Union Chapel

Cumberland Presbyterian Church

Humphreys County, Tennessee

1858 - ?

1935 - 1943

A Brief History of Union Chapel Church of Humphreys County, Tennessee

We find in the charter that this Church was organized and taken under the care of Charlotte Presbytery April 6, 1858.

The following are the names of the charter members and others who have joined since:

Elders--S. J. Cooley, B. E. Carter, Anderson Dunlap, I.C. Yarbrough, and C. K. Turner. Ministers--D. D. and W. M. Cooley. Members--Kisiah Hedgecock, Elizabeth Cooley, Martha and Catherine Carter, Susan Ausbrooks, Mary Cooley, Freedona and Maranda Thomas, Alfred Holland, R. W. Cooley, Arena Woods, J. H. and Mariah McMurty, Robert Cleghorn, James Carter, Margan Hall, Wm. Carter, Lucia A. Hall, Mrs. M. A. Yarbrough, Louis Carter, B. L. Carter, Jos. Hedgecock, Elizabeth Holland, Rebecca Gossett, J. M. Carter. Martha Holland, Pleasant Hollimond, Mary J. Kemp, Annie E. Parker, Mary P. Arnold, M. G. Cooley, N. G. Phifer, Margueritte J. Cooley, Mary J. Cooley, Kisiah B. Cooley, .Malissa McMurtry, Amanda Fowler, Lucie E. Sullivan, Wm. Woods. N. R. and M. R. Carter, Thomas Phifer, J. C., N. W., and L. M. Harrington, Hettie B. Turner, C. W. Sullivan, John Holland, S. J. Thomas, M.C., M. E. and Elizabeth Cooley, Wm. Gossett, Mary J. and Elizabeth Batson, Wm. Davidson, Thos. Wynn, Wm. Barden, Martha Holland, Frederick Kemp, E. J. Brown, Artemis Wood, J. M. Madden, Wm. Trotter, Elizabeth Cooley, Elizabeth Collier, Rev. H. N. and Elder M. M. Cooley, Eld. Garrett Davidson, John Phifer, Amanda J. Cooley, Eld. Jas H. Turner, Ellen H. Turner, Eld. J.E. Parker, M. P. Cooley, Hester J. Davidson, Lula Rushing, M. E. Hudson, Sallie Sailivan, Artemis Hubbs, John Cooley, John Christopher, Jas. Davidson, Franklin Woods, V. K. Holland, C. A. Davidson, Mrs. M. J. and Elizabeth Cooley, Lark B. Cooley, Sarah L. and L. C. Williams, Early E., and Elsa M., Cora B. Addie D. Lena, Hattie, Annie, Beulah, Joe and Deacon C. M. Cooley. Harriett Ellis and Minnie Holland, Charlotte Lattimer, Deacon E. F. Martin, Rev. Geo. Guthrie, Eld. N. F. Holland, W. A. Craig, Oscar Hall, S. A. Bazel, Annie Holland, J. M. and Nancy C. Davidson, Frank Hall, Bettie Pettie, Eld. W. P. Warren, Eld. E. G. Collier, J. W. Beaver, Mrs, M Peatpoint, Oscar Stephenson, J. M. Gossett, Wm. Shaver, Bertha Carter, J. D Warren, Alice Madden, D. L. and Deacon E. R. Madden, Eld. J. T. Littleton, Amanda L Martin and Kate Littleton.

The first Session we have any record of met April 6, 1862, and was composed of the following named Elders: S. J. Cooley, 1. C. Yarbrough, C. N. Turner, B. E. Carter and Anderson Dunlap.

Ministers: D. D. and W. M. Cooley.

The Session was opened with prayer by Rev. W. M. Cooley, Moderator and C. N. Turner was elected Clerk of the Session, which position he has filled ever since.

On further examination we find that Bros. C. N. Turner and Alfred Holland are the only charter members now living. We also find that on December 10, 1891 there had been enrolled in all, 93 names on the old book, but we could find only 19 living now, and only 6 of those living in the bounds of our Church.

Since the Church was organized in 1858, there has been enrolled 139 members, but on account of deaths, removals, and otherwise, there are but thirty resident and non resident members.
We find that Mr. C. N. Turner served as Clerk of the Session from 1862 to 1904, a period of 42 years. During this time he often represented the Church in Presbytery and Synod and two or three times in the General Assembly.
The minutes show that during this time the Session met about 126 times and he was absent about 7 times.
Bros. H. N. Cooley and Geo. Guthrie were called from this congregation to preach the Gospel and were making a success, but the Lord called them from their labors to their heavenly home.
The following named ministers and many others have served this congregation which has enjoyed many great revivals and times of refreshing from the Lord. Many souls have been saved and made happy by the love of God shed abroad in their hearts.
The following Ministers have served this congregation as pastors: Rev. A. A. Wilson, A. J. Parrish, J. A. Dunlap, D. D. Cooley, W. M. Cooley, James Carroll, Geo. Nichols, A. M. Taylor, T. O.Webb, H. N. Cooley, B. B. Larkins, and A. E. Eddins and others. Besides these many others have held revivals for us at various times.

The Session is now composed of the following named Elders: Elders. C. N. Turner, J. H. Turner, J. T. Littleton, N. F. Holland, E. G. Collier and Deacons E. F. Martin and E. R. Madden, and Rev. A. F. Eddins is now the pastor

In January 1904, Bro. C. N. Turner offered his resignation as clerk of the session giving as his reason for resigning his age and removal from the bounds of, the Church, but still remains a member and Elder of the Church, and loves and prays for pastor and people. His resignation was accepted February 20, 1904 and J. T. Littleton was elected Clerk in his stead.

