History of the Restoration Movement

Cyrus B. White


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The Life of Cyrus B. White

When Cyrus B. White was born on February 3, 1783, in Virginia, 149 United States, his father, Moses White, was 26 and his mother, Ann Oldham, was 28. In 1804 Franklin Co Ga., he registered for land lottery. He married Verlinda "Lindy" Harvey on July 18, 1811, in Jasper, Pickens, Georgia, United States. They were the parents of at least 3 sons and 6 daughters. Before the War of 1812, he worked on his farm to support his large family. When the war (June 18, 1812 – February 18, 1815) began between the newly established United States of America and Great Britain White had only been married about seven months. He stayed home for two years before enlisting. During those two years he travelled quite a lot of the time. In 1812 he witnessed a will, Putnam Co Ga. During this interlude he must have lived in that county for a time. He was Candidate for surveyor of district in purchase from Creek Indians. On Sept 20, 1815, he served on the jury of Jasper Co Superior Court. The multiple counties in which he was active reveals a little “wander-lust” in White. The reason he never served as a surveyor, could have been because of what followed. In November he enlisted in the Georgia Militia, the 3rd Regiment and served from November 21, 1814, to March 8, 1815. He served the 3rd Regiment (Col. E. Wimberly’s) Georgia Militia. He received his final pay for his services on September 10, 1816. Abner Wimberly was Pay Master. (The National Archives Bounty Land Files, Can No.18, Bundle No. 152).

After the war we find White preaching. Sometime in 1823 he began to become very interested on religion. He affiliated with the old Calvinistic Primitive Baptist Church, which in those days, was the only branch of the Baptist Church in the State of Georgia. Before the year ended, he was preaching. He was the first full-time minister of Bethlehem Baptist Church on Ga., Hwy 221 (now part of Jasper Co) before 1824. (Jess McLean, 3rd Great Grandson of Cyrus White, Friday, June 26, 2009, 2:44 PM).

Continuing White’s life before he was a popular minister—we find he was still travelling throughout Georgia. In1820, he ended up holding a note on a woman who defaulted, and a law suit followed, and he had to pay the note for her. Also, in 1820 he drew land in a land lottery in Irwin County, Georgia. He would sign a note for a Land Lottery— in Jasper Co Ga., on December 11, 1833, Land Lottery, Home District, Williams, Lot 445, Dist., 15, Section 1. Cyrus was a good neighbor and friend in every community he lived A lifelong friend—Prier Reeves wrote the following concerning White in White’s obituary: "He had been a member of the Baptist Church around 31 years and a minister upwards of thirty. He had served his country in a military line and as a soldier, he was patriotic, valorous, and obedient to orders as an officer. He was humane, charitable, and dedicated as a Christian. Studious and devoted religious duties, benevolent to the indigent and needy of every class and we think truly a philanthropist. As to his ministerial character and career, I need say but little as the last fourteen years of his life has fully developed that. Though I will say so much that he had great zeal for God's glory and for his own peculiar tenets, and a consistent reformer, both in theory and practice, and in this respect 'Though dead, he speaks in reasons' ear, and in example lives.'" Prier Reeves. (Christian Index, February 22, 1844).

An example of White’s preaching is given in the following statement: "The Reverend Cyrus White has baptized 149 persons in five Sundays, viz.— At Hepozebeth, 2nd Sunday in October 16, and 2d do in Nov. 32 at—New Hope 1st Sunday in Nov. 23 and 1st in Dec. 49— at Bethlehem the 3rd Sunday in Nov. 27. The revival is still progressing, not only in these churches, but also in others in the upper part of Jasper, Morgan, and Newtown &c. Multitudes are anxiously inquiring what shall I do to be saved." Georgia Journal, 17th, ult. (National Standard, January 22, 1828, p. 1).

