building erected in Guilford County.
In 1876 this building was recovered and otherwise repaired
and improved. The committee appointed to have this done
was William D. Wharton, Samuel D. McLean, Daniel E.
Albright and Daniel D. Gillespie.
to make repairs to the building. The committee to raise the
money and to have the work done was J. Al Rankin, William D.
Wharton and Charles H. Fields. The building was recovered
and painted, an arched ceiling was placed below the old high
ceiling, and the building was otherwise remodeled and improved
at a cost of $444.
During the pastorate and under the leadership of Rev. E.
Frank Lee the Sunday school building was erected in 1920, and
was named the David Caldwell Building, in honor of the first
pastor. It is located just west of the church building and the
two buildings are connected by a colonade. The building is
brick, and has nine rooms. It cost about thirty thousand dol-
lars. The cost of the two buildings shows the immense differ-
ence in the value of money in 1826 and in 1920.
of the church ; an alcove was built in the rear of the pulpit for
the pipe organ ; new floors were laid ; new pews and other furni-
ture were bought ; a heating plant for both buildings was placed
under the David Caldwell Building ; and a pipe organ installed,
all at a total cost of about seven thousand dollars. Mr. A. M.
Scales gave the pipe organ as a memorial to his son, Alfred
Moore Scales, Jr., who died of influenza in the World War.
100 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People
new pews. Mrs. Ridenhour is a granddaughter of Pleasant
McAdoo, a former member.
The committee that had charge of all this building and
remodeling consisted of the elders and deacons, and six other
members of the church. Mr. H. A. Barnes was chairman and
treasurer, and Rev. E. Frank Lee as pastor, was ex officio chair-
man of the general committee and of the several subcommittees.
The elders at this time were J. Al. Rankin, John W. Wharton,
R. W. Wilson, C. H. Fields and W. Gilmer Wharton ; and the
deacons were J. Will Alexander, William L. Wharton, Luther
E. Sikes, Dr. W. P. Knight, Thomas A. McKnight, H. A. Barnes,
W. J. Hendrix, J. I. Medearis, AV. V. Trollinger and L. W.
McFarland; the six others from the church were Joseph S.
Phipps, Mrs. W. P. Knight, Mrs. Joe S. Phipps, Miss Minnie
Fields, Mrs. A. 0. Spoon and Mrs. J. R. A. Wilson.
The first manse was located at Bessemer and was built in
1890 under the leadership of Rev. R. W. Culbertson, the pastor.
It was jointly owned by the churches of the group, Buffalo two-
fifths, Bethel two-fifths and Midway one-fifth. The members of
the building committee from Buffalo were William D. Wharton,
Edward M. Hendrix, Daniel E. Albright, David N. Kirkpatrick
and John W. Wharton. Bethel Church was taken out of the
group in 1905 and this manse was later sold.
build a manse on Cypress Street, Greensboro. Buffalo and Mid-
way were at this time grouped, and Buffalo agreed to pay three-
fifths and Midway two-fifths. It was decided that Buffalo's part
of the cost should not exceed $3,000. The committee elected to
have the building erected was J. Al. Rankin, Charles H. Mc-
Knight and W. Gilmer Wharton, with Rev. E. Frank Lee, pas-
tor, ex officio a member.
to erect a nine-room brick manse on the southwest corner of the
church grounds. Rev. A. P. Dickson had been called for all
his time, The manse jointly owned by Buffalo and Midway
was sold. This new manse cost $7,200. The committee elected
to have it erected was J. Al. Rankin, William L. Wharton, Dr.
W. P. Knight, Mrs. W. Gilmer Wharton and Mrs. A. 0. Spoon.
When Buffalo was organized in 1756 it was in the bounds
and under the jurisdiction of New Hanover Presbytery, which
had been formed from New Castle Presbytery in 1755. Orange
Ptesbytery was formed from New Hanover Presbytery, Vir-
ginia, and was organized at Hawfields Church on September 5,
1770, and included in its bounds all the territory of North
Carolina and to the south and west, except a small independent
Presbytery in South Carolina. It continued to cover all of
North Carolina for twenty-five years. The ministers who com-
posed the Presbytery at its organization were Rev. Messrs. Hugh
McAden, Henry Patillo, James Creswell, David Caldwell, Joseph
Alexander, Hezekiah Balch, and Hezekiah James Balch. There
were about forty churches and perhaps 2,000 members. In
1784 the Presbytery of South Carolina, in connection with the
Synod of Philadelphia, was formed ; and in 1788 the Presbytery
of Abingdon, which covered Tennessee and a small part of Vir-
ginia, was formed. On November 5, 1788, these three Presby-
teries were formed into the Synod of the Carolinas. The organ-
ization meeting was held in Centre Church, near Mooresville.
