Big Spring

Cumberland Presbyterian Church

Wilson County, Tennessee

Cumberland Presbytery Minutes - October 23-25, 1810
Big Spring, Wilson County, Tennessee
James Baker, elder representative from Big Spring congregation

Cumberland Presbytery Minutes - March 19, 1811

Big Spring, Wilson County, Tennessee

Sam McSpadin, elder representative from Big Spring congregation

Cumberland Presbytery Minutes - November 3-6, 1812
Big Spring, Wilson County, Tennessee
Samuel McSpadin, elder representative from Big Spring congregation

Big Spring Cumberland Presbyterian Church - Church Deed - E 572 - August 8, 1815.

James Winchester of Sumner County to Thomas Calhoun, Andrew Foster, David McMurry, William Steele, and Alexander Aston, trustees in trust of Cumberland Presbyterian Church, part of the land Winchester purchased from Nicholas Coonrod who held it by premption on the east bank of Cedar Creek one half mile below the Big Spring. Land consisted of three acres.

Other early churches were Good Hope Cumberland Presbyterian Church, which was erected in the Eighth District some time about 1810 or 1812; Wesley Chapel, Methodist Episcopal, in the Twenty-third District, and Big Spring and Moriah Cumberland Presbyterian Churches.
[Source: Goodspeed, 1886.]

Of the churches planted by the revival party before the division, there are several still in existence as Cumberland Presbyterian congregations. Among these are Smyrna, Goshen, and Big Spring in Tennessee, and Piney in Kentucky. There are several others, in Alabama, and in other places but I can mention only a few prominent churches of this class.

Perhaps the most interesting of these is Big Spring, Wilson County, Tennessee. In 1801 some of the revival party who lived too far from Bethesda to attend regularly there, resolved to have services at the Big Spring. They secured a monthly appointment from the Rev. William Hodge. The next fall they held a camp [122] meeting on the original plan, without tents or cabins. This meeting was not held on the spot now occupied by that church, but just at the head of the great spring which gave its name to the congregation. The reasons for moving the camp-ground, years afterward to a smaller spring in the same neighborhood are unknown to the writer. In 1802 they built open sheds to camp under. These sloped to the ground. When the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized, the Rev. Thomas Calhoun was called to be pastor of this congregation. The word pastor must, however, be understood in a modified sense. It was in 1810 that the final location of a permanent encampment and the erection of a house of worship took place. The site was then changed to its present position.

When the father of the Rev. Thomas Calhoun had finished his log-cabin, where the new camp-ground was located, he stuck his sycamore handspike down in the ground, and it took root and grew to a great tree which still stands. People used to go to the Big Spring camp-meeting from neighborhoods a hundred miles distant. Twenty of our most efficient ministers were converted at that camp-ground. Its first camp-meetings were glorious visitations of God's power, sending out all over the State an influence which will live forever. All the Western States owe some of their noblest church officers to the Big Spring camp-meetings. I have heard many of the orators whom this nation and Europe loved to honor, but, in my humble judgment, Calhoun surpassed them all. If Moody has a special baptism of power for his peculiar work, in a far higher sense did that baptism rest on Calhoun. Many a time at old Big Spring camp-ground have the vast assemblies gathered there felt and acknowledged that God spake to them through human lips.

Thomas Calhoun lived near this church, and was pastor of this and Smyrna congregations from the time of his ordination till the close of his ministry--forty-five years. After his death, emigration to Texas seriously crippled Big Spring. The Lone Star State has drawn to its bosom nearly all the strength of many a Tennessee congregation. When the people of Big Spring sold their homes, [123] Baptists and others were the purchasers. Yet there have been great revivals among our people there in more recent times, and there is a respectable number of members now; but the very nearest of these live two miles from the church. It has, at last, been agreed to build a new house nearer the congregation. The old house of cedar logs, and those raised seats, and that pulpit with its "sounding board," and its clerk's seat, will not be left intact.

[Source: McDonnold, B.W. History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Nashville, Tenn.: Board of Publication of Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1888.

Updated February 7, 2012

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