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Know Your Archives: Historical Foundation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church

Today's guest post continues our Know Your Archives series in which contributors and readers submit essays about archives of interest to those researching religion in American history. Today's guest post takes us to Cordova, Tennessee and the Historical Foundation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America.


William Black

At the fall 1854 meeting of Indiana Presbytery, the Cumberland Presbyterian minister Thomas B. McCormick proclaimed he was “connected with the underground railroad” and did “not care who knows it.” He had helped more than thirty enslaved people escape from Kentucky, several of whom had been the property of another Cumberland Presbyterian minister.

I knew what happened next from newspaper accounts: Indiana Presbytery suspended McCormick from the ministry; a grand jury in Kentucky indicted him; the governor of Indiana agreed to let him be extradited; he fled. McCormick’s story, however, was considerably fleshed out by…

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