John C. Lewallen, Elgin, Tennessee, 1915

[NOTE: broken link]

Check the site out because there are photos.   Here's what it says:

The Church of Christ on Wolf Creek Road in Elgin, Tennessee was started about 1915 by a circuit-riding preacher named John C, Lewallen. In a letter dated 7-23-1924, Brother Lewallen writes the following account of his work here.
"[When] I began to preach there... there was an old house there to which no church had a title... it was leaning considerable to one side. It sat behind a dense alder thicket... which almost hid the entire ... house from the road."

Brother Lewallen got busy and purchased the property for the Church, remodeled the old building, preached and baptized many and even taught the people to sing. An insurance policy was taken out on the newly remodeled building and shortly thereafter it mysteriously burned to the ground. Many of the members at the time believed that a man was hired to burn it because of community opposition to what was then known as "Campbellism".

Bother Lewallen collected the insurance money and set out to build another building on the site. Not far away in the Coal Hill community an Episcopal church had been abandoned. He received permission from the owners to take whatever he needed from the old building. Brother Chester Young remembers as a child playing in the old Episcopal building. He recalls about 1921 when some men from Wolf Creek came in a wagon and loaded up the pews, pulpit stand, the bell, and some lumber. The building which was erected from this material is the same one the Church has met in from 1921 until March 25, 1990. The bell and other mementoes from the old building will be displayed at the new one on the corner of highways 27 & 52 in Elgin [current building].

Shortly after this, about 1925, brother Lewallen moved to Chattanooga and started what is now the East Lake Christian Church there. By the early 1940's the Church at Wolf Creek had ceased to meet regularly. About 1942 Chester and Florena Young began to look for a place to take their children to Sunday school. Since Wolf Creek building was abandoned they got permission from some of the old members to use it for their Bible classes. At first, Florena would lead the singing and read the Lord's prayer, or tell Bible stories to her children. As these meeting continued some of the old members came back also. When the Church at Oneida heard that the building was in use again, they sent a preacher to hold a Gospel meeting, the following Sunday, for Chester, Florena, and others about the Gospel.

By the late 1970s, the Church had begun using students from the East Tennessee School of Preaching in Knoxville to help conduct their worship services. One such student was Jerry Carmichael who preached at Wolf Creek for the first time on March 29, 1987. In January 1988, a small group of Christians from the Sunbright Church of Christ merged with the Church at Wolf Creek. In December of 1988, the Carmichael family moved to Robbins to work full-time with the Church at Wolf Creek. In March 1989, construction began on a new meeting house at the corner of highways 27 & 52 in Elgin. The new building will be occupied beginning April 1st, 1990.

Some of the first families to be baptized by Brother Lewallen here were Joe and Vertie Lewallen, Thompsons, and Davidsons, among others. Descendants of these families still worship here. Past preachers include: James Greer, Roy West, Jude Honeycutt, Tom Derby, Homer Whited, Alan Cole, Jerry Brown, and Steven Eddy.

1990 - Present Elgin congregation

On April 1st, 1990, the congregation began to meet at the new building in Elgin, TN. The preacher at the time, Jerry Carmichael wrote the following words in a bulletin distributed to the community on the previous Sunday:

Thank you for visiting with us today. Beginning next Sunday we will be meet in our new building. If it is at all possible please attend the service with us. It is our desire to teach the Bible to all those who will listen We do not practice or teach anything for which we do not have New Testament authority.... If you would like to know more about a simple N.T. Christianity please let us come into your home and study with you at your convenience.
Sincerely in Christ, Jerry

Jerry Carmichael remained preacher of the congregation until 1991.

From 1991 until early 2005, the congregation was blessed to have Jim Day to serve as the preacher for the Elgin Church of Christ. When Jim moved to Okeechobee, Flordia, he wrote the following description of the time that he served the congregation.

"Linda and I moved to Robbins, Tennessee June 1991 and began to work with the Elgin Church of Christ. We lived in the house on the Walker Farm on Tunnel Hill that had been rented by the congregation for the preacher and his family. We lived for about one year and bought a house on Carl Griffith Road in Mt. View where we lived until we moved in March 2005.

"When we moved there the church building was about 80-90% complete. But the members of the congregation soon completed the remaining work by working evenings and weekends. The wall in front of the building had to be finished, the basement had to be finished, parking lot was paved,   the utility building was built, and several other small jobs had to be completed. But the people at Elgin were like the people in Ezra and Nehemiah’s day, “they had a mind to work.”   By the generosity of its members and help of sister congregations, Elgin was debt free and fully self-supporting in 2005.

"When we came to Elgin the membership was made up of just a few families. There was Chester and Florena Young, Dillard and Charleen Hughett, Elsie Ellis, Kenneth and Lucy Freels, Avie and Rosella Cross, Alma Howard, Melvin and Ruby Howard, who later placed membership at Wartburg, Charles and Maxine Welch and   Oma Freels. It was these people and their children that made up the congregation. With the exception of a few the above mentioned, I was honored to preach at the funerals of the above.

"Who would fill their shoes? Linda and I were blessed to work with the next generation who filled their shoes, I might say, very well. Conley and Liz Freels came along with Steve and Debbie Thompson, Glenn and Beulah Young, Gary and Sheilda, Bobby and Dorothy Hughett, Kevin and Sheila Freels, and Dwayne and Wanda Philips, Mark and Barbara Posey,   Garrett and Regina Litton and many of the third generation were coming on to carry out the work.

"Elgin was blessed to have good people come in that were not necessarily Scott County folks. The Laxtons, the Bakers, the Adkins, Parnell, the Andersons and the Thornthwaites came and gave the congregation a boost.

"We enjoyed fourteen years of good work. The congregation grew both in number and spiritually. Barbara Posey was the first person I baptized after moving there. Tyler Joe Seabolt was the last person I baptized.   For a time the congregation had elders and deacons. My greatest joy at Elgin was to see how people matured and carried on the work started by the previous generation.

"When life is all said and done, Linda and I will probably say that our time spend working with the Elgin Church Of Christ will have been our finest and fondest days on earth."~Jim Day

On September 26, 2005, Stan Day moved from Michigan to become the new preacher at Elgin Church of Christ. With his wife Pam, the Day's will soon be living in a home located on land adjacent to the church property. This land was just recently acquired by the church. Other than being brothers in Christ, Stan Day is not related to the previous minister, Jim Day. Indeed, the congregation celebrates "a new Day at Elgin".

Resa Miller - Nov 18, 2008

Thank you so much for posting this.   My grandparents went to church there.   Elmer Todd and Florence Thompson Todd.   Elmer was a ggrandson of Andrew Russell Lewallen and Hannah Todd, whom were never married.   Also mentioned was Joe Lewallen and wife Vertie Thompson.   I had asked recently about Joseph Grant Lewallen. He was first cousin twice removed of my mom and also an uncle by marriage, he married my Grandmoms sister Vertie.   My mom was baptised there, in a pond.   We went there every summer while visiting both sets of grandparents.   I remember Preacher Roy West and "Brother Chester Young".   Hummm!   I have some Youngs in my family tree, maybe we're related?? LOL
Thanks again, you brought back happy memories.