Big Hatchie Baptist Association was organized in 1828 at the Big Black Creek Baptist Church near the town of Denmark in Madison County. West Tennessee was virtually a wilderness. BHBA included the area bounded on the east by the Tennessee River, on the north by the Obion River, on the west by the Mississippi River, and on the south by the state of Mississippi. Just ten years prior, Andrew Jackson and Isaac Shelby had negotiated the treaty to purchase this area, known as “Indian Lands” on maps at the time.
By 1830 the records reveal that there were possibly 28 churches affiliated with Big Hatchie Association: 4 in Fayette County, 8 in Hardeman, 3 in Haywood, 3 in Madison, 4 in McNairy, 4 in Shelby, and 2 in Tipton.
In 1839 the association began supporting 3 men, Griffin, Wright, and Day, to ride as missionaries within the association. In 1850 BHBA began working with the 80,000 to 90,000 Native Americans in the area. In 1849 BHBA began support of foreign missionaries in cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention Foreign Mission Board. In 1875 a proposal was made to locate Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Big Hatchie took the lead in supporting the proposal and pledged more than her share of the needed funds.
The land area that was originally Big Hatchie Association is now 12 Tennessee Baptist Associations.
The history of BHBA is characterized by beginning new ministries according to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Today we are 42 congregations. One is a Native American congregation and two are African American congregations. We have a Christian Counseling Ministry located in the BHBA office. As God leads other new ministries will be started.
Here is an informative video created years ago by DOM Ray Jones: BHBA History