Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church

History of the Quilt


Project Description

Evaluations of Accomplishments

Future Plans for the Project

Proposal Letter

Request to Commissioners

Biographies by Homemakers Clubs

Biographies by Friends of the Library


Mt. Pisgah Harnett Original Free Will Baptist Church

It was in 1757 that the Rev. James Campbell of Pennsylvania came to the Cape Fear Valley to bring the gospel to the settlers. In 1758 three Presbyterian Churches were organized: Barbecue, Longstreet, and Bluff. Barbecue is the oldest church in Harnett County, the other two remain in what is Cumberland County today.

Until around 1860, in all denominations, servant and master worshipped together. After the War Between the States, in 1865, black people were no longer welcomed in the white churches. There were some free blacks in Harnett County in 1860, and they were beginning to realize, if they ever had a church of their own, they would have to do their own organizing.

Baptist Churches had beginnings in Harnett as early as 1780, according to Paschal's History of North Carolina Baptists but the Presbyterians had already arrived, nearly twenty-two years earlier.

Neill's Creek Baptist Church was established in 1780 and Prospect Free Will Baptist Church in 1846. Both churches with black attendance before 1865 were affiliated with the Raleigh Association in 1853 and continued until 1863, when Prospect Baptist was dropped.

After 1865 when blacks were not allowed to attend white churches, the blacks, in the Prospect area, had their own worship area on the grounds of Prospect Church, under brush arbors in summer and under sheds in winter. During this time, even before the war, there was a strong movement to establish a church of their own. The movement resulted in blacks of Baptist and Presbyterian Churches quickly setting up their own separate associations and conferences.

So, in 1860, Mt. Pisgah Harnett Original Free Will Baptist Church was founded. However, it was years later before they had a church building. In 1891 two members of Prospect Free Will Baptist Church deeded land for their first church not far from Prospect but on the same road parallel to what is now highway #421 south. The land for the church was deeded by William Bill McKoy and wife Anna S. McKoy of Harnett County, September 14,1891. The deed is recorded in Harnett County, Courthouse in the Register of Deeds Office in Deed Book J-2 on page 592, and registered on the 21st day of December, 1895, by J. McKay Byrd.

The deed states: "that on the cause of religion a certain tract of land in Grove Township in Harnett County of North Carolina is granted -land adjoining the land of Jacob McKoy, Bob McLeod, beginning at the stake of the North Edge of Dunn and Lillington roads at the corner of the Mt. Pisgah School House lot. It runs 70 yards to a rock in Bob McLeod's corner to the said school house lot.

The deed further states it was to be used for religious purposes, and, if not, the land would go back to the heirs.

Trustees of the church at the time the deed was made, were: Jacob McKoy, Sandy McKoy and Thomas Ryals, the oldest trustee, who was born 1840, died 1895. and was buried in the church cemetery grounds.

One of the ministers in the 1900's was the Rev. Steven McKoy. During his tenure Bob Parker and another man were said to have ridden a mule to Atlanta, Georgia, to the Southern Baptist Convention to get documents, rules, and regulations as guidelines for the churches in this area.

The Rev. John D. Shaw was pastoring at Mt. Pisgah in the 1900's between 1919 and 1925 when the church was burned. It was stated that some of the church members burned the church because of some differences of opinion in the church. Accidentally, Tom Holliday was shot in the legs trying to stop members from burning the church. Some of the members pulled out and started the Pisgah Top Bible Church of God across highway #421 from Mt. Pisgah. After the church burned and the split occurred, services were held in the Mt. Pisgah School House located near the church. The pastor was T. F. Elliott. He pulled out and started Harnett Chapel which he pastored for 11 years.

Lumbermen and friends donated lumber to rebuild the church. The tier of brick steps on the front campus now are from one of the former churches. The earliest church was a white board church. When they tore down this church they used the joint ceilings, beams and rafters and some flooring from the church to build the: church which burned. Services continued through the reconstruction.

Some of the members who helped rebuild the burned church were: Doris McKoy, Sandy McKoy, Tile Brewington, Walter Massey, Jr., Willi Johnson, Hassie Johnson, Ransom Shaw and Henry Guyton.