C. N. Turner
P.S. Two have died since I made out this report C.N.T.

The Union Chapel Cumberland Presbyterian Church above mentioned was a two story log building located near the mouth of Little Richland Creek in Humphreys county, Tennessee with good surroundings. The first story was used by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and the second story, reached by an inside stairway was used by a Masonic Lodge. The waters of the T. V. A. lake required the termination of the building.

[Source: "The Waverly Sentinel" March 24, 1904]


One acre of land, located near the mouth of Little Richland Creek in Humphreys County was given to the Church known as Cumberland Presbyterian by Seaborn J. Cooley, on October 13, 1856.

A two-story log building to be used as a common meeting-house, was constructed by the men of the community. Perhaps, the name "Union Chapel" meaning "unity" tells the story that Mr. Cooley wished to convey; that all Orthodox denominations of Christians in the Little Richland Community, might worship freely and live in harmony with one another.

The building was also used as a school and as a meeting place for a Masonic Lodge.

The church was taken under the care of Charlotte Presbytery on April 6, 1858.

Mr. Seaborn Cooley was born in North Carolina in 1794. About 1798, his family moved into Montgomery County and lived there twelve years before moving to Humphreys County. He died sometime after 1865. He and his wife, Mary Davis Cooley and three infant children are believed to be buried in the Union Chapel Cemetery in unmarked graves. The three children died of typhoid fever within a three-month span. The Union Chapel Cemetery is on a hill overlooking the church site and Kentucky Lake.

Members of the first recorded session were: Moderator, Rev. W. M. Cooley, elders, S. J. Cooley, B. E. Carter, Anderson Dunlap, J. C. Yarborough, and C. N. Turner. Rev. D. D. Cooley was also present. Mr. Turner was elected Clerk of the Session.

Others ministers who served this congregation as pastors were A. A. Wilson, A. J. Parrish, J. A. Dunlap, James Carroll, George Nichols, A. M. Taylor, T. O. Webb, B. B. Larkins, A. E. Eddins and H. N. Cooley. (H. N. Cooley may have been a grandson of S. J. Cooley.) Rev. H. N. Cooley and Rev. George Guthrie were called from this congregation.

From April 6, 1858 until February 20, 1904, 139 persons had joined the Union Chapel Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Perhaps 40 or more Cooley relatives were members of the Union Chapel Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Mr. C. N. Turner served his church as Clerk of the Session for 42 years. During this time, the Session met 126 times and he was absent seven times. In January 1904, he resigned and was succeeded on February 20, 1904 by Elder J. T. Littleton. Other members of the Session were Elders J. H. Turner, N. F. Holland, E. G. Collier; Deacons E. F. Martin, E. R. Madden and Rev. A. E. Eddins, pastor.

Eventually, there were three settlements of Cooleys. The James Cooley family first settled on Turkey Creek about 1800. One son, Seaborn J. moved to Little Richland and another family member moved to the Plant Community. Presently, in Plant, a granddaughter of Seaborn, Roberta Poyner and husband William Knox Poyner, Sr. cousins, live today. The Poyners have five children: William Knox, Jr., Terry Wayne, Alden Dennis, Michael Allen, Nancy Ann P. Johnson and ten grandchildren.

Another pioneer family to settle on Turkey Creek was the Carters. These two families intermarried. Robert Marshall Carter is one descendant. His ancestor was Martin Carter who married Nancy Cooley, sister of Seaborn. Marshall Carter is married to Martha Catherine Brown Carter and they have one daughter, Marsha Jane C. Harris Moran and one granddaughter, Janie Lynn Harris. A grandson, Robert Christopher Harris was killed when a pickup truck driven by a schoolmate ran off the road, June 12, 1986. The Carters live in New Johnsonville.

Several of this branch of the Carter family were members of the Union Chapel Cumberland Presbyterian Church. surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, may we pass on this heritage of faithfulness to the generations still to come.

The following list of all members of the Union Chapel Cumberland Presbyterian Church from 1858 through the year 1903 as printed from a report by Clerk, C. N. Turner, in Volume 1 Humphreys County, Tennessee 1979 History.

[see list already in above text]


Mr. C. N. Turner represented his church in the Presbytery and Synod and Clarksville Presbytery at the General Assembly two or three times.

In 1900, October 2-4, Elder E. G. Collier represented the Union Chapel Congregation at the Third Meeting of Clarksville Presbytery held at Charlotte, Tennessee. Rev. W. M. Cooley was granted a letter of dismissal to retire in Salem, Missouri.

In the same year, Union Chapel was grouped with Mariah, Greenbrier, White Oak, Cumberland Valley, St. John, Concord, Cane Creek and Halls Creek. The "Halls Creek Group" requested the services of Rev. B. B. Larkins for the year beginning October 1, 1900, on salary as follows:

Union Chapel . . . . $ 50.00
Greenbrier . . . . . . .    35.00
White Oak. . . . . . .     50.00
Cumberland Valley.  40.00
Mariah. . . . . . . . . .    40.00
St. John. . . . . . . . .       20.00
Concord . . . . . . . .       40.00
Cane Creek
Halls Creek
      Total. . . . . . . .     $275.00

After the attempted union of the Cumberland Presbyterian and Presbyterian U.S.A. Churches in 1906, only three ministers in Clarksville Presbytery remained true to the Church called Cumberland Presbyterian. One of the three ministers who remained faithful was too old to work. The shortage of ministers made grouping of churches necessary. By 1912, there were 12 ordained ministers, 8 men preparing for the ministry and one young lady preparing for the mission field in Clarksville Presbytery.

