Ernest Edward Carrier
The Story of Baptist Pioneers
Of Upper East Tennessee
In grateful appreciation:
This volumn is dedicated to
Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Thomas
whose support made possible
my theological education
Many dear and wonderful people have greatly helped in providing information and assistance in the completing of this account of our Baptist endeavors in East Tennessee. In the bibliography, I have given credit to those whose contributions were helpful, and the nature of their aid indicated.
However, I would be amiss if I did not acknowledge the following persons: Ms. Grace Pennell for typing the original manuscript; Mrs. Darlene Atwood for making valuable suggestions as to style and structure; Mrs. Gloria Cress for preparing the final manuscript; Mrs. Mary Whitton for finding the grave of L. L. Maples; Clyde R. Green, Boone, N. C., for making available the early minutes of the Three Forks Association, and a special thanks to Mrs. Mollie Slier for sharing the only complete set of minutes of the Watauga Association of Baptist.
Finally, my deepest appreciation to Louise and Jeffrey whose interest and sacrifice has made it all possible.
First Baptist Church
Mountain City, Tennessee
The following account of Baptist endeavors in East Tennessee is an effort to preserve the story for later generations while authentic and historical records are still available.
Many hours and much effort have been spent to get all the facts and to record the impressions of eye-witnesses. It has been very disappointing to discover that many records have been misplaced or lost through carelessness. Many valuable church documents have been destroyed in fires. Too many churches do not keep accurate records, nor do they provide safe storage for their documents. Unless church clerks improve in keeping church documents, future generations will have few accounts of present happenings in our churches.
We have received a priceless legacy from our pioneer parents. Through their sacrificial efforts we have gained religious freedom and the eternal message of salvation. From our progenitors let us learn courage, faithfulness, patience and in the name of Zion's King let us subdue our wilderness, sowing the good seed of the gospel.
I present this material with a prayer that it shall provide the reader with much enjoyment and inspiration, and that the ties of our Baptist fellowship will be strengthened.
Traveling through the countryside of Johnson County, or driving along the shady streets of Mountain City, the county seat, one is impressed with the beauty of the area. One would readily agree with the feelings of the early pioneer visitor to the area when he reported: "I have discovered a country so delicious, pleasant and fruitful, yet were it cultivated it would, doubtless, prove a second Paradise." (1)
Where a growing community is now established, Indians once hunted and made campgrounds. Many relics of these American natives have been discovered by later generations. Some historians have dated Indian tribes in the area as early as 4,000 B.C. The predominate of these tribes were the Cherokees. (2)
In 1779 Daniel Boone, an early pioneer explorer from the Yadkin River Valley of North Carolina, passed through the county marking the trails to carry settlers to the western wilderness of Kentucky. (3)
The hunters, explorers, traders and travelers led the way for the settlers who would come to Tennessee. The first permanent white settlement was established in January, 1769, when William Bean of Virginia built on Boones Creek in Washington County. (4)
These early settlers came from North Carolina and Virginia. The expectation of gain, the lure of the open country, an infectious spirit of adventure, and a desire for liberty and independence led them over hazardous trails to the mountains and river valleys of East Tennessee. (5)
The persecution and opposition by the established religious authorities of North Carolina and Virginia hastened the immigration of settlers into the wilderness. Records reveal that toward the end of the 18th century hundreds of Baptists migrated into the territory of Tennessee. By 1810 there had been established in the state 102 churches with 11,693 members and six associations. This rapid growth of the Baptist Church was due, in part, to revivals and the energetic ministry of the frontier preachers, the simplicity of Baptist doctrine, the democracy of its congregational structure, the lack of ecclesiastical controls, and its appeal to the common people. (6)
Jonathan Mulkey was the first Baptist preacher to come to Tennessee. Records reveal that he was preaching in Carter's Valley (Hawkins County) in 1775. The grave of this pioneer preacher is in the church yard of Buffalo Ridge Baptist church, Gray Station, and the inscription on the marker reads: "In memory of Jonathan Mulkey, Sen., born Oct. 16, 1752, after having been a preacher of the gospel of the Baptist order more than fifty years." (7)
The first Baptist congregation to be established in Tennessee was the Buffalo Ridge Baptist Church, 1779, at Gray Station. Tidence Lane was the first known regular pastor of the congregation. By 1786 there were seven Baptist churches organized in upper East Tennessee; Kendrick's Creek (Double Springs); Bent Creek (Whitesburg); Beaver Creek (Sullivan County); Greasy Cove (near Erwin); Cherokee Creek; North Fork of the Holston (Abingdon, Va.); and Lower French Broad (Dandridge).
These early churches were represented in the Sandy Creek Association in North Carolina. But because of the hazardous journey to the North Carolina association, the Tennessee churches organized their own association, the Holston Association of Baptist, in 1786. Tidence Lane was chosen moderator, and William Murphy, clerk. (8)
The Baptists established a congregation in Johnson County on April 20, 1794, as the Roan's Creek Church of Christ, under the tutelage of the Three Fork Baptist Church, Watauga County, North Carolina.
This congregation was organized on the doctrinal position of the Philadelphia Articles of Faith (1722). The congregation counted 75 members. (9)
As the Baptist work prospered in the area there grew a need for the Baptist Churches of Johnson and Carter Counties to organize an association to strengthen their fellowship. The Watauga Association of Baptists was organized at the Cobb's Creek Baptist Church, Johnson County, on September 18, 1868. J.H. Hyder was chosen moderator; J.P. Vanhuss, clerk; and A.J.F. Hyder preached the sermon.
Taylorsville, Pine Grove, Pleasant Grove, Friendship, Sugar Grove, Little Doe, and Cobb's Creek from Johnson County: Stoney Creek, Watauga, Elizabethton, Elizabethton (Colored), and Zion from Carter County. Two Washington County congregations, Indian Creek and Coffee Ridge, were represented, but later withdrew to unite with the Holston Association.
A note of interest is the fact that L.L. Maples was pastor of five of the fourteen churches organizing the new association. These five congregations (Taylorsville, Pleasant Grove, Little Doe, Cobbs Creek, Watauga) had a total of 614 members, one-half of the total membership of the constituting churches.
During the next two decades 18 more congregations would unite with the association: Shady Valley, Union, Harmony, Sharp's Creek, Bethel, Doe River, Rain Hill (Little Mountain), Pleasant Hill, Happy Valley (Roan Mountain), Walnut Grove, Elk Park, Elk Knob, Elk River, Popular Grove, Antioch, Hampton, Evergreen, and Rock Springs.
In 1889 the association would report twenty-four churches with 2404 members.
Gleaning the early minutes of the annual meetings of the Watauga Association of Baptist, one can discover the concerns of its messengers. In the first meeting of the Association, 1868, a need for a local high school was discussed. A committee was appointed to study the possibility of constructing a school "in a healthy and central location in the Association." L.L. Maples was appointed chairman of the committee.
The winning of the mountain people of the Association to faith in Jesus Christ was a real concern of the delegates. L.L. Maples was chosen "as a suitable person to serve as general missionary, within the bounds of this Association." And the Moderator's son, A.J.F. Hyder, was appointed "to labor in the destitute parts of this Association and especially among the Colored population." The missionaries reported at the next annual meeting 144 converts.
The use of alcohol by church members was a topic of discussion in the 1874 annual meeting. The messengers adopted a resolution urging member churches "to prohibit their members from making, selling, or using spiritious liquors as a beverage." Again in 1879, the messengers of the annual meeting would urge cooperating congregations to expel all drunkards and discourage common dram drinking among their members." Later the association pleaded with member churches, "to adopt total abstinence, and each church draw a rigid reign of discipline over all dram-drinkers."
Getting a formal education was very difficult for these pioneers of the mountains. The lack of training was most noticeable among the clergy, and was a deep concern of the Association: "Ministers should be educated in order to meet the infidelity and skepticism of this age. Men of learning and sagacity are assailing the word of God and trying to subvert the Christian faith. Such men can only be silenced by an educated ministry. The educated must meet the educated in the great struggle between truth and error."
Because of the autonomy of the local Baptist congregation, the Association was prevented from establishing educational requirements for its ministers.
The Association in each annual meeting challenged member churches to support missions. The gospel must be sent "to the heathen in other lands." It also urged the messengers to assist other local congregations in their building programs.
In 1968 the Watauga Association celebrated 100 years of serving Christ. A Centennial Pageant, "Forest of Faith," written and directed by Pat Alderman, was presented at Elizabethton High School, October 25, 1968, to dramatize the story of the growth and progress of Watauga Association of Baptists. (11)
The story of Watauga Association would not be complete without reference to Gertrude Hale, who has served as associational missionary for 34 years, 1941 - 1975. "Miss Hale," as she is affectionately known throughout the area, came to the Association after graduating from W.M.U. Training School in Louisville, Kentucky. During her early years as missionary she traveled by foot, by bus, and by borrowed automobile to churches in Carter and Johnson Counties. Through her visits with local churches, she promoted the work of the Southern Baptist Convention, taught Bible courses, conducted Vacation Bible Schools, and led in visitations seeking the non-Christian. The growth and stability of the Association during these last 30 years has been, in part, due to her efforts. Many times the Association has shown its appreciation for "Miss Hale." (13) Recently the Association voted to give to her the Association Home as a permanent residence in appreciation of her years of unselfish service.
At present the Watauga Association is composed of sixty-six churches, 25 of which are in Johnson County. The stated purpose of the Association is: "to promote Christian fellowship and cooperation among the churches affiliated with the Association; to uphold the doctrines and principles of our Baptist faith, and to encourage the churches to be loyal to and practice these doctrines and principles; to promote the preaching and teaching of God's word; the enlisting and training of all Christians for service; to promote missions, benovolence, stewardship, Christian education, and the winning of all men to Christ to the ends of the earth; to cooperate, as we deem proper, with the Tennessee Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention in a world mission program." (12)
An important part of the religious growth of the Baptist churches in Johnson County and the mountain area has been the revival meetings. Most churches include at least two revivals each year in their activities. During these revivals great effort is made by the people to gather in the unsaved of the community. Some of the greatest spiritual victories of the local church have come during these appointed times of revival.
The Baptist churches have joined forces for countywide revivals in recent years. These united efforts have resulted in the churches being strengthened and the spiritual life of the community moved to greater dedication.
In 1951, Hyman Appleman was the evangelist of the Associational wide revival with many lasting results. A united crusade conducted by the E.J. Daniels revival party, August 1965, included 41 Johnson County churches. Thirty-three were Baptist congregations. Ernest E. Carrier, pastor of the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, served as general chairman. Virgil Booher, paster of the Pleasant View Methodist Church, served as general co-chairman. The twelve-day crusade resulted in 116 salvation decisions, 78 rededications and 34 surrending to full-time Christian service.
The greatest county-wide revival ever witnessed in Johnson County was the Gage-Bernard Crusade, August 11-18, 1974. There were 565 salvation decisions, 529 rededications. Sponsored by twenty-five Baptist churches of the county, more than 16,000 people crowded into the county high school gymnasium during the nine-day event. The total offering for the meeting was $14,000, with over $6,000 going for crusade expenses. The balance was given to "Pulpit In The Shadows" a drug-abuse treatment center in Houston, Texas, which the evangelist Freddie Gage founded.
The music director for the crusade was Jerry Wayne Bernard, who sang his way into the hearts of the people, and is acknowledged by local residents as the greatest gospel singer in America!
The youth of the county were greatly influenced by the GageBernard Crusade. Young people went to the streets carrying their Bibles and witnessing to those they met.
The following testimony given by a county youth reveals the stirring effect of the Crusade:
The Freddie Gage Crusade has been a meaningful experience in my life. I've seen so many of my friends saved that have done really bad things in their lives and I've been worried about them. This week has really meant something, because all the young people have grown closer in the Lord and we've been having really Christian fellowship .
Ray Payne was General Chairman of the Gage-Bernard Revival. Rev. Brooks Peters and Rev. Victor Wallace served as cochairmen.
From our pioneering fathers to the success of recent revivals, the Baptist congregations have laid a solid foundation for future generations to build upon. Build worthy upon it. Be faithful to witness to the truth, "and earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
|1.||Anonymous, Colonial Records of North Carolina, (Raleigh, North Carolina), Vol. 1, page 208.|
|2.||O.W. Taylor, Early Tennessee Baptist, (Nashville, Tennessee Baptist Convention, 1957), page 2.|
|3.||Early Tennessee Baptist, pages 6 - 7.|
|4.||___________ Goodspeed, History of Tennessee, (Nashville, 1887), page 922.|
|5.||David Benedict, A History of the Baptist Denomination In America and Other Parts of the World, (New York, Manning and Loring, 1853), pages 11 - 17.|
|6.||Lynn E. May, Jr.. Baptist, (Nashville, Historical Committee, SBC).|
|7.||Samuel W. Tindell, The Baptist of Tennessee, (Kingsport, Southern Publishers, 1930), Vol. I, pages 14 - 15.|
|8.||Ben D. Akard (Mrs.), Baptist History, 1639 - 1786, (Johnson City, Holston Association of Baptist, 1953).|
|9.||_____________ "Minutes," First Baptist Church, Mountain City, June, 1775.|
|10.||"Minutes," FBC, September, 1880.|
|11.||Elizabethton "Star" Newspaper, October 23, 1968.|
|12.||_____________ "Annual Minutes," Watauga Association of Baptist, 1974, page 22.|
When the first Baptist congregation was organized in Johnson County in 1794 the constitutional government of the United States was experiencing the pangs of its birth. George Washington was serving as President of the new republic, and the wilderness territory of East Tennessee was being claimed by the state of North Carolina.
