One thing of interest to Baptist is:
In 1776 Nathan Mayo converted from the Anglican Church to the Baptist Church and was baptized.
He was a justice of Martin County, NC 1776-1777. He was active in his Church and served as
moderator in the Kehukee Baptist Association. While a justice he was the enemy of
John Llewellyn and was on Llewellyn's list to be killed along with all leading citizens of the
County. Not all of John Llewellyn's group agreed with his plan and depositions from several
revealed his intentions, including deposition taken by Nathan Mayo acting as justice.
As a result,
Nathan Mayo and his brother James Mayo, who was also on Llewellyn's list, were not killed.
in September 1777 John Llewellyn was tried and convicted of treason and sentenced to be hanged.
Some of his political and religious opponents were forgiving and petitioned for his clements,
Nathan Mayo being one. Nathan Mayo escorted Mary Llewellyn, wife of John, to Halifax to meet
with the governor. Finally prevailed and a reprieve was granted. John Llewellyn lived until
1794. Nathan Mayo became a captain, major and lieutenant-colonel of Martin County militia.
He represented Martin County in the state House of Commons and the state senate and the state
Constitutional Convention when North Carolina voted to adopt the Constitution. This service
covered the period 1776 through 1791. In his service to his church, his community, and the state,
Nathan Mayo proved a determination in his beliefs just as John Llewellyn in the way that he chose.
(Gayle Loveday Coberly)
I have information on the forming of Arrat Baptist Church in the western part of Madison county
which envolved many of these names. Church name spelling shows as Ararat Baptist Church.
//////////////////Comments and Observations by Jim Shivers//////////////////
1. Names Referenced
....Converted from Anglican Church to Baptist Church
....Listed on Llewellyn's sheet
....Justice of Martin County 1776-1777
....Moderator of Kehukee Baptist Association
....Brother named James Mayo
....Captain , Major , Lt-Col of Martin County Militia
....State House of Commons Martin County
....State Constitutional Convention
....Listed on Llewellyn's sheet
....Brother to Nathan Mayo
....List of Leading Citizens of Martin County to be Killed
....Convicted of Treason - Sentenced to be hanged 1777
....Nathan Mayo and Mary Llewellyn wife of John petetioned for clements
....Met at Halifax with Governor for sentence reprieve.
....Died in 1794
2. Church Names Referenced
.Kehukee Baptist Association
.Arrat Baptist Church 'Ararat' - Madison County
History of American Baptists - Virginia
By David Benedict 1848 SECTION I.
General View of the Rise of the Baptists in the State
First Company, in 1714
Second do., in 1743
Third do., in 1754
The early Churches planted by these Companies-David Thomas-S. Steams-D.
Marshall -Col. Harris and others-Division of the. great Separate Association
General Association divided into Four-Baptist Apostles in Va.
ALTHOUGH so early was the planting of the Virginia colony as to entitle the
State to the appellation of the Old Dominion, yet, compared with some of the
older colonies, it was at a late period that our society gained much of a
foothold within its bounds. A few small churches, as we shall soon see, were
planted in this government soon after the commencement of the 18th century;
but it was something past the middle of it before the proselytes to our peculiar
opinions had become so considerable as to excite much attention among- either
friends or opponents.
According to Morgan Edwards' list for 1768, there were then but. about ten
baptist churches in all parts of Virginia. These were generally in the upper part
of it, between the Blue Ridge and the waters of the Potomac. Rut after they began
their operations in good earnest, so rapid was their increase, that by 1790,
according to Asplund's Register, their churches had increased to 210, their
ministers, ordained and licensed, to about 250, and their communicants to upwards
In 22 years more, according to my tables for 1812, their numerical strength amounted
to upwards of 35,000.
During the next succeeding 21 years, such was the augmentation n of numbers, as by
Allen's Register for 1836, that the whole baptist population in this State, so far
as church members were concerned, was 59,000. For the last ten years, about 24,000
have been added to their number. The sum total in no State shall I attempt to give,
until my tables are made up at the close of the volume.
The Associations now existing in this State, great and small, are 37. These. after
giving the general history of our affairs here, I shall describe under three divisions,
Eastern, Middle, and Western.
The baptists of Virginia originated from three principal sources:
1. The first were emigrants from England, who, about the year 1714, settled in the
south-east part of the State.
2. The second company came from Maryland, and formed a settlement near the north-west
part, as the population then stood, about 1743.
3. The third party came from New England in 1754, and by them was laid the foundation
for the most successful and extensive enterprises of our denomination in their early
movements in this State. This last company was of what was then called the Separate Order.
A brief account of these different companies will now be given, and then we shall be
prepared to show their ultimate union, and their grand and successful efforts to throw
off the grievous and, oppressive; yoke which the old ecclesiastical establishment had
imposed on all dissenters, and that they had Operated in the most trying and vexatious
manner oil the zealous founders of the baptist cause in this then rude and uncultivated
FIRST COMPANY, FROM ENGLAND.
We cannot learn that any of the original settlers of Virginia were baptists, nor do we
find any of this denomination in this country until more than a century after its settlement.
The accounts of their origin in the State vary in elates and some other little matters;
but the following statement, I believe, is the most correct; and circumstantial which
can be obtained at this late period.
In consequence of letters from Virginia, Robert Nordin and Thomas White were ordained in
London, in May, 1714, and soon sailed for Virginia; but White died on the way, and Nordin
arrived in Virginia, and gathered a church at a place called Burley, in the county Of the
Isle of Wight. There were probably a number of baptists settled in this place before the
arrival of Nordin, by whose request, and for the service of whom, he and White were ordained
and undertook the distant voyage; but who, or flow many these were, or how long they hall
been there, are inquiries which we cannot answer.
Mr. Nordin continued preaching at Burley and other places until he died in a good old age, in
1725. Two years after his death, viz., in 1727, Casper Mintz and Richard Junes, both preachers,
arrived from England, and settled with the church at Burley, and Jones became their pastor.
Both of these ministers were living in 1756, as appears by a letter which this church sent at
that time to the Philadelphia Association. by the year 1729, as appears by- a letter sent by
Rev. Paul Palmer, from North Carolina, to Rev. John Collier, of Newport, Rhode Island, there
was, besides the church at Burley, another in the county of Surrey. Respecting these churches
Mr. Palmer wrote as follows:
"There is a comely little church in the Isle of Wight county, of abort thirty or forty members,
the elder of which is one Richard Jones, a very sensible old gentleman, whom I have great love
for. We see each other at every yearly-meeting and sometimes more often. There is another church
in Surry county, where my brother Jones lives, I suppose about thirty more.
How tenor these churches, continued in existence I cannot exactly learn. Respecting the one in
the county of Surry, no information can be obtained except what is found in Mr. Palmer's letter.
The one in the Isle of Wight, we halve good reason to believe, continued on the ground where it
was first established between forty and fifty years, when. according to Morgan Edwards' account,
it was broken up, partly by sickness, and partly by the removal of families from hence to
North Carolina, where they gained many proselytes. and in tell years became sixteen churches.
They were all General Baptists; but in a few years after their settlement in North Carolina, they
began to embrace the Calvinistic sentiments, as will be seen in the history of the baptists in
that State. In 1756, the church at Burley sent the following letter to the Philadelphia Association:
"The church of Jesus Christ, in Isle of Wight county, holding adult baptism, &c., to the Reverend
and General Assembly or Association at Philadelphia, send greeting: We, the above mentioned
church, confess ourselves to be under clouds of darkness concerning the faith of Jesns Christ,
not knowing whether we are on the right foundation, and the church much unsettled: wherefore we
desire alliance with you, and that you will be pleased to send as helps to settle the church,
and Certify what may be wrong, and subscribe ourselves, your loving brethren in Christ, Casper Mintz,
Richard Jones, Randall Allen, Joseph Mattgum, Christopher Atkinson, Benjamin Atkinson, David Atkinson,
Thomas Cafer, Samuel Jones, William Jordan, John Allen, John Powell, Joseph Atkinson. Dec. 27, 1756."
This is the last account I can find of this church; what was done by the Association in their case I do
not find. Messrs. Miller, Vanhorn, and Gano traveled frequently into Virginia and North Carolina about
this time, for the purpose of regulating the disordered churches, and it is probable that in some of
their journeys they visited this one, which made such an honest confession of their deplorable state.
It does not appear that this company of baptists suffered any persecution or civil embarrassments, from
the time of their settlement it Virginia to that of their dispersion. They probably obtained legal
licences for their assemblies, in conformity to the act of toleration.
As this community appears to have soon transferred from Virginia to North Carolina, the reader is
referred to the history of the Baptists in that State, where a more particular account of them will be
THE SECOND COMPANY, FROM MARYLAND.
The next appearance of the Baptists in this State was in the north part of it, in the counties of Berkley,
London, and their vicinities, on the ground which was afterwards occupied by the Regular Baptists. Between
the years 1743; and 1756, three churches were gathered in these counties, by the names of Opeckon, which
was afterwards called Mill creek, Smith's and Lynville's creek, and Ketockton. A brief account of the
origin of these churches will now be given.
The church on Opeckon creek appears to have been the oldest, of the three and was gathered and renovated
in the following manner. In the year 1743, a number of the members of the General Baptist church, at.
Chestnut Ridge, in Maryland, removed to Virginia, and settled in this place, the roust noted of whom were
Edward Hays and Thomas Yates. Soon after their removal, their minister, Henry Loveall, followed theta,
tend baptized about fifteen persons, whom he formed into a church on the Arminian plan. Mr. Loveall
becoming licentious in his life, was turned out of the church, and returned to Maryland, and the church
was broken up, or rather transformed into a church of Particular Baptists, in 1751, by the advice and
assistance of Messrs. James Miller, David Thomas, and John Gano, who wits at that time very young.
Mr. Miller had visited this church in some of his former journeys, and lots been instrumental of much
good among them ; and when they, in their troubles, occasioned by Loveall's misconduct, petitioned the
Philadelphia Association for same assistance, he and Mr. Thomas were appointed by the Association for
the purpose. Mr. Gano, though not appointed, chose to accompany them. The account of this transaction is
thus given by Mr. Gano:
"We examined them, and found they were not a regular church. We then examined those who offered themselves
fur the purpose, and those who gave us satisfaction we received, and constituted a new church. Out of the
whole who offered themselves, there were only three received. Some openly declared they knew they could
not give an account of experiencing a work of grace; and therefore need not offer themselves. Others stood
ready to offer if the church was formed. The three before mentioned were con constituted and six more were
baptized and joined with them. After the meeting ended, a number of old members went aside and sent for me.
They expressed their deplorable state, and asked roc if' I would meet with them that evening, and try to
instruct them. They were afraid the ministers blamed them. They had been misled, but it was not their fault,
and they hoped I would pity them. I told them I would with all my heart, and endeavored to remove their
suspicion of the minister They met, and I spoke to them front these words: they being ignorant of God's
righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the
righteousness of God. I hope I was assisted to speak to them in an impressive manner, and They to hear, at
least some of them, so as to l ivy. They afterwards professed and became zealous members, and remained so,
I believe, until their death."
It was in the bounds of this church that Steams and Marshall met, on their way to North Carolina. At this
time, Samuel Heaton was their pastor, and acted in that capacity until 1754, when he removed to Konoloway,
Pennsylvania, and was succeeded by Mr. John Garrard, who is supposed to have been a native of Pennsylvania,
and who became the most distinguished pastor the church had hitherto enjoyed. The Opeckon church united
with the Philadelphia Association soon after its renovation, in 1757. They became very warm and animated in
their religious exercises, and more particularly so, after Mr. Marshall and the zealous; Separates came
amongst them; and they soon went to such lengths in their New Light career, that. some of the less engaged
members lodged a complaint against them in the Association to which they belonged. Mr. Miller was again
sent for the purpose of adjusting their difficulties. When lie came, he was highly delighted with the
exercises, joined them cordially, and said, if lie had such warm-hearted christians in his church, lie
would not take gold for them. Ile charged those who had complained, rather to nourish than complain of
such gifts. The work of God revived among them, and considerable additions were made to the church. The
country in which they had settled was but thinly inhabited, and was subject to the inroads of the Indians.
Some of these savage irruptions took place not long after Mr. Garrard had settled among them; in
consequence of which, he and many of the church removed below the Blue Ridge, and resided for some time
in Loudon county, on Ketockton Creek. This evil was overruled for good; for, by the labors of Mr.Garrard
in his new residence, to which, by the barbarous in truders, he was obliged to repair, many were brought
to a knowledge of salvation, and a church was forined, which was called Ketockton, in 1756,
and Mr. Garrard became their pastor.
The Smith's and Lynville's Creek Church, afterwards called Smith's Creek, is said to have been constituted
also in 1756. There were some baptist families in this place as early as 1745, eleven years before the
church was organized; but from what place they emigrated, we are not informed; only it is stated that one
John Harrison, wishing to be baptized, went as far as Oyster Bay, on Long Island, in the State of New York,
to obtain an administrator. As there were baptist churches and ministers much nearer, the presumption is,
that he, if no others, had removed from that place.
David Thomas. As this eminent and very successful minister was closely connected with this company of
baptists, who soon assumed the name of Regulars in all their movements, until they united with the
Separates, and probably did more than any other man to extend and regulate their affairs, it may be
proper here to give a brief sketch of his character and operations.
Mr. Thomas was born August 16, 1732, at London Tract, Pa., and had his education at Hopewell, N. J.,
under the famous Isaac Eaton, and, in early life, received the honorary degree of M. A., front the
College of Rhode Island.
He had previously made a number of missionary excursions into this State,under the patronage of the
Philadelphia Association, but, in 1760, he removed here, and became a permanent resident. His first
stand was in Berkley county, with, or near to the Opeckon, or Mill Creek Church; but, two years after,
he removed to the county of Fauquier, and became the pastor of the Broad Run Church, which was gathered
soon after he removed to the place. In this place, and in a wide circuit around, he acted a most
distinguished part for about thirty years, when he removed to Kentucky, where he lived to an advanced
age, and became nearly blind some time before his death.
Mr. Thomas is said to have been a minister of great distinction in the prime
of his days. Besides
the natural endowment of a vigorous mind, and the advantages of a classical
education, he had a melodious a piercing voice and pathetic address,
expressive action, and,
above all, a heart filled with love to God and his fellow-men. But, for a
few of the test years of
his ministry in Virginia, he met with much persecution. He was frequently
assaulted both by
individuals and mobs. Once lie was pulled down while lie was preaching, and
dragged out of the
House in a barbarous manner. At another time, a malevolent fellow attempted
to shoot him, but a
by-stander wrenched the guar from him, and thereby prevented the execration
of his wicked
purpose. The slanders and revilings he met with, says Mr. Edwards, were
innumerable, and it
we may judge of a man's prevalency against the devil, by the rage of the
devil's children, Thomas
prevailed like: a. prince. But the gospel had free course; and Broad Run
church, of which he was
pastor within six or eight years from its establishment, branched out and
became the mother of
five or six others. The Chapawamsick church was constituted from Broad Run,
Elder Thomas traveled much, and the fame of his preaching drew the attention
of the people
throughout an extensive circle, so that in many instance, they came fifty
and sixty miles to hear
him. It, is remarkable that, about this time, there were multiplied
instances, in different parts of
Virginia, of persons who had never heard any evangelical preaching, but who
through divine grace, to see and feel their wants of vital godliness. Many
of these persons, when
they heard of Mr. Thomas and other baptist preachers, would travel great
distances to hear them,
and to procure their services, as ministers of the gospel. By these means
the gospel was first
carried into the county of Culpepper, as will be related in the history of
BROAD RUN CHURCH. As this is one of the oldest, and for a long time was
among the most
distinguished churches of this State, it may be proper in this place to give
a short account of its
origin and early operations.
"The manner in which Mr. Thomas was introduced among them, is thus related.
A short tune
previous to his removing to Virginia, two teen in this region, without any
became much concerned about their souls and eternal things; were convinced
of the reality of
vital religion, and that they were destitute of it. While laboring under
these convictions, they
heard of the baptists (new-lights, as some called them), in Berkley county,
and set out in search
of them:--after traveling about sixty miles over a mountainous way, they
arrived among them. By
their preaching and conversation, they were much enlightened and comforted,
and were so happy
as to find what had hitherto been to them mysterious, how a weary and
heavy-laden sinner might
have rest. The name of one of them was Peter Cornwell, who afterwards lived
to a good old age,
and was so eminent for his piety, as to receive from his neighbors and
acquaintances the title of
'St. Peter." It is relate by Mr. Edwards, that this Peter Cornwell induced
Edmund Hays (the same
man that removed from Maryland to Virginia, in 1743), to remove and settle
near him, and that
the interviews between the families of these two men were frequent, and
religious and devout; insomuch, that it soon began to be talked of abroad as
a strange thing.
