MEMORIES OF EARLY DAYS AT
COVINGTON PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
(In 1932, Robina Edgar Burns wrote a colorful account of the turn-of-the-century activities of our congregation. A church had been started near Covington in 1848, but had languished in the economic chaos following theCivil War. The following is excerpted from Mrs. Burns' narrative in our church library:)
"Once upon a time in July, 1878, there stood on the corner of New Hampshire and Portsmouth (now Independence) streets, a little church with no minister. At that time a family, Edgar by name, moved from New Orleans and located on a beautiful place called Bagley Hill, on Little Bogue Falaya river.
This family were staunch Presbyterians, whose antecedents through ages had remained loyal to that belief and faith. So you can readily imagine the sorrow and grief that came to their hearts when they discovered that there was no Presbyterian Church to attend." (For a time they attended a Methodist Church.)
"This entire family rose early Sunday mornings, filled up the family surrey, and with old horse Toby, traveled through the lonely thick forest of pine six miles to Sunday School and services." (Joined by the Randolph and Poole families, they decide to re-open the pre-war Presbyterian church building)
"Letters were sent to the Domestic Missions asking for a part-time minister. Responses came at once, the little church on the corner was opened, cleaned and dusted by these few women acting as janitors. Flowers filled old vases . . . the only lights were hanging kerosene lamps.
"These were happy days, when, dressed in their crinoline taffeta dresses of the period, they filled that little church on the corner.
"As our town expanded and our Church prospered, we wanted a more modern building. And so in July 1902, a pleasure club bought the old church and grounds, Sixty years of history, strange and sweet, passed into other hands. The funny little steeple and the queer sounding bell were taken down. With our $500 we purchased the site of the present church. Plans were immediately drawn and the church and mance were built in 1902 by W. H. Krone.
"How did we do it? How does God prosper all good work done in His house? Our Presbytery set aside a certain amount; friendly churches all over the Southern districts sent small donations; every member pledged a sum and the ladies did the work . . . Many fine families have come and gone, due largely to a shifting population. We have at times been happy, at times sad, but always united. One in spirit, faith and prayer — asking God's guidance in all that we do."
1848 Original Church erected at the corner of what is now North New Hampshire and East Independence Streets.
1901 Purchased new site on South Jefferson Avenue between East Twentieth and East Temperance Streets.
1902 Original Church property sold and building removed.
1902-03 Church Building erected on the new Jefferson Avenue site.
1905-06 Manse built on corner of Jefferson Avenue and East Temperance Streets.
1919-20 Sunday School Annex erected alongside the Church.
1948-49 Sunday School Building expanded to add several classrooms and kitchen.
1957-58 Sunday School Addition constructed behind the Church along Twentieth Avenue.
1962 Purchased adjoining house and property on East Twentieth Ave and converted to class rooms.
1964 Purchased new manse on West Nineteenth and South Madison Street and converted Old Manse to class rooms.
1969 Two-story Classroom Building erected on the site of the original Sunday School Buildings and Offices and Fellowship Hall moved into the Old Manse.
1977-78 New Fellowship Hall with Kitchen erected on the property along East Twentieth Avenue.
1979-80 Church Building completely restored and lengthened along Twentieth Avenue requiring removal of the Sunday School Addition.
PASTORS OF THE COVINGTON PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Samuel Birch Hall 1848 - c. 1852
John Russell Hutchinson 1852 - c. 1854
John Conner Graham 1856-c. 1863
John Milton Williams 1900 — 1913
Franklin Crane Talmage 1913 — 1924
William Alexander Downing 1924 — 1928
Daniel Archie McNeil 1928 — 1933
Paul Butterfield Freeland 1934 — 1947
William Courtenay Danwiddie 1947 — 1958
Adrian Ruelof Munzell 1960 — 1962
Charles Ernest von Rosenberg 1962 —