EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA
AND NEW BERN
NEW BERN, N. C.
NEW BERN, N. C.,
A RESUMÉ OF EARLY ECCLESIASTICAL AFFAIRS IN
EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA,
SKETCH OF THE EARLY DAYS OF NEW BERN, N. C.
REV. L. C. VASS, A. M.,
AUTHOR OF “AMUSEMENTS AND THE CHRISTIAN LIFE.”
Whittet & Shepperson, Printers, 1001 Main Street.
Copyright, by Rev. L. C. Vass, 1886.
|Settlement of Eastern North Carolina,||9|
|Testimony of John Lawson, 1708,||12|
|The Proprietary Government,||15|
|Religious Aspect of the Colony,||15|
|Quakers; Fox and Edmundson,||18|
|An Established Church,||24|
|Mecklenburg Declaration, 1775,||32|
|Hugh Williamson and others,||33|
|The First Call: James Campbell,||39|
|Robinson and Stanford,||42|
|Old Princeton College,||47|
|Claude Plilippe De Richebourg,||50|
|Christopher Emanuel De Graffenriedt,||53|
|Their Ecclesiastical Character, and Reasons for Emigrating to Carolina,||59|
|De Graffenried's Letter,||64|
|De Graffenried's Capture, and his Manuscript,||64|
|Founding of New Bern,||69|
|Craven County,—its Name,.||70|
|New Bern Data.||72|
|First Printing Press,||72|
|New Bern in 1798,||86|
|Two Old Accounts,||87|
|Watson's Journey, in 1777-’78,||88|
|New Bern in 1818 and 1819,||97|
|Presbyterianism in New Bern in 1800-1817,||100|
|Benjamin H. Rice,||100|
|W. L. Turner,||101|
|James K. Burch,||101|
|Subscription in 1808,||103|
|James Waddy Thompson,||104|
|Jonathan Otis Freeman, M. D.,||105|
|J. N. Campbell,||108|
|Address, by Rev. J. Nicholson Campbell,||117|
|Exhuming the Corner Stone,||121|
|Sale of Pews,||125|
|Plan of Pews,||127|
|Sketches of E. Hawes; R. Hay; J. Jones; S. N. Chester; Eunice Hunt; J. C. Stanly,||127-135|
|Description of the Church,||137|
|Succession of Pastors:||139|
|Lemuel Durant Hatch,||139|
|Drury Lacy, D. D.,||148|
|Moses Drury Hoge,||154|
|1837 and 1838,||159|
|Thomas George Wall,||164|
|Moses T. Harris,||165|
|Lachlan Cumming Vass, A. M,,||167|
|Ministers from the New Bern Church,||182|
|Ruling Elders and Deacons,||183|
|Ebenezer Presbyterian Church,||183|
|Ministers from Hanover Presbytery,||185|
|Growth of Presbyterianism in Eastern Carolina,||185|
|1. New Bern,||Frontispiece|
|2. Marriage License by Governor Tryon, 1769,||30|
|3. Old Princeton College,||47|
|4. Communion Gathering in Olden Times,||80|
|5. Tryon's Palace,||90|
|6. Seal and Autographs,||92|
|7. First Presbyterian Church,||116|
|8. Plan of the Pews, with Names of the Original Holders,||126|
|9. Rev. Drury Lacy, D. D.,||148|
|10. Rev. Daniel Stratton,||160|
|11. Rev. Lachlan C. Vass,||176|
|12. Open Bible,||181|
|13. Ebenezer Presbyterian Church,||183|
ORANGE PRESBYTERY laid on me the preparation of the history of the Presbyterian Church in New Bern, N. C. All the Records of the Church were unfortunately lost in the evacuation of the city, 14th March, 1862. On 1st January, 1827, all the Records of Orange Presbytery were consumed in the burning of the residence of Rev. John Witherspoon, the Stated Clerk, in Hillsboro, except one volume, containing its proceedings from 18th November, 1795, to 26th September, 1812. A committee, consisting of Rev. Messrs. Witherspoon, McPheeters, Jos. Caldwell, E. B. Currie, and Wm. Paisley, was appointed to recover, as far as possible, the history embraced in those burnt Minutes. They prepared a book of statistics, necessarily brief and unsatisfactory. My work has thus been very difficult. My search has been wide and laborious to gain any accurate data, and sometimes has utterly failed.
So it seems best to begin with a succinct resumé of the ecclesiastical and religious status of Eastern North Carolina, and especially of Craven Precinct, from the earliest colonial settlement; and a brief history of New Bern itself, with the special design to discover any elements of Presbyterianism that may have existed hereabout in the past century, or in the opening of this century; and to understand the surroundings of the birth of the First Presbyterian Church in this ancient City of Elms by the sea. No minute or exhaustive investigation is
proposed, nor would it be appropriate here. But it is hoped that the review will be comprehensive and luminous.
I am greatly indebted for kind and sometimes laborious assistance given me by Rev. B. M. Smith, D. D., of Union Theological Seminary, Va.; to the loved and lamented model Stated Clerk of Orange Presbytery, and of the Synod of North Carolina, Rev. Jacob Doll, and to his worthy successors, Rev. F. H. Johnston D. D., and Rev. W. S. Lacy; to the Rev. W. E. Schenck, D. D., the veteran Secretary of the Presbyterian Board of Publication, Philadelphia; to the accomplished antiquarian of New Bern, Hon. J. D. Whitford; to Rev. E. F. Rockwell, D. D., Col. R. M. Saunders, Secretary of State of North Carolina, and many other kind friends. Among the authorities upon which my statements are based are histories of North Carolina, by Lawson, Martin, Williamson, Hawks, Wheeler, Caruthers, Sewell (or “Shocco”) Jones, Wiley and Foote; Burnet's “History of His Own Time” (Edition of 1734); Hume's England; Gillies’ Historical Collections of 1754; Byrd's Westover Manuscripts of 1728 to 1736; Lossing's Field Book of the Revolution; Bancroft's History of United States; Foote's Huguenots; Weiss's Huguenot Refugees; Maury's Memories of a Huguenot Family; Bernheim's Lutheran Church of North and South Carolina; Rumple's Rowan County; Miller's Bench and Bar of Georgia; Duyckinck's Cyclopœdia of American Literature; Craighead's Scotch and Irish Seeds; McTyeire's Methodism; Histories of Virginia, by Chas. Campbell and by J. W. Campbell, in 1813, with many fugitive articles in newspapers and pamphlets about New Bern. All this, old traditions, unpublished diaries, and other material I have used as best served my aim to get and give information.
NORTH CAROLINA was settled by men “of gentle tempers, of serene minds, enemies to violence and bloodshed.” These noble pioneers were the freest of the free, some of them doubtless escaping severe restraints and unholy brutalities; and in their new homes of balmy airs and virgin beauty, they diffused gentle charities as richly as the flowers on their smiling savannahs, while they grew strong and sang in the manly vigor of a muscular and benevolent independence. Many unjust slurs have been freely cast upon this province as the notorious refuge of the criminal, and the congenial asylum of the fugitive debtor, a veritable “ Botany Bay,” the welcoming “Arcadia” of universal and blooming wickedness. All this is gratuitous slander. Doubtless evil characters did sometimes escape just vengeance for their law-breaking, by passing over the Carolina border. But some of these early colonists fled from ungodly assaults in Massachusetts and Virginia on their rights and liberties, while the majority were enterprising immigrants, seeking broader acres and larger fortunes, or animated by the varied practical or romantic motives that sway the same class of persons to-day. In the “Westover Manuscripts” of 1728, the fun-loving, free-spoken, sometimes unjust, but not malicious author, Col. Wm. Byrd, talks about “the distemper of laziness” on the men who relied on the bounty of nature, and reaped the “Carolina felicity of having nothing to do.” “The men, for their parts, just like the Indians, impose all the work upon the poor women. They make their wives rise out of their beds early in the morning, at the same time that they lie and snore, till the sun has risen one-third of his course, and
dispersed all the unwholesome damps. Then, after stretching and yawning for half an hour, they light their pipes, and under the protection of a cloud of smoke, venture out into the open air; though, if it happens to be never so little cold, they quickly return shivering to the chimney corner. When the weather is mild, they stand leaning with both their arms upon the corn-field fence, and gravely consider whether they had best go and take a small heat at the hoe; but generally find reasons to put it off until another time. Thus they loiter away their lives, like Solomon's sluggard, with their arms across, and at the winding up of the year scarcely have bread enough to eat. To speak the truth, it is a thorough aversion to labor that makes people file off to North Carolina, where plenty and a warm sun confirm them in their disposition to laziness for their whole lives.” “Every one does what seems best in his own eyes.” He charges the government of North Carolina with encouraging the unneighborly policy of sheltering “runaway slaves, debtors and criminals,” and makes merry at the lack of all religion in these borderers. He forgets that, as to many of them, his survey is to determine whether they are in Virginia, Araby the blest, or in unsanctified Carolina!
But the planters of Albemarle were neither robbers, rebels nor fanatics, notwithstanding the rough assertions of Governor Spottswood, Colonel Byrd, and others. They were searchers for freedom of conscience, as well as quiet living and untrammeled political privileges; a home, where non-conformity was no dishonor, and a “meeting-house” as sacred a temple of God as the lordliest cathedral of the lordliest ecclesiastic. Bancroft says, “Are there any who doubt man's capacity for self-government, let them study the history of North Carolina; its inhabitants were restless and turbulent in their imperfect submission to a government imposed on them from abroad; the administration of the colony was firm, humane and tranquil, when they were left to take care of themselves. Any government but one of their own institution was oppressive.” George Fox, the distinguished father of the Quakers, testifies that he found the people “generally tender and open,” and had made
among them “a little entrance for truth.” Amid these sylvan scenes were growing in clearness and power those immortal principles which so sturdily stood forth from these peopled wastes in armed resistance to stamped paper in Wilmington, in the prompt capture of cannon before the governor's palace in New Bern, and in the formulated doctrines of the Mecklenburg declaration.
In March, 1643, the Virginia Assembly forbade all teaching or preaching not “conformable to the orders and constitutions of the Church of England, and the laws therein established.” Governor Berkley, in entire sympathy with the act, enforced it by proclamation. In his answer to inquiries of the committee for the colonies, in June, 1671, he said, “We have forty-eight parishes, and our ministers are well paid, and by my consent would be better, if they would pray oftener and preach less; but as of all other commodities, so of this, the worst are sent us, and we have few that we can boast of, since the persecution in Cromwell's tyranny drove divers worthy men hither. Yet I thank God there are no free schools, nor printing, and I hope we shall not have these hundred years; for learning has brought disobedience and heresy and sects into the world, and printing has divulged them, and libels against the best government.” Doubtless from Nansemond, Va., where were many dissenters, there came individuals and squads as refugees and settlers, under the impulsion of adverse legislation.* But the earliest anthentic date of any settlement is 1662. In this year, George Durant, who had probably been banished from Nansemond, in 1648, by Governor Berkley, secured a grant from the Yeopim Indians of the tongue of land on the north side of Albemarle Sound, between Little River and the Perquimons. It is still known as “Durant's Neck.” He stands the oldest landholder in Albemarle. Mr. Durant is said to have been a Scotch Presbyterian elder, a godly man in his congregation.† Like a Scotchman, he brought his Geneva Bible with him; and[note][note]
it is the first known to have been in Carolina, and is preserved as a precious relic in the Historical Society of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill.
In 1663, George Cathmaid came with his emigrants, and the growth began. Very soon the Cape Fear settlements were securely established. The country between Albemarle and Clarendon, on the Cape Fear River, was more slowly occupied, the first settlers being the French Protestant refugees, who were Calvinists from the colony on James River, Va., and who located in Pamlico, near Bath, in 1690. In 1707, another colony of Huguenots settled on the Neuse and Trent rivers, in Craven County.Lawson's Testimony.
John Lawson wrote his history in 1708. He was Surveyor-General of North Carolina, and travelled extensively over both Carolinas. He describes the country with enthusiasm, as “A delicious country, being placed in that girdle of the world which affords wine, oil, fruit, grain and silk, with other rich commodities, besides a sweet air, moderate climate and fertile soil—these are blessings (under heaven's protection) that spin out the thread of life to its utmost extent, and crown our days with the sweets of health and plenty, which, when joined with content, renders the possessors the happiest race of men on earth.” After speaking of the failure of Sir Walter Raleigh's settlements, he says, “A second settlement of this country was made about fifty years ago, in that part we now call Albemarl County, and chiefly in Chuwon precinct, by several substantial farmers from Virginia and other plantations, who, finding mild winters, and a fertile soil beyond expectation, producing everything that was planted to a prodigious increase, their cattle, horses, sheep and swine breeding very fast, and passing the winter without any assistance from the planter, so that everything seemed to come by nature, the husbandman living almost void of care, and free from those fatigues which are absolutely requisite in winter countries, for providing fodder and other necessaries; these encouragements induced them to stand their
ground, although but a handful of people, seated at great distances one from another, and amidst a vast number of Indians of different nations, who were then in Carolina. Nevertheless, I say, the fame of this new discovered summer country spread through the neighboring colonies, and in a few years drew a considerable number of families thereto, who all found land enough to settle themselves in (had they been many thousands more), and that which was very good and commodiously seated, both for profit and pleasure. And indeed most of the plantations in Carolina enjoy a noble prospect of large and spacious rivers, pleasant savannahs and fine meadows, with their green liveries interwoven with beautiful flowers of most gorgeous colors, which the several seasons afford, hedged in with pleasant groves of the ever famous tulip tree, the stately laurels and bays, equalizing the oak in bigness and growth, myrtles, jessamines, woodbines, honeysuckles, and several other fragrant vines and evergreens, whose aspiring branches shadow and interweave themselves with the loftiest timbers, yielding a pleasant prospect, shade and smell, proper habitations for the sweet singing birds, that melodiously entertain such as travel through the woods of Carolina.”
Lawson says that it was remarkable as a particular providence of God, handed down from heaven to these people, so irregularly settled, that they “continued the most free from the insults and barbarities of the Indians of any colony that ever yet was seated in America. And what may well be looked upon for as great a miracle, this is a place where no malefactors are found deserving death, or even a prison for debtors, there being no more than two persons, as far as I have been able to learn, ever suffered as criminals, although it has been a settlement near sixty years—one of whom was a Turk that committed murder, the other an old woman, for witchcraft. These, ’tis true, were on the stage and acted many years before I knew the place.” This does not seem to be a population of violent characters. These planters lived a free and easy life—were poor farmers, rejoicing in the exuberant and inexhaustible richness of the soil, yielding annually without any manuring
—were “kind and hospitable to all that come to visit them, there being very few housekeepers but what live nobly, and give away more provisions to coasters and guests who come to see them than they expend amongst their own families.” “As for those women that do not expose themselves to the weather, they are often very fair, and generally as well-featured as you shall see anywhere, and have very brisk and charming eyes, which sets them off to advantage. They marry very young, some at thirteen or fourteen; and she that stays till twenty is reckoned a very indifferent character in that warm country. The women are very fruitful—most houses being full of little ones. . . . . . Many of the women manage canoes with great dexterity. They are ready to help their husbands in any servile work, as planting, when the season of the weather requires expedition; pride seldom banishing good housewifery. The girls are not bred up to the wheel and sewing only, but the dairy and the affairs of the house they are very well acquainted withal, so that you shall see them, whilst very young, manage their business with a great deal of conduct and alacrity. The children of both sexes are very docile, and learn anything with a great deal of ease and method; and those that have the advantages of education write very good hands, and prove good accountants, which is most coveted, and, indeed, most necessary in these parts. The young men are commonly of a bashful, sober behavior, few proving prodigals to consume what the industry of their parents has left them, but commonly improve it.” The easy way of living in this new and plentiful country fostered negligence. Lawson writes, “The women are the most industrious sex in that place, and by their good housewifery make a great deal of cloth of their own cotton, wool and flax, some of them keeping their families, though large, very decently appareled, both with linens and woollens, so that they have no occasion to run into the merchant's debt, or lay their money out in stores for clothing.” The lands, too, were about one-fiftieth the price of those in Virginia and Maryland. So we are not surprised to read, “We have yearly abundance of strangers come among us, who chiefly strive to go southerly
to settle, because there is a vast tract of rich land betwixt the place we are seated in and Cape Fear, and upon that river, and more southerly, which is inhabited by none but a few Indians, who are at this time well affected towards the English, and very desirous of their coming to live among them.” . . . “And as there is a free exercise of all persuasions amongst Christians, the Lords Proprietors to encourage ministers of the Church of England have given free land towards the maintenance of a church, and especially for the parish of St. Thomas, in Pampticough.”* The advantages of this colony were, in Mr. Lawson's opinion, largely above those of any other in many important respects; and this could not be so reported to Lord Craven, Palatine and the Lords Proprietors, concerning a province, whose inhabitants were generally, or to any considerable degree, constituted of fugitives from justice, or other disreputable and disorderly persons.End of the Proprietary Government.—Religious Condition,
The proprietary government, after sixty-six years of blundering misrule, was closed by sale to the Crown in 1729. The population of the province was scattered and small, amounting, perhaps, to 13,000. Scarcely a school existed in the colony. In 1709, Rev. Mr. Gordon wrote, “The people, indeed, are ignorant, there being few that can read, and fewer write, even of their Justices of Peace and vestrymen.” His field had been Perquimons, Chowan and Pasquotank. There were two or three rude Episcopal churches, and a few Quaker meeting-houses, but not one clergyman living in 1729 in the “unblessed” colony. On the Boundary Commission of 1728, there was a Virginia Chaplain, Rev. Peter Fontaine, an Episcopal minister,† appointed partly that people on the frontiers of North Carolina might get themselves and children baptized. “There[note][note]
were Quakers in the lower end of Nansemond,” said Colonel Byrd, “for want of ministers to pilot the people a decenter way to heaven.” So when the chaplain “rubbed us up with a seasonable sermon, this was quite a new thing to our brethren of North Carolina, who live in a climate where no clergyman can breath, any more than spiders in Ireland.” “For want of men in holy orders, both the members of the council and justices of the peace are empowered by the laws of that country to marry all those who will not take one another's word; but for the ceremony of christening their children, they trust that to chance. If a parson come in their way, they will crave a cast of his office, as they call it, else they are content their offspring should remain as arrant pagans as themselves. . . . . They have the least superstition of any people living. They do not know Sunday from any other day, any more than Robinson Crusoe did, which would give them a great advantage were they given to be industrious. But they keep so many Sabbaths every week that their disregard of the seventh day has no manner of cruelty in it, either to servants or cattle.”
The religious aspect of the colony is further shown by “our chaplain taking a turn to Edenton, to preach the Gospel to the infidels there, and christen their children. He was accompanied thither by Mr. Little, one of the Carolina commissioners, who, to show his regard for the Church, offered to treat him on the road to a fricassee of rum. They fried half a dozen rashers of very fat bacon in a pint of rum, both of which being dished up together, served the company at once both for meat and drink. Most of the rum they get in this country comes from New England, and is so bad and unwholesome that it is not unfrequently called kill-devil.” In Edenton “there may be forty or fifty houses, most of them small, and built without expense. A citizen here is counted extravagant if he has ambition enough to aspire to a brick chimney. Justice itself is but indifferently lodged, the courthouse having much the air of a common tobacco house. I believe this is the only metropolis in the Christian or Mahometan world, where there is neither church, chapel, mosque, synagogue, or any
other place of worship of any sect or religion whatsoever. What little devotion there may happen to be is much more private than their vices. The people seem easy without a minister, so long as they are exempted from paying him. Sometimes ‘the Society for Propagating the Gospel’ has had the charity to send over missionaries to this country; but unfortunately the priest has been too lewd for the people, or, which oftener happens, they too lewd for the priest. For these reasons these reverend gentlemen have always left their flocks as arrant heathen as they found them. This much, however, may be said for the inhabitants of Edenton, that not a soul has the least taint of hypocrisy or superstition, acting very frankly and above-board in all their excesses.” Here Mr. Fontaine “preached in the courthouse, for want of a consecrated place, and made no less than nineteen of Father Hennepin's Christians.” At another place he says, “We christened two of our landlord's children, which might have remained infidels all their lives, had we not carried Christianity home to his own door. The truth of it is, our neighbors of North Carolina are not so zealons as to go much out of their way to procure this benefit for their children, otherwise, being so near Virginia, they might, without exceeding much trouble, make a journey to the next clergyman, upon so good an errand. And, indeed, should the neighboring ministers, once in two or three years, vouchsafe to take a turn among these Gentiles, to baptize them and their children, it would look a little apostolical, and they might hope to be requited for it hereafter, if that be not thought too long to tarry for their reward.” On the survey, Sommerton Chapel was thrown two miles over the Virginia line; so Col. Byrd wrote, “There was now no place of public worship in the whole province of North Carolina.” As was shown above, this was a mistake, though not far from the truth. These copious excerpts from a rare contemporaneous diary throw light on the spiritural condition of the province.
An occasional minister of the Church of England was sent to Carolina, and remained a short time, but none before 1700. Several were so utterly unworthy that great harm resulted.
Dr. Hawks, himself a New Bernian and an Episcopalian, says, that in the Proprietary times the Episcopal Church was a “helpless victim, dragged into an unnatural association with the dirty strifes of still dirtier parties, mixed up with the lawless deeds of clamorous and drunken partizans.” Undoubtedly religion in Eastern Carolina was at a low ebb from lack of stated ministers, regular church services, and secular schools.
Judge Martin says that, at the opening of the eighteenth century, the population of the colony was composed of different nationalities and various sects—Scotch Presbyterians, Dutch Lutherans, French Calvinists, Irish Catholics, English Churchmen, Quakers and Dissenters, emigrants from Bermuda and the West Indies. And while the first settlers preserved some sense of religion, the next generation, reared in the wilderness, where divine service was hardly ever performed, was lamentably degenerate in religious principle and practice. At this juncture, Governor Johnston arrived, and under the influence of Lord Granville, now Palatine of Carolina, made the determined and partially successful effort—hereafter referred to—for establishing and sustaining by law the Church of England.Quakers.
To the honest Quakers belongs the high honor of holding the first formal religious service in this colony, and organizing the first religious government. Churchmen in Virginia and Puritans in Massachusetts had caused them to fly the pillory, the cart-tail and the bloody knout. Historians have generally affirmed that thus many Quakers early fled for a quiet retreat to Eastern Carolina. In 1709, they themselves claimed that they were the first settlers. It is altogether probable that some Quakers were among the very first to enter Albemarle from Nansemond, Virginia. There is nothing, however, to show that large numbers came. Most information yet accessible is from the brief journals of Edmundson and Fox.* In 1672, William Edmundson, an eminent English Quaker, was sent by George Fox from Maryland, where they had recently arrived,[note]
to North Carolina. Accompanied by two friends, after a distressing journey of two days through a wilderness, with no English inhabitants, and no path-ways, he reached “the place where we intended, viz., Henry Phillip's house, by Albemarle River” (Perquimon's River, says Martin). “He and his wife had been convinced of the truth in New England, and came here to live; and not having seen a Friend for seven years before, they wept for joy to see us.” Phillips and his wife were the only two Friends he mentions meeting in this brief visit of three days. Warmly welcomed, he here celebrated the first public rites of Christian worship in Carolina. Others now received the truth, and were enrolled at this meeting on the Lord's day, and another held on the morrow at Justice Tems. Many attended the services. They had little or no religion, or sense of the proprieties of divine worship, for they sat smoking their pipes; but the Word of God was with power on their hearts.
In the Fall of the same year, the distinguished George Fox made a preaching tour of eighteen days in the Albemarle region; but Edmundson was not with him, as Dr. Hawks states. Fox, the envoy of humanity, with the charming simplicity of Solon and Thales, travelled with Governor Stevens on foot through the ancient woods—the trees being blazed to mark the roads between the sparse settlements,—or was guided by others in canoes towards “the north part of Carolina,” and making a little entrance for the truth there and among the Indians, returned to Bonner's (Bennet's) Creek, where the horses had been left. The people were “tender and much desired after meetings,” “and they were taken with the truth.” As he “opened many things concerning the light and Spirit of God that is in every one,” his eloquence reached the hearts of these hermits of the woods, and impressed them anew with the value of their heritage of freedom of conscience, and of the truth of God with benevolent reason to guide them in the happy paths of hospitality, virtue and piety, that are still trodden by their children in the old North State. As this venerable apostle of humanity and equality was closing his exile on earth to go home, his vivid memory recalled such episodes of the forest
glades, and his last words were, “Mind poor Friends in America.” How beautiful his brief epitaph by his peer, William Penn, “Many sons have done virtuously in this day, but, dear George, thou excellest them all!”
In 1676, Edmundson “was moved of the Lord to go to Carolina” on a second visit. His short journal of the trip ends thus: “I had several precious meetings in that colony, and several turned to the Lord. People were tender and loving, and there was no room for the priests, for Friends were finely settled, and I left things well among them.” While in 1672, neither of these preachers met all the Quakers in the province, it seems certain they were not numerous. Considerable growth had occurred before Edmundson's return. In the Shaftesbury papers, in the British Public Record Office, is a remonstrance, sent to the Lords Proprietors, and signed by twenty-one Quakers, some of whom were prominent men, members of the Assembly. Most of them had been living in Carolina since 1663 and 1664, and they were vindicating themselves as “a separated people, who are in scorn called Quakers,” but had “stood single from all seditious actions in Albemarle,” in 1677. They and others may have entered Carolina as Friends. In later years, Thomas Story, an English Quaker, and Governor Archdale, also one, increased greatly the influence of the body. Henderson Walker, who was at different times member, clerk and President of council, Attorney-General and acting Governor, says, in a letter to the Bishop of London in 1703, “We have been settled near fifty years in this place” (Carolina), “and, I may justly say, most part of twenty-one years, on my own knowledge, without priest or altar, and before that time, according to all that appears to me, much worse. George Fox, some years ago, came into these parts, and, by strange infatuations, did infuse the Quaker principles into some small number of people, which did and hath continued to grow ever since very numerous, by reason of their yearly sending in men to encourage and to exhort them to their wicked principles.” They fortunately continued to grow, and formed the nucleus around which gathered mainly friends of liberty and foes to a
Church establishment. In these early days Dissenters outnumbered Episcopalians. There are not many Churchmen recorded as coming to the communion of the Lord's Supper—even Colonel Pollock was sluggish about it. In 1708, Rev. James Adams angrily wrote that the Quakers, “though not the seventh part of the inhabitants,” in conjunction with the Presbyterians, controlled the government, and absolutely turned out patriots, because they were Churchmen, that “shoemakers and other mechanics should be appointed in their room, merely because they are Quaker preachers and notorious blasphemers of the Church!” Dr. Hawks estimates that, in 1710, the Quakers composed about one-half of the Albemarle settlement, and that the whole population of the province was not seven thousand. From these Quakers has come valuable Presbyterian stock.
Martin (I., p. 155) says that before Edmundson left, he established a quarterly meeting in Berkley for proper government and discipline. Of the eight Quarterly Meetings, which constitute the present North Carolina Yearly Meeting, four were established, as follows: in 1689, 1759, 1780 and 1790. The others arose in this century. At present the Quakers in this State number about 5,000, and are most valuable citizens. In colonial days they were not as quiet as their principles required, and doubtless troublous times brought insincere accessions to their ranks. They were not perfect, neither were the Churchmen or others who roundly abused them. At first their strength lay chiefly in Perquimons and Pasquotank; but they multiplied and spread. When Judge Iredell, as a young man, came from England to North Carolina, in 1768, he was commended by his relative, Henry E. McCulloch, to a prominent and substantial Quaker merchant, named Williams, in New Bern, “who will supply you with what money you want, and show you every civility.”*General Character.
Of the settlers for the first hundred years, it may be said, there were many highly educated citizens scattered throughout[note]
the province, who lived with considerable style and refinement. Sturdy, honest and hospitable agriculturalists gathered around themselves elements of large future development, and their premises showed industry and care. Yet there was a vast amount of ignorance, and perhaps even prejudice, against learning. Many were very lazy and shiftless, and there were some transported criminals, and some fugitives from justice. But so scattered was the population that it was extremely difficult to organize either churches or schools, and there were few of either.* Ignorance and lack of religious culture and social intercourse ensure narrow views and dangerous degeneration. It is not surprising that we read such contemporary statements as this, written by Rev. Peter Fontaine in a private letter, 17th April, 1754, about North Carolina: “They have no established laws, and very little of the Gospel, in that whole colony.” He had two married nephews living then in New Bern, with whom he was in communication, and whom he was begging to move “where they may be under the protection of the laws as to property, and have their children educated in the fear of God.” The nephews did not emigrate, but bought considerable property in New Bern, which I have traced out and identified, as that in part, upon which now stand the residences of Messrs. James Bryan and C. E. Foy, and the Roman Catholic Church. Middle and Western North Carolina were filling up, and the stock, though neglected, was good, and improvement was beginning. “Sombre enthusiasm and iron-hearted ambition,” royal looseness and luxury, and too large a measure of religious narrowness, had characterized the past age, and yielded a strange medley in public and private history. Yet in these secluded plains and sylvan retreats, a subtle transformation was going on, and a light kindling, whose result was a people cautions, but not stolid, with simple tastes, but clear and inflexible opinions, with no fabulous wealth, but comforts and self-reliance,[note]
with unquenchable love of liberty, unflinching bravery, and tender hearts freely opened to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus, whenever brought to them in public by the godly, though infrequent herald of the cross.Religious Liberty.
Some misunderstanding has existed, through a spirit of controversy or otherwise, about the posture of ecclesiastical affairs in colonial times. With a great blare of trumpets, the Lords Proprietors professed, in settling North Carolina, to have pious zeal for Christ's cause in the conversion of the heathen natives. But Oldmixon, a distinguished English author, who died in 1742, says that the only instruction which the Indians received, previous to 1701, was from a French dancing master, who settled in Craven County, and taught the natives to dance and play upon the lute. Certainly very little attention was given to the conversion of the Indians. A few were taught in Chowan parish. This illustrates the complexion of the charter piety. Religious liberty, or rather toteration as to conscience and worship, was guaranteed to all comers, even heathen, but under restrictions—not expressed in the charters—but to be regulated by the Lords Proprietors, with the Parliament and Crown, however, still holding supervisory power. So it may be denied that the Episcopal Church ever was fully established here in exactly the same manner as in England, or that it was pecuniarily supported by the English Parliament. Yet English funds, through the “Society for the Propagation of the Gospel,” and from private sources in England, were enlisted in its maintenance. Further, it seems to be certain, from the best authorities, that, unless for a short time in the early proprietary period, the Episcopal Church was never in the numerical majority in the colony as a whole, but it had prominent and zealous adherents and leaders, like Mosely, Gales, the Pollocks, and generally the deputies of the Lords Proprietors, and the Governors, and this naturally gave many advantages and increased influence and power to the weaker party.
An Established Church.
The Church of England was the established Church of the colony. It is folly to fence against this fact by alleging that the only effective act establishing the Church was that of 1765, under Governor Tryon. That act would probably have fared worse than its predecessors in a few years. Now, unquestionably both charters of Charles II., and Locke's Constitutions, in section 96, added by the Lords Proprietors, regarded the Church of England as the establishment in the Carolinas.* Indeed, there was apparently a common sentiment among Christians, that there ought to be some legal establishment of the Christian religion in any State, as to its fundamental principles, and as against the Papal claims; and the Thirty-nine Articles of the English Church, with a few excluded, were generally considered as a satisfactory exposition. But outside of Episcopalians and Papists, there was just as unanimous opposition to establishing any special church with any peculiar privileges. This is clear from the instructions given to the Mecklenburg delegates to the Provincial Convention in 1775, that they were to “consent to the establishment of the Christian religion, as contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, and more briefly comprised in the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England” (with specified exclusions), “and clearly held forth in the Confession of Faith compiled by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster,” etc. They were further “instructed to oppose to the utmost any particular church, or set of clergymen, being invested with power to decree rites and ceremonies,” etc.; . . . “to oppose the establishment of any mode of worship to be supported,” etc.; . . . . “to oppose the toleration of Popish idolatrous worship.” By this time Episcopalians themselves were uniting with their fellow Christians of other churches in determination to secure both civil and religious liberty. So it is said that Churchmen joined with Dissenters in the Halifax Convention[note]
of 1776, which established the State of North Carolina, in throttling a proposition, introduced by an Episcopalian, to recognize in some form Episcopal doctrines.
Now, though in a large minority, the Episcopal faction succeeded, by astute management, as early as 1701, in passing an act, regarded as oppressive and tyrannical, establishing by explicit colonial legislation their church. This act was in force only two years, having been repealed on an appeal to England. In 1704, the famous, or rather, the infamous, act establishing the Church of England in South Carolina, was obtained by Governor Johnston, according to Dr. Hawks, by “political trickery” and “dexterous management of the rulers,” against the wishes of the people. Governor Johnston's deputy, Daniel, following his instructions, “by his address and skilful political manipulation,” secured the passage of a similar law by the Albemarle Legislature for North Carolina. It is only necessary to examine, in a revisal of the laws of North Carolina by Davis or Martin, the Acts in 1715, 1741, 1754, 1759, 1764-’5, to learn the unquestionable fact, that a fixed and persistent effort was never relaxed to fasten on an unwilling people, by effective legislation, an Episcopal establishment with an adequate support by taxation. How often was the endeavor made by various legislation to estop the divers evasions of the Vestry Acts! Taxes were imposed for purchasing ample glebes, building comfortable churches, and paying stipends to ministers, all of the establishment. By a bare majority—obtained with difficulty—dissenters were disfranchised by requiring members of the Legislature to conform to the worship of the Church of England, and to receive the communion after its rules.* In the “Collections of the Historical Society of South Carolina,” is this illustrative statement, from an address by James Lewis Pettigru: “The elective franchise was liberally diffused; but the test and corporation acts guarded with jealousy the steps of the provincial assembly, as they did those of the imperial parliament;[note]
and the avenues to office were closed to all but the dominant sect. This state of things existed until 1778,—a legislative fact strangely ignored in the voluminous collection of Cooper.” A similar spirit was abroad in this province.
Through the kindness of Col. W. L. Saunders, Secretary of State of North Carolina, I have carefully examined the advance (proof) sheets of the invaluable “Colonial Records,” now in press under his care, as far as November, 1718. The records of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, addresses and memorials to Parliament and to others, the minutes of the Chowan Vestries from 1701, Col. Pollock's letter-book, records of courts, and a vast variety of other heretofore hidden documents, all confirm these statements. Here we get the exact date of the early and, perhaps, first act of Assembly for establishing religious worship, vestries, churches, and glebes, by public taxation, viz.: November 12, 1701.* An insight is obtained into the spirit and character of the colonists, and the working of the early Proprietary legislation before we have public official records. The support for the clergy was both meagre and reluctant; often withheld. Their complaints were loud, lacking in grace, frequently bitter and unreasonable because of their own conduct. One writes: “I never received the value of a Bushel of Corn since I was concerned here, but what I got by weddings. . . . The difficulties I have gone through are almost inexpressible, and one distemper or another, like the Thunder and Lightning, continually disturbing me.” Another says: “I did once hope to have Pork and Bacon of my own, but shall not have a morsel save wheat I feed with Indian Corn, which is very scarce with me. I have not enough to keep me with Bread six months—no Beef, Butter or Cheese, no fat to butter one nor make soap, no Tallow to make me a few candles, so that we shall have a tedious winter long and Dark nights, hungry bellies, and dirty linen. I have nothing to buy with, let one's wants be what they will; swamp water goes down worse in Winter than in Summer. . . . ’Tis strange living when a man is continually cracking his Brains how to get a Belly full of meat.” Again, “I have had no[note]
Beef in my house these six months nor anything else save fat pork and that almost gone. I got by chance a barrel which has been in salt 18 months; it is profitable victuals, a little goes a great way: I have no other eatables; Peas and Beans I am like to have some but neither Bacon or Butter to eat with them—Jovial living. . . . . If I must linger out my days here I must have a couple of Negroes and a woman all born among the English, the woman used to house-work. . . . . I went this winter 7 times to the Church in the neighborhood (i e that is four miles distance) and met not a congregation; so indifferent are our Gentry in their Religion they had rather never come to church than be obliged to pay me anything, they cannot endure the thoughts of it.”* Yet the Rev. William Gordon says himself, in 1709, that troubles arose from the “ill example and imprudent behaviour of the ministers.”
The Church of England was claimed emphatically and commonly as established by law, and entitled to support by the general public. While some of these preachers of Proprietary days were good men, and did, or meant to do, a fair work in a hard field; yet the general impression about their labors, from extant documents, is not very favorable. They were impelled by a burning agony to baptize the children, that the people might be kept from becoming heathens and infidels. One would almost infer that infant baptism was the prime object of Christ's mission on earth. Sharpest comment is made on the people's “obstinate aversion to god-fathers and godmothers; neither sense nor reason could prevail with them.” What reprobates! What reason could they give? “Therefore, in anywise will not have their children baptized others think nobody more fit than their parents; to tell them of the orders of the Church avails not they'll not hearken to the ordinances of man but will have express scripture for all they are to do or observe.” This looks like the people were sensible, and that the preacher thought of something else more than of God's Word. Governor Eden, in 1716-’17, testified that the people “are not so black as they have been painted,” but would be[note]
found well enough inclined if the ministers “are gentlemen of good lives and affable behaviour and conversation.” Here was another proof that the majority of the population was opposed to the Established Church, as is positively declared in a formal address to the Parliament in England in 1705.*
In Rowan County, about 1764-’5 probably, a petition was sent to the Governor, Council and Burgesses, in which “the petitioners complain, that his majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects in this county, who adhere to the liturgy and profess the doctrines of the Church of England, as by law established, have not the privileges which the rubrick and canons of the Church allow and enjoin on all its members.” They recite the fact that the inhabitants hold a “medlay of most of the religious tenets” in the world, and “from dread of submitting to the national Church,” refuse to elect a lawful vestry, who will take the oaths; “whence we can never expect the regular enlivening beams of the Holy Gospel to shine upon us.” So they pray for compulsion of this unwilling multitude, that the godly seed may get an Episcopal Church, under the provision of what Williamson terms a “shameful law,” (Vol. ii., 118,) and a system which Hawks characterizes as “infatuated folly,” and kindling “the torch of discord” (ii., 506). Now, Williamson says, “There were thirty-four subscribers to this petition; six of them made their marks, and some of the other signatures are hardly legible. When thirty-four such persons could propose that six or seven hundred should be taxed for their accommodation, they certainly had need of the Gospel that teaches humility.” The largest supposition made by a recent historian† of Rowan County is, that the adherents of the Established Church may have been one-third of the whole population. Evidently Dr. Williamson, writing within a few years of the time when the petition was presented, did not estimate them as so many.
