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.
North Carolina’s diverse ethnic history includes the Welsh, who migrated from the middle colonies during the early eighteenth century to work in the naval stores industry. By the end of the century, the Welsh owned numerous properties and played a vital role in North Carolina society. More than a few modern-day North Carolinians are of Welsh descent.
In 1924 the Greek-American community of Raleigh decided to establish a Greek Orthodox parish, and in 1935 they were served by the first resident priest. Parishioners overcame the economic difficulties of the 1930s and collected enough money to lay the cornerstone of the first Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church on November 30, 1937. Five months later, construction was complete.
Before the end of the Civil War, as Union troops occupied more and more of North Carolina during the Civil War, more and more slaves fled to Union lines to live in what were then called contraband camps. Contrabands (freedmen) were escaped slaves from the Confederate territory into Union territory.