In February 1755, George Whitefield, preached in New Bern, North Carolina. He later wrote that his hearers were totally indifferent. His time there appeared to be wasted, but it did give him fuel to pray that God would miraculously intercede on the city’s behalf. It is very likely that the local Sheriff, John Dillahunty, was among the disinterested crowd. The same year that Whitefield was in New Bern, Shubal Stearns and Daniel Marshall moved to Sandy Creek, west of New Bern, and in the years that followed they filled the countryside with the gospel. Through their ministry former Sheriff John Dillahunty was born again.
Making a long and interesting story short, Dillahunty, who had become a Baptist preacher, was serving in the American military and preaching the gospel as often as he could. When the Anglican rector of the Chinquapin Chapel fled to England, that congregation asked Bro. Dillahunty to preach to them. The Lord opened their hearts, and their leadership chose to become Baptists, giving to Dillahunty the deed to the church property. Surprisingly, in a place where the law was against them, the new Baptist church flourished in peace. Eventually, their pastor decided to lead six families to relocate in Middle Tennessee. While the Chinquapin church continued to grow under new Pastor John Koonce, the Richland Creek Baptist was established just west of Nashville. It was there that Pastor Dillahunty left this world on his day in 1816.