The Steele Creek Historical and Genealogical Society
Of the Old Steele Creek Township
Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
Blackstock/Steel Creek ARP/Central Steele Creek Presbyterian Church
ASSOCIATE REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
1793 - 1911
Picture of Church Building constructed about 1883
STEELE CREEK PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
1911 - Present
Current Picture, Central Steele Creek Presbyterian Church
Steele Creek Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church was form in 1793 and located near the North Carolina/South Carolina state line. Today the site of the old church is within sight of I-77 as it crossed from Mecklenburg Co., NC into York Co., S.C. Five elders formed the church. They were: William Ferguson, Jimmy Grier, James Harris, James Knox and Alexander Scott. Because there wasn’t an ARP church in the area, the five elders had attended old Steele Creek Presbyterian Church prior to forming the Associate Reformed Presbyterian church.
The Reformed Presbyterian and the Associate Presbyterian had been formed in Scotland. The first organization of the Associate Presbyterians had been formed in Pennsylvania in 1753. In 1774, the Reformed Presbyterian church was formed in Harrisburg, PA. After the Revolutionary War, these two Presbyteries, the Associate and the Reformed, formed a union on Nov. 1, 1782. It is probably that missionaries of that Presbytery had come into the Carolinas to start new churches and by the 1790s, several were underway in Mecklenburg County, NC, York Co., SC and throughout the Carolinas and Georgia.
One year after Steel Creek Associate Reformed Presbyterian was formed, the Rev. William Blackstock left Ireland on the ship, "Irish Volunteer" and after spending a year in the Charleston, SC area, was called to Steel Creek. Soon, there was dissension between the two groups and in 1803, the churches split once again into the Associate and the Associate Reformed. William Ferguson and Jimmy Grier left the Steel Creek ARP chruch and formed a new church called "Little Steel Creek Associate Presbyterian". The new church was built near today’s Sandy Porter Road and Shopton Rd intersection.
Because of the confusion of old Steel Creek Presbyterian, Steel Creek Associate Reformed Presbyterian and Little Steel Creek Associate Presbyterian, the ARP church became known as the "Blackstock’s Church" after their first minister.
Records have not been found for either Blackstock ARP or Little Steel Creek AP so it is unknown how many members there were in either church.
In 1840, the Synod of the Associate Presbyterian Church in PA, passed their "Act on Slavery" and the Associate Presbytery of the Carolinas was suspended until such time they acknowledged their sin and released their slaves. Refusing to do so, many members began to drift back to the Associate Reformed Synod of the South of which Steele Creek ARP (Blackstock) was associated with. With this move, Little Steele Creek AP, within a few years, decided to rejoin with the Steele Creek ARP and once again the church was unified.
After merging their elders and deacons, the two church still remained in separate houses with sharing the same minister who traveled between the two churches. Even though they were in separate houses, they kept their membership roll together. It is from the Pledge records of the Treasurer’s book that we have a first record of the "paying" members of the combined churches. That book is today in Montreat, but it gives us clues to all in the area that attended both churches. The first page of the book states the following:
"This is the treasurer’s book bought by Alex Grier for the purpose of Steel Creek congregation commencing with the year 1845 and to be continued by who ever may be my sucessor.(sic) Alex Grier"
2nd Page: (amount of pledges omitted. Only the name and amount was give) Top of page states the "year 1845".
"Hugh Harris William M. Grier
William Boyce James Bigham
John M. Harris William M. Bigham
Zenas A. Grier & Mother Thos P. Grier Senior
Thos P. Grier, Jr. Thos H. Grier
John H. Grier H. Clark Harris
Mrs. Jackson Jane Grier
Jas H. Grier Samuel W. Grier
Samuel Cox Samuel W. Rodue (?)
Matilda McRum William P. McRum
William Wilson Robert Knox
John Knox William Knox
Richard Peoples Hugh Kirkpatrick
Marget(sic) A. Harris James H. Harris
Robert A. Roff (Ross) Jas B. Bigham
John M. Strong John Tevepaugh
Ezekiel Elms Jas Elms
Joseph S. McRum Robert Porter
John M. Porter William Coffee
William H. Rea
Alexander Grier is excused by collecting the full
amount. Paid over to Rev. J. B. Watt $225.00
(Total collected $234.50) "
The two church remained in separate places until 1882, when they sold the Blackstock church to a black congregation and that church was put on rolling logs pulled by a team of oxen and moved about 1 mile down old Hwy 21 (or the Fort Mill Road) in York Co., SC.
Little Steel Creek church was sold as a residence. The money from the sale of the two churches allowed the congregation to find a place "centrally" located between the two original sites and they built a new church and called it, "Central Steele Creek Associate Reformed Presbyterian".
By 1911, many people had left the farming community of Steele Creek and moved into Charlotte where manufacturing jobs were available and new ARP churches had been formed. Central Steele Creek ARP was left with only 39 members and on May 18, 1911, the two remaining elders, W. A. Grier and W. S. McClelland, attended the First Presbytery of ARP meeting at Kings Mountain and ask to be removed from that Presbytery. On 15 June, 1911, the congregation met and agreed to transfer to the Presbyterian Church. They also voted to transfer the church property to the Trustees of the Congregation as constituted under Mecklenburg Presbytery.
Today, Central Steele Creek Presbyterian Church, is a thriving congregation.
When the old Blackstock church was sold in 1882, the cemetery there remained and a cemetery association was formed to care for the one and one half acres of the church property. By 1928, most of the association members were buried in the old cemetery and it fell into ruin. In the 1960s, Central Steele Creek Presby church was asked to care for the cemetery. It was cleaned and opened up. In 1975, again the cemetery was cleaned and the road into the cemetery was opened. The open road to the cemetery off of Hwy 21, gave access to vandals and much damage was done to the stones. When the hurricane "Hugo" came through in 1989, several of the huge trees next to the cemetery wall were blown down into the cemetery and further destroyed more of the stones and the rock wall. Today, once again, people are trying to clean and repair the old cemetery and markers.
A record of this old cemetery can be found on the Mecklenburg Co. GenWEb page.
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