HomeFinding Aids#9511 First Presbyterian Church Salisbury, NC Collection

#9511 First Presbyterian Church Salisbury, NC Collection

First Presbyterian Church, Salisbury, NC Collection


MSS #9511


December 1995

(Updated August 1996)

Abstract:         Church bulletins and newsletters from Salisbury NC's First Presbyterian Church.  Also present are photocopied minutes and other materials relating to the Relief Circle of the King's Daughters, an interdenominational service group long associated in Salisbury with First Presbyterian Church and the local Rotary Club.


Online catalog terms:

                        First Presbyterian Church. (Salisbury NC)

                        King's Daughters. Relief Circle

                        Rotary International (Salisbury, NC)


Provenance:     Gift of  The First Presbyterian Church, Salisbury, NC and the Relief Circle

                        Through First Presbyterian Church Historian, Jo White (Mrs. Stahle) Linn

                        December 1995



Access:            No restriction.


Copyright:       Retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as                stipulated by United States copyright law.



Materials in this collection include an almost complete run of Salisbury, NC's First Presbyterian Church bulletins (1947-1983), church newsletters (1981-1982, 1995- ); and materials related to the Relief Circle of the King's Daughters, a women's interdenominational service organization closely associated with First Presbyterian Church and the local Rotary Club. Greater background information regarding the Church and the Circle is given in the following series descriptions.


 Series Descriptions

Series I. King's Daughters materials


            Arrangement:  By information type


            Their name taken from the 45th Psalm, the Relief Circle of the King's Daughters, now called simply the Relief Circle, is a charitable and service organization that over the years has aided the poor and financially supported a number of Rowan County, NC charitable causes. It's motto has always been: "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." 


            The Circle began in 1887 with a suggestion by the then minister at the Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Dr. Jethro Rumple.  He felt that there was a need for a young people's church society and invited the youth of his church to organize the same under the direction of Mrs. S. S. Cole.  At the first meeting following the Circle's organization, Mrs. Cole told the new group about a national interdenominational organization, the King's Daughters and Sons, recently founded in New York City by a Mrs. Bottome.  Those gathered in Mrs. Cole's home liked the sound of this name and instantly became the King's Daughters and Sons of the First Presbyterian Church.


            The first activity undertaken by the freshly-organized and newly-named organization was a petition calling for the erection of a new Presbyterian church building.  Later, in 1891, when this structure was going up, the group bought the cornerstone for the new building, chairs for the choir, and a rose window bearing the King's Daughters and Sons' insignia. They also aided with the purchase of the carpets.


            In 1902, the state was organized into circles of King's Daughters and Sons, and the First Presbyterian group joined, changing its name to the Relief Circle of the King's Daughters and Sons. This group, nominally interdenominational, continued to work through the First Presbyterian Church, serving the poor and needy in its midst.  Although there had been male members in the Circle during its earliest years, the group had always been primarily a women's organization, and, at some point shortly after this 1902 reorganization, the local circle became an exclusively woman's organization. 


            The King's Daughters work became so popular in the 1910s that three sub-circles ("The Willing Workers," "In His Name," and "Royal Circle") were carved out of  the membership which numbered 66 at its height. An interdenominational circle was also attempted at this time but failed.


            In 1920, the need for a new high school building lead to the formation of a Rotary Club in Salisbury, the first civic club to be established in the city. The King's Daughters served the meal at the organizational meeting of the Salisbury Rotary Club. This first civic club gathering in Salisbury took place on the top floor of the Grubb Building (now the Plaza Building) in the meeting space of the Old Hickory Club (a local gentleman's club). As their major fundraising effort through the years, the King's Daughters continued to serve the meals at the Rotary Club's weekly meetings, a tradition continued by the present Relief Circle. As the years passed, this association with the Rotary Club was strengthened as the departing members of the Circle were often replaced by wives of Rotary members.  In this way, the King's Daughters became truly interdenominational by the early 1940s.


            During its first days, the King's Daughters met in the Presbyterian Church hut on Jackson Street.  In 1938, they were able to build their own hut on West Liberty Street, paying off their bank note for the new building in only five years. It was here in the King's Daughter's hut that the Rotarians gathered for their luncheon meetings every Tuesday, and it was here that the members of the King's Daughters carried uncounted baskets of bread, trays of ham and chicken, and bowl after bowl of vegetables. In addition to the funds raised through these weekly luncheons, the ladies of the circle generated other funds by organizing whites sales, talent shows,  lawn parties, and scholarship suppers. They also published a cook book, and their bazaar was an annual event not to be missed by Salisbury's women.


