Rock Springs Camp Meeting

At the end of July 2008 thousands of people gathered in Denver, North Carolina, for the annual Rock Springs Camp Meeting. The oldest continuing camp meeting in North Carolina, Rock Springs traces its roots to a meeting held at Rehobeth Methodist Church in Lincoln County in 1794. Camp meetings grew out of the isolation of life in a frontier area and the strong revival spirit of protestant Christianity. Often churches of different denominations would combine to sponsor the meeting, and families would come from miles around to the campground for a series of preaching and singing events which lasted from several days to a couple of weeks. Some families have been returning to the same tents – actually small cabins – at Rock Springs for generations. The accompanying illustration, from our post card collection, shows the permanent “arbor” at Rock Springs. [Thanks to loyal NCM reader Kevin Cherry for this suggestion.]

0 thoughts on “Rock Springs Camp Meeting”

  1. Thank you, Harry. For those interested in other resources concerning Rock Springs, see

    Gary Freeze, Methodist Mecca : the origin and perpetuation of the Rock Springs Camp Meeting, 1829-1929;

    Rock Springs [videorecording] : 200 years of camp meetings. Published: [Charlotte?, N.C. : For Western North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Church, 1994]

    Terry Brotherton [Better known back home as “Bubba”], Rock Spring Campground

    There are other campmeetings in this area with permanent “tents” and arbors, among the largest are Ball’s Creek in Catawba County and Tucker’s Grove (an African American campground).

    Balls Creek Campmeeting : 150 years of faith, family, & friends Author: Catawba County Historical Association.

    The Balls Creek Campmeeting Author: Caldwell, Nathan S.
    Published: [Newton, N.C.?] : N.S. Caldwell, c1986.

    The Lincoln Times News, Charlotte Observer, and News at Norman all regurlary cover events at these annual gatherings.

    Guion Griffis Johnson also wrote about the religious phenomenon in the state: The camp meeting in ante-bellum North Carolina

    My family has been attending ever since the beginning back in the 1790s.

  2. On the subject of “mating grounds” — Guion Griffis Johnson describes the “marrying exercises”:

    One afflicted with the marrying exercise professed to have a revelation that the Lord wished him to marry a certain person, and the person thus designated felt compelled to consent to the marriage for fear of being damned. “Thus,” wrote the Reverend Joseph Moore to the Reverend Jesse Lee in 1806, “many got married, and it was said some old maids, who had nearly gotten antiquated, managed in this way to get husbands.” (p. 400)

    Talk about telling your unrequited love to go to hell…

  3. Is the Rock Springs camp meeting an annual event or is it a one time thing. Can I get some info on the next time it rolls around?

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