The First Church of Mountain City was organized as the Roan Creek Church of Christ on April 20, 1794, the first organized church in Johnson County, Tennessee.
The name of the congregation has been changed three times during the nearly two hundred year history of the church. In 1843 the church moved to the new community of Taylorsville and the church voted August 3,1867, to change the name to the Taylorsville Baptist Church. When the community name was changed from Taylorsville to Mountain City, the church voted February 6,1904, to change the name to Mountain City Baptist Church. By 1950 the church had become known as the First Baptist Church of Mountain City.
In a brief history of the First Baptist Church, the sponsoring church was given as the Cove Creek Baptist Church, Watauga County, North Carolina. A review of the facts makes this impossible. The Cove Creek Church was not established until 1799, five years after the beginning of the Roan Creek Church. (1)
The Three Forks Baptist Church of Watauga County, North Carolina, founded in 1790, four years before the Roan Creek Church, was the sponsoring congregation of the Roan Creek Church. James Tompkins, the first pastor of the Roan Creek Church, was an active member of the Three Forks Church during those four years, 1790-1794. In a brief history of the First Baptist Church, by John A. Lowe, a long-time clerk of the church, given on the occasion of the one hundred and thirty-second anniversary of the church reported: "The Three Forks Baptist Church of North Carolina established a branch church near Shouns Crossroads and held services each month.., and upon April 20, 1794, and what was known as the Roan Creek Baptist Church was organized."
This infant Baptist congregation elected Benjamin Brown, moderator; William Jackson, clerk; and George Brown, elder. The church elected James Tompkins as the first pastor. (2)
There is no description found in the church records of the first house of worship. It is assumed that the congregation had one; however, there is evidence that the congregation often met in the homes of the members. The following references are found in the early church minutes: September, 2nd Saturday, 1800, "church met at Cobs Creeks"; September, 4th Sunday, 1800, "church sat at Roan Creek and received five new members by experience"; December, 4th Saturday, 1800, "church met at Little Doe Creek"; January 17,1801, "the church met at Bro. Gentry"; February 28, 1814, "church met at Wm. Darigherty [sic]."
During the church business session, February, 4th Saturday,1817, the congregation instructed Joseph Gentry to get "saw plank for meeting house." It is uncertain if the lumber was for a new church or for remodeling an existing one. When the Church met March, 4th Saturday, 1824, the clerk recorded: "the church enter into a resolution to try solicitation of C____________Rose property to build a Baptist meeting house on the head of Roan Creek."
That the Baptists built a house of worship on the North Fork of Roan Creek, near the foot of Rainbow Mountain, is certain. A few gravestones remained for many years to bear mute testimony of the church cemetery and the location of the building. Mrs. Edith Hill, Shouns Crossroads, had a section of an old log that was taken from the log building, which she gave to the First Baptist Church.
After the church was built, the congregation continued to conduct services in different places: July 10, 1843, the church met at Joseph Robinson's on Little Doe; December 11, 1843, the church met in the meeting house near Col. Howard's; February 24, 1844, the members met at Little Doe Creek in the house of Thomas H. Johnson; April 22, 1845, the church met at sister Crosswhite's.
The church met for worship for the first time in Taylorsville on March 25, 1844. It soon became a popular meeting place. The location of the meetings is not given in the records. The church decided in February, 1849, to build a house of worship at Taylorsville. A committee was appointed, consisting of MM. Wagner, J. Moore, and Joseph Johnson, to superintend the construction of the building and receive pledges for the expenses. As to how soon the construction was begun or when the building was completed there is no record.
In a history of the church published in the Elizabethton "Star" newspaper on April 20, 1952, it was reported that the building was nearing completion when the Civil War broke out. Money became tight, and the church was unable to pay for the completion of the building. A balance of $575.00 was due, and when the debt was not paid the church was sold at auction to the highest bidder. M.M. Wagner, a member of the congregation, bought the property for $550.00.
On August 2, 1884, Mr. and Mrs. Wagner presented the congregation the deed to the church property. P.P. Shoun, Asa Reece, and N.J. Wagner were appointed trustees.
The preface to the deed reads: "For the interest we have and entertain for the cause of Christianity and for the love we have for Christ and for the purpose of a place of worship of almightly God, we, M.M. Wagner and wife, M.S. Wagner, hereby transfer. . ."
In deep appreciation of the gift the clerk entered the following note in the minutes: "That while other churches of our denomination are making heavy sacrifices and are struggling to build houses of worship that we have been blessed in the gift of a church building in every way suited to our wants as a congregation having all that we could desire as to capacity, location and comfort."
When Mr. Wagner died on June 30, 1887, the congregation deeply grieved over the passing of their brother. Recorded in the minutes: "A consistant, pious and devoted Christian, a valuable member and always at his post of duty."
The beloved meeting house of the Baptist congregation began to show the wear and tear of the years and in March, 1905, the church had to move the services to the county courthouse. The building had fallen in. Several weeks would pass before the building could be repaired and the congregation return to its place of worship.
This unhappy experience spurred an effort for a new church building. In April, 1908, a motion was put before the congregation to build a new church but the motion failed. Two years later, February, 1910, the church appointed a building committee: J.C. Muse, Allen M. Stout, Mrs. C.T. Lipscomb, Mrs. S.W. Gentry, and Mrs. Rose Fuller. This committee failed to get the congregation moving in the much-needed building program. Another building committee was elected in 1928, but again the congregation rejected the recommendation of the committee.
The membership would not build the much-needed new church until 1951, under the leadership of Pastor W.T. Whittington.
Before the new building was constructed, there was an effort made to relocate the church site. The Donnelly property the present site of the Mountain City Elementary School, was available, but efforts to relocate the church failed because of legal difficulties and the desire to keep harmony among the members.
In 1951 the building was razed and a new edifice was built on the same site.
The Elizabethton "Star," in reporting the dedication of the new sanctuary, announced:
The new Mountain City Baptist Church will conduct special services this week observing the completion of their new house of worship.
Interesting programs have been planned for every evening beginning at 7:30 throughout the week, with guest speakers and special music under the direction of the Watauga Baptist associational officers. The general theme will be "The power of Jesus' name." Monday evening the associational Brotherhood will be in charge of the meeting with Browniow Scalf, president, presiding. Music will be under the direction of Horace Whitson, Brotherhood choirster and the Rev. D.W. Pickelsimer, pastor of the East Side Baptist Church of Elizabethton, with Mrs. Houston Williams at the organ. The Rev. Joe W. Strother, pastor of the Temple Baptist Church of Johnson City will bring the message.
Tuesday, the Associational Women's Missionary Union will direct the meeting.
Wednesday, the local church will be in charge of the regular prayer service.
Thursday, the Associational Training Union will present the program.
Those taking part will be Stanley Brown, Associational Director; Rev. Tom Worley, Associate Director; Rev. Eugene Johnson, pastor of the Little Mountain Baptist Church; Fene Church, Union Baptist Church; Mrs. N.E. Hyder, Young People's Director; Rev. N.W. Finley, pastor of the Big Springs Church; and Mrs. Houston Williams at the organ.
Friday, the Associational Sunday School will be in charge of the meeting. Those taking part will be Charles Moody, Associational Sunday School Superintendent; Rev. Earl Campbell, pastor of the Bethany Baptist Church; and Rev. C.W. Jones, pastor of the Oak Street Baptist Church of Elizabethton.
Among those on the program will be: Miss Ruth Scott with a number of organ selections; Mrs. Tom Carriger, First Baptist Church of Elizabethton; Mrs. O.H. Wilson and Mrs. M.L. Shoun, Mountain City Church; Mrs. Tom Worley, Roan Creek; Mrs. W.B. Mount, Associational Superintendent; Miss Bertie Summerlin, Young People's Leader; and Miss Gertrude Hale, Associational Missionary. The Choir of the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church will be in charge of the special music." (3)
A major renovation of the church auditorium was done in 1970, while Thomas Gatton was pastor, at a cost of $31,000. The remodeling included a new arched ceiling, heat ducts, new electrical wiring and light fixtures, wall to wall carpeting, and the installation of air conditioning.
From the founding of the church, the congregation has actively participated in Associational meetings. In 1799, messengers were sent to the Bent Creek Association; 1814, the Mountain Association, North Carolina; 1815, Washington County Association, Virginia; and 1824, the Russell County Association, Virginia.
In the church letter to the Baptist Association meeting in Washington County, Virginia, the church wrote: "The church of Christ on the head of Roan's Creek, Carter County, Tennessee, August, 1823 God had blessed with a gentle breeze since last association, received by experience or letter 2, reclaimmation I, dismissed 2, deceased 1, total members 30."
The Mountain City congregation was a member of the Three Fork Association of Watauga County, North Carolina, from its inception on November 11, 1841. The first delegate to represent the congregation was Jessie Farmer and the church contributed $1.00 for missions.
The Three Fork Association met twice with the Mountain City church, 1843 and 1855. Rufus Moore, the clerk of the church for more than fifty years, was clerk of the association for three years, 1861, 1862, and 1863. The church sent delegates to each annual meeting, 1841 - 1868.
L.L. Maples, pastor of the church, preached the annual message at the 1868 meeting of the Three Fork Association. This long, happy fellowship with the North Carolina Association came to an end on September 4, 1868, when the Association gave letters of dismissal to the Taylorsville (Mountain City) and Pine Grove churches. The Tennessee churches were forming a new association.
The Taylorsville Baptist Church was one of the prime movers in the forming of the Watauga Association in 1868. Perhaps the distance to the North Carolina Association prevented active participation, but more likely the growth of the Baptists in Johnson and Carter counties magnified the need for a local association. Whatever the primary reason, the church voted on November 2, 1867, under the leadership of pastor L.L. Maples, "to invite our sister churches in Carter and Johnson Counties to consider the propiety of forming a new Association." (4) The following year the Watauga Association was formed. L.L. Maples would be elected moderator of the new body in 1870, 1873, 1874. He would preach the annual sermon for the 1869 meeting of the Watauga Association of Baptists.(5) In the more than 100-year history of the Association, the Taylorsville (Mountain City) Church would host the annual meeting six times, and four of her pastors have served as moderators of the Association.
The early members of the church followed a very simple order of worship. Saturday was the business session conducted by the moderator, closed with a scripture and prayer, and with the announcement of the worship hour for Sunday. On the Lord's Day, the congregation gathered to sing the hymns of the faith and hear the sermon. Occasionally the Sunday schedule would be changed to receive new members by experience of baptism. The congregation would gather at a nearby creek at the conclusion of the regular service: "Brother Jones together with the assembly sung an hymn on baptism, Brother Jones prayed and then baptised Sister Bridges." Twice a year communion service would be conducted for the congregation.
The first major change in the worship schedule of the congregation came in May,1850, when it elected to meet the first Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of each month at 11 o'clock. In a brief business meeting on March 6, 1880, the church voted to have Communion services four times each year, March, June, September, and December. When the appointed time for the service came, invitations were sent to nearby Baptist congregations to join them in the Communion service.
A major change occurred in the life of the church with the establishment of a Sunday School program. In July, 1884, the church voted to "enter into the ministry of providing a Sunday School program." The Sunday School added greatly to the outreach ministry and the doctrine stability of the church. The teachers of the Sunday School in 1904 were listed in the minutes of the church:
S.S. Supt., J.J. Hayes— C.F. Jennings, Asst.
Class 1, J.H. Wagner— S.W. Tindell, Asst.
Class 2, Miss Clark— Miss Bessie Blankenbeckler, Asst.
Class 3, J.K. Grayson— (none)
Class 4, Mrs. Allen— L.B. Morley
L.B. Morley, Chorister
Mrs. Allen, Organist_____ Miss Bessie Lewis, Asst.
G.P. Ballew, Treasurer —Miss Laurel Stout, Asst.
To resolve a difficulty that threatened the success of the Sunday School, the church voted on February 4, 1905: "that no one teach in the Sunday School unless a church member and a professor of religion."
The membership of the church was faithful to attend the scheduled meetings of the church. Those who were absent could expect to give an account of their presence at the next meeting. Habitual absenteeism resulted in being expelled from the church for not "filling their seats." Few services were ever cancelled. Those that were cancelled were because of bad weather, illness in the community, or the death of a member. During the Civil War, 186 11865, the congregation voted not to meet: "From this time owning to the state of the country, because of the War we had no church meeting. Only every year to appoint delegates to the Association."
The Mountain City church has been responsible for the establishment of other Baptist congregations in the county. The first congregation to be established was Cobb's Creek. In January,1800, several Baptists living in that area petitioned the church for recognition. The petition was honored and they were instructed: "To meet together and choose their own presbytery and appoint a time for their services." Later a request was granted to the "Holston Brethren" to establish a church. In 1843 the church dismissed members to constitute a church on Little Doe Creek.
Levi Heath, a member with the gifts for singing and exhortation, was given permission in January, 1845, to establish an "arm of this church" at his home for the reception of members.
He was instructed to report to the congregation the success of his efforts at the regular business meetings of the church.
The membership of the Mountain City church grew very slowly. In 1808 the membership was thirty- four, and in 1823 the membership had dropped to thirty. in 1843 the membership had climbed to seventy-nine, including two colored women, but in 1868 the membership had dropped to forty.
