In 1755, Shubal Stearns settled in the Piedmont of North Carolina, between present-day Liberty and Asheboro in Randolph County, and established Sandy Creek Baptist Church. Stearns’s authoritative preaching helped convert many in the Piedmont to his Separate Baptist beliefs. After a split among churches within the Sandy Creek Association of Separate Baptists and the defeat of the Regulation movement, Separate Baptists left for Appalachia. Stearns, however, remained and died in Randolph County. But his influence was and is more widespread than many know.
Author: J. Timothy Allen
James O’Kelly, a fiery, revivalist preacher in Virginia and North Carolina from 1775-1826, preached religious liberty. He decried slavery, using republican rhetoric in An Essay on Negro Slavery, and criticized Methodist polity in The Author’s Apology for Protesting Against the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1794, he created the Republican Methodist denomination, which became the Christian Church in the South in 1802. O’Kelly moved to North Carolina in 1787 and died in Chatham County in 1826.