DENMARK PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

         

The history first …next post the ghost story 

http://bigblackcreekhistorical.com* Here is an excerpt from the web site. Please go to the web site for more information and some great pictures of the community of Denmark. 

THE 1854 DENMARK PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH HISTORY 

This is one of the oldest church building in West Tennessee. The congregation dates back to about 1820 making it one, if not the oldest Presbyterian congregations in West Tennessee. The building has many connections with the Civil War, prisoners from the Battle of Britton Lane were housed up stairs. Dr. Gillispie preached from the steps to the Denmark Danes as they got ready to march off to war, many were killed at Shiloh. The Church services were stormed many times by Northern troops, the 30th Illinois camped on its lawn the night before the battle of Britton Lane and anytime they came to Denmark

They were stationed several times at Estonallie. It is believed that General Grant visited the Church on his way to Memphis and Holly Springs. The Church is on the Estonallie Trail and was the main stage route to Memphis.

 It was the largest Presbyterian congregation during its early life, it had over 140 members not including the slaves who were member and had helped in it construction,  which could have taken as much as 5 years.  Dr. Gillispie was the highest paid minister in West Tennessee, making $1,000 a year  He was the minister for over 30 years.  He has two children buried in the Denmark Presbyterian Cemetery, one a son who was wounded in the Civil War and came home and died..  

 The Presbyterian Synod held several meetings here.  It has a direct connection with the Orange County Synod in North Carolina. The Old Bay Presbyterian church in Orange Synod is very smiler to the Denmark Church and built in 1858. One of it ministers Murdock McMillian came here in around 1833 to preach and teach in the Academy, which was started by the church and one of the first schools in West Tennessee, there was a male and female. One of the Male Academy’s students became one of the first Baptist Missionaries to China.   Students from all over the South came to school, Denmark was the largest town in West Tennessee and the first. The first post office in West Tennessee is here. McMillian is credited with preaching the first Presbyterian sermon in Memphis, standing on the banks of the Mississippi at Chickasaw Bluff.  He was a Church organizer, helping organize many of the Presbyterian Churches in West Tennessee.  He is buried in the Trigg/McMillinan Cemetery in Memphis.  His sister married Phillip Alston and is buried in the Alston/Johnson Cemetery in Denmark. His father-in-law was John Ramsey, he had gotten 5,000 acres of land on the banks of the Mississippi, so had John Rice, (related to Mr. Harbert Alexander Sr. .)  Rice sold his land to John Overton, who established Memphis.  The bell in the church yard was cast of silver was hiden  by the ladies of the town, to keep the Northern Army form getting it.  The Masonic Lodges is upstairs and had a pit going from one floor to the other a part of the York Rite, one of only two in Tennessee, the other in Franklin.  The names of the Grand Masters are on the walls, this lodge dates from 1847, making it one of the oldest in West Tennessee.*

There were crude scrapings believed to have been made by some of the prisoners. At one time during the conflict troops would hold the captured soldiers up stairs in the lodge. It was said the ladies of the community would take food and tend to their wounds. 

Like the ladies of Jackson who would put flowers of the unknown soldiers in Riverside Cemetery . The ladies believed each solider had a mother who was worried about her son. So if they  helped the wounded and honored the dead there was a mother somewhere aiding their son.

Ghost story

DENMARK PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH AND CEMETERY 

d n english

When the Big Black Creek Historical Association started recapturing the beauty of the Denmark Presbyterian Church

I got to watch the process.

The first day I was down there since I had read the history and sat listening to Mr. Billy King for hours I could “time-look”.

Walking in that first day I was amazed how much work they had done. They left me inside while the others went outside.

Then I heard it the soft music and sweet sounds of the choir.

Now I know I was alone as soon as the others came back in the music stopped. 

Later when Mr. Billy I talked I told him about my experience.

He did not laugh he just said you are not the first one to tell me that. As the reconstruction of the church continued more stories surfaced. When they got the upstairs safe to go up and look around I went to see the progress.

Of course I went back in time.  I grew up a daughter of a Mason I had visited the Masonic Lodge in my home town  several times with him. So I could imagine the lay out of this Lodge closing my eyes I could hear the prayers being recited. After the meeting I could imagine the members talking and laughing as they went down the stairs. I looked over to one wall I went over I put my hand on the wall. I felt the scrapings but what happened next was a shock. All of a sudden the area around my hand got warm. I looked at the floor to my left there he was a young man in a tattered uniform looking up at me . Then I heard someone on the stairs and the young man faded away. 

Later I was told about the men that been held up stairs during the conflict. They would take anything sharp and scrape their names or a message in the wall. The spirits are still there and I am not the only one to experience them .

One Saturday Mr. Billy asked if I would come down to the church since a film crew would be there. He did not trust this individual neither did I. Well guess what the church didn’t either. Everywhere he stopped to direct the filming he would look around and would rub his arms like he was chilled. Needless to say it was a fast segment he was so “shook” he would not even go upstairs. 

When he left I asked Mr. Billy to play a hymn he did.  All of a sudden it felt like the building let out a sigh and the atmosphere calmed down.

Over the years people have been by the church at night to see lights and hear singing or the organ playing. Some have gotten to look no one there.

The latest happening was at a Men’s Bible Study session.

At the meeting some suggested they move the meeting by to Jackson. When he did two things happened at the same time a painting fell off the wall and the door blew open blowing papers all over the place. (No wind that night )

It was quickly decided the church had spoken they would continue to meet at the church. 

Proves you do not upset the  spirits of the Denmark Church or the “Holy Ghost”.

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