History of the Church of Christ at Brushy
The Church of Christ at Brushy began in 1892 in a one room log cabin on Brushy Road, across the creek from what was formerly known as the Elvin Gordon farm. This log cabin doubled as the school building during the week. In his book Glimpses of the Past 1800-1900 by James E. Chessor, he stated that in his opinion the “Halbrooks brothers, Joseph and Steven, sowed the good seed which sprang up in after years to form…the Brushy Fork congregation.” He described how the Halbrooks brothers and Daniel Rivers, as young men met together on a night in the week for prayer and study of God’s word.
A second meeting house for the Brushy Church of Christ was built in 1908 on Brushy Road on land recently known as the Tanner farm. This building was a 40’ x 22’ one-room, two door weatherboard frame construction that would seat about 150 people. Armpy Bates was hired to build this building; J.N. Loveless and Buck & Dave Henley assisted in the construction. Long, handmade pews were built by Charlie Freeman and Brice Milam. This new building also served as the school building. Forty to fifty people regularly met for services; there were no Sunday night or Wednesday services. Clifford Loveless served as treasurer and the contribution averaged 30 cents to 40 cents each week.
A full week’s meeting was conducted each summer, with daily services at 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM. Frequently the building was packed it's 150-seat capacity. John Lancaster preached in the first meeting ever conducted in the new building. Mark Love was one of the first preachers; he would speak at Brushy once or twice each month. He walked from Shady Grove to Pleasantville, spoke there and then walked to Brushy and preached. He was paid $1.25 each time he spoke. Mr. Love would spend Sunday night with members, then walk back to Shady Grove on Monday. Interestingly, following Brushy’s services the Baptists would meet in the same building.
During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, it was customary for bodies of the dead to be kept in their families home, but after the construction of the new building, the bodies laid in wait there, then the body was loaded on a wagon and taken to the cemetery where the funeral was conducted. The church met in the frame building for 42 years.
In 1950, a large one-room block building was constructed at the corner of Highway 48 and Brushy Road. This building is the 250 seat auditorium where the Brushy church still assembles for worship. Opening services were conducted in this building Sunday, November 12, 1950. Willie Cochran, from Lyles, spoke at the morning worship, and Riley Moore, from Hohenwald, delivered the evening lesson. Both services attracted a large number of people.
Mrs. Mollie Hinson’s funeral, with Riley Moore conducting the service, was the first in the new building, on December 7, 1950.
In 1955 the yearly average attendance was 52 and the weekly contribution averaged $29.00. By 1960 the attendance had grown by 30 to a weekly average of 82, while the contribution had steadily increased to $52.00. The children’s class of 2-year olds through the 3rd grade taught by Arlis Armstrong, often had 20 in attendance. Four classrooms and two restrooms were added to the back of the auditorium in September, 1960.
Grover C. Beard preached regularly for the Brushy congregation in 1964 and 1965, while he attended Freed-Hardeman College. A home-grown boy, Gene Durham, was the preacher in 1965 and 1966. In September of 1966, two additional classrooms were added to the back and side of the buildings. These two rooms are now serving as the library and office. Danny Buie was another Freed-Hardeman College student who preached for Brushy. His two year tenure was 1966-1967. Central air and heat was installed in the early spring 1967.
Larry Murdock, also a Freed-Hardeman College graduate, began as Brushy’s first full-time preacher in October 1967. A three bedroom, red brick house was built in 1968 for the preacher and his family. A complete sound system was installed in the auditorium in January 1971. Larry’s three year, eight month stay ended in June of 1971.
Alfred Pagel was Brushy’s full-time preacher from July, 1971 until August of 1973. The auditorium was totally remodeled in August 1972; cedar paneling was placed on the walls, the floor carpeted, padded pews replaced the old handmade benches, additional classrooms were partitioned off at each back corner of the auditorium, and a new table for the Lord’s Supper and a new pulpit completed the face-lift. Most of the homemade benches were sold in September for $10 each.
Jimmy Garner became Brushy’s third full-time preacher. His four-year, ten month tenure was from September, 1973 until July, 1978, Carpet was laid in the six original classrooms in April, 1974.
Edgar C. Beard began his work at Brushy on August 14, 1978, In September, 1978 new book shelves and cabinets were built in the preacher’s study, and a telephone installed. Additional growth forced the building of seven additional classrooms and a large fellowship/classroom area. Ground was broken for this major addition in April 1979 and was completed in September of the same year. David Love, a Brushy member, contracted and supervised construction of this new facility. These spacious classrooms and hallways are fully carpeted; have central air and heat and ample bulletin boards. Men of the congregation designed and built teacher/ pupil study tables for the new classrooms. This was made possible by the generosity of Donnie & Sue O’Guin in allowing the men to use their cabinet shop and equipment to build the tables. Classes were conducted in the new classrooms and open house was held on Sunday, October 7, 1979.
In March, 1980, a library was begun with Nicus & Eva Loveless giving the first volume in memory of Walden Gray Duncan, a long time elder and treasurer of the Brushy Church who passed away November 25, 1979.
Kitchen cabinets, sink, refrigerator and water heater were added in the fellowship room during the summer of 1980. In December, 1980 250 new song books, entitled “Songs of the Church” were purchased. In October, 1981 the Loveless Property, adjacent to the Brushy building, was purchased. The house was sold, moved and the ground cleared to provide for additional parking and expansion. A two car drive-thru carport was built at the rear of the building in August of 1982 and a new sound system was installed.
Eugene Durham was the next full-time preacher from 1983 to 1988. The Brushy congregation has supported mission efforts in several foreign countries and many states including overseeing the purchase of land and building a building at Bean Station, TN.
Other preachers who preached in the 20th Century at Brushy were Horace Farr, Mike Kinnard, and Gary Parker. In 1994 a metal annex building was added to the grounds for fellowship activities, youth activities and community functions.
An annual gospel meeting had traditionally been scheduled for the 3rd Sunday in July with noted speakers such as B.B. James, Bill Jacksn, C.W. Bradley, L.O. Sanderson and Jim Bill McInteer.
Jerry Morton was preaching at Brushy at the turn of the Century and continued until the end of 2004. Travis Irwin preached at Brushy between March of 2005 till the end of October 2008. On the first Sunday of June 2009 Brushy's own Kevin Johnston began preaching at Brushy and continues til this day. May God bless His people at Brushy!