“Scots – Irish Heritage and History Site – One of York County’s historic 4-B churches.”
The Yorkville Enquirer reported on Feb. 21, 1856 – “The patrons of Bethel Academy have engaged the services of Mr. J. Harry an experienced teacher. Young men can be prepared for admission to any college.”
The Rock Hill Herald reported on Jan. 18, 1883 – “A portion of the silver communion service at Bethel Church was recently stolen by someone who entered the church.”
City Directories and History: The Yorkville Enquirer of Jan. 3, 1878 contained a short history of Bethel Pres. Church. It reported the church was organized in 1764 by the Rev. William Richardson of the Waxhaws. The first elders were: John Gullick, James Campbell, David Watson, John Jordon, Thomas Neel, and George Denny. In 1770 Rev. Hezekiah Balch became the first pastor.”
The historic Bethel Presbyterian church is one of York County’s earliest recorded congregations. Known as one of the original “4B” churches to have been established well before the American Revolution, this church building is not the original but from the mid 19th century with a front porch addition.
One of the finest features of this congregation is the manner in which they maintain their extensive cemetery. Buried here are many American patriots who died during and after the American Revolution. Some of their graves are marked by distinguished tombstone family carvers including members of the Bigham, Caveny, and Crawford families. The Bigham stones from Mecklenburg County, NC are some of the best examples of the carver’s hands and brother-in-laws Caveny and Crawford from the Kings Mountain area of York County have extensive tombstones of their own workshop at Bethel.
The Herald reported on Nov. 21, 1896 – “Mr. Edward Humphries, son of Rev. C. W. Humphries of Lancaster has been elected teacher in the Bethel “Point” township school.”
James S. Adams
Mr. Adams was born on Sept. 12, 1772, and died on Aug. 18, 1843. He was twice
married: first to Eliza Smith, who died early; and second to Erixene McEwen, who was born in
1779 and died on Mar. 21, 1844. Issue:
i. Eliza Adams. Born 1802. Married the Rev. William Buford Davies.
ii. Jane E. Adams. Married S. Williamson.
iii. James McEwen Hall Adams.
iv. William Thomas S. Adams. Married J. C. (~ ).
V. Rufus J. E. Adams. Married twice.
vi. Samuel Leroy Adams. Born Feb. 5, 1819. Married Mary Catherine Grier and
Margaret E. Hope.
vii. Erixene Susan Adams.
viii. Margaret Ewart Adams. Married on Apr. 11, 1839 to Ephraim Abell Crenshaw, M.D.,
who was born in Union Co., S.C., on Sept. 16, 1804, and died at Yorkville on Apr. 9,
ix. James W. Adams. Born in February, 1824, and died on Oct. 8, 1844.
In the early years of his ministry the Rev. James S. Adams labored in various capacities in the Low Country of South Carolina. He was one of the original members of the Congregational Association of South Carolina, serving as minister in charge of the Congregational Church of Dorchester and Beach Hill until Mar. 5, 1805, when, for health reasons, he relinquished his work there in order to return to the more salubrious air of York District, S.C., where he had been born.
Beersheba congregation, west of Yorkville, called Mr. Adams as their stated supply minister in 1805. He served as pastor at Beersheba and also at Olney, located across the North Carolina line. It was during his tenure as stated supply at Beersheba that Mr. Adams began ministering to the Presbyterians who had begun to call Yorkville their home. Regular Sunday services were inaugurated there, using the courtroom as the place of worship. It is certain that Mr. Adams was among the very first Presbyterian ministers in Yorkville and it is probable that he was the very first Gospel minister to officiate at Yorkville.
In 1811 Mr. Adams removed to his home church. Bethel, where he was pastor for the next twenty-nine years. So diligent was he in his labors that the membership of York County’s oldest congregation grew to be remarkably large for that day. A writer from that period said that Mr. Adams was “a man after the Master’s own heart, a good man and full of the Holy Ghost.” A favorite interest of Mr. Adams was the Bethel Academy, operated in conjunction with the church. His death came suddenly and unexpectedly while he was at home among his family. Seldom has any minister been as widely and deeply loved as Mr. Adams, and this in his own congregation and among his own people. What is the old saying about a prophet who is without honor in his own land? Mr. Adams’ experience seems to disprove these words. The inscription over his grave is the ultimate testimony to his faithfulness:
To the memory of the Rev. JAMES S. ADAMS
who with fidelity, purity, zeal and great success preached
the everlasting Gospel for the space of 48 years and 29
to Bethel Church. He was called to receive the Crown
of Righteousness on the 18th of August 18
The above genealogy information from: The Genesis of York, by Wm. B. White, Jr., Yorkville Historical Society, 2015 – Jostens Publishing Company
Click on the More Information > link found below the picture column for additional data or pictures. Also see: Bethel Church History
“Bethel, “House of God,” 1820, Winnsboro, S. C. See Genesis 28:17 and 19—“This is none other but the house of God. . . . And he (Jacob) called the name of that place Bethel.”
Information from: Names in South Carolina by C.H. Neuffer, Published by the S.C. Dept. of English, USC
Also see PDF this page: GUIDE TO PRESBYTERIAN NAMES AND PLACES IN SC by J.B. Martin, III – 1989
BETHEL ACADEMY By Mrs. Thomas N. Dulin (This paper was printed in the Yorkville Enquirer, January 26, 1934. Mrs. Dulin credited Misses Emily and Nannie Wallace, R. M. Bennett, and others, as well as Bethel Church records.)
