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List of Bertie Churches in 1881
Church    Location  Date org   admit to Assoc. Remarks

Bertie.....Bertie....1750......1806...Changed to Sandy Run 1825

Capehart's .Bertie...1823......1825
Cashie......Bertie...1778......1806 Received into Kehukee 1778
Coleraine...Bertie....1789.....1806 First called Wiccacon
Green's X Roads.Bertie.1874....1874
Holly Grove..Bertie....1804....1825
Lawrence's X Roads..Bertie 1875.1875
Mars' Hill.....Bertie....1854...1855
Outlaw's Chapel.Bertie...---....1806  Dropped 1825
Ross'Meeting House........Bertie....1804..1806
Siloam Baptist Church 1879
Sandy Run.......Bertie....1750..1806 Called Bertie till
1825                     Mem. Orig K. Ass. K. Ass met here in 1784
White Oak.......Bertie....1856...1857

Baptist Churches established after 1881

Askewville Baptist 1912

Aulander Baptist 1885 -Membership Rolls

Center Grove Baptist 1897    (Aulander)

Faith Baptist-1963

First Baptist - Lewiston-1883

Edgewood Baptist - Windsor North - 1951

Elm Grove Baptist - 1895

Kelford Baptist - Kelford - 1898

Holly Grove Baptist - 1804

Powellsville Baptist -1909

Riverside Baptist - Colerain - 1913

Wakelon Baptist - Colerain - 1940

Republican Baptist Church

Membership List (1828-1860)
It derived its name because the church was used for community meeting.


Ross Baptist Church (Minutes 1806-1872) 2 vols. microfilm
Duke University Special Collections

Ross Baptist Church

Photo from Neil Baker

A Brief History
According to documentation, Ross Baptist Church was organized in early 1804, but the story of its "birth" begins a few years earlier. About the year of 1800 two clergymen from Martin County, Elder Martin Ross, and Elder James Ross began a crusade to establish a "new religion" in the area known as the Baptist Missionary Society. According to traditional stories, they began to meet in the old Indian Graveyard at Cucklemaker Creek where they held "camp meetings" periodically. Converts were baptized in a designated area of the creek. The same area was used for over 100 years as a baptismal site for Ross Church, and is still known today as the "Baptizing Hole at Cucklemaker Creek." The most prominent names among the early converts were Cowan, Oxley, Pugh, Yeats, Hughes, Newbem, Mizelle, White, Mitchell, and Freeman.

Soon after the area crusade for a missionary society began, Martin Ross moved to Perquimans County and intensified efforts to establish the society from the Chowan River to the Virginia Line. James Ross moved to Bertie County and became a member of the Cashie Meeting House in Windsor. Traveling from the Windsor location, James continued to hold "Divine" services at the old Indian graveyard. Thomas Newbem, during the year of 1802 deeded a plot land to the Baptist Society on which a "meetinghouse" would be built. During the year of 1803, people of the area worked together as they cut trees, hewed logs, and hoisted them into place to build the first house of worship. The building was completed in 1804, and was described in the minutes of the Kehukee Association as the "Log Meeting House of Bertie County." The same year, 1804, the building became an established place of worship. Contrary to traditional stories, Ross Church was not named in honor of Elder Martin Ross. It was named in honor of Elder James Ross, and was known for many years during the 1800s as the "James Ross Meeting House."

The names of all the charter members of Ross Church are not known. The charter members that are known were William Cowan, John Cowan, Thomas Newbem, Ishmael "Isma" Yeats, Aaron Freeman, John Mizelle, Henry Pugh, George Outlaw, Benjamin Folk, and Cornelius Hughes. Elder James Ross served the church over fifty years - thirty-two years as the first pastor. Only one other pastor exceeded this record. Thomas Hoggard served forty years as the second pastor. They preached to a membership that shared traits of a mixture of English, French, and American Indian ancestor. Many of the members, male and female, were "hard drinking, undisciplined, and disorderly" individuals. For over 100 years the church maintained a tough policy in an effort to discipline its membership. Some of the many charges brought against the members included intoxication, absenteeism, rioting, fighting, failure to support the church, fornication, adultery, and disorderly conduct in conference.

