yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee


(Organized at Union Church 1871)

Ruth Carrington

[Note: The following was transcribed from a very poor xerox copy at the Knox County Library. Numerous words were unreadable, and some, particularly names, could not be identified through context. If you have a better copy, help with the missing words and names would be appreciated.]

The first mention of the association that we call the Beech River Baptist Association has been found in the minutes of Union Church. On Saturday before the first Sabbath in October 1870 the church set in conference for the purpose of electing delegates to a convention which several churches agreed to hold at this church for the consultation of importance of a new association for which we appointed to wit: R. R. Dennison, W. M. Bray, and E. W. Walker as our delegates in that convention when convened with this church.

The minute of 1872 records seven church letters were read. D. W. Perkins was moderator, R. I. Vaughn clerk, and S. R. Carver, Treasurer. Evidently Union did not join the association even though it met for the first time at Union for in 1872 they sent a petitionary letter to the meeting at Chapel Hill along with Mt. Pisgah Judson, Cross Roads, and Bear Creek. On the second day, October 19, 1872, New Hope and Mazies Chapel presented letters. This leaves eight churches to be charter members: Chapel Hill, Ridge Grove, Fellowship Jacks Creek, Piney Creek, Mt. Ararat, Bible Grove and Bible Hill. Bible Hill sent no delegates to the 1872 meeting. There were 9 ministers in the association. The clerk was authorized to have 400 minutes printed, and to receive $15.00 for his services. The treasurer reported that the collection was $37.00. The first session in 1871 elected and executive committee for they reported having met and did not employ a missionary due to lack of funds. The total members listed for the first year was 480 increasing to 838 of which 43 were colored members. The fifteen churches baptized 79 that year, received 15 by letter and e[x]cluded 14. The house was too small to hold the congregation so Elder W. T. Bennett preached to the overflow in the grove and J. H. Thomas preached that afternoon. Ninety nine years ago they had a committee on devine service, correspondence, Sunday School, education, missions, etc.

The whole minutes for this year's proceedings was published front and back on one sheet of paper and then folded to make an eight page minute.

By 1881, the meeting time had been changed to September 24, 25, and 26. This session was at Bible Hill and the Articles of Faith and Constitution were again printed. In 1885, N. M. Bias was elected missionary at a salary of $25 per month. He was not to work during the winter months. He worked total of [144?] days, traveled 1,050 miles preached 102 sermons, visited 250 families, gave 20 extra days to helping other pastors. The churches paid him $94.50. There were [unreadable number] churches. Only one Sabbath School and one prayer meeting were being held--both at Mt. Ararat. Next year, 1886, G. W. Jones was moderator, C. V. Jones, [unreadable--clerk?] and G. B. Gibson served his first second year as Treasurer. I knew him as "uncle Green." The meeting was held at Bear Creek. There was a pashioned plea for the [unreadable] churches to organize Sabbath Schools. Union Church called for a letter to join another association. A committee was appointed for hospitalities for no one went home in those days but spent the night with some of the church families.

In 1887, the executive board reported that they could get no support for a missionary. A letter was given to Russell's Cross Roads to join Central Association.

In 1888, messengers were appointed to the Southern Baptist Convention in Memphis. Elder N. M. Steed was appointed. The association was divided into four sections and representatives were selected to ask the churches for 30 cents per capita for a missionary fund. Carson-Newman College at Mossy Creek was recommended as a good place to get an education. In 1889, the meeting time was moved to Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Parsons, First came into the association and the meeting was changed from before the fourth Sunday to Saturday before the second Sunday. In 1890, the Lexington Baptist College came into existence as a foster child of the Beech River Association under the direction of Dr. A. J. Barton.

In 1891, while meeting at Jacks Creek, W. R. Roney and J. R. Wilkerson were selected as moderator and clerk. W. R. Carrington was elected in place of his brother-in-law, G. B. Gibson as the treasurer. He served in that position for the next 32 years.

The first time to meet in Parsons 1st. Was in 1892. That night preachers went to eight different places in the community to hold preaching services. Messengers were appointed to the Southern Baptist Convention and the Tennessee State Convention. Lexington, 1st. gave $25.75 to missions and set their pastor's salary at $700. Five churches had set their pastor's salary, while only eight had a Sabbath School out of 23 churches represented.

