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Early Baptist Churches & Practices

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Early Baptist Churches & Practices

Mike K. Williams (View posts)
Posted: 1066659370000
Classification: Query
Most of the first churches in the county were Baptist, specifically Primitive Baptist. Names such as Samuel Harris, Shubal Sterns, John Creel and Elias and William Dodson are all associated with Baptist Churches and their formation. These churches operated without the sanction of the Crown prior to the Revolution. No Baptist preachers were licensed to perform marriages, but that didn't stop them.

No Baptist church records prior to the 1820s survive, as far as I know. Fires, etc. usually destroyed them.

Primitive Baptist churches dominated early on in Pittsylvania's history with churches such as Old Mill, Strawberry, Sandy Creek and others were "planted" before 1800.

Old Primitive Baptist church records do not list marriages at all. Sometimes they may list a death of a member. Usually these records show a couple of things about members. If they were moving to another state, they had to get a letter of dismissal from the church.

Other church minutes often concerned with a certain member accused of cussing, drinking, dancing or fighting with their spouse. The church was interested in all these things and such a "sinner" was frequently required stand before the congregation and confess in order to be "received back into fellowship." If a husband and wife were having problems the church would appoint a committee to investigate the couple and report back to the church.

Primitive Baptist churches often had slaves as members and sometimes they might have a notation such as: "John, slave of William Smith, received by baptism."

Other bits of information can be gleaned from church records. There might be a notation such as: "John Barker received by letter from Pine Grove church in Charlotte Co."

Primitive Baptist churches held services once a month.

Primitive Baptist preachers are never called Reverend, always Elder or preacher.

Primitive Baptist churches excommunicated members for serious offenses. Behavior or attending a church of another denomination, such as Methodist, could lead to excommunication.

A few Primitive Baptist churches still operate in Pittsylvania Co., though the more mainstread Baptists dominate.

There are more than 100 churches in Pittsylvania Co. and almost 50 in the city of Danville. Most are Baptist, Presbyterian and Methodist. There are a couple of Catholic churches. A handful are independents and have no affiliation.

Note: I am not a Primitive Baptist. These are my impressions (and facts) based on study of church records, etc. You are free to disagree with any of this.

SubjectAuthorDate Posted
Mike K. Williams 1066659370000 
janethunter70... 1066665073000 
caroledbryant 1109736621000 
Karen 1109885807000 
chm1847 1157361165000 
cdjw2_1 1380418597000 
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