History of the Restoration Movement

Jesse Turner Wood


Life of Jesse T. Wood

When Jesse Turner Wood SR (CSA) was born on October 23, 1820, in Morgan, Alabama, his father, Jesse (1783-1820), was 37, and his mother, Susan Morehead (1798-1870), was 21. He married Mary Jane Wallace Wood (1833-1922) on November 19, 1854. They had ten children in 21 years. (Ancestry.com)

Jesse was converted under the preaching of Green M. Haley, a long-time preacher on the Buttahatchee River in Marion County, Alabama. Below is a copy of Jesse’s ordination papers dated August 22, 1854, at Pikeville, the Marion County seat at that time, by Green Haley.

Jesse Wood was a powerful force for 1st Century Christianity in North Alabama. He was known for his knowledge of the Scriptures to the point that he was often called a “walking Bible.” Historian O. P. Spiegel, reporting on the early restoration history in Alabama, wrote, “A few of the pioneer preachers who planted and watered this work were: Alexander Campbell, Philip S. Fall, John Taylor, Prior Reeves, Jacob Creath, Alexander Graham, Pinckney B. Lawson, W. H. Goodloe, Col. T. W. Caskey, Wm. Kirkpatrick, Jesse Wood, William Stringer, L. D. Randolph, Jerry Randolph, James A. Butler; later, J. M. Pickens, C. S. Reeves, A. C. Borden, J. N. Biard, Dr. A. C. Henry, and others of blessed memory.” (Churches of Christ, ed. By John T. Brown, c.1904, p.201). Including brother Wood in this list of preachers demonstrates the level of respect for which he was noted among churches of Christ.

Primarily, the work of Jesse Wood was in Morgan County, Alabama. Some reports appeared in the Gospel Advocate of him preaching around Moulton, but his primary area of work was about seven miles west of Faulkville in the area known as Cedar Plains. The work there began around 1837. More is mentioned on this particular work below.

Jesse died on September 5, 1894, in Falkville, Alabama, at 73, and was buried in the Mountain Cemetery near Cedar Plains Christian Church; several years passed when Mary Jane passed on January 25, 1922. Her body was laid to rest on the mountain next to that of her husband to await the coming of the Lord.

-Scott Harp, 01.06.2024

Compliments of C. Wayne Kilpatrick

Apostolic Times Report

Apostolic Times, Lexington, Kentucky
October 26, 1871, p.230

The Moulton Advertiser, Moulton, Alabama
Thursday, May 26, 1887, p.3


History of the Work In Falkville, Cedar Plains

Cedar Plains is one of the historic churches of Morgan County, located five miles west of Falkville. It is probably the oldest Christian Church in the state with continuous service. Dr. A. C. Henry, pioneer preacher, was preaching there in 1874 and for several years afterward. At that time, the church was able to "furnish provisions for his family" and Brother William Wood proposed to teach his children at half price.

The early records were destroyed when the home of W. P. Wallace burned. This makes it difficult to state exact dates of early events. It is known that in the fall of 1837 William M. Hackworth, Thomas Wallace, Jane Wallace, Polly Hackworth, Ann Raley, Sallie A. Hackworth made their confessions and were immersed. Several members of the Wallace and Wood families were immersed in the years following.

In 1849 or 1850 a cedar log building was built by the Wallace, Hackworth, Raley, Lockart and J. T. Wood, Sr., families. Before there was a building, meetings were held in the dwellings. Early preachers were T. F. Randolph, G. M. Haley, and Tolbert Fanning. Jesse T. Wood, Sr., called the "Walking Bible," was licensed by Disciples of the Christian Church Union Meeting House of Buttahatchee on August 22, 1854. He married Mary Jane Wallace and they moved to the Cedar Plains community around 1861. He was pastor of the church for many years.

Other pastors and evangelists who preached in the log church were J. M. Pickens, Dr. Nick Wallace, Robert Gibson, and Dr. A. C. Henry. The membership was about twenty. For many years the log building was used as a school, young men and women coming from Lawrence and Cullman Counties. As many as forty or fifty would board for a school term. Professor Billie Windes and William Woods were among the teachers. Between 1880 and 1884, a frame building was erected about twenty feet north of the log building. Elders of the new church were W. P. Wallace, Frank Wallace, Joe Minter, and J. M. King.

T. B. Larimore preached at Cedar Plains in 1884 and was followed by A. M. Wilhite and Professor Billie Windes. In 1903 D. R. Piper came. He was followed by J. D. Jones, 1906; E. F. Corley, 1921; J. H. Hill, 1922; L. F. Abbott, 1925; J. H. Hill, 1934; J. H. Gardner, 1935; W. M. Goodwin, 1938; T. P. Sharp, 1939; J. H. Havener, 1941; Tommie V. Hatchett, 1945; W. O. Henderson, 1947; Paul E. Walker, 1952; Ray McCulloch, 1957; James H. Henderson, 1958, to the present. Throughout the years, preaching was at irregular intervals.

