Little Flat Creek Baptist Church turns 225

Beth KinnaneGibbs/Corryton, Our Town Stories

Back in 1892, one item of interest in what was then known as The Knoxville Sentinel reads as follows:

Mr. Ben C. Smith, chairman board of trade, Macon, Ga., says “I consider Bradycrotine one of the greatest medicines I ever used for headache.”

There is no headline, no context, no reference point for Smith’s endorsement of the headache remedy that was indeed manufactured in Macon. It was tacked on to the end of a small announcement headlined Fifth Sunday about an upcoming meeting of the Tennessee Association of Baptists. Maybe he was planning ahead:

The Tennessee Association of Baptists will hold its fifth Sunday meeting at Little Flat Creek church, Knox County, beginning tomorrow morning at 10 o’clock and continue over Sunday. The church is located on the Knoxville, Cumberland Gap and Louisville Railroad. A rate of one dollar for the round trip has been announced. The train will stop at the church for the accommodation of delegates and visitors. Trains leave at 8:30 a.m. and return at 5:30 p.m. A goodly delegation from Knoxville is expected to attend the meeting. – The Knoxville Sentinel, July 29, 1892.

Logs of Little Flat Creek Baptist Church, built in 1797, in 1991, located on Graves Lane off Emory Road (Photographer unknown, Knox County Two Centuries Photograph Project, C.M. McClung Historical Collection).

While Smith’s involvement or what on earth Bradycrotine is are both unknown, what is known is there is a whole lot of Corryton history wrapped up in that one little paragraph. The Knoxville, Cumberland Gap and Louisville Railroad originated as the Powell’s Valley Railway in 1886, became the KCG&LR in 1888 and by 1896 was bought out by Louisville and Nashville, which subsequently abandoned much of its trackage. Over a century later, its remnants are owned by CSX Transportation.

While daily train rides from Knoxville to Corryton are a long-gone thing of the past, one thing that still remains is Little Flat Creek Baptist Church. The modern iteration of the church sits on Emory Road just east of Little Flat Creek heading toward Corryton Road. Just west of the creek is Graves Lane, where the first church went up after Little Flat Creek was founded in 1797. It became one of the seven original churches to form the Holston Baptist Association in 1786.

The original log church was used by the congregation until 1857, and its accompanying cemetery holds graves of many prominent Gibbs/Corryton families. The church moved to its current location a mile from the original with a new wooden structure. The present church was built in 1962.

The remnants of that original log church were used for its reconstruction at the current location. It was finished and dedicated in August 1996. While it isn’t known if Little Flat Creek is THE oldest Baptist church in Knox County, it is certainly one of them, going strong for 225 years.

Beth Kinnane is the community news editor for KnoxTNToday.com.

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