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HISTORY

Of

YORK ASSOCIATE REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

By

Tony Grant

4/17/02

 

In writing a history of this congregation there are a number of sources.

The Yorkville Enquirer of February 27, 1889 has a brief article on the church (see Appendix 2).

W. D. Grist, clerk of session wrote a sketch of the church's history. No date is given but from internal evidence it was written in 1920.

The Honorable Joseph R. Moss published a short "History of the York Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church" on October 11, 1953. To this, he added a supplement in 1978.

An article was published on the church in the Rock Hill Evening Herald on October 30, 1965.

Martha Williams Martin wrote a brief sketch of the church's history on December 11, 1987 (See Appendix 3).

In addition, some material is to be found in the Bicentennial "Set of Six" books.

It is impossible to give an accurate and complete list of the Board of Elders of the Church. The records from 1853 to 1890 were burned when fire destroyed the Yorkville Enquirer Building. At that time, Dave Grist was Clerk of the Session and kept the records in his office at the Enquirer.

 

Associate Reformed History

On November 1, 1782, "after years of negotiations, the Associate Presbytery of Pennsylvania, the Associate Presbytery of New York, and the Reformed Presbytery united to form the Associate Reformed Church." [Studies in Church History of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, Rev. E. Gettys, Due West SC, 1954 p18].

In 1790, the Associate Reformed Church formed the Presbytery of the Carolinas and Georgia. In 1802, the Associate Reformed Church divided itself into four Synods--New York, Scioto, Pennsylvania, and the Carolinas.

The Synod of the Carolinas was made up of the First and Second Presbyteries of the Carolinas and Georgia. First Presbytery was organized at Long Cane, SC on February 24, 1790. Second Presbytery was organized at Cedar Springs, SC on April 8, 1801. The Synod of the Carolinas was formally organized at the Old Brick Church in Fairfield County, SC on May 9, 1803.

A general Associate Reformed synod was to preside over these four synods, but in 1820, the Synod of Scioto withdrew from the Associate Reformed Church. On April 1, 1822, at Kings Creek in Newberry County, SC, the Synod of the Carolinas withdrew and constituted itself an independent synod with the name of "The Associate Reformed Synod of the South." Some twenty-one years later, in 1853, the First Presbytery of the Associate Reformed Synod of the South founded the Yorkville Associate Reformed Church.

 

Yorkville, South Carolina

An act of the South Carolina General Assembly established York County in 1785. In the first census of the United States, taken five years later, York County contained a population of 6,604. Of this number, 923 were listed as slaves, and one-fourth of these belonged to just nine men. But, York County had less than 15% of its population living in bondage in 1790, while the state averaged around 30% [Shankman, York County, p19].

Steps to establish a county seat were first taken in 1786 with the laying out of a town on the site of Fergus's Cross Roads. The name of the crossroads originated with two brothers, John and William Fergus, and was the crossing of six roads near the geographic center of the county (near the present location of Congress and Liberty Streets in York). [William Boyce White, Jr., Genealogy of Col. William Hill of York County, S.C. (York, SC: Yorkville Historical Society, 1993) 2.]

The new town became known as the village of York, or, more commonly, York Court House. In 1841, when the town was incorporated, the name officially became Yorkville. The population of the village in 1823, as recorded by Robert Mills, stood at 441 and included 292 whites and 149 blacks. In his Statistics of South Carolina, Mills provides us with a good view of the village of York in 1826. The town was "regularly laid out in squares" containing "8 stores, 5 taverns, a male and female academy, post office, and a printing office, which issues two papers weekly." Brief descriptions are also given of the new courthouse, the public jail and several residences. Mills concluded that the village at that time had a bright future. "The increasing prosperity of this village, its salubrious site, interesting scenery, contiguity to the mountains, and cheapness of living, will have a tendency to give it a preference in the minds of those who are seeking residence in the upper country." [Robert Mills, Statistics of South Carolina, Including a View of Its Natural, Civil, and Military History, General and Particular (Charleston, 1826) 771-782.]. By 1840, the population of the town had reached 600; by 1850 Yorkville contained 93 dwellings and 617 inhabitants [York County, South Carolina, Population Schedules of the Seventh Census of the United States, 1850, Roll 860 (Washington, DC: National Archives Publications].

