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David Appleby


Presbyterianism in the Ozarks

David Appleby  1788-1867

The picture of David Appleby and the article, following, are from the book, "Presbyterianism in the Ozarks, between 1834-1907". The book, published in 1909 by E. E. Stringfield,  Ph. D, Clerk of the Presbytery of Ozarks.  This book is a treasure trove of the life and times of Greene County during those early years.  It

includes many pictures and dozens of brief biographies.  To begin:


"The name Appleby is bourne by a host of people scattered throughout Greene and adjoining counties.  A good number of these are the direct descendants of David Appleby, but I shall make no attempt to tangle myself in the meshes of the interpenerating lines of descent.  A grandson, himself a man of discernment, told me that in his judgment David Appleby had the brightest mind of any one of the name. 


He was born in Pennsylvania in 1788.  His father took his family to Georgia in 1791 and about 1809, made another move to Middle Tennessee.  He David was married and here his seven children were born.  In 1832 he emigrated to Wayne County, Missouri, and about a year later came to Springfield.  If, as is probable, this was in 1833, it was the year that Greene County was organized--not with its present limits, but extending from the western and southern boundaries of the State to the Gasconade River on the east and to the Osage fork on the north--a vast parallelogram 75x100 miles in area. 


Six years later (1839) the Mount Zion Presbyterian Church was organized.  Mr. Appleby was elected a ruling elder, and, although his farm was fifteen miles from the place of worship, it is said that he rarely missed the monthly services or the special meeting of the session.


Ten years later the Springfield Church was organized and he became a charter elder in the new church.  He was probably the most influential elder in the first Presbytery of Osage, attended its meeting regularly, though they were frequently held a hundred miles from his home and his rare judgment was deferred to by ministry and laity.  He was probably the Chairman of Home Missions--at least it appears that he had the main voice in apportioning the missionary funds among the missionaries. 


In the troublesome times that led to the disbanding of Osage Presbytery, when the pastor of the Springfield Church endeavored to keep the church from going into the Old School fold.  Mr. Appleby stood by Mr. Morrison, the pastor.  But when the war came on--a champion of the Union cause--he refused to follow Mr. Morrison farther. 


Before the Springfield Church had a house of worship its monthly services were held at Mr. Appleby's house, and here, too, the First Presbytery of Osage held its meeting 1851, and he housed and fed most of the delegates, with their families, and provided provender for their horses.  The last meeting of the first Presbytery of Osage was held in Locust Grove school house near his home.  That was in the spring of 1861.    Picture on Page 202, bio for David on page 278.


Another Appleby segment on pages 125 through 129.  


This is a lengthy chapter, so only the portions relating to David and, briefly, of his son, James N. Appleby, is included here .  The Chapter is titled, "Springfield, Bellview (Greene County).  His writings, published in 1909, Dr. Stringfield, wrote:


Pages 125-126: "Fortunately the original records of this ante-bellum church are preserved and are now in possession of the clerk of the session of Calvary Church.  This church was organized on Sabbath afternoon, April 23, 1849, "at the brick school house in Springfield."  Dr. Artemas Bullard, of St. Louis, and Rev. G. A. M. Renshaw organized the church and placed it under care of Osage Presbytery.  Eight members from the Mount Zion Church and seven from other churches constituted the charter members.  At the head of the list of members stands the name of David Appleby.  At the organization of the Mount Zion Church (1839), he was made one of the first ruling elders.  This position he held alone for a time,  in the Springfield Church.  In December, B. C. Thomas was ordained to take part with Mr. Appleby in the eldership.  The church seems to have shifted its places of meeting from the school house to the court house, the residence of David Appleby, the Little Prairie School House, the Methodist Church in Springfield, etc., until the erection of its own house of worship on Jefferson street, between East Walnut and Elm streets."


Page 127:  A paragraph on this page:  "The last sessional record is dated August 29, 1864, and is signed by David Appleby as Clerk.  Later, another sessional record, dated November 14, 1870, " Rev. James A. Paige, pastor of Calvary Church, was the Moderator, and the elders were James N. Appleby, W. E. Witherspoon and James P. McCurdy." 

Later in the same paragraph: "At the reorganization of the Presbytery of Osage April 26, 1866, when the churches were being enrolled, Rev. W. S. Messmer reported that he had organized a church at Prairie Grove , consisting of eleven members, to be known as the Presbyterian Church of Springfield; that the church requested to be taken under the care of the Presbytery and at the session had appointed David Appleby to represent them in this body.  ***  The name of the Springfield Church was changed to Bellview October 11, 1873.  The new book for sessional records was signed by James N. Appleby, C. S. 


The Bellview Church erected its present house of worship, in 1876 at a cost of $860.  It was dedicated by Rev. C. H. Dunlap in November of that year.  Changes in the personnel of the community have almost depopulated the church, but the building and cemetery ground back of it have been kept in good repair.  

A. B. Appleby is the only resident elder, a grandson of David Appleby, who was a charter elder in the Mount Zion Church and later in the Springfield Church.


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09 February 2006