Addington Frame Church
By May Goode Cooper
Addington Frame Church or Copper
Creek Church as it is called today, had its beginnings in a
little frame church at the foot of the hill of today’s present
location. The little church remained there and thrived until L.
J. Addington’s father gave the land for the present location
of Copper Creek Church. It was built and dedicated in 1914, with
E. S. McPherson as Moderator. J. J. Addington was the Clerk and
E. A. Robinette brought the introductory sermon.
In the early days of the church the
hard shelled Baptist would preach on the third Saturday and
Sunday of the month, and the soft shelled Baptist would hold
services on the 2nd Saturday and Sunday of the month. Time has
taken its toll and there is only one week-end a month in which
services are held and this is the second Saturday and Sunday,
with the Elder John R. Gardner as pastor.
It was a beautiful
Sunday morning in the merry month of May when once again, we
trod the rambling, unsettled road from Hiltons to the little,
frame church in Nickelsville.
Nestled on a hillside amid, the trees,
surrounded by the beautiful Clinch Mountain, where there is
unsettled earth surrounded by rock, steep slopes and Copper
Creek, sits Addington Frame church as it is still known to many
who attend. The outside of the church is well kept with its
mowed lawn and white paint. It has stood the weathering of time
and sheltered many dear souls from the wind, rain, sleet and
snow as they worship God inside the four walls of the sacred
Inside the church is
a sweet spiritual atmosphere which has remained through the
years by the prayerful attitude of the members that have called
Addington Frame their church home for many years.
inside the church remain with the humbleness of yesteryear and
the presence of God can be felt throughout the whole church.
Outside, modernism hasn’t taken its toll, and there is an
outside toilet for the men and one for the ladies under the bank
near the front of the church.
As we came in sight
of the church, one could view the crowd as it began to gather;
there were white haired men and women, stooped with age and many
were aided by a cane. Many were coming because they were members
and others came because it was a memory and a landmark which
their ancestors had used as their stomping ground of religious
heritage. Addington Frame Church or Copper Creek Church, has
many memories for different people. To some it’s the place
where they met Christ, their personal Savior, to others, it’s
a place where funeral services of their loved ones were held;
also a place where revivals and foot washings were held. May was
always looked forward to as the big May meeting day. About a
week prior to the big day, families would begin preparations for
the May meeting. The men of the community would cut the weeds or
grass in the cemetery and fill any graves that had sunk and the
women would busy themselves with the cooking. It was always a
pleasure to feed everyone who attended the services. In by-gone
days, on Sunday morning, loaded wagons and buggies and many
traveling on foot could be seen with food packed in baskets, on
their way to the meeting house.
Very few young people
could be seen amid the elderly who had come once again to relive
a few precious moments of memory of the past where their mothers
and daddies had gone.
Many, white carnation
corsages could be seen on the women and single white carnations
on the lapel of the men’s coats showing that Mother was gone,
never to be seen on this earth again; but sleeping in a bed of
clay awaiting a glorious resurrection. Very few red flowers were
seen and those were worn mainly among the young who were
Promptly at 11 a. m.
the bell at the top of the church began to toll to give everyone
a chance to enter in reverence to the Holy Spirit. Bill Bowlin
lead the congregation in two soul stirring songs. The first one
was "If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again"; this was
of excellent choice, since Sunday May 11, was Mother’s Day and
it would be so wonderful if everyone present could once again
hear their Mother pray again. The second choice was "I Have
Found The Way", and for those who have been redeemed, they
have found a "Way".
Before the Bowlin
Quartet came forward, Lewis Baker was asked to lead us to the
Throne of Grace through prayer. The many ministers present and
those in the congregation who knew the meaning of prayer joined
The Bowlin Quartet
(Claude Bowlin’s children, Charlie Bowlin’s and Cora Kilgore
Bowlin’s grandchildren, Bill, Jim, John, and Brenda) sang two
songs and they were assisted on their third and fourth choice by
Bill Bowlin’s two daughters Lisa and Karen.
The Bowlin Quartet
was followed by Bro. Odus Caudill of Big Stone Gap. Two other
ministers followed Bro. Caudill and the closing message was
brought by Bro. Basil Freeman. Everyone came forward and shook
hands as Bro. Freeman lead the congregation in "Amazing
The services broke as the ladies of
the church rushed outside to spread their dinner
on the tables. Others lingered behind to renew old acquaintances
and remembrances of days gone by. There
were many discussions throughout the church
of the many missing faces who had come to Addington Frame Church
to worship God in their own way. Those dear souls had carried
dinner over roads that were crude and bumpy many years ago. No
longer would their presence be among the
congregation; but they would be represented by their ancestry.
It was in this mountainous area at
Addington Frame Church that my grandfather, Charlie Bowlin came
to attend one of the May meeting services. It was there in the
early 1900's that he met Cora Kilgore, who was attending
services with her mother, Sarah and sister, Leona. They were
descendants from the north side of Clinch
Mountain. Their home stood over in the ridge at the back of the
present church. It was there they made a living from the earth
as mountain farmers. Arbin McIver was a very hard worker and
provided well for his family. It was at their home that many
young folk would gather and exchange conversations on Saturday
night. Sarah was an excellent seamstress and cake baker and she
was asked by many young girls of the
community to make their wedding dress and bake their wedding
It was at this mountain side farm
that Charlie Bowlin came to court Cora Kilgore
and on September 5, 1905, they were married at her Clinch
Mountain home in the ridge. He brought his bride, by horseback,
across Clinch Mountain to the, south side on the banks of the
North Fork of Holston River and settled
there. It was in this Holston River, area on the banks of Cove
Creek that their first child, Claude Swanson Bowlin, was born.
Two other children were born of this union, my mother,
Bettie Lyndoll Bowlin and Lotus.
Cora Kilgore Bowlin
and Charlie Bowlin had a very short life together because she
developed the dreaded disease of cancer and died at her Holston
River Home on October 28, 1929, making their short marriage only
24 years; but their life together all began on the North Side of
Clinch Mountain at Addington Frame Church
in the early 1900's.
Cora Kilgore Bowlin was laid to rest in the Spurrier Cemetery
on a hillside just above the peaceful Holston River. She was
joined by her youngest daughter, Lotus on October 18, 1934. On
April 22, 1958, her husband Charlie Bowlin
was laid to rest by her side. On July 24, 1979,Claude Bowlin
joined his family in eternal rest.
After everyone had eaten and the
food was cleared away, many visited the cemetery
where their loved ones had been laid to rest. It was so peaceful
and quiet as we strolled down the dirt road from the church to
the rolling cemetery which lay just a few yards below the
church. Each person took a stroll down "memory lane"
as they read the inscriptions on the headstones of the
loved ones who had been laid to rest.
As we slowly turned and walked away
it seemed as if we were leaving the dead behind, unharmed,
peaceful and undisturbed. We glanced over the side of Clinch
Mountain where many years ago my mother; Bettie Bowlin Goode had
visited her grandparents, Arbin and Sarah McIver.
There were only trees
in view, the house was not visible because unharmed and uncared
for land had grown up where a cleared mountainside farm once
As we drove down the dirt road, I
glanced back as if to say, "Sleep on Dear Souls, we'll see
you again on the resurrection morning when all the dead in
Christ shall rise."