Negro Baptists of North Carolina
GRAY'S CREEK ASSOCIATION.
The Gray's Creek Association was organized soon after the war in Bladen County, with only three churches in the organization: New Hope, New Light and Gray's Creek. There were present in the organization Elders John Croslin, J. M. Whitted, Samuel Boon, assisted by Elders James Register, James Toler. Five associations have been formed out of the Gray's Creek: The Lumber River, the Union, the Lake Waccamaw, the Hammond's Creek and the Kinston Lake. Elders J. Croslin, J. M. Whitted, S. Boon, S. H. McKoy, James Bright, John Marley, Mitchell Morrison, R. Johnson, T. Cain, D. Graham, C. R. Baldwin, J. A. Spaulding, H. Gore, N. Robeson, B. W. Williams, A. Thompson, E. Thompson, H. S. McNeill, N. B. Dunham, Gilbert Monroe, L. Hodge S. Chestnut. The progress of the Gray's Creek Association has been gradual. It has done some work in the direction of missions and education, and its hopes like many others are bright.
THE EBENEZER ASSOCIATION.
The Ebenezer Association was organized in the year 1890 in the Ebenezer Baptist Church, Cleveland County. There were thirteen churches in the organization. Rev. A. Ellis was the first Moderator; Rev. W. A. Roberts, Secretary; Brother B. Gingles, Treasurer. Like other associations this organization has fostered Home and Foreign Missions, helped weak churches and assisted in the cause of education, especially in that section of North Carolina.
THE YADKIN BAPTIST ASSOCIATION.
The Yadkin Association was organized in the Thomasville Baptist Church September 17, 1874. Rev. H. Cowan, C. Ellis and W. Leak were in the organization. The following churches composed the Association: Pleasant Hill, Pee Dee, Thomasville, Red Hill, Macedonia, Saron, Mt. Pleasant, Snuggs' Grove, Mt. Vernon, Leak's Chapel, Olive Grove, Garris Grove, Moore's Grove, Hamar's Grove, Liberty Hill, Troy-Norwood, Wadesboro.
The ministers of this Association are Elders W. Leak, B. R. Richardson, M. Ingram, H. G. Hyatt, I. M. Flake, K. W. Wall, Alfred Reed, S. D. Davis, Levi Ingram, S. A. Dunlap, P. J. Ewing. The membership in 1906 was nine hundred. The church property amounted to five thousand two hundred dollars. Altogether there were raised by the Association three thousand six hundred dollars, which was used in the cause of missions, education and aged ministers.
THE PEE DEE UNION ASSOCIATION.
The Pee Dee Union Association was organized Thursday before the third Sunday in October, 1899, by Revs. E. W. Andrews, W. H. Diggs, G. C. Bowden, J. E. Ellerbee and F. M. McCall, at Saron Baptist Church. The following churches compose this Association: Pleasant Grove, Providence, Mt. Moriah, Belford, Diamond Grove, Friendship and Mt. Olive. The Association had a membership of seven hundred in 1906; church property to the amount of a thousand dollars. It had, besides its usual expenses, contributed regularly to Home and Foreign Missions.
THE SHILOH BAPTIST ASSOCIATION (WEST).
The Shiloh Baptist Association northwest of Charlotte, N. C., was organized at the Washington Church, near Waco, N. C., 1867. Rev. Samuel Fox, of Waco, was the principal mover in the organization. At one time this Association formed a part of the Mecklenburg Association, and the two remained together about two years. Afterward there was a separation--the one assuming the name of the Ebenezer, while the other retained the name of Shiloh. Since that time the Association has developed the following membership: Mt. Sinai, Salem, Gold Hill, Bethel, Mt. Vernon, Fancy Hill, Springfield, Smithfield, Mt. Carmel, Dallas, Galilee, Mt. Moriah, Mt. Olive, Providence, St. Philips, Woodford Chapel, Providence, Maiden. It had a membership of eight hundred and thirty-one in 1906.
HIGH POINT MISSIONARY BAPTIST ASSOCIATION.
The High Point Missionary Baptist Association was organized at High Point, N. C., the second week in August, 1891. Revs. Anthony Wilborn, S. Thomas, F. R. Howell, W. D. Haden and others composed the organization. It took its name from the name of the town where the first meeting was held. This Association came out from the Rowan, and is composed of churches in the counties of Guilford, Alamance, Randolph, Davidson and Orange. Considering the Association to be one of the small associations and composed of small churches, no association in the State is more loyal to the work of the Convention than the High Point Association. Since its organization until 1906 eight hundred and fifty dollars had been raised. This amount was used in the support of missions, Home and Foreign, ministerial education, the Orphan Asylum and church extension. The following churches compose the Association: Elm Grove, Locust Grove, Jones, Gibsonville, New Light, Mt. Pisgah, Rocky Springs, Laticure, Friendship, St. John, Graham, Locust Grove (Alamance), Cross Roads, Main St., Hillsboro, Austin Grove, Mechanic, Asheboro, Randleman, Trinity, Thomasville, Mt. Pleasant, Liberty Grove, Rock Grove.
