The footnotes are changed to endnotes and the numbers are changed to consecutive numbers. — jrd
Virginia Baptist History
By David Benedict
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 — Roanoke — Goshen — Albemarle — Shiloh — Ketockton, and all the others in eastern Virginia.
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 respectively contain.
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 lies between the Blue Ridge and the Alleghany mountains; and thewestern 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 I 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 times, so far as baptist history is concerned, much use was made of this river as a line of demarcation, and 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 and 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 were fifteen Associations wholly in this State; six of them, viz: Dover, Goshen, Albemarle, Culpepper, Accomack, and Ketockton were on the north of James river. Portsmouth, Middle District, Meherrin, Appomattox, Roanoke, and Strawberry were on the southern side; New River, Greenbrier, and Union were west of the Alleghany mountains. 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, and Pa.
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 make.
This great community bears date from 1783, it being one of the four branches which originated from 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 the British 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 band 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 he removed to 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 years, but 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 yet to die was gain. He 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 tends greatly to promote the prosperity of the denomination, and which calls for devout thankfulness to the Author of all good.
"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 of protracted 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 members were added, 217 of whom were white persons.
"In the years 1831-2, a painful state of things 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 following, at the urgent desire of the church, partially resumed it, till they should succeed in obtaining another pastor. In May, 1833, Elder I. T. Hinton accepted that appointment. During 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, and 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, 1836.
"In the autumn 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 of both classes.
"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 First Church.
Rev. David Roper was the first pastor of this body, in which office he 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.14
Rev. E. I. Magoon, now pastor of a church in Cincinnati, Ohio, was Mr. Taylor's immediate successor; his pastorship continued till 1846.
Rev. ______ Reynolds, the present pastor, came into office the same year. 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 Church of Richmond was constituted of members, dismissed for the purpose, from the Second Church.
"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 serious importance 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 Henry Keeling, 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 the Second church, one from the first, and two from country churches, were publicly recognized as an independent church of the Lord Jesus. The religious services 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; and in November of the same year, Elder Lewis A. Alderson accepted 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 persons."
Rev. James B. Taylor, then late pastor of the Second church, came into office here in 1840, where he continued about six 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 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, been about quadruple to that of the whites. They, by mutual agreement, continued to occupy the old capacious building, where their assemblages are very large.15
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 an institution, I believe, exists in this city, and that it originated from the Second church of whites. Recapitulation of the Churches in Richmond. Churches. Dates. Pastors. Members. First Church, 1780 J. B. Jeter 503 Second Church 1820 J. L. Reynolds, 527 Third Church, 1833 _____ 357 Fourth Church ____ A. B. Smith 169 African Church 1841 R. Ryland 2,167 2d African Church, (estimated) 300 Total 4,023
The other churches in this Association whose members amount to one hundred or more, with their pastors, are given in the note below.16
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 organization.
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.17
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 inhabitants,18 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 clerk:19
"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 for dividing, till the session of the Dover Association at Salem, in Caroline county, in October, 1842. A committee having been appointed at the previous session, reported that the York river, from its mouth up to its head, and then 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 the Rappahannock River below Fredericksburg, through King George county to the Potomac River; down the Potomac to the Chesapeake Bay; in length about 120 miles, in breadth from 30 to 40. This division left the old Association with 37 churches, and the new with 35. The number now is 37."
Rev. Addison Hall was the moderator, and L. W. Allen, clerk, of the first meeting.20
Mr. Allen, according to the custom of the country, had the spiritual oversight, at the time lie wrote me,21 of three churches, of which he has given some historical sketches, which I regret my limits will not permit me to insert.
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.22 ____________________
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 the 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 him, in succession, they had Josiah Bishop, a man of color, Thos. Etheredge, Jacob Grigg, Davis Biggs, and probably some others.
Rev. Thomas Hume, the present incumbent, has been in office here some ten years or more.23
NORFOLK CHURCH, CUMBERLAND STREET, was formed from the Portsmouth, in 1815. Semple gives a doleful account of the calamities which befel [sic] this body in its early movements, in consequence of a succession of errant and unworthy ministers who were inducted into the pastoral office.24 The names of all the incumbents here I have not learned.
Dr. Howell, now of Nashville, Tenn., according to Allen's Register for 1833, appears to have been in this station at that date.
Rev. E. 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 as 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 resigned the office.
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 he was in the town.
The FIRST AFRICAN CHURCH appears to have been the first on this ground, and arose many years before a the church of whites was formed; this is now the largest church in this Association.25
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, from 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 under review.
