The first sing was held in 1915 in the Baptist Church
in Clinton, NC. The originator
of this sing was the late W.F. Sessoms. Mr. Sessoms issued invitations to several choirs
which accepted,and thus the first sing took place.The next year an invitation from the Methodist Church in Clinton was accepted.By
this time, the interest was so great,the church could not accomodate
the crowds. By the third year on April 17th, the sing was moved to the Sampson County Court House. It was then known as the
Sampson County Court House Sing, until the death of Mr. Sessoms on April 20th,1950.
The court house was the meeting
place of the sing, except for one year, which was 1940. It was moved to the community building due to renovations of the courthouse
that year. On his death bed, Mr. Sessoms had requested the sing be continued through the years. Thus,it was agreed to do so
and a president,vice president,secretary treasurer,and ten directors were appointed.
On the 8th day of February
1960, the "The W.F.Sessoms Memorial Sing" was incorporated in honor of Mr. Sessoms. Many people new
it as "The Fleet Sessoms Sing"
By the late 1960's the sing had outgrown
the courthouse and was moved to a much larger building,the Fellowship Tabernacle in Roseboro, NC. It continued
to meet at this location until 1967 and 1968, when it was held at the Roseboro-Salemburg gymnasium. In 1969, it was moved
back to the Sampson County Courthouse.
The 53rd annual sing was held at the Clinton High School Auditorium. It
continued to meet at this location until 1974. Due to hot weather and lack of air conditioning in the auditorium, the sing
moved to the new North Carolina Justice Academy Campus (The
Old Pineland College/Then Southwood College Campus). The sing was very successful with outdoor singing and large
crowds attending; however, due to hot weather and severe thunder storms that seem to occur each year, the sing
was later moved to the auditorium on the campus where it remained until 2002. After the 85th annual sing, the board of directors
met and voted to move the sing back to it's hometown of Clinton, NC, this being more centrally located. It was to
be held at the Clinton Sampson Agri-Civic Center on 414 Warsaw Road. The facility would be larger, the groups
would have a place to set up a display of their recordings inside the foyer,and there would be access to a kitchen facility
for the availability of light food and refreshments.The civic center would also have a better parking facility, with handicap
accessability. It was also voted on and agreed to change from a two day event to a one day event with the sing being held
on the 4th Saturday in September each year. In 2018, the 101st Annual Sampson County Gospel Sing was postponed to 2019
due to the devastation from Hurricane Florence. On March 5, 2019, we lost our president and long time member, Mr. Peyton
Lee. He served various positions on the board for many years. In 2020, we streamed live over Facebook due to the COVID-19
Pandemic and to protect our singers, directors, and audience.
From the first sing in 1915 known as the Sampson County Courthouse
Sing,to the W.F.Sessoms Memorial Sing Inc.or as many called it the Fleet Sessoms sing, to The Sampson County Gospel Sing Inc.,
it has been a long journey encompassing a lot of people and fond memories.
We invite you to come out on the
4th Saturday in September each year and be a part of Gospel Music History. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the singing and great
Christian fellowship and remember our goal is to share the gospel with you through southern gospel music.We pray that this
sing will continue to be a blessing to everyone,for many years to come. Let's keep Mr. Sessom's dream alive !!
" LET'S KEEP THE SAMPSON COUNTY GOSPEL SING ALIVE "