Rev. Richard R. Evans and Moses Neely
By Andrew Pouncey
Germantown suffered during the Civil War because of its strategic location on the Memphis & Charlestown Railroad. The Germantown Presbyterian Church was the only Germantown church to survive the Civil War. The Rev. Richard R. Evans and Elder Moses Neely persuaded a federal officer to spare the church because they were Masons. Together with the Masonic Hall (Germantown, No. 95), the church was saved and used as a hospital, commissary, and stable.
Rev. A.G. McNutt and seven charter members organized the congregation on March 24, 1838: the Greek Revival-style frame church dates to 1851. The bell tower was added in 1867. The Rev. Evans (1820-1903) guided the congregation through the Yellow Fever epidemic of the 1870s, economic downturns, and the rebuilding of lives. He administered here for 53 years. In 1950, the congregation rotated the church to face east, and it continues to serve as a chapel.
There are two memorials to these men inside the chapel, one a stained-glass window and the other a stone plaque. The stained-glass window reads: “In Loving Remembrance of R.R. Evans. beloved Pastor of this church for 53 years. Born June 4th, 1818 Died July 2nd,1903. and his wife Margaret J. Evans. Born Aug 1st, 1829 Died May 31st,1901.”
The plaque reads: “In Memoriam MOSES NEELY BORN Jan. 29, 1799. An Elder in this church From 1843 to 1887 DIED Jan. 18, 1887. A faithful Servant of God.”
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