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Howard L. Cannon is the son of ruling elder John C. Can-

non. On his mother's side is a grandson of ruling elder David

Wharton, great-grandson of Major John Donnell and a great-

great-grandson of ruling elders James Denny, Sr., and Thomas

Donnell, Sr. In 1909 he was dismissed to Midway Presbyterian


Ruling Elders 131
Jefferson Alexander Rankin was the son of Moses M. and

Caroline Hanner Rankin, the grandson of Thomas and Patsy

McQuiston Rankin, the great-grandson of William and Jane

Chambers Rankin, and the great-great-grandson of ruling elder

John Chambers. He married Leila, daughter of ruling elder

Thomas B. Donnell. He died in 1933.

John W. Wharton (1851-1929) was the son of Thomas Green

and Malvina Donnell Wharton, of the Brick Church section,

a grandson of John, and a great-grandson of Elisha, a ruling

elder in Bethel Church ; and on his mother 's side he is a great-

grandson of ruling elders William Scott and Major John Don-

nell, and a great-great-grandson of ruling elders James Denny,

Sr., and Thomas Donnell, Sr. He married Sarah McNairy,

daughter of J. D. Webb McNairy. One son, William L., is a

ruling elder, and another son, Carl L., is a deacon here.
On September 6, 1908, Rufus Webster Wilson was ordained.

His father, Robert, and his grandfather, Andrew, were ruling

elders at Bethel, and his great-grandfather, Robert, and his

great-great-grandfather, Andrew, were members of Buffalo. He

was a great-great-grandson of ruling elder George Denny, and

great-great-great-grandson of ruling elders James Denny, John

Chambers and Thomas Donnell. He married Cora, daughter of

Andrew M. and Amanda Denny Gamble. In 1923 he and family

were dismissed to the First Church, Greensboro, N. C.
On April 4, 1909, E. Henry Flagg and Charles H. Fields

were ordained.

E. Henry Flagge came to us from southern Illinois in 1906.

He was dismissed to Brooks Alta, Canada, in 1911.

Charles H. Fields is the son of Harrison and Catherine Coble

Fields. He is a great-grandson of Thomas Rankin, a ruling

elder in Alamance Church, a great-great-great-grandson of rul-

ing elder John Chambers. He married Nina, daughter of ruling

elder Daniel E. Albright.
On May 23, 1914, T. N. Sellers and William Gilmer Wharton

were ordained.

T. N. Sellers came to us from Culpepper, Va., in 1909. In

1917 he was dismissed back to his home church.

132 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People

William Gilmer Wharton is the son of William D. and Jennie

Gilmer Wharton. His line is given under that of his father,

except on his mother 's side he is a great-great-great-grandson of

John Chambers. He married Annie, daughter of John E. and

Mary Rankin McKnight.
On May 1, 1921, three more elders were ordained : James F.

Doggett, W. Vance Trollinger and William L. Wharton.

James F. Doggett is the son of John and Mary Ann Cobb

Doggett, who moved to this community in 1868. He married

Nannie Dalton.
W. Vance Trollinger (1879-1931) came to us from Green-

ville, S. C, and is buried here.

William L. Wharton is the son of John W. and Sarah

McNairy Wharton. His line is given under that of his father.

He married Rosa, daughter of Harrison and Catherine Coble

On December 19, 1926, Thomas A. McKnight, Luther E.

Sikes and Milton C. Foust were ordained to the eldership.
Thomas A. McKnight is the son of John E. and Mary Rankin

McKnight, and on his father's side he is the grandson of William

and Elizabeth Albright McKnight, the great-grandson of Wil-

liam and Mary Cummins McKnight, and the great-great-grand-

son of John McKnight, Sr. On his mother's side he is a great-

great-great-grandson of John Chambers. He married Mary

Annie, daughter of John W. and Mary Scoggins Evans.
Luther E. Sikes is the son of ruling elder William Newton

and Cornelia Paisley Sikes and the grandson of Willis Sikes;

on his mother's side he is a great-great-great-grandson of Wil-

liam Paisley, Sr.

Milton C. Foust is the son of Robert B. Foust, of the Mount

Hope section. He married Jessie, daughter of Charles A. and

Maggie Denny McNeely, and located in our midst.

