Salter’s Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church: A Historical Sketch
According to the GOODSPEED PUBLISHING CO. (NASHVILLE) 1886, the “colored” churches of the county were as follows: Waverly (now Salter's Chapel), Johnsonville and Buffalo African Methodist Episcopal Churches, and Waverly and Johnsonville Missionary Baptist Churches.
Our church history states, that Rev. H. E. Rye and a few dedicated members built a structure on Tank Hill in 1890. These determined men carried material on their shoulders from the lumberyard for over a mile and up hill. It was only twenty-five years after Congress ratified the Thirteenth Amendment which abolished slavery; yet those faithful patriarchs created a legacy that continues to flourish well into the 21st century. To God be the glory.
On December 7, 1894, Rev. H. E. Rye, Jack Sander, Aaron Harris, John Goins, Aaron Gholston, York Price, and Chance Phifer paid James N. Nolan $1.00 for land at the north east corner of the parsonage lot. This proved to be the future home of the second Salter’s Chapel edifice.
On November 18, 1903 Annual Conference was held at Salters Chapel, and Bishop B. T. Tanner was the presiding prelate. In 1909 the 33rd West TN Annual Conference met at Quinn Chapel in Paris TN., and Rev. E. Phillip Ellis was Pastor of the Waverly Station. The Waverly Station included Flatwood A.M.E. Church Johnsonville, Salter’s Chapel Waverly, and McEwen A.M.E. Church. Salter’s Chapel had over one hundred members with five class leaders that paid their Conference Claims Assessments. In November 1910, the Pastor’s salary at Salter’s Chapel was $98.00, and the value of the church property was $300.00.
The 69th Session of West Tennessee Annual Conference was held November 1945 in Paris TN. Rev. R. R. Wright was the Presiding Bishop. Hugh L. Lomax was the Salter's Chapel delegate. Salters Chapel had 130 members and paid $114.00 in assessments.
Sis. Mattie Porch and Sis. Myrtle Reed were Sunday School Teachers at Salter’s Chapel. In 1946 the Waverly Colored School became Porch Reed School, named in their honor.
Rev. William F. Scruggs brought Salter’s Chapel and Waverly into a new era in the 1960’s. He remolded the church and added restrooms. His ability as a carpenter was put to good use. Under Rev. Scruggs, many Civil Right issues were addressed. Young people staged sit-ins, and many integration firsts where achieve during his tenure.
In 1972 the landscape of Richland and Lomax Avenues was scrambled like pieces of a puzzle. Urban Renewal was in full swing. Streets were moved, and old landmarks were demolished. Salter’s Chapel was moved to its present location under the leadership of Rev. Dorsey Williams, and then like a vapor, Rev. Dorsey Williams and his wife, Mrs. Helen Williams were killed in a car crash on their way to a Sunday School Convention. The Salter’s Chapel Missionary Society was named the Helen Williams Missionary Society, and the Fellowship Hall was name for The Williams.
For Over 17 years Rev. Webbie Ross Rogers pastored Salter’s Chapel and the Humphreys County community. The W. R. Rogers Activity Center bears his name.
Our present pastor Rev. Lee Brown Jr. preached is first sermon from a sister congregation, St. James, Dickson, at Salter's Chapel when he was 17 years old. He, like many of our successful sons and daughters, was nurtured in the arms of the Area 6 Young People's Department. Twenty years later, we thank God for Rev. Lee Russell Brown, Jr. and his leadership. Where do we go from here? Heaven is our goal.