that part. They did this with the idea that they would get us to move to Polk County. We went and spent one week, but it did not suit us to move to that part. With the exception of that trip our labors were confined to the first year and half, to Barry, McDonald and Newton Counties. For that time we received, y by way of remuneration, about forty dollars. Through Brother Murry, of Columbus, Kansas, we were requested to visit southeastern Kansas and spend some time. On Saturday before the first Lord's day in October, I think it was, we started for Columbus, Kansas. Saturday night we stayed with an old brother by the name of Cole, near Pierce City, MO. We worshiped with the brethren there Lord's day and Monday evening we stopped at a farm house on Jenkins Creek, Jasper Co., MO. There was a congregation of disciples there, and the man we stopped with was one of the deacons. His name was Kinny. He had gone to Carthage that morning, and when he returned, some time after we stopped, a Brother Smith, the other deacon of the congregation was with him. The forepart of the night was spent pleasant conversation. In compliance with their earnest request we agreed to preach at their school house the next night/ The appointment was well circulated that day, and we had a good audience to talk to that night. It was Lord's day evening, however, before they would agree for us to close and pursue our journey.
Soon as we had dismissed the audience Lord's day evening, a sister came to the pulpit, and having introduced herself, said, "I live at a little place called Fidelity. It is on the road, from what I learned, that you will travel. We need preaching very bad. Just give me the privilege of circulating an appointment for you tomorrow night. One discourse will do good." We called the attention of the audience and announced that we would preach at Fidelity the next night. That night two came forward, which called for baptizing the next day. We found no stopping place till Lord's day night, and that night there was one confession, a somewhat noted infidel, but we attended the baptizing next morning, and started for Columbus. While at Fidelity we had no preaching though the day. A Brother Reed that was stopping there had occasion to drive to Joplin, and asked us to go with him. We had to go through the little town of Scotland. Brother Allen Scott lived there. While at Jenkins and Fidelity we had heard him spoken of as a good preacher, and a noble brother.
I told Brother Reed that I wanted him to halt in Scotland long enough for me to see Brother Scott. I found him very busy, superintending some butchering. I introduced myself. He eyed me from head to foot, turned, and went about his business. I went back to the buggy. Brother Reed said, "You did not stay long." I said, "No. He would not even pass the compliments for the day with me. I guess he judged me by my home spun garb, and think that thy have no sued for an Arkansawayer." Brother reed Said, "There is something wrong. I cannot think that is the sprit of Brother Scott. He is an old-fashioned Tennessean, not inclined to be stylish, but very open hearted. "When we got to Scotland on our return that evening, I said "Brother Reed I am going to see Brother Scott again. It may be that he was somewhat out of humor this morning." I again went to where he was, but he was so distant I did not tarry. I said, "Brother Reed, that old man has about enough religion to make a regular old fashioned forty gallon Baptist." Brother Reed said, "I can not think that to be Brother Scott's disposition. There is something out of joint."
After attending to the baptizing on Monday morning, as suggested, we started on our road to Columbus. We had however, to pass through Scotland. We determined to stop and stay long enough to find out what kind of man Brother Scott was. They had a small congregation there, and as we had spent so much time on the way we concluded that we would go no father, provided we could get to preach a week in Scotland. When I reached Scotland, I found Brother Scott very busily engaged in preparing a discourse, to be delivered in a school-house, tow miles from there, to be delivered that evening, in reply to a sermon preached by a Materialist. Being seated I said "Brother Scott, I had started to Columbus, Kansas, but on my way there I have spent so much time that I concluded, if it was desired, to stop here and preach a few sermons, and postpone my trip to Kansas." He stopped writing and said, "We are not wanting a meeting here. We are not in a condition to hold one, it would do no good, and I guess we will not try it." I said "You, of course, are to decide as to where you have a meeting. As to doing good, I will risk that part, and as to remuneration, I am not wanting to hire to hold you a meeting. I would like to preach a few nights." He replied, "We are not in a condition to have a meeting, and I guess we will not undertake one." He then turned his attention to his writing.
