Moscow Church

The following interview of the Moscow United Methodist Church was conducted on October 17, 1984 by Phena Fincher speaking with Miriam Moore Adam.

Phena: I'm talking to Miriam Moore Adam. She has been a member of the community that's out in and around in the Moscow Church area for a long time and attended that church as a child. Miriam, it's nice to have you with us this morning and I appreciate you sharing with us your knowledge of the Moscow United Methodist Church. Tell us where Moscow Church is located.

Miriam: Well, it's out on the Cale Road about, I would say, 2 1/2 miles from Prescott.

Phena: That would be east or southeast, wouldn't it, on the Cale Road? It's a beautiful old rural church and they're still having services there, is that correct?

Miriam: That's right.

Phena: Do they have Sunday School every Sunday?

Miriam: I don't know about the Sunday School, but they do have services once a month, I understand.

Phena: Is it once or twice?

Miriam: I think it's once.

Phena: It is a member of the Prescott Circuit, is that correct? Do you know when the church was founded?

Miriam: No, I don't remember the date. Now I did know way back.

Phena: When you came here was the present building in existence at that time?

Miriam: No, there was another building, larger, in the same location, but there was a bad storm and it blew it - it didn't blow it clear down, but it twisted the building and then all of the men in the neighborhood donated their work and tore down the old church and rebuilt the one that's presently there, with the same material from the original church. But they built a smaller building, not quite as large as the original.

Phena: Is it just a one room type, no Sunday School rooms or anything like that?

Miriam: Yes. But as far as I know, it still has the same benches in it that the old original church had.

Phena: Do you know anything about the history of those benches? Were they constructed, too, by members of the congregation, would you think?

Miriam: I don't know about that. They were in the old church. After the new church was rebuilt some of the people in the community kind of refinished them, sanded them and varnished them and made them look a little nicer.

Phena: Do you recall any of the original pastors?

Miriam: No, I really don't. I can remember it a long time ago, there was a Bro. Durham and that was when I was a teenager.

Phena: And I think it's been a member of another charge so that the minister served several other churches as long as you can remember?

Miriam: Yes, it belonged to what they call the Prescott Circuit. I can remember my parents used to go to Fairview and to Pleasant Ridge over here.

Phena: New Salem was on that Circuit.

Miriam: They used to go to what they call quarterly meetings.

Phena: They had those every quarter then and it was a big thing.

Miriam: The women of the community took dinner. It was an all day affair.

Phena: And they enjoyed the fellowship they had with the members of the other churches at that time. During what years would you say the membership was the greatest as far as your knowledge is concerned?

Miriam: I would say in the twenties and thirties.

Phena: And then, at that time, I suppose the area was a lot more densely populated than it is now.

Miriam: Yes, 'cause so many of the old homes now are gone. There is no place now for them to live in the area.

Phena: And they wouldn't make a living probably, as farming is no longer a good profession in the area. Seems like people are not doing it. You mentioned that when you were growing up you had a number of youth in the church at that time.

Miriam: There were 15 or 20 young people that went to church and Sunday School there.

Phena: And did you have a Sunday evening service or anything?

Miriam: No, we didn't have Sunday evening service but we did have on Wednesdays, the middle of the week, we had a youth group that met and would have a program and sing and enjoy themselves. We didn't meet at the church very often. We usually met in different homes.

Phena: That was a time of fellowship and a good time for young people like that. Did you have any kind of organizations as far as the women were concerned?

Miriam: Yes, they used to have what they called the Ladies Aide.

Phena: Did they meet on a regular basis?

Miriam: I don't remember whether they went at certain times or not, but I know they used to meet as a group and quilt, and do different things like that. One family I know, when one of the ladies had a new baby, the women all called him the "Aide Baby".

Phena: That's cute. Do you know the names of some of the old families that were in the church, just in general?

Miriam: The Davises and the Lowdermilks, Stantons, Garretts, Moores and the Gladdens, Mr. and Mrs. Ed Gladden.

Phena: Were they members of Moscow Church?

Miriam: Yes, Mr. Gladden particularly was. He worked with the church a number of years.

Phena: How would you say the services have changed over the years? I don't know how long it's been since you've attended there, but I'm sure you know something about, well, for example, I doubt they have a Ladies Aide Society anymore, do they?

Miriam: No.

Phena: And they don't have a youth group.

Miriam: Not that I know of. Just limited to the church service once a month.

Phena: Do you know if that's in the morning or afternoon?

Miriam: I think it's early in the morning.

Phena: Do you remember any interesting stories about things that happened concerning the church or in that particular area. Usually you're impressed by something as a child that you remember and take with you always.

Miriam: Not really.

Phena: Well you mentioned something about a Civil War...

Miriam: Oh, when we moved here there was a big tree along the side of the road there by Moscow that had a big knot on it up high and the story was that during the Civil War there was a skirmish there close to Moscow and a cannonball had hit that tree and that's what made that big old knot on it. I remember that story that I heard when I was just a girl. But through the years the tree was cut down for some reason or other and it isn't there.

Phena: When you first started to church there, what was your means of transportation?

Miriam: I guess we had a horse and buggy or horse and wagon.

Phena: Do you remember revival meetings?

Miriam: Yes, we used to have a revival every summer, along in the summer.

Phena: During the slack time from farm work. I think that's probably how summer time got chosen among the rural churches. Is there interest there, you think, that Moscow will continue to function as a church in the community?

Miriam: I really don't know. Probably Bro. McKinney could tell you that now. Now the present church here, just a few years back, several different people worked on it and they paneled it and did a lot of work to it and it's nice inside.

Phena: How was it heated when you started going?

Miriam: With a little old wood stove and that was until a few years back, I think they put in a butane tank, if I'm not mistaken, and electric lights. We used to have Aladdin Lamps that were suspended from the ceiling. They disappeared. Several times things from the church disappeared, you know. Some nice chairs that sat up on the pulpit disappeared and the table where the secretary used to sit. That went away and things like that happened and we never did know what happened. That's been a long time back. I don't know that they've had any problem like that anytime in recent years. They used to have an organ up there and then in later years they got a piano. As far as I know they still have the piano. That's about all I remember, really.

Phena: I appreciate so much your willingness to share this because we've had a difficult time finding someone that could tell us something about Moscow.

Additional information about the Moscow Church as recorded in the Arkansas Methodist of May 14, 1936. The record shows the names of Jacob F. Whiteside, Martha E. Whiteside and Sarah A. Gill as members in 1860. The land was given by Jacob Lavendar. Mary Livingston, who lived in the Moscow Community, became the wife of Rev. J.A. Sage. Fletcher Whiteside was a preacher, the grandfather of Rev. W.J. Whiteside. Some other names of early members were the Cantleys, Livingstons, Ben Steele, Brysons, Wiley, McKenzie, McCracken, McMillans and Gills.

A number of revivals were held there. There is a campground nearby and a minister who was very famous during those days, Dr. H.C. Morrison, held a meeting at the campground near Moscow.

This interview can be found at the Prescott/Nevada Co. Depot Museum in Prescott, AR.