Continual resistance was made to these acts. Appeals were sent to England, and time and again, after long delays, they were pronounced illegal, and quashed; but the attempts were[note][note]
regularly renewed, and were even partially submitted to. How many churches, glebes and stipends were obtained in whole or in part, under this legislation, will, perhaps, never be known. Old records will disprove assertions that little was collected. Accidentally, I found the following record in the written minutes of Craven County Court, June 20th, 1740:
“it was ordered that John Bryan Esqr. receive the remaining part of the Levys laid for the church by the former vestry, and he gives Securetys, Col. Wilson and John Fonveille Junr. in the sum of 500£ Procl money.”
A similar entry is made at September court following. The amount received is not given; nor can it be ascertained how long the levy was continued here; but probably for years, as the Episcopal Church was not completed until near 1750, and there was no rector until about 1754. Sometimes there was no Episcopal preacher in the whole colony. In 1725, there was only one for eleven parishes; there were only from seven to ten here altogether during the Proprietary period, and three of these did great harm to morals and religion; in 1764, there were only six to supply twenty-nine parishes, each embracing a whole county. From 1662 to 1775, only about fifty-two Episcopal clergymen had ever been in North Carolina.
Hardships and injustice, and in a few cases, perhaps, bodily sufferings, were thus inflicted on dissenters. This was not done by ecclesiastical courts, but by civil, under the laws of England, or of the Colonial Legislature; illegal laws sometimes, but the fruit of churchly plans, desires and efforts. No spirit of persecution prevailed, but wrong ideas about the relation of Church and State, and true religious liberty. So, doubtless, the Colonial Establishment was always a mongrel affair, unsatisfactory to both churchmen and dissenters, and never complete.
Governors were instructed to maintain the ecclesiastical authority of the Bishop of London. Even a school-master was required to have his license from the Bishop of London to teach geography, arithmetic and writing; and only in 1769 or 1770 was the law repealed which forbade Presbyterian minisster to
perform marriage ceremonies for members of their own flocks, though civil magistrates had been authorized so to do.
I have found an original marriage license, issued by Governor Tryon, and illustrating the change in the law; and give a copy of it on the opposite page.
In England, Americans were told that, in spite of all the Presbyterian opposition, bishops would be settled in America. No wonder the people actually rejected the word “church” as odious, and substituted for it—as we shall see—the term “meetinghouse,” which is the consecrated name given by God himself to his tabernacle, where he promised to meet with his people. Of course, resistance was made to many of these regulations, and with success, by the dissenting majority. After the Revolution, a portion of the property thus unjustly wrung out of the pockets of reluctant dissenters was, by appropriate legislation, rightly converted to public uses.
This seems to be an accurate general summary of facts about the “Colonial Established Church.” It is not intended to cast any reproach whatever upon the Episcopal Church of this day by a recital of the sad story of so much trouble, but merely to body forth the color and temper of those early formative days. Episcopalians stand now on the same platform with Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, and other churches, in repudiating church establishments in the United States, condemning these colonial schemes, and defending the doctrine of religious liberty and equality.Presbyterian Influence.
Nevertheless, Presbyterian influence increased steadily, and became powerful, if not dominant, in North Carolina. This was, indeed, chiefly through that section of the State with which we are not at present particularly concerned. In the East, Presbyterianism has had but few strong centres until recent times. But Sir Wm. Berkley, one of the proprietors, and the Governor of Virginia, in 1663, appointed William Drummond, an old-fashioned Scotch Presbyterian,* “a man of prudence and[note]
Official seal of William Tryon, Esq.]
HIS EXCELLENCY WILLIAM TRYON, Esq; Captain-General, Governor and Commander in Chief, in and over his Majesty's Province of North-Carolina.
To any Orthodox MINISTER of the Church of England, or for Want thereof, to any regular licenced Minister of the diffenting Presbyterian Clergy, or lawful Magistrate within the fame. Greeting.
BY Virtue of the Power and Authority to Me Given, as Governor and Commander in Chief, in and over this Province, (Certificate having been made to Me, by Francis Nash, Clerk of Orange County Court, that the Bond as by Law required, hath been taken and filed by him in his Office) I DO hereby Allow, Admit, and Licence you, or any of you, to Celebrate and Solemnize the Rites of Matrimony between Robt. Nail & Martha Monay, and to join them together, as Man and Wife, in Holy Matrimony.
GIVEN under my Hand and Seal at Hillsborough this 24th Day of July in the Year of our Lord 1769 and in the Ninth Year of his Majesty's Reign.
By His Excellency's Command, Isc: Edwards, P:Sec:
Note.—The name of “John Hawks” should not appear on this document, with the Seal of Tryon above.
popularity, deeply imbued with the passion for popular liberty,” to be the first Governor of Albemarle. Dr. Brickell, whose history was published in Dublin in 1737, and includes his observations on the province from 1730 to 1737, refers to the Presbyterians as an important element then. Dr. Hawks testifies that the Presbyterians in Albemarle, though not numerous, “had real religion amid those without God in the world.” Their influence for good in every direction was most marked, and was combined with that of the Quakers in moulding the character of the infant State. Looking down on the other side of New Bern, along and East of the Cape Fear, we admire the uplift given to Carolina's fame by a healthy, robust, truth-loving and liberty-loving Calvinistic faith.
Passing over some years, a few notable facts will signalize the sweep, dignity, and worth of this influence.
The Eastern Shore of Maryland was the cradle of American Presbyterianism. Rev. Francis Makemie, from the Presbytery of Laggan, near Londonderry, Ireland, was the apostolic Bishop who presided over and guided its young life, about 1683, at Snow Hill, Maryland. He was a hero fresh from the dragonades of the loyal churchman and incarnate fiend, Claverhouse. When the first Presbytery, that of Philadelphia, was organized, in 1705, four of its ministers were from this Eastern Shore, Mr. Makemie being one. In 1743, Rev. William Robinson, who was of Quaker stock, though himself a Presbyterian and a man of distinguished ability, was preaching in North Carolina. A supplication was made to the Synod of Philadelphia, in 1744, from Carolina, showing their desolate condition, and petitioning for help. Rev. Samuel Davies, the future President of Princeton College, speaks, in 1751, of the fewness and savage ignorance of the inhabitants as causing Mr. Robinson much hardship, and robbing his visit of much success. But, in 1755, several ministers having spent some time among them in missionary labors, whereas there had been hardly any appearance of public worship, the tide was changing; congregations were growing, and eager zeal was manifested to be supplied with Gospel ministers. Continual appointments were made by the
Synods, then the supreme judicatories of the Church, for preaching in the Carolinas; and in several instances, New Bern, Wilmington, and Edenton are specially designated as objective points to be visited and cared for. Messrs. C. Spencer, Lewis, Bay, Caldwell, C. T. Smith, McWhorter, Chestnut, and many others, were assigned to this mission from year to year.*
On the Eno, a branch of the Neuse, a church was erected in 1736 on ground, the deed to which bears date 9th of George II. Out of Hanover Presbytery, which was constituted in 1758, and embraced North and South Carolina, was erected, in 1770, Orange Presbytery. Its seven original ministers were Hugh McAden, Henry Patillo, James Creswell, David Caldwell, Joseph Alexander, Hezekiah Balch, and Hezekiah James Balch. Mr. Patillo was a member of the Provincial Congress of North Carolina in 1775; was its Chaplain, and also the honored Chairman of the body, in committee of the whole, in considering arrangements for confederation. Mr. Caldwell was a member of the State Convention of 1776, which drew up the “Bill of Rights,” and framed the constitution, and he was the reputed author of the Thirty-second Article, which declares, “That no person who shall deny the being of God, or the truth of the Protestant religion, or the divine authority of either the Old or New Testament, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office, or place of trust or profit, in the civil department within the State.”Mecklenburg Declaration, 1775.
This memorable document was drawn up by a convention in Charlotte, N. C. Its date, according to the best authorities, is 20th May, 1775. The town of Charlotte was pronounced by Lord Cornwallis “the hornet's nest of North Carolina.” Bancroft says it was “the centre of the culture of that part of[note]
the province.” Here was “Queen's Museum,” the most celebrated seminary of learning, except William and Mary, south of Princeton. Its able president, Rev. Dr. McWhorter, and Dr. E. Brevard, were both graduates of Princeton. A few days before the Convention met, a political meeting assembled in this Presbyterian College, and entertained some resolutions, presented by Dr. Ephraim Brevard. These were read to the convention, and referred to a committee, consisting of Dr. Brevard, Mr. Kennon and Rev. H. J. Balch, for revision; and when reported were adopted by a universal “aye,” and constitute the immortal “Mecklenburg Declaration,” of which Bancroft says, “The first voice publicly raised in America to dissolve all connection with Great Britain, came from the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians.” It is remarkable that this famous convention was composed of one Presbyterian minister, Mr. Balch, nine Presbyterian ruling-elders, and other persons who were all somehow connected with the seven Presbyterian congregations in Mecklenburg County. Another memorable fact is that, as late as July, 1775, a petition to the King of Great Britain was signed by every member of Congress, praying in humble terms, as British subjects, for redress of grievances, and declaring, “We have not raised armies with the ambitious design of separating from Great Britain, and establishing independent States.” And on Nov. 16th, 1775, the bearer to England of this congressional document, Richard Penn, the grandson of the celebrated William Penn, and himself an ex-governor, appeared before the House of Lords, and testified, that in his opinion “no design of independency had been formed by Congress.” All honor to North Carolina for the pronounced and vigorous spirit of liberty that had long been growing within her borders, and had its congenial home in the bosoms of her sturdy Calvinistic settlers.Hugh Williamson and Others.
Dr. Williamson was born of estimable, pious Scotch-Irish parents, in Pennsylvania, December 5, 1735. His mother, Mary Davison, of Derry, when a girl three years old, with her
parents on their voyage to America, was captured by the North Carolina pirate, Blackbeard, or Teach. After being plundered, they were released. Hugh was taught by Rev. Francis Alison, a Presbyterian minister, and the best Latin scholar in America; graduated at the University of Pennsylvania, and became a Licentiate in the Presbyterian Church. Ill health prevented his continuing to preach, or obtaining ordination. He then studied medicine in London, Edinburgh and Utrecht, and travelled extensively in Europe. It has been claimed that through him Dr. Benjamin Franklin obtained the famous Hutchinson correspondence, whose revelations of British false dealings precipitated the War of Independence. On hearing of the Declaration of Independence, Dr. Williamson returned home, and the army medical staff having been organized, he awaited an opportunity of serving his country. While practising medicine in Philadelphia, he served as a ruling elder in the First Presbyterian Church of that city.
During the war, when on a mercantile voyage from Charleston, S. C., to Baltimore, his vessel had to run up to Edenton, N. C., to escape the English fleet in Chesapeake Bay. Dr. Williamson promptly offered his services to the Governor of this State. He came to New Bern to inoculate for the small-pox such persons as had not had the disease, and thus laid the foundation of that confidence soon shown him in North Carolina. He settled in Edenton. Governor Caswell, being assigned as Major-General to the command of the North Carolina troops, ordered to the relief of Charleston, appointed Dr. Williamson chief of his medical staff, where he rendered essential service. In the State Legislature and Congress he represented his district with distinction; and in 1787, with Richard Dobbs Spaight and William Blount, signed the Constitution of the United States. He was an eminent scholar in mathematics, astronomy, natural science, medicine and divinity; according to Mr. Thomas Jefferson, “a very useful member of Congress, of acute mind, and a rich degree of erudition;” a man of fine appearance, imposing elocution, lofty integrity, broad philanthropy, noble patriotism, and untarnished purity.
Though commencing his career in North Carolina as an entire stranger, all obstacles to his advancement speedily melted away. He was chosen to successive places of honor, trust and influence, and he largely moulded public opinion and State policy. He wrote many valuable, practical, literary and philosophical papers; and in 1812, published in two volumes his History of North Carolina, a most important contemporary contribution. On May 22, 1819, in the eighty-fifth year of his age, while riding out with his niece in New York city, in the full vigor of his faculties, and crowned with worthy honors, he suddenly expired.
Samuel Spencer, one of the three judges of the Supreme Court; Alexander Martin, three times Governor of the State, and at his death Senator of the United States from North Carolina; Richard Caswell, Brigadier-General of New Bern District during the Revolution, Major-General of the North Carolina State Line, the first Governor of the State, and twice called to that high office by an admiring people; William Richardson Davie, the distinguished lawyer, accomplished orator, member of Congress, and Governor of his State,—these are a few specimens of the kind of men who were trained in the bosom and great principles of the Presbyterian Church of those early days, and were thereby fitted to wield controlling and beneficent power for liberty and virtue in this grand Commonwealth.
Of course, in signalizing these few illustrative facts, there is no intention of unduly exalting Presbyterian influence, and undervaluing the noble patriots and men of illustrious labors connected with other Christian bodies. Thanks are due to God for every one. But it is neither within my limits or scope of thought to trace out their histories here. It will be well if some one is stimulated so to do.Presbyterian Settlements.
These results were, however, the natural outgrowth of the scattered early Presbyterian pioneers, and of the repeated and large colonies of Scotch and Scotch-Irish, and other Presbyterians that poured into the State before and soon after 1700.
Notice some of these in the middle and Eastern sections. Already the testimony of Dr. Hawks has been mentioned about their presence, high character, and wholesome settlement in the Albemarle domain. Before 1729, they were settled in numbers in Cumberland County, near the site of Fayetteville. The time of their advent is unknown. Henry McCulloh, from the North of Ireland, (a grand uncle of Judge James Iredell,) was secretary of the province of North Carolina, and had been appointed his Majesty's Surveyor-General, Inspector and Comptroller of the revenue and grants of land. He speculated largely in the crown lands on the Clarendon or Cape Fear, Pedee and Neuse rivers, and was vitally interested in planting colonists on them, thereby to reap a fortune. The transactions of himself and son, Henry E. McCulloh, are said to have been very “crooked.” However, about 1736, Henry McCulloh began to fulfil the stipulations of his grant, by introducing a colony of Irish Presbyterians from Ulster into Bladen and Duplin counties, near us. The numbers swelled to three or four hundred, and he thus secured 64,400 acres of choice land, it is said, without paying a dollar. McCulloh's large fortune was reported to have been greatly embarrassed by furnishing transportation to these settlers. The descendants of this band are indicated by their family names in Duplin, New Hanover and Sampson counties. This is the oldest Presbyterian settlement in the State, and their principal place of worship was “Goshen,” from which the “Grove” congregation, whose church is three miles southeast of Duplin Courthouse, traces its origin. Another settlement, near Wilmington, on the northeast of Cape Fear, was the “Welch Tract,” originally founded by Welch emigrants. Other families joined them, and together they formed another strong Presbyterian congregation.*Highlanders.
The year 1745 was a dark era to Scotland. The bloody rout of Culloden was a fatal disaster, not only to all hopes of Charles Edward, but to Lovat and Kilmarnock, Tullibardine[note]
and Balmerino, MacDonald of Glengary, and Cameron of Lochiel, with their thousands of brave but misguided clansmen. A harsh government, satiated with unjust trials, barbarities and bloody executions, exempted nineteen out of every twenty from trial and punishment—the doomed one to be decided by lot. Upon taking the oath of allegiance, the others were allowed to be transported to America. The “Coercion Bill” and “Disabling Act” were added, inflicting severe penalties on Highlanders wearing the national kilt, or found in possession of weapons of war. So the Cape Fear country became the happy Canaan for the oppressed of Scotland. Here the stern veterans of Preston-Pans, the stalwart broad-swordsmen of Lochiel, and the rugged Highlanders who swept over Culloden's fatal field like their mountain storms, were turned into quiet farmers, isolated by their uncouth Gaelic tongue, among the pines and the plains of Eastern Carolina, but in a land of freedom. Hector McNeill, Alexander Clark, and others, even “John Smith,” had long lived here, and had doubtless sent home encouraging accounts of their welfare. In 1746 and 1747 many ship-loads of the refugees arrived in Wilmington. During the “rising” in Scotland, Neill McNeill, a native of Argyleshire, had been prospecting in America, and had explored the Cape Fear section, and the neighborhood of Cross Creek, known then as Heart's Creek or the Bluff, afterwards Campbelton, and now Fayetteville. Tall and muscular, bold and daring, he entered land for himself and colonists, and in 1749 brought over about three hundred immigrants, who were placed in Brunswick, Bladen, Cumberland and Harnett Counties. Baliol of Jura (one of the Hebrides Islands) ran a vessel yearly between Wilmington and Scotland, and regularly brought in additional Scotch immigrants.* These various colonists were reared almost within hail of classic Iona, the hallowed home of primitive Presbyterianism, under apostolic Columba, his coadjutors and godly successors. So they proved good seed from a worthy stock.[note]
No clergymen were with these Scotch. This seems singular, since they were thorough Presbyterians, and so well versed in their Bibles and the doctrines and usages of the Church, that a minister needed to be very careful in preaching to avoid their criticism. Rev. J. McLeod said “he would rather preach to the most polished and fashionable congregation in Edinburgh than to the little critical carls of Barbecue.” But the manner of the forced exile, and the actual lack of preachers in the Highands, explain the anomaly. Few could preach in the Gaelic language; and these people spoke nothing else. When Rev. Hugh McAden was on his missionary tour in North and South Carolina in 1756, he states in his journal, that at Hector McNeill's he “preached to a number of Highlanders,—some of them scarcely knew one word that I said,—the poorest singers I ever heard in all my life.” Neither did he find them all godly. Their spiritual destitution so affected him that, on his return to Pennsylvania, he induced Rev. James Campbell to go and reside amongst them. Mr. Campbell was born in Cambelton, on the peninsula of Kintyre, Argyleshire, Scotland. About 1730, he was a licensed Presbyterian preacher, and landed in Philadelphia. He took charge of a congregation of Scotch emigrants, perhaps in Lancaster County, Penn., where Mr. McAden visited him, and was duly ordained. Yielding to the claims from Carolina, he removed thither in 1757, bought a plantation on the Cape Fear, opposite the Bluff Church, and a few miles from Fayetteville, and began to preach under the shadow of his own oaks, in the Gaelic language, in a most unpromising field. But the glad tidings spread. Great enthusiasm was kindled throughout the Scotch settlement. He proclaimed a crucified Saviour for the lost sinner with blessed results; served several churches, and secured the erection of several “meeting-houses”; and ceased not his faithful labors, which knew no bounds but his strength, until, under the weight of more than three score and ten years, he fell on sleep in Jesus, and was laid beside his dear wife, in the quiet of his own graveyard.
The call for Mr. Campbell's services is in the shape of a contract (for there was no organized church yet), and appears in the Register's office, (Book A, page 349,) of the County Court of Cumberland. As the first recorded formal call for the pastoral services of a Presbyterian minister in North Carolina, and in view of the light it throws on the times by its accompaniments, it will be well to copy it:
“Know all men whom these presents do, or may concern, That we, whose names are underwritten, for and in consideration of the due and faithful ministry of the Gospel (according to the Doctrines and Discipline of the Church of that part of Great Britain called Scotland, by law established,) for some months past, and hereafter to be administered to us and other good people of our communion in the county of Cumberland, in the Province of North America, by the Rev. Mr. James Campbell, a well qualified minister of the principles of the said established church, and for divers good causes and considerations moving us thereto, have covenanted, promised, granted and agreed, and by these presents do each of us covenant, promise and agree to and with the said Mr. James Campbell to pay conjointly, or cause to be paid the sum of a hundred pounds in good and lawful money of North Carolina to the said Mr. James Campbell, his heirs, executors, administrators, or assigns, to commence from the twenty-second day of June last, (providing the said Mr. James Campbell doth, as soon as his convenience permit, accept of our call, to be presented to him by Rev'd Presbytery of South Carolina, and be by them engaged to the solemn duty of a pastor for us,) and this to be paid to him, his heirs, executors, administrators, or assigns yearly, and every year during his faithful ministry with us. In witness whereof, we have hereunto set our hands and seals, this eighteenth day of October, in the year of His Majesty's reign XXXIInd and of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty-eight.
“Signed, sealed and delivered in presence of Arch'd McNeill and Arch'd D. Clark.
“Signed, sealed and delivered before us.
“Hector McNeill, [Seal.]
“Gilbert Clark, [Seal.]
“Thomas Gibson, [Seal.]
“Alex. McAlister, [Seal.]
“Malcom Smith, [Seal.]
“Archibald McKay, [Seal.]
“Jno. Patterson, [Seal.]
“Dushee Shaw, [Seal.]
“Neill McNeill, [Seal.]
“Archibald Buie, [Seal.]
“Anguish Culbreath, [Seal.]
“John McPherson,” [Seal.]
Endorsements show that this bond was proved by oath of A. McNeill in open court and admitted to record, August Inferior Court, 1760. A duplicate was afterwards executed and proven, with some change of signatures.
But now Episcopacy and Royalty, in the persons representing the king, enforce the subscription and test acts, as the following entries on the Minutes of the court, January term, 1759, show:
“The Rev. James Campbell came into open court, and took the test-oath prescribed by law, and subscribed the test.”
“Court adjourned till 3 o'clock. Court met according to adjournment. Present: William Dawson, Samuel Howard, Arthur Donnally and James Thornton,Justices.”
“The Rev. James Campbell in open court read and subscribed such of the Articles of the Church of England as the law requiries.”*[note]
The test-oath was this: “I—(A. B.)—do declare that I do believe that there is not any transubstantiation in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, or in the elements of bread and wine at or after the consecration thereof by any person whatsoever.”
The act of toleration permitted the following of the Thirty-nine Articles to be excepted to—a part of the 20th, about decreeing rites, etc.; the 27th, on baptism; the 34th to 36th, of traditions, homilies, and consecration of clergy.†
All this squints wonderfully towards an established Church.
Mr. Campbell preached in both Gaelic and English every Sab Bath, and this practice prevailed in a few congregations down to a few years before our late war. His connection was with an independent Presbytery in South Carolina, where Presbyterian churches had been organized as early as 1682 and 1686. About 1773 he united with Orange Presbytery. He was an ardent and outspoken patriot, though the Highlanders, under a sense of the binding obligation of their oaths, fought against the colonies in the disastrous battle of Moore's Creek. Mr. Campbell was threatened with a bullet through his head, unless he kept quiet. He even refused to baptize the children of royalists!Rev. Hugh McAden.
Already spoken of, was of Irish parentage, through born in Pennsylvania. He was graduated at Nassau Hall in 1753; licensed in 1755, and ordained in 1757, by New Castle Presbytery, and dismissed in 1759 to Hanover Presbytery, which swept indefinitely southward from Virginia. His journal indicates that, in 1755, the uneasy year of Braddock's defeat, he made a missionary tour over North and South Carolina, partly in company with Rev. Andrew Bay, who had been commissioned for a preaching service in Carolina by the Synod of Philadelphia and New York, and was several times ordered to visit New Bern. Mr. McAden (or “McCadden”) preached on the Neuse, Contentenay, Pamlico, and Tar rivers, and in Edgecombe County sometimes in Presbyterian churches, and sometimes in[note]
Baptist, to mixed congregations of Presbyterians, Churchmen, Baptists, and Quakers—good and honest Quakers—as he terms them. The Baptists were very kind and liberal. Great religious destitution prevailed everywhere. One SabBath, April 4, 1756, he remained at Mr. Thomas Little's, near Salter's Ferry, Pamlico. He had not heard a Presbyterian minister in the twenty-eight years he had lived in Carolina; so he kept Mr. McAden until Wednesday, and gathered the neighbors to hear another sermon. Presbyterians were scattered through this section, but there were no organized churches.
At Mr. Dickson's, the Clerk of Duplin County, he preached to a considerable congregation, chiefly Irish. These people made out a hearty call for his pastoral services, as did also “the Welch Tract,” before mentioned, and promised him a proper support. This call antedated that of Mr. Campbell, given as the first, because we have it in its entirety. In 1759, Mr. McAden returned and settled amid the Presbyterians of Duplin and New Hanover, and on the Neuse. Here he labored for ten years, respected and beloved by all. He was a man of thoughtful face, in the prime of life, polite, and of easy manners. Doubtless he sometimes visited and preached in New Bern, the neighboring city and seaport of the section. Ill health caused him to remove to Caswell County, where he died, on January 20, 1781, and was buried in the grave-yard of Red House Church, near Milton. McAden and Campbell were the noble and blessed patriarchs of Presbyterianism in Eastern Carolina and in other portions of the State. Let their names be held in continued honor.Robinson and Stanford.
After some years of precarious ministerial supply, these congregations, in 1793, secured the services of Rev. John Robinson, who remained with them to their edification until 1800, when he removed to Fayetteville. Rev. Samuel Stanford, of Orange Presbytery, succeeded him, and conducted a classical academy at the Grove. This school, or one near their homes, was maintained for many years by succeeding pastors
with great advantage to the citizens. Mr. Stanford wore out his strength and days in serving the people of Duplin, and passed to his reward in 1828. He was officially in New Bern, as will hereafter appear, at an ordination and installation in 1808. The annual introduction from 1754 of hardy, intelligent and industrious Scotch gave enlarging and stimulating work to faithful pastors in these fields. In the single year, 1764, a thousand families of Irish or Scotch-Irish Presbyterians passed through the Northern colonies to this State. Laborers for the harvest, by divine blessing, increased too, so that before, and just after, 1800, the following clergymen were reaping the ripened sheaves: John McLeod, Dougal Crawford, William Bingham, John Robinson, James and Robert Tate, W. D. Paisley, John Anderson, — McCaasa, Colin Lindsay, Samuel Stanford, Angus McDiarmid, John Gillespie, Murdock Murphy, Allan McDugald, James K. Burch, David Kerr, Andrew Flinn, William Leftwich Turner, Malcolm McNair, and William Peacock. A goodly company this of soldiers of the cross, with a cheering band of candidates pursuing their studies preparatory for the Master's great work of saving souls.*Classical Schools.
The Lords Proprietors discounted printing-presses and learning. In an interesting address delivered at Chapel Hill, in 1827, by Hon. Archibald D. Murphy, of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, he says there were few books in the colony. The library of a common man consisted of a Bible and a spelling book. The lawyers had a few law books, and the ministers a few on theology, and sometimes a few Greek and Roman classics; for they, particularly the Presbyterian ministers, were generally the school-masters, and with them the poor young men who wished to preach the Gospel or plead the law, received their humble education. Even after the Revolution, when he was a student at Dr. Caldwell's famous classical school, he says, “The students had no books on history or miscellaneous literature. . . . I well remember, that after completing[note]
my course of studies under Dr. Caldwell, I spent nearly two years without finding any books to read, except some old works on theological subjects. At length I accidentally met with Voltaire's History of Charles the Twelfth of Sweden, an odd volume of Smollett's Roderic Random, and an Abridgment of Don Quixote. These books gave me a taste for reading, which I had no opportunity of gratifying until I became a student in this University, in the year 1796. Few of Dr. Caldwell's students had better opportunities of getting books than myself.” A few libraries of value had been sent into the colony; e. g., that at Bath, worth £100; and those of Rev. Messrs. Gordon, Adams and Urmstone, and the one bought by Mr. Moseley. But they were all lost, and did little good.
A few roving teachers, with a monopoly of learning and love of whiskey, wandered about. Three months constituted a term, and two terms completed one's education. There was an occasional pedagogue of this class in Craven County. About the close of the Revolution, a noted Scotchman taught in this county. His name was James Alexander Campbell Hunter Peter Douglas. He would flog a whole class because they spelt “corn” as he pronounced it, “kor-run.” History fails to tell whether he flogged them for not remembering his name.
In the North Carolina Gazette of July 24, 1778, I find this
“Mr. Joseph Blyth has opened school in the public schoolhouse, and will teach Latin, English, Arithmetic, Geography, Geometry, Trigonometry, and several other of the most useful branches of the Mathematics, according to the best and most approved methods. Gentlemen and ladies who favor him with their children may depend he will be diligent, and pay proper attention to their education.
“New Bern, July 24.”
In the same paper is an advertisement of Mr. George Harrison's school, opposite Mrs. Dewey's, for instruction in the English and French languages.
Judge Martin is mistaken in saying that when the Revolutionary
War began there were but two schools in North Carolina. Others have fallen into similar errors.
Great attention was paid to establishing schools in Presbyterian settlements. It was esteemed a mark of vulgarity not to be able to repeat the Shorter Catechism. So diligent efforts were made to teach all children to read, and few grew up unable to do so. Rev. James Tate, a Presbyterian minister from Ireland, opened a classical school in Wilmington in 1760. In 1785, Rev. William Bingham, also from Ireland, preached in Wilmington and thereabouts, and sustained himself by a classical school, which attained great éclat, was afterwards maintained elsewhere, is now owned and conducted by his grandson, near Mebaneville, N. C., and is perhaps the largest, most successful and most celebrated classical and military institute in the South. Such schools were numerous, notwithstanding some different statements by persons not fully informed, after the Revolutionary War, under the management of Presbyterian clergymen. Rev. Dr. Caldwell, in Guildford, educated lawyers, statesmen and clergymen. Five of his pupils became governors of States, a number rose to the bench, many were physicians, and fifty became preachers. It used to be said that Dr. Caldwell made the scholar, and Mrs. Caldwell, by her motherly zeal and piety, made the preacher. Dr. Hall, from “Zion Parnassus,” sent forty-five students to the pulpit. There were Hall's famous “Clio's Nursery,” and his “Academy of Sciences,” with its philosophical apparatus; Patillo's classical school in Granville; the celebrated “Crowfield” Institute; “the Grove” in Duplin, and the Wilmington schools. Nor must the memorable “Queen's Museum,” in Sugaw (Sugar) Creek congregation be forgotten. Established probably in 1766, it was twice chartered by the Colonial Legislature, but each time the charter was revoked by the king and council, and the second time by proclamation. It flourished, however, without a charter, refused because these Presbyterians would not put a member of the established Church of England as master of their own school. This was the explicit proviso made in the charter of the New Bern Academy, and accepted. The king's
fears that the college would become the fountain of Republicanism were perhaps quickened into reality by his repeated rejection of the charter, for Queen's Museum became the rallying point for literary societies and political clubs, preceding the Revolution; and in its hall were held the significant and decisive debates preceding the adoption of the Mecklenburg Declaration. But 1777 brought the coveted charter to this seminary as “Liberty Hall.” All these institutions did inestimable service in their day. The historian of these immortal epochs and toils tells how deeply Presbyterian women were concerned to secure an education for their sons, as illustrated by the exclamation of Mrs. Skillington. Looking upon the shell of the old family log-house, within rifle-shot of Poplar Tent Presbyterian meeting-house, she said, “Many a day have I worked for Charley with these hands, when we lived there, to help him through college; and I don't mind the work, for we all loved Charley.”*
Wherever a pastor was located, the custom was to have a classical school. Patillo and Hall wrote text books, for there were few then attainable. Only two schools were incorporated before Queen's College, viz. New Bern and Edenton. Royal provision had been made to give a salary of twenty pounds to any who would come to the colony as lay-reader and teach school; and the Assembly passed an act before 1759, according to Judge Martin, to raise a fund for common schools. Still schools were scarce. Little favor seems to have been bestowed on educational work, until the light of Geneva and the Culdee principles of Lindisfarne and Iona beneficently shone in North Carolina. Thus the classic muses and winsome graces were brought into chastened fellowship with clear-eyed Christian virtues, and the State was lifted to elevated heights of refinement, comfort, progress and piety. These vital forces gave power to those wielding them, and their benign reign still blesses the good old North State. This grand educational movement may be said to have its crown of honor in those times, in the establishment of “the University of North Carolina”—opened[note]
for students in 1795,—and its thorough organization by that noble educator and Presbyterian divine, by universal consent, the father of this useful and famed institution,—the Right Reverend Joseph Caldwell, D. D. For forty years this illustrious scion from Huguenot stock presided over its destinies, and was its inspiring genius, successfully combating the serried assaults of infidelity, and leading the institution in a career of healthy and increasing prosperity, with great honor to himself, and incalculable advantage to the Commonwealth. It is an interesting fact, too, that the ladies of New Bern and Raleigh presented the University with mathematical instruments, and promised that its welfare should ever enlist their hearts and hands.Old Princeton College.
It is appropriate to insert here a picture of Old Nassau Hall, Princeton, N. J., where so many laborers in Eastern Carolina and the New Bern Church were educated. This historic Hall has been modernized, and now forms the centre of the magnificent buildings of this great University.
OLD PRINCETON COLLEGE.
THIS preliminary survey brings us to the presentation of such particulars as are accessible about the settlement and history of this city, and the beginning and progress of the Presbyterian Church herein.The Huguenots.
Wonderfully and intimately are French Huguenots interwoven in the beginnings of our national history. The first Protestant settlement in the United States—nay, on the North American continent,—was that made by Jean Ribeaut (sent out by Admiral Coligni) in Carolina, in 1562. Disembarking, they first worshipped God; then set up, not superstitiously a Papal cross, but a stone pillar, inscribed with national lilies, and named the territory Carolina, after their king.* So when, in later years, their brethren settled at New Paltz, N. Y., after unhitching their teams, their first act was to read the forty-sixth Psalm, and then on bended knees in faith and prayer, to consecrate themselves and their posterity, and their wilderness home, to their covenant God. The first child, Jean Vigné, born in New York City, and the first, Sarah Rapelyea, born in Albany, were Huguenot children. Priscilla, the historic Puritan maiden, who came over in the Mayflower in 1620, and abides with immortal beauty and renown, with Miles Standish and John Alden, in the radiance of Longfellow's poetic genius, was Priscilla Molines, daughter of William Molines, the Huguenot. The first church organized on Manhattan Island was the Reformed Dutch, composed of Huguenot refugees and Dutch, in 1627. The Dutch Church was[note]
modeled on that of France, and both were Presbyterian; and the Hugnenot Governor, Minuit, was one of its two ruling elders. The first Presbyterian preacher and the first Presbyterian congregation in North Carolina, were Richebourg and his colony—the first body of settlers on the Trent. The first church organized in the Carolinas was the old Huguenot Church, founded in Charleston in 1681-82. This noble stock was among the first settlers in South Carolina, and we will trace them at an early day in our State.
One-fourth of the invading army of William of Orange, when he entered England in 1688, were Huguenots, and his veteran commander-in-chief was the Huguenot, Frederick Armaud de Schomberg. Moved by gratitude and sympathy, King William favored their settlement in his new dominions in America. Large numbers came to Virginia, and an extensive colony entered upon ten thousand acres of land, twenty miles above Richmond, on the James River, where the extinct Manakin Indians had lived. From this colony, in 1690, a body emigrated to the Pamlico River, near Bath, and spread out thence as far as the Neuse River. The whole population of North Carolina was then 5,000. About 1707, another numerous band of these Calvinistic Huguenots from Manakin (or Manikin) town settled on the Trent River, where the old county bridge stood, two miles above the site of New Bern; and they spread through Onslow, Jones and Carteret, where French names still perpetuate this advent. Lawson writes thus: “Most of the French who lived at Manakin town on James River are removed to Trent River, in North Carolina, where the rest were expected daily to come to them when I came away, which was in August, 1708. They are much taken with the pleasantness of that country, and, indeed, are a very industrious people. At present they make very good linen cloth and thread, and are very well versed in cultivating hemp and flax, of both which they raise very considerable quantities, and design to try an essay of the grape for making of wine.” Williamson says of this colony, “They were sober, frugal, industrious planters, and in a short time became independent citizens.”
Carroll's Hist. Collections (Vol. I. 101) says that Governor Ludwell had instructions in 1692 “to allow the French colony of Craven County the same privileges and liberties with the English colonists.” Jealousies existed between the French and English, so that the French were refused representation in the Legislature. It was so under Governor Archdale in 1695.Claude Philippe de Richebourg.*
In his History of Virginia, John Esten Cooke says (p. 309), after noting how near Oliver Cromwell, Queen Henrietta Maria, and Charles II., were to becoming residents in Virginia: “What was better for the country was the arrival in 1699 of the good Claude Philippe de Richebourg with his colony of Huguenots, who settled at Manakin, on the upper James River, and infused a stream of pure and rich blood into Virginia society.” Not entirely satisfied with their situation, a part of this colony, led by their noble, godly, exiled pastor, Richebourg, migrated to the Trent River. Richebourg was a decided French Presbyterian, of unobtrusive manners, fervid piety, exalted character, and devotion to the cause of Christ. His life was filled with toils, poverty, hope, faith and charity, and his example of suffering patience encouraged his refugee banished countrymen bravely to bear their multipled hardships. Unsettled by the horrid Tuscarora massacre of 1711, he and some others of the Trent colony moved southward to South Carolina, and settled on the Santee River. For two or three years he seems to have been without charge, and in straitened circumstances. He then succeeded the aged Rev. Pierre Robert, as pastor of the Huguenot Church on the Santee River. Although this church had conformed to the “ Established Church,” Mr. Richebourg never accepted Episcopal ordination. Though the charters of Charles II. from policy granted liberty of conscience, great pressure was brought to bear on French Protestants and others, to bring them into conformity[note]
with the Church of England. Subjected to many annoyances and disabilities; denied membership in the Legislature; the organization of their Church and ministry, the legality of their marriages, and the legitimacy of their children impugned, while they were too poor to sustain their own ordinances with regularity, but were offered support for both Church and minister by the Government; some of these congregations slowly yielded their cherished convictions. Many, however, stood firm, and conquered at last.
De Richebourg died, serving the Santee Church, about 1717. His will breathes the spirit of true Christianity, and exhibits this faithful servant of the cross still resigned to the dispensations of Providence, steadfast in the faith, and triumphant at approaching death. This will was long preserved in Charleston, S. C. Recently I searched for it in the Probate-Judge's office in that city. The general index recorded its existence and location; but alas! with many other priceless treasures, removed inland for safety, the unbound package containing it had been consumed in the great fire, kindled by General Sherman in fated Columbia.
