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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.

At a congregational meeting August 16, 1903, it was decided

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.

During the same year (1920) a portico was built to the front

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

Mr. and Mrs. W. M. Ridenhour gave one-half of the cost of the

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.

At a congregational meeting March 1, 1914, it was decided to

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.

On April 20, 1924, at a congregational meeting it was decided

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.

In 1795 Orange Presbytery was divided and all the territory

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.

The higher church court that had jurisdiction over Buffalo

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

[ 101 ]

102 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People

general supervision of the ''United Synod of Philadelphia and

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.


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.

There were several "upping blocks" on the church yard,

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.

The first riding conveyance made was called the "riding

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

they were married. The Sabbath after a marriage in the com-

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.

The next mode of travel was by automobile, which has come

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.

Good neighbors were always ready to assist each other. There

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.



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 Sabbath was always a quiet day for religious study.

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,

The children were taught to have a holy reverence for God

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
[ 106]

Training of Youth 107

story and shows how the children were trained to believe in

prayer. All three of the boys grew up to be God loving and

God fearing men, and all became active ruling elders in the

Presbyterian church.

The youth had to be trained in the Scriptures and catechisms

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



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.

Shortly after this Dr. Caldwell, with the assistance of Rev.

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.

In January, 1802, following the meetings at Hawfields and

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

several hundreds.
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

would often be affected at the same time. Some who came out of

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

meetings there.

Because of the "jerks" and general confusion some of the

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

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