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History of the Culpeper Association (Baptist)

The following is excerpted from A History of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists in Virginia, by Robert B. Semple, Minister of the Gospel in King and Queen County, Va, Revised and Extended by Rev. G. W. Beale, Richmond, VA, Pitt & Dickinson, Publishers, 1894, pages 229-253.

[pages 229-230]

Church Yr of Constitution Number at Constitution Present Number By whom planted Former Pastors Present Pastors Counties
Bethel 1803 72 62 W. Mason W. Mason W. Mason Culpeper
Thompson's Gap 1787 - - - 95 J. Koontz J. Koontz W. Fristoe Culpeper
Crooked Run 1772 30 85 S. Harriss, J. Read, E. Craig J. Garnett J. Garnett Culpeper
Mountponey 1774 47 247 D. Thomas N. Saunders W. Mason Culpeper
F.T. 1778 20 100 N. Saunders, G. Eve, W. Mason G. Eve, W. Mason L. Conner Culpeper
Gourdvine 1791 - - - - - - J. Picket, W. Mason J. Picket W. Mason Culpeper
Fiery Run 1771 27 47 J. Picket, J. Johnson J. Picket  - - - - - - - Culpeper
Battle Run 1773 - - - 87 J. Picket J. Picket - - - - - - -  Culpeper
Rapidan 1773 37 114 E. Craig and J. Waller, S. Harris and J. Read G. Eve, J. Leather - - - - - - - Madison
Robinson River 1790 76 41 W. Mason W. Mason W. Mason Madison
Blue Run 1769 - - - 100 S. Harris, J. Read E. Craig, G. Eve, H. Goss R. Jones Orange
Carter's Run 1768 37 68 J. Picket J. Picket - - - - - - -  - - - - - - - 
Goose Creek 1799 30 60 J. Picket J. Picket J. Koontz Fauquier
Mill Creek 1772 70 73 J. Picket, J. Koontz J. Koontz J. Koontz Fauquier and Culpeper
Smith's Creek 1774 - - - 48 J. Ireland, A. Moffett, J. Koontz A. Moffett A. Moffett Shenandoah
Lost River 1784 - - - 21 A. Moffett, J. Redding, J. Koontz A. Moffett J. Koontz, &c . . . .  Shenandoah and Rockingham
Lunie's Creek 1777 15 11 J. Redding, J. Taylor J. Redding and J. Koontz - - - - - - - Hardy
Lynville's Creek 1756 11 19 J. Alderson, &c.. J. Alderson, Sr., J. Alderson, Jr., J. Redding, J. Johnson J. Koontz Rockingham

*The style of Culpeper Association was changed in 1812 to Shiloh, by which it is still know.  The territory of this body embraces substantially the three counties first named in the above table, including Rappahannock, formed from Culpeper in 1831, and Greene, formed from Orange in 1838.  Within the limits of these counties there were in 1809 twelve churches, with not more than aggregate of 1,000 members.  There are now on the same ground in connection with the Shiloh Association thirty-six churches and 3,600 members.

[page 231]



For the origin, &c., of the Culpeper Association, see Chapter XII.

Their first session was hold at Smith's Creek meeting-house, commencing on the fourth Friday in October, 1792.  This session was occupied in organizing.

They met a second time at Thornton's Gap, on Friday, the 4th of October, 1793, and continued together three days.  Letters from fourteen churches were received, stating their whole number to be 1,212.  Rev. George Eve was chosen moderator, and Rev. Lewis Conner* clerk.  Nothing more than local matters was transacted at this session.  The limits of our work will not admit of lengthy details of the proceedings of each Association in the State, nor indeed can it be desirable, seeing the proceedings of one Association are so similar to those of another, that by passing over the records of four or five of the largest and oldest and selecting such general matter as may have called their attention, we obtain every-

*Lewis Conner was a native of Culpeper county, and was baptized by David Thomas about the year 1769.  He, with one of the Craigs, built a meeting-house on Mountain river, in Orange, where a church was constituted, which ceased to meet at the opening of the Revolution.  Elder Conner served as a soldier in the Colonial army, and with Green in the South, and also at the siege of Yorktown.  Subsequently he was pastor of F.T., Thornton's Gap and Battle Run churches, in a ministry extending for forty years.  He died at his home, near Battle Run church, in June 1832, aged eighty-six years.

[page 232]

thing, or nearly everything, worth regarding in any.  A few general observations, therefore, as to the proceedings of the Culpeper Association will, we presume, be satisfactory; especially as a pretty full attention has been paid to the history of the churches in this Association.

