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March 14, 2014 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Mystery: Dunn’s Chapel


Crossing Sharps Creek, Photo by Joanne Yeck

In early 2013, Slate River Ramblings introduced the mystery of Dunn’s Chapel.

Many questions remain.  Was there a physical church or meeting house?  Where exactly was it? Who were the pastors?

Methodist records of the Buckingham Circuit reveal that the church was active in 1869–1870 and 1881, which may be the year the congregation dissolved and merged with another church.

The surnames on the 1869–1870 class roster support the fact that Dunn’s Chapel was near Sharp’s Creek, Slate River, or Hunt’s Creek.  Guerrants, Snoddys, Oslins, Stegers, Norvels, and Woodfins worshiped there, among many others.  The Steward during 1869–1870 was Walter A. Ford.  My cousins, Sarah J. (Harris) Allen and her children, James Woods and Margaret E. Allen, were also members in 1869–1870.

If a Slate River Ramblings reader knows more about Dunn’s Chapel, please comment.


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  1. john ayres greenlee / Jun 20 2014 4:39 pm

    My great great grandfather Thomas Eldridge Ayres Sr. [1847-1874] preached at Dunn’s Chapel for a week in August 1871 during a revival meeting. I believe Dunn’s was near Edge Hill on Slate River. Information below in brackets is mine. His diary records:

    Sunday, 6.
    Very warm. James [James Nathan Ayres, T.E. Ayres’ younger brother] went to Sharon, & I to Dunn’s Chapel. I preached this morning on Paul’s Conversion. Stayed all night at Col. Ford’s. Received a letter from Mr. Carey .
    [Colonel Ambrose Ford was the Author’s relative through his mother. Col. Ford was a prominent citizen of Buckingham County, and had played a significant role in re-vitalizing the Buckingham Female Collegiate Institute in 1848. He owned Humanity Hall prior to its acquisition by T.E. Ayres’ maternal grandfather, Elijah Garland Hanes.]

    Monday, 7.
    Very warm. At Dunn’s C. I preached in the evening. The meeting promises to be a right good one. We spent the night at Anderson Guerrant’s.

    Tuesday, Aug. 8, 1871.
    Very warm & dry. At Dunn’s Chapel today. Very good meeting. We stay tonight at Mrs. Garrett’s.

    Wednesday, 9.
    Very warm & dry. Still at Dunn’s. At Col. Ford’s tonight.

    Thursday, 10.
    Warm! Warm!! I preached this morning on the “Almost Christian.” We are at Vince Brook’s tonight.
    [Vincent Reid Brooks (d. 1893), married to the Author’s cousin Emmeline Mosely Ayres (1843-1921), daughter of his uncle John Bransford Ayres. Vincent was a son of Reid and Susanna Agee Brooks, both of Buckingham County.]

    Friday, 11.
    Very warm. [Probably in the mid- to upper 90s; he recorded 102F on his thermometer on the 16th.] I preached this morning from the text, “Prepare to meet thy God.” Very warm time this evening. There have been sixteen converts during the meeting, & we received into the Church 12 or 13. I came home tonight.

    [[I am a 1st cousin of Paul R. White Sr., and as I learned recently to my delight, a distant cousin of Harry Holman.]

    • Joanne Yeck / Jun 20 2014 4:56 pm

      John, Many, many thanks for this wonderful transcription from your great great grandfather’s diary. I recognize all the names, as will many other Slate River Ramblings readers. We’re very glad you joined the conversation. Joanne

  2. Bill Davidson / Mar 14 2014 6:36 pm

    I find it interesting that my Davidson family married into, or was closely associated with, ALL of the surnames in your list, i.e., Guerrant, Snoddy, Oslin, Steger, Norvel, and Woodfin. I have no idea. however, if any of the Davidsons also went to Dunn Chapel.

    • Joanne Yeck / Mar 14 2014 7:30 pm

      Bill, I will check the class rosters for any Davidsons.

    • Joanne Yeck / Mar 16 2014 1:01 pm

      I checked both lists that I have for Dunn’s Chapel. No Davidsons.

  3. Jeremy Winfrey / Mar 14 2014 10:00 am

    I would be very interested in seeing this 1869-70 class roster.

    • Joanne Yeck / Mar 14 2014 10:02 am

      Jeremy, I will scan very soon and post as a follow-up.


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