Planting of the Presbyterian Church in Northern Virginia — 1794

Churches and Religion

New River Valley History:

New River History and Genealogy Discussion Group

For discussion of history and genealogy of the New River Valley of North Carolina and Virginia you are welcomed to join the New River History and Genealogy Discussion Group.

Click to join NRHG
Click to join NRHG

Welcome and we hope you join the discussions.


New River Notes — Complete

January 21, 2014

After about two years of work we have completed a major upgrade to New River Notes. On January 21, 2014 we switched in the last of the updated files and final page revisions.

In January 2013 we introduced the new site layout but because there were many pages left to do there was a big red Under Construction on the front page. A year later we've finished all of the pages that were on the original site. Construction is complete. We have a great looking site full of material to help you in your research and possibly entertain you.

New River Notes

January 6, 2013

New River Notes, a leading genealogy resource for the New River Valley of North Carolina and Virginia, launched its new look website today.

new river valley mapNew River Notes was originally launched in 1998 by Jeffrey C. Weaver providing New River Valley researchers with a new wealth of information and that tradition is continued today by the Grayson County, Virginia Heritage Foundation, Inc.

Welcome and we hope you enjoy our new look.

The Planting of the Presbyterian Church in Northern Virginia Prior to the Organization of Winchester Presbytery

December 4, 1794
By James R. Graham, D. D.,

This text is offered on Jeffrey's Store on Lulu. Jeff's Store has some of the texts offered on this website, and several other historic texts, not on the website. They are offered as reprints.

To the Members of the Winchester Presbytery in harmonious fellowship with whom my entire ministry has been spent, and whose unvarying kindness has cheered the labors and sweetened the trials of a pastorage extending over a period of more than half a century this volume is affectionately inscribed.


    It is with many misgivings that this little volume is committed to the press. Its author claims no special importance for it. It does not pretend to be a complete and connected history of our Church, either in the period of which it treats, or in the territory to which it relates. He is fully aware of its fragmentary and imperfect character, and of the very limited interest that will be taken in its pages. His excuse for offering it to the public, already surfeited with books, is the fact that its publication has been insistently urged by judicious friends, who have some knowledge of its character. It is, moreover, his own conviction that such facts of our Presbyterial history as he has here tried to rescue from oblivion, should be put in a form most likely to secure their preservation. Though others have explored the field in which he has labored, and have made most valuable contributions to the early history of our Church, he is persuaded that some particulars are here given that will be new to most of his readers, and that will have a special interest for the people of The Northern Neck.

    Notwithstanding the care taken by the proofreader, a few typographical errors have somehow escaped his watchful eye. Such as have been discovered are noticed in the "Errata" at the close of the volume.


    IT is proposed, in this unpretending volume, to gather up, so far as we have been able to obtain them, the facts relating to the Planting of Presbyterianism in the territory originally covered by the Presbytery of Winchester, down to the time of the organization of that Presbytery. This proposal excludes the attempt to write a history of the Presbytery itself. It limits our inquiries strictly to the period which precedes our Presbyterial existence. If this limitation should prove a disappointment to any reader of this book, our defence is that the materials for our history, as an organized body, are carefully preserved in our Presbyterial Records and are readily accessible; while the facts relating to our antePresbyterial existence are to be sought from sources more difficult of access, many of which have already passed, and others are rapidly passing, beyond our reach.

    In the prosecution of this purpose, our work will be but the enlargement, in a more correct form, of statements presented in the Historical Address delivered at Shepherdstown, W. Va., September, 1894, at the celebration of our Presbyterial Centennial.

    The work here undertaken is not an easy one. To write the early history of our churches at all is difficult; to write it with absolute completeness and to the entire satisfaction of the reader, is impossible. That history is involved in the greatest obscurity. The most diligent and painstaking research is not able now to dispel the darkness that broods over it. It must be remembered that Presbyterianism here is older than our Presbytery, and that in our efforts to trace its earliest introduction, the records of Winchester Presbytery afford us no help. Our inquiries go far back of the organization of our Presbytery, and the material for this history must be gathered from sources not easily accessible, and not very satisfactory in the information furnished when access is obtained.

    But while the fact is to be deplored, that our knowledge of the early history of our church is so scant and imperfect, it is gratifying to know that neither the General Assembly nor the Presbytery can be held responsible for the absence of this knowledge. Two years after the Assembly was organized (viz: in 1791), it enjoined upon the Presbyteries, then 17 in number, to gather up and forward to the Assembly all the material that could contribute to a full and accurate history of our church from the time of its first introduction into this country. Successive Assemblies, through a number of years, repeated this injunction, with which the Presbyteries very generally complied; and in 1804 Dr. Ashbel Green and Mr. Ebenezer Hazzard were appointed a committee to embody the facts that had been collected into a history of the Church. For several years this committee reported progress in their work; but the difficulties, which from the first were formidable, were found at length to be so great that, in 1813, the committee reported the work to be impracticable, and at their own request were discharged. But the Assembly, unwilling to abandon the undertaking, appointed Rev. Samuel Miller D.D. to receive the material in hand, and complete the history. In 1819 he, too, asked to be relieved and Dr. Green was appointed to assist him. But in 1825 these gentlemen reported their inability to do the work and asked to be relieved from their appointment. While their request was granted, so important did the Assembly deem the work to be, that another and larger committee was appointed to continue and complete it. This committee reported from time to time; but at the Disruption of the church in 1838, the history was still unfinished, and from that period, so far as we have discovered, the matter disappears from the minutes of the General Assembly.

    The Presbytery of Winchester displayed equal zeal for the preservation of its history. One of the first things it did, after its organization in 1794, was to order its ministers to prepare a historical account of the origin and growth of its respective churches, and when these several accounts were presented to Presbytery, the Rev. Moses Hoge was appointed to compile from them a detailed history of Presbyterianism within our bounds, and in 1804 the manuscript volume he had prepared was forwarded to the General Assembly.

    And yet when the present writer, many years ago, enquired of the proper authorities concerning Dr. Hoge's history, he was told that no definite information in reference to it could be given; that while there was a mass of manuscripts nominally in possession of the General Assembly, in the absence of any provision for their care, they had been deposited in the basement of some building in Philadelphia. Some of these manuscripts, it was supposed, had already perished, and if Dr. Hoge's History of Winchester Presbytery still existed, it would be impossible to find it, except at the expense of more time and labor than anyone could afford to give.

    Since that time " The Presbyterian Historical Society " has been formed and is engaged in a most commendable effort to rescue and preserve all papers bearing upon the history of the church. But the recent death of the librarian, while collating and arranging these papers, and who alone was thoroughly acquainted with the contents of his shelves, has prevented us from learning whether the history in question is still in existence or not.

    But our own Presbytery gave further evidence of its interest in the matter. In April, 1830, it appointed Rev. Drs. Hill and Wilson a committee to collect materials and prepare a history of the rise and progress of our church within its bounds. Two years later Rev. Dr. D. H. Riddle was added to this committee. As chairman, the burden of labor fell on Dr. Hill, and he engaged in the work with great enthusiasm. Considerable progress had been made when the controversy, which disturbed the church at that period, arose. The effect of this was to change materially the character of his work. He decided to re-write it from the beginning, and to publish it in " Parts " at intervals. " Part I " was published in 1839, and is the only portion of his work that ever appeared; and, unfortunately for us, this part, partaking of the spirit of the time, is more controversial than historical, and sheds very little light upon the matters with which we are concerned here. The large amount of material he had collected, and which was intended for publication in the subsequent " Parts " of his history, was never published, and is not available now. This is much to be lamented, as he possessed special advantages for the work he had undertaken. His long residence of nearly fifty years in this region, his opportunities for obtaining the needed information, his personal acquaintance with many of the facts to be recorded, and his acknowledged fitness for the work, all conspire to, deepen our regret that he did not finish the history he was appointed to write.

    In preparing the history here presented, every accessible source of information known to us has been laid under contribution. Our chief dependencies, however, has been the Records of the Presbyteran Church, Dr. Foote's " Sketches of Virginia," and the more recent invaluable labors of the Historical Committee of our Presbytery.

    The Planting of Presbyterianism in the Lower Shenandoah Valley and Parts Adjacent

    BEFORE beginning our investigations, it is important that we have a distinct understanding of the field to which these investigations are to be confined. This is the more important as the bounds originally assigned to the Presbytery have been greatly reduced. In the year 1859 the larger part of its territory was set off to form the Presbytery of " Potomac," and the line of the Blue Ridge was made its eastern boundary. But previous to that year our Presbyterial bounds were substantially co-terminous with what is properly known as " The Northern Neck of Virginia." This " Northern Neck " was a tract of land granted by King Charles II to Lord Culpeper when Governor of Virginia, and of which Lord Fairfax afterward became the proprietor by inheritance. It was a princely grant, extending from the shore of Chesapeake Bay to the summit of the Alleghany Mountains, and embracing all that territory bounded on the northeast and north by the Potomac River throughout its entire length, and on the south by the Rappahannock to its head waters, and thence by a line extending westward to the head spring of the North Branch of the Potomac. This magnificent domain, including twenty-five of the richest counties in the State, was the territory which our Presbytery originally embraced. Our task is to discover, so far as it is possible to do so now, the beginnings and earliest history of the Presbyterian churches in this territory, down to the time of the organization of the Presbytery, December 4, 1794.

    But as soon as we enter upon our task, the discouraging conviction is forced upon us that very little is definitely known of the early history of these churches, and that the most careful search can add but little to our knowledge. This is due largely to two facts: First, the very scanty and imperfect records that were made of the earliest effort to establish in this region our system of doctrine, polity, and worship; and secondly, the failure, in most instances, to preserve even such scant records as were made. The official proceedings of Presbyteries and Synods are often so brief and meagre as to give us now no very distinct or satisfactory idea of the events recorded. And, apart from the brevity of such documents as are now extant, whole volumes of Presbyterial records are hopelessly lost, while of sessional records not a line has been produced. For these reasons the Planting of Presbyterianism within our bounds is, as we have intimated, involved in much obscurity, and we are left in great uncertainty even as to the exact period of its introduction.

    While there was a settlement on the James River as early as 1607, there is no documentary proof of any immigration to the Valley of the Shenandoah for more than a hundred years later. And when settlers began to enter it, they did not come, as we might have supposed, from the East, across the Blue Ridge, but from the North, across the Potomac. Nor were these hardy pioneers the English Episcopalians, who had so long held Eastern Virginia: they were Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, and Germans (Reformed) and Quakers, who, having landed at more northern ports, had pushed their way westward across the Delaware, and beyond the Susquehannah, into the Cumberland Valley, and thence southward across Maryland and the Potomac, till they found the home of which they were in search, on the waters of the Opecquon and the Shenandoah. But the date of this earliest immigration is not positively determined.

    There is an old tradition that the first white man who took up his residence in this Valley was Morgan Morgan, a native of Wales, who, in 1726, settled at what is now Bunker Hill, in Berkeley County, and "built" (says Dr. Hawkes in his "History of the P. E. Church in Virginia") "the first cabin that was reared on the south side of the Potomac, between the Blue Ridge and the North Mountains." Six years later, viz: in 1732, Joist Hite, in company with sixteen families, came from Pennsylvania and settled at or near what is known as Bartonsville, six miles southwest of Winchester, which, Dr.. Foote says, "was the first regular settlement west of the Blue Ridge in Virginia." Vol. I., p. 101. Three years later still, a colony of much more interest and importance to us, settled in that same neighborhood. William Hoge, the ancestor of the family of that name, which through four successive generations has been so distinguished in the ministry of our church, himself " an exile for Christ's sake from Scotland in the days of the persecution," had come to America some years before, settling first in Amboy, N. J., then in Delaware, then in Dauphin County, Pa., and, removing thence, settled, about the year 1735, near what is now Kernstown, three miles southwest of Winchester. The families of Glass, Vance, White and others, whose descendants are still among us, either accompanied him here or joined him soon after his arrival, and united with him in the organization of the Opecquon Church, "the oldest congregation (says Dr. Foote) west of the Blue Bidge." Their House of Worship was erected on land given for the purpose by Mr. Hoge.

    This is the generally accepted account of the earliest settlement of our Valley, and of the introduction of Presbyterianism within our bounds. But later investigations awaken serious doubts as to its correctness. It is at least challenged by the tradition which Henry Howe preserved in his "Historical Collections of Virginia" (p. 192) and which long ago was current in Berkeley County, that "the spot where Tuscarora Church now stands, is the first place where the Gospel was publicly preached and divine worship performed west of the Blue Ridge." But while the claim of Tuscarora to a very early origin is doubtless well founded, tradition of itself is not sufficient to determine a historical fact. Something more reliable must be advanced if we would set aside the long accepted conclusions of Dr. Foote and others. And I now propose to show that there is substantial ground for believing that Presbyterianism was introduced into our Valley at a date earlier than is generally supposed, and at a point nearer to the mouth than to the head of the Opecquon.

    In the records of the old Synod of Philadelphia for September 19, 1719, is this minute: "The Synod having received a letter from the people of Potomoke, in Virginia, requesting the Synod's care and diligence to provide them an able Gospel minister to settle among them; it was appointed that the Rev. Mr. Daniel McGill should go and preach to that people in order to settlement upon mutual agreement," etc. The next year, September 22, 1720, we find the following minute: "Mr. McGill reported to the Synod that according to last year's appointment he went to Potomoke, in Virginia, and after some months' continuance there, put the people into church order." And then it is added, "The said congregation of Potomoke, in Virginia, have sent a letter to the Synod, manifesting their approbation of Mr. McGill's whole conduct among them, and desiring his settling with them as their minister." This request was considered, but action upon it deferred from time to time, till finally it was referred to the Committee of Bills and Overtures, whose report, if any was made, is not recorded, and the name does not appear again in the minutes of Synod.

    The question to which these minutes have given rise is as to the location of this "Potomoke in Virginia." This question is a perplexing one, inasmuch as the most diligent search has failed to find even the name anywhere else than in the minutes from which we have just quoted. Yet the discovery of its location is a matter of very great interest to the student of the early history of the Presbyterian Church in this country, and of special interest to us because of its possible bearing upon the early history of our own Presbytery, for at Potomoke-wherever that was-was organized the second Presbyterian Church planted in Virginia. Before this date we have an account of only "one small congregation on the Elizabeth River, "and "a few families favoring our way on the Rappahannock and York," while in the whole colony there was not a single resident Presbyterian minister. [See minutes of Synod, pp. 20 and 54, "Letters."]

    No wonder, then, that the historians of the Church have sought very earnestly for some clue that would enable them to determine the locality in question. Some have tried to find it on the "Eastern Shore." Webster fixes upon Bladensburg, Md. Foote "supposes" it to have been in Fauquier or Loudoun County, or somewhere east of the Blue Ridge." Davidson says that "no part of Virginia at that period answered so well the description as the region west of the Blue Ridge;" and he "believed the people of Potomoke to be identical with the congregations of Falling Waters and Tuscarora." Gillett positively asserts that it was "near the present town of Martinsburg, W. Va." But most confess their utter inability to discover any clue whatever to its probable location, and some, in despair over their fruitless efforts, declare that every trace of evidence as to its location is lost, and the place must now remain forever unknown.

    But a matter of so much historical interest should not be summarily dismissed ; and recent investigations have brought to my knowledge certain facts which suggest the possibility of still reaching a solution of this perplexing question.

    One very suggestive fact is, that while "Potomoke in Virginia" disappears from the Records of the Synod after 1720, the expression "the people of Virginia" frequently appears in the Records for 1722, 1723 and 1724 ; and the minutes concerning these `'people" come in naturally as the continuance of the minutes concerning "the people of Potomoke in Virginia," making the conclusion almost irresistible, that the two expressions refer to the same people. In 1724 the whole affair touching these people was referred by the Synod to the Presbytery of New Castle. But the expectation which this reference awakens-that the Records of that Presbytery will give us the positive information we seek-is disappointed by the fact that those Records are lost.

    In 1732 the Presbytery of Donegal was erected out of the. Presbytery of New Castle; and gradually the interests of our church in Virginia came under the oversight of the new Presbytery. And here we meet with another very suggestive fact,viz.,that in the early Records of Donegal the name "Potomack in Virginia" occurs as an established place of divine worship. The presumption appears a reasonable one that we have here another name for "Potomoke in Virginia," or rather a different, but correct, spelling of the same name. The striking similarity of the two words, their close resemblance in sound,the fact that the one is not used in the Records till the other disappears; indeed, all the circumstances known to us, strongly force upon us the conviction that Potomoke and Potomack are one and the same place. The slight difference in orthography is nothing against it, for first, the correct spelling of geographical names was not, at that time, fixed; and, secondly, even after the correct spelling had been determined, persons not familiar with the word, or to whom it was known only by sound, would be likely to depart from the fixed orthography, Even in these Records the word Potomoke is once written Patomoke. The word "Potomack" appears in six different forms, exclusive of the two now in question. The name of one of the oldest churches in the Shenandoah Valley, "Opecquon," is spelled in the Presbyterian Records not less than twenty-four different ways, while the pronunciation remains the same in all.

    Now, as it is scarcely possible that a people, who displayed such persistent zeal in obtaining Gospel ordinances as did "the people of Potomoke," should allow them, when once enjoyed, to pass quickly from their possession, and as we can find no trace whatever of that early church, unless we find it in that Donegal Record to which we have just referred, and as all the facts in the case encourage us to look for it there, are we not warranted to conclude, not only that "the people of Potomoke, in Virginia," and "the people of Virginia" were the same people; but also that the church which was organized among them by the Rev. Daniel McGill in 1720, and which awakened so much interest and received so much attention for several years in the highest court of the Church, and was then transferred to the Presbytery of New Castle, is the same which, at a later date, reappears as the church of "Potomack in Virginia" in the Records of Donegal ?

    This important question then arises-where was Potomack ? That it was a place distinct from the river of that name is evident, not only from the fact that in the Minutes of Presbytery it is mentioned just as other churches are, but also from the fact that in early official documents, other than ecclesiastical, there is a place of that name distinctly mentioned. for example, Governor Spottswood, in a letter to the " Council of Trade," London, dated July 26, 1712, speaks of "the return of Baron De Graffenreid from Potomack," and in his letter clearly distinguishes between a place and the river of that name. Now, can we locate that place ? The Records of Donegal Presbytery enables us to do so approximately. The frequent association of Potomac with Opecquon, Bullskin and Tuscarora, as a church to be supplied at the same time with them and by the same missionary, makes it evident that it was in easy reach of these well-known churches, and therefore, somewhere, in the northern end of the Valley of Virginia. The references in the Spottswood Letters (pp. 152, 153, 168) point in the same direction. De Graffenreid had evidently set out to visit " the fforks of Potomac," where, after his disastrous experience in North Carolina, he had determined to settle with a colony of his Swiss countrymen. Before reaching his destination he seems to have found a settlementcalled "Potomack" from which he sends back to the Governor a report of his progress; and the Governor sends to him a request that, when his destination is reached, he would prepare him "a draught of both those branches" which constitute "the fforks of Potomack." There is nothing in the statements of these letters that enables us to fix positively the location of "Potomack," yet the facts and circumstances that are mentioned make it difficult to resist the conclusion that the place was west of the Blue Ridge, and at some point on the river well up towards its "head springs." The testimony of these two witnesses, together with all the facts we have been able to gather, which bear upon the case at all, seem to point with singular clearness to the village of Shepherdstown-or to its immediate neighborhood-as the site of the place we are trying to locate; for

    1. The name itself suggests its proximity to the Potomac River. 2. The Pack-Horse Ford, by which the early emigrants crossed the Potomac on entering the Valley, was at Shepherdstown, and naturally an early settlement would be made at or near the ford. 3. Every mention of Potomack Church in the Minutes of Presbytery is attended with circumstances which show that it must have been there or in that vicinity. 4. The mention of it in the Governor's letter agrees with this theory of its location better than with any other. 5. The fact is of no little significance that, as soon as the name of Shepherdstown is introduced into the Presbyterial Records as designating church, the name Potomack disappears. 6. But besides this strong presumptive evidence as to the location of "Potomack," we have this further testimony that is direct and positive: A gentleman residing in Winchester, Va., in 1891 and nearly ninety years of age, but in full possession of his mental faculties, whose youth was spent near Shepherdstown, testified that, in his boyhood, the common name for the village, through the surrounding country, was "Potomac."

    These considerations and facts would seem to be conclusive in determining the location of the church called "Potomack, in Virginia." And if, as seems so probable, this name is another and the correct one for "Potomoke in Virginia," then it determines the long-mooted question as to the location of "the people" who in 1720 were reported by the Rev. Mr. McGill to have been "put into church order" by him ; and it also fixes the place where the second duly constituted Presbyterian Church in Virginia was planted.

    But to this conclusion it is objected that any testimony that would locate "Potomoke" anywhere in the Valley of Virginia "is inadmissable, because there were no white inhabitants of the Valley anywhere along the Potomac or Shenandoah previous to about the year 1733" (Foote's Sketches, Vol. I., p. 357). If this statement is correct, our conclusion must, of course, be abandoned. But the statement not only affirms more than the facts will justify, but what the facts themselves actually contradict. The early historians of the Valley evidently thought that the first settlements made were on the headwaters of the Opecquon. And it is probably true that there were no white inhabitants there "previous to about the year 1733." But it by no means follows that there were none nearer the Potomac. It must be remembered that the emigration to the Valley was from the North, crossing the Potomac. And no sufficient reason has ever been given, and none can be given, why the first settlers should pass over the beautiful, fertile and well-watered lands of Jefferson and Berkeley Counties "the finest in the world"-and select lands fifty miles or more further south that offered no superior advantages in respect either to productiveness or beauty, if those more accessible and better lands were still unoccupied.

    But there is authority for saying that these sharp-wilted men were not guilty of this folly. Evidence is not wanting that much of that land was already claimed. A considerable body of Quakers had settled about the Ross (now Washington) Spring, 6 miles north of Winchester, and had built the "Hopewell Meeting House" several years earlier than the settlement on the upper Opecquon. There has been preserved the certificate, or record, of the marriage of John Ross to Lydia Hollingsworth at the Hopewell Meeting House, Orange County, Va., October 11, 1735 ; and to this certificate are signed the names of 47 witnesses. This number is very significant. That there should have been so many present (adults, of course) as certifying witnesses to a marriage, indicates a much larger population than could probably have been gathered in one community in the space of only two years. Morgan Morgan and his company had made their homes on Mill Creek, in Berkeley County, not later than 1726. Norris, in his History of the Lower Valley, gives uncontradicted traditions of various settlements still nearer the Potomac before the immigration flowed over into Frederick County. It is certain there were settlers on the Maryland side of the Potomac as early probably as 1720. Dr. Cameron, of Princeton University, has the deed for mill property lying opposite Shepherdstown, purchased by his ancestors in 1726. The mill had been used for some years before the purchase was made. Of course, there were people there whose wants the mill was intended to supply. And with only a narrow and fordable river to be crossed we know of no reason why the settlement should have been confined to the Maryland side.

    But there is additional proof that there were " white inhabitants in this Valley previous to about 1733," Governor Spottswood, the ablest of all the colonial Governors of Virginia, signalized his term of office by earnest efforts to secure settlements on his western frontier, and thereby afford protection to Eastern Virginia against the incursions of the Indians. His success was probably not commensurate with his efforts. And yet his "Letters" show that as early as 1712, twenty years before Hite crossed the Potomac, there were settlers west of the Blue Ridge; and before the "Knights of the Horseshoe" crossed the mountains no inconsiderable number of people had made their homes along the Potomac River, and "in the mountains of the Northern Neck," and even in "the fforks -of the Potomac." The Baron De Graffenreid on his visit to "the fforks of the Potomac" had informed the Governor ( "Letters," pp. 152-3 and 161-2 and 8) that he had obtained important information as to the resources of that country from the people whom he met; and that one man particularly, Mr. Mitchell, a Swiss gentleman,who had traveled through all that country some years before, was convinced that it abounded in valuable minerals. The Baron himself, who had experience in mining, was persuaded that "The Forks," where he had intended to settle, was rich in mineral wealth; but he was discouraged from taking his colony there, by the conflicting claims to the ownership of the land made by the agents, respectively, of Lord Baltimore, the Lady Fairfax, and the British Queen. Moreover, in 1722, Governor Spottswood effected a treaty with the Indians, which, while imposing no restrictions whatever upon the movements of the whites, bound the Indians, under the severest penalties, not to cross the Potomac or the Blue Ridge, in either direction, without special permission. In the treaty itself the reason for making it is given. It was for the protection of " the AngloSaxon race," which, as Charles Campbell, in his History of Virginia, p. 433, says, had "gradually extended itself, like a vapor, beyond the western base of the Blue Ridge, and collisions with the native tribes had begun to ensue." Evidently there were white inhabitants west of the Ridge and south of the Potomac at that date. Further evidence is furnished by the Act of Assembly of 1738, forming the county of Frederick. In that Act, the reason explicitly given for the erection of the new county is, that "great numbers of people have settled themselves of late x x x on the northwest side of the Blue Ridge, whereby the strength of the colony, and its security, and its revenues are like to be increased." At that day, five years would not suffice for such a large increase of population as this Act acknowledges.

    And there was a reason for this increase in the population of the Shenandoah Valley, even while the Cumberland Valley was still sparsely settled. The presence of the Scotch-Irish was not welcomed in Pennsylvania. They were regarded as a " pugnacious " people, and undesirable neighbors. In 1724, James Logan, secretary of the Province, wrote of them, " It looks to me as if Ireland is to send all its inhabitants hither; for last week not less than six ships arrived x x x The common fear is that if they thus continue to come, they will make themselves proprietors of the Province. It is strange that they thus crowd where they are not wanted. " Accordingly, while others were treated with kindness, these were often driven from their settlements, their cabins burned, and they told to move further on in the wilderness. Thus ejected, not a few of them moved southward, and found in Virginia that freedom from molestation which was denied them in the Province of William Penn.

    But there is still more convincing evidence of an early settlement here. In the old graveyard on Elk Branch, 5 miles south of Shepherdstown, where, more than a hundred years ago, stood the ruins of a Presbyterian Church, is a tombstone, the German inscription on which, until within a few years past, was quite legible, though now, since the stone has fallen and been trampled over, the inscription is partially effaced. It was erected to the memory of Katarina Beierlin, a Christian woman, and states that she died in 1707. The correctness of these figures can hardly be disputed. The Rev. Dr. John A. Scott, pastor of the Elk Branch Church in 1869, says that, in company with three other persons, he had the old stone cleaned of lichen and washed, and was then able, very satisfactorily, to read the inscription and date of death, 1707. He further testified that three intelligent persons had previously examined the stone, and their reading agreed with his. Persons residing in the neighborhood have known of the existence of this stone for more than fifty years, and their understanding has always been that the date it gives of the woman's death is 1707. This must be taken as certain proof that white people resided there at least as early as that date. The grave of a woman, carefully marked, can mean nothing else.

    Beyond all reasonable contradiction, then, there were white inhabitants in this lower Valley many years prior to the settlement of Hite on the Opecquon, or of the Friends around Hopewell Meeting House, or of Morgan on Mill Creek. These inhabitants may have been " squatters," they probably were; but they were there. And as this fact meets and removes the only objection that is offered to the conclusion we have reached, it is not unreasonable to insist that that conclusion ought to be accepted as probably correct. While we dare not affirm its absolute certainty, or claim that the location of " Potomoke in Virginia" is hereby established beyond all possible dispute; yet we do modestly insist that, as no other location has been found for it, and as all the evidence known to us is in support of the location we have given it, until its existence in some other place is positively proven, we must be allowed to believe that the " Potomack in Virginia," of the Presbyterial Records, is the " Potomoke in Virginia," of the Synodical Records; and that the long-sought-for locality in which, in 1720, " the people of Potomoke were put into church order," is to be found at, or near, Shepherdstown in West Virginia, and within the bounds of the Presbytery of Winchester.

    Before concluding this discussion of an earlier settlement of this Valley than Kerchival allows, notice should perhaps be taken of the alleged absence of any documentary evidence of such settlement. Against our contentions it is claimed that there are no title deeds earlier than Hite's. This claim is disputed; but, if true, it amounts to nothing. It is based upon an entire misapprehension of the conditions then existing. For fifteen years after Hite came there were no land offices west of the Blue Ridge, from which titles could be obtained; and the early pioneers did not concern themselves about legal formalities, where no officers were present to enforce them. Without putting themselves to the trouble and expense of a tedious journeyto a distant Court House, or to the Capital, they just took possession of any unclaimed land that suited them, and attended to securing a title afterwards. For the present, what was called a " tomahawk right " was sufficient. This consisted in girding a few trees near a spring or stream, and cutting the claimant's name in the bark. This, of course, was no right in law; but it was generally respected by other settlers, and deeds were usually given for what was claimed. When a colony, like that of Hite, was about to migrate, requiring a large tract of land, the formalities of the law were complied with, and a special grant secured, either directly from the Crown or from the authorities at Williamsburg. But when the settlers were only a family or two, no such expensive procedure was thought of. In fact, the laws of the colony provided that many classes of people could, without any expense to themselves, claim a tract of 50 acres, and when that was " planted and seated "-i. e., when any portion of it was cultivated and a building erected-they were entitled to 50 acres more. Under these conditions no very early title deeds could be expected.

    And now, conceding that we may date the origin of Presbyterianism in this region as far back, at least, as 1720, what has been its history since? For a period of about seventy years it is not possible to trace this history in detail with absolute certainty. Only this is clear, that the Presbyterian population, when once immigration began, rapidly increased; and the inference is fair, and, in fact, is sustained by such meagre records as we have, as well as by uniform tradition, that these early settlers brought their Bibles and Catechisms and Confessions of Faith with them; and no sooner was a settlement effected, than measures were taken to provide themselves with the ordinances of religion. The sacrifices which this required did not deter them. Commissioners were sent hundreds of miles, at great cost of time and money, " supplicating " Synod and Presbyteries to supply them with the ministrations of the Word of God. And both Synod and Presbytery were diligent in meeting, so far as their limited resources would enable them to do it, the appeals which came to them for help. These appeals came from widely distant points; indeed, the early Synodical Records, and those of Presbytery as well, show that almost all the ministers of that day were engaged about half their time in evangelistic work; their field of labor extending from the banks of the Hudson to those of the Savannah. A few years ago, while trying to get at the early history of our church in this Lower Valley, I was asked to help prepare the history of the church in which I was born and raised-the old " Wallkill " (now " Goodwill ") church, the oldest, but one, west of the Hudson in New York. While engaged in this work, it was to me a matter of much interest, and also of surprise, to find that many of the ministers who assisted at the organization, and were the early supplies of the Wallkill church, were the same who visited this Valley, and preached at Opecquon, Cedar Creek, Bullskin and elsewhere.

    And here let me remark, that when the standard of our faith and worship was first erected here, the Presbyterian Church in America was yet in its infancy. It assumed its ecclesiastical form in the latter part of 1705, or the beginning of 1706, by the organization of the presbytery of Philadelphia. In 1716 this Presbytery had become so large that it was divided into four, viz: Philadelphia, New Castle, Snow Hill and Long Island, and the " Synod of Philadelphia " was constituted. Four years later the general statistics of the church, so far as known, were one Synod, four Presbyteries, and twenty-seven ministers. The number of churches and their membership cannot be given with any claim to accuracy.

    From the time of its introduction the growth of our cause in this region. was steady, if not rapid. Two years after "the people of Potomoke" had been " put in church order," viz: in 1722, another representation was made to Synod, "of the earnest desire of some Protestant dissenting families in Virginia " for church privileges, " together with a comfortable prospect of the increase of our interests there;" and the Synod responded by sending three ministers to visit severally said people, and preach four Sabbaths each to them (p. 74). These ministers fulfilled their appointments, and the next year (1723) further representations were made from Virginia, and additional supplies were sent them (p. 76). At the same time " a Letter of Address" was sent by the Synod to the Governor of Virginia, evidently on behalf of these Presbyterian people.

    Now, it is not said from what part of Virginia these early applications for supplies came; but from all the facts recorded it appears almost certain that they came from the Northern Neck of Virginia and possibly from this Lower Valley. They were evidently new settlements, rapidly increasing in population, and composed largely of people of Presbyterian faith, that sent the " supplications;" and these facts point almost unmistakably to the territory occupied by this Presbytery. But while we meet with some suggestive hints, nothing very definite-owing to loss of the New Castle Records -can be found after 1723, until about the time the colonies of Hite and Hoge settled in Frederick County. In the meantime (viz: in 1732), the Presbytery of Donegal was erected in the Cumberland Valley, and upon it, as territorially near, the supply of the destitutions here, principally, though not exclusively, devolved. This duty engaged the active attention of that Presbytery as early as 1736, though there is evidence that some of its ministers made missionary journeys through this region earlier than that. From this time, through a period of several years, distinct record is made by both Presbytery and Synod of supplications " from different societies of our persuasion in Virginia," being taken under consideration.

    It is about this time, viz: 1737, that we first meet with that expression, which, after this date, becomes familiar in both the Presbyterial and Synodical Records-" a supplication was received from the back parts of Virginia." The expression, I think, has very generally been misunderstood. It has been supposed to designate chiefly, if not exclusively, the region now covered by our Presbytery. And as it is manifestly used with reference to people who have just settled, or are just about to settle in these " back parts of Virginia," I could not see how the theory of an earlier settlement of this Lower Valley, than that held by Kercheval and others, could, consistently with such a meaning of this phrase, be maintained. But there are certain facts in the Record itself which show conclusively that it is Augusta County and not Frederick, that the phrase is meant to designate. In the first place, "the people of Beverly Manor," which is known to have been in Augusta, are expressly located in "the back parts of Virginia." In the second place, the supplies, sent in answer to these supplications, are directed to preach at Bullskin, Opecquon and elsewhere on their way to "the back parts of Virginia." And in the third place, the ministers sent as supplies are men who are known to have labored at that very time in Augusta County. But twenty years before Rev. John Craig, their first supply, began his labors in the Upper Valley, Rev. Daniel McGill had preached at Potomoke and "set the people in church order;" and in 1722 and 1723 Rev. Hugh Conn, John Orme, William Stewart and the celebrated Johnathan Dickinson had been sent as itinerants through these lower counties.

    The first Presbyterian minister, however, west of the Blue Ridge, of whose history and fields of labor we have distinct and unquestioned knowledge, was Rev. Samuel Gelston, who preached at Opecquon in 1735. Mr. Gelston was born in Ireland in 1692, came, a Licentiate, to this country in 1715, was ordained in 1717, and settled at Southampton, L. I. Ten years later he removed to Maryland, where he fell under the censure of his Presbytery (New Castle). Going into the Highlands of New York, evil reports of him came back to his Presbytery, and he was suspended; but the suspension was soon removed by a commission of Synod, and he came in 1735 to Virginia. The next year application for his ministerial services was made to Presbytery "from both parts of Opekan"- i. e., from Opecquon proper, and Cedar Creek, which two churches for nearly a hundred years were associated in one pastoral charge. In answer to this application, he was appointed to visit "the new inhabitants near Opekan." If he filled this appointment it was only for a brief period; for in the fall of the same year he was dismissed from his Presbytery. He died October 22, 1782, aged 90 years.