The following are the ordained ministers: A. Wilborn, S. Thomas, E. Graves, C. N. Brown, F. A. Long, J. W. Turner, C. Hughes, S. Troxler, G. W. Austin, W. W. Price, B. F. Robbins, W. E. Graves, Grimes. The High Point Association has a member ship of twelve hundred and fifty, and houses of worship valued at five thousand dollars.
THE LAKE WACCAMAW MISSIONARY BAPTIST ASSOCIATION.
This Association was organized at the Baptist church near Lake Waccamaw, and on which account it takes its name. The organization dates from the year 1884. Five churches came out from the Gray's Creek Association and formed the Lake Waccamaw: Little Wheel of Hope, Whiteville, White Pond, Sandy Plain and Welch's Creek, with the following ministers: D. Graham, I. Cain, M. Morrison, R. Johnson, C. R. Baldwin, J. A. Spaulding and D. J. Moore.
About one thousand dollars had been raised since its organization, 1884--1906. The Association assisted the Thompson Institute at Lumberton, Home and Foreign Missions and ministerial education. St. John and St. James Churches were added to the original number. The property of these seven churches amounted to three thousand five hundred dollars. Revs. P. J. McKoy, J. S. McKoy, T. H. Crawford and A. S. Mitchell have been added to the list of ministers.
THE NEUSE RIVER BAPTIST ASSOCIATION.
The Neuse River Baptist Association was organized in the town of Halifax, N. C., in 1866. Rev. Ananias Buck, Benjamin Moore, John Washington and C. Johnson were in the organization. The churches of Northampton, Halifax, Edgecombe and a part of Warren formed this Association. The organization soon developed into a large body of churches. While the Association has boasted of large numbers, twenty thousand members in the different churches, comparatively little was given to missions outside its bounds, and but little educational work accomplished. A feeble effort was made to establish a school at Weldon, N. C. A site was purchased with a small building, and for two years a school was carried on, but the building burned and a tract of land was purchased outside the town of Weldon. As in all the other associations of North Carolina there were some splendid men and leaders, but somehow they exerted but little influence, and hence the small amount of good accomplished either for missions or education. In 1908 there were some additions to its forces which gave promise of better results. With such churches as compose the Association there was every opportunity for splendid results.
THE BEULAH ASSOCIATION.
This Association was formed in part out of the Neuse River Association and the West Roanoke Association. All the churches of the West Roanoke Association in Northampton County and a number from the Neuse River in 1903 agreed and formed the Beulah Association. Rev. W. T. H. Woodward, of Littleton, N. C., was the first Moderator. From its incipiency the Beulah Association was a part of and loyal to the State Convention. Its moral and financial support was given to the Rich Square Academy at Rich Square, N. C., and the Garysburg High School, at Garysburg, N. C. The Beulah Association was greatly hindered in its infancy on account of the indisposition of its Moderator, who was stricken down with paralysis.
THE OLD EASTERN MISSIONARY BAPTIST ASSOCIATION.
The Old Eastern Missionary Baptist Association was organized at James City in the church then known as "Slab Chapel," but since the name has been changed to Pilgrim Chapel. Its first Moderator was Rev. Samuel Peterson, with Fred Long as Secretary. Hull Grimes, Nat Benton, Elias Brown, Henry Simmons, Emanuel Reynolds, Thad Wilson, Thos. Erkett and John Washington were in the organization which took place in the fall of 1865.
In 1866 a number of the members of the Old Eastern Association obtained letters and organized an association in Halifax County, the Neuse River Association. Later on the New Bern Eastern Association was formed from the Old Eastern in the same way.
In the early history of this Association some of the delegates and preachers walked seventy-five and even a hundred miles to attend the annual sessions. In 1899 the Association numbered sixty-five churches, with church property amounting to twenty thousand dollars. In 1900 a site was purchased at Greenville, in Pitt County, for the purpose of carrying on an associational school. In 1904 Rev. W. A. Taylor, pastor of the church at Greenville, was elected first principal. Although the site was adjoining the graded school, which gave many disadvantages to its success, the graded school requiring no tuition, and the Tar River Institute having to require a tuition fee. Despite this the Institute was a decided success. For many years Rev. T. S. Evans was the Moderator of this Association. Much of the success of the Association was due to the untiring efforts of Rev. Evans.
THE BRUNSWICK ATLANTIC ASSOCIATION.
The Brunswick Atlantic Association was organized December 5, 1896, in Pleasant View Baptist Church, Brunswick County. There were but five churches in the organization. In 1908 there were thirteen. Rev. J. H. Rhoe and Rev. J. S. Gore were with the Association in its origin, and for many years afterward were the leaders. There were eight ordained preachers and twelve hundred members. There was a Sunday School Convention connected with this Association organized a year previous at Whiteville, N. C. Rev. D. C. Gore, G. A. Best and William Davis were the leading forces of the Sunday School Convention for several years. There were five hundred members represented in the schools composing the Convention.
THE NEW BERN EASTERN MISSIONARY BAPTIST ASSOCIATION.
This Association, although it soon grew to be as large as the parent Association, came out from the Old Eastern Association. The first session of this body was held in the Cedar Grove Baptist Church New Bern, N. C., 1875.
