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Sketches of North Carolina
Chapter XIII - Hugh M'Aden and the Churches in Duplin, New Hanover and Caswell

The first ordained minister that took his abode among the Presbyterian settlements in North Carolina, was the Rev. James Campbell, on the Cape Fear river. The first missionary whose journal, or parts of journal, has been preserved, is Hugh McAden (or as sometimes spelled McCadden), who was also the first missionary that settled in the State.

The first Presbyterian minister that preached in North Carolina of whom we have any knowledge, was William Robinson, famous in the annals of the Virginia churches, of whom the Rev. Samuel Davies says,—"that favored man, Mr. Robinson, whose success, whenever I reflect upon it, astonishes me." This eminent missionary passed through Virginia to North Carolina, and spent a part of the winter of 1742 and 1743, among Presbyterian settlements. It was on his return from Carolina, and while preaching at Cub Creek, in Charlotte county, that the messenger from Hanover county waited upon him and persuaded him to visit that county, in which were no settlements of Presbyterian emigrants, and which of course had not been included either in his original mission, or his intended route homeward.

We are not able to ascertain the places with precision, which he visited, but as the Presbyterian settlements in the county of Duplin and New Hanover were the oldest in the State, and there were none others at that time of much strength, the probability is that Duplin and New Hanover were the places he visited, and the scattered settlements then commenced in the upper part of the State also received some attention. Mr. Davies tells us that the success attending the ministry of this eminent man, so abundant. in Virginia, was very small in Carolina. It is probably owing to that fact that the whole history of his mission is circumscribed in the single statement, that he visited the country through much exposure, and many hardships, owing to the unsettled wilderness through which he had to pass.

Supplications were sent from Carolina to the Synod of Philadelphia as early as the year 1744. The records speak of them as having cone " from many people," but do not tell us from what section of the State they were sent. In the year 1753, two missionaries were sent by the direction of the Synod to visit Virginia and North Carolina, Mr. McMordie and Mr. Donaldson; but there is no mention made of the settlements they were to visit, further than they were "to show special regard " to the vacancies of North Carolina, especially betwixt Atkin (Yadkin) and Catawba rivers. In the year 1754 the Synod of New York directed four ministers, Messrs. Beatty, Bostwick, Lewis, and Thane, to visit the States of Virginia and North Carolina, each three months, but no particular places are specified. In 1755, the same Synod appointed two other missionaries, and named some places in the upper part of the State; but owing to the disturbances in the country from the depredations of the Indians, this mission was not fulfilled.

The settlement of Presbyterians in Duplin county is probably the oldest large settlement of that denomination in the State. About the year 1736, or perhaps 1737, one Henry McCulloch induced a colony of Presbyterians from the province of Ulster, in Ireland, to settle in Duplin county, North Carolina, on lands he had obtained from his majesty, George II. The stipulated condition of the grant, or promised grant, was, that he should procure a certain number of settlers to occupy the wide forests, as an inducement to other emigrants to seek a residence in the unoccupied regions of Carolina. His son reported between three and four hundred emigrants, for whose introduction he retained about sixty-four thousand acres of land. The descendants of these emigrants are found in Duplin, New Hanover, and Sampson counties—the family names indicating their origin. The Grove congregation, whose place of worship is about three miles southeast of Duplin court-house, traces its origin to the church formed from this, the oldest Presbyterian settlement in the State, whose principal place of worship was at first called Goshen.

Nearer Wilmington was a settlement on what was called the Welch Tract, on the northeast Cape Fear.

This was composed at first of Welch emigrants, but after a short period other families were located on the tract, and then were associated families enough to form a congregation sufficiently large to invite the services of it minister.

These two settlements, one in Duplin and the other in Hanover, formed the field of labor in which McAden passed the first part of his settled ministry. As you pass rapidly on the cars from Richmond, Virginia, to Wilmington, North Carolina, after crossing the Tar River, and entering upon the extended sandy level that stretches, without an elevation of an ordinary hill, through the State, abounding in the species of pine that pours forth the turpentine of commerce, you enter upon the country roamed over by McAden, in his ministry in Duplin. Passing on, with scarce an elevation or a turn, through that country, and the unchanging groves of pines in New Hanover, till you cross the Cape Fear, you have measured the space allotted to him for the exercise of his ministry. A singular country; the wealth of the inhabitants is in the endless forest of pines, and their principal employment is gathering the product of these forests in the shape of turpentine, tar, and lumber, for foreign markets. The grain and grass crops are a secondary consideration, and scarcely supply the home demand. The supply from the forest has hitherto been unfailing, abundant, and often very profitable. To one accustomed to the cultivated fields of western Carolina, or the more northern States, this country, in passing hastily through it in the steam cars, appears one vast solitude. The turpentine groves present little of romance or beauty in their constantly recurring sameness, while they are pouring out streams of wealth to an industrious people.

Hugh MIcAden was born in Pennsylvania; his parentage is traced to the North of Ireland. His Alma Mater was Nassau Hall; his instructor in Theology, John Blair, of New Castle Presbytery. He was graduated in 1733, and was licensed in 1755, by the Presbytery to which his instructor belonged, and ordained by the same Presbytery in 1757; and dismissed in 1759 to join Hanover Presbytery, whose limits extended indefinitely south. Comparatively little is known of his early life, as his papers were almost entirely destroyed by the British soldiers, in January, 1781, while the army of Cornwallis, in the pursuit of Green, was encamped at the Red House, in Caswell county. Of the few papers that escaped was the Journal of his first trip through Carolina, and is the only document of the kind known to be in existence. As it contains many facts, incidentally stated, that will now be useful, all the important and interesting parts of this brief document will be presented, either verbatim, or in a condensed form, leaving out repetitions, and things that are likely to be in a journal not intended for the public, and which are not of lasting importance.


