Review of "Some Pioneer Presbyterian Preachers of the Piedmont North Carolina."

Some Pioneer Presbyterian Preachers of the Piedmont North Carolina by Rev. I. S. McElroy, D. D. Undated, circa 1928. 50 pp.
I purchased this relatively rare book to further my research into the historical pastors of Dillingham Presbyterian Church. It contains brief bios of ten presbyterian preachers including the founding organizer of Dilingham Presbyterian Church, the Rev. R. P. Smith. D. D. 
Interestingly this book was written while R. P. Smith was still alive and so his dates are noted as (1851 – ) and his address listed as Asheville, NC, 48 Dunstan Road. He is referred to as “the outstanding man of evangelistic labors.” Smith preached in Gastonia from 1893 to 1896 and then worked as a Superintendent of Home Missions from 1896 to 1924. Dillingham Church, though not mentioned in this book, was founded under Smith’s efforts in 1896, his first year on the job. Thus it must have been one of the first of the 14 churches he is said to have planted.
But what of the nine other illustrious gentlemen who’ve found their way into this short book? Here I’ve cut the short bios even shorter:
1. Rev. Robert Archibald. 
Though his dates are unknown, Archibald did graduate from Princeton College in 1772 was ordained in 1778. McElroy refers to him as “the first or more probably the second resident Presbyterian minister in the territory now included in the Kings Mountain Presbytery” which he earlier noted as including the counties of Gaston, Cleveland, Lincoln, Rutherford, and Polk. These are the counties immediately west of Charlotte, NC. Archibald is “second” due to there having been one previous pastor, the Rev. Hezekiah Balch at their Rocky River Church. This church apparently still exists to this day, though not with the original building extant.
McElroy notes that Archibald “was a scholar and a man of gifts, but lacking in clearness of conviction and fixedness of purpose.” This is evidenced in that he “first thought of practicing medicine, then he entered the ministry as a Calvinist, then drifted into Arminianism and finally became a Universalist or rather a Restorationist.” In 1794 he was suspended from ministry by his presbytery because of his heretical doctrines.
2. Rev. Humphrey Hunter (1735-1827)
Born in Ulster Ireland, he sailed to America with his widowed mother at just the age of four. He fought and was captured for a time in the Revolution before escaping from his captors by night “in time to celebrate the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown.” (p. 11) He then studied under Robert Archibald, presumably while Archibald was still a Calvinist, and finished his theological study under the Presbytery of S. C. where he was licensed to preach in 1789. His longest tenure was at the Steele Creek Church from 1805 to 1827. (The same church Miss Bertha Abernathy grew up in many years later.)
3. Rev. Robert Hall Morrison, D. D. (1798-1889)
The son of a Revolutionary war solider, Robert Hall Morrison studied at Princeton Theological Seminary and was ordained in 1820. His most notable work was in connection with the founding of Davidson College which opened in 1837 with Morrison as the first president. He and his wife had twelve children.
4. Rev. Joseph Kennedy (1838-1912)
This pioneer preaching graduated from Davidson College in 1859 and Columbia Theological Seminary in 1864. He served a chaplain for the Confederates and then pastored a number of churches following the war. It is said that he “preached the gospel not so much from a sense of duty as from purse love of his Lord and his work.” (p. 19)
5. Rev. Robert Zenas Johnston (1834-1908)
Johnston is another pioneer preacher who graduated from Davidson College; he in 1858. And likewise another who graduated from Columbia Theological Seminary; he in 1861. He longest call was at Lincolnton from 1872 to his death in 1908. As the stated clerk for Mecklenburg Presbytery for twenty-five years and the Moderator of the Synod of North Carolina in 1887, he would have been a quite prominent pastor. Even at the time of the books writing in 1928 there were counted 59 living descendants of Rev. Johnston.
6. Rev. Wm. E. McIlwaine, D. D. (1845-)
Ordained in 1875, Rev. McIlwaine pastored a number of churches in the region and later worked in home missions. A letter of his is quoted in which it is said that he was the first pastor to have a manse in the county and that previously ministers generally owned their own homes and lived in the country. McIlwaine’s date of death is not listed, but as he is spoken of in the past tense he apparently was deceased by the time of the book’s publishing.
7. Rev. Robert Newton Davis (1818-1871)
Rev. Davis grew up at the Rocky River Church, the second time we’ve come across this church now. Here we have another Davidson College graduate; class of 1840. For the firs time though we see Union Theological Seminary in Virginia mentioned, where Davis graduated from in 1843. After preaching a time in Virginia, he was for twenty years the pastor in Lincolnton, NC.
8. Rev. James Davidson Hall (1806-1892)
Hall was a graduate of the University of North Carolina (1828) and Union Theological Seminary, VA in 1833. He preached at a number of churches, largely in Gaston county and was one of the founders of Davidson College. “The War Between the States swept away much of his earthly possessions.” It is said that more than sixty of his descendants entered the presbyterian ministry.
9. Rev. Edward Payson Davis, D. D. (1851-)
The son of a pastor, Davis graduated from Davidson College in 1873 and Columbia Theological Seminary in 1877. He preached widely at church both within North Carolina and in other states.
Additional information of interest:
McElroy notes that in the pioneer years “Church buildings were made of hewed logs generally 30 by 24 feet with a shed at the other end from the pulpit where the slaves could sit and through an opening made in the wall by the removal of two or three logs they could see and hear the preacher.” (p. 6)
The pioneer presbyterian preachers are said to be “almost without exception of Scotch-Irish lineage.” (p. 6)

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