Baptist and Reflector
NEW MARKET — Dumplin Baptist Church in Jefferson County is proud of its heritage, and rightly so.
The church, established in 1797, is the third oldest church in the eastern half of Tennessee with continuous existence at the same place, under the same name.
A few years ago, former pastor Don McEntire, now retired but still a member of Dumplin Baptist, suggested to member Kenneth Cate that they build a replica of the original church building which was constructed on land donated by one of Cate’s ancestors, who was a charter member of the church.
Cate discovered that an old log structure on neighboring property was actually constructed out of logs from the original Dumplin Baptist church building.
After talking to the property owner, the owner gave the logs to the church. The church later was given some logs from the same time period of houses in the area, Cate said.
The church decided to build a 20 x 20 replica of the original church. He acknowledged it was built from what they imagined the church looked like. “There are no photos,” Cate said.
The building is constructed very close to the original site on Piedmont Branch, behind the church’s current structure. The church’s original baptism site remains and is still used today, Cate noted.
The building was constructed by Cate and McEntire, along with others from the community, including someone who had experience in rebuilding log homes.
Constructing the replica of the original building was “a labor of love,” said Cate, who has been a member of Dumplin Baptist since 1949.
“It has a special significance because of our family connection,” he added.
McEntire said when he became pastor of the church several years ago, he read about its history and was “fascinated.” Building the replica church building “seemed like the right thing to do,” he said.
The former pastor noted the significance of using some of the original logs from the first building. “Only God could orchestrate that,” he said.
“Kenneth and I had a lot of fun doing this,” he said. B&R — Lonnie Wilkey