The activities at the church will begin at 10 a.m.
There will be a presentation on the church’s history, comments from former pastors and a presentation from the Tennessee and McMinn-Meigs Baptist associations
On display will be old record books and documents from the early 1800s.
An old-fashioned lunch of beans or soup, cornbread and coleslaw will be provided. Attendees are asked to bring an old-fashioned cobbler and join the activities.
Located three miles east of Calhoun on the banks of the Hiwassee River, the Hiwassee Baptist Church was organized during the first term of President James Madison, America’s fourth president.
Two of the first names recorded in the church’s records are Sterling and Anna Camp, who came from South Carolina and were instrumental in the formation of the Hiwassee Church. Both Camps are buried in the Hiwassee Cemetery
Founded in 1812, the church was built on land donated by the Camps. The charter members of the church were the Camp, Liner, McKnight and Swaffer families, according to a 1969 article in the Banner written by local historian C.L. McAlister.
An early minutes book by the church is dated 1824 and is bound in wood with hand-stitched burlap cover. From 1863 to 1864, records show they “did not have church for a year because of the war.”
Other interesting tidbits in the records show “charges were brought” on several occasions against members for “non-attendance” or “un-Christian conduct.”
The records also show the church accepted members of all races. One record referred to a “man of color” belonging to the church in 1834. The church met on the third Saturday of each month, according to records. Representatives from the church were also sent into the Cherokee nation.
Among the items recorded in the books to be displayed Sunday is a 1898 letter from President William McKinley. McKinley asked “churches to return thanks to God for the victory of our army and navy in the war with Spain.”
The building is the second structure occupied by the congregation. The original 1812 grounds were purchased by the TVA for the Chickamauga reservoir. The money from the purchase was used to build the new church.
The old record books are full of church history and American history. From the early Hiwassee Church many sister churches in McMinn and Bradley counties were started.