history4Historical Sketch of North Greenville and Greer Baptist Association

Prepared by Rev. Chris DeWease

 For generations, South Carolina Baptist churches have recognized the need to cooperate in order to fulfill Christ’s mandate in the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20) as “witnesses” locally, nationally, and internationally (Acts 1:8).  Baptist churches of like faith and practice have come together, associating with one another to form ministry partnerships known as Baptist Associations. Faithfulness to the gospel has compelled member churches to accomplish together what no single church could do alone, through Baptist Associations.

Baptist Associations have been instrumental in fostering Christian education, building churches, and coordinating missions and evangelism, making Christ known to the world. North Greenville Baptist Association and Greer Baptist Association have always existed to accomplish this important work. The attached “Historical Sketch” of the two associations demonstrates that they have remained faithful to their historical purpose, transformed themselves for ministry effectiveness, and promoted cooperative missions.

Every generation is called upon to evaluate mission strategy, organizational structure, and mission and evangelism methods. During this time of evaluation and recommendation, the histories of the North Greenville and Greer Associations demonstrate in times of change, unity and gospel fidelity have prevailed. The Associations have faced demographic changes, results of great revivals, and economic struggles throughout their histories. Their histories provide evidence that Baptist churches have looked to their Associations as ministry partners providing a confident source for preserving doctrinal unity, fellowship among churches, and promoting cooperative missions and evangelism.

Historical Sketch of North Greenville and Greer Baptist Association
Prepared by Rev. Chris DeWease

1751 Charleston Association was the first Baptist Association in the South.

1789 Head of Enoree Church organized, “the first church building is said to have been located about three and half miles from Travelers Rest toward Asheville on the Buncombe Road.”[1] The church appears in the 1827 minutes of the Reedy River Association Minutes as Reedy River Church.[2]

1789 Bethel Association organized with sixteen churches in the backcountry northwest of Columbia extending into North Carolina.[3]  It was known as the “mother of associations”[4] in the upstate, organized by churches formally associated with the Charleston Association

1793 Head of Tyger River Church organized, later name shortened to Tyger Church.[5]

1800 Broad River Association organized, from fourteen churches of the Bethel Association[6]

1802 Saluda Association organized, nine churches were dismissed from Bethel Association in the northwest territory of the state.[7]

1803 Double Springs Church organized[8]

1803 Holly Springs Church organized[9]

1821 South Carolina Baptist Convention formed at the First Baptist Church, Columbia, SC. This was the first state convention in the South.

1826 Reedy River Association organized (churches in what is now eastern Greenville, Laurens and Newberry Counties)

1833 Tyger River Association organized (churches in what is now eastern Greenville and western Spartanburg Counties)

1845 Southern Baptist Convention formed at the First Baptist Church, Augusta, GA

1850 Enoree Association organized (churches of the NGBA were part of forming this body.  Enoree, Gap Creek, Lima, Middle River (Cleveland First), New Liberty, North Fork, and Union (Marietta)[10]

1860 Greenville Association organized (Enoree Association dissolved) meeting was at Union (Marietta First) (Churches in the Association: Enoree, New Liberty, Gap Creek, Union (Marietta), Grove Station, Bethuel, Sandy Springs, Fork Shoals, Standing Springs


[1] Joe Madison King, A History of South Carolina Baptists (Columbia: General Board of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, 1964), 109.

[2] Ibid., 374.

[3] Leah Townsend, South Carolina Baptists, 1670-1805 (Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co, 1974) 158.

[4] Greenivlle Baptist Association, “Historical Sketch of the Greenville Baptist Association”, Minutes, 1910, 44.

[5] King, A History of South Carolina Baptists, 110.

[6] Townsend, South Carolina Baptists, 1670-1805, 162.

[7] Ibid., 162.

[8] King, A History of South Carolina Baptists. 109.

[9] Ibid., 123.

[10] King, A History of South Carolina Baptists, 394.

n  New Prospect, and Lima, Cedar Springs (Henderson District, NC), Saluda, Pleasant Hill, and Glassy Mountain. The association included 15 churches and 8 ordained ministers)

n  1875 Tyger River Association dissolved.

  •  Sixteen churches in Greenville County associated with the Greenville Association
  • Nineteen churches in Spartanburg County organized the Spartanburg Association.


1877 North Greenville Association organized

  • Eighteen churches in northern Greenville County associated with this new association
  • “Reedy River remained faithful to her first love for twelve years longer not withdrawing until 1899.”[1]

1891 NGBA Churches were encouraged to organize Woman’s Missionary Societies,  Taylors First and Gowensville had functioning Societies for consultation.[2]

1892 NGBA founded North Greenville High School with the purpose of becoming a feeder institution for Furman and Greenville Female College.[3] The institution has grown to become North Greenville University.

