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Bethesda Presbyterian Church
Pickens County, AL

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Bobbye C. Winston


On the 29th of September 1838, the Rev. Thomas Morrow of the Tuscaloosa Presbytery organized the Bethesda Presbyterian Church of Benevola with fifteen charter members. They were: Thomas Lofton; Andrew Lofton; Elizabeth Loftin; David C. Russell; Ann B. Russell; Edwin Bridges; Martha Bridges; Harry Burnsides; Elizabeth Burnsides; Jane Craig; Mary K. Eddings; Nancy Davis; John S. Knox; Rachel R. Knox; and Elizabeth Love.
Thomas and Andrew Lofton and John S. Knox were elected the ruling elders.

On September 30, 1838 the Session met and decided to name the church Bethesda. Some of the early members were: Julia Crawford; Nelson Crawford; Eli T. Going; Martha A. Going; Mahala Going; Rebecca Going; Mrs. Nancy G. Herndon; John Herrington; Sarah D. Lanier; Thomas C. Lanier; Mrs. Jane Lavender; Mrs. Prudence Weir; Francis Weir; Mrs. Sarah Weir; Eliza Williams; and Michael Williams.

Members added from 1844 - 1852 were: Mrs. Margaret Craig; Mrs. Elizabeth Lofton; Miss Sophronia Lofton; Miss Jane Caroline Richard, and Miss Elizabeth Lofton.
Surnames of some other families added from 1853 - 1882 include: Bailey; Gardner; Huffman; Jay; Somerville; White; Wright; Cunningham; Duncan; Fulton; Wilson; Spence; Boutwell; Hutton; Graham; Lockhart; Nunnellee; Lanier; Stanton; Osborne; Paden; Akines; Murphy; Russell; Atkins; Cosper; Lavender; Crawford; Herndon; Love; Giles; and Hood.
Later families that were members of Bethesda include: Michelle; Eatman; Sanders; Craft; Pierce; Conley; Thomas; Powell; Colson; Winston; Bailey; Graham and Maughan.

The following ministers have served Bethesda: Thomas Morrow; James Somerville; F. Bradshaw; James Porter McMullen; Andrew W. Watson; Cornelius Marion Hutton; Milton James McLean; Milton Calhoun Hutton; John Grant Praigg; Lyttleton Edmunds Scott; John Monroe Munn; Robert Alexander Mickles; John Russell Trett; James Andrew Berry; Alfred Evans Grover; Charles Haddon Nabors; Joshua Samuel Lack; Harry Robert Foster; George Francis Swetnam; George Edward Tucker; Thomas Art Smith; Frank Hamilton McElroy; Malloy Oden Cockerham; George Franklin Johnson; Lemuel Jefferson Kaylor; Millard Dual Sivley; John B. Degges; and John P. Simmons.

Elders having served Bethesda Church were: Thomas Lofton; Dr. W.W. Duncan; S. F. Nunnelee; Thomas G. Lanier; C. I. Eatman; F. Claude Eatman; Dr. George M. Sommerville; E. L. Graham; Luther Teer; A. E. Going, Jr.; Samuel K. Graham;  James Boyd Powell, Lawrence Graham; John S. Knox; James Monroe Jay; Eli T. Going; J. K. Spence; Alfred E. Going, Sr.; E. C. Mobley; John S. Going; Ernest O. Graham; Ernest Chester Graham; Ken Eatman; Louie Pierce; J. Ashley Eatman; Roy Powell; Joseph Cunningham; Andrew Lofton; Dr. J. A. Fulton; Dr. H. D. Boutwell; John B. Knox; John S. Gandy; Thomas G. Duncan; Wallace Powell; Morris (Billy) Carr; Milton Duncan; Charlie C. McGahey; and Lawrence Duncan.

