History

Our History

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.