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Winter 2005 Newsletter

Heritage of the Highland Scots—
Spring Meeting April 2nd, 2005, Fayetteville and Old Bluff Church

Our spring meeting for 2005 will be on the Saturday after Easter, April 2nd, in the heart of the area settled by Highland Scots. Our host church will be First Presbyterian Church on the corner of Bow Street and Ann Street in the center of Fayetteville. The congregation was organized in 1800, and it is still a very active downtown church. The present structure was built in 1832. (For more details, see the article below.)

Our featured speaker in the morning will be Mr. Chess Crow, who is on the staff of the Museum of the Cape Fear in Fayetteville. He will talk about the Scottish settlers who began to arrive in 1739, what brought them to this area, the customs they brought, and the churches they established.

During our annual business meeting, an award will be presented for an outstanding church history or history project. We will also elect new officers.

After lunch, we will make an excursion to the site of one of the earliest Scottish congregations –Old Bluff Church. A drive of about 25 minutes will bring us to the bluff over the Cape Fear River where the 1855 church and much older cemetery are located. Bluff, Longstreet, and Barbecue congregations grew from the three preaching places served by the Rev. James Campbell from 1758 until about 1776. These were the first Presbyterian congregations in the Upper Cape Fear Valley. Bluff Presbyterian Church moved to Wade in 1908. Elder J. ‘Mac’ Williams will meet with us in the old church and give us a tour of the cemetery. Many buried there came from the highlands and islands of Scotland. (See page 2 for more on the history of Bluff Church.) The meeting will end at Bluff Church about 3 p.m.

First Presbyterian Church, Fayetteville
In 1800, the Reverend John Robinson was called as a teacher and preacher by the Presbyterians in Fayetteville. When the church was organized, the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper was administered for the first time in Fayetteville on Sept. 6, 1801. About one hundred and fifty sat down to the table; seventeen were from Fayetteville and others from the surrounding congregations. A portrait of Rev. Robinson hangs in the Historical Room.

As early as 1809, plans were made to erect a church building. Rev. Colin McIver, clerk of the session, traveled in the north and the south to raise funds, and contributors included James Monroe, President of the United States ($25.00) and John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State ($10.00).

The original church building was constructed in 1816. It was used for church services and civic gatherings until the Great Fire of May 29, 1831, which destroyed the church and over six hundred homes and businesses in the village.

After another fundraising journey to the North, the church was rebuilt on the old walls. This current structure was dedicated on August 12, 1832. The original steeple bell was damaged in the fire; a second one, still in use, bears the Latin inscription which translates “I perished in the flames the 29th of May, 1831. I arose from the ashes through the generosity of friends in the Second Presbyterian Church, Troy, New York.” The church has a wooden truss roof (the only one of its kind in N.C.) designed by architect A.J. Davis. Other features include whale oil chandeliers that hang in the vestibule and second floor alcove, and a magnificent spire.

In 1824 the Society of Young Ladies presented to the church a Communion silver service consisting of a bread basket, two cups and a tankard. These survived the fire and are used in every Communion. They are on view in the Historical Room of the church.

Bluff Presbyterian Church
Rev. James Campbell, born in Campbelltown, Kintyre, Scotland ca. 1705, came to America about 1730. In 1757 he settled on a tract of two hundred acres on the west side of the Cape Fear River, across from the present location of Old Bluff Presbyterian Church. Rev. Campbell preached among the Scots in both Gaelic and English in three locations: at the home of Roger McNeill near Tranthams Creek, at the home of Archibald McKay on the Long Street (the Yadkin Road), and at John Dobbin’s Ordinary on Barbecue Creek.

