From The EastWing, A Little Mountain Church In A Time Of Need

Greetings to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.


This is a story of a little church in the Appalachian Mountains that needs our help.


The decision to dig the coal from inside the mountain was made in early 1921.  The first step was the construction of the railroad.  The workers came even though the road was in the creek bed when the creek  was dry, and foot paths alongside the water’s edge when the waters flowed.  They came by horseback or  mules, walked on foot or came by train.  They came to dig and Load the coal. Migrants as far away as Germany came to work the new mines.


One of the first non mining activities was to construct housing for the workers.   A multi- person boarding house was utilized to accommodate the workers until such time individual houses could be built.  Soon over fifty homes were built on the mountainsides.  Homes that would shelter hundreds of people in what was to become known simply as Tip Top.  A little coal mining camp up in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky.


A Company Store built in 1926, then  the Post Office,  a two room school  and later the church  made the coal camp community complete.  A doctor came by on a somewhat regular schedule.  Early on it was the Missionaries that provided Sunday School for children before the church was built.


All the while they dug the coal.   Coal that  was not dug out  to operate steam generators  to produce electricity for the flat lands up north  or make steel in Gary Indiana. It was coal to power the steam locomotives hauling to market the fruits of the logging industry, the  lumber trains out of Breathitt County  from the other side of the mountain.


Below is a paragraph produced years ago by the Tip Top Church that briefly describes the events which lead to the church being where it is today. Many names will recognized by some. Every name I recognized.


In July 1936, 14 “Believers” formed “The Church of Christ of the United Baptist of the Big Caney Union” First officers were: Emery Case, Moderator, Daniel Tolson, Assistant moderator, Calloway Jackson, clerk, and Anna Rudd assistant clerk. The original “presbytery” including 3 ordained ministers : H. B.  Keith, Emery Case and Orban Rudd. Services were held in the Big Caney School (In Breathitt county across the hill from Tip Top). They joined the Ancient Christian Association. In 1942 Menifee Watson serving as clerk at the time, and his wife Myrtle, donated land (for one dollar) at Tip Top to build a permanent church house. Volunteers from in and around Tip Top, using the coal company saw mill, donated labor and money until the building was completed. In Oct.  1943 regular services moved from Big Caney to the Tip Top school.  In August 1944 the first meeting was held in the new Church.   Chalmer Howard was moderator and Henry Rowe assistant moderator,  Menifee Watson,  clerk,  Judge Watson,  assistant clerk and Sherman Bailey Treasure-man and assistant clerk.  In Oct.  1944, Tip Top replaced Big Caney as the official name of the church.  Henry Rowe became assistant moderator in 1938 and from when he moved away in 1951. Then in 1951, John Clay Watkins was ordained to preach and in 1960 he became moderator.  He held this position longer than all the others combined.   He left the church only when taken in death in January 1996.


What the history of this little mountain  church doesn’t tell is the impact this church has had on the lives of so, so many people.  The founding fathers identified here have produced offspring  that have populated not only the Midwest, but across our whole country and beyond.


Tolson, Rowe, Rudd, and Howard are some of the most recognized surnames in northern Indiana. Right here in Starke County Indiana we have no less than 500 hundred people who can identify with their ancestors being involved with this little church in the mountains, that Tip Top Church.  Now getting to the best part, what we can do to assist the church of our ancestors.


It’s the heating / air  conditioning system that has failed and must be replaced at a cost of $5,000.00 For some of us this may seem rather small in relationship to other things in our lives. To this little church on the hillside,  it’s a Mountain of Debt.  To provide you with some concept of what I mean when I say this “ little church on the hillside”,  let’s paint a picture you can see of the Tip Top Church.


A white building know as the Tip Top Church sits beside a typical little stream of water running from the mountains toward the sea. The stream bed is sometimes dry and sometimes a raging river with the force to move rocks, trees, bridges, mail boxes and anything else in  its path. And so it is that the little creek by the Tip Top Church from time to time demonstrates the true power of God.  It’s a little church house where the sun can only shine thru the east windows. The west side windows set so close to the side of the mountain, the sun can never shine thru the windows to the west. A little jewel set on a mountain side, the Tip Top Church.


Life is hard there in the mountains around Tip Top. The resources many of us enjoy in our lives and, in fact, often take for granted,  are not as readily available to many members of this little church. Yet their faith is as strong as is their  determination to serve God to the best of their ability. True Christians.


So we, as the people whose ancestors founded this little church, I believe, it’s our duty to help in their time of need. No one at the Tip Top Church has ever asked BobbyRay to put forth  any fund raising efforts. They didn’t need to for a simple reason “ IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO”. When you know what’s right you don’t have to be told what to do. You just do it.


From time to time I’ve made reference in my writings  about the  “The Gospel According to BobbyRay”. Now it’s time to put  such words  into action. We may not be able to raise the total funds  needed to replace the mechanical equipment at the Tip Top Church, but I’m saying right here that we’re gonna make an impact. After all, we too are in their family, we’re all the Children of God.


I’m asking that you join me in assisting the Tip Top Church in replacing their Heating / AC system. The Cost is $5,000.00 We don’t have a goal here, we have mission. We can let ‘em know they have Brothers and Sisters all over the country that loves the Little Mountain Church at Tip Top. Together we can do this. And they’ll know we are Christian by our deeds.


Whatever amount you are able to  contribute to this special project is most deeply appreciated. Please  make your check payable to:  TIP TOP CHURCH. Mail your donation to my accounting office and we’ll make sure it gets to where it needs to go. My office will also provide you with the proper documentation of your donation in the event you need such for tax purposes.

My office address is:






From The EastWing, A Little Mountain Church In A Time Of Need


I Wish You Well,