Dr. Houston G. Jones, Director of the North Carolina Department of Archives and History and native of the Bethesda Community in Caswell Co NC offered this perspective about Bethesda Presbyterian Church’s predecessor, Hart’s Chapel… "The church's founding [in 1765] came less than fifteen years after the first white settlers took up land along Hogan and Horsley's Creeks in what was then Orange County [now Caswell County NC]. The congregation is twelve years older than Caswell County [NC], eleven years older than the First North Carolina Constitution, and began its existence while its membership still paid allegiance to the British King." (History of Bethesda Presbyterian Church, 1765-1965, Caswell County, N.C. by Lytch, W. E , 1965).
Bethesda Presbyterian Church was originally organized in 1765 as Hart’s Chapel in the Quick community of Caswell County NC near Hogan’s Creek on the Neighbors Farm. Hart’s Chapel may also have been known as Hogan’s Church. About 1805 the church probably consolidated with nearby Meroney’s Chapel, moved to its present location and changed its name to Bethesda.
African-Americans not only attended Bethesda but also joined its membership before and after our Civil War. On November 17, 1822, Lucy Cobb became the first African-American to receive the Sacrament of Baptism at Bethesda. An accidental fire in 1943 destroyed the wooden church building. Dedication services for the present brick building were held on Homecoming Sunday, June 25, 1944.
Rev. W. B. Meroney was the first burial in the church cemetery in 1816. Many African-American attendees were buried at the rear of the cemetery in a section reserved for them. Most of these graves were marked only with un-inscribed fieldstones but most of these stones have since been removed so only depressions mark the location of some of these burials.
GPS Coordinates: 36.37796, -79.47624
- Added: 17 Mar 2005
- Find A Grave Cemetery: #2138839
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