Rehoboth Church history

Rehoboth Church today is situated on the north side of Nellie Jones Rd, so when reviewing maps from the 1860’s I wondered why Rehoboth Church is shown on the south side of Nellie Jones Rd. I wondered if perhaps the path of the road changed, but after checking, the road doesn’t look like it has changed there. I also wanted to know how old the church was. I looked in the Mecklenburg County, Virginia deed book index and was surprised to see three listings for Rehoboth Church.

The first listing for Rehoboth Church in the deed books is in Mecklenburg deed book 32, page 329. Robert Joyce sold two acres on 11 October 1847 for one dollar, to the trustees which included himself, Wm. Rainey (Williamson or William?), George Williams, Roderick Temple, and Robin Thomas. The two acre plot was on the corner of Kidd’s Road (now Nellie Jones Road) and Blacks Road, (now Blackridge Rd.) The church was authorized to build a meetinghouse by the Methodist E conference.

The second listing is in Mecklenburg deed book 48, page 166 which shows Rehoboth Church is selling their church building to the county school system for a “Public Free School”. Tax records list this as a white school. I believe the word “free” meant that you didn’t have to pay to go to school, which was still a rather new idea in this area in 1888. The church was sold for 250 dollars and included “furniture, benches, stoves, etc.”. John R. Cole, L. Rose, C. T. Jones, C. W. King, and D.T. Ridout were the trustees for Rehoboth Church in July 1888. The church is listed as “Rehoboth Episcopal Methodist Church South”. Charles W. King, H. C. Taylor and John C. Sims were school trustees for the South Hill District, which is the area colored blue on the map above. (Click on the image to see the full map on the Library of Congress website.)

Burwell Pattillo and his wife Charity were African Americans who purchased land around the area of present day Rehoboth church, on the northern side of Nellie Jones Rd. I haven’t yet found that land transaction, but I did find Burwell Pattillo’s will written 16 November 1887. I was surprised and happy to see my great…grandfather Alvy Dortch witnessed the will with Dr. E. H. Riggan. Alvy Dortch had nine children at the time, and I did not know he was living in this area at that time. Charity Pattillo, her son Edward Pattillo, and daughter Mary Jiggetts who married to Henry Jiggetts Pattillo sold land to Rehoboth church, where the current church is today. I’m trying to learn more about a cemetery that I believe belonged to this family. My findings will be published in a post as soon as I can get figure out a few of the land purchases and Pattillo family relationships.

The third listing in the deed books shows that eight months after the sale of their first meetinghouse, the Rehoboth trustees bought land to build a new church. Deed book 48, page 440 shows that almost an acre (15/16ths acre) was purchased for ten dollars. The Rehoboth church trustees in March 1889 were L. J. Rose, Charles W. King, David T. Rideout, and Charles T. Jones.

The first building was used as a church for 41 years before it was sold to become a school. I don’t see a record stating when construction was finished for the second church building. That second church building stood until Christmas 2004 when there was a fire. In October 2005 I took this picture of the church being restored after the fire. A man saw me taking this picture and gave me a tour of the new building. Peter Gittman saw this picture in my picture book when I was photographing his family cemetery. He told me he helped with the rebuilding of the church.

This gallery below shows both the old and the rebuilt church. Pictures are followed by a button/link with information about the Rehoboth church cemetery.

Veteran Tombstone Page

Today for Memorial Day, I added a veteran tombstone section to the cemetery page. If you have any pictures of veterans, or their tombstones that you’d like added to the site, please send me a message. (contact Julie here)

It takes some time to do all the steps to finish a cemetery page, including the transcriptions and indexing of each tombstone. I’m now dividing up the project into sections. First, I will upload the pictures, then transcribe them, then index them on this site. I’ll notate which phase the cemetery or page is currently at.

Towns in Mecklenburg, Virginia

The definitions of the different categories of places in Virginia can be confusing. The constitution of Virginia defines localities different than all other states do. For instance, Virginia has independent cities, which function completely separate from a county. An independent city in Virginia functions the way counties do in most other states. You cannot be in an independent city and a county at the same time. In Virginia, you are either in a county, or in an independent city. For example, In Illinois, Chicago is a city in the county of Cook. Whereas in Virginia, Fredericksburg is a independent city that is not contained within the borders or jurisdiction of a larger county.

