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Sketches of North Carolina
Chapter XXIV - James Hall D.D., and the Churches in Iredell


MELCHIZEDEK was a king, and a priest of the Most High God. Abraham, the Father of the Faithful, led, for once at least, a military expedition, and on his return from a complete victory received the blessing of the king of Salem, whom the Apostle set forth as a type of Christ the Lord, the author and finisher of Faith. In the war of the American Revolution there were many young men to be found in the ranks of our armies, and in the prisons of the enemy, who, after hazarding their lives for their country, entered the ministry and spent their plays in preaching the everlasting gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,-such as Hunter of Carolina, and Marshall, and Houston, and Lyle of Virginia. There were also many clergymen that went with the armies to act as chaplains, and displayed in the various dangers and exposures of the camp and a soldier's life, the cool collected bravery of men at peace with themselves and with their God, and engaged in a good cause, such as McCaule of Centre, afterwards of South Carolina, who was beside General Davidson when he fell at Cowan's Ford; some of whom were made a sacrifice to their country's safety—as Rosborough of New Jersey. But there is not perhaps another instance of a man, a licensed preacher of the gospel, that took part in military expeditions, and commanded companies, and still retained the character and maintained the dignity and office of a minister of the gospel, beside that of James Hall of Iredell, the preacher and the soldier. There were some ministers that laid aside their office for a military command, and never resumed it, as Muhlenburg of Pennsylvania, and Thruston of Virginia.

But James Hall performed both offices, a military commander and a preacher of righteousness; was acceptable in both as a young man, and died at an advanced age a minister of the gospel. Said Dr. Robinson of Poplar Tent, when a boy at school at Charlotte, I saw James Hall pass through the town, with his three-cornered hat and long sword, the captain at the head of a company, and chaplain of the regiment.'' An amalgamation of characters and offices justified only by special emergencies, and to be successfully attempted only by few. Born, of Scotch-Irish parentage, at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, August 22d, 1744, and removed by them to North Carolina, when about eight years old, lie grew up in the upper part of Rowan, now Iredell, in the bounds of the congregation to which he afterwards was pastor during his whole ministerial life of thirty-eight years.

The first grants of land, in that part of the country, bear date about the time that the family of Dr. Hall emigrated to Carolina, as may be seen from a grant in the possession of Col. Allison, whose tract was perhaps the second that was located. The name of Granyille, by his deputy, is affixed. The settlements along Fourth Creek and South Yadkin, from which the congregations of Bethany, Tabor, Fourth Creek or Statesville, and Concord, were ultimately formed, all being, called Fourth Creek for a length of time were of the names of Harris, Alexander, Hill, Luckey, Bone, King, Patterson, Shnipe, Henry, Morrison, Johnson, McKnight, Stevenson, Watts, Hall, Loyd, Milligan, Adams, Scroggs, McLean, Allison, Purviance, Warson, Ireland, Sloan, McLelland, Potts, Snoddy, Murdock, Bell, and Archibald. Coming from Pennsylvania here, these people naturally looked to the Synod of Philadelphia, and the Presbyteries of which it was composed, for their ministers; and being many of them pious people, their "supplications" for ministerial labor appear very early on the records of the Synod. In the year 1753, the following minute was made, viz.:—"The supplications from Virginia and North Carolina were considered, and the Synod orders Mr. McMordie to supply the vacancies in those parts for ten weeks, or longer if he find it needful, and that he pay a greater regard to the larger societies that have supplicated this Synod from time to time, and at the same time do what he can to promote the benefit of younger settlements, and that he set out the 1st of July next, and that Mr. Donaldson, in like manner, supply the same back parts, and continue there for ten weeks or as much longer as he thinks fit, and that he shall set out the 1st of October. The Synod recommends it to Messrs. McMordie and Donaldson to show a special regard to the vacancies of forth Carolina, especially betwixt the Atkin (Yadkin) and Catawba Rivers, in giving them a considerable part of the time they spend in those parts." This commission covered not only Fourth Creek, but the neighborhoods that formed the old churches of Concord Presbytery, all of which had been commenced previous to this date. In 1755, there is the following order—"That Mr. Donaldson supply the back inhabitants of Virginia and North Carolina, at least three months next fall; and that he in particular pay a regard to the supplications that were laid before this Synod by some of these back inhabitants. That Mr. Wilson supply them in like manner for three months next winter; and Mr. A McKennan for three months next spring." Considering the small number of preachers in the Synod, and the great number of vacancies requiring aid in Pennsylvania, as well as south of the Potomac, this supply of nine months was liberal. In 1757 it was ordered, "That Mr. Millar supply the following settlements in order in the fall, each one Sabbath day, viz., Cather's (Thyatira), Osborn's (Centre), Morison's (Rocky River), Jersey's on Atkin, Bufiler's, Hawfield's and Baker's settlements. And that Mr. Craig supply the same one Sabbath day in the spring." These Sabbaths, one in the fall and the other in the spring, were great days in the settlements, and people gathered from their dispersed homes and followed the preachers, eager to catch something that should be their scriptural food for the long abstinence to come.

In the year 1755, we find in the minutes of the Synod of New York, that the brethren composing that energetic body, were not unmindful of the southern vacancies. Beside constituting the Presbytery of Hanover, they passed the following order, viz.: "Upon sundry petitions from various parts of North Carolina, setting forth their distressing circumstances for want of a preached gospel among them, and requesting help from this synod, Messrs. John Brainerd and Elihu Spencer are appointed to take a journey thither before winter, and supply the vacant congregations there, and in parts adjacent, for six months, or as long as they shall think necessary and the appointment for supplies for Mr. Spencer's congregation is referred till to-morrow."

