Reverends & 1879 Revival, Crawford, Clinards & Wilkinsons


Following up on my “Lewis Clinard family” blog, I wanted to share some wonderful photos and history shared with me by my Clinard cousins Margery Ruth Rawls Reasoner and her brother Lucian Rawls. Their grandparents were Susan Emma Crawford and Archibald Wilson Clinard. Susan Emma Crawford’s father was Rev. James Howard Crawford of Robertson County.

Reverend James Howard Crawford

Birth 29 Dec 1830 in Robertson, Tennessee, United States

Death 11 Mar 1891 in Robertson, Tennessee, United States

Rev. James Howard Crawford, portraitfrom Bonnie Reasoner Mills

Rev. James Howard Crawford pic w:hat, from Bonnie Reasoner Mills

This is Julia A. Betsy Crawford, James Howard Crawford’s sister who married Hiram H. Bell

Birth 13 Jun 1833 in Robertson Co, Tennessee, United States
Death 30 Jan 1905 in Robertson, Tennessee, United States

Betsy Bell, Emma Crawford's Aunt


This dapper fellow is believed to be their sibling, Joseph W. Crawford

Birth 1823 in Moore Cty, NC
Death 1875 in Kevil, McCracken, Kentucky, United States

Joe Crawford, Ruth Reasoner collection

(Let me know if you have a photo and can confirm it or not…)


Another sibling is Reverend John Crawford

Birth 20 NOV 1818 in NC
Death 16 FEB 1902
We don’t have a picture of John yet, but here is his obituary writeup from the 1902 Methodist Review.

Rev. John Crawford, Methodist Review, 1902

Now back to Reverend James Howard Crawford…

Rev. James Howard Crawford in frame, from Evelyn Bell

His first wife was Mary Susan Culbertson 1836 – 1866, and their children were:

  • Susan Emma CRAWFORD 1859 – 1950
  •  Thomas W. Crawford 1862 –
  •  Joseph William Crawford 1864 – 1936
  • Susan Emma Crawford, striped shirt,oval

(We don’t have a photo of Mary Susan Culbertson yet or her two sons)

Rev. James Howard Crawford’s second wife, Frances C Anderson 1844 – 1933

Frances C. Anderson


Bonnie Mills, daughter of Margery Ruth Rawls Reasoner and great-granddaughter of Susan Emma Crawford, has been working on their Clinard/Crawford/Rawls family history and shared what she knew about the Crawfords.

“I have a small amount of info about James Crawford.  Rev James Crawford: Jim Crawford was a Methodist minister as well as a farmer, according to the 1850 and 1860 Census.  At the time of the 1860 Census he was in Springfield.  In the 1870 Census he was in the Barrren Plains Post Office area.

His first wife was Mary Susan Culbertson.  Their first child died at age 4 months.  They then had three healthy children.  Jim’s fifth child and wife died when the child was 2 months old.

Jim’s second wife was Francis Cumi Anderson.  They had four children and lived on a farm off of Springfield Road according to Emma Mae Clinard Rawls.

It was said by Emma Mae Clinard Rawls, his granddaughter, ‘”He treated the kids very tight.  A few rules they always followed were you always went to church, no work on Sundays and you choose your friends carefully because you are judged by the people you run with.” ‘

According to Emma Mae Clinard, he died while he was a preacher at Mt. Zion, but she mentioned that he also preached at Mt. Sharon at some time. He died of injuries suffered while hauling timber.  His grave is marked with a gravestone at Mt. Zion Church Cemetery.

I have his father, Charles Henry Crawford, as being a school teacher in the 1850 census.

I do have in my old notes from my grandmother that his son James Robert “Jim” Crawford (1876-1950) was also a Methodist minister.  On Susan Emma Crawford Clinard’s, his half sister, death notice he was listed as living in Greenbrier, TN”


Forest Grove Methodist Church


Another of my Clinard cousins who also likes to dig in history brought me a copy of the “Greeneville Methodist Church History” from the Joelton area which included a chapter on Forest Grove Methodist Church. It would appear that James Howard Crawford was a preacher for the Forest Grove Church in 1879 as well as Mt. Zion.

