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Hopewell Presbyterian Church

A marker in the McCormick County South Carolina woods says that Hopewell Presbyterian Church was started in 1760 by Patrick Calhoun and that the church closed in 1950.

According to the book "History of the Presbyterian Church in South Carolina" by George Howe, the first important settlement of the Long Canes area was by 8 Presbyterian families who emigrated from Pennsylvania to Upper Virginia and North Carolina then to South Carolina. The majority of these settlers were Calhouns. Previous to the arrival of Patrick Calhoun and his friends there were 2 white families in the region. The Gowdy and the Edwards families.

Their expectations were to set up a Presbyterian Church. They set up an alter in the wilderness until Feb 1 1760. The Cherokee Indians killed 22 of them and captured 14. The survivors fled to the Waxhaws, the Low Country, and to the Stones Creek congregation. A marker was commissioned by Patrick Calhoun of Andrew McComb. Patrick's mother Catherine Calhoun was one of the persons killed. That marker is still in the woods in McCormick County SC See above marker.

In 1763 the Calhouns returned to the Long Canes with many persons added to their number. At the end of 1763 the Creek Indians killed 14 persons on the Savannah River. Dec 26 1763 a letter from Patrick Calhoun published in "The South Carolina Gazette" said there were 27 men and 103 women and children at Fort Boone (Calhouns), 34 men and 105 women and children at Arthur Patton's on the Long Cane and about the same number at Dr. Murrays on the Hard Labor Creek.

In 1764 Rev William Richardson visited Hopewell Church for about 4-5 weeks and baptised about 260. In 1765 Rev George Duffield found the congregation so large that public worship was at different places.

As early as 1777 Rev John Harris, who was installed as Hopewell pastor, was baptising infants at Hopewell and ordained the first elders. They were William Calhoun Sr. and A. Barksdale. In a log-meeting house Rev Harris preached with a rifle in the pulpit beside him and ammunition hung from his neck.

Mrs Mary E Moragne Davis, wife of William H. Davis pastor of Hopewell around 1839, writes " A traveler on the road leading from Charleston through the flat woods of western Carolina, might have passed near enough to hear the songs of praise issuing from the log-building, which was the first house of worship of the church of the Lower Long Cane (changed to Hopewell in 1788). It was situated in the midst of a rich country, on a level spot in which the large trees stood up like columns in some mighty temple. The land on which it stood was given by a colonist from Ireland on the express condition that no graveyard ever be made there."

The deed was made 1793 between Joseph Milligan and 3 trustees. Patrick Calhoun, William Hutton and Alexander Noble. These trustees were elected by Hopewell. For 5 shilling a half-acre and 3 poles/pearches of land were acquired for Hopewell. An old ash, a red-oak and a spring-head were used as land markers. This land was part of a tract that had orginally been surveyed for William McClellan. Then sold to James Thompson who sold it to Joseph Mulligan.

The deed was signed by Joseph Mulligan and this was witnessed by Andrew Weed, Peter Gibert and William Scott. These men appeared before Fleming Bates, justice, June 27 1793 to confirm this.

In due time there were 5 churches :

1. Upper Long Cane which was 2 miles north of Abbeville village. Which is still called Upper Long Cane.

2. Lower Long Cane which in 1788 was changed to Hopewell was located 12 miles southwest of village of Abbeville.

3. Rocky Creek which was later known as Rock Church a few miles from Greenwood Village.

4. Bull Town later known as Rocky River in western part of Abbeville District

5. Saluda later known as Greenville Presbyterian located at the head-waters of the Long Cane Creek.

In Feb 24 1839 William Hervey Davis became the pastor of Hopewell and Willington Presbyterian Churches. He was born Dec 22 1808 in North Carolina. His parents came to this country with the Calhouns. His wife Mary E Moragne was from the French Hugunot settlement of New Bordeaux.

Rev. Davis was the pastor of Hopewell for 7 years. Some of the Hopewell parishoners objected to his giving afternoon services to the slaves. So he resigned.

He started a Sunday School, new in those days, and also a singing school. To teach the reading of church music. Conservatives in Willington Church objected to "the introduction of new tunes in the church music" and such a schism was caused Rev Davis resigned in 1859 after pastoring Willington for 20 years.

In 1839 the roll at Hopewell included such families as McCaslin, McFerrin,>Clatsworthy, Thompson, Thorton, McComb, Bradford, Link, Cowan, Mathews, Pennel, Gray, McCelvey, Scott, Hunter and others.

In 1884 the roll included families of McCaslin, Morris, Taggart, Yarborough, Lesley, Mars, McCelvey, McComb, Link, Wilson, McGaw, Hunter, Clatworthy, Zaner, McKinney and others.

Mar 12 1899 Dr J.O. Lindsay, the pastor, asked that his pastoral relation be dissolved with the church and this was accepted. Dr Lindsay was also going to ask the Presbytery to dissolve Hopewell Church. It had been in existence over 100 years. The reasons listed for wanting to dissolve were:

1. Congregation had dwindled to a few families

2. Church surrounded by large Negro population. No prospect of growth and no children to grow up and take place of adult

3. All present members were close enough to other Presbyterian churches.

Deacons were directed if dissolution should be granted to advertise for 15 days as law requires and sell church building, sash in the windows, windowframes, bookcases, the seats, the stove and the communion set and the 4 acres the church was located on. Also in May was elected these elders E.A. Mars, A.B. Lindsey and Watkins Lesley. In the fall of 1899 the Presbytery refused to dissolve Hopewell.

In 1936 familes at Hopewell are Link, McComb, Mars and Leslie.

At Hopewell Cemetery off Hwy 28 in McComick County these persons are listed in McCormick County Cemetery Survey:

W.A. Pennal 1845-1877

Mrs Magaret Dickey Pennal who died in 1838 aged 66 years. And of her 4 sons, natives of the county of Antren's Ireland. Who all died in Abbeville District So Ca. Much respected and beloved by all who knew them:

Charles died in 1836 aged 21 years Alexander died in 1837 aged 38 years James died in 1845 aged 33 years Samuel died in 1846 aged 39 years Erected by Robert Pannal

R.M.J died Oct 24 1826 aged 13 months

Robert McComb died 1856 aged 51 years Mary A McComb died in 1888 aged 65 years Sarah Francis McComb died Dec 16 1878 aged 37 years, 5 months, 24 days Mary Jane McComb died Aug 19 1879 aged 11 years, 10 months and 28 days Joseph R McComb born Jan 6 1842 died Jul 10 1904

Frances Wilson born Nov 4 1839 died May 12 1871 aged 31 years 6 months and 8 days Rebecca Thornton born Nov 24 1812 died Aug 14 1872. Constant member of the Presbyterian Church for 40 years. A kind and indulgent mother. A loving and devoted wife Eli Thornton feb 6 1806 died Aug 7 1874 Mary J Link McComb Mar 2 1846 dec 26 1911

Robert Thornton died Jun 18 1889 aged 51 years Lewis Watkins Leslie husband of Emma Cowan Leslie Sept 20 1863: Nov 21 1904


This history of Hopewell Presbyterian Church was compiled by Jane McComb Gillespie from the following sources and through her ongoing research on her McComb family. We are very grateful to her for her sharing of information on the area and for the many people she has helped find their roots.. Marker picture also furnished by Jane.


McCormick County Cemeteries by The McCormick County Historical Society 1987

Hopewell Presbyterian Church Records (scattered) Presbyterian History Department Montreat NC

History of the Presbyterian Church in South Carolina by George Howe

The Neglected Thread A Journal of the Calhoun Community 1836-1842 by Mary E Moragne

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