Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

OK, so we're not the oldest....

Thanks to Chris and Snad for caring about facts. It appears that our church is not the oldest in Tennessee. That award goes to Sinking Creek Baptist. Here is that story from CarterCountyGenWeb.

Sinking Creek Church Sinking Creek Baptist Church is the oldest church in Tennessee. It was organized about 1772 in Washington County (now Carter County) and is the oldest church in Tennessee still in existence at its original location. About December 20, 1772, John and James Chastain, Baptist preachers from Virginia, came to the Watauga Settlement to visit their sister who was the wife of James Edens Sr. On December 25, 1772, in a tenant's house on the property of Charles Robertson, near the location of the church, the Chastain brothers began a great revival. This may have been the first assembly that met to worship God in what is now the state of Tennessee.

I suppose Jonesborough (1790) and Salem (1779) are older Presbyterian congregations established by Rev. Samuel Doak. But we are still pretty darn old. In fact, the Watauga Settlement consisted of a bunch of hard-nosed Presbyterians.

It was here, in 1772, that the first majority-rule system of American democracy, The Watauga Association, was established. The "Articles of the Watauga Association" established an independent government, based on democracy as we know it today, four years before the American Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson. Four years later, many of the signers of the "Articles" would petition the state of North Carolina to be part of the state government.

We are still checking this all out of course. This is from our web page:

The story of the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, Tennessee is an important part of the early story of the State of Tennessee. The earliest reference to a Presbyterian congregation, in what was later to become Elizabethton, is in the minutes of Hanover Presbytery, dated October 25, 1782. In those minutes the Rev. Samuel Houston (uncle of Sam Houston of Texas) was instructed to "supply [preach] one Sunday at Watauga." This would have been Fort Watauga, recognized by the State of Tennessee with construction of Sycamore Shoals Historical Park within the city limits of Elizabethton. This was also the site of the gathering of the Over-Mountain Men in 1780, which, blessed by the Rev. Samuel Doak (a member of Hanover Presbytery), marched over the mountain and defeated the British at the Battle of King's Mountain, a battle that was decisive in the eventual outcome of the Revolutionary War.
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