Rush Run Baptist Church on Steer Creek in very early
1900s (Photo from the Harlan Stump Collection)
Rush Run Baptist Church photographed by Bill Hefner in the 1970s
A view of the Rush Run Baptist Church in 2016
By Bob Weaver
In 2022 the Rush Run Baptist Church was 130 years old.
The lower residents of the Steer Creek community in Calhoun, during much of the 19th Century, attended the well-established Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church in Stumptown, but decided in 1894 to establish their own community church along Steer Creek at the mouth of Rush Run (Apple Farm).
One of the first services, a "protracted revival" was conducted by Rev. L. S. Vannoy and Rev. Scott Dobbins, as 38 names were placed on a charter to establish the church, with a total of 58 members at a later date.
Rev. William Burns, a longtime Baptist minister, gave some early sermons in a nearby one-room log schoolhouse on Rush Run, Burns having helped establish numerous churches in Roane, Calhoun and Gilmer.
Early stories from Treacy Stump and Robert Knotts, say the creek and hollow got its name because of the force which waters would rush into Steer Creek.
Nelson Bennett donated the land across Steer Creek from the log structure on which to build a new church which was dedicate in 1898, which over time was flooded from Steer Creek.
In 1920 the building was plumbed for natural gas heating and lighting, and was plumbed for electricity in 1947 by the REA project.
Charter members, pastors and church history are detailed in a booklet published in 1994 "Rush Run Baptist Church 1894-1994."
Among the most frequent church membership names, Barr, Bennett, Boatwright, Boothe, Burns, Burrows, Collins, Dobbins, Fowler, Fulks, Gainer, Gherke, Godfrey, Goodrich, Harris, Keener, Kendall, and McCartney.
Also Minney, Nicholas, Poling, Riddle, Robinson, Shock, Smith, Stump (maybe 100), Suttle, Knotts, Vanhorn, Vannoy (maybe 50), and a large number from the Wilson family.
Rush Run Community Young People-Seated, left to right: Bob Shock, Jim Minney, Unknown, Ona Gainer, Sull Stump, Ruth Bennett, Bob Boone; Standing: Oral Smith, Cecil Boone, Norman Stump, Lona Smith, Willa Stump, Rosie Hathaway Barnes, Hoy Stump, Shirley Smith, Clyde Hathaway
(Photo Courtesy of Bill Smith)