The New Hope Cumberland Presbyterian Church is located about twelve miles southwest of Erin, Tennessee, on the White Oak Creek in Houston County. It has been organized three times - each time under a different name.
In the year 1823 Mrs. Betsy Wilson, emigrated from Sumner County, Tennessee, to this community, and finding herself to be the only Cumberland Presbyterian in this section, nearer than ten miles, she attached herself to the M.E. Church, with the understanding, that she could withdraw her membership as soon as an opportunity afforded to become attached, to her church of choice.
In the spring of 1831, the missionary, Rev. Adam M. Beard of Nashville Presbytery, was requested by Rev. T. C. Anderson, also of Nashville Presbytery, to send an appointment to Mrs. Wilson, and when Mr. Beard came, to fill said appointment, Mr. Wilson requested Brother Beard to leave an appointment at his (Bro.Wilsons) house, which request was granted, and Mr. Wilson's house became a place of public worship for the Cumberland Presbyterians and remained so for about 20 years (or about 1851).(1)
In September, 1851, Revs. W. A. Wilson, A. A. Wilson, and E. J. Ragan began a ten day revival in the White Oak community. There were a number of conversions during the meeting. On September 7, 1851, the second Sunday of the revival, the Center Valley Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized with fifty-two charter members. The church joined Charlotte Presbytery at its next regular meeting.(2)
Thus as a body we continued to march onward until the Rebellion of 1861 brought devastation and ruin on our country our Homes and families through which time we had very little regular preaching and our church got scattered and was not served.(3)
In 1871, the people on White Oak Creek organized a church which was known as the White Oak Union Church. All denominations used this building.(4)
The first preaching by the Cumberland Presbyterians in this new church house was in 1874. Rev. A. C. Stockard who was doing the missionary work in Charlotte Presbytery was the first Cumberland Presbyterian preaching at this place at one of his appointments on the spring of 1874. He opened the doors of the church, and obtained eight members nearly all of which was the remains of Old Center Valley. At first meeting of Presbytery Bro. A. C. Stockard informed the presbytery what he had done in trying to organize a church at this place to be known as the White Oak Congregation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. And it was taken under the care of Presbytery in the spring of 1875.(5)
On March 26, 1935, Clarksville Presbytery voted to change the name of the White Oak church to "New Hope." The action of presbytery read, "On motion, the name White Oak Church was changed to New Hope. T. W. Miller, Stewart, Tennessee, is the clerk."(6)
The New Hope church has had three buildings. The congregation worshiped in the home of Mrs. Betsy Wilson until about 1851. By this time, the congregation had grown until it was necessary for them to have a place of worship.
First building. "And in the spring of 1851 a very neat log house was put up, and dedicated to God as a place of worship for Cumberland Presbyterians."(7)
Second building. In the summer and fall of 1871, the church, with the assistance of the neighborhood, built a new log church on White Oak Creek. This was the union church which was used by all denominations. It faced the north. It has not been determined whether or not this building was on the same site of the first. T. R. Wilson gave the land that this building was built on.(8)
As the years moved on and the active members grew older the younger ones less faithful, the Church was neglected and finally became unfit for services. In the fall of 1926 services were continued in the School building.(9)
The second building finally decayed and fell to the ground.(10)
Third building. In 1929, a building program was started, but very little progress was made until 1935. At this time, a new log building was erected. It faced the west, being parallel with the hollow. This building was dedicated on September 5, 1935, by Rev. M. C. Powers.(11)
The following ministers have served the New Hope Cumberland Presbyterian Church: James Forrest, 1852; E. J. Ragan, 1853; John McKennon, 1854; A. C. Stockard, 1874; A. A. Wilson, 1875; W. D. Owens, 1878; John A. McClerkin, 1880; H. N. Cooley, 1882; J. A. Allison, 1883; H. N. Cooley, 1884; P. A. Weaver, 1885; H. N. Cooley, 1886; W. H. White, 1888; John H. Alison, 1889; William Cooley, 1893; J. L. Stockard, 1895; B. B. Larkins, 1901; A. H. Sykes, 1902; H. H. Binkley, 1907; W. A. Blades, 1910; A. W. Clinard, 1911; H. H. Binkley, 1917-1918; C. E. Horton, 1929; S. T. Neeley, 1931; G. E. Danley, 1932-1933; C. P. Mayhew, 1934; M. C. Powers, 1936-1937; Carl Davis, 1938-1944; J. R. Burtscher, 1946; A. L. Thomas, 1948-1950; Clifton Wilson, 1954; and Howard Herndon since 1955.(12)
The New Hope (Center Valley) Cumberland Presbyterian church came under the care of Charlotte Presbytery when it was organized in 1851. Charlotte Presbytery met with the New Hope congregation: March, 1853;(13) the spring of 1874;(14) and October, 1893.(15)
The New Hope (White Oak) Church became a part of Clarksville Presbytery in 1899.(16) Since that time, Clarksville Presbytery has met with the New Hope congregation one time - September 29-30, 1936.(17)
1. Minutes of the Session of the New Hope Cumberland Presbyterian Church Book II.
8. Mrs. P. B. Irwin (This information was received by the author in a personal interview on December 30, 1955.).
9. Minutes, op. cit.
10. A. L. Thomas (This information was received by the author in a personal interview on December 30, 1955.).
11. Minutes, op. cit.
15. Minutes of the Session of the Cumberland Valley Cumberland Presbyterian Church Book I.
16. Minutes of the Tennessee Synod of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church October 17-20, 1899, pp. 47-48.
17. Minutes of Clarksville Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church September 29-30, 1936, p. 1.
[Source: "A History of the Existing Churches of Clarksville Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church." A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Cumberland Presbyterian Theological Seminary McKenzie, Tennessee. In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Bachelor of Divinity. By Ollie Newsome Harvey, May 1956, pages 124-129]