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ily altars in this community before there was a church. Their

libraries consisted of a Bible, the Confession of Faith, Matthew

Henry's Commentary, Baxter's Works, Bunyan's Pilgrim's

Progress and Buck's Theological Dictionary. There may have

been a few other books in some homes, but they were all of a

religious or historical nature.


The first preaching service in this community, of which we

have any record, was by Rev. Hugh McAden, a missionary sent

out from Pennsylvania, and it was on August 31, 1755, at the

home of Adam Mitchell, near where the church now stands.

This was two years after the colony had settled here. There

may have been other missionaries who visited here both before

and after Mr, McAden, but he is the only one who kept a record.

On the previous Sabbath he had preached at Hawfields in what

is now Alamance County. We quote from his diary: "Wed-

nesday came to Buffalo settlement, about thirty-five miles ;

lodged at William Mebane's till Sabbath day; then rode to

Adam Mitchell's where I preached. The people seemed solemn

and very attentive, but no appearance of the life of religion.

Returned in the evening, about a mile to Robert Rankin 's, where

I was kindly received and well entertained till Tuesday; then

returned to the former place and preached; no stir appeared,

but some tears."

There was a bitter division in the Presbyterian Church in

1741, largely on the subject of revivals. The people of Buffalo

belonged to the Old Side, the conservatives, and Mr. McAden

belonged to the New Side. That may have been the reason why

he did not have a more emotional response to his preaching.

The people heard him gladly, but it was contrary to their reli-

gious principles to show any emotion.
We have no record of the exact date of the organization of

the church. Rev. J. C. Alexander, who was pastor from 1861 to

1886, and had the opportunity of consulting the old people,

wrote a sketch of the church and states that it was organized in

1756. Rev. D. I. Craig, D. D., who made a thorough study of

the Presbyterian history of North Carolina and especially of

Orange Presbytery, states in his book that Buffalo was organized

in 1756 and that it was supplied by missionaries until Dr. Cald-

well came. We know that Dr. Caldwell was here during the

latter half of 1764, and that he had definitely made up his mind


20 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People

to locate here. This is proven by the fact that the deed to his

farm where he lived is dated January 2, 1765.

Protestant dissenters, which included all denominations

except the Established Church of England, were not permitted

to organize churches except by permission of the courts. In the

Colonial Records, Volume 8, page 507, we find on record a

petition from the members of the Buffalo congregation. In this

record the petition is not dated and the names of the signers

are not given. The original paper has not been found, and may

not be in existence.

"To the Worshipful Court of Rowan:

The Petition of your petitioners showeth,

That we the inhabitants of a congregation known by the

name of North Buffalow and living on the waters of Reedy

Fork, of North and South Buffalow, do certify to the Wor-

shipful Court that we intend to make use of a house on a piece

of land purchased from Adam Mitchell, Senior, as a place of

public worship according to the practice of Protestant dissenters

of the Presbyterian denomination, and desire it may be entered

in the records of the Court, according to the Act of Parliament

in that behalf made, and your petitioners as in duty bound shall

ever pray.

Signed by a number of persons.
"The above petition was read in open court, and ordered to

be recorded, which petition was granted."


The bounds of the congregation extended from six to fifteen

miles from the church. It was more than twenty-five miles from

one extreme corner to the other. Practically everybody living

in the central part of Guilford before 1800 were of the Presby-

terian faith. Buffalo and Alamance Churches were bounded on

the east by the German settlement and on the west by the

Quakers. There was a Quaker settlement, old Center Church,

far to the south of Alamance Church.
The bounds of the Buffalo congregation extended west to

the Quaker settlement ; northwest to and beyond Summerfield ;

north beyond Reedy Fork, and some of the families living on

the Haw River came to Buffalo ; northeast to and beyond Monti-

cello ; east nearly to the junction of Buffalo and Reedy Fork

Creeks; southeast in the direction of McLeansville, beyond

South Buffalo Creek ; south to the bounds of the Alamance con-

gregation, which was along South Buffalo Creek ; southwest

beyond some of the branches that form the headwaters of South

Buffalo Creek. The people living within these bounds belonged

to the Scotch-Irish race and were all originally Presbyterians.