    Mr. Gelston was followed by Rev. James Anderson, one of the most distinguished of the early Presbyterian ministers in America. Born and ordained in Scotland, he left there in 1709. After preaching for brief periods at different places, he became, in 1717, the first pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in the city of New York; but difficulties arising in his charge, he, in 1726, accepted a call to Donegal Presbytery; and eleven years thereafter (1737) we find him visiting Opecquon. This visit was made memorable by the fact that either in that year, or within the next two years, he organized our "old Opecquon Church."

    From 1735 the claims of the settlers on this side the Potomac engaged the attention of the Presbytery at every session. At first, however, a serious bar to its efforts was found in the hostility of the Virginia Government to the worship of the "Dissenters." East of the Ridge they were persistently persecuted; and west of it they were barely tolerated. Therefore, in 1738, the Synod, at the request of Presbytery, sent a deputation, with a letter to Governor Gooch, soliciting his favor on behalf of the Presbyterian interests of the colony. This action was taken at the instance of John Caldwell, a Ruling Elder of Chestnut Level, Pa., and the great grandfather of John Caldwell Calhoun, of South Carolina. The Rev. Mr. Anderson was deputed to bear the letter of the Synod. He was kindly received by the Governor, and his mission resulted very satisfactorily.

    We can readily imagine, however, that a reason much more potent than the simple justice of the request, should have induced the Government to grant it. It would tend to the encouragement of immigration along the western frontier, and so contribute to the security of the older settlements. Those hardy immigrants would serve as a defense against the incursions of the Indians; and, therefore, no questions would be raised in reference to their ecclesiastical faith and order. As Gillett says, "If they could handle a rifle, or plant along the western forests a line of protection against the inroads of hostile savages, they were sufficiently orthodox. Their distance, moreover, prevented any umbrage being taken at a dissent that did not attract notice, or give offence." (Vol. I., p. 106. )

    Presbyterianism being thus left to plant itself west of the Blue Ridge without serious molestation from the State Church on the tidewater, more earnest efforts were made to supply these western settlements. Rev. John Thomson, the pastor of Elder Caldwell, who had visited this Valley and preached at Opecquon, proposed to his Presbytery that an itinerant should be sent to this region; and his brethren appointed him to this duty. But he was afterward's excused "because of the severity of the winter and the scarcity of provender." The. same year (1738) "both parts of Opecquon supplicated for him;" and it was his wish to become their pastor, but his Presbytery would not consent. The next year (1739) another supplication came "from the back parts of Virginia" (i. e., from Augusta County) and five years later (in 1744) Mr. Thomson made his home in the Upper Valley; and, with Messrs. Black and Craig, was entrusted with the oversight of all missionary operations in that part of Virginia.

    Meanwhile the interests of this Lower Valley were not neglected. Besides the services of Rev. William Bertram, Presbytery appointed, November 16, 1739, Licentiate John Craig " to supply at Opekan, the High (Hite ?) Tract and other societies of our persuasion in Virginia, at his discretion." He spent the summer in this region, and the next year was settled in Augusta as first pastor of the "Triple Forks of Shenandoah."

    The Presbytery of Donegal, April 1, 1740, appointed Rev. James Anderson to "write to Upikin" (another of the multitudinous spellings of Opecquon) and the next day ordered "that Mr. Caven visit Bullskin on the third Sabbath of this instant, and at Upekin the Friday before." Rev. Samuel Caven was one of the most active and efficient ministers of the Presbytery. He came a licentiate from Ireland; his ministerial labors were given mainly to the settlements in the Lower Cumberland Valley in Pennsylvania, serving churches in Mercersburg, Chambersburg, Greencastle and elsewhere; but was often sent to visit the settlements and churches south of the Potomac. In December, 1740, we find him again at Opecquon, where he seems to have remained for a considerable time, and to have performed important work.

    About this time we find the name of a Mr. Lyn in connection with Opecquon Church. On September 3, 1740, Presbytery "received a supplication from Opecquon in Virginia, after the manner of a call for Mr. Lyn." But " finding it impossible to gratify such a request at present, they appointed Mr. Craig to supply them one Sabbath as he goes to Virginia (i. e., to Augusta County) and to moderate a call for Mr. Lyn." At the same time " Mr. Lyn was ordered to supply several places in Pennsylvania and Opecquon by turns till the next meeting." Mr. Craig moderated the call, and it was in the hands of Mr. Lyn December 11, 1740. Meanwhile, Mr. Caven, while at Opecquon, was directed " to inquire into the grounds of Mr. Gillespie's information relating to Mr. Lyn, and make report of it to the next meeting." And with this minute the name of Mr. Lyn disappears from the records.

    Mr. Caven was followed late in 1742 by Rev. William Robinson, an eminently devout and benevolent man, and one of the most vigorous and effective preachers of his day. Born in England and coming to this country in early manhood, he was ordained by the Presbytery of New Brunswick in 1741. In the winter of the next year, at the earnest request of the people, he was sent to visit the Presbyterian settlements in the Shenandoah Valley and further South. The results of his mission in the Valley could not have been very great, for soon after his arrival he was seized, near Winchester, by the sheriff, who started with him to Williamsburg, where he must answer to the Governor for preaching without a license from him. But before reaching his destination the officer became so impressed with the good sense and piety of his prisoner, that he released him and allowed him to continue his mission unmolested. His work, thus rudely interrupted in the Valley, was pursued with remarkable success in Eastern Virginia. His brilliant ministry, of less than five years, was suddenly terminated by death, in April, 1746. Dr. Archibald Alexander says of him, that " during the short period of his life he was probably the instrument in the conversion of as many souls as any minister who ever lived in this country." It was through his instrumentality that Rev. Samuel Davies was brought to Virginia.

    Mr. Robinson, who made but a passing visit to Opecquon and to other points in this region, was succeeded by Rev. John Hindman, of whose labors we have no very definite knowledge. He was licensed by Donegal July 2, 1741; and the next year, June 16, 1742, " upon a motion that Mr. Hynman (Hindman) be ordained sine nulo, as a missionary to the back part of Virginia, in order to baptize, etc., the Presbytery agreed thereto and ordered that he shall, at our next session, deliver a common head, viz: whether preparatory or common convictions be necessary to conversion; and an homily on Psalm 37: Also that he supply in Virginia till our next in his way thither he is to preach at Opekon and a week day at Bullskin." He was ordained November 11, 1742, and was sent at once as an evangelist to Virginia probably to the Upper Valley. But the next year June 21, 1743, he was appointed to supply Opecquon during a part of July. There is reason to believe that, until the spring of 1745, his labors were given to Opecquon, Bullskin and other points in this region.

    Rev. Samuel Caven, whose visits to this Lower Valley have already been so frequent, appears once more as a missionary here; and it is in connection with this visit that the name Potomack first occurs. On June 11, 1745, Mr. Caven is appointed to supply Potomack, Opecquon and Bullskin "at his conveniency," until the next meeting of Presbytery.

    And now to go back a little. The year 1740 marks a period of new interest in the history of the church within our bounds. Before that time the attention of Presbytery and Synod had been given, south of the Potomac, to the Shenandoah Valley. But in December, 1740, Mr. Caven, then at Opecquon, was ordered to Supply at South Branch at his discretion; and within six months (May 30, 1741) a supplication was brought in for supplies " from the South Branch of the Potomac." This, we have reason to believe, was from Presbyterians in the Moorefield Valley. As early as 1734 or 1735, a settlement began there on lands for which John and Isaac Vanmeter had obtained a " warrant " from Governor Gooch, and in five or six years the settlers had become so numerous as to justify the effort to obtain a Christian minister. These early settlers were largely of Dutch origin, though many of Scotch-Irish descent were mingled with them. Their first supplies came from Donegal Presbytery; and yet very early in their history measures were taken to supply them by the Reformed Dutch Classis of New Jersey, from which colony many of them came.

    From the year 1745 to 1759, we are cut off from our most important source of information concerning the progress of Presbyterianism in this Lower Valley, by the loss of the Second Volume of the Records of Donegal Presbytery, covering that period of fourteen years. This loss there is nothing to supply. The Records of the Synods of Philadelphia and of New York contain, it is true, a great deal of information, which is valuable as showing the activity and enlargement of the church, but, save in one or two instances, the minutes are so general in their statements as to give no definite information as to the particular places in Virginia that seek to receive, or that obtain supplies.

    It was during this period-perhaps, in some cases, a little earlier-that settlements were made, and churches of our order were started at Falling Waters, and on Tuscarora, Back Creek, Sleepy Creek, " Cape Capon," and Patterson's Creek. While the name of " Tuscarora in Virginia " does not appear in any existing Ecclesiastical Records until April, 1760, it is the uniform and undisputed tradition, that one of the earliest settlements in this Valley was made on that stream; and that a Presbyterian congregation of considerable importance was established there as early, some allege, as 1740. Very nearly the same is true of Falling Waters. Although in the Records to which we have access the name does not occur until April, 1762, there is scarcely a doubt there was a church at that place prior to 1750. Local tradition, with some probability, fixes the date of the organization at 1745.

    Of the other places named, no authentic dates for their organization for worship can be given; nor can it be determined by whose ministry they were supplied. But in the beginning of the Third Volume of the Donegal Records, these names appear as of places with which the Presbytery was familiar; and provision is made for their supply, as if it were an established custom.

    The extensive and unhappy Schism of 1741, and which lasted for seventeen years, was seriously felt by the churches in this Valley, as well as elsewhere. Of the controversies which finally resulted in the division of the Synod, and which were attended with so much ill-feeling and unbrotherly conduct, it is not our purpose here to treat. Without stating the questions at issue, or attempting to discuss their merits, it is sufficient for the purposes of this history to say, that after four or five years of bitter contention and recrimination, the Presbyteries of New Brunswick, New York and part of New Castle withdrew and formed themselves into a Synod under the style of "The Synod of New York," holding their first meeting at Elizabethtown, N. J., in September, 1745. These seceding Presbyteries were called the "New Side," while those which adhered to the Synod of Philadelphia, viz., Philadelphia, Donegal and part of New Castle, were known as the "Old Side."

    The Presbytery of Donegal was thoroughly identified with the Old Side, and yet some of its congregations south of the Potomac were in sympathy with the New Side. This was especially true of Opecquon and Cedar Creek. So far, however, as we can learn, nearly all the other Presbyterians in this Valley espoused, and with no little warmth, the cause of the Old Side. Without deciding whether their views of the questions in controversy were right or wrong, it must be admitted that it would have contributed more to their growth at that time, if their sympathies had led them the other way. The Old Side, while not weaker at first, failed to grow with the rapidity of their rivals, and in a short time found themselves unable to send supplies to the more distant churches that were asking for them. They were dependent largely for the increase of their ministers upon emigration from the old country. But at that time a sudden check was given to this emigration. During the whole period of the division very few ministers came to them from either Scotland or Ireland; the supply from New England was almost entirely cut off, and as their own churches did not furnish them with many Licentiates it was found at the time of the reunion, that more ministers had been lost by death and removal than had been gained by additions.

    The New Side, on the other hand, had larger facilities for obtaining preachers, especially from New England, and so were in a much better condition to look after the outposts and new settlements; and as they were less scrupulous about intruding, they did not wait for an invitation from Presbytery or congregation before sending their missionaries. Virginia, in particular, engaged a large share of their attentions, and many of their ablest ministers visited this Valley on missionary tours of larger or shorter continuance. While that Schism lasted, the churches here, particularly Opecquon and Cedar Creek, enjoyed, at different times, the services of such men as Drs. John and Samuel Blair, John Roan, Samuel Finley and the two Tennents, Gilbert and William, whose fervent zeal brought them on evangelistic journeys to this distant region. Men, too, less distinguished than these, as Rev. Eliab Byram, Rev. William Dean and others, visited the Valley and preached for some time with acceptance and success.

    Meanwhile, the Old Side did not relinquish its claim upon this field. The Presbytery of Donegal, whose jurisdiction extended over this Lower Valley, continued, as far as circumstances would permit, its oversight of the churches here. But the growing demand for increased labor in the older settlements, and the embarrassing scarcity of ministers, prevented the Presbytery from meeting, in any adequate measure, the growing wants of the newer fields. And as it soon became evident that the visits of its ministers were not specially desired in some of these churches, they gradually became less frequent, and before the division was healed their visits seem almost entirely to have ceased. With the loss of the Presbyterial Records, the last faint trace of them disappears until the new Volume of Records is opened.

    The preponderance not only of numbers, but of zeal, too, was undoubtedly with the New Side; and for several years the missionary work done both in this Valley and throughout Virginia, was carried on mainly, though not exclusively, by the Synod of New York and the Presbyteries composing it. It seems, however, that while their ministers were zealous they were not always wise in their zeal. Some of them, in their heated discussions with, or about, their old Old Side brethren, had allowed themselves to use language of the most unchristian and abusive character. They did not scruple to denounce those whose views touching questions in dispute differed from their own, as "babbling, ignorant priests," "dry, sapless unconverted ministers," "the devil's advocates," "ministers of Satan and enemies of all righteousness." And in their labors in Virginia, some of them, in their condemnation of the formality and worldliness then prevailing in the established Church, were so intemperate in their expressions as to expose themselves to the censure of the civil authorities. Information was laid before the Synod of Philadelphia in 1745, that Governor Gooch had arraigned before a grand jury at Williamsburg certain Presbyterian preachers who had visited his colony. In his charge to this jury he accused them of being "false teachers, who had crept into his government without orders, or license, or any testimonial of their education or sect; professing themselves ministers under the pretended influence of new light, extraordinary impulse, and such like fanatical and enthusiastical knowledge, they were leading the innocent and ignorant people into all kinds of delusions; and in this frantic and profane disguise they treat all other modes of worship with the utmost scorn and contempt," even saying of the Governor himself, and of his fellow churchmen, that they " worshipped the devil and were damned;" all which offences, he concludes, constitute "an iniquity to be punished by the judges."

    When these facts were brought to the knowledge of the Synod of Philadelphia, it promptly disclaimed all connection with the parties accused and all responsibility for "the conduct of some of the new party which had so highly provoked the government of that colony;" and they "judged it necessary to send an address to Governor Gooch, informing him of the distinction between this Synod and that separated party, that so their conduct might not be imputed to us, nor provoke that government to deny us the liberties and favors we have enjoyed under it." [Minutes of Synod of Philadelphia, pp. 181-2.]

    While treating of this Schism, which produced such alination and bitter controversy, we should not overlook the fact, that it was during its continuance, that the church was visited with a revival, the most remarkable, perhaps, in the history of this country. It swept over all the provinces from Massachusetts to Georgia, and lasted through many years. The interest awakened everywhere was most intense. It reached all classes and conditions of people, and was confined to no church. Numbers of all denominations, and many who had no connection with any, were found among the penitent inquirers. And yet, outside of New England, it was in Presbyterian churches that the work prevailed most extensively; and Presbyterian preachers were the most active in promoting it.

    But while this " Great Awakening" was so extended in its sweep, and so profound in its operations, and (as all agree) so gracious in many of its results, it is to be lamented that in many, if not in most, places it was attended with circumstances which exposed it to serious suspicion in the judgment of not a few of the wise and good of that time; and which now, in the historical review of the facts, will admit of no excuse. It was marred almost everywhere, by scenes of the most extravagant excitement. Loud outcries, and faintings, and violent and unseemly bodily agitations, and almost every possible form in which religious fanaticism can express itself, were indulged in; and with the approval of many of the eminent ministers by whom the meetings were conducted. It must be said, however, that very many of these friends and promoters of the Revival, who, during its early stages, fell, like Edwards, into the error of countenancing its delusions, afterwards severely condemned them, as Edwards himself did.

    We learn from the testimony of Samuel Davies that the Revival was powerfully felt in Virginia; and that our churches in this Lower Valley were in an especial manner brought under its influence and shared in its blessings; while to a large extent they were exempt from its errors and its pernicious consequences. Dr. Hodge writes that "in no part of our country was the revival more interesting, and in very few was it so pure as in Virginia."

    But giving our attention now to matters that more immediately concern us, it will be observed that until 1754 the churches within our Presbyterial limits were dependent for public worship upon such occasional supplies as they could obtain. In not a single instance had the pastoral relation been constituted, and so far as the Records inform us the supplies were in no case of very long continuance. Many attempts were made to secure the settlement of a minister at Opecquon and Cedar Creek, and also at Bullskin, but without success.

    In the year 1754, however, Rev. John Hoge was called to the Opecquon field and remained there as pastor for eighteen years. Mr. Hoge, though not a resident of Virginia, until he took charge of the Opecquon Church, was yet closely related to that congregation by family ties. He was the son of John Hoge, who was the eldest son of William Hoge, who, in 1735, settled on Upper Opecquon and gave the land on which the meeting house is built. John Hoge, sr., was the only one of his father's immediate children who failed to remove with him to Virginia. He settled in Pennsylvania at a place afterwards called Hogetown, a few miles distant from Harrisburg, and where some of his descendants are still found. In all the old records the name is spelled "Hogg" or "Hogge;" but in using the name here we will conform to the modern spelling "Hoge," which the family seems now generally to prefer.

    The Rev. John Hoge, jr., was probably born at South Amboy, N. J., but the date of his birth is not known. He was graduated from Nassau Hall in 1749, and was taken under the care of New Castle Presbytery (New Side) as a candidate for the ministry. After some time his Presbytery discouraged him from entering on his trials for licensure, " lest his genius should not be fit for the ministry." Persevering in his purpose, however, he stood his trials, and was licensed October 10, 1753. For a few months after licensure he preached in Pennsylvania, and then came to Virginia and began his long ministry in Frederick County. In 1755 he was ordained and "settled" over Opecquon and Cedar Creek. It would be interesting to know just how he was settled. In that early day there seems to have been no rigid observance of ecclesiastical forms. The organization of a church was a rather loose and informal act, and the installation of a pastor does not seem to have been attended with much ceremony. One of the Tennents went through the form of installing himself.

    At the time of Mr. Hoge's settlement, Opecquon was the most important church in the Valley, and remained so for many years. For a number of years it was the only place of public worship within a large district. The nearest Episcopal Church was at Bunker Hill. There was probably no church of any faith in Winchester until 1753, when a Lutheran Church was organized. George Washington, while in command at Fort Loudoun, often rode out to Opecquon to worship.

    Mr. Hoge's ministry was not without many discouragements. The churches grew in numbers, but the condition of things around them was unsettled and often alarming. His meagre salary was poorly paid, and on this ground he began, within six years of his settlement, to plead for release from his charge. He was promised £70 from the entire field, and yet in a few years his churches were in arrears to him more than a year's salary. Notwithstanding earnest efforts to remedy this evil, it continued. In 1759 his Presbyterial relations were transferred to Donegal. The next year (1760) Tuscarora was added to his charge. And here the Records become somewhat confused. It looks as if he had been at least temporarily released from his charge, for on April 6, 1760, Mr. Hoge is ordered by his Presbytery to "supply Tuscarora, Opecquon and Back Creek three Sabbaths at his discretion." At the same meeting Mr. Hoge requests the Presbytery to "send some member to assist him in some congregational affairs," and Mr. Duffield is sent to his assistance. In October of that year supplies are asked for Opecquon, Back Creek and Tuscarora, and in reply, Mr. Hoge is ordered to "supply three Sabbaths at adjacent vacancies." The next spring, 1761, supplications are made to Presbytery from Opecquon and other places, and he is appointed to supply at discretion.

    Whatever may be the explanation of these rather confusing facts, Mr. Hoge, November 11, 1761, asked leave of Presbytery to resign his charge, and Presbytery ordered Mr. Roan to write to these congregations touching the salary in arrears. And now it appears that he was still in legal charge of the churches of Opecquon and Cedar Creek, for these churches, in consequence of Mr. Roan's letter, asked for the continuance of Mr. Hoge as their pastor, and promised to pay him what was due. He remained in his field. But in October, 1764, he complained to Presbytery that he would have to resign on account of the non-payment of salary, and Presbytery ordered that unless the churches reported payment to its next meeting it would release Mr. Hoge. The churches must have made a satisfactory report, as he continued his pastoral labors for several years without further complaint. In October, 1767, Presbytery assigned all its vacancies in Virginia to him. The next year he was accused before Presbytery by Joseph Colvil, a member of his church, for having fraudulently obtained a judgment in Lord Fairfax's office for a tract of land, but upon a full hearing of the case he was acquitted of all charges. In June, 1771, the old trouble about the salary again came up. The churches begged to retain their pastor; but the Presbytery, wearied with their delinquency; sternly ordered that the matter be satisfactorily arranged by the next meeting, or they should no longer have the services of Mr. Hoge. At the next meeting, October, 1771, the arrearages had not been paid; but on representation of the commissioners from Cedar Creek and Opecquon, the Presbytery consented to defer the removal of Mr. Hoge; but when it next met (April, 1772) he was finally released from his pastoral charge on account of nonpayment of salary.

    Mr. Hoge enjoyed the distinction of having been the first pastor within our Presbyterial bounds. As such, we have thought him entitled to .the extended notice here given him. After his pastoral relation was dissolved he continued for a few years to reside in Frederick County, and served as supply to various churches in the Valley. When he removed to Pennsylvania he was appointed in 1775 to serve the Paxton and Derry churches, or rather those portions of these churches which, on account of their New Side sympathies, had separated themselves from the mother churches. Rev. John Elder, from whose churches these had seceded, and who was a rigid Old Side man, still claimed the entire field, and resented this encroachment on his rights. It is not known whether Mr. Hoge had been guilty of any indiscretion in fulfilling the appointment of Presbytery; but Mr. Elder did not approve of his presence in his territory, and at the next meeting of Presbytery complained of having been "annoyed by the rooting around of a Hog that had been turned into the field."

    When the Presbytery of Donegal was divided, in 1786, into the Presbyteries of Carlisle and Baltimore, the Presbyterial relations of Mr. Hoge were thrown with Carlisle. And when the Presbytery of Huntingdon was erected out of Carlisle, April, 1795, he, as one of the oldest members of the new Presbytery, was appointed to preach the opening sermon and to preside at the organization, and was chosen its first moderator. Of his labors after this we have no definite account. He died February 11, 1807. It is said of him that he "was always highly esteemed as a minister and had an unquestioned character for piety." Through his whole life he was largely engaged in evangelistic work, for which he seems to have been peculiarly adapted. His grandchildren still reside at Watsontown, Northumberland County, Pa.

    Of the other churches within our Presbyterial bounds, the authentic facts now ascertainable, are too few and vague to enable us to give a satisfactory history of any one of them prior to about 1770. That several churches had already been formed in this territory, and that some of them had attained a considerable importance, are well known facts; but none of them had yet been able to secure a pastor, and few of them could obtain supplies of any permanence. Potomac, Bullskin, Tuscarora, Falling Water, South Branch, Capon, and others had been in existence for a considerable time, and were continually sending their " supplications " to Presbytery and Synod; and in the bodies appealed to, commendable interest and zeal had been manifested in furnishing them with supplies; but, so far as the Records inform us, not one of them had reached that numerical or financial strength that could secure them the services of a settled minister. It seems to be true, that not only was Mr. Hoge the first pastor within our bounds, but that up to the period of his settlement there was no minister of our faith and order whose residence was here. As we have seen, our people were dependent for preaching not merely, but for all ministerial services, as marriages, baptisms, funerals, etc., upon such "supplies" as were sent them, or upon the occasional visits of those ministers who were passing through on their evangelistic tours. In those days the date of a marriage was fixed ordinarily, not by the wishes or convenience of the parties engaged, but by the expected coming of a "supply," or the providential arrival of an evangelist. And to this difficulty of obtaining ministerial service when needed may be traced that custom which prevails here still, to some extent, of having the funeral sermon preached at some convenient day subsequent to and sometimes long subsequent to-the burial of the deceased.

    But notwithstanding their limited ability and the distance to be traveled, the Presbyteries were remarkably faithful in furnishing these people with Gospel ordinances. Besides the visits made by appointment of Synod and by ministers from New Castle and other Presbyteries, the Presbytery of Donegal, between 1735 and 1745, made large provision for the destitution here. As we have already seen, Rev. Samuel Gelston, who visited Opecquon in the summer of 1736, was the first one sent. The next year Rev. James Anderson and Rev. William Bertram came on a general mission, their services to be given without limitation of time and wherever occasion for them was found. In the spring of 1740, Rev. Samuel Caven visited Bullskin and Opecquon, and the next winter preached on the South Branch of the Potomac. Five years later he was again sent to Virginia, and supplied Potomack in Virginia, Opecquon and Bullskin. In the fall of 1740 Mr. Lynn visited these churches and received a call to Opecquon; but because of some unfavorable rumors he was not settled there. In 1741, Rev. Alexander McDowell was ordained sine titulo, and was sent to "itinerate sine tempore in Virginia." In 1742, Rev. John Hindman was sent here as a missionary, and the next year we find him supplying Opecquon.

    From 1745, through the loss of the Presbyterial Records, a gap of fourteen years occurs, during which we have but little knowledge of the evangelistic work of Donegal. We only know that it continued to send supplies to these congregations as it had opportunity; while to some of them special attention was given by the New Side Synod of New York, whose missionaries found a heartier welcome among them.

    But when we have access again to the Records of Donegal, we find, not only that the missionary zeal of that Presbytery had not abated, but that it had entered with renewed activity upon the supply of the territory south of the Potomac. New congregations had been formed in this Lower Valley, and also along the waters of Back Creek, Capon and the South Branch. In the next ten years their missionaries had crossed to the east of the Blue Ridge, and churches of our faith and order were beginning to spring up at numerous points between the Potomac and the Rappahannock, and many of these continued to grow in strength and importance under the fostering of those zealous men, who, at great personal cost and sacrifice, supplied them with the ministrations of the Word.

    The ministers thus engaged in the planting and training of these churches, prior to the organization of our Presbytery in 1794, were about fifty in number, not more than ten or twelve of whom were settled here as pastors. Their work covered a period of perhaps seventy-five years. The names of nearly all of them could be given, but it would probably be without interest to record them here, as so few of them are known to us now.

    A matter of more interest is the date and the chronological order of the organization of these churches. It would be difficult, however, if not impossible, to give these dates with any accuracy, as the data by which we would have to be guided are not altogether reliable. When "the people of Potomoke, in Virginia," were "put in church order" in 1720, the Synod, soon after, gave the oversight of "the people of Virginia" to the Presbytery of New Castle. But unfortunately the Records of that Presbytery, which would throw light on the early history of many of our churches are lost. When the Presbytery of Donegal was erected in 1732 nothing was said as to its relations to the new settlements south of the Potomac, and three years or more elapsed before any attention was given to them. In the meantime it is reasonable to suppose that the Presbytery of New Castle was not neglecting the people whose religious interests the Synod had committed to its care. Besides supplying "the people of Potomoke," it would give needed attention to adjacent settlements. And it seems highly probable that her missionaries had visited other points in this Lower Valley before this region came under the oversight of Donegal. There is certainly something significant in the way in which such places as Bullskin, Back Creek, Tuscarora and Falling Waters are introduced in the Records of Donegal as compared, e. g., with the first appearance of Opecquon. The minute for May, 1736, is "Mr. Gelston is ordered to supply the new inhabitants near Opekan in Virginia," showing on the face of the minute that this is the first minister sent there. Whereas in April, 1740, when Bullskin is first named, nothing is said to designate the locality, but it is mentioned as a place with which Presbytery is already acquainted and had probably supplied before. The same is true of Tuscarora, Back Creek and Falling Waters. When these names appear in the Third Volume of Donegal Records, they appear evidently as places which the Presbytery was accustomed to supply. We cannot affirm it as a fact, but the conjecture should not be too hastily dismissed as improbable, that Bullskin may be an older settlement even than Opecquon. For if, as seems most reasonable, the immigrants to this Valley first settled near the Potomac, on the rich and inviting lands of Berkeley and Jefferson, and then gradually, as these lands were taken up, made their way southward, it is not at all improbable that there was a settlement on the waters of the Bullskin, before Hite had come to the head waters of the Opecquon.

    But while we are not able to give, with any degree of certainty, the dates of the organization of our several churches, we can, with tolerable accuracy, fix the time when most of them first became places of worship for Presbyterian congregations. In doing this we are guided mainly by the records of the old Synods, and of the Presbytery of Donegal.


    Beyond all question, the place at which Presbyterian worship was first held within our original Presbyterial bounds, was at " Potomoke in Virginia;" for even should our contentions be disproved, which locates that church west of the Blue Ridge, it must still have been within the territory assigned to Winchester Presbytery at its organization in 1794. That territory embraced the entire Northern Neck of Virginia. But if, as we are almost compelled to believe, the "Potomoke in Virginia" of the Synodical Records of 1719, et seq., is the " Potomack in Virginia" of the Donegal Records of a later date, then unquestionably our earliest Presbyterian organization was at, or near Shepherdstown, now in West Virginia. " The people " of that place were " put in church order " sometime before September, 1720, and were served by supplies from the Synod of Philadelphia until September; 1724, when the care of these people was committed to the Presbytery of New Castle. But the loss of the Records of that Presbytery leaves us completely in the dark as to the history of that church for a period of nearly twenty years. In the meantime the Presbytery of Donegal was erected (1732), which gradually extended its jurisdiction south of the Potomac ; and in the last year of the period covered by the First Volume of its Records, a place called " Potomack in Virginia " appears, asking for supplies. This was in 1745. But the Second Volume of its Records, covering the next fourteen years, is lost, leaving us again in the dark. With the Third Volume, however, " Potomack in Virginia " reappears. Under date of August 31, 1762, Mr. McGan (a name I find no where else) is "ordered to supply Tuscarora and Potomack in Virginia the first two Sabbaths in March." After that date this name silently drops from these Records. But why should it be dropped ? In the absence of all positive evidence, we, of course, can give no certain answer to this question. But in view of what is known to us, the conjecture is at least reasonable, that the church had obtained a permanent supply, and for several subsequent years had no occasion to ask help from Presbytery. Certainly a church with such a history would not be likely to let itself die. There was everything in its situation to favor its growth. There is, however, an interesting fact that may possibly throw light upon the question. A few years after the name "Potomack" disappears, the names of Shepherdstown (October, 1768) and Elk Branch (April 11, 1769) appear for the first time, but as places of unusual importance. One of them, Elk Branch, is soon strong enough to call and settle Rev. John McKnight as its pastor; while the other, Shepherdstown, seems able to have procured its own supplies, until the Rev. Moses Hoge was obtained as its pastor. There is convincing evidence that Elk Branch had been a place of worship for some time before its name is mentioned in the Presbyterial Records. An old log church which stood in the Presbyterian graveyard near Duffields, and which had fallen into decay in 1792, must have been erected and used much earlier than 1769. A reasonable explanation, which meets all the known conditions of the case, is that Potomac Church, planted by Daniel McGill in 1720, continued to flourish under the fostering care, first of the Presbytery of New Castle, and then of Donegal, until it became advisable to divide it, which was done by effecting a separate organization at Elk Branch, which was already one of its preaching stations, and where a house of -worship already existed. In this division, which, if our theory is tenable, took place at some time between 1763 and 1767, the old name, " Potomac," was dropped, and the name " Shepherdstown," by which the village was now called, was given it. Of these churches we will speak hereafter, under their present names.


    The church whose name appears next in the Records is " The Old Opecquon." The history of this church, so far as is known, down to 1772, when the pastoral relation of Rev. John Hoge was dissolved, has already been given with considerable fullness (pp. 18 to 28).

    For the nine years which followed the resignation of Mr. Hoge, and which covered the exciting period before and during the Revolutionary War, the church was served by supplies appointed by Presbytery, or obtained from the casual visits of evangelists. Notwithstanding its difficulty in meeting its pecuniary obligations to their late pastor, no sooner had the church become vacant than great earnestness was displayed in securing supplies for the pulpit. Supplications were sent to Presbytery at every meeting. Mr. Hoge, who retained his residence in Frederick County for several years, and of whom his old parishioners were very fond, seems still to have been their main reliance for preaching. He was the one first appointed by Presbytery when the vacancy occurred, and almost the only one to supply their pulpit for the next three years, after which his name no longer appears in the minutes in connection with the church. But Mr. Vance, pastor of Tuscarora; Mr. McKnight, pastor of Elk Branch, and Mr. Thompson, of Kittocktin; with Messrs. Slemmons, Craighead, Balch, Linn and others from north of the Potomac, were sent to them, and some of them were sent quite frequently.

    Of the evangelists who visited them, we have very little information. There is, however, one notable exception, that of Rev. Philip V. Fithian, a native of New Jersey and graduate of Princeton in 1772. He was a young man of unusual gifts, who died three years after his entrance into the ministry. While a student of theology, he became tutor in the family of Councillor Robert Carter, of " Nomini Hall, " Westmoreland County, Va. He had a wonderfully clear and accurate insight into human character, and made good use of his opportunity in portraying what came under his observation. His letters, written during the year of his residence at " Nomini Hall," have recently been published, and' give one of the most instructive and attractive pictures of domestic and social life in Virginia at that period anywhere to be found. After his licensure in 1774, he, and Rev. Andrew Hunter, whose relatives lived in this Valley, were commissioned by the Synod to visit some of the frontier missionary fields. His diary of that journey contains many interesting facts about the churches he visited, and furnishes some racy reading about the people of that day. Some extracts from this diary will be given in connection with the places to which they relate. His visit to this Valley was made in the spring and summer of 1775. The War of the Revolution was then impending, and he found the whole country active with excitement and preparation. Of his visit to Opecquon he writes:

    " Sunday, May 28. Opickon Church. A large and genteel society, mostly Irish. I preached two sermons; the people very attentive." x x He seems to have been the guest of Mr. Glass, of whom he writes:

    " May 31. Mr. Glass was blessed while he was filling up his family, so far as to have eight daughters in continual succession and but three sons. I visited a brother of his a mile off at the head of Opickon Creek, a solid, lusty farmer. x x Several visits we made today, among others to one Colville. He is clerk for the Society, raises the tune and in the primitive genuine Presbyterian whine and roll, begins the first note of the music with a deep strained gutteral from the last word of the reading, without any intermissions. This, however, in these societies is universal. I am here under the necessity of close study, as the people do not allow of reading sermons.

    " Sunday, June 11. [Opecquon.] A numerous assembly. Mr. Hoge present. He is a lusty, well-- made man. Capt. Holmes introduced me to him, and he received me kindly. Invited me to the session house, and home with him after worship. I proposed and strongly urged him to preach at least once, but he wholly declined it. Several storekeepers and people of note were out from Winchester, many members of the English Church, and all gave good attention. Sometimes, at particular sentences, I could observe every eye to be fixed, and the whole house in silence. Then when the sentiments cooled, one would cough, another would ogle some woman, a third would take snuff, etc. After sermon I rode home with Mr. Hoge. He is remarkably chatty, and in some cases facetious, has the reputation, I believe, justly, of a sound, well meaning man. I grieve for his present state; he has a large family, no way of supporting it, has been dismissed from this Society near three years. He is anxious of being re-instated, and is jealous of my having an intention to supplant him.

    " Monday, June 12. The opinion of his politicks is blank. He rode with me to Mr. Glass'. Mr. Glass gave me for my sermons five dollars and many thanks. He proposed I should stay with them a year on trial, but I objected on Mr. Hoge's case."

