Reeves Temple African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church



213 Watson Street
Davidson, NC 28036

Our History

Reeves Temple is the Church where the "Son" truly shines!

 

Our History

 

 

THE EARLIEST AVAILABLE RECORDS INDICATE THAT REEVES TEMPLE HAS BEEN IN EXISTENCE FOR OVER 100 YEARS.  IT BEGAN IT’S EXISTENCE AS AN OUTGROWTH OF TORRENCE CHAPEL AME ZION CHURCH.

 

THE FIRST CHURCH WAS LOCATED ON EDEN STREET IN DAVIDSON, NC IN AN OLD FRAME BUILDING.  IN THE YEAR 1910 OR SO, REV. JOHNSON, WHO WAS THE PASTOR AT THAT TIME, TAUGHT CLASSES IN THE MASONIC HALL IN THE BACK OF THE CHURCH AND THE CHRISTIAN AID SOCIETY ALSO MET THERE. 

 

 

SOME OF THE EARLIEST MOTHERS AND FATHERS OF THE CHURCH WERE:

 

MR. JOSEPH HUNSCUKER                                     MR. C. WALTER JOHNSON

MRS. FANNIE HUNSUCKER                                  MR. CHARLIE WILSON

MR. ENOCH DONALDSON                                     MRS. ALICE ROBINSON

MRS. BESSIE JOHNSON                                          MR. WILL JOHNSON

MRS. PERCY MOTEN                                              MR. NED ALLISON

MRS. REBECCA LONG                                            MR. JOE DONALDSON

MRS. DUNLAP                                                          MR. JOE HUNSUCKER

MRS. CHARLESTON CULP                         MR. SAM HARRIS

MRS. EUPHIZINE JOHNSON                                  MR. CHARLIE NORTON

MRS. GERTRUDE EAVES                                         MRS. MATTIE BYERS

MR. CALVIN SIMOLTON                                        MRS. MARY FALLS

MRS. ANNIE J. SIMOLTON                                   MR. EPHRIM NICK

MR. ALEX SLOAN                                                    MR. BAXTR WILLIAMSON

MRS. JENNIE SLOAN                                              MR. DAN FRANKS

MRS. MATTIE MCCORKLE

 

THE SECOND REEVES TEMPLE WAS RE-BUILT IN SEPTEMBER, 1922. THIS FRAME BUILDING WAS BUILT FROM BRICK THAT CAME FROM THE BURNING OF THE CHAMBERS BUILDING ON THE DAVIDSON COLLEGE CAMPUS ON NOVEMBER 18, 1921.  THE PASTOR AT THAT TIME WAS THE REV. R. W. BALLARD.  THE MEMBERS OF THE TRUSTEE BOARD WERE; ALEXANDER SLOAN, CHAIRMAN;  JOE HUNSUCKER, TREASURER;  AND OTHA JOHNSON, SECRETARY.  OTHER MEMBERS INCLUDED MONROE BYERS, CALVIN SIMOLTON, ENOCH DONALDSON, JOE DONALDSON, EDWARD ALLISON AND WILLIAM BROWN.

 

MEMBERS AND FRIENDS MARCHED FROM EDEN STREET TO THE NEW REEVES TEMPLE ON WATSON STREET ON EASTER SUNDAY MORNING, IN THE YEAR OF 1966.

 

 

THE OFFICERS OF THE TRUSTEE BOARD WERE: SIDNEY HUNSUCKER, CHAIRMAN, WILLIAM J. COLSON, MARY L. HICKS, LEVONIA HOUSTON, GEORGE LOWERY, SR., PAUL GAITHER REID, MELVIN STINSON, AND GEORGE T. WHITE.  THE BISHOP WAS  J.W. WALLS AND REV. T.M. POWE WAS THE MINISTER.

 

SOME OF THE FORMER MINISTERS WHO HAVE SERVED AT REEVES TEMPLE ARE:  REV. R. W. BALLAR, REV. BETRAM, REV SPUDGEN, REV. MASSEY, REV. THORPE, REV.  J. J. WELLS, REV.  C. C. REVELS, REV. GLADDEN, REV. HOPKINS, REV. HOWARD MILLER, REV. MCDANIEL, REV. GEORGE W. THOMPSON, REV. JOHN DAVIS, REV. SHELDON SHIPMAN, REV. THOMAS D. LEE, REV. ROSCOE COUSART, REV. GRANT HARRISON, REV. FREDDIE STROMAN, REV. CLAIR HURST, REV. IVAN MORTON, REV. DR. RICHARD NEWBY, REV. DORA DUBOSE (ASSOCIATE MINISTER); REV. HARRY D. DAVIS, JR., AND REV. AMY S. CICERON. THE PRESIDING ELDER IS DR. JAMES MCARTHUR SLOAN AND THE BISHOP IS GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER WALKER, SR., PRESIDING PRELATE OF THE PIEDMONT EPISCOPAL DISTRICT.

