|Frying Pan Baptist Meeting House|
|by Debbie Robison|
|ESTABLISHMENT OF BAPTIST CHURCHES IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA|
Though Baptists arrived in
During 1760s, Baptists continued to emigrate from
|THE BAPTIST QUEST FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM|
With the rise of the Baptists, men in power became alarmed by their growth in numbers and stretched the interpretation of an existing law for preservation of peace, seizing ministers and having them arraigned for disturbing the peace. May it please your worships, these men are great disturbers of the peace, they cannot meet a man upon the road but they must ram a text of Scripture down his throat. Jeremiah Moore, who would later become the second minister at Frying Pan Springs Church, was charged in 1773 with preaching and publishing the holy Gospel without a license.
Patrick Henry was an advocate of religious freedom who defended Baptist preachers in court  and advised preachers to conduct marriage ceremonies as the most certain way of gaining that right by law. Another statesman, James Madison, offered an amendment to the Bill of Rights under consideration in the Virginia Convention of 1776, that no man ought on account of religion to be invested with peculiar emoluments or privileges; but this was not adopted. The Anglican Church clergy retained its sole right to perform legal marriage ceremonies.
Virginia Deputy Governor John Blair compared Baptists beliefs with those of the Anglican Church and wrote in a 1768 letter I am told, they administer the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, near the manner we do, and differ in nothing from our church but in that of Baptism, and their renewing the ancient discipline, by which they have reformed some sinners, and brought them to be truly penitent. The baptisms differed due to the Baptists insistence upon adult consent baptism by immersion.
Several Baptist Associations petitioned the state for
religious freedoms that included, as an example, 1. That we be allowed to worship God in
our own way, without interruption. 2. That we be permitted to maintain our own
Ministers &c. and no other. 3. That we and our friends who desire it, may
be married, buried and the like, without paying the Parsons of any other
|INCEPTION OF THE FRYING PAN BAPTIST MEETINGHOUSE|
With the desire to erect a meeting house convenient
to a spring on Robert Carter III’s Frying Pan Tract, members of the
Oral tradition asserts that an earlier meeting house belonging to the congregation burned during the American Revolution, though some accounts stated that the meeting house was in a different location and that portions of this destroyed structure were used in the construction of the Frying Pan Meeting House.
On May 13, 1791, a church covenant was agreed upon
and entered into the church minute book. The language in the covenant suggests
that the worshipers were already members of the
|DIVISION IN THE BAPTIST CHURCH|
In the 1630’s, a Baptist group, called Particular Baptists, emerged in variance with the established General Baptists. Particular Baptists believed that Christ’s atonement was particular and only benefited those who were predestined by God to salvation. General Baptists believed that Christ’s atonement was general and benefited everyone.
During the Great Awakening when revivals flourished, a distinctive group emerged out of the Particular Baptists called Separate Baptists. Their emphasis during worship was more emotional and included encouraging sinners to repent. To distinguish themselves from the Separates, the balance of American Particular Baptists became known as Regular Baptists. The Frying Pan Church members began as Regular Baptists.
At its inception, Frying Pan was a member of the Ketocton Association; but in 1820 broke off with nine other churches to form the Columbia Baptist Association. The reason, documented many years later in the minutes of the Shiloh Baptist Church in Fredericksburg, was that the Association was unwieldly, had no constitution, some of the ministers were contentious and the annual sessions were disturbed by vain janglings. The association was considered unmanageable because its thirty-nine churches were spread out in eleven counties.
A movement began in the first quarter of the 19th century among some Baptists to engage in missionary work, promote religious education through Sunday schools, advance temperance, and form societies for the distribution of the Bible. A group of Baptist churches opposed to missions held a belief in predestination that precluded attempts to lead others to salvation. The opposition split from the Regular Baptists to form Old Baptist congregations.
In 1833, William Broaddus, a pastor in the Shiloh Association who was a staunch believer in the missionary movement, was denied a seat at the Columbia Association Meeting after Frying Pan’s pastor, Samuel Trott moved to put the issue to a vote. Two years later, Frying Pan Church members submitted a letter to their association asking if churches should discontinue their involvement with Broaddus entirely. The association voted to continue fellowship with him, resulting in five churches, including Frying Pan, withdrawing from the organization. Four of these churches, along with others, formed the Virginia Corresponding Meeting of Old School Baptists in 1836. 
