Source: A History of Marlboro County: With
Traditions and Sketches of Numerous Families,
It has been shown in a
previous chapter that the Colonial Council of the Province of
Carolina, in order to induce the Welsh to settle in the Province, admeasured and had laid off a large
body of land for the Welsh settlers. In 1736 or 1737 a colony of
Welsh settled along the east bank
of the Pee Dee from the mouth of Crooked Creek and extending several
miles down the river. These early Welsh settlers
first planted Baptist principles
upon Marlboro soil. In January, 1738,
they met and organized themselves into a Baptist church,
calling it Welsh Neck.
The spot where the church
stood is just to the right of where the public road leading from
Bennettsville to Society Hill approaches the banks of the Pee Dee River. It is now
covered by majestic trees and a thick undergrowth hides the
ground. Here repose the ashes of most of the
original colony, with many of their
descendants. A monument marks the resting place of Col.
Kolb, a Revolutionary patriot and officer, who was slain by Tories in the porch of his mansion
a few hundred yards from where the ancient house of prayer
then stood. It might be
interesting to take our stand at
Long Bluff, the site of the old church, and gather up the legends
and traditions of the times forty years after its organization, when wolves and hyenas in
human form stealthily crept around the homes of the settlers to
carry away their stock and property
and shoot them in the arms of their loved ones. How, even
then, a Pugh, a Williams, a Brown preached the Word while the
brethren watched for the
approach of armed forces that lurked around.
None of these things broke the spirits or damped the zeal of these
This ancient church sent out several colonies
organized upon the principles of the mother body. Brownsville, which
was first called Cashway and
situated nearer to and lower down the river than where it now
stands, was an offshoot from the old Welsh Neck. It was organized
into a church in 1789. "Old
Brownsville church" stood a mile or two east from where the present
church now stands. So that the present house of worship, which was built in 1858 or 1859, by H.
G. Lucas, is the third one, all occupying different locations, but
in the same community. In 1872
Brownsville church dismissed a number of her members to constitute
the Mineral Spring church, which was formally dedicated June
McColl) was formed into a church in the year 1771 by Henry
Easterling at or near what is known as Beauty Spot Bridge, and
was called Beauty Spot. From there
they moved to Pine Grove, where they worshipped in common with other
denominations in a house built by
the Quakers or Society of Friends, who left the house unoccupied and
to be used as a place of worship. It ultimately fell into the hands
of the Methodists and the little
handful of Baptists worshipped for a while at "Parker's Machine,"
two miles above, near what is known as Mason's Cross-roads. From there they moved to
the old site on Beaverdam Creek, near McColl, and built a small
framehouse which was standing as
far back as 1840. Soon after or about that time a better building
was erected, which was destroyed by the Federal army in 1865.
Some years after the war,
another and better building took the place of the one destroyed by
the army, and in 1891 it was removed without injury from its old site and located in the town
of McColl and re-dedicated June 21st of that year.
mainly an offshoot from Beaverdam. It was organized in 1873 or 1874
with members drawn largely from Beaverdam.
The Baptist church
at Tatum was organized a few years ago with members almost
exclusively from Beaverdam. Tatum church was dedicated April 3d, 1892.
Salem Baptist church was
constituted in part at least of members from the "old Welsh Neck,"
in 1793. Robert Thomas, the grandfather of J. A. W. Thomas, was instrumental in founding the
church. He lived in the Beauty Spot region and was long and
favorably known as a Baptist preacher engaged in the holy calling before the
Revolutionary War began. He-used to travel, generally on horseback,
extensively in the Pee Dee region
in evangelistic work, and at last died in 1817,while away from home
on one of these preaching tours, at the advanced age of 84.
From its organization in
1793 to near the time of his death, he ministered to the church at
Salem. A new house of worship was built in 1880.
Bennettsville Baptist church traces her lineage back to the "old
Welsh Neck"; but did not spring directly from it, but from Cheraw.
Cheraw was dismissed from
Welsh Neck and organized in 1782. "A part of the membership of
Cheraw Hill church, desiring to become an independent church, were regularly dismissed"
and constituted a church called the Saw Mill Baptist church in
December 1820. Saw Mill, now a
colored church, is in the immediate neighborhood of T. E. Dudley's
Mill. When constituted, steps had just been taken looking toward the
removal of the court-house to
Bennettsville. At that time the population was more dense along the
river than elsewhere; the only means of transportation for farm produce was by flatboats
down the river to Charleston and Georgetown or by wagons to
Fayetteville. It was not strange
therefore that the church should be located in that community. The
court-house was removed to its present location, and thither the
tide of population was moving, and
in the course of some years the church wisely determined to remove
its location to the county-seat. InSeptember,1832,
this entry was made upon the minute book: "The church met at new
meeting-house in Bennettsville Sermon by our pastor, C. Stubbs. Brethren present: C. Stubbs, Thomas
Stubbs, Jno. Thomas, M. Heustiss, L. Harwell, W. Pearce, A. Lamb, J.
Goodson, A. N.
Bristow, J. O. David, E.
David, E. Curtis and Jno. Terrel." It is not known when the
pastorate of Rev. C. Stubbs first began. He was in charge in
1829, before the removal to
Bennettsville; and here he continued, with but a short interval,
until 1837. "He was a man of great energy and decision of character; a prudent counselor, and
considering his early education, a good preacher. His ministry here
and elsewhere was successful, for
he preached more or less at all the churches in Marlboro." He was a
prudent man of business, and left a valuable estate to his
heirs. He died September, 1844,
lamented by his brethren. Mrs. B. A. Capel, and Messrs. W. H. and W.
