DNA, North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Religion

Ain’t you glad?

My great-great-great-grandfather Lewis Henderson has no known patrilineal descendants, but his brothers James Henry and John do. About a year ago, I reached out to my cousin C., who is in the James Henry line, to ask if he would test with 23andme. After some hesitation, he agreed.

C.’s results returned in a few weeks, and I called him to share the details. “So, am I a Henderson?,” he blurted. I laughed: “Of course you are, crazy!” C. is the spitting image of his father, but — his parents had not married. Hearing that Hendersons (including my father and K.H.) were among his top matches and that he shared the same haplogroup as other patrilineal Hendersons had vanquished lingering uncertainties that I had not even known C. harbored.

The core of the Henderson family is deeply religious, and our reunions feature a farewell prayer breakfast at the host hotel. C., who is an ordained Baptist minister, rose to deliver a mini-sermon to those gathered. “Blood done sign my name,” he said. “Blood … done sign my name.” You may know this traditional gospel song, whose lyrics speak to the belief in the redemption of sinners through the blood that Jesus Christ shed on Calvary. C. preached on salvation Sunday morning, but he also invoked this metaphor in a different way. With a simple DNA test, C. was free from doubt and able confidently to claim his place among the Hendersons. Blood had signed his name on the roll books of our family.

Births Deaths Marriages, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin, Religion

Memorial page.

In 1915, forty-five years after her husband Lewis Henderson helped found Dudley’s Congregational Church, Margaret Balkcum Henderson was buried in its graveyard. She was the last member of my direct Henderson line on the church rolls. To this day, however, my kin can be found in Congregational on Sunday mornings, worshipping, singing, ushering, fellowshipping.

In 1970, the church published a photo-filled anniversary booklet commemorating its centennial. A Memorial Page lists more than 150 members who had gone on to their reward before the church marked its hundredth birthday. At least a third of those memorialized are my direct or collateral kin.