About the close of 1829, White published a pamphlet on the atonement which contained sentiments that were called unscriptural, by the Calvinists, and of a decidedly “Free Will” tendency. As Cyrus White had previously been employed as one of the missionaries of the Convention, the publication of his tract was considered as evidence in favor of their free and bold assertions, that the supporters of the benevolent plans (the Primitive Baptists) of the day, were unsound in the faith. Jesse Mercer, a staunch Calvinist, wrote and published, in 1830, his Ten Letters on the Atonement to counteract White’s tract. Through 1830 to the end of 1832, Jesse Mercer led a theological witch-hunt against Cyrus White because of White’s small tract advocating General Atonement--The Scriptural View of the Atonement (1830). Mercer responded with a series of 10 letters to Cyrus White first published in a pamphlet then later printed in the Columbian Star and Christian Index. The Columbian Star and Index printed the following: "PAMPHLETS. A Scriptural View of Life by Cyrus White, pastor of the Baptist church in Bethlehem, Jasper Co. Ga. This is a pamphlet of about 20 pages, which labor to prove the unlimited scheme of atonement- The worthy author has taken in hand a difficult subject and has said many plausible things in favor or the views which he proposes to establish, and many hard things against those which he intends to disprove. We think them, only in reference to the subject matter in debate. After all, WHAT IS THE ATONEMENT? What does the Word or God say in answer to this question? Or does that Word answer it? The writer has produced sundry scriptures to confirm his views of unlimited atonement; but under his first head in which he proposes to state the nature of the thing, he has brought no text to bear upon the point." (The Columbian Star, Philadelphia: May 22, 1830, p. 232).

Mercer had been a friend with White; but after White’s pamphlet was published, he became White’s arch enemy. Mercer’s Ten Letters On The Atonement were published in the Columbian Star and Christian Index. (The Columbian Star, November 27, 1830, pp. 346-347).

Under the heading "Passages in the Life of an Old Georgia Preacher” the following was published: "In 1830, and about that period, a great controversy raged among the Baptists of Georgia, ostensibly on the subject of doctrine, but really on the subject of Missions. The Atonement was the great question---James Henderson being the leader of the limited Atonement party, and Cyrus White the champion of those who believed in its universality...There was a third party, with Jesse Mercer and the Georgia Association as a nucleus...The writer took an active part in the religious conflicts of those days, and he...is also thankful that experience has taught him to look with more charity on those who differ from him, than he could then exercise. Even good men, when they become arrayed in opposition to each other, are apt to run into errors and excesses. The writer has strong hope that Mercer, White, Henderson, and other Christians of their times, have met in that country where they "see eye to eye," and where they shall dwell together in perfect harmony forever..." (South Western Baptist, Tuskegee, Alabama, January 20, 1859, page 1).

Those who followed White’s theological teachings concerning Universal Atonement were called White-ites. (The Baptist Memorial and Monthly Chronicle, March 15, 1842, pp77-78). Had Cyrus White never been opposed with violence; it is not probable that he ever would have become a schismatic. This is the conclusion to which we have been led by an impartial review of the past. With the controversy itself we never had anything to do; for we were not a resident of the State at the time that it was pending.

The Baptist Memorial and Monthly Chronicle published the following: "The result of the controversy was that the Baptists of Georgia, in 1830, withdrew their fellowship from White and his adherents. The latter established a standard of their own and have labored with great zeal to propagate their views. Several churches have been built up under their labors and formed into an association which they denominate the “Chattahoochee United Baptist Association.” This association, in 1840, reported twenty-one churches, eight ordained ministers, one licentiate, 227 baptized, and a total of 766 members. Its churches are located as follows: In Georgia, there are two in Early, two in Randolph, three in Stewart, one in Marion, one in Talbot, two in Muscogee, three in Harris, and one in Decatur; total in Georgia, 15 churches, and 539 members. In Alabama, there are four churches in Russel, and two in Chambers: total in Alabama, six churches, and 227 members." (The Baptist Memorial and Monthly Chronicle, March 15, 1842, pp. 77-78).

Eventually, White and his congregations were disfellowshipped from Georgia Baptists' Ocmulgee Association which was the occasion for constituting the Chattahoochee United Baptist Association (CUBA). Mercer and his theological posse succeeded in branding White and the so-called "White-ites" as thoroughgoing Arminians and therefore heretics. The problem is, neither White nor the CUBA were Arminian. Rather they merely denied Limited Atonement. White wrote this statement in his pamphlet: "If I have understood Election, it means the sovereign right of God to choose whom he will...Such is the enormity of the human heart, it will not submit to God's government and grace. All men do most willingly, reject the gospel, and forever will, until the enmity of their heart is slain, and their stubborn wills subdued by sovereign grace. This application of the grace of God is made by him to whom he will; his people are made willing in the day of his power, and this is Election" --Cyrus White, The Scriptural View of the Atonement (p. 18)

So, continues far too often the mindless, immature theological detectives who shoot first and ask questions later. Jesse Mercer theologically hung an innocent man. To the fair-minded reader, it is apparent that no ordinary mind wrote the above statement. White struck a mighty blow against Calvinism in general.