The Presbyterian Church in the Upper Cape Fear Valley was organized in October 1758, and James Campbell was called as pastor. He was not legally allowed to preach or perform marriages until January 1759, however, when he subscribed to the required oath that he would not oppose the doctrine, discipline, and liturgy of the Church of England. Some time before 1761 a log meeting house had been built on the west side of the Cape Fear near the home of Roger McNeill. Called Roger’s Meeting House, this building was the first church building in the Upper Cape Fear Valley. Assisted in the Barbecue area by Rev. John MacLeod, Rev. Campbell served these three congregations, now Bluff, Longstreet, and Barbecue Presbyterian Churches, until about 1776 when, threatened about his prayers supporting the Patriot Cause, he moved to Guilford County. In 1780, Rev. Campbell returned to his home on the west bank of the Cape Fear and died soon after. Bluff church still preserves two communion goblets with the inscription, “For the Presbyterian Congregations in Cumberland County, under the care of the Rev’d John MacLeod, Apr. 21st 1775.”

Sometime after 1780 a new meeting house, probably also a log structure, was built on the east side of the river. Apparently both meeting houses were used until about 1785 when a frame building was built on the bluff at the east side of the river. This first frame church was used until about 1855, when a new and larger church was built on the site.

Old Bluff Presbyterian Church
Most of the pastors at Bluff have been Scots or of Scottish descent: Dugald Crawford, Angus McDiarmid, Murdock Murphy, Allan McDougald, Evander McNair, Duncan D. McBryde, Joseph B. Mack, George A. Hough, Andrew Morrison Hassell, James Stedman Black, Letcher Smith, and Angus R. MacQueen.

Eventually the members of Bluff began to consider moving the church to a more accessible location. Some members organized churches at McMillan and Godwin, and the remaining congregation moved into Wade in 1908.

Picture: Bluff Presbyterian Church, Wade

If you can stay longer in Fayetteville….
Although Fayetteville has changed a great deal over the years, many reminders of its history have been preserved. Here is a brief listing of some of them:

Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex
801 Arsenal Ave. 910-486-1330. Hours: Tues.-Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun. noon-5pm. Poe House is visited by guided tour (up to a 20-min. wait if tour in progress). Last tour 4 p.m.

• The Museum – Fascinating exhibits chronicle the early history of southeastern North Carolina from native American culture and European settlement, to industrial influences, the Civil War, and more; gift shop.

Arsenal Park – Adjacent to the museum, the park indicates the location of the U.S. Arsenal built in 1836. Taken over by the Confederacy in 1861, the arsenal was destroyed by General Sherman in March, 1865.

• 1897 Poe House – Beautifully restored, late Victorian residence.

Liberty Point. Marker at Bow and Person Sts. At this location on June 20, 1775, fifty-five patriots signed a petition for independence from Great Britain. The building at this site is the oldest known commercial structure in Fayetteville, constructed between 1791 and 1800.

Cross Creek Cemetery. Cool Spring and Grove Streets. Established in 1785, many of Fayetteville’s prominent early citizens are buried here. The oldest Confederate monument in N.C. honors the Confederate and Union soldiers buried near Cross Creek in unmarked graves.

Cool Spring Tavern. 119 Cool Spring St. Not open to the public. Built in 1788, it is the oldest structure in the city. The tavern, which housed the delegates who ratified the U.S. Constitution for N.C., features double porches, gabled roof and brick chimneys. It is a fine example of Federal-style architecture.

Heritage Square. 225 Dick St. Free tours on Sunday, April 3rd, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. 910-483-6009. Owned and maintained by the Fayetteville Women’s Club, Heritage Square includes the Sandford House, built in 1800; the Oval Ballroom, a freestanding single room built in 1818; and the Baker-Haigh-Nimocks House, constructed in 1804. Usually open only by appointment, with a nominal fee.

Market House. Intersection of Hay, Gillespie, Person and Green Sts. Built in 1832, the upper level housed local government and the lower level contained stalls for meat and produce vendors. Its unique architecture endures as a visible symbol of the city.

Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry Armory & Museum. 210 Burgess St. 910-433-1612. Open by appointment. Admission free. The Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry Company is the oldest southern militia unit in continuous existence in the U.S., serving N.C. since 1793. The museum houses two centuries of preserved documents, uniforms and artifacts.