 

 

UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF THE REV. AMY S. CICERON WE ACCOMPLISHED MANY THINGS, SPRITUALLY AND FINANCIALLY.  THE PASTOR’S OFFICE AND CHURCH OFFICES WERE RENOVATED, FLOORS WERE STRIPPED AND BROUGHT BACK TO THERE NATURAL WOOD SURFACES,  WALLS WERE PAINTED, OFFICE DOORS STAINED, ALL CARPET DOWNSTAIRS WAS REPLACED WITH VINYL AND CERAMIC TILE FLOORING, NEW DESKS, CHAIRS, LAMPS, PICTURES AND BOOK SHELVES WERE ADDED.  THE MAJORITY OF THIS WAS DONE WITHOUT A COST TO THE CHURCH.

  

 

WE PURCHASED AN AUDIO SOUND SYSTEM, BUILTED AN AUDIO VISUAL SOUND ROOM, AND  WERE UPDATED WITH THE LATEST PROJECTION TECHNOLOGY.  WE PURCHASED CHRISTIAN EDUCATION AND AMERICAN FLAGS,  THE CHURCH OFFICE WAS UPDATED WITH A LASER PRINTER, COPIER AND FAX MACHINE,  A BRAND NEW AIR CONDITION UNIT WAS INSTALLED AND AN OLD DEAD TREE WAS REMOVED FROM THE CHURCH GROUNDS. 

 

JUNE 15, 2008, AGAIN GOD STEPPED IN AND BLESSED US WITH OUR CURRENT PASTOR, THE REV. DEBRA J. HALL.  WE GIVE THANKS TO GOD FOR HE DOESN’T MAKE ANY MISTAKES.  WE STOOD STRONG AND KEPT BELIEVING AND TRUSTING IN HIM.  SHE IS A DYNAMIC MINISTER.

 

UNDER REV. HALL’S LEADERSHIP THE PASTOR’S OFFICE AND CHURCH OFFICE HAVE BEEN RE-PAINTED.  CURTAINS AND BLINDS HAVE BEEN INSTALLED.  WE HAVE ALSO BEEN ABLE TO MAINTAIN THE UPKEEP OF OUR THREE RENTAL PROPERTIES.   

 

PRAYERFULLY AND SOON THE LINGLE HUT WILL BE DESINATED AS A HISTORICAL LANDMARK, THANKS TO THE LONG MEETINGS AND HARD WORK BY BOTH REV. AMY CICERON AND NOW BY REV. DEBRA HALL.

 

PREVIOUS TRUSTEE CHAIRMEN WERE:  CECELIA CONNER, JAMES RAEFORD, ROBERT MARKS. 

 

OTHER BORD MEMBERS WERE; JULIA JOHNSON, JIMMY BRANDON, VIVIAN CONNER, JAMES REID, VONNIE WYLIE, ODESSA HUNSUCKER, GORDEN REID, JAMES STEWART, RUTH REDFEARN, GEORGE SEALY, FRANKIE JACKSON, TIFFANY MCCAIN, JEAN-FRANCK CICERON AND THE LATE, ROY WYLIE, SR.

 

PRESENTLY TRUSTEE BOARD MEMBERS ARE:  RONALD DONALDSON, TRUSTEE CHAIRMAN, CASTELLA CONNER ALEXANDER; VICE-CHAIRMAN, TALMADGE CONNER, JR., TREASURER, MAGGIE SMITH; SECRETARY, AND CECELIA CONNER (CHAIRMAN-EMERITUS).

 

AS WE REFLECT UPON OUR PAST, WE CANNOT BUT PAY TRIBUTE TO ALL THE DEDICATED SAINTS WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE US AND WHO NOW FROM THAT “GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESSES” CONTINUES TO INSPIRE US. “WE HONOR THEM.” 

