Established more than 230 years ago in the era of the beginnings of the United States. The church has a rich past and continues by the grace of God with a glorious prospect.

Early Church History:

            Double Springs Baptist Church has an exciting history covering 233 years! It is believed to be one of the oldest churches west of the Blue Ridge and the second oldest church in this area. One of the oldest graveyards in Tennessee occupies a large segment of the church grounds and contains graves of the earliest Double Springs Residents. The earliest discernible date on tombstones in the cemetery is 1777.

            Double Springs served as a muster ground for soldiers during the Revolutionary War and the War Between the States (The Civil War). In 1776 Captain Henry Clark, a Revolutionary War soldier and legislative leader in this area, settled at Double Springs, an area at that time a part of the state of  North Carolina. In his campaign against the Cherokee Indians, Colonel William Christian establish his first camp at Double Springs, (then Three Springs), in October 1776, with the water from the three natural springs serving his 2000 man army. Local history says this area served as a gathering place for both sides during the Civil War.

            Captain Henry Clark settled at Double Springs about 1776 and procured North Carolina Land Grant No. 291 for 300 acres of land. Captain Clark sold 97 acres of this grant which included the Double Springs and “Captain Clark’s Muster Grounds” to John Howser in 1788.

            Double Springs Baptist Church was first established as Kindrick’s Creek Church (now spelled Kendrick’s Creek) by Jonathan Mulkey, who served as our church’s first pastor. In the admirable book Tennessee Pioneer Baptist Preachers, Brother Mulkey was identified as “the first Baptist preacher to appear in what is now Tennessee”. Many years of research by the Tennessee Baptist Historical Society now indicates that Jonathan Mulkey organized the Baptist church now known as Double Springs about 1780. Along with Jonathan Mulkey, its first members were Peter Jackson, Anthony Epperson, David Perry and Nicholas Hale.

            The year 1786 has many times been used by local writers as the date Kindrick’s Creek Church (now Double Springs) was established. However, the fourth Saturday on October 1786 was the date representatives from Kindrick’s Creek Church met at Cherokee Creek Church with “messengers” from six other charter churches to organize Tennessee’s first Baptist Association, the Holston Baptist Association. In October 1787 the Association held its first anniversary meeting at Kindrick’s Creek Church. At that time, the church reported a total of 30 members.

            Soon after the Holston Baptist Association’s first anniversary meeting at Kindrick’s Creek Church in 1787, the church founder and first pastor Jonathan Mulkey, moved his membership to Buffalo Ridge, where he pastured until his death in 1826. Jonathan Mulkey’s tombstone can still be seen in the Old Buffalo Ridge Cemetery.

            The first church building was a simple log cabin dedicated to the Lord and was located approximately 200 yards northwest of the current church building, toward the back edge of the cemetery. Grandchildren of John Lady, one of the builders of the current church building in 1909, recall “Granddaddy Lady” telling them that the first church building stood at the edge of the cemetery where a large cedar tree stood during his lifetime. John Lady’s daughter, Mrs. Goldie Cox,  recalls being told how the men of this first church set their muskets just inside the door during services, so their weapons would be close by and ready if Indian attacks or other “trouble” occurred. In early years, even into the 1900’s church members either walked or rode horses, or rode wagons drawn by horses to church. They tied the horses to a fence just behind the present day site of the church fellowship hall. The John Lady and R.C. Lady families donated the newer parts of the church cemetery.

            History does not divulge the exact fate and destruction of the first church building. However, the church membership had grown and a larger building was needed, so the members built a new log church, much larger than the first, on the space behind the current church building. They named it Two Springs Baptist Church and in 1805, changed to the current name of Double Springs Baptist Church. Despite the church’s two names the original name of the community (Three Springs) denoted there were actually three natural springs located close by. One spring was capped during construction of Interstate 81 and the remaining two springs supplied the church with water for its outside baptistery. A baptistery was built inside the current church building and used for the first time on September 8, 1990. The outside baptistery was closed in 2000.

