Monday, June 28, 2010

Rev. Sion Blythe


John Dulaney and Margaret "Peggy" Martin were married on March 16, 1826 in Jefferson County, Alabama by Rev. Sion Blythe. From this marriage, nine children were born - five in Itawamba County - before Peggy's death about 1848.

Sion Blythe was a pioneer settler and Baptist preacher. A biographical sketch of Rev. Blythe indicates that he was one of the first preachers in north-central Alabama. He was called the "reluctant preacher" because when he moved into the area from South Carolina, he tried to conceal the fact that he was a minister. As the story goes, he built his log cabin and settled down to be a farmer, instructing his wife, "I am not known here as a preacher, and if you will keep it secret, I will endeavor to conceal myself, and not let the people know that I ever attempted to preach; and perhaps this will be well, as I still have my doubts on the subject." The secret got out, however, and in 1817 Sion Blythe organized Mt. Zion Baptist Church in St. Clair County, Alabama, possibly the earliest church in the county. In 1821, Rev. Blythe and nine members organized the Cahawba Baptist Church in neighboring Jefferson County, Alabama. He remained with that church until 1833, and died of a fever in 1835.

Interestingly, John and Peggy's first child, Elizabeth, was married to Daniel Blythe, son of Lemuel Blythe, in Itawamba County on January 4, 1849. However, there does not appear to be a family connection between Lemuel and Sion, at least none that researchers have found.

Sources:

Jefferson County, Alabama
Marriage Book 1
1818-1856
Page 94
Number 528
March 16, 1826
John Dulaney to Margaret "Peggy" Martin with the consent of James Martin, her father.

Alabama Baptist by Matie Loue Teague Crow
A history of the rise and progress of the Baptists in Alabama, by Hosea Holcombe

3 comments:

Lori said...

What an interesting story. I am the sister of two Baptist preachers, so I am intrigued by the fact the good Rev. was trying to keep it a secret that he was a pastor. Obviously, something had happened that had clouded his ministry for some reason for awhile. I'm glad that he was "found out" and spent so many years with that congregation. It makes me want to learn more about him.

Mona Robinson Mills said...

Lori, I couldn't find out why Rev. Blythe wanted the information kept quiet about his preaching background. A Blythe family history indicates that he was a pastor at Middle Fork Saluda Church in South Carolina before moving to Alabama.

Mona

Joe Whitten said...

I may be wrong, but I believe the cause of his not wanting to preach was that the churches in North Carolina were strongly Calvinist or Reformed in doctrine, whereas Rev. Blythe moved in his theology more to an Armenian doctrine. That probably would have caused some discord, and Rev. Blythe, in his discouragement, decided not to preach. The fact that he became a revivalist in Alabama speaks to his fervor for God. Furthermore, he and Rev. Holcomb, who was a staunch Calvinist, were good friends and worked together for God in Alabama.