Bethesda Presbyterian Church




Bethesda Presbyterian Church
Bethesda Presbyterian Church
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Historical Sketch

Bethesda Presbyterian Church is located in Western Caswell County on Bethesda Cemetery Road, just south of Highway 158 before reaching Casville. A North Carolina historical marker located at the intersection of Bethesda Church Road and Bethesda Cemetery Road provides additional directions to the site.

Bethesda Presbyterian Church began in 1765 as Hart's Chapel and is one of the oldest churches in Caswell County. While the documentary evidence is not complete, it appears that the first pastor was the Reverend Hugh McAden, the pioneering Presbyterian missionary. The church is considered the mother of many churches in counties west of Caswell County.

The current brick building was dedicated June 25, 1944. It replaced a white wooden frame building that burned April 16, 1943. When this older wooden frame building was constructed is unknown. However, church records show it being repaired as early as 1896 with funds provided by Isaac B. Siddle.

Note the following from When the Past Refused to Die, A History of Caswell County, North Carolina 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977) at 436:

The third oldest Presbyterian church [in Caswell County], Bethesda Church, was organized about 1765 as Hart's Chapel, probably named for the donor of the site. It is located in the western part of the county near Locust Hill and at one time was also known as Cobb's Chapel. An early missionary society, perhaps the first in Orange Presbytery, was organized here. The Rev. Jacob Doll, Bethesda pastor, organized the First Presbyterian Church in Reidsville in 1875. Other Bethesda pastors are said to have organized churches at Wentworth and at Leaksville. The old wooden church at Bethesda, which may have been built in 1815, burned in 1943, and it was replaced by a large brick church of impressive design, with stained glass windows and an organ.



The relevance of the following church records is not known. They may be when the listed people joined the church, but that has not been confirmed:

Zachariah James Lovelace Nov. 24, 1822
Barnet & Betsy Lovelace

James Webster Lovelace July 18, 1824
Barnet & Betsy Lovelace

William Butler August 18, 1824
Joshua Butler

Eliza Ann Butler
Joshua & Susan (Lovelace) Butler

Susan Jane Butler

Mary Ellen Butler September 19, 1824
Joshua & Susan Butler

Calvin Pickard Lovelace October 1826
Barnet & Betsy Lovelace October

Ezekiel Currie Cobb II October 1826
Henry & Polly (Mary Lovelace) Cobb

Margaret Butler May 1828
Joshua & Susan Butler

Melvina Fitzelen Butler

Cynthia Lynch Butler August 22, 1831

NOAH COBB APRIL 11, 1832 (Noah joined the same day his children were baptized)

ANDREW JACKSON COBB
Noah & Phebe (Lovelace) Cobb

GEORGE WASHINGTON COBB

LEUISA ANN COBB

ELIZABETH CAROLINE COBB

ANDELUZI COBB

Emily Donnel Butler August 1832
Joshua & Susan Butler

Emaline Donnel Butler August 1836
Joshua & Susan Butler

Joshua Barley Butler August 1836
Joshua a Susan Butler

Mariah Gaines Butler Aug. 18, 1839
Joshua & Susan Butler

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The following apparently are church minutes:

BETHESDA FEB. 10, 1821. The Session met according to adjournment. Rev. John H. C. Pickard being the stated moderator. The following charges were alledged against Levi Cobb. Ist Henry Cobb complains that Levi Cobb has used much unfriendly unchristian language, respecting him and his family; and that he threatened to beat him. And, it appears to this session by information that Levi Cobb is guilty of uttering a falsehood, in telling several persons that he had lent George Williamson a sum of money on interest. Adjoumed to meet at this place on the 24th day of this month. Concluded with prayer. JOHN H. PICKARD, CLK.

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BETHESDA FEB. 24 1821 The Session met according to adjournment. Opened with prayer. Present Joseph Scott, Zachariah Neal, Henry Cobb, James Cobb. Absent John Watt, Ezekiel Jones, John Stamps. Levi Cobb was verbally notified by the Session to attend at this time, to answer to the above charges. But having failed to appear, Resolved that a citation be issued to Levi Cobb to appear before the Session with the witnesses in his favor and answer to the above charges at Bethesda Church on the third Saturday in March next; and that Henry Cobb appear at the same time and place with his witness to establish his complaint. And further, Resolve that Rhodham Loveless, Sam or, Garland Blackwell, Clayburn Dorton, Noah Cobb be requested to attend at the above place and time to give evidence on the second charge; and the names of the witnesses together with a copy of the charges accompany the citation to Levi Cobb. Adjourned to meet at this place on the third Saturday in March next. Concluded with prayer. JOHN H. PICKARD, CLK.

