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at Montreat, in Appalachia, and (at the Heritage Center) in
the Whole World!
Friday and Saturday,
April 9 and 10
Spring Tour this year will include a wonderful mix of places
and stories. Our primary focus will be on Montreat, a beautiful
setting in springtime. The land was purchased in 1897 by a Congregational
minister and others, as a mountain retreat for spiritual renewal.
The first “Christian Assembly” was held that summer,
with 400 participants living in tents. The Montreat Hotel was
completed in 1901 and was replaced by the Assembly Inn in 1924.
In 1905, with approval of the Synod of North Carolina, the site
was purchased and paid for by selling stocks in the Mountain
Retreat Association, which still owns the land. More facilities
were added, and stockholders soon began to build summer cottages.
In 1983 Montreat became a conference center for the reunited
Presbyterian Church USA.
and Lake Susan, Montreat
Montreat Presbyterian Church was organized in 1906, but recently
it split into two congregations, one Evangelical Presbyterian
and the other PCUSA. Montreat Normal School, which would become
Montreat College, opened in 1916. In 1924 the Historical Foundation
of the Presbyterian and Reformed Churches was incorporated at
Montreat primarily as a repository for records of the Presbyterian
Church in the United States. The Foundation became part of the
PCUSA’s Dept. of History after reunion. In 2006, despite
a battle to save it, the building was closed and the collection
divided. (See update below.)
since 2008 the Presbyterian Heritage Center, under Director
Ron Vinson and a very active Board of Directors, has been growing
and thriving in part of the space that once housed the Historical
Foundation. As a nonprofit organization with no direct ties
to UPUSA or other reformed denominations, it is “dedicated
to education about the history of Presbyterian and Reformed
heritage and its world-wide mission, as well as the special
history of Montreat.”
with the artifacts, photographs, maps, books and a few manuscript
collections that were not taken to either Columbia or Philadelphia,
the seven part-time staff and about 20 volunteers have done
wonders. Visitors to Montreat from all over the U.S. and the
world have appreciated the wide range of exhibits they have
mounted, and the Center has a strong educational outreach program
through its website, www.phcmontreat.org.
collections of manuscripts and photographs have been donated
recently, and many people have brought in photographs to be
copied for the collection. The reference library is still small,
but it does include printed records, minutes, and reports of
the Presbyterian Church and some rare periodicals. Thanks to
their collaboration with the University of South Carolina, the
complete run of The Southern Presbyterian will soon be available
on microfilm. They are actively seeking donations of church
histories, other reference books, maps, artifacts, and manuscripts,
unless they are records that should go to Philadelphia or one
of the seminaries. They hope to have their catalog available
on-line sometime in 2010.
their many volunteers are entering short biographies of Presbyterian
ministers and missionaries into a database that can be searched
on-line. They are also interviewing Presbyterian missionaries
and leaders, as well as those with special memories of Montreat,
for their collection of audio-visual oral histories. Another
project locates relevant digitized books and research materials
available on-line and provides links to them from the PHC website
and from its reference room.
Vinson will be our speaker Friday evening, and on Saturday morning
we will have our own behind-the-scenes tour, with an opportunity
to see some of their more important holdings and an upcoming
exhibit on the history of the English-language Bible. After
lunch, members can return to use the Center’s reference
materials, if they so choose.
Our other area of interest on this tour will be Appalachian
Presbyterians, especially in the towns of Black Mountain and
Swannanoa. The first settlers in this area were Scotch-Irish
and came across the Blue Ridge from Old Fort in 1784-1785. Among
them was Col. Samuel Davidson, who was killed and scalped by
Indians in 1784 and buried in what is now the cemetery surrounding
First Presbyterian in Swannanoa. Other early settlers were Robert
and Rebecca Patton, who donated the land for the cemetery and
the church, which was founded in 1794. Known first as the Patton
Meeting House and then as Piney Grove, it is said to be the
oldest established congregation west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Incidentally, the Patton’s daughter Elizabeth became the
wife of Davy Crockett.
Presbyterian church in the town of Black Mountain was organized
in 1908. It is a very active church that has had a close relationship
with the Presbyterian community at Montreat.