    For a church, however, as large and vigorous as Opecquon had become, it would not do to be dependent on the precarious services of Presbyterial supplies, or of traveling evangelists. A pastor became a necessity, and many calls were made. Among them, one was sent, April 14, 1774, to the Rev. James Waddel, " The Blind Preacher" of the Bristish Spy, then living in Lancaster County, Va., but beginning to feel unsettled, because of the ill effect of that climate upon his health. This call was declined. After several other unsuccessful efforts, a call was made in October, 1781, for Rev. Join Montgomery, and accepted. In this call, as we might expect, Cedar Creek united; but it is interesting now to find the name of Winchester associated with these old churches in their present call.

    The Rev. John Montgomery, to whom this call was given, was a native of Augusta County, Va., and of Scotch-Irish ancestry. His parents were Prominently identified with the New Providence Church. He prepared for college in a school which his father helped to found, and was graduated at Princeton in 1775. In the fall of that year he became, by appointment of Presbytery, the assistant of Rev. William Graham in that famous academy which has now grown into Washington & Lee University. He was received by Hanover Presbytery as a candidate for the ministry in 1777; but continued to teach while pursuing his theological studies under Dr. Graham. After his licensure, October 28, 1778, he devoted himself to the ministry. and was ordained by Hanover Presbytery April 27, 1780. The next year (1781) he was settled over Opecquon, Cedar Greek and Winchester, where he continued to minister, greatly beloved by his people and much blessed in his work, until 1789, when, much to the regret of his congregation, he resigned his charge and moved to land that he had inherited on the Big Calf Pasture River, in the western part of Augusta County, where he lived the remainder of his life as pastor of Lebanon and Rocky Spring churches. During the latter part of his life his increasing bodily infirmities greatly interrupted his ministry. He married Agnes Hughart, and was the father of eleven children-" about the canonical number in that day." He died in 1818, and was buried at the Rocky Spring Church. His numerous descendants to the fourth generation remain staunch Presbyterians, and many of them have been, or are, office bearers in the church.

    With the call of Mr. Montgomery, it is important to observe that the names of the churches calling him disappear from the minutes of Donegal Presbytery. The exact facts which explain this disappearance are not distinctly known. In May, 1755, the Synod of New York (New Side) erected the Presbytery of Hanover, with boundaries not very clearly defined, but extending westward across the Blue Ridge, and providing "that any of their members settling to the southward or westward of Mr. Hoge's congregation shall have liberty to join said Presbytery." Mr. Montgomery, when called to these churches in Frederick County in 1781, was a member of Hanover Presbytery; but instead of having his membership transferred to the Presbytery of Donegal, the churches calling him-in some manner and at some time, of which we have no record-had their Presbyterial relations transferred to Hanover. When the Presbytery of Lexington was erected, May, 1786, it was ordered that it be bounded on the north by the southern boundary of Carlisle Presbytery, which was formed at the same time by the division of Donegal. That southern boundary, however, was not defined; nor the churches named that were to be embraced in Lexington Presbytery; but Moses Hoge, pastor of "Concrete," on the South Branch, and John Montgomery, pastor of Winchester, Opequon and Cedar Creek, are especially named as members. And when a successor to Mr. Montgomery was obtained he was dismissed from Hanover to Lexington Presbytery, which then asserted an undisputed claim to these churches.

    The removal of Mr. Montgomery from this charge left it vacant for but a short time, as a successor was soon secured in the person of the Rev. Nash Legrand.

    Mr. Legrand's ancestors were Huguenots, who came to Virginia in the latter part of the seventeenth century. He was a native of Prince Edward County and a graduate of Hampden Sidney College in 1788, under the presidency of Rev. John Blair Smith. He had entered college to prepare for the medical profession, but was converted in the great revival of 1787-8, and at once consecrated himself to the work of the ministry. He pursued his studies to this end under the direction of Dr. Smith, and was licensed by the Presbytery of Hanover April 25, 1789. Immediately he began a career of great success as an evangelist, preaching in many fields, but spending the months of March and April of the next year in the charge over which he was afterward settled. He was then employed by the newly appointed " Commission of Synod " as their first missionary, and labored under their direction from June 1, 1790, to the first of October following, when, though strongly solicited to continue in this work, he resigned his commission and accepted a call from these churches in Frederick County in which he had already labored, and to which he now removed in the fall of 1790. He was ordained to the full work of the ministry by the Presbytery of Hanover April 5, 1791, at a meeting held in the Briery Church, in his native county, Prince Edward; and the following October was dismissed to the Presbytery of Lexington. He was never installed in the Opecquon field, though he continued his labors there with distinguished success for nineteen years, when impaired health compelled him to resign. In October, 1809, he was dismissed by the Presbytery of Winchester to his old Presbytery of Hanover, within the bounds of which he continued to labor, as his health would allow, in vacant churches and destitute neighborhoods, but never again had he the stated charge of a congregation.

    About the year 1794, Mr. Legrand was united in marriage to an accomplished lady, Margaret Holmes, a member of the Cedar Creek Church, and a sister of Governor David Holmes, of Mississippi; by this marriage he had five children, and was singularly happy in his home. Mrs. Legrand died sometime before he left Opecquon; and after his removal he married Mrs. Paulina Read, of Charlotte County, Va., on whose large estate he afterwards resided in the comforts of an ample fortune. He died in 1814, while on a visit to his old friends in Frederick County; and his unmarked grave is in the burying ground of his old Stone Church in Winchester.

    Dr. Foote, in his " Sketches of Virginia," Vol. I, pp. 530-543, gives an extended and most interesting sketch of the life, character, and ministry of Mr. Legrand, to which the reader is referred. In that sketch he is described as a remarkably handsome man,with dark brown hair, high forehead, open countenance, expressive eye, and melodious voice; tall and spare, yet well proportioned, graceful and easy of movement, and preposessing in manner. While inclined to taciturnity, and sometimes to a gloomy reserve, yet, in company that pleased him, his powers of conversation were extraordinary, abounding in wit, and amusing anecdote. His preaching was unusually attractive, though not distinguished for superior learning, finish of composition, or force of reasoning. In these particulars he was far surpassed by many of his contemporaries, who yet fell far hehind him, both in popularity and usefulness. His comely person, graceful gestures, and especially the music and modulation of his voice, fitted him admirably for the pulpit, and attracted the attention of his hearers, without any special regard to the subject-matter of his discourse. But, in addition to this, the deep and allpervading impressions of godliness with which his soul was imbued, created an atmosphere about him which all felt. He lived near to God, and uniformly enjoyed his religion. He excelled in prayer, as one who lived near the throne. He was always conscious of the presence of his Saviour. And in the pulpit all these things imparted such an unction to his sermons and exhortations, that few could hear him preach without feeling more or less conviction of sin. No minister of his day was so much sought after by men, or so much honored of God as Legrand. No wonder, then, that under his ministry Opecquon saw its best days. Delighted crowds attended his services; and under his pungent preaching the waning piety of God's people was rekindled, inquiry was awakened, and rich spiritual harvests were gathered. It was soon found that the House of Worship was not large enough for present requirements, and the old log building, which had already supplanted a smaller one, was taken down and the commodious stone church, which was destroyed by fire in 1873, was built; and on pleasant Sundays was filled from door to pulpit.

    In closing this account of the "Old Opecquon," it is interesting to state that in the early months of 1792, this church had another distinguished visitor, whose "reminiscenses," if not so spicy as the "Diary" of Mr. Fithian, are at least as valuable. I quote from an unpublished manuscript of Rev. Archibald Alexander, D. D., in which he tells of his work in this Lower Valley immediately after his licensure in the old Presbyterian Church in Winchester:

    "After spending a week or two in Charlestown and vicinity, according to a promise made to Mr. Legrand, I returned to Frederick County and spent four weeks in supplying his place at Opekon, Winchester and Cedar Creek. x x In Opekon congregation a revival of religion had been in progress for some time. The good work extended also beyond the congregation to a populous but poor neighborhood called `The Pines.' Here at a mill I held many meetings in the evening, where crowds of people, more than could be accommodated, came out. x x x The weeks which I spent at Opekon passed pleasantly. Besides the services of the Sabbath, we held a meeting every Tuesday afternoon at Major Gilkeson's, one of the elders at Opekon, and I must say that such meetings I never attended any where else; I mean that I never felt the Saviour's presence so sensibly; and this seemed to be the general impression."

    a. In writing the name of this church, I have followed, throughout this volume, the spelling which received the final approval of Dr. Foote. In the first volume of his "Sketches of Virginia," he wrote the name "Opeckon ;" but in his second volume, six years later, he wrote it invariably "Opecquon." Dr. Foote is the highest authority as to the proper spelling of this historic name, the orthography of which, in Ecclesiastical annals, is so varied.


    Next in order, in the Records to which we have access, is the Bullskin Church. The Bullskin is a tributary of the Shenandoah and a stream of considerable importance. The tradition is that this singular name had its origin in the fact that when the first settlers arrived there they found on the bank of the stream the hide of a buffalo bull of enormous size, stretched out to dry, the bull having been killed by a party of hunters, or possibly of Indians. The old church stood on the hill, about 150 yards north of the head spring of Bullskin, and on land now owned by Wm. M. Clements. Its ruins are still there, or were ar a recent date. This spring, which was jointly owned by the Reilys and Throckmorton's, is threefourths of a mile south of Summit Point, in Jefferson County, W. Va., quite near the Summit Point and Berryville turnpike, and the same distance from the old Charlestown and Winchester road; 5 1-2 miles southwest of Aldridge; 7 1-2 west of Charlestown, and 3 1-2 northwest of Beulah.

    The first mention we find of Bullskin is in Donegal Records for April 2, 1740. There Mr. Caven is ordered "to visit Bullskin on the third Sabbath of this inst." This minute would seem to indicate that the place was one with which the Presbytery was well acquainted. It is not spoken of as a new settlement, and there is nothing even to fix its location in Virginia save that Mr. Caven was directed to preach at "Upekin" the Friday before going to Bullskin. It is mentioned as any other place already on their roll would be mentioned. There is reason to believe that Bullskin was not a new settlement in 1740, as Opecquon was in 1735-6. It was more than 20 miles nearer the fords of the Potomac, in a fertile and wellwatered country; and it is not reasonable to suppose that, if this country were still unoccupied, immigrants would have passed over it to settle on lands further away from civilization, and offering no superior advantages. It is difficult to resist the conviction that there were settlers on the Bullskin much earlier than these Records show. And yet in the Records themselves there is a minute which may throw possible light on this matter. In April, 1737, Presbytery "appointed Messrs. Anderson and Bertram to visit Virginia." The minute does not say to what part of Virginia they were to go, but intimations in other minutes seem to justify the belief that they were sent to the people of this Lower Valley; and if so, it is not at all improbable that they visited the Bullskin, and that their report to Presbytery prepared the way for those appointments of supplies, of which we begin to read in April, 1740, and which were afterwards made with such frequency. Before the long gap of fourteen years occurs through the loss of the Donegal Records, during which we are entirely ignorant of its history, Mr. Hynman (Hindman first, and Mr. Caven later, were appointed to supply this church. From 1759, through a period of more than twenty years, supplications for preaching "from various places in Virginia" were made at each meeting of Presbytery. Sometimes the name of the church supplicating is given, and that of Bullskin occurs quite as often as any other. And while Mr. Vance, Mr. Alexander and others were specially sent to supply it, we find that Mr. Hoge, while still pastor of Opecquon, etc., was several times charged with a kind of general oversight "of all vacancies adjacent" to him, and with the special duty of supplying Bullskin. It is particularly noted that in April, 1767, Bullskin and Tuscarora united, and made specific request for the services of Mr. McCreary and Mr. Craighead. These young men had just been licensed by the Presbytery of New Castle ; and it is quite probable that the specific request for them was made in the hope of securing the permanent settlement of one of them. Many years later, when Mr. McKnight had resigned the pastoral charge of Elk Branch, "Bullskin and Cool Spring (Gerardstown) made supplication for Mr. McKnight as a stated supply till the next meeting of Presbytery with a view to calling him as pastor." This was in April, 1783, and while the application was not successful, for Mr. McKnight accepted a call from a church in Pennsylvania, the minute is interesting as containing the last mention of Bullskin in our Ecclesiastical Records. Before this, for a dozen years or so, instead of the simple name of Bullskin, the expression "Head of Bullskin," or "Head Waters of Bullskin" is used when this church is referred to. The reason for this is not clear ; and, in fact, the whole history of the church is involved in a good deal of obscurity. Whether there ever was a properly organized church there is itself somewhat uncertain. The name does not appear upon any roll that I have seen, either of Donegal or Carlisle Presbytery. But if the people on the Bullskin were never organized as a church, they certainly were organized for worship; and whatever may have been the character of their organization, it was efficient in procuring for them, with great frequency, through a period of fifty years, the ordinances of the Gospel. It does not appear that a minister was ever settled among them, though on more than one accasion they made an effort to secure a pastor; yet they displayed such zeal in asking for supplies that they seem not to have been for any long time without the ministry of the Word.

    That such a church should cease to exist is accounted for by the fact, that services began to be held at other more central points, which gradually drew away the members from the old place of worship. Charlestown, Smithfield, and perhaps Berryville, as growing villages, required stated preaching; and at length-we do not know at what datethe old place of worship at the head of Bullskin was abandoned, and the house crumbled into ruins.

    Before this occurred, however, an event of great importance to the interests of our church in that whole region took place. This was the call and settlement, in 1791, of Rev. William Hill as pastor of Charlestown and Smithfield churches; who, during a part, if not the whole of his ministry in Jefferson County, continued to hold stated meetings at Bullskin. The history of Mr. Hill's ministry in the field will be given later in connection with our sketch of Charlestown church.

    It is a fact of no little interest, that it was at Bullskin that the Rev. Dr. Archibald Alexander began his authorized ministry and preached his first sermon after his licensure in Winchester, October 1, 1791. As he told the writer of this sketch, in his last interview with him only six weeks before his death, he had engaged to fill Mr. Hill's appointments for a few weeks; and on Monday, October 3, he left Winchester in company with Rev. Mr. Legrand, and late that afternoon reached the house of old Mr. Reily at the head Spring of Bullskin. He had been a guest there a few months before on his way both to and from the General Assembly in Philadelphia, of which Assembly he was a member as a Ruling Elder from Lexington Presbytery. At that time he had been treated with marked kindness by this family. They supplied him with a horse, when his own was foundered, and so enabled him to continue his journey. Though his coming now was unannounced, both he and Mr. Legrand were heartily welcomed; and Mrs. Reily at once insisted that they must have preaching that night. Notice was sent out and at the hour appointed the house was filled. To the utter surprise and consternation of the young licentiate who was then but nineteen years of age, when the services began, Mr. Legrand, without previous intimation, required Mr. Alexander to conduct them and to preach. At first he was overwhelmed with alarm and confusion; but when he recovered his composure he was enabled to preach with a great deal of comfort to himself, and, we can readily imagine, to the great delight of his hearers. The deep impression that incident made upon him was evident from the manner in which the old man related it to the writer sixty years after its occurrence.

  • IV. SOUTH BRANCH (Concrete)

    Among the many surprises we meet in our inquiries touching the Planting of Presbyterianism within our bounds, none, perhaps, is greater than its early date in the Valley of the South Branch. In the Records of Donegal for December 11, 1740, mention is made of a congregation of our faith and order already waiting there to receive the ordinances of the Gospel. The minute reads, " Mr. Caven is ordered to supply at Marsh Creek (i. e., Gettysburg) and South Branch, at his discretion, till our next." The distance from each other of the two places here named is so great as to suggest at first that among the rivers of Pennsylvania was a stream called the " South Branch;" but all doubt on this score is dismissed, when we find in the minutes of the next meeting of Presbytery (May 30, 1741 ), that " a supplication "for supplies was brought in and read from " the South Branch of the Potomac. " From what particular part of the South Branch this "supplication" came is not specified, but the subsequent history clearly identifies it with that section above the " Trough," now known as the Moorefield Valley. That there should have been a Presbyterian settlement there large enough to claim the attention of Presbytery as early as 1740 is a little remarkable. That Valley is so secluded, and was so far removed at that time from other white settlements and, therefore, so peculiarly exposed to attacks from the savages, that it seems like an act of recklessness for people voluntarily to place themselves in such peril. An explanation is probably found in the fact that many of these settlers sustained specially friendly relations to such Indians as were in a position to molest them.

    There is an old and undisputed tradition, now accepted as history, that long before settlers had gathered in any large numbers in the Shenandoah Valley, John Howard and his son penetrated these mountain solitudes and disoovered the charming South Branch Valley; then, crossing the mountains, they descended the Ohio and Mississippi, in a skiff of their own construction, and at last, after a thrilling series of adventures, they found themselves in London, and reported their discoveries to Lord Fairfax, the proprietor of the Northern Neck. Sometime after Howard's visit, the tradition (or history) continues, John Van Meter, of New Jersey, who, as a trader, had ingratiated himself with the Indians, accompanied a war party of the Delawares on an expedition to the South, against the Catawbas. Their march was up the South Branch Valley, giving Van. Meter a fine opportunity to acquaint himself with that wonderfully rich and attractive country. Returning home, he described that Valley as " the finest body of land he had ever seen," and advised his sons to settle there. One of them took his advice. Visiting the country about 1736, he obtained a "tomahawk title " to the land immediately above the Trough, where Fort Pleasant was afterwards built, and returned to New Jersey for his family. When, after a year or two, he, with several of his friends and their families, came again to the South Branch, he found that its value had become known to others, probable through Howard's report, and that a considerable body of emigrants had already settled there. The name of Van Meter proved a protection to them ail, and the increase in population was rapid.

    The Van Meters were of Dutch origin, as were probable all who came to the South Branch under their auspices. Their church affiliations were naturally with the Dutch Reformed; and very early in the settlement of that Valley the Dutch Reformed Classis of New Jersey sent its missionaries to them, and to others of their faith and order in the adjacent vallies, particularly to Patterson's Creek. It seems, however, that those who preceded the Van Meters, as well as those who joined them soon afterward, were chiefly of Scotch-Irish stock and, therefore, Presbyterians. And either because these were superior to their Dutch neighbors in numbers and zeal; or, which is most likely, because Donegal Presbytery possessed superior facilities for reaching them and supplying their spiritual wants, the Presbyterian Church was the one which obtained the earlier and firmer foothold in that Valley. We have no continuous history of its growth, yet some interesting data are at hand.

    When, at the meeting of the Presbytery, May 30, 1741, supplies were asked for from the South Branch of the Potomac, we are not told who was sent; but at the next meeting, in October, we read that the appointments were fulfilled.

    At that same meeting, October 9, 1741, we find this suggestive minute: " Pursuant to several supplications from several places of the back parts of Virginia, requesting supplies during the winter and, if possible, for an ordained minister, Presbytery agreed that Mr. Alexander McDowell should be ordained sine titulo, in order to itinerate sine tempore in Virginia." Now, while the expression " the back parts of Virginia," as found in our Ecclesiastical Records, undoubtedly means the Upper Valley as distinguished from the Lower, it is not improbable that in this case it is meant to include the South Branch, which was far to the west and south of those points, near the familiar fords of the Potomac, which the Presbytery was accustomed to supply; and as the itinerancy of Mr. McDowell was without limitation of time, he might very well have visited that congregation on his way to or from Augusta.

    Here the unfortunate gap, from the loss of the Donegal Records, occurs. But in the Records of the Old-Side Synod of Philadelphia, for May 23, 1751, this important minute is found: " Ordered, that Mr. Craig [of Augusta County, Va.] supply x x x the South Branch, and places adjacent, three Sabbaths before our next." This minute is interesting, not only as showing (as just suggested) that the South Branch may have been reckoned as in " the back parts of Virginia," because it was those " parts " especially that the Synod was arranging to supply; but also because it informs us that there were then other places " adjacent " to the South Branch that were becoming Presbyterian centers.

    Our next minute is of more interest, as showing growth and zeal among these people: " April, 1768, supplications were received from the South Branch of the Potomac; and for an ordained minister to assist in forming them into a regular congregation." In answer to this request Rev. John Roan was sent. While we have no report from him, it is safe to assume that his mission was fulfilled, and that we may date from this period (1768 ) the first regular organization of a church in that Valley; to which the singular name of "Concrete" was given.

    From a minute dated October, 1768, it would appear that Presbyterianism was beginning to take root nearer the mouth of the South Branch, as " a number of places in Hampshire County supplicated for supplies;" and the next spring, April, 1769, " supplies were called for from various places on the South Branch of the Potomac."

    From this time for more than a dozen years there is no mention of the South Branch in the Donegal Records. But this does not mean that the church had ceased to exist, or had lost its zeal for Gospel ordinances. For apart from the fact that during the stormy period that led up to and embraced the War of the Revolution, a general commission to look after and supply vacancies had been given to some of the ministers, particularly to Mr. Hoge after his release from the Opecquon field; it must be remembered that when Hanover Presbytery was erected by the Synod of New York in 1755, it was given jurisdiction over all the territory south and west of Mr. Hoge's charge. This included the Moorefield Valley, to which, however, Donegal, a warm adherent of the Old-Side Synod, never surrendered its claim. Hanover sometimes sent its missionaries to the South Branch, but its Records throw very little light upon its relations to that field. When the Presbytery of Lexington was constituted by the Synod of New York and Philadelphia in 1786, this church with its pastor, Rev. Moses Hoge, was assigned to it.

    A new era in the history of this church began when Moses Hoge was providentially led to settle among them. He had been licensed in 1781, and the next year, before going to Kentucky, or on his way there, he was induced to delay his journey for a time in order to preach for the people of this Valley. They were so much pleased with his services and importuned him so earnestly to remain with them, that after long hesitation he relinquished his purpose of going West, and concluded to remain with the South Branch people to whom he had become so strongly attached.

    Having decided to stay with the people of Hardy County, Mr. Hoge remained in that field until the autumn of 1787; when, because of the effect of the climate upon his health and to the great sorrow of his people, he removed to Shepherdstown. He was devoted to his church and gave to the people of South Branch a ministry of surpassing ability and value, the power of which was long felt in all that region. His home was in Moorefield, and the log house in which he resided was standing within the memory of some now living. During his residence there he taught a school, which not only contributed to his support, otherwise inadequate, but secured to the youth of South Branch educational advantages of a very superior character.

    After the removal of Mr. Hoge, this church was supplied for a time by the Rev. Mr. Jennings. Just when his ministry here began and how long it continued, we have no means of determining. While Rev. William Hill was engaged in the service of the "Missionary Commission" of the Virginia Synod, he visited "Moorefield, in Hardy County, and preached a few sermons there in the absence of Dr. Jennings, the successor of Mr. Hoge." This was in September, 1791, and this extract from Mr. Hill's Journal is all that we know of the ministry of Mr. Jennings on the South Branch. He was, we suppose, the Rev. Jacob Jennings, father of the distinguished Obadiah Jennings, D. D., who was pastor in Nashville, Tenn., and died there January 12, 1832. He (the father) was born in New Jersey in 1744, studied medicine and practiced his profession until about 40 years of age, when he turned his attention to theology. It is believed that he entered the ministry in connection with the Reformed Dutch Church. And this suggests the probability that he came to Virginia in the interests of that church to look after those of their own lineage, who were scattered in considerable numbers through these valleys, and not a few of whom were to be found on the South Branch. He resided for several years in Virginia, and we are inclined to believe that a large part of that time was passed at Moorefield. Some months after Mr. Hill's visit he removed to Western Pennsylvania, and in April, 1792, was received "from the Low Dutch Church" as a member of Redstone Presbytery, and died in its service February 17, 1813.

    Of this church we know nothing more until after the organization of Winchester Presbytery, save that at that organization the "Concrete Church" was reported "vacant, but able to support a pastor."


    This, by universal consent, is one of our oldest churches, .though its name does not appear in existing records until May 18,1768. In the Records of the Synod of New York of that date is this minute: "A supplication for supplies, and particularly for the opportunity of a probationer, from Cedar Creek and Opecquon was brought into Synod." There is a much earlier minute in the Records of Donegal for 1736, which says that application for the services of Rev. Samuel Gelston was laid before Presbytery " from both sides of the Opecquon." If this expression means, as we believe it does, Opecquon proper, and Cedar Creek, then, without the mention of the name, we have here a distinct reference to the Cedar Creek Church. Opecquon and Cedar Creek were closely associated for nearly a hundred years, and as they are situated on different sides of the Opecquon Creek, the two, when spoken of together, may properly be designated as "both sides of the Opecquon."

    The location of this church, as the name indicates, is on Cedar Creek, an important tributary of the Shenandoah. It is nine or ten miles southwest of the Opecquon Church, and about seven miles west of Stephensburg, now called " Stephens City." Its earliest settlement was by some families that came to this Valley with Joist Hite in 1732, who were re-enforced after two or three years by others who came with Samuel Glass. Hite himself was probably not a Presbyterian, but several of those who came with him probably were, as their names indicate a Scotch-Irish origin. True to their religious and ecclesiastical instincts, one of their first efforts was to provide a church of their own faith and order. And as these settlers on Cedar Creek had intimate relations with those who settled on the Opecquon, they naturally joined forces 'n their efforts to secure for themselves the ordinances of the Gospel. Up to the time of the organization of Winchester Presbytery, and for many years after, these two settlements are invariably united in their church relations; so that the history of Opecquon, as we have given it, is substantially the history of Cedar Creek. They were the same race of people; had the same tastes; held to the same views, and the preacher that pleased the one was entirely satisfactory to the ,other. The " supplication " that was intended to obtain a supply for the one, always included in it a supply for the other. Their history runs parellel from their origin to the close of Mr. Legrand's pastorate; and for the details of that history, during the period covered by this sketch, the reader is referred to what has been more fully written about Opecquon. Of the Sessional Records of the Cedar Creek Church for nearly a century not a scrap can be found. There is, however, a deed given by Lord Fairfax in 1762, during the pastorate of Rev. John Hoge, " conveying 100 acres of land to William Vance, William Evans, James Colville, James Hogg, and Andrew Blackburn, elders of the Presbyterian congregation [of Cedar Creek] and their successors, for building a meeting house thereon," etc. The House of Worship subsequently built on that land, we may assume, was the second one erected; and that it was afterward replaced by the stone edifice in which the church worships now. This old deed is of special interest as preserving the names of the members of the Session at that date.

    The first mention we find of this church in the Records of Donegal, is in connection with its failure to meet its obligations to its pastor-a failure which was shared by Opecquon. In their united call to Mr. Hoge he was promised an annual salary of £70; of which amount Opecquon was to pay £45 and Cedar Creek £25. These sums, we suppose, indicate the comparative financial ability, as well as the membership, of the two congregations. In November, 1761, Mr. Roan was directed to write to both churches, calling attention to the deficiency, and urging that it be paid. At the next meeting, April, 1762, we have a statement of their arrearages. That of Cedar Creek amounted to £41, 15s. 6d., while that of Opecquon amounted to £41, 19s. The churches promised to pay what was due, and yet their indebtedness to Mr. Hoge continued to be a matter of complaint in Presbytery for ten years; and at last, in 1772, his pastoral relation was dissolved because of their failure to pay his salary. And yet, as these people manifested the greatest reluctance to part with their pastor, and as Mr. Hoge retained his home among them for several years and frequently preached for both churches, we must assume that their long indebtedness to him was the result of their own straitened circumstances, rather than of their unwillingness to meet their obligation.

    In the Records for October, 1768, appears a minute showing that unfriendly relations had arisen between Mr. Hoge and some of the most influential people in the Cedar Creek church, which may account in part for their arrearages in salary. The minute is as follows:

    " Mr. Joseph Colvil accused Mr. Hoge before the Presbytery for having fraudulently obtained a judgment in Lord Fairfax's office, with respect to a caveat entered by Hoge against the claims of a certain Arthur McConnel to a tract of land; as also that Mr. Hoge had laid said McConnel under unreasonable restraints in an article of agreement for said land ; and that Mr. Hoge had unjustly debarred him, the said Colvil, from church privileges.

    "Upon a full hearing of the case the Presbytery declared Mr. Hoge acquitted of all the charges."

    It was during the vacancy in this church that the young licentiate, Mr. Fithian, paid his visit to this region and preached both at Opecquon and Cedar Creek. He spent several days visiting among the people, and noting in his famous Journal everything that interested him. Stephensburg he describes as "a small village, well situated. Four taverns in the town and one store kept by Captain Holmes, where I am to lodge." He met many prominent people of the neighborhood. "Major Stephens, the proprietor of the town." "Mr. Wilson, an Opecquon Elder, a plain able farther, very old and stout, a full and strong example that the place is healthy." "Mr. Whitehead, living on a lovely farm, a mile from town; an old, gray-headed bachelor and a Yorkshire Englishman." "Col. Isaac Zane, possessor of the noted Marlboro Iron Works ; a man of first rank, both in property and office ; and a patriot of fiery temper." Col. Hite, whose "general characteristics are wealth and honesty. He entertained us merrily with humor, toddy and music." But of the church itself he writes:

    "Sunday, June 4. Cedar Creek Church, six miles from Stephensburg, northwest. All here are full Quakers. I preached twice; the assembly very attentive. I made very little use of my notes, which is a vast, almost essential recommendation here. Preach without papers; produce casuistic divinity; seem earnest and serious, and you will be listened to with patience and wonder. Both your hands will be seized, and almost shook off so soon as you are out of the church, and you will be claimed by half of the society to honor them with your company after sermon. Read your sermons, and if they be sound and sententious as Witherspoon's, copious and fluent as Harvey's, and read off with the ease and dignity of Davies, their backs will be up at once, their attention all gone, their noses will grow as red as their wigs; and ( let me whisper this) you may get your dinner where you breakfasted. `Please keep your seats,' said an old gray-headed gentleman when worship was concluded. He took off his hat and made a collection. Well, I must go home with this venerable prop of the church. His wife is old and flaxenhaired as he. Both are hearty, lusty and nimble. In this happy condition of life and friendship, by Hymen's blessing, they have lived together fifty-five years. They have three daughters at home, virgins, and well risen in years. Have some books, much poultry. Mr. Colville lives within four miles of the North Mountain on the bank of Cedar Creek.

    "Monday, June 5. We breakfasted heartily and soundly on the richest products of a fat farm. Boiled milk, highly buttered, and fine cheese of two kinds, one made last summer and the other last week. We passed one freeman talking politicks and religion. These good people are full warm for election and reprobation in its strictest sense. Mr. Colville gave me yesterday's collection. I am gratified to find that when the number at church was so small so many remembered me. There were thirty-four pieces of silver in cut money, quarters of dollars, pistareens and half bits. The whole donation for the two sermons was three dollars (£1, 2s., 6d.), After dinner we visited old Mrs. Sarah Vance."

    It was within the bounds of the Cedar Creek Church that Dr. Moses Hoge was born and reared. His father was the James Hoge whose name is in the deed of Lord Fairfax to this congregation and whom the deed desiginated as one of the Elders of the church. His home was near Middletown, on the great road from Winchester to Staunton. As a man of vigorous intellect and devoted piety, he probably was not inferior to any in that large Hoge connection, so many of whom have been distinguished both in church and State. Dr. Archibald Alexander regarded him as one of the most intellectual men he had ever met. He visited him in his home in 1791, where he was detained for several days, and writes of him in his autobiography: "We stopped at Mr. Solomon Hoge's, the brother of Moses, where also his aged father resided. Though eighty-four years of age, his intellect was in full vigor and he delighted in theological discussion. He gave me a narrative of the state of the Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania during his youth. He informed me that as soon as he was twenty-one years of age, he carefully read every article of the Westminster Confession of Faith to see if he could adopt the whole; which he was able freely and deliberately to do. He was now in connection with the Seceder Church. He did not tell me how this came about; but some years afterwards, Dr. Hoge told me that his father left the Presbyterian Church on account of the "Adopting Act," which permitted candidates to make exceptions when adopting the Confession. I do not know that I ever got so much instruction from any one in the same time as from this old gentleman. Difficulties which I had about some points, he entirely removed to my satisfaction.


    The church with whose name we next meet is " The Old Tuscarora." This church is about two miles west of Martinsburg, on the Tuscarora Creek, from which it takes its name. This creek rises at the eastern base of the North Mountain, flows through Martinsburg, and, a few miles east of that city, empties into the Opecquon. It is one of the important water courses of Berkeley County.

    That the name of this church does not appear in any existing Ecclesiastical Records until April 6, 1760, will excite some surprise, as the accepted local tradition is that its existence precedes that date by at least fifteen, if not twenty, years. Henry Howe, in his " Historical Collections of Virginia," claims "that the spot on which the Tuscarora Meeting House now stands, is the first place where the Gospel was publicly preached, and Divine worship performed, west of the Blue Ridge." This claim can hardly be sustained; and yet the strong probability is, that Tuscarora is one of the oldest churches in the Valley of the Shenandoah. That we have no mention of it until 1760 is due, no doubt, to the loss of Presbyterial Records of the preceding fourteen years. The lands along the Tuscarora are among the finest in Berkeley County, and were taken up and occupied at an early date, and largely by the Scotch-Irish. And it can hardly be questioned that if that lost volume of the Donegal Records could be recovered, it would be found that the Presbyterian people on that creek had organized themselves for public worship, and were in possession of Gospel ordinances not later than 1745-the latest date that tradition assigns. It was evidently an established place of worship of considerable importance when we first meet with the name. Not only are supplies regularly appointed, but it would appear that an elder, or commissioner, was sent to Presbytery to ask for these supplies in person. We take this to be the meaning of the minute of October 21, 1760, when, instead of the usual expression that "supplication was sent," or "supplication was received and read," the minute is that "verbal supplication from Tuscarosa "was made for supplies.

    The next minute, April 28, 1762, is still more significant as to the strength this church had already attained. It reads that "the congregations of Tuscarora in Virginia and Falling Waters supplicate for supplies, and for laborers for some time to come," showing a growing discontent with a system that sent them supplies only rarely, and at long intervals and for short periods. In response to this unusual request Mr. Hoge was ordered to supply them nine Sabbaths, and Mr. Roan to assist him during the month of August.

    From this date (1762) until 1771 supplications for supplies for Tuscarora in Virginia are made at nearly every stated meeting of Presbytery, and at some of the adjourned meetings also; and in answer to these requests, Presbytery appointed for a longer or shorter term, and with greater or less frequency, the following supplies, viz.: Messrs. McGan, Roan, Slemmons, Cooper, Craighead, Alexander, McCreary, Hoge, Balch, Lewis, Lang, Vance, Thompson, Duffield and Rhea.

    In October, 1765, the church made special application for the services of Licentiate Robert Cooper, with a view to his settlement among them. He had just been licensed, was a young man of great promise, and was afterwards known as one of the distinguished men of the church. This application was not successful.

    Eighteen months later their attention was turned to another young man, Mr. John McCreary, who had just been licensed by the Presbytery of New Castle; and Donegal Presbytery was asked (April, 1767) to secure him for Tuscarora, with a view to his settlement as pastor. A year later, April, 1768, this effort was renewed; the church asked leave of its Presbytery to apply to New Castle Presbytery for a part of Mr. McCreary's time, and liberty was given it to prosecute a call for this minister; but this effort also resulted in failure.

    In connection with the appointment of Rev. Hezekiah James Balch to supply Tuscarora, May 20, 1769, the following incident is worthy of mention as showing the spirit of the age. Mr. Balch had recently been married, and he was now arraigned before his Presbytery for allowing his marriage to be solemnized "by an English established minister." When required to answer to this accusation Mr. Balch humbly confessed his fault before Presbytery, and then stood up and was censured in due form by Mr. Roan, the moderator.

