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Sion History
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From "Fairfield County Family Histories"

There is evidence that there was a close tie between the Mt. Zion Society, Mt. Zion College, and the Presbyterians.

In February 1787, a petition was drawn up and submitted to the President of the Senate of South Carolina.  It was approved on March 27, 1787, for the purpose of incorporating the Mt. Zion Congregation of Winnsboro.

Since the college was founded in 1777, it is assumed the Presbyterians used the  college and the courthouse for places of worship.

The petition was signed by D. R. Evans, Robert Ellison, Benjamin Street, Martyn Aiken, Richard Winn, Jacob Brown, D. Evans, John Milling, James Austin, William D. Murphy, John Winn, James Bowles, Joseph Kirkland, James Brown, and Joseph Quarrel.

In October 1799, the minutes of the South Carolina Presbytery noted the Winnsboro Church as Sion and titled it as a preaching or mission station, indicating that it was not an organized church at the time.  In 1801 The Rev. John Foster from Salem (Broad River) came to Mt. Zion College as President and for two years supplied the pulpit of the church.

In 1803, the trustees of Mt. Zion Society need a new President.  Capt. Creighton Buchanan represented the Society and Samuel Johnson and James Barkley represented Sion Congregation.  The Rev. George Reid, of Yorkville, was selected and served in the dual position from 1805 to 1810.

During this time, the congregation was organized into a church taking the name Sion.  The place of worship was the county courthouse.  The Presbytery, known as the "First South Carolina" met in the Mt. Zion School.

The first record of the Session of Sion Church was March 23, 1806, with the Rev. George Reid, moderator and James Beaty and John Porter, elders.

In 1807, a few members of the congregation broke off and formed the Methodist congregation, building a brick church on the site of their present cemetery.  This was the first church building in Winnsboro.

In 1809, the Presbyterians began work on their first church on Garden St., in the center of the present cemetery.  The building was completed in 1811.  One year after Rev. Reid left came Rev. B. R. Montgomery, who was the first to preach in the new building.

In 1813, after a dispute over the singing of Dr. Watt's version of the Psalms, a portion of the congregation broke away and formed another church, the beginning of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Winnsboro.

In 1920, the need for a new building became apparent.  A new building was built on Washington St., next to the Manse.  The congregation moved April 24, 1923.

After Rev. Mayes' retirement, Rev. Arthur Martin came and served 15 years.  Rev. L. E. Brubaker, of the University of South Carolina served more than a year after Rev. Martin's departure.  In 1934 he was succeeded by Rev. Robert E. Smith, who stayed until October 1980.  He was succeeded by Dr. J. Norton Dendy, who served six months, then Rev. Cliff McLeod served as interim pastor.

In 1982, Rev. Robert C. Bankhead served as pastor.