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Parishes in Pittsylvania, Henry, Campbell, and Bedford.— Camden Parish, Pittsylvania.
The names of this county and parish tell their own origin. Pitt and Camden are names familiar to the English and American ear. They were divided from Halifax and Antrim in the year 1767. At different times, subsequent to this, Henry, Patrick, and Franklin were taken from Pittsylvania, but no new parishes established, except in Henry, the Church and State having been separated, so that the two last of them were, according to Colonial law, in the parish of Camden, until the Episcopal Convention made other arrangements. There are no records of the vestry-meetings in this parish; yet the records of the court show that vestrymen were regularly elected, and had the same duties assigned them as in other places. To them were assigned the processioning of lands, the binding out poor and unfortunate children, and the punishment of offences against the moral law. Rude as was the state of society, it is a fact that these officers did sometimes punish certain violations of the law of God, as Sabbath-breaking, profane swearing, and incontinence, which now are never noticed. It is also a fact that the sins of the fathers being visited upon children to the third and fourth generation, and children's teeth being set on edge by the eating of sour grapes on the part of their parents, is remarkably exemplified in the case of the descendants of those who nearly a century ago were bound out on account of the immorality of the parents. These descendants, bearing the same name, are objects of the same action by the overseers of the poor as their ancestors were by the churchwardens.
As to the ministers of Camden parish before the revival of the Church in Virginia, we find but one on all our lists. In the year 1774,—seven years after the establishment of the parish,—we find the name of the Rev. Lewis Guilliam. Would that we could find it nowhere else! but, alas, on examining the records of the court, we there find his name, not connected with the registry of baptisms and marriages, as perhaps none would call on him for these offices, but with continual petty law-suits, in which he was almost always the loser. Shame and contempt covered his whole life. He was a Scotchman, and never married. As to churches, I have heard of one about twenty miles from the court-house. In the year 1773, Mr. Richard Chamberlaine, of St. Peter's Church, New Kent, conveyed to the vestry, for one hundred and sixty pounds, five hundred and eighty-eight acres of land. On this land the Rev. Mr. Guilliam lived. One of the vestrymen, to whom the land was conveyed,—John Donelson,—emigrated to Tennessee, and was the father of Mrs. General Jackson. The glebe lay on the road to Henry Court-House, a few miles from " Callands." It doubtless shared the fate of other globes. The other vestrymen were John Pigg, Crispin Shelton, John Wilson, Peter Perkins, Thomas Dillard, Hugh Innes, Theodoric Lacy, Abram Shelton, George Rowland, Robert Chandler, and William Witcher.
The descendants of the above, by the same and other names, are scattered over this and the surrounding counties. There is one family in the county which has contributed so much to keep alive the hope of the Church in this parish, in her darkest days, that I must give it a passing notice. Colonel Isaac Coles, ancestor of a number of that name in this region, and uncle of those in Albemarle, married first a Miss Lightfoot, of York, (a maid-servant of whom, one hundred and ten years old, is still alive and in the family,) and had one son by her,—Mr. Isaac Coles, of Halifax. His second wife was a Miss Thompson, from New York, with whom he became acquainted while member of Congress, and whose sister married Elbridge Gerry.' By this marriage he had a numerous offspring, who are dispersed through this county and other places. At a time when the venerable widow, and her daughter Mary, who married James M. Whittle, were almost the whole Church in that region, I always made the old mansion in which they lived a stopping-place and a house of prayer, for the mother had long been confined to it. The Lord's Supper was always administered to her. Many baptisms and confirmations of children, and children's children, have I performed, and happy religious seasons enjoyed in that " Church in the House."
The mother and the daughter above mentioned were, in person and character, striking and impressive. Great was the parental anxiety of the widow and the mother for all her children's welfare, and tender and faithful was the filial piety of the daughter, who devoted herself to the comfort of the aged mother. May the descendants of both of them follow their holy example, and not
* They were married in the year 17&0, by Bishop Provost.
only, like them, love and nourish the Church of their ancestors, but the holy standard of religion which it lifts up on high.
By the exertions of this family, and a few others,—the Smiths and Slaughters, Millers and Sheltons,—and under the auspices of the Rev. Mr. Dresser, then minister in Halifax, now at Jubilee College, in Illinois, a church (St. Andrew's) was built in this part of the co uuty, and, for a time, hopes were entertained that a permanent congregation might be established there; but deaths and removals have disappointed these hopes. In relation to Danville and the court-house, after a visit from the Rev. Mr. Towles, and numerous visits from the Rev. Mr. Clark, the services of the Rev. Mr. Dame were secured in 1840, for the joint purpose of teaching young females and building up the Church. At his first coming there were only eight communicants, and they all females, in the three counties of Pittsylvania, Franklin, and Henry. Since his ministry, one hundred and twenty have been added, exclusive of those coming from other parishes. A new church has been built in Danville, and another at the court-house, since Dr. Dame's coming, in 1840. He is still the minister of the parish, and will, I hope, long continue to be so.
HENRY COUNTY, PATRICK PARISH.
