In 1886, Elder Zack Brooks and Elder Carey Wilkins had been preaching at a brush arbor for a number of months.  On July 18, 1886 at the request of a small group, these two men called a meeting for the purpose of organizing a missionary Baptist church.


The meeting was opened by singing and reading of scripture by Elder Carey Wilkins.  The introductory prayer was made by Brother Jordan Chavis and followed by a sermon from Elder Wilkins. The church covenant was read and drafted.  A consecrating prayer was led by Elder Wilkins, after which the moderator extended the right hand of fellowship to each member.  Elder Wilkins delivered an address to the church.  Brother Jordan Chavis provided a closing prayer.  Then, the church entered into conference.  Elder Carey Wilkins was chosen as moderator.  It was then voted by motion that the church shall ever be named and known as the Harpers Ferry Missionary Baptist Church.  At this time, officers of the church were duly chosen and Brother Aaron Brooks and J.A. Sanderson were chosen on a three-month trial basis as deacons. Brother Paisley Sanderson was elected as church clerk and Peter Dial as the treasurer. Church rules of decorum were read and drafted.  The calling of a pastor was postponed until the next conference.


The next conference was held on August 14, 1886.  Carey Wilkins was chosen as interim pastor and agreed to discipline the church for $1.50 a trip.  At a conference on November 16, 1886, the church appointed as trustees Sinclair Lowery, Aaron Brooks, and Paisley Sanderson to secure and hold one acre of land for church purposes.


In 1887, a single-room structure was erected along the Lumber River led by Sinclair Lowery, Paisley Sanderson and Aaron Brooks to serve needs of the newly organized congregation of Harpers Ferry Baptist Church.  Tradition says the name, Harpers Ferry, was derived from the fact that a man named Harper once operated a ferry across the river near the church site.


The new building was constructed upon about one acre of land purchased from S.R. Townsend and wife for the sum of $1.00 on January 14, 1887.  Harper’s Ferry became a popular gathering place within the Indian Community partly due to its location along the main route crossing east to west, which would later become Highway 74 and the north to south crossing which later became Highway 711.  Its grounds also attracted many travelers to drink from the cool, refreshing overflow and an occasional dip in the Lumber River at its side. Strong Baptist influence and powerful preaching of the gospel have been a trademark and instrumental in the church’s growth since from the beginning.


In conference on April 2, 1887, Peter Dial, Aaron Brooks, and George Dial were chosen as the first delegates to a Union held at Mt. Olive Church on the Saturday before the fifth Sunday in May 1887. In Conference on September 10, 1887, a motion was passed to petition the Burnt Swamp Association for membership at the annual meeting to be held at Oak Grove Church in Richmond County on Thursday before the second Sunday in November, 1887.  In October 1887, Rev. Zack Brooks was called as the first pastor.


In 1936, the original structure was replaced by a larger facility providing sanctuary and classroom space.  The members of the church donated materials and labor for its construction.  Many used home and farm equipment to cut timber, transport it and have it sawed into lumber for the building.  Church building days were exciting times.  They drew farmers away from soil to be broken and tilled, and called upon wives to stir up a meal that would be spread proudly under the large oak trees.  It wasn't unusual for passersby to walk over and join in the meal while getting acquainted with these God-fearing people, inquiring the task they were about.  Later, a two-story building was erected to provide space for more classrooms.


A third building program began in 1970 when the old sanctuary was moved and completely remodeled to seat about five hundred.  Beautifully designed wings were added to the rear, reaching out on both sides. This new facility provided spacious classrooms, a pastor's study, bathrooms, and a fellowship hall with kitchen facilities.  The entire building was centrally heated and air-conditioned.  Members of the church did most of the work themselves with the able Chancellor, English E. Jones (active deacon of the church at the time) directing the building program.  During the same year, additional land was purchased for cemetery purposes.  In 1987 a modern family life center was constructed providing education, recreation, fellowship and special worship facilities. Today, Harpers Ferry provides one of the most attractive church scenes in Robeson County along the Lumber (Lumbee) River.  Its spiritual and social outreach is equally impressive.


No one speaks in truth about Harpers Ferry without recalling the legendary Rev. L.W. Jacobs.  After a few short pastorates, this congregation along with Mt. Airy became the main stomping grounds for one of the most dramatic and effective preaching in the county.  A man of great stature in church, associational, educational and public life, Rev. Jacobs molded the ministry of Harpers Ferry into a spiritual powerhouse and labored courageously in its midst until his death after forty years as pastor.


Harpers Ferry Church supported the establishment of new work at the West End Baptist Church and Elrod Baptist Church.  With strong and effective pastoral leadership through the years, Harpers Ferry has continued its exciting and growing church ministry.  In 1968, the church entered a full-time pastoral ministry and in 1995, a full-time director of music and education ministry was employed.  Harpers Ferry is located about two miles south of Pembroke on Highway 711 and stands stately on the banks of Lumber River.



Past and Present Pastors


Rev. Zack Brooks                               1887-1899; 1915

                        Rev. Angus D. Locklear                     1899-1912

                        Rev. Silas Lowry                                1913-1914

                        Rev. Phillip P. Locklear                      1916-1917

                        Rev. Zimmis R. Chavis                       1918-1920

                        Rev. Lonnie W. Jacobs                       1921-1927; 1936-1968

                        Rev. Clarence E. Locklear                  1928-1935

                        Rev. Harvey E. Brewington               1968-1974

                        Rev. Sanford Locklear                        1975-1976

                        Rev. Steve Jones                                 1976-1997

                        Rev. Gary P. Thompson                      1997-Present



Past and Present Deacons      


Aaron Brooks                                                  Bill J. Brewington                               J. R. Sanderson                                               James Burns

            Sinclair Lowery                                               Terry Chavis

            Murdock C. Chavis                                         Bowman Freeman

            Silas S. Lowry                                                 Eugene Jacobs

            Willy Jacobs                                                    William B. Jacobs

            Evander Hunt                                                 Conley Jacobs

            B. F. Chavis                                                    Anderson Jones

            Berry W. Dial                                                  Richard Jones

            Horace Jacobs                                                 Phil Jones

            Marvin Bullard                                                Delton Locklear

            Edward Dial                                                   Randy Locklear

            Simon Locklear                                               Colby Oxendine

            Carson Locklear                                              Horace Oxendine

            Curt Oxendine                                                            Charles E. Oxendine

            Dennis Strickland                                           Foncie Oxendine

            Albert Locklear                                               Charlie Revels

            Burliegh Lowry                                               John B. Locklear                                             Elisaha Locklear                                                Tommy Cummings

            W. Roscoe Locklear                                     

   L. C. Oxendine                                  

            Willoughby Jones                                            Dock Locklear

            Dock Locklear                                                            Anderson H. Locklear

John J. Brooks


 Harpers Ferry

Rev. Gary P Thompson

Sunday Service 9:45 / Worship 10:30

Harpers Ferry Baptist Church

1549 Harpers Ferry Church Rd.

Pembroke, NC 28372

Rev. Don Bullard

Sunday School 9:45am / Worship 11:00am

Phone: 910-521-4412