When charges were brought against a member, a committee of several men was appointed to investigate. If the committee confirmed the charges, the accused was "cited/ordered" to appear at the next church conference for a "trial." Many members were "excluded," or "excommunicated" from the church when they were tried. During church services women were segregated from the men, and were not permitted to vote or express their opinion on church policy, unless asked to do so. But the women were subjected to the same "judicial type proceedings" and disciplinary action as the men. During the year of 1921 the church relented, and permitted women to vote and participate in the decision-making process. Woman's participation in church policy was a major factor in terminating the "judicial proceedings," trials, and exclusions that the church had enforced for over 117 years.

For many years, Ross Church met on "Saturday before forth Lord's day" of each month for business conference, followed by "Divine Services" on Sunday. If there were many misconduct charges pending, or to be tried, the meetings would begin on Thursday, or Friday, and continue until all the cases had been heard. In 1829, midweek prayer services began. Services were held once each month on the Wednesday after the third Sunday. The first Sunday school was established in July 1859. The members of the school met the first Sunday of each month until about 1900, when they began to meet each Sunday. Sunday school was one non-graded class until 1930. Ross Church began worship services the second and forth Sundays of each month during the 1940s. The church shared pastor duties in a field with various other churches until 1975. Since 1975 the pastor's duties at Ross has been a full-time position.

Probably, the most memorable events witnessed by some of the members of the old James Ross Meeting House were the "protracted (extended) meetings" that began in August of 1840, and were repeated many years thereafter during the same month. Ministers from various churches were invited to participate in the worship services that were conducted afternoons and evenings. Some of the meetings continued for two weeks, and produced over fifty candidates for baptism. The church recorded record numbers in attendance during that time in its history.

In the business meeting of December 1858, the church appointed a committee to replace the old log meetinghouse. Members on the committee were William J. Mitchell, Aaron S. Mizelle, Starkey E. Mizelle, Ruffin M. White, A. J. Morris, Josiah Mizelle, William H. Hoggard, Henry Mizelle, and W. D. Wynn. Henry Mizelle was appointed "Head Workman." By May of 1860 the log building had been removed and the new building completed. The new building was described as modem, with "weather boarded" exterior walls. The interior walls were surface plastered. Galleries with stairway access were located on each side of the sanctuary at the entrance. The galleries accommodated a large membership of slaves until slavery ended in the mid-1860s.

Joseph E. and Penelope Cale Hoggard deeded additional land to the church in 1889. Ross Baptist Church
Photo from John Cowand

In 1904 the church building underwent extensive renovations, including an addition to the rear that was referred to as the "kitchen ". During the same time, the galleries were removed and replaced with a large balcony. Strip paneling was installed in diagonal patterns on the interior walls and ceiling, and new stained glass windows were installed. The windows and paneling are still in place today. Some of the work was not completed until 1906. The "kitchen" was renovated in 1931 and divided into eight Sunday school classrooms. A parsonage was built during the year of 1948. The financial burden for the parsonage was supplemented by funds from the estate of Mrs. J. T. Newbern. Two additional classrooms and two restrooms were added to the church building in 1959. The restrooms were the first with plumbing fixtures. The building received a "fresh appearance" in 1970 when the old exterior wooden walls were covered with brick.

In 1974 a Community Center/Educational Building was built by the membership. The building consists of five classrooms, a nursery, a utility room, two rest rooms, a kitchen area, and a fellowship hall. During 1990 a concrete tennis court was installed on church property that had been donated by Mrs. Doris Daily, a former member. Cost for the court was supplemented by funds from the estate of Mr. Howard Harrison. In October of 1991 an outdoor children's playground/family center was dedicated to God, and in memory of four and one-half year old Samantha Ross Hoggard. All equipment was donated and installed by Samantha’s family. During November 1991, Ross Church agreed to become treasurer of the Samantha Hoggard Memorial Fund, and administer the Samantha Hoggard Memorial Scholarship Program that had been previously established. Funding for the scholarship program is through memorial contributions that are still received in memory of loved ones. A metal utility building was erected in 1998 for housing and storage of church equipment. The building is also equipped with cooking and dining facilities. Funds from the estate of Mr. C. Owen White supplemented the cost of the building.

