FRIENDSHIP BAPTIST CHURCH CEMETERY (Also known as CULLEOKA CEMETERY.), CULLEOKA, MAURY COUNTY TENNESSEE
the very earliest settlers in Maury County were many
of the Primitive Baptist persuasion. Some of them came into the valley
drained by Fountain Creek soon after Armstead Redding, himself a member of this
denomination, blazed the first trail into the area in 1807. He was soon followed
by others and, by 1810, a congregation had formed and a meetinghouse erected on
land donated by Jones Kendrick. This church was called: Fountain Creek Primitive
Baptist Church. Whites, free men of color and slaves worshipped together for
many years. It stood in a place just to the west of what is now Culleoka. The
only remains there today is an old nearby graveyard which includes the remains
of many of it members.
caused the church to divide and move in the late 1820's or 1830's is not known.
Whatever the cause, Mr. John Toombs gave six acres of land to the congregation
in 1833 and soon thereafter a group of the white members built a meetinghouse
just east of where the Village of Culleoka soon began to take form. It took the
name Friendship Baptist Church, and, Elija Hanks, a renowned evangelist
of the epoch, became one of its first elders. By 1840, Hanks was preaching a
doctrine that differed from Primitive Baptist beliefs in several points and led
a number of area congregations to change
their denomination. Friendship was one of
the churches that helped form the Duck River Missionary Baptist
Association in 1845.
name of the first occupant of a grave in the cemetery on the hill beside Friendship Church is probably lost to
us. Possibly there were burials made prior to 1845 but this is the earliest date
recorded on inscribed stones. It is
interesting that these stones are for five members of the Edward T.
Bryant family, all of whom died within a few weeks of each other, from August to