Memorial Page

  1. The Aldridges were my grandmother’s father James Thomas Aldridge‘s family. Frances Aldridge [Newsome] (1883-1961) was Tom’s elder sister. John J. Aldridge (1885-1964) and Ora Bell Mozingo Aldridge were his brother and sister-in-law, and Fitzgerald Aldridge (1917-1962) was their son. John W. Aldridge (1853-1910) and Louvicey Artis Aldridge (1865-1927) were Tom’s parents (and my great-great-grandparents), and Lula Aldridge (1882-1917) another sister.
  2. Joshua Brewington married John W. Aldridge’s sister Amelia Aldridge Brewington (1855-1895).
  3. Richard Boseman married Lillie Aldridge (1871-1944), daughter of William Aldridge and Cornelia Simmons. William’s father was John Matthew Aldridge (ca. 1810-ca. 1868), brother of my great-great-great-grandfather Robert Aldridge (1819-1899.) Estelle and James were Richard and Lillie’s children. Arlander Boseman, their cousin, married Flora E. Manuel, daughter of Shafter and Mamie Cobb Manuel, below.
  4. I’ve written of the Carters here. Marshall Carter married Frances Jacobs, sister of “Papa” Jesse A. Jacobs Jr. Ammie, Willoughby, Freddie, Granger, Johnnie, and Littman Carter were Marshall and Frances’ sons. Hersey Carter was a grandson. And Florence Carter Camp was their only daughter. Florence’s son William Homer Camp married Onra Henderson, daughter of Henry L. Henderson and Nora Aldridge Henderson. Ammie Carter is listed as Nora Aldridge Henderson’s cousin on her delated birth certificate. Johnnie Carter was my great-great-great-uncle James Lucian Henderson‘s caretaker and sole heir. And their brother Milford E. Carter married my great-grandfather Tom’s sister, Beulah M. Aldridge (1893-1986).
  5. Mack D. Coley, grandson of Winnie Coley, married Hattie Wynn (1873-??), daughter of Charles Wynn and Frances Aldridge Wynn (1853-??). Frances was a daughter of J. Matthew Aldridge and Catherine Boseman Aldridge. Roosevelt Coley (1905-1977) was Mack and Hattie’s youngest child.
  6. Mittie Boseman Flanagan (1896-??) was another daughter of Richard and Lillie Aldridge Boseman.
  7. Archie Barfield Grantham’s father, also named Archie Barfield Grantham, married Carrie Henderson Boseman, sister of my great-great-grandmother Loudie Henderson (1874-1893), in 1899. Carrie died within the next five years.
  8. John H. Henderson (1861-1924) was half-brother of my great-great-great-grandfather Lewis Henderson (1836-1912), father of Carrie and Loudie and others. John married Sarah Simmons. Their son Henry L. Henderson (1901-1942) married Nora Aldridge (1902-1961), another daughter of John and Vicey Aldridge. Aaron “Jabbo” Henderson (1922-1944) was John and Vicey’s son, and Katie Lee Henderson, wife of Horace B. Henderson, was their daughter-in-law. (My Henderson line: Lewis and Mag Henderson’s daughters Ann Elizabeth, Carrie, Loudie, Mary Susan and Sarah Henderson were members of Congregational Church.  And probably sons Lucian and Caswell, too, in their youth. Ann Elizabeth and Loudie’s children were baptized in the church in the 1890s. By 1910, however, only, Lewis and Mag remained. He died in 1912, and she, in 1915.)
  9. Elizabeth Syrona Simmons Hill (1925-1965) was the daughter of George Gideon Simmons and Luella Solice. George G. Simmons (1895-1962) was the son of Samuel M. Simmons and Elizabeth Wynn Simmons (1876-1930), whose parents were Edward J. and Susan Henderson Wynn. Susan (1854-1907) was the sister of John and Lewis Henderson.
  10. Solomon Jacobs was the brother of “Papa” Jesse A. Jacobs Jr.
  11. William Shafter Manuel (1898-1966) was the son of Alonzo Manuel and Sallie Wynn Manuel (1877-1967). His mother’s parents were Edward and Susan Henderson Wynn.
  12. Blonnie Coley Flowers Matthews (1898-1948) was the daughter of Mack and Hattie Wynn Coley.
  13. Yancy Musgrave (1892-1961), son of Alfred and Polly Ann King Musgrave, married Annie C. “Dolly” Simmons (1898-1934), daughter of Hillary B. Simmons and Ann Elizabeth Henderson Simmons (1862-1900). Ann Elizabeth was the sister of my great-great-grandmother Loudie Henderson.
  14. Amanda Aldridge Newsome (1892-1919) was a daughter of John and Vicey Artis Aldridge.
  15. Hillary B. Simmons (1855-1941), son of George W. and Axie Jane Manuel Simmons, married Ann E. Henderson in 1879.
  16. Frances Aldridge Speight was possibly the daughter of William and Cornelia Simmons Aldridge.
  17. Charles Sykes (1920-2004) was the son of William O. and Gertrude Wynn Sykes (1885-1954). Gertrude’s parents were Charles and Frances Aldridge Wynn. [Why was Charles included in a memorial in 1970? Was there another Charles Sykes?]
  18. Blanche Coley Williams (1900-??) was another daughter of Mack and Hattie Wynn Coley.
  19. Charles Wynn married Frances Aldridge, daughter of Matthew and Catherine Boseman Aldridge.
  20. Eddie Wynn (1886-1965), son of Edward J. and Susan Henderson Wynn, married Fronnie Greenfield.
  21. Israel H. Wynn (1892-1967) was the son of W. Frank and Hepsey Henderson Wynn (1856-circa 1894) (who were the brother and sister, respectively of Edward and Susan Henderson Wynn). Israel married his first cousin Frances “Frankie” Henderson (1891-1985), daughter of John and Sarah S. Henderson.
  22. Levi Wynn … well, there were lots of Levi Wynns in Dudley. (Levi was one of the “five Wynn brothers” who headed a large and prosperous free family of color in southern Wayne County and northern Duplin County in the antebellum era. I use quotation marks because (1) there were more than five male Wynn heads of household in the period; (2) there is evidence that, though surely very closely related, they were not all brothers; (3) there were women who appear to have been Wynn sisters heading families.) This may have been the Levi Wynn (1883-??) who was a son of Charles and Frances Aldridge Wynn.
Births Deaths Marriages, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin, Religion

Reverend Silver’s circle.


  • This is the license for my great-great-great-uncle Joseph Aldridge‘s second marriage. I’ve written about Martha Carrie Hawkins Henderson Aldridge Silver here. What startled me was to see who performed the ceremony — Reverend Joseph Silver, whom Martha would marry almost 20 years later!
  • I still don’t know why the wedding was in Wilson, unless that’s where Martha lived. Reverend Silver lived near Enfield, so he was pretty far off his beaten path.
  • And how did Columbus “C.E.” Artis, brother of my great-great-grandmother Louvicey Artis Aldridge, get involved? Joseph was Vicey’s brother-in-law, but that hardly seems a reason for C.E. to apply for his and Martha’s license.


