The biography of John Dillahunty is almost as strange as his name. His grandfather, David de la Hunte was a French Huguenot who fled to Ireland in his escape from the Catholics. John’s father and mother then immigrated to Maryland, where John was born in 1728. When John was of age he married a Quaker woman and was disowned by his parents so he moved to New Bern, North Carolina, where he became the sheriff. New Bern was one of the places where George Whitefield ministered, and as sheriff, John undoubtedly heard his preaching – but he was not yet converted.
In 1755 Shubal Stearns and Daniel Marshall moved to North Carolina. Under the preaching of the Separate Baptists, John and Hannah Dillahunty were converted to Christ and were immersed under the authority of a Baptist Church. Soon John began preaching.
When the Revolutionary War began, the local congregation of the Church of England lost its pastor – he fled to England. The church then asked John Dillahunty to fill their pulpit, which he did on a regular basis. Over time most of the congregation grew to accept his Baptist doctrine. After the war, the vestry, similar to a deacon board, voted to give the church property to Bro. Dillahunty, desiring to become a Baptist Church. Their wish was granted, although they kept their original name “Chinqauapin Chapel.
Then in 1794 Dillahunty lead six families from the church to immigrate to the hill country of Middle Tennessee, where they established the Richland Creek Baptist Church just west of Nashville. In the mean time the Chinqauapin Chapel continued to flourish under their new pastor, John Koonce.
Pastor John Dillahunty served the Richland Creek Church until his passing on this day in 1816.