Susan Daniel, Rutherford County Historical Society, September, 2016
RUTHERFORD CO. CHURCHES OF CHRIST
From “The Daily News Journal” dated Sunday Morning, October 21, 1962.
Antioch Church of Christ congregation on the Halls Hill road near Porterfield is noted for still meeting in the same building that was constructed in 1854. Antioch church is also mentioned in Goodspeeds history of Tennessee as being one of the four congregations existing in the county in 1860. In 1954 extensive remodeling of the building took place.
Bethlehem Church of Christ congregation worshiped at Lascassas, at that time called Nazareth. Brother West Rucker came from Lascassas and started the work at Bethlehem. He continued to work with the new congregation until the building was ready for occupation in 1882. The old building was remodeled in 1911. It was torn down in 1938, and on July 27, 1938, the present building was occupied. Additions have been added. Lumber for the old building was cut off the land where the present building stands. The old hitching post used by the members of that day, still stands.
Big Spring Church of Christ near Red Fox Camp, closed when future growth appeared difficult.
Blackman Church of Christ has been one of the fixtures of that community since 1934. A small group met in the schoolhouse that once stood near where the present community club is located. The school was destroyed by wind and the group moved to the present building which also served as a school. When the county disposed of the property, the church bought it and have continued to use it for worship purposes. The original organizers were E. R. Burgess, Cliff Reeves and Paul Hartman.
Cedar Grove Church of Christ was started mainly to provide a convenient place of worship for a few individuals who found the distance to LaVergne, Smyrna or Rock Spring to far to travel. Services were started in 1917 in the old school building that stood on Caney Road approximately one mile from the present site. The school was later sold and the congregation moved into a new building in May 1937, one mile off the Old Nashville highway on Rock Spring road. The building was updated and repaired over the years.
Crescent Church of Christ is located ten miles from Murfreesboro on the Murfreesboro to Midland road. The church first met for services in 1932 in the Crescent schoolhouse. A place of worship was erected on the present site in 1937.
Christiana Church of Christ congregation actually dates from another age than the 1908-09 period when the present church building was erected. The bullet-ridden lectern saved from a building that burned during the Civil War attests to this. During the war years the congregation met in a brick building near the corner on highway 231. It survived most of the war only to be struck by lightning and was consumed by the fire that followed. However, quick hands saved the lectern which bears the marks of war and it is used today by the present congregation. Until 1909, it was kept in the home of Mr. Wash Beasley. After the war-time building was destroyed the members went to Fosterville and Mars Hill to worship. In 1900 several began to assemble for worship at the home of Mrs. Pollard Runnels (Christiana hotel). Later they met in the Christiana school house. Since 1908-09 the building has received improvements. In 1943, the outside was covered with brick siding, and a concrete porch added. In 1951, four Sunday school rooms were built and shortly after, a baptistry was installed.
Christiana Church of Christ (colored) was organized in 1901 when a few women first met for worship service in the Negro schoolhouse at Christiana. The exact site was on the west side of town near the railroad tracks. About 1910 a place of worship was built about one-fourth mile from the present site down the hill toward the village. However, with the coming of the automobile, parking space wasn’t adequate and in 1940 a new site was selected on the Old Christiana road, north of town. A modest building was erected and the membership has since met at this place.
Dilton Church of Christ was begun by the efforts of Dr. J.M. Dill in 1893. The congregation met first in the Dill home. In 1895 a widow, Mrs. Eleck Smith, gave the lumber of which the Dilton Church was constructed. The building stands at Dilton, five miles from Murfreesboro on the Bradyville Road.
Eagleville Church of Christ was established in 1880, one mile north of Eagleville and one-fourth mile east of the Harpeth River bridge. The church remained there eleven years and from there moved to its present place of worship. The old building was razed in 1962 and a new building constructed on the same site.