Many came to see them, to whom the related what God had done for their
souls. They exhorted,
prayed, read the Bible and other good books, to the spreading of seriousness
through the whole
neighborhood; Cornwell and his companion (whose name is not, mentioned) in
a short lime
made another visit to Berkley, and were baptized; and Divine Providence had
so ordered matters,
that in this visit they met Mr. Thomas whom they invited to go down; and
preach among them.
He accepted the invitation, and settled with them as above related, and soon
instrument of diffusing gospel light in Fauquier and the adjoining counties,
where ignorance and
superstition had long prevailed."
Messrs. Thomas and Garrard, sometimes together and at other tithes apart,
propagated the pure principles of Christianity, in all the upper counties of
the Northern Neck; but
Mr. Thomas was the most active.
"The established clergy, and the friends of the establishment generally,
viewed with a jealous
eye the successful efforts of the baptists, and adopted various methods to
embarrass and defeat
The clergy often attacked the preachers from the pulpit; called them false
prophets; wolves in
sheeps' clothing; and really other hard names equally unappropriate and
unfortunately for them, the baptists retorted these charges, fly professing
to believe their own
articles; at least, the leading ones, and charged them with denying them; a
charge which they
could easily substantiate; for the doctrines most complained of; as advanced
by the Baptists, were
obviously laid down in the common prayer-book.
When they could not succeed by argument, they would adopt more violent
the preachers, anti solve who only read sermons and prayed publicly, were
carried before the
magistrates, anti though loot committed to prison, were sharply reprimanded
and cautioned not to
be righteous over-much.
The reasons why the Regular Baptists were not so much persecuted as the
Separates wets, that
they had at an early date, applied to the General Court, and obtained
licenses for particular places
of preaching, under the toleration law of England; but few of their enemies
knew the extent of
the licenses; most supposing, that they were by there authorized to preach
any where in the
The Regulars also were considered less enthusiastic then the Separates. They
were often visited
by men of note from the Phil. Asso. and having Thomas at their head, whose
commanding and whose learning was respectable for the times, all those
things united, operated
in their favor. But in the midst of the greatest oppression and persecution,
the Baptist cause still
flourished and went forward; new churches were constituted, and young
preachers were raised
up. Of these, none were more distinguished that) Richard Major; although he
was past the
meridian of life, before he embarked in the ministry.
He seems to have made such good use of his time, that he (lid more in the
vineyard than many
who had toiled all the day. Daniel and William Fristoe, Jeremiah Moore, and
others were early
fruits of Elder Thomas' ministry. These young heralds uniting their
endeavors with those of the
more experienced, became zealous laborers in the vineyard of the
Before the year 1770, the Regular baptists were spread over the whole
country, in the Northern
Neck above Fredericksburg. Between 1770 and 1780, their cords still
continued to be lengthened.
Mr. Lunsford, a young but extraordinary preacher, carried the tidings of
peace downwards, and
planted the Redeemer's standard in those counties of the Northern Neck,
which are below
Fredericksburg. Messrs. Corbley, Sutton and Barnet, had moved over the
Alleghany, and had
raised up several churches in the north-west counties as early as 1775. .Mr.
John Alderson had
gone, in 1777, to Greenbrier, and in a few years raised up a people for God
in that region.
Besides these, there were some others who moved more southward, and raised
up a few
"During the time of the greatest declension of religion among the Virginia
prevailed soon after the close of the war, the Regulars were under a cloud
as well as their
brethren the Separates; and they also participated to the great revival in
1785, and Borne years
Third company from New England, at that time denominated New
This company was led hither by Shubeal Stearns, Daniel Marshall, and their
original company, with the adherents which continually gathered around their
continued their progress southward, halting at different places on the way,
leaving portions of their preachers and exhorters to carry forward their
evangelizing plans, until
the final settlement of Marshall in Georgia.
Their doings at Sandy Creek and vicinity, in N. C., and also at Congeree, in
S. C., will be related
under the heads of those States.
This company of New England New Lights, was the most important one of the
baptist order in
this State; and from it originated the great mass of the churches which,
with such overwhelming
rapidity, spread over most of eastern Virginia, in the course of about a
quarter of a century. This
State, which was their first stopping place, after leaving the land of their
nativity, became the
principal scene of their action, suffering, and success. ® Here they pushed
operations with an ardor approaching to primitive times, amidst all dust
hind of vexations,
ill-bred, ill natured, and tantalizing hostility, which the minions of a
declining hierarchy, with but
the shadow of power, were able to maintain."5
Samuel Harris. As this distinguished man was for many years at the heed of
the Separate Baptists
in this State, before, we proceed in the history of this community, we shall
give some brief
sketches of his origin, the manner of his introduction into the baptist
ministry, and the
commencement of his evangelical and successful career. Col. Harris, as he
was usually called,
was born in Hanover county, January 12, 1724.
Few men could boast of a more respectable parentage. His education, though
nut the must liberal,
wits very considerable fur trite customs of the day. When young, lie moved
to the county of
Pittsylvania; and as he advanced in age, became a favorite with the people
is well us with the
rulers. He was appointed Church Warden, Sheriff; a Justice of the Peace,
Burgess for the county,
Colonel of the Militia, Captain of Mayo Fort, and Commissary for the fort
All these offices and honors, with their accompaniments, were disposed of in
a very summary
manner under the influence of his now impressions. And as he was a man of
lie at once went out in his now and ardent vocation at his own cost; and for
about thirty year, he
was, a self-supported missionary in nearly all the then settled parts of
this extensive State.
His conversion was effected under the ministry of two young and illiterate
preachers, by the
name of Joseph and William Murphy, at that time commonly called Murphy's
happened in one of Iris official tours to visit the forts under his care,
soon after he was baptized
by Daniel Marshall, in one of his missionary journeys into that region.
This event probably took
place some time in the year 1758. The year after lie was ordained a ruling
elder, an office which
these descendants of the N. E. Puritans brought with them from their own
The baptist historians of Virginia, Leland, Semple, and Taylor, all speak of
Mr. Harris in strains
of the highest commendation; indeed, some of their eulogies seem to border
on the marvelous
It was a rare thing, in those times, for men of his worldly distinction to
unite with the people who
were, in the fullest sense of the passage, every where spoken against. His
in the use of his abundant means for doing good; the child-like simplicity
which lie always
displayed after his conversion; his freedom of intercourse with people of
all conditions among
his new, and for the most part poor and despised associates; his, blameless
life; and finally his
pious and irrepressible ardor in the ministerial service; all had a tendency
to bind him to the
denomination, by strong and lasting ties.
And for a man of his military character and habits, his muscular bowers, and
with Christian meekness and submission, with no show of' resentment or
resistance, in nearly all
his first ministerial journeys, to suffer the violent assaults of his rude
countrymen, must have produced must favorable impressions, on the minds of
observers, in favor of his own religious character, and of the cause in
which lie was engaged.
We have seen that Mr. Harris was ordained ruling elder in 1759.
As a minister, he was not ordained until ten years after.
Eccentricity and new experiments were then the order of the day, and among
them came up, in a
few years after, the ordination of this venerable Joan, then fifty years of
age, to the office of a
This singular transaction will be described in the close of the history of
the separate Baptists.
We are now prepared to continue the history of the new and zealous
operations which come
trader this head, and shall make our selections almost verbatim. from
Semple's history of the
"Harris seemed destined of God to labor more extensively in Virginia than in
any other State.
And having dune touch good in his own neighborhood. is the year 1765, the
time arrived for him
to extend his labors.in January of this year, Allen Wyley, an inhabitant of
Culpepper, and who
had been baptized by David Thomas, hearing of the Separate Baptist
preachers, traveled as far as
Pittsylvania, in order to get one or more of them to come and preach in his
own county. He
traveled on, scarcely knowing whither be went, but an unseen hand directed
his course. He
providentially fell in with one, of Mr. Harris' meetings. When lie carne
into the meeting-house,
Mr. H. fixed his eyes upon him, being impressed previously, that lie had
message. He asked him whence he came, &c. Mr. H. told him his, errand.
Upon which, after
some deliberation, believing him to be sent of God, Mr. H. agreed to go.
Taking three days to
prepare, lie set out with Wyley, having no meetings on the way, yet
exhorting and praying at
every house where he went.
Arriving at Culpepper, his first meeting was at Wyley's own house. He
preached the first day
without interruption, and made appointments for the next. But when he began
his meeting, such
violent opposition was made by a company, who appeared with whips, sticks,
clubs and other
rustic weapons, as to hinder his labors, in consequence of which he went
that night over to
Orange County, and preached with much effect. lie continued many days
preaching from place to
place, attended by great crowds, and followed throughout his meetings by
several persons who
had been either lately converted or seriously awakened under the ministry of
Baptists, and also by many who had been alarmed by his own labors. When Mr.
Harris left them,
he exhorted them to ire steadfast, and advised some, in whom he discovered
commence the exercise: of their gifts, and to hold meetings among
themselves. In this ministerial
journey, Mr. Harris sowed much good seed, which yielded afterward great
increase. The young
converts took his advice, and began to hold meetings every Sabbath, and
almost every night in
the week, taking a tobacco-house for their meeting-house. After proceeding
in this way for some
time, they applied to David Thomas, who lived somewhere north of the
Rappahannock, to come
and preach for them and teach them the ways of God more perfectly; he came,
but in his
preaching expressed some disapprobation of such weal: and illiterate
persons. This was like
throwing cold water upon their flaming zeal; they took umbrage, and resolved
to send once more
for Mr. Harris. Sometime in the year 1766, and a short time after Mr.
Thomas' preaching, three of
the party, viz., Elijah Craig and two others, traveled to Mr. Harris house,
in order to procure his
services in Orange and the adjacent parts, to preach and baptize new
converts. They found, to
their surprise, that lie had not been ordained to the administration of the
ordinances. To remedy
this inconvenience, he carried them about 60 miles into North Carolina, to
James Read, by whom
he was ordained.
"But little is known of the early history of Mr. Read, but from this period
lie became associated
with Mr. Harris in his evangelical excursions, and for marry years held a
prominent rank among
the ever active Separates."
"He, with many others of that day, was a strong believer in special
teachings from heaven its to
new enterprises in evangelical labors, and bad, as he supposed, a warning
from God of the
coming of Harris and his companions, similar to that of Peter when called to
go to the Gentiles.
And, slits Mr. Semple, we can hardly for a moment hesitate in placing
implicit confidence in its
being a contrivance of Divine wisdom.
"Mr. Read, of course, without hesitation, agreed to go. In about two weeks,
they arrived at their
Place of destination and commenced their operations in the usual style of
prosperity ant .sin cess.
But now, for the first time, signs of collision between the Regulars and
Separates: made their
appearance, and on the Sabbath following, both parties held meetings but a
small distance hour
each other. Baptism was administered by both. These. things widened the
breach. Messrs. Read
and Harris, however, continued their ministrations. Mr. Read baptized
nineteen the first day, and
more on the days following. They went through Spottsylvania into the upper
parts of Caroline,
Hanover, and Goochland, sowing the seeds of grace and peace in many places.
So much were
theyinspirited by these meetings, that they made appointments to come again
the next year. In
their second visit, they were accompanied by the Rev. Dutton Lane, who
assisted than in
constituting and organizing the first Separate, Baptist Church between the
James river; this took place on the 20th of Nov., 1767."
The church was called Upper Spottsylvania, and consisted of 25 members,
including all the
Separate Baptists north of James River. This was a mother to many other
"Read and Harris continued to visit these parts for about three years, with
wonderful effect. In
one of their visits, they baptized 75 at one time, and in the course of one
of their journeys, which
generally lasted several weeks, they baptized upwards of 200. It was riot
uncommon at their
great meetings, for many hundreds of men to encamp on the bound, in order to
be present the
next day. The night meetings, through the great work of God, continued very
late; the ministers
would scarcely have an opportunity to sleep. Sometimes the floor would be
covered with persons
struck down under the Conviction of sin. It frequently happened, that when
they would retire to
rest al a late hour, they would be under the necessity of arising again,
through the earnest cries of
the penitent. There were instances of, persons traveling more than one
hundred miles to one of
these meetings; to go forty or fifty was not uncommon.
"On account of the great increase of members through the labors of Messrs.
Bead and Harris,
aided by a number of young preachers, it was necessary tar constitute
The young preachers referred to were Messrs. Lewis anti Elijah Craig, John
Childs, Joint Burns, William Webber, Joseph Anthony, Reuben Ford, William
Greenwood, and others. These young prophets, most of whom were entirely
caught by the spirit.
of the older ones, and were the means of propagating the sentiments of the
baptists to a wide
extent in opposition to magistrates and mobs and all the array of a most
vulgar anti determined
The great body of the Separates, divided into three
The Ketockton Association comprised the great mass of the Regular Baptist,
in this State at this
time; and although the two parties had gone on in a sort of arms-end
harmony, the period had
now arrived when a portion of each side felt a strong desire for a full and
cordial union with each
The Regulars took the lead in this laudable effort and sent as messengers to
the Separate party,
Messrs. Garrard, Major, and Sanders, with a kind and conciliating letter, of
which the following
is an extract :
"Beloved in our Lord J Jesus Christ
"The bearers of this letter can acquaint you with the design of writing it.
Their errand is peace,
and their business is a reconciliation between its, if there is any
difference subsisting. 1f we are
all christians, all baptists, all new-lights, why are we divided? Must the
little appellative names,
Regular and Separate, break the golden band of charity, and set the sons and
daughters of Zion at
variance? "Behold how hood and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell
together in unity, but
how bad and how bitter it is for them to lice asunder in discord! To indulge
prejudice is soon a disorder; and to quarrel about nothing is irregularity
with a witness. O, our
dear brethren, endeavor to prevent this calamity for the future."
This excellent letter was presented to the Association, and after a lengthy
debate, the proposal for
a union was rejected by a small majority.
Their answer to the Regulars was :
"Excuse us in love; for we are acquainted with our own order. but not
so-well with yours; and if
there is a difference, we might ignorantly jump into that which will make us
rue it," &c.
This effort was made in 1769.
At the meeting of the great community of Separates in 1770, their harmony
was much interrupted
and their assembly assumed a new and unpleasant appearance, anti the
division of the
Association, which convenience would have dictated, was now effected from
It had been usual for them to do nothing in Associations but by unanimity.
If, in any measure
proposed, there was it single dissentient, they labored first by arguments
to come to it unanimous
agreement; when arguments failed, they resorted to frequent prayer, in which
all joined; when
both these failed, they sometimes appointed the next day for fasting and
prayer, and strove to
bring all to be of one mind. At this session they split in their first
business; nothing could be
done the first day. They appointed the next for fasting and prayer. They met
and labored the
whole day, and could do nothing, not even appoint a Moderator. The third
clay was appointed for
the same purpose, and to be observed in the same way. They met early and
until three o'clock in the afternoon, without having accomplished anything:
a proposal was then
made, that the Association should be divided into three districts, that is,
one in each State. To this
there was a unanimous consent at once.
" The cause of this division (says Mr. Edwards) was partly for convenience,
but it was chiefly
owing to a mistake which this Association foal into relative to their power
and jurisdiction. They
carried matters so high as to unfellowship ordinations, ministers, and
churches, that acted
independent of them; and pleading that though complete power be in every
church, yet every
church can transfer it to an Association,' which is as much as to say that a
mail may take out his
eyes, ears, &c., and give them to another to sec, hear, &c., for him; for,
if power be fixed by
Christ in a particular church, they cannot transfer it, nay, should they
formally give it away, yet it
is not gone away."
The division above referred to, was made in the following manner:
The churches in South Carolina formed an association called Congaree.
Those in North Carolina still retained the old name of Sandy Creek, while
the Virginia churches
united under the name of Rapid-ann, which was more generally known by the
name of the
General Association of Separate Baptists, which for the twelve following
years embraced all the
churches of the Separate order in the colony, except those which were
dismissed in 1776, to form
the Strawberry Association.
From this growing body, as from a fruitful mother, have originated most of
Associations in the State.