Airborne and Special Operations Museum. 100 Bragg Boulevard (at intersection of Hay St.) Hours: Tues.-Sat.,10am-5pm; Sun., noon-5pm. Admission free. 910-483-3003. One of the area’s premier attractions, this state-of-the-art educational facility houses exhibits and programs that highlight the honor, courage, duty, and heroic feats of this unique sector of our armed forces from its inception in 1940 to present-day operations. The new facility is part of the Army museum system.


Need a Ride to Fayetteville?
We may not be able to help, but if you need a ride, please call our secretary, Sally Owens, at 919-835-0920. It is possible that someone who is planning to go would be able to take you. She could give you the names of some people to ask.

Highlights of our 2004 Fall Tour
The delightful 2004 fall tour to the Winston-Salem and Shallowford area gave our 30-plus members and guests some glimpses of early settlements in the wilderness along the Great Wagon Road and some more recently established churches. The early pioneers were mainly Scotch-Irish Presbyterians and German-speaking Lutherans and Moravians who settled first in Pennsylvania. Some hardy souls continued to the south and west via the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia into the western piedmont section of North Carolina and beyond. The first settlement by Moravians in North Carolina, called the Bryan Settlement, was west of Winston-Salem not far from the route of the wagon road. In time, African-Americans in the community joined these denominations and established other congregations.

On late Friday afternoon, we gathered at Historic Bethabara Park for a video and walking tour. Bethabara is north of Old Salem and was settled earlier but is less well known. Our meeting began at the Gemeinhaus (People’s House) with its simple sanctuary and reconstructed organ. Brother Tim played several chorales on the organ before giving us a brief talk about Bethabara and about the Moravians who first settled there. A very old German Bible and other items of interest were noted. Dr. Rod Meyer, director of Historic Bethabara and a historian of the Great Wagon Road, gave an interesting and informative talk about the area from the mid-1700s until the mid-1800s. The Yadkin River blocked the route to the south until a shallow crossing was discovered west of what is now Lewisville; hence the name of the area – Shallowford. Thousands of pioneers created a deep trench with their wagons and feet as they approached the crossing.

We had a delicious dinner at the Buttner House nearby. After dinner, a business meeting was held, as described in a companion article.

Saturday morning we gathered at the First Presbyterian Church, which has an active ministry in the downtown area of Winston-Salem. This congregation conducts traditional worship services and also a contemporary service in an adjacent building with a sound stage and chairs instead of pews.

Lloyd Presbyterian church, an historic African-American congregation, is a post-Civil War daughter of First Church. Located in the eastern part of the city, Lloyd has a service program to reach out to people in the area needing food or help in finding job training, affordable health care, or other social services. The sanctuary was built by its earliest church members. The women shaped bricks by hand and moved the bricks to the church in wheelbarrows. Lloyd has remained on the same site 112 years. That is longer than any other predominantly African-American congregation in the city.

Reynolda Evangelical Presbyterian, near Reynolda House and Wake Forest University; was established with the help of the Reynolds family. Originally part of the Presbyterian Church in the United States (Southern Presbyterian), it affiliated with the charismatic Evangelical Presbyterian Church about 1980.

The tour bus then took us to the Shallowford area to see the old wagon trail. We walked a parallel and less rugged path part of the way to the river. The tour ended with a box lunch at the Old Salem visitor center. Some individuals toured other sites.

Business meeting
The meeting was called to order with prayer by President Tom Spence. Earl Fitzgerald, who was appointed treasurer to fill the term of Charles Latimer, was introduced. Sally MacLeod Owens noted several members who were unable to attend for health reasons.

