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Sketches of North Carolina
Chapter XIV - Church of Sugar Creek: Its First Minister, Alexander Craighhead


THE first Presbyterian minister that took his residence in Western Carolina, and the third in the State, was Alexander Craighead. In what part of Ireland he was born, or in what year he emigrated to America, is not a matter of record. The name of Craighead is of frequent occurrence in the history of the Church of Scotland and of Ireland, and holds an honorable place among the ministry. The tradition in the family of Mr. Craighead, as related by Mr. Caruthers, was, that his father and grandfather, and perhaps his ancestors further back, were ministers of the gospel, strongly attached to the church, and reputed as truly pious. A Mr. Thomas Craighead was among the first ministers of Donegal Presbytery,-a native of Scotland, ordained in Ireland,—ernigrating to New England, and there remaining from 1715 to 1721, uniting with the Presbytery of New Castle in 1724,—he finished his course in 1738.

The first notice we have of Mr. Alexander Craighead, as member of the Synod of Philadelphia, appears in the record of the Synod for the year 1736, September 16th: "the Presbytery of Donegal report that Mr. Alexander Craighead was Iast winter ordained to the work of the ministry, and at that time did adopt the Westminster Confession of Faith, &c.; and also, both he and Mr. John Paul, Iately from Ireland, having now heard the several resolutions and acts of the Synod in relation to the adopting said Confession, &c., did before the Synod declare their agreement thereunto." In this minute, reference is made to the proceedings of the Synod the previous year respecting the employing of ministers from abroad, requiring of them an express acknowledgment of the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, before the Presbytery, as condition of admission.

Being an exceedingly zealous man, of an ardent temperament, devoted to the work of the ministry, he was noted for preaching sermons peculiarly calculated to awaken careless sinners. Anxious for the salvation of men, and dreading the awful consequences of that stupidity on the subject of religion, so apparent around him, he favored those measures for bringing men to Christ which were not so acceptable to his brethren in the Presbytery. He was accused of irregularities before his Presbytery in 1740. No immoralities were alleged against him, or false doctrines charged on him; the complaint was against various proceedings of his thought to be irregular. This was about the time of the great revival of religion, which in the course of a few years was felt all over the Protestant world, began to be seen in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, and the neighboring counties—an account of which from the pen of Samuel Blair is read with unabating interest; and the commencement of those discussions which led to the dismemberment of the Synod of Philadelphia in 1745.

The Presbytery were unable to make any conclusion of the matter; for while the majority were against him, his vehement appeals to the public turned the sympathies of the community in his favor. The charge of irregularity he rebutted by the recriminating charge of Pharisaism, coldness and formality; and in the ardor of his defence he was not very measured in his epithets and comparisons.

In the year 1741 the case was carried up to the Synod, and was debated with much earnestness. The great revival in Mr. Blair's congregation in Fagg's Manor had spread to many of the congregations that had previously been unmoved, an(] the whole community, both religious and irreligious, were agitated, not so much on the subject of doctrines, as of measures, not of orthodoxy in the creed, but of prudence and propriety in the conduct of church matters generally, and the peculiar manner of administering the Word of God, from which error in belief and practice might arise. The case of Mr. Craighead was lost sight of by the action consequent upon the protest brought in by Rev. Robert Cross, signed by himself and eleven ministers and eight elders. The members of New Brunswick Presbytery withdrew, and Mr. Craighead withdrew with them. His name does not appear on the list of either Synod of New York or Philadelphia until the year 1753, when he appears upon the roll of the Synod of New York as an absentee. From the records for 1755, he appears as member of New Castle Presbytery. During the interval from 1745 to 1753, he was for a time an associate with the Cameronians. He was a great admirer of WhitefieId's spirit and action; and like the first minister among the Presbyterians in the lower part of the State, James Campbell, drank deeply of the same fountain of truth and Iove. Like the man they admired, both these ministers possessed the power of moving men; and both left an impress upon the community in which they lived in Carolina, and stamped an image on the churches they gathered, which are visible to this day. To all human appearance there has been a great amount of fervent piety among the churches gathered and watered by these men, which has been bequeathed to their descendants from generation to generation, as a precious inheritance of the covenant of faith.

