As early as 1767 religious services were conducted in homes in the vicinity of Dovesville. Organized in 1779, Black Creek Baptist Church, or Teal’s as it was also known, was an outgrowth of these services, conducted by the Reverend Evan Pugh of the Cashaway Church.
A meeting house was raised in 1789. Called Pine Log Church, the 20-foot structure of hewn logs had 8-foot shelters on each side, which were probably used for hitching horses. Fourteen of the members had “joined over to Black Creek” from Cashaway. The Reverend Mr. Pugh generally preached the first Sunday of each month.
By 1815 Black Creek had “mothered” at least three churches. Old minutes record that in 1812 a letter of dismission to constitute a separate body was granted to the New Providence Church; in 1814, to High Hill Creek Church. In 1813 the members of the “branch” at Mount Pleasant were dismissed to constitute a new body (this was a revival of the old Cashaway Church from which Black Creek had evolved in 1779; it later adopted the name Mechanicsville).
Old records disclose practices of the early church. In 1803, for example, the church voted to give women the right to speak for their own defense “so long as they not use the authority over the man.” In 1817, after much discussion, the washing of feet was agreed upon, although there is no record that it was ever carried out. A pastor around 1815 contracted to attend Black Creek sixteen times a year, three days at a time. In 1837 the church resolved that “If a brother misses two services, a committee… visit him.” Members were turned out for such offenses as lack of interest, not attending, not paying debts, buying and selling liquor, or drinking spirits to excess, and using profane language.
The churches in the Darlington area belonged to the Charleston Baptist Association. A move to create a smaller association was initiated by Black Creek in 1823. It was 1830, however, that Black Creek with other Pee Dee churches formed the Welsh Neck Baptist Association.
In its 1834 annual letter to the Association, Black reek reported a “large and Interesting Sabbath School.” Black Creek hosted the annual Association meeting in 1840 for the first time.
Much progress was recorded under the leadership of the Reverend J. O. B. Dargan, who served as pastor from 1838-1881. The Sabbath School, which had evidently declined, was revived in 1848. Volunteers organized the first choir in 1849, and “as many of the back seats as may be needed were appropriated to their use.” In 1856 the members resolved to build a new house of worship, the second to be constructed during Mr. Dargan’s 38-year ministry. The new building, situated on land overlooking Black Creek that had been donated by Brother Benjamin Lucas, was dedicated in 1860. That same year the church rolls listed 177 members: 125 white and 52 black.
On August 1, 1861, during the War Between the States, the church passed a resolution excusing the women from attendance… “They being engaged in the good and noble work for preparing Clothing for the sick, wounded, and destitute among our soldiers in Virginia.” When Sherman’s army was moving from Cheraw to Florence in March , 1895, records state there was “No Church meeting today in consequence of the presence of Yankee raiders in this vicinity.”
During this era Scripture was read from a large Bible given by Mrs. Abel Gandy. Communion wine was poured from a silver pitcher into four silver goblets which were passed among the congregation. The silver service had been donated in 1860 by the women of the church at a cost of $40. Custom dictated that women sit on the west side of the church; men, on the east.
The Church’s first organ was installed in 1879. The first parsonage, which burned in 1912, was built in the village of Dovesville in 1884. In 1889 a committee was appointed “to lay off ground for a cemetery” on land adjacent to the church; thereafter, the old pre-Revolutionary cemetery was abandoned. Around 1780 the Negro members were dismissed to form their own church, Mount Zion.
When the Centennial was celebrated in 1898, exactly one hundred years after Black Creek had become independent of the mother church, Cashaway, the sanctuary was decorated with flowers and evergreens. Extended along the galleries, which had been planned originally for the Negro members, were festoons of cedar and holly. No less than half a dozen preachers participated in the service.
The 1860 building served as the meeting place for the Black Creek congregation until Easter, 1922, when fire destroyed it, leaving only the four large brick-plaster columns, portions of which still stand on the north end of the Black Creek Cemetery. The large Bible, used occasionally in the pulpit until today, and the silver communion service, on display in a cabinet in the present church sanctuary, were among the few items saved.
After the fire, the Black Creek members joined former members who had organized the Dovesville Baptist Church in 1916. The two churches consolidated under the Black Creek name and constitution.
A building fund was begun in 1934 by the Junior Department of the Sunday School. Ten years later plans for the present church building were drawn up; in 1951 the new church, valued then at $65,000, was dedicated. A new parsonage was built in 1958. An educational wing and other improvements were added to Black Creek in 1976 at a cost of $63,000. By the time the new Wesley Byrd Memorial Wing was dedicated, the church was debt-free, as it had been at the dedication of the church in 1951 and the parsonage in 1958.
The Bicentennial marks another milestone in the history of this body of worshipers — the celebration of two hundred years of a rich spiritual heritage passed down through those individuals and families who have fellowshipped and worshiped at Black Creek Baptist Church.