Excerpts from

Centennial Celebration


Island Home Baptist Church

Knoxville, Tennessee

October 2, 1960 - December 11, 1960


In the beginning of the first record book are "The Articles of Faith and the Church Covenant" adopted at the organization of thee Church. The following are the Articles of Faith;

1—The Scripture
2—The True God
3—The Fall of Man
4—The Way of Salvation
8—Repentance and Faith
9—God's Purpose of Grace

11—Perseverance of the Saints
12—The Law and the Gospel
13—A Gospel Church
14—Baptism and the Lord's Supper
15—The Christian Sabbath
16—Civil Government
17—The Righteous and the Wicked
18—The World to Come
19—The Church Covenant


Having been as we trust, brought by Divine Grace to embrace the Lord Jesus Christ to give ourselves wholly to Him, we do now solemnly and joyfully covenant with each other to walk together in Him with brotherly love to His glory as our common Lord. We do therefore in His strength engage:

1—That we will exercise a Christian care and watchfulness over each other, and faithfully warn, exhort and admonish each other as occasion may require.

2—That we will not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, but will uphold the public worship of God and the ordinances of His house.

3—That we will not omit closet and family religion at home, nor neglect the great duty of religious training of our children and of those under our care for the services of Christ and the enjoyment of Heaven.

4—That we are the light of the world and the salt of ths earth, we will seek Divine aid that will enable us to deny ungodliness and even worldly lust, and to walk circumspectly in the world that we may win souls of men.

5—That we will cheerfully contribute of our property according as God has prospered us for the maintenance of a faithful and evangelical ministry among us for the support of the poor and to spread the Gospel over the earth.

6—That we will in all conditions, even till death, strive to live to the glory of Him who hath called us out of the darkness into His marvelous light, and may the God of peace who brought again from the dead, our Lord Jesus Christ that Great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of His everlasting covenant make us perfect in every good work to do His will under that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.


We need to turn back pages from history and catch a glimpse of the pioneer men and women who gave us something in the past to hold today, and to cherish in the future. As we read the past history of our Church and review conditions, a contrast will induce a greater appreciation for the many blessings God has poured upon us.

Your Committee has done much reading and research to try and secure information in compiling this history. Our historical data was gathered from the Baptist Historical Commission, Associational Minutes, the New Hopewell, Mount Olive and First Baptist Churches. We endeavored to secure names of those who may have requested letters to join our Church's first organization. It is with a realization that many important dates, events and names cannot be given but the following is as accurate an account as can be given.

In 1857, Richard Keyhill, a man fifty-five years of age, gathered together a small group of men, women and children and organized a Sunday School, meeting in a small log house on Cedar Ridge, near what is known as Mead's Quarry.  At this time there were only two churches south of the River, New Hopewell and Mount Olive, both several miles away.  The First Baptist Church was across the River and a city church.  Homes were far apart and travel was by foot or horse and buggy.  This small group met faithfully and studied God's Word.  Dempsey Fielden and Rev. Jeptha Ginn met with them and on December 15, 1860, a Church was organized, being called the Cedar Ridge Baptist Church.  It is reported that there were twenty charter members.  Besides Richard Keyhill, Dempsey Fielden and Rev. Ginn, there were Sallie and Harriet Anderson (sisters), Minerva Johnson, Jane Henson and W. H. H. Cruze.  As these were of the age from twelve to fifteen, it can certainly be assumed that their parents must have been members.  In the obituary of Jesse Simpson, Jr., it is stated that he was one of the Founders of the Church.

From the Mt. Olive Church minutes the following information was given:

"December, 1860, letters were granted to William and Catherine Cruze and Lucinda Brown.  Mathew N. Anderson asked for a letter to join a church to be organized soon."  These names appear on the church roll and they may have been Charter Members of the Cedar Ridge Baptist Church.

Our oldest church minutes on record began the fourth Saturday in November, 1868, eight years after the organization.  Recalling that the Civil War was from 1861-1865, we can assume that some of the men were engaged in the War and the women kept busy at home.  However, the Church did not die and it was voted to buy a record book, which cost $3.75.  The first pages are inscribed with the Articles of Faith and the Church Covenant.

Family names in the beginning were: Anderson, Johnson, Pedigo, Simpson, Jones, Keyhill, Giffin, Baker, Brown, Gilbert, Edington, Bafford, and Cruze.  Many descendants of these are members of our church today.

