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White Clay Creek Presbyterian Church

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1855. Kirkwood Hwy. and Polly Drummond Hill Rd.

Scots-Irish immigrants built a log structure on nearby Polly Drummond Hill in 1721. George Whitefield preached to 8,000 there in November 1739, which contributed to a subsequent rift among Presbyterians, with “New Side” Presbyterians, who liked him, departing to establish this church. (“New Side” or “New Light” referred to fervent revivalists inspired by the Great Awakening, as opposed to the more orthodox “Old Side.” Their local leader was Reverend Charles Tennent, son of the founder of the famous Log College, Pennsylvania.) This church was established in 1752, replaced in 1785, and again, in 1855, with the present structure. The current building is brick, of Greek Revival style with the sanctuary upstairs, Sunday school below, in an arrangement that was popular in the mid nineteenth century. Sanctuary walls and ceiling are covered with decorative sheet metal in Gothic and other historical patterns, and cast-iron columns support the floor. A dedicatory inscription of 1752 is displayed, along with a folk-art mural showing all four historic churches. Gravestones in the sizeable cemetery are said to go back to 1734; among the many made from marble stands a single green stone, apparently serpentine (1757). The lumpy cemetery wall of whitewashed rocks dates to 1785. The temple-form purity of the hilltop church was marred in 1996 when a stumpy tower was built beside it to house an elevator.

Writing Credits

Author: 
W. Barksdale Maynard
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Citation

W. Barksdale Maynard, "White Clay Creek Presbyterian Church", [Newark, Delaware], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/DE-01-NK5.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Delaware

Buildings of Delaware, W. Barksdale Maynard. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008, 176-176.

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