The First Presbyterian Church in Somerville, Tennessee, was organized on October 28, 1829, by the Reverend Alexander Campbell, who was the pastor from 1829 to 1831. It was the first church of any denomination established in Somerville and the first Presbyterian congregation organized in Fayette County. It has always occupied the same site and was placed on the Presbytery and Reform Historic Sites Registry in 1978.
The first building was constructed in 1830 from hand hewn logs brought in from the forests surrounding Somerville. Split logs served as benches for worshipers.
In 1840 a brick building replaced the original log structure. An unsettled condition prevailed in the church during the Civil War, but occasional services were held during the war period. In 1869 a third church building was erected on this site.
The first women’s work began in 1861 when they gave valuable aid to the Confederate cause. During this time period the ladies of the town worked together as a Union Society. In 1873 the ladies began a separate organization called the Ladies Aid Society.
n 1895 the fourth building was erected which is our current church sanctuary. The two story Sunday School building was added on the east side in 1929. The single story annex extending to the east was added in 1961. The Morrison Fellowship Hall was completed in 1986.
The sanctuary is an example of Akron style or diagonal style architecture made popular in the late 19th century. The pulpit and chancel are placed in one corner of the square shaped building. Sloped floors allow worshipers to better see and hear the preacher. The three sections of seating and curved pews bring worshipers closer to the pulpit and choir than does the traditional design of a long, narrow nave. Large stained glass windows along the north, west, and south walls give more natural light. Please see the Stained Glass page for more information.
In 2009 the sanctuary was beautifully renovated in part by a bequest from lifelong member Reuben S. Rhea, Sr. New plaster, paint, and carpet were installed. The 1897 original curved and carved pews were refinished to reveal their honey oak color. Extra lighting and a new sound system were also added.
Pastors of First Presbyterian Church
1829-1831 Alexander Campbell
1831-1837 James Hamilton
1837-1839 W.S. Lacy
1839-1846 Samuel Williamson
1846-1850 Hiram Chamberlain
1851-1856 Richard Ellis Sherrill
1856-1860 James Paine
1860-1865 Edwin Cater
1867-1870 George Alexander Russell
1870-1873 Albert Shotwell
1873-1873 N.M. Long
1876-1877 Richard Clark Reed
1878-1878 Franklin Merriam Howell
1880-1883 William Samuel Cochrane
1884-1886 B.M. Faris
1887-1890 Benjamin Moss Cowan
1891-1894 Charles M. Shepperson
1894-1899 John Frierson Lloyd
1900-1913 John Thomas Rothrock
1914-1917 Charles Albert Harper
1920-1925 James White McNutt
1926-1931 William Earl Powell
1932-1941 Alexander Whyte Whitaker, Jr.
1942-1946 Thomas Edgar Nelson
1947-1957 Edward Miller Nesbitt
1959-1962 William Warner Ford, Jr.
1963-1965 John Linden Hottel
1965-1971 Harvey Trimble Kidd
1972-1978 James Henry Nash
1979-1983 William Scott Phillips
1984-1992 R. Christy Morgan
1993-1999 Randy J. Wilcher
2001-2002 John H. Lodge
2003-2005 Thomas F. Pickering (interim)
2005-2012 John Michael Krech
2013-2014 Jimmie Lancaster, D. Min.
2014- Timothy E. Dennis, D.Min.