yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee

From Lillye Younger, People of Action (Decatur County Printers, 1983). Special thanks to Constance Collett and the estate of Lillye Younger for permission to make this web page.


Lillye Younger

PARSONS—New church buildings are springing up like mushrooms in Decatur County. New Prospect Missionary Baptist church celebrated its 11th anniversary in a new church building. The Rev. Mitchell Rayburn, pastor, delivered the first sermon in the new building.

The one story brick structure was constructed for a cost of approximately $8,300. It is located 11 and one-half miles north of Parsons in the Hydro community.

The church dates back to 1851 according to minutes of the Southwestern District Baptist Association. "The land was deeded by Josiah Brewer, my grandfather," Mrs. Ada Hearington, 81, of 224 Georgia Avenue North in Parsons, explains.

"The original church building was a log structure," Mrs. Hearington continues. "I professed religion when I was 13 years of age, under the preaching of the Rev. N. B. Williams. The log building wasn't used as a church-school combination as was many in this section."

The one room frame building, which was built in 1901, was torn down after standing for 68 years to give room for the new brick structure. The congregation outgrew the frame building. Their membership increased from 66 in 1951 to 176 today.

Recorded in the yellowed cardboard back ledger dating back to 1896 the total membership of the church was 77 males and 137 females, listed in segregated fashion, the women's names on separate pages from the men's.

Pioneer members hailed from North Carolina and Virginia. Listed in the ledger are the names of John Greenway. J. A. Quinn, J. H. Dodd, J. I. Johnson, C. M. Hearington, W. D. Colwick, W. P. Jennings, Dr. J. C. Bostick, males. Females included Nancy Dodd, Syrilds Coiwick, Sarah Johnson, Rebecca Arnold, Catherine Guledge and many others.

Pastors who have served the church are Rev. Robert Anderson 1895, Rev. D. Brewer 1896, Rev. N. B. Williams, 1900, Rev. George Hollowell, 1901, Rev. S. K. Hurst, 1902, Rev. T. M. Boyd, 1905 and Rev. Oley Davis, 1908.

According to the minutes of October 1894 E. D. Bostick resigned as clerk of Prospect Church and W. M. McCauley succeeded him. McCauley's penmanship is of excellent quality. McCauley was succeeded by W. D. Colwick, a former merchant of Parsons for many years.

Members were dismissed from the church on grounds of treating the church with contempt and by not cooperating with it, provided the motion for dismissal was carried, according to the minutes.

Expenses were quite different in those pioneer days. In 1896 on motion the clerk was ordered to buy one-half gallon of coal oil and three lamps. One glass lamp at the cost of 40 cents, two small lamps at 15 cents each one-half gallon of coal oil for 10 cents.

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