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Summer 2005 Newsletter

Earliest Churches in the Western Piedmont
Rowan and Iredell Counties

October 7-8, 2005

Third Creek, built in 1835 (the oldest continually used rural church in North Carolina)

This fall our society will take an expedition into one of the heartlands of Presbyterianism in North Carolina.

The stream of Scotch-Irish and German settlers coming from Pennsylvania down the Great Wagon Road began to move into western North Carolina in the mid-1740s, in search of less expensive land. The first known Presbyterian congregation in the area was Cathey’s Meeting House (ca. 1748), which became Thyatira Presbyterian Church in western Rowan County. In 1751 Rev. John Thomason was establishing congregations that met at “preaching stands.” The congregations of Rocky River, Centre, Hopewell, Third Creek, and Fourth Creek were all begun around that time by Rev. Thomason.

Our tour will be based in the historic town of Salisbury, the Rowan County seat. Their Lord Salisbury Festival is being held that weekend. If you can come as early as Friday morning by train or car, we will have an optional tour of historic sites in Salisbury (see below). Registration for the society’s Fall Meeting and Tour will be at First Presbyterian Church, Salisbury, at 3 p.m. on Friday. At about 3:45 we will leave from there for Third Creek Presbyterian Church, near Cleveland. Third Creek is the oldest rural church still in use in North Carolina, and we don’t want you to miss it! Their minister, Rev. David Carriker, is a historian in his own right and will be one of our evening speakers as well as our tour guide. Since that Sunday is their Homecoming and they need to prepare for it on Saturday, we will visit their wonderful church and cemetery on Friday afternoon. Their detailed and thoroughly researched book on the cemetery received an award for excellence from our society.

Friday evening we will have dinner and our evening program in First Presbyterian, Salisbury. Organized in 1821, its first minister had come to Salisbury as teacher of the classics at Salisbury Academy. An excellent history of the church was published in 1996 by Mrs. Jo White Linn and also received an award from this society. After dinner Rev. David Carriker and Rev. Joseph Spears will speak to us about the history of both of these antebellum churches and the segregated churches that were formed after the Civil War.

On Saturday our bus tour will start with the earliest organized Presbyterian church in the western part of North Carolina – Thyatira (1748). Back Creek (PCA) was formed in 1805 by a group of “shouting Presbyterians” from Thyatira. Centre Church (1751) was founded at the same time as Third Creek by John Thomason and has many interesting parallels. From there we will go to Cameron Church, a lovely and historic African-American church. We then hope to visit briefly two privately owned historic houses in the area, including the home of Peter Stuart Ney (See article below). After lunch, we will go to Unity Church in Woodleaf, organized in 1788. By mid-afternoon we will return to Salisbury.

Rooms are being held for NCPHS at the Super8, located on Bendix Drive, Exit 76 off I-85, about a mile from downtown Salisbury. Details are on page 8. Much is going on that weekend in Salisbury, so you may want to book your room soon.

To train or not to train…
When we held our fall tour in Charlotte, a number of us had a great time taking the train from Raleigh, Cary, Durham, etc. At this time there is not a reduced rate as there was then. Round-trip from Raleigh to Salisbury and back is $28.80, and from Cary is $27.20. Taxi from the depot to the motel would add $2-3 per person. Nevertheless, it is enjoyable to go by train. The Piedmont train is scheduled to leave Raleigh at 7:15 a.m. and Cary at 7:27, and it should arrive in Salisbury at 9:40 a.m. It would then be possible to drop off suitcases at the motel and return to the Rowan Co. Museum to begin the optional tour described below. On Saturday the Piedmont is scheduled to leave Salisbury at 6:14 p.m. and arrive in Raleigh at 8:47 p.m.

As Salisbury is only 130 miles from Raleigh and 130 from Asheville, you may prefer to car-pool. If you need a ride, please let one of our officers know.