    After many failures to obtain a pastor, Tuscarora at length called Mr. Hugh Vance. Mr. Vance was received as a candidate by Donegal Presbytery, April 11, 1769, and was put upon his "trials," and licensed to preach August 30 of the same year. He was appointed several times to preach at Tuscarora, and his preaching was so acceptable that in October, 1770, a call from the United churches of Tuscarora and Falling Waters was laid before Presbytery, placed in his hands and accepted. On Tuesday, August 21, 1771, the Presbytery met at the Tuscarora Church and ordained him to the full work of the ministry, and installed him pastor of the Tuscarora and Falling Waters churches.

    This minute (August 21, 1771) gives us an important date in the history of Presbyterianism in Virginia. That was the first meeting of Donegal Presbytery south of the Potomac River, and the pastorate then constituted was the second one formed within our Presbyterial bounds. The one first formed (in the Opecquon field) ended the next year, viz: 1772. Of the Rev. Hugh Vance not very much is now known, beyond the fact that he was pastor of the Tuscarora church for twenty years. He was born in 1736, and probably in Pennsylvania. It is said, though the statement is not confirmed, that he was of the family of Vances that came to this Valley in 1735, or 6, with Glass, Colvin, White and others. It does not seem that he was ever much distinguished as a preacher, or that he wielded any great influence as a presbyter. Yet he was very highly respected by his brethren in the ministry and beloved as a pastor. He was industrious and zealous in his work, faithful to his duty in his own charge, and always ready to give his services to destitute points around him, whether far or near. We find him on at least one occasion (1773 or 4) making a journey across the Alleghanies in the interest of the church-an undertaking at that day of no little risk and hardship. Mr. Fithian, who visited him May 20, 1775, and received from him "liberty to visit and preach in the neighboring vacancies," says of him, that "he lived at the foot of the North Mountain; partakes, I believe, of the Virginia spirit, and hands round the sociable bowl." As to his personal appearance, a contemporary and relative of his, whom I personally knew, Mr. Adam Sanaker, who lived near Gerrardstown, described him as "a tall, spare man, and very weakly." When Rev. William Hill visited him in September, 1791, he found him "on the borders of the grave, in the last stages of consumption." And yet when Mr. Hill preached the next day at Tuscarora he says "Mr. Vance rode out and lay in one of the pews while I preached." He died December 31, 1791, and his remains are buried in the old grave yard at Tuscarora.

    There is some confusion in the Presbyterial Record touching Mr. Vance's pastorate, which leaves us in much uncertainty as to the pastoral relation he actually held. In the minute (October, 1771) which records his ordination, it is also said that he was installed pastor of Tuscarora and Falling Waters. But in a previous minute (October, 1770) his call is said to have come from Falling Waters and Back Creek. Then in the History of Carlisle Presbytery, by Dr. Norcross, he is mentioned as pastor of Tuscarora and Back Creek; and during the whole period of his twenty years ministry in Berkeley County. Falling Waters is continually asking and obtaining supplies from Presbytery as if vacant. But this is a matter that belongs properly to the Falling Waters church, and the facts in the case will be more fully stated in the sketch of that church. That Mr. Vance was pastor of Tuscarora is not open to doubt. His residence was always within the bounds of that church.

    The year after Mr. Vance's death (1792) "supplications were sent to Presbytery from Tuscarora for themselves, and on behalf of Martinsburg and Back Creek;- and the next year (April, 1793) Tuscarora and Falling Waters unite in a call for the Rev. John Boyd, who is ordered to supply these two churches until the next meeting. At the next meeting, October, 1793, the call was placed in his hands and accepted. In April (9, 1794) he was ordained and installed pastor of Tuscarora and Falling Waters, and remained in charge of these two churches until April 16, 1801, when his pastoral relation was dissolved, and two years afteward he was dismissed to the Presbytery of New Brunswick.

    When the Presbytery of Winchester was erected (1794) the Tuscarora church, though not included in the organization, was probably one of the strongest in this Valley. After some years its strength was greatly reduced by the colony set off to form the Martinsburg church, and also by the emigration of its members. Of late, however, it has been much revived under the able ministry of Rev. Dr. F. M. Woods. The old stone building, in which they have long worshipped, was erected in 1803.


    The Back Creek Valley lies between the Little and Big North Mountains, in the western parts of Berkeley and Frederick counties. The stream from which it derives its name rises in southwestern Frederick, runs a northerly course for fifty miles or more and empties into the Potomac. The Valley is very beautiful, and early attracted the emigrants who were seeking homes south of the Potomac River; many of them choosing the smooth lands along this creek in preference to the strong limestone land in the Valley between the North Mountain and the Blue Ridge. During the Braddock war, however, they were so harrassed by the Indians that a large part of them recrossed the mountain and settled on Tuscarora and at Falling Waters, by which movement the churches planted at those places were materially strengthened.

    But many years before this migratory movement began, the settlers, who were largely of Presbyterian lineage and faith, had established a church in their own Valley. The location of this church was probably the same as that which for a century the Presbyterians on Back Creek have occupied, viz : on the west side of the creek, near Tomahawk Spring, about four miles southwest of Hedgesville, and perhaps seven or eight miles west of Martinsburg. The large stone building now in use is the one in which this congregation has worshipped for a century or more.

    The name of this church is first found in the same minute of Donegal Presbytery, in which the name of " Tuscarora in Virginia" first occurs, April 6, 1760 ; and, like Tuscarora, it appears then as a place accustomed to receive supplies, and where worship had been already established. That its name does not appear earlier is no doubt due, as in so many other cases, to the loss of the Records of the previous fourteen years. Tradition is very explicit in assigning an early settlement to the Back Creek Valley, and largely by people of the Scotch-Irish race.

    In April, 1760, "Mr. Hoge is ordered to supply Back Creek;" and the next October (21, 1760) this church, through an Elder or Commissioner, sent to Presbytery for the purpose, makes " a verbal supplication" for preaching; and Mr. Hoge then, and on several subsequent occasions, is appointed their supply. For the following nine years Presbytery furnished this church repeatedly with supplies in connection with either Tuscarora or Falling Waters, with which churches its associations have always been intimate.

    In October, 1770, Mr. Hugh Vance, who had just been licensed, was appointed to supply Back Creek; and at the same meeting a call was laid before 'Presbytery from Back Creek and Falling Waters for Mr. Vance to become their pastor. While there is no direct statement in the Records that Mr. Vance was ever installed pastor of Back Creek, there is much indirect evidence that such was the fact. The historian of his Presbytery, Dr. Norcross, says that he was installed. In April, 1775, Mr. Lang is ordered by Presbytery to write to Back Creek church, urging it to pay the arrears due on Mr. Vance's salary; and the following June Mr. Fithian speaks of the Back Creek church as " Mr. Vance's Meeting House." It is quite certain that during the twenty years of Mr. Vance's pastorate in Berkeley County, he preached statedly to the Back Creek people, and was regarded by ail, and he himself acted, as their pastor. During all that period no application from them goes up to Presbytery for supplies, but as soon as his death occurs (December 31, 1791) we find them (1792) as a vacant church, supplicating Presbytery for a preacher.

    The Ecclesiastical Records give very little information upon which even a conjecture can be based as to the prosperity and growth of any of those churches whose early history we are giving. But we have reason to believe that the Back Creek church during that period of planting was among the most prosperous in all this region. The Valley in which it was located possessed many attractions for the immigrant; the rich bottom lands along the creek were early occupied and population rapidly increased. The commodious and substantial house of worship, erected during, or soon after, the period under consideration, is itself suggestive. But the diary of Mr. Fithian throws positive light upon the subject, as showing both the size of the congregation and the membership of the church. He writes:

    " Sunday, June 18, 1775. Over the North Mountain I rode to Mr. Vance's meetinghouse at Back Creek. The sacrament was administered. Ninety-three communicants. Vast assembly. This North Mountain is very high, at the top almost bare. The view below on each side is rich and beautiful. On each side we see ridges of hills, and ridges on ridges still succeed until you cross the Alleghany."

    It is gratifying to know that this fine old church, after a long period of disheartening depression and decay, has revived, and is started on a new career of active service in the cause of the Divine Master.


    The name of this church, so unfamiliar to the present generation, appears for the first time in the Donegal Records April 29, 1761. The minute reads, "supplications were received from Opeckon, Cape Capon," and other places. The name undoubtedly refers to some place, not carefully designated, on what is now known as the Capon River. This river is one of the important water courses of eastern Hampshire. It rises near Wardensville in Hardy County, flows northward, and empties into the Potomac near the dividing line between Morgan and Hampshire counties. The name is probably of Indian origin, and is said to mean "to appear," "to rise to view," "to be found again," or something expressive of such an idea; which is fairly descriptive of the stream itself, which has this remarkable peculiarity, that it starts as a river, breaking from the base of the mountain as a large, full stream, of river-like proportions; while on the other side of the mountain is " Lost River," which, after flowing many miles, suddenly disappears near the base of the mountain; and, after flowing a distance of three or four miles underground, reappears on the other side of the mountain, and continues its course to the Potomac with the name of Capon. It is a very tortuous stream through most of its course. The distance from a given point on the river to its mouth, following its windings, is four times greater than by the country road.

    The name of this river, in the Records of Hampshire, is given in a great variety of ways "Capon," "Cacapon," "Cape Capon," Capcapon," " Cacapehon," " Capecacapon," "Capecacahepon," and even in other ways. In the Donegal Records the name is " Cape Capon."

    Of the first settlement of the Capon Valley we have no definite information. Who the settlers were and when they came, we do not know. That many of them came immediately from Pennsylvania, and that most of them were Presbyterians, is very probable. Though their request for Gospel ordinances first appears in April, 1761, it is fair to suppose, from the style of the minute, and from its connection, that if we had access to earlier records, we would find that applications for supplies had been made at an earlier date. As it is seven years before there is any mention of the renewal of their application, the reasonable inference is, that some permanent arrangement was made for their supply-perhaps through that general oversight of vacancies entrusted to Mr. Hoge; or by the coming of an evangelist who remained for some time with them. Anyhow, it is almost certain that in this interval of seven years they were pretty well supplied with the means of grace, and were strengthened in numbers; for in their next application to Presbytery (April, 1768) they do not ask for an ordinary supply, but for " an ordained minister, who shall assist in forming them into a regular congregation." And Mr. Roan was sent to perform this important service for them.

    It is not likely that any body of people would have felt justified in taking a step of such importance, unless their numbers were considerable, and their habits of worship well established. And this leads us to ask, with more interest than we would otherwise feel, on what part of Capon River this zealous Presbyterian settlement was found? The very next mention of these people helps us to this information. Only six months after they ask for a church organization, viz.: October, 1768, " Mr. Hoge is appointed to supply the Forks of Cape Capon. " This designates a well-known location with great exactness. It is where the North River, its chief tributary; empties into the Capon. This is some twenty or twenty-five miles in an air line from its mouth, though over ninety miles as the course of the river is followed. This is one of the most attractive points along the river; where the bottom lands are broad and very productive. Near it are excellent mill-seats, which have been utilized, and rich ore beds, which have for a long time been worked. It is here that Braddock's famous military road from Winchester to Cumberland crosses the Capon River.

    The next spring, April, 1769, supplies were again asked for by this church; after which no direct mention is made of it for several years; but frequent mention is made of supplies being sent to " several places in Hampshire;" and Mr. Waugh and Mr. McKnight are specially named at different times as these supplies. It may safely be assumed that Cape Capon was included in their mission. During the War of the Revolution a permanent " Committee on Supplies " was appointed by Presbytery, with special reference, apparently, to the vacancies and destitutions south of the Potomac; and in the services of that committee this church no doubt shared.

    Its name appears for the last time in the Donegal Records under date of April, 1781, and of its subsequent history we know really nothing. If, like some other churches once flourishing, it became so reduced by emigration that it finally died out, we do not know when its existence ceased. Within the memory of persons now living, an old Presbyterian church stood in the Forks of Capon; and some of the descendants of the old members of that church are in that region still. The business interests of that section of Hampshire County, which a hundred years ago were centered at the Forks of Capon, gradually drifted eastward four miles to Bloomery Mills, where, in the early part of this century, our present church of Bloomery was organized, which is really the successor of the old church at the Forks.IX. FALLING WATERS.

    This church at an early period was ranked, as it is today, among the stronger ones of this region; and as its location was near one of the principal fords of the Potomac, we would naturally expect to find it named quite early in the history of the Valley churches. It is a little surprising, then, that we do not meet with its name until April 28, 1762 ; and that, in the records to which we have access, the names of eight other congregations precede it, some of them, then and now, of minor importance. Its comparatively late appearance is accounted for, as in several other cases, by the loss of the Records, in which we are quite certain the name of this church would have been found.

    The accepted tradition is, that about the year 1745 a Presbyterian congregation, composed largely of Irish immigrants, was formed at Lower Falling Waters, in Berkeley County, and that towards the close of that century their house of worship was removed to a point about three miles east of where the Falling Waters church now stands. This was about seven miles north of Martinsburg, and not far from the ford by which so many of the early immigrants found their way into the Shenandoah Valley. Everything in the appearance of the country and in the quality of the land invited them to make their homes in that neighborhood; and, true to their religious training, their own cabins were hardly built until a place was provided in which God should be worshipped. That they had been organized for such worship sometime before they are introduced to us in the Presbyterial Records, and that they had already grown to some importance is indicated. by the fact that at their first mention they are presented to us as dissatisfied with the prevailing methods of sending supplies to each church, for only one or two Sabbaths at a time, and these at long intervals. This church asks for supplies, but is explicit in the statement that it wants "laborers," not for a Sabbath or two, but "for some time to come." And while it is not certain that they enjoyed the ministrations of the Word for any great length of time during the next twenty-five years, yet it is evident that they faithfully tried to have their pulpit supplied as frequently and for as long periods as possible during that time.

    For nearly a decade after its name first appears, Falling Waters is a frequent and zealous applicant to Presbytery for supplies ; and Messrs. Hogs, Balch, Lewis, Lang, Thomas, Slemons, Vance, Rhea and others were sent them, and some of them were sent often.

    In 1771 Mr. Hugh Vance, recently licensed, was settled as pastor of Tuscarora; but as we have already stated (pp. 53 and 54) there is very great confusion in the Records as to the relations of Falling Waters to this pastorate. It is first stated, October, 1770, "Mr. Hugh Vance is called to be pastor of Falling Waters and Back Creek." Then, in August, 1771, the minute states Presbytery ordained Mr. Hugh Vance and installed him pastor of Tuscarora and Falling Waters; but no mention is made of Back Creek. And yet in the history of Donegal and Carlisle Presbyteries by Dr. Norcross, Mr. Vance is named as pastor of Tuscarora and Back Creek from August 21, 1771, to December 31, 1791. That Mr. Vance had no pastoral relation to Falling Waters seems to be sustained by the fact, that but two months after his installation, Mr. Lang is ordered to supply Falling Waters the second Sabbath in November, and Mr. Rhea the fourth Sabbath. The next year these two ministers were again appointed to supply this church; and in April, 1773, " Falling Waters and Elk Branch ask for a supply to be equally divided between them," and Mr. Lang is sent as a supply. Among the supplies which Presbytery continues to send, Mr. Vance himself is named in April, 1775. And yet at that same meeting Mr. Vance speaks of this church as his; he reports " that his congregations, Falling Waters and Tuscarora, had given £5 for the aid of candidates." And the pastoral claim, which he here seems to make, is in full agreement with the belief long current in Berkeley County. We are not able to offer any solution of the difficulty which these discrepancies present, unless it is found in the fact (if it be a fact) that names have gotten mixed, and that Falling Waters was written, when Back Creek was really intended. If this explanation is not accepted, it is very difficult to account for the fact that, in April, 1775, Falling Waters distinctly asks Presbytery for " a supply to reside among them and catechize; "-a request which was frequently made by these churches when requesting supplies.

    It was in the spring of 1775 that Mr. Fithian and Mr. Andrew Hunter visited this church. They spent the night of May 18th at Hagerstown, Md. The next morning, when leaving the hotel, and about to pay their bill, the landlord, Mr. Van Lear, surprised them by saying that " a clergyman's money would not pass with him." Having crossed the Potomac, he writes, " May 19. We are now in Berkeley County, eighty miles above Alexandria and eighty-seven from Baltimore. We arrived among Mr. Hunter's relatives. He introduced me to his mother, sister and brothers."

    On Saturday they visited Rev. Hugh Vance, who gave them " liberty to visit and preach in the neighboring vacancies." Availing themselves of this liberty the day after, he writes in his diary as follows:

    "Sunday, May 21. Mr. Hunter and I preached at Falling Waters Meeting House. It stands on the Potowmack, is well situated, and I am told is a numerous society. The people gave good attention, sang the Scotch, or, as they called them, 'David's Psalms.' The congregation is chiefly made up of country Irish and half Scotch, most of them Presbyterians. We dined at one Bowland's. Two wagons fully loaded went past, going with families to back settlements."

    As Mr. Hunter was at home, the Presbytery the next month (June, 1775 ) appointed him to preach for several Sabbaths at Falling Waters.

    At almost every meeting of Presbytery until 1788, Falling Waters is asking for supplies and great numbers of them are sent. In October of that year this church unites with Williamsport and Hagerstown in Maryland in a request for Mr. Joseph Caldwell, a licentiate of a Presbytery in Ireland, "as a constant supply for one year." This request was granted. In April, 1791, Failing Waters unites with Williamsport in a call for the ministerial services of Rev. David Bard, accompanied by subscription papers promising an annual salary of £77 18s., 16d. This call does not seem to have been accepted by Mr. Bard. In April, 1793, Falling Waters and Tuscarora united in a call for the Rev. John Boyd. He was ordered to supply them for six months, and in October of that year accepted the call; and April 9, 1794, was installed their pastor.

    Of this minister very little is known, beyond the fact that he was licensed December 21, 1791, by Donegal Presbytery, and that he was pastor of Falling Waters and Tuscarora churches from April 9, 1794, to April 17, 1801, a period of seven years. What was the character of the man, or of his ministry, we have not been able to learn. Of his subsequent life and labors we know nothing, except that he was dismissed to the Presbytery of New Brunswick in April, 1803, and was without any pastoral charge for several years. We are ignorant of the date and place of his death.


    This church at an early period was ranked, as it is today, among the stronger ones of this region; and as its location was near one of the principal fords of the Potomac, we would naturally expect to find it named quite early in the history of the Valley churches. It is a little surprising, then, that we do not meet with its name until April 28, 1762 ; and that, in the records to which we have access, the names of eight other congregations precede it, some of them, then and now, of minor importance. Its comparatively late appearance is accounted for, as in several other cases, by the loss of the Records, in which we are quite certain the name of this church would have been found.

    The accepted tradition is, that about the year 1745 a Presbyterian congregation, composed largely of Irish immigrants, was formed at Lower Falling Waters, in Berkeley County, and that towards the close of that century their house of worship was removed to a point about three miles east of where the Falling Waters church now stands. This was about seven miles north of Martinsburg, and not far from the ford by which so many of the early immigrants found their way into the Shenandoah Valley. Everything in the appearance of the country and in the quality of the land invited them to make their homes in that neighborhood; and, true to their religious training, their own cabins were hardly built until a place was provided in which God should be worshipped. That they had been organized for such worship sometime before they are introduced to us in the Presbyterial Records, and that they had already grown to some importance is indicated. by the fact that at their first mention they are presented to us as dissatisfied with the prevailing methods of sending supplies to each church, for only one or two Sabbaths at a time, and these at long intervals. This church asks for supplies, but is explicit in the statement that it wants "laborers," not for a Sabbath or two, but "for some time to come." And while it is not certain that they enjoyed the ministrations of the Word for any great length of time during the next twenty-five years, yet it is evident that they faithfully tried to have their pulpit supplied as frequently and for as long periods as possible during that time.

    For nearly a decade after its name first appears, Falling Waters is a frequent and zealous applicant to Presbytery for supplies ; and Messrs. Hogs, Balch, Lewis, Lang, Thomas, Slemons, Vance, Rhea and others were sent them, and some of them were sent often.

    In 1771 Mr. Hugh Vance, recently licensed, was settled as pastor of Tuscarora; but as we have already stated (pp. 53 and 54) there is very great confusion in the Records as to the relations of Falling Waters to this pastorate. It is first stated, October, 1770, "Mr. Hugh Vance is called to be pastor of Falling Waters and Back Creek." Then, in August, 1771, the minute states Presbytery ordained Mr. Hugh Vance and installed him pastor of Tuscarora and Falling Waters; but no mention is made of Back Creek. And yet in the history of Donegal and Carlisle Presbyteries by Dr. Norcross, Mr. Vance is named as pastor of Tuscarora and Back Creek from August 21, 1771, to December 31, 1791. That Mr. Vance had no pastoral relation to Falling Waters seems to be sustained by the fact, that but two months after his installation, Mr. Lang is ordered to supply Falling Waters the second Sabbath in November, and Mr. Rhea the fourth Sabbath. The next year these two ministers were again appointed to supply this church; and in April, 1773, " Falling Waters and Elk Branch ask for a supply to be equally divided between them," and Mr. Lang is sent as a supply. Among the supplies which Presbytery continues to send, Mr. Vance himself is named in April, 1775. And yet at that same meeting Mr. Vance speaks of this church as his; he reports " that his congregations, Falling Waters and Tuscarora, had given £5 for the aid of candidates." And the pastoral claim, which he here seems to make, is in full agreement with the belief long current in Berkeley County. We are not able to offer any solution of the difficulty which these discrepancies present, unless it is found in the fact (if it be a fact) that names have gotten mixed, and that Falling Waters was written, when Back Creek was really intended. If this explanation is not accepted, it is very difficult to account for the fact that, in April, 1775, Falling Waters distinctly asks Presbytery for " a supply to reside among them and catechize; "-a request which was frequently made by these churches when requesting supplies.

    It was in the spring of 1775 that Mr. Fithian and Mr. Andrew Hunter visited this church. They spent the night of May 18th at Hagerstown, Md. The next morning, when leaving the hotel, and about to pay their bill, the landlord, Mr. Van Lear, surprised them by saying that " a clergyman's money would not pass with him." Having crossed the Potomac, he writes, " May 19. We are now in Berkeley County, eighty miles above Alexandria and eighty-seven from Baltimore. We arrived among Mr. Hunter's relatives. He introduced me to his mother, sister and brothers."

    On Saturday they visited Rev. Hugh Vance, who gave them " liberty to visit and preach in the neighboring vacancies." Availing themselves of this liberty the day after, he writes in his diary as follows:

    "Sunday, May 21. Mr. Hunter and I preached at Falling Waters Meeting House. It stands on the Potowmack, is well situated, and I am told is a numerous society. The people gave good attention, sang the Scotch, or, as they called them, 'David's Psalms.' The congregation is chiefly made up of country Irish and half Scotch, most of them Presbyterians. We dined at one Bowland's. Two wagons fully loaded went past, going with families to back settlements."

    As Mr. Hunter was at home, the Presbytery the next month (June, 1775 ) appointed him to preach for several Sabbaths at Falling Waters.

    At almost every meeting of Presbytery until 1788, Falling Waters is asking for supplies and great numbers of them are sent. In October of that year this church unites with Williamsport and Hagerstown in Maryland in a request for Mr. Joseph Caldwell, a licentiate of a Presbytery in Ireland, "as a constant supply for one year." This request was granted. In April, 1791, Failing Waters unites with Williamsport in a call for the ministerial services of Rev. David Bard, accompanied by subscription papers promising an annual salary of £ 77 18s., 16d. This call does not seem to have been accepted by Mr. Bard. In April, 1793, Falling Waters and Tuscarora united in a call for the Rev. John Boyd. He was ordered to supply them for six months, and in October of that year accepted the call; and April 9, 1794, was installed their pastor.

    Of this minister very little is known, beyond the fact that he was licensed December 21, 1791, by Donegal Presbytery, and that he was pastor of Falling Waters and Tuscarora churches from April 9, 1794, to April 17, 1801, a period of seven years. What was the character of the man, or of his ministry, we have not been able to learn. Of his subsequent life and labors we know nothing, except that he was dismissed to the Presbytery of New Brunswick in April, 1803, and was without any pastoral charge for several years. We are ignorant of the date and place of his death.


    Our knowledge of this church, prior to the organization of Winchester Presbytery, is rather limited. The name first appears in the Presbyterial Records for April, 1768, when Mr. Roan is appointed to preach on Patterson's Creek, and on the South Branch of the Potomac, and at Cape Capon. And yet, at the very next mention of it, the people on that creek not only ask for supplies, but " especially for an ordained minister to assist them in forming themselves into a congregation, and ordaining elders." This is in October, 1781, which we may reasonably assume is very near the date of their organization as a church. Eighteen months later, viz: April, 1783, the Patterson's Creek and South Branch churches unite in a call for the pastoral services of Rev. John McKnight, who had recently resigned from Elk Branch. This call Mr. McKnight declined.

    But besides these minutes, in which this church is distinctly mentioned, there is a minute for October, 1768, of such a general character, that it may include Patterson's Creek- "a number of places in Hampshire supplicate for supplies." And there is another minute, nearly ten years later (April, 1777) which tells in general terms that " Mr. Waugh was appointed to supply in Hampshire." Each of these minutes may refer to service that was rendered on Patterson's Creek, as well as to other places in that county.

    We learn, however, from other sources, that the people of this Valley were sometimes in the enjoyment of Gospel ordinances, other than those furnished by members of Donegal Presbytery. Some of the early settlers were of Dutch origin; and missionaries of the Reformed Dutch Classis were sometimes sent to preach to them.

    But they were specially blessed for two years or more with the services of a preacher of their own church, who was afterwards known as one of the distinguished ministers of his day-Rev. Thaddeus Dod.

    Mr. Dod was born near Newark, N. J., in 1740, and belonged to a family that, for several generations, has been remarkable for mathematical taste and talent. The Rev. Dr. Albert B. Dod, of Princeton, was his great nephew. Thaddeus Dod was gradual ed a: Princeton in 1773, studied theology under Dr. Alexander McWhorten, was licensed by the Presbytery of New York in 1775, and ordained by the same Presbytery, sine titulo, in October; 1777. After his licensure he undertook a journey to western Pennsylvania, where several families from his own neighborhood had gone.

    On his way he stopped at Patterson's Creek,and preached to those people for a few weeks; and then continued his journey to the vicinity of what is now Washington, Pa., where he yielded to the importunities of his old friends, to become their pastor. With this end in view he returned home, received ordination, and about November 1, 1777, set out with his wife and two children for their distant home. Reaching Patterson's Creek again, he learned of the depredations the Indians were committing in the West. Leaving his family in the care of friends, he crossed the mountains alone, and was advised that the risk of bringing his family there at that time was too great; so he returned to Patterson's Creek, where, in the providence of food, his stay was prolonged for about two years (1777-1779 ) , during which time he preached unremittingly, and with great acceptance and effect to the people on the creek and places adjacent. His labors here were so richly blessed, and his faithfulness had so endeared him to that people, that when the way was open for him to leave, a vigorous effort was made to retain him, and a much larger salary was offered than had been promised at Tenmile. But his word had been given, and he must abide by it. During his sojourn on Patterson's Creek, he buried a child. Mr. Dod was the second minister who settled west of the Monongahela River, and he penetrated farther into the wilderness than any before him. And there he labored in great peril from the savages until his early death-May 20, 1793.


    Shepherdstown is on the south bank of the Potomac River, twelve miles above Harpers Ferry, and is one of the oldest towns in the Shenandoah Valley; and for a long time was one of the most important. It entertained the Synod of Virginia in 1799. It has, moreover, the remarkable distinction of being " the place where the first steamboat was constructed and navigated." This town has not always been called by its present name. There is reliable evidence that it was first called " Potomac," a name that it had not altogether lost at the beginning of the last century. When it was established by law in 1762, it was named " Mecklenburg." But this name seems never to have been received with much favor; and very soon it began to be called "Shepherdstown," in honor of Capt. Thomas Shepherd, who laid it off on his own land, and that name it has retained ever since.

    The name of Shepherdstown appears for the first time in Ecclesiastical Records in October, 1768. As there was certainly a settlement at that point at least a third of a century earlier; and as among the early settlers are many names that were afterwards closely identified with the Presbyterian Church, it may be asked if there was no church there until the date that has been mentioned? This question has already been considered (pp. 10 et seq., and 32, 33 ), and the answer given, that a church had existed there for some time under the name of " Potomac," or, as at first written, " Potomoke;" and when the town began to be called by its new name, "Shepherdstown," the name of the church also was changed. Such changes, we know, were made in several other instances,and for alike reason; e.g., South Branch was changed to Moorefield; Bullskin to Charlestown; South River to Front Royal; Middletown to Gerrardstown; Stoverstown to Strasburg, etc. The location of that village; the evidence we have of the very early settlement of that region; the almost absolute certainty that the Potomac church was situated there, or in that immediate vicinity; together with the marks of maturity and strength which the Shepherdstown church exhibits, as soon as it is brought to our notice under that name; lead surely to the conclusion, that it was the successor of that church whose name disappears when that of Shepherdstown is introduced; or, more properly, that it is the same church under another and more appropriate name.

    The Shepherdstown church is first presented (October, 1768) as "supplicating for supplies;" and in response two men, Messrs. Slemons and Balch, are ordered to supply them. The next spring, April 11, 1769, supplies are again asked for; and while there is no record that any particular minister was sent, there is a general order by Presbytery that Mr. Hoge should "supply the vacancies in Virginia," in which order, of course, this church was included. From this time until April, 1783, a period of fourteen years, there is no mention of supplies being either asked for or sent. In some cases a long interval of this kind, in which the name of a church without a pastor does not appear at all in the Presbyterial minutes, might be interpreted as indicating a very feeble condition of church life, or a guilty indifference to church ordinances. But the cases of Mr. Jennings at Moorefield, and of Mr. Dod at Patterson's Creek, are proof that the work and worship of a church may be carried on very efficiently for a considerable period, when there is nothing whatever in the minutes of the Presbytery to show it. And, in this case, the silence of the Records touching supplies for Shepherdstown may mean that the church was supplying its own pulpit, either by temporary arrangement with the minister of a neighboring church, or by having obtained a "stated supply " of its own. It would be interesting to know the true explanation of this silence, but as the Sessional Records are not now extant, we must be content to remain in ignorance.

    The next minute we find touching this church is for April, 1783, when Presbytery is asked for "supplies to be divided equally between Shepherdstown and Elk Branch." As this application is made at the first meeting after Rev. John McKnight had resigned from Elk Branch, it suggests that 'during his pastorate of six or seven years, Shepherdstown, which is but a few miles distant, may have shared the services of this distinguished minister. If so, it will account very satisfactorily for about half the interval between 1769 and 1783.

    Four years later, viz: in 1787, Shepherdstown again appears asking for supplies, and this time from the new Presbytery of Carlisle. We are not told who was sent.

    This year, 1787, is an important one in the history of the Shepherdstown church, as it was in the autumn of that year that Moses Hoge settled there, and began a ministry of twenty years as the distinguished and successful pastor of that church.

    Of this eminent theologian and preacher much deserves to be said, as he stood among the foremost in the ministry of his day; and his memory has been kept alive through many generations by the succession of learned and eloquent preachers who have descended from him, shedding additional luster upon his name.

    Moses Hoge was born near Middletown, in Frederick County, Va., February 15, 1752; and was the only one of the five ministers by whom this Presbytery was organized who was born within its bounds. His grandparents were William and Barbara (Hume) Hoge,. who migrated from Scotland in the beginning of the Eighteenth Century, and after residing first in New Jersey, then in Delaware, and afterwards in Pennsylvania, finally settled, in 1735, near the head of Opecquon Creek, and gave the land on which the Opecquon Church is built. William Hoge had several sons. The eldest did not come with his father to Virginia, but settled at what is now Hogestown, nine miles west of Harrisburg, Pa., and was the father of the Rev. John Hoge, for twenty years pastor of the churches of Opecquon and Cedar Creek. James, the fourth son of William Hoge, was the father of Moses. He was born in Pennsylvania, and was "a man of robust intellect and a self-taught theologian," the vigor of whose mind, and the clearness of whose views, even in old age, awakened the wonder, and inspired the admiration of Archibald Alexander, who visited him in 1791, four years before his death ( see p. 50 ). Moses was the ninth son of James Hoge. His early advantages of education were limited; but he was eager to learn, and seized every moment that could be spared from the labors of the farm in the improvement of his mind. He was sent for a brief period to a classical school in Culpeper County, and in 1778 to Liberty Hall, where, under Dr. William Graham, he pursued his studies, both classical and theological, in preparation for the ministry. He was received as a candidate by Hanover Presbytery October 25, 1780; was licensed to preach November, 1781; and, December 13, 1782, at " Brown's Meeting House" in Augusta County, was ordained to the full work of the ministry. The ordination sermon from Acts 20:28 was preached by Rev. Archibald Scott, himself the ancestor of a distinguished line of Presbyterian preachers, and whose son, William N. Scott, was the successor of Dr. Hoge in the ministry in Hardy County.

    Of the ministry of Moses Hoge in Hardy County we have already spoken (pp. 4546). After a few years' service there, finding the climate of the South Branch injurious to his health, he listened to the overtures that came from Shepherdstown and, in the autumn of 1787, he reluctantly left the people to whom he had become devotedly attached, and established his home in this village on the Potomac. His distinguished ability as a preacher and theologian were at once recognized, and the Shepherdstown church grew rapidly in influence and numbers.

    It is not known whether Dr. Hoge was ever properly installed as pastor at Shepherdstown. The probability is that he was not. The fact is that his relations to that church for a time were somewhat anomalous. He was a member of Lexington Presbytery, which had been set off from Hanover in 1786; and his church was under the jurisdiction of Carlisle Presbytery, which had been erected out of Donegal the same year. This condition of things continued for several year, and was the occasion of some unpleasant complication's-Mr. Hoge owing allegiance to one Presbytery and the church he was serving to another.

    In October, 1789, Col. Matthew Dill, an officer of the Revolutionary Army, and a ruling elder, " sent a letter to Carlisle Presbytery, charging Mr. Hoge with irregular rites in celebrating marriages; and Presbytery appointed Dr. Davidson to write to Mr. Hoge, and caution him," etc. The reply of Mr. Hoge to this letter was laid before Presbytery the next April. Of the nature of the irregularity charged, and the character of the correspondence, we are not informed; but it appears that the explanation of Mr. Hoge was satisfactory to Presbytery, and the matter was allowed to drop. At the next meeting of Carlisle Presbytery, October, 1790, Mr. Hoge was present, and was invited to sit as a corresponding member from Lexington Presbytery. His troubles, however, were not yet ended. Complaint was lodged against him before the Presbytery of Carlisle for intrusion, in that he was preaching in one of the churches of that Presbytery without its authority. This complaint, it seems, induced him to make another visit to that Presbytery (.April, 1791), in which he " explained his reasons for officiating in the congregation of Shepherdstown, and requested permission to continue his labors there, while retaining his membership in Lexington Presbytery," and his request was granted. It should be mentioned here, that after Dr. Hoge had served the Shepherdstown church with remarkable fidelity for nearly two years, and expected to continue in that service, the Carlise Presbytery, in its first report to the General Assembly in 1789, ignores the presence of Mr. Hoge and reports the Shepherdstown church as "vacant."

