his death in 1900. He was given the degree of D.D. hy Prince-
ton University. One son, Rev. Edward P. Rankin, and one
Rev. John C. Rankin, D.D.
Ministers from Buffalo 155
another son, Walter L. Rankin, LL.D., was president of Carroll
College, and another, John C. Rankin, was mayor of Elizabeth,
N. J., 1890-1898. Dr. Rankin was the author of several pamph-
lets and tracts on different phases of the church's faith and
Rev. William T. Doggett, son of John, really belongs to
Bethel, but as his father moved into our bounds when he was a
boy in his teens we have some claim to him. He was educated
at Earlham College and Princeton Theological Seminary ; or-
dained by the Presbytery of South Dakota in 1885 ; supply at
Blunt, S. D., 1885-1886; supply at Crystal Falls, Mich., 1886-
1887 ; supply at Volga and White, S. D., 1887-1888 ; pastor of
Shelton Memorial Church, Danville, Va., 1889-1907 ; pastor of
Cascade, Va., from 1907 until his death in 1926.
elder William D. and Mary Eliza Wharton. He was educated
at Davidson College and Union Theological Seminary, Virginia,
graduating at the latter institution in 1893. He was ordained
by Albemarle Presbytery in 1893 ; and was stated supply of
Warrenton and Louisburg Churches, 1893-1894 ; stated supply
of Geneva and Grassy Creek Churches, 1894-1895 ; stated sup-
ply of Young Memorial and Littleton Churches, 1896-1904;
pastor of Morganfield, Kentucky, Church, 1904-1911 ; pastor at
Andalusia, Ala., 1911-1916 ; and pastor of Crescent Hill Church,
Louisville, Kentucky, from 1916 until his death in 1919. He
married first Daisy Gilmer, of Guilford County, and second
Attie Dyer, of Morganfield, Ky. As a child he was dedicated to
the gospel ministry by his parents, and there are many beauti-
ful prayers for him in his mother's diary. His body rests in the
peaceful old cemetery at Buffalo.
William Newton and Cornelia Paisley Sikes. He was educated
graduating from the Seminary in 1904. He was ordained by
Concord Presbytery in 1904 and became pastor of Old Fort
and Siloam Churches, which he served through 1905 ; pastor
of Madison Church, Orange Presbytery, 1906-1908 ; pastor elect
of Burgaw and Pikes Churches, Wilmington Presbytery, 1908-
156 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People
cord Presbytery, 1912-1918 ; pastor of the Waynesville Church,
Asheville Presbytery, 1918-1920; pastor of the Canton Church,
1920-1926 ; and professor of theology in Stillman Institute, Tus-
caloosa, Ala., from 1926 to the present.
Rev. Charles F. Rankin, D.D., of Smyrna, Tenn., and Rev.
E. Eugene Gillespie, D.D., of Greensboro, should be included in
this list, for they were both reared in the church and Sunday
school at Buffalo. Rev. Charles F., son of John H. Rankin, was a
boy of eighteen when the family moved their membership to the
First Church, Greensboro ; and Rev. E. Eugene, son of ruling
elder Daniel D. Gillespie, was a boy of seventeen when this
family transferred their membership to Westminster Church,
It would be interesting to give here a list of the grandsons
of Buffalo who have entered the ministry, but the task is too
great. Their number would run into the hundreds.
INFLUENCE FOR GOOD
There is no way to estimate the vast extent of the good
influences that have gone out from Buffalo from the time of its
organization. In 1813 Bethel Presbyterian Church was organ-
ized at its present site, and the Rankins, Whartons, Wilsons,
Grays, and others moved their membership from Buffalo to
Bethel. In 1824 the First Church, Greensboro, was organized,
and its membership was made up mostly of the former members
of Buffalo. In 1888 Midway Presbyterian Church was organ-
ized and its membership was largely composed of former mem-
bers of Buffalo.
The Methodist Episcopal Churches of Center, Gethsemane,
Lee's Chapel, Pisgah, and Holt's Chapel, and the Methodist
Protestant Church of Fair Grove were all largely composed
originally of families whose parents had belonged to Buffalo.