Previous to the time that Mr. Craighead's name appears upon the roll of the Synod of New York, 1753, he removed to Virginia, probably about the year 1749, and took his residence in the county of Augusta, on the Cow Pasture river, in the bounds of the present Windy Cove congregation. There is upon the minutes of the Philadelphia Synod, in the year 1752, a mention of a Mr. Craighead, the Christian name not given, and the Presbytery with which he held his connection not mentioned.

Mr. Alexander Craighead's name was enrolled among the members set off for the formation of the Presbytery of Hanover, as appears from the following extract from minutes of the Synod of New York for 1755: "A petition was brought into the Synod setting forth the necessity of erecting a new Presbytery in Virginia, the Synod therefore appoint the Rev. Samuel Davies, John Todd, Alexander Craighead, Robert Henry, John Wright, and John Brown, to be a Presbytery under the name of the Presbytery of Hanover, and that their first meeting shall be in Hanover, on the first Wednesday of December next, and that Mr. Davies open said meeting by a sermon; and that any of their members settling to the southward and westward of Mr. Hogge's congregation, shall have liberty to join said Presbytery of Hanover."

Owing probably to the troubles in the country, Mr. Craighead did not meet with the Presbytery for some two years after its formation.

The defeat of Braddock on the 9th of July, 1155, had thrown the frontiers of Virginia at the mercy of the Indians. The inroads of the savages were frequent and murderous. Terror reigned throughout the valley. Mr. Craighead occupying a most exposed situation, his preaching-place being a short distance from the present Windy Cove church, and his dwelling on the farm now occupied by Mr. Andrew Settlington—in a settlement on the Virginia frontier, and open to the incursions of the savages, fled with those of his people who Were disposed and able to fly, and sought safety in less exposed situations, after having lived in Virginia about six years. Crossing the Blue Ridge, he passed on to the more quiet regions in Carolina, and found a location among the settlements along the Catawba and its smaller tributaries, in the bounds of what is now Mecklenburg county. Mr. Craighead first met with Hanover Presbytery at Cub Creek, Sept. 2d, 1757. At a meeting of the Presbytery in Cumberland, at Capt. Anderson's, January, 1758, Mr. Craighead was directed to preach at Rocky River, on the second Sabbath of February, and visit the other vacancies till the spring meeting. At the meeting of the Presbytery in April, a call from Rocky River was presented for the services of Mr. Craighead. He accepted the call, and requested installation. "Presbytery hereby consent that Mr. Craighead should accept the call of the people on Rocky River, in North Carolina, and settle with them as their minister, and they appoint Mr. Martin to preside at his installation at such time as best suits them both." This appointment Mr. Martin failed to fulfil, and in September, Mr. William Richardson, on his way to the Cherokees, was appointed to perform the duty. This appointment was fulfilled, though the day of the services is not given. From this record it appears that the name of the oldest church in the upper country was Rocky River and it included Sugar Creek in its bounds. In 1765 the bounds of all the congregations were adjusted by order of the Synod.

In this beautiful, fertile and peaceful country, Mr. Craighead passed the remainder of his days, in the active duties of a frontier minister of the gospel, and ended his successful labors in his Master's vineyard in the month of March, 1766; the solitary minister between the Yadkin and Catawba.

In this retired country, too, he found full and undisturbed exercise for that ardent love of personal liberty and freedom of opinion which had rendered him obnoxious in Pennsylvania, and was in some measure restrained in Virginia. He was ahead of his ministerial brethren in Pennsylvania in his views of civil government and religious liberty, and became particularly offensive to the Governor for a pamphlet of a political nature, the authorship of which was attributed to him. This pamphlet attracted so much attention, that in 1743 Thomas Cookson, one of his Majesty's justices, for the county of Lancaster, in the name of the Governor, laid it before the Synod of Philadelphia. The Synod disavowed both the pamphlet and Mr. Craighead; and agreed with the Justice that it was calculated to foment disloyal and rebellious practices, and disseminate principles of disaffection.

In the State of Virginia to which he removed, the disabilities upon those who dissented from the established government, were ill-suited to the spirit of such a man as Mr. Craighead. To fight with savages, to defend the frontiers, and shield the plantations of Eastern Virginia; for men that could not yield to his congregation the privilege of being married according to the ceremonies of the church to which they belonged, and who required of them to support a ministry on whose ordinances, public and private, they would not attend, could not be agreeable to a spirit that longed for all the freedom that belongs to man, and in his aspirations for what he had not seen, anal scarcely knew how to comprehend, indulged in latitude of thought and expression alarming even to emigrants from Ireland, whose minds had not been restrained in their speculations about religious and civil liberty.

