The Briartown Baptist Church, located on Briartown Church Rd.approximately two miles from the Nantahala School,is still searching for information about its beginning. There seems to be a connection between the Western Mt.Pleasant Baptist Church and Briartown, but at this time we lack the facts needed to clarify the relationship.
        On March 15, 1863, a meeting was held in the neighborhood of Briartown, and a presbytery comprised of the Reverends Merritt Rickman, Samuel gibson, Mark May, and William M. Deweese conducted the meeting. The Reverend Rickman was moderator and Reverend May, clerk. The purpose was to organize a church, and the minutes of that meeting show the following membership: Reverend William K. Adams, Nancy Adams, Johnston K. Adams, Elijah Wilson, James Forrester, Martha Forrester, E. Forrestor (female) , John Quween, Martha Quween, George W. Burnett, Sarah Burnett, Mary Mason,and Mayy W. Hampton.  These people are first linked with Western Mt. Plesant, and later some of them at least were members of Briartown Church.
         We would be grateful for any information that someonecould offer us about the start of our church. Our sources are the above mentioned sheet of minutes, but no other Briartown Church minutes prior to October 1897 are in our possession. We have been in the Southern and State Baptist Archives, Macon Baptist Association of which  we became a member in 1904, church minutes from 1897- 1998, and by various indidvduals. Briartown was a member of the Tuckaseige Baptist Association until 1904.
          Pastors who have served the Briartown Church beginning in  1867 are:
  Mark May                            1867-85
  Francis Marion Morgan         1885-88, 1891-93, 1896-97,  1902-05, 1914-16
  A.A Justice                          1889
  J.S Woodard                        1890, 1900-02
   J.T Barnes                          1894-95
  W.C.Hamrick                       1897-1900
   A.S.Solesbee                      1906-07
  J.S Kinsland                         1908-09, 1922-23
  H.J.Hogue                            1910-13
  W.T.Truitt                             1916-19
  J.S.Stanbery                         1919-22, 1935-40
  J.M.Woodard                         1924 - 25, 1927-30, 1945-47
  Alga West                             1925-26, 1932-34
  Robert Barker                        1931, 1943-44
  T.D.Denny                             1940-43, 1948- 51
  C.C.Welch                             1943
By 1869 the official membership had increased to 23, and the number peaked for the 19 th century at 155 in the year 1888. In 1900 there were 101 members, and the highest total ever was 281 in 1928. Currently there are 187 members ( less than 70 are residents of the local area.)
   Barring inclement weather weekend worship included both Saturday and Sunday services until around 1940. Often a visiting preacher would help the pastor in the services--on Sunday August 20,1910 there was preaching by Reverend Mashburn followed by Pastor Hogue. Saturday preaching hours were changed to
2:00 pm,on May 23 , 1914 . Also until the middle decades of the 1900,s, an elected pastor would only be at the church on alternate weekends. The other weekends would often find different preachers presiding over the services. For instance, Reverend Robert Barker conducted services the weekend of October 12, 1927, when Pastor J.M.Woodard was elsewhere.
  From its early history on ,special revival services have been conducted yearly, smoetimes more so. Possibly the last such series of meetings for the 1800,s lasted 16 days beginning on Saturday July 25,1899, with twelve members added by their professed "experience of grace" and baptisim. Pastor W.C.Hamrick was assisted by Rev.M.A.Leon and Rev.F.M.Morgan. August 12, 1900 beganthe first revival meetings of this century. Rev.J.S.Woodard, after helping at least three other ministers, was elected pastor near the end of the month.
  The meetings of 1940 and 1946 each resulted in 28 professions of faith. The first was lead by T.D.Denny and Rev.George Cloer, and for the 1946 meetings Rev.Denny returned along with Rev.Floyd Sitton at the request of Pastor J.M.Woodard and the church. Woodard was also the pastor in 1925 when Rev.W.W.Marr ran a five- week revival. Thirty-four professed their hope in Christ and were baptised.
  BYPU and WMU were approved on Oct.8,1933. The work of the BTU was supported by the church beginning in Feb. 1946.
  For many yeary a collection for the pastor or guest preacher was taken after each service and often included both cash and produce. Cash collections usually ranged from $2-$8.00 and might be as low as 54
cents. On a Sunday in 1932 the pastor's offering was $7.20 cash and &1.00 produce. On Dec.26,1937 the
collection amounted to $9.96 cash and $21.70 produce. Besides these weekly love offerings, there were occasional pledges for a yearly salary. A motion was approved in August, 1900 to pay the pastor $50.00
for the years services. In May of 1929, the deacons recommended that the church pay the pastor $150.00
for the year. By the 1930's a transportation collection was sometimes given also.
  A special offering was taken in August 1918 to buy Reverend W.T.Truitt a horse. It ammounted to $17.75
and a committee of ladies was appointed to collect additional money--- a few monts later they had an additional $37.65.
