The two boys, about fourteen or fifteen, had engaged in fisticuffs during recess at their school in Georgetown, Kentucky, and were called to account by their teacher when class resumed. The teacher, a man in his early forties, lectured them with great affection and soon, tears were seen flowing from his eyes. Tears began to flow, too, from the eyes of at least one of the recess combatants and shortly thereafter the two boys shook hands. After school was dismissed the sobbing boy was asked why he had begun to cry, and he responded, “How could I help it? I be hanged if I wouldn’t rather take a whipping than to have that good old man preach to me and cry.”
The crying boy was in his late twenties when he and his family moved to Missouri. After learning that citizens of a town he had founded wanted nothing to do with the Pacific Railroad then moving beyond Jefferson City, he founded another town in 1861 and named it for his daughter, Sarah, whose nickname was “Sed.” Shortly after, the name was changed from Sedville to Sedalia.
And George R. Smith, known to friends in his younger days as "Mill Pond George," who wept when he was lectured by his teacher, Barton W. Stone, became one of the charter members of the Sedalia First Christian Church.
Our regional meeting, in which we will celebrate the bicentennial of the first Christian Church in Missouri, will be held in a town founded by one of our own, a man heavily influenced by one of the founders of our denomination, in fact, the one who said we should be called “Christian.”
We’ll hear more of our story there.
Bob Priddy is the retired News Director of The Missourinet statewide radio network.
He’s a member of the Jefferson City First Christian Church
and is President of the State historical Society of Missouri.