Rehoboth Preservation Society, Inc.

Historical organization dedicated to the restoration and preservation of Rehoboth Church

The History of Rehoboth Church

When the old Swain's Chapel was no longer in good enough condition for continued use, Joseph S. Norman, a local landowner, provided 7/8 acres of land on which Rehoboth Church was built in 1853.  The original deed was registered in the office of the register of deeds at Plymouth on May 7, 1853.

Heart pine and cypress for the construction of the Church were cut from nearby woods. The slaves of the Norman brothers built the beautiful Greek Revival style church.  The gallery, reached by a narrow, angular stairway, was used by the slaves when they attended services.

The old road passed on the South side of the Church, which has two doors.   In the early days of the Church, one door led to one side of the Church for men and the other door led to the other side of the Church for the women. The view from the modern road, N C Highway 32, on the North side of the building, is of the back of Rehoboth.

Rehoboth Church is very likely the third church that was built in this area of Washington County, NC. The 1733 Moseley Map shows a church on the shore of the Albemarle  Sound, between Kendrick's Creek and what is now the end of the Albemarle Sound Bridge.

This first church, known as Skinnersville Chapel, was in very poor condition by 1803.  Rev. Charles Pettigrew recommended that it be replaced.

Swain's Chapel, the second church was completed in 1805. These first two churches were interfaith chapels, until Swain's was dedicated to the Protestant Methodist faith about 1828.  When Swain's Chapel was no longer useable, Rehoboth Church was built.  It is said that one of the benches in Rehoboth had come from Swain's Chapel.  Old Rehoboth records indicate that the new church was built a few hundred yards east of Swain's Chapel.

Old Rehoboth records tell that Mr. G. J. Cherry, who came to the Skinnersville Community from Deep Creek ,Virginia in 1844, and married  Miss Elizabeth White, named the church for a passage from the Bible: "Jacob's well was named Rehoboth."

The county seat at Plymouth, 15 miles west of Rehoboth, was the site of Civil War battles in 1862 and 1864.  Ultimately, only ten percent of the town  remained after the war.  Rehoboth, however, apparently remained untouched.

The grounds of Rehoboth serve as the final resting place of many past members of the Church.  Although several old tombstones remain, it is likely that many others rest there as well.

In 1939, Rehoboth became part of the Methodist Church.

By 1965, the Church had only seven members between the ages of 50 and 81.  A booklet compiled at the time succinctly captured their sentiments:

"They want their church to live after them."

Through the years, many loyal citizens have served as stewards of the historic old Church.  It is time, in 2008 for another generation to assume the task of caring for this historic spiritual center of the community.  Our Society intends to honor the wishes expressed in 1965.