History of Little River Baptist Church
Alexander County, North Carolina
Rev. A. L. Crouse who wrote "Historical sketches of Alexander County" said: The individual who attempts to contribute anything to the history of a country is greatly embarassed by the lack of records and conflicting traditions. When he has done the best he can he must expect to be criticised for the errors he had made.
What I shall write is based on my own reading of minutes of this and other Associations and on research made by Fred Brookshire, who is an ardent student of the history of the Baptist churches in Alexander and Wilkes Counties, based on papers written by G. W. Paschal, W. E. White, George W. Green and others.
Now, as to the name "Little River": Bishop Spangenburg and his group, searching for a place for a settlement of the Moravians, came up "Bell's" river, probably as far as Poplar Springs church and called the river "Little River", date of Nov 5, 6, and 7th, 1752.
Second possibility. W. E. White says that Brinsley Barnes who with Thomas Jones, was a charter member of Little River church, was one of the signers of the petetion to Governor Tryon for redress in the matter of exorbitant fees and taxes. All the "Regulators" who had signed the above mentioned petetion or had had any part in the "Battle of Alamance" on May 16, 1771, had to swear allegiance to the King of England, or flee their former homes. Many of those patriots in Anson County-now Montgomery&Chatham- gathered up their families and belongings and fled across the Cherokee line- that is the boundary between Tyron's domain and the Indians, said to have been between here and Statesville.
It is said the Old Little River in the country from which they fled had 500 members in 1768 and due to the trouble with Tyron and the Coming Revolution this group all left for other places by 1772, but 48 members. If Brinsley Barnes had enough of his neighbors to come with him to this section, it is quite natural that they would get together, organize, and call the new Church "Little River" after the old church where they formerly lived.
Since the organization of the Alexander Baptist Association at Macedonia, Sept 30, 1887, the Association has met with Little River twice before this session. In 1898, W. E. White, Historian and 1934, G. L. Chatham, Historian. Mr White says that Little River is the oldest church in the territory of the Association and that the records prior to 1822 has been lost. Another source says the church was organized in 1787.
At the second annual meeting of the Yadkin Association, held with Briar Creek in April 1791, mention is made that Little River was represented by Elder John Swaim and Mr Barnes (probably Brinsley). Little River was represented at following meetings as follows: 1793 by Elder John Swaim, Edward Teague and Henry Heriford; 1794 by Elder John Swaim and Richard Beall; in 1795 by Elders John Swaim and Edward Teague; in 1803 by Elder John Swaim, Solomon Davis and John Spradling; In 1804 by Elders John Swaim and William Dotson; In 1808 by by Aaron Smith, then not represented again until 1815 by John Swaim, Jr. In 1806 the Yadkin Ass'n met with Little River Church. in 1816 by Elders William Dotson and John Swaim )Bethel by Elder William Hines and John Gartney.); in 1817 by Elder William Dotson, James Watts and James Burns, (Bethel by William Dotson, John Gartney adn C. Hutton; In 1818 by Elders William Dotson, John Swaim and James Watts, (Bethel by Elders William Hines, William Dotson and B. Shelly); in 1819 by Elder John Swaim and James Robinette, (Bethel by Elder William Dotson and J. Redmon; in 1820 Elder John Swaim, James Watts and Archibald Brown represented Little River and Solomon Davis and John Redmon represented Bethel; in 1821 by Elder John Swaim, James Watts and Archiblad Brown (bethel by Elder William Dotson, William Hines and William Dotson Jr. Bethel reported 74 members and 5 Baptisms.
*Notes*: The above is written by Rev. A. L. Crouse. All spelling and punctuation is typed as he had wrote it. No corrections have been made.
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