church history

The story of Rocky Branch church.

Wilson Daily Times, 11 November 2000.

Highlights of this history of Rocky Branch United Church of Christ:

  • Shortly after the Civil War, six or seven people began holding regular worship services on the banks of Rocky Branch
  • Church celebrates Harvest Day in October, as it has done for seven generations. Nearly half who attended in 2000 could trace their ancestry to a founding church member.
  • Alice Shaw Stevens, daughter of Seth T. Shaw, was unofficial church historian, as her father had been.
  • A footbridge marks the location of the early gathering site, as well as the site of baptisms in the creek.
  • Though early records are scarce, it appears the church was formally organized in 1870 under the jurisdiction of the North Carolina Conference of Christian churches. Subsequent denomination mergers resulted in its current designation as Rocky Branch United Church of Christ.
  • A crude one-room building was erected early, and a cemetery plot purchased alongside it. Several improvements and additions were made over the years.
  • The church celebrated its centennial in August 1970.
  • In 1986, shortly after members paid off a mortgage on a new addition, lightning struck the church’s steeple and destroyed the edifice. Members met in a nearby church and the Rocky Branch Masonic Lodge building until a new facility was built.
  • The church had 15 pastors between 1870 and 2000 – Revs. Elisha Horton, Robert Pretty, William Allen, Haywood Horton, W.H. Dugger, P.R. Alexander, C.A. Harris (who served two terms), E.L. Sellers, W.H. Jeffreys, C. Hodges, L.E. Young, Eli Burton,and H.L. Hartsfield.

 

Under Rev. Henry, Little Zion grew.

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In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Mack Henry, 51, wife Elen S., 38, and children James T., 14, Pochahuntus, 12, Emma G., 9, George B., 7, and Pattie L., 2. All were born in Virginia except Pattie, who was born in North Carolina. Mack, Ellen and James worked as tobacco graders.

In the 1910 census of Clayton, Johnston County, North Carolina: Mack Henry, 55, tobacco grader; wife Ellen, 45, cook; daughters Pocahontas Farmer, 23, and Emma Hinton, 20, washwomen; daughter Pattie L. Henry, 14; son William T. Henry, 10; daughter Jessie Maie Henry, 5; and granddaughters Elizabeth Farmer, 1, and an unnamed Hinton girl, 1 month.

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From Greater Little Zion Baptist Church History. Greater Little Zion is in Fairfax, Virginia, in an area of the city once called Burke.