Deacons that have served Bethesda were: A. E. Going, Sr.; Andrew Lofton; E. C. Mobley; J. M. Jay; Thomas G. Duncan; E. Lockart Going; A. E. Going, Jr.; Milton G. Duncan; Lawrence Duncan; Samuel K. Graham; J. H. Pierce; L. C. Teer; Elmer L. Graham; J. Ashley Eatman; Charlie M. McGayhee; F. Curtis Eatman; Will Sanders; Louie Pierce; Ernest C. Graham; Vance Griffin; Price Kenyon Eatman; Wallace D. Powell; Morris E. (Billy) Carr; Roy Powell; and Lawrence Graham.

clipart image of jesus on the cross, crucifix

Dr. M. O. Cockerham was the pastor of Bethesda from Feb. 1, 1938 to March 31, 1946. Dr. Cockerham preached his last sermon in the old church on second Sunday in May 1945. Mr. Thomas C. Duncan, a graduate of Louisville Seminary and a candidate for the ministry preached in the Old Church on the second Sunday in June 1945 that was actually the last sermon preached in the old church.

A new Bethesda Presbyterian Church, a modern brick building, was completed in 1945 close to where the old wooden building stood. The first Sunday School was held in the new church Aug. 19, 1945. First prayer was offered by Mr. Ernest O. Graham and the closing prayer by Mrs. E. L. (Alice Craft) Going. The first sermon preached in the New Bethesda Presbyterian Church was by Dr. M. O. Cockerham, the pastor, on September 9, 1945. The first revival was held in the new church from July 14 - 19, 1946, conducted by Rev. J. M. Partridge. Five new members were added: Claude Earl Eatman, Charlie C. Pratt, Mrs. Margaret Owen Craft, Wallace D. Powell and Earline Griffin.

The cornerstone for the church was laid on Oct. 15, 1946 with the following people present: Dr. N. J. Warren of Selma; Mr. Partridge; E. L. Graham; Joy Graham; Emily Ann Powell; Dr. Fulton; Louie Pierce; Claude Earl Eatman; Dr. M. O. Cockerham; Rev. Thomas Duncan.

Bethesda held its last regular church service in 1983. Bethesda Cemetery adjoins the church and is the burial place of many of the early members of this church and early settlers in this area. The cemetery is well maintained and continues to be used today.

Names of Communing Members 1874

Eli T. Going, Elder

Jane M. Going

Alf. E. Going

Marion A. Going

Rebecca F. Bridges (dism. to Corinth, Aug 16, 74)

Nancy Jay

Sarah F. Jay

Ann Somerville

Martha Parker

Amanda C. Jones

Mary Bell Mobley

James Huffman (dismissed by letter, Jan 22, 75)

E.C. Mobley

Thomas M. Mobley (dropped)

Martha M. Jay

Elizabeth H. Cunningham

James Jay

Mary Jay

Emma E. Somerville (dropped)

M.M. Jones (died April 74)

Virginia Casper (dropped)

Martha F. Osmett (dropped)

Jobe Going (dismissed to Birmingham)

Alice C. Duncan

S.F. Nunnelee (dismissed to Tuscaloosa)

M. Amanda Nunnelee (dismissed to Tuscaloosa)

Carrie M. Nunnelee (dismissed to Tuscaloosa)

James H. Nunnelee (dismissed to Tuscaloosa)

Mary A. Nunnelee (dismissed to Tuscaloosa)

William P. Paden (joined Baptist)

Mattie L. Hutton (dismissed)

Caroline D. Boutwell (dismissed, Sept 9, 76)

Henry D. Boutwell (dismissed, Sept 9, 76)

Harry W. Boutwell (dropped)

Communing Members 1874

James A. Murphy

Dovie D. Wilson (dismissed March 76)

Luella Summerville (dismissed Sept 78)

Emily A. Going (dismissed Sept 78)

Mary P. Graham (dismissed Sept 78)

Nancy C. Russell (dismissed Sept 78)

Martha J. Going (dismissed Sept 78)

