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The Early Loudoun Churches

The first church in Loudoun County, called the “Chapel of Ease for the comfort of the people above the Goose Creek,” was built in 1733.

 

The purpose of this article is to assist our communities to enlist the active presence of God and find strategic direction and empowerment for accomplishing the goals of gospel ministry together in and through our Loudoun Churches. I do not believe that Jesus desires us to all join the same church or that we will all agree on every point of doctrine. However we can indeed pray for a movement of God for the visible unity of His whole church.  Jesus desires us to come to “complete unity.”

The Truro Parish was established by the General Assembly of Virginia on November 1, 1732 when Hamilton Parish was divided along the Occoquan River and Bull Run. It included what is, at present, Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun counties, and the independent cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, and Falls Church. The parish was named after Truro Parish in Cornwall, England. Truro Parish initially covered all of the land north of the Occoquan and Bull Run, up to the Potomac and westward all the way to the Blue Ridge Mountains at Ashby’s Gap.

On June 11, 1749, the parish was divided in two, with the newly-formed Cameron Parish constituting the portion north and west of Difficult Run and Popes Head Run. George Mason, author of the Virginia Articles that presaged the Bill of Rights was elected to the parish vestry that year. In the mid 1700’s the people of Cameron Parish, were served by visiting ministers: The Reverend Charles Green and The Reverend James Scott, from Pohick Church in Truro Parish.

In 1769, the Western portion of Cameron Parish transitioned into a new Parish named Shelburne. Loudoun County was now comprised of two Anglican parishes, with Goose Creek, a turbulent stream that often flooded as the important dividing line. Cameron Parish east of the creek and Shelburne Parish to the west. The first rector was The Reverend Dr. David Griffith, a distinguished churchman, who served from 1771 to 1776. A physician before his ordination, Dr. Griffith left the parish to serve as surgeon and chaplain in the Continental Army. He was a close friend of George Washington, and after the Revolution he became the rector of Christ Church, Alexandria. A leader in the early church in Virginia, he was, in 1786, the first man elected bishop in America. Unfortunately he died before funds were found to send him to England for his consecration.

The first church in Loudoun County, called the “Chapel of Ease for the comfort of the people above the Goose Creek,” was built in 1733, a log structure near the Big Spring about two miles north of Leesburg. No trace remains today of this original church or its graveyard.

The following Early Church Records in Loudoun County, Virginia are taken from Marty Hiatt, CGRS. I believe some churches in eastern Loudoun are not included i.e., Guilford Baptist (1857) and Oak Grove Baptist (1868). However this listing provides the reader with a good understanding of the early growth and diversity of the church in Loudoun. My estimate is that there are now 150 churches, to include house churches, in Loudoun County. See web site for early church history,  http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~valoudou/church.htm.

NAME: Fairfax MM
DENOMINATION: Society of Friends
TOWN: Waterford
DATES: 1744-1929
HISTORY: Janney, Asa Moore. Ye Meeting Hous Smal, A Short History of Friends in Loudoun Co. 1962
RECORDS: Originals at Swarthmore, PA; microfilm at MSA, copies of mgs. at courthouse & Balch, pre-1800 in print.

NAME: Ketoctin Baptist
DENOMINATION: Baptist
TOWN: bet. Round Hill & Purcellville
DATES: 1751-1936
HISTORY: James, Rev. F. H. Ketoctin Baptist Church. ; Ford, Vernon. Ketoctin Chronicle
RECORDS: Original minutes 1776-1930 at BHS, typed abstracts at Balch, pre-1800 in print.

NAME: Ebenezer
DENOMINATION: Baptist (O S)
TOWN: Bloomfield
DATES: c. 1755
HISTORY:
RECORDS:

NAME: New Jerusalem (Bethel & Zion)
DENOMINATION: Lutheran
TOWN: Lovettsville
DATES: 1765
HISTORY: ___. A People of God, 1765-1965.
RECORDS: Original at Gettysburg, microfilm (1784-1836) at Lib. VA & LDS, early bapts. & mgs. in I.G.I., some copies at Balch, 1876-1927; Balch has burials 1784-1836.

NAME: St. James
DENOMINATION: Episcopal
TOWN: Leesburg
DATES: 1769
HISTORY: Worsley, Lizzie, Old St. James Episcopal Church ... 1760-1897
RECORDS: Originals at church, register from 1830

NAME: Shelburne Parish
DENOMINATION: Anglican
TOWN: Above Goose Creek
DATES: 1770
HISTORY: Cocke, Charles F. Parish Lines, Diocese of Virginia, 1967
RECORDS: Originals & microfilm of vestry minutes 1771-1805 at Lob. VA, microfilm at Balch, pre-1800 in print.