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BETHESDA MARCH 17, 1821. The Session met according to adjournment. Opened with prayer. Present James Cobb, John Watt, Joseph Scott. Absent Henry Cobb, Zachariah Neal, John Stamps. John Wan requested to resign his office as Ruling Elder in this congregation, which request was granted: and he is hereby released from the Eldership in this congregation.

Sam Orr, a witness against Levi Cobb, on the second charge, saith that some time last spring Levi Cobb mentioned the person to whom he had loaned his money. Henry Cobb failed to attend on the first charge. The other witnesses on the 2nd charge failed to appear. Levi Cobb also failed to appear. Therefore, Resolved that Levi Cobb be again cited to appear before the Session on the evening of the 7th of April next, and answer the above charges at the house of Joseph Scott; and that Rhodham Loveless and Noah Cobb, Jun. be requested to appear as witnesses against him. And further resolved, that Henry Cobb be directed to appear at the same time a place with his witnesses to establish his charge against Levi Cobb. Adjourned to meet at the house of Joseph Scott on the evening of the 7th April next. Concluded with prayer. JOHN H. PICKARD, CLK.

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AT JOS. Scott's 7TH APRIL 1821. The Session met according to adjournment. Opened with prayer. Present Joseph Scott, Ezekiel Jones, Zachariah Neal, Henry Cobb. Absent James Cobb, John Stamps. Mr. Matthew Cobb being duly sworn on the complaint of Henry Cobb, saith that some time last spring, he met Levi Cobb in the road, and that Levi said his brother Henry has promised to pay some money to stop an execution against his property, which he has not done; he said that Henry Cobb had told a lie, and that he had a great mind to go by and give him a proper whipping.

Mrs. Mary Ann Cobb being duly sworn, saith, on the same case that some time last spring, Levi Cobb came to her house, and said, that Henry Cobb had promised to take down some advertisements for the sale of his property, which he had not done; and he had told a lie; and that if Henry Cobb came to his house the next day to the sale, he would prepare a stick and would brake his head, and cane him whilst he was within a tale of his enclosure. And that Levi Cobb furthur said, that he had been to Henry Cobb's some time before and that Henry Cobb's wife abused him very much, and if she was his wife, he would put her in the fire, set his foot on her, and keep her there ti11 she was burned up.

Mr Rhodham Lovelass being duly sworn on the second charge against Levi Cobb saith, that in the fall of 1819, Levi Cobb told him in his shop, that he had lent George Williamson $80, and that George told him that he would give him 25 percent interest on all that he could let him have. And that, some weeks after, Levi again told him, that he let George have $20 more, and he intended to let him have it as fast as he could get it.

Mr. Noah Cobb being duly sworn on the same charge against Levi Cobb, saith that some time in 1819 he was at Levi Cobb's Shop and Levi again told him, he had lent George Williamson $100 at 25 percent interest.

Levi Cobb having been three times cited to answer to the above charges and as often failed to appear, Therefore Resolved, that Levi Cobb is guilty of the above charges by plain testimonies and further resolved that Levi Cobb be solemnly suspended from the communion of the church until he repent. And the Session adjourned. Concluded with prayer. JOHN H. PICKARD, CLK.

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BETHESDA SEPT 15th 1822. The session met at the call of the moderator. Joshua Butler, John Jones, Betsey Cobb, Patsey Cobb, Henrietta Manley expressed a desire to join the church. They all gave a satisfactory relation of their experimental knowledge of religion, and were received as members of this church. And the ordinance of baptism was administered to Henrietta Manley. John H. Pickard, Clk.

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BETHESDA OCT. 15, 1826. The session met. Susan Tailor, James Burke, Nancy Barker, Barnet Lovelace, Nancy Orr, and Polly Orr about to remove to the west requested letters of dismission which were granted. John H, Pickard, Clk.

