History of Old Salem Community

Composed by Mrs. Anna McKoin, October 1964
Retyped for the page by Howard Stone Baulch, August 2003

The Salem Community received its name from the Salem Camp Ground where the early pioneers held their great religious revivals.

The gospel preachers and their congregations came from far and wide and camped each summer on land which in later years was occupied by Salem Methodist Church, Salem school and, much later, the little cemetery.

According to the records of the early church, the most famous of these camp ground preachers were Thos Douglass and Learner Blackman. Blackman later married the widow of Chas. Elliott and lived at Walnut Grove. He and his bride attended a Methodist conference in Cincinnati, and he was drowned in the Ohio River on his way home.

The first church built on Salem camp ground was in 1828. When the first church was organized at Salem, Mr. Andrew Ellis received $20.00 for the two and one-fourth acres of land and the one-fourth acre was reserved for the school.

The trustees of the early church were Andrew J. Ellis, Jas. Douglass, Elizah Boddie, Joseph B. Wynne, Chas. B. Jeffines, James Stratton, Nicholas Stone and Chas. Lucas.

The church of 1828 was a large brick building with two front doors, a balcony for the servants of the members and a large fire place at either end. The building faced south and the old road ran north of the church and school.

The present Salem Methodist church was built in 1907 of the brick from the old church with Mr. Chas. W. Hichcock as contractor and with members of the community assisting.

According to several old records, we think it safe to say Salem Camp Ground and Salem Methodist church have spread the gospel for more than a hundred and fifty years.

The Salem community begins at the little village of Hatton Track on the northern outskirts of Gallatin and extends to the edge of the Highland Rim. The Old Douglas Pike led through the Salem community and was crossed by the east fork of the Station Camp creek and several of its tributaries.

The Douglas Pike received its name from Jas. Douglas, a revolutionary soldier and the father of a large family. Mr. Douglass owned a large tract of land and built his home north of Salem Camp Ground. In later years the home was known as the George Baulch home and rebuilt by the Chas. Nimmo family later on.

Fifty-five years ago the Salem community consisted of the Methodist church, the elementary school, a country store, farmers scales, a beef club and beef pen, large farms and widely scattered homes.

When highway 109 N. divided many of the farms and the T.V.A. brought light and lifted some burdens from country life, many changes took place. With the coming of rural electrification many people who were not farmers wanted homes in the country.

We can now boast of WHIN, our radio station, two churches, a grocery store, three villages of nice attractive homes, a new community center, a progressive community club which promises city water for most of the community and numerous other improvements in the near future.

Crestview Memorial Park, which is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Franklin, adds beauty along the highway.

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