Members of the Baptist Church of Sevierville began meeting at Henderson's Chalybeate
Springs in November 1856 to escape dangers of the Civil War. In March 1860, any
member so desiring was given a letter of dismission to organize a church at Henderson's
Springs. Robert H. Blair was believed to be a member that served as one on the first
pastor's at Henderson's Chapel Baptist Church, at that time called the Baptist
Church of Christ at Henderson's Springs.
If you are interested in reading about early pastor's you may find them in the book
called Tennessee's Pioneer Baptist Preachers. There is a copy in the Media Library.
In 1860 the church met every third Saturday and Sunday of each month. There was
33 members. In November 1860, each member was asked to contribute ten cents for
church expenses. In 1873 there were 162 members.
The first building was logs with a dirt floor built with slave labor. The next building
was a wood frame with weatherboard siding. In 1914, Mr. & Mrs. W. A. Henderson
deeded the present property to the church. At this time the building was torn down
and hauled by horse and wagon to its present location. Mrs. Mattie Murrell can remember
her father George Sharp telling the story of how there were three rivers and creeks
to "ford" across.
In 1922 after the Great Smoky Mountain National Park was established the church
was offered some houses for lumber to build side rooms. Many men of the church took
upon this job which took them a day to make this trip and returned later to build
each side room of the auditorium.
The bell in the belfry from the Methodist Church that stood in Shiloh Cemetery.
These two churches cooperated in the recreation of their people, meeting sometimes
at the churches and sometimes at Pine Grove School. Day school was also held during
On August 15, 1943, 25 people were baptized in the Little Pigeon River by Rev. Joel
In 1950 it was voted to pay the Janitor $1.00 each Sunday. In 1955, T. Lee Ownby
became the first salaried pastor at the salary of $1268.85.
In 1957, a three room addition classroom was added along with two restrooms and
a baptistery. April 26, 1959, seventeen candidates were baptized in the new baptistery.
By 1962 additional rooms were needed and a wing was added which included classrooms
and a basement. In 1972, an addition to the front was added which was the entrance
hall. In 1986 the sanctuary was remodeled and new furniture was bought. In 1988,
the fellowship Hall across the street was built. The ministry of the Church Library
had increased significantly and in 1996 an addition was built 13 feet by 21 feet
adjoining the library. The library was established in 1977 and opened in March 1978.
Also in 1995-1997 the basement in the Fellowship Hall was was finished and two restrooms
installed; in the church basement, the old kitchen was remodeled and made into a
classroom for young adults.
In 1982, the church received 125 certificates from the Southern Baptist Convention
honoring them. The Southern Baptist Convention was organized in 1886 and in 1887
its second annual meeting was held at Henderson Chapel.
New programs began in 1994 called Discipleship training on Sunday nights. A Wednesday
morning prayer group was started in 1996 and in 1997 a youth group was organized
named "Children of the King".
The membership grew to 306 members in 1997. At the regular Business meeting, September
7, 1997, the church voted to become an incorporated body. Also the name of the Church
changed from Henderson's to Henderson Chapel. Additionally, the fiscal year was
changed from October 1 thru September 30 to September 30 through August 31.