            In the Circle's early years, its charitable work included outfitting local children for school, collecting toys and clothing for area orphanages, providing meals for the elderly, and helping indigent patients pay their hospital bills.  There was special emphasis on aiding young women with their education.  As an example of the type of work the Circle has done over the years, one need only examine minutes taken during a meeting. The February 14th, 1916 minutes record that one woman had asked the Circle for two or three dollars to pay a portion of her physician's bill, her doctor having "attended her faithfully and kindly for many months." The minutes also note that clothing for a young girl sent to a training school in Kinston was purchased; tuition for another young girl was obtained from the Missionary Society; a gift of $5 was acknowledged by the Salvation Army; and two members volunteered to "do something during the week" for two little girls "who have suffered so uncomplainingly for many months" in the hospital.  In addition, these same minutes show that individual members volunteered to provide childrens' clothing for Barium Springs orphanage.  The Relief Circle of the King's Daughters made their gifts quietly.  As one writer has noted, "So gently did the ladies minister that no one knew which student nurse or which oldster or which college student was being supported by the Relief  Circle."


             In 1961, the state association of the King's Daughters objected to the Rotary Club sign which hung on the King's Daughters hut.  As a result, following a unanimous vote in December of that year, Salisbury's Relief Circle of the King's Daughters withdrew from the state order of the King's Daughters. With new stationery and a new social security number, the Relief Circle of the King's Daughters became simply "The Relief Circle."  New dues were set at $1.20 a year (where they remain in 1995), and the Circle continued its work. Beginning in the 1970s, although members continued to gather each week in order to serve the Rotary meals, actual meetings of the Circle occurred only occasionally. What was once an almost weekly doling out of small amounts to help specific individuals became a once or twice a year designation of funds to specific charities such as the American Cancer Society, the Rowan County United Fund, CARE, and the American Bible Society.


            In 1971, the Relief Circle sold its hut to the Rotary Club for $22,000.


Series 1.1 King's Daughter's Miscellaneous Materials

            1917-1988 Scattered

            Arrangement: By information type


            Newspaper clippings, constitution and bylaws of the King's Daughters and Sons, a copy of the "Prayer of the Order," two brief histories, several annual reports to the state association of the King's Daughters and Sons written in the 1910s, a few financial materials, a roll book covering the 1910s through tthe early 1920s, and two file folders of correspondence, predominately comprised of thank you notes.  The newspaper clippings, taken from the Salisbury Post, cover the purchase of the hut property and the Circle's association with the Rotary Club.  Items in the miscellaneous folder include a program from the Twenty-Second Annual Convention of the North Carolina Branch of the King's Daughters and Sons held at the First Presbyterian Church in Salisbury on June 7 and 8, 1911; a poem by Lily Eilers Heilig; and two memorial resolutions in memory of Mrs. J.L. Hatch and Mrs. J.M. Brown.


Folder List:

Box 1.Folder 1. Brief History

            Folder 2. Clippings

            Folder 3. Constitutions and Bylaws

            Folder 4.  "Prayer of the Order"

            Folder 5.  Correspondence (1919-1922)

            Folder 6.  Correspondence (1927-1929)

            Folder 7.  Correspondence (1937-1938)

            Folder 8.  Correspondence (undated)

            Folder 9.  Annual Reports

            Folder 10. Financial Materials

            Folder 11. Roll Book

            Folder 12. Miscellaneous


Series 1.2 King's Daughters Minutes

            1917-1988 scattered

            Arrangment: Chronological


            Minutes routinely list the members in charge of the meeting's devotional, the money disbursed, and the charitable cause for which it was given, as well as recording the plans for future fundraisers. Five of the six original minute books from which these photocopies were made were bound in cloth. The other (designated minute book VI) was a loose-leaf notebook.  The minute books were numbered and divided to fit the width of file folders. These subsequent portions of the original minute books were then given a letter. Minute Book Ia, for example, is the first portion of the earliest minute book. Minute Book VIb is the second portion of the last minute book.


Folder List:

            Folder 13.  Minute Book Ia (1915-1916)

            Folder 14. Minute Book Ib (1917-Nov. 10, 1919)

            Folder 15. Minute Ic (Nov. 24, 1919-Sept 12, 1922)

            Folder 16. Minute Book IIa (1921-1923)

            Folder 17. Minute Book IIb (Dec. 10, 1924-Dec 13, 1926)

            Folder 18. Minute Book IIc (Jan. 10, 1927-Aug 12, 1929)

Box 2.  Folder 19. Minute Book IIIa (Spet. 9, 1929-June 23, 1930)

            Folder 20. Minute Book IV (Jan 29, 1934-Jan 13, 1936)

            Folder 21. Minute Book Va (Jan 22, 1940-Dec 9, 1940)

            Folder 22. Minute Book Vb (Jan. 13, 1941-Dec. 8, 1941)

            Folder 23. Minute Book Vc (Jan. 12, 1942?-March 22, 1943)

            Folder 24. Minute BookVIa (April 1951-Dec. 1959)

            Folder 25. Minute Book VIb (April 26, 1960-Nov. 23, 1965)

            Folder 26. Minute Book VIc (Jan. 4, 1966-1971)

            Folder 27. Minute Book VId (Feb. 29, 1972-1988)

            Folder 28. Minutes (undated)


Series II. First Presbyterian Church materials


            Arrangement: Chronological


First Presbyterian Church, Salisbury, NC was organized August 1, 1821.  A teacher of classics at the Salisbury Academy, Jonathon Otis Freeman, served as the church's first pastor (1821-1826). The thirteen original members were Albert Torrence, Elizabeth Torrrence, Hugh Horah, Mary Horah, Thomas L. Cowan, Elizabeth Cowan, Dr. Alexander long, Mary Long, John Fulton, Charity Gay, Mary I. Holland, Ann Murphy, and  Margaret Beckwith.  From these beginnings the church and members of its congregation have long been active in the social, cultural, and spiritual life of Salisbury, NC.


