Scott County, Tennessee
FNB Chronicles

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Four Generations Active in Robbins First Baptist

ETTY ROBBINS (1879-1935) was one of the first members of the First Baptist Church of Robbins. The church minutes state that she was "received by experience of grace" on February 24, 1906. Family history reports her as being a kind, gentle, and soft-spoken woman. Her husband, MELTON JAMES ROBBINS, Sr. (known as Mitt) joined the church much later in life.

ETTY and MITT must have suffered much grief as four of their offspring died as young children. Church minutes from March 24, 1918 state, "No church services on account of HILTON ROBBINS having spinal meningitis. M. J. ROBBINS and family under quarantine. All church and Sunday School services stopped." Another entry states, "HILTON ROBBINS died April 5, 1918." He was 6 years old.

Two of the other eight children died at an early age: GLENNIE (1901-1918), died after returning from Arizona for treatment of T. B., and JOE (1918-1935), died as a result of respiratory problems.

Only two of the children lived to be adults: PERNIE, who married BERBIN ELLIS, son of EDWARD and MARTHA ELLIS, Jr.; and MELTON JAMES, Jr., who married ORTHA PHILLIPS, daughter of DILLARD and RUTH ANN PHILLIPS.

It was ETTY's half-brother, JASPER HUGHETT (1855-1937), who donated property on which the First Baptist Church was built. JASPER was a large land owner and a generous man. He also donated the property on which the Congregational Church and the Robbins School were built.

The M. J. Robbins home was a white, two-story frame house which was located near the Robbins School. ETTY was in charge of a busy household with many friends and relatives coming for meals and many people spending the night or several nights at a time. MITT was interested in civic affairs. He, JASPER HUGHETT, and the Congregational minister, Rev. EARNEST JONES, started the movement to establish a high school at Robbins, also in 1906. MITT served as Scott County Judge (1926-1934) and was elected as a member of the Tennessee State Legislature.

The second generation to become active in the First Baptist Church was M. J. and ETTY's daughter PERNIE, who married BERBIN ELLIS. BERBIN joined the church by letter on March 14, 1937. He became a trustee on April 3, 1948 and was ordained as a deacon on July 12, 1959. He served as church treasurer for many years and was the first to provide written, monthly financial statements to individual church members.

BERBIN was a devout Christian and prayed often. During the early years of the church, the church doors were not locked and especially during World War II BERBIN would often go to the church to pray while on his lunch hour from the Robbins Post Office.

BERBIN and PERNIE had twelve children, ten of which lived to be adults. With ten children to care for, PERNIE was busy in the home; however, she was a strong Christian and shared her faith with others. All ten of their children became Christians: EUGENE, A.V., LEOLA, LORETTA, BERBIN, Jr., M. J., EDD, GLENNA, KENNETH, and JOETTE. Two of the sons were ordained as deacons: M. J. and A. V. M. J. served as a deacon in Florida and A.V. was ordained as a deacon at First Baptist.

Berbin and Pernie Robbins Ellis Melton James Robbins, Sr.
(16 May 1865 28 Jan 1953)
Etty Robbins
(from 1906 painting)

A.V. and Kathleen Madden Ellis (1943) Mary Etta Ellis Neely Jasper Hughett
Pernie and Glennie Robbins (ca. 1906)

The third generation to become active in the First Baptist Church was Etty and M. J. 's grandson, A. V. ELLIS. He married KATHLEEN MADDEN, daughter of JOHN CHARLES and MAUD MADDEN. He served as a trustee from 1959 to 1963, and was ordained as a deacon in 1967. He served as a Sunday School teacher and designed the second edition of the church which included a baptistery, nursery, pastor's study and extra classrooms. KATHLEEN was also active in the church and taught Sunday School and Bible School classes. They had one daughter, MARY ETTA, who joined First Baptist when she was 10 years old, making the fourth generation to be active in the First Baptist.

Submitted by Mary Etta Neely

FNB Chronicle, Vol. 17, No. 2 Summer 2006
First National Bank
P.O. Box 4699
Oneida, TN 37841

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