Philadelphia Church was founded in 1770. It is one of the oldest churches in Mecklenburg County. The sanctuary we currently use was dedicated in 1976. Over the past 250+, years Philadelphia’s roots have grown deep in the Mint Hill area and beyond, where we are involved in many community activities. We are part of the Presbyterian Church (USA), a nationwide church with missions throughout the world. As a part of this structure PPC is a member of the Presbytery of Charlotte and the Synod of the Mid-Atlantic.
Philadelphia Church was founded in 1770. It is one of the oldest Churches in Mecklenburg County. The sanctuary we currently use was dedicated in 1976. Over the past 250+ years Philadelphia Church has grown to over 1000 members and is involved in many community activities. We are part of the Presbyterian Church (USA), a nationwide church with missions throughout the world. As a part of this structure Philadelphia Church is a member of the Presbytery of Charlotte and the Synod of the Mid-Atlantic. If you would like to purchase the publication of our church history entitled, The Presbyterian Gathering on Clear Creek: the History of Philadelphia Presbyterian Church, written by Rev. Russell M. Kerr, please contact the church office.
THE JOHN BAIN CANE
In 1889 a gold headed walking stick was given to Mr. John Bain by members of Philadelphia Church and the community to express their gratitude. It was carried proudly by its owner for seven years. Mr. Bain willed this gift to Philadelphia Presbyterian Church with the stipulation it be carried by the oldest male member. And so it has. A committee appointed by the Session arranged for a gold band to be placed under the head of the cane so that the names of its custodians could be engraved on it with the years they held it.
Bain Elementary's history dates back 129 years ago. In the late 1880s. Clear Creek’s loss of the Rocky River Academy to Harrisburg around 1824 had worried residents for decades, and talk about building another school of its kind was a subject that often came up in the conversations of Philadelphia Presbyterian Church members. However, the problems and issues of the Civil War and Reconstruction had taken front and center. The idea of building an academy seemed an impossible, far-distant dream for the people of Clear Creek. However, there was a special person who would make the dream come true — a bachelor named John Bain, a long-time member of Philadelphia, who had been orphaned at an early age and reared by his older brothers and sisters. John Bain asked and was granted permission from Philadelphia Church to establish Bain Academy. Workers built the two-story brick academy in record time and opened the doors to students in 1889. John Bain funded the building at a cost of $2,800 and a porch was added later at a cost of $300. The original academy burned in 1903, but the community rebuilt the structure within a short time and studies continued without interruption. Bain Academy soon earned a reputation for excellence. In 1924, Philadelphia Church turned the school over to Mecklenburg County, but it continued to be funded by the John Bain Trust through 1935. The school was enlarged and expanded. Sadly, the original buildings no longer stand but the school continues to thrive. Bain Elementary School has grown to its current size of about 800 students, reflecting the corresponding growth in our town. It’s current facility which was built in 2013, now houses Pre-Kindergarten through fifth graders. The monument with the original bell from the school has been erected across the street from the school, using bricks from the original building.
THE JULIA BLACK CANE
The Julia Campbell Black cane was crafted in 1976 by S. Pernay Ross, from a wild cherry tree and given to Julia Campbell Black from her son. She carried the cane until she was 101 years old. Since Mrs. Black's death in 1979 the cane has been carried by the oldest female member of the congregation.
PPC has several cemeteries. The cemetery located at the original site of Clear Creek Presbyterian Church (now called Philadelphia Presbyterian Church), is located along Brief Road, Mint Hill, Mecklenburg County, NC. The approximately one-acre site was designated as Rocky Spring Meeting House Burial Ground in a deed given to the church in 1788. A moat with a rock wall laid against it marks the cemetery. It appears to be filled with graves though only 24 are marked with full headstones with names. An additional three are marked have initials carved on field stones. More than one hundred are simply marked with field stones with no initials or dates. Pine slab markers were likely used for many graves. The oldest marked burial found is on a field stone with the carving M W 1774. The oldest original professionally carved grave marker is that of Elizabeth Robb 1792.
Three signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, Col. Adam Alexander, John Foard, and John Query are thought to be buried in this cemetery. Of these three signers, Col. Adam Alexander's grave is the only marked grave that has been located. John Foard's grave is thought to be with the Morris plot since his daughter Elizabeth married William Morris. Both William and Elizabeth [Foard] Morris’s markers are in the Morris plot. The grave of the third signer, John Query (d.1797), is thought to be near the Robert Query (d.1827) marker. The cemetery is located approximately 500 feet from Brief Road and located directly across from a mailbox that reads 8730. While the church has a deed to the cemetery, the access driveway leading to it is private.
Philadelphia Presbyterian Church, originally known as Clear Creek Presbyterian Church, was established at this location in 1770 in the Rocky Spring Meeting House. This log meeting house burned in 1780 and the church decided to rebuild about two miles away at the second site along what is now the Matthews-Mint Hill Road (NC-51). The Cemetery at the Second Site of Philadelphia Presbyterian Church marks the location of the second church building site, where the church was located for 46 years until moving to the third and present site at 11501 Bain School Road in 1826. Three cemeteries are at the present and third site of the church and information on these cemeteries is not included with this page.