to Newsletter List
to be at Peace College Saturday, Oct. 14
This year our Fall Meeting
will be only a one-day event, with the two-day Tour of Historic
Churches coming in the spring. Although weather is always uncertain,
we hope to avoid the prolonged rains that have often come during
hurricane season. On Saturday, October 14, we will meet in the
beautiful President’s Dining Room on the Peace College
campus near downtown Raleigh.
Peace College is one of the
oldest institutions of higher education for women in the United
States. It is the second-oldest in North Carolina, predated
only by Salem College (the first school for girls in the United
States, founded in 1772). The Peace Institute, as it was first
named, was founded in 1857 by the Synod of North Carolina. The
site and the sum of $10,000 (about $205,000 in present terms)
were donated by William Peace, a Raleigh merchant and elder
of the First Presbyterian Church in Raleigh. By 1861 the Main
Building was largely complete, but the school did not open because
of the War.
Instead the building became
a Confederate Army hospital—the setting of the opening
chapters of the historical novel, Cold Mountain.
This miniature portrait of William Peace as a young man
was donated to the college by Closs Wardlaw, formerly Closs
Peace, Class of 1930.
During the meeting we will
hear about the early history of Peace College, and there will
be an optional tour after lunch.
We will also hear from a
representative of the Friends of the Historical Foundation at
Montreat, who will report the latest news on the fate of the
records, manuscripts, books, and artifacts stored in the closed
facility. There are important decisions that must be made very
soon by individuals and families who have donated materials
to the Foundation, and by churches, presbyteries, and synods
whose records have been deposited there. Anyone interested in
this matter should try to attend.
While you are in Raleigh,
you can also take in the State Fair! The 14th is the first Saturday
of the event. You may wish to come on Friday for the meeting
Saturday and perhaps stay Saturday night as well. If so, it
might be well to make a reservation soon. Also, you can avoid
the Fair traffic by approaching from a direction other than
I-40 west of Raleigh. Directions to Peace College are found
with the map on p. 8.
Assembly Votes to Close Historical Foundation at Montreat
by Barbara Cain
Despite the best efforts
of dedicated supporters, the campaign to persuade our denomination
to keep the Historical Foundation open in Montreat has failed.
However, discussions are continuing on other options.
From 1927 until reunion,
the Historical Foundation of the Presbyterian and Reformed Churches
served as the chief repository for the records, private manuscripts,
and museum artifacts of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.) and the
Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After reunion, it was
agreed that the Historical Foundation would remain in Montreat,
but it would become in effect a branch of the Presbyterian Historical
Society in Philadelphia. In recent years, however, the Committee
on the General Assembly (COGA) and the Presbyterian Historical
Society in Philadelphia have argued that the Montreat location
should be closed, because of the church’s diminishing
income from per capita funds. They proposed dividing the collection
between Philadelphia and Columbia Seminary in Georgia, with
some artifacts remaining at the Montreat Conference Center.
Twenty-one presbyteries in
the South and Southeast sent overtures this year to the 217th
General Assembly, asking that the collection of archives, manuscripts,
and museum artifacts be allowed to remain in its present location
at the Montreat Conference Center as an independent entity,
not reliant on per capita funds. Eight of these presbyteries
sent official Overture Advocates to make their case before the
Committee on General Assembly Procedures.
Most of the committee were
sympathetic to our cause, and they voted to recommend that the
Assembly disapprove the COGA proposal to close the Montreat
facility. However, after dinner they were unable to come up
with a satisfactory substitute proposal. Just before the last
buses were leaving for the hotels, they reversed the earlier
vote and recommended the COGA proposal, with an amendment directing
the Montreat Conference Center, Columbia Theological Seminary
and the Friends of the Historical Foundation at Montreat to
develop programs and resources at both Montreat Conference Center
and at Columbia.
The basic problem for the
committee was the report by the constitutional advisor to COGA,
declaring that all church records no longer maintained by the
creating body must be deposited either with the Presbyterian
Historical Society or at a Presbyterian seminary. They believed,
therefore, that creation of an independent board of directors
with independent funding would have required an amendment to
the Book of Order – a major undertaking. Since private
funds for the Historical Foundation were contingent on its independence
from Philadelphia, the committee voted to recommend closure.
When the committee report
was taken up by the General Assembly a few days later, a substitute
motion was introduced to find a way to keep the facility open
at Montreat. The impassioned debate included a speech by former
moderator Marj Carpenter, recalling the promise made at the
time of reunion to keep the Historical Foundation at Montreat.
COGA responded that it was a question of stewardship of funds,
and they could not afford to keep two centers open. The final
vote was 348-147.
