Local News

Old Church Still Stands Despite Test of Time

Posted August 5, 1999

— The rural landscape is changing fast. New subdivisions are growing out of old farm land. Wider roads are running over old country stores, and some old, country churches are in peril.

Thanks to a man still clinging to his heritage, one historic church in eastern Wake County is left standing despite the pressure.

For a time, an old church welcomed new believers to the altar, and the windows shined on a young congregation.

Now, 99 years of time is dust at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Auburn. The good news is the congregation is growing and building a larger house of worship.

The bad news is another visible remnant of an age is gone, and few remain. A couple miles to the north in Shotwell, one still stands like a shining city on a hill.

"I'm old enough to remember when people came here in buggies and wagons," said Bailey Williamson.

Williamson's ancestors built the church.

"But these folks came here in real hard times," said Williamson.

Hard times shaped the church in the mid-1800s. Hard times shut it down during World War II. Gas rationing forced the congregation to build closer to home.

"I think they started meeting in Knightdale at the Methodist church over in Knightdale," said Williamson.

As other historic churches tumble in the name of progress, Williamson is more determined to keep his standing.

"We do have some plans. We're trying to get this area designated as an agricultural historic district," said Williamson.

Williamson owns the building and most of the land around it.

"There are not too many of these buildings left, and I think it is of some historical preservation, the history of it and all. There's no need in losing all that," said Williamson.

Williamson and his wife, Mary, have also been very active in historic preservation efforts within the city of Raleigh.

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