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A Hundred Years Ago in the Advocate

Written By: Phillip Stone - Oct• 23•17

This was my column for the October 2017 edition of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate

South Carolina’s Methodists were well aware of world affairs a hundred years ago this month.  With American entry into World War I, one Advocate columnist predicted that American entry would tip the balance in favour of the Allies.  Another South Carolina missionary in Brazil wrote about his work there.  And Methodists celebrated their community at the annual Indian Fields camp meeting.  Here are some of the stories from the Advocate of October 1917.

Dr. David Duncan Wallace writes:  The longer the war goes on the more evident it becomes that those German authorities were correct who had preached before the outbreak of the conflict that Germany’s hope for victory in the war would be in an overwhelming assault at the front. When this plan failed because of the unexpected resisting power of France and the invaluable aid rendered by the small British contingent that did not know how to be defeated, the German hope of victory was really scuttled. The British drive now on in Flanders is accompanied by a barrage fire beyond anything in intensity, constancy and effectiveness that either side has ever seen.

If Russia had stood firm, the end of the war would have been immensely hastened. With the advent of great American armies next summer, the end it is all together reasonable to anticipate will be brought about inside of that year.

Cyrus B. Dawsey, a South Carolina missionary in Brazil, wrote this letter to the Advocate’s editor: 

My dear Dr. Stackhouse: we were delighted to get your letter written just after the Wofford commencement.

A few days ago I returned from our annual conference in Rio de Janeiro. Bishop Mouzon is not with us.  However we had a splendid conference. The reports of both native and missionaries are the finest in all the history of our Brazilian work. Even though the times have been hard on account of the war, yet our financial reports were excellent. Our Sunday school gain was more than three times the gain of 1915-1916.  Our Epworth league also made a forward step.  In fact, all of our work was greatly advance during the year. I believe it all points toward a great of a day for Brazil. Those of us who are here are glad that we have a part in this change for the better.

My territory is all new. So many times do I preach to people who have never before heard the Gospel. Next Sunday I shall receive into the church a man who had never attended a Protestant service until he moved here some months ago.

Finally, this report summarized the annual camp meeting at Indian Fields, which is still going strong a century later.

Indian Fields camp meeting closed Sunday which was the biggest day of the camp and a number of people from Charleston drove up in machines [automobiles] to spend the day. From Summerville to the camp there was a continuous stream of vehicles from the high powered motor car to the old farm wagon pulled by a mule.

The camp meeting is held every year and is one of several held in the state, the next one being in about three weeks time at Cypress. The roads to the camp were in good condition, this being another attraction for a Sunday afternoon drive, and machines were in evidence from every part of the state. A number of machines were advertising the Orangeburg County fair, showing that Orangeburg was well represented. The campgrounds are situated on a beautiful site about 3 miles from St. George, well shaded by large pine trees. The tabernacle is in the center of a large tract of land, full of stately pines and surrounded by a number of small houses called tents by the campers.

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