Check all the Clans that have DNA Projects. If your Clan is not in the list there's a way for it to be listed. Electric Scotland's Classified Directory An amazing collection of unique holiday cottages, castles and apartments, all over Scotland in truly amazing locations.

Click here to get a Printer Friendly Page

Sketches of North Carolina
Chapter XVI - The Rev. Henry Pattillo and the Churches in Orange and Granville


IN the year 1751, the Rev. Samuel Davies, then residing in Hanover, Virginia, made an excursion for preaching, to the Roanoke. In the course of his journeyings, he became acquainted with Henry Pattillo, then a young man desirous of commencing his studies in preparation for the gospel ministry, and invited him to come and commence his course with him in Hanover. This invitation Mr. Pattillo at first declined, as he had engaged to go to Pennsylvania with another young man, and commence his studies under the care and tuition of the Rev. Mr. John Thomson, who was at this time in Carolina on a mission to the new settlements.

In the year 1744, in compliance with a "representation from many people in North Carolina—showing their desolate condition, and requesting the Synod to take their condition into consideration, and petitioning that we would appoint one of our number to correspond with them,—Mr. Thomson, of Donegal Presbytery, was appointed by the Synod to correspond with them. he was at this time on a visit to these petitioners, and others in Carolina. Mr. Pattillo had once set out for Pennsylvania in the year 1750, but was seized by a pleurisy before he had proceeded half a clay's journey, under the influence of which he labored the greater part of the winter following. Of course his journey to Pennsylvania was given up. While waiting in the summer of 1751 for Mr. Thom-son's return from Carolina, the young roan who had engaged to go on with him to Pennsylvania, abandoned the design of preparing for the ministry. Mr. Pattillo then determined to accept the invitation of Mr. Daries, and on the first of August, 1751, arrived at his house in Hanover, and "had a kind welcome."

On the 10th of August, 1754, while residing with Mr. Davies, he commenced a journal, a part of which remains, the last date being, June 13th, 1757. He gives the following reasons for commencing the journal: 1st (the beginning of the sentence is wanting)—"My growth or decay in the divine life, and thus the blessing of God be actuated accordingly. 2dly, I shall thereby more accurately observe the workings of my own heart, and the methods the Lord may take for my reclamation in my strayings from him. 3dly, This may, through the divine blessing, have a tendency to promote my watchfulness and diligence, seeing I shall have a daily sentence against myself constantly before me, which I hope may tend to promote my humiliation. 4thly, By observing the dealings of God with myself, I may be the better enabled to deal with others, especially if the Lord shall carry inc through learning, and call me to the work of the ministry. Fifly, To mention no more, it may be of service to me in giving an account of my state godward, if ever I should come on trial for the ministry." He then proceeds to give some account of himself from his birth up to that time. From the fragments which remain, the following facts are gathered.

Born in Scotland, of pious parents, who were well situated in point of religious privileges, he was early placed with a merchant to learn the duties of the counting-house. Providentially removed from the situation in which he was placed, he was induced to seek for better things in the Province of Virginia, a region to which many young Scotchmen turned their eyes with empty pockets, and hearts full of hope. Here he engaged with a merchant for a time, and felt in his absence from religious instructions and restraints the overcoming power of temptation, which for a time prevailed over his early instructions and pious resolutions. Leaving the countinghouse, he commenced the employment of a teacher of children; and while thus engaged his own reflections led him to painful and alarming convictions of sin. He describes his state of mind thus: "On the commission of sin, after I conceived the Almighty had partly forgot it, or his anger somewhat abated, I would go and confess it with many tears, and thus got ease—encompassing myself with sparks of my own kindling. But I was taught by a book I got about this time, that I must go farther yet, and enter into special covenant with God. Well, after this I felt pretty secure, till, by the kind providence of God, I was brought to a congregation of Presbyterians, where I had good books and preaching pretty frequently." The effect of preaching, however, was not to human appearance of much effect, except to make him see the inconsistency of his course. After remaining a year in this congregation, he removed to another and opened his school. Of his exercises of mind and heart he thus writes: "Here, by what means I cannot tell; it being so gradual, I got such astonishing views of the method of salvation, and of the glorious Mediator; such sweetness in the duties of religion; such a love to the ways of God; such an entire resignation to and acquiescence in the divine will; such a sincere desire to see men religious, and endeavor to make those so with whom I conversed, that after all my base ingratitude, dreadful backslidings, broken vows, frequent commission of sin, loss of fervor, and frequently lifeless duties since that time, I must, to the eternal praise of boundless free grace, esteem it a work of the Holy Spirit, and the finger of God."

