Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ministers and preachers of Township 5: 1850: Abraham Taylor & Paul J. Carraway

As I began wading through page by page of each Census for Township 5 from 1850 to 1930, I discovered some interesting things...some of which may serve as subjects for the imagination more than sources of hard facts. Come along with me on this journey and you'll see what I mean...

In 1850, the U.S. Federal Census for Craven County, NC was divided into two sections: New Bern, and Not Stated. Somewhere within "Not Stated" lies Township 5. Within the 145 pages of this enumeration, only two ministers surfaced, both white:

1850 United States Federal Census; Craven, NC;
Roll: M432_626; Page: 321B.
 The first enumeration was for Abraham Taylor, a 51 year old Free Baptist Minister, and his family: a wife and daughter and three sons. Abraham married Mary Civils in Craven County on 5 Aug 1829 (Craven County Marriage Record Index, Marriage Register 3, marriage bond). In 1860 his wife is supposed deceased, and he is living with his children in Richardsons District, Craven County, NC. This places his residence outside of the North Harlowe area, which is enumerated as Goodings Distirict.

1850 United States Federal Census; Craven, NC;
Roll:M432_626; Page: 321B. 
The second enumeration was for Paul J. Carraway, a Methodist Episcopal Minister, age 25, along with his young wife and daughter. The Craven County Marriage Record Index records the marriage of Paul J. Carraway and Julia A. McCotter on 8 Dec 1964 (Marriage Register Book 1: Marriage Bond). In 1860 Rev. Carraway was enumerated in Cumberland, Cumberland, NC with his wife and then five children.

By going back before Emancipation, I find only white ministers. I have read about Master/Slave churches where freedmen also attended (Masters & Slaves in the House of the Lord, ed. by John B. Boles, 1998). I can try to  imagine a time when there were no organized black churches in the rural parts of Craven County. Perhaps my husband's ancestors attended a church such as this...or, perhaps they only worshiped corporately when circuit preachers came through for brush arbor or camp meetings. Possibly they had their own lay preachers...or some may even have traveled the long trek to New Bern. This is what I hope to discover.

Perhaps if I can place these white ministers with churches in the county, I may find their church histories overlap with those of the the freedmen. A cousin told me about Methodist churches in Harlowe and Adams Creek...and since the Rev. Carraway eventually became a Presiding Elder, I plan on contacting Dr. William B. Simpson, historian for the North Carolina General Commission on Archives & History.


  1. My G-G Grandfather William H Culley was a Reverend in Township 5, Craven, North Carolina and he died in 1902. Thank you for doing this post.

  2. You're welcome. At this point I am using Census data to pinpoint ministers and preachers. I'm sure once I get into family obituaries I may find more.