Digital Document Collection

Transfer of Deed from Bishop to Morris & Others, June 12, 1866
This is a copy of transfer of deed for the “old courthouse” building that had been used as a meeting house by Baptist before and at the time the Hillsboro Baptist Church was formed in 1853.  The church had sold the meeting house and property to George Bishop, a merchant from New Bern, in August 18, 1862 for $750. Bishop was almost certainly an acquaintance of Mrs. S. W. Graham’s mother, Elizabeth Cobb Washington, who had lived in New Bern until her husband’s death in 1838, whereupon, she moved to Hillsboro to live with her daughter and son-in-law.  Bishop sold the building to three Quakers who represented the “association of friends of Philadelphia and vicinity for the relief of Colored freedman." The purchase price was $1,200. The Quakers established a school for African-American children in the building. In 1886, they deeded the building to the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The building was later bricked and today is known as Dickerson's Chapel.

Mrs. S.W. Graham Letter ca. 1869
Susannah Sarah Washington was born on February 26, 1816. She married Governor William Alexander Graham on June 8, 1836.  Her parents, John Washington and Elizabeth Cobb Washington, were active members of the Baptist Church in New Bern, NC.  Mrs. Graham was a founding member of the Hillsboro Baptist Church when it was formally organized in 1853.  This printed letter was sent to prominent citizens of Hillsboro to solicit a contribution of One Dollar to help the church pay off a claim that was awarded to a contractor after the Civil War of $ 1,107 for brickwork.  The brickwork had been unsatisfactory, so the church set aside the money in 1862 to await arbitration, the Civil War broke out and the church lost the money when the bank failed after the War, but now had to find the money agreed upon in arbitration, May 22, 1869.  The solicitation was successful and the debt was settled in 1870.  Mrs. Graham died on May 2, 1890 in Hillsborough, North Carolina, at age 74.  The church will always owe a debt of gratitude for her loyalty, support and influence in trying times before and after the Civil War.

Postcard Baptist Church Hillsboro, NC, ca. 1910
This colored postcard is a rendering of the church with steeple as it appeared at the turn of the twentieth century.  A partial view of the “old” parsonage is depicted on the left and the house in the distance still remains intact on West Margaret Lane.  Notice the steps leading to the side door located in the bell tower.  Printed on the back is "Made in Germany. A.C. Bosselman and Co., New York." postage rate - One cent for United States, and Island Possessions, Cuba, Canada, and Mexico - Two Cents For Foreign.”  This company was an importer, postcard publisher and souvenir supplier in the early 1900s.  

Sunday School Board Certificate, 1940
This certificate was issued to the Laura Reeves Sunday School (Bible) Class on June 26, 1940.  The Sunday School Board at Nashville was established by the Southern Baptist Convention in the session of 1891, at Birmingham, Alabama.  Dr. J. M. Frost was the Board’s founder and, in time, its publications became paramount as Bible study resources for Southern Baptist.    Laura Anne Johnson Reeves joined the church in 1911.  She was a dedicated Sunday School teacher who taught the TEL class for twelve years.  When a new class was formed in 1934, it was named after her.  She was 92 years of age when she died in 1954.  The class is still active today.

Postcard Baptist Church Hillsboro, NC, ca. 1945
This black and white postcard shows the church without a steeple as viewed from West King Street.  Because of deterioration, the original pointed spire that covered the Church’s north bell tower was taken down in 1923, not to be replaced for another 55 years.  There were two small rooms behind the sanctuary that are located where the small window is seen.  Also note, that the steps to the side door on the bell tower have been removed.  On the back, the publisher is noted as A. A. Lloyd and Lowe, Hillsboro, N.C.  Allen Alexander Lloyd operated James Pharmacy on Churton Street for over 50 years.  The dividing line on the post card reads “The finest American made view postcards – the Albertype Co., Brooklyn, N.Y.” The company operated from 1890 to 1952, and produced over twenty-five thousand prints, which were distributed across the United States in the form of postcards and viewbooks.  The card could be purchased at the Pharmacy in the late 1940s.

Church Bulletin, September 22, 1946
This is the oldest church bulletin that we have in our archives.  The pastor was W. W. Abernathy who ministered to the Hillsboro congregation from 1943 to 1947.  It is the Sunday that Yogi Berra made his major league debut with the New York Yankees playing the Philadelphia A's. Berra hit a home run in his first time at bat.  The bulletin is brief in its description of Morning and Evening Worship.  The morning message was taken from John 19:1-24 and titled “The Menace of Mediocrity.”  The announcements mention Baptist Training Union and a meeting of the Sunbeams.  The women’s missionary society (WMS) is commended for raising $133 for world relief. 

Maddry and Blake Letter to Fellow Members, July 15, 1951
This letter was sent jointly from Charles E. Maddry, Pastor, and J. F. Blake, Chairman of the Building Committee, to encourage the Church to undertake the building of an Educational Wing.  Other churches in the community had expanded their facilities, but the First Baptist Church remained much as it had been for 100 years.  The children and young people of the Church deserved better and it was time to move ahead. The church had available $18,000 of the $40,000 to $50,000 needed for the building project.  Church members were asked to make a pledge toward raising $25,000 by March 1, 1952.   The letter closes, “Let us rise up and build! God is leading us. We must not fail!”

Postcard Baptist Church Hillsboro, NC, ca. 1955
This postcard is a black and white replication of the earlier colored postcard published in the early 1900s.  A partial view of the “old” parsonage is depicted on the left and the house in the distance still remains intact on West Margaret Lane.  Notice the steps leading to the side door located in the bell tower.  Printed on the back is “Artvue Postcard Co., 225 Fifth Ave., New York, N.Y.”  The company was formed in 1948 and was a producer of black & white postcards in the 1950's when color postcards were more popular. The postcard could be purchased at the James Pharmacy Drug Store, operated by Allan Lloyd and his daughter, Evelyn.  A partial rendering of the postcard appears as an illustration in Allen and Pauline Lloyd’s “History of the Town of Hillsborough: 1754-1991” published in 1982.

First Edition of The Messenger, March 26, 1959
This is the first edition of The Messenger, the church’s newsletter.  Bruce C. Cresson was the pastor and decided that the church needed a monthly newsletter.  The newsletter’s title was suggested by his wife, JoAnne.  The newsletter was to list all church activities and organization meetings for the upcoming month and contain news of general interest, records and notes from the Pastor’s Desk.  Announcements needed to be to the pastor by the 20th of each month.  Cresson was the church’s assistant pastor (1954-1957).  He was called to pastor the church upon Dr. Charles Maddry’s retirement in 1957, and remained in that position until 1961.    While pastor at Hillsborough, he obtained his Ph.D. from Duke University.  He later joined the faculty at Baylor University becoming the W.W. Melton Professor of Religion.  He continued there until his retirement in December 2000.  Thanks to a donation from his personal collection, the church has in its archives the first three volumes of The Messenger, 1959-1961.