J. Stubbs are his grandchildren.
In October, 1837, an event
occurred which weakened the pecuniary and numerical strength of the
church. It was the organization of an independent church at Bruton's
Fork. A new house was built at Bruton's Fork
In 1839 Rev. W. Q. Beattie was called to the
pastorate of the Bennettsville church and continued in that relation
for fifteen years. He was an educated man, was born in the North, came South,
married and settled in the county, here worked for his master and
here died. The symmetry of his
character and the love of his heart were both beautiful; yea, as
beautiful as his snowy head and benignant smile. In 1851 the
steeple was built and other
improvements added to the church; and again in 1858 side galleries,
new seats and other improvements.
In 1881 a baptistry was built, the pulpit moved to the
opposite end of the house, seats changed, and the church otherwise
In 1888 a parsonage was purchased. The church was
enabled to make the purchase mainly on account of a be-
left the church by R. Q. Beattie, a son of Rev. W. Q. Beattie. He
willed ten per cent, of his estate to the church, which amounted to
nearly eight hundred dollars, and
thus the church came into the possession of a parsonage.
church building was erected on a lot of land deeded for that purpose
by Wm. Munnerlyn, and was first occupied in September, 1832. And
now, just sixty-four years from
that date, and in the same month, the foundation has been laid and
the work progressing rapidly towards the erection of a new brick building, which, when
completed and furnished, will cost ten thousand dollars. The
generations preceding us built churches for us to worship in and it is right
that we should build for the generations yet to come.
Baptist church, called Hickory Grove, was organized October 4, 1890,
in the northeast section of the county.
A fond son will be
excused for making prominent mention of his father in connection
with the Baptist churches of Marlboro. The life of J. A. W.
Thomas was so intertwined and
interwoven with the life of the churches that a sketch of the
Baptist churches would necessarily be incomplete without prominent mention being made of him. The
best years of his long life were given to the churches; for them he
lived; for them he died.
Through summer's burning
heat or winter's chilling blast, year in and year out, for
forty-seven years he regularly met his appointments.
Sickness a few times
prevented, but inclement weather was not considered by him a good
reason for not meeting an appointment to preach.
He reasoned thus, "A few may
go and I dislike to disappoint even a few."
J. A. W. Thomas,
the son of William Thomas and Eleanor Evans, was born December 31st,
1822, in the Brownsville section of Marlboro County. His father died when he was less than
thirteen years old, and being the eldest of five childen, the
care.and support of the familydevolved in large measure upon
him. His opportunities for obtaining an education
were therefore limited. He, however, did attend
irregularly the neighborhood
schools and when eighteen went for a part of a year to Wake Forest
College, North Carolina, and the balance of the same year he attended school under Rev. W.
R. Smith, a Methodist preacher who taught at
Parnassus. Two years after his father's
death the family left the
Brownsville neighborhood and moved to what is now called the Alford
place, in the immediate locality of old Pee Dee church. At the age of fifteen
he united with the Brownsville Baptist church and
was baptized by Rev. Campbell Stubbs. A few months
after, uniting with the church, he
was elected church clerk. In January 1845 he
changed his membership from Brownsville church to Salem,
and on the same day was elected
church clerk. He also for several years served the
Salem church as deacon, taking his turn in leading
the prayer-meetings and
In August, 1848,
license to preach the Gospel was granted him by the Salem
church. On Sunday night, September 10th, 1848, his first
sermon was preached in the Bennetts-ville church from John,
9:35. "The Salem church, two months after voting the license to preach, asked him to
preach for them twice a month; a call came from Brownsville to
preach there once a month, and New
Providence church in Darlington County, thirty miles distant, asked
for the other Sunday." So, from
the first, the young preacher, as he was called, had as much as he
could do. On the memorable snowy Sunday April, 15, 1849, J. A. W.
Thomas was ordained to the full
work of the gospel ministry in the Salem church, and from that day
forward devoted his time to the active work of the gospel minis
try. His work has
been done in his native county, excepting short periods of service
done in counties adjoining Marlboro. It may not be
inappropriate to give a
summary of the churches he has served and length of 17 time he
served them. His ministerial work began first with the Salem church, and then very soon after or
about the same time with the Brownsville church. He began to serve
these two churches in 1848, after
he was liscensed to preach, and before his ordination, and preached
continuously at Salem till 1862.
After an absence of three
and a half years in the army he
resumed the pastorate of Salem in 1867 and continued to serve the
church till 1885, making thirty-one years in all. Beginning in 1848, he preached three years
at Brownsville; and generally his work there was in connection with
Rev. Joel Allen, who was the pastor
of the church. For one year, beginning in 1848, he went thirty miles
from his home to New Providence in Darlington county, and
while there would sometime preach
at Hartsville, being perhaps the first to preach a Baptist sermon at
that place. In the autumn of the year 1849 his services at Bennettsville began and
con-: tinued without a break (except during the war) till 1882,
making thirty years service with the Bennettsville church. His work for several
years at first was in connection with Rev. W. Q. Beattie, who was
pastor of the church. He preached
thirty-one years, more or less continuously at Bruton's Fork church,
beginning there in 1852. Beginning in 1866 he preached at
Cheraw for three years giving them
one Sunday in the month. Before the war he preached for several
years in the Sand Hills, in the afternoon, going from Bennettsville once a
In 1851 he began his work with the Beaverdam church
(now McColl), and there his last days' work on earth was done. It is
likely that he preached more
sermons to the congregation of Beaverdam than to any other. His
services there extended through a period of thirty-six years. During the war, and for two years
succeeding, he did not preach at Beaverdam. For two years the
Dargans, father and son, were the pastors of that church, and for two other years,
R. Ford was the pastor. But during all of theother
years, since and including 1851, up to the day of his death, August
2, 1896, J. A. W. Thomas ministered to them in spiritual things. His
last sermon there was from the text
found in 1 Samuel, 30:24. In the afternoon of the same day he
preached his last sermon to the church at Tatum, from John 12:19. Tatum is a new church,
which he was instrumental in founding, and to which he preached till
his death, about seven years,
preaching for about two years in the academy and the Presbyterian
church, till the Tatum Baptist church was built.
the church at Gibson station in North Carolina for about nine years.
