CHARLES CROSSFIELD WARE
CHARLES CROSSFIELD WARE
|Albemarle Union||2||Mt. Olive||55|
|Albemarle||7||Mt. Pleasant (Hyde)||57|
|Athens Chapel||8||Mt. Pleasant (Pitt)||58|
|Beaver Dam||12||New Lake||60|
|Cabin Swamp||20||Pamlico Chapel||66|
|Cross Landing||26||Pleasant Grove||72|
|Elizabeth Chapel||28||Popular Chapel||76|
|Elizabeth City||29||Powell's Point||78|
|Everetts||33||St. Clairs Creek||82|
|Gum Neck||41||Swan Quarter||88|
|Haw Branch||44||Terra Ceia||91|
|Holly Neck||44||Tranters Creek||91|
|Hunters Bridge||45||Union Grove||93|
|Long Acre Chapel||50||West Belhaven||98|
|Maple Grove||53||Zions Chapel||102|
By CHARLES CROSSFIELD WARE
Box 1164, Wilson, N. C., October 1, 1961.FOREWORD
The Albemarle Christian Missionary Union is a regional component of The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention. Its geography is that of the State's northeastern sector of ten coastal counties, of which six are contiguously south of the Albemarle Sound, having 60 churches of this faith, and the other four counties are “over the Sound,” with the remaining six churches. Lavishly provided with sounds, bays, lakes, and rivers, it is a land of “much water.”
This Union met at Robersonville, October 5, 1960, and at Plymouth, January 11, 1961. At these meetings, after deliberate discussion of the request which came from their Publication Committee, I was asked to prepare this monograph. Accordingly there is hereby sketched concisely the Union and its 66 churches. My sources for the prolonged research involved are in the enriched Carolina Discipliana Library, a specialized collection within the Atlantic Christian College Library. Regrettably the precise pastoral tenures before 1911 are but sparsely given in the aforementioned sources. Also the State Convention Minutes do not record delegates’ names after 1889.
This particular Union creation is to-day's authorized adaptation of preceding Unions, the first known of which was The Union Meeting of Disciples of Christ in North Carolina, then First District Missionary Cooperation, Pungo, Old Ford, Albemarle, Northeast, Hyde, and Roanoke. It is well known among Disciples that a majority of these 66 churches herein sketched do not organizationally affiliate today with this Union. That is a technical point. Historically however, they are all ineluctably of one fellowship. This is because that in every instance, as shown herein, they were joined initially with The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, or its proper antecedents. And are yet joined herewith in an inexplicably inclusive sense. The bonds of Christian love are transcendental and abide forever.
Trusting that readers may kindly forbear, I append this personal note and apostrophe. At the age of thirteen I was baptized by one of these Albemarle preachers. Within the same month I made my first speech to a church assembly. Its subject, Christian missions and its twin, Christian education. From that day to this, meditations on that message have made for me a springboard. Putting it to work now is but an extension of my heart and life.
Oh you beloved founding fathers of the Albemarle Disciples! Come now from the long ago and speak to us. Give us your impassioned witness again in behalf of united Christian missionary cooperation, which gave our growing movement an effective functional outreach. By the Spirit Eternal may we hear you! Under God may we heed you!
ALBEMARLE CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY UNION
An important sector of the institutional life of North Carolina Disciples of Christ has been represented for 127 years in the Albemarle Christian Missionary Union and its duly appointed predecessors. Within its area was heard the first proclamation, as of record, to a local church assembly of the “Plea” of the Disciples of Christ. It was at Grindle Creek Church the site of which is to-day in the southern fringe of Pactolus. It was by General William Clark in the summer of 1832. This church had started in 1828, a member of the Kehukee Association, but with 83 members had united with the more tolerant Neuse Association in 1832 before its belated expulsion from the Kehukee in 1833. It sent two delegates, B. F. Eborn, and General Clark to the initial organization of the State's Disciples at Little Sister, March 28-30, 1834. The leaderless Grindle Creek Disciples, disappeared as a church group, after General Clark's emigration to Jackson, Mississippi.
Scattered Disciples maintained fellowship through their Union Meeting set up in 1834, four of their original six churches being in the Albemarle area. A merger was effected on May 2, 1845, with the Bethel Conference, when 11 of the 30 churches in the united group had Albemarle location. These 11 enrolled 558 of the entire State group of 1859 members registered in the year of the merger. When J. T. Walsh came to the State in 1852 he had successfully urged a better organization of the 37 churches then existing, of which 10 were north of Tar River; 15 were between the Tar and the Neuse; and 12 south of the Neuse. These river boundaries served as a natural criteria for an improved, expedited fellowship. It worked. These subdivisions long had a variety of names but were often referred to as First, Second, and Third Districts, counting from north to south.
J. T. Walsh, editor of the Disciples’ first paper originating within the State, was first sustained as an evangelist, by a cooperation of churches, projected mainly from Hookerton, Kinston, Rountree, and Oak Grove in Greene. He yearned for the practical extension of such evangelism in like groups throughout the field. In his Christian Friend, of December, 1853, he suggested: “The Churches in Beaufort County with others in Martin and Washington Counties might form another meeting to be called The Beaufort Cooperation. These churches we judge could support one evangelist in their midst.” In pursuance of this thought a call went out for delegates to attend at Athens Chapel, then known as Union Chapel, on July 28-30, 1854. It was to lay ground work for fellowship meetings on forthcoming fifth Sunday week-ends. Names of participating churches at this gathering are not given, except three new ones, Pungo Chapel, Christian Hope, and Free Union. A promotional visitation was scheduled for 10 churches to be done opportunely by their four leading evangelists: Seth H. Tyson, John M. Gurganus, H. D. Cason, and John A. Leggett. Their aim was to have an informed constituency in the support of area evangelism.
Their next meeting was at Pantego, December 29-31, 1854. There was heavy snowfall on the first day; but it was clear, on the 30th, when five churches were represented, namely: Free Union, Pantego, Pungo Chapel, Shiloh, and Taylor's Chapel. Seth H. Tyson “preached the introductory sermon from ROM. 10:14, clearly showing therefrom the necessity of evangelical labor among the destitute.”
This First District after setting things in order employed A. J. Battle as their first evangelist, serving 1854-’55. Meeting at Taylor's Chapel, with six churches represented, July 27-29, 1855, Battle's report was heard. He
had traveled 875 miles, preached 70 times, baptized 14 persons, visited 54 families, and had received for compensation, $49.45, of which $34.85 was from the Union proper. On the Sunday of this occasion, Battle preached “a missionary sermon to a large and attentive congregation.”
Next was the gathering at Old Ford, September 28-30, 1855. Nine churches were represented. A revival at the host church continued until October 6, with 28 baptisms. This inspired local pastor John A. Leggett to say: “This was a Union Meeting indeed.”
Following was their December meeting at Free Union in which 12 churches pledged a total of $193.40 to sustain evangelist Battle for another year. The reporting clerk added: “This sum being insufficient to pay our evangelist, it is earnestly requested that the churches increase their subscription.” The 12 churches participating were: Athens Chapel, Christian Hope, Free Union, Long Acre Chapel, Oak Grove, Old Ford, Pantego, Pungo Chapel, Scranton, Shiloh, Taylor's Chapel, and Union Grove.
The cooperation grew to 16 churches by June 27-29, 1856, when they met at Tranter's Creek, with total offerings, $55.60. Seth H. Tyson their evangelist reported traveling 1258 miles, baptizing 51 persons, and constituting three new churches. “All of which was received with gratification that our little effort to advance the kingdom of Christ was not in vain.”
Meeting at Pantego in August, 1856, H. D. Cason was named as their evangelist for the ensuing year. Tyson, outgoing evangelist, reported that during the quarter he had “preached 68 sermons, and immersed 26 persons;” compensation, $72.76.
Stymied by the great war, no Union activities were publicized for the 1860's. In the next decade, Stanley Ayers, freed from army service was their evangelist. In June, 1873, at the Long Acre Chapel Union he reported travel for 42 days baptizing 19, and he had received for his labor, $41.55, all from 8 churches and 6 individuals. When they met at Zion's Chapel in April, 1877, an evangelizing committee, (executive board), functioned. Their names: R. T. Hodges, J. R. Roberson, Jordan Wilkinson, Jesse H. Woolard, G. W. Allen, Levi Jackson, Jr., James H. Grimes, T. J. Basnight, H. H. Bowen, J. W. Hassell, W. H. Wilson, E. T. Woolard. John R. Winfield was their evangelist, who was paid $54 for the quarter.
At the Athens Chapel Union, December, 1877, J. L. Burns attended and gave this realistic account: “But few preachers were present; number of delegates small. Nothing done for evangelizing the next quarter. If no more zeal is manifested in the next meeting, all efforts for Mission Work in the 1st District will soon die out. I have found very little encouragement among our brethren for Mission Work.” In October, 1881, the meeting was at Albemarle church. Eight churches responded, contributing $31 to help in sustaining H. S. Gurganus as their evangelist. Next year, pastor John R. Winfield reported: “We have organized Sisters Missions in all of the churches I serve, and I never saw a class of Christians more in earnest. They are full of faith and are raising funds for the spread of the truth in every part of the country.”
When it met at Oak Grove in April, 1882, Gideon Allen queried: “What is the purpose of this Union Meeting?” No answer was given then. Later, J. R. Roberson of Oak Grove, a faithful District leader of long standing, replied in writing, as herewith briefed:
The object primarily was to meet in general union for hearty handshake; that love, peace, and happy feelings might prevail; to promote
well-organized Lord's Day Schools; to extend the gospel to needy sections; to hear preaching; to observe the Lord's Supper and be spiritually renewed; and to raise money for evangelical purposes. We sent the first preacher to Robersonville; the first to Hassell; the first to parts of Washington, Tyrrell, and Perquimans Counties. The result of these sendings are churches at Robersonville, Hassell, three or four in Tyrrell, and one in Perquimans County. I suppose that the number of members added is not less than 500 in and by this First District Cooperation.
A few years later a change of strategy was indicated by H. C. Bowen's remark: “The Unions make a specialty of building houses of worship at mission points.”
The Robersonville Union, April, 1883, adopted a set of resolutions presented by their Committee on Resolutions. Its personnel serving by appointment: Henry Winfield, J. A. B. Cooper, H. H. Davis. Two of these resolutions stated:
3rd. Its purpose shall be to work up and bring out the missionary spirit of our people by constant preaching on the subject and in every way presenting to them the importance of the work.
4th. The first object shall be to preach the gospel and assist in erecting houses of worship at such places as we may hereafter deem expedient.
To the Disciples’ State Convention from the beginning was entrusted the prerogative of proper allocation of the churches in the various districts. Thus in 1885 the Convention projected seven districts with respective assignments of the churches, as follows: Mill Creek, 5; Jones-Onslow, 12; Hookerton, 15; Pamlico, 15; Pungo, 13; Old Ford, 14; Albemarle, 17; total, 91 churches in the seven districts. The Convention's Districting Committee: H. D. Harper, H. C. Bowen, I. L. Chestnutt, J. L. Burns, and J. L. Winfield. At the Rountree State Convention, 1885, it was adopted and embodied in the official Minutes thereof.
The three districts, Albemarle, Old Ford, and Pungo enrolled a total of 44 churches in 10 counties as follows: Beaufort, 11; Currituck, 1; Dare, 2; Edgecombe, 1; Hyde, 7; Martin, 8; Perquimans, 1; Pitt, 2; Tyrrell, 4; Washington, 7. In the inclusive Albemarle area of to-day the 66 churches in 10 counties sketched herewith are located as follows: Beaufort, 19; Chowan, 1; Currituck, 2; Hyde, 10; Martin, 14; Pasquotank, 1; Perquimans, 2; Pitt, 3; Tyrrell, 6; Washington, 8.
The Albemarle Union met at Phillippi May 27-29, 1887. Seven churches reported; contributions $69.96. W. O. Winfield and Dennis Wrighter Davis were employed to evangelize in Perquimans County, each to receive $1.50 per day from the Union. Personnel of the Union's executive board: Rufus Swain, T. J. Basnight, J. F. Davenport, D. N. Berry, W. J. Bowen. The Old Ford Union met at Christian Chapel in July, 1887. It was reported: “Enough in pledges was procured to ensure the purchasing of a site on which to build a church in the town of Williamston.” Later this Union assisted also with more than $400 cash on Williamston's initial plant.
It developed 1885 to 1891 that a merger of Albemarle and Old Ford Unions was desirable. After due deliberation in 1891 the change was effected under the new name of Roanoke Union, which held its first session bearing that designation at Old Ford on November 28, 29, 1891. At this meeting the Washington mission was admitted and henceforth for a crucial period received material aid from the Union for that highly important point.
The Hyde Union developed slowly in effective organization, having but 4 cooperative churches in 1899. In April of that year the Hyde Union adopted constitution and by-laws drafted by their committee: J. Montier Hall, chairman, George W. Harris, and J. W. Respess. Its third article stated that each component church must be from “within the limits of the district as now laid down by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, subject to any change the said Convention may in its wisdom see fit to make.” The Roanoke Union over a long period helped Plymouth effectually with its building and met there to celebrate mutually the victory on September 28-30, 1900. The following June, Roanoke's session was at Poplar Chapel; subject of president P. S. Swains’ address: “The Need of Cooperation.” Said professor R. J. Peel, the clerk, “It was a strong argument and should be heeded by the churches of the Roanoke District”. Swain's letter of April 29, 1901, gives an insight into Roanoke realities. He said:
“It is a sad fact that nearly all of our churches are neglecting our Union Meetings. In the Roanoke nearly half of the churches send neither report nor delegates. There are 30 churches in this Union, and we ought to raise not less than $100 each Union, but as it is it takes us a year to raise the above amount.”
Atlantic Christian College opened in Wilson in September, 1902. Its rooms needed proper furnishing. As of record these five Roanoke churches each outfitted a room there: Athens Chapel, Jamesville, Plymouth, Scuppernong, Washington. At the Macedonia Union in August, 1902, a free-will offering of $22.16 went to relieve the veteran preacher, A. C. Hart.
For many years it was the usual practice at sessions of the Roanoke to share generous time on programs with the organized Woman's Missionary Work. Thus at the Zion Chapel Union, May 28, 1910, John F. Latham, president; T. R. Tyer, secretary, the afternoon session “was turned over to the C.W.B.M., Sister Fred P. Latham, presiding”. In 1915 there were 12 Auxiliaries (C.W.B.M.) in the Albemarle area, namely: Belhaven, Fairfield, Gospel Light, Macedonia, Mt. Olive, Mt. Pleasant, (Pitt), Oak Grove, Pantego, Poplar Chapel, Union Grove, Washington, Zion's Chapel. These had increased to 14 in 1934, with 55 subscribers to World Call, and total annual offerings to United Christian Missionary Society, $959.39. At the Hyde Union at Scranton, June 30, 1935, the “Missionary women of the District had charge of the afternoon session with the topic, State Missions.”
Throughout 1944 and 1945, the Roanoke's fifth-Sunday-week-end sessions were held in sequence at Plymouth, Mt. Pleasant, (Pitt), Phillippi, Union Grove, Berea, Fairview, Columbia, and Pinetown. From their start several decades before this there had been invariably an open forum for such presentations of the brotherhood's missionary program at home and abroad as was generally felt to be expedient, sponsored always by the established state services. Yet in the meetings above cited, the drift of exclusiveness toward such programing reached an extreme toward both personnel and policy. This came to the attention of the State Board of Managers through the unanimously filed petition of a voluntary Steering Committee within the Roanoke Union dated November 19, 1945, which asked for a new designation of the area as the Albemarle Christian Missionary Union, “the whole being in cooperation with The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention.” This was unanimously granted by the Board on November 27, 1945. It accorded with Article 12 of the Constitution of The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, which plainly provided: “The Convention may divide
the State into districts, to be known as Union Meeting districts.” This polity of Article 12 had been explicitly in effect since 1885, but had been implicit and activated long before in the 1850's when the river-oriented First, Second, and Third Districts functioned.
Obviously a goodly portion of the area's membership had the cooperative missionary heart for brotherhood activities. Specific offerings for State Missions were freely made by 27 churches in the area in 1945, last year of World War II. Henceforth in the Albemarle there was to be a brotherhood-related forum at each session for the constructive handling of all loyal cooperative programs and projects “which can best be handled in a district capacity”.
The first meeting of the restored Albemarle was held at the First Christian Church, Robersonville, on January 6, 1946. “The attendance was gratifying; the fellowship was enriching; a common mind for the best constructive work was evident.” First officers elected were: president, John L. Goff; vice president, M. Elmore Turner; secretary, Gladys Whitley; treasurer, Delbert M. Sawyer. With these four, five additional persons were elected to complete the exetcutive board, namely: J. M. Perry, F. A. Lilley, J. Walter Lollis, E. L. Roebuck, Mrs. R. N. Cooper.
Quarterly one-day meetings for the Union were set for January, April, June, and October. After their next gathering which was at Washington in April, 1946, it was said: “The Albemarle has gotten off to an excellent start.” At the Belhaven Union January 7, 1948, Ivan Adams was ordained to the ministry. Cecil A. Jarman preached the sermon. Meeting at Williamston, January 5, 1949, it gave $500 cash to help sustain the new state evangelist, C. W. Riggs. There began a historical feature continued in successive programs by informed speakers. These were concise sketches orally delivered on the following churches: Athens Chapel, Belhaven, Columbia, Hassell, Macedonia, Williamston, and others. These stirred heart-felt memories and were edifying.
The 18th session of the Albemarle at Robersonville, April 5, 1950, might be considered typical. Attending were 222 persons representing 25 churches; offerings, $187.22; gift from its treasury, $300 to furnish a room at the new Harper Hall, in Wilson. At its 25th session at Belhaven January 4, 1952, the group's picture was made and published. It was then said: “Albemarle Union has taken deep root with a growing constituency. It yearns to be as the Hounds of Heaven seeking always the best there is to be found and rounded up in the bonds of Christian brotherhood.” At the April meeting, 1952, $50 was given to the building fund of the Goldsboro Christian Institute, and in the October meeting that year, $200 was given to Camp Caroline, later increased to $500. Altogether from Albemarle sources, $13,031.04 was given to this Camp to June 30, 1954. Sources in the area had also given to the “Crusade for a Christian World”, 1947-1951, a total of $38,539.78.
For the year ending June 30, 1960, a total of $10,235 was given to Unified Promotion in Christian Churches, (Disciples of Christ), by Christian Woman's Fellowship remittances, alone, in the following 18 churches of the Albemarle area: Bath, Belhaven, Columbia, Elizabeth City, Engelhard, Everetts, Gold Point, Hassell, Jamesville, Middleton, Mt. Pleasant, (Pitt), Oak City, Pantego, Plymouth, Robersonville, Stokes, Washington, Williamston.
Total church membership in the 66 churches of the Albemarle Christian Missionary Union is reportedly 12,478.
North Carolina's first parliamentary name is Albemarle. As their first governmental unit it has unique meaning. Near the present Elizabeth City for their initial lawmaking, the “Grand Assembly of Albemarle,” met on February 6, 1665. As our Colonial Records state, (Vol. 4, 1200), it was “called . . Albemarle from the Duke of that name.” This person was George Monck, (1608-1670), First Duke of Albemarle, one of the eight regally appointed Lord Proprietors of Carolina. On the Colony's earliest seal is “the word ALBEMARLE in capital letters between the Coats of Arms of these Lord Proprietors. This was Albemarle of 300 years ago, “(the whole Province of North Carolina being so called at that time)”, Col. Rec., Vol. 3, 321.
Earliest of Tyrrell County's Christian Churches, (Disciples of Christ), is Albemarle, enrolled by the Disciples’ Annual State Meeting, October 8, 1871. It then had 21 members. Joseph Grey Gurganus (1850-1882), together with his father, John M., (1802-1876), and his brother, Henry Smith, (1825-1911), were the Evangelizing co-founders of Albemarle. The church is named for the near-by Sound, which is said to be the largest body of coastal fresh water in the world. Site of the church is a few miles northwest of Travis, a village on the arterial U. S. Highway, 64.
Albemarle's church clerk from 1877 to 1889 was Edmond Walker. Representing them occasionally in the Disciples’ Annual State Meetings was Fred M. Davenport who was later a revered, active Disciple at Plymouth. Their church school in 1901 enrolled 80, inclusive of 10 officers and teachers; W. W. Sawyer, superintendent. Some later superintendents: J. D. Furlaugh, 1911; J. L. Walker, 1915, enrolling 100. Their C. W. B. M. Auxiliary in 1911 had 8 members, contributing that year 80 cents to the General Fund and 40 cents to the State Fund. Their church property valuation in 1901 was $800; in 1930, $1500.
Their local church correspondent, W. B. Brickhouse reported in May, 1882:
The condition of the church here is very prosperous, more so than for a long time. We have Sunday School every Lord's Day; 50 students and 8 teachers. We have books sufficient for our present use. There is considerable animation. Our constant prayer meetings tend to make us God-loving people. We look for a large ingathering from the seed sown from house to house. Bro. Joe Grey Gurganus preaches for us. He is dearly beloved by all the congregation, and his visits are hailed with the greatest joy.
Gurganus was baptized by John Bunyan Respess, enrolled by the Disciples’ State Meeting in 1870 at Oak Grove, and was ordained by John James Coltrain in 1872. Henry Winfield said that Gurganus had “an unequalled amount of vital energy and patient devotion to the arduous labors of the ministry,” and was “amiable, generous, and kind, a Peter in impulsive zeal, a John in meek and persuasive bearing, and at times a Son of Thunder.” His death at the early age of 32 was an irreparable loss to Christian leadership in an isolated field.
W. G. Johnston, Kinston pastor, held their revival, September 9-17, 1902, with 12 additions, and reported:
Under Bro. Peter S. Swain's pastoral guidance the church has grown each year, and the outlook for a strong church is very bright. The Walker family have been the backbone of the work. They deserve much credit, as also do many others for faithfully adhering to the faith during trials and numerous discouragements.
In 1923, Louis A. Mayo held their revival, July 30-August 6, with 8 additions. Cumber Radcliffe, then clerk of the church, said: “Bro. Mayo held us a fine meeting; everybody attending was revived with the Gospel message of Christ. Our church is in good working condition. We hope the spirit of Christ will continue here”.
Hilary T. Bowen, pastor there in 1924, commented:
Brother Walter Owen has recently beautified the interior of the church by buying pulpit furniture and building a choir loft. The Ladies’ Aid put a new top on the church, and the church as a whole bought a fine new Delco light plant. The total cost, about $800. Mrs. Emiline Godfrey gave us a $50 individual communion set. I am preaching Christian education and missions with Christ as center of it all. I have had many kinds of results, but none so far for education and missions. I hope Albemarle will wake up before it is too late.
Again 8 were added when J. W. Lollis held their revival August 2-8, 1925. M. G. Darden of Plymouth led the revival singing and said: “The work at Albemarle is in fine shape, a long way above average; fine plant, well equipped with electric lights, class rooms, and choir loft.”
While pastor H. T. Bowen attended the Student Volunteer Convention at Detroit, Michigan, J. Watson Shockley supplied the Albemarle pulpit, and gave this account in February, 1928:
The church is an old building having been constructed during the time of slavery when provision was made for the slaves to attend worship in the balcony at rear of auditorium. The balcony serves church school purposes as it is partitioned with beaver boards, giving four large class rooms occupied by well organized classes. Other classes meet in auditorium and on pulpit platform which extends clear across the building. They have a good choir and they know how to sing. In its membership are some of the finest in the land; the genial Owens family; the Walkers; the Furlaughs; the Armstrongs, and a host of others.
Membership at Albemarle is reportedly 70.
Roll of Ministers at Albemarle.
|1881, 1882||J. G. Gurganus||1923||S. T. Smith|
|1883, 1888, 1926||W. O. Winfield||1924, 1928||H. T. Bowen|
|1884||T. W. Whitley||1925||George A. Moore|
|1896-1902||P. S. Swain||1927||J. J. Langston|
|1909||R. L. Philpott||1929-1937||Roy O. Respess|
|1911, 1912||J. R. Tingle||1938-1943||L. B. Bennett|
|1914, 1916||W. H. Marler||1944, 1945||Perry F. Baldwin|
|1915||C. E. Lee||1946||Lloyd Crowe|
|1917-1919, 1922||J. C. Coggins||1947||G. C. Bland|
|1920, 1921||J. T. Moore|
It was founded 111 years ago. Seth H. Tyson, and John Bunyan Respess, aged 20, were its first preachers. It is located two miles west of Bath. Having a membership of 9, it was enrolled by “Conference” agreement on October 17, 1850, by the Disciples’ annual state meeting. By 1856 the membership had grown to 79. Its name was Union Chapel until 1891 when it was changed to Athens Chapel. Their primitive preaching was but once in three months on second Sunday week-ends in September, December, March, and June.
It had long and honorable supporting association with the Disciples’ State Convention. During 1850 to 1889 25 of its best men represented it there well and faithfully. These were: Sam V. Oden, Horace Cutler, Eli K. Powell, John B. Respess, G. W. Oden, John Archibald, Henry O. Cutler, John Carrow, John Holmes, L. W. Downs, C. J. Cutler, W. C. Everett, N. C. Cutler, A. O. Windley, J. W. Latham, W. Latham, H. T. Whitley, Hayward Bateman, C. L. Davis, W. R. Tetterton, F. P. Whitley, N. A. Whitley, S. A. Cutler, Charles F. Oden, John F. Latham. First clerks were: G. W. Oden, (1878); H. H. Oden, (1887). Their church school began in 1891, enrolling 95; G. T. Tyson, superintendent; W. C. Oden, secretary. The next year it enrolled 105, inclusive of 5 teachers; S. A. Cutler, superintendent; J. T. Elliott, secretary. Their church property valuation in 1901 was $1,200; in 1927, $2,500.
Amos Johnston Battle, (1805-1870), pioneer itinerant evangelist, held early revivals there. Reporting to The Christian Friend, on November 10, 1855, Battle said:
Eighteen months ago the church at Union Chapel numbered fourteen members. I held a meeting with them the first week in August, 1854, and another which has just closed; and they now number sixty-seven, and the prospect is very encouraging for continued additions. Elder Tyson has regularly attended them as their minister. The first meeting awakened a desire for a more commodious house to worship in; and last June a subscription was started jointly by our brethren and members of the Episcopal church; and it was all in readiness for us. The house is 36 by 46, with six glass windows, two front doors, and three rows of seats with comfortable backs; and all constructed for the very small sum of $300. This is a free house it is true, but no other could have been built at this time, and it is very creditable to the neighborhood, and especially to those who had the management of it.
Pastor Seth H. Tyson attributed the success of these meetings to the “providence of God, envangelist Battle's faithful, eloquent discourses, and Christian zeal.” Further he said: “Now the prospects at that place are flattering.”
W. O. Winfield lived at Bath, and ministered several years at Athens Chapel. John T. Elliott was a leading layman there and loved his brotherhood-related agencies. Invariably he reminded his pastor to observe the days for special offerings, giving generously himself to set an example. To the Atlantic Christian College debt-retirement campaign, 1907-1911, he gave $500, a sizeable personal gift for that day. John F. Latham was another outstanding layman of this local church, serving a long and active term as a trustee of the College at Wilson; also T. R. Tyer, was a worthy member of the State Missions executive board.
Pastor Winfield was ever warm to these “outreach” causes also. In June, 1899, he said: “May God make us brave to open our mouths wide on the subject of State Missions, thus opening the hearts of those able to give. Again I say let us have a rally all along the line, and hurrah for State Missions.”
Ben H. Melton, state secretary, in March, 1901, reported that Athens Chapel, Saints Delight, and Albemarle had each exceeded already the yearly apportionments for State Missions respectively. Whereupon, P. S. Swain, pastor of these churches affirmed: “Most encouraging is the large number who gave to State Missions. Athens Chapel is at present the banner church for this cause in the state having given more to it than any other church since the State Convention.”
At the turn of the century, Joseph D. Waters held there some summer revivals. During one of these he baptized John M. Waters, later to become the long-time minister at Arapahoe, and Wilson College crusader. Nanna Crozier of the C. W. B. M., (now C.W.F.), visited there in July, 1905, while Dennis Wrighter Davis was pastor. Davis diligently assisted her in her field work, over the week-end when Athens Chapel had a local auxiliary, Mrs. Lizzie Elliott, secretary, and Bath began its womans’ organization.
After its Foreign Missions offering in March, 1906, pastor W. O. Winfield declared:
Athens Chapel gave $20, but this is not as large as it should be. No church can afford to give our missionary collections a cold shoulder. The anti—missionary church and preacher are both doomed to death. The mission spirit is the growing spirit, and the church and preacher who possess and cultivate this spirit grow spiritually. The Athens church has already raised about $10 for State Missions. I hope that the churches composing the Roanoke District will see that the offerings for State Missions are not neglected.
Lonnie B. Scarbobrough from Atlantic Christian College ministered there in the 1930's. By 1938 he had led them to half-time preaching and was completing extensive plant improvements which were dedicated in November of that year. Later he held the Athens Chapel revival, September 2-13, 1940, with 40 additions. He then gave this hopeful statement:
The local church morale now at old Athens is indeed good and all are hopeful for a fruitful pastorate under John M. Waters, beginning October, 1940. This church is strongly cooperative for our State Service and our brotherhood life. It is a tower of strength for Our Plea in the Bath area.
Membership at Athens Chapel is reportedly 300.
Roll of ministers at Athens Chapel.
|1850-1852||Seth H. Tyson||1911, 1912||John T. Saunders|
|1853||J. B. Respess, Sr.||1913||J. B. Swain|
|1854, 1855||A. J Battle||1917-1921||Warren A. Davis|
|1881-1883||George Joyner||1924-1930||D. W Arnold|
|1888||Augustus Latham, Jr.||1931-1939||L. B. Scarborough|
|1889, 1899, 1914-16, 1922, 1923||W. O. Winfield||1940||R. E. Jarman|
|1941||John M. Waters|
|1905||D. W. Davis||1942-1944||Z. N. Deshields|
|1900-1908||P. S. Swain||1945-1949||R. L. Topping|
|1909||John R. Smith|
“Bath Town” is a Tarheel heritage from the late 1600s. Its story well articulated by historian, novelist, and antiquarian, is an abiding treasure. It was incorporated on March 8, 1705 by the Albemarle Assembly. In 1714, John Urmstone, a mentally perturbed misisonary, called it the “famous city of Bath, once stiled the metropolis,” which then “had only nine houses, or cottages.” Referring to the first books sent thither for public use, he insisted: “I cannot find means to secure that admirable library of books sent in by the Reverend Dr. Bray for the use of the ministry of this Province, but it will in all probability serve as a bonfire to the Indians.” Next year Governor Burrington's comment indicated serious loss, because Albemarle's dilatory
legislation “for securing a small library . . . was too much embezzled before the act was made.” (Col. Rec. Vol. 3, 187).
On the “Pampticough” peninsular “surrounded by the most pleasant savannas,” the future colonial capital was laid out on 60 acres of land first owned by David Perkins; later vested in Thomas Cary. First commissioners: Joel Martin, John Porter, Thomas Harding, John Drinkwater. Proper space must be reserved “for a Church, a Town House, and a Market Place.” The remainder was to be partitioned into half-acre lots and sold to homesteaders at thirty shillings each, ($4.20 per lot). After purchase, each buyer, to avoid forfeiture, had to construct on his respective lot, “a good, substantial, habitable house,” within a year. If “Hoggs or Shotes” ran wildly in their streets, some apprehending citizen must pen them to be rewarded in judgment with half their number, while the remainder should go to sustain the poor.
In 1764 it was on the 448-mile post route from Williamsburg, Va., to Charleston, S. C. On Mondays, mail was received at Bath but only “once a fortnight.” Their postman's annual pay was 130 British pounds, ($364), at “half-yearly payment out of the contingent tax.” In 1783 the mail delivery was weekly. Samuel W. Lucas later served as their postmaster. As of record his annual compensation in 1834 was $63.19; declining to $40.68 in 1839, as mailings shrank.
In Bath, a century and a half after its founding, the itinerant Disciple evangelist, Amos Johnston Battle, preached “three days and baptized four persons.” It was in the fall of 1855. These converts may have readily affiliated at the new Union Chapel, (Athens Chapel), which was but two miles away.
In July, 1900, Dennis Wrighter Davis noted in his Watch Tower: “We are informed that the Bath brethren will make strenuous effort to build a house of worship in that town. The field there is good and we feel sure that a strong and united effort on the part of the brethren will accomplish the desired result.” H. S. Davenport shortly thereafter said: “I have an industrious spell on me and I am going out to canvass in the interest of the prospective church in Bath. There, if we only try, we can build a nice house.”
In May, 1905, before their plant materialized, Nanna Crozier, national field worker of the woman's work, visited, to lead in organizing their Auxiliary with 11 members. Their first officers: president, Mrs. T. R. Tyer, secretary, Lizzie Midyett, treasurer, Mrs. Fannie Burgess. Miss Cozier also organized their Junior Society with 12 members. Mrs. Lizzie Elliott, superintendent.
W. O. Winfield whose home was in Bath evangelized there in August, 1907, and organized the Christian Church with approximately 50 members. This number had increased to 55 when the church was enrolled on November 19, 1909, in the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention. T. R. Tyer, local correspondent represented the Winfield meeting as “very successful”. Further, Tyer reported: “We used as a house of worship an old store building until December 5, 1909, when we moved into our new house of worship costing about $1800, with all paid except $600.”
In 1908 and 1910, fruitful revivals were held there respectively by Dennis Wrighter Davis and John W. Tyndall. Pastor Thomas Green served the church at this time, of whom it was said: “He is throwing his whole soul into the work and is willing to make any sacrifice, no matter how great, for the sake of the cause.”
J. Watson Shockley evangelized there in June, 1929, receiving 34 additions, the baptismal service for the 23 who came by primary obedience, being conducted
at night in Bath creek illumined by a bevy of automobile headlights. Two ministerial recruits from the community are: Harold L. Tyer, and W. J. (Bill) Waters.
The local woman's organization presented the church with a Baldwin Electric Organ, which was dedicated, September 6, 1953; Mrs. Hal Wingate, a graduate of Atlantic Christian College, organist. M. O. Edmondson, and C. M. Woolard, were successive superintendents of the growing church school. The church in 1953 gave a total of $135 to “outreach” in brotherhood-related agencies. That year, pastor H. L. Tyer led their revival. “Those persons who heard his messages must certainly have been impressed to the point of renewing their faith in Christ,” said a correspondent. The church assumed half-time preaching. A new heating system was installed and a recreational outdoor fire-place erected.
Their C.W.F. in 1954 had 20 members; officers: president, Mrs. Wilbur Bunch; secretary, Mrs. M. O. Edmondson; treasurer, Mrs. E. V. Swindell; directors of worship and program, Mrs. Hal Wingate, and Mrs. P. R. Kilby. The church advanced to full-time preaching with pastor W. J. (Bill) Waters in 1955. The next year three new elders were installed, namely: Lynwood Roper, Lowell Sullivan, Wilbur Bunch.
Membership at Bath is reportedly, 334.
Roll of Ministers at Bath.
|1908, 1909||D. W. Davis||1927, 1942, 1943||D. W. Arnold|
|1910-1912||Thomas Green||1929, 1930||J. W. Shockley|
|1913||J. B. Swain||1931-1938||L. B. Scarborough|
|1914||Pendell Bush||1939, 1940||R. E. Jarman|
|1915, 1916, 1921, 1922||George A. Moore||1941||M. L. Ambrose|
|1948-1950; 1956, 1957||H. L. Tyer|
|1917-1920||J. R. Tingle||1951||Guy Elliott, Jr.|
|1923, 1924, 1944-1947||R. L. Topping||1952-1955||W. J. Waters|
|1925||L. A. Mayo||1958||Roland Jones|
|1926||E. J. Harris||1960, 1961||C. Bradner, Jr.|
It is on U. S. 264 six miles east of Washington. This is the old Washington-Leechville road on which Thomas Campbell of the Declaration and Address (1809) plod his lonely way 127 years ago, (1834). While Beaver Dam long served as a “free church”, it was used mostly in that capacity by a diversity of community Baptists. Reporting 21 members it was in the Neuse Association at their yearly meeting at Chinquapin Chapel, Jones County, on October 19, 1811. The Neuse conclave nurtured Missionary Baptists, and to a less extent, Tarheel Disciples of Christ. Baptists at Washington, shepherded by Jeremiah Mastin headed for the “Primitive” order, came out to Beaver Dam and established a branch for their cause in 1822. To these a half-century later Newsome H. Harrison preached. He was an esteemed citizen of Washington County, and grandfather of the Disciple preachers, Kenneth, and Hassell Bowen. By 1885, only six “Primitive” members were left at Beaver Dam, (Hassell's History, page 850).
When the Bethel Conference held their annual meeting at Bay Creek, November 6-8, 1829, Beaver Dam was listed as one of their 26 churches. When this Conference merged with the Disciples’ Union Meeting at Hookerton on
May 2, 1845, Beaver Dam reported 48 members. Its twelve representatives in the annual State Conferences of Disciples were: Thomas Everett, Silas Ange, Jordan Daniels, G. W. Congleton, S. W Woolard, Samuel Windley, Z. Shepherd, Charles E. Woolard, J. B. Respess, J. E. Woolard, John W. Woolard, C. H. Woolard. Also the church was active in the regional fifth Sunday “‘Cooperation Meetings”. Thus at Pantego, August 29-31, 1856, their delegates were: Jordan Daniels, A. Hawkins, Joe Woolard, B. Woolard, and B. Canady. Their first church clerks: C. H. Woolard (1888); J. D. Sparrow, (1910). First church school of record, 1885, enrollment 70, including 8 teachers; J. S. Sparrow, superintendent. Their church property valuation in 1930 was $2000.
Early Disciples environed by denominational profuseness often had hard sledding to hold their own. Effective evangelists were all too few. An accessible school of the Prophets was but a dream. Means of transportation were primitive. Churches about to perish must needs be reconstituted on a durable foundation. This may explain the following report, as briefed, of evangelist Battle submitted on May 1, 1856.
I came to Beaverdam where brothers Tyson and John R. Winfield had been in a meeting and had baptized 12 persons. Tyson and myself continued it to April 20, 1856, Tyson baptizing 5 more. We then aided by Elder Thomas J. Latham constituted a church of 16 members with encouraging prospects. Old School Baptists and Methodists, our principal opponents in this field are in many instances more friendly after hearing us preach. We hope the time is not distant when our churches in all this region will be in a more flourishing condition.
Thomas Green was pastor there in January, 1899, when he wrote: “Sister Claudia Canady has presented to the church a handsome communion set, costing $16.50, from the Christian Endeavor Society. This society still lives and is largely the life of the church. We have a bright outlook.”
In 1900, Dennis Wrighter Davis held their revival adding 8. Writing on July 24, he affirmed:
Beaver Dam has the strongest force of young people capable and willing to render valuable service in the church of any congregation in our knowledge. It is a great misfortune that Beaver Dam is looked upon as being such a very rough place. Like every other neighborhood it has in it people who are not Christians—in fact rather reckless. But taken as a whole, in point of genuine hospitality it has few equals. In light of her opportunities, numbers, and means, it is one of our best churches.
