|A History of
Joyners Camp Ground
By Rev. Wayne Sheffield
Pastor: Dancyville Circuit
A Methodist Camp Site ~ Founded in 1892-93
79 years of service to God
(This history would have been written about 1971)
In 1892, from the inspiration of being at a camp meeting in or around Brownsville Tennessee, Rev. Bob Taylor came home and began to think in terms of a meeting place closer to home; to reach out and give a place for further out areas to meet and worship. As a result, he and J. T. Joyner, and several others in the area got together at the stream that runs through what is now the camp ground area and decided that the spot, where they were, would be a good place to give to the work of God, and it was done. Mr. Joyner gave five acres and Mrs. P. J. Jackson gave two acres , and it was started. The first real meeting was held in 1892 (actually a year before the tabernacle was built) and it was a "Bush-Arbor" meeting. The families got together and put up little tents made of poles and bushes (just something to keep off the sun.)
From that point on, by the grace of God, the Camp Ground grew to be an inspirational meeting place for many people, for many years in their life. people would come from 15-20 miles in all directions: Somerville, Williston, Mason, Braden, Brownsville, Whiteville, etc. to take part in the Joyners Camp Meeting. Families would drive to the meeting in their buggies and just stay for days at a time.
They had no particular time to meet, but would meet during the time when they would have the best moonlight in the month of August. For some years at Joyners there were meetings with 1200 to 1500 people attending the services. Then, on some occasions there would be as many as 1500 to 2000 people attending.
When the camp meetings at Joyners first blossomed, the people would buy privileges to run the camp hotel, the camp livery-stable, the barber shop and the shoe shine shop. There was a gate fee of $2.00 per family that wanted to come into the meetings. On a per-person basis the price would be 50 cents a day and a dollar on Sundays. The gate fees were used to pay the cost of the meetings.
One thing that meetings always had was a MARSHALL to make sure that things went in an order that was proper. Rules were made every year and carried out by this marshall. He would make rounds through the grounds to check out the keeping of the rules by the people participating.
Some of the rules were:
(1) If you weren't in the tabernacle during services, then you must be in your own cabin. There would be no wandering about during the time of the meeting.
(2) After the second Horn sounded at night, the lights were to go out and everyone was to go to bed and go to sleep.
(3) Cars or buggies were not allowed to come through the camp grounds during services.
The Marshall would make rounds and make sure that trouble was not started, and that the rules were upheld by those staying at the camp ground.
PREACHING services in the past have been all day long, and into the night.
The services used to be as follows:
Sunrise Player Meeting
9 O'Clock Preaching
11 O'Clock Preaching
3 O'Clock Preaching
5 O'Clock Preaching
Then, night preaching (sometimes several hours.) Some of the Preachers that have held meetings at Joyners Camp Ground were: "Wild Bill" Evans, George Stewart, Sam Jones, Burke Culpepper, Miss Daisy Davies, Mrs. Morris (wife of Judge Morris of Texas,) Mr. H. C. Morrison, Mrs. Geraldine Conway, Rev. Steel and Rev. H. A. Butts (who was also the president of the Camp Ground longer than anyone, and many others that have brought joy and light to those that have needed some where to turn, and found God through their experiences at the Camp Meetings.
The OLE SWIMMIN' HOLE is an item that has added happiness and joy to many, many of the boys and girls that have grown up going to Camp meeting at Joyners year after year, giving many pleasant memories to keep.
For a long time in the life of Camp meetings at Joyners, the boys and girls had to go swimming in different places because of the moral rules of the grounds were such that they could not swim together. The swimming hole has been moved several times since the first meeting but the children at the meetings have always enjoyed the fun, and will most likely continue to enjoy, at the place to swim in the creek. The creek is fed by a few natural springs that come up into the creek bed at various spots.
