Quill and scroll vignetteByCHARLES CROSSFIELD WARE1961
|Live Oak Grove||35|
By CHARLES CROSSFIELD WARE,
Box 1164, Wilson, N C., April 20, 1961.FOREWORD
The Pamlico Union is an integral part of The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention. This district organization enrolls nineteen Christion Churches (Disciples of Christ) in four coastal counties of the Hatteras-Lookout sector. The nineteen are located: two in a part of Beaufort; three in Carteret; six in a part of Craven; and eight in Pamlico. In 1845 there was alignment of the whole number of seven churches in the area of that time with the Bethel Conference and Union Meeting of the Disciples of Christ in North Carolina. These seven have had phenomenal endurance in the faith since all have survived through 116 changeful years, a periodic restoration being necessary for only a minor part of them. When Disciples of the State began their District organizations in the 1850's these “lower churches” worked with the Central Christian Cooperation. In 1872, their own “Craven County Cooperation” was formed, to be named Pamlico Union in 1885, retaining that designation to the present.
At the Pamlico Union meeting at Kitts Swamp on October 29, 1960, I was formally requested to prepare this monograph. Alphabetically I have concisely sketched the nineteen churches currently recognized in the Union, along with the story of Camp Caroline which stands on their soil. Also given is the brief for the great work of the Union proper. Source materials for the narrative available at Atlantic Christian College, I have used. These are in The Carolina Discipliana Library there for which I have been Curator since 1924.
In the rolls of ministers dated for the respective churches there are regrettably many omissions for the years before 1911. Antecedently the records are meager and confusing for the explicit accounting as to consecutive time and place of regular pastoral appointments of a ministry so largely intinerant in character. However the whole makes a notable history, which we dare to hope will instruct and thrill the student.AMITY
Goose Creek may be considered a landmark in North Carolina's colonial history. A Neuse tributary, it flows through the western quarter of the present Pamlico County. A few hundred intrepid immigrants had foregathered in the coastal wilderness with the aquatic boundaries of the Pamlico, the Neuse, and the Trent. September 22, 1711, came the bludgeoning of the Tuscarora massacre. One hundred and twenty colonists perished and many of them were taken captive. Goose Creek was in the midst of it.
Nineteen days before this happened, a traveller, Benjamin Dennis, wrote a letter dated, Goose Creek, September 3, 1711. He described the chaotic results of the Civil War waged by Thomas Cary against Governor Edward Hyde, (1650-1712). Cary was in the vicinity nearer Pamlico Sound heavily armed and entrenched. Dennis said that persons in the area were “an unaccountable sort of people ___________ there cannot be a people in the world like them ___________ the country is good, pleasant, and fruitful, and if inhabited with honest and industrious people would exceed all other places I have yet seen.” At the same time Governor Hyde said: “Sedition has been industriously cultivated and rebellion too much practiced.” Later, Hyde cautioned the Church of England missionary, Rainsford, that these colonists were “not to be won by anything but gentle methods to what is serious and devout and moral.”
A half-century elapsed before the Separate Baptist evangelist, Phillip Mulkey, itinerated to this community and founded a congregation of that faith. It was called “Newse” in the records of Morgan Edwards, a decade later, and “Nuse River” in the contemporary Kehukee Association records. This spelling also occurs in the travel journal of George Washington, 1791. Some ancient Carolina maps have “Neus”. Once John Tomline Walsh, has it “Neuce”. The founder, Mulkey, is identified as the ancestor of certain prominent Disciple preachers of the Nineteenth Century.
Breaking out of isolation, August 6, 1774, these “Neuse River” (Goose Creek), Separates enrolled in an Association of Regular Baptists at Kehukee, Halifax County. First pastor at this Goose Creek church was Joseph Willis, 1774-1776. At the Kehukee annual meeting, August 24, 1776, they were enrolled with 140 members, represented by “Messengers,” James Brinson and James Willis. The meeting was held at “Tossneot,” which church had been founded in 1756 as General Baptist. It stood three miles east of the present Wilson, N. C., and after its removal thence in 1803, has continued 205 years from its founding as the Wilson Primitive Baptist Church.
John Asplund lists Goose Creek church in the Kehukee Association, in 1790, with 162 members. Its “Ministers”: James Brinson, (ordained) and James Roach, (licentiate). In the Federal Census of that year, James Brinson had three in his family, and four slaves; James Roach, later to serve well at Wheat Swamp, in Lenoir County, was evidently a young, unmarried man, and had no slave.
When the Neuse Association of “United Baptists”, met at Chinquapin Chapel, Jones County, October 19, 1811, Goose Creek was on their roll of 22 churches, reporting 58 members. It was from this Neuse Association in the middle 1830's that the initial Disciples’ movement in North Carolina emerged. Next at the Bethel Conference of Free Will Baptists held at Bay River Church in the Pamlico area, Nov. 6-8, 1829, it was on that roll of 26 churches with the alternate name, “Beard's Creek”, It was a union meeting house. Regular Baptists also fellowshipped there, recording their segment of 18 members in 1832 and 1836. This historic site is now occupied by the New Bethlehem F.W.B. Church. It is at a sharp curve on the direct paved secondary highway from Reelsboro to Arapahoe. This is about midway on an airline from Olympia southeastward to Minnesott Beach.
At the start of Disciples’ Convention records in 1841, Goose Creek
was enrolled with 68 members. Next year Samuel S. Simpson was its delegate, reporting 54 members. From 1845 to 1856 inclusive there was no report - only the silence of aloofness. This might be understood as a time of soul-searching to determine its future alignment. However in 1857, due probably to John Robert Winfield's persuasive preaching, 100 of them came to the Disciples’ Annual Meeting at Farmville by representation for enrollment.
For the next 35 years their delegates in the Disciples’ Annual Meetings within the State, were: W. E. Bennett, J. B. Brinson, W. H. Holton, S. L. Holton, Thomas D. Holton, Asa Moore, John W. Holton, John B. Ensley, W. F. Ensley, and L. Ensley. The above Asa Moore was the father of the two Disciple preachers, James T., and George A. Moore. Their first church clerk of record was Thomas D. Holton, (1878); two later clerks: John B. Ensley, (1888); J. C. Barrington. (1892).
In 1884, the Disciple contingent at Goose Creek withdrew, taking the name, Baird's Creek, but reporting only 13 members. The next year showed a gain to 65, and Thomas D. Holton from old Goose Creek was retained as clerk by the Disciples. Down the road within three miles of Arapahoe they erected their own plant, expending for it $112.50 beyond contributed materials and labor. For preaching in 1886 they gave $25. J. J. Brinson lived nearby and was a member at Bethany, but he superintended their church school in 1887; followed by George R. Brinson in 1888, when 73 were enrolled including 7 teachers.
Since 1889, membership, 92, it has been known as Amity. Its new plant was dedicated in October of that year by Jesse B. Parsons and Alonzo Jerkins Holton. Henry C. Bowen said of it: “This is a very neat, comfortable building, a great improvement on the former one.”
Reverting to the late 1850's, Goose Creek appears active in the Disciples’ Central Christian Cooperation. That Union Meeting fellowship was concerned with evangelizing the “lower churches”, as those in the New Bern area were called. Five other churches of this immediate area also cooperated with seven others up-state in this ante-bellum Union. Thus the “lower churches” were readied for the organization of their own Pamlico Union, May 10-12, 1872, at a general conference at Goose Creek, led by J. L. Winfield.
An outstanding citizen of the community was Benjamin F. Brinson, (1823-1901). He had been a member at nearby Bethany from 1840 to 1892. He then united with Amity. He married Julia Bennett, who died in 1885. A grandson, Zeb Brinson is now with the Chevrolet Agency at Tarboro. A news correspondent said of the Benjamin Brinsons: “Dr. J. T. Walsh during his long ministry usually made his home” with “this hospitable couple”, since “they took great pleasure in entertaining the Lord's ministers.” Further: “He was a man of strong constitution and great energy and was regarded as the drive wheel of his community.”
R. H. Jones ministered ten months with the Amity group of five churches in 1902, and called them “a noble and worthy people.” These he “could not have asked to be more kind to me than they were”.
Their pastor in 1904 was J. R. Jinnett, of Beaufort, N. C. About him, J. J. Brinson reported: “He made a most favorable impression. He put himself on record as a full-fledged missionary man and requested his congregation to come out at the March appointment prepared to take the
offering for Foreign Missions. We were much pleased at this healthy sign. Some of our preachers pay very little attention to some departments of our mission work.” Mrs. Alice Pipkin superintended their church school and Pastor Jinnett said that their Childrens Day offering for Foreign Missions was “most creditable.”
An Amity recruit to the Christian Ministry is Marion B. Brinson, now a successful pastor at Mt. Ranier, Md.
In World War II, thirty two of Amity's young men were enlisted.
Active in Amity's C.W.F. in October, 1949, were: Mesdames; T. C. Miller, Alex. Avery, Lionel Willis, R. Rice, Wilford Cuthrell, and S. A. Willis.
In 1954 an educational building was added, the plant screened, and the interior was remodelled and redecorated. In 1957 a kitchen and social room were projected. Their C.Y.F. was organized in August, 1954, which grew “in interest and size,” and in “developing a large choir.” Group presidents in 1956, were: C.M.F., Ralph Reel; C.W.F., Mrs. Seth Willis; C.Y.F., Walter Holton, with Mrs. Alton Brinson, sponsor; Chi Rho, Elizabeth Pipkin, with Edward Cavanaugh, sponsor.
In 1957 their church lot was enlarged by a gift of land by Ralph Reel, an elder, and, improvements were employed for their educational building.
Membership at Amity is 225.
Roll of Ministers at Amity.
|1774-1776||Joseph Willis||1923||George A. Moore|
|1790||James Brinson, James Roach||1924-1926||John M. Waters|
|1857||J. R. Winfield||1927||Joseph A. Saunders|
|1877, 1878||J. T. Walsh||1928, 1929||J. H. Edwards|
|1882-1884||Jesse T. Davis||1930, 1931||Eber E. Moore|
|1888, 1889||J. B. Parsons||1932-1937||E. J. Harris|
|1896||Henry Winfield||1938-1945; 1948-1952, 1960||R. H. Walker|
|1900||G. T. Tyson|
|1901, 1902||R. H. Jones||1946, 1947||F. A. Lilley|
|1904, 1905||J. R. Jinnett||1953, 1954||W. I. Bennett|
|1909, 1920-1922 1911-1913||Joseph B. Swain||1955-1958||Z. N. Deshields|
|1915||James T. Moore||1961||Elbert Davidson|
|1916-1919||D. F. Tyndall|
This church is on Goose Creek Island at an extremity looking northward across Pamlico's watery expanse. The island was transferred to Pamlico County from Beaufort in 1874. Lowland, (population 300), adjacent to the church, is a village well named. Bridgeton on the Neuse estuary has an altitude of but eight feet, thus the land fall eastward gives a near touch to sea level for parts of that area.
Southward six miles from Lowland, at the Inland Waterway, is Hobucken, (population, 500). Reared in this community were two brothers: Sheridan Lee Sadler, (1891-1934), and McGruder Ellis Sadler, born May 5, 1896. The first named served Disciples pastorates at Greenville, Richmond, and Indianapolis; while McGruder, long resident in Fort Worth, Texas, has been president of an International Convention of Christian
Churches, (Disciples of Christ), and is now Chancellor of Texas Christian University. Biographies of these widely known gifted men, Pamlico natives, may yet enrich their brotherhood's literature.
On October 20, 1915, there was enrollment of Antioch, reporting 35 members, by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention. This was preceded however by more than a decade of Disciple activity in the Lowland community. In 1900 a few members were reported to be there, who did “occupy an isolated position very difficult of access.” In June, 1903, George T. Tyson, itinerant preacher, implored the Pamlico Union to assist on their first building. He said: “They have the lumber sawed and nicely piled on a wharf within a mile and a half of the church site. They have a small cash contribution solicited by two sisters. Within two miles of the place live one hundred and twenty families.”
G. A. Reynolds, state evengelist, led their revival in September, 1904. He admittedly came “about a month too late; the people were scattered off at work.” However “a bright young man and his father” were added to the flock.
Mrs. W. P. Holton, a lonely Disciple there reported in March 1908: “There is a church here with four members. We are so far, far away, from any other church that we are almost lost.” Three years previously, J. W. McCleary gave this downcast view of the place: “I have been living here six years. The people are careless about their soul salvation; they choose darkness rather than light; they rather go fishing on Sunday than to go to Church. We have had some good preaching by John R. Smith, G. A. Reynolds and John W. Tyndall.”
In January, 1913, B. E. Holton, local layman, stated: “We have enough money to ceil the building, [their first one], and we have a nice prayer meeting and our Ladies’ Aid meetings are doing well”. But again a lament is heard in August of the next year, from J. B. Watson; “Our minister, R. W. Smith, had to go back to Hyde County; said he was so old and feeble, he would not try to come any more.”
Nonetheless the group persisted toward erection of an adequate plant. In September, 1917, J. B. Watson wrote: “Our new building will be much better than the old one and in a more convenient place for most of the people”.
Their candid correspondent said in August, 1922; “The field is very difficult, shot full of many different teachings.”
In 1930 Antioch had 75 members with church school enrollment of 50, and a church property valuation of $1,500.
Their itinerating pastor, Charles Edward Lee, died there at 4:20 P.M. December 6, 1936. Interment was at his Beaver Dam home in Beaufort County.
Membership at Antioch is reportedly 70, who as a church do not presently participate with the Pamlico Union.
Roll of Ministers at Antioch
|1904||John R. Smith||1921-1923||W. H. Marler|
|1907||C. B. Mashburn||1924||J. S. Williams|
|1911-1913||S. Tyler Smith||1928, 1929||George R. Smith|
|1914||R. W. Smith||1931-1934; 1936||C. E. Lee|
|1915||George A. Moore||1935||E. J. Harris|
|1919||J. B. Satterthwaite|
This church is in the village of Mesic on the Bay River lowlands of Pamlico County near Hobucken. It is known that this Mesic community had the church in 1829, but the precise date of its beginning is obscure. In the year named, when listed as Bay River, it was host to the annual meeting of the Bethel Conference enrolling 26 churches. Of these, 25 were scattered through 9 counties in eastern North Carolina, and the other was in “Sumter District,” South Carolina. Craven County which then included Pamlico had 9 of them. The 26 in 1829 had combined membership of 1910, served by 33 ordained preachers. Sixteen years later this Bethel Conference formally merged with The Union Meeting of Disciples of Christ in North Carolina.
Bay Creek reported only 8 members in 1842 which was increased next year to 34. From 1845 to 1889 inclusive, their recorded representatives in the Disciples’ annual state meetings were: Joshua B. Flowers, Shadrack R. Messick, Jesse Jones, G. Whealton, S. Whealton, W. T. Mayo, L. Whealton, Henry S. Carawan, Aaron Barnett, and G. W. Daniels. Their first clerks of record: John Mayo, (1877, 1878); Henry S. Carawan, (1885); and Jordan Carawan, (1887).
In the 1850s their preaching statedly was largely by Henry Smith who came only once in three months, on third Sundays in October, January, April, and July: For the year's preaching in 1886 the church paid a total of $37.75: in 1887, $37.60. The church property value in 1901 was $600; in 1930, $6,500.
Their church school superintendant in 1885 was W. T. Mayo; in 1887, it was Aaron Barnett, then enrolling 83, with average attendance of 50. The school continued but eight months in the year, and the total offerings for the year, 1887, was $2.64.
In the Republic's Centennial year, J. L. Winfield held their revival. His laconic report, dated July 29, 1876: “I have just returned from my meeting on Bay River — thirty were added to the saved. Never attended a more interesting meeting. All seemed to be aroused.”
State Evangelist John Tomline Walsh visited there in 1883. They gave him $4.39 for the State Missionary Service, and he wrote: “I visited Bay Creek about eight years ago, and there has been a marked improvement since that time, materially, educationally, and religiously. The Bay River section above, below, and all along is destined to be a great country. It is rapidly improving.”
In the pastorate of I. W. Rogers, in 1899, they had a new plant, for the ceiling of which he raised $50, as reported on February 3. When George T. Tyson held their revival with 10 additions in July, 1900, he rejoiced, saying: “It is beleived that this church is enjoying a higher degree of spirituality than she has for a long time.”
Tyson in June, 1903, called attention to a seeming phenomenon of human longevity at Bay Creek. In that immediate community, he said, resided ten persons each over seventy years of age, namely: Louvine Wise, Benjamin Squires, Freeman Wise, Jesse Riggs, Solomon Ives, John A. Carawan, Richard Carawan, Shadrack R. Mesick, Smith Wise, and Nancy Daniels. Eight of these ten were local Disciples. Tyson challenged readers to top this vital statistic for a restricted rural community.
It was “a splendid working church”, said their pastor C. B. Mashburn in 1907, and State Secretary W. G. Walker commented: “Bay Creek never lets their preacher leave without his money.” The two-weeks’ meeting by Mashburn that year gained 23 additions, “with several young men and women among them who will be worth much to the cause.” There followed a local corespondent's tribute to Mashburn: “For two years he has worked nobly for us and we feel that he has helped us wonderfully.”
An active layman was Shadrack Riggs Messick, (1836-1910). He had eleven children. A. J. Holton said of him: “Chief among things that he attended to when he was quite a young man was to become a Christian, uniting at Bay Creek where he remained to the end of his long and useful life. He was a kind father, a good citizen, and a faithful Christian.”
Tides of activity rose and fell at the old church. Without pastoral care after World War I, it was said: “Our Sunday School almost became extinct.” But “the Lord directed us to call Brother John M. Waters of Arapahoe in our midst for a few days. He came and labored as only a few men can.” They were inspired to better scriptural order, and the effecting of half-time” preaching with a resident pastor as recommended by Waters. Building of a $4,000 parsonage was planned. The next year, 1922, there were 47 accessions, and a growth in all departments, the church school averaging 110 in attendance.
Their pastor, Everett J. Harris led their revival in 1928, adding 30. Exterior improvements were made in 1929 on their plant, costing, $600. John L. Goff, (1933 and 1946), and L. B. Bennett, (1935), held revivals there adding a total of 21. The church school hour on Sunday was changed from afternoon to morning, introducing a marked increase in numbers and interest. Their group pastor, Joseph A. Saunders, doing a fine, constructive service, passed away on April 16, 1945.
A counselling mission to Bay Creek on June 3, 1945, by C. C. Ware, state secretary, aided in the congregational election of officers. By request he returned on July 8 to ordain the following: elders: Vance Whealton, John D. Ives, Jesse S. Morris; deacons: Oliver Mason, Bonnie Smith, Bill Tom Whealton, Troy Potter; deaconesses: Mesdames: Vance Whealton, Celia Perry, Bessie Mayo.
Seven years later the irresponsible loss of their church record book coupled with some distressing factors of leadership created a disquieting situation. This was happily relieved by congregational selection of their new official board for a term of three years; namely: Troy Potter, chairman; Mrs. C. W. Carawan, Secretary; A. J. Jones, treasurer: elders: J. R. Jones, Troy Potter, S. C. Mayo; deacons: J. J. Riggs, L. J. Perry, Murray Smith; deaconesses: Mesdames: Alice Mayo, Neva Mayo, Nancy Carawan. John L. Goff was engaged for another revival. The pastoral oversight of F. A. Lilly, of Washington, N. C. was a timely blessing.
The membership at Bay Creek is 68.
Roll of Ministers at Bay Creek
|1844-1853||Henry Smith||1899, 1909||I. W. Rogers|
|1866, 1882, 1883||J. W. P. Holton||1901, 1902||R. H. Jones|
|1875||J. T. Walsh||1907||C. B. Mashburn|
|1883, 1889||A. J. Holton||1911-1913||J. J. Walker|
|1890-1897||Henry Winfield||1914||Thomas H. Bowen|
|1915, 1916, 1920, 1926, 1928||W. O. Winfield||1940, 1941||R. V. Hope|
|1942-1944||Joseph A. Saunders|
|1917, 1919||J. W. Lollis||1945||W. L. Parker|
|1921-1923||W. H. Marler||1946||Ivan Adams|
|1924, 1925||W. L. Straub||1947, 1948||R. R. Miller|
|1927||R. L. Topping||1952||F. A. Lilley|
|1929, 1933-1935||E. J. Harris||1957, 1958||Arthur Bishop|
|1930-1932||L. B. Scarborough||1959||John Harrell|
|1936||John R. Smith||1960, 1961||James Hemby|
|1937-1939, 1949||R. H. Walker|
This church is twelve miles west of New Bern, on State Highway 55, in the proximity of Jasper, (population, 150). Its beginning was further west a few miles in the old Grange Hall, or Stony Branch community. It was first enrolled in the Disciples’ Annual Meeting in 1875, with 12 members, represented by R. J. Brock and T. J. May. J. L. Winfield evangelized there in July, 1878. His report: “All of the misrepresentations indulged in by our enemies only served to bring the people out to hear for themselves. Seven of the first people of the community accepted the primitive Gospel and many more were almost persuaded.” Then “in the midst of bitter opposition” he effected there a permanent organization with 18 members on September 8, 1878, and declared: “They are a live working body and will compare favorably with our old congregations in intelligence and a knowledge of the Bible. I am indebted to our worthy brother Isaac L. Chestnutt for valuable assistance rendered in planting the pure Gospel in that important field.”
Their delegates in the annual state meetings of the Disciples, from 1878 to 1889, inclusive, were: R. J. Brock, T. J. May, C. J. Rhem, J. J. Spear, E. S. Avery, and Edward Weatherington. Their clerks of record for their first 23 years, were: C. J. Rhem, (1878); R. J. Brock, (1885); T. J. May, (1887); Edward Weatherington, (1889), Mariah May, (1890); Mrs. A. M. Taylor, (1895); and M. Mashburn (1900). Their church property valuation in 1901, was $200; in 1930, it was $1,000. Their first church school of record was in 1885, R. J. Brock, superintendent; and in 1887, T. J. May, of Jasper.
At Stony Branch in 1887 the 23 Disciples shared the meeting house with another communion when they helped to repair the building at the overall outlay of $100 beyond the contributed labor and materials. A. J. Holton preached for them at the yearly compensation of $27.