There were included in this Association the churches in the counties of Pamlico, Beaufort, Hyde, Jones and Craven. There were as many as fifty and sometimes a larger number of churches represented in the annual meetings of this Association. In the early history of this vast body, representing twenty-five thousand in membership, with much ignorance predominant, bitter strife was often precipitated, and for a time it looked as if the Baptist cause throughout that section was hopeless. Possibly no forces did more to bring the change than the saintly women of New Bern and James City, Misses Waugh and Williams, sent as missionaries representing the Women's Home Mission Society of Chicago. The toils, and even sufferings at times, and the splendid work of these godly women will never be known until the deeds of men shall be read in the great judgment.
The greatest hindrances to their labors as they have often related came from the leaders of this Association, the ministers of that vast section. Like many others of our associations in the State time brought many changes, and much of the contention, strife and superstition of that section passed away as time advanced and these old leaders passed away. As evidence of their prejudice it was related upon good authority that this Association held one of its annual sessions in New Bern in one of the churches, while the State Convention of North Carolina was in another of the churches of the same city, and no attention whatever was paid by the Association to the great State body. We were a witness to the fact that one of the leaders of this body went around the streets of New Bern with a petition trying to get the other ministers to sign it, pledging not to attend a meeting of the New Era Institute, although the President of the State Convention, the President of Shaw University and the Corresponding Secretary of the American Baptist Home Mission Society were in attendance.
The brethren fell in line, however; the spirit to educate and go forward took hold of them; a school was erected in Brownsville, just across the river from New Bern and beyond James City, and like other sections of the State, even in the life of Misses Waugh and Williams, could the good seed they had so faithfully sown be seen to take root, spring up and begin the bearing of fruit to God's glory.
THE OAKY GROVE AND TRENT RIVER ASSOCIATION.
The Oaky Grove and Trent River Association came out from the New Bern Eastern, and was organized in 1882. But few churches at first, the number soon grew to twenty-two churches. Their boundaries lay west of the New Bern Eastern, and with the educational fever felt over the State they began the establishment of a school at Jacksonville, N. C. For a number of years after its establishment Revs. W. H. Moore and Everett were the leaders. With few churches and small revenues the school grew slowly but surely, and with it the Association.
THE BEAR CREEK ASSOCIATION.
The Bear Creek Association was organized in 1872 by Rev. R. H. Harper, who was in the organization of the Educational and Missionary Convention, together with Rev. W. H. Croom, Rev. J. C. Carroll, Rev. I. N. Patterson. Rev. A. A. Smith, the Secretary for many years, did much to strengthen the cause of the Bear Creek Association. Rev. W. L. Hood was for many years the Moderator. In 1906 the records contained a list of thirty-four churches, a membership of eighteen hundred and ninety-seven, and church property valued to the amount of twelve thousand one hundred and seventy-five dollars. The Association was always generous to worthy objects as was shown from their annual reports.
THE MIDDLE ASSOCIATION.
The Middle Association came out from the Shiloh Baptist Association, and was organized 1891. The Shiloh Association had purchased a school site at Warrenton, N. C., and each of the churches of the body was assessed to meet the annual payments on the school property. Many of the churches remote from Warrenton did not feel the same interest in the school project and complained that they were called upon to meet the assessments, and hence decided to withdraw.
Eleven churches signed a call for letters which the mother association granted, and a meeting was held at Shiloh Baptist Church, Kittrell, N. C., and an organization effected under the name of the Middle Association. Dr. W. A. Patillo was the leader in this movement. Dr. R. I. Walden, of Henderson, N. C., was elected the first President; Rev. A. B. J. Wyche, Secretary. Rev. T. H. Burwell and Rev. T. B. Hicks were also leaders in the organization. This Association had no special project on hand, but was loyal especially to Foreign Missions, ministerial education and to the interests of the State Convention.
THE MIDDLE DISTRICT ASSOCIATION.
Soon after the close of the war in the Providence of God there came to the city of Wilmington Rev. Wm. H. Banks from the State of Virginia. For a time he was the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Wilmington, N. C. For some cause a division occurred and the pastor, together with a number of the members withdrew, and organized the Ebenezer Church. Rev. Wm. A. Greene united with Rev. Banks and they began the organization of churches in New Hanover, Duplin, Sampson and Bladen Counties; ordaining men to the gospel and establishing the work generally. Ransom Royals, Richard Keithron, Wm. Devane were among the men and were lifelong friends of the Association which was afterwards formed. In August, 1872, a meeting was called of the churches and pastors at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, Wilmington, and the Middle District Association was organized. There were eighteen churches in the organization. Rev. Wm. Devane, Henry Andrews and E. J. Bell were appointed successively as missionaries to labor in the counties of Brunswick, Pender, New Hanover, Sampson and Duplin to organize new churches, strengthen those already organized, and to build up the work in general. The money raised in the first few years of the organization was devoted to these churches, especially the weaker churches.
The Burgaw High School was the product of the Middle District Association. This school proved a decided blessing in many respects to the Association and to that section of North Carolina.
THE MOUNTAIN AND CATAWBA ASSOCIATION.