  • Reverend Joseph Silver, Sarah Henderson Jacobs‘ second husband, was prominent in North Carolina’s Holiness Church movement. Until recently, I’d been unable to find their marriage license, though I knew when and where they were married. When I tracked it down I realized that its illegibility probably has resulted in its being misindexed.
  • That’s Joseph Sliver at the top.
  • Barely legible, Sarah Jacobs and her parents Louis [sic] Henderson and Margaret Henderson.
  • I haven’t been able to find anything about Reverend J.H. Scott. I assume he was head of a Holiness congregation in Wilson. Sarah herself was very active in the domination as an evangelist.
  • I knew they’d married on Elba Street. My grandmother told me this: “When Mama got married there on Elba Street, there at the house.  Yeah.  He come up there …”  It’s so funny to imagine my four and not-quite seven year-old uncles with my grandmother, squeezed in a corner of that tiny front room, fidgeting as Mama Sarah took her vows.


  • Five years after Mama Sarah died, Reverend Silver married Martha Aldridge. Astonishingly, he lived almost a decade and a half longer.
  • A Justice of the Peace performed the ceremony? That’s odd for such a prominent Holiness preacher.
Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Other Documents, Religion

Roadtrip chronicles, no. 7: Iredell County Public Library.

Iredell County Public Library has a nice local history and genealogy room, and during my sojourn I spent a nice hour or two there, disturbed only by the raucous banter of three students prepping for a nursing assistant exam. Anyway.

A back wall of cabinets contains files from the Homer Keever collection, and I found several of interest. Under “Black Churches,” I found a four-page handwritten document, apparently compiled by Alice Murphy Ramseur in 1973, entitled “Historial [sic] Data of Holy Cross Episcopal Church.” Holy Cross, of course, was the church my grandmother grew up in in Statesville. Its earliest services were held in 1887 in “the old brick storehouse on depot hill” and with success moved to the Good Samaritan Hall at 118 Garfield Street. This was all very interesting, and then: “May 24, 1899 the Bishop conmfirmed twelve Members they was William Pearson, Mrs Laura S. Pearson, Mrs. Lucy Chambers, Henry McKneely, Mrs Marther McKneely, Mr John Reeves, Mr. Will McCulland, Mrs Rebecca S. Allison, Mrs Clara S. Seaborn, Miss Carrie Bidding, Mr Mik Stevenson.”

Henry McNeely? What was this Presbyterian doing joining an Episcopal Church? Had Martha been an Episcopalian all along?

Here’s the entire piece, with thanks and acknowledgement to the library:





Enslaved People, Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Photographs, Religion

Roadtrip chronicles, no. 6: Western Rowan County churches.

In Church Home, no. 9, I wrote about Back Creek Presbyterian, the church that my great-great-great-great-grandfather Samuel McNeely helped found and lead. I wanted to see this lovely edifice, erected in 1857, for myself:


And I wanted to walk its cemetery. I didn’t expect to see the graves of any of its many enslaved church members there, but thought I might find Samuel McNeely or his son John W. Dozens of McNeelys lie here, many John’s close kin and contemporaries, but I did not find markers for him or his father. (I later checked a Back Creek cemetery census at the Iredell County library. They are not listed.)


Within a few miles of Back Creek stands its mother church, Thyatira Presbyterian. This lovely building was built 1858-1860, but the church dates to as early as 1747. There are McNeelys in Thyatira’s cemetery, too, and this is the church Samuel originally attended.


Just up White Road from Thyatira is Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church. I visited its cemetery in December 2013 and took photos of the the graves of descendants of Joseph Archy McNeely (my great-great-grandfather Henry McNeely‘s nephew), Mary Caroline McConnaughey Miller and John B. McConnaughey (siblings of Henry’s wife, my great-great-grandmother Martha Miller McNeely.) Green Miller and Ransom Miller’s lands were in the vicinity of this church.


Photos taken by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2015.

Maternal Kin, Photographs, Religion

Church home, no. 9: Christ the King Catholic Church, Jersey City, New Jersey.