For about eight years he preached at Mason's Cross-roads
once a month in the afternoon.
Before the war he went in the afternoon of one Sunday in every month
to the Judson church in Marion for several years. Since the war he preached at
Catfish church, in Marion County, for two years. The Clio church he
served for five years; and the church at Mineral Springs for perhaps ten or
twelve—some of the time in connection with other ministers. Other
Baptist preachers have been in the
county and have had charge of and acceptably ministered to different
churches for longer or shorter periods. The Aliens, father and
son, of Marion County, Ford,
Battle, Pratt, Jordan and Easter-ling; but J. A. W. Thomas, through
a long life, lived for the churches, and worked for them, and with them and was
instrumental in the organization of several, and the building and
rebuilding of several more. In addition to his work with and for the churches,
since the year 1865, he married two hundred and fourteen couples;
and from the beginning of the year
1881 to August, 1896, he attended two hundred and fifteen
In the course of forty-eight (48) years in the
ministry he preached about 6,195 times, an average of one hundred
and twenty-nine sermons per year
for each of the forty-eight years; and an average of two and a half
times for every Sunday in the forty-eight years. He preached on
texts taken from every book in the
Bible, including both the Old and New Testaments ; the Psalms
furnished the largest number of texts, four hundred and eleven; while the books of Ruth and
Obadiah only furnished one each. Five books furnished over two
hundred each, six books more than
one hundred each, and eight books more than fifty texts each, while
twenty-seven books furnished ten and less than fifty each. He
always wrote his sermons out in
full, and estimated that his "written manuscripts would, make
seventy volumes of four hundred pages each."
He prepared and wrote in
full more new sermons during the last years of his life than ever
before. His library has never been extensive, and his theology was drawn largely from the Bible.
He went into the Confederate army from a sense of duty, and fought
for a principle that he thought was
right; but was thankful that he was better known in the army as a
preacher than as a soldier. He preached constantly and on one
occasion baptized about forty in
the surf on Sullivan's Island.
A sketch of the Methodist churches of Marlboro
properly begins with the Beauty Spot church, the mother of Methodist
churches. The first house of
worship was built there in 1783 on land given by Turbet Cottingham.
It was "built of logs, covered with long boards held in place by
weight poles, and the seats were
split pine logs." That primitive church may have been inconvenient
and uncomfortable, but the day of small things should never be despised. The zeal and
devotion there displayed by those early Methodists has perhaps been
an inspiration to those coming
after them: at all events, zeal and devotion to their church and
religion have characterized the Methodists of Marlboro, and to-day
they are stronger numerically than
all the other denominations combined. They have twenty-two active
churches, and all well located and actively at work.
The first itinerant
preachers who visited Beauty Spot were Jeremiah Mastin and Hope Hull
in the year 1783. They at first preached in the private houses of the neighborhood till the
church was finished. The first Quarterly Conference held at Beauty
Spot was on 23d February, 1788.
Bishop Asbury presided and preached from Isaiah 36:1-6.
1810 the congregation at Beauty Spot erected their second church. It
was a neat frame building. During that year the first camp-meeting
was held at Beauty Spot and the
last one held there was in 1842. Robert Purnell,. the first local
preacher in Marlboro, was one of the early members of Beauty Spot church. He preached in
the county for fifty years, and died in
1830. The name isnow extinct in the county, but
his descendants are here.
The third church was built in 1839.
It was 60x45 feet and cost more than $ 1,100. It was a large, roomy
church for that day and was used by the congregation forty-four years. It was
erected by John McCall, of Darlington, under the supervision of Rev.
Thomas Cook, Eli Thomas and Thos.
S. Covington. In 1883, when the fourth church was built, a new site
was selected on the same road, but two miles further east. When it
was built the old church was sold
at public outcry, and purchased by a gentleman who has not removed
it, and there it stands to-day on the sacred spot of ground where repose the ashes of
those who in the years gone by worshipped within its walls. The
present house of worship was
completed and dedicated June 17th, 1883. Rev. T. J. Clyde preached
the sermon and Rev. Lewis M. Hamer delivered an historical
address. The cost of the building
was $2,000. It was erected by Mr. Bounds, under the direction and
care of P. M. Hamer, Crawford Easterling, David Easterling and L. D.
Among some of the local preachers who have from time
to time preached at Beauty Spot may be mentioned A. H. Adams, Wm. K.
Breeden, Thomas Cook, Allen Edens,
John Jones, Chas. Manship, Cornelius Newton, Richard Welch and
Wright Wilson. Some of the prominent male members were Eli Thomas, Robert Bolton, Jas. H.
Bolton, John H. Hamer, Thomas Cook, W. J. Cook, and John
Hebron Methodist church is located in the center of
one of the garden spots of the county. The farms lying adjacent to
the church are very fertile and are
cultivated with great care and system. Highly respectable,
industrious and intelligent people live on the farms and justly
pride themselvvs on being able to
make an entire success of farming. The church is about six miles
southeast from Bennettsville and was built in the year 1848. Its
original membership went out from Beauty Spot, the mother church. The Hebron
Academy building stands near the church, and hard by is the
cemetery, noted far and near as being the neatest and best cared for cemetery in
this whole region of country. A few years ago, 1879, a handsome new
church was erected.
About 1760 Ivy's church (now Clio) was
situated near what is nowDunbar. It was afterwards moved to a point
one mile below the town of Clio,
and there they worshiped until 1885, when a church was built in
Clio. They have had five churches. One was burned in 1866 by the
In the years prior to 1835 the Methodists in the
Parnassus community worshiped at Mossy Bay. The location of the old
church is yet well-known on account
of the graveyard. The dust of our forefathers buried there has long
since mingled with the mother earth. There they worshipped; there they lie buried, and from
thence their bodies will arise on the great resurrection morn. The
site of the old church is in the immediate neighborhood of J. R. Townsend's
residence. In that day there was also a Methodist church called
"McLeod's church," located near where Berry Alford lived. It was on the McLeod
land, and was doubtless built by or through the instrumentality of
Donald McLeod, grand-father of Mrs.