"Tuesday, June 3d, 1755.—Took my journey for Carolina from Mr. Kirkpatrick's in the evening; came to Mr. Hall's, where I tarried all night. Next day crossed the river in company with Mr. Bay and his wife. Spent the day in visiting her friends on both sides,"—that is, the old and new sides into which the church was then divided. "Thursday we set off and came to York, forty miles, with some difficulty, the weather being extremely hot, and no food for our horses. A very bad prospect of crops appears everywhere, the ground being quite burned up with drought, and the corn much hurt by the frost; the green wheat and meadows, in some places, entirely withered up from the roots as if they had been scorched by fire. Here I left Mr. Bay and his wife, rode out in the afternoon and lodged in the congregation. Next day set off in the morning and came to his house, where I stayed for breakfast." This Mr. Bay was a Presbyterian minister, of New Castle Presbytery, of the new side, and he speaks as if it were remarkable that he visited both sides with Mrs. Bay. York is the first town mentioned; and the bearing of his journey, and crossing "the river," would seem to fix the location of Mr. Kirkpatrick in Lancaster county. The mention he here makes of the great drought is repeated through all the summer and fall; from which it appears a severe drought prevailed extensively the same summer that Braddock's war raged so disastrously.

The second Sabbath of June he was at Rock Spring, and continued till the Friday after; the people making preparations to attend the administration of the Lord's Supper in the two congregations, that lay on each side, of one of Which the Rev. JAMES CAMPBELL, who was the next year in Carolina, was the pastor. In this he passed the third Sabbath of June, in company with the pastor and the Rev. Andrew Bay, whom he says he "heard preach with great satisfaction." This Mr. Campbell he had for his neighbor, in Carolina, on the Cape Fear, in about a year from this; the patriarch of the Scotch churches.

Monday, June the 16th, set out from Connegocheg, upon my journey for Carolina, crossed the Potomac, and lodged at Mr. Caten's, where I was very kindly entertained, and civilly used. Next day (Tuesday) set off about 12 o'clock, and carne to Winchester, forty miles, and tarried all night. In the morning rode out to Robert Wilson's, where I was kindly entertained. Spent the day with Mr. Hogg " (or Hoge) This Mr. Wilson lived a short distance from the present Opecquon meeting-house, and was proverbial for his hospitality. His house, which is still standing, on the east side of the great turnpike, part of stone and part of wood, was the resort of preachers in his day; and during the time that Washington was encamped in Winchester, the resort of his Excellency. The Mr. Hogg, or Hogge, or Hoge, for the name has been spelled all these ways, had been ordained by New Castle Presbytery about the time that Mr. McAden was licensed. He was graduated at Nassau IIall, in 1748; how long he had been at Opecquon is not known. He was the first settled minister in that congregation, the oldest in the valley.

On Thursday, the 19th, he set off up the valley of the Shenandoah, of which he says: "Alone in the wilderness. Sometimes a house in ten miles, and sometimes not that." On Friday night he lodged at a Mr. Shankland's, eighty miles from Opecquon, and twenty from Augusta court-house. On Saturday he stopped at a Mr. Poage's—"stayed for dinner, the first I had eaten since I left Pennsylvania."

From Staunton he went with Hugh Celsey to Samuel Downey's, at the North _Mountain, where he preached on the fourth Sabbath of June, according to appointment, and being detained by his horse, preached there the fifth Sabbath also. The same cause detaining him another week, he consented to preach in the new court-house on the first Sabbath of July. "Rode to widow Preston's Saturday evening, where I was very kindly entertained, and had a cornmodious lodging." This is probably the widow of John Preston, whose family have since been so famous in Virginia. The North Mountain congregation has long since given place to Bethel and Hebron. On Monday he rode out to John Trimble's, more encouraged by the appearances at North Mountain than in Staunton. On Tuesday he passed on to the Rev. John Brown's, who was the first settled minister of Providence and Timber Ride.

Here I was vehemently desired by Mr. Brown to preach in one of his places, having set apart a day of fasting and prayer, on the account of the wars and many murders committed by the savage Indians on the back inhabitants. To this I agreed, having appointed the Forks of James River for the next Lord's day, where I could easily reach on Saturday. So I tarried, and preached at Timber Ridge on Friday, which was the day appointed, to a pretty large congregation; felt some life and earnestness in alarming the people of their dangers on account of sin, the procuring cause of all evils that befal us in this life, or that which is to come; encouraging them to turn to the Lord with all their hearts, to wait upon him for deliverance from all their enemies, the only sure refuge in every time of difficulty; and exciting them to put themselves in the best posture of defence they could, and endeavor, by all possible means in their power, to defend themselves from such barbarous and inhuman enemies. Great attention and solemnity appeared throughout the whole assembly; nay, so engaged were they that, though there came up a pretty smart gust, they seemed to mind it no more than if the sun had been shining on them. But in a little time the Lord turned it so about that we were little more disturbed than if we had been in a house.

Came to Mr. Buyer's, where I tarried till Sabbath morning, a very kind and discreet gentleman, who used me exceedingly kindly, and accompanied inc to the Forks, twelve miles, where I preached the second Sabbath of July, to a considerable large congregation, who seemed pretty much engaged, and very earnest that I should stay longer with them; which I could by no means consent to, being determined to get along in [my] journey as fast as possible; and proposed to preach at Round Oak next Sabbath. Rode home with Joseph Lapsley, two miles, from meeting, where I tarried till Wednesday morning.

"Here it was I received the most melancholy news of the entire defeat of our army by the French at Ohio, the General killed, numbers of the inferior officers, and the whole artillery taken. This, together with the frequent account of fresh murders being daily committed upon the frontiers, struck terror to every heart. A cold shuddering possessed every breast, and paleness covered almost every face. In short, the whole inhabitants were put into an universal confusion. Scarcely any man durst sleep in his own House—but all met in companies with their wives and children, and set about building little fortifications, to defend themselves from such barbarians and inhuman enemies, whom they concluded would be let loose upon them at pleasure. I was so shocked upon my first reading Col. Innes's letter, that I knew not well what to do."

This was the defeat of Gen. Braddock. The consternation that followed through all the frontiers of Virginia, which were then all in time valley, is well described in the few lines given above. The difficulties and dangers increased till many of the inhabitants of Augusta fled to the more quiet frontiers of North Carolina, as will be seen in the progress of this journal. Among others who fled, and in a few years took his residence on Sugar Creek, was the Rev. Mr. Craighead, who had been some years in Virginia, residing on the cow pasture. Ilis congregation was not in the track of Mr. McAden's journey, which left Mr. Craighead's residence to the right, and Mr. Craig's to the left.

After much consideration whether he should remain where he was, or return to Pennsylvania, or go on to his destined field of labor in Carolina, he determined, in the fear of God, to go on. "I resolved to prosecute my journey, come what will, with some degree of dependence on the Lord for his divine protection and support, that I might be enabled to glorify him in all things, whether in life or in death, though not so sensible as I could wish for and earnestly desired."

