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Poplar Tent Community Began Over 200 Years Ago

Written By Arnold Kirk
Tribune Staff Writer
July 4, 1960

Poplar Tent Community began, according to history, with the establishment of a church there some 200 years ago - and today, said a community spokesman, the community is still centered around that church.

Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Eagle, seated beneath the cool shade of a large poplar tree, speak with pride as they relate stories, past and present, that have been handed down or even actually experienced by them.

"Right here, where this house stands, used to be a state fairgrounds" relates Mrs. Eagle.  The Eagle home is located near the intersection of Poplar Tent and Belt roads.

"An old Negro man used to tell us about folks coming from all over to this fair, " she added.  A race track was situated near the rear of the house, where buggy and horse races were held.

These folks tell about how they've heard of people camping out for the week-long affair, bringing their farm prizes along.
"Used to be an old county school house about a mile down there," the woman spoke, pointing back toward Concord.

The school, known then as Poplar Tent School, burned down some 20 years ago, according to Mrs. Eagle.  The late A. F. Rodgers, Mrs. Eagle's first husband is said to have owned the building.

Undoubtedly the "pride and joy" of the entire community is Poplar Tent Presbyterian Church.

"That church is over 200 years old, you know," says Mr. Eagle.

According to early Cabarrus history, a group of Scotch-Irish immigrants settled in that part of the county and held services under the shade of a big poplar tree.

The earliest known date of the organization is 1762.

The name "Poplar Tent Church" is said to have come from an argument in the early congregation concerning naming of the newly organized church.

One of the men is said to have grabbed a dipper of water from a pail, thrown the water on the tent and said, "I christen thee Poplar Tent Church."

The Eagles call out names that have become recent landmarks in themselves in the community.  F. S. Goodman, Lewis Allison, John Oehler (deceased), Hope Bonds and Henry Mauldin are only a few.

"I've lived in a lot of places in my life," says Mrs. Eagle, "but this is the best community yet."

In explanation, she added, "The people are friendly, sober and Christian.  Everybody is a friend to everybody else."

Community activities are centered around the churches, the couple agreed.  In addition to Poplar Tent Church, there are Poplar Grove and Pitt's Baptist Churches.

"We have organizations for all age groups at the church." Mrs. Eagle commented.

Even a Golden Age Club has been organized (now two years old) which now contains 50 members.  The age limitation for the club, by the way, is from 55 years to 150 years.

"Most of the people out here are farmers, but some work in town," it was added.

Poplar Tent Community possibly is not what you would term a fast-growing community.  But, as commented Mrs. Eagle, "It's a good place to live."