Prayer became "his very breath," and he engaged in it as often as three or four times a day; meditations on divine things filled his heart with joy. "I used, when alone, to speak out in meditation, and do esteem it an excellent medium to fix the heart on the work." He goes on to say about the continuance of his exercises: "Thus I went on my way rejoicing and serving God for the space of a year and a half; I was generally full of warmth, nor could I take the Bible or any religious book into my hand but I would find something suited to the present state of my soul, and in my prosperity I thought I should never be moved."

He notices an error he fell into about this time judging others' experience too much by its agreement or disagreement with his own—his intercourse with men led him to judge more favorably of his fellow professors, "having learned not to make my own experience a standard for others, nor confine the Almighty to one particular way of bringing his children to himself."

His desire to bring men to Christ led him to frequent efforts in private to convince and persuade; and from being thus engaged in private, he desired to be able to preach the everlasting gospeI to all men. "I can boast of but little success in these endeavors, yet my feeble attempts produced in me an indescribable desire of declaring the same to all mankind to whom I had access; and as I could not do this in a private station, I was powerfully influenced to apply to learning in order to be qualified to do it publicly."

In consequence of this desire he prepared to go to Pennsylvania to commence his studies, but was prevented by sickness; and, eventually, in the year 1751, went to reside with the Rev. Samuel Davies in Hanover. With that eminent man he pursued his studies till his voyage to England in the service of Princeton College; and after his return, till the time of his licensure, which took place at Cub Creek, then in Lunenburg county, Sept. 29th, 1758. The certificate signet! by Samuel Davies, Moderator, and John Todd, Clerk, is preserved, though in a mutilated condition; its wording is somewhat different from the form now used, as for instance—"he having declared his assent to, and approbation of, the Westminster Confession of Faith and Directory, as they have been adopted by the Synod of New York, agreeably to the practice of the Church of Scotland," &c.

During his residence in Hanover, he was sustained in part by the kindness of friends, and in part by spending some hours each day in teaching, till the time of his marriage to a Miss Anderson, which event took place in 1755. From that time till his course of studies was completed he was sustained by teaching children, and by the resources of his wife, living, as he says in the last entry in the journal, June 13th, 1757, in a "house 16 by 12 and an outside chimney, with an 8 feet shed—a little chimney to it." On the clay of this last date the chimney of the shed was shattered by lightning, the rest of the house and the other chimney, which was much higher, together with the eleven persons in the house, himself, wife, and infant child, his wife's sister, six scholars and a negro boy,—all escaped unhurt.

In the absence of data from his own hand, the following extracts from the Records of Hanover Presbytery will afford information respecting this interesting man,-

"Hanover, 28th April, 1757. The Presbytery appointed Mr. Pattillo as piece of trial, to be delivered next June, a sermon on Acts xvi., 43, first part.—"To him give all the prophets witness:" and an Exegesis—"Num Peena Inferorum sit aeterna." On the appointed day these were considered and approved.

Cub Creek, Sept. 28th, 1757. Mr. Pattillo opened Presbytery with a Lecture on Daniel, 7th chapter, 19th to 27th verses: and a Sermon on the 27th verse of the same chapter. He was then examined on Divinity, on his religious experience, "and on review of sundry trials he has passed through, they judge him qualified to preach the gospel; and having declared his assent to, and approbation of, the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechism, and Directory, as they have been adopted by the Synod of New York, the Presbytery doth authorize him to preach as a candidate for the Ministry of the Gospel, and recommend him to the acceptance of the Churches; and they order Messrs. Davies and Todd to draw up a certificate according to the purport of this minute; and appoint (Alexander Craighead) the Moderator to give him solemn instruction and admonition with respect to the discharge of his office, which was clone accordingly."

Providence, 26th April, 1758. Petitions for supplies were considered. One from Hico—"formerly under the care of the Philadelphia Synod—particularly for Mr. Pattillo." Calls came in for him also from Albemarle, Orange and Cumberland. The Presbytery agreed to (rive him till the next meeting to consider them.

Cumberland, 12th July, 1758. "Rev. Henry Pattillo and Wrn. Richardson have been set apart to the work of the holy ministry, by fasting, prayer, and imposition of hands,"—a certificate ordered. At the same meeting he was appointed Stated Clerk.

Hanover, Sept. 27th, 1758. Mr. Pattillo accepted a call from Willis, Bird and Buck Island. With these congregations he remained about four years. At a meeting of Presbytery, Providence, Oct. 7, 1762, he was dismissed from this charge, the people "being unable to give him a sufficient support." In 1763, May 4th, at Tinkling Spring, he agreed to supply Cumberland, Harris Creek and Deep Creek. With these congregations he continued about two years. At a meeting of Presbytery, Hico, 2d October, 1765, a call for his services was presented from Hawfields, Eno and Little River. This call he accepted, and removed to the State of North Carolina, and there served the church about thirty-five years in Orange and Granville counties.

