A BIT OF HISTORY
December 14, 1906
A BIT OF HISTORY
Of the Hurricane Camp Meeting Held Annually for a Number of Years
Editor of THE RECORD:--I have been asked to write up the history of the Hurricane camp meeting. If you will give me space I will try to write from memory some of the facts in the history in the year 1890.
Sixteen years ago Bro. S. K. Breeding, the pastor of Hurricane church organized the camp meeting at Hurricane with the following names as a camp meeting committee: Joseph W. Guess, S. F. Crider, T. A. Minner, J. B. Perry, Jas. T. Terry, Dr. I. H. Clement, Methodist, and R. M. Franks, then a minister of the Baptist church. They adopted the following rules: First, that there should be no stands of any kinds on the grounds except a feed stable and a hotel. Second, that the ladies and the gentlemen should not sit together during services.
A large shed was built for a place of worship. There was also a man of this committee appointed to distribute lots for any who desired to build camps for their own convenience in attending the annual meeting. Among those who were given authority was R. M. Franks who was not a member at that time of Hurricane church. The camps were built in good faith with the assurance that they had a right to control them for camp meeting purposes. But soon after the camp meeting began to be of a note money lovers began to seek the place to sell various things that are sold at public drinking places. The committee tried to hinder this in every conceivable way. First, by paying at the rates of one hundred and fifty to two hundred dollars per acre for the lands occupied by stands. The stand owners would move to another point and set up again. One year the committee raised over four hundred dollars for the purchase of land and right of ways to prevent stands and to perpetuate the privilege of the camp meeting. This money was obtained as a free will offering from people that lived in at least six different states as well as our own people. The camps are now owned by people from different counties and states and so far have not consented to relinquish any title promised by the committee. Since the organization of the committee has been changed. J. W. Guess, Dr. I. H. Clement, R. M. Franks and Dr. R. G. Carty have resigned and L. C. Terry and J. G. Hamilton have been put in as committeemen. This camp meeting has been a help to all that would avail themselves of the opportunity to be helped. Eternity alone can tell its advantages. The disadvantages were only to those who misapplied their privileges.
The committee has always endeavored to meet the demands of the meetings from year to year. Many objects of charity have been met through their careful management. As long as there was no opposition by the rulers of the church we had grand results. Holiness instituted in several states as a result of this camp meeting. Also may preachers have been the outcome of this camp meeting. We will say that there has been more preachers produced as the direct or indirect result of this camp meeting than all the churches put together in the bounds of the district. People have come from all quarters and freely give their money for the running expenses of this camp meeting and nearly all of them have preferred that their names were not known. Yet the leaders of our church would have us report it as church expenses and would ignore the report of money given a pastor by one who may not be a member of his own flock, though it may have amounted to 50 cents or $1. Should these annual collections been reported every year since the organization of the camp meeting it would have amounted to more than five thousand dollars and yet our own home churches have given but a small amount of it comparatively speaking, and yet we are called upon to render an account of their stewardship and in these latter years jealousy has been created in our own ranks and is much attributed to acquisitions [accusations?] brought by people that knew least about the affairs, but should there be an edict that this camp meeting should close in 1907 there would come up a cry from the four quarters of the earth from every name and order against it. Why? Because the camps are owned by all denominations, or nearly all and they have paid their money for them. They don't own the grounds but they do own the camps by virtue of promise and repromise and they have no use for them but to camp in them every year and it is a great pleasure. We have looked forward for these sixteen years with pleasant expectations for the coming of that noted day, Wednesday, before the fourth Sunday in August as the day to move into the camps for ten days and those ten days are as much enjoyed as is possible.
In reference to this camp meeting as a charitable institution, I have known invalids to receive as much as thirty dollars and sent them to their destination. The people become liberal as they associate together in a meeting like this.
To bring it nearer home, when R. M. Franks has his horse stolen from the camp ground a few years ago the people with one accord made up eleven dollars and odd cents to secure his horse. think of an institution that is more charitable. The wants of the sick and suffering have been met liberally.
When old Hurricane church caught fire during Bro. Jim Bigham's ministery [sic] the old camp shed being attached to the church gave us the only chance to save it. Notwithstanding this the church or pastor ordered that the shed or tabernacle be cut loose from the church and it was done. The tabernacle now stands independent of the church as a place of worship for all denominations during the camp meeting. If a man will attend every service of one camp meeting he will discover his prejudice and will give it up and will be a happier man because of it. Come let us reason together and live while we live.
R. M. FRANKS.
Source: Crittenden Record. (Marion, Ky.) 1904-1907, December 14, 1906, Image 6 - Chronicling America - The Library of Congress.
[My comments are in brackets.]