Bertie County, NCGenWeb Project Page --Churches Last update by Virginia Crilley :Monday, 10-Sep-2018 11:11:32 MDT
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African-American Churches |Baptists |Episcopal | Methodists

Religion in Early Bertie County

Episcopal   (Church of England)
Assembly of God

The first organized religious group in North Carolina before 1700 was Quakerism.
"Tidewater Virginia was a crown colony which held staunchly, by law and regulations, to the Church of England. However, in 17th Century England, civil war had pitted Puritan against Royalist, Parliament against King and Bishop, and had produced many religious ideas contrary to the highly liturgical Anglican Church.

In this aftermath of confusion, George Fox founded the Society of Friends by offering personal standards of honor, truth, equality and religion based on Puritan belief and democratic organization."

The authors continue by describing the persecution of the Quakers in 1660 in Virginia, which resulted in their moving to the Albemarle. Even though when the Colony of Carolina was created, a grant to establish an official church had been made, none was actually built.

These colonists held to the believe of freedom of choice of religious practice, and the Carolina Charters of 1663 and 1665 supported this freedom.

In 1672, George Fox preached in the Chowan region, holding 3 weeks of revival services to both the settlers and the Indians. " By 1677, the Society of Friends had established established regular meeting days at houses of members..."

Exerpts: The Episcopal Church in Bertie County 1701-1990; Henry Cullen Dunstan and Harry Lewis Thompson; (Available through Hope Plantation)
You can see that this book makes fascinating reading.

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AMERICAN QUAKER GENEALOGY VOL I NC - Wm. Wade Hinshaw is an excellent source for Quakers. Contains complete Quaker records on births, deaths, burials, and marriages throughout the entire Quaker territories from PA, NC, IN, OH, VA, MD, NJ, DL, and more. These are still available in hardcopy and on CD's.

North Carolina Genesis: 17th Century Albemarle County Chapter on Religious Life pg 62 -68. Quaker Research Facilities

Episcopal-Church of England

Grace Episcopal-Woodville
Outlaw's Chapel
Holy Innocents Episcopal Chapel
Saint Mark's - Roxobel (1881-1961)
St. Thomas Episcopal-Windsor

In early 1700's the legislature promoted the Church of England (Anglican Church) as the established church of the colony and two parishes had been created by 1715: St. Paul's and Southwest. These served the Chowan Precinct residents. England had also sent missionaries from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG).

Nov 12, 1701, 12 gentlemen were appointed Vestrymen for the Parish of St. Paul's in the Precinct of Chowan. You'll recognize some of these names.

Hon. Henderson Walker, Esqr
Col. Thomas Pollock
William Duckenfield, Esqr
Mr. Nicholas Crisp
Mr. Edward Smithwick
Mr. John Blount
Mr. James Long
Mr. Nathaniel Chevin
Mr. William Banbury
Col William Wilkinson
Capt. Thomas Leuton
Capt. Thomas Blount
When Bertie Precinct was established in 1722, the Southwest parish was designated for it, but the name was changed to Socity Parish in honor of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. William Dukenfield of "Salmon Creek" was one of the early supporters and gave 52 acres for a permanent building in 1721 "lying on the northwest side of Ducking Run".

By 1727, a second parish was needed and was called Northwest Parish, but this became part of Northampton County when that section was taken away from Bertie in 1741.

It was very difficult to find Anglican ministers willing to serve due to the low salaries and early pioneer life style. The Rev. John Boyd, was the first Anglican missionary to come to the Society Parish. Perhaps he came as the result of Gov. Johnston's plea to the bishop of London: "we are a most heathenish part of American and have no sect amongst us but Quakers who daily increase."

Rev. Boyd had a reputation for drunkenness and died by early 1740's when Rev. John Holmes served for a brief time. Following these unsuccessful pastors, Bertie was dependent on neighboring counties for their clergy until 1767 when the Society Parish called Rev. Thomas Floyd, followed in 1770 by Rev. Francis Johnston.

The Revolution ended the Anglican Church as the established church, but the Episcopal Church grew from these roots.


The chapel mentioned above located on Wm Dukenfield's land, [Merry Hill] was nearly a day's journey to Cashy, the location of the new County Courthouse. In 1760, the families who lived there: Lockharts, Outlaws, Hills, Grays, Whitmels and Cliftons wanted a church of their own.

In studying the Court Minutes, Harry Thompson was able to determine that a chapel (first known as simply Cashy Chapel) did exist as it is mentioned in various ways. A deed dated Nov 12, 1777 from Ralph Outlaw and David Outlaw to Alexander How and Humphree Hardee, Church Wardens for Society Parish, an acre of land on the Outlaw plantation is the indication of this Chapel.

The Chapel can also be seen on the Collet and Mouzon maps. The exact location is not known, nor are there any known records from this Chapel. We can assume that it was active while the town of Cashy was thriving (1744-1769). The Revolution brought about a disregard for the Church of England, and no doubt affected this Chapel as well...and it may have been used by Baptists and Methodists. The first record of Episcopal services in Windsor is about 1830, so those years in between are missing in our history.

Resource:Episcopal Church in Bertie Co. (1701-1990) from its Anglican roots to the twentieth Century. Published by St. Thomas' Episcopal Church. (1991) $35 (Available in Hope Plantation Bookstore) 256 pgs. Photos.


