Abbeville County is the birthplace of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARP) in the South, and the denomination quickly spread to neighboring Greenwood and McCormick Counties once large groups of Scots-Irish settlers arrived. By the end of the nineteenth century, several churches – such as Troy A.R.P. – had been formed in the area.
Devotees of Reverend Ebenezer Erskine, namesake of nearby Erskine College, immigrated to New York from Ireland in 1764. This group was led by one of Erskine’s former students, Dr. Thomas Clark. A branch of that group left the North and settled in what is now Abbeville and its surrounding area, including Troy.
The group had seceded from the Church of Scotland and formed its own denomination, the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, to avoid pledging allegiance to the monarchy. Soon more seceding immigrants settled here, and the ARP formed its Synod of the Carolinas in 1803, later becoming the Reformed Synod of the South in 1822.
In 1813 Lower Long Cane Presbyterian Church minister Reverend Alexander Porter along with several other A.R.P. members from surrounding churches emigrated to Preble County, Ohio, to found Hopewell A.R.P Church. These members objected to slavery and wished to start churches in free states. As a result, A.R.P. churches in Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana emerged.
Reverend Henry Thompson Sloan, who served Lower Long Cane Church and neighboring Cedar Springs Church from 1850 through 1890, helped form other nearby A.R.P. churches after the Civil War. Formed in 1882, Troy A.R.P. was among these.
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