Dickerson Chapel

Dickerson Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church

100 East Queen Street, Hillsborough, NC

Established: 1851

Under the leadership of Reverend Job Berry and Reverend Billy Payne, the congregation originally known as the African Methodist Episcopal Church of Hillsborough was organized in 1851, prior to the Civil War. The congregation is now the Dickerson Chapel African Methodist Episcopal [AME] Church.

Left: The Reverend William “Billy” Payne

The present church structure originally was constructed in 1790 as the third courthouse of Orange County, then purchased in 1845 by Elias Dobson, a white Baptist minister, and moved to its present location to become the home of the First Baptist Church of Hillsborough until 1862. “Friends of the coloured free man” of Hillsborough subsequently purchased the building and land for $1200, and the Quakers first used the building as a school for colored or African-American children.

In 1866, Rev. Job Berry and his congregation purchased the church building and land for $800; the trustees at the time were Sam Whitted, Bill Ellison, Jim Nickols, Frank Turrentine, Charles Day, J. Hooker and J.T. Wallace.

Bishop Dickerson was “a warm-hearted man to whom narrow views and prejudice were strangers.”Bishop W. J. Gaines, 1884

The church eventually was named after Bishop William Fischer Dickerson [1845-1884], the 13th Bishop of the AME Church, who helped spread African Methodism in South Carolina and Georgia, and at age 36, became the youngest Bishop of the AME Church. He died four years later.

The sanctuary was remodeled in 1891 under Rev. P. J. Jordan, and again in 1947 when P. O. James was pastor.

Restoration of the stained glass windows began under the leadership of Rev. Carrington Carter and was completed in 1986 under Rev. Christopher Robinson.

Stained glass windows in the sanctuary remember cherished members of Dickerson Chapel AME Church.

Under Rev. Donald Holman, Sr., chairs in the pulpit were refurbished, the outside brick veneer was repaired, a wheelchair accessible ramp was built and the steeple was restored.

Members of Dickerson Chapel AME Church served in the United States military and were listed in the church Honor Roll. Erven Davis, Anderson S. Morrow, James L. Davis; James H. Collin, Willie J Avery, Raymond Avery, Lennon Collin, Fred Chavius, Lee Chavius, James Chavius, Edward N. Faucette, David McPherson, Willie R. Whitted.

On the Honor Roll:

  • Erven Davis
  • Anderson S. Morrow
  • James L. Davis
  • James H. Collin
  • Willie J Avery
  • Raymond Avery
  • Lennon Collin
  • Fred Chavious
  • Lee Chavious
  • James Chavious
  • Edward N. Faucette
  • David McPherson
  • Willie R. Whitted

Beams used in the original construction of the courthouse were uncovered when the fellowship hall was added. The beams still can be seen in the ceiling at the junction of the original structure and the addition.

Dickerson Chapel AME Church