Bear Swamp Baptist Church
Dillon County, SC


Bear Swamp Baptist Church
(Photo courtesy of The Dillon Herald)

BRIEF HISTORY by Victoria Proctor

Located 2.3 miles east of Lake View and so close to the boundary line between North and South Carolina that the congregation has always consisted of members from both states. Early stage coach travelers enjoyed the location as a resting place, it being midway between Fayetteville, NC and Georgetown, SC.


The church was first organized as the Baptist Society in 1785 by Jesse FORD, who was probably the first pastor, Solomon PAGE, Searsbrook WATSON, and others. In 1801, Solomon Page and Lydia THOMPSON deeded the land to the Baptist Society for a building, which burned in 1825; the church was rebuilt and reorganized in 1831 as Bear Swamp Baptist, with 102 members. Included among Bear Swamp's pastors was William AYRES, who served in that capacity from 1841 until his death in 1863. During 1868, another fire destroyed the church building, which was rebuilt.

If you are researching Baptist church records, please note that Bear Swamp Baptist Church belongs to the Robeson Baptist Association (North Carolina). During the church's early years, there was no Baptist Association in this area of South Carolina and due to the proximity of the church to the North Carolina border, Bear Swamp joined the North Carolina Association.

Sources:
--Stokes, "The History of Dillon County, South Carolina"
--Church sign
--The Dillon Herald


For a list of burials at the church cemetery, see Bear Swamp Baptist Cemetery Transcriptions


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