Charlotte Cumberland Presbyterian Church

Charlotte, Dickson County, Tennessee

Nashville Presbytery

Tennessee Synod

1837 - present

Charlotte Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Court Square
Charlotte, Tennessee 37036

October 26-27, 1850 - Charlotte Presbytery
Charlotte, Dickson County, Tennessee
Representative - Thomas McNeely - from Charlotte
[Source: "Extracts of the Minutes of the Charlotte Presbytery," The Banner of Peace and Cumberland Presbyterian
, December 27, 1850, page 1]

March 12, 1875 - Charlotte Presbytery
Charlotte, Dickson County, Tennessee
[Source: "Extract of the Minutes of Charlotte Presbytery," The Cumberland Presbyterian, June 17, 1875, page 5]

June 17, 1876 [Intermediate Session] - Charlotte Presbytery
Charlotte - Dickson County, Tennessee
[Source: "Extract of the Minutes of Charlotte Presbytery," The Cumberland Presbyterian, April 6, 1876, page 5]

March 8, 1878 - Charlotte Presbytery
Charlotte - Dickson County, Tennessee
[Source: "Extract of the Minutes of Charlotte Presbytery," The Cumberland Presbyterian, April 4, 1878, page 5]

March 11, 1887 - Charlotte Presbytery
Charlotte - Dickson County, Tennessee
[Source: "Extract of the Minutes of Charlotte Presbytery," The Cumberland Presbyterian, March 31, 1887, page 5]


A History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church at Charlotte, Tennessee

by Robert E. Corlew
September 27, 1955

It was December, 1837 before a separate Cumberland Presbyterian congregation was formed in Charlotte. At that time a congregation consisting of forty members organized a church and selected a Board of Elders, among whom was Christopher Dickson. The people were said to have manifested much interest, and a Miss Sally Walker was among the first to join on profession of faith. [Sarah Bell to Anne Jane Bell, December 1, 1837. Bell Papers in custody of Mrs. Walter Bell, Sr.] Plans were made to construct a church at Charlotte immediately.

Camp meetings continued to be a very important part of the lives of the people, and salvation often was manifested by tears of joy. In what was probably the first camp meeting following the organization of the church, much interest was shown. A Miss Margaret Dunaway was among those who professed faith by standing and "giving her experience" before the church session and the congregation. This, C. D. Bell wrote from his home near Charlotte to a Pennsylvania relative, caused "great excitement among her friends.... Benjamin Robertson shed tears freely and observed to someone that he liked her a great deal better now." [C. D. Bell to Anne Jane Bell, August 1, 1838. Bell Papers] Several months later Sarah Bell wrote of "two young ladies" who went to the altar where they "became very much affected." [Sarah Bell to Anne Jane Bell, November 17, 1838. Bell Papers.]

The spiritual enthusiasm of the people was not matched by their material generosity, however, for little money was contributed to the building of the new church at Charlotte. The fund drive began in 1837 immediately after the organization of the congregation, and $500 was raised, [Sarah Bell to Anne Jane Bell, November 17, 1838. Bell Papers.] but by the following year the effects of the great depression of 1837 were being felt in Dickson County just as they were over the entire nation. This caused the matter to languish for well over a decade until the mid-1850's when three stouthearted men--Leonard Lane Leech, Benjamin Corlew, and Clark Larkins--contributed most of the necessary funds for the erection of the edifice. Bricks were said to have been manufactured within the town limits of Charlotte, at a kiln owned by James Dickson. Carpenters were aided by slaves, of which both Leech and Corlew had an ample supply.

While the people worked and sacrificed in order to erect this temple of God, there hovered over the country the distant rumblings of the greatest catastrophe ever to overtake the American people--the needless fratricidal war known as the War for Southern Independence, or the Civil War. By April of 1861 President Lincoln had declared his intentions of using force upon the states of the Deep South, and his decision sent the Southern people scurrying to the defense of their homes for which their forefathers had bled and died. Early in 1861 Fort Donelson fell, and within a few months there were Federal soldiers in Charlotte. By March of the following year Colonel Sanders D. Bruce was in complete command of Clarksville, and his men made raids on Charlotte not infrequently. By November of 1863 two Federal regiments numbering about 400 men had taken Charlotte and had established what they called "Camp Charlotte." Headquarters were established in the courthouse, and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was converted into a hospital. Much damage was done to the public buildings, including the church.

After the War the people of Charlotte, like the people of the entire South, sought to bind up the nation's wounds and to readjust themselves to peaceful pursuits. Despite hard times, the people were able to repair the damage done to the Church by the Federal troops, and almost immediately after the war they called the Rev. Aleck Stockard to serve as minister. He is thought to have been the first minister to serve the congregation in the new church. Other nineteenth century pastors were William M. Cooley, B. C. Scruggs, T. O. Webb, and many other men of God. [Minutes of General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, passim.]

In 1905, nearly a half century after the destruction wrought during the Civil War, the United States government made partial restitution for the damage done by the Federal troops by appropriating $1,800 to the church. To this money was added additional funds given by members of the congregation, and much needed repairs and beautification were added. Within the last few years a sizable sum donated by one family was spent on repairs and beautification, until today the church is one of the finest structures among rural and small town churches in the state.

Having nearly as much historical significance as the church is the old steamboat church bell which hands in the belfry. It was cast in Pittsburgh in 1845, and served a steamboat which plied the waters of the Cumberland and Harpeth Rivers in the days before the Civil War. It has a low, deep tone, and on clear evenings it is said that it can be heard for miles around. Tradition has it that the bell was taken from a burning boar and later given to the Charlotte church.

The church, like the town of Charlotte, while rendering much Christian service and experiencing manifold blessings, has never manifested phenomenal growth in a material way. The present membership consists of approximately 60 souls. The present pastor is the Rev. A. D. Rudolph, who serves the Dickson and Big Springs churches in addition to Charlotte. Services are held every Sunday, at the eleven o'clock hour on the first and third Sundays and at night on the second and fourth Sundays. Ruling elders now active include Prof. J. A. Bryant, Mrs. W. H. Greer, Harwell Leech, Hon. Joe A. McMillan, Dowl Miller, and Robert E. Corlew.


(Compiled from General Assembly
Minutes by Mary Scott Corlew)





T. O. Webb

I. M. Bowers


B. C. Scruggs

I. M. Bowers


Robert J. McCaslin

A. W.Castleman


J. E. Powers

G. D. Binkley


G. W. Phillips

G. D. Binkley


G. W. Phillips

G. D. Binkley


W. A. Blades

Bell Leech


S. A. Sadler

J. T. Ferebee


A. W. Clinard

Mary Ferebee


A. W. Clinard

Mary Ferebee


G. E. Danley

Mary Ferebee


G. E. Danley

Mary Ferebee


Z. N. Clinard

Mary Ferebee


C. P. Mayhew

J. A. McMillan


M. C. Powers

Mrs. W. H. Greer


M. C. Powers

Mrs. W. H. Greer

1948 to 1955 at least the following men have supplied the pulpit for varying periods: Reverends Doyle, Davis, Joe Bright, Harvey, and W. T. Ingram, Jr.

Updated October 24, 2012

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