Associates assisted the pastors during the 1800s. Those that served as associate pastors in respective order were Ishmael "Isma" Yeats, William Jones Newbem, Aaron Spivey, Henry White, Moses L. Mizelle, Ira Odom, and John N. Hoggard. Pastors that have served Ross Church were, and are James Ross, Thomas Hoggard, Jeremiah Bunch, West Leary, J. A. Speight, T. T. Speight, R. B. Lineberry, W. H. Howell, J. H. Barnes, Alonzo Finch, G. W. Burch, J. 0. Walton, W. 0. Andrews, E. R. Stewart, Lonnie Sasser, Roy Young, E. G. Willis, Norman Hicks, Robert Lambert, Charles Hodges, Henry Huggins, James Branch, David Giffin, Gary Mickey, Gordon Rawls, Tom McLean, and Roger Kiker. The pastors that served in the late 1800s and early 1900s boasted of congregations that frequently exceeded 800 members. Due to the establishment of many area churches, the membership at Ross declined and stabilized at about 230.

A cemetery was established on church property when member Lewis W. Miller was "laid to rest" on March 7, 1937. Mr. Miller requested that privilege before he died. Many have followed him. The early members of the church were buried in many of the old "graveyards" in the general area. Some of the burial sites will probably never be found, or identified again due to the forest growth that covers them. But the legacy of the early members still lives through the history of the old Log Meeting House, and the events that occurred through the years that shaped our membership into what we know today as Ross Baptist Church.

Neil Baker requested this brief history. Neil has shared many pages of information with us over the years, including pertinent information that was used in the general history of early Ross Baptist Church and its Membership. The general history has been published and is now available as a book for a small fee. (see below) The fee will be used to recover the cost for publishing. Any excess funds will be used in programs administered by Ross Church for humanitarian causes.
Stanley Hoggard

Resource: Ross Baptist Church-The First Seventy Five Years 1804-1879 The People and the Community
Printed 2000. $15.00 shipping included.
Ordering information:

Address: O. M. Highsmith
         1406 Wakelon Rd.
         Colerain, NC 27924
Phone:    252-794-9767
Askewville Baptist Church came from Ross Baptist Church

Sandy Run

See Bertie Church above.

James A Delke - "History of the North Carolina Chowan Baptist Association" pub. 1882.
Prof. James A. Delke's history of the North Carolina Chowan Baptist Association(1882). In it he summarizes the history of the Baptists in NC. "As early as 1695, individual Baptists were found in NC; first church was organized in 1727 called Perquimans.. . In 1742 a church was constituted on Kehukee creek in Halifax county, 120 miles North-west of Newbern, the church as usual taking the name of the water course; which church was destined to become the mother of such a numerous and distinguished offspring. Other churches were soon formed and in 1752 there were sixteen churches holding what were called "Yearly meetings" Most of the first Baptists in North Carolina came from Virginia. They were at first called General Baptists by some, Free-will, holding views strictly Arminian. In a few years more orthodox principles were introduced by John Gano, and those apostles of the new Reformation, Miller and Van Horn, and soon the little leaven had leavened the whole lump, and they called themselves Regular Baptists. In 1765, the reformed churches convened at Kehukee in Halifax county, and regularly organized the Kehukee Association. In 1790 the number of churches having increased to sixty-one with a membership of 5000 scattered over a wide territory in North Carolina and Virginia"


1885-1995 Aulander's Centennial, History of Aulander, NC Compiled by the Historical Committee for the Centennial Celebration of the Town of Aulander - Mrs. Edward Blanchard, Co-Chairman, Mrs. Sarah Mitchell, Co-Chairman - (and list 27 other people who contributed to the publication) - Centennial Committee Mrs. Elizabeth Nelson, Co-Chairman, Mrs. Artie Tayloe, Co-Chairman and (13 other names of people who contributed effort to this publication)

October 1972 issue - Town Of Aulander, N.C., History Of Aulander Compiled by the Aulander Historical Committee for the celebration of the 250 Anniversary of Bertie County.

