by David Dawson
Baptist & Reflector
WHITESBURG — The remains of Tennessee pastoral pioneer Tidence Lane have been moved to the grounds of his first church.
The Tennessee Baptist Mission Board joined with First Baptist Church, Whitesburg, for the reinterment of Lane’s remains, along with the remains of several family members, during a ceremony on Oct. 21.
The remains were moved to the grounds of First Baptist Church, Whitesburg, which was formerly known as Bent Creek Baptist Church.
Lane was the founding pastor of Bent Creek Baptist in 1785, becoming the first pastor of any congregation, of any denomination, in the state of Tennessee. He was also a veteran of the Revolutionary War.
Richard Long, a descendant of Tidence Lane and pastor of Brown Springs Baptist Church in Mosheim, was among the speakers at the reinterment ceremony.
“God has worked all things out,” said Long. “(Lane and his family) are already home in heaven, but we’ve done something today that can commemorate the family. We know the ground in which their remains have been placed is going to be securely taken care of.”
Lane’s remains had previously been in a family cemetery in Morristown, located about two miles from the new burial site. His original burial site was given to his family as part of a land grant from the state of North Carolina for his service in the war.
As a historical figure, Lane is the father of church planting in Tennessee.
“It is good that we are honoring Tidence Lane,” said Randy C. Davis, executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board. “In looking forward to where we need to go, we need to look back and see the pioneering spirit of Tidence Lane and the Lane family. We, too, live in a state where there are great challenges and we need to forge ahead for the sake of the gospel.”
According to historical accounts, Lane became a believer in 1743, soon after his marriage to Esther Bibber. Not long after his conversion, Lane surrendered to a call to preach.
Lane was living in North Carolina when he was called into the ministry, but felt led to move to Tennessee because of the political climate in North Carolina.
In 1779, Lane became the first pastor of the first permanent church organization of any denomination in the state of Tennessee. He was known to stand on a log to deliver his sermons.
He also earned the distinction of being the first moderator of the first association of any denomination in the state, Holston Baptist Association, which was organized October 21, 1786 — 10 years before the territory of Tennessee was admitted into the Union.
Lane remained in the ministry for more than 60 years, continuing his work until his death on Jan. 30, 1806.
Lane and his wife, Esther, had nine children — seven sons and two daughters.