Thomas G. Duncan

E. Lock Going

Lewis W. Jay (dismissed to Carrollton)

James A. Fulton (dism. by letter, Jan 23, 75)

Mary L. Fulton (dismissed by letter, Jan 23, 75)

James H. Fulton (dism. by letter July 20, 75)

Paul Fulton (dismissed by letter Jan 20, 75)

Ed E. Fulton (dismissed by letter Feb 20 75)

William L. Fulton (dism. by letter Jan 23, 75)

S.S. Stanton

Mary Stanton

Eugene Stanton (died in City Mexico)

David C. Russell (dismissed)

Jane S. Murphy

Mrs. M. P. Peden (dismissed, Sept 20th 74)

Archie Hood

Mr. R. Hood

Mrs. Maggie B. Osborne

Hellen M. Eatman

Lizzie Hughes

Martha Graham

Rebecca Russell

Maude Going (dismissed to Birmingham)

William Aiken

Mrs. William Aiken

Mrs. Jane M. Wier

Miss Minnie Somerville

Non Communing Members 1874

Earnest Going

James Sommerville

George Sommerville

Minnie Sommerville (communing)

Mary Going Hughes

Sallie M. Hutton (dismissed)

S.F. Nunnelee (died Sep. 1st 75)

Walter L. Nunnelee (dismissed)

Julia A. Nunnelee (dismissed)

Luman H. Nunnelee (dismissed)

Porter Stanton

Elizabeth Stanton

Martha Stanton

Robert Fulton (dismissed)

Milton Duncan

Lawrence Duncan

James Duncan

Angeline Murphy

Helen Jay

John Stuart Stanton (baptized by S.S. Handley)

Lula C. Osborne

Willie F. Osborne

Walter R. Osborne

Elizabeth M. Osborne

Marthie E. Osborne, (all removed children of Rev. Osborne)

William W. Duncan

Sallie B. Stanton

Claude Eatman

Velmer Eatman

Annie Laura Stanton

Records of Baptisms and Deaths

June 25, 1837. Baptized Elizabeth, Infant daughter of Andrew and Elizabeth Lofton.

May 27, 1838. Baptized Sarah Ann, Infant daughter of D.C. A.B. Russel.

October 12th, 1845. Baptized Milton G. Lofton, Infant son of Andrew and Jane Lofton.

October 12th 1845. Baptized Rebecca Cathrine and Mary Eliza, Infant daughters of

Michael and Eliza Williams.

October 12th 1845. Baptized Margret Rhoda, Infant daughter of Hebron Julia


Dec 6th 1846. Baptized William Buckner, Infant son of T.C. and Sarah D. Linear.

December 6th 1846. Baptized Selena E. Craig, Adult upon profession of faith.

December 6th 1846. Baptized Martha Jane, Infant daughter of E.T. and M. Going.

December 6th 1846. Baptized Nancy Lofton, daughter of John and Macy G. Herndon.

December 6th 1846. Baptized Margaret Jane, William Allen, Rebecca Isabella and John

Thomas, Children of Selena E. and Andrew Craig.

July 18, 1848. Baptized John Somerville, Infant son of E.T and T.M. Going.

July 18, 1848. Baptized Nancy Jane and Midig Virginia and Elizabeth, Children of

Thomas and Margret S. Craig.

July 6th 1844. Baptized John Jobe, Infant son of A.E. and Marian A. Going.

July 6th 1844. Baptized John Joel, Infant son of N.A. and Julia Crofforde.

July 6th 1844. Joseph Samson, Infant son of T.C. and Sarah D. Lanear.

November 2, 1851. Baptized William Samuel, Infant son of E.T. and M. Going.

November 2, 1851. Baptized Thomas Henry, Infant son of A.E. and Marian Going.

November 2, 1851. Baptized James Curton, Infant son of F.C. and Sarah Lanear.

Died on the 23rd June in the 44th year of her age, Mary R. Eddins.

