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Summer 2012 Newsletter

Annual Meeting, October 13

The Educated Scot

St. Andrews University - Laurinburg, Scotland County

Although a few Scots and their families had settled earlier in North Carolina, the first shipload of immigrants arrived from Argyle in 1739 and were granted land in the Cape Fear River valley. By the time of the Revolution, thousands of Highlanders had arrived, formed Presbyterian congregations, and founded schools. Classical schools were especially important in the preparation of young men for the Presbyterian ministry, but a good education was a point of pride among the Scots. Many of the early ministers in both the Scottish and the Scotch-Irish areas of settlement established a school next door to the church.

For their higher education, most promising young men during the colonial period went to the College of New Jersey in the town of Princeton. Desiring an institution closer to home, Presbyterians in Charlotte persuaded the colonial assembly to charter Queens College in 1771, but the crown refused to approve an institution operated by dissenters, and it closed during the war. Presbyterians were then very active in the establishment and early years of the University of North Carolina. Davidson College opened as a Presbyterian college for men in 1837, and Floral College in Maxton opened for women in 1841 but closed after the Civil War. Later Fayetteville Presbytery operated Flora MacDonald College in Red Springs, which opened as Red Springs Seminary in 1896. Presbyterian Junior College for men opened in Maxton in 1929.

In the 1950s the Synod of North Carolina decided to merge its eastern colleges in order to strengthen Presbyterian higher education in the region of the state where the need was greatest. Peace College in Raleigh declined the merger, but in 1961 the four-year St. Andrews Presbyterian College opened in Laurinburg. A beautiful modern campus was built by the lakeside, completely accessible to students with physical disabilities, and an innovative interdisciplinary curriculum was established. Its equestrian program now features a 300-acre state-of-the-art equestrian center and regularly fields championship teams. It also offers training in Therapeutic Riding.

Last year the college became St. Andrews University, a branch of Webber International University based in Babson Park, Florida.

Scottish traditions remain strong in the Upper Cape Fear and Sandhills, once home to the largest settlement of Highland Scots in North America. The Scottish Heritage Center at St. Andrews was established to highlight and preserve this heritage. The center houses a notable collection of old and rare books dealing with Scottish and Scottish-American history, genealogy, and culture as well as current scholarly titles and periodicals. Included is the NCPHS Collection — the books on North Carolina Presbyterian history to which this society has given an award of merit. All the "Thistle and Shamrock" radio programs are officially archived at the center by Fiona Ritchie, -- now the largest collection of Celtic music of its type in the U.S. The center's exhibits relate to the Scottish settlements in southeastern NC and include some artifacts relating to Flora MacDonald.

Every March the center sponsors the Scottish Heritage Weekend, including a symposium that brings together top Scottish and American scholars on Scottish history, settlements, language, and culture. An Awards Banquet honors those who have made outstanding contributions to the preservation of Scottish heritage.

The St. Andrews University Pipe Band was founded in 1991 by Pipe Major Bill Caudill, as a project of the college's Scottish Heritage Center. Since then they have become one of the top competing pipe bands in the southern United States. The band has been comprised primarily of students from throughout the United States and Canada, though local and regional non-student members are also welcomed. The band wears the Earl of St. Andrews tartan. Active throughout the academic year, the band represents St. Andrews University at a number of Scottish Highland games and festivals as well as at other civic and cultural events. Their excellent recordings have been featured on National Public Radio's "The Thistle and Shamrock‚" and on BBC Radio Scotland's programs "Crunluath" and "Traveling Folk." The beginning and end of the academic year at St. Andrews is always heralded by the sound of prize-winning pipe band.