Stony Branch Disciples, reduced to eleven, withdrew in 1890, and moved two miles eastward to their present location to erect a plant of their own. On May 8 that year their pastor Isaac L. Chestnutt, wrote: “Stony Branch is quite a small congregation. They are trying to complete their house of worship this year, and when done we hope they will give the church some other name.” For 71 years it has been Bethany, adopted New Testament name of the village where Jesus often lodged. Christians revere the name. American Disciples have 33 Bethany churches scattered through 10 states.
Religiously there had been a rocky road at Stony Branch. It is said
that after the Disciples’ departure in 1890, certain minions of the superemotional intruded for a field day at the old stand. Disturbances multiplied. Neighborhood conservatives revolted and charged the meeting house premises with a colorful name. It was “Hell's Half Acre”. Erelong a forest fire raged about the site. Evidently none cared enough for their erstwhile sanctuary to salvage it from the consuming flames.
At the Disciples’ new site Henry Taylor was chairman of the Bethany building committee but the completion of the plant having an auditorium almost uniquely tiny, was leisurely. It was October 1, 1895 when their pastor, W. J. Gibble, reported: “They have completed their house except a little more painting, and best of all they have done the work and it is all paid for. It shows what can be accomplished when we have the cause of the Master at heart.” The dedication was on October 6. 1895.
A quarterly pastoral report from Jesse T. Davis, beloved, self-effacing home missionary published May 14, 1891, is a model of conciseness. Like a cablegram it reads:
Visited Bethany, Craven County, Feb. 8. Preached morning and night to small but attentive audiences. Three days in the work; received $1.00. March 8, congregation small; only preached once. Received for self, 50 cents; for State work, $1.40. Three days in the work. April 12, preached morning and night to fair audiences; visited more than before; received for my own support 70 cents.
Supplemental monthly compensation for Davis from the State Service was $2. Altogether however, his sustenance statement may appear to be a leaf from Elijah the Tishbite.
Through the years there was gratifying development. Their pastor John W. Tyndall in April, 1902, exulted: “A more lovely band of Christians cannot be found. There is every indication of Bethany becoming a strong church.” The next January, for a baptism, he “broke ice a half-inch thick,” and again asserted: “Those people deserve much praise. They grew from idleness into zealous working, and to-day that church is the banner church on State Missions, and they mean to keep on growing.”
Tyndall again evangelized there in June, 1904, added 22 members and suffered a “partial paralysis of vocal chords.” He hastened to a Richmond, Va. specialist, and reflected: “In many ways this is a great discouragement to me, as I had planned a great work against the devil this summer.”
Recruits to Disciple ministry from Bethany (Craven) natives have been John W. Tyndall, C. B. Mashburn, and Roland Hill.
Many annual fruitful revival seasons Bethany has known. Some of the evangelistic leaders in addition to those already named, were: John L. Goff, C. B. Mashburn, and the Joel E. Vauses for eight revivals in recent years whose highly attractive musical accompaniments have drawn overflow audiences even on Monday nights. Goff testified: “These folks were the greatest Bible readers I have ever served in a meeting.” It was Bethany's good fortune wisely to acquire a fine plant of another communion moving it bodily the short distance across the highway to make them an excellent church home.
Memorials are inscribed in the church as follows:
(1) Alice McCosley, 1868-1930.
(2) Laurie M. Lancaster, 1894-1931.
(3) T. J. May, 1846-1889.
(4) Mary Moreadith.
(5) Bettie Hardison Lamm, 1900-1932.
(6) Henry G. Dixon, 1873-1938.
(7) Ruel Weatherington, 1824-1912.
(8) Christopher Mashburn, 1846-1930, Ann R. Mashburn, 1847-1902.
(9) Edward Weatherington, 1859-1917, Mary C. Weatherington, 1859-1944.
(10) Alonzo Brittain, Frances Brittain.
(11) May House.
George Oliver Gard, student at Wilson, pastored Bethany from 1940 to 1943; raised the preacher-pay five-fold; had 41 accessions; paid a building debt of $400; and had the church to adopt annually a comprehensive financial budget.
The W. C. Fosters from New Bern organized Bethany's C.W.F. in March 1949, Mrs. Ida Daugherty, president. In 1953 their choir loft was remodelled and a room added. Their choir robes were first used on March 27, 1960. The gifted J. Harper Weatherington has served as organist for more than a half-century; in congregational recognition he was given a travelling bag on November 23, 1958. The woman's group gave the church an excellent organ. Their first Daily Vacation Bible School was held June 13-17, 1955, with average attendance of 77. Their C.M.F., in May 1957, gave $50. toward purchase of a lawn-mower for Camp Caroline. Sidney French, Jr. and J. W. Hardison are active laymen. In 1958 by purchase, the church lot was enlarged, and an accessory well was drilled. Their “half-time” preaching was begun in 1955 by James Burnette, and Glenn Savage began a resident pastorate there in August, 1956.
Construction proceeds in 1961 on their well-planned two-story educational building to have eight church school rooms below and fellowship hall above.
Membership at Bethany (Craven) is 165.
Roll of Ministers at Bethany (Craven)
|1878-1881||J. L. Winfield||1929||J. H. Edwards|
|1882||C. W. Howard, J. L. Burns||1932-1937||John L. Goff|
|1883||E. L. Sowers||1938||C. B. Mashburn|
|1884||H. D. Harqer||1939, 1940||R. G. Silverthorne|
|1888, 1889||A. J. Bolton||1941-1943||G. Oliver Gard|
|1890||I. L. Chestnutt||1944, 1945||A. C. Young|
|1891||Jesse T. Davis||1946||H. G. Quigley|
|1899-1904||J. W. Tyndall||1947||H. G. James|
|1911-1913||John T. Saunders||1948-1954||G. H. Sullivan|
|1916-1921; 1930, 1931||George A. Moore||1955||James Burnette|
|1956, 1957||Glenn Savage|
|1922, 1923||C. E. Lee||1958, 1959||James Sitton|
|1924||W. J. B. Burrus||1960, 1961||W. B. Thomas|
|1925-1928||W. V. Wilkinson|
This rural church at Arapahoe, in the Camp Caroline vicinity, has had significant appraisal for nationwide attention. An observer reviewed it favorably in World Call, America's great missionary magazine. Bethany in Pamlico, and Hookerton in Greene, have provided like extended reading, the former for its accentuated evangelical impact, and the latter for its unique architectural accessory. Also, Red Oak in Pitt, as sketched in my recent monograph, has had remarkable contemporary growth, evoking a demonstrative regional recognition.
Arapahoe, whose post office was established June 19, 1886, is a prosperous village of 274 persons. It began to draw an increasing number of farmers from older communities about 75 years ago, as at last it was realized that it was on a sand ridge with superior agricultural potential, particularly for tobacco. However almost a half century before it was called Arapahoe, Bethany in open country was founded there at an intersection of winding roads now modernized highways. Another Bethany in the State had foreclosed on that name, wherefore Arapahoe, the postoffice designation, came by chance assignment in 1886. The location a century ago was commonly known as Bethany Cross Roads, Craven County, since this part of Craven was not of Pamlico until 1872 when the new county was set up.
Henry Smith, (1789-1857), was a native of the Pungo section in Beaufort County, where John Winfield, an Arminian Baptist preacher, was most influential at the time of Smith's youth. Smith, the Disciple itinerant, noted for his evangelistic successes, set the little flock in order at Bethany in 1840, gave it the beatific scriptural name, and introduced its enrollment with the Bethel Conference in 1841. The next year, when its statistics begin, it had but 12 members; W. W. Broughton their representative at the annual Conference. A revival in 1844 accounted for 43 baptisms, lifting their membership to 63, with J. P. Paul, their Conference representative that year. It was a happily assenting member of the Bethel Conference when merged on May 2, 1845, with the Union Meeting of Disciples of Christ in North Carolina.
From 1846 to 1889 in the Disciples, annual state meetings, 25 men represented Bethany as follows: Samuel Willis, A. B. Broughton, Philip Pipkin, John Vendrick, Edward Bowen, William Bennett, Solomon Broughton, B. Broughton, R. B. Hardison, Simon Bennett, S. S. Broughton, G. R. Lewis, O. P. Banks, Benjamin F. Brinson, L. Pipkin, A. C. Brinson, J. R. Bowden, J. B. Martin, John Sutton, Alfred D. Rawls, J. R. Tingle, J. J. Brinson, George R. Brinson, J. F. Taylor, and G. F. Pipkin. Their church property valuation in 1901, was $200; in 1930, $7,000.
Their first clerk of record, R. B. Hardison, (1865), served for 30 years. Unhappily for the historian their earliest clerks’ records are not extant. Certain of their later archives survive. A few briefs excerpted from their earliest minutes available, follow.
August 12, 1865. The original Disciple church met at Bethany for the purpose of reorganization which was accomplished by the following appointments: Elder J. W. P. Holton being chosen pastor, and moderator for the day. R. B. Hardison was elected clerk. Bros. David Martin and John W. Vendrick were elected Ruling Elders. Bros. Oliver P. Banks and Jesse Atherly were elected Deacons.
August 13, 1865. Elder Holton preached. The ordination of the Elders and Deacons took place at Bro. David Martin's this morning. Elder Holton received for his services, $9.50.
September 23, 1865. The Disciple Church of Christ met at the Cross Roads, Craven County, N. Carolina. After preaching by Elder Holton, raised contribution, $2.50, to send to general Conference which will meet at Rountree, October 5, 1865.
December 9, 1865. Eld. J. W. P. Holton preached and appointed Moderator for the day. The same was chosen Pastor of the Disciple Church at Bethany Cross Roads, and is to receive from the Church for his services, $24 for one year; after which the contribution was made up.
March 9, 1867. Leven Hardison furnished a fine table for the church at his own price; we pay him Four Dollars; we paid Elder Holton Five Dollars, leaving in the treasury overdue me, $2.25 - R. B. Hardison, Clerk.
September 7, 1867. We made up $3 to be sent to Conference. We received one today, Nancy A. Martin, who was baptized this evening on the River Shore. We paid Elder Holton for his service, $6.50. October 6, 1867. Dr. John T. Walsh visited the church; preached; paid him $4.50. Expect to elect him pastor. November 30, Dr. Walsh unanimously elected paster at Bethany, and his name ordered on the Church list; promised to pay him $50 for his services for the year.
December 1, 1867. Dr. Walsh Preached; after which the members commemmorated the death and suffering of our Savior and were dismissed in brotherly love and affection strongly determined through Divine aid to triumph at last.
In March, 1873, J. L. Winfield, aged 21, preached four sermons at Bethany, and observed: “It is better posted on our position than any congregation in Eastern Carolina. The officers are men possessing adequate qualifications to discharge acceptably their duties. All this is traceable to the manner they have been educated by that noble veteran of the cross, Dr. J. T. Walsh who is their regular preacher.” Walsh was enabled to discourse to them only on weekends of first Sundays in December, March, June, and September.
In June, 1883, J. K. Land was their church school superintendent, J. R. Tingle, native Bethanian, was then their District Evangelist for church schools, and proudly reported: “I never saw a more active school in my life. Bethany now takes the lead of her sister churches in the District.” On Independence Day that year Bethany Sunday School gave a typical gala picnic, 600 attending from the alerted countryside. J. L. Winfield an opportune visitor said there was abundant music, instrumental and vocal; many patrotic speeches made, and “one of the finest dinners spread.” Previously a spirited contest in a Bible-verse memorization marathon had been staged to be climaxed by “coronation services” for the winners as a feature of the picnic. The crowned victors were: Lula F. Tingle, who had “committed 1006 verses,” and the runner-up, Cassie Brinson, whose count was, “committed 996.”
An early active worker for 37 years was Mrs. Benjamin F. Brinson, (nee Julia Bennett), (born, 1826; died 1885). She was baptized at Bethany by Henry Smith, December, 1848; married April 8, 1848; there were seven children. J. L. Burns said that she “had long and faithfully served as a Bethany deaconess. She loved the church. Her house was always the preacher's home. The impress of her character upon both church and society in which she moved will long be felt and remembered.”
On March 4, 1900, W. O. Winfield, pastor, organized at Bethany the first Christian Endeavor Society to function in Pamlico County. He “preached at night on Endeavor work”, and enlisted 15 volunteers. J. J. Brinson said: “It affords the young a glorious opportunity.” James B. Bennett added: “It is an interesting feature of our church work. We believe it is doing a great good.” That year also, R. C. Holton opened at Arapahoe a nine-month's school. It was said of him: “The professor is not only a good teacher but he is also a consecrated Christian whose life is a good example.”
Children's Day for Foreign Missions was popularized and was realized happily in many Disciple church schools at the turn of the century. At climax in June, 1901, eight fund-raising youngsters at Bethany qualified for their “Dollar League,” as follows: Cassie Bennett, Tillie Brinson, Annie Bennett, Mary Johnson, Annie Pipkin, Molly Tingle, Effie Martin, and Bebe Holton.
In 1905, A. F. Leighton came to live at Arapahoe, to be Bethany's first resident pastor. Encouraging results followed. A dedicated layman remarked: “We have long felt the need of having a man that could spend his time among the brotherhood.” Mrs. Leighton was also effective as pastor's wife and organizer of the church women, who, among other good works presented the church with a $15 communion set in June, 1905.
Jesse T. Davis, (1828-1909) of Hookerton, ministered well in the Pamlico area. No sketch, thumb-nail, or otherwise, has been hitherto offered for him during the last two generations. A Greene County native, son of Blake and Rhoda Davis, he married Martha Jones, daughter of Gardner and Bethany Jones. “He felt called to the ministry and was early set apart to the work.” His last years were spent at Ayden. He was buried there.
In the summer of 1911, J. J. Walker, ministerial student at Wilson, held the Bethany revival. James B. Bennett said of it: “Our house of worship was entirely too small to accomodate the crowds. Our people now see the necessity of a larger building. We hope in the near future to get about its erection.”
John M. Waters began his Bethany pastorate in 1912, and continued for 47 years, a few intermissions excepted. W. B. Nunn, Arapahoe layman, observed: “We are always glad to have Bro. Waters. What a consolation to know that Atlantic Christian College is training and sending out such young ministers.” Early in his ministry at Arapahoe a new plant was erected. The building committee: J. J., G. R., and G. W. Brinson, W. H. Broughton, W. H. Lewis, and their Ladies Aid Society. August 31, 1913, was dedication day. J. C. Caldwell preached “a great sermon to an audience estimated at 800, representing nine or more counties.” The debt at the moment was $875.00 on a $3500 building. About this George R. Brinson reported: “The amount was more than raised in cash and pledges in a few minutes. Old Bethany with its beloved pastor, John M. Waters, to whom much credit was due for this new building were at flood tide.” This is their third plant since a forest fire in 1886 destroyed their initial building, replaced at once however by a larger house of worship.
Their “half-time” preaching was first enjoyed in October, 1916. James
B. Bennett reminisced. “The progress at Bethany has been slow but sure. In early days we had preaching four times a year. It took a long time to have monthly preaching and a longer time to have it semi-monthly. We hope in the near future to employ a man full-time.”
In January, 1919, their first parsonage was completed; their growing congregation necessitated a four-tray communion set; and James B. Bennett noted: “We are much in need of larger quarters for our Lord's day school.” In the space, bursting at the seams, fourteen teachers essayed to serve in one room. But next year, J. J. Brinson announced: “We have now completed a suite of nine rooms added to our church.” Furnishings for these were provided by their Ladies Aid. Pastor Waters dedicated this expansive utility on September 5, 1920. J. J. Brinson reported: “The amount of cash needed was $4100 and $4200 was raised in a few minutes. The Sunday School annex and parsonage have been built in the last 20 months at a cost of about $9,000. With a membership of about 300, our slackers can be counted on the fingers of one hand.” Their average church school attendance soon advanced to 250.
Bethany was host to a notable “School of Bible School Methods,” May 10-14, 1920, national, state, and local leaders participating.
Everett J. Harris supplied for an interval, (1927-1929), while Waters was engaged in the successful Atlantic Christian College Crusade for $300,000 endowment.
Marion B. Brinson, native, and son of J. J. Brinson, held their revival in August, 1935, resulting in 17 accessions. Mrs. John W. Cowell said: “Bro. Brinson's sermons were masterful and full of feeling bringing fine results”. Some other evangelistic leaders at Bethany have been: Leland Cook, A. D. Wenger, Travis A. White, Thad Cox, and Byron Welch.
In February 1950, their new parsonage, across the highway from the old one, was opened. The event was marked by a reception to pastor and Mrs. Waters in the church, when a silver tray was presented to them by the congregation. About 200 attended. They had returned from a residence of 23 years at Wilson, where he had taught religion at the College, and served administratively with H. S. Hilley, raising $800,000, to usher in a new era of expansion at the College. Later he has served likewise with D. Ray Lindley and A. D. Wenger. Through 34 years of official connection with the college he has seen the annual student body increase from 150 to 1200, and the campus buildings grow from two to a dozen. While a citizen at Arapahoe, he was effective in various civic functions, and was a leading factor in the Camp Caroline Development. About 100 students from Bethany community have attended the College at Wilson, topping the record for other such rural participation units. September 9, 1917, minister Waters married Lela Norfleet Bell, of Dunn, N. C. They have one son and one daughter.
An outstanding layman, member at Bethany for over 70 years, was Jehu Jackson Brinson, (1863-1954). He was baptized there by Jesse T. Davis in November 1884; Seven others baptized by Davis at that time were: G. W. Brinson, Kenneth Land, Jerry Land, A. C. Brinson, Julia Brinson Dees, Henry Willis, and Bryan Banks. He married Kate Pipkin, February 9, 1890. Their children: two sons and four daughters. An active church leader, he was also a useful citizen, serving two terms in the Raleigh legislature. Said a local citation: “No one ever loved the
church better than Bro. Jack Brinson. The church will ever cherish his memory and wise counsel.”
A building expansion was again initiated in March, 1955. The plant was moved bodily across the highway close to its original site. Don Lee was chairman of this building committee. The brick veneer construction was completed in September of that year. Three large class rooms, an air-conditioned kitchen, and a large dining room were builded in and well furnished. This equipment inclusive of generous servicing utilities make of it the best appointed such structure of any faith in the County. Continued improvements by 1956 gave the entire plant a value of $75,000, not including the $12,500 parsonage.
Ministerial recruits from Bethany number five, namely: Thomas H. Bowen, J. R. Tingle, Marion B. Brinson, Losker B. Bennett, and Preston D. Parsons.
The long-time pastor Waters at Bethany was hospitalized by serious illness in the summer of 1959. He recovered in October of that year, at which time be announced his early retirement from the Bethany pastorate. He returned in 1960 to Wilson residence, continuing as special assistant to President A. D. Wenger at the College.
Membership at Bethany, (Pamlico), is 325.
Roll of Ministers at Bethany (Pamlico)
|1840-1847||Henry Smith||1901, 1902, 1910||D. H. Petree|
|1848||Thomas H. Bowen||1903, 1904, 1906||S. W. Sumrell|
|1857, 1858||J. R. Winfield||1905||A. F. Leighton|
|1865,1866||J. W. P. Holton||1907, 1908||J. W. Tyndall|
|1867-1879||J. T. Walsh||1911||J. J. Walker|
|1880, 1881, 1887, 1888||J. L. Winfield||1912-1914; 1918-1922; 1924-1928; 1930-1935; 1937-1959||John M. Waters|
|1882-1884||Jesse T. Davis|
|1885, 1886,||J. L. Burns||1923||J. W. Humphreys|
|1889, 1890||J. B. Parsons||1929||E. J. Harris|
|1891-1897||Henry Winfield||1936||W. I. Bennett|
|1898, 1899, 1909||I. W. Rogers||1960, 1961||Worden Allen|
|1900, 1915-1917||W. O. Winfield|
A suburban town, approximating a thousand in population, and located in the New Bern metropolitan area, is Bridgeton. It reached corporate status in 1907, about two centuries after the founding by the Swiss nobleman of the Colonial capital on the Neuse and the Trent. East of New Bern is the municipal gateway channelling movement over the long bridge to the centuries-old city. Here lavish nature affords scenic environment for “The Land of Enchanting Waters.”
No Disciples are known to have been resident where Bridgeton now stands when Henry Smith and other pioneer preachers passed to reach Enoch Holton four miles beyond. More than three score years later, however, a potential number was there. Claude C. Jones in 1908 was minister of the Hancock Street Christian Church in New Bern. He spoke in Bridgeton for the first time on July 22 that year, and reported:
I preached by invitation of Bro. Huggins, a Baptist preacher, in the hall at Bridgeton - a long room with a low ceiling and so poorly ventilated as to burn a fellow up. Attendance was large. The spirit they show is very good. Previously I had visited there all of the members. I could find. We have about 25 members living there, and only a few of these are members in New Bern. My reception was cordial. They are plain, hard working people, hospitable and warm hearted. It seems to me they need a church and would keep one going.
W. Graham Walker, state secretary held their first revival, August 18-27, 1908, with four accessions, “all baptized by Bro. C. C. Jones in the Neuse River.” Walker further said: “No organization was effected because the situation not exactly justified such a step. They were urged to take membership with the New Bern church. An effort is to be made to secure a lot and to begin a fund with a view to building.”
Bridgeton Disciples as a continuing group began in a prayer meeting in March, 1909. Isaac Lewis, local layman reported on August 24, 1910:
Our people number about 30. The population is about 250, with a large percentage of children. Six of us met in a prayer meeting in 1909. Not a single Monday night has passed since that time that we have not held our regular prayer service. We have our church lot paid for, and 50,000 brick on the lot. The Pamlico Union has helped us at their last two meetings, and the Bible Schools of the Union at their last three sessions. It will not be long before we will have a house of worship.
A faithful, resourceful leader at the beginning was E. Taylor. On July 9, 1913, Taylor wrote:
Four of us met at my home for the first time to try to frame some plan by which we could put up a small wooden building in which we could hold a Bible School and prayer meeting. Our efforts were so wonderfully blest, we set to work to build a brick church, and we now have one that will be when finished a credit to any small town and the people who worship in it. We owe some on it but expect to pay when due. Our Bible School has average attendance of 65 and at the past Pamlico Union our delegate brought back the banner for being the best school in the Union. We have secured half-time preaching by Bro. John R. Smith.
Bridgeton was formally enrolled in the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention on October 20, 1915. It then had 60 members, with church school enrollment of 50, and church property valuation, $2,000.
Throughout its history the church has manifested a fine missionary spirit. After accepting the suggested yearly apportionments, a typical letter came from I. H. Brite, their correspondent, on January 27, 1925, which said: “You may convey to all those who are interested that Bridgeton church stands ready at all times to do her bit for the advancement of Christian missions and education”. In 1930 they gave for local church purposes, $542.60; and “for others”, $134.38.
