HISTORY OF CHESTUA BAPTIST CHURCH
Anniversary services of
the church in 1975
Submitted By: Mildred Patty Wooldridge
In February, 1825 an arm of Zion Hill Baptist Church, McMinn County, met at Joseph
Woods on Dancing Branch, Monroe County, for worship. They met again on the second Saturday
of March and decided to meet at John Coltharp's and took up the matter of a church
building. They approved the work of the committee (John Coltharp, Thomas White, James
Buckner, James Majors) appointed by Zion Hill, which had decided that the church should be
on a piece of land given by Jones Griffin on the road near his spring house. This was a log
The second Saturday in July, 1825 they met with the Presbytery consisting of George
Snider, James Sewell and Obed Patty. A summary of church principles were read, which they
agreed to. They examined the group by knowledge of church discipline and Government. Being
satisfied they had sufficient knowledge they proceeded with the organization and a
constitution was granted. There were approximately 2O charter members. James Majors was
the first to hold office being duly elected as Church Clerk.
The new-born church wasted no time in accepting the responsibility and continued with
business at hand. Two deacons were selected from the group and ordained, those being
John Coltharp and Joseph Woods. The Church was given its name, which is an Indian name and
appointed George Snider to form a covenant and Jules for Government. In November they
selected George Snider as the first Pastor.
The second Saturday in January, 1826 the Church Covenant and Rules of Deacons were
introduced to the church and unanimously accepted.
The church did not always meet in the church house; once in 1839 they met and held
services at the County Poor House and many times the night services were held at the home
of John Coltharp. The church agreed that any time they met day or night the doors would be
opened for membership, and many were received.
The Church was very conscious of the state of her membership, as every few years the
Church roll would be revised, all those whose address was not known and those who refused
to attend after being visited by a committee were removed.
In 1859 A.J. Coltharp, J.H. Coltharp, John Scruggs and Smith Bales were appointed as a
building committee and the building of a new house of worship began that summer. About one
year later, April, -1860, they met in the new building for worship.
The first Sunday School was organized in 1861. We are told the new building was
completed in 1863 or 1864. The bricks were burned on the farm of John Scruggs who paid
one-third of the cost.
Although the records do not mention the Civil War, it is said that soldiers of that war
in the building before it was completed.
Candidates for the ministry were not accepted without question, one candidate being
questioned two hours one day, adjourned and questioned one hour the second day.
In May, 1880, it was noted that the house was in danger of giving away to one side and
1884 rods were placed through the building at the cost of $15.
Many revivals were sponsored by the church, one being at Quiet Grove, McMinn County
1884. The meeting lasted nine days and the Rev. James Forkner held the services day and
night and twenty were converted.
From the beginning the black race was accepted as members. There were eight or 10 in
The last one joined for baptism in 1883 and remained a member until death in the early part
of the Twentieth Century.
The church expenses for the year 1890 were $96, Pastor $39, protracted meeting
$20, missions $20 and supplies and local expenses $17. Also in that year the church being
concerned about her membership took action that any person seen at the horse races
without a lawful reason would be dealt with by the church.
In 1893 one woman was appointed to collect $15 for State Missions. During this year one
woman reported to the church that another member owed her a debt. A committee was
appointed to confer with the brother. At the next meeting the committee reported that
satisfactory adjustment had been made.
Saturday, February 2, 1895, no meeting was held on account of snow, snow still on
Feb. 3, and no meeting. Saturday April 6, 1895 no meeting and also Sunday, April 7, 1895.
The Rev. J.S. Russell died while Pastor of the Church.
Saturday Sept. 14, 1893 the church appointed deacons to collect $20 for Missions this year,
$10 for State, $5 for Home and $5 for Foreign.
March 14, 1896 a committee was appointed to look after disorderly and elinquent
Three men were to report to the church when they deemed it necessary.
April I7, 1897 the church accepted the bell donated by Dr. Gib Bickwell. During the
1897 the Pastor's salary was $48.00 and offering for Missions $14.56. In August of that
year the Ladies Aid reported they had collected $7.14 for the Orphans Home. The church
raised $7.64 for a preacher who helped in protracted meeting.
April 30, 1898 the church agreed to pay the Pastor $55 a year, 1/2 amount each month.
In 1898 the Chestua Methodist Church building burned and the Methodist congregation
used our church building until they built another building.
July 1, 1899 the Sunday School was reorganized and began using Southern Baptist
November 17, 1900 the church agreed to organize a church prayer meeting to be held each
Wednesday night. They also raised $2.70 for Foreign Missions and paid the Sexton $8.00.
On Feb. 6 1909 a couple were deemed to be suitable persons to care for a child from the
April 6, 1913 Sister Ponie Cook talked on mission work and a collection was taken of
$7.20. Holly Springs Baptist Church asked for help in paying for their church
building and the church took an offering and received $6 to help them.