Elder Lewis Conner acted as clerk of the Association from their first organization until a few years past.  At present Mr. Richard I. Tutt discharges the duties of that office.  Mr. George Eve generally acted as moderator during his continuance in the State.  Of late years Elders Mason and Conner--sometimes the one and sometimes the other--have filled the moderator's chair.  Their course has been even and smooth; their business managed prudently and peacefully; their number of churches has increased, but their number of members rather decreased, owing chiefly to the great number of removals to the western country.  This Association has never as yet joined the General Meeting of Correspondence, but it is hoped, when the principles and utility of that meeting are better understood, that not only this, but all the Associations in the State, will become members.  Upon this short view of the Association, we shall now proceed to speak of the churches.


are churches of happy standing, but nothing has occurred among them necessary to be noticed here.  Brother Koontz attends Upper Goose Creek with much success.

*The church of this name was located on the headwaters of Goose creek, in the upper end of Fauquier, and has been for many years connected with the Potomac Association.  John Ogilvie served as pastor here for twenty-five years, and Barnett Grimsley for seventeen.

Bethel was in the southwestern corner of Culpeper, not far from Madison, and the church maintains its place still in Shiloh Association.  Elder T. F. Grimsley has been for years pastor here.

[page 233]


have furnished no historical account.


This is a daughter of Blue Run, and was for about two years under the care of E. Craig, who was pastor of Blue Run.  God having raised up ministers among them, viz., Elders J. Garnett and Thomas Ammon, (the latter of whom was once imprisoned in Culpeper jail for preaching), Mr. Garnett was ordained as pastor.  Under the ministerial care of this amiable man, the church has enjoyed peace and harmony.  In 1788 and 1789 they had a glorious revival; 115 were added.  In 1802 they were again blessed, and about thirty were baptized.  By emigration, &c., their number is not so great as it has been.  Mr. John Garnett, one of the ministers, has lately ascended the pulpit, and is said to be a young man of pleasing manners and promising talents.


This church was taken off from a church called Mountain Run, in Orange county, constituted in 1768 and since dissolved.  The Rev. David Thomas was the first Baptist preacher that ever proclaimed the Gospel of Peace in the counties of Orange and Culpeper, which took place in the year 1763.  His preaching was in power and demon-

*Situated near the pass in the Blue Ridge of that name.  The name has been changed to Sperryville.

This church continues a vigorous and active body, located in the lower part of Culpeper bordering on Rapidan river.  James Garnett was pastor here for about fifty-five years, and was succeeded at this death (April 16, 1830) by his grandson of the same name.  J. W. McCown and J. C. Willis have served the church in this capacity in recent years.

Thomas Ammon became a useful and valuable preacher in Kentucky, where he served Hickman's Creek church as their first pastor.  He is honorably mentioned in John Taylor's History of Ten Churches, p. 102.

[page 234]

stration of the Spirit.  Mr. Nathanial Saunders, who afterwards became a preacher, was among the first seals to his ministry.  Many others were also baptized about the same time.  In 1766, about two or three years after he was baptized, Mr. Saunders began to preach, and 1768 was ordained to the care of Mountain Run church, which was constituted at the same time.  Mr. Saunders held the care of this church until it was dissolved in 1782, and most of the members joined Mountponey.*

Mountponey, as will appear from the table, was constituted in 1774.  Elder Saunders served them as a supply from a short time after their constitution until some time in 1777.  When the Rev. John Leland, from New England, came preaching among them, and became a member of Mountponey church, the church unanimously called him to the administration of the Word and ordinances without ordination by the imposition of hands.  This being contrary to the established rule of the Ketocton Association, and indeed the Baptists of Virginia generally, when the church sent her delegates to the next Association they were rejected.  The habits of the Baptists in New England and of those in Virginia respecting apparel were also much at variance.  Mr. Leland and others adhered to the customs of New England, each one putting on such apparel as suited his own fancy.  This was offensive to some members of the church.  The contention on this account became so sharp that on the 25th 

*Nathaniel Saunders, though not a preacher of great talents, was sound in the faith.  He lived and died in the estimation of all that knew him, a pious and good man.  After suffering a great deal, with a long and painful illness, he finished his earthly pilgrimage towards the last of the summer, 1808.--Author's note.

For the writ under which Elder N. Saunders was arrested in August, 1773, and committed to the Culpeper jail for preaching the Gospel, see Appendix.  See there also a letter written to him while in prison (with Elder William McClannahan) by Elder David Thomas.

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