Salem Campground Has Spread Gospel For Almost 200 Years

Gallatin Examiner, Thursday, July 22, 1976
Prepared by Nelson Howard Baulch, President Salem Community Improvement Club
Retyped for this web page by Howard Stone Baulch, August 2005

Editor's Note: The information for this report was written by Mrs. Anna McKoin in 1964, from a deed where in 1883 William Pash sold to William Baulch, William Hollis and Alfred Baulch (school directors) 1 1/2 acres on which the Baulch school house was built. Information also came from an old minute book of Salem Wheel No. 1440 which dates back to February, 1889.

The Salem Community received its name from the Salem camp ground where the early pioneers held their 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 Thomas Douglas and Learner Blackman. Blackman later married the widow of Charles Elliott and lived at Walnut Grove. He and his bride attended a Methodist conference in Cincinnati, and he 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, Andrew Ellis received $20 for the 2 1/4 acres of land and the one-fourth acre was reserved for the school.

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. Charles W. Hichcock as contractor and with members of the community assisting.

According to several old records, Salem Camp Ground and Salem Methodist church have spread the gospel for close to two hundred 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.

Baulch school house was about two miles north of the Salem Methodist Church. The Salem Wheel No. 1440 alternated its meetings between Salem Methodist Church and Baulch school house. Back in 1889 its roll consisted of the following names: Baulches, Bakers, Babers, Cobbs, Ventress, Braziers, Bonds, Franklins, Jernigans, Estes, Hendersons, Talbots, Huse, Stones, Greens, and Loves. It seems that the wheel was some sort of a lodge since they had an investigating committee.

The Douglas Pike received its name from James Douglas, a revolutionary soldier and the father of a large family. Mr. Douglas 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 Charles Nimmo later on. Another Douglas family build his home near by and it is still standing and is the home of Henry McKoin who was born there.

In the early part of the twentieth century the school known as Baulch school house was discontinued and sold to Mr. and Mrs. Cullen Baulch. It is now the home of their son, Herman Baulch.

A new school was built on the Salem camp grounds and was known as Salem Elementary School. At this time the Salem consisted of the Methodist church, the elementary school, a country store, farmers scales, a beef club and pen, large farms and widely scattered homes.

When Highway 109 North 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 W.H.I.N., our radio station, two churches (Baptist and Methodist), two grocery stores, a filling station, a tractor and implement company, many attractive homes, a new community center, a progressive community club.

Crestview Memorial Park, which was originally owned by Mr. and Mrs. William Franklin, adds beauty along the highway. This park is now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Ted Payne.

The present Salem Community Improvement Club was organized in February 1959 in the new office of Mr. and Mrs. Franklin at Crestview Memorial Cemetery with the following officers: President- Marvin Betts, Vice-president- Charles Cantrell, Secretary- Mrs. Ben Moss, Treasurer-Mrs. Harold Piper.

A club house was later built opposite the Salem United Methodist Church where the club holds its regular monthly meetings and the elections are also held in this building.

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