Meadow Creek Primitive Baptist Church History

Meadow Creek Primitive Baptist Church, Locust, NC

·         Historical Progression of Meadow Creek Primitive Baptist Church

o    Elder Valentine Wightman’s father brought the church and faith of the Primitive Baptists from England.  His grandfather, Elder Edward Wightman, was burned at the stake at Lichfield England in 1612 for preaching that sinners were saved by the sovereign grace of God.  He was the last martyr to be burned at the stake on English soil.[1]  Elder Valentine Wightman baptized Elder Wait Palmer who later baptized Elder Shubal Stearns in 1751 at Tolland, Connecticut.  Elder Stearns migrated to North Carolina in November of 1755 with 15 other church members and were organized into a church at Sandy Creek in Randloph County North Carolina [2] Between November 1755 and 1758, over 900 people had been baptized with several branches established.   

o    In 1758, the church at Sandy Creek extended an arm to Little River Church in Montgomery County.  Little River grew from 8 members to 500 members in three years.  In 1760, Little River Church extended an arm to Meadow Creek. Baptist historian, Morgan Edwards, records that "John Lee and wife" were two of the charter members of Little River Church[3].  John and Elizabeth Lee are two of the earliest members recorded in Meadow Creek's minute book.  John Lee died in 1778[4]

o    Meadow Creek Church organized into an official church and congregation in 1765 and would become the mother church in Stanly County and the surrounding area. 

·         In Elder Mike Ivey’s book, “A Welch Secession of Primitive Baptist Faith and Practice” Elder Ivey wrote, On November 20, 1771 Elder Shubal Stearns died at the age of sixty-five. During his sixteen year ministry in North Carolina and there about, he ordained one hundred twenty-five Elders and helped constitute forty-two churches, plus many branches. Using this able servant, and the small group of Baptists he gathered at Sandy Creek, the Lord effected the most dramatic revival and ingathering ever experienced on American soil. 

·         By the time of his death in 1771, the membership of Sandy Creek and Little River Churches “was reduced low by removal of families to other parts, chiefly occasioned by oppressions [by the local British Colonial Government] which seemed to them remediless”.[3] 

o    It is believed that Elder Joseph Breed preached for the arm at Meadow Creek in 1760. [5]  

Other ministers have included:

§  Elder John Culpepper (The Church’s first official Pastor) It is believed that Elder Culpepper served in the American Revolutionary War.  He later served six terms in the United States House of Representatives.  [Biography] [from Wikipedia]

§  Elder George Whitley, II (1808? - 1816?)  [Information about Elder Whitley's family, and his brother, William "Uncle Billy" Whitley, who was a member of Meadow Creek Church.] [It is unclear from the minutes if Elder Whitley actually served as pastor of Meadow Creek, but he did represent the church at the association in 1808 and the "new" association in 1816.  Elder Culpepper may have continued to serve as pastor during this time.]

§  Elder Jacob Helems (1814 - 1825)

§  Elder James Jones (1825)

§  Elder George Little (1826 – 1866)  Pastor

§  Elder John Lambert (1842 - 1843)

§  Elder Calvin Helms (1862)

§  Elder Philip Snider (1856, 1880)

§  Elder Wooten (1867 – 1879)  Pastor

§  Elder Singleton (S.C.) Little (1880 – 1881)  Pastor

§  Elder G. L. Chaney (1882 – 1885) Pastor

§  Elder Jesse Brown (1885 – 1886) Pastor

§  Elder N.M. Clark (1886 – 1899) Pastor

§  Elder A.J. Morton (1899 – 1900) Pastor

§  Elder J.E. Williams (1900 – 1917) Pastor

§  Elder T.M. Stanley (1917 – 1927) Pastor

§  Elder P.J. Washburn

§  Elder O.C. Mullis (1929 – 1945) Pastor

§  Elder C.M. Mills (1945 – 1979) Pastor [Biography,  Autograph Book, Letter Collection]

§  Elder Charles Smith (1969 – 1985) Co-Pastor & Later Pastor

§  Elder Newell Helms (1969 – 2007) Filled monthly appointment & Later Pastor

§  Elder Paul Stroupe (1982 - 1999) Pastor

§  Elder Roy Spier (2000 – 2001) Pastor

§  Elder Gene Hogan (2001 – 2002)  Asst. Pastor

§  Elder Jared Smith (2004 – 2006) Pastor

§  Elder Eddie Fowler (2007 – Current) Pastor


Meeting Houses

·         The first building was a small log structure.  This site may have been chosen because of the supply of good, clean water available from the spring that is located across the road from the current meeting house.  The spring has flowed continuously, even in times of severe drought.

·         The second building, built in 1828, was also a log structure which measured somewhat larger than the first building at 25 feet by 27 feet and was used until 1893.

·         The third building was a wooden framed structure built in 1893 and was used until 1939 when it was destroyed in a fire.  It measured 30 feet by 40 feet.

·         The fourth building was a wooden framed structure built in 1939 and was used until 1958.  It was moved to a location just south of Highway 24-27 in Locust, was brick veneered, and is used by the Locust United Methodist Church until this day.

