In April of 1881, the Ash Hill Congregation was organized as a branch of the Mount Carmel Church. The first sermon was held on the first Sunday in April by the Reverend W. T. Dale under a brush arbor and continued preaching regularly until the third Sunday in July, when he held a presbyterial meeting.
In October, a second meeting was held--this being a revival. He remained pastor for the year, 1882 and by his advice the community commenced to build a church.
John Stephens, grandfather of Bud Stephens (member of the Stephen Quarter of Franklin) gave enough land on which to build the Ash Hill Cumberland Presbyterian Church. W. B. Cathey donated the lumber. On the first Sunday in September, 1883, a meeting was held in the church.
The years of 1886-1887, Reverend H. A. Gray took charge of the church and on January 15, 1887, the Ash Hill congregation organized as an independent church. At this time, there were 15 members on roll. They were: John B. Walker, Phillip Postell, W. T. Fost, James Baggy, J. S. Hargrove, Thomas Cathey, W. R. Cathey, W. J. Roberson, Mrs. Martha Roberson, Miss Mae Hargrove, Mrs. Jarusha Cathey, Mrs. Betty Sutherland, Mrs. Rebecca Roberson, Miss Susie Roberson, and Mrs. Mag Carson, Mr. J. B. Walker, W. R. Cathey, Philip Postelle and W. B. Dobson, were elected elders.
Our church was adopted by the Richland Presbytery. The following is the minutes of this meeting.
To the Richland
The undersigned respectfully represent them on the 15th day of January 1887, organized by the Reverend H. A. Gray. A new church adopted the principles of Government of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church with the membership of 15 and electing the undersigners as ruling elders. W. J. Dobson, Deacon, under and by the authority of the session clerk we do hereby apply to be received under your care and we promise to comply on your part as well as ours, with all its duty and obligations, upon the Church and their officers, by the government of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
January 15, 1887
J. B. Walker
W. R. Cathey
Ministers of the past have been:
1890 - Rev. Jessie Lamb
1895 - Rev. John Stephens
1901 - Rev. J. Stapleton
1910 - Rev. Sam J. Gentry
1917 - Rev. J. W. Flowers
1919 - Rev. W. H. Gentry
1922 - Rev. J. L. Dillard
1925 - Rev. S. C. Reed
1927 - Rev. W. H. Gentry
1931 - Rev. Will Sharp
1934 - Rev. Neely
1938 - Rev. E. L. Turner
1944 - Rev. John Williams
Many of these first 15 members still have families in our church today.
J. B. Walker, uncle of the late Walker McCord served as session clerk for 31 years. Mr. Walker McCord served as the session clerk for 27 years.
The Cathey family makes up six generations of our church. They are W. R. Cathey, John Cathey, Jim Cathey, Henry Cathey, Danny Cathey, and Jeff Cathey. Also of that same family are Mattie Sue Cathey Hazelwood and Josephine Cathey Ketchum, daughters of Jim Cathey. Dee Cathey, brother of Jim Cathey also attended church. There are still three generations, of the Cathey family now living and attending this church.
The Roberson name also remained in the church. They were W. J. Roberson, Grover Roberson, Howard Roberson, Herbert Roberson and Keith Roberson which makes five generations of this family. Three generations still attend the church. Other members of this family are Annie Roberson Woodside, Effie Roberson Smith, Mary Woodside Lee and Jean Woodside McElhaney all who attend regularly.
The family of John Roberson is still represented by Elizabeth Roberson Wiley and Dorothy Wiley Anglin, members of our church.
We are very proud of this family heritage which has been a part of our church for almost 100 years.
In the early 1900's, new people came into the community and church. There were family names like: Hargrove, Stephens, Taylor, Wiley, Tomlin, Hensen, Sharp, Neal, Crutcher, McCord and Gillespie.
Later came names like, Stem, Hazelwood, Ingram, Stevenson, Rummage, Skinner, Ketchum, Woodside, Giles, Warren, Smithson, and Reynolds which were added to our church roll.
Some of the minister of the old church were Gray, McNeely, Stephens, Flowers, Turner and the Gentry brothers, Bill, George, and Sam.
After seventy years, the old church was in need of repair, so the members met in September of 1953 and decided to build a new church. Mr. Jim Cathey donated the logs to be used as lumber for the new building. He and Dr. Walker McCord laid the concrete blocks and the other members helped complete the structure which houses our congregation today.
Dedication of the new church was held the fourth Sunday in April 1954 by Rev. J. C. Bradford.
In 1960, three Sunday school rooms were added to the building. In 1973, there was an addition of a Sunday school room, kitchen and dining rooms. In 1975, a well was dug on the church property and bathrooms were added.
In March 1978 the Ash Hill CPW was organized.
The church now has 96 members on the roll. About 85 are in attendance regularly.
Some of the ministers in recent years have been Rev. J. C.
Bradford, who was pastor for 13 years, Benny Wood, Denny Shepherd,
Finis Walker, pastor for 11 years, Eddie Smith and our present
pastor, Jimmy Miller who is a very dedicated person to our church
and community. We are thankful for him and his family.
The first Sunday in April of this year, 1981, marks the 100th birthday of the Ash Hill Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Our membership has never been exceedingly large, but our faith has remained strong.
We would like to present the history of our church to the oldest members: Mrs. Annie Lou McCord and Mrs. Carrie Cathey who joined the church in 1917 and to Mrs. Bessie Lee Henson, Mr. Strickland Stem and Mr. Joe Will Hazelwood for the support they have given us through many generations.
This is our memorial to the people who organized our church and to our many loved ones who helped to promote this heritage.
[Source: "History of Ash Hill Church" February 8, 1981, photocopy of typescript in church file]