Optional Tour on Friday morning
Salisbury is a very historic town that has done much to preserve its heritage. To take full advantage of our visit, some of you may wish to arrive early in Salisbury, either by train or car. For this reason we are planning an optional tour of some of the more interesting sites in Salisbury from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Rowan County Museum will open for us at 10:30, and we will visit the Old English and the Freedman’s cemeteries next door. We will then have lunch at the Wrenn House, housed in the former Salisbury Academy. After lunch we will tour the Utzman-Chambers House across the street, which is part of the Rowan Co. Museum. The Chambers family was closely connected with First Presbyterian Church in Salisbury, Third Creek Presbyterian Church, and Davidson College. The combined fee for visiting both museum sites is $5.00, and the lunch buffet at the Wrenn House is $5.99.

Some of you may also wish to stay longer in the area. Because of the festival, a number of churches and private homes will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday. The Confederate prison was located there, and the home of Dr. Josephus Hall, physician at the prison, is regularly open to the public. The Rowan Public Library has excellent local and family history materials. Unfortunately for adults, the Transportation Museum just outside Salisbury will be hosting Thomas the Tank Engine that weekend, so you might want to go there another time.

NOTE: The schedule and registration form are on the last page of the newsletter.

**The Mystery of Peter Stuart Ney - Are you a Ney Believer or a Naysayer?**
Was Peter Stuart Ney (d. 1846) only a respected Rowan Co. schoolteacher, who designed the Davidson College seal, or was he also Napoleon’s famous general, Marshal Michel Ney, who was supposedly executed in 1815? On his deathbed he claimed to be Marshal Ney, and many have defended or debunked the claim ever since. We will visit his schoolhouse and grave at Third Creek Presbyterian Church and also the restored house in which he lived.

President’s Message
by Donald B. Saunders

The NCPHS has been fortunate to have had dedicated and expert leadership through the years of its existence. Many have been ordained ministers; most have had longer exposure to NC Presbyterianism than I have. So I follow in very large footsteps! My talents are different from many who have served in the past, but I hope as your president this year to continue in their well trod paths but also to encourage the Society in a couple of new directions:

First, I will be sending a personal letter and notice to the (can you name all nine?*) PCUSA-affiliated colleges and universities, urging their history chairpersons to give our Society more publicity and attention at their institutions. When you think of it, this constituency is natural for us. Indeed, I am going to propose that we make a point of visiting each of these institutions over the next several years as we try to make our work better known across the state. Each school has a history and mission of its own, and our membership will benefit from knowing more about each one.

Second, we will continue efforts to build a Web site for the Society. Every organization has such a presence these days. With the sponsorship of a Presbytery, we could extend our outreach more broadly.

Finally, the Society still needs volunteers in several key positions: this newsletter has been for years a labor of love for Sally McLeod Owens, but we agreed at the last meeting that a new editor was needed. Is this something you can help with? Like I did, you may find that you have the confidence of your fellow members and will be willing to step up to help us.

I look forward to seeing many of you at the fall tour in Rowan County.

Yours faithfully,
Don Saunders

*The nine are: Barber-Scotia, Davidson, Johnson C. Smith, Lees-McRae, Montreat, Peace, Queens, St. Andrews, and Warren Wilson.

Spring 2005 Meeting in Fayetteville area
Our annual meeting was held at First Presbyterian Church, Fayetteville, on April 2. President Tom Spence called the meeting to order and led us in a brief worship service. NCPHS member Mary Hayslip gave an informative and interesting talk on the history of the congregation founded in 1800, and we toured the building, erected in 1832.

Mr. Chess Crow, curator at the Museum of Cape Fear in Fayetteville, gave a presentation on the history of the Fayetteville/Cumberland County area, settled primarily by Highland Scots who first immigrated to the area about 1739. Succeeding waves of new settlers came, particularly between 1746 and 1770. The influx continued until the early 1800s. Many of the Scots, but not all, had signed a loyalty oath not to fight against the British crown. These persons sided with the British king against other Scots who supported American independence during the Revolutionary War.

As time has passed, the population of Cumberland County has become more diverse, particularly with the military influence, yet the area honors its past

The business meeting was called to order by President Spence who led a brief worship service and introduced officers. Sally Owens, Secretary/Newsletter Editor, did not read the minutes of the prior meeting, as these had been approved by the Executive Committee. Sally expressed pleasure at the opportunity to receive responses to the newsletter. Interim treasurer Earl Fitzgerald was introduced. He distributed copies of the treasurer’s report. Members were encouraged to recruit new members, as dues help to keep current funds in balance without raising registration fees for meetings and tours. First Vice President for Program, Barbara Cain, stated that the fall 2005 tour will take place in Rowan and Iredell Counties, and will include such churches as Third Creek and Thyatira. Leslie Syron was thanked for serving as Second Vice President for Membership and as Chair of the Bylaws Committee.