General Association, &c., when first set off, contained but 14 churches,
which were scattered in
almost as many counties, and many of them were high up in the State, both as
it respects the
sea-coast and the southern boundary; must of them, however, were situated on
the south of
In their early movements, they put a veto on all interference with the
independency of the
churches, and resolved, according to the old Baptist doctrine, that an
Association is merely an
In 1773 they had increased to thirty-four churches, and upwards of three
Three Baptist Apostles were ordained, in. 1774.
The following query, viz. : Are all the offices of apostles, prophets,
evangelists, pastors and
teachers, mentioned in Eph. 4 and 11, now in use? had been introduced at a
Two days were spent in debating the subject, and then its decision was
deferred till the neat
meeting. This novel subject was discussed with warmth and interest, both in
their assemblies and
during flu; recess of their session.
Jeremiah Walker and Reuben Ford, each one, wrote a pamphlet-the first for
and the other against
the proposed measure. Both of these inert were followed by large and
respectable parties, and
their productions were read in the meeting. But the apostolical succession,
by a large majority,
finally prevailed, and as we have before stated, the venerable Samuel Harris
invested with this high and dignified function.
"The ordination was conducted in the following, manner, as appears by the
Minutes of the
Association: The day bring sot apart as a last day, we immediately
proceeded to ordain
him, and the hands of every ordained minister were laid upon him.
Public prayer was mark by John Waller, Elijah Craig, and Join) Williams.
gave a public charge, and the whole Association gam him the right hand of
fellowship. The work
assigned to this apostle, was to pervade the churches, fur the purpose of'
performing, or, at least,
superintending the work of ordination, and to set in order the things that
are wanting; and he
was ordered to report the success of his mission at the next Association.
And fur the discipline of
this high officer, the following law was enacted, viz.: 'If our Messenger,
or Apostle, shall
transgress in any manner he shall he liable to dealing in any church where
the transgression was
committed; and the said church is instructed to call helps from two or three
churches; and if by them found a transgressor, a general conference of all
the churches shall be
called, to restore, or excommunicate him."'
At this time there was a temporary division of this extensive body, and
James River was the
dividing line; and the northern half; not to be outdone by the southern
section, not long after, in
the same year, appointed for their apostles, John Waller and Elijah
Thus Virginia, whose ecclesiastical affairs were formerly managed by
Bishops, now beheld
within her bounds three baptist Apostles, of what line of succession the
records do not define.
But these distinguished functionaries made their first report in rather
discouraging terms, and no
others were ever appointed.
The two divisions just referred to, reunited in the following year, when it
was found that the
whole number of churches amounted to 60; of which 31 were on the north, and
29 on the
southern side of the river.
Disputes about doctrines. At this session, the Association was most
painfully agitated, by
the discussion of the following very serious and important question, viz.
Is salvation by Christ made possible for every individual of the human
One whole day was spent in debating this subject, and most of the preachers
took part in the
debate. Those who supported the affirmative were called Arminians, the other
Had these brethren been acquainted with the distinctions made by Fuller and
others, of a general
provision and particular application, it would have relieved them from
altercation. Although these discussions were continued, and the two parties
had rallied around
different standards in separate assemblies, yet no lasting injury ensued.
By mutual concessions and explanations, a reunion of the conflicting parties
was effected during
the same meeting, and they retired from the scene a united body.
In 1776. this great Association had increased to 74 churches; but the
embarrassments of the war of the revolution, in a great measure checked
their progress and
prosperity; their meetings generally were but thinly attended, and their
appear to have consisted in snaking exertions to free themselves from the
civil grievances and
oppression under which they as a denomination labored.
Union of the Regulars and Separates in 1787.
The schism which took place among the Regulars and Separate Baptists in
1766, soon after their
rise in the State, had continued without being completely, healed for about
twenty years, although
a friendly intercourse bad been occasionally kept up amongst them. But now
the happy period
had arrived, in which all the dispute between these two bodies were
compromised, buried and
forgotten. The adjustment of these disputes was conducted by- the General
Committee on the
part of the Separates, and on that of the Regulars by delegates for the
purpose from the Ketockton
Association; and tool; place at the fourth session of the General Committee,
which was held at
Dover meeting-house in Goochland county. At this meeting, delegates from
of the Separates and a number from the Ketockton were assembled, when,
pursuant to a previous
appointment, the subject of the union between the Regulars and Separates was
taken up, and after
a brief and temperate discussion of their differences, a happy and effectual
union was formed,
and their party names dismissed and buried.
The objections on the part of the Separates related chiefly to matters of
trivial importance, such
as dress, &c., and had been for some time removed, so as to be no bar of
communion. On the
other hand, the Regulars complained, that the Separates were not
suffuiciently explicit in their
principles, having never published or sanctioned any confession of faith;
and that they kept
within their communion many who were professed Arminians.
To these things it was answered, by the Separates, that a large majority of
them believed as much
in their confession of faith as they did themselves, although they did not
entirely approve of the
practice of religious societies binding themselves too strictly by
confessions of faith, seeing there
was danger of their finally usurping too high a place; that if there were
some among them who
leaned too much to the Arminian system, they were men of exemplary piety and
in the Redeemer's kingdom; and they conceived it better to bear with some
diversity of opinion
in doctrines, than to break with men whose Christian deportment rendered
them amiable in the
estimation of all true lovers of genuine godliness. Indeed, that some of
them had now become
fathers in the gospel, was, previous to the bias which their minds had
received, had borne the
brunt and heat of persecution, whose labors and sufferings God had done, and
still continued to
bless to the great advancement of his cause-to exclude such as those from
would be like tearing the limbs from the body.
These and such like arguments were agitated both in public and private, so
that all minds were
much mollified before the final and successful attempt for union was made.
The terms of the
union were entered on the Minutes in the following words, viz.
"The committee appointed to consider the terms of union with our Regular
that they conceive the manner in which the regular baptist confession of
faith has beau received
by a former Association, is the ground-work for such union, The manner of
this reception was,
that they should retain their liberty with regard to the construction of
.some of the objectionable
After considerable debate, as to the propriety of having any confession of
faith at all, the report of
the committee was received, with the following explanation
"To prevent the Confession of Faith from usurping a tyrannical power over
the consciences of
any, we do not mean that every person is bound to the strict observance of
every thing therein
contained; yet that it holds forth the essential truths of the gospel, and
that the doctrine of
salvation by Christ, and free and unmerited grace alone ought to be believed
by every Christian,
and maintained by every minister of the gospel. Upon these terms we are
united and desire
hereafter that the name of Regular and Separate he buried in oblivion, and
that from henceforth
we shall be known by the name of the UNITED BAPTIST CHURCHES IN
This union took place when a revival of religion had commenced, which soon
broke forth on the
right hand and on the left, throughout the State; "and nothing," says Mr.
Sempel, their historian,
"could be more salutary than this conjunction of dissevered brethren, and
temper of the parties by which it was effected; and they have, from that
period to the present
time, most fully demonstrated that it was an union of hearts as well as
The ecclesiastical affairs of Virginia-Laws against dissenters--a summary
view of the
sufferings of the baptists under the power of the establishment--the first
imprisonment--John Blair in their favor--Patrick Henry and others
ditto--overthrow of the
National Establishment -general assessment-great revival--General
THE ECCLESIASTICAL ESTABLISHMENT OF THIS STATE.
"THE first settlers of this country were emigrants from England, of the
English church, just at a
point of time when it was flushed with complete victory over the religions
of all other
persuasions." Possessed, as they became, of the powers of making,
administering, and executing
the laws, they showed equal intolerance in this country with their
Presbyterian brethren, who had
emigrated to the northern government.
" The Episcopalians retained full possession of the country about a century.
began to creep in; and the great care of the government to support their own
begotten an equal degree of indolence in its clergy, two-thirds of the.
people had become
dissenters at the commencement of the revolution. The laws were still
oppressive on them; but
the spirit of one party had subsided into moderation, and of the other had
risen to a degree of
determination which commanded respect.
The first care of the early Legislature was to provide for the church. By
the first act of 1623, it
was provided that in every plantation or settlement there had be a house or
room set apart for the
worship of God according to the canons of the Church of England, to which a,
"To preserve 'the purity of doctrine and unity of the church,' it was
enacted, in 1613, that
all ministers should be conformable to the orders and constitutions of the
Church of England,
and that no others be permitted to teach or preach publicly or privately. It
was further provided, '
that the Governor and Council should take care that all non-conformists
departed the colony with
"The first allowance made to the ministers was ten pounds of tobacco and a
bushel of corn for
each titheable. which meant every laboring person, of whatever color or
condition; the twentieth
calf, kid, or pig was soon after added to the minister's allowance. But this
law was repealed in
"Tobacco was then the staple commodity of the country, and the foundation of
currency in all business transactions. Taxes, fines, and assessments of all
kinds were to be paid in
this article. Fines varied from one pound to one thousand."
The whole system of this first religious hierarchy in this country is found
in Semple's History of
the Virginia Baptists, my 2d Vol., and Henings Statutes at large.
Laws against dissenters. In 1643 the old English laws against popish
enacted in this colony.
"Several acts of the Virginia Assembly, from 1659 to 63, had made it penal
in their parents not to
have their children baptized; and against the quakers, who were flying from
persecution at home,
the laws of this colony were alarmingly severe; and if no executions took
place here as in New
England, it was not owing to the moderation of the church or the spirit of
the Legislature, as may
be inferred from the law itself, but to historical circumstances which have
not been handed down
As the baptists were not known in this country, in these early times, no
respect was had to them
in any of these severe enactments. The law compelling parents to have their
children baptized, in
all probability, was intended for the Quakers rather than them.
And in this respect the Virginians differed entirely from the New
Englanders. In their legislation,
the anabaptists were continually held in view, and their persecuting laws
were framed with a
special design to hinder the spread of their opinions, or drive them from
Again, the New England people took especial care to pocket the fines of
disobedience, for which
those of the ancient dominion seemed to have, but little care.
A Summary View of the Suferings of the Baptists under the forms of
Law, or without
The first appearance of the denomination in this country excited no alarm;
most of their converts
were from that class of people who were of but, a small account in society;
their preachers were
generally illiterate; their assemblies and their efforts were in places
remote and obscure, and the
language of the leading men in church and State was, let them alone, they
will soon fall out
among themselves and come to nothing. In some places the maxim was adhered
persecution in a legal shape was never known. But in many others, alarmed
by their rapid
increase, the men in power, especially those in the lowest functions,
strained every penal law in
the Virginia code to obtain ways and means to put down the disturbers of the
peace, as they were
Although their baptisms were open and abundant, and many of their converts
were from the
established church, yet but little was said against them on this account.
The burden of the
complaints of their opposers was, that they were. disturbers of the peace,
as will soon appear.
This was the head and front of their offending; this was the first article
in all accusations,
whether they carne from the minister of the church or of the law, or from
the rude and rustic
assailants, who were notoriously irreligious and immoral, and who, as Morgan
said, had not wit enough to sin in a genteel manner.
"It seems by no means certain," says Semple, " that any law in force in
Virginia authorized the
imprisonment of any person for preaching. The law for the preservation of
peace, however, was
so interpreted as to answer this purpose; and, accordingly, whenever the
apprehended, it was done by a peace warrant."
The first instance of actual imprisonment, we believe, that ever took place
in Virginia, was in the
county of Spottsylvania, on the 4th of June, 1768. John Waller, Lewis Craig,
James Childs, and
others, were seized by the sheriff, and hauled before three magistrates, who
stood in the
meeting-house yard, and who bound them, in the penalty of one thousand
pounds, to appear at
court two days after. At court they were arraigned as disturbers of the
peace; on their trial they
were vehemently accused by a certain lawyer, who said to the court, "May it
worships, these men are great disturbers of the peace; they cannot meet a
man on the road, but
they rain a text of Scripture down his throat." Mr. Waller made his own and
defense so ingeniously, that they were somewhat puzzled to know how to
dispose of their. They
offered to release them if they would promise to preach no more in the
county for a year and a
day. This they refused, and therefore were sent into close jail. As they
were moving on from the
courthouse to the prison, through the streets of Fredericksburg, they sang
"Broad is the road that leads to death," &c.
This solemn procession, anti this bold and fearless conduct on the part of a
company of men who
were conscious of having committed no offence descrying such treatment,
produced a prodigious
effect on all who witnessed the scene, and had a powerful reaction in favor
of the cause for which
After four weeks' confinement, Lewis Craig was released from prison, and
down to Williamsburg to get a release for his companions. He waited on the
the Hon. John Blair, stated the case before him, and received the following
letter, directed to the
King's attorney in Spottsylvania:
"Sir--I lately received a letter; signed by a good number of worthy-
gentlemen who are not here,
complaining of the baptists; the particulars of their misbehavior are not
told any farther than their
running into private houses and making dissensions. Mr. Craig and Mr.
Benjamin Wallet are
now with me, and deny the charge. They toll rue they are willing to take the
oath as others have. I
told them I had consulted the Attorney-General, who is of opinion that the
General Court only
lave power to grant licenses, and therefore I referred them to the court;
but, on their application
to the Attorney-General, they brought me his letter, advising me to write to
you: That their
petition was a matter of right, and that you may not molest these
conscientious people, so long as
they behave themselves in a manner becoming pious Christians and in
obedience to the laws, till
the court, when they intend to apply for licenses, and when the gentlemen
who complain may
make their objections and he heard. The act of toleration (it being found by
persecuting dissenters increased their numbers) has given them a right to
apply, in a proper
manner, for licensed houses for the worship of God, according to their
consciences; and I
persuade myself the gentlemen will quietly overlook their meetings till the
court. I am told they
administer the sacrament of the Lord's Sapper near the manner we do, and
differ in nothing from
oar church but in that of baptism and their renewing the ancient discipline;
by which they have
reformed some sinners, and brought thorn to he truly penitent; nay if a man
of theirs is idle, and
neglects to labor and provide for his family as he ought, he incurs their
censures which have had
good effects. If this be their behavior, it were to be wished we had some of
it among us; but, at
least, I hope all men may remain quiet till court.
" I am, with great at respects to the gentlemen, sir, your humble
Williamsburg, July 16, 1768. JOHN BLAIR"
This letter, so creditable to this high officer of the King, met with a cold
reception from the
"Waller and the others continued in jail forty-three clays, and were then
discharged without any
conditions. While in prison, they constantly preached through the grates;
the mob without used
every exertion to prevent the people from hearing, but to little purpose.
Many heard, indeed, to
whom the word came in demonstration of the spirit and with power.
"After their discharge, which was a kind of triumph, Waller, Craig, and
their compeers in the
ministry, resumed their labors with redoubled vigor, gatherine fortitude
from their late sufferings,
thanking God they were counted worthy to sutler fur Christ and his Gospel.
Day and night, and,
indeed, almost every day and night, they held meetings in their own and the
neighborhoods. The spread of the Gospel and of baptist principles was equal
to their exertions;
insomuch, that in very few sections of Virginia did the baptist c:ruse
appear more formidable to
its enemies, and more connoting to its friends, than in Spottsylvania;; and,
we may add, so it is
to thin day."10
"Waller was viewed as a ringleader in these offensive excitements, and wan
"Not unfrequently their leading men would attend the baptist meetings, eater
into arguments with
the preachers, and plead the superior claims of their church, their
ministers, &c.--accuse the
Baptists as false prophets, wolves in sheep's clothing, and close with the
standing complaint, that
all was quiet before those disturbers of their peace came among them.
"To these arguments, Waller and the other preachers boldly and readily
replied, flint if they were
wolves in sheep's clothing, and they were ti-tie sheep, it was quite
unaccountable that they were
persecuted and cast into prison; a, it is well known that wolves would
destroy sheep, but, never,
until them, drat sheep would prey- upon wolves; that their coming might
indeed interrupt their
peace, but certainly, if it did, it must be a false peace, bordering on
In this manner the opposition continued, until the troubles and dangers of
the war of the
revolution called the attention of all parties to a new field of
controversy, and soon the hitherto
dominant part were glad to have the aid of dissenters in their struggle fur
liberty, civil and
About thirty of the ministers were imprisoned, and some as many as four
times each, for different
periods of tune, besides a number of exhorters and companions, whose only
fault was their being
in company with their clerical brethren.
"These scenes of incarceration were generally turned to a good account by
the zealous reformers;
public sympathy was aroused in favor of these victims of au unwise and
ill-timed opposition, and
multitudes gathered around the prisons to bear the bold addresses of these
fearless heralds of the
eras, through the iron grates, open doors, and all avenues of utterance.
