Rev. Jacob Crawford Clapp, D.D.

Rev. Dr. Clapp, one of the oldest and best known ministers in North Carolina, passed away at his home in Newton on July 2, at 12:27. A.M. He had reached the age of 77 years, 9 months and 27 days. The following short sketch of his life may be of interest. He was born between the battle grounds of Alamance and Guilford County, N.C., September 5, 1832.His ancestors were pioneer settlers in this locality about the middle of the eighteenth century. They were a part of the great tribe of persecuted Palatinates that landed a few years previously at Philadelphia, and the moved down the valley of Virginia into North Carolina. They were ardent patriots in the Revolution. George Clapp, his great-grand-father, was in the battle of Alamance, and his great-great-grandfather, Christian Huffman, was a prisoner of Cornwallis at the battle of Guilford Court House. His life was spent on his father’s farm and in milling, cotton-ginning and wool carding, till his eighteenth year, with only a few months of schooling during the winter of each year. After on year’s tuition under his pastor, Dr. G. W. Welker and 15 months at Catawba College, he entered Amherst College in the fall of 1853 and graduated in 1857.

Dr. Clapp inherited a strong body and a strong mind, and was one of the leaders of his Church in this State, a man beloved and admired by the vast concourse of people who at one time or another had fallen under his influence in either church or school. In his youth he was of powerful physique and towered above the average man, measuring something like six feet two or three inches, handsome and commanding appearance, so that he would attract attention anywhere. As he was always of strong mentality and devoutly religious, it was the hope of his family and Reformed Church that he would enter the ministry, and doubtless this was his own idea while prosecuting his studies, but, throat trouble having developed during the last year of his course, this was abandoned and for some years he devoted himself to teaching.

He taught one year in his native place and one year in Mississippi. He was a tutor in the family of a Mr. Smith, a wealthy planter in Mississippi, and it was while at this home that he won the heart and hand of the step-daughter of his employer, Miss Emma Lewis, and on July 4, 1860, the solemn words were said that bound this good man and woman together, and for almost half a century they have traveled life’s pathway together, sharing each other’s joys and worries. Every preparation had been made by family and friends to join this beloved couple in celebrating their golden wedding on July 4, but a wise Providence ordained it otherwise, and silver chord was snapped.

Immediately after his marriage, Dr. Clapp came to Newton and associated himself with Rev. A. S. Vaughn, as one of the professors of Catawba College. At the storming of Fort Sumter, Mr. Vaughn made a hasty retreat back to his home State of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Clapp was forced to take charge of the school, which he conducted as a high-grade academy during the war between the States, all the college students having gone to the army. During this period girls were first admitted, but at the close of the war they were again excluded, and for nearly twenty years the school was conducted by Dr. Clapp, with able assistants as a high school for boys, preparing them for the junior class in the best colleges.

About 1885 the school resumed her charter as Catawba College, with Dr. Clapp president. On the earnest entreaty of young ladies from town and county for admittance, naturally and gradually the school became co-educational. Over this school Dr. Clapp presided as the head for forty years, carrying it safely through many vicissitudes to a haven of prosperity. In 1900 his health gave way and he resigned as president and devoted himself to out door exercise. Two years ago, having apparently regained his health, he was elected. To the professorship of mental and moral science, which position he held until his death. He was always a fine teacher and at various times had taught almost every branch of our extensive curriculum, and the young men and women who came under his influence in the school room or from the pulpit may be numbered by the thousands. It was hardly possible to come in touch with him and not be influenced by him.

On April 27, 1867, owing to the scarcity of ministers, he was licensed to preach by the classis of North Carolina in Bethany Reformed Church, Davidson County. He preached his first sermon at St. Paul’s campground, near Newton. His text was "God is Love." His first public address was made in Newton, in the grove of the old White Church. The speech was written by Judge M. L. McCorkle, the subject was "Prohibition," a cause which he always advocated earnestly.