In the years just prior to the Civil War, the town gained a reputation as a summer resort for many low-country planters trying to escape the malarial swamps of the low country for the moderate climate to be found in the up-state.

Signs of growth and prosperity from the early nineteenth century can be seen in the establishment of York County's first newspaper, The Yorkville Pioneer, in 1823. Although this publication was only in operation for slightly over a year, it was followed by several others, including The Patriot, The Whig, The Journal of the Times, The Yorkville Compiler, The Yorkville Miscellany and, in 1855, The Yorkville Enquirer, which remains in publication today. [For a complete listing of newspapers published in York County throughout its history, see John Hammond Moore, South Carolina Newspapers (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1988).]

A major factor in York County's mid-19th-century growth was the arrival in the eastern part of the county of the Charlotte and South Carolina Railroad, opened in 1852. While construction progressed on the Charlotte and South Carolina, residents of Yorkville and western York County realized they would also benefit from rail access. Chartered in 1848, the Kings Mountain Railroad Company began construction of a connecting line between Yorkville and the Charlotte and South Carolina at Chester. This track was completed in 1852.

Education played an important part in the lives of the early residents. Stemming from the great importance placed upon education by the Scots-Irish Presbyterians, numerous schools operated within the county prior to the Civil War. More than a dozen academies were operating at the outbreak of hostilities. [United States Census, Social Statistics Schedules for South Carolina, York District, 1860.]. The most famous was the Kings Mountain Military Academy in Yorkville, founded in 1854 by Micah Jenkins and Asbury Coward

 

Yorkville Associate Reformed Church

As previously mentioned, this church was organized in the fall of 1853 by First Presbytery of the Associate Reformed Synod of the South in a private home. There were fourteen charter members, coming from nine families. Several of these families were divided as to church allegiance.

The fourteen original members of the Yorkville Associate Reformed Church were:

Major and Mrs. John C. Enloe,

Mr. and Mrs. William Wright,

Colonel and Mrs. William C. Beaty,

Professor and Mrs. Matthew Elder,

Dr. and Mrs. A. I. Barron,

Miss Fannie Barron,

Mrs. Amanda Herndon, '

Mrs. Sarah Williams,

Mrs. Elizabeth Curry.

Even though the original fourteen members must have had high hopes for their new church, events were not favorable. The Civil War brought demoralization, wreck and ruin, both materially and spiritually.

The congregation held its services for the most part in a building that stood on a lot opposite the old Yorkville Cemetery near the present site of the Confederate Monument. In 1855, a large wooden building was completed on East Madison Street. It was located on a lot adjoining the one on which this church building stands and was given by George Washington Williams.

The first pastor of the York Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church was the Rev. Stafford Currie Millen, D.D. Born near Fishing Creek church, Chester County, SC, March 1, 1812, he was trained for the ministry from early childhood. He was educated in the schools of Chester County, in an Academy at Xenia, Ohio and in the University of Indiana. He was installed as pastor of Yorkville-Tirzah on December 8, 1853 and served until November 1857. In the Fall of 1858, he opened a school in Yorkville. In July 1860, he became President of the Statesville Female College, and in September 1860 severed his connection with the Associate Reformed Church.

In his "Sketch of the Yorkville A. R.P. Church," W. D. Grist wrote,

Dr. Millen was an earnest Christian who lived for a purpose, and to him belongs the distinction of being one of the earliest crusaders of this country against the liquor traffic. In his day the sale of liquor was as common and as matter of course as is the sale of ordinary cold drinks of today and but little more odium or reproach attached to the drinking of it. Indeed, whiskey drinking preachers were not unknown, and but little was thought of the habit even in the preacher unless he became a common drunkard.