On Wednesday, the 16th of July, he left Mr. Lapsley's, in company with a young man from Mr. Henry's congregation, in Charlotte, who had been at the Warm Springs, and was fleeing from the expected inroads of the savages. Giving up the appointment at Round Oak, he took the route by Luny's Ferry, which was distant about twenty-six miles—"because it was now too late to cross the mountain, nor did I think it. quite safe to venture it alone: but here I thought we might lodge with some degree of safety, as there were a number of men and arms engaged in building a fort, round the house, where they were fled with their wives and children."

The next (lay Major Smith sent a guard with them across the mountains; and after riding thirty-two miles they reached Mr. I. Sable's, about three miles from Bedford court-house. Here he was out of danger from the Indians, but found the same oppressive drought he left in Pennsylvania. The next day he reached "Mr. Thomas Dickson's, at Falling River, twenty-three miles, a place where Mr. Henry preached once a month. The people insisted very much upon my staying here till Sabbath day: as it was now Friday evening, it was impossible to get over to Dan River (which was the first vacancy I could preach at) in time to warn a congregation before Sabbath day, therefore I tarried and preached at Falling River."

On Monday, the 21st, he rode thirty miles to the Rev. Mr. Henry's—"where I was much refreshed by a relation of Mr. Henry's success among his people, who told me of several hope-.fully brought in by his ministry, and frequent appearance of new .awakenings amongst them, scarcely a Sabbath passing without some life and appearance of the power of God. So likewise in Mr. Wright's congregation, I hear, there is a considerable appearance of the power of God."

On Wednesday, 23d of July, he left Mr. Henry's, rode ten miles, and preached at a Mr. Cardwall's, in Halifax county, and passed on that night to Ephraim Hill's, five miles. The country was then thinly settled, and the people appeared to Mr. McAden as sheep without a shepherd. On the next day rode twenty miles to Capt. Moore's, on Dan River, where he remained and preached the Sabbath, July 27th. On Tuesday he left Capt. Moore's, proceeded five miles up the Dan, crossed over, and preached at Mr. Brandon's; and on the same evening, riding twelve miles, came to Solomon Debow's on Hico, an emigrant from Bucks county, Pennsylvania. Here he remained, and preached the first Sabbath of August. "Having now got within the limits prescribed me by the Presbytery, I was resolved not to be so anxious about getting along in my journey, but take some more time to labor among the people, if so be the Lord might bless it to the advantage of any. May the Lord, of his infinite mercy, grant his blessing upon my poor attempts, and make me in some way instrumental in turning some of these precious souls from darkness unto light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that the power may be known to be of God, and all the glory redound to His own name."

Mr. McAden was now out of the sphere of alarm occasioned by Braddock's defeat; and he was also now beyond the southern bounds of any settled minister of the Presbyterian denomination in connection with the Synods of New York and Philadelphia. There were some Presbyterian churches built in North Carolina, and many worshipping assemblies, but few, if any, organized churches at this time, and no settled minister. Mr. McAden was of the New Side, as they were termed. This is discoverable from a very few sentences in his journal which occasionally appear, when he meets with some opposing circumstance from the other side for through Virginia and in the settlements in Carolina the difference of opinion had spread, and the fierceness of the dispute had yet scarcely passed away.

We shall follow him with interest from this first Sabbath in CaroIina, August 3, 1755, at Solomon Debow's, on Hico, through time settled part of the State. Some of his preaching-places can be identified, and others with difficulty conjectured; as they were at private houses generally, or in time open air. As might be expected, some became permanent preaching-places, and others gave way to more convenient locations.

On Tuesday, 5th, he preached at Mr. Debow's; on Wednesday, rode ten miles to the chapel on South Hico, where—"I preached to a number of church people and some Presbyterians. After sermon they seemed exceedingly pleased, and returned abundance of thanks for my sermon, and earnestly entreated me by all means to call upon them as I came back, and showed a very great desire that all our ministers should call upon them as they travel back and forward." He went home with Mr. Vanhook, five miles, and preached at his house on Thursday; and on Friday was conducted by Mr. Vanhook " to Eino " (Eno), about twenty miles, to a Mr. Anderson's. The second Sabbath of August, the 10th day, he preached at Eno—"to a set of pretty regular Presbyterians," who appeared to him to be in a cold state of religious feeling. "In the evening returned to Mr. Anderson's; here I tarried till Tuesday, the 12th of August; preached again to the same company." From these expressions it would seem there was a house for public warship on the Eno.

"Being sent for, and very earnestly entreated to go to Tar River, I took my journey the same evening, with my guide, and rode to Bogan's, on Flat River, twenty miles. Next morning, set off again, and rode to old Sherman's, on Tar River, and preached that afternoon to a small company, who seemed generally attentive, and some affected." Next day he went to Grassy Creek, sixteen miles, where was a Baptist meeting-house, and preached to a people "who seemed very inquisitive about the way to Zion." The next day he accompanied his host, old Mr. Lawrence, to Fishing Creek, to the Baptist Yearly Meeting; and on Saturday and Sabbath preached to large and deeply interested audiences. "Here I think the power of God appeared something conspicuous, and the word seemed to fall with power." Being earnestly pressed, he preached again on Sabbath afternoon, with some hope of success. On Monday he preached again with greater appearance of usefulness. The inhabitants, he was informed, were principally from Virginia, and some from Pennsylvania and Jersey. "I was obliged to leave them after I had preached to and exhorted them with many words, that they should carefully guard against taking shelter under the shadow of their own righteousness, committing them to God, who, I know, is able to make them wise unto salvation." On Monday, P. M., the 18th, he rode to Granville court-house, twenty-five miles. On Tuesday he rode to Mr. Sherman's, on Tar River, at about 11 o'clock, twenty miles; and preached in the afternoon "to a middling congregation, who appeared very devout, and some of them much affected." On Wednesday, returned to Mr. Anderson's, on Eno. On Friday evening he rode "to the Hawfields, where I preached the fourth Sabbath in August, to a considerable large congregation, chiefly Presbyterians, who seemed highly pleased, and very desirous to hear the word. Preached again on Tuesday; the people came out to hear quite beyond expectation. Wednesday, set out upon my journey, and came to the Buffalo Settlement, about thirty-five miles; lodged at William Mebane's till Sabbath day; then rode to Adam Michel's, where I preached; the people seemed solemn and very attentive, but no appearance of the life of religion. Returned in the evening, about a mile, to Robert Rankin's, where I was kindly received and well entertained till Tuesday then returned to the former place, and preached; no stir appeared, but some tears." On Wednesday, September 3d, he set out for the Yadkin, having Robert Rankin as his guide, and leaving ridden forty-five miles, lodged at John Vannoy's. "Next morning, came to Henry Sloan's, at the Yadkin Ford, where I was kindly entertained till Sabbath day; rode to the meeting-house and preached to a small congregation." Here there appears to have been a congregation of some strength that had a meeting-house, but had become divided,—"Many adhere to the Baptists that were before wavering, and several that professed themselves to be Presbyterians; so that very few at present join heartily for our ministers, ,tnd will in a little time, if God prevent not, be too weak either to call or supplicate for a faithful minister. 0 may the good Lord, who can bring order out of confusion, and call things that are not as though they were, visit this people!" One cause of the divisions in this congregation arose from the labors of a Baptist minister among there by the name of Miller.

