160 South Main St. Sparta, North Carolina
The first active work done to build up Presbyterianism in Alleghany County, North Carolina, was inaugurated by Rev. W.H. Murray, an evangelist of the Orange Presbytery (a division of Presbyterian Church U.S.), in the summer of 1900.
Rev. Murray contacted Jos. H. Carson, a native of Alleghany County, living in Charlotte, N.C., and belonging to a Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, who agreed to furnish funds to build a church if the Presbytery would agree to build a manse.
Orange Presbytery agreed, and a four acre lot was bought in the town of Sparta, and a manse and church were completed in 1905. The lot, manse, and church were all obtained fro a total cost of $3,000.00. The church was dedicated the Carson Memorial Church on August 26, 1906. The first members were: Georg Cheek, J.P. Isom, G.H. Harris, Mrs. Nannie Jones, Mrs. Morgan Cheek, Mrs. Zahilda R. Story, Jane Creed, Mrs. Phoebe Harris, Mrs. Phoebe Thompson, and Miss Ewena Carson. George Cheek was elected, ordained, and installed as Ruling Elder and Clerk of the Session. Mr. Cheek served as Clerk until June, 1940, when G. Glenn Nichols was installed as Clerk of the Session.
Although Rev. Murray was instrumental in getting Presbyterianism started in Alleghany County, he resigned before the first church building was completed. Rev. A.H. Temple (1903), and Rev. J.C. Story (1903-1906), were pastors during the building program. The dedication of these ministers, along with Elder A.T. Walker, brought about the establishment of Rocky Ridge Presbyterian Church, and the Glade Valley Presbyterian Church, in addition to the Carson Memorial Presbyterian Church.
The original wooden frame Sanctuary was deemed unsafe and replaced by a brick building in 1936, during the pastorate of Rev. R.L. Berry. Mr. Henry Belk of Charlotte, North Carolina, donated the brick. The builders were Mr. Yose Cooper, Mr. Luther Halsey, and Mr. J.T. Sparks. Rev. C.W. Ervin and Mr. Ted Wyatt volunteered their labor and did much of the foundation work.
From 1944 to 1951 the Sparta Church did not have a regular pastor. Numerous ministers from Winston-Salem Presbytery served as occasional supply. Rev. E.W. Thompson and Rev. C.W. Ervin provided strong leadership of the church during this time and prior years. Portraits of these two ministers are included in the gallery of ministers.
The survival of the Sparta Presbyterian Church can be attributed largely to Mr. Glenn Nichols who served as Clerk of the Session from 1940 until his death in 1971. Dr. C.A. Thompson also served as Elder from August, 1940, until his death in 1980. Sparta Presbyterian Church has been fortunate in having dedicated people serve as Elders and Deacons over the years, especially since there have been several periods of time when no minister was available.
March 23, 1952, the congregation voted to change the name from Carson Memorial Presbyterian Church to Sparta Presbyterian Church. New pews were purchased with donations from members an friends in 1964.
An Educational building was completed and dedicated on September 27, 1970. In 1982 the church voted to retrofit the Sanctuary and Mr. John Sinnett, son of Mrs. Vancine Sinnett, was engaged as architect. Funds were raised and construction was begun in April, 1983. The following addition and remodeling was completed in December, 1983:
• The addition of a Narthex
• Spire with cross
• New brick
• Stained glass windows
• Remodel of Chancel
• New stairways in Narthex and Chancel areas
• New carpet
• Upholstered pews
• Enlarged kitchen
• Added new heating and air conditioning
• Renovation of Social Hall
Mr. Eugene Dysart, an Elder, volunteered his services to oversee the renovation project, and local builders supplied the labor. Russell Church Studios of Mount Airy, North Carolina, designed the stained glass windows which were donated by members in memory of, or in honor of, loved ones.
Rev. W.A. Murray
Born in Greensboro, North Carolina, 1874. Rev. Murray received a BA degree from Davidson College (1896) and BD degree from UTS, Richmond, Virginia (1900). Rev. Murray died June 24th, 1950.
Rev. A.H. Temple
Born November 5th, 1853, in Sparta, Illinois, and died July 25, 1933.
Rev. J.C. Story
Born September 17th, 1868, in McLeansville, North Carolina, graduated from Davidson College, BD degree, 1902.
Rev. W.F. Hollingsworth
Born March 22nd, 1867, in Rockdale County, Georgia. Received BA degree from Davidson College in 1890, and BD degree from Columbia Seminary, Decatur, Georgia, in 1893.
Rev. A.R. Woodson
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, October 21st, 1867, received BS degree from Westminster College in Missouri in 1892, and BD degree from Columbia Seminary in 1906.
Rev. C.W. Ervin
Born in Indiantown, South Carolina, August 4th, 1882, graduated from Davidson College, BD degree in 1905, and Columbia Seminary, BD degree, 1908.
Rev. Ervin served as pastor of Presbyterian Churches at all three locations. He was a teacher at Sparta High School and Glade Valley School. Rev. Ervin was elected Alleghany County Representative to North Carolina State Legislature for 1946-47 term, and served on several committees.
Rev. S.L. Hunter
Born January 14th, 1894, in San Diego, California, graduated from Davidson College, BD degree, 1923.
Rev. J.J. Douglas
Born in Cumnock, North Carolina, August 4th, 1875, graduated from Wake Forest College, 1898, and Southern Baptist Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, became Presbyterian after eight years in Baptist Church. Rev. Douglas was Poet Laureate of North Carolina, and author of two volumes of poetry, “The Quest of the Stars” and “The Bells.” He was also author of an historical novel, “The Girdle of the Grest.”
Rev. O.W. Marshal
(no historical background.)
Rev. R.L. Berry
Born in Washington County, Virginia, and was educated at Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina, and Kings College in Bristol, Virginia, and graduated from Union Seminary in 1920. He was licensed and ordained into ministry by Orange Presbytery. He was a charter member of Winston-Salem Presbytery (now Concord). He came to the Carson Memorial Presbyterian Church in 1935. During his pastorate a new Sanctuary was built in Sparta. Rev. Berry returned to the Sparta and Glade Valley Churches in 1957. He died while pastor of these churches on September 8th, 1964. Rev. Berry was married to Dovie Jane Venable of Pilot Mountain, North Carolina, on July 3rd, 1922.
Rev. Richard Hildebrandt
Was pastor of the Sparta Presbyterian Church while a studend at Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, Virginia. His family lived in the manse, and Rev. Hildebrandt commuted on weekends.
Rev. John W. McQueen
Born in Clio, South Carolina, Augus 8th, 1907. He attended Wofford College and transferred to Presbyterian College, Clinton, South Carolina, graduating in 1929 with a BA degree. He received the BD degree from Columbia Seminary in 1933, and the Master of Theology degree from Union Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. He served as an Army Chaplain during World War II. Rev. McQueen served churches in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, and the Sparta and Glade Valley churches. Rev. McQueen was married to Sally Fiske Lindsey on September 18th, 1934.
Rev. Donald Mimbs
Was born August 6th, 1936, at Lake Wales, Florida. He attended Stetson University and transferred to Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Florida, receiving the BA degree in 1965, and the Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Seminary, Wake Forest, North Carolina, in 1968. Rev. Mimbs served on active duty as a Navy Chaplain until 1974. He received certification in Pastoral Counselling from Baptist Hospital, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Navy Medical Center, San Diego, California; and Navy Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland. He has also done graduate work through Loma Linda University, Redlands California, and Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, Virginia.
Rev. Mimbs married Della Arzetta Stevens May 22nd, 1959. They have two children, Donald Keith, and daughter, Arzetta Lynn.