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Collection Number: 03724

Collection Title: Sawyers Creek Baptist Church Records, 1815-1937

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


This collection was processed with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

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Size 6 volumes (1 reel of microfilm)
Abstract Sawyers Creek Baptist Church, Camden County, N.C., founded circa 1790, was affiliated with the Chowan Association and later with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and the Southern Baptist Convention. Primarily minutes of church conferences held every month in the early years and quarterly in later years, with special called meetings as needed. The minutes record transactions of church business and finance; matters relating to the admission, discipline, expulsion, or removal of members; the calling of pastors and the election of church officials; the care of church property; and relations with other Baptist churches. Also included are lists of members with indications of gender and race, lists of contributions, and the church covenant and rules of decorum.
Creator Sawyers Creek Baptist Church (Camden County, N.C.)
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Sawyers Creek Baptist Church Records #3724, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Lent for filming by Sawyers Creek Baptist Church in Belcross, N.C., by the pastor, Irvin H. Acree, and clerk, Mrs. Walter L. Midgette, in December 1965.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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Sawyers Creek Baptist Church, Camden County, N.C., founded circa 1790, was affiliated with the Chowan Association and later with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and the Southern Baptist Convention.

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Six volumes of records of the Sawyers Creek Baptist Church

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Sawyers Creek Baptist Church Records, 1815-1937.

6 volumes on 1 reel of microfilm.
Volume 1

31 July 1815-13 November 1853. Minutes of monthly and quarterly meetings of the church, and also preparatory meetings every quarter, dealing with church business, discipline of church members, deaths, new members received by transfer from other churches or by baptism; relations with other Baptist churches; calling a pastor; granting letters of dismissal to members wishing to join other Baptist churches; and election to church offices (few in number). There are references to African-American members, whose status is not usually specified, but probably includes both slave and free. In February-March 1846, there are references to the sale of pews. The last entries for 8 October and 13 November 1853 are duplicated in volume 2, which also includes other entries for October 1853. Several loose papers enclosed in this book include lists of ballots for persons nominated for church office and items dealing with discipline cases. At the back of the book, an account of a meeting "at the new meeting house on Sawyers Creek" on 11 September 1790 to "form an abstract of our principles" is recorded under the title "Rules for the Government of the Church at Sawyers Creek." There is also the church covenant, lists of male members, female members, male African-American members, and female African-American members (undated). Sometimes the writing is difficult to read with poor spelling. The disciplinary cases show concern on the part of the church for the conduct of members. #03724, Series: "Sawyers Creek Baptist Church Records, 1815-1937." 1

Volume 2

8 October 1853-12 March 1872. Loose papers from volume 2 include lists of female members of the church, 1853, 1859, 1869, and lists of contributions for "general benevolence" to 10 June 1871, male and female members. Early entries in this volume, in pencil and very dim, are out of order. There are minutes of 7 October 1854; lists of members, some received in August 1873; unidentified list of women; minutes for 21 September 1866; an item, 2 January 1854, wherein the trustees of Wake Forest College granted Sawyers Creek Church a scholarship until 1904 in return for a gift of $500; covenant of the church; rules of government; list of male members in 1854; list of female members in 1860 and in 1854; and in 1864, list of African American members, male and female. Conference minutes begin with 8 October 1853, which is a duplicate of that in volume 1, and include others for October and an entry for 13 November, which is also a duplicate. Business for the period of this volume is much like that recorded in volume 1 except that it includes the awarding to an individual of the Wake Forest scholarship. For the early part of the Civil War period, the minutes make no mention of the war, though it may have been a reflection of unsettled conditions that an unusually large number of members were expelled for immoral conduct. In September 1862, the entries are kept in pencil and continue to be so through the rest of the volume. In September 1864, a member gave $10 for the benefit of soldiers, and, in December, a committee appointed to determine if any persons on the church roll had joined the U.S. Army reported that none were found. Towards the end of the war, financial arrangements, especially the payment of the pastor's salary, showed the influence of inflation. In September 1866 the African American members were granted letters of dismission to join other churches. On the end pages, there are lists of contributors. #03724, Series: "Sawyers Creek Baptist Church Records, 1815-1937." 2

Volume 3

7 March 1872-1 July 1882, 6 June 1886. This volume includes the church covenant, rules of government, and minutes from 7 March 1872 to 1 July 1882 and one entry from 6 June 1886, also located in volume 4 under 5 June 1886. On the end pages are undated lists of members and amounts they contributed. #03724, Series: "Sawyers Creek Baptist Church Records, 1815-1937." 3

Volume 4

5 August 1882-3 November 1900. The first pages of this volume contain undated lists of members and contributions. The minutes are concerned, to a large extent, with the personal conduct of members, but disciplinary cases also deal with members who have not paid their dues, which were usually assessed by a committee of deacons, and with person who do not attend the conference. The church also displayed concern for the prohibition of the sale of liquor. #03724, Series: "Sawyers Creek Baptist Church Records, 1815-1937." 4

Volume 5

1 December 1900-May 1928. The minutes in this volume are similar to previous ones, but many of the practices of the church had changed. Dues were still assessedm and there were many special collections to take care of rather small expenses. In late 1901, the committee on assessments was told to make the total amount large enough to cover all incidental expenses, but there were still rather frequent special collections. In April 1902, the church defined revelry, which was forbidden to members by the covenant, and there was emphasis on efforts to stop members from dancing. On 30 September 1905, the church passed a resolution disapproving the running of trains on Sunday. In 1911, the church agreed to change the practice of calling the pastor annually to calling him for an indefinite period. On 4 November 1911, the church received a gift for an individual communion service. On 6 September 1913, the church gave a member permission to go to court in regard to some land in controversy. On 6 June 1914, the church appointed a committee to investigate the envelope system for missions, expenses, etc. In January 1915, a committee was appointed to investigate charges of dancing and drinking against some of the members. By 1917, the church was apparently working on a system of pledges supplemented by assessment of those members who did not pledge, but the transition to the new system is not entirely clear from the minutes. In September 1918, the church got a telephone for the parsonage and began to dispense with the calling of the roll at some conferences. In 1920, electric lights were installed in the church and parsonage by a private system. By this year, regular conferences were held quarterly only with short called ones for special purposes. In the 1920s, members were expelled for failing to pay dues and for immorality. There are no minutes recorded for 1923, and pages 328-331 of the volume are blank. The roll was called at conferences in 1926, but nothing was said about absentees or excuses for absences. From 1927 on, there were no roll calls and no cases of discipline for personal conduct. The minutes in this volume end 31 March 1928 and are followed by reports of the Sunday School superintendent for April and May 1928. There is also an undated loose copy of the church covenant. #03724, Series: "Sawyers Creek Baptist Church Records, 1815-1937." 5

Volume 6

30 June 1928-22 September 1937. The minutes of this volume are concerned, to a large extent, with financial matters; in 1929, members were expelled for non-payment of dues. In 1933, the pastor was authorized to canvass members to contribute chickens as a means of getting money to buy batteries for the electric plant. Members cut wood for use by the church in heating. In January 1926, a committee was appointed to visit some of the members in regard to their church relations, but no details were given. #03724, Series: "Sawyers Creek Baptist Church Records, 1815-1937." 6

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Processing Information

Processed by: Suzanne Ruffing, August 1996

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

This collection was processed with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

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