Each minister having a charge of congregations (Group) was to make a written report at the Spring Meeting of Presbytery showing that he had complied with the order to present each of the enterprises of the church to each congregation, or give reasons for not having done so.

The records show that Mrs. J. M. Cooley paid $2.40 to Presbytery on April 12, 1900. E. G. Collier was elder delegate to Presbytery at Charlotte October 2-4, 1900.

In 1907, Union Chapel reported 70 church members and an enrollment in Sunday School of 55 and paid minister $50.

In 1908, Clarksville Presbytery met with the Union Chapel Congregation in the fall. Rev. A. H. Sykes was the Moderator.

Elder J. T. Littleton, was the delegate to Spring Presbytery in March of 1912 at the Locust Grove Church. He served on the Temperance Committee. The report of committee is printed below:

The Committee on Temperance reported as follows, which was adopted:
The Liquor Traffic must go; it has slain its hundreds, its thousands and its millions; it must go. It has spoiled homes, made widows and orphans, bring poverty, tears, misery, blighting the prospects and possibilities of once prosperous and happy homes. But the liquor traffic must go. It has shed torrents of innocent blood and dethroned the reason of many a bright mind, barring man from happiness and heaven. It has caused to be committed all shades of the darkest and blackest crime--but the liquor traffic must go. It has robbed home, school, church, state, nations and God of some of their brightest and most promising men and women; also much money that was justly theirs--but the liquor traffic must go.
It used to run politics in Tennessee,
The people from such a curse will be free.
They are thinking more and more of the better way,
And God's people are voting like they pray.
So as all people know
The liquor traffic soon must go.
W. F. Broome
G. W. Slaughter
J. T. Littleton

Union Chapel was assigned to Pastorate Group No. 8 at this meeting, which included Mt. View, Mt. Zion, Halls Creek, White Oak, Greenbrier and St. John; Bro. G. W. Phillips, Pastor.

The Presbyterial tax was raised from $.15 to $.20 per member.

In 1910, J. T. Littleton, Elder Delegate, attended Presbytery which met at the McAdoo Memorial Cumberland Presbyterian Church (Birthplace) in Dickson, Tennessee. Date of meeting, September 13-14-15.

D. E. Cooley was delegate to Presbytery at the Shiloh Church in October of 1911 and served on the Finance Committee. Mr. Cooley was Moderator of Clarksville Presbytery in 1912. Maria Cumberland Presbyterian Church hosted this meeting.

In the Fall of 1915, Clarksville Presbytery met with the Concord Church and Elder D. E. Cooley was the delegate. The Elder Delegates were required to give reports of the spiritual work in their congregations. Rev. H. H. Binkley was Pastor of the Union Chapel Group. Mr. Binkley lived in Greenbrier, Tennessee.

The minutes of Clarksville Presbytery, March 1917, recorded 77 resident members of Union Chapel Church and Group Pastor as H. H. Binkley.

March 1920 minutes recorded Rev. G. W. Phillips as Pastor. E. F. Martin was the delegate to Spring Presbytery and served on the Temperance committee. Dues paid for 1919 were $9.00.

Clarksville Presbytery met at the Griffin's Chapel Church, September 21, 1920.

Elder D. E. Cooley served on the Committee on Education at the Clarksville Presbyterial Meeting, in March 1921 at Mt. Sharon.

The Concord Cumberland Presbyterian Church hosted the Fall Meeting, on October 11, 12, 13, 1921. Elder D. E. Cooley was the delegate and participated in the Presbyterial Communion Service.


Due to the encouragement by Clarksville Presbytery for Church groups to build a parsonage, J. T. Littleton gave the land for one to be built. On September 13, 1913, he conveyed one or more acres of land to the Union Chapel Congregation.


I, hereby convey to the Union Chapel Congregation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church without consideration, the following described land; Beginning on a post oak tree with black oak hickory & post oak pointers; in the North boundary line of J. T. Littleton, Running South (19) Nineteen poles to a poplar, thence West (11 1/2) Eleven and one half poles to D. D. Cooleys line; running -- said Cooleys line (19) Nineteen poles thence (11 1/2) Eleven and one half poles to the beginning, containing one or more acres.

The above described conveyance is to be used and maintained by what is know as the Union Chapel Group and should the above named Church cease to exist as an organized Church the above described property shall go back to J. T. Littleton, or his heirs;

I covenant that I am possessed of said land, have a good right to convey it and that it is not encumbered & I will warrant the title against any one claiming the same.

This September, 13-1913.
J. T. Littleton,
S. C. Littleton

This land ran west to Rev. D. D. Cooley's line. This land is near the home of Fonnie E. Brown, Jr. and is presently owned by Robert and Ida Warren. The J. T. Littleton Farm is the property of Sybil Braden Brown, widow of Fonnie E. Brown, Sr.

Eldredge and Hazel Stanfill remember the parsonage as a "rough" framed house, possibly built of unfinished sawmill lumber. The house burned in the winter of 1924-25.

The road meandered in and out of Little Richland Creek, on the creek bank and around the lower part of the hill where the parsonage sat, and behind the barn on the Cooley farm; thus the name, "Tobacco Barn Road."

Water for the home of the minister came from a spring quite a distance away, in the hollow at the tobacco barn.

Little Richland Creek was wild at times, running over its banks during "rainy seasons." Mr. Stanfill recalls the water so deep that it filled Jones Martin's barn to the roof. His horse and cow floated down the creek.