Ruling Elders 133

The following is a list of the stated clerks of the session, so

far as their names appear :

John Anderson 1773-1794
Joseph A. McLean 1835-1847
Eli Denny 1847-1848
David Wharton 1848-1891
William D. Wharton 1891-1907
J. Al. Rankin 1907-1923
Charles H. Fields 1923-1923
W. Vance TroUinger 1923-1929
William L. Wharton 1929-


There were no deacons nntil 1850. In fact, it was not the

practice of the Presbyterian Church generally to have deacons

until about that date. From the earliest records it appears there

were four trustees who did the collecting of the salary and

attended to the temporal affairs of the church. In 1830 when

pew rent was adopted as a plan for raising the salary the four

trustees resigned, and one trustee, John Hanner, was appointed

to collect the pew rent and to handle the business of the con-

gregation. At the congregational meeting, December 31, 1831,

it appears from the report of the trustee that many of those

who had rented pews had failed to pay, and four collectors

were appointed : Samuel Hatrick for the southwest district,

Samuel Donnell for the northwest district, John Calvin McLean

for the northeast district, and Harper Donnell for the southeast

district. These were to collect the pew rent and pay it over to

the trustee, who was to settle with the pastor. Other collectors

whose names appear from time to time were Samuel M. Kerr,

George Donnell, John G. Efland, Fountain B. McLean, Donnell

Scott, Moses M. Kankin, John C. Cannon and Albert Rankin.
In 1832 John Hanner resigned and Major Robert Donnell

was elected trustee. Major Donnell died in 1847, and Samuel

Hatrick was elected trustee. In 1850 Samuel Hatrick resigned,

and Robert C. Donnell was elected trustee. In 1855 Robert C.

Donnell resigned, and Samuel Denny was elected trustee. In

1862 he resigned, and Samuel D. McLean was elected trustee.

He served until the office was abolished in 1881, and the deacons

were requested to elect their own chairman and treasurer.

In 1850 four deacons were ordained as collectors : Thomas

B. Donnell, John Carson Ranlvin, Col. William Denny and Rob-

ert C. Caldwell.
Thomas B. Donnell was ordained a ruling elder in 1861.
John Carson Rankin was the son of ruling elder Joseph Ran-

kin, of Alamance Church, and grandson of John and Hannah

[ 134 ]

Deacons 135

Carson Rankin, of Buffalo Church, and grandfather of Mrs.

Jessie Rankin Smith, of High Point. He was dismissed to High

Point Presbyterian Church in 1867. He married Betsy A.,

daughter of Thomas and Hannah Rankin Denny, and ruling

elder William Thomas Rankin, of High Point, was his son.
Col. William Denny (1800-1860) was the son of William

and the grandson of ruling elder James Denny, Sr. He mar-

ried Jane, daughter of Col. William and Jane McAdoo Ryan,

and lived some five miles north of the church. Their grandson,

Prof. Julius Weatherly, was a ruling elder in the church at

Jamestown, N. C.

Robert C. Caldwell was the youngest son of Rev. Dr. David

Caldwell. He left no living heirs.

In 1865 William D. Wharton and Samuel D. McLean were


William D. Wharton became a ruling elder in 1890.
Samuel D. McLean was the son of Fountain B. and Hannah

Donnell McLean, grandson of Col. Samuel, and great-grandson

of Moses McLean. He married Mary D., daughter of Thomas

and Eveline Brower Dick, in 1855, but left no heir. In 1885

he was dismissed to the First Church, Greensboro.
On June 17, 1867, Daniel D. Gillespie and Daniel E. Albright

were ordained.

Daniel D. Gillespie became a ruling elder in 1881.
Daniel E. Albright became a ruling elder in 1890.
On June 18, 1882, the following were ordained : William

Alvin Donnell, David N. Kirkpatrick and John L. Hendrix.

William Alvin Donnell was the son of James and Nancy

Scott Donnell, grandson of William Scott and Major John Don-

nell, and great-grandson of Thomas Donnell, Sr., and James

Denny, Sr. He left no heir.

