History of the Beaver Creek A. C. Church
By Thomas W. Ferguson
October 22, 1976
The information provided her was found among the records of Irene Basey. The letter is old and hand-typed and has been re-input into a computer for this format.
Homecoming Day was held at the Beaver Creekl Advent Chrisitian Church Sunday with the membership well represented. The church celebrated its nintieth birthday having been organized in 1879. A brief history of the church was given by one of its oldest members. It has a very interesting and checkered history, it having been one of the first three A.C. Churches established in North Carolina. The story goes that a rather noted Evangelist of Stevenson, Alabama, Rev. John A. Cargile came to Johnson City, Tennessee on the train, then rode a humble and lowly mule in his triumphral entry into North Carolina, as did the Saviour of the world riding the same kind of animal in his triumphral entry into Jerusalem. It is rather significant that this lowly animal, that takes no price in his ancestry and has no hope of posterity, should have so important part in Bibical history.
Anyway, this insiginificant animal had an important part in bringing the Gospel according to Adventual beliefs into the N.C. Rev. Cargile, with the aid of an influential citizen of Collettsville, Caldwell County, made his debut to this prosperous community village in 1879 where he established the first Advent Christian Church in the state. Tabernacle Church near Lenoir soon followed and then Beaver Creek in Wilkes County whose history was given Sunday. Rev. George D. Sherill, an honored Confederate Veteran, assisted Cargile in the organizations, and he became the first pastor of all three churches. The original building of the local church is still standing, located on a slight elevation and still reposes peacefully near a thickly wooded forest near the public highway. Though it has recently been remodeled and enlarged with Sunday School rooms and a brick veneer, this little sanctuary stood for years like a sentinel in the forest carrying high with it a dignity and solemnity seldom seen in country churches. It was early equipped with an organ in the 1800's which was very unusual in that day for rural churches, and the musical strains of the Old Jubilee Harp song book rang out clearly every Sunday morning, for the church has boasted of an evergreen Sunday School for its ninety years.
This little country church has been a great stabilizer with a deep spiritual ferver for this part of the famous Yadkin Valley and its influence has radiated out over many parts of the world through its membership and Sunday School students, many of whom were members of other denominations. Through its influence, many other churches and Sunday Schools have been established and flourished.
Indeed, it lost inself in the service of humanity and it will live forever, if not materially, then in the heart throbs of those who came within the place of its conscrated sanctum. Its influence has been wholesome, progressive and constructive because it was founded on a deep spiritual basis.
A rather exciting incident happened to the church back in the 1880's when the church fell. Conferences were held frequently which were attended by noted preachers who drew large crowds. On this occasion, Joe King from Wilmington, a renowned minister, was warning the people of a soon coming judgment and the church was filled to capacity. The congregation was in a high state of emotion when suddenly from the excessive weight, a rock pillow in the shape of a rainbow, gave way on one side of the foundation. The building fell about 5 inches with a great crash and pandemonium reigned. Some of the more excited screamed, "The Lord is coming now!" and many others said the "walls of the church are caving in." Many people lost all sense of equilibrium and made for the doors and windows as rapidly as possible, oblivious to the welfare of children and older people and cripples. Even the praying evangalist made for the handiest outlet and was critical that the church had only two doors.
The membership is now composed of mostly young people filled with enthusiasm through their several youth organizations. It is significant that the church has just closed a revival with another evangelist assisting the pastor, who also came from the city of Wilmington, Rev. Julius Parker. The church has a very commodius parsonage and the five acre lots around the parsonage and church are well kep. Rev. Johnny Carpenter is the present pastor.
CHARTER MEMBERS OF THE BEAVER CREEK ADVENT CHRISTIAN CHURCH
Organized in Sept. 1879
|Lowery and Adline Dula||Mrs. Allie Dula|
|John and Eleanor Ferguson||Miss Dula Ferguson|
|John and Sallie Boster||Franklin and Sarah Hendrix|
|Henry and Martha Miller||Mrs. Edith F. Spicer|
|Miss. Mary Triplett||Miss. Bethania Triplett|
|Miss. Julia Walsh||E.K. and Mira Walsh|
CHARTER MEMBERS BIOGRAPHY
I was personally acquainted with most of these Charter members, though I was not born until some years after the church was established. As well as I recall they lived to be quite old before they died.