Died on the 29 May in the 91st year of his age, Thomas Lofton.

Died on the 21st May in the 36th year of her age, Elizabeth Lofton.

Died on 17 day April 1859, Andrew H. Lofton.

September 16, 1882. Baptized Mrs. Saphrona Lofton, Miss Jane Caroline Richardson and

Miss Jane Caroline Yeldon.

March 6, 1853. The Rev. F. Bradshaw baptized the following persons:

Job, son of E.T. M. Going

Thomas Baxter, son of T.C. S. D. Lanear

William C, and Elen W., son and daughter of Thomas Saphrona Lofton

September 4th 1853. The Rev. F. Bradshaw baptized the following persons:

John Albert and Henry Wayman and Andrew Lawrance, sons of Huston and Elizabeth


July 1st 1853. The Rev. F. Bradshaw baptized Alford Earnest, son of A.E. and Marian A.


October 15th 1854. The Rev. F. Bradshaw baptized Alford E. Going and Mr. Louis W.

Jay and Mrs. Nancy Jay.

November 5th 1854. The Rev F. Bradshaw baptized Miss Sarah Jane Jay.

May 13th 1855. The Rev. F. Bradshaw baptized Eli Lockhart, son of E.T and M. Going

and Emma Elizabeth, daughter of George and Ann Somervill.

June 10th 1855. The Rev. F. Bradshaw baptized Belton Curenton, son of T.C. and Sarah

D. Lanear, Sarah Adalene, Daughter of Thuston and Elizabeth Gardner.

November 11th, 1855. The Reverend F. Bradshaw baptized Marth Colwall and Mary

Susan and Helon Mar and Teler Roke and Lois Wisdom, Children of Mrs. Nancy Jay.

December 9th 1855. The Reverend F. Bradshaw baptized James Leslie, son of George and

Ann Somervill.

May 10th 1856. The Reverend F. Bradshaw baptized Emily Augusta, daughter of A.E.

and Marian Going.

October 11th, 1856. Reverend F. Bradshaw baptized Elizabeth Permelia, Daughter of

Elizabeth and Houston Gardner.

September 13th 1857. Rev. F. Bradshaw baptized Rebecca Lanier, daughter of Thomas C

and S.S. Lanier. Also, Baily, children of William I. Martha J. Baily.

July 1858. Rev. F. Bradshaw baptized Leuella Somerville, daughter of Dr. G.W. and Ann


October 3rd 1858. Rev. F. Bradshaw baptized daughter of Houston and Elizabeth


October 22nd 1859. Rev. J.P. McMullen baptized Martha Josephine, daughter of A.E. and

Marian Going.

Bethesda Church. August 25th 1866

Rev. C.M. Hutton baptized Sterling Crawford Lanier, infant of Thomas C. S.D. Lanier.

Also Mary Lane Somerville, infant daughter of Dr. G.W. and Ann Somerville

1868. Rufus William Going, son of J. Going, was baptized by Rev. C.M. Hutton.

Bethesda Church. August 23rd 1868

Rev. C.M. Hutton baptized L. Pleasant, Elizabeth Beathey, Sarah Catherine Lofton, all the children of Thomas and Sophronia Lofton.

Bethesda Church. March 14th 1869

Rev. C.M. Hutton baptized Everend Curton Lanier, son of Thomas C. and S.C. Lanier.

Bethesda Church. August 25th 1871

Rev. James Somerville baptized Henry Somerville, son of James A. and Murtes Going and Mary Bell, daughter of T.S. and Rebecca Jane Bridges.

Bethesda Church. January 25th 1872

Rev. James Somerville baptized Milton G and Laurance M. and James P., sons of Thomas Alis Duncan.

Bethesda. February 2nd 1873

Rev. C.M. Hutton baptized Mary Going, daughter of C.W. Hughs and of his deceased wife, Mary S. Hughes.

