yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee


Nell Keen

Union Hill - Henderson County, Tennessee U.S.A.

By Nell Keen

Henderson County Times
May 6, 1981

Union Hill Missionary Baptist Church was one of the first Missionary Baptist Churches organized in Henderson County, according to early descendants of the church it dates back to 1863.

The church is located ten miles south of Lexington just off Hwy. 22-South and Hwy. 100 intersection.

The church also served, as a school for several years. The land was donated by Dr. W. V. McKenzie.

Some of the early descendants of the church were Eli Washburn and other members of the Washburn family and he later served as pastor of the church.

Our community once had a hotel. It was known as the McCollum Hotel and was owned by D. M. McCollum. He is among one of the first buried here. It soon became known as the Pike House but a few years ago it burned.

Leon Hodgin remembers his grandfather John Hodgin telling him that when he was 18 years old he stayed one night at the McCollum Hotel and was robbed.

John Bailey was one of the early settlers coming here from North Carolina. He is also buried here.

Union Hill first church was a one room long church. It was used for several years and then torn down and another one built. It was a weatherboard building with only one room. Billy Washburn, John Ross, the Sheppards, Wilkersons, Thompsons and others we do not have their names built it. They did much of the work at night since most of them were farmers. Their wives helped with the work holding lanterns and doing other odd jobs.

In a few years the church became inadequate to hold the crowd that attended, especially at revival time and for funerals. Some of the members can recall a revival being held in a tent near the church. They added to the one room building and made it a larger one. The church was then almost a square building with a bungalow top. The church had two front doors and one back door and was heated with a wood stove.

Back in those days, people either walked to church or came in wagons and rode horses. During revival time, people would take quilts and lay their small children on the floor. I recall hearing the story told that one of the Wright and the Ross family got their children mixed up one night and did not know it until they had already left the church. Many fond memories can be recalled in those days and lots of sad ones also.

Back to the church building again. The old church served for many years. We had a period of years that the attendance dropped very low but in 1955, the church called Bro. Clyde Johnson as its pastor. We will have to give him a lot of praise for the rebuilding of the new church. He held the first revival by himself with a goad revival. The next year the church called Bro. Jahue McCorkle to help Bro. Johnson in the revival and we had a wonderful, revival with a very large number of additions to the church membership. That is when the young people began to want a new church. Bro. Johnson began to help us make plans to build along with the help of a very devout Christian wife.

We did not have any money in the church treasury so some of the older members said we just can't build a new church but the younger Christians along with their pastor began to work. The Wright boys asked Mr. Will McCormick what he thought about building a new church and he said."We can do It if everyone will stick together and pray,' so that Is what we did.

We tore the old church down and started to work. We used Riddley Chapel for church services while ours was being built. The men started to work on a 30 by 40 ft. one room auditorium. We hired very little of the work done. Most of the men gave their labor. We will not try to name the names of all that worked for fear we might miss someone. Our church attendance still increased so we added two Sunday School rooms and a hallway. We hired most of this done. It .cost $1200.00.

We soon began to want air conditioning so we installed central heat and got new pews and carpet. Several have given donations to the church and had their name plates put on pews in memory of their family of in honor of them. We still have a few left if anyone would like to contribute to them.

By this time Bro. Connie Burton came to be our pastor and our membership still grew. We-added to the church again. We built two rooms to the side that could be opened up and used for large crowds. We contracted a man to dot his work. Bro. Burton stayed at Union Hill for several years and did a good job.

In Sept. 1978, Bro. Jahue McCorkle was called to be our pastor and our membership began to grow again so we started another addition. We built one more Sunday School room, a hallway and two bathrooms and installed a. drinking fountain.

Since Bro. McCorkle came to our church, we have had somewhere in the high 50's saved and added to our church enrollment. We are Union Hill are proud of our pastor and his wife. She works very hard in the church and is a very devout Christian. Bro. McCorkle loves all people and if you ever visit our church you will see just how nice he will treat you. He is making us a wonderful pastor and we know the Lord will bless him for coming to us. Other that have pastored at Union are Fleetwood Ball, Woodard Bartholomew, J.J. Joyner, W. L. King, Bro. Story, Bro. Azbill, Bro. Britt, Charley Broadway, Elmo Blakney and maybe others.