After the Synods of New York and Philadelphia were united, in the year 1758, the supply of the southern vacancies claimed their attention; missionaries were sent that were so acceptable, that numerous calls came up to Synod for them, to be located as settled pastors. In the year 1765 is the following minute,—"a call for the Reverend Mr. Spencer from Cathy's settlement (Thyatira) and Fourth Creek, which was presented to him; also a supplication for supplies from the inhabitants of North Carolina, living between the waters of Yadkin and Catawba rivers, and particularly for the removal of Mr. Spencer and Mr. McWhorter to settle among them." Then follow the applications from Bethel and Poplar Tent, New Providence and the Six Mile Spring, Hawfields, and Little River, and from Long Canes in South Carolina. "In consequence of sundry applications from North Carolina for supplies, the Synod appointed Messrs. Nathan Kerr, George Duffield, William Ramsay, David Caldwell, James Lattar, and Robert McMordie, to go there as soon as they can conveniently, and each of them to tarry half a year in these vacant congregations, as prudence may direct."

Fourth Creek church was organized by the Mr. Elihu Spencer mentioned in the two preceding minutes, and embraced the inhabitants between the South Yadkin and the Catawba rivers. This took place some time in the year 1764, or early in the year 1765, when the bounds of all the congregations were settled. From all the efforts made for settled pastors, there was but one congregation, that of Rocky River, that could obtain any preaching except from missionaries, for many years; and Fourth Creek had no regular pastor till James hall, who grew up in the bounds, became their minister in 1778. From the records of Hanover Presbytery, it appears that Mr. Craighead was directed by his Presbytery to supply Fourth Creek two Sabbaths, and Mr. James Hunt the same number of days in the year 1762.

That these vacancies, some of them at least, expected to contribute to the support of their ministers, appears from the minutes of the Synod in the year 1767. Besides mentioning the reception of petitions for supplies from Cathey's settlement (Thyatira), Long Canes, Indian Creek, and Duncan's Creek; and motions for supplies for Edenton, Newbern, Fourth Creek, Upper Hico, Haw River, Goshen in the forks of Catawba, the south fork of Catawba, the forks of Yadkin and Salisbury; the following record is made, viz. "The following congregations in North Carolina, viz. Stiffar Creek, Fishing Creek, Bethel, the Jersey settlement, Centre congregation, Poplar Tent, and Rocky River, united in a petition for one or more of the Rev. Messrs. Spencer, Lewis, McWhorter, and James Caldwell, to be sent there, promising for their encouragement that the sum of eighty pounds be paid by any of these congregations in which he shall choose to spend half of his time, and another eighty pounds by the vacant congregations he shall supply." Neither of the ministers referred to was willing to accept the call, and as Mr. Craighead of Sugar Creek was deal, there was no settled minister south of the Yadkin for a few years.

Secluded in the forests of Rowan, alike ignorant of the knowledge and the follies of the great world, James Hall grew up under the watchful care of pious parents, and the instructions he could receive from these faithful and laborious missionaries, whose visits to the congregation were less often than welcome, about once a quarter. He was made familiar with the Bible and the Westminster catechism in his early clays, and his mind stored with the best of truth before he could appreciate the excellence of the truth itself, or the motives of the pious parents who so assiduously taught him. The coming of a missionary was an event of magnitude, an epoch in the current of time, in these Carolina settlements of Protestant-Irish. He brought news from a far country, for Philadelphia, in those clays, was at the distance of a horseback journey of two or three weeks, and no current of passengers in stages or rail cars, no daily or weekly mail, brought the latest information; he was messenger from friends and acquaintances left behind, or coming on; he proclaimed the truth many were desirous of hearing, pouring in the oil of grace to the wounded spirit, comforting the bowed down he administered the ordinances, called the children to catechual instruction, and visited the sick. The impressions made by these visitations were of the most happy and religious kind, and were followed by hopeful conversions. The more important matters of discipline and church order were particularly attended to during the excursions of the missionaries; for instance, in the records of the Synod of New York and Philadelphia, in 1756 - The Synod more particularly considering the state of many congregations to the southward, and particularly North Carolina, and particularly the great importance of having those congregations properly organized, appoint the Rev. Messrs. Elihu Spencer and Alexander McWhorter, to go as our missionaries for that purpose ; that they form societies, help them in adjusting the bounds, ordain elders, administer sealing ordinances, instruct the people in discipline, and finally, direct them in their after conduct, particularly in what manner they shall proceed. to obtain the stated ministry, and whatever else may appear useful or necessary for those churches, and the future settlement of the gospel among them." This mission was fulfilled to such entire satisfaction that these gentlemen were importuned. to settle in Carolina ; and \Ir. McWhorter was ultimately chosen president of the college erected at Charlotte. From the term of this visit, We may consider the bounds of the old churches in Orange and Concord. Presbyteries as settled, and the sessions as generally duly organized. Previous to this the settlements acted independently in their religious matters. At this time numbers were united into one congregation. It was probably during this visit that Mr. Hall made profession of religion, as it is stated that he united with the church when he was about twenty years old. Of the exercises of his mind previously to that event little more is known than that he had been a subject of religious impressions, from term to term, commencing in his eighth year. In a paper drawn up by limn in the year 1787, it that from his first entrance on a religious life, he was diligent and faithful in self-examination; that his conduct, and motives, and feelings, were all often tested by the word of God. His enjoyments in religion were often sweet, and his hope of salvation strong. "Not long," says he, "after my first comforts, I felt a strong desire towards the ministry of the Gospel. Of this I considered it in vain to think, when I took a view of my family circumstances. My father, at that time aged, and in a declining state of health, my two elder brothers married, and my two younger brothers were in a measure children—so that as a means, I was almost the only support of the family, which was in comfortable, but not affluent circumstances. It was, however, my constant prayer to God, that he might, in some way, open a door in the course of his providence, that so I might obtain my wished-for object, even when I saw no prospect of an answer. After about four years I communicated my sentiments to my parents, whom, contrary to my expectations, I found willing to support me in a course of study."

