Southeast Tennessee Religious Heritage Trail

Southeast Tennessee Religious Heritage Trail


The First Methodist meeting house on this site was erected in 1852.  It was nameed “Henniger’s Chapel” in honor of Rev. John Henniger, a prominent circuit rider in this area.  The land for the church and cemetery was donated by Allen Kirklin.  The log and plank structure was built by Norman Mansfield and his son, Alex.  The adjoining cemetery predates the church with the burial of William Rogers in 1849, who organized the first Sunday School in the community.  In 1853, a great revival of remarkable scope and power was conducted by Rev. R.N. Price.  Many individuals were converted, and many families were brought into the church.

The original church was partially dismantled by Union troops under Gen. Crittenden in the summer of 1863.  The remaining structure burned in late August.  In October of the same year Gen. Wheeler’s confederate calvary raided a Federal wagon supply train enroute to Gen. Grant in Chattanooga.  Many of the soldiers from both sides killed in that raid were buried here in unmarked graves.  After the destruction of the church, God spoke to a young girl praying in an apple orchard and she was immediately converted.  This event sparked another great revival, lasting three weeks and resulting in over 200 conversions.  Due to its size and intensity, it was moved from a private home to a nearby Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

In 1884, the main sanctuary was rebuilt with volunteer labor.  Sunday school rooms were added in 1951 with the understanding that the Sunday school would be non-denominational.  That agreement has been adhered to and is still in effect today.  Additional rooms, a fellowship hall, and a steeple comprised the latest addition of the current building.

The convenant of Chapel Hill to “Receive, Live and Give the gospel” is a continuation of the fervor of early Methodism and the steadfastness of the circuit riders.  The Chapel Hill church hosts a Decoration Day and Homecoming on the 3rd Sunday in May.