    The eminent ability of Dr. Hoge as a profound, attractive, and safe expounder of the Word of God, came to be recognized at an early period in his ministry. His varied learning, mature judgment, and vigorous intellect enabled him to wield an influence in his church that proved both powerful and salutary. Of his ability as a preacher there was among his contemporaries but one opinion. He ranked easily with the ablest of his times. And yet a volume of his sermons, published after his death, fails to sustain this high estimate of his pulpit power. These published sermons would never suggest that they had been prepared and preached by one, to whose discourses the profoundest thinkers of that day were accustomed to listen with admiration and delight. And his friends have reason to regret that sermons, which he had not himself prepared for publication, should ever have been committed to print. While sound in doctrine and evangelical in sentiment, they give no idea of his power as one of the really great preachers of his day.

    It was in the winter of 1791-2 that Archibald Alexander, after his licensure in Winchester, and while filling the appointments of William Hill, in Jefferson County, made frequent visits to Mr. Hoge at Shepherdstown. His conversation was found very instructive to the young licentiate, and his books very attractive; and he was cheerfully accorded the free enjoyment of both. Many years afterward he put on record his great indebtedness to Dr. Hoge during that period for many and various acts of kindness. When the General Assembly was organized in 1789, Moses Hoge was sent by Lexington Presbytery as its first commissioner. He represented the same Presbytery in the Assemblies of 1791 and 1793. When the Presbytery of Winchester was organized, he and his elder, John Kearsley, were sent as its first commissioners to the Assembly of 1795.

    The Presbytery of Winchester was organized at Winchester, Va., December 4, 1794. By appointment of the Synod of Virginia, Mr. Hoge presided and preached the opening sermon. He was chosen the first moderator, and also the first stated clerk of the Presbytery. In 1807 he was elected president of Hampden-Sidney College, to succeed Dr. Archibald Alexander. In connection with this office he was made, in 1812, Professor of Divinity, under the appointment of the Synod. In 1810 the degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon him by the College of New Jersey.

    Dr. Hoge was twice married; first, on the 23d of August, 1783, to Miss Elizabeth Poage, of Augusta County; a woman whose rich endowments of body and mind made her eminently worthy of his love. She died June 18, 1802, on her way to the Sweet Springs, to which resort her husband was taking her, with the hope that her declining health might be restored. It should be mentioned as strikingly characteristic of Dr. Hoge, that, at her funeral, he stood at the head of her grave, and,with wonderful pathos and effectiveness, preached Christ, the crucified, as the Resurrection and the Life. She left four children, three of whom became distinguished preachers. On the 25th of October, 1803, he was united in marriage to Mrs. Susannah Hunt, of Charlotte County, the widow of William Pitt Hunt, and mother of Rev. Thomas P. Hunt. By this marriage there were no children.

    The only likeness of Dr. Hoge that I have ever seen, represents him as spare in person, with rather sharp features, and an expression of countenance both grave and dignified. His friend and pupil, the late Rev. Dr. William S. Reid, of Lynchburg, Va., describes him as " of middle size, somewhat tending to a forward bodily inclination. His manners, though without much artificial polish, were familiar and agreeable; expressing very strongly the kindness and benignity of his spin . ` He possessed a mind of uncommon vigor, capable at once of accurate a discrimination and profound research, and withal richly stored with the treasures of scientific knowledge. As a preacher his manner was ungraceful, even uncouth; but there was so much depth and originality of thought, such richness and force of illustration, and such clear and cogent reasoning, that the awkwardness of his manner was very soon quite overlooked or forgotten." [Sprague's Annals, Vol. III, p. 429.]

    A fine tribute to Dr. Hoge, from the pen of his co-Presbyter, Rev. Joseph Glass, I must not forbear to quote. In answer to a request from Rev. John Blair Hoge for help in preparing a memoir of his father, Mr. Glass writes:

    " In writing his history I should not know how to begin; beginning it, I should not know how to end. It was not that he was unlike other men, but that he was always like himself; not that he was zealously engaged in doing good today, but that in doing good he was zealously engaged every day; not that he performed duty, but that he never tired in performing it; not that he put his hand to the plough, but that he never looked back; not that he knew how to do good, but that he knew not how to do harm: and it was on a foundation, composed of these singular materials, that he erected the monument of an unspotted life. It is from the top of this monument that his spirit looks down upon the insignificance of conquerors and kings, and proclaims to the world that the love of God is more durable than polished brass."

    Dr. Hoge died July 5, 1820, in the city of Philadelphia; having gone there as a commissioner to the General Assembly; and his remains are interred in the burying ground of the Third Presbyterian Church of that city, by the side of those of his intimate friend, Dr. John Blair Smith, a former president of Hampden-Sidney College.


    The present Elk Branch church is at Duffields in Jefferson County, W. Va., a station on the Baltimore & Ohio Railway, six miles west of Harpers Ferry. The house of worship is on the north side of the Elk Branch, a small tributary of the Potomac, and from which the church takes its name. But the old church, with the history of which we are here concerned, was half a mile west of the present site, and on the south side of the Branch, near the large spring formerly enclosed in the Block House, which the early settlers built for protection from the hostile Indians.

    The name of this church first comes to our notice in the Records of Donegal, April 11, 1769. The prominence it evidently had even then, and the decided importance it soon attained, suggest either a much earlier organization than is indicated by the above date, or else the recent organization of a colony of considerable strength set off from an older church. The alternative of an earlier organization is improbable, because when first named in the minutes it is called " Elk Branch in Virginia;" not, as in the case of " Tuscarora in Virginia," to distinguish it from another church of the same name in Pennsylvania-for there was no other church of this name-but to designate its locality as a church hitherto unknown to Presbytery. The other alternative offers the more probable solution. If the theory we have already advanced (pp. 32, 33) is correct, that the old " Potomack " church was about this time re-organized under the new name of "Shepherdstown," by which name that town now began to be called, then the idea is very reasonable that the members of that church residing on Elk Branch, now quite numerous, should ask for a separate and more convenient organization for themselves. And if they were set off in a body from the parent church, it will account for the prominence with which this church sprang so suddenly into notice. It did not have to grow, as most other churches of that day did, from feeble beginnings and by slow accessions, but started as a fully organized church.

    This opinion is sustained by the fact that there was already a church building at the Link Spring. This house, built of logs, was in a state of decay in 1792, which is proof that it must have been erected a long time before 1769. And it is fair to assume that in that house the Presbyterians on Elk Branch were accustomed to hold occasional, if not stated, worship. This opinion is further sustained by the activity in church life displayed at once by this people in their persistent and successful efforts to obtain for themselves the ordinances of the Gospel, as well as by the early period at which they were able to settle a pastor of their own. Appearing in Presbytery for the first time in April, 1769, we find them present and asking for supplies at every stated meeting, and even at some adjourned meetings, during the next seven years. And while " supplications" from other places, though more rarely made, were not always successful, Elk Branch seems always to have obtained the supplies it asked for.

    In answer to their first application the Rev. Robert Cooper was sent them; a few weeks later Rev. Hezekiah Balch; and after that, at each meeting of Presbytery, there are several appointments made for Elk Branch. Among the ministers sent for the next six or seven years-and some of them were sent very frequently-were Messrs. Cooper, Balch, Slemons, Vance, Craighead, Rhea, Lang, Hoge, McKnight, Thompson, Hunter, McConnell and others. It is interesting to mention, as showing the 'genuine old-fashioned Presbyterianism of these Elk Branch people, and also a carefully-observed custom of our church at that day; that in several instances, when asking for supplies, they put in the special request that the minister sent should catechize the church; and in this request we have reason to believe that the Larger as well as the Shorter Catechism was included.

    What previous efforts, if any, were made by this church to obtain a pastor, we are not informed ; but at the meeting of April, 1776, a call for the pastoral services of Licentiate John McKnight was presented. The commissioners from Elk Branch, presenting this call, were John White (father of the distinguished Judge Robert White, of Winchester), James McAllister and John Wright. The salary per annum promised was £132, 7s., subscribed, and £120, Pennsylvania currency, pledged. This young preacher, it would seem, was in great demand, as two other calls from churches in Pennsylvania were presented for him at the same meeting, and each of these offered a salary considerably larger than that from Elk Branch. The three calls were placed in his hands, and at the next meeting (June, 1776) "Mr. McKnight, being called upon by Presbytery to answer the calls in his hands, accepted that from Elk Branch." No further action in this matter was taken until the stated meeting in October, when "Presbytery agreed to meet at Elk Branch, Tuesday, December 3, 1776, to ordain Mr. McKnight." Accordingly, Presbytery met, as appointed, in "the Elk Branch Presbyterian Church." Present-Seven ministers and four Ruling Elders. Absent-nine ministers. The meeting was opened with the trial sermon of Mr. McKnight from Heb. 6:1-8. All his trials were successfully passed, and on Thursday morning, December 5, 1776, he was set apart to the full work of the Gospel ministry and installed the first pastor of the Elk Branch church. Rev. James Lang preached the ordination sermon and the Rev. Mr. Balch delivered the charge. Mr. McKnight continued for several years the beloved and faithful pastor of this church, feeding his own people with "the finest of the wheat," and doing his part in supplying the vacancies and destitutions around him, and often carrying the Gospel into "the regions beyond." But in October, 1782, he felt constrained to tender his resignation on account of serious arrears in salary. When we remember that during the whole of his ministry here the Revolutionary War was in progress, the business of the country interrupted and its money almost worthless, we need not be surprised that his people were in such financial straits as to be unable to meet their pecuniary obligations to their pastor. But as the same conditions prevailed almost everywhere, and yet pastors were in some measure paid, it is quite possible that this particular church was not free from blame in allowing the salary to fall so far behind that their pastor was compelled to leave them.

    As proof of his popularity as a preacher, no sooner was it known that he was released from Elk Branch than strenuous efforts were made, in numerous vacancies, to secure his services. Calls were at once sent him from Bullskin, Cool Spring, South Branch and Patterson's Creek in Virginia, as well as from several places in Pennsylvania. He accepted the call from Marsh Creek (Gettysburg) Pa., and was settled there.

    During all his ministry, the Rev. Dr. McKnight was a conspicuous figure in the church. He was a man of distinguished ability and great influence. He was born near Carlisle, Pa., October 1, 1754, and was graduated from Princeton College in 1773. Having decided to enter the ministry, he was licensed by Donegal Presbytery, April 12, 1775, and ordained by the same Presbytery December 5, 1776. After his pastorate of six years at Elk Branch (1776-1782) and of six years also at Marsh Creek (1783-1789) he accepted a call to the Collegiate churches in New York City as co-pastor with Rev. Dr. John Rodgers, where he continued for twenty years in the earnest and faithful discharge of his ministerial duties, and for several years preaching three times each Sabbath. On account of some changes in his collegiate relations, which he did not approve, and on account also of enfeebled health, he resigned his pastorate in 1810 and retired to his farm near Chambersburg in the Cumberland Valley. Soon after this the Rocky Spring church, in the neighborhood of his home, became vacant, and he served it for several years as stated supply, but with as much fidelity as if he had been its installed pastor. In 1815 he was persuaded reluctantly to accept the presidency of Dickinson College; but because of its serious financial embarrassments he resigned his position at the end of a year and returned to his farm, where the remainder of his life was spent, preaching as opportunity offered and his health would permit. He died October 21, 1823, in the seventieth year of his age, "in the full exercise of his mental powers and in the lively assurance of a future glorious life."

    A few weeks before his installation at Elk Branch, Mr. McKnight was happily married to Miss Susan Brown, of Franklin County, Pa. Ten children were the fruit of this union, two of whom entered the ministry.

    In 1791 he received the degree of D. D. from Yale College, and in 1795 was chosen Moderator of the General Assembly.

    In the course of his ministry, Dr. McKnight published a number of "occasional sermons." Soon after his settlement in New York, at the urgent request of some prominent ministers, he published a volume on "Faith," consisting of six sermons, which he had preached in different places. In connection with this volume, Dr. A. Alexander relates an interesting fact ("Life," pp. 119, 120). While in the Lower Valley in 1791-2, he writes: "I preached frequently for old Mr. Vance, of Tuscarora, who then lay upon his death bed. In this congregation I met with one Robert Campbell, whose memory was prodigious. The Rev. Dr.McKnight had formerly been his pastor and was held by him in great admiration. Campbell could repeat many of the Doctor's sermons verbatim. When Dr. McKnight resolved to publish several sermons on Faith, he had lost the manuscript of one among them. He had recourse to Mr. Campbell, who supplied what was missing, and, as I was informed, with great exactness."

    Dr. McKnight had a rich vien of humor, though he did not often indulge it. He is undoubtedly the original author of that well-known pleasantry which has been ascribed to many different ministers of distinctionconspicuously to Dr. Plumer of Virginia-and which some others, who are not distinguished, have sometimes plagiarized. In one of his early charges he had just ordained three new elders, one of whom was appointed to go with him to Presbytery the next week. The evening before they were to set off, this elder came to his pastor, much worried in mind, to inquire what responsible duties should be expected of him as a delegate to Presbytery. Perceiving his embarrassment, the Doctor assumed a serious air, and replied : "You are to be here in time to see that my horse is properly fed, and groomed, and saddled, and ready for us to start ; you are to go along with me and be ready to open and shut all gates, to let down and put up all bars ; you are to go on before and order dinner; you are to pay all bills ; and then to vote always as I do." This playfulness relieved the anxiety of the new elder, whose countenance changed from its solemn gravity to a smile ; and then he was informed what his real duties would be.

    Dr. McKnight has been described "As a man of slender person, above medium height and of a considerate and reflective countenance, indicative of deep and protracted thought. His bearing and address were graceful and dignified, without any manifestation of overbearing pride or haughtiness. He was at ease in every society and could adapt himself to all cirumstances and to all classes of persons. As a preacher he was calm, dispassionate, with little variation of tone or gesture, yet not monotonous or unimpressive, but with a manner well adapted to his matter, which was generally a lucid and logical exposition of some important Scripture truth. He was a zealous expounder and defender of the Calvinistic faith, which he was careful always to enforce by a due citation of Scripture passages" (Duffield, condensed by Norcross).

    When Elk Branch became vacant by the resignation of Mr. McKnight it renewed its application to Donegal Presbytery for supplies. These Records, however, contain but one such application, and in the Records of Carlisle, after its organization in 1786, there is not one. In April, 1783, it asks for "supplies to be equally divided between Elk Branch and Shepherdstown. " At the same meeting Shepherdstown made the same request. This is significant, as showing the influence of old associations. What answer Presbytery returned to this petition we are not informed, but from the silence of the Records for several years, it is quite probable that some arrangement was made for the joint supply of these two churches. It is a fact that from this time for a period of about forty years, Elk Branch, as a church, drops completely out of the Ecclesiastical Records. Neither Carlisle nor Lexington mentions it in its official report to the General Assembly (Minutes of Assembly, 1789 and 1792-3). Nor does this name appear in the list of churches set off by the Synod of Virginia (1794) to constitute the Presbytery of Winchester. The explanation of this is furnished in part by the following extract from the Presbyterial History of this church : "After Mr. McKnight left, Donegal Presbytery continued to supply Elk Branch until 1792, when, by the consent of the people, at the house of Peter Martin, Elk Branch was partitioned, one part, with its Elders and people, going under the care of Rev. Moses Hoge at Shepherdstown, and the other part going under the care of Rev. William Hill, of Bullskin to unite in forming the new church in the new town of Charlestown, the county seat of Jefferson County, W. Va." And so one of our oldest, and at one time,one of our most important churches disappears from the Records until its reorganization in 1833.

    Beginning with the year 1768, and continuing for .ten years or more, the Presbytery displayed special activity in its evangelistic work. Not only was it diligent in supplying congregations already formed and asking its aid, but it went out into regions from which no request for supplies came. Some of these missionary expeditions seem to have added nothing to the strength or growth of the church. There were several points within the bounds of what was afterwards Winchester Presbytery, to which preachers were sent once, or more frequently; but where no sufficient encouragement was found for continuing to send them. Of some of these places our information is very indefinite-of some of them, indeed, their location is not definitely known. Some of them were west of the Blue Ridge, and others east of it, but in territory that, prior to 1859, belonged to our Presbytery, We will mention them in the order in which they are found in the Donegal Records.

    I. Lost River

    This point, as we interpret the minutes, is mentioned twice in the Records ; first, in October, 1768, when Rev, John Hoge is directed to "supply at Mr. Wilson's, near Lost River." This Mr. Wilson, we have reason to believe, lived at or near what is now known as "Lost City," and where, in 1899, a church was organized by our Presbytery. Nearly fifty years before that organization there was occasional preaching at that point. When the Rev. Dr. W. V. Wilson was pastor at Moorefield he held a protracted meeting there every summer; and the family that was most interested in having these services was named "Wilson." Again, in April, 1769, a request went up to Presbytery from Lost River for supplies. We are not informed who was sent. Though the designation here is not in the same terms as before, it is reasonable to suppose that each of these minutes refers to the same place. "Lost River" is not mentioned again and yet it is altogether probable that it was visited by the supplies that were afterward sent to "places adjacent to the South Branch." The Lost River is that remarkable stream which rises near Howard's Lick, in Hardy County, and after flowing in a northeasterly direction for some fifty miles, suddenly disappears at the base of a mountain near Wardensville, and then at a point about three miles distant, on the other side of the mountain, reappears as the Capon River and flows on to the Potomac. While in the Records to which we have access, no further mention is made of this place after 1769 ; yet it must have received considerable attention a few years later from other sources-perhaps from the Presbytery of Lexington, and in connection with the work at Moorefield. Through the labors of parties unknown to us now, it had grown into a congregation of such importance that " Lost River " is mentioned as one of the " churches " set off by the Synod of Virginia to constitute the Presbytery of Winchester.

    2. North River

    This is the next one of those places of which we are now speaking. In the minutes for April 11, 1769, North River is mentioned as asking for supplies. This River is in Hampshire County, and is the main tributary of the Capon. The confluence of the two rivers is called "Forks of Capon," where a Presbyterian church was established about 1768. The point on the North River for which supplies are now asked is not designated, but was probably near our present North River church, where at a very early day a considerable body of people, mostly Presbyterians, had settled. This church is in Hampshire County, and while North River is not again mentioned by name it may very well have been included in the "various places in Hampshire County, Va.," to which, the minutes tell us, supplies were sometimes sent. We have now three organized churches along that river.

    3. Warm Springs in Virginia

    This is another point mentioned but once in the Records. There is nothing in that mention to indicate with certainty the locality of these Springs ; nor have we been able to obtain any information that would satisfactorily fix their location. They may be the "Warm Springs" in Morgan County, though we have nothing but the name to suggest it, as we have no knowledge of any Presbyterian settlement there at that time. The only clue to their location, and that a very slight one, is that in the minute in which the name appears, June, 1772, Rev. Mr. Thom is "ordered to supply Alexandria and Warm Springs in Virginia." Ordinarily, though not always, such an order indicates that the places to be supplied are in the same general region of country. That clue would place these Springs somewhere east of the Blue Ridge ; and the only place in our eastern territory known to us that would in any way answer to this name, are the Fauquier White Sulphur Springs, six miles southwest of Warrenton. We have no assurance, hovever, that these are the springs meant, and as the name occurs but this once, and no church was planted at the place, it is not a matter of much importance that we are not able to locate it with accuracy.

    4. North Branch of Rappahannock

    Until a few years before the breaking out of the War for Independence the evangelistic efforts of Donegal Presbytery in Virginia were expended almost exclusively in the region west of the Blue Ridge; but after that time a very active interest was taken in that part of Eastern Virginia lying between the Potomac River and the Rappahannock. As this section is a part of the original territory of Winchester Presbytery, the missionary work of Donegal east of the Blue Ridge claims a place in these historical sketches.

    The first certain mention of any place east of the Ridge is "The North Branch of the Rappahannock, in Culpeper County, Va." This is in April, 1772, when a request for supplies is sent from this place; and in answer to this request Mr. Slemons was directed to preach there the fourth Sabbath in August and Mr. Craighead the fourth Sabbath in September. The probable location of this place we have not been able to ascertain, nor does the name, in this precise form, appear again in the Records. It is possible that this records the beginning of Presbyterian preaching in Culpeper county, as soon after this date Culpeper Court-House comes prominently into notice.

    5. Gourdvine

    This place is mentioned in the same minute with the last-April, 1772. Mr. Amos Thompson was ordered to supply one Sabbath at discretion, Mr. Slemons the first Sabbath in September, and Mr. Craighead the first Sabbath of October. At a meeting of Presbytery in June of the same year the Rev. Mr. Thom is appointed an additional supply; and after that the name does not appear again. Gourdvine is on the North Branch of the Rappahannock River, in Culpeper County, and very near the line which separates that county from Rappahannock. That it is a different place from that which is definitely called the "North Branch of the Rappahannock" is evident from the fact that, when Mr. Slemons was sent to supply these two places, he was directed to preach one Sabbath on the "North Branch" and the next Sabbath at "Gourdvine."

    6. Turkey Run

    "Turkey Run, in Fauquier County," is another place several times mentioned as supplied by Presbytery, but at which no church seems to have been established. This "Run" is a few miles east of Warrenton. Old " Parson Williamson" spent the most of his ministry in that region, and his daughter, still living there at a very advanced age, learned from her father that before and after A. D., 1800, Presbyterian services were regularly held at a certain point on that stream until they were transferred to the town of Warrenton. In April, 1778, ministerial supplies were first asked for, and Rev. Samuel Waugh, who " at his own request had been granted leave to itinerate in Virginia " during the three summer months of that year, "was recommended especially to supply some Sabbaths at Turkey Run and parts adjacent." At the same meeting " the Committee on Supplies " was directed to arrange for preaching at various places, and among them Turkey Run is especially named. And from subsequent minutes we find that this committee was accustomed to provide supplies year by year for this and other places.

    Turkey Run is not specially named again in the Records; but it no doubt shared in the services which itinerating ministers rendered to many congregations east of the Blue Ridge. Rev. Mr. Waugh, e. g., spent the summer of 1779 " traveling and preaching in the lower parts of Maryland and in Virginia." In April, 1780, Rev. David Bard, whose home was in Loudoun County, " had leave to supply Virginia vacancies at discretion, both as to time and place." And in October of the same year the order was renewed to Messrs. Waugh and Bard to do further missionary work in Virginia. It is supposed that the church in Warrenton, Va., is the outcome of these early services at " Turkey Run in Fauquier County."

    7. The Parish of Shelburn in Virginia.

    This parish was in the southwest angle of Loudoun County, twelve miles southwest of Leesburg, and eight miles west of Middleburg, and is now known as " The Glebe." In October, 1780, requests for supplies were sent up to Presbytery from this parish, and " from the parish of Cameron in Loudoun County." These names are suggestive of Episcopacy; but, of course, it is not to be understood that the requests came from Episcopalians. They came from Presbyterians residing in those parishes. In answer to them the Rev. Samuel Waugh was sent to supply the parish of Shelburn " and parts adjacent." From this parish the application does not seem to have been renewed; and we have no knowledge that any Presbyterian organization ever existed there.

    This completes these fragmentary accounts, and we resume our Sketches of Churches.

    This church, which has since become so important, first appears in the Donegal Records April, 1772. From the manner in which it is introduced, it may be inferred that an organized church may have already existed there. There is no request for a preacher to be sent, but the Rev. James Hunt is ordered to supply Alexandria one Sabbath at his discretion. At the same meeting appointments were also made for Rev. Amos Thompson and Rev. James Lang to preach at Alexandria. At the June meeting the same year the Rev. William Thom was ordered to supply the church. This last appointment led to a call for Mr. Thom from the Alexandria church, which he accepted, and the same year became its pastor.

    Rev. William Thom was licensed by Donegal Presbytery October 10, 1771. The next year he received a call from the congregation in Sherman's Valley, Pa. But though " the call was made in the most unanimous manner, without one dissenting voice," Mr. Thom declined it, and accepted the call from Alexandria, where, on the third day of December of the same year (1772) he was ordained and installed. His ministry in this church was very brief, as he died before the close of the following year.

    At the meeting of Presbytery next succeeding his death (April, 1774), the Alexandria church made special application for Rev. John Black, who had been licensed by Donegal Presbytery in October of the preceding year. They failed, however, to secure him as pastor, as he accepted a call from Gettysburg, Pa., where he was ordained and installed August, 1775.

    This church remained vacant, though not unsupplied, for more than six years after the death of Mr. Thom. Its supplies during this period were obtained mainly from other sources than the Presbytery of Donegal, though Donegal was not neglectful of this vacancy. In October, 1774, Rev. Amos Thompson was commissioned to supply the Virginia vacancies and his labors were given chiefly to eastern Virginia. In June, 1775, the Rev. Messrs. Lang and Rhea were directed to spend some time in similar work in the same field. In October, 1776, Rev. James Hunt was sent as a special supply to Alexandria, and in April, 1777, Rev. John McKnight was sent; but no pastor was obtained until 1780, when the Rev. Isaac S. Keith, of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, was called.

    Of Mr. Keith very little is known, aside from his pastorate in this church. He was licensed by the first Presbytery of Philadelphia some time between May, 1777, and May, 1779.In 1780 he was ordained by the same Presbytery, and dismissed to the Presbytery of Donegal that he might accept the call to the church in Alexandria. He was received by that Presbytery October 18, 1780, and soon after was installed pastor of this church. In May, 1786, the Presbytery of Donegal was dissolved, and Mr. Keith and his church were assigned to the new Presbytery of Baltimore. In the report of that Presbytery to the General Assembly at its organization in 1789, Mr. Keith is reported as a member, and as pastor of the Alexandria church. After this his name disappears, but whether by death or otherwise we are not told.

    In the spring of 1789 Rev. James Muir was called to this church, and continued its pastor until his death in 1820.

    Dr. Muir was one of the most distinguished of the Presbyterian ministers of that period. He was born in Scotland April 12, 1757. Both his father and grandfather were ministers. He was graduated at the University of Glasgow March, 1776, and prosecuted his theological studies at Edinburg. He was licensed in London May, 1779, by six clergymen, who styled themselves " dissenting ministers x x conforming to the doctrines and practice of the Church of Scotland." On the tenth of August, 1781, the same body of ministers ordained him to go as an evangelist to the Island of Bermuda. He resided in Bermuda, teaching and preaching until 1788, when he embarked for Scotland; but the vessel was driven back in distress, and finally landed him in New York. After preaching for several months in that city, he, in the spring of 1789, accepted a call to the Alexandria church, where the remainder of his ministry and of his life was spent. Dr. Muir was a man of unusual ability and learning; but, " owing to a strong Scotch accent, and a slight defect in utterance, he could not be called a popular preacher, yet his sermons were rich in Divine truth, and were characterized by condensed thought, logical arrangement, and great simplicity and perspicuity of style." He is described as " a short, thickset man, rather heavy in his movements, of a grave, but most attractive expression of countenance, and as gentle and guileless as any human being" could be. And yet in the closing years of his ministry his church " was rent with factions and divided. Nearly half his congregation, inflamed with bitterness and wrath, separated, and constituted a new church."

    He died in perfect peace, August 8, 1820, and was buried in the church, just beneath the pulpit from which he had so faithfully preached for more than thirty-one years. By his own request, he was buried dressed in his gown and bands, and in a grave thirteen feet deep.

    When the General Assembly, in 1792, made the Potomac River the dividing line between the Synods of Philadelphia and Virginia, they made an exception in the case of the Alexandria church, leaving it where it had been for the last six years-in the Presbytery of Baltimore and Synod of Philadelphia; and in that connection it remained until 1853, when, at its own request, it was transferred to the Presbytery of Winchester and the Synod of Virginia.


    This is the original name of our church in Smithfield, Jefferson County, W. Va. As there was another, and much older, church of this name in Donegal, it is sometimes difficult to determine from the minutes, whether the reference is to the church in Pennsylvania, or to the one in Virginia. Yet, ordinarily, we are able to distinguish them. " Hopewell " has by some been confounded with " The Head of Bullskin." But the two names refer to different organizations. A careful examination makes it clear that the phrase " Head of Bullskin," which is used in the later minutes, was intended to designate more definitely the location of what had long been known as the Old Bullskin Church. When Archibald Alexander preached there after his licensure in 1791, the church building stood very near the head spring of the stream, and the ruins of that old building were there within the memory of persons still living. In the organization of the Hopewell church some families from Bullskin may have been included; but it is beyond doubt, that when Bullskin ceased to exist as a church, it was Charlestown and not Smithfield that was its true successor.

    The date of the organization of Hopewell church cannot be determined. The name first appears in the Records of Donegal in October, 1773, when, with other places in this Valley, it sent up its supplication for ministerial supplies. We are not told who was sent; yet that some rather permanent arrangement was made to provide them with Gospel ordinances seems probable, from the fact that their application was not renewed for the next six years. In April, 1780, Rev. James Martin was ordered to supply Hopewell in May, and Rev. John Hoge in August. The next year, April, 1781, it again asks for supplies; and then for the next seven or eight years very tittle is known of its history. But during that time it must have been growing in strength and importance as in 1791, it was able, in connection with Bullskin and Charlestown, to secure the services of Licentiate William Hill, who was in great demand in many parts of the Church because of his reputation as a preacher of unusual ability and eloquence. In this interesting field, composed of Hopewell, Charlestown and Bullskin, Mr. Hill spent the first eight years of his ministry. When the Presbytery of Winchester was organized in 1794, Hopewell was one of the eleven churches composing it, which were reported as supplied with pastors.


    The name "Culpeper" appears in the Donegal Records as early as April, 1771, when the Rev. Hugh Vance was appointed a supply for the third and fourth Sabbaths in November; but this appointment is to the County, without the designation of any particular place. The next spring (1792) Rev. Messrs. Thompson, Slemons, and Craighead were sent to supply several places in the county specially named, as " Gourdvine," " Rappahannock," and "The North Branch of the Rappahannock." Two months later Mr. Thom was directed to visit " Gourdvine." These were all different places, but all of them in Culpeper County.

    In October, 1775, Rev. Hugh Vance is directed to " supply Capt. Conn's at Culpeper C. H." This is the first distinct reference to the place where a Presbyterian church was afterward established. The other points in the county, which seem to have been supplied only tentatively, are now dropped from the Records; and Culpeper C. H. is the place henceforth named. In October, 1776, Mr. Vance is again sent to "Conn's at Culpeper C. H.," and again to " Culpeper C. H." in April, 1777. One year later (April, 1778) Culpeper C. H. makes supplication for supplies; and in answer, different ministers are sent into Virginia to spend several months in evengelistic work, and presumably to supply specially at this point. Under this appointment Rev. James McConnell and Samuel Waugh rendered efficient service. In the fall of 1779 Rev. Joseph Henderson was appointed to supply Culpeper, with permission to extend his labors into Hanover Presbytery. In October, 1780, Rev. Hezekiah Balch was directed to give a month's service to this congregation.

    The name of this minister occurs so often in connection with the evangelistic work in this region, that a more extended account of him may properly be given; and the more properly because of the distinction he afterward attained.

    Rev. Hezekiah James Balch, D. D., was born in Harford County, Md., in 1741, but most of his early years were spent in Mecklenburg County, N. C., to which place his parents removed when he was a child. He was graduated at Princeton College in 1762, and then taught for several years in Fauquier County, Va. He was licensed by Donegal Presbytery April 20, 1768, and in the fall of that year was granted permission to preach in the vacancies of Virginia and North Carolina. In August, 1769, he accepted calls from Rocky River and Poplar Tent, N. C. He was ordained by Donegal Presbytery November 16, 1769, and furnished by the moderator with credentials to Hanover Presbytery, and to the churches in North Carolina, he returned South. While on his first visit to North Carolina he was married to Miss Hannah Lewis, a young lady of fine intellect and great personal attractions. But, as already related, when he met his Presbytery soon after, he had to face the serious charge that was tabled against him, of having been " married by a clergymen of the English Established Church." When summoned to answer, he owned his fault before Presbytery, and received the solemn censure of the court, through its moderator, Rev. Mr. Roan.

    Mr. Balch was dismissed to the Presbytery of Orange, May 24, 1770; but in less than five years he returned again to Donegal, and, October 17, 1775, was settled as pastor of Thom's Creek (Emmitsburg), Md. During his pastorate there of seven or eight years, he did a great deal of missionary work south of the Potomac, and principally east of the Blue Ridge. While serving this church he became involved in a rather characteristic altercation with his Presbytery. At the April meeting of 1778, when called upon to give his reasons for absence from the last stated meeting, he refused to give any, save that he " was at camp." Finding that he had set out for the camp the very week of the meeting, he was ordered to lay before Presbytery his reasons for going to camp at that time. This he absolutely refused to do. For his contumacy Presbytery judged it proper that he should be admonished from the chair, and that he instantly comply. But Mr. Balch appealed to the Synod. Some years afterward (1782) he withdrew the appeal, and submitted to the admonition.

    In June, 1782, he was dismissed to the Presbytery of Hanover; but after laboring within its bounds for two years, he crossed the Alleghanies and settled in eastern Tennessee, in the Valley of the Holston. Here, in 1785, he, with Rev. Samuel Doak and Rev. Charles Cummings, assisted in organizing the Presbytery of Abingdon-the first on our western waters. In that vast wilderness the remainder, and by far the most important and useful and yet turburlent period, of his singularly active and eventful life was passed. But of the incidents of that life-of his political troubles in connection with the formation of the State of " Franklin "-of his labors and sacrifices in the interests of education and religion-of his many theological and ecclesiastical controversies, we have not room here to speak. Dr. Balch died after a brief, but most distressing illness, in April, 1810.

    Returning now to the history of the church at Culpeper C. H. After the labors there of Mr. Balch in 1780, the name of Culpeper silently drops out of the Donegal Records. As the church was on the border of Hanover Presbytery, it is possible that, with a view to more frequent service than it was able to get from Donegal, its Presbyterial relations may have been transferred for the time to the south side of the Rappahannock; or that, without a transfer, the church was supplied by association with some church on the northern border of Hanover. In any case, the fact is pretty well settled, that from about the period when this name disappears, until now, there has been a living and active Presbyterian church at Culpeper C. H.


    There are two very interesting facts in the history of this church. The first is, that while we are not able to determine the date of its organization, it is certainly one of the oldest, and with the possible exception of Alexandria, and the certain exception of Lancaster and Northumberland, absolutely the oldest church in our former territory east of the Blue Ridge. When we first meet with the name, in 1776, it is that of, apparently, a fully equipped church, not only organized for worship, but with a settled minister already in charge. The other interesting fact is that the earliest missionary work in that eastern territory was not undertaken by the Presbytery of Donegal. Important and successful work had been done there before this Presbytery, which had done so much for the evangelizing of the region west of the Ridge, had begun to send its missionaries into Eastern Virginia. What Presbytery it was that first entered this field-whether New Castle from north of the Potomac, or Hanover from south of the Rappahannockwe do not know, though the probabilities are that the field was at first worked by both Presbyteries.