W. O. Henderson returned home in 1947 to pastor the Falkville Unity. Within two years Cedar Plains was renovated, pews replaced the school benches, and new pulpit furniture and communion table were dedicated to all the deceased of the church. In 1947 the Unity purchased a parsonage in Falkville. When this was sold in 1953, Cedar Plains banked its portion. They cooperated in the building of a new parsonage in 1958. When half the indebtedness was paid at the 1959 dedication, the Unity received a Certificate of Appreciation at the State Convention. On April 24, 1955, the building was destroyed by tornado. Work on a new building was begun in July, and most of the labor was volunteer. Contributions from other churches, clubs, women's groups and individuals, added to the money from insurance and the sale of the parsonage in 1953, enabled the church to be paid for when dedicated. W. O. Henderson returned from North Carolina for the dedication and homecoming. The pulpit Bible, hymn books, and piano were salvaged from the storm, reworked, and used. New pews were purchased. Services had been held temporarily in the home of Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Morris.

The Unity was organized in 1958 and James H. Henderson, son of W. O. Henderson who for forty years had been associated with Cedar Plains, became minister. Cedar Plains has about twenty-five members today, having suffered from the shift of population from rural to urban areas. Appreciation goes to R. G. Patterson, Mrs. Mammie Parker, Mrs. Ida Morris, Charlie England, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Fitzgerald for laboring faithfully.

-George H. and Mildred B. Watson, History of the Christian Churches In The Alabama Area, pps. 184-186

The Morning Mercury, Huntsville, Alabama
Wednesday, December 30, 1885, p.4

The Albany Decatur Daily, Decatur, Alabama
Thursday, January 26, 1922, p.3

The Birmingham News, Birmingham, Alabama
Saturday, January 28, 1922, p.11

Directions To The Wood Family Plot

The old Mountain Cemetery is located in very rural Morgan County, Alabama. It is best to visit this cemetery in the winter time. It is in a heavily wooded area on top of a hill. So, be sure to attempt to visit with good shoes and some clothing you don't mind getting a bit dirty.

From Birmingham: Take I-65 north about 50 miles to Cullman, Exit 310, Hwy. 157 and turn left, heading towards Moulton. Travel 13.1 miles and turn right on Evergreen Rd. Go one mile and turn right on W. Lacon Rd. Go 1.1. miles and turn left on Cedar Plains Rd. Go about 6/10ths of a mile and on your left you will see a house set in the woods at the base of as small mountain. Turn in at their driveway and park on the right near the entrance. From there you will need to walk into the woods and head up a relatively steep mountain/hill to the grave yard. The cemetery is in the woods and unkept. Use the GPS location below to help you stay on track all the way to the grave.

From Athens on I-65: Take I-65 south and go about 29 miles to the Faulkville, Exit 322. Turn right heading into Faulkville on E. Pike Rd. Nearly a mile you will go and turn right on US-Hwy. 31 north. Go about .2 miles and turn left on Hwy. 55. (W. Pike Rd.) Turn left on Cedar Plains Road and drive 1 mile and on your right you will see a house set in the woods at the base of as small mountain. Turn in at their driveway and park on the right near the entrance. From there you will need to walk into the woods and head up a relatively steep mountain/hill to the grave yard. The cemetery is in the woods and unkept. Use the GPS location below to help you stay on track all the way to the grave.

GPS Location
34°21'28.2"N 86°59'55.8"W
34.357830, -86.998837

Mollie M. Wood
October 15, 1865
May 5, 1903

Henry C. Wood
November 28, 1856
December 26, 1885

Nick B. Wood
September 11, 1871
January 12, 1885
For us there is nothing but memory

Frank M. Wood
April 3, 1863
November 4, 1884
Thy God has claimed thee as his own

Jesse T. Wood - October 23, 1820 - September 5, 1894 - An honest man. The noblest work of God.
Mary J - His Wife - May 15, 1833 - January 25, 1922 - She was a kind and affectionate wife, a fond mother, and a friend to all.

2004 Photo - by C. Wayne Kilpatrick

Photos Taken February 5, 2015
Webpage produced January 4, 2024
Courtesy Of Scott Harp

Special Recognition: C. Wayne Kilpatrick took me by to visit the Cedar Plains Cemetery in February 2015. I'm so thankful for Wayne. He has been my teacher and my friend without which I would have never produced this website.


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