Several factors influenced the growth of the congregation: the establishment of new congregations, the sparse population, and the disruption caused by the Civil War. To the annual meeting of the Watauga Association, 1894, the church clerk reported: seven received by baptism, one dismissed by letter, one lost in death, a total membership of eighty-nine. In 1975 the church reported 364 members.
The reputation of the church in the community was of a great concern to the membership. Through the years, many church business sessions were taken up by the reports of disorderly members and their discipline. Members were tried and excluded for a variety of offenses: bigamy, adultery, drunkeness, cursing, quarreling, profanity, lewdness, whiskey making, and carrying a pistol.
Many of the charges brought against the members were groundless. In 1802 the charges and complaints became so numerous that the church had to adopt the following resolution: "The church agrees that from this time forward that no person, who charges another person, as to ruin his character shall be regarded, without a witness."
A typical example of an early church trial was that of William Jackson in 1803. The charge against Jackson was that he had "gone to law" against a fellow church member, Bro. Harper, without the counsel of the church. Harper had promised Jackson fifteen gallons of whiskey by the fall of 1802 and had failed to deliver. The church excluded Jackson on the grounds: one, for saying that he had sought to settle his complaint against Harper with the "legal steps of the gospel," when in fact he had not; two, for contracting to sell the promised whiskey to a third party, Mr. King; and three, in the opinion of the church Jackson "aimed to turn the whiskey into money." Jackson repented of his sin and was restored into the fellowship of the church in July, 1804.
There is no record of the church disciplining a member of the congregation in the last fifty years.
In the early history of the church, raising money to meet church obligations was a greater problem than it is today. There was little money in circulation. In August, 1818, the church received an offering of $.75. For years the annual pastor's salary was $100.00, and there were times the congregation had great difficulty in paying the preacher. To the Watauga Association meeting in 1905, the church gave the following financial report: value of church property, $1,500; state missions, $3.50; Foreign Missions, $10.05; Orphanage, $2.70; Pastor's salary, $60.00. In 1974 the church reported total receipts of $53,390.00.
The mountain churches have overcome many foes and controversies in the last two hundred years. The greatest threat to the continued existence of the Mountain City church was experienced in August, 1872, when a controversy developed over sharing the worship house with another denomination.
Mr. M.M. Wagner, owner of the church building at that time and a prominent member of the congregation, allowed the Presbyterians to use the building to organize a church. L.L. Maples, the Baptist pastor, objected to such use of the building. He requested that Wagner give assurance to the congregation that it would never happen again, but Wagner refused. Maples resigned as pastor and led forty-four members out of the Taylorsville Baptist Church into the fellowship of the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church at Maymead, leaving the Taylorsville congregation greatly weakened.
Many efforts were made to get the brethren to return. M.M. Wagner made a motion in the business meeting of July 5, 1873, nearly a year after the split, that all those who left be invited back into the church, "assuring them our church, heart, hands are open to receive them." (6) The dissenters refused to return.
The first known pastor of the congregation was James Tompkins, 1796. In the almost 200-year history of the church there have been forty-two pastors. In the early years of the church the ministers served only 1/4 time. In 1895 the church went 1/2 time. The first full time pastor was E.A. Cox in 1928.
Many of the early pastors were local residents and members of the congregation. Their training in pastoral skills was limited, and most had to supplement their living by other means. As late as 1929 the church salary for the pastor was $600.00.
Reading through the minutes of the church, noting the ministry of each pastor, one is forced to agree with the observation of Elton Trueblood:
Though it seems strange that it should be so, it is a fact that one man, rightly placed in ministry, can make an enormous difference in the lives of other men and in the total impact of the church on the world. There are many history examples of the effect which one man can have in the life of a local congregation.... The pastor is important, not because he is wiser or better than other men, but because he is so placed that he may be able to draw out and direct the powers of other men. All of his effectiveness is in the changed lives of other persons. Though there are some structures to guide him, the chief element is his own vision of himself and what his work might be. (7)
There have been a half-dozen such men in the life of the First Baptist Church (men whose abilities inspired the congregation to new heights, dedication and sacrifice for the kingdom of God.)
Few pastors have inspired the First Baptist Church as did E.A. Cox.
On the occasion of the one hundred thirty-second anniversary of the founding of the church, the church clerk, John A. Lowe, wrote a brief history of the congregation. He wrote, "This church for many years had no resident pastor, and as most pastors lived 18 to 30 miles away, the church could not have regular services. Yet the church held together. A little over two years ago we were without a regular pastor and were struggling to maintain a Sunday School and keep up our church meetings. The clouds seemed to hang heavy around us. The way looked gloomy. Yet we decided to venture the Lord being our helper. We called E.A. Cox for one half time. Pleasant Grove agreeing to call him for halftime. Brother Cox proved to be the right man. His strong faith in God and Jesus Christ. Our church began to take on new life...."
The year 1975 has been the greatest in the long history of the church. Records in attendance, giving, and membership have been broken. It is the prayer of the congregation that God's blessings of these first 200 years will be but a hint of the glorious future that our Heavenly Father has for his people who serve Him through the ministries of the First Baptist Church of Mountain City.
|1.||____________ "Mountain City Baptist Church," Elizabethton, Tn., "Star" Newspaper (April 20, 1952), p. 6A.|
|2.||"Minutes," First Baptist Church, Mountain City, Tn. 1799.|
|3.||Elizabethton "Star", Op. Cit.|
|4.||"Minutes," First Baptist Church, Mountain City, Nov., 1867.|
|5.||"Minutes," Watauga Association of Baptist, 1869.|
|6.||"Minutes," First Baptist Church, Mountain City, July, 1873.|
|7.||Elton Trueblood, The Incendiary Fellowship, Harper, (New York, 1967), page35.|
Baptists share a theological heritage with other evangelical Christians; however, they have pioneered doctrinal distinctives that have contributed to spiritual ideals which have greatly enriched present-day Christianity.
Robert G. Torbert, in "A History of the Baptist," lists the six Baptist distinctives: (1) The Bible as supreme norm for faith and practice in the Christian life; (2) The New Testament Church is composed of baptized believers; (3) The priesthood of the believers. This ideal expresses the belief that "a believer is once and for all saved by grace through faith, and has free access to God the Father through the one and only High Priest, Jesus Christ our Saviour at any time for spiritual comfort and forgiveness of sin"; (4) The local congregation is an autonomous body; (5) The right of every individual to free choice in all religious matters; and (6) The separation of church and state. "By this is meant that the state has no right to interfere with the religious beliefs and practices of the individuals or congregations, and that the church has no right to expect any financial support from the state." (1)
The "Philadelphia Confession of Faith," adopted by the Philadelphia Baptist Association in 1742, expressed the above Baptist distinctives. The pioneer Baptist congregations of Johnson and Carter counties founded their churches on the doctrines taught in the Philadelphia Confession.
The Philadelphia Association had its conception in the latter part of the seventeenth century. Five Baptist congregations in the area began to strengthen their ties of fellowship through periodic meetings. In 1707 they organized the first Baptist Association in America. The newly-formed association did not claim ecclesiastical authority over the member congregations, but rather provided a forum for settling disputes and giving advice, acting sometimes as a council for ordination or discipline of ministers, and in giving guidance in the matters of doctrine and policy.
The Philadelphia Association was strongly Calvinistic in attitude, and adopted the London Confession of Particular Baptists of 1689 with few changes. (1)
The First Baptist Church of Johnson County, established as the "Baptist Church of Jesus Christ on Roane's Creek," in 1794 adopted the articles of faith of the Philadelphia Association.
In later years the popularity of the "Philadelphia Confession" faded with the churches. The confession is a classical statement of Christian doctrine, but it "was quite too long, and theologically too abstruse for general circulation." The "confession" consists of thirty-two articles, with numerous subdivisions, and an appendix on baptism. (2)
The New Hampshire Confession grew in popularity with the Baptist congregations. "Its origin dates back to 1830, when the New Hampshire Baptist State convention, holding its session at Concord on June 24, authorized the preparation of a declaration of faith which might secure the approval and serve the purpose of all the Baptist churches in that state." After several drafts the "confession" was unanimously adopted in 1833 as their standard of faith. (3)
O.W. Taylor, in his book, "Early Tennessee Baptists," reported that the Holston Association "adopted the Philadelphia confession," but there were differences of interpretation allowed on some points. The body made it clear that adoption of the confession did not mean "that every member is obliged to receive every particular therein contained," but that the confession was "adopted only as a general system of principles" (MHBA ‘71). So there were 'Regular Baptists' and 'Separate Baptists' in the association, the latter being the majority. The Regulars accepted the strong and long statement of the Philadelphia Confession on predestination, foreordination and election, while the Separates held a modified, or softened, form of these doctrines.
The Watauga Association of Baptists did not adopt an "article of faith" in its original constitution and by-laws approved in 1868. Article three of the constitution reads "This Association shall be composed of the churches named in the following minute, and such other of our faith and order as may apply for admission.....".
The accepted "faith and order" of member churches of the Association was the New Hampshire Confession of faith.
In the annual session of 1963 the Association would for the first time formally approve and adopt an "article of faith." "The Baptist Faith and Message" became the doctrinal position of the Watauga Association of Baptist. (4)
The "Baptist Faith and Message" was adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention on May 9,1963. A committee of twenty-four, Herschel H. Hobbs, Chairman, presented the document to the 1962 session of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in San Francisco, California. The committee's work was based on early documents adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1925.
"The 1925 Statement" recommended the New Hampshire Confession of Faith, revised at certain points, and with some additional articles growing out of certain needs....Your present committee has adopted the same pattern. It has sought to build upon the structure of the 1925 Statement, keeping in mind the 'certain needs' of our generation. At times it has reproduced sections of the Statement without change. In other instances it has substituted words for clarity or added sentences for emphasis. At certain points it has combined articles, with minor changes in wording, to endeavor to relate certain doctrines to each other. In still others—e.g., 'God' and 'Salvation' — it has sought to bring together certain truths contained throughout the 1925 Statement in order to relate them more clearly and concisely. In no case has it sought to delete from or to add to the basic contents of the 1925 Statement." (5)
The harmony of these pioneer Baptist congregations was threatened many times by theological controversies. Tennessee Baptist historian, OW. Taylor, reported that two prominent disturbances overshadowed the life of these early societies. These were anti-missionism and Campbellism.
The anti-mission controversy was introduced and fanned by sincere but untutored men. These hyper-Calvinist ministers were more in opposition to organized mission work and related matters, favoring an all-out attack on reaching the unchurched and unsaved. Many of the well-known anti-mission ministers were widely known for their evangelistic preaching. They opposed organized mission work out of a fear of a "religious autocracy which might in time set up an overlordship among Baptist churches and people and possibly issue in the persecution of dissenter." (6)
The fires of the anti-mission controversy burned the brightest in the mid-1800's. By the beginning of the twentieth century the anti-mission opposition had faded. While having caused much turmoil and division, it nevertheless proved helpful to the missionary Baptist. Dr. O.W. Taylor observed: "The missionary Baptists were compelled to study the scriptures with greater zeal and attention, and as a result the truths held by them were brought into a clearer focus and given an even abler expression. Moreover, by the separation which took place, hindering forces were removed from the denomination so the gospel could be spread in a nobler way." (7)
The most costly controversy was sparked by Alexander Campbell and his disciples. The "Campbellities" wooed thousands from the Baptist congregation with their erroneous doctrine of "baptismal regeneration." Campbell taught that in the experience of baptism our sins were washed away.
Between 1825-1830 the greatest defection occurred. In Kentucky alone, the Baptists lost more than nine thousand members to the Campbell movement. This was due in part to the Campbell disciples being received into Baptist congregations without any suspicion of their strange doctrine. However, after 1830 their doctrine of baptismal regeneration became better known to the Baptist church and the Campbellites were denied their former privileges. (8)
The Sinking Creek congregation in the Watauga Association divided over Campbellism. Many churches adopted stern measures to protect and rid their congregation of this disruptive influence. Many members were excluded from their congregations for attending Campbellite meetings. Even today, an uneasy truce exists between the Baptists and the Campbellites. The doctrine of baptismal regeneration remains a live issue.
There were other doctrinal issues that faced these early Baptist societies. In 1843 the First Baptist Church of Mountain City adopted a declaration of faith to safeguard and preserve the harmony of the congregation The preface of the declaration reads as follows "Whereas the professors of Christianity are so divided in faith and practice that they cannot commune together we believe it necessary to covenant and decree to writing a short sketch of our faith and principles ..."
The congregation was being troubled by a controversy with the seven-day baptist, the no-sabbath baptist, and those who dip three times in baptism. The majority of the congregation believed that a strong stand against such doctrines must be taken if church order was to be maintained.(9)
In the mountain churches another controversy caused much discussion and division. The controversy originated with two influential Baptist ministers, James R. Graves of Tennessee and J. M. Pendleton of Kentucky, in the latter half of the ninetenth century. Graves and Pendleton, by their writings and sermons, sought to restore the practices of the New Testament Church being neglected by the Baptist congregations.
The controversy became known as the "Landmark" movement when J.R. Graves published an essay by Pendleton under the title "An Old Landmark Reset" in 1854. The movement boosted such unprovable claims as: apostolic succession for Baptist churches; only Baptist ministers can be recognized as gospel ministers; and that ordinances were committed to local church and are to be strictly observed within the limits of the local churches.