From the Greeneville ME Church history:


“Forest Grove Methodist Church is located in Davidson County four miles north of Joelton, Tenn., on the Springfield Hwy. It is one of the four churches on the Joelton Circuit. Having been built around the year 1870, it is one of the old landmarks in the county. Exact dates are hard to obtain as no records were kept.

About the year 1870 a movement was started to build a church. Jim Cooper, Sr., was appointed architect and builder. Cage Wilkinson Sr., Gil Reasoner, and Andrew Drake were liberal donators of both their time and money in the project. Few families could be termed as having even comfortable means of living, but every man, woman and child were willing workers in the service of the Lord.

Work was started in the wooded area, the timber was cut and the logs processed for the new church. Many denied the necessities of life to their families to build this place of worship. The work was done well, for the building stands today as nearly like the original as is possible. Sunday school rooms have been added and the interior has been remodeled.

Forest Grove has had a checkered career. In 1883 Conference failed to send a preacher as the people failed to support the church. The only services held that year were when a circuit rider would stop. James D. Crawford, who was loved by all, was asked to hold a revival. Reports have it that the church was filled on one of the preaching nights. During this revival of religion one night the building was well filled and at the conclusion of the sermon upon invitation forty came forward, accepted Christ and united with the church. This was a turning point in the life of the church. At the next Annual Conference the church was restored to the circuit.”


I have a few other pieces of the past about Rev. James Crawford & Forest Grove Church. Two documents my great uncle found of my great-great grandmother’s Sallie Smiley Wilkinson Clinard include a marriage certificate and letter home to her husband when she is at a church revival in 1879.

Sallie’s father, Micajah “Cage” H. Wilkinson (B: 1813 in Davidson Co., Tennessee, USA, D: 10 Jan 1874 in Joelton, Davidson, Tennessee, USA) was one of the donors to build Forest Grove. They lived just over the Robertson County line in Davidson County, somewhere along Sycamore Creek and the Springfield Hwy. Here’s a photo of my great-great-great grandfather that helped build Forest Grove United Methodist Church, Cage Wilkinson.

Micajah H. Wilkinson

My great-great grandmother, Sallie Smiley Wilkinson, his daughter, married Benjamin Boyd Clinard on Feb. 26, 1879. This colorful torn document shows that Reverend James Crawford Sr. of Forest Grove Church officiated their ceremony.

Ben boyd Clinard, Sallie Wilkinson mc, Crawford

Here’s photos of Sallie Wilkinson and Benjamin Boyd Clinard, my great-great grandparents that were married at Forest Grove by Rev. James Crawford. She was 18, he was 28.

Sallie W. Clinard oval, retouched by KC Boyd Clinard, oval portrait

A letter tucked into a family cookbook that must have been hers and passed to her daughter, Jessie Lee Clinard, was a treasured find, and one of the only ones we have from her. It is September the 22, 1879, seven months after they married and she is writing a letter to Boyd to tell him about the church revival she is attending at Forest Grove. (transcription below each page – Page 3 might have been the 1st page. Her lack of punctuation was bothering me, then she comments on it to Boyd and it tickled me when I transcribed that part)

Sallie Wilkinson Clinard, Church letter 1

* Page 1

Dear Boyd,

According to promise I will write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope these few lines will find you the same. The protracted meeting begun yesterday and the church was crowded all the men could not get seats there was preaching in the evening most every one carried their dinner, but we did not so came home and John Bracy, Thom Hinkle and Sam Rawls came home with us and eat dinner and all of us went back in the evening. John Harris said he was going to tell you that I had three beauxs. Brother Crawford preached and several joined the church and were babtised. Boyd every one said

