History of the First Baptist Church of Mountain City, Tennessee

This article was probably printed in the Johnson City Press Chronicle in January 1948.

Mountain City Church, Dating To 1794, To Be Razed, Replaced With New One

by Nancy Jenkins

              The Mountain City Baptist Church, with a history older than the county in which it is located, will be torn down                within the next year or two and replaced by a new church on the same site. During the Civil War the church served as a headquarters for the Confederate Army.   A reminder of the old Mountain City Baptist Church, after its new    successor is erected, will be this bulletin board,  recently constructed, which will continue to announce church                happenings.

             The second oldest Baptist Church in the state, with a history dating back to April 20, 1794 the Mountain City Baptist  Church will be torn down within a year or two and a new and larger church will be built on the site.  The Church, which  served as headquarters for the Confederate Army during the Civil War and on two different occasions for  school purposes, has a history older than the county in which it is located.

           Organization of the Church is credited to the Three Forks Baptist Church of North Carolina. The pastor of the        church, accompanied by some of its members, traveled to the present location of Shouns and held meetings.

 On April 20, 1794 a church known as the Roan Creek Baptist Church was housed in a log building was organized at a        location near where the home of Mrs. W. T. Chapel now stands. Among the pioneer members were Leonard Shouns, Barbara Slimp Shouns, William and Elizabeth Widby, Uriah  Lowe, Joanna Dotson, R. W. Hawkins, Jolly Adkins, John Moore, Nancy Morley, Joel and John S. Shoun, Uriah Cress, Deliah, Elizabeth, George and Sarah Crosswhite, Catharine Robinson John Absher, and Joseph Gentry.

      Later there were the Wagners, Stouts, Johnsons, Reeces, Fullers, Kisers, Moores, Adams, Mitchells, Bradfords,                 Greenwells, Chapels, Grinstaffs, Blevins, and Slimps.

Pioneer Ministers Served Church

                  Pioneer ministers were Valentine Bowers, Brazilla McBride, James Stone, Richard Gentry, Hampy Hyder, and a minister named Farthing.

                 Before the Civil War members of the Roan Creek Church moved to Taylorsville (now known as Mountain          and built the present Baptist Church, calling it at the time Taylorsville Baptist Church. When Taylorsville became             Mountain City the name of the church was changed too.  Mathias M. Wagner donated a site for the Church and also contributed to the building. On May 25, 1858 a committee comprised of David Kitzmiller, Phillip M. Kiser, and Isaac R.  Wagner contracted Bartlett Wood for brick and bricklaying, and with Isaac McQueen for lumber and carpentry work. The building cost $1,240.

                 The Civil War brought hard times to members of the church and they were unable to finish paying for the          building. On October 5, 1861 a committee comprised of John Blankenbecker, R Moore, and Moore Robinson gave the deed  of trust to Bartlett Wood and Isaac McQueen to secure the balance due them for labor and material used in building the  church.   An old deed shows that payments were made to McQueen as follows: A horse valued $125 and another valued  at $115, paid by Mathias M.Wagner; $15 paid by David Kitzmiller and $10 paid by Abraham Johnson.    The deed also  showed that McQueen himself donated $10 to the debt.  A little over a year later - November 13, 1862,     the church was sold at public auction to the highest bidder for the sum of $550.

Building Deeded Back To Trustees

            The purchaser was Mathias M. Wagner. In 1885 Wagner and his wife deeded the church back to its trustees with              provision "that if the said property shall cease to be used by the said church (for a reasonable time) as a place of worship, that said property shall revert to said M. M. Wagner and his heirs, free from incumbrance and this conveyance shall be  null and void."  The church belonged to the Holston Association until 1867 when Carter and Johnson counties organized the Watauga Association. In 1871 the second Watauga Association was held at the church with J. H. Hyder, as member,  moderator.

           The building fund for the new church was started while the Rev. Sam Edwards was pastor. Now retired he lives in    Salisbury, N.C. The present pastor is the Rev. Joel Ponder who served as a chaplain overseas during World War II    Recently a lot, costing $3000, was purchased at the back of the present church for further enlarging. A new bulletin            board, which will be a part of the new church, has already been erected, and an architect, to plan the new church, will      be hired soon.

             Members of the church's building committee are L. J. Yelton, Paul Everett, J. C. Muse, J. N. Blackburn, Mrs. Baxter            Hodge, Mrs. Selmer Fuller, Mrs. Joe Ray, W. D. McElyea, M. M. Robinson, Alf McQueen, Grady Stout, H. C. Eggers, JackShoun, Mrs. Clark Wilson, Doran Shupe, Mrs. O. H. Wilson, H. M. Miller, and D. B. Reece.

                                                Submitted and used with the permission of Debby Dyer Neves