So far as we can find there was no other church in these bounds

until about the year 1800. For a congregation that covered

such a wide territory we can well understand why Dr. Caldwell

had erected a house of worship that would seat a thousand

What marvellous changes! Within the territory originally

covered by the congregation of Buffalo there are now (1934),

counting those in Greensboro, over one hundred organized




We have no roll of the charter members, nor of those who

were actually members of the church for many years after the

organization. If a roll was made it has long been lost and no

one now living knows anything about it. It would be intensely

interesting and of great assistance in preparing this history, if

we did have the roll of the early members. The earliest roll

we have was prepared in 1838, seventy-seven years after the

organization. By a close and tedious examination of all the old

records in Rowan, Anson, Guilford and Orange Counties we

have been able to collect the names of most of the Scotch-Irish

people who lived within the bounds of Buffalo. Some of these

were members of the church and all were members of the con-


So far as we have been able to collect their names the follow-

ing appear to have been members of the Nottingham Colony :

James Barr, Thomas Beals, George Black, John Blair, John

Cummings, John Cunningham, Robert Donnell, Thomas Don-

nell, Hugh Foster, John McClintock, James McQuiston, Robert

McQuiston, Thomas McQuiston, Adam Mitchell, Robert Mitchell,

John Nicks, Robert Rankin, Samuel Scott and Andrew Wilson.

Most of these took one section of 640 acres, but some of them

took title to two or three sections. Their grants were signed

by the agents of Lord John Carteret, Earl of Granville, and are

dated December, 1753. We take these up in alphabetical order.
James Barr located on the Reedy Fork near the mouth of

Horsepen Creek. His wife was Agnes, and their children were

John, Robert, James, David, Jean and others. David became a

Presbyterian minister; Robert (1754-1838) located near Speed-

well Church in Rockingham County; James moved to Georgia;

Jean married first Mr. Walker, and after his death she married

Adam Scott, and was the mother of Thomas Barr Scott; John

Barr moved to Alabama.

Thomas Beals secured his section of land on Horsepen Creek.

So far as the records show he left but one son, John. John was


Members of the Congregation 23

a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and died in 1778, perhaps

from exposure at Valley Forge, Pa. He left a widow, Sarah,

and several children. Thomas B'eals must have died before the

George Black secured his section on the Reedy Fork. He

appears to have been a young man when he came. He left at

least two children, Thomas and Jean. Thomas married Rebecca,

daughter of William Denny and granddaughter of James, Sr.,

and located on North Buffalo; Jean married William Gorrell,

son of Ralph, Sr., in 1791.
John Blair secured his section on the headwaters of North

Buffalo. On January 2, 1765, he sold this to Dr. Caldwell, and

located on the Reedy Fork. His wife was Jean, and their chil-

dren were Thomas, John, Andrew, Jonathan, Jean and Martha.

All this family moved away. John Blair, Sr., died in 1778.
John Cummings secured his grant on Reedy Fork. He had

at least two sons, George and John. George married Mary,

daughter of Moses McQuiston, and located near the Rockingham

County line, and his descendants are in that county ; John

located several miles west of the church, and his descendants

are now living in the county.