THE OLE HOTEL is another spot on the grounds that will remain long in the memory of many
young people growing up, and many that have grown up, gotten married and now have children of their own. The Hotel has been a place for all ages to board and stay through the week for camp meetings but in recent years the main attraction has been (to the young people that enjoyed the week while staying at the hotel) is it was being run by the stern but caring hands of Mr. Perry Rogers. The young people have played together, talked together, prayed together and ate together; stayed up late talking and getting up early for breakfast; and all the time building up memories to carry home with them until the next year rolled around. It is the hope of all the Camp Ground Association that the atmosphere of the Hotel at the Camp Ground will bring happy and pleasant thoughts to young and old alike; in God's name.
This year a new kitchen has been added to the hotel and repair work has been done on other parts, and more will be done next year. At the Hotel you get a roof over your head and three good meals a day for a total of $16.00 per week (or $3.25 per day.)
The hotel is for any and all that want to stay there. The boys will stay upstairs and the girls will stay downstairs. The hotel manager will be in the room between the dining room and the center hallway.
THE PAST - Many things have happened over the past years that could be written about but that would take up many pages of writing. I am only going to mention a couple. There was a FLOOD that hit the Camp Ground area at Joyners in 1910, that flooded the whole area (it has been said that it was the worst in the history of the Camp Ground) to the degree that the people had to move out of the areas until the water went down. But, when it went down, the people came back and the meeting resumed. Wild Bill Evans was holding the meeting at Joyners at the time of the flood that year.
The not too many years back - there was a meeting held by the Rev. Mrs. Geraldine Conway and the Rev. Pittman Marbury (who was the pastor of Dancyville circuit at the time.) One night during the meeting Rev. Marbury and Rev. Conway were praying, and they prayed for an "enlightening sign" and following that came rain. Then, lightening struck the tree close to the hotel in front of a few lines running to a few cabins and the hotel. The lightening reflected to the electrical wiring on the pole, and approximately five people felt the effect by either being knocked down or knocked out completely. It wasn't funny at the time but after everybody lived through it, and people had time to think about it, credit began to be given to the power of prayer, and all kinds of joking comments were made about it.
The camp ground meets each year to hold meetings (the Tuesday before the meeting starts there is a "Stew Day" combinde with "Cleanup Day" , when the people come down and clean up the grounds, eat dinner together, and get ready for the camp meeting,) and although it has been dropping off some in attendance over the last couple of years, we are excited about the feelings that are in the air about RENEWING Joyners Campground due to the service that it can render to the people in a wide area of Tennessee. The outreach in the next few years, if God is willing, can be an effective one. Improvements are part of the planning for the future (both spiritual and physical) but both need the willing heart of the people. If your interest lies in helping God work through the outdoors areas of outreach for Jesus Christ then your help and participation would be indeed appreciated.
Every Camp Ground has to have a Camp Ground Counccil:
The very first Camp Ground Council of Joyners consisted of the following
Rev. Bob Taylor
Mr. Edmund Taylor
Mr. J. T. Joyner
Mr. Joe V. Alexander
Mr. J. H. Garnett
The present Camp Ground Council consists of elected officers and/or one representative from each family camp.
Rev. J. N. Locke is the President of the present Council.
The surrounding area connected to the Camp Ground is owned by Mr. Sam Rhea, who has been very cooperative with the Camp Ground and its work.
The information for this put-together of information was gathered from various people that have been connected with the Camp Ground for several years, however, the biggest part of the information was given by Mr. June Walker, Sr. of Shiloh.
We are hoping that we can put the Camp Ground into use 9 to 10 months out of the year with camping, meetings, etc.
Thanks to PAT KING for scanning her copy of this history and providing for the web site.
Pat is the:
Daughter of Claude P. and Mary Ella Key McCollum (Mary
born in Dancyville)
Granddaughter of Charles B. and Mary Frances Barden Key (both buried in Dancyville UMC)
G-granddaughter of William P. and Ella Carney Key (both buried in Dancyville UMC)
G-g-granddaughter of Logan D. and Mary (Polly) Stovall Key
G-g-g-granddaughter Jonathan and Mary Davis Key
GO HERE for a flyer advertizing a meeting at Joyner's Campground.
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