Coming Home to a Special Place…
On August 31, 1875, this group of hardy Scotch-Irish people of vision came across the creek together to form the Silver Creek Presbyterian Church. For one hundred and twenty-five years, many others like them have come and gone from this place, but a spirit, a Presence, remains.
At that time, E.R. Lumpkin and R.H. Porter were elected, ordained, and installed as ruling elders. Also at that time, the church was given its name – Silver Creek Presbyterian Church. Elder Lumpkin represented the church at the meeting of Presbytery on September 21, 1875. At this meeting, the Reverend S.E. Axson, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Rome served as moderator. The Reverend Axson’s daughter, Ellen, married Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States. (Local lore has it that Woodrow Wilson and Ellen Axson courted on the grounds of Silver Creek Presbyterian Church when the Reverend Axson filled the pulpit until we called our first minister.)
According to the Historical Foundation, Montreat, North Carolina, our church was dedicated on Sunday, September 29, 1878. The first minister, the Reverend J.E. Jones, served the church from 1876 to 1886. During this time, Silver Creek area was comprised of farms and gristmills. Our building was the only house of worship. In a deed dated December 30, 1875, C.P. Whitehead and his wife Georgia Ann Whitehead gave the building, “the site of the old Primitive Church” to Elders E.R. Lumpkin and R.H. Porter.
The exact date of the original building of the church is uncertain. The record at the courthouse of the date has been obscured. We do know that the church was built by Larkin Barnett soon after he acquired the land as a result of the Indian Land Lotteries in 1830. Family stories tell of his building the church because his wife was a member of the Primitive Baptist Church. Mr. Barnett, a hardheaded “Scotch” Presbyterian, soon had a disagreement with the Primitive Baptist and asked them to leave his building!
The building itself remained pretty much the same until 1950, when it was turned from a southerly direction to the east. The two-story annex, as we see today, was added and the sanctuary was refurbished. On October 1, 1950, the 75th anniversary, the new church was dedicated at Homecoming.
On October 8, 2000, again, at Homecoming, we come across the creek to give reverence to this special place. Its uniqueness is not the trees, or the creek, or the aging old building filled with memories: it is a Presence. And, there will be generations after us who will come, who know us not, nor that we know, who will be drawn to this sacred place of vision. The mighty Presence will greet them and enfold them, and will pass into their souls and continue for more generations to come.
Founding Members (1875):
Helen M. Lumpkin
Lizzie F. Lumpkin