The footings for the present church were dug on Easter Monday by about 30 people who helped dig. It was necessary to have a secure foundation to prevent the walls from swaying due to inadequate previous foundation. The center section was a new structure built on the old site.

David Bell did most of the major work on the church. He put on the top and did the inside work of the church. Sandy McKoy built the out houses at the church which were used until modern inside bathrooms were installed by Sim Elliott. Sim Elliott also built the old cinder block lunchroom. The church members wanted it larger, but the older deacons did not like it so they changed the size of the building to a much smaller building. The women of the church did not like the smaller building built in 1964. Brother Henry McLean had poured concrete for the older lunchroom floor.

In 1925, the original Cape Fear Southwestern Free Will Baptist Conference met at Mt. Pisgah in Harnett County to revise the Discipline under which the church operates today. The ministers present were: The Rev. Able B. Massie, The Rev. W. R. Lofton, The Rev. G. McD. Bailey, The Rev. M. D. McLean and the Rev. Blue McKeithan who constituted the revision committee.

The oldest book at Mt. Pisgah is a secretary's book that is dated 1948,49, and 50. The oldest Sunday School book is dated 1938-39 and 1940. It listed 147 members with the Rev. D. Edwing as pastor. Mt. Pisgah is the mother church of four other ) churches :Pisgah Top Bible Church of God, across from Mt. Pisgah on #421 highway on parallel road, Churchland Drive'; Harnett Chapel, 715 East Edgerton street, Dunn, North Carolina; McKoy Chapel, Route 1, Coats, North Carolina and Green Chapel, Route 1, Lillington, North Carolina. One outstanding member, Brother Henry McLean, became a Bishop. Early Superintendents of the 1800's were Hassie Johnson, Herman Sidney Massey, born 1851, and died 1937, the Rev. Steven McKoy and Leonard Holliday. The 1st funeral in the cinder block church was that of George Holliday in the 1950's.

Through the years many structural improvements were made, such as, indoor bathrooms, painting, carpeting the floors and the pulpit area, installing running water for drinking instead of a well, gas heaters in place of wood heaters, electric lights instead of the early Delco oil lights, that required a big drum in the ground to store the oil.

) On December 11, 1976, under the Rev. Newkirk's leadership, the question was brought up to the board for enlargement of the lunchroom, the building of a pastor's study and a baptismal pool. The board liked the idea but agreed that they needed more money to start the project. The Rev. Newkirk resigned later and the Rev. James Randolph was accepted in his place. Under the Rev. Randolph's leadership a block program was started but many did not respond. Quickly, the Rev. Randolph had a blueprint drawn up to see how the new addition would look. He tried to find a way to raise the money. He asked the church to sign a pledge card as to how it could be paid: weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or by tithing. Within the first year money in the savings account and checking account jointly grew to $11,132.14, as ) of July, 1980. Despite the whole church being excited about this, the Rev. Randolph was asked to resign.

) Bishop Henry McLean. sent the Rev. Tule Braford from Sanford to finish out the Rev. Randolph's time until the church could elect another pastor. The Rev. Reginald Hinton had been called to preach for only a year and it was suggested he be their new pastor. The church had been previously using him to preach for the Home Mission Sundays, but some thought he was too young. But many members felt that he could handle the job. and he was elected pastor July 13,1982.

Under his leadership the church witnessed its greatest growth. There were changed lives, increased finances, more converts than under any previous pastor. In May of 1983, under the leadership of the Rev. Reginald Hinton, the trustees and architects agreed to start the new lunchroom, pastor's study, and baptismal pool.

On November 21, 1983. the trustees, Howard Johnson, Robert Johnson, Earl McNeill, Johnie Holliday, Lewis Campbell met with the contractor and requested the foundation be poured. The church now has a membership of 187 and is still becoming spiritually and physically stronger.


Submitted by: Peggy H. Robinson, Church Secretary

Member of Churchland Extension Homemakers Club, 1989

Edited by: Evelyn Byrd. Quilt Coordinator

Quilt Square: Row 8, Number 4;

Embroidery and Applique by: Peggy H. Robinson