The Darlington Flag Newsletter

by Jill King Lyles...As all students of Darlington County history and genealogy know,
    the Baptist Church had a strong influence upon the Pee Dee region from the mid-1730’s
    through the present day.  Many early families who lived along the Pee Dee River have
    been documented using the minutes of the Welsh Neck Baptist Church and the diaries
    of Rev. Evan Pugh.  However, for those researchers whose families lived on the opposite
    side of Darlington County, along Lynches Creek, documentation has been a much more
    difficult task.  Now there is a tool that will make their research a little easier.  Gum
    Branch Baptist Church was first identified in the records as the Baptist congregation at
    the Lower Fork of Lynches Creek in 1789.  It is indeed fortunate that the church’s
    minutes survive from this date.  This church served the religious needs of those
    individuals living in the extreme western corner of Darlington County as well as
    neighboring Chesterfield, Kershaw, and the upper Salem portion of Sumter County. 
    Lyles’ history relies on church minutes, Baptist Association Minutes, local anecdotes,
    ministers’ biographies and reminiscences to paint a portrait of Gum Branch’s roll in the
    development and growth of the Baptist denomination in Darlington County.  Concrete
    information on many of the church’s early members (including females and slaves) is
    difficult to obtain from traditional sources.  The pages of this history are rich with the
    day-to-day activities of the church.  Members were disciplined for offenses that seem
    unusual from today’s perspective.  Changes in church membership, vital in
    documenting migration patterns, are well documented on the pages of this history. 
Lyles’ history is supplemented and enhanced by the inclusion of membership roles,
    lists of church officers, and letters from former ministers.  © 2000, 233 pages, soft
    bound, full name index, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number-  00-102879. 
    (See Index of this book) Price:
$25.00 plus $4.00 shipping for first book and $1.50 for
    each additional book.


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