Direct quote from The Bertie Ledger-Advance, Windsor, NC, September 28, 1972, Section C-6:
WINDSOR-----The work of the Episcopal Church in Bertie County began in 1722 with the erection of a Church of England Chapel near what is now Merry Hill. The Chapel was situated one mile from Nicholls Cross Roads on the first high land after crossing Chapel Bridge on the left side of the road to Colerain. It lasted until around 1831 when it was destroyed by fire.

Perhaps motivated by the destruction of this building and a growing number of people in Windsor, the Rev. Joseph H. Saunders, residing on Warrenton, began conducting services in Windsor in 1831, as it is recorded at the Diocesan office in Wilmington.

During the years between 1831 and 1840, which were difficult years, a house of worship was being built in Windsor at the corner of Gray and Queen Sts. which is the present location. The Rev. Norwood, the Rev. John M. Robertson and the Rev. Samuel I. Johnson served the people of Windsor.

The Rev. Joseph Blount Cheshire reported in 1839 that there was a church building in Windsor which was partly completed. The Rev. Cheshire preached the first sermon in the present building.

The present building was built on the property of Lorenzo S. Webb. The property was transferred to the church on November 14, 1840 for the sum of $200. On the following day, which was the twenty-second Sunday after Trinity, the church was consecrated and 11 people were confirmed and given communion by Bishop Levi Siliman Ives. The chapel near Merry Hill had been named St. Thomas and it was thought appropriate to call the new church by the same name. The name was proposed by Mrs. L.S. Webb.

The first Vestry of the church in Windsor was composed of Lorenzo S. Webb, Joseph B.G. Rhoulac, along with William Gray, Charles E.Johnson, James S. Bryan, George Gray and David Outlaw.

St. Thomas' Windsor, sent delegates for the first time to the Diocesan Convention in 1843, which was held in St. Paul's, Edenton. They were L.S. Webb, J.C.B. Rhoulac, George Gray and George Holley.

As the communicants have increased from 18 to 178, so has the church grown to its present state of beauty. The original building consisted of only the nave of the present building. The recessed chancel, the narthex, the sacristy and spire have been added. The original windows were oblong and square at the top and made of clear glass.

From the beginning of 1850 the growth and mission of the church has been one of zeal. It is noted by Bishop Ives that the colored people were highly impressed with the ministrations of the church. From 1850 to 1852, during the stay of Rev. Charles Maison, it is noted that there had been services on alternate Sundays in Windsor and Williamston with communion administered once a month and with regular Sunday night services for the colored people. The church had been much improved and a gallery had been built for the colored people but this was later torn down.

In 1851, the vestry room was constructed and described a commodious by the Rev. Charles Maison. A chapel was erected at Woodville during this time and both parishes raised enough money to purchase a rectory. The period of growth ended as the War Between the States started.

In 1905, the Rev. John Gibble became rector and the church showed new life during his rectorship. Again another new rectory was purchased on Taylor St. A church building fund was started for the complete reconditioning and redecorating of the church. In 1910 before the Rev. Gibble's resignation, the beautiful altar which is used today was purchased.

In 1911 the Rev. Walter Raleigh Noe became rector. During his rectorship the church became a reality. In 1913 electric lights were intaslled. Later that year the present stained glass windows were put in and new choir stalls and pews were purchased. During this remodeling services were held in the new public school.

Jonathan Joseph Jacocks is a man who should never be forgotten by the members of St. Thomas' Church for he played a great part in the history of the church. He was so dedicated to and active in the church that it was sometimes called 'Mr. Jacocks' church.'

The period from 1954 to the present has been perhaps the most significant period in St. Thomas' long history. In 1954 the Parish House was built and for the first time the church had adequate social facilities.

In 1958 St. Thomas church became a full parish, which means that it no longer receives financial help from the Diocese. In 1960 the old rectory on Taylor St. was sold and a new one built on Gray St. across from Rosefield.

A new organ and electric lights were installed and in the summer of 1968 the building, which had weathered so many summers, was air conditioned.

Just being completed now is a new building, or rather an addition to the Parish House, which consists of four rooms, rest rooms and a hallway. This building is air conditioned and provides additional space for Sunday School classes."

For a complete history, consult:
Episcopal Church in Bertie Co. (1701-1990) from its Anglican roots to the twentieth Century. Published by St. Thomas' Episcopal Church. (1991) $35 (Available in Hope Plantation Bookstore) 256 pgs. Photos.

The Book on St. Thomas contains the origins of the birth of the Anglican Church in North Carolina, and more detailed - the birth of four churches in modern Bertie. Authors - Henry Cullen Dunstan and Harry L. Thompson, History (Assembled by the St. Thomas Church) St. Thomas at Merry Hill 1722-prior to 1840) Outlaws Chapel 1700's Pugh's Chapel 1700's Included are quotations from the life of the parish in caring for the needy, which provide Genealogical clues. There is a complete list of Baptisms(1840-1990) and church memberships(1840- 1990); burials (1853-1990)


Direct quote from The Bertie Ledger-Advance, Windsor, NC, September 28, 1972, Section B-11
WOODVILLE---In the year 1831 there was no church in Woodville, the nearest being Old Pugh Chapel, about a mile distant at Turners Cross Roads (now Lewiston).

