Since the congregation at Cairo does not keep a continuous written record, either in a style of minutes nor in the style of a directory, I shall attempt to relate a general amount of information as told me by dear friends of the brotherhood of Christ, Mr. and Mrs. Earl Cooke.
The Church of Christ was established soon after the Civil War. It was first known as the Christian Church. After the Christian Church digressed, the name was changed to the Church of Christ.
According to Goodspeed's writings the Cairo Church of Christ in its present location was built in 1872 by A. D. A. Wray, B. F. Cook, Ben Cook, W. L. Holman, and Mr. J. R. Efland. Stating further that this building was built with shop made nails.
Mr. Cooke recalls that in the beginning the building at Cairo was small about 30x50 feet. Most all timbers were hewn with a broad ax except the ceiling and it was rough sawed and dressed by Mr. Bill Holman as a young man there. The middle sills and floor joist were knotched instead of being nailed and it is said the huge beams of the ceiling extend the length of the building.
Not able to recall its charter members, Mr. Cooke said these names were registered in a bible which has been destroyed or is in hiding. Perhaps it would be safe to assume that these persons involved in it's construction were present. A news clipping of an unknown newspaper listing an account of the death of Mrs. J. F. Robertson stated she first attended services at Alamo, later becoming a charter member of the Cairo Christian Church. This fact substantiates the information told Maxine Mayo by her grandmother, Mrs. Mary Ellen (Moore) Mayo, who was born in 1868 that she had attended as a child Sunday School services at the Cairo Christian Church. She told her that Mrs. Robertson was her teacher. This being the Mrs. Frank Robertson, who, along with her husband established the Christian Church at Crockett Mills.
Some of the first elders as recalled by Mr. and Mrs. Cooke were Smith Randle, Tom Burnett, Dick Finch and Jesse Ames. Then as they related some of the first preachers Bro. Thomas Elihue Scott from Obion was named, as was Bro. John Holland from Greenfield. He could not recall the order in which they had preached until the present, but a listing of past names follows the information related about Bro. Holland coming from Greenfield via his horse and buggy on his monthly Sunday to preach. It was probably in the mid-1920's, along the time when the descendants of slavery stayed with the families. These negros or blacks were also worshiping in the church at that time. Another name recalled was Mrs. Byron Fewell, Paul Burke Fewell's mother, for having made the unleavened bread back in the mid-1920's. He said Mr. and Mrs. Fewell walked each Sunday from the Nance Community with this container - a wicker basket - of bread over their arms. From about that time Mrs. Florence Climer made this bread for many years.
Some men of renound were Brodie Hardeman, A. J. Freed, Dixon, R. E. Black, I. N. Lemons, who was an Evangelist from Texas. Others as listed by the Cookes were J. R. Stockard, D. D. Woody, Heflin, Insley, Hassell, Pasley, Clark Burns, Guy N. Woods, Cecil Doughty, Earnest Boone, James White, who was an Indian Missionary. Montague Culp, Joe Cooke Vandyke, Frank Vandyke, Jerry Burns, Phil Hefley, Paul Boone, Forries, Glen Phillips, Jimmy Colvett, Henry Booth, Sweat, Cullum, Sweeney, Charles Roland, O. D. Johns, Kelly Doyle, Johny Hardeman, Howard Parker, J. A. McNutt, John Parker, and the present John Rhenshaw from Memphis, who preaches each Sunday to the present congregation of approximately 115 people. Many more men have preached from time to time being sent from Freed-Hardeman College, but could not all be recalled to memory.
This article was contributed, with permission of the Crockett County Historical Society, by Natalie Huntley.
This information was taken from an article which was compiled and written by Carolyn C. Peal, and published in the book Crockett County Courthouse Centennial, 1874 - 1974, prepared by the Crockett County Historical Society.