Rebecca Nesbit Troy Caldwell and her half bother Maxwell Chambers donated and bequeathed the land upon which the current church buildings stand. The first church was erected in 1826; the second church, a Romanesque structure built on the site of the original, went up in 1892.  It was torn down in 1971.  The present church was erected in 1969.  The bell tower from the second church remains standing and is one of the focal points of Salisbury's historic districts.  The church session house, built in 1855, sits over the Chambers and Nesbit family gravesites.


Series 2.1 First Presbyterian Church Bulletins

            1947-1968; 1970-1983; 1985

            Arrangement: Chronological


            Church Bulletins list the order for worship, the songs to be sung, the title of the sermon, and participants in the worship service.  They also note the church activities for the week such as meeting times for committees and circles, and they record some of the deaths, sicknesses, marriages, and births in the congregation. Most often an 8 1/2 inch by 11 inch piece of paper folded over in booklet form, the front "cover" often is mass produced by a denominational publishing house and features Biblical scenes or some aspect of the life of the church. The two "inside" pages feature the order of worship and the back "cover" contains the notices and announcements.


Folder List:

Box 3  Folder 29.  Bulletins (1947)

            Folder 30.  Bulletins (1948)

            Folder 31.  Bulletins (1949)

            Folder 32.  Bulletins (1950)

            Folder 33.  Bulletins (1951)

            Folder 34.  Bulletins (1952)

            Folder 35.  Bulletins (1953)

            Folder 36. Bulletins (1954)

            Folder 37. Bulletins (1955)

            Folder 38. Bulletins (1956)

            Folder 39. Bulletins (1957)

            Folder 40. Bulletins (1958)

Box 4  Folder 41. Bulletins (1959)

            Folder 42. Bulletins (1960)

            Folder 43. Bulletins (1961)

            Folder 44. Bulletins (1962)

            Folder 45. Bulletins (1963)

            Folder 46. Bulletins (1964)

Box 5  Folder 47. Bulletins (1965)

            Folder 48. Bulletins (1966)

            Folder 49. Bulletins (1967)

            Folder 50. Bulletins (1968)

            Folder 51. Bulletins (1970)

Box 6  Folder 52. Bulletins (1971)

            Folder 53. Bulletins (1972)

            Folder 54. Bulletins (1973)

            Folder 55. Bulletins (1974)

            Folder 56. Bulletins (1975)

            Folder 57. Bulletins (1976)

            Folder 58. Bulletins (1977)

            Folder 59. Bulletins (1978)

            Folder 60. Bulletins (1979)

Box 7  Folder 61. Bulletins (1980)

            Folder 62. Bulletins (1981)

            Folder 63. Bulletins (1982)

            Folder 64. Bulletins (1983)

            Folder 65. Bulletins (1985)


Series 2.2 Presbyterian Church directories


            Arrangement: Chronological


            Directories of church members, including Deacons, members of the Session, the church staff and members (along with their mailing addresses).  Also includes Sunday School teachers, circle members, etc.


Folder List

 Box 8  Folder 66.a. 1972

            Folder 66.b. 1974-75

            Folder 66. 1975-76

            Folder 67. 1976-77

            Folder 68. 1978-79

            Folder 69. 1979-80

            Folder 70. 1980-81

            Folder 71. 1981-82

            Folder 72. 1982-83

                        Folder 72.a. 1983-84

            Folder 73. 1984-85

            Folder 73.a. 1985-86

            Folder 74. 1986-87

            Folder 75. 1988

                        Folder 75.a. 1989

            Folder 75.b. 1990

            Folder 76. 1991

            Folder 77. 1992

            Folder 78. 1993

            Folder 79. 1994

            Folder 80. 1995

            Folder 80a. 1996

            Folder 80b. 1997

            Folder 80c. 1998


Series 2.3 Presbyterian Church newsletters and miscellaneous materials


            Arrangement: Chronological by information type


            Various church rosters (primarily of Sunday school teachers, church officers and circle leaders), The First Presbyterian Church's newsletter, Annual Report and Congregational Directories, and Directories with family pictures of members.


Folder List

Box 9  Folder 81. Church Roster

            Folder 82. Newsletters (1981)

            Folder 83. Newsletters (1982)

            Folder 84. Newsletters (1983)

            Folder 85. Newsletters (1989-1990)

            Folder 86. Annual Report and Congregational Directory - 1965; 1967

            Folder 87. Directory - Family Pictures of Members - 1968; 1973; 1978

            Folder 88. Directory - Family Pictures of Members - 1981; 1985; 1989