Thirty years or more ahead of his time, Dr. Millen began earnest work against whiskey and it was not a great while before he made himself exceedingly unpopular because of his alleged intolerance. That, very likely, had something to do with his finally leaving the town; but he never changed. He kept up the fight until others joined in and no doubt to him belongs much credit for the fact that Yorkville was among the first towns in the state to outlaw the liquor traffic.

According to the Yorkville Enquirer article (Appendix 2), the church dedicated in 1855 "a neat frame structure with a seating capacity of about four hundred." Where was this structure? This is one of the minor mysteries of the church's history.

The Evening Herald article of October 30, 1965 (p6) says "During the first two years of the pastorate of Rev. Mr. Millen, the congregation held worship services for the most part in a building that stood opposite the old Yorkville Cemetery near the present site of the Confederate monument. In 1855, a large wooden church building was completed on E. Madison Street located on a lot adjoining grounds occupied by the present house of worship. Land was given by George Washington Williams." No one seems to remember where this wooden church was. To seat 400, it would have been larger than the present church. The Herald article later states, "The old church [that is the large wooden church] was torn down, sold to a Negro congregation and still stands a house of worship on the outskirts of town." Is it still standing in 2002? If so where?

Following the resignation of Dr. S. C. Millen, the Church remained without a pastor for two years. In the spring of 1859, Rev. Robert Lathan, D.D. was installed as pastor of the Yorkville-Tirzah Charge. Dr. Lathan served until November 28, 1884 when he resigned to accept a professorship in Erskine Theological Seminary at Due West. Dr. Lathan was born in Fairfield County on December 27, 1829 and died at Bradley in Abbeville County on June 15, 1896. His father was a farmer with a good education who inspired in his son the ambition to become a scholar. At the age of nineteen, Robert Lathan entered a school taught by Rev. James Gilland, and was there prepared for college. In 1853, he entered the sophomore class at Erskine College, and two years later was graduated with high honors. He completed seminary studies in 1858. In 1859, he accepted a call to the yoked pastorate of Yorkville and Tirzah. In 1859, he married Fanny E. Barron, daughter of Dr. A. T. Barron. They had seven children.

Lathan also served as a teacher in and near Yorkville. After the Civil War, Lathan was elected School Commissioner of York County. He contributed often to the Yorkville Enquirer. He also wrote a history of the Associate Reformed Synod of the South, published in 1882. In recognition of this work, he received the Doctor of Divinity degree from Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA, in June 1881. In 1884, he left the pastorate of Yorkville-Tirzah to become a professor at Erskine Theological Seminary.

The Sabbath School was organized in 1880. . W. M. Kennedy I was the first superintendent.

Following the resignation of Dr. Robert Lathan, a call was extended to Rev. Jonathan Caldwell Galloway, D.D. J. C. Galloway was born in Newberry County in 1851. He was installed as pastor of Yorkville-Tirzah on October 28, 1885 and continued in that position until December 31, 1893, when he resigned to become pastor of Pisgah and Gastonia. He was married twice, first to Josie Brice. When she died in 1887, leaving three children, he married Blanche McKemy. He received his Doctor of Divinity degree from Erskine College in 1898. He edited "The Life and Letters of Mrs. Griffen." Mrs. Griffen was his sister and a pioneer in promoting foreign missions in the Associate Reformed Synod of the South.

In 1889, according to the Yorkville Enquirer article (Appendix 2), the church had forty-three members. "The following are the offices of the church: elders--W. M. Kennedy, W. W. Jenkins, L. M. Grist. Deacons--S. A. McElwee, John F. Oates, W. T. Barron. W. D. Grist, J. A. Shillinglaw."

The next pastor was the Rev. Boyce Hemphill Grier, who was born in Due West, SC, November 8, 1861. He graduated from Erskine Theological Seminary in 1887. He was installed on August 17, 1894 as pastor of the Yorkville-Tirzah charge. He resigned on July 1, 1901 to accept the pastorate of the Church at Ora in Laurens County, South Carolina.

"The three years following the resignation of Rev. B. H. Grier constituted a trying period in the history of the York Church. There was difficulty about coming to an agreement on a pastor [with Tirzah]." (Moss p5) As a result of this bickering between the churches, The Evening Herald speaks of "heavy loses of membership." To end the dispute, Yorkville dissolved its yoked relationship with the Tirzah Church. Each church decided to call its own pastor.