After preaching, he visited some sick people, and went home with James Smith, about four miles. On Tuesday, he preached again at the meeting-House, and went Bonze with Cornelius Anderson, about six miles—"a judicious, honest man, I hope, who seems to be much concerned for the state of the church and perishing souls." On Wednesday, 10th, he visited Captain Hunt, who was sick with an intermitting fever, and found his visit welcome and returned to Mr. Sloan's. On Friday, 12th, he crossed the Yadkin, and rode about ten miles to James Alison's. On Saturday, he went three or four miles to Mr. Brandon's—"one of my own countrymen." On Sabbath, 14th, he preached at "the meeting-house to a considerable congregation of professing people;" and on Monday, rode to John Lackey's, about five or six miles. "Preached again on Wednesday, being appointed as a day of fasting and prayer, to entreat the Lord for deliverance from these sad calamities, with which the land seems in general to be threatened, being in very great danger both of sword and famine." In the evening, he paid a faithful visit to a man, about to die, from a fall from his horse, in a very unprepared state of mind. "Went home with John Andrew, a serious, good man, I hope, with whom my soul was much refreshed, by his warm conversation about the things of God. How sweet to meet one in the wilderness who can speak the language of Canaan! The next day, he rode to Justice Carruth's, about eight miles, and remained till Sabbath, 21st, and then preached at the meeting-house about two miles off, "to a pretty large congregation of people, who seemed generally pretty regular and discreet." The next day, he set out for Mr. David Ternpletori's, about five miles from Mr. Carrurth's; on his way —"came up with a large company of men, women and children, who had fled for their lives from the Cow or Calf pasture in Virginia; from them I received the melancholy account, that the Indians were still doing a great deal of mischief in those parts, by murdering and destroying several of the inhabitants, and banishing the rest from their houses and livings, whereby they are forced to fly into desert places." Rode on that evening to William Denny's, four miles further; who presented him with what he considered a great present, "a pair of shoes, made of his own leather, which was no small favor." On Tuesday, he returned to David Temple-ton's, and on \Wednesday, a day appointed for fasting and prayer, rode to "the meeting-house and preached." After sermon, he went Bone with Captain Osborne, about six miles; here, he remained till Sabbath, the 28th, when he preached "at the new meeting-house, about three miles off;"—and "again on Wednesday, being appointed for fasting and humiliation." In the evening, he rode home with William Reese, about seven miles, and remained till Sabbath, the 5th of October, when he preached at Captain Lewis's, about three miles distant—"to as large a congregation as any I have had since I came to these parts." The whole of the succeeding week he lodged at Captain Lewis's. On Wednesday, he preached again, it being the day appointed by the governor and council, for humiliation, fasting and prayer, on account of the distress upon the land.

On the Sabbath, the 12th of October, he rode seven miles to Justice Alexander's, "when I preached in the afternoon, a considerable solemnity appeared." Though it was now near the middle of October, the drought was still so great that he says—"I have not seen so much as one patch of wheat or rye in the ground." On Wednesday, he went over to Major Ilarris's, about three miles, and preached; on Friday, he preached at David Caldwell's, about five or six miles, to a small congregation, and went on to William Alexander's, and tarried till Sabbath, the 19th, and then rode about twelve miles to Junes Alexander's, on Sugar Creek, and preached —"where there are some pretty serious, judicious people—may the Lord grant his blessing ^" That evening, he rode home with Henry Knealy (or Neely, as he spells the name both ways), six miles; and on Monday, the 20th, took his journey for Broad River—"sixty miles to the southward, in company with two young men, who came thus far to conduct inc thither—a place where never any of our missionaries have been."

On this journey, he passed through the lands of the Catawba Indians. On the first night., they prepared to encamp in the woods, about three miles south of the Catawba—"there being no white man's house on all the road." This was his first night "out of doors." On the next day, they passed one of their hunting camps unmolested; but when they stopped to get their breakfast, they were surrounded by a large number of Indians, shouting and hallooing, and frightening their horses and rifling their baggage. Accordingly, they moved off as fast as possible, without staying to parley; and to their great annoyance, in a little time they passed a second camp of hunters, who prepared to give them a similar reception, calling them to stop, from each side the path. Passing on rapidly, they escaped without harm; and after a ride of twenty-five miles, were permitted to get their breakfasts in peace.

[here some leaves of the journal are missing.]

On Sabbath, the 2d of November, he preached ''to a number of those poor baptized infidels, many of whom I was told had never heard a sermon in all their lives before, and yet several of them had families." This seems hardly credible. But he relates all anecdote told him here of all old gentleman, who said to the governor of South Carolina, when he was in those parts, in treaty with the Cherokee Indians, that he "had never seen a shirt, been in a fair, heard a sermon or seen a minister, in all his life." Upon which the governor promised to send him lip a minister, that he might hear one sermon before he died. The minister carne and preached; and this was all the preaching that had been heard in the upper part of South Carolina before Mr. McAden's visit.

