The Cedar Springs Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church is a part of the Cedar Springs Historic District located in Abbeville County. The church was organized between 1779 and 1780 as the Cedar Creek Church by Dr. Thomas Clark, a seminal leader of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. In 1791 the congregation, renamed Cedar Springs A.R.P. Church, moved two miles northwest to its current site and built a frame house for worship. This two-story brick edifice replaced the frame building in 1853.
For many years, the church shared a pastorate with its sister church, Lower Long Cane ARP Church, beginning in 1786. The Cedar Springs farming community was prosperous during this time, and the churches had a congregation of 500 members between them. Abbeville County was once considered part of South Carolina‘s frontier, and many settlers came here seeking new fortunes. In turn, the opening of our country’s western territories, from the 1820s to the 1830s, lured many Abbeville families away.
Still, many families remained in Cedar Springs and became Confederate soldiers and officers. Unfortunately, nearly half of Abbeville County’s male population was killed during the war. This had far-reaching implications as families and farms struggled to survive during the Reconstruction.
The Great Depression devastated those local farms that survived Reconstruction. The passage of time has allowed the Sumter National Forest to swallow up many traces of Abbeville and McCormick County‘s rich farming heritage.
Cedar Springs Church is listed in the National Register as part of the Cedar Springs Historic District:
The Cedar Springs Historic District, located on the boundary of Greenwood and Abbeville counties in western South Carolina, contains three buildings that remain of the once prosperous farming community of Cedar Springs. Included are the Frazier-Pressly House (ca. 1852-1856), a massive three-story plantation house; the Cedar Springs Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ca. 1853), a two-story brick meetinghouse with cemetery; and a two-story log building (ca. 1820), now covered in shiplap siding and a standing-seam metal roof, which is believed to have been a stagecoach stop. These buildings are important because they reflect the mid-nineteenth century history of this rural plantation society. The buildings of the district are still in use, and in fact, only the paving of the road and the construction of a small frame grocery/filling station mark the ingress of contemporary culture. In addition, the Frazier-Pressly House is architecturally significant as a unique example of the octagon mode of architecture. The Octagon style of residential architecture flourished in the United States from 1848 to 1860 and the Frazier-Pressly House is exceptional in that it is built around three octagons. Also unique is the “widows walk” on the roof, which is unusual in Abbeville County’s hilly environment far from the coast.
Reflections on Cedar Springs Church
Special thanks to Mark Clark, an Abbeville native who currently resides in Winnsboro, for providing much of this historical information. As Mark aptly notes, “The survival of both the Cedar Springs and Lower Long Cane churches speak to how fleeting wealth can be.”
Mark attended a service at Cedar Springs Church in May 2011 and says, “The church is air-conditioned and even features a small elevator to allow the disabled to move between the sanctuary and fellowship hall. The sanctuary itself is quite cozy and pure, being devoid of stained-glass windows. The former slave balcony in the rear of the sanctuary has been closed in and converted to three small Sunday school classrooms. It wasn’t until halfway through the service that I realized Dr. Loyd Melton (the pastor) wasn’t using a microphone of any kind. The acoustics in the sanctuary are perfect! The untouched purity of the sanctuary left quite a favorable impression on me.”
Add your own reflections here.
Cedar Springs Church Info
Address: Cedar Springs Road, Bradley, SC 29819
GPS Coordinates: 34.080556,-82.30208
Cedar Springs Church Map
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Suzanna Haynie says
I’m trying to locate information on the Edmund Kennedy family and I’ve hit a bit of a brick wall in terms of information about burial locations, etc. It doesn’t help that there were a number of Edmund Kennedys within a 150 year period in Due West/Old 96/Abbeville. I saw reference years ago (I think) that the family was associated with the Cedar Springs Church. Is there a way to access the church records?
SC Picture Project says
We are not directly affiliated with the church so we are not quite sure what the status of the church records are. We did however find a contact phone number through Find a Grave listed for the church, so we would recommend trying to reach out to this number directly to see if records access is available. The number is (706)-283-7238, we hope that this helps!