NAME: New Valley
DENOMINATION: Baptist (O S)
TOWN: Lucketts
DATES: 1770
HISTORY:
RECORDS:

NAME: Catoctin
DENOMINATION: Presbyterian
TOWN: Waterford
DATES: 1765 or 1774
HISTORY: Catoctin Presbyterian Church, 225th Anniversary Celebration, 1765-1990
RECORDS: Session minutes & register, 1883-1909, & Session minutes 1910-1948 at PHS

NAME: Leesburg U. M.
DENOMINATION: Methodist
TOWN: Leesburg
DATES: 1766
HISTORY: Steadman, M. L. Leesburg’s Old Stone Church 1766.
RECORDS: Originals at church 1830-1851, 1867 to present. Book “in the works.”

NAME: Little River Baptist
DENOMINATION: Baptist
TOWN: Aldie
DATES: 1769
HISTORY: Hutchison, Rev. Westwood, Little River Baptist Church
RECORDS: Minutes 1871-1955 at BHS; list of early members at Balch

NAME: Christ Church
DENOMATION: Episcopal
TOWN: Lucketts
DATES: 1773 (1868)
HISTORY:
RECORDS: Records at St. James, Leesburg

NAME: German Reformed (now St. James)
DENOMINATION: United Church of Christ
TOWN: Lovettsville
DATES: 1773
HISTORY:
RECORDS: Baptism only 1786-1859, early in German, originals at UCC archives, Lancaster, PA; copies at church; microfilm through LDS, translation at Handley library & Lib. VA.

NAME: Aldie
DENOMINATION: Presbyterian
TOWN: Arcola
DATES: 1776
HISTORY:
RECORDS:

NAME: Gum Spring
DENOMINATION: Presbyterian
TOWN: Arcola
DATES: 1776
HISTORY:
RECORDS:

NAME: Unison (Bethesda)
DENOMINATION: Methodist
TOWN: Unison
DATES: 1780 (1832)
HISTORY: History of the Unison Methodist Church
RECORDS:

NAME: Church of Our Redeemer
DENOMATION: Episcopal
TOWN: Oatlands
DATES: 1780s (1870s)
HISTORY:
RECORDS: Until 1940, records are with Emmanuel, Middleburg

NAME: North Fork Primitive
DENOMINATION: Baptist
TOWN: North Fork
DATES: 1784
HISTORY:
RECORDS: Originals 1784-1970 at BHS; transcription 1784-1930 at Balch; pre-1800 in print.

NAME: Middleburg U. M.
DENOMINATION: Methodist
TOWN: Middleburg
DATES: 1784
HISTORY: Emerick, C. T. L., Middleburg Methodist Churches…
RECORDS: Records from 1800s are at church, also has some records from Upperville

NAME: Goose Creek Meeting
DENOMINATION: Society of Friends
TOWN: Lincoln
DATES: 1785
HISTORY: Janney, Asa Moore. Ye Meeting Hous Smal, A Short History of Friends in Loudoun Co. 1962
RECORDS: Originals & microfilm at MD State Archives; pre-1800 in print

NAME: Emmanuel
DENOMINATION: Episcopal
TOWN: Middleburg
DTES: 1796
HISTORY: Low, Chet, Hist. of Emmanuel Episcopal Church 1842-1992
RECORDS: Originals at church, copies at Balch, Register 1840-1926

NAME: Grove (Woodburn)
DENOMINATION: Methodist
TOWN:
DATES: early 1800-192?
HISTORY:
RECORDS: Balch has Sunday School records, 1898-1903, 1921, Conf. records 1903-1907 are with Harmony Church records

NAME: Leesburg
DENOMINATION: Presbyterian
TOWN: Leesburg
DATES: 1804
HISTORY: Presbyterian Church, Leesburg, VA, 1804-1975
RECORDS: Minutes & register 1804-1869, minutes 1867-1938, Register 1867-1919 at PHS; copy of register 1804-1875 at Balch; records from 1919 at church.

NAME: Catoctin Free Meeting House
DENOMINATION: Bapt., Eps., Meth. & Presb.
TOWN: Clark’s Gap
DATES: 1810
HISTORY: Hutchison, L. S. & J. Divine. Catoctin Free Church
RECORDS:

NAME: Rehobeth
DENOMINATION: Methodist
TOWN: Lovettsville
DATES: 1814
HISTORY:
RECORDS: Later records at Mt. Pleasant Church, Taylorstown, copies at Balch

NAME: Middleburg
DENOMINATION: Baptist
TOWN: Middleburg
DATES: 1828
HISTORY:
RECORDS: Original minutes 1847-1955 & women’s minutes 1920-1930s at BHS. Copies at the church.