John Cunningham secured his section of 640 acres on the

Reedy Fork, near what is now the Hardie Mill. His wife was

Mary, and their children were Jean, James, Joseph, Jeremiah,

William, Hugh, John, Jr., Mary, and perhaps others. Jean

married William Wilson in 1774; James appears to have moved

to Tennessee after the War ; we have no record of Joseph ; Jere-

miah married Hannah, daughter of John Coots in 1779 ; William

married Martha, daughter of John Blair, in 1771 ; we have no

record of Hugh after the War; Mary married William Smith,

son of Robert, Sr. ; John, Jr., married first Margaret, daughter

of James Donnell, Sr., in 1786 ; second, Mrs. Mary Mitchell

McMurray, in 1798, widow of John MciMurray, Jr., and daugh-

ter of Adam Mitchell, Jr., and third, Polly, daughter of James

Finley, in 1818. The children of John, Jr., by the first mar-

riage were James (1787-1821), Isabella and John (1795-1817) ;

and by his second marriage, Mitchell (1799-1842), Hannah

(1801-1844), Joseph, Polly (1805-1877), William, Andrew, Eliz-

abeth and Nancy (1817-1828). Of the children of John, Jr.,

24 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People

James married Mary B., daughter of James Patrick, of Rock-

ingham County ; Isabella married Mr. Sims ; Hannah married

Ervin Donnell, son of Daniel, in 1818 ; Joseph married Abigail

Peoples in 1833 and located two miles south of Doggett 's Mill ;

Polly married William Pritchett in 1823 ; William died unmar-

ried; Andrew married Elizabeth, daughter of Col. Nehemiah

Whittington, in 1849, and lived in Greensboro ; Elizabeth mar-

ried Christopher Brown in 1835 ; Nancy died unmarried. We

have no record of the marriage of Mitchell.
Robert Donnell, Sr., the brother of Thomas, secured two sec-

tions, one on North Buffalo and one on Reedy Fork. He first

located on North Buffalo and later moved to Reedy Fork. In

1786 he bought one thousand acres on Big Troublesome Creek

in Rockingham County. His wife was Mary, and their children

were Robert, John, Thomas, Mary, Margaret and William. Rob-

ert married Catherine McCalib in 1776 ; John married Sarah,

daughter of Robert Donnell, the 2nd, in 1779 ; Thomas became

a Presbyterian minister ; ]Mary married first James Denny, son

of William, Sr., and second, John McAdoo in 1782 ; William

married Martha, daughter of AVilliam Denny, Jr., and located on

Big Troublesome Creek, Rockingham County.

Thomas Donnell (1712-1795) was born in Ireland, came to

Pennsylvania about 1737, and there he married Jane Latham in

1743. He came to North Carolina with the Nottingham Colony

and secured grants to three sections of land. He located on

North Buffalo, four miles east of the church. His children were

James (1744-1811), Hannah (1746- ), John (1748-1822), Wil-

liam (1749-1822), Robert (1752-1816), Thomas (1754- ), An-

drew (1757-1835), George (1759- ), Jane, Latham ( -1828) and

Alexander, who died young. James married Agnes, daughter

of William Denny, Sr., and lived just north of the John Rjankin

farm. In 1799 he moved to Tennessee. Hannah married first

Alexander IMcKnight and second George Denny, son of James,

Sr.. in 1775 ; Major John married first Hannah Meek in 1771,

and second Elizabeth, daughter of James Denny, Sr., in 1781 ;

William married Nancy, daughter of James Denny, Sr. ; Robert

married Elizabeth, daugliter of Robert Donnell, the 2nd, in 1775 ;

Thomas became a physician and located in Mecklenburg County ;

Andrew married first Agnes, daughter of John Brawley, in

Members of the Congregation 25

1779, and second Mary Creswell in 1819 ; George married Isa-

bella, daughter of David Kerr, in 1784, and lived near Alamance

Church, in which he was a ruling elder. In 1804 he moved to

Wilson County, Tennessee, and his son George became a re-

nowned Cumberland Presbyterian minister ; Latham married

Mrs. Charlotte Ervin, widow of Robert and daughter of Adam

Hugh Foster secured a grant for 640 acres on Horsepen

Creek. He was a justice of the peace in Rowan County before

Guilford was formed. His wife was Martha, and their children

were John, William, Samuel, James, and perhaps others. John

married Grace, daughter of Nathan Dicks, and located on North

Buffalo in 1771, and their children were Abigail, Nathan,

Elmira, and Joshua.
John McClintock secured his section of land near Martins-

ville. His wife was Isabella, and their children were John, Wil-

liam, Samuel, Robert, Isabella (1768-1818), Nancy, Margaret,

and another daughter who became the second wife of James

Coots. John married Isabella, daughter of John Starrett ; Wil-

liam married Sarah, daughter of Edward Weatherly ; Samuel

married Anne, daughter of James Stafford ; Robert married and

located on the Reedy Fork ; Isabella married James Dick, son

of William, and was the mother of Judge John McClintock

Dick and six other children ; Nancy married John Ballinger ;

