Benton County, Tennessee Genealogy

Religion in Benton County



Pleasant Hill Baptist Church is in the old 4th Civil District of Benton County and was organized October 17, 1845 from the congregation of the Mt. Comfort Baptist Church. The Mt. Comfort Baptist Church is in the old 14th Civil District of Carroll County, now located in the Natchez Trace State Park. It was organized July 28, 1830 under the leadership of Elder Elijah Autry with 25 charter members.

Pleasant Hill Baptist Church was organized by Elder Elijah Autry and David Quillen, with W.M. McAuley clerk. Its charter members were: M.Pinkston, John Pinkston, Henry Trout, Hesekiah Forest, David Forest, James S. Childers, Ulysus Kirk, Sarah Pinkston, Angeline Pinkston, Phebe Pinkston, Lydia Rumley, Hannah Yates, Mary Smothers, Nancy Smothers, Malinda Childers, Mary Sanders, Catharine Sanders, Jerusha Sanders, Elizabeth Allen, (mother), Elizabeth Allen, (daughter), Lucinda Douglas, Ann Ross, Elsey Parmer, Martha Forest and Seletha Yates.

The church minutes reveal a considerable addition to the membership in August of 1848 (Minute Book 1, page 13): Edward Smothers, Austin Smothers, Jane Smothers, William Kirk, Mary Neighbors, Mary Henry, Sidney Henry, Holway Kee and wife, L.B. Pearee and wife, Matilda Priscilla Townsend, Lucretia Townsend, Ira Harris, William Hinyard and Newton Lowery.

The minister longest associated with the church in this time was Elder John Pinkston, whom the minutes show to have been born in February 1816 and died 20 December 1900. He was a charter member of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church and was a licensed minister for about 45 years.

Another long time elder of this congregation was Hezekiah Forrest serving from 6 March 1816 (or 1828) until 1896. His wife Martha Elender Utley Forrest was born 6 March 1820-30 and died September 1883. They were both charter members of the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church.

Information Submitted by E. J. Sims



Cross Roads Missionary Baptist Church was organized December 3, 1849 by Elders David Quillan and Elijah Autry. Elder Quillan served as minister during the early years of the church.

Some of the early members were the Allens, Hollands, Kees, Medlins, Howes, Spences, Pierces, Whites, Jordans, Higdons and Mitchells. There were 175 members in 1889 according to minutes of the church.

Pastors from 1849

David Quillan L. H. Brown W. Pugh
George Hollowell W. S. Brewster N. L. Joyner
Joseph Allen D. N. Byrd Joe Joyner
Ed Cooper N. J. Joyner S. W. Joyner
H. D. Langford J. R. Hamlin W. H. Hooper
Neil Butler John Hedges Robert Noles
Marshall Gurley W. T. Russell Harold Carver

Information from Book Families and Histories Benton County Tennessee
Courtesy of Benton County Genealogical Society


"One of the better known Missionary Baptist churches was that on Beaverdam, organized in the early forties on a branch of the creek of the same name in the county. It was called Shiloh congregation. On 19 May 1849, the building and four acres of land were deeded by Cooper Melton to the trustees of this congregation. Melton, a deacon, had only entered his claim to the land of which was a part in 1848 (Occupant Claim). The witnesses for this deed of conveyance were Elders James Ross, B.S. Browning, David Morris, and Elder J.P. Arnold, all early leaders of the faith in Benton County. Toward the close of the century, the Shiloh transferred its membership to Chalk Hill Missionary Church near Eva."

"A History of Benton County, Tennessee to 1900," page 44
Written by Jonathan Kenny Smith

Cooper Melton Deed for Beaverdam Church

This indenture made on the 19th day in May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty nine between Cooper Melton of the State of Tennessee and county of Benton of the one part and of the Deacon of Beaverdam Church of the State of Tennessee and county of Benton of the other part witnesseth for and in consideration of the Love that being desirous for the permanent continuance of the Church House of the above named Church hath given and conveyed and by these present doth give and convey unto the said Deacons a certain tract as parcel of land situated and being in the state of Tennessee and county of Benton in the the 12th surveyors' district in the 41st section 8th range, being part of a tract of 170 5/8 acres granted to Cooper Melton by the State of Tennessee by grant No. 6165 and hearing date on the 22nd day of February 1848. Beginning 10 poles north of the creek running by said Beaverdam meeting House on the west boundary line of Cooper Melton's 170 5/8 Occupant Entry at a stake with Hickory and Black gum pn (pointer), and runs east 20 poles to a stake. Thence south __ poles to a stake with black oak pointer, thence north 32 poles to the beginning containing four acres. To have and to hold the above described land and given premises with all the appertenances thereunto belonging, to the said Beacons to the only proper use of the worship of Almighty God, to them, the said Deacons and their Successors in office, forever, and the said Cooper Melton doth hereby promise covenant and agree to and with the said Deacons and their successors in office that we the said Cooper's heirs, Executors, and Administrators shall and will at all times warrant and forever defend the above described land and promises to the said deasons and their successors forever against the claim as claims of all and every person or persons whatever whereby the same may be effected or encumbered to the true intent and meaning of these present. In witness whereof I, the said Cooper Melton, hath hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal the day and date above written. Signed, sealed, and delivered in presence of Attes. David Morris, James F. Ross, B.S. Browning, J.P. Arnold. Cooper Melton.
Clerk, William P. Morris (Feb. 19, 1850) Book C pp. 133-134.

Contributed by JPieke

J. D. Melton

Letter from J. D. Melton:
"...It seems that Cooper and Merritt (Melton) were leaders in the Baptist Church. Cooper deeded 4 acres of land to the Beaverdam Baptist Church in 1849. He entered this land (in) 1847. This church was built at a very early date. The minutes show that the Baptist Association met in Beaverdam Church in 1824. I do not know, but believe that this would have been the oldest church in Benton County. When it was organized it was on part of the public lands that had not been entered. Just after Cooper Melton entered this land he made a deed to the Deacons of this church."

Letter from Roy Melton:
"My uncle (Andrew Jackson Melton) told me that our Great Grandfather was named Joseph E. Melton, and the record shows that he and his family built a raft out of logs, in the fall of about 1811, and crossed the Tennessee River. (The Record) stated that Joseph G. Melton, his wife, eight kids, and two brothers..located in Benton County on Harmons Creek, with two yokes of oxen, two covered wagons, and a milk cow. All Meltons in this county are related..from Mecklenburg County, North Carolina..Since Cooper Melton entered an occupancy claim, it is clear that he had lived on the land prior to 1847. At any rate another deed of 4 acres was recorded to Beaverdam Missionary Baptist Church."

Contributed by JPieke

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