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

 
 
 

ID:

Marker Text:

Essay:
     Grove Church hosted one of the earliest Presbyterian congregations in North Carolina. Irishman Henry McCulloch led a group of Presbyterian immigrants from Ireland to Duplin County no later than 1737, forming the Grove community. The original Grove Church was built three miles southeast of the present Duplin County courthouse, on land granted to McCulloch, whereas the present incarnation is located on Main Street (NC 24) in Kenansville (est. 1818).

     In 1755, the Presbyterian Church was thriving in North Carolina. Hugh McAden, a missionary pastor responsible for Old Bluff Church in Cumberland County, held services at Grove from 1757 to about 1767. Over the next four years, however, Grove Church fell into disrepair.

     A local pastor named John Robinson restored the church in 1788, soon after Grove was incorporated into the Synod of the Carolinas, an organization of twenty-five ministers serving forty-six churches throughout the southeast United States. Part of the Carolina circuit, Grove Church went without a permanent minister until Robinson assumed the duties in 1794. The church remained in use until the middle of the nineteenth century, when church leaders approved construction of the present church in Kenansville. Land was deeded to the church for that purpose in 1857.

     Grove Church was constructed in Greek Revival style, a large rectangular structure resting on a slightly larger pediment. Doric pilasters are found at every corner of the structure and bell tower, while long, neo-gothic windows line the sides and front of the church. Along with Black River Church in Sampson County, Grove Church is symbolic of Presbyterian beginnings in North Carolina.


References:
Jennifer F. Martin, The Historical and Architectural Development of Duplin County (1999)
Faison W. McGowen and Pearl C. McGowen, eds., Flashes of Duplin County’s History and Government (1971)
William L. Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, I (1887)
Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture in Eastern North Carolina (1996)
     

     
     
     
     
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north carolina highway historical marker program


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