The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Heart of the Blue Ridge

Growing Up On Tuggles Creek - Concord Primitive Baptist Church

By YKW © 1985

Issue: November, 1985

(Editor's Note: Tuggles Creek is located in the Heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, near the tiny mountain community of Meadows of Dan, Virginia. Meadows of Dan is a crossroads community where US Highway 58 Business and the Blue Ridge Parkway cross. Mabry Mill is north about 1.6 miles and Mayberry Trading Post is about 2.8 miles south on the Blue Ridge Parkway.)

The dictionary defines the word Concord as "harmony – agreement." Whoever picked that name for the Primitive Baptist Church at Meadows of Dan couldn't possibly have found a better name for it. In all the years I have never known anything but "harmony" to exist there.

I would like to give you a history of this church, but I am sadly lacking in factual knowledge. Therefore, I shall have to confine myself to the impressions I have first hand of this fine old church.

Concord is situated on a plot of land near the headwaters of Tuggles Creek and on the old road to the Meadows of Dan Post Office. [This was once the Danville- Wytheville Turnpike.] There are lots of fine shade trees and a thick stand of natural grass around it.

I can recall attending church in the original old log building which has long since been torn down. [This was across the road from the church today. The present building was built before 1920.] This church was built sturdily and plainly, in keeping with the spirit of its members. There is no adornment of any kind to be found inside, just plank walls and clear pane windows.

Services were held on the 3rd Sunday of each month. Some things about these services might appear odd to city people or members of other denominations. For instance they do not have Sunday School for young people. They do not allow any musical instruments inside the church, and the singing is always "a cappella."

I suppose the preacher still "gives out the hymns" and someone with a pitch pipe "heists the tune." The preacher says one line of the hymn and the congregation sings it, then another and another until the hymn is finished. This custom probably grew up in pioneer days when hymn books were too scarce to go around.

Some of the beliefs of the Primitive Baptists differ widely from those of other churches. They, believe in Predestination, or as it sometimes is put, "Whatever is to be will be." This might be a little difficult to prove in all cases, but on the other hand, it is just as difficult to disprove!

It was probably never intended to be, but Concord was also a great social event for young people of my generation. Strangely, the young generation seldom went inside the church, but paraded up and down the road, either courting or looking for someone new to court. Their excuse was, "To get a drink of water," for Concord Spring was about the clearest, coldest water to be found anywhere. I believe it is said that it has never run dry, even in the severest drought. If a young man made more than two trips to the spring with the same girl, it usually started everyone talking about when the wedding would be.

When the young people got tired of walking, they could usually find an empty buggy to "spark" in.

Although the two churches differed widely in their beliefs, Concord and the (Meadows of Dan) Missionary Baptist Church lived together in the community in perfect harmony. For a long time, both used the same baptismal pool in Tuggles Creek and each always scrupulously respected the others day of worship.

There were 17 churches in Patrick, Carroll and Floyd Counties which belonged to the Blue Ridge Primitive Baptist Association. That meant that every 17 years each church played host to an Association meeting and believe me, this was some occasion. (We shortened the word to 'Sociation.) From miles around they came in buggies, on horseback and in wagons.

The meeting lasted two or three days and since travel was so slow, the local members were supposed to provide meals and a place to sleep for all the visitors from other churches.

On one occasion, John Burnett (Matt Burnett's father) was said to have had 100 invited guests. The women all slept in the house and the men on straw ticks in the barn.

It would be almost impossible to over estimate the powerful influence for good and law and order Concord Church has had in the Meadows of Dan community. It has been the moral glue that has held together settlers from many different places for well over a century.