Hazel Cude Stanfill is the daughter of Viola Martin Cude McGee who served as an elder in both the Union Chapel and Waverly Sessions of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Mrs. Gertie Littleton Adams, daughter of J. T. Littleton was a member of the Union Chapel Cumberland Presbyterian Church. After the disbanding of Union Chapel, caused by the flooding of Kentucky Lake, her membership and others were enrolled at Halls Creek. In 1946, Mrs. Gertie became a Charter Member of the newly organized Cumberland Presbyterian Church at Waverly. She, with her husband Homer Adams worshiped at the Waverly Church until his death. Mrs. Gertie moved to a retirement home a few years ago, and joined the Tusculum Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Here, Pastor Ronnie Pittenger welcomed her warmly and has a driver at her door each Sunday morning.

Mrs. Gertie is proud of her Cumberland Presbyterian heritage which had its beginning in the Little Richland Community and the Union Chapel Cumberland Presbyterian Church.


Humphreys County Board of Education bought 2.3+ acres of land from the Flanarys and the Ethridges for $50. This land joined the Union Chapel Cumberland Presbyterian Church lot on the west and was purchased May 3, 1928. This lot was sold to the United States Government in November of 1940.


At times, the well at the log church/school building would run dry. Water was brought in by pail from the Green or Thompson Place, several miles away by the older school boys.

One of the boys' favorite pastimes at recess in the Fall of the year was to sneak off from the playground to "Uncle Ike" Flanary's peanut patch for a "snack" of raw peanuts. Inevitably "Uncle Ike" cam running and yelling, waving his walking cane, "Get out of my peanut patch, you rascals." From there to the teacher, he would go. "Then, we were in trouble," the 83-year old laughed and told this writer. Some of the school boys, other than Mr. Eldredge were the Green brothers, Williams, Craggs and W. T. Fiser.

Some of the teachers of these boys and others were Miss Mae Madden, Mrs. Eula Nix, Mrs. Grace Bell, Will Horner, and Clifford Patterson. Later, Mrs. Alese Parker DePriest taught school and the children of Walter Brown, rode in her car.

You can still see the old well, tiled above ground, when the water of Kentucky Lake are low.

From his childhood, Mr. Eldredge particularly remembers the foot-washing Baptist Services at Union Chapel. The Cude family was Baptist and many are buried in the Union Chapel Cemetery.

Mr. Eldredge Stanfill also taught a Sunday School Class.


Sunday School classes and occasional Worship Services were held in the brand new school house. A Sunday School record book records Rev. A. T. Byrn, Pastor and a thriving congregation in 1927-28

On September 26, 1935, the Union Chapel Cumberland Presbyterian Church was reorganized in the home of E. F. Martin. A new Board of Elders was elected, ordained and installed by Rev. C. P. Mayhew. These were: C. H. Binkley, E. F. Martin, H.L. Durham, Mrs. Pearl Brown and Mrs. Ola McGee. C. H. (Carlos) Binkley was elected Clerk and Chairman of Construction.

The session agreed to use the old logs and build another log church. The Session Meeting closed with prayer by the Pastor, Rev. C. P. Mayhew.

Louise Powers, Clara Manor and Myrtle Manor taught school and boarded with the Browns. Mary Scott taught and boarded with the Carlos Binkley family.

Ida Brown Warren recalls the school children having a revival of their own. Bro. Phillips came to school each morning of the revival and taught them about Jesus in song and scripture. Words of one song he taught them are:

"Oh, my chums, have you seen,
II Timothy 2:15, I Thessalonians 5:22,
Will tell you exactly what to do!


In 1935, the old two-story log church/school building was razed and the logs recut. The size of the second church was determined by the length of the recut logs.

A poplar tree was cut off the farm of the Walter Brown family and used as plates for the rafters. Walter McGee hewed out the plates with a broad axe. The building was covered with a new metal roof. The second floor and stairway were not rebuilt.

The concrete steps were poured from creek gravel, and are in the exact spot where they were formed in 1935. These steps, foundation rocks and pieces of timber can still be seen when the waters of Kentucky Lake are low.

It is recorded in the Session Book that walnut trees were cut on the church property and sold in order to buy the lumber for the ceiling. W. B. McGee and Elder H. L. Durham were appointed to supervise this task.

Both the public school building and the Union Chapel Cumberland Presbyterian Church were in the valley and the Union Chapel Cemetery is on the hill overlooking this location.

During the reconstruction of the church building, the Rev. C. P. Mayhew family spent several days and nights in the home of Walter Brown.

Elder Carlos Binkley, Clerk of the Session and Chairman of Construction was the first person to saddle his blind horse and ride through the countryside, asking for donations of cash, labor or lumber.

Clarksville Presbytery contributed $25 toward the rebuilding of the church. Other monetary gifts were listed September 26, 1935; John T. Tate - Alf Taylor - $10; J. D. Holmes, John L. Cragg, A. F. Weaver, W. H. Askew, T. W. Cathey, D. T. Littleton, W. B. Summers-$5; Others: E. D. Hooper, C. D. Askew, D. T. Warden, Henry Hooper, T. R. Tucker, Luther Morrison, Dossie Carter, Harris Hooper, Putt Gwin, McNabb Lumber Co., Bro. Powers.