The Mountain and Catawba Association was organized at Claremont, N. C., in the year 1875. The following ministers were present in the organization: Rev. B. F. Watts, Berry Lyons and Brother D. Lynch. The object set forth in the formation of the Association was education and missions. The Baptists in that section of the State were not so numerous as in other sections, and hence the Association was necessarily composed of fewer churches and leaders. The organization finally gained enough to swell the number to twenty-two, and with the increase of churches there was an increase of men. Rev. W. S. Dacons came to the Association at an opportune time. Like many other associations throughout the State in 1905 the Association, together with the Convention, which had been organized five years prior, decided to establish a school at Claremont, N. C., and Rev. Dacons, of Statesville, N. C., was appointed to take charge of the school. The Mountain and Catawba, like most of the mountain associations, for some cause did not unite with the State Convention for many years, but accomplished a splendid work in their immediate section.
THE GOLD HILL ASSOCIATION.
The Gold Hill Association embraced the churches west of the Ebenezer Association, and in 1908 had on its roll fifteen churches. Like many other associations for many years after its organization its greatest need was a sufficient number of able men to properly conduct its affairs; yet despite its hindrances its growth was seen from year to year. Together with the Ebenezer Association the Gold Hill gave its support to the Western Union Academy at Rutherfordton, N. C. The Western Union Academy, first under the leadership of Rev. W. T. Askew, and afterward Rev. R. B. Watts, gave much strength directly and indirectly to the Association. For many years Rev. R. A. Hemphill was its Moderator. With each year of its growth, together with other associations of the mountain section, the tendency was toward intelligence and general denominational unity.
THE MCDOWELL ASSOCIATION.
This Association lies north of the Gold Hill. The churches of this Association are still fewer and smaller than the Gold Hill; its leaders fewer and it has no special object for contribution. Up to 1908 but little inspiration had been awakened in the McDowell, but it was hoped with the passing years this condition would be changed, or the Association would see the wisdom of uniting with some stronger body
KENANSVILLE EASTERN ASSOCIATION.
The name of the Kenansville Eastern Association originated with the place of its first meeting, which was Kenansville, N. C., November, 1870; and, too, there was a white association by the same name. The following ministers were present in the organization: T. Parker, A. B. Williams, B. B. Spicer, D. T. Best and John F. Hill. The first Moderator was Rev. A. B. Williams. The following churches were represented and composed the first meeting: First Baptist Kenansville, Six Run, First Baptist Clinton, Warsaw and Hill's Chapel. The largest number of churches afterward represented at any annual session was forty-eight. The two leading spirits of the Association for many years were Rev. Thomas Parker. who was Moderator for twenty-four years, and Hon. A. R. Middleton, Secretary for thirty years. Rev. J. O. Hayes, for years missionary to Africa, came out of the Kenansville Eastern Association. The school at Faison, N. C., became one of the objects of the Association, and the Sunday School Convention of the same name. Foreign Missions came in for a great share of the Association's interest, and especially since one of its men was on the foreign field. The Association was represented regularly in the Convention.
THE WEST UNION ASSOCIATION.
The West Union Association came out from the Kenansville Eastern in the year 1904, soon after the old association had held its annual meeting in Wilmington, N. C. Like the mother association the West Union began with five churches, but it began at once to increase in numbers, and as it had for its object the Union Academy at Clinton it began at once to assert its usefulness and development. Soon the First Church at Clinton, which was in the organization of the Kenansville Eastern, united with the West Union. Other churches, especially from Sampson County, fell in line, which greatly strengthened the body both in size and in finance. Rev. A. A. Smith pastor of the First Church of Clinton, was the Moderator. Rev. C. T. Underwood was quite active in the organization, and was greatly helpful to its existence.
THE WAKE BAPTIST ASSOCIATION.
The Wake Baptist Association was organized with Rev. George W. Harris Moderator, G. W. Freeman, Clerk.
"The promotion of the Kingdom of Christ," putting it in terse language, was the object of the Wake Baptist Association.
This the Association endeavored to accomplish from year to year by donating to State Missions, ministerial education, Foreign Missions, and aiding the weaker churches within its bounds. This Association has contributed larger sums to young men preparing themselves for the ministry than any other similar organization in the State. It was in the Wake Association that the Oxford Orphan Asylum was conceived. A committee was appointed to meet with others in Henderson, and as a result of this conference the Grant Colored Orphan Asylum was established. The Association has since felt a peculiar responsibility toward the asylum, making annual contributions for its maintenance. The Association in 1908 had forty-three churches, forty-two ordained and twenty-seven licensed preachers; forty-three Sunday Schools, with six thousand one hundred and thirty members to the churches, and three thousand two hundred and twenty-six pupils in regular attendance in the Sunday Schools. Many of the churches of the Wake Association have B. Y. P. U. Societies. The Association loyally supports the Lott-Carey Convention and the Educational and Missionary Convention of North Carolina.
THE NEW HOPE ASSOCIATION.
The New Hope Association was organized in Chatham County in 1870. Revs. C. L. Hackney, E. H. Cole, C. D. Hackney, Jack Taylor and Wm. Taylor formed the ministry in the organization. Like many other associations the New Hope has developed wonderfully since its organization. From the few scattered churches it has grown to forty-two churches, with a membership of ten thousand. Many of the ministers of the Association in 1908 were men who had advantages of Shaw University. No association of the State was more loyal to the cause of Foreign Missions and the objects of the Convention. Revs. J. H. Dunston, L. H. Hackney, B. F. Hopkins, M. W. Brown and J. H. Caldwell, following in the wake of the old men of the organization, made the New Hope Association what it was. Whatever the Baptists of the State undertook that is what these men fell in line with, and ceased not until that object was accomplished.