Dr. David Caldwell preached the opening sermon and was
elected the first moderator.
west of the Yadkin River was organized into Concord Presby-
tery. In 1812 the southeastern part of Orange Presbytery was
cut off and organized into Fayetteville Presbytery. On Octo-
ber 7, 1813, these three Presbyteries were formed into the Synod
of North Carolina. The organization meeting was held at Ala-
mance Church, and Dr. James Hall preached the opening ser-
mon, and Dr. R. H. Chapman was elected moderator. On Octo-
ber 7, 1913, at Alamance Church, the Synod celebrated the cen-
tennial of its organization.
when she was organized was the Synod of Philadelphia. The
Old Side Synod of Philadelphia and the New Side Synod of
New York were united in 1758, and then Buffalo was under the
102 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People
New York." "The General Assembly of the Presbj^terian
Church in the United States of America" was organized in 1788,
and Buffalo was under this Assembly for seventy-one years.
Mr. David Wharton, a ruling elder in this church, was a com-
missioner from Orange Presbytery to a meeting of this Assembly
in Buffalo, N. Y., in 1854.
On December 4, 1861, the "General Assembly of the Presby-
terian Church of the Confederate States of America" was
organized in Augusta, Ga. Dr. B. M. Palmer, of New Orleans,
preached the opening sermon and was elected moderator. In
1865 the name was changed to the "General Assembly of the
Presbyterian Church in the United States," and is generally
known as the ' ' Southern Presbyterian Church. ' ' Buffalo belongs
to this Assembly. Two of our ruling elders have been commis-
sioners to this Assembly : William D. Wharton to the meeting
in Dallas, Texas, in 1905, and J. Al. Kankin to the meeting in
Bristol, Tenn., in 1912. Of the pastors, Rev. J. C. Alexander
was a commissioner in 1864, 1873, 1879 and in 1884; Rev. J.
McL. Seabrook in 1901; Rev. J. W. Goodman in 1905, Rev.
E. Frank Lee in 1919, and Rev. A. P. Dickson in 1931.
MODES OF TRAVEL
Many marvelous changes have taken place, but none greater
than in the modes of travel. In the earliest years the people
came to church on horseback or walked. There were not horses
enough for all, so many had to walk. People walked for sev-
eral miles to church, and did not seem to mind it. The young
ladies would wear their old shoes and carry their Sunday shoes,
and just before getting to the church they would stop by the
side of the road and make the change. Later after the number
of horses had increased nearly everybody came on horseback.
The father and mother rode the older horses and carried the
small children with them. Sometimes three or four children
would ride on the same horse with the parent. The young ladies
and boys would ride the more spirited steeds. The highest
ambition of every growing lad and lass was to have a horse and
saddle of his own.
and one at every home, so the ladies could mount their horses
with ease. These blocks were two or three feet high, with one
or more steps. Some of these blocks were sawed from large trees
and had the steps cut in the side ; others were built of rocks.
After the Revolutionary War some of the families came to
church in two-horse wagons, but horseback riding was still the
usual mode of travel.
chair". These were two wheels on an axle with shafts and
a solid seat built on the axle. These were used by the older
or more dignified people. Then later, in succession, came gigs,
jersey wagons, surreys, carriages and buggies. The ambition
of every young man now was to have a horse and buggy. The
more pretentious had carriages with drivers in livery.
The young men would get to the church early and stand
around and watch the incoming crowd. When the favorite girl
of a particular boy came, usually in the carriage with her par-
ents, he would make a bee line to that carriage and escort her to
the church door. Young couples never sat together until after
104 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People
munity was a great day. It was the custom for the newly mar-
ried couple to "show out". People would come from far and
near to see the couple, dressed in their wedding finery, march
up to the church door. It was a day long to be remembered and
the subject of much conversation.
about within the last twenty-five years. The church grounds
are now well covered with cars every Sabbath morning.
There has also been a great change in the roads. At first
there were bridle paths, then cart-ways and then mud roads.