Their brick plant in 1931 was “newly painted at expense of $143.” Soon they were to redecorate the interior. A mission study class met weekly.
A charter member at Bridgeton was Will H. Simons, (1891-1940), son of Charles and Nannie Simons. He was their first church school superintendent. Later he lived for 22 years in New Bern, where in the Broad Street Christian Church he was an elder, and the treasurer. He
married Alta Holton, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Campbell Holton. First he was manager for the large department store of Coplon and Co.; lastly for the Kelly Springfield Tire Co.
Mr. and Mrs. Erastus R. Phillips were a leading Disciple couple at Bridgeton. Mary Frances Holton Phillips, (1874-1947), baptized in 1884, was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Isaac P. Holton, of Broad Creek. She and Erastus married on December 6, 1896, and lived to celebrate their golden wedding. Their children: three sons and four daughters. It was said that she was “the most regular attendant from Bridgeton at District and State Conventions; she gave prompt, faithful response to every call of duty, and loving loyalty for all Christian services in home and church and mission fields.” Her husband, (1873-1948), helped to make their home “a mecca for Disciple leaders far and wide; was a faithful reader of Christian literature; and personally to be remembered for his manly courage, his vision of effectual fellowship, and his undying devotion to the Christian “world order.”
Following is a report of progress made in November, 1949: “At Bridgeton construction has started on our new church school rooms, the attendance this fall having radically increased. They are a happy group having much cause for gratitude in the recent leadings of Providence. Griffith A. Hamlin is pastor.”
In the summer of 1958, their new Fellowship Hall was completed. Their correspondent reported: “The men of the church did most of the work. The materials cost about $5,000. This will provide a most helpful aid for the church and Sunday School program.”
Membership at Bridgeton is 79.
Roll of Ministers at Bridgeton
|1913||John R. Smith||1934, 1935||Everett J. Harris|
|1915, 1920-1924, 1936||W. A. Davis||1937-1939||Cecil A. Jarman|
|1940, 1941||Ray G. Silverthorne|
|1916-1918||W. O. Winfield||1942-1944||Joseph A. Saunders|
|1919||James T. Moore||1945-1947; 1958-1961||W. J. B. Burrus|
|1925||W. L. Straub|
|1926, 1927||John R. Smith||1948||R. L. Topping|
|1928, 1929||C. K. Holsapple||1949||G. A. Hamlin|
|1930||F. F. Grim||1950-1952||R. A. Phillips|
|1931||W. T. Mattox||1953-1955||Wilbur I. Bennett|
|1932, 1933||John M. Waters||1956, 1957||Arthur Bishop|
The near-by stream, a tributary of the Neuse, has occasioned the name of this Christian Church in Pamlico County, five miles east of New Bern. The State's Public Laws in 1875 established the Craven-Pamlico line at this Creek. The Church building was a “Union House,” 1844 to 1894, owned and used alternately by Disciples and Methodists. The followers of John Wesley came early to the community. Joseph Pilmoor preached the first open-and-above-board Methodist sermon in New Bern in December, 1772. He stated: “In all of my travels through the world I have met with none like the people of New Bern.” Bishop Asbury came
24 years later, and observed: “Our society here, of white and colored members consists of one hundred ______ should piety, health, and trade attend this New Bern, it will be a very capital place in half a century”.
Broad Creek Disciples of Christ numbering 31 were organized by Henry Smith on January 6, 1844. He continued for two years as their pastor. Enoch Holton, father of three Disciple preachers, was their first elder. The original roll shows 17 heads of families as follows: Barrington, Brinson, Canady, Caton, Cuthrell, Cutler, Daw, Dunn, Edwards, Everington, Fulcher, Gaskins, Hartley, Holton, Simons, Thomas, West. It is seen by the Federal Census of 1790, that these families for the most part had been resident, by 1844, for more than a half-century in the County. To give but seven instances, allowing for some variant spelling, of these identically named heads of 1790, we read in that Census: four Barringtons, six Brinsons, four Catons, three Cuthrells, four Cutlers, six Daws, and seven Dunns. Verily these were old families. Growth of the local church was steady. After the charter enrollment of 31, eighteen of the earliest baptisms of record were:
1845, Benjamin Thomason, October 5; Phoebe Price, December 7.
1846, Nancy Barrington, January 4; Mary Ward, February 1; Moses Hartley, August 2; Mourning Stapleford, and Mariah Purify, September 6; Benjamin Birch, Isaac Gaskins, Aaron Gaskins, Jacob Arnold, Cain Hartley, Betsy Barrington, Polly Lincoln, Allen Birch, September 18.
David Cuthrell, Dorcas Barrington, Mariah Gaskins, November 22.
Some early deaths as of record: Mary Gaskins, Sr., September 6, 1846; David Cuthrell, July 6, 1848; Margaret Wiley, July 11, 1847; Louisa Wiley, January 9, 1852; Lewis Gaskins, August 11, 1853; Increase Gaskins, March 15, 1855; Enoch Holton, June 9, 1865.
First entry of Broad Creek on the Disciples’ State roll was in 1846. It then had 43 members; Amos Cuthrell and William Barrington representatives. Other State Convention representatives from 1847 to 1889, were: John B. Gaylord, Stephen G. Barrington, J. W. P. Holton, Elias Smithwick, J. T. Barrington, A. Barrington, Isaac P. Holton, Alfred Gaskins, Willis Dunn, Barzillai Holton, H. T. Dunn, John B. Dunn, J. B. Holton, J. S. Barrington, V. A. Thomas, H. Simons, Alonzo Fulcher.
First clerks of record, were: William Barrington. (1844); Isaac P. Holton, (1866); Barzillai Holton, (1878); John B. Dunn, (1885); R. C. Holton, (1892). Preaching in early times was on first Sunday weekends in October, January, April, and July. Church property valuation in 1901, was $800; in 1930, $5,000.
J. Parks Neville, Disciple itinerant, visited Broad Creek in December, 1854, and preached “three days to small but attentive audiences.” He lodged for a night with William Barrington and for another with Enoch Holton, who gave him “much information relative to the juvenile days of our departed Brother John B. Gaylord.”
The church was reorganized on January 1, 1866. Isaac P. Holton was chosen pastor, also clerk, and A. J. Holton, assistant clerk. William Dunn was appointed elder, and Jeptha B. Holton, and Jesse L. Barrington, deacons.
In 1878 a “Sisters’ Mission Band” was active at Broad Creek, a
primitive cell in the evolving Christian Women's Fellowship. They gave $4 “toward purchasing a lot upon which to build a Chapel for Church purposes in New Berne” as reported by N. S. Richardson of that city. He appealed for “funds to enable a struggling few to build a house.” Further, “if we had a building for our own use the people could know where to go, and we could get help from teachers who would be heard.”
Clerk R. C. Holton reported on September 15, 1892: “Up to this time we have not had any Sunday School at Broad Creek, but it has been announced that we will meet very soon to organize. With success in that we may be able to drink from the fountain of life.”
In 1893 their initial plant which had served almost a half-century needed repair. Since it was still a “Union House” with the Methodists, the structural improvement would have to be negotiated with them. The Disciple committee named on March 19 and charged to do this and make report were: H. B. Holton, H. T. Dunn, and A. C. Holton. In the following July this Committee reported that in their judgment the Disciples alone would have to do the repairing. The Methodists were represented as willing either to buy or sell their equity in the house, but not to assume any share in its joint renovation. Wherefore the Disciples undertook solely the job. The building Committee: H. B. Holton, Barzillai Holton, and A. C. Holton.
The work progressed slowly but surely. November 17, 1894, the builders reported that they had bought 8004 shingles at $2.75 per thousand and 80 pounds of nails at 2½¢ per pound. Six volunteer teamsters had hauled the shingles from Gum Ledge, and a total of 27 days of labor had been contributed by 13 men. Clerk R. C. Holton added: “We want to ceil our house and put new lamps into it.”
Thirty years passed and they began construction on an entirely new building, placed south a short distance on the same neighborhood road, but quite near Pamlico's east-west arterial highway. It was dedicated at a Union Meeting there on April 29, 1928.
Broad Creek has nurtured and given five preachers to their brotherhood; below they are sketched briefly.
John B. Gaylord, (1816-1851), ordained there October 5, 1845, was a son-in-law of Henry Smith, founder of that church. He “daily made the New Testament his study and was beloved by all who knew him.” He became the first resident pastor of Kinston, N. C., Disciples.
Jesse Walker Pipkin Holton, (1826-1904), “the walking preacher”, was ordained there August 8, 1858. He read the New Testament through 46 times. His longest ministry, 18 years, “was at Bay Creek, where he never missed a visit. Faithful to the end, his life was an examplification of what he preached.”
Isaac Pipkin Holton, preacher, and “singing master”, (1834-1907), was ordained there in 1861, having been baptized by Gideon Allen, July 4, 1855. He was “familiar with the Bible; loved literature and read much; was one of the most energetic of men; a good conversationalist; his home given to hospitality.”
Alonzo Jerkins Holton, (1837-1935) was born 29 years before Alexander Campbell's passing and reached the exceptional age of 98. At his death he was one of the two surviving charter members of The North Carolina Christian Missionary Society. “He read the Bible religiously; a
large part of his money was spent for books; he died saying he had no grudge against any person.”
George Frederick Cuthrell, of Broad Creek, is the son of Hiram and Holland Dunn Cuthrell. He is now retired at Sherman, Texas. He was born April 22, 1881, was baptized July 15, 1896, and preached his first sermon at his old home church on July 7, 1901. For 60 years he has ministered in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas. R. C. Holton, a life-long friend characterizes Cuthrell as “intelligent broadminded and tolerant, genial, hopeful, and a happy Christian, an inspiration to all who know him.”
On August 20-30, 1933, Everett J. Harris held the Broad Creek revival resulting in 20 additions. “H. B. Holton, 71, said it was the most interesting meeting he had experienced. A. J. Holton, 96, too feeble to attend sent Christian greetings to the new members bidding them God-speed.”
C. C. Ware, state secretary, attended on January 23, 1944, to ordain five officers who had not previously been ordained. These were: elders: I. P. Holton, E. M. Dunn, Sr.; deacons: H. Bynum Holton, M. V. Prescott, J. C. Holton.
Their Centennial was observed on August 20, 1944. George F. Cuthrell, then of Tyler, Texas, preached the sermon. There could be but one person bodily present from their reorganization roll of 78 years before. She was Mrs. Virginia A. Dunn Barrington, 89, who had been baptized in 1866. Another aged member was also present, Charles D. Holton, 94, baptized July 19, 1894, at the age of 44. Others of this church recognized at the Centennial, who had joined many years before, were: Rolando C. Holton, (1889); Mrs. Lulu Holton Wayne, (1889); Mrs. Erastus R. Phillips, (1891); and Mrs. Joel H. Lewis, (1891).
Membership at Broad Creek is 126.
Roll of Ministers at Broad Creek
|1844-1853||Henry Smith||1916||W. O. Winfield|
|1857||J. R. Winfield||1921||E. E. Moore|
|1866||Isaac P. Holton||1922||A. B. Crocker|
|1881||J. B. Parsons||1923-1925||W. A. Davis|
|1882, 1883||Jesse T. Davis||1933, 1934||E. J. Harris|
|1884, 1889||J. L. Burns||1935-1941||James T. Moore|
|1891-1897||Henry Winfield||1942-1946; 1948, 1954-1961||R. H. Walker|
|1898, 1899||I. W. Rogers|
|1901||L. T. Rightsell||1947||W. J. B. Burrus|
|1911-1914||A. J. Holton||1949-1951||W. I. Bennett|
|1915, 1917-1920; 1926-1932||John R. Smith||1952||Glenn Brigman|
|1953||R. A. Phillips|
Treasured by the American Disciples of Christ is the glory of having first introduced concretely the Youth Conference venture on the ecumenical scene. However North Carolina is a rapturous riddle. While indeed it is first in some important matters, in others it is only time-serving far down the line. In the deep southeast it was first in number of Disciple
youth, but among the last of these fair states to realize this Conference dream.
At Neuse Forest, three miles from New Bern, 51 pioneering conferees had a delightful week, June 3-9, 1929. E. B. Quick was director; Cynthia Pearl Maus was dean; Mrs. Richard Bagby, dean of women; Perry Case, dean of men. Other faculty members: Vera Adamson, (missionary, Phillipines), Mrs. R. S. Tandy, Daisy Magee, John Barclay, John M. Waters, F. E. Harlow, C. C. Ware.
As a fresh cultural start for Christian Youth this Neuse Forest event was of lasting importance. It was new. A reviewer on the spot was impelled to plug for it:
“These conferences are primarily for leadership training among our young people. Their high spiritual value is seen in the decision for life investment in Christian service which they inspire in so many young people; in development of souls in individual quests; and in the close, full contacts of youthful minds with the highest type of spiritual leadership. The sanity of these conferences is revealed in their emphasis on all-round development of body, mind, and soul. This may be seen all the way from reveille to taps, after which comes the regular eight hours of sleep. There is recreation of the most stimulating, interesting kind; lectures which require mental grasp to assimilate; and ideals presented and self-development suggested, which promote the growth of the soul in Christ. And the social life which is of such great importance to all young people gets a lift in truth toward that sanity and purity which point tender years to happy destiny.”
The next Conference was in midsummer of 1930. Held in the W.C.I. buildings, Washington, N. C. it was disappointingly attended. Only two of the Neuse Forest Conferees came, and but 21 others. It was certainly profitable, but leaders saw the need for intensive promotion for a more representative participation. The same reviewer said, apropos to the Washington event: “Our Florida conference this year had 105 of their finest young people in it; Georgia had 87. The truth is North Carolina's young Disciples do not have the Conference mind. However when they wake up to it, they will go ahead of neighbor states.”
That is what happened. From the depression year, 1931, to the gasrationing days of World War II, they met annually in Western North Carolina in the Hendersonville-Montreat vicinities, the student attendance zooming from 71, the first year at Bonclarken, to 194 at Lake Eden. Youth personnel in the religious education system, proliferated into many groups creating administrative complexity for time and place accommodation. Sometimes it was almost a “mess”. The problem grew apace for 25 years from Neuse Forest of June, 1929, to Fishers Landing Camp, also near New Bern, of June, 1953. The longsuffering sponsors were ready to campaign for the permanence and convenience of brotherhood-owned facilities.
Early in 1948, Mr. and Mrs. John W. Cowell, members at Bethany (Pamlico), offered a conference site, ample and truly attractive, on the Neuse River beach, near Dawson's Creek bridge. It fronts 400 feet on a gentle-shelving bottom on the estuary, six miles from Arapahoe, and 3 ½ miles from Oriental. It is intersected by paved highway from the former to the latter. It was surveyed without charge by R. C. Holton, and gratefully accepted by the State Service, to which it was deeded in fee simple.
There was also an interstate conference grounds on an extensive landtract near Black Mountain asking for brotherhood development at this time. To cover both situations a “Camp Sites Committee”, John L. Goff, chairman, was appointed to work out “definite plans” for valid procedure to be submitted to the Disciples’ State Convention of 1949. The western development was directed by the Southeastern Christian Assembly, Incorporated, and was eventually named Christmount. In the east, Camp Caroline, was named for a lovely daughter of the benefactors, and was under the simple direction of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention.
In September, 1951, chairman M. Elmore Turner, of the State Board, officially appointed an executive committee whose main service was the projecting of a “long range program” for Camp Caroline development. Personnel of the Committee: John M. Waters, chairman, Mr. and Mrs. John W. Cowell, Leon Roebuck, Carlos Holton, J. D. Brinson, W. C. Foster, Ike H. Brite, Mrs. H. H. Settle, T. P. Inabinnett, C. C. Ware, and ex officio, M. Elmore Turner. A sub-committee on the grounds had necessarily been recognized from the start, namely: John M. Waters, then resident at Arapahoe, and John W. Cowell. At the meeting of this committee in Kinston, November 6, 1951, C. C. Ware, was appointed Director of Camp Caroline Development.
The first cash gift for the enterprise came from the Winterville Church. It was for $25. A committee meeting in Washington instituted a “Camp Caroline Day” to be observed generally in the churches and church schools on November 25, 1951. It was an attempt to inform and motivate constituents for a timely realization of accepted plans. To this end a four-page leaflet stating concisely the why, what, where, and how, of the challenging movement was well circulated. Later a large wall-exhibit map giving an architects’ drawing outlining clearly the camp grounds was sent for immediate use by interested church groups.
The committee decided to start construction in March, 1953, if warranted by supporting response, meaning if $30,000 in resources appeared to be materializing by June 30, 1953. As a means to the desired end they set a “Camp Visitation Day” for May 28, 1953, when Arapahoe Disciples would serve a fish fry to friendly visitors. It would be an observation outing making for the Camp a visual reality to persons who would help largely to see it through. More than 300 attended, and went away with a good story. The committee meeting this day agreed to apportion $50,000 to the churches, only hoping and praying that they would respond. They did respond. This goals-apportioning was approved by the State Board meeting in quarterly session on June 5, 1952.
Landscape artists surveyed the 25.6-acre-plat on its high ground and gave it as their considered judgment that it is not only a practical location but an unusally attractive site with its wooded land and its alluring beach on the wide river.
The committee met on November 24, 1952, in the summer home of the John Cowells, adjacent to the camp site and drafted C. C. Ware to be the executive director in the further financing of the project. There was evident a comprehensive cooperation of the State Service, with the county surveyor, with the county and state sanitation authorities, and
with the North Carolina Christian Educational Commission, John L. Goff, chairman, and T. P. Inabinett, director. It was agreed: “Many other, but good objectives, have heretofore blocked the way of Camp Caroline, with leaders who are trying to do an overflowing schedule of worthy things. This Camp must somehow get an adequate right of way if this very important development is to be properly financed.”
A loan was executed from Atlantic Christian College endowment funds for $2000. This was for the clearance of grounds, done by the Coastal Construction Company, under direction of John W. Cowell, who supervised gratuitously all constructive progress at the site. This loan, principal and interest was fully repaid on January 28, 1953. Construction started in March, and by end of the work-season in 1953, there had been finished the first division of the building plan, namely, eight cottages, two lavatories, and the pump house.
There were to be 14 buildings in all, preliminary to the opening, and it was urgent that the Camp be ready for the season of 1954. On March 1, 1954, resources in cash and pledges aggregated $38,873.82 about double that of the preceeding March 1. The build-up was heartening. Although $10,000 more was needed it seemed well to announce that the forthcoming summer conferences would assemble here.
In addition to building the large assembly hall, the infirmary and directors office, and the pavillion, there would be required: $250 each in finishing 8 cottages; $600 for camp chairs; and $500 for dining room and kitchen facilities.
The camp was first opened for service under George E. Downey, state director of religious education, on May 31, 1954, and was dedicated on the following June 9, in the afternoon. There was a large enthusiastic assembly of youth and adults for the occasion.
Plaques were aptly placed memorializing special gifts as follows:
1. Cowell Building, Assembly Hall, Dining Room and Kitchen named in honor of Mr. and Mrs. John W. Cowell who gave the Camp site.
2. Pavilion, gift of Mill Creek District C.M.F.
3. Cottage, furnished by Albemarle Christian Missionary Union.
4. Cottage, furnished by First Christian Church, Wilson.
5. Cottage furnished by Mrs. W. W. Browning in memory of her granddaughter.
6. Cottage, furnished in honor of W. R. Roberson by his children.
7. Cottage, furnished by Mrs. Paul R. Taylor.
8. Room furnished by Mabel Case Class, Wilson Bible School.
9. Room, furnished by Rountree Christian Church.
10. Room, furnished by Winterville Christian Church.
11. Room, furnished by Joseph D. and Cornelia Waters.
12. Room furnished by Mrs. J. D. Phelps.
13. Room, furnished by Mrs. Ben H. Edwards.
14. Office, Furniture, Gift of Misses E. and B. Quinerly, Greenville.
15. Tables, Gift of Pamlico District C.M.F.
16. Chairs, Gift of Southeastern District C.M.F.
There had been assembled for Camp Caroline Development total cash contributions of $52,770.00 by the close of the fiscal year, June 30,
1954. Of this amount $8,484.87, a gratifying support had come from Pamlico Union sources credited respectively in the aggregate as follows:
|Bay Creek||41.68||Kitt Swamp||152.00|
|Bethany (Craven)||150.00||Live Oak Grove||50.00|
|Bethany (Pamlico)||1860.00||Mary's Chapel||50.00|
|Broad Creek||187.37||New Bern||2001.00|
|Carteret County, C.Y.F.||10.00||New Hope||200.00|
|Cove City||100.00||Silver Hall||50.00|
The State Service on May 6, 1954, appointed a permanent committee of seven persons charged with responsibility for Camp maintenance and timely expansion of its facilities. These seven on May 27, following, chose for officers: chairman, John L. Goff; vice chairman, R. L. Alexander; secretary, Mrs. J. C. Bradshaw. While the primary establishment had 14 buildings, others were required, as well as added utilities, and recurring repairs for quality service. George W. Carter, of Kinston, gave asphalt tile floor covering, valued at $300 to be used in the new camp manager's home, completed early in 1955. Other new structures were: infirmary and director's building, lavatory extension, garage and workshop. In addition to the $2500 left-over cash from the debt-free dedication, all of this involved an outlay of an additional $5400.
Telephone and mail services were extended to the grounds in January, 1956. There was much “cleaning up” after two hurricanes, which fortunately did “slight” damage as good elevation of installations at preferred distance from the beach was a protection. For the season's opening in 1956, it was planned to provide mosquito exterminators, improved roads on the grounds, and painting of the steel windows.
Permanent Chairman Goff at the dedication considered it “one of the most beautiful, well-constructed, and usable camps in our entire brotherhood.” But three years later upkeep and expansion had necessitated a borrowing of $5000, on which $2775 was yet owed, (but since then has been paid), and camp-conditioning needs for the season of 1957 aggregated $800. Meeting a later necessity the grounds were well fenced.
From 1955 to 1958, Mr. and Mrs. Z. N. Deshields were resident camp managers. In this capacity Mr. and Mrs. Carlyle Brinson have served since, and both families have done most worthily in a truly responsible post, sustained by the State Service.