He began his ministry a Smyrna, in Catawba County. He also preached his last sermon there, June 12, on the text, "Let our light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

He was the pastor of the Reformed Church at Newton twenty years and it was through his untiring efforts that his congregation abandoned the old "White Church" in Newton for the handsome brick edifice they now occupy. At various times he has also served almost every Reformed Church in Lincoln and Catawba counties and has doubtless preached in every church in the classis. He loved to teach, loved to preach and as a vacation loved to farm on a small scale. He literally died in his harness.

Dr. Clapp received the degree of D.D. from Ursinus College, Pa. He wrote well and to the point when he chose, but never wrote for publication, except from a sense of duty. He was editor in chief of the handsome book recently published, entitled, "Historic Sketch of the reformed Church in North Carolina.

Dr. Clapp was a man of undaunted courage and strong prejudices, once convinced that he was right he would dare anything. He was also a man of strong sympathy for every kind of suffering and numbers many friends among the poor and lowly. His death will be a heavy loss to the State, to the community in which he spent more than half a century, but above all to Catawba College and the Church he loved so well. A father in Israel has fallen asleep and we will not see his like again.

Besides his devoted widow, Dr. Clapp leaves eight children-Messrs. Carol, of Bowie, Texas: Ernest, of Upper Red Hook, N.Y.; Milton, of Salisbury, N.C. and Crawford, of Greenville, S. C.; Rovert, of Kanapolis and Clarence of Newton, and Mrs. Emma Thompson, of New Hampshire, and Mrs. Annie Burns, of Lawndale, besides a number of grandchildren.


There was a short service held at the home by the pastor, Rev. W.W. Rowe, in the presence of the immediate family only, at 11:15 Sunday. About 11:30 the bell at the Reformed Church began to toll the years of her former faithful pastor. The body was taken to the College chapel, where the services were held. This spacious auditorium was already filled with the Doctor’s many friends admirers. Hundreds of these had been under his tuition in the past of these sacred grounds, made more sacred by the presence of the lifeless form of him who had given so many years to training the youth of this and former generation.


As the body was brought in, the choir of the Reformed Church sang "Nearer My God to Thee." Rev. W.W. Rowe had charge of service. On the rostrum were twelve ministers representing five denominations. All the preaching services in the town were called in for the morning hour out of respect to his memory.


By request of the deceased, Dr. J.L. Murphy, of Hickory, delivered the funeral sermon from Zech. 14:7."It shall come to pass that at evening time it shall be light." This was one of Dr. Clapp’s favorite texts. Dr. Murphy told of the deceased as a great preacher, a great teacher, and a strong personality. His tribute was both beautiful and touching.

The doctor’s favorite hymns were used-"My faith Looks Up to Thee," "Abide With Me," "Lead Kindly Light."

At the conclusion, the body was taken to the front door, and placed midway in the aisle, and the casket opened. Then as the congregation passed out in order everyone could view the face of this "hero of the cross" for the last time.

The pallbearers were ministers and elders of the Reformed Church of this classis as follows: Revs. Paul Barringer, Mt. Pleasant; J.A. Foil, Newton; J.C. Leonard, Lexington; H.G. Kopenhaver, Startown; Messrs. M.J. Rowe, Newton; L.A. Carpenter, Maiden; L.R. Whitener, Hickory and Dr. C.B. McNairy, Lenoir.

The body was then taken to Eastview Cemetery, where the interment services were conducted by Revs. J. C. Leonard, D.D., Paul Barringer, D. D. and J.A Foil, Ph.D. We peacefully laid him away to wait the summons on the resurrection morn.


Dr. Clapp’s Connection with Catawba College.