When the Southern Baptist Convention refused to adopt the provincialism of the Landmark, the protagonists withdrew in March, 1902, to form their own association. The group organized at Texarkana as the General Association of Baptist. The Association was composed of fifty-two churches.
Many of the Baptist churches today which practice "close communion" and refuse "alien immersions" are not aware that these restrictions were the spin-off of the Landmark controversy, are scripturally indefensible, and have done much to retard Christian brotherhood. Few churches of the Holston and Watauga Associations have been spared from Landmarkism; however, as our members and ministers become more informed, the influence of the Graves-Pendleton movement is being overcome.
It is a great concern of many that the present controversy between "liberalism" and "fundamentalism" of the association is causing an eroding of our fellowship.
There were nine churches in Johnson County which failed to send letters to the 1974 annual meeting of the Watauga Association of Baptist. These churches are not co-operating with the Association and/or Southern Baptist Conventions because of theological differences. It is the opinion of these non-cooperating churches that the Southern Baptist Convention is supporting teachers and organizations that are in default of the principles of our faith; hence, these congregations have withdrawn fellowship over these issues and are supporting missionary and educational causes through independent organizations more in accord with their doctrinal positions.
The story of the origin and growth of the Baptist churches and associations in East Tennessee is an inspiring saga. Through cooperation and under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, foes have been overcome and victories won. The continued success of Baptists will depend on how well we employ our rich heritage. Our Heavenly Father shall crown our efforts with success if we continue true to His Holy Book, and preach Jesus Christ as His Virgin-born, resurrected, exalted son, the only Saviour of sinful men.
|1.||"Annual Minutes," Three Forks Association, Watauga County, N.C., September 4, 1868.
Note: Circular letters were a common practice of the early Baptist associations. The delegates of the annual meeting would designate someone to write a letter of general interest for the assembly. Letters were written on doctrinal issues, social questions and practical problems facing the churches. The author of the letter would read it to the assembly, and if the letter was approved, it was included in the annual minutes.
|2.||David Benedict, A General History of the Baptist Denomination in America, (New York: Lewis Colby Co., 1853), pages 197 - 198.|
|3.||_____________"Church History," Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, 1845- 1962, Mountain City, Tennessee.|
|4.||_____________ "Church History," Sugar Grove Baptist Church, 1850 - 1970, Butler, Tennessee.|
A native of Johnson County is reported as saying: "Whatever happens in this county, you can either blame it on the Republicans or the Baptists."
The Baptists are the predominate religious group in the county, and with twenty-five congregations and a membership of 5,483, (1) and these members are active in every area of community life. The Baptist church has had a strong and continuous influence upon the social and political life of the country. This has been true from the very beginning of the settlement of the country.
In the early wilderness day, the area was without any civil authority. However, the deep religious convictions of the settlers provided the stability of law and order for the new society. The Bible was the law book and the elders, the administrators of the law. The punishment of the offender was applied as the congregation understood the scriptures.
An example of the influence of the church in maintaining order in the community is found in the June, 1796 minutes of the First Baptist Church. A charge of sheep stealing had been brought against a member of the congregation. After an investigation by an appointed committee, the church found the member guilty as charge. The conclusion of the matter was the offending member "shall be excluded from the fellowship for neglecting to hear the church, and not giving Brother Jonathan Thompson satisfaction respecting same sheep." (2) Usually such punishment was sufficient to cause the erring to repent.
A resolution was passed by the congregation. alarmed by the growing moral laxity of its members:
In view of the growing evils of the illicit traffic in alcoholic drinks and the growing tendencies toward worldliness, revelry and dancing, we feel that it becomes the duty of this church to take a definite stand against the above mentioned evils.
Therefore be it resolved; first, that we will not tolerate in our membership any person who handles drinks, or encourages the handling and drinking of any intoxicating liquors or drugs; or who engages in revelry and dancing.
Second, that if any of the membership of this church shall be guilty of any of the above named sins, his or her membership automatically ceases with the commission of the sin, and upon knowledge of the same, the clerk of the church is authorized to take from the church roll the name or names of church offending parties. (3)
The influence of deep religious convictions sharpened the citizens' sense of justice and self-respect, and without the moral integrity of the church the infant society would have died and vanished, destroyed by its own lawlessness.
The need for a strong local government became evident soon after the establishment of the state of Tennessee in 1796. The 299 square miles that now form the present Johnson County was the extreme eastern portion of Carter County. The citizens of the area became discontent when the county seat was established in Elizabethton. They petitioned the Tennessee Legislature in 1820 for the removal of the county seat to a site more centrally located. Their petition was denied. Later, in 1829, the citizens of the remote area petitioned again for a change of the county seat, citing the inconveniences of traveling to Elizabethton, forty miles away, the crossing of Doe River eight times, a stream very dangerous, and the traveling over steep and difficult mountains. The petition requested that the courthouse and lot at Elizabethton be sold in favor of a more central location. The petition failed. (4) Not to be outdone, the citizens applied for a separate government for the area, won, and the organization of Johnson County government took place in 1836. The first session of the county court was held at Pleasant Grove Schoolhouse on May 2, 1836. The magistrates present were John Ward, Thomas Johnson, Andrew L. Wilson, Jared Arrendiell, James W. Warren, Joseph Robinson, James W. Wright, Andrew Wilson, James Brown, Jessee Cole, Levi Heath, M.M. Wagner, John Dugger, Sr., and Phillip Shull. The majority of the court members were Baptists.
The court elected M.M. Wagner, Trustee; David H. Wagner, Register; Benjamin Wilson, entry taker; S.E. McQueen, surveyor; William Keys, coroner; and Levi Heath, ranger.
M.M. Wagner, David Wagner, and Levi Heath were members of the First Baptist Church. According to the church minutes Heath had talents for singing and exhortation, and on August 5, 1848, the church licensed him to use his public gifts for the advancement of the Kingdom of God.
The strong sense of morality of these early pioneer Baptists is most evident in their family-life structure and activities. The Bible was the rule book for family living. The father was the head of the home, and the wife was the faithful "help-mate." The children were reared to respect their parents. The writings of the Apostle Paul in the Ephesians letter especially influenced family duties and patterns.
Almost all the activities of the pioneer family centered around its religious commitment. A member of an early Baptist family recalls that the family altar was the climax of each busy day. The father would gather all the children in a semi-circle on the floor before the open fire, and with his companion beside him he would open the Bible and read a lengthy passage. At the end of the reading the father would explain the scripture, making practical applications. Each family altar was closed by prayer. This recollection of the old family altar was typical of many pioneer Baptist families.
There was little, if any, racial prejudice against the blacks of the community in these early days. Blacks and whites worshiped their Creator together. Only after the Civil War would there develop Strong racial tensions.
The membership roll of the First Baptist Church in 1843 lists one black man, "Black John," and two black women, Ruth Stout and Susan Robinson. A black woman was received into membership of First Baptist in December 1830, with the clerk making the following explanation:
received by experience black sister Judea who had joined the church of Little Doe and was baptised about 22 years ago.
She had been sold and moved about and was some what deranged, but not disorderly.
In November 1871, the black members of the First Baptist church petitioned the congregation for permission to organize their own church. The congregation voted approval and their letters were given to them.
The Watauga Association of Baptist exercised great concern for the spiritual welfare of the black community. At the organizational meeting of the association, 1868, the assembly appointed A.J.F. Hyder as local missionary to labor in the destitute parts of the association and especially among the "colored population."
It is interesting to note that of the fifteen churches organizing the new association, one was a black congregation from Elizahethton. Landon Duffield was the messenger representing the church in the forming of the infant society. The church reported eleven members.
Education of the young has always been a great concern of the Baptists. The early effort in these pioneer days was in the home. Many children learned their ABC's from the Bible. The mother of the home was the principal teacher. Later "subscription schools" were held in the community, usually taught by a local minister in the house of worship.
At the first annual meeting of the Watauga Association of Baptist, September 18-19, 1868, at the Cobb's Creek Church, Johnson County, Tennessee, the moderator appointed an education committee of L.L. Maples, J.H. Hyder, A.J.F. Hyder, Fred Slimp and J.P. Vanhuss. To the session the committee made the following report:
Your committee, taking a view of the territory embraced in the bonds of our infant association, find no high school; therefore, we recommend especial attention to this subject, and that this meeting make an appointment of fifteen efficient and energetic men, to set on foot some plan for the erection and preparation of a high school in a central and healthy location, within the bounds of this association, who shall have powers to organize a permanent board of trustees for said school, and report to our annual meeting in 1869.
Several years would pass before the Association would operate an educational institution. Most of the noble men mentioned above "who worked so nobly and prayed so earnestly for a school, were called to their rewards before achieving the goal, but the seed was sowed by them was not losted." (5)
In 1901 the Association, in session at Butler, took steps to realize the dream of having their own educational institution. The Association appointed a committee to negotiate with Prof. J.H. Smith for the purchase of his property, then. known as the Holly Spring College, at Butler. The property was purchased by the association in 1902 for three thousand dollars. (6).
The Holly Spring College was first established in 1871 as the Enon Seminary. The school was housed in a dwelling house built by Joshua Perkins in 1860 near Roan Creek. The seminary, an institution to provide secondary education for area youth. was established 1871, by R.E. Goodwin, H.H. Hinnecks, B.H. Overhuctser, Thomas Hamby and N.T. Wagner. Perkins sold his property to the trustees and stockholders of the institution for five hundred dollars. In the deed recorded May 8,1871, Joshua Perkins, declared: "The charter creating the said Enon Seminary and in as much as the original consideration was my love for and interest in the welfare of the present young generation of my neighborhood and county " The deed was witnessed by L.L. Maples, Lafayett Jones, and W.T. Allen. A number of school sessions were taught there by competent educators. James H. Smith, a graduate of Milligan College, purchased the property in 1882. He taught classes in the building for four years, until the enrollment outgrew the location. A larger structure was erected on the opposite side of Roan Creek, and the name of the institution was changed to Holly Springs College. Smith directed the school for about fifteen years, supported by a very strong faculty. (7)
When the Watauga Association purchased the property, in cooperation with the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, the name of the school was changed to the Watauga Baptist Academy. Under the sponsorship of the Baptists, the building and grounds were greatly improved.
The Academy was under the direct control of the Baptists, but students were welcomed from all religious denominations. The objective of the school was to develop the student physically, mentally, and morally, and to give the student a thorough preparation for entering our best colleges and a liberal education to those who did not desire to attend college.
The 1905 - 06 catalogue for the Academy advertised the school as being located at Butler, "a town of about five hundred inhabitants, situated thirty-six miles east of Bristol, on the Virginia and South Western Railroad. Our town is noted for healthfulness, has social and religious advantages, and no saloon." (8)
The school was divided into two departments: The Primary Department, grades one through seven; and High School, a four year curriculum. The students received a diploma for completing the course of study and obtaining an average grade of not less than seventy-five. "This diploma will enable the holder to enter the Freshman class in any of our best colleges." The tuition for the academy was very reasonable: High School departments, per month $2.50; Seventh and Sixth Grades, $2.25; Fifth and Fourth Grades, $1.75; Third, second and First Grades, $1.25. (9)
For the school year of 1905 - 06, the faculty was listed as: J.B. Sanders, Principal; Miss Cora Dougherty, instructor in History, Mathematics, and the Intermediate Department; Miss Tiny Curtis, Music. The Executive Committee members were F.P. Curtis, Chairman; D.S. Vaught, Secretary; D.J. Farthing, F.C. Dougherty, and W.E. Dougherty. Two hundred and twenty-two students were enrolled.
The Baptists operated the Academy for thirty years, but due to the lack of financial support the trustees decided in 1931 to sell the institution to the Johnson County Board of Education. The Board of Education operated the school as a first-class high school until the City of Butler was moved by the Tennessee Valley Authorities in the construction of the Watauga Lake reservoir in 1948. The old Academy building was purchased by the Biltmore Baptist Church, Elizabethton, and the congregation used the bricks and materials for a new house of worship.
Baptists greatly enriched family and community life in the mountains. Their dedication to religious and moral principles and their insistence on religious liberty and the personal worth of the individual have given their descendants a rich legacy. Let us hand our "light" to the next generation that all men will continue to live a free society.
|1.||_____________"Annual Minutes," Watauga Association of Baptist, 1974, Table "A"|
|2.||"Minutes," First Baptist Church, Mountain City, June, 1796.|
|3.||"Minutes," FBC, Mtn. City, March, 1938.|
|4.||Samual Cole Williams, History of the Lost State of Franklin, (New York, The Press of the Pioneers, 1933), pages 270 - 275.|
|5.||_____________ "Annual Minutes," Watauga Association of Baptist, 1924, page 8.|
|6.||"Annual Minutes," Watauga Association, 1924, page 9.|
|7.||Register of Deeds, Johnson County, Tn., Deed Book VII, p. 35.|
|8.||_____________"Annual Catalogue," Holly Spring College, Butler, 1905- 1906, page 17.|
|9.||Ibid, page 20.|
While the financial needs of the pioneer churches were few, they were real. A study of the records of the churches and associations reveals the basic financial needs of these early congregations.
Pastors' salaries were a number-one concern. The lack of an adequate salary prevented many of the early churches from securing the trained pastor they needed. Some churches overcame this problem by sharing their ministers. In 1869, when the Watauga Association was formed, L.L. Maples, a prime mover in the founding of the new organization, was pastor of five of the organizing churches (Taylorsville, Pine Grove, Pleasant Grove, Little Doe, and Watauga). Maple's salary at Pleasant Grove was $100.00 per year. The Taylorsville Church (First Baptist of Mountain City) also paid him $100.00 a year.