Janet Kelley-Harmon says
I have been searching for the area of Ireland where my ancestors emigrated from to Abbeville, SC. I wonder if church records for this church would indicate that information. My family was the Croziers, my 4th great grandfather James Crozier who died 27 May 1778. His son Samuel, my 3rd great grandfather, moved in early 1800s to Randolph County, Illinois. Any suggestions on where to find this information would be greatly appreciated, thank you. And thanks to Nancy Peters who wrote an article for the NGS Quarterly January-March 2017 with information on the Crozier family.
Hello Janet, we wish we had direct access to these records but unfortunately do not. We did notice a phone number of someone named Kaye Christian who appears to be involved with this church. Her phone number is 706-283-7238, she is listed on the Find-a-Grave website as a contact. We hope that this helps you in your search and good luck!
Charles Crosier says
Janet, I have some information on your Cros/zier line. You may contact me at chascrosier at yahoo.com.
Donn Behl says
I am looking for a possible journal or records that Dr. Clark may have kept while he was ministering in the Salem/Hebron NY area. My ancestor John McChesney may have been on the ship “John” as a child and was later in the area of Salem/Hebron while Dr. Clark was ministering there. I am looking for possible family ties in those records, if they exist. Thanks, Donn
Martha Moore says
My ancestor, Mr. Gillespie, sailed with Dr. Thomas Clark from Newry Ireland on the ship John from Newry Ireland in 1764. We believe he was part of the group that settled in Abbeville and was a member of the Long Cane or Cedar Springs Church. My husband and I are in Ireland and have just visited the Old Cahans Presbyterian Church in Ballybay, Ireland where Dr. Clark preached and led the Cahans Exodus to America. If anyone has information about the Gillespies whose descendants eventually settled in Bladen County NC, we would appreciate any information you may have. Thank you.
Robert Anderson says
I have over 20 ancestors buried here including a set of great, great grandparents and a set of great, great grandparents: Lipscombs and Jordans. I visited there last Tuesday, November 22, 2016. Thanks to the folks who maintain the grounds. I am curious, though – is there anyone who is tending to some of the markers which appear to be on the verge of falling over? We saw a couple that were leaning at about 70 degrees and with the draught I imagine the soil might be a little unstable. I have no idea if anything can be done to preserve them or possibly reset them so they will stay upright longer, but thought I would mention it.
Carolyn Moseley says
A message for Cheryl Watson in the comments below. Yes there are Presleys buried in the Due West ARP Church. I have several Martin ancestors buried there also. You need to visit that cemetery. I was fortunate to be there when the church was open for maintenance and took several pictures.
Rhonda Lunsford says
Does anyone know where the land came from before the church was built. Did someone give the land for the Cedar Spring APR church to be built?
Robert Anderson says
My great, great grand parents and possibly other ancestors are buried here at Cedar Springs ARP Church Cemetery, as I located thru findagrave.com Thomas Jefferson Lipscomb (died 1873) and Martha Margret Jordan Lipscomb (died 1911 ) & also a young son Jonathan Lispcomb (died 1872). Pvt. Thomas Jefferson Lipscomb served the Confederacy for 4 years – first year with Orr’s Rifle Regiment and 3 years with the 2nd SC Cavalry, where his cousin was a Colonel. He fought at Gaines Mill, Sharpsburg, Gettysburg & Bentonville to name a few battles. He spent the last 3 months of the war as a POW at Point Lookout Maryland. He lost his hearing during the war, returned to a community called Smithville in Abbeville District and farmed until he died at age 47. He owned slaves before the war, and according to the 1870 census a black family ,William and Millie Simmons James, lived on his property, and they had two sons – one named Tom and one named Jeff. It appears they were possibly named after the former slave owner.
Jo W Kean says
The property I own in Marion County, Florida, was bought by Dr. George W. Pressley in Feb, 1856, and was referred to as the “Pressley Groves.” There is a distinct possibility he had the home I live in built at that time, trying to verify that. I am looking for anyone that might have a picture/portrait of him.