Received from Plesant Ridge Church baptized children of Amanda Nunuele

September 20, 1873

Sallie McMullen, infant of M.C. and M.S. Hutton, baptized by Rev. C.M. Hutton.

September 21, 1873

Angeline Sader, infant of M.C. and M.S. Hutton, baptized by Rev. C.M. Hutton.

September 27th 1873

Rev. C.M. Hutton baptized Mary Pickens Graham, adult and Nancy Catherine Russel.

July 14, 1878

Baptized by Rev. J.P. Osborn, William Wallise, son of Thomas G. and Alis C. Duncan

August 28, 1881

By Rev. J.G. Praigg, Francis Claude and Velma, infant son and daughter of W.A. and Helen Eatman.

Names of Members of Church (undated)

Thomas Lofton

Edwin Bridges

Martha Bridges

David C. Russel

Ann B. Russel

Andrew Lofton

Elizabeth Lofton

Mary Burnsides

Mary K. Eddings

Jane M. Craig

John S. Knox

Rachael R. Knox

Elizabeth Love

Nancy Davis

Julia Crawford

Francis Wier

Margaret Boon

Sarah Weir

John Herington

Jane E. Lavender

Nelson Crawford

Nancy Herndon

Prudence Wier

E.T. going

M.J. Going

Rebecca Going

Martha A. Going

Michael Williams

Eliza J. Williams

T.C. Lenear

Sarah D. Lenear

Selena E. Craig

Margaret M. Williams

Sarah S. Duncan

Thomas Lofton

Absolom H. Lofton

John Love

Margaret Craig

Margaret Cockran

Mary S. Giles

Marian A. Going

Miss Saphrona Lofton

Miss Elisabeth Lofton

Miss Mary Lofton

Jane Caroline Richardson

Miss Jane Caroline Yeldon

Mr. Huston Gardner

Mrs. Elisabeth Gardner

Miss Sara Going

Miss Mary Crofford

Mr. J.D.H. Weir

Mr. Alford E. Going

Miss Rebecca Jane Going

Mr. Louis W. Jay

Church Members Cont'd

Mrs. Nancy Jay

Miss Sarah Jane Jay

Mr. Thomas Boon

Mr. Andrew Eddins

Miss Elisabeth White

Mr. George Somerville

Mrs. Ann Somerville

William Baily

Martha I. Baily

Amanda C. Baily

Mrs. John R. Wright

Sophia Going

William Gardner

John B. Wright

Mary B. Going

James Huffman

James Neuton Hughs

Elisabeth Hughs

E.C. Mobley

Thomas M. Mobly

E.L. Mobly

Marth M. Jay

Herrantha Somervill

James A. Going

Alice C. Wells

Teler P. Jay

Joseph Cunningham

Elizabeth D. Cunningham

Rosaline L. Cunningham

John S. Going

James C. Lanier

James Jay

Mary Jay

Laura E. Lanier

Emma E. Somerville

James H.F. Parker

Missouri H. Graham

William S. Going

Virginia Casper

Martha Bailey

Ella Lofton

Job Going

Alice C. Duncan

J.K. Spence

J.B. Lanier

J.F. Nunnelee

Amanda Nunnelee

C. Nunnelee

Mary Nunnelee

James Nunnelee

William P. Peder

Names of Collered Members of this Church

Tener Servant girl of Mrs. R. Going (left the country)

Paul Perry Servant boy of A.E. Going (left the country)

Elisabeth Servant girl of Miss Martha A. Going (deceased)

Roda Servant girl of A.E. Going

Benn Servant of T.C. Lanears (deceased)

Aggy Servant of E.T. Going (left the country)

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Rev. James Porter McMillen, Pastored Bethesda Presbyterian Church in Benevola.  He
was the also the pastor at Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian Church.
Born July 21, 1811 and died in War Between the States on May 15, 1864 in Resaca, GA/
He and his son are buried with the unknown Confederate dead at Resaca, GA.