The need for better support of the ministry was the concern of a Circular letter written by Rufus Moore, member of the Mountain City Church, and read to the delegates of the 1868 annual meeting of the Three Forks Association. (1)
To the Baptist Company The Three Forks Association:
Very dear Brethern:
According to the order of the association last year! shall endeavor to address you in the form of a circular letter, and being at liberty to choose the subject on which to write, I will take the subject the "support of the ministry."
As almighty is pleased by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe it is necessary that there be a number of gospel ministers sustained by the church so that they give themselves wholly to the ministry of the word and to prayer.
Seeing there is so much required of the minister without regard to their worldly cares and _____________and that they are frequently neglected and denied the ordinary comforts of life in his family and for all his seriousness, he occasionally hears the flatterer's praise or if he will accept no monies other than a rich Sunday dinner, and, if he does not go well dressed, his wife and children lack bread, he is called lazy and not worthy of respect, or if he is so fortunate as to get a broad-cloth coat and a fashionable hat or his wife and daughters a calico dress, or a plain decent bonnet, they are called extravagant and proud.
However, amid all these bestments the preacher must move forward bearing precious souls in one hand and his family in the other. Thus many of our faithful ministers have dug through the world neglected, oppressed and forsaken. Thus _____________ at least partially destroyed they pass away and go to their reward, many of them, in the meridian of life by being over burdened with mental and bodily labor in consequence of the neglect of their hearers.
These known facts, dear brethern, are and have been a reproach to the Baptist, is God dishonoring and mande-grading a state of things that should not long exist, God being our helper and as Christians, we should not allow to continue.
Dear brethern, it is evident that ministers have a divine right to maintenance from the people for whom they serve, from the inspired acclaration of the Holy Scriptures, see the following named passages: Matt. 16:10, Luke 10:9, I Cor. 9:14, Gal. 6:6, 1 Tim. 5:18. The forgoing in commission with many other passages not here noted shows most clearly, dear brethern, that ministers of the Gospel are justly entitled to a comfortable support.
The ministers support should be sufficient and plentiful because he is enjoined hospitality. The matter of their support is expressed in terms so general as to leave the people at liberty to supply them in kind or values all good things the manner cheerfully the contributors all who are taught in the word. The connecting of these sentiments, dear bretherns, we doubt not all are agreed in, but the neglect of those things is well known to ourselves and others. We can but feel sad on account of their neglect.
The consequences following such neglect is the poor preacher driven by necessity from the desk to the field or shop while he bears the painful cry of the mourners on one hand, he bears his children's cry for bread and clothing on the other, and he is compelled to devote a large portion of his time to worldly associations for a temporal support, thus his mind is divided from reading, meditations and prayer, which weakens his brains and dulls his ideals, cools his orders. Consequently, he is not so profitable to the churches the cause of Christ suffers many lamentable destitutions in our own family, and our cause languishes in vain____________for want of a more efficient ministry. Much more might be said on the subject, but the limits allowed me will not permit. It is our privilege now dear brethern to remedy all these evils in our association. We, therefore, invite all to prayerfully consider this important matter and let us submit ourselves to the duty of whatsoever our hands find to do, do with all our might.
In conclusion, let us make an affectionate appeal to you to consider our masters everything and earnest "Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things I say?' Ye are my friends if he do whatso I command you. If he love me keep my commandments. He that sayeth I know the father and keepth not his commandments is a tier and the truth is not in him. Theii let us not love in word neither in tongue, but in deed but in truth. Finally brethern these things which ye have seen and heard and received, do and the God of all Grace be with you now and forever. Amen - R. Moore
In later years at the annual meeting of the Watauga Association, pastoral support continued to receive attention. W.R. Allen, in 1933, remarked, "that it ought to be `cussed' as well as "discussed" -causing one to remark: "We are all anxious to know what is the proper way of 'Cussing'."
W.M. Vaught brought it to the attention of the delegates at the 1930 meeting of the Watauga Association: "In 1882 there were reported 22 churches with a total membership of 1,841, and total contributions of pastors salaries of $228.45, an average of 121/2 cents per member. In 1929, thirty-eight churches reported a total membership of 6,293, total contributions of pastors salaries of $8,118.00, an average of $1.29 for each member."
The 1936 annual session heard H.C. Hopkins report on pastoral support. He reported "the average salary for many of the quartertime churches will not exceed $75.00 a year." He continued, "There are several pastors in our association who are compelled to find employment in secular enterprises in order to gain a livelihood for their families."
While pastoral support has improved in the Watauga Association over the years, in 1974 there were twenty-seven churches that had pastors employed in secular work.
The building of suitable houses of worship was of great concern to the early Baptists. In the earliest day, when the congregations were small, they would meet in the homes of the membership. In the summer months, they would meet outdoors under temporary shelter.
While there was a vast forest for lumber and roof shingles, and plenty of free labor, some materials had to be purchased. Building a modest house of worship could cause a great financial burden on the membership.
Local churches would come to the rescue of financially troubled congregations. It was reported at the 1885 annual meeting of the Watauga Association that Hampton was a destitute church, and the committee on resolutions pled, "That we urge upon the brethern the necessity of giving something for the purpose of building a house of worship at Hampton."
After the Civil War, the church building at Mountain City was sold at auction to the highest bidder for non-payment of debt. The building was kept in possession of the Baptists, however, because a prominent member of the congregation, M.M. Wagner, purchased the property.
Another financial concern of the Baptist congregation was the support of missions. There were great local needs as well as those on foreign fields. Much time was devoted in local church meetings to raising money for missions.
The annual meetings of the associations gave much attention to the financial support of missions. The mission boards of the Southern Baptist Convention recommended that the churches take a collection for their work at least once a year. The churches reported to the 1887 meeting of the Watauga Association contributions of $7.25 home missions, and $7.46 for foreign missions.
Delegates attending the annual meetings heard many moving pleas to increase their gifts for missions. The delegates in 1886 heard an able sermon by T.J. Murphy, followed by D.F. Manly, and a collection for foreign missions was taken amounting to $11.00.
In the early days there was little money for the Lord's work. Money was hard to come by, and there was not enough for each worthy cause. The educational institutions struggled to make ends meet. There were constant calls from denominational institutions to churches and associations for more financial aid.
D.C. Wester pleaded to the messengers of the 1885 meeting of the Watauga Association: "Brethren, give your patronage to our schools, for in this you will help the cause of the Master onto victory, and greatly encourage those who are giving their whole time in training the rising generation for more effective work in the Master's vineyard."
In 1902 the Watauga Association of Baptists chartered an educational institution at Butler, Watauga Academy. The association was faced with a constant burden of financial support of the institution. D.L. Hyder, reporting to the 1917 annual meeting: "It is imperative that our Baptist people patronize our local school at Butler, to the end that we may prepare a higher order of educational Baptist manhood and womanhood for the future. We of the Watauga Association have a great responsibility upon us to evade which would bring irretrievable disaster and shame. . . patronize the school with your money and prayers." The Academy was sold in 1931 to the Johnson County Board of Education for the lack of financial support.
To meet these financial needs of the kingdom, many means were employed, not all of them with success. Each pastor urged his congregation to be faithful with their tithes and offerings, and collections were taken at every service. But most of the time this was not enough.
Pledging or subscribing to the financial need of the church was a wide-spread practice. David Benedict observed in 1853 that this method of raising money for Christian causes had been popular for more than fifty years. (2) In 1860 the Pleasant Grove Church appointed a committee to secure pledges for the pastor's salary and expenses of the church. (3)
The Sugar Grove Baptist Church of Johnson County instituted the following plan in 1916 to raise money to meet their financial obligations: "The church appointed twelve brethren to divide the church into twelve groups, each group paying the church expenses one month." The plan was too successful, because in 1934, the church `moved and seconded' that the pastor's set salary be discontinued and "hereafter he will receive the amount contributed at the regular collection." (4)
The Foreign Mission Board would never have survived if it had not been for the "egg money" of the mountain women. It was the habit of the women in the early days to save all the eggs that the hens laid on Sunday and sell them and give the money to Foreign Missions.
Despite the financial hardship of our pioneer Baptists, the churches continued to march forward. At the first meeting of the Watauga Association in 1869, there were fifteen churches represented with a reported contribution of$ 15.90. In 1975 the sixty churches of the Watauga Association reported a total of all offerings and special gifts, $1,384,996.00. Church staff salaries amounted to $417,188.00. The value of church property, including pastor's home, $6,562,960.00, and gifts to missions $218,310.00.
Never in the history of Christdom has the cause of the Kingdom of Christ enjoyed such financial health. But the needs are great! We must continue to be faithful in our tithes and offerings that Jesus may be proclaimed around the world for the salvation of lost men.
|1.||Robert G. Torbet, Our Baptist Story, (Philadelphia, Judson Press, 1950), pages 16 - 34.|
|2.||Edward F. Hiscox, The New Directory for Baptist Churches, (Philadelphia, Judson Press, 1894), pages 535 - 537.|
|3.||Ibid, page 538.|
|4.||_____________ "Annual Minutes," Watauga Association of Baptist, 1963.|
|5.||_____________ "The Baptist Faith and Message," (Nashville, Baptist Sunday School Board, 1963).|
|6.||O.W. Taylor, Early Tennessee Baptist, (Nashville, Tennessee Baptist Convention, 1957), pages 175 - 184.|
|7.||Ibid, page 201.|
|8.||Torbet, Our Baptist Story, pages 268 - 291.|
|9.||"Minutes," First Baptist Church, Mountain City, January 24, 1843.|
"The word became flesh and dwelt among us " (Jno. 1:14)
John's testimony of Christ could be applied to God's chosen servant - the preacher.
In this chapter are the biographical sketches of some of God's greatest men. Men who, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, carried the saving name of Christ through the valleys, across the mountains, and into the hamlets of the frontier of East Tennessee.
As these sketches are read, one will note the wide difference in personalities; however, their love for the Holy Scriptures, the burning desire to see men come to the Lord and their dedication to the Baptist way of life gave them a common bond.
These were not timid men. It was not a time for timidity. The frontier was hard. Life was difficult. In most places law and order was non-existent. The pioneer preachers were men of courage and independence, as all God-called men should be.
"The timid minister," said Phillips Brook, "is as bad as the. timid surgeon. Courage is good everywhere, but it is necessary here. If you are afraid of men and a slave to their opinion, go and do something else. Go and make shoes to fit them. Even go and paint pictures which you know are bad, but which suit their bad taste. But do not keep on all your life preaching sermons which shall not say what God sent you to declare, but what they hire you to say. Be courageous. Be independent." (1)
The life of the early Tennessee preacher, while rewarding spiritually, was difficult physically. There were few material rewards. Almost all had to depend on farming or some craft to support their families. Few churches provided a "living wage" for their minister. In 1867 the Taylorsville Baptist Church (Mountain City) voted to pay the pastor, L.L. Maples, $100.00 a year. (2)
Almost all ministers lived in the community where they served as pastors, and often served more than one congregation. The majority of ministers owned their own homes. Few churches provided parsonages. The Taylorsville Baptist Church did not have a parsonage for its minister until 1913. In that year the congregation purchased "the Allen M. Stout property consisting of about 2~acres with one dwelling house, a small office building, and a barn for $1 ,100.00."(3)
Traveling from appointment to appointment was difficult and hazardous for the pioneer preacher. Many of them traveled by foot. Some were fortunate to have saddle horses. Later they would travel by train. Many old-timers today recall stories of these traveling preachers. Often they would fall asleep atop their horses, weary from their duties, and their trusted mounts would carry them to their next appointment. In the winter months it was not unusual for the preacher's feet to be frozen to the stirrups, resulting from fording swollen streams. These men of God were always faithful. Few appointments were missed. Their "guarding angel" protected them in their journeys.
These sketches of pioneer preachers should inspire the modern minister to greater devotion to Christ, and fewer complaints about his trials. The pulpit today needs God-called, courageous, independent men. Men who are worth remembering.
"Jonathan Mulkey was the first preacher to plant his feet on Tennessee soil, to remain and engage actively in the Christian ministry," declared J.J. Burnett. (4)
Not all historians agree with Burnett's conclusion. There are those who argue that Matthew Talbot was the first Baptist minister in Tennessee. But since there have been no dates established for Talbot's ministry, the honor must go to Mulkey until historians can prove otherwise. (5)
Jonathan Mulkey, the son of Philip Mulkey, was born in North Carolina in 1752, and died at Gray Station, Tennessee, September 5, 1826, having preached the gospel for more than fifty years. (6)
Mulkey married Nancy Howard of North Carolina in 1772. To this union there were born 10 children, 4 daughters and 6 sons. Two of the sons, Isaac and Philip, became preachers. Nancy Mulkey died in 1819. (7) Mulkey remarried. There were no children of the second marriage. 44/PILGRIMS IN PARADISE Mulkey came to Tennessee via Virginia, and settled in Carter's Valley in Hawkins County, in the late fall of 1775. In those days the wilderness was filled with danger. Indians were a constant threat to the safety of the pioneer settlers, in 1776 the Cherokees made a raid on Mulkey's settlement and the inhabitants had to flee. The women and children were led to safety into Virginia, while the men sought security at Eaton's Fort on the North Fork of the Holston River. On their way there they were attacked by the hostile Indians. Mulkey was wounded, his friends scalped and left for dead. Mulkey jumped in the river, swam across and made his way to the fort. To his great surprise, when he arrived at the fort, his scalped friends greeted him. They had survived their wounds and taken a shorter route to Eaton's Fort. (8)
Mulkey was instrumental in forming the first Baptist Association in Tennessee, the Holston Baptist Association, October, 1786. As long as he lived he was an active messenger to that Association. (9)
For forty-one years Jonathan Mulkey was the pastor of the Buffalo Ridge Baptist Church, having succeeded Tidence Lane. (10) He was pastor of the church as long as he lived. When the weight of his years laid heavy upon him, and his health had faded, the congregation placed a chair near the pulpit for him to sit down and "pour out his soul in melting exhortations to a devoted people who would listen to his every word." (11)
August 23, 1826, "Father Mulkey" made his will. He was so infirm that he could not write his name but had simply to make his mark. Then on September 5, 1826, the Book closed, the task finished, God took him. Tennessee's first Baptist preacher was gone to Glory!