C. S. Reeves wrote of the trouble that had caused White and his associates to be expelled from the regular Calvinistic Baptists: "Sometime about A. D. 1832, Cyrus White, a man of great piety and considerable learning for that time and place, wrote a pamphlet on “The Universality of the Atonement,” which resulted in a split of the Calvinistic (Hardshell) Baptist Association in middle Georgia. This was about three years before the modern Missionary Baptist Church was born in that State. There were no divisions known to the writer among the Baptist in that country up to the time of the writing of White’s pamphlet. Baptist, “only this and nothing more.” White, like Alexander Campbell, had no idea of forming a new party or assuming the leadership of such, only set out with the laudable purpose of reforming the Baptist Church. This resulted (as in the case of Campbell) in the Association coming together and preferring the charge of “heresy.” Failing to sustain the charge from Bible proof, they went through the farce of turning him out, together with a score or two of noble spirits who refused to bow the knee to the fiat of the Association." C. S. Reeves, Lone Grove Texas. (C.S., February 6, 1892, p.122).

Reeves continued his history of this movement: "Three years after the ejection of White and his co-laborers, came the split of the “Primitive and Missionaries,” the two leading spirits of the former, being William Mosely and James Rockmore, and of the latter, Jesse Mercer (for whom Mercer University is named) and Adiel Sherwood. Talk about war in Israel!" (C.S., February 6, 1892, p.122).

Reeves now turns to Cyrus White and his reformation. He wrote: "They were called respectively “Whiteites,” “Freewills,” and by themselves “The Chattahoochee United Baptists,” after the river of that name, the dividing line between Georgia and Alabama. After White’s severance from the Primitives, he became a great revivalist; hundreds flocked to his standard, my father and mother among the number. The alter, mourning bench, and most of the excitements of Methodism were “worked for all they were worth, and much more, in opposition to quaint old-fashioned Calvinism.

"You can and you can’t
"You shall and you shan’t

“True, free grace and a dying Lamb” formed the chorus and keynote in their gamut; and although sadly wanting in either scriptural authority or precedent for much of their gospel, to this day I firmly believe that the gospel, as preached by White and his co-laborers, was very far in advance of any other sect up to his death, which occurred about the year 1845. They evidently “saw men as trees walking,” and had he lived until the Disciples gained a foothold, I have no doubt he would have been fully identified with the Disciples." (C.S., February 6, 1892, p.122).

White, with the help of his faithful friend—Prier Reeves formed “The Chattahoochee United Baptists Association,” with about twenty-five churches. C.S. Reeves wrote: "Some twenty years before his death he and my father, Prier Reeves, who had been for twenty years preaching with White, organized “The Chattahoochee United Baptists Association,” with about twenty-five churches and some 2,000 members. For co-laborers they had men and many of the less caliber. Among the former were Thomas J. Bowen, author of "Bowen's Africa," Wiley J. Bluet, Barney Strickland, John and James James, Andrew Cornby, John Reeves, Sr. (who baptized Bro. Jas. S. Lamar upon the simple confession of Christ, which act forced him to identify himself with the Disciples), and others. How this whole Association, with few exceptions, was. converted by the preaching of one man, threw away their human creed and became simply Christians, will form the theine of our next letter." C. S. Reeves, Lone Grove Texas. (C.S., February 6, 1892, p.122).

Moseley in his DISCIPLES OF CHRIST IN GEORGIA, wrote of White and his impact upon the restoration movement in Georgia [which would be true of Alabama, also]: "The recurring note of orthodox Baptist opposition to the heretical Disciples was offset in part, in Georgia, by the open-mindedness of Cyrus White a Freewill Baptist, to Campbell's teachings. John M. Barnes, while editor of the Morning Watch, engaged White in discussion of mutual experiences." [J. Edward Moseley, Disciples of Christ in Georgia, St. Louis, Missouri: The Bethany Press, 1954, p. 105; (Morning Watch, February 1838, pp. 108 ff., p. 128; April 1838, pp. 179 ff.; June 1838, pp. 248 ff.)].

