Quaker Meadows & Morganton Churches
                        1790  -  1913

For many years, various references have been made about some early Penland family members who were associated with the Quaker Meadows church, in a book about the history of the early Presbyterian churches at Quaker Meadows & Morganton, North Carolina. The book, "History of the Presbyterian Churches at Quaker Meadows & Morganton, 1790 - 1913" does contain such references, and are quoted here for your information:      {The book was written by Mr. A.  C.  Avery in 1913 & dedicated to the Memory of Rev. R. B.  Anderson, the Pastor of the church at Morganton when the writer was received as a member of that church.   He passed away in 1913 at the age of 78 before the book was actually published.}
  Pg-13,    "The elders and most active male members of the first congregation at Quaker Meadows were Robert Penland (who was remembered by the old people 30 years ago and affectionally called 'Father Penland' ) and John Duckworth.   Robert Penland and Samuel Alexander, who married his daughter, were both ancestors of Mrs. Presnell, Mrs. Harrison Galloway and Mrs. William Harbison.   Robert Penland was the grandfather of the late Milton Penland of Asheville, and Robert Penland of Bakersville, and the great grandfather of Judge G. S. Ferguson."

   Pg-69,    "When the church at Quaker Meadows was first organized, certainly prior to 1784 and probably about the year 1778, after the establishment of Burke County in the year 1777, according to our best information, the ruling elders vwere John Duckworth, Robert Penland and probably David Vance."

    Pg-70 - 72,                            "Elder  Robert  Penland "     
                "Elder Robert Penland was one of the first ruling elders ordained at Quaker Meadows.    He was born on 22 April,1744.  He came to the County of Burke with the advance guard of the Scotch-Irish colony that moved across Maryland and Virginia to the Carolinas.   He settled in the valley of Canoe creek above the lands entered in the office of the Earl of Granville a short time before by Hugh McDowell and John McDowell.  He was married in 1772 to Elizabeth Brank,, daughter of Peter Brank, who settled at the place where Dr. William C. Tate afterwards lived, now the farm of Mr. R. K. Presnell, who married his great granddaughter, daughter of Robert Alexander, and is now an elder of the First Presbyterian Church at Morganton.   Mrs. Elizabeth Penland was the sister of Robert Brank, a dashing soldier in the command of Captain David Vance of McDowell's regiment, and, as will appear later, was also the sister of Priscilla Brank, who married David Vance.   Robert Penland was not only a devoted Christian, who was always mindful of his Master's work, but when duty demanded his services he enlisted in McDowell's regiment and fought bravely in the battles of King's Mountain, Ramsaur's Mill and Musgrove's Mill, and probably at Cowpens.   The piety of "Father" Penland, as he was affectionately called, seemed to have inspired, amongst those who lived in his neighborhood, a degree of reverence that has seldom been known.   The writer recalls the kindly way in which his mother spoke of the venerable old man.   She said that it sometimes happened that, like all the men of his day, he walked about the neighborhood with his gun upon his shoulder taking the chance of getting within range of a deer, and that he would come in and place his gun in the corner of the room and after a short sojourn, would ask that the family be called together for prayers.   This was what the old time elder, trained by the followers of John Knox, deemed his duty.    As will appear later, his daughter Jane was the wife of Elder Samuel Alexander, and his son Henry Penland moved to Buncombe County and was the father of the late Milton Penland, of Asheville, and Robert Penland, of Bakersville, and his daughter, Nellie, married Nathan Gibson and was the grandmother of Judge Garland S. Ferguson.  {The name of the dashing soldier-son of Peter Brank, referred to above (Robert Brank), brother of Mrs. Vance, has been perpetuated by Doctor Robert Brank Vance, who was elected to Congress in 1824, and who was killed in a duel by Hon. Samuel P. Carson in 1826.   General Robert Brank Vance, who represented the mountain district in Congress for twelve years, was a later namesake."}.

   Pg-72     "Many false alarms had kept the families north of the Catawba ready to move into the fort on the hill north of Fleming's Ford, on short notice of the approach of the Cherokee's, before the final incursion by that tribe in 1777.   McDowell's command had been called out and were on duty out of the county when the Indians finally rushed in.   But Robert Penland has been sent home as the safest man to entrust with the duty of helping families to the fort and of assisting other comrades left at home for their protection.   When the alarm came he left his younger brother to remove his own family and the boy could only induce Penland's wife to leave her home by placing her children on a horse and starting to the fort with them.   For some reason Penland had not yet removed his mother-in-law, Mrs. Brank, from her home at the Dr. Tate, or Presnell place, which was on the opposite side of the river and less than a mile distant from the fort, before the Indians reached her home, scalped her and left her for dead, as already mentioned.   Robert Penland died at his home on Canoe creek, April 19, 1828."

    Pg-83,    "James Alexander, as a son of Samuel Alexander, and a great grandson of Robert Penland, verified by his upright Christian life, the promise that our God will remember the seed of the righteous and bless their children to the third and fourth generation.    As he moved along noiselessly his neighbors took notice of his conduct and believed that he was in communion with his Master.   At the re-organization of the church at Quaker Meadows, he was chosen and ordained an elder and up to the close of his long life his walk was worthy of his high calling."