December, 1918 the church voted to change services from 1/4 to 1/2 time.
In 1920 the B.Y.P.U. and W.M.U. were organized.
1921 the church bought the first organ. During 1923 the church voted to make an effort
pay the Pastor $400 a year. At this time the church roll bad been revised from 177 to 120.
1924 the Rev. T.R. Waggoner of Athens delivered an able address to the W.M.U. and a
committee was appointed to raise mission money. $4.54 was raised. At this time the Sunday
School offering was $4.07. The W.M.U. were appointed to serve as a committee to secure
funds to buy rubber carpet for church isles.
In 1925 the church had paid over a period of five years $1,161.00 to the 75 Million Dollar
The first piano was purchased in 1935.
May 16, 1948 the church voted to build a new church building and not to go in debt. The
building committee consisted of A. W. Lee, Bill Sloan and R.T.
Toomey. In February, 1950 the church rescended the motion regarding borrowing money and
voted to borrow $3,000 to finish building. The opening services were held on April
30, 1950 and on April 20, 1952 the building was dedicated to Christ. The cost of the
building was approximately $24,000.
In 1953 the church borrowed $2,750 to remodel the old building into fellowship hall and
four Sunday School rooms. This work was completed this same year at a cost of $5,860 and
the church was able to pay off the debt in 1954.
In 1954 the first electric organ was bought, and during this year the library was
30 books - today we have 724.
Girls Auxiliary, Royal Ambassadors and Sunbeams
were organized in 1954. Later Y.W.A., Acteens, Girls in Action, Mission Friends and
Baptist Women were organized as the organizations changed. Today we have Baptist Women
and Mission Friends.
In 1955 the church went to full-time services, and land was purchased to build a
Members of the building committee were Fred Joines, Paul Lee and Mrs. Bill Sloan.
In 1956 the church borrowed $5,000 and work began on the pastorium and the building was
finished in 1957 at a cost of $9,300.
In 1961 the church began giving 10% of regular offerings to Cooperative Program
instead of 5th Sunday offerings.
In 1967 the church purchased a 500 Watt slide projector. The old chandelier which was
bought for the old building in 1887 was electrified and hung in the vestibule. Two chairs
which were bought for the old building in 1902 were refinished and placed in the
vestibule. In 1968 a nursery was opened and a kitchen built in the fellowship ball. A
new piano was purchased in 1971. In 1972 carpet was installed in the sanctuary at a cost of
$1,360 and pads in pews for $565. In 1973 installed new heating and cooling system for
$5,670. Our annual budget has grown from $90 to $15,700 and our mission offerings
from $20 to $2,600.
Our church was host to the Sweetwater Association Annual Meeting in 1925, 1938, 1951,
1957 and 1970.
Our oldest church member living today is Fred Joines who is 90. Amos Lee has been a
member of the church the longest of any member. He was baptized in 1914 and is now 79.
David Stephens, age 10, is our youngest member. He was baptized in 1974.
Approximately 850 have been baptized during the one hundred and fifty years.
Twenty-three years ago today we dedicated this building to Christ. We pray that we will
continue to be a Church that will be pleasing to the Lord and in years to come many will
come to know Christ as their personal Saviour through the influence of this Church.
1825 George Snider
1839 John Scruggs
1847 Wilson Chapman
1849 Thomas Ruple
1851 John Scruggs
1857 B. Kimbrougb
1877 J.S. Russell
1881 Joseph Janeway
1884 James Fortner
1887 J.S. Russell
1889 H.E. Pardue
1900 T.R. Waggoner
1902 S.B. Yoder
1905 T.A. Nelson
1908 J.F. Johnston
1915 W.A. Carroll
1916 J.H. McDaniel
1919 W.M. Griffitt
1920 W.R. Horner
1921 C.A. Johnson
1923 J.H. Atkins
1927 J.E. Vaughn
1930 Hugh Ensminger
1932 Fred Webb and Charlie Tatum
1934 Floyd Long
1935 F.B. Sherrill
1937 Roy Creasman
1943 Sheridan Lovingood
1946 W.G. Smiley
1947 E.J. Blackford
1948 Roy Creasman
1952 Homer Pullen
1956 John Smith
1959 Joe Caldwell
1961 James Clapp
1963 Robert Sharp
1966 George Pittman
1970 Horace Brown
1972 Steve Byrum
1974 Lester Young.
1827 Daniel Buckner and James Majors
1839 John Scruggs
1866 J.H. Coltbarp
1902 J.L. Haun
1907 S.J. Parks
1914 W.A. Carroll
1958 Quentin Lee
1960 Robert Thompson.
Others were licensed to preach but did not prove satisfactory to the Church.
Monroe County Church Records
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