The following article on the anniversary of Piney Grove Missionary Baptist Church was likely published in a September 1973 issue of the Maryville-Alcoa Daily Times. Article submitted to the Blount TNGenWeb Project by Caleb Teffeteller.
“Piney Grove Missionary Baptist Church, Blockhouse Road, Maryville, marked the 100th anniversary of its founding on September 5, 1973.
A church history was prepared by Mrs. R.E. (Mayme) Parker, a member of the Piney Grove Church since April 1933, and church clerk since April 1943, for the centennial celebration September 2, 1973. Material and pictures were furnished for today’s column by Ollie White and Mrs. W.E. (Edna McDonell) Morris.
Information for the contents of the church history came from reading all past records available in the Chilhowee Baptist Association office, Maryville, and from talking with older members, such as “Uncle Sam” James who passed away in 1964, and “Aunt Mary” White who died in 1965, both in their 90s and with many other members. Materials was also obtained by reading all church minutes available since the organization of the church on Friday, September 5, 1873.
The people in the vicinity of the Grindstaff School (called by some Piney Grove School) held a revival under a brush arbor in a little hollow in back of the Delve Grindstaff home, and on Friday, Sept. 5, 1873, organized the Piney Grove Missionary Baptist Church.
The membership consisted of Henry Russell, Margaret Russell, M.J. Russell, Isaac Russell, Permelia Russell, Sophina Russell, Dorthula Russell, James W. Hall, William L. Cupp, Margaret Cupp, William Everett, Daniel Headrick, Caroline Headrick, Mary Ann Whitehead, Mary Jane Nuchols, Hannah Cupp, Catherine Teffeteller, Henry C. Cupp, Frances N. Cupp, Jacob Simerly, Jane Simerly, James Simerly, Margaret Simerly, H. Simerly, Martha Everett, Thomas Gaines, Mary C. Hall, Martha Curtis, Josiah Curtis, Rebecca Hall, Margaret Hall, Henry Barker, John Morton, William Hall, Theo Everett, Mary Nuchols, G.A. Brannen, Eliza Jane Hall and Isaac T. Nuchols.
Land on which to build their house of worship was given by Mr. & Mrs. Sam Campbell (she was the former Rachel Feezell, daughter of George Washington Feezell & Margaret Eliza Guin Feezell). The land was about two miles from the site of the brush arbor where the group first met in revival.
The membership then called Brother James R. Coulter, who served one year as pastor. Brother James W. Hall was elected church clerk. This body bound themselves under a covenant similar to the standard church covenant we now have, and also accepted the 18 articles of faith.
The first deacons were Isaac Russell and J.T. Nuchols.
The first building was erected on the location near where Old Piney Church now stands. The material for the building came from an old federal still house located back in the mountains [located off Mell Hall Road] which the government was no longer using. Some notes say this building was also used as the Piney Grove School house.
In the first business meeting, delegates were appointed to meet with the Pleasant Grove Church in a convention to unite with them in the organization of a new association. The early associations were: Little River Association; Mt. Harmony Association; Tuckaleechee Association; and the Association South of the Holston River. The Chilhowee Association was not organized until 1885. After that, delegates were sent to the Chilhowee Association.
In November 1873, the church voted to have a “protracted” meeting with Brother James V. Iddins “to attend at that time.” The first communion meeting (Lord’s Supper) was taken in May 1874, with Brother Iddins preaching on Baptism.
Delegates from the church were sent to associational meetings and willing workers meetings which were held alternately with various churches. Delegates were also sent to Baptist State meetings and Sunday School meetings.
Many successful revivals were held in the early days of the church, some lasting as long as 23 days, with as many as 50 additions to the church. Offerings during the revivals rarely exceeded $15. Though money was scarce, regular mission offerings were taken, some of which totaled less than a dollar. The pastor received as his salary whatever amount the offering might be, usually from two to five dollars. The first fixed salary mentioned for a pastor was in about 1902, when the church voted to pay $50 a year, and once because the pastor was so “satisfactory,” he received a raise to $60 for the next year.
The early church was more apt to discipline the membership than the present day church. Charges were brought against members, both men and women. These members were dismissed from the fellowship for: profanity, drinking, bootlegging, playing cards, fighting, lewdness, fornication, adultery, improper conduct, departing from the faith and for non-attendance. Many times during the winter months the pastor could not get to the church, at which times no business meetings were held.
Sunday School was not organized until March 7, 1886. It was during this year that the deacons were charged to attend to difficulties in the church as far as possible.” —-Elizabeth “Tizzy” Timmons.