In the mid-1700s, there lived in the horseshoe bend area of what became Pulaski County, and on the west side of New River, a Methodist layman by the name of Alexander Page.
Long before Methodist Circuit Riders came west of the New River with any regularity, Page held regular meetings in his log home for Bible study.
At about the same time in history, Edward Morgan, an Englishman by birth, came to this area. He was a man of great zeal who participated in the meetings at Page’s cabin and, through encouragement from Bishop Francis Asbury, became licensed to preach.
With the help of Page and others, he constructed a log meeting house on Page’s farm in 1773. The small meeting house was used as a Methodist meeting place for almost 100 years.
Camp meetings were held there regularly, with well-known preachers exhorting. The meetings continued to be held there after the congregation moved to its new church, Morgan’s Chapel, in the village of New River.
The Rev. Morgan preached and held prayer meetings and class meetings at Page’s Campground regularly. He was an able and successful local preacher and many people were converted under his preaching.
During the historic camp meeting-era that started in 1880, Page’s was one of the well-known camp meeting sites in the Holston Conference of the Methodist Church.
Bishop Francis Asbury preached at Page’s on at least two occasions, as indicated in his journal
In a letter to the “Holston Methodist,” published in 1874, the Rev. George Stewart wrote, “ I think it quite probable that right there at Page’s meeting house was the first Methodist preaching, the first Methodist class formed, and the first church and campground built within the bounds of the Holston Conference.”
In 1895 Alexander Page willed to the Methodist Church 252 acres of valuable land, but according to court records, the land was never claimed by the Methodist Church. The camp meeting site became absorbed in a farming operation and was all but forgotten.
It might very well have been forgotten had a local Presbyterian lady not become intensely interested, and determined to see the historical meeting place preserved as a Methodist historical site.
This lady was Clarita Morgan, whose husband descended from the Rev. Edward Morgan. Along with the Holston Conference committee on history and archives she started an active campaign to reclaim the original two acres of land.
In 1974, a clear deed to two acres of land, the cemetery and the corncrib containing logs from the old Page’s Meetinghouse was received
-Lloyd Mathews is a retired land surveyor and a historian who lives in Pulaski.