After my recent 52 Challenges post, I started wondering about the church my great-grandmother and cousins are standing in front of. My grandmother and her sisters were reared Episcopalian (and AME Zion), so I assumed that it was an Episcopal church. To my surprise, my cousin G.W., son of the oldest daughter of my great-aunt Launie Mae Jones Colvert, identified it as Christ the King Catholic Church.

Catholic??? Aunt Launie Mae was Catholic?

Another cousin, K.J., chimed in. She’d talked to her mother, who said that in Aunt Launie Mae “had told her she converted to Catholicism after my grandfather was sick (with TB), and the Catholic church was there for her.” (Aunt Launie Mae’s husband was Isaiah James Jones (1912-1984), a native of Georgia.) This would have been in the early 1940s. The things you learn when you least expect.


(I wonder what happened to those beautiful wooden doors?)

Free People of Color, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin, Religion

Jonah Williams and the Turner Swamp Primitive Baptist Association.

I’ve blogged often about Jonah Williams, prominent farmer, respected preacher, and brother of my great-great-great-grandfather Adam T. Artis. I was pleased, then, to find copies of the minutes of the early annual sessions of the Turner Swamp Primitive Baptist Association, which oversaw several churches that Jonah helped establish and/or lead. Jonah participated in five sessions before his death in 1915, and the minutes of two survive. I’ve extracted pages from those documents here.

JWms Turner Swamp 1

London’s Church was just north of the town of Wilson (in what would now be inside city limits.) The church is most closely associated with London Woodard, an enslaved man who was purchased by his free-born wife, Penny Lassiter. Just after the Civil War, London founded an African-American Baptist church, which seems to have been the precursor to the London’s Church organized under the Primitive Baptist umbrella in 1897.

As shown below, Jonah was involved in the establishment of nearly every church in the Turner Swamp Association, including Turner Swamp (1897), Barnes (1898), Little Union (1899), and Rocky Mount (1908). Turner Swamp still meets at or near its original location just north of Eureka in Wayne County. Barnes is likely Barnes’ Chapel Church, now located at 1004 Railroad Street in Wilson. [CORRECTION: Barnes Chapel was close to Stantonsburg, in southwest Wilson County.] I had never heard of Little Union church, but a Google search turned up a list of churches within 15 miles of “Bel-Air Forest (subdivision), North Carolina,” Little Union among them. (Which is a little spooky because that’s the neighborhood in which I grew up and I didn’t input that reference point.) Unfortunately, the site’s map is blank. However, another search disclosed a recent obituary that referred to the decedent’s efforts to rebuild Little Union Primitive Baptist Church in Town Creek, North Carolina. I have not been able to find current references to Rocky Mount Primitive Baptist Church.

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Jonah moved from the Eureka area about 10 miles north to Wilson in the late 1890s. Though I knew of his association with Turner Swamp, I was not aware until finding this document that he had also been pastor at London, much less two other churches.

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Romans 7:4 — Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

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The approximate locations of the churches in Turner Swamp Primitive Baptist Association. Top to bottom: Rocky Mount, Little Union, London’s, Barnes’ and Turner Swamp. As the crow flies, the distance from Rocky Mount to Eureka, where Turner Swamp is located, is about 30 miles.

TS Ass map

This news brief probably made reference to baptisms Jonah conducted at London Church, which stood a few miles from the south bank of Contentnea Creek.


Wilson Daily Times, 6 June 1911.

Births Deaths Marriages, Free People of Color, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin, Religion

He was faithful in all his houses.

The Wilson Daily Times was an afternoon paper in my day. It was lying in the driveway when I arrived home from school, and I could read it first if I put it back like it was — pages squared and neatly folded. (Even today, I shudder at a sloppy newspaper, flipped inside out and pages sprawling.) The Daily Times‘ roots are in Zion’s Landmark, a semi-monthly newsletter begun in 1867 by Pleasant Daniel Gold. Elder Gold (1833-1920), pastor of Wilson Primitive Baptist Church, filled the periodical with sermons and homilies, ads for homeopathic remedies, testimonials, altar calls and, most enduringly, obituaries of Primitive Baptists throughout eastern North Carolina.

African-Americans did not often make it into the pages of the Landmark, but P.D. Gold held Jonah Williams in considerable esteem. Gold preached my great-great-great-great-uncle’s funeral and published in the Landmark a lengthy obituary by Brother Henry S. Reid, clerk at Turner Swamp Primitive Baptist Church:

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And what does this piece add to what I already know about Jonah Williams?

