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work of God, and marvelous in our eyes. . . I can but say,

O Lord, as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are thy

thoughts above our thoughts, and thy ways above our ways. ' '
The great revival in Ireland more than a century before this

had been accompanied with the same kind of "jerks" and bodily

exercises. No theologian, or doctor, or scientist has ever sat-

isfactorily explained this strange and marvelous thing.

For more than thirty years after that first meeting at Haw-

fields, camp meetings were regularly held in most of our

churches, with most wonderful and lasting results. Thousands

were truly converted and the whole religious atmosphere was

thoroughly changed.
Conservative Buffalo could not resist the tide. The first

meeting ever held here was during the summer of 1802. Pre-

vious to this time members were usually received at the com-

munion seasons. On these occasions there was preaching on

, Revivals and Camp Meetings 111

Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, with one or more visit-

ing ministers assisting the pastor. Those who had been prop-

erly instructed in the doctrines and wished to join the church

were received without any visible emotion. It was all taken as

a matter of fact. But from this time a change had taken place

in the attitude of this people towards revivals. It is not reported

that any marked success attended the first meeting, but a start

had been made, and for twenty-five or thirty years camp meet-

ings were held on alternate years at Buffalo and Alamance.

People came long distances and camped on these grounds for

four or five days, some in tents, some in shacks and some in their

wagons. These were times of ingathering and the spiritual life

of the community was deepened. No great visible emotion per-

vaded the meetings here as at Alamance and many other places,

but souls were saved and lasting good accomplished. It should

be stated in this connection that for more than a year before

the first revival service at Buffalo, Mrs. Caldwell and several

other ladies of the church had been meeting regularly and pray-

ing for a revival. United, earnest and persistent prayers for

a revival never fail to bring results. Dr. James Hall says, "I

never saw a geometrical proposition demonstrated with more

clear evidence."

In his address delivered here in 1868, Dr. Calvin H. Wiley

says, "Before the erection of this building there was a stand

or pulpit in the grove in front with seats for a large congrega-

tion ; and among the most deeply impressed memories of my

boyhood are the orderly camp meeting scenes of this place. The

place was well adapted to such meetings ; it was high and dry ;

there were venerable and umbrageous groves around; and the

community was intelligent, sober and devoted to order and

decorum. How animated, how sweet, how solemn were those

scenes which now I see fresh before my mind ; the vast and quiet

audiences, hanging on the lips of our noblest gospel messengers,

some of whose voices are now attuned to the melody of heaven ;

the rows of white tents, the low sounds of wrestling prayer from

the deep recesses of the old forest, the still night air made vocal

with the songs of Zion from many different groups ; the prattle

of children; the hospitable boards spread for every one who

came in the name of Christ ; the all-pervading spirit of brotherly

kindness seen in every face and felt in every tone. ' '

112 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People

About 1833 the four Presbyterian cburches of Guilford

County — Buffalo, Alamance, Greensboro First and Bethel —

united in purchasing a plot of twenty acres of ground and in

holding a union camp meeting for the county. The lot was

located in the woodland just south of the present county home.

The trustees were Major Robert Donnell, W. R. D. Lindsay and

Rankin Donnell. For a few years large crowds attended these

meetings, and a dozen ministers would be present to assist in the

services. Interest waned and this camp was discontinued in

1841. At the time this camp began Buffalo discontinued hold-

ing camp meetings, but Alamance continued her camp meetings

until the War Between the States.