Third Vice President for awards, Joy Heitmann presented a certificate of merit to the History Committee of First Presbyterian Church, Lumberton, for its book Proclaiming the Good News: A Sesquicentennial History First Presbyterian Church, Lumberton, North Carolina 1954-2004. Individual members of the committee also received personalized certificates. These individuals are: William S. McLean, Chairperson (in absentia), Charlotte Fraser Nye, Peggy Smith Edens (in absentia), Nell Graham Lyon, Evelyn Johnson Kirkland, and James B. Kirkland, Jr., Photographer (in absentia). Mr. Victor Lyon accompanied the group and was recognized.

Ms. Barbara Cain introduced other members of the Nominations Committee, John Wray and Sally MacLeod Owens. Ms. Cain moved that the following slate of officers be accepted:
President: Don Saunders
First Vice President for Membership: Sally MacLeod Owens
Secretary: Brenda Spence
Treasurer: Earl Fitzgerald.

As nominations were seconded in committee, no second was needed from the floor. Miss Leslie Syron moved that slate of officers be accepted by acclamation. Mr. William Craig seconded the motion which passed unanimously. The remaining officers will serve another year.

Mr. J. Mac Williams invited the group to attend the brief afternoon program at Old Bluff Church near Wade, North Carolina. The church was founded in 1758. A representative of Harnett County Library remained throughout the day, so that members and guests might peruse or purchase copies of Colorful Heritage by James D. MacKenzie, a history of Bluff and Barbecue Churches with an addendum about Longstreet Church.

Mr. Spence made brief remarks and handed the gavel to the new president, Dr. Donald B. Saunders. The meeting adjourned with prayer and blessing of the buffet luncheon to follow. During the lunch, Mrs. Hayslip distributed complimentary compact disks recorded by the organist and bell choir of First Presbyterian Church.

At Old Bluff Church, Mr. J. Mac Williams of Bluff Church gave an informative presentation about the church, its earlier sites on the bluff overlooking the Cape Fear River and successor structures nearer the center of Wade. As at other early Presbyterian churches in the area, services were conducted in Gaelic until into the nineteenth century. One of the drawbacks to holding continuous regular services was that pastors were called from northern Scotland. In that age before airplanes and e-mail, people and messages traveled aboard wooden tall-masted ships at great peril.

Remember our Fall 2004 Tour in Winston-Salem?
Shortly after our fall 2004 trip to Winston-Salem, Don Saunders, our new president, sent an article to Barbara Cain announcing Dr.Rod Meyer’s retirement as Executive Director of Historic Bethabara Park. Bethabara was a Moravian settlement that preceded Old Salem. Dr. Meyer spoke to us about Bethabara and guided our group to Shallowford where the Great Wagon Road forded the Yadkin River on a submerged shoal. Even after more than a century since wagons were replaced by cars and bridges, the depression in the approach to the river is still deep and bears testimony to our pioneer forebears. This crossing not only served the Moravian settlers well. The ford afforded a safer crossing for the ancestors present day residents of Rowan, Iredell, and many other piedmont counties.

The ever-vigilant Don Saunders also sent a newspaper feature about Lloyd Presbyterian Church in downtown Winston–Salem. This vibrant, community-minded, predominantly African-American congregation has worshipped on the same site for over a hundred years. It provides various services such substance-abuse counseling, emergency aid, and referral services to the people in its neighborhood.

Update on the Montreat Office, Presbyterian Historical Society
The Friends of the Historical Foundation at Montreat, Inc., continues to seek ways to keep the regional office at Montreat open and solvent in this time when the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is experiencing financial and membership losses. Two members of NCPHS serve on the Board of Directors of the Friends: Rev. Thomas Spence and Dr. William Wade. The Board met June 28-29 and prepared an update letter signed by Chairperson James A. Cogswell.. Columbia Seminary has other pressing needs and is not able to enter into partnership with the center at the level required. However, the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly and the Office of the Stated Clerk are continuing to work with the Friends’ Board to explore options for maintaining the Montreat office as a research facility.

