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Article on the 250th Anniversary Celebration from the
History in the Making:
honoring Barbecue Presbyterian Church’s 250th anniversary
was sponsored by Jimmy Love and David Lewis who are members
of the North Carolina House of Representatives. The
resolution was read three times and ratified by the General
Assembly on June 12, 2008. We thank Representative Love
and Representative Lewis for sponsoring the resolution. We
also thank the North Carolina General Assembly for ratifying
Read the complete resolution here.
A Brief History of
Barbecue, mother church to all the early churches in this
area, possessed with a dignity and heritage all its own, was
formally organized in 1758. The first church, a one room log
building, was erected in 1765. A larger one room frame
building replaced this one in 1775. The third church, which
is the present sanctuary remodeled and enlarged, was built
in 1896. In 1945 a building program was begun that changed
the one room church into the church of today. This program
was completed in 1958.
In 1965, the Young People erected a marker to “The
Stranger’s” grave and a Cairn of Remembrance, containing
stone from the old parish , Kirk and Flora MacDonald’s home
in Scotland. A Cemetery and Grounds Fund was set up and a
Heritage Room was organized.
In 1971, plans were made to
construct Barbecue’s first manse. On February 1,1975, Rev.
James Waldo Dodson, Barbecue’s first full time minister,
occupied the debt-free manse. A dedication service was held
on October 26,1975. Two years later on August 11,1977,
Barbecue’s first steeple was erected. It was on Sunday,
June11,1978 that a two-fold dedication service was held. The
steeple was dedicated and a playground and a paved
recreation area equipped with lights, was also dedicated.
Barbecue’s first missionary,
- Page Cameron, went to Spain in
August, 1984 to serve two years.
With the union of the
Presbyterian churches, rotation of officers began. The first
lady officers elected were
- Laura Shaw Cameron, elder in 1985
- Alta Warwick, deacon in 1987.
On Sunday, April 6, 1986,
Rev Peter Youngston, of our Scottish homeland of Jura,
Scotland delivered the sermon, part of which was in Gaelic.
Expansion Over the Years:
- The two paved parking areas were completed in 1986.
- In 1987,
a new organ was installed and additional acreage was
purchased from Mrs. Dave Godfrey, Sr.
- The organ was
dedicated July 24, 1988.
- The new fellowship hall was
dedicated March 22, 1992.
- The enlarged/renovated sanctuary
was dedicated March 3, 1996
Barbecue, endowed with a rich Scottish heritage, which has
stood for over two centuries, has been led by “God’s man at
God’s place in God’s time”. Deeply religious people, whose
faith and belief in God, has molded the church into what it
is today. Surely God is in this place.
Adapted from Colorful Heritage, Rev. James MacKenzie
Marker Title:BARBECUE CHURCH
Location:NC 27 at SR 1285
(Barbecue Church Road) southeast of Olivia
Original Date Cast:1950-P
Marker Text:Presbyterian, founded
in 1757 by Scottish Highlanders. Present building, the
third, erected about 1895, is 200 yds. northeast.
Barbecue Church, named for nearby Barbecue Creek, was
founded in 1757 and formally organized the following year by
Presbyterian Scottish Highlanders who had settled in the
region. Services initially were held in the backroom of John
Dobbins’s Ordinary, but in 1765 the first sanctuary, a log
building, was constructed. Ten years later a larger, wooden
frame structure was completed. The first services were
overseen by the Reverend James Campbell of the Philadelphia
Presbyterian Synod who had settled near. He ministered to
the congregations at, Longstreet, and Barbecue. Under his
tutelage the first sanctuary was constructed. During the
Revolutionary War, Barbecue Church congregants served on
both sides, and Scottish heroine Flora McDonald and her
husband both were members on the eve of the conflict. In
1813, the congregation left the Orange Presbyterian Synod
and joined the newly-formed Fayetteville Synod. Twelve years
later the Fayetteville Synod voted to dissolve Barbecue,
since the mother church had lost so many members to its
“daughter” churches. However, upon the pleas of Reverend
Colin McIver, Barbecue Church was allowed to continue in
operation. In 1845 the church building was rebuilt and
refurbished. That construction remained the central facility
until a new, brick building was completed in 1895-1896.
There are numerous myths and legends surrounding the history
of Barbecue Presbyterian Church. The first involves the name
Barbecue. Some histories have claimed that Cornwallis’s
troops camped on the church grounds in late April during his
march to Wilmington following the Battle of Guilford
Courthouse in the spring 1781. These accounts claim that
British soldiers, witnessing fog on the nearby creek, stated
that it reminded them of the smoke from barbecue cooking.
The only problem with the account is that Cornwallis’s army
could not have camped at Barbecue Church, as their
maneuvering took them much further north of the site, and by
late April Cornwallis was already in Wilmington.
Furthermore, several deeds from 1753-1754 already call the
local creek Barbecue. Another legend, perhaps from which the
Cornwallis camping legend developed, is that on April 29,
1781, a party of local Whig militia attacked Cornwallis’s
troops at Barbecue Church in a minor skirmish. Cornwallis’s
men had already passed through the area. Therefore, if such
a skirmish occurred, it only involved parties of local
Tories and Whigs. A story better substantiated within the
historical record, is that of “the stranger.” According to
tradition, a stranger to the congregation, caught in a
winter storm, attempted to enter the church building after
hours for safety. Finding the doors locked he huddled near
the front door, but succumbed to exposure, and was found the
next morning. He was buried in the “stranger’s grave” in the
cemetery, and the congregation vowed from that day forward
to never lock the church door’s again.
James D. McKenzie, History of
Barbecue Church (1965) Victor E. Clark, Louise D. Curry, and
James D. McKenzie, Colorful Heritage Documented: The Story
of Barbecue, Bluff, and Longstreet Presbyterian Churches
(1989) Patrick O’Kelley, Nothing But Blood and Slaughter:
The Revolutionary War in the Carolinas, III (2005)
"Our State" Magazine
Article Feature March 2016 Photo Essay by Stacey Van Berkel