History of the Old Washington Baptist Church
By an act of the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee November 11, 1811, the town of Washington was permanently established; however, the town was not incorporated until 1819. We have records of the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches being active in the town for the time period from 1812 to 1831, but the Baptist Church is never mentioned in any of the historical records for this period. We are quite sure the Baptist Church was here about the same time; however, this is only conjecture. Sometime in the early 1930’s, a violent storm destroyed the home of Isaac Byrd who was the church clerk of Old Washington Baptist Church and all church records and history was lost. Since we have no documentation to support our theory, the earliest records we have for the Baptist Church is the year 1845 when the Washington Baptist Church became a member of the Hiwassee Association of Baptist Churches.
From that time we have virtually no history until 1889 when the Baptist Church bought the church property owned by the Methodist church for the sum of $150. The building located on property described as “that fractional part of lot number 34 in the original plan of said town which the Methodist Church South is located.” served our church from 1889 to 1968. Our Fellowship Hall was erected where the old church building stood. The church at the time of purchase was recognized as The Missionary Baptist Church at Washington. Before the Baptist bought the property from the Methodist, the two churches shared the same building known as a “Union Church.”
Previous to that time, we believe the Baptist Church owned a building located just north of our current location but we find no concrete evidence of said property. On November 30, 1895 a called meeting was held with the Baptist church at Washington for the purpose of organizing the Tennessee Valley Baptist Association. The first annual meeting was held with Mt. Vernon Baptist Church on August 13, 1896. Sometime later, Mr. J.T. Carney recorded the names of members in a new ledger by memory. The church continued worshipping in the building we had purchased from 1889 to 1968 when it was decided a new building was needed and was constructed.
The property our current building is on was donated by B.K. and Cleasy Grisham. The new church was built about 10-12 feet south of the old church where the Fellowship Hall is now located. We burned the note for the new building on February 21, 1971. Since that time we have been recognized as the Washington Missionary Baptist Church and by direction of Rusty Revis, the By-Laws Committee approved and adopted the name as The Old Washington Baptist Church on January 31, 2007 and is now incorporated as such.
Many additions and improvements have been made to the building including new pews, carpet, choir loft, central air and heat and adding a Baptistry. We bought the properties for the parking lots and paved part of them. We are continuing to improve the church facilities to support the tremendous growth we have experienced.
The church has been a “Rock” to this community for a long, long time –“170-180 years.” It was well founded and established by our forefathers by the Holy Spirit. It has stood through a civil war and many other setbacks through the years, but it still remains a beacon to the community and will continue to be that shining light so others may see. The church has experienced tremendous growth under the leadership of pastor Rusty Revis, by following in the footsteps of those gone before him. We are a church with a vision and a place you will love.
-Deacon Charlie Carney
Although not documented, this building is thought to be the original church just north of our current location.
This building was the property purchased from the Methodist Church and served as Washington Baptist Church from 1889 to 1968. Nell Carney is pictured