While the city of Newcastle no longer has a Presbyterian church, the denomination was actually one of the first to establish itself in the area. The Presbyterian Church has quite a rich history, dating back to 1889, according to local historian Leonard Cash. This week, Cash began telling the history of the Presbyterian Church as the next installment of the News Letter Journal’s History on Main series.
Cash wrote the Presbyterian Historical Society back in 1991 to inquire about the church’s start in Newcastle, and the society wrote back with interesting facts. Cash learned that the Presbyterian Church was the first denomination in Newcastle but the second to construct a church, as the Episcopal church was built about a month before the Presbyterian. The First Presbyterian Church was reported by the Black Hills Presbytery in 1890. The church in Newcastle was the denomination’s first in the Black Hills, starting with four members.
Before the construction of a designated building, the church spread its word through circuit riders, one of whom was J.B. Curran. Cash said there are several different spellings of the man’s last name, but Curran is how Mrs. May (Nelson) Dow, the wife of C.W. Dow of Dow Motors, referenced the circuit writer in her historical retelling. A Feb. 25, 1943, issue of the News Letter Journal included work by Mrs. Dow, according to Cash.