Bernard C. Meece, currently the religious education director for the State's Disciples, concluded a recent report of a successful season during which 1200 persons had participated on the grounds, by observing: “This report indicates that we have a good investment at Camp Caroline worthy of continued support and expansion as it serves a growing number of our churches and people.”CONCORD
This church in Pamlico County began in 1802. It was “constituted by Elders Josiah Smith and James Roach”, as “a branch of the Church of
Christ [Arminian] at Spring Creek.” Josiah Smith hailed from the Pungo area of Beaufort County. He was an Eighteenth Century evangelist of the Arminian faith, father of Henry Smith, founding patriarch of Pamlico Disciples. James Roach was pastor at Wheat Swamp in Lenoir County. Spring Creek was on the Bethel Conference roll of 1829. It seems that but little more may be learned of it, likewise nothing further appears to be known of Concord from 1802 until 1844 when Henry Smith came to establish it in the Disciple faith and to supervise revision of their roll. The old building constructed of “heart pine” stood on Moore's Creek near its confluence with Chapel Creek. The present site of Concord, not far removed, is in the Florence neighborhood, on the paved secondary highway leading from Merritt to Florence and Whortonsville. Its registry in 1841 shows 40 members, increased to 70 in 1845 when Bethel Conference merged with the Union Meeting of Disciples of Christ in North Carolina.
At the instance of Henry Smith, at its reconstitution in 1844, the church adopted four resolutions compacted as a simple manifest for their activated decorum. The first enjoined attendance of members at quarterly preaching service, including a free observance of the Lords Supper; the last three provided for churchly discipline of any member appearing to be in flagrant sin. This was to be guided by pastor, elders, and duly appointed representatives. The original document has the only known autograph of Henry Smith.
The Concord of 1884 had 60 members, of whom 19 were men, and 51 were women. The officers: elders: F. B. Silverthorne, Jacob McCotter, Samuel Morris; deacons: William Lewis, Sr., Hawkins Delemar, Solomon Caraway. There were 29 “heads of families,” namely: Ball, Broadwaters, Brothers, Caraway, Cary, Clark, Daniels, Delemar, Dixon, Fowler, Harfoot, Haveford, Hayman, Ives, Leith Lewis, McCotter, Martin, Messick, Morris, Muse, Potter, Rice, Riggs, Silverthorne, Slade, Whorton, Wilcox, Woodward.
Also enrolled were “names of black members”; three men and five women: Abram, John Godet, William Godet; Rose, Thamor, June, Luckey, Eliza Ives.
In 1845 the total pledges at Concord for “church expenses”, averaged about $2.00 per quarter, not all of which was paid when due. It is not clear at this time what amount was to be given the preacher. An itemized account of expense for the last quarter of 1844, follows:
|For two tumblers||20 cents|
|For two tin plates||15 cents|
|For wine, [communion]||30 cents|
|For this book, (clerk’s record)||80 cents|
Fifteen delegates are recorded as having represented Concord in their Annual State Meetings from 1844 to 1889. Their names: Joseph McCotter, William Lewis, Solomon Caraway, Perkins Paul, Jacob Edwards, Thomas Clark, F. Woolard, B. Morris, Z. Clark, N. Tetterton, William Richardson, W. J. Parker, John Ives, A. F. Leary, B. B. Leary.
First clerks of record were: Jacob McCotter, (1847); John T. Brabble, (1876); William Richardson, (1887); A. F. Leary, (1890); Wiley N.
Whorton, (1891): In 1852, Concord had regular preaching on fourth Sunday week-ends of October, January, April, and July. Their church property valuation in 1901 was $500; in 1930, $1500.
In the early years of its Disciple connection, the church “through the kind providence of God and the assiduous labors of our estimable brother Smith multiplied and prospered.” However, in 1858 by infirmities of age he had ceased to come. It is then recorded: “by non-attendance and negligence the church became and now is in deplorable condition.” Some had united with other churches, some had “made shipwreck of faith,” and had “again turned back to the world by following the desire of the flesh”. The church on May 8, 1858, called John Bunyan Respess, as pastor, who set them back in order.
Pastor J. L. Winfield came to reorganize Concord again on August 27, 1876. Officers: elders: A. J. Leary, B. P. Small, who was also treasurer; deacon, Elijah Lewis. In 1878 a total of $15 was pledged by nine men to pay their pastor, A. J. Holton, for the entire year. Briefly from the foxed pages of the old Concord book we have the following:
April 23, 1877. It was the (proposition) or proposal of the pastor, (J. L. Winfield), that any sister that had been reported to have been dancing that at the next offense to be withdrawn from.
August 11, 1877. The request of G. W. N. Parker to join our boddy was put before the church and carried that he be received as a member, and then it was moved and carried through that he the said G. W. N. Parker be received as an evangelist at Conference, (annual State Meeting).
November 3, 1878. The case of Bro. — — was brought before the conference, for getting drunk, he was set aside for Reffermation.
May 26, 1888. Had preaching by Elder Isaac P. Holton, closed, with two additions to the church; met again Sunday, (May 27) had preaching by A. J. Holton, had three joiners. Adjourned to meet at the Water Side at 3:00 P.M. for the purpose of Baptism, one confessed her God at the water, total 6.
June 22, 1890, fourth Sunday night in June. After preaching a collection was taken up for to assist the church at Stokes Dale, (N. C.) to the amt. of $1.43.
In the 1870's the time of regular quarterly preaching at Concord was fixed for second Sunday week-ends in February, May, August, and December. On the revised roll were named 20 men and 32 women.
As the years rolled, the condition and location of their meetinghouse became unsuitable. On October 6, 1895, the congregation agreed to rebuild with satisfaction on the present site, which is in the “neighborhood” of the old church. The building committee: W. H. Lewis, Stephen Cary, and Wiley N. Whorton, who served also as treasurer. Twenty-three of their laymen worked on the new construction.
Pastor Henry Winfield served them in 1896. It was reported: “He has moved to the County and located in Bayboro. We think he is much better situated for his field of labor. We hope to have a house for him to preach in before his year's work is completed that will accomodate all that will come.”
A. F. Leary, a faithful worker, submitted in January, 1899: “Our church is in rather bad condition. Our Sunday School which has been running for over three years has died a natural death - a shame to the
community. I hope to see it in thriving condition soon. May God clear us of all malice and strife and make us a band of Christians.” The new pastor to turn the tide was I. W. Rogers, so within three months, Leary could say; “Bro. Rogers is a hustler from his heart. He has organized the Board of Elders and Deacons and put them to work. We have organized a Sunday School with Rosa D. Broadwaters, superintendent, Ida Cary, clerk, and Tryphene Riggs, treasurer. It is now in good working order.”
Mrs. M. S. Spear, the New Bern pastor's wife, came to the Union Meeting in June, 1901, and organized at Concord their C.W.B.M. Auxilliary. Its officers: president, Mrs. Slade; vice-president, Ella Broadwaters; secretary, Florence Cary, who was also appointed “District manager”; treasurer, Mrs. Parker. At this general meeting, Mrs. Spear had given “a very able address upon Worldwide Missions.”
W. O. Winfield held their revival in July, 1902, with 14 additions. Pastor R. H. Jones said of it: “I think it was the best meeting I was ever in.” Jones soon left for the Lexington, Ky. College of the Bible, and Concord gave him an affectionate farewell.
“The Country Church In North Carolina”, is the title of a book by Jesse Marvin Ormond, of Duke University, published, 1931. This states that a rural church survey of whites in Pamlico County showed eight different religious faiths having a total of 37 churches, and that Disciples led the county in number of communicants. In this, Concord ranked well toward the top. Pastor John T. Saunders was inspired at Concord to call it “a very resourceful church.” He wanted to see it “fully equipped as a community center radiating influence for good throughout the county.”
C. C. Ware ordained elders and deacons there on April 25, 1925. They had an impressive choir, and the church “was being revived under excellent leadership.”
Pastor E. J. Harris held their revival in July, 1929, with 15 baptisms. An old custom still conscientiously observed by some rural Carolina Disciples is articulated in his report: “The Lords Supper and right hand of fellowship to new members were observed immediately after the baptizing at the river shore.”
Concord's modern plant was dedicated debt-free on November 26, 1953, when W. J. B. Burrus was pastor. Charles Winfred Riggs, Pamlico native, preached the sermon.
Membership at Concord is 243.
Roll of Ministers at Concord.
|1802||Josiah Smith, James Roach||1902||R. H. Jones|
|1844-1853||Henry Smith||1904, 1907, 1908||J. W. Tyndall|
|1857||J. R. Winfield||1905||A. F. Leighton|
|1858-1865||J. B. Respess||1906||D. H. Petree|
|1876, 1877||J. L. Winfield||1909||I. W. Rogers|
|1878-1881||A. J. Holton||1911||J. J. Walker|
|1882, 1889, 1890||J. B. Parsons||1912-1920, 1939, 1940||John R. Smith|
|1883||Jesse T. Davis|
|1885-1888||J. L. Burns||1921||John T. Saunders|
|1891-1897||Henry Winfield||1922||W. H. Manler|
|1898, 1899||I. W. Rogers||1923, 1924||Joseph A. Saunders|
|1900||J. W. P. Holton||1925||S. Tyler Smith|
|1926, 1927||Roy O. Respess||1934-1936||Wilbur I. Bennett|
|1928||C. K. Holsapple||1941||Garland C. Bland|
|1929||Everett J. Harris||1942, 1957-1961||R. H. Walker|
|1930, 1937, 1938, 1948-1956||W. J. B. Burrus||1943-1945||F. A. Lilley|
|1946, 1947||Ivan Adams|
|1931-1933||J. H. Williams|
Cove, a station on the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, about midway from Kinston to New Bern had a population of 26 in 1880. It had a postoffice in 1882, and so did Cove Creek in the same State, with 10 inhabitants, to the west, near the scenic Lake Junaluska. By 1907 there had been manifold increase of people in these places. Thus it may be assumed that Federal postal authorities to facilitate directives for increasing communications simply enlarged the name to the felicitous, alliterative, Cove City. The Railroad has retained Cove as the old-fashioned name. It was incorporated in 1907, presently listed in the census at about 500, and is situated on Federal Highway 70, “North Carolina's Main Street.”
In some quarters a century ago the reputed civilization in this section bore the imposed image of the archaic, not to say semi-barbaric. Edmund Kirke war-time novelist in “My Southern Friends” (1862) wrote of the Cove-Tuscarora-Jasper locale. Written mainly for Yankee readers it is a colorful, folklorish tale of the passing Carolina scene.
First Disciple of record to live in Cove City was R. L. Burkett. In his zeal he invited John T. Saunders to come and preach there, August 21-26, 1910. Burkett reported: “He only preached five sermons all of which were on the plan of salvation. We have no church at this place. The Missionary Baptists were very kind to us in letting us use their church. We appreciate this. The people would not come out to hear until about the close of the meeting. Some would not even enter the door of the house of worship.” Four years later Burkett was still there. He declared: “We have good moral people in and around Cove City,” but he longed for a working church of his faith.
While Cecil F. Outlaw of Dunn, N. C. was preaching on second Sundays in 1929 at near-by Dover, he ran over to give a sermon also to Cove City, that day. It was June, 1934, after the mature J. T. Ward family of seven, from Wheat Swamp, had moved there, that C. C. Ware visited them, prospecting for a new Cove City church. There was available the local Methodist plant, seating 150, since they had withdrawn from the field.
Cove City Disciples were organized on August 27, 1934, with 14 members, representing 11 families. Leading were the evangelist, E. J. Harris who had recently held a revival there, John L. Goff, New Bern pastor, and C. C. Ware. The fourteen charter members; elder, J. T. Ward; deacons: E. B. Ward, Tracy Gaskins; Deaconesses: Mrs. J. Monroe Ward, Mrs. W. H. Heath; Correspondent, J. Monroe Ward; youth sponsors: Mrs. A. W. McCoy, Mrs. E. B. Ward, and Mrs. C. L. Ward; others affiliating: C. L. Ward, C. H. Ward, Mrs. A. L. White, Mrs. Sally Hardison, and Miss Viola White, E. J. Harris was called as pastor. Other communions there gave the Disciples “the glad hand” of moral support. Pamlico
Union voted $5 per month to pastoral support at Cove City. A special committee served to purchase the Methodist property.
The building was acquired with satisfaction to all. It needed renovation. Light fixtures were installed, concrete steps laid at the front, pulpit rearranged, and pews painted. Oriental, N. C. church gave their organ. Cassie Simmons gave $50, and this with contributed manual services effected the improvements. All debts were cleared by April, 1935.
A substantial loss was the early death of J. T. Ward, “a real father to the church.” However his children constituting major part of the congregation's working personnel carried on efficiently. Their C.W.F. enrolled 11 members, president Mrs. E. J. Harris, and the World Call went into every home of the church.
John Barclay, of Wilson, held their revival in 1935. Their correspondent said: “Our building was crowded to overflow. His messages edified us. The church was strengthened. A number declared that he was the most interesting speaker ever to hold a meeting in this community. Our membership is now 19.” Their church school began in November, 1935, E. B. Ward, superintendant, enrollment 50. Mrs. A. W. McCoy sponsored their Christian Endeavor Society, enlisting 20. The small church raised $900 for local expenses in 1935.
Leland Cook, Kinston pastor, held two excellent revivals there; after which, Pastor R. A. Phillips averred: “Cove City Disciples have a renewed vision to go forward for Christ.” Through the years some other revivalists serving there; J. Clinton Bradshaw, Frank Wibiral, Allen R. Sharp, Joel E. Vause, M. C. McKinney, and W. G. Wolford. New Bern Disciples tendered these the use of their baptistry.
In 1948 their plant was extensively rebuilt “at an expense of several thousand dollars.” State Missions had appropriated to sustain their pastoral service from the start. Mrs. A. W. McCoy responded: “We are most grateful for the State Service help.” Students of Wilson College did much of their preaching. One of them, Bill Corbett confessed: “It has helped me a great deal by giving me an experience not easily forgotten with people who seem to be willing to help me”.
In the summer of 1958, their C.W.F., whose president was Mrs. Barbara Hutchins McCoy, “earned for their work, $58, by tying a barn of tobacco.” In that year the church projected a plan for building an educational plant. In 1959 their Home Makers Class adopted an orphan boy in their Atlanta, Ga. Home.
For the first time on March 6, 1960, their own new baptistry was used; the candidate, the “young boy”, Teddy Carol Ipock.
Membership at Cove City is 58.
Roll of Ministers at Cove City
|1935-1937||Everett J. Harris||1950-1952||M. C. McKinney|
|1938, 1939||R. A. Phillips||1953, 1954||Bruce Strickland|
|1940, 1941||Ray G. Silverthorne||1955||James Burnette|
|1942-1944||Joseph A. Saunders||1956, 1957||Glenn Savage|
|1945||William Lee Parker||1958||James Sitton|
|1946-1948||Jasslyn L. Corbett||1959-1961||James Boswell|
|1949||W. J. B. Burrus|
Like most of America 258 years ago, the particular area in which Edward and Aurora now thrive was a virgin-timbered wilderness. A trickle of white colonists were there, inured to an isolation complicated by their savage neighbors, the Pamlico tribe of Indians. Associated religious activity perforce was lacking. Up the coast Edmundson and Fox had preached to Albemarle Friends, but never did they penetrate Pamlico's pocosins. It remained for the Quaker itinerant, Thomas Chalkley, (1675-1741), to lead the first assembled worship for the scattered settlers across the wide river from Bath.
A brief from the pioneering Chalkley's journal approved by the Philadelphia “Monthly Meeting of Friends”, February 28, 1749, relates:
About the 26th of the First month, 1703, I went through Maryland, and visited Friends in Virginia and North Carolina, to the river Pamlico, where no travelling, public Friends, that ever I heard of, were before, and we had several meetings there on each side of the river. One day going out of our canoe through a marsh, I trod on a rattlesnake, which is accounted one of the most poisonous of snakes; but it ________ did no harm. This was one deliverance among many which the Lord by his providence wrought for me. In going to and coming from this place we lay two nights in the woods, and I think I never slept better. It was the eighth hour in the evening when I laid down on the ground one night, my saddle being my pillow, at the root of a tree, and it was four o'clock in the morning when they called me. ________ Very sweet was the love of God to my Soul that morning,________In this journey I met with another remarkable deliverance. Going over a river eight miles broad, there being eight men and eight horses, we put the horses in two canoes tied together, so that they stood with their forefeet in one, and their hind-feet in the other. It was calm when we set out, but when we were about the middle of the river, the wind rose, and the seas ran high, and split one of the canoes, so that with our hats we were obliged to cast out the water, and with much difficulty, at last, all of us, with our horses got safely on shore through the good providence of God. On our return through North Carolina we had several large meetings, and an open time it was.________I rode about a thousand miles in this journey.
A leap in time of 166 years to 1869 brings us to White Hill, Beaufort County. This location is three and one-half miles southeast of Edward's Mills, called Edward after 1898. The Disciple beginning at White Hill was of basic importance to their later foundings of their faith in the near-by villages of Edward and Aurora. Indeed the Mary's Chapel Christian Church from 1891 onward is but a continuation of White Hill.
Prior to their church organization at Edward in 1891, the Disciples had conducted a church school there, numbering 20, J. J. Tunstall, superintendent, J. W. Boyd, secretary. There were eight charter members in the new church, namely: Mr. and Mrs. Josephus Edwards, Mr. and Mrs. Burton Stilley, Mr. and Mrs. Pharoah Stilley, J. J. Tunstall, and Kenneth R. Tunstall. These were increased to 16 when enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention on October 27, 1892. Their church school had then grown to 24, including three teachers; Augustus O. Warren, superintendant, and Belle Edwards, secretary. Their earliest resident preachers were J. B. Parsons, and J. S. Henderson.
In 1894, J. Boyd Jones, youth of 25, held his first pastorate at Edward, baptizing ten, among whom was Mrs. R. J. Fulcher. There were seven
other accessions, that year, more than doubling their membership. Jones reported: “This church is very young, but it is in a flourishing town. It is composed of the leading citizens. We are now putting the finishing touch on our house preparatory to a great work the ensuing year.” Later he said of Edward: “They bore with me patiently while I practiced on them.” Jones while pastor at Wilson, dedicated the new church at Aurora, debt free, on April 29, 1906. He commended Virgil Allen and Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Hudnell as the church leaders in that town seven miles east of Edward.
M. S. Spear, New Bern pastor, held the Edward revival in 1902, with 17 baptisms. Local correspondent, Mrs. O. K. Stilley, observed: “The Gospel was courageously and convincingly presented by this preacher whose sincerety is deep. The baptism of these eight young men and nine young women was a beautifully impressive scene.”
An Edward correspondent said in 1904: “We have painted our church outside and have bought a nice communion set.” Then “a nice new pulpit and carpet” were added April 28, 1907. Miss Bertha Tuten was then organist, who participated with Margaret Tuten and Ruby Stilley in producing their successful Childrens Day play, “Star of Promise.” Vera Edwards brought in the “heaviest box” among those presented by the children containing their accumulated gifts for Foreign Missions. They said of their pastor, Warren A. Davis, “He is a Missionary from the shoulder. Nothing pleases him better than his people to engage in missions.”
C. Manly Morton held their ten-day revival in 1913, with five added, four of whom were heads of families. J. Walter Lollis was their resident pastor in 1918. That year their church school doubled its attendance, and a “Training for Service” class met regularly in the preacher's home.
In 1922 and 1923, pastor G. H. Sullivan held their revivals; baptizings were in the Pamlico River at Core Point. For the community “it marked a period of real spiritual awakening” brought to focus in “the only church in the place having any service.” Some others holding Edward revivals were: Olin E. Fox, Edgar T. Harris, L. B. Scarborough, and Zeph N. Deshields.
C. C. Ware visited Edward on February 23, 1936, to assist the pastor Ernest DeLoach in ordaining the following: elders: D. T. Sawyer, E. E. Edwards, A. H. Bennett; deacons: Leonidas Bennett, Carlton Bennett, Merdon Warren, R. H. Paul, Jr., Robert Lewis, Ernest Warren, C. K. Doughty; deaconesses: Mesdames R. J. Fulcher, Belle Bennett, J. T. Tuten. Chairman of this board was D. T. Sawyer; treasurer, E. E. Edwards; clerk, Mrs. R. J. Fulcher.
In 1946 their plant was improved, adequately financed by cash gifts. Two coats of paint were given outside; interior was redecorated; choir space was enlarged and facilitated with curtain; and art-glass windows and two double doors installed. Nine years later new memorial windows were provided; new walls of celotex and knotty pine wallboard built in; ceiling refurbished; floor sanded and varnished; new pews and carpet installed; and there was added for the choir, “a knotty pine border topped with a velvet curtain.”
In May, 1951, their C.Y.F. with eleven members were “studying overseas missions and enjoying it.” Their officers: president, Mary
Bennett; vice president, Bobby Clark; secretary, Mary Carole Paul, treasurer, Edward Gray; reporter, Gerald Hill.
Frank W. Wibiral, assisted by E. J. Harris, installed new church officers there on July 25, 1954. Pastor Rufus H. Walker organized their C.M.F. with 15 members in March, 1955. Their officers: president E. E. Edwards; vice president, Burton Gray; secrtary and treasurer, Billie Bonner.
New officers of their C.W.F. in July, 1955, were: president Mrs. Burton Gray; vice-president, Mrs. Audrey Lane; secretary-treasurer, Mrs. Heber Stilley; worship chairman, Mrs. Billy Bonner; study director, Belva Bennett; service director, Mrs. D. W. McCaffity.
The church on February 10, 1957 by their start of “full-time” preaching “marked the start of a new era.” The evening service then was given entirely to the C.Y.F. Pastor W. E. Roberts was also their youth director.
Further improvements to their plant were made in 1957. Two new church school rooms were added; new pews and new carpet installed; a parking lot perfected; better choir facilities provided; the grounds attractively landscaped; and their “Home Coming” table relocated. As a climax, Edward Christian Church was awarded currently the first prize, $300, in the Rural Church Beautification Contest conducted by the Beaufort County Farm Bureau.
Envisioning continued growth the church purchased in 1959, an additional acre of land across the street.
Membership at Edward is 100.
