THE WELSH NECK BAPTIST CHURCH
Established c. 1738
by Victoria Proctor © 1997, 2001, 2006
The Colonial Council of the Province of Carolina, in order to induce the Welsh to settle in the Province, admeasured and had laid off a large body of land for the Welsh settlers. In 1737, a colony of Welsh from the Welsh Tract in Pennsylvania (now Delaware) settled along the east bank of the Pee Dee River -- from the mouth of Crooked Creek and extending several miles down the river. In January 1738 they met and organized themselves into a Baptist church, known historically as "Welsh Neck". The spot where the church stood is just to the right of where the public road leading from Bennettsville to Society Hill approaches the banks of the Pee Dee River. The spot was, in 1897 (per J.A.W. Thomas), covered by majestic trees and a thick undergrowth hid the ground. A monument marks the resting place of Col. Kolb, a Revolutionary patriot and officer, who was slain by Tories in the porch of his mansion a few hundred yards from where the ancient house of prayer stood. According to J.A.W. Thomas, the original church stood at Long Bluff.
The Welsh Neck is a geographic location which historically encompassed modern Marlboro County (see map below -- the red dot indicates the Welsh Neck historic area). The Welsh Neck Baptist Church relocated to just inside Darlington County (near Society Hill) but would have served early Marlboro, Darlington and Chesterfield County residents. In addition, several of its early constituents, or their descendants, undoubtedly made their way into Marion County, South Carolina--in particular, the EVANS and ROWELL families.
The following comes from an excellent book, cited below, on South Carolina Baptist churches. The typist, a generous soul, gave me permission to add it to our pages and appears as submitted except that I have placed surnames in upper case.
In January, 1738, thirty of the Welsh settlers constituted a Baptist Church at first called Peedee, but later named Welsh Neck. The religious group to which these Pennsylvania Welsh belonged had begun its organized religious life in 1701 as they were leaving Wales; they planted their church at the Welsh Tract in Pennsylvania (later Delaware), and of this body Peedee or Welsh Neck Church was in effect an arm, though the members had been dismissed before coming to South Carolina. Entries in the Welsh Tract minutes show their dismissal.
Our brothron and sister whose names are as followeth Abel MORGAN teaching Elder (Abel Morgan is returned) James JAMES, Ruling Elder Thomas EVAN, Deacon Daniel JAMES Samuel Miles (Wilds) John HARRY John HARRY Junior THOMAS Harry Jeremiah ROWEL Richard BARROW Thomas MONEY Nathaniel EVAN Mary JAMES Annie EVAN Sarah JAMES Mary WILDS Elizabeth HARRY Eleanor JENKIN Sarah HARRY Margaret WILLIAM Mary ROWEL Sarah BARROW, are removed to Carolina and was recommended by a letter to ye church of Christ in Charles Town or elsewhere in South Carolina, or they might constitute themselved into a church form (sic) us Nov 1735. Our brethern and sister whose names are here set down, were recommended unto the care of our christian friends on Pedee in South Carolina Daniel DEVONALD Thomas JAMES David HARRY Philip JAMES David JAMES Abol JAMES Simon PERSONS Mary BOULTON Catherine HARRY Elizabeth JAMES Elizbeth JONES Elinor JAMES Mary HUGH November 4, 1737.
Our brother John JONES and his wife Ann JONES who were members of our commuNion are removed and recommended to our christian friends on Pedee in South Carolina by a letter March 11, 1738. Our sisters Ales THOMAS and Jane DAVID and Mary DOVENALD are reommended by letter to our christian freind on Peedee in South carolina November 3, 1739. Our brothron and sisters whose names are as followeth Abel MORGAN, son and Walter DOWN Elizabeth JONES Lettis DOUGLAS Rachel Alison Rachel DOWNS was recommended and dismissed by a letter to our sister church on Pee Dee river in South Carolina Nov. ye lst, 1741.
A leader among them, James JAMES, Esq., was man of some wealth, with three sons in the Welsh Neck group. Their meetings in South Carolina were held for a time at the house of John JONES, whose first survey was made in 1738 on James's Neck. Mr. JONES brought with him a Welsh concordance of the Bible by Abel Morgan which was probably used in the meetings at his home, showing the congregation's use of their native language after they came to the Peedee. It was in this period that an Anglican missionary wrote of finding an "ignorant set of Anabaptists" in the Cheraws settlement, who, in 1745, were "so possessed of the spirit of enthusiasm that there are about as many ignorant preachers as there were in Oliver's Camp." Several may have preached, but there is evidence of only one ordination during the time, that of Philip JAMES, which was carried out on April 4, 1743 by Messrs. CHANLER and SIMMONS, of Ashley River and Charleston,......
