Appalachia Oconaluftee/Smokemont

History Of Lufty Baptist Church

Lufty Baptist Church History

In 1829 Mount Zion Baptist Church was formed by Reverend Humphrey Posey and Reverend Adam Corn. The location of Mount Zion Church was in the same location as the Lufty Baptist Church we’ve been discussing over the last few days.

A few short years later Mount Zion split into two separate churches. The split didn’t occur due to the typical falling out between members. Mount Zion decided to split to make it easier for people to reach the church without crossing the river. After the split there was a church on each side of the river-Shoal Creek Baptist Church and Lufty Baptist Church.

According to the research I conducted, Shoal Creek Baptist Church was short lived (at least this one-I know of several Shoal Creek Baptist Churches) with most of the members continuing to attend Lufty Baptist Church.

Lufty Baptist Church split one additional time-into the United Baptist Church of Christ and the United Baptist Church of Lufty. I couldn’t find any details about this split-but as you can see it was short lived with the church combining once again to form Lufty Baptist Church by 1837.

The church survived through very turbulent times. In 1838 the US Government began removing the Cherokee Indians from the area by force. Historians estimate over 1,000 Cherokee hid in the mountains and caves surrounding the Oconaluftee valley to escape the troops who were looking for them.

The Civil War started almost 30 years after the Cherokee removal, and Lufty Baptist Church was still going strong. According to the book, Ocona Lufty Baptist Pioneer Church Of The Smokies 1839-1939, the church stayed open even though the church minutes hint at a division of views on the Civil War. Other churches in the Smoky Mountains-such as the Primitive Baptist Church in Cades Cove closed during the war. Richard Evans and W.H. Conner are credited with keeping Lufty Baptist Church going during the rough years.

Oconaluftee church smoky mtn park

The church did not meet for every service during the fall and winter of 1864-65. The winter was one of the coldest on record and according to the church minutes there was a shortage of supplies in the area.

In the early days Lufty Baptist Church served as a court of sorts. The terrain was so rugged and rural that the elders of the church began settling small disputes brought to them by members.

If you find the history of Lufty Baptist Church as interesting as I do-stick around for more in the coming days.


*Source: Ocona Lufta Baptist Pioneer Church of the Smokies 1836-1939. Text by Florence Cope Bush. Over 1,000 names from church records. Copyright 1990 Misty Cove Press PO Box 22572, Concord, TN  37933-0572


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  • Reply
    Don Byers
    July 17, 2020 at 6:41 am

    I was there recently…..

  • Reply
    October 26, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Thank you for the comment! Neat that you have a connection to the church! I hope your trip is a good one-it is a beautiful place!!

  • Reply
    Tina Sharpton
    October 25, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    I too am a descendant of Rev. Adam Corn. plan to visit the little church soon. thank you for the post
    Tina – Ellijay GA

  • Reply
    Christian Jones
    May 24, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    Thanks for the info! I have the book by Florence Cope Bush. My gg grandmother and gg grandfather were listed in the church roll. My grandfather as a little boy use to go back every year for a reunion there. We were there yesterday.

  • Reply
    Donna Hardin
    February 3, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    It is a small world! In my family tree research I have found that Rev. Adam Corn was one of my GGGG Grandfathers. We have been wanting to camp at Smokemont since last year. I had no idea about this church until I “found” this post. I am constantly amazed at how God works. Thank you for this post! Donna H.

  • Reply
    January 17, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    When we first moved to the country, there was a little old church on the corner called Saint Peter’s Luteran Church. It was always the “sign post” used to give people directions to our house when we first moved there, i.e. “when you get to the little white church, turn right (or left)”, etc. The church is still there, and it’s still Saint Peter’s, but it’s maybe twice the size it use to be. When we were pre-teens and teens, it was a great place to go to watch the holiday fireworks go off in town because it sat at the top of a hill with the city far below it.
    One winter when it snowed and snowed and snowed. One side of the road the little church sits on is one township, the other side of the road belongs to a city. Guess the snow plow operators didn’t know what to do with all that snow, cause they piled it and piled it and piled it, all in front of the little church until it was as high as the steeple – with one jurisdiction plowing and mounding it up from their side, and the other doing the same on their side. Then it rained, and pretty much made that big old mound nearly solid. Well, eventually, the fire marshall of one jurisdiction or the other had a fit and said it had to come down because if there was an emergency, how would emergency vehicles get through there? (We country folk just hung on and drove around it through the field across from the church.) But believe it or not, because it had rained on the whole thing, they had to take it down with dynamite. I remember the fire marshall going from door to door to warn us there would be a loud boom. I don’t remember hearing the boom though. I remember our dad just shaking his head at the idiocy of the plow drivers to pile it up like that in the first place. LOL
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Lonnie Dockery
    January 16, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Really interesting stuff Tipper. Thanks.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 15, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    I forgot to say. Humphrey Posey baptized my ancestor Allen A Ammons in 1836 at age 17 in Macon County. That proves he was living there before the Indian removal of 1838. He went on to become a Baptist minister of some acclaim in the Little Tennessee River Valley. He served as a chaplain during the civil war. A chaplain in those times wasn’t just a preacher. He was part of a surgical team. He comforted soldiers while the surgeon and his assistant did their gruesome tasks. He held and comforted men as they breathed their last. I cannot begin to imagine what all those men had to go through. And for a cause they didn’t wholly support. Hell couldn’t be a whole lot worse.
    Here I go again! Sorry!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 15, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    out “Red Skinned” brethren should be our “Red Skinned” brethren.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 15, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Ken-You said that in 1838 the government moved out some of the Cherokees. Actually the government moved out all but the Indians that could prove they owned land and those that could prove they were white. So that left very few. A lucky few managed to hide out in those same mountains and escape the “Trail of Tears.” That is the basis to the outdoor drama “Unto these Hills.” Those escapees are the ancestors of the present day native people of Cherokee in Swain County, Snowbird in Graham County and the northern parts of Cherokee County. Those who survived the Trail of Tears ended up on a reservation in Oklahoma. Those who didn’t survive were just discarded along the roadside.
    Fort Hembree, near where Tipper lives is one of the points where the Federal soldiers corraled the native inhabitants of Western NC, Northern GA and Upstate SC before marching them west. Fort Hembree became Hayesville.
    In defense of our white ancestors, many of them were already living among the Cherokee and helped them hide out until the roundup was over. Many of our white ancestors were not white at all but could look the part enough to evade the inspection of the Federals.
    I am off on a rant now so I had better shut up but I have just one more thing to say. In my opinion the travesty done to out “red skinned” brethren in 1838 is equal to or worse than anything done to the slaves of the old south. Just another example of what unchecked government does to its people in the name of civilization and progress.
    Sorry Tipper, I’ll understand if the censors scissors cuts me off.

