This historic congregation in Bennettsville was founded in 1852 as a mission of the Great Pee Dee Presbyterian Church, located about five miles southeast of this site. The Great Pee Dee Church was sold to an African-American Baptist congregation in the late nineteenth century and is now the Pee Dee Missionary Baptist Church in Blenheim. The churchyard at Pee Dee Missionary contains the graves of members from both Great Pee Dee and Pee Dee Missionary churches.
The mission church at Bennettsville became independent of the Great Pee Dee Church in 1855. Members then purchased an acre of land and erected a frame building for its house of worship. It was known as Bennettsville Presbyterian Church or the First Presbyterian Church of Bennettsville. The church received its first permanent minister, the Reverend Pierpont E. Bishop, in 1856. He died three years later of pneumonia and is buried on church grounds.
The church grew throughout the nineteenth century, and by the turn of the twentieth century the congregation was ready for a larger sanctuary. The frame church was sold and relocated, while a brick edifice identical to the present church was built on the church site in 1907. Sadly, the church burned on its dedication day on August 25, 1907; no worship service was ever held there. The congregation was able to rebuild, and this stately sanctuary, a replica of the first, was completed in 1911.
First Presbyterian Church of Bennettsville is listed in the National Register as part of the Bennettsville Historic District:
Established as the county seat in 1819, Bennettsville continues to serve as a political and economic center for Marlboro County. The historic district includes the central part of town, where the majority of the residential, commercial, religious, and public buildings date from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The courthouse continues to be the focal point of the town, although it is the third on the site (built 1885) and was extensively altered in 1951. Bennettsville has numerous excellent examples of residential architecture dating from the early nineteenth to mid-twentieth century. Styles and types include the upcountry farmhouse, Greek Revival, Queen Anne, Beaux Arts, and bungalows.
Bucky Bruce says
I live in Columbia and have been visiting prisoners one-on-one at the federal prison near Bennettsville for more than ten years, with the national organization Prisoner Visitation and Support. Many of the prisoners there are a long way from home and have never had a visit. I have a long waiting list and really need some help. Would you spread the word? Anyone who might be interested in monthly prison visitation (just twelve day a year), please contact me at email@example.com or check out the website for Prisoner Visitation and Support. Thanks. Bucky Bruce