Soon after the War of Independence and after treaties were signed with the Indians, making the area a safe place for settlers to live, gold was found in the streams of the beautiful area at the foot of Hogback Mountain in South Carolina.
God has blessed this area with more than gold in our streams. He has blessed us as a church and as a people. A Baptist church was established in the area on June 3, 1820, and a log building was erected at the intersection of Mills Gap Gap Road (SC Highway 9) and Tugaloo Road (SC Highway 11), where it still exists today. Soon thereafter, the church started a school, the New Prospect Academy.
The two anchors of the community have always been the New Prospect Baptist Church and the school at New Prospect. During their 200-year history, two of the church buildings and two of the schools were destroyed by fire, leaving nearly no records. Author June Gardner used various methods to piece together their history.
The Gold at New Prospect is a history of New Prospect Baptist Church as well as the community of New Prospect. It includes an extensive index with names of those who endured the hardships during the War Between the States, as well as a cemetery listing.
Easy to read, with interesting and humorous stories sprinkled in, The Gold at New Prospect is a book to be treasured for years to come.
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About the Author
Even though June McManus Gardner did not grow up in New Prospect, she married a man who did. For sixty-seven years she has grown to love and appreciate the people of New Prospect Baptist Church and community. June grew up in Columbia, S.C., accepting Christ at the age of seven and baptized into the membership of Colonial Heights Baptist Church. Living close enough to walk to church, she was involved in all its activities. This had a profound effect on her life. At age eleven she felt God calling her into fulltime Christian service.
God used these experiences in molding her life. She prayed for the man she would one day marry. God answered that prayer in January 1952 when the Gardner family moved to Columbia from New Prospect and joined Colonial Heights Baptist Church and June met Norman, their only child, who was her age.
Their attraction toward one another soon turned to love. Norman made public his call to the ministry, and they became engaged at the age of seventeen. In 1954, at the age of nineteen, June and Norman were married in Colonial Heights Church and moved to Greenville where Norman attended Bob Jones University while June worked full time. Weekends they spent at New Prospect where Norman’s aunts and uncles lived. They joined New Prospect Baptist Church and soon were teaching Sunday School and leading youth in Training Union.
When Norman graduated college in 1958, the couple moved to Fort Worth, Texas to further prepare for the ministry at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. After a few months of working full time and attending seminary classes at night, Norman was called as pastor of a church in Montague, Texas allowing June the opportunity to attend seminary fulltime. It was there she learned much about the ins and outs of the workings of a Southern Baptist church.
Seeing nursery work as a primary need in the churches Norman pastored, June specialized in this area and began writing freelance articles for the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Later she wrote curriculum for preschool teachers for LifeWay. In 1971 June wrote her first book, God Cares for Me, for Vacation Bible School teachers of three-year-old children.
In 1999 June became interested in learning of her roots. In 2010 she helped write Upon this Rock, the history of Goucher Baptist Church, for their 240th anniversary.
Deciding to leave a legacy for their two sons and four grandchildren, in 2012 she began writing their family history resulting in a seven-volume series, The Faith of Our Fathers. During that time, she also wrote the book, Growing Up in Colonial Heights.
After pastoring Southern Baptist Churches for sixty-three years, serving ten churches in five states, Norman retired from the pastorate at the age of eighty and returned to the New Prospect community, the home of his ancestors. In 2015 they joined New Prospect Baptist Church and the Friendship Sunday School Class.
Phil Sutton, a member of their class, mentioned that New Prospect would have its 200th Anniversary in 2020. He said a history of the church needed to be written and suggested June write it. Having just completed writing her family history project, the idea intrigued her. Upon receiving the support of the church leadership, she began the task in 2018.
Since much of the history of New Prospect was destroyed in their two church fires. June spent much time researching Annual Associational Minutes for New Prospect information at the various associational offices, Furman University, and researching numerous newspaper articles about New Prospect at the Spartanburg County Library. Others contributed additional information and pictures and shared memories about the church, school, and community.