A groundswell of support is needed now. The Friends board has suggested several ways in which we all could help in this effort.

Outside funding is vital for the Montreat office, from individuals, congregations, foundations, trusts. Let the Friends know of possible sources. Some $130,000 in gifts and pledges has been received from individuals and groups. 501c(3) has been granted, making donations tax-deductible.

Continuing letters and emails are needed, from current supporters and especially from new ones who have not written before. Write to Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, 100 Witherspoon St., Louisville, KY 40202, and send a copy to the Friends at PO Box 207, Montreat, NC 28757.

The 2004 PCUSA General Assembly deferred the decision date until the 2006 General Assembly in order to receive a report at that meeting. Sally MacLeod Owens has copies of the 2004 General Assembly report on decisions about the Montreat Office for $1.00 each.

If you have Internet access….
and are interested in the records and collections available at both the Philadelphia and Montreat offices, go to , click on Collections, and then Catalog and Finding Aids. From there you can go to their on-line catalog, CALVIN, which 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.

Membership News
Herman Ferguson Honored
Herman Ferguson of Rocky Mount was honored by the Old Mecklenburg Genealogical Society in December 2004. Herman received the 1775 Award for his genealogical research in Mecklenburg County. Herman, a retired geologist by profession, has abstracted and organized descriptions of county records in Mecklenburg County for many years. He has won various awards for these endeavors. Herman and Betty have been active NCPHS members for more years that the newsletter editor can recall.

Life Membership
Ms. Betty P. Sheppard of Wilmington is a new life member after paying annual dues for several years. Life memberships are $100.00 per person and support the on-going activities of our Society

Faithful Member
Charlesanna Fox of Burlington, a faithful member and reader of our newsletter for many years writes that she can no longer participate. Charlesanna’s periodic sugges-tions and comments will be missed.

There are more deaths to report this time than the newsletter editor has ever seen. It is with sadness that we say goodbye. The membership chair/ editor notes also that it means we all need to invite a friend and recruit some new members.

Some members have told us more about themselves in their lifetimes than others. Some attended meetings faithfully. Others could not attend but enjoyed the newsletters. Thus the amount of information about these persons is a bit uneven. Please contact the newsletter editor if more should be added at the fall meeting.

The editor regrets having omitted Nellie Gray Sides Stimson from the last newsletter although her passing was noted in announcements at our October 2004 meeting. Nellie is survived by her husband, Rev. Mr. Jamie Stimson and four adult children.

Pauline Neel of Mooresville died in 2003. Her son, Staff Seargeant Samuel Neel recently requested cancellation of her newsletter.

Other deaths have occurred more recently:
Chester Fisler of Glenaire Retirement Community is survived by his wife Mary.
Rose McGinnis Wilkerson King, a retired schoolteacher, lived at Glenaire. She attended White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh. Her most memorable NCPHS was the train trip and tour of Charlotte several years ago.
Lester Parker, member of Westminster Church in Greensboro, died earlier this summer. He is survived by his wife, Bea Parker, also a member. Lester was a cousin of Sally MacLeod Owens.
Katie Kirkpatrick Snyder, sister of J. Mills Kirkpatrick died in the spring. Katie lived at Grace Ridge Retirement Center in Morganton. She was our program chairperson during the 1980s. Daughter Emily Snyder Sprague sorted Katie’s memorabilia recently and chuckled as she noted that her mother had been program chairperson of every organization to which she belonged. Emily noted,“Being program chair seemed to be my mother’s niche.”
Cora Lee Trogden Turner of Eden, NC leaves behind husband Robert and several adult children. She enjoyed spending her last months on the sun porch her husband built so she could see the beauty of God’s creation.
Olive Worth, Historian of Raleigh’s First Presbyterian Church, was a fellow history buff with NCPHS member, the late William McPherson. Ms. Worth gave our group a tour of First Raleigh in 1996. She did a superb job of describing the symbols etched in glass and carved in wood within the sanctuary.

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

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

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

Sally MacLeod Owens, Membership Chair & Newsletter Editor
710 North Person Street #204
Raleigh, NC  27604-1276
Phone:  (919) 835-0920 or leave message.

