1848 - 1849


James K. Polk was serving as the eleventh President of the United States in 1848.  The transportation was by horseback or buggy.  There was no electricity, and most people of that day made their living by farming the land.  Some in the community owned slaves, and 1848 was thirteen years before the beginning of the Civil War.  (2)

The Brush Arbor- The community where NLBC stands today was much smaller one 150 years ago.  Homes were spread apart, yet there was a close group of neighbors.  If a man lost his crop, the whole community would join together to assist him and his family.  If a man's barn burned to the ground or was destroyed by a storm, all the other  men in the area would help him rebuild another one.  Those people loved the Lord, too, but had no place to worship.  For awhile, they met in each other's homes for prayer and Bible study, but they realized that they needed a place where they could all congregate together.  So, one day in the month of May 1848, they assembled together to discuss the situation. It was decided that some sort of worship place be erected in the neighborhood of a farm owned by Mr. Absalom Talley.  The folks were poor, so they couldn't build a building; therefore, a brush arbor was raised.  The men cut down trees and built a frame, then coved the top with loads of brush.  They then took slabs and propped them up for folks to sit on. Many would sit on the ground, while others would stand during the service. In the winter time, it was cold,and when it rained the worshipers would have a time moving around from  place to place under the bush, trying to keep dry.  Everyone in that day walked or rode horses and buggies to the service. Upon arrival to the service at the brush arbor, they would tie the horses to posts and leave them until time to go home. Many would come from several miles away, but regardless of how far they had to go. they faithfully attended the house of God.  The location of the brush arbor can be found today on he left side, at the corner of HWY 414 and Talley Bridge Road, coming from Hwy 25. (2)


" so in May, 1848 with no money to spend for a building, but with an eagerness and zeal to work, this Baptist-minded, Missionary-minded people cut down several trees in the neighborhood of the Absalom Talley farm and erected a brush arbor as a meeting house for the worship of God.  With an ever increasing desire to carry out the great commission as given by Jesus......they requested the Rev. David Blythe to assist them in organizing a church.  He had been leading in the prayer services for sometime, and agreed to their request.  During the summer of 1848, Brother Blythe with the assistance of other brethren from nearby churches, organized this church.  The membership was small, but the vision and ambitions of these people were great.  Rev. Blythe was called as the first pastor.  The name of Hopewell Baptist Church was adopted." (1)

"The location of the brush arbor can be found today on the left side, at the corner of Highway 414 and Talley Bridge Road, coming from Highway 25" (2)

    "Rev. Blythe, who without formal education, but fully dedicated and consecrated, became a great spiritual giant in the land.  He guided his flock though many hardships.  When their faith grew small, he inspired them to fall upon their knees to God, and pray for His guidance.  He wan known for his able leadership.  On the anvil of such preaching, with a dynamic faith in God, and under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, this congregation of Christians was shaped into a great church for the work of the Lord." (1)

    "Brother Blythe was  also a noted singer.  He would lead his people in the singing of the great hymns of Zion.  It was sad that his melodious voice in music appeared to have the power to sway people toward the Lord.  Those who heard him preach and sing never forgot him." (1)

    " With such capable leadership, the church and neighborhood knew that God was with them, and that He had placed His name with them to  be honored and worshipped and that his message of salvation should be delivered and lived in this community."(1)

   "A list of the charter members is not available, but it is known that Mrs. Emily Tinsley, wife of W. T. Tinsley, who was born in 1836, and died in 1914, attended Hopewell. She related to her children some of the experiences she shared with others in attending there. In conversing with children of Mrs. Tinsley we learn that the remembered their mother speaking of the wonderful spirit prevailing in the church and in the neighborhood during these early days of organization.  A few others who helped to  build this church are Reubin Talley, Enoch Cunningham and Alfred Nicoll." (1)

     "Many trails beset this organization and there were many days when it was felt that the church would have to close her doors.  Roads were impassible; money to support the work was hard to raise.  Sickness among the members was  a deserting factor. But the Spirit in the hearts of those noble children of the kingdom of God enabled them to keep the organized work going and kept them in heart though these discouraging days.  A sense of direction of the Holy Spirit truly kept the church from dying, and the work was well on its way." (1)

  • James K. Polk was serving as the eleventh President of the United States.
  • Transportation was by horseback or buggy.
  • No electricity
  • Most people lived on farms.
  • Some in the community owned slaves
  • Thirteen years before the Civil War

   "Rev. David Blythe 1848-1849:  He was a farmer, owned slaves, served in the Confederate Army, and fought in the Civil War.  Rev. Blythe also served on a committee that tried to bring a railroad to the community.  He served as a community postmaster in the 1850's." (2)

  • Led in the building of the first permanent log building on the brush arbor site.
  • Started several churches in NC & SC
  •     Sunday School"Many of the churches in the association had organized Sunday School work.  New Liberty, however, offered many excuses for being reluctant to organize.   Many of the young men were called into military service, for the Civil War was then in progress.  This Church, as will as several others in the association, said there were not enough available teachers, since it was commonly held that only men should teach in Sunday School. This was the general cry, "The fathers have gone to war; the brothers of riper years are gone, and those who might have been teachers have left the church and the association.  We do not have transportation, for our horses have gone to provide for the war.  Confusion and frustration prevent many of us from attending church; since many children are orphaned by war, thee is not one to transport them or urge them to attend Sunday School." (1)
  • Finances"The early members of New Liberty truly worked by faith, depending upon the Lord to supply their needs.  Money was scarce.  A great deal of the financing of the church was done by pledging a portion of the cops.  There were times whatever offering did come in the given to the past.  A great many times, the pastor was supplies with a pounding when cash was not available.  The "God's Acre" plan of finance was used a great deal. In this a member of the church would pledge a certain percentage of the eggs, or stock, or and acre of land set aside, and whatever was raise on the plot was turned over to the church, or the proceeds from the sales were given to the church." (1)
  • Rev Blythe's ministry wasn't very long; he ony serve a few months, but in that time,the lord blessed abundantly.  God was with that little church thorough the good times and the hard times, such as crop failures, sickness, and disease, lack of money, and impassable roads.. But, nevertheless, God carried them through all the storms that came their way. Others who helped stat New Liberty were Reubin Talley, Enoch Cunningham, and Alfred Nicoll. (2)
  • Rev David Blythe was 55 years old when he helped start New Liberty, and he died thirty years later.  An excerpt from his obituary reads like this:  "David Blythe was converted and began to preach in his 46th year, and continued faithful in the ministry unit his death, his 85th year.  He was born, raised and did al this minstrel work in upper SC and western NC, and was instrumental in establishing many churches in this region. (2)
  • Member of the old Enoree Baptist Association from 1848 to 1860. (2)


  •    Summer or winter church name was changed from Hopewell Baptist to Liberty and later New Liberty Baptist Church.
  •   Why the name change?  No one in the present congregation knows, but it was the perfect choice because liberty means freedom.  we are free and liberated from sin and an eternal doom in hell.  Christ had redeemed us with His blood on the cross; therefore, we have "new liberty" in Him.  I don't know and can't say they changed the name from Hopewell to New Liberty with that thinking in mind, but I can't help believe it certainly could've been the case." (2)
  • "It was not known how many charter members there were of this Church." (1)