GOOCH GRAVE, Mc
Benderman Rd, MAURY COUNTY TENNESSEE
Mapping the Location
GOOCH, William S., 4 May 1800 - 24 Jun 1851. "This tribute erected to his memory by his wife Ailcy and five children. He was for many years a consistent member of the Christian Church and a faithful teacher in the same." (From the article below we know William S. Gooch was a very influential Christian Church minister. CWA, 2013.)
There were once other graves
marked by fieldstones. This area has been strip mined and is now so torn up that
without a guide it would be impossible to locate this small graveyard. None of
the residents were able to give me any help in finding it.
F. L. H. 1988 Listing taken by Mr. Fred Lee Hawkins from the book They Passed
this Way Page A-67. This book was by Marise B. Lightfoot & Evelyn B.
Shackelford, 1964. They found this stone across the road from the Herbert Foster
home. Herbert accompanied these ladies to the cemetery in 1964. They mentioned
that the field was mined in those days so maybe the mining did not destroy this
The article below is condensed from "Bethel Church of Christ History", by Jack Dugger, See full article here: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~maury/BethelCofCHistory.htm
By 1835 the movement to restore New Testament
Christianity was well established in Maury County, Tennessee. Numerous converts
scattered throughout the county were attempting to organize churches founded
only on the Bible without human creeds. No where was this effort any stronger
than in the southern part of the county near Southport on the Giles County line.
Here one of the untiring pioneer preachers lived.
William S. Gooch was a farmer by occupation but dedicated much of his
life to proclaiming Christianity. Born in Granville County, North Carolina, he and his wife, Aley Jones, came
to Maury County in 1825. He lived south of Mt. Pleasant and was known to be a
great debater. Along with L.A. Nichols who lived near Mt. Pleasant and preached
some for the church on Cathy’s Creek,
Gooch established a congregation near his home. Thus the Bethel Christian
Church had its beginning in 1835. Dying
at the age of 51, his wife and five children buried him near the Bethel meeting
house in a cemetery which can not now be located. The year was 1851.
The first meeting house of the Bethel church was built of logs with split log benches and lighted by oil lamps. It stood a few yards behind and west of the present house of worship. The history of the Bethel church of Christ is a history of the men and women who struggled to plant a congregation on the simple principles of the New Testament. One of the early stalwarts of the faith was Miles P. Murphy, Sr. The son of Nathaniel Murphy from Virginia, he married Eleanor Mack, from another early Maury County family. Like most of the first Bethel members, it can not be determined who was instrumental in his conversion. Joshua K. Speer and Wade Barrett were two early preachers who taught in Southport but perhaps the tireless William S. Gooch deserves the credit for introducing Murphy to the Gospel. Miles Murphy, Sr. would loyally support the Bethel church until his death in 1874. Like many of his neighbors who had no strong ties to the cotton plantation system, Murphy would remain loyal to the Union during the Civil War. At his death, burial was made in the Murphy Cemetery some distance west of the Bethel church. He also served as an elder of the Bethel church prior to the Civil War along with Robert Franklin Matthews.
In 1854 Robert F. and Sarah Eliza Bills Matthews moved to a small farm that included Miller Lake. Prior to the creation of this lake, the property was called the "Canal Place" because a visitor to the clear channel of water liken it to one of the canals in the North. Most of the Matthews’ seven children were born at the Giddens Place, four miles east of Mt. Pleasant. but the Panic of 1837 forced this well-to-do investor to sell his plantation to his brother Elisha and move to Enterprise. After several more moves he was finally able to buy the ‘Canal Place’ with the help of his wife’s inheritance. To supplement his income, Robert operated a freight business. One of the Matthews’ nearest neighbors was the George W. Hubbell family, also Bethel members.
When the Matthews became Christians is unknown. Some evidence suggest that it may have been as early as the 1820’s or as late as the 1840’s. They were certainly influenced by Mrs. Matthews' parents, lsaac and Lillias Houston Bills. The Bills had been baptized at their plantation home 4 miles south of Columbia on the Mooresville Pike around 1814. Before moving to Maury County, this family had resided near Lexington, Kentucky, and often heard the preaching of Barton W. Stone. Robert F. Matthews’ parents, however, were Presbyterians and were instrumental in organizing the Hopewell Presbyterian church near McCains.
In addition to William S. Gooch, Matthews and Murphy did much of the preaching in those early years before 1860. A local tanner, William McConnell, also kept monthly preaching appointments. Many families were converted and along with other Christians who moved into the community the size of the church quickly increased those first twenty years.
in the same.”
William S. Gooch, born 1800 & died 1851 married Alley Jones (called Alley, and in some places spelled Alsey).
The Federal Census of 1850 of Maury County finds the following record:
Surname Given Age
Gooch, William S., 50
Gooch, Alsey 45
Gooch, Patrick 20
Gooch, Barton S. 17
Gooch, Roland 15
Gooch, Mary J. 8
Gooch, Nancy H. 6
Gooch, Alexander 4
Gooch, Lucy A. 1
Gooch, July Ann 15
The Federal Census of 1860 of Maury County finds the following record:
Surname Given Age
Gooch, Alsey 55
Gooch, Mary Josephine. 19
Gooch, Nancy H. 15
Gooch, Alexander 13
In the 1850 Census there was seven children one of whom does not appear to be an immediate member of the family. She was listed at the bottom of the list and the age does not line up.
In the 1860 Censes there was just Alsey and three children remaining. Since the tombstone records mention five children from the ages it appears at least two or more children were grown and had already established separate homes or maybe they were deceased and were buried in one of the graves marked only with field stones mentioned above thus leaving five surviving children.
We know from other records that there was already matured children living away from home. In the book Century Review of Maury County p. 288 we find this information on Roland Gooch, the third child. “Roland Gooch, b. Aug 14 1836, at Southport, Maury County, is the son of William S. & Aley (Jones) Gooch who came from Granville County, North Carolina to Maury County in 1825. Roland married Nancy Jones daughter of Henry and Manerva (Corsort) Jones also from North Carolina”.
Sources already mentioned above. Added here 16 Nov 2013 C. Wayne Austin
Census Records | Vital Records | Family Trees & Communities | Immigration Records | Military Records Directories & Member Lists | Family & Local Histories | Newspapers & Periodicals | Court, Land & Probate | Finding Aids