Another division occurred among the Baptists that
resulted in a split within the Frying Pan congregation. Baptists who called
themselves orderly Baptists held the belief that baptisms could only be
performed by administrators who had not been previously excluded from
fellowship by any of their churches due to disorder and unsoundness in
doctrine. For several years prior to 1889, when the split at Frying Pan
occurred, some Baptists acknowledged these baptisms. Orderly Baptists viewed
these members, whom they called Clark Baptist in the East and Means Baptist in
the West, as disorderly and their views as liberal. Division between the
Baptists occurred in the West in 1887-1888 and in
|DOCTRINE AND CONDUCT|
The Frying Pan Church Covenant, in addition to
incorporating the principles contained in the Baptist Confession of Faith
adopted by the Association at
1. That the Old and New Testaments are the infallible word of God and guides to salvation.
2. Salvation is through Jesus Christ as judged in the last day.
3. There is only one God.
4. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost make up one God.
5. Jesus Christ, who died to atone for all sins, is the only savior of sinners.
6. The redeemed shall obtain eternal happiness.
7. That Christ will resurrect the dead and receive the righteous.
The members also agreed to several rules of discipline, paraphrased as follows:
1. To attend worship and church business meetings unless good cause for non-attendance is given at the next meeting.
2. To pay funds, according to ability, to defray church expenses.
3. To not divulge infirmities of others, if legally possible.
4. To not move residence without informing the church and receiving advice.
5. To walk in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord.
6. To bear reproof and to reprove each other in case of visible faults.
Any member who did not follow these principles was liable to censure. Continuous disobedience resulted in exclusion from their communion.
The Frying Pan Meeting House Minute Books contain numerous entries describing accusations of violations of the rules of discipline and replies by the accused. A sampling of early allegations and indictments follows.
· Thomas Harris excommunicated for Repeatedly getting Drunk & ill behavior.
· Resolved that Sister Blinco be publickly excommunicated for disorderly Behaviour and disobedience to the Church 
A Report spreading abroad to the prejudice of
· Widow Thomas who was a Member with us, who unhappily are found to be with Child without a Husband.
From its inception, African Americans, both free and enslaved, were welcome to join the Frying Pan Baptist Meeting House congregation. The church minute books periodically recorded the name of an enslaved individual’s owner, though the owner was not always a member. This circumstance suggests the possibility that a certain level of freedom of movement was accorded enslaved individuals for the purpose of attending church. Alternately, as was the case with Brother Thomas and his slave, Judah, owners and slaves attended the same church.
Although African Americans were welcomed, they were segregated from the rest of the congregation, both during life and after. Within the meeting house, African Americans worshiped from the galleries that lined both sides of the building. In 1833, the church appointed an African American, Jupiter, to try to keep order among the coloured people in the gallery in times of worship. Jupiter, who was not free, had long been called upon by the church to take a leadership role with other African Americans. When a complaint was laid against a Black member Called Tom for Conduct disgraceful to the Christian profession, Jupiter was nominated to give him notice.
Though the church did give Jupiter some responsibilities, when a committee was formed to hear and settle grievances among the African Americans, the grievances were not heard by a committee of peers. Jupiter was not included on the committee, nor were any other African Americans.
For several years, Jupiter was involved in a dispute about whether he could preach. In June 1824, the minutes state that Brother Jupittor a Coulered man is not Allowed to preach. The following year in July, the Case of Jupiter was called up in Relation to his preaching the Church desided that he should not preach. But at prayer meetings he might have the same privileges as other members in singing and prayer. He was expelled from the fellowship of the church for Immoral Conduct in 1827 and restored a year later.
In death, the enslaved and free African Americans were buried in a segregated area of the graveyard located in the southeast corner of the lot.