A ministerial recruit from this church was George Henry Sullivan, (1894-1954).
Membership at Beaver Dam is reportedly, 522.
Roll of Ministers at Beaver Dam.
|1881-1883||Augustus Latham, Jr.||1921- 1922||J. W. Lollis|
|1888||Henry Winfield||1926, 1940, 1941||D. W. Arnold|
|1889, 1912, 1920, 1923-1928||W. O. Winfield||1929, 1930||W. I. Bennett|
|1931, 1932||Edgar T. Harris|
|1898-1900||Thomas Green||1933||J. B. Respess|
|1911||T. Yarborough||1934, 1935||Warren A. Davis|
|1913, 1914||H. H. Ambrose||1936, 1937||M. Penney|
|1915||J. R. Tingle||1939||R. V. Hope|
|1916-1919||J. R. Lee||1942-1952||R. H. Walker|
Belhaven is a relatively new town. Rising on a wave of the future, it was incorporated in 1899. Its population in 1960 was 2386, not counting transients who delightedly come and go in this aquatic eldorado. Its situation inspired the name, first Belle Port, lastly the permanent one serving both euphony and romance. For almost two centuries after white men settled in the Pungo delta, the site of modern Belhaven was a sodden waste of marsh and tanglewood. It is but four feet above sea level, while that of Washington, thirty miles up the Pamlico, is only nineteen. Albeit these resourceful lowlands are widely and soundly appreciated. This section, west of the Pungo estuary, from Leechville to Pantego, inclusive, was a part of Hyde County until 1819.
Belhaven came to life as a rising community in 1897, when John Wilkinson erected a mill there. A village then gathered to front the wide-sweeping river. Almost unique for a North Carolina town, there were prominent Disciples among those first on the ground, and today Disciples are the most numerous and resourceful religious group of the community. Disciples had been in the environs for several decades.
Five miles east of the present Belhaven was Pungo Chapel. Served by pastor John Winfield in 1790, enrolling 100 members, it had long been an influential center for the Armenian, or General Baptists. In 1829 this Chapel was on the Bethel Conference roll, and came bodily to the Disciples in 1845, functioning with this last cooperative fellowship for over 50 years. It dissolved as a local church on November 28, 1897. Some of its remnant of 19 came immediately to the newly organized Belhaven Disciples. Thomas Green of Pantego did the first preaching for the Belhaven start in 1897. W. O. Winfield ministered there in April, 1899, when he reported:
We have no house of worship or organized church at this place, but we are blessed with an earnest, consecrated leader in Bro. S. J. Topping who is superintendent of the Union Sunday School, and with the assistance of Misses Cassie Smith, Lorena Barfield, Annie Swindell, and Bro. B. W. Lucas, he is succeeding finely. The outlook at this place is good.
A small frame plant was constructed and opened for service July, 1902. A Church Extension loan executed in March, 1903, cleared indebtedness, and when Winfield concluded his second pastorate there in October of that year the church had 98 members. J. F. Bishop was clerk when the church was enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, October 31, 1902. As of that date its property valuation was $2000. Its total gifts for missions that year was $204.07, largest missionary offering made by any church in the State fellowship that year, except Asheville. Following is a list of their 24 charter members:
Mr. and Mrs. Thad Barrow, L. R. Baynor, J. F. Bishop, Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Bishop, A. J. Chesson, Mr. and Mrs. W. G. Clayton, Leta Clayton, Mr. and Mrs. F. A. Crary, Mamie Crary, Sally Davis, Edward Flynn, Eva Latham, Margaret Latham, Clara Ricks, Willis Riddick, Rufus Stadden, Mr. and Mrs. S. J. Topping, Etta B. Topping, and S. E. Wilkinson.
The first elders and deacons were: W. R. Bishop, Thad Barrow, J. F. Bishop, F. A. Crary, Sr., Willis Riddick and S. J. Topping.
Merritt Owen, Washington, N. C., pastor, held a revival for Belhaven in July, 1903, “collecting the scattered forces with new members into organized work.” J. R. Tingle came as their first located minister in December, 1903,
and the first church building was dedicated in July, 1904, while Ben H. Melton was conducting a revival there. Pastor J. R. Tingle led in getting the Church Extension loan paid by July, 1904, for only a sixteen-months’ term of loan, instead of five years as contracted. The church prospered under Tingle, and built a parsonage also during his ministry. Tingle reported: “The Ladies’ Aid Society has been a power in this church. Through the Aid most of the money has been raised, and they are still laboring and planning for greater things.”
While H. C. Bowen ministered, he also edited the Disciples’ State paper, the Carolina Evangel, at Belhaven. The State Convention was entertained there in 1907 and again in 1922. State Missions fostered this church from the beginning and made direct appropriations to sustain the ministry there from 1903 to 1906.
Disciples outgrew the old frame building and in 1915 erected a handsome gray-brick plant on a larger and more prominent site, nearer the business district. It was then valued at $15,000. The building committee: S. J. Topping, chairman; W. S. Riddick, secretary; J. F. Bishop, treasurer; F. L. Voliva, Miss Lida Wilkinson, Thad Barrow, Mrs. W. E. Stubbs, E. W. Latham, and Mrs. J. D. Pugh. This was dedicated October 31, 1915 by George L. Snively, while Hayes Farish was pastor.
A decade before this, H. C Bowen in reviewing the Belhaven mission had said: “This is an example of the most fruitful mission work which it is possible for us to do.” Nanna Crozier visited there on May 8, 1905, to organize their C. W. B. M., now known as C. W. F. Their first officers: president, Mrs. Eugene Latham; secretary, Mrs. D. W. Blount; treasurer, Mrs. S. J. Topping.
In their church school, beginners’ and primary departments, were newly housed, and this adjunctive building costing $1200, was dedicated free of debt on January 23, 1921. A local correspondent ventured: “No church among North Carolina Disciples has a higher morale or a more cooperative spirit.” Pastor C. P. Thomas in 1924 baptized 62 converts following the Leamon-Rogers Union Meeting. Thomas exulted: “A wonderful transformation has been wrought in our town.” Next year with building expansion in the offing, Lida Wilkinson reported that their Ladies’ Aid Society had raised $401.61 in a local “Prize Contest” project.
In 1932, while D. Guy Saunders was minister, changes were effected in the plant, making it far more effective for religious education, also providing a pastor's study. The church had suffered much from economic reverses to the communnty; death had taken a heavy toll; and many dependable Disciple families had removed from the city.
The three Saunders’ brothers, John, Joseph, and Guy, held their revival in 1932 with 18 additions. In 1936, eight new church school rooms were finished for use; the pipe organ, Mrs. Robert Lewellyn, organist, was rebuilt; the main auditorium was redecorated and kitchen enlarged; an automatic water pump was installed to drain the basement; and lumber acquired for building a parsonage. H. F. Noble was church school superintendent; the Ladies’ Aid had 5 circles; and the C.W.F. exceeded goals in giving. There had been growing an arrearage on pastor's salary since 1927. J. F. Bishop led in sponsoring a bold move in church finance. He bought the local Hotel, passed it to the church trustees, who later disposed of it at a profit of $1432 to cut the Gordian knot of their cumulative obligation. There was relief in the minister's household.
Pastor S. F. Freeman, Jr., located there on November 1, 1936. He stated their mutual service ideal: “We promote Christian love first, last, and all the time. We deliberately avoid doubtful disputations. We carry on in the best tradition of North Carolina Disciples.”
A six-piece orchestra was a musical accompaniment in their church school in which James W. Ambrose, Sr., had a leading part, 1911-1960. In October, 1938, their C.W.F., then known as Woman's Council, enrolled 79, Mrs. H. F. Noble, president. Pastor E. H. Eppling, assisted by laymen: F. L. Voliva, J. E. Gaylord, H. F. Noble, and J. T. Mckeel gave leadership to nearby mission churches for spiritual service.
In World War II, 75 of their young men enlisted. Three never returned: Billy Jay Jones was lost in action; killed in combat were: Murl Brooks in Equatarial West Africa, and Walton Latham in the Aleutians. In 1947, their parsonage next to the church was acquaired. Pastor Ivan Adams was ordained there in 1948. The debt on their plant extension was reduced $2000. The church paid $835 to meet fully their first year's goal in “Crusade for a Christian World”.
A Golden Anniversary came to them in 1952. Pastor George E. Downey read the historical sketch. Mrs. Lida Wilkinson Dillistin, one of their oldest and most faithful members, attended. Three former pastors attended, and felicitations came from five others. The church was given “a beautiful set of communion ware in honor of Mr. and Mrs. A. L. Johnston by their sons and daughters.” In 1955 their parsonage was reconditioned, and sanctuary, organ, and roof, refurbished. The C.W.F. gave $485 to meet their year's goal. The W. L. Johnston's gave cross and candlesticks for the Communion service. Seven Belhaven Disciples attended their World Convention at Toronto, Canada. In November, 1955, the church had reached double annual giving as compared with 1950.
Ground was broken for a new parsonage on May 6, 1956. The building was completed and the lawn landscaped within seven months. Pastor Billy Taylor was the new occupant. A Hot Air Heating System was installed debtfree in 1957; the special committee for the project: Cleve Woodward, Charles Latham, Floyd Lupton. An annual current expense budget of $7,000 was adopted. Fund for a new electronic organ was started; Mrs. Ruth Johnston, treasurer. Their C.M.F. was organized in December, 1957, to lead in sponsoring several property improvements. Their officers: president, Gene A. Purvis; vice president, Dr. Tom Suther; secretary-treasurer, Floyd Lupton.
At Easter, 1958, their new Baldwin organ was first used, and was dedicated on July 27, 1958. Mrs. J. T. McKeel became their first paid organist. C. W. F. officers in 1958 were: president, Mrs. Gladys Clark; vice president, Mrs. Jule Purvis; secretary, Mrs. Elwood Midgette; treasurer, Mrs. Axson Smith. The Westminster Studios of Florida were engaged to rebuild the stainedglass windows. A comprehensive church library was started.
In January, 1959, their choir was provided with Sandalwood robes trimmed with maroon stoles. Gene A. Purvis gave an elegant pulpit Bible, (R. S. V.) in honor of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Purvis.
A special evangelistic campaign goal was exceeded on Decision Day, February 19, 1961, when there were 19 accessions to the church.
Membership at Belhaven is reportedly 210.
Rolls of Ministers at Belhaven.
|1897||Thomas Green||1899-1901, 1902||W. O. Winfield|
|1898||G. T. Tyson||1902||D. W. Davis|
|1904-1906||J. R. Tingle||1938-1940||E. H. Eppling|
|1907||W. C. Wade||1941-1945||Allen Wilson|
|1908-1910||H. C. Bowen||1946||J. D. Kitchen, Jr.|
|1911-1914||J. D. Waters||1947||G. D. Davis, Jr.|
|1915-1920||Hayes Farish||1948||Ivan Adams|
|1922, 1923||S. L. Jackson||1949-1953||George E. Downey|
|1924, 1925||C. P. Thomas||1955, 1956||Frank Leggett, Jr.|
|1926, 1927||J. W. Lollis||1957-1959||William F. Taylor, Jr.|
|1928-1936||D. Guy Saunders||1960, 1961||W. Ballenger|
|1937||S. F. Freeman, Jr.|
A half-dozen rivers indent the northern shore of Albemarle Sound. These streams variously shape a like number of promontories from Currituck Sound westward to the Chowan-Roanoke estuary. On one of these headlands nine miles east of Hertford, is historic Durants Neck. Its name stems from George Durant, colonial planter, who bought a tract in that locality from his Indian friend, Chief Kilcocanen. The deed is extant, dated March 1, 1661. Nearby also is the site of Captain John Heckinfield's home, Capitol of the Albemarle Assembly of long ago.
In this traditional setting is Berea Christian Church. A letter from Mrs. Maria L. Smith to J. J. Harper's Christian Visitor, dated Hertford, N. C., August 28, 1887, said:
There was only one congregation [Bethlehem] of Disciples in Perquimans County until the first week in August, 1887. Brethren W. O. Winfield and Dennis Wrighter Davis were sent to Durant's Neck by the Albemarle Union Meeting where they preached several days and received 29 into the body of Christ. The most bitter opposition against them was waged to prevent the people from hearing the Gospel, but the truth prevailed. In the midst of combined opposition a church has been established [Berea] at Durant's Neck composed of some good material. It is only a short distance from where George Durant settled. J. L. Winfield has since preached here and his sermons have thoroughly established the ancient Gospel in what he called the historic part of North Carolina.
Berea was enrolled by the Disciples’ State Convention on October 26, 1890. J. W. Umphlett was clerk, reporting 26 members, who had given a total of $50 that year for current expense. Next year Samuel J. Sutton was clerk, and the church gave $2 for brotherhood-related missions. Their church school in 1890 enrolled 45, including 10 teachers; Samuel J. Sutton, superintendent; J. P. Crawford, secretary; total gifts for the year, $3.50. In 1891 their church school superintendent was W. H. Knight; J. Jackson, secretary. Two Disciple ministers, 1884-1890, lived in this section called “over the Sound”, namely: J. W. Trotman at Hertford, and E. L. Sowers at Harbinger. Previously H. C. Bowen had lived at Hertford, (1880), and J. L. Burns, at Powell's Point, (1882). Berea's property valuation in 1930 was $1,000. The State Service helped to sustain Berea's ministry in 1893, and 1904-1906.
Spiritual tides rose and fell at this isolated church. This was clearly indicated by pastor J. S. Henderson in September 1904. He said:
We have good congregations and splendid attention. We have a fine Lord's Day School with an attendance of about 60 which is a great help to the church. The young men of the church, (young converts at that),
are conducting a fine prayer meeting. About a year ago there was no organized body here while at this time we number 35. We plan to put a new cover on the house. I can see here a brilliant prospect of doing much good.
The next month, T. H. Fitzwater, active layman, added: “We are growing spiritually at Berea. We are glad that J. S. Henderson came back to the relief of the weak which was about 14 in number, but now 35.”
R. H. Jones, Ayden pastor, evangelized there in 1906, resulting in 10 additions. Fitzwater reported on August 7: “We think our minister, J. S. Henderson, was wise in getting Bro. R. H. Jones of Ayden, for the evangelistic work of this church for we are in the midst of great opposition and strife.”
A revival there in 1937 added 9. Interior improvements to the plant that year provided a new pulpit and choir lofts for both seniors and juniors. Plans were also drawn “to level up the floor of the church, build a new vestibule, and put in new windows.”
In May 1945, pastor P. E. Cayton said: “We have finished our church school rooms at Berea—five very beautiful rooms. This greatly helps Berea where I preach each fourth Sunday. I am serving six churches this year.”
Membership at Berea is reportedly 175.
Roll of Ministers at Berea.
|1902-1906||J. S. Henderson||1928-1930||George R. Smith|
|1911, 1913, 1914||C. E. Lee||1931, 1932||George A. Moore|
|1912||Dennis Wrighter Davis||1933-1936||Malcolm Penney|
|1915-1918||Thomas Green||1937-1940||M. L. Ambrose|
|1921||Herman Hempel||1941, 1942||G. Oliver Gard|
|1922, 1926||Paul T. Ricks||1943||C. R. Harrison|
|1923, 1924||H. H. Ambrose||1944-1948||P. E. Cayton|
|1925||J. S. Williams|
State Missions cooperating with the Albemarle Union established the Disciples’ work in Perquimans County in the 1880's. In the open country southeast of Hertford is Bethlehem, a sister church of Berea. H. C. Bowen and Joe Grey Gurganus were the founding ministers of Bethlehem, having 50 members worshipping at Wynn schoolhouse, when enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Society on October 9, 1880. In rural churches the name is a favorite. In Hebrew it means “House of Bread”. A village by that name is the birthplace of One who said: “I am the living bread.” (John 6:51.)
In the Disciples’ State Convention of 1880 a resolution was adopted to assure permanence for the cause in Perquimans. It was presented by the veteran, Josephus Latham, and specified that $200 of State Mission funds be appropriated to H. C. Bowen, “to help sustain him in the field,” particularly in that County. It further provided: “That all of the money now in the treasury of the Conference be paid over to Bro. Bowen immediately that he may enter at once upon his work.”
Bowen, “the Perquimans Evangelist”, made his annual report to the State Convention at Robersonville, October 8, 1881. As the minutes record it:
The Evangelist of Perquimans Mission reported that he had labored one year in that field, confining himself to a small compass; received from all sources, $342.91; raised for building purposes, about $50; distributed
about 2000 pages of tracts; added 19 to the church; and assisted the church in securing the services of Bro. Joe Grey Gurganus for next Conference year. He recommended to strengthen the weak churches instead of occupying new fields.
Bethlehem's delegates to Disciples’ State Conventions were: J. W. Trotman, H. C. Bowen, J. J. Smith, G. W. Wingate, and T. R. Cullipher, who was also their clerk. In 1890 their membership had grown to 67, total annual giving, local church purposes, $22.90, and to brotherhood-related missions, $10.86. Their church school enrolled 46, including 9 teachers; T. R. Cullipher, superintendent; A. R. Bond, secretary. Their church property valuation in 1901 was $500; in 1930, $1,000. State Missions assisted on ministers’ salary there, 1880, 1881, 1893, 1905, 1906, 1911.
Evangelist J. L. Burns went to Bethlehem on August 19, 1882, to begin a revival. An accident befell him, as he recounted:
During the afternoon in attempting to lean my chair against the corner post in the piazza at Bro. Cullipher's, the chair broke through the floor, and threw me out on the ground, bruising my head severely and breaking two of my ribs. The meeting stopped. After suffering great pain for 14 days, I was helped into a buggy, carried to Hertford, took steamer, went home to Powells point, and filled my appointment there at home September 3, also on the 19th.
On September 11, he returned to conclude the Bethlehem revival: “had four additions and fine interest left in the community; the church greatly encouraged.” Next year, J. T. Walsh led their revival, J. L. Burns assisting. Walsh's report as briefed:
I preached 13 times and was paid $5.00. The congregations increased, many being drawn out to hear me from Bethel, a Baptist church near-by, where I had evangelized with the same Christian Gospel 27 years before, resulting in 40 baptisms, and where they endorsed all of my preaching and seemed to enjoy it. The Bethlehem brethren, though busy in fodder, worked hard to get the house in condition to be used on this occasion. Bro. Burns was with me who would have continued the meeting but a severe storm was approaching.
On August 28, 1887, Mrs. Maria L. Smith, fluent Perquimans correspondent wrote to J. J. Harper's Christian Visitor as follows:
Bro. J. L. Winfield on August 21 was at Bethlehem and preached. It was pronounced an able sermon. Bro. W. O. Winfield has been pastor here for the last two years but now goes to the Bible College at Lexington, Ky. He has done a grand work here. We dislike to give him up, but glad to know he will better prepare himself for the work. The Union Meeting of the Albemarle District is to assemble at Bethlehem on October 28-30, 1887.
Pastor W. O. Winfield gave this account in May, 1899: “‘The church at Bethlehem is weak financially and numerically but a braver, truer body of Disciples it would be difficult to find. Our congregations have increased at least fifty percent in the last six months.” The next month, J. J. Smith, layman, wrote: “Our C. E. Society is progressing finely. The outlook is very encouraging. Mrs. K. H. Harrell is president, and W. T. Jones, vice president.” T. R. Cullipher “untiring worker” added: “We are preparing to observe Children's Day for Foreign Missions. Our C. E. Society has 36 members.”
W. H. Smith, Jr. was their clerk, September 12, 1905, when their correspondent A. R. Sutton, wrote as briefed:
We are few in number from various causes. Within the past eight years there have been 10 deaths and 34 have moved away. Two members were turned out. A few seem to have grown cold. We are peaceable, Christ-loving people and desire His cause to grow. Bro. J. S. Henderson has been preaching here about three years. He has done much good work. His time will expire in October. With the right one to succeed him this church may grow, and some day be a great help to the other weak churches.
Harry Corprew, layman, reported the Bethlehem revival held by their pastor, C. E. Lee, September 10-21, 1913, with 4 additions. Corprew's appraisal: “Bro. Lee preaches always with simplicity and power. His sermons mark the way of Christian living. We all like him very much.”
Membership at Bethlehem is reportedly 70.
Roll of Ministers at Bethlehem.
|1881||J. G. Gurganus||1917-1919, 1922||J. C. Coggins|
|1882||J. L. Burns||1920||L. A. Mayo|
|1883, 1884||J. W. Trotman||1921||H. T. Bowen|
|1885, 1887, 1899, 1900||W. O. Winfield||1923, 1924, 1932, 1933||H. H. Ambrose|
|1888, 1889||D. W. Davis||1925, 1926||H. L. Freeman|
|1902||J. S. Henderson||1927-1929||S. Tyler Smith|
|1911-1913||C. E. Lee||1930, 1931||Malcolm Penney|
|1914, 1915||Thomas Green||1936-1946||W. O. Henderson|
|1916||D. F. Tyndall|
In Bodwell's Schoolhouse, Tyrrell County, three miles east of Columbia near Jerry, (pop. 10), M. L. Ambrose evangelized in the summer of 1933, baptized 12 persons, and organized a church of 15 charter members named Cabin Swamp. The location is two miles from Sharon, a church of like faith, out Riders Creek way, having in 1911, 35 members, with D. A. Hudson, native of the community, preaching for it; L. W. Swain, clerk, and Stewart Hassell, church school superintendent. Sharon with church property valuation of only $100, declined to 5 members in 1930. This remnant came to the new church transferring to them their organ, communion set, and pews. It followed that Cabin Swamp enrolled with The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention on November 9, 1934.
The church readily became a unit in the Columbia group, of which Roy O. Respess was then pastor. He preached at Cabin Swamp each second Sunday afternoon. Their church correspondent was James West; Robert Barnes superintended their church school. It was said: “As no other church is within three miles, the prospects are good for a live church.” In 1935 their membership had grown to 50, and their church school enrolled 40. There was further increase by 14 baptisms the next year.
Membership at Cabin Swamp is reportedly 45.
Roll of Ministers at Cabin Swamp.
|1933||R. O. Respess||1936-1938||P. E. Caytor|
|1934, 1935||M. L. Ambrose||1941-1950||W. P. Armstrong|
South of Everetts and near Robersonville is Christian Chapel known locally as “Cross Roads.” Stanley Ayers, (1831-1910), pioneer Disciple itinerant and chaplain in the army of the C.S.A., founded it in 1857. Its 20 members increased to 52 the next year. Ayers in 1857 was enrolled by the Disciples state meeting. His home on Bear Grass Creek was two miles south of Christian Chapel; his grave is about the same distance from the church. At a memorial service for him at the church on October 11, 1936, three of his grandsons present, were: Oscar Ayers, Leslie Ayers, and Archie Roberson.
The Disciples’ State Convention Minutes of 1857, (October 11), record it as a “new church admitted.” There were then but two other churches of this faith in Martin County, namely, Taylors Chapel, (Maple Grove), and Welch's Creek, (near Dardens). Altogether these three churches had 97 members. Fourteen of their laymen represented Christian Chapel in Disciples’ State Convention, as follows: T. Ayers, W . H. Wilson, J. B. Leggett, J. R. Robinson, J. R. Roebuck, McG. Britton, Edward B. Roebuck, Henry Wynn, J. J. Swain, M. G. Rawls, W. K. Woolard, R. D. Woolard, W. A. Gurganus, H. D. Cowen. First clerks: W. H. Wilson, (1878); McG. Britton, (1885); J. B. Ayers, (1889). Its church property valuation in 1901 was $700; in 1930, $1500. Some ministerial recruits from this church: Stanley Ayers, Dallas Ayers, Tommie Roebuck, J. Thomas Brown.
Pastor Thomas Green reporting his monthly visit there on February 11, 1900, said: “We placed envelopes with every family possible, and we expect a liberal offering in March for Foreign Missions. Through the efforts of Sister Sallie J. Gurganus the church was presented with a handsome communion set.”
H. S. Davenport held their revival in September, 1900, preached to “overflowing houses,” added 20, and remarked: “I was pleased to meet Bro. Stanley Ayers, one of the old pioneer preachers of Martin County. His membership is at this church, and though he has lost one eye, and is otherwise afflicted, and is 69 years old, still preaches, and rendered valuable assistance in this meeting. I found the brethren all warm-hearted, social, and lovers of hospitality.” Two of their active laymen at that time were: John B. Leggett, and Joseph A. Ausbon. Young lady volunteers to solicit the evangelist's pay, and who turned in a “nice sum,” according to his grateful acknowledgement, were: Maggie, Hattie, and Lena Wynn, Gertie Woolard, and Sophia Leggett.
October, 1900, was State Missions month. Thomas Green, pastor with vision, raised $5.50 there for that brotherhood-related cause, confessing: “It is not as much as we wished, but we are glad to note that this church with the entire brotherhood is imbibing more of the mission spirit. We hope there is a brighter day not far off for State Work. May we all confess that we have not done our best.”
In December, 1900, S. E. Roberson and J. T. Barnhill were added to their local church board. Green said: “Under their watchful care we look for success.” He had asked the veteran, H. S. Davenport to preach for him at “Cross Roads” on March 10, 1901, exhorting him: “Now you prepare a stirring sermon on Foreign Missions, Bro. Davenport. Our brethren only want to know their duty. They are willing and able.”
J. M. Perry, Robersonville pastor, held the Christian Chapel revival in 1921, with 49 additions. Likewise J. A. Taylor served them in 1929, adding 9.
R. A. Phillips was then the local pastor, who said of Taylor: “His messages were deeply spiritual, ever ringing clear with Christian love.”
C. C. Ware on November 12, 1933, assisted by pastor Warren A. Davis, ordained these officers: elders: Herbert L. Roebuck, Oscar Ayers; deacons: Frank Bailey, Paul Leggett, John Jackson, Gaston James. Other officers there had previously been ordained.
Building improvements were noted in March, 1936. “A new roof is on, new ceiling, new mats on the floor, and new shades for the windows. The audience room is now much more attractive.” Four years later the schoolhouse beside their church plant was “remodeled into a good, serviceable parsonage of six rooms.” The pastoral unity minister first occupied it with his family in November, 1936.
Membership at Christian Chapel is reportedly 400.
Roll of Ministers at Christian Chapel.
|1881||Gideon Allen||1929, 1930||R. A Phillips|
|1882||J. R. Winfield||1931||L. T. Holliday|
|1883||Henry Winfield||1932||D. W Arnold|
|1884-1892||Stanley Ayers||1933-1936||Warren A. Davis|
|1897-1901||Thomas Green||1937, 1938||R. V. Hope|
|1909-1911; 1913-1919||S. W. Sumrell||1940||F. A. Lilley|
|1912; 1922-1928||C. E Lee||1941-1948||Dennis Warren Davis|
|1920, 1921||George A. Moore||1940, 1950||P. E. Cayton|
It is south of Plymouth in southwestern Washington County. In the Hoke-Hinson vicinity it is reached by State Highway, 32. It is the oldest church of its faith in the County, and from their oldest church in Martin County, Welch's Creek, its beginning is traceable. At first called Long Ridge it was by “motion agreed that it be received by this Conference”; so reads the minutes, when on October 13, 1853, it was enrolled by the Disciples’ Annual State Meeting. It reported 32 members, but grew to 49 in 1854, when it was given the name of Christian Hope.
John M. Gurganus, (1802-1876), its founding father, was a native of the locality. Of him, Josephus Latham said: “His fine standing as a pure Christian combined with a great zeal and warmth of heart had a powerful effect in winning souls. When but a youth I learned to love him.” This Gurganus home was prolific with preachers matching that of the Enoch Holtons of Broad Creek in Pamlico.
Eighteen delegates represented Christian Hope in the State's Disciples’ Annual Meetings as follows: Henry L. Gurganus, D. H Davis, Downing Davis, J. B. Respess, S. Jackson, Joseph Gurganus, J. W. Girkin, A. Jackson, L. Jackson, A. O. Gurganus, Thomas E. Burgess, L. Jackson, Jr., Harvey Gardner, E. B. Gurganus, James L. Sullivan, L. A. Sullivan, H. S. Gurganus, G. W. Jackson, Jr. Their first clerks: S. L. Jackson, (1878); C. W. Gurganus, (1887). Their church property valuation in 1901 was $200; in 1930, $1000.
Evangelist Amos Johnston Battle told of visiting Christian Hope in October, 1855, “to defend the Christian Church” from sectarian attacks, “which defense I trust has placed our principles in a true light before a large and very attractive congregation.”
Forced to disband during the war, it was reorganized in 1866, with 24 members, increasing to 50 within two years. Henry Smith Gurganus rehabilitated
them, and became their mainstay in leadership during his exceptionally long pastorate.
Thomas Green, (1857-1919), was their evangelist in September, 1895. He resided then in Pantego, but was a native of Nansemond County, Va. There were 11 additions; the church was “much revived.” Green had united when 33 years old with the Disciples at Christian Hope, and hence regarded it affectionately. He said: “This is my home church. Here in April, 1890, I accepted the truth; this being the place I love.” He returned to lead there another revival, September 11-18, 1899, resulting in 10 additions.
Here was a circumstantial arena for debate. An exegetical controversy on the 13th chapter of John flamed through many years on this Long Ridge sector of a free-swinging Protestantism. The confident crusader, Thomas Green “took the bull by the horns”, on Sunday morning, September 9, 1900. His well-announced “Bible Lecture,” drew a large expectant crowd for his competent interpretation of the “feet-washing” issue, as scripturally treated in the whole. The local church clerk, George W. Jackson, Jr., said that his pastor amply sustained the clear concepts of the Disciples of Christ on the mooted passage. Christian Hope and its mother church, Welch's Creek had primitively practiced ceremoniel feet-washing but as enlightneed Disciples had put it away.
P. S. Swain, revivalist, there in 1902, adding 7, took occasion to honor Henry Smith Gurganus, then 77 years old. Said Swain, “His life has been above reproach as his long pastorate of 37 years at his home church will attest. He is esteemed by all and greatly loved by his people.”
Mrs. W. D. Harris reported their revival occurring in September 1904. There had been 15 additions, “all young people and good material, too.” Further: “The brethren have the new house of worship almost ready to dedicate. It is a good, neat structure and does credit to the vicinity. We have a good pastor, Bro. Thomas Green, who is also a strong preacher. We all love him.”
Besides Thomas Green, ministerial recruits at this church, were: John M. Gurganus and his three sons, Henry Smith, John W., and Joseph Grey. The father and the first two of his sons named above, rest in the Christian Hope cemetery, while Joe Grey is buried at Saint's Delight.
During Easter week-end, 1942, a forest fire destroyed their plant which had been dedicated 38 years before. Flames started on the west side of Long Ridge road quickly engulfed the house of worship, and only the communion set and piano were salvaged. A new frame plant has housed the congregation for nearly 20 years.
Membership at Christian Hope is reportedly 150.
Roll of Ministers at Christian Hope.
|1866-1902||H. S Gurganus||1920-1925||C. E. Lee|
|1911, 1912, 1927-1929||John R. Smith||1926, 1930||J. B. Respess|
|1913||H. H. Ambrose||1931-1933||J. F. Padgett|
|1914-1918||Thomas Green||1935-1939||D. W. Arnold|
Columbia is the seat of justice for Tyrrell, the State's most thinly populated County. The town's population in 1960 was 1099. Four names have designated it. Explorers in 1680 called its location “Heart's Delight;” later
as a trading post it was Shallop's Landing; again, 1793 to 1800, it was the “Town,” Elizabeth; while from 1801 onward, since there were so many Elizabeths on the Tarheel coast; it has been known as Columbia. Postal prerogatives now spread this name with its antique connotations through 17 States from Alabama to Virginia. Tyrrell's Columbia is six miles from Albemarle Sound, and nestles on the east bank of Scuppernong River. This River's name is redolent with Indian lore; the term being colonially applied not merely to the famous grape but also to the section of land from Columbia to Creswell. Its meaning: “at the place of the sweet bay tree.”
The postmaster there in 1834 was John P. Jordan, “annual compensation,” $36.29; in 1839, N. A. Brickhouse drew $52.56, as evidence of growth. A gazetteer of 1845 gives its situation as 200 miles east of Raleigh, and 324 from Washington, D. C. Further: “It contains a courthouse and several stores and dwellings.” In 1851 it was the only postoffice in Tyrrell. Just one lawyer was there in 1867, Thomas J. Jarvis, later Governor of the State. Two doctors served the town, Leigh Edgar, and Ransom Edward. There were seven merchants.
Columbia loomed as an evangelizing objective for the Disciples in February, 1884. G. W Walker, West Virginia itinerant, and J. B. Parsons, his Tarheel colleague, issued a poster printed in The Watch Tower office, Washington, advertising that they would forthwith give “a series of discourses” in the Tyrrell metropolis. J. L. Winfield the editor added: “‘We hope to receive a gratifying report of the meeting.” H. S. Davenport, roving ambassador for the Christians, observed that Walker alone had preached in Columbia, February 7-10, 1884. At first it was in the hotel of W. R. Spruill, Esquire, “one of the best hotel men in the State,” said Davenport. But it was at the instance of Mrs. Spruill, “one of Columbia's brightest ornaments, who threw her doors wide open and thus Bro. Walker was saved the humiliation of preaching in the public street.” The local Methodist minister then offered his church for speaking which was “thankfully accepted,” and there on February 10, 1884, “the Lord's Supper was observed for the first time by Disciples in Columbia where all who felt inclined partook.” That night, evangelist Walker preached “to a crowded house.”
It was a long time before a sustained effort by the Disciples materialized in this friendly community. J. W. Swain, local layman, on May 13, 1888, wrote: “We want a good preacher in this County. We are destitute. Our beloved Bro. J. L. Burns was with us last winter and made a lasting impression on a large number of our people. Everybody that heard him gave him praise as a Christian gentleman and Bible teacher.”
Fourteen years later, George L. Liverman was resident there as Tyrrell's Clerk of Court. He and Captain B. F. Cox, and M. F. Haskett arranged for W. O. Winfield to protract a preaching service in their Courthouse, May 13-21, 1902. Haskett, a preacher, but also “janitor” for the meeting, and reporter for the paper said: “It was said by many that no such preaching had ever been heard in this County. The Courthouse though quite large was filled to overflowing most of the time. The truth is established. About $300 was subscribed toward a church building. We intend to have it ready for preaching by the spring of 1903.” Evangelist Winfield's account, as briefed:
The Disciples here numbering twelve or fifteen have no building, but a stronger, truer, braver, band would be hard to find. We have an option on a nice site which is a corner lot for $150. Our building committee: B. F. Armstrong, chairman; G. L Liverman, secretary-treasurer; C. W. Smith, B. L. Brickhouse, J. B Walker, J. S. Swain, M. F. Haskett. They
plan a nice, modern building, and if the State Convention will aid them in securing some good preacher next year and the Union help them in building, the cause in Tyrrell will prosper as never before.
In the following September, W. G. Johnston, Kinston pastor, “lectured in Columbia in the Methodist Church to a goodly audience.” Further, Johnston observed: “Bro. Winfield has made a favorable impression on the community. The Disciples’ lot is bought and they expect to build soon. Bro. G. L. Liverman is the leading spirit in this work which will prosper under his guidance.”
A paragraph in the State Convention minutes of 1905, states:
J. B. Walker of the Columbia church, a member of the building committee there, was heard. He stated that there were 20 members and that there was a church building under contract. The church has employed I. W. Rogers and asks for $75 to help on his salary.
W. Graham Walker, (not to be confused with the G. W. Walker of 1884), was provided by the State Service to hold their two-week's revival with 14 additions in May, 1907. They owed $1200 on their plant. He characterized them as “one of the noblest bands in the State; many would have given up long since. This puts some of the strongest churches among us to shame.”
The next year, evangelist H. C. Bowen was there for the September revival. He said that I. W. Rogers had served that pastorate for three years, and had “led in completing a very nice plant and had reduced the debt to about $100.” Bowen continued: “They are still in need of a good bell and communion set. A remnant from our old Sharon church are among the most loyal Disciples at Columbia.”
The church was enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention on October 26, 1905, with 43 members. Earliest clerks of record, there, W. J. Cofield, (1907); A. C. Tatum, (1911). Their church property valuation in 1907 was $3,000. Their church school in 1915 enrolled 35, J. F. West, superintendent; some later superintendents: Alton Sawyer, Butler Nooney. State Missions helped financially in sustaining their pastorate in 1905-1909; 1941-1943; 1945.
On August 14, 1921, their recently reconditioned plant was dedicated by J. A. Taylor, Plymouth pastor. The service was well planned. The debt of $300 “was raised in cash and pledges—mostly cash.” Captain B. F Cox in an urgent appeal for a resident pastor, said: “Any preacher who has lived in Columbia will say that it is a good place to live. We have learned that imported sermons will not keep us out of cold storage.”
In March, 1932, they had their resident pastor in their pastoral-unity parsonage at nearby Creswell, namely R. O. Respess. A successor ten years later was L. B. Bennett, when in the spring of 1942, the Emergency Million campaign reached to this Albemarle-Columbia-Philippi-Scuppernong group. It was to raise much needed funds for the cooperative brotherhood work at home and abroad. Pastor Bennett declared:
It is most gratifying that Emergency Million had almost unanimous response throughout these four churches; only $8 short of total goal for all, and we hope to raise that. It helped us. I am grateful for both the spirit shown by the folk and the visit of the missionary, S. S. McWilliams, with us. We have some of the best folk in the world to whom we minister, eager for the truth, and ready to be led.
Paul Liverman reported a successful year there in 1942, “made possible through aid from State Missions and Roanoke District.” They raised $200
to apply on building improvements including new church school rooms. Their school averaged 40 in attendance; Christian Endeavor 30, and their C. W. F. had 20 members.
The Albemarle Christian Missionary Union met there in March, 1949. In 1955, H. G James held his second revival there, when because of Connie, the hurricane, church-goers had to wade to the services. They advanced to half-time preaching in 1957, their new officers being, elders: John Hardison, W. B. Nooney, John T. Combs; deacons: Paul Liverman, A. K. Spencer, W. G. Liverman, Sanford Harris.
Pastor Ralph Messick installed their new C.W.F. officers in June, 1958, namely: president, Mrs. John Hardison; vice president, Mrs. Willie Spencer; secretary, Martha Sykes; treasurer, Mrs. J. W. Hamilton; worship director, Mrs. Willie Spencer; study director, Mrs. Gladys Sawyer; service director, Mrs. Joe Alexander.
Membership at Columbia is reportedly, 78.
