Cave Spring Church in Overton county, Tenn., was organized by Rev. James McDonnold November 10, 1821. A camp meeting had been held in September preceding the organization, which was supported by the Hayters, McDonnolds, Ferrils, Bates, Carlocks, Ashburns, Crawfords, and other good people of the community. Abram Hayter and his brother William with their wives were among the converts at this first camp meeting. Rev. Thomas Calhoun and David Foster held a camp meeting at Rock Spring in Overton county in 1820, at which Job Carlock, David Ferril, John McDonnold, and John Tate professed religion. These all lived in the neighborhood of Cave Spring, and were subsequently ordained ruling elders of the congregation, except John Tate, who entered the ministry.
The record shows that in the summer of 1822 Abram Hayter and Job Carlock were ordained ruling elders of Cave Spring congregation by Rev. Thomas Calhoun. The next year John McDonnold and John Crawford were ordained. Camp meetings were held in September from 1821 to 1858 inclusive, the converts sometimes numbering nearly one hundred. Thomas K. McDonnold, the father of B.W. McDonnold, D.D., had been a seeker for about fifteen years, and was the subject of great solicitude by his friends. He had been approached and urged to become a Christian by each of these good elders in turn so long that they held a counsel at the beginning of the camp meeting in 1841 and agreed to let him alone. Nothing was to be said to him--literally nothing during the meeting. He promptly came forward, however, on every invitation and knelt with other seekers, but no one spoke a word of encouragement. Tuesday morning came, and the people assembled in the twelve corner meeting house to hold the farewell service. The songs, prayers, and exhortations were about to be concluded. Handshakings and tears were freely indulged as they were singing "When we get to heaven we will part no more." Thomas K. McDonnold went from his knees down flat on the floor, and in an agony of despair cried out, "O God, I am a poor, lost sinner, given up by my friends, and forsaken by the church. I come to thee. I cast myself upon thee and they rich mercy for salvation right now! Save me or I am forever lost." Need I say his prayer was answered in that very moment, and he was happy in a Savior's love? The meeting went on through that day and night with half a score of new converts.
Writing from memory I name a few of the good men whom I used to hear preach at Cave Spring: Thomas Calhoun, Francis Johnson, J. M. McMurry, Hugh B. Hill, John Tate, Samuel McSpadden, Samuel Corley, M.W. McConnell, James K. Lansden, George Donnell, J. E. Hickman, John L. Dillard, W. M. Dillard. These were men of power in the pulpit.
I append the names of some of the men who professed religion at Cave Spring and went into the ministry: John Tate, Robert Tate, James Stockden, William P. Lewis, Israel Hayter, Alfred Simpson, Andrew S. Hayter, Benjamin W. McDonnold, William B. Carlock, Jacob G. Carlock, Thomas C. McDonnold, Q. D. Elder, T. F. Bates, Clem Means, John M. Lansden, Thomas C. Patton, J. M. Martin, C. K. Carlock.
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, June 7, 1894, page 72]
RESOLUTION: A resolution relative to the Cave Springs Church property was read by the Clerk. By motion, the resolution was adopted. Marked appendix "N" and filed.
APPENDIX "N" - RESOLUTION, CAVE SPRINGS PROPERTY
Authorization on - transfer of church property
This authorization taken at an official meeting of Murfreesboro Presbytery of The Cumberland Presbyterian Church, meeting in the Cookeville Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Cookeville, Tennessee September 30, 1971, took the following action on the property, originally purchased for the Cave Springs Church, Overton County, Tennessee.
Whereas, L.D. Carlock and wife, Callie E. Clark, on April 25, 1898, did convey to J.B. Cox, G.E. Farley, and J.K.G. Stewart, ruling elders of the Cave Springs Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Overton County, Tennessee, said Warranty deed being recorded in book No. A F, page 136, register's office of Overton County, located at Livingston, Tennessee, and
Whereas, The Cave Springs Cumberland Presbyterian Church is wholly without organization of any kind whatever and is legally herewith declared defunct, with no expectation that it shall ever be used as a church again, or reorganized, and
Whereas, it appears certain that the former members of the Cave Springs Cumberland Presbyterian Church, who have not joined other churches or become lost--their whereabouts unknown--have presently their interest in the Livingston Cumberland Presbyterian Church, to the extent of expressing their opinions that the most appropriate disposition of the Cave Springs church would be that the property be sold and that the proceeds from the sale go to the Livingston Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Livingston, Tennessee.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That Murfreesboro Presbytery in regular session on the date given herein above, hereby elects A.L. Phillips, Jr., Lloyd Gentry, and Marshall Anderson as Trustees of and for the Cave Springs Cumberland Presbyterian Church and that said trustees are hereby authorized to execute a General Warranty Deed, acting in their capacity as such Trustees only, conveying title of the Cave Springs Church property to purchaser or purchasers of said property.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this action has been taken in accordance with the government of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and for the purpose of the title being vested in the rightful owner, according to the decision of Murfreesboro Presbytery of The Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, Murfreesboro Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church has hereunto affixed its signature as an official act on this 30th day of September, 1971.
Signed: Stated Clerk, Wendell Trotter
[Source: Minutes of Murfreesboro Presbytery, September 30, 1971]