The Chapel was built and first used as an Episcopal Church possibly in Colonial days. As late as 1850 it was still known as Pugh Chapel. There are records in Grace Church Register saying Dr. Charles Smallwood and Miss Harriett Joyner Clark were married on March 20, 1850, by the Rev. Joseph B. Cheshire in Pugh's Chapel. Cheshire was the father of a Bishop of North Carolina of the same name. The old Chapel was later called Jumping Run Church and used by all denominations.

For several years, 1842 to 1854, the Episcopalians went to St. Thomas Church in Windsor for baptisms and confirmation, according to records.

Grace Church Parish was established in 1854. The church building was begun in February, 1854, and was consecrated on October 25, 1855, by the Right Rev. Thomas Atkinson.

The original frame building is still being used today and in good condition. A pipe organ given by Margaret Clark Thompson in 1877 is still being used. She had already given the stained glass East window in memory of her daughter, Martha Clark (Pattie) who died in her eighteenth year, 1857. The window has been described by several prominent people as being one of the most beautiful in this section. Most of the furniture was given as memorials.

On the 10th day of July, 1854, in consideration of $20, Dr. H.F. Williams of Bertie County, gave a deed for one acre of land for the church building and graveyard to surround it to the following Wardens, Vestry and Trustees of Grace Church: Thomas J. Pugh, John Devereux, Stephen A. Norfleet, H.F. Williams and Thomas W. Thompson.

It was largely throught the efforts of the Vestry that the Church came into being. Since the beginning the church has had six Bishops and twenty-four rectors.

The register has been kept up to date. Birth dates recorded from 1810, Baptisms from 1855, Confirmations 1854, Marriages 1860, Burials 1867.

The present membership is approximately thirty-five. While a small congregation, the church has an active Sunday School, every Sunday at 10 a.m. Eleven o'clock services on first and third Sundays except during the month of August. The Rev. Frederick B. Drane is the church's minister in charge.

On May 11, 1866, Thomas J. Pugh gave a deed for one quarter acre of land adjoining the first lot to the following Vestry: Lewis Thompson, Joseph J. Pugh, Stephen A. Norfleet, H.F. Williams and Thomas W. Thompson. Copies of the two deeds are in the church register."

Notation: Most of this church history appears to be the same as originally written by Ms. Stella Phelps, a life-long member of Grace Episcopal Church, and which appeared in the Bertie County Historical Association's publication, The Chronicle, April,1961.


holy innocents Sketch by Laney Layton, Artist
Full size sketches available from Windsor Chamber of Commerce

Direct quote from The Bertie Ledger-Advance, Windsor, NC, September 28, 1972, Section D-3: Courtesy of Jeanette White.

MERRY HILL---On a little country road past Merry Hill and near Scotch Hall stands a small framed chapel with a cemetery on one side and sheltered by trees and hedges. The name of the chapel is Holy Innocents'.

Services have not been held at the chapel since 1964, but the influence of the church is still evident in Bertie County.

Holy Innocents' is a quaint and rustic building. A small vestibule was added several years after the completion of the building. The walls and ceiling are of natural wood which have darkened with age. The pews are square, of natural wood, and would seat approximately 100 people. There is no electricity and the only heat is a wood stove. The chapel still contains a marble baptismal font which was a gift from Dr. W.R. Capehart to his mother, Susan Martin, who presented it to the church.

The lectern is on the opposite side of the chancel. The communion rail divides the chancel and the sanctuary is a plain wooden altar. The altar hangings were made by Miss Margie Green when she was over 80 years old. Over the altar is a stained glass Gothic window. The other windows in the nave of the church are Gothic with plain glass. To the left of the chancel is a small vestryroom.

In 1879 Cadmus Capehart began building a chapel on a plot of land on his plantation, Elmwood, for his family of seven children. The Capeharts attended services at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Windsor and St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Edenton, but the journey was a long one to either place for seven small children.

Thus developed the need for a chapel of their own where they might worship. The chapel was never completed at Elmwood due to the sudden death of Cadmus Capehart and the removal of his family to Scotch Hall.

It was then decided by George Washington Capehart of Scotch Hall to move the foundations of the chapel to its present site where it was completed in the early part of 1880 on an acre of land given by Dr. W.R. Capehart of Avoca.

The chapel was named 'The Church of the Holy Innocents' by Mrs. Cadmus Capehart (Mary Martin Capehart), 'as being the most appropriate name (in her opinion) for a church to rear her little children in' where they might learn the teachings of the church.

Through all the years this tradition of a church for the children remained and much of the history of the parish has been that of a little group of children gathered around a mother, an aunt or a grandmother, learning the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, the Ten Commandments and the Catechism.

The construction of the church cost $500 and when it was completed, the Rev. Edward Wooten, rector of St. Thomas, held services at Holy Innocents' the third Sunday of each month.

On April 12, 1880, the chapel was consecrated by the Right Rev. Theodore Benedict Lyman, the Assistant Bishop of North Carolina. He was assisted in the services by the Rev. Wooten, and the Rev. Robert B. Drane, rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

The certificate of consecration, read by the Bishop, hung in the vestryroom. The Sentence of Consecration was read by the Rev. Wooten and stated:

'We, the Rector and committee, representing the congregation of the Chapel of the Holy Innocents' at Avoca, Bertie County, the state and Diocese of North Carolina, being by the good Providence of Almighty God, in the possession of a house of worship, erected in the county of Bertie:

'Do hereby appropriate and devote the same for the worship and service of Almighty God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, according to the provisions of that branch of the Holy Catholic Church of Christ, known as the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, in its ministry, doctrine, liturgy, rites and usages and by the Congregation in Communion with this church and Diocese.