About the time he communicated his wishes to his parents, he entered into a solemn covenant with God to devote his whole life to the preaching of the gospel, if he could be suitably qualified by a proper preparatory education.

After it was determined in the family that he should commence a course of education for the ministry, a dangerous sickness, with other causes, delayed his actually entering upon his studies for about a year. During this interval an event, or train of events, occurred, which caused him bitterness of soul, and which led him ultimately to determine to spend his life an unmarried man, in direct opposition to that tenderness of heart, and affectionate disposition, lie was known to possess from his earliest boyhood, to his latest breath. Attending the wedding of a young friend, he enjoyed to a high degree. the company of an amiable, pious lady, in all the loveliness of youth, rendered more lovely by the excitement of the occasion. On his return home, his thoughts were so busied about this absent fair one, that he visits her, and frankly declares his attachment, and is made very happy in the anticipation of that union she permitted him to hope for. He seemed to have forgotten his devotion to the work of the ministry, and his projected education, in the ardor of his first love. As he said afterwards, "he thought of nothing but the object of his affections, he saw in her piety and amiableness, every quality to make him happy, and he revelled in his anticipated felicity." But when he began to reflect how he was to dispose of himself for life, he called to mind his former purposes, and felt the difficulties in his path. His perplexities increased upon reflection. One sabbath, after attending preaching, he walked out by himself to indulge in meditation. IIe thought of his having devoted himself to God in the ministry, and the obligations of that covenant he had voluntarily made and solemnly imposed upon himself, to preach the gospel during his whole life, if he could be prepared by a suitable education; that God, on his part, had ratified the covenant by opening the way, unexpectedly, for his attaining the desired education; and that he had now rashly and voluntarily declined from the object of his prayers and desires, and had involved himself in difficulties from which he saw no escape. As he was meditating on these things, his former backslidings came up to his recollection one after another, and rushing upon him like a mighty torrent overwhelmed him with a sense of guilt. His conscience goaded him with agonies inexpressible. He stood in amazement, and trembled under the stings of remorse. He was afterwards heard to say—that the experience of that day had given him some conceptions of the sufferings that could be inflicted on a lost soul by the remembrance of its former guilt, and that it might be intolerable. He sought an interview with the lady and stated the case to her, and by mutual consent, the matrimonial engagement was dissolved, and he returned to his former purpose to prepare for preaching the gospel, with an humbled and chastened spirit, less inclined to self-dependence, and more fearful of sinning against God. This was his first and last effort towards the matrimonial life. The scheme of action he proposed to himself, and which was carried out by him through life, was not compatible with the duties of the head of a family. He saw the wants of his countrymen; he knew little of preachers but as travelling missionaries; and his devotion to God to preach the gospel his whole life, appeared to him to stand directly in the way of his performing the duties of a husband and a father. Had he been a married man he might have been more happy, and probably would have been; he might have been as useful, and even more so; but it would have been usefulness of a different kind, and probably very many that heard the gospel from his lips in his various long journeys, would never have seen his face. In his determination that no matrimonial engagements should be a barrier to his preconceived purpose of' preparation for the ministry he is worthy of' all praise; and in his determination to hold himself in readiness for a missionary life in the state in which he had grown to manhood, he is not lightly to be blamed when the vacancies and desolations are surveyed by the eye of faith and benevolence, and the little band of laborers are numbered up.

In his twenty-sixth year lie commenced the study of the classics, and made rapid progress, as his mind was matured, and his application unremitting. He had been accustomed to study by himself, and had acquired habits of mental application, while unaided by an instructor. When about seventeen years of age, a treatise on geometry fell in his way and excited his attention. He applied himself to study during his leisure from his daily avocations on the farm, till he became possessed of the principles, and master of the contents. By the help of the plates he constructed a quadrant with which he amused himself and his friends by measuring the height of trees, and the distance of objects. The taste for the exact sciences acquired by him at this time, in the midst of the labors and toils of a farmer's life, remained with him through life. The mathematics were his favorite study, and such was his estimation of them, he could not be persuaded to think favorably of the intellectual powers of any man who lightly esteemed this branch of education, or consider his course of study liberal whose progress in mathematics was small.

He pursued his collegiate studies at Nassau Hall, Princeton, then :under the direction of President Witherspoon; and his proficiency, particularly in the exact sciences, attracted the attention of that clear-sighted man. He took the bachelor's degree in the year 1774, in his thirty-first year. Soon after, Dr. Witherspoon expressed his desire to have him employed in the college as teacher of mathematics. Such a proposition from such a man was the highest encomium. But however gratifying the offer of employment by such a man as Dr. Witherspoon might have been to him, the recollection of his early dedication to God for the ministry—of the mental agony he had endured, when, by his imprudent matrimonial engagement, he had, to all appearances, thrown himself out of the way of preparation for the sacred office, and the already advanced period of his life, together with the great necessity for ministers of the gospel in North Carolina, forbade his connection with the college as a teacher.

