The first church building at Salem was a small, one-room frame one with a dirt floor. It faced east and west and had steps leading down to the road. Later a second building was built. It also faced east and west, and was a white frame one. This building was destroyed by a storm on June 22, 1928. The present building was then erected facing south and north. It had been added to and remodeled and is now very attractive.
From the minutes of the Salem Church, Salem Congregation Session June 7, 1884, recorded as a transcript “from the old session book” the following: “Salem Congregation of Cumberland Presbyterian Church, being a part of the Center congregation, was organized into a separate congregation by petitioning the Madison Presbytery of the Cumberland Church A.D. One thousand eight hundred and fifty-four (1854) to be received under her care…which was granted.
Petitioners were: Lucinda Evans, Elizabeth Davis, Jonathan H. Davis, James Tarpley, Jame B. Smith, Narcissus A. Smith, Sarah A. McRee, James Drinkard, Helen M. Davis, A. M. Reid, S. S. Hopper, Elizabeth C. Hopper, Sarah Harpole, Louisa E. Lemonds,
Inda (?) A. McLeary, Nathan Arnold, Nancy Arnold, William Tinsley, Sarah Tinsley, J. Seth H. Lemonds, William M. Lemond, Nichols H. McRee, Rachel E. Smith, A. P. Davis, John Kenedy, Mary Kenedy, Louisa Clark, Margaret Boyd, Rebecca Boyd, P. W. Hopper, G. L. Kincaid, Nancy A. Kincaid, Francis A. Smith, John A. Kenedy, John E. Smith, Susan E. Musgraves, Gracy J. Musgraves.
From the same source was this record of some of the early ministers:…”Rev. Young A. McLemore, serving 1854-1877; Rev. Thomas H. Crofford, serving 1877-1879; Rev. Albine P. Davis, serving 1882-1883; Rev. H. J. Ray, serving 1883-1884…” Becoming preachers from the Salem residents were: Carl Davis, Russell Tatum, Paris Davis, Ira Davis, all Presbyterian Ministers. Also from the natives of Salem came Rev. Herman A. Butts, Methodist.
The last three pastors of the church have been, Rev. Cecil Burnett, Rev. Donald Carter, and at present, Rev. Carl Davis.
The first deed to church land found in the deed books of Crockett County was one made on Sept. 26, 1951, and filed March 25, 1952. This deed was from R. C. Drinkard and his wife, Viola, for four-fifths acres deeded to the Trustees of the Salem Cumberland Presbyterian Church: J. B. Kincaid, A. L. Kincaid, Oscar Tinsley, Jimmy Davis, Joe Hopper, R. S. Boals, and Eugene Reasons. The next deed recorded in Crockett deed books was one of April 5, 1963, from Lloyd S. Adams Jr., Frances Jarrell Adams Tipton, and Ann Blair Adams Parke. They deeded land to Richard Ellis, A. L. Kincaid, Jimmie Davis, Joe Hopper, Paul Reasons, Eugene Reasons, Jeff Davis, Oscar Tinsley, and Bobby Joe Davis, elders of Salem Cumberland Presbyterian Church and to their successors in office…”
This is a thriving church and many descendants of the original members still attend, as well as other long time residents. Among those coming after 1900 were the Jim and Austin Ellis families. Tannie Macon married Mattie Ellis, and they live in sight of the church. Nearby is their daughter Betty (Mrs. Franklin Selph, and their son, Bennie Macon, and their families, and Richard Ellis’s family.
The preceding article was contributed, with permission of the Crockett County Historical Society, by Natalie Huntley.
This information was taken from an article on the communities of Coxville, Center and Salem, which was compiled and written by Mrs. C. C. James, and published in the book Crockett County Courthouse Centennial, 1874 – 1974, prepared by the Crockett County Historical Society.