In 1980, Leon Hodgin and wife, Vesta, donated more land to the church and cemetery about 1/2 acre at the back of the cemetery and 1-1/2 acres at the front to be used as burial ground. Bro. Boyd Austin is the first one to be buried in the new part. His family are members of the church and he contributed much to the church.

We are proud of our church at Union Hill but without the help of thc Lord we could have not made it. He has blessed us here and is still blessing us. -

Our revival is always held beginning on the second Sunday in August. Our homecoming is always the Second Sunday in May with a Mother's Day program, preaching, and dinner being served at the lunch hour with singing in the afternoon.

Earlier in the story we forgot to mention that Bro. Joe Cooper donated our church a steeple and all the signs you can see. Many thanks to him and his wife.

Bro. Boyd Austin was a prisoner of war during World War II.

Hope we have not made too many mistakes. If we did please help us correct them and maybe we can get more pictures and have a better story next year.

Note: This article, though primarily about Union Hill Missionary Baptist Church, appeared as part of the Henderson County Times' community history series. It was accompanied by 23 photographs. I am unable to present the photographs since I obtained the article from microfilm. -- David, March 2000.

Photo captions:

These two pictures were the front and back of the Pike Hhouse. The Lewis Milam family. Picture furnished by Lewis Pike.

The old Wright Home in the Union Hill Community.

This picture was taken at John Wylie Wright's funeral in 1956. His funeral was one of the last held in the old church. Picture furnished by Nell Keen.

This home is on top of Sheppard Hill in the Union Hill Community.

Bro. Clyde Johnson in 1959. The picture furnished by Nell Keen.

This is our August Baptismal service in 1980. Picture furnished by Nell Keen.

This is Mr. And Mrs. John Sheppard of the Union Hill Community. They owned the farm where Mr. & Mrs. Joe Keen now live. The picture furnished by Delia Sheppard.

This is Union Hill School and church. This picture was furnished by Velma McBride. Her father, Vester Ervin, is in the picture. 7th-Martha Ervin; 8th-Mertle (wallace) Ervin;Sec. Row-3rd Cricket (Stewart) Bailey, 4th-Alie Ervin Washburn; 6th Vester Ervin; 7th-Jim Ervin. Back row: 3rd-Lillie Bailey; 5th Cora Milam Pike, Maggie Wallace Bivens, Betty Wallace Scott, 9th Bobby Stewart. Teacher Mert Stenson.

This is a picture of our present deacons body and our pastor. From left: Norman Wright, Leon Hodgin, J___ Bolden, Alton Beecham, Joe Terry Thompson, Joe Keen, Bro. Jahue McCorcle, and Herman Wright.

A portion of the land donated to Union Hill Cemetery by Leon Hodgin.

One of the two groceries that service the Union Hill Community. It is Lewis Market.

Nell Keen is standing in front of her home in Union Hill Community.

Joe Robbins and wife and Lexington Mayor Ed bailey are enjoying a little country hospitality. Joe's Market is the other grocery that serves the Union Hill Community.

Union Hill Baptist Church

Mr. Joe Ervin and wife Josephine (Beecham) and their children. This picture was taken at Silas Preslar house near Union Hill. This picture was furnished by Velma McBride.

This house was located out by Union Hill Church and is the birthplace of Leon Hodgin. Picture furnished by Mr. and Mrs. Leon Hodgin.

Union Hill School students. Front row: Perry Bailey, Tom Bailey, Molly Bailey, Lily Bailey, Cricket Stewart, Eula Bailey, Martha Ervin, Allie Ervin; Second row: Teacher Stewart, Jim Thompson, Euda Bailey, Bertha Stewart, Effie Stanfill, John Bailey, Dorsey Bailey, Vester Ervin and Jasper Stewart; Third row: Bobby Stewart, Jeff Thompson, Tom Stanfill and Richard Morris. This picture furnished by Nell Keen.

This picture is believed to be of Union Hill School. Picture furnished by Lewis Pike.

This is carl Sheppard made at the old church. Picture furnished by Delia Sheppard.

This picture is Edith Tomblin and her mother, Leona Sheppard seen at the old church. Picture furnished by Delia Sheppard.

top · home · yesterday's · families · schools · links · what's new · memorial · about

This site was created by David Donahue and Brenda Kirk Fiddler.
This site is currently maintained by Jerry L. Butler
Copyright © 2004 - 2010, All rights reserved