In 1886 a group of members from Connaritsa and Dudley's Grove (now Oak Grove) Baptist Churches joined together and established the Aulander Baptist Church.


The Bertie Ledger-Advance, Windsor, NC, September 28, 1972, Section D-2:
The first Baptist Church in Aulander was instituted in 1886, with the members from the old Dudley's Grove--two miles distant--and other neighboring churches joining with the Aulander people.

This first church was located on what is now the Ahoskie-Powellsville road. The cost of construction was, according to the records, $1,300. The church could seat 500 persons.

Among the pioneer builders of the industrial life of the town are found many of the same names of those constituting the first Aulander Baptist Church.

The Rev. C.W. Scarboro was the first pastor. The Rev. L.M. Curtis, from Sampson County, served the longest.

As the town grew, the church was moved into the incorporated limits and many of the members moved their membership back to the old Dudley Grove Church, which is now known as Oak Grove Church on the Ahoskie highway.

In 1925 a large, new church building was erected at a cost of $55,000 and a commodious parsonage, at an approximate cost of $7,000 was built. A large debt was on the property for a number of years, but during the pastorates of the Rev. Lonnie Sasser, the Rev. W.P. Milne and the Rev. Joseph Folds, it was liquidated and the notes were burned at a public ceremony in 1946.

During the pastorate of the Rev. James O. Shurling the church was completely renovated. Again in 1972, under the direction of the Rev. Van Modlin, repairs were made to the church basement."

The following from Aulander Historical Booklet
The first location of this church was on the corner of Pine Drive and East Main Street (now Powellsville Road). According to records the cost of construction of this church, with a seating capacity of 500, was $1,300. The first pastor was the Rev. C.W. Scarboro. The Rev. L.M. Curtis of Sampson County served longest. When the church was moved inside the corporate limits to the corner of Harmon and Canal Streets, a few members returned to the Dudley's Grove Church. The present church was erected on the same location in 1926 at a cost of $55,000 and a parsonage at a const of $7,000. It wasn't until 1946 that this debt was liquidated and the notes burned at a public ceremony.

The First Baptist Church, organized in 1893, was located on Rogerson Avenue with the Rev. W.D. Early as pastor. In 1919 land was bought from R.J. Dunning and the church was moved to its present site on South Commerce Street. This church was damaged by fire in 1960 and since then it has been remodeled and brick veneered. In 1909 a lot next to the Joe Burden residence was given by Mrs. Ella Harmon Burden to the Rev. Hersey Parker on which was built the Parker Meeting House. After the death of Rev. Parker in 1916, the fellowship services of this church were discontinued. A few years later Raymond S. Burden acquired this lot and built his home.

Siloam Baptist Church

AUGUST 2, 1981 - author unknown

Siloam Baptist Church in Indian Woods, Township of Bertie County, as an institution, dates from 1885, but for five or six years prior to that, services had been conducted by Elder Bythiel Leggett, first in his own yard, then in an old store and finally in the community school house. The story of the beginning of this church is an interesting one.

In 1879, Elder Bythiel Leggett, moved with his family from the Greens Cross section to the old Speller Plantation, owned at that time by Mr. Walter Miller and Dr. H. V. Dunstan. He found a few white families in the community. The large plantation there were worked, for the greater part, by Negro share-croppers. These were the ex-slaves and their descendants. There was neither a church nor a school in the community.

Elder Leggett had moved from a community in which the church had played a very important part in the lives of the people. When he saw that the people in this section fished, hauled fertilizer, and did other work on the Lord’s Day, he became very conscious of their spiritual needs. He set to work at once to provide religious services for his family and his neighbors.