In some cases, drums were beaten in the tune of service; high enclosures
wore erected before the
prison windows by malicious opponents; matches and other suffocating
materials were burnt
outside the prison door. But all these malignant stratagems were of but
little avail; the current
continued to roll, and the a obnoxious sentiments everywhere prevailed.
In the language of John Leland, who resided in the State about this tune,
the dragon roared with
hideous peals, but was not red; the beast appeared formidable, but was not
Virginia soil has never been stained with vital blood for conscience'
From the beginning, the Baptists were unremitting in their exertions to
obtain liberty of
conscience; they contended that they could not be imprisoned by any existing
laws; that they
were entitled to the same, privileges that were enjoyed by the dissenters in
England. Their judges,
however, decided otherwise, and as there was no regular appeal, the
propriety of that decision has
not been legally ascertained; the prevailing opinion in the present day is,
that their imprisonment
In the midst of their struggles, this oppressed people were so fortunate as
to secure the interest of
the famous Patrick Henry, who, though a member of the State establishment,
yet, being always
the friend of liberty, lie espoused their cause, and continued their
unwavering friend until their
complete emancipation was effected.
Many other men of great influence favored their cause, some from one motive,
and some from
another; their congregations were large, and when any of their men of
talents preached they were
crowded. The patient manner in, which they suffered persecution, raised
their reputation for piety
and goodness in the estimation of a large majority of the people. Their
increased in a surprising degree. Every month new places were found by the
to plant the Redeemer's standard. In these places but a few might become
baptists, yet the
majority would be favorable. Many who had expressed great hostility to them,
upon forming a
more close acquaintance with them, professed to be undeceived.
Overthrow of the National Establishment.
Now, matters were rapidly advancing to their final issue. An unguarded
heedlessness, the certain
prelude of calamity and downfall, on the part of a large portion of the
ministers of the
establishment, who were pampered and secure amidst patronage and power, made
them the easy
victims of their indolence and inactivity.
On the other hand, the political revolution was rolling on with impetus
force, regardless of all the
vestiges of royalty in church or state. Republican principles had gained
much ground, and were
fast advancing to superiority; the leading men on that side viewed the
established clergy and the
established religion as inseparable appendages of monarchy, one of the
pillars by which it was
supported. The dissenters, at least the baptists, were republicans from
interest as well as
principle; it was known that their interest was great among the common
people, and the common
people in every country are, more or less, republicans. To resist British
it was necessary to soothe the minds of the people by every species of
policy. The dissenters
were too powerful to be slighted, and too watchful to be cheated by an
There lead been a time when they would have been satisfied to have paid
their tithes, if they
could have had liberty of conscience; but now the crisis was such, that
nothing less than a total
overthrow of all ecclesiastical distinctions would satisfy their sanguine
hopes. Having started the
decaying edifice, every dissenter put to his shoulder to push it into
irretrievable ruin. The
revolutionary party found that the sacrifice must be made, and they made
General assessment. It is said, and probably with truth, that many of
the members of the
established church joined in the vote for its abolition, under the
expectation of a general
assessment, in which all would be bound to contribute for the support of
religion; and as most of
the men of wealth were on their side, their ministry could be easily
maintained. This, it appeared
in the sequel, was a vain expectation. The people having once shaken off the
fetter, would not
again permit themselves to be bound. Moreover the war now rising to its
height, they were too
much in need of funds to permit any of their resources to be devoted to any
other purpose during
that period; and we shall see, that when it was attempted a few years after
the expiration of the
war, the people set their faces against it.
The project had been previously broached, and in 1784 a bill, which had for
its object the
compelling of every person to contribute to some religious teacher, was
introduced into the
House of Delegates, under the title of "A bill establishing provisions for
the teachers of the
This bill, by a resolution of the House, was terra by to another session.
Dissenters generally took the alarm, memorials and remonstrances were
circulated with great
activity, and were poured into the legislature from every quarter. Rev.
Reuben Ford was the
bearer of one from the General Committee of the Virginia baptists, who, we
believe, were the
only denomination who took a uniform and open stand against the measure. Of
parties it is said, that the laity and clergy were at variance on the
subject, so as to paralyze the
exertions either for or against the bill.
These remarks apply to religious societies as such. Individuals of all
parties joined in the
opposition, and Presbyterians, Baptists, Quakers, Methodists, Deists, and
the covetous, readily
and eagerly signed the petition against it,and the question was
given up forever.
Rites of Matrimony. Under the old ecclesiastical establishment, no
person could celebrate
the rites of matrimony but a minister of the church of England, and
according to the ceremonies
prescribed in the book of Common, Prayer.
It was not until the year 1784, that the dissenters were put on the same
footing as all other
persons, with respect to celebrating the rites of matrimony. By this act the
might be performed by any minister licensed to preach, according to the
rules of the sect of
which he professed to be a member The same act has been incorporated in a
late revisal of the
In 1798 the legislature repealed all laws vesting property in the hands of
any religious sect, by
which the Episcopalians were deprived of the glebes, &c., and by which all
religious sects were
put into a state of perfect equality, as it respected the favors of
Great revival in 1755, and onward. Although the war of the Revolution had a
salutary effect on
the outward condition of the baptists, and outer dissenters, yet it had an
opposite influence in
their spiritual affairs. All had been so much engrossed with anxious
thoughts and schemes for
effecting the revolution, as well as with alternate hopes and fears fur the
event, that they were
left, at the close of that eventful struggle, in :t sad condition of
religious coldness anti stupidity.
New openings for trade and an increasing desire for worldly accumulations,
had an unfavorable
influence on the interest of internal piety. Some of their watchmen fell,
others stumbled, and
many slumbered, and many ministers of great influence removed to Kentucky
and the west.
Associations were but thinly attended, and business was badly conducted. The
long and great
declension induced many to fear that God had wholly forsaken them.
Such is the gloomy picture drawn by Mr. Semple, their historian.
"But in 1785, at the period above referred to, the set time to favor Zion
had come, and as the
declension had been general, so was the revival which followed. The work
commenced on James
River, and spread with astonishing rapidity in different directions over
most of the whole State,
and as it continued for several years, there were very few churches which
were not visited with
its salutary influence. Thousands were added to the baptist churches,
besides marry who joined
the Methodists, Presbyterians and other societies."
The peculiarities of this extensive work, which lasted six or seven years,
are thus described by
the historian so often referred to, and although the scenes may be offensive
to most men of the
present day, yet, as a matter of historical veracity, I feel bound to insert
"During the progress of this revival, scenes were exhibited somewhat
extraordinary. It was not
unusual to have a large proportion of the congregation prostrate on the
floor, and in some
instances they lost the use of their limbs. No distinct articulation could
be heard, unless from
those immediately by; screams, groans, shouts, and hosanna., notes of grief
and joy, all at the
same time, were not unfrequently heard throughout their vast assemblies. At
great meetings, where there were several ministers, man- of them would
officiate at the same
time, in different parts of the congregation, some in exhortation, some in
praying for the
distressed, and some in argument with opposers. At first, many of the
preachers disapproved of
these exercises, as being enthusiastic and extravagant, others fanned them
as fire from heaven. It
is not unworthy of notice, that in those congregations where preachers
encouraged them to much
extent, the work was more extensive, and greater numbers were added. It must
also be admitted,
that in many of those congregations, no little confusion and disorder arose
after the revival
subsided; some have accounted for this by an old maxim: Where much, good is
done much evil
will also be done; where God sows many hood seeds, the enemy will saw many
lures. But certain
it is that many ministers, who labored earnestly to get christians into
their churches, were
afterwards perplexed to get hypocrites out."
"From this revival great changes took place among the baptists, some for the
better, and others
for the worse. Their preachers were becoming much more correct in their
manner of preaching. A
great many odd tones, disgusting whoops, and awkward gestures were disused.
In their matter
also, they had more of sound sense and strong reasoning. Their zeal was less
enthusiasm, and their piety became more rational. They were much more
numerous, and of
course, in the. eyes of the world, more respectable. Besides, they were
joined by persons of much
greater weight in civil society. Their congregations became more numerous
than those of any
other christian sect; and, in short, they might be considered, from this
period, as taking the lead in
matters of religion, in many places of the State. This could not but
influence their manners and
spirit more or less. Accordingly, a great deal of that simplicity and
plainness, that rigid
scrupulosity about little matters, which so happily tends to peep us at a
distance front greater
follies, were laid aside. Their mode of preaching also was somewhat changed.
At their first
entrance into the State, though not very scrupulous as to their method and
language, yet they
were quite correct in their views, upon all subjects of primary importance.
No preachers ever
held out to their hearers the nature of experimental religion more clearly
and warmly. But after
they had acquired a degree of respectability in the view of the world, they
departed too much
front this most profit able mode of preaching, and began to harp too much on
disputable points. To dive deep into mysterious subjects, and to make
unrevealed points, looked snore wise, and excited more applause, than to
travel on in the old
tract:: and this tampering with matters beyond their reach, to the neglect
of plain and edifying
subjects, is too common at present, with many of our preachers in this
region as well as
A short Account of the Public Bodies which in succession, here
had the general
oversight of the affairs of the Denomination in this State
General Committee. This body was organized in 1784, and continued its
fifteen years, viz., until 1799, when it was dissolved.
One article in the rules of this body was, that no petition, memorial, or
remonstrance, should be
presented to the General Assembly, from any Association in connection with
Committee, without its concurrence. Such was the zeal at this time for
appearing before the
legislature, where they had always met with a favorable reception, that
fears were entertained that
the people, in their zeal for freedom, might send some unnecessary
instrument of the kind, and
thereby injure the cause which was now in a, promising way.
Reuben Ford, John Williams, John Leland, and John Waller, appear to have
been the most active
in conducting the general affairs of the Virginia Baptists in these
General Meeting of Correspondence. This meeting, like the General
formed of Delegates from all the Associations which chose to promote it. It
was organized in
1800. and continued in being about twenty years, when it was succeeded by
BAPTIST GENERAL ASSOCIATION OF VIRGINIA, which was formed in 1823, and has
become a body of great efficiency and usefulness.
The oldest in the State, viz.: Ketockton, and Rapid-Ann, or General-the
fifteen in Semple's
history-Dover-Rappahannock-Portsmouth-Middle District and its branches-
Goshen-Albermarle- Shiloh-Ketockton, and all, the others in eastern
No State, south or west, furnishes such an amount of materials for general
history as the
Old Dominion, and nowhere in all this extensive region has the affairs of
our society been so
fully investigated and been made so easy of access to the historical
inquirer as in the State
now under consideration. This being the case, my selections from Semple and
others have been
so much extended, that my limits will compel me to go through this :great
territory with all
convenient expedition. I shall merely notice the Associations which have
arisen up within its
bounds, and give my usual sketches, historical and statistical, of those now
in existence, as much
as possible in a geographical connection. For my own convenience and that of
the reader, I shall
divide the geographical into three sections, eastern., middle, and western.
These divisions are
unequal as to their geographical extent, and also as to the baptist
population which they
Eastern Division, or Eastern Virginia. This great section of the State
includes all east of the
mountains, from Maryland on the north to North Carolina on the south. This,
I believe, is what
the people here mean by eastern Virginia; at any rate, for my present
purpose, I shall adopt this
geographical nomenclature. The middle or central division includes the great
valley Which lics
between the Blue Ridge and the Alleghany mountains; and the western
division, all beyond the
Alleghanies to the most western boundaries of the State.
Eastern Virginia, for a long time, embraced most of the population of the
State; in different
portions of this region, all the companies of Baptists that f have named
made their settlements,
and began their operations; by them, the first churches and Associations
were planted, all of
which, except the Strawberry, were this side of the mountains; and as we
shall see, when the
account is made tap, the most of the baptist community now in Virginia is
found in the eastern
division. This cis-montane territory is again divided by James River, which
runs through it in an
eastern direction from the mountains, till it empties into the Chesapeake
Bay. In old tunes, so far
as baptist history is concerned, much use was made of this river as aline of
when they adopted the plan of reinstituting the office of apostles for the
government of the
Baptist church in this State, two of them were on the north anti one on the
south of this river.
The Ketockton Association is the oldest of the kind in Virginia, which has
existed to the present
time; a number of bodies which arose in early times, either have run down
entirely, or were
remodeled under new names.
In 1809, when Semple's History of the Virginia Baptists was published, there
Associations wholly in this State; six of them, viz: Dover, Goshen,
Accomack, and Ketockton were on the north of James river. Portsmouth, Middle
Meherrin, Appomattox, Roanoke, anti Strawberry were on the southern side;
Greenbrier, and Union were west of the Alleghany rnountains. Mayo, Holston,
and Redstone had
a part of their churches in this State, but most of them were in the states
of N. C., Tenn., Ohio,
I have found it somewhat difficult to satisfy my own mind, as to the
collocation of the
Associations in the division now under review, but have concluded to take
the largest first, and
then go round with the others, in the most convenient arrangement I can
This great community bears date from 1783, it being one of the four branches
froth the great body of the Separate Baptists, which, at that time, by
mutual agreement, divided
their wide-spread fraternity.
As I shall frequently find it necessary to refer to this transaction, I
shall here recapitulate what has
been already stated in the preceding narratives.
The New Lights, or, as they were then denominated, the Separate Baptists,
who descended from
small company of New England adventurers, had, in about a quarter of a
century from their
commencement in Virginia, collected in one great body upwards of seventy
churches; it extended
over most of the State where the denomination had gained any proselytes, and
had become too
unwieldy for convenience or profit.
The four Associations into which this great company were divided, were Dover
and Orange on
the north, and Middle District and Roanoke on the south of James River.
This body took its name from a church, now very small, in the county of
Goochland; it was not
superior to the other divisions at first, but in process of time, its
numbers were greatly
augmented, so that before the Rappahannock went off froth it, they amounted
to upwards of
twenty thousand; its numerical strength is still very great, as it embraces
the great churches in
the capital, and the surrounding country.
CITY OF RICHMOND
FIRST CHURCH. This body was founded in 1780, not long after the surrender of
army under lord Cornwallis. Excepting one of the Episcopal order, this is
said to be the oldest
religious society in this city.
From the Church Manual of this ancient community, published this year, which
I am happy to
have in my possession, I shall extract its history from the beginning:
" This little hand scarcely exceeded, at the time of its constitution, the
apostolic number; it
consisted of only fourteen members. They were united together under the
pastoral care of Elder
Joshua Morris, a member of Boar Swamp, from the neighborhood of which lie
Richmond, to undertake the charge of this infant church. The congregation
assembled in a
building (long since removed) situated at the north-east angle formed by the
junction of Cary
street with Second street. Elder Morris continued his labors during several
subsequently removed to Kentucky.
"In 1788, Elder John Courtney took charge of the church, and his ministry
appears to have been
very much blessed. Could the writer have obtained the requisite documents,
it would have been
very pleasing to trace the gradual progress of the church; but in this he
has only been able to
succeed partially. About twenty years after Elder Courtney had become
pastor, we find from a
record preserved in Semple's History, that the number of members had
increased to 560. At this
time, also, there were several of the brethren licensed preachers. In the
year 1810, Elder John
Brice was associated with Elder Courtney; upon his resignation in 1820,
Elder Andrew Broaddus
sustained for a few months the same relation to the church; after which
Elder Brice resumed his
co-pastorate. Upon his finally removing, in 1822 Elder Henry Keeling was
chosen co-pastor, and
continued to discharge the duties of that office till after the decease of
Elder Courtney. It was on
the 18th of December, 1824, that this venerable servant of Jesus found, that
while to him to live
had been Christ vet to die was gain. Flo, had faithfully served the church
for thirty-six years,
though bodily infirmities much diminished the frequency of his public
labors, and for the two last
years entirety suspended them.
In June, 1820, about five years previous to the decease of Elder Courtney,
17 members were
dismissed for the purpose of forming a second Baptist church, which, from
this small beginning,
has gradually increased, till it numbers 510 members; a result which lends
greatly to promote the
prosperity of the denomination, and which calls for devout thankfulness to
the Author of all
"In the month of January, 1825, Elder Keeling resigned, and in March, Elder
John Kerr accepted
the vacant charge. In the years 1826-7, the church was favored with a
gracious revival, which
resulted in the addition of above: 200 members; and in 1831, during a series
meetings, the labors of Elder Kerr, assisted by Elders Baptist and Fife,
were blessed to an extent
still more remarkable; in a period of less than twelve months, more than 500
added, 217 of whom were white persons.