1899 First annual meeting of the associational Woman’s Missionary Society

1899 C.W. Salter was the first associational missionary; he supported himself as a colporteur, selling Bibles and Christian books, and disrupted religious tracts around the North Greenville Association.[4]

1915 NGBA “set aside Miss Pnuema Barton as missionary to China, at Mountain Creek Baptist Church”[5]

1930 Annual Meeting, R.P. Jones, delegate from El Bethel Church, Greer, made a motion that the word “male” be removed from Article II of the Association Constitution. Article II stipulated that only males were eligible to be seated as delegates to associational meetings. The motion failed. It was introduced again in 1934 and 1936, and failed to pass at both annual sessions.[6]

1935 North Greenville Academy’s name changed to North Greenville Junior College.

1939 The consideration to remove “male” from Article II of the Association Constitution was referred to a Committee for review and revision.[7]

1939 S.F Rushton called to serve as Associational Missionary. [8]

1940 Annual Meeting, Constitution Committee recommended the removal of the word “male” from Article II of the Association’s Constitution, to allow women to serve as

[1] Greenville Baptist Association, Minutes, 1910, 49.

[2] F. Leon Johnson, “A Brief History of North Greenville Baptist Association 1887 – 1987,” 1987, 4.

[3] Ibid., 5.

[4] Ibid., 6.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid., 7.

[7] Ibid., 8.

[8] Ibid., 9.

delegates. The committee included the following men: James A. Howard, J.E. Freeman, John Barnette, D.D. Flanigan and Dr. M.C. Donnan.[1]

1941 Annual Meeting the recommendation of the Constitution Committee was adopted and women were permitted to serve as delegates at Associational meetings.[2]

1948 J.T. Gillespie called as Associational Missionary, serving both Greenville and North Greenville Associations.[3]

1951 Dr. O.K. Webb called to as Associational Missionary, serving both Greenville and North Greenville Associations.[4]

1956 W.B. Simmons of Augusta Road Baptist Church gave the Greenville and North Greenville Baptist Associations a 66.5-acre tract of land for the purpose of developing Camp Marietta.[5]

1957 W.B. Simmons donated an additional 30 acres to Camp Marietta.[6]

1959 March 4, 1959 ten pastors met informally to discuss the formation of a Baptist Association in the Greer area. The first annual session of the Greer Baptist Association was held October 27, 1959, at Victor Baptist Church, Greer.[7]

1960 Clyde M. Johnson called as first full-time NGBA, Associational Missionary.[8]

1960 GBA purchased property and building at 309 W. Poinsett Street, Greer SC.[9]

1961 GBA became joint owner of Camp Marietta.

1963 GBA called Wyatt Garrett to serve as first Associational Missionary.[10]

1966 GBA dedicated a newly construction associational office, April 28, 1966. The office was constructed on the 309 Poinsett Street property.

1970 Leon Johnson called as NGBA, Associational Missionary. First associational office was secured that year, and located in mobile home trailer on State Park Road in Travelers Rest, SC.[11]

1974 NGBA hired the first Associational Secretary-Treasurer, Mrs. Barbara McCall.[12]

1977 NGBA purchased a permanent office building at 23 South Main Street, Travelers Rest, SC. The office was renovated and dedicated in May 21,1978.[13]

1983 GBA called James R. Skinner as Director of Missions.[14]

1984 Thirty NGBA pastors and laypersons traveled to Guayaquil, Ecuador, to participate in a Partnership Evangelism Crusade.[15]

[1] Ibid., 8.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid., 9.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid., 10.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Unknown, “Historical Highlights of Greer Baptist Association,” n.d., 30.

[8] Johnson, “A Brief History of North Greenville Baptist Association 1887 – 1987,” 10.

[9] Unknown, “Historical Highlights of Greer Baptist Association,” 30.

[10] Ibid., 31.

[11] Johnson, “A Brief History of North Greenville Baptist Association 1887 – 1987,” 11.

[12] Ibid., 12.

[13] Ibid., 11.

[14] Unknown, “Historical Highlights of Greer Baptist Association,” 31.

[15] Johnson, “A Brief History of North Greenville Baptist Association 1887 – 1987,” 14.



1985 NGBA and GBA began a partnership with five other associations to start new mission churches along the I-85 Corridor.[1]

1987 NGBA celebrated the centennial of the association with the establishment of a Centennial Student Scholarship Fund to aid financially worthy students from the association.[2]

1991 NGBA called Steve Rutledge as Director of Missions

1992 GBA completed and a construction project that enlarged and renovate the associational office building.[3]

1998 GBA called Dr. Cleatus J. Blackmon as Director of Missions.[4]

2007 NGBA called Randy Bradley as Director of Missions

2009 GBA celebrated the 50th anniversary of the association, associational churches reported 18,684 salvations during the fifty years of GBA ministry.[5]

2012 GBA called Tom Capps as Director of Missions.[6]

[1] Unknown, “Historical Highlights of Greer Baptist Association,” 31.

[2] Johnson, “A Brief History of North Greenville Baptist Association 1887 – 1987,” 15.

[3] Unknown, “Historical Highlights of Greer Baptist Association,” 32.


[5] Ibid., 35.

[6] Ibid., 36.