The second committee appointed by the N.C. Classis to consider the advisability of establishing a Reformed college met at Beck’s Church in 1851 and consisted of the following members: Rev. Thornton Butler, Rev. J. Ingold, Rev. G.W. Welker and Rev. J. H. Crawford. Before this committee M.L. McCorkle, Esq., a prominent member of the Reformed Church at Newton, but not at that time an elder, appeared to present the claims and advantages of Newton as the rallying point for our educational interest. Doubtless it was at this time and probably owing to the special influence of Rev. G. W. Welker and Rev. J. H. Crawford, for whom he was named, that Jacob Crawford Clapp became one of the first pupils of Catawba College when the school opened in the "Old Academy Building" in the fall of 1851 and he continued in school here until prepared for entrance into Amherst College, from which famous institution he was graduated in 1857.At the opening of Catawba College the faculty consisted of two men, Rev. C.H. Albert with Prof. H.H. Smith as assistant and there were thirty-two pupils enrolled and as most of them were boarding pupils their influence on the community was immediate and sometimes revolutionary. Many youthful pranks compelled the staid and conservative people of the town to "sit up and take notice." One of the most popular students at this time was Jacob Clapp. Handsome as a "Greek God" might have been justly applied to him in those days, and his cheerful and kindly nature and sympathetic disposition made him a universal favorite. When the school was moved to the "Old White Church," until the completion of the College building, he was still a pupil, boarding with others in the small and much crowded home of Rev. J.H. Crawford on the site now occupied by Col. W.H. Williams. Later he probably boarded with Mrs. John Wilfong, who became the foster mother of so many of the earlier college boys. Dr. Clapp’s first connection with the college as a Professor was after his marriage in July 1860, when he was the unanimous choice of those most interested to assist Rev. A.S. Vaughn in the work, and W. R. Vaughan was a pupil teacher. As much of Rev Vaughan’s time was taken up in an active canvass for funds, the actual teaching was done mainly by Dr. Clapp. He was then and always a strong disciplinarian, his methods having been learned from Prof. H. H. Smith, who had a powerful influence in forming his mind and character. When in 1861 Rev. Vaughan and family on account of the impending civil war hastily returned to Pennsylvania, and the young men in school almost to a man went to serve in the army of the Confederacy, the whole management of both schools, Catawba College and the "Female Seminary:" established by Mrs. Vaughan, fell into Dr. Clapp’s hands. The "Seminary" was conducted in the old church and Mrs. Pool, now remembered by but few of the citizens of Newton, did much of the English teaching. Boys were brought to the church to recite when Dr. Clapp had both boys and girls in the same classes and another teacher was soon required. Mr. Manuel Shell, a class mate of Major Finger’s at Bowdoin was secured to assist him. He was latter one of the heroes of the Confederacy and the school became a co-educational high school maintained through the war by Dr. Clapp and Mr. Eli Warlick. Subsequent to the war the school was maintained by Dr. Clapp and Maj. S. M. Finger as co-principals with the assistance of advanced pupils as tutors. Some of these, Mr. Dallas Rowe, J.A. Foil and others afterwards became regular professors. Dr. Clapp travelled extensively through the Classis and raised the money to build the three story addition to the college made in 1880 and found few members of the Reformed church who refused to give, while many others gave money or work. The girls having been eliminated after the war, were again admitted about this time and later the old "Professor’s House" was remodelled at various times for their accommodations and other departments added for the so-called accomplishments. In 1885 Catawba College resumed her charter as a college, enlarged her faculty, extended her curriculum and graduated the first class in 1889, the college having had but one graduate previous to the war. In May 1900 Dr. Clapp, after serving the college continuously for forty years as student, tutor, trustee, financial agent, Professor and President finding that his health was failing under the strain and responsibility, resigned the Presidency and retired from teaching, being succeeded by C.H. Mebane, an alumnus of the College, who conducted a prosperous school, retiring in 1905.He was followed by Rev. Dr. Snyder, who served several years/ During his administration the college building was again enlarged and remodeled. Dr. Clapp’s heart was at Catawba College and teaching was second nature to him and when two years ago he was asked to take work in the college again, he gladly consented and held the full Professorship in Mental and Moral Science up to the time of his death, also teaching other classes in branches often that he disliked, merely to help where ever and whenever he could and to the last was regarded by faculty and students as one of the strongest teachers. As a moral force, his influence was at times superb. In a recitation he looked at and through the pupil and any attempt to cheat in recitation usually ended in disaster. In discipline he as strong, sometimes severe, and occasionally hasty. During the war some of the boys of the school became bellicose and question of veracity was involved. In a talk to the school on that occasion on the importance and necessity of truth, Dr. Clapp told as to always be certain to speak the truth, "then," said he, "if any one calls you a liar, knock him down." He was not a preacher in those days, but we doubt whether any one would ever have called him a liar with impunity. A strong, aggressive nature such as his was, must sometimes make mistakes, errors of impulse, prejudice or judgment. Doubtless he realized some times that these things made him on some occasions unjust. Extra kindness afterwards made one realize that he was sorry for severity. He was a great teacher and we can wish for nothing better for Catawba College than that the mantle of consecration may now fall upon his successor in the work here.

