The Memoirs of William Jennings Bryan

By Mary Baird Bryan; William Jennings Bryan | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
CHURCH AND SCHOOL

IN becoming a member of the Church I entered upon an important epoch--much more important than I thought at the time. I was, of course, too young to know anything about the creeds of the different churches. I knew the names of the churches and had attended all of them at different times and had been connected with the Sunday schools of several of them. The Baptist Church in Salem had a very small congregation at that time. There was preaching there once a month and but very few young people in the Sunday school. The Methodist Church was a larger organization and I went to the Baptist Sunday school in the morning and the Methodist Sunday school in the afternoon. Besides these denominations the Presbyterian and Cumberland Presbyterian and the Catholics had congregations there. The last named ministered to but a few families. After my mother joined the Baptist Church with my father, about 1872, I began to attend the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in the afternoon. It had one of the largest congregations in the city and a great many children in that church were my companions in school. I think no other Sunday school had so large an influence upon my life.

The superintendent was the best Sunday-school superintendent I have ever known--at least, he so seems to me as I look back through the years and recall his devotion to the school, his friendly attitude toward all the children, and our intimate acquaintance with him. He seemed like one of the family; we liked to meet him on the street and enjoyed being sent to his store to make purchases. He was always on hand and the lessons that he drew from the Bible text are yet part of our thoughts and lives. If in

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