Charter members who gathered on August 13, 1935 to reorganize the Union Chapel Cumberland Presbyterian Church were: Old Members, E. F. Martin, Mrs. W. B. McGee, E. R. Madden, Mrs. Margaret Taylor, Mae Madden, Mrs. Minnie Holland, E. C. Hall, Mrs. Katie Littleton, David T. Littleton, Mrs. Nora Parker.
New Members: Mrs. Ollie Brown, H. L. Durham, Carlos H. Binkley, Mrs. Lorene Binkley, Mrs. Pearl Brown, Rubye Brown, Ida Brown.

There was a total number of 17 charter members.

On August 12, 1936, Pastor, Rev. C. P. Mayhew baptized eleven cousins and dedicated them to the Lord. They are listed: Maxine and Judson Durham, son and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Hucie Durham; Catherine, Owen, Jesse and Raymond Brown, children of Mr. & Mrs. Walter Brown; Gladys, Bobbie, Margaret, Caroline and Alton Durham, children of Mr. & Mrs. Lurt Durham.

Charline McGee and Ruby Joyce Durham were baptized on August 6, 1938 by Rev. M. C. Powers.

On August 12, 1936, Mavis Thompson joined the church by confession of faith and Mrs. Gertie Adams by letter.

On August 25, 1937, Louise and Dorothy Thompson by confession of faith and Irene Latimer by confession of faith.

On June 23, 1940, Mattie Virginia Curl and Myrtle Pearl Curl joined the church and on July 23, 1949, Mary Lee Curl joined the church.


Mattie Curl, Myrtle Curl, Mary Lee Curl, Elmer Flanary, Ola McGee, Margaret Taylor, Mae Madden, E. R. Madden, Ruby Brown Cude, Lurt Durham, Pearl Brown, Ollie Brown, Ida Brown

One of the ladies' projects was collecting and saving their hen eggs. They sold the eggs to the "Peddler" rather than cook them and contributed the money toward the debt incurred for building supplies. On October 4, 1936, the egg money contribution was $8.48.

The Construction Committee also received $3.00 from the pie supper in September, 1936.


At a Session Meeting, March 1, 1936, the motion was made by Mrs. McGee to keep and frame a record of the time each person worked on the church building, and hang it in the church. One list is printed below:

September 30, 1935
Nathan Binkley 1/4 day; Lurt Durham 1 day; Ronelle Binkley 1/2 day; Elvis Bradford 1 day; Walter Brown 1/2 day; Elbert Latimer 1/2 day; Carlos Binkley 1/2 day; Eldredge Stanfill 1/2 day; E. R. Madden, 1 day; Eugene Cude 1 hour
October 1, 1935
Walter Brown & Team 1/2 day; Ronelle Binkley 1/2 day; Nathan Binkley 1/2 day; John T. Tate & Team 1/2 day; Elbert Latimer 1/2 day; Carlos Binkley 1/2 day; Harris Binkley 1/2 day
October 2, 1935
Walter Brown & Team 1 day; Elbert Latimer 1 day; John Tate & Team 1 day
October 7, 1935
E. R. Madden 1 day; Elbert Latimer 1 day; Lurt Durham & Team 2 hours; Lurt Durham 1 day; C. P. Mayhew 1 day; Carlos Binkley 1/2 day; Eugene Cude & Team 1/2 day; Walter McGee 2 hours
October 8, 1935
Carlos Binkley 3 hours; C. P. Mayhew 3 hours; Walter, Fonnie & Team 1 hour; E. R. Madden 3 hours; Lurt Durham 3 hours
October 11, 1935
Lurt Durham 1 day; Walter Brown 1 day; Elbert Latimer 1 day; Fonnie Brown 1/2 day; Rev. C. P. Mayhew 1 day; E. R. Madden 1/2 day
October 22, 1935
Lurt Durham 1/2 day; George Stanfill 1/2 day; Carlos Binkley 1/2 day
October 23, 1935
Eugene Cude & Team 1/2 day; Walter Brown & Team 1/2 day
October 24, 1935
Fonnie Brown & Team 1 day; Walter McGee & Team 1/2 day; Elbert Latimer 1 day; John Tate & Team 1 day; Lurt Durham 1 day; Eugene Cude 1/2 day; Carlos Binkley 1 day; George Stanfill 1/2 day
October 26, 1935
Walter Brown & Team 1/2 day
October 28, 1935
Walter Brown & Team 1 day; Carlos Binkley & Team 1 day; Eugene Cude 1/2 day

Mrs. Ola McGee, Elder, was the delegate to Clarksville Presbytery which met at Johnsonville in the Spring of 1936.

At the July meeting of the Session, the decision was made to host a Revival Meeting, beginning the third Sunday in August. The elders agreed to pay the Pastor, Rev. C. P. Mayhew, $.25 per member each month. H. L. Durham was appointed to receive the amount paid by members.

Board of Elders who met August 30, 1940 were: Pearl Brown, Ola McGee, Albert Stavely, Lurt Durham, Carlos Binkley and Elmer Flanary. Mrs. McGee was elected delegate to Presbytery at Mt. Denson in Springfield, Tennessee, in September.

Elmer Flanary, Clerk, was ordered to notify all members of the congregation by mail or in person, to be present at said place, September 22, 1940 at 5:30 p.m. for the purpose of selecting a building committee, which is required by the General Assembly before we can collect the money for our property that's being sold. By motion, Carlos Binkley, Elder and Clerk, was granted a letter of dismission. By motion, the session was closed with prayer by Moderator, Rev. Powers.

At the Congregational Meeting, on September 22, a Building Committee was elected for the purpose of selling Union Chapel Cumberland Presbyterian Church. This committee is listed as: Elmer Flanary, Lurt Durham, Walter Brown, Albert Stavely, Mrs. Ola McGee, Mrs. Pearl Brown and Rev. M. C. Powers. Notified Rev. D. W. Fooks of this election, October 7, 1940.