Sue Lantz Foil


In the death of Dr. Clapp, the class of "nineteen Ten" has lost one of its most beloved friends and former professors. Our hearts are pained when we think that when we visit the dear old college in the future we can not be greeted by his loving smiles and welcomed with his warm affectionate hand shake. We can not soon forget his noble instruction in the classroom and his kind advice, -nor the tears that trickeled down his cheeks when we left him at commencement. Little did we then expect that to be the last time we would see him in this live. Though he has left us in the flesh, we cherish his memory most dearly and extent to the stricken wife and family our sincere sympathy. Class-mates, let us try to follow hi example and live noble and useful lives like his.

J.A. Palmer,’ 10

Dr. Clapp was well informed on family history. He knew the history of many people better than they did themselves.


Dr. Clapp’s Relation to the Classis of North Carolina

The name of Dr. Clapp first appears in the Minutes of Classis in the year 1861, when on Friday April 26th he was elected a trustee of Catawba College, succeeding Mr. William Ramsour. In 1863 he was appointed, along with Messrs. E.P. Coulter, E. Conner and D. Finger, to readjust the boundaries of the several charges west of the Catawba River. This committee reported in 1864. Dr. Clapp’s name as delegate elder to Classis first appears on the roll at the annual meeting held at Daniel’s Church May 4, 1866. This was just after the close of the Civil War. The meeting was a very important one. All the congregations had suffered greatly from the effects of the war. The ministers and elders came together in that meeting with grave problems confronting them, but they were men of prayer and strong faith in God. The ministers were Lantz, Welker, Ingold, Butler, P.A. Long, T. Long, Cecil, Ingle, Hedrick: the elders were the following: J.C. Clapp, Abram Clapp, Henry Link, John W. Fisher, Valentine Leonard and J. H. Rowe. Nearly all of these have crossed over the river. Dr. Clapp was a delegate elder also in the next annual meeting in 1867, which was held in Bethany Church, Davidson County. It was at this meeting that he presented himself for examination with a view to licensure to preach the Gospel. The committee on examination consisted of Revs. P. A. Long, G.W. Welker and elder G. S. Ramsour. The examination was satisfactory, and the candidate was duly licensed to preach. Dr. Clapp was ordained to the Gospel ministry May 2, 1869, by Revs. T. Butler, T. Long and J. Ingold.

In all these subsequent years Dr. Clapp has been recognized as a leader in the work of the Classis. He showed himself a very unselfish man. While directly interested in the churches he was pastor of, he was never too busy to give close attention to any work assigned him by Classis for the general welfare of the Reformed Church. The Classis always needs good and wise men who can see beyond the bounds of their own charges, and who are willing to head advance movements. Dr. Clapp was eminently this kind of a man. He never sought prominence, but his strong desire to see the work of the Master pushed vigorously forward of necessity brought him into unsought prominence. He was a born leader, and his counsel in church work was very generally wise and safe. In his day he was originator of many aggressive movements for the extension of the work. Dr. Clapp was a man of fine Christian spirit. He did not know how to shirk responsibility and he was never known to sulk.

His advice was always eagerly sought by the great majority of his younger brethren of the classis. For many years he has been recognized as the father of the Classis. His value to our work is so great that we can not overestimate it. His great heart was given to the interest of the Reformed Church in North Carolina. To the influence of this one good man is largely due the marked devotion of the younger men of the Classis to the work in this State. Many of these younger men have had flattering calls to other sections of the Reformed Church, and also to prominent pulpits in other denominations, but they have stood loyally by the congregations in North Carolina.