'And, we do also hereby request the Right Reverend Theodore Benedict Lyman, D.D., Assistant Bishop of the said Diocese and that his successors in office and to consecrate the same by the name of the Chapel of the Holy Innocents'.

'And thereby separate it from all unhallowed worldly and common uses, and solemnly dedicate it to the holy purposes above mentioned.

'And we do solemnly declare that there is no lien charge, responsibility or debt upaid or subsisting, for which the said chapel or building or the congregation owning it or worshipping therein, is or can be either legally or morally responsible.

'And we do, moreover, covenant and agree in behalf of this committee and mission that the said house of worship, being thus at out bequest, duly consecrated, shall be held and used in true conformity with the Office of Consecration, and with the Canons of the General Convention and of the Said Diocese of North Carolina.

'In testimony where of, we the said rector and committee have caused the Instrument of Donation to be prepared and have hereunto subscribed our several names and affixed our Seals the twelfth day of April in the year of our Lord, one thousand and eight hundred and eighty.
Signed) Edward Wooten, Rector and Committee'.

Wooten remained rector of Holy Innocents' until 1884 when he moved to the diocese of Delaware. The Rev. E.P. Green, a retired minister, had charge of Holy Innocents' from 1895 to 1899. The Rev. B.S. Lassiter, rector of Hertford was in charge from 1900 to 1902and again in 1908. He came by boat from Hertford, arriving Saturday and returning home on Monday.

The ministers who held the last services at Holy Innocents' were those from St. Thomas Episcopal Church. The last minister in charge of Holy Innocents' was the Rev. John Prior. Services were held the first and third Sundays of each month.

In 1964 Holy Innocents' was declared diocesan shrine by the Diocese of the Protestant Episcopal Church in East Carolina and regular services were discontinued. Now the church is used for occasional special services."

Notation: Excerpted from The Chronicle, October, 1960. Laney Layton has done a number of sketches of historic sites in Bertie County. They are available framed or in prints from Windsor Chamber of Commerce

St. Mark's Episcopal Church (1881)

Families in the Roxobel area first attended the Grace Church in Woodville, but by 1881, desired a church of their own. Feb 24, 1881, the Masonic Order deeded 1/2 acre of land on Church Street in Roxobel where "the Memorial Church Episcopal is". Two years later, May 5, 1883, the church became part of the Diocese of North Carolina to be known as St. Mark's Mission. Mr. Stephen A. Norfleet was appointed Church Warden; Mr. Richard U. Norfleet, Treauere and Mr. Joseph A. Hardy, Clerk. Just weeks later the Diocese was divided and St. Mark's became a part of the Diocese of East Carolina.

"The church building, with its Gothic windows and doors was originally painted gray...The interior plastered walls were scored with verical and horizontal lines in imitation of rectangular blocks of stone"

"The earliest entry in the Church Register is August 14, 1881. This was the baptism of Miss Leila Moore Powell [later Mrs. Thomas S. Norfleet]"

Resource:Episcopal Church in Bertie Co. (1701-1990) from its Anglican roots to the twentieth Century. Published by St. Thomas' Episcopal Church. (1991) $35 (Available in Hope Plantation Bookstore) Chapter on St. Marks by John E. Tyler. pg 80-84.

St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Roxobel by John E. Tyler (1881-present) Family names of communicants; graves in churchyard Listing of Cemetery for St. Mark's

Microfilm: Church Register and Minutes. Years 1881-1961.

Molly Urquhart transcriptions from St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Roxobel
Confirmations   Early Baptisms   Burials   Marriages   Posted Jan 2010


Archives - Methodist Church

The archives and history of the United Methodist Church has a web page

This page tells what resources are available and about researching your Methodist ancestors. The collection is housed at Drew University in Madison NJ.

Aulander Methodist Church
Ebenezer Methodist Church

Powellsville Methodist Church

Robbins Chapel - Snakebite
White Oak Methodist Church
Windsor Methodist Church
St. Frances Methodist Church

The Reverend Joseph Pilmor, a Methodist itinerant preacher, visited the Carolina Colony in September, 1722, preaching in the Currituck County Courthouse. Francis Asbury, the famous circuit rider, records in his journals of 1783 and 1784 his visits to congregations already established.

Aulander Methodist Church

Membership and History

Ebenezer Methodist Church - 1811

History and pastors


Direct quote from The Bertie Ledger-Advance, Windsor, NC, September 28, 1972, Section D-9: Courtesy of Jeanette White
WINDSOR---Methodism was flourishing in the county as early as 1793. In the conference minutes of that year, Bertie appears listed with 600 members and no pastor assigned.

Undoubtedly Windsor Methodists held meetings long before they began the erection of a church building in 1851. In April of that year George W. McGlauhon wrote to George Gray, 'the church is progressing finely and if you stay away much longer, when you come home, you will find we have quite a neat little church.'

On September 3, 1852, a deed for a lot on which the church stood was conveyed by Augustus Holly to H.H. Hardy, Zebulon L. Simmons, Augustus Holly, George W. McGlauhon, Jehu N. Webb, B.H. Simmons, Samuel B. Spruill and B.B. Rupill, trustees for the Methodist Episcopal Church South.

