History of the Old Friendship Church

Written by W.R. Clack–1913

This being the 38th anniversary of the organization of the Baptist church at Old Friendship, Rhea County, Tennessee. The church held a short memorial
service at twelve M. on the third Saturday in November 1913. Rev. P. R. Brown of Kingston, Tennessee, delivered an address which was both interesting and instructive. Following the address a brief history of the church from 1875 to 1913, was read.

Prepared by W. R. Clack, Historian, as follows:

To our Pastor and the members of the Old Friendship church greetings. Dear
Brethern and Sisters–let us turn back in our minds today for a few moments,
and briefly sketch or review some of the incidents connected with the
organization of the Old Friendship church. In the year 1875, there was no
organized church in this valley, and no regular divine service kept up.
Therefore a few old veterans in the service of Christ, feeling impressed with
duty, and realizing the necessity and great importance of organizing a church
here, entered into a compact, to establish an “altar of prayer” and
erect a house to be dedicated to the service of God. Eighteen brethren and
sisters, as follows, to-wit;

Micajah Clack,  Margarette Clack, Jas. Johnson, F. M. Clack, Amy Johnson, Mary V. Clack, Susan M. Hurst, W. R. Clack, Sabria C. Clack, C. Stephen Breeding, W. S. Wyrick, C.
Wyrick, Feebie Wyrick, Evan Breeding, Wm. Owens, Barbara Ann Owens, Lucinda
Pinion and Martha Breeding.

This list consisted of one minister, 4 deacons and 13 lay members who had procured letters of dismission from sundry churches and was constituted a church of Christ, at Breeding’s school house (now known as  the Garrison schoolhouse) On the 4th Saturday in Nov., 1875, by a presbytery  composed of the following ministers: J. B. McCallon, of Ten Mile, J. K.  Chastin, of Fellowship, Asa Newport of Hinds Valley, and A. Haun of Yellow
creek, Churches, upon the articles of faith and rules of decorum, set out in  the church record. After which the church organized by electing Eld. James  Johnson moderator and W. R. Clack, clerk.

At this point they cast about for an appropriate name for the church and sister Margarette
Clack, then 79 years old, suggested the name Old Friendship, which was
unanimously adopted. We were at the time dependent upon our good neighbors and
friends for we had no place or house of our own for public worship and was also
destitute of means to build, but we were neither dismayed nor discouraged. We
placed our full strength into our plans, put our faith and trust in God and
pushed ahead. Eld. James Johnson, W.R. Clack and Dr. W. M. Wilson were
appointed a committee to select a site for the church, and to raise the
necessary means to build a house. They procured this beautiful site from Dr. W.
M. Wilson and his estimable wife. The means was soon raised to build a house
and the work on the building under the directions of Bro. Johnson and Clack was
pushed to completion in August, 1876, at which time the first divine service
was held in this house. Elder Asa Newport conducted the services. Since then a
regular monthly service has been kept up here by this church and the Lord has
graciously blessed our efforts in bringing many precious souls to Christ. Elder
James Johnson served continuously as pastor of this church for nineteen years
(and four) months, or until his demise, which occurred on the 29th of March,
1895. During his pastoral care of this church 43 other names were added to the
church roll. Elder J. S. McCallon was then called to the pastorate of this
church and served for nine years and three months. Elder J. R. Smith served as
pastor for four years. Elders S. A. Waller and William White served as pastor
for nearly two years each. W. R. Clack has served continuously as clerk since
the organization of the church. Elder James Johnson, W. R. Clack, Dr. W. M.
Wilson, Arch McCaleb and Spencer G. Clack were selected trustees. A. C. Ewing
and J. D. Gillian were selected to fill vacancies occasioned by the death of
Elders James Johnson and Arch McCaleb. W. R. Clack is the only one of the
original trustees of the church now living. Since the organization of the
church, including the 18 charter members, 101 names have been enrolled upon our
church record. 31 have been dismissed by letter. Withdrew fellowship from 4,
and 24 have died, leaving total membership at present 42. Of the original
members only two names (W. R. Clack and Sabria C.Clack) are now left upon the
church roll. Six were dismissed by letter and ten have died.

“How peaceful and how powerful is the grave
Which hushes all, a calm unstormy wave
Which oversweeps the world.
No one hears the door that opens
When they pass beyond recall.
Soft as loosened leaves of roses,
One by one our loved ones fall.”

Twenty-four members of this church have died since the organization in 1875. Their names  and dates of death are as follows:

  • Margaret Clack  Sept. 10, 1877
  • Micajah Clack Aug. 16,1886
  • Even Breeding Dec. 5, 1879
  • Lucinda Pinion May 14, 1881
  • Steven Breeding Oct. 27, 1888
  • Martha Breeding 1886
  • W.S. Wyrick Aug. 1, 1884
  • C. Wyrick Dec., 1892
  • Eld. James Johnson Mar. 29, 1895
  • Amy Johnson Nov. 6, 1906

The above 10 were in the organization of the church. The following 14 joined since:

  • Rebecca Paul  Feb. 10, 1886
  • Sarah E. Clark May, 1899
  • Jesse Stinecipher May 25, 1905
  • Eveline Brown May, 1892
  • Farley Brady, Sr. Nov. 9, 1889
  • Elizabeth Tallent
  • J. F. Stinecipher Mar. 27, 1890
  • Martha Caldwell Mar. 24, 1895
  • Mahala Caldwell Mar. 19, 1894
  • J. M. Caldwell April 30, 1899
  • F. S. Brady Feb. 17, 1902
  • Mattie McElwee Sept, 14, 1908
  • James Monroe July 22, 1912
  • Margarette J. Smith Oct. 1, 1912

The battle day  of these old veterans in the cause of Christ is past, their life’s work is
ended, but their works will follow them. We mourn the loss of all these dear
brethren and sisters in Christ who have passed beyond our mortal touch and
vision, but we feel and realize that our loss is their gain, so let us banish
sorrow from our minds today–and rather rejoice that our names are written in
the “Lamb’s Book of Life.” By and by we hope to meet our loved ones
on the eternal shore beneath the wide expanded Bowers of the Tree of Life,
robed and crowned for the society of heaven.

The services  were closed by the congregation standing and singing the verses of “In
the Sweet Bye and Bye”
led by Bro. Jonas Duckworth of Meigs county.
Benediction by Rev. T. O. Dake of Meigs county.

(Copied from the original printing by Edna Clack
Sachs, 1986)


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