Moseley continued concerning White: "Several Georgia Freewill Baptist churches, perhaps six or more, became identified with the Disciples without any perceptible religious change. The transfer of their fellowship began as early as 1835 and continued several years. White assisted Disciples to receive a considerate hearing in several places for which he suffered from misrepresentation, calumny, and defamation. In Georgia the "Whiteites" were sometimes called "Soft Shell" Baptists. White broke bread with the Disciples which "mere difference of opinion" did not prevent, opposed the adoption of human creeds, considering publishing a paper with Barnes, possessed, and read many of Alexander Campbell's writings. He claimed, however, that those "writings become the creed of many, and his sect will soon be as strong as any." (J. Edward Moseley, Disciples of Christ in Georgia, St. Louis, Missouri: The Bethany Press, 1954, p. 105; Morning Watch, April 1838, p. 181.).

This is the reason C. S. Reeves said of White: "…and had he lived until the Disciples gained a foothold, I have no doubt he would have been fully identified with the Disciples." (C.S., February 6, 1892, p.122).

Reeves could have been right in this statement; but we will never know. White died still Baptist—just not Calvinist. Reeves wrote of White: "He was a great and good man—one of the greatest of his day—and was among the very few men that I have known in a long life who sacrifice everything for what they believe to be the will of God. He died a martyr to his calling; I think the year was 1845. His remains lie by the side of his wife, on the western bank of the Chattahoochee River, in Russell County, Alabama, awaiting the resurrection trumpet. Peace to his memory." (C.S., February 6, 1892, p.122).

Sometime between 1838 and 1840, White moved across the Georgia-Alabama State Line into Russell County, Alabama. 1838 letters held at Columbus Ga., Post Office. This indicates that White had moved away from the Columbus area. (Courts And Businesses), and possibly to Russell County where he lived until his death. C. S. Reeves’ father—Prier Reeves wrote Cyrus White’s obituary. We include the entire obituary as Reeves wrote it: "Died the 7th of February, Alabama, Russell County, Elder Cyrus White, after a painful and protracted illness of two years of Dropsy of the chest and Asthma. which he bore with great patience and Christian fortitude. He had been a member of the Baptist Church around 31 years and a minister upwards of thirty. He had served his country in a military line and as a soldier, he was patriotic, valorous, and obedient to orders as an officer. He was humane, charitable, and dedicated as a Christian. Studious and devoted religious duties, benevolent to the indigent and needy of every class and we think truly a philanthropist. As to his ministerial character and career, I need say but little as the last fourteen years of his life has fully developed that. Though I will say so much that he had great zeal for God's glory and for his own peculiar tenets, and a consistent reformer, both in theory and practice, and in this respect "Though dead, he speaks in reasons' ear, And in example lives."

In his illness he was visited by all classes and denominations of people, and he exhorted all to prepare for death and judgment. And Christians, he would urge to live a practical holy life; often expressing a full belief and decided preference in favor of the doctrine and sentiments he had taught for the last fourteen years. And would often express that he had "fought a good fight, & Etc." He was a decided friend to all benevolent enterprise, temperance, and Sabbath School institutions. In his sphere he taught by precept and example. He often stated 10 all that the Lord to some extent had blessed his labors, yet he had nothing whereof to boast and should alone be saved by Grace. And that at times, all through his life, through fear of the pangs of literal death, he had been subject to temptation, yet with an unwavering faith, he had strong consolation in reference to a happy, blissful, immortality, beyond the grave, where the wicked cease to trouble and the weary are at rest. He stated, bu! a week before his decease, that he often vainly hoped to recover, and yet live to see a reformation. But then he thought it would be far better to die and be with the Lord and wished his Brethren to pray that he might; and no doubt was enabled to use with ecstasy that beautiful Apostolic Language,

O death! Where is they Sting!
O grave! Where is thy Victory!

I, and another intimate brother, two days before his death, conversed with him much on the subject of death and eternity. When he seemed to possess the most sublime views with regard 10 the holiness of the Deity and his unshaken confidence in Him and said that soon should rest from all his labors. And I think it due to him to write, Blessed are the dead who died in the Lord, & etc. He then requested, as he had often done, that I should preach his Funeral and no! exaggerate his character. But to tell all, that he would have been glad that he had lived more holy, but under the circumstances of life, over many of which he could exercise no control, he had done about the best he could.