 

MRS. HATTIE ABERNATHY                                    MRS. ELIZABETH JOHNSON         

MR. WILLIAM ALEXANDER BYERS                      MRS. LEVONIA HOUSTON

MR. FRANKIE LEE BROWN                                    MR. HERMAN JOHNSON

MR. DWITT BROWN                                                MRS. MAGGIE JOHNSON

MR. WILLIAM BRYANT                                          MRS. LUCILLE JOHNSON

MRS. EUGENIA DONALDSON                               MR. MATTHEW JOHNSON

MR. HUGH JOHN DONALDSON                            MR. ODELL JOHNSON

MR FREDIE DUBOSE                                               MR. TOBIE JOHNSON

MRS CARRY DUNLAP                                             MS. MELISSA JORDAN

MRS. MARIE EAVES                                                MR. CLYDE JOHNSON

MRS. EDNA FALLS                                                  MRS. VIRGINIA LOWERY

MRS. MARGARET S. FRANKS                                MR. GEORGE LOWERY, SR.

MRS. OPHELIA HARRIS                                          MR. SMITH LONG

MRS. ESSIE HEATH                                      MR. ARTEZ MCCAIN

MRS. MARJORIE HEATH                                         MR. LEE MCCORKLE

MR. JOHN B. HUNSUCKER                                    MR. BOB MASON

MR. LEONARD HUNSUCKER                                 MRS. ANNIE NORTON

MRS. NANCY HUNSUCKER                                   MR. ROSSIE NORTON

MRS. HATTIE DONALDSON JOHNSON

MR. RUTHLEDGE NORTON                                    MRS. CHARLOTTE WILSON          

MRS. DAISY D. OLIVER                                          MRS. MARY GRIER STINSON

MRS. NEIL PHARR                                                   MRS. ANNIE W. SLOAN

MRS. ALICE REID                                                     MRS. SUSIE LOWERY

MR. FRANK ROBINSON                                         MRS. JEWEL D. FUNDERBURK

MRS.MERLE SIMOLTON                                         MRS. BETTY JEAN FORD

MRS. LILLIE SIMOLTON                                         MRS. JACQUELINE S. GRIER  

BRO. SIMS                                                                 MR. GEORGE SEALY

MR. ALEX SLOAN                                                    MR. DAVID HUNSUCKER

MR. EURBY SLOAN                                     MS. MABLE JEAN CLARK

MR. PRESTON SLOAN                                            MR. ROY WYLIE, SR.

                                         MRS. REANNA SLOAN                                          

                                          MR. WALTER SLOAN                                            

MRS. LILLIAN STANFORD

MRS. HATTIE SUMMERS

MRS. COLENE WHITE

MS. SARAH WHITE

MRS. ARTELIA WILLIAMSON

MRS. MAGGIE WILLIAMS

MRS. ODESSA WILLIAMS

MRS. SADIE WILIAMSON

MRS. WILLIE MCCAIN

MR. SAM HARRIS

 

NOW WE LOOK TO THE FUTURE.  WE HAVE A YOUNG GENERATION NEEDING ALL THE ENERGY, THE EFFORT AND THE ENTHUSIASM WE CAN MUSTER IF THEY ARE TO SURMOUNT THE OBSTACLES THAT ARE BEING PLACED IN THEIR PATH.  LET US PLEDGE OURSELVES TO THEM, AS OUR FOREFATHERS AND MOTHERS PLEDGED THEMSELVES TO US.                                  

 

WE THANK GOD FOR OUR HERITAGE AND FOR THE MANY BLESSINGS HE HAS BESTOWED UPON US.  MAY WE CONTINUE TO STRIVE FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS, TRUTH AND HOLINESS AND MAY THE LOVE OF GOD EVER MORE EMPOWER US TO DO HIS HOLY WILL!

 

 

THE REEVES TEMPLE AME ZION CHURCH FAMILY AND

THE REVEREND DEBRA J. HALL

 

 

 

Unity Church Cabin/Lingle Hut

During the 1930s, some farmers and small town residents in rural Mecklenburg County , North Carolina began to construct log buildings for use by their communities.  On the surface, the choice of log construction seems natural considering that Mecklenburg County had a long and significant tradition of log construction until the end of the 19th century.  But these Depression-era buildings had little in common with the area’s log-building traditions.  Their appearance on the landscape marked a sudden change in the county’s pattern of rural architecture.  Given that the buildings were erected during the Great Depression, a period when new construction across the country had nearly come to a standstill, their significance is amplified.  Few  Rustic-Revival log buildings were built in the county before 1930, and no similar buildings appear to have been constructed after 1940.  The Unity Church Cabin was the first of these communal-built rustic-revival log buildings. The Unity Church Cabin was the first of Mecklenburg County's Depression-era, Rustic Revival, communally built log buildings. 