We had dirt or mud roads for a century and a half. We now
have hard surfaced roads leading to the church from every
direction, even to the farthest parts of the congregation.
The church was the center of the social life of the com-
munity. The people came to church not only to hear a sermon,
but to see their friends and kindred. They hung around for
some time after the service, greeting each other and getting
news from the different sections of the congregation. The boys
and girls would slyly glance at each other, and timidly pass a
few words, and gradually became better acquainted, and this
often ripened into love and resulted in matrimony. The circle
of acquaintances was not large, so most of the young people
married in the bounds of the congregation. In the early days
the members of the congregation all belonged to the same social
class, and there was not much difference in their financial stand-
ing. It was almost like one big family.
were wood choppings, log rollings, house raisings, and corn
shuckings. The ladies would come to assist the woman of the
house with the cooking. These were all pleasant social gather-
ings. The ladies had their all-day quilting bees and the men
would gather in the evenings for a social hour. There was much
social visiting in the early days. Families would often go from
one extreme part of the congregation to the other to spend the
day or night with friends and relatives.
TRAINING OF YOUTH
The young people were carefully taught to be truthful and
honest, the two most outstanding marks of good character. The
parent would administer a good whipping to the child caught
telling a falsehood, and this was also true of breaking any of
the other commandments of the decalogue.
The Scriptures were read and explained in the family circle.
The catechisms of the church were committed to memory. Dr.
Walter L. Lingle says, "Back in those days inability to repeat
the Westminster Shorter Catechism was considered a mark of
vulgarity." The children in some families looked upon the
Sabbath as a long, tiresome day, while in other families it was
a day of great interest and sweet fellowship. The general atti-
tude of the parents made the difference with the children.
The Sabbath was strictly observed as a day of rest from all
manual labor. Everything that could be done on Saturday in
preparation for Sunday was done. When the writer was a boy
a new tenant moved to the old farm. Shortly thereafter the
sound of an axe was heard one Sabbath morning. Father laid
his Bible down and went to that cabin and told that tenant that
that was the first time he had ever heard the sound of an axe
on that farm on the Sabbath day and he never wanted to hear
it again. That tenant remained many years, but always cut his
firewood on Saturday,
and for all things sacred ; and to believe the teachings of the
Bible and to pray. Nat, Bob and Sam were young boys, the
oldest not more than ten. It was the greatest pleasure of their
young lives to visit Aunt Ruth, a pleasure they were often
denied. One Saturday they did want to go to Aunt Ruth's,
oh, so badly, but they were afraid to ask their father, who was
a man of few words and rather stern. The boys decided to hold
a prayer meeting out at the barn. After their earnest prayers
one of their number was sent to the house to ask their father,
and he readily gave his consent for them to go. This is a true
Training of Youth 107
prayer. All three of the boys grew up to be God loving and
God fearing men, and all became active ruling elders in the
in order to join the church. Candidates for church member-
ship were examined as to their knowledge of the doctrines of
the church. If the candidate knew the catechism he would have
no trouble in standing a satisfactory examination. The appli-
cants who could not give satisfactory answers were put in a
special class and given instruction by the pastor until they
were able to pass the examination. Now candidates for church
membership are not examined on doctrines, but only as to their
experimental knowledge of the saving grace of the Lord Jesus
In speaking of the training of the youth, mention should
be made of Dr. Caldwell's school, located at his home, two and
a half miles southwest of the church. This school was not local
in its influence, for it drew pupils from all over the south, and is
said, at one time, to have been the best classical school south of
the Potomac. The school was opened shortly after Dr. Caldwell
settled here, and was continued until he was over ninety years
of age. He not only taught the usual secular branches of learn-
ing, but he taught the Bible and the principles of true charac-
ter. Dr. Caruthers says, ^'At least fifty ministers of the gospel
were educated in whole or in part in his school." This school
was a God-send to this section and had a marvelous effect in its
educational, cultural and religious influence on the youth of this
REVIVALS AND CAMP MEETINGS
There were no evangelistic meetings in Buffalo Church until
after 1800. As has already been said these people belonged to
the Old Side and did not believe in revivals. Early in 1800 the
whole southern country experienced the greatest revival in all
its history. Dr. T. C. Anderson calls it "the greatest revival
of the ages."
In the spring of 1798 Rev. James McGready held a meeting
in his church at Gasper, Ky., and there this great revival began.
