William W. Abernathy

Pastor FBC Hillsborough, 1943-1947

After listening to his trail sermon on October 24, 1943, the Church voted unanimously to extend the call to Rev. William W. Abernathy of Calvary Baptist Church, Gastonia, NC. Abernathy began his full-time pastorate on December 1, 1943. {Editor’s note: He is the first minister to be called full-time by the Church}. The Church’s Library was established in April 1944. In May 1944, a recommendation was made to increase the Church’s holdings in the Building & Loan to 100 shares. The pastor’s salary was increased to $35 per week in October 1944. In April 1945, the Church voted to raise $10,000 within the next 3 years “to build the outside wall of Sunday School rooms, cover room and install heating system. When $5,000 is paid into church treasury - have plans drawn and begin building.” {Editor’s note: Additional educational space was not built until 1952 during Dr. C. E. Maddry’s second pastorate}. On September 19, 1945 the church voted to begin securing the services of supply pastors and to continue calling a pastor full-time. The Church minutes indicate that a letter of dismissal was granted to Abernathy and his wife and that he left the church in September, 1947.1

It appears that Abernathy attended the Baptist Bible Institute in New Orleans, LA prior to accepting a call to become pastor of the Huntersville Baptist Church (1925-1927) located in Mecklenburg County, NC.2 After leaving Huntersville, he pastored churches in Pineville (1927), Lowell (1929-1930), Mooresville (Southside 1930-1932), Lumber Bridge (1933-1935) and Gastonia (Calvary 1936-1942). After leaving Hillsborough, he pastored Mountain Creek (1948-1956) near Rutherfordton, Newland (1956-1958), Walls Creek (1958-1961) in Bostic, and Piney Grove (1961-1964) in Statesville, NC.3,4

William W Abernathy was born in 1900. He married Mae V Bell who was born in 1901. Both were born and reared in NC, but the exact locations are unknown. They had a daughter, Betty Frances Abernathy, born March 27, 1926 in Cool Spring, Iredell County, NC. In 1940 the family lived in Gastonia, but in 1935 their residence was rural Robeson County, NC.5,6 An article in the Biblical Recorder in 1951 indicates that their daughter, Betty, had accepted the position of minister of music and education at the Midwood Church in Charlotte and that she was a graduate of Coker College, Hartsville, SC and had done graduate work at the School of Church Music, Southern Baptist Seminary, Louisville, KY.7

Abernathy is described as a zealous worker for Christ, preaching the plain Gospel.2 He was said to be filled with the Spirit and having a way of speaking that went to the heart. His wife is described as taking an active role in the church and being loved by all.8

The dates of the Abernathy’s deaths and where they are buried is not known. No references appear for him in the Biblical Recorder after 1964.

1. Minutes of First Baptist Church Hillsborough, NC from November 19, 1853 to December 2, 1953.

2. Commendation. (October 05, 1927) Biblical Recorder, p.14, Retrieved at: http://recorder.zsr.wfu.edu/Default/Skins/WakeforestA/Client.asp?skin=WakeforestA&AW=1333247219577&AppName=2

3. Various Proceedings of the annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention from 1925-1965. Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Presses of Edwards and Broughton, Raleigh, NC, Accessed at: http://mirror12.archive.org/search.php?query=mediatype%3Atexts%20AND%20collection%3Ancmeetingsproceedingsconferencereports%20AND%20subject%3A%22Baptist%20State%20Convention%20Of%20North%20Carolina%22

4. Various News & Notes found in the Biblical Recorder from 1927-1957. Accessed at: http://recorder.zsr.wfu.edu/Default/Skins/WakeforestA/Client.asp?skin=WakeforestA&AW=1333247219577&AppName=2

5. Family Search: W W Abernathy. 1940 Census. Accessed at: https://www.familysearch.org/

6. Family Search: W W Abernathy. Birth Records. Accessed at: https://www.familysearch.org/

7. News Notes. (May 19, 1951) Biblical Recorder, p.23, Retrieved at: http://recorder.zsr.wfu.edu/Default/Skins/WakeforestA/Client.asp?skin=WakeforestA&AW=1333247219577&AppName=2

8. Huntersville Church. (Feb 18, 1925) Biblical Recorder, p.2, Retrieved at: http://recorder.zsr.wfu.edu/Default/Skins/WakeforestA/Client.asp?skin=WakeforestA&AW=1333247219577&AppName=2

* Abernathy is also spelled Abernethy in some sources
First Photograph from Biblical Recorder Article; 2nd Photograph from Church Archives

Compiled by Reginald Carter, Historian, FBC Hillsborough
Last Updated: May 1, 2013