Elmer Flanary was elected delegate to Presbytery in the Spring of 1941, at the Session meeting, March 16. Rev. Powers was rehired for 6 months.


Professions during the Revival were Lillie Durham, Gladys Durham, J. W. McGee, Dora McGee, Madie McGee and Margaret Ann Bradford.

New members were J. W. McGee, Dora McGee and Madie McGee.

There was a letter of dismission granted to Lorene Binkley on August 24, 1941.

On October 10, 1910, Claudia Martin and H. W. York were united in marriage by Rev. A. F. Blades. They are the parents of Ruth Winters and Mabel Buchanan, members of the Waverly Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

An interview, June 18, 1990, with Mrs. Alese Parker DePriest an outstanding school teacher, who taught the last five years of school at Union Chapel before the flooding of Kentucky Lake. She resides at the Humphreys County Nursing Home. She is a member of the Methodist Church, says she is half Cumberland Presbyterian.

From 1935-40, Mrs. Alese DePriest taught in the one-room school called Union Chapel. The new school building was only 12 years old when the United States Government purchased the property in order to create Kentucky Lake. In 1935-36, church and Sunday School were also held in this building.


Every school must have an empty water bucket, painted red!!
Therefore, Mrs. Alese bought an extra water bucket, painted it red and hung it on a nail in the school building. This red bucket was to be taken down only, in case of a fire in the building.

Hot food for the children's lunches was an experiment for the last half of one school term, with strict rules. The people in the community rallied together and assisted Mrs. Alese in setting up the facilities. There were two cloak rooms, one on each side of the front door of the building, one for the boys and one for the girls' coats. One of the cloak rooms was converted into a kitchen, with a serving window. The other held shelves full of government commodities and other staples. Someone donated an oil cook stove.

Elmer Flanary, a retired military cook, was living in the community with his aunt, Mrs. Ola McGee and family. He offered his cooking skills free of charge. He was happy to be busy and to do something for the children.

Everything seemed to be going great, the food was the best in the countryside and the children were getting "fat." It was "all you can eat" every day, back to the serving window, as many times as you wanted. The yeast cakes/biscuits and the vegetable soup are mouth-watering memories, even today.

When Mrs. Alese picked up the free food, she was told to take all she wanted. The school had accumulated gallons of raisins. The children were given raisins to eat almost every day and still the raisins seemed to multiply. What do we do with all these raisins? Mr. Elmer asked if she had ever heard of a raisin cobbler. "Neither have I," he replied, "but we are about to." And the children loved the raisin cobblers, Mr. Elmer made for them.

Somehow the State of Tennessee found out the rules pertaining to a flue and running water were not being observed. There was no flue and running water.

"The sky fell" on Mrs. Alese. No more hot lunches, unless a brick flue was built from the ground up. Mrs. Alese pondered, what to do, should she write a letter, and if so, who would she write? Well, of course, go to the top, and write to the Governor. Why not, there's nothing to lose.

Mrs. Alese wrote a letter to the Governor. He answered her letter immediately with a hand-written one, which gave her the "go ahead" and added that if she needed anything else at Union Chapel School to let him know and she would get it.

Union Chapel was one of the most cooperative communities and one of the best, Mrs. Alese recalls. The parents were interested in the welfare of their children, lessons and other needs. They furnished food from their gardens and orchards for the children. With such an abundance of food, she and the neighbors decided to have "canning parties" to can the surplus for the next school year.

At one of these canning events, someone needed a bucket to bring water from the well at the church house to wash green beans. Mrs. Alese remembered the "red" bucket, and gave permission for it to be taken down and used, if they'd promise to put it back where they found it. A person, who was a friend of Mrs. Alese, and who worked for the state, came to the "canning" and noticed the "red" bucket was missing. She stopped the "canning" and gave the group a lecture on the "red" bucket rules. The women were so irritated, and commented, "we could have canned more green beans, if we hadn't listened to that speech." Mrs. Alese, Mrs. Ella Tate and others brought glass jars from their homes for the canning. Later, Elbert Latimer taught the ladies of the community how to can food in tin cans.

As young children, in the late twenties, Louise Littleton Yates and David T. Littleton, Jr. were baptized and dedicated unto the Lord.


Delmas and Madie McGee were walking to school one morning, when Delmas slipped off the foot log and fell in the creek. His clothes froze,and he could hardly walk. Sister Madie dragged him on to school. Mrs. Alese saw them at a distance, and ran out to help them. She took him inside, stripped off his clothes, and wrapped him in the boys' extra sweaters and coats.

The wood-burning stove had a circular fire guard around the door. Mrs. Alese hung Delmas' clothes on this guard to dry. One important piece of his clothing, long handles, caught on fire and the whole knee burned out of them. Mrs. Alese just knew that she was in trouble, what should she do?

She decided to pin a piece of cloth over the hold in the undergarment and wrote his mother an explanation. Mrs. Ola answered her letter, thanking her for taking care of her son, and said, "It's all right, I can patch the hole at home."

This writer remembers a similar experience. One crisp, cold morning, she and brother Owen missed their ride with Mrs. Alese, and nearly froze to death, walking to school. The space between the top of the knee socks and the hem of the coat was so red and cold, that after thawing by the stove, broke out in nettle rash. There was much pain, accompanied by crying and itching and a layer of Vicks salve applied generously by Mrs. Alese. (Vicks was the wonder-drug of that day.)