Roll of Ministers at Edward.
|1889||J. B. Respess||1928, 1929||W. J. B. Burrus|
|1900||J. L. Winfield||1930, 1934 1935||Wilbur I. Bennett|
|1904||P. S. Swain|
|1905||J. R. Tingle||1931, 1932||Edgar T. Harris|
|1907||W. A. Davis||1936||Oakel B. Bass|
|1911, 1912||W. O. Winfield||1937||M. J. Penny|
|1913||Eber E. Moore||1938||Perry Case|
|1914, 1922||R. L. Topping||1939-1941||R. V. Hope|
|1915||J. M. Perry||1952, 1953||Glenn Brigman|
|1916-1919||J. W. Lollis||1954||James Hemby|
|1920, 1921||C. E. Lee||1955, 1956||R. H. Walker|
|1923, 1924, 1942-1951||G. H. Sullivan||1957||Jay Prilliaman|
|1958||W. E. Roberts|
|1925, 1933||Everett J. Harris||1959-1961||Franklin Brooks|
|1926, 1927||D. W. Arnold|
Nearing its sesquicentennial this church in Craven County is housed at Askin's crossroads on Federal 17, the “Ocean Highway.” New Bern is ten miles south; Vanceboro, seven miles north. It was founded by Isaac Pipkin, Arminian Baptist itinerant in 1820. Among its charter members was John Powell, (1791-1850), who located in that community in 1818, and was ordained to the ministry by Pipkin in 1832. The Tarheel, Powell, son of John and Celia Powell, was a native of Lenoir County, baptized in 1812 by James Roach, Wheat Swamp pastor, at Lousan Swamp, near the present Airy Grove. A Disciple colleague and neighbor, John B.
Gaylord, said that Powell came to the Disciples in 1841, and during his life had preached for 18 years at his home church, Little Swift Creek Chapel, original name for Kitts Swamp. As for Powell, Gaylord testified: “During the whole of his ministerial life, he sustained an unblemished character and was beloved and esteemed by all that knew him.”
The church had its first name from the stream flowing within a mile of its site, bridged on the highway near Askin. Little Swift Creek is a small tributary of the larger Swift Creek which “falls” into the Neuse five miles above New Bern.
The primitive Chapel, a “free house”, used by various communions, stood for over forty years on the two-acre plat given by Moses Ernul. There is where the third plant of this congregation is to-day. The old chapel was destroyed in the 1860's, by Federal soldiers encamped at New Bern, their temporary headquarters for the State's Military Department. The growing Disciples restored it in 1870 with a new building, and named it Kitt's Swamp. Nails were scarce and at prohibitive price, so wooden pegs were used in the frame. This building lasted for 52 years, then the third plant was erected, and was opened on April 16, 1922.
In 1841 the church had 69 members. To 1889 inclusive, a period of 49 years, the following 25 delegates were sent to the annual State meetings of the Disciples: William R. Caton, Asa Ipock, David Gaskins, Hardy Powell, R. Rand, J. Atkins, Joe Gaskins, James W. Caton, R. Powell, William Dunn, John L. Askew, J. E. Everington, F. Powell, James Caton, Jr., Henry Gaskins, J. A. Gaskins, Alfred Gaskins, L. Caton, A. C. Jackson, Bryan H. Gaskins, J. A. Thomas, Asa Arthur, N. G. Caton, Louis Cohn, J. M. Arthur.
Earliest clerks of record were: Noah Silas Fulcher, (1877); Asa Arthur, (1885). The church property valuation in 1901 was $500; in 1930, $1500.
In December, 1854, J. Parks Neville, Disciple itinerant, visited the church, and reported: “I preached here two days. Was met by Bro. James Caton who conducted me to his home some 14 miles from the meeting house. He informed me that he had not failed to attend the church here on the regular day of meeting for 23 years, (1831-1854), and in going to and from this meeting-house he had travelled nearly 4000 miles.”
Their antebellum church school was remarkable. It was inspired by Mrs. Ernul, enthusiastic local leader and teacher, “past her three score years.” She made it succeed. “A library of about 50 volumes for the use of the school” had been gathered by her. Her pastor, John B. Respess, said “She made an impression on the minds of many which the beating waves of time will never efface. I was deeply impressed with the good to be done by such schools. I preached that day  and better attention I never had. Our sister had the pleasure of seeing many of her pupils come to Jesus.”
While the environing woods and streams are even yet exciting to sportsmen for wild game and fish, the fertile plains thereabout are not without appreciation. A large farm near Kitts Swamp in 1899 was “said to be as fine tobacco land as any in the State; also it produces well, corn, cotton, potatoes and peas ______ a good trucking land.”
Pastor I. W. Rogers on April 16, 1899, raised $6.36 for State Missions there. Rufus Fulcher, local correspondent, admitted: “It was greater than was expected. But Bro. Rogers is thoroughly consecrated to the work.
We think our success is largely due to his earnest efforts to impress in the minds of our people the necessity of State Missions.” This rural church, for the times, set a noteworthy example of Disciple consistency in observing the Lords Supper each Lord's Day. Mrs. B. A. Jackson was their church school supertendent; R. J. Fulcher, secretary. Their teachers: Misses Mamie Gaskins, Minnie Price, Annie Arthur, and Sallie Arthur. Later church school superintendents at the turn of the century were: Jesse Price, and W. T. Price.
A C. W. B. M. field worker, Elizabeth Tesh, visited there on September 22, 1907. Her encouraging word: “I was entertained in the home of Mr. Alfred Gaskins. His daughter, Katie, played the accompaniment to my songs in a way that showed musical talent. I had a splendid attentive audience. I hope to enlist some good workers. The material is certainly there.”
Their church school was reorganized in 1938, with Frank Toler, superintendent. Mrs. C. R. Heath was president of their Ladies Aid Society which had raised $100 of the eventual $400 used to reroof the plant. In 1941 their new church school rooms were under construction. At that time their elders were: Steve Gatlin, S. A. Barnes, Hubert Arthur, and Lloyd Arthur. Early in 1943, pastor Preston E. Cayton announced: “We have four fine new rooms. We are grateful for this substantial achievement.”
C. C. Ware spoke at the dedication of this educational equipment on May 30, 1943. The rooms have folding doors. The choir loft had been extended twelve feet back of the pulpit. It was debt-free. There had been cash gifts amounting to $900. Sufficient first grade lumber had been contributed by local laymen; S. H. Gatlin, Will R. Boyd, and J. T. Brite. In addition nearly all of the labor in construction had been given by the community's men. There was fine morale in completing a worthy task.
In 1956 a tape-recording machine was bought to reproduce their worship services for those unable to attend at the church. Participants in their Mothers Day program that year were: Effie Robinson, Docky Robinson, Bill Stilley, Martha Ballenger, Pauline Arthur, and Linda Ballenger.
Their church yard was cleared for landscaping. An “exterior lighted bulletin board was placed at the front of the church.” Their correspondent declared: “Our prayers this year will be centered around the expansion of Christianity into all parts of the world that we may share with others our opportunities, privileges and blessings.”
Membership at Kitts Swamp is 125.
Roll of Ministers at Kitts Swamp:
|1820-1831||Isaac Pipkin||1901||G. T. Tyson|
|1832-1847||John Powell||1909, 1934-1936||C. E. Lee|
|1848, 1849||W. R. Fulcher||1911-1913||J. B. Swain|
|1850-1853||Henry Smith||1914||Eber E. Moore|
|1859, 1889, 1904||J. B. Respess||1915, 1916||James T. Moore|
|1882-1884||A. J. Holton||1917-1920, 1923, 1924||John R. Smith|
|1897, 1898||H. S. Davenport||1921||J. R. Tingle|
|1899||I. W. Rogers||1922||George A. Moore|
|1925||Joseph A. Saunders||1944, 1945||H. G. Quigley|
|1926, 1949, 1950||R. L. Topping||1951, 1952||Wilbur I. Bennett|
|1927-1929||W. J. B. Burrus||1953, 1954||H. F. Speight, Jr.|
|1930||E. O. Arnold||1955||Darrell Huffman|
|1931-1933||J. H. Williams||1956-1960||P. E. Cayton|
|1937-1943, 1946-1948,||1961||R. H. Shavendar|
It was agreed on motion by Henry Smith at the annual meeting of Bethel Conference in 1844 to receive Ware Creek Church of Carteret County into that fellowship. Smith's creative evangelism had initiated this congregation to be known from 1885 onward as Live Oak Grove. The site of Ware Creek schoolhouse where they worshipped intermittently for 40 years is a mile north of the present Live Oak Grove. In 1943 the schoolhouse site was in an open, cultivated field across the road from the old Johnny Simpkins homestead then in ruins. It was near the stream called Ware Creek, not far from the ancient Simpkins burial ground. A pioneer Disciple family there were the Guthries, John B., and George. This was a familiar Carteret name, spelled variantly, in the Census of 1790, which listed seven Guthrie “heads of families”, namely: Charles Frederick, Jane, Levi, Samuel, Solomon, and Stephen. All of them had sizeable families; none had slaves.
Spelling in that by-gone century was not too meticulous. Thus we have Ware, Weir, and Wier. There seems to have been no exact orthography for this obscure little creek and schoolhouse. There were eight Ware “heads of families” in North Carolina in 1790, but none were resident at that time in Carteret. There was moreover of that date no Tarheel Weir, or Wier. The name as here applied is a Twentieth Century mystery.
This church had 12 members in 1884. For Disciples it was then an isolated post. It was six miles north of Beaufort, up on the middle one of three foreshortened peninsulars. These are at the northern perimeter of the hurricane-driven waters connecting Core Sound with Bogue Sound. The climate is good; the Atlantic is near; sounds and rivers are in plenty; wherefore in pragmatic proximity is Cherry Point, the World's largest Marine Air Base.
From 1844 to 1884 eight laymen represented Ware Creek in the Disciples’ annual State meetings, namely: John B. Guthrie, Read S. Jones, George Guthrie, J. Lewis, William Sharp, H. Dilmar, J. B. Dickinson, and A. T. Dickinson. First clerks of record: A. T. Dickinson, (1885); Bryant Dickinson, (1890); W. E. Fodrie, (1891). In 1901 their church property valuation was $200; in 1930, $1,000. Their first church school of record, 1885, had W. J. Gibble for superintendent, enrolling 25, of whom 3 were teachers. In 1888, A. T. Dickinson was their superintendent.
It is obvious that the lonely little church suffered constant attrition, likely both natural and satanic, which accounts for their fluctuating numbers. Starting in 1844 with 12 members, they grew to 63 in 1854; reduced again to 12 in 1872; stepping up to 18 in 1874, when J. T. Walsh preached for them, and reporting 43 in 1885, when assuming the current name.
Three active laymen there in June, 1883, were: A. T. Dickinson, (correspondent); J. B. Dickinson, and W. J. Fodrie. The correspondent wrote:
“We number only a few faithful Disciples here. We have no house in which to worship. We once held our meetings in the F.W.B. house but our Evangelist, Bro. A. J. Holton received the confession of one man there and after that we were not allowed to enter the house. We returned to our old schoolhouse. We have failed to meet only four times in the last three years. If our brethren could see where we meet they would certainly help us to build a house of our own.”
At that time pastor A. J. Holton ministered to the six churches of the “Kitts Swamp District” for the nominal salary of $300 per year. H. C. Bowen took occasion to reminisce: “Bro. George Guthrie of Carteret County though dead still lives in the hearts of many brethren. Sister Guthrie still lingers as one of the Weir Creek church. The pioneer preachers, Latham, Allen, Walsh, Dunn, Smith, and others still are held in sacred love and esteem by those who often heard the Gospel from their lips.”
Again in 1890, Bowen remembered: “Ten years ago Bro. E. E. Orvis, [Kinston minister], and I lived near this church for six months and undertook certain enterprises which for various reasons were not successful. During our stay we met each Lord's day there. Orvis taught them out of the Scriptures and I assisted in song, prayer and exhortation. This old hive will soon send forth a swarm.”
The above refers to the ambitious experiment of Bowen and Orvis to turn salt water into a usuable fresh condition. This preceded by 80 years the grand operation projected to-day for the identical objective in the Wilmington area.
Pastor A. J. Holton held the six-day Live Oak Grove revival in the summer of 1883. His good words:
“This congregation meets every Lords Day, preacher or no preacher, and does not allow it to become icy between the times of meetings as some do. They are now putting forward for the erection of a house of worship. I long to see the time when all of our pulpits will be filled with preachers who know how to preach, expounding in good style the Scriptures so that the people can have no excuse for their sins. Then can the babbling, stammering preachers that have so long troubled the wise with their nonsense, step out of the way and quietly retire.”
C. B. Mashburn held their revival, with six added, in August, 1908. A teacher training class of 16 was organized. On September 8, four more were added to the church, and the entire church debt was paid. Correspondent Miss S. J. Dickinson earnestly pled for more evangelizing in the area. She lamented: “We are the only congregation of our people in this County, and it looks like we are to continue to be the only one. If we had three of four churches in Carteret we could do a great work for the Lord.”
Etta Nunn, native of New Bern, capable and widely known in the women's missionary service, visited there as state organizer in February, 1909. She observed: “Live Oak Grove gave me a cordial welcome. I was delighted with the Christian spirit shown by all. We organized a Mission Band with 11 members. Officers: superintendent, Lelia Merrill, president,
Pearl Langdale; vice president, Lucretia Woolard; secretary, Nellie Dickinson; treasurer, Verdie Jinnett. I believe they will soon double their membership.”
Their native ministerial recruit in the 1930's was Jimmy Lee Merrill, who attended Johnson Bible College. Charley Rhodes Harrison, a student at Wilson, ministered there in 1943, when C. C. Ware assisted him on June 13, to ordain the three deaconesses; Mrs. Chester Dunkle, Mrs. Ruby Norman, and Miss Christine Rogers. Their other church officers, at that time: elders: Tillman Fodrie, Bob Russell; deacon, Ashley N. Fodrie. However by this time, so many of their men had gone to war that the above named women, passed the emblems at weekly communion.
Newly elected officers in 1950, were: elders: B. H. Russell, (Chairman of Board); James Skinner, (Vice Chairman), Samuel Merrill, Sr., Cleo Merrill; deacons: A. N. Fodrie, (clerk); Robert Russell, Samuel Merrill, Jr.; deaconesses: Mesdames: George Russell, (secretary); Leon Fodrie, Samuel Merrill, Sr.; budget committee: Cleo Merrill, A. N. Fodrie, Mrs. George Russell. Their church school was growing; their new C.Y.F. sponsored by Mrs. Nellie Potter was attended by 20; a new Bible Circle of a dozen met monthly; and their C. E. met weekly.
C. W. Riggs held their revival in 1950, with 15 additions. Their correspondent said: “We are improving greatly our church plant, painting it, erecting a steeple, and extending the auditorium from materials contributed by B. H. Russell and Robert Grey. It then bore churchly appearance amidst the live oaks in sight of passersby on paved State Highway 101, five miles north of Beaufort on the shores of Russell Creek.
Three years later more improvements are noted. The grounds were cleared for elaborate landscaping and a circular driveway by the Russell Creek Home Demonstration Club. A recessed light adorned the pulpit, with “fluorescent lights on either side of the chancel.” It was planned to have new pews and new choir chairs. Floor and ceiling were refurbished. Volunteer laymen labored to effect this; the women did their part wisely.
Hurricanes of the 1950's damaged the property to some extent, protected however by the insurance. Adequate church school rooms have recently been erected; the auditorium refurnished within and without; and new pews and pulpit furniture installed. Their quartette: Ashley Fodrie, Cleo Merrill, Fred Worthington, and James Skinner have sung regularly from the Beaufort radio station.
Membership at Live Oak Grove is 75.ROLL OF MINISTERS AT LIVE OAK GROVE
|1845-1853||Henry Smith||1914, 1922-1924; 1929||George A. Moore|
|1874||J. T. Walsh|
|1882, 1884, 1889||A. J. Holton||1915, 1926, 1927, 1944, 1945||James T. Moore|
|1890||W. J. Gibble|
|1891-1896||W. J. Fodrie||1916-1921||D. F. Tyndall|
|1898||H. S. Davenport||1925||Burney Gilliken|
|1899, 1904, 1908, 1909||J. R. Jinnett||1928||J. E. Pipkin|
|1930-1933||J. H. Williams|
|1900, 1901||J. W. P. Holton||1934-1941, 1949||R. H. Walker|
|1910-1913||John T. Saunders||1942||John R. Smith|
|1943||C. R. Harrison||1952, 1953, 1955-1957||R. B. Hurt|
|1946, 1948||J. L. Corbett||1954||H. Edgar Harden|
|1947||Cecil Brown||1958||P. E. Cayton|
|1950, 1951||A. W. Huffman, Sr.|
On a sandy terrain in Beaufort County, south of the wide river, stood White Hill schoolhouse, a century ago. The site, three and a half miles south of Edward, is at the upper Durham's Creek watershed, and near the modern White Hill F.W.B. church. The old schoolhouse while primarily serving academic purposes, was also “free”, for religious use which was practiced quadrilaterally. Community agreement expedited it for monthly worship. The Primitive Baptists had first Sundays; the Free Will Baptists, second Sundays; the Disciples holding the fort on third Sundays; while to the Methodists were awarded fourth Sundays.
J. W. P. Holton, pedestrian Disciple evangelist, living at Broad Creek. began his earnest preaching at White Hill, in the late 1860's. By then the Federal military strictures enforced by their departmental head at New Bern, had relaxed and he could rejoice to come and go at will. In 1869 he set the 26 Disciples in congregational order at White Hill, and enrolled them that year on October 10, in their annual State meeting. The official record: “The church at White Hill, Beaufort County applied for admission in the Conference and on motion was received.” Their first officers: elders: W. R. Caton, John Walker; deacons: Thomas B. Tunstall, Alexander Edwards.
From 1869 to 1890, six of their laymen represented White Hill in the Disciples’ annual State meetings: namely: Thomas B. Tunstall, J. W. Walker, T. K. Rowe, Augustus O. Warren, Josephus Edwards, and J. J. Tunstall. As of record, their earliest clerks: A. K. Warren, (1886); J. B. Rowe, (1888); W. C. Rowe, (1891).
These Disciples in 1891 had a plant of their own at the fork of the road on a hill, calling their church, Mary's Chapel, and enrolling it with 50 members in The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention that year. Their church property valuation in 1901 was $300; in 1930. $1,000. In May, 1894, their correspondent reported: “We organized our Sunday School in March, 1894. We have a fine school.” Having only 18 members in the church the next year, they gave $4.00 to State Missions.
In 1914 their recorded membership was 61. Their officers: elders: Rabe Caton, Leonard Spruill; deacons: Charles Ferrell, E. T. Walker, Billy Walker. The only charter member then living on their 45th anniversary was Rabe Caton.
Pastor R. H. Walker reported in November, 1933: “Brother John L. Goff of New Bern held our revival this year at Mary's Chapel. It was much enjoyed by all. There was the best spirit manifested. He baptized three young men and six young women. We have a fine Bible School and our Christian Endeavor Society is remarkable.”
In 1941, Walker was ministering to Live Oak Grove, Amity, Elizabeth Chapel and Mary's Chapel. On February 12 of that year the examination and Ordination Committee of The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention reccommended that Walker be ordained to the Christian
Ministry. This was duly approved, and it was consummated on April 25, 1941, at Mary's Chapel. The officiating ministers at this ordination: C. B. Mashburn, R. V. Hope, Wilbur I. Bennett, Joseph A. Saunders, F. A. Lilly, and C. C. Ware.
As Raleigh L. Topping, long-time pastor at Mary's Chapel has said of it: “May the little band grow more and more and its influence be felt far and wide.”
Membership at Mary's Chapel is 75.
Roll of Ministers at Mary's Chapel:
|1869-1908||1925, 1926||James T. Moore|
|J. W. P. Holton, J. S. Henderson||1927, 1928||W. J. B. Burrus|
|H. S. Davenport, C. E. Lee||1929, 1934, 1935, 1952||Wilbur I. Bennett|
|W. O. Winfield, J. L. Winfield|
|J. V. Winfield||1930||W. O. Winfield|
|1909-1911||A. J. Holton||1931-1933, 1942-1947||F. A. Lilley|
|1913, 1914||Eber E. Moore|
|1915||George A. Moore||1936-1938||P. E. Cayton|
|1916-1919||Thomas Green||1939||Roe L. Harris|
|1920||J. W. Lollis||1940, 1941, 1949-1951||R. H. Walker|
|1921||John R. Smith|
|1922, 1923, 1924||G. H. Sullivan||1948||D. W. Arnold|
|1953-1961||R. L. Topping|
A growing State seeking improved access to the sea created this place in 1857. Named for its pioneer industrialist-promoter, Governor John Motley Morehead, (1796-1866), it was incorporated in the ominous year of 1861. A Gazetteer of 1874 said: “Morehead City, post village in Carteret County, N. C., on the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, 36 miles from New Berne. Population, 267.” Today it is a sportsmen's playground, a delightful summer resort, and a port terminal of international importance. The census of 1960 gives it less than 6,000, but the seasonal increase of visitors is not therein accounted. Route 70 is its transcontinental link with the west. For motorists it courses from coast to coast, California to Carolina; from Beverly Hills to Beaufort, snaking a bit farther to Carteret's fitly-named Atlantic.
The beginning of the Disciples in Morehead is a Twentieth Century story. Their early regional history shows diffidence in entering the larger centers with communion-wide concert for strategic permanence. After a long time there was serious talk in the alert Pamlico Union about the possibilities at Morehead. In their quarterly meetings of November 28, 1914, and January 30, 1915, the opportunity was favorably considered and a kind of promise given that something tangible would be done. However at the next Union assembly, which was at Live Oak Grove on May 29, the leaders for some reason were silent as to Morehead. This stirred two representatives of the host church, Glennie Davis and Mrs. J. B. Dickinson to protest. They said: “We people here at Live Oak do not believe in putting off things for tomorrow which ought to be done today. Brother K. J. Respess, one of our brethren looked into
Morehead City and he says he never saw a brighter prospect for a good meeting than there is at Morehead City. Our people there want a shepherd. The prayers of people here at Russell Creek are that this work at Morehead City may be established.”
Normally for the hopeful start of any new church there needs must be locally one or more loyal, dedicated, Christians who seriously want the church and are firmly geared to work and pray through thick and thin creatively for it. For the next quarter-century this seems not to have been found there. Then as might have been expected, a young preacher, Jimmy Lee Merrill, of Live Oak Grove, gathered a group of 22 Disciples and friends at Morehead on February 19, 1939. It was in the home of Mrs. Elizabeth Parker where some previous like meetings had been held. This group included Miss Myrtle Webb, of 106 East 9th Street, a native of Morehead and a descendant of a pioneer family of that city.