The Unity Church   

 

The Unity Church served the white residents on the west side of Davidson.  In contrast to the college professors, administrators and merchants who lived east of the AT&O Railroad that bisects the town, most of the residents west of the rail line worked in one of the town's mills, or in some service capacity at Davidson College.  The church was founded in 1890 by mill operator Dr. J. P. Munroe as a nondenominational church known as the Mill Chapel.  Services may have been limited to Sunday school classes taught by men and women who lived outside of the mill neighborhood.  Many of those who taught at the Chapel came from the college community, including students.  Services at the Chapel were discontinued in 1903 with the opening of the town's Methodist Church.  Dr. F. L. Jackson, the future treasurer of Davidson College, is credited with re-starting the Sunday school in 1913.  He remained the Sunday school  superintendent until 1924.  In 1927, under the direction of the Davidson College YMCA, a system was put into place where Davidson College students would serve as the pastor for the Mill Chapel.   Students in their final year of College, and for the year or two after graduation were employed by the YMCA as non-ordained ministers for the church.  This system lasted from 1927 until 1950, and a total of sixteen students held this position.  This arrangement proved to be very beneficial to the church which built a new sanctuary in 1930, and re-organized as the interdenominational Unity Church in 1932, offering worship services in addition to Sunday School Classes.  It appears that this arrangement served to train students who had an interest in the ministry.  Eleven of these student pastors went on to seminary.  In addition to the students, many people from the community at large continued to come to the Unity Church to teach Sunday school.  Among these was Louise Lingle, the wife of Walter Lingle, the president of Davidson College.

 

Exceptional among the students pastors  was John Howard who served the church from 1931 until 1933.  Under his leadership the church re-organized as the Unity Church, and in 1932 the church members built the log cabin.  the superintendent of the YMCA wrote in his report to the Dean of Students that John Howard's work with the Church was: The most outstanding single piece of service rendered by any Davidson Student during the year was the work of John Howard in the Mill Chapel, or Davidson Unity Church as it is now called." and that the YMCA's cooperation with and financial support for the student pastor had resulted in a "splendid church building and a fine log cabin." 

 

The significance of the building of the Cabin is amplified when one considers the hard times of the 1930s.  Life for the mill workers was hard even before the advent of the Great Depression.  Social concerns were being expressed as the mills in Davidson were expanding  “…farms deprived of hands and at the same time the children who would grow up in the country are brought to the cotton mill to the almost utter destruction of theirs hopes for the future.”

 

Across the South farm families left the land hoping for a better life in the mills.  What many found was monotonous hard labor, with barely enough pay to cover the costs of living.  Still, mill workers built communities, and certainly the Unity Church was the center of the community for many mill hands in Davidson.  Families had gardens and raised animals, and baseball was a major distraction with games being played in a field across the road from the church.

 

 

Then came the  Great Depression.  Just across the Catawba River in neighboring Gaston County, the Great Depression was playing itself out in Dickensian terms.  Working for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration in 1934, Martha Gellhorn reported on the social and economic conditions of the region.  She described homes with broken windows, bare-footed children, and a newspaper photograph of FDR on the mantle. 

“As for their homes: I have seen a (mill) village where the latrines drain nicely down a gully to a well from which they get their drinking water. Nobody thinks anything about this; but half the population is both syphilitic and moronic; and why they aren't all dead of typhoid I don't know.” Horrible dietary diseases such as pellagra were decimating the people.  “Their health is going to pieces; the present generation of unemployed will be useless human material in no time; their housing is frightful (talk about European slums); they are ignorant and often below-par intelligence. What can we do: feed them--feed them pinto beans and corn bread and sorghum and watch the pellagra spread. And in twenty years, what will there be; how can a decent civilization be based on a decayed substrata, which is incapable physically and mentally to cope with life?”  

It appears that things were not as bad in Davidson.   The mill operated at a loss, but did not shut down during the Great Depression. The workers may have struggled but it does not appear that they were as desperate as some of their neighbors.

