Account of the Lord’s work in North Carolina
Paul, says, “The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness” (1 Cor 1:18). Nowhere could this truth be more evident then what is known as the “Bible Belt” of North Carolina. This area extends eastward to Raleigh, the capital of the state, then westward to Canton and Asheville in the mountains. The area probably has more churches and chapels per capita, than anywhere else in the country. This is not said in a judgmental way, for, again quoting Paul in Philip pians 1:18, “What then? Notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached, and I therein do rejoice, yea and will rejoice.” But in a greater way, religion and church affiliation have displaced the truth the Lord proclaimed to Nicodemus, “Ye must be born again!”
The work of the Lord began in the late 20’s and early 30’s with such respected servants of the Lord as Mr. James Smith, Sr. of Cleveland, Ohio, Mr. James McCullough of Iowa, and Mr. David Calderhead of Mansfield, Ohio. The work at this time was concentrated in the Canton and Asheville area, the two towns being geographically close together. Souls were saved and, eventually, assemblies in both cities were established. The Ashville assembly was larger and stronger than the Canton assembly. The Canton assembly did not last many years. Because of their close proximity, some of those connected with the Canton assembly moved over to the Asheville assembly. The Asheville assembly continued until the late 1950s. Again, some of those from the Asheville assembly commuted 80 miles of difficult driving to Hickory after the Hickory assembly was established. Among those are Mr. and Mrs. Walter Spence, who continue in fellowship with us today.
About 1932, a young man, recently commended to the work, Oswald L. MacLeod, a servant of the Lord well known and respected among us today, had an exercise regarding North Carolina. He was joined by Mr. Smith, who was living in Asheville at that time, for tent meetings. The Lord blessed the effort in salvation and souls were added to the assembly in Asheville. The work of the Lord continued in N.C. when in 1934 brother MacLeod’s exercise led him to Hickory, an area almost in the middle of the state between Raleigh and Asheville. That effort continued until 1942 when brother MacLeod left this area to go to Dayton, Ohio. Work was resumed again in 1947 when he returned to N.C. for tent meetings in and around Hickory. Some that were saved from the prior work and some that were saved as a result of the recent effort, having been baptized, saw the truth of gathering to His Name. On March 19, 1950, a small company of believers met together to remember the Lord for the first time Hickory. This assembly continues to this present time.
This is just a brief account of the work in North Carolina and certainly does not include all that had a share in the groundwork and continuation of the work.