FirstLife Blog

Old to New: Times of Transition in the Past

Posted by Linda Walsh on

Knoxville’s population increased from under 10,000 in 1880 to almost 27,000 in 1910 with the city becoming one of the South’s major wholesale and distribution centers.  First Baptist’s history during the first quarter of the 20th century is rich in detail. In 1900, First...

1873 Through the Second Church's Dedication

Posted by Linda Walsh on

“The history of the First Baptist Church of Knoxville, when it shall be fully written, will present pictures of an [sic] humble beginning, a varying progress, an alternation of light and shadow, of strength and weakness, combined with examples of unswerving fidelity, and of a...

Emerging from the Ruins of War

Posted by Linda Walsh on

Describing Knoxville in the Civil War’s aftermath, historian Jack Neely noted, “Progress was slow, especially at first. With its raw trenchwork, muddy streets among shot-scarred and army-abandoned buildings, postwar Knoxville could appall some visitors, who remarked that Knoxville...

Two Churches, One Foundation

Posted by Linda Walsh on

During East Tennessee’s antebellum years, the Black population was smaller than the rest of the state’s, primarily because of the absence of large-scale plantation-based agriculture. Both enslaved and free Blacks lived and worshipped in Knoxville.1 Of Knoxville Baptist...

When We Were Called Knoxville Baptist Church

Posted by Linda Walsh on

Before a Baptist church was in Knoxville, Knox County had seven Baptist churches, with the oldest beginning in 1797. Forty-six years later in January 1843, Knoxville Baptist Church (appropriately renamed First Baptist in 1869) was founded at the Court House, which was completed the previous...