Boyd on the Christian Baptists
The following history was written by the late Judge Ernest Huston Boyd
Sr. as part of a series of historical articles in the Putnam County Herald.
It was published November 19,1953. The articles were compiled by
Christine Spivey Jones into a book called Nuggets of Putnam County
History. Some of the facts in this article may not be exact, but it does
present a short history of our association that is corroborated by other
historians and seems to be backed up in large part by the various
records on hand. A note to help understanding: we were previously
called Christian Baptists, not Freewill Christian Baptists or simply Free
Will Baptists, as it is today.
The Christian Baptist Church
In two of the sketches in this article, reference is made to the Christian Baptist
denomination. It is highly proper that this article should contain a brief statement
concerning this denomination, one reason being that it was founded by Putnam
County ministers in Putnam County.
About the year 1850, a number of ministers and churches of the Caney Fork
Baptist Association withdrew from that Association as the result of doctrinal
controversies. The leaders of this group were Elders Corder Stone, and his son,
Elder Thomas Stone. Among the Putnam County Baptist congregations which so
withdrew from the Caney Fork Association was the Caney Fork (Brown’s Mill)
Baptist Church, the ministers and congregations so withdrawing do not seem,
according to their minutes, to have organized themselves into an Association
and independent denomination until after the close of the Civil War in 1865,
when they did organize themselves into a new denomination and named it the
Christian Baptist Church. From the best information obtainable, this
denomination was organized and named at a meeting held for that purpose at
the Caney Fork Baptist Church in the summer of 1865. At the same time and
place, they organized the Stone Association of the Christian Baptist Church
naming it in honor of their leaders, Elders Corder Stone and son, Thomas
Stone. The Christian Baptist Church grew rapidly in this section, taking over
many of the then Baptist congregations in Putnam County and some of the
adjoining counties, and organizing new congregations. The Stone Association
soon included congregations located in Putnam, White, Overton, Jackson,
DeKalb, Cumberland, Van Buren, Rhea and Bledsoe counties. After 22 years,
during which new congregations were organized and other Baptist
congregations became affiliated with it, and the field of operations of the Stone
Association were extended, the stone Association of Christian Baptists was
divided, in 1887, into the Eastern and Western Division, dating its beginning as
an Association to its organization in 1887. The Western Division of The stone
Association of the Christian Baptist retained its independent denominational
identity until 1897, when it united with the Free Will Baptist denomination. Among
the well known ministers of the Christian Baptist Church were Corder Stone,
Nathan Judd, Thomas J. Clouse, Benjamin Clouse, M. Judd, W. S. Clouse, G. W.
Pennington, G. B. Brown, Henry Johnson, L. F. Smith, Joseph A. Moyers, J. W.
Stone, E. W. Stone, W. B. Gentry, F. M. Flatt, W. N. Selby, D. E. Smith, J. L
Kinnaird, J. N. Cantrell, and J. L. Myers.
These ministers and numerous other Christian Baptist ministers, rendered many
years of faithful, devoted and untiring service, preaching the Gospel and
conducting revivals throughout this section. They received very meager financial
remuneration, but the good that they accomplished can never be computed until
the day of final accounting, and their memory will long be cherished.