Surveyor-General Lawson* testifies thus about these French Protestants: “They live as decently and happily as any planters in these southward parts of America. The French being a temperate, industrious people; some of them bringing very little of effects, yet, by their endeavors and mutual assistance amongst themselves—(which is highly to be commended)—have outstripped our English, who brought with them larger fortunes, though (as it seems) less endeavor to manage their talent to the best advantage. ’Tis admirable to see what time and industry will, with God's blessing, effect.” An effort was made to introduce silk-culture, and eggs were shipped to Carolina; but they hatched during the voyage, and, there being no food for their support on board the ship, they all died. “Monsieur Philip de Rixbourg,” says Lawson, “assured me, that their intent was to propagate vines, as far as their present circumstances would permit.”[note]
With regard to their religion he remarks, “They are all of the same opinion with the Church of Geneva, there being no difference among them concerning the punctilios of their Christian faith; which union hath propagated a happy and delightful concord in all other matters throughout the whole neighborhood, living amongst themselves as one tribe or kindred, every one making it his business to be assistant to the wants of his countryman, preserving his estate and reputation with the same exactness and concern as he does his own, all seeming to share in the misfortunes, and rejoice at the advance and rise of their brethren.” They were true Presbyterians in their forms of worship, their government, and the order of their clergy; and in their creed followed their renowned countryman, John Calvin. In polite and elegant manners, severe morality, wise charity, frugal and successful industry, they were evidently far above the English settlers. Bancroft well says: “The children of the French Calvinists have certainly good reason to hold the memory of their fathers in great honor.” The admixture of Huguenot blood in our body politic has been an admirable blessing. It has been compared to the gold which the Russians cast into the molten mass of metal for the great bell of Moscow. Though they did not in numbers so greatly increase American population, or alter its salient features, yet they did give a finer tone to character, and a richer melody to the drama of living; the refinement of elegant courtesy to society, and lofty chivalry for right and liberty. There is power in noble traditions, and enduring life in the blood of the true, the pure, and the brave. Who does not feel this, as his pulse throbs with honest exultation at the mere mention of such monumental names as those of the Huguenots, Henry Laurens, the first President of the Continental Congress; Matthew Fontaine Maury, the High Priest of the seas, pathless before he marked their highways; Gabriel Manigault, who at seventy-five years of age laid his fortune at the command of his State—South Carolina—and his struggling country; Francis Marion, prince of partizan leaders in the war of liberty; and many others, whose fame lives as a diadem for their admiring land? Though, in the
Indian Massacre, these Huguenot colonists were victims, yet they have descendants who hold up the blue banner of their forefathers’ martyr-faith.
Our attention is next challenged byChristopher Emanuel de Graffenriedt.
He was a citizen of Bern, Switzerland, the elder son of Antony De Gräaffenried, Lord of Worb, and descended from a “De Gräaffenriedt,” or Graffenried, a follower of the great Duke Berchthold V., the founder of the city of Bern. This ancestor built the family castle of “Worb,” six miles from Bern, and inherited by Christopher in 1730, after his return from Carolina with broken fortune. It is still in good preservation. Christopher is described as a handsome and fascinating man, a great favorite of Queen Anne, of England. Upon his purchasing a large body of land, with certain privileges, from the Lords Proprietors of Carolina, she made him a Baron of England and Landgrave of Carolina. His patent of nobility, written in Latin on parchment, and his insignia of rank, his golden star, with its obscure heraldic devices, and his seal, are in possession of one of his lineal descendants in Dougherty County, Ga. Tradition, fond of the romantic, has long woven around the “star” the pretty story, that when he was a prisoner among the fierce and implacable Indians, he saved his life by its exhibition in proof that he was a king, and they dared not kill him.
De Graffenried had been “Bailli,” or Mayor, or Governor of Yverdon, in Neufchatel, under commission from the Senate of Bern. Here he met financial reverses, and seeing no chance of recuperation at home, he—against the wishes of friends and relatives—leaving his private affairs in confusion, secretly started for England, with the design of building up his fortune in far-off America. Long had he been attracted thither from previous association with the deceased Duke of Albemarle. He seems to have been a mere adventurer, ready for any money-making scheme. With himself he associated Ludwig Michel, or Lewis Mitchell, also from Bern, and possessing considerable knowledge
of America. Lawson, in his history, speaks of “my ingenious friend, Mr. Francis Louis Mitchell, of Bern, in Switzerland, who has been for several years very indefatigable and strict in his discoveries amongst those vast ledges of mountains and spacious tracts of land lying towards the heads of the great bays and rivers of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, where he has discovered a spacious country, inhabited by none but savages, and not many of them, who yet are of a very friendly nature to the Christians. This gentleman has been employed by the Canton of Bern to find out a tract of land in the English America, where the republic might settle some of their people, which proposal, I believe, is now in a fair way towards a conclusion between her Majesty of Great Britain and that Canton, which must needs be of great advantage to both.”
Prof. Löher (History of the Germans) describes them both as bold and shrewd men. Williamson, near their day, says they regarded the Germans as objects of speculation. They are pictured as enthusiasts, who believed that North Carolina was the real El Dorado. Such emigration agents, dressed splendidly, traversed Europe, and offered poor people most fascinating inducements to emigrate. The “Journal of the House of Commons” says, “There were books and papers dispersed with the Queen's picture, and the title page in letters of gold, which, on that account, were called ‘the Golden Book,’ to encourage the people to come to England to be sent to the Carolinas.” Remembering the tactics of agents to-day, we can understand what power was then wielded by such canvassers over the ignorant, poor and oppressed, as well as those of romantic and adventurous dispositions; and can also measure the bitter disappointment that frequently bowed down newly arrived emigrants, whose voyage had been filled with rosy dreams. The same system was pursued by John Peter Purry, of Neufchatel, in 1731, in his descriptive pamphlet about South Carolina, which he scattered in Switzerland to gather his people, as he successfully did, for that colony.
It is difficult to get accurate information about the Palatine and Swiss colonists brought by De Graffenried and Mitchell, and
especially about their ecclesiastical affairs, before and after their arrival. I have made very laborious search after this knowledge, and had an extensive correspondence with the most learned and best informed men and women in this State and country, with this result in the main, the belief that such light can be gotten, if obtainable at all, only from hidden old manuscripts hereabouts, or from documents in European libraries. Yet some facts, new to most persons, will be stated in connection with others of general history. Also valuable and entirely new matter will be given from a yet unpublished and extended contemporary manuscript history of his colony by De Graffenried. This document, written in barbarous French, has recently been copied from the original in the public library of Yverdon, Canton de Vaud, and will fill eighty pages in the Colonial Records, now in press.The Palatines.
The Palatinate was a fine province on both sides of the upper Rhine. Its capital was Heidelberg, on the Neckar, with its picturesque castle, and its famous university. The Elector Palatine, Frederick III., surnamed “the Pious,” who died in 1576, was one of the noblest and purest German princes,—the German Alfred,—and was devoted to the advancement of the political, educational and ecclesiastical prosperity of his people. The crowning achievement of his reign was the preparation by those learned and pious theologians and reformers, Zacharias Ursinus and Caspar Olevianus, of the Heidelberg Catechism. This is one of the most celebrated formularies of doctrine ever composed, and stands to day side by side with the Westminster Confession of Faith. It was called “The Palatine Catechism”; stood as the symbol of the Palatine Church, and formed the foundation of family instruction. It was adopted in St. Gall, Schaffhausen and Bern; was the first Protestant catechism planted on American soil, viz.: on Manhattan Island, in 1609; and was the banner of The Reformed Church. To the youthful Ursinus Calvin presented, in Geneva, his works, and wrote in them his best wishes. Lutherans, however,
were numerous in the Palatinate. But the elector Frederick, though reproached and threatened, made before the emperor, at the diet of Augsburg, in 1566, as manly a confession of his Reformed Creed as Luther at Worms, and evoked the admiration of his opponents, and the applause of the Lutheran Elector of Saxony: “Fritz, thou art more pious than all of us.”
In 1613, Elizabeth, daughter of James I of England, was married to Frederick, Protestant Elector Palatine, and afterwards King of Bohemia. George II. of England was their grandson; and so Queen Victoria is descended from Elizabeth, who was also the great aunt of Queen Anne. After several changes in the Palatinate, Charles, Elector Palatine, died without issue, and the electorial dignity went, in 1685, to the house of Newburg, a bigoted popish family. This upper Palatinate of the Rhine suffered untold horrors from a long series of desolating wars, and the merciless ravages of Tilly, Turenne, and Louis XIV. of France, and the unremitting persecutions by the popish Elector of these decided Protestant subjects, who would die rather than recant. In 1622, 1634, 1688 and 1693, Heidelberg was taken, and desolated with Mohammedan cruelty. The beautiful land was cursed by the rage of man. Houses were burned, scores of cities sacked, and in Winter, the whole population were driven into fields covered with snow and ice. Encouraged by a proclamation by Queen Anne, and favorable reports from countrymen who had gone before, 12,000 Palatines went to England in the summer of 1709, and encamped in tents near London. Here they were pitiable objects of English charity, and at the same time creators of serious discontent among the English poor; for bread was scarce, and commanding double price, while these foreigners were supported by public collections and by the Queen. Twenty thousand pounds were paid into the treasury for them. So the native sufferers grumbled, and the House of Commons even voted that all who encouraged the Palatines to come to England were enemies to the nation. Hence they must be removed. Ireland and the American colonies afforded appropriate outlets.
De Graffenried estimated that, at the very time of his arrival, more than 20,000 Palatines came to England, but “intermingled with many Swiss and people of other German provinces.” He and Mitchell were looking for a profitable speculation, and ready to grapple with this problem for a consideration. It was understood that “the Queen would not only assume the expense of their transportation, but also bestow upon them considerable assistance. This really took place; and this last sum amounted to £4,000 sterling.” Other advantageous promises gilded the enterprise. Between De Graffenried and the Lords Proprietors was drawn up an elaborate contract, which still exists. His pay was five and a half pounds apiece for six hundred and fifty Palatines transported to North Carolina—more than $18,000. Liberal provision was made for their comfort on arrival, and for their support for a year in their new homes. This agreement bears date October, 1709. Young people, healthy and laborious, and of all kinds of occupations, were selected, and ample provision was made for their comfortable voyage in well-equipped ships. De Graffenried appointed three directors, notables from North Carolina, then in London, one of whom seems to have been Lawson, the surveyor-general; for he could not himself sail with them, as he had to await his colonists from Bern.
On the day before sailing, he went to Gravesend, on the Thames, with Rev. Mr. Cesar, a German reformed minister of London, who preached a feeling and appropriate sermon to the departing emigrants. On account of the war, Rear-Admiral Noris was permitted—as a signal favor—to escort the two vessels with his squadron as far as the latitude of Portugal. They sailed in mild weather, in January, 1710; but were overtaken by such terrible storms that the voyage lasted thirteen weeks. All suffered, and more than half died at sea, and many after landing died from eating imprudently. One of the vessels, containing the best goods and colonists, was plundered by a French captain at the mouth of James River. They landed in Virginia, not daring to go by sea to Carolina on account of
privateers, and the bars at the mouths of the rivers. The remnant, being recruited a little, travelled by land to Colonel Pollock's, in Albemarle, on the Chowan. Thence they crossed the Sound into Bath County, and “were located (in May or June) by the Surveyor-General” (Lawson) “on a tongue of land between the News and Trent rivers, called Chattawka, where afterwards was founded the small city of New Bern.” (Note: This is the way De Graffenried writes the name.) He says that Lawson cheated them terribly, by putting them on his own land, on the southern bank of Trent, “at the very hottest and most unhealthy place,” and selling them the before-mentioned tongue of land at a heavy price and as uninhabited, whereas it was not his, and Indians still lived there. De Graffenried afterwards bought this tongue from the Indian King Taylor.
With faith in their leaders, and committing their money to De Graffenried, these “poor Palatines” (as they were termed) had come to the new world. They “were forced to stay until September in the greatest poverty, and to sell nearly all their clothes and movables to the neighboring inhabitants, in order to sustain their life.”Arrival of the Swiss.
The Swiss embarked in Holland, under contract with the owner of a ship from Boston, and sailed for Newcastle, in the northeast of England, where De Graffenried joined them and sailed for Virginia at the beginning of June, 1710. Only one ship-load is mentioned, so the number of Swiss could not have been as large as sometimes stated. They had a happy passage, in want of nothing, and pursued the same journey the Palatines had traversed, by Col. Pollock's, and so on to New Bern. There “a sad state of things, sickness, want, and desperation having reach their climax,” greeted them. De Graffenried's life was in danger. The troubles of Cary's rebellion were upon him, too. He set to work energetically to establish the colony in comfort. He says that in eighteen months they “managed to build homes and make themselves so comfortable, that they made more progress in that length of time than the English
inhabitants in several years.” There was only one water-mill in the wole province; rude mortars and hand-mills were used for breaking their corn. But his colonists arranged wheel-works on the brooklets to pound their grain, and he began the construction of a water-mill. But as after “such cross-accidents, mishaps, and inconveniences,” a happy state of things was dawning upon them, the desolating Indian massacre and long war burst in fury over their homes, and he was captured by the savages. Before giving a condensation of his account of his captivity, and the close of his connection with the settlement, we will further consider the colonists.Ecclesiastical Affairs.
Some of these Palatines were doubtless Lutherans. But judging from facts already given, and from their well known history in New York and Pennsylvania, large numbers, if not the body of them, must have been Reformed or Calvinists. When, in 1746, Rev. Michael Schlatter (who was from St. Gall, Switzerland,) was sent by the Synod of Holland to look after the Reformed German churches, he travelled in his investigating and organizing tour from the Delaware to beyond the Potomac, and found forty-six churches and 30,000 Reformed population. These were largely from the Palatinate. In the manual of the Reformed Church in America, by Rev. E. T. Corwin, D. D., it is stated, that “the full tide of emigration did not fairly begin” (from the Palatinate) “till about 1709. In this year four thousand Palatinates embarked for New York, but seventeen hundred died on the passage. They were invited to settle on the Livingston Manor, and many of them did so. Others settled in Schoharie and in the valley of the Mohawk. The following year large numbers of the same class fled to North Carolina (where some French Protestants had already settled on the banks of the Neuse), and founded New Bern. They had preachers among them. But in 1713 the settlement was broken up by the Indians. The remnant fled to South Carolina.”
The “Historic Manual of the Reformed Church,” by Prof. Jos. H. Dubbs,
D. D., of Lancaster, Pa., states that “Henry Hoeger, a Reformed minister, appears to have accompanied De Graffenried's Swiss colony, which, in 1710, founded New Bern, N. C. When the settlement had been scattered by the Tuscarora Indians, he accompanied about fifty of the survivors to Virginia, where they were employed by Governor Spottiswoode. A cotemporary document, preserved in Perry's ‘Historic Collections,’ relates ‘that there went out with the first twelve families one minister, named Henry Hoeger, a very sober, honest man, of about seventy-five years of age. But he being likely to be past service in a short time, they have empowered Mr. Jacob Christofle Zollikofer, of St. Gall, in Switzerland, to go into Europe, there to obtain, if possible, some contributions from pious and charitable Christians towards the building of their church, and the bringing over with him of a young German minister to assist the aforesaid Mr. Hoeger in the ministry of religion, and to succeed him when he shall die, and to get him ordained in England by the Rt. Rev. Bishop of London, and to bring over with him the liturgy of the Church of England, translated into high Dutch, which they are desirous to use in public worship. They also seek the support of a minister from the Venerable Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.’ It seems, they felt themselves too weak to stand alone, and consequently ‘conformed’ to the Established Church. They were organized into an Episcopal Parish, with the reserved right to employ their own ministers, and on their own terms.” Acting under dire stress of adverse circumstances, they were still unwilling to bind themselves blindly and inextricably. In Western Carolina the Reformed Germans entered Granville County in 1740 under better auspices, with ministers Tobler and Zuberbühler.
The sin of these Germans was their Protestantism. They brought with them across the ocean their Bibles, hymn-books, catechisms, and other religious books.
I have found and copied the following interesting item from the old records of the Court of Quarter Sessions in Craven County, December, 1740. Present: George Roberts, Joseph Hannis,
and James Macklwaine, Esqrs: “A petition of the Palintines or High Germans praying that they may have Liberty to build a Chaple on trent for a place of worship etc—granted—”
This looks as if these poor “Palintines” had not forgotten the great embodiment of their heroic faith, the Heidelberg Catechism of 1563. In 1729, there were 15,000 of these Germans and Swiss in Pennsylvania; and in 1731, eight hundred exiled Palatines passed through Dordrecht, while the Synod of Holland was in session there, to embark at Rotterdam for America. This Presbyterian Synod visited them in a body, held worship with them, ministered to their necessities, and promised future aid to these brethren of the common Reformed faith.The Swiss.
What were the causes of the large Swiss emigration to America? Many from Switzerland were refugees there. That republic was the common refuge for persecuted Protestants in the Reformation period. The fires of bloody Mary in England, the relentless fury of the Spanish in the Netherlands, the diabolical revocation of the edict of Nantes by France, drove numbers of English, French and Dutch to this mountain retreat, where Italians joined them in holy exile and noble suffering for Christ. John Knox and John Calvin are illustrious examples. By an agreement between the Protestant Cantons, Bern was to receive and aid one-half of the needy fugitives. At one time nearly every well-to-do family in the Canton Zurich had one or more refugees quartered upon it by order of the government. Antistes Hess says (Tercentenary Volume, Zurich, 1819), “From 1682 to 1685 many hundreds of French exiles settled in Zurich. In 1686, one thousand Piedmontese refugees arrived. In 1688, there were more than 3,000. In 1687, the Swiss confederation sent delegates to the Palatinate, Brandenburg, Hesse, and Holland, requesting the governments of these countries to aid Switzerland in providing for the exiles of the Reformed Church.” In 1687, in five weeks, 8,000 Protestant refugees entered Geneva; 28,000 had passed through
seeking some asylum, and ordinarily there were 3,000 in the city. The French Protestant Refugee Fund, established in 1545, and having 8,000 crowns capital, was exhausted. In 1696, there were in the Canton of Bern, including its dependency, the Pays du Vaux, 6,500 male refugees, of whom 2,000 were paupers, dependent on public support. Some German-Swiss objected to the billeting refugees on them; and guards, with halberds in hand, had to force the hospitality. Legacies, donations, collections in churches, appeals of the Waldenses, and public subsidies, were given to maintain the suffering of Christ's persecuted people. Still earnest efforts were made to facilitate their departure. Thousands were helped to leave, but many were driven back by the army of Louis XIV. In 1703, many came from the Principality of Orange. Many of these refugees were blessings to Switzerland; but their numbers were too large. Such was the story year after year, until the burden became ruinous, and the hospitable Cantons were compelled to find homes for their homeless and unbidden guests. Moreover, many refugees were skilled mechanics, and took work away from native artizans, so that great distress ensued.*Emigration was relief.
The religious war in Switzerland, in 1703 and onward, caused sore disturbances and ruin. Switzerland depended for its political existence on fidelity to the treaty of Westphalia, made in 1638. Catholics, Lutherans and Reformed were the only religious bodies recognized by that settlement. Anarchical Anabaptists were not to be tolerated; so a violent persecution arose against the Mennonites in Zurich and Bern, which reached its culmination in 1710. Many of this sect went to the Palatinate, and thence to Pennsylvania. (Seidenstecker's Gedächtnissblätter, page 66.) There were also Swiss who quit their country because they could not conscientiously subscribe to the “Helvetic Consensus Formula,” directed against certain errors of the French Church, and prevailing for half a century after its adoption by the Reformed Cantons in 1675. (Mosheim, III. 435; Schaff's Creeds, I. 477, &c.)[note]
These influences, united to the movements of the skilful emigration agents before recited, sufficiently account for a wide spread willingness to seek new homes.Ecclesiastical Character.
Switzerland was the birth-place and home of the Reformed Church This was the State Church. In form it was Presbyterian, and in doctrine Augustinian, as set forth in its Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed. Its great theologians were Calvin, and Francis Turrettine, with the lesser, yet brilliant lights, Oecolampadius, Farel, Zwingli, and Bullenger. The Palatinate Confession was accepted in Switzerland; and the second Helvetic Confession, prepared by Bullenger, in 1566, and adopted by eight Swiss Cantons, was also adopted by the Palatinate. Bern, the most conservative, aristocratic and influential Canton in 1528, led by Zwingli, promulgated her famous “Ten Conclusions,” which were approved by all the leading Swiss reformers. This was clearly the Calvinistic faith, professed by the South Carolina Swiss at Purrysburg, with their pastor, Rev. Jos. Bürgnion; by the Swiss pastors, Christian Theus, in the Congaree settlement, and John Ulrich Giessendanner, at Orangeburg. In worship and doctrine, then, the Swiss were doubtless Presbyterian and apostolic, and seem generally to have been sincerely attached to their creed and church.
Great difficulties existed in obtaining ministers for the German Reformed Churches, and supporting them. The Classis of the Palatinate was “The Church Under the Cross,” persecuted and poor, and appealed to the Synod of Holland for help for its American emigrants. The Classis of Amsterdam agreed to help them, provided they adhered to the Heidelberg Catechism, the Palatinate Confession of Faith, and the Canons and Rules of Church Government of Dort. Mr. Schlatter, in 1746, found only four regularly ordained ministers for forty-six churches and 30,000 people. It was deemed necessary for a long time to get their clergy from Europe, or to send their candidates on the long and expensive voyage across the ocean to be ordained. These difficulties, and desires to have some
ministrations of the Gospel, gave a fine opportunity for the Established Church of England, with its wealth, position and prestige, to proselyte the newcomers. In some cases they were successful; but generally they were earnestly resisted and fully thwarted. Illustrations may be seen in Corwin's “Manual of the Reformed Church,” in accounts of Schlatter, John H. Goetschey, Michael Weiss,—all Swiss preachers,—and others.De Graffenried's Letter.
A fulsome, cringing, disgusting letter was written from New Bern in 1711, by De Graffenried to the Bishop of London, “humbly requesting your lordship to accept of me and my people, and receive us into your Church, under your lordship's patronage, and we shall esteem ourselves happy sons of a better stock,” and more of that sort. Nothing save a recommendation seems to have resulted from this petition. De Graffenried writes as if he had the consciences of men made of martyr stuff in his pocket, as he had their money and the titles to their lands. His moral integrity, illustrated in his treacherously failing to give them titles to their lands, and causing them to appeal to the crown for relief, and his speculation in bringing them over, were scarcely so attractive as to exalt him to spiritual leadership. It seems improbable that these emigrants, as a body, authorized that letter, and recanted apostolic principle, for which they were so lately willing to die. Neither does it appear, so far as the history of this people can be followed in their children, that any large portion of them entered the Established Church. Lack of religious privileges and organization resulted in scattering those who survived the Indian massacre, and remained in this section, into various churches as they were established.De Graffenried's Capture.
In September, 1711, taking fifteen days’ provision, two negroes to row, and, for safety, two well-known Indian neighbors, one of whom spoke English, De Graffenried started up the Neuse River with Lawson for general exploration. He
wished to know whether the river was navigable higher up, how far it was to the mountains, and whether a new and better road to Virginia could be laid out. No danger was apprehended, for no savages lived on the river. One Indian went on the Baron's horse by land, and, being compelled at one place to cross the river, came to the Indian King Hencock's village, Catechna. The Indians questioned him, were alarmed, kept the horse, and sent the rider to warn the boating parties that they would not be permitted to advance, but must return. It being late when the bad news was received, they landed at the next spring, not far from another village, Coerntha, to pass the night. A number of armed Indians met them, plundered their things, and took them prisoners. They were proud of the capture, for they took De Graffenried to be Governor of the Province; ran them all night through the woods, thickets and swamps, and about three o'clock in the morning reached Catechna, where King Hencock was sitting in state on a platform, with his council around him. Their case was discussed, but no conclusion was reached. Vengeance was wanted “for the rough dealings of a few wicked English Carolinians who lived near the Pamptego, Neuse and Trent Rivers.” It was also to be ascertained what “help they could expect from their Indian neighbors.”
By ten o'clock at night, the neighboring kings, with their retinues, had come in; and the “assembly of the great, consisting of forty elders sitting on the ground around a fire, convened, with King Hencock presiding, examined the prisoners, and consulted. They complained of abuses by the whites, and especially of Surveyor-General Lawson. After a vote it was determined that they could be liberated on the morrow. During some delay the next day in getting their canoe, some other distinguished Indians arrived, and a second examination was held at King Hencock's cabin, two miles from the village. The king of the village, Core, reproached Lawson for something, and the two had a violent quarrel, which De Graffenried vainly tried to arrest. He sharply upbraided Lawson for his imprudence in such delicate circumstances. Suddenly three or
or four of the “Great” pounced upon them, threw their hats and periwigs into the fire, led them to the Council-ground, condemned them to death without assigning any cause, kept them sitting in one position on the ground until daylight, and then led them to the execution ground. Bitterly did the Baron reproach Lawson as the cause of their misfortune, and with great zeal set about making his peace with God. Seeing a savage dressed like a Christian, who knew English, he asked the cause of their condemnation. He reluctantly answered: “Why Lawson had quarreled with Cor Tom? That we had threatened that we would avenge ourselves on the Indians.” He took this Indian aside, explained matters to him, and offered large rewards if he would show his innocence to some of the “Great.”
Bound hand and feet, undressed, and bare-headed, they with the larger negro were seated in the centre of the execution-ground. Before them burned a fierce fire; near by stood the grizzled highpriest, then a wolf skin, and a motionless savage “in the most dreadful and horrible position, with a knife in one hand and an axe in the other.” A great dancing rabble, beating drum, mournful singing, guns discharging, dreadful howlings, faces painted black, red, and white, hair greased and sprinkled over with small pieces of cotton or with feathers and flying out, all dressed like a set of devils, and darting in and out of the wood, combined to make a fearful scene, premonitory of horible agonies. De Graffenried prayed fervently, recalled what he had read in the Scripture and other good books, and “prepared himself to a good and salutary death.” Especially did Christ's miracles comfort him. Again night approached, another immense fire was kindled in the woods, and the Council once more assembled. Knowing that one of them understood English, he addressed them, asserted his innocence, threatened the vengeance of the powerful Queen of England if they shed his blood, and made promises for his liberation. One of the notables, a relative of King Taylor, from whom the site of New Bern had been bought, spoke earnestly in his favor. A delegation was thereupon sent to their neighbors, the Tuscaroras,
to consult King Tom Blunt. He says: “I spent that whole night in great anguish, awaiting my fate (always bound in the same place) in continuous prayers and sighs. Meanwhile I also examined my poor negro, exhorting him in the best way I knew, and he gave me more satisfaction than I expected;—but I let Surveyor-General Lawson offer his own prayers, as being a man of understanding, and not over-religious.” Towards morning the delegates returned, and De Graffenried was unbound and told he had nothing to fear, but was forbidden to speak to Lawson. who took leave of him, and told him to say farewell in his name to his friends. The negro was also liberated, and the Baron was led away. His record states, “They executed that unfortunate Lawson; as to his death, I know nothing certain; some Indians told me that he was threatened to have his throat cut with the razor which was found in his pocket,—what also acknowledged the small negro, who was not executed,—but some said he was hung, some said he was burnt. The Indians kept that execution very secret. God have mercy upon the poor soul!” Chief-Justice Gale, however, understood from the Indians that “they stuck him full of fine splinters of torch-wood, like hogs’ bristles, and so set them gradually on fire.”
De Graffenried was kept a prisoner for six weeks, while five hundred Indians were murdering and plundering the colonists, and women and children were brought in as prisoners with great booty. A boy he knew from his own German settlement told him the sad tale. At length he made a treaty with the Tuscaroras, Marmusckits, and Cors; and, by a promised ransom, and a threatening message from Governor Spottiswood, he was carried to Tasqui, a palisaded Tuscarora village; where a great council was held around the big fire in their town circle. Dangers threatened him still, and especially from an advance of sixty English and Palatines on the village of Catechna. The colonists were repelled with loss. Two days afterwards two notables escorted him on a horse two leagues, gave him a piece of Indian-bread, and warning him of danger in the forest from foreign Indians, advised him to run as fast as he could for two
hours. So he did till night, and went on for two days without arms, a knife, or anything with which to strike fire. Nearly dead with cold and exposure, his legs and arms stiff and swollen, supporting himself on two sticks, and tanned by exposure, as he approached his fortified house, he looked so much like a ghost or an Indian spy, that his people did not at first recognize him; soon, however, men, women and children met him with surprise, shouting and weeping, that moved him to tears.
Troubles now multiplied around the New Bern Colony. Sixty or seventy Palatines and Swiss had been killed; many had run away; some had been seduced to join the English in a garrison; half the Palatines had deserted during the Baron's imprisonment; fifteen were prisoners, waiting ransom; provisions and ammunition were exhausted; and with a crowd of women and children, he had only forty men able to bear arms. Brice and a turbulent Palatine blacksmith destroyed the effects of his treaty with the Indians, so that houses marked with “N,” according to its stipulations, were sacked. He supported the remnant for twenty-two weeks at his own expense. But the end was near. Disorganization, dissension, cowardice and destitution, were everywhere. His credit was gone, and his drafts were protested. An astonishing and almost incredible series of mishaps attended everything he attempted. Cary defied all the injunctions of the Lords Proprietors, and all their fair promises failed him. He hurls about very liberally his denunciations of ignorance, cowardice, incapacity and rascality, while he classes himself as “an honest man and a good Christian.” Mitchell is charged with grave deception about the mines, and dishonest practices. A writ of arrest was issued against himself for a protested bill of exchange. He skulked in a friend's house; tried to run off his slaves; thought once of moving the “remainder of the faithful Palatines and the small band of Swiss” to the mines in Virginia; mortgaged his property to Colonel Pollock; then abused his colonists as the cause of theri own disasters, being deserters from their king and from him, and such ungodly people—“thieves, lewd fellows, profane fellows, slanderers”—“that it is no wonder if the Almighty has
punished them by means of the heathen,—for they are worse than these, . . . . I was more sorry to leave such a beautiful and good country than such wicked people. There were, however, some little good grain, I mean a few persons fearing God, who loved me and whom I loved; I wish them all kind of prosperity. May God convert the balance!” So he grew angry, bitter in his disappointment, prejudiced, and unjust. Slipping off to New York,—which he found a “nice place,”—he sailed thence to England, where he arrived in the spring of 1713, and reached Bern on the day of St. Martin, 1713. He dared not take a passport in London from fear of arrest by his American creditors. The cold shoulder was given him by old friends,—“many people bloated up with pride or arrogance!” he says. His “company” abandons him, “and so, I was compelled to abandon that colony.” And now comes the concluding pious reflection of this tried Bernese-Palatine speculating philanthropist; “since fate will not favor me any more in this world, there is no better remedy than to leave it and to seek the treasure from above, where moth and rust doth not consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.”Founding of New Bern.
De Graffenried spoke to the Indians of the proof of his good intentions given “by the gentleness and civility of my behavior towards them, and by the payment which I made to them of the lands where I had settled at first, and where I had founded the small town of New Bern, although I had already paid double their worth to the surveyor Lawson.” It was probably laid off by Lawson and Col. Pollock in May or June, 1710, and was called New Bern, in compliment to Bern, the birth-place of both the Baron and Mitchell, leaders of the colony. At the foot of Broad street, on the Neuse, was formerly a hill, called “Council Bluff.” Here in solemn assemblage, around their fiercely blazing council fires, the revengeful savages, under King Taylor, deliberated on war, peace, or vengeance. Between this dread spot and the foot of Craven street is said to lie the location of the original settlers of the City of Elms.
So was born the second town in North Carolina, Bath having been laid out in 1705. Bath never grew. In November, 1723, New Bern was made a township, covering two hundred and fifty acres, and soon became the Capital of the colony. The old deeds in the clerk's office contain this singular provision, that if the purchaser of the town lot died without heirs, or a will, the property would escheat to Cullen Pollock, his heirs or assigns. Purchasers also pay a pepper-corn rent, if demanded.Craven County,
Was named after Willian, Earl of Craven, one of the Lords Proprietors, and called in the charter, “our trusty and well beloved William Lord Craven.” In the interesting gallery of paintings in Kensington Museum, London, I recently saw a portrait of the Earl, painted by Honhorst, and presented by the Earl of Craven, in December, 1868. His face is remarkably fine. Beneath the picture runs this legend:
“WILLIAM, EARL OF CRAVEN,
“1606-1692, Son of Sir William Craven, Merchant Tailor and Lord Mayor of London,
“Served with distinction under Gustavus Adolphus, and afterwards entered the service of the Prince of Orange. He aided with the wealth at his command the exiled members of the royal family, more particularly Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia. He was created Earl of Craven in 1665, and succeeded Monck as colonel of the Coldstream Guards.
“During the prevalence of the great plague, he remained in London, visiting the infected and devising means to prevent contagion. In the following year, 1666, he successfully exerted himself to subdue the ravages of the great Fire. Lord Craven was a most accomplished gentleman. He died unmarried at his house in Drury Lane.”
So the county may well take laudable pride in its honorable name.Other Immigrants.
About 1710, came a colony of Welch Quakers, and settled below New Bern, on Clubfoot and Hancock Creeks, on the South side of the Neuse. Among these were Thomas and John Lovick, the latter of whom was one of the North Carolina Boundary Commission
in 1728, to settle the line between Virginia and North Carolina. Roger and Evan Jones were also among them. The name of the last appears in the official list of freeholders and jurymen in the laws of 1723. Another German cluster of immigrants landed at New Bern in 1732, among whom were John Martin Francks, James Blackshear and Philip Miller. These ascended the Trent twenty miles, and having no horses or other stock, then packed their goods on their backs, and heroically plunging into the virgin forest, unscarred by an axe, settled in that part of Craven now known as Jones County.
Had I the means of tracing out genealogies and intermarriages, and changes of names generally, as I have in a few cases; and were lists of the early members of the Presbyterian Church accessible, it could doubtless be shown that not a few of the descendants of the old stock stood true in devotion to the tried and apostolic faith of the early German, Welch, Swiss, Huguenot, and Scotch-Covenanter colonists. The names of the descendants of the following are still recognized in the church in New Bern, or its vicinity, as substantial Presbyterians: Isler, Coxdaille (from whom, on the mother's side, come the Stanlys), Francks, Bryan, Bray, Watson, Hatch, Clark, Everett, Noble, Shine, Jones, Moore, Lamb, and others. Hence came one of the original elders, the wife of the present pastor, and the wife of one of the present ruling elders, and one, if not more, of the original female members from the French Blanchard stock.
In the dreadful Indian massacre of September, 1711, Martin says that most of the Swiss and Palatines, who had flattered themselves with having found in the deserts of Craven a safe asylum against distress and oppression, and all of the Huguenots around Bath, fell under the tomahawk or knife. Sixty or more were murdered around New Bern. The Indians do not seem to have gotten into the town. This stunning carnage and the Indian war which ensued, together with other grievous colonial difficulties, caused a large exodus from the colony. In 1717, it is thought that there remained only 2,000 taxables (all freemen of sixteen years were taxable), and one-third of
these were slaves. Still there are many representative names of this era in this section. It should be remembered that De Graffenried, while a prisoner among the Tuscaroras, just before the massacre began, effected an advantageous treaty with the Indians, which protected his Palatines in many ways.New Bern Data.
On account of the increase of population southward, and the inconvenience of crossing Albemarle Sound to Edenton, the General Assembly, 6th March, 1738, met in New Bern, and continued its sessions there for years. It soon became the established place for meeting of the various courts.First Printing Press.
In 1749, James Davis, from Virginia, established in New Bern the first printing press in North Carolina. The laws hitherto had been only in manuscript, and much confusion had resulted. After careful revision by the Legislature, they were printed, in 1752, by James Davis, and bound in a small folio volume, in yellowish and unskilfully tanned leather, hence always known as “Yellow Jacket.” This was the first book printed in North Carolina. In 1764, the laws were printed by Andrew Stewart, a Scotchman in Wilmington, on a press he set up there. Mr. Davis then issued, 1st June, 1764, in New Bern, “The North Carolina Magazine, or Universal Intelligencer,” the first periodical paper attempted in the province. It was a demi-sheet, in quarto pages, and for a long time very dry. His printing office was on the corner of Broad and East Front streets, where a gentleman and lady inform me they have in recent years picked up the old type. I have before me a bound volume of this paper, beginning with No. 383, July 4, 1777. Its headlines are as follows in 1777:
July 4, 1777.
THE NORTH-CAROLINA GAZETTE.
With the lateft ADVICES, Foreign and Domestic.
SEMPER PRO LIBERTATE ET BONO PUBLICO.
It contains interesting accounts of theRevolutionary Privateers
Fitted out by John Wright Stanly from this port. “Sturday Beggar,” with fourteen carriage guns and one hundred men, was the significant name of one, which reports two prizes, worth £70,000 sterling. Others are also mentioned: the Nancy, Capt. Palmer; the sloop Lydia, Capt. Appleton, with twelve guns and fifty men; the Bellona, Capt. Pendleton, with sixteen guns—all report large captures for Mr. Stanly, and the Bellona brought in also a privateer with six guns. The Lydia was afterwards captured. Many cargoes of salt and dry-goods, that had run the blockade, are advertised for sale in New Bern and Beaufort. In July, 1777, a number of Scotch gentlemen, being unwilling to take the oath of allegiance, sailed from New Bern. But when outside the Capes, they were overhauled by a Virginia privateer, and captured with all their wealth, and two hundred hogsheads of tobacco.
Capt. Charles Biddle's autobiography preserves some interesting facts of this period. He was from Philadelphia, but married Miss Hannah Shepard, the daughter of Jacob Shepard, a New Bern merchant. In September, 1778, the ship Cornelia, with six iron and fourteen wooden guns and seventy men, was fitted out in New Bern for a trading voyage to the West Indies, and sailed under Capt. Biddle's command. Off Cape Lookout
he took a privateer with eight guns and fifty men, and sent it in to Beaufort. He made a safe voyage to the Island of St. Eustatia, sold his cargo well, and took on a valuable one; bought a pair of six-pounders there, and in eight weeks, on November 16th, cast anchor successfully in Beaufort Harbor. In her next voyage, under Capt. Cook, the Cornelia was captured by a Providence privateer. Mr. Biddle made a successful run to the West Indies in “The Three Sisters,” and made Beaufort Harbor on the return. In August, 1779, he made another good run to St. Thomas with the Eclipse, loaded with tobacco, and returned 20th September.