How far he penetrated the State is not known, on account of the loss of a few leaves of the journal. "On Monday, the 10th of November, returned about twenty miles, to James Atterson's, on Tyger river; preached on Tuesday, which was the first they had ever heard in these parts, but I hope it will not be the last, for there are men in all these places (blessed be God), some at least, that have a great desire of hearing the gospel preached. Next day rode to James Love's, on Broad River: Thursday, preached." On Broad River his congregation was effected under his preaching. It is not unlikely that some latitude of expression was used by those who gave him the statements he records. It is very likely that he was the first minister the people heard in those neighborhoods; but those who had never heard a sermon were comparatively few, as the mass of the early settlers were of a parentage that taught their children the way to church. There were, however, some settlers from the older parts of the State that had not been much accustomed to any religious forms.

Friday, the 14th, took my leave of these parts, and set out for the Waxhaws, forty-five miles, good; that night reached Thomas Farrel's, where I lodged till Sabbath day; then rode to James Patton's, about two miles, and preached to a pretty large congregation of Presbyterian people. Wednesday, preached again in the same place, and crossed the Catawba river and came to Henry White's." There he remained till Sabbath; part of the time sick of the flux, but was able to preach on Sabbath, the 23d, at "the meeting-house" five miles off; and went bonze with Justice Dickens. On the Monday following he set out for the Yadkin, retracing his steps; lodging that night at Henry Neely's, where his disorder returned upon him, and kept him till Sabbath, when he rode six miles, to James Alexander's, and preached. From thence he proceeded to Justice Alexander's, on Rocky River, twelve miles; thence on to Captain .Lewis's, in the Welch settlement, and there tarried some days as before, and preached the first Sabbath of December (the 7th); thence to William Reece's; and on the next Sabbath (the 14th) he preached in the "new meeting-house," near Mr. Osborne's; the next, at Coddle Creek; and passing on he called on David Templeton, William Denny, Justice Carruth, and John Andrew, and preached on Sabbath, the 28th, at Cathey's meeting-house, now called Thyatira, to a Iarge audience. Here he was urged to remain and divide his time with that congregation and Rocky River. The congregation, however, was divided in their preference, some for the old side, and some for the new; and the movements to settle a minister unfortunately became a party question. Being iirgently solicited, he preached the next Sabbath at the same church, and his friends made out their subscription. On the whole, he thought it unadvisable to prosecute the matte:. After visiting Second Creek, and preaching at Captain Hampton's, he passed on to the Yradkin, and having crossed it with difficulty, he lodged with his former host, Mr. Sloan, and preached in "the meetinghouse" on the second Sabbath of January, the 11th day, in company with Mr. Miller, the Baptist minister, from Jersey, of whom as a Christian man he speaks favorably.

On Tuesday, January 13th, 1736, he set out on a journey down the Cape Fear river, to -Wilmington, in company with a Mr. Van Clare, and reached Huary, thirty miles, and preached the next day, Wednesday. The next day he reached Smith's, at the Sand Hills, and remained till Sabbath; in public worship he could find no one to join in singing a part of a psalm. On Monday, the 19th, set off in company with Mr. Smith, who was going to court, and rode fifty miles to McKay's. Next day rode thirty miles to Anson court-house. Here he met with an old acquaintance, James Stewart, and went home with him and remained till Saturday, and preached at the court-house, and rode to the New Store. On Sabbath, the 25th, he rode to Hector McNeill's, "and preached to a number of Highlanders,—some of them scarcely knew one word that I said,—the poorest singers I ever heard in all my life. Next day rode to David Smith's, on the other side of Little River, fourteen miles; on Tuesday, preached to a considerable number of people who came to hear me at Smith's. Wednesday, rode up to Alexander McKay's, upon the Yadkin road, thirty miles; Thursday, preached to a small congregation, mostly of Highlanders, who were very much obliged to me for corning, and highly pleased with my discourse. Though, alas, I am afraid it was all but feigned and hypocritical." his reason for this fear was, some stayed around the house all night and indulged in drinking and profane language, in spite of his remonstrances, and almost entirely prevented his rest.

On Friday he "set off down the river, thirty miles, to Neill Beard's;" then he preached on Sabbath, 1st of February, to a mixed multitude, some Presbyterians, some church people, some Baptists, and don't know but sonic Quakers." However, they expressed themselves highly pleased with his visit. On Monday, the 2d, he rode to a Mr. James Semes's, about five miles, a sick family whom he visited, and preached in their house to the neighbors assembled; and in the evening rode oil to Mr. Robinson's, "a very affable gentleman," with whom he tarried till Wednesday, and then accompanied to the court-house in Bladen county, where he preached to a considerable congregation; and "in the evening went home with old Justice Randle, about two miles." On Thursday he preached at George Brown's, three miles off, and went on three miles further to Neal Shaw's, and the next day to Duncan McCoulskv's; and on Sabbath, the 8th, rode to Esquire McNeill's, where he preached to a small congregation, the day being wet. "After the sermon a proposal was made to get me to cone and settle among them; and I think I never saw people more engaged, or subscribe with greater freedom and cheerfulness in my life. May the Lord, in much mercy, prepare me for some usefulness in the world, and direct me to what will be most for his own glory, and the good of precious souls?"

On Monday, 9th, crossed the swamp and carne to Baldwin's, on the Whitemarsh, about five miles, where I tarried all night, and preached the next day to a very few irregular sort of people, who, I believe, know but little about the principles of any religion." In the evening he rode home with Mr. Kerr, four miles. On Wednesday he set out for Wilmington, and rode thirty miles to young Mr. Granger's, "a very discreet gentleman, who entertained me with a great deal of courtesy;" on Thursday he rode fifteen miles to President Roan's; and on the next day fifteen miles further to the ferry, and then crossed by water, four miles, to Wilmington.

Here he preached, Sabbath, the 15th, "in the A.M., to a large and splendid audience, but was surprised when I came again in the P.M., to see about a dozen met to hear me." This small number greatly depressed his spirits, and probably hastened his departure from the place on the Tuesday following. On that day he rode twenty-five miles, to Cowen's, up the Northeast Cape Fear, and on the next day to old Mr. Evans's, in the Welch Tract.

There he preached on Sabbath, 22d, designing to move on homeward, "but I was detained by the affection and entreaties of this people, who earnestly pressed upon me to tarry with them another Sabbath; their design herein was that they might have time to get a subscription drawn up, that they might put in a call for me." On Sabbath, the 29th, he preached again to the same people, who expressed great desire for his return, and made out a call for him as their pastor.

