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



Marker Text:

      The first immigrants to live in what is now Iredell County were Scots-Irish Presbyterians who arrived in the mid to late 1730’s. The community of Fourth Creek, so named because it was the fourth creek that one reached after heading west from Salisbury, was established by 1750. It was in 1750 that a Presbyterian minister named John Thomson purchased seven parcels of land. It is documented that Thomson sold land for nominal fees to people who were later members of his congregation, so church tradition holds that the minister influenced people to join him at Fourth Creek and would have immediately begun preaching at a “stand” in the area. There was known to be a stand, or open-air preaching station with a plank situated between two white oak trees, used by Thomson in the Fourth Creek community.

      John Thomson left the Fourth Creek congregation in 1753. There would not have another permanent minister until 1778, but instead the congregation was served by missionaries from the synods of Philadelphia and New York. It is possible that the uncertainties of frontier life during the French and Indian War kept ministers from committing to live in the area. In 1764 the Fourth Creek congregation placed a call to the synods for help in formally establishing their church. While this was accomplished, the church remained without a leader until Reverend James Hall, who was raised in the Fourth Creek congregation, was installed in 1778.

      The original church structure was built around 1755 and is said to have been “very dilapidated” by 1780. A large log church was rebuilt on the same site in that year. The log church was replaced by a brick building in 1863. Later church buildings, all on the same general site, were erected in 1870, 1890, and the present one, constructed 1924-25. Iredell County was established from Rowan in 1788. When the General Assembly passed a bill in 1789 to locate the county seat, they placed it on land adjacent to the Fourth Creek Church. The county seat was to be named Statesville. The Fourth Creek Presbyterian Church officially became the Presbyterian Church of Statesville in 1875.

First Presbyterian Church, Statesville, N.C., “A History of Old Fourth Creek Congregation, 1764-1964, Now the First Presbyterian Church of Statesville, North Carolina” (1964) (copy in Research Branch files, North Carolina Office of Archives and History)
Homer M. Keever, Iredell, Piedmont County (1976)
Mac Lackey, “Church Celebrates 225 Years,” Charlotte Observer (Iredell Neighbors editon), January 15, 1989
Ruth Little-Stokes, An Inventory of Historic Architecture: Iredell County, North Carolina (1978)
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north carolina highway historical marker program

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