At a meeting of Presbytery, Buffalo, Rowan county, N. C., March 8th, 1770, Messrs. David Caldwell, Hugh M'Aden, Joseph Alexander and Henry Pattillo, and Hezekiah Balch and James Criswell, united in a petition to Synod to be set off as a Presbytery by the name of Orange,—"where two of our ministers reside," is given as the reason for the name. This year the counties of Guilford, Wake, Chatham and Surrey, were set of to counteract the influence of the regulators.

Mr. PattiIlo continued with the congregation of Hawfields, Eno and Little River, till the year 1774, when he removed.

In the year 1775 he was selected for one of the delegates for the county of Bute (now Warren and Franklin) to attend the first Provincial Congress of North Carolina. Its sessions commenced August 20th, in Hillsborough. There were two other ministers in the Congress, Green hill, a Methodist, from Bute, and William Hill, the father of the present Secretary of State of North Carolina, a Baptist from Surrey.

The last resolution on the first day was, "that the Rev. Henry Pattillo be requested to read prayers to the Congress every morning; and the Rev. Charles Edward 'Taylor every evening during his stay."

On the 29th of that month Rev. Mr. Boyd presented to the Congress 200 copies of the Pastoral letter of the Synod of Philadelphia on the subject of the war. They were distributed among the members, and a sum of money appropriated to the use of Mr. Boyd, by an order on the treasurers, from the public funds. Dr. Witherspoon of New Jersey was Chairman of the Committee that prepared the letter, which was unexceptionable in its principles, except in one point, in which it is behind the movements in Mecklenburg,—it speaks of reconciliation with the mother country as possible, but as a consequent of a vehement struggle. It however exactly suited the prevailing feeling in the Provincial Congress of Carolina, the majority of whose members were not prepared to declare Independence at that time, as appears from their proceedings on Monday, September 4th, on the subject of the Confederation of the United Colonies.

"The Congress, resolved into a committee of the whole, have accordingly and unanimously chosen the Rev. Mr. Pattillo, chairman; and after some time spent therein came a resolution thereon."

"On motion, Mr. President resumed the chair, and Mr. Chairman reported as follows, to wit:"

"That the Committee have taken into consideration the plan of General Confederation between the United Colonies, and are of opinion that the same is not at present eligible. And it is also the opinion of the Committee that the Delegates for this province ought to be instructed not to consent to any plan of Confederation which may be offered in an ensuing Congress, until the same shall be laid before, and approved by, the Provincial Congress.

"That the present association ought to be further relied on for bringing about a reconciliation with the parent state, and a further confederacy ought only to be adopted in case of the last necessity.

"Then on motion resolved,-The Congress do approve of the above resolutions."

At their meeting next spring in Halifax, 1776, the Congress took the ground of Independence some two months before the action of the Continental Congress, as related in the chapter on the Declaration of Independence.

It will be borne in mind that Mr. Pattillo lived in the midst of the Regulators; that some of their largest assemblages were in the bounds of his large field of labor. And while there was more ignorance, than he wished to see, among his charge, could they be an ignorant uninformed people?

In the year 1780, Mr. Pattillo became the pastor of Nutbush and Grassy Creek, in Granville county, and gave to them his last labors, ripened by age and experience. These two congregations were composed at first of emigrants from Hanover, New Kent, and King and Queen, in Virginia, converts under the preaching of Rev. Samuel Davies and his coadjutors. Howel Lewis, Daniel Grant, and Samuel Smith, were the leading persons in Grassy Creek. Mr. Lindsey, Mr. Simms and Mrs. Gilliam, the leading ones in Nutbush.

It is the tradition that the first sacramental occasion held by Presbyterians in Granville was in 1763, by William Tennant, Jun. By order of the Synod of New York and Philadelphia the Presbytery of New Brunswick ordained him for a southern mission in 1762. His reasons for not going that year were sustained. He made a visit the next year, 1763, in obedience to the direction of Synod-"to go and supply in the bounds, and under the direction of Hanover Presbytery six months at least." The place in which the ordinance was administered was an unoccupied house belonging to Howel Lewis, about one mile and a half from where Grassy Creek Church now stands. The congregations were, it is said, regularly organized by Mr. James Criswell, who was licensed by Hanover Presbytery in 1765, and supplied these congregations for some years. Mr. Pattillo was his successor.