Leslie Syron, who chaired the Bylaws Committee, introduced committee members Joanna Baitinger, Earl Fitzgerald, and Ann Myhre. Copies of the proposed bylaws had been distributed to members with the newsletter, and additional copies were distributed. President Tom Spence pointed out that, since no officers were elected in the spring of 2004, the paragraph on Election of Officers under “Policies” would have to be amended, exchanging the words “odd” and “even”. The revised paragraph would read, “Election of Officers. The president, second vice president, secretary, and treasurer shall be elected in odd years and the first and third vice presidents in even years.” Mr. Mills Kirkpatrick offered a motion to accept the bylaws and the revised policies. John Wray seconded the motion, which passed unanimously. President Spence appointed Barbara Cain, Sally MacLeod Owens, and John Wray to serve on the Nominations Committee.

Presbyterian Historical Society – Montreat Branch
The future of the Presbyterian Historical Society nationwide is not yet resolved, but important events in 2004 will help to shape future decisions. The rising cost of preserving the records and artifacts of church history is imperiling the three existing facilities and hampering expansion to the western United States. The largest facility in Philadelphia predates the merger of the former northern and southern branches of what is now Presbyterian Church {U.S.A.), as does the Montreat Branch. The branch in Louisville, Kentucky, is smaller and is a repository for the more recent records of General Assembly and the national organization of the denomination.

Officials of the Presbyterian Historical Society based in Philadelphia had planned to consolidate the holdings of the Montreat facility into the center in Philadedelphia and had initiated staff layoffs and cost cuts. Proponents of the Montreat facility have expressed considerable concern about the inaccessibility and greater distance to Philadelphia coupled with observations about the higher cost of staffing and suitable buildings in Philadelphia. About 50 members of our North Carolina Presbyterian Historical Society members attended a public hearing as a part of our April 2004 hearing. President Tom Spence is a member of the board of Friends of the Historical Foundation at Montreat, Inc., as is another of our members, Dr. William Wade.

Originally, the Presbyterian Historical Society board had planned to make a decision about restructuring by later in 2005. The 2004 General Assembly reviewed the issues and postponed a decision until the 2006 General Assembly meeting at the earliest, in order to allow further study and consideration of options. [Sally Owens has copies of reprints of General Assembly reports, which may be purchased for $1.50. See her address elsewhere in this newsletter.]

Dr. James Cogswell, chairperson of the Friends of the Historical Foundation at Montreat, Inc., sent a letter dated January 14, 2005, giving an updated report and presenting information about discussions of transferring major responsibility for the Montreat Branch to Columbia Seminary and raising $10 million to make this possible. [Contact Sally for a copy of the letter.]

If you have Internet access….
and are interested in the records and collections available at the Philadelphia and Montreat offices, go to and click on CALVIN to search their on-line catalog. This catalog contains information on congregation, presbytery, and synod records cataloged since 1980; publications cataloged since 1980; microfilm and audio-visual materials; and processed archival records and personal papers, with links to their descriptive finding aids.

NCPHS presents awards each spring for outstanding books or other projects on church history. Has your congregation compiled or published a history, made a history quilt, or established a collection of clippings, photographs, minutes, artifacts, Bibles, or treasured communion sets? Don’t keep it a secret! Document it, and let Joy Heitmann know.  Her address is later in this newsletter.

Our society’s award-winning books and others that have been donated are in the Scottish Heritage Center at St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg.  The center at St. Andrews also displays on a rotating basis our society’s collection of dinner plates commemorating historic Presbyterian churches.

Is your church on the National Register of Historic Places or some other listing? Historical does not have to mean 100 years old. Information on criteria and on the process of applying to the National Register is available at or by mail from the N.C. State Historic Preservation Office, 4617 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-4617.


President’s Message by Thomas K. Spence
I am looking forward to our spring meeting in Fayetteville on April 2. This city has considerabale meaning for Brenda and me since many of our ancestors from Scotland arrived at this destination, then known as Campbellton, after boarding smaller boats in Wilmington that would take them upstream to this frontier settlement. I was received as a candidate for the ministry at a meeting of Fayetteville Presbytery in the sanctuary of First Church. In 1973 I accepted a call to Peace Church in Fayetteville, located in the northern part of the city on Ramsey Street, and enjoyed twelve years of fruitful ministry with this congregation. 