In 1893, Darden came into the association and it was voted to sponsor Fifth Sunday meetings which were continued until fairly recent times. The group went on record that they will not tolerate any church that will retain a member who is a dram drinker. For the first time reports were given on State, Home, and Foreign missions. The Ministerial Relief Board was located at Brownsville, but later moved to Jackson with T. E. Glass as Secretary and Treasurer.

Minutes now skip to 1897. A good definition of how to grow a good Sunday School was given--go to Sunday School, persuade others to go, use Southern Baptist Convention Sunday School Board literature, study it well, leave it at home, and carry your Bible to Sunday School. B. F. Bartles said that Baptists ought to be done with International Sunday School Committee and select their own scripture lessons. (Strange but this did not happen until in the 1960s and then many churches did not want to break away from the old way of doing things.) Dr. A. J. Holt, Secretary of the State Board, visited the session. Some of the bretheren said he was too expensive to cooperate with the State Board. Dr. Holt pointed out that $1.00 of our money was worth $1.33 1/3 in China. For the first time a collection was taken for the Orphans Home in Franklin. B.[?] F. Bartles was the missionary for 1896 and 1897. He reported preaching 204 sermons, visited 341 families, [2 unreadable words] stations regularly. The Woman's and Children's Missionary Society report was written by a state corresponding secretary, Miss [unreadable] Claiborne [?], but she reported no societies in Beech River. We find many stores advertising in the minutes probably to help pay for them. The tuition at the M[unreadable] Female College (formerly Lexington Baptist College) was $1.00 to $2.50 per month with J. [unreadable] president with four other teachers.

At the meeting in 1898, it was reported that a Sunday School Convention had been held at Wildersville for a few days in November 1897. B. F. Battles continued as missionary and he found 79 families without a Bible in the home.

In 1899, a collection was taken for Bro. [unreadable] Jones who was now an invalid. It was recommended that the ministerial board be asked to give him $5.00 per month since he is unable to preach [unreadable word]. Dr. A. J. Holt, E. E.[?] Polk, and J. [unreadable] from Nashville attend the Lexington session anong with J. W. Couch from Fulton, Kentucky.

In 1900 Bro. A. Nunnery reported on [unreadable] his work at Sardis and the association treasurer was ordered to pay him $6.25 as the association's share of his salary.

By 1901, Carson-Newman College was listed at Jefferson City, while Hall Moody at Martin was recommended as being closer to our people. Six churches pledged to pay to foreign missions durint the coming year. For the first time in church statistics the amount of money was shown for State, Home & Foreign Missions, Sunday Schools, value of church property, and the number of people enrolled in Sunday School.

In 1904, Elder J. N. Hall preached "If all the Baptists in the world were just like me what kind of Baptist would this world then see? And if all the Baptists were just like you, what kind of Baptist would this world view?" The association helped to pay salaries of three preachers. By 1905, Fleetwood Ball of Paris conducted the devotional at the meeting. This was a start for the friendship between the Ball and Carrington families, notably Esco Carrington, who was a messenger at Wildersville. Next year a memorial page was authored for Bro. J. H. Merriman who died in Jan. 1906. In 1907, the clerk failed to come and Fleetwood Ball was then appointed clerk pro tem. In this minute the first historical table for the association was printed. The amount given for all purposes was only the minute money. Perhaps for the first 21 years this was all that was reported. In some years that I have the minute for, this was the minute money. Not too many kept accounts of the money given except what went to the association, and the money taken at the association meeting. W.[?] T. McPeake was clerk at this time.

In 1909, Fleetwood Ball was elected as Moderator to which he was re-elected each year for the next 30 yrs. He served as active moderator 31 years and as moderator emeritus one year before death.

Bro. J. A. Deere was elected clerk again in 1910 serving continuously for the next 14 years. He had already served three years prior to this time.

In 1911, Dr. R. A. Kimbrough, President of Union University, H. E. Watters who served later as Union's President and Miss Mary Northington, Field Secretary for W.M.U. were visitors. This must have been a typical meeting for after the Orphan's Home report a collection was taken for the orphans. After the ministerial relief report another collection was taken. Bros. R. I. Rogers and S. K. Hurst had been doing missionary work at Scotts Hill and Lone Chestnut holding revivals at both churches. It was requested that eleven churches who called themselves missionary gave absolutely nothing to missions last year. Where does the fault lie. Is it in the pastors, the members, or both? So they took another collection for associational missions and another for missions.