Dr. Clapp was know and loved in all the churches of the Classis. He preached many times in all the pulpits, except possibly a few of the more recently organized churches. It was his delight to see the congregations prosper and show all the signs of harmony and peach. He felt a personal interest in every church and every minister in the Classis.

This good man, this eminent clergyman, has been called from among us. We shall sadly miss his genial presence in our meetings. But his influence will continue to be felt through succeeding years.

J.C. Leonard.


Dr. Clapp as a Preacher.

The first essential qualification for a successful preacher is a consciousness that "woe is me," if I preach not the gospel. I sincerely doubt if any man has succeeded to a marked degree who would not willingly sacrifice all for the truth, and who did not have an intense passion for souls.

In his youth Dr. Clapp had this conviction, but on the completion of his education a throat trouble seemed to prevent him from realizing his fondest hopes. It may have been that God was testing his faith. He began teaching, but the fires burned within him and he found no satisfaction until he laid himself upon the altar of God’s service as a faithful minister.

Judged by the above standard Dr. Clapp was preeminently qualified to be the master of preachers.

Another essential qualification for a great preacher is a conviction of the truth and the courage to express this conviction, John dared to reprove Herod and Paul caused Agrippa to trimble. Weaklings do not stir the world. Sermonettes and figures of Rhetoric do not make preachers.

Reeds are easily shaken by the wind and they who seek soft places are to be found in king’s houses, but the preacher of righteousness is found in the wilderness living upon locust and wild honey and dressed in the skins of the wild beast of the forest. Dr. Clapp measured up to this standard.

Another essential element in a great preacher is the spirit of intercession. The Master set the example and his servants have followed in his footsteps. Sermons prepared upon the knees are most effective. Dr. Clapp was powerful in prayer and like the patriarch might have been called Israel because as a prince he had power with God.

Dr. Clapp ignored the rules of homiletics, and his jestures were often at fault, but his strong and striking personality, his clear ringing voice and his great broad heart made him a master of assemblies. I believe that he was one of the state’s greatest preachers and that in his church he found few if any equals.

Dr. Clapp did not prepare many sermons and these were not written. He preached the same sermons often and many times to the same people.

I make reference to a few of his great sermons. Perhaps his master sermon was on the text "How much is a man better than a sheep." I heard him preach this sermon at St. Matthew’s Camp Ground in 1885 and for one hour and a half he held an audience of more than 1500 and no one seemed to move. It was a masterful sermon. The dignity and worth of man was his subject.

"Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity" was the text from which he preached his great sermon on Christian Unity." I think however one of his favorite text was Isaiah 30"21 "And thine ear shall hear a word behind thee, saying this is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand and when ye turn to the left." Treat emphasis was laid upon following the leading of the Spirit and one could not hear it without being impressed greatly that the speaker was guided by the Holy Spirit.

The last sermon I heard him preach was from the text, "Let your light shine." It was preached on the occasion of the installation of the Rev. Mr. Kopenhaver as pastor of the South Fork charge on the 22nd of May, 1910. The sermon made a profound impression.

I might make mention of many others, but the eloquent tongue is still and the great heart has ceased to beat, but the living truths which were uttered will continue to hear fruit and Dr. Clapp will be remembered as one of our greatest preachers.

J. L. Murphy.

Death of a Good Man

Elsewhere in this issue will be found an account of the death of Dr. Clapp and a short sketch of his career. His life was an open book. He was in the true sense of the term a man. His moral courage was of the heroic sert [sic]; his convictions upon all great question were formed carefully, and when once formed they were as firm as the Rock of Gilbraltar. He was a pioneer in the cause of temperance. He had no patience with some of the namby, pamby sort of religion that we see in modern times, that looks after entertaining souls of men rather than saving them from the wrath to come.

He preached the old time religion. His faith in god was the faith of his fathers. He lived a life of service for his fellowmen and therefore a life for God. He lived to see men who once forsook him on account of different views come to his way of thinking and to become his friends in his last years. He was a man, who like all men made some mistakes, but his heart was right, and therefore no intentional wrong was done to his fellowmen.

