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McLean, John Calvin. Son of Col. Samuel, and father of Wil-

liam C. McLean, of Greensboro.

McLean, Joseph Addison. Son of Col. Samuel, and grandfather

of A. L. Stockton, of Greensboro.

Items from Congregational Minutes 167

McMurray, William. Son of John and father of William, Jr.
McNairy, James. Grandson of Francis, and grandfather of Mrs.

Sallie McNairy Wharton, a present member.

McNeely, James. Son of Thomas, and great uncle of Charles A.

McNeely, a present member.

Mitchell, Adam. Grandson of Adam, Sr., grandfather of Mrs.

Cornelia Mitchell Gallahan, who made a bequest to the

church, and great-great-grandfather of Evelyn Hupp, a pres-

ent member.

Mitchell, John. Grandson of Adam, Sr. ; never married.
Mitchell, Samuel. Grandson of Adam, Sr., and great-grand-

father of David A. Kirkpatrick, of Greensboro.

Moderwell, Robert. Merchant in Greensboro ; uncle of Robert

M. Sloan ; left no heir.

Moring, Christopher. A merchant in Greensboro.
Nicks, George, Jr. Son of George and grandson of John, Sr. ;

moved to Tennessee.

Peoples, Allen. Moved to Mississippi.
Permar, William. Grandfather of Cyrus Thomas, of Greens-

Piercy, Bryant. Moved to Missouri.

Ranlvin, George, Son of Robert and great-grandson of Robert,

Sr. ; moved to Little Rock, Ark.

Rankin, Mrs. Mary. Widow of Samuel, daughter of William

Scott, and the great-grandmother of Dr. W. W. Rankin, of

Duke University.
Rankin, Robert. Son of John, Sr., and grandfather of Rev.

Samuel M. Rankin.

Ryan, Col, William. Son of John, and great-great-grandfather

of Elmer A. McAdoo, a present member.

Schoolfield, John. Grandfather of Robert L. Schoolfield.
Scott, Adam. Son of William, and great-grandfather of W,

Magruder Moore, a present member.

Scott, David. Son of Samuel, Jr., and great-grandfather of

Charles D, Benbow, Jr., of Greensboro.

Scott, Thomas. Son of William, Sr., and great-grandfather of

Charles A. McNeely, a present member.

Scott, Dr. William D. Son of Adam, and father of the late

J. Will Scott, of Greensboro.

Spruce, George. Son of William, Sr.

168 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People

Starrett, Mrs. Elizabeth. Widow of James H., and daughter of
Col. John Gillespie.

Wharton, David. Son of Elisha, and grandfather of W. Gilmer

Wharton, a present member.

Wilson, Andrew. Son of Robert, grandson of Andrew, and

grandfather of James R. A. Wilson, a present member.

Wilson, David. Son of Andrew, Sr., and father of Eli Wilson,

of Greensboro.

Woodburn, David. Son of Thomas, and great-grandfather of

Rev. Rufus W. Weaver, D.D., of Washington, D. C.

Woodburn, Robert T. Son of David, and father of the late Mrs.

Callie Moore, of Greensboro.
This completes the list of those in whose name the pews

were held ; but many others occupied the pews with their kin-

dred and friends. However, the bounds of the congregation

were much less in 1830 than before 1800. Eight other churches

had now been organized within the original bounds of Buffalo,

and some of these churches were composed almost entirely of

families that formerly belonged to Buffalo.
In 1832 the church gave twenty dollars to foreign mis-

sions, and this is the first record we have of any contributions

to benevolence.
At a meeting in June, 1832, with John Mitchell chairman

and Major Robert Donnell secretary, Thomas Denny was em-

ployed as sexton at three dollars per year. For several years

the congregation met every June to employ a sexton, and the

contract was always let to the lowest bidder. For the year begin-

ning June, 1833, Samuel Denny was the lowest bidder at $2.45 ;

the next year Samuel Denny was still the lowest bidder at $2.50 ;

the following year Col. James Denny was the lowest bidder at

$2.40 ; the next year Samuel Denny got the job at $2.30. It

was always specified in the minutes that the sexton was to

open and close the doors and windows, and sweep the church

twelve times per year, once each month.

