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Brush Creek Primitive Baptist Church,
Smith County, Tennessee
Organized 29 May 1802

Image courtesy of Kelly Cook

Left: Brush Creek Missionary Baptist Church
Right: Brush Creek Primitive Baptist Church

Image courtesy of John Waggoner, Jr.

The Brush Creek Primitive Baptist Church, in Smith County, Tennessee, was the place of worship of the Revolutionary War veteran, Moses ALLEN, Sr. and his family. Its grounds are the site of his burial. [See G0494A: Moses ALLEN (Sr.) in Antecedents and Descendants of Moses Allen, Sr. (2 November 1754 - 22 August 1843).]

Toward the end of the 1830s, contoversies about the principles and practice of home missions divided the Brush Creek Primitive Baptist Church. The Brush Creek Missionary Baptist Church, immediately next door to the Brush Creek Primitive Baptist Church is the result of that division.

About the question of home missions, see John Harvey Grime, History of Middle Tennessee Baptists: With References to Salem, New Salem, Enon, and Wiseman Associations (Baptist and Reflector, Nashville, Tennessee: 1902), chapter 3 (excerpt):


In August 1822, A. D., Concord Association, while in session at West Station Camp Church, Sumner County, Tennessee, for the sake of convenience, agreed to divide. A number of churches on her eastern boundary were set apart to form a new Association. In October of the same year, these churches met in Convention with Cedar Creek Church, which, at that time, stood a short distance south of Big Spring, Wilson County, Tennessee, and constituted Salem Association. This body at the constitution consisted of twenty-seven churches, as follows: Smith's Fork, Hickman's Creek, Salt Lick, Dixon's Creek, Salem, Round Lick, Bledsoe's Creek (now Hopewell), Hogan's Creek, Spring Creek (now Linwood), Peyton's Creek, Brush Creek, Cedar Grove, Knob Spring, Second Creek, Union, East Fork, Goose Creek, Philadelphia (now Bradley's Creek), New Hope, Cedar Creek, Lebanon, Goshen, Lancaster, Enon, Saunder's Fork (now Auburn), Falling Creek, Brawley's Fork (now Marion), and Testament. Three of the above churches are extinct, and two are anti-mission churches. The remainder, either the original organization or one in its stead, still exist, and most of them are in a thriving condition. These churches at that time aggregated a membership of 900. Now you could easily select three of the number that would aggregate more than 900 members.

Salem Association was constituted upon the fo1lowing:


Article I. We believe in one true and living God the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost.
Art. 2. That the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God and the only rule of faith and practice.
Art. 3. We believe in the doctrine of Election, and that God chose his people in Christ before the foundation of the world.
Art. 4. We believe in the doctrine of original sin, and in man's impotency to recover himself from the fallen state he is in by nature, by his own free will and ability.
Art. 5. We sinners are justified in the sight of God, by the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Art. 6. We believe in God's own appointed time, and way, by means which he has ordained, the elect shall be called, converted, regenerated, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
Art. 7. We believe the saints shall persevere in grace, and never finally fall away; and that good works are the fruit of faith, and follow after justification.
Art. 8. We believe that Baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances of Jesus Christ, and that true believers are the only proper subjects, and that the only proper mode of Baptism is by immersion.
Art. 9. We believe in the resurrection of the dead and general judgment, and that the punishment of the wicked and joy of the righteous will be eternal.
Art. 10. We believe that no minister has a right to administer the ordinances. only such as are regularly baptized, and come under the imposition of hands by a presbytery.

The ministers present at the formation of Salem Association were Joshua Lester, Miles West, John Wiseman, Elijah Maddox, Thomas Durham, Wm. Flowers, John Jones, Malcolm Smith, John Bond, Hiram Casey, John Borum, Josiah Rucks, Presley Lester, John Fite, James Bond and Clark Hubbard. Perhaps a finer body of ministers never assembled on the soil of Tennessee. They were certainly masters of assemblies. They possessed that strong, rugged character, which pioneer life would impart, and that they were Baptists of the true type will be seen by reference to the Abstract of Principles.

The size of the present volume forbids an itemized account of all the meetings of this body, but the reader is invited to a running account of the leading events in a history of seventy-eight years. At the time of the organization of this body, the heresy of Campbellism was just beginning to attract attention. As early as 1824, A. D. we find brethren asking advice of the Association how they should deal with preachers claiming to be Baptists and yet preaching the heresy of A. Campbell. The invariable advice given was that they should not be recognized as gospel ministers. But it is needless to say that this heresy was fast doing its work. In the rupture of 1827 A. D., formerly mentioned, which resulted in the establishment of the Separate Baptists this Association was not left undisturbed. Six of her ministers were caught in the meshes of this subtle doctrine, viz.: Calvin Curlee and Elisha Bell, of Brawley Fork (now Marion); Clark Hubbard, pastor of Round Lick; John Whitlock of Smith's Fork; Wm. J. Bomer, of New Hope, and James Barry, of Brush Creek. While some of these were men of note, yet they had not sufficient prestige to create a rupture in the body, though they were able to gather a few small churches together, composed of disaffected members which they carried into Duck River Association of Separate Baptists. But having started on their Arminian career, they could not be satisfied with this result, and five out of the six now launched head long into Campbellism. John Whitlock remained true to his Separate Baptist affiliation. (See another chapter for account of Separate Baptists) From that time on, this territory has been a battle ground between Baptists and Campbellites, but to-day, as then, the Baptists hold sway, and this section is often spoken of as "the Baptist kingdom."

