Walnut Hill Baptist Church was organized about 1849, with services being held in a log schoolhouse. The seats were made of logs with no backs. One corner of the church was occupied by the old negro slaves who worshiped here also and who belonged to the church. The first building was erected of logs in 1852 on a one-acre lot which was donated by Newton Williams. The town of Bells had not been formed at this time and Walnut Hill was the only Baptist church in the area. Charter members included Tommie Williams and wife, Meekins Williams, Berry Williams, Newton Williams, Nat Williams and wife, Neddy Williams, Betsey Williams, Mary Ann Davis, C. H. Medlin and wife, Lusette Ellington and father, ____ Lacy, ____ Pipkins and ____ Winburn.
The ground on which the church is presently located was given by Newton Williams in 1860 (deed still in existence) and under the terms of the deed, the original grant of one acre went back to the grantor. The first church building was torn down and the logs were moved to the home place of Elisha Jackson near Fruitvale where he used them to construct a barn. The present building was probably begun in 1861, having been erected during the Civil War. There have been alterations and remodeling during the years, including the addition of Sunday School rooms and an annex; also, a pastorium was built in 1948 and a full time ministry was begun a few years later. Up to 1925, Walnut Hill was a member of the Madison Co. Association when the Crockett Co. Association was formed.
Some of the earlier pastors were Thomas, Williams, Allen, Haste and in later years Bozeman, Lennon, Guthrie, Edwards, Joyner, West, Camp, Perry, Holland, Utley, Farris, Patterson, Gossett, Ross, Goode, Atchley, Smothers, Davidson and the present pastor, Rev. Wayne Webb. Two young men from Walnut Hill Baptist Church who entered the ministry and are successful pastors are Rev. T. T. Crabtree and Rev. Oscar Patterson.
At present, the church is a modern, growing facility and is increasing its size now through a building program in order to accommodate the increasing attendance as it continues to bless and enrich the spiritual life of the community.
There is a large cemetery located here on a portion of land set aside from additional land which had been purchased by the church in 1944. East of the Walnut Hill church property is the old Williams graveyard which was given by Thomas Williams as a family burying plot and graves of many of his descendants can be found there. Just west of the Caliah Medlin land was the farm of Wiley Brigance and the Brigance cemetery is located there.
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 community of Walnut Hill, which was compiled and written by Judy G. Alpha, and published in the book Crockett County Courthouse Centennial, 1874 – 1974, prepared by the Crockett County Historical Society.