W. Z. Donaldson and D. McD. McLeod. During the year 1835 a church
was built at Parnassus; the membership of Mossy Bay and "McLeod's" churches united and
made the new organization. The church was built by John Sinclair,
and the dedicatory sermon was preached by Rev. Nicholas Ware, a local preacher
who lived in the Brownsville neighborhood and preached
in the lower section of the county. Our forefathers worshipped
at both of the old churches, and then our parents and grandparents
attended the Parnassus church. Some
of the prominent members and attendants at Parnassus in the long ago
were Thomas Barnett, James Galloway, John L. McRae, Thomas Kinney, Daniel John, James Spears
and W. R. Smith. The last named was a Methodist preacher and lived
in the neighborhood of the church
and frequently preached. The present church building was erected by
Mr. H. G. Lucas just prior to the late war.
It is well located, in a
thickly populated community and has a large membership of
substantial, pious and devout people.
Zion church, located a
few miles west from Parnassus, near John C. Townsend's, has been
organized and built since the war, and belongs to the Blenheim Circuit.
On the 21st of June, 1834, Col. Wm. J. Cook conveyed
one and a half acres of land to Thomas Cook, John L. McRae, Wm.
Dudley, John McCollum, Alexander J.
Miller, Jas. C. Thomas and Alexander R. Brown, as trustees for the
Bennettsville Methodist church. The deed was not recorded till 1846. It is fair to presume
that the church was built within a year or two after the conveyance
was made. The town of Bennettsville
had even then begun to show signs of growth and life, and the
Methodists residing in town up to that time had held their
membership at Beauty Spot. The
members residing in Bennettsville doubtless experienced some
difficulty in reaching their place of worship, and influenced by the belief that Bennettsville
would some day grow to be a town of some size and importance, wisely
determined to build a church in the
young town. The Baptist congregation had just two 1 years previously
built a new house, and this might have provoked them to good works. Let the causes influencing them be
what they may, just ten years from the completion andoccupancy of
the new court-house they took steps towards the building of the
first Methodist church. It seems strange that the people of
Bennettsville should have waited
eight or ten years after the completion of the court-house before a
church was built in the town. The Baptists living in the town at that time
worshiped at Saw Mill and had just built a new church there in 1820;
so it was natural that they should wait awhile and be well convinced that
Bennettsville was to be a reality before beginning another new
house. But the Methodists needed a new house at Beauty Spot when the town was
founded, for in 1839 they erected a new building at Beauty
The first church, built more than sixty years ago, was
a plain square building without steeple, portico or other
architectural adornments. It was
covered on four sides, forming a quadrangular roof, ending in a
sharp point at the apex. Two doors opened from the street and led
you directly into the body of the
church. The house was never painted and the bell was swung to a
frame platform outside the church. The singing was done by the congregation without the aid of
an organ or cornet. Major Townsend or Judge Hudson, with the aid of
a silver tuning fork, could be
relied on to "raise the tune." In the "amen corner" of the church
devoted to males (for males and females each occupied their own
portion of the church) sat Col. Wm.
J. Cook, Dr. Crosland, Wm. Dudley, John McCollum, James C. Thomas
and Rev. Thomas Cook. In the opposite corner sat Mrs. Fannie Easterling, Mrs.
Sarah Cook, Mrs. Jas. C. Thomas, Mrs. Little and Mrs.
Rowe. They have all gone to their reward.
About 1871 the present building
was erected on the site occupied by the old church. It was made a
station in 1883 and has been served by T. E. Wannamaker, J. L. Stokes, J. W. Daniel, W. S.
Wightman, E. O. Watson and now (1897)ls agam under the care of Rev.
J. L. Stokes.
A preaching place was established about one hundred
years ago at Boykin; about the same time a school was established
there and was taught by Lemuel
Boykin, from whom the place took its name.
A fine spring of
freestone water near the church doubtless influenced the
establishment of this educational and religious center.
The spring has been flowing
through all these years without cessation or diminution, yielding
from one hundred to two hundred gallons per hour of as pure water as any in the
country. It is not definitely known when the
first schoolhouse or church was built. The earliest
recollection of some of the oldest
people indicates a small log schoolhouse in which Barnabas
Wallace, afterwards a prominent planter in
the vicinity, taught. Many years before the war, a
good framed school building was erected, principally through the
efforts of Rev. Cornelius Newton, who lived about three miles
southeast of the place and always took a lively interest in its
educational affairs. About 1845 or before, Robert
Fairly taught school for a number
ot years at this place. He was a famous teacher, and much loved by
scholars and patrons. He came from the Scotch settlement of Richmond county,
North Carolina. James Stewart also taught
here. He was a Scotchman and bachelor and
famous for his wit and
peculiarities of disposition. Alexander J. Stanton
also taught there many years. He was a man of
positive disposition and wielded
the "rod" with a master hand. He was
Tax-collector for two terms and died several years ago,
leaving a large and interesting family. Thomas W. Huckabee, who has
been mentioned elsewhere, taught there from about 1850
to 1855. And various other men have occupied the teacher's chair in that school,
which has done its work in training the best citizens this county
There were three church buildings erected there
from the beginning; the first was built of hewn logs dove-tailed at
the corners; the second was a frame
building about 30x40 feet, and it stood, as did the first, on the
south side of the road. This building was erected about 1830. It
had the usual high pulpit, and
benches made from heavy plank with a six-inch board about high
enough to strike the shoulder blades for a back. The last church, which now stands there,
was built in 1859 or 1860 by H. G. Lucas, who built several of the
churches in the county and died a
few years ago at Parnassus, and was followed just two days after by
his wife. This church is 40x60 feet, and is one the best church
edifices in the county. It has
sheltered one of the largest memberships in this section of country.