Mr. Tennant is represented as being of a cheerful disposition. Finding Mr. Lewis in a state of mental depression to which he was subject, and desponding on the subject of religion, he made no direct effort to dispel the gloom, but entered into cheerful conversation on the subject of salvation. Hearing Mr. Lewis order the servant to take Mr. Tennant's horse and give him some sorry fodder (that is corn blades)—"you give my horse sorry fodder," exclaimed Mr. Tennant, as if he took the word sorry in its usual signification, a pretty fellow indeed!" The suddenness of the retort changed the whole course of feeling in Mr. Lewis: he burst into a hearty laugh, and his depression was gone; and in his attendance on the ministrations of the gospel from Mr. Tennant, received great comfort and advantage.

Like Mr. Tennant, Mr. Pattillo was a cheerful man, but far removed from all levity. He says he had a touch of melancholy in his constitution. his circumstances were always narrow, and his generous feelings and numerous family prevented much increase of his worldly possessions. His numerous calls as a faithful and popular preacher, added to his vocation as a classical teacher, hindered his pursuit of knowledge, of which he had an unquenchable thirst. His health frequently became very delicate under his continued and exhausting services; and in 1752 under the influence of ill health, he made a will which is yet preserved, from which we extract the following: "I adore the blessed Providence that more especially watched over me and wonderfully governed my steps; that at the commencement of my manhood rescued me from the ways of sin and the paths of the destroyer; that made it good for me to bear the yoke in my youth; that after many discouraging disappointments which I afterwards found were merciful interpositions of divine goodness, my way was opened to an education, and I was carried through it, though poverty and a melancholy constitution darkened my prospects, and threatened to stop me at every turn. The same divine goodness and free mercy that had thus far indulged my ardent wish and daily prayer, that I might be qualified both by heaven's grace and human learning to preach the everlasting gospel, was graciously pleased to call me thereto, and set me apart by the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery. Having, therefore, obtained help of God, I continue to this day, having nothing to complain of my adorable Master, for goodness and mercy have followed me all my life long; but have to accuse myself that in ten thousand instances I have come short of the glory of God, and have been a very unprofitable servant, in not promoting to the utmost my own salvation and that of others. And a great aggravation of this guilt is, that wherever I have preached the gospel God has honored me with such a share of popularity and the favor of mankind, as have opened a door for much more usefulness than I have had zeal and diligence to improve. Look, gracious God, on a creature all over guilt and imperfection, through the all-perfect righteousness, wondrous sufferings and glorious resurrection of my Lord Jesus Christ, on whom I cast myself for time and eternity.

"As to my mortal part, let it return, when He that built it pleaseth, to the dust from whence it was taken, and in the next burying-place to which I may die. I commit it to him who perfumed the grave for his people's calm repose; who acknowledges his relation to them even in the dust, and I am sure will new create it by his power divine."

By a short will which he mule Dec. 19th, 1800, not long before his death, it appears that in 1784, the "united Presbyterian congregations of Grassy Creek and Nutbush, by their ruling elders, purchased of Mr. Thomas Williamson and others, a tract of three hundred acres of land, on Spicemarrow Creek, whereon I now live; and as the said elders commissioned and empowered the late Colonel Samuel Smith as their agent to make a deed in fee simple for the said land, to the said Henry Pattillo, which deed was proved and admitted to record by the court of Granville county, at their May term, 1784, on the express condition of my continuing till death or disability, the minister of said congregation." This condition was fulfilled, and a small patrimony was thus secured to the family of a laborious and successful minister of the gospel, who had neither disposition nor opportunity to accumulate wealth.

Mr. Pattillo pursued and finished his classical and theological course with Mr. Davies in Hanover. Ir. Davies contemplated his spending some time in college. From the short journal of Mr. Pattillo, we learn the cause why he never followed out the design of his much loved instructor. At the time he drew up his short account of his experience, August 10th, 1734, while fir. Davies was absent on a voyage to England, he says—"I have thus been supported by the mere bounty of others, which, to the praise of God be it spoken, has always been sufficient, though on the receipt of one supply, my faith has been frequently baffled to see where the next should come from. My discouragements are chiefly these. The difficulties of learning; the loss of at least one-third of my time, and Mr Davies's voyage to Europe, which has left me without a teacher this year past; together with the weakness of my faith in God's providence respecting my support." Mr. John Blair was then on a visit to Mr. Davies's congregation, as a temporary supply in his absence. Of him Mr. Pattillo makes this short remark--"what a burning light he is!" In the few leaves of the journal left, which gives here and there a notice up to June 18th, 1757, which day the remarkable thunder shower took place, as mentioned above; he dwells mostly on his own Christian experience. He makes no particular mention of Mr. Davies's presence, or family, or preaching; mentions Mr. Todd's meeting, but says nothing of him—neither names the persons with whom he was pursuing his studies in company.

