Frequently Asked Questions
Is it there still an active congregation?
Where is it located?
What’s with the name?
What about the building?
Q: Is there still an active congregation?
A: Yes, Long Cane ARP Church still has an active congregation.
It is a member of the Second Presbytery of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian
Church. We currently have an Erskine Seminary student employed as an Occasional
Supply Pastor. Worship Services are held each Sunday at 10:00AM.
We usually have a covered dish dinner on the third Sunday of each month
following the Worship Service. Homecoming is the third Sunday in September.
The public is invited for worship and fellowship.
Q: Where is it?
A: Long Cane ARP Church is located on a secondary road
in McCormick County, in upstate South Carolina. The secondary road is numbered
SC 33-36. It connects with Hwy. 10 in the town of Troy and Hwy. 28, south
of Abbeville. From either direction there are historical markers and signs
to the church. Most maps showing historic landmarks will show “Long Cane
Church” located on the western side of Long Cane Creek about 4 miles west
Q: What’s with the name?
A: Lower Long Cane Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church
is quite a mouthful. Many people have questions about the name. It is
rather long and can be confusing to anyone not familiar with the local
area or church history. An explanation of the name is also rather long
and complicated, but here goes. (The members usually just call it Long
The phrase Lower Long Cane refers to Long Cane Creek,
which runs through Abbeville County and flows into the Savannah River
(now into Lake Strom Thurmond). The early settlers named the creek for
the tall vegetation they found in the bottom land along the creek. The
bamboo like cane was often ten feet tall; the taller the cane was, the
more fertile the land was deemed to be. In fact the whole area of maybe
three or four miles around the site of the church was referred to as Long
Cane or the Long Canes. At one time there was a Post Office named Long Cane.
The community was never centered around a town square, but consisted of
independent homesteads connected by the churches and the grist mills located
along the creek. The word Lower is used to distinguish between another
historic church, located on the upper reaches of Long Cane Creek, which
is called Upper Long Cane Presbyterian Church (UP).
Lower Long Cane ARP was organized circa 1771 as an Associate
Presbyterian Church. The Associate Presbytery traces its history to a meeting
on December 5, 1733 held at Gairney Bridge, Scotland at which three ministers
seceded from the Church of Scotland and organized themselves as a presbytery.
Members of this church were and sometimes still are called Seceders.
Another group of reform minded Presbyterians in Scotland
were the Reformed Presbyterian Church, also called Covenanters. It was their
practice to sometimes sign a contract or covenant stating the terms of
their faith. One of these covenants was signed in Edinburgh on December
3, 1557, in the days of John Knox.
When members of both of these groups came to America and
organized churches, they soon began to discuss the idea of uniting. The
political and social differences that had separated them in Europe did not
exist in America, and their theological doctrines were identical. In 1782
the union was accomplished and the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church
was formed. It was decided to keep the names of both original groups in the
name of the new organization. In 1785 the Long Cane, Cedar Springs, and
Little Run congregations petitioned to the General Synod of the newly established
Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church for formal affiliation with that
For more history and a list of recommended reading, click here
Q: What about the building?
A: The present sanctuary at Long Cane was built in 1856.
Designed and constructed by architect and contractor William Henry Jones,
an Atlantan, this sanctuary is one of several buildings in this portion
of the South Carolina back countryattributed to Jones. Other area buildings
attributed to Jones include Eden Hall, a ca. 1854 Greek Revival residence
with Egyptian influences, near McCormick; the Calhoun-Gibert House, a ca.
1856 Greek Revival residence, in Willington; and the Dr. John Albert Gibert
House, a ca. 1867 I-house with Greek Revival influences, near McCormick,
all in McCormick County and listed in the National Register in 1980, 1993,
and 1996, respectively.
The congregation originally met in an open air setting,
underneath a huge double oak tree which stood across the road from the
current building, behind where the Social Hall now stands. It was common
in Ireland and Scotland for Presbyterians to worship in such settings to
avoid persecution from the Authorities. (In those days, a man could have
all of his property confiscated and himself arrested if he was heard praying
in his own home.) The original worship site lies within the aprox. 10 acre
tract owned by the church today. Inside the church is a plaque made out
of boards made when one side of the tree was struck by lightning. There
is no visible sign of that tree today. The spot is not marked, but it is
generally believed to be close to a spring in the area.
According to Dr. Nora Davis M. A., D. Lit., the current
building is the third occupied by the Long Cane congregation. The earlier
buildings were crude log houses. Their exact location is not known, but
the sites must have been quite close to the current building. This may
be inferred from the fact that many of the graves in the Long Cane Cemetery
predate the current structure.