Polk County was formed in 1855 from Rutherford and Henderson Counties. It was named in honor of Colonel William Polk "who rendered distinguished service in the Battles of Germantown, Brandywine and Eutaw, in all of which he was wounded." The act directed that the court and records should be kept at the home of J. Mills until a courthouse was erected. The courthouse is almost as old as Polk County. Complete in 1859, the antebellum structure is the oldest courthouse in Western NC and the 8th oldest in the state that still holds functions in it's courtrooms.
Green Creek First Baptist Church was first organized in September, 1796 in the Green Creek area of Rutherford County (now Polk County). Charter members included: Henry Montague, William Wood, John Hughes, James Ridings, the John Lyles family, the Henry Feagins family, with Elder John Blackwell and the leader and lay preacher. In 1856, the third church was built on the present site on land purchased from the Speculation Land Company for $15. The present church was built in 1951 and is the fifth building to house the congregation.
This small group of 44 people in the Green Creek area of Rutherford County (now Polk County) met in a log building on Jack's Branch, approximately one-half mile from where it empties into Green's Creek and organized a Baptist church, naming it Green's Creek Baptist Church. Most of the charter members were members of Green River Baptist Church, according to the decrease in membership at Green River reported at the 1797 meeting of Bethel Association. This break-away from Green River to form Green Creek was evidently not because of disagreement, but more due to the distance of travel required to attend worship. A fire in 1855 destroyed the building and its contents, including all records and mention of the charter members. There are minutes of the Bethel Association with a list of some of the charter members. The leader of this group was Elder John Blackwell, a lay preacher and a Revolutionary War soldier. Elder Blackwell acted as supply pastor until 1803, at which time he was elected regular pastor and served until 1828. Elder Blackwell was a faithful and active leader during these early years and was well liked by the church body as well as his fellow pastors. He retired in 1828 because of his age. He died in 1840 in Walker, Georgia.
Many descendants of Elder Blackwell and of charter members are still members of Green Creek First Baptist Church today.
The Reverend John Blackwell family moved to Tryon County (now Polk County) in 1775. He served in the Revolutionary War and in 1796 organized the Green Creek Baptist Church. He purchased land from James Ridings on Green's Creek and established his home in the area that would become Polk County. He succeeded despite all the hardships of frontier life and the constant possibility of an Indian raid. Reverend Blackwell also helped establish the Wolf Creek Baptist Church (now the First Baptist Church of Landrum). He served as pastor of both churches - 36 years at the Green Creek Baptist Church and 30 years at the Wolf Creek Church. His descendants still live in the area.
The Blackwell Family traces their ancestry back for more than 500 years to Gloucester County, England. Their Coat of Arms was one of the most distinguished in the Book of Heraldry. Their American Ancestor Joseph Blackwell came to America in 1656 and was granted a land patent for 4000 acres in Westmoreland and Cumberland Counties, Va. Through the descendants of Joseph Blackwell Rev. John Blackwell, the son of James Glenn Blackwell was born in 1755 in Culpepper, Va. In 1775 he migrated to Tryon County, NC, now Polk County, NC., with his wife Susannah (Suckey) Glenn whom he had married that year in Surry County, N. C. Susannah was the daughter of Tyree and Sarah Glenn.
After moving to Tryon County in 1775, he purchased a piece of property from James Ridings on Green Creek. Here he established his home on the frontier of the Carolinas with all the hardships of frontier life plus the possibility of an Indian raid at any time. (The treaty with the Indians did not last long, and the Indians became active just before and during the Revolutionary War which began in 1775 with the first shots at Lexington and Concord, Mass.) John and his wife Susannah began to rear a family, farm, and hunt the wild game so abundant at that time.
At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the State of N.C. established a militia force in western North Carolina under the command of Gen. Griffith Rutherford. This force was to protect the home front and also be available for service against the British forces under Cornwallis that had become active in South Carolina and North Carolina and had seized most of South Carolina. Rev. Blackwell joined the militia force about this time and served with honors until the end of the Revolution in 1781 He fought in the Battle of Kings Mountain and probably several other battles including the Battle of Cowpens where the British were completely defeated by Gen. Daniel Morgan and his forces. Rev. Blackwell had a very colorful career as a Revolutionary War soldier during a very critical time in the struggle for independence of the United States of America. His rank was Private, Rutherford Militia.Green Creek First Baptist Church has a very colorful background being a pioneer church established by this Revolutionary War hero and pioneer who lived on the East Branch of Green Creek and later bought more land and constructed a home on a knoll between West Branch and East Branch of Green Creek. He later sold the property to George Feagan and again moved to Walker County, Ga., about 1834.
In 1798 Green Creek, with John Blackwell as delegate, assisted in the formation of Salem Baptist Church which was the forerunner of Mill Springs First Baptist Church. In 1803, Green Creek established an arm called Wolf Creek near Earlville, S.C., an early settlement on North Pacolet River (now the First Baptist Church of Landrum). Rev. John Blackwell served as pastor here and also at Green Creek Baptist Church. In 1817 this mission was constituted into a regular Baptist Church with Rev. Blackwell as pastor. He was well liked and was able to settle differences that arose within the congregation. He was also very influential in the life of the Broad River Association. Rev. Blackwell continued as pastor of Green Creek and Wolf Creek Baptist Churches until 1833 when he resigned from both and moved to Walker County, Ga., with part of his family, where he lived until his death in 1840. He was buried in Walker County, Ga. Rev. John Blackwell served Green Creek Baptist Church for 36 years and Wolf Creek Baptist Church (now the First Baptist Church of Landrum) for 30 years.
Here the church foundation is being poured.
This is the church building committee with my Grandfather on the far right holding his Bible.
This is a photograph of the congregation after the church was built standing on the new front steps. Granddaddy, Grandmother, Mom, Glenn, Judy and James are all in this picture.
This is the church after it was finished (except for the steeple). Notice the leftover lumber still in the church yard.
My mother is Eleanor Reese Huneycutt and she married my Dad, Avery Huneycutt. They have 3 daughters: Sharon (me), Elaine and Melinda. We are all married and living in the Spartanburg area. We go by the church regularly and stop to visit our Grandparent's grave. These photos were taken in 2006.
Most of the Reese family still lives in the Spartanburg area.