On Monday, May 30th, 1755, he makes the following entry: "Agreeable to a plan agreed on among us who are studying with a view to the ministry, this day is set apart for fasting and prayer. Though my wants be so numerous that I could not name them in a whole day—the principal blessings I am this day in pursuit of are - 1st, Quickening and vivacity in religion; 2nd, That I may pursue my studies assiduously, and that the great end of them may be the glory of God, and the salvation of men; 3rd, That religion may revive where it is professed, and spread where not yet known."

Some time in the summer of 1755, he entered the married state. He had written to Mr. Davies on the subject, and received an answer stating objections to the prudence of the step at that time. The leaves of the journal on which the date of these events, and the principal objections of Davies were recorded, are lost. The opinion of his instructor overcame him, and he determined to abandon the project, till he came to consider the situation of the young lady he had addressed, and whose affection he had won; upon reflection he determined to proceed in the business, and consummate the marriage; believing it would not involve him in pecuniary difficulty; that it would not hinder his further study; and lastly, "That Mr. Davies was so well known in the learned world that a person finished by his hand, would not come under contempt any more than many shining lights now in the Church, who were educated before the college was erected."

That he pursued his studies with success after he was ordained to the full work of the gospel ministry and held a high rank as a classical teacher, is inferred from the fact that the college of Hampden Sydney, Prince Edward county, Virginia, in the year 1787, April 25th, while under the presidency of John B. Smith, conferred upon him the Degree of Master of Arts. The parchment is still preserved, and bears, in their own handwriting, the signatures of the President,—and John Nash, Arch'd McRoberts, James Allen, F. 'Watkins, Thomas Scott, Richard Foster, Richard Sankey, and Charles Allen, Curators.

In the year 1787, Mr. Pattillo issued from the press in Wilmington, a volume containing three sermons, viz., on Divisions among Christians, on the Necessity of Regeneration, and the Scripture Doctrine of Election. To these, were added an Address` to the Deists, and an extract of a letter from Mr. Whitefield to Mr. Wesley. He appears to have been fond of the use of his pen, as far as his few hours of leisure would permit. A few manuscripts remain: some Essays on Baptism; on Universalism; a Catechism of Doctrine for Youth; and a Catechism or Compend in Question and Answer, for the use of Adults. He also prepared a Geography for Youth, by way of Question and Answer, which must have been superior to any printed volume then in use. He also published a sermon on the death of General Washington. For about twelve years he taught a classical school in Granville part of the time on the place now occupied by M. J. Hunt, and part of the time at Williamsburgh.

He continued to serve the congregation of Nutbush and Grassy Creek, till his death in 1801, having nearly completed his seventy-fifth year. He finished his course at a distance from home, in Dinwiddie county, Virginia, whither he had gone as a minister of the gospel. The Rev. Drury Lacy, in the sermon he preached on the occasion of his death, says—"I was assured by the gentleman, at whose house he finished his course, that he exhibited the greatest example of resignation and tranquillity of mind he had ever seen."

The text chosen by Mr. Lacy was Romans xiv., 7 and 8; "For none of its liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; or whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord's." In giving the character of Mr. Pattillo, he says—"Possessed of all originality of genius, and endowed by nature with powers of mind superior to the common lot of men, he cheerfully determined to consecrate them all to the service of the Saviour in the gospel ministry. That the Scriptures were his delight, and that he meditated on them day and night, so as to become well-versed in their doctrines and precepts, all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance, all who ever heard him preach, and all who have read his printed works, cannot be ignorant. That he devoted his time and talents to the service of God, his works of faith and labors of love among you, and, as far as he had all opportunity, of travelling to preach, abundantly testify. His zeal was so far from being diminished by age, that it evidently appeared to increase; as if the near prospect of obtaining the crown animated him to greater exertions to be found worthy of it. My hearers! can you have forgotten the ardor and pertinacity of his prayers, the weight of his arguments, the fervor of his exhortations, and the persuasiveness of his counsels? Did he not visit your bed side when you were sick, and there communicate heavenly instructions to revive your fainting spirits, and pour forth the fervent prayer to God that your affliction might be sanctified? And in the social intercourse of friendship, you must remember how readily he improved every occurrence to communicate useful and religious knowledge. That his life was a pattern of resignation and thankfulness, has been remarked even by those who had but a slight acquaintance with him. Always cheerful, he Seemed more disposed to bless the ]land of providence for the favors he enjoyed, than to think hardly of any afflictive dispensation he suffered. When was the tenor of his soul so lost and discomposed as to unfit him for the discharge of the sacred duties of his office?"