In an old scrapbook of Bertie Circuit church activities, kept for the year 1912, there is the following item: 'Rhoden Ward, a colored man in his 85th year, an ex-slave whose health has been good and whose memory is clear, says he was the first sexton of the Methodist Church in Windsor and that he rang the bell for the first service and that the first sermon was preached by the Rev. William Grant. This was in the year 1852 and the building was completed that year.'



Official records reveal that Powellsville was incorporated 6 March 1919; however, it is thought that this community (shown as Powell's Cross Roads on the April, 1863 Gilmer Map) was probably established in 1879. This latter date is noteworthy, for on 15 September 1880, Joseph B. Ruffin and his wife, Mary E. Ruffin, and Frank Askew, deeded for ten dollars to Edward P. Simons, W.B. Claiton, W.H. Tayloe, J.J. Perry, Joseph Leary, William Miers (of Bertie County) and D.V. Sessoms, J.L. Jenkins and J.J. Scull (of Hertford County), Trustees In Trust, 1 2/7 acres "for the use and benefit of the Methodist Episcopal Church South".

The deed recorded in Bertie County Deed Book VV, Pages 518-520, further states, "...the said trustees shall erect or cause to be erected on said land" ( "on the publick road from Powellsville to Pitch Landing", now Bethelem Church Road) "a house of Religious worship, in which, at all times, such ministers and preachers as shall from time to time be duly authorized to preach the Gospel and administer the Sacraments of the church, shall have the privalage to officiate, according to the rules and regulations of said Methodist Episcopal Church South as may be adopted or enacted by the General and Annual conferences of such church."

It is thought that the church was built in the 1881-1882 era, making it 117-118 years old. This modest, simple building (constructed of wood) has a shingled steeple and roof, the latter having been covered with a tin roof for preservation purposes. A small room, used for Sunday School purposes was added to the rear of the building a number of years after the original structure was constructed. Oil, then kerosene lamps were used to illuminate the interior. A pot-bellied stove was used to heat the sanctuary in earlier years. A cemetery, no longer in use, is located on the church grounds.

The small, lovely stained glass windows which grace the chancel, were dedicated in memory of William H. Tayloe (died September 14, 1884) and Frances Tayloe (died July 3, 18--8); William B. Cleaton (died July 30, 1896); John W. Britton (born June 24, 1886 - died April 27, 1894) and Lunis Cyrus Britton (born May 24, 1894 - died October 1, 1894).

J.O. Moss was one of the earliest ministers associated with the Powellsville Methodist Episcopal Church South. Charter members were Lucy A. Britton, Bettie Bryan, Sallie Casper, L.E. Cleaton, William B. Cleaton, J.B. Freeman, Lettie S. Gilliam, Sarah H. Myers, Wright Powell, Frances S. Tayloe, Kate Tayloe, William H. Tayloe, Eliza Sessoms, D.V. Sessoms and Martha P. Sessoms.

The earliest Sunday School records that survive are from the 1909-1910 era. Members listed included:

D.C. Miller
A.S. Wynns
John C. Britton (Superintendent)
Hattie Tayloe
Fannie Tayloe (Teacher)
Hattie Brown
W.S. Tayloe
Mary Wynns
James Hill
Lee Price
Thomas Dildy
Bessie Arrington
L.S. Stoke
Sadie L. Britton
Talmadge Wynns
Willie Tayloe
Addie Wynns
Lucie Tayloe
Leon Alston
Rusville Overton
Rue Holloman
Lucie A. Britton
Mary Overton
Nannie Dildy
Fannie Dildy
Joseph Ruffin
Sidney Taylor
Mary Hill
Leslie Casper
Irene Overton
Ella Mary Holly
Paul Tayloe
Braxton Wynns
Winston Ruffin
Elizabeth Ruffin
Rexwill Brown
Joseph Dildy
Rosie Hill
Minnie Hill
L.R. Sessions
Tinie Sessions
Sarah E. Holly
Spurgeon Powell (name marked through)
A. Lee Powell  (name marked through)

The Powellsville Methodist Church continues in operation and is served by a circuit minister. Services are held once monthly.
Prepared by Lynn McCarthy

St. Frances Methodist Church -Woodville

Click for History and picture of St. Frances Methodist Church


The main part of this building had been partially erected about four miles southeast of the present White Oak Methodist Church by the Baptistsof that section. Because of the War Between the States was evident, slavery uncertain and many of their leading citizens were moving away, they had abandoned their plans and sold their undertakings to the Methodists of Windsor, who had the timber brought up the Cashie River on flats.

The completed building was a plain structure with a porch all the way across the front, tall columns, double doors in the center and a gallery across the back for slaves. There was a bell but no steeple until 1871. In 1875 the church acquired its first musical instrument, an organ.

During the pastorate of the Rev. Z.T. Harrison the church was enlarged by enclosing the porch and moving the gallery back. A vestibule was built and a pulpit recess was added.

A few years later the Rev. A. R. Goodchild led a program of church beautification. The floor was carpeted, stained glass windows put in, the chancel made larger, a choir stand built and chandeliers and pulpit lamps added. Another change in the church building was made during the pastorate of the Rev. N.M. Wright when the Sunday school rooms were added.

A final service was held in the old church building on October 1, 1962, and Methodists moved into a completely new building. The old building was later torn down.

