History of Clearview

History of Clearview Church of Christ

Contributed by Kenneth Durrett

On August 7, 1906, members of the Antioch Church of Christ, Schochoch, Kentucky, along with Tommy West and Ed Dowell, members of the one year old Cross Plains Church of Christ, pitched a tent on the grounds of the Clearview Schoolhouse. The following day, a series of meetings began in the tent, with T.Q. Martin preaching from the Bible and Frank Taylor leading the singing. This meeting continued for twelve days with services at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Those first confessing Christ that night were Mr. And Mrs. W.N. Warren (ages 63 and 65), Frank Bradley, Alice Summers, and Dan Latimer. Tom Morrow and May Latimer, who later married Frank Jernigan, responded to the Word and these seven were baptized in Roney Creek near the Cherry Mound community. On August 26, 1906, these first members, along with others who had been baptized in other various places, joined together to begin the first regular worship service in the one room Clearview school building. Early members of this church were: "Blankey" Blankenship, Ernest Weiss, Bettie Wright, Maude Wright, Alice Hardin, Lila Mai Hardin, Sallie Jones, G.D. Jones, Pearl Wright, Lesba Armstrong, the Bradley brothers - Frank, Jim, Jack and John; the Armstrong's - Bill, John, Belle, Maggie; the Latimers - Dan, May Alva, Alice, and Della; Mr. And Mrs. W.N. Warren, Mr. and Mrs. Jim Gilbert, and Josie Gilbert, Virgil Summers, Alice Summers, and Mr. and Mrs. Tom Morrow. Cross Plains members, Mr. and Mrs. Tom West and Antioch member Charlie Watkins also attended. W.L. Karnes preached that afternoon.

The early church of Clearview did not have a regular minister, but instead relied upon visiting preachers, Charlie Watkins from Antioch and Tommy West from Cross Plains to lead and guide the worship services. Dr. Charles Thomas Blasseldine Brown from the Church of Christ in Gallatin would often meet with members at the Clearview Church of Christ to talk with and teach the new members. Later Frank Taylor began preaching and was paid by the members with corn, potatoes, and other things he would need.

Construction began on Clearview's first meetinghouse in the winter of 1907. The foundation was first laid in the field owned by Ernest Weiss next to the school, but because of the low land, drifting snow, and muddy roads, it was almost impossible to get to this area during the winter. Jim Gilbert offered his land on the corner where the building is situated today, the old site abandoned and a new foundation laid. Twice during the year 1908, tornado-like windstorms struck the building. The first storm turned it around toward the east and the second storm removed it from the foundation. On another occasion, lightning struck the building, but it was repaired and continued to serve the congregation.

Elders and Deacons were appointed at Clearview for the first time in 1912. Virgil Summers and John Bradley were appointed elders and Frank Jernigan, Harry Wright, and Ollie Briley were asked to serve as the first Deacons.

In 1916, Frank Jernigan became the part-time preacher. He filled the pulpit off and on for the next 54 years. At times, he was Clearviews only preacher, but for periods of time he would step aside to let someone else speak. He also preached at Portland, Corinth, Bushes Chapel, New Deal, and Fountain Head. Wife May Jernigan said there were many winter Sundays when she and her husband walked to church. At that time they loved on Buntin Mill Road, just north of Red River. Sometimes the snow had drifted over the road and was so deep they could not ride in the buggy to Church. Wrapping grass sacks around their legs, they walked across the fields to arrive early and build the fire in the pot-bellied stove. The first Ladies Bible Class began in the 1930's with Sister May Jernigan teaching the lessons and leading these ladies in various projects to help the community. One such project was to get together a box of sheets, gowns, and other items to loan to anyone in the community who went to the hospital. In those days, if someone entered the hospital, they had to furnish their own sheets and gowns.

In 1940, the old one room meeting house, built in 1907, was torn down and Marvin Claiborne built a new auditorium and two classrooms, on the east side. As the church began to grow, classrooms were added on the west side. In 1951, a dirt bank about six feet high on the corner of the churchyard was pushed down and the churchyard leveled. Later in the year, Lee Smith, from Simpson County Lumber Company in Franklin, Kentucky poured the circular walks around the building, which are partly visible today. The men of the congregation dug Maple trees from Frank Jernigan's farm and set them out in a circle around the building. These growing maples have been symbolic of the growing unity that has always encircled this congregation of God's people.

In 1956, Don Shackleford became the first full-time preacher. He was a graduate of David Lipscomb College and served the congregation in a distinguished manner until leaving for Italy on missionary work in 1957. He began the first bulletin for the congregation and helped Ernest Durrett and the men of the congregation build an addition to the south end of the building. This work was done as much as possible by the men of the congregation. Frank Jernigan donated four thousand board feet of lumber and John Bradley donated the trees off the corner of his farm. Sometime in the 60's the church was bricked and later air-conditioning, carpeting, and stained-glass windows were installed.

The Clearview Church has continued to grow throughout the years with help from later ministers Mark J. Hearn, Howard Boyd, Rudolph Hunt, James Parker, Ben Renegar, and Lowell Harris.

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