However, there are still
many questions to be decided about the building, the corporation,
and the collection itself. The plan of the Presbyterian Historical
Society seems to be that the records of the General Assembly,
administration, and central boards of PCUS will definitely go
to Philadelphia, while most of the rest will go to Columbia
Seminary. The current presbyteries and synods can decide whether
the records of their predecessor bodies should go to Philadelphia,
Columbia, or be returned to their own custody. Churches will
have to make similar decisions. Although the Historical Foundation
still exists in law, the PHS believes that since the merger
of the two institutions, gifts made previously to the Historical
Foundation now belong to the PHS.
Since General Assembly, many
ideas have been floated for keeping the spirit of the Historical
Foundation alive and for keeping as much of the collection together
as possible. At our meeting at Peace College we will hear the
latest about this matter. If you are interested, please come!
Although the wording of the
presbytery overtures varied and the proposed solutions differed
somewhat, the committee agreed to let the advocates present
a unified proposal, with each addressing one aspect of the issue.
This proposal was to place the Historical Foundation under an
independent board, reporting to the General Assembly but not
under the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia. The
board would then have access to the designated funds (about
$1 mil.) held for the Historical Foundation by the Presbyterian
Foundation and would be also be supported by donations, approximately
$900,000 of which had been pledged.
After the Stated Clerk of
the General Assembly and staff members of the Presbyterian Historical
Society had presented the case to the committee for closing
the Montreat Office, the advocates were given 35 minutes to
make their case. Rev. Steve Pharr, who has a law practice in
Winston-Salem, spoke first about the legal impediments to closing
down the Foundation. Rev. Tom Spence of Sanford, our past president
and the chief fundraiser for the Friends of the Historical Foundation
at Montreat, told of the large amount pledged in a very short
time. Barbara Cain, a certified archivist, pointed out the importance
of keeping the collection together at the conference center
where it was accessible to all. David Miller, a former missionary
to the Congo, relayed the dismay of churches around the world
whose members have come to Montreat to write their histories.
Others spoke about the breaking of trust with donors and about
the Presbyterian Women who have created and used the church
histories deposited at Montreat. Finally, Richard Ray of Asheville
summed it all up. After a period for questions, advocates were
not allowed further comment on the committee discussions.
Steve Pharr, Barbara Cain, and Richard Ray
Report on Spring Meeting in Bladen County,
Meeting for 2006 was held on Saturday, April 22nd, in Bladen
County. Elizabethtown Presbyterian Church was our host, and
they welcomed us with coffee and refreshments. In the lovely
sanctuary we heard about the history of the church and of the
English and Scottish settlers in the region. In 1781 a group
of patriot militia managed a surprise attack on the Tories encamped
in Elizabethtown and put them to flight.
We then drove south to Brown
Marsh church. It was built about 1818 in what was then the center
of a rural community. In 1870 the congregation moved to Clarkton
and eventually became the Clarkton Presbyterian Church. The
building at Brown Marsh was used as a school for a time and
from 1901 to 1948 a Presbyterian congregation met there once
a month. The unpainted wooden building has no electricity and
has been beautifully maintained by the Clarkton congregation,
and it now belongs to the Presbytery of Coastal Carolina. Mr.
Tommy Clark met us there and was telling us about the church
when a thunderstorm broke overhead, adding to the dramatic atmosphere.
Unfortunately, the rain prevented our wandering in the old cemetery.
After lunch in the Barn Restaurant,
President Don Saunders opened our Annual Meeting. He reported
that the Executive Committee had just authorized Steve
Edgerton to set up a web site for our Society. We also heard
reports from the other officers. The Award Chair, Mrs. Joy Heitmann,
presented our award certificate and a year’s membership
in the Society to David Jones for his excellent history of the
First Presbyterian Church of Rocky Mount. During the election
of officers, Ann Myhre was elected Vice-President in charge
of Awards, and John Wray was elected Vice-President in charge
We then visited the lovely
and historic Beth Car church
in Tar Heel, where we heard the interesting history of the church
and its connection with the Robeson family. As the final event
of the meeting, the group drove across the Cape Fear River to
see Harmony Hall, a plantation house built about 1768. There
we were given an excellent tour by volunteers from the Bladen
County Historical Society.
Our Spring Tour on April
13-14, 2007, will be based in the historic town of Hillsborough.
Put the dates on your calendar now!
By Dr. Donald B. Saunders
As I write this, Blowing Rock is
getting its first real rain for about 3 weeks and the temperature
is in the mid-50s. For the sake of my tomato crop I am looking
forward to some more warm, sunny days, but meanwhile we are
grateful for a break in the hot, dry summer.
