Duncan's Creek Presbyterian Church
Location: 5 miles northeast of Clinton, off South Carolina Highway 72, near Clinton, South Carolina
Coordinates: 34°31′18″N 81°48′29″W / 34.52167, -81.80806Coordinates: 34°31′18″N 81°48′29″W / 34.52167, -81.80806
Area: 3.8 acres (1.54 ha)
Built: 1842
Governing body: Private
NRHP Reference#: 73001714[1]
Added to NRHP: November 15, 1973

Duncan Creek Presbyterian Church Cemetery
(AKA: Old Rock Church Cemetery)
Location: 795 Golden Acres Road, Clinton, Laurens County, South Carolina 29325 USA

Church/Cemetery History[]


Duncan's Creek Presbyterian Church, also known as Old Rock Church, is a historic Presbyterian Church located near Clinton, Laurens County, South Carolina. It was built in 1842 and is a simple rectangular building constructed of irregular stones. The church was founded by Scotch-Irish settlers and believed to be the oldest church in Laurens County.[2][3]

(Old Rock Church) Duncan’s Creek Presbyterian Church, built ca. 1842, is one of the earliest examples of rural church architecture in the upper part of the state. Its unadorned simplicity and solid stone construction are characteristic of buildings erected by early Scotch-Irish settlers in the Southeast. A simple rectangular building constructed of irregular stones, the church stands as a reminder of mid-nineteenth century rustic church architecture. The gable end is the main entrance façade and is centered with double doors flanked by two narrow windows at a slightly higher level. Its simplicity, uncomplicated symmetry, and fine stone masonry are features that make it a valuable record of upcountry rural architecture. One of the few changes made in the church was the removal of the original rear slave gallery in the first third of the twentieth century. Many churches in Laurens County are “daughters” of this old church as members of its congregation left to establish new churches in neighboring areas.

Duncan's History[]

First Settlers[]

The first permanent settler to upper Carolina is believe to be John Duncan of Aberdeen, Scotland who settled in 1753 at Duncan Creek (near Duncan Creek Presbyterian Church Cemetery). He returned with his family from Pennsylvania soon afterwards. He brought his own family and a pair of fine stud horses to pull the first wagon to roll over soil between the Broad and Saluda rivers. Two of the settlers accompanying him were Charles and David Little. [4]

Testimony of James Duncan, son of the first settler Source: "History of the Presbyterian Church in South Carolina" by George Howe, 1965, Volume I, pg. 335-336.

"About the year 1763 or 1764, Messrs. Joseph Adair, Thomas Erving, William Hanna, Andrew McCrory and his brothers, united in building a house of worship. Duncan Creek Church is situated in Laurens district, on the waters of Enoree, a branch of Broad river. It was principally composed of emigrants from Ireland and Pennsylvania with their descendants, some of whom settled here as early as 1758. The original settlement was made three years before Braddock's defeat, by Mr. John Duncan, of Aberdeen, Scotland, who first emigrated to Pennsylvania, and thence removed here and settled on the creek which bears his name. He was the highest settler by ten miles in the fork between the Saluda and Broad rivers, and the only man at this time who had either negro, wagon, or still, in this part of the world. His nearest neighbor was Jacob Pennington, living on the Enoree below. "About the year 1763 or 1764, Messrs. Joseph Adair, Thomas Erving, William Hanna, Andrew McCrory and his brothers, united in building a house of worship. In 1766 they were visited by Mr. Duffield, Mr. Fuller, and Mr. Campbell. Mr. Duffield was probably George D.D., who was licensed by the presbytery of Newcastle in 1756, and was sent by the synod of New York to Carolina in 1765, and was afterwards settled in Carlisle and Philadelphia. Campbell was James Campbell, who joined the South Carolina presbytery in 1758, and became pastor of the Bluff church in North Carolina. Afterwards they were visited by Rev. Hezekiah Balch, licensed by the presbytery of Newcastle in 1768-9. Mr. Balch advised the people to choose elders. This was done. Andrew McCrory, Joseph Adair, and Robert Hanna, were elected, and ordained by Mr. Balch. James Pollock and Thomas Logan having come into the bounds of the congregation a short time before, the former from Pennsylvania and the latter from Ireland, on producing certificates of their membership and ordination, were chosen elders of this church. The communion was also administered, the number of communicants at that time being about sixty. "The manners and dress of these first settlers must have been quite primitive. Their dress was as follows: hunting shirt, leggings, and moccasins, adorned with buckles and beads. The hair was clubbed and tied up in a little deerskin or silk bag. At another time they wore their hair cued and rolled up in a black ribbon or bear's-gut dressed and dyed black. Again it became a custom to shave off the hair and wear white linen caps with ruffles around. The women's dress was long-eared caps, Virginia bonnets, short gowns, long gowns, stays, stomachers, quilted petticoats, high wooded heels. There was little market for produce except to the new settlers. Trade was carried on in skins and furs. Deer and beaver skins were a lawful tender in payment of debts. Winter skins were 18 pence sterling, Indian-dressed skins $1 per pound.