You will be intrigued with the history and the architecture of First Church, organized in 1800, and worshiping in a sanctuary destroyed by fire in 1831 but reconstructed on the original walls a few years later. The tall spire of the brick colonial structure is a notable landmark of the city’s skyline. 

In the afternoon you will have the opportunity to visit Old Bluff Church, just upstream from Fayetteville on the banks of the Cape Fear River. Along with Barbecue and Longstreet, this congregation was served by the Rev. James Campbell prior to the Revolution. The church is featured in the collection of pictorial essays published recently by OUR STATE MAGAZINE. It is called “North Carolina Churches: Portraits of Grace,” and includes thirteen Presbyterian churches from across the state. I received a copy for Christmas and commend it to you.

I encourage you to allow an extra day for exploring some of the notable historic sites in Fayetteville. The Museum of the Cape Fear, the Old Market House, and MacPherson Presbyterian Church on Cliffdale Road are worthy of a visit. Highland Presbyterian Church is one of the most beautiful Greek-Revival sanctuaries in the state. Both Highland and First are vital churches with more than 1,000 members. 

You will be electing a new president at our spring meeting. It has been a joy and privilege to serve in this capacity for several terms now. I appreciate the support of your officers, and particularly the hard work done by Barbara Cain and Sally MacLeod Owens. They made it all happen at our meetings, and we are all indebted to them for their continuing good work. I want to ask one favor of you. Invite your pastors to join with us in this important work. Preserving the history of our church and nurturing an appreciation of our Reformed heritage is worthy of their interest and support. We need their involvement and leadership.

Faithfully yours,
Tom Spence


Thomas K Spence, President
294 Fairway Lane, Sanford, NC 27332
Phone:  (919)-498-2159

Barbara T. Cain, Co-Chair for Program
1041 Shelley Road, Raleigh, NC  27609
Phone:  (919)-782-0944

Dr. Donald B. Saunders, Co-Chair for Program
P.O. Box 1846, Blowing Rock, NC 28605-1846
Phone: 828-295-8917

Miss Leslie Syron, Membership Chair
3402 Bradley Place, Raleigh, NC  27607-6802
Phone:  (919)-787-5970

Joy Heitmann, Awards Chair
4513 Pitt Street, Raleigh, NC  27609
Phone:  (919)-781-5928

Sally MacLeod Owens, Secretary & Newsletter Editor
710 North Person Street #204
Raleigh, NC  27604-1276
Phone:  (919)-835-0920

Earl Fitzgerald, Treasurer
1017 Cedarhurst Drive, Raleigh, NC 27609


Annual Dues are as follows:
Individual: $ 10.00
Family: $ 15.00
Individual Life Membership: $100.00
One-year complimentary memberships are given to those honored for outstanding books or projects on Presbyterian church history. PCUSA churches, colleges, seminaries, libraries, and church boards also receive complimentary memberships on a long-term basis.

The society’s year begins in the spring. If the membership date on your mailing label is 2004 or earlier, you are encouraged to pay your current dues. Back dues are forgiven.  Dues may be sent to Leslie Syron at the address given earlier in this newsletter.  Note:  Please send address corrections to Leslie Syron.


Editor’s Note by Sally MacLeod Owens
Please send news of churches, church histories, and other suggestions. Ideas are always welcome

Reprints Available
Reprint of the report from the 2004 Presbyterian General Assembly regarding the future of the Presbyterian Historical Society are available at $1.50 each to cover copying and postage. As with other reprints, contact Sally MacLeod Owens. You may send your request and additional money with your tour registration.

Foote’s Sketches of North Carolina, 2nd ed., by Dr. Harold James Dudley is available again.

With permission of the late Dr. Harold J. Dudley, the society is reprinting a speech he first gave in 1964 entitled “Toryism in North Carolina.”   If  you are interested in those who remained loyal to the British Crown during the American Revolution (as did many Scots from the area of our Spring Meeting) and if you would like a copy, please send $2.00 to Sally.

