Sandy Creek Association. - This is the oldest ssociation in the State, and is said to be the fourth one organized in the United States. It was organized on the second Monday in June, 1758. The Baptists had increased rapidly In this State, several churches had been constituted, and stations had been planted where it was expected that new churches would soon be started. Rev. Shubal Stearns conceived the idea of holding annual meetings for the purpose of an interchange of ideas and the promulgation of Baptist doctrines. Accordingly he visited the churches and induced them to send delegates to the old Sandy Creek church where the meeting was to be held, when the Association selected Sandy Creek as its name. When the day for the meeting arrived, it was found that the following churches and delegates were present:
Sandy Creek, Randolph - Shubal Stearns.
New River, Onslow - Ezekiel Hunter.
Southwest, - Charles Markland.
Haw Biver, Chatham - Elnathan Davis.
Little River, Montgomery - John Bollin.
Grassy Creek, Granviile - James Reed.
Shallow Fords, Wilkes - Joseph Morphy and Daniel Marshall.
Lockwood's Folly, Brunswick - Mr. Guess
Trent, Jones - James McDonald.
These churches were scattered over a vast territory and the delegates were compelled to travel two or three days to attend. At these annual gatherings the principal business was preaching, exhortations, singing, and the interchange of thoughts best calculated to promote and extend the Master's work in the colony, the result of which was to so inflame the hearts of the delegates present that they would return to their homes with a zeal and courage that no obstacles could hinder them in their efforts to carry the glad tidings to those who were still wandering in darkness. It was several years after its organization before the Association would consent to select a Moderator to preside over its deliberations, and the churches persistently refused to send any statistical table showing their strength, holding that the Lord had refused to let David number the children of Israel, and they considered that command as holding good in their case. We believe the Yadkin Association was the first to lay aside its prejudices, through a visit of Rev. John Gano in 1793, who prevailed on the Association to elect a Moderator, adopt rules of order, etc.
Gov. Tryon is said to have represented the Regulators as composed of Quakers and Baptists, but Morgan Edwards says that there were only seven Baptists among the Regulators, and they were promptly expelled from their church upon the recommendation of the Sandy Creek Association. At the session of the Association held on the second Saturday in October, 1769, the following resolution was adopted, which tends to show the allegiance of the Baptists to civil authority:"Resolved, That if any (member in the jurisdiction of the Association) took up arms against the civil authorities he should be excommunicated."Notwithstanding the Baptists condemned the Regulators, they were badly persecuted, and that to such an extent that the old Sandy Creek church, which in about 1771 numbered something over six hundred members, was in a short while reduced to scarcely a dozen. The people seeing no hope of having their wrongs righted, moved into East Tennessee, a majority of whom were Baptists. Very soon after reaching Tennessee, five or six Baptist churches were constituted and joined the Sandy Creek Association; but at the organization of the Holstein Association, these churches withdrew from the Sandy Creek and joined the Holstein.
Rev. James Boetick was the first Moderator, and Bryant Boroughs, Clerk, which occurred in 1805 at the session held at Chambers church, Montgomery county. At this session sixteen churches were represented by thirty delegates with only five churches reporting the number of members. It was not until 1816 that the churches made any statistical report to the Association as to the number of baptisms and number of members, which shows only thirty baptisms and total number of members to be 704.
J. C. B.
[From Biblical Recorder, November 13, 1889, p. 1, On-line edition. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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