It was raining hard when Aaron Burr was recaptured near McIntosh Bluff on the Tombigbee river in Washington County. He and his captors, a detachment of U.S. Calvary, spent a restless night in the meeting house before proceeding next morning to Fort Stoddart, down toward Mobile.
Aaron Burr was the former Vice-President of the United States accused of plotting an empire for himself in “the West”..west of the Allegheney Mountains, that is. He had “jumped bond” after his arrest at Natchez Mississippi, and was headed for sanctuary at Spanish Pensacola when re-arrested that rainy February night in 1807.
The Meeting House, known as Tombeckbee Mission, belonged to no organized congregation. It was built by pioneers moved to action by the preaching of Circuit Rider Lorenzo Dow who preached to any but organized none, as was the way of the early circuit riders. Even so, history says, “Alabama Methodism was born at McIntosh Bluff.” This was with the coming of Lorenzo Dow in March of 1803.
The Reverend Dow was not a member of any certain Conference but was a strong preacher, fearless, and dedicated. He was described by the Conference Journal as a “Warm-hearted, impulsive Methodist.” He was received into the Conference in 1798.
The first meeting house is assumed to have been burned by Indians. A second meeting house presumably was built in 1808, under the ministry of Mathew Parham Sturdivant who organized a Methodist congregation affiliated with the South Carolina Conference. He was the first of a line of pastors who have served the charge through one hundred and sixty years without a break.
The Methodist Church at McInstosh had served in faith under five different Annual Conferences when the Alabama Conference was organized in 1832. At this time the church was known as Andrews Chapel.
On May 14, 1860, the Methodist Episcopal Church South was the legal receiver of five acres of land deeded by the Rev. John G. Rush and his wife, Glorvina E. J. Rush. In 1860 a then-modern log church building was erected, and Rev. Rush’s brother-in-law, Mr. John Kelly, had charge of the building work.
Andrews Chapel, built of hewn logs in 1860, served the congregation of McIntosh Methodist Church for 92 years.
One of the first marriages performed in Andrews Chapel was that of Dr. Frank Webb and Miss Edna McRae. Dr. Webb was an ardent church worker in Calvert, 8 miles south of the log church.
The church was very small, therefore very few weddings or funerals were held there. Of the present generations, only five of these are remembered: Marzelle Pringle – George Wheat; Hazel Daugherty – Frank Lee; Vera Daugherty – Bruce Johnson; Howard Daugherty, Jr. – Donna Dickey; Vickie Lewis – Russell Henson.
There are no Sunday School rooms in the log church and for years, weather permitting, classes were held outdoors. The inside of the Chapel was restored in 1976 followed by the addition of a front stoop built by Mr. Fletcher Moore.
Most members of the church associated Mrs. Rebecca Stedham, now deceased, with the McIntosh Sunday School. Serving as postmistress for years, she was also Sunday School Superintendent for about the same length of time.
It was common for “ice cream suppers” and “box suppers” to be held on the lawn for benefits of the church. Andrews Chapel served the McIntosh Methodist Church until 1952 when the now-modern brick church was built.