Roll of Ministers at Columbia.
|1909||R. L. Philpot||1946||Lloyd Crowe|
|1911-1913||C. B. Mashburn||1947||G. C. Bland|
|1914||Warren A. Davis||1948||C. J. Brown|
|1917-1919; 1922||J. C. Coggins||1949, 1950||F. A. Lilley|
|1920||L. A. Mayo||1951-1954||W. J. Waters|
|1924, 1925||George A. Moore||1955, 1956||Darrell Huffman|
|1927, 1928||W. O. Winfield||1957||Leslie Wilkins|
|1929, 1937||R. O. Respess||1958, 1959||Ralph Messick|
|1938-1945||L. B. Bennett||1960, 1961||Kenneth Moore|
|1944, 1945||Perry F. Baldwin|
This church is in Tyrrell County on R. F. D. 1, Columbia. It reported 40 members when enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention November 5, 1926. The Columbia pastor preached there each second Sunday afternoon. In 1928 it paid $38 for their revival, resulting in 11 additions. Its church school then enrolled 25. In 1932, R. O. Respess former pastor there, was their summer evangelist, adding 4. First clerks were: W. L. Ainsley, (1927); Nathaniel Ainsley, (1929); Alonzo Armstrong, (1946).
In 1929, Cross Landing gave $4.50 to Unified Promotion, for brotherhood-related agencies of Disciples of Christ; likewise $39 in 1946.
Membership at Cross Landing is reportedly 35.
Roll of Ministers at Cross Landing.
|1926, 1929-1935||R. O. Respess||1936-1938||P. E. Cayton|
|1927||W. O. Winfield||1939-1941||L. B. Bennett|
|1928||H. T. Bowen||1942-1950||W. P. Armstrong|
Among Carolina's coastal antiquities Edenton bears the image of the historic. Both in fact and in fiction it enjoys the role of a picturesque continuance. Now in the smallest county of the State, this “Cadle of the Colony” was incorporated in 1722, one year ahead of New Bern and seventeen years before Wilmington. Missionary John Urmstone contending that the library
at Bath was all but mythical, pulled hard for the establishment of a like utility at Edenton. Whereupon Edward Moseley, Esquire, in 1723, supplied 59 titles in a “Catalogue of Books” given “to the Honorable and Most August Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.” It was part of the plan looking “towards a Provincial Library for the Government of North Carolina to be kept at Edenton, which is the Metropolis of that Province.” (Col. Rec. 2, 585).
Edenton had no public relations functionary in June, 1798, when it was described as containing “above 150 indifferent wooden buildings and a few handsome ones. Its situation is advantageous for trade, but unhealthy”. Again in 1818 this “seaport” is said to have had “a population about 1500, an elegant courthouse, a jail, a bank, and an Episcopal Church.” Also, “a newspaper is published here.”
In the early 1920s a stream of industrial workers were drawn to this growing town on the beautiful bay. Many of these came from rural Christian Churches in Tyrrell, Washington, and adjacent Counties where the seed had been diligently sown “beside all waters.” The old fellowships were rebuilt into a sizeable entity. The new church arose with fervor and was enrolled on October 12, 1924, with 101 members, by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention. In pre-Easter evangelism led by Roy O. Respess in 1926, nine were added. He concluded: “We are looking for a great ingathering of souls at Edenton in the near future, for the field is white.”
Only “part-time” preaching could be maintained in the beginning with State Missions aid. However a “full-time” ministry was provided, beginning May 6, 1934. On the following June 2, C. C Ware led in ordaining there the following: elders: P. E. Cayton, Thomas Harris, David Twiddy, John L. Wright; deacons: George Harris, Eather Alexander, Robert Wright, Lewis Knox, James F. Arnold, Samuel Wright; deaconesses: Mesdames Esther Alexander, Samuel Wright. A report at that time: “There is a fine young people's work here, and all departments of the work show encouraging progress.”
The congregation relapsed into “half-time” preaching in 1938, while W. O. Henderson, Elizabeth City pastor served them on first and third Sunday afternoons. That year he held their revival with 28 additions and led them in adopting the envelope system of giving. He added: “They need help and direction of our State Service; especially they need a hard-working, dependable, consecrated pastor.”
G. Oliver Gard was their student minister from Atlantic Christian College, for four years prior to his graduation, August 18, 1943. During this period there were 29 additions. Reviewing his service, Gard said: “My four years of ministry from the College has carried me more than three times around the world. Our missionary work at Edenton constantly increased in its support, and the spirit of fellowship was good.”
C. C. Ware led a second ordination service there on February 17, 1946, assisted by pastor, W. O. Henderson. The following were ordained: elders: Tom Basnight, Eather Alexander; deacons: W. B. Cayton, T. F. Twiddy, Henry Smith, William Wright; deaconesses: Mesdames: Cora Wright, Henry Rogerson, Miss Violet Alexander. Six others he had ordained twelve years before. In 1947, pastor Henderson was their evangelist, adding 24.
At Easter, 1949, their church school attendance reached 264; their pastor E. C. Alexander was also superintendent. Five new class rooms had been added to their plant. A new electric organ with loud speaker attachment
had been provided. Mrs. E. C. Alexander, and Violet Alexander were the organists; a large choir assisted. Their plant needed enlargement to care for steady, consistent increase in the personnel of all departments. David Twiddy taught their Men's Class, growing to attendance of 90 in June 1949. Fred L. Ashley was director of publicity. Pastor Alexander held the revival there in June of that year with 25 additions.
Membership at Edenton is reportedly 125.
Roll of Ministers at Edenton.
|1925||J. S. Williams||1935-1937, 1940||H. Edgar Harden|
|1926, 1927||R. O Respess||1938, 1946||W. O. Henderson|
|1928||George R. Smith||1939||M. L. Ambrose|
|1929||George A. Moore||1941-1944||G. O. Gard|
|1930||J. H. Williams||1945||Roe L. Harris|
|1932-1934||Malcolm Penney||1949-1961||E. C. Alexander|
It is in Beaufort County, south of the Pamlico River, and eighteen miles southeast of Washington. It is near the former postoffice and railway station of Blount's Creek which in 1890 had a population of 20. The church stands a few miles north of State Highway 33, a short distance from Edward. It began with nine members in 1875, and on October 11, that year enrolled with the Disciples’ Annual State Meeting. Their church school enrolled 25, including 3 teachers, S. W. Latham, superintendent, in 1890, when the church name was changed to James Chapel. It retained this name until reorganized as Elizabeth Chapel by Thomas Green, their pastor, in 1912. First church clerks were: John G. Latham, (1888); E. A. Taylor, (1900). O. K. Stilley and Marshall L. Stilley represented the church in the annual State Conventions. The membership grew to 51 in 1915, giving that year to brotherhood-related missions, $17.43. Their church school enrolled 50, and their church property valuation was $1000.
Thomas Green reported in 1912 that since 1907, C. E. Lee had preached there on fifth Sundays, and that “with Lee's earnest work assisted by only five brothers and a few sisters they have succeeded in building a respectable house excepting the ceiling.” Wherefore Green reorganized the church on April 14, 1912, and arranged for R. V. Hope, Washington pastor, to hold their revival in the following July. Next year when Green visited there on September 14, he reported: “‘The work at this place is encouraging. Both the Bible School and the Christian Woman's Board of Missions are gowing in members and interest. To-day the oldest citizen in the community, nearly 76, made the confession and was baptized. He was a Confederate veteran serving 1861-1865, who engaged in seven battles, struck by three bullets, but never seriously hurt.”
In July, 1931, Paul T. Ricks held their revival, assisted in special music by Esther and Hattie Mae Ricks. On September 20, that year their church school was reconstituted by J. B. Respess, Jr. and W. O. Ellis; their officers: W. S. Tyson, superintendent; J. E. Wooten, assistant superintendent; Helen Latham, secretary; Katie Jewell, treasurer.
Membership at Elizabeth Chapel is reportedly 60.
Roll of Ministers at Elizabeth Chapel.
|1884||A. J. Holton||1907-1912||C. E. Lee|
|1913-1915||Thomas Green||1931||Edgar T. Harris|
|1916||J. R. Tingle||1932||J. B. Respess|
|1917-1919, 1927||J. W. Lollis||1936||D. W. Arnold|
|1920, 1921||George A. Moore||1938, 1939||J. T. Moore|
|1922-1924||R. L. Topping||1940, 1941||R. H. Walker|
|1925||H. L. Freeman||1942, 1943||D. A. Hudson|
|1926||R. O. Respess||1944-1946||R. F. Butler|
|1928-1930, 1937||W. I. Bennett||1948, 1949||H. L. Tyer|
Largest municipality in the area considered in this monograph is Elizabeth City, (population, 14,062 in 1960). With the reputed patronage of George Washington, traders of the Hampton Roads locale pushed southward to open the Great Dismal Swamp canal in 1790. Foresters then gathered at the horseshoe bend of the Pasquotank River to labor at timber products, and incidentally with shipping interests to found a water-front emporium. This natural fresh-water port was uncommonly fine. First known as Narrows of the Pasquotank, then when incorporated in 1793, as Redding, the name was changed to Elizabethtown in 1794, probably named for the prosperous tavern-keeping widow, Elizabeth Tooley, who conveyed her plantation to the pioneer village commissioners. Its courthouse came in 1801, when it was partly renamed, as presently designated, since Elizabethtown in Bladen County was accorded priority.
On the Eighteenth Century regional post route, this Pasquotank Capital is listed as 341 miles from Philadelphia. Postmaster William Gregory received for annual compensation, in 1834, the amount of $405.47; Malachi Russell, in 1839, same position, $547.84. The town's volume of communications was evidently growing.
About a century after Elizabeth City's founding, Dennis Wrighter Davis, scouting Disciple evangelist, visited there, and observed: “There is no more important point among us for the building of a church than this one.” A Disciple press agent in 1899 said that the town had enjoyed “wonderful growth”, rising “from a muddy little town of 5,000 inhabitants to a beautiful city of 10,000 within the past five years.” But J. W Swain, lay leader, “because of serious and continued illness,” moved to Norfolk, Va., in the spring of 1899. Furthermore, State misisons had not sufficient funds to maintain there over a long period the right leadership.
Dennis Wrighter Davis, moved there in 1910, residing at 206 North Poindexter Street. He reported: “There are scores of Disciples in Elizabeth City just waiting and hoping that our people will organize here some day. We believe that a majority of them will rally to the work to the full extent of their ability. What we need in this great field work of the Albemarle Sound is more men and money.”
Henry C. Bowen, visiting there in 1914, said: “It was an agreeable surprise to meet Bro. E. L Sawyer and to learn that he was living there with relatives and teaching school. We met two of the Silverthorne brothers who have lately begun the furniture business. We have a few other loyal Disciples who are interested in establishing a church there.”
It remained for Louis A. Mayo, in August, 1919, to hold a revival for the Disciples in the courthouse, and begin the church which has since flourished under worthy ministers, who for an initial period of twelve years were given
continuous adequate support through State Missions to the end of self-support and permanence. Mayo found a nucleus of 12 Disciples. Inviting him there were Mrs. Annie Swain and Mr. and Mrs. Joe F. Belangia. These gave him loyal support and the Belangias mortgaged their home to secure a church building on Parsonage Street from another Communion, which property was paid for in full, under Everett J. Harris, in 1928. It has since been greatly enlarged and improved. Mayo organized the church formally on January 4, 1920, with 42 members. He continued with them three years leading the church in a remarkable growth due to his initiative, his adaptability, and his sustained enthusiasm and evangelistic spirit.
W. O. Winfield, C. E. Lee, W. A. Davis and other pastors led their churches in contributing an aggregate of $238 to help meet initial obligation on the Elizabeth City plant. It was valued at $1250, (debt $800), when on November 8, 1919, the church was enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention. H. T. Bowen located as their first “full-time” minister in November, 1924. The mission then had 187 members; the church school enrolled 300; and new class rooms had recently been provided at expense of $2400. This concrete growth was gratifying. It was declared: “Here is a fine illustration of the constructive service of cooperative missionary effort of the State Service and the United Christian Missionary Society in a typical North Carolina community.”
J. W. Shockley, assisted by pastor E. J. Harris, ordained the following officers there on October 19, 1927: elders: Fred White, J. F. Belangia, A. C. Fodrey, J. A. Price, (treasurer); deacons: Wilson D. Williams, (secretary), J. L. Alexander, J. E. Evans, Mervin Scott, Dennie White, Elias Pritchard; deaconesses: Mesdames: J. F. Belangia, T. V. Sexton.
W. O. Henderson located there for a thirteen-year pastorate on November 1, 1933. He assisted C. C. Ware in ordaining some new officers there on January 7, 1934. Next year their Ladies’ Aid Society had money in hand with which to buy a parsonage lot. G. Oliver Gard, a ministerial recruit, native of Dare County, was baptized by pastor Henderson on June 2, 1940. Installed by the pastor on December 28, 1941, was a new slate of six elders, twelve deacons, and seven deaconesses.
In 1944 their baptistry costing $601.92 was provided. First to be baptized in it was a man aged 77. Their organ costing $3365, was that year installed by S. S. Arthur of Greenville. A new church bulletin board was given by Mary Kirby and her two brothers, Joe, and Walter—a memorial to their mother. About the “One Day Fellowship Meeting” held there by the Disciples’ state agencies on September 17, 1944, pastor Henderson said: “It was truly a great day for our church. Our doors are always open for meetings of this type.”
At the conclusion of W. O. Henderson's pastorate there it was said by their local correspondent: “He has done a wonderful work here. Now we need as his successor a constructive, hard-working pastor who can take many hard knocks with Christian resilience and be cooperative with our great brotherhood causes which in an outpouring of love started our work here and stood by it until we were self-supporting.”
Another room in their auxiliary building was completed in 1948. In December, 1951, it was reported::
Due to our attendance increase, additional communion trays have had to be ordered. Recent improvements include: painting outside, new roof, venetian blinds, and new draperies for the Educational Building, and
painting the sanctuary. The loyal Women's Class has added wine drapery for the baptistry, and matching accessories for the choir, the piano, pipe organ console, the pulpit, and the communion table.
The Church gave in 1955: for the Educational Building, $8,750; for current expense, $12,161; for outreach in brotherhood-related causes, $2,489; the year's grand total, $23,400. Second floor of the Educational Building, contractor, Mac. Jennings, was completed January 1956, increasing the plant's overall value to $30,000. Their church school attendance reached 334. Signing tithing covenant cards were 141 individuals. Their building committee, Nathan White, chairman, planned early in 1959 for a relocation of the parsonage. April 9, that year marked the passing of Mrs. Joe F. Belangia, a charter member of 39 years before. “Her love for the Christian Church was the moving force in her life.”
The old three-story apartment building across the street was bought, that its removal might yield the space for a much-needed parking lot. In July 1959, their current expense budget for the ensuing year totaling $16,961.41, was adopted. Also a $50,000 building fund objective was approved and launched for realization within the three succeeding years. Rolland H. Sheafor visited there in the spring of 1960 to observe and advise for the Church Extension Board of Indianapolis. The year, 1960, was a record high in their church finances both local and outreach.
Their word in January, 1961: “Our building fund is increasing about a thousand dollars a month. We hope to have a very beautiful building in a few years.”
Membership at Elizabeth City is reportedly 466.
Roll of Ministers at Elizabeth City.
|1920-1922||L. A. Mayo||1933-1946||W. O. Henderson|
|1923||G. H. Sullivan||1947||H. T. Sutton|
|1924||J. W. Humphreys||1948, 1949||A. B. Crocker|
|1925, 1926||H. T. Bowen||1950-1956||H. G. James|
|1927, 1928||E. J. Harris||1957-1960||A. Lynn Robbins|
|1929-1932||Malcolm Penney||1961||R. O. Respess|
Hyde County is wholly rural. It dates from 1712, and has a goodly share of North Carolina's richest land. Its largest town is Engelhard, (population, 600); a tide-washed hamlet on Pamlico Sound. Located on No. 264, the only Federal Highway traversing the County, it is two miles north of Middleton, and twenty-six miles southwest of Stumpy Point, which used to be the shad capital of America. Middleton was chartered in 1787, but Engelhard was not incorporated until 1874, almost a century later.
Disciples there were included in the roll of Middleton, the mother church, prior to 1911. The roads were poor, conditioned by a peat-bound terrain; motor traffic was just then beginning; the hard roads conquering mud and dust were delayed. Wherefore it was expedient to have a church of their faith in the rising town. Reporting 40 members, the new church was enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention on November 2, 1911.
Their first plant valued at $9,000 was destroyed, after many years of service, by a hurricane. Their first parsonage for the pastoral unity was built at
Engelhard in 1916, and sold during the depression. A new site was acquired a short distance south of town, where a seven-room parsonage with an expansion attic was erected alongside their new church plant; construction of both was in 1954. Their first clerk was E. L. Silverthorne, (1911). A later clerk was J. D. Selby, (1915), at which time their church school enrolled 90, and the church made annual gift of $50 to brotherhood-related missions. In 1930 their church property valuation was $4500.
Evangelist H. C. Bowen on a visit there in June 1910, reported: “A house is being erected for the church at Engelhard to the north of Middleton.” A letter from D. W. Hodges, secretary of Hyde Union, dated July 7, 1913, stated that the Union had paid $72.36 to cover remainder due on the Engelhard church lot, on which their new frame plant stood, measuring 40 × 70 feet. The Hyde Union met there, June 28, 29, 1913. About this occasion, Hodges proudly said: “The house was full and running over with 800 or more in attendance.”
In 1926 the church had a flourishing C. E. Society, and their “weekly community prayer meeting” was largely attended, the town's places of business in courtesy being closed during each service. W. O. Henderson held their revival in July, 1930, with 8 added. He was assisted by John Strickland, sophomore in Atlantic Christian College, as song leader and soloist. Their C. W. F. was organized in May, 1937, with 16 members, led by Mrs. A. B. Crocker.
First to occupy the new parsonage were the A. W. Huffmans. He preached there first on January 2, 1955. Speaking there on the following February 6, were Mrs. H. H. Settle, and Margaret Lawrence, former missionary to China. In March, 1955, their C.M.F. was organized. An active C.Y.F. “bought curtains for the stage and baptistry.” ,
Frank W. Wibiral visited May 1, 1955, to lead in ordaining their new church officers, and to install the year's C.M.F. leaders. The John W. Stewarts held their revival, June 13-20, with 17 added. Their local reporter said: “We all here at Engelhard learned to love the Stewarts and to appreciate their fine leadership.” In the spring of 1958, the plant was newly painted, a piano, “specially adapted to the sanctuary,” installed, and plumbing accessories provided.
Locating there in the pastoral unity July 1, 1957, F. W. Wibiral has since given them full-time resident service. The score: “Both churches have undertaken extensive building improvements and modernization programs; support of brotherhood programs has increased, and local activities have been intensified.” In 1959 the Engelhard building was extended to dimension of 50 × 35 feet, two church school rooms added, baptistry completed, also “a cafeteria-type kitchen area with serving counters,” provided. Ground breaking for this construction was on Easter morning, 1959, at which time the offering exceeded $500, a tremendous sum for this small group. Facilitating general public relations, the pastoral unity sponsored six weeks’ advertising in the Hyde County newspaper, “describing the nature and work of the Disciples of Christ.”
In 1960, a debt-retirement goal was adopted, a baptistry wall completed upon which the versatile pastor painted a scene, and their new Fellowship Hall was being “put to many uses, the latest being the place of a wedding reception.”
Membership at Engelhard is reportedly 82.
Roll of Ministers at Engelhard.
|1914||A. C. Neal||1935||H. L. Tyer|
|1915, 1916||G. H. Sullivan||1936||D. G. Saunders|
|1919, 1920||J. P. Ellis||1937-1940||A. B. Crocker|
|1922-1924; 1932-1934||J. C. Groce||1941||Z. N. Deshields|
|1925||J. L. Green||1942-1945||J. Thomas Brown|
|1926, 1927||J. H. Hanson||1946-1952||F. A. Lilley|
|1928||V. L. Parker||1955-1957||A. W. Huffman, Sr.|
|1929||R. Paul Parker||1958-1961||F. W. Wibiral|
This church in southern Hyde County was founded by the pioneer evangelists, H. S. Davenport, and S. T. Smith. It was named for the mother of Timothy, a woman warmly commended by the Apostle Paul as one in whom “unfeigned faith made its dwelling.” With 22 members it was enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention on November 2, 1911.
It had a building valued at $350, (1911); increased to $500, (1915); seating capacity, 200. Their earliest church clerks: W. B. Elixon, (1911); T. B. Nobles, (1915), who also superintended their church school, enrolling 37. The superintendent in 1917 was James Brynn.
S. T. Smith held their revival, September 13-27, 1913, assisted in the song service by Victor Hugo Grantham, who received hearty praise from the evangelist for his help. Three heads of families were baptized as a result of the protracted effort. Evangelist Smith declared that this locality suffered from a predestinarian predominance, wherefore: “All who know Eunice Chapel know it to be the hardest place to be led to Christ in Hyde County.” But, he insisted: “I sincerely believe we will win out there yet and soon have a self-supporting congregation”. The organ for the revival was loaned by the Scranton Church. The organists were: Miss Price Manning, from Mt. Olive, (Hyde); and Miss Helene Jarvis from Swan Quarter.
Membership at Eunice Chapel is reportedly 50.
Roll of Ministers at Eunice Chapel.
|1911||S. Tyler Smith||1926, 1927, 1944||W. P. Armstrong|
|1914||T. Yarborough||1931-1936||C. E. Lee|
|1916, 1919, 1920||H. S. Davenport||1938-1940||John R. Smith|
|1917, 1918||W. H. Marler||1942||F. A. Lilley|
|1921-1923||J. A. Mizell||1946||Roe L. Harris|
It is in Martin County on Federal Highway 64, about midway from Robersonville to Williamston. The opening of the Williamston to Tarboro railway in the 1880's occasioned here a convenient way station and a rising trade center. It may be assumed that it was named for some one of eight “heads of families” by that name in the county in 1790, namely: James, John, John Jr., Joshua, Nathaniel, Nathaniel II, William, William, Sr. Its postoffice was one of seven in the county in 1886; and an Everetts postoffice was at that time in 8 other states. The village had in 1890 150 residents; it was incorporated in 1891. Proprietors of the five general stores there in
1896, were: W. S Barnhill, Barnhill and James, W. B. Clark, W. H. Clark, L. B. Wynn. The early industrial fixture there was the Martin Lumber Company, who sawed and dressed lumber along with others of the period in this well-forested area.
Early in 1921, “Cyclone Mac” shook the Robersonville community with his fervent evangelism. Following this, J. M. Perry, pastor of Robersonville Disciples, held a revival at Everetts in an improvised worship room. There were 44 baptisms and 38 others received by statement. This was the start of the Everetts Christian Church. Perry was the founding father, teaching them and inspiring their considered loyalty to their brotherhood's cooperative outreach. A student preacher, Louis A. Mayo, from Atlantic Christian College was engaged for monthly preaching. He continued with them for two years.
The church was enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention on November 9, 1921. During the first year their church offering to The United Christian Missionary Society was $7. Their church school enrollment reached 100; superintendent, Ben F. Perry; a later superintendent. (1927), was Charles B. Roebuck. Their first clerks: George H. Holliday, (1921); J. Henry Wynn, (1937). Their church property was valued at $2,000 in 1923.
The congregation was housed at first in a hall over a garage. They steadily grew in numbers and interest. On Thanksgiving Day, 1922, Charles B. Roebuck and other strong young men of the town went into the woods and secured the first timbers for the church structure, which was to be complete before the next Thanksgiving Day. Ben F. Perry, local merchant, was an enthusiastic and consistent worker in this effort from the start. He freely gave supervision of the construction, so effective that he saved the congregation an estimated $3500. The brick-veneered plant, seating 300, providing five adjunctive church school rooms, would ordinarily have cost $10,000. It actually in cash outlay, cost only about $6500. The dedication was in the fall of 1923.
Pastor Mayo, leading their revival in 1922, added 35. In August, 1928, G. H. Sullivan, then pastor, evangelized there, adding 10. In this meeting R. A. Phillips led the singing “very acceptably”, being ably assisted at the piano by Miss Lela Bown Barnhill, of the local church.
On January 17, 1932, C. C Ware, assisted by pastor R. A Phillips ordained the following: elders: Joe Harrison, W. S. Gurganus, Charles B. Roebuck, George H. Holliday; deacons: Julius T. Barnhill, J. Henry Wynn, Mack L. James, L. C. James; deaconesses: Mesdames: L. A. Clark, Minnie Wynn, J. S. Peel, and Julius T. Barnhill. The local correspondent's note: “It was an impressive service. The pastor announced a new financial plan. The church is better organized, and a good year's work is anticipated.”
J. M. Perry returned there for “a wonderful ten-day's meeting,” in June, 1938. His report: “We baptized 13 fine young people.” In November, 1951, pastor Olin E. Fox reported: “At Everetts where we have some of the salt of the earth, many improvements on the building and grounds are being planned. A new pulpit set, consisting of communion table, pulpit stand, five chairs, and two flower stands has been purchased.” Three years later plumbing accessories were installed.
During the last week in October 1952, M. Elmore Turner, Washington pastor, held the Everetts revival, with 11 added. These 11 “were baptized by Wilbur T. Wallace, new Robersonville pastor,” about which pastor Fox commented:
“For this kindly baptismal service we were grateful since I was not sufficiently recovered from illness to officiate.” Two years later, Bill Nichols, of Swannanoa, was their evangelist, giving “further uplift to the church.”
Ross J. Allen was their revival “‘guest speaker,” June 20-26, 1955, on which occasion “the church was inspired to do greater things for the Lord.” Departing from past practice the church advanced to “half-time” ministry for a projected pastoral unity with Jamesville. Their C.W.F. sold plaques of their local church plant, and in 1957 bought a hot-water heater for their baptistry remodeling. Some active youths in their C.Y.F. were Celia Clark. Anna Peel, Beckton James.
A hearty host has Everetts been to many convenings of “One Day Fellowship Meetings,” and of The Albemarle Christian Missionary Union, and of similar brotherhood gatherings. And, locally these awakened Disciples have indeed given “a powerful spiritual service to this typical small town community.”
Membership at Everetts is reportedly 194.
Roll of Ministers at Everetts.
|1921; 1938-1946||J. M. Perry||1935||Malcolm Penney|
|1922, 1923||L. A. Mayo||1936, 1937||W. I. Bennett|
|1924, 1925||J. W Lollis||1948||J. L. Corbitt|
|1926-1931||G. H. Sullivan||1949-1952||O. E. Fox|
|1932||R. A. Phillips||1953-1956||H. C. Hilliard, Sr.|
|1933||Kermit Traylor||1958, 1959||A. W. Huffman, Sr.|
|1934||B. E. Taylor||1960, 1961||C. T. Myhand|
Perhaps constant emigration accounts for Hyde County's population stall over a long period. An instance is Fairfield, which by census records had 500 residents in 1880, while in 1950, seventy years later the number was phenomenally identical. Its postoffice was established in 1835, James Taylor, postmaster; “annual compensation, $1.38.” This was indeed diminutive pay for a mere trickle of communications. The office was discontinued for a while. However in 1851, it was one of six such offices in Hyde. A Fairfield is in each of 22 States in 1960, from Alabama to Washington. This village on the northern shore of Mattamuskeet, North Carolina's largest lake, is at the end of the scenic causeway centrally spanning the big body of water. There in 1867, were just two merchants: Edward L. Blackewll and Bryan Rowe; one lawyer, D. M. Carter, and one physician, Dr. Haughton. Seventeen years later Dr. J. A. Mann was there, and the millers, W. D. Murray, W. R. Burgess, and N. B. Neal.
Samuel L. Davis, of Sladesville, in 1867, was the first resident Disciple minister in Hyde, called then in secular print, “Christian Baptist”. In the 1880s his colleagues in the pulpit, H. D. Cason, H. S. Davenport, Augustus Latham, Jr., and J. S. Henderson lived in the County. Fairfield Christian Church with 25 members was started and enrolled on October 23, 1887, by the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention. Until 1893 it was known as Enterprise. It steadily grew and registered 79 in 1894. Their first clerks: I. W. Mooney, (1888); B. Rose, (1892); D. C. Cutrell, (1906); Ida V. Cutrell, (1909).
Evangelist H. S. Davenport, pioneered there for the faith. He said in J. J. Harper's Christian Visitor, October 1, 1887, as briefed:
I went to Fairfield with only $2.50, provided by three Scranton brethren. I was an entire stranger, except for an old army comrade there. I arranged to preach in the Town Hall, a building with poor accommodations and was charged for it. $1 per night. While there I organized a little congregation and engaged for their use the Town Hall at $1 per month. The managers soon raised this to $1.50 per month. Then D. H. Carter offered us a piece of land and other assistance which was promptly accepted. It is poor policy for us to grumble when outsiders do for us what we can not or will not do for ourselves. I came to this county and found five regular places for our worship—now there are twelve. If the brethren would be a little more liberal and put two active workers in the field here, we would soon be in the ascendancy.
Fairfield's building was delayed. But the Hyde Union met there in the Town Hall on May 31, 1891. A sermon preached then was typical by the veteran, Davenport. His subject: “This World Is Not Our Rest.” He reported this Union:
The Episcopal church loaned us their organ. The Methodist choir did the singing. Trustees for our contemplated church building at Fairfield were appointed as follows: Captain Gray M. Silverthorne, Dr. P. H. Simmons, D. H. Carter, H. S. Davenport, and H. W. N. Smith; and M. F. Haskett to solicit funds. J. L. Winfield was employed to hold a protracted effort in their Town Hall to begin August 8, 1891.
Merritt Owen, later a pastor at Washington, N. C., gave fourteen months of resident ministry in Hyde in 1899, 1900. He wrote an effusive news letter published in The Watch Tower, from which we take this brief:
May 20, 1900, was an ideal day. Birds sang in the budding trees; butterflies danced on the clover. I mounted my wheel and rode nine miles around North Lake to Bro. Samuel Selby's where Bro. Leroy Smith met me and took me ten miles on to Fairfield. Only those who have driven around Mattamuskeet can fully appreciate its picturesqueness. Trees throw a friendly shade. Farmhouses form pictures of peace, contentment, and plenty. The bright-faced daisy looks up; little purple-cheeked violets peep out from mantles of green. It is an enchanting environment. I found the Fairfield house full of ready hearers. From the rich stores of the King's treasury I supplied them as best I could from Matthew 5:8. I preached again at night. I have not enjoyed a day's work more in a long time.
Owen was their evangelist June 10-17, 1900. Ten were added and the church was reorganized. He commented: “Some say that it is now in as good shape as it ever was. I found it indeed a scattered flock.” Leaving for his “Indiana home” in August, 1900, he reminisced: “I believe that the seed sown in Hyde will bear a rich harvest in the sweet by-and-by. The people there will have a choice place in my affections as long as I linger on this shore.”
Their faithful, mission-loving pastor Davenport, reported in 1909: “We failed to take our Foreign Missions offering at Fairfield on March 21, on account of inclement weather, but on April 4, we did take it, and raised $7 for the Damoh boys. Our Methodist friends were out and helped us.”
S. T. Smith, resident, and long time pastor there, announced in November, 1925: “We raised our apportionment for State Missions at Fairfield, and at Nazareth, (Kilkenny) we raised two dollars over her apportionment.” In 1930, J. W. Shockley, assisted by the Atlantic Christian College Quartette
conducted their revival. Roe L. Harris, local ministerial recruit, wrote: “Everybody enjoyed it. I think the church has been moved to do a greater work. We had six additions.” Harris preached his first sermon there in July, 1925.
George M. Cutrell, local layman, reported their revival led by W. J. Swindell, of Varnville, S. C., August 5-19, 1945. “We had a splendid meeting, resulting in 14 baptisms.” Cutrell added: “We look forward gladly to our One Day Fellowship Meeting to be held here on September 16, at which we hope to see a fine representation of our church workers from the entire County.”
Membership at Fairfield is reportedly 50.
Roll of Ministers at Fairfield.
|1907-1911; 1913||H. S. Davenport||1928-1932; 1935-1940; 1945-1948||Roe L. Harris|
|1914-1922; 1924-1927||S. Tyler Smith||1933, 1934||C. E. Lee|
|1923||J. W. Lollis||1941||Z. N. Deshields|
|1942-1944||J. Thomas Brown|
It is in the open country south of Jamesville. During its first 22 years it was known as Manning's Schoolhouse. Then for 10 years it was nominally joined with Jamesville Christian Church, but was reestablished as Fairview in 1905. It was enrolled with the State's Disciples Annual Meeting on October 10, 1874, with 55 members, of whom 27 had been newly baptized. For “district evangelizing” that year they had paid, $10; for regular preaching, $11. Their delegates in their State's Annual Meeting, 1874 to 1889, were: J. P. Moore, A. Lilley, Theodore Long, Eli Gardner, J. W. Griffin, R. W. Perry. Their first clerks: Wilson Manning, (1888); Simon E. Hardison, (1905). Their church property valuation in 1930 was $1,000.
The statistical table for their State Convention minutes for 1896 records that its 45 members had “gone in with Jamesville.” Not until 1905 did it reappear as Fairview reporting 50 members, paying $45 for that year for preaching, and contributing $11 to brotherhood-related State, Home, and Foreign missions. This support to missions they continued faithfully through many years.
On one occasion their pastor “visited 70 of the flock, nothwithstanding he was many times stuck in the muddy roads.” Consequently this minister on January 5, 1936, “had a large, interested crowd at the Church.”
Membership at Fairview is reportedly 135.
Roll of Ministers at Fairview.
|1881, 1889||H. S. Gurganus||1922, 1923||L. T. Holliday|
|1882||J. R. Winfield||1924, 1925||R. A. Phillips|
|1883||Henry Winfield||1926-1934||Edgar T. Harris|
|1884||Stanley Ayers||1935, 1936||G. D Davis, Sr.|
|1888||J. W. Gurganus||1937||D. W. Arnold|
|1911||J. A. Mizell||1939-1948||F. A Lilley|
|1912-1914||John R. Smith||1949, 1950||P. E. Cayton|
|1915-1921||C. E. Lee|
Gold Point, (population 98, in 1960), is a few miles north of Robersonville, on State Highway 903. First known as Longtown, it received its present name about 1896. Its inhabitants then numbered 80, and with Thomas Lawrence Johnson as a Commissioner, it was incorporated in 1898. It had three general stores in 1896, namely: Coburn and Roberson, B. L. Johnson, and J. E Roberson and Son.
Four miles west of Gold Point is Hassell, at which location stood Lebanon Christian Church, mother of Disciples both at Gold Point, (1893), and at Hassell, (1907). “Saulsberry” schoolhouse at the last named place was used by a pioneering group of five Disciples in the middle 1870's. Evangelist R. W. Stancill came there to preach “six times and baptized four,” as he reported on August 8, 1877. J. L Burns followed and announced on January 1, 1878: “I went to Salisbury's in December, 1877, preached four days and organized a church of 14 members, Bro. J. A. B. Cooper as elder, and Bro. Turner Glisson, deacon. I am persuaded that the band under their lead will give a good account of themselves soon.”
The church had grown to 20 members, when, under its new name, Lebanon, it was enrolled on October 12, 1878, by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Society. Their delegates at their annual State Conventions, were: J. A. B. Cooper, H. Brown, Lewis Etheridge, S. T. Glisson, Calvin Johnson, T. Roberson, G. F. Roberson, R. Thompson, Sully Cooper. First clerks: J. A. B. Cooper, (1878); Annie Andrews, (1889); Sully Cooper, (1899); N. F. Brown, (1900); H. Brown, (1903); T. L. Johnson, (1906); B. L. Roebuck, (1907). Their first church school of record was in 1893, enrolling 20, of whom 3 were teachers; H. Brown, superintendent. Their church property valuation in 1901, was $500; in 1930, $1500. Its old name Lebanon was retained in the annual statistics until 1911, when it was changed to Gold Point.
For the actual beginning at Gold Point, Thomas Green organized a mission there in 1893. It used the local schoolhouse. Only survivors of this initial worship group, in 1944, 51 years later, were: Thomas Lawrence Johnson, (1878-1945); and Mrs. Bessie Williams. H. Brown, Lebanon layman, living at Conoho reported on December 14, 1900: “We have bought and paid for a lot at Gold Point, and will commence to build a new house there. It will be 28 × 40 feet, and when completed will be an honor to the brethren and an ornament to Gold Point.” Three months later Brown announced: “Work on the new church building is progressing finely and will be completed by May 19, 1901. The congregation is steadily increasing. The schoolhouse is not large enough to accommodate the audiences.”
Brown attended the heralded opening on May 19, and said he “found the house completed with exception of hanging the window blinds and painting, which will soon be done. The overflow crowd heard Bro. C. E. Lee preach the first sermon in the new church. We are proud of it; it is finished and no heavy debt; let us rejoice.” A note from pastor C. E. Lee published June 28, 1901, related:
The congregation at Lebanon sold their old house of worship a few months ago and have by their own efforts and the assistance of others built a neat and beautiful church at Gold Point. The contract to build was let to Bro. State Williams. It cost more to build than was anticipated, but the church and community will see that the contractor is properly remunerated. As a whole I have never met with any better people than are to be found in the little town of Gold Point.
In the summer of 1953 during the resurgence of youth activities there, two classes in the Gold Point church school launched a fund—raising campaign for increased class room facilities. Two years later construction was “well underway.” Henry Johnson “donated enough hardwood flooring to cover all of the up-stairs rooms.” It was reported: “The membership has increased greatly.” The projected educational unit was “completed on the outside”, by April, 1955. Harold F. Brown resided there and gave them “half-time” ministry. The church school enrolled 123, with an average attendance of 99. A new heating system was installed. Nina Johnson “completed and furnished their young peoples’ class room”; also she and the other daughters of Thomas Lawrence and Louise Taylor Johnson gave the completion and furnishing of their new dining hall. And “a memorial cast bronze plaque was placed in the dining hall, September 2, 1955.”
The educational unit was completed in May 1957. L. A. Croom in 1959 led the project for a complete renovation of the sanctuary.
Membership at Gold Point is reportedly, 154.
Roll of Ministers at Gold Point.
|1881||Gideon Allen||1919-1921||J. M. Perry|
|1882||J. R. Winfield||1922||J. H. Williams|
|1883||Henry Winfield||1923||H. T. Bowen|
|1884||J. L. Burns||1924, 1925||R. A. Phillips|
|1888, 1889||M. T. Moye||1926-1951||A. E. Purvis|
|1893, 1896-1900, 1907-1910||Thomas Green||1952, 1953||Glenn Brigman|
|1894, 1895||S. W. Sumrell||1955-1958||H. F. Brown|
|1901-1906||C. E. Lee||1959, 1960||Gus Constantine|
|1911-1914||S. W. Sumrell||1961||W. E. Tucker|
|1915-1918||J. R. Lee|
Dardens, (population, 175), is on Federal Highway 64, about midway from Jamesville to Plymouth. It was one of the ten postoffices in Martin County in 1892. The two stores there in 1896, were: W. T. Broughton and Company, and Waters and Darden. A short distance south of Dardens is a community now called Free Union, site of old Welch's Creek church, mother of the County's Disciples, and which entertained the Disciples’ State Annual Meeting (Bethel Conference) in 1842. From this church missions of the Disciples were transplanted.
