Early High Country Religious Leaders

Rev. Samuel Doak:


He was one of the first Presbyterian ministers to live on the western side of the Blue Ridge. Indeed, he was one of the first religious leaders of any kind on the frontier. On Sept. 26, 1780, he preached a short sermon to the men assembled at Sycamore Shoals - now Elizabethtown, Tenn. - who were about to march against Patrick Ferguson and his Tory army. He closed that service with a quotation from the Bible: "The sword of the Lord and of Gideon." It became the battle cry of the pioneer forces.

Rev. William West Skiles:

This dynamic Episcopalian led the Order of the Holy Cross and ran the mission, school and store at Valle Crucis from 1842. He came to Valle Crucis on the Watauga River at the recommendation of Bishop L. Silliman Ives, who was concerned about conditions and the lack of religious life in that part of the High Country.

Rev. William Ashley:

He was one of the first Methodist ministers in the Ashe/Watauga area, serving from around 1810 until his death in 1852.

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