From another local history:

"Duncan's Creek Presbyterian: One of the early utilitarian buildings was Duncan's Creek Presbyterian Church in the rural section of Jacks Township. Servants of the John Duncan family had erected a brush arbor about 1753, at which time John Duncan had come into the area. A more permanent building of fieldstones was put up in 1764, and that date is visible in a cornerstone of the presently used building erected in 1842. The date 1764 was retained for historic purposes. The original granite walls, two feet in thickness, and the straight-backed pews of oak attest to the strong faith of the era and of the congregations of that particular church. In recent years the small-outmoded reed organ from the fieldstone church was given to Thornwell Home for children in Clinton, where it is still used on occasions calling for a colonial atmosphere. During the Revolutionary War, the church building served as a place of protection for the people of that area. Often referred to as the mother of Presbyterian churches, it is the oldest church organization in the upper part of the state. Both Lisbon Presbyterian and Clinton First Presbyterian were started as mission extensions of the Duncan's Creek Church. The first minister was the Reverend Hezekiah Balch, year 1776. In the same year John B. Kennedy was ordained and continued as pastor intermittently for fifty years. In 1788 the Duncan's Creek Church became involved in serious difficulties. The majority of the members being canny old Scotchmen, theological discord was instituted over whether to use Rouse's or Watt's version of the Psalms. Sixty-three members seceded to form other churches. Although each plantation had its own burial ground, Duncan's Creek church offered burial plots in its churchyard in 1776. Some of the ancient mounds have lost their identity, but one bearing the marking 'Samuel Long, aged 19 years, November 15th, 1776, is still legible [brother of Robert Long and son of Daniel Long and Susannah Murdough]. Sixteen soldiers of the Revolution are buried in the churchyard. In October of 1964, Duncan's Creek Presbyterian Church observed with appropriate ceremony the two-hundredth anniversary of its founding?"[5]

Notable Memorials[]

The church is situated on a wooded site and is flanked by a cemetery containing carved stone markers of both Revolutionary and Civil War soldiers. The earliest grave dates from 1776. Listed in the National Register November 15, 1973.

Church Revolutionary War Plaque[]

Duncan creek plaque.jpg

This plaque is placed on the inside wall of the Duncan Creek Presbyterian Church.

MEMORIAL to MEN of this Congregation who served their Country 1775-1781. Joseph Adair, Sr., Joseph Adair Jr., Thomas Logan, Robert Long, Leonard Beasley, John Copeland, George Young Sr, Joseph Ramage, Thomas McCrary, Thomas Holland, Robert Hanna, John Craig, James Craig, L. Bell, James Adair, Sr, Wm Underwood. Erected by Muscrove's Mill and Henry I. Aurens, Chapters D.A.R. 1928.

Joseph Adair Family Memorial[]


Duncan Creek Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Laurens County, South Carolina Note: This is a memorial, but not an actual gravestone.

Notable Internments[]







  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  2. ^ Myers, Betty (August 15, 1973). "Duncan's Creek Presbyterian Church" (pdf). National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and Inventory. Retrieved 22 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "Duncan's Creek Presbyterian Church, Laurens County (S.C. Sec. Rd. 34, Clinton vicinity)". National Register Properties in South Carolina. South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Retrieved 22 July 2012. 
  4. ^ "A Laurens County Sketchbook" by Julian Stevenson Bolick (FHL book 975.731 pg 3-4
  5. ^ FHL book 975.731 H2b "A Laurens County Sketchbook," by Julian Stevenson Bolick provides a good historical background of Laurens County, South Carolina - pg42-43

See Also[]