When he was a member of the Assembly, in session in New Bern, in 1779, at dinner one day at Governor Nash's, it was reported that a British privateer was within the bar of the Neuse, and doing much mischief. Capt. Biddle proposed to fit out some vessels at the wharf, and capture her. Many gentlemen at the table offered to go with him. By four o'clock the next day all was ready, and the gentlemen were notified, but all made excuses, except Mr. Spaight and Mr. Blackledge. “Some were sick, others had particular business; one of them, who had always behaved like a brute to his wife, sent me word she would not consent to his going. He was the only one I sent a second time to, and that was to inform him that I would call up and endeavor to persuade his wife to let him go. Fearing that I would, and knowing that his wife would readily consent to his going anywhere, so that she was rid of him, he rode out of town.” He had several times beat her, and she detested the sight of him. This expedition lasted two weeks; but the privateer got wind of the plan, and made her escape to sea.Education.
In 1764, was passed the first effective act for the encouragement of literature, by the erection of a school-house in New Bern. This school was incorporated in 1766—the first incorporated academy in North Carolina. It rested for some years under the incubus imposed by the established ecclesiastical
“oligarchy,”* prohibiting any Principal save a “churchman.” The first “large and commodious building,” erected at great expense, was burned down accidentally in 1795, when, by an act of Assembly, a room in the “Palace” was used for the schoolroom. The present old brick academy was erected in 1806; the corner stone of the additional elegant graded school building was laid in 1884, just one hundred and twenty years after the first act of the Legislature already mentioned. In that older building, Gaston, Stanly, Badger, Spaight, Hawks and many other distinguished sons of Carolina were educated for future careers of honor and usefulness.
This old square, two storied brick academy has had intimate connection with the establishment of the Presbyterian Church here. The first building was of wood; in it the lower house of the Legislature sometimes met.†Memorable Items.
The first political representative assembly ever convened in North Carolina, independent of royal authority, and indeed in face of the Governor's prohibition, met 25th August, 1774, in New Bern. It is known as the “Provincial Congress.” It inquired into the the encroachments of England upon the rights and liberties of America; recommended holding a Continental Congress in Philadelphia, 20th September, and appointed William Hooper, Joseph Hews and Richard Caswell deputies thereto.
The first “General Assembly” of the State, under the constitution adopted at Halifax by the Provincial Congress, 18th December, 1776, met in New Bern in April, 1777.
Governor Martin became greatly disturbed by the daring conduct of the people, and the gathering storm of revolution, and began to fortify the palace, and arranged for a military[note][note]
body-guard. An intercepted letter of his to General Gage, at Boston, revealed his plans, and precipitated a breach. On 24th April, 1775, while the governor and council were in session, alarm having spread among the New Bernians at the Governor's proceedings, leading whigs, among whom were Dr. Alexander Gaston, Richard Cogdell, James Coor, and Jones Slates, seized and removed the six pieces of cannon that had been planted in front of the Palace. That night Governor Martin fled from New Bern to Fort Johnston, near Wilmington, and soon joined Lord Cornwallis. So ended English sway in North Carolina. At this time the population of New Bern, the largest of the only three towns in the State,—Wilmington and Edenton being the other two,—was about six hundred.
THE Quakers, their early appearance in Albemarle, their rapid increase, and their usefulness in moral and religious affairs, have been already sufficiently spoken of.The Episcopal Church.
No Episcopal Church was built in the colony before 1702, and the increase was slow. In 1703 we hear of the first settled preacher, and he did not tarry long. In 1740 an act was passed by the Legislature for building an Episcopal Church in New Bern. Why did the Legislature provide for building churches for only one denomination, if there was nothing like a State Establishment? It has been thought that the bricks for this old church were brought from England. But this act states that during the preceding year the vestry had made 100,000 bricks for the church. It does not appear when this vestry was chosen; but it must have been under the act of 1715. By the act of 1741, we learn that the vestry had laid a tax to support a minister, though one had not been obtained; also, that Craven County was made a parish, with the name of “Christ Church Parish.” Further legislation was had in 1745 and 1751 upon the same matter. In 1754, an act was passed confirming an agreement between the vestry and Rev. James Reed for his services. A letter was forwarded by the vestry of Christ Church, New Bern, in 1760, to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, in which it is said that Mr. Reed had faithfully attended Christ Church and eight chapels for six years. So he must have settled in New Bern in 1754; and the church edifice was probably completed not long before that date. He was the first incumbent of this church, and his commission is said to
have been signed by Governor Tryon and Lord Howe. He was known and respected as “Parson Reed.” Like the Established clergy generally at the time of the Revolution, he was a decided royalist; and tradition tells how he persisted in praying for “his King George” among the rebels. But his devotions were not uninterrupted; for the lads of the congregation, prompted by their parents, at the moment “the royalist parson” began the offensive petition, would vehemently beat the drum at the church door, and shout, “Off with his head!”
During the Revolutionary contest, Episcopal congregations in this State were generally disintegrated; for their clergy, being mostly of English birth and sympathy, and deprived of support, returned home. Some, however, proved faithful, and continued their sacred offices. These were Rev. Messrs. Pettigrew, Cuppels, Blount and Micklejohn; perhaps, also, Rev. Mr. Taylor, in Halifax. For years after the war they were few, feeble and despondent. About 1790, Dr. Halling, of New Bern, was ordained by Bishop Madison of Virginia; and in May, 1794, Rev. Charles Pettigrew was elected, at a convention in Tarboro, Bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina; but he was never inducted into that office. For twenty-three years—from 1794 to 1817—all was dark and dreary, and no cheering star appeared to relieve the gloom oppressing this Church. Then Rev. Messrs. Adam Empie and Bethel Judd, “two heaven-sent heralds of the everlasting Gospel,” came to Wilmington and Fayetteville, and there laid the foundation of the restoration of the Episcopal Church and cause in North Carolina. Since that period, this denomination of Christians has greatly grown in numbers. Rev. John Stark Ravenscroft, of Virginia, was consecrated the first Bishop of North Carolina, 23d May, 1823. In 1822, there were only nine Episcopal ministers in the diocese. One of these was Rev. Richard S. Mason, then in New Bern. The records of Christ Church were burned up in 1818. The oldest record on their present parish register is dated May 4th, 1818, in Dr. Mason's hand-writing.
Rev. George Whitefield arrived in New Bern on Christmas Eve, 1739. He received the sacrament—from whom I cannot discover—and preached on Christmas day, with his wondrous eloquence, in the Court-house. “Most of the congregation was melted to tears. Here he was grieved to see the minister encouraging dancing, and to find a dancing-master in every little town. “Such sinful entertainments,” he said, “enervate the minds of the people, and insensibly lead them into effeminacy and ruin.” In November, 1764, he was again here, and spent the Sabbath. From New Brunswick, Carolina, he writes: “At New Bern, last Sunday, good impressions were made. From that place to this, I have met with what they call New Lights. Almost every stage I have the names of six or eight of their preachers. This, with every other place being open, and exceedingly desirous to hear the Gospel, makes me almost determined to come back early in the Spring.”Methodists.
The first Methodist preacher in North Carolina was James Pilmoor, in 1772; the first circuit was formed by Robert Williams, in 1773; and the first conference was held near Louisburg, 20th April, 1786, at which were present Bishops Asbury and Coke. New Bern was soon in a district, and visited. From 1785 to 1807, there preached here Bishops Asbury and Whitecoat; Jonathan Jackson and Reuben Ellis, presiding elders; Philip Bruce, or De Bruise, of Huguenot descent, and perhaps from the flock of Richebourg on the Trent; and C. S. Mooring, who served New Bern in 1801. In 1803, many large camp-meetings were held in the New Bern district, with signal blessing. Like those great Presbyterian protracted services and communions held amid the quiet forests, where population is scattered and the means of grace are limited, these extraordinary meetings proved valuable in saving souls and building up the Redeemer's kingdom. These great sacramental services—after Scotch and Irish customs—were first established
and maintained by the Presbyterians for the sparse population in Western Carolina. The illustration gives a vivid idea of the meetings. In Rev. Mr. Hurd's pastorate, we will see that he engaged here in these protracted services.
- “Not to the dome, where crumbling arch and column
- Attest the feebleness of mortal hand,
- But to the fane, most catholic and solemn,
- Which God hath planned.”
A COMMUNION GATHERING IN THE OLDEN TIME.
Andrew Chapel, on Hancock Street, was the second church built in New Bern, and dates from the beginning of this century. It has been long occupied by the colored Methodists. The new Methodist sanctuary on Neuse Street has been recently handsomely enlarged and refitted, and gathers there the largest congregation in the city. This denomination has grown wonderfully in the State, and is doing a great and good work for the Master.
At an early date a few Baptists were about New Bern, but without organization. This is manifest from a curious record, which I have taken from the original Minutes of the June Court, in Craven County, 1740. In the bound manuscript is a duplicate record, with some differences. Court being in session on Thursday afternoon, 19th June, the following Minute occurs:
“Read a petition of the people who call themselves first day anabaptists Refered till to-morrow that the law be produced.”
In the above, before the last sentence, appear the words “it's granted so far as the act of Toleration by law will allow;” but they are erased by having a line drawn through them. The Justices present were George Roberts, Daniel Shine, Thomas Masters, John Bryan, and Joseph Hanniss.
On June 20th, 1740, Esquires present, George Roberts, John Bryan, James Macklwaine, Thomas Pearson.
“a motion and petition read made by a sect of decenting people called Baptists that they may have the Liberty to build a house of worship and being duely examined by the Court acknowledged to all the Articles of the church of England except part of the 27th and 36th they Desireing to Preach among themselves—Referrd—”*
Just before the last word, two words are blotted out. They seem to be “but Rejected.” Then follows a copy of their names, and recognizances to appear at next September Court; but this is crossed over. The clear second minute for Friday, 3 P. M., 20th June, is as follows:
“A Motion and Petition Read by ye sect of decenting people[note]
which call themselves Babtists prays that they may be admitted to build a House of Worship Reefs Price William Caruthers and John Bryan Esq made oath to several misdemeaners committed by the sd Petitioners contrary to and in contempt of the laws now in force upon which it was ordered by this court the sd Petitioners be bound by Recognizance for their appearance at the next court of assize and Goale delivery to be held at this Town then and there to answer to such things as they shall be charged with and in the meantime be of Good behaviour to all his Majesties Liege People.”
“John James came into open court and acknowledged himself to be Indebted to our Sovereign Lord the King in the sum of 40£ Sterl money William Fulsher and Frances ayers also acknowledged themselves to be Indebted to our Sovereign Lord the King in the sum of 20£ Sterl money each security for his appearance at the next court of assize and Goale Delivery to be held at this Town of Newbern. the several sums to be Levied on these Several Goods and Chattles Lands and Tenements &ca”
Similar bonds were given by William Fulsher, Francis Ayers, Lemuel Harvey, Nicholas Purify, and John Brooks; the securities being divided mutually among themselves.
September Court convened in New Bern on Tuesday, 16th September, 1740. On 22d inst. there were present: Justices Geo. Roberts, John Powel, Jos. Hannis, John Fonville, John Simons, and John Bryan. After an hour's adjournment the body reassembled. Present: Justices Geo. Roberts, John Powel and John Simons.
“After Proclamation made
Read the Petition of Several Desenting protestants called Baptists in these words vitz praying the benefit of the act commonly called the act of Toleration—Granted—”
“The following Desenting Protestants John vitz John Brooks John James Robt Spring Nich Purify and Thos Fulcher
came into court and took the Oathes of alegiance and Supremacy and Subscribed to the Tests and the thirty-Nine articles of Religon being distinctly Read to them the following of which they desented from to-wit the Thirty-Sixth and the latter part of Twenty-Seventh”The Test.
“I, A: B do Declare that I do believe that there is not any Transubstantiation in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper or in the Elements of Bread and Wine at or after the Consecration thereof by any person whatsoever.”
It is further claimed by eminent citizens of New Bern that there was a record, which has mysteriously disappeared from the Clerk's Office, which certified that certain persons, viz., Messrs. Brinson, Fulshire and Purifoy, were indicted for holding to the “Baptist faith,” and were whipped, and imprisoned for three months in Craven County jail. One gentleman proposes to make affidavit to the fact that he read that record, shown to him by the Clerk, Mr. James Stanly.
These acts of the Court are fully explained by reference to English history. The Oath of Allegiance was framed upon the discovery of Guy Faux's Gunpowder Plot, in the reign of James I. The Test Act was passed in 1663, under Charles II. It included the Oaths of Uniformity, Supremacy, and Transubstantiation. It was only finally abolished by the Relief Acts of 1828 and 1829, in George IV.’s reign. There were several Acts of Uniformity, designed to assimilate all Dissenters with the Established Church; but the crowning one was that of 1662, by which 2,000 godly Presbyterian Clergy were expelled from their rightful livings. As these sweeping Acts could be pretty generally applied, they involved many painful disabilities and shameful persecutions. But though not formally repealed, they were beneficently modified by the Act of Toleration, under William and Mary, 24th May, 1689. This was the Great Charter of Religious Liberty, though it left persecution the rule, and toleration the exception. Its provisions were an inconsistent
consistent and cumbrous chaos, if scientifically measured, and failed to recognize the sound principle of religious liberty; yet it was a practical, remedial, successful measure that stopped bloody persecution, heralded substantial peace to a disturbed empire, and won support alike from Bates and Baxter, Ken and Sherlock, Burnet and Nottingham. Subscription to the Thirty-Nine Articles in the Universities was only abolished by the University Tests’ Act of 1871, except for divinity students, fellows, professors and heads of colleges.
All these laws prevailed in North Carolina. Any place of religious meeting for a Dissenting Congregation must necessarily be by permission of the Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority, or by the recorded act of the Court of General or Quarter Sessions; and the applicants were entitled to a certificate for the sum of sixpence.* Therefore the application of the Baptists came properly before Craven Court of Quarter Sessions. What violations of the law these persons may have been guilty of does not appear. But if they had been holding services without complying with the Act of Toleration, they were properly required to give recognizances, and there was no unseemly usage under the law. As this incident has not been understood, it seems advisable to endeavor to clear it from its obscurity; for the County Court does not appear to desire to restrain religious freedom, seeing that, as previously stated, the same Court in December following readily granted permission to the German Palatines to build a chapel.
Not until 1812, however, do we hear of a Baptist Meeting-House in New Bern, when the old Church near Cedar Grove Cemetery was built. The late Zaccheus Slade, an honored Baptist deacon, when a boy drove the oxen that hauled the lumber for this house. For years this was the gloomy Baptist home; and it was also closely associated with Presbyterian progress through[note]
the Christian kindness of its owners. Their first and highly esteemed pastor was Rev. Thomas Meredith. After some years they built their present commodious and beautiful Church on Craven Street, where regularly gathers their increased and vigorous membership. Services were inaugurated in this building on Sunday, 2d July, 1848, when the pastor, Rev. M. R. Forey, preached the dedicatory sermon.Earlier Baptist Churches.*
According to the most reliable information accessible, the first Baptist Church in Eastern North Carolina was formed by Paul Palmer, with thirty-two members, in Perquimons County, in 1727. The next was at Shiloh, Pasquotank County, in 1729. Meherrin, now Murfreesboro Church, followed in 1735, and Kehukee, in Halifax County, in 1742. At the last named church, in 1765, was organized the famed Kehukee Association, embracing seven churches with twelve ministers. Very soon this Association embraced the whole Baptist strength in Eastern North Carolina; and their standpoint of doctrine and organization was that still occupied by the Old School or Primitive Baptists. A few years after the close of the Revolution the first statistics of the Baptists in North Carolina gave them ninety-four churches, eighty-five ministers, and seventy-six licentiates.Other Churches.
It may be here added, that the Roman Catholics have in New Bern a small, neat chapel. Their worship was formerly conducted in the house of Judge Gaston, their membership being small. Here, in 1822, Hon. Stephen Miller witnessed the services on one Sabbath. About the same period the Papal Bishop England preached in the Courthouse, and also in the Presbyterian Church here.
Among the negro population there are flourishing Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist and Episcopal Churches.[note]
NEW BERN IN 1798.
MORSE, in 1792, says: “New Bern is the largest town in the State—contains about 400 houses, all built of wood excepting the palace, the church, the gaol, and two dwelling houses, which are of brick. The Episcopal Church is a small brick building, with a bell. It is the only house for public worship in the place. A rum distillery has been lately erected in this town. It is the county town of Craven County. . . . . The court-house is raised on brick arches, so as to render the lower part a convenient market-place; but the principal marketing is done with the people in their canoes and boats at the river side.” In his American Gazetteer, Boston, 1798, he adds: “In September, 1791, near one-third of the 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.”
A large cypress tree stands near an old wharf on the Neuse, on the premises of Mr. Samuel Smallwood, but originally the property of the Spaights. Under this monarch, tradition says that the first vessel in North Carolina was built. Under its shade have stood General Washington, General Nath. Greene during trying times to his command, John Wright Stanly, who lost fourteen vessels during the Revolution,* the Spaights, Hon. Edward Everett, and many of the noblest of men.
Further down the Neuse, where it joins the Trent, grew two live oaks, until destroyed in the desolating fire of April, 1841. Under these De Graffenried and Mitchell met the native Indians and made a treaty, when New Bern was commenced, one hundred and seventy-six years ago. On the grounds of the Episcopal Church a venerable hickory rears its noble proportions, and[note]
dates back to the stirring days, when the original colonists reclined beneath its friendly shelter. At the corner of these premises is planted, half-way in the ground, the “Lady Blessington Cannon,” which was presented to a British cruiser by Her Ladyship, but was captured by one of Mr. Stanly's privateers, and brought hither.
Ship-building was carried on extensively here at this epoch. The whole of a vessel's equipment—(except its canvas,)—ropes, iron-work and timber, were of home manufacture, thus leaving the whole profit here. Wagons and boats distributed the imports to the interior of the State, and large fortunes were made. The population must have been about 2,000.Two Old Accounts.
It will be interesting to read the accounts of two rare old writers about affairs in Eastern North Carolina during and just after the Revolution. In “The American Geography” for 1792, which is perhaps almost identical with the first issue in 1789, Jedidiah Morse says that the western part of the State had been settled within the past thirty-five years chiefly by Presbyterians, attached to the worship, doctrines and usages of the Church of Scotland; that they were a regular, industrious people, in general well supplied with a sensible and learned ministry. There were also settlements of German Lutherans and Calvinists; Moravians, Quakers, Methodists and Baptists, and a numerous body of “Nothingarians” as to religion. The inhabitants of Wilmington, New Bern, Edenton, and Halifax Districts, making about three-fifths of the State, once possessed themselves of the Episcopal Church. The clergy in these districts were chiefly missionaries, and almost universally declared themselves in favor of the British Government, and emigrated. There may be one or two of the original clergy remaining, but at present they have no particular charge. Indeed, the inhabitants in the districts above-mentioned seem now to be making the experiment, whether Christianity can exist long in a country where there is no visible Christian Church. Thirteen years’ experience has proved that it probably cannot; for there is very
little external appearance of religion among the people in general. The Baptists and Methodists have sent a number of missionary preachers into these districts, and some of them have pretty large congregations. . . . . In the lower districts the inhabitants have very few places for public and weekly worship of any kind; and these few, being destitute of ministers, are suffered to stand neglected. The brick Episcopal Church in Edenton has for many years been much neglected, and serves only to show that the people once had a regard, at least, for the externals of religion. “The Sabbath . . . is generally disregarded, or distinguished by the convivial visitings of the white inhabitants, and the noisy diversions of the negroes.” Temperance and industry were not reckoned among the virtues of North Carolinians, but gaming, drinking, cock-fighting, horse-racing, and boxing-matches, made memorable by shameful feats of gouging eyes out of their sockets, too commonly engaged their time, and hindered all true progress. There was as little taste for the sciences as for religion. Still, Morse says, amazing progress in population was made, and distinguished statesmen and patriots, as well as a gallant soldiery, marked the Revolutionary history of North Carolina.Watson's Journey in 1777-’78.
Mr. Watson was a youth of nineteen years of age, in the employment of John Brown, an eminent merchant of Providence, and the founder of Brown University. He has left a valuable record of a southern journey he made in 1777-’8. At Williamsburg, Va., he associated himself with a Captain Harwood, proceeding also to Charleston. Passing by the Dismal Swamp, then dangerously infested by concealed royalists and runaway negroes, they reached Edenton, containing then one hundred and thirty-five dwellings and a brick court-house, and defended by two forts. Thence they traveled over a most desolate sandy plain, with here and there a miserable tar-burner's hut, to Bath. Crossing the Sound, they proceeded through gloomy sands and majestic pines, amid cheerless and painful silence, seeing only the timid deer, and a few inhabitants, until
nearly dark, when they reached the Neuse. “Having crossed, we again mounted our horses and proceeded on to New Bern, the capital of North Carolina, groping our way in the dark, along unknown roads, and drenched by the heavy rains.
“On our arrival, excessively wearied, and needing repose and shelter, we wandered in pursuit of quarters, from street to street, and were turned from tavern to tavern, every house being filled by French adventurers. At one of these taverns, kept by one T—, we were repulsed by the landlord with so much rudeness as to produce a severe quarrel in the piazzi, where we stood soliciting quarters. New Bern was the metropolis of North Carolina, situated at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers, and contained about one hundred and fifty dwellings. It was defended by a strong fort and an armed ship. Previous to the war it exported corn, naval stores, beeswax, hams, and deer-skins, to a considerable amount.
“The next morning Harwood proceeded to a barber's shop to be shaved. I soon after started in pursuit of the same barber. I had not gone far before I met Harwood, his pace somewhat quickened, and with one side only of his face shaved. He soon informed me that the barber had been impertinent, and that he had knocked him down, and left him sprawling on the floor. We agreed that to avoid trouble he should push on, and that I should follow. He was soon on the way through the streets of the capital of North Carolina, in the ludicrous predicament I have described. I left New Bern soon after upon Harwood's track, and crossed the Trent by a rope ferry seventy feet wide.” The journey was then through a wilderness of pines, sands and swamps, night exposure, and apprehensions of wild beasts, heightened by the sight of the slow-pacing bear, until it ended in Wilmington.
Such contemporary pictures of the physical and moral condition of the country are not attractive, neither are they surprising under the light of the preceding historical summary. But glorious possibilities were there; the substantial material that awaited the moulding power, and could be, and would soon be, developed into noblest types of manhood and womanhood.
TRYON'S PALACE, NEW BERN.
NO sketch of New Bern would be satisfactory, however brief, without some account of this building, which exercised so important an influence on moral and political affairs in the State.
Several acts of the Legislature were passed with regard to its erection. Appropriations were obtained with great difficulty. Policy, perseverance, cajolery, covert threats, and notably the unusual and powerful fascinations of the beautiful and accomplished Miss Esther Wake, and the skilful manœuvres and dinners of her sister, Lady Tryon, finally secured, in two separate sums, fifteen thousand pounds, from a province scarcely able to raise the ordinary expenses of the government. With school funds Governor Tryon is said to have unscrupulously seized and used in the work, its cost is estimated at not less than $80,000. Heavy and intolerable taxation was involved in all this. A square of six acres was condemned and selected, bounded by Eden, Metcalf and Pollock streets, and Trent River. Bricks and prepared material were imported from England, and John Hawks, a Moor from Malta, who was educated in England, was employed on a salary of $600 as the architect. The contract was made 9th January, 1767, and the Palace was completed October, 1770. The original drawings, with many details, such as sections of the drawing-room, chimney-breasts, etc., were in possession of Rev. Frances L. Hawks, D. D., a New Bernian, a grandson of the architect, and the rector of Calvary Church, N. Y. From these Mr. B. J. Lossing made the pictures here given of the Palace and the seal and signatures to the contract, and accompanied them with explanations in his “Field Book of the Revolution.” From this source and others, traditions in New Bern, and personal knowledge, are gathered the following statements:
The main or centre building is the Palace. By contract it was to be two stories high, of brick, eighty-seven feet front, and fifty-nine feet deep. The building on the right of the picture was the secretary's office and the laundry, while that on the left served for kitchen and servants’ hall. Some say that the left wing was the private residence of the Governor, and the right was the laundry and servants’ quarters. Covered curved colonnades, of five columns each, connected wings and Palace. In the main building were the legislative halls and public rooms for government use. “Between these buildings, in front of the Palace, was a handsome court. The rear of the building was finished in the style of the Mansion-House in London.” Ebenezer Hazzard, Postmaster-General of the United States, visited it in 1777, and says, “Upon entering the streetdoor you enter a hall in which are four niches for statues.” Lossing states that the chimney-breasts for the council chamber, dining hall and drawing-room, and the cornices of these rooms, were of white marble. The chimney-breast of the council chamber was the most elaborate, being ornamented by two Ionic columns below, and four columns with Composite capitals above, with beautiful entablature, architrave and frieze. Over the inner door of the entrance hall, or ante-chamber, was a tablet with a Latin inscription, showing that the Palace was dedicated to Sir William Draper, “the conqueror of Manilla;” also the following lines, in Latin, which were written by Draper, who was then on a visit to Governor Tryon:
- “REGE PIO, FELIX, DIRIS INIMICA TYRANNIS,
- VIRTUTI HAS AEDES LIBERA TERRA DEDIT.
- SINT DOMUS ET DOMINUS SAECLIS EXEMPLA FUTURIS,
- HIC ARTES, MORES, JURA, LEGESQUE COLANT.”
Judge Martin in his history translates thus:
- “In the reign of a monarch, who goodness disclos'd,
- A free happy people, to dread tyrants oppos'd,
- Have, to virtue and merit, erected this dome;
- May the owner and household make this the loved home,
- Where religion, the arts and the laws may invite
- Future ages to live, in sweet peace and delight.”
Judge Martin adds that the building was superior to anything of the kind in British North America; and that in 1783 he heard the renowned and unfortunate Don Francisco Miranda, when visiting the palace with him, say it had no equal in South America. It is said in New Bern that the third story, shown in the plate, was omitted, and that the roof had parapet walls with a balustrade around it; was made flat for a promenade, and had an aquarium on it. At present only the right wing is standing.
The contract was signed with the private seal of Tryon, and his signature and that of the architect. A fac-simile of seal and signatures is here given, as made by Mr. Lossing.
Official seal of William Tryon, Esq.]
Morse's Gazetteer of 1798 has this account, which was furnished by Mr. Wm. Atmore, of New Bern, and originally appeared in Morse's first edition in 1789, in Elizabethtown, N. J., then in his American Geography of 1792, published in Piccadilly, London: “The palace was erected by the province before the Revolution, and was formerly the residence of the governors. It is large and elegant, two stories high, with two wings for offices, a little advanced in front towards the town; these wings are connected with the principal building by a circular arcade. It is much out of repair; and the only use to which this once handsome and well furnished building is now applied is for schools. One of the halls is used for a school, and another for a dancing room. The arms of great Britain still appear in a pediment in front of the building.” In 1795 the Academy was burned, and the Legislature allowed
the Palace to be used for this school, of which Rev. Thos. P. Irvine, an Episcopal minister, was principal. He kept wood and hay in the cellar or basement under the Council Chamber, and resided with his family in the upper part. In 1798, a negro woman went to look for eggs in the hay.* She carried a lightwood torch, and some sparks falling on the dry hay kindled a fierce blaze. Unfortunately a hole was cut in the floor above, through which to pour water; but it acted as a flue, and the flames became uncontrollable. Only the right or west wing was left, though the burnt foundation walls still remain. That wing has been used as a stable. There General Washington's war-steeds were stabled when he visited New Bern in 1791. For a long time it was used as a storage room[note]
for hay, grain, etc., by Mr. Frederick J. Jones. The United States troops during the late war tried to pull it down for the brick but the cement proved so strong, I am told, that they could not get whole brick, and therefore left it. It has since been repaired, and used by the Episcopal Church for a parish school-house and a chapel for a short time, but is now unused. Sundry relics of the Palace and Tryon are preserved in New Bern, such as a fine clock, a silver tea-kettle, a curious child's chair, a marble and rosewood table, Governor Tryon's writing desk, dresses worn at the Palace balls, etc.Its Situation.
It was charmingly located. The statements and traditions of aged citizens long dead, the careful researches and memories of Colonel John D. Whitford and others, restore the scene. From the rear of the Palace a fair terrace sloped down to the Trent River. One sauntering along the guarded promenade on the roof, in the Autumn when the work was finished, would look through the hazy veil of Indian Summer upon the Trent, with its cultivated fields between masses of virgin forests, its broad marshes dotted with green and brown trees, and wild “flowers on a green carpet, stretching up to Cleremont, the home of the Moores and the Spaights; beyond it the home of the Bryces and Gastons, with the division of a creek only, Pembrooke, the home of the Nashes.” On the left the Trent, three-quarters of a mile wide, joins the Neuse, expanded to a width of one mile and a half, and the wharves on both streams are filled with vessels, and bustling with active labors, and cheery songs of hardy stevedores. Like a line of silver, the Neuse runs through the landscape as far as the eye can reach.
- “Fair river not unknown to classic song—
- Which still in varying beauty roll'st along,
- Where first thy infant fount is faintly seen,
- A line of silver ’mid a fringe of green;
- Or where, near towering rocks, thy bolder tide,
- To win the giant guarded pass doth glide,
- Or where, in azure mantle, pure and free,
- Thou giv'st thy cool hand to the washing sea.”
Beneath laid the town of New Bern, nestled amid its grand old trees, glowing in autumnal tints beyond painter's skill. From its homes are beginning to twinkle the lights, betokening loving reunions after toils of the day. From the North front of the Palace runs George street, called after the king. It is eighty-two feet broad, and passes—a splendid avenue—chiefly through the original forest for more than a mile to Core Point Ferry on the Neuse. Here was a splendid drive, continued through the “string of woods” (as this body of primeval growth was called, that the late war destroyed), along the charming Neuse and then beside the Trent, in a circuit of three miles, back to the Palace. “At this season the maples and ash would there be glowing with purple and gold. The myrtle, too, loved this shore, and the red berries would be peeping through the bright green foliage of the holly, while the darker green pines were there, ever waving their tops and sighing in the gentlest winds.” The flitting and the song of tuneful tenants of field and forest gave life to the peaceful sylvan scene. “Imagine a long stately row of cypress trees towering above a snowy belt of sand, and back of them cedars, darker green, shading the grass reaching from the sand up the slope fifty or sixty feet, and back to a footpath skirting the enclosed fields,—they checked off with rows of cedars,—beyond oak groves, and the river rolling on in front one mile and a half in width, and you have some idea of the Neuse shore as it was in the olden time.” Upon this scene, partly unchanged when in his boyhood Rev. M. D. Hoge, D. D., lived with his uncle, Dr. Lacy, he then looked with pleasure, and of it writes, “The blue Neuse, the sandy white shore, the old-fashioned houses, the kind hearted people, all dwell in my memory and make a beautiful romance, colored with the rosy light which the imagination of boyhood throws around the happy past.
“My old friend, Tom Watson, wrote a little poem on New Bern while I lived there, in which he described the river as lingering fondly beside the town, which it was unwilling to leave, the last lines running thus:
- “Regretful waves, well may you weep and sigh
- For this bright Eden as you pass it by,
- For wander where you may, you ne'er will kiss
- A shore so bright, so beautiful as this.”
Here was the focus of a royal display, and illusive fashionable dissipation. Atticus, or Judge Maurice Moore, satirized Gov. Tryon for “the arrogant reception you gave to a respectable company at an entertainment of your own making, seated with your lady by your side on elbow chairs, in the middle of the ball-room.” He charged that all the existing mischiefs in the impoverished colony, which could not afford such an outlay, were caused by the appropriations for this Palace; and that Tryon merely gratified his vanity, and made an elegant monument of his taste and political influence, at the expense of the interest of the province, and of his personal honor in changing the plan of a province-house to that of a Palace, worthy the residence of a prince of the blood.
The balance of the poem on the Neuse, to which Dr. Hoge refers, is as follows. It was written by his friend Tom,—now the Rev. Thomas Watson, of Dardenne, Mo.,—about 1838, in his 17th year:
- “I've been where the waters are sparkling and pure,
- I've watched them roll gallantly on the sea,
- And I loved their sweet murmuring voice, but I'm sure
- I never as Neuse thought them lovely to me.
- “I've stood on the breast of a hill-shaded vale,
- And listened with joy to full many a rill,
- That sported around me all sparkling and pale,
- And then have I said, Neuse is lovelier still.
- “I've gazed, when the moon lent her magical light,
- On a field of clear waters, all tranquil in rest,
- With a mirror of heaven, as blue and as bright,
- And then have I vowed that I loved Neuse the best.
- “Thy waters, fair river, have flowed by the shore
- Where my fathers are sleeping, since first thou were free
- From the kind hand of Nature, that never made more
- So bright, so euchanting, so lovely as thee.”
NEW BERN IN 1819.
“THE American Universal Geography” for 1819 says: “The public buildings are three houses of religious worship, for Episcopalians, Baptists, and Methodists; a handsome court-house and jail, all of brick; a theatre, an academy, and two banks. The houses formerly were almost wholly of wood, and indifferently built; but since the destructive fires,* which have happened here, the new buildings are of brick, and handsome. The town is thriving, having increased in the last eighteen years from 2,500 to 6,000 inhabitants. It owns and employs in a brisk commerce about 5,000 tons of shipping; which carries to market lumber, tar, and other naval stores, pork, corn, etc. A steamboat intercourse is established between New Bern and Norfolk. A passage from the latter by the former to Charleston, S. C., a distance of 800 miles, is now easily performed in seven days.” There is some error here as to the population. By the census of 1850 it was only 4,681, and 6,445 in 1880. Worcester's Universal Geography for 1817 gives it as 2,467, and the tonnage in 1810 as 7,413; but his estimate may be that of 1810 for inhabitants. About the latter date its prospects grew bright, and its trade was large with the West Indies and interior of the State. One of the oldest citizens has told me that he remembered when one hundred and ten vessels were owned here. Its citizens, John and Asa Jones, brothers, were among the first to introduce the distilling of turpentine into the town and State. Scrapers were not then used on the pine-trees, but they were hacked with the hatchet.[note]
An account in 1818 says: “There are three houses of public worship in New Bern, and at present three congregations supplied with pastors. The Episcopalians, who are a numerous and respectable body, have a decent brick church, at present supplied with a clergyman. The Methodists, the most numerous society of Christians in the place, have a very large and convenient chapel, and are supplied with a regular succession of able and evangelical preachers. The Baptists have a meeting-house, at present out of repair. They have no regular preacher. Besides these, a Presbyterian congregation meet at the Academy for public worship.” Upon the advent of the steamer Norfolk on our waters in 1819, some enthusiasm and rivalry in building began, and some substantial edifices were erected.
Many of the great men of North Carolina and the United States were born or lived here. This fact, with its previous history and influence, gave to New Bern the honorable soubriquet, “The Athens of North Carolina.”New Street.
This street, whose name was recently changed to Neuse, begins on the Neuse, and was one of the most famed as the residence of men of distinguished talent. Here were the mansion of Hon. William Blackledge, the house and law-office of Judge William Gaston, the residence of the younger Gov. Richard D. Spaight (the Mitchell House), and opposite to it the imposing house of John Stanly and his law-office. In the Stanly building, begun before the Revolution, but not completed, were fitted up rooms for the entertainment of General Washington, when here in 1791. A notable public reception was given him in the Palace. Mr. Stanly also here entertained General Nathaniel Greene, when his army was famished and half naked, and General Greene knew not what to do. Then Mr. Stanly patriotically loaned him forty thousand pounds for his suffering heroes. Hon. Edward Everett, when here to deliver his celebrated oration on Washington, on passing this house, lifted his hat, and said, “Once the home of patriots
and statesmen.” On the square beyond the Presbyterian Church (which stands opposite to the Stanly Building) is the Academy, already mentioned, with its modern additions. Next to it is the Roberts’ House, formerly occupied by Hon. J. L. Taylor, Chief Justice of the State. His law-office was on Johnson Street, parallel with New, in a small building opposite Mr. John Lane's carpenter shop; but recently it has been enlarged to a dwelling-house. At the beginning of New Street lived Judge M. E. Manly, also on the Supreme Court Bench. His residence was the noted “Emory House,” where Presiden Monroe and Hon. John C. Calhoun were entertained when visiting the city.Washington's Letter.
While he was in New Bern, the citizens addressed a letter of welcome to General Washington, to which he returned the following reply:
“To the Inhabitants of the Town of New Bern.
“Gentlemen: I express with real pleasure the grateful sentiments which your address inspires. I am much indebted, in ever personal regard, to the polite attentions of the inhabitants of New Bern, nor am I less gratified by the patriotic declarations on the situation of our common country. Pleasing indeed is the comparison which a retrospect of the past scenes affords with our present happy condition—and equally so is the anticipation of what we may still attain, and long continue to enjoy. A bountiful Providence has blest us with all the means of national and domestic happiness; to our own virtue and wisdom we are referred for their improvement and realization.
“That the town of New Bern may eminently participate in the general prosperity, and its inhabitants be individually happy, is my sincere wish. G. Washington.”
PRESBYTERIANISM IN NEW BERN.
1800 to 1817.
IN 1800 there could not have been enough Presbyterians here to organize a church. Dr. Elias Hawes was here in 1798, perhaps earlier; and Robert Hay, a staunch Scotch Covenanter, settled here about the opening of the century. Both of these gentlemen were afterwards ruling elders in this church. Mr. Hay worshipped with the Methodists, but declined to connect himself formally with those brethren, though he was solicited publicly from the pulpit to do so. About 1806 or 1807, it is probable that James K. Burch was teaching a school here for boys and girls in the office of Hon. John Wright Stanly across the street from the present Presbyterian lecture-room.
In this work he was assisted by Benjamin H. Rice and William Leftwich Turner.Renjamin H. Rice, D. D.,
Was born in Bedford County, Virginia, 29th November, 1782, and converted under the ministry of Rev. James Turner. He pursued his classical course and theological studies for six years under his distinguished brother, Rev. John H. Rice; came to North Carolina and taught school in New Bern, then in Raleigh; was licensed by Orange Presbytery in 1810, in Raleigh; in 1811 sent by the General Assembly to the seashore of North Carolina as a missionary; ordained by Orange Presbytery 4th April, 1812, and sent as commissioner to the General Assembly; dismissed September 26, 1812, and went to Petersburg, Va., where he organized a church, of which he was pastor for seventeen years, and to which I preached a short time; in 1829 he was Moderator of the General Assembly.