  • Reply
    Sallie Covolo aka Granny Sal
    January 15, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    Rev. Humphrey Posey was the first Pastor of Hominy Creek Baptist Church before moving on to minister to the Cherokee. My ggg grandfather Stephen Morgan was the second Pastor of Hominy Creek Listing of Pastors
    Humphrey Posey 1812-1818
    Stephen Morgan 1818-1838
    The French Broad Association when organized in 1807 was composed of six churches; French Broad, Cane Creek, and Caney River from the Broad River; and three: Little Ivy, New Found and Locust Old Field, from the Holston Association in Tennessee. Leading ministers were Sion Blythe, Benjamin King, Humphrey Posey, Stephen Morgan, Thomas Snelson, and Thomas Justice. These men had only rudiments of education but they were stalwart men of conviction and dedication, and were fired with a burning zeal.”
    (A History of North Carolina Baptist 1727-1932) My Dad’s relatives lived in Swain near Dillsboro but they were Methodists.
    Mom’s relatives the Morgan’s were all Primitive Baptists aka Missionary Baotists.

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    January 15, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Very interesting story.. lots of history there.

  • Reply
    January 15, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    I look forward to your further history of this beautiful old church!

  • Reply
    trisha too
    January 15, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Our church has a long history, it’s been around since before the Civil War, and the kicker is, we have the minutes from all the meetings from way back then to now. The funniest thing I found was when my husband’s grandma (who was very young back then, and just turned 95) and her whole family got dropped from the roll for not attending enough.
    Happy New Year to you and yours–lovin’ the new playlist!

  • Reply
    January 15, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    You mentioned back in 1838 about
    our government moving some of the
    Cherokees out. There is an Indian
    Drama in Cherokee you can watch in
    late Summer and early Fall called
    “Unto These Hills”. It tells the
    story of Indian Nations and local
    Pilgrims living together and their
    struggles for survival. I’ve seen
    it several times and enjoyed going
    back in times past…Ken

  • Reply
    January 15, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Your story has got me wondering about the age of the little church nearly all my family attended when I was a child. My uncle was the preacher there for as long as I can remember. He has been gone since the late 60s or early 70s, yet he is still remembered during Sunday services. I can remember the outside toilets, the pot-bellied stove and dinner on the ground. The church has received a lot of modern additions such as heat, air and a full kitchen. I will never forget how the congregation used those little cardboard fans with a wooden handle in an attempt to stay cool. My uncle just kept blotting his face and neck with a handkerchief that was drenched by the time his sermon was over.

  • Reply
    January 15, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Thanks, Tipper! I’m looking forward to the next ‘potato chip’ of this account…

  • Reply
    January 15, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Nice post. I wish I had this type of history of the small church I attended when growing up. So much of our history is lost because no one thought to document it people with first hand knowledge were still around.

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    January 15, 2013 at 9:22 am

    It really is a small world. Rev. Adam Corn is my Now I’m really interested! There is a book called Corn Stalks and Preachers my mother gave me in the early eighties. It’s about a long line of Baptist ministers named Corn. It is written by Lois Teacher Dorsey (1981).

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    January 15, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Tipper, I love this story and all the history behind it. I would love to go there and just sit alone and try to imagine what it must have been like. Back in those days it took a lot of effort just to go to church. Not like today where you just hop in the car with heat and AC and drive to a church that also has heat and AC and inside bathrooms!
    Can’t wait for the rest of the story!!

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    January 15, 2013 at 8:03 am

    Thanks for the interesting and brief history of Lufty Baptist Church. The history of how our ancestors brought their faith to bear in the early days is always an inspiration to me. The Revs. Posey and Corn were very active in starting and strengthening churches wherever they went. Their lives and service are interesting, indeed!

  • Reply
    January 15, 2013 at 7:31 am

    I had read or heard that sometimes church elders had a falling out and would split the congregation into two. This split appears to have been a reasonable and necessary one since weather conditions could hinder those desiring to attend services had to risk dealing with mother nature’s conditions. This is very interesting. Thanks!

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