Benton County, Tennessee Genealogy
Religion in Benton County
Submitted by JPieke
Wesley Chapel Methodist Church
Way, TN was
once a thriving little settlement on the south prong of
Harmons Creek. There were several businesses located
there, a church, Wesley Chapel Methodist, was here. It
got its name from Wesley Melton who hewed the logs to
build the church. He was Mrs. Lena Farrar's grandfather.
The first preacher was Daniel Holland and the last
preacher was John Dave Holland. The time it started was
around 1900, the closing date is not known.
Picture and Information submitted by
Flatwoods United Methodist
Flatwoods United Methodist Church is
located approximately eight miles northeast of Camden on
Flatwoods Road. It is one of the oldest churches in
Benton County, TN; having been organized in 1824 by Rev.
John Pafford (1798-1851), one of the pioneer settlers and
ministers of Benton County.
Rev. John Pafford was born in NC. He,
with his older brother William, came to what is now
Benton County in 1819 or early 1820's. Prior to 1836;
this area was a part of Humphrey's and Henry Counties.
The church was organized in the home
of William Pafford with the help of his wife, Mourning
This congregation has built five
church buildings since being organized. The first was an
old rough pioneer building located in the old Flatwoods
Cemetery near the grave of Rev. John Pafford.
The second building was built of hewn
logs, near the south end of this cemetery. It was built
between the years of 1840 and 1845 and served for about
40 years before being torn down and replaced.
The third building was a frame
structure, built in 1883. It burned in Feb. 1927, having
served for 44 years. In the same year, a concrete block
church building was erected. It was destroyed by fire on
Dec. 3, 1980, having been added on to in 1955 and again
in 1975. It served for just over 53 years.
Members of the 1927 building committee
were W.E. Pafford, Claud Melton, J.T. Cuff, W.B. Warrick,
and C.W. Wright.
The fifth church building, a brick
veneer with basement, was erected in early 1981. The
building committee members were Gerald Berry, Ernie
Cherry, Fred Cuff, W. G. Pafford, Jimmy Townsend, and
Betty Walters. Gerald Berry designed the building plan.
The building was completely debt-free when the first
service was held in it on June 14, 1981.
The first deed to the trustees of
Flatwoods Methodist Church, a two-acre lot was made by
Rev. John Pafford. It was not recorded and was later
lost. In 1867, John Wesley Melton and Joseph Melton sold
the church house and two acres of land to Asbury Cuff and
R.C. Pafford for $200. They were the church trustees.
The large cemetery, known as the new
cemetery and consisting of two acres was deeded to the
church in 1883 by William Riley Warrick and wife Mary
Pafford Warrick. Later, H.K. Pafford, gave more land for
Eight ministers of the Methodist
Church have come from Flatwoods. They were Virgil
Pafford, Bob Pafford, Ray Pafford, W.T. Pafford, Knox
Pafford, Warner Pafford, A.G.Melton and James H. Parker.
Flatwoods has always been a circuit
church, meaning that it has shared a minister with one or
more other congregations. In previous years it has been
on the Sandy Circuit, Big Sandy Circuit, East and South
Big Sandy Circuit, North Camden Circuit and the Camden
Circuit. Flatwoods, for several years was an 8-point
circuit, then went to a 4-point circuit for several
years. In 1982, it became a 2-point circuit with Eva
United Methodist Church, called the Eva-Flatwoods
Circuit. Since 1824, Flatwoods has been in the Forked
Deer District of the Tennessee Conference, the Paris,
Jackson, Trenton, McKenzie and Lexington Districts. Since
1917 it has been a part of the Lexington District.
In early years a pastor would usually
serve only one year at a time. It was not until the early
1900's that the practice of staying 2-3 years or more
In the beginning, annual conference
was held in Nov. with the pastors going to their new
circuit in Jan. Of the following year. In 1948,
conference began meeting in June with pastors moving in
Information submitted by Dianne
Liberty United Methodist Church
Liberty United Methodist Church is
located approximately 3 miles North of Camden on Highway
George Washington Layfette Hudson
donated a parcel of land on November 9, 1858 in what was
then Section 4 of Benton County to Trustees O. G. Conley,
M. L. Travis, J. T. Crepouse, J. A. Greer and John
Pafford for Methodist Episcopal Church South.
A log structure was erected on the
land and was called "Liberty Meeting House"
until the late 1800's. According to the old church
register, the first Bishop was R. R. Hargrove. The
presiding elder was Wellborn Mooney and the Pastor was T.
F. Carson. The following is a list of the pastors from
beginning to present:
|1894 - 1897
||T. F. Carson
||J. R. Harrison
||J. W. Wardlow
|1901 - 1903
|1904 - 1907
||E. M. Mathis
|1908 - 1910
||E. W. Nelson
||B. G. Lamb
|1911 - 1913
||H. L. McCamey
||O. C. Wrather
||W. T. Stubblefield
|1916 - 1919
||O. H. Lafferty
||C. A. Coleman
|1921 - 1922
||T. N. Wilkes
|1923 - 1924
||J. T. Banks
|1925 - 1926
||T. E. Calhoun
|1927 - 1928
||W. S. Lockman
|1929 - 1932
||W. King Dickerson
|1933 - 1934
||M. H. Alexander
|1935 - 1937
||O. J. Smith
|1938 - 1941
||A. G. Childress
|1942 - 1943
||Wm. H. Pearigen
|1944 - 1945
||W. M. Vaughn
|1946 - 1948
|1949 - 1951
|1952 - 1954
||D. A. Bishop
|1955 - 1956
|1958 - 1959
|1960 - 1963
|1965 - 1972
|1973 - 1978
|1980 - 1981
|1982 - 1985
|1985 - 1990
||Dr. Charles Farris
|1990 - 1995
|1995 - 1998
A wooden building replaced
the log church in 1893. The Liberty school house stood
just North of this building on land adjoining the church
and included in the deed by Mr. Hudson.
In 1948, a third building was to replace
the old "White Church" as it is referred to.
The building was added to in the 1960's and air
conditioning in 1971 and restrooms added in 1975.
There are many families that are still
leaders in the church and community. Some of the families
include, the Hudson's, Presson's, Cuff's, Rushing's,
Bomar's, Vick's, Madden's, Smith's, McKelvy's, Arnold's,
Hargis', Florence's, Farrar's, Caplinger's.
Information Submitted by E. J. & Frances Sims
Graphics are courtesy of Cherished