After some other changes, he took charge of College Church, Prince Edward County, Va., where he was attacked by paralysis while in the pulpit, January 17, 1856, and died 24th February following.W. L. Turner
Was the son of Rev. James Turner, Bedford, Va. His early history and the time of his ordination are unknown to me. He was principal of the academy and pastor of the church in Raleigh for some time; went to Fayetteville in 1809, and taught school, as well as preached. His pastoral services there were greatly blessed; but on the 18th of October, 1813, in his thirtieth year, in the midst of usefulness, and the tears of an affectionate people, he died. He was a man of marked talents and character, unaffected piety, and beauty of life.James K. Burch
Was a native of Albemarle County, Va. He was received by Orange Presbytery, as a candidate for the ministry, at Alamance, 25th September, 1806. He presented his certificate of classical and scientific attainments from Rev. Geo. A. Baxter, D. D., principal of Washington Academy, now Washington and Lee University, Va. On 24th September, 1807, at Buffalo Church, he was licensed, by the same Presbytery, to preach the Gospel; and at Buffalo Church, Moore County, N. C., on Thursday, 7th April, 1808, the following minute occurs in the records of Orange Presbytery:
“Mr. James Burch received a call from New Bern, and the Rev. Messrs. Stanford, Turner, Robinson, and Murphy, were appointed an intermediate Presbytery to meet in New Bern, on Friday, the 27th of May next, to ordain Mr. Burch.
“The Rev. Wm. L. Turner to preach the ordination sermon, and Mr. Stanford to preside, and give the charge.
“Mr. Burch is ordered to prepare a lecture on the 23d Psalm, and a sermon on Luke 18: 13, and be examined on theology, chronology, and church history, previous to ordination.”
This order was carried out, as we learn from the Minutes of Presbytery at its seventy-seventh session, at Alamance Church, 29th September, 1808:
“The Minutes of the Intermediate Presbytery appointed to meet at New Bern were read, and are as follows:
“New Bern, May 27th, 1808.
“Intermediate Presbytery met according to appointment, viz., the Rev. Messrs. Samuel Stanford, Wm. L. Turner, and Murdock Murphy. The Rev. Samuel Stanford was chosen Moderator, and Murdock Murphy, Clerk.
“Mr. James Burch delivered a sermon and lecture on the subjects assigned him by Presbytery, and was examined on chronology and church history, which were sustained.
“The Rev. Wm. L. Turner preached the ordination sermon, and Mr. Burch having answered the questions our Form of Government requires in such cases, he was ordained to the holy office of the ministry, by the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery, and prayer, and a charge was given suitable to the occasion.
“Concluded with prayer.
“Murdock Murphy, Clerk.”
In 1809 Messrs. Burch and Turner were appointed commissioners to the General Assembly. The following record is copied from the Presbyterial Minutes of September 27, 1810: “The Rev. James K. Burch applied by letter to be dismissed from his pastoral charge, and also from this Presbytery, to join the Presbytery of Philadelphia. Said charge informed Presbytery by their representatives of their willingness that Mr. Burch should resign his pastoral charge. The Presbytery accepted his resignation, and he was also dismissed to join the Presbytery of Philadelphia.”
Dr. Gillett, in his “History of the Presbyterian Church,” says, “The church at New Bern was gathered but a short time previous to 1809, and in that year James K. Burch was its pastor. For a long time subsequent it must have remained in
a feeble state, even if it retained its organization.” He says that Mr. Burch preached for some time at New Bern, and afterward at Washington. The Minutes copied above, however, seem to show that there was an organization in New Bern before April, 1808, as a call was given and presented to Presbytery for pastoral services in April. Nothing in the Minutes of Presbytery warrants the statement that Mr. Burch preached in Washington, as on the dissolution of his relation to New Bern he went to Philadelphia. This transfer seems to have been through the influence of Dr. Alexander. Mr. Burch's name stands in the Presbyterial Minutes opposite to New Bern in 1808 and 1809, under the heading “names of congregations;” but under the head “communicants,” New Bern is marked “unknown.” Dr. Gillett says that Mr. Burch was “a man of more than ordinary eloquence, but greatly lacking in stability, he was quite unfitted to secure the confidence in himself or his measures which was necessary to build up a prosperous congregation.” He died about 1859-’60.
From an old copy of “The Morning Herald” of New Bern, in 1808, the following is copied, which shows activity and zeal on the part of the Presbyterians:
A SUBSCRIPTION, For the purpose of Erecting aPresbyterian Meeting-House,
Has lately been fet on foot in the town of Newbern, and a number of names obtained.
Papers are left at the Bank, Printing Office, Book Store, and in the hands of feveral gentlemen in the Town and Country, of which the following is a Copy:—Christians of every denomination are refpectfully invited to yield their aid.
THE Subscribers severally promise to pay the sums of money opposite their respective Names for the purpose of purchasing a Lot in Newbern with such improvements thereon as may be converted into a Presbyterian Meeting-House, and for the completion of the same, or for purchasing ground and erecting thereon a suitable building for such Meeting-House—or for purchasing or otherwise acquiring an interest in a House or other building, or part of such building to be
converted into a Meeting-House as aforesaid, and for the occasional performance of Divine Service by such Minister of the Christian Religion as the Presbyterian Pastor for the time being, or other persons having charge of the said building shall think proper to admit—We also severally promise to deliver and make titles for such property specifically subscribed by us respectively for said purposes: the sums of money to be paid in one year, in quarterly payments to the person or persons whom the commissioners to be appointed as hereinafter provided for, or a majority of them shall direct.—And the property specifically subscribed to be delivered and titles made to said Commissioners in trust for the purposes and to the uses contemplated by this subscription; and it is agreed that a majority of the subscribers hereto, after forty shall have subscribed, shall have authority at a meeting of a majority of said forty subscribers, or a majority of those who do meet, after notice be given, to appoint five Commissioners, who, or a majority of them, shall have power to make contracts for fulfilling the objects of this Subscription.
Newbern, December 10, 1807.
The result of this appeal is not now known.James Waddy Thompson.
The teachers before named were succeeded about 1812 by Rev. J. W. Thompson, who was a Presbyterian minister from Virginia, and a relative of Mr. Burch. He taught in the Academy building, where he also preached, as well as in the old Baptist meeting-house, at the corner of Metcalf and Johnson Streets, near Cedar Grove Cemetery. He married Miss Mehetabel Blanchard Carney, a daughter of one of the “original thirteen members” of this church, and of Huguenot ancestry. It is probable that at this period Presbyterian services, at least prayer-meetings, were held at the house of Mrs. Minor, on Craven Street near Pollock, and at the residence of Mrs. Robert Hunt, which was the Brissington House, on East Front Street above Broad, and now the residence of Henry R. Bryan, Esq. Mr. Thompson was a consumptive, and remained here only a short time. He probably died in Raleigh in 1815, and was followed here by
Rev. Jonathan Otis Freeman, M. D.,
Who was teaching in New Bern about 1816. Dr. Freeman was born in Sandwich, Barnstable County, Mass., April 6th, 1772. He was the third son and fifth child of Hon. Nathanael Freeman, who was twice married, and was the father of twenty children. He was probably educated in his native State, and took his degree of Doctor of Medicine. On the 10th of December, 1794, he married Lucy Crocker, of Falmouth, Mass. Dr. Freeman first practised medicine in association with his father in his native town, where he was also a Justice of the Peace. Subsequently he settled in Falmouth, Mass., whence he came to Edenton, N. C., in 1805, and taught school. Thence he moved to New Bern, and became principal of the New Bern Academy. Associated with him were his two brothers, Frederick and George W., who were or became Episcopal ministers. The latter became rector of Christ Church, Raleigh, N. C., and afterwards the Bishop of Arkansas.
Rev. J. O. Freeman was a distinguished educator. He taught also in Salisbury, Raleigh, and Washington, N. C., and gave many of our prominent men their classical training for college, and to his faithful teaching they attributed their future honors. His school in New Bern numbered nearly two hundred, and some of his pupils still remain, who have spoken to me about him. He pursued and popularized the Lancastrian system. An aged lady recently said: “If there ever was a Christian, he was one; and we all loved him so much.” He preached in the Academy, and his unaffected piety and gentleness won universal favor with all classes. During his ministrations here we have the first record of the formal organization of the Presbyterian Church; but the formation was not by him, and I cannot ascertain what part he had in it. Dr. Freeman removed to Salisbury, N. C., in 1820, and opened a school. He was dismissed from Orange to Concord Presbytery in April, 1821; and August 4th, 1821, he organized the Salisbury Church with “thirteen” members, and remained its pastor until 1826, during which period the corner-stone of the present church building was laid,
and the church well started on its career of usefulness. He then labored in Virginia and in Orange Presbytery, and died in Washington, N. C., November 2d, 1835, in his sixty-third year. His oldest son, Edmund B. Freeman, was Clerk of the Supreme Court in Raleigh from 1836 to 1868. At his house Mrs. J. O. Freeman died, May 27, 1844. Dr. Freeman was esteemed as a physician, honored as a clergyman, eminent as an instructor of youth, and enjoyed in a remarkable degree the sincere respect and warm affection of many filling high places, as their learned and beloved preceptor.Organization.
Rev. John Witherspoon was born in New Bern, aud was educated at Princeton College. He preached here frequently. In his younger days his fame as a preacher was upon every tongue. His father, Dr. Witherspoon, a physician, was the son of the distinguished Revolutionary patriot, and signer of the Declaration of Independence, President John Witherspoon, D. D. of Princeton College, and married the widow of Gov. Nash, of New Bern; so Rev. Mr. Witherspoon was half-brother of Judge Frederick Nash. He lived in Hillsboro, founded the Presbyterian Church there, and was its first pastor. He died in 1854.
It has already been stated, that in 1827 nearly all the Minutes of Orange Presbytery were consumed by fire with his house in Hillsboro, N. C., and that a committee was raised to recover as much as possible of the lost history of the church. In this book of statistics, thus compiled, it is recorded that the New Bern church was organized on the7th of January, 1817, by Rev. John Witherspoon; that it then consisted of nine members, and that Dr. Elias Hawes and Robert Hay were made ruling elders.
From other trustworthy sources we learn, that this organization was effected in the house and parlor of Mrs. Elizabeth Minor, on Craven Street, near Pollock. The daughter of Mrs. Minor, Miss Julia Minor, still living, says that her mother always stated this as the birthplace of the New Bern church.
Uniform tradition, and the mural tablets in our church (placed there many years ago), affirm that there were thirteen original members. It may be that, on the formal gathering as a church, and after the election, ordination and installation of elders, four other persons were received and enrolled as of equal standing and date with the nine spoken of in the Presbyterial minute; for I have been told that Mr. Witherspoon received Mrs. John Jones into the church; or it may be that, in the ten years that elapsed between the organization of the church and the destruction of the Minutes, his memory erred as to the original number.The Thirteen.
Dr. Elias Hawes and Robert Hay, ruling elders; Mrs. Eunice Hunt, a daughter of President Jonathan Edwards, D. D., of Princeton College; Mrs. Lydia Stewart, Mrs. Sarah Webber, Mrs. Lucretia Bell, (afterwards Mrs. John Jones,) John Jones, Mrs. Jane Carney, Mrs. Frances Devereaux, Mrs. Mary Dewey, Mrs. Elizabeth Minor, Mrs. Luisa Morning, and Mrs. John C. Stanly, a colored member.
Was this the first gathering of the church in New Bern? The facts already adduced about the call laid before Presbytery in April, 1808, and the pastorate of Rev. J. K. Burch, seem to show an organized and working church then; and afterwards, when the tie was severed by Presbytery, the charge signified their assent by their representatives. The New Bern congregation again appears on the Assembly's Minutes in 1813 as contributing ten dollars to Missions. Life was still manifested, though no pastor led the flock. There can be little doubt as to both of the elders named, and other adherents, being in the city during all the silent years. So it must be that here, as in many of our early churches, a sturdy cluster of Presbyterians gathered and acted as if organized, getting what ministerial service they could, and watching for an opportunity of securing a pastor, and effecting a permanent crystallization. This was accomplished, after some years of trial to faith and hope, on the ever memorable 7th January, 1817. Mr. Witherspoon preached
in the old Baptist Church. In this movement Dr. Freeman must have assisted; but it doubtless was consolidated, and thoroughly established for an onward and successful career, by the valuable labors of the Rev. J. N. Campbell, who was the next preacher after this formation. The date of his advent is unknown; but he continued here until some time in 1820.Rev. John Nicholson Campbell
Was born in Philadelphia, March 4th, 1798. His maternal grandfather was Robert Aitken, a Scotch Seceder immigrant in 1769, and the publisher of the first English edition of the Bible in this country. Mr. Campbell entered the University of Pennsylvania, but did not graduate; studied theology and the classics under Rev. Ezra Styles Ely, D. D.; was a while Professor of Languages in Hampden Sidney College, Va.; was licensed to preach by Hanover Presbytery, May 10th, 1817; and commenced his ministry in Petersburg, Va., where he sometimes preached for Dr. Benj. Rice, then pastor of Tabb Street Church. Here he married his first wife, (a daughter of Robert Bolling, Esq.,) who died in a few years. He subsequently married Miss E. T. Tilghman, of Maryland, who still survives him.
From Petersburg Mr. Campbell came to New Bern, where Rev. W. B. Sprague, D. D., says he was instrumental in establishing the first Presbyterian Church; and Mrs. Campbell writes me, “I have frequently heard my husband speak of New Bern, and say that he was instrumental in establishing there the first Presbyterian Church; but so many years have passed since then, that I cannot recall any particulars about it. My husband did not remain there long. I think the climate did not agree with him.” It is probable that Dr. Rice, who had formerly lived in New Bern, directed Mr. Campbell thither.
In the autumn of 1820, Mr. Campbell was chosen Chaplain to Congress; and though only twenty-two years old, discharged his difficult office in a highly satisfactory manner. In 1823 he was the assistant of Rev. Dr. Balch in Georgetown; and in 1824 or 1825, took charge of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, Washington, D. C. Soon the church was crowded,
and his reputation spread widely. Here he was intimate with Hon. William Wirt, and associated with the great men of that day. President Andrew Jackson was a member of his congregation. When the famous imbroglio about Mrs. Eaton occurred, and broke up the President's Cabinet, Mr. Campbell came in conflict with the President, who tried to control the Church's action. Mr. Campbell spoke to him with the utmost plainness, and proved to be a man of as iron will as “Old Hickory” himself, and as inflexible in the line of duty; so a breach occurred between them. Through Chief-Justice Spencer, of New York, Mr. Campbell was introduced to the First Presbyterian Church in Albany; was called thither, accepted the pastorate thereof, and was installed in office on Sept. 11th, 1831. This position he retained till his death, March 27th, 1864.
Mr. Campbell was one of the Regents of the State University, and was identified with all the public charities of Albany. On Sabbath, March 20th, he filled the usual services, and preached with his accustomed vigor. On Monday he attended the meeting of Regents in the Capitol. But on the next Sabbath, Easter, as his congregation—most of whom scarcely knew that he was sick, or seriously so,—were assembling for their communion service, they were startled to learn that Dr. Campbell's spirit was passing to the sanctuary above, there to celebrate the marriage supper of the Lamb with the ransomed, and with the glorified Redeemer. His health had nearly always been infirm, but his constitution was elastic, and his strength of purpose indomitable, so that his labors were prodigious and unremitting. His funeral was attended by the Governor and his staff, and by both Houses of the Legislature, which adjourned for the purpose. The flag on the State Capitol was lowered to half-mast from respect to his memory, and on account of the public loss sustained by his death.
Dr. Campbell was a man of regal presence, with manners suited for a court; of large executive and financial abilities, and profound knowledge of human nature; of quick, keen, and vigorous intellect, and a retentive memory, stored with
vast, varied, and practical knowledge about almost every phase of life. He had a fine flow of spirits, a pleasant and winning address, and the power of administering the keenest and most withering rebuke without giving offence. His taste was exact and classic, both as to his own person and to large architectural superintendence. Adorned with these gifts and powers, with an open heart and open hand, frank, yet firm, it is not surprising that he was called “the pope” in his church.
He was always a graceful and impressive speaker, preaching—after the Scotch fashion—in gown and bands; a Christian without austerity, bold, manly, liberal, yet a decided Presbyterian; a man of mark and great usefulness in his generation. The aged and honored Rev. Theodoric Pryor, D. D., who probably heard him preach in both Petersburg and Albany, writes me, that Mr. Campbell “was a handsome man; a man of great culture, and one of the most eloquent pulpit orators that I ever heard.” This is the clergyman whom God sent at this epoch to be the leader of the gathering Presbyterian band in this city.Palmy Days.—1818.
About the year 1818 is considered the palmy day of this ancient Borough, then more than one hundred years old. Many of those whom North Carolina delights to honor had walked, or still walked, these beautifully shaded avenues, graced society, and fostered successful political and commercial enterprises. Others were soon to stand before the Commonwealth and receive their palms and laurels, won by beautiful integrity of character, Christian virtues, brilliant intellectual powers, all illustriously devoted to philanthropic labors and patriotic statesmanship. The names of Coor, Hatch, Bryan, Xavier Martin, Gov. Nash, the two Governors Spaight, Stanly, Gaston, Sitgreaves, Graham, Shepherd, Badger, Manly, will not soon lose their fragrance, or cease to be cherished as a goodly heritage. New Bern had attained to an enviable reputation in the State, and its social refinement was one of its marked features, that both adorned and fascinated.
The first steam-mill in New Bern had been erected by William Shepherd in 1812, from prize-money he had received from successes of the celebrated privateer “Snap Dragon.” It was on the Trent. Soon another sprang up at Union Point. Then there were Capt. Blaney's celebrated limpid castor oil factory, the Harvey cordage works, turpentine and rosin-oil distilleries, grist-mills, saw-mills, a tannery, a rum-mill, and ship building, all adding greatly to the material prosperity of the city. Old Mrs. Bartlet and her daughter, Mrs. Emergy, kept in the Badger House, near Christ Church, the best public table in North Carolina, where as true a band of single gentlemen as were then extant on the south side of the Potomac, daily discussed ham and turkey, or venison and jelly, in the identical hall where once convened the venerable Senate, constituted by the King to legislate for the colony. An extract from some rattling and amusing rhymes of Mr. Stephen M. Chester, in 1818, will pleasantly picture some of the surroundings:
- “But turn we to the classic school,
- Where science holds her transient rule,
- Where culture trims the tender shoot,
- And grafts the stock with future fruit:
- The mansion daily gathers there
- Two hundred minds its smiles to share,
- Though architecture has not spread
- Her splendors round the tyro's head.
- “The jail I well-nigh had forgotten,
- In truth the fabric's almost rotten;
- The doughty prisoners get out
- Once every month, or thereabout!
- And every convict for Jack Ketch
- The poor militia have to watch.
- ’Tis true the town guard every night
- Consists of four good ‘gemmen white,’
- But should you seek its cautious keepers,
- You'd find them snoring ’mong the sleepers.
- “The stocks and pillory hard by
- Have witnessed many a piteous cry,
- And many a sable back has smarted
- With comfort from the lash imparted.
- “Along the banks where Trent and Neuse
- Their sparkling waters wide diffuse,
- Industrious art rears other piles,
- And growing wealth its toil beguiles.
- There, from a hundred stills dispensed,
- Spirits of pine are fast condensed;
- Beneath that fabric rude and large,
- The fiercest mastiffs guard their charge
- Of various hides for leather steeped,
- In vats with bark astringent heaped.
- “The narrow house which there protrudes
- Its awkward length for many roods,
- Shelters the twisting rope that forms
- The cable to contend with storms;
- Here the strong screw expresses oil
- The griping cholera to foil;
- And there from grain its essence flows,
- A lethe for unnumbered woes.
- “The people of this curious town
- Are of all hues, black, white, and brown,
- And not a clime beneath the moon
- But here may find some wandering loon.
- Welsh, Irish, English, French, and Dutch,
- Norwegians, Portuguese, and Scotch,
- And other aliens, claim attention,
- Whose very names would tire to mention.
- Each State is also represented,
- Some satisfied, some discontented;
- A host of Yankies, ’mong the rest,
- Like birds of passage build their nest,
- And having wasted all the land,
- Fly off to some more distant strand.
- “Such is the picture fresh from nature,
- And true, I think, in every feature;
- Drawn to amuse, perchance to tease you;
- This is New Bern, how does ’t please you?”
Unsightly and uncared for small tenements marred the town more then perhaps than now. But a spirit of improvement was beginning, it may be partly from rhyming satire; and one of the fruits of it was the brick Bank of the State of North Carolina, soon followed by its rival, the Bank of New Bern.Churches.
The churches were in shabby condition. Our poet says:
- “A church of George the 2d's reign
- Still flings its shadow o'er the plain,
- But mouldering on its ancient base,
- Must soon resign its resting place.
- “Next comes a house without a name—
- To that of church it has no claim,
- And yet the long misshapen pile
- Contains a throng ’twixt either aisle,
- And in the galleries perch'd above,
- To join in prayer and feasts of love;
- Its various worshipers can tell
- Why they reject a spire or bell.
- “The Baptist Barn comes next to view
- Where winter winds turn noses blue,
- And shiv'ring devotees retire
- Right glad from worship to the fire:
- But Presbyterians in the lurch,
- Too poor, or mean, to build a church,
- Are glad to find admittance here
- When its own priests don't interfere.”
Rev. Mr. Campbell was an eloquent and popular preacher. Traditions linger here still of his great power as an orator. He
was also an enterprising gentleman, and had a valuable coadjutor in Mr. Chester. He and Mr. Meredith, the able Baptist preacher, used alternately the “Old Baptist Church.” I quote again the contemporary Mr. Chester: “The Baptist Barn” was at that time the established patronymic of the nutshell that subsequently became the present pretty church of that denomination. It was unglazed, and wholly destitute of casements; had nothing but plain shutters to exclude the winds of heaven, which were of course necessarily admitted with the light. The framework of the gallery was an unclothed skeleton of bones. The whole interior of the building without any lining to its timbers, and four-legged benches all the accommodation in the shape of seats afforded by the unfurred, unceiled, unplastered and unpainted edifice.”
“Notwithstanding its rude state, however, it long furnished to the Baptist and Presbyterian societies alternate opportunity to worship God; and the Rev. Mr. Campbell and the Rev. Mr. Meredith officiated interchangeably in the apology for a pulpit. The favor of the Presbyterians, thus propitiated, contributed not a little to the gradual transformation of the building to its present neat and comfortable shape.” The two congregations united in renovating the “barn.”
In the newspaper-carrier's address on New Year, 1819, written by Mr. Chester, allusion is made satirically to “bubbles burst” in the past twelve months. One was the steamboat admiration and expectation, when the steamer Norfolk arrived to establish a route to Elizabeth City, and so North and South; and
- “Hundreds flocked down to see the wonder,
- In spite of rain and even thunder;
- And such their rapture to possess it,
- ’Twas not in language to express it.”
In three short months the golden dreams failed, and the Norfolk was sold.
- “Then building churches was the theme,
- The tottering old one urg'd the scheme;
- And Presbyterians, who had none,
- Were certainly in need of one.
- ’Twas wonderful to mark the zeal
- Each congregation seemed to feel;
- Devotion saw its altar rise,
- As if by magic, to the skies;
- Tho’ both the noble piles were finished,
- The stock continued undiminished,
- For lo! the pews were sold for more
- Than the whole churches cost before;—
- All this had castle-building done,
- Yet avarice has not yet begun,
- And much I fear our niggard place
- Has not, and never will have grace
- To look above the narrow views
- Ascribed to infidels and Jews.”
Thus the church bubble seemed to burst. Presbyterians, however, evidently felt the importance of securing a church of their own; had probably increased in numbers and ability; were aroused by occasional satires; and had now a capable and popular leader in Rev. Mr. Campbell. Hence, I am not surprised to find in the “Carolina Centinel, New Bern,October 17, 1818,” the following
“Those persons disposed to unite themselves as a Presbyterian congregation in this place, are requested to meet at the court-house at three o'clock this afternoon, for the purpose of organizing said society by the appointment of
“There are other important objects, which will be fully explained at the place of meeting; and it is earnestly requested that all who wish to be considered members of said congregation, or are willing to lend their aid in support of its worship, will attend.—Oct. 17.”
Mr. Chester says this “was the first meeting ever assembled in the place regularly to organize a Presbyterian congregation.” How to reconcile this statement with that given already from the Minutes of the Presbytery, in the keeping of Mr. Witherspoon, does not at this distance appear. No record of the action of the meeting—called above—has been found.
In the earlier movement to assist the Baptists in finishing their church near Cedar Grove Cemetery, Mr. Chester had been efficient. He was especially zealous and helpful in now advising and assisting to raise funds to erect the church edifice used by our people to-day. Then, as since, the ladies must have been faithful and fruitful in godly labors, for Mrs. Minor is said to have headed the subscription list, and her efforts and interest were so great, that Dr. Hawes, the ruling elder, used to call it “Mrs. Minor's Church.”Purchase of Lot.
Trustees were doubtless elected at the meeting held in the court-house; and in 1819 they bought the premises on which the church stands from Mr. Edward Graham for $1,200. (See particulars under “Property Data,” page 179.) Ground sold at large prices then apparently. This lot is located on New (now Neuse) Street, between Hancock and Middle.Foundation Laid.
Wednesday, the 9th day of June, 1819, was the memorable time when the corner-stone of the first Presbyterian Church in New Bern, N. C., was laid. Judge James H. Hutchins, now a ruling elder in Austin, Texas, was raised and then living in New Bern. He attended the Sabbath-school when it was held in the lower East-room of the “New Bern Academy” as early as 1819. He told me that the Church had a meeting in that room on the day above named, and came thence in the afternoon to lay this corner-stone.
Fortunately I am able, from an old copy of the “Carolina Centinel, New Bern, June 12th, 1819,” to give an account of this interesting event, and present the handsome address made on the occasion by Rev. J. Nicholson Campbell.
From the Carolina Centinel, Newbern, June 12th, 1819:
“The Trustees of the Presbyterian congregation in this place have commenced the erection of a House of Worship, to be 70 feet in length and 52 in breadth, and capable, by computation,
First Presbyterian Church, New Bern.
of accommodating 800 persons. We have been favored by a friend with the following notice on the subject:
“On Wednesday evening last, the interesting ceremony of laying the foundation corner-stone of the first Presbyterian Meeting-House in Newbern, took place in presence of a respectable concourse of citizens. The Reverend J. Nicholson Campbell officiated in the religious services of the occasion. After a prefatory comment on the duty of Christian Associations to invoke the favor of Heaven upon all their undertakings, he addressed the Throne of Grace in prayer, imploring the Almighty to vouchsafe his blessing upon the commencement of the work, and the continuance of his smiles on its prosecution until it should be completed; a fit Temple for his praise. The cornerstone was then deposited by the Master Masons present, and the solemnities concluded with the following address:
“Brethren: But a few centuries have elapsed since our country was discovered by an enterprising European. We are all acquainted with the long period of darkness, during which it had remained unknown to the civilized inhabitants of the Eastern Continent, and we all know how short an interval has succeeded the interruption of its obscurity; yet, when we look around us, we are scarcely able to believe that so few years have passed since the foot of Columbus first trod the shores of our happy land. It seems but yesterday, in the annals of the world, that our fathers fled from religious persecution in their native country, and committing themselves to all the dangers of the ocean, steered for a more propitious clime, in which they might erect new altars, and adore their God according to the dictates of their consciences, and none ‘to molest or make afraid.’
“Brethren, how wonderful has been the progress of civilization since that auspicious era! Who, at this moment, when the discoverer of America first beheld, with rejoicing eyes, the rude and native grandeur of the Western world, would have ventured to predict that in a period so short, changes so vast, and to our enterprise so honorable, could possibly occur? Our fathers
trod its shores, and the desert seemed to retire at their approach. The sound of the adze was heard, and the habitations of civilized men arose in the solitary wilderness. Almost as by the magic power of charm, the trackless forest was swept away, and the crowded, busy, bustling city occupied its room. Almost as by miracle, the idle plains of this peaceful continent were furrowed by the ploughshare, and the fruitful crop sprung forth to reward the labor of the husbandman. Where glitter yonder spires, as it would seem but yesterday the towering trees of the forest waved their lofty heads. Where now one notices the pursuits of active commerce, but yesterday the savage tenants of the woods pursued the pleasure of the chase. Where now, within the limits of our sight, are heard, at stated periods, the strains of heavenly melody to the worship of Jehovah, but yesterday was heard the whoop to battle or the yell of Indian carnage. And where this day we have laid the foundation of the House of God, but yesterday was erected the altar of a demon, and in his honor was the blood of human victims shed.
“Brethren, ‘no one knoweth what a day may bring forth.’ Who among our number, even one year ago, would have presumed to stand upon the place which I now occupy, and assert that on this day we would here commence the building of this house? And yet not only are we indulging this privilege, but other denominations, of the same universal Church, have been excited to new diligence in the same holy cause; and ere long we may hope that in this place the sun will shine on four temples dedicated to the worship of our common God. Is not this an animating prospect? And should it not warn you to unwearied diligence in the execution of the work you have commenced? Yes, brethren, proceed but in the fear of God, and he will not leave unfinished his own work; and by his mighty power shall you be enabled to elevate its topmost spire with long and echoed shouts of praise.
“Brethren, some have thought it honorable, with a desolating army to ravage neighboring States, and to reduce to the condition of vassals the haughty monarchs of a hostile land;
others have deemed it glory to erect gorgeous palaces and noble buildings for the adorning of their country, and for the advantage of its citizens; and others, with much more reason, have thought their characters exalted by promoting the comfort of their fellow-men, and by endowing institutions to ameliorate the circumstances of the miserable. But how much more honorable—how truly noble is it—to be engaged in a design which has for its end the promotion of God's glory! If you are desirous of distinctions, here is the work which shall bestow upon you all that you can ask—even the distinction of assisting to erect his altars who is the Eternal Sovereign of the universe. If you are ambitious of immortal honor, here is the labor in which you should be employed; for when the achievement of a Cæsar and a Napoleon shall be buried in oblivion, and when the palaces and capitals of Europe and America shall smoulder in the blazing ruins of the world, this deed, the building of a temple to the Lord of Hosts, shall stand recorded in the annals of Heaven's empire, and be emblazoned in the indestructible, the eternal columns of the skies.
“Brethren, the prospect before us is one of the most exalted nature, and it should cheer and animate our hearts. This day, if we look around us, may we behold, erected and erecting, the temples of Jehovah in the sands of Carolina—those sands from which is hardly yet effaced the track of the wild beast, or the pursuing footsteps of its hunter, scarcely less ferocious. This day, if we will listen, we may hear the anthems of God's praise floating on that air which, a little while since, was rent with the hideous cries of the savage, as he celebrated the orgies of idolatry. If, brethren, our country has thus been visited, let the past demonstrate to us that the truth proclaimed in the Revelation of God is not impossible—that all nations shall be visited with salvation. Oh! yes. I anticipate the time, and my heart bounds at the prospect, in which the blessings of a preached Gospel shall be extended from the rising to the setting of the sun, and from the Northern to the Southern Pole. I anticipate the blissful period in which Asia and Ethiopia shall stretch forth their hands to God, and in which the songs
of Zion shall arise to the Almighty from the Eastern to the Western Continents. I look forward to the speedy arrival of that day in which all peoples, and kindreds, and nations, and tongues shall send one general Hallelujah to the skies. No, brethren, the period is not far distant in which the idolatrous nations of the East will relinquish their superstitions, toss their idols to the moles and bats, and worship the true God, whom to know is eternal life. Ere long the Crescent shall fade away before the Sun of Righteousness, and the Temple of the crucified Nazarene be erected on the ruins of the mosque. Ere long the idols of the Brahmin shall totter before the ark of the Lord, and in the sanctuary of their worship shall be proclaimed the truths of Holy Writ. And ere long shall the Jews be brought in with the fulness of the Gentiles, and the enlightened descendants of the patriarchs worship the King of Glory, whom their blinded fathers slew.
“Brethren, suffer me, before I close my address, to remind you that the blessings, which with such pleasure we anticipate shall flow to other nations, already belong to us; and while I call to your recollection this truth, permit me to beseech you that you will endeavour to improve them. Vain is it to build a house for God's worship, so far as your salvation is concerned, unless you also be builded together, a spiritual temple in the Holy Ghost. It is not by bowing in adoration to the Almighty at his earthly altar, that we are to be saved; but it is by elevating our hearts to his throne, and adoring him in the beauty and perfection of holiness. And oh! my beloved, if we are enabled thus to serve him in the temple we erect with our own hands to his honor, we shall be admitted, after we shall have closed our eyes for ever on the world and all its objects, to adore him in his own habitation, in the temple not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. And after the destroying power of time shall have mouldered all the works of mortals to the dust, and when the earth and its old pillars totter to their base, we shall triumphantly soar above the funeral pile of nature, and reign forever in unchanging glory. God grant that this may be the happy consummation of our
toils; and may the blessing of Jehovah, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, rest on all of you for ever. Amen.”Exhuming the Corner Stone.
It was thought that the exact early history of the Church could be recovered by digging up the corner-stone, and getting the documents which are usually deposited in it on such occasions. Accordingly, after much searching and labor, it was found at the south-east corner, the front of the church, and at the bottom of the corner brick pillar. It was of red sand-stone, such as was used about the “Palace;” in dimensions, two feet by one, and three to four inches thick. But to our great disappointment, there was no inscription of any sort on it, nor any excavation in it for the slightest record. Neither could any buried box or bottle be discovered by probing the ground beneath. So we builded it back where we found it, and as we found it—blank. But a place was left at the top of the pillar for the future placing of a stone with suitable inscription and contents.Contractor.
The contractor and builder of the church was Mr. Uriah Sandy. He was assisted by Mr. John Dewey and Mr. Martin Stevenson. Mr. Dewey's son, Charles, was one of the trustees, a member of this church, and afterwards a ruling elder in the Raleigh Presbyterian Church, and a prominent bank officer in that city. Mr. Stevenson's son, Martin, became a ruling elder in this church, and was active and useful.Incidents.
While the church was building, two cards appeared in the newspaper, which showed that some people will whisper disagreeable things, and that in all ages little annoyances will mar peaceful scenes awhile. But they soon pass away, and we too, and so they can be laughed at. The first shows a “hitch” about the
“The singers of the Presbyterian congregation are respectfully informed, that in consequence of an injunction, or more properly a menace of injunction against their meeting at the Academy, they will hereafter be better accommodated at Mrs. Emory's long room, the use of which has with characteristic liberality been gratuitously offered them. Weather and other circumstances permitting, they will meet hereafter on Wednesday evening until further notice. The singers of sister societies are cordially invited to attend on these occasions, as a union of exertion, on the part of the different choirs in our little village, will conduce much more to general improvement than is possible by different efforts.
“February 16, 1822.”
In reply to this appeared
“The singers of the congregation of the Presbyterian Church are respectfully informed, that they are not menaced with an injunction against meeting in the Academy, nor are they more than singers in other congregations prevented from assembling in that building; but the trustees of the New Bern Academy, taking into consideration the dangers of fire from night meetings, thought it expedient, some time ago, to pass a resolution forbidding the holding in the Academy night meetings of every description. They were more especially induced to this measure, because it was fresh in their recollection, that one academy had been burnt in consequence of night meetings; and that it had cost much money to the institution to erect another. They wished to avoid all danger. This resolution had recently been disregarded, and at the last meeting of the Board, the proper officer was instructed to give notice of it, and see that it was carried into effect. This explanation is given to prevent the malicious effects, which the publication in the last Centinel is evidently intended to produce.
“New Bern, Feb'y 20, 1822.”
Another report brought out the following vindication of Baptist liberality. It is said to have been written by Judge Gaston, while sitting on the bench in the Court-house, at the request of Mr. Clark, who stated to him what he wished to say:
“Being again informed by respectable friends of a report in circulation that the Presbyterian clergy are deprived of the privilege of preaching in the Baptist meeting-house, and that I am the principal cause, I feel it a duty I owe the church to which I am attached to contradict it in the
most distinct terms. It is true no other than our own minister has preached in our meeting-house for some time past, but it is because others have not asked the privilege. This is intended, however, barely to contradict a report known by the members of the Presbyterian Church not to be true; and to remove any improper impression it may have left on the minds of others, and those perhaps who may have been the most liberal towards us. Our meeting-house, when not in the immediate use of our own minister, has been at all times open (on proper application being made) to the clergy of every Christian sect; and in this instance, on either the morning or evening of each Sabbath, our own minister has been willing to give place to another.
“New Bern, Jan'y 13th, 1821.”Completion of the Church.
Doubtless desire was stimulated by these things for the speedy finishing of the building. Mr. Chester says:
“Its erection redeemed the character of the sect from the poet's reckless charge of poverty or meanness; and its completion in something like a twelve month proved triumphantly to the public the injustice of the sneers of Jonathan Price and John Stanly, who both said they had no wish to live any longer than till it was finished. They both outlived the limits of their impious wish, and have been long since gathered to their fathers. The enterprise of the Presbyterians, and the thriving indications of the Baptists, roused the slumbering spirit of the Episcopalians, and the prophecy of the poet was soon realized in the demolition of their ancient place of worship, and the erection of a new and far more modern, spacious, and expensive one.”
The colonial Episcopal Church referred to was then standing in the south-east corner of the glebe, enclosed by a tight board fence, six feet high. The new building was completed by Bennet Flanner in 1824. It was afterwards burned on Tuesday evening, 10th January, 1871, and rebuilt as at present it appears. The new Baptist Church on Middle street was first used and dedicated on Sunday, 2d July, 1848. The Methodist Church on New street was built in 1842-’43.
Mr. Chester speaks of the Presbyterian Church being completed
in little more than a year. His memory must be at fault. Mr. Clark's card proves that it was not ready for worship in January, 1821. No documents are obtainable to show the exact date of completion. A private diary, kept by Catharine G. Stanly, a colored member of the congregation, but unfortunately only beginning 1st January, 1822, gives the exact date of theDedication.
She writes, January 6th, 1822, “Sabbath evening: To-day the Presbyterian Church was dedicated to the worship of God; a very interesting and appropriate discourse delivered by the Rev. Mr. Hatch; again I have been blessed with the privilege of hearing the Word of God faithfully preached.” This is the first notice of Mr. Hatch's ministrations to this Church, though he was ordained the September previous. It is probable that the Church was finished in the latter part of 1821. The cost of the building was $7,000. Many in the community, who were not connected with the Church or congregation, kindly assisted in the erection of this House of God. Thus, too, some pews were owned by subscribers to the building fund, who were not members of the congregation. The following notice appeared in the “Centinel:”
“The new Presbyterian Church in this place will be dedicated, with divine permission, on Sunday, the sixth of January. The public are respectfully invited to attend.
