The Kehukee Association, established in 1769, is the fourth oldest association of Baptist churches in America. The first was the Philadelphia Association (1707); the second was Charleston (1751); and the third was Sandy Creek, North Carolina (1758). In 1742 minister William Sojourner and others moved from Virginia and settled on Kehukee Creek in Halifax County. That year members built a church or meetinghouse and named it after the creek. The meetinghouse later became the mother church for the Kehukee Association. Churches in the initial Association were located in Halifax, Edgecombe, Bertie, and Pitt Counties; but the group soon expanded.
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Prior to being united in an Association, most of the churches were “General Baptists,” adhering to the free-will doctrine. In 1755 the Philadelphia Association sent two ministers to the Southern colonies, including North Carolina. It was through the influence of these “New Lights” that the greater part of North Carolina’s Baptists became “Regulars.” The reformed churches then entered into the Kehukee Association, whose members are now known as Primitive Baptists. The group’s date of establishment has been widely reported as 1765; but the first minutes of the Kehukee Association reveal the date as November 6, 1769. On that date, “a Considerable number of Baptist Ministers and Brethren met at Kehukey in the County of Halifax and province of North Carolina to Consult about the expediency of An Association and the Manner of Conducting it to the advantage of the Churches.”
The Kehukee group adopted the platform and sentiments of the Calvinist Philadelphia Association (which since 1742 had based its principles on the thirty-two articles of the confession of faith published in London in 1689). Kehukee Primitive Baptist Church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.
Lemuel Burkitt and Jesse Read, A Concise History of the Kehukee Baptist Association (1803)
“Minutes of the Kehukee Association (Baptist), November 6, 1769 to 1777,” James Sprunt Historical Monograph, V
Hugh B. Johnston Jr., “Some Historical Information on the Kehukee Association Regarding the Date Organized,” Primitive Baptist Library Quarterly (1967)
Kehukee Primitive Baptist Church