Robert Anderson says
My great great grandfather Thomas Lipscomb is buried here.
Gay Brown says
Does anyone have information on Dr. George W. Pressly of Cedar Springs? Mathew McDonald was his ward. Mathew was left money and property under the management of Dr. Pressly. Matthew was sent to the University of Miami, Ohio, around 1839-1840. He read for the law. Thank you for any help. Gay
Marie Adams says
My ancestors lived in the Cedar Springs area, per family history, around 1790 – 1850. The parents were James and Lydia Adamson, and their daughter Margaret “Peggy” married John Argo. I have attempted the confirm this information, and indeed found the original wills at the Probate office in Abbeville. I am trying to locate the actual land or at least graves. Deeds were destroyed in fire. I understand that the Old 96 District was huge but since wills are in Abbeville believe they lived in that area. Any assistance will be most appreciated.
I have about seven of my relatives in the Hughston family buried in the Cedar Springs Cemetery in Spartanburg, South Carolina, including my great, great grandfather, William Hughston, who fought in the Civil War and died in Gettysburg in 1862, and his wife, Harriet F. Hughston, who died in 1904. I have seen pictures of both of their gravestones in your cemetery.
Do you have any information about my great, great grandmother Harriet Hughston such as her maiden name and/or her death certificate that you could provide to me? I would be very appreciative to you.
Thank you for all the generous work you do at your church.
Cheryl Watson says
I can not find a Joseph McBryde in our cemetery. Cedar Springs A.R.P. Church. You can find the ones of Lower Long Cane A.R.P. Church http://www.longcanearp.org/styled-6/styled-9/. Our little church has a small congregation now. The sanctuary use to be full on Sundays. Now, most are in the cemetery. We vary between 12 -22. Most at Easter. Full house at Homecoming. Lower Long Cane and sometimes Troy A.R.P. will join. Plus some of the congregation’s families and friends. Can’t find a Craig family in our Cemetery Book. There is a Margaret McDonald Morris in my book: b. Dec. 28,1823–d.Oct.30,1831. The Upper Long Cane cemetery is in Abbeville. I have never gone through it. And in Due West there is a cemetery at an A.R.P. Church. I know there are some Presslys and Fraziers there. That was what I was looking for. Hope this can help some of you. Cheryl Watson
John McBryde says
I have been looking for McBryde graves at Cedar Springs. Does anyone know if McBrydes are buried there? I visited once but could not find any. There are many old graves with no name on the stones.
David L. Frink says
Tracing my grandmother’s Craig family back to Abbeville, I evidently have as forebears “Ebenezer” (b.1802), his father (Samuel M., b.1773), Samuel’s father James, Jr. (b. abt. 1745, and then researchers’ confusion as to James’ parents and origin (Ireland? Scotland?). Little to no doubt here as to a Cedar Springs Church linkage … Samuel’s 10th & last child was named Alexander Porter Craig. Any chance you know of a record of my Craig line coming across the Atlantic, 1764, with Dr. Thomas Clark, from Reddrum Strenboden, near Ballybay, Ire.? Thank you for considering this.
I know someone who was baptized at Cedar Springs about 1964. Do they still have special baptisms on occasion even now? I would like to contact someone the verify the date if possible.
Mark Clark says
Sorry it took so long to get back to you on this. Your best source is probably church records. The ARP church maintained extensive records on its members and their families during the historical period you mention.
The best source for this information is probably “The Due West Telescope,” which was published from 1843-1863. Erskine College in Due West, SC has these in Microfilm form that can be copied for a fee. The USC library in Columbia also has a few copies, but not quite as extensive as the Erskine library.
Hope this helps,
Gay Brown says
I am looking for info regarding Mathew McDonald from Cedar Springs. He and his son William Thomas were Confederate Vets. Mathew (1820-1876) is buried in Upper Long Cane Cemetery. Thank you!