In 1800 the first camp meeting ever held in America was held
by Mr. McGready at Gasper. His old friends, Rev. William
McGee and Rev. William Hodge, who had been associated with
him in some of his meetings in Orange Presbytery, but who had
now located in Tennessee, attended this first camp meeting, and
brought with them a large number of people from their churches.
The meeting was a wonderful success. Multitudes were saved.
Many of those who attended returned home and started revivals
in their own churches. Almost like wild fire the revival spread
over Kentucky and Tennessee, and then eastward through North
and South Carolina, and on into Virginia and Georgia.
Rev. William D. Paisley, pastor of Cross Roads Church, had
Dr. David Caldwell to assist him in a communion service in
August, 1801. Some from the Cross Roads community who had
moved west and had attended the McGready meetings there were
back on a visit, and were telling their old neighbors at Cross
Roads of the wonderful and gracious revivals in the west. At
the last service of the communion season a great revival spon-
taneously began. "Mingled groans, sobs, and cries for mercy
arose from every part of the house." This was a novel thing
in a Presbyterian church in North Carolina. This began in the
afternoon and it was midnight before the congregation could be
persuaded to break up and go home. Many were happily con-
In the following October the usual communion service was
held at Hawfields, another church in Mr. Paisley's pastorate.
The report of what had taken place at Cross Roads had spread
[ 108 ]
Revivals and Camp Meetings 109
throughout the churches of Orange Presbytery, and vast crowds
came, many in covered wagons, and camped on the church
grounds. This was the first camp meeting ever held in North
Carolina. The meeting was a marked success.
William D. Paisley and others, held a most successful meeting
at Alamance Church, and many joined the church. The people
in all the country were getting interested and really excited
and deeply exercised on the subject of religion. It became the
general subject of conversation.
Alamance, winter time as it was, Dr. Caldwell appointed a
meeting at Old Union Church, near Bell's Mill, on Deep River,
Randolph County, where he preached occasionally, to which he
invited all the ministers of the adjoining counties, and Dr. James
Hall, Rev. Joseph D. Kilpatrick and Rev. Lewis F. Wilson, of
Iredell County, and Dr. Samuel E. McCorkle, of Rowan County.
These came bringing large numbers of their congregations with
them. The report of this meeting says there were 2,000 present;
hundreds fell prostrate on the ground and cried for mercy, and
most of those who came to the meeting were converted.
Later in the same January a camp meeting was held in Ire-
dell County under the leadership of Dr. James Hall. He re-
ported that 4,000 people attended, and that no attempt was
made to ascertain the number of converts, but says there were
In March a meeting was held in the lower part of Iredell
County, and the number of those who attended was estimated
by Dr. Hall to have been from 8,000 to 10,000. Two weeks later
another meeting was held in Mecklenburg County. Other meet-
ings were held in constant succession in many parts of the state.
There was great religious excitement in many of these meet-
ings. Often people would fall as in a swoon and lie helpless for
24 hours ; others had severe involuntary bodily exercise called
the "jerks", during which the body would sway from side to
side, and the face would take on all kinds of contortions. All
classes and conditions of people, the educated and the ignorant,
the rich and the poor, the good and the bad, were affected.
Some would fall in a trance, while others were groaning and
crying for mercy. More than a hundred in the congregation
110 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People
curiosity and to scoff would remain to pray. At times the meet-
ing would continue all night. During the intermissions there
would be groups that would assemble in different sections of the
woods surrounding the church to pray with and to instruct their
friends who were under conviction and seeking to find their
Saviour. The writer's mother told him that as a child she had
often heard the different groups praying, singing and shouting
in the woodland around Alamance Church during the camp
conservative ministers would not take any part in these meet-
ings at first. Dr. Samuel E. McCorkle, pastor of old Thyatira
Church, was one of these. Dr. Caldwell persuaded him to
attend the meeting at Bell's Mill. Dr. McCorkle reports his
own experience at that meeting. After the second sermon he
says, "As if by an electric shock, a large number in every direc-
tion, men, women, children, white and black, fell and cried for
mercy ; while others appeared in every quarter, either praying
for the fallen, or exhorting bystanders to repent and believe.
This, to me a perfectly new and sudden sight, I viewed with
horror ; and, in spite of all my previous reasoning on revivals,
with some degree of disgust." But before that meeting closed
he had changed his mind, and he said, "Surely this must be the