The History of the Clarkton Presbyterian Church, USA has been written and recorded by several persons. We rely on past ministers’ diaries of the church and other writings, as well as, the writing of other ministers of the old Wilmington Presbytery who have recorded the history. In addition, we have the official church session minutes recorded since 1795.
A group of immigrants from Scotland settled here in Bladen County, which was a huge land area and is the mother of several surrounding counties. They came to this country to escape religious persecution; religion and education were very important to them. According to the diary of an early itinerant minister, Rev. Hugh McAden, who was passing through this area in 1756, the early colonists began to meet in homes for services. The exact date that the first church building was constructed is not known, but is believed to have been built soon after Rev. McAden’s visit. It was called Brown Marsh Church.
The Brown Marsh Church was the third church building at this location; it was built several years before its December 13, 1828 dedication. The church building, with its slave gallery and its high pulpit with the sounding board overhead, was also used as a schoolhouse for many years.
In 1871, the Brown Marsh Church moved to a new church building nearer the new railroad and what later became the town of Clarkton. The site of the new church was what is now known as the Clarkton Cemetery. Moving the location of the church was controversial; several members did not agree with the changed setting. They proposed to Presbytery to organize a new church at the old site and name it Brown Marsh Chapel, the request was denied.
The Brown Marsh congregation decided on or about February of 1886 to change the name to Clarkton Presbyterian Church. In 1902 the Clarkton church supplied the buildings and the campus for the Clarkton Male Institute and Presbytery established the school with a promise to support it. The support never materialized and it was closed soon after Presbytery transferred ownership to a Board of Trustees.
The present brick building was completed in 1911 and the educational building was dedicated on April 22, 1951. The bell from the old church built in 1871 now hangs in the belfry and is used as a call to worship each Sunday morning. In 1996 Carillonic Bells were also placed in the belfry and today you can hear the bells on the hour; twice each day great hymns of the church peal throughout the community.
On October 15, 2006, we celebrated and dedicated a new addition to our educational building, which provided three new classrooms, one choir room, a new minister’s office and a new administrative office—another milestone in the history of the Clarkton Presbyterian Church. We are thankful to God for our heritage and blessings.