Thirty-four members constituting the Gospel Light church at Dardens were received by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention on October 31, 1907. They had paid for the year's preaching there, $96. Next year they grew to 42, and they gave $10 for State Missions, and for Atlantic Christian College, $5. Their first clerk was L. N. Gurkin, (1907); their first church school superintendent, James F. Jackson, (1915). Their church property valuation in 1915, was $500; in 1930, $1,000.
James F. Jackson, Dardens layman, reported April 25, 1902: “We have established a mission here in a public schoolhouse. Our little band numbers probably 20, (a loving little band when we get together for worship). We have preaching twice a month. We need a house of our own and hope to build one this fall. We are poor in this world's goods but we believe the
brotherhood will aid us.” Another Dardens correspondent, W. A. Ayers, said that their building committee was to meet on the following July 6, “to attend to business”. He commented: “It has been said that Bro. James F. Jackson was going to let the Disciples build a house of worship on his land. He is ready at any time to deed a lot to The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention. We work and pray that a house may speedily be built at Dardens.”
Correspondent Ayers announced that a total of $15.23 had been contributed, and remarked:
We are in need of nails and shingles. We need some sills and then we could raise our house. Our fund-raising committee: J. A. Spruill, Mr. and Mrs. R J. Peel, Misses: Vonnie Leggett, Cornelia Gardner, Carrie A. Moore, Annie Bateman, and Alice Modlin.
To their general appeal came encouraging response. W. C. Gardner visited Poplar Chapel, March 8, 1903, and garnered for the cause, $18.32. He wrote: “We thank the brethren. We will begin to raise the house at Gospel Light on March 23, 1903.” Jackson reported a year later: “We now have a neat and comfortable house 43 X 23 feet, seated and heated, with good lights, and finished except painting. It is all paid for; we thank all of those who helped.”
J. Boyd Jones, Wilson pastor, came to dedicate the new building on August 7, 1904. He related:
J. B. Respess, Sr. is the Gospel Light minister, and preaches with his old-time zeal. He drives [horse and buggy] the 28 miles to his home after night services to look after his farm next day. Uncle H. S. Davenport organized the church here. He has probably organized more churches than any other preacher in North Carolina. He is full of missionary zeal and a tireless toiler.
Olive Jackson of this church wrote of her pastor in October 1905: “If we had several such men as Bro. Asa J. Manning in our State we would do a better work. We all here at Dardens love him.”
Nixon A. Taylor, Plymouth pastor, held their revival in 1933, with 9 additions. In 1939, James D. Taylor, Williamston layman, helped considerably the Dardens pastor, G. C. Bland. Taylor testified:
Dardens work is moving well, and the State Service was very helpful last year in directing us to reopen this field. We have repaired the church with new window panes, installed a new piano and are raising money systematically to purchase a new communion set and other necessities for a well-ordered church. We observe here the Lord's Supper each Lord's Day.
C. C. Ware, assisted by J. M. Perry of Rebersonville, and the local pastor, G. C. Bland, ordained at Gospel Light, on April 5, 1939, the following: elders: Paul Allen, Alexander Daniels, H. L. Davis; deacons: Henry Hardison, Jackson Holliday, Herman Riddick. For this service the young people's choir directed by pastor Bland, and the Beargrass male trio rendered special music. James D. Taylor who had been of great service in reviving the church was present and said: “All said that it was a very impressive service.”
Membership at Gospel Light is reportedly 100.
Roll of Ministers at Gospel Light.
|1902||J. A. Spruill||1926||L. T. Holliday|
|1904||J. B. Respess, Sr.||1927, 1928||C. A. Jarman|
|1905, 1906||A. J. Manning||1931-1936||G. D. Davis, Sr.|
|1911-1914; 1919||H. H. Ambrose||1937||D. W. Arnold|
|1915-1918||J. R. Lee||1938||M. L. Ambrose|
|1920||W. H. Marler||1939||G. C. Bland|
|1921, 1922||J. S. Williams||1940||P. E. Cayton|
|1923, 1924||W. O. Winfield|
It is a village of 50 persons in southeastern Tyrrell County. It is on a small promontory jig-sawed by the elbow-like Alligator River at the shorewise wrist of which the community nestles. Now reached by blissful, hard-surfaced roads, it is two miles from State Highway 94, 15 miles from Columbia; 17 from Fairfield. It had one of the three postoffices in Tyrrell in 1862, the other two being Columbia and Fort Landing. It was flourishing in 1896 with five general stores, namely those of R. J. Armstrong, W. A. Cahoon, C. R. Johnson, W. B. Langley, and White and Liverman. Long a boarding house there had been run by N. E. Owens. Its name may have derived from its favored area of gum forests before the day of the industrial pulp-gatherers.
Gum Neck with 45 members was enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention on Nov. 2, 1911. Their fifirst clerks: B. F. Spencer, (1891); Claude Armstrong, (1911); J. J. Armstrong, (1915). Their church school in 1915 enrolled 40, G. L. Liverman, superintendent. Their church property valuation in 1930 was $1200.
Disciples had evangelized at Gum Neck decades before requesting recognition as a church by their State Convention. Evangelist H. S. Davenport reported:
“I arrived at Gum Neck, June 22, 1891, but the people were too busy with farming. I promised to return September 19, and protract for them. Bro. B. F. Spencer, clerk of the church, said there were about 65 members at this place. I found the church somewhat cold, and no wonder since they have had no regular preaching for some time. The brethren are running a small Sunday School at the church while an opposition school is being run at the Alliance Hall about a mile away. Sunday Schools mean additions to the church. We should not sit quietly down and see our children drawn away without a well-directed effort to remedy the evil. The Disciples have a decided majority in this locality and if they fail it may be charged to their own want of zeal.”
On October 8, 1908, evangelist H. C. Bowen wrote: “During the past three years of the ministry of I. W. Rogers with the Columbia group he has been instrumental in building in Gum Neck a house of worship up to the using point.” These were the years he was being assisted financially by the State Service.
Louis A. Mayo, minister from Atlantic Christian College held their revival, August 8-14, 1921, with 10 additions. J. J. Armstrong, local correspondent, said of this effort: “People came long distances to hear the gospel preached. We all love to see Bro. Mayo come into our homes. We have learned to love him. He has held three meetings for us with success each summer.”
In the summer of 1926, H. T. Bowen, another young man from the College at Wilson, held their revival. Again J. J. Armstrong said: “Bro. Bowen did
some real preaching; preached Christ so plain and sweet, the small children could almost understand.” Two years later the same correspondent announced: “We have H. T. Bowen as our pastor. The church is in good working shape now, but when he began it was not. He is one of the finest preachers we have ever had. He uses the spirit of love. Our Bible School has average attendance of about 40.”
Membership at Gum Neck is reportedly 75.
Roll of Ministers at Gum Neck.
|1881||C. H. Swain||1923||Theo. Wescott|
|1882, 1883||J. W. Gurganus||1924, 1925||J. S. Williams|
|1884||W. O. Winfield||1926, 1927||J. F. Pipkin|
|1888, 1889||M. F. Haskett||1928||H. T. Bowen|
|1891||E. L. Sowers||1929, 1930||J. T. Forrest|
|1911||S. Tyler Smith||1932-1935||Malcolm Penney|
|1913, 1914||T. Yarborough||1936||M. L. Ambrose|
|1921, 1922||W. P. Armstrong||1937-1945||P. E. Cayton|
Six miles northwest of Robersonville, is Hassell, (population 147, in 1960). It is an important freight station on the Kinston-Weldon branch of the A.C.L. Railway. As a trade center five miles west of the Roanoke River, it came to life with the railroad, and was one of the ten postoffices in Martin County in 1892. Three stores operative there in 1896, were: G. L. Cooper and Son, H. A. Nicholson, and Mrs. A. E. Salisbury.
An early preaching place for Disciples in the County was Salisbury's schoolhouse quite near the present Hassell. Another name for it was Sycamore Gum. Some early preachers expounding there, were: Stanley Ayers, J. L. Burns, Dr. H. D. Harper, G. W. Neeley, and Virgil A. Wilson. A layman, H. Brown, born in 1838, referring to his conversion there witnessed:
I attended at Salisbury's and paid strict attention to the sermon of Bro. Stanley Ayers. It was so different from anything I had ever heard,, that it put me to thinking and reading my Bible which I had not before understood, not knowing anything of its proper divisions.
Disciples at Salisbury's took the church name of Lebanon in 1879, and their development I have before sketched under Gold Point. Thus we have this brief chronology for Hassell: it worshipped at Lebanon, 1878 to 1893; at Gold Point from 1893 to 1907, inasmuch as Lebanon went with the Gold Point mission, even retaining the conventional name of Lebanon; and then from 1907 to the present at Hassell, proper, since in 1907, their stated worship was reestablished at the traditional site. It was November 5, 1914, when Hassell with 64 members was enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention. They had given $2.55 for Home and Foreign missions that year. Their first clerk was George Ayers, who also superintended their church school, enrolling 20. Their church property valuation in 1915 was $800; in 1930, $1500.
Sam W. Sumrell held the Hassell revival, beginning August 30, 1909. He reported:
I preached at night only for a week. We had five additions. We secured a lot from the Railroad Company to build a church on, and they have it
so that we can use it before long. We want to organize the congregation by time of the State Convention.
The organization was not effected as soon sa expected. But when Sumrell returned in August, 1911, to evangelize there, he announced: “In our meeting at Hassell, there were 14 added to the new congregation. We organized a church with 33 members. I did the preaching except one night.”
In 1922, R. A. Phillips, pastor, the Hassell church school conducted a contest which trebled their attendance to a high of 154. In May, 1932, it was announced: “Hassell has a new brick plant partially completed. They have applied to our Church Erection Department for a loan of $400. The frame is up and $1600 has been raised and expended. The $400 is needed with which to lay the brick and put in the windows. They will then have a serviceable, creditable plant.” J. M. Perry held their revival that year, adding 17.
The new plant, debt-free, was dedicated November 24, 1935, G. H. Sullivan, a former pastor preaching the sermon. Mrs. H. H. Settle, C.W.F. state secretary, was a guest of honor. In a formal ceremony she presented the church key to John W. Eubank, chairman of the building committee who responded briefly: “How happy we have been in this construction, accomplished not by any large gifts but by each one giving as he or she could.”
John L. Goff and H. Glenn Haney held revivals there in 1944, and 1946 respectively, with 13, and 11 additions. It was an unusual baptizing on June 10, 1946, when a son, and his father, and his grandfather, were each baptized in the one service. The witnesses of it said they had never before seen the like. On November 12, 1946, their C.Y.F. was organized with 22 charter members. Their officers: president, Ruth Haislip; vice president, David Etheridge, Jr.; secretary, Eleanor Eubanks; treasurer, Catherine Haislip; advisers, Mrs. David Etheridge, Sr., and Ernest Edmondson. Next year the C.Y.F. gave the church a new communion set; Thad Cox held their revival with 27 additions; and Ivan Adams became their “half-time” pastor.
C. C. Ware led an installation service there for pastor Olin Fox on January 2, 1949. In October, 1951, their new religious education plant was nearing completion; “a two story structure with 11 rooms adequate for many years in community service”. It added “at least $15,000 to the value of our church property.” The original plant was painted and new pews installed in September, 1954, at expense of $2,500. State secretary Ross J. Allen held their revival, about which their local correspondent said: “The excellent sermons of the guest preacher brought new inspiration to the congregation.”
In 1955 an outside bulletin board “built by our minister”, was set up, and the Hassell-Oak City pastoral unity presented the parsonage with a new television set.
Membership at Hassell is reportedly 122.
Roll of Ministers at Hassell.
|1911-1913||S. W. Sumrell||1938-1946||J. M. Perry|
|1914||T. Hassell Bowen||1947||Ivan Adams|
|1915-1918||Thomas Green||1948||W. I. Bennett|
|1920||D. F. Tyndall||1949-1952||O. E. Fox|
|1921||A. F. Leighton||1953-1956||H. C. Hilliard, Sr.|
|1922, 1923; 1934-1937||R. A. Phillips||1957||R. Westmoreland|
|1924-1928||J. R. Tingle||1958-1961||Z. N. Deshields|
|1929-1933||G. H. Sullivan|
Between Chocowinity and Vanceboro, to the east of Federal Highway 17, is Haw Branch; the home church of James Latham Winfield who came to the Disciples from the Union Baptists in the early 1870's. It was first known as Trinity. Having 18 members it was enrolled with the State Disciples’ Annual Meeting on October 8, 1871. Its delegates to State Conventions, were: J. L. Winfield, H. H. Hill, W. Cousins, S. B. Latham, B. B. Latham, E. E. Warren, and W. W. Galloway. In 1872, their 20 members gave $10 for evangelizing; the next year it was increased to $14. In 1882 it was grouped with five other churches, namely: Alpha, Union Chapel, Blounts Creek, Ware Creek, and Kitts Swamp, for which A. J. Holton was group pastor, his nominal salary, $300 per annum. First clerks at Haw Branch, were: S. B. Latham, (1877); W. W. Galloway, (1887). The name was changed to Haw Branch in 1887, when it reported 47 members. A new house of worship probably was erected at this time, provided at a reported cash outlay of $150. Their church school in 1892 enrolled 25, including 8 teachers; W. O. Ellis, superintendent.
In the fall of 1919 the church gave $121 to the United Budget of the Disciples of Christ. This embraced the ten brotherhood-related causes of Foreign Missions, American Missions, C.W.B.M., N.B.A., Church Extension, Ministerial Relief, Temperance, Christian Unity, Atlantic Christian College, and North Carolina Missions.
In 1939, from September 25 to October 4, L. B. Bennett, Columbia group pastor, held the Haw Branch revival with 26 additions. Local correspondent Lilly Mae Warren wrote: “Attendance was excellent; at times a church full and enough outside to fill it again. Our church owes no debt. We have a church school organized by our pastor, F. A. Lilley, consisting of 83 members.”
On January 6, 1946, the three Hill brothers, all ministers, and who had been born and reared there, were together at their old home for a delightful reunion. Sons of Mr. and Mrs. John R. Hill, their calling had separated them in varied locations so that they had not seen each other for a score of years. James Roland Hill then ministered at DeLeon, Texas, Christian Church; O. Blakely Hill, at Ridgewood Christian Church, Brooklyn, N. Y.; and William Hill served a Northern Baptist church, Seattle, Wash. Having been away hundreds and thousands of miles from their old Carolina home for 20 years, they found great changes in their native state.
Membership at Haw Branch is reportedly, 200.
Roll of Ministers at Haw Branch.
|1888, 1889||J. B. Respess, Sr.||1925-1929||R. L. Topping|
|1910-1912; 1916-1919||A. J. Holton||1930-1936||John R. Smith|
|1913||Warren A. Davis||1937, 1938||R. V. Hope|
|1914||J. W. Lollis||1939-1944||F. A. Lilley|
|1920||George A. Moore||1945, 1946||R. F. Butler|
|1912, 1922||D. F. Tyndall||1951||R. H. Walker|
|1923, 1924||D. W. Arnold|
It is in the Mackey's Ferry vicinity. First known as Holly Grove, it was enrolled with 60 members by the State's Disciples’ Annual Meeting on October 10, 1874; their delegates: W. S. Spruill, and S. Spruill. In 1877, reporting but 40 members, the name was changed to Holly Neck. Their first clerks:
S. H. Snell, (1883); T. S. Swain, (1885); D. W. Snell, (1896); W. B. Brickhouse, (1901). In 1883 it was embraced in the “Scuppernong District,” with J. B. Parsons ministering to the three churches, Holly Neck, Phillippi, and Scuppernong. In 1896 it had 34 members paying $12.50 that year to “Home Missions,” and $15 for “Local Work.” In 1887 their “Evergreen”, (12 months), church school enrolled 35, including 5 teachers; S. H. Snell, superintendent, S. B. Davenport, secretary. Their church property valuation in 1930 was $1000.
A diary-like report in The Watch Tower, April 1, 1883, by H. S. Davenport, related: “In the afternoon of March 4, 1883, I took up my line of March for Holly Neck; stopped with Bro. W. L. Hopkins. I preached to a few brethren and left an appointment for Friday night, March 9. Arrived back at Bro. Hopkins and dined. In the evening went to Bro. Woodley's. Holly Neck agreed to cooperate with Phillippi.” Soliciting there next year for The Watch Tower he said that Hopkins “pays for his Tower without being asked for the money.” Davenport then announced: “Holly Neck has a new church.”
After a span of 19 years, Davenport, the veteran missionary, again reported early in January, 1902: “Holly Neck is trying to build a church house. They need help and are worthy of it. Let us try and help them. Let us all begin to save up for the January collections for State Missions.”
T. W. Bowen, ministerial student at Wilson was their pastor in 1924, when he wrote: “We had a lovely day at Holly Neck, Sunday, February 24th. Five of our Atlantic Christian College students were with us to help sing. Bonner Jefferson led the song service and sang a solo both morning and evening. Eunice Highsmith, Bonner, and I sang a trio and Ruby Highsmith played the accompaniment. We had large audiences both morning and evening.”
Membership at Holly Neck is reportedly 170.
Roll of Ministers at Holly Neck.
|1882||A. C. Wentz||1925-1927||R. L. Topping|
|1883, 1884||J. B. Parsons||1928||George R. Smith|
|1888; 1911-1913||W. O. Winfield||1929, 1930||S. Tyler Smith|
|1895||W. B. Brickhouse||1931, 1932||G. D. Davis, Sr.|
|1914||H. H. Ambrose||1934-1936||M. L. Ambrose|
|1915-1920||S. W. Sumrell||1937||H. Edgar Harden|
|1921, 1922||J. S. Williams||1938, 1939||D. W. Arnold|
|1924||T. W. Bowen||1949, 1950||W. P. Armstrong|
It is on Federal Highway 264 about midway from Washington to Belhaven. Reporting 105 members, it was enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention on November 12, 1924. Its first correspondent was H. S. Hardison; first church school enrollment, 65; W. S. Windley, superintendent. Their church property valuation was $5,000; building indebtedness, $500.
By environment and mutual understanding, Hunters Bridge in 1924, represented a merger of two earlier churches of its faith, namely: Yeatsville, (1890-1924); and Free Union, (1901-1924). Wherefore it seems proper that I should sketch herewith these antecedent fellowships. These were neighboring churches and the homes respectively of J. Boyd Jones and John M. Waters.
The village of Yeatsville, (population, 40), incorporated in 1881, is several miles east of Hunters Bridge, on Federal Highway 264. The Disciples there numbered 37 when enrolled with their State Convention, October 26, 1890. Their first clerks: J. Boyd Jones, (1890); T. L. Jackson, (1898); C. H. Woolard, (1911). Their church property was valued at $300 in 1898. Their membersip declined to 18, and their service had been discontinued at the time of the Hunters Bridge establishment.
The Watch Tower announced editorially on April 26, 1901: “A new church was recently dedicated by the Free Will Baptists and Disciples at Webster's schoolhouse, near Beckwith postoffice. Bro. G. W. Respess preached the sermon.” This was the beginning of Free Union. Sixty-seven years had passed since Thomas Campbell, of the “Declaration and Address” had stopped here overnight with William Campbell, whose home site is identified with that of the later Asa Waters, father of John M. Waters. J. Boyd Jones (Sept. 2, 1869-Jan. 23, 1946), preached his first sermon here, May 28, 1893, and it was an early pastorate of John M. Waters, 1913-1914.
With 29 members, Free Union was enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention on November 2, 1901. Asa Waters was their first clerk, followed in 1920 by H. S. Hardison. The building's value was $200 in 1901; $500 in 1907. The seating capacity was 200. In 1903 its gift to State Missions was $5; in 1907, its offering to Atlantic Christian College was $105. Their membership in 1924 was at the all-time high of 91 when the merger was effected with the new church on Highway 264.
The frame plant at Hunter's Bridge, 26 X 50 feet, was dedicated on May 3, 1924. There was immediate need for $150; the amount raised that day was $166.95. The church at Washington “donated their old bell.” The three services of the day were largely attended. E. V. Spicer spoke in the morning; W. O. Winfield in the afternoon; and C. E. Lee at night.
A local layman, Josh S. Waters, in April, 1938, wrote: “Our Sunday School here is excellent; average attendance, 65. I am very much interested in our State Work, and will do all I can to get our Hunters Bridge folks to do their part for it.” In September, 1943, ten of their young men were in the armed services of World War II, namely: Russell Jefferson, David Everett, Hubert Waters, Maurice E. Jefferson, Dumay S. Tetterton, Phillip L. Paul, Cornelius Tetterton, Tommie Tetterton, Wilbur Curtis Hardison, James Asa Webster.
Pastor H. G. James led the church in adopting the Budget Plan at their “Home Coming,” on October 24, 1943. Their correspondent, Mrs. H. S. Hardison commented: “We feel very thankful for this.”
On July 23, 1944, C. C. Ware ordained there the following: elders: Willie Elliott, J. H. Ambrose, Josh S. Waters, and C. A. Tetterton, (chairman of board); deacons: W. H. Sullivan, Lowell Sullivan, A. T. Waters, Jesse Tetterton, Elmer Waters, D. S. Tetterton, Jarvis A. Waters, and Irvin Waters.
Membership at Hunters Bridge is reportedly 186.
Roll of Ministers at Hunters Bridge.
|1911||J. W. Tyndall, Sr.||1928||S. Tyler Smith|
|1913, 1914||J. M. Waters||1929||J. H. Edwards|
|1916-1918||J. T. Moore||1930||J. W. Shockley|
|1919, 1921, 1922, 1926, 1927||W. O. Winfield||1931||C. E. Lee|
|1932-1937||L. B. Scarborough|
|1920||J. R. Lee||1938-1940||J. A. Saunders|
|1923-1925||J. S. Williams||1941||Dennis Warren Davis|
|1942||John R. Smith||1953, 1954||R. H. Walker|
|1943, 1944||H. G. James||1960, 1961||W. C. Chesson|
|1945-1950||W. I. Bennett|
It is on Federal Highway 64 about midway from Williamston to Plymouth; population, 538 in 1960. It is an old settlement on the Roanoke, incorporated in 1785, and long known for its commercial fisheries. Its two successive postmasters in 1834, John P. Harden and Peter A. Summey divided the total of 38 cents “annual compensation’ between them. But the increased postal traffic in the growing village of 1839 rewarded James Whitaker to the amount of $16.28. In 1862, Jamesville was one of the four postoffices in Martin County, the other three being Hamilton, Roanoke, and Williamston. In 1867, E. H. Bailey was postmaster, and a hotel, an academy, and three stores were there; the merchants: H. W. Mizell, John R. Mizell, and William W. Moore. Mercantile activities grew to 28 establishments in 1896, including the drug store of Dr. W. R. Mays. Then the distinguished Academy was conducted by R. J. Peel; and saw mills were run by W. L. Stallings and F. B. Hardison.
The county was a warmly inviting field for pioneering Disciples. Jamesville in 1886 was the postoffice for four of their preachers, namely: Dennis Wrighter Davis, Henry Winfield, C. H. Swain, and J. W. Hardison. Jamesville Christian Church having 21 members applied for admission and was received by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention on October 28, 1888; their delegates: A. Nelson Waters, and N. R. Roberson. Their first clerks: J. E. Hardison, (1888); Franklin Jackson, (1889); Wilson Manning, (1894). R. J. Peel superintended their first church school in 1897, enrollment, 21. He was later Superintendent of the County's Public Schools. Jamesville's giving to State Missions was 50 cents in 1888, increased to $5 the next year, and in 1897 their offerings to Home and Foreign Missions aggregated $81.50. For building their plant, $500 was given in 1888—a per capita of $23.81, highest that year among the 108 churches of its faith in the State. The property valuation in 1901 was $600; in 1930, $1500.
In 1883 a definitive name for the Old Ford Union contemporaneous with the Albemarle, and Hyde, was “The Missionary Cooperation.” It convened at Poplar Chapel, near neighbor of Jamesville, on September 29, 1883. A minute of it reads: “On motion agreed that a collection be taken up for the building of a house of worship at or near Jamesville.” A letter came to J. J. Harper from Henry Winfield dated Jamesville, N. C., August 8, 1887. It said:
We are progressing slowly on our new church in this town. We are struggling hard against poverty and other disadvantages to get the house so we can hold a series of meetings in it this fall. We have not begged any yet, but we feel humble enough now to begin. We shall feel most grateful for any assistance however small.
I. J. Spencer, of Richmond, Va., able editor of The Missionary Weekly, visited occasionally in Carolina in the interest of his paper which had become widely acceptable here. H. C. Bowen had announced in February, 1880, “the Jamesville building is complete except the painting which will be done soon.” Spencer was invited to the Jamesville dedication set for March 30 to coincide with the Union Meeting there, a common procedural custom. He attended and recorded editorially this brief:
R. W. Stancill preached the Jamesville dedication sermon which was vigorous, scriptural and appropriate. He is giving particular attention to church building enterprises. The new house was not large enough to accommodate more than three-fourths of the attendants; it is probably worth $1200; the lot is valued at $200. A little more than $200 was raised to clear the debt of $171.03, leaving a portion to be given to the new church at Williamston. H. C. Bowen was a happy man when the handsome new building was given over to the worship of God. Dennis Wrighter Davis, a gifted young man, strong in body, mind, and spirit, rode 18 miles after filling a Sunday appointment to attend our concluding service. A. Nelson Waters is one of the most liberal and indefatigable workers in this little band of about a score. Friends outside the church aided materially on the building. A ripe harvest seems to await the reaping at Jamesville.
As pastor J. Boyd Jones left Jamesville in September, 1897, to attend the College of the Bible at Lexington, he said: “Our heart rejoices at what the Lord has done here. Three years ago there was not an organization at Jamesville, now it has one of the best in the State.” Joseph D. Waters in January, 1902, said: “It was considered almost impossible to establish a church in Jamesville. J. Boyd Jones was sent there by the State Board in 1895 and after two years of faithful work he left it as one of our best churches.”
Stanley Stallings, (1823-1900) was an efficient Christian layman for forty years, first at Maple Grove, then at Macedonia, and for the last several years at Jamesville. His pastor, J. J. Harper called him “an earnest Christian man who loved the church.” Samuel L. Wallace, a prosperous, dedicated citizen, was a pillar for both community and church, a liberal giver for all local betterment and for approved missionary outreach.
The J. J. Taylor-Owen M. Walker revival there beginning July 27, 1913, resulted in 32 “good additions.” The community was stirred. The crowds “represented so much territory that fully 1000 people attended frequently and this in a little village of 244 population.”
Pastor R. A. Phillips announced in October, 1922: “We have recently painted and repaired our Jamesville plant inside and outside. You would hardly know it was the same building. Our women have already raised practically enough for this $300 expenditure.” C. B. Mashburn held their revival September 15-26, 1935. Concerning the results, he said: “From this experience the fifteen baptized young people will have inspiration to live their best.”
The Walter L. Browns gave a prominent site for a new plant early in 1949. The building committee for this development: E. H. Ange, chairman; Mrs. Clyde Brown, and C. C. Fleming. As constructed it is a brick-veneered building, 32 X 55 feet, of rectangular structure, pulpit in center, with baptistry beneath it. The men gave liberally as individuals. The women had raised $2100, later increased to $2,500. Toward completion much manual help and building materials were freely contributed. By May, 1950, heroic local giving had assembled $6500, and the remaining $5,000 needed was borrowed from a brotherhood source. This made possible a truly representative plant strategically located for east-Martin service. It was opened at their “Home Coming” on October 20, 1951, H. L. Tyer, pastor, followed by a revival led by John L. Goff, with 7 additions.
Ross J. Allen led their revival in September, 1954, adding 3, and bringing “new inspiration to the congregation.” Chimes given by the C. C. Flemings were dedicated on May 12, 1957. Led by E. L. Martin, building Committee
chairman, their new parsonage was ready for occupancy on June 1, 1957, to serve the new Jamesville-Everetts pastoral unity. Bill Waters as ad interim minister had ably served them.
At Jamesville, Marion C. Jackson was a ministerial recruit. A later one, Arthur Wallace Lilly, teacher in their church school and leader of their young people, is now in training at the Lexington College of the Bible.
Membership at Jamesville is reportedly, 120.
Roll of Ministers at Jamesville.
|1889||H. C. Bowen||1937||J. M. Perry|
|1894-1897||J. Boyd Jones||1938, 1939||C. J. Bradner, Jr.|
|1899||J. J. Harper||1940, 1941||W. I. Bennett|
|1911-1918||A. J. Manning||1945, 1946||W. J. B. Burrus|
|1919, 1920||W. H. Marler||1947, 1948||J. W. Lollis|
|1921||C. E. Lee||1949, 1950||W. C. White|
|1922, 1932, 1942||R. A. Phillips||1951-1953||H. L. Tyer|
|1923, 1924||D. W. Arnold||1954-1956||J. M. Moudy|
|1925||E. E. Moore||1957||W. J. Waters|
|1926-1928||J. B. Respess||1958, 1959||A. W. Huffman, Sr.|
|1929, 1930||C. B. Mashburn||1960, 1961||C. T. Myhand|
|1933-1934; 1943, 1944||G. D. Davis, Sr.|
This is a stringtown village environed by the wild beauty of an oceanic borderland. At the northeastern tip of North Carolina on the peninsula between Curirtuck Sound and the North River estuary is Jarvisburg. It is on Federal Highway 158, approximately 21 miles south of the courthouse and 10 north of Point Harbor. It had one of the eight postoffices in Currituck County in 1877. Its population was 25 in 1896, and the proprietors of its four stores, were: P. G. Gallop, Owen and Forbes, S. J. Owens and Bro., and D. R. Scott.
Dedicated Disciple pioneers had preached much in this “Lost Province” by the turn of the century. At intervals during the period, 1911 to 1939, for five years State Missions sustained materially the ministry at Jarvisburg. With 50 members it was enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention on November 5, 1914. Its church school enrolled 75 in 1915; William R. Wright, superintendent. First clerks: William R. Wright, (1915); Willis H. Gallop, (1918). Their property valuation was $2,000 in 1915; in 1930, $3,000. A fierce coastal storm left their plant slightly careened for some years.
William Grant Burleigh, of Washington, D. C., held their two-weeks’ revival in the fall of 1920, with 15 additions. Earlier, pastor C. B. Mashburn had resided there to serve the three churches in the County. He returned for a County-wide evangelistic effort in the summer of 1936. A group-wide evangelizing committee was appointed, Grover C. Sawyer, of Powell's Point, chairman. Representing Jarvisburg on this committee were: Charles A. Wright, and Charles Garrington.
State Missionary pastor, E. J. Harris served them in 1939, and held their revival in July, baptizing two. He visited 30 homes and testified: “I believe that our Currituck people are better united now than in years. We are all grateful for State and District cooperative help leading to this wonderful outlook.”
Membership at Jarvisburg is reportedly 175.
Roll of Ministers at Jarvisburg.
LONG ACRE CHAPEL
|1914||C. E. Lee||1939-1940||E. J. Harris|
|1915-1919||C. B. Mashburn||1944-1946||P. E. Cayton|
|1920, 1921||Z. N. Deshields||1949||H. Edgar Harden|
|1923-1928||J. R. Lee|
When it began 106 years ago, this church was in Washington County. A final adjustment of its south boundary line with Beaufort in 1911, placed it in the latter county. It is located on State Highway 32 in the Acre Station community. The mother church was Shiloh, which enrolled in the Bethel Conference in 1850, with 64 members, Samuel Campbell, delegate, and was lost to the roll in the 1860s. Certain Disciples from old Shiloh met at the Long Acre schoolhouse on August 31, 1855, and were “duly organized” by evangelists John R. Winfield, John F. Mallett, and Seth H. Tyson. A previous revival there had yielded 13 baptisms. The charter members were 12 whites and 8 negro slaves. First officers: elder, William J. Bowen; deacons: L. K. Respess, William Bowen, Sr. Reporting 19 members the church was received by the State Disciples’ Annual Meeting, on October 20, 1855.
Late in 1859 they completed their “free house of worship” which was dedicated on Christmas Day, 1859, by J. M. Gurganus and J. B. Respess, Sr. Seven times it was host to the First District Union from 1860 to 1877, in their quarterly sessions.
Disciple delegates in their annual State Conventions, were: Everett Waters, William J. Bowen, Henry Bowen, Horace Oden, Isaac Wallace, S. B. Latham, J. C. Respess, Henry C. Bowen, W. R. Baynor, George W. Bowen, W. H. Bowen, W. D. Bowen, J. B. Respess, Sr., H. H. Bowen, C. B. Latham. First clerks: H. H. Bowen, (1877); George W. Bowen, (1885); George W. Bowen, Jr., (1889). Their first church school, (1887) enrolled 31, including 6 teachers, J. H. Respess, superintendent, and “books owned by individuals,” numbered 25. In 1892, C. B. Latham was superintendent; A. L. Bowen, secretary. Their church property valuation in 1901 was $250; in 1930, $3500.
The family of Mr. and Mrs. Manley Macon Respess, which long has blessed the Long Acre community, is remarkable. Mr. Respess died June 26, 1927, but the widow, Joanna Gurganus Respess, born November 28, 1863, daughter of evangelist Henry Smith Gurganus, was living December 20, 1953, when a feature article by Mary M. Toler appeared in the Raleigh News and Observer. Her family record then was a superb roster of numerals; 14 children, 44 grandchildren, 105 great-grandchildren, and 11 great-great-grandchildren. It was said: “Her happiness has been her ever growing family and her connection with the Christian Church. Each Sunday finds her at service in her church. 69 of her descendants and their spouses were members of the Christian Church.”
Marked improvements, early in 1943, were made in the local church plant, interior and exterior. New class rooms were planned as Pastor Z. N. Deshields reported: “The church voted on February 28 to double the amount to State Missions this year. No worthy cause is here cast into the waste basket.” The work on better local facilities went forward in 1955. Improved access to the nearby highway was given by a new well-drained, all-weather road.
One and a half acres of additional land was acquired and cleared. A deep well was drilled and the cemetery put in proper order. The plant was given white asbestos siding; a bulk gas heating system installed; and six badly needed church school rooms were constructed. The church women provided new hardwood floors, new carpets, and new pulpit furniture. The church came to “half-time” service with a resident minister.
Some ministerial recruits from this church: Roy O. Respess and Edwin G. Respess, respectively son and grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Manley Macon Respess; Henry C. Bowen, H. T. Bowen and T. W. Bowen.
Membership at Long Acre Chapel is reportedly 247.
Roll of Ministers at Long Acre Chapel.
|1855||J. F. Mallett||1922, 1923||J. S. Williams|
|1856, 1857, 1866-1869, 1876||J. R. Winfield||1924||W. O. Winfield|
|1925||George A. Moore|
|1858-1862, 1873-1875||J. M. Gurganus||1926-1928||R. O. Respess|
|1863, 1870, 1871||J. B. Respess, Sr.||1929||W. I. Bennett|
|1864, 1865, 1876-1906||H. S. Gurganus||1930||J. T. Forrest|
|1872||S. H. Moore||1931-1934||G. D. Davis, Sr.|
|1909-1912||Thomas Green||1935-1941||J. A. Saunders|
|1913, 1945, 1946||J. W. Lollis||1942-1944||Z. N. Deshields|
|1914||Pendell Bush||1947||R. L. Topping|
|1915-1918||C. E. Lee||1948-1952||H. L. Tyer|
|1919-1921||J. R. Lee||1955, 1956||Reece Turner|
It is on Federal Highway 17, eight miles south of Williamston, and fourteen north of Washington. For 96 years it has worshipped there on the original site. First known as Woolard's schoolhouse, evangelist Josephus Latham organized it on September 30, 1865, solemnizing the occasion with his sermon on Acts 28:22. Their officers ordained the next day, were: elders: Eli K. Powell, William Wynn; deacons: Kenneth Woolard, Jesse H. Woolard.
The 20 Charter members were:
Men: Eli K. Powell, Kenneth Woolard, Jesse H. Woolard, John Woolard, J. Edwin Peel, William Wynn, William H. Russ.
Women: Louise Powell, Millie Woolard, Nancy J. Wynn, Martha Riddick, Chrissy Wiggins, Sarah E. Peel, Mary S. Lassiter, Mary Ann Gurganus, Tart Eason, Milly Ann Woolard, Cinderella Rogers, Chrissy Peel, Pauline Lilly.
The church with its 20 members was enrolled October 8, 1865, by the State Disciples’ Annual Meeting; the name Macedonia was given in 1868. The support of this church was steadfastly effective for the Disciples’ State Convention through their chosen delegates. These were, 1865 to 1889: Kenneth Woolard, Edwin Peel, William Wynn, H. A. Coltrain, Jesse H. Woolard, John M. Green, J. H. Leggett, W. W. Leggett, R. B. Woolard, J. S. Woolard, J. A. Woolard, Eli K. Powell, T. S. Holliday, H. Woolard, H. W. Holliday, Josephus Woolard, J. L. Woolard.
Their first clerks: J. Edwin Peel, (1865); Joseph L. Holliday, (1900). Their first church school, (1893), enrolled 35, including 3 teachers; L. T. Holliday, superintendent, Joseph L. Holliday, secretary. Their church property valuation in 1901, was $500; in 1930, $1,000. One of the earliest Woman's
Missionary Societies in the State was at Macedonia, (1877), probably organized by evangelist Jesse T. Davis, their pioneer field worker. Reporting for the New Bern Church building project, September 28, 1878, N. S. Richardson acknowledged: “The Sisters Misison of Macedonia Church, Martin County, by the hands of Miss Mattie Woolard, has contributed in cash, $1.25.”
J. L. Winfield heid their revival in August, 1888, and commented:
There is a strong element in the community here against the church. They consolidated against us and worked industriously to impede the progress of the meeting. But we had overflowing audiences and the very best attention. We closed after nine days of hard labor with 16 additions and the church greatly revived. A strong and able defender is needed at Macedonia.
The veteran, H. S. Davenport, visiting there, July 14, 1902, said: “This is one of Bro. C. E. Lee's churches. They have a good house and seem to be earnest Christians.” Etta Nunn came in behalf of the woman's work and organized their C.W.B.M. Auxiliary on February 4, 1912, continuing a service which they had initiially inaugurated 34 years before. Officers for the new group: president, Mrs. Joseph L. Holliday; vice president, Mrs. Alphonso Ward; secretary, Amanda Peel; treasurer, Mrs. Stanton Revels. Miss Etta concluded: “It is planning for faithful, intelligent work. With encouraging help we feel sure this will be a permanent organization.” Their year's report credited this Auxiliary with 14 members, 5 subscriptions to Missionary Tidings, and $12.60 contributed to general and state funds.
In the summer of 1934, sensing need of expansion, the church bought the adjoining school property and temporary class rooms for ultimate enlargement of permanent facilities. In their building fund, November, 1940, was $3000 toward constructing a brick-veneered plant, 36 X 56 feet. It was planned for the church school rooms to open into the main auditorium. Twenty thousand feet of lumber had been contributed, and two men, Robert Lee Perry and Henry C. Green had given all of the needed brick. Much manual help was to be freely applied. Designed adequately it was creditable to the prosperous community.
