This notice appears in the 20 November 1889 Gospel Advocate at page 739:
I have been having a protracted meeting in North-east Edgefield. I have established a congregation with nine members. I administer the loaf with them every Lord’s day. I am also teaching in South Nashville, had one addition last night, Bro. Calvin Hardison, by confession and reclamation. Please note that we will start a protracted meeting Wednesday night, the 13th of this month. I preach three times every Lord’s day, twice in South Nashville, and at 3 P. M. in Edgefield.
W. M. SLAY.
Nashville, Nov. 11, ’89.
There have been four baptisms at Gay Street church recently under the preaching of Bro. Howell.
It is difficult to compile a short list of lacunae in Nashville Stone-Campbell history. A thorough-going narrative of the rise of black Churches of Christ, vis-a-vis Gay Street Christian Church would make such a list, and high on it, too. Back of that, though, is the rise of Second Christian Church (the name by which is known Gay Street in earlier days) vis-a-vis the white Church Street Christian Church, of which Philip Slater Fall was long-time pastor. Its deep origins lie in the ‘colored’ Sunday Schools of the 1830’s and there is some connection to the slaves owned by William Giles Harding, horse-breeder extraordinaire and owner Belle Meade mansion. They worshiped as Grapevine Christian Church, very likely in the plantation’s vineyard.
If we are to meet these lacunae head-on, notices such as this in Gospel Advocate will be exceedingly helpful. I am confident others, perhaps many more, are out there in Gospel Advocate alone. Similar items exist in Christian Standard. If we ever find old issues of Christian Echo…ever…what a gold mine that would be!
I post it to raise awareness: there is a significant gap in our understanding of the local congregational context from which emerged the Womack-Bowser-Keeble orbit of black acapella Churches of Christ. Such published reports are one kind of light. Another source are congregational records. Then there are personal familial archives containing photos, letters, mementos. Any of these are immensely helpful, but I want to raise awareness that the congregational records, if there be any…if any were even kept…if anyone originated a list of members or kept tally of income and expenses…will break new ground and lift our eyes to new horizons of understanding. I also post it as an appeal: who has anything to contribute to this story? As always, I welcome input, suggestions and corrections.
Mac is Special Collections Librarian and Archivist at Abilene Christian University.