    Kittocktin, or as it is now written, "Catoctin," is the present Presbyterian church in Waterford, Loudoun County. The original house of worship stood on the road between Leesburg and Waterford, one mile and a half south of its present site, and five miles north of Leesburg. It is claimed that this was the first church building erected in Loudoun County. No vestige of it remains now. It has not been used as a place of worship since about 1825. The old graveyard, in which the remains of so many of the early settlers were buried, is enclosed by a solid stone wall ; -and it has received but few interments for many years.

    The name of this church first appears in the Donegal Records, October, 1776. When "supplications (for ministerial service) were received from Kittocktin and Gum Spring, in Loudoun County, Va.," and, as enforcing the supplication, the fact is stated that "Rev. Amos Thompson, the pastor of these churches, was absent as chaplain in the Continental Army." When Mr. Thompson was settled over these churches we are not informed, but that his relation was regarded as a permanent one is evident from the fact that his absence in the army had not dissolved it. How long he continued in his post as chaplain does not appear, but as -he was fond of adventure, and life in the army was not uncongenial, and as these churches were vacant for several years, it is not improbable that his chaplaincy continued until the close of the war.

    This Rev. Amos Thompson was a man of considerable note, though the church historians have written almost nothing about him. It is believed he was a native of Connecticut, born about 1735. Hg was a graduate of Princeton College in 1760 while Samuel Davies was president. He was licensed by the Presbytery of New Brunswick in 1761, and ordained by the same Presbytery in 1763 or '64. Of his work between licensure and ordination we have no account. After his ordination his Presbytery sent him to labor for some time in Loudoun County, Va. This appointment seems to fix the time when his work in that county began. The Synod at its meeting in 1764 directed that, after his Presbyterial appointment was fulfilled, he be recommended to supply under direction of Hanover Presbytery until the next meeting of Synod. Of his labors for the next six years we find no record. But in its report to Synod, May, 1770, his name appears as a member of Donegal Presbytery. The suggestion is a plausible one, that as the result of his labors in Loudoun County, which were undertaken by direction of New Brunswick Presbytery, he had effected an organization of the churches of Kittocktin and Gum Spring and had become their settled minister; but as Donegal had now assumed the supervision of the missionary work in Northern Virginia, it became proper that Mr. Thompson, laboring in that region, should have his Presbyterial relations transferred to the controlling Presbytery. And from that time until 1786 his membership continued in that Presbytery. In 1786 the Presbytery of Donegal was divided, and its name dropped. In the distribution of the members composing the two new Presbyteries, his name does not appear in connection with either. Nor is he mentioned at all when the several Presbyteries report their membership to the first General Assembly in 1789. His name is not found after 1786 in any Presbyterial Record until September 25, 1799, when he is received into the Presbytery of Winchester-the first member added to that Presbytery after its organization in 1794. The record of his reception throws light upon this period of his history. It reads: " The Rev. Amos Thompson, formerly a member of Donegal Presbytery, and afterwards of Litchfield Association, having become a resident within the bounds of our Presbytery, was, upon application, admitted as a member." From this it seems probable that soon after the war closed he went back to his native State and joined the Congregational Body, and then, after twelve or fifteen years, he returned to his old home in Loudoun County and spent his last years among the people to whom he formerly ministered. His death occurred very suddenly and unexpectedly in October, 1804, and on the 27th day of that month his funeral sermon was preached by Dr. Moses Hoge from John 11:26. These funeral services were held in Leesburg, the county seat of Loudoun.

    Dr. A. Alexander, on his journey from Hampden-Sidney to the General Assembly in Philadelphia in 1801, met Mr. Thompson and traveled with him several days, and relates some interesting facts concerning him. Hearing of the new theological views which Dr. Samuel Hopkins had espoused, Mr. Thompson made him a visit, after his own licensure, to convince the Doctor of his errors, and pursuade him to abandon them; but returned from his visit a thorough convert to the Hopkinsian system, to which he adhered tenaciously to his dying day, preaching it to the astonishment, and, often to the displeasure, of his Virginia audiences.

    Mr. Thompson was a man of gigantic frame and prodigious strength, and utterly fearless, as the following incident will show: When he came to Northern Virginia, about 1765, the Baptists were the only dissenters there. Soon after his coming one of their leading preachers, an old man, had been threatened with personal violence by a set of profane and lawless men if he should ever appear again in a certain pulpit. Hearing of the prowess of Mr. Thompson, the old preacher made a long journey to obtain his presence at his next appointment. He at once agreed to go. When they arrived at the place a great multitude had assembled, for the threat was widely known and an exciting scene was expected. While Mr. Thompson was at prayer the hostile party entered and took their seats near the pulpit. The stalwart appearance of the preacher so intimidated the ruffians that they were afraid to carry out their purpose and left the house quietly at the close of the service. Before dismissing them, however, Mr. Thompson addressed himself directly to these men, told them that he was accquainted with their threats, warned them of the consequences of their lawlessness, and assured them that he would himself prosecute them in the civil courts if a finger was raised against the preacher. As for himself, though a man of peace, he was fully able to protect himself if attacked, and would certainly do so. When the meeting closed he inquired for the captain of this band, and asked him to go aside with him, and walked off with him toward the woods, but on reaching it this leader, a stout, bold looking man, showed alarm, stopped and raised his club as if to strike. Thompson said quietly, "Fie, man, what can you do with that?" and in an instant wrested the club from his hand, adding that he intended no violence, but that if so disposed he could hurl him to the earth in a moment. The ruffian was completely cowed and was glad to escape from one whose mastery he was compelled to acknowledge. The old preacher received no further molestation.

    But to return to the Kittocktin church; when in the absence of Mr. Thompson it first asked for supplies, the Presbytery sent them Rev. James Lang and Licentiate John McKnight. In December, 1776, Rev. Samuel Waugh, and in April, 1777, Rev. Hugh Vance,' were ordered to supply them. The next year, 1778, Mr. Waugh was allowed to spend the entire summer in evangelistic labor in Eastern Virginia; and again in the summer of 1779 he itinerated for three months, chiefly in that region, and there is little doubt that this church enjoyed a full share of his labors.

    After four years of dependence upon supplies, the churches of Kittocktin and Gum Spring, despairing of the return of their pastor, in April, 1780, laid before Presbytery a joint call for the services of Rev. David Bard, which he accepted, and was settled in that field. In June, 1782, he tendered his resignation and was dismissed.

    Of the further history of this church until after the organization of Winchester Presbytery we have no detailed information. But the strength it had attained and the commendable zeal for church privileges which it had always displayed, warrant the conclusion that it would not be long without a minister. The return of Mr. Thompson to his old home may mean that he served them again. This is a church that has maintained an uninterrupted existence for about 140 years. Its present condition is very flourishing under the faithful ministry of Rev. E. L. Wilson, himself a son of Winchester Presbytery.


    Gum Spring is in Loudoun County, about twelve miles south of Leesburg, and seven miles east of Middleburg, on the great turnpike road from Winchester to Alexandria. The church organization at that point was so closely associated with that at Kittocktin that during the period under consideration the history of the one is substantially that of the other. The two come to our notice in the same Presbyterial minute as one ministerial charge, and when the pastor who has been serving them leaves they come before Presbytery with a joint request for ministerial supplies. When another minister is called the two churches unite in the call ; and this relation continues down to the time when Winchester Presbytery is organized and, probably, to the time when this church became extinct, or was removed to some other point and assumed a different name.

    The first mention of Gum Spring in any Record known to us is in October, 1776. It then appears as an organized church which had for some time enjoyed the services of a settled minister. This minister, the Rev. Amos Thompson, was then temporarily absent from his church, acting as chaplain in the Continental Army, and his two churches, Gum Spring and Kittocktin, ask Donegal Presbytery for supplies during his absence.

    Of the origin and early history of this church we have no certain information. But it seems quite probable that it was one of the fruits of Mr. Thompson's missionary labors when he was sent to Loudoun County by New Brunswick Presbytery in 1764.

    In answer to its request for supplies in 1776, Rev. Hugh Vance was sent. The next year Mr. McKnight supplied them for a time. Then in the two following years they doubtless shared in the evangelistic labors in that region of Rev. Samuel Waugh, as well as in the appointments, which at that particular time were regularly made by the Presbyterial Committee of Supplies.

    In April, 1780, this church united with Kittocktin in a call for the pastoral services of the Rev. David Bard, which was accepted, and Mr. Bard was settled as their pastor and remained with them for two years. As the war was still in progress, and the money then in circulation of little value, it is interesting to learn what provision was made by the churches for the support of the preachers whom they called. In this particular case, we find that these churches "obligated themselves to pay Mr. Bard 500 bushels of grain, viz: 200 bushels of wheat, 50 bushels of Rie, and 250 bushels of Indian corn."

    This minister, David Bard, had a somewhat extraordinary history. Like Moses Hoge, he was a native of Virginia. He was born in Leesburg, Loudoun County, about the year 1750; was graduated at Princeton in the class of 1773; was licensed by the Presbytery of Donegal, October 11, 1776, and ordained by the same Presbytery, August 16, 1779. In the preceding year he had been called to the Great Cove church in Pennsylvania and served it until called to this charge in Loudoun County. During his short pastorate in Virginia he devoted a great deal of time in looking after the vacancies and destitutions of that region. When dismissed from this charge he was directed to preach in Leesburg, but does not seem to have remained there very long. In 1786 he received and accepted a call to Bedford, Pa., where he remained until 1789. In 1794, by act of the General Assembly, he was transferred from Carlisle Presbytery to Huntingdon, having accepted, in 1790, a call to Frankstown (near Hollidaysburg), Pa., within the bounds of the new Presbytery. In April, 1791, he was called to the churches of Falling Waters and Williamsport, Md., on a salary of £77, 18s. 10d., but did not accept. While in charge at Frankstown, he, for some reason that has not been explained, became mixed up with the politics of the day, and in the fall of 1795 was elected to Congress from that district, and was re-elected two years later. That he looked upon this diversion from the ministry as only temporary and for the accomplishment of some definite purpose, is evident from the fact that during these two terms in Congress he retained his pastoral relation to his church, from which he was not released until 1799. It was then done at his own request. The people of his district, however, were so well satisfied with the ability and faithfulness with which he had served them as their representative that, after four years' retirement, they elected him again to Congress, and continued to re-elect him until his death, which occurred March 12, 1815, on his way home from Washington.

    His biographer is careful to say that Mr. Bard did not forsake the pulpit because he was unacceptable as a preacher, for he was possessed of popular talents, both as a preacher and politician. Nor will he allow the intimation that he had no heart for the ministry, for during the recesses of Congress he was constantly engaged in the work of the ministry, and at the time of his death he was stated supply of the Sinking Valley church.

    Of the history of the Gum Spring church, subsequent to the resignation of Mr. Bard, we have no definite knowledge. It is probable, as in so many other instances, that it was reduced in numbers by removal, until it became expedient to change its location to some more eligible point--perhaps to Middleburg. All that we really know is that Gum Spring is now extinct.


    1. Springfield  2. Romney

    The attempt to trace the early history of Presbyterianism in Hampshire County is attended with more difficulty than one would suppose. The difficulty arises mainly from the indefinite character of the statements found in the Presbyterial Records. Some places, as "Forks of Capon," "Patterson's Creek," and "North River" are distinctly designated. But in most instances the reference to the missionary work done in this county is made in such general terms that we are quite at a loss to fix upon the particular localities intended. For example, the statement in the minutes is that supplies are asked for--or sent to-"Hampshire" simply. Sometimes it is to "various places on the South Branch of the Potomac," neither of which expressions gives any definite idea of the special place in which missionary work was done. But the indefinite statements of the minutes do not stop with these expressions. We are often embarrassed by the vague manner in which they speak of "the South Branch of the Potomac." This South Branch is the main waterway of both Hampshire and Hardy counties. In the early use of the expression it unquestionably refers to the Moorefield Valley in Hardy ; and later in the minutes there is just as little doubt that it refers most frequently to the lower part of the stream in Hampshire. But between these periods there are several instances in which it is very difficult to tell whether it is Hardy or Hampshire that is meant. In our treatment of the planting of our church in Hardy, we assumed that the reference to the "South Branch" down to about 1765, and some references that were later, were meant for that part of the river that is above "The Trough." We are aware that the correctness of this assumption may, in some cases, be questioned. But in the main we believe it to be justified. After that time, it seems for the most part, to be the Lower Valley in Hampshire that is referred to when the "South Branch" is named.

    And yet there are some references after that date that leave us in doubt as to what places are meant, e. g. At the meeting of the Synod of New York and Philadelphia in May, 1767, petitions for supplies were brought in from several points, and among them "from the South Branch of Potomac in Virginia." In view of these petitions, Rev. Joseph Bay, who had been appointed to make an evangelistic tour through Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia, was "recommended to visit the South Branch of Potomac in going out." Here is nothing definite as to the place or places to be visited. It is, however, a reasonable surmise, and certainly accords with the spirit of his instructions, that Mr. Bay entered the Valley of the South Branch at its mouth, and as he proceeded up the stream on his way south that he visited all the settlements in the Valley where Presbyterians were to be found.

    Again, when in April, 1768, the South Branch supplicated Presbytery for supplies, and "for an ordained minister to assist in forming them into a regular congregation," there is no certain clue as to the part of the South Branch from which this request came. In our sketch of the church at Moorefield we interpreted the minute as referring to that part of the Branch. This interpretation may be correct, though subsequent minutes throw a shade of doubt upon its accuracy.

    There are other minutes, both of Presbytery and Synod, lacking in explicitness, but which seem to refer to Hampshire County, e, g.

    At the meeting of Synod, May, 1768, "an application on the behalf of several distressed societies on the frontiers of Pennsylvania and the South Branch of the Potomac, was made for missionaries to be sent among them," and Rev. John Roan was sent to supply them several Sabbaths at discretion, the sum of £4 and 10s. being allowed for his expenses. In October of the same year "a number of places in Hampshire" ask for supplies. April, 1769, "various places on the South Branch of Potomac" call on Presbytery for supplies. At the meeting of Synod, May, 1771, "application was made on behalf of vacancies beyond the Alleghanies, and on behalf of the settlements on the South Branch of Potomac," and Rev. Sampson Smith was sent "to spend six months in the settlements of the South Branch." And the next year, May, 1772, the Synod again appointed Mr. Sampson Smith to "supply two months on the South Branch of Potomac."

    That all these minutes, both of Presbytery and Synod, refer only to places in the Valley of the South Branch, below "The Trough," is more, probably, than we. are at liberty to affirm ; but that most of them do, we are fully persuaded. It can hardly be supposed that that Lower Valley, with its broad, rich bottoms and many other attractions, had been overlooked by Presbyterian immigrants when other places in Hampshire, less inviting and no more accessible, had been long occupied by them. If the minutes we have quoted were more explicit it would no doubt be seen that there were places on the South Branch in Hampshire, as well as on Patterson's Creek and Capon, that at an early date were fully equipped for worship, and were enjoying, if not the stated, yet the occasional ministry of the Word. One of these places was:

    1st. Springfield

    It is a singular fact that we do not meet with the name "Springfield" in any Record, Presbyterial or Synodical, until in the minutes of the Synod of Virginia in 1794 it is mentioned as one of the churches set off to constitute the Presbytery of Winchester. It is referred to, however, though under a different name, as early at least as October, 1776. At that date, Licentiate John McKnight was ordered by Donegal Presbytery to "supply at Mr. Abernathy's." A later minute (April, 1778) locates "Abernathy's" in Hampshire County, and personal inquiry establishes the fact that, at the time designated, a family of the name of Abernathy resided on the South Branch at or near where Springfield now is, and ran a flour mill that was extensively patronized throughout that region. Mr. Abernathy was a Presbyterian, and public worship was conducted at his home by Presbyterian preachers for a number of years. Mr. McKnight, while pastor at Elk Branch, made several visits there, where his services were highly appreciated. When, however, the congregation became so large that a more commodious building in which to assemble became necessary, a controversy arose as to the site on which the house of worship should be erected. Some favored placing it near Mr. Abernathy's, while others insisted that a more eligible site was offered by "Major Scott, of Virginia." The contention waxed so warm that the matter was at length, in April, 1780, submitted to the Presbytery for settlement. A settlement seems to have been reached, but just how the question was decided we do not now know. The next October (1780) Mr. McKnight was directed to spend two weeks in preaching to this people, and after that the name does not again occur in the Records of either Donegal or Carlisle Presbyteries ; nor do we find any other name that can be identified with it. This may possibly be accounted for by the fact that the Presbyterial "Committee" sent supplies regularly to them as well as to several other churches, of which no minute was made.

    Dr. Foote, in his manuscript preface to the Records of Mt. Bethel Church, written in 1833, says that the first Presbyterian preacher in Hampshire County was a Rev. Mr. Finley, but he gives no clue as to the time when, or the places where he preached. We have not been able to discover any other reference to this minister. His name is not found on the roll of any Presbytery that sent preachers to this region. If he was the first Presbyterian preacher in the county he must have been there prior to 1761, when the Presbytery of Donegal began to send missionaries here. It may be that Dr. Foote meant that Mr. Finley was the first resident minister in Hampshire. In that case he must have lived there before 1777, when the Rev. Thaddeus Dodd came to Patterson's Creek and labored there for about two years. Mr. Finley may possibly have lived at Springfield, and carried on his work there and elsewhere during the period between 1786 and 1792-a period of which we have no definite information touching the history of the church in that part of the South Branch Valley.

    After 1792 we come again into the light of documentary history. The Commission of the Synod of Virginia began to send its missionaries into these back counties, and one of them, John Lyle, after laboring for a time along the South Branch Valley, was finally induced to settle at Springfield, and the remainder of his life, about fifteen years, was spent in active evangelistic work in the county of Hampshire.

    The Rev. John Lyle was the son of Daniel Lyle, an emigrant from the north of Ireland, and was born in Rockbridge County, though the date of his birth is not known. As a young man he accompanied the expedition to Point Pleasant against the Indians and took part in that famous battle October 10, 1774. It is probable that he was a soldier in the Revolutionary War also. It was rather late in life that he began his preparations for the ministry, which were made under the direction of Rev. William Graham, and with Archibald Alexander as a fellow student. During their theological training an incident occurred which Dr. Alexander thought of sufficient interest to relate in his autobiography. The Presbytery had authorized Dr. Graham to exercise his divinity students in public exhortations, and this is the story of the first experiment: "The thing was new (the doctor writes) in that part of the country, and many came together. I was exceedingly apprehensive that I should utterly fail and not be able to say anything, for I had never spoken in pubic, except when I had committed my speech to memory. I had once attempted to speak in a juvenile debate without the least success. x x x Mr. Lyle appeared to be much animated and elevated. He told me he had a remarkable flow of thought and seemed confident of a prosperous issue, which only discouraged me the more, as I was weighed down with a heavy burden. After singing and prayer, Mr. Graham called first upon Mr. Lyle, who arose with an awful cloud upon his brow, seized fast hold of the chair upon which he had been sitting, and with many contortions of countenance, forced out a few words, but his flow of thought had deserted him. He hemmed and groaned, rolled up his pocket handkerchief into a ball, made a few convulsive gestures and sat down." After another prayer and hymn, Alexander was called upon and went through his address with a fluency that astonished himself, and as he was young and small the old people were not less astonished.

    Mr. Lyle was taken under the care of Lexington Presbytery, July 30, 1790. A part of his trials for licensure were passed at the same time with Mr. Alexander's, and he was licensed at New Monmouth church, April 29, 1791. After itinerating for about two years under direction of the Commission of the Virginia Synod, along the waters of the Potomac, Jackson's River, Greenbrier and Roanoke, he accepted an invitation to settle in Hampshire County. He was ordained by the Presbytery of Lexington at Springfield, Saturday, November 30, 1793. His permanent residence until his death was at Springfield, which was one of his most important preaching places; the remainder of his time being given to Romney and Patterson's Creek, though the whole county shared more or less in his services. Soon after his settlement at Springfield he established a classical school there, which Dr. Foote speaks of as having attained "great celebrity." He married a sister of Rev. Joseph Glass and a granddaughter of Samuel Glass, the emigrant from Ireland, whose remains are buried at the Opecquon church.

    Mr. Lyle died in 1807, and was buried in Springfield. His grave cannot now be identified. He left a widow and a large family of young children. Some of his descendents have been distinguished in the church.

    Though he was not a great preacher, Mr. Lyle was a very useful minister. He was diligent, laborious and self-sacrificing in carrying the Gospel to all whom he could reach, and the seals of his faithful ministry were scattered through all the mountains and along the water courses of Hampshire County. He was one of the original members of the Presbytery of Winchester, and Springfield was one of the important churches composing it.

    2. Romney

    Another place in Hampshire, where a Presbyterian organization was established at an early date, and to which supplies were sent, was Romney, though this place does not appear by name in any existing church Records until October, 1781. And the fact deserves attention that when it does appear the designation is unusual. It is not called Romney simply, but "Romney C'. H." Ordinarily these familiar initial letters are used in connection with the name of the county to designate the county seat. The use of it here may be intended to call attention to the fact that the court house was now at Romney, which had not always been the case. The oldest court house in Hampshire stood in the Valley of the South Branch, several miles above Romney, built probably as early as 1756 ; though the exact date of its erection is not known. It must have been before 1762, as it was in that year that the town of Romney was incorporated and soon after became the county seat.

    If the name of this place does not occur in the Presbyterial Records as early as might have been expected, it nevertheless occurs under conditions of unusual interest. It not only asks to be supplied, but also to be organized. The minute of Donegal Presbytery for October, 1781, says: "Supplications from Romney C. H. and Patterson's Creek, requesting supplies, and especially an ordained minister to assist in forming them into a regular congregation, and ordaining elders, were read." There is no minute telling what "ordained minister" was sent; but as such applications invariably received the prompt attention of Presbytery, we must assume that one was sent and that the church was organized as requested.

    Now the remarkable fact is, that this is not only the first mention of Romney in these minutes, it is absolutely the only one found in any Presbyterial or Synodical Records until just prior to the organization of the Presbytery of Winchester in 1794. And yet that there was frequent preaching there, both before and after 1781, is not open to doubt. Their asking to be organized as a church is evidence that they had been for some time in possession of some church ordinances. And we can easily understand that those minutes-some of which go back as far as 1768-which speak of supplies for "Hampshire" and for "a number of places in Hampshire County," and for "various places on the South Branch of the Potomac," and for "the South Branch" itself, had special reference to so important a place as the county seat of Hampshire. And when, in April, 1783, a call was presented to Presbytery from "the South Branch and Patterson's Creek for the pastoral services of Rev. John McKnight," we must believe that whatever other places were included in the general expression "South Branch," Romney was certainly one of them. From the time of its organization, and probably for some years before, the church interests of Romney and Springfield were closely identified, and the relation between them continued unbroken for more than a hundred years. Most of the supplies that at this early date were sent to either place shared their services with the other, and when a pastor was obtained for one he became the pastor also of the other. The places are so near that a man can easily preach in both on the same Sabbath.

    Returning to the request of these people in 1781 to be "formed into a regular congregation," it becomes a matter of some interest to know what sort of an organization was effected, and especially what were its meets and bounds. Our interest in this matter arises from the fact that it is commonly believed that all the Presbyterians in Hampshire, save those living in the Capon Valley, were originally organized into a single church. Dr. Foote, in the preface written by him to the Sessional Records of the present Mt. Bethel Church, says: "Until the year 1833 the members of the Presbyterian Church in Hampshire County were all, with the exception of those living convenient to the Bloomery, enrolled in one church under one eldership. During the year 1833, according to the direction of Presbytery, the necessary steps were taken for the division of the church, and in the fall of 1833 the Presbytery divided the church of Mt. Bethel and directed four new ones to be organized, one on the (Jersey) mountain, one on North River, one in Springfield and one on Patterson's Creek, the church in Romney not requiring an organization. The reason for this division was that the members had become so numerous that in their scattered situation the church was unweildly."

    The obvious meaning of this statement is that, until 1833, there was no separate and distinct organization at any of the places named. And this is now the prevailing opinion touching the matter. But its correctness cannot be admitted. That for some time before 1833, all the Presbyterians in the valleys of Patterson's Creek and South Branch were combined in one organization is certainly true. But to say that this was so from the beginning is to contradict the facts found in the Records of both Donegal and Winchester Presbyteries. Not only must we assume that churches were organized at Romney, Springfield and Frankfort (Patterson's Creek) at an early date, but every reference to them suggests that these churches were organically distinct. As separate churches they unite in the call for Mr. McKnight ; they are separately mentioned when set off to constitute the Presbytery of Winchester; when vacant, are supplied independently; Mr. Lyle is reported to the General Assembly as pastor of these three churches; each is required by Presbytery to present a distinct Sessional Report, and two of them are put on record as failing to comply with this requirement. While for about fifty years prior to 1833 these three churches constituted one pastoral charge, yet in the first thirty years of that time they are always referred to and treated as distinct organizations.

    A partial explanation of the whole matter is found in the following minute of Winchester Presbytery for October 17, 1812, viz: "Mr. Black informed Presbytery that the congregations heretofore known on these minutes by the names of Springfield and Romney, having become disorganized, have been by him organized into one congregation, hereafter to be known 'by the name of Mt. Bethel." How and when Patterson's Creek became merged in this organization we are not able to say. The question does not really concern us, as it belongs to a later period than that now under review. The consideration given it has been intended simply to remove a misunderstanding as to the early history of the churches in the lower South Branch Valley.


    Although Winchester contained some settlements as early as 1738 and became an incorporated town in 1752, and at the time of the Revolutionary War contained a population of about eight hundred, it was without a distinct Presbyterian organization until September 7, 1800. While there were many adherents of that church in the place, they held their membership at Opecquon, three miles distant, and regularly worshipped there. The history of Presbyterianism in Winchester, therefore, is, for at least fifty years, identified with that of the old Mother Church. For the sake, however, of a connected narrative, we will repeat here, in condensed form, the historical statements already given in our sketch of the Opecquon Church.

    Just when Presbyterian service began to be held here is not known, but probably as early as the time of the incorporation of the town,as many of the first settlers were people of our religious faith and order. From a date earlier than 1736 the members of Donegal Presbytery made missionary journeys into this Valley, and after that " supplications " continued to go up from this region, both to Synod and Presbytery for ministerial supplies, and many of the supplies that were sent found it convenient to stop in Winchester and hold service.

    Rev. Samuel Gelston was sent in 1736 at the special request of the people of "both parts of Opekin;" and he was the first Presbyterian minister to visit and preach in this region by appointment of Donegal Presbytery. He was followed the next year by Rev. James Anderson, who in 1738 or 9 organized the Opecquon church. The church at once called Rev. John Thomson, but Rev. John Craig was sent them instead, who remained part of the year 1739. The next two years the Rev. Samuel Caven supplied the church a large part of the time, during which a Mr. Lynn was called, but was not settled. Then followed in succession Rev. Messrs. McDowell, John Robinson, John Hindman, John Blair, Eliab Byram and William Dean. Then the Synod of New York was formed in consequence of the unhappy schism in the church; and as the people in this region were more in sympathy with the "New ,Side" they were the supplies sent by the new Synod of New York that principally visited this church until the schism was healed. Besides the visit of Dr. Blair,it enjoyed the frequent, but brief, services of such distinguished men as the Rev. John Roan, Samuel Finley, Samuel Blair and the two Tennents, Gilbert and William. Meanwhile the Old Side Synod of Philadelphia and the Presbytery of Donegal continued to send their ministers, but as their services were not desired their visits became less frequent.

    From the time the Opecquon church was organized, efforts had been made to obtain a pastor, but without success. In 1754 Licentiate John Hoge, the cousin of Rev. Moses Hoge, D. D., was called, and the next year was ordained and installed. He retained his pastoral relation until April, 1772, when he was released. The vacancy thus created continued until 1781, but during that period the church was supplied at intervals by Rev. Messrs. Vance, McKnight, Balch, Slemons, Thompson, Craighead and Linn, appointed by Donegal Presbytery. In October, 1776, a call was given to Rev. Mr. Slemons, but his services were not secured.

    It was this year (1776) that Mr. Fithian visited the churches in this Valley. He stopped in Winchester on his way to Opecquon and gives us a glimpse of the town at that time. He writes:

    "Monday, May 22. Winchester, the county town of Frederick. A smart village nearly half a mile in length, and several streets, broad and pretty full. The situation is low and disagreeable. There is on a pleasant hill northeast from the town, at a small distance, a large stone Dutch Lutheran church, with a tall steeple. In the town is an English church. North of the town are the ruins of an old fort, wasted and crumbled down by time. The land is good, the country is pleasant, the houses in general large."

    A fortnight later he made a longer visit in Winchester, of which he writes:

    "Tuesday, June 6, 1776. After dinner with Captain Holmes and Captain Hunter, I rode to Winchester. The Court was sitting. Mars, the great God of Battle, is now honored in every part of this spacious colony, but here every presence is warlike-every sound is martial-drums beating, pipes and bagpipes playing and only sonorous and venic [sic] music. Every man has a hunting shirt, which is the uniform of each company. Almost all have a cockade and bucktail in their hats to represent that they are hardy, resolute and invincible natives of the woods of America. The County Committee sat. Among other resolves they passed this resolute and trying determination: `That every member of this county between sixteen and sixty years of age, shall appear every month at least, in the field under arms, and it is recommended to all to muster weekly for their improvement.' June 8 x x x x Today, for the first time, I went through the `new exercise,' gave the word and performed the action. One shipe of this town was backward this morning in his attendance with the company of Independents. A file was sent to bring him. He made resistance, but was compelled at length, and is now in great fear and very humble since he heard many of his towsmen talk of tar and feathers."

    The name of Winchester in connection with Presbyterianism first appears in existing records in October, 1779. The Rev. John McKnight is appointed to supply here. Two years later (1781) it had become large enough and important enough to be named with Opecquon and Cedar Creek in the call extended to Rev. John Montgomery of Hanover Presbytery. From this the inference is fair, that, for some time previous to that date, worship was statedly held in the town. But it is certain that from this time until a separate organization was secured, Winchester is always associated with the two above-named churches as a place of prominent importance in the combined pastoral charge.

    Mr. Montgomery remained the pastor of this charge until 1789. He was a man of attractive character and an instructive preacher, and by reason of his faithful service the cause of Presbyterianism, both in town and county, made satisfactory progress. In the town especially its growth was very considerable. It was during his ministry here that Lexington Presbytery was erected, and the churches around Winchester, and including Winchester, were turned over to it from Donegal. The Synod of Virginia also, and the General Assembly were organized while Mr. Montgomery was pastor here.

    The Rev. Nash Legrand was next called and began his ministry here in 1790. Up to this time, Winchester had been merely an appendage of Opecquon, but its growth in numbers had now given it an importance demanding more recognition than it had hitherto received. Services were held in town more frequently than formerly and sometimes they were arranged for independently of the parent church. Under the successful ministry of Mr. Montgomery the congregation had so increased that a more commodious place of gathering became a necessity, and before his ministry closed arrangements were made for the erection of a house of worship that would meet the growing requirements of the town. The old stone church, still standing in good repair, at the eastern end of Piccadilly street, is the house that was then built. Though not entirely completed it was ready for use in 1790, and the Synod of Virginia met in it in the fall of that year.

    That old church, though no longer used for Presbyterian worship. is a building of unusual historic interest. Besides the distinguished men who, as pastors, have occupied its pulpit-Legrand, Hill and Riddle-nearly all the famous Presbyterian ministers of our country from 1790 to 1834 have preached within its walls. It was honored by a meeting of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in 1799-the only place out of Philadelphia (with a single other exception) in which for a period of almost fifty years that venerable court had ever met. The Synod of Virginia has met in it eleven times-more frequently than in any other church whatever. In it, October, 1791, during a session of the Synod, the Rev. Archibald Alexander, D. D., was licensed to preach the Gospel. In it also the Presbytery of Winchester was organized in 1794.

    To this statement it may be of interest to add, that in the year 1834 (October 13) the old church, with ten feet of ground at each end and fifteen feet in the rear, was sold for the use of the Baptist church for 500 years. In 1858 they sold it to the colored Baptist church, and it is now leased by the School Board of Winchester for the use of the Colored Public School. During the war between the States it was completely dismantled and used as a stable for the Federal troops.

    The first pastor to occupy the pulpit of the new church was Mr. Legrand. But the popularity that always attended his ministry in the country portion of his charge was not so fully accorded him in the town. He had not been very long settled in his pastorate before differences and then dissensions began between him and some of his members here. These were due in part, though not altogether, to his extreme views touching revivals-a matter much discussed in the church at that time. He was a pronounced revivalist. His preaching was mostly confined to a limited range of topics, and he freely used the "new measures" then commonly employed to promote revivals. Some of his best members in Winchester who had but recently arrived from the old country, where they had been accustomed to a different style of preaching, and where revival measures, as conducted here, if known at all, were disapproved, looked with suspicion upon his methods and grew weary of his constant and passionate appeals to their feelings. Unfortunately, Mr. Legrand had no tact for dealing with those who had taken offence. The alienation which had begun increased until there was an open rupture. He asked Lexington Presbytery to release him from his pastoral charge, but at the organization of the Presbytery of Winchester he was persuaded to withdraw that request. Gradually he curtailed the number of his appointments, and about the year 1797 or 8 he withdrew his services altogether from Winchester.

    As early as 1791, before any breach had occurred, the people in Winchester, with a view to more frequent service than the pastor of Opecquon and Cedar Creek was able to give them, had opened negotiations with Cool Spring church (Gerrardstown) to unite in securing a minister who would dive his entire time to these two places. Cool Spring had even gone so far as to petition Carlisle to allow that church to be transferred to Lexington that this scheme might be more easily carried out. But for some reason unknown to us, the plan failed of accomplishment. Later the people here, acting independently, but apparently with the approval of Presbytery, extended calls to several ministers, neither of whom could be secured until in 1800 the opposing factions came together and made out a unanimous call for Rev. William Hill, of Charlestown, who promptly accepted, and the same year was settled in the charge which he retained for thirty-four years. The church in Winchester was organized September 7, 1800, though it was counted as one of the churches of Winchester Presbytery when that Presbytery was organized six years before.


    This church comes first into notice under another name, and that a name not at all suggestive of Presbyterianism, viz: "The Parish of Cameron." The county of Loudoun was laid off in 1757, and Leesburg, the county seat, was established by law one year later. But the "English Church," as the Protestant Episcopal was then generally called, had divided the county into "parishes," and the county seat was embraced in the Parish of Cameron; and it was by that name that it was commonly called. This parish, with that of Shelbourne, in the southwest angle of the county, contained some Presbyterian families who desired to enjoy again their own form of worship. These two parishes, therefore, either by a joint petition or by independent requests that happened to go up to the same meeting, supplicated the Presbytery of Donegal for supplies. That the same supply was appointed for both fields may be taken as evidence that a joint petition was sent. The minute recording the action of these people is, for October, 1780. "Supplications for supplies from the Parish of Shelburn in Virginia, and from the Parish of Cameron in Loudoun County were presented." In answer to their petition, Licentiate Samuel Waugh was appointed to supply them until the next spring. Subsequent to this action we find this minute, the exact date of which is in doubt, viz: "The Parish of Cameron in Loudoun County sends an application representing their sad destitution and stating that they had made choice of Mr. Waugh, a Licentiate of this Presbytery, to be their minister, and praying the Presbytery's concurrence," etc. Whereupon "Presbytery appointed Mr. Waugh to supply them until its next meeting, and appointed parts of trial for his ordination at that time." Unfortunately, their expectations respecting Mr. Waugh were disappointed. He accepted a call to two churches in Pennsylvania, in the service of which his whole ministry was spent. He was a man of sterling character, a careful student, and acceptable preacher and faithful pastor.