Barnabas Wallace, Samuel Odom, Sr.; Younger Newton, David C. Newton, Tobias Calder,
John W. Stubbs, Thomas Barrentine, Needham Ryal and others had their
membership here in the generation
before the last. Of the last generation were such names as James M.
Gibson, Noah Gibson, Robertson Adams, Jephtha Adams, Ebenezer W. Goodwin, Giles Newton,
Anderson Newton, William Peel. The last named could neither read nor
write at the age of nineteen years,
when he married, but began to study, learned to read and write and
has read the New Testament through one hundred and fifty-eight times, word for word, since
James W. Gibson and Noah Gibson were brothers and
together with William, Eli, Ziba, Nelson M. and the Rev. Thomas
Gibson were the sons of Nathaniel
Gibson. They were all reared near the North Carolina line, and were
strong men, physically, intellectually and morally, and have
made their impress upon the
communities in which they have lived. The Rev. Thomas Gibson, who
lived over the line in North Carolina a few miles, was a surveyor and a local minister of
fine reputation. His labors in and around Boykin church were
abundant, and "none named
him but to praise." He was a sweet,
spiritual, Christian gentleman. All these brothers are dead except
Eli, who is seventy-two years of age and has been a member of the Methodist church for
fifty years, and Nelson M., of Mc-Coll, who has reached his
three-score and ten and calmly awaits the summons to go up higher. He has been
a close personal friend of the author of this history for fifty
years, and has been frequently called "his Methodist deacon at Beaverdam." The
Gibson family is of English extraction. Noah was very successful as
a merchant, and by his skill in
business and his industry amassed a large fortune. He was the father
of Francis B. Gibson, who is his worthy successor in the
mercantile business at Gibson,
North Carolina. Noah left several sons and daughters, all of whom
occupy prominent positions in church and society. James M. Gibson lived within about half
a mile of Boykin church. He reared a large family and always took a
prominent part in church and school
matters. These and other prominent laymen among the Odoms and Quicks
and other families were reared under the influence of Boykin church, nearly all having crossed over
the river prior to this record. Most of them left families and
descendants who are worthily sustaining their record for piety and good
The traveling preachers who served this church
were those who were from time to time assigned to the Bennetts-ville
Circuit, and their names are given
elsewhere in this volume. Cornelius Newton, Henry Covington, Aaron
Turner, James Turner and James Odom were local preachers who were members here and did their
faithful work here and in other parts of Marlboro, and even across
the North Carolina line.
Cornelius Newton married the
daughter of Rev. Robt. Purnell, who is elsewhere named as the
pioneer local preacher of the Beauty Spot section. Cornelius Newton was born 25th
December, 1797; was a son of Younger Newton and grandson of Giles
Newton, Sr.,who came to this county from Henrico County, Virginia,
in the latter part of the last century, and was the great progenitor
of all the Newton family in this
country, which has grown to great proportions and intermarried with
the Adams, Gibsons, Fletchers, etc., till its relations number in the hundreds, perhaps. Cornelius
Newton is the only one of the local preachers whose complete history
we have been able to get.
He was married, as stated,
to a daughter (Dorcas) of Robt. Purnell on 31st December, 1818, and
joined the church in the summer of 1820, and embraced religion in October, 1821, appointed
class leader in 1822 and licensed to exhort in 1830; licensed to
preach in 1834; ordained Deacon in
1838; and was recommended for Elders' Orders in 1842. He reared a
large and interesting family, many of whom still survive;
among them Cornelius D. Newton,
Joseph Newton and Hope Hull Newton. He was a successful planter and
a faithful soldier of the cross, and after "having served his own generation, by the
will of God fell on sleep" in the summer of 1878. Among those who
labored in this vicinity in later
years as local preachers were Wm. K. Breeden, who lived in the
Smyrna section, and Andrew Adams, whe still survives and was born
and reared in the vicinity of
Boykin church. Who can tell how much the local preacher has had to
do with the successful growth of Methodism in this and other sections?
years ago or more, was a famous camp-meeting place, and during these
annual summer convocations, ministers, local and itinerant, went from other sections of country
and heartily engaged in the services. Time and space both forbid
telling more of the history of this
church and community. A chosen people; a chosen land, and the
deepest spiritual influences from time immemorial are enough to
evolve a superior type of Christian
civilization, just such as has long been and doubtless will continue
to be in the vicinity of Boykin church.
About 1856 or 1857 Rev. P. E. Bishop, the pastor of
the Bennettsville Presbyterian church, appreciating the fact that a
section a few miles south from
Bennettsville was comparatively destitute of Gospel privileges,
determined to carry the Gospel to that community. He was
assisted in his efforts by Rev.
Paul F. Kistler and Rev. J. A. W. Thomas, and a union church was
built. It was called Pine Plains and services held alternately by the three preachers named.
The Methodist faith largely predominated in the community and Rev.
P. F. Kistler was doubtless the
first preacher to preach a sermon to the congregation which formed
the Ebenezer M. E. Church. His first sermon was preached
beneath the spreading branches of a
large oak tree, near the spot where the church now.stands. About the
year 1858 the first church was built, and the dedicatory sermon preached by
him. Rev. Mr. Kistler yet lingers on the shores of time, and resides
at Bamberg, S. C. He married a
sister of Dr. J. T. Jennings, of Bennnettsville. The membership came
from Beauty Spot and Hebron. About 1892 the old church was
sold to Mr. R. M. Edens and a new
house built on the site of the old one. The Ebenezer church belongs
to the Blenheim Circuit.