East Main Street Church of Christ was founded in the Courthouse in 1833. Later it met in its own building on Vine Street “near Lytle’s Creek.” In 1859, the present location was purchased and a building erected on the corner of East Main and Academy. The present building was erected in 1900 and remodeled in 1922. Extensive repairs have taken place over the years. The minister’s home next door was purchased in 1920. In the 1840’s the membership did not exceed fifty, many coming from distances in the country. Before the Civil War there was no minister giving all of his time, but a number of great preachers conducted services. During the Civil War General (afterward President) Garfield conducted some services. [by Virgil Bradford, Evangelist].
Florence Church of Christ was established in 1905 at a gospel meeting under a tent in Will Sykes’ woods. A building was erected the same year in the bend of Burleson road about one mile off the Old Nashville highway. In 1953 a windstorm demolished the house and a new building was erected on the Old Nashville highway.
Fosterville Church of Christ was established about 1867. The congregation first met for services in the old Union building that later burned. This building was located only a few hundred feet from the present place of worship. William Gilmore deeded the Union building property to the trustees of the church with some unique restrictions in January 1873. “The property should be used for the white population only viz Southern Episcopal, Cumberland Presbyterians, Primitive Baptist and Christians. The Christian church to have one-fourth of the time including the first Sunday and Saturday night before in each month.” The other churches were given their own Sunday and Saturday. The Fosterville church building has undergone extensive repairs and remodeling, first in 1947, and again in 1947, when two more class rooms were added.
Glorianna Church of Christ was started in 1951 in the farm home of Mr. Paul Shipp. A tenant house on the Shipp farm was hastily made ready and the church at Glorianna became an accomplished fact. The tenant house was not in Rutherford County but just over the line in Wilson County. In 1953 plans for a new meeting house had materialized with land donated by Mr. and Mrs. Lofton Cooper in Rutherford Co. two and one-half miles from the old site. The building was completed in October 1953. Glorianna is approximately five miles north and east of Lascassas on Bradley’s Creek Road, 2 miles off Highway 96.
Gowan’s Mission Church – see Jefferson Pike Church of Christ.
Hamilton Drive Church of Christ serves the northwest section of Murfreesboro. In the spring of 1961, a number of members of the Westvue church considered the establishment of a congregation in another part of the city and arrangements were made to use temporarily the facilities of Mitchell-Neilson school. In June 1961, a piece of property on Hamilton Drive including a residence and one additional lot on the South side of the residential property was deeded to three trustees. On June 20 the first service was held in the residence that had been remodeled to accommodate approximately 80 people.
Highland Church of Christ was established in August 1962 at a site south of Smyrna, one-fourth mile south of the Omni Hut. The congregation first met in the John Coleman school with approximately one hundred worshipers.
Hollandale Church of Christ near Smyrna, closed when future growth appeared difficult.
Jefferson Pike Church of Christ was formerly Gowan’s Mission Church. It’s first meeting place was in a one-room building on the property of Jim Gowan, its exact location was approximately half way between the old and new Nashville highways. The building formerly had been used as a cannery and even after it had been converted to church use, it was a common expression for many to say they attended church at “the cannery.” The Jefferson Pike work began in 1927.
Kingwood Heights Church of Christ began in the spring of 1948. Westvue Church was never idle in is mission work in helping to establish new congregations. Recognizing a need for a new congregation in the north section of the city, Mr. and Mrs. Lee Rogers deeded a tract of land in August 1946 on the Lebanon Road opposite the entrance to Kingwood Drive for purposes of constructing a place of worship. In 1947 work was started on a modest but architecturally beautiful building with accommodations for 250 members. The first addition to the church began in 1957. Other remodeling has taken place.