The following paper was passed by the congregation in

1831 : ' ' Resolved, that each owner of a seat in this church

procure a sand box, and keep it in his pew." The sermons in

those days were hardly ever less than an hour in length, and

those men just had to chew tobacco. It is commendable that

they were trying to keep their new churcTi decent.

Items from Congregational Minutes 169

Major Robert Donnell was the trustee from 1832 until his

death in 1847, and was faithful in attending to the business of

the church. There were no deacons until 1850, and the trustee

with the assistance of different collectors, did all the business

now done by the deacons.
Joseph A. McLean was chairman of the meeting in April,

1847. Pew rent was discontinued. At a meeting December 6,

1847, with Edmond Donnell chairman, it was decided to buy

a stove, and that three pews in front of the pulpit be moved

and the stove set up there, and that the pipe extend out at the

south window. There was no flue in the building, and it is

evident the church was never heated before this. With present

comforts, we cannot understand how the people could sit in

the cold through a sixty-minutes sermon, but they did. The

writer's father has told him of such experiences.

At the meeting of December, 1850, David Wharton was

chairman and Robert C. Donnell secretary. At the December

meeting, 1851, Harper Donnell was chairman and Robert C.

Donnell secretary. At the December meeting, 1854, with Col.

William Denny chairman and Robert C. Donnell secretary, it

was decided to increase the pastor's salary by buying for his

use a farm, if Bethel Church would agree to join in the propo-

sition. The committee selected to see after this was Thomas B,

Scott, Moses M. Rankin and Samuel Denny. Bethel declined

to join, and the farm was not bought ; but the salary was

At the meeting in 1856 Emsley Donnell was chairman and

Samuel Denny, trustee, was secretary. There was no business

of interest. At the December meeting, 1859, David Wharton

was elected chairman and Robert C. Donnell secretary. Rev.

C. K. Caldwell had resigned, and steps were taken to raise the

salary for a new pastor. At the December meeting, 1861,

George Donnell was chairman and George A. Denny secretary.

No special business of interest. At the December meeting,

1863, with Harper Donnell in the chair and John C. Cannon

secretary, it was decided to raise a donation for the pastor.

At the meeting of 1866 Robert C. Donnell was chairman and

William D. Wharton secretary; there was no special business.

At a meeting August 16, 1868, with Rev. J. C. Alexander in

the chair and John C. Cannon secretary, it was decided to hold

a centennial celebration of the beginning of the first pastorate,

170 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church a?id Her People

and the committee selected to make all the arrangements was

Rev. J, C. Alexander, David Wharton, David N. Kirkpatrick,

Albert Rankin, Fountain B. McLean and John C. Cannon.

At the December meeting, 1870, Rev. J. C. Alexander was

chairman and William D. Wharton secretary. There was no

special business. At a meeting January 21, 1874, with David

N. Kirkpatrick in the chair and William M. Albright secretary,

it was decided that Mr. Kirkpatrick should have charge of

the graveyard, and "show each one applying where to bury."

At the meeting January 5, 1875, with George A. Denny in

the chair and D. W. Forbis secretary, it was decided to use

envelopes for the collections for the benevolent causes. John

E. McKnight was added to the graveyard committee. At

the December meeting, 1877, with Thomas B. Donnell in the

chair and D. W. Forbis secretary, it was decided "this church

does not contribute to the various benevolent objects accord-

ing to the wealth and piety of the church"; and the pastor was

asked to preach a sermon on "systematic benevolence." After

1877 the items of business attended to, other than the annual

financial report, are covered in this book under other headings ;

but as a matter of interest we are giving the names of the

chairmen and secretaries of the meetings :

December, 1878— D. D. Gillespie chairman and William D.

Wharton secretary.

December, 1880 — D. D. Gillespie chairman and William D.

Wharton secretary.

January, 1881 — Pleasant McAdoo chairman and D. N.

Kirkpatrick secretary.

March, 1881 — D. W. Forbis chairman and William D.

AVharton secretary.

December, 1881 — George A. Denny chairman and John C.

Cannon secretary.