"In the years 1831-2, a painful state of thing., existed, chiefly resulting
from the infusion of the
sentiments of Mr. A. Campbell, who, not having yet avowed the most obnoxious
of his errors,
had unhappily been afforded the opportunity of gradually disseminating them,
by his frequently
occupying the pulpit during his residence in Richmond as one of the
delegates in the Convention
for remodeling the Constitution of the State;. The result was, the
separation of above 70
members, who formed themselves into a society upon the principles they had
been led to adopt,
but whom the church determined not to fellowship.
"At the termination of the year 1832, Elder Kerr resigned his pastoral
charge; but early in the
Year hollowing, at the urgent desire of the church, Martially resumed it,
till they should succeed
in obtaining another pastor. fn May, 1833, Elder I. T. Hinton accepted that
the following winter, a protracted meeting held in conjunction with the
Second church, during
which, brethren Hyter, Fife, Jeter, and Coleman, labored abundantly, was
attended with the
divine blessing, anti a considerable addition to both churches."
Rev. I. T. Hinton, now pastor of a baptist church in New Orleans, held the
pastorship about two
years. Successor to him was
Rev. J. B. Jeter, the present pastor. His settlement took place in January,
"In the autuinn of 1841, the church having erected, at an expense of
$10,000, a spacious and
convenient place of worship, relinquished their old house to the exclusive
occupation of the
colored people-an arrangement which has contributed greatly to the advantage
"In 1842, the church enjoyed an interesting revival, in which 160 members, a
majority of them
male, were baptized."
SECOND CHURCH. This church arose forty years after the founding of the
First, viz., in 1820.
It consisted at first of seventeen members, all of whom had belonged to the
Rev. David Roper was the first pastor of this body, in which office lie
continued about six years.
Successor to him was
Rev. Jas. B. Taylor, whose pastorship extended to near the time that he went
into the next body
to be named, a period of about seven years.
Rev. E I. Magoon, now pastor of it church in Cincinnati, Ohio, was Mr.
successor; his pastorship continued till 1846.
Rev. ______ Reynolds, the present pastor, came into office the same rear.
The Second church
also, simultaneously with the First, created a new house of worship, about
equal to that of the
mother body- in capacity and finish.
THIRD or GRACE STREET CHURCH. With one or two exceptions, the Third Baptist
of Richmond was constituted of members, dismissed for the purpose, horn the;
"From the year 1826 to 1833, the Second church, under the pastoral care of
Elder James B.
Taylor, was favored with numerous accessions, until it became a question of
whether an effort should not be made to extend the influence of truth, by
the formation of another
church, in the northern part of the city. Accordingly, of a church meeting,
held February 21st,
1833, the following resolution was adopted:
"Resolved, That it is expedient that exertions be made by this church to
raise another church and
congregation, with a view to the furtherance of the kingdom of Christ, to
worship in some
suitable place to be provided, not further south than Fourth street, nor far
from H street.
"At the same meeting, a committee was appointed, and then re-appointed
monthly, to carry the
above resolution into effect. This committee, under the guidance of Elder
continued, for a series of months, to conduct social worship at private
houses, until the second
day of December, 1833, when eighteen individuals, fifteen of whom were from
church, one from the first, and two from country churches, were publicly
recognized as an
independent church of the Lord Jesus. The religious service, were conducted
in the presence of a
large congregation, at the meeting-house of the Second Baptist Church. Elder
Henry Keeling was
chosen their pastor. A neat, comfortable house of worship, 40 by 50 feet,
corner of Marshall and
Second streets, was opened for the reception of the church the 19th of May,
1834. During the
month of August, 1837, the pastoral relation between the church and Elder
Keeling, by mutual
consent, ceased to exist; aria in November of the same veal, Elder Lewis A.
the invitation to assume the duties of the pastorate. At this time, the
church numbered 61. Before
the close of the year 1838 the church was again destitute of a pastor, by
the resignation of Elder
Alderson; the number of members being 114, of whom 46 were colored
Rev. James B. Taylor, then late pastor of the Second church, came
into office here in
1840, where he continued about sit years, when he was transferred to the
secretaryship of the
Southern Missionary Convention. The name of his successor, if one has been
appointed, I am not
able to give.
FOURTH CHURCH. The date of this body I am not able to state. Rev. A. B.
Smith was the
pastor in 1845.
AFRICAN CHURCH. The origin of this great community as a separate interest
has already been
suggested in the history of the First church. The colored members had, for a
long time, beers
about quadruple to that of the whites. They, by mutual agreement, continued
to occupy the old
capacious building, where their assemblages are very large.
Rev. Robert Ryland, who is the head of the Baptist Seminary in this city,
which is designed
ultimately for a college, has the pastoral care of this numerous
congregation. The communicants
alone are upwards of two thousand.
SECOND AFRICAN CHURCH. The date of this body I cannot give. Such alt
believe, exists in this city, and that it originated from the Second church
Recapitulation of the Churches in Richmond.
|First Church,||1780||J. B. Jeter||503
|Second Church||1520||J. L. Reynolds,||527
|Fourth Church||____||A. B. Smith||169
|African Church||1841||R. Ryland||2,167
|2d African Church,|| || ||(estimated) 300
The other churches in this Association whose members amount to one hundred
or more, with
their pastors, are given in the note below.
Very great changes have taken place during the sixty-four years which have
elapsed since the
Dover branch of the old General Association became a distinct
The Dover church, from which this Association took its name, was planted by
Samuel Harris, J.
Read, J. Waller, and others, in 1773. It must have: been an important.
establishment at the time,
and thirty years after its formation, Semple reports it at 275 members.
But by the returns on the Minutes for 1845, its membership was reduced to
forty, save one.
Richmond, on the other hand, which has since become the centre of
operations, not only for this
community, but the whole State, was then a small town of less than 2,000
with one small infant church of our order, whose pastor had the
privilege of preaching to them once a month at his own cost, as was
generally the case with all
pastors in that age. The churches in this Association are situated in the
counties of Henrico,
Hanover, Goochland, Caroline, King William, New Kent, &c.
Was formed from the Dover, in 1843; it came into being a full grown body,
and now, in
numerical strength, it is in advance of the mother institution. The
circumstances attending the
formation of this great, although young community, are thus related by its
"Owing to the great extent and size of the old Dover Association, for many
years there was a
strong desire to have it divided but the difficulty of finding a proper line
of separation always
defeated the proposition fir dividing, till the session of the Dover
Association at Salem, in
Caroline county, in October, 1812. A committee having been appointed at the
reported that the York river, from it., mouth tip to its head, and tben the
Mattaponi, to the upper
limits of the Association in Caroline county, Va., should be the lines of
division between the new
(or Rappahannock) Association and the Dover; thence a straight line crossing
River below Fredericksburg, through King (;core county to the Potomac River;
Potomac to the Chesapeake Bay; in length about 120 miles, in breadth fore 30
to 40. This
division left the old Association with 37 churches, amt the new with sib.
The number now is
Rev. Addison Hall was the moderator, and L. W. Allen, clerk, of the first
Mr. Allen, according to the custom of the country, had the spiritual
oversight, at the time lie
wrote me, of three churches, of which he has given souse
historical sketches, which I regret my limits will not permit the to
BRUINGTON CHURCH, Rev. R. H. Bagby, pastor in 1845, belongs to this body.
Rev. R. B. Semple, D.D., was long the pastor of this church. This body, I
should judge from the
report of the doings of the churches, for benevolent objects, of which
returns were made in 1845,
is among their most efficient communities.
The EBENEZER CHURCH, Gloucester Co., P. Taliaferro, pastor, is the largest
in this body.
This body was formed by a large colony from the old Kehukee, which went off
by themselves in
1790. It began with nineteen churches.
Elders J. Meglamre and David Barrow, who afterwards removed to Ky.,
generally officiated as
moderators of this Association during the early periods of its existence.
This Association occupies the oldest baptist ground its Virginia, where lite
first company of the
denomination made their settlement; it is situated in the south-east corner
of the State, and
extends front Portsmouth and Norfolk to Petersburg, along James river,
mostly, if not altogether,
on its southern side. The largest churches are in the places just named, and
in their vicinities.
The PORTSMOUTH CHURCH was founded in 1798, with 68 members.
Rev. Thomas Armistead was the first pastor; after hint, in succession, they
had Josiah Bishop, a
man of color, Thos. Etheredge, Jacob Grigg, Davis Biggs, and probably some
Rev. Thomas Hame, the present incumbent, bets been in office here some ten
years or more.
NORFOLK CHURCH, CUMBERLAND STREET, was formed from the Portsmouth, in 1815.
Semple gives a doleful account of the calamities which befel this body in
its early movements, in
consequence of a succession of errant and unworthy ministers who were
inducted into the
pastoral office. The names of all the incumbents here I have
Dr. Howell, now of Nashville, Tenn., according to Allen's Register for 1833,
appears to have
been in this station at that date.
Rev. I.. G. Robinson, now a professor in the Covington Institution, near
Cincinnati, occupied this
station a few years.
PETERSBURG. This town or city abounds with baptists, but of none of the
churches have I
gained sufficient information for the construction of my usual notices its
to their dates,
succession of pastors, &c.
The three last pastors of the church of whites have come and gone with the
quick step of modern
times. Their names are J. P. Tustin, now of Warren, R. I.; J. R. Scott, the
present pastor of the
Hampton church, in the Dover Association; and J. C. Jordan, who has lately
There are three churches of colored people, which, in the aggregate, contain
upwards of 2,500
members. All the information I have obtained respecting them is what appears
on the Minutes of
this body for 1846, and a few items communicated by Mr. Scott while lie was
in the town.
The FIRST AFRICAN CHURCH appears to have been the first on this ground, and
years before a the church of whites was formed; this is now the largest
church in this
The three Associations, Dover, Rappahannock, and Portsmouth, whose history
has been briefly
related, contain together upwards of 34,000 members, being considerably over
one-third of the
baptist communicants in the whole of Virginia. They are situated contiguous
to each other, born
the city of Richmond and its vicinity, down to the Chesapeake Bay and the
south-east corner of
the State. The James, York, and Rappahannock rivers run through that
populous portion of
eastern Virginia in which this great mass of our denomination is found.
I shall now follow out, in their various ramifications, the other three
branches of the old
confederacy of Separate baptists, which will lead us over most of the
section of the State now
Although the Portsmouth Association is not exactly in this line of
succession, as its pedigree is
traced from the Regular Baptists of N. C., yet, on account of its contiguity
with the Dover and
Rappahannock, I have judged it best to dive it a place in juxtaposition with
MIDDLE DISTRICT ASSOCIATION
Also bears date from 1783. As that portion of the General Association which
lies south of James
River, composed this body at first, we should naturally expect it would be
Southern district, as its churches extended quite to the line of N. C. Why
the term Middle was
adopted, Mr. Semple informs its was, that it lay between the Strawberry
Association in the upper
country, and Kehukee in the lower.
This community in its early operation spread over an extensive field, but by
subdividing, and sending off new colonies in different directions, it has
become circumscribed to
narrow boundaries. Its churches, 16 in number, are situated mostly- in the
counties of Powhatan
and Chesterfield, adjoining James river; some of them are in close contact
with the city of
Richmond, particularly Manchester, which is directly opposite the
THE AFRICAN CHURCH in Manchester is the largest in this body.
THE MUDDY CREEK CHURCH, C. Tyree pastor, is the next in size. This church
constituted in 1774.
THE POWHATTAN CHURCH, H. IV, Watkins pastor, stand, neat as to numbers this
THE SPRING CREEK CHURCH, J. Martin pastor, is also a large body-. It was
The fraternities which have been formed front the Middle District, I shall
describe in a
chronological order, beginning with the
This body was organized in 1804. It is situated in the counties of Campbell,
Edwards, Buckingham, and Nottaway. It contains some of the oldest churches
in this part of the
THE SHARON CHURCH, D. Witt, pastor, is the largest in this body.
Was formed from the Middle District, in 1804, and after maintaining a
about thirty years, it was overrun and broken up, or reduced to such a state
of dilapidation, that
they judged it best to dissolve their community, and begin anew. The inroads
made upon them by
the Campbellites or Reformers, was the cause of this change. The new
institution assumed the
Which bears date from 1833; it occupies the, same ground of the old body in
the counties of
Charlotte, Mecklenburg, Lurienburg, &c. Five churches only joined at first
in the new
organization, in which they were assisted by elders Kerr, J. B. Taylor, now
of Richmond, and J.
B. Smith, who is represented as a laborious and useful minister in this
region, he being the only
efficient minister permanently located within the bounds of this
The MOUNT LEBANON CHURCH; J. W. D. Creath, pastor, is the largest in this
This ancient community is dated 1788; some accounts describe it as one of
the four branches of
the old general body of Separates; others as growing out of a subdivision of
the Middle District
Association. At any rate it was a part and parcel of that wide-spread
institution. For a long course
of years it occupied a large territory adjoining .N. C., mostly in the
counties of Halifax and
Pittsylvania; but as other Associations have been set off front it, the
churches now are
principally in the counties of Campbell and Bedford. A number of the
churches in this old
community were planted by Samuel Harris and his early associates.
The Minutes for 1845 contain brief historical sketches of all the churches
of this body as it now
stands, with the names of all the ministers by whom they were planted, and
by whose pastoral
and evangelical labors, they have been nourished and supplied.
This Association for a long time, next to the Dover, was among the largest
in Virginia; many of
its ministers also were men of talent and great distinction, not only within
their own bounds, but
in the region around, in this and the neighboring State of N. C.
We are now getting into a region of the State where the colored members are
not quite equal to
the whites; the proportion will continue to grow less, as we advance towards
the middle and
The Mill Church, 1769, Upper Banister, 1773, Buffalo, 1776, Mt. Vernon,
Halifax Co., 1787,
and the head of Birch Creek, 1788, are some of the oldest in this
The Lower Banister, Campbell Co., is the largest in this body.'
It bears date from 1798. Among its former pastors, have been John Jenkins,
and Henry Fink.
Rev. Joel Hubbard, its present pastor, was settled in 1841. Mr. H. was
moderator in 1845.
DAN RIVER ASSOCIATION
Was constituted in 1838, of twelve churches, which were dismissed for the
purpose, from the
Roanoke. They are all in the county of Halifax, adjoining N. Carolina.
This body is on ground occupied by the old new-light Separates, in the early
part of their
movements in this State, and contains some of the oldest churches in this
section of Virginia.
COUNTRY LINE CHURCH was constituted in 1771, and Samuel Harris, of apostolic
was its first pastor. Successors to him have been Rev. Messrs. Echols,
Dodson, Brame, Bates,
Kerr, Nolin, Mills, and Faulkner.
CATAWBA is next in age, having been organized in 1773. Their pastors have
Messrs. Hill, Hall, Dodson, P. Hurt, R. Hurt, McAllister, Wills, and
Winn's Creek, Hunting Creek, Murterfield, Millstone, and Arbor, are all
upwards of sixty years
of age. As very frequent changes are made in pastoral relations, the
ministers whose name have
already been mentioned, have in succession ministered to these ancient
The: HUNTING CREEK CHURCH, A. M. Poindexter pastor, is the largest in this
HALIFAX CHURCH. This church was formed in 18 , and Rev. N. M. Poindexter,
pastor, was then inducted into the pastoral office, in which he still
The character of this Association is indicated as to benevolent objects by
its annual doings.
In this small body there are but five ordained ministers, viz., D. B.
McGehee, J. G. Mills, A. M.
Poindexter, J. O. Faulkner, and A. D. Rucker.
STAUNTON RIVER ASSOCIATION
Was formed in 1842, of eight churches which withdrew from the Roanoke, on
disputes about benevolent operations. Their names were Mill, Upper Banister,
Strawberry, Union, White Thorn, Sycamore, and Stoneroad.
I Have no Minutes of this Association later than 1843. Then its aggregate of
members was 399.
These, I believe, are all the Associations in this direction, which ought to
be included in the
eastern division, according to my arrangement.
I shall now go above the famous line of demarcation, and give some sketches
of the different
Associational communities in the northern part of eastern Virginia.
This old body, as we have seen, was formed by a division of the ancient
Separate confederacy in
1783, and then included all the churches which stood connected with that
body in the Northern
District. Its boundaries soon became so extensive, that in a few years it
was divided into the
Goshen, Albermarle, and Culpepper, the last of which has assumed the name of
A brief' description of these three bodies and the branches which have gone
out from them, will
now be given.