  Briartown has long been among the churchs that support home and foreign missions. Selected examples are: (1) November 2, 1902--$3.49 collected for home and foreign missions;(2) August 21,1910--$2.00 for an orphanage(apparently supported the one at Thomasville for many years); (3) July 19 19-- $28.20 for missions; (4) May 1, 1920-- raised $93.00 for the Baptist $75,000,000 program; (5) January 9, 1921--
an unknown ammount sent to suffering Armenians; (6) May 26,1939--collected $93.30 for three local sick and needy people; (7) July 28, 1952---adopted a precentage plan in joining the Cooperative Program;
(8) Active support for the Broyhill Children's Home and many other efforts throughout the years.
   Tradition says that origional Briartown meeting House was a log building. It was followed by the building that some of our present members can recall and was used until another one was completed by 1943. In April 1943, the following 5th Sunday in May was set aside for the dedication of the new building.The
dedication sermon was preached by Reverend C.C.Welch. Thie was the beginning of our current church house.Organ music was replaced by the first piano in 1946, and one year later electric lights were installed. Three years after this a new roof was built.
   Coal heating was replaced by oil heat in 1965, and 1974 saw three major changes-- a brick exterior, front porch, and stained glass windows.
   The building sits on property acquired or donated primarily in the year 1871,1911,1937,and 1981. From slightly more that ten beginning members, Briartown's history has seen 663 or more interred in its main cemetery and 86 in the nearby Bobby Hill Cemetery. This cemetery came under the care of the church in 1940. The longest tenures amoung elected officials are believed to be: Mark May--pastor; Oscar Hamilton--clerk; Weaver W Cochran--Sunday School Superintendent;and Dave L. Owenby--deacon.
   The first delegates on record to the annual association convention were J.M.Forrester, Thomas Caler, and J.B.Morgan ( Tuckaseige Assocation 1870). The first delegates from Briartown to the Macon Baptist
Convention in 1904 were J.M.Cochran, J.R.Wikle, and F.M.Morgan.

Front Row                                 2nd Row                    3rd Row                             4th Row
                                                                                                                             52 Vernel Grant                                                                                                        37 Dave Owenby               53 General Owenby     
                                            13 Etta Shields                  38 Olsen Grant                   54 Rev.Robert Barker
                                            14 Eula Wishon                 39 Jim Grant                       55 Frank Wilson               1 Lillian Wishon                      15 Jessie Wilson                      (Daphne's bro)              56 Jeffie May
2 Carleen Grant                      16 Amanda Deweese          40 Beuford Owenby             57 Mark Cochran
3 Christine Dalrymple              17 Lola Cochran                 41 Rev.Mose Woodard         58 Fate Owenby
4 Doris Grant                          18 Wade Boone                 42 Beulah Owenby               59 W F Will Cross
5 Arnold Wilson                      19 Verless Wishon             43 Beulah Owenby               60 Kermil Dalrymple
6 Jennette Owenby                  20 Ruby Shields                              ( Dill's dau)            61 Ted Cochran
7 Francis Owenby                   21 Carlene Owenby            44 CB(Tump)Owenby           62 Clint Dalrymple
8 Pauline Owenby                   22 Halena Dalrymple          45 Myrtle Owenby                63 Oscar Cross
9 Newell Owenby                    23 Grace Owenby                   ( Lester's dau)
10 Carl Cross                              ( GW"S sister               46 Myrtle Owenby
11 Fred Grant                         24 Faye Duvall                            ( GW's sister)
12 Burzell Mason                    25 Exie Owenby                47 Murill Owenby
                                            26 Gladys Cochran            48 Lonnie Caylor
                                            27 Eulene Grant                49 Frank Cross
                                            28 Wilma Cochran             50 Jeff Hampton
                                            29 Geneva Wishon            51 Morgan Owenby
                                            30 Gladys Owenby
                                            31 Vera Owenby
                                            32 Catherine Ayers
                                            34 Mone Deweese
                                            35 Bernice Deweese
                                            36 Daphne Grant
Briertown Church
This Picture is at the Briertown Church Cenetery about 1930
  Carl Denny                             1951-52
  John Freeman                         1952-58
  France Postell                         1958-61
  T.A.Slagle                               1961-62
  S.J.Waters                              1962-67, 1969-71
  Carl Roper                               1967-69
  Johnny Raby                            1971-73
  Kenneth Jenkins                       1973-75
  Charles Leatherman                   1976 (interim)
  Frank James                             1976-81
  Tom Wells                                 1982 (interim)
  Lennox Hedrick                         1982-83
  Jimmy Millsaps                         1984-88
  David Williams                          1988-90
  Shane Kirby                              1993-94
  Larry Icenhower                         1990-93, 1995