Printed in : Putnam County Herald, 30 March 1922, Community Edition, Section 2, Page 10


The records available show that the present Church of Christ was organized, or re-organized in Cookeville in the year 1885. There were, several leading citizens and their families participated in this organization, and Brother Wesley Kidwell was the minister and presiding officer at the organization, and R. B. Capshaw was Clerk, which position he held for several years. Among the family names we find as members at that time are, G. G. Slaughter, the Martins, Fords, Dowells, Barnes, Roberts and others.

The congregation at Cookeville has grown in 35 years from 2 or 3 dozen to about 400.

The first church building was located on Washington Ave., and is still standing, being used as a wood-working shop. About 12 years ago the congregation completed a handsome and commodious brick building on Broad street, which is now uses.

Many of the distinguished ministers of the church in this and other states have worked with this congregation, either as pastors, or evangelists. Among them are T. B. Larimore, J. A. Harding, E. A. Elam, the Kidwells, the Dunns, F. Q. Martin and others.

Perhaps the oldest congregation of this faith in this county is located at Smyrna, 3 miles north of Cookeville. The writer does not know the date of the beginning of that church, but does know that it must have been 50 or 75 years ago. The oldest families, of that community, the Kuykendalle, Terrys, Drapers, Dowells, and others were members of this congregation.

There are congregations at Algood, Monterey, Baxter Double Springs, Antioch, Bloomington, and perhaps other places.

The church at Cookeville, under the present leadership, is hoping for much greater accomplishments, and more good in the future.


The greater part of the adult members of the Presbyterian church in Putnam county are former members of the Cumberland Presbyterian chuch [sic], who acquiesced in the formal reunion and union of the Presbyterian church in the United States of America and the Cumberland Presbyterian church, as consummated by the two General Assemblies in 1906.

The history of the Presbyterian church in this county therefore merges with that of the Cumberland Presbyterian curch [sic] prior to the year 1906.

The two oldest Presbyterian churches in Putnam county, preserving the continuity of their history as above explained, are the Cookeville church and the Lee's Seminary church, both of which were organized more than half a century ago. Other Presbyterian congregations in this county are Algood, Double Springs, Johnson's Chapel, Post Oak, Prospect, Union Grove and Buffalo Valley. The last named church has from its organization been a Presbyterian U. S. church. There are about 500 members of the Presbyterian church in Putnam county. The Sunday school enrollment of these churches is about 600. Putnam County is included in the Cumberland - Mountain Presbytery.

Among the first and most active Cumberland Presbyterian ministers who preached in this city and assisted in organizing congregations were Dr. John L. Dillard, Jesse Hickman, A. H. Morgan, Stephen Davis, John Kittrell, W. P., Smith, William Dillard, John Lansden, T. G. Smith, J. K. Lansden and James T. Williams. All of these pioneer ministers in the early days of the church in this county preached at the Cookeville, Lee's Seminary, Dry Valley, Spring Creek, Mount Herman, Prospect, Post Oak and Trinity churches. They exerted a great influence for good in this county and throughout this section. They have all long since passed to their eternal reward.

Other ministers who began their ministrations in this county at a later date, but yet a good many years ago, are W. H. Carr, S. K. Phillips, J. R. Goodpasture, R. H. Brown, T. A. Wigginton, William B. Holmes, W. S. Crawford, Fount Smith, T. A. Lee, Thomas Kittrell, W. J. King, A. F. Zeagle, C. H. Rayburn and W. V. McAdoo.

The Cookeville church was organized in Washington Academy on Aug. 20, 1867, at which time Dr. J. M. Goodpasture and Jesse Pendergrass, both of whom have long since passed to their reward, were elected as its first session of Ruling Elders. Rev. Jesse Hickman was the first pastor of this church. Some of the other ministers who have served as pastor since its organization fifty-five years ago are J. T. Williams, W. P. Smith, J. R. Goodpasture, T. A. Wigginton, W. J. King. C. H. Rayburn, P. M. Collins, J. R. George, J. T. Sneed, W. V. McAdoo, A. F. Zeagle, M. Settis, John T. Price and A. J. Colle.

The following are the deceased Ruling Elders: Dr. J. M. Goodpasture, Jesee Pendergrass, John T. Pendergrass, Major J. C. Freeze, Henry P. Davis, C. N. Wheeler, Jesse Arnold, Holland Denton, E. D. Staley. Capt. Walton Smith, A. W. Boyd and Judge J. W. Wright.

The following compose the present session of Ruling Elders of this church: Dr. J. F. Dyer, C. E. Wilson, James M. McCormick, Prof. W. E. Moore and E. H. Boyd.
Rev. L. T. Lawrence has recently accepted a call to the pastoriage of this church and will enter upon the dutues of his pastorate i May, following his graduation from Lane Theological Seminary.

The Presbyterian church located on Dixie Avenue, near Broad Street, is one of the prettiest and most commodious church edifices in this section of the stae. This Congregation owns a valuable manse located just across the street from the church. The other Presbyterian churches of this county are also creditable and attractive buildings.


The Cumberland Presbyterian congregations in Putnam county are located at Cookeville, Dry Valley, Mt. Herman, Spring Creek, Douglass Chapel, Lee's Seminary, Algood and Small Change.

The Cumberland Presbyterian church was organized in 1867, with Rev. Jesse Hickman as the first pastor and Dr. Mack Goodpasture and Jesse Pendergrass as its first Ruling Elders. The organization of this church took place at the close of a most successful revival held in Washington Academy in August of that year, by, Rev. Jesse Hickman and Rev. Stephen Davis, two greatly beloved Cumberland Presbyterian ministers. For a few years the Cumberland Presbyterians, Methodists and Baptists all used the same church building, which was located near the present site of the Richelieu Hotel, then the congregation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church purchased the lot on Broad St., near the Public Square, on which its present church is located - a splendid frame building, which fronted the East, was destroyed by fire in 1892.

Rev. J. R. Goodpasture is pastor of this church. He is one of the oldest preachers in this state, and is greatly loved by the members of this congregation and the Christian people generally of this community. In aggregate he has served for many years as pastor of this church. He was its pastor during the early years of his ministry and it is a source of great joy to this congregation that after many years spent in the ministry in Nashville, he is once more the pastor of this church. He served for several years as pastor of both the First Cumberland Presbyterian and Addison Avenue churches of Nashville, and was also for several years Editor of the Sunday School Literature of the church.

In 1906 there was a division in the Cookeville congregation. A portion of the congregation favored Union with the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A. and erected a new church building. A portion of the congregation desired to perpetuate the Cumberland Presbyterian denomination and retain the same name which borne from its organization in 1810. Under the decision of the Tennessee Supreme Court those who preferred to retain the name of Cumberland Presbyterians held the chuch properly in this state, hence this congregation continues to worship on the same site which was purchased fifty years ago for a church home for Cumberland Presbyterians, and in the same chuch building which was erected on this site thirty years ago. There are about 500 members of the Cumberland Presbyterian chuch [sic] in Putnam county.