THE ROWAN BAPTIST ASSOCIATION.
The Rowan Baptist Association was organized in 1877 in a hospital at Salisbury, which was afterward purchased by the Baptists there and was organized as the Dixonville Baptist Church. Revs. Harry Cowan, Z. Horton and Cumbe Ellis were the ministers present in the organization. Rev. Harry Cowan was the first Moderator. There have presided over this body since: Revs. John Washington, Z. Horton, Gove Crowell, George Bowles, J. O. Crosby, P. S. Lewis, C. C. Somerville, C. L. Davis and G. W. Johnson.
There were three churches in the organization, and except the Dixonville, in the hospital as stated, the others worshiped under brush arbors. At the Association in Charlotte in 1908, there were sixty-five churches, with a membership of twelve thousand, and church edifices worth two hundred thousand dollars. Altogether the best edifices among the Baptists of North Carolina were to be found in the bounds of the Rowan Association. This was said as well of the leaders.
While there were many able preachers in other associations, there were more at that period in the Rowan than in any other. The school facilities were not equal by far; they had not the secondary schools as the others. At a time the Rowan Normal School was conducted by Dr. C. C. Somerville in Charlotte. While the Association made annual contributions to it, it was never adopted as the property of the Association.
When Dr. Somerville was called to Portsmouth the Salisbury people took the school there and conducted it, changing the name of it to the Piedmont Institute. The Association was liberal in its contributions to mission work and ministerial education.
It was from this Association the strongest support came to the State Convention, especially in the early years of its history.
HAMMOND'S CREEK BAPTIST ASSOCIATION.
Hammond's Creek Baptist Association was organized in the year 1886, with the Rev. Gilbert Monroe as its first President. Seven churches met together for the advancement of Christ's Kingdom in the world. Since its organization eight more churches have been added. Such heroes as the late Revs. Joseph Mackay, Waymon Kelly, Luke Hodge, Levi P. Troy and Gilbert Monroe were present in its first meeting. The work of Rev. Luke Hodge, whose name the Hodge's Institute bears, still lives.
The Sunday School Convention in connection with the Association was an able factor in aiding the cause of organizing this Institute in our bounds. Rev. George Williams was the first President of the Convention organized in the spring of 1886, and N. McCall was Secretary. The Convention and Association acting together for the cause of education and uplifting of its members. The Hodge's Institute was organized in 1907. Rev. S. W. Smith was President of the Association and the Convention. Prof. W. T. Askew was requested to take charge of the Institute, which he did with good results. One hundred and three students were enrolled the first session. This school was situated in West Clarkton, just one mile from depot; a school building on 12 acres of land paid for at a cost of $600. The Board of Trustees have in view the erection of a $1,000 building.
The ministers at work in 1908 were the Revs. S. W. Smith, W. H. Monroe, N. Robinson, H. S. McNeil, M. H. Monroe, T. H. McKay, Z. T. Russ and H. Cromartie.
The Hammond's Creek Association and Convention have been loyal to the State Convention. Rev. Geo. Williams was for many years the exponent, and through him and others these bodies were loyal and faithful.
THE JOHNSTON DISTRICT ASSOCIATION.
This Association was organized in 1886 at Piney Grove Church, Johnston County. The Johnston Association was once a part of the Wake Association. Revs. E. B. Blake, P. T. Young, R. R. Johnson, John Jefferson, Charles Thompson, James Chavis, S. B. Smith, J. C. Pool, W. A. Jones were in the organization. Rev. E. B. Blake, who was then the acknowledged leader, was elected the first Moderator; Rev. W. A. Jones, who afterward took the leadership, was the first Clerk. There were eleven churches in the organization. In 1908 there were thirty-five. A Secondary Baptist School was before the Association for several years, and was put on foot, and located in Smithfield, N. C., in 1908. There were several churches in the Association, with splendid property. The thirty-five churches in 1908 might be fairly estimated at twenty thousand dollars. Much of the progressiveness and aggressiveness of the Association in the first years of its history was due to the energy and push of Rev. W. A. Jones, although pastor of four of the largest churches set an example by remaining in Shaw University Theological Department until he finished his course, which greatly enabled him to lead the Association, although most of his time holding a place in the ranks.
THE PEE DEE BAPTIST ASSOCIATION.
The Pee Dee Baptist Association was composed largely of the Baptist churches in Richmond, Scotland and Moore Counties. There were but few in the organization in 1870, yet like most of the associations of the State the number grew rapidly. Although the Pee Dee had one of the strongest advocates the State Convention possessed in the person of Rev. S. W. Dockery, for many years there was some opposition to the Convention; but with the accession of such men as H. I. Quick, J. J. Hines and J. S. Brown the opposition was overcome. The Pee Dee brethren fell in line with the spirit to organize associational secondary schools, and provided such a school at Hamlet, the most central location in the Association bounds.
This school did not grow so rapidly as some of the others in the State, but kept intact the churches and afforded an object about which they might rally. The Pee Dee Union Association was formed out of the Pee Dee. At first the spirit of missions was not so manifest in the Association, but with other growth and progress came that of missions.
THE ZION MISSIONARY BAPTIST ASSOCIATION.
