Providence Friends Meeting held their first meeting for worship in 1762 with a week day meeting. In 1769, five acres were purchased for $3.12. Our first building was an 18’ x 24’ log structure. The first day meeting for worship was established in 1792. Providence Monthly Meeting was finally formed in January, 1912 with 84 members. While the address has changed several times through the years, we have been in the same location for over two hundred and fifty years.
There have been four meeting houses at Providence; the first being a log structure. A frame building was built sometime after the American Revolution which served until 1884 when the Friends were helped by the "Charleston Fund" to build a typical meeting house in all its simplicity. The fourth, and current building, was dedicated in September, 1930. The education wing, containing classrooms and offices upstairs with a kitchen and fellowship hall downstairs, was constructed and dedicated in 1973.
Providence has a rich heritage in the field of education. A school erected in 1776 burned in 1815. In 1816, a new school was opened with thirty children enrolled. Providence Academy was built in 1884 and operated until the fall of 1927 when Randolph County built a brick schoolhouse; it continued to serve the community in various forms until 1954.
Being an integral part of the community, Providence plays a role in the tragic story of Naomi Wise who was an orphan in the New Salem area. According to folklore based on factual history, the young maid was taken in to Mr. and Mrs. William Adams' household as a cook and occasional farm laborer. She was accepted as a part of the family and entertained young beau from the county. One of these young men was Jonathan Lewis who lived near Centre Friends Meetinghouse and clerked for Benjamin Elliott in Asheboro. The up-and-coming gentleman unwisely fell in love with the young lady of limited opportunities. Jonathan's mother naturally disapproved as she intended her son to marry the daughter of Mr. Elliott. Meanwhile, Mrs. Adams tried to convince Naomi that Jonathan never intended to marry her, but Naomi refused to accept the idea. Not wanting to tell the truth to either of the young ladies involved, Jonathan asked Naomi to meet him on the pretense of eloping. When they met, the couple rode to the banks of Deep River in what is now the heart of Randleman. After talking for a while, he took her to a secluded spot where he proceeded to choke and then drown poor Naomi. There are several alternate endings to the story. One is that Jonathan fled to Kentucky where he was found dying from an illness and gave a deathbed confession. In another, he was brought back to Randleman, tried and convicted, served time, then fled the area. As for Naomi, the Adams family took care of her burial. They approached three different area churches which refused to allow the burial to take place in their cemetery due to the circumstances surrounding the death. The family then approached Providence Friends which consented for the burial. This was just another example of the willingness of our church to offer acceptance to a child of God. The final resting place of Naomi Wise is marked today by a simple headstone located along the eastern border that seems to stand out from the rest; the marker was placed by a Randleman service club in the 1950's, almost 150 years after the supposed date of death.
We welcome all to become a part of this loving community of believers where the spreading of the light of Christ has always been the mission.