Newton will miss him’ the Reformed Church will miss him, we shall miss him, but he will live in the lives of the young men and women he met in the schools, in Catawba College, and as pastor and preacher. Peace to his ashes.

C.H. Mebane


Whereas God in His all wise providence has seen wise to take from our midst the Rev. Dr. Jacob Crawford Clapp who 25 years ago organized the Ladies Aid Society of Grace Reformed Church. One who has faithfully served the church as a minister for 43 years and has taken a peculiar interest in every progressive movement of the church.

Resolved, that we the members of the Ladies Aid Society of Grace Church express our sincere sympathy to the bereaved wife and children in this time of sorrow and that be bow in humble submission to the all-wise Ruler-realizing that he knows best.

Resolved, that we feel a great loss in the death of Rev. Dr. Clapp who always displayed a willingness to help in all things.

Resolved that to Mrs. Clapp who is a member of this Society be commended the love, comfort and peace of our heavenly Father whom her husband so faithfully served during his entire life.

Resolved, that a copy of these resolutions be given Mrs. Clapp-also be printed in the Reformed Church Standard and likewise put on the minutes of this Society.

Yours in His name,
Miss Mary Forney
Mrs. Byron Shuford
Mrs. Walter W. Rowe

Notes Here and There on the Life of Dr. Clapp

His last official act in his relation to Catawba College was his signing the diplomas of the Class of 1910.

He organized and reorganized the following congregations: St. Paul’s, Salem, Conover, and Bethany in Catawba county.

The last talk he made in Grace congregation, Newton, was at C. E. prayer meeting June 8th.It was on the topic: "Christ Our Judge."

He was president of Classis at the following places: Emanuel 1871, Lower Stone 1874, St. Luke’s 1886 Hedrick’s Grove 1892 and High Point 1904.

The last official act of Dr. Clapp in the business of Classis was his examination of Bro. C. C. Wagoner, at Lenoir. He was Chairman of the committee on Examination and Licensure.

Dr. Clapp will long be remembered by many by the mule and cart which he made use of in going to fill his appointments. He used this cart up until a few months before his death.

Dr. Clapp was the principal instrumentality in erecting in Newton the monument to the Heroes in Gen. Rutherford’s raid against the Cherokees who fell in the massacre on John’s River in 1776.

If there was one congregation in classis that Dr. Clapp loved more than any other that one was Smyrna. The people of Smyrna also loved him. May they remain faithful to the church he loved so well.

He served on the committee of ordination of the following bretheren: John A. Foil, J.H. Shuford, Paul Barringer, J.C. Leonard, J.M. L.. Lyerly, A. H. Smith, J.D. Andrew, H.A. M. Holshouser, Clarence Clapp, G.A. Stauffer, H. E. Sechler, and S.W. Beck.

His last work as a preacher was his sermon at Smyrna on June 12th. The text was Matthew 5:16. He preached this sermon at the installation of Rev. H.G. Kopenhaver of the South Fork charge on the 4th Sunday of May. He preached it at Bethany (Catawba County) the 5th Sunday of May and at Matthews the 1st Sunday of June. He also used this amen text in preaching the opening sermon at the meeting of Classis at Bear Creek in 1906.


[from the Reformed Church Standard, Newton, NC July 15, 1910; Vol. XVIII, No 9; pg. 1-4;
Obtained by Vivian Abernathy from the Catawba College Library, on microfilm copy.
CATAWBA - The Story of A College, by Francis B. Demond, 1989;
Transcribed by Lana C. Hartshorn]


Several years ago, while speaking with Vivian Abernathy, she related to me the story of "Dr. Clapp's Bell."
I climbed to the belfry at Trinity Reformed (UCC) Church in Conover to take pictures of the bell.

The pictures below show the bell. I have done extensive research
to determine the origin of the bell and the story of how it got to Trinity.

The history of "the Trinity bell" is rather complicated and a great deal of research was required to determine its origin and its course through the history of Catawba County. A brief church history is necessary to give a more clear understanding.

