A native of Woodruff, S.C., Robert A. Ivey graduated from Furman University (1955) and Southeastern Baptist Seminary. Ordained at Woodruff First Baptist Church, he served churches in South Carolina and Virginia before being called as pastor in 1974 to Draytonville Baptist Church, Gaffney, S.C., where he retired in 1996. In the 1960s while at the Pacolet Mills Baptist Church, Pacolet Mills, S.C., Ivey served as historian for the Spartan Baptist Association and wrote histories for several of the churches within the Association. Ivey also served on the Gaffney Bicentennial Commission and was involved with the Cherokee County Veterans Museum.
The original Fairforest Baptist Church was located 1.5 miles SW of Union, S.C. The members, led by the Reverend Philip Mulkey, came from North Carolina to Broad River about 1759. In 1762, the church moved to Fairforest where, as the first Baptist church in the upcountry, it organized at least nine branches before the Revolution. By 1772 this organizational plan soon resulted in twenty-four organized churches and forty-nine meetinghouses, most of which were in the backcountry. (Source: South Carolina: A History by Walter B. Edgar, pg. 183.)