Samuel Doak – 1749-1830

Washington College Academy, in Limestone, Tennessee was established in 1790 by Reverend Samuel Doak near his log cabin church and home. He preached his first sermon from his horse to a group of woodcutters in 1783. They became the founders of Salem Presbyterian Church, which still has an active congregation.

On September 26, 1780, he gave his most famous sermon at Sycamore Shoals, on the Watauga River in Elizabethton, Tennessee, prior to the Over the Mountain Men taking on British Major Patrick Ferguson at Kings Mountain, South Carolina. This mustering of revolutionary militia is commemorated each year by the Tennessee Society of the Sons of the American Revolution and other patriotic organizations.

Reverend James Witherspoon was one of the first graduates of the famous college known as the light in the wilderness. It was the only institution of higher learning west of the Appalachian Mountains. Samuel Doak was considered the Presbyterian Bishop as he helped organize many churches in Eastern Tennessee. Both minister’s stories are accurately told in the first three books of the Westward Sagas; Spring House, Adam’s Daughters and Children of the Revolution published by Plum Creek Press.


Reverend Samuel Doak is buried in the cemetery at Salem Church.

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