  • A marriage date for him and Pleasant Battle — 4 January 1867.
  • Some confusion about their children. I knew Pleasant had a slew of children from a previous marriage to Blount Battle. However, I had four children for Jonah and Pleasant — Clarissa (the surviving daughter referred to in the obit), Willie F. (1872-1895), Vicey (1874-1890), and J.W., whom I know only from a stone in the Williams’ cemetery plot. I’m thinking now that this is a foot marker, rather than a headstone, and I’ll revise my notes.
  • Jonah joined Aycock Primitive Baptist Church, part of the Black Creek Association, around 1875.
  • Around 1895, he and others were permitted to leave Aycock and form Turner Swamp Primitive Baptist Church, the first “organized colored” P.B. church in the area. The Black Creek Association ordained Jonah when he was called to serve at Turner Swamp.
  • Elder P.D. Gold preached Jonah Williams’ funeral.

Text found at https://archive.org/details/zionslandmarkse4919unse_0

Enslaved People, Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Oral History, Religion

Church home, no. 8: Back Creek Presbyterian Church, Rowan County NC.

Founded in 1805, Back Creek Presbyterian Church is a historic church in Mount Ulla, North Carolina. In 1809, the congregation built a small log house of worship, which was replaced by the congregation’s present Greek Revival sanctuary in 1857. This building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.  — From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back_Creek_Presbyterian_Church_and_Cemetery


Back Creek was the church of my white McNeely forebears — John Wilson McNeely and his father Samuel.  In 1905, Rev. S.C. Alexander and John K. Goodman published History of Back Creek Presbyterian Church, Rowan County, N.C., for 100 Years. It is too much to call it a scintillating work, but its dramatic retelling of the church’s founding compels:

During the latter part of last century, infidelity spread like a contagion all over our country, from one end of it to the other. It gathered round the Church, and settled down upon it like a thick cloud of moral death Although far removed from the busy marts and thorough- fares of the world, this retired part of the Lord’s vineyard did not wholly escape the infection. A cold dead formality had well nigh chilled the vitals of true religion. But this state of things was not permitted to remain long. God heard and answered the prayers of his faithful servants. His life-giving spirit was sent forth with power, and breathed upon the valley of dry bones, and an army of living men stood up to praise Jehovah’s name. This was an important era in the history of our Church and country. It was a time when angels in heaven, and men on earth rejoiced together. It was a time when a most powerful and sudden death-stroke was given to the cause of infidelity. So that its hideous form has never since been reared so high in the majesty of its ugliness to pollute and annoy the Church Thyatira with her then widely extended limits, seemed to have been thoroughly aroused in those exciting times.

As in all communities, so in that venerable Church, there necessarily existed a great diversity of sentiment. The time had now come, when this diversity was to be fully manifested, The Revival of 1802, let it be remembered, was accompanied with many strange phenomena, such as “jerking,” “leaping,” “shouting,” “swooning,” and many such-like bodily exercises. Those who were possessed of more ardent zeal and strong affection, thought this a necessary part of the revival, and produced by the influence of the Spirit. While those of a more phlegmatic temperament, and less impulsive nature, looked upon it as dross around the precious metal; or rather, as the work of Satan trying to counterfeit and hinder the work of religion. Thus there were two parties formed, and each doubtless conscientiously thought they were right. Those who favored the “exercises” were called the “revival party,” as if they alone were desirous of promoting the cause of religion. While those who thought differently were called “opposers” or “anti-revivalists,” as if they wished to hold back the Gospel car. One party wished to have profound silence during public worship. It mattered not how eloquent the speaker was, or how powerful the movings of the Spirit, all must be quiet and still. The other party wished to give vent to their feelings in whatever way inclination might lead. If they felt happy they would shout aloud for joy, or if distressed they would cry out for mercy. The congregation ofttimes presenting the appearance of a Bochim-Babel.

