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  Original paper written by Gary Dull.

Titled:  A brief History of the Three congregations of the Lords People in the Yadkin River Valley of North Carolina. 

Shadow on Concrete Wall

A Brief History of three Congregations of the Lords People in the Yadkin River Valley of North Carolina.

by:  Gary Dull


     The church of Christ is a spiritual body (Eph. 1:22) with a divine origin and mission on Gods eternal Purpose (Eph. 1:4)  In Christ Jesus has been offered to every person estranged from God, the reconciliation of peace (Eph. 2:11), and the privilege of fellowship in the body of Christ, the church (Eph. 5:29).

     Because of the spiritual nature of the Church it would and is humanly impossible for anyone to visibly identify every member of his body.  We know that Christ knows his sheep (John 10:14).   The body of Christ however, is not invisible.   Wherever saints meet in the name of Christ, and submit to him as head of the Church and follow in the tradition of the apostles teaching the church of Christ is a historical reality (Acts 2:42).  Each congregation of the Lords people is a testimony to Gods wisdom and purpose in Christ Jesus.  (Eph.3:10).  

     As stated for the purpose of this outline, this will be a brief history of three congregations of the Lords people in the area of the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina.  To begin with we will star with the youngest of the tree congregations. 

               The North Main Street church of Christ in Mocksville, North Carolina.   

     The congregation first met on the First Sunday of the year 1958.   It is reported the eighty-seven persons ere present for this service.  This was a work of the Jericho church to establish a congregation in the town of Mocksville.  Brother J.B. Whitaker, the minister for the Jericho congregation, presented the first sermon and worked with both congregation until Brother Wendell Teal became the first full time minister. 

     The property of the Stewart Place on the corner of North Main and Stewart (now known as Park Avenue) was acquired for the construction of the meeting house and the preachers home.   The preachers home was completed in 1960.Brother Graham Gantt was the minister at this time. 

     In 1964, the congregation appointed it's first Elders and Deacons.  They were Jim Anderson and Tom Rice as Elders.   The Deacons were James F. Walker (Pete), Robah Smith, Wayne Seamon, J.W. McClannon and Doyle Bean.  As of this righting there are no elders at the North Main Congregation.  It continues to this day and Greg Ellrod is the current preacher.   

                          The Jericho church of Christ in Mocksville, North Carolina.

     It is thought that Jericho is the oldest continuing congregation of the churches of Christ in North Carolina established in 1872.  It started in the Baxter Schoolhouse in the present day Jericho community also in the area of the Carolina Bible Camp.  

     In the 1870's, this area of Davie County was almost completely rural with farming being the main source of income.  In 1871 and 1872,  several events took place,  which led to the establishment of the congregation in the Jericho community.  In 1871,  George Washington Neely (Wash to many), was a native of Forsyth County and a  member of the Muddy Creek church of Christ, (Disciples today), came to the school possibly at the enticement of a Miss. Mary Atwater from Ohio who was a member of a well known family of disciples there.  She was there to teach at the Baxter School.  

     Shortly after this George and Mary were married and lived for many years in the muddy Creek area.  this is near Clemmons in Forsyth county.  The work that Wash Neely started did not go unattended.  The next summer in 1872,  William Lucis Butler, a native of Davie County returned from school in Kentucky and began preaching at the Baxter School.In the summer of 1872 (July 24th.,), five souls were baptized into Christ in Hunting Creek, about 1 mile west of the now Jericho Building.  their names were Mary Catherine Kurfees, Rachael Seamon, Quintas Butler, Iris Wilson and Marshall Clement Kurfees.  

     Mary Kurfees was the sister to Marshall Kurfees; Quintas Butler (later known as Quint Keller) was a sister to W.L. Butler.  Iris Wilson was the mother of William C. Wilson and Rachael Seamon. For many years her and her sister Mary who lived near by, faithfully prepared the Lord's supper.  From my research I found them described as follow:  In appearance they were pleasantly old-fashioned wearing bonnets and aprons, caring the emblems of the Saviors body and blood which was unleavened bread and wine in a little basket,  placing i on the communion table and covering it with a white linen cloth which was the tradition of this time in a lot of places.  

     William Bulter continued preaching effectively for the next thirty-eight years.  He did extensive mission work in North Carolina with such congregations as Jericho in Davie county, Pfaffown (Christian), Warners Chapel, Boyers, and Muddy Creek in Forsyth county and there is some mention of him holding meetings at Corinth in Rowan county.  

      Without the evangelism in this area by Brother M.C. Kurfees,  Jericho and other congregations might not have survived the onslaught of the world and Satan.  Certainly for the first century at Jericho the members of the Kurfees family and their relations were pillars of the Church in Davie County as was reported in a book "A Short History of the Jericho Church of Christ" by Bill Ijames.  

     The building itself (Jericho) in the early days had no classrooms and songbooks and the bible was the only literature.  The services were conducted by the male members and they consisted of scripture reading, discussion singing, prayer and the Lord's supper was overserved each Lord's day and members gave of their means. For years Jericho used only one or two cups,  not because of any religious belief in one cup but that was all the church had.   They also used real wine.  Discussions that the congregation had were often long and sometimes heated.  One area of controversy centered around whether or not the congregation should have elders, at the time of this righting Jericho does have elders.  