Margaret married Samuel Thompson. John McClintock, Sr.,

died in 1807.

There were three McQuiston brothers who were members of

the Nottingham Colony.

James McQuiston located on Richland Creek of Reedy Fork.

His wife was Janett, and their children were Jane, Sarah,

Lavinia, Mary, Dorcas, Gustavius, Thomas and James. Jane

married Thomas Flack ; Lavinia married John Nelson in 1764 ;

Dorcas married John McQuiston, son of Thomas, in 1768 ;

Gustavius moved to Tennessee ; James, Jr., was tried before

the session for fighting and withdrew from the church, and

deeded to the McQuiston family a plot on his farm for a grave-

yard. James, Sr., died in 1766.
Robert McQuiston located near his brother at the mouth of

Horsepen Creek. His wife was Anne, and their children were

26 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People

Moses, Walter, James, Robert, Jean, Margery, Sarah and Mary.

Moses married Elizabeth, perhaps a daughter of Alexander

Nelson ; Jean married James Finley, son of George ; Margery

married John Trindell ; Sarah married Robert Cherry in 1769 ;

Mary married John Coots in 1769, and she was his second wife.

Robert McQuiston, Sr., died in 1766.

Thomas McQiiiston, Sr., the other brother, located on the

headwaters of North Buffalo, and was a neighbor of Dr. Cald-

well. His children were James, Thomas, John and others.
Adam Mitchell secured his grant on the North Buffalo. The

church is located on a part of his grant. His wife was Mary,

and their children, so far as their names appear on any record,

were John, Adam, Jr., and Jennet. John's name does not

appear on any record after the War ; Jennet married her first

cousin, Adam Mitchell, son of Robert ; Adam, Jr., married

Agnes, and their children were Samuel (1771-1851), John (1773-

1841), Adam (1776-1841), Mary and Charlotte. Of the chil-

dren of Adam Mitchell, Jr., Samuel married Margaret, daughter

of John McMurray, Sr., in 1795 ; Adam married first Isabella

Gwyn, and second Elizabeth Allen ; Mary married first John

McMurray, Jr., and second John Cunningham, Jr. ; Charlotte

married first Robert Ervin and second Latham Donnell ; John

never married.

Robert Mitchell, a brother of Adam, secured his grant near

the Guilford Battle Ground. His wife was Margaret, and their

children were Adam, Mary, Rebecca, Jean and Henry. All this

family moved to Tennessee after the War.

John Nicks secured grants for two sections just east of the

church. His wife was Margaret, and their children were Sarah,

George (1756-1838), John, Elizabeth, Nancy, Quinton, and two

other daughters, one of whom married Bazell Brasher, and the

other married Isaac Brasher, sons of Robert, and both moved

to Tennessee after the War ; Sarah married William Spruce and

lived on the south side of North Buffalo ; John moved to Tenn-

essee after the War; Elizabeth married George Purcell of Rock-

ingham County ; Nancy married Zacheriah Roberts and moved

to Tennessee after the War ; Quinton died unmarried ; George

married Elizabeth, and their children were John, Sarah, Mar-

garet, George, Elizabeth, Yarburough and Anne. George, Sr.,

lived at the J. Al Rankin place. John Nicks, Sr., died in 1781.

Mejnhers of the Congregation 27

Robert Rankin secured his section on the waters of Reedy

Fork, where the Carlson peach orchard is. He entertained Rev.