Lascassas Church of Christ located across from Lascassas High School has been in existence since 1872. The first building, made of hand-hewn materials, was located about one mile off highway 96 in Silas McHenry’s Grove. It was a large structure, about 50 X 60 feet with five large windows on each side. Because the road leading to the church was a private one it was necessary for men of the neighborhood to work the road constantly to keep it passable. Finally the members became weary of this and in
1911, rolled the house to the highway and located it on a plot made available by Tom Dill. The church worshiped here and saw many happy days during the next 43 years. However, the church did not own the land and when it became apparent that new facilities were needed, one acre of ground was bought where the present place of worship now stands. In June 1954, Brother C. M. Pullias preached the dedication sermon to a large crowd.
LaVergne Church of Christ congregation may have organized as early as the 1840’s. However, in an article written by Joshua K. Spears and published in the Millenial Harbinger (a paper published by Alexander Campbell) in 1856 he stated: “The work of the church in LaVergne is progressing.” Mr. Spears, who died in 1858, moved from Virginia to Williamson County and from there to LaVergne in 1855. This is the nearest indication as to the exact date the church at LaVergne began. The church first met in the vicinity of Buchanan Spring, hard against the Davidson County line. The building in which this group worshiped was destroyed during the Civil War. The materials were used by Union soldiers to make lean-tos and make-shift housing. After the war, another building was erected near the site of the present LaVergne Telephone Co. office. This building burned in 1885 and because there was not sufficient hitching space for horses a new building was erected in 1886 on the site of the present building, but closer to the road. The land for the new structure was donated by Mr. Billy Goodman. After thirty-five years the Federal government settled a claim by the church for damages inflicted on the original building during the war and this sum (amount unknown) was used in 1925 to remodel the building which still stands. The building was removed from the edge of the road, bricked and equipped with a coal furnace. Over remodeling has taken place over the years.
Leana Church of Christ, located seven and one-half miles on Sulphur Spring road, was established in 1947. Six families first met in the old Bethel School building. The first several months were difficult ones and on at least one winter Sunday only one family met for worship. The spark was kept alive, however, and regular services were continued for some time in the school building with local preachers lending assistance. In 1948 a store building was purchased one-half mile north of the present site and converted into a place of worship. During the time between 1954 and 1956 the congregation purchased a tract of land from Mr. and Mrs. Ray Bullock and thereon erected the present place of worship. Later, additional Sunday School rooms and a baptistry were added.
Mars Hill Church of Christ was started in 1883 in a frame building near the river on a lot donated by Mr. Welcom Mankin, step-father of Albert Miller. The site was approximately three and one-half miles from the Shelbyville highway, east of the railroad on Rucker lane. In 1923, the congregation sold its building and moved to a point near Rucker community. There they constructed the house in which they presently worship. This building received additions in 1960 when two class rooms were added.
Midway Church of Christ near Rockvale was discontinued with proximity of other strong congregations Midway Church of Christ is located seven miles from Murfreesboro between the Bradyville Road and Highway 41. It had its beginning in the spring of 1924. At first the congregation met in the Lowe School building which was no longer being used for school purposes. Since the county had removed the seats from the building, Brother Tom Davidson hauled logs to the mill and had lumber sawed to make benches. The congregation continued to meet in the school building until the fall of 1927 when the present building was completed. In 1925 the Midway congregation near
Rockvale was discontinued and the remaining members decided to give their building to this congregation. Brother Bob Hayes requested that it still wear the name of Midway. The congregation readily accepted the offer and moved the building to its present location. During the early days of the church, most of the baptisms were performed in the creek that ran through the farm of A.N. McCrary.
Millersburg Church of Christ near Christiana, closed when future growth appeared difficult.
Milton Church of Christ was organized through the efforts of Sam Vaught, Charles A. Taylor and Leslie Alexander, which was established in November 1924. Members of the Milton church worship in a nice brick building located on Highway 96, 17 miles from Murfreesboro. Extensive improvements were made in 1958.
