(Fairfield County). Ebenezer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, known commonly as the “Old Brick Church,” is one of only a handful of eighteenth-century ecclesiastical buildings remaining in the Midlands. Built in 1788, the plain brick-masonry building stands at a site along the Little River about twelve miles from Winnsboro. It replaced an earlier log church erected soon after Presbyterians from Scotland and Ireland began settling in the area in the 1770s. The interior is austere and features long, straight-backed wooden pews, a dais-style pulpit, and a slave gallery. The church and an adjoining cemetery are surrounded by a granite wall that the congregation erected in 1852.
On May 9, 1803, the church was the site of a gathering of ministers and church elders that resulted in the formation of the Associate Reformed Synod of the Carolinas. Today it is revered as the “mother church” of the A.R.P. faith. Under the ministry of the Reverend James Rogers, the congregation grew until the Civil War. It became dormant in the postbellum era and eventually disappeared from the rolls of the Presbytery before being reorganized by the Reverend A. G. Kirkpatrick in the early 1890s. The congregation began holding its regular meetings at a new building in the 1920s but continued to gather at the Old Brick Church for special services, a tradition that continues.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, the church is perhaps best known for an inscription left on an interior wall by a Union soldier during the late stages of the Civil War. While in pursuit of retreating Confederate forces, Union troops removed portions of the floor and joists to rebuild a bridge over the Little River. One soldier was so troubled by the undertaking that he penciled an apology on an interior wall: “Citizens of this community— please excuse us for defacing your house of worship so much. It was absolutely necessary to effect a crossing over the creek. A Yankee.”
Bigham, John. “The Old Brick Church.” Sandlapper 7 (August 1974): 49–50.
Ebenezer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (Old Brick Church), National Register of Historic Places nomination, State Historic Preservation Office, South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia.