On June 25, 1908, J. Waldo Woody arrived in Knoxville, Tennessee under the auspices of Five Years Meeting (now Friends United Meeting) and Wilmington Yearly Meeting to investigate the possibility of planting a Quaker meeting in Knoxville. Woody began holding meeting for worship at the Methodist Episcopal Church on Luttrell Street, which garnered enough interest that by November of that same year, Knoxville Monthly Meeting was established. In 1909, Knoxville Monthly Meeting’s 41 charter members purchased the Luttrell Street building from the Methodist Episcopal Church.

In 1927, First Friends Knoxville—as it came to be known—decided to relocate to a building on Washington Avenue. The Meeting moved again in 1978 to its current location on Pinehurst Drive. Throughout its 114-year history, First Friends Knoxville has been involved in missions work, evangelism, and peacemaking endeavors. In more recent years, First Friends Knoxville has been particularly invested in efforts to prevent nuclear disaster—both in Tennessee, and around the world.