    In the next minute touching this field, the name of Leesburg appears for the first and only time. When the Rev. David Bard was dismissed from the charge of the Kittocktin and Gum Spring churches, June, 1782, he " was ordered by the committee that had released him, to supply Leesburg until the next meeting of Presbytery." As that town was his native place, it is quite probable that Mr. Bard complied with this order, and that Leesburg had his services until the next October.

    This, so far as we know with certainty, was the beginning of Presbyterian worship in that important town. And yet, if it is admissable to go outside the Records, it seems not unlikely that Rev. Amos Thompson, and his successors at Kittocktin, had held frequent services in Leesburg before Donegal had been asked for supplies. Their readiness to call Mr. Waugh so soon after their first petition was sent, is strong proof that they must already have had some kind of an organization, and that they considered themselves strong enough to sustain a minister. Of its history for the next twenty years very little is known. The tradition is-and perhaps it is a matter of record-that the Leesburg church was organized by the Rev. James Hall, D.D., of North Carolina, in or about 1804, when he was on one of his numerous journeys from near Charlotte, N. C., to the General Assembly at Philadelphia. During thirty years he attended the Assembly as a commissioner sixteen times, though the distance and hardships of travel were so great. He made the journey in his gig, and that vehicle became quite familiar to the people living along his route, which, in Virginia, lay through the counties of Culpeper, Fauquier, and Loudoun. Whenever it was possible to do so, he preached, and frequently at Leesburg. And the tradition is, that on one of these famous journeys he stopped in that town long enough to hold a protracted meeting and organize the Presbyterians into a church.

    Leesburg was not assigned to the Presbytery of Winchester at the time of its organization. None of the congregations in the Northern Neck east of the Blue Ridge were. This was done two or three years later, when the Presbytery began to send supplies to the vacancies over there. Leesburg does not appear in the minutes as a place to be supplied, or otherwise, for six or seven years, though as afterward appears, it was claimed by the Presbytery as one of the churches over which its supervision was extended. Rev. John Mines was its first regular pastor.


    The first reference we find to this important church is in the minutes of Donegal for April, 1783, and then it comes to our notice under a name almost unknown to this generation-" Cool Spring." This spring is four or five miles south of Gerrardstown on what is known as the "Runnymeade Farm," which has been owned for fifty years or more by Mr. Wilson Coe. It was there that the Gerrardstown church was founded. The date at which Presbyterian worship began there cannot now be ascertained, nor do we know by whom this worship was first conducted. It is pretty evident, however, that service must have been held at this place, and with some regularity, a considerable time before the congregation first comes to our notice, for it first comes to us as an established congregation, asking that a certain minister be appointed to supply it, with a view to his being called as the pastor, and- that minister one of the most eminent of that day, the Rev. John McKnight, who had just been released from Elk Branch. This request was a joint one from Cool Spring and Bullskin, and indicates that these new people, of whom we have heard nothing before, had no little confidence in their strength and their ability to do their share in sustaining the ordinances of the Gospel.

    The next reference to Cool Spring is in April, 1791, when it overtures the Presbytery of Carlisle to consent to its transfer to the Presbytery of Lexington in order that it may join with Winchester (already in Lexington Presbytery) in securing a minister who would give his whole time to those two places as a new and separate pastoral charge. We are not told what answer Carlisle returned to this overture, though the probability is that it was granted. The General Assembly the next year (1792) made the Potomac River the dividing line between the Synods of Philadelphia and Virginia, thus throwing all the churches south of the Potomac into the Synod of Virginia, except the church of Alexandria, whose Synodical relations were left unchanged. But while the desire of Cool Spring for a change of its Presbyterial relations was secured, its proposed joint action with Winchester in the effort to obtain a pastor was not accomplished.

    As we have not access to the Records of Lexington, under whose jurisdiction this congregation had passed, we have no further official reference to it until the organization of Winchester Presbytery. Yet there is an interesting fact in its history, for the knowledge of which we are indebted to Dr. Foote. This church, which from the first had such vigor, and which, as we have seen, manifested such zeal to secure a pastor, seemed at length to have had their hopes crowned with success. They had arranged in 1793 for the settlement of a most promising young minister, Rev. Thomas Poage, a licentiate of Lexington, the youngest son of Mr. John Poage, of Augusta County, and a brother-inlaw of Rev. Moses Hoge. He had just been married and was about to remove to Gerrardstown to begin his pastoral work, when, on the first of October, 1793, he was suddenly stricken down by death. To add to the pathos of his early removal under circumstances so affecting, his aged mother, long an invalid, sank under the shock, and in a few weeks followed her son to the grave. It was six years later before a pastor was actually settled at Gerrardstown. In 1799 the Rev. Joseph Glass, just licensed by Winchester Presbytery, was called, and labored acceptably among these people for many years.

    The removal of the church from Cool Spring to the growing village of Gerrardstown occurred about the time of Mr. Poage's lamented death. But while, by reason of the removal, its name was changed, it still, was not called Gerrardstown, but "Middletown," and by this name it was enrolled as one of the original churches of Winchester Presbytery. Just when it was regularly organized as a church cannot be stated with certainty, but it is thought to have been before the removal took place. Its first Ruling Elders were Messrs. William Wilson, Matthew Rippey and Samuel McKown.

    As soon as the removal was decided upon, measures were taken for a suitable House of Worship; and the large brick building, lately replaced by the present handsome church, was begun. It was not completed, however, for many years after; but as soon as the walls were run up, and the roof on, and the doors and windows in, and before the floors were laid, a temporary pulpit was arranged, and they began to use it as a place of worship-the congregation, as one of those early worshippers related the facts to me, sitting on the sills and sleepers with their feet resting on the ground, and, even in the coldest weather, without fire.


    Charlestown gets its name from Col. Charles Washington, who owned the land on which it was laid out. He was the brother of Gen. George Washington. The town is older than the county, of which it is the county seat. It was established in 1786, and one year after we meet the name for the first time in Ecclesiastical Records. A supplication for ministerial supplies was sent up from this place to Carlisle Presbytery in 1787. This was probably the first direct effort made by the people in that town to obtain regular Presbyterian worship for themselves. Those of our faith and order who resided in or near the place -and they had now become quite numerous-had been accustomed to attend worship either at Bullskin or Elk Branch, the two places being about equally distant.

    But the movement of this people toward independent and permanent worship did not stop, indeed, it did not begin, with their request for a preacher; they had already made arrangements to secure a place for preaching. In the same year in which their petition went up to Presbytery they purchased from Charles Washington, for "&ppound; 20 current money of Virginia," a piece of land, in the South-western part of Charlestown, on which to build a Presbyterian church. The deed for this property was signed and delivered February 17, 1787, and was "ordered to be recorded at a court held for Berkeley County the 18th day of April, 1787." The original deed laid in the office of the clerk of that county for almost one hundred years. In 1885 it was discovered among the papers in that office and is now in the keeping of the Board of Trustees of the Charlestown church. The deed was made "to David Kennedy, John White, Peter Burr and Jacob Conchlin (farmers)," "at the suit, and for the use of the Charlestown congregation of Presbyterians." On the lot thus purchased a small stone building was erected, which, in the early part of the nineteenth century, was replaced by a more commodious structure, also built of stone. When the present large and handsome church was built in 1852 the old church was sold to the late Maj. W. J. Hawkes, who had it taken down, stone by stone, and re-erected on another site, in exactly its original form, and was used, until very recently, as a carriage factory.

    It was with this proposed equipment for religious work and worship that the little band of Presbyterians in Charlestown made their first application to Presbytery for recognition. What arrangement was made for their supply, now that they felt themselves important enough to become a distinct congregation, we do not know. The minutes are silent as to any response from Presbytery. But that they received supplies with a good deal of regularity, and that they soon had some kind of an organization among themselves, seem clear from the fact that only four years later (in 1791) Charlestown was an important member of that group of congregations which applied for and secured the services of William Hill, a licentiate of Hanover Presbytery, then working under direction of the "Commission of Synod." This group was composed of Bullskin, Charlestown and Hopewell. Altogether the membership was not large, but the field offered many attractions to such an active and enterprising preacher as young Hill. His labors for the "Commission" had made him widely known in all parts of the State, and numerous calls from important fields were urged upon his acceptance, and the fact that, from among them all, he selected this one from the Lower Valley, is proof of the estimate he placed upon the prospect for substantial growth which that field presented.

    This call introduces in our history one of the most distinguished names to be found on our Presbyterial roll.

    William Hill was of English ancestry, the son of Joseph Hill, of Cumberland County, Va., and was born in that county March 3, 1769. Prepared for college by Drury Lacy, he was graduated in 1788 from Hampden-Sidney, then under the presidency of John Blair Smith. He made a public profession of religion while a student in college and his mind was at once turned to the ministry, his studies for which were pursued under the direction of President Smith. After his licensure by Hanover Presbytery, July 10, 1790, he entered upon missionary work under the Commission of the Synod of Virginia. During the two years nearly that he continued in this work he visited pretty much all the missionary fields in the State, from the Chesapeake Bay to the crest of the Alleghanies. A part of this time was spent in the counties in the lower end of this Valley, where he made the acquaintance of the people among whom the great work of his long and laborious life was performed. He was settled in Charlestown in 1792, and in October of that year was married to Nancy, daughter of Colonel William Morton, of Charlotte County, Va., with whom he lived in tenderest affection for almost sixty years. Her death, which occurred in May, 1851, preceded his own by only eighteen months.

    From his pastoral charge at Charlestown, Mr. Hill was released May 15, 1799, having been induced to undertake missionary work west of the Ohio River. Before his departure, however, he was unanimously called to the recently organized church in Winchester. The circumstances attending this call were such that he was constrained to abandon his plan of going West and he removed to Winchester, where he remained until 1834, when he tendered his resignation and removed to Prince Edward County. After preaching for awhile at the Old Briery Church, he became stated supply for a time of the second church in Alexandria; but after two or three years' absence he returned to his old home in Winchester, where he remained until his death, November 16, 1852. His remains were interred in Mount Hebron Cemetery.

    Dr. Hill was a man of commanding personality. Above the average height, and finely proportioned, his appearance, even in old age, was imposing. His vigorous intellect, impressive oratory, and skill in debate, made him a power in all the courts of his church. Having strong convictions, which he was never afraid to avow, and possessed of a temperament that could brook no opposition, it is not surprising that he sometimes found himself in collision with men of the same determination with himself. Both in his Presbytery, and in the church to which most of his long ministry was given, he was often in sharp and prolonged controversy with his brethren. He was an able, and when thoroughly aroused, a popular and very powerful preacher, and was very successful in his earnest efforts to extend and strengthen the church.

    "In 1816 the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon him by Dartmouth University. Some of his brethren used jocosely to tell him that his title to D.D. was not valid, because the institution that gave it had no legal existence, and subsequently died by a decree of court" (Sprague).

    In 1819 he was moderator of the General Assembly, and during his long life was the recipient of many honors from his church.

    Some interesting particulars connected with the settlement of Mr. Hill at Charlestown are given in his missionary diary and in the minutes of Lexington Presbytery. For these we are indebted to the sketches of Dr. Foote. He was chosen a missionary by the Commission of Synod September 21, 1790, and until the next April labored east of the Blue Ridge. Then he was ordered " to itinerate the districts of Hanover and Lexington for six months." In obedience to this order, he visited the counties of Richmond, Lancaster, Northumberland, Prince William, Fauquier, and others; then crossing to the head waters of the James, he journeyed northward through Bath, Pendleton and Hardy, and then across the mountains into Frederick and Berkeley. Resting a few days at Cedar Creek, with his friend Legrand, he, on Thursday, the 15th of September, 1791, entered the field in which nearly the whole of the remainder of his life was to be spent. On that day he preached at Bullskin; the next day in Charlestown " to a small congregation," and at night " at Mr. John White's, an old Israelite, indeed, whose house could not contain the people, whose attention was very great." On Saturday he preached at Mr. Peter Martin's, and spent that night with Moses Hoge at Shepherdstown, for whom he preached the next morning (Sabbath), and in the evening for Mr. Vance at Martinsburg. The next day (Monday) he preached at Tuscarora, and on Wednesday, the 21st, at Winchester, in the church he afterward occupied for so many years. " Many could not get into the house, and had to return home without hearing the sermon." The next Sunday he assisted at the communion at Cedar Creek, and on Wednesday, the 28th, he met the Synod, and the Commission of Synod, in Winchester, where he was taken sick, and could not resume his labors until November.

    Before the adjournment of Synod, Mr. Hill learned definitely of the reception his preaching in the Charlestown field had met. An earnest call for his pastoral services was presented to him, and accepted, but with the understanding that he could not enter upon the work until he was released from his engagement with the Commission of Synod. This, and the condition of his health, would occasion some delay. He therefore arranged with his friend, Archibald Alexander, who was present for licensure by Lexington Presbytery, to occupy the field until he was ready to take charge of it himself. Mr. Alexander entered upon this work the next week, and continued it until the next spring, preaching there and in neighboring congregations without remuneration.

    It was not until April 9, 1792, that Mr. Hill was able to make report of his mission and resign. Hanover Presbytery received him back from the Commission of Synod, and transferred him to the care of Lexington Presbytery for his settlement in the field to which he had been called. When the Presbytery of Lexington met for this purpose at Charlestown, May 28, 1792, it was found that the credentials of Mr. Hill had not arrived. But upon the testimony of a minister that he was present in Hanover Presbytery when the proper papers were ordered and made out, Mr. Hill was received and his examination for ordination was begun. The next day he preached his trial sermon in Charlestown from I John, 5:10. On May 30th the ordination services were held in the Episcopal church, a mile or so from Charlestown, the ruins of which are still standing on the Smithfield turnpike. Mr. Hoge preached from the text " Thou, therefore, endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ," and gave the charge. It is not certain that Mr. Hill was regularly installed, but he was officially placed in charge of the congregations of Bullskin, Hopewell and Charlestown; and served them with all that wonderful zeal and ability for which, through his whole ministerial life, he was so distinguished.

    Soon after Mr. Hill's settlement, the Elk Branch church, which had been for some time vacant, was partitioned between Charlestown and Shepherdstown. This was in 1792, and added very materially to the size and strength of both congregations. What change this accession of membership made in the organization at Charlestown we do not know. There are no records extant that enable us to say: It is not unlikely that Mr. Hill availed himself of this increase, which included one or more ruling elders, to effect a complete organization of his church, though this may already have been done; for the date of that organization is a question which cannot now be decided. There is a minute in the Records of Winchester Presbytery for October 6, 1815, which says, " Presbytery received information through Mr. Matthews, that since the last meeting a Presbyterian church had been organized at Charlestown." But the proof is positive that there was an organization there more than twenty years before that date. When the Presbytery was erected Charlestown was named as one of the " churches " that had a pastor. In February, 1795, an elder from this church had a seat in Presbytery. And when Mr. Hill tendered his resignation, May 15, 1799, it was not until the Presbytery was satisfied " that the previous measures required by the discipline of our church had been taken," that Presbytery "granted his request and released him from his pastoral charge." The Presbyterial minute, so far as it implies a firs! organization in 1815, is unquestionably an error. The minutes of a congregational meeting held earlier in that year-and which have been preserved-show conclusively that it was a "reorganization " for which the people had asked. Charlestown was an important church on the roll of Winchester Presbytery at its formation.


    Although Martinsburg is one of the oldest towns in the Valley of Virginia, and one of the largest west of the Blue Ridge, and largely settled originally by Scotch-Irish, and very many of whose leading families were Presbyterian, yet no Presbyterian church was organized there until December 25, 1824. The county of Berkeley was formed in 1772; and this town was laid out by Adam Stephen, esq., about 1774, and was established by law in 1778. Rev. P. V. Fithian, from whose diary we have frequently quoted, visited Martinsburg in 1776, when the whole country was astir with excitement and preparation for the great war then in progress. He writes:

    " May 19, 1776. This village (Martinsburg) is yet in infancy. Two years ago the spot was high woods. There are now perhaps thirty houses. They have already built a prison of stone and strong; and are making a Court House of no inconsiderable size and elegance. Probably if American liberty be established, for which we are now contending even in blood, this, with many other infant villages, in a series of years, will be prosperous and wealthy towns, especially if the navigation of this long river can be effected."

    The town derived its name from Col. T. B. Martin, a nephew of Lord Fairfax. It is not likely that a nephew of Lord Fairfax should be a Presbyterian. But in the Records of Donegal for April, 1785, there is a minute in which a "Mr. Thomas Martin, of Martinsburg, Va.," is mentioned as calling up a certain judicial case, the nature of which is not stated, but which the Presbytery, after some consideration, "referred to the Synod for judgment." Turning to the Records of Synod for more definite information, we find for May 19, 1785, this interesting minute, viz: " The following question, referred to Synod by the Presbytery of Donegal for their decision, was brought in by the Committee of Overtures, viz: ` Whether on full proof of adultery by one party, the Presbytery has a right to declare the marriage so far void, as that the innocent party may marry again without being liable to church censure?' And after some time spent in debating the case, it was moved, and agreed, that each member should speak to the question in the order of the roll. After which the vote was put, and the question carried in the affirmative, by a small majority" (p. 509).

    This matter may have no direct connection with the history of the church, or with any individual member of the church in Martinsburg. It is given here to show how our church in the latter half of the eighteenth century sometimes thought and acted. It has the more importance because the Presbytery of Donegal, seventeen years before this, April, 1758, had "judged that a Presbytery could absolve a church member from his covenant of marriage," and the Synod of that year, in reviewing the records, had taken exception to this action.

    It is not until 1792 that any mention of Martinsburg in connection with religious worship is found in the Presbyterial minutes. In that year "supplications from Tuscarora for themselves, and for Martinsburg, and Back Creek" were presented to Carlisle Presbytery; and that single minute is all that we find in the Records of either that Presbytery or of Synod, touching the matter until the organization of Winchester Presbytery.

    From this, however, it is not to be assumed that no Presbyterian worship was held at that time in Martinsburg. The contrary we know to be the fact. It was with that town, as with so many others in the early history of this Valley. The prevailing custom was to plant the first church in the country; and such members as were in the neighboring towns would go out to that church to worship. It was so at Winchester, Gerrardstown, and Charlestown. And it was so at Martinsburg. The Presbyterians residing there held their membership at Tuscarora. But, as was the case everywhere else, these town members as soon as practicable arranged for frequent, if not stated, worship at home. Beginning with a weekly prayer meeting, an occasional sermon would soon be secured and at length a regular appointment for Divine worship would be made. That this was the condition of things in Martinsburg might be safely inferred from the fact, not only that one of the principle Tuscarora elders, Mr. William Riddle, had his home there, but from the further fact that the Tuscarora pastor himself, who at first lived at the eastern base of the North Mountain, had moved his residence to the town. It follows, as a matter of course, that such a zealous and faithful pastor as Hugh Vance, would not fail to furnish all possible church privileges for the people of his own charge among whom he lived. When Mr. Hill preached in Martinsburg Sabbath evening, September 19, 1791, there is no intimation that such a service was anything unusual. He seems to have filled the regular appointment for that day, though the pastor was too ill to conduct the service himself. That such service had become a regular thing, at least as early as 1792, and that Martinsburg was then one of the stated appointments of Presbytery, is evident from the fact that when in that year the General Assembly had made the Potomac River the dividing line between the Synod of Philadelphia and the Synod of Virginia, the Presbytery of Lexington reported, that in consequence of that action she had "added the churches of Carmel (i. e. Shepherdstown), Martinsburg," etc., to her roll.


    Front Royal is the county seat of Warren County. It nestles snugly in a beautiful cove, among the western foot-hills of the Blue Ridge, near the confluence of the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah. The name is peculiar and many inquiries are made as to its origin. Our inquiries lead to the conclusion that no one now can answer this question with certainty. There are, however, two traditions which profess to account for the name, both running back to the eve of the Revolutionary War. One throws suspicion upon the patriotism of the people and is, therefore, generally discarded. The accepted tradition is, that, in the drill of soldiers in preparation for the war then impending, a certain officer, whose knowledge of tactics hardly measured up to his rank, was training his men in the public square where stood an unusually large specimen of the Royal Oak. Wishing his company to execute a certain manoeuvre which required them to face in a certain direction, he could not recall the proper command, became confused and in his chagrin blurted out abruptly and hotly, "Front the Royal." This order became a by-word which was jestingly fastened upon the village, and as the phrase "Front Royal" was picturesque and not wanting in euphony, the villagers wisely drew from the joke its sting by adopting that as the name for their town.

    This name, so far as we are aware, does not appear in any Ecclesiastical Records until after the erection of this Presbytery, and yet the congregations of which it is the successor had an existence several years earlier. These congregations were known as "South River" and "Flint Run." Of their origin and of their history, prior to about 1789, we have no reliable information. When the Presbytery was formed in 1794 the two "churches" of South River and Flint Run, then supporting a minister, were assigned to its care. The location of each is definitely known.

    "South River" was about two miles south of Front Royal on the road leading to Luray. Persons still living remember an old log church which stood on an eminence overlooking the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, from its proximity to which it derived its name. That old building has long since gone to utter decay, and no one knows now by whom it was built or by whom it was owned. But from the manuscript diary of "Parson" Williamson which we have read, it is quite certain that this was the "South River Church" in which he preached for so many years in his early ministry, and that it was a "Union Church" in which Baptists and Methodists also preached.

    "Flint Run" is a stream three or four miles further south, coming down from the Blue Ridge and emptying into the Shenandoah. There is no vestige of a church building there now, nor is there any tradition that there ever was one there. From the diary just referred to, it appears that all the appointments of Mr. Williamson on Flint Run were made at private houses. While at each of these places there was a good number of Presbyterian families, and frequent services were held at both, yet the inference is a fair one, that Flint Run was regarded as of secondary importance and rather an appendage of South River than an independent church. There is no evidence of any elders there, nor of any regular organization.

    The people living at each of these places seem to have been among the most prominent and prosperous of all that region, and showed great zeal in the support of their church. At what period Presbyterian worship was begun among them, we have no means of determining, nor do we know by whom services were held before Mr. Williamson came to the field, beyond the fact of an occasional appointment by Mr. Montgomery and Mr. Legrand of Opecquon. But under the earnest and faithful ministry of Mr. Williamson this charge soon grew into great importance. His ministry here began in 1792 ; before that time it is doubtful whether any proper church organization existed at either place. We do not meet with the name of any elder until November 29, 1794, when James Perry and William Bailey were elected, and the next day were ordained. From the first, services were held statedly and were well attended. When the Presbytery was formed the two places were giving their minister a support, though, as in the case of nearly all the preachers of that time, his salary was supplemented by the proceeds of a school which he conducted. The new Presbytery evidently regarded this field as one of the most promising within its bounds. Its second meeting was adjourned to meet at South River, and the fourth meeting also. It was the first place in which the Presbytery held a second meeting. As there was nothing in the business of either of these meetings requiring a session at that place, these frequent adjournments to South River must be taken as a proof of the prosperity and importance of the church at that time. It deserves notice here, that of the three ruling elders in attendance at the first meeting of Winchester Presbytery, one, Mr. James Perry, was from the South River church.

    When the services were transferred from South River Meeting House to Front Royal, and the town became the central place of worship, we do not know. The change was probably a gradual one and must have begun soon after the organization of the Presbytery. At that time appointments for preaching began to be made at the "School House" which was in the village, and in October, 1795, the first movement was made for obtaining a subscription for the building of a Presbyterian Church at Front Royal. When the Presbytery was in session at South River in June, 1796, it one day adjourned to Front Royal for an afternoon session. This is the first time we meet with that name in the Church Records. A few years later the name of South River disappears and that of Front. Royal takes its place.

    Before closing our sketch of this church it may be of interest to state, that while we have been concerned mainly, if not exclusively, with the planting and growth of Presbyterianism in Warren County, we have not been ignorant of the fact that other branches of the Christian Church were also actively at work there. Both Baptist and Methodists were strong rivals of the Presbyterian Church. This may have been the case everywhere, or almost everywheres else. But as the evidence of this denominational competition did not appear in other cases, no reference has been made to such a fact. But in the region of Front Royal the case is different. For much that we know of that region we are indebted to the diary of Mr. Williamson and in that diary constant mention is made of meetings held at South River and. Flint Run, and Front Royal by Methodist, and especially by Baptist, preachers. Mr. Williamson writes of his frequent attendance at their services, and though often expressing his dissent from their teaching and his disapproval of some things in their worship, yet his reference to them is always made in the kindest spirit, and his relations to them seem always to have been of the most fraternal character. The simple fact we want to bring out in this statement is that in planting our church within these bounds, the Presbyterians did not have the field to themselves. In some cases the Episcopal, and in others the Reformed and Lutheran Churches dispute with them the claim to precedence. Even when our preachers were first on the ground, the probability is that ministers of other denominations soon appeared to look after the interests of the people of their own faith and order.

    Rev. William Williamson, the real founder of the Front Royal church, was a Scotchman by birth, born in Edinburg about 1764, and obtained his collegiate and professional education in his native land. He had just graduated in law and had obtained his license to practice, when several young men, with whom he had been associated in the university, proposed to him to go with them to America. In accepting their proposal it was without the most remote idea on his part of remaining in this country. But the long and stormy voyage, during the whole of which he was desperately sick, so disgusted him with the ocean that he could never be induced to cross it again. When he reached New York he had to be carried in a blanket from the ship to the hotel, where for a long time he was confined to a sick bed. When able to travel he came to Virginia and engaged in teaching in Lancaster County. He was converted on the ocean and at once decided to give himself to the ministry of the Gospel. Accordingly, soon after his settlement in Virginia, he began, with characteristic diligence, a course of study preparatory to his high calling, under the direction, probably, of the ministers supplying or visiting the churches in that part of the Northern Neck. At the first opportunity that offered, in the spring of 1792, he attended a meeting of Hanover Presbytery in order to be taken under its care as a candidate. But when the Presbytery entered upon his examinations they found him so proficient in all branches of study that he was pronounced ready for licensure, and, as he writes, "contrary to his expectations and desire," they did license him. This was done, according to the entry in his own diary, May 12, 1792, although every other authority gives October 12, 1792 as the date. After his licensure he preached for a few months in the neighborhood of Gordonsville, when he crossed over into the Valley of the Shenandoah and began his long and successful labors in Warren County. The necessity of being fully qualified for ministerial work in this field soon forced itself upon him, and in the fall of the next year he met his Presbytery in Cumberland church, stood his examinations, preached his trial sermon from II. Cor., 5:20 and was ordained to the full. work of the ministry November 11, 1793. Rev. Drury Lacy preached the ordination sermon and delivered the charge.

    Returning to his field, he entered upon his duties with renewed zeal. His labors were not confined to South River and Flint Run, but were given to points far and near that were asking for preaching. Frequent appointments were made for Powell's Fort, Woodstock, Stoverstown (Strasburg), Weavers Mill, Front Royal and other places. Besides these engagements, long and exhausting journeys were made to the mountains west of Capon River and to the counties east of the Ridge.

    To give the advantages of education to the young men of his section and to increase his insufficient income, he opened (March 17, 1794) an English and classical school at Front .Royal, which was well patronized. That it might not interfere with his ministerial duties, he employed an assistant, who was himself abundantly competent to carry on the school. After some years he was induced to transfer his school to Loudoun County, near Middleburg, where it soon acquired an enviable reputation for thoroughness and excellence, and contributed largely to his influence for good over those who came under his instruction.

    Mr. Williamson was a man of uncommon energy and endurance. He was ready for any demand upon him, though his health was never robust. Neither distance, nor weather, nor bodily infirmity could deter him from meeting an appointment, if it were possible for him to reach it. A ride of forty miles, with a sermon or two, was no unusual task for a single day; and this often with a storm to breast, a mountain to cross, and swollen rivers to swim.

    He was a strong man both in the pulpit and in the courts of the church, and everywhere a bold and able advocate and defender of the Presbyterian polity and faith. He was a ready and convincing speaker. In debate his vigorous mind acted with great promptness. His voice was strong, his enunciation clear, and under excitement his action was vehement. A fellow Presbyter writes of him, that " in argument he excelled all men in his Presbytery, and in strength. of style and expression he had no superior. His sermons-never dull-were often overpowering. The ablest men in the community that listened to him, and most of them did, felt that, in point of intellect and information, he was their peer" (Foote, II, 315).

    His appearance and manner in the pulpit, and the matter of his discourse made him an impressive preacher even to children. A venerable lady, the widow of the late Giles Cook, sr., still living in Front Royal at a very advanced age, often attended his ministry in her childhood, and distinctly remembers some of the texts from which he preached, and even some of the striking expressions in his sermons and the hymns he gave out. He was a man of devout spirit and deep piety, having a most humble estimate of himself and a constant sense of his dependence upon God. Singularly free from ambition, he devoted himself chiefly to missionary work, and after a life of great usefulness he calmly died February 1, 1848, in the eighty-fourth year of his age, and in the fifty-seventh of his ministry. He was buried in Warrenton, Va.

    Mr. Williamson was married three times: first, December 21, 1792, to the widow Furman, the accomplished daughter of Colonel Stevens, of Newtown, Frederick County, Va., who died December 4, 1793, leaving an infant daughter who survived the mother less than two years. His second marriage, December 8, 1795, was with Miss Rebecca Allen, daughter of Col. William Allen, one of the most wealthy and influential of the South River congregation. She was the mother of three children, only one of whom reached maturity, viz: Dr. Philip Doddridge Williamson, a physician of Front Royal, and a man of remarkably exemplary and lovely character. His third wife was Miss Sara North Newton Moss, of Upperville, Fauquier County, Va., by whom he had nine children, seven sons and two daughters. She survived him fourteen years, dying in 1862. One daughter by this marriage, Miss Catherine Williamson, of Warrenton, Va., still survives him.


    The fact is probably known to but few now living, that there were once flourishing Presbyterian churches in the extreme eastern point of the Northern Neck of Virginia. These churches were in the counties of Northumberland and Lancaster, both of which counties are washed on the east by the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. It is possible, also, that there were churches of our faith, as it is certain there was frequent Presbyterian preaching in the two counties just above these, viz: Richmond and Westmoreland. Of the planting of these churches, and of their earliest history, we have no certain information. It has been suggested that they had their origin in the faithfulness and zeal of John Organ, a pious schoolmaster from Scotland, who had made his home somewhere in the Northern Neck, and who, according to a reliable tradition, introduced the worship of the Presbyterian church in the region in which he taught, and even secured for a time the services of so distinguished a minister as Rev. James Anderson, formerly pastor in the city of New York. But as neither the precise time of Mr. Organ's labors in Virginia nor the place of his residence is known, his relation to the churches of which we are now treating cannot be positively affirmed. It is probable he did not take up his residence there earlier than 1730.

    Our first definite knowledge of any Presbyterian interest in the lower Northern Neck goes no further back than January, 1757; and for almost all the knowledge we have, we are indebted partly to the Records of Hanover Presbytery, and partly to a fragment, that has been preserved, of a Journal kept by Col. James Gordon, of Lancaster County. Colonel Cordon emigrated, with" his brother John, from Newey, Ireland, sometime before 1740. They settled on opposite sides of the Rappahannock River; James in Lancaster County and John in Middlesex. Both were intelligent and enterprising shipping merchants, and each attained to large wealth and influence. Their descendants are numerous, and some of them highly distinguished, both in Virginia and elsewhere, These men were devoted Presbyterians, and the character and lives of the established clergy in the region where they settled, constrained them, in the interest of vital religion, to secure for their families and others the form of worship in which they had been reared. The services of Presbyterian ministers were obtained, and in spite of many difficulties, and in the face of obloquy and persecution, the Presbyterian Church was finally set up and maintained for more than a hundred years.

    That churches were organized in both these counties is very certain, and probably in Richmond and Westmoreland also, but as our information touching the history and work of the respective churches is not definite enough to enable us to say what properly belongs to one, and what to another, we must be satisfied to treat them as one field always remembering that the church at Lancaster C. H. was the largest and most important in the group.

    When these churches first come to our notice, it is evident that they had already been established for some time and one or more of them had attained to considerable strength. The first mention of either of them is for April 27, 1757. Hanover Presbytery receives "an importunate application from persons in and around Richmond County," and appointed Rev. Samuel Davies to preach there in June. In July of the same year a similar application came from Northumberland and Lancaster and Mr. Samuel Davies was sent to spend several weeks in the Northern Neck. The next year (1758) Rev. Henry Patillo was directed to spend several Sabbaths there in April and also in June and July. Mr. Davies was appointed to preach there again in the Fall of 1758, and also to hold a sacramental meeting the next March. And so from meeting to meeting of Presbytery, applications are made from these four counties, and supplies are sent, until the Fall of 1762, when the Rev. James Waddel was settled as pastor and remained until 1778.

    The entries in Col. Gordon's Journal begin January, 1759, and end December 31, 1763, and are most interesting and instructive as exhibiting the zeal of the people and the growth of the church. We find that they were favored repeatedly with the ministerial services of such men as Samuel Davies, John Todd, the Messrs. Martin, Hunt, Kilpatrick, Henry, and that distinguished patriot, Rev. James Caldwell, who was afterwards barbarously murdered in New Jersey; in fact, every minister of Hanover Presbytery preached with more or less frequency to these people.

    Equally interesting are the names of the families composing these churches, some of them among the most honored and influential in the colony, such as Selden, Carter, Watson, Robertson, Mitchell, Belvard, Shackelford, Wright, Morris, Criswell, Graftemead, Glasscock, Flood, Chichester, Thornton, Gordon, and others. Many of these gentlemen could be relied on to conduct worship when a minister could not be secured. Such entries as these are frequent in Col. Gordon's Journal, "Sunday, May 3, 1761. This day Col. Selden read a sermon in the meeting house and John Mitchell prayed." Again, "Mr. Criswell read a sermon and prayed at the meeting house," and so repeatedly.

    Not a few indications are found that piety in the household was carefully cultivated. We meet with this entry, e. g. "Sunday, January 31, 1762. At home with my family. Molly said all the Shorter Catechism. James, fifty-six of the Larger, and Mollie Herring one hundred and six."

    As giving some clue to the numerical strength of these churches we are told that at the celebration of the Lord's Supper, in one of them (supposedly the one!at Lancaster Court House), there were present March 25, 1759, besides the visitors, 54 communicants; at another time 53, not counting the visitors; again "20 new communicants and 50 old ones ;" again, "about 70 black and white, though the day was rainy." Again "the communion was administered to 90 white and 23 black communicants," and still later (September 11, 1763), "to about 115 white and 35 black."

    The meetings in Northumberland were first held in a store-room owned by Col. Gordon, but in 1761 a commodious meeting house was erected, to the building of which the Lancaster church freely contributed.

    It is almost a regular entry, that when proper notice was given and the weather was not unfavorable, the congregations which gathered at these services were very large. When the meeting was held at a private house the attendance often was greater than the house could hold.

    In June, 1762, we are told, "a lottery was drawn for the advantage of the congregation, and in a satisfactory manner," for which the good colonel adds, "Blessed be God."