The Minutes of the Tennessee Baptist Association [now Knox County) on October 4, 1861, gave the following: "A letter was received and read from Cedar Ridge, Knox County, a newly constituted church petitioning to be admitted into our association, which was received, J. B. Ginn was pastor, they reported 55 members, 3 baptisms, and 12 by letter."  In 1862 the church had grown to 98 members and reported 31 baptisms.  By 1865 the membership had grown to 124.  About 1866 the church had grown so that it was necessary to build a larger house of worship.  A rough frams [sic] building was erected on the present site.  Between 1865 and 1868 the name was changed to the Holston Baptist Church.  The church continued to grow through the years.  So on the Second Saturday in December 1878 in business session, it was moved and seconded that the church remove the present building and rebuild another church building."  The following were appointed as a building committee: John R. Jonss [sic], M. N. Anderson, C. J. Giffin, J. B. Johnson, William Edington, E. C. Bafford, W. H. Gilbert, J. M. Johnson, and D. L. Simpson. Rev. C. L. Bowling was pastor and J. A. Pedigo church clerk.  "On the Second Saturday in May 1861 [sic] the finance committee reported they had the promise of about $500.00.  Bro. Jones stated to the church that the church house lot was surveyed out and that Mr. Dickerson was ready to give the church the right to the lot whenever the church was ready to go to work.  Bro. Bafford and Jones agreed to meet soon and put the work under way.

On January 9, 1882, Col. Perez Dickerson donated to the Holston Baptist Church two acres of ground (Warranty Deed Book -'F3 — Page 545).  January 22, 1882 "By motion the name Holston Baptist Church be stricken out and the name Island Home Baptist be inserted, and to read, The Baptist Church at Island Home."

It is interesting to note that in the Minutes of the Church on September 30, 1882 it was called "Island Home Baptist Church" and has retained that name to the present date.

The new building was dedicated October 1, 1882. The dedication sermon was preached by Dr. C. H. Strickland, who was then pastor of the First Baptist.  The Rev. G. W. Brewer was the local pastor.

December, 1913, electric lights were put in the building — cost $70.00.  In March 1918 the church purchased 6 additional lots facing Fisher Place.  Additions were made to the church in 1906, 1911 and 1914.  On September 26, 1920 the church realized the need of a new house, voted to construct the present church building.  Charter members were given the first opportunity to contribute to the building fund, these members being Mr. W. H. H. Cruze, Mrs. Jane Gilbert, Mrs. Fate Giffin, Mrs. Volney Giffin and Mrs. Harriet Mikels.

Committees were appointed as follows:

Planning:   L. M. Leach, B. R. Gilbert, Monroe Ford, J. W. Coulter, F. C. Barber

Finance:    R. A. Brown, J. R. Gilbert, N. T. James, L. M. Leach, John W. Walker

Building:   J. R. Gilbert, 0. A. Coleman, 0. P. Jenkins, L. M. Leach

There are many tender experiences associated with this church building.  Many of us first saw Jesus here. Many of us were baptized her:.  Many of us learned to pray and to testify here.  With our loved ones, we have walked on the mountain tops and felt the thrill of heavenly joy in this place.  Indeed, if these dumb walls could speak, what wonders of God's mercy and love toward this people would be heard!  There is something about it all that makes us love the very wood of which this house is built.  It is because we have met the Lord here so often.  It is right that we should treasure these experiences as sacred memories.  Let us pray God to keep them ever living in our hearts and minds.  But the day comes when God calls us to better things.  As we give up this house, sacred in our love, we are not giving up our God.  We are climbing upward that we may serve him better.  The old was good, the new will be better.  There are many sacred memories, but more sacred prospects.  "We press on."  And though a tear bedim our eyes at thought of the good things of the past, joy should fill our hearts with thanksgiving for the privileges and promises of the future.

"Build thee more stately mansions, 0, my soul,
   As the swift seasons roll!
   Leave thy low-vaulted past!

Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
  Till thou at length art free,

Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!"

On April 16, 1922 the last service was held in the old building, conducted by the pastor, Dr. R. B. Jones.  During the construction of the new building the church worshiped in a large tent erected on the church grounds.  In the fall of the same year the church began worshiping in the basement of the new building.

The first service was held in the completed auditorium December 16, 1923, conducted by Rev. C. D. Creasman.  This was the first service of Rev. Creasman's pastorate.

Many of our members now will remember the struggle the church had paying off the debt.  It was the years of the depression.  Each member of the church and Sunday School was given a tin can with a slot punched in the end of it for their pennies, nickels, dimes and dollars.  Once each quarter all departments passed by a wash tub, placed on the rostrum, and emptied their cans.  These were happy occasions, the debt was finally paid in full and the note burned on October 1, 1939, at which time the church was dedicated.  The sermon was preached by the former pastor Dr. R. B. Jones.  Dr. Charles E. Wauford was pastor.

While our hopes and dreams were realized, we were saddened by the fact that a large number of those who had assumed a large part of the responsibility of the building did not live to see this happy day, also all of the charter members had passed on.

On March 3, 1946, voted to build the recreation area.

On January 10, 1954, the church voted to build the present educational building.

The following were appointed as building committee: Bert R. Gilbert, Oscar L. King, W. B. Kennedy and E.M. Wallace.

Ground breaking ceremonies were held on Home-Coming Day, April 4, 1954.  The building was completed and dedicated October 10, 1954.  The dedication sermons were preached by Dr. Charles E. Wauford, pastor emeritus, and Dr. R. B. Jones, a former pastor.  Dr. M. H. Brown was the local pastor.

This year the sanctuary of the church has been completely redecorated, including a new heating system, air conditioning, a new carpet, new organ and piano, costing around $22,000.00.