Thoughts turn to fall. I
encourage you all to come out on October 14. We will meet at
Peace College, as we have not for some years. This is a convenient
location for many; I hope to see a good crowd. No tour, just
a business meeting this time, the usual meal, and a speaker
who will fill us in on Peace’s century and a half of history
You will recall that the
executive board recommended reversing the spring and fall meetings,
touring in spring and meeting in the fall primarily for business.
The reasoning is that we have usually had very nice weather
for our spring meeting, but not-so-nice weather for the fall
tours. Why, when a bunch of Scots-descended Presbyterians get
together, does the Lord decide to remind of them of the dour
weather of their homeland? Or are we coping with increased Atlantic
hurricane activity? Whatever, let’s hope we can enjoy
our next tour, on April 13-14, 2007, without umbrellas and galoshes.
Below in this newsletter
please read the proposed bylaws amendments to be voted on at
the upcoming meeting, which will make the change official.
Many members of the Society
are disappointed by the apparently final decision of the General
Assembly to remove the church historical records from Montreat
to Philadelphia and Columbia Theological Seminary and discontinue
direct support for the Historical Foundation activities there.
We expect at our meeting to hear from a member of the Board
of Directors of the Friends of the Historical Foundation at
Montreat, as to what is likely to happen next.
We will also see our developing
web site! Steve Edgerton has created an initial design at www.ncphsociety.org,
and we continue to seek interesting photos to put on the pages.
If you have any interesting photos taken at any of our Society
activities and would share them, bring them along to the meeting.
I hope everyone has a pleasant end of summer. See you October
14 in Raleigh.
Proposed Bylaws Revisions
(to be voted on at the Fall Meeting, 2006)
1. Amend Article
III, Membership and Quorum
[Old Paragraph 1:] Meetings shall be held in the spring and
in the fall. The spring meeting shall be the principal meeting
for business and inspiration and the fall meeting shall be for
educational purposes and shall include visits to churches and
other places of historic interest….
[New Paragraph 1:] Meetings shall be held in the spring and
in the fall. The spring meeting shall be for educational purposes
and shall include visits to churches and other places of historic
interest. The fall meeting shall be the principal meeting for
business and inspiration….
2. Amend Article IV, Officers
[Old first sentence] Officers shall be elected biennially at
the spring meeting and shall take office immediately thereafter.
[New first sentence] Officers shall be elected biennially at
the fall meeting and shall take office immediately thereafter.
3.Amend Article VII, Committees
Nominating Committee...shall be appointed at the spring meeting.
It shall prepare a slate of officers to be voted upon at the
following fall meeting.
...A proposed slate of officers shall be included in the fall
Meeting dates. The spring meeting shall be held on the first
weekend after Easter and the fall meeting shall be held on the
second Saturday in October.
5. Add to Policies
Awards. The Awards Committee shall make every effort to invite
awardees to attend the annual spring meeting and shall make
awards at that meeting to any awardees present.?
NCPHS presents awards each year 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 Ann Myhre 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
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 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.
The society’s year begins the first of January. If the
membership date on your mailing label is earlier than 2006,
please pay your current dues. Back dues are forgiven. Dues
and any address corrections may be included with your registration
for the Fall Meeting or sent to Sally Owens at the address given
below in this newsletter.
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.
News from Members
Kathrine Neel of Glenaire has made a generous gift to the Society,
and she is our latest Life Member.
We report with sadness the
death of two of our long-time members. Dr. Jacob Koomen, a life
member of NCPHS and resident of Glenaire Retirement Center in
Cary, died of cancer on May 10, 2006. He is survived by his
wife Ruth, four children, eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
He was an elder and Sunday School teacher at White Memorial
Presbyterian Church in Raleigh and was noted for his prodigious
knowledge of political and religious history. Dr. Koomen, a
physician and public health administrator, had one of the most
recognizable signatures in North Carolina. While he was State
Health Director from 1966 to 1978, all NC birth certificates
bore his imprint, as did many efforts to stamp out epidemics
of various diseases.
Connie McPherson, also of
Glenaire, died June 20, 2006. She is survived by a daughter
and two grandchildren. Connie taught home economics and special
education in Wake County for more than 20 years and pursued
various interests in education and history. She was a member
of First Presbyterian Church in Raleigh for 52 years. Her late
husband, William P. McPherson, was co-church historian during
that time. The McPhersons did much to support the educational
and financial growth of Peace College.
Other news in brief:
House Church near Milton in Caswell County is celebrating the
250th anniversary this year. The Rev. Hugh McAden was its first
pastor and is buried in the graveyard.