In 1912, the Minister's Relief Bards was moved from Jackson to Nashville. The first locally prepared report on Woman's Missionary Union was read by Bro. Ball but was prepared by J. W. Page, J. A. Deere, and Herby Dennison. Three preachers were employed: [unreadable initials] Boren at New Hope, salary $60.00, [unreadable initial] L. Rogers at Sardis at $30.00, and C. K. Hurst at Lone Chestnut at $60.00. Missionary rallies were held touching every church in the association beginning at Bible Hill in March and concluding at Mt. Gilead the first Sunday in April. Old New Hope was revitalized and the church and community plan to build the house of worship. There had been 45 conversions in the last 1 and ½ years. Mrs. Martha Bartholomew gave her Sunday eggs to mission work at Lone Chestnut. The amount was $3.78. Soon also 10 women pledged their Sunday eggs for missions. Mrs. A. Griggs was elected Superintendant with Minnie Spellings as Secretary and Mrs. [unreadable initials] Walker as treasurer of the associational W.M.U.

In 1913 the ladies retired to the grove in a separate meeting to hear Miss Buchanan on WMU work. This became the custom for many years that women held their meeting while men conducted business in the house. For the first time the constitution of W.M.U. Auxiliary was published in the minutes. Sixty dollars were pledged to buy 12 bbls. of flour for the orphan's home.

In 1915, Mrs. A. Griggs gave the W.M.U. report. This is the first time for a woman to give this report. Seven churches had WMUs: Lexington, 1st. Mrs. Felix Creasy; Lexington, 2nd., Mrs. Lessie Conneley; Parsons, 1st., Mrs. A. U. Nunnery; Ridge Grove, Mrs. D. Hall; Union, Mrs. L. L. Walker; Union Hill, Mrs. Lessie Freeman; Rock Hill, Mrs. J. A. Deere. A. U Nunnery was elected missionary and he served the next year.

In 1917, two missionaries were elected--W. O.[?] Young and C. E. Azbill. Bro. Young went to Arkansas and W. L. King was appointed to succeed him. Each was to receive $600 for the year and all they could make selling books and Bibles. The association protested the establishment of a machine gun range in western Henderson County. "The association with membership of 3,586 do register protest at the desecration of graves and the abolishing of several Baptist Churches.["] There were 13 licentiates and 45 ordained preachers in the association in 1917.

In 1918, C. E. Azbill and W. L. King served at a salary of $750 per year. In 1919, the association met for the second time at Parsons. A committee was appointed to confer with the churches to erect monuments at graves of William Wood, E. E. McPeake, T. A. Sisson and Dr. J. T. Pipkin. A special collection was taken to defray this expense. This year marked the beginning of the 75 Million campaign effort to pay off the indebtedness of Baptists. Chairmen of committees elected so they could prepare report before the organizational meeting.

At the meeting in 1920 special recognition was madeof the 30 years of service of W. R. Carrington as treasurer. Dr. Loyd T. Wilson preached on "The Open Door of Baptist Opportunity". Others who preached were E. A. Nelson & R. E. Pettigrew both missionaries to Brazil, Dr. W. J. Stewart, J. T. Warren, A. West, and I. N. Penwick. W. L. King and J. T. Bradfield were missionaries but J. T. resigned because of his wife's health and J. W. Camp and R. L. Rogers supplied for him. The names of those who died with their home churches were included for the first time.

In 1921, the first report on hospitals was printed. Lexington, 1st. supported an orphan boy from the home in Franklin. J. G. Cooper served with W. L. King as missionary. Next year the pictures of John B. Hays who served as moderator for 10 yrs., and C. V. Jones who served as clerk for 5 years were put in as a memorial. L. M. Matheny of Union Grove and J. P. Duke of Beacon were other preachers lost by death that year.

Esco Carrington was elected in 1923 to be treasurer for the next 23 years succeeding his father W. R. Carrington. In 1924 Joe Jennings became clerk to serve for the next 19 years. Miss Roxie Jacobs and Mr. [unreadable initial H. Preston of the B.Y.P.U. department were visitors.