On Tuesday, .March 2d, he rode to Mr. Bower's, about tell miles, on Black River; and on the next day six miles further, and preached, then crossed the river and rode about five wiles to South River, where he lodged with Mr. Anderson. On Thursday crossed Collie's Swamp, then in a bad condition—"lodged at old Mr. Grife Jones's;" on the next day crossed the Northwest, and lodged at George Brown's, where he preached on Sabbath, March 7th. While in this neighborhood, he was grieved to find some, who had been brought up under the influence of the gospel in other parts, become dissolute and indulging infidel notions, since their abode in this region where the gospel was not regularly preached, and in fact scarcely heard.

On Monday, the 8th, crossed the Northwest, and being detained by the rain, and some other business, he rode but about ten miles, to Mr. Isaac Jones's, "a good honest Quaker, and an assemblyman." The next day, crossed Collie's Swamp again, which was now overflowed, and caused much trouble by swimming the horses—"and got to Mr. Anderson's again about 10 o'clock;" that same day, he rode on to Mr. Lewis's, on Black River, about twenty-five miles. On Wednesday, he went fifteen miles, to John James's, and preached. By the high waters he was detained in the Welch Tract till after the second Sabbath of March. On Thursday, 18th, he rode to Jeremiah Holden's, about twenty miles; and on the next morning, about three miles, to Mr. Dickson's, the clerk of Duplin county, where he preached on Sabbath, the 21st, to a considerable congregation, most of whom were Irish.

"The people here being very desirous to join the Welch Tract, in putting in a call for me, and many of their best friends being abroad upon business, they insisted so strongly upon me, that I was forced to consent to stay with them another day. Tuesday, rode up to Goshen in company with Mr. Dickson, and several more. Came to Mr. Gaven's, twelve miles, where we tarried all night; next day preached, and returned to Mr. Dickson's." On Sabbath, 28th, he preached at John MiIler's, about two miles distant. The people seemed all very hearty in giving him a call, and making a proper support for him.

On Monday, the 29th, he set out from Mr. Dickson's homeward; tarried that night at Mr. Caven's, twelve miles; next day crossed Neuse, and tarried with Joshua Herring, about thirty miles. This man was out early in the morning, and assembled his neighbors, and detained him to preach to them at noon. In the evening, rode to Mr. Herring's, senior, about twelve miles. "The next morning, set out upon my journey for Pamlico, and rode about ten miles, to Major McWain's, where I had opportunity of seeing and conversing with Governor Dobbs, who is a very sociable gentleman." That night he lodged at Peter's Ferry, on Cuttentony, about twenty miles, it being too late to go farther. The next day, he rode about forty miles, to Salter's Ferry, on Pamlico. The next day, being Saturday, he came to Thomas Little's, where he remained over Sabbath, April 4th. This man had not heard a Presbyterian minister in the twenty-eight years he had lived in Carolina, and took the opportunity of sending round for his neighbors, and collected a congregation; and kept Mr. McAden till Wednesday, to preach again. "I found some few amongst them, that I trust are God's dear children, who seemed much refreshed by my coming."

On the 7th day of April, Wednesday, after sermon, he rode to Mr. Barrow's, about five miles; and the next day, about five or six miles, to the Red Banks, "where I preached to a pretty large company of various sorts of people, but fewer Presbyterians. In the evening, rode up the river, ten miles, to Mr. Mace's, who is a man of considerable note, and a Presbyterian." Here he remained till Sabbath, the 11th, and preached in the neighborhood.

On Tuesday, April 13th, he set out homeward, and rode twenty miles, to Mr. Toole's, on Tar River; this man he describes as unhappy in his notions of unbelief. On Wednesday, he rode thirty miles, to Edgecomb court-house; the next day he reached Fishing Creek, about twenty-five miles; and on Friday, he rode about ten mile up the creek, and was kindly received by the Baptist friends he made on his journey through the country the. last fall. On Sabbath, 18th, he preached at their meeting-house. Here many came to converse with him about their experience. On the next day, he went home with Joseph Linsey, who had heard him preach.

"He insisted very hard upon me to stay at Nut Bush, and give them a sermon, as they were very destitute and out of the way. I went home with him, about twenty-two miles, it being pretty much in my way, and preached." He found them a cheerful people, without the regular preaching of the gospel, and in a situation as might be expected, with abundance of wealth, and full leisure for enjoyment.

On Wednesday he reached Captain Hampton's, about 35 miles; and on Thursday got to John Anderson's,—"who seemed very joyful to see me returned so far back again; "tarried till Sabbath, and preached. On Tuesday, 27th, he preached at Hawfields; on Wednesday at Eno: on Thursday rode down to Aaron Van-hook's; and next day to John McFarland's, on Hico; and there preached, Sabbath, the 2d of May.

Got ready to take my journey from Carolina, Thursday, the 6th of May, 1756; that day rode in company with Solomon De-bow, who came to conduct me as far as John Baird's, on Dan River, twenty miles from Hico." From thence he set off alone. Passing through Amelia, we find him, on Sabbath, the 9th of May, at the house of Mr. Messaux, on James' River. Here the journal abruptly closes.

It is interesting to follow the track of this early missionary. Many of the neighborhoods he mentions have at this day regular preaching; in some there are large congregations and flourishing churches; and some few have passed from the list of Presbyterian congregations.

The time, and distances from place to place, have been given for the purpose of enabling those in the region of his route to trace his track. A comparison of the state of things as they appeared ninety years ago, with the present, may lead to profitable reflections. These data are left with those who may feel interested in searching out the "beginning of things."


Mr. McAden returned to Carolina, and became the settled minister of the congregations in Duplin and New Hanover. He was ordained by the Presbytery of New Castle, in 1757; and in 1759 was dismissed to join Hanover Presbytery, which then included a greater part of Virginia, and extended indefinitely south. He presented his credentials at a meeting of the Presbytery on Rockfish, July 16th, 1759, having previously sat as a corresponding member.