Sallie Wilkinson Clinard church letter 2

* Page 2

I had got better looking since I had married Dear Boyd I did not enjoy myself one bit for I missed you more than I ever did it seemed like I was a looking for some one I did not know who Bud saw Uncle Hinc(?) last Monday and he paid over seven thousand dollars to the court and Bud said we would get our money in about a month he reckon some of it any way. O dear Boyd, how I wish you was here to go to meeting with me to night we all are going and I will think of you all of the time be certain to write me tell me when you are coming after me. I wish you would come Saturday week or when you can get ready don’t come until you get ready. Dear Boyd here’s this short letter for I do not feel like writing. A sweet good by write soon excuse bad writing and spelling I will try and write you a longer letter next time so good by for a while

Sallie Wilkinson Clinard church letter 3

*Page 3 (this is a poem but not sure if hers or just one of the day)

If all our hopes and all our fears

were prisoned in lifes narrow bound

If travelers through this vale of tears

We saw no better would beyond

O what could check the rising sigh

What earthly thing could pleasure give

O who would venture them to die

O who could then endure to live


From your true and loving wife, Sallie

 To her Husband, Boyd Clinard

 When far away and friends are few pray think of me and I will of you             



Here’s more photos of Susan Emma Crawford, daughter of Rev. James Howard Crawford and Mary Susan Culbertson from Margery Ruth Rawls Reasoner collection.

Susan Emma Crawford tintype, 1859, Reasoner coll

  Susan Emma Crawford, 2 orig photos Susan Emma Crawford, fan pic ~~~

Susan Emma Crawford married Archibald Wilson “Cooney” Clinard, an elder for 50 years at the Mt. Sharon Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Their home was the big two-story house that overlooks the Pebble Creek Golf Course and is still there today.

Archibald, Susan Emma Crawford family

   Here’s their daughters…Elva, Emma Mae & Lillian Clinard, Reasoner coll Lillian Clinard ((1886-1954), Reasoner coll

Emma Mae Clinard

And Archibald Clinard & Susan Emma later in life…

Archibald Wilson Clinard, (1855-1925), Reasoner

Susan Emma Crawford Clinard, Reasoner coll

Archibald Clinard & Susan Emma Crawford, Margery Reasoner collection

Here’s the most wonderful photo of Mt. Sharon Cumberland Presbyterian Church in 1894 from Margery Ruth Rawls Reasoner’s collection. It was noted on back that it was the Sunday School. Archibald “Cooney” Clinard is pictured in the middle row, 6th from left and was a church elder for 50 years. I’m sure his wife and daughters are probably in here as well, and the rest are unidentified.

Note that the two photos are a little bit different with people showing on the edges in one and cut of in the other. Looks like several o the girls and women used the same bolt of polka-dot fabric. The boys in the front row have bare feet and I wonder why the one little boy got to sit on a chair.

Mt. Sharon Sunday School, 1894, Bonnie Mills

My great uncle has attended Mt. Sharon his entire life and said these are the earliest photos he knows of from Mt. Sharon. He made copies and put in the church’s archives.


Here’s a few more photos of Archibald & Susan Emma Clinard and their children from Mike Clinard’s collection.

Arch W. Clinard, Emma and 3 children


The grandchildren of Archibald Wilson Clinard and Susan Emma Crawford had a reunion at their parents old homeplace. From Mike Clinard’s collection.

Clinard Reunion June 14, 1986.  Grandchildren of Cooney (Archibald) and Susan Emma Clinard and the only living child of Cooney and Susan Emma. Cooney homeplace

That’s all for now!

Categories: Family History: CLINARD, NC to Robertson Co, Tenn, Robertson County History | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Reverends & 1879 Revival, Crawford, Clinards & Wilkinsons

  1. Nancy Arnold

    Great photos! So glad you were able to put this together. It is great! Thanks!

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