David N. Kirkpatrick was the son of Joseph and Docie

Mitchell Kirkpatrick, grandson of Samuel Mitchell and of John

McMurray, great-grandson of Adam Mitchell, Jr., and great-

great-grandson of Adam Mitchell, Sr, He married Susan Bain,

of Orange County, and was dismissed to the First Church,

Greensboro, in 1891.

136 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People

John L. Henclris was the son of Edward Hendrix, of Pleas-

ant Garden. He married Mattie, daughter of Marcellus Jordan,

and of their sons, W. Julian and James M. became deacons.
On May 3, 1891, James M. Hendrix, Gr. Washington Denny,

J. Alexander Rankin, John W, Wharton and Albert C. Rankin

were ordained.
James M, Hendrix was elected an elder in 1897.
George Washington Denny was elected an elder in 1897.
J. Al. Rankin was elected an elder in 1902.
John W. Wharton was elected an elder in 1902.
Albert C. Rankin (1860-1929) was the son of Albert and

Polly IMcMurray Rankin, grandson of Thomas and Patsy Mc-

Quiston Rankin, of Alamance Church, great-grandson of Wil-

liam and Jane Chambers Rankin, of Buffalo, and great-great-

grandson of John Chambers. He was dismissed to Pleasant

Garden church in 1915.

On July 31, 1898, three more deacons were ordained : James

William Alexander, James A. May, and Charles H. Fields.

James William Alexander was the son of Rev. James C.

Alexander. He married Fannie Plowden, of Greenwood, S. C.

He died in 1931.
James A. May was raised in the county and joined Buffalo in

1891, His wife was Annie D. Johnston. In 1924 he and family

were dismissed to the Presbyterian Church at Burkeville, Va.
Charles H. Fields was elected an elder in 1909.
On December 3, 1905, John S. McKnight, William L. Whar-

ton and Luther E. Sikes were ordained.

John S. McKnight is the son of John E. and Mary Rankin

McKnight, grandson of William and Elizabeth Albright Mc-

Knight, great-grandson of William and Mary Cummins Mc-

Knight, and great-great-grandson of John McKnight, Sr. He

was dismissed to the Presbyterian Church at Shelby, N. C, in

William L. Wharton was elected an elder in 1921.

Luther E. Sikes was elected an elder in 1926.

Deacons 137

On May 23, 1914, Dr. William P. Knight and Thomas A.

McKnight were ordained.

Dr. William P. Knight is the son of Pinkney Knight, of

Rockingham County. He married Nellie, daughter of W. Julian

and Mollie Cannon Hendrix, and is now serving as a deacon.
Thomas A. McKnight was elected an elder in 1926.
On June 3, 1917, H. A. Barnes and W. Julian Hendrix were


H. A. Barnes is the son of James A. and Ida Lane Barnes.

He joined Buffalo in 1915. He married Buphemia Dail. He

is now serving as deacon.
W. Julian Hendrix was the son of John L. and Mattie Jor-

dan Hendrix. He married Mollie, daughter of John C. and

Mary E. Wharton Cannon. Until his death in 1931 he served

as a deacon.

On May 4, 1919, J. Iva Medearis, W. Vance TroUinger,

Leighton W. McFarland and R. H. Armfield were ordained.

J. Iva Medearis came to us from the Methodist Episcopal

Church at Summerfield. He is the son of Francis M. and Emma

Hoskins Medearis, and the grandson of John and Nancy Jones

Medearis, and on his mother's side of John A. and Lydia John-

son Hoskins. He married Hattie E., daughter of William D.

and Jennie Gilmer Wharton, and is still serving as a deacon.

W. Vance Trollinger was elected as elder in 1921.
Leighton W. McFarland came to us from the Church of the

Covenant, Fayetteville Presbytery, in 1916. He is the son of

John A. and Catherine McArthur McFarland, and married

Myrtle Clemmons. He is now serving as a deacon.

R. H. Armfield joined with us in 1916, and later joined the

Baptist Church at White Oak.

On December 19, 1926, Lonnie G. Albright, Joseph S. Phipps,

J. Herman Kellam, Carl L. Wharton, Charles A. Schoolfield and

Luther J. Blackwood were ordained to the diaconate.
Lonnie G. Albright is a son of ruling elder Daniel E. Al-

bright, grandson of Jacob Albright, and a great-grandson of

Daniel Albright. He married Eula Ballinger in 1920.