In 1925, John D. Freeman, editor of Baptist & Reflector and W. D. Hudgins, Sunday School Secretary spoke at this meeting. This was the beginning of a friendship which lasted until Dr. Hudgins was killed, but the friend made by the Carrington family with Dr. Freeman lives on today after 45 years. After a cash collection for the orphans several made a pledge or corn--J. H. Davis 5 bbls., S. L. Powers 3 bbls., Elmer Deere 3 bbls., W. C. Frizzell 3 bbls., W. F. Boren 2 bbls, and C. W. Owens, 2 bbls to feed the livestock. Listed among the deceased that year were T. Rogers, an old soldier preaching and W. W. Carrington, associational treasurer for 32 years. All churches reported using wooden buildings except Lexington, 1st., Parsons, 1st. Whose buildings were brick and Darden constructed on concrete. Parsons, 1st. had the only pastor's home.

Perryville was the meeting place for 1926. Both associational and church directories were listed in the front of the minute and the proceedings were numbered for the first time. Visitors present were Miss Zella Mae Collie, John D. Freeman, L. H. Hall, W. D. Hudgins, J. H. Shane[?], and O.[?] E. Bryan. I. A. Lawler made one of the reports. His name was to appear in various capacities as leading the singing or making some report for the reat of the years, Mrs. Sam Jones, Lexington was Superintendend of W.M.U. Deacon G. B. Gibson the last surviving charter member of the association and treasurer for many years died during the year. A black bordered page dedicated to the memory of our comrads who have answered the roll call since Sept. 1925 was placed in the minutes.

As the association met at Wildersville the first gifts to the Cooperative Program were listed. Thirteen churches gave 990.16 with special funds designated of 401.39, gifts to local causes were 3,188.33 with pastors' salaries of 7,143.15 but only 203 baptisms.

A. L. Bowman made the first report on B.Y.P.U. as a separate report in 1930 at Hopewell. All mission gifts were 1,794.99.

Help was given to 4 pastors to supplement salaries. The association was divided into four groups for Sunday School work in the 51 churches. The associational treasurer reported a total of 78.62 handled for all purposes that year.

When the association met at New Prospect, the church chose that time to ordain deacons for their church. Next day, A. L. Bowman was elected as the superintendent for B.Y.P.U. and Joe Jennings was selected as Superintendent of Sunday Schools. Miss Margaret Bruce attended as Young Peoples leader for WMU. Next year, 1937, seven were appointed as the executive committee plus all resident pastors. In 1940, Fleetwood Ball was elected Moderator Emeritus with H. L. Waters as active moderator. It was agreed that any church not reporting for three consecutive years should be dropped from the roll of churches. All of the letters were not read but a wall chart with a summary was to be prepared by the clerk. W. F. Boren, former pastor and missionary, A. L. Bray, and Eli Rogers were lost by death.

When the association convened at Rock Hill in 1941 for the first time in many years the voice of Fleetwood Ball was not heard. Many tears were shed as the group thought over the times when his voice was raised in song to begin a session promptly regardless of the fact that he was perhaps the only one in the house. But God's business moved promptly and at the time appointed. G. G. Joyner was elected moderator. A committee was appointed to see about loading trucks with food for the Baptist Children's Home. In this minute the minute funds were itemized as a separate report. Bro. Ball's pictured in the minute with a one sentence writeup.

In 1943, Joe Jennings was elected clerk emeritus with W. Bartholomew as active clerk. Two years later memorial services were held for Bro. Joe a faithful clerk for 21 years. Only one pastor asked for a mission supplement that year from the state board. Beech River was beginning to stand on its own resources.

At Luray in 1946 the first layman to serve as moderator was elected. J. A. Tinker served as moderator, Ernest Wilkins elected clerk, and James Lawler elected treasurer. These officers served two years. Wade carver came to Parsons, 1st. The next year and when the association met at New Pleasant Ridge (Cub Creek Hall) he was appointed to act as clerk pro tem in the absence of Ernest Wilkins. During the business session Wade Carver was elected moderator, Ruth Carrington as Clerk, and Bro. McCormic as treasurer. There were three who had attended the association at least 50 years ago: [unreadable initials] Jennings 50 yrs., R. L. Rogers 53 yrs., and Esco Carrington 56 yrs.

