Baptist History Homepage

Early History of the Baptists in North Carolina - No. 3
Biblical Recorder, 1889
      Shallow Fords, (Separate), was situated near the fords of the Atkin (Yadkin) river, in the county of Surry, and was 300 miles northwest from New Berne, and - miles from Philadelphia. This church had sent out two branches; one quite near, at the Mulberry Fields, and the other in the forks of the Yadkin, near the Moravian settlement. This church began with a few menbers who withdrew from Little River, and the remains of the Jersey settlement church. The first minister was Joseph Morphy, who came to this section In 1768.

      Haw River, (Separate), was situated in Chatham county, twenty miles above the forks, on the north branch of the Cape Fear, near which the principal meeting-house stands, 190 miles west from New Berne, and - miles S. S. W. from Philadelphia. This church consists of six branches: one near Haw River, where they have a house of worship 32x24, built in l769, on vacant land; another at Collin's Mount, on the north side of the river; then Deep River, Rocky River, Tick Creek, and Carraway Creek, in Guilford county. At each place there is a good house of worship. The minister is Rev. Elnathan Davis, who has to his assistance Nathanial Powell at Deep River, Drury Sims and George Williams at Rocky River, Thomas Brown at Collin's Mount, John Robbins at Carraway Creek, and James Stewart at Haw River. The families in the neighborhood numbered about 310, whereof 198 were baptized and in communion, which is here administered the last Sunday in January, April, June and October. The pastor has no stipulated salary, but from gifts help, etc,, receives about L20 per year. Ruling elders, imposition of hands, anointing the sick, washing of feet, etc, are admitted.

      Haw River church had Its beginning in the following manner: When Mulkey's church, located at Deep River, emigrated, these remained, Nathaniel Powell, Conrad Dowde and wife, Isaac Brooks and wife, George Williams, William Barber, Nehemiah Howard and wife, William Smith and wife, Mary Brooks, Sharper and Cato (negroes), Mr. Hodges, James Steward, Simon Poe, Robert Calleh, Samuel Marsh. On the last Saturday in October, 1764, they were constituted into a regular Baptist church, and united with the Sandy Creek Association October, 1765.

      The most remarkable thing in the history of this church was the passage of the following resolution:

"Resolved, That any member of this church who shall fail or refuse to join the Regulators shall be excommunicated.

"Robert Marsh was sentenced to receive thirty lashes every month until he should consent to join the Regulaters."

      The first pastor to minister unto these people was Rev. Elnathan Davis, who was born in Baltimore county, Maryland, on the 9th day of November, 1735. He was raised on James River, Virginia, and bred a Seven Day Baptist, but came to this section in 1757. Having embraced the faith of the Separate Baptists he was baptized by Rev. Shubal Stearns in May, 1764, and was called to the care of Haw River the same year. On the 13th of November, 1770, he was ordained to the full work of the ministry by Rev. Samuel Harris and Elder Jas. Steward. His conversion was remarkable and and Mr. Edwards says:
"Mr. Davis baving heard that John Steward was to be baptized he went to witness the ceremony, and to hear Bro. Shubal Stearns preach. Arriving on the ground, be stood around awhile and saw the people crying and trembling. He then went off to a crowd of persons a short distance from the main crowd. They asked him 'what do you think of those cursed people?' Making no reply to the question, he returned and laid his hands on some of them who were trembling and found that their condition was real. He prayed that if it were of God he might have the same feeling, if not of God he might stand unattacked. The trembling seized him, and he was sorely troubled. After reading Romans 8:1 he felt his own condemnation, and on the Sunday following felt his deliverance from the bondage of sin, and resolved to 'walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.'"
      Mr. Davis married Miss Mary Collins, by whom he had five children.
J. C. B.

[From Biblical Recorder, October 16, 1889, p. 1. On-line edition. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

North Carolina Histories
Baptist History Homepage