138 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People

Joseph S. Pliipps is a son of Robert S. and Mary Anna Gil-

mer Phipps, of Alamance Clinrch. On his mother's side he is

a great-great-grandson of William Gilmer, Sr., and a great-

great-great-grandson of John McLean, Sr.

J. Ilermon Kellam was the son of Julius. His father died

when he was a child. He married Maggie, daughter of William

and Fannie Norman Souther. Mr. Kellam died in 1933.
Carl L. Wharton is the son of ruling elder John W. Wharton,

and a great-great-grandson of Elisha Wharton, a ruling elder

in Bethel Church; and on his grandmother Wharton's side he is

a great-great-grandson of William Scott, and a great-great-great-

grandson of James Denny, Sr., and of Thomas Donnell, Sr.

On his mother's side he is a great-great-great-great-grandson of

Francis McNairy,
Charles A. Schoolfield is the son of Robert L. and Lilly

Starr Schoolfield, a great-grandson of John and Agnes Rankin

Schoolfield, and a great-great-great-grandson of John Chambers.
Luther J, Blackwood came to us from Orange County and

is the son of Sydney Blackwood. He lives south of Greensboro.

From the earliest records the money for pastor's salary was

handled by a trustee elected by the congregation, and later by

a treasurer elected by the board of deacons. The following is a

list of those who have served in this capacity :

John Hanner 1830-1832
Major Robert Donnell 1832-1847
Samuel Hatrick 1847-1850
Robert C. Donnell 1850-1855
Samuel Denny 1855-1862
Samuel D. McLean 1862-1881
William D. Wharton 1881-1891
James M. Hendrix 1891-1897
J. Al. Rankin 1897-1914
William L. Wharton (church treasurer) . . . .1914-1925

Dr. W. P. Knight (benevolent treasurer) . . .1914-1925

Dr. W. P. Knight (church treasurer) 1925-
J. Iva Medearis (benevolent treasurer) ....1925-


The first time the Sabbath school is mentioned in any of the

minutes is in 1870, but it must have been organized shortly after

Dr. Caruthers became pastor. Dr. Wiley says the Sabbath school

was established in vigorous form at Alamance about 1825, and

Dr. Caruthers must have had one organized at Buffalo at the

same time. He was a great believer in Sabbath schools, and by

1829 he had succeeded in organizing all the schools of the county

into a Sunday School Union, of which he was the leading spirit

and the active secretary. Mrs. Elizabeth Weatherly, daughter

of Col. William Denny, told the writer that as a child she

attended the Sunday school at Buffalo, and she was born in

1822. We may safely say the school was organized as early as

At Alamance the Sunday school held all day sessions on the

Sabbaths they did not have preaching. The children carried

lunch with them, and part of the time was spent in studying

spelling, reading and other branches, and much time was spent

in singing. This may have been the case at Buffalo also.

At one time the Sunday school had a large library of good

religious literature with a regular librarian in charge, and the

books were eagerly sought and read by the members of the con-

gregation. Some of the earliest religious impressions made on

the mind of the writer were made by reading the books in the

Sunday school library at Bethel Church,

The first time the officers are mentioned in the records is in

1874. At that time William D. Wliarton was elected superin-

tendent and Daniel E. Albright assistant.
Some years the election of the officers was recorded, and

some years this item was omitted. In 1897 Mr. Wharton asked

the session to elect some one else superintendent, and the school

presented Mr. Wharton a beautiful hymn book with his name

in gold letters on the back. Mrs. Medearis is positive this gift

was in appreciation of his thirty years of faithful service, and

if so, he was first elected superintendent in 1867. Other super-

intendents were James M. Hendrix 1897-1900, J. Al. Rankin


140 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People

1900-1911, William L. Wharton 1911-1914, W. Gilmer Wharton

1914-1925, M. M. Manger 1925-1930, and Milton C. Foust 1930

to the present.
Within the memory of those now living the school was held

onl}^ on preaching days, and after the preaching service. The

reason it was changed to before preaching was that the people

might have more time at home Sunday afternoons for religious

reading. It was about 1905 when it was decided to continue

the school during the entire year, instead of closing at Christ-

mas and opening again in April.
One of the interesting departments of the school is the

men's organized class with an enrollment of over one hundred

members. This class was organized in 1918. The women also

have a large organized class.