December, 1882 — Rev. J. C. Alexander chairman and D. W.

Forbis secretary.

December, 1883— Rev. J. C. Alexander chairman and N.

Eugene Rankin secretary.

December, 1885 — N. Eugene Rankin chairman and Charles

B. Alexander secretary.

December, 1888 — George A. Denny chairman and Thomas

B. Donnell secretary.

January, 1890 — Thomas B. Donnell chairman and J. Al.

Rankin secretary.

Items from Congregational Mijiutes 171

January, 1891 — George A. Denny chairman and James M.

Hendrix secretary.

December, 1891 — Daniel E. Albright chairman and G. W.

Denny secretary.

July, 1892 — William D. Wharton chairman and G. Wash.

Denny secretary.

February, 1894 — John W. Wharton chairman and J. Al.

Rankin secretary.

Januarj^, 1895 — George A. Denny chairman and William

D. Wharton secretary.

January, 1896 — William D. Wharton chairman and Charles

H. Fields secretary.

March, 1896— G. Wash. Denny chairman and Charles H.

Fields secretary.

March, 1897 — William D. Wharton chairman and Samuel

T. Donnell secretary.

January, 1898 — Emsley W. Stratford chairman and James

M. Hendrix secretary.

April, 1898 — William D. Wharton chairman and J, Will

Alexander secretary.

January, 1899 — James M. Hendrix chairman and Howard

L. Cannon secretary.

January, 1901 — G. Wash. Denny chairman and James M.

Hendrix secretary.

January, 1902^Daniel E. Albright chairman and John W.

Wharton secretary.

April, 1902 — William D. Wharton chairman and J. Will

Alexander secretary.

August, 1903 — John L. Hendrix chairman and John S.

McKnight secretary.

January, 190-5 — Howard L. Cannon chairman and John S.

McKnight secretary.

January, 1906 — Howard L. Cannon chairman and William

L. Wharton secretary.

January, 1907 — William D. Wharton chairman and T.

Blair Stratford secretary.

January, 1908 — Emsley W. Stratford chairman and

Charles H. Fields secretary.

After 1908 the congregation discontinued the custom of

holding annual meetings to hear the financial reports.


The first great celebration held, here was during the meet-

ing of Orange Presbytery in the fall of 1868. Dr. Charles

Phillips, a distinguished educator and preacher, was the mod-

erator. This was the centennial celebration of the installation

of Dr. Caldwell as pastor. Dr. Calvin H. Wiley (1819-1887),

who had been baptized by Dr. Caldwell, was secured as the

speaker, and he delivered a splendid historical address. The

celebration was a success, but the people were at some discom-

fort because of the heavy rains that day.

October 19, 1919, was a great day at Buffalo. On that day

a campaign was launched under the leadership of Rev. E.

Frank Lee to raise funds to erect a Sunday school building.

A. M. Scales was the chief speaker, and his subject was the

Life and Labors of Dr. Caldwell. Other speakers were Dr.

Melton Clark, former pastor of the First Church, Greensboro ;

Rev. R. Murphy Williams, pastor of the Church of the Cove-

nant, Greensboro ; Col. Fred Olds, historian, Raleigh ; Dr. James

P. Smith, of Richmond, Va. ; Mr. Bernard Cone, of the White

Oak Mills; and Mr. E. Sternberger, of the Revolution Mills.

There was a large congregation present and great interest was

awakened. The campaign thus launched was a success, and

within a few months the committee had thirty thousand dol-

lars in cash and subscriptions, and the contract for the new

building was let to Mr. Lee Jackson.
On October 18, 1931, the church celebrated the one hun-

dred and seventy-fifth anniversary of its organization. It was

a fine bright day and a large congregation was present, many

coming from neighboring cities. The speakers secured for this

occasion were Dr. Walter L. Lingle, president of Davidson Col-

lege, and Rev. S. M. Rankin. The subject of Mr. Rankin's

address was "Buffalo and Her Pioneers"; and Dr. Lingle 's

subject was "The Presbyterian Doctrines of Our Forefath-

ers." Mrs. J. Sterling Jones, of Greensboro, presented to the

church a memorial tablet to Dr. Caldwell, her great-grand-

father. The tablet was unveiled by a great-great-grandson,


Celebrations 173
Caldwell Roane, of AVinston-Salem, and then accepted on behalf

of the church by Rev. A. P. Dickson, the pastor. The cele-

bration was a success in every way, and was pronounced by

many as the best in the long history of the church.


