Saturday, November 24, 2012

Zion Baptist Church in Orange County, Virginia

My good buddy, Harvey Taylor brought me a pamphlet from the Zion Baptist Church in Orange County, Virginia.  Harvey and I had been working on our mutual Hawkins line.  He took two of his aunts to visit Orange County, and on the last day he called and asked me what they should do for the remaining hours.  I told him to visit the church and they did.  And they brought me the following information from the pamphlet:

The History of Zion Baptist Church (based on oral and written facts)  Birth of Zion Oct 13, 1813

First Pastor, John Churchill Gordon
First Deacon, James Perry
The first members were people of great zeal and determination for the work of the Lord.

On the thirtieth day of October, in the year 1813, seventeen males and an unknown number of females met in the home of Brother Hawkins, about three and a half miles south of Orange.  After a sermon from Elder A. Waller (a nephew of the pioneer John Waller), taken from Job, chapter forty two, verses five and six, a degree of solemnity was visible in the countenances of the audience and the little flock appeared to be duly impressed with the importance of the subject.

Baptist have been organizing.  Until 1734, when Orange County, was settled with the Baptist organizing Blue Run in 1759, North Pamunkey in 1774, Zoar in 1805, and Zion on October 30, 1813

About three and one half miles south of Orange in the home of Brother Hawkins, with James Arnold, Roger Mallory, Nicolas Bickers, Joseph Atkins (clerk), James Perry (Deacon), Killie Hoard, Benjamin Hawkins, Hamlet Sanford, John Rogers (Deacon), William B. Bell, William Mallory, William Hancock, William Embrey, Coleman Marshall (Deacon), Henry Perry, John Churchill Gordon (pastor) and Thomas Hawkins, seventeen in all.....

The first house of worship was built at the forks of Mallory Ford Road, with the Orange and Church Run Roads, about fifty yards above the present colored church.  It was built of hard pine, shed attached with partition of about four feet in height.  It also had a gallery.  It was in this building that Zion hosted the association for the first time in 1829.  When this house was abandoned in 1858, it was sold to Orange to be used as store buildings.

Map from the Library of Congress site:
Orange County, Va. / by Lt. Walter Izard P.E.
This map is from Civil War Map collection.

Benjamin Hawkins was the uncle of my Thomas R. Hawkins.  It is most likely that this meeting took place in the home of Benjamin and his wife, Mary/Polly Bickers Hawkins.  Thomas R. Hawkins would have been about 16 at the time of this meeting.  An article written on his death says:

Bro. Hawkins was converted in the sixteenth year of his age, and was baptized by Rev. Churchwell Gordon, of blessed memory, into the fellowship of old Zion Church, Orange.

I will repeat the names of those in attendance and try to identify as many as possible:

James Arnold
Roger Mallory  information about Mallory family at:

Nicolas Bickers is the father-in-law of Benjamin Hawkins.  Benjamin was married to Mary/Polly Bickers. Nicholas is also father-in-law to Coleman Marshall.

Joseph Atkins (clerk), James Perry (Deacon), Killie Hoard,

Benjamin Hawkins is the uncle of my Thomas R. Hawkins

Hamlet Sanford, John Rogers (Deacon), William B. Bell, This

William Mallory  The Mallory family had been friends of the Hawkins family for more than one generation:  Hall: "Probably William Hawkins who died 1776 see Orange Co., Will Bk 2 p 501."  That will names wife ELIZABETH and sons John, William and Benjamin.  Witnessed by Uriel Mallory, William Strother and Thomas Brown.  Dated 20 JAN 1776, proved 24 OCT 1776.  [This William Hawkins is likely to have been the brother to Benjamin Hawkins who married Sarah Willis.  One of the orphans of John and Elizabeth Butler(?) Hawkins who died in Ricmond County, Virginia about 1716]  This William Mallory is likely the bondsman for the marriage of Coleman Marshall and Joanna Bickers in 1815.

William Hancock, William Embrey,

Coleman Marshall (Deacon) was brother-in-law of Benjamin Hawkins.  Benjamin's wife, Mary/Polly Bickers, was a sister to Coleman's wife, Joanna Bickers.  Both Coleman Marshall and my Thomas R. Hawkins were tanners.

Henry Perry, John Churchill Gordon (pastor)

Thomas Hawkins was about 16 years old at this time and is my 3-gr-grandfather.


  1. Thank you for your post it is a nice post of Baptist history

    1. I appreciate your having taken the time to read and comment on my post.