north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

      Many of the thousands of Scots-Irish settlers migrating south along the Great Wagon Road from Pennsylvania in the mid-eighteenth century settled in the Piedmont of North Carolina. They brought their religious beliefs with them, spreading Presbyterianism throughout the area. In 1755, Hugh McAden, a Presbyterian missionary sent from Philadelphia, preached a small service at the home of Scots-Irish settler Adam Mitchell in Guilford County. The following year Buffalo Church was informally organized on Mitchell’s land. A small log structure was constructed, and church services began utilizing both local elders and itinerant preachers from the local community.

      Eight years later David Caldwell began administering to Buffalo and nearby Alamance Church. His official appointment did not begin until 1768, the same year that Adam Mitchell deeded a one-acre parcel of land for Buffalo Church. The first church building, a log structure built in 1756, was replaced in 1800 by a frame structure under Caldwell’s supervision. Under Caldwell’s tutelage, the church took part in the formation of both the Orange Presbytery at Hawfields Church in 1770, and the Synod of North Carolina at Alamance Church in 1813.

      After Caldwell’s retirement in 1820, Eli W. Caruthers took over as pastor of both Alamance and Buffalo. He served in that capacity until the union between the two churches dissolved in 1846. Cyrus C. Caldwell, the grandson of David Caldwell, then took over as pastor of Buffalo Church while Caruthers remained with Alamance. Over the next century, Buffalo Church’s congregation expanded considerably, and a series of descendants of David Caldwell served as pastors and deacons.

      In 1827, the church building presently standing was constructed using bricks made on the church property. Several additions to the original building have been made including the portico added in 1920 and the nine-room brick manse in 1924.

E. C. Murray, A History of Alamance Church, 1762-1918 (1919)
S. M. Rankin, History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People (1934)
Jethro Rumple, The History of Presbyterianism in North Carolina (1966)
William S. Powell, ed., Encyclopedia of North Carolina (2006)—essay by George Troxler
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north carolina highway historical marker program

Buffalo Church, Greensboro

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources