yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee


Ramer Anderson White

Poplar Springs Methodist Church, at the time of its dedication in July 1906. The
building was 66 x 34 feet and the top of the belfry was 60 feet above the ground.

(Written April 1994)

Our first church in the late 1800s was located where the Wayne Holmes' drive way is. That church was known as the Rock Hill Methodist Church. The seats were split logs with peg legs. That church burned.

In the very early 1900s, Mr. John Holmes gave two acres valued at $4.00 as the building site for a church house. Our forefathers got together and built the church; the Ralph Holmes family, George W. Anderson and sons, Pole Elkins, Eck and Slater Anderson families, Lewis Jackson, Andy and Van Jackson, John Ballard, Joe and Berry Holmes' family, Asbury Wilson, Jess and Alvin Holmes, Will Holmes and sons, and the Fowler family constructed a church building which is still in use as a place of worship. The name given to the church was Poplar Springs. The members donated from $2.50 to $5.00 for materials. The brick for the pillars of the church was $20.00. The weather boarding was planed by hand. Henry Miller built the pulpit, which is still being used. The size of the church, 34 by 64 feet, was built to seat 500 people; as a member all these years, I have seen it full. The church building had a high steeple with a bell. The bell was drawn up by mules with block and tackle. Poplar Springs Methodist Church, after it was completed and paid for, was dedicated in 1906.

Poplar Springs got its name from two springs that were at the bottom of a steep hill. There was a ridge between the two springs. There was a big poplar tree that stood on that ridge and that is where Poplar Springs got its name. One of the springs is still being used. When the school house stood nearby, water was brought up the hill for the children to drink.

As the years went on, the vibration of the bell pulled the steeple loose from the main part of the church. In the year 1962, on June 6th, the members met and lowered the roof seven and one half feet. The day the work was started, one half of the roof was torn off. It started to rain, and since the floor was beech flooring, it swelled and buckled up. The planks had to be removed. New rafters were made for the roof, and the inside walls were sheet rocked. The older inside was canvassed and papered by the younger women of the church. When the sheet rock was finished, the women then painted it. Denzel Eason, Addie White, and I, and others I don't recall, stood on scaffolds and did the painting. Other improvements made to the building included a new ceiling, new roof and a new front porch. The church was first called Northern Methodist, then Methodist Episcopal, and still later United Methodist. By the early 1980s, there were not enough members to keep the church going. In October 1982, the church members went to the Missionary Baptist Church Conference. We paid $9000.00 for the building. After the congregation became affiliated with the Baptist Conference, other improvements were made. New additions included Sunday School rooms, bathrooms, nursery, fellowship hall, and baptistry. The building was bricked.

I am the oldest member at Poplar Springs. Everything has always been paid for by offering. At present, Bro. David White is the pastor. The deacons are Fay Autry, Glynn Jackson, and Jimmy Gourley. Billy Anderson has been moderator for years. We are proud and fortunate to have them as our leaders.

I took this on myself to leave a history of Poplar Springs Church. May God bless all those who have stuck by the church down through the years. The Lord has wonderfully blessed the church. In 1962, members of the church, then Methodist, gave $50.00 per family--$3,000.00 in all--to pay for the improvements in full. There were other donations; Lonnie Manley gave $50.00 to buy lights that are still being used.

When the bell was still in the steeple, on New Year's Eve, the young people of the community would meet and ring out the old year and ring in the new year. The sound could be heard for miles. I will never forget the sound--it was like the sound was saying, "Come on, come on."

[Note from Brenda Fiddler: The writer of the article, Mrs. Guy White ("Aunt Ramer") wrote the Poplar Springs Community news for The Lexington Progress for many years. Her news often included memories of days long gone by. Her parents were George Washington Anderson and Tennessee Terry Douglas Anderson. Aunt Ramer was the youngest of 11 children. She went on to her reward on November 11, 1995, at age 92.]

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