Warren Wilson College began in Swannanoa as the Asheville Farm
School in 1894, founded by the home missions board of the Presbyterian
Church USA to give mountain boys vocational training and classroom
study. Originally a grade school, it graduated its first high
school class in 1923. In 1942 it merged with the Dorland-Bell
School for girls in Hot Springs and became a coeducational school
and junior college. It became a senior liberal arts college
students at Warren Wilson work 15 hours a week on one of 100
crews that are essential to the operation of the college. Work
could be cleaning and maintenance of the chemistry lab and feeding
the departmental cat, maintenance of computers, bicycles, or
the motor pool vehicles, electrical work, carpentry, blacksmithing,
locksmithing, Computer Aided Drafting, working at the college
farm, forest, garden, or horse barn, running the college press,
and the list goes on and on.
its agricultural beginnings, the college has always incorporated
a strong environmental ethic. In the 1970s it was one of the
first to offer an environmental studies major. Recently its
“EcoDorm” was featured in the New York Times Magazine
Section (Sept. 27, 2009) and on CNN (Feb. 11, 2010). It was
designed largely by students and uses 60% less energy than a
normal building of that size.
Wilson Presbyterian Church is located on the college campus
and is also the college chapel. Organized by the missionaries
who established the school, it provides a church home for many
of the students and faculty. However, its diverse congregation
now includes numbers from outside the college community.
in all, this promises to be one of our most interesting tours,
and we hope you will join us! Scroll down
for our schedule, accommodation information, map, and registration
1005 Park Ave., Garner, NC 27529
Phone: (919) 772-5514
5021 Elaine Ave., Raleigh, NC 27610
Phone: (919) 862-0529
H. Burgess, Jr., Treasurer
P.O. Box 2587, Hickory, NC 28603
Phone: (828) 322-1776
Myhre, Awards Chair
1005 Park Ave., Garner, NC 27529
Phone: (919) 772-5514
MacLeod Owens, Membership Chair
710 N. Person Street #204, Raleigh, NC 27604
Brewer, Program Chair
915 Evans Dr., Sanford, NC 27330
Phone: (919) 776-8091
T. Cain, Newsletter Editor
1041 Shelley Road, Raleigh, NC 27609
Martin, Publicity Chair
P.O. Box 1037, Biscoe, NC 27209-1037
Phone: (910) 428-4165
Donald B. Saunders, Past President
P.O. Box 1846, Blowing Rock, NC 28605
Phone: (828) 295-8917
February 6, after a snow delay, our society’s executive
board met at the home of John and Ann Myhre in Garner. Details
of the spring tour were approved, described elsewhere in the
newsletter. Plans were also approved to hold our Annual Meeting
this fall in Durham on Saturday, October 16, rather than the
9th. The beautiful First Presbyterian Church there has been
a beacon of Christian faith in downtown Durham for almost 140
years. Over the decades the congregation has sought to serve
the entire community, from tobacco workers, to Camp Butner soldiers
during World War II, to their African American neighbors during
the Civil Rights era, to Hispanics today. Be sure to put the
date on your calendar!
also discussed improvements to our website, www.ncphsociety.org
— especially the need to keep it up to date. Also, the
Great Wagon Road map and Dr. Dudley’s article on the Tories
will be put on the website, and we will no longer advertise
these for sale. We will be adding other informative items as
well from time to time.
Chair Sam Martin reported that he has, on behalf of the society,
begun to mark major church anniversaries with certificates presented
at presbytery meetings. We hope this will increase awareness
and appreciation of the long and rich history of so many of
our Presbyterian congregations.
also said that he has presented a “Minute for Mission”
about the NCPHS at his church in Biscoe. We hope that you will
be moved to do the same. Many people would greatly enjoy our
meetings if they only knew about them! If you have other ideas
for spreading the word, contact Sam Martin, whose information
is in the list of board members.
If you know of a recently published church history or a completed
history project that you feel is worthy of consideration for
an award, please send the book or a description of the project
to Awards Chairman Mrs. Ann Myhre, 1005 Park Avenue, Garner,
NC 27529, by Monday, March 15. Her contact information is in
the previous column.
Records and Manuscripts – An Update
When the library and archives were closed at Montreat, almost
everything was sent to either the Presbyterian Historical Society
in Philadelphia or the Campbell Library at Columbia Theological
Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. Both of these institutions are
working to improve access to this material, and they have done
a lot in a short time. Lists and descriptions are being added
to their websites, but the researcher may still need to email,
write, or telephone to find out what is where and whether it
is available for use. By church policy, access to records less
than 50 years old is restricted.