In Carolina, he found a people remote from the seat of authority, among whom the intolerant Iaws were a dead letter, so far divided from other congregations, even of his own faith, that there could be no collision with him, on account of faith or practice; so united in their general principles of religion and church government, that he was the teacher of the whole population, and here his spirit rested. Here he passed his days; here he poured forth his principles of religious and civil government, undisturbed by the jealousy of the government, too distant to be aware of his doings, or too careless to be interested in the poor and distant emigrants on the Catawba.

Mr. Craighead had the privilege of forming the principles, both civil and religious, in no measured degree, of a race of men that feared God, and feared not labor and hardship, or the face of man; a race that sought for freedom and property in the wilderness, and having found them, rejoiced,—a race capable of great excellence, mental and physical, whose minds could conceive the glorious idea of Independence, and -whose convention announced it to the world, in May, 1775, and whose hands sustained it in the trying scenes of the Revolution.

About the time the emigration from Ireland, through Pennsylvania, began to occupy the beautiful valley of Virginia, and the waters of the Roanoke, some scattered families were found following the Indian traders' path to the wide prairies on the east of the Catawba, and west of the Yadkin. From the similarity of names, in the absence of other proof, it is very probable that these settlements, in the beautiful Mesopotamia of Carolina, were formed from emigrants from the same parts of Ireland that nurtured the youth of the ancestors of the congregation on Opecquon, in Frederick county, in Virginia, and the congregation of the Tripleforks of Shenandoah, in Augusta. These in Virginia were commenced about the year 1737; those in Carolina must have been soon after. By means of the memoranda preserved by the Clark family, that have lived more than a century along the Cape Fear river, it is ascertained that a family, if not a company, of emigrants went to the west of Yadkin, as all the upper country was then called, as early as the year 1746, to join some families that were living sequestered in that fertile region. This, the oldest positive date that is now known, indicates a previous settlement, the time of whose arrival cannot be found out, as the records of courts are all silent, and the offices of the foreign landowners were not then opened for the sale of these remote fields and forests.

The emigrants from Ireland, holding the Protestant faith, the first to leave the place of their birth, for the enjoyment of freedom, in companies sufficient to form settlements, sought the wilds of America by two avenues, the one, by the Delaware River, whose chief port was Philadelphia, and the other, by a more southern landing, the port of Charleston, South Carolina. Those landing at the southern port, immediately sought the fertile forests of the upper country, approaching North Carolina on one side, and Georgia on the other; and not being very particular about boundaries, extended southward at pleasure, while, on the north, they were checked by a counter tide of emigration. Those who landed on the Delaware, after the desirable lands east of the Alleghanies, in Pennsylvania, were occupied, turned their course southward, and were speedily on the Catawba: passing on, they met the southern tide, and the stream turned westward, to the wilderness long known as "Beyond the Mountains;" now, as Tennessee. These two streams, from the same original fountain, Ireland, meeting and intermingling in this new soil, preserve the characteristic difference, the one, possessing some of the air and manner of Pennsylvania, and the other, of Charleston. These are the Puritans, the Roundheads of the South, the Blue-stockings of all countries; men that settled the wilderness on principle, and for principle's sake; that built churches from principle, and fought for liberty of person and conscience as their acquisition, and the birthright of their children.

Passing along the upper stage route from South Carolina, through the "Old North State," to the "Old Dominion," the traveller is conducted through the pleasant villages of Charlotte, Concord, Salisbury, Lexington, Greensborough, and then either through Hillsborough to the capital of North Carolina, Raleigh, or through Danville or Milton, on to the River of Powhatan. This is the line of settlements of the emigrants from Ireland, as they sought a residence in this beautiful upper country. After passing Charlotte, the first object of importance that meets the eye of one searching for localities, is the plain brick meeting-house, of the Sugar Creek congregation, about three miles north of the village. This is the present place of worship of part of the oldest Presbyterian congregation in the upper country, in some measure THE PARENT OF THE SEVEN CONGREGATIONS that formed the Convention in Charlotte, in 1775. The Indian name of the creek, which gave name to the congregation, was pronounced Sugaw or Soogaw, and in the early records of the Church, was written Sugaw; but for many years it has been written according to the common pronunciation, ending the word with the letter r, instead of w. This brick church is the third house of worship used by the congregation; the first stood about half a mile west from this, and the second, a few steps south, the pulpit being over the place now occupied by the pastor's grave.

