The Methodist Episcopal Church created the Holston Conference in 1824. The territory comprising Holston had been a part of the Western Annual Conference. Until 1890 the Holston Conference included a large part of western North Carolina. Today the Holston Conference comprises the geographic area surrounding the Holston River, and includes southwest Virginia, eastern Tennessee as far west as Oak Ridge, and a small portion of northern Georgia near Chattanooga.
When Bishop Earl Hunt was president of Emory & Henry College (1956-1964), the Holston Conference moved its archives to the College. The archives include biographical information on many of the ministers who served in the region, individual church histories, and district superintendent records, as well as a few personal papers of some of the ministers who served the Conference. The collection dates from the 1820s, with the bulk of the holdings dating from the late 1800s to the present.
Three histories have been written about the Conference. The first one was written by R. N. Price, a Holston minister and member of the faculty of Emory & Henry. It is a five-volume history entitled Holston Methodism: From Its Origin to the Present Time ( Nashville , Tenn. ; Dallas , Texas ; Richmond , Va. : Publishing House of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1904-1914). The Reverend Isaac Patton Martin wrote the second history under the title Methodism in Holston (Knoxville, Tenn.: The Methodist Historical Society of Holston Conference, 1945). The Reverend Robert L. Hilten (E&H class of 1943) wrote the most recent history entitled Pillar of Fire: The Drama of Holston Methodism in a Changing World (Johnson City, Tenn.: Commission on Archives and History of the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church, 1994). All are available through Kelly Library and through one’s local library via interlibrary loan.
Holston Conference Finding Aids
Below are finding aids to those collections within the College archives that have been processed and are available for researchers to use.