(From an unpublished account written by Mrs. R. S. Morris)
Among the earliest communicants of Philadelphia (Red Banks) Presbyterian Church were the
Scotch-Irish Presbyterians who migrated to Red Banks from North Carolina in 1847. Some were
formerly members of Old Rocky River Church of Concord, N. C. the pastor of which was Rev.
Daniel A. Penick.
There was a large company of these pioneers (about a hundred) and they settled in Tennessee as
well as Mississippi. They were the very early settlers of Buncombe, Cabarrus and Mecklenburg
Counties, N. C. Their ancestors participated in the Revolutionary War and their spirit of
independence is unquestionable, when it is remembered that they drafted the Mecklenburg
Declaration a year before the Philadelphia Declaration of Independence. That is why the date, May 0, 1775, appears on the N. C. state flag.
These people were God-fearing and would bow their heads to no monarch, be he king or potentate. Their consciences dictated their every thought and action. So in the year 1847, a large group of them, led by Rev. Angus Johnson decided to move westward to ever fairer lands. There were Methodists as well as Presbyterians in this "Exodus" company.
Although they all started out together in one large caravan, the two congregations came to a parting f the ways. The reason was the Presbyterians' well established custom of resting on the Sabbath, while the Methodists preferred to waste no time in pressing forward toward their destination.
The Presbyterians would pitch camp wherever they hap-' pened to be on Saturday afternoon. They observed the Sabbath Day by listening to sermons by Rev. Angus Johnson, who used the back end of a wagon for a pulpit. They also prayed, sang hymns and rested. So, when they broke camp on Monday morning, they felt rested and refreshed and made better time than their Methodist friends who felt tired and jaded, and whose horses were weary from lack of rest. A very interesting sidelight on this is the fact that the Presbyterians overtook and arrived three weeks ahead of the Methodists.
After crossing the North Carolina state line the families of the two congregations gradually separated and some of them settled along the way in towns of Tennessee. Several families made their way to Red Banks, in Marshall County, Mississippi where they bought land and established themselves.
They were the Newells, Canons, Houstons, Blairs, Martins, Johnsons, Blacks and Flinns