The African American brethren were held to the same rules of conduct as all members and were censured or excluded. As an example, in 1805 the church charged Victory, a Slave belonging to the widow Summers with getting drunk. She was suspended from Communion. In another matter of censure, the church Agreed that Bill Talbert who passed in this Neighbourhood for a free man, and has proved since his profession of Religion to be a Slave Agreed that he be Excluded from our Society. Since the church did not exclude slaves as a matter of course, it may be inferred that Talbert was not excluded for being a slave but for lying about being free.
The names of people baptized or accepted for membership was recorded in the minute books; however, for the enslaved, their name was sometime replaced by referencing their owners, e.g. Chas Turley’s woman, Robert Thomas Woman, Mr Browns Man.
The church covenant requires members Not to remove our residence or abode to any different part of the world without informing the church and advising with our brethren. The church issued letters of dismission to members in good standing to be used as an introduction to a Baptist church at the place of their new residence. This requirement applied to the enslaved as well, though the cause of their move may have been due to being sold. Fanncy a Black Woman formerly the property of the Widow Buckly, but sold to some person in Alexandria Dismist from us this 19th Apl 1817 to Join that Church. One formerly enslaved individual, David, received a dismission from the Church to emigrate westward upon the death of his owner.
Following the Civil War, in September 1868, a request was made for members to attend church, especially the Coloured Members to state the cause of their nonattendance since the war. Some were in attendance and provided an answer that was satisfactory to the church. In December 1881, the church again requested an explanation for the cause of declining attendance by African American members. The cause was explained that these members were cold in the gallery without a stove but there was an effort amongst themselves to buy one and have it put in the gallery.
|WOMEN'S ROLES IN THE CHURCH|
At the Frying Pan Baptist Meeting House, women were not called upon to represent the church or to speak their views during services. Only white men were appointed as messengers to the Association meetings. During Elder E.V. White’s ministerial period, the male members were called upon to give expression to any views or feelings they might have.  Often, the Elder called upon the male members to let the church hear of their Christian travel.
This practice was consistent with biblical references in the New Testament, which church members used as a guide to salvation. Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.
This edict was not strictly adhered to when women wished to be accepted into the church. Like any other, they were called to relate their religious experience prior to acceptance and baptism.
Women were not restricted from donating money to the church in support of the Ministry. Minute book records as early as those from the 18th century record subscriptions by women. In 1957, Sister Alston stated she would furnish paint for the exterior of meeting house. Nine years prior, in a traditionally female role, she agreed to select the material for the new linen for Communion Service.
When Robert “Conciliator” Carter wrote to offer two
acres of land to the trustees of
Carter’s Copper Mine Tract, later known as the Frying pan Tract was surveyed by William Harding on February 23, 1797 as a result of a chancery action styled “Carter of Shirley &c vs Carter.”
Three days later, John Lewis, Junr. laid off two acres of land at the place known by the name of Frying pan Spring for the Meeting House tract.
In September 1822, Robert Ratcliffe surveyed the tract depicting lot number 9 which was conveyed to Robert “Conciliator” Carter’s unmarried daughter Sophia Carter.
Sophia Carter’s will, dated 16 April 1832, required her executor to sell my tract of land lying in county of Fairfax reserving to the Baptist Church the House and Ground whereon it stands, denominated and known as Frying Pan Meeting House with free ingress and egress, so long as the same be used as a House of Public Worship. On December 3, 1838, her executor, William H Fitzhugh, sold the land to Charles Ratcliffe.
Seven months earlier, the church agreead that the
Letter and Plat from Counciler Carrter giving the lot of ground to build
Fryingpan Meeting Huse in
Ann Ratcliffe, who was devised the property surrounding the church in her husband’s will, gifted the property to her daughter Mary Bayard Ratcliffe on December 23, 1845. Mary Ratcliffe sold the property to Burr Gould on the third day of the following February.
In another unsuccessful attempt at deed recordation, the church members, on December 11, 1847, Mooved and Seconed that Brethren Blincoe and Wm Cockrell be appointed a Committee to attend with Wm Guld to the Survey and Estblsing the Corners of the Meeting House lot and also having the same recorded in the Clerks Office of Fairfax County. Yet four years later, the minutes records an agreement for boundary arbitration with Mr. Gould. It being stated to the church that Mr. Gould who holds the property around our Meetinghouse lot, was willing for us to select three men to whom he and we would refer for their decision the difficulty between us in reference to the boundary and extent of our lot, the church agreed to proposed to Mr Gould Mr. Mear Turley, Col John Reid and Mr. Jas Fox to whom we were willing to refer the matter and abide by their decision.
