BRETHREN-L ArchivesArchiver > BRETHREN > 2007-02 > 1170598206
Subject: Re: [BRE] The Dunkards - A Remarkable Gathering
Date: Sun, 4 Feb 2007 09:10:06 EST
A good reporter never lets the truth get in the way of a good story. The
moderator for this meeting was John Kline of Virginia having recently been
released from prision
This meeting was held about five miles from the current site of the Brethren
Heritage Center in Brookville OH. - Jim Denlinger
This account appeared in The Dayton Weekly Journal Tuesday June 10, 1862 as
seen through the eyes of a reporter.
The Dunker Conference-The Sunday Mass Meeting.
The Dunker meeting yesterday, on Hays’ farm (Wolfe Creek & Diamond Mill)
near Weaver’s station on the Dayton and Western and Greenville and Miami
Railroads was a monster meeting, and was probably the largest religious assemblage
ever convened in this section of the country. The number present was
variously estimated at from 12,000 to 30,000, and some enthusiastic persons went as
high as 50,000. We think the 12,000 would be a liberal estimate.
The excursion, taking the 7:30 on the D & W. R. R. we were soon speeding our
way over the iron track, leaving behind us brick and mortar and emerging
upon green fields and shady woods. The morning was delightful, the sky
overcast sufficient to relieve from the heat of the sun, and the atmosphere cool and
bracing, imparting new life to the system. The country was beautiful, and
everywhere the ripening betokened the near approach of harvest; many fields of
rye looking as if but a few days of bright weather were necessary to render
them fit for the cradle.
As we approached the neighborhood in which the meeting was to be held, the
roads on either side were lined with vehicles, and everything betokened an
immense gathering. The two railroads carried out from Dayton something over
one thousand persons, and from the West five or six hundred more came in on the
D. & W.
The grounds at an early hour were crowded, and before 9 o’clock preaching
was going on in five different places. The main place of meeting was a tent one
hundred and seventy five feet by about forty in breath. This was also
filled up for an eating saloon by the Conference, and seats provided for eight
hundred persons. In this tent were two meetings, separated by canvas. In a
barn close by was a third, and in the orchard and adjoining woods were two more
Preaching and singing alternated until one o’clock when the various meetings
adjourned and preparations made for feeding the multitude attending the
Conference. The men occupied one end and the women the other. The provisions
served up were of a good, wholesome, substantial character. In the meantime
that portion of the audience which had come to look on, were seated on the
grass, under the trees, exploring the deep recesses of sundry baskets, supposed
to be laden with the "best of the season,” and all seemed to be in the
enjoyment of good health and extended appetites. We were fortunate enough to ”drop
in” just in time at a private entertainment of this kind, and fared well.
The Conference was commenced on Sat. by a preliminary meeting, and on Monday
morning business meeting opens, when the various committees will appoint and
proceed to their various duties. The Society is represented from almost
every State in the Union. From Virginia come two delegates, both of whom we
believe were imprisoned by the rebels for their loyalty to the starry flag, and
only released by payment of a large sum of money. Many of their members in
the Southern States have been made to feel the rule of rebellion as they are
truly a loyal society, and hold to the good old Union. The meeting will
continue until Wed. evening.
(Many thanks to the Brookville Historical Society who discovered and typed
this account verbatim several years ago from the actual newspaper at the
Dayton Public Library – the original is no longer available to the public due to
its fragility – thanks Wayne Watkins for your contribution of preserving this