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A cemetery in North Carolina without a Soule in it!

Updated: Aug 18, 2023

In Hyde County, North Carolina stands a methodist church and cemetery named after Bishop Joshua Soule. "He was great-great-great grandson of George Soule, Mayflower pilgrim. Born to strict Presbyterian parents in 1781, the adolescent Joshua Soule converted to the Methodist Episcopal faith in 1797 joining the New England Annual Conference in 1799. Know as the a "boy preacher" he was an opponent of Calvinism, Unitarianism and Universalism. Tall, dignified and able, Soule was ordained, both deacon and elder, by Bishop Richard Whatcoat. He was appointed a presiding elder at the age of 23, placed in charge of the state of Maine. He also served as a book agent for the M.E. Church. In 1820, he was elected bishop, but declined consecration because the General Conference had adopted a policy he could not approve. He did accept episcopal consecration upon being elected again in 1824. In the 1844 split of the M. E. Church, he sided with the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Soule University in Texas was named in his honor in 1856. At that time there was another Methodist institution of higher learning named for Joshua Soule, Soule College in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. At the age of 85 he was worn out with labor and travel. He died in Nashville in 1867; his body was buried at the old Nashville City Cemetery. In 1876 it was reinterred on the campus of Vanderbilt University."

Whether Bishop Soule ever made a visit to Hyde County, North Carolina is not known by this editor and nobody bearing his name lies in the hallowed ground, however he was a considerable influencer in Methodist teachings and it's no surprise that a church would be named after him. "Soule Church is one of the oldest established Methodist congregations in Hyde County. In the early days Soule Church was the center of worship for a large portion of aristocracy at the time. Soule Church had its beginning on August 11, 1858, when John R. Donnell deeded the church site to Riley Murray, James R. Fisher, Edward Jones, Samuel G. Watson, Sr., James W. Swindell, Milton Sadler, Gideon S. Sermons, James Weston, and Leroy M. Swindell, who served as the first trustees of the church. Immediately after the church site was obtained, work was begun on construction of the building with Tulley Williamson as head carpenter. The church is a white-frame building with stained glass windows. In recent years wings for Sunday School classrooms, bathrooms, and a kitchen have been added. Nearby is Soule Cemetery, which is the largest burying ground in Hyde County. There lie the remains of people from all sections of the state--the place chosen because it is one of the highest spots in the county."

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