Copies of Great Wagon Road maps are available for $1.00. Many churches in central North Carolina have their roots in the Shenandoah Valley. A reader aptly noted that the Great Wagon Road was the interstate highway of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Interstate 81 does indeed follow the center of the path the Scotch-Irish settlers followed.

Directions to Old Bluff Church (in case you arrive late or get separated….)

• From First Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville, you go up Bow Street to Green Street, turn right, and then right again (toward the east) on Grove St.(Hwy 24).

• Continue .7 mile and turn left (north) onto Eastern Blvd (Bus.95/ US301-North).

• Continue 4.6 miles to the US 301 North exit towards Eastover.

• From the exit road, turn left on US 301 North / Dunn Road.

• Continue on US 301 N. about 7 miles, to about .7 mile past the turn-off for Wade.

• Where US 301 makes a bend to the right, you take the road that goes straight ahead (SR 1802, which may be marked as Earl McLellen Rd. or Sis Culbreth Road!). At that intersection, you will see a historical marker for Old Bluff Church in the V between 301 and Sis Culbreth. Go to the left of the marker.

• Continue on Sis Culbreth Road about .8 mile. Old Bluff Church Road is the first road on your left. Turn left and continue to the church.

The First Presbyterian Church is on the corner of Ann St. and Bow St. in downtown Fayetteville.

Motels on Bragg Blvd.(NC24) and on Eastern Blvd (Bus.95) are NOT recommended.
Below is a sampling of motels in recommended areas:

Near Cross Creek Mall (on Hwy. 401 [not Bus. 401] near the All-American Expressway):

Fairfield Inn by Marriott, 562 Cross Creek Mall, Fayetteville
Phone: 910-487-1400; Toll Free: 800-228-2800; Rates: $58.00-$82.00
Hampton Inn Cross Creek, 1700 Skibo Rd., Fayetteville
Phone: 910-487-4006; Toll Free: Rates: $79.00-$85.00
Innkeeper Cross Creek, 1720 Skibo Rd., Fayetteville
Phone: 910-867-7659; Toll Free: 800-INNKEEP; Rates: $59.99-$75.99
Holiday Inn Express, 1706 Skibo Road; Fayetteville
Phone: 910-867-6777; Toll Free: 877-867-6777; Rates: $89.00-$119.00
On I-95:
EconoLodge, 1952 Cedar Creek Rd. (Exit 49), Fayetteville
Phone: 910-433-2100; Toll Free: 800-446-0650; Rates: $44.95-$89.95

Downtown (only one in this area is recommended):
Radisson Prince Charles, 450 Hay St., Fayetteville
Phone: 910-433-4444 Toll Free: 1-800-333-3333 Rates: $69.00-$129.00


The North Carolina Presbyterian Historical Society’s
41st Annual Spring Meeting

First Presbyterian Church, Fayetteville
Saturday, April 2nd, 2005Saturday, April 2:
8:30-9:30 Meeting of Officers.
9:30-10:00 Registration, coffee, tea, doughnuts.
Fellowship Hall, First Presbyterian Church
102 Ann Street (Corner of Ann and Bow St.)
10:00 Opening worship, announcements.
Welcome, and History of the First Presbyterian Church
“Scottish Highlanders in the Upper Cape Fear Valley”
Mr. Chess Crow, Museum of the Cape Fear
Business Meeting
Reports from officers
Presentation of Awards
Election of officers
12:30-1:30 Lunch
2:00 Old Bluff Presbyterian Church and Cemetery
Elder J. “Mac” Williams
3:00 End of meeting.

A map and information about lodging are on the opposite page. Directions to Old Bluff Presbyterian Church are on page 7.

To register, please mail the form below and a check (payable to NCPHS) by Friday, March 25, to our secretary Sally MacLeod Owens, 710 N. Person St., #204, Raleigh, NC 27604-1276. Telephone 919-835-0920.

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