Jeremiah Walker Cullom had preached at the Springfield Methodist Church from 1855-1857. He was next appointed to White’s Creek Circuit, then to Harpeth Circuit.
For a period of time in 1861-1862, he was chaplain of the “24th Regiment of Tennessee Volunteers.”
In 1862, he was appointed to Morgan and Moulton Circuits, but it was not until 1866 that “regular preaching” continued for Cullom. Between his illness and having to farm to provide for his family, those years from 1862-1866 were difficult.
In 1875, Cullom was appointed to Springfield for the second time.
His journal entries for those years tell not just of the weather (16 degrees below zero on Tuesday, January 9, 1877), of his fruit trees (60 apples, 10 peaches, 12 dwarf pears planted in April, 1876), of his purchases (a dairy cow for $30 from John Long).
His journals also tell of people and events that were important during those days.
On Monday, May 1, 1876, for example, Cullom went to Temperance Hall. This had been built in Coopertown by the Sons of Temperance. It is an interesting entry because of the barrel-making going on in that community at the time.
Cullom noted on July 21, 1877, that they were “cursed today with a ‘great barn dance’ in the neighborhood.” He added, “And a circus has just past.”
The circus, it is thought, was more like a fair.
On August 4, 1877, he noted the Camp Meeting at the Corinth Methodist Church in the Ashburn Community.
Cullom’s notes on the people of Springfield are even more important today.
On April 3, 1876, for example, he bought a bookcase at auction for $8.10. Hardy Ventress Harrison and his wife, Virginia Caroline Batts, had been forced to sell their belongings due to debt. Cullom had married them in 1856 and expressed his sadness at the proceedings.
Weddings are listed in the journals: T.E. Brown to Belle Long on July 4, 1977, and Richard Edward Polk to Cora Annie Murphy on October 15, 1874, among many others.
Cullom also lists deaths: Lucy Kirk, Luiza Powell, R.H. Murphey, Jr., G.B. Jones – all during January, 1877.
Most important of all, perhaps, Cullom listed all the residents of Springfield, not just the Methodists. He did not, however, include the African-Americans.
He notes 657 inhabitants and 126 families. The names of the heads of each household as well as the number residing in each household are part of the list.
The published list has been valuable in Springfield historical records.
Jeremiah Cullom was appointed to the Antioch Circuit in October, 1877.
He described his “valedictory” in Springfield, when he preached on October 3. At the end of the sermon, Gen. J.E. Garner, Col. Sadler, and Archie Thomas took over and held a business meeting. A collection was taken - $130, and more added the next day.
The money went to complete Cullom’s salary for the year and to repay a loan he had made to the Springfield church.
Cullom did not retire until 1908, when he was 80 years old. He still preached until the last four years of his life.
He was visiting his son in Arkansas when he died in 1915.
Jeremiah Walker Cullom is buried in Triune, Tennessee.
In the Eagle’s Eye is sponsored by the Robertson County Historical Society. Call 615-3823-7173 for more information.