Goodspeed’s History says that the Concord Baptist Church at Norris Creek in Lincoln County was organized “prior to 1820,” but this is possibly closer to 1810.[i] The first minute book of the church is not extant and the date of its constitution is not known. However, “By 1810 a group of Baptists in the village petitioned the Boiling Fork Primitive Baptist in Franklin Co., TN., to send eldership to assist in organizing a church.”[ii] Goodspeed’s History refers to the church as Primitive Baptist, which would be correct at the time of their writing. However, 1810-1820 this church was simply considered “Baptist,” the factions not having yet split over missions and church auxiliaries.
“Concord first belonged to the Richland Creek Association but was transferred to the Elk River Association in 1831 for convenience of the messengers, the first being Rev. James D. Cole, Reuben H. Boone and George Small. By the 1860’s a new building was needed. The land on which Concord was built belonged to John Cunningham. Alexander Ashby was the leader in soliciting money to build the Church. For many years Concord had a large membership and attracted members from miles around. It became the mother church to Buckeye, which was officially organized in 1872, and to Mt. Hermon, which was organized about the same time.”
Some ministers who served the Concord Church were: “Elders Pybus, John Weaver, James D. Cole, Joshua Yates, — Marcum, John Frost, J. W. Holman, J. J. Short, J. G. Woods, A. J. Willis, R. S. Kirkland, — Woodin, W. A. Cashion, J. M. Towry, — Stewart, and lastly, Elder W. A. Pinkstaff.”
“Among the church clerks can be found the names of John Landess, Elias Willson Ashby, W.T. Furgason, William J. Landess and Charlie L. Stone.”
Concord disbanded and closed its doors in 1935. Writing in 1986, Ruth Cunningham Morgan said that “The ruins of this old Concord Church stand today as a reminder of other days and as a monument to a brave and God-fearing people. Truly it is one of Belleville’s historic landmarks.” The Find-A-Grave site for the Concord Cemetery says the “nearby historic church” is “no longer standing.”[iii]
In 1814 Isaac Reed was pastor of the “W. F. N Cr.” Church, a constituent member of the new Flint River Baptist Association. I was guessing “W. F. N Cr.” might be “West Fork of Norris Creek” – since there is a Norris Creek in Lincoln County, Tennessee. The jury is still out on that verdict.
[i] History of Tennessee, from the Earliest Time to the Present; Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Giles, Lincoln, Franklin and Moore Counties, Nashville, TN: Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1886, p. 783.
[ii] Quoted from an article written by Ruth Cunningham Morgan, “Belleville Saga,” Homecoming 86. Reference is in the Boiling Fork Baptist Church minute book. “May the fourth [Fryday] 1810…2. A petition from the bretheran in Lincoln county on Norris Creeke for the Eldership of this church and granted.” (Minutes, p. 34) “Fryday” is hard to read and may be something else. If this church on Norris Creek is the same as Concord, then Concord must have been organized in 1810. Most of the information in quotation marks in the above post comes from “Lincoln County, TN Area Churches.”
[iii] Find-A-Grave, accessed 14 January 2020 2:10 pm.