James Bell Stone was born in Grayson County, Virginia, September 2, 1814. His parents, John and Elizabeth Stone, moved to Carter County, Tennessee, soon after his birth. His father died when he was eight years old, and the family resettled in Washington County, Tennessee.
At the age of nineteen, J.B. Stone married Freelane Dugger, on April 1, 1833. To this union were born one son and five daughters, John C., Elizabeth, Cathanne, Resse, Hannah and Martha. On October, 1839, he was converted and was baptized by Elder Rees Bayless, uniting with the Buffalo Ridge Church. In February of 1840, Stone was licensed to preach; later, in 1841, he was ordained to the full work of the ministry, with Rees Bayless and Peter Kuhn constituting the presbytery. 46/ PILGRIMS IN PARADISE For more than fifty years he would labor with the rural churches of the Holston and Watauga Baptist Associations. His first ministerial work was as a missionary for the Baptists in Johnson County. When he came to the county there were only three Baptist congregations, and they were weak: Cob's Creek, Pine Grove, and Roan's Creek (Mountain City). As a missionary he experienced some difficult times over doctrinal differences between Baptists and other denominations. There was a sharp division in those days among Baptists over missions, local and foreign. Once Stone was charged before a Johnson County Baptist congregation for "breaking the Sabbath.!' He was accused of taking a collection and receiving pay for preaching. Nothing came of the charge. The collection was not for himself; rather, for church repairs and missions.
Preacher Stone explained his tactics among the "anti-missionary": "first (1) get hold of the children, and through them reach the parents." Only in this way could the people of the county be reached.
A man of a very limited education, he commented that he never attended school "as much as 9 months" in his life. However those who knew this pioneer missionary remembered him as a "plain, unlettered, old-fashioned gospel preacher. A good reasoner, and minister who could make the plan of salvation plain." This noble preacher of the gospel served the following congregations: Taylorsville (Mountain City), Pleasant Grove, Little Doe, Crab Orchard, Stoney Creek, Watauga (Hunter), Antioch, Indian Creek (Erwin), Cherokee, and Limestone.
The closing years of his life were spent in Washington County, Tennessee, as the minister of the Limestone Baptist Church. The following tribute is found in the church minutes: "Our dearly beloved brother, James B. Stone, departed this life, June 24, 1897, having lived to the good age of 82 years and 9 months. He preached the gospel of missions and ministerial support in the midst of great opposition, when missionary baptists were persecuted for preaching their doctrines. Nevertheless, he stood firm, true to his convictions of duty, and proclaimed the truth of the gospel as delivered once for all the saints, not fearing what man could do. He stands side by side with the worthy defenders of baptist principles, his name untarnished, his integrity unimpeached."(12)
L.L. Maples shall ever be remembered in the annals of Tennessee Baptists as one of the founding fathers of the Watauga Association of Baptists, and the first missionary of that Association. (13)
Family records reveal that Maples was born in Sevier County, Tennessee in 1835. He married Amanda Brown and to this union were born five daughters. Sarah, the oldest, married John Isaac Reece, of Johnson County, Tennessee. Mr. and Mrs. Reece were the parents of thirteen children. A son, B. Carroll Reece, was the longtime Congressman of the First Congressional District of Tennessee, and one-time chairman of the National Republican Party. (14)
As a resident of Sevier County, Maples served two terms in the Tennessee Legislature. (15)
There are no records as to the date of his conversion and call to the ministry. Maples preached the annual message at the 1866 meeting of the Holston Baptist Association. In August, 1866 he held a revival meeting at the Taylorsville Baptist Church. Later, December, 1866, he accepted the call to become pastor of the congregation.
As pastor of the Taylorsville church he was elected delegate to the Three Forks Baptist Association, Watauga County, North Carolina, in 1868, and was selected as the preacher of the annual sermon. The Taylorsville church was a member of the Three Forks Association at that time. Maples had urged the congregation on November 2, 1867, to consider joining sister churches in Carter and Johnson counties in forming a new association, and the new association was organized September 18, 1868 at the Cobb's Creek Baptist Church, Johnson County, Tennessee. (16)
The new Watauga Association of Baptists appointed Maples "as a suitable person to serve as a general missionary, within the bounds of this association." Thus, Maples became the first missionary of the Watauga Association.
A primary concern of the new association was the establishment of an educational institution for the training of mountain young people. As chairman of the Education Committee of the Association, Maples made the following report to the 1868 annual meeting:
Your committee, taking a view of the territory embraced in the bonds of our infant association, find no high school; therefore, we recommend special attention to this subject, and that this meeting make an appointment of fifteen efficient and energetic men, to set on foot some plan for the erection and preparation of a high school in a central and healthy location, within the bounds of this association, who shall have power to organize a permanent board of trustees for said school, and report to our annual meeting in 1869.
The Association was prevented from establishing a high school, and a group of men organized in 1871 the Enon Seminary at Butler, Tennessee to provide secondary education for area youth. The organizing trustees and stockholders of the institution were R.E. Goodwin, H.H. Hinnicks, B.H. Ovenhuctser, Thomas Hamby, and N.T. Wagner. (17) Maples was one of the first teachers in the new school.
Known as a gifted preachers Maples always preached to attentive audiences. He preached the annual messages of the 1869, 1870, 1873, 1874 meetings of the Watauga Association. His last message to the Association was in 1905, when he made a strong appeal to the delegates, urging: "the enactments of all laws which restrain the sales of intoxicants and invoked the cooperation of all good citizens in the support of temperance legislators and to vote for no man for office who was in the league with the makers and vendors of whiskey."
In the Watauga Association, L.L. Maples served the following congregations as pastor: Taylorsville, Pleasant Grove, Little Doe, Watauga (Hunter), Pine Grove, Pleasant Hill, and Odenville. (18) L.L. Maples was called from his earthly labours to the heavenly rest January 13, 1917, the eighty-second year of a long and fruitful life. The earthly tabernacle of "Lem" Maples was laid to rest, to await the blast of the trumpet of the Resurrection Morning, in the Dugger Cemetery, near the Sugar Grove Baptist Church, Butler, Tennessee.
J.H. Hyder was called as pastor of the First Baptist Church, Mountain City, in January, 1850. The clerk's minutes had the following brief statement: "Unamiously agreed to call Elder J.H. Hyder to become our pastor." (19) He would serve as pastor until 1854. Later he would return to serve the church for one year in 1865. Jonathan Hampton Hyder was born October 20, 1812, on Powder Branch, Carter County, Tennessee. He was a man of letters. He studied at the Jonesboro Academy, Emory and Henry College, and Maryville College. (20)
In 1843 he married Elizabeth Fletcher. The couple reared fourteen children. Two of the sons would distinguish themselves. A.J.F. Hyder followed his father's footsteps and became one of the area's finest preachers. Another son, F.L. Hyder, became a successful physician and farmer. He shared his father's love for the Baptist cause and was elected moderator of the Watauga Baptist Association in 1894 and 1895. (21)
"Hamp Hyder was converted by a hot tear," reported J.J. Burnett in his book, Pioneer Baptist Preacher. "He was attending a meeting at old Sinking Creek Baptist Church where two missionaries were preaching. He then in his twenty-fourth year, and a Methodist, but without religion, hard-heated, and foil of prejudice. The preaching of the missionaries had little effect upon him. He could easily resist their most powerful appeals. But when a homely old preacher went to him in the congregation where he was sitting, and in the earnestness of his affectionate pleading happen to let a `hot tear' fall on Ryder's band, a change came over his spirit, his heart softened, and he gave himself in penitence and faith to the Lord." (22)
J.H. Hyder joined the Sinking Creek Church and was ordained May 18, 1849, with R.ees Bayless, James Edens and Peter Kuhn acting as the presbytery. During his long career, he served as pastor to the following congregations: Watauga, Stoney Creek, Popular Grove, Zion, Sinking Creek, Indian Creek (Erwin), Cherokee, Chinquepin Grove, Elizabethon, and Mountain City.
He was one of the organizers of the Watauga Baptist Association, 1868, and chosen the first moderator of that society.
Hyder was a dedicated Baptist and a great evangelist. It has been reported that more than 10,000 souls were brought to Christ during his 40 years as a minister of the gospel.
A man of marked peculiarities and rare originality he never failed to attract attention or make a lasting impression. Re was a man of humor. An example of his wit is revealed in a confrontation with a "Campbellilte preacher." Hyder had gone to hear the preacher and during the message the preacher ridiculed what he called the "popular notions" of religion, grace, and the so-called "Holy Spirit," saying that be "would not know religion if he were to meet it in the road." At the close of the service, Hyder went forward with a gleam in his eye and addressed the preacher in a loud voice: "Sir, 1 want to indorse a part of your discourse. You said you would not know religion if you met it in the road. We have no right to doubt that statement. It seems that you and religion are not acquainted. Of course we couldn't expect strangers to know each other!"
In 1870 Hyder was very ill with typhoid fever. The physician had treated him for more than a week. At last be grew critical and his breathing stopped. Re was pronounced "dead" by the physician and a son closed his eyes. To the utter amazement of everyone present, he suddenly opened his eyes. With a firm voice he called to his wife, "I'm not dead. I've been sent back to preach the gospel." And that he did for sixteen more years!
When the final summons came, March 5, 1886, he was away from " home preaching the gospel to the unsaved.
T.E.R. Hunter writing the obituary for Hyder for the 1886 annual minutes of the Watauga Association penned: "at the ripe age of 74, being conscious that but few more days were left him, he desired to visit all the churches of the Watauga Association. With this end in view he started on his last ministry. Riding though rain and snow, he took cold, and preaching day and night for two weeks, (resulting in 33 conversions), he was taken with pneumonia, which caused his death March 15, 1886, away from home in Johnson County, Tennessee. His last words were, "By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God."
Commenting on the aged preacher's theology and zeal, Hunter added the following observation: "He was a bold champion of truth and an earnest defender of the faith. In all his preaching he prominently set forth the doctrine of salvation wholly of grace. In his appeal to sinners he would with power urge them to accept Christ as a perfect Saviour. With tears flowing down his furrowed cheeks, he would with great tenderness plead with sinners to come to Jesus."
The marker at his grave reads:
John L. Bowers was born in Carter County, Tennessee, July 30, 1830. His parents were John L. and Mary L. Bowers. His grandfather for whom he was named, was a pioneer preacher who came from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His mother, Mary Lincoln, was a kinswoman of President Abraham Lincoln. (23)
Under the gospel preaching of James B. Stone, Bowers made his profession of faith, and was baptized and ordained by Stone, by the authority of the Watauga (Hunter) Baptist Church.
Bowers was married three times, and the father of twenty-five children.
As a minister of the gospel, J.L. Bowers served the following churches: Harmony, Siam, Doe River, Holly Springs, Butler, Sugar Grove, Pleasant Grove, and Doe Valley.
Known as a man of "good sense and piety," John L. Bowers was dedicated to Baptist principles and doctrines. For more than 30 years he faithfully served the churches of the Watauga Baptist Association. When the messengers of the Association met for the annual session in Taylorsville (Mountain City) in 1884 he was elected the moderator.
An advocate of a disciplined church membership, Bowers urged the messengers of the 1900 annual meeting of the Association to insist that strict discipline be enforced, and that "we should clear our churches of those members who are destitute of God's grace, that they be not a hindrance to the true and consecrated membership and then we will have live, energetic, praying churches, for they will be composed of members truly espoused to Christ." (24)
David Kitzmiller was a man of the mountains, greatly respected for his rugged strength, sharp mind, and sterling character. A son of Baptist parents, David and Elizabeth Kitzmiller, he was converted and joined the Buffalo Ridge Church, August 26, 1854, and was licensed to preach and ordained in 1856. He married Elizabeth C. Carriger of Carter County on September 1, 1857. They had nine children.
For forty-one years, David Kitzmiller was a true soldier of the cross. Among the churches he served as minister were: Blountville, Pleasant Grove, Denton's Valley, Cobb's Creek, Friendship, Chenquepin Grove, Popular Grove, Bluff City, Harmony, Sinking Creek, Stoney Creek, and Watauga (Hunter). He served for two years as a missionary of the General Association of Virginia in Russell County.
As a leading influence of the Watauga Association of Baptists, he was elected as moderator in 1877, 1886, 1888, 1889, and 1890. A strong supporter of foreign and local missions, he urged the messengers of the 1883 association to establish Baptist churches in Elizabethton, Roan Mountain, and Cranberry, North Carolina, pleading: "We need to take hold of these points with men who are in demand as preachers and who can work in them to advantage, and we need to take hold and to hold on until self-sustaining churches are built."
