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Home North Carolina Rowan County City of China Grove Historical Markers Prospect Church And Academy

Prospect Church And Academy

NC-152, China Grove, NC, USA

Latitude & Longitude: 35° 34' 40.1736", -80° 36' 27.0108"
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"Presbyterian. Both founded in 1824. Plans for Davidson College adopted here in 1835."
     The congregation at Prospect was formed on September 8, 1824, when the Concord Presbytery responded to a petition from Presbyterians living near the Iredell-Rowan county line (east of present Mooresville). Most of the petitioners had been members of Centre Church in southern Iredell. The congregation erected two log structures on land owned by Col. James Jamison. One building was called the “meeting house” and the other a “study house.” The buildings were located in an area now enclosed by the cemetery at Prospect Church. In February 1825, Jamison gave five acres of land and both structures to the church.

     In March 1835, the idea for Davidson College was conceived as a result of a meeting of the Concord Presbytery at Prospect Church. At the home of Colonel Jamison (a church member), the Rev. Robert Hall Morrison and others discussed the organization of a school for liberal learning “preparatory to the gospel ministry.” The group outlined a set of resolutions (copied by Morrison) and presented them to the Presbytery. The resolutions were adopted, setting the foundation for what became Davidson College in 1837 (and Robert Hall Morrison became the institution’s first president).

     By 1855, the congregation at Prospect Church had grown to 300 members. In 1856, the log church was replaced by a new frame structure with slave balconies on three sides. Prospect later became the mother church of Mooresville Presbyterian in 1875. The “study house” was in use until sometime after 1835; and Prospect Academy emerged soon after. Among the prominent teachers at the academy was Augustus Leazer (a grandson of Jamison’s, and a graduate of Davidson College). Leazer was elected a ruling elder of Prospect Church at the age of 24. He entered politics in the 1880s, serving in the state legislature and as Speaker of the House of Representatives. In 1885, Leazer played a prominent role in the legislation that established the Agricultural and Technical Arts College (now North Carolina State University) in Raleigh. The 1856 church building remained in use for nearly a century before a new brick structure was erected in 1951.

Davidson College website: http://www3.davidson.edu/cms/
James S. Brawley, The Rowan Story, 1753-1953 (1953)
Prospect Church And Academy Historical Marker Location Map, China Grove, North Carolina