2006-2007, all of the General Assembly and Synod records of
the Presbyterian Church in the US and some presbytery and congregational
records went to the PHS in Philadelphia, along with all the
manuscript collections and photographs from Montreat that related
to missions or other national church boards. A search of their
catalog CALVIN for records of the Synod of North Carolina brings
up only microfilm of minutes, but other original records are
available for use if needed. All of the congregation records
from PHS-Montreat are in CALVIN. Presbytery records have not
yet been described online, but the reference staff can check
an in-house database to tell you which ones went where in the
division. There is a separate database index to the vertical
files for congregations, presbyteries, synods, and related organizations,
including those for former PCUS bodies. In addition, there is
a separate database for foreign mission personnel files, which
currently includes 769 PCUS missionaries.
John Knox Press Collection of books and the over 3700 titles
from the PHS-M pamphlet collection already appear in CALVIN.
Basic information is in the catalog about many of the collections
of personal papers from Montreat; however the staff at PHS are
waiting for their new website to be up and running this spring
before mounting the related finding aids. Currently, the finding
aids are available from the reference staff. Questions about
any of the collections at Philadelphia should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
or by mail to 425 Lombard Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147. The
telephone number is (215) 627-1852. PHS is open from 8:30 to
4:30, Monday through Friday.
Library in Decatur
materials of more local or regional interest were sent to the
Columbia Theological Seminary library in Decatur. These included
the records of over 800 congregations, 80 presbyteries, and
about 600 individuals. Most of these relate to the PCUS and
its predecessor bodies, but they include ongoing records of
the reunited church. This “Southern Stream” of the
PC(USA) encompasses Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky,
Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina,
South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, and Virginia.
Columbia archives website now has lists posted of the PCUS and
PC(USA) presbytery and congregational records stored there.
Catalog records for almost all of the congregational records
have been made available through Columbia’s archives online
catalog, which is separate from the library catalog. Records
for about two-thirds of the collections of personal papers have
also been added to the catalog, including most of the 19th century
ones. Descriptions of the presbytery records, which are less
frequently called for, have not yet been entered. The Associate
Reformed Presbyterian records were also transferred to Columbia,
but a list of those has not yet been posted.
of the unpublished local church histories, most of which were
prepared by Presbyterian Women, were sent from Montreat to Columbia.
Since reunion, this growing collection includes histories of
about 5,800 churches from all over the country. At this time
the histories (as opposed to the congregational records) cannot
be searched for in the catalog, but they are available at the
archives, and in some cases staff can answer questions by mail
you would like to use any of the records, manuscripts, or church
histories held in the CTS Archives and Special Collections area,
you must telephone or email in advance to make an appointment
and to be sure the materials you wish to see will be available
at that time. The email is email@example.com,
and the telephone number is 404-687-4628. They are open by appointment
on Fridays from 9-4.
30,000 books on Presbyterian history were also transferred to
the Columbia library. These are being checked against their
present holdings and have not yet been cataloged. When they
are, they will be found through the library’s online catalog
also called CALVIN but different from the one in Philadelphia!
Hope Chapel, Gaston County
from Heritage Village website
1968 our North Carolina Presbyterian Historical Society gave
an award to New Hope Presbyterian Church, Gastonia, for the
work of Misses Zoe and Ida Hoffmann and others in creating an
historical room in the chapel, the church’s former sanctuary.
The following is part of an article by Wilma Ratchford Craig
that appeared last year in the Gaston County Historical Bulletin:
that time,] a number of items were housed in the little building.
But as time moved on, the building began to look bad and the
building was not adequately conditioned for a museum.
Gaston County Historic Preservation Commission on learning
about the situation encouraged the church to restore it –
with no success. Gaston Agricultural, Mechanical, Textile
Restoration Association (GAMTRA) through Ray Medford, also
a member of the church, secured permission from the Session
of New Hope Presbyterian Church to move the building to the
Heritage Park near the first county seat, Dallas, North Carolina.
contents of the building were retained by the church.
beautiful stained glass windows had to be releaded and at
their new site have a protective covering of Lexan. When the
building was moved, repair work, new roof, painting, handicap
ramp, etc., were done at some expense to the Historic Preservation
Commission and the County Parks & Recreation Commission
and with the help of a number of people.
 it sits in the county park Heritage Village at Dallas,
North Carolina, along with other heritage buildings, a reminder
of the Christian heritage by which our people have lived.
its new location, the New Hope Chapel has been the scene of
at least two weddings, of worship services on Sundays during
Cotton Ginning Days, of visitors singing Christmas carols
at the Christmas celebration of our heritage. The building
will future generations do with that which we value today?
