Goodspeed’s History of Tennessee (1887)


To assign to any one of the three denominations Presbyterians, Methodists or Baptists the honor of priority in the work of bringing the gospel into the frontier settlement of Knox County, is impossible.  It is certain, however, that one did not proceed another more than a few months.  Brave and hardy ministers of each denomination kept pace with the vanguard of civilization, and as soon as a few settlers had established themselves in a neighborhood, those ambassadors of the Lord sought them out and their coming was always hailed with delight. The simple announcement that there would be preaching at a station on a certain day was sufficient to bring together the entire population for miles around.  Nor did it matter to what denomination the minister belonged.  To these pioneers, destitute of all those means of entertainment common to older communities, a meeting served to satisfy the inherent desire for some kind of social excitement.  Besides as a class they were eminently a godly people, and no opportunity of renewing their spiritual strength was neglected. 

The denominations mentioned, however, were at that time more widely different in their doctrines and methods than at the present day, and it was not long until religious controversies sprang up.  The Presbyterians and Baptist were both Calvinists of the strictest sect, yet in almost every other respect they were antagonistic.  The Methodist, being Armenians in belief, were in opposition to both.   The Presbyterians included in their membership the more cultivated portion of the community, and having an educated ministry, they naturally established and controlled nearly all the schools, especially those of a higher grade.   The strength of the Baptist lay among the poorer, and as a rule, the uneducated people.  The Methodists occupied a middle ground.  In the following pages the growth of each denomination will be traced separately, beginning with the Methodists.

Click on links to view Goodspeed denominational histories:

Church of Christ (Disciple's Church)
Cumberland Presbyterian
Methodist (includes ME Church, South)
Pilgrim Congregational Church
Welsh Congregational Church
"Colored churches" --  (includes Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational churches - most post-Civil War)

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