April 10: Fairview Presbyterian Church, Fountain Inn, SC [org. 1786]

A member church of the Presbyterian Church in America since 1974, Fairview Presbyterian Church in Fountain Inn,South Carolina, was established in 1786 and ranks as one of the oldest churches in the PCA (fifteen are older).

History of Fairview Presbyterian Church
Greenville County
1786-1886

The Fairview Presbyterian Church is located in Greenville County, South Carolina, Fairview Township, five miles west of Fountain Inn.

The above church was organized in the late fall of 1786, the following families composing the organization: John Peden’s, Samuel Peden’s, David Peden’s, James Alexander’s, and James Nesbitt’s.

This church was received under the care of South Carolina Presbytery on April 10, 1787.

There have been four church buildings. The first was built of logs and located, not far from the church spring, on the east side. The second was also a log structure and situated near the spot on which the brick church afterwards stood. The third was the brick building. It was finished in 1818 and dedicated by the Rev. R.B. Cater in August of that year. Its site was just in front of the graveyard, where remains of it may still be found. The fourth is the one now in use. It was completed in March, 1858, and dedicated by Rev. David Humphrey and Dr. E.T. Buist on May 15 of the same year. The occasion was also a season of great spiritual blessing to the church. There were many conversions and the membership much revived.

The Rev. Samuel Edmonson of Virginia, preached the first sermon and organized the church with the following ruling elders: John Peden, Samuel Peden, James Alexander, Sr., and his son, John Alexander. The first minister to serve the church was Rev. John McCosh, for one year. Second, Rev. J. Foster Simpson and Rev. William Montgomery, each preached occasionally until 1794, when Rev. James Templeton was called as stated supply for half of his time and continued for six years.

From 1800 to 1802, the pulpit was vacant, but in 1802, this church, with Nazareth, Spartanburg County, called the Rev. James Gilliland, Jr., as pastor, and continued for ten years.

From 1812 to 1814, Rev. James Hillhouse, Rev. Thomas Archibald, Rev. Joseph Hillhouse, and Rev. Alexander Kirkpatrick were occasional supplies, as appointed by Presbytery.

From 1814 to 1816, Rev. Hugh Dickson served the church for one-fourth his time. Again the Rev. James Hillhouse served for six months, followed by Rev. Thomas Archibald for one year, and Rev. Alexander Kirkpatrick for two years. Rev. Thomas Baird served for two years, 1818-1820. Rev. Michael Dickson served Fairview and Nazareth from 1820-1827. Vacant from 1827 to 1832, Messrs. Watson and Craig holding occasional services as appointed by Presbytery, with Rev. Arthur Mooney.

In 1832, Rev. John Boggs took charge as supply, later, as pastor. He was followed by Rev. David Humphrys for three years. He was succeeded by Rev. William Carlisle in 1838, who was stated supply for six years. He was followed by Rev. John McKittrick for two years, then Rev. E.T. Buist as stated supply for six years.

This brings us to the ministry of Rev. C.B. Stewart, which extended over a period of thirty years, eighteen, as stated supply, and twelve years, as pastor. His worthy successor was Rev. Marion C. Britt, as pastor for three-fourths of his time.

The list of those who have served as ruling elders in the church from 1786 to 1886 is as follows: John Peden, Samuel Peden, James Alexander, Sr., John Alexander, Alexander Peden, William Peden, Robert Morrow, Anthony Savage, Thomas W. Alexander, Lindsay A. Baker, James Peden, James Alexander, David Morton, Alexander Thompson, James Dunbar, Adam Stenhouse, Austin Williams, J.E. Savage, John M. Harrison, A.W. Peden, T.H. Stall, Dr. W.A. Harrison, Thomas L. Woodside, Dr. D.R. Anderson, W.L. Hopkins, Robert Wham, David Stoddard, J.W. Kennedy, and Dr. H.B. Stewart.

The office of deacon was established in 1858, and the following men have served in that capacity up to the year 1886: John T. Stenhouse, T.C. Harrison, William Nesbitt, D.R. Anderson, Thomas L. Woodside, Thomas H. Stall, W.L. Hopkins, C.D. Nesbitt, D.M. Peden, T.C. Peden, E.W. Nash, A.S. Peden, J.T. Peden, M.P. Nash and S.T. McKittrick.

An imperfect roll of communicants from the beginning to 1886, contains about twelve hundred names. The neighboring churches of New Harmony and Lickville are her daughters, and many colonies in other states, who have carried with them her faith and spirit. Two of her sons are in the ministry, the Rev. A.G. Peden of Griffin, Georgia, and the Rev. C.L. Stewart of our own Presbytery. The first hundred years of her existence have been rich in blessings, and we can raise our Ebenezer with thanksgiving and praise for “hitherto the Lord has helped us.”

The church bears no marks of decay, and if her children are only faithful to their heritage, it can be said of her that she has but entered upon her divine mission of “gathering and perfecting the saints.”

By (Mrs.) Cannie H. Woodside. [written circa 1936]

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