Thus the matter went on for two or three years each party becoming more and more sensitive; and owing to the weakness of human nature, one seemed to exasperate the other, until it became evident to all that some final and decisive action should be taken for the welfare of the Church. A day of fasting and humiliation was appointed, that they might pray for wisdom to guide them in the path of duty, and that they might adopt some plan of action which would be for their peace and edification. The day was accordingly observed. At which meeting the Session was publicly charged with a neglect of their duty in permitting what was looked on by one party as disorder and confusion to exist in time of public worship. The Elders defended their conduct in a mild and Christian-like manner, but all to submit to the other. Thus the day seemed likely to close without having bettered their condition. But something must be done was the universal feeling. Whereupon, it was resolved unanimously, that all those who sympathized with the “Revival Party,” and acted under its influence, should be permitted to withdraw from the Congregation, and leave the other party in the quiet possession of their house and minister. This resolution was acted upon immediately, when about thirty families withdrew, including five Elders — all that Thyatira [Presbyterian Church] then had — men of whom the world might be proud. This was the birthday of Back Creek. The mother travailed with pain, and a noble daughter was born. —

Thus the infant colony, springing off from the western part of Thyatira principally, was left without a minister, and without a house in which to worship. But with zeal like theirs, with hearts so large, and hands so willing, all difficulties were soon removed, and their necessities met. They resolved to build a house in their midst, in which they could worship as their conscience dictated.

A year after Back Creek’s founding, my great-great-great-great-grandfather assumed a leadership role:

On the 27th of December, 1806, William Kilpatrick, Samuel McNeely, and George Andrew, were added to the list of Elders — men of whom we cannot speak too highly. Each was distinguished for his own excellency of character. When sitting in council about the welfare of the Church, it is said William Kilpatrick would devise ways and means for the prosperity of Zion. George Andrew would discourse on its practicability. He would present it in one aspect and then in another, in order that it might be weighed well, — while the venerable John Barr and Samuel McNeely who knew their Bible by heart, would decide whether it were right or not, or whether it would be for the general good. Thus each wheel in the machinery performed its part; and the consequence was, the Church like a healthy plant, grew and flourished, and became a praise in the land. In 1833, another addition was made to the Session by the election and ordination of William King, Thomas Mathews, John Houston, John M. Lowrance and Abner Adams. — Only two of this number are spared to be with us now. The other three have fallen asleep. They were men with whom you were all familiar. Their names are embalmed in your memories. Their excellencies are well known. — And you have long since mourned their loss.

Fifty years later, his son was elected deacon:

On August 10, 1856, the last public service, the last sermon was preached in the “Old Log Church,” built in 1811. The first Deacons in Back Creek Church were elected on May 22, 1858, viz:— Col. Alfred M. Goodman, Jno. F. Clodfelter, Jacob P. Goodman, Moses Lingle, James Miller and J. Wilson McNeely; and on the following June 27 they were regularly ordained and installed. Prior to this the financial,and temporal affairs of the Church were administered, (under the session) by a board of trustees elected by the Congregation, but not regularly ordained and installed into office as is now the more scriptural practice with Deacons.

Given the close association of the McNeelys with Back Creek, it is likely that their slaves also attended the church.

Before the emancipation of the Southern Negro he worshipped with his master in the same church, and enjoyed all the church privileges, consistent with the relations existing between the white and negro races; many of them being worthy members of the church. The gallery in this church was built for their express accommodation. Faithful attention was given to their moral and religious training. Frequently the minister in charge would preach a sermon specially to them; they leading and furnishing the music, of no inferior quality. And they were not forgotten in the Sabbath-School; separate classes were formed of them, taught by the whites. This relation and condition continued for some time after “freedom;” finally, they changed order of relation, and natural trend of events led to their separation from the church of the whites, and to their distinct organization; still, however, some reluctantly took this step.

I don’t know about the “natural trend” or the reluctance. In any case, my forebears remained in the larger fold for, as my grandmother put it, Henry W. McNeely, J. Wilson’s son and former slave — “when he moved to Statesville, when Mama’s daddy moved to Statesville, child, he ran that Presbyterian church.”

The early lists of church members do not determine the proportion of whites to colored.

In regard to the numerical strength of Back Creek, from time to time, complete records fail us. In 1829 the membership was 124, but it is not stated how many white.

In 1850 we numbered 136 white and 26 colored — total 162.

In 1864, 96 white and 74 colored — total 170.

In 1869, 58 white and 50 colored — total 108.

In 1880, 83 white and no colored — total 83.

In 1894, 77 white; in 1900, 90 white; and in 1905, 150 white.

Sometime after 1869, African-Americans left — or were put out of — Back Creek en masse. Hopefully, a little research will reveal their new church home.

Photograph at http://d.lib.ncsu.edu/collections/catalog/buch0494, all rights reserved.