Bethel M. E. church was built in 1875 or 1876, during
the pastorate of Rev. J. M. Carlisle. He gave it the name and told
the people how to pronounce it, and
impressed upon the people the fact that the accent should be placed
on the last syllable, and that a hyphen should be placed
between the two. Bethel is really
old Level Green with a changed name and location. Level Green church
stood where George M. Webster now
resides. The land (one acre) upon which it stood was, upon the 28th
day of August 1844, deeded to John Jones,Philip Barrentine, James
Moon, H. H. Williams, Benjamin Moon as trustees, by Ananias Graham
and wife. The church was therefore built about 1845, and the membership went from Beauty
Spot, the mother of Methodist churches, and from Bennettsville,
which had been built a few years
before. From some cause Level Green languished, and perhaps died,
but its successor, Bethel, is destined to be a strong church. It is
in a thickly settled community of
prosperous young farmers who will be able and willing to give it
Not many years ago Mr. Joel Hall and others built a
brush arbor, and invited the Rev. Wm. K. Breeden to preach for them.
He preached for sometime under the
arbor, but Mr. Hall, not being satisfied, determined in his old age
to have a church near him; he canvassed the country for subscriptions and donations, was successful,
and to-day there stands on the hill, just in front of his late
residence, a large, beautiful church bearing the appropriate name of Breeden's
Chapel, and long may it stand among the lonely pines, a monument to
the efforts of Mr. Hall, and of the
piety, Christian character, and Godly labors of the man whose name
it bears. The church was built in 1887. They have both gone to
their reward; Mr. Hall several
years ago, and Mr. Breeden in 1896. From the time Mr. Breeden
entered the ministry in the early sixties to the time of his death, his life -was full of
The history of Bethlehem M. E. church, in the extreme
southern part of the county, is similar to that of other churches.
They began with a log house. The
date of organization is not known; but it is well known that our
fathers attended a camp-meeting held there in their youth,and that
would make Bethlehem one of the old churches. They have had at least
three houses of worship. The present house was built by H.
G. Lucas about 1858 or
Smyrna was first located a few hundred yards from
where it now stands, and quite near to J. F. Breeden's place,
formerly the Wm. Pearson place. A
house was built where the church now stands, about 1846 or 1848 for
a gentleman, not now a youth, remembers attending service
there the 15th of April, 1849, "tne
day °f tne big snow" in April. His recollection is that the church
was new and had but recently been completed. The present church was built by
Samuel Sparks in 1884. Mr. Sparks, while building it, fell from a
scaffold, and was quite badly hurt.
It is safe to say that Pine Grove has been a place of
worship for more than a century. The Quakers first worshipped there,
but, as has been already told, on
account of slavery they moved to the Northwest and the other
denominations used their house. Rev. Cornelius Newton remembered attending a revival meeting held
jointly by the Baptists and Methodists early in the present century
at what is now Pine Grove church.
During the progress of the meeting a "young man, riding in a gig,
came up to the meeting ground, alighted and made his way into the
congregation near the altar, and
paid very respectful attention to the services then in progress.
After the close of the services, his acquaintance was sought, and it was ascertained
that he was a Baptist minister (Rev. W. Q. Beattie) who had just
finished his education and journeyed South to preach the Gospel. He was
invited to preach at the next service, and he charmed the whole
congregation with his graceful speech and melting words, and many were the
shouts that were raised as he eloquently portrayed the glories of
salvation, and when he would have
ceased, cries of 'go on,' 'go on,' spontaneously arose from the
It has not been ascertained when the present
church or the ones preceding it were built. In 1871 and a few years
succeeding, a camp-meeting was held
at Pine Grove—the last held in the county but perhaps not the first
held at Pine Grove.
A good school has for many years been
kept up at Pine Grove. The Academy is just across the road opposite
to the church, both being in a beautiful grove of majestic oaks. Under such men
as Robert Johnson, J. Monroe Johnson, Hope Newton, Hamilton, Craven
and others, along with the
unanimous hearty support of the patrons, educational as well as
religious interests have been maintained at Pine Grove.
are a number of other Methodist churches in Marlboro, but the
difficulty of obtaining information, and the lack of space, will
preclude a more extended notice
than a mere mention of their names. Antioch, Hickory Grove, Shiloh,
New Hope, Beulah, Manning's Chapel, Pleasant Hilt, Oak Grove, and McColl.
preparation of the foregoing chapter invaluable assistance has been
kindly rendered by Rev. L. M. Hamer, Rev. J. L. Stokes, H. H.
Newton and others.
The circuit embracing the churches of Marlboro was
first called Pee Dee. It embraced territory lying North at least as
far as Rockingham, and presumably
extended down the Pee Dee river, perhaps to its mouth. The name was
changed from Pee Dee to Rockingham Circuit in 1832, and a parsonage established at Rockingham. At
the close of the year 1845 the circuit was reduced in size and the
name changed to Bennettsville. A parsonage was
built in Bennettsville, and H. H. Durant was the first preacher to
occupy it in 1846. At that time Bennettsville Circuit doubtless embraced all the
churches located in Marlboro. Now the same territory is covered by
five circuits and one station;
named as follows: Bennettsville Station, and Bennettsville,
Brightsville, North Marlboro, Blenheim and Clio Circuits.
Bennettsville was made a station in
December 1883. The pastors have been T. E. Wannamaker, 1884; J. L.
Stokes, 1885-6; J. W. Daniel, 1887-90; W. S. Wightman, 1891-2; E. O. Watson, 1893-95; J. L.
Stokes, 1896, and now serving. The parsonage originally stood on the
same street and and just south from
Judge Hudson's, on the lot now belonging to Mrs. Barnes. It was sold
and another built on the opposite side of the same street.
In a few years it was
disposed of, and a handsome two-story structure erected in East
Bennettsville Circuit is now composed of four
churches, Pine Grove, McColl, Beauty Spot and Smyrna. The parsonage
is located at McColl.