“Towns” in Virginia are smaller than independent cities, and are always part of the larger county in which they reside. Incorporated towns have elected officials, have a population greater than 1,000, and have defined boundaries. There are six towns in Mecklenburg, all of which are incorporated: Brodnax, Boydton, Chase City, Clarksville, La Crosse and South Hill. Note that Chase City is a town, not a city, even though it has city in the name.

Boydton and Clarksville are the oldest towns, established before 1820, although Boydton wasn’t incorporated until 1874. Chase City became an incorporated town in 1873. About twenty years later, Brodnax, La Crosse and South Hill were built up around the railroads and and became towns. Brodnax is rather unique because it is a town that spans across two counties: Mecklenburg and Brunswick.

Records such as wills and deeds are kept by either independent cities or counties in Virginia. If your ancestors lived in a town in Mecklenburg, the records were kept by the county and are in the courthouse at Boydton. Records that were recorded by the state, such as births and deaths, are organized by either the county or the independent city.

This newspaper clipping shows that Clarksville was a town, with legislation approved by the Virginia assembly to enlarge the town. Richmond Enquirer, Tuesday Apr 5, 1836, pg 4.

Three years later, this article shows 150 to 200 half acre lots were being sold in the town of Clarksville. Richmond Enquirer, Friday Oct 18, 1839, pg 1. SV Watkins, AW Venable and T. Carrington are selling the land. I thought the descriptions of the town and businesses were really interesting. Also interesting to note that there was a school for boys and a separate school for girls.

This newspaper clipping about Boydton being incorporated is from the Richmond Times Dispatch, Saturday February 28, 1874, page 2.

This news clipping shows Chase City’s town charter being amended. Alexandria Gazette, Thursday Jan 17, 1884, page 2.

This newspaper clipping about South Hill being incorporated is from the Richmond Times Dispatch, Friday Feb 8, 1901, page 5.

This newspaper clipping about La Crosse being incorporated is from The Times, Saturday February 9, 1901

This newspaper clipping about Brodnax being incorporated is from the Richmond Times Dispatch Wednesday January 20, 1915 page 9

For more information about Virginia places:

Constitution of Virginia about places.

Jones & Newman early Baptist connection

Martha Newman was orphaned and living in Orange County, Virginia in 1820 with her grandparents William Newman and Ann Finnell. I pondered, how could her future husband, James B. Jones who lived in Mecklenburg at the time, meet Martha Newman who was living in Orange? They married the following year, in 1821, so I thought about what might have happened that year in 1820. Martha’s grandfather, Thomas Steagall died in Brunswick County that year, and her sister Emma Newman married Edward Walker also in the year 1820. Martha may have traveled to Brunswick county for those two events.

Maybe James B. Jones had family in Orange and visited the area? James’s mother Susanna had the maiden name of Clark. I realize Clark is a common surname, but there was a man named Joseph Clark about the same age as Susanna that lived next door to where Martha was living in 1820. I looked at wills for all the Clarks I could find in will index books in: Orange, Culpeper, Madison, Brunswick and Mecklenburg. Unfortunately I could not find anyone mentioning a daughter Susanna or Anna or any daughter with a married name of Jones in their wills. I found the will of Joseph Clark in Orange that I believe was the neighbor of William and Ann and Martha in Orange, but he lists his children in the will, not any siblings. If Susanna were related to him, it would probably have been as a sibling.

I started reviewing the marriage records of Martha’s sisters to see who were the witnesses or bondsman in case their names might give me a clue. Martha’s sister Elizabeth Newman married at the age of fifteen, so I expected to see a parental consent with Elizabeth’s marriage record. Elizabeth married Samuel McKinney in Warren County, North Carolina. I could not find any consent records for Warren County this early, and I’m not sure they exist anymore. Abner was alive in 1808 when his daughter Elizabeth was married, but I could not find him on tax records in 1808. I believe he was in Kentucky with his son William and other relatives at that time. I was very surprised to see William Jones as the bondsman because this showed me that the two families knew each other twelve years before Martha Newman and James B. Jones were married.