The following extract front a letter respecting his last hours, shows the spirit of the man:—"He had lain for several hours with his eyes closed, speechless, and apparently insensible. One of his friends requested to ask a question. Although it would have seemed hopeless to expect any remaining intelligence, he had a curiosity and desire to make a last effort to arouse him. Placing his mouth near his car, he asked, in a loud tone of voice—"Where is your hope now?" The dying; man opened his eyes, and raising both hands, extended his arms upwards, as if pointing toward that heaven which had been the object of his fervent prayers, and to which he had constantly looked forward as the place of his everlasting rest." In a short time he entered into that rest.

Rev. John Matthews, a member of the Hawfields church, who, like Pattillo, commenced preparations for the ministry later in life than is usual, became the Pastor of Nutbush and Grassy Creek, having received a call April, 1803. His preparatory studies had all been under the direction of Dr. Caldwell, of Guilford, and his license given him by the Presbytery of Orange, at Barbacue, in the month of March, 1801, in company with Duncan Brown, Hugh Shaw, Murdoch Murphy, Murdoch McMillan, Malcolm McNair, and E. B. Currie, all like himself pupils of Dr. Caldwell. The two first are still living in Tennessee.

Mr. Matthews left these congregations in 1806, and removed to Berkeley county, Virginia. From thence to Jefferson county and is now Professor in the Theological Seminary at New Albany.

Leonard Prather supplied them for a short time: but was soon deposed for intemperance.

His successor was the Rev. E. B. Currie, who left Bethesda and Greers in 1809. He was also a pupil of Dr. Caldwell. He served them till about the year 1819, when he removed to Hawfields, and served that congregation and Crossroads till about the year 1843, when his infirmities induced him to give up his charge.

In 1822, Rev. S. M. Graham entered upon the duties of pastor to these congregations, and served them a number of years; he now holds the chair of a Professor in the Union Theological Seminary.

THE CONGREGATIONS OF HAWFIELDS, ENO, AND LITTLE RIVER.

Settlements of the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians began along the Eno and the Haw rivers, about the time that the colonies settled in that part of I,unenburg county, Virginia, now called Charlotte, on Cub Creek and the adjacent streams, which was about the years 1735 and 1739. It is supposed that these settlements, and those in Duplin and New Hanover, were the places visited by Robinson, who is supposed to be the first Presbyterian missionary sent from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, that visited North Carolina. No other notice remains of his visit, but the fact that he did visit these parts, and underwent great hardships, from which his constitution scarcely recovered. In all probability the "supplications" for ministerial visits that were laid before the Synod of Philadelphia, then the only Synod of Presbyterian clergy in the United States, came, in part, from the bounds of Orange county, North Carolina. The troubles and distractions that attended the divisions of the Synod soon after, prevented, or interrupted for a time, missionary operations to any extent, and then increased their number and their energy.

Mr. John Thomson, who was appointed to correspond with the supplicants, a member of Donegal Presbytery, visited them in person in 1751. On his journey to Carolina, the arrangement was made with Mr. PattiIlo and another young man, to return with him to Pennsylvania, and commence their studies in preparation for the ministry. Mr. Thomson made a long stay, and in the meantime the young man relinquishing his design of study, and Mr Davies giving Mr. Pattillo an invitation to his house, the design of going to Pennsylvania was abandoned. There remain no memoranda either of the correspondence of Mr. 'Thomson with those desirous of ministerial labor, or of his visit to them. Neither is there any document that may give any particular account of the visits that were made by the various missionaries sent out by the two Synods of New York and Philadelphia, till the years 1755 and 1736, when Hugh M'Aden, a licentiate of New Brunswick Presbytery, made a tour of a year, a concise journal of whose journeyings and preaching is still preserved, and makes part of another chapter. He visited the settlements on the Eno, and preached for them the second Sabbath of August, 1755, lodging at the house of Mr. John Anderson, whose grandchildren, some of them, still live on the Eno. After a visit to Tar River, he returned to Mr. Anderson's, and on the fourth Sabbath of August preached at the Hawfields. Of the Eno settlement he says, they were "a set of pretty regular Presbyterians," who appeared at that time in a cold state of religious feeling. Of the Hawfields settlement, he says, "the congregation was chiefly made up of Presbyterians, who seemed highly pleased, and very desirous to hear the word." The next year they applied to Hanover Presbytery for supplies.

These congregations on the Eno and the Haw appear to have been not altogether regular in their ecclesiastical matters, for, according to the statement of an old elder of the Eno church, Mr. James Clark, who died a few years since, Mr. Spencer and McWharter, in their mission to Carolina to organize and regulate the congregations, attended to the organization of Eno. However, this might refer only to their boundaries and separate action. The first elders were Thomas Clark, John Tinnier, and Carus 'Tinnier. The names of the first elders in Hawfields have not been preserved. Mr. Pattillo was the first settled minister of these two congregations, which have been the mothers of those now surrounding them, Little River, New Hope, Fairfield, and Cross Roads. He came in 1765, and left them in 1774.

