Anders Family
David Asbel Anders with
Jim and Tina Smith Anders

US GenWeb Project

Rufus and Florence Hall Owen Family in 1947
Rufus and Florence Hall Owen and children

US GenWeb Archives Project


Transylvania County, NC 

GenWeb Project

NC GenWeb


The Brevard News, June 2, 1922



Note - Obvious typographical errors in original documents have been corrected.  Additional articles from this paper are available on microfilm as part of the North Carolina Newspaper Project. - LHR

Is Centennial Church Year?

Mr. J. M. Hamlin Writes About the Founding of Local Churches

Mr. Editor:

Some writers have said of North Carolina that she is continually making history worth reading, but slow to preserve it.  If that remark is truly applicable to the State as a whole it is applicable to each part unlesss exceptions can be shown.  Transylvania can hardy prove an alibi.  Our history so far is unwritten.  Outside official records we are dependant on tradition.  What we may have learned of ecclesiastical, social, economic, industrial and educational development is largely from traditional fragments.  It may be the various churches are preserving records of denominational progress, but apparently making no efforts to make known the facts.  

Take Presbyterianism, for instance the non-afflicted know nothing certainly of the actual fact attending the origin and early planting of Presbyterianism in this county.  It has been handed down traditionally that about a century ago, Rev. Ephriam Bradshaw, D. D., was pastor of a Presbyterian Church at Davidson River; that the Davidsons, Pattons, Claytons, Orrs, Neils and Younges were members of this flock.  Whether or not he was the first pastor, we do not know, but was the first, perhaps, who impressed himself upon the reats of the people not to be obliterated in a century.

Methodism was introduced early in the ninth  century.  Perhaps Mrs. Sarah Paxton, daughter of General Charles McDowell, who settled at the Cherry Fields, if not the first, was among the first Methodists of Upper French Broad.  The Beaslys, lances of East Fork and Vandan Loftis of Dunns Rock with her and her daughters constituted the first class; Haddens, Shuford, and others at Pine Grove.  Preaching services for some time were held in private dwellings: Billie Wilson's house near Wilson's bridge and Benjamin Wilson's at Selica were favorite meeting places.  Rev. B. H. Merrimon was among the first assigned to this circuit whic then embraced  large territory.  The class (as these local divisions were then called) at the Cherry Fields built a chapel near where Oat Bryson now lives, known for many years as merrimon's meeting house.  During this pastorate, Mr. Merrimon married Miss. Paxton and. it seems. retired from conference, but continued to preach in his chapel.  During this local ministration his first born son, Augustus, was born - the only native Transylvanian that ever reached the United States Senate.

Episcopalianism came to us about 65 or 70 years ago by resort immigration from Charleston, S. C.  Most of them bought and tilled large farms from the Everett farm up the river to Co Paxton's place.  In a central point among themselves they built the church St. Paul in the Valley.  Parson Hankle was rector up to the war between the States.  The war dealt a heavy blow to the progress of this church.  Since reconstruction te rallying point has been at Brevard with a constituency more cosmopolitan in origin.

With the Baptists, this is a centennial year; but not a word has been uttered publicly of the fact.  It is a matter of record that the Baptist cause became formally an permanently organized in the constitution of Cathey's Creek church, which took place July 22, 1822.  The territory embraced in the constituency of this church is identical with the present county limits - the field of one church in 1822 is the field of the Transylvania Association in 1922.

Previous to this time the above field was regarded as a mission station under the surveillance of French Broad church, now of Henderson county, having Rev. Benjamin King as spiritual leader.  For several years he preached in private dwellings, rotating from Francis Allison's, near Penrose via. Samuel Kings, John Nicholson's, Robert McMinn's to John C. Galloway's, near Old Toxaway.  Why some time in summer he preached under a large spreading poplar tree on Esq. Paxton's farm.  Under this tree a revival was held; the following were baptized: Sallie Gillespie, Betsie Reed, Peggy Hooper, Jonathan Siniard, Peggy Siniard, John Aiken, John Galloway, Jr., Betsie Galloway, Vicey Nicholson, Sallie Aiken.

A revival was held at Robert McMinn's; the following joined: Peggy Davis, Wm. Gillespie, Robert H. Gillespie, Anna Owen, Pheba Burrel, Hannah Nern, Joshua Scalf, Isaac Trammel, Wm. Galloway, Surry Galloway, Esther Glazener, Surry Glazener, David Hadden and Millie Gillespie.

The mission built a meeting house in 1819, which was placed on a pretty eminence near the present residentce of J. A. Mull, supposed to be the central point between Penrose, East Fork, Toxaway (rather Cane Break) and Goucester.  At this house, or one built soon after, near the place of the present Cathey's Creek church, the permanent organization took place.  

In looking over the last century, the writer was impressed that the readers of the News, as well as himslef, knew too little of the genesis of things relating to the history of our county.  That history, commendable history has been made is not egotistical for any son to claim.  The churches and other enterprises have made progress, we see and proudly realize.  How, by whom, what were the incentives to action, what obsticles overcome? - of these we have little authentic knowledge.  let honor be to him to who honor is due.  I opine we are passing to the century mark of Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist advancement without recognition.  It ought not to be silently passed by.  Why not have enthusiastic centinnial gatherings formulate, read, print and file in the archives the record of one hundred year's struggle, made by our fathers and mothers for denominational foothold and resussitate the nmes of those who wrought gloriously through the heat of the day?  Why not?

 - J. M. Hamlin

added 04 January 2004 by LHR