OF THE PEE DEE BAPTIST ASSOCIATION.
The Ministers and Messengers composing the Pee Dee Baptist Association to the Churches they represent send Christian love; Dear Brethren --Being once more permitted to meet together in an associated capacity, we address you in a Circular, and and present you with the history of our Association. In giving you a history of our body it is necessary to have recourse to the history of the Sandy Creek Association of which we were formerly a component part.
The Sandy Creek Church, the oldest in our body, originated in the following manner; soon after the reformation under George Whitfield and others, who began their extraordinary career about the year 1740, Shuboel Stevens, a native of Boston, being a preacher, laboured among them till 1751, when he embraced the sentiments of the Baptists, as many others of the pedo-baptist separates did about this time, and soon after was baptized by Walt Palmer, and was ordained the same year. Mr. Stevens and most of the separates had strong faith in the immediate teachings of the Spirit. They believed that to those who sought him earnestly, God often gave evident tokens of his will. S. Stevens, listening to some of these instructions of the Spirit, as he conceived them, conceived himself called upon by the Almighty to move far to the westward, to execute a great and extensive work. Incited by these impressions, in the year 1754, he and a few of his members, took their leave of New England. They halted in Berkly County in Virginia. Stevens not meeting with his expected success here felt restless. Some of his neighbors had removed to North Carolina; he received letters from them informing him that preaching was greatly desired by the people of that country. He and his party once more got under way, and travelling about 200 miles came to Sandy Creek in Guilford County N. C., where he took up his permanent residence. As soon as they arrived they built them a little meeting house, and 16 persons formed themselves into a Church, and chose Shuboel Stevens for their pastor. Benedict vol., 2, page 38. He had Daniel Marshall and Joseph Brede for his Assistants, neither of whom were ordained. Of Shuboel Stevens, Benedict says, page 367: "His character was indisputably good, both a man, Christian, and preacher." Of Daniel Marshall it is said, Benedict page 39: --"Though not possessed of great talents, he was indefatigable in his labours." He sallied out into the adjacent neighborhoods, and planted the Redeemer's standard in many of the strong holds of Satan. In process of time, some of the inhsabitants became converts, and bowed obedience to the Redeemer's sceptre. These uniting their labors with the others, a powerful and extensive work commenced, and Sandy Creek Church soon swelled from 16 to 606 members. In the year 1758, a few churches having been constituted, and and these having a number of branches fast maturing for Churches, Stevens conceived that an Association composed of Delegates from them all, would have a tendancy to forward the great objects of their exertions. For this purpose, he visited all the Churches and congregations, and explaining to them his contemplated plan, induced them all to send delegates to his meeting house, in 1758, when an Association was formed called Sandy Creek. This Association experienced great changes; her limits extended into different sections of the country. The Missionary Spirit or strong confidence in God which actuated Stevens and Marshall, and their associates, and induced them to travel into destitute regions, difussed itself into their successors in the ministry. This Association and some of its spiritual daughters, have nourished that practice in every age. Soon after the period when Judson and others visted the shores of Hindostan and Burmah, and an account of their labors and success resulted in the formation of the Baptist board of foreign and domestic Missions, the Sandy Creek Association at their session held at Rocky Spring in Chatham county, in October, took up the subject and appointed Robert T. Daniel and Robert Ward messengers to the general meeting of the Baptists in N. C. At that session the Association was divided by mutual consent, and the churches south and west of the Deep River formed a new Association called the Pee Dee, and John Culpepper and and Bennet Solomon were appointed Messengers to represent the newly formed Pee Dee Association in the Baptist general meeting. This general meeting occupied nearly the same place among the Baptists of North Carolina the the Baptist State Convention now does. The Pee Dee Association held its first session at Richland in Montgomery county on the 19th and 20th of October, 1817. Elders Daniel Gold, J. Culpepper, Armistead Lilly, Arch'd Harris, Ralph Freeman, Nathan Riley, Daniel White and others attended. They then and there resolved that the Association do recommend to the Churches which compose the same, to take into consideration the importance of the missionary business, and that they contribute to the support thereof what they can reasonably spare. The minutes for 1818 not found. The session for 1819 was held at Bethlehem meeting house in Richmond county, the 16, 17th and 18th days in October; there the Churches were very fully represented and took under consideration the missionary business, and resolved that they approve the proceedings of the board of foreign missions, and recommend to the Churches to continue to support the missionary cause. The session for 1820 was held at Jersey Settlement in Rowan county. The rain prevented the Association from accomplishing much business, but peace and harmony prevailed.