During the pastorates of Dr. Caruthers and Rev. C. K. Cald-

well occasional evangelistic meetings were held, often with good

results and large ingatherings. In 1831 twenty new members

were received and in 1833 twenty-nine joined the church, and

in 1847 fifteen united with the church. During the pastorate

of Rev. J. C. Alexander a meeting was held regularly every

October. It would last for a week, with two sermons per day,

and the families carried dinner to the church. It was in 1902,

during the pastorate of Mr. Seabrook, that the hours for holding

the services were changed to one service during the day and

one at night.
At the beginning of the Great Revival those who were under

conviction would fall prostrate at their seats or simply cry out

for mercy, and the minister or their friends would gather around

to pray with them. Later, at Buffalo, the minister would ask

those under conviction to retire to the session house, and there

the ministers met with them and exhorted and prayed with them

while the congregation remained in the church engaged in prayer

and song. At a later date it was the custom for the minister to

invite those under conviction to come forward and occupy the

front seat, and in the presence of the congregation he would give

them a word of instruction and pray with them. Now it is the

custom for the minister to give the invitation to all who will to

come forward and give their hand as a token and pledge that

they do now definitely accept Jesus Christ as their personal



The church was supplied occasionally by missionaries sent

out by the Synod of Philadelphia from its organization in 1756

to 1764.
Dr. David Caldwell, first pastor, was born in Lancaster

County, Pa., March 22, 1725. He was graduated from the Col-

lege of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1761. He

taught school at Cape May one year, and studied theology under

the pastor there. In May, 1762, he returned to Princeton where

he was employed as a tutor in the college, and there also con-

tinued his studies in preparation for the ministry. He was

received under the care of New Brunswick Presbytery, New

Jersey, September 28, 1762. On August 18, 1763, he was

licensed to preach and appointed to supply some small churches

in New Jersey. In 1764 he was sent by the Synod of Phila-

delphia as a missionary to North Carolina, and while here sup-

plied Buffalo and Alamance for a few months. In the spring

of 1765 he went to New Jersey to meet with his Presbytery, and

carried with him a call for his pastoral services from Buffalo

and Alamance Churches. The call appears to have been made

out jointly by the two churches. On July 6, 1765, he was

ordained by New Brunswick Presbytery and dismissed to New

Hanover Presbytery of Virginia, which at that time had juris-

diction over all the territory of North Carolina. Dr. Caldwell

is supposed to have come at once after his ordination and to

have taken charge of these churches. Buffalo and Alamance

were on the frontier, and because of the difficulty of securing

visiting ministers for the official service he was not installed as

pastor until March 3, 1768. By appointment of the Presbytery

Rev, Hugh McAden preached the installation sermon. In 1868

Buffalo celebrated the centennial of the beginning of this pas-

torate. Dr. Calvin H. Wiley (1819-1887), who had been bap-

tized by Dr. Caldwell, delivered the historical address. Because

114 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People

of the infirmities incident to old age he relinquished the active

pastorate in 1820. He died August 25, 1824, lacking but seven

months of being one hundred years of age, and is buried in

Buffalo cemetery.

No picture of Dr. Caldwell is now to be had and it is doubt-

ful if he ever had one made ; but we have talked with some of

the old jDeople who remembered him, and have been told that

he was of medium size, well proportioned, erect and wore a

full beard.
So much has been written about Dr. Caldwell it is not neces-

sary to give here an extended account of his varied and useful

services to this community, to his church and to the state, but

this much should be said: He was a strong preacher, a sympa-

thetic pastor, a great patriot, an efficient physician, a successful

teacher, a wise counsellor, a real statesman, a marked leader

in church and state, loving and loved by his people.
Of his descendants, three sons, five grandsons, eight great-

grandsons, and three great-great-grandsons became ministers.

Dr. Eli W. Caruthers, the second pastor, was born in Rowan

County, N. C, October 26, 1799, and was reared in Thyatira

Church. He was educated at Nassau Hall, now Princeton Uni-

versity, from which he graduated in 1817. It is supposed he

taught school two years and studied theology under private

instructors. In the fall of 1819 he had occasion to pass this

way and called to visit Dr. Caldwell. Dr. Caldwell invited him

to remain over and preach for him at Alamance the approach-

ing Sabbath. The pastor and people were well pleased with the

sermon of young Caruthers, and at Dr. Caldwell's suggestion the

churches of Buffalo and Alamance employed him as Dr. Cald-

well's assistant. In 1820 Dr. Caldwell retired from the active

work and the churches called Dr. Caruthers. The Presbytery

ordained and installed him as pastor the fall of that year. He

resigned as pastor of Buffalo in the spring of 1846 and gave all

his time to Alamance. In 1861 he resigned the pastorate of Ala-

mance, and from that time until his death he was in feeble


Rev. Eli \V. Caruthers, D.D.
17W- 1865

Pastors 115

Dr. Caruthers was a well educated man. The University

of North Carolina conferred on him the degree of Doctor of

Divinity. He was a man of strong convictions and a good

preacher. He never married. For a number of years he lived

in Greensboro and taught in the old Greensboro Academy, and

then later in the Greensboro High School. In 1847 he moved

to Joseph W. Gilmer's two miles southeast of Alamance Church,

and taught a select school there. The writer's mother was one of

his pupils. After he resigned as pastor of Alamance, he made

his home at Fountain B. McLean's, five miles east of Greensboro,

and there he died November 11, 1865, and is buried at Alamance.

The congregation erected an imposing monument to his memory.

The community and the state owe Dr. Caruthers a profound

debt of gratitude for his painstaking investigations and for the

records he has left for us. He traveled on horseback over the

entire state and carried on an extensive correspondence in his

efforts to collect material for his histories. He published three

volumes — The Life of Dr. David Caldwell, and two volumes of

history of The Old North State — all of which are interesting,

and from which we have learned most of what we know about

the trying times of our ancestors before, during and just after

the Revolutionary War. In fact, we would know very little

about Dr. Caldwell's wonderful life and labors but for the pub-

lished works of Dr. Caruthers.

