History of Antioch

Historical photo of Antioch Church

Historical Photo of Antioch United Methodist Church in Clarksville, TN

The following are excerpts from Church History compiled by Mrs. Clyde Abernathy, 1962

Established in 1828

Antioch Methodist Church is the oldest of the three sister churches being founded approximately in 1828. The present site of Antioch Church is rich in historical value in regard to legacy. For many years the site was used as a camp meeting ground where families would come and spend days in worship.

The date the first build was erected is unknown, but there is record of a Griffin Orgain being baptized in 1828. Griffin was the grandfather of our members Frank and Henry Orgain that faithfully attend even today.

Rebuilt in 1904

The church was rebuilt 1902-1904, in which the following report was given: "To the Reverend J. T. Thornton and Antioch Society: Your church is finished and paid for in full, and we have a balance in the bank between forty and fifty dollars. Respectfully submitted, Wesley Orgain, Treasurer of the building committee," said Wesley Orgain being the son of Griffin Orgain.

The Original Antioch Charge

Antioch was among the twenty-one churches on the Dickson Circuit. This was divided in 1860 and the lower churches were then called Antioch presumably because it was the oldest church. On the new Antioch Charge were Chapel Hill, Salem, Mt. Zion, Locust Grove, Palmyra, Pittsalvinio, and Ebenzer.

The first trustees for Antioch Church were L. G. Allen, Thomas Ramey, William R. Thompson, John W. Ussery and S. A. Caldwell. The first Quarterly Conference for this new charge was held December 8, 1860, at Salem Church. The Reverend Mark Grey was pastor. His salary was set at $365.00 for the year, to be paid by the nine churches.

Sunday School

During the early thirties attendance was limited in Sunday School. In 1933 Antioch held its first Vacation Bible School under the leadership of Mrs. Bailey Lyle and a capable group of teachers. This school was held for two weeks with good attendance and a marked increase in Sunday School attendance from then on. It was because of this increase that in 1934 the undertaking to build four new Sunday School rooms at the rear of the church happened. Despite being in the midst of the Great Depression many made donations to complete the addition.

Women's Society of Christian Service

The Women's Society of Christian Service of our church organized in 1902, with Salem and Antioch meeting together for the first few years. The group has been a vital force for good, not only at home but in sending the gospel to remote parts of the world as well. Among its early members were Mrs. Joe Neblett, Mrs. Ida Steele, Mrs. Jim Thompson, Mrs. Marion Wyatt. At the present time there are twenty-four members, seven of whom have been made life members. Two of these members are Charter Members. Their goal is to have every woman in the church a member.

Youth Ministry

The youth of our Church are well organized and have their meetings each Sunday night. Mrs. Vernon Ussery, Mrs. Ernest Slate, Mrs. Annabelle Powers, Mrs. R. C. Buckingham and Mr. & Mrs. Luther Smithson have met each Sunday night for years with these youth of our church. We feel the guidance of this group to be one of the most important tasks of our Church.

Laymen's Club

Some of the men of our church are active in the Laymen's Club of Montgomery County. The Sunday School has an enrollment of 145 with an average attendance of 105. Mr. John Wyatt is our current Superintendent of Sunday School.

There are names that are woven like a thread throughout the history of our church such as Lyle, Orgain, Thompson, Ussery, Wyatt, Yarbrough, Abernathy and Bagwell. In more recent years such names as Johnson, Davis, Slate, Burney, Pake, Mittler, Ellis, Bumpus, Baggett, Coke, Powers, Buckingham, Smithson and many others are working faithfully in service for him.


The Antioch United Methodist Church was destroyed in a fire in the winter of 1982. It was a sad day for our church community. Through the teamwork, dedication and generous contribution of time and money by our congregation the church was reconstructed and opened for services in 1983. Added to this accomplishment was the fact that all construction costs were paid off on completion.