Out of this meeting came the preliminary organization: acting elder, Jimmy Lee Merrill; deacon, G. C. Brinson; deaconesses: Mrs. D. D. Bell, (treasurer); Miss Myrtle Webb; Mrs. D. C. Rice, (pianist). Miss Webb offered to give the new church a double lot, 100 feet square, on the northwest corner of Bridges and 23rd Streets, which is now 2210-2212 Bridges Street. It was gratefully accepted. It is on Highway 70, on the city's western side, in line with the major trend of realty development at that time. The Bogue Sound bridge for Atlantic Beach traffic has since been constructed within two blocks of the First Christian Church. Contributed to Morehead Disciples were the communion set from Havelock, and hymn books also from there and Bridgeton. Mrs. W. F. Sparrow of Washington gave them a piano. It was said: “If all of the Morehead vicinity Disciples could be enlisted there would be a sizable number indeed in the new church.”
C. B. Mashburn, Farmville pastor, was sent by the State Service to hold their revival in June, 1939. Miss Webb's gift of the lot was legally processed and recorded in Beaufort. The first named trustees: Jimmy Lee Merrill, R. L. Burkett, G. C. Brinson. The State Service engaged James T. Moore of Reelsboro to supply the pastorate. He was aided by the Bridgeton layman, E. R. Phillips. Moore said: “We anticipate an increasing fellowship at Morehead, and we are encouraged in our building project.”
In April 1940, their meeting place was changed to Miss Webb's new home, and the response was favorable. There was basic need nevertheless for adequate housing of their own. Wherefore a careful looking around was done by local leaders assisted by the special Pamlico Union committee: J. J. Brinson, J. B. Holton, and R. C. Holton. Pastor Moore was convinced after a year that the securing of a representative church home was a prime necessity.
Disturbing effects of World War II, and other causes, deferred for a trying period, the further activities of Morehead Disciples. Fortunately in January, 1948, Lennis O. Brinson, a layman of evangelical character, was living there. A development to permanence at Morehead was led by W. C. Foster, New Bern pastor. His monthly visits there were sponsored by the State Service. At first contact he rounded up 15 Disciples and expressed certainty that a goodly number of others would be found. In April, 1948, they began clearing their lot, gift of Miss Webb, “on which”,
as their local correspondent said, “we hope soon to see a chapel being erected.”
Events were moving. The Pamlico Union seconded by the State Service went all out to see the venture through. The joint executive committee was enlarged as follows: Lennis O. Brinson, (chairman); D. G. Lewis, John W. Cowell, John M. Waters, J. J. Brinson, J. B. Holton, Jack D. Brinson, W. C. Foster, and C. C. Ware. Their first meeting was at the home of the Chairman on March 25, 1948. It was agreed to project a $4000 concrete block plant, 24 × 36 feet; seating capacity, 75, in an auditorium adaptable to improvising four church school rooms, and with ceiling height of ten feet. The room was to be heated by a circulating oil stove. The church was to be properly known as the First Christian Church, Morehead City, N. C. These plans were congregationally approved by the local Disciple group, as were the later decisions of the committee. The acting pastor, W. C. Foster, was requested to serve as executive secretary for the building job, with Lennis O. Brinson, treasurer.
The committee next met in New Bern at the Broad Street Christian Church, on May 23, 1948. Blue prints from Charles J. Betts, their national brotherhood architect were tentatively accepted. No contract was to be let, but a builder was to be engaged for the entire construction, supervised by the committee. John W. Cowell and J. J. Brinson were to buy 2000 white-faced concrete blocks from the Kinston manufacturers. Morehead was to be expected to be host to the Pamlico Union on October 30, 1948. For the Morehead building, Pamlico Union had advanced a cash gift of $1000, with promise of another thousand, all coordinated with an additional $2000 in an underwriting loan from the Atlantic Christian College endowment funds, responsibly endorsed by the State Service.
This visualizing of a church home, under a trusted leadership, for Morehead Disciples evoked their high morale. The city was enjoying an extensive, well-ordered boom in residential and industrial development. Excepting military establishments, this metropolitan area was the last urban center in North Carolina's extreme coastal area of comparable size to attain Disciple organization.
Charles W. Riggs, state evengelist held their fall revival with 12 additions, and organized the church on October 31, 1948, with 32 charter members. These were 13 men and 19 women, as follows:
Men: Harry Bell, Cecil Brinson, Ethan Brinson, Lennis O. Brinson, L. O. Brinson, Jr., Ralph Brinson, Ashton Bruton, Allen Huffman, Amos W. Huffman, Paul King, Jr., D. G. Lewis, Calvin Player, Carrol Rice.
Women: Mesdames: Polly Anderson, Rosa Bell, Mary Brinson, Julia Brinson, Mary Forbes, Hardy Gaskins, A. W. Huffman, Paul D. King, Bruce Lewis, Dorothy Lewis, Elva Lewis, Sarah Lewis, Dorothy Long, Adelaide McCain, Edna Player, Jack Powell, Letha Rice, Novella Schligam, and Miss Edna Louise Player.
Officers elected from the above: elders: Lennis O. Brinson, A. W. Huffman; deacons: Ethan Brinson, Ashton D. Bruton, Cecil Brinson, D. G. Lewis; deaconesses: Mesdames: Hardy Gaskins, Edna Player, (clerk), Mary Brinson.
Their C.M.F. was organized on January 16, 1949, and their C.W.F. shortly thereafter with Mrs. Jack Powell, president. Their C.Y.F. was sponsored by Mrs. A. D. Bruton. C. W. Riggs came for another revival
in March adding 13 more. The church adopted the suggested goals in their brotherhood's “crusade for a Christian World.” On December 11, 1949, their building debt having been paid in full, their plant was dedicated; W. C. Foster preaching. There had been “splendid concert” of local resources with Pamlico Union and State Service in the financial undergirding.
Growth soon necessitated the planning of an auxilliary plant, 60 × 32 feet to sost $6500, financed largely by Church Extension loan. This would enlarge seating capacity to 200, provide six class rooms, baptistry, rest rooms, and a social room, 14 × 24 feet.
On February 11, 1951, C. C. Ware, assisted the pastor, Worden Allen in ordaining the following: elders: R. S. Avery, Lennis O. Brinson, Dorcie Rice; deacons: Ethan Brinson, (chairman of board and treasurer); D. G. Lewis, Guion McCain, (vice chairman); junior deacon, Paul King; deaconesses: Mesdame: J. B. King, J. H. Player, (secretary); H. D. Gaskins.
Construction of a five-room parsonage on the western part of their lot began in January, 1952. For this a Church Extension loan of $4000 had been granted on November 19, 1951, contingent on raising locally an initial $500. It was speedily completed, pastor Claude R. Berry moving into it on March 13, 1952. It was valued at $7500, enhanced by the continuing realty development thereabouts. The church had 74 accessions marking “splendid progress” during Berry's short pastorate. Their laymen soon added a room and back porch to the parsonage.
Their religious education plant, completed in 1954 was greatly needed. Simultaneously their sanctuary was lengthened 15 feet, and a baptistry installed, used for the first time on March 6, 1955. This constructive unit was valued at $10,000. Ross J. Allen, state secretary, said: “Now that they have added their new Educational Building, they have splendid facilities for a real program of advance.” A Morehead leader said: “The church is deeply grateful to the State Society and the Pamlico Union for the help given, without which it could not have existed.”
In 1954 their giving to Disciples’ Unified Promotion was doubled. The C.W.F. showed marked progress, Mrs. Ronald Nichols, president. The C.M.F. reorganized with James C. Lucas, president; Earl McQuirk, vice president; Willie Nelson, secretary; L. A. Hilderbrandt, assistant secretary; William Guthrie, treasurer.
Ira A. Kirk, Rocky Mount pastor presented Morehead with a “very lovely” pulpit Bible. George W. Carter, of Kinston, made generous gift of floor tiling. At the front of auditorium,” an attractive new entrance” was completed. Dedicated on August 14, 1955, were the gifts of an organ by Mrs. Lee Hannah, of Greenville, N. C., and an adornment to the baptistry presented as a memorial by the J. J. Brinson family. Adult and Young Adult classes in the church gave hymnals, communion table, and carpet. Given by Mrs. Marion Best, in memory of her husband were silver offering plates.
It was said: “Many Beach visitors attend our summer services. We want our church to be their home church while they are away from home.” Some places noted from whence they came: Ayden, Goldsboro, Greenville, Kinston, LaGrange, New Bern, Raleigh, Smithfield, Walnut Cove. The hurricane Helene did “much damage to roofs and windows” of their plant, covered however by insurance. The church was functionally
administered in 1959, with departments of Christian Education, Stewardship and Property, Worship, and Evangelism, these units meeting monthly.
Additional land was bought for a necessary parking area. Libraries, visual aid, and general, were planned. The Homebuilders class landscaped the grounds. The C.M.F. provided air-conditioning in 1960. A mimeograph machine for the pastor's office was purchased. It was planned to liquidate their Church Extension debt.
They joyously predicted: “The church can then be self supporting.”
Membership at Morehead City is 100.
Roll of Ministers at Moreehad City:
|1939-1941||James T. Moore||1953, 1954||H. Edgar Harden|
|1948||W. C. Foster||1955-1958||J. W. Funk|
|1949||C. F. Outlaw||1959, 1960||John Cox|
|1950||James Haney||1961||H. Glenn Haney|
|1951, 1952||C. R. Berry|
This city is a fount of history. In the 1700's it was too civilized for Blackbeard, and too secure for Spanish marauders. From days of yore Governors have haunted the town, but it has entertained Presidents, even though rarely, from George Washington, 1791, to Harry Truman, 1948. Again it is a far cry from the British Governor Josiah Martin, 1775, to Clyde R. Hoey, 1939. Martin, fleeing New Bern, had his hurried hideaway on the site of to-day's Broad Street Christian Church, before escaping the Whigs on his “Cruiser.” Hoey came kindly by invitation, 164 years later, to speak at the worship hour on the day celebrating the Golden Anniversary of the New Bern Disciples.
A Gazetteer “printed at Boston,” June, 1798, has:
“Newbern is a post town and port of entry, Craven County, on a flat, sandy point of land formed by the confluence of the rivers Neus on the North, and Trent on the South. Opposite to the town, the Neus is about a mile and a half, and the Trent three-quarters of a mile wide. New Bern is the largest town in the State and contains about 400 houses. In Sept., 1791, near one third of this town was consumed by fire. It carries on a considerable trade to the West Indies, and the different States in tar, pitch, turpentine, lumber, corn, etc. The exports in 1794 amounted to 69,615 dollars.”
John B. Gaylord, coach-making Disciple preacher lived in New Bern in the 1840's. Two others, William R. Fulcher and Thomas H. Bowen were there in the early 1850's. Also Henry Smith was often there in early times from his home at Swift Creek Bridge (Vanceboro), 17 miles away. Jesse Parks Neville, an itinerant of that faith, reported that he gave three “discourses” in New Bern in December, 1854, and two more in April, 1855. These five men must have made New Bern somewhat aware of the Disciples in their time. Earlier the Saparate Baptists, Union Baptists, and Christian Connection had proclaimed their basic tenets in this metropolis. For these the Disciples at heart had a sincere affinity in their appeal for Christian Union.
Yankee triumphs in their war for the Union made New Bern in the
1860's the most Federalized city in the “Old North State.” Tarheel life was obsessed with the strife. In the aftermath, J. T. Walsh lived there to preach, practice medicine, and publish, from 1866 to 1875. Moving his office from place to place, it was first in the front room of the boarding house of Mrs. W. E. Ferrebe, near the corner of Craven and Pollock Streets; next in a house at corner of Broad and Metcalf; finally at Stanley Place on Hancock street near Pollock, over the office of E. R. Stanley, Esquire. Writing to a friend, March 27, 1867, Dr. Walsh said: “Matters are growing worse daily. I, in common with thousands of others, partake of the calamities, sorrows, poverty and wretchedness which everywhere threaten the South. I arose March 25th and found myself without fuel, and with no money to buy any. I preach constantly to black and white but they are too poor to pay me anything.”
During his decade in New Bern, Walsh did much of his characteristic writing in his six magazines: Messianic Banner, Biblical Monthly, and Prophetic Examiner, Banner of Christ, American Independent Quartersly and Radical Reformer, Watch Tower and American Independent Monthly and Bible Thinker.
While N. S. Richardson was proofreading Walsh's copy in his shop he was converted to the Disciples. Walsh called him “The Prince of Printers, my long tried and excellent friend.”
While Walsh was resident in New Bern there was no Disciple organization there, but in August, 1876, after his relocation at Kinston, he wrote: “We intend making an immediate effort to erect a house of worship in New Berne”. Then N. S. Richardson published an appeal in The Watch Tower, and sent out 44 copies of a circular letter to persons asking for their personal contributions. He said that for $1000 they could buy a suitable property centrally located for less than half of its original cost. It was a brick building with slate roof, having a large first-floor adaptable for sizeable audiences. He closed with a numbers fantasy used occasionally by fervent writers of the contemporary scene. If only 20 men each give $50, or by minimal count, if only 80 would each give $12.50, the sum would be handily raised—an illusory hypothecation of bare digits. Albeit the newspapering and circularizing did publicize a fine opportunity. And over the year there accrued for the appeal, a total of $151.87, to give the project a running start. Richardson assuringly said: “The money has been deposited with R. H. Rountree and Co.s Bank, for which they pay interest. And if we cannot get money enough at once to buy suitable Building, we want to buy a lot at an early day and put up a small building to answer our purpose.”
While their building plans matured, preachers visited them at intervals. Walsh in May, 1882 said:
“I met in their prayer meeting at Bro. F. M. Bowden's. But few were out but these few seemed to have the cause at heart. There is some complaint among the little flock at New Bern that Disciples visiting or sojourning there almost ignore their existence, and so far from cooperating with or aiding them, they appear to cast their influence against them. The secular papers, too, seem to ignore the Disciples and their preachers in and around the city, while other preachers are lauded to the skies. This shows a moral cowardice.”
J. L. Winfield, in his Watch Tower, told as follows of his visit among Disciples there in September, 1883:
We called at the Journal office and found everybody at work. Bro. Nunn wears well. He thinks he can run a daily paper and live 25 years. The average is 15 years. N. S. Richardson's job office is crowded with work - always overrun with orders. T. J. May, the handsome grocery dealer has recently returned from a trip to New York. F. M. Bowden is at his stand in Middle Street and has a good stock of dry goods and groceries. He enjoys a lucrative trade. We tarried with B. F. Stilley and his Christian wife. Here we felt at home because here we always meet with a warm reception.
On November 8, 1885, Richardson reported their purchase of a lot, 101 × 47 feet, in central part of the city, costing $225. The Rountree State Convention of that year had given them $100 to apply on their project, and a total of $325 had been otherwise contributed. This left $200 in their treasury to put on a building. Churches at Broad Creek and Kitts Swanp gave them “a raft of timber and shingles; the miller gives sawing of the lumber.” Richardson added: “We hope to commence the building next summer.”
Insufficiency of accumulating funds slowed construction. A letter from Col. S. B. Taylor, of Catherine Lake, N. C., in December, 1887, contained $25 designated “to help complete the church house in New Berne.” This cheered a warmly sympathetic friend, Dr. H. D. Harper, of Kinston. He classified the letter as “a little volume printed in golden letters.”
The Hancock Street building, between Broad and Pollock, having been completed, Evangelist R. W. Stancill worked on the ground preparatory to the dedication on December 1, 1889, conducted by J. J. Harper. A special train was arranged bringing to the dedication “a large delegation of leading Disciples” from Goldsboro and intermediate points. There was consequent overflow at the Disciples’ “cozy” meeting house. But this had been foreseen; the Methodists giving a generous hand at their church while J. L. Burns, a colleague of Harper, spoke “touchingly” there to the thronging visitors.
J. J. Harper's description:
The new church is a beautiful and attractive building, 60 × 34 feet in size, with a vestibule in front and a finely proportioned alcove in the rear of the pulpit. The ceiling is 21 feet pitch, and the steeple from the ground, 103 feet high. The walls inside are imitation stone, the ceiling overhead of native woods, beautifully painted and finished with gilded trimmings. The windows are of stained glass. It has a well arranged gallery in front, and the whole is furnished with comfortable pews. The pulpit is furnished with an elegant pulpit set, and the aisles are neatly carpeted. The building is lighted with gas, using one of Frink's corrugated reflectors. It is heated by one of Mott's furnaces. By placing a few chairs in the aisles the building will seat 450 persons comfortably. It is situated in a popular part of the city, easy of access, attractive in appearance, and commands the respect of the best people.
The church had its first formal organization on December 1, 1889. There were 65 charter members. Sixteen known to be among these were: Mr. and Mrs. Major Bowden, Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Gaskins, Mr. and Mrs. M. W. Anderson, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Gaskins, Mr. and Mrs. J. S. Basnight, Mrs. Celia Cuthrell, Miss Hetty Stein, N. S. Richardson, E. E. Harper, Mrs. Tom Bowden, and Mrs. Nancy Frances Koonce Nunn, (1842-1921), (mother of Etta Nunn). In 1939, at the Golden Anniversary of the
Church, there lived of the charter members only Mrs. Rena Bowden, and Mrs. M. W. Anderson.
Their officers in 1889: elders: N. S. Richardson, Silas Fulcher; deacons: J. W. Mesic, F. M. Bowden, G. D. Bowden, J. M. Land; treasurer, N. S. Richardson; clerk, E. E. Harper. Their church school enrolling 50, was also organized on December 1, 1889; officers: superintendent, W. R. Skinner; assistant superintendent, N. S. Richardson; clerk and treasurer, Roscoe Nunn; librarian, James Arthur.
Their church covenant enacted at their organization:
We the charter members of this congregation, having been “buried with Him in baptism” upon confession of our faith in Christ, do unite to form a Church of Christ in New Berne, N. C., and having already covenanted with God in Christ, do hereby covenant with each other that we will keep all of the ordinances and commandments of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, agreeing to be governed in our personal conduct and in our church relations and obligations by the law of Christ as taught in the New Testament, and pledging each other to do all in our power to promote the peace, unity, and prosperity of the church, and to extend the knowledge of Christ in all the world.
Offerings at the dedication aggregated $270, leaving what J. J. Harper called “a small debt”. After residing there several months, I. L. Chestnutt, their first pastor, reported: “This is a fine field for work. We have a good hearing generally. Our Sunday School has grown beyond expectation to an average attendance of 62. The building debt, $350 has prevented the church from pledging more than $400 this year for preaching.” Their total giving in 1890 was $600. Next year a bell weighing 950 pounds, costing $102, was hoisted into the steeple.
D. A. Brindle came in 1893 for a one-year pastorate, added 35, and reported: “The church recently paid off its debt and now owes no man anything except what is due for the State work which will be paid at the 1894 convention.” It was said of Brindle that “he was loved for his work's sake.”
Pastor W. G. Johnston preached his first sermon there, November 11, 1894. Reminiscing 41 years later, Johnston said:
I was a young man when I went to that city. There my first son was born and there we felt at home under kindly skies and among a kindly people. I loved them all. I can never forget a baptismal scene on the Neuse. We had no church baptistry. We baptized two young women. As we led them into the baptismal waters, a storm seemed to be coming up the river. With its traditional origin in mind we sang “Jesus, Lover of My Soul.” Everyone present was impressed with the wild yet solemn beauty of the scene. I conducted N. S. Richardson's funeral in my first year as pastor. He was an intelligent man and a tower of strength to the church.”
Clerk E. E. Harper reported in 1899: “A number of our members have moved away during the last few years many of whom were our strongest supporters in the church.”
In the summer of 1900, pastor Peyton B. Abbott came, and becoming ill with malaria remained for only two months. He explained: “The ague shook me out of my resolution to stay.” To set the record straight, he added: “I have never seen a more generous, lovable people, and generally the people of New Bern are as cordial and hospitable as any people I have ever seen.”
In May, 1901, pastor M. S. Spear reorganized the church with 33 members. This inspired Dennis Wrighter Davis to say editorially; “Our faith in New Bern has materialized into an active principle.” Spear was pounded a number of times, after one of which he declared: “Now we have enough food to last two months.”
State Evangelist G. A. Reynolds found a scarcity of preachers in the area in 1904. He recommended that New Bern have a half-time preaching while Kitts Swamp, Broad Creek, Gallilee, and New Hope, took the remaining half. Reynolds appealed: “Here is a desirable field for a preacher and it will pay the right man $575. I would be pleased to correspond with a preacher desiring such a field.” He followed this by saying in the paper: “Let me ask the churches to be more liberal.”
In 1914 their Ladies Aid Society finished paying for a thousand-dollar pipe organ. The church had extensive repairs; for which much credit was due to the “indefatigable labor of George Bowden, Sr., and G. Allen Atkinson.” Mrs. Walter B. Pugh and Etta Nunn gave “a beautiful individual communion set.”
Their plant was totally destroyed by fire December 29, 1918. It had recently been repaired at cost of $1500. The insurance collected was only $1000. Pastor Preston Bell Hall confessed: “We had only faith and hope, and not too much of that.” Nevertheless under his leadership they acquired an excellent corner lot 118 × 200 feet on Broad Street for $7800. This had been paid in full on January 18, 1920, after a remarkable ninety-day campaign. Ground was broken on February 14, 1921, for first unit of their plant. This was to be a covered basement adapted for worship and educational purposes, pending erection of the seperstructure to be dedicated on April 18, 1926. To John F. Rhodes, of New Bern, was given the contract. The local Sun-Journal said: “The building will be modern in every respect and when completed it will be one of the most handsome buildings in the city.” Later, The New Bernian called it “one of the handsomest edifices in eastern Carolina.”
At time of dedication it was stated by Pastor James G. Ulmer that $41,000 had been raised hitherto and expended on the plant. Upon his eloquent appeal, $45,000 additional was pledged. When fully equipped there would be a total outlay of $80,000. Factors apparently beyond control retarded timely payments on the building debt. In February, 1928, John R. Taylor, treasurer reported the church's total assets, $52,844.07; liabilities, $24,242.22; net worth of the church property, $28,061.85.
Their church school prospered in keeping with its tradition. Their men's class of 80 had the largest attendance of any in the city. A pageant was staged by the entire school at Christmas, 1929. As the impressive drama proceeded a fire started among inflamable costumes. In the midst of it was the boy, Jack Taylor. Dire tragedy was averted when Dr. C. S. Barker, hero of the occasion, wrapped quickly his heavy coat about Jack to smother the flames.