Buffalo, and have preached the gospel in many sections of the
United States, were just so many new branches of influence for
good. And if we count the grandsons and great-grandsons of
this church who entered the ministry the branches of good influ-
ence would be multiplied an hundred fold. "There is a river,
the streams whereof shall make glad the City of God, the holy
place of the tabernacles of the most High."
communities and to other states. Perhaps every state and im-
portant city in the Union now have living in their bounds
descendants of former Buffalo members. The writer has not
been able to trace all these families, but the Rankin family alone
now has descendants in thirty different states. These have
carried with them the Christian principles they learned here,
and new churches have been organized, and other streams of
influence for good have been started.
In speaking of the good accomplished we must not overlook
the hundreds, perhaps thousands, who have been saved and have
served here, and are buried in this yard, awaiting the glorious
appearing of the Lord. "For if we believe Jesus died and rose
158 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People
the organization has been and is a great power for good in the
community, even outside its own membership. The members
co-operate in every public spirited enterprise for the better-
ment of the community.
PRESBYTERY AT BUFFALO
New Hanover Presbytery met at Buifalo March 3, 1768.
This was the third meeting of this Presbytery in North Carolina.
The first was at Lower Hico, in Person County, and the second
was at Red House, in Caswell County. The important thing
done at the Buffalo meeting was the installation of Rev. David
Caldwell. New Hanover Presbytery met at Buffalo again March
7, 1770. The action of greatest interest to us was the signing of
a petition to the Synod of Philadelphia and New York for the
organization of a Presbytery in Carolina to be named Orange.
The petition was gTanted, and Orange Presbytery was organ-
ized at Hawfields Church September 5, 1770.
when the home of Rev. John Witherspoon, the stated clerk, was
burned January 1, 1827. The loss of the Presbyterian history in
that fire is irreparable. We do not know how many times Pres-
bytery met here from 1770 to 1827, but it met here often in
those early years. From other sources we have gotten the dates
of some of those meetings.
Presbytery met here in June, 1777. The item of greatest
interest was the trial of James Balch on appeal from the session
of Rocky River Church. For the first and last time in its long
history the Presbytery administered to the defendant the "oath
of purgation." In the fall of 1796 Presbytery met here with
Rev. Samuel Stanford, pastor of Black River Church, as mod-
erator; again in the fall of 1799 with Rev. Robert Tate, pastor
of the Rockfish Church, as moderator ; again in 1801 with Rev.
John Gillespie, a son of Buffalo, who was now pastor of churches
in Robeson Countj^ as moderator ; again in 1807 with Rev.
Ezekiel B. Currie as moderator. He was now pastor of Greers
Church, and was later pastor of Cross Roads and Hawfields
Churches for twenty-three years. In the fall of 1810 Presbytery
met here with Rev. Leonard Prather, pastor of Bethlehem
Church, as moderator ; again in the fall of 1824 with Rev. Lem-
uel D. Hatch as moderator. This was the first meeting after
the death of Dr. Caldwell, and Presbytery held a memorial serv-
160 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People
preached the memorial sermon.
in the fall of 1868, with Dr. Charles Phillips, a professor in the
State University, as moderator. At this meeting the centennial
celebration of the installation of Dr. Caldwell as pastor was
held. The next meeting was 37 years later, in the fall of 1905,
with Rev. Robert Leslie Wharton, D.D., a grandson of Buffalo,
now a missionary to Cuba, as moderator. The next and last
meeting here was in 1921, with Rev. John McEachern, a mis-
sionary to Korea, as moderator. The Synod of the Carolinas
met here in 1803, and this is the only meeting of a Synod at
ITEMS FROM SESSIONAL MINUTES
We have no sessional minutes from 1756 to 1833 except
thirty-two loose leaves, running from 1773 to 1796. The book
that contained these 32 leaves has been torn up, and the pages
mixed and the edges broken. The only items on these pages
are the records of one trial after another. This could not have
been the regular minute book of the session, but a book in which
the records of the church trials were kept. Perhaps the earliest
records of the church were destroyed by the British soldiers
when they burned Dr. Caldwell 's library in 1781 ; and the min-
ute books running from 1781 to 1833 have been lost.
