A brief review of our church’s history, based on….
Key questions to consider…• Has the church always been small? If so, why? (geography, politics, economic development, etc.)• Think about the relationship between the Presbyterians and the Episcopalians…. If many of the first wardens and vestrymen were dissenters ( not devout Anglicans), wouldn’t they have mostly transferred their loyalty to a Presbyterian church? Who was left?• What individuals and families have been most responsible for the growth and survival of this church?• What important events and political context framed the church’s history?• How was the historic church different from today’s church?
Timeline of events in the back country… leading to the establishment of the Town of Fincastle and of Botetourt Parish • 1738 – decision by the House of Burgesses to allow non-Anglicans into the western territory…to provide a buffer against the French and Indians. • 1740’s - flood of eager landowners • 1748 – Augusta County established ( Staunton, county seat) • 1754 – 1763 - French and Indian War • 1763 – King’s Proclamation • 1764-1770 - continued uncertainty over land claims • 1770 – Botetourt County is formed…Fincastle becomes county seat…
In the 1770s, as an outpost of the Church of England, the wardens and vestry of the tiny church in Fincastle had many responsibilities, including punishing offenders by whipping…
Imagine the challenges of collecting tithes from everyone in parish…
Vestrymen also served as processioners, settling disputes about boundaries between tracts ofland. Many of the first twelve vestrymen lived far from Fincastle, and were busy establishing their own land claims, along the New River, and beyond. Early map used by George Washington
• With the demise of Fincastle County on December 31, 1776, Botetourt Parish was split into four parishes to conform with the boundaries of the counties of Botetourt, Montgomery, Washington, and Kentucky, formed January 1, 1777.
More questions than answers about the Established Church building….
Smyth died in 1785, “a somewhat embittered man”
Grove Hill was thehaven of the EpiscopalChurch in Botetourt foryears…it burned in1909…
Diocese of Virginia in decline…The sad state of the church during this period is reflected inthe records of the annual General Convention of the Diocesewhich shows that attendance steadily declined froma high of 101 in 1785 to a low of 16 in 1813.
Some things we know, and some things we’re not so sure about…In 1956, Tiffany’s declared it to be from the time of George II.In 2011, Bob Miller, of Ken Farmer Auctions, concluded that it was from theVictorian era
Into the Twentieth Century:New life and vitality in the 1960s…
Work to be done….1) Seek information from church families2) Seek information from other churches3) Gather copies of other histories relating to Botetourt Co.4) Collect information about events since 1970, when the last history (by Charles Francis Cocke) was written, and begin a Part Two… about the past fifty years…
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