Yorkville called Rev. William Cameron Ewart. Born in Huntersville, NC, September 19, 1864, Ewart was installed as pastor on January 20, 1904. He remained the pastor of the church until his death on August 17, 1908. When Rev. Ewart became pastor, the church had around fifty members. At the time of his death, membership stood at one hundred thirty.

Following the death of W. C. Ewart, the pulpit was filled by stated supplies until a call was extended to James Leroy Oates. Born in Gaston County, NC, April 8, 1873, Rev. Oates was installed on October 1, 1909 and continued until he resigned August 1, 1922.

During the pastorate of J. L. Oates the present lot on which the church stands was acquired from Mrs. Mary J. and Winnie Davis Crawford. This lot was purchased in January 1912 and it was during Oates' pastorate that this building was erected. The building was dedicated on July 25, 1920. W. D. Grist notes that at the time the church had two hundred twenty members (page 1).

General Synod met at York November 15-19, 1916.

Rev. Oates conducted many revival meetings over the synod. During World War I, he was camp pastor at Camp Jackson, Columbia, S.C. He served as Superintendent of the York City Schools, filling out the unexpired term of a Superintendent who had entered military service. He was on the draft board in World War I. He went to the trains with every group, both White and Black and held a prayer service as they entrained in the service of 'their country. He took a great interest in the work of the Boy Scouts and .the Red Cross. He was truly a community pastor.

Following the resignation of Rev. J. L. Oates the congregation called Rev. Nat Erskine Smith. He was born August 22, 1878 at Coddle Creek, NC. He was installed on May 18, 1924 and remained with the York Church until he died on October 27, 1937. Judge Moss in his history offers the following quote: "This servant of God was a vigorous and earnest preacher of the Gospel. He was a strong character, taking a positive stand on most of the important questions confronting the Church. He was a good mixer, companionable, at home in any company" (p7).

Again, Judge Moss quotes a classmate and life-long friend (no name given) as writing of Rev. Smith: "'He was a man of fine gifts, which he used in the furtherance of the Kingdom, as he used his attractive personality in winning friends for the Master. A fine sermonizer and preacher, under the blessing of the Holy Spirit, he was enabled to instruct and develop his people in the Christian graces" (p7).

The next pastor was the Rev. Frank Brown Edwards, who was born in Mexico. He was installed on July l0, 1938 and resigned on February 11, 1946. In 1942, Rev. Edwards became a Chaplain in the United States Army where he served until the end of the War. "Mr. Edwards was a zealous minister of the Gospel, a man of pleasing personality and endowed with the gift of song. He preached with clarity and directly to the point. (p7-8 Moss's History of York Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church).

From December 1942 until June 30, 1946 (While Frank Edwards was in the military), the pulpit was supplied by William Walkup Boyce, D.D. A 1909 graduate of Erskine College and a 1911 graduate of Erskine Seminary, Boyce "held several pastorates in the ARP denomination and was a missionary to Mexico for four years." (The Second Century: A History of Associate Reformed Presbyterians 1882-1982, by Lowry Ware and Vames W. Gettys volume 3 of the Bicentennial "Set of Six" p466). W. W. Boyce became Dean of Erskine Theological Seminary in December 1941 and continued in that position for twenty years. During World War II, he also supplied the York Church.

Following the resignation of F. B. Edwards, Samuel Alexander Tinkler, D.D. was installed on July 1, 1946 and remained until his resignation in November 17, 1947. "Dr. Tinkler was a preacher of pronounced gift and ability. He was a man of refined culture and of deep and earnest purposes. It was during his ministry that this building was renovated and redecorated" (Moss 8).

During the interim after the resignation of Dr. S. A. Tinkler, the pulpit was filled from January 18, 1947 until January 30, 1949 by F. W. Gregg, D.D., of the Southern Presbyterian Church. W. Chapman Lauderdale was a student supply during the summer of 1948.