Previous to the year 1750, the emigration to this beautiful but distant frontier was slow, and the solitary cabins were found upon the borders of prairies, and in the vicinity of canebrakes, the immense ranges abounding with wild game, and affording sustenance the 'Whole year, for herds of tame cattle. Extensive tracts of country between the Yadkin and the Catawba, now waving with thrifty forests, then were covered with tall grass, with scarce a bush or shrub, looking at first view as if immense grazing farms had been at once abandoned, the houses disappearing, and the abundant grass luxuriating in its native wildness and beauty, the wild herds wandering at pleasure, and nature rejoicing in undisturbed quietness.

From about the year 1750, family after family, group after group, succeeded in rapid progression, led on by reports sent back by the adventurous pioneers of the fertility and beauty of those solitudes, where conscience was free, and labor all voluntary. By the time that Mr. McAden visited the settlements in 1755 and 1756, they were in sufficient numbers to form a congregation in the centre spot. Many of the early settlers were truly pious, many others had been accustomed to attend upon and support the ordinances of God's house. Intermingled were some that delighted, in these solitudes, to throw off all restraint, and live in open disregard of the ordinances of God, and as far as was safe, in defiance of the laws of man. The pious and the moral united in the worship of God, and formed the congregation of Sugars-Creek, which knew no other bounds than the distance men and women could walk or ride to church, which was often as much as fifteen miles, as a regular thing, and twenty for an occasional meeting.

At the time of the settlement of Mr. Craighead, the county of Anson extended from Bladen indefinitely west, having been set off in 1749, as a separate county. In the year 1762, the county of Mecklenburg was set off from Anson, and took its name in honor of the reigning house of Hanover; and the county seat, in the bounds of Sugaw Creek congregation, and about three miles from the church, was called Charlotte, in honor of the Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg.

About the year 1765, by order of the Synod of New York and Philadelphia, the congregations that surround Sugar Creek were organized by the Rev. Messrs. Spencer and M'Whorter, as appears from the Records of Synod as follows:—viz., Elizabethtown, May 23d, 1764, "Synod more particularly considering the state of many congregations to the southward, and particularly North Carolina, and the great importance of having those congregations properly organized, appoint the Rev. Messrs. Elihu Spencer and Alexander M'Whorter, to go as our missionaries for that purpose; that they form societies, hell) them in adjusting their bounds, to ordain elders, administer sealing ordinances, instruct the people in discipline, and finally direct them in their after conduct," &c. On the 16th of May, 1765, this committee reported to the Synod that they had performed their mission; this report, however, has not been preserved. But we are not left at a loss for the names of part of the congregations whose bounds they adjusted, as, in that and the succeeding year, calls were sent in for pastors from Steel Creek, Providence, Hopewell, Centre, Rocky River, and Poplar Tent, which entirely surrounded Sugar Creek, besides those in Rowan and Iredell.

These seven congregations were in Mecklenburg, except a part of Centre which lay in Rowan (now Iredell),—and in their extensive bounds comprehended almost the entire county. From these came the delegates that formed the celebrated convention in Charlotte.

A visit to the localities of this congregation will reward the traveller.

Turning westward from this brick church, about half a mile through the woods, you find on a gentle ascent, the first burying ground of this congregation, and probably the oldest in Mecklenburg county. A few rods to the east of the stone wall that surrounds it, stood a log church where Craighead preached, and where were congregated from Sabbath to Sabbath many choice spirits, that having worshipped the God of their fathers, in this wilderness, far from their native land, now sleep in this yard. The house, to its -very foundation, has passed away, and with it the generation that gathered in it, upon the first settlement of the land. Their deeds remain. The children of that race are passing away too; scarce a man or woman lingers in the flesh; and with them is passing, fast passing to oblivion, the knowledge of things, and men, and deeds, which posterity will fain (hg from the rubbish of antiquity, and shall dig for in vain. The generation has passed, without a history, and almost without an epitaph.

