north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

     Rocky River Church in Cabarrus County was organized as a Presbyterian congregation in 1751. The first church building was a log structure, likely built around 1755 near a ford in the river that gave the church its name. The first permanent pastor of Ricky River Church was Alexander Craighead who, with his family, moved to the area from Virginia in 1758 to accept the church’s call. Prior to Craighead, various supply preachers, including Hugh McAden in 1755, served the church and the community.

     The congregation at Rocky River Church incorporated a school on November 16, 1812. Called Rocky River Academy, the institution educated youth of the area until the turn of the twentieth century. During the mid-nineteenth century, Rocky River Church grew to be the largest congregation in the North Carolina Presbyterian Synod. After years of planning, on January 4, 1860, parishioners agreed upon a building proposition by which they could construct a new church. It would be the fourth. The new brick church, dedicated May 2, 1860, is still in use today. There are four cemeteries on the church’s property, as well as an 1839 frame Session House and a manse, which was completed about 1873. More recently the church added an educational building to its complex; it is separate from the sanctuary, yet complements the building’s architecture.

Thomas Hugh Spence Jr., The Presbyterian Congregation on Rocky River (1954)
Joseph B. Mack, A Historical Sketch of Rocky River Church, 1775-1875 (1913)
Clarence E. Horton Jr. and Kathryn L. Bridges, Piedmont Neighbors (1999)
Peter R. Kaplan, The Historic Architecture of Cabarrus County North Carolina (1981)
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north carolina highway historical marker program

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources