BRETHREN-L ArchivesArchiver > BRETHREN > 2008-07 > 1216309742
From: "Dwayne Wrightsman" <>
Subject: Re: [BRE] John H. of mention in the 1798 Annual Meeting
Date: Thu, 17 Jul 2008 11:49:02 -0400
A geographical correction to your description of the Wolfe family in
Illinois and Missouri: You claim that John Wolfe made a mistake about
whether is was Illinois or Missouri where his grandpa died. Well I'm not so
sure. One thing I do know is my Mississippi River geography. First off,
Ste. Genevieve and Kaskaskia are basically the same place; just look at any
good atlas. Both have been on both the Illinois and the Missouri sides of
the Mississippi River at different points in time. The mighty Mississippi
has had more than one major course. Kaskaskia Island is now politically in
Illinois but it is on the Missouri side of the river. Some time ago it was
on the Illinois side of the river. Ste. Genevieve County is mostly in
Missouri and partly in Illinois.
In fairness to John Wolfe, he was referring to an area in a time that had no
real political divisions, states, county borders, organized towns, stable
river courses, so I cannot fault him one whit for what he said back then.
The Brethren Roots article to which you refer places events of two hundred
years ago in today's political realm. Hm.....
----- Original Message -----
From: "Wayne Webb" <>
Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 11:11 AM
Subject: [BRE] John H. of mention in the 1798 Annual Meeting
> Morning List,
> Friend Merle has brought up, once again, a topic that intrigues me.
> seemingly innocuous statement about the John H. of Carolina mentioned in
> 1798 Annual Meeting is one that has long puzzled me. While I have seen it
> often mentioned there is not one instance where I have seen the statement
> quantified by documented references. Many accepted historical writers,
> seemingly all good researchers, have gone along with the party line and
> the statement: "This is probably Elder John Hendricks... he was
> I beg to differ. The majority of our history, seldom having been
> into the written word during the 18th Century, is from periodicals of the
> late 19th Century. A good-sized portion of it was the writings of Abraham
> Cassel, but there were others who were also writing from the memories of
> their forefathers and materials in their collections.
> One of these writers was Elder Isaac Price of Pennsylvania. While I
> not have a collection of his stories and articles I do have a reply to
> And it most assuredly sheds new light on just who John H. may have been.
> would give the odds better than average that John Hendricks was not the
> person of comment and that in his place we should consider John Hamm. The
> reason that I believe it was John Hamm is based upon two men, Elder Isaac
> Price of Pennsylvania and John Wolfe of Illinois, both from different
> regions of the country, stating that it was John Hamm. I will allow John
> Wolfe to speak in his own words from the 19th Century.
> "...You stated, that in an early day there were three churches or
> congregations organized in Kentucky and presided over by one "Ham,"
> afterward the apostate Ham, that he became a heretic, that he practiced a
> great many things that were contrary to the usages and order of the
> Brotherhood, and that Annual Meeting sent a committee to investigate the
> matter. Ham refused to hear the committee and the consequence was, he,
> the most of his members, were expelled. But a few remained faithful, and
> the process of time pulled up stakes and settled in the Missouri
> and among the number that moved to Missouri was the late Eld. Geo. Wolfe.
> "All the above narrative is a mistake except the churches organized in
> Kentucky, and to rectify that mistake and try to give the case as often
> heard them related to my father, is my object in referring to your
> (When I use the word father, I mean the late Eld. Geo. Wolfe, as he was my
> earthly father.) In the first place the apostate Ham never lived in
> Kentucky, but resided in North Carolina. You gave a correct account, as I
> often heard father tell, he was not an eye witness to the transactions but
> got it from those that were present.
> "But to return to the Kentucky churches. They were presided over by
> three elders, namely Joseph Roland, Joseph Hostettler, and ----- Hawn.