The session for 1821, was held at Cartledge's Creek, Richmond: the Association desired the Ministering brethren to visit the vacant Churches. The session for 1822, was held at Rocky River, when it was recommended to the Churches to set apart a day of fasting and prayer to God, to spread his Gospel from pole to pole. The Session for 1823 was held at Bethlehem Meeting House, in Montgomery county. A query was introduced in these words: "Is the mission cause of God?" Answer "We believe it is the cause of God." The Session for 1824, was held at Pine Wood Meeting House, Rowan county. In the circular for that year are published the following words: "Many of the Churches are forming auxiliary societies for the purpose of sending the Gospel to every neighborhood in our State and the Lord is abundently blessing their labors of love. Dear Brethren let us go and do likewise." The Session for 1825, was held at Bear Creek; no minutes to be procured. This year the Abbotts Creek Association was formed; the dismission of some of the Churches, reduced our body to nine Churches and 479 Members, In 1827, we were reduced to 462 Members. In 1828 no minutes found. In 1829, our increase was small, our number 465. In 1830, our number increased to 12 Churches and 487 Members. In1831, the great and extensive revival commenced and we were the happy sharers of it. In that year 199 were baptized increasing our number to 15 Churches and 700 Members. In 1832, 300 were baptized increasing our number to _____. In 1833, 240 were baptized our present number increased to 1080. In 1831 and 2, three of our Churches forsook us and came out in opposition to all the benevolent institutions, four of our ministering brethren being one half of our number forsook us, but but we hope our God has not forsaken us; we have supplied our Churches with preaching, we have increased in numbers, and we hope are growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And the Lord has raised up and we hope is still raising up young preachers to supply the place os such as have left us, and have died, and others of us who are wearing out.
As to the other branch of the subject subject on which, by a resolution of the sals Session we were to address you, that is the constitution of our Churches; we have no certain account of the date of the constitution of some of them. It appears from Benedict, Vol. 2 page 42, that the Sandy Creek Church, the oldest in our Association was constituted in 1[8, supposed to be 7]56, and the Church at Little River, in 1760; this is the Church known in our Minutes as the Church at the Forks of Little River, as there are several Churches on that river. The Church at Rocky River was constituted in 1776. The Pee Dee Church was constituted in 1785. The Church formerly called Richland, now Bethel, in Montgomery, was constituted before the division of the Sandy Creek Association, which occurred in 1815. The Church at Bethlehem was represented in the first Session of the Pee Dee Association in 1816, but the date of the constitution is not known. The Church at Cartlege's Creek was constituted in 1823, of persons who were Members of the Pee Dee Church. The Spring-Hill Church, was raised up by brother Daniel White and others of his countrymen from Scotland and was constituted about year 181. The Church at Saron, was constitued in 1826, of Members from Bethlehem Church. The Brown Creek Church, was represented in the Association in 1829, and it is presumed was constituted in 1828, but as the Minutes of the Association for that year are not on file, it is not certain. The Church at Kendal's and the Bethlehem Church in Anson, were both constituted in 1831, of Members formerly belonging to Rocky River Church. The Church at New Union, was constituted in 1832, of Members from the Church at the Forks of Little River, and the Bethel Church in Montgomery. The Lawyer Spring Church, formerly belonging tpo the Moriah Association and was dismissed from that body and joined us in 1833. The Church at Dover was constituted in 1833, and was formerly a component part of the Church at the Forks of Little River. We have here given you as correct a history of t he origin, rise and progress of our Association, and of the constitution of the Churches, as our limited in formation, and the time we could devote to the subject, would enable us.
We perceive the first Churches were raised up and the Association formed and built up by men who had strong faith in the immediate teachings of the spirit of God; who believed that those who sought him earnestly, God often gave tokens of his will; that such indications, still leaning in every step upon the Wisdom and Power by which they were at first actuated, they would inevitably be led to the accomplishment of the two great objects of a christian's life, the Glory of God, and the Salvation of Men. Listening to these instructions of Heavan, as they then esteemed them, and called upon the Almighty as they believed, they left their friends, and travelled as faithful Missionaries, or heralds of the the Gospel, and although they met with opposition, and had to encounter difficulties and privations, their success was measured not by their abilities, but by the power of God. --The Same missionary spirit or zeal, called by some a spirit of entusiasm, has from that day to this run through their successors and diffused itself, not only in the Parent or Sandy Creek Association, but through the Pee Dee, and other younger branches of the parent stock. The Liberty Association lately formed of Abbot's Creek Association, in consequence of the determinationof the majority of that body, not to hold fellowship or sit with any persons who held with the Bible Society, Missionary Society, or any Benevolent Institutions of the day, received by baptism 307 persons during the last Associational year, and have now 569 members, being 185 more than the the whole number of their opposing brethren who disowned them. Thy like our Association have but few ministers, but hte missionary spirit has prompted them to spread the glad tidings of life and salvation in the adjoining neighborhoods, and God has crowned their labours wtih abundent success. God, has, and ever will bless such as obey his commands, and confide in his world. The Churches in the Associations in our State including two where the Churches are some in this state and some in South Carolina, who patronized the benevoulent institutions of the day, have baptized 4751 persons. From the unassociated Churches we have not obtained sufficient information to say or write any thing certain as to their increase, progress, or number, but we know the increase in some of them has been considerable. Our anti missionary brethren, who who are opposed (and we hope honestly,) to these institutions have 8 Associations, in six of these where they print and publish the numbers baptized, they have baptized 180 persons; and by a comparison of their numbers excluded and died, with te number baptized they have experienced a small diminution. The above results are apparent from the minutes of the several Associations for 1833. The minutes for 1834, as far as they have reached us, or have been heard from give the same information. The Churches in the different Associations who patronize these institutions, and strive to spread the light of the Gospel at home and abroad, are increasing in numbers, and we hope are growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and their success as usual proportioned to their zeal and humility.
And those who oppose these things, and use little or no exertions to spread the light of the Gospel, however sincere in their opposition, many of them are stationary, and others diminishing.
Go Back to Records of South Central North Carolina
Go to the Table of Contents
Go Back to the Home Page