Clarks Creek Primitive Baptist Church is one of the oldest Christian congregations in west Tennessee. It was an outgrowth, an "arm" to use the old-time term, of Middle Fork Primitive Baptist Church constituted August 12, 1823, in a location still in Henderson County. Several of the members there, the Arnolds and Shackelfords, were among the charter members of Clarks Creek Church. (The church's first minute book, page 6; in custody of Houston Carroll, present church clerk, Henderson, through whose courtesy the present writer was able to study the minutes for this sketch; hereafter cited as Min Bk l.)
For its first ten years this congregation met in a hewn log house constructed by John Vanlandingham on land owned by Jonathan Crook. In the summer of 1836 the membership decided that rather than repair this house they would accept the use of the frame building on Jacks Creek offered them by the school "public" commissioners, utilizing an arrangement common to that time — use of a single building as a school and meetinghouse. This move was made in autumn of 1836. Vanlandingham allowed the old meetinghouse to be sold, which it was, for five dollars. (Min Bk l, pages 7, 8, 9) An improved meetinghouse was built by John Sanders, on the same location, in 1851, the congregation awarding him a bonus for having done extra work thereon. (IBID., page 103) The house was soon underpinned with rocks and weatherboarded.
Charles Riddle was an early pastor as was Elder James Beaver, who with his second wife and family moved to Texas, asking for a letter of dismission in August 1857 (IBID., page 124). In November 1860 a committee of churchmen wrote a letter of commendation for Beaver to the church in Texas where he was then worshipping. (IBID., page 137) Jonathan Crook and his wife, Lucy, had gotten crosswise with the membership and were excluded but years later there was enough of a reconciliation that the Crooks received a proper letter of dismission in October 1856 (IBID., page 122). Shadrach Weaver, a church deacon, was given a letter of dismission at his request in November 1846 (IBID., page 78). People were coming and going as members in small numbers over the years
In February 1845, John M. Hart and John C. Trice, valued members, were authorized to clear a "right to the land" whereon the meetinghouse was located, with Richard Shackelford, on an occupant claim, so that a land grant could be cleared for it. (IBID., pages 65-66) This four acre tract was duly entered June 20, 1845, surveyed March 25, 1845 and issued as a land grant January 6, 1846. (West Tennessee Land Grant Book 2, page 562) This land was located in Surveyors District 9, Range 3, Section 7; for the specific location, see the map on page 35, this publication.
The old cemetery was maintained and used for many years although some of the membership buried their dead in family graveyards. In December 1923 the congregation bought an acre of land further to the south, at its present location, and the meetinghouse was rolled by logs to this new site. (Chester County Deed Book 30, pages 506-507; recorded March 1924) Further acreage was bought adjoining this parcel in March 1946 (IBID. Deed Book 43, pages 81-82; recorded March 30, 1946) The old cemetery had been largely abandoned by the turn of the century; a new cemetery is located on the church grounds of the 1923/46 land purchase
The Clarks Creek congregation affiliated with several other Primitive Baptists to form the Predestinarian Association in 1827 in which it remains to this day. The association met several times at Clarks including October 6-8, 1844 and September 25-27, 1870.
A list of the male members belonging to Clarks Creek Church transcribed from the old church book this September 1836.
CHARLES RIDDLE dismissed by letter September term 1840
JAMES DODDS Deceased this life December 1843
JOHN WHITE Excluded Oct. term 1840
GEORGE SHIPMAN dismissed December 1836
JONATHAN CROOK Excluded June 1839
SAMUEL BAKER Dismissed by letter
SAMUEL STENNET Excluded
DAVID ATTOWAY Dismissed by letter December 1841
ANDREW GILBREATH Dismissed by letter Dec. term 1839
MOSES H. ALLEN Dismissed by letter December 18141
SHADRACH WILLIAMS Dismissed by letter Oct. term 1836
WESLEY WILLIAMS Excluded August term 1840
PETER J. COTTEN Excluded June term 1839
JOHN CONE Decd. September 1845
EASTON WEST Excluded November 183 (left blank)
JAMES STENNET Excluded June term 1843
WILLIAM RIDDLE Dismissed by letter Oct. 1839
JOEL GRISWELL Excluded June term 1839
SHADRICK WEVER Received by letter
JAMES LEDBETTER By letter January 1842
TERELL DUNCAN By letter May 1842
THOMAS WHEATLEY By letter May 1842
JOHN SANDERS June 1842 by experience
RICHARD SHACKELFORD June 15, 1842 experience
A list of the female members belonging to Clarks Creek Church transcribed from the records of the old church book September 1836.
MILBERRY RIDDLE Dismissed by letter September term 1840
RACHAL WHITE Dismissed by letter June term 1840
PEGGY SHIPMAN Dismissed December 1836
LUCY CROOK Excluded June term 1839
MARY GILBREATH Dismissed by letter December term 1839
ELIZABETH WILLIAMS Dismissed by letter Oct. term 1836
MARTHA DODDS Excluded Oct. term 1840
PEGGY BURTON Excluded June term 1839