I have wanted to find the Bear Creek Church since I moved down here, since it is the source of some of Middle Tennessee’s greatest urban legends (or rural legends, as the case may be). It’s supposed to be haunted or used for devil worship and it contains a cursed Bible, supposedly. My hunt for Bear Creek Church has been thwarted by the fact that there are a number of Bear Creek Roads near Columbia. But today, I found it.
More importantly, though, I went out to Zion Presbyterian Church outside of Columbia, where Jack Macon’s first owner and the father of his longest owner is buried. It was really moving. They’ve kept the place up beautifully, but it made me cry to realize I was looking at a building that, in all likelihood, Jack, among others, was forced to build and then wasn’t even allowed to attend. I stood in a graveyard where I know Jack’s friends and possibly family were buried, but who can know, since they were denied last names?
Here we are on the Zion campus. This is the old school, which seems to still serve some scholastic function.
The first attempt to reckon with the history of this place that I came across.
The white people cemetery.
The front of the church.
More shots of the white people cemetery.
The grave of Major John Macon, Jack’s first owner. Well, that I know of.
I was really hoping this was not what it was–the slave cemetery. The building in the distance was, I think, the slave church.
The other attempt to reckon with the history of this place.
Okay, so this is totally switching gears. Here we are out at the New Bear Creek Cemetery, where there’s this peculiar thing–the Reverend’s grave is misaligned. You can see it in this picture, that it’s not square with the fence-line. All the other graves, in good old-fashioned church fashion, face roughly east. This faces southwest. I wonder what’s up with that.
And look at how far apart he’s set.
There’s the church. They have a locked gate and I didn’t feel like trespassing.
Bethesda Presbyterian, just down the street from where Zilpha Murrell supposedly plied her trade.
I’m not gardening this year, but the hollyhocks don’t give a shit.
The most remarkable thing about the Bear Creek Church is that anyone can get a good look inside it thanks to Alan Jackson: