Cary’s Heritage: Traveling Preachers

Cary, NC – Folks remember the first preachers in the area and Cary religious traditions.

Hilda Crumpler (Born in 1900)

When I was a girl in Creedmoor, they only had preaching once a month. Each pastor had four churches and went to one each Sunday in rotation, so once a month, we had a preacher come spend the weekend. Most times, he stayed at our house. Sometimes he’d bring his wife and children.

Papa was Sunday school superintendent, so he had to look after the preacher. We loved Sunday school because all we did otherwise was go to school or working on the farm.

Esther Ivey (Born in 1890)

In Cary, there were two churches for the white people and one for the colored people on Cornwall road next to their cemetery. We had the Baptist Church and the Methodist Church. We had preaching only once a month at each church, always on alternate Sundays.

The Baptists would go to the Methodist church on their day, and then the Methodists would come to the Baptist church. Sunday school at each church was a weekly affair.

Marie Seeger

In the summertime, the Baptist Church and the Methodist Church never had Bible school at the same time, so the children could go to both.

If you were Baptist, you went to your church for Bible School, and then when the Methodists had it you went to their church too.

Mary Crowder

Between the Baptists and the Methodists, we would have Thanksgiving service at one church one year, and at the other one the next. We had revivals, so we went to the Methodist revival even though we were Baptist, and vice versa. We had Sunday school parties and church picnics. We had Baptist Training Union (BTU) on Sunday where we learned verses and had a program.

Quarterly, we had a book with different sections that we were assigned to read. We’d give a program on Sunday night. We got together for about an hour before church started, meeting with our age group, just like we were in Sunday school.

Esther Ivey

On the third floor of the brick building that was on the corner of Academy and Cedar Streets was the Episcopal chapel. A minister from Durham or Raleigh came out once a month and had service there.

About the only Episcopalian here was Mrs. Templeton. The Episcopal service was at night, so we would also go to that.

Jimmy Gibbs

My great-grandfather, Rev Meadows, was a teacher and principal of Cary Colored School, and also a minister at the church next to the school on Cornwall Road. He was the vice president of the church’s Lincoln Conference in the area. When he wasn’t teaching or preaching, he was doing ministry work, traveling around to churches across the conference.

Cary has his home base. Later, his Cary church moved to Evans Road and changed its name to the First United Church of Christ. Rev. Meadows spent 35 years teaching and preaching throughout the surrounding areas.

Story by Peggy Van Scoyoc. Photos by Hal Goodtree. Much of Cary’s Heritage is taken from the book, Just a Horse-Stopping Place, an Oral History of Cary, North Carolina, published in August, 2006. The book is a collection of oral history interviews conducted between local citizens and Friends of the Page-Walker Hotel. The rest comes from later oral history interviews with local citizens.