Rev. Cyrus K. Caldwell, the third pastor, was born in Meck-

lenburg County, N. C, in 1821. He was the son of Rev. S. C.

Caldwell, and the grandson of Dr. David Caldwell. He was

educated at Davidson College and Union Theological Seminary,

Va. He came to supply Buffalo in January, 1847, and the

church called him as pastor, and the Presbytery ordained and

installed him December 14, 1847. He married Julia, daughter

of ruling elder David Wharton, in 1849. She died within a

few months, and in 1855 he married Fannie A. McKinly. He

bought the Spruce place, on the south side of North Buffalo

Creek, shortly after coming here and it is supposed he lived

there. He resigned this pastorate in 1859, and was pastor at

Pittsboro, N. C, from 1860 to 1866. In the latter year he moved

116 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People

to Tennessee and became the pastor of the Denmark Church,

which he served until his death March 29, 1876. He is buried

at Jackson, Tenn.
Rev. James C. Alexander, the fourth pastor, was born at

Fancy Hill, Lincoln County, N. C, October 2, 1831. He was

educated at Davidson College, Union Theological Seminary, and

Columbia Theological Seminary, graduating from the latter in

1859. He was licensed by Concord Presbytery, and supplied

Ramah Church in that Presbytery. In the spring of 1861 he

was called hy Buffalo and Bethel Churches, and preached his

first sermon here the third Sunday of April, 1861. He was

ordained and installed pastor of Buffalo July 21, 1861. He

spent the remainder of his life in serving this people. Several

times he was called to other churches at a larger salary, but his

people raised such an emphatic protest against his leaving that

he remained with them. He had the rare combination of being

both a good preacher and a good pastor. The young people, as

well as the older ones, were very fond of him, and he was often

invited to their social gatherings. He was a good presbyter,

and when there were hard problems to solve his brethren always

sought his counsel. He was moderator of the Presbytery twice

and of the Synod once. He lived four miles east of Greensboro,

and there he died suddenly November 15, 1886, and is buried

in Buffalo cemetery.
Rev. R. W. Culbertson, the fifth pastor, was born at Wood-

leaf, Rowan County, N. C, March 26, 1860. He was graduated

from Davidson College in 1883, and taught school for two years.

He graduated at Union Theological Seminary in 1887. The call

for his pastoral services was made out by Buffalo October 2,

1887, and on November 19, he was ordained and installed by a

commission of the Presbytery. He was a strong preacher and

a tireless worker. The Midway congregation was worked up,

the church organized, the church building erected, and the manse

at Bessemer built during his short pastorate. In the spring of

1892 he accepted a call to the Hawfields and Cross Roads

Rhv. Cyrus K. Caldwell

1S21- 1S76

Pastors 117

Churches, and served there until 1906. During his pastorate

there Bethany Church was organized. The group was changed,

and he was pastor of Cross Roads, Stoney Creek and Greers

from 1906 to 1908. He moved to Concord Presbytery and was

pastor of Center and Prospect Churches from 1908 to 1915 ; and

of Poplar Tent and Gilwood from 1915 to 1920. He moved to

Mecklenburg Presbytery and was pastor of Central Steele

Creek and Pleasant Hill Churches from 1920 to 1930. During

the latter year he became infirm, having worn himself out by

hard work, and made his home with his daughter at Cameron,

N. C, where he died in 1932, and is buried in the cemetery at

Mooresville, N. C.

Rev. J. McL. Seabrook, the sixth pastor, was born on James

Island, S. C, in 1852. He graduated from Davidson College

in 1877, and from Columbia Theological Seminary in 1880 ;

ordained by Lexington Presbytery, Virginia, in 1881 ; pastor of

McDowell and Williamsville Churches, Virginia, 1881-1884 ; of

Seneca and Richland Churches, South Carolina, 1884-1888 ; and

of James Island Church, South Carolina, 1888-1892. Buffalo

Church called him July 17, 1892 ; he accepted and served as

pastor until the fall of 1904. He then accepted calls to Gor-

donsville and Wills Memorial Churches, Virginia, and there he

died in 1905. He was the first minister called by Buffalo who

was not a young man, just through school. This proved to be

a happy pastorate, and he was loved by his people.
Rev. J. W. Goodman, the seventh pastor, was born in Rowan

County, N. C, December 26, 1867, and was reared in Thyatira

Church, in which his father was a ruling elder. He was gradu-

ated from Davidson College in 1895, and from Union Theolog-

ical Seminary in 1898. He was ordained by Orange Presbytery

September 29, 1898, and installed pastor of First Church at

High Point, which he served until 1900. His second pastorate,

1900-1905, was Hillsboro, Eno and Fairfield Churches. Buffalo,

Midway and Bessemer Avenue Churches called him in January,

1905, and he served as pastor here until November, 1911. He

118 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People

then accepted a call to Hawfields Church, where he served until

1917. He then accepted a call to Antioch Church, Fayetteville

Presbytery, where he served until his death February 13, 1924.