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 them. ________________
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 denominated the Southern district, as its churches extended quite to the line of N. C. Why the term Middle was adopted, Mr. Semple informs us 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 dividing and 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 Capitol.
THE AFRICAN CHURCH in Manchester is the largest in this body.26
THE MUDDY CREEK CHURCH, C. Tyree pastor, is the next in size. This church was constituted in 1774.
THE POWHATTAN CHURCH, H. W, Watkins pastor, stand, next as to numbers this bears date from 1771.
THE SPRING CREEK CHURCH, J. Martin pastor, is also a large body. It was organized in 1790.
The fraternities which have been formed from 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, Charlotte, Prince Edwards, Buckingham, and Nottaway. It contains some of the oldest churches in this part of the State.
THE SHARON CHURCH, D. Witt, pastor, is the largest in this body.27 ________________
Was formed from the Middle District, in 1804, and after maintaining a respectable standing 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 name of _______________
Which bears date from 1833; it occupies the, same ground of the old body in the counties of Charlotte, Mecklenburg, Lunenburg, &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 Association.28
The MOUNT LEBANON CHURCH; J. W. D. Creath, pastor, is the largest in this body.29 _________________
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 from 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 western regions.
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 Association.
The Lower Banister, Campbell Co., is the largest in this body.(29a) It bears date from 1798. Among its former pastors, have been John Jenkins, Griffith Dickinson, 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.30
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 memory, 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 been Rev. Messrs. Hill, Hall, Dodson, P. Hurt, R. Hurt, McAllister, Wills, and Poindexter.
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 bodies.
The HUNTING CREEK CHURCH, A. M. Poindexter pastor, is the largest in this body.31
HALIFAX CHURCH. This church was formed in 18__ , and Rev. N. M. Poindexter, their present pastor, was then inducted into the pastoral office, in which he still continues.
The character of this Association is indicated as to benevolent objects by its annual doings. 32
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. Ricker.33
STAUNTON RIVER ASSOCIATION
Was formed in 1842, of eight churches which withdrew from the Roanoke, on account of disputes about benevolent operations. Their names were Mill, Upper Banister, Mt. Ararat, 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 Shiloh.
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 Fluvanna.
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 Pamunkey, 1774; Licking Hole, 1776; and County Line, 1782; were the oldest which arose in this part of the State.
Rev. H. Frazer, the clerk of this body, informs me that he is not furnished with sufficient 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.34 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.35
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 recent origin.
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 the ministers 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 Jefferson took so much pains to get established, is within the bounds of this community, and this town contains one of its largest churches.
THE EBENEZER CHURCH, founded by O. Flowers, in 1773, is the oldest, and
MOUNT MORIAH, Samuel B. Rice pastor, is the largest in this body.36 This last named community bears date from 1784. The New 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 community extends 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 our 2d division.
Rev. Thornton Stringfellow, and Cumberland George, are pastors in this Association.
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. 37 _____________________
RAPPAHANNOCK COUNTY ASSOCIATION
Was formed in 1835. It is a small community, which withdrew in part from the Shiloh on 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, reported 137 members, and was the only one which came up 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 Creek, Ketockton, and Broadrun; all but the last were dismissed from the Philadelphia Association. Yearly 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 with this 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 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, which they 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 about 600.38 ___________________
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 new organizations, which had been got up by the labors of Elders Wm. T. Broaddus and T. Stringfellow.
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 that
The KETOCKTON CHURCH, 1755, J. T. Massey, 39 pastor, is the oldest in this connection.40
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 the same spiritual shepherd, are all the churches of any considerable size; the others are of recent origin.
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.41 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, Loudon, Clark, &c.
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 sufficient information 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 Association.42
The ministers in this body are O. B. Brown, A. H. Bennett, J. Ogelvie, S. Smith, L. Marders, and J. Baker.
This Association has adopted the commendable practice of putting the dates of the churches in the Minutes. ________________
Was formed in 1809, of churches which were formerly in connection with the old Salisbury 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 them. 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 Maryland and Virginia.
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 north. _________________
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.43
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. 88, 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 the General 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 Harris, and 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 Association."
From this prolific institution a number of others have proceeded, as our future narratives will show.
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 them.
TINKER CREEK CHURCH was the largest in this body in 1844.44 _______________
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 for 1833:
"The churches in this body are located chiefly in the counties of Henry and Franklin. * * * *
"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 most prominent 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 Come-outers from all benevolent 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 county." ___________________
Thus far, twenty-three associational confederacies have come under review; some, it 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 consideration.
