Bethbirei Presbyterian Church was the first church of any denomination to be established in what is now Marshall County. Bethbirei, which means "House of My Creation" in Hebrew, was organized June 1, 1810, by Rev. Samuel Finley of Kentucky and 26 charter members. In 1814, the church hired their third minister, Rev. Thomas J. Hall, who soon opened the first grammar school in this section of the country. Hall also organized the Rock Creek Bible Society, an interdenominational group, in 1815. The Bible Society was needed "because at that time there were a whole lot of poor people who couldn't afford Bibles and there were also more fire disasters…Bibles were also given to the Indians that were still in the area at the time," explained church historian Roy Cheeves in an interview last year.
The Bible Society started 21 years before the founding of Marshall County, when Farmington was a frontier settlement and Lewisburg did not exist. The Society's Bibles were ordered from Philadelphia and made the long trip to Tennessee by boat. The Bethbirei Presbyterian Church was housed in a log cabin from its founding in 1810 until the present building was constructed in 1882. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
See Friday's Tribune for the complete story.