Ground-breaking ceremonies were held on Easter Sunday, 1959, for the new educational building. This was completed and put into use a year before the new sanctuary was completed. A service officially opening the new building was held on October 14, 1962, with the late Rev. Holland Hale in charge.

The next building program undertaken was the construction of a new parsonage. This brick home is located across the street from the church.

For many years the Windsor Church was in the Virginia Conference. At the fourth quarterly conference of Bertie Circuit, Murfreesboro District, held November 2, 1889, a resolution introduced by A.W. Snell and A.J. Smithwick was passed asking that the members of the annual conference, at the approaching session, be instructed to ask the general conference to transfer the territory of the Murfreesboro District in the State of North Carolina to the North Carolina Conference.

The action was taken, the petition granted and in 1890 Windsor Church became part of the Warrenton District of the North Carolina Conference. Subsequent reorganizing of districts placed it first in the Weldon District and finally in the Elizabeth City District.

Windsor Church has always been on a circuit of sometimes as many as 10 churches. In 1862 Bertie Circuit was composed of Windsor, White Oak, Cashie, Ebenezer, Lewiston, Aulander, Howard and Mt. Gould. In addition to these churches the pastor preached at Harden's and Pine Forest, two school houses.

Approximately 46 years ago Windsor, White Oak and Cashie became the Windsor Charge. White Oak Church has been closed in recent years and only two churches remain in the charge."
Notation: Originally from The Bertie Ledger-Advance, November 28, 1968.Courtesy of Jeanette White


The Bertie Ledger Advance, Windsor, NC, September 28, 1972, Section D-4: Courtesy of Jeanette White and Harry Thompson

White Oak Methodist Church, which ceased to function a few years ago, was one of the oldest Methodist Churches in North Carolina.

Tradition says that when Bishop Asbury and the Rev. Mr. Pilmore went over this country preaching, there was a Church of England chapel located somewhere near what is known today as Chapel Bridge near Merry Hill.

In a history prepared by Professor W.R. Smithwick, he says, 'Many of the people of this section, after hearing these men and others preach, gave their allegiance to their teaching, accepting the Wesleyan doctrines, organized a society and had a class leader appointed thus beginning to prepare the way for a permanent Methodist Church.

They continued to meet for awhile at the chapel mentioned above but because there were more people nearer Merry Hill, they moved their place of meeting to what was afterwards known as the Merry Hill Campground, which was their meeting place for several years.'

Deed for the land where the church still stands was given on October 8, 1831 on 'that point of and located between the road leading to Colerain and the road leading to Webb's ferry, being two acres.'

The name White Oak was given to it because there was a large white oak standing near the house where the meetings had previously been held.

First church to be erected on this piece of land was built in 1831 by Marmaduke Smith.

In 1785 John Dickens was the preacher but after this there are no records. Beginning with 1811 there is a complete record of preachers in charge with their assistants and, in most cases, the class leaders and stewards. A record of the membership in 1838 indicates there were 48 members in the White Oak Meeting House class book.

There are also records of many quarterly meetings and church conferences prior to and after 1839-40. Without any interruption, services were held in this church until 1876 when it was decided that a new house of worship was needed.

Membership had increased to a point that it seemed the church would go forward. A subscription to build a new church was opened in August, 1876, and the new building was completed and dedicated in August, 1877, by the Rev. W. G. Star. After the sermon a collection was taken and was found sufficient to meet the indebtedness on the church so that it was presented and dedicated debt free.

Without any changes this building was regularly used for religious purposes until September 23, 1899, when the Rev. J.M. Ashby brought up the question of repairing the church. At this time new pews were placed in the church, the aisles carpeted and the building repainted. A fence was put around the church.

The committee collected $485.18 for the repairs and the work cost $483.80 leaving a balance of $1.38 which was turned over to the stewards for the preacher's salary.

During the pastorate of L.D. Hayman in 1914 the church was again repaired and the inside remodeled. In the late 1950's Sunday School rooms were added at the back of the original building and further repairs made.

A decline in population in the area caused the church to close with the few remaining members transferring to Windsor or other churches nearby."

Many members transferred to Methodist Church - Windsor South in 1966. (407 S. Queen Street)
Accounts 1839-1840, Accounts of Charles W. Jacock, steward with the Methodist Episcopal Church, Murfreesboro Circuit. (Southern Historical Collection)

Aulander Methodist Church

By 1910 a number of Methodist families had moved into the predominately Baptist community, and the United Methodist Church was established by the Rev. J.G. Johnson of Windsor. Among the organizers and charter members of this church were Mr. and Mrs. John Knight, Mrs. Knight, something called "The Mother of the Aulander Church," lifted the first spade full of soil from the site where the cornerstone of the church was laid. Until a parsonage was built, "Mother Knight" kept and "Upper Room" in her home for the pastor and visiting ministers. Mr. Knight served in almost every capacity, from Steward, Sunday School Superintendent - even to janitor, when necessary. The original Methodist Church, on the corner of Commerce and West Elm Streets, has been remodeled and a comfortable parsonage erected.
Contributed by: Marianne Nichols Ordway [email protected]. Her grandparents William Mack Nichols & Mary Joe Willoughby were married in Aulander Baptist Church, Pine Drive & East Main Street, Tuesday, July 19, l898 @ 8:30 PM.