Rev. Samuel Williamson, Jr. was sent to Bethel Church In York District to solicit aid for the building of Davidson College in N.C. – Louise Pettus, Article This Page
Old Bethel Academy was built on land bought by Bethel church to be used for school purposes, and was located about one and a quarter miles northwest of the church. The first building erected was burned. The next one, which is remembered by people today, was a two-room wooden structure with a fire-place in each and a door in the side. No one seems to know just when school was first held at Bethel Academy, but we may presume that good work was being done there long before the Civil War. Miss Emily Wallace, who is now 86 years old, remembers that her father and mother spoke of attending this school when they were children. The first definite record we have is that in 1853 a Mr. and Mrs. Harris taught at the academy. Mr. Harris taught the boys and his wife the girls. While they were living in the community Mrs. Harris died and was buried in Bethel cemetery.
We make no attempt to name the teachers in the order in which they taught, nor are we able to name them all, but somewhere near the time Miss Lizzie Henderson taught. Rev. John Watson, a son of “Father” Watson, beloved pastor of Bethel for 42 years, was the first to teach at Bethel Academy after the Civil War.
In 1867 Mr. John Beard from North Carolina, took charge of the school. He was considered a very fine teacher, being able to teach such subjects as Latin, Greek and higher mathematics. He was paid $40 per month, which was then a very handsome salary. He and his family lived on a farm in the community during the time he was teaching. At that time the school had built up quite a reputation and was serving a wide territory extending even into North Carolina. In addition there were a number of young men boarding in the neighborhood and attending the institution. Among these was Mr. W. B. Arrowood, who later studied for the ministry and served Bethel church as pastor for a number of years. Some of the later teachers were: Mr. Sam Neel, Mr. Knox, later Dr. Knox of Mecklenburg—and Rev. Mr. Douglas, the later, who was from near Sharon, lived with his wife and baby in one end of the schoolhouse. Mr. George Faucett of Goldsboro, N.C. , taught several years. The list also includes the names of Mr. Sam Wilson, Miss Ferrie Cooper and Misses Sallie and Julia Adams. It is probable that Miss Sallie Adams taught the last term of school at the old Bethel Academy.
We do not know the exact year that the school was discontinued, but the church record, according to Rev. R. A. Webb, D.D. tells us that in 1882, since there was no prospect of reviving the institution, the school lands, consisting of 53 acres, were sold to Capt. J. C. Patrick for $10.65 per acre, and the proceeds were used to build the Bethel manse. It may be that short terms schools were held at Bethel church before the discontinuance of the academy, but we have no definite record. We are told that in 1881, a year remembered by all of the older people as the dry year, Miss Emma Davis taught at the church. It is hard to get definite information about the first school buildings there. At one time, some say, the old session room of the church was used, and then a one-room house was erected. Some of the other teachers who taught there were: Mr. Will Adams, Mr. E. Meek Adams, Mr. James Watson, another son of “Father” Watson, Miss Bess Johnson, and Miss Knox Johnson. About 1900, while Miss Mattie Stanton was teaching, the building burned, and was replaced by another smaller one. Concerning the Bethel school house which most of us remember, and which was torn down in 1925, Dr. Arrowood, (1908 YCD – Rev. W.W. Arrowood lived in Bethel Community), in his notes left in the Bethel church record, has this to say: “In 1901, the 20th Century Fund for Education had arisen to white heat in our Southern church. On the first Sunday of December, 1901, Rev. W. C. Mcllwain and Rev. R. C. Reed of Columbia Seminary, visited Bethel in the interest of that fund. With the understanding that Bethel’s contribution would be used in building an academy at Bethel church, more than $550 was raised in cash and subscriptions, which was afterwards paid.
With the money then in hand, the present academy was erected in the summer of 1902 at a cost of $540. At the time the building was erected, it was hoped and expected that the academy or High School of Bethel would open that fall, and this end considerable correspondence was entered into, to secure a suitable principal, but the enterprise received no sufficient financial guarantee or cooperation on the part of the community, so our hopes and dreams of a high school at Bethel subsided. The academy building has been used and is now (1909) being used for the public school.”
Grist added that since 1909 those who taught in that Bethel school house: Miss Lula Arrowood, Miss Isabel Arrowood, Miss Eunice Flanagan, Miss Rebecca Flanagan, Miss Maggie Query, Miss Olie Adams, Miss Lottie Bell Simril, Miss Mell Neil, Mr. Howard Patrick and Mr. R. B. Riddle of the Union section of Gaston county, North Carolina. Mr. Riddle in 1814-15, taught the last school at Bethel. The land on which the Bethel school was located had been given money years before by Mr. Reuben Dulin for as long as it was used for school purposes. When the last building was erected a deed to the land was made to the church by Mr. Dulin’s heirs and descendants, the Campbell family. In 1915 the Bethel school was discontinued and the district was divided into two districts. The Miller school was erected on land donated by the late Mr. J. M. Miller, and Brandon school on land given by Mr. T. E. Brandon. These schools were carried on successfully until 1929, when Miller was merged with Bethel Consolidated School.
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