– Wilma Ratchford Craig
And our thanks to Bob Cain for finding the following:
the Statesville Landmark, 2 Dec., 1876
"We would respectfully suggest to the officers of the
Presbyterian Church that no one be permitted to sit in the gallery,
except the choir. This, perhaps, would prevent some young men
sitting in that portion of the house and spitting on those who
sit below. Parties are also occasionally hit with paper wads.
Bad practice, young men."
October in Davidson
October 10, 2009, our society met at Davidson College Presbyterian
Church in Davidson, NC. College Archivist Dr. Jan Blodgett told
us lots of interesting stories about the history of the college
and church and led our walking tour. Just outside the church
is the old campus, with the original student housing from 1837
and the two literary society buildings, facing each other since
then walked to the old town cemetery, where students, faculty,
and townspeople have been buried over the years.
we stopped at Davidson Presbyterian Church, where we were met
by Pastor Darrell Van Pelt. The congregation was organized in
1894 to serve African-American Presbyterians in the rural areas
around Davidson. As the town grew, so did the congregation.
They are an active church and have a close relationship with
the Davidson College Presbyterian Church.
returned to the Davidson College Presbyterian Church for lunch,
after which Rev. Van Pelt spoke to us about his church and his
own background as a Presbyterian pastor.
was followed by our Annual Meeting. Reports were made by each
of the officers, and new officers were elected. John Myhre of
Garner became our president. John is a hospital pharmacist,
mostly retired, and the husband of our Awards Chair, Ann Myhre.
Mrs. Joy Heitmann of Raleigh became our secretary. Joy in previous
years has served both as our Membership Chair and also as our
Awards Chair. The meeting was adjourned with prayer.
thanks to Program Chair Tony Brewer for a delightful day!
— Barbara Cain, Editor
in this article were taken by Barbara Cain and John Gordon,
unless otherwise marked.)
and Registration Form for the Spring Tour
April 9, 2010
Registration at the Comfort
Inn, 585 Hwy 9, Black Mountain, NC (See suggested
accommodations and note.)
Montreat Conference Center:Assembly Inn, Memorial Garden, and
brief tour on foot or by car; Montreat Presbyterian Church,
PCUSA; Montreat College
Black Mountain Presbyterian Church
Warren Wilson Presbyterian Church & Warren Wilson College
First Presbyterian Church, Swannanoa
Dinner, Fellowship Hall
Evening Program, Sanctuary:Awards Presentation. Speaker: Director
Ron Vinson, Presbyterian Heritage Center
Leave Comfort Inn
Presbyterian Heritage Center: Exhibits, break, tour; Albert
G. “Pete” Peery, President of the Mountain Retreat
lunch: Presbyterian Heritage Center is open 1:00 –
4:00, and Montreat Books and Gifts is open until 5 p.m.
Inn, 585 Hwy 9, Black Mountain, NC 28711. Rooms
for Friday night, April 9, have been set aside for us until
March 19 at the special price of $74.99 + tax. Telephone 828-669-9950
and tell them this is for the NC Presbyterian Historical Society
Inn, Montreat Conference Center. Rooms are $89 for
a single and $100 for two people, plus tax, breakfast not included.
Telephone 828-669-2911, ext. 300. They do have availability
at the present time. More information on this and other lodging
at the Conference Center can be found at www.montreat.org/general/housing-options.
If you are checking in at the Assembly Inn, or if you want to
go to the Montreat book store Friday morning, you could meet
up with us at the Assembly Inn at 1:00 p.m. However, we do hope
to car-pool as much as possible. Let us know your plans if you
can, but if you’re not at the motel by 12:45, we’ll
go on to Montreat.
$26 per person.
rooms are being held at the Comfort
Inn, 828-669-9950, until March 19.
send form below and check (payable to NCPHS) by Thursday, April
P.O. Box 20804
Raleigh, NC 27619-0804
you have questions, please call our Program Chairman Tony Brewer
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Registration Form for NCPHS Spring 2011
of registrations ____ @ $12.00 ea= $ ___________
__ Individual $15
__ Family $20
__ Individual Life Membership $125
PRINT this form, fill out, and mail with your check (made out
to NCPHS) by April 22 to:
PO Box 20804
Raleigh, NC 27619-0804
you have questions, please contact our Program Chairman Tony
Brewer or 919-776-8091.
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