On January 6, 1935, pastor John L. Goff instituted a tithing campaign. He had visited 98 percent of the members the week before, resulting in 75 per cent of their attendance that day. Upon request these gave unsigned statements showing combined personal income of $983 per week. There followed a fifteen-weeks convass for a “debt raising campaign in earnest.
Our future is bright with promise because of the fine spirit of many who are becoming tithers.” Goff served six and a half years during which the local church had 135 additions, while he added 176 elsewhere. A local daily said of Goff: “He has played an important civic and community role during his time here”
The church called as pastor on April 11, 1937, Joseph W. Hagin of Kentucky. This was pursuant to the recommendation of the State Service in intimate cooperation with the Church Extension Board of Indianapolis. Hagin became the man of the hour for New Bern's damoclean debt. He was on the Church Extension's executive committee, a position of strategic importance, for those concerned. The New Bern loan executed January 2, 1926 for $20,000 bore six percent interest. The whole had pyramided to $27,000 shortly before Hagin came. It was reduced to $18,900 as of November 1, 1937; this soon to be refinanced at $15,000. It stood at only $7500 on January 19, 1941, when $1,700 was paid on that. The remmant obligation of $5800 was to be paid $58 per month, and the interest was reduced to four percent. This workable program induced a local high morale. Instead of taking 100 months, only 48 were needed, as the last needed dollar went in on December 17, 1944, responding to the battle cry, “Debt No More in Forty Four.” R. C. Whitley, building fund treasurer, read the congratulatory telegram from the Board at Indianapolis. Moreover during this period their missionary giving had increased substantially each year.
Pastor W. C. Foster reported in November, 1946: “We have discovered that there are more Disciples living in New Bern holding membership elsewhere than we have enrolled in our own church.” In 1947 the women's class in their church school presented a Hammond organ as a memorial to Mrs. Land; Herbert K. Land having substantially aided in the purchase.
The annual budget adopted by New Bern church for 1943, was $5,215.90; for 1960, it was $31,131.12. This six-fold increase in church finance is a case for study. For improvement of church school facilities during this period, $7,000 was expended. The Building Committee: Henry L. Dixon, R. L. Cotton, H. A. Barrow. These facilities were dedicated on October 12, 1952, Thomas P. Innabinett, guest speaker. Two memorial rooms are named for Preston Bell Hall, and Joseph Willis Hagin.
During the six years of W. C. Foster's pastorate the membership increased from 169 to 322, and the church school quadrupled in attendance to a high of 273. At the coming of pastor M. Elmore Turner in 1953, the parsonage at 1514 Spencer Avenue was bought. In 1954 the J. H. Zeiglers gave an Elliott Address Machine, Model 80, for the church office. Chairman of the church board in 1955 was David L. Walters; vice chairman, Archie Reel; secretary, James E. Blue. The C.M.F. in 1956 purchased 20 folding tables for the dining room.
Thirteen young people of the church were in college in 1956, namly: Edward Burwell, Roger Chastain, Jr., Bobby Cotton, Bobby Ernul, Ernestine Gilliken, Mercedes Harman, David Nelson, Betty Ann Olds, Janet Reel, Patricia Simons, Frances Tyndall, Margaret West, James Willis.
At Christmas, 1957, their church school gave $400 to their two Benevolent Homes at Arlanta and Jacksonville. A public address system costing
$450 was installed. Chairmen of their functional committees in 1959, were: Paul L. Banks, Jr.; Herman Mumford, James M. Smithwick, Paul B. Osgood, William Wheeler, J. Closs Barber, Jr., Robert M. Anderson.
The parsonage was remodelled in February, 1961, for pastor G. William Wolford.
Membership at New Bern is 460.
Roll of Ministers at New Bern:
|1881||J. L. Winfield||1911-1913||I. W. Rogers|
|1882, 1883||C. W. Howard||1914, 1915||J. E. Reynolds|
|1884||E. L. Sowers||1916-1924||P. B. Hall|
|1889||R. W. Stancill||1925, 1926||J. G. Ulmer|
|1890, 1891||I. L. Chestnutt||1927||D. C. Gordon|
|1892, 1893||D. H. Petree||1928||Paul T. Ricks|
|1894-1897||W. G. Johnston||1929||E. C. Gallaher|
|1898||D. A. Brindle||1930||J. Boyd Jones|
|1899-1903||M. S. Spear||1931-1936||John L. Goff|
|1904, 1905||J. W. Tyndall||1937-1941||Joseph W. Hagin|
|1906||G. A. Reynolds||1942-1945||Robert M. Johnson|
|1907||A. F. Leighton||1946-1952||W. C. Foster|
|A. J. Edmondson||1953-1959||M. Elmore Turner|
|1908, 1909||C. C. Jones||1960, 1961||G. William Wolford|
Ten miles east of New Bern about half way to Arapahoe, is Reelsboro. On the paved North-South road near this village is the New Hope Christian Church. Reelsboro's postoffice was one of 18 in Pamlico County, of 1892. In 1896 its population was said to be 50; in 1950, just 30. This might indicate that it is a diminishing village. However this locality is known to have made marvelous progress within the last few decades.
In June, 1894, The New Bern Journal carried a news item to the effect that James V. Winfield was preaching in this Pamlico community, “as the fifth one of that name now preaching in Eastern Carolina.” The other four were Henry (father of James), J. L., John R., and W. O. Winfield. The Journal reported that young James had “just closed a most successful meeting at New Hope Schoolhouse in Pamlico County with 16 conversions. A plat of ground has been given and $60 pledged to put up a suitable building with scarcely no effort as yet.”
It was October 28, 1897, when New Hope church was enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention. Reportedly it then had 34 members, had paid for preaching that year, $12.16, and had given 46 cents for State Missions, bettered next year to $2. Its location was mistakenly put by the Convention secretary at Belleport, Beaufort County. Not until 1900 did the Convention list it correctly at Reelsboro, Pamlico County. It then had 30 members, had paid $38 for preaching that year, and had given $7 for cooperative missions. Their clerks, as of the record, were: R. J. Quidley, Jr., (1899); E. T. Holton, (1900); W. H. Simons, (1905); and W. H. Dixon, (1907). The membership was 53 in 1907, paying $75 for the year's preaching, and for all local purposes, $134.65. Their building seated 200; valuation in 1930 was $1,000.
In the summer of 1901, George F. Cuthrell held their revival, with six additions. Local correspondent, W. H. Simons, said: “There was great interest throughout. We were sorry that Brother George had to leave us. The meeting closed too soon but we had to excuse him as he wanted to stay home a few days before returning to study at Johnson Bible College. The brotherhood should feel proud of such a man.”
While pastor C. B. Mashburn served them in 1907, in addition to their regular Lords Day worship, they held a prayer meeting each Saturday night. Evangelist W. G. Walker, observed: “New Hope is one of the livest churches in the State to its size.”
Joseph B. Swain, student at Atlantic Christian College, held their eight-day revival in August, 1911, with five additions. His report is interesting. Said he:
“We had a great meeting, large crowds, splendid attention. But I knew something was wrong. Upon investigation I found the church split. A man had carried some of them away into what the Apostle Paul named dumb idols. I tried to show them the more excellent way of faith, hope, and love, but some of them contended for the unknown tongue way. I tried to get the church back together and I did not try in vain. We found the vine, took out the dead branches, and got the church ready for fruit-bearing. I believe that the church in general to-day stands in need of a revival in subtraction, as well as addition. If we will preach the gospel in fullness and fact, God will take away such as will not be saved, and add such as will be saved.”
In September, 1914, pastor Joseph A. Saunders held their revival with 20 additions. Clerk W. H. Dixon said: “This was the best meeting we have ever had at our church. Fourteen of the baptisms were of mature young men that can be some help to the church.”
From 1926 to 1942, to all appearances, their faith was in eclipse. Their building stood merely as the home of wild feathered creatures—a by-word and symbol of a forgotten cause. Nonetheless during World War II with the spiritual home fires burning there was survival. Joseph A. Saunders, their former evengelist, came to reside and spend his last years in the community as a missionary of the State Service. He dreamed: “It may be that we can get the Disciples together again at old New Hope, and get them to going once more.” Two years later he led their revival, had “fine attendance”, and “it was really encouraging.” He added: State Missions help has kept us going. There is encouraging growth. New Hope is soon to purchase a pulpit set and pews costing $500. It takes money to repair and begin again.”
In 1946, Rufus H. Walker was pastor, “loved by all and serving well.” They were “few in numbers”, but vigorously they were completing their reorganization so far advanced by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph A. Saunders.. Mrs. Saunders founded their C. W. F., “and soon the work was moving in the old church; new communion set; new pews; painting; a second-hand piano furnished.” The Joe Saunders’ had personally given $50 on the pews. Their church school was organized, Mrs. Elby Rowe, superintendent. On September 29, 1946, New Hope was host to the quarterly Pamlico Union Convention, which had also given New Hope a life line for its better years.
In 1948 their C.W.F. met their goal in the Disciples’ ‘Crusade for a Christian World.” Their choir loft was completed and provided with chairs.
In 1956 hurricane lone damaged their building, which had to be reroofed. Plumbing fixtures with rest rooms were built in. Their C.Y.F., Rufus Brinson, sponsor, Ernest Ray Brinson, president, underpinned their plant with concrete blocks. The minister's wife, Mrs. Z. N. Deshields and Mrs. A. P. Caton sponsored their Chi Rho.
In 1957 plans were projected for building a new sanctuary and educational unit, for which “much of the money is in hand for this work.”
Membership at New Hope is 119.
Roll of Ministers at New Hope:
|1907||C. B. Mashburn||1926||James T. Moore|
|1914-1918; 1922; 1943-1945||Joseph A. Saunders||1931||Eber E. Moore|
|1945, 1948-1950||R. H. Walker|
|1919||James Robert Lee||1951-1954||Wilbur I. Bennett|
|1920||A. C. Fodrey||1955-1957||Zeph N. Deshields|
|1924, 1947||W. J. B. Burrus||1958-1961||Ralph Bennett|
|1925||John F. Pipkin|
Ten miles northeast of Beaufort is the seaboard village of Otway. It is on the transcontinental Highway 70, as it curves widely toward its eastern terminus. It has neither postoffice nor railroad, but its listed population of 350 is larger than that of the only other Otway in America which is on Brush Creek in Ohio. The Buckeye place however has both postoffice and railroad. The Tarheel village is named for the patriot Otway Burns, of Snap Dragon fame, whose honored grave is at Carteret's County seat.
On first Sundays in 1918, George A. Moore, Live Oak Grove pastor, was preaching at the “Otway Mission.” For three years previously, J. W. Lollis, ministering to Carteret County Disciples, had also preached in the tiny Otway schoolhouse, finding four persons avowedly of his particular faith. Live Oak Grove correspondents, Glennie Davis and Mrs. J. B. Dickinson, in July, 1915, testified: “We have by the help of God and our pastor, Bro. Lollis, started a mission point at Otway and the church here at Live Oak Grove supports it themselves without asking for any help.”
Two years later Lollis announced that Otway was planning to build a house of worship to cost three or four hundred dollars. On December 3, 1918, when enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, it reported a membership of 30, and a church property valuation of $750. It had within the year paid their preacher, $100; had given $1.25 for Pamlico Union missions, and for local purposes, $200.
In 1921, their church school enrolled 75, with Winfield Gilliken as superintendent some later superintendents, O. C. Lawrence, and Lemuel Golden. In that year they had expended for property improvement, $300; total for local purposes, $856, and for cooperative missions, $10. By 1927 they had grown to a membership of 95, paying $300 per year for preaching; with increase of property value to $1500. Their first clerks of record were: R. B. Gilliken, (1918); Iredell Lawrence, (1926), and Mrs. L. A. Lewis, (1937).
In 1920 their membership had reportedly dwindled to 12. But this was
decidedly their year of resurgence, Warren A. Davis held their revival August 5-15, baptized 22, and five others were added from another communion, Davis said:
In many ways this meeting was a success. These brethren have a church house started and with this added new strength and with the help of Pamlico Union, which the Union is loyally giving, we shall soon have a substantial congregation here that will be a credit to themselves and the blessed cause of Christ. These people are kind and hospitable and eager to hear the simple Gospel of Christ. I commend them. I am earnestly begging the Pamlico Union to help these brethren to secure the service of some good preacher for next year. If this is done we are sure of success at this place.
Otway has thrived on revivals through the years. From 1929 to 1933, fourteen members were thus added. Marking an all-time high was May 1-8, 1940, in the revival led by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph A. Saunders, with 47 baptisms, 25 of them confessing Christ on one evening. Saunders averred: “It was a revival indeed with a flood of blessing. It delighted us for we had been there in less prosperous days. Most of those 47 are young men and women who bid fair to make our brotherhood a fine contribution.” D. Guy Saunders, brother of Joe, led their revival eleven years yater, adding 32.
C. C. Ware came for a secretarial visit on April 19, 1937. He saw Iredell Lawrence, pillar in the local church, plowing his fertile farm with oxen, beasts slow but sure. As the years rolled, sore troubles vexed the church. These were Providentially allayed. Referring to this their conscientious new pastor, J. T. Moore, said: “At Otway our work is gaining and past difficulties are fading. Those attending now at Otway are warm in expression of appreciation for the State Service and a better local fellowship.”
J. W. Lollis located there for a full-time ministry, 1946-1952. A good parsonage was provided. Mr. and Mrs. Lollis led in a notable progress for the community. The church school doubled in attendance; the school's average Lord's Day offering mounted to $10. They “planned to help brotherhood causes creditably.”
Living near by on Harker's Island were Mr. and Mrs. R. B. Hurt, formerly of the Kinston Disciples’ pastorate. They served for an ad interim at Otway which was indeed fortunate for the church. Hurt gave it a training in stewardship, vision, and outreach, of lasting effect. His successor there said: of the Lollis and Hurt pastorates: “Great foundations were laid by them. As a consequence our full-time is easier to sustain in every way.”
In May, 1953, their plant had been completely remodelled in the interior. They had acquired: “new pulpit, communion table, pews, hardwood floor, pulpit platform, two choir lofts, choir chairs,” and the interior had been painted. Ground was broken on March 29, 1954 for their religious education plant, projected on the “pay as you go plan.” The following May, blocks were on the ground and walls were being constructed. It was “nearing completion” in December, 1954, more than doubling their church property valuation. Its first use however was in October, 1954. Mr. and Mrs. Zeph N. Deshields concluded their pastorate there in December, 1954, saying: “No minister could expect more kindness, appreciation, and cooperation, than Otway has given us.”
Mr. and Mrs. R. Paul Parker located there in January, 1955. Material improvements were made at the parsonage, where also a deep well was drilled. Parker declared: “One will look for a long time before they will find any more harmony and loyalty in the church than is found here at Otway.”
In September, 1957, the building debt had been cleared, church grounds landscaped, and a new piano innstalled. W. O. Henderson held their revival in June of that year resulting in 28 accessions. Elders and deacons began serving communion in homes of shut-ins. A social hall at the church was being planned in December, 1960. Ross J. Allen, state secretary, visited in January, 1961, and exhibited his pictures taken overseas during his trip to the Edinburgh World Convention.
Membership at Otway is 245.
Roll of Ministers at Otawy:
|1919||George A. Moore||1934-1936||R. H. Walker|
|1922||D. F. Tyndall||1937, 1938||J. H. Williams|
|1923||Joseph A. Saunders||1939-1943||James T. Moore|
|1924, 1930-1933, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928||John F. Pipkin||1948-1951||J. W. Lollis|
|1952-1954||Zeph N. Deshields|
|1955-1960||R. Paul Parker|
|1929, 1044-1947||W. J. B. Burrus||1961||J. W. Funk|
A prosperous trade center in West-Central Pamlico County is Grantsboro. Situated in the historic Goose Creek area, its population is liberally listed at 1000. About two miles north of it, along the sandy plain, on paved highway 306, is Silver Hill Christian Church. It began in a community revival, costing $50, held by pastor George A. Moore in 1928, in which 16 were baptized and 12 others were received by statement. A house of worship was erected, valued at $500. A building debt of $112.72 remained when the church was enrolled by The North Coralina Christian Missionary Convention on November 9, 1928. Their membership was 28, paying their preacher $120 for that year. Their church school enrollment was 40, a Mr. Baker, superintendent. Their church clerks as of record: Nelson Lee, (1929-1949); Mrs. Fred Lee, (1950-1953); Mrs. Mildred Simpson, (1954-1961).
As usual with a new church in which Disciples of the respective area have had an associated hand, The Pamlico Union met in quarterly session there on December 29, 1929. George A. Moore reported the convention: “The business was pretty good. Most of the churches were represented. The people were favorably impressed with my little Silver Hill Church.” On July 8-17, 1931, E. J. Harris led their revival with three baptisms. Harris said: “With the cooperation of other church people we had a packed house each evening, and some of the best music we ever heard.”
In September, five years later, Wilbur I. Bennett evangelized there for two weeks, adding 16. Pastor J. T. Moore reported: “Bro. Bennett's sermons given in a most convincing and sincere spirit certainly gave to the community a season of refreshing. This work will lead to greater achievements.”
Ralph Bennett is a Silver Hill recruit to the ministry and a graduate of Atlantic Christian College. His friend William Clifton held their revival, August 7-14, 1949. There were 27 baptized and 2 were received from another communion. R. C. Holton, Broad Creek layman, reported for Silver Hill: “They now have five Bible School classes and must add special equipment to their small plant for this gratifying increase. They have an excellent group of young people.”
William E. Tucker, then a student at Wilson, ministered there in 1952. He was an inspiration to all, especially their young people. With him their C.F.Y. developed “a flame for Camp Caroline Development,” and raised their entire church quota of $50, remitted by them on December 24, 1952. “What a marvelous example this monumental thing for brotherhood fellowship.”
Students at Wilson, Robert Matthews in 1959, and Elbert Davidson in 1960, supplied their pulpit.
Membership at Silver Hill is 94.
Roll of Ministers at Silver Hill:
|1929-1931, 1940||George A. Moore||1952||William E. Tucker|
|1932-1934, 1944, 1945, 1950||R. H. Walker||1953, 1954||Bruce Strickland|
|1956, 1957||Ralph Bennett|
|1935-1939||James T. Moore||1958, 1959||W. J. B. Burrus|
|1951||Wilbur I. Bennett||1960, 1961||Elbert Davidson|
About midway on “Ocean Highway” 17, from New Bern to “Washington, the Original,” is Vanceboro. A modern small town at Swift Creek Bridge, it has the cultured heritage of centuries. This deserves to be studied with dedicated research which may only be briefed here. The village of 146 in 1877 was incorporated then and named for the heroic Governor Zebulon Baird Vance. Before it had been known as Swift Creek, or in mailing parlance, Swift Creek Bridge, because there was a plain Swift Creek in South Carolina, and some unknowing folks are forever getting the Carolinas postally mixed. John B. Dawson and Furnifold Pearce were consecutive postmasters there in 1833 with a combined annual compensation of $8.28. Some growth is evident, since Sam R. Street who had the job in 1839 received $14.32. In 1862 it was one of the five post-offices within the Craven-Pamlico domain. The old bridge since the memory of man runneth not to the contrary has at this point channelled travelers to Street's Ferry on the Neuse. Some of this Ferry's fame stems from its passage by President George Washington on April 20, 1791.
Vanceboro in civil life has ever been a homogenious community, but their religion has been Protestant mosaic, strangely mixed and romantic indeed. Eighteenth Century legal archives show four centers of “dissenting” Baptists in New Bern and its hinterland in 1741, namely: Swift Creek, Goose Creek, Slocum's Creek, and New Bern. Persecuted at first by the established church, a provincial act of toleration erelong relieved them largely from Anglican strictures. Then they organized their Baptist congregations; Swift Creek on March 26, 1763; Goose Creek on the preceding March 12. Four years later, representatives of the scattered
groups had a united conference on the advisability of joining the Kehukee Association which arose that year. Swift Creek sent Silas Fulcher and Steve Whitford to represent them in this caucus. It was abortive at the time. But in 1784, Swift Creek, James Ellis, pastor, along with Goose Creek which was in, 1774-1776, and then out, did enter the Kehukee. Then in 1794 these two churches participated in setting up the Neuse Association, eventually to be the mother of the Baptist State Convention and incidentally the nursery of some effective leaders of the earliest Tarheel Disciples. Swift Creek's David Whitford was a “seated” messenger from the Neuse, when at the Kehukee meeting of 1828 the division on cooperative missions and education neared climax. The Neuse was missionary at heart, and would not go along with Kehukee. Historian Hassell called Whitford a “malcontent”. Cleavages and partitions of an earlier generation had diminished the membership at Swift Creek from 109 to 48 in 1793. Its ministers in 1794 were: William Phipps, Thomas Willis, and Richard Willis. Also James Brinson from Goose Creek, ordained in 1757, was active throughout this area until his death on February 5, 1798. In 1811, Swift Creek, David Whitford, minister, reported only 42 membres, with a further decline to 24 in 1836.
Disciples in their groups in and around Vanceboro for their first 70 years might discreetly be packaged as a loose north Craven fellowship. There are named in the records, Post Oak, Alpha, and Vanceboro for the village proper. Four miles west was Butler's; three miles south was Ellsworth; around about were Oak Grove (Craven), and Lanes’ Chapel. Six of these names have vanished, but all retain their historic relevance to the surviving fraternity at Vanceboro.
Known to the Disciples as Post Oak, 1841-1851, their meetinghouse was in the northern fringe of Vanceboro. For this period their delegates in the annual Conference, were: Allen Anderson, Val Warren, W. J. Carawan, William Lancaster, W. Dudley, William H. Butler, Thomas Morris. Post Oak entertained the Disciples’ annual Conference, October 8-11, 1846. On the following November 20, John B. Gaylord reported it. He said: “We had a happy meeting. Great love was exhibited among the preachers and brethren. We had a large and attentive congregation desirous to hear the truth.” Post Oak, 71 members, was lost to the Disciples in 1852, when a majority decided to affiliate with the Original F.W.B. Though unchurched the minority were alive under the indomitable Henry Smith. He represented them at an area-wide special conference at Oak Grove, Greene County, on December 3, 1852, when they contributed $10 toward the $481 fund for underwriting support of their newly-engaged evangelist, J. T. Walsh.