Come and let us stroll through the graveyard, and hold

communion with our sainted dead. Oh, if they could only

speak to us ! There are so many things we would like to know.

We would like to ask about their experiences of the long ago ;

of how the people lived and what they did ; of their trials dur-

ing the Revolutionary War. We could listen by the hour to

their war stories. We would like to ask them about their

experiences in the church ; of the sermons they heard ; of how

they found Christ and what He meant to them. If they could

only speak to us, how w-e would like to ask about the mysteries

and glories of their heavenly home ; of their present experiences

and occupations ; but more important still, we would like to

hear their warnings and entreaties.

Their voices are silent in the grave, but being dead they

yet speak. We hear the echo of their lives, their prayers and

their teachings. We reverently approach the grave of Dr.

Caldwell, the aged pastor. He is still preaching, and in our

hearts we hear him saying, ' ' Finally, brethren, farewell ; be

perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind ; live in peace,

and the God of love and peace shall be with you." We quietly

pass on, treading lightly as on holy ground, and here is the

grave of Rev. J. C. Alexander, another beloved pastor, and he

too is still preaching, and from the very text he last used in

the pulpit, "She hath done what she eould." And he is ask-

ing, "Have you done all you can?" We now come to the

grave of blind John Mitchell, who prayed so fervently that

God might bless and continue to bless the dear old church, and

God still hears and answers that prayer. So he being dead,

yet speaketh. Here is the grave of him who sang with a mel-

low wooing voice the sweet songs of Zion. The echo of that

music is still heard through those whom he taught to sing.

We now stand by the grave of that father who called his chil-

dren to his bedside and pronounced on each his parting bless-

ing. He being dead yet speaketh, for that blessing is handed

Cemetery 175

down from generation to generation. And here is the grave of

that dear Christian mother, who in her dying hour grasped

the hand of her wayward son and made him promise to meet

her in heaven. He kept that promise, and passed it on to his

own children; so she being dead yet speaketh. We now stand

by the grave of him who found his Saviour at the altar in this

church, and that others might find that same dear Saviour, he

bequeathed to the church money to maintain the preached

word. And he being dead yet speaketh. And here is the grave

of that dear sweet little child of whom Jesus said, "Suffer the

little children to come unto me," and that child is saying,

"Won't you come, too?" Being dead he yet speaketh. Thus

might we continue, for every grave is speaking and has some

tender word for us. Shall not the living heed when the dead

speak? As we pass from this sacred place serious thoughts fill

the mind and the deepest emotions stir the heart, and we seek

a secluded spot for meditation and prayer.
There are 554 marked graves, but less than half are marked ;

perhaps not more than a third. It was difficult to get slabs in

the early days. They had to be hauled from Pennsylvania, or

shipped to Petersburg and hauled from there. Many of the

first graves were marked with rough stones and these have been

removed ; some were marked with slate and some with soap-

stone, and these are worn away or are covered with lichen, and

are hard to read. The oldest stone with dates and lettering is

to Mary Starrett, wife of Benjamin, born 1723 and died 1775 ;

but others were buried here before this date. In the earliest

days many families buried their dead in a plot on the home

farm. These graves are now lost and the plots are in the cul-

tivated fields. It is important that every grave be marked

with name and dates. How true it is, "As for man, his days

are as grass ; as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth ; for the

wind passeth over it, and it is gone, and the place thereof shall

know it no more."
A board of trustees for the cemetery has been elected and

incorporated. The members are Dr. W. P. Knight, H. A.

