Frying Pan Baptist Meeting House
by Debbie Robison

Frying Pan Baptist Meeting HouseThough Baptists arrived in Virginia as early as 1714 in Isle of Wright County, the forming of a church in Berkley County, now West Virginia, by several Baptist families about 1743, acted as a catalyst for the spread of the religion east of the Blue Ridge Mountains.[1] These brethren emigrated from Maryland and began a church connected with the Philadelphia Association, an umbrella organization of several Baptist churches. Their area of settlement was sparsely populated and subject to Native American irruptions, prompting their minister and others to settle in Loudoun County on Ketocton Creek. The church, under the pastoral charge of Elder John Garrard (probably from Pennsylvania) was constituted c.1756 and called Ketocton. With two additional congregations, the churches unified and formed the Ketocton Association.[2]


During 1760s, Baptists continued to emigrate from Pennsylvania and Maryland into the upper counties of the Northern Neck of Virginia and planted numerous churches. In 1766, The Rev. David Thomas, of Pennsylvania, planted the Broad Run Church in Fauquier County. He did not restrict his preaching to this church community but traveled throughout the neighboring countryside, sometimes with Mr. Garrard, preaching the principles of Christianity. He succeeded in planting three additional churches, including Little River in 1769. The Rev. Richard Major was also successful in organizing new churches aligned with the Ketocton Association, including Bull Run Church (c.1775) and Frying Pan where he preached until 1797.[3]  


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.[4] 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.[5]


Patrick Henry was an advocate of religious freedom who defended Baptist preachers in court [6] and advised preachers to conduct marriage ceremonies as the most certain way of gaining that right by law.[7] 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.[8]


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.[9] The baptisms differed due to the Baptists insistence upon adult consent baptism by immersion.[10]


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 denomination. [11] Virginia governor William Gooch had  agreed in 1738 to allow Presbyterians to settle in what he considered frontier territory and be protected by England’s Act of Toleration. While the Presbyterians were willing to settle for toleration, the Baptists wanted recognition and complete freedom of religion.[12]


With the desire to erect a meeting house convenient to a spring on Robert Carter III’s Frying Pan Tract, members of the Bull Run and Little River Baptist Churches petitioned Carter in 1783 for a grant of two acres of land for the purpose of erecting a meeting house.[13] Carter, himself a Baptist at the time[14], responded in a letter to his Brothers and Sisters in Christ, agreeing to convey a deed of two acres including the Frying Pan Spring (part of his Copper Mine Tract containing 762 acres) to the church trustees. Though local lore suggests that the meeting house was built earlier, Carter specifically offers the trustees the use of belted pine trees in the fields of nearby tenants in building the church.[15]


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 Baptist Church and were previously meeting at the Frying Pan Meeting House prior to sanctioning the covenant. The subscribers being now members of the Baptist church meeting at the aforesaid place, hoping it may be to the glory of God and our edification;- do hereby, as in the presence of God, solemnly unite as a religious society to worship Him… [16]


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.[17] 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.[18]


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. [19]


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 Virginia in 1889 when the minority orderly Baptists split from Frying Pan to establish another church called Frying Pan Church, which met for several years locally in members’ homes.[20]


The Frying Pan Church Covenant, in addition to incorporating the principles contained in the Baptist Confession of Faith adopted by the Association at Philadelphia, listed several doctrines the members believed necessary for salvation, paraphrased as follows:


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.[21]


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.[22]

·        Resolved that Sister Blinco be publickly excommunicated for disorderly Behaviour and disobedience to the Church [23]

·        A Report spreading abroad to the prejudice of Sister Lane’s Reputation and states that she sends her Children to the Dancing School thro the Medium of her Relations who are not Members of the Church [24]

·        Widow Thomas who was a Member with us, who unhappily are found to be with Child without a Husband.[25]


From its inception, African Americans, both free and enslaved, were welcome to join the Frying Pan Baptist Meeting House congregation.[26] 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.[27]


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.[28] Jupiter, who was not free, had long been called upon by the church to take a leadership role with other African Americans.[29]  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.[30]


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.[31]


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.[32] 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.[33] He was expelled from the fellowship of the church for Immoral Conduct in 1827[34] and restored a year later.[35]

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.[36]


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.[37] 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.[38] 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.[39]


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.[40] One formerly enslaved individual, David, received a dismission from the Church to emigrate westward upon the death of his owner.[41]


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.[42] 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.[43]


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.[44] 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. [45] Often, the Elder called upon the male members to let the church hear of their Christian travel.[46]


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.[47]

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.[48]


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.[49] In 1957, Sister Alston stated she would furnish paint for the exterior of meeting house.[50] Nine years prior, in a traditionally female role, she agreed to select the material for the new linen for Communion Service.[51]


When Robert “Conciliator” Carter wrote to offer two acres of land to the trustees of Bull Run Baptist Church, he cautioned that he did not hold clear title to the property.[52] Ownership of the tract, situated on land that was granted to Robert Carter, Jr. and Charles Carter on October 14, 1728, was conveyed to the Frying-pan-Company by agreement entered into between Robert “King” Carter, his sons Robin and Charles, and son-in-law Mann Page for the purpose of mining copper.[53] “Conciliator” Carter held a one-fourth interest in the property in 1783. Eventually, the mining venture had failed with the discovery that there was no copper and at Carter’s death, the courts divided the property among his heirs.


