Early Church History

Early Church History

The party above mentioned was from Pennsylvania. They located lands upon the Fairforest Creek and settled where the line between Spartanburg and Union now crosses that stream. Other friends from the North were soon with them — among them persons named Means, Dugan and Kelso. When the Indian War commenced in 1760 the settlers retreated to the interior and some of them never returned. But most of them came back; a church was organized and gradually acquired strength until 1766. No written document shows the time of this organization, and tradition fails in the matter, but it probably took place in 1762. The first meeting of session which is on record was held Aug. 16, 1791. The Rev. David Barr, Moderator; elders present, John Davidson, William Patton, Joseph Kelso, James Mayes, Hugh Means, James McIllwaine and Robert Harris. A number of these, however, are known to have been ruling elders before the commencement of the Revolutionary War. Within a few years subsequent to this first meeting the following names appear on the list: James Means, Samuel Kelso, Henry Story, Richard Thompson, Samuel Morrow, Edward Mayes and William Davitt.

In October, 1794, the name of the first pastor appears on the sessional record, probably immediately after his ordination and induction into the pastoral office. He continued ten years with this church. In the time an interesting revival of religion took place in the congregation; indeed, it was a time of great interest to God’s people through the whole Union. Perhaps in no country at any time has there been a more general or intense interest on the subject of religion than was experienced in this country during a few of the first years of the present century. Fairforest shared largely in this time of refreshing, but the pastor, William Williams, believing that his usefulness would be promoted by going to a different field, removed to the State of Ohio in 1804. He was succeeded by the Rev. Daniel Gray, who died pastor of this church in 1816. He was followed by the Rev. Joseph Hillhouse, who left in the course of a few years. The next pas tor was the Rev. D. L. Gray, who also left after a stay of about four years.