His body rests in the Thyatira cemetery,

Rev. George W. Oldham, the eighth pastor, was born in

Orange County, N. C, November 20, 1879, and is the son of

the late Thomas J. Oldham, a ruling elder in Bethlehem Church.

He was graduated from the University of North Carolina in

1904, and from Union Theological Seminary in 1912. He was

called by Buffalo in April, 1912, and began to supply the church

in May. He was ordained September 26, 1912, and installed at

Buffalo October 20, 1912. He resigned in July, 1913, and

accepted a call to the Yanceyville group of churches, which he

served until 1921. His third pastorate, from 1921 to 1926, was

at Kenansville, Wilmington Presbytery. His fourth pastorate,

from 1926 to the present, is at Hot Springs, Lexington Presby-

tery, Virginia.
Rev. E. Frank Lee, the ninth pastor, was the son of Arthur

Lee, and was born in Sampson County, N. C, in 1878, and was

reared in the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was educated at

Trinity College (now Duke University) and Union Theological

Seminary, New York, from which he graduated in 1905. He

united with the Northern Presbyterian Church and preached

for a few years in and near New York City. He next accepted

a call to a church in Birmingham, Ala. In November, 1913, he

was called to Buffalo and remained pastor here until July, 1923.

He then resigned, and in 1924 he united with the North Caro-

lina Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. In

that denomination he served as pastor of the Beaufort church

two years, two years at Kinston, one year at Hay Street Metho-

dist Church, Fayetteville, and had been assigned to Calvary

Church in Durham, where he died June 7, 1930. He was very

energetic, and during the ten years of his pastorate there were

added to this church 211 new members.

Rev. James C. Alexander

1831- 1886

Pastors 119

Rev. A. P. Dickson, the tenth pastor, was born at Raeford,

N. C, September 5, 1886, and is the son of the late Dr. A. P.

Dickson, a ruling elder in the Raeford church. He graduated

from Davidson College in 1909, and from Union Theological

Seminary, Virginia, in 1915. His first pastorate, from 1915 to

1919, was at Williamsville, Va. His second pastorate, from

1919 to 1924, was at Franklin, W. Va. In May, 1924, he was

called by the Buffalo congregation, and his first service here was

on July 13, and he was installed pastor November 30, 1924.

Over 200 have been added to the church in the nine years of his

pastorate here.
May the dear old church long continue to prosper under his



When Dr. David Caldwell was called in 1764 he was prom-

ised a salary of $100 per year for half of his time. Alamance

Church promised a like sum for the other half of his time. If

not convenient to pay cash the subscribers were permitted to

pay in produce from their farms. This promised salary may

have been increased later. We have no records.
When Dr. Eli W. Caruthers came in 1819, first as an assist-

ant to Dr. Caldwell and later as pastor, he was promised $250

per year for half of his time, Buffalo being still grouped with

Alamance. The congregation had some trouble in raising the

salary, and at the annual congregational meeting December 29,

1829, it was decided to establish pew rent, and a committee

consisting of Daniel Gillespie, Col. James Denny and John

Hanner, was appointed to fix the price of each of the seventy

pews, and to sell them to the members of the congregation. One

of the most interesting items in the old records is the map of

the pews, the name of the person who rented each one and the

price paid. The front pews were rented at six dollars per year,

the price of the second pew was twenty-five cents less, and the

price continued to diminish by twenty-five cents all the way

back to near the rear and there they diminished fifty cents per

pew. The back seat was only one dollar per year. At the

congregational meeting in December, 1830, John Hanner, trus-

tee, reported the salary paid in full and a small balance in the

treasury. The next year the pew rent was not collected in full

and a balance was due the pastor, and four collectors were

appointed. They succeeded for three years, but in 1835 they

failed to collect enough to pay the promised salary. A com-

mittee consisting of Joseph Kirkpatrick, Adam Scott and Wil-

liam Donnell, Sr.^ was appointed to confer with Dr. Caruthers

and see if he would not agree to a reduction in salary to $200,

or "take the vacant pews at whatever he could get out of them."

A reduction of salary was agreed to. This plan of pew rent

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