The current location of the University Archives on the first floor of DeTamble Library was dedicated in 2009 and provides a wonderful place to step back into history. Their collections document the history of St. Andrews Presbyterian College and its predecessors: Flora Macdonald College and Presbyterian Junior College. There are also the archives of Elise Academy in Moore Co. (1904-1940), and a few items from Donaldson Academy of Fayetteville, est. 1832, and Floral College in Maxton (1841-61, 1871-72). Unfortunately for our meeting, the archives is not open on Saturdays, but yearbooks from Flora Macdonald (1921-1961), PJC (1933-1961), and St. Andrews Presbyterian College (1962-2011) are now available online at

Our program on the 13th will begin with a tour of the Scottish Heritage Center, and its director, Mr. William S. Caudill, will also be our morning speaker. Although he is best known as the leader of the St. Andrews Pipe Band, Bill is a scholar in his own right, with a particular interest in the Gaelic speakers among the Scottish settlers, and in how long the language continued to be used in North Carolina. He will speak to us on this topic.

We will be having our lunch and business meeting at Scotia Village, which is next door to the Scottish Heritage Center. A part of Presbyterian Homes Inc., Scotia Village is a not-for-profit, faith-based, mission-driven community, providing both independent living and continuing care. Staff members will be available to give a tour to anyone interested.

After our business meeting, those who would like to can drive out just north of town to see the Old Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church, built in 1865.

This should be a very enjoyable meeting, and we hope you will join us! Scroll down for our schedule, accommodation information, and registration form.

Presbyterians in North Carolina - A new history

The University of Tennessee Press has recently announced publication of the first comprehensive history of North Carolina Presbyterians, from the beginning to the present, to appear in over a hundred years. Presbyterians in North Carolina: Race, Politics, and Religious Identity in Historical Perspective, was written by two of our members -- Dr. Walter H. Conser, Jr., professor of religion and history at UNC-Wilmington, and Dr. Robert J. Cain, retired from the NC Division of Archives and History.

The book is not so much about individual churches and ministers, though of course they come into the story. Instead it describes the journey of our denomination in North Carolina for over two centuries, and it places in context the issues that have agitated the church at various times and that still echo today.

Dr. Louis B. Weeks, president emeritus of Union Presbyterian Seminary, has described it as "the compelling story of North Carolina Presbyterian piety and practice, worship and witness. Their work is both accurate and accessible to any reader." It is available from the UT Press both as a paperback (264 pages) and as an e-book. (For a $5 discount, use the code utppnc when ordering.)

Dr. Harold Dudley's history:

Meanwhile, Barbara Cain is continuing to scan, edit, and index the draft chapters of Dr. Harold Dudley's material on North Carolina's Calvinists and Presbyterians. His work is a chronicle of the establishment of individual churches in the years before 1813, with information also about notable pastors and laymen, followed by a more general history of the Synod of North Carolina, 1814-1888. We plan to make some of his appendices available soon on our website.


Executive Board Members

John Myhre, President and Acting Treasurer
1005 Park Ave., Garner, NC 27529
Phone: (919) 772-5514

Ada Winters, Secretary
4508 Bost Court, Raleigh NC 27616-5377

Sam Martin, Program and Publicity Chair
P.O. Box 1037, Biscoe, NC 27209-1037
Phone: (910) 428-4165

Barbara T. Cain, Membership Chair and Newsletter Editor
1041 Shelley Road, Raleigh, NC 27609
Phone: (919)-782-0944

Joy Heitmann, Awards Chair
5021 Elaine Ave., Raleigh, NC
Phone: (919) 862-0529

Sally MacLeod Owens, Historian
710 N. Person Street, #204, Raleigh, NC 27604
Phone: (919)-835-0920

Dr. Donald B. Saunders, Past President
1739 Sunset Drive, Blowing Rock, NC 28605
Phone: (828) 295-8917


Anthony C. (Tony) Brewer

Our society's officer and dear friend, Tony Brewer, 68, died peacefully on April 23, 2012, only 10 days after the Spring Tour that he had planned as Program Chair but was unable to attend. The funeral service was held at Buffalo Presbyterian Church in Sanford, where he and his wife Sheila were members and where Tony had served as an elder and clerk of session. He was also a commissioned lay preacher in the Presbytery of Coastal Carolina.