On Christmas Day of 1858, Burr Gould sold 203 acres of land adjoining the meetinghouse lot to his son, Roderic Gould. Over the succeeding years, the parcel was sold to various owners with the meets and bounds of the legal description identifying a corner as the center of the Frying Pan Spring. John F. Oliver purchased half of the tract in 1898.
For over 62 years, the older church brethren passed knowledge of the boundary lines and markers to the younger generations. This knowledge was called upon in 1909 during a chancery case by the Trustees of Frying Pan Baptist Church as complainants against W. M. McNair and Lucy D. McNair. The dispute revolved around ownership of the spring; the church claiming complete ownership. The case was left unsettled once the church recovered Robert Carter’s letter and the 1797 survey from a previous church clerk showing that the spring was located on church property. During the case, Joseph Berry, the county surveyor, prepared the following plat.
In 1911, Joseph Berry prepared an additional plat
that depicted the meets and bounds of the church lot based upon the description
taken from the 1797 John Lewis survey starting at, alternately, the oak stump
and the large stone. These were overlaid upon
|DEVELOPMENT OF THE SURROUNDING COMMUNITY|
The land in the area where the Frying Pan Baptist
Meeting House would be erected began to be settled in the first quarter of the
18th century. The course of
Tenants leased acreages from land grant holders who typically required the construction of an 18’x20’ house as a term of the lease. Robert Carter’s 1783 letter indicates that at least two tenants on his rent roll lived in the vicinity. John Davis, a diarist of travels, wrote in 1801 that Frying Pan was composed of four log-huts and a Meeting house.
As the population in western
|CIVIL WAR AT FRYING PAN|
The Frying Pan Church is situated adjacent to a road
that was used for troop movement in the Civil War. On June 16, 1861, Col. Maxcy
Gregg of the First South Carolina Infantry, traveled along the road with about
five hundred seventy-five troops and met Captain Terry’s troop of horse at the
Evidently, Captain Terry’s cavalry was stationed at Frying Pan. In a report
dated August 1, 1861 by Philip St. Geo. Cocke, colonel commanding the Fifth Brigade,
Army of the Potomac, he reports that Major Wheat’s
On July 12, 1861, just days before the Battle of First
Manassas, the first major land battle of the armies in Virginia, J.W. Reid, a
soldier of the Fourth Regiment of the South Carolina Volunteers in the Army of
the Confederate States of
On December 20, 1861, J.E.B. Stuart,
Brigadier-General, commanding four regiments of infantry (1,600 men), 150
cavalry, and a battery of four pieces of artillery, advanced on union troops at
Dranesville, VA, several miles north of the church in an effort to protect most
of the Confederate’s wagons. An engagement ensued and Stuart, recognizing he
was out-manned and out-gunned, retreated with all the wounded that could be
located to a railroad cut. Following a short halt, they proceeded to
The neighborhood surrounding the church was a popular retreat for John Singleton Mosby’s partisan rangers. As a successful cavalry scout for J.E.B. Stuart, Mosby was rewarded with his own command. In December 1862, Mosby met Stuart at Mrs. Ann Ratcliffe’s home just north of Frying Pan Church. Her daughter, Laura, was a source of intelligence information. Mosby proposed to Stuart that he be left behind to disrupt shipments of material to the Union Army when the 1st Virginia Cavalry went into winter camp.
About this time, the Federals, under Maj. Gen. Samuel
P. Heintzelman, U.S. Army, commanding Defenses of Washington, had established a
cavalry picket line in an arc through western
Fountain Beattie, one of Mosby’s initial nine
rangers, participated in Mosby’s first
raid, an attack on January 5, 1863 on picket posts near Frying Pan Church.  A
week later, the raiders attacked a ten-man picket post at Frying Pan Church.