Presently Old Sister Scott came into the room, and being seated we entered into a conversation. In answer to an inquiry as to where I was from, I told her that my home was at Washburn, MO, that I moved from Boone Co., Arkansas to Washburn. She then asked, "Did you know Dr. Kirby of Harrison, that county?" I said, "Yes, Dr. Kirby was my right hand bower. I have been with him a great deal." The old folks looked at each other and smiled. The first smile that I had seen on Brother Scott's face. The old sister said, "Dr. Kirby is my son." I said, "Brother Kirby had often told me about his mother, and his step-father, and I knew the named, but I thought they lived in a different part of Missouri to this." She said, "You are now with them." I said, "I am glad to be with you. I thought so much of him, maybe I can thin something of you."
The old brother then told me what he was doing, and said, "You stay here today, and go with me to my appointment tonight, the other elder will be there, and if he thinks it necessary we will make an appointment that night," And just before preaching I saw Brother Scott in private conversation with a man, I guessed to be the other elder. I noticed the stranger eye me critically, then turned and said something to Brother Scott. It was announced that a strange preacher would preach in Scotland the next night. The appointment was announced in the schools of the adjoining neighborhoods next day. After making my discourse that night I sat down, with the conclusion that if they wanted any more preaching they would let it be known. Brother Scott announced preaching for the next night and dismissed the audience. After preaching the next night I called on the old brother to conclude the meeting. He announced preaching for the next night, and requested all present to give the meeting as much circulation as possible. The third night I talked of the nature and design of what is called the reformation of the nineteenth century.
Brother Scott managed to keep his seat till I closed. He then said, "I want you all to tell everybody you see, and send word to all that you don't see, that meeting is going on here. Tell them that there is a man here that can learn [sic] them something, for he is versed in the gospel." The next night two made the good confession. After baptizing the next day Brother Scott asked us to walk down to the store. The next Lord's day I could appear in my broad cloth. Of course, the old brother and others were better satisfied with my outward appearance, but I am satisfied that I was no more in earnest, and that hence, my preaching was not with any more power than when I was dress in the cloth made by the hands of my faithful wife. Some may have, in consequence of the plainness of my garb, failed to appreciate my humble efforts, but the Lord did not: for he abundantly blessed my efforts. Our meeting continued till Thursday night of the third week, when we had to close to answer a call from home. There were near thirty additions. Next morning Brother Scott said, "The brethren are not going to be satisfied for you to leave without a promise from you that you will return." I said, "Brother Scott, I don't see how I can well make such a promise. It is fifty miles, no public conveyance, and I have nothing to ride." He replied, "I have a fine saddle horse as there is in Jasper County, that I don't need. Just say that you will give us a part of your time and the horse is yours. "Then left me without an excuse. I went home dressed somewhat like a preacher, and the owner of a fine saddle horse.
I labored most of the time in Jasper and Newton Counties, and eastern Kansas for three years and a half. I had, however, to soon give up my saddle horse to meet demands at home, and during that three and a half years I walked, in hot weather, as far as seventy-five miles to get to my appointments. That three years and a half's labor was done at a sacrifice of over three hundred dollars. Between twelve and fifteen years of our life was spent as an isolated worker, chiefly in the destitute parts, covering a territory of about 400 by 150 miles. Yet, by hirelings, who know nothing of sacrifice, toils, privations, cares, persecutions, tears and anxieties, I am called Anti-missionary!
This brings to near the part of my life known to the O. R. readers, so with this we close this series. G. B. Hancock.
This document was typed for the Internet with inserts of genealogical comments by Donna Haddock Cooper, great-great granddaughter of Rev. G. B. Hancock. The religious statements here are his own and not necessarily included for any other reason other than to be accurate and complete in reporting his writings. It also helps to have the full text of this document in order to have the full understanding of this family. Dated: 1/23/2005
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by Donna Haddock Cooper
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