hall`s creek united methodist church

Written by Helen W. Shackelford & Andrew Floyd Smithson
Hall’s Creek United Methodist Church is a historic institution situated in a historic locale.
The church is located in Pasquotank County, near the Perquimans County line; the two oldest
counties in North Carolina, having been chartered during the pre-colonial period. The historic
community of Nixonton, less than a mile from the church, embraces the Little River, down
which Sir Walter Raleigh’s first colony explored. Still standing here is the state’s oldest customs
house, whose Georgian paneling has been preserved in the North Carolina Room of the
University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Nearby an eight foot granite monument marks the
site of the first public school in the state (1705).
The small hill on which the church was build is in itself historic. It was here on February
6, 1665, that the Albemarle Assembly, the first lawmaking body of the Colony of Carolina met
under an ancient spreading oak tree. A marker on the church grounds commemorates the event.
According to legends, the first congregation was organized about 1727 and may have
been a Quaker (Society of Friends) meetinghouse. Despite the absence of documenting evidence
this is quite probable since many Friends settled the area during the mid to late 1600’s. It was
they who were instrumental in the establishment of the nearby school in 1705.
The first land for a Methodist-Episcopal meetinghouse was purchased October 11, 1819,
by trustees William Davis, John Newby, Stephen Mullen, Miles Brothers, Nathan Bright, and
John Foster. It began, “at a pine running nearly north to a post, thence southwest to a post, and
from thence to the main road at Hall’s Creek Bridge, including all the land within these
boundaries, containing one acre, more or less.” Early records refer to the church as being Mount
According to elderly church members, now deceased, this log building was erected in
1819, directly across the road from the present structure. This log church was destroyed by fire,
and plans to rebuild across the road on the cemetery grounds were made. This site was formally
acquired from Benjamin Jackson on March 15, 1827, by trustees Thomas L. Shannonhouse,
Henry Hollowell, William Reed, Joshua Pool, Silbey Palmer, and Robert H. Barker. Attempts
were made to situate the church so that it would not be build over any grace sites. However, it
was discovered after construction was underway that there were indeed graves on the actual site.
Hall’s Creek Methodist-Episcopal Church was one of ten churches which comprise the
Northeastern North Carolina-Virginia Circuit, with the parsonage being located in Hertford, in
nearby Perquimans County.
The new church, completed in 1827 was built with two front entrance doors. Inside, the
sanctuary was divided to separate the sexes. Floors were constructed of wide pine planks, and
the altar and pews were hand-hewn. A slave gallery was also part of the sanctuary. Behind the
high pulpit was a wooden sounding board to carry the minister’s voice. Tall multi-paned
windows were of hand-blown glass.
Hall’s Creek served the community throughout the remainder of the nineteenth century
and the first forty years of the twentieth century. The doors were then closed, but were reopened
in 1943 largely due to the work and faith of its small congregation.
In 1953 the annex was built adding four new Sunday School rooms, and shortly
thereafter, the slave gallery was renovated into classrooms. The following year a severe
hurricane blew a large tree across the roof damaging the sanctuary. Again renovation was
necessary; new floors, pews, pulpit and altar were installed. The two front doors were converted
to windows and one door cut in the center with a small porch constructed over the entrance. The
hand-blown glass windows were also replaced with stained glass. Only the hand-hewn altar was
salvaged and it remains in storage. Today Hall’s Creek and her sister church, Mount Hermon
form the Pasquotank Charge of the Elizabeth City district of the United Methodist Church.
Elizabeth City, N.C.
Written and published approx. 1973