Mt. Zion Church of Christ was later named New Zion Church of Christ. On February 2, 1882 J.F. Dunn deeded one acre of land in the 14th District for church purposes. The parcel of land was situated on the West side of Rock Spring Road leading by Oak Grove School to Link. A log building with wide cedar shingles on the roof was constructed on this ground and the place was given the name of Mt. Zion located on the Midland Road. The last revival meeting was held in this building in August or September 1891. On October 15, 1891, Brittain Spence and heirs deeded to five trustees the land where the present building stands. The building erected was named
New Zion. In 1913 one acre was added on the East side of the original tract and in 1930 an additional one half acre was added on the North side. In 1913 the building was severely damaged by a wind storm.
Nazareth Church of Christ – see Bethlehem Church of Christ.
North Boulevard Church of Christ developed mainly from among the membership of the East Main Street Church of Christ. On February 14, 1944, a board of trustees was formed and received property deeded to the Ewing Avenue Church of Christ. A structure on that property was not started then due to the Second World War. On June 19, 1947 the board of trustees for the Ewing Avenue church purchased property at 217 North Tennessee Boulevard from the College Methodist Church and returned the
Ewing Ave. property to the original donor, Albert Miller. The congregation then began meeting for the first time and soon became known as the North Boulevard Church of Christ. Mr. Sam Pittman preached the first sermon. The main auditorium building with basement classrooms, offices, nursery, and other facilities was erected in 1951. In 1956 and again in 1960 additional classrooms were added in the old auditorium. [by Gene Sloan].
Old Jefferson Church of Christ had its beginnings in 1906. The Old Jefferson church was organized by H. Leo Boles, C.M. Pullias and E.L. Cambron. In 1914 the members occupied the present building on the Jefferson Pike, approximately 12 miles from Murfreesboro and four from Smyrna. The building received extensive repairs in 1959.
Rock Hill Church of Christ is near Donnell’s Chapel community about twelve miles from Murfreesboro off the Bradyville Road. The church is appropriately called “Rock Hill” — a large flat rock forms a part of the road which approaches the church and also the building foundation. The original building was erected in 1877 on land given by Hiram Murray. All the lumber was dressed by hand on the building site, and all the work was done by the people of the community. The original straight pews with their solid backs and seats are still in use. Approximately three hundred people can be seated in the auditorium. [by Granville Brown].
Rock Spring Church of Christ congregation was established in 1832, when the Baptist church at this place voted ninety-seven to three to renounce all human creeds and doctrines and accept the bible as their only rule of faith. According to the old records, Peyton Smith delivered the first sermon to the new congregation. The slaves worshiped at the same hour with the Whites, being seated in the rear of the building. The building then in use also served as a schoolhouse.
Rockvale Church of Christ is located on the Murfreesboro-Eagleville highway, 10 miles from Murfreesboro, and not far from the center of Rockvale village. In September 1943 the congregation first met in the schoolhouse. The group later held their services in the home of Mrs. R.A. Williams. With the help of churches in Murfreesboro and Rutherford County, a building was erected at the present site and on December 10, 1944, the group met for the first time at their new place of worship. The building has been remodeled since its original construction.
Sand Hill Church of Christ (colored) was established in 1944 on the Edmondson farm at the corner of Hollandale and Sand Hill Road. The church had a prior history, however, in the early 1930’s, Jesse Owen, a member of the LaVergne congregation, with the support of that church and Nathan (Jack) Carter who provided the land, established its predecessor two miles south of LaVerne on the old Nashville Highway. The building was later torn down and reconstructed on the Edmondson property. At the time the first building closed there was only one member. Owen Drennon and Doc Mason rebuilt the structure that was torn down and moved from the Carter property. In 1951 the Sand Hill school was bought and deeded to the San Hill church by the Edmonson family. Services continued in the school house until it burned on May 6, 1961. When this building burned the U.S. government would not permit the congregation to rebuild on the same location because it was in line with a Sewart Air Base runway. New property was obtained, a modest and attractive building was erected and the first service was conducted July 1, 1962.