Hugh McAden, the missionary, in 1755. He later sold this

section to William Denny and secured another section about

one mile west of the church. His wife was Rebecca, and their

children were George, Robert, Rebecca, John and others. George

died in 1761, leaving a widow, Lydia, and two children, Robert

and John; Robert lived at the home of his father, and his chil-

dren were Robert, William, John and others; John located on

Reedy Fork and had one son, John, and perhaps others. All

the male members of this Rankin family moved west, most of

them to Tennessee.

Samuel Scott secured two sections of 640 acres each on the

waters of the Reedy Fork, in what is now known as the Moore

community. He had at least two sons, Samuel, Jr., and William.

Samuel, Sr., returned to Pennsylvania, carrying all his family

with him except Samuel, Jr., who had married and located here.

Samuel, Jr., died shortly thereafter, leaving four children:

Samuel, Jr. Jr., Jane, Mary and Anne, who married William

Gowdy, Jr. ; Jane married John Bell, son of Samuel, in 1778 ;

Mary married Robert McMurray, son of John, Sr., in 1791;

Samuel, Jr. Jr., married Jane, daughter of James McAdoo, Sr.,

in 1788, and their children were John, David, Samuel, Joseph

L. and Mary. Samuel, Jr. Jr., died in 1797, and his widow

married Col. William Ryan in 1799.
Andrew Wilson appears to have been a member of the Not-

tingham Colony, and located some three miles north of the

church. Andrew Wilson married Margaret Robinson in 1774,

and this must have been his second wife. He died shortly after

1774. A deed of Andrew Wilson, Jr., calls for the boundary

line of the widow Wilson's land. When there is no will these

early records are hard to find. The following appear as the

children of Andrew Wilson, Sr., by his first wife : James,

Andrew, Jr. (1752-1834), William, David, John, George, Mary

and Margaret. James located just north of the church; Wil-

liam located on Reedy Fork, David moved to Tennessee after

the War ; have no record of John and George ; Mary married

Robert Russell in 1762 ; Margaret married William Jackson,

and they named one of their sons Andrew. This Andrew Jack-

28 History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People

son is sometimes confused with General Andrew Jackson, as

both were here at the same time. Andrew Wilson, Jr. (1752-

1834), located on South Buffalo, and built the first grist mill

there, now known as the John C. Dick Mill. He married first

Agnes, daughter of John Chambers, and their children were

Daniel, Robert^, and James; his second wife was Mary, daughter

of Robert Rankin, and their children were William R. (1787-

1855), Andrew and Maxwell; his third wife was Elizabeth,

daughter of John McKnight, Sr., and their children were John

and David (1798-1856).

This accounts for nineteen families of the Nottingham Col-

ony, but it does not claim to be a complete list. Others, perhaps,

secured grants and did not have their deeds recorded ; perhaps

others came and looked the situation over and did not locate

here ; perhaps others belonged to the company, but were not

prepared to come when the main body of the colony came in

1753, but came a little later and took up their grants ; the names

of a few other men appear on the records in 1753, but do not

appear again ; perhaps other deeds are on record and have not

been found. It has been a difficult task to find some of these.

All of these and their families were members of the Buffalo

congregation, and the descendants of some of them are now

(1934) members of the church.
The names of all the children in many of the families can

not be given, as no will was made by some of the parents. We

cannot give all the marriages, as some of the marriage bonds

are lost. Many names disappear from all court house records

during and just after the Revolutionary War. Some of these

were killed in the War and others moved away.

Other families were constantly moving into the bounds of

the church. For twenty-five years the country was rapidly

being settled. So far as possible we are giving a chronological

list of these as they located in the bounds of the church. The

reader should keep in mind that the bounds of the congregation

from the time of the organization of the church to 1800 covered

a territory about eighteen miles square. It is impossible to give

a complete list of these, as some did not tarry long, and others

Members of the Congregation 29

have left no living descendants to consult, and no records of the

children in the family. It would be interesting to trace the

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