His funeral will be preached, if the Lord permit, on the fourth Sabbath in March, at Smyrna Church, Russell County, Alabama, where his membership was when he died. His remains now be interred by the side of his wife, (who died two years since of black jaundice) near the western bank of the Chattahoochee River.

To eulogize a man so well-known would-be folly; or, could we say were united in him all the good qualities of a statesman, politician, philosopher, soldier, Christian, minister, & etc., it would not have saved him from the destiny that has befallen. Nay, if we could add in reference to his house of clay.

"Underneath this clod doth lie.
“As much virtue as could die,
Which when alive did vigor give
To as much wisdom as could live,”'

Then his fate would have been the same. Thus, died the suffering, Christian; age 61 years and 4 days. And, if in death he could have used the pen of the ready writer, he might have written thus,

“'The world recedes; it disappears!
Heav'n opens on my eyes! ye ears!
With sounds seraphic ring,
Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!
O grave! Where is thy victory!
O death! Where is thy Sting!”

Prier Reeves. February 15, 1844. (Christian Index, February 22, 1844). (The Columbian Star Thursday, Morning, May 22, 1845, p. 232).

So, came to an end the life of a true reformer who contributed to many Baptist Churches turning to the Restoration Movement. He was always seeking the truth at all costs. He placed truth ahead of all opinions and men’s desires—purely for the sake of his quest to do God’s will. May we all have the same determination in serving God and his Son.

-Wayne Kilpatrick, 12.09.2021

The History Of Opelika And Her Agricultural Tributary Territory, Embracing More Particularly Lee and Russell Counties, from the Earliest Settlement To The Present Date.

By F. L. Cherry —“Okossee.”

Written Expressly for the Opelika Times.

Chapter XXIII.
A Notable Fact—Mechanicsville—Rev. Cyrus White—Schisms—The Whiteite Baptists—Anecdotes—Rev. Jesse Mercer.

It is a notable fact, which has confronted historians of all ages, that men who have reached a degree of eminence among their contemporaries, have left but little on record of their early lives and experiences. The most correct conclusion as to the reason why, may be traced to the world’s record of the fact that the greatest and most useful men, whose history is worth preserving, sprang mostly from the humble and obscure walks of life. This holds true every where, as a rule, with occasional exceptions. The same may be said of localities associated with the history of eminent men.

There is or was forty years ago a little village, which now exists more in name than in fact, situated about three miles north of Wacoochee Valley, and two and a half mile from what was once known as Nettle’s Ferry, on the Chattahoochee river, which, with the surrounding neighborhood, was composed of a class of devout, industrious and energetic yeomanry, whose wise, quiet and just mode of dealing with the aborigines, is obscured in the resultant facts that during the troubles of 1836 there was not a hostile Indian to be found in the neighborhood, though it was as densely populated as any other section in the county. It may be supposed that the Indians were naturally more friendly here than elsewhere. This cannot be granted. But it is on record that the whites, who moved among them, treated them with more justice and humanity. And the leading spirit in the inauguration of such a wise policy was the late Rev. Cyrus White, a name and character which, forty years ago, occupied a large space in church circles throughout the country.