“New Bern, December 29th, 1821.”
Soon afterwards was issued this announcement:
“The people are respectfully informed that the Presbyterian Church will be opened for religious worship on the next Lord's Day, 20th January, 1822. The exercises will commence at the usual hour, and the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper will be administered during service in the morning.
“No appropriation of the pews having yet been made, the whole will continue open for public use. The four largest next the door
are intended to be hereafter reserved expressly for the accommodation of strangers and visitors from sister congregations, and are designated for the purpose by a suitable inscription on each door.
“New Bern, January 19th, 1822.”
A few days later came out this
“The pews in the Presbyterian Church will be publicly offered for sale or rent on Monday, the 28th instant, at 4 o'clock P. M., on the premises.
“Notes with approved security, payable in installments at six, twelve, and eighteen months, will be required in payment for the fee simple—and similar at twelve months for the rent.
“By order of the Board,
“S. M. Chester, Sec'y.
“Saturday, January 26th, 1822.”
These pews were sold at various prices; the centre ones ranged from $300 to $350, and the side pews, from $150 to $200, according to situation. Subscribers purchased to the amount of their subscriptions. Some owned several pews. Printed deeds were given, in which it was stated that each pew was subject to a tax, according to its valuation, for the support of the ministry. The following is a copy of one as its blanks were originally filled:
“STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA.
“This indenture, made this 28th day of January, A. D. one thousand eight hundred and twenty-two, between the Trustees of the Presbyterian Congregation of New Bern, of the one part, and Elias Hawes of the same place, of the other part, witnesseth:—that, for and in consideration of the sum of three hundred and fifty-six dollars to the said Trustees, before the sealing and delivery of these presents, paid by the said Elias Hawes, the payment whereof the said Trustees do hereby acknowledge, and thereof acquit the said Elias Hawes, they the said Trustees have bargained and sold, and by these presents do bargain and sell unto the said Elias Hawes, his heirs, and executors, a certain PEW in the Presbyterian Church, in New Bern; known and distinguished in the original
sales of said Pews, and by the numbers marked thereon at the date of these presents, by the number 4, to have and to hold the said PEW with its appurtenances; subject to be taxed for the support of the ministry of said Church, etc., by the mutual agreement of a majority of the Proprietors of the PEWS of the said Church, according to an original valuation set on said PEWS before the sale thereof, and filed among the records of the Congregation, unto the said Elias Hawes, his heirs and executors. In witness whereof, the Trustees aforesaid have hereunto set their hands and common seal, the day and year first above written.
“Sealed and delivered in
S. M. Chester,
E D. C. King,
The accompanying ground-plan of the pews with the names of the original purchasers was printed on the deed. The strangers’ pews were large square ones, with seats running around three sides. These have since been altered.
The trustees’ seal was a neat one, with an impression of the front of the church in the centre,—the whole being about the size of a silver dollar.
It is worth while to notice here the names of Croom from the German Palatine stock; Handcock and Jones from the primitive Welsh Quakers; Primrose and Hay from the Scotch Covenanters.
A glance at the constituent elements in this organization will exhibit its standing in the community.
The two elders first in office were remarkable men, Elias Hawes, M. D., and Robert Hay.
ORIGINAL PURCHASERS OF PEWS.
SCALE OF VALUATION.
|Nos. 3 to 9, and 14 to 20, inclusive,||$350|
|Nos. 2, 10, 11, 12, 13, 21 and 22,||300|
|Nos. 23 to 30, and 35 to 42, inclusive,||200|
|Nos. 31 to 34, and 43 to 46, inclusive,||150|
Elias Hawes, M. D.
Dr. Hawes came to New Bern from the North about 1798. Physicians here kept and sold medicines. He owned the principal drug-store in 1822; it stood near the corner of Hancock and Pollock streets, on the lot now owned by Mr. Thos. Green. He was a man of pronounced and fervent piety, and active and useful in the community. He soon sold out his drug business, and was appointed by the County Court to superintend the Poor House; and he was a true spiritual pastor to the suffering ones there. Dr. Hawes seems to have been a Latin, Greek and German scholar, and an earnest student of his Bible and Catechism, and a faithful, all-weathers’ attendant on religious services. His wife was the widow of Mr. Benj. Wood, who had been the teacher of the children of Hon. John Wright Stanly, and was afterward a lawyer at this bar. Anecdotes showing his peculiarities linger with the old citizens. Once he put up this sign at his drug-store: “sicks weaks peazs fur sail hear.” A countryman passing by looks up, pauses, and asks, “What is that?” Dr. Hawes gravely replies, “Can't you read?” “Yes.” So the man spells and pronounces the mystical signs, “six weeks peas for sale here,” and as it seems plain, remarks, “Well, it did not seem right; but I suppose it was the grammar of it!”
Dr. Hawes taught a free school once in New Bern, which is said to have been the first absolutely free school in North Carolina. In the yard he kept a pile of bricks and a wheel-barrow; and every day he made the children move that pile in the wheel-barrow across the yard for exercise, and to teach them how to work. He believed in a manual labor system. One day he told the scholars that if they would go to sleep for twenty minutes, he would show them something they had never seen before. They obeyed to the best of their ability! On the awakening, he struck a lucifer match and lighted a fire; it was the first match ever seen by some, if not all, as it was a new thing under the sun.
He was a great temperance advocate and worker; an anti-tobacconist;
a lover of music, and enthusiastic in practicing with any willing to sing; a helper to his pastor, and a praying man in public as well as private. He was the only elder, I think, who attended Presbytery, and he was several times chosen Commissioner to the General Assembly by the Presbytery. In 1836 the Presbytery of Roanoke met in Washington, N. C., 31st March. The members had to pass through New Bern. Dr. Hawes being a delegate, was urged to secure his seat in time in the stage, but always replied “I'll get there in time.” He started on Wednesday, 30th March, and walked to Washington, thirty-five miles, and arrived before the stage. After adjournment of the Court, he footed it back to New Bern. It would be good for the Church to have more elders like him. In his old age he was greatly reduced in pecuniary matters, as his accumulations were swept away in the collapse of the United States Bank. He attended Church twice on Sabbath, 7th February, 1841, when Rev. Mr. Owen, of Washington, N. C., preached in the Presbyterian Church; then went to the night prayer-meeting at Mr. Thomas Sparrow's. This was his last Sabbath but one here; for on Wednesday, 17th February, 1841, in his seventy-third year, he fell on sleep in Jesus.Robert Hay
Was a Scotchman, who came to New Bern about 1800. He united with the Presbyterian Church near Kelso, Scotland, when about thirteen years of age. His certificate of membership—brought to this church—is as follows:
“These certify that the bearer hereof, Robert Hay, an unmarried person, has lived in this parish of Gordon mostly from his infancy until February last, and removed free from public scandal or ground of church censure known here; so that he may be received into any Christian society where his lot may be cast, and partake of church privileges as found qualified. Given at Gordon, this 17th of May, 1786, by a sessional appointment, and subscribed by
“Alexr. Duncan, Min'r.
“Wm. Wilson, Sess. Clk.”
His pious mother tenderly trained him in the Bible and the Westminster Catechism; and thus he was early established in sound principles of moral duty and God's providence. His piety was intelligent, based on constant and practical study of the Holy Scriptures, and fed through never ceasing prayer to and communion with his God and Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. So it was consistent, uniform, controlling, pervading his whole life, in all its departments; and was especially positive and fixed in its character. A martyr spirit was his. He was a most decided Presbyterian, with a “thus saith the Lord” for his faith; yet he was no bigot, with sanctimonious, upturned-eye Phariseeism or boastfulness, remanding all others to uncovenanted mercies of God, and denying their Church character. He fellowshipped with his brethren in a common Saviour, but loved his own apostolic home the best. While he studied the peace, unity, and purity of the Church, he “continually spoke to the most worldly, even to infidels who visited his shop,” (and all, from highest to lowest, loved to visit Father Hay,) of “the dear Saviour who gave his life for our sins,” of “that blessed Mary who chose the blessed part,” of “John, that gentle, favored man, beloved of Christ,” of “Peter, the sad, presumptuous wight, depending on his own righteousness, which was but filthy rags.” So Mr. Stephen Miller, who knew him, testifies and adds, that “a more devout or better man than Robert Hay has scarcely lived on earth. Leading a life of hard manual labor, his thoughts and communings seemed always to be of heaven.” He began here as a house builder, or finisher of the inner wood-work; and first labored on the Harvey building, now the Central Hotel; afterwards he engaged in the manufacture of vehicles of all sorts, in his shop near the old Palace.
His eye-sight so failed him in old age that he could only read when he sat in his chair where the full blaze of the sun could fall on the sacred page. Said he, “If I were an idolater, I would worship the sun.” So that kindred spirit, the good Archbishop Usher, used to follow the sun around the house, that he might still commune with his God in his Word. When
he could not walk to the hallowed house of God, he was borne thither that he might sit down at the table of his Saviour. Though he could not hear a word, yet he feasted upon the spiritual blessings which are sealed and applied to believers, and rejoiced in the speedy approach of that day when, in the upper sanctuary, he should, with the blood-washed throung from every kindred and clime, partake of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
On the Lord's Day he gathered his family for prayer three times, besides the morning and evening hours of worship, and much time was spent in private in his closet. His consecration to God was eminent in all the relations of a hallowed life, and his integrity unimpeachable. An incident has been told me, that illustrates his stern nobility. Through the insolvency of a bank officer, for whom he was unfortunately security, all the hard earnings of a long life were swallowed up. A prominent lawyer, Mr. Geo. Atmore, his friend, and representing the universal sympathy felt for the honest and innocent victim of this calamity, called on him at his work-shop. Mr. Hay, his head silvered by eighty winters, his body bowed by failing vigor, deep wrinkles on his brow—full of legends of care—was industriously plying his toil. Mr. Atmore said tenderly, “This will never do, Mr. Hay. Your house at least must be saved. You cannot in your old age be deprived of a shelter for yourself and family. We must save your house.” The old man seemed resolute that all should go. Pausing in his work, thinking, and resting on his tools, he turns quickly to the legal friend, and in his broad Scotch brogue says, “Weel, George, my mon, save my hoose if you can, George; but, mon, save my conscience first.” Impressive picture for an artist! Fruit of a life hid with Christ in God.
His prayers were sometimes too long. A contemporary says of a service, where an elder on Sabbath read a sermon, “Mr. Hay prayed seventeen minutes with fervor! A little too long for the congregation.” But on another Sabbath (October 2, 1836), in another Church he was called on to pray, and this record appears: “Brother Hay prayed so fervently after
sermon, as to cause groaning and some shouting among the blacks, and some knockings and amens among the whites.” His end was peace. In view of death he said, “I have no fear of dying; I shall never be readier. I would die; my trust is in my glorious Saviour—in his atonement. It is a wonder on earth, and it shall be a wonder in heaven. He is the chiefest among ten thousands. I shall see him. I am a poor, guilty, helpless sinner.” A few moments before his death, when racked with pain, he exclaimed, “I must be content; for blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.” Thus at the age of ninety-six, December 5, 1850, was translated on of the original thirteen founders of this Church on earth to the Heavenly Jerusalem.John Jones,
One of the original pew-owners, one of the founders of the Church, and after a while also a ruling elder therein, died on Saturday evening, 4th January, 1840, aged seventy-six. On Monday, 6th January, after a sermon by Rev. D. Stratton, from Ps. xc. 10, in the church, his remains were borne to Cedar Grove Cemetery, the following gentlemen being the pallbearers: Robert Hay, Jeremiah Brown, Saml. Oliver, John W. Guion, Thos. Sparrow, and Elias Hawes.
About 1710, Roger and Evan Jones, Quakers, came to North Carolina from Wales, and settled near New Bern, as before mentioned. While these brothers were burning a tar-kiln, they were surprised by the Indians—perhaps in the massacre of 1711—who caught Roger, cut off his head, and knocked it around the tar-kiln with a stick. Evan escaped, lived, died, and was buried on his plantation on Clubfoot and Hancock Creeks, on the south-side of Neuse River. He married a daughter of Col. Thomas Lovick, the Collector of Customs at Beaufort. Mr. Lovick came also from Wales with his brother John. Mr John Jones was the third of eleven children from this marriage. He married Susannah Saunders; was an active and successful business man in New Bern, and died respected and honored in the Church and community.
John Martin Franks has been mentioned as one of the early German settlers in Craven. As an illustration of the sturdy pith of these colonists, and the rough life they were forced to lead, this family tradition is current: As the immigrants were on their way from the Trent River, as hereinbefore described—compelled to be their own burden bearers—one of the females was furiously attacked by a half grown bull. She was carrying on her head a medley of culinary utensils, which seemed to excite the brute's special ire, and cause him incontinently to rush at her. But she was equal to the occasion. Apparently endowed with strength like Peter Francisco's daughters, she seized her assailant by the horns, and twisted him over on his back, quietly and reprovingly remarking, “See that ugly calf!” Victory remained with her; young “Taurus” was satisfied. Barbara, a daughter of Mr. Franks, (was she this heroine of the rural game?) married Mr. Daniel Shine, one of the original freeholders reported in Craven County in 1723. When Gen. Washington was on his southern tour in 1791, they had the honor of entertaining him at their house. In this section, during the Revolutionary War, there was a desperate and fatal battle between a band of Tories and one of Whigs, or patriots, in which the latter, commanded by the gallant Capt. Yates, gained a bloody success. The son of Mr. Shine, Col. Jas. Shine, married Leah, a daughter of Capt. Yates; and in 1819, at their beautiful and aristocratic mansion on their estate, President Monroe, with his distinguished suite, including Hon. John C. Calhoun, Secretary of War, were entertained with splendid North Carolina hospitality. Hannah Ann Shine, the daughter of this marriage, became the wife of Frederick J. Jones, the son of Mr. John Jones. Of this marriage one of the daughters is the wife of the present pastor, and another married one of the elders, Mr. George Allen. This sketch is given, because it shows how connections might be established between early immigrants and present families, if there were any means of tracing them.
Stephen M. Chester and Others.
Mr. Chester wes a member of an extensive shipping firm—Devereux, Chester & Orme—whose brick business house has been transformed into the Gaston House. He was one of the polished leaders of social life, with Richard Dobbs Spaight, F. L. Hawks, and Geo. Pollock Devereux; possessed extended literary culture, and was an earnest Christian gentleman. He wrote largely in the newspapers, and engaged in many current discussions, but always with elegance of scholarship, the dignity of a gentleman, and the purity of a Christian. While he threw off many playful rhymes, he also wrote most graceful poetry with classical taste. The following beautiful epitaph, written by him on the death of Capt. W. Harker, who died in 1822, I copied from the tomb-stone in our cemetery:
- “The form that fills this stilly grave
- Once toss'd on ocean's roaring wave;
- Plung'd through its storms without dismay,
- And careless, welter'd in its spray:
- Wreck, famine, exile, scathless bore,
- Yet perished on this peaceful shore.
- “No tempest whelm'd him ’neath the surge;
- No wailing seabird scream'd his dirge:
- But fever's silent, hidden flame
- Consum'd, by stealth, his hardy frame;
- And softly as an infant's breath,
- He sank into the arms of death.
- “The weather-beaten Bark no more
- Hangs shivering on a leeward shore;
- But wafted by a favoring wind
- Life's stormy sea hath left behind,
- And into port securely pass'd,
- Hath dropp'd its anchor there at last.”
Mr. Chester was a notable singer, with a fine “basso” voice; and around him was gathered an efficient choir, in which were Mr. Charles Dewey, the two Misses Graham, Miss Wilkins, and Miss Mary Hall, the most beautiful woman in the city.
He did much to break down old prejudices against steeples, bells and instrumental music. He afterwards transferred his business to New York, where he died in 1836.
Messrs. E. Graham, Vine Allen—the father of Rev. Monroe Allen, a Presbyterian minister—and I. Croom, were all lawyers of wealth and distinguished standing. Mr. Allen also represented Craven in the State Senate as early as 1813. Dr. Boyd, not a communicant, but a supporter of the Church, was a dignified and accomplished gentleman, the leading physician in New Bern, with an extensive practice. The Sparrows were shipbuilders; Martin Stevenson, John Dewey and Allen Fitch, ingenious and leading mechanics; F. J. Jones and C. Dewey, bank officers; Isaac Taylor, a wealthy retired merchant; Messrs. Primrose, Webb, Hollister, Cuthbert, Hall, Slover, and King, were active and prosperous merchants. Messrs. Franklin, Hancock, and Jas. McKinley, though contributors to building the Church, and thus pew-holders, were not members of the congregation. It will not be necessary to enumerate all the zealous members, some of them widows, who gave character and strength to the Church. Perhaps two others of the royal thirteen should be spoken of, viz.:Mrs. Eunice Hunt.
Mrs. Hunt was Miss Eunice Edwards, the seventh daughter and eighth child of that great divine, Jonathan Edwards, D. D., president of Princeton College. Prof. H. C. Cameron, D. D., of Princeton, has sent me the following copy from the family record, made in Mr. Edwards’ own handwriting, in the family Bible:
“My daughter Eunice was born on Monday morning, May 9, 1743, about half an hour after midnight, and was baptized the Sabbath following.”
About 1767 she married Mr. Thomas Pollock, a great-grandson of Col. Pollock, to whom De Graffenried mortgaged his claims. Until after the Revolution she resided in New Jersey, where, during the war, Mr. Pollock died. They had
four children: George, one of the wealthiest men in North Carolina, owning many plantations, and some 1,500 slaves; Thomas and Elizabeth—all three of whom died childless—and Frances, who married Mr. John Devereux, of New Bern, in 1793. Mr. Devereux was a Rothschild in business circles then. They left three children, Thomas Pollock Devereux, a lawyer in Raleigh, George, and Frances, who married Bishop (General) Leonidas Polk.
Mrs. Pollock was married the second time, about 1800, to Mr. Robert Hunt, of New Jersey. They resided in New Bern, and had one child, a daughter, who married Mr. John F. Burgwyn, an Englishman, living here. Mrs. Hunt died in New Bern, August 11, 1822, aged seventy-nine. Her daughter, Mrs. Devereux, as well as herself, was one of the original members of this Church.
One other remarkable family claims our notice, viz.: that ofJohn Caruthers Stanly,
Or “Barber Jack,” as he was called, from having been at first a barber, and to distinguish him from the eminent lawyer. Barber John was originally a slave, owned by Miss Lydia Caruthers,* who was afterwards Mrs. Alexander Stewart. His mother was from the “Ebo” African tribe, whose members were endowed with such excellent qualities that many would not buy a slave from any other. He was born in 1772, and reputed to be the natural son of John Wright Stanly. Captain and Mrs. Stewart, his owners, emancipated him for meritorious services, and the deed was confirmed by act of Legislature, in December, 1798, giving him every right, privilege and immunity as if free-born. By his industry and speculations he acquired a large property, consisting of two or three plantations, about sixty slaves, and some houses in New Bern. Two of his slaves kept his barber-shop in good repute by their skill. He owned and lived in the house on the corner of Hancock and Neuse Streets, now the residence of Mr. George W. Bishop, and afterwards in the house now used for the Methodist[note]
parsonage. Mrs. J. C. Stanly, his wife, whom he bought and had legally emancipated, was one of the original members of the New Bern Church, and the family occupied and owned two pews. His children were well educated, and always made a creditable appearance, and were well received. “Barber John” is described as a man of dignified presence, always courteous and unobtrusive, respected, associated with by the best citizens, and maintaining his family in fashionable style. His oldest son was a large merchant here. A diary, kept by one of his daughters, Catherine G., is in my possession, and it manifests intelligence and piety. The family were greatly attached to Mrs. Stewart, as the passage about her death in this diary shows, in 1822.
“The Lord has been pleased to afflict with a severe illness our beloved friend, Mrs. Stewart. She has seen her three-score years and ten. I humbly hope she is clothed in the wedding garment, with her lamp trimmed and burning, ready to enter into the marriage supper of the Lamb; and yet I feel so reluctant to part from her. O Lord, make me more resigned to thy will.”
“Oct. 10, ten o'clock at night. At two o'clock this afternoon, my beloved and affectionate friend, Mrs. Stewart, departed this life, in her seventy-eighth year. She has left a world of sin and sorrow, and, I trust, is now at rest in the arms of her Saviour.” . . .
“I have followed to the silent tomb the body of my dear departed friend. I have seen it committed to its mother earth, soon to become food for devouring worms; but her better part has, I humbly trust, winged its flight to those mansions of eternal rest, which God has prepared for those who love him. Solemn indeed is the sight to see the body of a fellow mortal committed to the grave, and one, too, with whom we were closely and intimately connected, the sincerity of whose friendshlp we never for one moment doubted. Oh! my friend, hast thou indeed left us?—art thou gone? Shall we never again hear your kind inquiries after our health? Shall we never again feel the affectionate pressure of your hand? We shall meet, I trust, in that country where there will be no more sickness, no more death, but all peace and happiness.
- “’Tis God that lifts our comforts high,
- Or sinks them in the grave,
- He gives and, blessed be his name!
- He takes but what he gives.
- “Peace all our angry passions then;
- Let each rebellious sigh
- Be silent at his sovereign will,
- And every murmur die.”
By these brief sketches, which it seems expedient to rescue from oblivion, it is manifest that the constituent elements of this Church, at its formation or revival, were such as to ensure its stability, under God's blessing. Men of the first talents in the various walks of life, honorable mechanics, enterprising merchants, men of profound legal attainments and popular political record, women of standing, beauty and culture, as well as of business occupations, altogether formed a body of members or adherents that prophesied a career of vigor and genuine prosperity.Description of the Church.
The building is 70 feet in length by 55 feet in width. The engraving presents a general view of the exterior, but fails fairly to show the front. Three doors open into the ample vestibule, whence two open into the audience-room. Over the central outside door is a large arched and leaded light. The four lofty round pillars supporting the portico, are crowned with handsome Ionic capitals, and the entire architectural arrangement of the front gives it a very neat and pleasing appearance. The steeple rises to the height of 125 feet.
The grounds are extensive, ornamented with a variety of desirable shade trees, and through the assiduous care of Mr. George Allen for many years, are covered by a beautiful, well set, verdant grass sward.
Galleries extend around three sides of the interior of the Church; and the organ stands in the gallery opposite to the pulpit. Contrary to the usual custom, the pulpit is between
the two doors at the entrance into the audience chamber. There is one row of pews on each side of the Church, and a solid centre block of two rows of pews. The pillars supporting the galleries rise from the middle of the aisles; and the floor gradually ascends towards the rear of the Church, and so elevates the pews that no obstruction of vision towards the pulpit may exist. Thus the congregation possesses a delightful house for worship—the acoustic properties of which also are favorable for both easy speaking and good hearing.
THE SUCCESSION OF PASTORS.
Rev. Lemuel Durant Hatch.
MR. HATCH was the first Pastor of the New Bern Church after the reviving already suggested. He was the son of Gen. Durant Hatch and Elizabeth, his wife, and was born near Brice's Creek, Craven County, N. C., the 10th June, 1793. The Hatch family was wealthy and prominent. Lemuel Hatch was a member from Craven County in the General Assembly of Deputies of the province of North Carolina, that met in New Bern, 15th August, 1774, and the field officer for the county in 1775. Edmund Hatch was in the Assembly at Hillsborough, 21st of August, 1775. Lemuel, the subject of this sketch, graduated at the University of North Carolina, in the Class of 1815, with Willie P. Mangum, John H. Bryan, Richard Dobbs Spaight, and Francis L. Hawks, all men of mark in history. He was himself also a man of vigorous mind. While at Chapel Hill he professed conversion, and probably joined that Church. He studied at Princeton Theological Seminary between two and three years, 1816-1819; was licensed to preach by Orange Presbytery, 2d of October, 1819; ordained September 2d, 1821; and installed pastor of the New Bern Church, June 15th, 1822. In the “Carolina Centinel,” published in New Bern, “Saturday, June 22, 1822,” is the following notice of this last event:
“Installation.—The Revd. Lemuel D. Hatch was installed as pastor of the Presbyterian Church and congregation in this place, on Saturday evening last. The Rev. Dr. McPheeters of Raleigh preached the sermon; Rev. Dr. Caldwell, President of the University at Chapel Hill, addressed the charge to the bishop, and the Rev. Professor Kollock, of the same institution, the charge to the
people. The services were extremely solemn and appropriate, and a very numerous audience bore witness to the uncommon unanimity with which Mr. Hatch was welcomed to his pastoral charge.
“The Orange Presbytery, under whose auspices the installation was conducted, has been represented on the occasion by the Rev. Drs. Caldwell and McPheeters, the Rev. Professors Mitchell and Kollock, the Rev. L. D. Hatch and Dr. Elias Hawes. Religious service was performed three times a day while they were here, and considerable accessions to the Church have given much interest to the present session.”
From a remarkable contemporary diary, already mentioned as kept by Catherine G. Stanly, the following extract is made; dated June 16, 1822, Sabbath:
“Last evening, the Rev. Lemuel D. Hatch was installed pastor of the Presbyterian Church. An appropriate discourse was delivered by Dr. McPheeters. Dr. Caldwell addressed the minister, and the Rev. S. Kollock the people. It was a very interesting ceremony and conducted with great solemnity. O! that our beloved pastor may continue a zealous advocate for the cause he has espoused, and be the humble instrument in the hands of the Almighty, of turning many sinners from the error of their ways to serve the only true and living God; who shall be seals of his ministry and crowns of his rejoicing in the day of the Lord. O that a merciful God may make me one of that happy number!”
She states that the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was administered on Sabbath, and nine new communicants were received; and sorrowfully adds:
“O, if they were nine new creatures, what a glorious day it was to them! But I was not of the happy number; I still remain behind.”
No record of the membership of the young Church can be obtained before 1825, when it was fifty-four; and in 1828, it was sixty-six. During Mr. Hatch's incumbency, or that of Mr. Campbell, the following important additions were made to the Church, viz., Capt. E. Harding, a sea-faring man, Darius C. Allen and Thomas Watson, the first two of whom became Presbyterian clergymen; Thomas Sparrow, George Reid, Mrs. Patsy Dixon,
and Misses Elizabeth Taylor and Elizabeth Torrence. In 1829 the membership was sixty-eight. This pastoral relationship continued six and a half years nearly, and was dissolved by Orange Presbytery, at Spring Grove Church, Friday, 13th December, 1828.
Mr. Hatch was married 15th January, 1828, in Duplin County, N. C., to Miss Martha Dixon, who was an orphan daughter of Lewis Dixon and Catherine Dixon (Née Hill), and was living with Dr. Buck Dixon, near Faison, a town on the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad. On leaving New Bern he resided in Duplin County, and is reported as Stated Supply a part of the time at Red House Church. In 1833 he moved to Alabama; and October 9th, 1834, was dismissed to South Alabama Presbytery, and lived near Greensboro, Ala., until his death, at Blount Springs, Ala., after a short sickness, October 7, 1866, in the seventy-third year of his age. He was one of the original members of the New Presbytery of Tuscaloosa, organized in 1835. Becoming unexpectedly burdened in the management of some large pecuniary interests, he was greatly hindered in ministerial work, and never had another pastoral charge after leaving New Bern. He preached in Greensboro and neighboring churches when they were vacant, and during the latter years of his life (perhaps ten), labored largely and acceptably, without remuneration, among the colored people. Rev. Dr. C. A. Stillman, of Tuscaloosa, who knew and loved him well, has written to the author, that “he was a man of fine mind, well educated, and he had a large and valuable library. He was blessed with a very genial spirit and an amiable disposition. We all loved him. . . . He was a good man, in whom we all had confidence.” Reports and traditions in New Bern say that he was a good and popular young man; and as a preacher, not brilliant, argumentative in style, and not uninteresting. His daughter writes me that many conversions occurred under his ministry, but no remarkable revivals. He lived a consistent Christian life. At the time of his death, the following notice appeared in the Alabama Beacon, Greensboro, Ala., over the signature “A Friend”:
“Rev. L. D. Hatch died at Blount Springs, Ala., on the 7th of October, 1866, in the seventy-third year of his age. Mr. Hatch was a native of North Carolina, and he moved to this State about the year 1833. He graduated at Chapel Hill, N. C., and afterwards in the Theological Seminary at Princeton, N. J. He began his ministry in the Presbyterian Church in New Bern, N. C. The latter part of his life was devoted to the noble and self-sacrificing work of a missionary among the negroes in the bounds of Tuscaloosa Presbytery. He was hale, hearty, vigorous and cheerful up to the day of his last illness, which was but of short duration. In all the relations of life, as husband, father, friend, neighbor, citizen, and minister, his life was beautiful and commendable, and with his friends and relations he left a good example, worthy of imitation. Kind, generous, noble, and devout, he lived among us without reproach as a gentleman, patriot, and Christian, held in universal esteem; and when called to a higher and better world, he died without fear, amid the universal regrets of a community in which there was not one who bore towards him the least ill-will.”
In 1828, Mr. Hatch was Moderator of the Synod of North Carolina, in Raleigh.
Rev. Michael Osborn
Mr. Osborne was born in Essex Co., N. J., 21st March, 1796, and was educated for the ministry. He probably graduated at Nassau Hall; then spent three full years at Princeton Theological Seminary; was ordained by Elizabethtown Presbytery on 23rd February, 1825; served the Second Church in Woodbridge, N. J.; then the Metuchen Church to 1827; forwarded by letter his certificate of dismission from Elizabethtown Presbytery to Orange Presbytery, and was received therein at Hawfields, N. C., 7th October, 1829. At a session of the Presbytery, during the meeting of Synod, in Fayetteville, 14th November, 1829,—the New Bern Church being represented by Dr. Elias Hawes,—a call was presented for the services of Mr. Osborne as Pastor of that Church, and accepted by him. On December 12th, 1829, he was duly installed in New Bern. Rev. Thomas P. Hunt preached the sermon; Rev. L. D. Hatch charged the Pastor; and Rev. J. Wetherby charged the people. Mr. Osborne was probably preaching in New Bern a short time before his installation. This pastoral connection was dissolved at Presbytery in Greensboro, 15th August, 1831, having continued less than two years.
A revival in New Bern is referred to by the narrative of the General Assembly for 1830, when fifteen were added to the Church; and during Mr. Osborne's pastorate, there were seventeen additions and twenty-seven baptisms. Yet, in 1831, the number of members is the same as in 1829, viz.: sixty-eight (68).
After the dissolution of his relation with New Bern, Mr. Osborne continued his connection with Orange Presbytery, and engaged possibly in missionary work for awhile; supplied the Raleigh Church in 1833-’35; and was dismissed on 9th October, 1835, to the Presbytery of New York. During his connection
with Orange Presbytery he was its Treasurer, and was three times chosen its Commissioner to the General Assembly. He was pastor of the P. R. Dutch Church in Schraalburg, 1834-’37; Stated Supply to Cub Creek Presbyterian Church, in Hanover Presbytery, Va., 1842-’48; Pastor in Farmville, Va., from 1848-’62, and died there on 3rd July, 1862. I knew Mr. Osborne when I was in Union Theological Seminary. He was quite a small man, with a “big” voice, active, pronounced in his opinions, and accustomed to exceedingly plain speaking, so as sometimes to offend. He called a spade “a spade.” He was a good man, who did good service in his generation. As a brother beloved said in response to my query about Mr. Osborne and New Bern, “Whence came he, and whither did he go?” “He came from New Jersey, and he went to Heaven.”
Rev. Samuel Hurd.
Of Mr. Hurd's history little has been discovered. What is here stated has been gathered from tradition and part of a brief diary kept by Dr. Elias Hawes, one of the ruling elders, and kindly given to me by the widow of Rev. D. Stratton. This interesting document begins on Sabbath, 8th April, 1832. Mr. Hurd was then preaching here, and probably came soon after Mr. Osborne left; for this amusing entry occurs on April 21, 1833, about a sermon Mr. Hurd preached that Sabbath: “in the main, the same sermon he preached for the first time about a year and a half ago, and very good, and much to the purpose.” Diaries will keep the preacher's traditional “barrel” from being turned over too frequently! In 1832 and 1833 New Bern is reported as having a Stated Supply, but no name is added. Mr. Hurd was here from some unknown date in 1831 until April, 1833, but was not a member of Orange Presbytery till November 14, 1833, when he was received on certificate from West Hanover, and was dismissed, the same day, to the Presbytery of Indianapolis. He was a consumptive, too unwell sometimes while in New Bern to preach, and died in Mississippi, about 1846.
During his labors here there must have been considerable religious interest and activity; for in the Assembly's Minutes in 1832 are reported twenty-eight additions on examination, and one on certificate, with thirteen infant baptisms, raising the membership from sixty-eight to ninety-three; and the next year shows fourteen received on profession, and a total membership of one hundred. Mr. Osborne joined Mr. Hurd on April 29, 1832, in meetings that evidently were of great interest; and the fervor of prayer and work for the Redeemer and lost souls must have prevailed for a considerable period. Dr. Hawes says:
“Friday evening, May 4th. Prayer-meeting at my room. A few. Saturday evening, May 5th. The male members met at Mr. James Y. Green's for prayer and religious conversation, and resolved to pray for and converse with thirty persons, most of whom worship constantly or occasionally in our Church, and to persevere in this until God by his Spirit shall convert their hearts and forgive their sins. Their names were spread before us, and each one agreed to pray for and converse with such and such, if possible.”
“Lord's Day, 6th May, 1832. Prayer-meeting at 1-2 after 5 in the morning, at the ringing of the bell. Worship at 10. Mr. Martin Stevenson read one of President Davies’ sermons. . . . In the afternoon Mr. H. C. Graham read a sermon from the Southern Preacher. . . . Prayer-meeting at Mr. O. Dewey's in the evening. Monday, May 7th, 1832. Conversed with Mary Dewey, Mr. Whicthcoat White, Mr. Barland, a word with Sylvester Brown, Cicero Hawks, Mrs. Mary McKinley, and Mr. Edward E. Graham. Mr. White would be glad to have Mr. Hurd call on him.”
Prayer-meeting was held at Mr. John Jones's on Tuesday. Mr. Hurd had been absent some days attending a four days’ continued meeting—so common and notable in the beginning of the century—at Lake Phelps, but returned to the Thursday's prayer-meeting at Mr. J. Jones's, and continued his regular ministrations. Among those received into the Church by him were Messrs. Charles Slover and Martin Stevenson; and on April 14, 1833, Mrs. King, Mrs. C. Slover (who was baptized on 17th March, after a sermon on the “duties of parents to their children,”) Mr. Jeremiah Allen, and Captain Anthony Ferguson, who had been baptized on January 29. The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was administered on Sabbath, April 14, in the morning; and in the afternoon Mr. Hurd preached from 1 Tim. v. 17, and ordained to the office of ruling elder the following brethren, who had been previously elected, viz., Messrs. John Jones, Charles Slover and Martin Stevenson.
After Sabbath, July 29th, till November 1, 1832, Mr. Hurd was absent with his wife. He then resumed his service, and
with intermissions from sickness and preaching in Washington, N. C., he preached Christ and Him crucified to this Church till Monday, 22d April, 1833, when he sailed with Mrs. Hurd and Mr. and Mrs. Charles Slover for New York. So ended his career in New Bern. In 1834, the statistics show five additions, but the membership was only ninety-eight. The Church remained without a Pastor until the advent of Rev. Drury Lacy, in 1834.The Interim.
Regular services were maintained in the Church on Sabbath by the reading of sermons, and the occasional help of a minister. On one Sabbath Mr. Osborne preached, on two Rev. Philo. Calhoun, Pastor of Washington Church. The readers at this time were Messrs. H. C. Graham, James Stevenson, Elias Hawes, Robert Hay, Chas. Slover, Allen Fitch, Edward Graham, and Martin Stevenson. This admirable custom and strict performance of duty long prevailed here. It is calculated to maintain the esprit du corps, the growth and the spirituality of a vacant Church, and should never be neglected. The custom seemed to be generally in this Church to have a sermon, both morning and afternoon; and in the evening, either a third sermon, or more frequently a prayer-meeting at a private house. Two or three prayer-meetings were held during the week at different houses in the congregation. One service was usually for males only. These social gatherings were, for example, at the homes of Thos. Sparrow, Jno. Jones, E. Hawes, O. Dewey, Robt. Hay, J. Y. Green, C. Slover, M. Stevenson, Wm. Taylor, and Capt. R. Fisher. In this pastoral intermission these exercises on Sabbath seem to have been omitted only once, (May 12, 1833,) when such constant rain fell that there was no service in any Church.
Rev. Drury Lacy.
On Wednesday, 4th September, 1833, Mr. Lacy arrived in New Bern on a visit to the Church. On Thursday he conducted the meeting at Mr. Slover's, and on Saturday attended the male prayer-meeting at Mr. Sparrow's, where he was domiciled. He remained, preaching and visiting, for three Sabbaths. Dr. Hawes's comments are unique: “His manner very emphatic and energetic—not confined in the least by his notes (45 minutes!!)” This was the criticism on the first sermon. On the second and third only “(45!)” The next discourse he characterizes as an “extraordinary biographical lecture of our Saviour, John the Baptist, Herod, Herodias, and her dancing daughter, Salome (50!)” Mr. Lacy conducted the funeral of Mr. Rich'd Grist, at the house of Mr. John Washington, and administered the Lord's Supper while here, and left on Monday, 23d September, on “the steamboat John Stoney for Elizabeth, Norfolk, Petersburg, and Prince Edward in Virginia.The Call.
On Sabbath, 29th September, 1833, “notice was given in our church that the Presbyterian congregation were requested to meet to-morrow afternoon at 4 o'clock to elect a pastor, minister, or bishop for our congregation.” Accordingly, the meeting was held, and the call made out on 30th September, with the promise of $600 in quarterly payments, and as much more as could be raised. Dr. E. Hawes moderated the meeting, and the call was signed by a committee, consisting of Messrs. Robert Hay, John Jones, Thomas Watson, Robert Primrose, Elias Hawes, Wm. Hollister, and Thomas Sparrow. It was forwarded to some minister, perhaps Mr. Osborne, as the accompanying letter will show:
Photo of Drury Lacy]
“New Bern, Oct. 3d, 1833.