He first began to preach in his own yard to people who gathered there on Sundays, among these were many ex-slaves who stood on the outer edges of the cross. As his congregation grew, Elder Leggett, now a licensed minister, moved into an old store located at the junction of the Grabtown and Spellers Ferry Roads. Here a Sunday school was organized.

Soon after this, new families began to move in. Among these were the Gregory’s, Holders’, and Spencers’. Soon a new school district was formed and a schoolhouse built on land given by Judge James Bond. The first teacher of the new school was Charles Blomfield Speller whose many lineal descendants live in the community today. Church services and Sunday School were now held in the school building. It was located on the Grabtown Road near an old mill pond which provided facilities for administering baptism rites. The first Sunday School and Church Statistics report reads as follows:

Sunday School Report
Superintendent			--	D. P. Holder
Officers and Teachers		--		8
Average Attendance		--		5
Scholars			--	           32
Average Attendance		--	           21
Conversions			--		0
Contributions			--		$3.44

Church Statistics

Sabbaths of Preaching		2
Received by Baptism		2
Received by Letter		6
Restored		           12
White Males		           10
White Females			8
Total Whites                            18      

Pastor    --    B. Leggett
Clerk     --    Charles Bond

In 1885, before the schoolhouse was moved, a series of revival services were held during a severe drought. Mr. George D. Leggett recorded his remembrance of these services as a boy. “I remember in one of these meeting which was in very dry summer weather, special prayers were offered to the Lord for rain. That P.M. we walked home in the rain; boys and girls barefoot, old men bare-headed rejoicing as they went their way. Happy day in these meetings. There were many converts, many of them Mothers and Fathers”.

As a result of this manifestation of Divine power, there were many conversions. The congregation became too large for the capacity of the school building. Plans were made for erecting a church. Reverend Jeremiah Bunch, Reverend Edward Pierce, and Reverend Bythiel Leggett were influential in setting this movement on foot. Reverend Leggett was called to the pastorate of the new church. A. A. Pope was elected clerk and J. H. Skiles and Henry Casper were elected deacons. It was not until 1889 that the building was completed. It was built near the site of the first school. In 1904 and again in 1922, the building was enlarged and repaired.

With the exception of a few years, Reverend Bythiel Leggett served as pastor of Siloam Baptist Church from the time of its organization until his death in 1908. Since that time, his son, Reverend George D. Leggett also served as pastor from 1922 until 1935. Although he is now gone to be with the Lord, his wife, Mrs. Josephine Leggett, continues to be faithful to this church, and is our oldest living member.

By 1929, highway 17 had been constructed and Spellers Ferry had been abandoned. It was thought advisable to move the church to a new site which would be more accessible. It was moved to a site on Grabtown Road, given by Mrs. Lee Bond. As the body of believers at Siloam began to grow, so did the building. Classrooms were added and dedicated in August, 1955.

Although the building was adequate to meet the needs of the congregation, there was instilled in many of the members a vision of a new Sanctuary. As with any new venture of faith, it took a while for the vision to move through the entire fellowship. The present location of the building was not large enough for a new Sanctuary. Land was donated by Mr. Arthur Leggett and plans were drawn up to move the existing structure to a site on Cedar Landing Road, and build a new House of Worship. In July, 1978 the building was moved; all in one piece. It was the largest building ever moved by the Lilley Brothers firm in Washington, N.C., and received much publicity throughout the county.

As the building of the Siloam Baptist Church moved, so did their faith. In the Spring of 1979, ground was broken to begin building on the new Sanctuary, which was to connect to the original structure. Some of the work was contracted, but most of the work has been done by members themselves.

We have reason to praise the Lord, this day of August 2, 1981. From our reception into the West Chowan Baptist Association in October, 1886, to the present, God has been rich in blessing us, over and above our measure of faith.

Bertie County Page last updated: Tuesday, 22-Sep-2009 15:41:52 MDT

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