Reverend Humphrey Posey
By Bruce Whitaker
[Excerpts from Fairview Town Crier article, November 1, 1999, Fairview, NC.]
"The Reverend Humphrey Posey was Fairview's first pastor. He was born on January 12, 1780, in
Henry County, Virginia.
"At the age of seven, young Humphrey had already read through the New Testament. By 1797, he
was living in Greenville District, South Carolina. Though only 17 years old, he was teaching vocal
music at an old field school.
"In the spring of 1799, Posey moved to Union District, South Carolina, to teach school. While there, he
met Lettice Jolly, a devout Christian and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The two were
married on January 28, 1800.
"Posey was baptized in 1802, at Padgett's Creek Baptist Church in Union District, South Carolina. The
same church licensed him to preach the following year. He moved to Fairview in 1804, and in August
of that year he preached his first sermon to some people on Cane Creek. He taught school in Fairview
during the day and preached in the evenings.
"Posey and James Whitaker, Sr., soon became friends.
"In 1806, Posey, Whitaker, Jesse Rickman, Sr., and others organized Cane Creek (now Fairview)
"Humphrey Posey was described as being larger than average size with a fair complexion, clear blue
eyes, and a commanding and dignified personal appearance. Colonel A.T. Davidson described Posey
as "a man greatly endowed by nature to be a leader, of great physical force, singularly marked with a
fine profile, ...”
"In July 1806, Rev. Posey bought 56 acres of land on Cane Creek from John Pinkerton for $56.
"Posey settled on this small farm and began to raise his family. His daughter, Mary, who was barely a
month old when her father purchased the farm, died on January 5, 1807. Hers was thought to be the
first grave in Cane Creek Cemetery for a long time. (I later discovered papers proving the cemetery
had been established on May 10, 1795, but hers was the oldest marked grave until recent years.)
"On October 31, 1807, Posey, John Thomas Snelson, Benjamin King, Sr., Thomas Justice, Sion
Blythe, and Stephen Morgan gathered at the French Broad River Baptist Church to lead six Baptist
churches to form the French Broad Baptist Association-the first Baptist Association in Western North
"In 1808, Posey purchased 185 acres of land on the North Fork of the Swannanoa River from
"A year later, Posey purchased 31 acres from Richard Kyle.
"Hominy Creek Baptist Church was formed in 1812, and Posey was chosen as its first pastor. In July
1816, Posey became pastor of New Found Baptist Church in Leicester. He served there until
"Dr. William Stoughton, corresponding secretary of the Board of Foreign Ministers, wrote Rev. Posey
on October 16, 1817.
"Rev. Posey obtained their "hearty promise" and "consent of cooperation" in the establishing of a
school among the Cherokee at Valley Town, North Carolina.
"In 1820, Posey went to Washington, D.C., to meet with Secretary of War John C. Calhoun and
President James Monroe.
"They both supported his work among the Cherokee and helped Posey procure a $1,000 grant for his
work. Posey then went on to Philadelphia where he received assistance from his fellow Baptists and
preached for Dr. James L. McGlothlin. In 1821, Posey again went to Philadelphia. He preached, visited
friends, and was furnished with money, supplies, and other aid for his school for the Cherokees. He
was connected with the school until 1834.
"In 1822, Posey and Adam Corn led in the constitution of the First Baptist Church of Waynesville.
"In July of that year, Posey became the pastor of Franklin Baptist Church. He went on to help found
Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Swain County, Cowee Church in Macon County, Scott's Creek Baptist
Church, and Brush Creek Baptist Church. Rev. Posey was the first pastor at the latter three churches.
"Posey resigned as pastor of Franklin Baptist Church in 1835 and moved to Georgia. In 1836, he was
on the committee that established Mercer Institution (now Mercer College). He led in the founding of
Shiloh Baptist Church in Walker County, Georgia, in 1837."