The second pastor, the Rev. John Debow, from the Presbytery of New Brunswick, began to preach in these two congregations, as a licentiate, about the year 1775, and was ordained about the year 1776. his remains were interred in the grave-yard that surrounds the Hawfields meeting-house. Under his ministry there was a revival of religion, and a goodly number were added to the churches. His death took place in the month of September, 1783.

The next regular minister that remained with these congregations for a time, was Jacob Lake, the brother-in-law of Mr. Debow. During his ministry the congregation of Cross Roads was organized, being made up of parts of Hawfields, Eno, and Stony Creek. He left the congregation about the year 1790.

His successor was the Rev. William Hodges, who is said to have been a native of Hawfields. Becoming hopefully religious under the ministry of Mr. Debow, he commenced preparations for the ministry. After the death of his spiritual father, he became discouraged, turned his attention to other things, and married and settled in the congregation of Hawfields. During the excitement which prevailed under the preaching of James M'Gready, on Stony Creek, and along the Haw River, in 1789,. 1790, and 1791, Mr. Hodges felt his desire to preach the gospel revive and spring up with greater force than ever. Being licensed by the Presbytery of Orange, he went heart and hand with M'Gready in the work; differing, however, so much in his manner of preaching, that the people styled hire the "Son of Consolation," and M'Gready, Boanerges. In 1792 he was ordained pastor of Hawfields and Cross Roads, by Orange Presbytery. During his ministry many were gathered to the church. About the year 1800 he removed to Tennessee, and was there an active agent in the "Great Revival" that spread over the South and West.

His successor vas William Paisley, under whose ministry the great revival of 1802 commenced, at the Cross Roads, an account of which is given under the head of James 111'Gready, and the Great Revival. The first camp-meeting in the South was held at Hawfields, in October, 1802, and grew out of the necessity of the case. The community was greatly excited on the subject of religion, and multitudes, some from a great distance, assembled at Hawfields for the fall communion services. The neighborhood could not accommodate the numbers assembled, and their anxiety to hear the gospel was too great to permit them to return to their homes; they therefore remained on the around, camping with their wagons for three or four days, getting their necessary supplies as they could. So great was the interest excited, and so great the enjoyment, and the profit supposed to be derived from the meeting, that the example was followed extensively throughout the whole upper country of North Carolina. The custom of spending three or four days encamped at the place of worship, during communion occasions, extensively prevails to this day. Near most of the churches, that follow this habit, cabins are built for the accommodation of the worshippers, and for the season the whole neighborhood give themselves up to the exercises of the meeting. In Hawfields, the interest and attendance are yet unabated.

After serving the congregations about twenty years, Mr. Paisley removed to Greensborough; and is still able to preach occasionally, though, through infirmities of age, he has declined being pastor of a congregation.

His successor, the Rev. Ezekiel B. Currie, passed his early life in several different congregations in Orange and Guilford counties, but chiefly on the Haw River. His father lived for a time in Alamance congregation, in Guilford; from thence removed to Sandy River, in the upper part of Orange, near Randolph. During the war of the Revolution, on account of time hostility of time tories in that neighborhood, he was compelled to leave his home, and hide himself. Making a visit to his family he was discovered and seized by the tories, wounded, and left for dead, and his property carried away. The scars of these wounds, received in this attack, he carried upon his head to his grave. After being broken up on Sandy River, he removed to Haw River congregation, whose place of worship was about three miles north of Gulls Grove, the old burying-ground being still visible.

A remark made by an old gentleman who had sat silently by the fire-side, while young Currie and others were making merry one evening, was blest to awaken him to the danger he was in as a sinner. When the company were about to break up, the old gentleman turned to him and said—"Young man, when will you turn to serious things?" This troubled his mind greatly. His conversion he attributes, under God, to the ministry of Mr. M'Gready, for whom he entertained the highest regard through his whole life. His education he obtained from two sources, Dr. Caldwell of Guilford, and Mr. M'Gready. The latter taught school at his residence, between three and four miles below High Rock, about mid-way between his two places of preaching, Haw River and Stony Creek. The principal part of his instruction, however, was from Dr. Caldwell.

In the month of March, 1801, at Barbacue church, Cumberland county, Messrs. Ezekiel B. Currie, John Matthews, Duncan Brown, Murdock, McMillan, Malcolm McNair, Hugh Shaw, and Murdock Murphy, were licensed to preach the gospel by Orange Presbytery. These had all received their education principally tinder Mr. Caldwell, and were influenced more or less by M'Gready, to seek the ministry. All were actors in the great revival of 1802, and onwards. Four of them are still living; two of whom are honored with the title of D.D., Brown and Matthews. Two of them were particularly useful in building up the churches that now constitute Fayetteville Presbytery, McMillan and McNair.