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BETHESDA DEC. 16, 1826. The session met. Present moderator, James Cobb, J. Scott, ?. Elmore, J. Jones, Z (?). Neal, J. Swift. Mrs. Kitty Cobb requested to join the church and after relating her experience, she was received into the communion of the church. Her baptism was postponed until April 15. At which time Joshua Butler was appointed to attend the Presbytery at Murfresboro on the 3rd Wednesday in this month. John H. Pickard, Clk.

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BETHESDA AUGUST 15, 1830. The session met and Rebecca Wilson, Mary Denny, Nancy Cobb, Miller Nunn, and Mary Lovelace applied to join the church, and after relating their experience were received by a public profession of their faith in Christ. Mary Denny, Nancy Cobb, and Miller Nunn were baptised. John Jones, Clk.

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THE FOLLOWING PERSONS ABOUT TO REMOVE TO THE WEST OBTAIN LETTERS OF DISMISSION AS MEMBERS IN GOOD STANDING: Benlamin Elmore, Polly Elmore, Freeman Elmore, James Jones, Elizabeth Jones, Calvin Jones, William Cobb, Katharine Cobb, Calton Nunn, Henry Cobb, Polly Cobb, Nancy Cobb. John Jones, Clk.

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BETHESDA FEBRUARY 18, 1832. The session met and Noah Cobb and his wife his wife Phebe Cobb applied to join the church and after relating their experience they were received into the communion of the church. J. Jones

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JULY 15, 1832. The session met present as usual. The session were infermed that Polly Lovelace, a member of our church was far gone in a state of pregnacy before her marriage with Thomas Pickerel. The session therefore appointed Z(?). Neal and John Jones, Ruling Elders, to visit her and report at next session. John Jones, Clk.

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BETHESDA AUGUST 18, 1832. The session met and was opened with prayer. The session all present. Z. Neal and John Jones who were appointed to visit and converse with Polly Loveslace (now Polly Pickerel) and that she confessed her guilt in this matter. Resolved therefore that she be suspended from the ordinances of the church until she repent. J. Jones

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MARCH 16, 1833. The session met, and by common fame Polly Cobb, a member of our church, has been guilty of stating falsehood in that she certified that Thomas Gibson abused his wife, which she contradicted in a certificate given to Lickfork church. Resolve therefore that she be cited to appear before the session on the 3rd Sabbath in April to answer to the above charge. John Jones, Clk.

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APRIL 20, 1833. The session met Present as usual, opened with prayer. Mrs. Cobb appeared and answered that she had heared from T. Gibson's little daughter that he abused his wife and she told it to several persons and she said she heared it from others. And that the certificate which she assigned was written in her absence and was not such as she would have written herself. And that it has no reference to any that which took place while Thomas Gibson was out of the church. Resolve that the session having no farther proceedings in this matter. John Jones, Clk.

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OCTOBER 4, 1833. Carter Lovelace applied for a letter of dismission and at his own request a letter was granted to him as a member in good standing by order of the session. John Jones, Clk.

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1834. Noah Cobb and his wife Phebe Cobb applied for letters of dismission and at their own request a letter was granted to them as members in good standing by order of the session. J. Jones, Clk.

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Joshua Butler, Ruling Elder. Received July 16, 1826 Ordained Mary Lovelace. Dismissed Oct. 1839

Joshua Butler. Received on examination Dept. 15, 1822. Died 1850

Barnet Lovelace. Received on examination Oct. 13, 1822. Dismissed Oct.l6, 1826.

Polly Lovelace. Rec'd on exam. Aug. 15, 1830. Dismissed 1832

NOAH COBB. Rec'd on examination Feb. 19, 1832. Dismissed Sept. 1834.

Phebe COBB

William Butler. Received on examination July 1839

Susan J. Butler. Rec'd by letter June 16, 1844

Emeline D. Butler. Rec'd by examin. 15 Nov. 1851.

I Marie Butler. Received by examination 15 Nov. 1851

Joshua H. Butler
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Source: Donna Price 14 April 1997 Post to the Rootsweb.com Lovelace Mailing List (Provided by Mary McGhee of Oxford, North Carolina).


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