In 1949, C. R. Story was elected to succeed W. Bartholomew as missionary at a salary of 1,770. Cooper Moody served as treasurer for two years. Richard L. Rogers passed away in the fall of 1949.

At Mt. Ararat plans were made for the Evangelistic Crusade for 1951 with E. E. Deusner as Chairman of Evangelism. W. Bartholomew was elected moderator. In the spring of 1951, there were 10 churches who participated in the Evangelistic Crusade. There were 161 baptisms reported this year. Because of financial problems the work of the missionary was dropped leaving the association with an indebtedness to the last two missionaries.

The year of 1953 saw the body meeting at Union Church again. It was truly a time for the older members. A. U. Nunnery 80 years old; J. L. Robinson and E. W. Essary both 83; M. C. Carnal 85 past, a Baptist for 66 years; D. S. Summers 89 and the oldest of all, Mrs. Georgia A. Griggs 91 yrs. young. A. L. Partain served as missionary in 1952-53. The clerk was elected treasurer serving two years.

When the body convened at Mt. Gilead in '54 the youngest messenger was Larry Patton, Lexington 1st. The oldest Mrs. Kittie McMillan, Decaturville age 90. The meeting time was changed to Thursday night and all day Friday and Friday night. J. A. Overton elected moderator with Eddie Wallace serving three successive years as treasurer. There was a committee appointed to rewrite the constitution and bring it up to date to present at the next session. Bro. L. G. Frey brought the closing message on Evangelism and the Association voted to go into the Simultaneous Revival Crusade in 1955.

In 1955 we met at Judson. E. E. Deusner was selected for moderator serving for the next two years. J. A. Deere, a clerk for 17 years brought the report on hospitals. A memorial page was prepared for Mrs. Georgia A. Griggs and Mrs. Ryanna Hall Dennison, [two] pioneer W.M.U. ladies of past years. There were 187 baptisms that year.

In 1956 it was voted to drop the reading of church letters and a brief digest of the letters was to be brought at the next session. The association voted to send produce and canned goods to the Childrens Homes and Esco Derryberry became "Mr. Children's Home" for his outstanding work along those lines for several years.

Judge Clyde M. Reeves, an outstanding layman was elected moderator at the 1957 session. C. B. Scatterday was elected treasurer and served three years. As moderator E. E. Deusner opened the session he asked that the association pray for him and for each other that the session might be one of the best in history. He said that in September he entered college, in sept. he entered the seminary, he married Sept. 19, in Sept. he came to Lexington, in Sept. he was elected moderator of Beech River Baptist Association. Four preachers from the Association--A. U. Nunnery, N.[?] Bartholomew, Jess Dodd, and T. C. Jowers were lost since the last meeting. Miss Sherry Wallace was presented as being a Queen in the Girl's Auxiliary. She told of her joy in the work. Fred M. Dowell Jr. Secretary of the Department of Evangelism was one of the forceful speakers at this session.

In 1959, J. V. Reeves was elected moderator serving for two years. J. A. Deere was elected Honorary Moderator and he told of his election as clerk in 1898 when the association met at Darden before. A committee was appointed to see about raising funds and the securing of a missionary to do work in the association.

Bro. J. A. Deere asked to have a special recognition service for the Carrington family for the long years of service in the association. This program included special music by Mrs. Robbie Rhodes[?] and a Eulogy by J. A. Deere. He honored W. R. Carrington (Bill) for his 32 years as treasurer, Esco for his 23 in the same job, and Esco's daughter, Ruth as the third generation for 13 years making a total of 68 years in active associational jobs. Bro. R. [unreadable initial] Pettigrew was elected as treasurer but served only that year, 1960.

Next year at Chapel Hill, James F. Rodgers began his two years as moderator, while the clerk was elected treasurer as well as clerk. J. T. Bradfield, former missionary and G. W. McBride were lost by death from the preachers. The constitution was amended and the By-Laws were adopted. The articles of faith as adopted at the organizational meting at Union on Oct. 13, 1871 were printed again.