Soon after his licensure, Mr. Currie went to Bethany church, in Caswell; to which Greers was soon united. After spending about seven years in these congregations, he was removed to Nutbush and Grassy Creek, in Granville; and from thence, in the year 1819, to Hawfields and Cross Roads. About the year 1843 he withdrew from the pastoral charge of these congregations, on account of the infirmities of age, but still lives to preach occasionally, and to witness the successful labors of his successor in these two congregations, constituting one of the largest and most interesting charges in North Carolina, which has been blessed with revivals from its origin.

After Cross Roads was united with Hawfields in the service of a pastor, Eno, which had at first been its partner, was united with Little River, which became a distinct congregation about this time, under the charge of Rev. James H. Bowman, in the year 1794. In the great revival in 1802, and onwards, he gathered a goodly number into his two churches. His ministry closed in 1815.

His successor was Samuel Paisley, half-brother of Wm. Paisley, and son of an Indian captive, who commenced his labors here in 1816. In 1821 the congregations were blessed with a revival of religion that brought numbers into the church. After some years of service, Mr. Paisley left them, and is now ministering in Moore county, a member of Fayetteville Presbytery.

The Rev. Messrs. Professor Philips, of the University, Elijah Graves, afterwards a missionary, Daniel G. Dock, Thomas Lynch, and finally, John Paisley, each served the congregation of Eno for a short time. The last finished his earthly course in the congregation. Of him a member of the congregation thus writes: "His labors, no doubt, were blessed, during his short stay with us. The good seed he has sown seems to be springing up; and even some sheaves ready to be gathered in; for in a few days we expect a goodly number to come forward in that old church, and declare themselves to be on the Lord's side." After expressing a desire that his name may be remembered, he goes on to say, "he was not only a preacher in the pulpit, but his daily walk and private conversation savored of the spirit of his Master. His Bible classes were large, and his examinations extremely interesting. But O, sir, we can't tell why it was that he so soon finished his work. His Master called, and he, with his lamp trimmed and burning, was ready to go. his disease, perhaps a complicated one, baffled the skill of some three or four eminent physicians. The anxiety manifested by his congregations, and all who knew him, was great indeed. But it was the Lord's doing, and we must submissively say, "Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight." The aged minister goes down like a shock of corn fully ripe; the youthful servant leaves us in amazement, and wonder, and tears.

The Eno and Hawfields congregations, extending from Hillsborough to the Ilaw River, were the scene of many of the doings of the Regulators. Not a few of the people were engaged in the proceedings of these slandered, yet brave men. Understanding their rights of person and property, they could not restrain their indignation udder the complicated and long-continued impositions of those who, acting under the protection of the crown, exacted unheard of taxes from honest, unsuspecting men; selling the same piece of land to different individuals, and receiving the pay from all, without redress; exacting pay over and over again from the same individuals for the same tract, under various pretexts; and setting at defiance all law and order. If these people had not resisted, they would have been unworthy of their ancestors and the religion they professed. That many base and unprincipled men took advantage of the disturbance and distress, to commit heinous offences against the peace of society, and in defiance of all law, is a thing to be lamented, but not to be charged too severely upon men who were willing to live peaceably, and would have been loyal had not "oppression driven them mad."

Tryon's march the day before the Regulation battle, was through these congregations; and the heavy oath of allegiance was exacted as the price of their property and lives, after the governor's victory. Upon the conscientious part of the community, that oath sat with a galling weight; although many felt themselves relieved by the fact that the king could neither enforce his laws nor defend his subjects yet some suffered under its influence during the whole war—not daring to take tip arms for their Country, and not disposed to enlist among her enemies. Such people often suffered the ill-deserved odium of being tories, and felt the ill-effects of a bad name. Few real tories were found in the Presbyterian population of Orange. The most vehement enemies that Cornwallis met, had been under the instruction of Presbyterian ministers. The first settled minister of Hawfields and Hico sat in the first Provincial Congress of Carolina, and on alarms, met with his people, to encourage them by precept and example, to defend their country and their religion. Cornwallis found Hillsborough and its neighborhood little less inviting than Charlotte, which he named "the Hornets' Nest;" and very few grown men from Hillsborough to the Haw, were unacquainted with service in the camp, and marches, and plunderings, while his lordship remained in Orange. And in the future history of Carolina, the war of the Regulation will stand prominent as the struggle of liberty and justice against oppression, not less glorious than Lexington and Bunker Hill, for the principles displayed, though less honored for the immediate effects.


Return to Book Index Page   Return to Scots in America

 


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus

Quantcast