The Zion Association was along the Seaboard Air Line Railroad beyond and west of the Pee Dee. From the organization to the time of the death of Rev. J. H. Ratliff, of Deep Creek, he was the much loved Moderator of the Zion Association. Possibly the most progressive and ablest minister of the Association for many years was Rev. J. F. Davis. Although a layman, A. J. Beverly, intelligent, manly and of a modest Christian spirit, added great strength to the Association, especially in the school work which was begun long after the beginning made by the Pee Dee people, but was pushed to a rapid growth and development. The Zion Academy was the pride of the Baptists of that section. For several years after its establishment Prof. E. H. Lipscombe was the principal.
As in and about Lumberton the Baptists of Anson County were greatly stimulated and encouraged by the Institute work of the New Era Institute. Their wisdom was shown in the rapid growth of the Zion Academy at Wadesboro.
THE UNION BAPTIST ASSOCIATION.
This Association, composed largely of the churches of Cumberland County, was organized 1883. The McDonalds, H. C. and J. J., N. B. Dunham, O. Watkins, J. M. Whitted and W. H. Anders were first in this Association for many years after its organization. Dr. E. E. Smith, of Fayetteville, Revs. J. J. Hines and J. S. Brown were added afterward. Dr. Smith had no equal in the Association, and compared favorably with the ablest men in the denomination. Soon after connecting himself with the body he became its Moderator, in which capacity he was able to lead his brethren into usefulness and prominence. There were many good men in the Union, as well as other associations of the State, and no good cause was ever turned away without aid. They were faithful and loyal to the Convention and its objects. The Theological Department at Shaw University and the Fayetteville Normal School received its largest donations for education. Like many of the associations of North Carolina, the Union had a Sunday School Convention in connection with it, which also did much good in works of education, charity and missions.
THE LANE'S CREEK ASSOCIATION.
The Lane's Creek, which was organized in 1891, was never a very large body compared with the large associations of the State, and yet small in number and in the size of the churches it was generous. The statistical table shows that there were sixteen churches and twenty-four ministers in 1897. A difference of opinion respecting the standing of one of its leading ministers was a dispute for years, and did more than all else to impair its usefulness. "Shall an individual be allowed to marry again if the other party is living, though the cause of separation be a Bible cause?" was the question which constantly brought confusion in the ranks of the Lane's Creek brethren. In 1907 the Association was submerged, and with two other associations helped to form a new one.
THE MUD CREEK ASSOCIATION.
The Mud Creek Association was organized near Asheville, St. John Baptist Church, 1878. There were present in the organization Rev. Caleb Johnson, B. F. and C. W. Hemphill and Rev. Lindsay. The Association, as it was finally constituted, were the Asheville First Church, St. Luke, Swannanoa, St. John, Arden, Concord, Hendersonville, Flat Rock, Mills River, Davidson River, Brevard and a few others. Altogether there are fifteen hundred members in these churches which compose the Mud Creek Association. There is also a Sunday School Union connected with the Mud Creek. This Union, together with others beyond the mountain, have purchased land at Arden and have undertaken the erection of a school building. There has been some opposition to the work at Arden on which account the school work has been greatly retarded. There is some Home Mission work done in connection with the poorer churches, and like many associations east of the Blue Ridge, there is Foreign Mission money taken when there is some one to represent the Foreign Mission cause. Rev. A. H. Wilson, A. Black and Rev. Foster were among the leaders of after years together, with such laymen as J. P. E. Love, B. Underwood and Thomas Furney.
THE WAYNESVILLE ASSOCIATION.
The Waynesville Association was organized 1880 at Waynesville, N. C., with the Hemphills, B. F. and Calvin; also Rev. Ponders and Rev. Frank Lindsay. It was named for the village in which it was organized. The following churches composed this Association: Waynesville, Scott's Creek, Webster, Bryson City, Franklin, Piney Grove, Birdtown (an Indian Church), Murphy and Blue Ridge, Ga. This Association unites with the Mud Creek to do Home Mission work. This is likewise done through the union. James Ritchie, A. H. Wilson, M. L. Page, Wm. Love, Calvin Hemphill, A. L. Copeland and C. L. Stewart are the leading ministers of this Association.
THE FRENCH BROAD ASSOCIATION.
This Association was united with the others in the union work until 1905, when it separated from the union and undertook its own individual work. This Association was originally formed out of the Mud Creek. Some of the churches of this Association were the Mt. Zion, Asheville, Alexander, Leicester and Madison. As we have already mentioned, Rev. J. R. Nelson was the acknowledged leader of this body.
This Association gives some assistance to the school at Madison and in its own way gives to Home Missions and the Foreign Mission work through the National Baptist Convention.
THE SHILOH BAPTIST ASSOCIATION.
The Shiloh Association was one of the first organized in the State, and one of the first to undertake the secondary school project. Rev. Isaac Alston was for many years its Moderator; M. F. Thornton, a prominent layman of the First Church of Warrenton, its Clerk. The growth of this Association soon placed it among the leading associations for the colored Baptists of the State. After years of progress it began to wane, the Middle Association being the first to pull away, and in its annual session of 1908 a part of the Association met in Ridgeway and the other part in Henderson. Through strenuous efforts the property purchased in Warrenton for school purposes was paid for at an original cost of six thousand dollars, but as a long standing debt amounted to eight thousand.