He made such an eloquent plea that the meeting suspended the regular order of business to receive an offering for the work. A total of $34.25 was collected.
A man with a booming voice and a strong evangelistic message, he made the unrepentant sinner hear the voice of doom that stirred his hard heart to repentance. He baptized more than 1,600 converts.
This chosen servant was given his eternal rest May 30, 1898. His church, Watauga (Hunter), where he bel9nged for twenty-four years as pastor, memorialized him as a "citizen, husband, father, Christian and faithful minister of Jesus Christ." (25)
Andrew J.F. Hyder was the son of Jonathan H. Hyder, pastor of the First Baptist Church, Mountain City, 1850... He was born September 3, 1846 on Doe River, Carter County, Tennessee. He was a man of great ability and reputation.
As a youth Hyder enlisted in the Federal Army, taking active part in the Northern effort. He was a member of Company B, Fourth Regiment of the Tennessee Infantry and was honorably discharged August 2, 1865. His conversion and surrender to the ministry came soon after the war, in October, 1868. Hyder joined the Zion Baptist Church and began to use his gift for the ministry.
During his 44 years as a minister of the gospel, he served as pastor of the Baptist churches at Elizabethton, Doe, Mountain View, Butler, Sinking Creek, and Cherokee. He served as the local missionary of the Watauga Baptist Association in 1889. As an active member of the Association, he served as moderator in 1887 and 1892. He preached the introductory sermon at the organizational meeting of the Association in 1868, and he would also preach the annual messages in 1872, 1877, 1885, 1895, 1908. This select honor reveals the confidence and high regard that he enjoyed in the Watauga Association.
Hyder married in 1872, and he and his wife, Maggie, made their home in Butler, Tennessee. The couple had no children of their own, but reared two adopted daughters, Meta and Josie.
In his last illness, he was taken to the Soldier's Home in Johnson City. Death came to the old soldier, who had served the cross and the flag with total devotion, on March 3, 1912. (26)
J.P. Vanhuss was the first elected clerk of the Watauga Association of Baptists. He was elected in 1868 and served until 1873. Later he would again serve in 1850.
He died in 1895. When the Association met for the annual meeting that year, the following obituary was submitted by his saddened friends: "Bro. J.P. Vanhuss, who joined the Baptist church, October 1, 1852, and was baptized into the fellowship of the Baptist church at Watauga by Elder J.B. Stone, and lived a consistant member and was clerk of the church to which he belonged for a number of years, and presided over this body as moderator (1878, 1879), and was missionary in the true sense ready for every good word and work. He died in the triumph of the Christian faith." (27)
This pioneer Baptist preacher was one of the early moderators of the Watauga Association. He served as moderator for two terms, 1882-1883. In deep appreciation of his steadfast devotion, M.L. Moreland wrote the obituary for the 1890 Annual minutes of the Watauga Association of Baptist.
Among those called away since our last annual meeting was Rev. P. Williams, who had been a minister of the Gospel for twenty-seven years. Brother Williams was born May 30, 1821, and died June 16, 1890. He joined the Baptist Church in 1842. He was a consecrated minister of the Gospel, contending earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, was ready for every good word and work. Especially was a bold champion for the cause of temperance. We lament the death of Bro. Williams as a clamity that takes away from among us a faithful brother, a wise counselor, a loving father and affectionate husband." (28)
"He Baptised 3,500 Converts"
Born February 7, 1843 in Smythe County, Virginia, J.J.L. Sherwood was converted and joined the FriendShip Baptist Church in 1850, and was licensed to preach by the same congregation on February 5, 1884. David Kitzmiller signed the license as moderator of the church. Mr. Sherwood was ordained to the full work of the ministry by Young's Chapel Baptist Church, Grayson County, Virginia, April 14, 1867. The ordaining counsel was composed of W.C. Park, J.S. Forrester, and T.J. Jones.
On May 7, 1867, Mr. Sherwood married Sarah Ann Young of Grayson County. To this couple were born eleven children, eight Sons, and three daughters. One son, A.C., followed in the footsteps of his preacher father and became a well-known minister of the gospel. A number of J.J.L. Sherwood's descendants became ministers of the gospel.
Concluding a successful ministry in Grayson and Washington counties, Virginia, he moved to Trade, Tennessee in 1882, accepting the call as minister of the Mountain City Baptist Church. He served a number of churches in the area including Boone, Cove Creek, and Pleasant Grove.
As an early pioneer preacher, Sherwood had to endure the hardships of those primitive days. Often he told how he rode horseback to meet his appointment, arriving with his feet frozen to the stirrups.
A faithful student of the Holy Bible, during his fifty year ministry he read the Bible through more than 85 times. The Bible was his supreme authority on faith and practice. With great ability, he proclaimed the message of the Holy Book, reaching thousands of unsaved mountain people. He baptized 3,500 converts.
His grandchildren report that "he was fond of fun and was a good story teller."
J.J.L. Sherwood was summoned to his eternal home on October 28, 1917.
"Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord from henceforth,. yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them." (29)
E. Frank Jones was born at Trade, Tennessee, September 5, 1848. Early in life his gifts for the ministry were recognized and be was ordained in 1868. One of his first pastorates was the Taylorsville Baptist Church. He accepted the call to the church October, 1872 and served the congregation for five years. In a business conference in February, 1878, the church accepted with regrets his resignation, noting that he was a Christian gentleman and a beloved pastor.
His service for Christ included pastoral and evangelistic work in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina. His most prominent churches in North Carolina were Gastonia, First Baptist Church at Morgantown, and the First Baptist Church at Boone. Going west in his middle years, he served congregations in California, Idaho, and Washington.
There were two reports of his death in the far west, many years apart, the last one true. In Post Falls, Idaho, Jones was walking a railroad, heavily Wrapped in his top coat on a cold April morning and failed to hear the train which struck him. He lingered for many days before death came April 20, 1926. He was 78 years old and had spent 58 years as minister of the gospel. (30)
Many of the preachers that served East Tennessee churches came from North Carolina. Mr. J.F. Davis, a native of Watauga County, served the Taylorsville Baptist Church for two years, October 1909September, 1911. Known as a most excellent preacher and evangelist, the church grew in membership during his brief pastorate. Before coming to the Taylorsville Baptist Church, he had served as the pastor of the First Baptist Church at Boone, North Carolina, 1885-1899, 1908-1909.
Davis was known as a fervent prohibitionist and is said to have been the single greatest influence in leading Watauga County to vote dry in the first decade of this century.
Concerned over low salaries of mountain preachers, he often spoke to associational annual meetings, urging the messengers to increase their financial support of the local pastors. He wanted every mountain church to have a full-time minister. (31)
L. C. Wilson was born at Trade, Tennessee, on August 25,1859, but grew up in Beaver Dam Township in Watauga County. Rejoined the Bethel Church in 1897. He was a teacher in Watauga County for many years and maintained his interest in education throughout his life. He especially urged support of the Training School operated at Boone by the Dougherty brothers. He moved to Watauga Valley, Tennessee in 1917 but returned to Watauga County in 1922, where he remained until his death on October 24,1941. He was married to Julia Erma Farthing of the Bethel community. They had nine children. His pastorates included the following churches: Mt. Calvary, Middle Fork, Bethany, Rich Mountain, Timbered Ridge, Mt. Lebanon, Zion Hill, and Boone, as well as pastorates in adjoining Counties in Tennessee. (32)
Mr. Farthing was born September 7, 1851 in the Bethel community of Watauga County. His residence for his entire life was in that same community. His death occurred June 7, 1921. He was converted and joined the Bethel Church on his fifteenth birthday, 1866, and remained a member of that church as long as he lived. He was married twice; first to Ada Y. King and second, to Caroline Dougherty. To these marriages were born ten children, six of whom died in infancy and childhood with four living to maturity. None of these children still live (1968). His ordination to the ministry was sometime between 1880 and 1884. His first pastorate was the Beaver Dam Church and his last was his home church, Bethel. His pastorates in between included: Forest Grove, Boone, Brushy Fork, Antioch, Mt. Calvary, Cove Creek in North Carolina and Pine Grove and Sugar Grove in Tennessee. He never enjoyed robust health and in his last days preached from a chair in the pulpit at the Bethel church. Those who knew him say that he was one of the most progressive pastors in the Association. (33)
William H. Hicks was born in Bluff City, Tennessee, August 22, 1851. He professed religion at the age 22. However, he did not join the Baptist church until he was 36 years of age. His chosen companion for life was Miney A. Frazier of Hiltons, Tennessee. (34)
In 1887, Rev. W. C. Patton and Hicks came to Carter and Johnson Counties to hold revivals in various churches. The evangelistic mission lasted for two years with great Success. Hundreds were added to the various churches.
The Hicks family lived in the Doe Valley section of Johnson County, near Highway 67. According to the books in the Register of Deeds Office of Johnson County, William H. Hicks and his wife, Miney A. Hicks, bought two tracts of land. In 1907 the couple bought 25 acres from David V. Stout for $700.00. Later, in 1912,they would buy three more acres. The couple had four children: Ebb, who became a Baptist preacher, Robert, who married Bess Bradley of Butler and took his family to make their home in the west; a daughter, Etoila, who married Blaine Stout, and lived at Pandora; another daughter, Rhoda, who married a James Lowe, and whose only child, Pansy, was reared in the Blame Stout home after the untimely death of her parents.
The oldest son, E.H. (Ebb) Hicks, became an outstanding pastor. He served the Mountain City Church from 1894 - 1895. He was young, but highly respected by the congregation. He would later move to Oregon Where he spent most of his ministry. He returned to Johnson County after retirement. He was serving at Pleasant Grove Church when he died on January 14, 1941, as the result of an automobile accident.
W.H. Hicks actively participated in the Watauga Baptist Association. He served as moderator for twenty-six years, 1891- 1925; twenty-three years consecutively - an honor that the Association has given to no other man.
He is remembered as a "hell fire and damnation" preacher, who always wore a blue denim suit, and rode to his appointments on a big bay horse with a white face. Widely known for his fearless messages, he is remembered by one as "the greatest person I have ever known, full of love, compassion, and gratitude."
The call from the Doe Valley congregation came in 1913. He assisted in the organization of the church and remained pastor for twenty-six years. When he resigned, July 27, 1929, a committee was appointed to publish a "resolution of regrets." The members of the committee were B.B. Clark, Carrie Shoun, Louise Walsh and Mrs. W.D. Eggers. Hicks' letter of resignation has been carefully kept by the congregation.
As one of the most popular preachers of the Association, he was sought by many congregations. He served the following churches during his long and fruitful ministry: Harmony, Bethel, Pleasant Grove, Butler, Little Doe, Sugar Grove, Doe Valley, Siam, Hampton, Roan Mountain, Shell Creek, Pine Grove, Stoney Creek, Dungan's Chapel, Rock Springs, and Cobb's Creek.
The death of Preacher Hicks came just days before the sixty-second annual session of the Watauga Baptist Association. The annual meeting was to take place at the First Baptist Church of Elizabethton, September 25 and 26, 1930. The assembly met in sorrow over the death of the ancient patriarch. The opening session was spent in paying tribute to the memory of the beloved moderator. J. Frank Sieler, Clerk-Treasurer of the Association recorded the event:
Brother W.W. Worley suggested that, instead of preaching the regular annual sermon, he thought this hour should be devoted to a memorial service for Rev. W.H. Hicks who had been moderator of this association for twenty-six years and who had fallen asleep at the age of seventy-nine years on September 11, 1903. Opportunity was given to all present to speak on his life. The congregation sang Bro. Hicks' favorite song `How Firm a Foundation.' Many beautiful tributes on the life and service of Bro. Hicks were expressed by the following J. Frank Sieler, Isaac B. Davis, W.C. Patton, John M. Stout, P.L. Lyons, S.0. Pinkerton, W.J. Potter, Mrs. Selmer Fuller, J.H. Snow, S.F. Bowers, J.O. Jones, I.S. Grindstaff, Mrs. High Cloyd, A.C. Sherwood, Miss Anna J. Merryman, and W.W. Worley who concluded by saying: `Brother Hicks is not dead! He lives on! He only sleepeth until the coming of his Lord and Master!' (35)
Many of the older residents of the county, who knew and loved Preacher Hicks, recall interesting incidents from his life. (36)
One tells that when she was a young girl her church was observing the Lord's Supper. Preacher Hicks was presiding. A woman from North Carolina was visiting in the service, and as the deacon passed the bread and wine before her, she spoke up: "I'm a Methodist, but I'll have communion with you." The deacon, not knowing what to do, made a glance at the pastor. Preacher Hicks commanded, "Pass on deacon, just pass on."
Another resident of Doe Valley remembers that Preacher Hicks often spent the night in her parent's home when preaching in the community. She recalls that one Saturday when Hicks was visiting, her parents had bought her younger sister a new pair of patent leather slippers. The young child was very proud of her new shoes and danced over the house, showing off the new shoes. The next morning, Sunday, the parents could find only one shoe. The child was completely satisfied wearing the one shoe and danced over the house again.
The family did not realize that their guest, Preacher Hicks, was paying any attention to the little girl and her one shoe, but at the morning worship service he announced his sermon title: "The Christian Who is Satisfied to Wear Only One Shoe!"