With these people he remained about ten years; when, believing that the influence of the climate upon his health was too unfavorable to justify his remaining longer in the lower part of the State, he removed to Caswell county, and there finished his days. At a meeting of Hanover Presbytery, at Buffalo, March 2d, 1768, for the purpose of ordaining Messrs. David Caldwell and Joseph Alexander, "a call from the churches of Hico, Dan River, and County Line Creek," was put in for his pastoral services. At the same meeting he presided at the installation of the Rev. David Caldwell over the congregations of Buffalo and Alamance. This year, if not earlier, he became a resident of Caswell. An intimacy had existed between him and this people for years, and he had laid their destitute condition before the Presbytery in 1759, "giving a moving representation of their difliculties." The names of these churches were changed; and also the place of his labors in part. At the time of his death he was preaching at Red House (Middle Hyco), Greer's (Upper Hyco), and to a church in Pittsylvania, "about half a day's ride" from his dwelling, near the Red House.

Mr. McAden was united in marriage with a Miss Scott, of Lunenburg county, Virginia, whose family name was given to the neighborhood, formed by a company of emigrants from the North of Ireland, and called Scott's Settlement. A number of children were born to him in Duplin, the eldest of whom died in Caswell, in the year 1845.

The following extract from a letter dictated by Dr. John McAden, the eldest son of the preacher, in his 82d year, contains all we know of the habits of this pioneer of Carolina. The letter bears date—"Hyco Hills, Caswell county, Jan. 5th, 1845. My father was a very systematic man,—and he always spent one or two days every week in private study,—and if he walked into the fields he always carried his Bible with him. He visited with his elders once a year, all the families within the bounds of his congregations,—and he would exhort and pray with them during his stay. He would collect all of his congregations once a year at his churches, and hold an examination of those present. He administered the sacrament at each of his churches twice every year. He spent his life in attempting to convince all of their sins, and in rendering happy those who were members of his congregations,—respected and beloved by all who knew him. During the Revolution, the Lord God Almighty thought proper to remove this venerable man, whose influence will always be acknowledged with pleasure; and he departed this life January 20th, 1781, Ieaving a wife and seven children. Two weeks after his death, the British encamped in the yard of the Red House church. They remained there some time, going about over the country, committing many depredations upon all the neighbors. And my father's long ministerial services did not free him from their ravages, but they came to his house and searched it throughout, destroying many things, and also many of his most valuable papers, on account of which, the knowledge of my father is so limited, having been absent a greater part of my life at school in Guilford, N. C., under the late Dr. Caldwell, and having arrived at home a few days before the death of my father. During the encampment of the British in the yard of the Red House, they committed many depredations upon the church which were not repaired for many years."

The visit of the British referred to in this letter, took place, after Green had crossed the Dan, in the memorable retreat before Cornwallis, by which the march of Morgan into Virginia, with the prisoners taken at the Cowpens, was covered, and the American forces placed beyond the reach of the enemy, till reinforcements from Virginia carne in, and Greene could venture to face the enemy and provoke the famous battle of Guilford. It is a well-known fact that Cornwallis's army ever showed a dislike to Presbyterian ministers, as the immediate cause of much of the stubborn resistance which met them at every step in Carolina. McAden had rested from his labors before his house was plundered, like Caldwell's; and he was spared the trial of being witness of the miseries of his congregation, and flying, like a criminal, to the forests and the dens of the earth, like his brother, of Guilford.

Mr. McAden lies buried in the grave-yard, near the Red House, in Caswell county, about five miles from the flourishing town of Milton, the Pioneer in Duplin, New Hanover, Caswell, and Pittsylvania.


For a long period there was no successor to Mr. McAden in Duplin and New Hanover. The congregations were served only by the precarious and desultory labors of occasional missionaries, and were dwindling away. In 1793, John Robinson was licensed by Orange Presbytery, and directed to labor in Duplin. The mutual interest resulting from his first visit, led to his settlement and till the close of the century, his successful labors were devoted to the remains of the congregations served by McAden for about ten years. They revived under his ministry. In the year 1800 he removed to Fayetteville.

The Rev. Samuel Stanford became a member of Orange Presbytery in 1793, and visited the low country before Mr. Robinson left, and became his successor. He extended his labors over the greater part of Duplin as a minister, and conducted a classical school with success. The Academy at the Grove has been kept in operation, with some intermissions, for a long series of years. The pastors that have succeeded Mr. Stanford have been patrons or teachers of a classical school either at the Grove, or near their own residence, and have kept alive the spirit of classical education, without which there is no permanent attention to polite literature, and sound philosophy, and true science. Mr. Stanford wore out his strength and days in the service of the people of Duplin, and finished his course in the year 1828.

For a few years the Rev. S. D. Hatch labored with great success in Duplin; and left the county for a more southern residence much against the desires of an affectionate people.

Rev. Alexander McIver ran a short race in Duplin, being arrested by sudden death, in the midst of his days and his usefulness.

Wilmington had no organized Presbyterian church till long after the Revolution, engaging occasionally the services of well-educated men, who acted in the capacity of classical teachers and ministers of the gospel. Rev. James Tate, a Presbyterian minister, came from Ireland to Wilmington, about the year 1760; and for his support opened a classical school, the first ever taught in the place. He educated many of the young men of New Hanover, who took an active part in the Revolution. While residing in Wilmington, he was accustomed to take excursions for preaching through New Hanover and the adjoining counties, particularly up the Black and South Rivers. In the course of his visits he baptized the children of the Scotch and Irish families, that chose to present them, without any particular inquiry into the Christian experience of the parents, which would perhaps have been unavailing of any good in the destitute condition of the country. It is supposed, however, that he practised upon the principle of admitting to the ordinance the children of all those who had been themselves baptized, if not guilty of scandalous lives. He received a small fee for each baptism, either in money or in cotton yarn; and this appears to have been all his salary and all the remuneration for his journeyings and services.

During the Revolutionary war, being a staunch whig in his principles, he found it prudent to leave Wilmington and seek a residence in the upper country. He declined all offers to be connected with a congregation; engaged in frequent preachings in destitute neighborhoods desirous of hearing the gospel. He made his home in the Hawfields, in Orange. Courteous in his manners, .especially to females, he was never married. Particularly neat in his dress, and winning in his conversation, his company was prized by young people; and his influence over them was highly improving to their manners, morals, and mental culture.

About the year 1770, the first church building was put up on Black River, near where the Black River Chapel now stands.

About the year 1785, Rev. William Bingham, from Ireland, commenced preaching in Wilmington and the surrounding country. He sustained himself by a classical school, in the management of which he attained great excellence and eclat. He removed to the upper country, and taught with great success in Chatham and in Orange. His mantle, as teacher, fell upon his sons.