    February 27, 1763, the following gentlemen were elected Ruling Elders in the Lancaster church, viz: Mr. Chichester, Thomas Carter, Dale Carter, John Mitchell, Col. Selden and Col. Gordon.

    The planting of our church in Eastern Virginia was effected under conditions vastly different from those which prevailed west of the Blue Ridge. In the Valley ours was, to a large extent, the pioneer church. There were no hostile interests from which serious opposition was to be encountered. But in the tide-water region the case was altogether different. There the English church was established by law, and "dissent" in whatever form was frowned upon and opposed. In some places it was interdicted altogether. The restrictions under which at last it was allowed to have an existence were severe and humiliating, and it required strong convictions and no little courage, to endure the persecution and ridicule to which all dissenters were subjected. The Presbyterians in the Northern Neck felt the full force of this opposition. Their attempt to introduce dissenting worship, where the Established church claimed exclusive jurisdiction, was openly resisted. And from the first they were subjected to a bitter persecution, both of violence and contempt. The Gordons and a few others of kindred spirit met this with a resolution born of faith in God. But there were many whose courage failed in the hour of trial. While the effort, to establish a church at Northumberland, was still an experiment, Col. Gordon returned from a meeting there and made this entry in his Journal, "went to meeting today, a pretty large company of common people and negroes, but very few gentlemen. The gentleme n who were inclined to come are afraid of being laughed at. Mr. Minzie [the rector] endeavors to make it such a scandalous thing." When his own church was closed Col. Gordon and his family were accustomed to attend the English church, but once he makes this entry, "Sunday. At home with my wife and family where I have much more comfort than going to church, hearing the ministers ridicule the dissenters." Though a man of even temper and courteous speech, he once under their coarse and abusive treatment of himself and friends, is provoked to write, "they behaved like blackguards." Everything possible was done to prevent the success of the Presbyterian church. The business interests of its members were interfered with. Threatening and scurrilous letters were written by the clergy to the preachers who ventured within their parishes. Sermons were largely taken up with the abuse of those dissenting from the Established Church. Evangelical religion was ridiculed as bigotry and fanaticism. Farces were written and played in caricature of Presbyterianism. Under such difficulties and discouragements it is a wonder that our church survived; yet its growth was steady and even rapid.

    Though served for many years by supplies from Hanover Presbytery or by missionaries, these churches made frequent and earnest efforts to secure a pastor for themselves whom they were well able to support. These efforts, however, failed until in 1762, Licentiate James Waddel was induced to settle among them, and under his wise and able ministry they entered upon a new era of prosperity, though the persecutions to which they had been subjected in no wise ceased.

    Mr. Waddel, "The Blind Preacher," whom Mr. Wirt in the British Spy has immortalized, was born at Newry, in the north of Ireland, in July, 1739. In his infancy he was brought to America by his parents, who settled on White Clay Creek, Pa. His mother was a devotedly pious Presbyterian. An injury to his left hand, received in his boyhood, which disqualified him for manual labor, decided his father to give him a liberal education. This he obtained largely at the Academy at Nottingham, Md., taught by Dr. Samuel Finley, afterward President of Nassau Hall. Such was his proficiency, especially in the classics, that at an early age he was made an assistant in the school. Here he was admitted to the communion of the church. Resolved to devote himself to teaching, he set out to find a settlement in the South. In Hanover County, Va., he met Rev. Samuel Davies, by whom he was persuaded to change his plans and devote himself to the ministry. He entered at once upon his theological studies under direction of Rev. John Todd, of Louisa County, and was licensed by Hanover Presbytery at Tinkling Spring, April 2, 1761. In October of the next year he was settled over the churches in the counties of Lancaster and Northumberland, and was ordained in Prince Edward June 16, 1763.

    When this settlement was made, Mr. Waddel looked upon it as only a temporary arrangement. Both his convictions and his inclinations were in favor of a field of labor in Pennsylvania. But such were the spiritual destitutions of the region, and such the hospitality, intelligence and piety of the people among whom he labored that his reluctance to making his permanent home in the Northern Neck was soon overcome. His people found in him everything they could desire in a minister and treated him with every mark of affectionate regard. About the year 1768 he was united in marriage to Mary, daughter of his elder, Col. James Gordon,who shortly afterward established him in a new and commodious house on the Curratoman River. It soon became evident, however, that his health would not endure that malarial climate. He suffered each ,year from an attack of intermittent fever, and often preached when he was hardly able to stand. This, together with the ravages of war, to which the location of his home made him peculiarly exposed, led him, in the early years of the war, to ask his Presbytery to release him from his pastoral charge.

    As soon as his unsettled condition became known, calls for his services reached him from many fields. And the fact is of special interest to us, that the congregations of Opecquon and Cedar Creek, in whose bounds Colonel Gordon owned valuable lands, sent up an earnest call for him as early as April 14, 1774, which he declined. A call two years later from Tinkling Spring was finally accepted, and in 1778 he removed his family to that place. Seven years afterwards, in 1785, he returned to Eastern Virginia and made his home near Gordonsville, where the remainder of his life was spent, part of which was passed in total blindness. Rev. William Williamson, who was his intimate friend, tells us in his diary, that on a visit to him early in 1795 he found his sight seriously impaired, and in the summer of that year it was entirely gone. His loss of sight, however, did not keep him from the pulpit, and he continued to preach until his last protracted illness; which ended in his death of Christian triumph, September 17, 1805.

    In 1792 the degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred on Mr. Waddel by Dickinson College at Carlisle, Pa.

    It was in the early ministry of Dr. Waddel, viz: in the late summer of 1763, that George Whitefield made his celebrated visit to the Northern Neck, staying there for more than a week and preaching to crowded houses. But while his preaching made a profound impression and many were added to the churches, we are somewhat surprised to learn that the more intelligent people of these congregations were not carried away with his eloquence as they were everywhere else. They admired his fervent zeal, but did not hesitate to declare their preference for that style of preaching to which they had become accustomed under the ministry of Samuel Davies and James Waddel. Indeed, we learn, in connection with this visit that this great preacher was not without some great faults. Among the most conspicuous was his inordinate self-appreciation. In his letters, written to Mr. Waddel after his visit, he does not conceal his high estimate of himself as a chosen instrument for the spread of the Gospel. In his account of the wonderful results of his preaching he annexes to almost every sentence several notes of admiration. ( ! ! ! ) These, however, are only flies in the ointment of the apothecary. He was sound in his theology and eminently scriptural in his preaching. Whatever defects may have been found in his Calvinism in his early ministry, it, at last, was such as to satisfy even Toplady, who pronounced him "a sound divine."

    Of Mr. Waddel's eloquence as a preacher nothing more need be written after Mr. Wirt's famous sketch of his sermon in the meeting-house in the woods, with which every reader is presumed to be familiar. Among his contemporaries whose judgment is entitled to weight, he was looked upon as without a superior in the pulpit. Patrick Henry was accustomed to say that Davies and Waddel were the greatest orators he ever heard. Gov. James Barbour, of Virginia, declared that Mr. Waddel surpassed all orators he ever knew. His brother Phillip Barbour, and many others, held the same opinion. It has sometimes been asked if the accomplished author of the British Spy did not avail himself of the license of fiction in his sketch of the sermon he heard ? But Mr. Wirt himself is on record as saying, that "so far from adding colors to the picture of Dr. Waddel's eloquence, he had fallen below the truth," and declared that "though his oratory was of a different species, it was fully equal to that of Patrick Henry." It was the opinion, however, of Dr. A. Alexander (who married his daughter) that "the preaching of Dr. Waddel, which was so greatly admired by the intelligent and refined, did not equally attract and move the illiterate and ignorant. Often such would prefer hearing the uneducated declaimer."

    It is with sadness we record that these churches, once so flourishing, are now extinct. After the removal of Mr. Waddel to the Valley of the Shenandoah and the death of Col. Gordon they visibly declined and finally were pretty much absorbed by the Baptists, the prevailing denomination in that part of the Northern Neck. The decline of these churches was due largely to the fact that the estates of our people, lying near .the two navigable rivers and the bay, were peculiarly exposed to the ravages of British vessels during the War of the Revolution. The property of the wealthy Presbyterian planters and merchants was carried away and their families were reduced from affluence to poverty. After the organization of Winchester Presbytery supplies were sent regularly to Lancaster and Northumberland for fifty years or until our churches there had entirely ceased to exist.

    The congregations, whose early history we have here been trying to trace, embrace all within our Presbyterial bounds, to which, according to official records, missionaries or supplies were sent, and over some of which pastors were settled prior to December 4, 1794. Doubtless there were other places at which supplies sometimes preached, or at which pastors may have had stated appointments, as e. g. Strasburg, Woodstock, Powell's Fort, etc., where as we learn from the diary of Mr. Williamson, he and Mr. Legrand, and perhaps others, occasionally preached. But this was not by Presbyterial appointment and up to the time of the organization of Winchester Presbytery, these places had not developed sufficient ecclesiastical importance to entitle them to special notice in this history nor are they mentioned in the Presbyterial Records.

    And now that we have reached the period of our Presbyterial organization, let us take a hasty survey of the field committed to the oversight of this new judicatory. In this survey we will find that

    Presbyterianism made greater advances in the Valley than in Eastern Virginia. In the whole of the Northern Neck there were now about thirty different congregations under the care and supervision of Presbytery. Less than one-third of these were on the east side of the Blue Ridge, and while four or five of these were regarded as organized churches, only one of them was in charge of a pastor, and that one (Alexander) had already beer transferred to another Presbytery; while on the west side there were six settled ministers, who, whether regularly installed or not, practically sustained the relation of pastor to the churches they were serving.

    And here it would be interesting to know in what manner and to what extent these early churches were organized. That they all were fully equipped as our "Book of Church Order" requires is very far from probable. It is much more likely that the greater part of them did not have such an organization as we would be willing now to recognize. Two or three congregations in Eastern Virginia and perhaps eight or nine in the Valley, may have been in a condition to meet the requirements of the present day, but, in many places the proper material for church officers was not at their command, and the people had to content themselves with such an organization as would enable them to secure public worship, with such Gospel ordinances as could be obtained. Our fathers meant to be Presbyterians pure and simple. Their preference for their own church was decided, but in the unsettled condition in which they found themselves, they laid more stress on its doctrines and worship than on its polity. For doctrine they were especially zealous. If sometimes seemingly indifferent in reference to forms they were always very solicitous in reference to faith. They were valiant for the truth. The preaching of their ministers was carefully watched, and a stranger was sometimes subjected to a rigid examination as to his orthodoxy, before he was admitted to their pulpit. Every man that preached to them must be a Calvinist of a pronounced type. His indulgence in wine-or in something stronger-might be overlooked; but for the slightest departure from the doctrines of the Westminster Confession there was no tolerance. As might be expected of such men, they were careful to have their children trained up in the strict faith of their fathers. And repeatedly, as we have seen, when a supply was asked for a vacant church, it was stipulated that one should be sent who would take time to give instruction, to both parents and children, in the catechisms of the church. In this zeal for an acquaintance with the Presbyterian standards, the old Presbytery of Donegal, at least, was in full sympathy. When supplies were sent, they were specially charged, in many instances, to be diligent in catechising the people to whom they preached. But this method of doctrinal instruction was not left to preachers alone. Parents themselves were deeply solicitous that their children should be "brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Family religion was carefully cultivated; and as an important aid to this, the Sabbath recitation of the Catechism, both Larger and Shorter, was not neglected.

    In our hurried review of the planting of our church in this region, we are made more and more sensible of our indebtedness to those sturdy immigrants, who penetrated these solitudes, and laid here the foundations of that civilization, and wealth, and freedom which we now claim as our priceless heritage. We recognize, with gratitude, the foresight, and courage, and patience, and industry, they displayed, in the risks they ran, in the labors they expended, and in the sacrifices they endured, that they might reclaim the wilderness from the savage, and fit it for the abode of civilized man. But we would do them serious injustice, if we did not hold prominently in view that stalwart faith which kept them always mindful of their dependence upon God, and of their responsibility to Him. It was their simple, unfeigned piety, as humble followers of the Lord Jesus, that led them to erect a church wherever they settled; and to build for God, wherever they built for themselves. His cause was as dear to them as their lives, and the ordinances of His House as necessary to them as their daily bread.

    But while we admire the Divine grace in these men that kept them faithful to the teachings of their fathers, and made them zealous for the Kingdom of God, we must not forget that devoted band of earnest, self-denying preachers of the Word, by whose godly ministry the piety and zeal of these hardy pioneers was kept alive. In the whole history of the Christian Church, abounding as it does, from first to last, with deeds of heroic devotion and self-sacrifice, there is scarcely anything better fitted to call forth our admiration than the faith, and endurance, and patient toil of these noble heralds of the cross, who were chiefly instrumental in carrying the Gospel into these solitudes and planting the church in the vallies, and on the plains, and among the mountains, and by the water-courses of the New World. Though few in number, they set agencies in operation that have accomplished wonderful results. But they did it at a cost of time, and toil, and self-denial, that speaks volumes for their zeal, and consecration, and endurance. The places which they visited, and where congregations were gathered by them, which they were often sent to supply, were, many of them, hundreds of miles from their homes. To reach them the solitary journey must be performed on horseback, and often through pathless forests. Mountains had to be crossed by Indian trails. Swollen rivers had to be forded. Storms must be breasted, and the extremes of heat and cold encountered. Shelter for the night was not always assured. In our day, when we can travel to our appointments over the smoothest roads, with a speed that almost annihilates space, and, if we please, in a parlor coach; and at the end of an easy and rapid journey, are welcomed to a richly-furnished home, with its warm chamber and luxurious bed; we can hardly imagine the exposure, and weariness, and privation, and hardship that a missionary appointment meant to the men of that early day. The cheerfulness with which, under these forbiding circumstances, they accepted the mission and filled their appointments, challenges our highest admiration.

    There was another hardship of a very different character from those just named, with which the pioneers of Presbyterianism had to contend in planting their church in Northern Virginia. I refer to the opposition they encountered from the civil government, inspired by the Established Church. For reasons already intimated this opposition was greatly relaxed in the Valley counties, but east of the Ridge it made itself seriously felt wherever an attempt was made to introduce any worship other than that of the English Church. It is not pleasant to speak of this, and the subject has been avoided as much as possible in the previous pages. But the heroic spirit of the early fathers, and the true history of that period would be imperfectly understood if silence were maintained in regard to the persecutions sometimes petty, but often violent-which, in colonial days, were visited upon the men of our faith and order, when they undertook to worship God here after the manner to which they had been used at home.

    It was under the auspices of the Church of England that the first colonists came to Virginia, and for nearly a hundred years no serious effort was made to introduce the faith and worship of any other Church. But when the effort was made it was met with the most determined opposition. Existing laws, if not so intended, were so interpreted, as not only to discourage, but to forbid what was contemptuously called "dissent." These laws prevailed elsewhere, but they were more grievous and more rigidly enforced in Virginia than in any other Colony. Even under the Act of Toleration, the worship of dissenters was permitted, when permitted at all, only under restrictions of the severest and most humiliating character. The minister must obtain a license from the civil authorities and register the place of worship, and bind himself by various oaths, not only to abstain from teaching heresy, but to behave himself peaceably toward the government. Special permission must be secured to use even a private house as a place of worship. Every possible difficulty was placed in the way of obtaining this permission, and when obtained it gave no security against molestation. The most outrageous means were often employed to disturb and break up the meetings. On one occasion a hornet's nest was thrown into the room ; on another, a snake, and, in at least one instance, firearms were used to disperse the assembly. In frequent instances the preachers were imprisoned and beaten, and "cruelty taxed its ingenuity to devise new modes of punishment and annoyance."

    The "Act of Toleration," passed in 1689, was the measure of the liberties and privileges of the non-Episcopal churches of Virginia. And .under that Act all dissenters were debarred from a seat in the Legislature, and were not allowed to hold a church building or a graveyard in their own name. The Book of Common Prayer must be read in all their assemblies and the sacraments must be administered according to the rites of the Established Church. They were taxed for the building and repairs of Episcopal churches, and a competent maintenance of the clergy, with a house and glebe in every parish, must be provided at the common charge. At every Court House a church must be built for the Establishment at the public expense, while dissenters were obliged to locate their houses of worship at some point removed from these positions of influence. In consequence of this requirement, down to the commencement of the Revolutionary War, there was not a Presbyterian church in any town in Virginia, though the ministers of that church were the most learned of any class of preachers in the Colony. The right to build outside the towns was sometimes denied ; and even when granted it was often done under conditions unnecessarily harsh and annoying. It was against an opposition as exasperating and offensive as this that the fathers had to contend in planting Presbyterianism in the Northern Neck. Had their religious convictions been less deep, or their Christian fortitude less determined, they would have yielded to the hostile forces arrayed against them and abandoned the effort in despair. But the cause was one for which their fathers had contended even unto blood, and which their father's God had blessed; and with a devotion which no persecution could weaken, and with a resolution which no violence could overcome, they moved calmly forward through scorn and obliquy and opposition and finally succeeded in establishing upon these western shores "a Church without a Bishop, and a State without a King."

    And this indicates both their Presbyterianism and their patriotism, for there is no dispute as to the stand they took in the great struggle for the liberties of America. They espoused, with the greatest ardour and constancy, the cause of the Colonies against the aggressions of the mother country. This should not surprise us, after what we have seen of the oppression to which they had been subjected from the civil government and the Established Church. The fact that their existence was merely tolerated and that they were subject to so many unjust demands, naturally weakened their loyalty and determined their attitude toward the Crown. When the controversy began, it is true, they avowed their allegiance to the King, but when there was no longer any hope of redress, they became the foremost advocates for the absolute independence of the Colonies. It was to them a question of religious as well as civil liberty, and they entered into the conflict with a determination not to lay down their arms until these liberties were fully secured. Their course was in striking contrast with that of the great majority of the clergy of the Church of England. They had no grievance of which to complain. There was no fear of the infringement of their ecclesiastical liberties. On the contrary, all their rights and privileges were secured to them by the fact that theirs was the National Church. It was at the greatest sacrifice, therefore, that any of them should side with the Colonies in their struggle ; and hence it should occasion no surprise that much the larger number of them remained faithful at once to their Church and to their King. It was decidedly to their interest to do so. One of them, Dr. Chandler, in defending the action of the British Government, toward the people of America, and the attitude of his own church in reference to that action, says: "Episcopacy and monarchy are, in their form and constitution, best suited to each other. Episcopacy can never thrive in a Republican Government, nor Republican principles in an Episcopal church." But with the Presbyterians and other so-called dissenters, the case was entirely different. A change in the civil administration would be greatly to their interest; and such was their zeal for deliverance from the foreign yoke that they were found in the forefront of the movement for total separation from the country that oppressed them. The Synod of New York and Philadelphia was prompt in putting itself on record for the independence or the Colonies. The Presbytery of Hanover, in a memorial to the Legislature of Virginia, expressed with earnestness its hearty endorsment of the cause for which the country was preparing to contend. The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, advocated and signed chiefly by Presbyterians, was more than a year in advance of the Declaration issued by the Continental Congress. The zeal of our people may have carried them too far in the action of their church courts; but surely no charge of lukewarmness or backwardness can be laid against them.

    It is to be regretted that statistics are not now at hand to show the extent to which the Presbyterians of the Northern Neck embarked in the War of the Revolution. In the absence of these, we must be content with the simple statement that all the facts that can be obtained bearing on the matter make it clear that they stood shoulder to shoulder with their brethren throughout the land, and faithfully upheld with their fortunes and their lives the cause they so zealously espoused. No shadow of suspicion has ever rested upon their patriotism, their fidelity, or their courage.

    Before closing our history of the planting of Presbyterianism here, it is important that some definite account should be given of the various Presbyterial relations these churches have at different times sustained. These relations have been so numerous, and have changed so often, in the course of our history, that no little confusion must arise where the facts are not distinctly known. The following brief statement will help to relieve the reader of much of his perplexity.

    The first Presbytery in America was constituted in Philadelphia in 1705 or 1706. For a period of ten or eleven years this was the only Presbytery in this country. In 1716 it was sub-divided and the three additional Presbyteries of New Castle, Snow Hill (in Maryland) and Long Island were constituted and the Synod of Philadelphia was formed. The evangelistic work of the church was carried on for several years by the Presbyteries and Synod alike. But as the work in Virginia began to grow, the Synod, which had had it in charge, committed it, in 1724, to the Presbytery of New Castle, whose undefined southern boundary extended beyond the Potomac. Of the first work of this Presbytery in Virginia we know really nothing, as the volume recording it` is lost. In 1732 the Presbytery of Donegal was formed out of the Presbytery of New Castle; and while its boundaries were not carefully defined, it at once began to exercise jurisdiction in Maryland and Virginia west of the Blue Ridge. In 1755, while the rupture of the Synods lasted, the Presbytery of Hanover was formed by the Synod of New York, out of the Presbytery of New Castle. At that time the only churches east of the Blue Ridge, in the territory that afterward belonged to Winchester Presbytery, were those in Lancaster and Northumberland counties; and these fell under the care of Hanover Presbytery. After the re-union of the Synods, the churches of the Upper Valley, which had been founded and fostered by Donegal, also fell into the bounds of Hanover. The missionaries and supplies of this new Presbytery were also sent occasionally along the South Branch. This was no; regarded as an intrusion upon the jurisdiction of Donegal. At that time, and until a later period, the Presbyterial bounds south of the Potomac were not strictly defined; and it seems to have been understood, that no offence would be given if the members of one Presbytery should sometimes be found laboring in the bounds of another. For a number of years the territory between the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers seem to have been common ground for the missionaries of Donegal, New Castle, Hanover, and even other Presbyteries; but as it was more accessible to the ministers of Donegal, it gradually came under the jurisdiction of that Presbytery.

    In 1765 Donegal Presbytery was dissolved, and out of it the Presbyteries of Lancaster and Carlisle were formed. The churches south of the Potomac were placed in connection with Carlisle. But this action was rescinded the next year, and the Presbytery of Donegal was restored to the roll of the Synod. In 1786, however, this Presbytery was divided by the Synod into the Presbyteries of Baltimore and Carlisle, and the name of Donegal finally disappears. Mr. Keith, the pastor at Alexandria, was assigned to Baltimore, but all the other Virginia members of Donegal were assigned to Carlisle. At the same session of the Synod, the Presbytery of Lexington was constituted out of that part of the territory of Hanover which was west of the Blue Ridge. It was to be bounded on the north by the Presbytery of Carlisle (just constituted). The churches assigned to it are not named. But among the ministers of which it was to consist are the names of John Montgomery, pastor of Opecquon, Cedar Creek, and Winchester, and Moses Hoge, pastor of Concrete, on the South Branch. This seems to be a recognition of a change of boundary lines, of which there is no official record. When the Presbytery of Hanover was formed in 1755, it was ordered by the Synod of New York, " that any members settling to the southward and Westward of Mr. Hoge's congregations (i. e., John Hoge, pastor of the Opecquon charge) shall have liberty to join said Presbytery of Hanover." Before 1786, and apparently without any direct act of transfer by the Synod, some of the churches belonging to Donegal had gotten under the care of Hanover, and were embraced in the new Presbytery of Lexington. This was true of the congregations of Opecquon, Cedar Creek, Winchester and Moorefield, with all the territory south of them.

    When, in 1788, the old Synod of New York and Philadelphia resolved itself into four Synods, and formed the General Assembly, the Presbyterial relations of the churches in Virginia were not disturbed. In the reports made to the General Assembly at its first meeting in 1789, we find the churches in the territory in which we are interested, reported as belonging to the following Presbyteries, viz:

    To Carlisle-Tuscarora, Falling Waters, Back Creek, Charlestown, Shepherdstown, Romney, Patterson's Creek and Cool Spring.

    To Baltimore-The Alexandria Church.

    To Lexington-Winchester, Opecquon, Cedar Creek, and Concrete (Moorefield) ,

    To Hanover-Fauquier and Lancaster.

    It will be observed that the churches of Northumberland, Kittocktin, and Gum Spring east of the Ridge, and of Capon, Springfield and Elk Branch west of the Ridge, are not mentioned at all.

    The incongruity, however, of leaving so many of the Virginia churches in a Pennsylvania Presbytery, and a Pennsylvania Synod, was so apparent that, in 1792, the General Assembly ordered " that the river Potomac be the boundary line between the Synods of Philadelphia and Virginia, except the congregation of Alexandria, which shall belong to the Synod of Philadelphia." The effect of this order was to change the boundary lines of the three Presbyteries of Carlisle, Lexington and Hanover. At its next meeting Lexington added to its roll of churches," Carmel Shepherdstown , Martinsburg, Tuscarora, Back Creek, Falling Waters, Charlestown and Hopewell." Cool Spring had, the year before, petitioned for a transfer to Lexington and as its name is not mentioned here, we infer that its petition was granted. In this transfer no mention is made of Romney, Springfield, Patterson's Creek, Back Creek or Capon; we do not know why. Under this order of the General Assembly Hanover promptly extended its northern boundary to the Potomac.

    The action of the General Assembly in making the Potomac River the boundary line between these two Synods seems so suitable and proper, that we are not a little surprised to find the next year, "a petition from the congregations of Tuscarora and Falling Waters, praying to be re-united to the Presbytery of Carlisle." This petition was granted; and in that old connection these two churches remained until May, 1804, when, on their own petition, they were transferred to the Presbytery of Winchester, in which relation they have happily continued for a hundred years.

    Before this transfer was made, however, there was another disturbance, though only temporary, of the Presbyterial relations of these two churches. The Synod of Philadelphia, in the Fall of 1792, recommended to Carlisle its division into two or more Presbyteries, and the next August, 1793, Carlisle concluded to divide into four Presbyteries, viz: Carlisle, Huntingdon, York and Franklin. In this division, Tuscarora, Martinsburg and Falling Waters were assigned to the care of Franklin Presbytery. But the Synod disapproved of this division and restored our Virginia churches to their old relation with Carlisle Presbytery.

    We have now completed our self-imposed task. We have sketched, so far as the material at our command would enable us to do it, the history of the planting of Presbyterianism within the territory originally covered by the Presbytery of Winchester, down to the time of the organization of that Presbytery in 1794. We are fully sensible of the imperfections of this work, and we sympathize with our readers in the disappointment many of them will feel at the meagre and unsatisfactory character of the sketches here presented. Our excuse is, the surprisingly scant material we have found, out of which to construct a history. And yet it is hoped that the facts we have been able to rescue from an oblivion-into which some of them were rapidly falling--few as they are and insignificant as many of them are-may possess a certain interest and even value to some, who are eager to learn all that can be known that bears even remotely upon the history of their beloved church.

    It remains for us, in concluding this little volume, to record the organization of that Presbytery, to which was to be committed the training of those churches, the history of whose planting has been imperfectly given.

    In 1794 the conditions were favorable for a separate Presbyterial organization in the Lower Valley. There were twenty congregations fully organized for worship, and about one-half of them organized as Presbyterian churches. Fourteen of these congregations were in the Valley of the Shenandoah-all of which, except Gerrardstown, were served by the five pastors then settled here. The other six congregations were in the Valleys of the South Branch and Capon. Those in Hampshire County were under the ministry of Rev. John Lyle. The two in Hardy County, Concrete and Lost River, were vacant. Rev. Moses Hoge had, for seven years, served the Carmel (or Shepherdstown) church with such fidelity and acceptance that he had gathered there a large and growing congregation, and largely through his influence and labors the neighboring congregations were greatly enlarged and strengthened. At Charlestown the Rev. William Hill had been settled for two years or more, and under his energetic ministry that field, which embraced also Hopewell (or Smithfield) and Bullskin, was rapidly growing in numbers and importance, although Bullskin had already begun to transfer its families to the other two churches, thereby strengthening them, but resulting, in a few years, in its own extinction. At Opecquon and Cedar Creek and Winchester, Rev. Nash Legrand was carrying forward most successfully that brilliant ministry under which his two venerable churches reached their highest stage of prosperity, while Winchester, which for twenty years or more had been an appendage of that field, was beginning to manifest some restiveness at a relation which did not allow the amount of service to which so large and important a town was entitled, and had very distinctly indicated her wish and purpose to become an independent church. A few miles to the southeast of Mr. Legrand, the Rev. William Williamson was diligently preaching to the congregations of South River and Flint Run, and, against the rivalry of both Baptists and and Methodists, who were on the field before him and whose influence was growing, was quietly building up a vigorous and active church of our faith and order. Passing westward to the Lower South Branch Valley, we find the Rev. John Lyle, who had recently begun his memorable ministry to the churches of Springfield, Romney and Patterson's Creek (or Frankfort, as this church is sometimes called) and whose labors, in fact, extended to the whole of Hampshire County.

    Returning now to the Shenandoah Valley, we find the Rev. John Boyd just settled over the churches of Falling Waters and Tuscarora, including the important congregation which had been gathered at Martinsburg. In this interesting field, Mr. Boyd's ministry continued for six years. His churches, however, were not a part of Lexington Presbytery, and they had so decidedly expressed their unwillingness to be separated from their old associates across the Potomac, when the General Assembly, in 1792. had reconstructed the Synodical lines and thrown these churches into the Virginia Synod and into a Virginia Presbytery ; that now when they would have been very important to the Presbytery about to be formed, and when that Presbytery would have been very convenient to them, no movement was made to disturb their Presbyterial relations. It was not until ten years afterwards that, of their own motion, they were united to our Presbytery.

    The number of congregations and ministers now found in the Lower Valley and their proximity to each other, made their formation into a separate Presbytery a matter of great convenience, while their distance from the churches and ministers of the Upper Valley made such an organization almost a necessity.

    Accordingly, the Synod of Virginia, at its sessions in Harrisonburg, September 26, 1794, took the following action, viz:

    "On motion it was proposed that the Synod should divide the Presbytery of Lexington and constitute another Presbytery of a portion of its members. The proposition was agreed to, and the division is as follows:

    "The dividing line shall begin on that part of the boundary of the Presbytery of Redstone, on the Alleghany Mountains, where Hardy County is divided from Pendleton, running thence with the said line until the same reaches the corner of Rockingham County; from thence a direct course to the place where the great road through Keizletown to Winchester crosses the river of Shenandoah; from thence to Swift Run Gap on the Blue Ridge, which reaches the boundary of the Presbytery of Hanover.

    "The members lying northeast of said division shall be constituted a Presbytery, and shall be known by the name of Winchester Presbytery, consisting of the Rev. Messrs. Moses, Hoge, Nash Legrand, William Hill and John Lyle, and they shall hold their first meeting at the town of Winchester on the first Thursday of next December. Mr. Hoge, or in his absence, the next senior member present, shall preach a sermon on the occasion and preside until a new moderator be chosen.

    "On motion, Mr. William Williamson was added to the number mentioned in the above minute constituting the Presbytery of Winchester.

    "A true copy, certified by

    "SAMUEL HOUSTON, "Synod's Clerk."

    The new Presbytery met, as ordered by Synod, "in the Presbyterian Meeting House in the town of Winchester, Thursday, December 4, 1794." There were present three ministers, viz: Messrs. Hoge, Legrand and Williamson, and three Ruling Elders, viz: William Buckles, of Shepherdstown; James Perry, of South River; and Alexander Freely, of

    Dr. Hoge, by appointment of Synod, presided and preached the opening sermon from Matt. 13 : 31, 32 (the Parable of the Mustard Seed) and was chosen the first Moderator and also the Stated Clerk-which latter office he held until October 3, 1807, when he was dismissed to the Presbytery of Hanover.

    It may here be mentioned, that within three years of its organization., the boundaries of the Presbytery of Winchester were extended east of the Blue Ridge, so as to include the whole territory of the "Northern Neck," except the church at Alexandria. At its session in Winchester, September 28, 1797, the Synod of Virginia took the following action, viz: "through the committee of overtures was now brought forward a proposition to enlarge the bounds of Winchester Presbytery by the addition of the remainder of the Northern Neck which belonged to the Presbytery of Hanover and the following is established as its Southern line, viz: beginning at Swift Run Gap, thence a straight line to the head source of the Rapidan River, thence down the said river to its confluence with the Rappahannock, thence down the said river to the Chesapeake Bay; which proposition was taken up by the Synod and agreed to."

    It is not a little remarkable that within the limits of the immense territory now added to the Presbytery, there does not appear to have been a single resident Presbyterian minister, nor, so far as we can find, a single Presbyterian church with the stated ministration of the Word. It is not easy to account for this in a region in which before the Potomac River was, in 1792, made the dividing line between the two Synods, the Presbytery of Carlisle and still earlier, the Presbytery of Donegal, had been so active and apparently so successful in missionary labor. It is probable that the field was too extensive for Hanover Presbytery, with its limited resources, to supply, and naturally the portion to which most of its members were strangers would be neglected, and therefore, with the concurrences of all parties, that part of the field was transferred to the new Presbytery. As soon as the transfer was made Winchester began very actively to supply the destitutions east of the Ridge, though its success in that region was never such as to inspire or encourage any inordinate measure of pride.

    The five ministers constituting the Presbytery of Winchester at its organization were, all of them, men whom the church may well hold in grateful remembrance for their exalted character and efficient services. All of them, perhaps, were above the average in ability and excellence. Two of them, Hoge and Hill, attained to great eminence in the church; while as an effective and popular preacher Legrand excelled them both; and in scholarship and argumentative power Williamson was superior to them all. They were then all in the prime of life. Hoge, the eldest, was forty-three. Lyle, who entered the ministry at a more mature age than the rest, was not much younger than Hoge, and each of the other three was under thirty.

    Four of these men were of Virginia birth and education, the fifth, Williamson, was a native of Scotland and a graduate of the University of Edinburg. All of them were men whose consecrated talents and fervent piety have left their lasting impress on the church.

    The Presbytery organized by these distinguished pioneers was not marked at first by rapid growth. Their number was insufficient for the adequate cultivation of the large territory assigned them. Scarcely any candidates offered themselves for the ministry, and but few laborers could be induced to come to a region so remote, and, at that time so difficult of access. Yet these men were most faithful to their trust, and unremitting in their labors. But in a short time even their limited number wag reduced by removal and sickness and death. The eminent talent, and ripe scholarship of Dr. Hoge were claimed for a more important field of usefulness ; and he was called to the Presidency of Hampden-Sydney College and to the office of training others for the ministry. A few months after his removal, Mr. Lyle succumbed to the hardships which his labors imposed, and he was laid in an unmarked and now unknown grave. Two years later the saintly Legrand was compelled to retire from the pulpit in shattered health, and before middle life was reached that eloquent voice, that had pleaded so earnestly and persuasively and successfully for the Master, was hushed in death. Only two of the five were permitted to see the ripe fruit of their labors. Long years before they were called to enter into the joy of their Lord, it was the privilege of Hill and Williamson to see the work they had begun expanding, and gratifying numbers added to their Presbyterial roll, both of ministers and churches. And now, through the blessing of the Great Head of the Church upon their faithfulness and the faithfulness of those who labored with and have followed them, the Presbytery which started from such small beginning has attained a strength and exhibits a zeal that have given her a place among the foremost in activity and influence. She has indeed "become two bands," but the venerable mother and her honored daughter (Chesapeake)-divided by the Blue Ridge, and covering together the Northern Neck-are diligently engaged, each with an earnest and able ministry in extending the Redeemer's Kingdom and in training the churches which the fathers planted.