Chestnut Street Presbyterian Church (USA)


Chestnut Street Church is the original building that was erected by the First Presbyterian Church of Wilmington, NC in 1858.

The reason for erecting this building grew from the zeal of a First Presbyterian Elder who attended an Elders' and Deacons' convention in Greensboro, North Carolina in the year of 1858. When he returned home, and in absence of the Pastor who was away on missionary duty, he called for the congregation to consult and pray together over the interest of First Presbyterian Church. When the Pastor returned, he found the tide of interest rising. Prayer and preaching services were arranged. The families of the church were visited. Many persons went daily to the pastor's study to recieve counsel and guidance. Special meetings were arranged for the colored people, who could not attend the day services. In three months, forty-two white and twenty colored persons were recieved into the church. The result of this work was great - First Presbyterian Church had been visited with a memorable revival.

As a thank-offering for God's mercy, First Presbyterian Church erected a mission chapel (situated on Chestnut Street between 7th and 8th) in the year of 1858. It was used for a time as it was originally designed. While this building was being erected, several live oak trees were planted around the church. Presently, one tree is still standing.

On November 6, 1858, 14 persons, including one of the ruling Elders, were dismissed from First Presbyterian Church to form the Second Presbyterian Church.

Second Presbyterian Church worshiped here from November 21, 1858 to April 11, 1852. Because of the chaotic conditions brought on by the war between the states and a ravaging epidemic of yellow fever, their membership of 38, disbanded and returned to First Presbyterian Church.

On October 8, 1866, committee from Second Presbyterian Church was authorized to sell this building to the trustees of the First Colored Presbyterian Church. As soon as the new owners, First Colored Presbyterian Church had put the vacant plan in order, and had reached a point of spiritual organization, they were ready for the coming events, services, and sacrifices. The Church's first Pastor, Rev. Peter Hodges served from 1866 to 1868.

The year of 1867 was an eventful year for the First Colored Presbyterian Church, now called the First Presbyterian Church. They paid Second Presbyterian Church $2,500.00 for the building.

On April 21, 1867, The First African Presbyterian Church in connection with the Northern General Assembly was organized as the Chestnut Street Presbyterian Church under the Freeman's Board of Missions.

In 1964, Chestnut Street United Presbyterian Church came under the care and government of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, and became as we are today, Chestnut Street Presbyterian Church (USA).        


Alfred Hargrave

David Elias Sadgwar

Henry Taylor

James Cutlar


Rev. D.J. Sanders (1872-1833)

Rev. J.A. Bonner (1895-1921)
At this time, he became Principal of Peabody School. He then returned to serve the church as its pastor)

Rev. J.D. Taylor (1935-1942)

Rev. B.H. Baskervill (1947-1986)

Rev. R.E. Randall (1987-1990)

Rev. R.E. McNeill (1991-1995)

Rev. Dr. Samuel Murrell (1995-1999) 

Rev. Perry D. Griffin (1999-2013)

Rev. Dr. N. Samuel Murrell, Moderator (2013-November 2014)

Rev. Whitney Fauntleroy (November 2014-Present)

Current Church Officers

Ruling Elders:

Class of 2015: Mr. William Crawford and Dr. Bettie Glenn

Class of 2016: Ms. Sabrina Hill-Black and Ms. Panza McNeill

Class of 2017: Ms. Leslie Watson and Dr. William Malloy

Clerk of Session: Mrs. Matlynn Yeoman


Class of 2015: Mrs. Tanya Charles, Mrs. Carmen Code and Mr. Freddie Dingle

Class of 2016:  Ms. Janie Anderson, Mr. Hunt Jones and Mrs. Jacqueline Pearson

Class of 2017:  Ms. Jacqulyn Fields, Mrs. Aubrey Russ and Mrs. Susan Thompson

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