Barnes, Thomas A. McKnight, Carl L. Wharton, and W. Gil-

mer Wharton, secretary and treasurer. This is separate and

apart from the trustees of the church. These trustees have

beautified part of the grounds, and are making other improve-

176 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People

ments. They are raising an endowment fund for perpetual

care. The following persons have made contributions to this

Mrs. Attie Wharton— 1921 $1,000.00
Mrs. Julia Eankin Forbis— 1923 100.00
Mrs. Mary J. Wharton Motley (bequest)— 1923 50.00
Mr. and Mrs. John A. Hegwood (bequest)— 1925 100.00
Mrs. Cornelia Mitchell Gallahan (bequest)— 1925 100.00
W. Vance Trollinger (bequest)— 1931 50.00
Others have written bequests in their wills.
We do not know when the first rock wall was built, but it

must have been about the time the second building was erected.

The wall was around the entire graveyard. The south wall

was moved about fifty feet farther south, in line with the new

church building shortly after it was erected in 1827, thus tak-

ing in a number of graves that were then outside of the old

wall. The old east wall ran north from a point about half way

between the present building and the gate east of the church.

In 1868 this wall was moved 170 feet farther east, taking in

what has been known as the new part of the graveyard. In

1924 the south wall west of the church was moved thirty-five feet

farther south, thus bringing it in line with the new David

Caldwell Building; and the old west wall was moved one hun-

dred feet farther west to the highway, thus taking in the site of

the first church building. J. Al. Rankin and H. A. Barnes were

the prime movers in having this done, and were also instru-

mental in having a hedge planted around the whole front yard

of the church.


The Buffalo congregation has often been called upon to fur-

nish men for important public positions. Dr. Caldwell was a

member of the first state convention at Halifax in 1776 that

framed the first state constitution; and he was a member of the

state convention in 1788 that approved the federal constitution.

Alexander Martin became governor in 1781 when Governor

Burke was captured by the Tories, and he was elected for five

terms of two years each; he was a representative from North

Carolina in the federal convention in 1786 that framed the

national constitution; and a United States senator in 1793.
John M. Dick was a superior court judge from 1835 until

his death in 1861.

State Senators from Buffalo congregation were : Alexander

Martin, 1779, and six other terms; William Gowdy, 1786 and

1789; Daniel Gillespie, 1790-1795; Hance McCain, 1797, 1798,

1805 and 1806 ; Hance Hamilton, 1799 and 1800 ; John W. Cald-

well, 1816, 1817, 1818 and 1820; John M. Dick, 1819, 1829, 1830

and 1831.

Members of the House of Commons from Buffalo were : Rob-

ert Lindsay, 1777 and 1778; Daniel Gillespie, 1779 and 1789;

William Gowdy, 1780, 1781, 1782, 1787 and 1788; John Ham-

ilton, 1784, 1785, 1786, 1788 and 1789 ; Hance Hamilton, 1790,

1795, 1796 and 1797 ; Hance McCain, 1795 ; Zaza Brasher, 1802,

1804, 1805 and 1806; Robert Lindsay, 1812; James McNairy,

1814, 1815, 1816 and 1818 ; William Ryan, 1816, 1817 and 1818 ;

Robert Donnell, 1817 and 1819 ; John Rankin, 1820 ; James W.

Doak, 1848 ; William Unthank, 1824 ; Dr. Rufus K. Denny, 1890.
The High Sheriffs from Buffalo were:
James Brown 1777-1778
John Gillespie 1779-1783
Hance Hamilton 1786-1790
James Coots 1793-1794
Zaza D. Brasher 1795-1796
Abner Weatherly 1797-1807

178 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People

Simeon Geren 1813-1814
James W. Doak 1825-1847
James Milton Cunningham 1879-1881
Joseph S. Phipps 1932-
Clerk of Superior Court:
Thomas Caldwell 1807-1847
Clerks of County Courts and Register of Deeds :
Thomas Hamilton 1788-1791
John Hamilton .1791-1815
John Hanner 1816-1832
Alfred E. Hanner 1832-1836
Robert T. Woodburn 1848-1854
Members of the County Court and Commissioners :

William Gowdy, 1783; James Brown, 1783; William Dent,

1780; Alexander Caldwell, 1780; Robert Bell, 1801; Zaza D.
Brasher, 1801 ; David Caldwell, Jr., 1809 ; J. Al. Rankin, 1908-

Thomas Caldwell

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