Elizabeth Newman & Samuel McKinney’s marriage bond

Martha’s older brother William Newman married Ann Tarvin in Campbell County, Kentucky in 1819. I started trying to trace the Tarvin family in early Kentucky to see if I could find William or his father living close by the Tarvin family. I found some family histories written about the Tarvins that stated that they were “Dunkers”, a German Baptist group that went to Kentucky for religious reasons. They moved away from an area that was not friendly to their religious beliefs. I went back to looking at court records and found a marriage contract for Elizabeth Newman’s second marriage. She married William Harwell in Brunswick County, but the land she had inherited from her first husband Samuel McKinney was in Mecklenburg County. William Jones again signed their marriage record as a witness, along with William Creath. I now believe the early connection between these families was that they were all Baptists, and that this was an important part of their lives. William Creath was a Baptist minister and had performed the marriage of William Jones and Anna Clark. James probably knew Martha because they knew each other at church.

Malone’s Baptist Church is the only Baptist church that I am aware of that existed in Mecklenburg County before 1820. The church building was about six or seven miles north of where Elizabeth lived. That seems to me, to be a bit far to travel to church at that time, and I wondered if there was another church closer. I wondered if maybe William Creath rotated which which church he would preach at, because he was a traveling preacher. I found this write up about Malone’s church in the WPA project, which also includes a history of the Baptist church in Mecklenburg. (About the WPA project, Library of Virginia)

This WPA report gave the source of Mecklenburg Deed book 32, page 346, in the year 1846. Here is a copy of the deed from FamilySearch. org digitized microfilm:

Some things that interest me in the WPA history are that it was established in 1771 and William Creath visited or preached there, once a month. It is surprising to see that there were such a small number of Baptists then, especially because William Creath had 16 children. The report says there were 29 members in 1834 and 41 members in 1803. I expect they were a very close knit community. I theorize the Malone, Creath, William and Susanna Jones, Steagall and Abner Newman’s families were some of those members counted in 1803, based on William Creath having performed family marriages and witnessing records for them. Jordan Malone was the executor of Thomas Steagall’s estate, Martha’s grandfather. Jeremiah Vaughan married Martha Steagall. (Martha Newman’s aunt). William Creath witnessed Jeremiah’s will. In the ministers returns marriage records during a 10 year time period, I counted about 76 couples that William Creath married. I now believe that the majority of my ancestors in Mecklenburg County before 1820 were Baptist.

Mecklenburg Militia Officers, Revolutionary War

I wondered where I could learn more about the Mecklenburg County militia. I had seen several men from Mecklenburg referred to in court records with the titles of military officers, but could not find them in the United States Army rosters or muster rolls. One example is an ancestor of mine named David Dortch. Several men who gave depositions in a certain chancery case referred to him as “Major Dortch.”

This week I looked through a few Mecklenburg County order books to see what more I could learn about David and his brother Newman Dortch. FamilySearch has early ‘order’ books online in digitized microfilm format. Viewing digitized microfilm is similar to viewing a scanned book. These microfilms of the order books are currently unindexed, but there are handwritten indexes in the front of each book. I wrote down the page numbers for any Dortch entries in the handwritten index. While scrolling forward to the page number I wanted, my eye caught the word “militia”. I enlarged the image to read it better and was amazed to see a list of officers for two revolutionary war battalions from Mecklenburg! The order book states that the names were first presented to the county court, then the names were submitted to the governor of Virginia. The order book also records that the listed officers took their oath of office. This image is from Mecklenburg Court order book 4, page 374. Film number 008190598, (image # 211/563)

David Dortch was not listed as an officer on this list, so I began checking later order books. I found an entry in order book 7, page 416, (film 008098391 image 619/766) which says “Frederick Collier as Captain, and David Dortch as Ensign in the militia of this county, took the oath required by law.” dated 13 July 1789, after the war was over. I now suppose that David was likely a major in the militia during the War of 1812. I will continue to look for more information about militia officers during that time period.

Order books contain the kinds of things you might expect a judge to say, “by order of the court.” For example, when a will was proved, or an estate inventory was done, it was ordered to be recorded in other books kept at the court house, such as deed and will books. Another thing I’ve seen recorded in order books are notations about men taking an oath of office; such as to be an under sheriff, clerk of the court or a militia officer. If you look at the full page image above (that shows the 1777 militia officers), there is a notation at the very bottom that says “Ordered that Benjamin Whitehead be recommended to his Excellency the Governor as a proper person for Coroner of this County.” Each separate court item is typically separated by a line in the left margin of each page.