It was dedicated, debt-free, on February 1, 1942. Provided were a large auditorium, and six classrooms, two of which were up-stairs reached by disappearing stairways. The floor is of oak; the roof of asbestos. The pews and 126 chairs cost in excess of $1800; the entire plant was then valued at $15,000. The old building was sold to Staton Revels for $125. The building committee: Albert Perry, superintendent; James C. Gurkin, Albert Gurkin, John Gurkin, Roy T. Griffin, Robert Lee Perry, Henry C. Green.
A native ministerial recruit, Charley Rhodes Harrison was ordained here at his home church, on September 2, 1945. C. C. Ware, assisted by the local pastor, officiated.
Membership at Macedonia is reportedly, 200.
Roll of Ministers at Macedonia.
|1865||J. J. Coltrain||1913, 1914||John R. Smith|
|1881-1883||Augustus Latham, Jr.||1926, 1927||D. G. Saunders|
|1884||J. L. Burns||1928, 1929||J. A. Saunders|
|1889||H. C. Bowen||1930-1933||W. J. B. Burrus|
|1900-1910||C. E. Lee||1934-1948||Dennis Warren Davis|
|1911, 1912; 1915-1925||A. J. Manning||1949, 1950||P. E. Cayton|
It is seven miles south-southeast of Jamesville, and east of Fairview, a sister church. Resulting in 31 baptisms, a revival was held in 1854 at Taylors Chapel, the location being in the modern Maple Grove community. Wherefore a new church was organized there that year to retain its traditional name on the Disciples’ roll for 20 years. The home of John James Coltrain, (1814-1881), first resident Disciple evangelist in Martin County, was there. He was baptized by H. D. Cason on November 3, 1853, and forthwith began to preach. He fathered this new congregation on his native heath.
It is the second oldest church of its faith in the County, as nearby Welch's Creek has been active with the Disciples since 1841. With 38 members Taylors Chapel enrolled with the Disciples’ Annual Meeting in the State, on October 14, 1854. Their delegates in State Conventions were: J. J. Coltrain, H. Stallings, and Stanley Stallings. Its membership had declined to 24 in 1873, after which it was discontinued. Welch's Creek likewise disappeared this same year from the roll after 33 years of foundational service. It is plausible to infer that remnants of both Welch's Creek and Taylor's Chapel went into the making of the nearby Fairview church which arose with 55 members at this coincident date, 1874.
After 37 years of suspended animation, Taylor's Chapel was reconstituted with 28 members as Maple Grove. It was enrolled November 24, 1910, C. C. Coltrain, clerk, in The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention. To brotherhood-related missions in 1911, it gave $5; in 1915, $20; in 1916, $21.15. Their first church school, (1915), enrolled 40, C. C. Coltrain, superintendent. Their church property valuation in 1916 was $750; in 1930, $1,000.
J. J. Harper (1841-1908), founding father of Atlantic Christian College, gave an account of the first sermon of his notable career. He preached it at Taylor's Chapel, May 18, 1861. He described the Chapel building as “a dilapidated free church, with a two-story pulpit at the left of the door in the side of the building.” Further, he reported: “The day was cloudy and cool and the congregation seemed cooler.” He found J. J. Coltrain a real friend in need, who said to him, “Young man mount the stand!” He spoke for a restrained 25 minutes on Romans 2:22. He declared: “The attention of the congregation was excellent, and Bro. Coltrain gave me many words of encouragement and friendly admonition for which I have ever been grateful.”
William Christian Manning, (1871-1938), and his brother, Asa James Manning, (1869-1927), were born and reared at Maple Grove. Their parents were John W. and Sarah Daniel Manning. Their father was a Confederate soldier, served as a legislator at Raleigh and maintained the pre-Revolutionary homestead acquired by his forebears from the direct grant of a British king. The first named above was an outstanding citizen, and the foremost layman in the Disciples’ State Convention counsels for many years. Asa James Manning, his brother, was a successful educator at a crucial period, and a minister of excellent quality. These men made an immeasurable contribution for good to their State and to their church.
Membership at Maple Grove is reportedly 250.
Roll of Ministers at Maple Grove.
|1911-1927||A. J. Manning||1937-1950||M. L. Ambrose|
|1928-1931||D. W. Arnold||1950-1961||R. H. Walker|
An old coastal village is Middleton, in Hyde County, incorporated 174 years ago. Its postmaster, 1834 to 1839, was James Adams, whose annual pay decreased from $57.13 to $50.58 during the five-year period. Postal authorities usually spell it Middletown, but occasionally Middleton. With that latter spelling it began on Disciple registry and it is followed here. In 1896 its population was 175; it then had 10 general stores, an Academy, in which W. R. Jinnett, Disciple preacher, reportedly had taught, and two wind-mills for the processing of corn, (for bread, not spirits).
The Hookerton Union in 1872 paid their home missionary, Josephus Latham, $100, to evangelize two months. The effort was mainly spent at Middleton resulting in 49 baptisms. This was a substantial start, for their new church enrolled with 60 members by the Disciples’ Annual Meeting, October 12, 1872. Their delegates to the State's Annual Meetings were: Captain Gray M. Silverthorne, H. D. Cason, J. Montier Hall, S. M. Silverthorne. Their first clerks were: Captain Gray M. Silverthorne, (1872); J. Montier Hall, (1887). Their first reported church school, (1890), enrolled 22, including 2 teachers; J. Montier Hall, superintendent. Their church property valuation in 1901 was $600; in 1930, $3500.
George C. Respess, articulate layman, on June 1, 1877, related:
The church at Middleton, with which I worship, has built a new house 40 X 27 feet. It is not finished but is so we can meet in it. There are some noble-hearted Christians here, and the cause needs a live preacher. I am doing what I can to stir them up to duty, meeting every Lord's Day in Sunday School, and have a good attendance. We are all learning more about the Word of God than we knew before. We use the International Bible Lessons. I am truly glad that the Disciples in N. C. are being stirred up in the cause of home missions. If there ever was a slow people to act we are.”
Their young Lexington-trained pastor, Merritt Owen, arrived in the summer of 1899. On July 14, he reflected:
My first impression was very discouraging. They had been a long time without regular preaching. Now however they are responding in all their former earnestness. They are a quiet people and easily impressed with the truth. They have many latent powers which promise much and I anticipate not only a most pleasant but a very profitable work among them.
Their old house of worship had stood for 23 years, but sadly was in need of repair. Owen's leadership was effective. In July 1900, he announced: For many years Middleton has struggled hard to get a good house of worship. It is now finished. Our belfry is completed, the most beautiful in the County, and the church has been painted. This congregation will now be able to help other struggling mission points.” Owen engaged in many revivals, and confessed: “So many demands for protracted meetings requires all my time, and this work of soul-saving I deem most important.”
In September, 1925, it was reported: “Middleton church has enlarged her building and has a baptistry completley furnished, filled with rain water from the roof, unique among our N. C. country churches.”
A recruit to full-time Christian service is Margaret Silverthorne, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Silverthorne, of Middleton. Margaret is thoroughly trained for best leadership in Religious Education. As Director she has
served great churches such as Danville and Owensboro in Kentucky, and is now “Director of Children's Work” in the Tennessee State Missions office at Nashville. Other recruits from Hyde are ministers: William Swindell, W. J. B. Burrus, E. J. Harris, Morgan McKinney, Roe L. Harris.
The Middleton-Engelhard pastoral unity was effected January 1, 1955, when A. W. Huffman, Sr. moved into their new parsonage. Their C.Y.F. the next year presented the church with a new Wurlitzer piano. Tom Hill and Mrs. H. H. Settle visited there in the interest of world missions. An active C.W.F. promoted many improvements to service utilities. Church school rooms were enlarged. New pulpit chairs and communion table were dedicated by C. C. Ware, in June, 1958, F. W. Wibiral, pastor. Wings of the building were remodeled, new walls installed, and a choir loft built in. The congregation had joined gladly in building the “modern seven-room parsonage with an expansion attic.”
In 1959 all debts were liquidated and choir robes provided. The church goals for missions and benevolence were met by April 15. The congregation was host to all church people of the community for the World Day of Prayer.
Membership at Middleton is reportedly 134.
Roll of Ministers at Middleton.
|1881||J. R. Winfield||1922-1924; 1932-1934||J. C. Groce|
|1882||J. B. Parsons||1925||J. L. Green|
|1883||J. S. Henderson||1926, 1927||J. H. Hanson|
|1884||Augustus Latham, Jr.||1928||V. L. Parker|
|1888||H. D. Cason||1929||R. Paul Parker|
|1889-1896||W. R. Jinnett||1930||G. Winter|
|1899, 1900||Merritt Owen||1935||H. L. Tyer|
|1901||W. F. Smith||1936||D. G. Saunders|
|1902, 1903||I. W. Rogers||1937-1939||A. B. Crocker|
|1907||Sackville M. Smith||1941||Z. N. Deshields|
|1909||J. W. McCleary||1942-1945||J. Thomas Brown|
|1913||Dennis C. Myers||1946-1954||F. A. Lilley|
|1914||A. C. Neal||1955-1957||A. W. Huffman, Sr.|
|1915, 1916||G. H. Sullivan||1958-1961||F. W. Wibiral|
|1919, 1920||J. P. Ellis|
Eastward on Federal Highway 264, across the Pungo and its expansive marsh, is Mount Olive Church. It is about midway from Belhaven to Scranton. The earliest church of Disciples of Christ in Hyde County, it was first known as Clark's Schoolhouse; not until 1888 was it listed as Mount Olive. Registering 26 members it was enrolled by its State's Annual Meeting on October 14, 1866. Their delegates to State Conventions, were: J. E. Gurkin, and J. K. Voliva. Their membership grew to 53, when in 1887 and 1888, they expended $95.85 on “Building and Repairs.” This statistical bracket probably indicates that using the custom of the times in a generous supply of contributed materials and labor, they erected a plant of their own in lieu of the schoolhouse which had been their church home for 22 years. J. K. Voliva was their first clerk, (1887). F. A. Crary superintendent their first church school in 1888, enrolling 56, of whom 6 were teachers. The church that year gave $25 for “District Evangelizing”; $11.50 for Home Missions;
and $71.75 for preaching. Their C.W.B.M. Auxiliary in 1911, reported 10 members, 6 subscribers to Missionary Tidings, and $21.70 given that year to general and state funds. Their church property valuation in 1901, was $500; in 1930, $7.000.
John R. Winfield reporting October 1, 1882, said: “The brethren at Clark's Schoolhouse are making arrangements to build a house of worship. Crops in Hyde are badly injured, and we are somewhat despondent, but we trust in the wisdom and power of Him Who overrules all things for the good of His people.”
The saintly and beloved H. S. Davenport, (1837-1921) preached for a long period at Mount Olive. His monument, symbol of lasting appreciation of the brotherhood who loved him, stands in the cemetery there beside the church. On April 6, 1891, he wrote: “Not long ago a collection for missions was taken in one of our churches and seven cents was collected. It is time to have a better cooperative system. The money cannot be obtained unless the churches respond. We need more consecration, more harmony, more energy.” With the passing years his missionary convictions grew. Speaking his conscience on May 12, 1899, he said:
“I would be as happy as a poor mortal ought to be under the circumstances if the brethren and sisters would interest themselves a little more in the cause of Missions. We have no idea how much we can do if we engage in cooperative systematic work. I have ordered a number of Home Mission envelopes. I am going to get 189 envelopes for State Missions. In my field there are 189 members.”
Augutstus Latham, Jr., a founding father of the Washington church, held the Mount Olive revival in mid-August, 1899. It resulted in 7 baptisms. He exulted: “In all my experience I have never seen a more interested and earnest audience.” Then he recalled this scene of 36 years before: “On October 2, 1863, on the spot where the Mount Olive church now stands, I made my profession of faith at the close of the sermon of the old veteran of the cross, S. L. Davis, father of this Mount Olive church. The next day I was baptized by another pioneer, John R. Winfield.”
A fervent letter was published in The Watch Tower, September 12, 1902 from their pure-hearted layman, A. R. Davenport. It said:
Mt. Olive is not progressing as well as she might. We have too many anti-missionary members. Oh that we all would wake up and realize that we are commanded to give as the Lord has prospered us, not only to the preacher, but to every good work! If we would all do this, we would not make so many fruitless efforts, and the Lord would bless us three fold. Brethren pray that we may be of one mind in the Master's work!
C. L. Davis, May 29, 1903, said: “Bro. Thomas Green our pastor at Mt. Olive is doing us good service. That we are on the up-grade all along the line is evidenced by our increased mission offerings, and that we are painting our house and making some improvements otherwise.”
Etta Nunn, by boat in company with a group of Disciple leaders, made “her first visit to Hyde” in June, 1910, when she organized the Mount Olive C.W.B.M. Auxiliary. The congregation completed its elegant building in 1925, said to be “the best church plant of any faith in the County.” A feature thought to be unique for the time and locality was its “steam heat lately provided.”
Caleb Lafayette Davis, (Oct. 23, 1854-March 2, 1936), son of Samuel Little, and Sarah Smith Davis, was a lifelong resident of this community, an active member of Mount Olive for more than 60 years. His father was the earliest resident Disciple minister in Hyde. Caleb became a Christian early in his boyhood and was faithful to the end. An ordained lay-minister, he was an excellent farmer and accumulated a substantial estate. Surviving him was the widow, Ellen Cutler Davis, and the daughter, Mrs. Lulu Pearl Farlowe, of Roleigh, N. C.
Membership at Mount Olive is reportedly 100.
Roll of Ministers at Mt. Olive.
MOUNT PLEASANT (HYDE)
|1866-1880||S. L. Davis||1913||R. L. Topping|
|1881||J. R. Winfield||1914||S. Tyler Smith|
|1882-1888||D. H. Adams||1915-1919||J. W. Lollis|
|1891-1900||H. S. Davenport||1920-1942||John R. Smith|
|1903||Thomas Green||1944, 1945||W. P. Armstrong|
|1906||J. R. Tingle||1946-1950||M. L. Ambrose|
|1911, 1912||C. L. Davis|
It is at Wysocking Bay, a few miles south of Middleton. The village is Gulrock, population 70, now without a postoffice, but in 1943, it was one of the ten then in the County. The location is several miles directly east of New Holland. A mission of Middleton Disciples, Mount Pleasant was enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, November 6, 1919. That year it had given $50 for local purposes, and $1.24 for brotherhood-related missions. Their first clerk was Mrs. G. W. Peterson; first church school, 1921, enrolling 35, B. D. Pugh, superintendent. Their church property valuation in 1930 was $500.
A boating party left Belhaven in June, 1910, destined for Mount Pleasant in Hyde. Aboard were H. C. Bowen, Belhaven pastor, Carrie, his daughter, Etta Nunn, and other Christian leaders. He planned to conduct a tent meeting, which however the storm off Pamlico Sound, prevented. Albeit Watson's Chapel, Methodist, was offered and accepted, where, said Bowen, “We had the privilege of preaching to large congregations.” Moreover “a lot was promised during the meeting on which to build a church.” Added the evangelist: “This is one of the richest districts in the County.” Dennis C. Myers, their new pastor, arrived on June 7, 1913. He observed: “I was pleased when I saw our church home at Mt. Pleasant. The building itself speaks for our people at that place. Their enthusiasm does not die.”
Pastor J. P. Ellis in 1920, organized Mount Pleasant's church school in March. He announced: “I reorganized the church there on May 23, 1920, membership, 36. They have a good little church house. They have bought a bell for it, and raised about $100 toward building the belfry. We are expecting a good work of this little church.”
Membership at Mount Pleasant, (Hyde), is reportedly 20.
Roll of Ministers at Mt. Pleasant, (Hyde).
|1913||Dennis C. Myers||1925||J. L. Green|
|1919, 1920||J. P. Ellis||1926, 1927||J. H. Hanson|
|1922-1924; 1932-1934||J. C. Groce||1928||V. L. Parker|
MOUNT PLEASANT (PITT)
|1929||R. Paul Parker||1941||Z. N. Deshields|
|1930||G. Winter||1942-1945||J. Thomas Brown|
|1937-1939||A. B. Crocker||1951||F. A. Lilley|
In Pitt County, north of Tar River is Mount Pleasant. Its location put it in the old First District of the Disciples. Here at Brown's Schoolhuse was held the revival by Josephus Latham and Amos J. Battle, July 12-30, 1868, resulting in 34 baptisms, and 16 other members uniting by statement. Whereupon the church was organized July 18, 1868, and called Brown's Schoolhouse until June 4, 1870, when by congregational action it was named Mount Pleasant. The initial site was two miles from Mayo's Crossroads, four miles from House Station, and four miles from Bell's Crossroads. One mile south of the Schoolhouse site the Mount Pleasant plant was erected in 1870, and dedicated that year on June 5, Josephus Latham preaching the sermon. Its two-acre lot was given by John R. Brown, father-in-law of Latham, the resident founding pastor. Lewis J. Smith “was to superintend the building of the new Meeting House”, and hire persons to keep the church house in order.” Smith, (1826-1874), was warmly commended by pastor Latham, who said that “he was unanimously chosen deacon and I never knew a man who filled the office better.” Their first officers: elders: John R. Brown, Wiley Stancil, W. H. Cobb; deacons: Lawrence Ward, Lewis J. Smith, James L. Smith, Fernando Ward.
Mount Pleasant, reporting 49 members was enrolled by their Annual State Meeting on October 13, 1868. During its first 22 years its delegates to their State Conventions were: J. L. Smith, Lawrence Ward, W. H. Cobb, W. H. Stancill, Wiley Stancill, Louis A. Mayo, Sr., James A. Harris, Fernando Ward, J. Stancill, James Turnage, A. J. Outterbridge, T. Outterbridge. Their first clerks were: J. L. Smith, (1878); Louis A. Mayo, Sr., (1885); D. S. Spain, (1911). Their church property valuation in 1901, was $500; in 1930, $3,000. Latham served their pulpit for their first years, at the salary of $3 per month. The congregation flourished and soon they numbered 109 members, having 47 family names as follows:
Anderson, Bowman, Braddy, Briley, Brown, Bryant, Burrus, Butts, Cobb, Coggins, Cook, Craven, Cummings, Dennis, Dunn, Faithful, Fleming, Gorham, Griffin, Haddock, Harris, Hart, Hodges, Johnston, Jolly, Kittrell, Knox, Latham, Lewis, May, Mayo, Morris, Owens, Patrick, Pollard, Privett, Proctor, Smith, Spain, Stancill, Stocks, Teel, Tyson, Wainwright,, Walston, Ward, Weaver.
At the opening of their building only $40 was needed “to make up the deficiency”, at which time $25.50 of that amount was contributed, leaving pastor Latham responsible for the remainder. An insight into their finances in a day when “a dollar looked as big as a cartwheel” is given in their original church record book as follows:
August, 1876. The report of the financial condition of the Church for the past year showed there had been paid into the treasury, $55.42, while there had been paid out $54.25, leaving a balance due the church of $1.17. Sarah Hodges, colored, was again employed to keep the Church clean for the next year at $3.50, and J. J. Brown to furnish wood for the stove at $3.00.
August, 1878. The expenses of the Church for the year ending today has been $55.88, and the income, $55.31, leaving the Church in debt 57 cents.
Mount Pleasant had the first Woman's Missionary Society in this entire regional division of North Carolina Disciples. It was called Sisters’ Mission, and when the six societies met in quarterly session with the Hookerton unit on January 26, 1878, Mount Pleasant's offering, $7.52, was exceeded only by that of Hookerton, the mother Society. Their cumulative funds were for evangelists to open new missions in the State. The five other Societies in the State at that time were: Salem, Riverside, Kinston, Hookerton, and Vanceboro.
Their first church school was organized on October 4, 1874. Its leaders: Wiley Stancill, superintendent; teachers: S. H. Spain, James L. Smith, Pattie Smith, M. F. Latham, Rebecca Brown. About its lapse, their correspondent, “Violet,” reported on September 15, 1882: “At first it progressed hopefully but finally from unalterable circumstances all was gone. During the interval of its extinction its ennobling influence was sadly missed, and hopes of its reorganization were long cherished.” It began again however on May 21, 1882, and within three months enrolled 43, including 4 teachers. The new superintendents were: S. H. Spain and James L. Smith. “Violet” commented further: “For the advanced class we use the Lesson Guide; for the class of Wee Ones, the Union Primer. The Word and Work is also taken.”
R. W. Stancill, (June 5, 1854-Aug. 28, 1924), held their revival in 1882. It was his home; he had united with Disciples there, April 4, 1875. Their pastor in 1882 was J. L. Winfield, but for two years previously the flock had suffered for lack of a shepherd. Stancill exhorted: “I think Bro. Winfield by hard work you can get Mt. Pleasant back to what she once was.”
First to send an offering to the new Wilmington, N. C., church appealing then to get a basic start, was that of Mount Pleasant in July, 1908. Evangelist W. Graham Walker congratulated the church and its pastor, C. Manly Morton, for their premier gift “to this worthy cause.” In August of that year, Walker held their revival with 5 additions. Agnes Spain was organist. Also at this time their church school was reorganized, with J. A. Teel, superintendent; Rosa Randolph, secretary; Daniel Jordan, treasurer. They had a Teacher Training Class. In 1911 their building was painted, and the church contributed $50 to furnish a room in the new Caldwell Hall at the College in Wilson.
On August 1, 1943, the Diamond Anniversary of the Church was observed. During the 75 years, all charter members numbering 49 had passed away. However, of the 75 members on their roll of sixty years before, (1883), there were three survivors, namely: Mrs. Nannie E. Latham Quinerly, daughter of the founder; Mrs. Lucy Brown Worthington, and Mrs. Sadie Short Spruill. The first two gladdened the occasion by their presence; Mrs. Spruill was unable to attend.
Membership at Mount Pleasant, (Pitt) is reportedly 200.
Roll of Ministers at Mt. Pleasant, (Pitt).
|1868-1880||Josephus Latham||1914||T. Hassell Bowen|
|1881||Gideon Allen||1916-1918||J. E. Vause|
|1882-1884||J. L. Winfield||1919||M. E. Sadler|
|1885-1890||C. W. Howard||1920||M. B. Brinson|
|1891||J. L. Burns||1921-1936||Warren A. Davis|
|1901||J. T. Grubbs||1937-1941||W. I. Bennett|
|1907, 1908||C. M. Morton||1942-1948||R. L. Topping|
|1909-1913||H. H. Settle||1949, 1950||E. Eugene Crook|
Seven miles north of Fairfield on State Highway 94 is Nazareth, first known as Kilkenny. Its village name is Warbler, (population, 75), which now has no postoffice but in 1925 was one of five such offices in Tyrrell County. Kilkenny Church with 25 members was enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention on October 26, 1893. In 1894 it gave 75 cents to help print the State Convention Minutes. It then disappeared from the roll until 1905 when it returned as Nazareth, reporting 34 members who paid $23.88 for preaching that year. In 1906, they gave $2 to Home and State-Missions. Their first clerks: W. T. Dodge, (1893); I. Cahoon, (1905); L. C. Hudson, (1906); S. J. Brickhouse, (1908). Its church property valuation in 1930 was $1,000.
J. J. Harper announced on June 6, 1889 that H. S. Davenport had recently held a revival with 6 additions at Kilkenny. Harper continued: “Bro. Davenport commenced preaching at that neglected and out-of-the-way place in 1888, and thus far has gathered into the fold 25 souls.”
H. C. Bowen in November, 1904, reported directly from the field: “Kilkenny is now opened up by bridge and road, and should be encouraged to build a house of suitable size. They now worship in a small schoolhouse.” This was followed by the report of H. S. Davenport: “On June 4, 1905 I organized a church at Kilkenny, Tyrrell County, with 30 members. They are good workers and will build a house of worship.”
In September, 1925, it was affirmed: “Nazareth has a new building of her own. Her 65 members are the only church force in a large community.” As the appointed Hyde Union missionary, Gustav Winter, held an eleven-days’ evangeliizing “institute” at Nazareth in 1930. According to Winter.
It attracted a full house every night. It soon developed into a young peoples’ revival. Nine of the community's choicest youth, age 13 to 19, responded to the Gospel invitation. These were baptized in the deep and dangerous Alligator River at Kilkenny Landing. A few were unable to be baptized at this time owing to circumstances beyond our control. The church was left united and happy and ready to move forward.
A news letter in September, 1932, said: “There is a new road now from Columbia to Nazareth, and the motorist may go the length in a half-hour. In bad weather it is said the only sticking place is near the residence of Joe Cahoon who keeps a truck to pull one out.”
Membership at Nazareth is reportedly 51.
Roll of Ministers at Nazareth.
|1907-1916||H. S. Davenport||1928, 1929; 1946-1948||Roe L. Harris|
|1917-1919; 1925-1930||S. Tyler Smith||1945||P. E. Cayton|
|1920-1922; 1931-1943||W. P. Armstrong|
An isolated church in west-Hyde is New Lake. Reporting 26 members. W. J. Dunbar, clerk, it was enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, October 26, 1890. It gave 50 cents to help print the State Convention Minutes. In 1892 they pledged $2 to State Missions. Its first church school, 1892, enrolled 25, including 5 teachers, D. B. Squayers, superintendent; C. I. Squayers, secretary. Next year it enrolled 32, including 6 teachers, C. J. Sawyer, superintendent; A. N. Dunbar, secretary.
H. C. Bowen wrote from the field in November, 1904: “A zealous preacher could increase our strength at New Lake.” J. B. Satterthwaite ministered there 21 years later, and stated: “I made a house-to-house canvass at New Lake in July and August 1925. I baptized some. I ordained one elder and one deacon, and organized a Ladies Aid Society, and I plan to organize a Bible School there, December 27, 1905, if possible.”
In August, 1928, it was reported: “Roe L. Harris, of Fairfield, recently held a fruitful revival at New Lake. He preached strong Gospel sermons to them driving his car over almost impossible roads through the boggy savannahs.”
Membership at New Lake is reportedly 50.
Roll of Ministers at New Lake.
|1882-1884||D. H. Adams||1925-1927||J. B. Satterthwaite|
|1907, 1912, 1914, 1920||H. S. Davenport||1929||Roe L. Harris|
|1911, 1917-1919, 1923||S. Tyler Smith||1944-1948||W. P. Armstrong|
|1924||J. A. Mizell|
It is a thriving small town, (population, 251, in 1910; 574 in 1960), in northwestern Martin County. It is on State Highway 125, eight miles west of Hamilton, on the Kinston-Weldon branch of the A.C.L. Railway. In 1900 its people numbered 117, and in 1906 it had the five stores: Harrell and Ross; Casper Bros.; Burnett and Jones; Johnson and Everett; and J. L. Hines.
The Oak City Christian Church with 25 members, Thomas W. Davenport, clerk, was enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, November 6, 1919. Pastor J. M. Perry, of Robersonville, was the founding minister, and at the beginning he was their second Sunday afternoon preacher. On January 11, 1920, he said: “Two took membership with our newly organized congregation at Oak City.” In 1921, C. B. Mashburn, held their revival from July 31 to August 11, resulting in 28 additions, more than doubling their membership. He concluded: “There is a splendid future to the work in Oak City. These are fine folks and zealous ones.”
Evangelist Ben M. Edwards followed next year, July 9-23, adding 34. Perry, was called to “pinch hit” in their pulpit as before. However, he announced: “This is temporary, as I hope to revive them with teaching of stewardship and stimulus to fellowship so they can have regular preaching.” At Perry's revival there in 1937, there were 12 additions, and he remarked: “The church has grown numerically about 30 per cent within the year. Professor H. M. Ainsley and family have been a great influence for good. His training in old Phillippi Church fits him for religious leadership. The church surely has a future.”
In April, 1945, their correspondent said: “We are cooperating in the brotherhood's work; giving to our War Service fund, and to our Benevolent Homes; and we have given $10 to State Missions.” In 1948 their church school reached average attendance of 93, attributed to “some excellent leaders among whom are H. M. Ainsley and Sidney Mallory.” In 1950, “a beautiful communion table and four chairs” were provided.
In December, 1952, three new church school rooms had been built and equipped, carpeting, and other improvements effected, costing $2,000. A fund was started for new pews. A new Hammond organ was installed, Mrs. William
Mallory, organist. The Oak City-Hassell pastoral unity was set up June 12, 1955. Then the church school had “outgrown its building”, and “a new educational building” was projected, Spencer Harrell, supervisor, the work to begin in November, 1956.
In June, 1957, it was announced that this projected structure had been completed and would accommodate six classes. The cost was approximately $3,000. The church grounds were landscaped as planned by Jack Smith, and additional land needed was acquired. The chairman of the building committee was Sidney Mallory.
A report in 1958 said: “The whole interior of the plant will soon be redecorated.” Their Daily Vacation Bible School was held June 8-13 that year with attendance of 88, H. M. Ainsley the efficient director.
Membership at Oak City is reportedly 97.
Roll of Ministers at Oak City.
|1919-1921, 1932, 1937||J. M. Perry||1938, 1939||W. I. Bennett|
|1922||H. T. Bowen||1940||Ray G. Silverthorne|
|1923||W. T. Mattox||1942-1944||R. L. Topping|
|1924||Paul T. Ricks||1945, 1946||L. D. Thomas|
|1925, 1926||J. R. Tingle||1948||F. A. Lilley|
|1928-1930||C. B. Mashburn||1949-1952||O. E. Fox|
|1933||Ira W. Langston||1953-1956||H. C. Hilliard, Sr.|
|1934||B. E. Taylor||1957||Roger Westmoreland|
|1935||Selz Mayo||1958-1961||Z. N. Deshields|
It is five miles south of Robersonville on State Highway 903. Near the headwaters of Tranters Creek, it is about 16 miles northeast of Greenville. With 14 members it was organized by Jeremiah Leggett on October 25, 1834. He was one of the first group of preachers of North Carolina Disciples of Christ led by General William Clark and Thomas J. Latham. The list of 14 charter members appearing in their original church record book:
Men: Henry Roberson, George Britton, Nathaniel Keel, Daniel Hill, Josiah Taylor, Thomas Roebuck, John Piercy, Richmond H. Terry; Women: Tilitha Keel, Achna Hill, Nancy Brown, Mary Terry, Judeah Britton, Pollyann Daniel. Their first officers: elder and pastor, Jeremiah Leggett; clerk, Henry Roberson; deacons: George Britton, Nathaniel Keel.
Their first ministerial recruit, Henry Roberson, was cited for ordination to be conferred in November, 1836. All of this personnel was of the evolving Arminian fellowship escaping from Calvinistic creedal folds. After a clouded association for 14 years with Smithwicks Creek, Tranters Creek and some others, Oak Grove came to open affiliation with the Disciples in September, 1848, when John A. Leggett, (1801-1868), son of Jeremiah, was moderator of their business session. Henry Roberson was asked to write the fellowship letter and Richmond H. Terry and Thomas Roebuck were the appointed delegates to present it at the Disciples Annual Meeting at Mill Creek, November 2-5, 1848. Also it was “agreed that 75 cents should be sent for the purpose of paying for the Minutes.” There Oak Grove, reporting 11 members, was duly enrolled with the Disciples, 113 years ago. Delegates for their first 41 years in the Disciples’ State Meetings were: Richmond H. Terry, Thomas
Roebuck, Henry Taylor, N. J. Keel, Abram Congleton, Irvin N. Keel, W. A. Roberson, S. H. Taylor, J. J. Rawls, A. B. Congleton, J. R. Roberson, J. Turnage, Theo. Keel, J. W. Page, W. M. Pearcy, E. L. Daniel, J. A. Britton. Their first clerks: Henry T. Brown, (1849); Irvin N. Keel, (1878); A. B. Congleton, (1887). Their church property valuation in 1901 was $550; in 1930, $2500.
Another Oak Grove recruit to the ministry was Thomas Roebuck. In November, 1859, on motion it was agreed that he “Bee sit at liberty to exercise in the ministry wherein we trust he is cald and that he exercise freely at this plase and that he receive a surtificate to the EFECT, WHOME We commend to whomsoever it may come.”
A letter from J. R. Roberson, local correspondent, dated February 10, 1877, said: “Brother Joseph H. Foy will labor for us this year. We pay our preacher $5 a visit. We took up our yearly contribution, January 27, and raised $90; our treasury has never been empty. If there be any other calls old Oak Grove is always ready to battle for the Lord.”
Expenses of J. T. Walsh on his evangelizing tour in July, 1883, involving Oak Grove, were $11. To offset this he received altogether $14.55, of which $2.90 was from Oak Grove. He said: “I preached 9 discourses. The Oak Grove brethren are about to build a new house. They need it.” The old building was dismantled after July 22, 1883, and shortly services were conducted in the unfinished new structure. Editorially J. L. Winfield described it: “The house is 30 X 40 feet and will comfortably seat 350. The interior will be plastered and ceiled; exterior will be painted white. The windows are seven feet high, protected by green blinds. It speaks well for the energy and taste of the building committee. It will be an elegant house when the painter's brush is applied. The work has been done chiefly by the members and without outside help.” The dedication was on December 24, 1883, J. T. Walsh preaching the sermon, assisted in the services by H. D. Cason.
A communication from pastor W. O. Winfield, stated: “On March 26, 1899, I preached at Oak Grove. This is a small church but a truer band of Disciples it would be hard to find. While there I worked, talked and preached State Missions, and I think Oak Grove will raise their apportionment.” At the passing of an outstanding layman, J. J. Rawls, (Sept. 23, 1829-Dec. 6, 1900), evangelist J. L. Burns wrote this tribute: “He was always an active, zealous worker at Oak Grove and a friend and liberal supporter of State Missions; at the last State Convention he gave $25 for the cause this present year.” On March 23, 1902, pastor W. O. Winfield preached “an excellent missionary sermon,” according to A. B. Congleton, Oak Grove clerk, and it was also planned by them to furnish a room in the new Atlantic Christian College.
Nanna Crozier, able field executive for the Disciples’ Womans Work, visited, and in a letter from Oakley, N. C., stated:
I met with Oak Grove church, June 25, 1905. In spite of a stormy day, a good audience was present. The one thing lacking here as in so many other places is young men and women who are willing to take up the burdens which the older ones have had to lay down. There are many Christian young people in our churches who have been richly blessed with many talents. Why are they not being used in the Master's service? The needs are so great and the opportunities are so abundant. There seems now to be no leader at Oak Grove, but I believe something can be done there later.”
At their evening service, February 24, 1935, a C.E. Society with 28 members was organized; officers: president, Rachel Barnhill; vice president,
William Parker; secretary and treasurer, Margaret Barnhill. On the following April 28, reroofing of their plant was planned, and the minister said: “We took our Home Missions offering today and it amounted to $4.27.” Their officers ordained on May 23, 1937, were: elders: A. L. James, C. H. Gardner, T. F. Respess; deacons: Zeno James, David Wilson, Nathan Barnhill, W. T. Kirkman, Sollie James. Shortly before this a Woman's Missionary Society of 27 members was organized to meet monthly. Their pastor said: “They are doing a fine work.” He announced also: “Brother Kermit Traylor will begin our revival June 28, 1937. We are expecting a great meeting with this good man leading.”
Membership at Oak Grove is reportedly 75.
Roll of Ministers at Oak Grove.
|1834||Jeremiah Leggett||1928||Paul T. Ricks|
|1850||John A. Leggett||1929||H. T. Bowen|
|1851||Henry Roberson||1930||J. T. Forrest|
|1859, 1860||Stanley Ayers||1931-1934||Warren A. Davis|
|1864||Josephus Latham||1935-1937||D. A. Hudson|
|1877||Joseph H. Foy||1938, 1939||H. F. Brown|
|1881||Gideon Allen||1940-1946||D. W. Arnold|
|1882, 1883||J. L. Winfield||1947||H. F. Speight, Jr.|
|1889||Henry Winfield||1949-1951||J. J. Langston|
|1909||W. O. Winfield||1953||John White|
|1913-1927||C. W. Howard|
It is six miles north of Washington, on Federal Highway 17. A convenient crossing here in the encircling swamp in the long ago may have occasioned this pertinent name. The church was organized by Joseph D. Biggs and Jeremiah Leggett in 1828, and was nominally attached to the Kehukee Association of Baptists. The next year it reported 20 members, which number had in 1833 declined to 10. Biggs said in 1834 that Leggett had “become enamoured with Arminian tenets, now too prevalent.” John A. Leggett, (1801-1868), son of Jeremiah, represented Old Ford at the setting up of the Disciples’ Union Meeting at Little Sister Meetinghouse, March 28-30, 1834. And Jeremiah, the father wrote the fellowship letter in behalf of the neighboring Smithwick's Creek Church to this initial Disciples’ gathering of 1834. Membership of the Calvinists at Smithwick's had dwindled from 42 to 24 in 1833; the Disciple contingent arising there probably transferred to nearby Old Ford. It was 1841 when Associational action of the Kehukee thus focused the transparent shift, as follows: “The name of the church at Old Ford meeting-house, Beaufort County, was stricken from the list of churches, because it had been regularly dissolved, and the members had united with the church at Smithwick's Creek.”
The work of the three Leggett evangelists, Jeremiah, John A., and Daniel at Old Ford was consistently aggressive and fruitful. When it joined conventionally with the Disciples, October 10, 1846, at their Vanceboro Annual Meeting, it reported 160 members, largest at that time of any church continuing in the Disciples’ Assembly. It gave outstanding support by yearly delegations, as the records show, to their State Convention. From 1846 to 1889 their attending representatives were: Jesse Swanner, John A. Leggett.
Kenneth Woolard, Henry C. Cherry, Louis H. Hodges, G. Leggett, W. S. Cherry, R. Stallings, G. M. Swanner, H. Swanner, C. Padgett, J. H. Woolard, J. A. Perry, N. B. Hodges, R. T. Hodges, James W. Hodges, Josephus Latham, Whitman Leggett, F. B. Hodges, James Hodges, F. P. Hodges, E. T. Woolard, J. R. Hodges, J. D. Perry, N. T. Cherry, Uriah Leggett, W. H. Stancill, W. J. Crumpler, N. T. Perry. Their first clerks: B. F. Leggett, (1888); H. E. Hodges, (1889). Their first church school was in 1886, enrolling 106, including 6 teachers; W. H. Stancill, superintendent; Bertha Hodges, secretary. From 1853 onward it had monthly preaching. Their C.W.B.M. Auxiliary in 1911 had 8 members; 3 subscribers to Missionary Tidings; and gave $12.20 that year to general and state funds. Their church property valuation in 1901 was $1,500; in 1930, $2,500.
From September 30 to October 6, 1855, A. J. Battle and John M. Gurganus held their revival, adding 36. Battle said: “This proved to be a very interesting meeting not only in the number added to the church, but also in the great joy realized by members of the church generally.”