I well remember John A. Foster and his wife, Sallie Dula Foster. We called them Cousins John and Sallie, because we thought they were some akin to my great grandmother Edith Foster Ferguson, wife of the Scottish imigrant, Thomas Ferguson. Cousin John was an honored Confererate soldier, who fought in many bloody battled suring the Civil War, and lost a leg in that fratnacidal striffe in the 1860's. After the War, he came home and farmed the rest of his life and lived in the ancestral home still standiing. He married Sallie Dula, daughter of the late Jefferson Dula, who was a most lovable woman; both faithful members of the church. They both were deeply religious. They reared a most excellent family: Alice Foster, the oldest child, who lived to be nearly ninety; next Alfred J. Foster, a noted teacher and minister; Mary Ellen Foster, who was an estimable woman but an invalid most of her life; John Edmund Foster, who married my niece, Loula Ferguson Foster, and reared a fine family. John A. Foster deserves much credit, handicapped as he was, but made a good living for his family, was an excellent citizen as well as a faithful church member.
Lowery Dula and his wife, Jane Adeline Harris Dula, were also faithful Charter members. He was a brother of Sallie Dula Foster, while his wife was a sister of Sam Harris, the father of ida Harris Hartley and Ollie Harris West. Both of these girls had fine families and Sycho Hartley, Emsie Hartley Eller and Dixie Hartley Eller are all present members of the Advent Christian Church. Lowery Dula was also an honored Confederate War veteran and lived for many years on a mountain farm and had a fine orchard. He also reared a finie family of boys and girls. Later this couple lived in Ferguson until their death and were buried in the Ferguson cemetery.
My aunts, Edith Ferguson Spicer and Dicie Ferguson Bradley were sisters of my father, Lindsay C. Ferguson, who with my mother, Sarah Kendall Ferguson, joined fhe church at the same time aboiut 1880. Edith Ferguson Spicer married Johnson Spicer of Traphill shortly after the Civil War. They had three daughters -- Martha Elle, Betty and Janie. Martha Ellen married Samuel F. Moore of Sumter County, S.C. They reared a large family and were staunch Adventists until their deaths in the 1930's. They have a remarkable record in that many of their descendants are members of the A.C. Church. Aunt fect Christians of their day. They were indead wonderful personalities. Betty died at about 40 years of age and Janie died at 94 in South Carolina. Their father died about 1880.
Aunt Dicie Ferguson, who married Miniard Bradley late in life, was childless. She was a delightful and adorable aunt and she was most generous with her relatives and was a faithful contributor to the church, as were all her kin. Our two aunts and my fauther were children of John F. (Brick House Jack) Ferguson and hiw wife, Elendar (Eleanor) Triplett Ferguson, who were among the Charter members of the church, and large contributors and supporters in many ways. At one time, they entertained over 100 people at a conference. He was a big farmer, good citizen and faithful too the church until his death in 1886 at 87 years of age. Grandmother lived to be 94. They reared a large family and have many descendants who are stil Adventists.
Bethania Triplett was a daughter of Uncle Joe Triplett and Dicie Gray Triplett. She married Thomas C. West and reared two daughters and three sons, all deceased. Her son, Carter West, remained a true Adventist until his death. He married Vera James Horton, who still survives and is a faithful member and contributor to the Church. Cousin Bethania was a fine woman and faithful to the church until her death in the 1930's. Her sisters, Amanda dn Mary Triplett were also charter members and devoted to their religion.
Elburton Walsh and his wife Mira Cox Walsh were faithful charter members and lived in a fine old dwelling overlooking Beaver Creek, which is stil standing. He was born in poverty on Elk Creek, but through hard work and wisdom, acquired a large farm on Beaver Creek. They had a large family, most of them members of the Adventist church; including a daughter, Julia Walsh, who was also a charter member. She married George Marley and they have descendants who are still members of the A.C. Church.
Frank and Sarah Hendrix were charter members and he was a most devoted minister and preached many times at Beaver Creek. They were the great grandparents of a recent pastor of the church, Rev. John Casrpenter.
I was not acquainted with Mr. and Mrs. Henry Miller, but understand they were for many years members and faithful contributors. He had the same name as the founder of the Advent Christian denomination, William Miller. I did not know Allie Dula, but I think she was a sister of Mrs. John Foster.
It is significant that the early church for many years had a long Communion table in the middle of the church building around which members gathered periodically for communion and fellowship. The Church was composed of both Republicans and Democrats, but all fellowshipped together as if there were no political differences or differences of any kind. The table was for many years presided over by that venerable minister and Confererate veteran, Rev. George Durham Sherrill, a fine pastor from Lenoir.