Referring to these trials, every manner of complaint was
carried to the session of the church. A woman accuses a man
of spreading reports detrimental to her character, and the case
is tried by the session. The widow Brown is accused of killing
the child of her daughter-in-law, and the case is tried by the
session. Captain Robert Bell is charged by Thomas Donnell
with getting drunk and breaking the Sabbath. Many of the
soldiers in Captain Bell's company are cited as witnesses, some
for and some against him. The session could not arrive at a
decision, and referred the matter to the Presbytery. Col. John
Gillespie is charged by James Coots with resisting an officer in
the discharge of his duty. "Col. Gillespie proved that he only
interfered to the extent of keeping Sheriff Coots from shooting
a man, and the session cleared him. Samuel Bell is accused of
killing a man. He was acquitted, as the man was proven to
have been a spy or a straggler from the British army. William
Dent complains to the session that Francis McNairy had bor-
rowed some of his tools and would not return them. John
Chambers complains that James Barr has accused him of tell-
ing falsehoods. When the session met to try the case Chambers
and Barr report that they have made up their differences. Sarah
Erwin complains that John Brawley is circulating reports detri-
mental to her character. After hearing many witnesses the
session declares Sarah's character good. James Barr is charged
by William Dent with tampering with the land entry books.
162 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People
tery. Thomas Black complains that James Coots has been cir-
culating reports that he is a liar. The session decides that
James Coots has acted in an unchristian manner and must
acknowledge his wrong. Jean Christopher complains that Mar-
garet Breden has been accusing her of bewitching Margaret's
child. The charge was not sustained. James Ross is charged by
Sarah Tosy with getting mad and using language unbecoming
a Christian. The session decided that Ross had been greatly
provoked, but should not have used the language he did. James
McQuiston was accused with fighting and found guilty by the
were many more. A large number of witnesses w^ere often
called to testify. These trials "were very hurtful, and caused
many families to withdraw from the church. James McQuiston
withdrew, and in 1783 deeded to the McQuiston family in per-
petuity a plot of land for a grave yard. These trials must have
given the pastor no end of trouble and brought to him many
restless nights. All Presbyterian churches, and others, had the
same experience in those early years.
There are very few items out of the ordinary and of special
interest from 1833 down to the present. On October 1, 1848,
Rev. John C. Rankin preached a missionary sermon and a col-
lection of ten dollars was taken. Rev. William D. Paisley often
assisted in the communion services from 1820 to 1850. In 1850
a husband and wife were suspended from church membership
because they would not live together. In 1877 the session re-
ported to Presbytery that "family worship is very generally
observed." In 1881 the session reported: "We fear that the
habits of our ancestors in regard to His Holy day is not per-
petuated among us. We are going backward in Sabbath observ-
ance." In several cases committees were appointed to visit
members who had not attended church for a year. From the
reading of the minutes it appears that the session has always
been composed of a very fine and faithful body of active
ITEMS FROM CONGREGATIONAL MINUTES
As a matter of history it is well to preserve a few items
culled from the minutes of the congregational meetings. The
routine business of these meetings was to hear the financial
reports. It would be too tedious to give these annual reports.
The first meeting of which we have a minute was May 14,
1825. George Rankin was chairman and John Hanner secretary.
George Rankin was appointed to confer with the family of the
late Dr. Caldwell and to see if it would be agreeable for Buffalo
and Alamance to erect a monument to their late pastor. The
committee to confer with Alamance and to have matter in hand
was Major Robert Donnell, Daniel Gillespie, Jr., and Samuel
Donnell. At a meeting in September, 1825, Major Robert Don-
nell made a motion that the trustees devise some method of com-
pelling the delinquent subscribers to pay their arrears. The
motion was not carried. Col. William T. Shields moved that
the members present pay out of thefr own pockets all arrear-
ages due the pastor. This motion carried and each man present
paid seventy cents. At a meeting December, 1825, with Dr.
Caruthers in the chair and John Hanner secretary it was again
decided that those present pay the pastor all arrearage due
him ; and this time each man present had to pay one dollar. It
was decided to hold a regular annual congregational meeting
on the last Saturday of each year, and to make this pay up day
for all subscribers.
At a meeting on May 1, 1826, with Major Robert Donnell in
the chair and John Hanner secretary, it was decided to erect
a new church building, not to cost over $2,000.00. The com-
mittee to have this in charge is given at another place. At a
meeting on June 10, 1826, with Dr. Caruthers in the chair and
William T. Shields secretary, the committee reported the plans
for a brick building, and that they had a bid to erect it com-
pletQ for $2,400.00 and the old church building, and the com-
mittee was instructed to proceed. At a meeting December 30,
1826, with Daniel Gillespie in the chair and John Hanner sec-
retary, it appears the committee had failed to get enough money
164 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People
pledged itself to stand for the amount needed, and instructed
the committee to proceed.