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.”[54]


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.[55]


In September 1822, Robert Ratcliffe surveyed the tract depicting lot number 9 which was conveyed to Robert “Conciliator” Carter’s unmarried daughter Sophia Carter.[56]


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.[57] On December 3, 1838, her executor, William H Fitzhugh, sold the land to Charles Ratcliffe.[58]


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 Fairfax County be recorded in the Clerks Office of said County.[59] No evidence has been found of this recordation, perhaps because at the time of the gift, the land was within the boundaries of Loudoun County. On October 13, 1838 the members Resolved that Brethren Gulott and Blincoe is requested to attain the Testamoney of Mr George Carter and others relative to Counselers Carters Letter giving a title to the lot of ground held be the Fryingpan Church and to have the letter and testimony recorded in the Clerks office of the county of Loudoun.[60] Again, no evidence has been found of this recordation.


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.[61] Mary Ratcliffe sold the property to Burr Gould on the third day of the following February.[62]


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.[63] 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.[64]


On Christmas Day of 1858, Burr Gould sold 203 acres of land adjoining the meetinghouse lot to his son, Roderic Gould.[65] 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.[66] 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.[67]


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 Berry’s 1908 survey.[68]


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 Ox Road was laid out in 1729 by Robert “King” Carter for transportation of hogsheads of tobacco and copper to the port of Colchester. The road opened the area to settlement by tenant farmers and miners. In 1758, a new road, now know as Centreville Road, was petitioned to extend from just east of present day Sully Historic Site to Frying Pan and from there on to the Ox Road.[69] Coleman Brown, an early Elder in the church,[70] would have traveled along this road, passing by the farm of another member, George Shively, on his way to Frying Pan.


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.[71] John Davis, a diarist of travels, wrote in 1801 that Frying Pan was composed of four log-huts and a Meeting house.[72]


As the population in western Fairfax County escalated, so did the need for more convenient roads. A proposed road route from the Frying Pan Church to Liberty Church in Dranesville was surveyed on September 9/10, 1851 by S.D. Farr. The town of Herndon would develop along this route about 1857 when a railroad station was built there.[73]


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 Frying-pan Church. Terry’s command consisted of about seventy cavalry and two guns of Captain Kemper’s battery with thirty-four men. They proceeded along the road to Dranesville.[74]


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 Louisiana First Special Battalion was added to my command and stationed at or near Frying Pan Church, and Captain Alexander’s troop of cavalry also added to Terry’s at the same place. Subsequently Major Evans was ordered from Leesburg with Sloan’s Fourth Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers to Frying Pan Church with orders to report to me and act as a part of my command stationed at that place.[75]


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 America, wrote from Frying Pan Church where he was encamped with eight or nine hundred other troops. In his letter, he wished that he would not long remain there for I do not like the place at all. That evening there came a report that they were surrounded by twenty thousand of the enemy and that their best chance for escape was to fight their way through to Manassas Junction to join General Beauregard. General Evans gave the call to prepare for action. Within ten minutes, each man drew forty-five rounds of cartridges, and had everything in wagons ready for an emergency. A large picket sent out to reconnoiter reported no enemy. The following day, Reid received news that two of their regiments attempted to join them but the enemy got in between so the regiments were retreating back to Manassas Junction. He was ordered to pack up and they moved immediately to a railroad cut two to three miles distant.[76]


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 Fryingpan Church, where the wounded were cared for. Stuart’s official report listed 143 wounded.[77]


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 Fairfax County to protect the city of Washington. Dranesville and Frying Pan Church were both picket posts on the line.  The Federals had a small cavalry force at Dranesville seven miles to the north of the church under Major Taggart who was ordered to move on the Fairfax Court-House. A skirmish and retreat occurred from December 27 – 29, 1862 when Taggart’s cavalry came in contact with the enemy at Frying Pan, and drove in their advance, but could make no impression on their main body. Colonel Wyndham also fell on their rear near Chantilly, but for the same reason could not do them much injury. He overtook them this side of Chantilly, and , although having only 500 men, made them deploy their force, and found them to number over 3,000 men. His advance followed them as far as Pleasant Valley. Brig. Gen John J. Abercrombie, U.S. Army, commanding division reported, At 4 p.m., in obedience to orders, Defenses of Washington, I dispatched all my cavalry in pursuit of the rebels toward Hunter’s Mills. At about 6 o’clock Major Taggart joined me with three companies of cavalry. He had been stationed at Dranesville, and, in attempting to reach Annandale, had met Stuart’s cavalry at Frying Pan.[78]