The theological reading of Mr. Hall was pursued under the direction of Dr. Witherspoon, that eminent minister and patriot, whose views in religion, morality and politics, were thoroughly imbibed by his scholar. The Presbytery of Orange licensed him to preach the gospel as a probationer some time between the meeting of the general assembly in 1775, and the meeting in 1776; tradition says in the spring of 1776. In the entire loss of the records of the Presbytery of this (late, we take the following minute from the records of the Synod of New York and Philadelphia, May 28th. 1776. "A letter from the Presbytery of Orange was brought in and read, informing that they have, since the last Synod, licensed Messrs. Robert Archibald, Thomas Harris McCaule, and James Hall, to preach the gospel, and requested the Synod to send as many supplies as they can to the relief of the numerous vacancies in those parts."

There were at this time the following ministers in North Carolina, viz.: JAMES CAMPBELL, who commenced his labors among the Scotch on Cape Fear, 1756; his name appears on the roll of Synod in 1746, as member of Newcastle Presbytery: HUGH MCADEN, who visited Dublin County, 1755, as a licentiate of Newcastle Presbytery; his name first appears on the roll of Synod as member of Newcastle Presbytery, 1757; he was received into Hanover Presbytery, 1759, October 4th. HENRY PATTILLO, licensed by Hanover Presbytery, in 1755, ordained 1758, and accepted a call from Hawfield, 1765: JAMES CRISWELL, licensed by Hanover Presbytery, 1764, and was ordained pastor of Nutbush, Grassy Creek, and Lower Hico, 1765; DAVID CALDWELL, ordained by New Brunswick Presbytery, 1765, received into Hanover 1767, pastor of Buffalo and Alarnance, 1768: JOSEPH ALEXANDER, ordained by Hanover Presbytery, March, 1768, as pastor of Sugar Creek, haying been received as licentiate from Newcastle Presbytery. HEZEKIAH JAMES BALCH, ordained by the Donegal, and reported to Synod 1770, pastor of Poplar Tent. These were in connection with Orange Presbytery, which then extended over North and South Carolina, and had in all twelve members, eight in North Carolina, and four in South Carolina. To these may be added MR. JAMES TATE, who was living in Wilmington, but not connected with the Presbytery. The congregations and neighborhoods that required the labors of a Presbyterian minister, were more than five tunes that number. It is not wonderful, therefore, that numerous invitations to become pastor should be given to Mr. Hall; and that his intention to pursue the study of divinity still longer before becoming a pastor, should be overruled by the pressing calls for the word of life.

The neighborhoods composing Fourth Creek church, in the bounds of which he had passed his youth, persuaded him to take his residence with them to become their pastor. Some time previously the church had been divided, and into three distinct organizations; one of which retained the name, the preaching place being at Statesville the county seat,—one was called Concord, the place of preaching about six miles west of Statesville,—the other Bethany, the preaching place about six miles east of Statesville. On the 8th of April, 1778, Mr. Hall was installed pastor of the united congregations of Fourth Creek, Concord and Bethany. There is no record of the time of his ordination; it is probable the ordination took place at the time of installation. In the records of the Synod of New York and Philadelphia, there is no list of the ministers in Orange Presbytery, after 1774, till 1780; and for the years 1777, 1778, 1779, there is no report of any kind. Mr. Hall's name appears on the list given for 1780.

The names of the elders at Fourth Creek were James Barr, William Stevenson, John Stevenson, Andrew McEnzie, John Murdock, Mussentine Mathews and John McLelland.

During the exciting scenes of the Revolution, in which he had been licensed and ordained, Mr. Hall held the office of pastor of these three congregations, which extended from South Yadkin to the Catawba, and some members of the congregation coining from beyond these rivers; anal after the Revolution he served them till the year 1790, when wishing to devote more time to the cause of domestic missions than could be consistent with so large a charge, he was released from his connection with Fourth Creek and Concord. His connection with Bethany continued till his death, July 25th, 1826, a period of twenty-six years.

A full account of his actions during the Revolution would fill a volume; his active, enterprising spirit would not let him be neuter; his principles drawn from the Word of God and the doctrines of his church, and cultivated by Dr. Witherspoon, carried him with all his heart to defend the ground taken by the convention in Mecklenburg, May, 1775, and by the Continental Congress in 1776. He gave his powers of mind, body and estate in the cause of his country. As the citizens would assemble to hear news and discuss the politics of those trying times, and were making choice of the side they would espouse, Mr. Hall was accustomed to meet with them, and addressing them, infused his own spirit and inflamed their love of liberty, and strengthened their purpose of maintaining their rights at all hazards. The tradition about him, in these cases, is that lie was eminently successful; and the fact that there was great unanimity in that section of country, in a measure the effect of his exertions, would of itself show that lie was both influential and eloquent.

When the adjacent State, South Carolina, was overrun by the British forces, antler Cornwallis, Mr. Hall's spirit was stirred within him as he heard of the massacres, and plunderings, and battles, and varied distress and sufferings of the inhabitants of the upper part of the State, from the same stock as himself, of the sane religious creed, and holding the same general principles of government, and civil and religious liberty. He assembled his flock, and addressed them on the occasion. He painted to their view in a most thrilling manner the wrongs of his country, and the sufferings of their friends and countrymen in the neighboring state, and called upon them to take arms in their defence, the defence of all that was dear. A company of cavalry, composed of choice men, was immediately organized. By general consent he was demanded for their leader ; all his objections were overruled, and to encourage his countrymen to act rather than to talk, he accepted the command. In the year 1779, he led them on an expedition into South Carolina, of several months' continuance, performing the double office of Commander and Chaplain, and marched over a large part of the western section of the State.