In 1842, a seed was planted and a worship center for those of the Reformed faith was conceived. This resulted in one of the first Reformed Lutheran churches in Catawba County being built. Called the "White Church," it was dedicated on August 10, 1846 and served the Reformed parishioners of Newton. The location was on land now occupied by the Newton library. Prior to this, many of the Lutheran churches served a diverse fellowship as "Union" churches. Pastors with ties to different synods, both organized and reorganized, preached services at the same churches. During a given month, a church might have a service preached by a pastor affiliated with the Ohio Synod, followed by a Pastor of the Tennessee Synod, and then from a adherent of the North Carolina Synod and finally by one who followed the Tennessee Synod Reorganized.

Many prominent pastors preached at St. Johns, which was founded in 1798 by Rev. Johan Gottfried Arends. Among the most noted were the Henkel family; David, Paul, P.C. (Polycarp Cyprian), and Ambrose. Among these pillars of Christendom, Dr. Jacob Crawford Clapp acted as supply pastor in 1865. His primary focus was as President of Catawba College, a Reformed institution of higher learning, founded in 1851, in Newton, it would later be moved to Salisbury in 1922-23.

The White Church was destroyed by a cyclone in 1884 and was eventually replaced by a new brick church that came to be called the "Brick Church. Its erection, begun in 1887 was completed in 1888. Dedicated as Grace Evangelical and Reformed Church, it was the largest and most beautiful church in Newton at the time.

During the period of 1904-1910, prominent members of the church, including Col. Matthew Locke McCorkle, donated the stained-glass windows to the church. During 1927-28, the Sunday School classrooms were built. Grace would continue as a beacon to the Evangelical and Reformed movement until a newer, more commodious building would be built. In 1948, Grace would build a new church in the southern part of Newton. The old church was sold to the congregation that would become Calvary Baptist church.

It was placed in the Newton Charge together with St. Paul’s and St. Johns and was a part of the Lyles Creek Mission. Between 1892 and 1897, a parsonage was built for the pastor, Rev. Dr. Jacob C. Clapp. The bell that hung in the church belfry was the personal property of Dr. Clapp. In 1896, a new bell, known as the McShane bell, was given as a memorial to the church by Solomon Schrum. The old bell, which we now refer to as the Maneely bell, was presented to the new Trinity Evangelical and Reformed (now known as Trinity United Church of Christ) in Conover. It was formed August 20, 1892 with nineteen charter members were composed of the families of Hunsucker, Herman, Rowe and Propst who left St. John’s and several families from St. James. Their reason for joining the new church was probably due to the distance from their homes. St. John’s church was about three miles away from Trinity and about six miles from St. James. Dr. Clapp served as the pastor of Trinity from its founding until 1893 and was their supply pastor from 1908 to 1909. Trinity was received into the North Carolina Classis and made a part of the Catawba Charge that included St. Johns, St. (Old) Paul’s and Smyrna.

[By Derick S. Hartshorn, with much help from Vivian Abernathy]


The Maneely Bell

There were two competing Meneely bell foundries in the state of New York. It is unknown which foundry cast the steel bell that now hangs from the belfry of Trinity church. That it was manufactured by one of the Maneely companies is confirmed by early Newton newspaper accounts that describe it as such.

The first foundry, begun in 1826 by Andrew Meneely, was located in West Troy, just upriver from Albany, on the West Bank of the Hudson River. The town was later renamed Watervliet. The foundry was operated by Andrew Meneely's descendants until about 1950, and was, in its day, the only American foundry that tuned bells. Over the years, It used the following names: Andrew Meneely, 1826-1850; Andrew Meneely & Son, 1850; Andrew Meneely & Sons, 1851-1863; E.A. & G.R. Meneely, 1863-1874; Meneely & Company; 1874-1950 and alternatively, the Meneely Bell Found[e]ry)

The second foundry was located in Troy, NY, on the east bank of the Hudson River. It was begun shortly after the Civil War by a cousin of the above family, and operated initially under the name Meneely & Kimberly. Later it became The Meneely Bell Company. It closed about 1952. These two foundries were among the half-dozen largest bell manufactories in the USA in the 19th century. They were certainly the leaders in production of chimes, and the Watervliet foundry was the only one in this country to produce carillons prior to WW II.


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