Was formed in 1792, and contained at that time all the churches in the
counties of Spottsylvania,
and Louisa, together with a part of those in Caroline, Hanover, Goochland,
and Orange. Their
churches were fifteen, and their number of members upwards of fourteen
hundred. This body is
now the third in size in this State. It consists of upwards of thirty
churches, most of which are
large and flourishing.
The churches now are in the counties of Orange, Spottsylvania, Caroline,
Louisa, Goochland, and
This great body, of such superior size among the Virginia Associations,
comes in contact with
Dover on its N. and N. W. bounds.
The churches called Craigs, 1767; Waller's, 1769; Burrus', 1773; North
Licking Hole, 1776; and County Line, 1782; were the oldest which arose in
this part of the
Rev. H. Frazer, the clerk of this body, informs me that he is not furnished
information to supply me with the history of any of the churches. The dates
above given, I have
ascertained from Semple's history and my 2d Vol..
The church bearing the uneuphonious appellation of Licking Hole, is the
largest in this body.
In 1845 it was represented without a pastor.
This body also bears date from 1792, as it was a branch of the old Orange;
although it is a large
community, and has, within its bounds some very efficient men, yet, it so
happens that none of
them have given me any information respecting it.
For a rare case in this country, the dates of the churches are put down in
the Minutes, as they
ought always to be. In this way I learn that most of the churches are of
This Association was small in its beginning, as appears by Semple's account
of it; J. Watts, M.
Dawson, B. Brugher, J. Young, W. Duncan, W. Basket, and G. Anderson were all
who sustained the pastoral office. Most of the churches then were in the
county from which the
body took its name.
Charlottesville, the seat of the famous University which Jeferson took so
much pains to get
established, is within the bounds of this community, and this town contains
one of its largest
THE EBENEZER CHURCH, founded by O. Flowers, in 17'73, is the oldest, and
MOUNT MORIAH, Samuel B. Rice pastor, is the largest in this body.
This last named community bears date from 1784.
Prospect and Preddie's Creek churches are of about the same age.
This is the third community which owes its origin to the division of the old
Orange, in 1792, and
the name of Culpepper, which it first assumed, was exchanged for that which
it now bears, in
1812. This alteration in the cognomen of this institution, was made at the
instance of Elder Lewis
Conner, who wished the Association to be known by a scriptural name.
The county whose name the Association originally bore, at first embraced
most of its churches;
they now extend into Madison, Green, Rappahannock, and a few others. This
quite to the Blue Ridge.; some of its churches formerly were over it, but
they have since been
dismissed to form the Ebenezer, of which more will be said when we come to
Rev. Thornton Stringfellow, and Cumberland George, are pastors in this
Old Culpepper, at the time when Semple's History of the Va. Baptists was
prepared. was quite
extensive in its boundaries, and contained a considerable number of the old
churches, which were
planted by David Thomas, Samuel Harris, N. Saunders, J. Picket, E. Craig, J.
Waller, J. Bedding,
J. Taylor, J. Alderson, and others. Some of them I sec are still alive, and
have a place in this
body. A number of them have existed about three-quarters of a century;
others have either
become extinct, or have fallen into other communities.
MOUNT PONEY, J. C. Gordon pastor, is the largest in this body.
RAPPAHANNOCK COUNTY ASSOCIATION
Was formed in 1835. It is a small community, which withdrew in part from the
account of their opposition to missionary and other benevolent institutions,
which they did not
wish to support. It is situated in the counties of Rappahannock, Culpepper,
&c., under the edge of
the Blue Ridge, on the head waters of the great river whose name it bears. I
have added county to
its name, to distinguish it from the large community whose history has
already been given. They
append old School to their name.
In the Minutes of 1844, they reported five churches and 365 members.
The ROBINSON RIVER CHURCH, W. C. Lauck, pastor, at the date just named,
members, and was the only one which came tip to 100.
This is the oldest institution of the kind in the State, and was the fifth
of associated baptists in
America. The Philadelphia, Charleston, Sandy Creek, and Kehukee had been
formed before it.
This Association commenced with four churches, viz., Mill Creek, Smith's
and Broadrun; all but the last were dismissed from the Philadelphia
meetings were held for a number of years, as was common in those days,
before the name of an
Association was assumed, which was in 1766. It is said by Rev. William
Fristoe, who published
a history of this body, that at one time the churches which had confederated
wide-spread community were scattered over an extent of country about 300
miles in length, and
100 in breadth.
This Association acted a very conspicuous part in the affairs of the
Virginia Baptists, for many
years froth its commencement; it embodied the whole strength of the Regular
Baptists in the
State, and it was owing, in a great measure, to its influence that the union
with the Separates was
effected, which has already been described. It maintained a correspondence
with its sister con)
communities, personal and epistolary, on the north and South, and
co-operated cordially with
them in all their plans of an evangelizing character, until the new notions,
denominated old school principles, were infused into the body.
Semple has entered largely into the history of old Ketockton, which at that
time (1809) contained
36 churches and upwards of 2,000 members.
The Minutes of 1845 exhibit about one-third of its former numerical
strength; its ministers at
that time were Thomas Buck, S. Trott, W. C. Lauck, R. C. Leachman, Will.
Marvin, Z. J.
Compton, D. T. Crawford, and Joseph Furr.
This is another small body of what they call Old School Baptists, of recent
origin in this region of
the State. The latest Minutes I have seen are those of 1842, when it
reported twelve churches and
four ministers. The number of members were not reported; they are said to be
SALEM UNION ASSOCIATION
Was formed in 1833; it was composed of a few churches which formerly
belonged to the
Columbia and Ketockton, and a few other Associations; but most of them were
organizations, which bad been got up by the labors of Elders Wm. T. Broaddus
This community, although in the midst of those who oppose all the benevolent
plans of modern
times, as their Minutes show, enter into them in a systematic manner, and
with good success.
They employ a domestic missionary within their own bounds, and in the
surrounding regions a
part or all the year.
This Association affixes the dates of its churches to its statistical
tables; front this I learn
The KETOCKTON CHURCH, 1755, J. T. Massey, pastor, is
the oldest in this connection
BUCK MARSH, 1771, H. W. Dodge, pastor, is the next in point of age.
LONG BRANCH, 1786, B. Grimsley, pastor, and BETHEL, 1808, under the care of
spiritual shepherd, are all the churches of any considerable size; the
others are of recent
Elders G. Love, T. Herndon, T. D. Herndon, and C. .S. Adams, are all
reported as resident
members of the Long Branch church. The Bethel church is the largest in this
body. Mr. Love, the clerk of this body, has sent me a
file of the Minutes
from the beginning. The churches are in the counties of Frederick, Fauquier,
This Association puts down on their Minutes the proportion of colored
members to the whites,
which are two-fifths of the whole. A number of the churches have none at
all, and marry others
but very few.
Was formed in 1819; it is in that part of Va. which lies opposite the
District of Columbia, and
two of its churches, viz., First Washington and Alexandria, are in that
District. Some sketches of
these communities have already been published; of the others I have not
to enable me to give any historical account of them. They are situated
generally not far from the
Potomac, in the counties of Stafford, Fairfax, London, &c.
The FREDERICKSBURG CHURCH, S. Smith, pastor, is the largest in this
The ministers in this body are O. B. Brown, A. H. Bennett, J. Ogelvie, S.
Smith, L. Marders, and
This Association has adopted the commendable practice of putting the dates
of the churches in
Was formed in 1809, of churches which were formerly in connection with the
community, in Maryland.
I have no Minutes of this small body later than 1844; then it contained
seven churches, four in
the county of Accomack, two in Northampton, and one in Maryland.
The LOWER NORTHAMPTON CHURCH, G. G. Exall, pastor, was the largest amongst
This Small community is situated on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay,
and near its
mouth. Elijah Baker, whose name appears in connection with the Salisbury
Association, was a
distinguished planter of churches on all this region, in both the States of
Elder George Layfield was also a minister of distinction in early times, and
was the first
moderator of this Association.
I will now go down and finish off my accounts of the institutions in the
west and southwest parts
of this eastern section, which, for various reasons, were omitted while
tracing out the genealogy
of the descendants of the old company of New Light, separates. The first I
shall name is indeed
from this old stock, but seemed to be a little out of my range in both of my
surveys south and
JAMES RIVER ASSOCIATION
Bears date from 1834; it is situated on both sides of this river, about
midway from Richmond to
the mountains, in the counties of Fluvanna and Buckingham, &c.
The FORK CHURCH, FLUVANNA CO., is the largest in this body.
Some one is very good to send me the Minutes; but no historical sketches
have come to hand.
This is the oldest community in the whole State, which has stood to the
present time, except
Ketockton. The following account I find in my 1st vol., p. SS, which was
compiled partly from
my own researches, but mostly from Semple's History:
"The Strawberry Association is in the neighborhood of the mountains, near
the southern line of
the State. It was formed in 1776, some seven years before the dissolution of
Association, and appears to have been some of the early fruits of the
Separate preachers, who
went almost everywhere throughout the State preaching the gospel. The first
laborers within the
hounds of this Association were the two Murpheys, William and Joseph, Samuel
Dutton Lane. Several preachers were also raised up soon after the rise of
the baptists in these
parts, the most distinguished and the most useful of whom was Robert
Stockton, who, after
laboring a few years with much success in these parts, removed to Kentucky,
and is now one of
the principal ministers in the Green River Association in that State.
"In 1793, the Strawberry Association was divided, and the Blue Ridge became
the dividing line,
the churches to the west of which united under the name of the New River
From this prolific institution a number of others have proceeded, as our
future narratives will
No marks of any kind, that I can find on their tables, distinguish the
ministers from the other
delegates; from the reading of the Minutes, which are well got up in other
respects, I learn that
Jas. Leftwick, John S. Lee, - Johnson, C. Tyree, and T. C. Coggin are among
TINKER CREEK CHURCH was the largest in this body in 1844.
PIG RIVER ASSOCIATION
Was formed in 1825; it is in the South-west corner of Eastern Virginia All
I have been able to
learn of its history or character is what is said of it in Allen's Register
"The churches in this body are located chiefly in the counties of Henry and
"Throughout this Association, ultra or hyper-Calvinism prevails in full
force; and its
concomitant opposition to all the benevolent societies of the day, forms the
feature in their Minutes."
By Allen's table, three years after, its membership amounted to about 700;
what changes have
since taken place I am not able to state.
Old-fashioned Baptists of Jesus Christ.
This very imposing title was assumed by a small company of Comeouters from
institutions, in the county of Chesterfield, a few years since. I have
gained no information
respecting this very Orthodox community, excepting the following note from
Rev. E. Ball:
"It is an anti-mission body, small, and growing smaller; it is located
chiefly in Chesterfield
Thus far, twenty-three associational confederacies have come under review;
some, ii. is true, are
very small; others are unusually large for southern institutions where its
colored population in
many cases greatly augments their numerical strength. On an average, they
are equal, so far as
numbers are concerned, to our communities in any of the States. I shall now
take the middle or
mountain range of baptist societies, of the description now under
Paterson Creek Association-Ebenezer do.-Valley-Greenbrier-New
In this Division I include all the Associations in the great valley which
lies between the Blue
Ridge and the Alleghany mountains, and also in the mountain districts. The
embraced in this central portion of Virginia, begins with Maryland on the
north, and runs in a
south-western direction the whole width of the State, to North Carolina on
the south. I shall begin
at the upper end, and take the Associations, as much as possible, in a
PATERSON'S CREEK ASSOCIATION
Was formed in 1827, and is, I believe, the most northern community of our
denomination in the
division now under review; one of the churches is in Alleghany Co., Md. No
accounts of it, either
historical or statistical, have I been able to obtain for more than ten
years past, when its number
of members did not amount to two hundred.
Was organized in 1828, with ten churches, which were dismissed for the
purpose, from the
Shiloh fraternity, formerly called Culpepper. This took off one-third of the
churches from the
mother body. The measure was adopted by mutual agreement. The Blue Ridge
dividing line, and the, body was formed at the west of it.
This community contains eleven churches, mostly small, and between three
anti four hundred
members. It is in the counties of Page, Shenandoah, Rockingham, Pendleton,
and Hardy. The
ministers named as pastors in the last Minutes, were Rev. Messrs. A. C.
Booten, J. Jerkins. R.
Garrett, C. Keyser and J. Duval.
MOUNT CARMEL CHURCH, A. C. Booten pastor, is the largest in this
Was formed from old Strawberry, in 1841; it began with 16 churches, and 1000
members. A. C.
Dempsey, J. N. Johnson, C. Tyree, J. G. Thompson, and W. H. Hayhurst, took
the lead in getting
up this new interest.
"The Natural Bridge of Virginia is about the local centre of this
Association. The Association
nearest is the Strawberry, 30 miles south-east of us, the other side of the
Blue Ridge. The
Greenbrier, on the N. W., is in the valley (or middle section) of Virginia,
at a distance of 60 or 70
****"This valley was settled about 100 years ago, by emigrants, via
Pennsylvania from the north
of Ireland, and Germany. Most of them were Scotch, and Irish Presbyterians,
maintained their preponderance. From Lexington clown to Winchester, there is
but one baptist
church (at Harrisonburg), and that was formed, I think, last year." ****
This communication from Mr. Brown, contains all the information I have
obtained relative to
this young community, except what I gather from their Minutes, which are
deficient in some
material points;-the ministers are not distinguished from the other
delegates, nor are the counties
named against the churches. Some of them I gather from the places where
their sessions were
held, and other incidental notices are in Botetourt and Rockbridge.
The church called Cowpasture is the largest in this body.
Was organized in 1807, of but four churches, all of them young and small.
The origin of the baptists in this region is thus given, in documents
referred to below:
"Early in the year 1777, Elder John Alderson, who became an apostle in
western Virginia, settled
on the ground where this Association arose, while it was in a new and
uncultivated condition in
every point of view."
"On reaching Jackson's river, he learned that the Indian., had attacked the
horse of' Col. James
Graham, in Greenbrier, and had killed one of the family, and taken another
consequence of which he remained there some two or three months, reaching
the place of
destination sonic tune in October. His first location was in
Jerrett's Fort, on Wolf creek, now Munroe [sic] county. Soon after, he
settled on the bank of
Greenbrier river, where he opened a farm, and often followed the plough with
a grin swung from
his shoulder. In a little time he was enabled to collect together as many as
himself and wife included. They considered themselves as a branch of the
Lynville Creek church,
in Rockingham Co., of which Mr. Alderson had been pastor, but it transacted
business as a
separate body. On the 24th of November, 1781. they were regularly
constituted into a church,
called the Greenbrier Baptist Church, and the following year they connected
themselves with the
"At this time the members were very in much scattered over the country, some
living more than
twenty miles from the location of the church. Agreeable with all order of
the church, the pastor,
in company with other members designated, held church meetings in different
Occasionally, such meetings were field at Second Creek Gap, in Big Levels.
and on New river.
"Notwithstanding the members were so dispersed, measures were taken to build
o house for
public worship as early as June 1783; and in May following, the ground on
vas which the
Greenbrier Baptist meeting-house now stands was fixed upon as a suitable
location. In July
following, the meeting-house was so nearly completed as to be used for
public worship. This
was the first meeting-house in all this part of Virginia."
Such was the introduction of this apostle of the baptists in western
The Indian depredations above referred to, continued a number of
years; the inhabitants, for their mutual protection, mostly resided in
forts; and from one to
another, protected by a small guard through the woods, this zealous and
traveled in pursuit of his dangerous and arduous vocation. fit some of the
forts he was received
with kindness and heard with attention, while in others, the rough
their perilous condition, threatened to exclude him front their rude
defenses, and leave him
exposed to the merciless savages, who were continually prowling around
thetas. Such a
barbarous policy, however, was never carried into effect.
Under all the disadvantages of such a peculiar location, and amidst all the
dangers and privations
of a pioneer life on a mountainous and most rugged frontier for seven long'
years, Mr. Alderson
labored on without ever seeing one minister of his own order, and but very
few of any other.
At length, Elders James Johnson, and Josiah Osbourne came to his aid, and by
ministers, the Greenbrier Association was formed; James Ellison and Edward
soon after added to the number of this little band of baptists elders; the
three last of whom were
raised up in the newly formed churches in this region.
Elder Alderson continued his ministry in this wide field of labor about
forty years, and closed a
long life in the full confidence of his brethren, in 1816.
