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in the Western Piedmont
Rowan and Iredell Counties
October 7-8, 2005
built in 1835 (the oldest continually used rural church in North
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
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
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
Optional Tour on
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.
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.
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
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
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.
*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
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
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
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
and are interested in the records and collections available
at both the Philadelphia and Montreat offices, go to www.history.pcusa.org
, 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.
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.
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
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
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 www.hpo.dcr.state.nc.us/nrhome.htm
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
Barbara T. Cain, Co-Chair
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
Rev. Thomas Spence, Past
294 Fairway Lane, Sanford, NC 27332
Phone: (919) 498-2159
Annual Dues are as follows:
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.
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.
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
1. First Presbyterian Church
2. Super 8 Motel , Bendix Drive
3. Rowan Co. Museum (for early tour)
4. Rail station.
• 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.
• Budget Inn, 1011 E. Innes St. (Exit 76 off I-85). Tel.
• Comfort Suites, 1040 E. Innes St. (Exit 76 off I-85).
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,
• 3:00 Registration, First Presbyterian Church, 308 W.
Fisher St., Salisbury.
• 3:45 Leave for Third Creek Presbyterian Church, 2055
Third Creek Church
• 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
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
$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.
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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