Mr. White was a Virginian, born Feb. 3rd, 1783. His father, Moses White—a revolutionary soldier—moved to Georgia when his son was quite a boy and died in 1802, when Cyrus was only nineteen years old. On the 18th of July 1816, he married Miss Verlinda Harvey, a member of the respectable Georgia family of that name. Mr. White’s education was of the crude sort, gathered at hap-hazard from much meager sources as were, at that early day, available to the pioneer farmer boys. Nature having endowed him with a mental capacity considerably above the average, he mad the most of what was acquired in boyhood, adding to it by studious habits and teaching in his earlier years of manhood. He held a Captain’s commission in the war of 1812-14, being first stationed at Darrien and afterwards transferred to Sullivan’s Island, in Charleston harbor, where he was mustered out of service at the close of the war. He was then about twenty-seven years of age. Having followed the occupation of a teacher several years in Jasper county, Ga., and where he acquired some note as a Baptist minister of the Primitive Church, and by his energetic system of exercises penetrated deeper into the mysteries of the prevailing doctrines of the day, which soon attracted the attention of his church to his pecular(sic, peculiar) tenets as differing largely and widely from what was accepted as orthodox, he, assisted by Revs. Jonathan Wilson, Benjamin Wilson. Prior Reaves, James Reaves, John Holmes, with others, inaugurated a system of active charity and benevolence towards the Indians, who occupied the line of the Chattahoochee river on both the Georgia and Alabama side. These Indians friendly, and looked to the whites for protection against more turbulent Indian element in the interior. These Indians had be encroached upon by their neighbors until they were reduced to needy circumstances.  Their condition being known, steps were taken to relieved them. Mr. White was the most active in the movement. At first, contributions of food and clothing were sent among them, with appeared to energize the red man and he began to Improve his condition. Next, steps were taken to introduce educational facilities among them, which resulted equally as foverable(sic, favorable) and encouraged by Mr. White. This was contrary to the doctrine, faith, usages and customs of his church, and in an association, held in the year 1828, in Wilkes county, Ga., the orthodoxy of his proceedings was challenged. Following his own convictions, Mr. White withdrew from the Primitive Baptist Church, and immediately had a respectable following. This following increased rapidly, church after church severing their connection with the parent establishment, until, in a very few months, they were strong enough to form an Association, or united body, under the name and title of the Free Will Baptist, and were remarkable for their piety and zeal. Mr. White was the first Moderator of the first Association ever held by this schism. Mr. White published a pamphlet about this time, taking the ninth chapter of Romans as a foundation, explanatory of his doctrine. This little book had a large circulation, creating considerable interest and agitating the mother church to its centre. It was soon followed by another, “On the Atonement,” which drew a reply fro the late venerable Jesse Mercer, for whom Mercer University was named. This excellent divine was at the time a Primitive Baptist minister, and one of the greatest men Georgia ever produced. It may not be out of place here to observe that in the schism of 1835 which resulted in the organization of the Missionary Baptist Church, the largest and most influential of all the Baptist Churches in the world, Mr. Mercer identified himself with it and became one of its most eminent ministers. It is conceded that the Whiteite element of 1828 was the entering wedge which split the Primitive Baptist Church to its very centre in 1835, as the following anecdote will illustrate:

Rev. Jonathan Nichols, who at that time was a very old man, lived and died a faithful and consistent minister of the Primitive Baptist Church. He was a life long friend of Mr. White, not permitting the differences in religious views which arose between them to interfere with their social relations. Though living many miles apart, they made it a point to to exchange visits every year as long as they both lived. While Mr. Nichols was on a visit to his friend in Russell County, in the course of conversation, Mr. White regretted that his church was not prospering as well as, in his judgment and zeal, he thought it should. Mr. Nichols spoke up:

“Well, Cyrus, the Missionaries have taken your club away from you, knocked you off of your horse, mounted him themselves and are riding off on him, leaving you behind.” This was cold comfort for his friend Cyrus; nevertheless, the sequel proved the fact, that the salient points of Mr. White’s doctrine as differing from the parent church, contained the distinguishing views of the Missionary Baptist Church of to-day. As to what these points of difference were, it is not my province to dwell, and I have alluded to the subject in order to illustrate a character and attempt to do justice to the memory of a man, who in his day, occupied a larger space in the public mind, who spent the evening of life in what is now Lee county, beneath the soil of which his body sleeps, and where many of his descendants live; at the same time studiously avoiding unpleasant reflections upon those who honestly took issue with him in matters of conscience.

In the winter of 1835 and 1836, Mr. White emigrated from Georgia to Russell, now Lee county and settled near Mechanicsville. The place is now owned by Peter Wells, Esq. he built his first cabin about a mile northeast of where Mr. Wells now lives and about a mile and a half southwest of Nettle’s Ferry, on the Chattahoochee river. Though on the most friendly terms with the Indians of the neighborhood, he doubted their ability to protect him from injury by those at a distance, which his remaining in the country would have a tendency to invite, so he, to avoid the possibility of trouble as far as it was in his power, moved his family across the river early in May, 1836, and camped on the Georgia side, almost in sight of the ferry.