Nineteen years passed and Vanceboro Disciples in 1871 began again with 17 members in Alpha, retaining the name until 1878, when it was literally equated with the new corporate name of the village. It continued until 1894. For this 23-year period their delegates to their State Conventions, were: R. W. Smith, W. C. Brewer, S. A. Hill, William F. Lancaster, Elbert Phillips, W. A. Ewell, G. Briggs, H. B. Williams, G. W. Wilson, J. R. Buck, Thomas Williams, Barrow Forrest. The clerk at Alpha was W. C. Brewer (1877); At Vanceboro, H. B. Williams, (1878). The membership increased to 37 in 1890, but in 1894 the church was counted out, for reasons unknown.
A church associated with these area Disciples was Butlers, 1900-1911, H. C. Butler, clerk. It began with 36 members, and a church property valuation of $500. H. C. Bowen said that H. S. Davenport had preached in Charley Butler's home, and a house of worship had “been erected by the efforts of a faithful few, showing that it is possible to establish a church almost anywhere.” Some young persons coming out from Vanceboro and assisting in Butler's services were: John Purser; and Misses Rebecca Dixon, Emmie and Lettie Smith, Addie Butler, Sarah Butler, Bessie Harvey; and Mesdames; Florence Watson Butler, Lulu Butler Hill, and Lorena Stilley Singletary.
Pastor Davenport said: “They are running a fair Sunday School at Butlers which will, in the future, be a source of strength to them. Their greatest hindrance is a lack of funds with which to purchase literature. Money cannot be invested in anything that will pay larger dividends than good literature. Our minds need training.”
Ellsworth in 1902 had property valuation of $600, and a church school enrollment of 40, Lizzie Lancaster, superintendent. Lane's Chapel, T. H. Gaskins, Clerk, had 18 members in 1900, and raised $13.73 that year for local purposes. Oak Grove (Craven), Daisy Anderson, clerk, had 31 members in 1900, and gave $2.25 for State Missions. This ill-fated Oak Grove presents a sad story. The saintly H. S. Davenport preached there and in August, 1899, reported:
A curse seems to rest upon the old house at Oak Grove. It has gone down to rise no more it seems. People have expressed themselves as being afraid to attend services on account of prevailing lawlesness. There are some most excellent people in the congregation, but unfortunately some of them have become estranged from each other and cannot be brought to walk hand in hand.
Nevertheless Olive Sutton, Oak Grove's correspondent reported in September, 1900 that the church had “been reorganized, now is mostly composed of ladies, and we have started a nice Sunday School.”
The “Sisters’ Mission Workers,” Tarheel forerunners of their modern Christian Women's Fellowship, came early to Vanceboro after the Disciples had been reconstituted there in the 1870's. A local “working Society” was organized which in January, 1878, contributed $2 to the evangelizing fund of the Sisters. At that early date there were but five other such Societies in North Carolina, namely: Salem, Riverside, Kinston, Hookerton, and Mt. Pleasant. Wherefore, as of record, Vanceboro holds priority in the Pamlico Union in this significant field of the Disciples’ missionary development.
Dr. H. D. Harper held their revival in August, 1878, giving 13 discourses, and baptizing 12 persons. Here on this occasion he debated with Henry Ernul. Harper reported: “The pleasant little discussion occupied about two hours, being attended by a full house; design of baptism the proposition discussed.”
From 1894 to 1921, Disciples were defunct in local organization at Vanceboro, but served in near-by churches of their faith. There was real need for a growing fellowship of their own in the rising town. They reorganized with 18 members on January 23, 1921, led by their Pamlico Union missionary, J. T. Moore. Disciples who had come to town from Butlers and Ellsworth, were conspicuous in this new fellowship. The
Union helped $120 on the preacher's annual salary. Soon a small building was acquired, adapted for worship, and the debt of $1000 cleared by 1924. Their church school long functioned in the community's union Sunday School carried on in the local graded school. After worshipping in their “temporary quarters” for 25 years they voiced strong “hopes to erect a new plant soon.”
R. R. Miller was pastor on September 10, 1950, when ground was broken for their new plant, for which he had drawn the plans. The cornerstone was laid on the succeeding October 8. It was then reported: “The very finest cooperative attitude has prevailed, Financial secretary of the building fund is Herman G. Lancaster. It is a venture of faith. So far we have not nearly enough money. But it is expected that friends will rally when they see how judiciously we are using the funds.”
The location was a corner lot, a few rods from their former site; frontage 100 feet, depth, 125 feet. There were to be 16 memorial windows one of which would memorialize J. T. Moore, founding leader. It would have; “aluminum covered tower, asbestos siding, concrete baptistry, double choir loft, ample class rooms for a growing enrollment, in a plant valued at $10,000,” for which $3500 would be borrowed. The cornerstone is described as “a marble slab that was an heirloom of the Lewis Morris family. It was secured to the main supporting cornerpost of the belfry tower where it blends into the general harmony of the structure. The color scheme is implemented by a covering of white asbestos shingles, a white spire, green roof, and green, varigated cathedral glass in the windows. The new site is one block west of the highway and may be identified by the silvery steeple surmounted by a Celtic cross.” During the Millers’ tenure the membership was nearly doubled and functional organization was effected. A measure of congregational appreciation of the Millers was expressed in their gift to them of “two beautiful silver table pieces.”
The new building was dedicated on May 22, 1955. A year later, Rollin V. Mosher of the Church Extension Board came “to look over the present church property and make suggestions for expansion.”
Within a tragical period of less than 40 days, December 10, 1956 to January 18, 1957, physical death claimed five of their officers, namely: Herman, R. C., C. L., and R. O. Lancaster, and Wesley Mills. “All were devoted Christians who loved and served the church faithfully; all to be greatly missed.”
Full-time preaching service began on March 3, 1957. New pews, carpet, and curtain were dedicated on April 28, 1957. An apartment was secured to serve as their parsonage.
Construction of their religious education plant began in December, 1958. It provides class rooms, rest rooms, and a fellowship hall named for Miss Ella Grace Lee whose estate gave $1200 for this improvement. Charlie Hill was then chairman of the local board, and Dewey Jordan chairman of the building committeee. Their C.W.F., Mrs. Frances Jordan, president, voted to give an organ. Directors of the choir were: Willie Gray Ipock and Burness Lancaster. Their new baptistry was first used on Easter Sunday, 1960.
Brick-veneered structures of the Disciples’ work and worship at Vanceboro
are valued at $50,000—a far cry from the primitive log house of precarious tenure 120 years ago.
Membership at Vanceboro is 140.
Roll of Ministers at Vanceboro:
|1794||William Phipps||1936||W. A. Davis|
|Thomas Willis||1937-1941||R. V. Hope|
|Richard Willis||1942, 1961||Preston D. Parsons|
|1811-1828||David Whitford||1943-1945||A. C. Young|
|1841-1853||Henry Smith||1946||Lee D. Thomas|
|1889||J. B. Respess||1947-1952||R. R. Miller|
|1921-1924||James T. Moore||1953, 1954, 1959, 1960||H. F. Speight, Jr.|
|1925-1929,1931||W. O. Winfield|
|1930||J. H. Edwards||1955-1957||H. G. Quigley|
|1932-1934||W. J. B. Burrus||1958||Arthur Bishop|
|1935||John R. Smith|
The Union Meeting practice in eastern North Carolina is not original with Disciples. They adopted it as an expedient of fellowship from their Baptist predecessors who had long used it effectively and with satisfaction. For practically the same thing many early Disciples called it “Cooperation Meeting”; later it was termed “District Convention”. During the first half of the Nineteenth Century the name “Conference” was much in use for this “grass roots” churchmanship which flourished.
The Pamlico Union is an old order. Allowing for a few local Rip Van Winkle lapses, all seven of the churches listed in the minutes of the Bethel Conference and Union Meeting of Disciples of Christ, in 1845, have survived to the present—a remarkable feature in longevity. These seven of 116 years ago, are Bay Creek, Bethany (Pamlico), Broad Creek, Concord, Little Swift Creek, (later Kitt Swamp), Post Oak (later Vanceboro), and Ware Creek, (later Live Oak Grove). These were nearly a quarter of the original, (1845), group of 30 churches, and the 318 members enrolled in the seven, constituted 17 percent of the State's Disciple personnel. This was 27 years before the setting up of the official Pamlico Union. Near costal waters in the counties of Beaufort, Carteret. Craven, and Pamlico. these rural congregations were isolated to a degree. Preachers in the interior called them “the lower churches”. Nevertheless there was notable cooperation with the general body. At a called “Cooperation Meeting” held at Oak Grove, Greene County, on December 3, 1852, they were represented by Henry Smith, the pioneer itinerant. Through him they pledged $100 of the $481 evangelizing fund to realize the beginning of the epochal service of J. T. Walsh. Again at the like Rose of Sharon conclave in Lenoir County, November 28, 1856, they underwrote $138 of the $188, which was there committed for John R. Winfield, their district evangelist, who was paid $225 for his year's work in 1857. For Winfield's support the following year they also pledged a sizable amount at the Central Christian Cooperation on November 27, 1857.
At home during the war years of the 1860's and the long aftermath,
religious activity lagged; it was barely articulate, particularly in this area. A renascence came in the 1870's. J. L. Winfield, a brainy youth of 20 came to a called “Cooperation Meeting,” at Goose Creek (later Amity). There he led in organizing the Craven County Cooperation, (later named Pamlico Union) on May 10-12, 1872. Their first officers; moderator, J. T. Walsh; clerk, J. L. Winfield; treasurer, Simeon L. Holton. This Union at first embraced an extended area having 14 churches enrolling 518 members. There yet survive in the Pamlico Union, nine of these fourteen churches, as follows: Alpha, (Vanceboro); Bay Creek, Bethany (Pamlico County); Broad Creek, Concord, Goose Creek, (Amity); Kitts Swamp. Ware Creek, (Live Oak Grove); and White Hill, (Mary's Chapel). This new unit at first varied the dates of their quarterly gatherings to avoid conflict with like meetings on their up-country sister churches. After their organizing at Goose Creek, they met during their first year as follows: at Bethlehem, near Stonewall, August 16, 1872; at Kitts Swamp, November 15, 1872; at White Hill, February 14, 1873; and at Broad Creek, May 3, 1873. At Bethlehem they paid J. T. Walsh, $5, and evangelist Charles Cobe, $41. There had been 48 additions that quarter. Reporting optomistically the Kitts Swamp Union, it was said: “The churches, if they will cooperate liberally, can soon establish the cause from Lane's Chapel to Vandemere.” At White Hill, evangelist J. W. P. Holton was engaged for one month; compensation, $30; treasurer Holton had $37 on hand. At Broad Creek, evangelist Holton reported his travel of 200 miles, receiving 11 accessions to the churches.
The tide turned. J. T. Walsh attended the Broad Creek Union January 3, 1874, and described it as “a failure, nothing being done in the way of evangelizing.” But on August 11, 1876, when it met at Goose Creek, J. B. Martin, secretary, J. L. Winfield, evangelist, had received 30 additions having “labored at Concord and Dean's Mill.”
Dates for recurring Unions were fixed in 1882. Henceforth it was to be each Saturday before fifth Sundays. It met April 29 that year at Bay Creek. J. B. Parsons was the district evengelist. G. K. Mallison, clerk was vexed that so few preachers had attended it. Something had lured an excess of them to the Hyde Union. Mallison said: “If all the preachers go to the same Union it would be well to call that Union the Preachers Union.”
In June, 1883, Bethany's church school, (Arapahoe), was the only one in the district. J. R. Tingle and W. R. Skinner were appointed Sunday School evangelists. Taking their job seriously they succeeded in improving considerably the educational situation. Jesse T. Davis was district evangelist who wrote assuringly: “I think there is better feeling, more zeal, more love; in fact all seem to be more united.”
The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention at their annual meeting 1885, seeing the need of a better territorial grouping, set up seven “Union Meeting Districts” in eastern North Carolina. Allotted to Pamlico were 15 churches, of which 8 are now functioning, namely: Bairds Creek, (Amity); Bay Creek, Bethany (Pamlico County); Broad Creek, Concord, Kitts Swamp, New Bern, (8 members), and White Hill, (Mary's Chapel). The seven now vanished, were: Amnon, Bethlehem, Blount's Creek, Dawson's Creek, Grantsboro, Trinity, and Union Chapel, Jr. The Jones-Onslow Union at that time included Stony Branch, (Bethany, Craven
County), and Ware Creek, (Live Oak Grove), both of which were later attached to the Pamlico Union.
At the meeting of September 29, 1894, J. C. Barrington urged that the Union build a centrally located parsonage, the better to retain a much-needed resident pastor. The committee appointed to implement this concept, which never materialized for lack of an adequate stewardship, were: J. C. Barrington, chairman, Isaac Ensley, Isaac Lewis, Barzillai Holton, W. H. Price, W. H. Lewis, W. J. Parker, and George Whealton.
The Grantsboro plant in 1895 was “turning black for lack of paint.” The Union provided the paint, also ceiling for it, and two years later seated it. In 1899 they provided a memorial stone at the grave of J.W.P. Holton, and gave $13.40 toward erecting a house of worship at Oregon. In 1897 the church school department was created in the Union administration providing program time at each quarterly meeting. For the purpose it has been a most helpful forum. Contests, functional for youth, and statistical for all associated schools have enlivened the Union's agenda. It is wholesome. Later a 35 minute period on the Union's program was given to the C.W.F., a helpful promotion of the women's work.
The church schools on April 28, 1900, gave $10 toward purchase of a church lot at Oriental, joining with the Union proper which officially said: “Oriental is now the objective point of the Union.” On September 29, at Bay Creek that year, they had bought and paid $100 for the Oriental lot. Such stewardship gratified leaders, as J. J. Brinson confessed: “This Bay Creek Union was one of the best ever held in the district.” At their next session they gave $5 to Carolina Christian College and $217 on the Oriental building, “so that our forces there may be drawn together under their own vine and fig tree.” Later the Union borrowed $300 to complete the Oriental plant, where J. C. Coggins held a revival in 1902 with 13 additions. In that year, also, the committee named to revise their constitution and by-laws, were: M. S. Spear, chairman, V. D. Allen, G. R. Brinson, G. W. Brinson, and J. J. Brinson.
At the Bethany (Pamlico) Union on August 30, 1902, Mrs. M. S. Spear, of New Bern, organized the Bethany C. W. B. M. Auxillary. This occasioned secretary R. C. Holton to say: “This Convention wishes it had many women like Mrs. Spear to arouse it from lethargy to the performance of all the work possible in this ripe field.”
In July, 1905, the Union gave $71.33 to retire the building debt of the new church at Aurora. Then a significant record of this date: “This Union pledged itself to give its support to the Wilmington work until a congregation is organized and housed.” George F. Cuthrell was sent the next year by the Union to Wilmington, “to organize our forces there preparatory to a great meeting in the spring of 1907”. F. L. Davis, pastor-evangelist organized the church at Wilmington on April 14, 1907, with 35 members. This city on the Cape Fear had long been the metropolis of the State.
Pamlico Union alone gave cash offerings to the amount of $838.01 to the building campaign of the Wilmington mission. Comparatively this was a magnificant co-sponsorship with the State Service for this unprecedented development. J. J. Brinson of Arapahoe, who had an effective hand in it, said in 1908: “While Pamlico is not by any means the strongest Union
in the State, it has to its credit at Wilmington, the greatest work that any of our Unions have done.”
Consistently in 1909, the Union began helping $12.50 per month on the minister's salary at Wilmington. W. H. Simons, Bridgeton layman, suggested that when the Union discontinued its help to Wilmington, that the new church across the Neuse from New Bern might well be helped. This was done in May, 1910, $50 being contributed to their building fund, followed next year by $218.50. Also at this time the South River preacher was helped, and $4 per month likewise for Antioch. The Union's officers in 1911: president, H. S. Carawan; vice president, H. J. Paul; secretary J. J. Brinson; treasurer, G. R. Brinson; evangelizing committee; E. R. Phillips, A. C. Holton, Jordan Carawan; church schools department: president, Daisy Riggs; secretary, Cassie Bennett; treasurer, Ruth Brinson.
In 1912 the new church at Wendell appealed for $25, for which “Windley Simons called on the audience and raised the $25 in three minutes.” The annual report of the C.W.B.M. in 1913 showed five auxiliaries and one circle in the Pamlico Union churches, namely: Ashwood Edward (circle), Kitts Swamp, New Bern, Oriental, and Royal, having altogether 71 members, subscribing to 41 Tidings, and giving, $213.04
The District made an outstanding contribution to the C.W.F. in the person of Etta Nunn, New Bern native, teacher, missionary, office and field executive, world traveller. She attended Peabody College, University of North Carolina, the College of Missions at Indianapolis, and in New York had a year's study in music. She was effective as the Wichita Falls, Texas, Living Link for ten years at San Luis Potosi, Mexico, teaching and presiding at Colegio Ingles. She ably served as the Women's State Secretary, in the Carolinas and the Chesapeake Area. Before her passing in July, 1958 she was minister of missions at Washington, N. C., which congregation topped all Tarheel churches of its faith in the total amount of missionary giving for the years, 1956, 1958, and 1959. “Her culture and consecration well fitted her for responsible leadership; her experience gave her a breadth of vision of inestimable value.”
Best reporter of the Union's progress has been Rolando Clarence Holton. He was born at Olympia, (Broad Creek), August 15, 1873, son of Barzillai and Mary Tunstall Holton. He was trained at the University of North Carolina, (Ph. B, 1904); married Miranda Tillman Spencer, May 24, 1905; served respectively as principal of High Schools at Oriental, Atlantic, Wakelon, and Arapahoe, and at Newton Elementary; as the county surveyor and as a Representative at Raleigh. He is an active Disciple churchman, and a true servant of education at responsibly competent level.
Total offerings in the Union in 1916 were $210.04. Missions assisted: Antioch; Bridgeton, (pews); Grantsboro and New Hope. Secretary R. C. Holton said that at this date there were in the Union but 12 church schools of their own; two union schools; and 6 had no schools. Clearly in this vital phase there was need of much improvement. In 1918, $110 was pledged to assist Otway in building; $25 for like purpose at Antioch, while $24 was added to apply on ministers salary at Antioch. Next year an added $37.50 was given for the Otway building project.
Meeting at Amity, October 29, 1921, J. T. Moore was given Union authorization to reopen the Vanceboro mission, where the Disciples’
organization had lapsed for 30 years. They promised $10 per month help on his salary. The Union's officers at this time were: president, J. J. Brinson; vice president, G. W. Brinson; secretary, R. C. Holton; treasurer, W. R. Reel. Serving on the Evangelizing Committee, to survey all appealing missionary objectives, reporting executively on the same to the Union, were: G. R. Brinson, George A. Banks, and J. Frank Brinson. Their budget swelled to $45 per month, to sustain preaching at Antioch, Otway, and Vanceboro. Consequently churches were urged to increase their District Missions giving by 50 percent.
In 1923, Silver Hill was added to the “Mission Points List.” That year the Union reroofed the Oriental plant. In the church schools department a student loan fund was set up on March 29, 1923, to aid ministerial students at Atlantic Christian College to be duly administered by the College. A “memorandum of establishment” was drawn up for this by the officers: president, R. C. Holton; secretary, Violet May Ipock; treasurer, Nina Belangia. An “All Disciples Day” for the area, was projected to meet at Bayboro, September 14, 1924. Havelock was helped on Minister's salary, $13 per month, where J. W. Lollis had founded a church on July 3, 1915. The Union met there on July 30, 1927, Lollis preaching the Havelock dedication sermon. At the Broad Creek dedication on April 29, 1928, J. M. Waters raised the $600 needed to clear the building debt “in a few minutes”.
On January 28, 1939, the State Service was asked by the Union to help Otway solve its “acute problems as speedily as possible.” In March, 1940, the Union gave $26 for installing eletctric lights in the Grantsboro Mission. Meeting at Bridgeton in December, 1944, the treasurer reported $700 on hand, and was instructed to invest $500 in war bonds until approved new missions appeared.
At the Edward Union, February 28, 1948, it was announced that Mr. and Mrs. John W. Cowell had given a most desirable site for youth conference grounds on the Neuse River beach at Dawson's Creek. This was joyfully received. The following May it was reported of Morehead City: “Prospects have assumed formidable proportions at that deep-water port with the finding of 24 Disciple families there, with the striking expansion, residentially and industrially, of this highly favored community.” This was a provoking “unto love and good works.” Responding, the Union underwrote a loan of $2000, after first giving cash to the amount of $1000.
In August, 1948, there was due $1500 on this loan. By October the Morehead plant was completed and the Union met there. Appeals were made for raising generously the quotas by the churches. There was such response that the debt stood at $600 at their meeting of January 29, 1949. Within a year it was fully liquidated. This collective giving of thousands of dollars by Pamlico Disciples to put the Morehead Church ahead in its initial development, was a daring, creative venture. Within such confines it appears to be exceptional, if not unique in Disciple history.
In 1950 the Union helped to complete the $5000 building project at Silver Hill, and gave $100 for the new Concord plant. In 1951 the Union pledged $45 per year for five years to help retire the debt on the Vanceboro plant. For Morehead City there was appropriated $25 per month for a full time resident minister. In the July meeting, $100 was given to Bridgeton's
improved facilities, and $100 toward expenses of C. R. Berry, as he came from Florida to the Morehead pastorate; also $100 for the renovated Live Oak Grove plant.
In August, 1952, $100 went to help Bay Creek on its building improvements, and a like amount for the same purpose at Mary's Chapel.. For the year ending June 30, 1953, Pamlico's churches reported 13 C.W.F. organizations with 315 participating members; reading 492 missionary books; 169 subscribers to World Call, and the sending of $1648 to The United Christian Missionary Society.
The Union's C.M.F. officers in 1956 were: president, J. D. Brinson, assistants: Tommy Wetherington, and Carlos Holton; reporter, C. W. Scott; chairman of District C. M. F. projects, H. A. Barrow. Since 1959 they have sponsored a “scholarship fund to assist worthy ministerial students with their seminary work.”
At Kitt swamp on October 29, 1960, the Union requested that Charles Crossfield Ware prepare and publish this monograph.
Membership of the 19 churches in the Pamlico Union is 2773.NOTICE
Price, per copy of this Booklet is $1.00.
Order from C. C. Ware, Box 1164, Wilson, N. C.
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|Vice President||Ralph Bennett|
|Secretary||Mrs. J. B. Holton|
|Assistant Secretary and Treasurer||Mrs. Ivy Chadwick|