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 measure.
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 William, 299; Union, Mangohick, ____, 282; Boar Swamp, Henrico, John Carter, 216; Elam, 245; Reed's, 219; Hopewell, 201; Taylorsville, S. S. Sumner, 207; Websters, _____, 209; Aquinton, ____, 159; Concord, ____, 170; Bethel, ____, 137; Goochland ____, 119; Bethlehem, Henrico, M. T. Sumner, 122; Liberty, J. P. Turner, 149; Lower College, ____, 150; Warwick, E. S. Amory, 151; Grafton, ____, 109.
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 Missionary in China.
21. He has resigned his pastoral care, and entered on an agency for the collection of funds for Richmond College.
22.In 1845, it reported (only 90 whites) 990 Pope's Creek, ____ 351 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. Taliaferro, 259 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 Association.
23. 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 colored members in this and the neighboring places, who have since organized by themselves.
24. History, &c., p. 354.
25. In 1845 it reported 1393; Second African, or Gillfield, in this town, 1119. As 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, 408; Shoulders' Hill, 265; Mill Swamp, 230; Tucker's Swamp, 223; Beaver Dam, 212; Petersburg, 210; Raccoon Swamp, 193; Suffolk, 189; Western Branch, 182; High Hills, 181; Black Creek, 172; South Quay, 166; Newville, 135; Moore's Swamp, 131; Black Water, 126; North-West, 121; Brandon, 109.
26. In 1846, it reported 487; Muddy Creek, 405; Powhattan, 385; Spring Creek, 330; Mount Tabor, J. Johns, 316; Bethel B. C. Hancock, 163; Mount Hermon, S. Dorsett, 143; Tomahawk, _____, 112; Hepzibah, 108; Union, L.D. Horner, 100.
27. In 1845, it reported 436; Nottaway, ---, 399; Red Oak, J. G. Hanmer, 351; Morringford, 250; New Salem, E. W. Roach, 161; Providence, ---, 163; Farmville, J. W. Goodman, 152; Appomattox A. A. Baldwin, 136; Brookneal, ---, 133; Ash Camp,---, 134; Spring Creek, ---, 111; Stonewall, ---, 107; Midway, ---, 103.
28. Letter of Rev. C. F. Burnby, to the author.
29. In 1844 it reported 275; James Square, J. Delk 193; Blue Stone, J. B. Smith, 178; Reedy Creek, W. H. Maddox, 163; Cool Spring, ____, 141; Fountain Creek, J. C. Bailey, 131; Concord, ---, 1241; Cut's Bank, ---, 104; Mercy
29a. 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 Stone, J. T. McLaughlin, 139; Childry, J. L. Morton 132; Republican, ---, 121.
30 Letter of Rev. D. B. McGehee, to the author.
31 In 1845, it reported 190; Arbor, 176; Cross Roads, 162; Hyco, 157; Black
32. The whole amount of contributions the first year for benevolent institutions, and to defray expenses was $548.29. Since then, there has been some falling off, which my correspondent ascribes partly to the pressure of the times, but, mostly, to the fact of a 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.
33. Their names are placed according to seniority as to ordination. -- Mr. McGehee's letter, &c.
34.In 1845, 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
35. I will give the clerk, Alex. P. Abell, Esq., the credit of sending the Minutes very punctually, but I wish that he or some one else had done more.
36. In 1846, it reported 467; Charlottesville, S. H. Mirick, 405; New Prospect, J. 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.
37. 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., 171; Crooked Run, 143; Carter Run, 132; Blue Run, E. G. Ship, 132; Swift Run, P. Creel, 128; Bethel, 117; Cedar Run, 116.
38. This I have ascertained from Mr. Sands, of the Religious Herald.
39. 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.
40. 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 being.
41. In 1846, it reported 265; Long Branch, 248; Liberty, T. D. Herndon 123; Buck Marsh, 122.
42. In 1846, it reported 231; Modest Town, W. Sands, 185, Red Bank, 164; Pungoteague, 149.
43. In 1846 it reported 608; Buckingham, 484; Liberty Chapel, 245; Sharon, 211; Liberty, 191; Cumberland, 181; New Hope, 163; Tar Wallet, 115; Enon, 98.
44. 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.
[From David Benedict, A General History of the Baptist Denomination in America, 1848; rpt. 1977, pp. 659-671. — jrd]
Section Four of Benedict's Virginia Baptists
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