A volunteer company for local defense was made up from among the refugees, and Mr. White was made its Captain; but as no Indians appeared in hostile attitude, but there was no fighting; and at the end of three weeks, the refugees returned to their home, to find everything as they had left, except that their crops needed work badly. They went to work and soon put them in a growing condition and made a fair crop that year. His contemporaries were Mr. Samuel Nettles, who owned the ferry; Henry Cason; Mr. Roger McGrath, a native Irishman; Mr. Nathan Pitts and Rev. Joel Nichols, a Missionary Baptist minister. Mr. Nathan Pitts is the only man now living in the Wacoochee Valley neighborhood, who had a family at that date—1836. The other named are all dead, and I have no information that they have any lineal representatives in the county. The first years of Mr. White’s residence in the county were devoted to teaching. He taught several years at Mechanicsville and also at Wacoochee Valley. The school rooms in which he taught have all disappeared, as also the most of his pupils, the only ones now remembered still living are the two brothers, J. C. And R. J. Tillery. Three of Mr. White’s children died in early childhood, on of which, a little daughter was burned to death. Those who reached maturity are Mr. W. A. J. White, the eldest son, of Lee county; Mrs. Sarah H. Akin, died in Tallapoosa county in 1878; Mrs. Louisa Wilson, wife of John Wilson, of Mississippi; Mrs. E. F. Long, first wife of Mr. William Long, died in 1863; Mr. Moses P. C. White, died in Mississippi about the close of the war; and Mrs. Martha Hammond, of Tallapoosa County. The name of Bev.(sic, Rev.) Cyrus White will live long in history, as a man of independont (sic) thought, indomitable mental energy and spiritual zeal; and it is known that if his followers had been as zealous and earnest in their faith and practice, they would be much more numerous and stronger in every way than they are. The few who still live that knew him—bot of his following and others as well—remember him as a man whose private life was as pure as the driven snow is what, and as stainless as a human character can be, encumbered with mortality. He organized a church one mile north-east of Mecanicsville, which stood for many years, but since his death has dissolved. In 1845 as wave of what is known as the Campbellite faith, passed over that section, and the little church in the wilderness, being without a competent leader, became divided and the majority of its members went with it under the leadership of Rev. Prior Reaves. (Sic). The usual fast of such departures overtook them and two years later, they dissolved. The house was torn down and a gin house built of it. Mr. White died in the house he first built, on the place he first settled in the county, in February, 1843, aged city years. His wife preceded him two years, and was a fit companion for such a man, sympathising (sic) with him in all his views and opinions. They both rest side by side in a family grave-yard a half mile east of the old place, but in a dilapidated condition. I may add here that it is a shame that the resting place of such a man should remain without a stone to mark the spot. A few years more and all trace of his grave will be lost to the living, unless more care is taken in future than has been in the past.

-Rev. F. L. Cherry, “The History Of Opelika And Her Agricultural Tributary Territory, Embracing More Particularly Lee and Russell Counties, from the Earliest Settlement To The Present Date. Chapter 23." As appearing in The Opelika Times, Opelika, Alabama, Friday, February 29, 1884, page 4.

Burial Information

The White Family Cemetery is located somewhere on the west side of the Chattahoochie River in Mechanicsville, Lee County, Alabama, United States of America. The exact location of the cemetery is unknown. The following is from Find-A-Grave: "Burial on family property near Mechanicsville. The exact location of the burials is lost, but was "near the western bank of the Chattahoochee River" (Christian Index, February 22, 1844). "After moving to Western Georgia, the Whites crossed the Chattahoochee River into Russell County, Alabama. There he built a house near Mechanicsville near his youngest son, Moses." -- Geraldine Waid, Archivist, Georgia Free Will Baptist Historical Society.

According to the last part of the article above by F. L. Cherry, of White and his wife wrote, "They both rest side by side in a family grave-yard a half mile east of the old place, (his homeplace) but in a dilapidated condition. I may add here that it is a shame that the resting place of such a man should remain without a stone to mark the spot. A few years more and all trace of his grave will be lost to the living, unless more care is taken in future than has been in the past."

No grave photos are known to exist

Webpage produced 12.09.2021
Courtesy Of Scott Harp

Special Recognition: To Wayne Kilpatrick for his years of research on the life of Cyrus White. Though staying among the Baptists all his life, he fought many battles with Calvinists Baptists in Georgia in his efforts to defend the Scriptures. Many believe that had he lived a few more years he would have united with the Disciples/Christian movement in the region near his home.


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