Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Gray's Creek Missionary Baptist Church

Marker ID:  
Location: on Inglewood Place north of Hwy64, Arlington, TN
County: Shelby
Coordinates: N 35° 12.706    W 089° 40.873
  35.21176666    -89.68121666
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WM6GD6


Gray's Creek Missionary Baptist Church

This church was founded in February 1843 by Joseph H. "FreeJoe" Harris, an African-American and it's first minister, who was called to preach in 1829 while still a slave in Virginia. Gray's Creek MB Church is the oldest established African-American church in Shelby County, TN. After Rev. Harris acquired the property, he gathered donated yellow poplar trees to rebuild the church, which originally was the Green Bottom Cumberland Presbyterian Church, founded in 1832. That church espoused the religious doctrines of Rev. Alexander Campbell in the 1800s.

Gray's Creek Cemetery

Gray's Creek Cemetery, comprised of 2 1/2 acres, was acquired in February 1843 by Joseph H. "FreeJoe" Harris. Many Caucasians, who were buried here earlier, were moved to the Morning Sun Cemetery, but a few remain. Gray's Creek Cemetery is among the earliest established cemeteries in Shelby County, TN. Buried here are many outstanding citizens, including Joseph H. "FreeJoe" Harris (1796-1875) and his wife, Fanny Harris (1798-1865), the first lady of Gray's Creek Missionary Baptist Church. Caretakers included Matt Brooks, Andrew Johnson and James H. "Pete" Brooks.

Shelby County Historical Commission and Gray's Creek MB Church.