Kehukee Baptist Association Churchesfounded in 1765 was the foundation for the early Baptist Churches.


The Kehukee Baptist Association, with only 10 churches when founded in 1765,
grew to a membership of 5000 Baptists and 90 churches by the end of the
eighteenth century. Lemuel Burkitt himself took the lead in setting
standards for membership within the churches that were part of this
important instrument of Baptist growth in the South. This first hand 
account of the rise of this "association," defined in the preface as "a
combination of churches uniting together in one body,"' deals with the
formation and growth of the Kehukee Association, and its relationships with
other associations, as well as histories of the churches involved and how
they joined the association.

LC 79-52591 Philadelphia, 1850 
ISBN: 0405124589 $31.95
Ayer Company Publishers
Phone: (888)-267-7323  FAX: (603)-922-3348
[Copy in the Yale Divinity Library in CT. List of subscribers with some Biographies.]

[Joseph Biggs II  supposedly wrote a history of the Kehukee Association in 1834.  There is some information
that Joseph Biggs I -- may have been a Quaker who later was an early
baptist. ]


The Archives of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, 
201 Saint Alban's Drive, 
PO Box 17025, 
Raleigh 27619. 
 Michelle A. Francis, Archivist. 
 Tele: (919) 787-6313. 


Freewill Baptist Historical Collection
Mt Olive College
Mt Olive NC 28365

Southern Baptist Historical Collection,
Reynolds Library, Wake Forest University,
Winston Salem, NC. - Mr. Woodard in charge.

They have almost all of the old Baptist records that exist.

Wake Forest
Z. Smith Reynolds Library N.C. Baptist Historical Collection University Archive , then click on NC Baptist Historical Collection Old Chowan Baptist Association with the origins of the old Kehewkee Association which was the first Assoc. of Baptists in NC has also been published.


The Kehukee Baptist Association, with only 10 churches when founded in 1765,
grew to a membership of 5000 Baptists and 90 churches by the end of the
eighteenth century. Lemuel Burkitt himself took the lead in setting
standards for membership within the churches that were part of this
important instrument of Baptist growth in the South. This first hand 
account of the rise of this "association," defined in the preface as "a
combination of churches uniting together in one body,"' deals with the
formation and growth of the Kehukee Association, and its relationships with
other associations, as well as histories of the churches involved and how
they joined the association.

LC 79-52591 Philadelphia, 1850 
ISBN: 0405124589 $31.95
Ayer Company Publishers
Phone: (888)-267-7323  FAX: (603)-922-3348

Chowan Association organized 1806 at Salem M.H. on Newbiggin creek,
Pasquotank county, May 16, 17, & 18.[All churches East of the Roanoke River were 
dismissed from the Kehukee Association to form this new division]

18 Churches NAME COUNTY CONSTITUTED Ahoskie ........ . . . Hertford..........1804 Ballard's Bridge........Chowan...........1781 Bertie (now Sandy Run)..Bertie...........1750 (1773) Bethel..................Perquimans.......1806 Bethlehem...............Pasquotank.......1806 Camden..................Camden...........1757 Cashie..................Bertie...........1778 (1771) Cowenjock...............Currituck........1780 Knob's Crook............Pasquotank.......1786 Meherrin................Hertford.........1773 (1774) Middle Swamp............Gates............1806 Outlaw's Chapel.........Bertie Powell's Point..........Currituck........1801 Ross' M. H. ............Bertie...........1804 Salem...................Pasquotank.......1790 Sawyer's Creek..........Camden...........1790 Wiccacon (Coleraine)....Bertie...........1789 Yeopim.(orig. Yawpim)...Chowan...........1775 Two of these Churches Camden and Sandy Run (Bertie) were constituent members of Kehukee Association in 1765. from James A Delke "History of the North Carolina Chowan Baptist Association" pub. 1882.

METHODIST Methodist Site

North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church 
1307 Glenwood Avenue
(mailing address is P.O. Box 10955
Raleigh, NC 27605.  Phone numbers are 800-849-4433 and (919) 832- 9560

Duke and NC UMC Conference Archives

Special Collections:
Search the Catalogs:
Found a lot of hits when I searched, but none relevant to my search (so

Locating Your Methodist Minister Ancestor

Here's a step-by-step
instruction on ways to research Methodist ancestors. 
Rev. Dr. LEWIS is used as an example.

These steps can be found on the web page for this list at:
[Need NEW URL for this page]

Please bookmark this page, as everything here is detailed there.

Although we don't have his date of birth or death, we do have the very
important piece of locations.  Given locations, the first place to stop
is the ANNUAL CONFERENCE ARCHIVES for the location where your ancestor
lived or preached.  Don't know what an ANNUAL CONFERENCE is?  The page
above has a link explaining the structure of the United Methodist
church.  Here is the link:

For now, just know that for each state there is one or more conferences
covering a particular geographical area.  In our example, we know that
Rev. Dr. LEWIS was in Blount County, Alabama.  On the list web site are
two links to archives, one using a table at this page:

and one giving the full list of all the archives at this page:

The latter page has also archives for JURISDICTIONS which are something
like "regions", or a group of conferences.