Greenbrier for many years at first became a nursery for the western States,
which made such
frequent drafts on their numbers, that although they were favored with
continual additions, they
but little more than held their own. but their branches were extended until,
in about tell years
from their commencement, they had gone down the river Kanawha; and their
branches reached to
the farthest extremities of the State, and came in contact with the, Ohio
and Kentucky lines.
This Association very early became identified with missionary operations;
first with the
Triennial Convention, and next with the General Association of Virginia,
while as yet the whole
region of country was considered missionary ground. A reciprocity of feeling
and action has
long been maintained between this well regulated branch, and the General
probably in few parts of the State has the General body seen their efforts
operate with more decided success.
Rev. Josiah Osbourne, as has already been mentioned, was one
of the three ministers by whom this body was organized; he was also the
moderator of the first
meeting, and often afterwards officiated as clerk.
The decidedly missionary character of this Association, is ascribed to a
visit made there by Rev.
Luther Rice, in 1816. The venerable Alderson received film with the greatest
cordiality and joy,
and introduced him to the body then in session; and front that period it has
This body was never large, compared with some of the Associations in the
middle and in the
eastern districts, but it has always been in a sound and progressive
condition, and now holds a
rank among the most decided friends of all the principles and institutions
which their brethren
delight to promote.
Their ministers at present (1845) consist of ten; six ordained and four
licentiates, viz. : Messrs.
Remley, Ellison, Margrave, Woodson, Chandler, Bibb, Alderson, Wood, Corron,
Rev. John Spotts, a ruling elder of the Presbyterian church of Lewisburg,
within the bounds of
this Association, in 1831 united with the baptists; soon after he became a
minister, and for
upwards of seven years was one of their highly esteemed and useful men. He
died at the age of
forty-six, April, 1838.
Mr. Spotts was a distinguished promoter of Sunday schools, both as a
Presbyterian and a baptise..
He was the first who made a successful effort in this cause in this part of
Virginia, and for sixteen
years lie was a zealous and successful superintendent in this department.
And it is a remarkable
fact, that no less than twenty-one of the scholars who had been under his
care, became ministers
of the gospel, one of whom was Rev. Mr. Shuck, now a missionary in China. In
region originated this successful missionary. By the Lewisburg church he was
licensed to preach,
and in the Seminary now called Richmond college, his studies were pursued
preparatory to his
Mr. Spotts was also distinguished for an early attention to the temperance
cause; and in 1828,
only four years after the formation of the first temperance society in the
U. S., he was president
of an institution of this hind in Lewisburg.
This body, after having been drawn upon at different points for materials
for new organizations,
at present is confined mostly to the county of the same name; some of its
churches appear to be
in Monroe and Nicholas, and perhaps some others. There is a want of
explicitness on this subject
in their Minutes.
In the Minutes for 1844, is a table which exhibits in different columns the
progress of this old
body, for 43 years, viz.: from 1801, the time of its full organization to
that date, showing fur
each year the following items--At what place it convened-urlro preached the
sermon--the Moderators--No. of Churches--do. baptized total. It began with
177; had increased to
about four hundred when the Teay's Valley was formed it was reduced to 148
but in a few years
it regained its numerical strength, and notwithstanding all the drafts upon
it in favor of now
interests, has steadily increased to the present time. The highest number
baptized in one year war,
149-that was in 1832.
The moderators had been Josiah Osbourne, James Johnston, John Alderson,
Robert Teasdale, Johnston Keaton, Eli Ball, Wm. C. Ligon, John Spotts, and
The two Aldersons, father and sun, presided over this body twenty-two
TIE GREENBRIER CHURCH, L. A. Alderson pastor, is the largest in this
NEW RIVER ASSOCIATION
Was formed by a colony from the Strawberry, in 1793. The Blue Ridge was the
dividing line, and
the churches in this then new formation were all to the west of it. This
community was small at
its commencement, and never appears to leave attained to any considerable
Its churches are in the counties of Floyd, Grayson, and Patrick. I have seen
no Minutes of this
body later than 1844; at that time they amounted to 16. In none of them did
amount to one hundred.
This body originated from the Holston, in Tenn., near the line of which it
is situated, and was
organized in 1811. The ministers on this ground at that time, and who
promoted the planting of
it, were George Brown Thomas Colby, Edward Kelly, David Jessee, Stephen
Foley, Alonzo Kizer, and William Lazell.
This Association occupied an important position in this lower region of the
State fur a long
course of years, and went on with harmony nod prosperity, until a portion of
attempted to mould them to the new effort policy; this miserable plan threw
them into trouble,
and in the end led to the formation of a new interest, by the name of the
Which bears date from May 1846; the Convention, which met for consultation
expediency of attempting a new organization out of the old Community, set
forth their reasons
fur their doings in the following
To the churches which I shall here insert. It will serve as a specimen of
the rending and
distracting course which has been pursued in too many places in the south
"Dear Brethren: A crisis has arrived in the history of the Washington
Association. At its late
meeting; the Constitution has been wantonly violated, by establishing n new
test, which h we
consider contrary to the word of God in its character, and intolerant and
oppressive in its
operation. The 6th Article of the Constitution says:-- New Churches may be
admitted into the
Union, who shall petition by Letter and Delegates; and if found upon
examination orthodox and
orderly, shall be received by the Association and manifested by the
Moderator giving the right
hand of fellowship. Such a Church presented itself at its late meeting, It
was admitted that it had
been regularly constituted of members in good standing, and they set forth,
communication to the Association, a declaration of those doctrine, which
have had adopted by
that body as orthodox. Yet, strange as it may appear, this Church (the
Church recently organized
at Marion), was rejected, and its members refused a seat in the Association,
solely because the
Church favored missionary operations, and its Pastor, (Elder N. C. Baldwin),
had received an
appointment from the General Association of Virginia. This must appear, to
mind, a palpable violation of the Constitution. And it is certainly known
that, in the former
actions of the Association, missionary or anti-missionary- sentiments have
never been known as
a test. of fellowship, or it condition of its privileges. In addition to
this, all correspondents from
sister Associations, who favored missionary enterprises, were on that
account rejected. The
Holston Association, from which this body originated, 'and with whom an
correspondence has been maintained ever since the Washington Association was
sent ant affectionate Letter of Correspondence, by the hands of several well
known brethren who
have always, before this time, been must cordially greeted. These brethren
were rejected, because
they, and the body to which they belong, were identified with missionary
operations. The General
Agent of the General Association of Virginia reported himself as a
correspondent from that body,
and was rejected on the same account.
"On the other hand, a letter was presented from the Mountain Association; in
which that body
arrogantly required the Washington Association to dissolve its connection
with the Ketockton
Association and the Greenbrier Association, and all other bodies which have
any connection with
the benevolent enterprises of the day, or else they (the Mountain
Association) will maintain, no
further correspondence with them. This letter and these correspondents were
received, and a
correspondence continued. This is not all. A correspondence was also opened
with the New
River Association, which it is well known has long since declared
non-fellowship with all those
who are engaged in the missionary enterprise, and is distinguished for its
inveterate hostility to
almost every ,hint; that is calculated to elevate the human character, and
better the condition of
our race. While there acts were done by a majority of the Association
present on this occasion,
we are confident that it is not a representation of the sentiments and
wishes of a majority of our
Churches. And we consider that the action of this body is a virtual
declaration of non-fellowship
with those of our own Association, who favor those enterprises, out account
of which the
corresponding brethren were rejected. Being deeply grieved on account of
and intolerant measures, a number of the brethren convened at Lebanon, as
you see from the
above Minutes, for the purpose of adopting measures for the restoration of
peace to our
Churches, and the maintenance of our rights as men and as Christians.
"And now, dear brethren, we have laid before you our grievances,
entertaining the assurance that
there will be found many Churches and brethren whose sympathies are with us,
and who will
promptly respond to our call, by sending up a delegation to the meeting
proposed above. We are
assured that there are many, and we believe a large majority of the
churches, who will not
consent to rudely tear asunder long cherished bonds of union and affection
Associations and with Ministers of our own body, simply because they are
doing something to
send the Light of Life into the dark corners of our own country, and to the
benighted heathen And
we trust that there, are very ,natty, who will not suffer themselves to be
hindered in their
cooperation in this glorious work of Christian philanthropy, by
intermeddlers, who not only do
nothing; themselves, but deride and oppose those who would work for God. W e
request that you seriously and prayerfully consider these things. Consider
the claims that the
cause of our Master and the wants and woes of a perishing world have upon
Church, and take such action in this matter as duty dictates.
"Grace, mercy and peace be multiplied.
"Your brethren and companions in the kingdom and patience of Jesus
"NOAH C. BALDWIN,
"ELISHA MARTIN, Committee
"LEWIS B. DULANY.
The first session of the new institution, which the brethren were obliged to
form, or leave the
ground to he given up to the arbitrary dictation of the opposers of all
benevolent societies, was
held in Sept. following. It began will eleven churches, five ministers, and
upwards of five
hundred members. The old body, at the time of the division, contained about
members I have not had their Minutes since Sept., 1845, but it must of
course be minus that
number. The largest at that time was
CASTLE WOOD, Russel Co,, David Jessee, Sen., pastor.
Red Hill, Scott Co., E. Martin pastor, with others have gone off wholly or
in part, in the new
Union Association-Broad Run-Parkersburg-Teay's
Valley Indian Creek-General Association-Closing
This Western Division of Virginia, although of very great extent as to ifs
boundaries, yet the numerical strength in it is small compared with that oil
the east of the
I shall begin in what is sometimes denominated N. W. Virginia, near the
Pennsylvania line; here
the denomination seems first to have made their settlement and gathered the
first churches; front
this point, they have branched out in different directions until they have
planted their principles
and institutions in almost all parts of this end of the State.
What has been said of western Pennsylvania beyond the mountains,
three-fourths of a century
since, as to its wild and desolate condition, the difficulties and dangers
to be encountered tram
the savage cruelty of the aborigines of the, country, and its almost entire
destitution of any
religious, and especially baptist institutions, will apply to the portion of
this ancient coin
commonwealth now under consideration. And, to the influence of John and
James Sutton John
Corbly, and their associates, whose history has been given among the
pioneers of western
Pennsylvania, are the baptists indebted for laying the foundation of the
first churches of the order
in this flourishing section of the State.
Was formed in 1804. This is the oldest and most efficient body in this
region. At its organization
it consisted of the tell following churches all of which had been dismissed
for the purpose, from
the old Red Stone, of Pennsylvania, "Their names were, Pricket's Creek,
Bethel, Sandy Creek, Salem Union, Olive Branch, Wellsfork, and Gethsemane,
in all of which
were but a little more than one hundred members.
Their ministers, at first, were Isaac Morris, John Dunham, Joshua Hinckman,
and Phineas Wells;
C. Huff; J. Gawthorp, J. Currey, Wm. and J. Davidson, L. Howell, L. Wheeler,
C. Keys, C.
Parker, T. Swiger, J. Cather, J. Wrightman, J. Thomas, Thos. Martin, J. J.
Waldo, J.M. Chapman,
J. W. B. Tisdale, J. H. Goss, P. W. Holden, were their coadjutors or
successors in this view field
of labor. Most of these men are still alive.
Some of the churches of this community are, the oldest in the country; of it
few of them only
call I give any historical sketches.
SIMPSON'S CREEK CHURCH is the Oldest in this community, having been formed
Rev. John Sutton was their first pastor. Since him, they have had Rev.
Messrs. Isaac Edwards,
Joseph Davis, John Corbly, Phineas Wells, Jesse W. Goss, A. J. Garrett, and
PRICKET'S CREEK and BUCHANAN are the next in age, both having been organized
WESTFORK was formed in 1801. J. Hinckman was one of their early its
Rev. J. L. Howell is their present pastor.
BEULAH, in Pruntytown, was formed in 1818. This is the seat, of Rector
College, a young
institution which arose out of an education society; it was Organized a few
years since, within the
bounds of this Association. This church is the largest in this body.
Rev. C. Huff, late pastor of this church, came into office in 1833, in which
he continued a
number of years. Before this, they had been supplied by elders Goss, Bailey,
Rev. C. Wheeler, the president of the college, was its pastor in 1846.
Revival seasons have often been experienced by this body-, as well as other
churches in this
community, and a number of ministerial sons leave been nurtured within her
A number of other ministers reside here, who officiate at the college or
with the neighboring
In 1809, according to Semple, this Association was in the counties of
Harrison, Randolph, and
Monongahela; new counties have since been formed, and considerable changes
and additions have taken place in its boundaries, and no pains is taken on
the Minutes as to
counties; but front what I can spell out, Preston, and probably some other
counties, embrace a
portion of the churches.
BROAD RUN ASSOCIATION
Is a branch of the Union, and was organized in 1835, of twelve churches, and
members. The principal ministers at the time of its constitution, were three
brothers by the name
of Holden: Alexander C., Benjamin, and Peter W.; Anthony J. Garret, Joseph
Barnet, and James
Since then there has been added to their number, Matthew Maddox, Abram
Allen, Carr Bailey, Timothy Maxon, George W. Dacon, and J. Woofter.
A number of ministers of this body have been under the patronage of the
General Association of
Virginia, from the time of its constitution; the good effect of which has
been experienced in the
rise of new churches, and the enlargement of those which were already
BROAD RUN CHURCH, organized in 1804, is the oldest in this community.
Rev. J. J. Waldo was its first pastor, and continued in office upwards of
"Although an ordinary preacher in point of talents, he was greatly beloved
by those who attended
his ministry, and especially the members of the church; and his
congregations were always large.
lie was renowned for his activity in stirring up the members to their duty,
and exciting them to a
healthy action in their holy- vocation."
This church has been the mother of others, and a nursery of ministers. From
it have been set off,
wholly or in part, Freeman's Creek, Elam, and hacker's Creek; and she has
sent out into the
ministry Rev. Messrs. J. Bailey, B. Holden, A. J. Garret, and M. Maddox.
One worthy old deacon is the only member yet alive, who united in its
Was organized in 1821; the town from which it took its name is situated on
the Ohio River, in
the county of Wood, and probably some others. Although this body has stood
so many years, yet
its numerical strength is very small. The ministers are Geo. C. Sedwick,
Enoch Rector, Henry
Dye, Wm. C. Barren, and Isaac McDermond.
PARKERSBURG CHURCH, 1819, Geo. C. Sedwick pastor, is the largest in this
body, and the
only one whose membership amounts to 100. The churches generally are of
TEAYS' VALLEY ASSOCIATION
Was formed in 1812, by a division of the Greenbrier, then very feeble and
young. But the remote
situation of a number of the churches, and the great inconvenience of
attending the annual
sessions, furnished arguments with the distant brethren, which finally
prevailed, although much
against the wishes of elder Alderson, the founder of this old
The whole number of churches was but twelve, seven of which went off with
the new body.
This Association is still farther westward, and is in the counties of Logan,
This is another of the small bodies in this wide spread field, which split
off from the Teays'
Valley in 1835, on the principles in benevolence. The chief cause assigned
for their separation
was, that the mother body lead become a member of the General Association of
Virginia. It is in
the counties of Kanawha, and some adjoining ones.
DAVIS' CREEK, is the largest church in this body. In 1845 it reported 152;
the others are
The ministers in this body appear to be Win. Martin, J. Canterbury, A.
Wallace, and W.
TYGART'S VALLEY ASSOCIATION
Was formed in 1838, of a few churches which withdrew from the Union and
communities, from disaffection towards their principles and measures as to
operations. The churches are in the counties of Randolph, Barbour, Taylor,
and Ritchie. The whole amount of membership was 235 in 1845.
INDIAN CREEK ASSOCIATION.
All I know of such an institution was communicated in a letter from Rev. Eli
Ball, Oct. 1843.
"A few weeks ago, there was a new Association formed in Monroe Co., in
Western Virginia. It is
called Indian Creek, and consists of three churches that formerly belonged
to the New River
Association. It has one ordained minister, elder Johnson Keaton, and is an
I have had intimations of a Zoar Association in this State, and thought it
was located in the gore
of Virginia, which runs up between Pa. and the Ohio river; but Mr. Maddox
assures the, he
knows of no such body in that region; he thinks it must be east of the Blue
Ridge, if there, is such
ail institution in the State.
Recapitulation of the Baptist affairs in. North-Western
Rev. Matthew Maddox, one of the pastors of the Broad Run Association, and.