Tony was born in Wilmington and grew up in Robbins. He received his BA degree from Atlantic Christian (Barton) College and his graduate degree in history from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. ?He served in the U.S. Army from 1967–1970, and retired in 2005 from a career as an employment counselor with the N.C. Employment Security Commission. I addition to his work in the church, Tony held a number of leadership positions within the Occoneechee Council of the Boy Scouts of America, including two terms as Three Rivers district commissioner. He was a longtime member and past president of the Lee County Wildlife Club, where in recent years he had assisted with the Youth Hunter Safety Program.

Those of us who worked with Tony know how much he loved history, and loved the stories that abound in Presbyterian history. He was cheerful, enthusiastic, and hard-working, somehow managing to balance his many commitments. We are grateful for the work he did as program chair and for his good suggestions at our board meetings. We miss him, and we send our sincere sympathy to his wife Sheila, whom many of you know, and to their children, Andrew and Karen.

Executive Board Meeting

April 13, 2012

The NCPHS Board of Directors met in Fort Hill, SC, after the evening program of the Spring Tour. After approving minutes of the previous meeting, they received and approved reports from the treasurer and the membership chair. Sam Martin, in the absence of Program Chairman Tony Brewer, reported on plans for the meeting this fall at St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, and on tentative plans to hold our next spring tour in the Tarboro–Wilson area.

It was agreed that the society will continue to collect email addresses from members, for the sole purpose of sending out occasional notices and a digital version of the newsletter, unless the member would prefer to receive a copy in the mail.

Plans were then discussed for working more closely with Presbyterian Women and their church historians, who are recording the raw material for the histories of their churches.

Sam Martin reported that his is continuing to compile a database of dates of establishment of churches in North Carolina, both currently functioning and no longer in existence.

The winter board meeting will be held on January 19 at the home of Joy Heitmann.

General Meeting of the Society

April 14, 2012

After lunch on Saturday on the Spring Tour, a general meeting of the North Carolina Presbyterian Historical Society was called to order by President John Myhre. Since the nominating committee did not meet last year, the election of officers for the term from October 2011 to October 2013 was delayed until the spring meeting. According to our by-laws, the officers to be elected were the president, secretary, treasurer, and membership chair. However, our awards chair, Ann Myhre, had resigned, and our program chair, Tony Brewer, had asked to be replaced due to ill health. The nominating committee then reported, and the following officers were elected unanimously:

  • President and Acting Treasurer: John Myhre
  • Secretary: Ada Winters
  • 1st Vice President for Program: Sam Martin
  • 2nd Vice President for Membership: Barbara Cain
  • 3rd Vice President for Awards: Joy Heitmann

No awards were made this year. After a few announcements, the meeting was adjourned with prayer.


If you know of a recently published church history or a completed church history project that you feel is worthy of consideration for an award, please send the book or a description of the project to Awards Chairman Mrs. Joy Heitmann, 5021 Elaine Ave., Raleigh, NC. Her contact information is on the previous page. Awards are given in the spring for works published or completed in the previous year or in a recent year.

Website problems

We regret that our website has not been updated since before our spring meeting. It is now under new management – Sail Away Web Design, which also manages the site for New Hope Presbytery. We hope we will not have this problem in the future.


Report on NCPHS Tour To Charlotte, Spring 2012

By Sally MacLeod Owens. Photographs by Dr. William Wade.

Presbyterians have been in the region around Charlotte since early in the 1700s. Most moved down the Great Wagon Road from Pennsylvania through the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Some moved northwestward from Charleston SC. A few moved westward from Wilmington and Fayetteville. Scotch-Irish, Scottish, German and Welsh settlers comprised the larger ethnic groups.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association was our first stop. The replica of a barn houses a multimedia experience of pictures, slides, videos, taped narrations, and memorabilia that tell about Billy and Ruth Bell Graham. The late Ms. Ruth Graham was the daughter of Presbyterian medical missionaries in China during the years before World War II.