North Carolina Disciples held their first “State Sunday School Convention” at Old Ford, July 28, 29, 1882. There was a stimulating program, elaborate and constructive. With the local school pulling so consistently for associated brotherhood activities, Old Ford entertained the State Convention there October 25-28, 1888, as Oak Grove, Pitt County, had done the year before. A welcomed participant at the Old Ford Convention was the prominent Richmond, Va. editor and preacher, Isaac Jesse Spencer, (Nov. 10, 1851-March 2, 1922). A brief of Spencer's report of it in his Missionary Weekly:
The weather was excessively rainy but a large delegation was present. An example of zeal, one brother rode 75 miles in a buggy to the meeting. Eighty churches were represented and six new churches were received into the State Cooperation. In the N. C. missionary work a feature worthy of especial praise is the consummate business-like manner in which missionary matters are handled in the Convention. J. J. Harper presided. He is 47 years old, very level-headed, devout and highly esteemed. The Convention looks after the character of their ministers; for this purpose they have a standing committee of 7. They ousted an unworthy minister a year or two ago.
When L. T. Rigthsell at Old Ford opened the Disciples’ Carolina Institute as the first brotherhood-sponsored effort for higher education in the State, in September, 1892, he said: “Those students coming from abroad will find local friends here whose benefactions will be of permanent value to them.”
The Watch Tower editor, J. F. Coss, who visited on April 9, 1899, affirmed: “I spoke at Old Ford for an hour; the offering $14.31 for Foreign Missions; due preparation had been made by the pastor, J. R. Tingle.” Dennis Wrighter Davis held their revival that year, September 10-20. The result, 63 additions, was unprecedented. Davis said: “This meeting increases the membership at Old Ford almost to 400. With such strength the congregation ought not to be content with only monthly services.” Pastor J. R. Tingle gave the Foreign Missions message there on March 11, 1900. The offering gratified their leaders. Tingle said: “It speaks well for their missionary spirit. The church is in good working order. It is growing in spiritual interest.”
Nanna Crozier, encouraged by pastor W. O. Winfield, spoke there on June 11, 1905. She said:
I tried to tell them of the great need of missionary work and what the C. W. B. M. is doing to meet that need. An Auxiliary was organized with 7 members; officers: president, Mrs. D. W. Davis; secretary, Margaret B. Stancill; treasurer, Mrs. Ben Bishop. A fine, large Junior Society was also organized; Miss Stancill has charge of that. We feel that these two Societies are going to do splendid work for the Master.
John M. Waters closing the revival there August 25, 1921, said: “I baptized 22 young men and women.” In 1924 the church bought the “Ben Hodges place”, consisting of 45 acres and an 8-room, two-story residence to be remodeled into a parsonage. Six acres had been cleared. This desirable property cost the church $2200.
On November 10, 1928, the church observed its centennial. The speakers were: C. B. Mashburn, John M. Waters, Warren A. Davis, J. W. Lollis, C. C. Ware, and the local financial secretary, Evan H. Willard. In 1931 there was extensive remodeling of their plant. At cost of $1000 with much manual aid contributed, it was veneered with 25,000 brick, leaving 35,000 brick on the yard for constructing their projected educational plant. Effective support in this overall improvement was given by their Ladies’ Aid Scoiety, Mrs. McD. Gautier, president, and Mrs. Lillian Leggett, secretary. Mary Ella Cooper was pianist. Their church school then enrolled 250; F. S. Hodges, superintendent; Sam. Madkins, secretary. In 1939 eight adidtional class rooms were provided.
Membership at Old Ford is reportedly 580.
Roll of Ministers at Old Ford.
|1881-1883||Augustus Latham, Jr.||1919-1921||W. O. Winfield|
|1884-1889||J. L. Winfield||1922-1929||J. W. Lollis|
|1900||J. R. Tingle||1930-1932||W. I. Bennett|
|1909-1913||Warren A. Davis||1933-1940||Dennis Warren Davis|
|1914||J. M. Waters||1941-1950||M. L. Ambrose|
|1915-1918||J. M. Perry|
It is in the Winsteadville-Ransomville commuity in extreme east-Beaufort County. It is located on the fishhook-shaped peninsula bounded north and south by the confluent Pungo-Pamlico waters. Its building formerly was a union chapel; later it has been acquired wholly for the Disciples. With 35 members it was enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention on November 2, 1901.
In 1902 it reported 40 members who gave $21.75 for local purposes. The next year it gave $1 for State misisons, and $5 for preaching. Its first clerks: S. B. Wilkins, (1889); B. H. Hardison, (1901); B. D. Gallup, (1911); Mrs. Riley Hooten, (1928). Its church property valuation in 1902 was $500.
Pastor H. S. Davenport reported in February, 1902: “I met my regular appointment at Pamlico Chapel on January 26, and was greeted with good audiences. My singing girls Mary A. Slade and Rillie Foster came out and sang with a will. Bro. Major Foster is one of the pillars there.” Returning with Mrs. Davenport to his April appointment that year, he observed: “We made our home with Bro. and Sister Hardison. My singing girls were all there. I notice the boys are improving. Some of those boys may be President, or Governor, or U. S. Senator, who knows?”
In 1935, Warren A. Davis held their revival with 7 additions. T. M. Guthrie was correspondent; Delmar Sawyer was church school superintendent, and also president of the local C. E. Society having about 25 members.
Membership at Pamlico Chapel is reportedly 25.
Roll of Ministers at Pamlico Chapel.
|1882-1894||T. W. Whitley||1936-1941||F. A. Lilley|
|1901-1910||H. S. Davenport||1942||Daniel Hardison|
|1911-1914||Thomas Green||1946||R. L. Topping|
|1924||J. A. Mizell||1948||H. F. Speight, Jr.|
Twenty-six miles east of Washington on Federal Highway 264 is Pantego, (population, 262 in 1960). The village was in Hyde until 1819, when its area eastward to Leechville was annexed to Beaufort County. To-day descendants of old families largely populate the section. Of the 13 Winfield families in the State in 1790, 11 were in Hyde; of the 12 Windleys, 10 were in Hyde; of the 12 Lathams, 8 were in Hyde and Beaufort. The hamlet counted 200 persons in 1880, and was incorporated as Pantego in 1881. It then had nine stores, two saw mills, an academy, two physicians, three blacksmiths, a cooper, and a saddle and harness man. Thomas J. Latham, preacher, was the postmaster there, 1834 to 1839, his “annual compensation” rising from $22.09 to $30.24, evidence that communications were greatening in this Pantego Creek metropolis.
Pungo Chapel, (site, nine miles southeast), was the mother church of Pantego Disciples. It was the direct inheritor of the Arminian Baptist Separatism of the first John Winfield, thereby becoming the home of Elders Henry Smith and Samuel L. Davis, zealous evangelist-pioneers of North Carolina's Nineteenth Century Disciples. It was inactive on the roll of the Kehukee Association in 1811 with 16 members, not going along with that compact's distinctive creedalism. In 1829 it had enlisted with the Bethel conference, at whose merger with the Disciples, May 2, 1845, it reported a local membership of 82. Its first officers: pastor and presiding elder, Thomas J. Latham; assistant elders: William Davis, Sr., Jesse Winfield; deacon, Henry Satterthwaite. Its lay delegates at their State's Annual Conferences: William Davis, Sr., (1844); and Laban Wilkinson and Jesse Winfield. (1846).
The church continued until November 28, 1897, when, with only 19 members, because of “unpropitious prospects” it disbanded to have their “names enrolled with some Disciple congregation that we each one may prefer.”
To be provided with “a church more convenient to their several places of residence,” 36 members of Pungo Chapel, two of whom were slaves, withdrew to organize the Christian Church at Pantego on October 2, 1830. It was named Concord until 1879. Its old Minute Book beginning 131 years ago is a superb example of the old-time readable penmanship. First officers at Pantego: presiding elder, Henry Smith; assistant elders: John Carrow, Sr., James B. Adams; deacon, Ephraim Ratcliff. First clerks: Thomas J. Latham, (1830); Samuel Windley, (1838); Jordan Wilkinson, (1878); H. W. Johnson, (1891). Their 36 charter members in 1830, were:
Men: James B. Adams, John Carrow, Sr., John Carrow, Jr., Marquis Carrow, Davis Johnson, Thomas J. Latham, William Latham, Ephraim Ratcliff, John Smith, John Whitley, Shadrack Wilkinson, Wiley Wilkinson; Slaves: Christman, Gideon.
Women: Sophia Adams, Elizabeth Carrow, Mary Carrow, Polly Eborn, Nancy Ellis, Lucilla Johnson, Lucretia Johnson, Sarah Jones, Elizabeth Latham, Mary Ann Latham, Nancy Latham, Henrietta Palmer, Mary Ratcliff, Elizabeth Saunders, Ann Smith, Delilah Smith, Elizabeth Smith, Susan Smith, Patience Wilkinson, Elizabeth Windley, Margaret Windley, Miriam Whitley.
Pantego's delegates in their State's Annual Meetings, were:
Ephraim Ratcliff, Josephus Latham, Samuel T. Carrow, D. L. Burgess, Samuel Windley, L. Windley, J. Whitley, T. J. Latham, Jr., James Smith, James W. Gaylord, Augustus Latham, W. L. Latham, William F. Flynn, W. G. Sawyer, John Windley, P. H. Johnson, Sr., G. F. Flynn, J. F. Latham, J. H. Johnston, W. Muse, J. C. Ricks, W. J. Crumpler, R. F. Shavender, Jordan Wilkinson, B. B. Wilkinson, James H. Jarvis, D. B. Wilkinson, George L. Wilkinson, Thomas Flynn, G. T. Tyson, George Joyner, L. McGower, J. Edward Gherkin.
Its first site, 1830 to 1844, was in the fringe of the village near Primitive Baptist Elder Daniel Topping's later residence. Removed a short distance, from 1844 to 1876, it was at the bend of Federal 264, in the eastern outskirts of Pantego. Again it was moved to its present location which it has retained for the past 85 years. In 1846 after its formal merger with the Disciples, its membership was reduced to 111, when 31 had withdrawn to found a local F.W.B. church, Joseph D. Satchwell, clerk. This was in opposition to Latham's fatherly course of Christian union with the growing Disciple movement. The local Disciples’ officiary in 1848: elders: John Smith, James W. Gaylord, James Windley; deacons: Jesse Windley, William A. Eborn. Its C.W.B.M. in 1911 reported 19 members; 10 subscribers to Missionary Tidings; offerings $80.60 to general and state funds. Its first church school, (1885), enrolled 35, including 3 teachers; M. J. Whitley superintendent. Next year it increased to 83, including 4 teachers. Its plant which in part serves today was dedicated by pastor John R. Winfield on September 3, 1876. Its property valuation in 1901 was $1400; in 1930, $3,000.
Through the long years the church has been blessed with many revivals. The community has its share of the poor. However it is generally known that the Lathams, the Swindells, and the Wilkinsons, rose to a place among topflight planters of North Carolina in productive resources as well as farming acumen. Yet when pastor H. H. Moore, of Greenville, N. C., held the Pantego meeting in August, 1905, with 21 additions, he found many of the “very poor” there and italicized the phrase in his report. However with gratification he said:
We had a rousing good meeting. I made 61 pastoral visits, often going into homes where a preacher had never been. I do not think we strengthened the church financially, but the angels rejoiced and recruits were added to the Kingdom. I have a hobbby, it is preaching the Gospel to the poor, the outcast, and the forsaken. I have compassion for the underdog. The dear people at Greenville have been very kind, letting me get away to hold the Pantego meeting; not unusual for Greenville; they are always doing something nice for the preacher and his wife.
In 1931, pastor D. Guy Saunders led their revival with 29 additions. After five years of resident ministry there, he said: “We believe these good folk to be the equal of any group of Christians anywhere.” In 1936 their Ladies Aid Society, Mrs. Leon H. Johnson, president, helped their parsonage fund $500; bought new pews for the church, costing $1,000; and landscaped the grounds with beautiful shrubbery. On March 16, 1937, pastor Joseph A.
Saunders’ family moved into the new parsonage. He said: “We are proud of both the house and of the people who builded so loyally.” After actual completion it was dedicated on June 17, 1945. Planned then were new church school rooms, and social hall. The two-story building provides long-needed utilities in six class rooms adapted to various departments, and a large upstairs fellowship room equipped with kitchenette. C. W. Riggs, state evangelist, in 1946 led in assembling pledges totaling $41.10 per week, preparatory to a more adequate pastorate.
In 1949 David A. Windley was elected honorary elder for life. New Church trustees appointed, were: Carl Windley, Claude Ricks, P. H. Johnson, Sr.; the building committee: Leon H. Johnson, Chester C. Windley, Robert Benson. In 1950, pastor C. F. Outlaw's generous family presented to the church a baptistry which was dedicated on Easter Sunday; a painting contributed by Perry Case adorned this equipment.
In 1955, the Men's Class, Joseph A. Windley, teacher, also principal of Pantego High School, painted the exterior of the church and installed a new furnace and new lights. The women worked toward completing the fellowship hall, also in supplying the sanctuary with a new carpet, half of the cost of which was a gift from Mrs. B. G. Carowan.
In 1957 the plant was reroofed, the educational building repainted, and an outside bulletin board erected. Officers of the church board: chairman, Joseph A. Windley; secretary, C. L. Ricks; treasurer, William Daw; assistant treasurer, Vernon Canady.
Ministerial recruits from this church have been: Thomas J. Latham, Josephus Latham, M. F. Jarvis, Hilton Windley, R. Worden Allen.
Membership at Pantego is reportedly 230.
Roll of Ministers at Pantego.
|1830-1838||Henry Smith||1926,1927||W. T. Mattox|
|1839-1855||Thomas J. Latham||1928-1934||D. G. Saunders|
|1856-1873, 1875-1880||John R. Winfield||1935-1941||J. A. Saunders|
|1874||Augustus Latham, Jr.||1942, 1943||Z. N. Deshields|
|1881-1884||George Joyner||1944||Allen Wilson|
|1885-1887||J. L. Winfield||1945-1948||J. W. Lollis|
|1888, 1889||D. W. Davis||1949||C. F. Outlaw|
|1904-1908||W. O. Winfield||1950, 1952||W. J. Waters|
|1911-1913||J. W. Tyndall||1951||H. Edgar Harden|
|1914, 1921||W. O. Winfield||1953-1956||J. D. Waters|
|1915||J. M. Perry||1957, 1958||Roland Jones|
|1916-1920; 1923-1925||C. W. Howard||1959-1961||H. L. Tyer|
|1922||F. F. Grim|
This is a large rural church in Washington County. It is in Cherry, a few miles south of Creswell. Incorporated in 1907, Cherry has not fared well in the census. Its population in 1910 was 76; in 1960, it had receded to 61. Cherry in 1906 took pride in its seven teachers of its excellent local school; these were: H. M. Ainsley, S. F. Burgess, A. W. Davenport, Stuart R. Davenport, L. J. Spear, W. C. Spruill, and Samuel Woodley.
A revival in 1878 added 40 members to Phillippi bringing its total membership to 95 when it was enrolled on October 8, that year, by the Annual Meeting
of the State's Disciples. However its membership dropped to 47 the next year due to a meticulous revision of its roll. Representing them in their State Conventions, were: J. J. Woodley, J. S. Phelps, C. N. Mason, D. S. Phelps. Their first clerks: C. N. Mason, (1878); S. W. Woodley, (1887); Charles Ainsley, (1889); Henry Phelps, (1902). Their first church school, 1890, enrolled 54, including 4 teachers; superintendent, Daniel Phelps; secretary, Stuart R. Davenport. Their C.W.B.M. in 1909 reported 31 members, largest in the State except Kinston. Their church property valuation in 1901 was $400; in 1930, $5,000.
Evangelist H. S. Davenport, as a field agent for The Watch Tower, told this about Phillippi:
I arrived at Bro. Daniel Phelps’ March 6, 1883. A little band of devoted Disciples came out to hear me. Next night they turned out with considerable additions. The church sent greetings to Holly Neck and desired her cooperation. On my return I stopped overnight with Bro. R. H. Davenport.”
In the same month, J. L. Winfield stated editorially that the Phillippi group of churches had “been in a muddle for the last four months.” Whereupon he and J. B. Parsons made them a “healing touch” visit. Winfield prudently reported:
Phillippi has a large membership. Bro. J. J. Woodley, the temperance advocate is a member. He is a warm friend and ardent supporter of our cooperative system; and one of the most liberal we have met for his ability. The Woodleys, Phelps, Burgesses and a host of others are a power in that section and we hope they will work unitedly.
Evangelist Davenport writing again in February, 1884, said: “Phillippi is not in a prosperous condition and the brethren desire Bro. Josephus Latham to visit them at an early day. We need a weekly paper and must have it. There are some among us who are not of us and these must be reclaimed.” But next month he resumed cheerfully: “Phillippi is coming to life. She has a bell and is turning out large and attentive audiences. Bro. J. J. Woodley, I believe preaches for the church.”
Pastor Thomas Green preached there on December 16, 1900, and related: “Attention was called to the importance of State Missions and pledges to the amount of $10 were quickly obtained. I hope all our preachers will keep State Missions before their congregations.”
H. S. Davenport, the beloved “Old Reliable”, held their revival in October, 1901. “H. M. Ainsley,” he said, “proved himself a good organist and a most exemplary Christian. I trust that in love and good works Phillipi may soon outstrip her namesake of Apostolic days.” The following August, he said: “Phillipi has about raised the funds to furnish a room at Atlantic Christian College. Several of our young people say they are going there to school. Every Disciple should respond to Bro. J. J. Harper's suggestion in reference to the Wilson school.”
During the three-year's resident pastorate of I. W. Rogers with the Phillippi group, he succeeded according to H. C. Bowen, “in getting Phillippi to build a splendid house.” It was dedicated at a fifth-Sunday meeting of the Roanoke Union in July, 1910.
In August, 1925, Lawson Campbell, of Winston-Salem, held their revival with 48 additions. An adjunctive building to the rear of their plant in 1931, provided four class rooms, each 14 X 18 feet. Warren A. Davis evangelizing
there in 1932 received 63 additions. At that time the group's parsonage at Creswell on Federal 64, well built and well equipped, was occupied. L. B. Bennett, group pastor in 1942, reported: “There is now a Missionary Society in every church of this group.”
Stars on their War Service Flag in July, 1943, were for the following 27 men:
Harold S. Woodley, Louis O. Davenport, David W. Gibbs, Carlton G. Spruill, W. T. Phelps, Jr., Herman Louis Myers, Dallas J. Spruill, Douglas W. Davenport, Lyle Woodley, William H. Swain, Robert C. Spring, Leroy Phelps, Thomas Ambrose, Jr., Louis Spear, Franklin Spear, Allen Spear, Bailey Phelps, Jr., Arley Phelps, Carroll Van Davenport, Lester Phelps, Jewell Davenport, Troy Snell, Ralph Davenport, Jesse Phelps, Hubert L. Phelps, Thomas Spruill, William L. Spruill.
Membership at Phillippi is reportedly 400.
Roll of Ministers at Phillippi.
|1882||A. C. Wentz||1925, 1926||S. Tyler Smith|
|1883||J. B. Parsons||1924||W. L. Straub|
|1889||Dennis Wrighter Davis||1925||John R. Smith|
|1900, 1901||Thomas Green||1927, 1928||J. J. Langston|
|1902-1904||H. S. Davenport||1929-1937||R. O. Respess|
|1911-1913; 1916-1920; 1922||Warren A. Davis||1938-1943||L. B. Bennett|
|1944, 1945||Perry F. Baldwin|
|1914||W. O. Winfield||1946||Lloyd Crowe|
|1915||J. C. Coggins||1947-1950||G. C. Bland|
|1921||J. W. Lollis|
More than a half-century ago, Pinetown was a thriving trade and travel center in Beaufort County on the Norfolk Southern Railroad. By highway it is about 19 miles northeast of Washington on a short spur from State 32. It had one tradesman there in 1896, Surry Parker. Its magical rise accounted for its municipal incorporation in 1907; the population which was 412, in 1910, declining to 215 in 1960. Disciples there numbered 24 when enrolled as a church by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, on October 31, 1907. In that year Pinetown paid $60 for “one-eighth time” preaching; gave $437.65 for all local purposes; and to State Missions $1. Their first clerks: L. R. Cutler, (1907); F. L. Morris, (1911); C. E. Jefferson, (1916). Their first church school, 1915, enrolled 100; Fred Beaman, superintendent. Its plant had seating capacity of 300 in 1911; value $600; in 1930 its valuation was $1,000.
G. A. Reynolds, state evangelist, labored in a revival there, September 7-11, 1904, preaching in the Town Hall. He said: “We found the Hall to be a very desirable place after we had put in some lamps to light it. There were 20 Disciples living in the town. These were all visited and their names enrolled as charter members. They decided to meet every Spnday forenoon for Sunday School and worship.”
Revivalist John W. Tyndall closed a service there June 10, 1910, receiving 46 new members. At this time of resurgence they began and completed a building of their own in twelve days and dedicated it immediately at the finish debt-free. H. C. Bowen called this “a remarkable record.” In passing this pulsing community the next month, Bowen remarked: “We saw from
the outside the church which was built in a few days at Pinetown. It is a shapely, roomy building, which speaks well for the zeal and enterprise of Bro. J. W. Tyndall and others who had a part in this great triumph.” He considered that Pinetown and neighboring successes at this time made Belhaven the Disciples’ “storm center of Evangelism.”
In January, 1946, the plant at Pinetown had been removed to a new lot, a new front installed, concrete steps and walks laid, and planned landscaping had been started. New church school rooms were designed, the construction to begin as soon as sufficient labor was available.
Membership at Pinetown is reportedly 150.
Roll of Ministers at Pinetown.
|1911-1913||J. T. Saunders||1936, 1937||Malcolm Penney|
|1914||S. Lee Sadler||1938, 1939||D. W. Arnold|
|1915-1919||D. F. Tyndall||1940-1945||M. L. Ambrose|
|1920-1922||J. R. Lee||1946||L. D. Thomas|
|1923||T. W. Bowen||1947, 1948, 1951, 1952||R. H. Walker|
|1924-1932||C. E. Lee||1949, 1950||Dennis Warren Davis|
This rural church is in east Hyde County. It was enrolled October 26, 1905, with 41 members, by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention. The church had paid that year $20 for preaching. Thirty additions in 1907 swelled their membership to 73, paying that year for local church purposes, $109.25, and to State Missions, $5. Their first clerks: C. B. Williams, (1905); S. T. Pledger, (1907); J. M. Sawyer, (1908); W. P. Armstrong, (1910). Their church school in 1915 enrolled 28, W. B. Sawyer, superintendent. Seating capacity of their plant was 150, valued at $300 in 1907; in 1930 its valuation was $500.
H. C. Bowen in company with H. S. Davenport visited the Hyde churches in November, 1904. Bowen reported:
Pleasant Grove is in the schoolhouse period; a house of worship should be built here in this long-neglected part of the County. They are preparing to build and the whole County should rally to their assistance and help to house them in time for a great meeting sometime next year.
H. S. Davenport preaching there at his regular time November 27, 1904, observed: “Pleasant Grove will begin work on their house after Christmas. If everyone will do something they will be able to occupy it by spring.”
The Hyde Union met at Engelhard December 30, 1935. At this gathering pastor W. P. Armstrong announced “the start of a strong Woman's Missionary Society at Pleasant Grove.”
Membership at Pleasant Grove is reportedly 130.
Roll of Ministers at Pleasant Grove.
|1904-1910||H. S. Davenport||1925, 1926||J. L. Green|
|1911-1913||T. Yarborough||1927||S. Tyler Smith|
|1916-1918||W. H. Marler||1930||G. Winter|
|1921-1924; 1928, 1929, 1932-1950||W. P. Armstrong|
This city, (population, 4666, in 1960), is the Washington County seat. It is old and historic. A “post-town” in the new Republic of the eighteenth century, it was incorporated in 1807. Its postmasters, W. A. Turner, and William A. Hardison, each drew “annual compensation” less than $300 in the 1830's. With contemporary Halifax, Tarboro, and Greenville this compared favorably. A gazetteer of 1845 locates Plymouth 162 miles from Raleigh, “situated on the south side of Roanoke River 8 miles from its entrance into Albemarle Sound.” Further: “It contains a courthouse, jail, one church, and 778 inhabitants.”
Plymouth Disciples of Christ organized as a church by B. H. Melton on April 18, 1897, were enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention on the following October 28, with 70 members. Their first clerks: R. M. Bateman, (1897); Arthur W. Swain, (1901); Foy Gurganus, (1902); M. G. Darden, (1910). In 1897 they paid for preaching, $90; for State Missions, $1, increased to $6 in 1898, and $12.80 in 1899. Their first church school organized April 25, 1897, enrolled 94, including 7 teachers; A. N. Waters, superintendent; Connie Waters, secretary and treasurer; Vonnie Leggett, organist. It met in the Courthouse. Their Ladies’ Aid Society organized in December, 1896, with 20 members, raised half of the salary of J. J. Harper, their forthcoming pastor, and had it in cash reserved for his beginning there. Melton said of these women: “With their union of head and heart which prevails, they will surely be a power for good.” Their church property valuation in 1897 was $1500; in 1930, $10,000.
An early preacher of the Disciples in Plymouth was A. J. Battle. Recounting his experience there in September, 1855, he stated:
Owing to the strong prejudices excited against me on account of the revision of the Scriptures by the Bible Union toward which I was known to be friendly, I could get but a small congregation to hear me until the last Lord's Day when I had a large turn out of the citizens when I laid before them the true principles of the gospel of Christ. I only baptized one person there.
Eighteen years later, Mrs. Levi S. Jackson, “a Disciple indeed,” wife of a local merchant, lived there. The Jacksons entertained J. L. Winfield, evangelist who visited “that little flock of Disciples” in April, 1873. He wrote:
The Baptists kindly offered us their house of worship, and we preached once to a very large and attentive audience. We have no house to worship in, but the band meets in the Court House for communion. Bro. Joe Grey Gurganus preaches for them monthly. He is a terror to partyism, and is working successfully in that place.
More protracted was the service of H. S. Davenport, accompanied by J. F. Sumrell, July 14-24, 1892. Said Sumrell:
The people at Plymouth were not attentive at first, but audiences increased until we had very large crowds. The Methodists were very kind to us. We had four confessions and baptisms, organized a mission point, and arranged for Bro. Davenport to preach for them monthly. The meeting was held in the old schoolhouse back of Peel's buggy shop.
The first officers chosen were Nelson Waters, John Stillman and Frank Crary. Others among these earliest members were: Mrs. Nelson Waters and her two daughters, Connie and Pearl, Mrs. Lena J. Stillman, Emma Gurkin,
Mary Smith, Mrs. Alice Ayers, Mrs. Matilda Bunch, Mrs. John Stocks, and Mrs. Blount. Mrs. Stocks had lived in Plymouth since shortly after 1865, having been a Disciple at her old home in Lenoir County, near Kinston. She and Mrs. Bunch had been members at Christian Hope.
Dennis Wrighter Davis held a meeting in the old schoolhouse in 1893. This encouraged the local mission. A significant move toward permanence was the preliminary survey made by B. H. Melton, state secretary, in February, 1897. He reported:
We spent one week at Plymouth. In the town there are about fifteen Disciples. They are poor, financially, but rich spiritually, having given themselves unto the Lord. The most desirable lot for a church in Plymouth has been bought by the Disciples and every dollar of indebtedness paid. Our meeting will begin on March 28, 1897. The field has been thoroughly studied. We feel confident of success. The desire is to make the work permanent.
There were 40 additions in this meeting. April 18, 1897 was set apart to raise funds for erecting a church plant. The building committee: F. M. Davenport, Nelson Waters, S. F. Freeman and Richard Bateman. Freeman and Surry Parker promoted the attendance of about 500 people from the Pinetown section, for that building fund Sunday, by running a log-train excursion. This brought the multitude, which massing on the vacant church lot, lent enthusiasm to the occasion. The lot on the corner of Main and Washington Streets had been bought from J. E. Blount, for $300 on November 13, 1895. The State Missionary service helped to sustain the Plymouth pastor from 1893 until 1905.
On August 25, 1898, it was reported: “The church building at Plymouth, after a long hard pull, is now completed except the pews, which will be ready by September 5th.” In October, 1899, pastor M. S. Spear said: “The building is situated on the most prominent corner in this beautiful little city. We have some noble men and women who are willing to do almost anything in their reach for its success. Our future is promising.”
There was a long campaign for clearing the building debt. J. Walter Reynolds was pastor in May, 1901, when he appealed: “You have a four thousand dollar investment here doing business for the Lord, and only a few hundred dollars in debt. The paying of four hundred dollars now means the saving of four thousand.” These vigorous words brought support and evidently augmented local morale, as Arthur W. Swain, a Plymouth layman, said that year: “We have a splendid Lord's Day School. The best in town. We also have a good prayer meeting and we think it will not be very long before we will be a self-supporting congregation.” Reynolds enthusiastically announced the debt-free dedication day for October 19, 1902. A report said: “Heaven seemed to smile with all its resplendent glory, and the hearts of the people who have labored so faithfully, were full of joy and thanksgiving for the arrival of the glad day.”
Shortly after the dedication, Reynolds closed his Plymouth ministry and dark days came for the church. It is said: “During this period the church came near to being disorganized entirely. Peter Swain, a resident of Washington County, came to the rescue. He preached for such a sum as the people could pay.”
Preceding Swain the church had suffered the precarious ministry of Claris Yeuell, who was far from his native home, confused, and insecure. In 1903, he wrote:
I am seriously contemplating the relinquishing of this work. By July I will have given Plymouth four months of my time. I found the congregation practically disbanded. I cannot get the church properly together to plan and provide for the work. I feel that I am doing them no particular good. I have some reputation of my own of which I am jealous. I cannot afford to lose it here.
Nanna Crozier, a national field secretary of the Disciples’ Woman's Work, visited Plymouth, May 26, 1905. She commented: “I found the work in low condition here owing to their having no minister. It did not seem best to organize at present. I spoke at Sunday School and again in the evening. The attendance was good.” In September of that year, however, a pastor, R. L. Philpott, had located, who insisted: “We have good workers in this Plymouth congregation. All we need now is to work together. We can't obtain anything of any worth by separation.”
Many evangelists have served this responsive field. Among these may be mentioned: J. H. Bristor, Ellis B. Barnes, George Primrose Taubman, G. A. Reynolds, J. J. Taylor, J. Boyd Jones.
In 1924, 45 baptisms accrued to the Disciples from the Interdenominational Leaman-Coston revival. In February, 1926, a local bank closing impounded $500 of their funds. In 1930 a C. E. Society of 50 members was organized, Dot Greer, president. Mrs. George W. Bowen was then president of their C.W.F. Judge John W. Darden of the Washington County Recorder's Court, was church school superintendent. Their official board had four elders and seven deacons. In June, 1934, C. B. Mashburn held their meeting preparatory to location of their new pastor, Cecil A. Jarman. In June, 1936, pastor Nixon A. Taylor reported: “We are planning to build a plant to provide us with 12 or more class rooms, and have it ready within a few months.” In consultation with A. F. Wickes, national Brotherhood architect, it was decided to construct a two-story building, providing a social hall, seating 200, and facility of eight class rooms. Foundations of it were laid in March, 1937, and opened for service in the following July. Conservatively built at cost of $3200, it was dedicated November 6, 1938, C. C. Ware preaching the sermon. Teaching staff for their church school included: Mrs. Randolph Beasley, Mrs. George W. Bowen, W. L. Whitley, Nixon A. Taylor, W. C. Chesson, Mrs. Wenona White, and Frances Swindell.
On November 15, 1942, a Hammond organ costing $1,000 was installed. The next year $1200 went into plant repairs inducing “many favorable comments regarding our building.” There was substantial increase in brotherhood missionary giving. A $10,000 parsonage was planned. On their World War II Service Flag were stars for 65 men.
The ground-breaking for the parsonage was on June 17, 1945, the fund in hand having grown to $5,411.82. Mr. and Mrs. H. E. Harrison had contributed the lot at 11 Brinkley Ave., on September 11, 1944. In a war-time stringency, pastor E. B. Quick had ranged aggressively far and wide to procure the building materials. It was dedicated November 17, 1946, pastor John L. Goff, of Williamston bringing the address.
Joseph D. Waters held their revival in 1948, adding 49. Their C.M.F. assumed with zest the goal of $1,500 for the Camp Caroline construction in 1953 thus radiating vital encouragement to other groups toward overall enabling support. In all, Plymouth actually gave $2,250 to this cause by June 30, 1954.
A lot 150 X 400 feet, and free of debt had been acquired in March, 1954, in a highly desirable location. This was for their new envisioned $250,000 plant.
The old building was sold, the transference to be within a year. Construction on the new plant began March 15, 1955, with hope of completion by the following February. The cornerstone was laid November 6, and the first unit opened for worship December 4, 1955. Much free labor was contributed, saving the church thousands of dollars. Serving as building committee were: C. O. Kelly, Russell Owens, Wesley Hardison, Robert E. Bowen, Hilary Liverman. The new sanctuary was first in use on February 12, 1956. Dedication followed on October 26, 1958, Ross J. Allen, state secretary, the guest speaker.
On February 23, 1959, M. G. Darden, a devoted member for 60 years at Plymouth, First Christian, passed away. The bulk of his estate was left to his church. It was announced in October, 1960, that Nancye Weddle, of Atlantic Christian College had been called by Plymouth as Youth Director. A new parsonage was erected.
February 19, 1961, “was a day of high spiritual experience and great rejoicing. It was the Day of Decision.” Sixty-eight persons at one service there united by primary obedience and statement with the church. A voice of experience said: “The interest has never been higher and conditions finer.”
Membership at Plymouth is reportedly 666.
Roll of Ministers at Plymouth.
|1873||J. G. Gurganus||1915-1918||J. C. Coggins|
|1884||H. S. Gurganus||1919, 1920||W. H. Marler|
|1892||H. S. Davenport||1921||J. A. Taylor|
|1893||D. W. Davis||1922||R. W. Stancill|
|1894-1897||J. J. Harper||1923||R. A. Phillips|
|1898||J. B. Greenwade||1924||J. W. Humphreys|
|1899, 1900||M. S. Spear||1925, 1926||W. J. B. Burrus|
|1901, 1902||J. W. Reynolds||1927-1929||W. E. Norris|
|1903||Claris Yeuell||1930-1932||W. C. Greer|
|1904||P. S. Swain||1933, 1934||C. A. Jarman|
|1905||R. A. Smith||1935-1939||N. A. Taylor|
|1906||R. L. Philpott||1940, 1941||G. A. Hamlin|
|1907||J. R. Smith||1942, 1943||B. E .Taylor|
|1908||J. R. Tingle||1944-1947||E. B. Quick|
|1909||W. O. Winfield||1948-1950||J. D. Waters|
|1910||C. E. Lee||1951-1957||C. N. Barnette|
|1911-1913||Warren A. Davis||1958-1961||C. B. Brooks|
|1914||L. C. Carawan|
This church is but a few miles south of Jamesville. With 32 members it was enrolled by the Annual Meeting of the State's Disciples on October 13, 1867. It was called Poplar Run until 1873 when it assumed its present name. In 1868 it had grown to 35 members who sent $2 to help in printing their annual State Convention Minutes. Their delegates to their yearly State Meetings, were: S. H. Davis, J. E. Mizell, W. C. Mizell, Ashley J. Davis, J. W. Roberson, R. Davis, E. W. Ange, Joseph B. Jones, D. W. Davis, C. T. Swain, A. T. Hamilton. Their first clerks: John H. Mizell, (1866); H. H. Davis, (1878); Ashley J. Davis, (1889). Their first church school 1890, enrolled 32, including 7 teachers; G. W. Hardison, superintendent; L. P. Holliday, secretary. That year the school “paid for all purposes”, $2.50. Their church property valuation in 1901 was $500; in 1930, $1,000.
A short distance to the east of Poplar Chapel, stood its mother church, Welch's Creek, (40 members in 1841), earliest of this faith in Martin County. Another name for it was Free Union. Welch's Creek remained on the Conference roll, 1841 to 1873. Their Conference delegates: Wiley Moore. Henry L. Gurganus, and the Ange's: Cullen, Don, Edwin, and William. Its preaching services were quarterly on second Sunday week-ends of September, December, March, and June. It entertained their State Conference in 1843. At its dissolving in 1873, their 38 members are said to have gone to nearby Poplar Chapel and Christian Hope. Earliest Disciple minister, (1851) to reside in the community was John R. Winfield, (1820-1899), at Gardner's Bridge.
On November 25, 1866, Poplar Run was organized with 27 members, of whom 12 were men and 15 women; four preachers participated, namely: H. D. Cason, J. M. Gurganus, J. J. Coltrain, and H. S. Gurganus. Their first officers: elders: Wrighter Davis, John H. Holliday, Henry Cooper; deacons: Edward Mizell, Ashley J. Davis; treasurer, Stephen H. Davis. Their first building was a “free church,” erected in 1866 at cost of $75, but rebuilt wholly by Disciples in 1871, at an additional cost of $175, and renamed Poplar Chapel two years later.
Dennis Wrighter Davis held their revival, September 7-19, 1897, with 12 additions. While there he dedicated their new house of worship on the 12th; sermon text, Ps. 127:1. Davis said: “They have a neat comfortable house, and no debt. A church house is often a good index to the spiritual condition of those who worship in it. Poplar Chapel has before it a bright future.”
H. C. Bowen evangelized there during the last week in September, 1899, adding 9 persons. He commented: “Their house of worship is a great improvement on the old hull in which we used to meet. While there are no rich people in the church they promptly meet every obligation. Their Sunday School tried to die, but has now taken on new life.” J. A. Mizell reported a visit of Warren A. Davis, brother of Dennis, to Poplar Chapel on April 30, 1902, as follows: “His sermon was of a high order and scourged us sharply for our shortcomings. The church has been in somewhat of eclipse. We are clear of all debt, and have commenced raising money for State Missions.”
In their cemetery is buried a native son, Dennis Wrighter Davis, (1869-1912), memorialized by the impressive monument. It is the gift of eastern North Carolina Disciples who held him in high esteem for his work's sake. The inscription declares his excellence as an effective evangelist and his towering initiative in the founding of The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention and Atlantic Christian College.
Membership at Poplar Chapel is reportedly 95.
Roll of Ministers at Poplar Chapel.
|1865-1880||H. S. Gurganus||1909||D. H. Petree|
|1881||J. G. Gurganus||1911-1913||A. J. Manning|
|1882||J. R. Winfield||1914-1916||Warren A. Davis|
|1883, 1888||Henry Winfield||1922, 1923||D. W. Arnold|
|1884||J. L. Burns||1924||W. O. Winfield|
|1889-1891||H. C. Bowen||1925||J. A. Mizell|
|1896-1899; 1917-1921; 1927-1930||C. E. Lee||1926||L. T. Holliday|
|1902||J. B. Respess, Sr.||1941-1949||Dennis Warren Davis|
In Currituck County at its southern extreme is Powells Point, (population 75). It is on Federal 158, a Highway southbound for the widely-acclaimed “Lost Colony.” Baptist religion in this peninsular county, long and narrow, was established early; the Coinjock church in 1780; Powells Point in 1787. Tides of Primitiveism arose and fell in these churches, which at intervals, were in and out of the anti-missionary Kehukee and the missionary Chowan. At the Point to escape from the missionary vision of Luther Rice, 20 persons withdrew in 1831 from the Chowan to the Kehukee, their number declining to 13 in 1836. There had been 72 members there, far back in 1811, when cooperative spirit marked the Chowan. Powells Point postoffice was established in 1835, Joshua Harrison, postmaster, his annual pay decreasing from $11.62 to $10 within the next four years. In 1896 the place had three stores namely: W. G. Banks, R. Ethridge, and Gibbs Bros.