            Pastors of Double Springs Baptist Church during its early years, when church members worshipped in the two log church buildings were:

 

            Jonathan Mulkey…………….… 1780-1787

            Richard Murrell………………....1787-1826

            Jesse Riggs……………………....1827-1867

            Eli Ratliff..............................****-1879

            Pastor Crouch......................****-1894

            L.E. Cox..............................****-1899  

           

Research has not revealed some specific dates from these years. It is interesting to note that Jesse Riggs was Pastor of Double Springs for 40 years and is buried in the church cemetery, where his tombstone is still standing and easily discernible. In 1899, the church had 84 members and Pastor L.E. Cox’s salary was $40 per year.

 

1900's Church History:

            In 1909 church members were excited that the Holston Association of Baptist Annual meeting was to be held at Double Springs, and they felt it was imperative to have a new church building. For the old building, with its roof supported by makeshift wooden columns, was clearly in danger of collapsing. Although no money was available for building, church members such as John Lady, John Kincheloe, Nath Jackson, and Jim Duncan met to discuss the possibilities. John Lady and others donated money, logs and other materials. Sam Kincheloe was asked to set up his sawmill across from the church, and Sylvester Sampson and Captain Baskette were hired as the main carpenters to construct the current church building. The ladies of the church helped by collecting money and donated items from community residents for paint and other needs.

            Many improvements have been made to the church building, furnishings, and grounds since the current building’s construction in 1909. The church was originally lighted by Kerosene lamps, with reflectors behind and hung on each side of the church. A large lamp was hung over the pulpit. Several years later a man by the name of John Johnson wired the church for electricity. Two long wood burning stoves originally heater the church and later by two pot bellied stoves that burned both wood and coal and had very long stove pipes through the tall ceiling. A coal furnace, then oil furnace and now a heat pump system have improved heating and cooling since that time. The roof on the church building was originally constructed of homemade boards. It was later improved by a metal roof and currently consists of a shingled roof.

            The current church building was put up quickly in 1909 and no basement existed originally. Allen Booher was later hired to dig a basement to make space for Sunday School rooms. Prior to this, the church auditorium was sectioned off by curtains to make Sunday school “rooms”. Mr. Booher dug the basement with a pick and shovel, then improved the outside areas around the front door by using the dirt to make the long sloping banks where sharp drop offs originally existed.

            In January 1957 church members worked hard to complete new floor before pews and pulpit furniture were delivered by Woff Brothers of Bluff City on January 15. This furniture was purchased for a total cost of $1,942 and is still used in the church today. In 1962 the front vestibule of the church was changed from a separate door to the current double front entry door.

            In 1965, a ground level addition to the church included Sunday school rooms and rest rooms. Folding chairs were purchased for both upstairs and downstairs Sunday school rooms. In 1972 a lighted sign proclaiming “Double Springs Baptist Church” was purchased by the Cox family in memory of Donald F. Cox, Jr. The church basement was paneled shortly thereafter. In 1975 a separate fellowship hall was built at the edge of the parking lot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

In 1987 major interior renovations were completed in the church’s main auditorium. The high ceiling was dropped to seventeen feet and new lighting fixtures and ceiling fans were installed. New carpet was laid on the floor, the solid oak pews were padded, pews for the choir were rearranged, and prayer kneeling benches were installed at the front of the auditorium.

            A large addition was added to the church in 1989-1990, which included a new indoor baptistery, additional classrooms and a sanctuary for the children’s ministry. The men of the church completed most of the construction themselves. Because of this the church was able to pay for the entire project without the assistance of any outside financing.

The large number of children attending Vacation Bible School in 1990 led the church to hold some classes in the addition prior to completion. Furniture for the children’s church sanctuary was purchased and donated by the Ladies Fellowship. This furniture was handmade by Woff Brothers of Bluff City, the same builders of the furniture which is still in the main church sanctuary. Ray Fletcher was commissioned to paint two murals in the addition in May 1993 including a lovely country scene in the baptistery and a Noah’s Ark mural in Children’s church. New carpet and fresh paint brightened the basement classrooms in April 1994 and the church rest rooms were redecorated in July 1996.

