Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN


From Lillye Younger, People of Action (Decatur County Printers, 1983).

Special thanks to Constance Collett and the estate of Lillye Younger for permission to make this web page.

Lillye Younger

Churches have played a tremendous part in the formation of this country. Have you ever wondered just what the pioneer church buildings looked like?

Take, for instance, an early pioneer church in Henderson County — Union Hill Baptist Church. Located 12 miles south of Scotts Hill. It dates back to 1863 according to descendants of the early church members.

"My grandfather, Eli Washburn was an early member here and later became pastor of the church." He shared a well of information with family members," Mrs. Eathel Austin of Presley Ridge Community explains.

Having assisted in the construction of the one room pine building, her grandfather related how the farmers did much of the work on the building at night since they farmed by day. His young son, Billy Washburn, who was a father to Mrs. Austin, held the lantern for them to drive nails. Among others who assisted in this erection were the Willis, Rileys, McKenzies and Shepherd families. There was a Dr. W. V. McKenzie, John Shepherd, Ben Washburn and John Henry Wilkerson and David Thompson." Mrs. Austin added, Dr. McKenzie donated the land for the building.

Not only did the men work on the building but some of the women also. Mrs. Eli Washburn who was a school teacher, helped at night.

"My mother had pictures of the initial church building but it was destroyed by fire when her house burned," she continued.

Soon the church roll escalated until it became inadequate to hold the crowds that attended, especially at revival time. "One summer, I recall a revival was held in a big tent near the church," she noted. "My father killed a lamb, goat and had pork to help feed the company we had during the revival. My mother often fed 40 to 50 people for both dinner and supper, which also included her family of ten. She would start her meal around 3 a.m. preparing from five to six chickens beside other meat, vegetables, cakes and pies. She was quite famous for her chicken and dumplings. We also had an orchard and we kids would fill up on fruit and then we were not were not too hungry when meal time rolled around," she explained.

This church has had two face liftings; when it was remodeled and weather boarded and then it was brick venered. Now it is a modern building, sufficient to hold the membership and visitors.

Eathel said, "My father said to me before his death, ‘Eathel, I want you to always see to it that the church has preaching services.' He was a very devout Christian, having been reared by a preacher. He has three grandsons who are ministers, Jeri Glynn Thompson and Paris Kennedy, Baptist ministers and Everett Wright a Church of God preacher."

"We went to church in wagons and often my twin sister Edith and I rode horses to church. My father would start picking up people all along the road until by the time we arrived at church, the wagon would be filled," she said.

Among the preachers who have served here are Bros. Fleetwood Ball of Lexington, Woodard Bartholomew, J. J. Joyner and W. L. King of Parsons, Clyde Johnson and Connie Burton, Rev. Jahue McCorkle is the present pastor and preaches here every Sunday. It is a very thriving church and has a membership of 150.

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