St. John Baptist Church Rev. Johnny Shaw, Pastor

Historical Perspective

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Around the turn of the century, in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s, a group of dedicated and concerned men and women, living in and around the Dancyville, KoKo community in Civil District # 8 of Haywood County, Tennessee, began to meet and conduct church services in a Bush Arbor. These men and women were former slaves and sons and daughters of slaves. Being full of the spirit of God, above all else, they were committed to staying together and worshiping as a group.


The original church building was erected on land given to the congregation by Deacon Charlie Wilkerson. It was a small log church located near the corner of Highway 76 South and the Qualls Road intersection and was known as St John’s “across the river”. This site included a graveyard that was reputed to have been the burial ground of both local Indians and slaves.


Although, we have no record of the first pastors of the church, we know that in 1916, Rev. Morgan Holloway was Pastor. The original church officers include Mr.’s Charlie Wilkerson, Marion Sweet, William Graves, Henry Carney, Sr., Squire Jeter and George Nettles. Other deacons and trustees from this era include; Josh Gray, Jim “Nig” Coleman, Harvey Pate, Tim Sweet, Jerry Williams, Emmett Winters, Frank Wilkes, Jeff Powell, Olley Graves, Will Dotson and West Douglass.


On November 16, 1904, papers were drawn up to purchase from W.H. Ford and wife a parcel of land consisting of 33 acres, located in the 8th Civil District of Haywood County, TN, approximately 1.5 miles from the unincorporated town of Dancyville, TN. History gives us no clue as to why this deed was not filed until January 20, 1906 at 3:45 P.M. The church paid a sum of $425.00 for the entire property.


A new structure was built by members and officers of the church on the west side of the road. It is known that Marion Sweet and William Graves were master carpenters because of the other structures in the community that they built or helped to build. They along with countless others laid the foundation and built a frame structure that was the place of worship for many years. Another frame church was built later in the early twentieth century by church members and was the nucleus of the church sanctuary until fire destroyed it on September 20, 2006.