Like many of the very old Presbyterian churches in Charlotte, Pleasant Hill near Lower Steele Creek is noted for its large "burying ground" surrounded by a rock wall. (A cemetery is a secular place of repose for the deceased, at least in central North Carolina, while a burying ground is associated with a church.) We were welcomed warmly and shown how to use shaving cream, not talcum powder, to make inscriptions easier to read. Pleasant Hill was organized out of Steele Creek in 1836 to be closer to a growing area. Its campus now has a number of buildings and a contemporary sanctuary.

Steele Creek, as with many churches, took its name from the nearest body of water. The church has survived conflicts over hymns and theologies, and a flu epidemic during the 1800s. Some extended families have been members since 1763 (7 generations). This is not unusual in Charlotte. Many churches have been spun off by Steele Creek over the years as the population multiplied.

John Knox Polk (U.S. president 1845-1849), who attended Providence Presbyterian Church as a child, was born in the area. We visited the replica of his birthplace, now a state historic site. Polk was denied baptism because his father refused to meet with the session at Providence. One story says the father would not say the Apostles Creed. Polk's family moved to Tennessee, but Polk returned to North Carolina and attended the University of North Carolina. He graduated in 1818.

Providence Presbyterian is one of numerous churches in the area where signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence are buried, The Declaration is not universally recognized, but Providence recognizes it. Restoration of the huge burying ground after Hurricane Hugo in the late 1980s spawned an interest in documenting gravesites of slaves. Little remains because the slaves were buried in shrouds, not coffins, and rarely had shoes or metal jewelry that would cause a metal detector to react. Depressions in the earth can register on sonograms after 150+ years, indicating human remains of non-whites who attended with their slave masters. Providence has both old and new buildings. Education was a priority in the days before public education became widespread.

Philadelphia Presbyterian Church has grown and grown and preserved most of its buildings for use. It has three burying grounds due to the growth of the area and the church. A local elementary school still uses the site of Bain Academy, reflecting the interest in education.


Fall Meeting Schedule and Registration

Saturday, October 13, 2012

9:15 - Registration and refreshments at the Scottish Heritage Center, St. Andrews Univ., corner of St. Andrews College Dr. and Elm Ave.

10:00 - Tour of the Center

10:30Gaelic Speakers in the Cape Fear Settlements

Speaker: Director William S. Caudill

12:00 - Lunch at Scotia Village

1:00 - Annual Business Meeting

1:30 - Leave for home, or the Old Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church, or other points of interest.


Registration:  $20.00 (includes lunch).

Nearby accommodations:

Comfort Inn - 1705 US Hwy 401 S, Laurinburg, NC 28352. (910) 277-7788. Senior rate: $93 + tax

Jameson Inn - 14 Jameson Inn Court, Laurinburg, NC 28352. 1-866-599-6674. Rate: $75 + tax.

Please send form below and check (payable to NCPHS) by September 30 to:
P.O. Box 20804
Raleigh, NC 27619-0804

If you have not yet paid your dues for 2012, or if you would like to join, please include them with your registration for the Fall Meeting. If you will not be able to come to the meeting, just put your information on the form and send it with your check to the same address: NCPHS, P.O. Box 20408. Raleigh, NC 27619-0804. Back dues are forgiven. Of course, you do not have to be a member to come to our meetings, but we do hope you are willing to pay the small membership fee to sustain our organization.

If you have questions, please call our Program Chairman Sam Martin at, (910) 428-4165.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


Name(s): ______________________________________________________


Address: ______________________________________________________

Telephone: ______________________

Email: ______________________________________

No. of registrations ____ @ $20.00 ea= $ ___________

__ Individual $15
__ Family $20
__ Individual Life Membership $125

Total enclosed: $________

Please send this form with your check (made out to NCPHS) by September 30 to:

PO Box 20804
Raleigh, NC 27619-0804


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