Rev. JOHN BROWN was born Aug 20, 1714, near Burlinton, N.J., was brought up at Frankfort near Philadelphia; he came to the Welch Neck in 1737, where he was baptised and called to the ministry, being ordained May 7, 1750; he married Sarah Newberry, and left children Mercy, Sarah, Martha, Elizabeth, Samuel, Mary and Josee...
Foot notes are:
Records of the Welsh Tract Baptist Meeting...1716 to 1828, Pts, I and II (Wilmington, 1904), I 83-86: Gregg, Cheraws, pp. 52, 56; Edwards, Crozer MS, p. 50, Welsh Neck VChurch book (MS, church clerk, Society Hill) 1738-1798; Morgan Edwards, "Material toward a History of the Baptist in Pennsylvania," in Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography XI, (1885), 45; the list of constituents as given by Edward is: James JAMES, Esq, his wife and sons Abel, Daniel, Philip, and their wives; David JAMES and wife; Daniel DEVONALD and wife, two named Thomas EVANS and their wives; Samuel EVANS and wife; John JONES and wife; Thomas and David HARRY, John HARRY and wife; Samuel WILDS and wife; the list in Welsh Neck CB adds Griffith JONES and wife, the wives of Thomas and David HARRY, and in place of David JAMES has David JONES; Edwards gives 1741 as the year the Welsh moved up the river, the church being constitued after the removal; Philip James, Daniel DOVONALD, David HARRY, Thomas EVAN (2), Griffith JOHN, David JAMES, and John JONES were among Welsh inhabitants who in 1743 presented a petition pleading their proverty and asking that their lands be granted free of all charges for surveying, etc. : Abel, Daniel, Philip and David James, Daniel DEVONALD, Thomas EVANS (2), John JONES, Griffith JONES, David HARRY had surveys before 1743 which they did not take up; the elder James JAMES was justice of the peace in PA; he is said to have died one year after arrival; a plat surveying for Philip DOUGLAS in 1742 mentions lands "Pitched on by Mr. James," and plats of 1738 show that the Welch Neck was called James's Neck at that time, but no plats for James JAMES appear on the plat books; David JAMES had a survey of 400 acres in 1738 in the Welsch Track in James's Neck west on the Peedee and north on Daniel DOVENAL'S (Devonald or Dovenald) land; Abel JAMES 300 acres on the northeast side of Peedee in the Welsh Tract in Prince George Winyah in 1738; Daniel JAMES in 1742 350 acres west on Peedee, north on David HARRY'S land in the Welsh Tract, Prince George Winyah, and 100 acres west on Peedee and north on his own land in Prince George Winyah, Thomas EVANS 490 acres in the Welch Tract in James' Neck west 1741 and later survey; David HARRY 400 acres in Queensbororgh Township in 1738, 128 acres west on Peedee and north on D. Harry's land in 1741, another 125 acres in 1742 west on Peedee in the Welsh Tract; the first plat found for John HARRY was of 475 acres in 1742 in Prince George Winyah; Thomas HARRY 150 acres in 1738 in Prince George Winyah southwest on Peedee; Griffith JONES 300 acres in 1738 in Queensborough Township touching lands of Thomas JAMES, John JONES 250 acres in 1738 on James's Neck west on Peedee in the Welsh Tract or "New Camberarer" 100 acres west on Peedee north on his own land in the Welsh Tract, Prince George Winyah, in 1741, and 500 acres in the Welsh Tract Prince George Winyah in 1742, and several later surveys (Plats IV, 188, 190, 198, 204, 191, 200, 106, 207, 143, 199, 201, 435, VII, 262, IV, 145, 471, 112, 292, 197); no plats before 1770 were found for Daniel DEVONALD, Samuel EVANS or Samuel WILDS."
"Edwards, Crozer MS, p 52, Furman MS, pp. 19, 20; Furman. Charleston Assoc, p. 70 Historical Sketch of the Welsh Neck Baptist Church....(Greensville, S. C. 1889) p. 7, note: Rev. Philip JAMES was born in 1701 near Pennapec, Pa; he was licensed to preach at the Welsh Tract Church, but ordained on April 4, 1743, in S. C. to which he came in 1737 being made pastor of Peedee or Welsh Neck Church at the time of his ordination; he was a man of great spirituality, given to heavenly visions after the deaths of a beloved child; he married Elizabeth THOMAS, and had three sons, Daniel, James and Philip, living in 1772; a conveyance of Mar. 1762, of Daniel JAMES describes him as "son & heir of ye Reverend Philip JAMES deceased of the Welch Tract in ye County of Craven: (Charleston County, RMC, Deed 1-4 p. 49)......."--Leah Townsend, Ph.D.
South Carolina Baptist 1670-1805
Addition made 7 April 1997 courtesy of Charlene Newell.
Part Two: Abstract of Church Records
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