Timeline of Allison Creek Presbyterian Church
Before the organization of Allison Creek, people of the community traveled many miles on roads that were hardly more than “pig paths” to worship in two distant churches, Bethel Presbyterian and Ebenezer Presbyterian.
On February 4, a commission from Bethel Presbytery met and organized Allison Creek Presbyterian Church. Members of the commission were Rev. J. M. H. Adams of Yorkville, ruling elders Frank H. Simril and W. P. McFadden. The Rev. A. M. Watson of Indian Presbytery, who attended the organization service, was invited to sit as a corresponding commission member to constitute that a quorum was present.
The dedication was held that same day in the new church building with Rev. J. M. H. Adams preaching the sermon. In choosing a name for this new house of worship, the people decided to call it “Allison Creek” for the stream that flows southward behind the wooded hill where the church stands.
J. Durham Currence donated land on which the church was built. J. Durham Currence was the brother of Mrs. Susan S. Currence Allison who was present with her husband, William B. Allison, and helped organize the church.
The first officers elected to govern the new church were: Elders William Berry Allison, Angus Davidson Choate, Ezekiel Fewell and James Simril. Deacons were: James L. Wright, Hugh H. Simril, and William Choate.
The first pastor was Rev. J. R. Baird who served from 1854 to 1856.
Church officers showed concern for the congregation’s state of earnestness. At their meeting on August 20, 1856, the following resolution was drawn up:
Whereas this church being at a low state of piety, very much needs a reviving from the presence of the Lord; therefore, be it resolved that Thursday be observed as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer to God that He would visit this church and community with the reviving influence of His Spirit.
For many years, Allison Creek continued to be a flourishing and influential group of worshippers. Continued construction of the power dam on the Catawba River forced many families to move to other localities. Following completion of the dam, an epidemic of malaria fever struck the neighborhood. Entire families fled their homesteads and plantations in the area. The creek for which Allison Creek Church was named had almost caused its namesake to collapse; the church sat on the brink of folding. Concord Methodist Church, which stood only a few miles away was already deserted and closed. The dam had caused water to cover much of the farmland and had created breeding places for the hordes of mosquitoes that infested the community and drove people from their homes.
During this time of illness and turmoil, approximately 48 staunch members stayed on and regular services were maintained.
The congregation secured the services of a minister, Dr. Tilden Scherer, who was a source of inspiration. Dr. Scherer was pastor of Bethel Presbyterian and Scherer Memorial Presbyterian churches. He held worship services at 5 p.m. on Sunday afternoons twice a month, which made Allison Creek his third sermon of the day.
A tornado ripped a narrow path through the community. High winds tore the roof off the church, blew down huge pine trees on the church ground, leveled homes and left destruction in its path. The fallen pine trees were hauled to the sawmill and milled into materials that were used to replace the church roof.
Allison Creek gained members and started growing again with new life while Jack Sadler of Rock Hill served as supply pastor during his studies at The Seminary.
June 6 marked the day for the one hundredth anniversary of the original dedication of Allison Creek. Dr. Tilden Scherer gave a brief history of the church during the service.
In a groundbreaking ceremony, the Rev. Bruce Fisher, turned the first shovel of dirt for the new educational wing. This wing consisted of an assembly hall, kitchen and three Sunday school classrooms. The work was completed in 1955 at a cost of $5,500. The church steeple was added to Allison Creek front roof as a centennial gift from Mr. and Mrs. Richard Bigger.
Rev. Grant M. Sharp arrived in June as the first full-time pastor. Allison Creek began regular Sunday morning worship hour and Sunday school. Rev. Sharp was the first to occupy the new brick manse built just over a hill from the church. The manse was built at a cost of $25,000 with the majority of the work completed by the men of the congregation.
A meeting was held on Sunday, June 19 to organize the Allison Creek Presbyterian Church Cemetery Association. The main interest of this group was to keep the adjoining burial grounds in good repair and thereby honor the dead forebears, among them the people who helped organize the church. Found among the graves were Colonel William Berry Allison and his wife, Mrs. Mary Susan Currence Allison, who were present and helped with the organization of the church. Their son, Rev. William Berry Allison Jr., is buried in the cemetery. Angus Davidson Choate, who helped organize the church and served as ruling elder until his death in 1890, is also buried here.
The church began a new $40,000 building campaign. The new brick church school wing covered 48,000 square feet and the fellowship hall was finished with a high ceiling and exposed arches so it could be used for a sanctuary and for other church group meetings. A ladies’ parlor, nursery, kitchen and church school classrooms were also located in this building.
A service was held on August 2 for the purpose of dedicating the new Education Building. A cordial welcome was extended to all who were worshiping on this special day of dedication and homecoming. The service of dedication of the debt-free building took place after the morning worship service.
A major building project took place with the construction of the multi-purpose building. This 7,640 square foot addition included a gymnasium size fellowship hall, dressing rooms, a new kitchen and classrooms. The cost of this project was $210,000.
The debt incurred from the Family Life Center building project was paid in full.
Renovations were begun in the sanctuary. A new ceiling and heating/cooling system were installed.
New carpeting was added to the sanctuary. The chancel area was renovated to create more space.