“Rev'd Sir: The Presbyterian Church in New Bern has been for almost six months without a stated minister. The Rev. Drury Lacy, of New Hanover Presbytery, Virginia, by our invitation, has been with us and preached for three Sabbaths, and attended many prayer-meetings, and administered the Lord's Supper. While here he visited almost every member of the church and congregation, and we are so well pleased with him, that the preceding call was unanimous. We are anxious to have it prosecuted, that if the result should not be favorable, we might seek for some other pastor to be installed over us. We know that the last Orange Presbytery held their session at New Bern; but where the next was appointed, or if there is to be a called Presbytery, as is sometimes the case, before the stated one, we know not. We take the liberty to forward the call to you, that if you attend the Presbytery, you may put this in the proper direction; or if you do not attend, that you will commit it to the care of some other member of Orange Presbytery to be completed. Please to inform us where the next Presbytery will sit, or if any will be constituted for extra business within our bounds. By the authority and request of the committee of the congregation.
On November 14th, 1833, at a meeting of Orange Presbytery during Synod, New Bern Church appeared by its commissioner, and obtained permission to prosecute this call before East Hanover Presbytery.
In view of this call, Mr. Lacy began his work here January 1st, 1834. Orange Presbytery convened in New Bern on 28th April, 1834, received Mr. Lacy from East Hanover Presbytery, put into his hands the above mentioned call, which he accepted, and at 11 A. M. on Monday, 3d May, installed him as Pastor. Rev. James Wetherby, Moderator of Presbytery, presided. Rev. N. H. Harding preached the sermon. Rev. A. Wilson gave the charge to the minister, and Rev. M. Osborne to the people. Mr. Lacy remained with this charge three years, as he left in December, 1836. The relationship, however, for some unknown reason, was not dissolved by Roanoke Presbytery until September 15th, 1837. During this time there is no report for the year 1835. In the
other two years there were seven additions, three by examination, and four by certificate; and two infant baptisms. But, according to the statistics for 1837, the communicants had decreased to eighty. The contributions in 1836 for Missions were reported as $90, and for Education $110; and for 1836-’37, Missions, $130, and Education, $130. A visit in January, 1835, from Rev. J. Armstrong, Agent for the American Board Commissioners of Foreign Missions (I suppose), and Rev. Mr. Brown, of Virginia, for the Assembly's Board of Domestic Missions, in April, 1836, seems to have awakened unusual interest in these causes. From 1820 to 1860, the only contributions made were for Domestic and Foreign Missions, Education,—including the Theological Seminary,—and the Commissioner's fund. Other departments of Church work seem to have been ignored.
Mr. Lacy was sick in 1836, and was convalescing at Mr. John Jones's, where he counselled with the elders about keeping the Church open during his contemplated absence. He left on September 5th, and returned 31st October. He then attended Synod at Fayetteville, and on his return thence addressed the subjoined letter to the officers of the Church:
“To the Session of the Presbyterian Church in New Bern.
“My Dear Brethren: It is with a heart full of sorrow that I now address you. You have heard me declare in private and in public my full intention of living and dying in the midst of you. I was sincere in these declarations. I have promptly refused to accept several offers and several solicitations for my services in other places. I have neither sought nor desired any office but that of being your pastor. And I am now doing one of the most solemn and painful duties that I have ever been called on, in the providence of God, to perform. I am tearing myself from a dearly beloved people—the most affectionate and attached that I ever expect to find in this world. And it is with the utmost reluctance, and with deep anguish of spirit, that I now announce to you the resignation of my pastoral office. The reasons which have influenced me in this matter are many, and appear to me to be weighty. I cannot detail them here. I will only say that an imperious and overpowering sense of duty
alone has forced me to this decision, opposed as it is to all the feelings of my heart.
“Permit me to express here what I hope for an opportunity of doing more fully and more publicly, the deep feeling of gratitude you have laid upon me, for all the kindness I have received from you. And now, with earnest prayer that it may please the great Head of the Church to bless you and the Church which you represent, in giving you very soon a pastor after his own heart, who may go in and out before you, and teach you the way of righteousness and peace, I am, my dear brethren,
“Most sincerely yours, etc.,
“New Bern, 29th Nov., 1836.”
To this letter the following reply was returned, after a united meeting and conference of the elders and trustees at the house of Mr. C. Slover, on Tuesday evening, 6th December:
“New Bern, Dec. 7, 1836.
“Rev. D. Lacy,
“Dear Sir: The undersigned, a Committee on behalf of the Trustees of the Presbyterian Church, are authorized to give the following response to your letter, resigning your pastoral charge of the same.
“It is with feelings of unmingled regret that the Trustees receive the announcement of the dissolution of the pastoral relation between yourself and our Congregation. Not being in possession of the reasons that have urged you to a separation so unexpected and painful, they are incompetent to pass judgment on their sufficiency; but the confidence which they place in your motives and character induces them to believe that they must be of high and paramount consideration. They therefore accept your resignation.
“Permit us, in behalf of the Trustees, to express their unabated affection and esteem for yourself and family, and their fervent wish that your life of usefulness and devotion to your calling, of which so bright a specimen has been afforded by your labors amongst us, may be long spared to our Church.
“Very respectfully yours,
“Hamilton C. Graham, Committee.”
“M. Stevenson, Jr., Committee.”
“Charles Slover, Committee.”
In the afternoon of Sabbath, December 25th, at three o'clock, Mr. Lacy preached and made his farewell address, founded on 2 Cor. xiii. 11: “Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort,” etc. Dr. Hawes says: “Wednesday morning, four o'clock, 28th December, 1836, Rev. Drury Lacy and his family—his wife, Williana; mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Wilkinson; daughter, Miss Elizabeth Lacy, or rather, Lady Bess; son, James Horace Lacy—and servant maid, went to Raleigh in the stage.”
It is understood that failure of health was the moving cause of Mr. Lacy's change of residence. Years afterwards he perpetrated an Irishism on the floor of Presbytery by saying, “If I had lived in New Bern until now, I should have been dead twenty years ago.” As an evidence of his ready wit, it is told that once, during some excitement here, he was making an address, when some dissentient cried out, “Don't hear him; he's a Virginian.” Quickly Mr. Lacy exclaimed, “Listen to me, friends; true, I am a Virginian; and I love Virginia as I love my mother; but I love North Carolina as I love my wife!” A unanimous acclamation arose, “Hear him! hear him!!”
While he was in New Bern, the interest in both Bible-class and Sabbath-school are said to have increased.Conversion of Mr. Lacy.
In December, 1862, Rev. W. S. White, D. D., of Lexington, Va., gave me the following account of the conversion of Rev. Drury Lacy during Dr. Nettleton's visit to Prince Edward Co., Va. His cousin, Rev. J. H. Rice, D. D., was then at Union Theological Seminary. Mr. Lacy, being deeply convicted of sin, had a conversation with Dr. Nettleton, and went home; but he was so distressed that he saddled his horse, and in the night rode three miles to the Seminary, and, rousing the servant, went to Dr. Rice's chamber door, and told him he wanted to see Dr. Nettleton. A candle was gotten, and he was shown to Dr. Nettleton's room, where he was wrapped up and asleep. On being waked, he said, rubbing his eyes, “Is that you, Mr. Lacy? Why, what in the world do you want at this time of
night?” Mr. Lacy replied, “I want to talk to you.” “What in the world do you want to talk to me about?” “I want you to tell me how I can be saved.” “What! You, the son of a distinguished Presbyterian divine, ask me such a question? You! reared in the lap of the Church? I have told you already all that I know.” After a few more words, he then said, in solemn and tender tones, “Mr. Lacy, I have only this to say: ‘Go home, and give your conscience fair play.’ ”
Feeling himself harshly treated, Mr. Lacy left, vexed, mad. But finally he began to think that if clergymen thus slighted him, there was no hope for him in man; and he lifted up his voice and cried, “Lord, Lord,” until the woods rang with the sound. The Lord heard the plea of despair, lifted the cloud and the burden, and gave rest to the humbled penitent. So Mr. Lacy said, “That night there was not so happy a man in Prince Edward. I found Mr. Nettleton was in the way between me and Christ.”
A number of the leading members of the congregation agreed to have catechetical instruction by the Pastor, a few minutes before sermon, on the Larger Catechism. Dr. Hawes consulted Robert Hay, Mrs. Hannis, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Taylor, Mrs. Watson, Mrs. Vipon, Mrs. Eliz. Lee, Capt. D. Scott and wife, Mrs. Em. Hall, and Mrs. Fitch, about this arrangement.Interesting Facts.
At the time Mr. Lacy was installed here, Rev. J. Leighton Wilson was present, being on a visit to his native land from the mission he had founded and been conducting on the Western coast of Africa. He addressed the Presbytery, which passed resolutions commendatory of his work. Dr. Wilson became the able and honored leader of our young Church in her noble work of Foreign Missions as the Assembly's Secretary of Foreign Missions.
At this session also, Wm. A. Shaw, M. D., who became Pastor of the church in Washington, N. C., was examined and licensed to preach the Gospel.
Rev. Moses Drury Hoge, D. D.
This honored and eloquent clergyman, now Pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church, Richmond, Va., is a nephew of Dr. Lacy. When a youth of, perhaps, fourteen years of age, after a long and trying journey on horseback, during which he suffered much and met with much kindness, he reached New Bern, to make his home with his uncle. He was a Sabbath-school scholar of Mr. Charles Slover, whom he remembers with affection. Here doubtless the ingenuous lad's spiritual life was fostered, and good seed sown, which have not disappointed hope and prayer. He seems to have formed and cherished an intimacy with the eccentric, but zealous, educated and pious ruling elder, Dr. Elias Hawes. In his journal Dr. Hawes speaks of this youth several times. On Friday, February 20th, 1835, he went, according to his commendable habit, to visit an estimable and famous character in those days—Betsey Always, sick at the county Poor House, Poplar Grove, near New Bern. “Moses Drury Hoge, who was with me, carried my gun and shot a sparrow.” Was this the beginning of a sportsman's experience? It shows the pleasant relations existing between the youth and the man of nearly three-score and ten, so that we are not surprised to read afterwards this entry: “Mr. M. D. Hoge called at the usual hour, and we went on with our customary study of the Larger Catechism together. We have arrived to the 191 question.” Again, on Saturday, April 4th, 1835, preceding the communion of the Lord's Supper on Sabbath afternoon, we learn of the tender solicitude of the affectionate uncle from this significant note: “Male prayer-meeting at Brother Oliver Dewey's. Mr. Lacy expressed his anxiety for his nephew, Moses Drury Hoge, and entreated us to pray for him.” The Lord is the covenant-keeping God, the hearer and answerer of prayer, and did not forget these united prayers of faith, or this child of an illustrious and pious ancestry. Long have his wide-reaching labors in the Redeemer's kingdom caused many souls to praise God's redeeming grace, presented tenderly and eloquently by this servant of the King. It is a pleasure for the
New Bern Church to have had something to do in preparing such a workman for the Master's use. On Thursday, April 28th, 1836, Mr. Hoge sailed from New Bern, a passenger on the Malachi B. Robertson, and does not appear here again.Rev. Drury Lacy, Continued.
After leaving New Bern, Mr. Lacy began his work in Raleigh January 1st, 1837. His ministry there, for nearly nineteen years, was signally blessed in establishing and strengthening that small organization. His installation as Pastor was not until November, 1837. Beginning with thirty-nine members, and a dilapidated church-building and congregation, and the Session house for his services, he was so helped of God, that he received into the Church about two hundred members, and left it numbering one hundred and sixteen, with a repaired sanctuary and resuscitated in all church activities.
Davidson College received, in February, 1855, a legacy of $250,000 from Maxwell Chambers, of Salisbury. Mr. Lacy was unanimously elected its President, accepted the position, and from April, 1855, to July, 1860, successfully administered its affairs in a new and expanding career. During this time he received eighty-eight members into the Church. Having resigned the Presidency he returned to Raleigh, and with his wife opened a girls’ school, which in 1872 was incorporated into Peace Institute, in the same city. He served as a Chaplain in the Confederate army to the close of the war, and was afterwards engaged in the supply of vacant churches and in missionary labor in Orange Presbytery, while opportunity and the infirmities of age permitted, though often he could only preach while sitting down. His loss of hearing in his seventieth year, and his growing bodily infirmities, prevented much active service.
Dr. Lacy was born in Prince Edward County, Va., August 5th, 1802. His father, Drury Lacy, was a distinguished Presbyterian minister and scholar in the last century and early part of this; who, having lost one hand when a boy, and using an artificial one, was celebrated as the preacher with “the silver
hand and the silver voice.” Drury, his youngest son, graduated at Hampden Sidney College, Va., when twenty years of age, and began teaching school; and at the old homestead, Ararat, revived the Classical Institute of his father. In Dec., 1824, he was married to Miss Williana Wilkinson. He was converted under the preaching of Dr. Nettleton in Prince Edward in 1828, and immediately entered Union Theological Seminary, walking in daily from Ararat, distant three miles. April 11th, 1831, he was licensed by West Hanover Presbytery, labored efficiently in its mission fields, and built three fair churches therein, having raised most of the funds himself. In April, 1833, he was ordained Evangelist by East Hanover Presbytery. Soon after this, as we have seen, he came to New Bern. In May, 1846, after twenty-one years of happy married life, he lost his wife in Raleigh, N. C. In November, 1849, he married Mary Ritchie Rice, eldest daughter of Rev. Benjamin H. Rice, D. D., who in his early days lived and taught in New Bern. This union lasted for nearly thirty-one years, when Mrs. Lacy, after a beautiful and useful life, fell on sleep in Jesus, and left her husband in a lonely and infirm old age. His closing days were spent with his son, Rev. William S. Lacy—the honored Stated Clerk of the Synod of North Carolina—in Jonesboro, N. C. There, August 1st, 1884, after entering his room, he quietly, peacefully, and suddenly passed from all earthly scenes—alone with God—to the rest and joy of the faithful servant.
In his many afflictions he rejoiced in the consolations of that Gospel he ministered to others. He wrote, “I feel the affliction most severely, but strange! He gives me grace to bear it. Somehow I can lift up my head and my eyes to heaven and rejoice in my tears!” “One thing I know, one who is infinitely wise, powerful and good, orders everything, even to the falling of a sparrow, and what he does is right.” “I can do nothing. I can only suffer. The last line of Milton's beautiful sonnet on his blindness comforts me, ‘they also serve who only stand and wait.’ ”
In personal appearance Dr. Lacy was tall and of remarkably
imposing presence in his old age. His voice was strong and deep, and he was an excellent singer. The accompanying portrait represents him while at Davidson College, and the expression is sweet and attractive, reminding one of Doddridge, or one of the olden and primitive bishops, ready for translation. The following are some observations made at the time on his preaching in New Bern: “The sermon was tremendously pointed and alarming. May God add an abundant blessing!” On a rainy afternoon, when only about sixty persons were present, “Mr. J. Backhouse and Mr. William Beers sat with me. The preacher was animated, luminous, clear, searching. We were richly paid for turning out in the rain.” “Andrew Richardson and James Taylor, Esq., sat with me. The sermon seemed to make the one to handle the hymn book, and the other to chew tobacco very diligently and unconsciously.”
Orange Presbytery adopted the following Minute unanimously:In Memoriam.
“On August 1, 1884, Rev. Drury Lacy, D. D., in the 82d year of his age, entered into the rest that remaineth for the people of God.
“After a long life of activity in responsible positions, he was granted, in the congenial home of his son, a period of quiet and happy waiting for the summons, which, though coming suddenly, yet came so gently as to leave on his face a prophecy of the everlasting peace to which it welcomed him. ‘So he bringeth them into their desired haven.’ The Presbytery of Orange desires to put on record its appreciation of him as a man and as a preacher, of his gifts and of his graces: to thank God for the example he has given us of consecration to the Master, of enthusiastic zeal in church work, and of lively and intelligent interest in all questions of concern to the kingdom of God—an interest preserved unabated to the last.
“The Presbytery also hereby expresses its sense of personal
bereavement in his death, and tenders its prayers and its sympathies to those most nearly affected. ‘But when the fruit is ripe, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.’
“Resolved, That a copy of this paper be sent by the Stated Clerk to the family of the deceased, and offered for publication in the North Carolina Presbyterian, the Central Presbyterian, and the Christian Observer.”
A paper, similar in affectionate appreciation of the venerable and beloved deceased brother, was adopted by the Synod of North Carolina. Dr. Lacy was the Moderator of the Synod in 1846, in Greensboro.
1837 and 1838.
Little can be gleaned about the affairs of the church during these years. Rev. J. O. Steadman, of Fayetteville, N. C., visited the church by invitation, and preached in January and March, 1837, several times. In February and May, Rev. Mr. Shaw, Pastor of the Washington Church, held a number of services, and administered the Lord's Supper. Washington and New Bern were always holding up each others hands in a most brotherly spirit. In February, also, Rev. J. D. Mitchell, the Secretary of the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions, was here and preached on Sabbath and in the week. He was a man of mark and pulpit power, and evidently impressed the people most favorably. After consultation by the officers of the Church and some of the members, and finding that they could easily raise a salary of $800, at a called meeting of the congregation, Mr. Wm. Hollister, chairman, on Friday, March 3, 1837, a unanimous call was given to Mr. Mitchell to become the pastor of this Church. This call was forwarded through Rev. Dr. Lacy, and Mr. Mitchell replied through him, asking for farther time to consider the matter concerning the adequacy of the salary, etc., and expressing his high estimate of the people. His services were solicited at this time in Wilmington, N. C., and in Philadelphia. No other particulars have been gathered about this business; and it is presumed that he finally declined the invitation.
The Rev. — Rankin was probably supplying the pulpit some part of this vacancy.
Rev. Daniel Stratton.
Mr. Stratton was the next pastor. He was born in Bridgeton, N. J., September 28, 1814. Daniel P. Stratton, his father, was an elder in that church. While an infant his mother died, having dedicated him anew—on her death-bed—to the Christian ministry. Being piously reared, he made a public profession of religion in the Presbyterian Church in Bridgeton, when thirteen years old. With pleasure he reverted to his Sabbath-school teacher, Judge L. Q. C. Elmer, of New Jersey, as one of the means of his conversion. He graduated at Princeton College in 1833, at the age of nineteen; taught for a year in Salem, N. J.; entered Princeton Theological Seminary in 1834, but on account of failing health came to Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, where he finished his course in 1837. He was then licensed by West Hanover Presbytery, Va., April 13, 1837. At once he returned to the scenes of his boyhood, being strongly drawn thither, for he was soon married. But his feeble health demanding a milder climate, he set out in the Autumn with his wife to seek a southern field of labor. He walked by faith; and the Lord God directed his steps to New Bern.
I do not know the date of his arrival in this city, or of his call to this Church; but these events occurred the same Fall, or in the Winter of 1837-’8. Roanoke Presbytery held an adjourned meeting here May 4, 1838. Mr. Stratton was then received as a licentiate from West Hanover Presbytery; the call was placed in his hands and accepted, and he was ordained and installed at 3 P. M., 5th May. Rev. Samuel R. Graham, D. D., presided, and gave the charge to the Pastor; Rev. Drury Lacy preached the sermon; and Rev. W. A. Shaw, M. D., charged the people. During this meeting Rev. Solomon J. Love, of the Presbytery of Armagh, Ireland, sat as a corresponding member.
Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church Salem, N.J.
Photo of Daniel Stratton]
Mr. Stratton's pastorate continued a little over fourteen years. It was dissolved by Orange Presbytery, 28th July, 1852, when he was dismissed to the Presbytery of West Jersey. During this time Roanoke Presbytery met in New Bern, as stated; and Orange Presbytery held two sessions here, one on April 27, 1841, and the other April 6, 1848. In 1838, when Mr. Stratton was installed, the membership was eighty-one; in 1852, it was ninety-eight; and during his incumbency it had been one hundred and two. The total number of additions during his pastorate was forty-eight; the largest number received in any one year being fifteen (i. e., ten on examination, and five by certificate,) in 1838-’9. His health was exceedingly feeble. Judging from a private diary in my possession, that covers nearly two years (May, 1839 to February, 1841), and records nearly every service he held, he was very faithful, often preaching with great difficulty, and frequently compelled to omit a service.
At twenty-three years of age his head was already grey, and the appearance of age was strangely mingled with the freshness of youth. He had an exceedingly sweet expression of countenance—as seen in his excellent portrait—very gentle manners, and a manly form. His naturally lovely character was beautified and purified by grace, and mellowed by much suffering, so that he was indeed a son of consolation to all afflicted saints. Full thus of tenderness and experimental sympathy, he was truly loved by all. He was a sound preacher, with something of sameness in his sermons, which were consolatory, practical and edifying, rather than warning or reproving. Such a rich unction pervaded his discourses, that it was said in New Bern, as well as elsewhere, of him, “That man fills my ideal of the beloved disciple.” His life-ministry was eminently blessed; his very infirmities becoming an element of power, by the sympathy and attention they aroused in the hearer. One custom of his, pleasantly remembered in New Bern, was to stand on the steps by the pulpit, after the benediction, and shake hands with the congregation. The children all liked to shake his hand then, though he never said a word;
but his expressive and genial smile was the attraction and the reward. He made his Bible-class pleasant, and so far as his weakness allowed, was a model Pastor.
Mr. Stratton was called to the Presbyterian Church in Salem, N. J., 23d June, 1852, and was installed there as pastor on 14th October ensuing. His ministry continued fourteen years, until his death, on Friday morning, 24th August, 1866. He had written his fourteenth anniversary sermon, and had given notice at his services on 5th August that he would preach it on the next Sabbath. After his death it was read to the congregation on the evening of 26th August. On his death-bed Mr. Stratton “spoke of New Bern, and said that he had never received an unkind word there, but had always been treated lovingly.” Among his last expressions were, “God knows best;” “whatever God does is best;” “as thy day so shall thy strength be.” At 11 o'clock Friday night he repeated, “He has been with me in six troubles; in the seventh he will not forsake me.” Then he recited the Lord's prayer, and pronounced the apostolic benediction. His last words were, “What thou doest, do quickly.”
He enjoyed the rich consolations of the Gospel in his own soul, and his end was peace. He died almost in the midst of a glorious work of grace, in which nearly forty were added to his fold, as the Master's under shepherd. “The crown fell upon his brow almost before the armor was laid aside.”Tribute of the New Bern Church.
After the close of the war, when the New Bern Church was reorganized, the following tribute to the memory of Mr. Stratton was adopted by the session:
“Whereas, the Presbyterian Church of New Bern, N. C., has heard with profound sorrow of the death of Rev. Daniel Stratton, of Salem, N. J., who for fourteen years was their beloved and honored Pastor;
“Resolved, That while we recognize the hand of a wise and holy God, in removing him from earth to the enjoyment of that higher and nobler life beyond the grave, we feel that
death has taken from us a friend, a brother, yea, a spiritual father.
“Resolved, That we the Session of this Church hereby record our appreciation and affection for one so dearly beloved by our Church and community, for his gentle, pure, and benevolent life as a citizen; for his deep and ardent piety as a Christian; for his zeal and usefulness as an ambassador of Jesus Christ; for, by both precept and example, he exhibited and taught the divine power and priceless worth of the religion he professed, and called forth from all who knew him this endorsement, ‘Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright.’
“Resolved, That we tender to the family and friends of the deceased our heart-felt sympathy for their irreparable loss, and commend them to our Heavenly Father, who smiteth us for our eternal good.
“Resolved, That the above resolutions be spread upon our Minutes, and that a copy be sent to the family of the deceased, and that they be published in the Philadelphia Presbyterian, and in the North Carolina Presbyterian.”Explanation—Roanoke Presbytery.
In October, 1835, all that portion of Orange Presbytery lying East of the western boundary lines of Granville and Wake, and a part of Cumberland Counties, was set off into a new Presbytery, called Roanoke. In October, 1839, this ephemeral creation was dissolved, and its territory restored to Orange again. This will account for the mention of the dissolution of Dr. Lacy's pastorate, and the constitution of Mr. Stratton's by Roanoke Presbytery, while in all other cases Orange only is named.
Rev. Thomas Fraser.
After Mr. Stratton's departure in 1852, the Church was supplied for a short time by Rev. Thomas Fraser, now living in Oakland, California, without any charge. In April, 1854, the membership had fallen from ninety eight to seventy-five, of whom twelve were colored.Rev. Thomas G. Wall
Was the next Pastor. Mr. Wall, a native of Nova Scotia, graduated at Nassau Hall, Princeton, N. J., in 1848, and entered Princeton Theological Seminary. His ministry began about 1850. I have been unable to obtain his portrait and a specific sketch of his ministerial career. For a while he preached to churches in Fauquier County, Va. He came to New Bern in 1854. On December 8th, 1854, Orange Presbytery installed him Pastor of this Church. Rev. James Phillips, D. D., presided and preached the sermon. Rev. A. Wilson, D. D., charged the Pastor, and Rev. Drury Lacy, D. D., charged the people. He was received from Winchester Presbytery, Va.
In 1825, he married Miss Janet Hollister, of New Bern. In April, 1857, he made a trip with his family to Europe, and was absent until August, 1858. During this absence the Church was supplied by
Rev. Moses T. Harris,
Whose name was changed afterwards to Edward Harris. In 1858-’9 Mr. Harris was the assistant editor of the North Carolina Presbyterian. He was a very eccentric man, and amusing traditions perpetuate his oddities while here. His home was Newburyport, Mass., where he lived for some years, and recently died, old and infirm in body and mind.
After his return from Europe, Mr. Wall continued his pastorate here until the Summer of 1861. After the secession of North Carolina, and the breaking out of the late war, he returned to the North, and at the Fall Meeting of Orange Presbytery applied by letter for a dissolution of the pastoral relation with the New Bern Church. On account of the Presbytery having to wait to hear from the Church, this dissolution was not formally effected until April 10th, 1862, though the actual pastorate had ceased the previous Summer or Fall. In April, 1857, the membership was eighty-four, of whom eight were colored; in 1858 and 1859, it was seventy-five; in 1860, it was eighty. There are no statistics for 1861.
For some years Mr. Wall resided in Englewood, N. J., where he conducted a female school. He preached for some time to a Church in Tenefly, an adjoining settlement. Since 1878 he has been the Superintendent of the Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. He is about sixty-two years old.
From the Summer of 1861 until the advent of the present Pastor, the Church was without regular services, except for a few months,—after Mr. Wall's departure to the North,—when Rev. John F. Baker supplied the pulpit. He left on the fall of New Bern, 14th March, 1862. Indeed, at that time the citizens who could do so left their homes, and the congregation was practically destroyed. The Church, lecture-room and manse were all taken possession of by the United States government authorities, and used in connection with the extensive Hospital, whose wards covered the quiet and umbrageous premises. On Johnson Street, between the manse and Mr. George Allen's, stood the dead-house, on the ground of both properties, while the manse served for surgeon's quarters. In the Winter and Spring of 1865, the Church itself was fitted up as a hospital for the wounded. Mr. Thomas A. Henry, now a member of this Church, and Mr. Roswell Mills, now of Brooklyn, N. Y., were successful in preventing the proposed tearing up the pews, and in having them planked over for the beds.
At the close of the war, an effort was made by some Congregationalists here to establish their Society, as there were some preachers among them. They were granted the use of our Church, while there were no Presbyterian supplies. At the urgent request of the Session, Orange Presbytery directed several ministers to visit and preach for the New Bern Church until some permanent arrangement could be made. Under this plan, services were secured once a month by Rev. J. Henry Smith, D. D., Rev. P. H. Dalton, and other clergymen.
After long and annoying delay on the part of the civil authorities, the last hospital building was pulled down in September, 1866.
From ill-usage, destruction of fences, natural decay of property without the owner's supervision, and the usual recklessness of soldiers, the whole property, when fully recovered, was in very bad condition. Relief was sought from the Government for the long use and injury of the premises, and the petition was recommended and enforced by Hon. David Heaton, who had represented the District in Congress, was cognizant of all the facts from residing in New Bern during the troublous scenes, and was himself a member of the congregation; but the application failed.
Nothing now remained but resolutely to face the difficult situation, secure a leader as soon as possible, and gathering up every energy, with earnest prayer to the great Head of the Church for wisdom, favor and strength, proceed to rebuild the fallen walls of Jerusalem, as far and as fast as possible. Just then Mr. Emmet Cuthbert, an elder of this Church, but who had been residing in Petersburg, Va., recommended to the congregation theRev. L. C. Vass, A. M.,
Who is the present Pastor, was then a member of West Hanover Presbytery, and was called to take charge of this Church on the 28th of May, 1866. He accepted the call, subject to the action of the Presbyteries, June 9th, arrived in New Bern on Friday, July 6th, 1866, and preached his first sermon, after that acceptance, at 10 A. M., on the first Sabbath in July, in the Lecture-room.Repairs.
The Church was then undergoing repairs, which were greatly needed from long neglect and ill usage. When Mr. Vass first visited the Church by invitation on the third and fourth Sabbaths in May, 1866, three faithful and warm hearted members, viz., Mrs. Abigail B. Lewis, Miss Henrietta N. Dewy, and Miss Mary E. Jones, with many apprehensions but commendable cheerfulness and faith, began to canvass the congregation
with a subscription-paper to raise $500. This was quite an insufficient sum; but such was the pecuniary prostration of the whole community, that it was not deemed prudent to try for more. But such a hearty welcome was accorded to the earnest and popular committee, that before Mr. Vass left New Bern, the caption of the paper was changed to $750. The money was raised, repairs were begun at once upon the Church, and the Pastor elect preached in it on the second or third Sabbath after his return in July. These early labors sprung from a sanctified spirit of true self-sacrifice and love for God and his cause; and as the Church has grown, it has continued to work in this same happy Gospel spirit. God has blessed them in their labors, according to his stable promise to reward his faithful servants. Queen Elizabeth of England having desired one of her subjects to undertake a foreign mission, when he sought to excuse himself therefrom on plea of his own pressing affairs, said to him, “Do you attend to my business, and I will attend to yours.” God thus speaks to his own; seek ye first the kingdom of God: trust him, and he will always and infallibly watch and bless the obedient and the diligent.Financial Work.
An abstract of the monetary operations for a few years of this formative period will emphatically illustrate the worthy zeal of a small band of earnest Christians. In 1866, only one half of which year did the Church have a Pastor, there was raised $3,340,89. About $2000 was spent on repairs; $100 was given by resolution of the Session, “That in view of the desolate condition of our sister Church in Washington, N. C., and our sincere sympathy therewith, we will take up a collection to aid in rebuilding their burnt sanctuary;” $111, were spent on the Sabbath-school; and $160 for the poor, Presbyterial assessment, etc. At this time the furnace, at a cost of $300, and carpets and cushions, were procured.
In 1867, the amount raised was $2,406. Of this $200 went to the Assembly's committees; $706 for further repairs of the
Church, sustaining the poor, Sabbath-school, and current expenses; and the balance for the Pastor's salary.
In 1868, the income was $2,558, about $300 of which was sent to the Pastor by some friends of the work. This year nearly $500 were expended in repairs; $87 for Sabbath-school; for Missions, Education, etc., nearly $300; and the balance on the poor, current expenses, and Pastor's salary. For the first six months of 1869 the receipts were $985, which were disbursed in Pastor's salary, Sustentation, Foreign Missions, Publication, gas-fixtures and fencing.
By the close of the first three years of this pastorate, on 1st July, 1869, this exhibit shows a total contribution from the congregation of $9,252.99, or more than $3,000 a year as the average.Membership.
When Mr. Vass took charge of this congregation, there were only twenty-nine (29) communing members present. Four of these were males, viz.: Charles Slover and George Allen, ruling elders, and Alexander Miller, Sr., and Alexander Latham; the last named gentleman living in the country across the Neuse River. Fourteen more members could be counted, who were in different parts of the United States, but unlikely to return to New Bern. As previously stated, all sessional records had been lost. After a while six more names of members were discovered. It was this gallant little band that, strong in faith and hope, began to build the fallen temple of the Lord. The spirit of Lydia and Priscilla, as well as of Nehemiah, Apollos and Paul, animated them; nay, the zealous spirit of the blessed Redeemer kindled their Christian devotion.Spiritual Building.
God's Spirit was vouchsafed to this working Church, and in these three years there were added to the communion list fifty-seven (57) members, chiefly on examination and profession of
faith. Thus the register showed one hundred and six (106) names. But seven had died, and fourteen had been dismissed, so the actual membership was eighty-five (85).
The first meeting of the Session was in the Pastor's study, on the evening of Monday, August 20th, 1866. The first communion since the close of the war was administered by Mr. Vass on Sabbath morning, 11th November, 1866, when four members were received on certificate, viz.: Misses Harriet K. Slover, Elizabeth Slover, and Mary E. Jones, and Mrs. E. W. Bissell, and three on examination as to their faith in a crucified and atoning Saviour, Jesus Christ, viz.: Mrs. Mary J. Wallace, Mrs. Sarah K. Hollister and Miss Henrietta Dewey. During the whole history of the Church, the largest accession at one time was during a gracious outpouring of God's Holy Spirit, in February, March and April, 1867. Assistance was rendered the Pastor in this season of grace by Rev. J. Henry Smith, D. D., of Greensboro, N. C., and Rev. George D. Armstrong, D. D., of Norfolk, Va. On Sabbath, 7th April, thirty (30) publicly declared their love for Jesus, and for the first time came to feed on the emblems of our dear Lord's broken body and shed blood. At the same time four were also received by certificate, making the whole addition thirty-four (34). The total number received in 1867 was thirty-nine (39). In this period were baptized three adults and twenty-four children.
From the organization of the Church to 1861, there were only five years when more than from one to eight additions were made to the membership, viz.: in 1830, Mr. Osborne, Pastor, fifteen were received; in 1832, twenty-nine; and in 1833, fourteen, Mr. Hurd being supply and Mr. Osborne helping; in 1839, fifteen, Mr. Stratton, Pastor; and in 1857, twelve, Mr. Wall, pastor.
Continuing this brief review to the present, another large outpouring of the Holy Spirit occurred in 1876, when twenty-seven (27) were added on profession of their faith. The Lord has signally blessed this vine of his own planting. Yet sometimes Christian graces have been low indeed, and Zion's
ways have mourned, while few have sought the Lord. In these sad hours what can God's children do? They are called to renew their first love and their early vows, to wrestling prayer, to watchfulness and earnest work, and kindling hope. Great cause of thankfulness exists, that since this pastorate began up to the last Presbyterial Report, the total additions to the Church have been one hundred and fifty-six (156), and the number of baptisms one hundred and forty-three. After deaths and removals are deducted, the register shows one hundred and fourteen members—a larger number than ever before in the church's history. In Mr. Stratton's administration, its membership ascended to one hundred and two (102); but from 1848 it decreased, until it was only seventy-five (75) in 1853, and eighty (80) in 1860. It is also worthy of mention, that in the special services held on communion seasons, and at other times during the present pastorate, most valuable assistance has been rendered by Rev. B. F. Marable, D. D., Rev. E. M. Green, D. D., and other brethren in the North Carolina Synod. Especially does Mr. Marable live in the hearts of the people of New Bern, by reason of his genial manners, and his clear, tender and eloquent presentations of the claims of the Gospel of Christ, to the full and instant acceptance by lost sinners.Systematic Benevolence.
The annual reports to the General Assembly make manifest the liberality of this Church, as a body, in contributions to all the general operations of Christ's kingdom. Since our resuscitation, Davidson College and Union Theological Seminary, Virginia, have each had a room fitted up by this Church, and have also received contributions to their funds. A scholarship has been bought in Davidson College, giving the privilege of free tuition for a student “in perpetuo,” but it has never been used. Under a proposition made by Rev. J. Leighton Wilson, D. D., Secretary of Foreign Missions, the Sabbath-school has regularly given, besides its other offerings, $40 annually since 1867-’8 to sustain and educate a scholar in China; and according to the
records of the Foreign Mission office, this school and that of Prytania-Street Church, New Orleans, are the only ones in the whole Church which have maintained their contributions without a break to the present time. Many others have given, and some more largely, but there have been lapses. The children of the Sabbath-school, numbering seventy-five, are trained to contribute regularly in the school to the great causes represented by the committees of the Church, and to other worthy benevolencies. While they are instructed carefully in the nature of the cause before them, and taught to give on principle, there is a landable spirit of emulation among them, and many have denied themselves some gratification, or have worked diligently, that they might be able to give to the Lord. Efficient and loving effort has been devoted to accomplish this result by the two elders, who have been its Superintendents since 1865, viz., George Allen and William Hollister, the latter of whom is now in office. For the year 1885, the school raised (omitting cents) $156; and gave for the Chinese Mission School $40; Sustentation, $8; Publication, $6; Foreign Missions, $10; Invalid Fund, $11; Evangelistic, $4; Education, $6; and Thornwell Orphanage, $23; i. e., about $108 for outside benevolent work of the Church. Here is evidence of what can be done by littles, and how children can be induced to engage cheerfully in the noblest schemes of the Church by a little prayerful, persistent, and painstaking endeavor.Olden Records.
In 1813 New Bern has the first credit of a contribution, viz., $10, for Missions. In 1820 the Assembly's Minutes report $5 for Missions and $15 for Commissioners’ Fund. No Church gave more than this last sum, and few as much. In 1822, $3 Missions; $22 Commissioners’ Fund; and $50 for Princeton Theological Seminary, given by the Ladies’ Society, who in their holy zeal began thus early their noble work, and set a notable example for their daughters in succeeding generations. In 1823, $150 was given to “Education,” which probably was to make, with the preceding gift, $500 for Southern
Professorship in Princeton Theological Seminary. From this year to 1835, the contributions, so far as recorded, ranged from $2 to $38 to Commissioners’ Fund, Missions, Education, and the Theological Seminary, each, but not with regularity. In 1836, Missions received $90, and Education $110; and in 1837, Missions $130, and Education $130. From 1838-1854, $10-$17 are credited annually to Commissioners’ Fund, and $10-$65 each to Domestic and Foreign Missions, with some breaks; and $82 in two years to Education. In 1855, Domestic Missions, $68; Foreign Missions, $70, and special for Education, $700, and $154 more for the same the next year. For Domestic and Foreign Missions, each $100, in 1858; and the following year, $200 for the former, and $241 for the latter; and in 1860, $72 for the first, and $711 for the last object. All the causes were not remembered. The data for the congregational expenses are not at hand, except for 1857, when they were $1,025. The two large contributions of $700 and $711, arose partly from legacies left by Mrs. Janet Hollister, who devised $500 to each of the following societies, viz., Bible, Education, Colonization and Home Missions. Mrs. Hollister also left the interest of $1,000 annually for the Pastor of the New Bern Presbyterian Church; but this last sum was lost by the late war, as also was $1,000 bequeathed to the Church by Mrs. Lucretia Jones, at her death, August, 1860.Recent Records.
