Beck's Reformed Church, Davidson County, North Carolina during the Revolutionary War
Beck's is one of the old Reformed Churches in North Carolina. It has had a long and honorable history. Its first members were German settlers from the Palatinate and other sections of Europe. They brought with them their German Bibles, hymn-books and catechisms, some of which are still preserved as precious heirlooms in the homes of their descendants.
The name arose from the family of Becks (Pecks) in the community. This is still a common name in the membership of this historical congregation. The meagre records do not show that the church ever had any other name, though it is presumed that it had, just as the mother church of that section. Leonard's Church, was organized under the name of Pilgrim, But if there was such a name it has long since been lost sight of, and the church continues to be called "Beck's Church."
The deed of the Beck's Church land bears the date of November 5, 1787, and conveys fifty-three acres from Dr. John Billings, L. Smith and others to Martin Frank and Frederick Billings of the "Profession of the Church of England," and David Smith and Henry Lookinbee of the "Profession of the Church of the Dutch Settlement on Abbott's Creek." Martin Frnak and Frederick Billings were the Trustees of the Lutheran Church, called in this deed "The Profession of the Church of England." David Smith and Henry Lookinbee were the Trustees of the Reformed Church, called in the deed "The Profession of the Church of the Dutch Settlement on Abbott's Creek." These peculiar titles arose from the fact that the members of the Reformed and Lutheran Churches could not speak English. The officials gathered from their broken explanations that the first-named Trustees represented a denomination somewhat like the Church of England, and wrote the deed accordingly. The officials also understood that the latter Trustees represented a denomination identical with the "Dutch Congregation on Abbott's Creek," already mentioned in the official records of 1783, and so wrote the title.
The pastor of the Reformed Congregation at Beck's Church in 1787 was the Rev. Mr. Schneider. It is thought that he organized the congregation, though already when he came a log church had been built under the leadership of Rev. Mr. Suther. The citizens of the community suffered greatly during the Revolutionary War. The Reformed people, as at Leonard's Church, following the example of their pastor, Samuel Suther, were intense patriots. A notable example was Peter Hedrick, the great-grandfather of Rev. M. L. Hedrick. He was born December 17, 1733. Later in life he came to America and settled in North Carolina on the Four-mile Branch near Beck's Church. The site of his home is welll-known. When the war broke out he enlisted in the American army. This excited the intense hatred of the Tories. In his absence one day a band of Tories came to his house and holding a pistol in the face of his wife cursed her, and told her to give up all she had or die. She answered that she was helpless and begged them to spare her and her children and her property. They only abused her for her pitiful entreaties. They took all the provisions except a little salt, drove off the choice horses and cattle and shot the others, and then burned all the buildings. When Peter Hedrick returned a few weeks later and found his desolated home, he took his wife and children to Virginia until after the war, when he returned. He died January 24, 1789, and lies buried in the Beck's Church graveyard.
The log church was used by the congretation until the year 1878, when a large frame church was built which is still in use. The pastors have been those who served Pilgrim Church until the Lower Davidson Charge was formed in 1862, and from that date the pastors of that charge.
The above story is from the book "Historic Sketch of the Reformed Church in North Carolina" by A Board of Editors Under the Classis of North Carolina; North Carolina; 1908, pg. 169-171.
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