The present value of the church property, including the sanctuary, educational building, church grounds and pastorium, is estimated at $350,000.00.

Our cemetery has about one acre of land.  A large number of our charter members are buried in the cemetery, as well as a number of the leaders of our church through the years.  There are now about 500 buried in the cemetery.  The sacredness of the cemetery to the members is shown by the following will of one of the early members:

"I will and bequeath one hundred ($100.00) to be paid by my executor to the "Trustees of the Island Home Baptist Church" and their successors in office to be used by said Trustees in keeping the Church lot and graveyard surrounding said Church in repairs."  Signed Jesse Simpson, Jr. Will dated Feb. 27, 1892.  Mr. Simpson died in 1904.

In 1956 a trust fund was created for the perpetual care of the cemetery to help relieve the church of the upkeep.  We now have about $6,000.00 given and subscribed for this fund of which the interest only can be used.

The records show that the church held monthly meetings and more often if the need arose.  Usually the meetings were held on Saturday and at one time it was voted to change the time from "lamp light to four o'clock."  In 1925 it was voted to change the monthly meetings to quarterly business meetings and the meetings have changed from Sunday to Wednesday night and at the present time it is held on Wednesday night.

Much interest was shown in the business meetings—they believed in and adhered to the Church Covenant Article I — "That we will exercise Christian care and watchfulness over each other and faithfully warn, exhort and admonish each other as the occasion require."  The occasion arose many times and charges preferred against members; committees were appointed to talk and pray with the member,— if they did not confess their sin and make acknowledgment to the church, the hand of Christian fellowship was withdrawn or they were excluded.  The main charge was "The sin of Covenant breaking, loss of interest in the welfare of the church, and neglect in attending and supporting the church."  If the members could not give a just or scriptural reason for their neglect' they were excluded — the record tells of many exclusions, but many returned, repented and confessed their sins and church membership was restored.  Other charges preferred were: walking disorderly as a Christian, disagreement with fellow brethren, falsehood, fornication, profanity, dancing, drinking on the Sabbath, drinking alcoholic spirits, butchering on the Sabbath, playing a violin at a dance, voting against Prohibition.  On one occasion two of the leaders had a disagreement and refused to fellowship with each other.  A committee was appointed to labor with them but to no avail; a committee from three sister churches was called in and finally reported that the two were at peace with each other and should be retained in the church, however, "the Church was fully justifiable in their action by the Law of Christ as found in Galations 6:1." "It was voted to read the Church Covenant to every applicant for membership so that they would know what they are joining and expected to live up to."

In a later meeting it was voted to read the Church Covenant at every church meeting. From April 2, 1906 there is no record of charges and expulsion.  January 10, 1918, charges were "for neglect attending and supporting the Church—departing from faith and conduct unbecoming to a Christian."

From the beginning the church has had a missionary spirit, carrying out Article 5, of the Church Covenant — "We covenant to spread the gospel over the earth."  In 1874 a motion carried "that a collection be taken every Sabbath for incidental expenses and the poor of the Church, agreed to have a Foreign Mission offering."  In 1886 a resolution passed "Be it resolved that we agree to take a public collection in March for Foreign Missions, in June for Home Missions, in September for Ministerial Relief and in December for State Missions."  The amounts were small but liberal for the times.  Through the years every phase of the Southern Baptist causes have been given to liberally.

In the minutes of the Chilhowee Association it is recorded that to the Seventy-five Million Campaign from May 1, 1919 to May 1, 1923, Island Home Baptist Church gave $10,435.12."

The Church Covenant adopted in the early beginning of our church stated "We will cheerfully contribute of our property according as God has prospered us."  However, the first mention of giving a tithe was urged by Rev. J. L. Dance in 1903.  The minutes of June 9, 1883 states "The best method for collecting money for pastoral support and current expenses was discussed and it was finally agreed to adopt the envelope system."

January 20, 1895 "A motion was mode to get church envelopes and appoint a Collector. Carried."

For several years the church envelopes were divided whereby one side was for the current expenses and the other for missions.  In 1951 the present system for giving was begun which combines the Sunday School record and the gifts for all causes as outlined in the Unified Budget.

From the teaching of Stewardship tithers have increased to, 169 and gifts for all the current expenses and denominational causes have also increased.

The church membership of 55 members reported to the Tennessee Association in 1901 has grown to 674.  How many people have belonged to the church the past one hundred years?  We do not know — but each in their own way have made a contribution to the Master's Kingdom and helped to make this church "God's lighthouse on the hill."  What a wonderful chorus would ring out if all could gather on the hill and join in singing,

"I love Thy Church 0 God,
Her Walls before Thee stand
Dear as the apple of Thine eye,
And graven on Thy hand.
For her my tears shall fall,
For her my prayers ascend
To her my cares and toils be given
Till toils and cares shall end."


[ Return to Centennial Celebration - Island Home Baptist Church ]

[ Return to Knox County Churches - Past & Present ]

[ Return to Knox County, TNGenWeb ]

HTML presentation
Copyright © 2003, Rose-Anne Cunningham Bray.  All rights reserved.