Using the table link above, click on ALABAMA.  You find that there are
two conferences, and that the first page has a rough pictorial map of
the conference lines.  Determine where Blount County is, and click on
the applicable conference.  In my own case, my gggrandfather and his
children eventually lived in several counties, and because both county
lines and conference lines changed over the years, I contacted both
archives.  You might wish to do the same.  By clicking on the link for
Alabama-West Florida, you are brought to a page where, wonderfully,
archivist Mary Ann Pickard's e-mail address is highlighted.  Click on
her address, and instantly you can write to her with your query.  If
your Alabama ancestor's conference was in North Alabama, clicking on
that link will bring you to the email address for archivist Guy Hubbs.

Now hopefully Mary Ann won't mind if I now use her as an example.  Many
archivists are volunteers, or part-timers working at low pay.  Often,
they are librarians for whatever college the archives are housed in. 
Their first duty is usually to the conference, and the conference work
usually does not entail genealogy.  So genealogical requests are often
filled through the kindness and generosity of the particular archivist.

In my case, like Rev. Dr. LEWIS, my ancestor had another profession in
addition to the ministry and he remained in one place.  Archivists might
well respond to you that your ancestor was a "local preacher" or not a
minister and immediately tell you that they are unlikely to have records
on him/her.  Kindly and gently ask the archivist to check whatever
sources they might have.  Offer to hire a college student or send a
donation to cover the cost of the person's time.  Luckily for me, Mary
Ann was able to locate a file folder that had been mis-filed and
apparently should have been sent to the other archives in Birmingham. 
Info in that folder led to the discovery of notes that indicated that
there were more materials in the vault.  In the vault were, lo and
behold, a copy of a scrapbook of my gggrandfather's writings on the
history of Methodism in Alabama, and a lot of biographical info,
including genealogical charts prepared by a former archivist.  This, my
friends, demonstrates the power of looking further and behind the

Go to the archives if you can, and gently ask, beg, plead, or volunteer
for extra tasks in exchange for looking for your ancestor.  Upon further
inquiry, I found many of my family members' obits, marriage
announcements, and advertisements for businesses contained in the
Alabama Christian Advocate.  Some of these articles were referenced in
an index; many were not.  There are Christian Advocates for most
locations, and most have been microfilmed by the LDS.  LOOK AT THEM. 
The Methodist Genealogical Society is currently transcribing indexes and
records for the Alabama Christian Advocate for online research, and we
will eventually be covering all states.

The conference archivist is truly your best friend.  And only a rare one
is being paid to fill genealogical requests.  This is not their fault. 
For Methodists, knowledge of ancestors is not a crucial tenet of their
spiritual journey, and Methodist archives do not exist for the purpose
of genealogy.  We hope in the future, though, that volunteers and
funding will exist to provide better access to records.  This is one of
the reasons for this very list.

Let's say you strike out at the conference level.  Don't forget to check
surrounding conferences.  In Rev. Dr. Lewis' case, there is another
state and other locations to repeat the above steps for.  And consider
going on up to the jurisdictional level.

Normally, and ironically, the LAST resort for researching most Methodist
ancestors is on the national level.  This is why we don't recommend
starting with the archives referred to on the GCAH page.  You will find
much more details on your ancestor on the local level, and the national
archives normally would not have any info other than on fully ordained
ministers assigned to a conference, and their info will generally be
that which the conference sent them in the first place.  Plus, unless
their policy has changed, you will be charged a fee for them to even

But, I DO strongly recommend the GCAH website for a sense of the history
of the church, and for information that is national in scope.

Several links are mentioned on this list's home page mentioned above,
along with several other suggestions.

Please, if anyone has additional information or suggestions, or has had
a different experience with researching at the various places mentioned,
please let us know.  The info above is based upon my own personal
experience which of course is different from everyone else's.

Don't forget to check the archives of the conference where the church
is/was located when looking for old church records.

Hints on how to do this are not only on the GCAH site, but also on this
list's web page at:

Elizabeth DuBois Russo  [email protected]


Quaker Collection
Hege Library
Guilford College
5700 W. Friendly Ave.
Greensboro, NC 27410

336-316-2450 (Call first as hours vary)
The Friends Historical Collections has a large number of compiled histories from many sources, many manuscripts. Microfilm of the NC records used by Hinshaw for Volume I, and perhaps some of the other state's MM minutes. (All the extant Quaker church records, even some back to 1666.) There are archives there that contain some of the original documents. The library staff and volunteers will do research, for a small donation to the collection.

When you look at the original documents, you will realize how wonderful the Hinshaw abstracts are. To find a particular item in the MM minutes, you need all of the location information provided in Hinshaw, then you can search sequentially (either by page number or by date) through the microfilm to find the original entry. There are some original manuscripts of Hinshaw's abstracts from the Quaker records, bound by monthly meeting. These are the original typed copies and usually use words instead of so many abbreviations.
Contributed by: Robert Hill

Manuscript Library at Duke University in Durham or the Divinity School Library. Also, the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church at 1307 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, NC Their mailing address is PO Box 10955, Raleigh, NC 27605. Phone numbers are 1-800-849-4433 and (919) 832-9560.

Assembly of God Church Askewville

Askewville Assembly of God Church. Not sure when it was taken - I would guess late 50's or early 60's based on the car in the photo but don't know. From what I can see on the left side of the photo it appears that the old (original) parsonage was probably still standing when this was taken.

Elaine J. Craig [email protected]

Bertie County Page last updated by Virginia Crilley: Monday, 10-Sep-2018 11:11:32 MDT
© Copyright Virginia Crilley 2001

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