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

Brenda W. Spence, Secretary
294 Fairway Lane, Sanford, NC 27332
Phone:  (919) 498-2159

Earl Fitzgerald, Treasurer
2213 Foxhorn Road
Trent Woods, NC 28562
Phone: (919)876-6665

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

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 follows the calendar year. If the membership date on your mailing label is earlier than 2004, you are encouraged to pay your current dues. Back dues are forgiven.  Dues may be sent to Sally. MacLeod Owens at the address given earlier in this newsletter.  Note:  Please send address corrections and notices of deaths to Sally, so we can keep our list more current.

Editor’s Note
by Sally MacLeod Owens

Please send news of churches, church histories and other suggestions. Ideas are always welcome

Reprint of Report from 2004 Presbyterian General Assembly regarding the future of the Presbyterian Historical Society are available at $1.00 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 areas of our 2003 meetings) 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.

1. First Presbyterian Church
2. Super 8 Motel , Bendix Drive
3. Rowan Co. Museum (for early tour)
4. Rail station.

Suggested Accommodations:
• Super 8 Motel, 925 Bendix Dr. (Exit 76 off I-85). Tel. 704-738-8888. Rooms are being
held for us (NCPHS) until Sept. 30 at a group rate of $49.50 + tax, incl. continental breakfast.
• Days Inn Motel, 321 Bendix Dr. (Exit 76 off I-85). Tel. 704-633-5961.
• Budget Inn, 1011 E. Innes St. (Exit 76 off I-85). Tel. 704-633-8850.
• Comfort Suites, 1040 E. Innes St. (Exit 76 off I-85). Tel. 704-630-0065.
Some motels have premium rates for that weekend, because Thomas the Tank Engine is in town.

North Carolina Presbyterian Historical Society’s Fall Tour
Rowan and Iredell Counties, NC
October 7-8, 2005
Friday, October 7.
• 10:30 – 2:00 Optional tour of museum, cemeteries, Utzman-Chambers House,
• 3:00 Registration, First Presbyterian Church, 308 W. Fisher St., Salisbury.
• 3:45 Leave for Third Creek Presbyterian Church, 2055 Third Creek Church
Road, Cleveland.
• 6:00 Dinner at First Presbyterian Church, Salisbury.
• 7:00 Evening worship and program.
Brief history of First Church
“Perspectives on the history of Presbyterians in Rowan County”
Rev. S. David Carriker and Rev. Joseph Spears
Saturday, October 8.
• 8:00 Board tour bus at Super 8 Motel, 925 Bendix Dr. (Exit 76 off I-85)

Thyatira Presbyterian Church, 220 White Road, Salisbury
Back Creek Presbyterian Church (PCA), 2145 Back Creek Church Rd., Mt. Ulla
Centre Presbyterian Church, 129 Centre Church Rd, Mooresville
Cameron Presbyterian Church, 2912 Salisbury Hwy., Elmwood
Harshana (formerly Farmville) House (Chambers plantation house)
Osborne-Ford House (one-time home of Peter Stuart Ney)
Unity Presbyterian Church, 985 Woodleaf-Barber Rd, Woodleaf
3:30 Bus returns to Salisbury

Registration: $35 per person (includes bus transportation, dinner, speakers, lunch Saturday, and tour booklet). Please send form below and check (payable to NCPHS) by September 30th to Sally MacLeod Owens, 710 N. Person St., Apt. 204, Raleigh, NC 27604-1276.

Name(s): _____________________________________________________________________

Address: ______________________________________________________________________

Telephone: ___________________ Email: ______________________________

No. of registrations _____ @ $35 (for bus, dinner, lunch, speakers, tour book) $ ______

Number for optional tour Friday 10:30–2:00: ____ @ $10.99 (for museums & lunch) $______

Total enclosed: $______

Send form with check (made out to NCPHS) by September 30th to Sally MacLeod Owens.
Meet here to register, 3:00-3:30, on Friday, Oct. 7th!
First Church, Salisbury
308 W. Fisher St.
North Carolina Presbyterian Historical Soc.
710 N. Person Street, #204
Raleigh, NC 27604-1276

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