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                        Cross Roads Presbyterian Church A Brief History       

     The year was 1783.  Mebane was called Mebanesville and was part of Orange County.  Members at Cross Roads were meeting regularly and had been for several years.  The Revolutionary War had just ended, and the Treaty of Paris was signed.  Cross Roads Presbyterian Church was organized with the help of Hawfields pastor, John Debow and his brother-in-law, Joseph Lake.  By 1801 Reverend William Paisley was pastor of both Hawfields and Cross Roads churches, traveling as many as 20 miles on horseback to serve both congregations on Sundays.

     The Great Revival, a resurgence in religious fervor that inspired camp meetings across the state and southeast United States, began at Cross Roads in August of 1801.

      The earliest church structure was a frame building with a slave gallery, built in an oak grove just south of the present cemetery.  In September of 1876, the cornerstone was laid for the present building.   Bricks were made on site from clay that was said to be “as good as any in North Carolina”.  The first worship in the new building was held in June of 1887, some eleven years later.  Even then the walls had not been plastered, and the woodwork not yet painted.

     The sanctuary chandelier is the one original to the current church building.  It was a gift from the Sellars family.  Dr. W. N. Tate borrowed a horse-drawn wagon from another member and drove to town to meet the train at the old Mebane depot and pick up the chandelier.  The stained glass windows were installed in 1940 as memorials by the families listed at the bottom of each window.

     Sunday School, or Sabbath School, as it was called back then, was originally held in as many as 4 different locations.  The first Sabbath School documented by Cross Roads was held in the abandoned still house of William Mebane in 1827.  One hundred years later, in 1927, the educational hut, a much used and much loved log building, was erected.  The current educational building was constructed in 1973.

      In 1906, the first manse was built and still stands on Highway 119.  It is now privately owned.  The old Stainback store, an Alamance County historical site, is just across the road from the cemetery.  It was made from wood taken from the earlier frame Cross Roads Church.  John Wesley Stainback bought the old church in 1891, disassembled it, and moved it across the road to its current location.  It served the community as a post office and general store until it closed in 1973.  It was even used to store coffins on the second floor.  The coffins were made by the Murray Brothers Sawmill and Woodworking Shop across the road from the store.

     The cemetery has over 250 stones, the earliest dating from 1796.  Because the slave graves are unmarked, there are many more people buried than there are markers.  Author Alex Haley of “Roots” fame visited Cross Roads and researched his Orange and Alamance County ancestors.  In 1977, one year after the mini-series “Roots” debuted on television, a documentary entitled “Roots—One Year Later” was filmed at Cross Roads. 
     Even though times have changed, the people are still the backbone of Cross Roads.  A lot of the names are still familiar—Walker, Vincent, Tate, Barnwell, Sellars, Anderson, Mebane, Bingham—and later Roney, Scott, Patton, and Wells.  We don’t have a “mourners’ bench” anymore.  Neither are members suspended for “un-Christian character”, but we do all say a regular prayer of confession.  The church and its pastors inspire us to lead better lives, and we all pray that this will continue for another 229 years.