Two federal sentries were posted outside a small weather-boarded house while
the pickets slept inside. (Note: The text is not clear if the small house
refers to the meeting house.) The sentries were quietly captured before the
house was fired upon.
The following month, Mosby was intercepted by Laura Ratcliffe as he headed
From August 1-8, 1863, Col. William D. Mann, Seventh
Michigan Cavalry, explored the area between Bull Run and the
After arriving at several of White’s recently deserted camps, Mann set out for Dranesville and Frying Pan on intelligence that Stringfellow was headed that way. On Friday, August 7th, Mann engaged the enemy who broke in all directions through the thickets. He captured 20 prisoners, mostly Mosby’s and White’s men.
On September 1, 1863, Colonel Horace Sargent complained about the hit and run tactics used by White and Mosby. ‘A policy of extermination alone can achieve the end expected....Regiments of the line can do nothing with this furtive population, soldiers to-day, farmers to-morrow, acquainted with every wood-path, and finding a friend in every house....The rebels never patrol roads in column, and we are not safe in bands of 3 or 4; every one betrays us....I can clear this country with fire and sword, and no mortal can do it in any other way. The attempt to discriminate nicely between the just and the unjust is fatal to our safety; every house is a vedette post, and every hill a picket and signal station.’
Following the war, E.V. White became a minister at
Frying Pan Baptist Meeting House in addition to owning White’s Ferry in
Another cavalry skirmish at
The Frying Pan Baptist Meeting House suffered damage
as a result of the encampments and skirmishes. From May 7, 1853 to August 10,
1867 there is a gap in existing minute book records. The first minute book
entry after the war noted that
The meeting house may have been built as early as
1783 when Robert Carter agreed to convey land to the church trustees of the
Physical inspection of the meeting house revealed that the structure was expanded by moving the southeastern and southwestern corners. Based on the construction techniques and minute book documentation, it is supposed that this major renovation work was performed by Mr. Weathers Smith in 1796. The church minute book record of February 16, 1797 requests that all the papers relating to the building of our Meeting house be brought before the church So the Balance due Mr. Weathers Smith for work done on the Same may be ascertained. Later that year, Brother Coleman Brown paid 5 pounds 1 ˝ shillings as his part of the money due Mr. Weathers Smith.
Two cast-iron stoves are currently situated in the meetinghouse and identified as follows:
One-burner stove on west side of sanctuary:
Isaac A Sheppard & Co
Two-burner stove on east side of sanctuary:
A. Sheppard created the firm of Isaac A. Sheppard & Co. in 1860 with four
other partners: Jonathan S. Biddle, James C. Horn, William B. Walton, and John
Sheeler. The company established the Excelsior Stove Works of Philadelphia in
1860 and, supposedly six years later, the Excelsior Stove Works of Baltimore. A
catalog for the company indicates that the Isaac A. Sheppard & Co Excelsior
Stove Works and Hollow-Ware Foundry in
A circa 1929 catalog, Number 53, for The Isaac A Sheppard Co of Maryland Excelsior Stoves and Ranges, offered a WoodlanD wood stove having the date of 1880 on the side.
 Foote, p. 314.
 Robert Baylor
Semple, History of the Baptists In Virginia, Church History Research and
 Ibid., p.
386. Also see church minute books, FCPA Collections, original books on loan
from the Primitive Baptist Library,
 Foote, p. 315.
 Foote, p. 317.
 Semple, as cited by Garnett Ryland, The Baptists of Virginia 1699-1926, The Virginia Baptist Board of Missions and Education, Richmond, Virginia, 1955, p. 105.
 Hunt, Writings of James Madison, I, p. 41, as quoted in Ryland, p. 104.
Henry Foote, Sketches of Virginia: Historical and Biographical, New
edition with Index published 1966, John Knox Press,
R. Standish and Colin D. Standish, Liberty in the Balance, http://www.present-truth.org/Liberty/standish/liberty/litb25.htm#Top,
Chapter 25: “Struggle for Religious Liberty by the Baptists in
 Ryland, p. 98.