About the year 1790, the Rev. Colin Lindsey, a man of extensive education, fine appearance, and superior talents as a speaker, came over from Scotland on invitation, and settled on Black River, on the place now owned by Mr. Sellars. His stay was short. Difficulties of a moral nature arose; and in about two years he removed to Robeson. Having bought a yoke of oxen on a Saturday, at a sale, he permitted them to be driven home on the Sabbath, alleging as a reason, want of food at the place of sale; a member of his church remonstrating, he expressed strong dissatisfaction at the liberty taken by a private member to reprove the minister. Hard words and hard feelings succeeded; the congregation enlisted, and divided. To this grievance was added. a charge of too free use of spirituous liquors, the distinction of a moderate use being admitted; in consequence he removed first to Raft Marsh congregation, and from thence to Bethel. About the year 1802 he was deprived by Presbytery of his authority to preach, and was excommunicated. He continued, however, to preach and baptize whenever opportunity occurred; and further rendered himself obnoxious to the Presbytery of Orange, and the Synod of the Carolinas, by opposing the great revival of 1802. Seizing upon the irregularities that accompanied that extensive work, he denounced the whole as a delusion, and charged his former brethren with fanaticism, and unkind and unrighteous discipline. By his talents and address he obtained many adherents, and greatly resisted the spread of religion, as taught by zealous ministers of the day. A notice of this man appears in the extracts from the records of the Synod of North Carolina for the year 1810. His latter days were unhappy, and in 1832 he died unreconciled to the Presbytery. Little is known of his religious exercises in his last days.

His wife was of the Hamilton family, so famous in Scotland and Ireland. After the difficulties with her husband commenced, she was urged to return to Scotland, but refused. She survived her husband some years; her last days were cheered by the family with whom she resided, by the name of McGlaughlin, whose partiality for the name and race of the Hamiltons Was expressed in unremitting attentions to her in her infirmities.

Early in the year 1798, the Rev. Robert Tate, a licentiate of Orange Presbytery, reared in the Hawfields, about two miles east of the place of worship, visited New Hanover and Duplin, and became a resident minister. He was ordained in 1799. His preaching-places have been mostly in New Hanover. his first communion was on Rockfish, near where the church now stands. Four persons united with him and his wife, viz. Timothy Bloodworth and his wife, and Timothy Wilson and his wife. Mr. Bloodworth was much in public life,—collector of the port of Wilmington, and member of Congress from that district. In his old age, he prepared for the ministry, but some pecuniary misfortunes prevented his entrance upon the duties of the office.

Under Mr. Tate, Rockfish, Keith, and Hopewell sprang up and opened the doors of the sanctuary to a large region of country. The scene of McAden's labors had become a desolation but the church still lives in New Hanover, and has hope of continuance. Black River congregation was for a long time a sharer of Mr. Tate's ministerial labors. Besides the refreshing influence enjoyed in common with his brethren, in 1802, and for some succeeding years, and various more limited manifestations of divine presence, the congregations generally in New Hanover, were visited, in 1832, with a refreshing influence, which added many to the visible church of Christ, and promoted piety and the life of godliness.

The laborers in that part of the Lord's vineyard embraced by New Hanover, and Duplin, and Sampson, have great reason to be encouraged, while they labor in the field trod by the first Presbyterian missionaries to Carolina, and hallowed by the sepulchres of the ancient dead. When another century shall have passed, may there be found worthy successors in the ministry, and flourishing churches in the vast Turpentine Region; and may the blessings of brace be as ceaseless to the inhabitants as the flow of their annual temporal wealth.


Colonel James Smith, of Tennessee, an emigrant from North Carolina, and son of Colonel Samuel Smith, one of the founders of Grassy Creek church, in Granville county, in a letter to Dr. Alexander Wilson, of Caldwell Institute, says, "some time between 1753 and 1760, Samuel Bell, with his brothers and son-in-law, Donnell, removed from Pennsylvania, and settled in the forks of Rico. They were strict Presbyterians, and were soon supplied with preaching by a Mr. Black, afterwards by Mr. McAden, from the lower part of the State." It appears that this gentleman was not aware that McAden had previously visited Rico, and found a few families of Presbyterians already there, and that Mr. Pattillo had been invited there in 1758. The emigrants he mentions formed the congregation of Upper Hico (now Greers); from other families Mr. McAden organized Middle Rico (Red House); and from the emigration of the Barnet family and their friends, he gathered Barnet's, or Lower Hico.

Mr. Smith states that about the time the Bells settled in the forks, Hugh Barnet, his brother, and their friends, seated themselves some fifteen or twenty miles southeast of that settlement, and planted a church, which was frequently called Barnet's, sometimes Criswell's, from their first minister, James Criswell, who was licensed by Hanover Presbytery. This church was sometimes also called Lower Hico, and though it has ceased to have a place in the records of the church, it at one time contained more members than any of the sister churches in the State.

There was another church in Caswell of long standing, called Bethany, or Rattlesnake, situated on the road from Milton to Yanceyville, near the residence of Mr. George Williamson. It was never under the care of Mr. McAden. For a long time it was a flourishing church, and for a series of years enjoyed the labors of Rev. Ebenezer B. Currie, now (1816) the oldest minister in Orange Presbytery. This church has been divided, and the old place of preaching abandoned; one part of the church and congregation worshipping in Yanceyville, and the other forming the church of Gilead, some five miles southwest of Milton.

Mr. McAden had another place of preaching, and a church organized near Pittsylvania court-house, in Virginia, on which he regularly attended during his life. May the church now rising in Pittsylvania come up like a phoenix from the ashes of the more ancient and almost forgotten, though once flourishing, congregations.

The Bell family, says Mr. Smith, early removed from this to Guilford, carrying their attachment to religion and to Presbyterianism along with them, and their descendants are to be found there to this day. Two of the sons of Samuel Bell, and the daughter, Donnell, removed to the west, still carrying their attachment to religion and Presbyterianism along with them. The two sons lived to an advanced age. One of them, while on his knees at family prayer, faltered in his voice, and said, "What is this?"—and ceased to breathe. But of this family, says Mr. Smith (many years since), sprung four preachers of strong common sense, full of zeal, and eminent for piety. By this family much has been done for propagating the gospel in Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, and the Cherokee nation.

The Covenant of God stands sure. "I will be a God to thee and thy children after thee."

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