Science Hill Church of Christ in the Kittrell community, was formed about 1832. Peyton Smith, who assisted in organizing the Rock Spring Church, makes mention the same year of the Readyville brethren (later Science Hill) in an account of his work in Rutherford Co. The original organizers were Andrew Carnahan, David Barton Hall and Franklin Donald Hall. About the time of the Civil War the log building burned and a new building was erected several hundred yards west, toward Murfreesboro, and nearer the highway. This building also burned in the 1880’s. A third building erected on the same site was jointly used as a school. The name Science Hill was also coined at that time. The combination school-meeting house was erected on a small hill and about that time the subject of science was added to the school curriculum. Apparently, the study of this subject was something new for those times and precipitated considerable talk among the parents. A new building was erected in 1950 across the highway from Kittrell High School. Through the years, many students from David Lipscomb College have served the congregation, until the church employed a regular minister.
Sharpesville Church of Christ was established about 1880, in the Sharpesville community, just off the Halls Hill highway on a gravel road, five miles from Murfreesboro. A new building was constructed [place and date obliterated in the paper.]
Smyrna Church of Christ, located at 110 Division Street in Smyrna, was started in homes by three women in the 1880’s. Later, services were held in a hall over the old Methodist church. The first building was erected in 1888 on a lot where the present building now stands. The lot was donated by Levi White. David Lipscomb delivered the dedication sermon. At that time he donated a pulpit Bible to the church which it still has in its possession. Old records indicate that the first building was a drab edifice, badly in need of paint and improvements. It was approximately forty by sixty feet, with two doors in front and four window to the side. There were two large stoves located near the pulpit. A coal pile in the yard and kindling for starting fires was stored under the building which had no underpinning. While the church was young a division developed over some question, the nature of which is not recorded, and several members began to meet in the schoolhouse nearby. The differences were soon settled, and the group resumed meeting as one body. The old frame building was torn down in 1929, and the present building was erected. This structure was remodeled extensively in 1960. Beginning in the 1950’s the Smyrna church grew steadily after languishing for many years. In 1959 there were 120 members listed on the rolls. In August, 1962 a number of members left to establish another congregation.
State Street Church of Christ (colored) was largely the mission work of the East Main Street Church of Christ. For a while they met in another building, but in 1951, the present structure was constructed and the membership has since met there. When the new building was dedicated, Marshal Keeble, noted evangelist, preached the first sermon to a large audience that assembled from all over Middle Tennessee. Since 1941 the church has added a parsonage to the church building.
Stewarts Creek Church of Christ was organized in 1859 on the Almaville Road, five miles South of Smyrna. The current building was constructed in 1888. However, on March 2, 1859, Robert Cook deeded a piece of land to the organizing trustees. On this piece of land was built Seminary Male and Female Academy. Stewarts Creek Church had its beginning in this building, the exact time is not know. In 1882, Brother T.B. Larimore held a meeting under the trees in nearby Batey woods. Many were converted, and after this meeting plans were made to erect a building. Dr. and Mrs. H.J. Warmuth gave the land for the building which was adjacent to the school ground.
Walter Hill Church of Christ congregation was established in 1894 in the Walter Hill community. The place of worship has always been at the present site about one-fourth mile east of Walter Hill on the Lascassas pike. The building was damaged by a windstorm in 1915 and rebuilt in 1925.
Windrow Church of Christ on Windrow Road, twelve miles from Murfreesboro, owes its beginning to William S. Webb. Mr. Webb met for several months with a small group of interested individuals in the Windrow Methodst Church building at that time inactive. In 1943 he called upon the Westvue Church for assistance in the way of teachers and preachers, believing there was a need for a congregation in that area. The work languished and several times consideration was given to discontinuing the effort. However, Charles L. Briley, an elder at the Westvue church, continued to work with the congregation until it was more firmly established. When the Methodists in the area decided to resume services, the young church had to move to the home of Ira Jackson and from there to the home of Paul Windrow. Congregations in the area gave badly needed financial assistance to help the congregation build a place of worship. Charles L. Taylor conducted the first meeting in the new building in 1946.