       

 

             Another major renovation took place in November 1997 as remodeling was started on the front porch. A gazebo style porch was added. The men of the church also extended the stage area to accommodate a larger choir space, the sanctuary was painted, a sound room was built off from the vestibule of the church. Forty two padded chairs were purchased and replacement of new carpet and padded pews. All this was completed in January of 1998. 

            A building project was started on a new addition to the fellowship hall in October 18, 1999. The building project continued as money came in. The project was completed in 2000. 

 

Pastor’s of the church

            In early years, Baptist preachers were circuit riders and sometimes pastor to three or four churches, preaching at each church maybe only one weekend each month. Ervin Ledbetter was the first full time pastor at Double Springs. Following is a list of the pastors of Double Springs Baptist Church during the 1900’s.

 

 

Pastor’s during the 20th Century

 

            R. Deakins.....................................................................****-1901

            William Keen................................................................ ****-1902

            A.J. Watkins................................................................. 1909-1918

            E.D. Cox ...................................................................... 1918-1919

            T.L. Cates..................................................................... 1919-1920

            A.J. Watkins................................................................. 1920-1938

            Ervin Ledbetter..............................................................1938-1940

            Freeman Wright.............................................................1940-1942

            W.D. Tranbarger............................................................1942-1944

            Tommy Crawford...........................................................1944-1950

            George Coldiron.............................................................1950-1952

            Wesley Long ...............................................................  1952-1959

            Elmer Luster ...............................................................  1959-1964

            Clint Barker ................................................................  1964-1966

            Bob Royston ................................................................ 1966-1971

            Dr. Edward C. Dillowe .................................................. 1972-1989

            Wesley Boatman .......................................................... 1990-1990

            David Powers .............................................................  1991-1997

            Tom Shuler ...............................................................   1997-1998

 

Pastor’s during the 21st Century

 

            Joe Shelton ...................................................1998 - Feb. 29, 2004

            Rick Roop ................................................... Nov. 2004 - Oct. 2009

            *Gary Addington.........................................August 2010-Feb. 2011

                        *{Interim Pastor}

            Randy Waller ..............................................Feb. 13, 2011- Present

Significant Ministry Milestones:

 

            Between 1972 and 1975, under the direction of Pastor Ed Dillowe the church elected to become an independent Baptist church. During this same time the church launched a bold missions program and began supporting many Independent Baptist Missionaries. The church theme became “A local church with her arms around the world”.

            A church library was established in 1977. October 31, 1993 the library was dedicated “The Joe Don Watts Memorial Youth Library”. Joe Don was an outstanding 16 year old youth called home July 12, 1993 in an automobile accident.

1995 was the first year the church used the Neighborhood Bible Time program instead of traditional Vacation Bible School.

May 6, 1997 the first Senior Adult Luncheon was held with 25 people present.

July 12, 2000 Mrs. Ruby Honeycutt donated the “Shepherd” stain lighted painting in the main sanctuary of the church in memory of her husband “John”.

June 7, 2009 The fellowship hall is dedicated the “Joe Don Watts Building” in memory of Joe Don Watts the son of Don and Theresa Watts, sister Emily and nephew Joe Hensley. 

 

Message from the Pastor Randy Waller:

 

            Having received the call from the Lord and the congregation of Double Springs Baptist Church it is a privilege to be part of this historic legacy. The church maintains its goal of being a light of Jesus Christ in our community, state and around the world.

            This church, with all true churches, is not property and buildings. It is people. In all of Double Springs Baptist Church history not one acre of land, not one building would be a part of the church if it were not for the people God saved, called, and committed for the sake of the Double Springs Baptist Church. It would take a significant lengthy portion of this history to list all of those that the Lord has used for the purpose of being a church over the last 233 years. Let it suffice that the Lord will greatly reward all for their sincerest efforts for this church and the cause of Christ.

            May we take this history as a call to be diligent with our opportunity in this present time of being faithful and carrying on the great legacy that is Double Springs Baptist Church.

© 2014 DSBC

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423-349-4481

Find us: 

2783 Rock Springs Rd, Kingsport, TN 37664