According to its strength and opportunity the Association did but little for missions proper, but devoted its energy to the school at Warrenton. For several years this school was the pride of the Baptists of the State, but there arose differences in the management which were never healed, and hence the usefulness of the work was greatly hindered. While the Association had many noble and able men in its ranks these differences which we have mentioned kept them from doing what they might have done.
THE WEST ROANOKE ASSOCIATION.
As we have already mentioned, in connection with the East Roanoke Association it was thought advisable after some years of its existence that a new Association should be formed, and hence this new association was formed in 1884, and took the name of the West Roanoke Association. This was afterwards found to be not only practical but wise. The school project was already under way at Winton under the guidance and leadership of Rev. C. S. Brown, then a recent graduate of Shaw University, and this new organization was just the thing to push this movement to a happy condition.
The West Roanoke included the churches of Hertford County and a part of Northampton with Bertie County. The brethren from Bertie felt that the school at Winton in Hertford was too far away for them to enjoy its benefits, and hence they established in the county, and at Windsor, the Bertie Academy. The Northampton people, with a school of high grade at Rich Square, felt that their pro rata should come to them for the support of their school, and this caused the West Roanoke Association to divide its annual contributions with the three schools. We have mentioned the educational fever which prevailed in North Carolina at this time. Every association, with few exceptions, felt they should have a school of their own, and in the case of the West Roanoke they were content only with three. With years of experience it was seen to be unwise, that the schools should have been fewer, which would have given better support, and yet there was untold good accomplished in these schools throughout the State. The West Roanoke Association raised the largest amount of money raised by any association in the State: as much as twenty-five hundred dollars in an annual sitting.
Somehow the ambition to raise money and build up schools took hold of the brethren, and many sacrifices were made to carry out this ambition. It was edifying and encouraging to see deacons of the different churches, many of them unable to read themselves, struggling with their membership to bring up large sums of money to the Association for education. The Moderator of this Association for many years was the President of the Lott-Carey Convention and President of the State Convention. This was sufficient to arouse the brethren of the West Roanoke in behalf of both State and Foreign Missions; and hence the Association became prominent not only in that locality but throughout the State and elsewhere.
THE REEDY CREEK ASSOCIATION.
The Reedy Creek Association was composed of the churches north of the Shiloh and between the Shiloh and the Neuse River, including churches in Warren, Halifax, Northampton and Nash Counties. The Reedy Creek was never as large as the Shiloh or the Neuse River. Like nearly all the associations with a school on their hands, the Reedy Creek fostered the school at Littleton under the principalship of Mr. Warwick. While the Association was never hostile to missions, comparatively little was given in this direction; yet whenever the missionary was present and laid the cause of missions before the Association he met a welcome and a response. Rev. Jack Mayes, of Littleton, who was in this body in its origin, was foremost for many years, in fact until his death, which occurred in 1906. Rev. L. J. Alexander and Rev. S. Grigg, of Wise, N. C., took the lead in after years and did much to bring the Association abreast with the best associations of the State. In speaking of the Association it should not be thought that this Association was so far behind many others so far as the missionary spirit was concerned. The great hindrance to the Negro Baptists of North Carolina, as we find it was with the white Baptists in the days of their early history, the great need of more of that spirit which made them Missionary Baptists, the missionary spirit.
THE MIDDLE GROUND ASSOCIATION.
Not only was the West Roanoke Association formed out of the East Roanoke, but it seemed practicable and wise to the East Roanoke brethren in 1899 that letters should be granted to the remaining churches beyond the sound, and that they should be set apart into a new organization, and hence, like the original thirteen States which formed themselves into a union and government, thirteen of the churches lying between East and West Roanoke formed themselves into the Middle Ground. The East and West Roanoke, having some of the ablest and strongest men of the denomination as leaders, there was but little for the Association forming a wedge to accomplish, and hence their growth was slow.
LUMBER RIVER ASSOCIATION.
This Association is composed of the churches of Columbus County with a few from the adjoining counties. The Thompsons, E. M. and A. H., together with several others, organized the Lumber River Association. This Association was not among the largest in number, but did a decided service in the support it gave to the school at Lumberton, which took its name from Rev. A. H. Thompson. Like many other associations in the State, these fathers could do but little more than organize them and push them off, leaving the real work to be done by the younger men. In some cases the young men had first to contend for the place as leaders while the old men lived, but not so with the fathers of the Lumber River Association. When W. C. Pope, J. D. Harrell and James McKellar came to the front, with Avery and Knuckles in charge of the educational work, these old men gave way and with the prayers and benedictions said "Go ahead, young men, and carry the work forward where we have left off." These young men went ahead, and as a result three imposing buildings were erected on the school site at Lumberton, and one of the best secondary schools of North Carolina was put into successful operation. Several of the ministers of the Association, that they might have the benefit of the school and a pleasant social surrounding, erected homes near the school, making it a village in itself, attractive in appearance and the pride of the Negro Baptists of North Carolina. As an expression of its pride in the wonderful developments and improvements of the Baptists of this locality, the State Convention met with the Sandy Grove Baptist Church, which proudly lifts her spire in the midst of these school buildings and Baptist village.