These little breaches you see in the time defying wall, reared by the emigrants around the burial place of their dead, were made by gold diggers, when the excitement first spread over the land upon the discovery, that these adventurous people had lived, and died, and were buried here, ignorant that there was, or could be, in their place of worship and sepulture, any deposit more clear to posterity than the ashes of their ancestors. Entering by the gateway at the north-western corner through which the emigrants carried their dead, a multitude of graves closely congregated, with a few scattered monuments, meet the eye. You cannot avoid the impression, as you move on, that you are walking upon the ashes of the dead; and as you read some of the scanty memorials, reared by affection to mark the burial-places of friends, that you are among the tombs of the first settlers who lie in crowds beneath your feet, without a stone to tell whose body is resting there in expectation of the resurrection.
The first head-stone, a little distance from the gate, on the right, is inscribed,—"Mrs. JEMIMA ALEXANDER. SHARPE; born Jan. 9th, 1727: died Sept. 1st, 1797: a widdow 38 years." An elder sister of the secretary of the convention, one of the earliest emigrants to this country, she used to say, that in the early days of her residence here, her nearest neighbor northward was eight miles, and southward and eastward, fifteen; that the coming of a neighbor was a matter of rejoicing; and that her heart was sustained in her solitude by the Doctrines of the Gospel and the Creed of her Church.

In the southwest corner is an inscription to—JANE WALLIS, who died July 31st, 1792, in the eightieth year of her age,—the honored mother of the Rev. Mr. Wallis, minister of Providence, some fifteen miles south of this place, the able defender of Christianity against infidelity spreading over the country at the close of the Revolution, like a flood. His grave is with his people.

Near the middle of the yard is the stone inscribed to the memory of DAVID ROBINSON, who died October 12th, 1808, aged eighty--two, —an emigrant, and the father of the late Dr. Robinson, who served the congregation of Poplar Tent about forty years, and ended his course in December, 1843. It was at a spring on this man's land, and near his house, that the congregation of Sugar Creek and Hopewell used to meet and spend clays of fasting and prayer together, during the troublesome times of the early stages of the French Revolution. From the peculiar formation of the ravine around the spring, the pious people were willing to believe that it was a place designed of God for his people to meet and seek his face.

The oldest monument, but not the monument of the oldest grave, is a small stone thus inscribed.

Here Lies the
Body of ROBERT
McKEE, who deceased
October the 19th, 1775,
Aged 73 years.

Around lie many that were distinguished in the Revolution, without a stone to their graves, and not one with an epitaph that should tell the fact of that honorable distinction. Perhaps the omission may have arisen from the circumstance honorable to the country, that, with few exceptions, the whole neighborhood were noted for privations and suffering, and brave exploits in a cause sacred in their eyes.

The most interesting grave is at the southeast corner, without an inscription or even a stone or mound to signify that the bones of any mortal are there. It is the grave of the REVERENT ALEXANDER CRAIGHEAD, the first minister of the congregation, and of the six succeeding ones whose members composed the entire convention in Charlotte, in i\Tay, 1775. Tradition says that these two sassafras trees, standing, the one at the head, and the other at the foot of the grave, sprung from the two sticks on which, as a bier, the coffin of this memorable man was borne to the grave in March, 1766. Being thrust into the ground to mark the spot temporarily, the green sticks, fresh from the mother stock, took root and grew. Was it an emblem? Were we as superstitious as the people of Europe a hundred years ago, we might read in this and the surrounding congregations, the fulfilment of this mute prophecy. The aspirations for liberty, which were too warm for the province of Pennsylvania or even Virginia, were congenial to the spirits here. When the hearts around him beat with his, Craighead ceased to be "tinged with an uncharitable and party spirit" charged on him in Pennsylvania; and the community which assumed its form under his guiding hand, had the image of democratic republican liberty more fair than any sister settlement in all the south, perhaps in all the United States. And his religious creed as to doctrines, and also as to experience, has been the creed of the Presbyterians of Mecklenburg. Soundness of doctrine, according to the Confession of Faith, has been maintained by his congregation at all hazards—and a standard of warm-hearted piety and ardent devotion has been handed down as a legacy from their fathers to succeeding generations to which the church has always looked with kindling desire. M r. Caruthers tells us, Mr. Craighead was subject, in the latter part of his life, to dejection of spirits. This of course lessened his capability to labor; and may account for the application from Rocky River for supplies in 1761, as he was the only minister in the country.