During this expedition two of his seen were taken prisoners. As he could not recover them by force of arms, lie made their case a subject of prayer, both in private, and in public, with his men. In a few days they rejoined the company, having made their escape. As their captors lay encamped one night on the banks of Broad River, in South Carolina, their sentinel at the door of the guard-house, their place of confinement, was observed to be drowsy; they remaining quiet, he fell asleep. Stepping noiselessly over the soldier, as he lay with his gun folded in his arms, they run for the river. The noise of their plunge called the attention of the other sentries; the alarm is given; boats are manned for pursuit, but the active swimmers reach the opposite bank first, and escape their pursuers, to the great joy of the praying Captain and the company.

Going one day on a reconnoitring expedition, accompanied by an officer of the company, his friend Mathews, as they emerged from a dense forest into an open field, near to and in full view of a house, they observed some fifteen or twenty British dragoons around the house, some walking about, and some ready mourned. In a moment they observed time peril of their situation, from the number of the enemy, and time position of the house and open fields; that it was as impossible to escape by flight, as reckless to make an attack on ten tinges their number, fully aware of their approach. They halted; Mathews drew his sword, and turning in his saddle towards the wood, waves it as if summoning a company to advance. The dragoons take the alarm, and dashing off at full speed, were soon out of sight, leaving our two officers to make good their retreat.

On another occasion there was a call for a volunteer company, to break- up a nest of tories on the rich lands of the Uwharree River, in Montgomery county, who were infesting the country greatly. Mr. Hall attended the meeting of the citizens assembled upon the occasion, and delivered them an address full of patriotism and feeling. At the close of his speech a greater number offered their services than were called for the expedition.

When it was necessary for the American forces to march into the Cherokee country, in Georgia, to quell the Indians, a company was raised in Iredell for that expedition, and Mr. Hall went with his friends as chaplain to the army. During the expedition, which lasted about two months, the chaplain offered public prayers very regularly morning and evening; but had but one opportunity of preaching. On that occasion lie took his stand under a Iarge shady tree; the army, consisting of about four thousand men, was drawn up around him; the soldiers brought from the neighboring woods, each a young sapling, or long branch of a tree, with all the foliage, and as they were drawn up around in close ranks, seating themselves on the ground, and resting their shady branches upon the earth, they formed a dense shade, and under this novel shelter from the sun listened to the sermon. In honor of that first gospel sermon in the Indian territories, the adjacent country was named after the chaplain, Hall county, of which Gainsville is the seat of justice.

Mr. Hall possessed all the attributes necessary for a military commander. His fine person, his stature above six feet, his great muscular strength and action, rendered his appearance commanding. His courage, both moral and physical, undaunted, he was cool in council, intrepid in danger, and decided in action. His acquaintance with the mathematics, both scientifically and practically, his great capability for mechanical pursuits and his acquaintance with the details, and his skill in the operations, enabled him to form his plans with readiness and execute them with precision. His kind and tender feeling, and enthusiastic love of liberty, having the Control of a fine voice and pleasing manlier, together with his great attention to personal appearance, fitted him to gain and to hold the affections of men. His stern morality, undoubted piety and practical religion, carried everywhere with him, combined with fn amiable disposition, called forth the reverence of the good and the respect of all. But he delighted not in the warlike camp His mission was one of peace in the name of the Prince of peace. To encourage his congregations and his countrymen to the defence of their rights of conscience and of person, he went with them into the midst of wars and fightings; but he went always as the Christian man and minister; and when that object was gained, he declined military service when offered to him in high places.

After the skirmish at Cowansford on the Catawba, between the forces of Cornwallis and the North Carolina militia, in which his fellow licentiate, Thomas H. McCaule, was at the side of General Davidson when he fell, Mr. Hall was singled out by General Greene to be commissioned as Brigadier General, to fill the place of Davidson. But the proffered honor was declined, not through disaffection or timidity. A nobler feeling possessed the heart of Mr. Hall—the thought that there were others that could fill that post as well as himself, or better, while there were few indeed to act in the cause of the gospel to which he had devoted his "whole life."

When the war of the Revolution was ended in the independence of the United States, Mr. Hall devoted himself, with undivided energies and unwavering purpose, to his beloved work, the gospel ministry. The effects of the long and harassing war upon the churches in the Carolinas were deplorable; the regular ordinances of the gospel had been broken up—discipline neglected,—the preached word had become less valued; some congregations mostly broken up, and the vices that ordinarily attend a camp, and are left by war, such as drinking, card playing, profanity and the like, extensively prevailed. Though Mr. Hall's congregations were not in the track of either of the armies nor the seat of war; and though he had exerted himself during the war to sustain religion and morality in the congregation and in the camp, the general tone of public feeling had evidently declined, and the necessity of great efforts in the cause of the gospel to prevent the most melancholy effects, was stirring up his spirits to activity, and his heart to zeal for God. His efforts met the Divine approbation, and were attended with his blessing, and resulted in a revival of religion.