The county of Henry was separated from Pittsylvania in the year 1776, and the parish of Patrick from Camden in 1778 ; but no steps, we believe, were ever taken to build churches and procure ministers. Our fathers were then in the midst of the war, and every thing was unfavourable for such an enterprise. Patrick Henry, after whom both the county and parish were probably called, was then, I believe, a delegate from this part of the State, having his abode and much land here. Some of his descendants are here to this day. Some readers were probably exercising their functions in private houses in this county, but we hear of no settled pastor. The first efforts at the establishment of the Church, in later days, were made by the Rev. Mr. Webb, while a teacher of youth, candidate for the ministry, and lay reader at Henry Court-House.
He was succeeded by the Rev. Mr. Wade, a native of the county, and descendant of some whose names have hitherto appeared among the vestrymen of adjoining parishes. During his ministry a church has been erected at the court-house, and the foundation of a promising congregation laid. He occasionally officiated in Franklin county. No parish was ever established by law, or otherwise, in either Franklin or Patrick, until of late years, when one was erected in the former, where there is a prospect of our having a respectable settlement, as we trust, before many years.
Campbell was separated in 1781, just at the close of the war, when the civil Legislature was ceasing to act for the affairs of the Church. Nothing is said of a parish. That was reserved for our Convention at a later period. The first minister in Lynchburg— the Rev. Amos Tredway—is said to represent Lynchburg parish, and by that name does it still go. Subsequently, Moore parish is' established in the county. In Lynchburg, the Rev. Franklin G. Smith succeeded Mr. Tredway, in 1825, and continued for about fourteen years. The Rev. Thomas Atkinson (now Bishop) succeeded Mr. Smith, and the Rev. William H. Kinckle, the present rector, succeeded him in 1844. An excellent brick church was erected in the time of Mr. Smith, and a larger and much costlier one in the time of Mr. Kinckle.
In Moore parish, the Rev. Mr. Osgood was the first who taught school and ministered. Under his care, St. John's Church was erected. In its loft was his vestry-room and chamber, and, near at hand, his school-house. The present location of St. John's is not the same with its original one, it having been found that a more convenient one might be had a mile off, to which it was moved on rollers. After the removal of Mr. Osgood to the West,— where he died,—the Rev. Mr. Tompkins took his place in both departments for many years, preaching at St. John's, and at another position some twelve miles off. Since his removal to Western Virginia, the Rev. Mr. Kinckle, of Lynchburg, has, by occasional services, kept alive the hopes of our few but zealous members in that part of the county, sometimes aided by the visits of the Rev. Mr. Clark, of Halifax, until, during the last year, the Rev. Mr. Locke, having settled himself at Campbell Court-IIouse, took charge of both of the congregations, and added to it a new one at the place of his residence. A church has recently been purchased and consecrated at that place, and the friends of the Church in that part of the county are encouraged to hope for better times.
RUSSELL PARISH, BEDFORD COUNTY.
The county of Bedford was separated from Lunenburg in 1753. The parish of Russell was established in it at the same Vol. II.—2
lime. Both were enlarged in the year 1754 by the addition of a part of Albemarle, then of large extent. The present county of Campbell was included in the original bounds of the parish of Russell and county of Bedford.
On our list of clergy for 1754 and 1758, we find no minister from Bedford. In the years 1773-74-76, we find the Rev. John Brandon. Doubtless there were ministers there during the twenty years of which there are no records. Our Conventions under the independent system, after the Revolution, commenced in 1785 and continued until 1805; but there is no representation, either clerical or lay, during that period. The first representation from that region was in the year 1823, when the Rev. Amos Tredway appears as a delegate from Lynchburg, then in Campbell county. But Mr. Tredway officiated also at New London, in Bedford, as had also the Rev. Mr. Dashiel, who had the academy at New London, though he was never in regular connection with the diocese.
In the year 1825 the Rev. Nicholas H. Cobbs appears as the first regular representative from Russell parish. Its revival is to be ascribed under God to his zealous, and for a long time almost gratuitous, services, since his support was mainly derived from a school. Under his ministry St. Stephen's and Trinity Churches were built, and other positions, as Liberty, and Mr. Wharton's, occupied, where churches are now to be seen. Mr. Cobbs continued his indefatigable labours until the year 1835, when he removed to the University of Virginia, and, after two years' service as chaplain, returned to Bedford, and continued until 1839, when he removed to Petersburg. Mr. Cobbs was succeeded, for a short time, by the Rev. Mr. Doughen, after which the Rev. Mr. Marbury took charge of the parish, and was succeeded by the Rev. Mr. Cofer. The Rev. Mr. Kinsolving followed, and, after some years, was succeeded by the Rev. R. H. Wilmer, the present minister.
The Rev. Mr. Sale has been for many years occupying other parts of the county of Bedford, as at St. Thomas's Church, built under his auspices, at Liberty, at Trinity Church, when separated from St. Stephen's, and at Pedlar's Church, in Amherst county. While labouring on a farm and raising a large family, he has performed the duties of minister for a very small pecuniary compensation.
A new church was built at Liberty, in this county, during the ministry of the Rev. Mr. Caldwell, who spent some time at