Sugar Creek Presbyterian Church was organized as the first church in Mecklenburg County in 1775, and served as the mother church for the seven Scotch Irish Presbyterian congregations established here before the Revolutionary War. In 1758 the fiery Reverend Alexander Craighead became the pastor at Sugar Creek and rode on horseback to his seven congregations, the only preacher in the county until his death in 1766. A promoter of Revivalism and the Great Enlightenment, Craighead was a vocal critic of King George and the Church of England, and feverishly preached to his flock to resist threats to their independence well before the Revolution. The sanctuary in this view from 1934 is actually the fourth church to exist on the property, sitting across the road from the initial log building that burned down in the early 1800s.
Sugar Creek still remains as the oldest established church in Mecklenburg County, and although it was known as Sugaw Creek for many years it formally changed its name to Sugar Creek Presbyterian in 1924. Fire damaged this 4th sanctuary as well, but it survived this time and a steeple was added in 1970. Alexander Craighead, how widely known as "the Father of Independence in Mecklenburg County," lies at rest in the first known grave in the oldest of three nearby cemeteries on the property. Local legend holds that his grave was initially marked by only two sassafras trees that grew from the poles used to carry his coffin, and that one of the pieces was used to make the top of the new church's pulpit after they blew down in a storm. Near the current sanctuary is the church's second schoolhouse, a one-room, Federal-style brick structure dating from 1837, which contains a small museum telling the church's history.
Until next week!
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Information taken from:
Charlotte Then and Now, Brandon Lunsford, 2013.
“We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.” – Frederick Douglass