     Elijah Hansbogh came frequently to North Carolina from Austin, Texas and preached in Forsyth and Davie counties in the late 1800's.  He was an editor of the Brotherhood publication, Firm Foundation in Austin, Texas.   In the 1930's,  A.C. Pullias held a meeting at Jericho.  In 1935 N. B. Hardman held a meeting, chairs had to be placed around the building to accommodate the crowds.  

     Thetus Prichard preached mostly at Jericho, Corinth, Abliene and Warners Chapel around 1930.  Also in the 1940's Carl Dilliard and E. W. Laird preached alternately at the Corinth and Jericho.   In 1949  a lot (land) in Mocksville was purchased from Mr. J.M. Seamon and Charlie Davis of Cleveland, North Carolina.  Rowan County loanded Jericho the money to build the 1st., preachers home.  The current preacher is Dr.Tom Torph. 

                           The Corinth church of Christ in Needmore, North Carolina.

     Upon reading a family history of the Rodden Family, (provided by Brother Bobby Cartner) it is thought that James Rodden and Wilson Daniels helped in starting and contributed much to the congregation.  The story goes something like this.  The James Rodden family and the Wilson Daniels family were members of the South river Methodist church (established 1834) on the land given by Alexander Smoot.  The Methodist and the Providence Lutheran were the only churches in the Scotch Irish (Needmore) Community at that time.  It seams that the Rodden Family affiliation changed after Jeams (as James M. Rodden was often referred to) was baptized.  

     What happened we are told is that Jeams asked the Methodist preacher to baptize him by emersion and the preacher agreed, but was reluctant.  When the preacher entered the river which today is known as the Muddy Yadkin his dislike was made apparent.   He is quoted as saying "I would just as soon walk into a muddy hog wallow as to have waded into this muddy river."  It was said where Jeams could hear. It ruined an important occasion for Jeams and soon after he became interested in ideas preached by a traveling preacher named Poindexter,  this might be Richard Poindexter of the Pfafftown Christion Church, but we are not sure. Other members of the family were interested too and so were the McDaniel's and the McClloch's.  So they helped to organize the Corinth church of Christ in 1888 at Needmore in Rowan county, North Carolina.

     The first building was a frame building that was never completed.  In 1916 another replaced it.  Byrd Rodden (see picture) and his sons Jimmy  and Pleasant Rodden contributed much to the building.  Because Jimmy had a sawmill and Pleasant was doing the logging off the Henry Sain place for the building. At that time I do not know if the lumber was bought or donated.  

     Both brother George Davis and Brother Lonzie McDaniel who did most of the carpenter work built a third building in 1961.  Each year a meeting would be held to help in evangelizing the community.  Early preachers as well as today are not called Reverend but rather Brother, Evangelist or Minister. Note the following passages of scripture;  Matthew 23:9 and Psalms 111:9 is certainly not talking about the local preacher. 

     Some of the early men that held these meetings were Warren Rice, M.A. Foster, J.D. Tant, and Biggerstaff.  The story is told that during long meetings the visiting preacher often lodged with Brother Byrd Abner Rodden,  one good reason for this is it's said, that Martha Rodden was a good cook and Byrd had plenty to eat.  But this writer does not think that these things would influence a preacher's decision on where he stayed.  HA! HA!

     Around the year 1927  there was a huge controversy over the issue of bible classes.  As a result of the controversy the members of Corinth brought in two debaters at the cost of $100.00.   The debaters were Brother J.N. Cowen of fort Smith Arkansas and Brother W. C. Cooke of Chattanooga, Tennessee.  (See Copies of the letters to these men.) The topic of the questions for them to debate were:

     1.  Is it a violation of the word of God to divide a congregation into classes to teach them the Word of God?

     2.  Is it in harmony with the scriptures to meet at an hour apart from the hour of worship and teach the congregation the word of God, dividing them into classes according to their scriptural ability?

      3.  Is it scriptural to use one or more women to teach children the word of God when in an assembly is divided into classes?  

     This writer is sorry to say that their was a large dispute over these issues and caused a separation to follow with the development of the South river church of Christ about one mile away from Corinth as the crow fly's.  In my search for information I did find an old journal in the basement of the Corinth building the first entry in it is dated September 1, 1963.  This is a journal for the men's business meeting and a record of attendance numbers.  The last entry in it is dated October 6, 1968.

     The congregation at Corinth does not have elder at this time.  But we (the local church) are trying to work in that direction.  At this time R.D. McDaniel is the local preacher. My hope is to continue the research on the Corinth church.  AS of this time I have not been able to find the original deed to the land, however, I have found the deed dating back to 1953.  My thanks to all the members at the Corinth congregation for their helpful information without which this paper could not have been possible.  

     Other churches in the area that have been of interest in my research have been Ephesus (now the Church of God) an Hwy 601 South in Davie county.  Rockhill church of Christ in Needmore and the Pfafftown Christian church in Pfafftown.  


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