She was a founder of the Bethlehem Center, an educational and community center in one of Spartanburg’s black communities sponsored by Bethel Methodist Church.

Churchwoman. Chreitzberg was born on March 7, 1888, in Autun, Anderson County, the daughter of John and Leila Sitton. Little is known of her childhood. She entered Converse College in 1904 and earned a bachelor’s degree in literature in 1908 and a bachelor of music degree in 1910. In 1911 she married Augustus M. Chreitzberg, a Wofford graduate and Spartanburg businessman. The couple settled in Spartanburg and raised three daughters and a son.

Chreitzberg devoted herself to church work. She was an active member of Spartanburg’s Bethel Methodist Church, serving as a Sunday school teacher, president of the church women’s organization, and a member of several church administrative committees.

She was a founder of the Bethlehem Center, an educational and community center in one of Spartanburg’s black communities sponsored by Bethel Methodist Church. A driving force behind the development of the Bethlehem Center, Chreitzberg served as president of the organization’s board from the early 1920s until 1953. In its early days the Bethlehem Center provided health and nutrition classes for new mothers, recreational facilities for young people, and classes on many topics. The Bethlehem Center continues to provide a variety of social services for Spartanburg’s South Side community.

Chreitzberg was also an avid gardener. She kept a gardening journal throughout her adult life and became locally famous for the elaborate garden she designed at her home. An active member of the local and South Carolina garden clubs, she served as a judge at many horticultural contests and edited a column on gardening in the Spartanburg Herald.

Late in life Chreitzberg took over the rearing of two granddaughters after the death of her eldest daughter. In 1958, she noted in a Converse College alumnae reunion questionnaire, “I’m still rearing children and that is a ‘man-sized job.” That same year Converse College honored her with its Mary Mildred Sullivan Award for exemplary community service. Chreitzberg died on February 20, 1972, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery.

Cheatham, Suzanne. “Cema Sitton Chreitzberg.” In The Lives They Lived: A Look at Women in the History of Spartanburg, edited by Linda Powers Bilanchone. Spartanburg, S.C.: Spartanburg Sesquicentennial Focus on Women Committee, 1981.

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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Chreitzberg, Cema Sitton
  • Author Melissa Walker
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • URL http://www.scencyclopedia.org/sce/entries/chreitzberg-cema-sitton/
  • Access Date January 23, 2020
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • Original Published Date April 15, 2016
  • Date of Last Update May 17, 2016