Powell's Point Christian Church with 55 members was enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Society on October 9, 1880. It sent $1 that year to help in printing the Convention's annual Minutes. Later this was increased to $2 per annum to secure the valued brotherhood records. Moreover specified sums were pledged by the church for State Missions. Representing them in their early State Conventions were: J. L. Burns and J. F. Doyle. Their first clerks: E. V. Melson, (1887); W. H. Gallop, (1895). Their first church school, 1886, enrolled 56, including 6 teachers; in 1890 the enrollment was 75, including 10 teachers; who “paid for all purposes” that year, $25; officers: H. H. Harrison, superintendent; L. M. Gallop, secretary. Their church property valuation in 1901 was $300; in 1930, $8,000.
Evangelist J. L. Burns worked long at these northeastern missions. Writing about Powell's Point in May, 1882, he said that H. H. Harrison “keeps up a large active Lord's Day School but the school is far in advance of the church. As a whole they are teachable. I anticipate good results.” J. T. Walsh arrived there August 27, 1883, and related:
Here I preached four times in a schoolhouse. The brethren talk of erecting a meeting house and I trust they may soon do so, for one is greatly needed. On August 30, 1883, rising a great while before day, Bro. J. L. Burns and I were taken by Bro. H. H. Harrison in his cart to Newbern's Landing to take shipping to Hertford on the Steamer Harbinger.
Evangelist H. C. Bowen, August 2-9, 1891, held their revival, adding 13. He “preached three times a day at all-day meetings” throughout the eight days. Dennis Wrighter Davis came at “potato-digging time,” July 20-28, 1895, to evangelize there, reaping a harvest of 29 souls. He exulted: “The meeting was one of the best I ever held. I have never seen a more unselfish pastor and people than those at Powell's Point. They give not grudgdingly but cheerfully. Amount contributed for the meeting, $50.75; this we regard as very liberal.”
In February, 1900, J. S. Henderson, their new pastor, reported: “Powell's Point is moving up. It has been said that it is dying. Because of various setbacks in the past they had grown careless and neglectful and it will take time and discreet management to bring them back to their former standard, especially in State work.” In June, 1901, pastor J. F. Sumrell said: “We have sold our old lamps and put in new lights of more power. Our next improvement is brand-new church pews.”
In December, 1929, a C. E. Society of 45 members was organized, Mrs. T. Guard, president. In April, 1935, Mrs. Edith Parker was church correspondent and Ben D. Gallop was church school superintendent. The church had a Delco light plant. There was a two-story, eight-room parsonage next door to the church. The membership included some of the County's most useful citizens. Dr. W. T. Griggs with state-wide reputation as an old-time provincial Doctor on the “Banks”; Judge George Sumrell presiding at the County Recorder's Court, Sheriffs Tillett, and R. L. Griggs; and some of the mightiest hunters of ducks and geese.
There were 360 Disciples in the county. It was a great missionary challenge. They were in need of brotherhood undergirding at once tactful and adequate. This was offered. On July 16, 1939, under new and vigorous leadership their church board was reorganized with 16 officers; T. G. Dowdy, chairman; Mrs. N. B. Sawyer, clerk; I. M. Gallop, treasurer. Their pastor sustained in substantial part by State Missions, said: “We greatly appreciate the missionary help being received. The work at Powell's Point is encouraging.”
There in 1948, “new church school rooms were erected with enthusaism”—a blessing to these isolated Christians.
Membership at Powell's Point is reportedly 300.
Roll of Ministers at Powell's Point.
|1881||Henry Winfield||1923-1928||J. R. Lee|
|1882, 1883||J. L. Burns||1929-1936||Malcolm Penney|
|1884-1889||E. L. Sowers||1939, 1940||E. J. Harris|
|1895-1899, 1903-1905||J. F. Sumrell||1941||W. O. Henderson|
|1900||J. S. Henderson||1942-1948||P. E. Cayton|
|1911-1913||Dennis Wrighter Davis||1949||H. Edgar Harden|
|1914||C. E. Lee||1950||R. L. Topping|
|1915-1919||C. B. Mashburn||1952||G. C. Bland|
|1920, 1921||Z. N. Deshields|
This town, (population, 1684 in 1960), is in west-Martin County. It was incorporated in 1870; population 148 in 1880. This rose to 400 in 1896 when it had 18 stores including Mrs. H. B. Roberson's millinery shop, and Dr. R. H. Hargrove's drug dispensary. First train arrived there, Friday, September 8, 1882, drawn by the “new and elegant 35-ton engine.” It made the 11-mile run from Williamston in 33 minutes. To celebrate the event a public dinner was generously provided by H. D. Roberson, prominent citizen and leading Disciple layman. Henry Winfield, his pastor, “ascended the stand and made a short and beautiful speech to the friends, officers and laborers of the road.” The response was “in a short but well digested congratulatory speech.”
In July, 1876, Josephus Latham and Stanley Ayers evangelized in the village, resulting in 28 baptisms and organization of the local Christian church. It grew to 43 members when on October 13, 1877, it was enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Society. Their delegates in the annual State Conventions until 1889, were: J. B. Roberson, H. D. Roberson, J. A. B. Cooper, J. N. Manning, J. H. Grimes, S. D. Barnhill, W. W. Andrews, J. L. Peel, J. R. Winfield, J. R. Whitfield. Their earliest clerks: W. T. Outterbridge, (1877); W. W. Andrews, (1887). Their first church school, 1890,
enrolled 24, including 4 teachers; W. W. Andrews, superintendent. Their C.W.B.M. in 1911 had 9 members; 6 subscribers to Missionary Tidings; and it gave $21.45 that year to general and state funds. Their church property valuation in 1901 was $500; in 1930, $15,000.
Its mother church was Zion's Grove (1872-1889), which stood in the open country two miles north. It came from the pioneer evangelizing of H. D. Cason and Thomas Roebuck who enrolled Zion's Grove in the Convention, October 12, 1872, with 35 members. At the organization in Robersonville, 37 at Zion's Grove transferred fellowship to the new church in the village. The only clerk at the Grove in its 18 years was Samuel Reason. Other laymen there: James Williams, J. B. Manning, J. B. Whitfield, G. W. Wynn, Wiley Manning, J. B. Roberson, J. H. Glisson. Some others who affiliated there: Betsy Reason, Julia Reason, Sarah A. Reason Manning, Polly Reason, Polly Wynn, Joe Guilford, Winnie Guilford, Betty Guilford Croom, and Lydia Matthews.
The first building for Robersonville Disciples was a frame structure erected in 1877, and first used August 12 that year. In their congregational singing on that occasion Albert Roberson lined out their first hymn: “When Thou the Righteous Judge shall come to take His ransomed people home.” Their State Conventions in 1878, 1881, and 1919, were entertained there. Also they were host, April 27-29, 1883, to the old First District Union to which they belonged. At that meeting a set of resolutions adopted declared that henceforth it “shall be called the Missionary Cooperation.”
In The Christian Tribune (Baltimore), December 9, 1897, D. H. Petree commented: “S. W. Sumrell is doing a fine pastoral work at Robersonville. He believes in pushing things. He collected more money last year for State Missions than any man in the State.”
H. H. Moore, Greenville pastor, held their revival in April, 1905. His report: “We had one confession, (adult), and held baptismal services at Flat Swamp. There are only five members of this church living in Robersonville, and these are all in one family. Asa J. Manning came and pronounced the meeting an entire success. He is to reorganize the church on May 21, 1905. There are a lot of young people here who can be captured for Christ. The people in this fine field treated us royally.” Nanna Crozier for the Woman's Work followed in June and said: “The work at Robersonville was just being revived and is not yet on its feet. I spoke at the morning service and again at Sunday School. There was no chance for an auxiliary there at present but Miss Alice Grimes promised to organize a Junior when she returned from her summer trip.”
For decades stabilized growth was not evident in the Robersonville church. As late as 1911 it reported but 43 members, the same it had at the beginning 35 years before. However in 1912-’13, J. J. Taylor of South Elkhorn, near Lexington, Ky., held meetings in Robersonville aggregating almost 15 weeks, adding a remarkable total of 93 members. These were well conserved by a wise, aggressive, resident pastorate.
Their Ladies’ Aid organized in 1912, contributed greatly to local church development. Their first officers: president, Mrs. R. H. Hargrove; vice president, Mrs. Lennie Smith; treasurer, Mrs. Hattie Jim Roberson. Field secretary Etta Nunn organized their W.C.M.S., (now C.W.F.), in 1917, with 10 members. Their first officers: president, Mrs. Bettie Gray; treasurer, Mrs. Hattie Roberson. It now has 8 groups with 125 members whose earnest activities make for spiritual uplift.
A brick structure was begun in 1913 and dedicated October 19, 1919, with J. M. Perry, pastor, and George L. Snively, guest speaker. It was marked by the heroic giving of a generous people. A two-story parsonage was acquired, and the obligation fully paid in 1934. Previously a $5,000 note in the local bank was paid in April, 1916, which inspired the pastor to say: “The spiritual condition of the church here has been at a low ebb; it will rise now with a newness of life.”
In April, 1924, a tornado in the community left 150 persons homeless. The First Christian Church escaped damage, but several families in it suffered heavy losses. Next year a fund was started for additional church school equipment. November 26, 1942, marked the passing of Mrs. Betty Guilford Croom, 82, last surviving charter member; the daughter of Joseph and Winnie Guilford, “towers of strength,” in the early church there. In the town's pioneer cemetery plot at the rear of the church are the graves of James H. Grimes, (1845-1914), and his wife, Susan C. Grimes, (1852-1899); and H. D. Roberson, (1824-1884), and his wife, Martha Roberson, (1824-1877).
Their C.M.F., (106 men), was organized on March 9, 1949. More than $10,000 was raised and expended on various improvements includidng new pipe organ, new pews, and interior redecoration. The passing of J. M. Perry was on May 20, 1952. He had given 29 years to that pastorate. All local business was suspended during the funeral—a mark of appreciation for one who had so long been a friend, a comrade, or a spiritual guide to his townsmen.
On September 7, 1952, Wilbur T. Wallace, their new pastor was installed; also inducted on the same day were 4 elders, 23 deacons and 3 deaconesses. Early in 1953 a most desirable lot for their educational plant was acquired. A year later blueprints were accepted and a contractor employed. Groundbreaking was on May 27, 1954; C. Abram Roberson, chairman of the board turned the first shovel of sod. From their overcrowded facilities the church school moved into the new building valued at $100,000, on January 29, 1956. It was high time, as the school had reached an attendance of 301.
Here on September 23, 1956, William F. Taylor, native son, was ordained to the ministry. Frankie Herring was called as Youth Director, to be followed by Ted Hubert in 1957. A pulpit Bible was dedicated, the gift of the pastor in memory of his mother, Mrs. Clara Wallace. A beautiful chapel was outfitted, seating 50. An oil portrait of J. M. Perry was painted by Mrs. Ruth Roberson, and presented and dedicated on May 19, 1957. Mrs. C. Abram Roberson, long-time church organist, presiding.
Leamon Ward, custodian of the local church grounds and buildings faithfully for 20 years was honored by the church with appropriate gifts on March 1, 1959. A church library began to serve in March, 1960. Their C.M.F. accepted on January 10, 1961, their goal of $600 for the “Program of Advance” in State Missions. Their new modernistic brick parsonage was completed early this year.
Membership at Robersonville is reportedly 395.
Roll of Ministers at Robersonville.
|1881||Gideon Allen||1899, 1901||W. O. Winfield|
|1882||J. R. Winfield||1900||M. S. Spear|
|1883-1889||Henry Winfield||1902||J. R. Tingle|
|1897, 1898||S. W. Sumrell||1905-1908||A. J. Manning|
|1899||P. S. Swain||1909, 1910||C. W. Howard|
|1911||Hayes Farish||1924||J. G. Ulmer|
|1912, 1913||Warren A. Davis||1925, 1926||O. E. Fox|
|1914||C. F. Outlaw||1927||R. L. Harrell|
|1915||W. C. Wade||1928-1931||C. B. Mashburn|
|1916-1923; 1932-1952||J. M. Perry||1952-1961||W. T. Wallace|
A few miles northeast of Washington, near Bunyan, is Rosemary. Numerous Woolards lived in the community when on October 23, 1887, the church with 44 members was enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention. It had paid that year $35 for preaching and it sent 50 cents to the State Convention designated for printing of the Convention Minutes truly valued by the connected churches. This was raised to 75 cents in 1891, when they also gave $4 for State Missions. Their delegates to the Annual State Meetings: F. Woolard, Elvin Woolard, W. T. Boyd. Their first clerks: Absalom Woolard, (1887); Edward D. Woolard, (1892). Their church property valuation in 1930 was $1500.
In a reminiscence published in The Watch Tower, May 26, 1905, evangelist H. S. Davenport revealed: “In the summer of 1884 I held a meeting in a little schoolhouse a few miles from Washington and had some additions. Bro. J. L. Winfield came out and preached one night for me and also attended to the baptizing of the candidates. The church is now known as Rosemary.”
On the eve of his leaving the State to attend The College of the Bible at Lexington, Ky., R. H. Jones, then pastor at Ayden, N. C. held their revival, September 8-15, 1900. There was one accession. He reported: “Some say that Rosemary is a hard place but I have sufficient reason to believe there are some as earnest Disciples there as can be found anywhere.”
Membership at Rosemary is reportedly 200.
Roll of Ministers at Rosemary.
ST. CLAIR‘S CREEK
|1884||H. S. Davenport||1937||Roe L. Harris|
|1887-1900||J. B. Respess, Sr.||1938-1940||R. V. Hope|
|1909-1913; 1915, 1916; 1923-1936||C. E. Lee||1941||D. W. Arnold|
|1942||J. B. Respess, Jr.|
|1914||Thomas Green||1943-1947||R. H. Walker|
|1917-1922||J. R. Lee|
This church is a few miles southeast of Bath in the Bayview-Ransomville community. It is on the Pungo-Pamlico-bounded cape, near Gaylord, (population, 50). In 1881, George C. Respess reported a nucleus of 24 Disciples at Gaylord's schoolhouse, 15 of whom had been baptized that year. Not having a building of their own there is no further report from them until 1887, when they had builded a house of worship at cost of $119.71, had expended $17.18 for preaching, and had four baptisms. Wherefore they were enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention on October 23, 1887, reporting 35 members, who sent 50 cents for the “publishing fund”, (Minutes). In 1894 they had grown to 80 members, raised $50 for “local purposes,” sent 75 cents for the Minutes, and gave $2 to State Missions. Their first clerk, 1887, was O. F. Mason. Their first church school, 1893, enrolled 30, including 5 teachers, O. F. Mason, superintendent; George C. Respess,
secretary. In 1897, H. S. Hardy was superintendent, enrolling 67, who contributed a total of $5 during the year. Their church property valuation in 1901 was $250; in 1930, $3,000.
The church has a dual name in the records. Alternately it is Sinclair's Creek and St. Clair's Creek. For the most part since 1902 it has been the latter on the registry. H. S. Davenport, trumpeting Gabriel of the missionary cooperation, visited there on January 13, 1901, and said: “I had a good congregation at Sinclair's Creek and distributed mission envelopes. Every church should be interested in State Missions. Every Disciple should be a strong expansionist. Ask great things of God, expect great things from Him.”
He was there again nearly two years later and wrote:
On December 7, 1902 I met my appointment at St. Clair's Creek, and at Bayside in the afternoon. I am hoping great things from the above places and trust I will not be disappointed. State Missions is now demanding our attention, and every one not an object of charity should consider it a blessed privilege to give. Bro. S. H. Jackson of Bayside made me happy with a gift so I can face the nor-’westers without one emotion of fear. Mrs. M. M. Fortiscue and Mrs. Lulu Fortiscue gave my family valuable gifts. My thanks and best wishes to St. Clair's Creek sisters.
Membership at St. Clair's Creek is reportedly 200.
Roll of Ministers at St. Clair's Creek.
|1887-1889||J. B. Respess, Sr.||1926, 1927||D. G. Saunders|
|1909||Dennis Wrighter Davis||1932||Roe L. Harris|
|1911-1913||S. Tyler Smith||1933-1937||L. B. Scarborough|
|1914||Pendell Bush||1938, 1939||D. W. Arnold|
|1915, 1916, 1928, 1941||J. A. Saunders||1940||E. H. Eppling|
|1917, 1928, 1929, 1930||W. O. Winfield||1942, 1943||W. I. Bennett|
|1919-1921||J. W. Lollis||1944-1947||R. L. Topping|
|1922-1924||J. S. Williams||1948||H. F. Speight, Jr.|
|1925||John R. Smith|
It is six miles northeast of Plymouth near Albemarle Sound, and was organized in 1872, in which year 23 were baptized there and 27 others were received by statement. Thus on October 12, that year, it was enrolled by the Annual Meeting of the State's Disciples, with 47 members. Their delegates in State Conventions, were: Rufus Swain, A. H. Swain, A. C. Wentz, C. W. Swain, G. W. Allen, Joseph Swain, J. T. Sitterson, G. W. Ayers. Their first clerk, 1878, was Edward D. Swain. Their first church school, 1887, enrolled 45, including 5 teachers; Rufus Swain, superintendent. In 1897, W. A. Swain was superintendent, and the “money raised” during the year, $28.36. Their C. E. Society with 16 members was organized in 1897. Their church property valuation in 1901 was $1,000; in 1930, $2,000.
Early evangelizing by Disciples in what became the Saints Delight community had resulted in a church at Swains Grove, first known as Folly's schoolhouse which was made a State Conference member with Disciples, October 18, 1856. Its 26 members had been gathered that year, 22 by baptism and 4 by statement. It remained on the State's roll four years. Another result, probably tying in with the first mentioned, was the Sound Side congregation. It arose in 1869 with 44 members increasing to 65 in 1870,
when it sent as their delegates to the State Conference: C. Swain, Mc. Davis, and J. Craft.
H. S. Davenport touring among the county's Disciples in March, 1883, commented:
Saints Delight is a strong church. It has a host of Swains and they are as true to the gospel as the needle is to the pole. Bro. C. W. Swain is a power. He stands up boldly and battles for the cause. He fearlessly discharges the duties of his eldership. Sister Josie Swain is a warm-hearted Disciple; rejoices at the prosperity of Zion; weeps at the apathy of the church.
Thomas Green held their revival July 24-31, 1892. P. S. Swain gave this account: “The church thought it a good time for a meeting. There were 9 baptisms, and the church was otherwise benefitted. We are now finishing our house of worship and will have it dedicated in September, or October, 1892.”
In The Watch Tower of November 25, 1904, the editor praised Peter Stephen Swain, (1862-1906), as follows: “He has been a constant supporter of State Missions; has also shown himself a true friend of world-wide missions. He was a student at Bethany College, 1891, and later graduated at Carolina Christian College. His good example added much force to his preaching. He was a strong advocate of missionary work.” For two years he was Superintendent of Schools in Washington County. Another laid to rest in the Saints Delight church cemetery is William A. Swain, (1869-1945), a “faithful member of the church there from early youth until death,” and superintendent of their church school for 61 years. Also a grave there of poignant interest is that of Joe Grey Gurganus, (1850-1882). His was a short career but it was that of a “faithful, indefatigable worker”, stamping indelible impressions upon entranced hearers by his flaming pulpit oratory.
Nanna Crozier, state organizer for Woman's Work came on June 1, 1906. Her report: “At Saints Delight we had a small meeting on Thursday night. Those present encouraged us by their kindly interest. The Junior Builders were reorganized with Eva Sitterson as superintendent. I believe this will live.”
J. W. Lollis held their revival, summer of 1925. Pastor J. R. Tingle observed at that time, “The church is in good condition.” Mrs. Mattie R. Swain reporting the revival held there by Louis A. Mayo on August 18-24, 1930, said that Louis “had endeared himself to the people of this community when he served as their pastor when young in the ministry. He had large, attentive audiences. There were 23 additions, ages ranging from 12 to 55.”
Membership at Saints Delight is reportedly 120.
Roll of Ministers at Saints Delight.
|1881||J. G. Gurganus||1917, 1918||George A. Moore|
|1882||A. C. Wentz||1919||W. H. Marler|
|1884||J. B. Parsons||1920, 1921||L. A. Mayo|
|1888||Henry Winfield||1922-1926; 1928||J. R. Tingle|
|1892||Thomas Green||1927||D. G. Saunders|
|1901-1905||P. S. Swain||1929, 1930||W. O. Winfield|
|1906-1910||J. R. Tingle||1931-1934||G. D. Davis, Sr.|
|1911-1913||C. B. Mashburn||1935-1938||M. L. Ambrose|
|1914||L. C. Carawan||1939-1946||P. E. Cayton|
|1915, 1916||J. C. Coggins|
This village, (population, 110), is in southwestern Hyde on Federal 264, southern route to the “Lost Colony.” The John L. Roper Lumber Company, Mr. Atkinson, manager, operated a plant there, industrially fathering the community. Since it was the home of the Atkinsons who came from Scranton, Pa., this North Carolina postoffice established in 1890, was named sentimentally perhaps for the Pennsylvania city. The Tarheel Scranton became the eighth in America to get that postoffice name, and was one of the 10 offices in Hyde at the time. In 1896 it had four stores, namely: J. C. Bishop and Sons, Bridgeman Bros., J. W. Lupton, R. H. Richards.
A. J. Battle came to the place to evangelize for the Disciples, August 19-25, 1855. There were 7 baptisms and the consequent start of the church. Battle said: “There were a few members of the Christian church living around Neals Chapel and with those newly baptized, will, by the Divine permission, be organized into a church on September 15, 1855. This will be the first Christian church ever constituted in this rich and intelligent County.” With 15 members Neal's Chapel was enrolled by the Annual Conference of the State's Disciples on October 20, 1855. The statistical note printed after its name, reads: “new church admitted.” They sent 50 cents toward printing of the Convention Minutes. Their delegates in the State Meetings, were: A. J. Battle, J. B. Respess, Sr., J. C. Bishop, F. M. Bell. Their first clerks: G. B. Richards, (1887); George H. Harris, (1888). In 1890 their membership had grown to 76, who gave $13.90 to brotherhood-related missions that year. Their first church school, 1888, enrolled 39, including 4 teachers; in 1892, the enrollment was 32, including 6 teachers; W. H. O'Neal, superintendent; F. M. Bishop, secretary. Their C. W. B. M. in 1911 had 6 members, 5 subscribers to Missionary Tidings, and gave $4.35 to general and state funds. Their church property valuation in 1901 was $1,000; in 1930, $2,000.
Its first name, Neal's Chapel, has perhaps had more variant spelling than any in the book. It looked like freeing the Irish when O'Neal's Chapel was recorded as the final variation. From 1892 it has been Scranton in the Disciples’ registry. This church was decidedly cooperative at the start. When the old First District Union met at Pantego, August 29-31, 1856, J. H. Gowers was their delegate. Evangelist Battle said of Hyde: “The people of this County are intelligent, liberal-minded, and being blessed with the means, if truly converted to God, would no doubt put forth a benevolent effort to sustain and extend our evangelical labors.” In April, 1894, Scranton made the first church offering in history to Higher Education to an institution among North Carolina Disciples of Christ; when it gave $3 to Carolina Christian College. An early Scranton leader had made an on-the-ground study of the Ayden School and thus had done a knowledgeable job in its support.
Pastor Thomas Green of Pantego was at his Scranton appointment on Christmas Day, 1898. He saw happy families enjoying the festival's abundance of material things. Then he remembered that back at Pantego the veteran, John R. Winfield, nearing the end of a long self-sacrificing life, was without due abundance. The compassionate Green took up Scranton's offering of $2.02, conveying it to his aged fellow-minister. He testified: “This was gladly received by him.”
H. S. Davenport served them in a long pastorate. He thus accounted for one of his visits:
I was at Scranton and Rose Bay on May 24, 1903. Misses Ellen and May Atkinson are leading the singing and playing the organ there. I am really grateful. I would be glad to see Scranton take the lead in every grand work. I notice with pleasure that a new chapel has taken the place of the old one. The sisters now say, repaint is the next thing in order.
Membership at Scranton is reportedly 50.
Roll of Ministers at Scranton.
|1855-1864||J. B. Respess, ,Sr.||1919, 1920||S. Tyler Smith|
|1881||J. R. Winfield||1921-1924||John R. Smith|
|1882||J. B. Parsons||1925||W. O. Winfield|
|1883||J. S. Henderson||1926-1930; 1944, 1945||W. P. Armstrong|
|1884||Augustus Latham, Jr.|
|1888, 1889, 1903||H. S. Davenport||1931-1936||C. E. Lee|
|1899||Thomas Green||1940, 1941||J. B. Respess, Jr.|
|1909||J. W. McCleary||1942||F. A. Lilley|
|1911-1913||A. F. Leighton||1946-1950||M. L. Ambrose|
|1917, 1918||W. H. Marler|
It is about 24 miles east of Plymouth near the village of Scuppernong, (population, 153). It is close to Federal 64, the central route to the “Lost Colony”. Stores of four tradesmen were there in 1867, namely: Belangia and Wynne, Joseph D. Davenport, Hartsfield and Barright, and William McCleese. Also resident there in 1867 were Dr. H. H. Norman, and the lawyer, Josiah Collins. The postmaster then was T. B. Myers.
Known first as Free Chapel, it was enrolled with 106 members by the Annual Meeting of the State's Disciples on October 8, 1871. The name was changed to Scuppernong in 1897, after Disciples had erected there a representative building of their own. Their delegates in annual State Conventions, were: J. R. Winfield, Joe Grey Gurganus, John Newberry, W. T. Hatfield, Thomas J. Basnight. Their first clerk: Thomas J. Basnight, (1878). Their first church school, 1887, holding for ten months each year, enrolled 82, including 8 teachers; Thomas J. Basnight, superintendent. The school “contributed for all purposes” that year, $8, and had 150 books in their library. Their church property valuation in 1897 was $1200; in 1920, $1500.
A mention of personnel is in folksy notes of H. S. Davenport, itinerant shepherd of scattered flocks. About his visit there in February, 1884, he said: “I stopped with Mr. and Mrs. John L. Combs, active members at Free Chapel; also called on Mr. and Mrs. Jordan Snell who are quietly walking down the hill of life showing their faith by their works.”
As J. Boyd Jones left in September, 1897, to attend at Lexington, Ky., the College of the Bible, he recalled: “I went to Free Chapel to help build a house of worship. The way looked dark and dreary. The house is all complete now and dedicated to the service of the Lord Who enabled us to build it. My successor will find it one of the best houses in Washington County.” Thomas J. Basnight, faithful treasurer at Scuppernong had advanced $694.49 to meet cash requirements in the construction payroll, and the contributions seeping in meanwhile amounted to a total of but $47.73, leaving balance on the underwriting $646.76. He confessed: “I feel that the Lord will pay me back and not permit me to suffer.” B. H. Melton, state evangelist, promptly
dedicated the edifice. The progressive resolving of the debt needed some brotherhood backing. It had it. There was adopted the following resolution in the Disciples’ State Convention of 1900:
That the State Board assist the Scuppernong church in getting a loan from the Church Extension fund to liquidate the debt on building, and further that Plymouth, Scuppernong, and Roanoke Chapel be grouped and that $250 be allowed them from State Missions on preacher's salary,, provided these churches raise $250 for same.
In the summer of 1901, pastor J. W. Reynolds held their revival and baptized 11. He said that the effort had a “blue beginning” because the church was spiritually unprepared for it, but he rejoiced in the final triumph. They had “adopted some new methods of work;” had added “one member to the official board,” and had achieved “a good Sunday school,” he said.
A prominent layman, Thomas J. Basnight, (Feb. 23, 1845-March 3, 1916), was a charter member at Scuppernong, served 48 years as a deacon there, and as an elder for a final two years. Pastor W. O. Winfield said of him: “He served faithfully to the last.”
Mrs. A. W. Alexander, local correspondent gave this insight in March, 1938:
We reorganized our Ladies Aid at Scuppernong in 1934. We have painted and screened the church, and helped to build the group parsonage at Creswell, and helped to insure it, made our offerings to State Missions, and contributed to the 1937 flood relief. We made quilts and bedspreads for sale, and made and sold other commodities, and raised good sums by monthly dues. We are raising funds for construction of our local church school rooms. Our Ladies Aid has 16 members.
Membership at Scuppernong is reportedly 130.
Roll of Ministers at Scuppernong.
|1882||A. C. Wentz||1925-1927||D. W. Arnold|
|1883, 1884||J. B. Parsons||1929-1937||R. O. Respess|
|1888, 1889||Dennis Wrighter Davis||1938-1943||L. B. Bennett|
|1910-1915||W. O. Winfield||1944, 1945||Perry F. Baldwin|
|1916-1920||Warren A. Davis||1946||Lloyd Crowe|
|1921, 1922||J. R. Tingle||1947-1950||G. C. Bland|
|1923, 1924, 1928||S. Tyler Smith|
In the midst of fertile farmlands, this trade center, (population 195 in 1960), is ten miles north-northeast of Greenville. It is at the intersection of State Highways 33 and 903 and on the Washington spur of the A. C. L. Railway. Its postoffice was established about 1894 when offices by that name were in 7 other states. Its people numbered 25 in 1896; its one store then was that of J. L. Perkins and Co. Ten years later the growing village had two more merchants, W. G. Stokes, and J. L. Cherry. The place was incorporated in 1903.
In 1916 pastor J. J. Walker of Greenville responding to requests of Disciples resident in the Stokes community fathered the new church there. It was enrolled with 26 members on November 16, 1916, by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention. Their first clerks: John W. Bailey, (1916); M. M. Stokes, (1918). Their first church school, 1922, enrolled 45, H. D. Gurganus, superintendent. Their church property valuation in 1916 was $275;
in 1930, $2,000. The Greenville church gave Stokes the windows from their original Dickinson Ave. plant, when in 1918 Greenville's new building on 8th Street was erected.
A characteristic line from Stokes in March, 1918, declared: “The church is looking forward with interest in all the work of the Kingdom, and planning to make an offering this Easter for the orphans and aged Disciples”.
H. F. Speight, Jr. held their revivals in 1953 and 1954, adding a grand total of 26. Their correspondent in April, 1954, wrote: “The church at Stokes is growing. They are working on their building fund and have $14,000 toward a new building.” Work of construction began in June, 1957. Adverse conditions made building progress slow. However in January, 1958, the “brickwork was coming along nicely.” After some months it was reported: “the beams have been delivered and construction is again underway.” A committee was working “on memorial windows for the church.”
Their new plant was opened on June 14, 1959. The sanctuary seats 120; features of the interior are the laminated trusses, and memorial windows. There are four church school rooms for enrollment of 60, a choir room, a kitchen, and a pastor's study. A parking area is planned.
Before the close of 1959, new deacons and new church school teachers were elected. Tile was laid in the class rooms to complete overall furnishings except baptistry and culinary equipment. Their C.Y.F. was organized to meet each Sunday night. A creditable gift had been made for Camp Caroline.
Membership at Stokes is reportedly 60.
Roll of Ministers at Stokes.
|1916-1918||J. J. Walker||1934||Carl Saunders|
|1919, 1920||C. W. Howard||1935, 1936; 1938-1942||G. D. Davis, Sr.|
|1921||W. O. Winfield||1937||R. V. Hope|
|1922-1924||W. O. Henderson||1943-1946||H. G. James|
|1925||L. A. Mayo||1948, 1949||C. J. Brown|
|1926, 1927, 1932||W. T. Mattox||1950-1954; 1960, 1961||H. L. Tyer|
|1928||J. W. Shockley||1955-1957||Kenneth Rouse|
|1929, 1933||Edgar T. Harris||1958||Jack Scudder|
|1930||F. W. Wiegmann||1959||Vere Rogers|
This village, (population, 212), has been Hyde County's seat since 1836. A gazetteer of 1854, says it was “a small post village—half a mile from Pamlico Sound and 170 miles east by south from Raleigh.” It had but two stores in 1867; those of Ballance and Credle, and James M. Watson. Two preachers of the Disciples lived in Hyde in 1872, namely: H. D. Cason and S. L. Davis, when on October 12, that year, Swanquarter with 30 members was enrolled by the Annual Meeting of the State's Disciples. This isolated infant church in its early years had hard sledding. Its membership dwindled to 10 by 1879. It began to climb and in 1890 numbered 47, who sent 25 cents to the State Convention for publishing the Minutes, also gave $5.50 that year to brotherhood-related “Mission Work.” Their Convention delegate through the years was H. D. Cason. Their first clerks: S. R. Cason, (1887); J. W. Jarvis, (1909). The first church school, 1885, S. R. Cason, superintendent; in 1893 it enrolled 30, including 3 teachers; Leon F. Harris, superintendent; J. L. Cason, secretary. A later superintendent was Mary Swindell, (1897). Their church property valuation in 1930 was $2500.
A reorganization of the church with 31 members was effected in 1882 by evangelist H. D. Cason, who sent to their State Convention $1 for the Minutes. Pastor J. R. Winfield reporting for the church in October of that year, said: “The brethren at Swanquarter and Clark's schoolhouse, [Mt. Olive], are making arrangements to build houses of worship. Crops in Hyde are badly injured and we are somewhat dependent, but we trust in the wisdom and power of Him Who overrules all things for the good of His people.”
H. C. Bowen itinerating there in November, 1904, commented: “Swanquarter has a scattered membership; their house is in poor condition, and there is a chance for much improvement. A rich harvest awaits faithful reapers.” Eight years later, pastor H. S. Davenport announced that it would “soon begin work on a steeple, and to repaint its house. The Ladies’ Aid is engaged in trying to raise money to put in new seats.”
Mrs. Joseph A. Saunders gave this account of the work there as of May, 1936: “Our Swanquarter work is making good progress. The local attorney, O. L. Williams is a good worker, superintends our church school, also teaches capably. At Easter we had large crowds and excellent interest. New life prevails among these good people.”
Membership at Swanquarter is reportedly 100.
Roll of Ministers at Swan Quarter.
|1872||H. D. Cason||1915-1921||S. Tyler Smith|
|1873||S. L. Davis||1922||J. T. Moore|
|1874||J. L. Winfield||1923-1926; 1945, 1946||J. W. Lollis|
|1878||J. G. Gurganus||1927||D. G. Saunders|
|1881, 1888||J. R. Winfield||1928||W. J. B. Burrus|
|1882||J. B. Parsons||1929, 1930||John R. Smith|
|1883||J. S. Henderson||1933-1935; 1939, 1940||Roe L. Harris|
|1885||Augustus Latham, Jr.||1936, 1937||J. A. Saunders|
|1890||Sackville M. Smith||1938||E. J. Harris|
|1893||Thomas Green||1941||Z. N. Deshields|
|1899, 1900||Merritt Owen||1942-1944||J. Thomas Brown|
|1908||H. H. Ambrose||1949||F. A. Lilley|
|1911-1914||H. S. Davenport|
In Beargrass community, southwest of Williamston, and near to Macedonia, is Sweet Home. Evangelist J. S. Henderson in 1891 lived at Old Ford, was employed by the State Missions Board, and on October 29, that year, reported: “I organized recently a Sunday School at Britton's schoolhouse. A prayer meeting has also been started there, and much of the month I have spent there in mission work which will result in the organizing of a church.” This was the start of Sweet Home. Henderson gathered a nucleus of 19 Disciples there in 1891, which with the net revivalistic gain of 36 the next year composed the Sweet Home membership of 55 when enrolled on October 27, 1892, by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention. That year they expended $41.50 for “local work”, sent 50 cents for the State Convention Minutes, and pledged $10 for State Missions. Their first clerks of record: G. Rawls, (1892); Seth W. Mizell, (1893). The first detailed record of their church school, 1893, shows enrollment of 50, including 5 teachers; William Mizell, superintendent; Seth W. Mizell, secretary; and $5 “paid for all purposes.”
that year. Their church property valuation in 1901 was $250; in 1930, $500.
Their correspondent said on October 15, 1895:
Bro. Henry Smith Gurganus came and took charge of the little flock here at Sweet Home. No better guide could have come to our aid at a time when our future was so dark and gloomy. He has given us more general satisfaction than any other ever has done. Our newly organized young men's prayer meeting meets twice a month. We have plenty of young people whose talents should be cultivated.
After 9 years from their schoolhouse start their building committee had in hand $23.99, most of which had been contributed by Beaver Dam, Macedonia, and other sister churches. Then pastor C. E. Lee, on September 8, 1900, announced: “Work on our Sweet Home house of worship will be commenced at once. The church here is not strong but it has enough of the spirit of Christ to contribute liberally to His cause.” W. U. Leggett was an active layman there, and H. S. Davenport identified two more, a “Bro. Martin,” and “John Leggett, one of the most liberal Christians who lives near Sweet Home but his membership is at Macedonia.”
Pastor L. B. Bennett said in April, 1922: “Our average attendance at Sweet Home Sunday School is about 60. We have paid our apportionment of $10 to Atlantic Christian College, and hope to increase it as the Lord prospers us.” S. L. Jones held their two-weeks’ meeting in July, 1933, with 24 additions. “I reorganized the church,” he said.
Sweet Home was closed for some years. But in June, 1937, James D. Taylor, active Raleigh layman, and native son of Beargrass, had returned to lead for Christian betterment at his erstwhile home. He exulted: “This church is being revived. On April 18, 1937, we started our Sunday School again. Our average attendance is about 50. Herman Rogerson and Mrs. Luther Britton appealed for funds to paint the church and were successful.” For redecoration $100 was used, the church having stood for 45 years without paint. In their church school, Nat Cherry was superintendent; Mrs. Allen Leggett, secretary; and Effie Davis Britton, pianist. Leaders in their Men's Class: C. R. Harrison, president; Mack Stalls, secretary and treasurer; James D. Taylor, teacher.
Their “spiritual awakening” provided an “inspirational fellowship”. On November 21, 1937, the congregation elected the following elders: Hyman Martin, Charles Ayers, Luther Britton; deacons: Garland Harris, Herbert Williams, Mack Stalls, Joe Taylor. An “efficient church school council” was set up to direct an attendance exceeding 100. Their building committee reroofed the plant and “resumed work on their new church school rooms.” The church was host to a quarterly session of the State Missions Board on September 8, 1938.
Membership at Sweet Home is reportedly 75.