Soon after the war, his charge was greatly blessed; the attention of the people was very generally turned to the subject of religion. The meetings were characterized by great solemnity and stillness; amid the preaching, for simplicity, earnestness and tenderness, in setting forth the great truths of the gospel. At one communion season, about eighty persons were received into the church on the profession of their faith; at a succeeding communion about sixty more made profession and united with the church. This revival was confined mostly to the churches in Iredell, there being no account of much unusual interest in other parts of the Presbytery till after some years. In consequence of the numerous calls upon him for ministerial labor, and his own great anxiety for the welfare of his fellow men, Mr. Hall's labors were incessant ; and under his continued preaching his health failed; and symptoms of a pulmonary consumption became alarming. By the advice of physicians he was induced to cease from his ministerial labors, and seek for renewed health in a sea voyage. Owing to head winds, his voyage from Charleston, South Carolina, to Philadelphia, was long and boisterous, and proved, on that account, more advantageous. After attending upon the meeting of the Synod of New York and Philadelphia, he returned home with renewed health and spirits, to engage in his ministry. The records of Synod make this his first attendance to be in 1786 ; the traditions would place it somewhat earlier. He was on the Committee of Synod, appointed to prepare a plan for the division of the Synod in preparation for the formation of the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church. But as there is evidently an omission in the minutes of the preceding years, his first attendance might have been earlier.

The Synod of the Carolinas held its first meeting in 1788, at Centre Church; during the next year measures were taken to release Mr. Hall from the charge of Bethany and Concord churches, which took effect in 1790. In the year 1793, the year that his amiable successor, Lewis Wilson, was ordained and placed over these beloved churches, he commenced his missionary excursions, under the direction of a commission of Synod. Besides a great many short excursions which he was in the habit of making in the counties nearer home, he performed fourteen long and toilsome missions, either under the direction of the commission of Synod, or by order and arrangement of the General Assembly. His reports were often made in writing, and some of them recorded on the minutes of Synod. His mission to the Natches, the pioneer of Protestant efforts in the lower part of the valley of the Mississippi, was commenced in the Fall of 1800, under a commission of the General Assembly. The Synod appointed two companions for this mission, which was expected to continue for eight months, James H. Bowman and William Montgomery. The report of these missionaries, made to the Synod of 1801, was received with a high degree of satisfaction. An account of this mission was published by Mr. Hall in the newspapers of the day, and was read with great interest, as being the best description ever given of that part of the southern country, in which he had spent about nine months.

The extracts from the records of the Synod of the Carolinas, which form part of this volume, contain some of the more interesting parts of Mr. Hall's reports, especially those that are of abiding interest ; particularly his method of preparing questions on the Confession of Faith, and instructing the congregations he visited on his mission; his account of his visit to Lincoln county in 1809 and his report of a mission on the Cape Fear; and his visit to Colin Lindsay and Angus McDermaid. These will be read with great interest by multitudes now living; and will assist the general reader to a better understanding of the revival that spread over the country from 1802 to 1806, and onward, the effects of which are distinctly visible throughout the State.

His exertions in the cause of Domestic missions are worthy of all praise, and have conferred upon the State and the southern country lasting obligations.

He attended the sessions of the General Assembly in Philadelphia sixteen times, as delegate of the Presbytery of Orange, and was once the moderator of that venerable body. Travelling by private conveyance, in his chair (or sulky), he embraced the opportunity afforded for preaching on his journey, and made his trips to Philadelphia domestic missions: and by taking different routes much enlarged his acquaintance and the sphere of his usefulness. In one of these excursions, being driven into a house by a storm of rain, and detained all night, he kindly and courteously introduced the subject of religion. The family had hitherto been utterly careless on the subject of their salvation; but that night they were deeply convicted of their sinfulness. The servant of God passed on, unaware, perhaps, of having accomplished anything for his Lord. A Methodist minister who became acquainted with the circumstance related to a friend of Dr. Hall that the impressions made that night were never effaced; that shortly three of the members professed faith in Christ; and one after another the whole family entered the visible. church.

In a sermon, while urging his congregation to religious conversation, he mentioned the circumstance, that a private conversation he had with two young men before he became a preacher, resulted in their hopeful conversion; and they both became ministers of the gospel. These instances are mentioned as showing the effect produced by his kind and affectionate manner in introducing a faithful conversation on the subject of religion.

One sphere of usefulness in which Mr. Hall excelled, was the education of young men. He must have commenced the work of superintendence, for he did not confine himself to the teaching of a classical school, very soon after his licensure, as the certificate given to Humphrey Hunter, afterwards a minister of the gospel, says he had been a student at Clio's Nursery from August, 1778, to October, 1779. The institution was located on Snow Creek, in a pious neighborhood, that formed an important part of Bethany church and congregation. This he superintended with care, and through its agency brought out many useful men, that might not otherwise have obtained an education,—as the Rev. Richard King, of Tennessee, esteemed the roan of the finest powers of mind ever trained in Western Carolina,—Dr. Waddel, of South Carolina, and Judges Laurie, Harris, and Smith.

To remedy the inconvenience felt by those unable to meet the expense of attending a northern college, and yet wishing to acquire a knowledge of the sciences, he purchased a philosophical apparatus, and opened an "Academy of the Sciences," at his own house, himself being the sole professor. This institution was continued for many years; and, previously to the establishment of the University, was considered the best scientific school in the State. A large number of eminent men received their scientific education there; besides a number of ministers, who studied theology under his direction, whose names will be hereafter given, there were Andrew Pickens, Israel Pickens, late Governor of Alabama, Hon. Joseph Pearson, and Judge Williams, of Tennessee.

To promote useful knowledge in his congregation, he formed a class of young people to meet hint every Saturday, to take lessons in grammar. To remedy the want of books, which threatened the ruin of his plans, he wrote out a system of grammar, and had manuscript copies circulated among the members of the class. He afterwards published through the press, and circulated it extensively.

He founded a circulating library in his congregation, which became eminently useful; and encouraged debating societies among the young people, sometimes attending, and often availing himself of the opportunity of laying before them some written communication on important subjects.

