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