Marshall County Tennessee
Part of the American History and Genealogy Project

Churches of Marshall County


The church known as Wilson Hill or Globe Creek Church, was organized in 1811. They were formerly known as the "Schismatics." Here was held the first and only camp-meeting by the Christians in the county. In 1844 the membership of Wilson Hill was 136, including 35 heads of families and 12 servants. The ministers at that time were Revs. Barrett and McCord; the elders A. Lavender and H. Phillips; the deacons, John Wilson and J. Robbins. This church has had a prosperous existence, but was greatly injured for the time being by the J. R. Collinsworth defection. The Year Book for 1885 gives P. Q. Houston as one of the elders, the church membership at 100, the number of Sabbath-school pupils at 50, the number of teachers and officers 6, and the value of church property at $1,000. The Cedar Creek Church was organized in June, 1841. In a few years the membership was 101, and in 1844 it numbered 19 males, 16 heads of families and 3 servants. The house was erected in 1844, with Brother McCord as pastor, Joshua and Joel Hardison and John Fox, elders; J. Beard and S. L. Hardison were the deacons. A new church has since been built within the limits of Maury County, called Antioch, which has taken the place of Cedar Creek.

According to an authority at hand, what is now Cane Creek was separated from the association of United Baptists in 1823; another authority has it much later. The membership in 1844 was 126. Monthly meetings were held till 1839, when semi-monthly meetings were held. On the expulsion of Rev. Willis Hepwood all the heads of families, except John England and John Blackwell, left the church, the whole numbering nearly 500. The members followed Hepwood and built a new church, called Liberty, about one-half mile from the old church. A great revival was held at Liberty in 1851, by Rev. C. R. Collinsworth, at which there were 156 members added to the church. The present membership is reported at 80, Sunday-school scholars 30, and church property worth $1,000.

A division of Liberty Church was made in 1841, and Cane Creek organized with 45 members and a new church erected. The membership of Cane Creek is 200, Sunday-school pupils 60, and church property is worth $2,500. In 1840 there were between 30 and 40 members on Tory Creek with no house of worship, but these have united at Beech Grove or elsewhere since and a new house erected at Beech Grove.

In 1828 a church was organized at Berea, near Chapel Hill, by Rev. J. K. Speer. The church soon became quite strong, numbering at one time 120 members. Among the leading members and officers were J. Biddington, J. Patton, H. Wilson, J. M. Barnes and J. A. Manire. The two last named managed a church school for a time at Berea. Owing to the overflow of the river the membership was changed to Old Lasea and Cedar Creek.

The church at Lewisburg was organized in 1836, and in eight years the membership numbered 136. The first elders were J. McCord, John Harden and D. B. Bills; the deacons were J. Bills and E. R. Hoover. The first house of worship was erected in 1845, a new brick house is now building in Lewisburg at a cost of about $4,000. The present membership is 200.

The pioneer denomination of Marshall County was the Presbyterian, and its first church was Bethberei. This was organized June 1, 1810, by Rev. Samuel Findley, of Kentucky, with the following members:

John, Martha and Margaret Dysart
William and Elizabeth Anderson
David McCurdy
John, Eleanor and Elizabeth Cummings
Robert and Nancy Elliott
Edward Bryant
John and Mary Holmes
John, Phidellas
James, Allen, Rebecca and Mary Leiper
James and Mary Coffey
William and Ann Say
Hugh Cathey
Francis H. Woods

Two of these, Mrs. Mary Holmes and Mrs. Mary Coffey, were living in 1860. The organization sermon was preached by the minister while standing upon a rock, near where the present church now stands, from the text "Upon this rock I will build my church," etc. The first minister was Rev. John Gillespie, who served the church in 1811; Andrew Morrison served 1812-13; Thomas J. Hall, 1814-49; George H. Blair, 1849-53. Revs. Robert Hardin, Thomas Stone, W. J. Frierson and M. S. Kennedy have completed the service of the church till the present time, except intervals of from four months to three years.

The ruling elders at first were John Dysart, F. H. Woods and Allen Leiper. The first church was made up from members who were compelled to travel from four to eight miles for a place of worship. The total number of ministers to the present time is 15; the number of ruling elders, 34; the number of deacons, 9; clerks, 7; number of members, 900; sacramental meetings, 150. Allen Leiper served as clerk of the session from 1810 to 1826; John Ramsey, now of Farmington, from 1826 to 1848; Lile A. Ewing, from 1848 to 1853, since which time James S. Ewing has been clerk. The church membership started with 28; in 1815, it was 144; in 1818, it numbered 183. A great revival occurred in 1832, which resulted in about eighty accessions to the church. Notwithstanding the number that had been separated and united into other churches, this congregation still numbers about 125 members.

The Presbyterians started the pioneer Sunday-school in this portion of the county, the Rock Creek Sunday-school, or Bethberei, having been organized in 1827. Other Sunday-schools followed at Farmington, Cedar Creek, Hopewell and Piedmont. An auxiliary Bible society was formed by this church in 1815, which is still in existence. This church was the founder of the first temperance society in 1832, within the limits of this county. Bethberei has paid to its pastors an aggregate of $17,000; to missions, Bible cause, educational purposes, etc., a total of $23,000, making a sum of $40,000 for all purposes. In June, 1860, the church celebrated its fiftieth anniversary by a sermon from Rev. F. A. Ross, and in June, 1885, its seventy-fifth anniversary, the anniversary sermon having been preached by Rev. F. A. Thompson.

