Where we Worship

Churches played important role in rural community life

By Clint Parker

Leicester – There is no doubt that in years past, churches of a community played a significant role in the life of the population of an area. With so much for people to do now, churches seem to be taking a back seat to all the shiny new things for people’s time to be occupied with doing.

Brick Church in Leicester
Brick Church in Leicester

However, not too many years ago, churches were the heartbeat of a neighborhood and Leicester was no different from anywhere else, with churches being the center of activities in so much of the community life.
This week we look back at couple of those churches in the area starting with one of the most recognizable, the Brick Church. According to information gathered by Frances Lorraine Alexander Miller and found at the Leicester Branch of the Buncombe County Library, the Brick Church was established in 1876 just off Hwy 63, which at the time was nothing more than a dirt road.

The church is described by “Cabins and Castles” as “…a simple temple-form American bond brick church…” with a gable peak. The church was built to “replace an antebellum log church on the site. The bricks were “hand-made” and fired on the nearby property of T.J. James.

The church, like many of the area churches, set aside land for the repository of local families’ deceased loved ones. The Brick Church includes graves of Gillespies, Wells, James, Gudger, Ingle, Reeves, Miller, Reynolds, Lunfords and Sprinkles. One headstone of a Gudger family member dates back to 1832.

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