NAME: Arnold Grove/Hillsboro
DENOMINATION: Methodist
TOWN: Hillsboro
DATE: 1830s
HISTORY:
RECORDS: Quarterly conference records, 1848 & 1870-1900 are at church

NAME: Roszell Chapel
DENOMINATION: Methodist
TOWN: Philomont
DATES: 1830
HISTORY:
RECORDS:

NAME: Lovettsville
DENOMINATION: Presbyterian
TOWN: Lovettsville
DATES: 1833-1892
HISTORY:
RECORDS: Session minutes 1869-1884 at PHS, 1869-1885 transcription at Balch

NAME: Salem
DENOMINATION: Methodist
TOWN: Neersville
DATES: 1833
HISTORY:
RECORDS:

NAME: Harmony U. M.
DENOMINATION: Methodist
TOWN: Hamilton
DATES: 1833
HISTORY: Sesquicentennial 1833-1983.
RECORDS: Originals at church, copies at Balch; 2 old membership books, beginning 1871, account book 1875-1889, registers 1897-1938

NAME: Ebenezer U. M.
DENOMINATION: Methodist
TOWN: Neersville
DATES: 1834
HISTORY: History of Ebenezer Church, 1833-1959
RECORDS:

NAME: North Fork Regular
DENOMINATION: Baptist (N S)
TOWN: North Fork
DATES: 1835
HISTORY: North Fork Baptist Church 150th Anniversary, 1835-1985
RECORDS: Original minutes 1839-1979 at BHS.

NAME: St. Paul’s
DENOMINATION: Lutheran
TOWN: Neersville
DATES: 1835-1981
HISTORY:
RECORDS: Register, 1836-1843 at VA Synod Archives, Salem, VA

NAME: Mount Hope
DENOMINATION: Baptist
TOWN: Waxpool
DATES: 1835
HISTORY: Mt. Hope Baptist Church—150th Anniversary 1835-1885
RECORDS:

NAME: St. David’s (Belmont Chapel)
DENOMINATION: Episcopal
TOWN: Ashburn
DATES: 1836
HISTORY:
RECORDS:

NAME: Pleasant Valley U. M.
DENOMINATION: Methodist
TOWN: Chantilly
DATES: 1845
HISTORY: Jackson, Jane. History of Pleasant Valley Church.
RECORDS: Originals at Sterling Methodist Church, begin 1894

NAME: Ryan (Farmwell)
DENOMINATION: Methodist
TOWN: Ashburn
DATES: 1849
HISTORY:
RECORDS:

NAME: Church of Our Savior
DENOMINATION: Episcopal
TOWN: Aldie
DATES: 1850
HISTORY:
RECORDS: Records at Emmanuel, Middleburg

NAME: Mt. Zion
DENOMINATION: Baptist (O S)
TOWN: Aldie
DATES: 1851-1979
HISTORY:
RECORDS:

NAME: Mountville
DENOMINATION: Methodist
TOWN: Mountville
DATES: 1852-1950
HISTORY:
RECORDS:

NAME: Ebenezer
DENOMINATION: Baptist (N S)
TOWN: Bloomfield
DATES: 1855
HISTORY:
RECORDS

NAME: Bethel
DENOMINATION: Methodist
TOWN: Stumptown
DATES: 1859
HISTORY:
RECORDS:

NAME: Mt. Olivet U. M.
DENOMINATION: Methodist
TOWN: Lovettsville
DATES: 1860
HISTORY: Rinker, Gerta Origin of Mt. Olivet as I remember it.
RECORDS: Original records at Mt. Pleasant Church, Taylorstown, copies at Balch

NAME: St. Peter’s
DENOMINATION: Episcopal
Town: Purcellville
DATES: 1870
HISTORY:
RECORDS: Original register from 1871 at church

NAME: St. Paul’s
DENOMINATION: Episcopal
TOWN: Hamilton
DATES: 1874
HISTORY:
RECORDS: Records at St. Peter’s, Purcellville

NAME: Sterling U. M.
DENOMINATION: Methodist
TOWN: Sterling
DATES: 1875
HISTORY: U. M. Church History 1875-1993
RECORDS: Original records at church

NAME: Ashburn
DENOMINATION: Presbyterian
TOWN: Ashburn
DATES: 1876
HISTORY:
RECORDS: Session minutes & register 1912-1958 at PHS; church has partial records from 1890, complete from 1930.

NAME: St. John’s
DENOMINATION: Catholic
TOWN: Leesburg
DATES: 1878
HISTORY: Sheel, E. M. History of St. John the Apostle…1878-1978
RECORDS: Original register at church.

NAME: Mt. Pleasant U. M.
DENOMINATION: Methodist
TOWN: Taylorstown
DATES: 1878
HISTORY:
RECORDS: Originals at church, date from 1890s, copies at Balch

If anyone is interested in publishing a faith article on this web column, please contact Mark Gunderman at gunderman2001@aol.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Odessa Criales-Smith April 27, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Mark, I love this article and love seeing Asa Moore Janney's name under Goose Creek Meeting...he was an awesome, honorable and loving man who made all feel welcome in Lincoln, VA! An awesome storyteller, and when I think of special people in my life, he and his wife are right there in my thoughts, and in my heart! They loved the Lord and lived their lives accordingly!

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