Brightsville Circuit was set apart from
Bennettsville Circuit in 1849, and is composed of Boykin, Bethel,
Anti-och and Breeden's Chapel. The parsonage is near Gibson Station, North
Carolina. This Circuit has been served by G. M. Boyd, R. W. Barber,
P. A. Murray and B. M. Grier.
The churches in North Marlboro
Circuit are New Hope, Oak Grove, Ebenezer, Shiloh and
Clio Circuit was first known as South
Marlboro, and was a part of the Bennettsville Circuit till 1874. The
churches now composing it are Clio, Bethlehem, Beulah, and Manning's Chapel. The
parsonage is at Clio. The preachers who have had charge are J. T.
Kilgo, G. T. Harmon, J. C. Bissell,
G. M. Boyd, D. D. Dantzler, F. Auld, R. A. Child, John Owen and J.
Blenheim Circuit was a part of the Clio Circuit
until the close of the year 1887. The churches
forming it are
Hebron, Parnassus, Ebenezer and Zion. G. M. Boyd,
W. H. Kirton, J. A. Porter, J. W. Ariail, L. F. Beaty, T. G.
Herbert, Sr., and P. B. Wells are the preachers who have been in charge. The
parsonage is located at Blenheim.
- The following list gives
the names and date of service of the preachers who have had charge
of the Bennettsville Circuit since the year 1821 and up to date.
1821 John Boswell
1822 Jeremiah Norman and Morgan C.
1823 John Boswell and Malcom
1824 Nicholas Ware and Elias
1825 Elias Sinclair.
1826 J. L. Jerry
and J. Hartley.
1827 Joseph Moon and W. T. Smith.
------Groover, W. M. Wightman and ------
1829 John H. Robeson,-------Humbert
and Wm. Murrah.
1830 Noah Lany, Samuel W. Capers and
1831 Wm. King, Jackey M. Bradley
1832 Wm. King,-------' Allen and Wm.
1833 Joel W. Townsend and John L.
1834 John Watts and J. W. Welbourn.
Allen McCorquodale and A. W. Walker.
1836 John H. Roberson
and Thos. Sumter Daniel.
1837 John H. Roberson and John
1838 Chas. S. Walker and Paul A. M.
1839 Theophilus Huggins and Wm. C.
1840 Wm. T. Harrison and Wm. A.
1841 Abe) Hoyle and Miles Pucket.
Ira L. Potter and A. Richardson.
1843 Jacob B. Anthony and
John W. Vandiver.
1844 Lark O'Neal.
Robbins and Robt. J. Limehouse.
1846 Henry H.
1847 Marcus A. McKibben.
1848 Dennis J.
1849 James W. Wightman.
1850 John A.
1851 Jackey M. Bradley.
1852 John H.
1853 Robert P. Franks.
1854 Lewis M.
1855 Lewis M. Little and John W.
1856 Henry M. Mood and John W.
1857 Henry M. Mood and J. E. W.
1858 Paul F. Kistler and J. M. Cline.
Paul F. Kistler and E. F. Thwing.
1860 R. R. Pegues and A.
1861 R. R. Pegues
1862 Tracy R. Walsh and J. B.
1863 Tracy R. Walsh and R. R.
1864 J. A. Porter and M. C. Davis.
A. Porter and M. C. Davis.
1866 T. R. Walsh and A.
1867 T. R. Walsh and R. R.
1868 M. L. Banks. 1869-1870 Claudus H.
1871 John A. Porter.
1872 J. A. Porter
and J. F. England.
1873 John A. Mood and L. M.
1874 John A. Mood and Dove Tiller.
John M. Carlisle and J. L. Stokes.
1876 John M. Carlisle
and D. G. Dantzler,
1877 Thomas Mitchell and Thomas E.
1878 Thomas Mitchell and J. W.
1879 T. Mitchell and F. Hauser.
1880 J. W.
1881 J. W. Murray and P. B.
1882 J. W. Murray and J. E. Beard.
Thomas J. Clyde and John C. Kilgo
1884 Thomas J. Clyde and
J. A. Harmon.
1885 Thomas J. Clyde and E. G.
1886 Thomas J. Clyde and E. 0. Watson.
James C. Stoll and John A. Rice.
1888 James C.
1889 George M. Boyd.
1890 W. H. Kirton.
1891-1894 W. S. Martin.
1895-1896 J. S. Beaseley.
Great Pee Dee Presbyterian
church, now located at Blenheim, is considered the parent church of
the Bennettsville Presbyterian church. The old church yet stands
five miles from Bennettsville on the public road leading from
Bennettsville to Blenheim. The Great Pee Dee church, being inconvenient for the worshippers living at
Bennettsville, in 1852 measures were adopted looking towards the
erection of a building in Bennettsville. A lot measuring one acre,
fronting Marion street, was purchased of Hartwell Ayer, for $150.00,
and the deed taken in the name of
L. B. Prince and George Dudley, on October 5, 1852. Subscriptions
were made by the members in Marlboro, Cheraw, and by others
friendly to the object. Messrs. W.
D. Johnson, Chas. A. Thornwell, Neil McNeil, Geo. Dudley and J.
Beatty Jennings acted as a building committee. Messrs. Jones and Lee, architects of
Charleston, S. C, furnished the plan, and the work was let to D. A.
Boyd, of Virginia, the lowest
bidder, at $2,800.00 On May 12, 1855, the church was dedicated. Rev.
Jno. C. Coit conducted the service, being assisted by Rev. A.
Bennettsville church was placed under the jurisdiction of the
Harmony Presbytery of the South Carolina Synod. Through, a
petition presented by Alexander
Southerland and others, and by order of Presbytery a committee
composed of G. C. Gregg, J. A. Wallace and A. D. Campbell was appointed to organize the
church on the 1st of December, 1855. Dr. James H. Thornwell was
present and aided in the service.