Besides this double influence of the man, living and speaking after him, much of his spirit has been inherited by his descendants, and with it the affections of the people. He left two sons, and several daughters. One son, Thomas, licensed in 1778, supplied the congregation of his father for some time; but declining a settlement in North Carolina, he ultimately removed to 'Tennessee;--an eloquent preacher and warm-hearted man. He died a few years since near Nashville; the latter part of his life rendered less useful by his difference with his brethren on the subject of the agency of the Word in the conversion of men. His third daughter, Rachel, was married to the Reverend David Caldwell of Guilford, whose life has been given to the public by his successor, the Reverend Eli W. Caruthers, and became the mother of Samuel C. Caldwell, whose whole ministerial life, with small exception, was devoted to this, his grandfather's charge. His memorial, testifying to his service for thirty-five years, is near the new brick meeting-house.

After the removal of Dr. Morrison to Davidson College, a great grandson of Craighead succeeded to his pulpit, John Madison McKnitt Caldwell, the son of S. C. Caldwell, and served them till the year 1845.

"Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be Iike his. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, from henceforth, yea, saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them."

The immediate successor of Mr. Craighead was Joseph Alexander, a connexion of the McKnitt branch of Alexanders, a man of education and talents, of small stature, and exceedingly animated in his pulpit exercises. Licensed by New Castle Presbytery in 1767, in October of that year he presented his credentials to Hanover Presbytery at the Bird church, in Goochland, and accepted a call from Sugar Creek. His ordination took place with that of Mr. David Caldwell on March 4th, 1768, at Buffalo. He read his lecture on John, 3d Chapter, 3d to 5th verse, on the third of March, and also his trial sermon on the words—"There is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus." Mr. Pattello presided at the installation. On the third Friday in May, Mr. Caldwell performed the services of his installation as pastor of Sugar Creek.

A fine scholar, he, in connection with 1MIr. Benedict, taught a classical school of high excellence and usefulness. From Sugar Creek he removed to Bullock's Creek, South Carolina, and was long known in the church as a minister and teacher of youth for professional life. A volume of his sermons was given to the public after his death.

While the Presbyterians were laboring in vain to get a charter for a college, in Charlotte, confirmed by the king, the notorious Fanning offered to get a university of which he himself should be chancellor, and 1Ir. Joseph Alexander, who was noted as a teacher, should be first professor. But much as the people desired a college and loved Alexander, they could not take one with such a chancellor.

Returning to the Brick church, we enter the grave-yard by the roadside on the south. The first white stone that meets the eye, marks the grave of S. C. Caldwell, directly beneath the communion table of the log church he long occupied as minister, the spot where he stood when he took his ordination vows, and where he chose to be buried when he should have finished his course. Around the preacher sleeps the congregation who worshipped in the house that stood here during the Revolution. The pastor and people and building are passed away. The children that assembled here, in Revolutionary times, have grown old, and scarcely here and there one remains to tell the history of the exploits and sufferings of the war, and the traditions of the settlement. The man that sleeps in that grave led the flock of his grandfather through the troublesome times that succeeded the Revolution, when the infidelity of France rolled its burning waves with fury across the whole continent.

Samuel C. Caldwell, the son of David Caldwell of Guilford, and grandson of Alexander Craighead, was licensed to preach the gospel, when but nineteen years of age, by the Presbytery of Orange. Dr. Hall, of Iredell, used his influence, and none knew how to exercise it better with young men, in persuading him to accept the call made by his grandfather's congregation; and preached the ordination sermon on February 21st, 1792, at which time Mr. Caldwell became Pastor of Sugar Creek and Ilopewell churches. The five years that elapsed between his licensure and ordination had much of it been spent in these congregations; and the success attending his ministry led the people earnestly to desire his settlement. Dr. Hall, in a note to the sermon delivered on the occasion of his ordination, says,—"Under Mr. Caldwell's first ministrations in those congregations, it pleased God to send a reviving time, in consequence of which, there were upwards of seventy young communicants admitted to the Lord's table in one day."

He resided for a time with David Robinson by the famous Spring; and John Robinson, the son, afterwards pastor of Poplar Tent, pursued his studies for the ministry in the same room with him.

Being united in marriage with Abigail Bane, the (laughter of John M'Knitt Alexander, he took his residence in Hopewell. After her death, which occurred in 1802, leaving him with two motherless children, circumstances occurred which led to his giving up the charge of Hopewell in 1805, and he removed to Sugar Creek, giving three-fourths of his time to Sugar Creek; the other fourth of his labors he expended at Charlottetown for a time; then at Paw Creek till a church was organized, which he relinquished to Mr. Williamson; and then at Mallard Creek till a church was organized there. In 1805 he opened a classical school, which he carried on for years with the approbation of Presbytery, as expressed on their minutes.