> Kentucky churches were organized somewhere between the years 1800 and
> In October 1808, my father moved from Logan Co., Kentucky, to what is now
> Union Co., Ill. He never lived in Missouri, but there were brethren who
> settled in Missouri about the same time father moved to Illinois. Father
> joined the church in the year 1812 in Union Co., Ill., about forty miles
> north of the city of Cairo. It is situated at the mouth of the Ohio
> He and my mother with six other brethren and their wives, were baptized at
> the same time by old Elder John Henricks, of Kentucky, and among the
> baptized at that was his brother Jacob Wolf, father of Eld. Geo. Wolf of
> California. That same season, father was elected to the ministry, and the
> next Spring they sent to Kentucky for Elders, and Hostettler and Rowland
> came, and father was ordained to the full ministry and eldership by
> Hostettler. At that time, 1813, Hostettler and Hawn were in good standing
> and in full fellowship with the churches. About the year 1815, they
> commenced practicing heresies in their churches, about as the apostate Ham
> "In the Spring 1816, there was a committee of elders sent to
> the matter. They were Samuel and John Leatherman of Virginia, father from
> Illinois, and James Henricks from Missouri. The result was, Hostettler
> Hawn were cut off. Roland's members plead so hard for him, and he making
> acknowledgement, was held in fellowship, though he was relieved from part
> his office, for the time being, but afterwards it was restored back to him
> "I get this knowledge from a copy of the Minutes of that Council
> meeting, which father preserved as long as he lived, but in the last few
> years they have been destroyed or lost, I rather think the former, as they
> burned a great many of his old papers a few years ago."
> The remaining portion of this article from an 1882 issue of Brethren at
> Work goes into a brief account of the later years of Elder George Wolfe
> mainly is a reply to statements made in the earlier article penned by
> Isaac Price.
> Let us dissect portions of this article saving the Apostate Ham for the
> last. We know, from other statements made by John Wolfe, that he has some
> accounts of the early history of his family incorrect. It was from he
> the statement that his grandfather George Wolfe Sr. died in Kaskaskia,
> Illinois originates. From the research of Judith Wilson and Penn Ann
> Wardrop (Brethren Roots Vol. 38, No. 4) we now know that Elder George
> did not die in Illinois while on a preaching trip from Kentucky, but
> died in St. Genevieve, Missouri near the house of a daughter. This is one
> strike against John Wolfe.
> Other statements made by John do seem to bear witness with work that
> Friend Merle and others, has located over the years and which seem to
> with accepted Brethren history. However while the "historians" have been
> willing to accept John Hendricks as the expelled John H. of the 1798
> I have not seen documentation to back this up. Not having access to the
> writings of David Eller, but being aware of his documentary standards and
> reliance on assumptions, I believe that an injustice may have been done to
> the memory of Elder John Hendricks.
> Since we seem to have one literary account by John Wolfe in reply to
> another by Elder Price we should give account to their statements. I have
> not been able to discover much about John Hamm. Or for that matter just
> when or where he was born or died. I was able to ascertain that he was
> likely a member of the Hamm family from Rowan county, North Carolina that
> intermarried with the Hendricks, Yontz(Yount?). John may, and that is a
> maybe, been the son of Jacob and Maria Catherine Keim Hamm. I remember
> while working on the Wolfe article that it was extremely difficult to get
> the correct John as there were several that were possibilities.
> The main point is that in this Brethren at Work article we have an
> account, in response to another account, that differs greatly with what is
> now accepted Brethren history; "John Hendricks is John H. of 1798".
> we have a contemporarily written history identifying this Man of Mystery
> having been John Hamm. And it does seem that both Eld. Price and John
> detested this man who by 1882 would have been just a memory.
> While the Brethren Encyclopedia has informative articles on both men
> both articles are written from the perspective of sitting on the fence
> making no statements other than that both men were possibly John H. It is
> likely that it was John Hendricks who formed the Cape Girardeau, Missouri
> and Union county, Illinois churches. However I believe that Elder George
> Wolfe had a hand in this. This would have been Elder George Wolfe, the
> father. Though Elder Wolfe died in Missouri in 1808 from experience I
> generally back up the formal date of the organization of a church by
> years. Invariably I find an account in the published materials,
> that supports this theory.
> Wayne Webb
> Past Editor: Brethren Roots
|Re: [BRE] John H. of mention in the 1798 Annual Meeting by "Dwayne Wrightsman" <>|