Scott County Historical Society
Scott County, Virginia

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Remembrances Of
Addington Frame Church

By May Goode Cooper
May, 1980

    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 todayís present location. The little church remained there and thrived until L. J. Addingtonís 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 little church.

     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.

     The surroundings inside the church remain with the humbleness of yesteryear and the presence of God can be felt throughout the whole church. Outside, modernism hasnít 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 itís the place where they met Christ, their personal Savior, to others, itís 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 menís 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 present.

     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 Motherís 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 in silently.

     The Bowlin Quartet (Claude Bowlinís children, Charlie Bowlinís and Cora Kilgore Bowlinís grandchildren, Bill, Jim, John, and Brenda) sang two songs and they were assisted on their third and fourth choice by Bill Bowlinís 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 Grace".

     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 cake.

     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 lay.

     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."

 

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