His second wife was Elizabeth, a daughter of Robert Lindsay, of Guilford, who bore him nine children.

Of great self-command, clear in his conception of truth, and plain in his enunciation both in style and manner, amiable in his disposition and manners, kind from his natural feelings, and from the benevolence of the gospel he loved and preached, a lover of the truth, he passed his whole ministerial life, after his ordination, in connection with the prominent congregation that had called him to be pastor. His modesty and mildness might have led an inexperienced or hasty enemy to suppose that he might be easily turned from his purpose, or driven to silence by vehement, clamorous opponents. But the manner in which he met opposition, so kind and yet so entirely unflinching, so willing to do justice to his opponents, and so devoted to the cause of truth and righteousness, made all friends feel that any cause was safe in his hands; and his enemies, that it was easier to attack him than to drive him from his position, or come off honorably from the contest.

In the infidel controversy which came upon him soon after his settlement, then learned to love him, even if unconvinced by his arguments. And when he was harshly charged, because he would not yield his own pulpit and his long accustomed hour of preaching to his people, for the purpose of permitting efforts to be made to divide his congregation, the perfect coolness and unwavering resolution with which he met the assault, tempered the storm to a harmless breeze. He had enough of the cool and calm resolution of his father, David Caldwell, of Guilford, the sixth minister in Carolina, to make him immoveable, when he felt convinced; and enough of the warm heart and ardent piety of his mother, the daughter of Craighead, to make him both lovely and beloved.

Hall of Iredell came down like a torrent, a storm, a tempest; his friend Wilson, of Rocky River, poured out his common sense views of gospel truth like a steady clays rain; his neighbor and intimate Robinson, of Poplar Tent, was like a summer (lay with a storm of lightning and thunder rending the oaks; Wallis, of Providence, like a hot sun that melted by its direct rays; while Caldwell, of Sugar Creek, was like the sunshine and showers of April. His people loved him; and felt they could do nothing else. The memory of the righteous is blessed.

His epitaph was drawn up by his friend Wilson, of Rocky River.

SACRED
to the memory of the late
REV. SAMUEL C. CALDWELL,
who departed this life
Oct. 3d, 1826,
in the 59th year of his age,
and the 35th of his pastoral
office of Sugar Creek Congregation.
His long and harmonious continuance
in that relation
is his best Eulogiurn.

The Rev. Hall Morrison, his successor, became the pastor of the church in 1827, and continued for ten years, preaching a fourth part of his time in Charlotte-town. In 1837, he was removed to the Presidential chair of Davidson College.

His successor was John M. M. Caldwell, the son of S. C. Caldwell and Abigail Bane Alexander, who resigned his office in 1845, and removed to Georgia. A younger son is a minister of the gospel in South Carolina. Who shall say that the covenant of God is net visited from the fathers to the children, in the infinite mercy of God?

Step a little further into the middle of the yard, under the shade of these old oaks, and you may read on an humble stone, the name of one that will never be forgotten in Carolina, the Chairman of the Convention of 1775, and of the Committee of Public Safety that succeeded, and an elder of the church.

ABRAHAM ALEXANDER,
died April 23d, 1756,
Aged 68 years.
"Let me die the death of the
Righteous, and let my last
end be like his."

That he was a leading magistrate of the county, will be seen, by inspecting the records of the court of Mecklenburg, now in the clerk's office in Charlotte, the county seat.