The body moved smoothly till 1835 A. D., when the question of mission methods began to be agitated. This war raged with more or less severity till 1837, when the Association met with New Hope Church, two miles east of Alexandria, Smith County (now DeKalb County).At this meeting thirty-one churches were represented, and organized by electing Elder James Bond, Moderator, and Elder Joshua Lester, Clerk.

It seems that the question of missions had very much agitated the church at Salt Lick, of which Elder Miles West, Sr., was pastor. The majority had taken a firm stand against the existing mission methods. This had reached a point where the minority felt called upon to memorialize the Association, asking advice as to the best course to pursue. The consideration of this memorial letter was the signal for action in the Association. Perhaps the matter would be best told in the language recorded in the minutes for that year (1837) as follows:

"On motion the third item of the Committee of Arrangement, to whom was referred the letter from the majority, and a memorial from the minority of Salt Lick Church was taken up. After some debate it was agreed that the messengers, Miles West and Barnet T. Dillehay, be admitted to seats and their names enrolled.

"A good deal was said pro and con as to the best way of disposing of the memorial. At length it was proposed to appoint a committee of brethren to wait on the said church (Salt Lick) and labor to bring about a reconciliation between the conflicting parties, and on which Brother Miles West, pastor of the church, took the floor and in a highly inflammable speech, said in substance that it was unnecessary to send a committee that it would effect no good, that the whole difficulty had proceeded from the convention, that the church had taken her position against the Institution, which she never would abandon-that fellowship was broken, not only in that church, but throughout the Association, and that it would be better for all that they separate, and finally said: Brethren, I wish you all well, and as many as wish to follow old West come along-on which he abruptly moved off, followed by Sion BASS, pastor of Round Lick Church,1 and some eight or ten others, in quite a tumultuous manner. They collected in another part of the house and commenced singing and after regaling themselves in this way awhile they retired.

"During this commotion, the sound of the Moderator's voice was lost in the confusion occasioned by this-and unchristian-like behavior. The Association was then called to order, and it was discovered that ranks were but little thinned. They then proceeded to the business before them with much harmony, being freed from all incumbrance, which had long paralyzed her energies.

"In conformity with a memorial from a minority of the members of Salt Lick Church.

"Resolved, That a presbytery to consist of Elders John Wiseman, William C. Bransford, William Flowers, and Jonathan Wiseman, meet at the X Roads, on Defeated Creek, on Friday before the fifth Lord's day (inst., October 1837), in order to constitute said brethren, and as many others as may wish to join them, into a church and report to next Association."

This marks the origin of Defeated Creek Church, which is now one of our very best churches.

The party led by Elder Miles West, of Salt Lick Church, retired to the grove a short distance away. They in council appointed a meeting to convene with Cedar Creek Church on Friday before third Sunday in November, 1837, to organize a new Association. This meeting resulted in the organization of a New Association consisting of five churches, viz.: Salt Lick, Round Lick, Spring Creek, Mount Pleasant and Testament. They denomination this new venture as "Round Lick Association of Primitive Baptists."

The result of this division was the total loss of Mount Pleasant Church to Salem Association and the division of many more: in many of them a majority going into this venture calling themselves, "Primitive Baptists." In a few instances, it became necessary to disband, but in the majority of cases, the churches were not hindered. In fact, this seemed to mark an epoch of prosperity for Salem Association as a whole, and with rapid strides she moved on to possess the land. Suffice it to say that Round Lick Association, which was weak to begin with, has barely held her own.

It might be remarked in passing that there was no doctrinal difference-it was solely a question of methods.

From this time forward the Association grew in churches, members and work. In 1843 they passed a resolution to continue in session four days each year.

Editorial Note:

  1. Sion BASS, pastor of Round Lick Church: Sion BASS (11 August 1802, Sumner County, Tennessee - 27 September 1884, Wilson County, Tennessee) was the pastor who celebrated the marriage of John MARLER (1814, <Halifax Court House, Halifax County>, Virginia - AFT 1860) and Lydia CASITY (or CASSIDA) (1819, Wilson County, Tennessee - ?) on 3 March 1840. It is likely that he was the namesake of Sion Wilson MARLER. See Child 1: John MARLER under G0492A: William MARLER in Antecedents and Descendants of Richard Marler (1 August 1823 - 28 June 1903); and see Child 7: Sion Wilson MARLER under G0491A: Richard ("Uncle Dick") MARLER in Antecedents and Descendants of Richard Marler (1 August 1823 - 28 June 1903).



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RETURN: Antecedents and Descendants of Moses Allen, Sr. (2 November 1754 - 22 August 1843)




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This Web site was created 11 November 1998.