Benton County, Tennessee Genealogy

Religion in Benton County


Crooked Creek Methodist Church

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 Dianne Davidson

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 Melton Pafford.

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 this cemetery.

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 became common.

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 mid-June.

Information submitted by Dianne Davidson

Liberty United Methodist Church


Liberty United Methodist Church is located approximately 3 miles North of Camden on Highway 69A.

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
1898 N. R.Waters
1899 J. R. Harrison
1900 J. W. Wardlow
1901 - 1903 Yates Moore
1904 - 1907 E. M. Mathis
1908 - 1910 E. W. Nelson
1910 B. G. Lamb
1911 - 1913 Arco Robinson
1913 H. L. McCamey
1914 O. C. Wrather
1915 W. T. Stubblefield
1916 - 1919 O. H. Lafferty
1920 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 Walter Hill
1949 - 1951 Frank Daniel
1952 - 1954 D. A. Bishop
1955 - 1956 Gene Baker
1957 Paul Blankenship
1958 - 1959 John Hartman
1960 - 1963 Jacob Smith
1964 Francis Lynn
1965 - 1972 Harry Goldsmith
1973 - 1978 Eulas Greer
1979 Maynard Hammond
1980 - 1981 Terry Pence
1982 - 1985 Tom Cary
1985 - 1990 Dr. Charles Farris
1990 - 1995 Richard Clark
1995 - 1998 David Shettles
1998 Steve Elder

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

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