Baptists first made their mark in Cades Cove in 1825 when John and Lucretia Oliver organized a branch of the Miller’s Cove Baptist Church in the cove. In those days it was an independent entity. Many of the first Baptist churches in the area would eventually split from one another over issues regarding missionary work and other practices.
Baptists at the time Cades Cove and the Smokies was settled were divided into a few groups: church members who supported Sunday schools, the practices of missionary work and temperance societies, and those that didn’t support any of those initiatives. To some there just wasn’t that Biblical text that called for such things in worldly society. When these issues came about, a number of Cades Cove Baptists, including pastor Johnson Adams, were dismissed from the original Baptist church affiliation due to their beliefs.
On May 15, 1841, Adams and other disenfranchised Smokies pioneers banded together and established the Cades Cove Missionary Baptist Church. The start was rocky. They had no meeting house and had to meet in individual homes. Sometimes they made arrangements to meet at the Primitive Baptist or Methodist church buildings. Also, in the Smokies there was much confusion over the Civil War. During the Civil War and reconstruction, the Missionary Baptists didn’t meet for long periods of time. After the war however, they had a particularly successful revival and were able to erect their own church building in the Cades Cove area of the Smoky Mountains. Their church was constructed on Hyatt Hill in 1894.
Over the years, the church roll would grow from 40 to over 100 members, prompting the construction of a new building in 1915. This building is the one visitors to Cades Cove can still see today.