After several months of working and planning Henry Guy Jackson became part time missionary in January of 1963. Bro. Jackson gave a very encouraging report of progress made during the one week per month that her served. Billy F. Hammonds was elected moderator and served two years. During the session the memory of Mr. Joe Allen Deere was honored for his faithfulness and 19 years as clerk. Mr. Bill Goff, Lexington 1st. was killed in an accident and buried on Friday of the session.

In spring of 1964 the way was opened for James Kenneth Sparkman to become full time missionary. A house was purchased in Lexington and office space was rented in the Essary Building. The house was purchased through the sale of bonds. W. L. King, former missionary and G. G. Joyner, former moderator were lost by death during the year. Dr. Ramsey Pollard of Bellevue Baptist Church, Memphis brought this 94th. Session to a close with a forceful sermon to crown this meeting held in Lexington, First church.

Parsons, 1st. Celebrated its 75th. Anniversary of founding by entertaining the association in 1965. Bro. & Mrs. Wade Carver were among the visitors. Dr. Fred Kendall, State Secretary was on program. Since the pure foods law passed the Children's Home could not receive the home canned food it was suggested that the little "Sparkmans" be the recipients of the annual food offering. Three former moderators attended--Carver, J. T. Rogers, and E. E. Deusner.

Highlights of the '66 session was the election of a full slate of associational music officers under the leadership of Chester Stephens. It was moved to give a special building fund offering the last of October to retire the debt on the missionary's home and that the association sponsor a school of missions in 1968. Thomas Blankenship served 1965 and 66 as moderator. Mr. Fred Dies of the United temperance League gave some good instruction to all about the modern problem of alcohol. "If you must drink like the fishes drink, Then just drink what the fishes drink--WATER." Many physical improvements were noted among churches--air-conditioning, painting, paving, and general fixing up. A new projector, screen, record player, and camera were added to the associational office equipment. Actual associational gifts amounted to nearly $7,000.00.

In 1967, Mt. Ararat celebrated the founding of their church exactly 100 years before on Sept. 22, 1868. The association was glad to be meeting with them on this very special occasion. A history of Mt. Ararat's 100 years was given by long time clerk W. A. Carrington. Pictures of pastors, the original minutes and other items of interest were shown on the opaque projector. C.[?] R. Story was elected moderator serving for two years. He made a gavel from the old timber of Union church which he presented to the association. Ministers lost since the last meeting were W. [unreadable initial] Moody and Arvin Rhodes. Also, former moderator Clyde M. Reeves had passed away.

The session of 1968 meeting at Chapel Hill saw the burning of the bonds and the declaration of the missionary's home out of debt after four and one-half years instead of the allotted time. The missions committee under the leadership of Dr. E. E. Deusner, the chairman since inception, burned the bonds publically. Other members of the committee were C. B. Scatterday, Ruth Carrington, Esco Derryberry, Carl McNeill, and Herby Garner. This was _______ [unreadable line] but the faces of R. E. Pettigrew and Elvin Sego, Trustees of the association would be seen no more with us. The Brotherhood quartet of Jackson stirred the hearts of the hearers with several songs and James Case brought the final message.

In 1969 at Decaturville, Carl McNeill was elected moderator. The 1971 session was set at Wildersville so that the association could help them celebrate their 100th anniversary. One of the first members of the missions committee, Esco Derryberry had crossed into the great beyond and Pastor Onnie Blankenship, also.

Total monies for the fiscal year of 13 months due to the change of meeting to October were $10,591.58 which included $2,300 designated for the World Mission Conference which was enjoyed by 36 churches. Many requests were made by the churches to have another glimpse into missions in the near future. Two churches, Sand Ridge and Union, completed modern brick homes for their pastors to live on the field. Other churches wits pastor's homes are Decaturville, 1st., Parsons, 1st., Parsons Calvary, Wildersville and Lexington, 1st.

One hundred years have passed since the first gathering of the churches and the starting of BEECH RIVER BAPTIST ASSOCIATION. There have been ups and downs, happiness and sadness, crying and rejoycing during the passing of the years. In writing this many things have been left out that should have been said, some thinks have been said that should have been left unsaid, but in the time that I could devote to this, this is just about the best that I could do. If there are things that should have been mentioned that are not included, PLEASE forgive because 100 years is a lot of time to cover.

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