This is my transcription of the militia officers from Mecklenburg listed in the order book. The transcription will also be added to and kept on the Mecklenburg veterans page. Do you have a picture or information that can be added to the veteran page?

Date of record: 13 October 1777

The Order of the last Court recommending militia Officers to his excellency the Governor is set aside & It is Ordered that the following persons be recommended in [illegible-consideration?] to his excellency the Governor as proper for Officers to fill up the two battalions of militia in this County to wit.

In the first Battalion

Lewis Burwell esq. Colonel; Thacker Burwell esq. Lieutenant Colonel, and James Anderson esq. Major

John Murray, first Captain; Robert Smith, first Lieutenant; Thomas Carleton, second Lieutenant; & Thomas Neal, ensign.

Charles Clay, second Captain; Richard Epperson, first lieutenant; John Clay Sr. second lieutenant; Harman Thompson, ensign.

Henry Walker, third Captain; William Neal, first lieutenant; Thomas Jones, second lieutenant; John Winn, ensign.

George Tarry, fourth Captain; Drury Smith, first lieutenant; Baxter Davis, second lieutenant; Elijah Graves, ensign.

William Green, fifth Captain; Richard Willon, first lieutenant, Edward Goode, second lieutenant; Thomas Pettus junr. ensign.

James Hester, sixth Captain; Joseph Royster, first lieutenant; Clausel Clausel, second lieutenant; Caleb Johnson, ensign.

Asa Oliver, seventh Captain; Robert Smith, first lieutenant; Thomas Carleton, second lieutenant; Thomas Neal, ensign.          

James Hall, eighth Captain; Charles Royster, first lieutenant; John Hudson , second lieutenant; Richard Winn, ensign.

Howell Taylor, ninth Captain; Thomas Greenwood, first lieutenant; William Hundley, second lieutenant; Daniel Marrow, ensign.

In the Second Battalion

Bennett Goode, esq. Col.; William Lucas, esq. Lieut. Colonel; John Burton, esq Major.

Reuben Vaughan, first Captain; Josiah Dailey, first lieutenant; Charles Hutcheson, second lieutenant; Richard Hutcheson, ensign.

William Leigh, second Captain; William Roffe, first lieutenant; Thomas Shipp second lieutenant; James Wilson ensign.

James Lewis, third Captain; John Kendrick, first lieutenant; Hardaway Davis, second lieutenant; George Freeman, ensign.

Stephen Mabry, fourth Captain; Goodwyn Taylor, first lieutenant; John Holmes, second lieutenant; Thomas Tanner, ensign.

John Brown, fifth Captain; Jesse Taylor, first lieutenant; Peter Thomas, second lieutenant; William Jones, ensign.

Samuel Marshall, sixth Captain; Isaac Johnson, first lieutenant; Peter Winfield, second lieutenant; William Drumright, ensign.

Lewis Parham, seventh Captain; Samuel Holmes Sr. first lieutenant; John Farrar, second lieutenant; William Lucas Sr. ensign.

Benjamin Ferrell, eighth Captain; James Ferrell, first lieutenant; John Baskerville, second lieutenant; Jacob Bugg, ensign.

Richard Swepson, ninth Captain; Tingal Jones Sr., first lieutenant; William Eastland, second lieutenant; James Toone, ensign.

quick note about the index updates

I have completely reworked, moved and upgraded the index. Each page now contains two columns, and stretches the full width of the website. Instead of the full address link visible to click on, the link is now embedded in the title of each page. So you can now more easily see if it is a cemetery page or a post. I hope you find the changes a bit more user friendly. There are now 177 surname pages. Everything on the site is indexed current through today, including cemeteries. I added 19 new surnames today: McKinney, Muston, Moss, Ferrell, Harris, Kennon, Wall, Palmer, Good, Kerr, Stegall, Nicholson, Newton, Sims, Paynter, Roebuck, Land, Gregory and Leach.

Here’s an example of the updated Taylor surname index page:

If you have pictures or stories you would like to share, please let me know. You may write and submit something, or tell me what you’d like said, and I will write it then double check it’s just the way you like it, before posting. Please tell me how you would like the submission or photos credited.