There is no minute for 1827, but it appears that the build-
ing was erected during that year, for at the next meeting, Jan-
uary 16, 1828, with John C. Rankin chairman and William T.
Shields secretary, arrangements were made to have the pews in
the old church moved into the new building.
At a meeting. May 13, 1829, with George Rankin chairman
and Edmund Donnell secretary, Major Robert Donnell was
employed as sexton at three dollars per year, and it is specified
that he is to open and shut the doors and windows and to sweep
the church once per month.
At a meeting December 29, 1829, it was decided to establish
pew rent as a means of raising the pastor's salary, and Daniel
Gillespie, Col. James Denny and John Hanner were appointed
a committee to fix a price on each of the seventy pews, and to
rent them to the families of the church. On January 19, 1830,
the committee made its report which was adopted. They had
made a plot of the church and numbered each of the seventy
pews, and had written in the name of each head of a family
that had rented a pew, and the amount each one was to pay.
The total of the pew rent amounted to $293.50. The last Satur-
day of each year was to be pay up day. It is not stated how
the pastor should manage to live a whole year without any
One of the most interesting items in all the old records is
this list of families that composed the Buffalo congregation one
hundred years ago. We are giving here an alphabetical list of
these families, and in order to make it more interesting to the
present day readers, we are trying to give their connection with
the past and present generations. Those of us now living can
trace our relationship to these families by our relationship to
the one whose name is given.
Albright, Jacob. Son of Daniel, and grandfather of Misses
Ella and Minnie Albright, present members.
Baker, James. Moved to Tennessee.
Items from Congregational Minutes 165
father of Misses Bettie and Pattie Caldwell, of Greensboro.
great-grandfather of John H. Gamble, of Greensboro.
moved to Missouri ; grandfather of Mrs. Irving Gilmer, Lib-
Denny, Col. James. Son of William and grandson of James,
Sr. ; grandfather of William R. Denny, of Greensboro.
grandfather of Mrs. Charles A. McNeely, a present member.
Sr. ; grandfather of Mrs. Cora Gamble Wilson, of Greens-
Denny, William. Son of James and grandson of William, Sr.
He never married.
great-grandfather of Robert Dick Douglas, of Greensboro.
Donnell, Adlia. Son of Andrew and grandson of Thomas, Sr. ;
moved to Tennessee.
Donnell, Andrew. Son of Thomas, Sr., and great-grandfather
of Mrs. J. Al. Rankin, a present member.
father of James D. Donnell, of Greensboro.
and great-grandfather of Moses K. Rankin, a present mem-
Donnell, George. Son of Robert, the second, and great-grand-
father of D. Lan Donnell, of Oak Ridge.
William L. Wharton, a present member.
father of Mrs. Charles L. VanNoppen, of Greensboro.
second ; moved to Missouri.
Donnell, of Greensboro.
166 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People
father of Mrs. Charles A. Schoolfield, a present member.
Donnell, William. Son of Major John ; moved to Tennessee.
Gillespie, Daniel. Son of Col. John, and great-grandfather of
Gillespie, Daniel. Son of Col. Daniel ; moved to Tennessee.
Gillespie, Mrs. Nancy. Widow of Robert, daughter of Robert
Hanner, and grandmother of Rev. E. Eugene Gillespie, of
Gillespie, Mrs, Nancy. Widow of John S., and daughter of
Hamilton, Thomas. Son of Thomas and grandson of George ;
Hanner, Col. Alfred E. Son of John ; never married.
Hanner, John. Son of Robert, and great-grandfather of Dr.
H. F. Starr, of Greensboro.
Hatrick, Samuel. Son of Robert, and grandfather of Charles A.
Houston, Levi. Son of John, and great-grandfather of Miss
Humphreys, Henry. Great-grandfather of Thomas H. Tate, of
Kerr, Nathaniel. Son of Nathaniel, and grandfather of Miss
Lindsay, Jed H. Son of Robert Lindsay.
Lindsay, Jesse H. Son of Robert, and grandfather of Clem G.
Wright, of Greensboro.
Lister, William (1796-1834).
McClintock, Robert. Son of John, Sr.
McKnight, Robert. Son of Alexander, and grandfather of
McKnight, William. Son of John, Sr., and great-grandfather of
McLean, Benjamin F. Youngest son of Muses.
McLean, Elizabeth. Daughter of Col. Samuel, and the first wife
of John Denny ; left no heirs.