The Land Grant
I guess if I was going to start a historical story about New Hope Chapel it would begin with the land grant given to the seven Magistrate Proprietors of 1670 by King Charles. The Ashley and the Cooper rivers meet in Charleston Harbor to flow into the Atlantic Ocean. During the Revolutionary war, one of our ancestors named Sims was part of the merchant marine that shipped cotton and tobacco from that harbor in the New World to England in return for gunpowder and guns. The new nation paid in land grants because they had no money. A land grant was given to the Sims family that stretched from Trenton, New Jersey, to a spot on the bend of the Duck River in the territory of North Carolina. It was written on a sheep skin in 1793. In sections of one thousand and five hundred acres, it spread across the new frontier. New Hope Chapel is on part of that land. There was a well in the low spot between where the Pavilion is now and the back entrance. We tap into the physical and spiritual wells that have existed here since the broad-footed people lived here.
Elizabeth Scudder & Thomas Ryall, and the Gaselier
Elizabeth Rebecca Scudder, born November 30, 1819 in Shelbyville, is an important name in the development of this land grant and the basis for New Hope Chapel. Her family was from New Jersey and Pennsylvania. She married Thomas Coleman Ryall from Trenton, New Jersey in 1817 in Davidson, Tennessee. While they lived in Nashboro, as it was called then, they built a home place on the farm in Bedford County near the bend in the Duck River. In 1843, they built a dog trot home. The furnishings were brought across the country in Conestoga wagons. Furniture from China with a dragon motif, and from Japan with a lotus motif, furnished the parlor. There was gold leaf molding, cedar logs, poplar flooring, painted doors and wood work. There was a gaselier, which now hangs in the Chapel. It was half gas and half electric. The home was very modern with carriage house, mule barn, rock fences, spring houses, domestic animal gardens, and vegetable gardens. There was even a race track and a pond to keep fish fresh. Their son Albert Prentice Ryall was my great-grandfather. There are lots more stories about “the Great Dispute,” diseases in cattle, cutting wood, carriage rides to town, and Albert Prentice Cooper, who was Governor of Tennessee.