The congregation extended a call to John Reid Love and he became pastor of the church on February 1, 1949. In June 1953, Erskine College conferred upon John Reid Love the degree of Doctor of Divinity.

On October 11, 1953 the York Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church celebrated its one hundredth anniversary. At that time, the Honorable Joseph R. Moss read a history of the York Congregation.

On October 15 1954, Dr- John Reid Love, beloved pastor of this congregation, died. During his pastorate the congregation had purchased the J. E. Wiley residence on East Liberty Street as a manse and had converted the old manse to a Church House.

In the mid-1950's, a hailstorm struck York and the surrounding area inflicting heavy losses to property. The church building was extensively damaged. In 1956, the church building was renovated. Major changes were made in the appearance of the sanctuary. Included in this renovation was a rebuilding of the pipe organ.

On November 14 1956, Reverend Harold S. Mace became the pastor of this congregation and served until November 22, 1959.

Reverend Jerry Alexander served as pastor from May 15, 1960 to August 31, 1961. Mr. Alexander came to York following his graduation from Erskine Theological Seminary.

On February 1, 1962, Reverend J. B. Hendrick became the pastor at York where he served until August 1980.

In 1963 a new manse was erected on Moss Street on property donated to the church by the Honorable Joseph R. Moss. An open house was held on August 11, 1963. Dr. W. W. Boyce led in the prayer of dedication.

On Saturday, October 30, 1965 and article describing the church appeared in the Rock Hill Evening Herald.

In November of 1966, the Church House was removed to make way for a new educational building. This building, completed in 1967, contains a parlor, a kitchen, a fellowship hall, and five classrooms. Open house was held on August 13, 1967. The building was dedicated debt-free on November 9. 1975.

In 1969 a Youth Hut was completed. This building provides classroom and recreational space .

In 1973-1974 the sanctuary and educational building were air-conditioned. In 1976 extensive work was done on the church roof.

In 1977 the pipe organ was completely rebuilt. This project includes a new blower system and additions to the organ to make it more versatile.

Rev. Tony Grant was Installed as pastor January 11, 1981.

In 1989, a chair lift was installed to provide access to the church for the handicapped.

In 1991, members discovered that a leaking roof had done great damage to the ceiling plaster in the sanctuary. The roof was replaced and the plaster restored. In addition, new carpet was installed, the sanctuary painted, and a new dossal was installed behind the choir.

In 1994, the basement of the church was remodeled. New restrooms were added, and a parlor. Floors were finished, and the area was painted.

Thanksgiving breakfast at YARPC is a major event in the church calendar.

Women Of the Church

In the fall of 1890, at the home of Mrs. W. L. McDonald, the Ladies Aid Society was organized. The original membership consisted of eleven faithful women. Mrs J. B. Galloway was elected President. Dues were ten cents a month. The society was begun mainly for the purpose of keeping the church and manse in repair, answering any calls for charity, and helping with the work of the church. The Ladies Aid Society became the Woman's Missionary Society during the pastorate of Rev. Boyce Grier. The society helped with the building of the new church during the ministry of Dr. J. L. Oates. The first work done by the Ladies Aid Society was putting down carpet, at a cost of about $75. The first work done by the Women's Missionary Society was putting windows in the building, at a cost of $1200. During the ministry of Rev. N. E. Smith, the women helped buy the pipe organ.

Five young men from YARPC have entered the ministry. They are:

Rev. James R. Kennedy

Rev. Stanley Bennett

Rev. Jack Heinsohn

Rev. Guy H. Smith, Jr.

Rev. William L. Barron

Since York’s Summerfest is the largest tourist event in the area, selling hamburgers and hotdogs at Summerfest is always YARPC’s biggest fundraiser.

In November of 1998, thanks to a generous gift from the estate of Doris Shillinglaw, YARPC purchased a new church van.