W. D. Johnson and J. Beatty Jennings were elected ruling
elders and obligated by
Dr. Thornwell. Rev. A. D. Campbell acted for a few
months as stated supply, and a call having been accepted by Rev.
Pierpont E. Bishop, on 19th of April, 1856, he was installed as pastor. Rev. P. E. Bishop
served the church acceptably and faithfully till March 5th, 1859,
when in the vigor and prime of manhood, and in the zenith of his usefulness he
was taken away by pneumonia. His ashes now repose in the churchyard
by the side of his wife.
On November 10th, 1860, Rev.
Charlton W. Wilson was installed pastor of the church. He died at
Petersburg, Va., June 4th, 1864, a chaplain in the Confederate army In 1870, Rev. E. H.
Buist was stated supply; and in the early part of 1871 Rev. Joseph
Evans became stated supply for the
church. On the 21st of November, 1874, Rev. D. S. McAlister was
installed pastor, and continued in that relation till December 6,
1881, when he resigned the charge
of the church. April 2, 1882, Rev. W. B. Corbett became stated
supply, and continued till his death, April, 1894.
From May 12th,
1855, 156 members have been enrolled, including the organization and
those admitted on examination and by letter.
Baptism has been
administered to forty-nine adults and infants. There are fifty-two
members in good standing, enrolled and living, of which number thirty-four per cent have been added
during the first six months of 1896.
Samuel E. Bishop and W.
Beatty Jennings have gone out as ministers of the Gospel from this
About the year 1832 Archibald McQueen, a Presbyterian
preacher residing in North Carolina, came to this county at stated
times and preached at what was
known as the "Old Club House." It stood not far distant from Drake's
Mill, which then belonged to the Campbells. What the ''Club House" was originally erected for we
are not advised, but the presumption is that there was a "racetrack"
in the vicinity. At all events Gen. Robert B. Campbell,
who owned the
land upon which the "Club House" stood, was not averse to having
services held there on Sundays, and for a time the arrangement continued. But from some cause, not
now known, services were afterwards held near where Hill's store
was, in the vicinity of Zion
church. But about the year 1834 the great Pee Dee church was built,
and the membership to whom Mr. McQueen had been preaching
was organized into a church. Mr.
McQueen was the first pastor. D. G. Coit, who married Miss Maria
Campbell, was ruling elder. The Campbell families, McQueens, B. N. Rogers, McLeods,
Sparks, Drakes and Mathesons have been members and supporters of the
church. About 1855 the
Bennettsville Presbyterian church was organized and the strength of
Great Pee Dee weakened by the removal of quite a number to
Bennettsville, prominent among whom
were W. D. Johnson, Alexander Southerland and Dr. J. B. Jennings.
The names of some of the preachers
who have supplied, the pulpit of Great Pee Dee church for longer or
shorter periods are Revs. Archibald McQueen, P. E. Bishop, C.
W. Wilson, A. D. Campbell, Martin
Brearley, Cousar, McAlister and Richards. About 1882 a new
Presbyterian church was built at Blenheim arid the old Pee Dee church sold to the colored
The Presbyterian church at Tatum was organized in the
Academy building June 15th, 1890, and for about a year they
worshipped in the Academy. In the
spring of 1891 the church was completed and dedicated, Rev. H. G.
Hill, D. D., officiating in the services. It was the first
church built in the town and is out
of debt. Rev. W. B. Corbett was the pastor from its organization
till his death in 1894. For the last two years the pulpit has been supplied by Revs. Brearley,
Gillespie and Arrowwood.
Early in the present century there was a Presbyterian
church at Red Bluff. It has been shown
elsewhere incounty along
the Little Pee Dee River; and, having brought the Presbyterian faith
along with them, they would naturally soon want a church
of that faith to worship in. The
first church was situated on the bank of the stream at Red Bluff. It
is well authenticated that it stood there as far back as 1817, and might have been built some
years previous to that date. The old building was not torn down till
about 1860. For a good many years
before that (perhaps twenty or more) the congregation had not
worshipped there, but had moved their membership to Smyrna,
a church in Robeson County only a
few miles distant. Near the site of the old church is the burying
ground, where the Scotch people of that community have been interred, and McLaurins and
others have been carried there from other communities to find their
last resting place.
these pages that a good many Scotch people came to
this county soon after the Revolution, and settled mainly in the
eastern portion of the
The second church, bearing the name of Red Bluff,
occupied a site two miles or more west from the old one, and was
built about 1857 or 1859.
The land upon which it stood
was conveyed by Solomon L. McColl for that purpose, and when no
longer used as the site for the church, was to revert back to his heirs. It was a new
organization, the members of the old church, as already mentioned,
having gone to Smyrna. It was organized and built, perhaps, through the
instrumentality of Rev. P. E. Bishop, who for several years
previously had been pastor of the Bennettsville church. The land upon which the
church stood is now owned by D. D. McColl, of Bennettsville, who
recently deeded a spot of ground
near by for a burial ground.
Soon after the founding of the
town of McColl (about 1886) it was determined to constitute a church
at that place. It was accordingly done, and the membership of the new organization was
made made up largely of members of the Red Bluff church. From
members originally forming Red Bluff, McColl and Tatum Presbyterian
churches have both been organized.
Within the last few years a
new Presbyterian church has been built at Dunbar, a station on the
Latta & Clio branch of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Capt. T. E. Dudley, Dr. J. C. McKenzie
and others have given assistance much appreciated in the preparation
of this chapter.
This is a FREE website.
If you were
directed here through a link for which you paid $ for, you can
access much more FREE data via our South Carolina index page
sure to visit our main Genealogy Trails History Group website
at http://genealogytrails.com for much more nationwide
historical/genealogical data and access to other state/county
Genealogy Trails 2008
All Rights Reserved with Full Rights Reserved for Original