THE EAST ROANOKE ASSOCIATION.
The organization of the East Roanoke Association took place in the Haven Creek Baptist Church, Roanoke Island, 1886. There were present in this organization L. W. Boone, J. T. Reynolds, C. E. Hodges, J. A. Fleming, Asberry Reid and others. Rev. L. W. Boone preached the introductory sermon and was elected Moderator; J. T. Reynolds, Clerk; J. A. Flemming, Assistant Clerk. Together with the above named Revs. J. K. Lamb, Zion H. Berry, A. Mebane, Wm. Reid and Emanuel Reynolds led the forces for many years.
At their annual session 1884 the Association, which included some of the churches across the line of Virginia, had grown so large until they granted letters to the churches beyond the sound to organize another association, and hence the West Roanoke was formed. Its forces grew so rapidly even afterward, in 1899, they granted letters for the formation of an association for the second time, and the Middle Ground Association, lying between the East and the West Roanoke, took its existence. Even giving off such large numbers the East Roanoke was one of the largest if not the largest Association in the State. The Association not only counted for numbers, but was second only in its contributions to its child, the East Roanoke, in its annual contributions. The reports of its work through the Roanoke Institute at Elizabeth City showed that one thousand students had been enrolled up to 1908; thirty-five graduates had been sent forth to bless the State and the world, and that among that number were several of the ablest preachers to be found anywhere in the State. Not from this school but from this Association had gone the gifted Boone, than whom North Carolina has produced no greater; George W. Lee, often called "The Daddy of Negro Preachers," and the gifted Norman of the Metropolitan Church of Washington City. Besides these Revs. G. D. Griffin, B. W. Dance, Z. W. White, W. A. Taylor, C. M. and R. R. Cartwright and I. S. Riddick. In 1908 the Association numbered twenty thousand in membership with some of the best church structures to be found in the State.
THE CEDAR GROVE ASSOCIATION.
In 1868 the Cedar Grove Association was organized in Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, Roxboro, Person County, N. C. Pleasant Grove, Mt. Zion and Cedar Grove were in the organization. Revs. R. P. Martin, Rudley Williams, Steven Williams and Elijah Jones. The Association was first called the Pleasant Grove, and afterward at a meeting at Pleasant Grove the name was changed to the Oak Grove Association.
At the third meeting of the Association Rev. L. C. Ragland, a white minister, united with the body of colored brethren, and remained with them until his death. His scholarship and piety served his brethren well for at such a time just such a man was needed. Rev. D. A. Howell came to his brethren and greatly aided the Association in its rapid growth. Through these and other men the Association soon developed into a membership of forty-two churches. Revs. A. J. Graves, A. L. Johnson, J. R. Cozart, R. H. Harris and W. H. Toler did much to make the Association what it proved to be in missionary and educational endeavor. The unusual thing was the constant change of name, but it was afterward changed to the Cedar Grove, and kept its name as well as its faith in the principles as taught in the Scriptures. Like most of the Associations of the State, this Association caught the spirit of education to do educational work and purchased a site at Roxboro, N. C., but somehow there was always some objection to the project, and the school was not established. This difference and others finally led to a separation of the churches and the formation of another Association known as the East Cedar Grove Association. After this separation Rev. A. L. Johnson led in the effort and a school site was selected at Yanceyville, but even as late as 1908 there was still division on the school question which greatly weakened the body in other respects, and yet with all the division on the school question the Association was a great help in that section of the State.
THE EAST CEDAR GROVE ASSOCIATION.
This Association came out from the Cedar Grove Association and was drawn out by sectional lines from all the churches east of Roxboro. Rev. J. R. Cozart was easily the acknowledged leader of the new faction, and his influence did much to shape the child, so that it soon became stronger in every way than the parent. Revs. J. M. Taylor, W. H. Lyons and Mayes greatly assisted in the new organization. Rev. R. H. Harris, though a member of the old body, was conservative and greatly aided the new body by his prayers and counsel. The East Cedar Grove Association from its organization was a friend to missions and education, and never did they turn deaf ears to a worthy cause. It kept in line with the State and Foreign Mission Conventions, and in fact with every effort of the Baptists of the State which meant progress. They were not encumbered with local projects, as many of the Associations of the State, and hence were in a better condition and position to do for objects on the outside. Missions especially suffered often at the hands of associations where local interests were in the ascendency. The Wake, the East Cedar Grove and a few others were the exceptions.
The Baptists of whatever nationality have always stood for charity as well as missions. Early after Emancipation the spirit of charity took hold of the fathers; they began to cast about for plans, places and opportunity to put their spirit into successful operation.
The Wake Association, located in Central North Carolina, was the proper organization in which their spirit should take form, and hence representatives were appointed from this body to meet in Henderson, N. C., in 1875. An organization was effected with Rev. A. Shepard, of Raleigh, N. C., President.
The Oxford Orphanage, 1875, was organized at Henderson; the first Association formed for the purpose at Henderson by representatives from the Wake Association. Rev. A. Shepard held the office of President more than thirty-three years.
After some consideration Oxford was decided upon as the place of location, and twenty-five acres of land was purchased from W. A. Patillo, who was elected Superintendent and who served a few years. Miss Hawkins was appointed in his stead. She gave it up and Robert Shepard was appointed.
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