In 1999, church officers at YARPC were:

Elders: John Barron, W.H. Bennett, W. R. Connolly, Ronald E. Ruth, A. Clyde Clark, R. Jeffrey Rossy, M. D. Whitesides, A. B. Yarborough

Deacons: Roy Adkins, John Balfour, Larry Howe, Jane Sherer, Alex Almaguer, Steve Abernethy, Zane Abernethy, Richard Sherer, Jeb Byrum, Frances Nivens, Rodney Smith, Ron Taylor.

Judge Moss concludes his history writing:

"One of the greatest factors in the congregation's history has been its ability and willingness to rise to the challenges before it. Many times the members have reached deep within themselves to do the seemingly impossible. God has been gracious in His dealings with the congregation. With His help, the congregation will rise to meet the challenges of the present and the future."

APPENDIX 1

ROSTER OF PASTORS

REV. STAFFORD CURRIE MILLEN D.D. - Born near Fishing Creek Church, Chester County, SC, March 1, l812, died April 13, 1874, Served Dec 8, l853 - Nov.1857

REV. ROBERT LATHAN, D.D. - Born in Fairfield County, S. C., December 27, 1829, Died June 15, 1896. Served from May 1859 until the fall of 1884.

REV. JONATHAN CALDWELL GALLOWAY, D.D. * Born Newberry County, S.C., July 7, 1851 Served from November l885 until December 1894.

REV.BOYCE HEMPHILL GRIER D D. - Born at Due West, S. C. November 8, 1861. Served from August l894 unti1 August 1901.

REV. WILLIAM CAMERON EWART - Born Huntersville, N. C. September 19, 1864, Served from January 20, 1904 until August 1908.

REV JAMES LEROY OATES - Born in Gaston County, N. C. April 8, 1873. Served from 1909 until August 1922.

REV. NAT ERSKINE SMITH - Born August 22, 1878 at Coddle Creek, N.C. Died October 27, 1937. Served from May 18, l924 until October 27, 1937.

REV. FRANK BROWN EDWARDS - Born in Mexico - Served JULY 10, 1938 - Feb 11, 1945.

REV. W..W.BOYCE, D.D. (Supply Pastor) From December l942 until June 30, 1946.

REV. SAMUEL A TINKLER, D.D. Born Atoka, Tenn, Nov 28, 1892. Died Greenwood, SC, 1959. Served from July, 1946 until Nov.17, l947.

REV. F. W. GREGG, D.I). Supply Pastor January 18, 1947 - January 30, 1949.

REV. CHAPMAN LAUDERDALE Student Supply June through August 1948.

REV. JOHN REID LOVE, D.D.. Born Huntersville, N.C. June 21, 1902. Served from Feb. 1, 1949 until his death October 15, 1954.

REV. HAROLD S. MACE Served from Nov 1956 - Nov. 22, 1959

REV. JERRY ALEXANDER - Born Charlotte, N.C. Served May 1960 - Aug.13, 1961

REV. JERRY BILL HENDRICK - Born Gastonia, N.C. Served from Feb. 1, 1962 until August 1980.

REV. TONY GRANT - Installed January 11, 1981.

 

APPENDIX 2

YORKVILLE A.R.P. CHURCH

The Yorkville Enquirer, February 27, 1889.

 

Though from an early period in the history of the town, there were quite a number of individuals connected with the Associate Reformed Church living in this place, they made no effort to organize themselves into a church until the year 1853. In that year the first Presbytery of the Associate Reformed Synod was petitioned to take steps in the matter, and in the autumn of the same year an organization was effected. The Rev. S. C. Millen, D.D., was installed pastor over the united congregations of Tirzah and Yorkville, and continued his ministry until 1857, when he resigned. For two years the congregations remained vacant. Upon their call, however, in the spring of 1859, Rev. Robert Latham, D.D., assumed the pastoral charge and served most acceptably until the fall of 1881, when Dr. Latham was elected to a chair in Erskine Theological Seminary by the Associate Reformed Synod. He resigned the charge of Yorkville and Tirzah congregations on November 28, 1881 and was succeeded on October 18 of the following year by Rev. J. C. Galloway, the present pastor.

