Waxhaw Presbyterian Church

The Old Waxhaw Presbyterian Church was founded ca 1750 and is the oldest church in the South Carolina backcountry. The first known sermon was preached by Rev. John Brown in 1753. In 1758, Robert Miller, schoolteacher, minister, and brother-in-law of General Andrew Pickens, donated 4 1/2 acres to the congregation. The first ordained minister was Rev. William Richardson who served from 1759 until 1771. The current building is the fourth and dates from 1896.

The church served as the center of the Waxhaw settlement and played a prominent role during the American Revolution.

The wounded from Buford's Defeat were brought here.

The Waxhaws

Less than a year later, the Meeting House was again the scene of destruction when Lord Rawdon sent Tory Major John Coffin into the Waxhaw settlement.

"Hearing of their approach, the settlers, without delay, appointed the Waxsaw meeting house as a place of rendezvous, that they might the better collect their scattered strength, and concert some system of operations. About forty of them had accordingly assembled at this point, when the enemy approached, keeping the tories, who were dressed in the common garb of the country, in front, whereby this little band of patriots was completely deceived, taking them for captain Nisbets company, in expectation of which they had been waiting. Eleven of them were taken prisoners; the rest with difficulty fled, scattering and betaking themselves to the woods for concealment. Of those who thus escaped, though closely pursued, were Andrew Jackson and his brother, who, entering a secret bend in a creek, that was close at hand, obtained a momentary respite from danger, and avoided, for the night, the pursuit of the enemy."

from The Life of Andrew Jackson, published 1817,
by John Reid and John Henry Eaton

During this skirmish on April 9, 1781, the British burned the Meeting House.

Old Waxhaw Presbyterian Church Graveyard

Among those who lie in the churchyard are:

The father and brothers of Andrew Jackson, seventh President of the United States. There is a monument dedicated to Jackson's mother who died in Charleston and was buried in an unmarked grave there.

William Richardson Davie, founder of the University of North Carolina. Also here are his parents and several other members of his family including his uncle, Reverend William Richardson and Rev. Richardson's wife, Agnes (Craighead) Richardson Dunlap, daughter of Rev. Alexander Craighead.

The parents of Revolutionary War General Andrew Pickens.

Major Robert Crawford, brother of Andrew Jackson's uncle, James Crawford.

James Hervey Witherspoon, a Lt. Governor of South Carolina, and his wife, Jean (Donnom), granddaughter of Major Robert Crawford.

The graveyard was placed on the National Register September 11, 1975.

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