In 1828 there were churches at Piedmont, or Round Hill, Hopewell, or Bethel, also flourishing Sunday-schools at each of these places, as well as at Farmington and Cedar Creek. The first members at Round Hill, or Piedmont, were Frank Woods, James Coffey, Ramsey, Albert Anderson, David McCleary, Bedford Woods, John Miller and others. The elders at Bethel were Robert Orr, L. D. Stockton, Alex Adams, Allen Coffey and Amzi Bradshaw. The two churches above mentioned were known as the Old and the New School, but about 1866 or 1867 the two were again united and formed what is now "Union Church." The Rev. P. A. Atkisson is pastor. This church, like all of the Presbyterian Churches, maintain a weekly Sunday-school and prayer meeting. Its membership now is about 125.

The church at Lewisburg was organized in June, 1847, by Rev. Edward McLean with seven members, viz.:

Dr. S. W. Penn and wife
G. B. Black
E. E. Ewing and wife
Jane Ewing
Hugh A. Hall and wife
Dr. Penn
Messrs. Hall and Black were ordained elders.

E. T. Brantley, 1848-49
George H. Blair, 1850-52
W. C. Dunlap, 1852-53
Robert Hardin, 1854-59
W. H. Verner. 1859-70
W. T. Roser, 1870-72
J. M. Alexander 1872-75
J. T. Rothrock, 1877-80
M. S. Kennedy, 1880 to present.

There have been ten elders; those now living are J. L. Reed, J. S. Ewing, A. L. Ewing, J. L. Marshall, J. A. Woods and T. C. Black. The church now has four deacons and a membership of about 100. The church at Cornersville is under the charge of Rev. M. S. Kennedy, who also preaches for the church at Lewisburg.

The pioneer Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Marshall County is Bear Creek Church, near Mooresville. This church was organized in 1814 by Rev. Samuel King. This was soon after the separation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church from the Primitive Church. The first house erected was a log building. The present brick building was erected about 1860. This is one of the strongest congregations in the county. It now numbers about 240 members.

The church at Farmington was organized in 1818 by some elders and lay members, who were seceders from the Presbyterian Church at Bethberei. This organization soon erected a house of worship. They now have a good house and a membership of about 100. A Sunday-school has been maintained since 1828. The present pastor is Rev. J. D. Braley. Beech Hill is one of the old churches. It was organized about 1840. The church is served by Rev. J. N. Holt from Eagleville. The membership is about seventy.

The Richland Church was organized about 1836 by Rev. Andrew Smith Among the first members were Richard McCrea, Henry Bishop, Moses Park and others. The membership now is about 150, with A. F. Rankin as pastor.

The Cornersville Church was organized about 1830. Among the first members were Capt. W. Harris, Esq., James Hayes and _____ Park. One of the first pastors was Rev. H. B. Warner. This church now has a good house of worship and a membership of about sixty. Rev. W. A. Bridges is the present pastor.

The Bethlehem Church near Berlin was organized between 1850 and 1860 by R. P. Atkisson. The church now numbers about fifty members and owns a good house, with Rev. A. F. Rankin as pastor. The Chapel Hill Church was organized in 1856. It owns a good brick house and has a membership of about eighty.

The Cumberland Presbyterian Church at Lewisburg was organized May 29, 1841, by Rev. Willis Burgess, who continued to labor with the church till 1849. The first elders were Elisha Hurt, William D. Fisher and James M. Bowden. Rev. N. P. Modrall, became pastor and served from 1849 to 1855; L. P. Atkisson, 1855-58 W. W. Hendricks, 1858-60; P L Atkisson, 1860-66; S. E. Wilson, 1866-69; S. O. Woods, 1869-72; J. M. Brown, 1878 to the present.

The church had seventeen elders since its organization, the present ones being Jo McBride, M. C. West, R. A. McCord and J. B. Haynes. A brick house of worship was erected sometime after organization. This building is still in a good state of preservation and is still in use by the church. This congregation has had a quiet but steady growth since its organization.

Since its reorganization, in 1866, the register shows an enrollment of 194 members. The Cumberland Presbyterians were among the pioneer churches to hold camp-meetings. Two noted camp grounds of this church were Rich Creek and at Col. Levi Cochran's.

The date of the organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church South is not exactly known, but it was in the early part of the century. The class was first organized at Carmel, where a house was erected and worship held for many years, when the class was moved to Lewisburg. The class has been at Lewisburg for half a century. The class at Lewisburg belongs to the same circuit as Cornersville, and has a membership of about seventy-five. The present church at Cornersville was built in 1877, the trustees at that time were N. L. McLelland, A. W. Johnson, A. Jones, George T. Allman and J. A. Jarrett. The parsonage for this church and the one at Lewisburg is located at Cornersville.

The Church at Chapel Hill was founded by Andrew Patterson between 1840-50. The church was erected in 1847. Lebanon is another one of the old churches of Marshall County, The church at that place was erected in 1844. There are also churches at Berlin, Farmington, Verona, New Hope, Macedonia, Allen's Chapel, McCrary, Mooresville, Mount Zion and Gill's Chapel. The Methodist Church was long celebrated for holding camp-meetings and camp-meeting revivals. One of the old camp grounds was near Lewisburg.

The Primitive Baptists have three churches in Marshall County. This respectable body of the militant was' among the pioneer organizations in the county. There are now churches at Rich Creek, Stephen's Grove and Chapel Hill. The church at Rich Creek was organized about 1885-36; the present building was erected in 1871. The membership numbers about 100. Good houses of worship have been erected at each of the other churches.

The Missionary Baptists are represented in the county by churches at Smyrna, Pisgah and one on the Mooresville Pike near Col. John Hill's. These are old churches and have a large membership.


 Marshall County | AHGP Tennessee


Source: History of Tennessee, Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1886


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