The church was organized with fourteen members, as follows: Major John G. Enloe and wife, Colonel William Wright and wife, Colonel William C. Beatty and wife, Prof. Matthew Elder and wife, Dr. A. I. Barron and wife, Miss Fannie Barron, Mrs. Amanda Herndon, Mrs. Sarah Williams, and Mrs. Elizabeth Curry. The church roll now numbers forty-three members, and is steadily growing in strength. The church edifice in which the congregation worships is a neat frame structure with a seating capacity of about four hundred. It was erected and formally dedicated in the spring of 1855. The following are officers of the church: Elders—W. M. Kennedy, W. W. Jenkins, L. M. Grist, Deacons—S.A. McElwee, John F. Oates, W.T. Barron, W. D. Grist, J. A. Shillinglaw.

 

 

APPENDIX 3

YORK ASSOCIATE REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

BY Martha Martin, 1987

The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church is the result of a union formally consummated between the Associate Presbyterians and the Reformed Presbyterians of America in Philadelphia on November 1, 1762. The body formed by this union retained the distinctive names of the denominations composing it. Hence the name Associate Reformed Presbyterian.

Most of the information about this church comes from The History of the Associate Reformed Synod of the South by Dr. Robert Lathan who was pastor of our church from 1859 - 1884 when he resigned to accept a professorship in Erskine Theological Seminary.

The York Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church was organized in the £all of 1853 by the old First Presbytery in a private home. The charter members numbered fourteen:

Major & Mrs. John G. Enloe

Col. & Mrs. Wm. C. Beatty

Dr. & Mrs. A. I. Barron

Mrs.George W (Sarah) Williams

Mr. & Mrs. William Wright

Prof. & Mrs. Matthew Elder

Miss Fannie Barron

Mrs. Amanda Herndon

Mrs. Elizabeth Curry

The congregation held services in a building that stood on a lot opposite the old Yorkville Cemetery near the present site of the Con£ederate Monument. In 1855 a large wooden building was completed on East Madison street. It was located on a lot behind the present church. This lot was given to the church by Judge George W. Williams. From 1853 to the present time the following fourteen pastors have served our church:

Rev. S. C. Millen

Dr. Robert Lathan

Rev. J. C. Galloway

Rev. B. H. Grier

Rev. W. C. Ewart

Dr. J. L. Oates

Rev. N. E. Smith

Rev. F. B. Edwards

Dr. S. A. Tinkler

Dr. J. R. Love

Rev. H. S. Mace

Rev. Jerry Alexander

Rev. J. B. Hendrick

Rev. Tony Grant

During periods when we were without a regular minister we were most fortunate to have Dr. W. W. Boyce and Dr. F. V. Gregg supply our pulpit.

The records from 1853 to 1890 were burned when fire destroyed the Yorkville Enquirer Building. At that time, Mr. Dave Grist was Clerk of the Session and kept the records in his office.

It was during the pastorate of Dr. Oates that the present building was constructed. The lot was purchased in 1912 and the new church was dedicated on July 25, 1920. Since that time the building has been renovated and re-decorated. A notable event took place in our church when the General Synod met here on November 15-19, 1916.

In the early days there were several characteristics of the Associate Reformed Presbyterians which are no longer practiced. They were the use of the word Sabbath instead of Sunday, only Psalms were sung in public worship, instrumental music was not allowed in the service and the church held closed communion.

In 1967 the Fellowship Hall was added to the present building. In 1969 the Youth Hut was built on the grounds for meetings and special activities of the young people.

No Sabbath School was organized until 1880 because there were not enough children.

In the fall of 1890 at the home of Mrs. W. L. McDonald the Ladies Aid Society was organized. The original membership consisted of eleven faithful women. The work of the women of the Church has always been outstanding.

Five young men from our church have entered the ministry. They are: Rev. James R. Kennedy

Rev. Stanley Bennett

Rev. Jack Heinsohn

Rev. Guy H. Smith, Jr.

Rev. William L. Barron

 

This information compiled by Martha Williams Martin from available records of the church and from "The History of the Associate Reformed Synod of the South" by Dr. Robert Lathan.

December 11, 1987

 

 

 

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