Men of the Church will cut Saturday morning, from timber near the collage Freshman Field.  Following the log cutting the men will hold a fish-fry on the Catawba River in the afternoon.  The following week the women will cut the bark from the logs to ready them for the builders…

In this climate, the mill workers of Davidson built a building that may have reminded them of a stable  past.  Building the cabin, holing the fish fries and parties, gave the people something to do when they were powerless over so many factors affecting their lives. 

Minutes and histories of the Unity Church indicate that the Cabin continued to serve as an important place for the church, and that the involvement of Davidson College students and the YMCA continued.  In 1932 the YMCA donated $300 (the cabin?) to the Unity Church and committed to $200 a year in the future, presumably to cover the cost of the student pastor.  Perhaps the performance of the church and the work of John Howard impressed YMCA, because by 1933 the organization had begun a fund drive to raise $500 for the church. This commitment was made despite the hard times, in the same year the YMCA had  to cancel its subscription to a Christian Newspaper to save money.  

Despite the Great Depression, it appears that the 1930s were a time of activity and growth at the Unity Church.    In 1933 two "boys clubs for fellows of the Mill community,"  were formed at the church.  Between 1933 and 1936  a community "bath house" was built behind the Cabin, to serve those in the community without indoor plumbing.   In 1939 the Cabin experienced its first expansion, with an addition added to the rear of the building.  One of the rooms in the addition served as an apartment for the student pastors.  The mintues for the church and interviews with members indicate that the Cabin was in nearly constant use.  According to life long member Nancy Blackwell the Cabin was first and foremost the Men's Sunday School.  But the men shared their space and the Cabin was the site of church parties, suppers, Boy Scout meetings, Boy's Club meetings, quilting bees, Bible School, and barbeques where the pigs were cooked in a pit that was dug behind the Cabin.  The Cabin served the community at large when the County Nurse came to give inoculations.    

Minutes beginning in 1938 indicate that the church Board of Directors met regularly in the Cabin.  According to a YMCA report, during the academic year of 1939-40 the Unity Church became independent of the YMCA, and that it now "stands on its own feet." This probably meant that the YMCA no longer provided financial support.  Still, a dozen Davidson College student continued to work with the church, and the student pastor system continued to operate for another ten years.  In 1949 the Cabin was expanded again with a log shed addition that housed two bathrooms.  In that same year the church became part of the Presbyterian Church, and was re-named as the Calvary Presbyterian Church of Davidson.  With the reorganization an ordained minister was hired and the use of student pastors was discontinued.    The Cabin continued to be an important part of the church through the 1950s, with improvement being made in the kitchen. 

Lingle Hut

In 1966 the Calvary constructed a new building on South Street in Davidson.  The Watson Street property including the Cabin were sold to the Reeves Temple A.M.E. Zion Church which had a sanctuary on nearby Eden Street.  Securing funds for the purchase of the church building was a difficult task for the working-class members of Reeves Temple.  Cecelia Conner, a life-long member of Reeves Temple had worked for the Lingle family reading to the bedridden Mrs. Walter Lingle.  Mrs. Conner wrote to Walter Lingle Junior, a vice-president of Proctor and Gamble in Cincinnati, to ask for assistance.  In consideration Cecelia Conner's good work, and of his mother's involvement in the Unity church Sunday School, Walter Lingle Jr. agreed to donate $6,000 with a commitment to donate an additional $3,000 each year for the next three years for a total of $15,000.  The only condition was that the Unity Church Cabin be re-name the Lingle Hut in honor of his mother.  This funding allowed the congregation to buy the former Calvary Church building.  In a formal ceremony the members of  Reeves Temple Church marched from Eden Street to their new church building.  Cecelia Conner saw the move as a big change for Reeves Temple.  The new facilities accommodated many more people.  The new location also had the advantage of indoor plumbing, which especially pleased the Conners who lived next door to the old church and allowed their outhouse to be used by the congregation.

Reeves Temple appears to have used the Lingle Hut in much the same way as the church before it.  Cecelia Conner and member Ronald Donald recall using the Lingle Hut for Christmas dinners, picnics, fellowship events, and barbeques.  The congregation continues to rely on the Lingle Hut. It contains the only kitchen for the church, and has remained the most convenient space for most church functions outside of Sunday services. 

A Special Thanks goes to Mr. Stewart Gray

 and the Historic Landmarks Commission for this excellent

Report on our Church and The Lingle Hut.

For more information on this report Please Visit: http://www.cmhpf.org/surveys&rLingle%20Hut.htm