By Mary Wharton Rankin

The history of any organization as far back in the past as

a century is hard to find. Especially is this true of those early

days when the people were too much occupied with the busi-

ness of living to preserve data for future generations. How-

ever, we are indebted to Dr. Eli W. Caruthers for a few facts

concerning the work of the church which the women were trying

to do.
The women of Buffalo were not neglectful of the biblical

command, "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers," and did

more than their share in entertaining Presbytery in the early

years. The Presbytery met at Buffalo as early as 1768, when

Dr. Caldwell was installed pastor, and for several years there

were only short periods between the time of their meetings here.
In the days of Dr. Caldwell's pastorate the leader of the

women was the pastor's wife, Mrs. Rachel Caldwell. Mrs. Cald-

well seems to have been an unusually pious woman, the daughter

of a Presbyterian minister, Rev. Alexander Craighead, of Sugaw

Creek Church, Mecklenburg County, N. C. She was thus pre-

pared by her girlhood years in a minister's home to assume the

duties of the manse. In the trying days of the Revolutionary

"War, when her husband was almost constantly away from home,

she showed great courage and capability in caring for her own

family and aiding her neighbors in their times of need. Even

with her young children to both father and mother, she found

time for meeting with the women of the congregation for prayer.

Dr. Caruthers tells us that on the day of the Battle of Guilford

Court House, Mrs. Caldwell and a number of the women belong-

ing to Buffalo congregation met at the home of Robert Rankin

and spent the greater part of the day in prayer. Not alone in

times of stress, but in times of peace also, these busy women met

regularly for prayer. We learn from Dr. Caruthers again, that

as early as 1799 a few of the women of Buffalo congregation

under the leadership of Mrs, Caldwell met regularly for more


142 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People

than a year to pray for a revival. Their prayers were answered

in the great revival that began in North Carolina in 1801. It

is interesting to know that this revival began in Kentucky in

1798 under the ministry of Rev. James McGready, who was a

son of Buffalo church.
The first record of the organized work of the Buffalo women

is found in the minutes of the session in the year 1825, when

$19 was given by the ''Female Benevolent Society" to help pay

arrears on the pastor's salary. The women must have been

organized some time prior to this, since they had collected this

amount, but we have no record of the organization or the roll

of members. The Alamance records say that the "Female Be-

nevolent Society" of Alamance Church was organized about

the year 1823, through the instrumentality of Dr. Caruthers,

and since Dr. Caruthers was pastor of both Alamance and

Buffalo at that time, it is reasonable to suppose that both socie-

ties were organized about the same time, and each given the

title "Female Benevolent Society."
Only through the records of the session have we any knowl-

edge of the work done by the organization from its beginning

to the year 1879, and these are only records of money given

through the session by the society. One record is an item of

$207 given by the ladies to help pay arrears on the pastor's sal-

ary in 1869.

In the year 1879 the name of the organization was changed

to Buffalo Home Mission and Aid Society. There are twenty-

nine names on the roll. Mrs. J. C. Alexander, the pastor's wife,

is given as president at this time, and she served in that capacity

for fifteen years. Mts. W. D. Wharton was elected president

in 1894 and served till her death in 1896. No minutes of the

society are to be found for eleven years. In 1907, the pastor's

wife, Mrs. J. W. Goodman, was made president, and served for

five years or until 1912, when Miss Minnie Fields came into

office. She served until 1916, when succeeded by Mrs. W. L.

Wharton, who was president until 1918. Mrs. W. J. Hendrix

was then president for one year, and was followed by Mrs. W. P.

Knight, who continued in office for ten years. In March, 1929,

Mrs. W. L. Wharton was elected to the presidency the second

time and served until her death. May, 1930. Mrs. W. B.

Thacker, vice president, filled out Mrs. Wharton's unexpired

The Woman's Work of Buffalo Church 143

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