Church Profile: Skewarkey Church
Skewarkey Baptist Church was founded around 1780 in Martin County. Originally a branch of Flat Swamp Church, Skewarkey Church constituted a separate congregation in 1787, with Martin Ross ordained as the first minister. Some of the church’s members were dismissed in 1791 to form a distinct church at Morattock, in Washington County, and other members left to join nearby established congregations. In 1803 thirty-four members of Skewarkey left to establish a church at Smithwick’s Creek and another twenty members formed a church at Tranters Creek.
The congregation remained stable for several years until, in 1827, about fifty members were dismissed to form a new church at Picot meetinghouse and still another twenty members founded a congregation at Bear Grass, also in Martin County. Thus Skewarkey Church became the parent church to many congregations in the vicinity, several of which aligned with the Primitive Baptist movement of the 1830s and shared fellowship in the Kehukee Association.
The present building, the church’s third, was constructed near Williamston in 1853. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. Elder Cushing Biggs Hassell served as pastor of Skewarkey Church from 1844 until his death in 1880. His son, Sylvester, assumed the pastoral duties in 1881. The younger Hassell also served Skewarkey until his death, in 1828. The Hassells’ association with Skewarkey Church and the Kehukee Primitive Baptist Asssociation is extensive and remarkable. Cushing Hassell wrote a history of the faith, which was revised and completed by Sylvester Hassell. The volume, History of the Church of God, From the Creation to A.D. 1885; Including Especially The History of the Kehukee Primitive Baptist Association, was published in 1886 and remains a fundamental resource.
- Cushing Biggs Hassell and Sylvester Hassell, History of the Church of God, From the Creation to A.D. 1885; Including Especially The History of the Kehukee Primitive Baptist Association (1886) [full text @ Google Books]
- Paschal, George Washington. History of North Carolina Baptists. Raleigh: General board, North Carolina Baptist State convention, 1930. [Find @ a Library]
- Abstracts of church minutes – available at the NCGenWeb Archives