The love and confidence that the people had for Hicks is revealed in the following story. Joe Buchanan, age 93, a devout churchman, loved his brave preacher very much. However, due to impaired hearing he could not understand the preacher when seated in the congregation, so a chair was placed for Uncle Joe at the pulpit, where he sat and listened to every sermon as long as he was able to attend the service.
Retired funeral director W. Y. Hill enjoys telling the following experience with Preacher Hicks. Hill was conducting a funeral at a local church. Preacher Hicks was in charge of the service. After the sermon the congregation and the family were to file by the casket to view the deceased. The first row began the procession. When Hill came to the second row the people refused to go, as did the others of the congregation.
The confused Mr. Hill asked a deacon, "Why don't the people want to view the deceased?" The deacon, pointing to the casket, replied, "Don't you see Preacher Hicks standing at the casket? When people go by he tells them `If that were you in the casket, you would be in hell now.' He is scaring them to death!"
W.H. Hicks entered eternity September 11, 1930. In his will, made August 21,1930, W.H. Hicks requested "After my just debts, including my funeral expenses, be paid out of any monies on hand at my death. If any monies left it shall be kept on interest for the benefit of my wife (M.A. Hicks) while she lives and after her death and funeral expenses (including Rock to our graves) it shall be equally divided between E.H. Hicks, R.L. Hicks, Etoila Stout, and Rhoda Lowes heirs, and at death of wife, house and lands to sold and amount received for same be divided as the money mentioned above. The household property to be divided as children think best."
He further requested .. .."that my brother Marian Hicks and wife, Ollie, take care of my wife in their house while she lives and they be paid for same out of any monies on hand left by me while she lives." His beloved companion did not live long. She died January 16,1932. Both are buried at Bluff City, Tennessee.
W.W. Worley entered life's race March 22,1876, at Bluff City, Tennessee. His parents were Elbert and Martha Faw Worley. Reared in a Methodist home, he became a Methodist minister. His marriage to Carrie Wiles ended suddenly with her death July 1, 1903. The only child born to the young couple, Mary Ella, died a few days later, July 8,1903.
As a baggage master for the V and SW. Railroad, he was transferred to Johnson County, Maymead Station. In 1906 he married Tallulah Brown of Maymead. To this union were born six sons. Two sons survive today, Rev. Thomas P. Worley, Mountain City, and James B. Worley, Mountain City.
In 1910, Worley joined the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church at Maymead, and was ordained a Baptist minister. He served as pastor of several of the Johnson County churches, including First Baptist, and Pleasant Grove. An active participant of the Watauga Association of Baptists, he was elected moderator of the body in 1926 and 1927. Three times he was chosen to preach the annual message of the Association. Possessing great mechanical skills, W.W. Worley built the first commercial hydroelectric plant in Johnson County in 1911. He continued to generate electric power until he sold the plant to the East Tennessee Light and Power Co. in 1927.
He was a man of great humor, as the following incidents reveal. During the proceedings of the 1923 annual meeting "a big black bumble-bee buzzed around Bro. Haynes' head while he was preaching. It lit on his nose and stung him, but he kept on like a good soldier. After a while, when Bro. Worley was making a speech, the bee buzzed around his head and he knocked it away with his handkerchief exclaiming `There's Haynes' bumble-bee!' Bro. John M. Stout finally put one of his number eights on it and there was no more trouble."
On October 20, 1938, Bro. Worley was visiting his son, Tom, in Bluff City. During the evening they attended a tent revival being conducted by B.R. Lakin. At the meeting he met his old friend S.0. Pinkerton, pastor of Bluff City Baptist Church. Since Pinkerton had not seen Worley for some months, he said: "Why, Worley, I thought you had gone through the Pearly Gates." Worley retorted, "Why, Pink, I did! But St. Peter stopped me and asked for references. I gave him your name, S.0. Pinkerton, and St. Peter just shook his head sadly and said, `Too bad, Worley, you'll have to go back and find better references!'"
On the following Wednesday, October 26,1938, William Walter Worley had a heart attack, and through the Pearly Gates he entered into his eternal home. Later, SO. Pinkerton commented to the family, "My dear friend must have found better references." (37)
|1.||Phillips Brooks, Eight Lectures on Preaching, (London: S.P.C.K., Holy Trinity Church 1959), p. 59a.|
|2.||"Minutes," First Baptist Church, Mountain City, Sept., 1867.|
|3.||"Minutes," First Baptist Church, Mountain City, October, 1913.|
|4.||J.J. Burnett, Sketches of Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers, (Marshall Press, 1919. Nashville), Pages 388 - 391.|
|5.||SW. Tindell, The Baptist of Tennessee Vol. 1, Kingsport Press, 1930, Kingsport, page 15.|
|6.||Burnett, Ibid. page 388.|
|7.||O.W. Taylor, Early Tennessee Baptists, Executive Board, TBC, 1957, Nashville, page 63.|
|8.||Taylor, Ibid, Page 66.|
|9.||Burnett, Ibid, Page 390.|
|10.||Tindell, Ibid. Page 31.|
|11.||Burnett, Ibid, Page 390.|
|12.||J.J. Burnett, Sketches of Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers(l9l9), Marshall and Bruce Company, Nashville, Pages 492 - 494.|
|13.||_____________ "Annual Minutes," Watauga Association of Baptist, Elizabethton. Tennessee, 1869.|
|14.||___________ Interview with Lem Reece Grandson of L.L. Maples, V.A. Hospital, December, 1975, Johnson City, Tennessee.|
|15||"Notes," Asa C. Reece, Grandson of Li. Maples, January 8, 1976|
|16||"Minutes," First Baptist Church, Mountain City, Tennessee, 1866 - 1873.|
|17||____________ Office of Register of Deeds, Johnson County, Tennessee, Book 7, Page 35|
|18||"Minutes." Watauga Association of Baptist, Elizabethton, Tennessee, 1869, 1885, 1886, 1905.|
|19||"Minutes," First Baptist Church, Mountain City, January, 1850; June, 1865.|
|20||J.J. Burnett, Sketches of Tennessee Pioneer Baptist Preachers, Marshall, Nashville, 1919, page 258.|
|21.||"Minutes," Watauga Association of Baptist, 1974, page 93.|
|22.||"Minutes," Watauga Association of Baptist, 1886, page 9.|
|23.||J.J. Burnett, Sketches of Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers, Marshall and Bruce, Nashville, 1919, page 67.|
|24.||"Minutes," Watauga Association of Baptist, Elizabethton, 1900.|
|25.||Burnett, Sketches of Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers, Marshall and Bruce, Nashville, 1919, pages 309 -311.|
|26.||J.J. Burnett, Sketches of Tennessee Pioneer Baptist Preachers, Marshall, Nashville, 1919, pages 262 - 263.|
|27.||"Minutes," Watauga Association of Baptist, 1895.|
|28.||"Minutes," Watauga Association of Baptist, 1890.|
|29.||Biographical Material provided by Mrs. Homer Stalcup, Mountain City, Tennessee, granddaughter of J.J.L. Sherwood.|
|30.||Herman R. Eggers, The First Baptist Church, Boone, North Carolina, 1968, page 63.|
|31.||Ibid, page 65.|
|33.||Ibid, page 66.|
|34.||"Minutes," Watauga Association of Baptist, Elizabethton, 1930.|
|36.||Information provided by Mrs. Joe T. Ray, Mountain City, Tennessee.|
|37.||Information provided by Rev. Thomas Worley, Son of W.W. Worley.|
1794 - 1799(?), James Tomkins
1818 - 1820, James Morgan
1821 - 1830 John Jones, Jr.
1843 - (?), Valentine Browers
1845 - (?) David Cook
1850 - 1853, Jonathan H. Hyder
1854 - 1861 Almer C. Farthing. (September 1861 to October 1865 No pastor or regular services because of the Civil War)
1865 - (3 mos), Andrew Powers
1865 - 1866 Jonathan Hyder
1866 - 1872, L.L. Maples
1872 - 1878, E.F. Jones
1878 - 1879, B. F. White
1879 (one month), I.F. Kincanon
1880 - 1881, James F. Maiden
1881 - 1883, J.J.L. Sherwood
1884 - 1885, James F. Maiden
1885 - 1887, W.D. McPhilridge
1887 (3 mos), AC. Farthing
1887 - 1888, J.J. Cole
1888 - 1889, S.C. Dilback
1889 - 1892, J.J.L. Sherwood
1894 - 1895, E.H. Hicks
1898 - 1904, R.B. Shoun
1904 - 1906, Dr. S.W. Tindel
1906 - 1907, J.W. Kestersan
1908 - 1909, J.T. Pope
1909 - 1911, J.F. Davis
1911 - 1913, Brown Bowers
1913 - 1914, W.W. Worley
1914 - 1919, R.E. Grimsley
1919 - 1920, J.N. Monroe
1924 - 1928, E.A. Cox
1929 - 1931, Dr. Will 0. Gordam
1931 - 1938, John A. Davis
1939 - 1946, Sam Edwards
1946 - 1949, Joel H. Ponder
l951 - 1956, W.T. Whittington
1957 - 1961, H. Walton Grady
1961 - 1969, J. Edward Lehman
1969 - 1971, Thomas Gatton
1971 - , Ernest Edward Carrier
* * * * There have been periods that the church did not have a pastor. The church services were conducted by members of the congregation.
J.L. Underwood, B. A.; Th. M., Principal
Mathematics and Science
Miss Loretta Stout, Lady Principal
History and Latin
East Tennessee State Normal, Johnson City, Tenn.; Appalachian Training School, Boone, N.C.
Miss Anna J. Merryman, B. T. M.; Assistant Principal
Miss Celeste Vause, B. A.
English and French
Miss Cordle Williams, B. A.
Home Economics and English
Miss Bettle Thornton
Instructor in Music
Mrs. J. L. Underwood, B. A.
Mrs. J. A. Slemp
ROSTER OF STUDENTS
Barker, Oscar - Butler, Tenn.
Bowman, Dana - Doeville, Tenn.
Cate, Helen - Bristol, Tenn.
Culver, Ruth - Butler, Tenn.
Day, Beulah - Neva, Tenn.
Dugger, Amy Louise - Butler, Tenn.
Dugger, Loretta - Butler, Tenn.
Dugger, Tina - Butler, Tenn.
Evans, Lesel - Butler, Tenn.
Farthing, Abner - Butler, Tenn.
Farthing, Homer - Butler, Tenn.
Fletcher, Philip - Butler, Tenn.
Fritts, lnez - Doeville, Tenn.
Goodwin, Helen - Butler, Tenn.
Greene, Lucy - Peoria, N.C.
Greene, Elfa - Peoria, N.C.
Greene, Billie - Butler, Tenn.
Greenwell, Milda - Butler, Tenn.
Hazlewood, Louise - Fish Springs, Tenn.
Huntley, Ralph - Fish Springs, Tenn.
Jones, Charlotte - Butler, Tenn.
Laws, Chelsca - Butler, Tenn.
Laws, Delmas - Butler, Tenn.
Lewis, McDonald - Butler, Tenn.
Lipford, Mary - Butler, Tenn.
Lipford, Kermit - Butler, Tenn.
Long, Gertrude - Doeville, Tenn.
Long, Hazel - Doeville, Tenn.
Long, Mitchell - Mountain City, Tenn.
Lowe, Mary C - Mountain City, Tenn.
Luther, Ray - Butler, Tenn.
McCain, Florence - Butler, Tenn.
McCloud, Mary - Butler, Tenn.
McCloud, Elizabeth - Butler, Tenn.
McPherson, Cleo - Butler, Tenn.
McQueen, Norma - Butler, Tenn.
Markland, Pauline - Fish Springs, Tenn.
Markland, Blanche - Fish Springs, Tenn.
Mary, John - Butler, Tenn.
Miller, Jake - Butler, Tenn.
Miller, Frank - Butler, Tenn.
Miller, Raymond - Butler, Tenn.
Neatherly, Christine - Neva, Tenn.
Norris, Chauncey - Butler, Tenn.
Peter, Mary - Butler, Tenn.
Peter, Ruth - Butler, Tenn.
Ramsey, Mrs. Marie G - Butler, Tenn.
Ramsey, Earl - Butler, Tenn.
Range, Howard - Eljzabethton, Tenn.
Reece, Norvia - Butler,Tenn.
Ritchie, Helen - Butler, Tenn.
Roberts, Leta Kate - Mountain City, Tenn.
Roberts, Bert - Mountain City, Tenn.
Robinson, Lena - Butler, Tenn.
Robinson, Earl - Fish Springs, Tenn.
Robinson, Jas. D.,Jr - Butler, Tenn.
Shull, Elizabeth - Neva, Tenn.
Shull, Hal - Neva,Tenn.
Shull. Malcolm - Neva, Tenn.
Slack, Archie - Butler, Tenn.
Smith, Pauline - Butler, Tenn.
Snider, Elsie - Neva,Tenn.
Snyder, Mae - Butler, Tenn.
Stout, Nella - Neva,Tenn.
Stout, Selma - Butler, Tenn.
Tucker, Rhoda - Butler, Tenn.
Tucker, Charles - Butler, Tenn.
VonCanon, Polly - Butler, Tenn.
Wagner, Orlena - Hampton, Tenn.
Wagner, Una - Butler, Tenn.
Wagner, Tom - Cleveland, Tenn.
Weaver, Homer - Butler, Tenn.
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