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Sharon Presbyterian Church records

 Collection
Identifier: MS0385

Scope and Contents

The 141 year span of Sharon Presbyterian Church records in this collection contains a wide variety of materials, including minutes of the Session meetings, the Deacons meetings, the congregational meetings, various women’s auxiliary groups, the Christian Education Committee, correspondence for the early 1970s and the 1974 membership directory. There are no birth, baptismal, confirmation, marriage or death records, aside from what was recorded in the Session minutes (which often recorded such events); and church financial records are included in the Session minutes. The Session minutes also include several antebellum era white and black communicant rolls. The early Session minute books were numbered, but here things become confusing. The third “book” (which is bound, but has no cover) was not numbered, but fits chronologically in between books two and three. Books six through ten originally existed in the form of loose pages bound into binder notebooks so that the minutes could be typed and the pages could be inserted into the binders. In order to fit these records into standard size archival storage boxes and also to save space, the pages were removed from their binders. The most recent Session minutes date to 1984. Minutes of congregational meetings from 1967 to 1976 were also originally found among the Session minutes and have been placed in their own series in this collection. Series III contains minutes from the Board of Deacons. The first book of deacons’ minutes contained many loose papers that had been taped into the pages. Unfortunately, the tape holding in these papers was dry, brittle and were falling out of place. During processing, those papers were removed and unfolded, and have been placed in their own folder, following the bound volume. There were a few different women’s auxiliary groups within Sharon Presbyterian Church, beginning in 1870, and the names of these groups varied slightly, though their essential nature and purpose was basically the same—to provide an organized venue for SPC women’s charitable work. Series IV contains constitutions, minute books, and financial ledgers for these organizations. Series V contains four church bulletins from special occasions at SPC, such as the centennial celebration in 1931, the 125th anniversary, the dedication of the Charles Little Activity Building in 1975 and the 175th anniversary celebration in 2006. Series VI contains minutes from the Christian Education Committee from 1956 to 1965, which is followed by a series of church correspondence (mostly pastoral correspondence from Oliver W. Carmichael) from 1970 to 1974. The collection concludes with the 1974 membership directory.

Dates

  • 1840 - 2006
  • 1840 - 1985

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

As an area settled predominantly by Scots and Scotch-Irish, Charlotte is a city with a strong Presbyterian history. The origins of Sharon Presbyterian Church can be traced to a petition addressed to the Concord Presbytery on April 7, 1830. This petition was presented by Presbyterians residing mainly in south-central Mecklenburg County who traditionally had been served by Providence Presbyterian Church and by Steele Creek Presbyterian Church. These planter and farming families had determined that they needed a more convenient meeting house —hence, the petition to the Concord Presbytery. Evidently, religious services for a brief time were led by Presbyterian missionary Dougald McIntyre in local homes or possibly in the open air. In the fall of 1831, the Sharon Presbyterian Church congregation began holding worship services in their newly-constructed meeting house. On October 22, 1831, congregational seats were distributed and the congregation elected five ruling elders - Paris Alexander, Robert Kirkpatrick, Dr. Joseph W. Ross, William Ross and William Walker. William Lee, Jr. was elected treasurer. Sharon Church was “regularly organized by the ordination according to our Confession of Faith” and church elders Joseph W. Ross, William Ross and Paris Alexander ordained and installed, on November 4, 1831. Uniting with Providence Presbyterian Church, Sharon’s congregation thereby obtained “one third of the ministerial labor” of Providence’s pastor Rev. Samuel Williamson. The Sharon Church congregation elected their first deacons - Joseph Weeks, Robert Kirkpatrick and Augustus Alexander - in December 1840. The church had been established on land eventually owned by founding elder Dr. Joseph W. Ross. In November of 1857, Ross formally deeded to the church approximately 185 acres “with appurtenances” for the nominal fee of ten dollars. Dr. Ross was a very prominent and influential man in his community and his church. As the Southern states began seceding from the Union in 1861, the Synod of North Carolina met in Raleigh in November of that year to approve a bill that broke its connection with the General Assembly. Subsequently, the Southern synods convened in Atlanta to establish the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America. Though sectional politics were a major issue of the preceding decades, it does not appear in the Session minutes. Moreover, the Sharon Church’s session minutes do note those members who fell in combat for the Confederate cause. After the war, the Sharon Church held a day of fasting on August 10, 1865. The Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America reorganized itself as the Presbyterian Church of the United States, remaining separate from the Presbyterian Church of the USA until 1983. During the late nineteenth century, three new Presbyterian congregations were established at the outer boundaries of Sharon Township. These were Pineville Presbyterian Church, Amity Presbyterian Church and Ebenezer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. In 1874, the Sharon congregation built on their church property the first of two manses. The congregation in 1891 completed a Gothic Revival-style brick sanctuary, simultaneously razing their original meeting house. Prior to World War II, the 1891 sanctuary was expanded to include space for Sunday school classrooms. Following the war, a brick manse complete with indoor plumbing replaced the 1874 wood-frame manse. The Sharon Church congregation by 1990 had grown to such an extent that plans for a new sanctuary were initiated. The Sharon session voted to establish a building committee to hire an architect and a contractor to build a new facility; and a finance committee to determine the cost and devise a way to finance construction. The congregation dedicated the new building on Sunday, September 11, 1994, by processing from the sanctuary of the 1891 building to the new one, carrying with them the communion table cross and the pulpit Bible. The completed structure features a rounded sanctuary intended to create a feeling of inclusiveness among the worshippers, and unlike the previous building, this one has a center aisle. The 1891 structure has been preserved as a chapel. The membership of this church produced several ministers over the years, including Rev. John Cannon, Rev. Robert L. Brown, Rev. C.C. Brown, Rev. Wilbur Nicholson, Rev. Lunsford Reed, Rev. Clayton Alexander, Rev. Eugene Alexander (who served as a chaplain in WWII), Rev. Walter Garrison, Rev. Oscar Sample, Rev. John Yandell, Rev. Conrad Caldwell, and Rev. William W. David, junior. [Sources: Brockmann, Charles Raven, Mecklenburg Presbytery: A History. Heritage Printers, Inc., Charlotte, NC, 1962 ; Sharon Presbyterian Church records, 1840-2006, Mss 385, UNC Charlotte Library ; Sharon Presbyterian Church, Sharing Our Heritage: 175 Years of Faith, Fellowship and Food. Published by the Sharon Presbyterian Church, Charlotte, NC, 2006.]

Extent

2 Linear Feet

Overview

Records of the Sharon Presbyterian Church, of Charlotte, NC, from 1840 to 2006, including minutes of the Session, 1840-1984; the congregation, 1967-1976; deacons, 1950-1991; and Christian Education Committee, 1956-1965; records of women’s auxiliary organizations, 1870-1983; and correspondence, 1970-1973.

Arrangement

This collection contains a wide assortment of records from the Sharon Presbyterian Church from 1840 to 2006 in eight series, including the minutes of the Session (which appear first, because of their importance), followed by minutes of congregational meetings, and then by the minutes of deacons meetings. Series IV through VIII contain records from various women's auxiliary groups since 1870; church service bulletins (four of them from special occasions); minutes from the Christian Education Committee (1956-1965); correspondence from the early 1970s; and the 1974 directory of church members.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

On indefinite loan from the Sharon Presbyterian Church, in June 2007.

Related Materials

Hopewell Presbyterian Church records (mss 248).

Processing Information

Processed by Robert A. McInnes
Title
Sharon Presbyterian Church records
Status
Completed
Author
Robert A. McInnes
Date
2007
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Contact:
Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte 28223 United Stated