The 30th Annual Flora
MacDonald Highland Games will take place October 6-8 in
[Editor’s Note: Please
send news of churches, church histories, and other information
to Barbara Cain. Ideas for articles are always welcome.]
Ann Myhre, who has been a computer technician and a tech writer
for pharmaceutical companies, has agreed to serve as our new
Awards Chair. Ann is now the church administrator of West Raleigh
Presbyterian Church, where she and her husband John are members.
John, a retired pharmacist, has been on a number of medical
missions to Sri Lanka, Haiti, and Bolivia, and Ann has sometimes
accompanied him. She also has a keen interest in genealogy and
in church records.
Col. John Wray, retired from
the Army and from state government, is our new Program Chair.
An environmental engineer, he served in the Office of the Surgeon
General, in the NC Dept. of Water Resources, and as a consultant
to engineering firms. He and his wife Marion have two grown
children and are members of St. Giles Presbyterian Church in
Barbara Cain, who was the
Program Chair, is now the newsletter editor. She and her husband
Bob are both retired from the NC Division of Archives and History,
and they are both members of West Raleigh Presbyterian Church.
The complete list of current officers follows.
Dr. Donald B. Saunders, President
P.O. Box 1846, Blowing Rock, NC 28605
Phone: (828) 295-8917
Brenda Spence, Secretary
294 Fairway Lane, Sanford, NC 27332
Ann Myhre, Awards Chair
1005 Park Ave., Garner, NC 27529
Phone: (919) 772-5514
Sally MacLeod Owens, Membership
710 North Person Street #204
Raleigh, NC 27604-1276
Col. John Wray, Program Chair
2113 Yorkgate Dr., Raleigh, NC 27612
Phone: (919) 782-3384 or 787-9754
Earl Fitzgerald, Treasurer
2213 Foxhorn Road
Trent Woods, NC 28562
Barbara T. Cain, Newsletter
1041 Shelley Road, Raleigh, NC 27609
Thomas K Spence, Past President
294 Fairway Lane, Sanford, NC 27332
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 and if you would like a copy, please send $2.00 to
Sally MacLeod Owens.
Also available from her are
copies of maps of the Great Wagon Road, 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.
Finally, we still have a
few copies of Foote’s Sketches, edited by Harold
J. Dudley, for $15 each. To buy one, please contact either Sally
Owens or Barbara Cain. Contact information is on the previous
Photographs relating to Peace College in this newsletter are
from the Peace College Archives and were copied with permission
from the Peace College website.
Peace College, Main Building, 1920
Need a Ride to Raleigh?
We may not be able to help, but if you need a ride, please call
our secretary, Brenda Spence, at (919) 498-2159. 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.
It will be our aim to make
thorough scholars, qualified by proper training for the cheerful
discharge of duty in any situation to which they may be called.
– 1873Peace College Catalog
The fall meeting will be
in the Belk Dining Hall, No. 12 on the map. Park in the lot
marked No. 13 on the map.
If you wish to stay overnight,
there are many hotels and motels in and around Raleigh. The
following one is near Peace College:
320 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27603
Rooms at $79.00 – $89.00 are being booked quickly duo
to the Monet exhibit at the Art Museum and other events at local
colleges and universities.
North Carolina Presbyterian
Historical Society’s Fall Meeting
Peace College, Raleigh, NC
October 14, 2006
Saturday, October 14
8:30 Meeting of officers.
9:30 Registration and Coffee
President’s Dining Room, Peace College
10:00 Morning Session
Speaker: Warren Bingham
“Early History of Peace College”
Report on the Historical Foundation at Montreat
Rev. Thomas K. Spence, Board of Directors, Friends of the Historical
Foundation at Montreat
and map are on the opposite page.
Registration: $15 per person. Please send form below and check
(payable to NCPHS) by October 6th to our Secretary, Mrs. Brenda
Spence, 294 Fairway Lane, Sanford, NC 27332 [Tel: (919)-498-2159;
DUES are Due!
If your mailing label has a date before 2006 and you are not
a Life Member, or if you would like to join us, please include
dues on the form below. Registration
Telephone: ______________________ Email:________________________________
No. of registrations ____ @ $15 = $ _____
Dues (Individual $10; Family $15; Individual Life Membership,
Total enclosed: $________
Please send this form with your check (made out to NCPHS) by
October 6th to Mrs. Brenda Spence, 294 Fairway Lane, Sanford,
If you can do so, please put the following announcement in your
church bulletin or newsletter:
The North Carolina Presbyterian Historical Society.
to Newsletter List