The Associate Reformed Presbyterian church is a blending of two groups that began in Scotland in the early 1700s. The Associate Presbyterians and the Reformed Presbyterians migrated to America as a result of religious and political upheaval in Britain. The two churches merged in 1782 to form what is now known as the ARP church.
After the Civil war, Associate Reformed Presbyterians from Amity (now New Amity), New Perth and New Sterling Churches moved to Statesville. On August 7, 1869, a meeting was held in Stockton hall to organize the First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church of Statesville. About 15 people were present at this first meeting, and Reverend W. B. Pressly was chosen as pastor as well as Elders R.R. White, A.M. Walker, George White and John Patterson.
After meeting in the Iredell County Courthouse for a short period, the early church shared the Presbyterian sanctuary for about six years. In 1875, Colonel S.A. Sharpe and other interested friends donated labor and materials to build the first church.
Reverend W. B. Pressly served as pastor until his death November 25, 1883. After several ministers had supplied the pulpit for brief periods, Reverend D. G. Caldwell served as pastor from 1885 to 1891. In 1892, Reverend J. H. Pressly, then a student at Erskine Seminary, accepted the call to this pastorate and served this church for 54 years.
During the pastorate of Dr. Pressly, First ARP Church made several significant steps. The church built a manse in 1897. In 1900, a new sanctuary was built, replacing the first structure and in 1902 the session approved the establishment of a second church in south Statesville. Out of this decision came the organization and building of Pressly Memorial Church in 1907. — Excerpt from http://firstarpchurch.us/about-us/
Lon W. Colvert and Carrie McNeely were married in 1906 at A.R. Presbyterian Church. Rev. J.H. Pressly officiated, and he and his wife signed the marriage license as witnesses. My grandmother said that Carrie’s father Henry McNeely was a “big” Presbyterian — it was the denomination of his Scotch-Irish forebears — though Carrie joined the Episcopal church. I’ve contacted First ARP for information about their early membership rolls and will post the results.