James, Documentary History of the Struggle for Religious Liberty in
Virginia, Da Capo Press,
Petition by part of the Bull Run and Little River Baptist Churches and others
to Robert Carter requesting grant of two acres of land to erect a meeting house
convenient to the spring., Virginia Baptist Historical Society,
Ringle, “The Day Slavery Bowed to Conscience”, The
Also, Robert Baylor Semple, History Of The Baptists In Virginia (1810), Revised and extended by G. W. Beale (1894), Church History Research And Archives, Lafayette, Tennessee, 1976, p. 178.
Carter (of Nomini Hall) letter to members of
Thomas Halbrooks, Congregational Worship, The Historical Commission of
the Southern Baptist Convention,
 Shiloh Minutes, 1870, p. 18, cited by Garnett Ryland, The Baptists of Virginia 1699-1926, The Virginia Baptist Board of Missions and Education, Richmond, VA, 1955, p.199.
 Ryland, pp. 245-251.
Book of the Frying Pan Church, Fairfax Co., Va 1891, Minutes, pp. A-C.
Note: This minute book was a record book for the “orderly Baptist” minority who
split from the established
 Minutes, July 1831.
 Minutes, May 1833.
 Minutes, 17 May 1828.
 Minutes, January 1830.
 Minutes, June 1824.
 Minutes, July 1826.
 Minutes, April 1827.
 Minutes, 17 May 1828.
 Deposition of H. J. O’Bannon, Fairfax County Circuit Court, chancery case cff #288, Trustees of Frying Pan Baptist Church complainants against W.M. McNair, defendants.
 Minutes, 17 May 1811.
 Minutes, September 1868.
 Minutes, 8 Apl 1882.
Filled Life Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers,
 Minutes, 1794.
 Carter letter.
 Library of Virginia Land Office Grants, Book B, p. 145.
 Chancery action styled “Carter of Shirley &c vs Carter”, heard throughout the years in various courts, i.e. High Court of Chancery, Superior Court of Chancery, ending with the Spotsylvania District for the Superior Court of Chancery, recorded in 1819, Fredericksburg Circuit Court, Collection CR-SC-H, Record ID 63-1.
 Survey of meeting house tract, Fairfax County Circuit Court, chancery case cff #288, Trustees of Frying Pan Baptist Church complainants against W.M. McNair, defendants.
 FX DB
 Minutes, 12 May 1838.
 FX DB
 FX DB
 FX DB
 FX DB
 FX Chancery cff:288.
Court Orders (CO) A:123,
 Minutes, 13 May 1791.
 Carter letter.
Davis, Travels of Four Years and a Half in the United Sates of
 FX Road
Surveys 1840-1860, Road Box 1, Road From Frying Pan Road at Gunnell’s School to
 United States War Dept., The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies: Official records of the Union and Confederate armies, Govt. Printing Office, Washington, D.C., (1880 - 1901) as cited in http://cdl.library.cornell.edu/moa/browse.monographs/waro.html.
 Jesse Walton Reid, History of the Fourth Regiment of the S.C. Volunteers: Army of the Confederate States of America, Shannon & co., Greenville, S.C. 1892, pp. 19-21.
 Hugh C. Keen and Horace Mewborn, 43rd Battalion – Virginia Cavalry – Mosby’s Command, H.E. Howard, Lynchburg, Virginia, 1993, as cited by http://www.mosbysrangers.com/bio/.
 Virgil Carrington Jones, Ranger Mosby, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC, 1944, pp. 70,71.
 Hugh C. Keen and Horace Mewborn, 43rd Battalion – Virginia Cavalry – Mosby’s Command, H.E. Howard, Lynchburg, Virginia, 1993, p.26.
Week in the Civil War,
Jacobs and Jarian Waters Jacobs, “Colonel Elijah Veirs White: Part II”, The
 Semple, p. 384.
 Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Encyclopedia of Contemporary Biography of Pennsylvania, Vol II., Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Bethlehem, PA, 1868.
 Isaac A Sheppard Co, The Isaac A Sheppard Co of Maryland Excelsior Stoves and Ranges, c.1929, content cited at http://www.msinfobooks.com/cgi-bin/msinfo/htmlos.cgi/01662.2.37918863490#tcisme.