A charismatic movement (tent-brush arbor revivals) was sweeping through this part of the county, which influenced Cumberland Presbyterian Church life and schools as well. Mrs. Alese recalls this incident:

A teacher, who was also a friend, from a neighboring school was experiencing problems during a tent-revival. The older boys and girls had joined in the service, the previous night making a mockery of it. They made plans to do the same thing at school. After lunch the next day, they pretended to "get under the power." They laid down in the middle of the floor, mumbling, and clapping their hands, disrupting the entire school and scaring the younger children.

She called Mrs. Alese for advice. Mrs. Alese told her that school was not a worship service, therefore it is not the proper place for this, and these children were not "under the power," only pretending. She went on to say, and if my students start this kind of thing, there'll be more than hands clapped. I believe that Mrs. Alese's students got the message, loud and clear. She never had any similar experience in any school that she taught.

Mrs. Alese taught her children to appreciate wild flowers and nature. The school children built flower-beds on each side of the steps. These flower-beds of bluebells can still be seen in the early Spring, when the waters of Kentucky Lake are low.

The county was responsible for having sufficient wood cut for the year, before school began each term. The last year, 1940-41, they failed to do so.

It suddenly turned cold, and after one brisk day, Mrs. Alese asked the older boys to bring an axe to school the following day. The younger boys were asked to pick up sticks, to start the fires. When they went outside to cut wood, a TVA employee was busy cutting down trees. Mrs. Alese asked if she could buy wood from him. The employee replied that he could not sell the wood, but that nobody told him not to give it away. He went on to say, that after he disappeared out of sight, to have the boys take their axes and cut everything that they were big enough to cut.

One of her ideas started out small and mushroomed into something larger. She used a color-coded chart, much like an attendance chart. At the end of each day, every child would mark with a certain color, the goal they had accomplished for the day. If all goals were accomplished, the child would receive a god star. At the end of each week, the student with 5 gold stars received a $.25 piece, from Mrs. Alese's pocketbook.

This project grew into something even greater than a $.25 piece. Mrs. Alese talked to a local dentist about reducing prices for her school children. He agreed and at the end of the year, the grand prize was a trip to the dentist for teeth cleaning and other dental work. This began as her personal project, but when the businessmen of the town heard of this, she received donations of more than enough to pay the bills. She used the balance for other school needs.

Mrs. Alese's ingenious ideas taught children indirectly and made learning a pleasure. She has made lasting impressions on many citizens of Humphreys County, as she taught over the county, in some troublesome spots.

She began her teaching career at a salary of $60.00 for 8 months of work, and spent much of this on her students. In 1947, she and a friend went to Germany and taught 5 years at a military base.

March 12, 1943
Union Chapel Elders met in called session. Elders present were Lurt Durham, Albert Stavely, Old McGee and Elmer Flanary. Business transacted was as follows: Motion made by Elmer Flanary and seconded by Lurt Durham to consolidate Union Chapel Church with Halls Creek Cumberland Presbyterian Church, with the understanding that all Elders and Officers will be retained there as they now stand here, that includes the Treasurer, Mrs. Margaret Taylor will remain Treasurer.

A Committee was appointed to sell the Union Chapel Cumberland Presbyterian Church House for the best possible price to be obtained.

Lurt Durham was appointed delegate to Presbytery which meets at Erin, March 30.

Session meeting was closed with prayer by Elder Albert Stavely.

March 20, 1943

Mrs. Pearl Brown, Mrs. Ollie Brown, Mrs. Gertie Adams, Mattie Curl, Myrtle Curl, Mary Lee Curl, Mrs. Margaret Taylor, Mrs. Viola McGee, Madie McGee, Mrs. Dora McGee, J. W. McGee, Mrs. Ida Warren, Mrs. Lula Carter, Anderson Carter, Lurt Durham, Elmer Flanary and Albert Stavely.

Of the seventeen who transferred memberships to Halls Creek, these are living on June, 1990:
Mrs. Gertie Adams, Mrs. Ollie Brown, Mattie Curl Spann, Myrtle Curl Spann, Mary Lee Curl, Dora McGee Greer, Ida Warren and Lurt Durham.

Lurt Durham is the only living elder. He served another 20+ years as an elder in the Waverly Cumberland Presbyterian Church.


Every summer, a week-long revival was held. It always started on a Sunday with dinner-on-the-ground. In the early days, the dinners were spread on cloths on the ground. Later, on, the men built "fencing wire" tables on which the food could be spread.

Singings were also great events. A large night-school was held for all who wished to learn to read musical notes. The 10 lessons were taught by Ira T. Foust.

Children's Day was a "very special" event which was looked forward to each summer, by the entire community. The story is told of a little four-year-old boy all dressed up in a brand new outfit, who walked on stage, smiled and showed off his white suit, walked off the stage, without saying one word of his "piece." He couldn't have received more applause had he recited every word of it. The little boy's name was Robert Owen Brown, first son of Walter and Ollie Durham Brown.

On July 8, 1928, a Children's Day Program is recorded in a Sunday School Record book.

Other pieces of information from this Record Book of 1927-28 Sunday School are listed below.

On April 17, 1927, $2 was donated to the Presbyterian Orphan's Home for children.

On May 8, 1927, a Mother's Day talk was given by W. C. (Clifford) Patterson.

Preaching after Sunday School on November 20, 1927 by Rev. Burns.

On June 5, 1927, time of Sunday School was changed from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

May 20, 1928 and June 3, 1928, "no Sunday School on account of creeks being up."