As you look round upon the numerous headstones, you perceive that the Alexander family must have been very numerous in the time of the Revolution, and since, in Mecklenburg. Of the same original stock, they were of different degrees of consanguinity. The tradition of their emigration from Ireland to America is singular. Among the emigrations from Scotland to Ireland, and from Ireland to Scotland, (luring the period intervening 1610 and 1688, to which the Presbyterians were driven as the means of escape from persecution for conscience sake, there was one to Ireland, in which seven brothers of the name of Alexander formed part. Unable to endure the harassing interference which became more and more grievous the few years preceding the Revolution in 1685, many of the ministers being put in prison for holding a fast, and the private members of the church suffering oppressions equally intolerable, they turned their eyes to America. A plan was formed for their transportation to the New World. On the eve of their departure, they sent to Scotland for their old preacher, to baptize their children, and administer the consolations of the gospel. The minister, a faithful and fearless man, came; the families and their effects were embarked, the ordinances of the gospel were administered in quietness, on board the vessel, and with a solemnity becoming the occasion. An armed company, that had been prowling about, carne on board, broke up the company, and lodged the minister in gaol. Towards night, the old matron, who had been piously covenanting; for her grand-children, addressed the alarmed company, "Men, gang ye awa', tak our minister out o' the jail, and tak him, good soule, with us to Ameriky." Her voice had never been disobeyed. Before morning, the minister was on board, and the vessel out of the harbor. Having no family, the minister cheerfully proceeded on the voyage, and with many prayers and thanksgivings, they were landed on the island of Manhattan, where the city of New York now stands. Part of the company remained on Manhattan, and one of their descendants, William Alexander, was known in the war of the Revolution, a Major-General in the American service, and commonly called Lord Sterling, having succeeded to an estate and the title. The others took up their abode for a time in Jersey, and then removed to Pennsylvania. There they intermarried, and mingled with their countrymen, and their descendants, in great numbers, emigrated to the Catawba.

Families by the name of Alexander were the most numerous in Mecklenburg at the time of the Revolution; next to them was the Harris connexion these two, with their kindred, embraced at that time about one-third of the county.

The log meeting-house that stood here, whose foundations you may in part see, the second occupied by the congregation that now worship in that brick house, was the place of worship while Mrs. Jackson, and her son, Andrew, made Sugar Creek their refuge. The widow, an emigrant from Ireland, had buried her husband on the Waxhaw, then claimed by North Carolina, but now within the settled bounds of South Carolina, and, compelled by the sufferings of war, had fled for refuge to Mecklenburg.

After the fall of Charleston, the British army spread out over the country. Col. Buford, from Bedford, Virginia, moving along the Waxhaw, as he supposed, out of danger, was suddenly set upon by Tarleton, who had been upon his trail. The soldiers were preparing their breakfast, and as the British came in sight, there was much discussion whether they should fight a superior force, or abandon the field to the enemy. It was finally resolved to fight it out to the last, by the determined course of Capt. Wallace, from Rockbridge, Virginia. Tarleton, in his account of the battle, says, that he sent a flag, and proposed a surrender; that, finally, the negotiation was broken off by the two following communications:
1st. From Tarleton to Buford. May 29th, 1780.

(After making preparations for Buford's surrender in five articles, which, he said, could not be repeated.) "If you are rash enough to reject them, the blood be upon your head."

2d. The laconic reply of Buford. Waxhaw, May 29th, 1780.

"Sir,—I reject your proposals, and shall defend myself to the last extremity.

"I have the honor to be,
"ALEX. BUFORD, Col."

The event of the battle is well known. Before night, the Waxhaw meeting-house was a hospital, and Buford's regiment killed, wounded, or dispersed. The females and children fled to escape the ravaging track of the relentless enemy. Mrs. Jackson took up her abode with her two children, in Sugar Creek congregation, with widow Wilson, and remained a part of the summer.

This brave woman, and two of her sons, perished in the war, and left her youngest son a solitary member of the family. Her death was occasioned by a fever, brought on by a visit to Charleston, to carry necessaries to some friends and relations on board the prison-ship, whose deplorable sufferings, she, with four or five other ladies, was permitted to relieve. On her way home, she was seized with the prison fever, and soon ended her clays. Somewhere between what was then called "Quarter-house" and the city of Charleston is her unknown grave.

Men have often wondered how her son Andrew, in his most thoughtless days, always treated a faithful minister of the gospel so respectfully; and why, after encouraging his wife in a religious life, he himself should, in his age, become a member of the Presbyterian church. The cause is found laid deep in his childhood. His mother was a member of the Waxhaw congregation, and he had seen and felt the influence of faithful ministers when a child.

Turning towards the middle of the yard, you may read the simple memorial of Mrs. Flinn, the widowed mother of the Rev. Andrew Flinn, D.D., who held an eminent place among the clergy of North and South Carolina, whose childhood was passed in Sugar Creek.

Along this great road that passes this yard and house, the British forces pursued the'armed band that had been collected for the temporary defence of Charlotte; and a little beyond that hill, fell Major Locke, and a little further on, Graham was wounded. Near by, lives Aunt Susy, who, with her mother, watched and trembled over him the night he lay exhausted after that sad day's encounter, when, as the British historian says, "that company of horsemen behind the Court-house, kept in check the whole British army."


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