Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree -
February/March 2004 A
short history of the Presbyterian church in Chesterfield County, SC.
Here is an article (actually
two) I have written about early Scots letters in Chesterfield
County, Sc. Chesterfield is a very difficult county to do early
genealogical in because of the destruction of all of its records
in 1865. I found that the information about the contuining ties
between Scotland and SC were most interesting and very helpful
since my ancestors were Scots Presbyterians. If you wish, you may
use all or part of this article in an upcoming publication.
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN CHESTERFIELD COUNTY,
By Russell P. Baker
Chesterfield County was created in 1798. However, the first
mention of a Presbyterian church in the county dates from 1812,
when the Harmony Presbytery appointed Rev. David Smith to preach
two Sundays a month at points in Darlington and Chesterfield
counties. By the next session of the Presbytery, a Presbyterian
Church, now known as White Oak, had begun meeting at Chesterfield
Courthouse. Little is known about this early congregation except
that McNeil Crawford was the churchs elder and a delegate to
the Harmony Presbytery in 1813. He made known the desire of that
congregation to place themselves under the care of the Harmony
Presbytery. That same year Rev. Colin McIver was appointed to
preach to this church at least one Sunday a month. His work in the
area was so successful that within a short time two additional
congregations were created, Sandy Run church and Pine Tree Church,
in Kershaw County. Later the Chesterfield Church merged with the
Sandy Run Church and the name would be changed to Pisgah, perhaps
by 1849. In 1889 the name was changed to White Oak.
In 1814 Rev. McIver removed into the bounds of the Fayetteville
Presbytery, mostly in North Carolina, taking these churches with
him into that body. Sometime before 1819 the churches passed under
the care of Rev. John McFarland.
These two young clergy men, recently arrived from Scotland, were
very popular among Chesterfield County Presbyterians because they
were both able to preach to their congregations in English and in
Gaelic, the native language of northern Scotland. In 1828 John
McFarland was pastor at Pine Tree and Chesterfield. His address
was Chesterfield Courthouse, which was the center of his pastoral
Rev. McIver regularly preached in both English and Gaelic at Pine
Tree Church. Many of his hearers could only understand the Gaelic,
which was still spoken in their families and he was accustomed to
preach in both.
He continued to serve the Pine Tree Church throughout the 1820s.
By 1844 McIver was still preaching at Chesterfield, Pine Tree, and
Sand Run churches.
In 1819 some enterprising individuals mostly from Northern
States, Scotland and Ireland settled at the head of navigation on
the Pee Dee River and founded the town of Cheraw. Shortly
afterwards the new settlers made up a subscription of $600 and
brought in the Rev. N. R. Morgan, a Presbyterian clergyman, from
North Carolina, to be their minister. At first all denominations
met in the old Kings (St. Davids) Church. Later the building was
claimed by the Episcopalians, who expelled the Presbyterians and
the Baptists. The Presbyterians then held services in the upper
room of the Male Academy. Rev. Morgan was replaced in 1826 by Rev.
Urias Powers. The church was officially organized in 1828 with 20
members, many of whom later emigrated to the West and South.
By 1832 Rev. John McFarland was the pastor of several
Presbyterian Churches in Chesterfield County and surrounding
areas, Pine Tree, Rocky Ford, Pisgah (the old Chesterfield
Courthouse Church), and Lebanon. It was noted that he was wont to
preach in both [English and Gaelic] because his people continued
to worship the God of their fathers, to read their Gaelic Bibles,
to chant their Gaelic Psalms, and some of the elder of them to
retain in memory the old traditions of their native Scotland or
the Isle of Skye from which some of them came.
As late as 1850 there were still nearly 50 mostly elderly citizens
of Chesterfield County who reported that they were born in
Scotland. The earlier total must have been much higher earlier.
Rev. McFarland continued to pastor in the area until
about 1844 when old age compelled him to retire. Rev. McIver died
in January of 1850 in Fayetteville, North Carolina at the age of
Rev. McFarland died in May of 1850
at the age of 74
in Chesterfield County, South Carolina.
Walter Burr Jr., Historical Sketch Town of Chesterfield and
Chesterfield County SC (1981) section on the History of
the White Oak Presbyterian Church and Dr. George Howe,
History of the Presbyterian Church in South Carolina, vol.
II (Columbia, SC, 1883), p. 641.
Howe, p. 252 3.
Ibid. p. 350
When he died in 1850 he willed his collection of Gaelic books
to a fellow minister in NC. See Myrtle N. Bridges,
Scattered Seed Genealogical Research Date of Southwestern
North Carolina (1999), p. 226.
Howe, p. 263.
Ibid. p. 353.
Ibid. p. 484.
1850 U. S. Census, Chesterfield County, SC. Totals mine. There
were also 19 born in England and 9 born in England.
Myrtle N. Bridges, Scattered Seed Genealogical Research
Date of Southwestern North Carolina (1999), p. 225 227.
Ibid. p. 641.
Ronald Vern Jackson, South Carolina 1850 Mortality Census
Index (1989), p. 21.
EARLY CLERGYMEN OF CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, SC AS SHOWN ON THE 1850
U. S. CENSUS
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