Bro. Outland preached July 3, 1927, and Rev. Hall preached May 15, Nov. 20 and Dec. 18, 1927.


The Sunday School Superintendent was Anderson Carter and W. C. Patterson was his assistant. Mrs. Grace Bell was Secretary.

Scholars in Class No. 1: E. F. Martin, Mrs. E. F. Martin, J. A. McGee, Walter McGee, Walter Talley, Steve Hogan, E. L. Bell, Ephraim Scholes, Mrs. Willie Scholes, E. R. Madden, Mrs. Lula Carter, Mrs. Walter Talley, Mr. & Mrs. H. M. Gossett, Mrs. Steve Hogan and J. T. Littleton.

Class No. 2: W. C. Patterson, teacher, Ray Cragg, Clifford Cragg, Marshall Holland, Cecil Stanfill, Eldredge Stanfill, J. T. Fiser, Gracie Madden, Alice McGee, Noel Stanfill.

Class No. 3: Mrs. W. C. Patterson, Teacher, Lois Carter, W. T. Stanfill, Eugene Cude, Hilda McGee, John D. Patterson, Georgia Rushton, Rebecca Stanfill and Freeman Stanfill.

Class No. 4: Mrs. Lula Carter, Teacher, Ivol Scholes, Odessa Lynn Bell, Edith Hogan, William Hogan, W. C. Patterson, Betsy Horner, Mary Ruth Horner, Marginell Stanfill.

Others: Edgar Stephens, Mrs. Ola McGee, Mrs. Laura McGee, Martin L. Hogan, Costella Littleton, Geneva Stephens, Hazel Cude, Maggie Adams, Alice McGee, Lois Carter, John D. Patterson, Eva Adams, Hester Stephens, Dollie Littleton, Rocklin Littleton, J. W. McGee, Dimple Stevens, Scott Thomas Stephens, Virgil Scholes, Lorene Binkley, Pearl Brown, Carlos Binkley, Iona V. Brown, Beulah Durham, Allene Brown, Wilbur York, Walter Brown, Lawrence Carter, Howard Morrison, Mannye Gossett, Ida Brown, Ruby Brown, Elizabeth Binkley, Dalmus McGee, Elsie Smith, Charlie Stanfill, Fonnie Brown, Lucille Morrison, Rebecca Stanfill, W. T. Stanfill, J. W. McGee, Leslie Smith, Mrs. Leslie Smith, R. W. Carroll.

On July 8, 1928, the Sunday School enrollment was 42. The offering was $.5 and the offering at the Children's Program was $2.15.


Once upon a time, yellow poplar trees grew in the wilderness that came to be known as the Little Richland Community. Wagon trains came from the East, loaded with pioneers and their worldly goods, looking for new land to claim.

These adventuresome folk needed homes and barns. In clearing the land for buildings and fields, poplar trees were cut and hewed into logs.

Along with the need for houses and barns was the need for a common meeting-house. The meeting-house was open to all Christians for worship, and could be used as a school and a place for the Masonic Lodge to meet and other activities to be held.

What excitement, when the poplar log meeting-house was finished and dedicated to the Lord as the Union Chapel Cumberland Presbytery Church.

There were 72 years of preaching, singing, praying and shouting. Young people were married, babies were born and dedicated unto the Lord, older people came to know the Lord. The children were always beautiful as they said their "piece" on Children's Day and at Christmas time.

By 1935, the elements had taken their toll and the 77 year-old poplar log church house badly needed a new look.

One day, a Missionary came along, by the name of Rev. C. P. Mayhew from Clarksville Presbytery, who saw possibilities in the "Third Age" poplar logs. New, younger blood had moved into the Union Chapel Community and Rev. Mayhew depended on them to help with this project.

The old logs were disassembled, trimmed and rebuilt into a new church house. They received a new look, a coat of "chocolate brown" paint and a shiny metal roof. New concrete steps were set at the front door and a new ceiling was added. The new, brown, log church stood proudly in the valley by Union Chapel Creek, as a testament to the faith of Bro. Mayhew and the men and women of the Union Chapel Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

In the early forties, after only seven years of ministry, a young and beautiful log church was crushed because of a disaster rather than age. What a sad time, indeed, for the people of Humphreys County, when the area was flooded and became known as Kentucky Lake.

But the logs...what was their future?

Again, the poplar logs known as Union Chapel Cumberland Presbyterian Church for 85 years were disassembled.

A man by the name of John Box from Denver, Tennessee had acquired land on Hwy. 70 West and wished to build a house for himself and his wife, Pearl. Somehow, they heard about the log church and decided to buy the old logs. The Union Chapel Building Committee sold the logs to Mr. Box for $175.

The brown logs were moved to Mr. Box's property, a house was built which became a home for the Box family until his death. In 1965, Pearl Box sold her property and once again the future of the brown poplar logs was uncertain. But an adventuresome young man by the name of Jeff Ring from the Plant community bought the old logs. With the help of his grandfather, Joe Plant, Jeff moved the logs from Hwy. 70 West to Plant Road and built a beautiful log house. The chocolate brown paint was removed and the poplar logs received a new look, once again. The log house is now the home of James and Debra Wheat.

The 134-year-old logs stand firmly today and tell the story of the Saints of Union Chapel Cumberland Presbyterian Church who have gone on to live with their Heavenly Father. May we who are left behind be found faithful. May we leave memories as these logs do, to inspire others who come behind us to lead Godly lives.

Written by Catherine Brown Carter - June 1990

Union Chapel Cemetery

Updated August 16, 2011

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