Sandy Creek, (Separate), so-called from a creek running into Deep River, a branch of the Cape Fear, in the county of Guilford, 250 miles N. W. from New Berne, and - miles from Philadelphia. The house of worship 30x26 feet, built in 1762, on the land of Seamore York, The laying on of hands and ruling elders admitted. The pastor receives no salary except what is contributed in labor and presents, amounting to about L20 during the year, About forty families are represented in the church, whereof fifteen persons are baptized and in communion, which is administered every other Sunday, occasionally wine could not be had and the ordinance was therefore passed over. No ordained ministers officiated at this church, but exhorters filled the appointments regularly. Met brethren Tiden Lane and James Billingsley at this church. In the fall after (November 22d, 1755,) Braddock's defeat the following persons came from Oquekon, in Virginia, and settled in the neighborhood of Sandy Creek, viz: Rev. Shubal Stearns and wife, Daniel Marshall and wife, Joseph Breed and wife, Shubal Stearns, Sr., and wife, Ebenezer Stearns and wife, Enis Stimson and wife, Jonathan Polk and wife; the same year they built a little meeting house near the present building, where the Lord's Supper was regularly administered. Soon after the building was completed the neighbohood was greatly alarmed, and the Spirit of God listed to blow as a mighty rushing wind, insomuch that in three years' time this small congregation had increased to three churches, with upward of nine hundred communicants, viz: Sandy Creek, Abbott's Creek, and Deep River.
One of the most remarkable events in the history of this church is that it is a mother, nay a grandmother, and a great-grandmother. All the Separate Baptists in this State sprang from the church; not only eastward towards the sea, but westward to the great river Mississippi, northward to Virginia and southward to south Carolina and Georgia. The word went forth from this Zion, and great was the company of them who published it, insomuch that the converts were as the drops of morning dew. The first church that sprang hence was Abbott's Creek, then Deep River, Little River, New River (Ezekiel Hunter,*) Southwest, (Charles Marklin,) Trent, (James McDaniel,) Fall Creek, Virginia, (Samuel Harris,) Dan River, Virginia, (Dutton Lane,) Grassy Creek, (James Reed,) John Waller's in Virginia, Amelia, Virginia, (Philip Mulkey,) Congaree, South Carolina, (Joseph Rees,) Stephen's Creek, South Carolina, (Daniel Marshall,) Shallow Fords, North Carolina, (Joseph Morphy.)
Although the mother church had been greatly blessed by the Lord, and had grown rapidly in numbers, it was only a few years after we find that its strength had been reduced to almost its original number by detachments to form other churches, departure of families to other provinces, oppressions by the Regulators, etc. The battle of Alamance was fought within twenty miles northeast of the church.
The first pastor was Shubal Stearns, who had as his assistants Revs. Joseph Breed and Daniel Marshall. Mr. Stearns was born in Boston, January 28th, 1706, was raised a Presbyterian, but embraced the principles of the Baptists in the year 1751 at Tolland, in Connecticut, and was baptized by the Rev. Wait Palmer and Joshua Moss, elders of Stonington and New London. Soon after his baptism Mr. Stearns emigrated to Virginia, and settled near Oquekon; from thence he came to Sandy Creek early in November, 1755. He married Sarah Johnstone, but left no children. He died on November 20th 1771, he was buried at Sandy Creek.
J. C. B.
* NOTE. - The names in parenthesis are supposed to have been the pastors in charge of these church on the occasion of Mr. Morgan Edward's visit.
[From the Biblical Recorder, October 9, 1889, p. 1. On-line edition. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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