·         The fifth and current building was built in 1958 and is a brick structure.

o    1493 Meadow Creek Church Road, Locust, NC  28097


Associations

Meadow Creek Church records show that there were "particular contributions made up for our new association in 1816 at the July conference."  The Sandy Creek Association divided into the Sandy Creek and the Pee Dee Association in 1816 to make it more convenient for churches west of the Yadkin and Pee Dee rivers to meet.  This is most likely the "new association" mentioned in the minutes.  A total of $4.00 was made up.  According to Elder Culpepper's History of The Pee Dee Association, Bear Creek Church hosted the session in 1825 but no minutes were available.  Meadow Creek and Bear Creek were probably members of the Sandy Creek Association before 1816.

Meadow Creek Primitive Baptist Church is a charter member of the Original Bear Creek Association of Churches.  Five churches met at Bear Creek Church in November of 1832 and established the Bear Creek Association.  They were:  Bear Creek, Cold Water, Freedom, Meadow Creek, and Piney Woods.  

Click here to view the original, hand-written minutes of the Association.


Property

  •  On September 21, 1812, Silas G. Shinn deeded the church four acres of land that the meeting house was located on.  Click here to see the original deed.  It was not common for churches in North Carolina to own property before this time.  Sandy Creek Baptist received a deed for her property in 1822.  Randall United Methodist in Norwood, NC received a deed in 1813.
  • Meadow Creek Church was deeded four more acres of land in March of 1908 by William and Mary Barbee and Israel and Sallie Barbee.  Israel and Sallie Barbee also deeded the church a right of way (40 poles long) to the spring. 
  • In December of 1923, the church purchased a small wedge (2.46/100 of an acre) of land between her property and the road. 
  • In March of 1950, Ralph and Elsie Hathcock deeded Meadow Creek Church a 4/10 acre plot. 
  • In June of 1957, Ralph and Elsie Hathcock deeded Meadow Creek the ½ acre plot that the current building is located on. 
  • In 1973, the church purchased 1.39 acres of land behind the cemetery from Floyd and Jeanette Hartsell. 
  • In 1978, Meadow Creek purchased 10.1 acres of land beside and behind the building.


Absoluter Split

·         In the early 1920s, some of our churches adopted the "Absoluter" doctrine and split off from the Association.  The Absoluters believed that God predestined all things whatsoever comes to pass, both good and evil.  The majority at Meadow Creek did not believe this doctrine.  They believed that God predestinated individuals to be his elect, but that he did not predestinate the evil acts of men.  They did not believe that God was the author of sin. [click here for more on Biblical Predestination] 

This trouble began at the Danville Church in Danville, VA.  Elder J. R. Wilson was a member of the Danville Church, but he served as pastor of Lawyers Spring Primitive Baptist Church which was a member of our Association.  He traveled by train once a month to preach for them.  He stood against this new Absoluter doctrine, which resulted in his exclusion from the Danville Church.  Click here for more information on this subject compiled by Elder R. H. Pittman in 1926.  Elder Wilson was a member of the presbytery that ordained Elder C. M. Mills to the ministry.

o    Several churches also divided their congregations into those who held fast to the original Primitive Baptist doctrines and those who subscribed to the Absoluter Doctrine.  The congregations which divided included Crooked Creek, Lawyer Springs, Liberty Hill, Meadow Creek and Mountain Creek.

The Meadow Creek Absoluter group built another meeting house across the street from the original church and met there until 1973 when a car ran off the road and went completely through the building, destroying it.  Click here to see photos.  The Absoluter group did not rebuild their building and discontinued meeting at this site. 

Communion and Feet Washing

Meadow Creek Church holds her annual communion and feet washing service the first Sunday in June of each year. Unleavened bread and wine are the elements used in this service, as taught in the scriptures, as emblems to remember the broken body and shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.  

Feet washing has been practiced, as taught by our Savior in the 13th chapter of the Gospel according to John, since the founding of Meadow Creek Church.  It was instituted by Christ when he washed the apostles feet at the last supper, and it was practiced by Elders Shubal Stearns and Daniel Marshall.  Elder Daniel Marshall was the brother-in-law of Elder Shubal Stearns and was one of the original 16 members of Sandy Creek Church.  After organizing and serving as pastor of Abbott's Creek Church, he moved to Georgia in the early 1770's.  In the book, "The First Great Awakening" John Howard Smith writes that "John Zubly, a moderate Presbyterian living in Savannah, met Daniel Marshall and observed one of his services near Augusta, Georgia, in 1772, and reported despairingly that Marshall "insisted on washing of feet & the holy kiss as necessary Practices".  Meadow Creek Church still practices the "right hand of fellowship" at the end of each meeting, during which members greet one another with a hand shake and often embrace one another in brotherly love.  

These practices, as taught in the scriptures, and handed down from our forefathers, are still observed today at Meadow Creek Church.  The Lord said, "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them". John 13:17

Conclusion

 

The Lord has truly been good to Meadow Creek Church down through the years, and has blessed us so abundantly. The greatest blessing that he has given us is his dear Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ; the fellowship of the Holy Spirit; the love that we have for one another; and the revelation of the truth found in his word. We cannot adequately express our gratitude for these wonderful blessings and for His loving mercy.



[2] Identity of the True Baptist Church Volume I; Doctrine, Precept & Practice, 1701 - 1971 by Elder Willey W. Sammons, page 162
[5] Identity of the True Baptist Church Volume I; Doctrine, Precept & Practice, 1701 - 1971 by Elder Willey W. Sammons, page 162

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