His efforts in leading young men into the ministry, were eminently successful. His character for talents and piety, and public spirit; his soundness as a Theologian; his great facility in imparting instruction ; and the pleasure he took in the employment and his well selected library, caused his house to become a school of the prophets, from which came out some of the best ministers in our southern Zion. The following catalogue will show the importance of this school of divinity: Rev. Messrs. Robert Hall (his brother), James McEwin (his brother-in-law), Daniel Thatcher, Ga. ; Francis Cummins, D.D., Ga.; John Brown, D.D., Ga.; James Blythe, D.D., Ken.; J. M. Wilson, D.D., Rocky River George McWhorter, S.C.; John Robinson, D.D., Poplar Tent; J. Andrews, Ohio; James Adams, S.C. ; Thomas Price, S.C. ; James Mcllheney, S.C.; Wm. Barr, D.D.; Andrew Flinn, D.D., Charleston; John Bowman, Tenn.; James Bowman, Tenn.; Thomas J. Hall, Teen.; Joseph D. Kilpatrick, N.C.; and Thomas Neely, S.C. These have now, with scarce an exception, passed away from the earthly vineyard; but their memorial is with us; they have rested from their labors, and their works do follow them. Their history will show that Iredell county has been the nursery of good men, and the birth-place of the most laborious ministers of the last generations.

The views Mr. Hall had of the proper preparation for the labors of the gospel ministry, and his own experience, so eminently successful, of the advantage of training the young for the work, led him to desire a seminary for the purpose. The motion in the Assembly of the Presbyterian church to found a Theological school, met his Hearty approbation and co-operation. He greatly desired a more southern location than Princeton, with the hope that one would unite all the South; but when it was determined that Princeton should be the place, lie united in giving it existence and stability, by giving to its funds, by donations to the library, by riding extensively as an agent in its favor, and by remembering; it in his will with a bequest of two hundred and fifty acres of valuable land in Tennessee.

He was zealous and active in the circulation of the Bible. As a delegate, he was present at the formation of the American Bible Society, and became a life member by the contribution of thirty dollars. in the formation of the North Carolina State Bible society, he was elected the first President, and in his attendance on its meetings gave an example of his punctuality in attending upon appointments, and in meeting with those ecclesiastical bodies with which he was connnected. His residence was about one hundred and fifty-six miles from Raleigh. On a certain occasion, setting off to attend an annual meeting, a violent storm of rain and snow came on, the first day of his journey, and continued all the way through. A legal friend meeting him on the way, in surprise he accosted the venerable minister: "Where are you going, in this storm?" "To attend the Bible Society in Raleigh." "Where were you yesterday?" "I travelled about thirty miles where were you?" "O, I was lying by; it was too bad to travel." On his arrival in Raleigh, he found himself the only delegate present. The inclemency of the weather rendered it "too bad to travel."

He attended all the meetings of the Synod of. the Carolinas from 1788 to 1812, but one, and was the last moderator; the Synod of North Carolina was then constituted, and on its sessions he attended with punctuality, till age and infirmity took away his ability to travel. His attendance on Presbyterial meetings was equally exact ; his various missions being so assigned, as, with the exception of his trip to the Natches, to permit his meeting with his brethren in the judicatories.

In his reproofs he was generally very kind and tender, and spake as one entreating or instructing; sometimes his boldness and decision were felt in the tone of authority, and severity of manner, in which he addressed bold transgressors. To them he seemed rough and unreasonable, and sometimes angry, especially when his indignation was roused. During one of his missions to the eastern part of the State, he accepted a very polite invitation to tea, after divine service on the Sabbath. The residence of his host was on an eminence, commanding a beautiful view of the low grounds, and of the river that wound its way towards the ocean. After a little time he observed a boat sailing along the stream, and soon after, that the men were hauling a seine. Turning to the gentleman, he inquires, "Whose seine is that?" "It is mine, sir." "Is this the way you keep the Sabbath?" " Oh, it is the fishing season; I will give God Almighty another day in a slacker time of the year." Mr. Hall, rising and taking his hat, "I cannot consent to remain under the roof of a man that treats his God in that way," with a bow, left the house, and returned to his former lodgings.

Ardor, tenderness of affection, and strong sympathy, characterized the preaching of this successful minister of God. His manner was, in part, his natural temperament speaking out, and in part the fruit of his own distressing experience. An occasional depression of spirits was the vice of his constitution; and a deep conviction of the sinfulness of sin and his own worthlessness, the characteristic of his religious experience. Tie influence of both these was occasionally felt at the same time, 'and produced a state of distress and degree of unhappiness not to be described. About the time of his licensure, a season of mental depression and heartsickness so overwhelmed him, that for the space of about a year, lie considered it to be little short of blasphemy, and a direct insult to God, for such a polluted, undone, hopeless wretch as himself to offer to preach the gospel. These seasons occasionally returned upon him throughout his whole life, so full of activity and usefulness. Once at least, lie was oppressed when on a mission; his friend Mathews, that served with him in the war, found him in Kentucky, so overwhelmed with melancholy and a sense of his sinfulness, that in compassion he took hint under his charge and conducted him to his home. Even in his old age lie felt the gathering of the cold clouds that shut out his Maker's face and hid the Saviour's beauty. At one time he intermitted his pastoral labors about a year and a half. Spiritual darkness overhung his mind he was always complaining that "God had hid his face from him;" his own sinfulness was ever present with him, and he could not get a view of Christ as the Lord his righteousness; and he refused to lead the devotions of his people. He attended the house of God and joined in the worship carried on by the elders, and could occasionally be induced to take a part by leading in prayer or giving a short exhortation from the clerk's stand in front and below the pulpit, esteeming himself too great a wretch to preach from the sacred desk, or even to enter it.