Roll of Ministers at Sweet Home.
|1891||J. S. Henderson||1932, 1933||A. E. Purvis|
|1895||H. S. Gurganus||1934-1937||S. L. Jones|
|1900||C. E. Lee||1938||H. Edgar Harden|
|1911-1915||A. J. Manning||1941||P. E. Cayton|
|1917, 1918, 1920, 1921, 1925-1928||L. T. Holliday||1942||R. L. Topping|
|1943, 1944||G. O. Gard|
|1919||J. M. Perry||1945, 1946||R. F. Butler|
|1922-1924||L. B. Bennett|
It is five miles west of Pantego in the midst of a black-soiled wonderland, (population, 100). The village name translated is “Land of Heaven.” It is predominantly Tarheel community, but skilled floriculture imported from The Netherlands has cleared, drained, utilized, and beautified a garden spot of a few hundred acres. There grow the tulips, iris, peonies, and gladioli. Seasonal flowering attracts many visitors to view this mystery and loveliness in nature.
Disciples gathered at this trade center in the favored area, and secured Louis A. Mayo from Atlantic Christian College to preach for them. With 25 members, Terra Ceia church was enrolled by The North Carolina Christion Missionary Convention on November 11, 1920. Their first clerks: Mrs. L. R. Pilley, (1921); L. R. Cutler, (1922). Their first church school, 1922, enrolled 30; L. R. Cutler, superintendent. This grew to 50 in 1923, and the church gave $5 to The United Christian Missionary Society. Their house of worship was opened in 1924 when $1,060 was expended for “Local Purposes,” leaving a building debt of $255.49, which was fully liquidated three years thereafter. Their church property valuation in 1923 was $500; in 1930, $2,000.
During the great depression of the 1930's the Men's Bible Class of the First Christian Church, Washington, N. C., helped vitally to keep the spiritual fires burning at Terra Ceia. They began a Sunday morning worship service called a Bible study class on October 2, 1932. This devoutly continued from Washington was a substantial, edifying feature in the community's religious life.
Membership at Terra Ceia is reportedly 75.
Roll of Ministers at Terra Ceia.
|1921, 1922||L. A. Mayo||1933, 1934||D. W. Arnold|
|1923, 1924||J. R. Tingle||1935||J. A. Saunders|
|1925||W. O. Winfield||1937||Malcolm Penney|
|1926||J. W. Lollis||1938||W. I. Bennett|
|1927||R. O. Respess||1944||E. B. Quick|
|1929-1931; 1940-1942||J. B. Respess, Jr.||1955-1961||Dallas Ayers|
It is in Beaufort County, west of Old Ford, and 8 miles northwest of Washington. Often a church has been named for a nearby stream. Of the 33 churches in the North Carolina Disciples’ fellowship of 1855, 18 were named for respective neighborhood streams, or for some other object in nature. Tranter's Creek began as a Kehukee Baptist church in 1804, when 20 members from Skewarkey, near Williamston, were given to set up the branch at the Beaufort County site. It reported 21 members in 1811. It continued in the Kehukee Association until 1833 when it was summarily excommunicated since it “had departed from” that faith. The Old Ford Arminian leaders, Jeremiah Leggett, and his son, John, were responsible for the drift in both churches to the new faith. They were colleagues with General William Clark and others in the origin of the Union Meeting of Disciples of Christ in North Carolina at the Little Sister Conference, March 28-30, 1834. Having joined with the Disciples’ initial institution in the State, Tranter's Creek was host to three of its early Fifth Sunday sessions, namely: March and November in 1835; and July in 1836. Their later activities are not of record until
October 19, 1851, when with 51 members, they were enrolled by the Annual Conference of the State's Disciples.
In 1834, Edwin Gorham was their representative at the Little Sister set-up. Then from 1851 to 1889, their State Convention delegates, were: William Rogerson, Henry Jolly, J. G. Leggett, J. B. Leggett, J. Rogerson, A. J. Battle, H. D. Cason, M. D. Wilson, B. L. Leggett, Adolphus Ward, A. C. Holt, J. Baynor, R. V. Ricks, George Britton, Augustus Latham, Jr., D. M. Ricks, John W. Davis, Benjamin Belcher, J. B. Hardison. Their first clerks: G. H. Leggett, (1885); J. H. Adams, (1887); J. W. Leggett, (1895). E. P. Latham was their church school superintendent in 1911. Their church property valuation in 1899 was $500; in 1930, $1,000.
Dennis Wrighter Davis, Washington pastor, accounting to the State Missions office for May, 1891, said: “By an agreement between the State Board and the Washington church I was to preach for Tranter's Creek the last half of the year in the one-fourth of my time employed by the Convention. So I attended my May appointment at Tranter's Creek and received cash for State Missions, $8.”
Pastor J. Thomas Brown served Tranter's Creek in 1905. Leaving in September that year to attend The College of the Bible at Lexington, Ky., he reported their recent revival which had added 41. He said: “Some of the best material in the community were won for Christ.” Further: “They have bought an organ, new song books, and have met all current expenses. They want a pastor at once; will pay $100 yearly salary.”
W. G. Walker, state evangelist and editor, remarked in The Carolina Evangel, April 18, 1907:
Tranter's Creek was apportioned $6 for State Missions, raised $7.25, and has sent in $3.35 more, for total of $10.60 for State Missions. This speaks in loud notes of approval for this church, one of the weakest in the State. Some of the stronger churches should wake up, and see what they can do for State Missions.
Significantly, the Atlantic Christian College “Dollar League” had its beginning in the State at Tranter's Creek, April 21, 1907. It was to help materially in the lifting of the founding debt of the college. Mrs. W. J. Crumpler, resident in Washington, but a Tranter's Creek native, encouraged by the local pastor, Warren A. Davis, launched it, reportedly, as follows:
She took the floor and presented to her old friends and neighbors and to the young people of the congregation the claims of Atlantic Christian College upon the brotherhood of the State. She pointed out its value to Disciple youth who desired an education. To let it suffer would throw back the hands on the dial. She organized the young people into a Dollar League; 22 signed an agreement to raise $1 each for the College. The promises were left with Misses Latham and Alligood, earnest local workers, for continuation and realization.
In December, 1929, the church had “a fund well started,” for a new brick building. Their century-old plant was inadequate. More than half of their church school had to meet outside of the building. Mrs. W. P. Dickinson, (nee Miss Jarvis of Hyde County), was their inspiring church school superintendent. She reported in January, 1935: “Our people are becoming more missionary and thus express a desire to give more to missions.” Early that year the new brick plant was opened. It had a sizeable auditorium, 8 church school rooms, a social hall, and a balcony. The enrollment of 85 was in 6 groups departmentalized. Mrs. Dickinson led the Senior C. E., of 30 members
and was a district leader in the brotherhood-related woman's missionary work.
Their revival, August 15-24, 1938, was held by J. Alger Lollis with 15 additions. In 1941 they raised and expended $1,000 for new pews and carpet. Toward rebuilding the recently burned Rountree church plant they contributed $11.
Membership at Tranter's Creek is reportedly 75.
Roll of Ministers at Tranters Creek.
|1881-1888||Augustus Latham, Jr.||1920||J. W. Lollis|
|1889||Stanley Ayers||1921||F. F. Grim|
|1891||D. W. Davis||1924, 1925||W. L. Straub|
|1907||W. A. Davis||1927, 1927||L. T. Holliday|
|1909||J. J. Walker||1928, 1929||R. L. Topping|
|1911||Thomas Green||1930, 1931||W. J. B. Burrus|
|1914-1918||J. R. Tingle||1932||W. I. Bennett|
|1919, 1922, 1923||W. O. Winfield||1933-1950||Dennis Warren Davis|
It is in the peat-laden delta of the Pungo, near Pantego, in northeastern Beaufort County. Disciples beginning there in 1855 called the church, Head of Pungo. The name Union Grove was given it 46 years later in 1901. With 17 members it was enrolled by the Annual Conference of the State's Disciples on October 20, 1855; a relevant note in the Minutes said: “New church admitted this Conference.” They sent 50 cents to help the publishing fund. Their delegates at annual State Conventions were: A. J. Battle, Daniel Allen, D. H. Adams, G. H. F. Davis, J. S. Henderson, John W. Davis, J. H. Adams, M. M. Padgett. Their first clerks: Daniel Allen, (1878); J. H. Adams, (1887). Their first church school, 1890, enrolled 43, including 3 teachers; J. H. Adams, superintendent; M. M. Padgett, secretary. In 1897, A. B. Cooper was superintendent, enrolling 68. Their church property valuation in 1901 was $300; in 1930, $1,000.
Evangelist A. J. Battle held a revival at Head of Pungo on July 17-23, 1855, resulting in 9 baptisms. There were 4 Disciples already there. Battle said that these 13, on July 23, 1855, were “constituted into a church of the Disciples of Christ.” Assisting him at the organization were three other preachers: Seth H. Tyson, John F. Mallett, and Samuel L. Davis. On a return visit in 1856, Battle came by “the turnpike road leading to the Dismal, eight miles to Head of Pungo.” He unhitched his horse from his sulky, “borrowed a saddle from Mr. John Darden, but led my horse with great care over a soft spongy road to keep from being mired down. My visit to the young church here was received with hearty welcome, and I preached for the confirmation of the brethren.”
Secretary H. C. Bowen visited the field in the interest of State Missions in the spring of 1891. He reported: “Our meeting at Head of Pungo was an excellent one. The people sang well, heard gladly, and gave cheerfully. They pledged more for State Missions than the Board had asked them to give; Mt. Olive in Hyde did likewise.”
As the century turned, a new plant was needed. Their old building was given to the Primitive Baptists. J. H. Adams, local correspondent, reported on November 30, 1900: “We are building a house of worship. We have the
frame raised and want to get the house shut in by Christmas, if possible.” A. B. Cooper shortly noted this progress: “We have shingled and weather-boarded our church, with cypress and German siding. The framing is of cypress heart. The building is 30 X 45 feet with 12 feet pitch and square roof. We have money in the treasury to buy windows and doors.”
The Free Will Baptists jointly owned the building with the Disciples, which was opened on March 24, 1901, and dedicated on the following April 28. The first sermon was preached in the new building on March Foreign Missions Day by pastor Thomas Green. It is recorded: He “took the first collection in the new house and the full apportionment was raised.” J. H. Adams remarked: “We are very poor but we have put up our house in one year.”
Warren A. Davis held their revival July 16-26, 1929, with 25 additions: Millard G. Darden led the singing. On May 17, 1941, Union Grove “had a storm that took our church off the blocks and almost tore it up.” For awhile other places of worship were used. Then the Disciples bought “the F.W.B. share”, and completely renovated the house so they could return to it on December 21, 1941, “it being a much better house, much better looking than ever, and best of all it is ours.”
There were 41 members added in the calendar year, 1943. Next year they planned “to add more rooms to our church so we can do better and more Bible School work.” In 1945 they completed four new church school rooms, and the church sent $20 to the Atlanta Home. J. H. Adams further reported: “Some of our Pungo members have left us—gone to the no-music crowd. We are revising our church roll. Our improved equipment will materially help our church school. We need the guidance of inspired leaders.”
Membership at Union Grove is reportedly 200.
Roll of Ministers at Union Grove.
|1855-1880||S. L. Davis||1915||J. M. Perry|
|1881||George Joyner||1916-1919; 1931-1942||John R. Smith|
|1882-1898, 1902-1906||D. H. Adams||1921-1930||C. E. Lee|
|1899||C. L. Davis||1943||R. F. Butler|
|1907||J. R. Tingle||1944, 1945||R. L. Topping|
|1911-1913||D. F. Tyndall||1949, 1950||Dennis Warren Davis|
|1914, 1920||J. W. Lollis|
This city, (population 9,939 in 1960), was incorporated in 1782, and has been the Beaufort County seat since 1785. In 1794, there was a Washington in but two other States, Georgia and Kentucky; now it is the name of postoffices in 26 states. A gazetteer of the 1790's described it as a port of entry on the north side of Tar River, 460 miles from Philadelphia, which contained a custom house, a court house, a jail, and about 80 houses. It soon became a prosperous trade center. The annual pay of its postmaster, John Kewell from 1833 to 1839 indicated a substantial, growing town, in spite of the drain of western migration to the newer states. It suffered a loss of the major part of its business district once by fire. For weeks before September 20, 1900, there had been a drought; there was a high wind that day; a blaze beginning in Brabble's oyster house got out of control. There was a quarter-million dollar loss. The local press said: “Our city has received a blow that time will not soon heal.”
With 60 members the First Christian Church of Washington was enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention on October 24, 1891. The church advanced 50 cents for the usual printing of the Minutes; pledged $12 for State Missions; increased it to $15, the next year, and to $22.75 in 1893. Their first clerks: W. J. Crumpler, (1891); A. S. Kelly, (1894). Their first church school, 1892, enrolled 68, including 8 teachers; W. J. Crumpler, superintendent, J. J. Whitley, secretary. Their C. E. Society in 1897 enrolled 160 (largest in the State), Clara Latham, corresponding secretary; “money raised,” that year by C. E., $297.13. Their C. W. B. M. in 1911 enrolled 20, with 6 subscribers to Missionary Tidings; contributing that year, $52.40 to general and state funds. Their church property valuation in 1901 was $3,500; in 1930, $70,000. The Washington church has been host to Disciple State Conventions in 1893, 1896, 1904, 1910, 1928, 1938, 1942, 1949. When F. M. Green, of Ohio, national home missionary executive of Disciples, came to Washington in the fall of 1883, he reported: “The Disciples have no church in Washington yet, though a movement is now on foot which will soon result in a congregation.” J. L. Winfield, then living there and editing The Watch Tower in a very able way was pushing the unorganized Disciples toward establishment, to be accelerated later by Augustus Latham, Jr., who located in the city and preached for Old Ford and Tranter's Creek, nearby churches. In September, 1888, he reported to J. J. Harper that there were 40 Disciples there who “should by all means organize without delay.”
They organized formally in 1891, but previously had purchased a lot, 52½ X 210 feet, at the corner of East Second and Telfair streets, paying $225 for it. R. W. Stancill of the State service, took the first building pledges in January, 1890, totaling $648.00. The first pastor, Dennis Wrighter Davis, located also that year, supported largely by State Missions, and led aggressively in the erection of the initial frame building. Davis reported in October, 1891, that it was “in size 40 X 60 feet, but incomplete, as the woodwork is nearing completion.” Meanwhile the congregation met in a hall.
On May 1, 1892, the new church was dedicated, the sermon being preached by Dr. Henry D. Harper, of Kinston, on the theme, “Reformation.” Other ministers present and taking part in the program were: Augustus Latham, Jr., M. F. Haskett, and J. L. Winfield. Dr. H. D. Harper appealed for funds, and raised a total of $500 to care for their debt. J. J. Harper said of their new building that it was “well elevated and well-proportioned and beautifully and tastefully finished inside and out, giving ample accommodation for a large congregation.” Further: “The house is well located in view of the probable growth of the city, easy of access, and inviting in appearance.”
Their revival, May 10-24, 1896, was held by Dennis Wrighter Davis, with 13 additions. The preaching of Davis became a notable legend, and was characterized by his contemporary, J. J. Harper as follows: “His positions are well chosen, plainly and positively stated, and his mass of ready evidence swells like a tidal wave and sweeps over the stagnant marshes of error and sin with resistless force.” In 1897 Washington church ranked second in the state in its Foreign Missions offering, $52.85 as compared with New Bern, $63.20, and Kinston, $48.51. The next year their initial building debt was paid in full, and they “placed a splendid bell in the tower.”
Children's Day for Foreign Missions was observed there on June 2, 1901. A helpful promotion for this was the “Dollar League,” in which at this time 14 children qualified by each raising $1 or more. Their names:
Etta Lee Campbell, Mary Smithwick, Elizabeth Kelly, Addie Grant, Esther Crumpler, Clara Kelly, Paul Crumpler, R. E. Crumpler, Hinton Crumpler, Carl Kelly, Martha Latham, Mary L. Crumpler, Lulu Crumpler, Eddie Wilkinson.
After this jubilant observance generally had all but disappeared, Washington still had Children's Day for brotherhood missions. On June 8, 1952, they had it, and their offering in keeping with modern times was $253.45.
The Washington church officers in 1902, were: elders: T. W. Phillips, A. G. Wilkinson, J. B. Latham; deacons: W. D. Woolard, G. W. Lewis, W. J. Crumpler, W. E. Stubbs, N. R. Robinson, A. B. Whitley. A. B. Cunningham began a pastorate there on September 10, 1905. He said: “Preachers looking for work can find it in plenty in this State, and their work will be appreciated by the earnest, kind-hearted people of North Carolina.”
Some twenty-five years after the opening of the first building the congregation bought a large corner lot at Academy and Second Streets, diagonally across from their first property. On the upper part of this a parsonage was built, and in the spring of 1921 the first spadeful of dirt was removed on the new site for an adequate church building. It is of gray brick, with gray limestone trimmings, with roof of slate and columns of stone, with total cost approximating $75,000.00. This was dedicated on December 5, 1926, with George L. Snively master of ceremonies. The sum of $43.000.00 was assembled in pledges to care for the debt. Serving as building committee were: H. G. Winfield, J. P. Jackson, J. B. Respess, R. S. Silverthorne, and E. Leon Roebuck.
The church school reached attendance of 317 in September, 1923, Heber G. Winfield, superintendent. On September 1, 1935, Sam F. Freeman, Jr. was ordained to the ministry; the ministers officiating were: Richard Bagby, John M. Waters, Warren A. Davis, and F. A. Lilley. Pastor Richard Bagby, (1867-1948) retired on December 1, 1937, after a ministry there of nearly 19 years. The congregation then presented a “love offering” of $200 to the Bagbys. A local paper said: “He has built one of the strongest congregations in this section of the State; their church building is one of the handsomest in eastern North Carolina; as long as his heart beats he will always be the same kind counsellor, friend, and spiritual advisor that he has been through the years.”
On October 2, 1938, a unique service in their church school honored the 21 Disciples present who had each been in the Christian Church 50 years or more. Officers in their Woman's Council, (C.W.F.) in January, 1941, were: president, Mrs. R. N. Cooper; vice president, Mrs. R. V. Hope; secretary, Mrs. J. H. Martin, Jr.; treasurer, Mrs. George Taylor; missionay chairman, Mrs. E. L. Roebuck; World Call secretary, Mrs. E. T. Harris. The Golden Anniversary of the church was observed on November 16, 1941. The large building debt of 1926-1941, had been paid in full, and $1993 had been given that year for missions and benevolence. The church then had 6 elders, 26 deacons, and 5 deaconesses.
Their ad interim pastor, R. H. Crossfield, held their Easter revival in 1943, with 57 additions. Their church school in recent years has been blessed with successful directors of religious education, namely, Berta Jane Henderson, Mildred Robertson, Wilbur Ballenger, and Goodwin Moore. On May 21, 1944, the church decided to conduct a kindergarten to be directed by Etta Nunn, and assisted by Pauline Walker, and Miss Henderson. This opened October 2, 1944, enrolling 43, ages, 4 to 6.
Early in 1951 the church gave a new car to pastor M. Elmore Turner. Next year the annual church budget was $22,310, and in addition it accepted the goal of $1500 for liquidation of the building debt at Atlantic Christian College. Plans were adopted to construct a new parsonage at 1038 N. Market Street to cost not more than $33,554. This was dedicated on October 11, 1953.
Their C. M. F. was reorganized on February 3, 1954, with officers: president, Fred Adair, vice presidents, Sam Wilson and Philip Paul, secretary-treasurer, Milton Coyle. President Travis White held their revival, October 3-8, 1954, with 11 additions. Their church organ was rebuilt and dedicated anew on Palm Sunday, 1955. Their parish weekly, First Christian News, was launched in May of that year.
April 8, 1956 was observed as “Etta Nunn Day”. Miss Nunn had presented the local C.W.F. with an antique silver tea service. The day celebrater her notable life. Because of her special interest in Christmount, her friends presented to the Christmount Chapel “a gift of pulpit furniture.” Washington church in gifts exceeded accepted goals for both Camp Caroline and The Crusade For A Christian World; total for the former, $3,694.29, to June 30, 1954; and for the Crusade, 1947-1951, $21,051.25.
In April, 1959, plans were projected for the Bagby-Nunn educational wing to the church school building. And in the following July, “architects presented preliminary drawings for the addition and renovation of our church.” The final considerations for this comprehensive construction were presented to their administrative board in March, 1960. In December, 1960, the reported cash in their “Educational Building Fund” was $87,317.69.
Membership at Washington is reportedly 1142.
Roll of Ministers at Washington.
|1889, 1890||Augustus Latham, Jr.||1938-1942||H. L. Tyer|
|1901-1903||Merritt Owen||1943, 1944||G. Curtis Jones|
|1905-1908||A. B. Cunningham||1945-1952||M. Elmore Turner|
|1909-1915||R. V. Hope||1953-1960||R. L. Alexander|
|1916-1918||C. M. McEntyre||1961||Rhodes Thompson|
Near Pungo Lake at the extreme southern border of Washington County is Wenona, (population, 50). It is in the new black-land development, in the center of the Albemarle corn belt which was only a short time ago a great swamp. “Here is a great opportunity” said State Missions pastor, R. A. Phillips, “to grow out of this miniature, racial, geographical, and religious melting pot a great church.” With 30 members Wenona Christian Church was enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention on November 9, 1921. Their first clerk was Mrs. W. A. Kerney, (1921), in which year they raised $263.31 for local purposes. In 1926 they gave $2.50 to State Missions; increased to $4 in 1927, and to $10 in 1928. To the United Christian Missionary Society they gave $2.50, in 1929. Their first church school, 1923, enrolled 75, Richard Heyman, superintendent.
State Missions helped to sustain their ministry, 1926-1930. Pastor G. H. Sullivan in October, 1928, said: “We are delighted with the Wenona people. The most of the folk here are from the middle western states and have settled as pioneers in this great corn country. They are an industrious and
progressive people, ready to support anything which makes for the common welfare of all”.
Membership at Wenona is reportedly 80.
Roll of Ministers at Wenona.
|1922, 1923||George A. Moore||1931, 1932||D. W. Arnold|
|1924, 1933||John R. Smith||1934, 1935||R. O. Respess|
|1925, 1926||J. R. Tingle||1944||R. L. Topping|
|1927, 1928||G. H. Sullivan||1947, 1948||H. F. Speight, Jr.|
|1929, 1930||R. A. Phillips|
The first clearing of the “Jack's Neck” of the 1880's was where West Belhaven is to-day. This is a mile west of the present Belhaven, and at the eastern junction of State 92 with Federal 264. In 1909, H. C. Bowen, pastor at east Belhaven, fathered the church on the west side, which with 110 members was enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention on November 19, 1909. Their first clerks: G. L. Wilkinson, (1909); W. W. Gibbs, (1910); Louise Swindell, (1939). In 1911 the church gave $5 to State Missions, and contributed 50 cents “special” to the C.W.B.M. Their first church school, 1911, enrolled 50; J. K. Voliva, superintendent; contributions for the year, $12. Their church property valuation in 1911, was $1500; in 1930, $2500.
The mother church of West Belhaven, was New Hope, having a small frame chapel in the same locality. Its founder was H. S. Davenport, the Disciples’ “Pilgrim of Tidewater Trails.” He enrolled it with the State Convention on October 23, 1887, with 20 members. It remained on the roll until 1900, when its remaining constituents joined with the First Christian Church of Belhaven or later with the West Belhaven group. First clerks at New Hope were: J. S. Williamson, (1887); Moses Herrington, (1890). New Hope's first church school, 1890, enrolled 31, including 4 teachers; J. H. Ratcliff, superintendent; M. J. Sawyer, secretary.
On December 24, 1908, H. C. Bowen reported: “By the payment of a small amount of cash we have secured a fee simple deed for the West Belhaven church lot and have taken the title in the name of The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention. This we think is much better than a deed with a reverting clause in it.” Reporting building progress there in April, 1909, Bowen said: “The steeple is finished, roof completed, floors laid, and windows and doors in place.” The plant was occupied for worship and the church school on Easter Sunday, 1909.
On October 31, 1909, the new church was dedicated, Jesse C. Caldwell preaching the sermon. About the dedication pastor Bowen said: “We started out to raise $350 and secured in cash and pledges, $561.90. This will enable us to go forward successfully and make some further improvements on our new house.” Bowen followed this dedication by leading their revival enrolling 52 charter members, 18 of whom transferred from the First Church, a mile east. A further report from Bowen: “West Belhaven has puchased a new organ. The music is much improved. We hope to be able to secure a $500 loan soon from Church Extension.” The loan was executed, making safe the $1500 investment. The pastor said: “West Belhaven is grateful for this help.”
E. J. Harris held their summer revival in 1925 with 22 additions. Encouraged by James D. Taylor, Raleigh layman, G. C. Bland held their spring revival in 1938. Taylor was “emphasizing the value of cooperation in Statewide cooperative service.” In 1939, pastor E. H. Eppling of the First Church, and four of the laymen there: F. L. Voliva, J. E. Gaylor, H. F. Noble, and J. T. McKeel, provided spiritual leadership for West Belhaven. On June 12-21, that year, Eppling held the West Belhaven revival, concluding his report with the sentiment: “The church seems to be revived, and is looking forward to a great work.”
Membership at West Belhaven is reportedly 110.
Roll of Ministers at West Belhaven.
|1909, 1910||H. C. Bowen||1927-1933||W. J. B. Burrus|
|1911||T. Yarborough||1933, 1934||Roe L. Harris|
|1912, 1913||J. D. Waters||1935, 1936||Malcolm Penney|
|1914, 1915||J. A. Taylor||1938||G. C. Bland|
|1916||George A. Moore||1939, 1940||E. H. Eppling|
|1919||H. H. Ambrose||1942, 1943||Z. N. Deshields|
|1920, 1921||S. W. Sumrell||1945, 1946, 1948||R. L. Topping|
|1923, 1924||J. A. Mizell||1947||H. F. Speight, Jr.|
|1925, 1926||E. J. Harris|
In a favored location on the south side of the Roanoke, the county seat of Martin County was incorporated in 1779. Williamston's population in 1810 was 300; in 1880, 515; in 1960, 6,924. The city's original site was the 78-acre tract of Thomas Hunter adjoining the landing wharf at the River. The place in 1779 was “known by the name of Squahawky.” It was “a healthy, pleasant situation and very conveniently situated for trade and commerce”, and would “greatly promote the trade and navigation of the said river.” Commissioners at the start for “designing, building and carrying on the said town,” were: Samuel Williams, Thomas Hunter, Samuel Smithwick, William Slade, Edward Smithwick, John Griffin. Buyers of lots at $112 each, (equivalent of 40 pounds) were to “erect, build and finish” within five years, “one well-framed or brick house 14 feet square at the least and 10 feet pitch in the clear, or proportionable to such dimensions”, or suffer reversion respectively to the commissioners, unless tantamount improvements by the respective owner were sufficient to offset the housing indenture. Thus throughout its 182 years. Martin's metropolis has been keyed to expansion. The foxed pages of an old gazetteer said it contained “but few houses” in 1794. After the great sectional strife, it had in 1867, 8 stores, an academy, 3 doctors, and 7 resident ministers.
Disciples had been active in the county nearly 60 years before their permanent mission opened in Williamston. However with 15 members their church was enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention on October 26, 1890. In that year they raised $300 for local work, gave $2 to help print the Convention Minutes, and contributed $2 to brotherhood-related missions; increasing the missionary giving to $17 the next year. Their first clerks were: W. H. Wilson, (1890); J. W. Perkins, (1897). Their first church school, 1890, enrolled 35, including 5 teachers; W. H. Wilson, superintendent; A. Anderson, secretary; offering for the year, $3.68. Its church property valuation in 1897 was $800; in 1930, $3500.
The first preaching of record by a Disciple evangelist in Williamston was that of Virgil A. Wilson in 1877 and the following year. In religion the place was old and conservative. There was sectarian opposition to the reforming Christian ideals of this virile crusader. He said: “I had to preach in the Courthouse.”
In the summer of 1889, the State Missionary Service sent Henry C. Bowen to live in Williamston and establish the church there. In July, he said: “There are twelve Disciples in and near Williamston, including myself and wife. We have a lot paid for. After studying the location of the town carefully, I conclude that the lot is favorably situated. Robersonville and Macedonia churches have promised to furnish the lumber for the house. We have about $65 in money and need enough more to complete the house.” Again, in January, 1890, Bowen reported: “We began with about 18,,000 feet of lumber and $60. We have worked from two to five hands for five weeks, and have $40 now. If you would build, you must have faith and begin.”
The building was a year in construction. Carpenter's work began on it November 25, 1889, and was concluded on November 25, 1890. It was used first for services on May 4, 1890, “but”, as pastor Bowen stated, “we are still without a bell and other means necessary to best results.” To conserve the life of the young church B. H. Melton held the Williamston revival in 1897 with 33 additions. He led them wisely in securing J. J. Harper for their pastor. J. R. Tingle was in a second pastorate there in February, 1901, when he said:
Williamston Disciples have been without preaching for nearly two years and the membership has become somewhat scattered and cold. However one encouraging feature is that the congregations are composed mostly of young people who are not members of any church. This affords available material for work.
L. T. Rightsell, state secretary in 1904, sent evangelist G. A. Reynolds there to hold an 11-days’ revival. Rightsell's account: “He had a fine hearing the whole of the time. A new organization was effected numbering 24; $27.25 was raised for State Work. Many of the brotherhood who considered Williamston a hopeless point are surprised and gratified.”
H. C. Bowen visited in 1906 and found “the County Superintendent of Education, Register of Deeds, and other prominent Disciples and friends,” in the growing fellowship. Coming again in 1910 to lead a revival, he reported:
W. C. Manning has become one of the most capable and successful business men of Williamston and Martin County. Although he gives strict attention to business he never missed a service during the series of meetings. Having organized the church and assisted in building the house about twenty years ago it was my peculiar pleasure to meet the friends of former years. While the membership is still small it represents much wealth, talent, and influence. Bro. W. C. Manning is a capablue superintendent of the Bible School. Bro. Peel has been county superintendent of public schools for several years. Bro. C. A. Baker is a very loyal young man and capable worker. Marshall Wilson is a prosperous farmer. He and his family are true to the church which the father, W. H. Wilson helped to establish and support. The Hadleys have prospered and are loyal. Bro. Price makes a good clerk of the church. Sister Dunning is a valuable recruit from Robersonville.
Pastor J. R. Tingle had a glowing report in February, 1907, as follows: “We have a fine Sunday School. It now numbers 80 and is still increasing. We are raising money to buy song books and paint the church. Mrs. Tingle
has organized a Mission Band with 30 children. Everything is going well.” Field secretary Etta Nunn visited them, and reported: “On February 7, 1912, an Auxiliary of 10 members was organized in Williamston; officers: president, Mrs. A. R. Dunning; vice president, Mrs. T. F. Harrison; secretary, Mrs. Theo. Roberson; treasurer, Mrs. J. W. Anderson.”
From 1916 to 1927 there was steady progress led by their beloved pastor, Asa J. Manning, who was memorialized with a beautiful design at the front of their initial frame building. In 1921, J. J. Taylor held their revival, adding 25, greatly strengthening the church. In 1932, pastor J. M. Perry added 24 in a revival and was an effective shepherd to the flock during the depression. On September 10, 1933, encouraged by their women who had raised a considerable amount for that purpose, they decided to remodel their building at expense of $2500. Leland Cook, Kinston pastor, led their revival, 1935, during which the Men's Class, Elbert S. Peel, teacher, reached an attendance of 142, on June 30.
Their first parsonage was erected on Marshall Ave., and occupied first by the John L. Goffs in June, 1937. It cost $4500, was on a lot 56 X 96, and the dwelling was 32 X 40. Officers of their woman's Council, (C.W.F.), organized June 20, 1938, were: president, Mrs. James C. Manning; vice-president, Mrs. J. G. Corey; recording secretary, Mrs. H. D. Harrison; corresponding secretary, Mrs. A. R. Dunning; treasurer, Mrs. J. O. Manning. A Moeller pipe organ was installed in the summer of 1941. Next year the lot in the rear of their plant was bought by the church. A gift of pulpit furniture by Mrs. Thad F. Harrison in 1946 memorialized her husband.
Con M. Gordon of Norfolk, Va. held their revival in November, 1947, with 21 additions. Under pastor Goff their “steady growth was putting pressure on their building plans.” For their new “$200,000 edifice,” the lot was brought for $12,800, located at Smithwick and East Liberty Streets. It is 300 feet square, and is in the northern wooded sector of the city, in an exclusive residential section, near the High School. The building is 114.6 feet long and 86 feet wide; the consulting architect was Charles J. Betts of the Church Extension staff. It has three floors walled with concrete blocks and faced with brick. On its elevated landscaped site it is an imposing structure.
Its cornerstone laying was in July, 1953, and the debt-free dedication was on July 11 of the following year. J. Warren Hastings, of the National City Christian Church was the guest speaker. Their church budget for 1955 included $1,000 for Atlantic Christian College; $500 for the “Program of Advance;” $325 for State Missions; and $100 for Camp Caroline.
Their new parsonage at the new church site was completed in the fall of 1956, and occupied first by the Howard H. Groovers. In 1958 air conditioning was installed in the church. Their church budget for 1961 is $20,920, a “growing portion” of which is designated for “outreach in Unified Promotion and Benevolence, representing one dollar out of every four contributed thus devoted to brotherhood agencies.”
Membership at Williamston is reportedly 413.
Roll of Ministers at Williamston.
|1889, 1890||H. C. Bowen||1916-1927||A. J. Manning|
|1906, 1907||J. R. Tingle||1928||J. H. Hale|
|1909||C. F. Outlaw||1929-1931||F. W. Wiegmann|
|1910, 1912, 1913, 1915||J. C. Caldwell||1932-1936||J. M. Perry|
|1911||H. H. Settle||1937-1956||J. L. Goff|
|1914||G. H. Fern||1957-1961||H. H. Groover|
Seven miles east of Plymouth, on Federal 64, is Zion's Chapel. It is near Roper, a village incorporated in 1907, (population, 771, in 1960). The church was enrolled by The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention on October 12, 1872. Delegates representing it in annual State Conventions were: William T. Craddick, D. Rogerson, W. N. Davis, W. S. Ambrose, David Robertson, Butler Brickhouse. Their first clerks: J. D. Ambrose, (1877): Willie Roberson, (1889); B. B. Spencer, (1892). Fruitful evangelism swelled its membership to 53 by 1874, when their two State Convention delegates brought $1.50 to help pay for that year's Minutes. In 1896 they gave $15.52 to State and Foreign Missions; which was increased the next year to $26.60, in the pastorate of J. Boyd Jones. Their first church school of detailed record, 1898, enrolled 34, W. L. Roberson, superintendent; “money raised” during the year, $2.14. Their church property valuation in 1901 was $1,000; in 1930, $2500.
The church was new on August 1-8, 1875, when William M. Davis of Plymouth, held their revival with 14 baptisms. William T. Craddick reported it in The American Christian Review, and remarked: “It is the happiest moment of my life to stand by the water's edge and see my fellow-beings buried in baptism to rise and walk in newness of life.” A visitor there on July 8, 1883, reported: “I found the little flock assembled in Lord's Day school. Bro. Eli Leggett the efficient superintendent informed me that about 40 were enrolled, but they were sadly in need of books.”
Editor J. F. Coss of The Watch Tower was there on “preaching Sunday”, May 14, 1899, and commented: “Zion's Chapel is a very nice church, every way. The house is large and airy, and well located, and the people are intelligent, kind, and prosperous. The outlook is very promising. It was State Missions Day, and while the offering was not large, it is quite certain that they will reach their apportionment, $25, during the year. Our visit was not only profitable but extremely pleasant.” Joseph D. Waters said that during the two-years’ pastorate of J. Boyd Jones at Zion's Chapel, “there were more than 75 additions to the church, and it became one of the leading missionary churches in the district.”
The pastor there for several years, a “wise and beloved leader,” was Peter Stephen Swain, (1862-1906). It was said of him: “He has been the life of the Roanoke Union for a long time; he is growing gray and bald in the service.” For his valedictory at Zion's Chapel, in August, 1902, he declared: “It is a good church to preach for. We have met all of our missionary obligations, and will be able to close the year with all expenses paid and in good condition to begin the new year.” He delighted to report that their Children's Day offering for Foreign Missions that year was $12.50; Maggie Davis, superintendent.
On March 24, 1929, District Secretary Mrs. Jane L. Randolph, of Washington, assisted by Mrs. E. L. Roebuck, and Mrs. R. J. Johnson, also of that city, met with a group at Zion's Chapel and organized a Woman's Missionary Society of 10 members. Their officers: president, Mrs. H. J. Chesson; vice president, Mrs. L. A. Parrisher; secretary, Mrs. E. M. Chesson; treasurer, Mrs. Pearl Chesson; World Call secretary, Mrs. B. M. Snell. Other members of this new society: Mesdames: Octavia Davis, Edith Gardner, B. B. Spencer, T. C. Tarkenton. It was said: “This group will serve to promote a missionary spirit helpful to the church.”
Membership at Zion's Chapel is reportedly 200.
Roll of Ministers at Zion's Chapel.
WORKS BY CHARLES CROSSFIELD WARE
|1882, 1883||H. S. Gurganus||1919||W. H. Marler|
|1888||W. M. Davis||1920, 1921||J. R. Tingle|
|1890-1904||P. S. Swain||1922-1931||Warren A. Davis|
|1889, 1909||Dennis Wrighter Davis||1933, 1934||Malcolm Penney|
|1911-1913||W. O. Winfield||1935-1940||M. L. Ambrose|
|1914||L. C. Carawan||1941||J. B. Respess|
|1915||J. C. Coggins||1942||Dennis Warren Davis|
|1917, 1918||C. W. Riggs||1943-1946||D. W. Arnold|
A History of Disciples of Christ in North Carolina
Barton Warren Stone—Pathfinder of Christian Union.
Tar Heel Disciples, 1841-1852.
Christian's Reveille, (Play).
A History of Atlantic Christian College—Culture in Coastal Carolina.
Kentucky's Fox Creek—Vignettes of the Village Church and of the R. H. Crossfield Heritage.
Onslow's Oldest Church.
Mill Creek Story.
Price per copy of this Booklet: paper, $1.00; cloth. (limited), $2.00.
Order from C. C. Ware, Box 1164, Wilson, N. C.
Carolina Discipliana Library
NORTH CAROLINA DISCIPLES OF CHRIST
CHAS. C. WARE, CURATOR, BOX 1164, WILSON, N. C.
THE BARTON W. STONE MEMORIAL ROOM
CLARENCE L. HARDY MEMORIAL LIBRARY
ATLANTIC CHRISTIAN COLLEGE, WILSON, N. C.
A PERMANENT COLLECTION
OF LITERARY AND ARTISTIC MEDIA
THE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST AND OTHERS
A SPECIAL RESOURCE FOR SCHOLARSHIP
COMMITTEE ON PUBLICATION
WILBUR T. WALLACE, Chairman
MRS. F. C. STALLINGS, Treasurer
E. LEON ROEBUCK
CHARLES B. BROOKS
JAMES C. MANNING
OWEN G. DUNN CO.,
New Bern, N. C., U.S.A.