J. Davidson, at
that time clerk of the Union Association, have been my principal guide, in
what I have said of
these bodies, and most of the other smaller communities in this western
region. They have taken
much pains to supply me with historical materials. Rev. Mr. Wheeler,
president of Rector
College, of which the Associations here seem to have an especial care, has
also shown much
interest in my undertaking; these brethren, and a considerable number of the
clerks here, mostly
of the old Union, have given sketches of their respective churches, so that,
would my limits
permit, I could have detailed accounts of most all the churches in N. W.
Virginia, in as particular
a manner as Semple has done in his history of the Virginia baptists up to
his time. Mr. Maddox
has confirmed all the accounts I leave given of Western Pa., and has shown
that in early times the
whole western territory in both States was one great missionary field,
which was traversed by the
same ministers, and that the Simons, Corbley, and others were the planters
of the early churches
in both; his remarks on the opposers of missionary efforts are somewhat
severe; this is not
strange when ii a consider how much the whole region is indebted to
ministerial services of the,
hind, either by the appointments of the General Association, or by the
self-supported efforts of
the hardy and laborious ministers on the ground.
BAPTIST GENERAL ASSOCIATION.
This great confederacy, although under another name, is similar in its
nature and operations to
the State Conventions in Other parts of the country; its full history cannot
now be given; it is of
great importance to the interests of the denomination in this great State,
and must in tune embody
their united strength, which at present is by no means the case, even of
those who profess to be
friendly to its principles and designs.
This body is intended to combine the energies of the churches and
Associations in missionary
and other benevolent plans in the western regions of the state. 'rile
Minutes of 1816, being its
third session, are before me, and exhibit a good degree of vigor and
enterprise among the ultra
CLOSING REMARKS. The history of our denomination in this great territory,
imperfect as it may appear, has cost me no small amount of labor. I have
made the number of
Associations greater than our statistical compilers have generally done,
but they are all there, and
with but few exceptions, the Minutes of them are before me. This is the
first Suite the have come
to where that portion of our, denomination called old school, or
anti--mission people, appear with
any considerable force; and here they are but a feeble band, compared with
those who profess to
be the friends and supporters of evangelical efforts and moral reform.
This chapter on the Virginia baptists, with all my efforts at abridgment and
swelled much beyond the limits I at first assigned to it, and yet it seems
as it has but glanced at
the history of our community in this ancient commonwealth. They are getting
matters in a
favorable train for future enterprises, which I should judge they hall made
up their minds to
pursue with redoubled vigor and activity.
LITERARY INSTITUTIONS. As I have said relative to all the other States, all
sketches of these interests must be reserved for my next volume : I will
merely say, we have two
seminaries under college charters, which are working their way into being as
colleges de facto, as
well as in name. Their names and locations have already beat given.
Besides the great body of associated baptists, many of the other
communities, who adopt
essentially baptist view; as to gospel ordinances and religious freedom;
exist here in great
numbers. Those called Reformers, Disciples, Or Campbellites, probably
outnumber all the rest.
A summary account of all I can learn of them will be related under
Correspondents. I may name Eli Ball, J. B. Taylor, David McGehee, C. T.
Burley, L . W. Allen,
J. R. Scott, Samuel Dorset, J. Henshall, H. Frazer, William Slaughter, R.
Prior, Geo. Love, H.
Keeling, in Eastern Virginia. Middle : L. B. Dulany, J. Remley, L. A.
Alderson, J. N. Brown.
Western: M. Maddox, J. Davidson, C. W Wheeler, J. Bradley, A. Campbell.
Also, the clerics of
a number of the churches in the Union Association, as S. D. Norman, J.
Martin, 'I'. Pool, J.
Hayhurst, P. Britton, 'I'. Poulton, and Geo. Lake.
Some of these correspondents have taken no small pains to collect and supply
the with historical
In addition to these, Mr. Sands, publisher of the Religious Herald,
Richmond, has been
very punctual to publish my notices in my circulars, and spare me Minutes
from his own files,
which have afforded me material aid, and enabled me to be more minute in my
details of all the
Associations than I could otherwise have been.
1 Semple's History of the Baptists in Virginia, passim.
2 Morgan Edwards' MS. History of the Baptists in Virginia.
3 Semple and Edwards' History of the Virginia Baptists.
4 Semple's History, &c.
5 Semple's History, &c.
6. Semple's History, &c.
7. It would seem by the above account that those who had opposed
of apostles, had retired from the Association before the offensive measure
8 The reader must keep in mind, that in this day those were called
held to the universal provision of the gospel, or that the atonement of
Christ was general in its
9 History of Virginia Baptists. Many of the preceding statements
which are not
formally quoted, have been token from that work.
10. Footnote indicated in the text, but omitted from its proper
location in the
11. Leland's Virginia Chronicle, p. 33.
12. Most of the histury of the lows of Virginia are from
Hening's work, as quoted
13. Semple's History, &c.
14. The Manual of thus church is dated in 1834, and, of course,
there is a
deficiency in historical details from that time.
15. I was in Richmond at the time this arrangement was being
matured, and well
remember the satisfaction which all parties seemed to feel in the
16. Hampton J. R. Scott 805; Emmaus New Kent, Jos. Clopton, 613;
Deep Run, R.
Ford, 576; Black Creek, Hanover, J. Strake, 529; Hopeful, Hanover, S.
Harris, 469, Bethesda
do., T. S. Walthall, 466; Sharon, King William, J. O. Turpin, 456; Zion
Williamsburgh, S. Jones,
414; Bethlehem, Hanover, -, 334; James City, L. W. Allen, 300; Beulah, Kin
Union, Mangohick, -, 282; Boar Swamp, Henrico, John arter, 216; Edam, 245;
Hopewell, 201; Taylorsville, S. S. Sumner, 207; Websters, -, 209; Aquinton,
-, 159; Concord, -,
170; Bethel, - 137; Goochland, -, 119; Bethlehem, Henrico, M. T. Sumner,
122; Lierty, J. 1'.
Turner, 149; Lower College, -, 150; Warwick, E. Amory, 151; Grafton, -,
17 Its number, at first, was 45.-Semple,
18 Morse's Gazetteer.
19 Rev. L. W. Allen
20. Mr. Hall is the father of the late Mrs. Shuck, wife of the
21. He has resigned his pastoral care, and entered on an agency
for the collection
of funds for Richmond College.
|In 1845, it reported (only 90
|Nomini, J. Pollen,||908||Glebe Landing, P. T. Montague||358
|Hanover, P. Montague,||856 ||Fairfields, W.H. Kirk||313
|Upper Essex J. Bird||799||Pocorone, J. Spencer,||340
|Wicomico, A. Hall||742||Jerusalem, E. L.Williams,||304
|Matthews, L. W. Allen||730||Olivet, T. B. Evens,||337
|Upper King and Queen, A. Broaddus,||698||Petsworth, P.
|Lower do., Wm. Todd||271||Clark's Neck, Geo. Northam||220
|Piscataway, P. Montague||585||Exall, Wm. Todd||173
|Enon, W. A. Baynham||590||Farnham, W. H. Kirk||172
|Bruington, R. H. Bagby,||472||Providence, R. W. Cole,||166
|Mattaponi||Wm. Todd,||416||Round Hill||169
|Moratico, A. Hall||402||Rappahannock, J. Pullen||139
|Upper Zion R.W. Cole,||402||Lebanon, A. Hall||111
|Salem, A. Broaddus,||373||Gibeon,||107
|Zoar, G. Northam,||363||Menokin, R. H. Sedgewick,||104
But three of the churches in this body are under 100, and these, in
aggregate, amount to just that
number. The colored members are nearly two-thirds of the whole
No information of the modern history of this community have; I been able to
obtain. Semple's account of it, up to 1809, is sufficiently minute. This
church, at that date,
according to Semple,
reported upwards of two thousand members. It then probably embraced all the
in this and the neighboring places, who have since organized by themselves.
History, &c., p. 354.
In 1845 it reported 1393; Second African, or Gillfield, in this town, 1119.
the ministers are not distinguished from the other delegates on the Minutes
but are. put in a
separate list, I cannot name them in connection with the churches as I
usually have done. I shall,
therefore, go on with my statistics, naming the churches only.
Portsmouth, 617; Norfolk, colored, 590; Norfolk, 908; Shoulders' Hill, 265;
Mill Swamp, 230;
Tucker's Swamp, 223; Beaver Dam, 21.2; Petersburg, 210; Raccoon Swamp, 193;
Western Branch, 182; High Hills, 181; Black Creek. 172; South Quay, 166;
Moore's Swamp, 131; Black Water, 126; North-West, 121; Brandon, 109.
In 1846, it reported 487; Muddy Creek, 405; Powhattan, 385; Spring Creck,
330; Mount Tabor, J. Johns, 316; Bethel B. C. Hancock, 163; Mount Hermon, S.
Tomahawk, _____, 112; Hepzibah, 103; Union, L.D. Horner, 100.
In 1845, it, reported 436; Nottaway, -, 399; Red Oak, J. G. Hanmer, 351;
Mossingford, 250; New Salem, E. W. Roach, 161; Providence, _-, 163;
Farmville, J. W.
Goodman, 142; Appomattox A. A. Baldwin, 136; Brookneal, -, 133; Ash Camp,-,
Creek, -, 111; Stonewall, --, 107; Midway, -, 103.
Letter of Rev. C. F. Burnley, to the author.
In 1844 it reported 275; James Square, J. Delk 193; Blue Stone, J. B. Smith,
17P; Reedy Creek, W. H. Maddox, 163; Coot Spring, ____, 141; Fountain Creek,
J. C. Bailey,
131; Concord, -, 1241; Cut's Bank, -, 104; Mercy Seat, -, 101.
1845, it, reported 198; Mount Vernon, Halifax Co., -, 191 - Danville, J. L.
Pritchard, 185; Head of Birch Creek, 160; Ellis' Creek, -, 157; Sandy Creek
-, 140; Strait tone, J.
T. McLaughlin, 139; Childry, J. L. Morton 132; Republican, -, 121.
Letter of Rev. D. B. McGehee, to the author.
In 1845, it reported 190; Arbor, 176; Cross Roads, 162; Hyco, 157; Black
Walnut, 133; Mill Stone, 116; Clover, 110; County Line, 102.
The whole amount of contributions the first year for benevolent
and to defray expenses was $548.29. Since then, there: has been some filling
off, which my
correspondent ascribes partly to the pressure of the times, but, mostly, to
the fact of o. number of
the churches having new houses of worship under way, which requires the
utmost of their ability
to sustain.-Rev. Mr, McGehee's letter, &c.
Their names are placed according to seniority as to ordination. Mr.
|In 1945, it reported ||1036||Good Hope, J. N. Herndon,||235
|Burris', S. Harris,||543||Fosters Creek||210
|Wallers', C. A. Lewis,||465||Upper Gold Mine||210
|Liberty, L. Battaile,||457||Zion||204
|Bethany, W. R. Powell||433||Mount Pisgah||169
|Massaponak, J. A. Billingsly||410||Mine Road||165
|Williams', J. Fife||405||North Pamunkey||165
|County Line||392||Beaver Dam||144
|Zoar, J. C. Gordon,||300||Bethel||130
|Lower Gold Mine, W. Y. Hiter,||295||Wilderness||129
|L. Creek, H. Frazer,||274||Antioch, J. A. Mansfield||129
|Lyle's, R. Lilly,||269||Round Oak,||119
|Little River, B. Philips||247||Bybee's Roads||112
|Mount Hermon, J. S. Powell||237||Fork||107|
Most of the churches have pastors named against them twice, but my plan will
be, for the future,
through all the
south and west, where ministers have the care of a number of churches, to
give their names but
I will give the clerk, Alex. P. Abell, Esq., the credit of sending the
very punctually, but I wish that he or some one else had done more.
In 1846, it reported 467; Charlottesville, S. H. Mirick, 405; New Prospect,
Davis, 398; Pine Grove, J. Fife, 335; Preddies' Creek, 246; Mount Ep., J. H.
Fox, 239; Liberty,
G. C. Trevillian, 226; Escol, -, 213; Piney River, -, 211; Ballenger's
Creek, C. Wingfield, 198;
Ebenezer, -, 164; Adiel, -, 161; Mount Shiloh, -, 154; Scottsville, -, 157;
Beaver Dam, S. Eastin,
129; Chestnut Grove, -, 112.
In 1846, it reported 362; F. T., S. Bruce, 334; Gourd Vine, J. Garnett, 321;
Stevensburg, T. Stringfellow, 206; Mount Salem, C. George, 194; Hedgeman R.,
Run, 143; Carter Run, 132; Blue Run, E. G. Ship, 132; Swift Run, P. Creel,
128; Bethel, 117;
Cedar Run, 116.
This I have ascertained from Mr. Sands, of the Religions Herald.
He is the brother to Joseph Massey, who studied at Newton, and was some
time pastor of the church in Bellingham, Mass.-J. N. Brown.
This is so called from a creek on which it is situated; it was one of the
constituent members of the oldest Association in the State, which is still
In 1846, it reported 265; Long Branch, 248; Liberty, T. D. Herndon 123; Buck
In 1846, it reported 231; Modest Town, W. Sands, 185, Red Bank, 164;
In 1846 it reported 608; Buckingham, 484; Liberty Chapel, 245; Sharon, 211;
Liberty, 191; Cumberland, 181; New Hope, 163; Tar Wallet, 115; Enon, 98.
It then reported 162; H. G. Creek, 154; Beaver Dam, 143; D. Creels, 126;
Hunting Creek, 125; Timber Ridge 112; Goose Creek, 110.
In the Minutes of this old fraternity for 1844, I find the following item:
"Brother Lee is requested to write a history of this Association from its
constitution, as far as he
can obtain documents for that purpose, and send such history- to Brother
David M Benedict of
Pawtucket, R. I., as soon as he can accomplish the work."
The article, if forwarded, must have miscarried, as no account of the modern
affairs of this body
have been received, and I have no Minutes later than 1844. It is situated in
the counties of
Bedford, Campbell, and Roanoke.
Letter of Wm. Slaughter, Jun., Esq., clerk of the Shiloh Association.
In the Minutes of 1845, it reported 113; Hawks-bill, C. Keyser, 96.
Communication front Rev. J. Newton Brown, of Lexington, 1847.
The Natural Bridge over Cedar Creek, is twelve miles south of Lexington, and
is a great curiosity. The river runs through a chasm which is 90 feet wide
at the top. he sides are
260 feet high, and almost perpendicular. The bridge is a huge rock thrown
across this chasm at
the top. It is 60 feet wide, and covered with earth and trees, and forms a
sublime spectacle when
beheld from the margin of the creek. Morse's Gazetteer.
Letter of Rev. J. N. Brown, of Lexington, to the author, 1847.
In 1846, it reported 213; Natural Bridge, 189; Zion's Hill, 161; Fincastle,
Historical sketch of the Greenbrier Association prepared by Joseph Adelson,
Esq., the present moderator, at the request of the body.-Semple's History,
Taylor's Biography of
Virginia baptist ministers.
Mr. Alderson had made three visits to this country previous to his removal
it, and baptized three persons, two of whom, were John Griffith and Mrs.
The seat of this body is 250 miles west of Richmond.
This was the author of a treatise on baptism entitled David and Goliah,
to in my article on baptism.
Historical Sketches, &c.
The biography of this distinguished man, as well as that of his father, will
more fully given in my biographical work.
In 1846, it reported 155; Hopewell, 147; Red Sulphur, 145; Guyandotte,
It then reported 225; New Garden, J. Wallis, 119; Copper Creek, 112; St.
Clair's Bottom 103; all the others are under 100. The largest church in the
now connection, is
Castle wood, 110; as this is less than one-half of the former number, I
infer that there has been a
division at home, this, and probably in a number of the other churches.
Lewis B. Dulaney, Esq., of Estillville, Scott Co., is my principal
correspondent for this region the
State; he has given me a minute account of the colored members in the old
community as it stood before the division, amounting, in all, to but 76, out
of upwards of 1500.
Some of the churches had but one or two, a number none at all.
Letter of Rev. M. Maddox, to the author, who quotes as his authority the
testimony of VA William Powers, Esq., one of the first settlers of
North-west Virginia, who is
In 1846, it reported 196; Union, -, 180; Westfork, 107; Harmony, A. J.
the same. All the others are under 100.
Letter of Rev. M. Maddox to the author.
Tygarts' Valley was, formerly, the name of a town in Randolph Co., which is
now called Beverly--Morse's Gazetteer.