"Won't you preach for us to-day?" said the eldership, one Sabbath, when, in this state of mind, lie appeared at Bethany among a large assembly of people. "Oh no—no—no—it is impossible!" One of the elders of Fourth Creek, William Stevenson, was later than usual that morning. Advanced in life, a convert under the preaching of Whitefield, grown to full manhood in piety, the congregation loved the elder, and from his small stature, and fervency ill prayer, called him ''little Gabriel,"—they thought he approached nearer the throne than anybody else in time congregation. The other elders waited for him. When Mr. Stevenson understood that Mr. Hall was still in darkness and distress, and could not preach, lie was deeply affected. Entering the scat appropriated to the elders, before the pulpit, after a psalm was sung, he commenced a strain of humble petition and adoration that touched all hearts. His first petition was—"O Lord, cast the deaf and dumb devil out of our pastor ; this deaf devil, that will not allow him to hear the promises of the gospel ; and this dumb devil, that will not suffer him to preach as lie has heretofore done." At the close of the prayer, the venerable form of the beloved pastor was seen rising and making its way to the long unvisited pulpit. "I will try to preach to-day," said Mr. Hall to Mr. Stevenson. The sermon that followed gave evidence that the prayer of little Gabriel had been heard and answered,—for the deaf and dumb devil was cast out.

The abiding recollection of the wormwood and the gall, which he had so often drunk to the very dregs of bitterness, made him sympathize with the afflicted, particularly those walking in darkness. He would go far to see them : and the interviews were the pouring out the sympathies of a wounded heart that had been healed by the balm of Gilead. He was tender to his fellow men seeking salvation : but his heart melted for those bowed clown under a sense of the hiding of the Saviour's face. lie scarce ever preached without exhibiting deep emotion, and was often in tears. One of the most eloquent and impressive sermons his people recollect to have heard from him, was drawn from him under the following circumstances. Mr. Charles Story, a gentleman of irreproachable character and piety, came up from Black River, S. C., with his family, to spend the summer in Iredell county, on account of his low state of health. His spirits were greatly depressed, and his mind became clouded with doubts about his spiritual state. At length his hope in Christ forsook him ;—his sins appeared always before him, and the light of God's countenance was hidden. Mr. Hall became deeply interested at once,—he had gone down into the dark vale, and had himself sunk in the mire. His kind and tender conversation, full of Christian sympathy, failing to relieve the sufferer's mind, he prepared a sermon for the occasion, from the words of Isaiah l., 10: "Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness and bath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God." From these words he described, with great clearness, the child of God walking in darkness; then pointed out the foundation of his hope, Jesus Christ, the Chief Corner-Stone; and brought forth the glorious promises and consolations of the gospel. His own heart was deeply affected: he preached in tears; the people were moved and melted; the place became a Boehin. The gentleman listened,—was enlightened,—was relieved, and went away from the sermon with a glad heart, as his minister had done from the prayers of " little Gabriel,"—his feet were placed upon a rock, and a new song was put into his mouth, even praise to his God. The hearers of that sermon could never forget the impression. The solemnity, the tenderness, the deep emotion of their pastor, front the first naming his text, the wonderful description of the saint in darkness, were all treasured in their memories and in their hearts.

Nassau Hall, his Alma :hater, honored him with the degree of Doctor of Divinity; and the University of North Carolina repeated the compliment. And if activity as a pastor, enterprise as a missionary, success as a guide of youth in their literary course, and ability in training young men for the ministry, are qualifications for that honorary degree, the honors were in this case well conferred.

His reply to the degree from the University of North Carolina is characteristic of the honesty of the man, and the tone of public feeling, at that time, in regard to that institution. He made a donation of sixty volumes to the Library, out of his own collection, which, though not large, was valuable. The copy of Turretine that stood upon the Doctor's shelf is now in the library of a pastor in the mountains of Virginia. How he ever found time to read enough to be able to lead young men in the study of Theology can be accounted for only on the ground of his having no family, and resolutely devoting all his time to build the church of the Living God.

In July, 1819, Dr. Hall returned from the Anniversary- of the American Bible Society, and the sessions of the General Assembly, for the last time; and soon after his return delivered his last sermon. The last seven years of his life were years of weakness, languor and depression; and not unfrequently spiritual sorrows gathered around his soul as he reflected upon his own sinfulness and helplessness. Confident that God had used him as the instrument for time conversion of others, he often feared about his own, lest having preached to others, lie himself should be a castaway.

II is body was entombed in Bethany church graveyard, by the side of his co-laborer and friend, Lewis F Feuilleteau Wilson. On a while marble head-stone near the gate is the following inscription:—

Beneath this stone are deposited
the remains of
The Rev. JAMES HALL, D.D.,
who departed this life
July 25th, 1826,
in the 82d year of his age.
For 12 years he sustained the office of Pastor
to the united congregation of Fourth
Creek, Concord, and Bethany; and for 26 years
to that of Bethany alone. He was a man of
science as well as piety; and for his ex-
tensive labors in the cause of his Divine
Master, as well as for his great usefulness
as a preceptor of youth, his memory is
embalmed in the hearts of his people.

The pains of death are passed,
Labor and sorrow cease,
And life's long warfare closed at last,
His soul is found in peace.

Soldier of Christ, well done,
Praise be thy new employ,
And while eternal ages run,
Rest in thy Saviour's joy.

Thus rest, in this retired spot, the remains of the man whose charge was visited with the first revival of religion, in Concord Presbytery, after the American Revolution.


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