First Presbyterian Church


First Presbyterian Church TalladegaThe organization of the First Presbyterian Church of Talladega, Alabama, occurred on Saturday, November 29, 1834 in a log house situated near our large town spring, the building them being used as a courthouse and the place for public meetings. This section of the country was then in the bounds of South Alabama Presbytery. Rev. Robert Holman and Rev. Field Bradshaw were the authorized commissioners to organize the Talladega Church. There were fourteen charter members, viz.: Charles Miller and wife, George Miller and wife, Patrick Johnson and wife, William Caruthers and wife, Harper Johnson and wife, Robert Hett Chapman, Dr. Henry McKenzie, Miss Amanda Talmage and George Watkins.

In 1835 a frame building about 30 x 40 feet was erected on a lot purchased for the purpose at the present site. The front of the building occupied the ground about where the present pulpit now stands.

In 1859 the question was raised whether the congregation would erect a new church. Having decided to build, the congregation raised by subscription between ten and eleven thousand dollars. About the time this was accomplished, the signs of the approaching civil war were plainly manifested. A council of the chief and wise men of the congregation was held to consider what ought to be done as to building since the dark and foreboding clouds of civil war were surely forming. It was argued that part of the money was already secured and paid in, and the subscribers were then able to pay the amount subscribed. If the war should come, then when it should be over, whatever would be the result, victory or defeat, the people would be impoverished and could not give; that it was better to use the money now when they had it and could spare it, put up the building, place it in such condition as to preserve what was done, if not able to finish it, and trust to the future to complete it. This conclusion proved to be an eminently wise one. They determined to go forward.

About the first of June, 1861, after the most tragic drama of the 19th century had commenced at Fort Sumter in April, the work of building this church was begun and we who have been permitted to worship here have reason to be grateful to the men of that generation for the wisdom displayed in acting as they did. About twelve moths after the work of erecting the church had commenced the very substantial framework for the roof was put up, and covered with the best quality of shingle that could be procured. The windows, doors and openings were closed with plank to protect the building from injury. It stood there uncompleted for at least six years. Just prior to the erection of the new brick building, the old wooden building which had been used to worship for twenty-six years was removed to make room for the new church. The congregation worshiped in the Chapel of the Synodical Female Institute (later to become Isbell College).

In June, 1868 the officers and members of the church met in conference and resolved to complete the brick edifice erected in 1861 in time for the Synod of Alabama to hold its session in it. After the expenditure of $3,000.00 or a little more, the building was ready for the Dedicatory Services. East Alabama Presbytery met on Friday, the 16th day of October, 1868, in the Chapel of the Synodical Female Institute and the opening sermon was preached by Rev. J. K. Hazen, Retiring Moderator. The Dedication Services were at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 18, 1868. Rev. G. W. H. Petrie, DD, preached the Dedicatory Sermon form Luke 21, 5-6. At 3:30 there was a social-prayer meeting held in the church.

Although the present sanctuary was begun in 1861 and completed in 1868, extensive renovations were made in the Sunday School Building in 1947 and the sanctuary was renovated in 1957. The present manse was built in 1956. The vacant lot across Hill Street (known as the Minnie Miller Property) was purchased in 1950. The William Crowe Educational Building, named for the late Dr. William Crowe, Jr., beloved pastor of the Talladega Church for twenty-one years, was erected in 1966.