According to the official statistics of the General Assembly, the advance of this Church in its liberality and its general efficiency since the late war, with all its necessarily disorganizing and distressing results, has been both extraordinary and exemplary.
The accompanying tabular exhibit will clearly present the progress and state of the Church's financial life during this period. Much of this headway has sprung from the hearty adoption by the Church of the envelope system of contributing, which was first introduced into Orange Presbytery by the New Bern Church, and also through the thoroughly business management
of the new plan by Mr. Geo. Allen, who has been the Church's treasurer and financial factotum since 1860.Financial Summary from 1866-1886.
|Year.||Sustentation.||Evangelistic.||Invalid Fund.||For. Missions.||Education.||Publication.||Tuskaloosa Institute.||Presbyterial.||Total.||Congregational.|
The “Total” in the next to the last column indicates the whole sum given each year for general benevolent church work.
The amounts under “Congregational” embrace Pastor's salary and all other money spent.
Collections for “Tuskaloosa Institute,” for the education of a colored ministry, were only begun recently as a separate cause; hence that column is not filled up.
A new spirit, too, seemed to be infused into the membership, and they were zealous to devise liberal things. Especially have the female members exerted themselves to be forward in good works, and so have been worthy inheritors of the zeal of the early “Ladies’ Society” of 1822. All the various enterprises of the Church are remembered, as well as the Thornwell Orphanage, S. C.,
Oxford Orphan Asylum, N. C., and other casual appeals. It will be manifest from the table, that there has been a steady and reliable regularity in general work and the benevolent contributions of the Congregation as a whole. Its numbers have never been very large, neither has this city been a growing commercial centre. Yet the exhibit can be pointed at, not in any boastful or Pharisaic spirit, but with commendable thankfulness to God, and reasonable satisfaction that so much has been done by the Church in its situation. It can be hailed as a happy augury of larger future usefulness, under the stimulus of past success, and the hoped-for sunshine of increasing membership, commercial advance in our city, and richer blessings from the covenant-keeping God of our salvation. If all in any Church will do what each can do and ought to do, every organization would accomplish far more. Besides the lack of true Christian consecration, one signal impediment oftentimes is, that some who do or give nothing, or very little, argue that the Church gives too much, and sends too much away for the Lord's work, when the money ought to be spent selfishly at home. These critics forget the sin of withholding tithes from God to whom all things belong; that large annual results are due to open-handed liberality of others, who bear the burden, if burden there be, while they receive no honor from men for the grace given to them; and further, that great things can be done, as was illustrated by our Sabbath-school report, by everybody doing something, however little. Wesley's motto, “All at it, and always at it,” and the apostolic injunction to be “diligent in business, fervent in spirit, always serving the Lord,” enshrined in the heart with our Saviour's parables of the pounds and the talents, and a thankful memory of the precious blood that saves lost sinners, will hush every selfish thought, and elevate every individual and every Church into wider spheres of heavenly endeavor, and nobler and loftier aspirations after the honor and reward of a “good and faithful servant.”
Rev. Lachlan Cumming Vass, A. M.
Mr. Vass was born in Fredericksburg, Va., 20th March, 1831. His father was James Vass, a native of Forres, Scotland, and a grandson of the Laird of Sluis, belonging to the historic Highland clan of “Cumming.” His mother was Elizabeth Braine Maury, daughter of Col. Abram Maury, of the Revolutionary army, and lineal descendant of the Huguenot families of De La Fontaine and Maury, who escaped from France on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, in 1685. John De La Fontaine was a commissioned officer in the Royal military household of Francis I. of France, and of Henry II., Francis II., and Charles IX. He was a staunch Protestant. Incurring the hatred of the enemies of God and true piety, because of his exalted position as a Protestant, he with his wife and valet were brutally murdered in the night, on his paternal estate in Maine, in 1563, by armed assassins sent from the City of La Maus. His descendants suffered terrible persecutions, and found refuge in Great Britain and America. His great-grandson, Rev. James De La Fontaine, escaped from France in 1685, and his family emigrated to America; one daughter marrying another refugee Huguenot, Rev. Matthew Maury, of Castel Mauron, Gascony. Mr. Vass from his birth was dedicated by pious parents to the Gospel ministry. He was graduated from Princeton College, N. J., after two years’ study, in a class numbering eighty-three, in 1850, with the English Salutatory, or second honor; then studied law in Fredericksburg, Va.; made a profession of religion and united with the Presbyterian Church in Warrenton, Va., in 1857; was taken under charge of Winchester Presbytery as a candidate for the Gospel ministry, and went to Danville Theological Seminary, Ky., the same year; went thence to Union Theological Seminary, Va., in the Fall of 1858, and was graduated there in 1860; was received from Winchester Presbytery,
and examined and licensed as a probationer for the ministry by West Hanover Presbytery, in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday, 2d June, 1860, and went by invitation to Amherst Church, Va., as Stated Supply, on a salary of $800. At the session of West Hanover Presbytery, at Trinity Church, New Canton, Va., 22d August, 1860, a call to the Amherst Church as Pastor was accepted, and he was examined by the Presbytery at Amherst Courthouse, and ordained and installed over that Church on Friday, 19th April, 1861. He was appointed by the Confederate Government Chaplain of the Twenty-seventh Virginia Regiment of Infantry, in the Stonewall Brigade, in the Winter of 1862-’3, and joined his command in winter-quarters at Moss's Neck, near Guiney's station, below Fredericksburg, before the battle of Chancellorsville; and continued in the army until the war closed; was left with three surgeons by Gen. Early, after the battle of Monocacy, in charge of six hundred wounded Confederates in the hospital at Frederick City, Md., but returned in a few months under flag of truce to duty, and was ordered to Petersburg, Va., as Chaplain of the Post, serving in the hospitals both Federal and Confederate wounded and sick. This was only a few months before the fall of Petersburg, and the close of the war.
The pastoral relation with the Amherst Church was dissolved 15th April, 1864. After the fall of Petersburg Mr. Vass preached a short time for the Second Presbyterian Church in that city; and then for one year supplied Tabb Street Church in the same city, until June, 1866, on a salary of $1,500. During this year there were seventeen additions to the Church. He entered on his work in New Bern in July, 1866; was received from West Hanover Presbytery by Orange Presbytery at Wentworth, N. C., 6th October, 1866; accepted the call of the New Bern Church, and was installed in New Bern as Pastor, at 11 A. M., on the first Sunday in December (2d instant), 1866. Rev. J. H. Smith, D. D., preached the sermon, charged the Pastor, and proposed the constitutional questions; Rev. H. G. Hill, D. D., charged the people. The congregation was large, and deeply interested, although the services were unusually protracted. Already
this pastorate has continued nearly twenty years, and is by far the longest one in this Church's history; the next longest being that of Mr. Stratton, which was about fourteen years.
On the 9th May, 1867, Mr. Vass married Miss Mary E. Jones, daughter of Mr. Frederick J. Jones and Mrs. Hannah A. Jones, of New Bern, and granddaughter of Mr. John Jones, one of the original members of this Church. In 1877 three children of this marriage, all girls, and the eldest nearly eight years old, died at short intervals, from violent diphtheria. He has now two boys, Lachlan Cumming and Edward Smallwood, and one girl, Sadie Green.
Four times Mr. Vass has been sent by Orange Presbytery as Commissioner to the General Assemblies, meeting in Mobile, New Orleans, Little Rock and Augusta, Ga. He was a delegate from the New Bern Branch Alliance to the World's Evangelical Alliance in New York, Oct., 1873; the representative of the North Carolina Presbyterian at the Presbyterian Council in Philadelphia, Sept.-Oct., 1880; a Commissioner from the Southern Presbyterian General Assembly to the Œcumenical Presbyterian Council in Belfast, Ireland, June, 1884; and one of the representatives from the United States Evangelical Alliance to the World's Evangelical Alliance, that convened in Copenhagen, Denmark, Sept., 1884. With great liberality the Church granted him a vacation of four months, to attend the last two European Assemblies; and during the interval between the meetings, he made a tour in Great Britain, France, Switzerland, and Germany.
Mr. Vass is the Agent for Sabbath-schools in both the Presbytery of Orange and the Synod of North Carolina; and the author of a volume on “Amusements and the Christain Life, in the Primitive Church and in Our Day,” published by the Presbyterian Board of Publication, Philadelphia; and other smaller works.
Property Data.—Church Lot.
The lot No. 309 on the Plan of New Bern, and upon which the Church is built, was bought from Mr. Edward Graham, for the sum of $1200. In 1825 he executed the deed according to an agreement entered into in 1819, and the last payment of $120 was made by Charles Dewey, Treasurer of the Trustees of the Church. From the original deed the following list of the Trustees is copied, and these are probably the ones originally elected in 1818, or with few changes; viz. Elias Hawes, Edward Graham, Isaac Taylor, John Jones, William Hollister, Vine Allen, Robert Hay, Stephen M. Chester, Robert Primrose, Silvester Brown, E. C. King, and Charles Dewy.Manse.
During the incumbency of Mr. Stratton, on 21st April, 1842, the present manse was purchased from John R. Green for $1,800, and was conveyed to the Trustees, who were then as follows; William Hollister, Isaac Taylor, Robert Primrose, Robert Hay, Thomas Sparrow, Martin Stevenson, Jr., Charles Slover, Edward E. Graham, Jeremiah N. Allen, Amzi Ayers, and Richard N. Taylor.Session House.
March 12th, 1856, in Mr. Wall's time, the lot, No. 308, upon which the present Session-house, or Sabbath-school and Lecture-room stands, was bought of Wm. G. Bryan, Clerk and Master in Equity, from the estate of Edward Graham, for $905. The building was erected in 1858, and cost $1,500. Changes had taken place in the Trustees, who were then as follows: Robert Primrose, Charles Slover, Fred'k J. Jones, Edward E. Graham, Alex'r Miller, Richard N. Taylor, J. Graham Tull, Emmet Cuthbert, William G. Bryan, George F. Fisher, and Jeremiah N. Allen.
In January, 1886, the Trustees are Charles Slover, W. G. Bryan, William Hollister, George Allen, Alexander Miller, Jr., Claudius E. Foy, Ami R. Dennison, Asa Jones, John B. Lane, Samuel W. Smallwood, Daniel Stimson, Dr. John D. Clarke, David N. Kilburn, Thomas A. Henry, and Dr. George Slover.Deacons.
This church has never had a Board of Deacons until recently. It has not only held its property under the law by Trustees, but has conducted its financial affairs by the same body and the Session. The Treasurer of the Trustees has usually borne the burden of the work. Upon the reorganization of the congregation, in 1866, there was no “deacon timber;” and there was and has continued to be such demand for the most consecrated, active, and skillful business talent for the successful conduct of its general monetary operations and its benevolent work, that the Church has preferred to retain the cheerful services of one of its ruling elders, Mr. George Allen, as its Treasurer, during the past twenty-five years. Recently, however, it has been deemed best to divide out this work, and bring the Church more exactly into full accord with our scriptural form of government. So at a recent congregational meeting, a sermon having been previously preached by the Pastor on the diaconate, six worthy members were elected to the office of deacon. Three only of them accepted the election and agreed to serve, viz.: Claudius E. Foy, George N. Ives, and Alexander Miller; and on Sabbath morning, 28th March, 1886, they were duly ordained, by the laying on hands of the Parochial Presbytery, or Session, and installed into their office.Recent Renovation.
Much care has been bestowed on keeping the Church property in nice order. When extensive repairs were made, in 1866, the old, high, and close box-pulpit was removed, and a broad platform with a handsome desk and gas pillars was substituted;
and back of the pulpit a recess was made (which has recently been much improved by the addition of some handsome woodwork), and the front of the galleries was lowered. A few years ago a new roof was put on the Church, perhaps the first one since it was built. In January, 1886, the active and useful Ladies’ Working Society completed some necessary repairs, had the Church very handsomely repainted within, and also the inside walls of the Lecture-room, and the exterior of both buildings, as well as the front fence, so that the whole appearance of these buildings, and the large and beautifully shaded grounds, is very attractive. It should always be a welcomed pleasure and desirable honor to care for the Lord's house. This recent work has been done at an expense of $905, which, together with a balance of $260 due the Treasurer (total, $1,165), has been all paid, and the Church is free of debt. This is good work, and ground of thankfulness to God for his blessing on the Church's efforts. The newly-elected deacons will thus enter on their duties under most favorable auspices.
A Presbyterian Sabbath-school was conducted in the East room of the Academy before the Church was built. I cannot ascertain how early it was established; neither have I heard of any other begun before this. The name of the first Superintendent I have recovered is Mr. Martin Stevenson, in 1835. How long he had been in office then is unknown. He was followed in 1835 by Mr. Charles Slover. Other Superintendents were Messrs. R. N. Taylor,—Bogart, William Hay, George Allen, and William Hollister. The last named is at present conducting the school efficiently. Brief notes about the school from 1833-’37 on several Sabbaths show an attendance ranging up to sixty-two. The Baptists had a school of about the same size; the Methodists had one somewhat smaller; and the Episcopalians had one numbering from sixty to one hundred scholars. On Sabbath, June 16, 1833, the Presbyterian children recited the names of the books of the Old Testament; and on the next Sabbath they were to recite those of the New Testament, just as they have been recently doing.Ministers from the New Bern Church.
The following Presbyterian ministers went out from New Bern: Rev. Messrs. Lemuel D. Hatch, John Witherspoon, Monroe Allen, William Neal (or Neil), Thomas Watson, Nehemiah H. Harding, and John W. Primrose. Two of these are still living and preaching—Mr. Watson, in Dardenne, Mo.; and Mr. Primrose, in the Second Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, N. C. Dr. Harding ministered for many years most acceptably to the church in Milton, N. C.
EBENEZER PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, NEW BERN.
Ruling Elders and Deacons.
Messrs. Robert Hay and Elias Hawes were the first elders whose names have reached us. After them came John Jones, Thomas Sparrow, Allen Fitch, Martin Stevenson, Charles Slover, Richard N. Taylor, Emmet Cuthbert, George Allen, William Hollister, and John Hutchinson. The two last-named elders were ordained and installed on Sabbath, February 5th, 1871. Mr. Hutchinson is now an elder in the Wilson Church, and Messrs. Slover, Allen, and Hollister constitute the present Session of the New Bern Church. All the others have passed to the ministry above.
The present deacons—the only ones this church has ever had—are Messrs. Claudius E. Foy, George N. Ives, and Alexander Miller.Organ.
In 1854 the pipe-organ was bought for $900.Colored Presbyterian Church.
For many years the New Bern Church had colored members. Mrs. Stanly, an emancipated slave, was one of the original members. As far back as 1832 I have records of special, separate services held for them by Rev. Mr. Hurd in the Church. After the war we were still, during the present pastorate, receiving colored members, and at times separate services were conducted for them, though they attended the regular ministrations of the sanctuary. It was deemed best to attempt the organization of a distinct Colored Presbyterian Church. So the work was commenced under B. B. Palmer, a colored Licentiate of Orange Presbytery, about May, 1878. The building in which this work was conducted, until their Church was built, was that known as the Congregational School House, then standing on the corner of Johnson and Middle Streets, where now stands the residence of Mr. J. F. Ives. The Session of the New Bern Church directed the operations. On Sabbath,
November 24, 1878, a committee of Orange Presbytery, consisting of Rev. L. C. Vass, and ruling elders G. Allen and W. Hollister, finding the way clear, organized Ebenezer Colored Presbyterian Church, with eleven members, in the Congregational School House. Licentiate Palmer retired from the work in February, 1879, and was succeeded in the following May by Rev. A. A. Scott, of Yadkin Presbytery, who has continued here, and is the Pastor. Mr. Scott was born in South Carolina.
Under the leadership of Rev. L. C. Vass, through the generous aid of the First Presbyterian Church, and of many good friends in this city and in many other places; and with earnest effort by the colored congregation, a beautiful Church has been erected, at a cost of about $1,800 for Church and lot; and on November 7, 1880, it was dedicated to the worship of Almighty God. The dedication sermon was preached by Mr. Vass. Additional work has been done on the property, and it is valued at $2,500. The membership is now seventy-four. It was found best for the Church to belong to Yadkin Presbytery, and it was therefore dismissed by Orange Presbytery to Yadkin, April 13, 1881. Valuable assistance has been rendered to them by the Northern Presbyterian Church. Mr. Scott has approved himself to be an excellent, prudent and useful servant for the Master among his colored brethren, and he commands the confidence and respect of our best white citizens.
The eleven original members were John Randolph, Sr., John Randolph, Jr., Caroline Barham, Livinia Willard, George H. White, Julius Willis, Caesar Lewis, Wm. O. Randolph, Jane Coats, L. Palmer and W. W. Lawrence. Three ruling elders were elected, viz.: John Randolph, Sr., Julius Willis and George H. White.Ministers from Hanover Presbytery.
It is worthy of note that nearly every minister who has labored in New Bern came here from Hanover, or, after its division, West Hanover Presbytery, viz.: Messrs. B. H. Rice,
J. N. Campbell, S. Hurd, M. Osborne, D. Lacy, D. Stratton and L. C. Vass. Mr. Burch also came from the bounds of Hanover, when he was taken under the charge of Orange as a candidate for the ministry.Growth of Presbyterianism in Eastern North Carolina.
In the eastern and north-eastern part of North Carolina covered by Orange Presbytery, there were before 1865 only the Presbyterian Churches at Washington, organized in 1822, and at New Bern. But since that date, earnest work, under Divine blessing, has resulted in the establishment of Churches in Tarboro, Rocky Mount, Nahalah (near Scotland Neck), Wilson, Littleton, Henderson, La Grange, Croatan (below New Bern), and in the revival of Warrenton Church. Preaching is also maintained at other points, where it is hoped that at no distant day organizations will be effected. Then Wilmington Presbytery, embracing South-Eastern North Carolina, contains thirty-five Churches. So if we add to these the Churches in the Cape Fear River settlements, now in a part of Fayetteville Presbytery, then looking eastward, in the section first referred to as occupied in colonial days by those Huguenot, Scotch, German and Swiss settlers, we may now count sixty, or perhaps seventy-five, Presbyterian Churches. These embrace a large membership, that represents in character, and extensively in identical names, the original immigrants.
There is in these Churches a healthy and encouraging manifestation of aggressiveness in winning souls for Jesus, and establishing Churches, modeled, as we believe, after the apostolical example and the whole teaching of God's Word.
SUCH is the result of an earnest effort to rescue from oblivion the history of Presbyterianism in and around New Bern; to gather in compact and permanent form interesting and important facts about our city; to add to the general fund of information some things new to many, if not to all; and thus to give some light to what has been obscure, and perhaps aid some future investigator to prepare a better account.
A review of the record demonstrates the value of persevering efforts, and the power of littles. Most clearly does this appear in the development of the Church here, and in the successful use of the envelope system of finance for weak congregations.
Great emphasis is given, too, to the inestimable worth of female workers in the Church. Because of her godly zeal and consecrated liberality, this was called Mrs. Minor's Church. “Help those women which labored with me in the Gospel” was an inspired exhortation. Paul knew their courageous and successful assistance in his ministry. Our ladies’ societies, conducted in a consecrated spirit, should be fostered, and will receive honor from God.
In God's work we should never be discouraged. Prayer, faith, hope, toil, and staying force, these must be abiding and animating principles. Their uplift, outlook, and result, under the promises and guidance of that Lord who is round about Jerusalem, cannot be doubtful, inglorious, or unsatisfying. Years past have been years of mingled joy and sorrow. We have been like those early colonists who walked through the broad aisles of ancient woods. Now they travel across wide,
bright stretches of enchanting light; here is a charming softening of garish day by the trembling and whispering foliage of the majestic Gothic archways above; anon the checkered journey leads into enfolding gloom; and the mutterings of storms, with the moving of false fires on the marshes, and the fierce flashings on the darkening clouds above, kindle honest apprehensions, call for quickened exertions, and wise preparations. Their courage grew. The “eminent domain” around them prophesied a shining, unfolding future, whose happy dawn they welcomed, and whose splendid day benignantly beams upon their children. So with God's people in their checkered spiritual life and history, their shifting hopes and fears, their speechless griefs or sparkling songs. Always there is light enough to show that the great Eternal Sun is shining above. Before them is their radiant home. Home, sweet home! No Idalian bowers with thorny blooms; no dulcet chimes lulling elevating sensibilities into destructive inaction; no gleaming glories of a hasty summer solstice, to be quickly and forever blasted under the icy grasp of wintry disappointment! The faithful servant has a sure reward. Amid all the shifting scenes of a varying earthly career, in sunshine or shadow, storm or calm, apparently miserable failure or Elysian triumph, with head erect, heart firm, and girded loins, must be heeded the voice, “this is the way, walk ye in it;” and each true Knight of the Cross must chivalrously “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Thus only can be reached
- The Canaan fair, where flowers are
- That ever bloom, and shed perfume
- Fit for heaven.
- A land of bliss, unlike to this—
- For God is there, where saints repair
- To worship Him.
- Blest Church on earth! Glad place of birth
- For souls from death by holy breath
- Of God himself.
- His constant love her guard shall prove,
- And free his saints from all complaints
- Through Christ his Son.
- Then rest above prepared by love,
- With harpings sweet, and glories meet
- For pardoned men,
- Shall opened be for Zion free—
- The holy Bride;
- And we shall see our all in thee—
- Christ Crucified.
MUCH uncertainty shrouds the history of North Carolina before 1700, because of the lack of nearly all early original records among the State archives. George Chalmers, the historian, made the first search for this information in London in 1780. Notable private efforts have been made since to repair this loss. Appreciating this incompleteness, the General Assembly of North Carolina, in 1827, began efforts to recover from the British Government copies of all documents relating to the State's Colonial history. Many obstacles hindered the satisfactory accomplishment of this important enterprise, often renewed and still continued. For the past seven years our accomplished Secretary of State, Col. W. L. Saunders, has devoted his energies and archæological tastes to compiling the results of previous labors in this department, and of his own researches abroad and at home, under legislative enactment. Two volumes of these documentary records, referred to on page 26, with valuable prefaces, will soon be published. Many changes will have to be made in writing the early history of the State. I have also obtained a copy of a most valuable and exceedingly rare pamphlet, entitled “Party Tyranny; or, An Occasional Bill in Miniature, as now Practised in Carolina. De Foe. London: Printed in the year 1705.” Not having had access to a part of these documents until after the preceding pages were nearly all printed, some additional notes are necessary here, and a few errors need correction.
Page 11. Durant “stands the oldest landholder” of whose grant documentary evidence exists. The records of Perquimans County contain the deed, bearing date 1st March, 1662.
In this instrument the King of Yeopim, Kilcacenen (or Kistotanen), “had for a valeiable consideration of satisfaction received with the consent of my people sold and made over to George Durant a Parcel of land,” bearing the name “Wecocomicke,” and adjoining “the land I formily sold to Saml Pricklove.” Various documents, legislation of later date, and the first Charter of Charles II., show that earlier settlers had been holding lands under Virginia grants, or titles by purchase from the Indians. So Albemarle contained enough inhabitants to warrant the inauguration of a governor and legislature in 1664 or 1665. (Col. Rec. I., pp. ix. and 19; Carroll's Collections, Vol. II., 283.)
Page 12. “Very soon the Cape Fear settlements were securely established.” This refers to the early prosperity of the colony of 800 under Yeamans. It finally failed, according to old historians, in 1690; but later documents seem to fix its abandonment in the latter half of 1667. Still I am not certain, from the records, that there were not some settlers on the Cape Fear several years later, while Governor Yeamans was on the Ashley River. Unwise Proprietary restrictions arrested the successful development of the Cape Fear section until 1724, after which date emigration flowed freely westward. (Martin, I., 143, 294; Hawks, II., 81, 453; Col. Rec. I., x. 36, 75, 159, &c., 209, &c.; Vol. II., 528-’9; Williamson, I., 96, 118.)
Page 15. “Sale to the Crown in 1729.” According to Martin's Digest, the General Assembly at Edenton passed laws in the name of “His Excellency the Palatine, and the rest of the true and absolute Lords Proprietors of Carolina,” 27th November, 1729. The surrender of the Proprietors by bargain and sale to the Crown is thought to have taken place in December, 1728. Eventually, however, an Act of Parliament was found necessary to establish the agreement; and one was passed, in the second year of George II., appointing 29th September, 1729, as the time for the transfer. (Revised Statutes of N. C., Vol. II.) But no change in the style of enacting laws was ordered until 1730; and the first royal governor did not
assume his functions until February, 1731. More data are required to fix the precise date when the Proprietary rights ceased. (Col. Rec. II., Preface, 721, 769.)
The usual estimate of the population of North Carolina in 1729 is probably too low, according to contemporary statements. It is thought to have been 30,000.
Pages 18, 25-28. “Gov. Johnston.” Sir Nathanael Johnson (“t” generally omitted) was made Governor of South Carolina in 1703, and had power to appoint his Deputy-Governor for North Carolina. The pamphlet, “Party Tyranny,” already referred to, is the elaborate petition presented to the Parliament of England by Joseph Boone, or Boon, who had been sent over from South Carolina to secure redress of grievances. He stood in place of John Ashe, who had been commissioned for the work in 1703, and had been accompanied by Edmund Porter on behalf of North Carolina; but Ashe died in England. Among other wrongs complained of were an act passed in South Carolina—an unparalleled, barbarous, impudent, tyrannical law—by chicanery and surprise, and a majority of only one in the Commons, whereby all dissenters who would not take communion after the rites of the Church of England and subscribe the appointed oath, were excluded from the Commons House of the Assembly. Also another act was complained of that established the Church of England, laid out the parishes and appointed vestries and church taxes, and a High Commission Court of twenty laymen to try and to turn out clergymen from their charges, under certain circumstances. Boone handles Lord Granville and his supporting Lords Proprietors without mercy before the Parliament. He says that the Palatine, whose “mock title is none of his due,” is but a mountebank prince, an insolent tyrant, with an imperious and arbitrary manner—sic volo, sic jubeo!
The appeal was triumphantly sustained, and eventually the Proprietors were declared to have forfeited their charter.
I have not found any evidence that Gov. Daniel succeeded in obeying his instructions so far as to secure the passage in
North Carolina of the “Sacramental Test Act.” No text of a vestry act exists earlier than 1715, and that is less rigid than the South Carolina act of 1704. So far the statement on page 25, viz., that Daniel secured the passage of a similar law by the Albemarle Legislature, should be modified. He could not fetter these stalwart freemen that much. So he only got the church established with legal vestry and tax appendages. By the testimony of President Henderson Walker, such bills and provisions as these were hard to obtain. (Life of Caldwell, p. 63; Simms’ Hist. S. C., p. 78; Party Tyranny; Col. Rec. I., xxv. 634-640, 643, 572, 598, 690, &c., 709, 713, 769, 876; Vol. II., 127, 207, 582, 604, 624; Martin's Digest, p. 99, Taxation for New Hanover Parish in 1734; Archdale and Hewitt's accounts in Carroll's Col.)
All meetings of Dissenters must be public and subject to certain rules. (Col. Rec. II., 884; Williamson, I., 168; Martin, I., 229; Caldwell's Life, 63.)
Pages 18-21. Quakers. The dates of the quarterly meetings are given on the authority of the learned Friends, Edwin Blackburn, of Baltimore, and W. J. Hall, of Swarthmore College, Pa.
Dr. Caruthers states in his Life of Caldwell (p. 83), that an intelligent Quaker informed him that their first yearly meeting was held in Perquimans County in 1704. (Williamson, I., 81, 92.) Quakers were not allowed to testify in criminal cases, to sit on a jury, or to hold any government office of trust or profit. (Col. Rec. II., 885.)
Pages 23 and 50. Craven County here will of course be understood to be Craven in South Carolina, and not Craven Precinct, elsewhere spoken of in Bath County, North Carolina.
Page 29, at the bottom, read ministers for “minisster.”
Marriages. For “1769 or 1770,” read 1766. In 1741, at Edenton, Gabriel Johnston being Governor, an act was passed, providing that those marriages only were lawful which were celebrated by a clergyman of the Church of England, or for
want of such, by a lawful magistrate. Troubles had arisen from disregard of this disabling law; so in 1766 the General Assembly at New Bern amended the marriage act, and provided that “all marriages that have been, or shall be solemnized, before the first day of January next, by any of the Dissenting or Presbyterian clergy, in their accustomed manner, shall be, and are hereby declared to be valid, legal and effectual, to all intents and purposes, as if performed by any minister of the Church of England, under a license taken and granted according to the directions of the aforesaid act.”
“And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that from and after the first day of January next, that it shall and may be lawful for any Presbyterian minister, regularly called to any congregation in this province, to celebrate the rites of matrimony between persons, and join them together as man and wife, in their usual and accustomed manner, under the same regulations and restrictions as any lawful magistrate in this province might celebrate and solemnize the same.”
Among the provisos occurs this significant one:
“Provided always, that the minister of the Church of England serving the cure of any parish shall have the benefit of the FEE for ALL marriagesin said parish, if he do not refuse to do the service thereof, althoughany other person performed the marriage ceremony.”
In a later act for establishing an orthodox clergy, the Episcopal minister was authorized to demand the fee for a funeral service performed by a Dissenting minister in his parish! i. e., forty shillings.
In the vestry act of 1764, every person twenty-one years old, and possessing a specified estate, was required to vote for vestrymen under a penalty of twenty shillings. (Martin's & Davis's Digests, &c.)
These few extracts are sufficient to indicate the spirit of ante-revolutionary ecclesiastical legislation.
Page 35, last line, “before and soon after 1700.” This is correct about Carolina, which meant in the early records South Carolina.
Presbyterians had an organized church in Charleston in 1681-’2. But for Eastern North Carolina this clause should read “soon after 1729.” In 1732 William Gray had entered land near Heart's Creek (Fayetteville); and Foote says there were enterprising Scotch families there before him. Records held by descendants of Alexander Clark, Cumberland County, show that he came over and settled on the Cape Fear in 1736; that a “ship-load” of emigrants came with him, the passage of many of whom he paid; and that he found “a good many” Scotch settlers had preceded him, among whom were “Bluff” Hector McNeill, and John Smith with his two children, Malcolm and Janet. When, in 1739, Whitefield preached in Newton (founded about 1730 as New Liverpool, and now known as Wilmington), he observed many Scotch settlers in the congregation, and specially exhorted them to lead an exemplary life in their new homes. (Webster's Hist. of Pres. Church, I., 145; Billingsly's Life of Whitefield, p. 133; Caldwell's Life, p. 85; Foote, p. 125; and Bank's Address, p. 6; Scotch and Irish Seeds, pp. 268, 276.)
Col. W. L. Saunders says that Dugald McNeill and Col. McAlister came in 1739 with three hundred and fifty Scotch. In 1740 these Scotch settlers petitioned the Legislature for aid. On 28th February, 1740, the Legislature appointed Duncan Campbell, Dugald McNeil, Dan McNeil, Coll McAlister, and Neil McNeil, magistrates for Bladen County. They all doubtless arrived on the Cape Fear.
A collection of manuscript communications, received by the Raleigh Star in 1810 from intelligent men over the State, and deposited in the University library at Chapel Hill, prove that most of the settlers, in 1736, on McCulloh's lands in Duplin County, were Presbyterians. (Caldwell's Life, pp. 86, 94.)
These specifications appear sufficient to sustain the text.
Page 43. Rev. Samuel Stanford. I have recently obtained an old file of “The North Carolina Sentinel, New Bern, N. C.,” from April, 1831, to April, 1834. The date, 1828, given
for Mr. Stanford's death, proves incorrect from the following notice in the Sentinel, Friday, 21st June, 1833:
“At his residence in the County of Duplin, in the 71st year of his age, the Rev. SAMUEL STANFORD, late pastor of the Presbyterian Church of the Grove. Mr. Stanford, in early life, was actively engaged in the service of his country. He was a Revolutionary soldier, and appeared in action at Eutaw Springs. Not long after the close of the war, he devoted himself to the ministry of the Gospel, in the exercise of which he continued for forty years.”
Page 53. The fact that the letters patent, by which Queen Anne conferred on De Graffenried and his male heirs the right and title of a Baron of Great Britain, together with his insignia and many of his letters, are held by John De Graffenried, a lineal descendant, living in Dougherty County, Ga., is stated by S. F. Miller in his sketch of Judge C. B. Strong, in his “Bench and Bar of Georgia,” Vol. II., 278, 293. It came out in the legal investigation of the rights of his American heirs to the large property their ancestor left in Switzerland.
The Queen's agency in making him a “Landgrave of Carolina” was only indirect. That title was bestowed under their Charter by the Lords Proprietors on certain conditions, which were met by De Graffenried.
Page 55. “The Palatines.” The following are some documentary references to the “poore pallitines,” De Graffenried and the Indian Massacre, in the “Colonial Records,” Vol. I., 707, 717-737, 756, 775, 784, 791, 808, 810, 815, 825-834, 850, 890, 905, 986; Vol. II., 147.
Page 59, second line, read “whole” for “wole.”
The coarseness of their bread, from lack of mills to furnish good flour, and the abundance of hogs, from the plenty of corn and lack of transportation, gave rise to the expressive phrase “hog and hominy,” descriptive of coarse but substantial living.
Page 71, bottom. “Taxable.” The law in 1715 reads, “And It Is Hereby Enacted that all males not being slaves in this Government shall be Tythable at the age of sixteen years and all slaves male or Female either Imported or born in the County shall be Tythable at the age of twelve years.” (Col. Rec. II., 889.)
Page 78. Episcopal Clergy. It is possible that Messrs. Earle and Burgess also remained in the State; though Burgess may have gone to Southampton, Va. Micklejohn was a Tory. So an intelligent Episcopal friend, who has kindly examined my summary, writes me. (See also Caldwell's Life, 181.)
Page 139. Chapel Hill. Early in this century the Presbyterian Church probably had some sort of organization, under Drs. Caldwell and Chapman, at this place; but the minutes are lost.
Page 164. Fourth line from the bottom, read “1855” instead of “1825.”
AMUSEMENTS AND THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
By Rev. L. C. Vass, A. M., New Bern, N. C.
Presbyterian Board of Publication, Philadelphia, Pa.
Price, 50 Cents.
The aim of this book is to illustrate great principles by the light of early history for practical effect. Part First discusses the relations of Christians of the first three centuries to popular amusements in their day. Part Second presents the principles which must decide what are not lawful Christian amusements?RECENT CRITICISMS.
Principal J. Cairns, D. D., LL. D., Edingburgh, Scotland: “It displays more than ordinary research in regard to the relation of the primitive Christians to the amusements of their age, and pleads earnestly and successfully for the cultivation of the same unworldly spirit in our own times. The clearness and grace of the style, and the general soundness and solidity of the matter, recommend this little work to wide consideration.”
Rev. A. W. Miller, D. D., Charlotte, N. C.: “It is excellent and timely.”
Rev. Joseph R. Wilson, D. D., Prof. S. W. Presbyterian University: “No one who begins its perusal will lay it down until he has finished it to the last word. . . . . The author's treatment of his difficult and worn subject is as notably original as his turns of expression are takingly fresh, carrying the reader along whether or no. This little work presents the whole discussion in a manner not more fair than convincing—so convincing, indeed, because so fair.”
Rev. J. Rumple, D. D., Salisbury, N. C.: “Mr. Vass deserves great credit for getting up and arranging this material in such a faithful and interesting manner. I heartily commend it.”
Rev. J. M. Atkinson, D. D., Raleigh, N. C.: “It is creditable to the writer, to his Church, and to the State. It is remarkably comprehensive and thorough.”
Rev. H. G. Hill. D. D., Fayetteville, N. C.: “In statement it is clear, in arrangement happy, in argument convincing, in style polished, and in its influence upon religion and morals tends toward purity and progress.”
Rev. Jno. N. Waddell, D. D., LL. D., Chancellor of the South Western Presbyterian University, Clarksville, Tenn.: “The author has adopted a novel method of treating this hackneyed subject. The judicious and appropriate selections of illustrations of the opinions and practices of the Primitive Church, which is found in this historical sketch, cannot be too highly commended. The style also in which the book is written is clear and attractive, and the entire volume is one that will repay a diligent perusal.”
Rev. R. L. Dabney, D. D., LL. D., Professor in the University of Texas: “The picture of the Primitive Christian life is very engaging and just. I wish we had such a standard of morals among our church-members now.”FROM JOURNALS.
Christian Advocate (Methodist), Raleigh, N. C.: “We need just such literature in the hands of old and young. . . . We commend most earnestly this valuable little book to our readers. It is undenominational and practical.”
Biblical Recorder (Baptist), Raleigh, N. C.: “We heartily endorse the book, and commend it to our readers. There never was a time when a book of this kind was more needed.”
Morning Star, Wilmington, N. C.: “This is a thoughtful, scholarly essay upon a very important subject.”
Cumberland Presbyterian, Nashville, Tenn.: “The little book will no doubt aid many a pastor in dealing with this perplexing and ever recurring problem.”
Christian Observer, Louisville, Ky.: “It is both interesting and forcible.”
Central Presbyterian, Va.: “We earnestly commend the work to all Christians, and should like to see it in every Christian family.”
Philadelphia Presbyterian: “A discussion of a question of vital interest to every sincere Christian.”
North Carolina Presbyterian: “The appeal is indeed tenderly and logically presented to every one's sense of right.”
South Western Presbyterian, New Orleans, La.: “A calm, serious, carefully prepared and well considered discussion of an interesting topic.”
Earnest Worker, Richmond, Va.: “The subject very ably and clearly discussed. . . . . . We are sure this book will be welcomed, and we trust it may have a wide circulation among our people.”
The Signal Magazine, Edinburgh, Scotland: “Very valuable little treatise.”
Presbyterian Review, N. Y.: “This little volume gives first an animated and trustworthy account of popular amusements in the primitive period, and the attitude of the Church towards them, and then discusses the amusements of our own day, and the principles upon which they should be either accepted or rejected. The tone of the book is elevated and spiritual, and the author has done a good work in presenting the truth clearly, yet without bitterness or extravagance.”
Price, 50 cents, post paid, by the Presbyterian Committee of Publication, Richmond, Va., or by
Rev. L. C. Vass, A. M., New Bern, N. C.