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. [79] 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.[80] The following month, Mosby was intercepted by Laura Ratcliffe as he headed towards Frying Pan Church. She had learned of a trap set for Mosby from a young Federal who told her that Lieutenant Arthur S. Palmer, Company C, 1st West Virginia Cavalry had posted pickets visible outside Frying Pan Church but hid the balance of his Company in the woods. In response, Mosby turned north and attacked at Herndon Depot followed by a skirmish at Dranesville where Mosby captured fifteen Federals.[81] On June 3, 1863, John A. Saunders, possibly one of Mosby’s rangers, was involved in a fight near the Frying Pan Church. Saunders would  become a member of Company D of Mosby’s 43rd Battalion Virginia Cavalry. It has been noted that many of Mosby’s early rangers formed Company D.[82]


From August 1-8, 1863, Col. William D. Mann, Seventh Michigan Cavalry, explored the area between Bull Run and the Blue Ridge Mountains, VA for the purpose of hunting up and driving out guerrilla parties known to infest that region. His goal was to find Mosby’s and Lieutennant-Colonel Elijah Viers White’s men. White was an officer of the 35th Battalion, Virginia Calvary. His unit was nicknamed the “Comanches” by General Thomas Rosser after White led the 35th in a charge described as being conducted with such ferocity, and was also known as “White’s Rebels.” He was branded a guerrilla and worked alongside Mosby.


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.[83]


Following the war, E.V. White became a minister at Frying Pan Baptist Meeting House in addition to owning White’s Ferry in Loudoun County and functioning as president of Peoples National Bank in Leesburg.[84]


Another cavalry skirmish at Frying Pan Church transpired on October 17, 1863. As reported by Major-General J.E.B. Stuart: I continued the march on the morning of the 17th, striking the Little River turnpike about 3 miles below Aldie, and passing Gum Springs reached Frying Pan Church, near which point a squadron of Young’s brigade, which was in front, charged and captured a number of the enemy’s picket; and our sharpshooters being thrown forward a brisk engagement ensued with a regiment of infantry belonging to the Sixth Army Corps, Major-General Sedgwick, which was posted at this place. The Jeff. Davis Legion was here conspicuous for its gallantry, advancing dismounted across the field upon the enemy’s position. After about two hours’ skirmishing the strength and position of the enemy was discovered; the fact ascertained that the Sixth Army Corps was intrenching a line across the Little River turnpike perpendicular to it and a little west of Chantilly, and the other information of an important character acquired. The purpose of the expedition having been thus accomplished, the troops were secretly withdrawn at sundown, returning at the leisure by the same route which they had pursued in advancing, the direction of our withdrawal purposely leading the enemy to suppose that we were going in the direction of Fairfax Court-House. Subsequent intelligence derived from the enemy’s statements showed that this attack on their rear greatly disconcerted them, and induced the whole Federal force at Centreville to fall back in the direction of Alexandria, under the impression that we designed a movement with our entire army against their right flank and rear.[85]


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 Fryingpan Church met at the School House on the Ox Road. In September 1868, a committee was formed for repairing the meeting house. The repairs took years to complete. On May 7, 1870, the minutes record that The building committee, for the repair of the house, are expected to continue to exert themselves towards finishing the repairs on the house.[86]


The meeting house may have been built as early as 1783 when Robert Carter agreed to convey land to the church trustees of the Bull Run Church. Physical evidence of the method of eave construction affirms the possibility of this date. This was not generally considered a time of growth for the Baptist movement. In 1782 only twenty-three people were baptized in the Ketocton Association. However, in 1789, after the commencement of the great revival, three hundred and fifty-nine people were baptized by member churches.[87]


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.[88] Later that year, Brother Coleman Brown paid 5 pounds 1 ˝ shillings as his part of the money due Mr. Weathers Smith.[89]


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

            Baltimore, MD

            Patented 1865


Two-burner stove on east side of sanctuary:


            No. 39



Isaac 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 Baltimore was located on the southwest corner of Eastern Avenue and Chester Street.[90]


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.[91]





[1] Foote, p. 314.

[2] Robert Baylor Semple, History of the Baptists In Virginia, Church History Research and Archives, Lafayette, Tennessee, first edition 1810, revised and extended by G.W. Beale 1894, with an introduction by Dr. Joe M.King 1972, published 1976, pp. 376-385.

[3] Ibid., p. 386. Also see church minute books, FCPA Collections, original books on loan from the Primitive Baptist Library, Elon, North Carolina, hereinafter referred to as “Minutes”.

[4] Foote, p. 315.

[5] Fairfax County Order Book 1772-1774 pp. 264, 275 (FX OB 1772-4:264,275), 10 Sep 1773 and 19 Oct 1773, Fairfax County Circuit Court Archives, Fairfax, Virginia.

[6] Foote, p. 317.

[7] 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.

[8] Hunt, Writings of James Madison, I, p. 41, as quoted in Ryland, p. 104.

[9] William Henry Foote, Sketches of Virginia: Historical and Biographical, New edition with Index published 1966, John Knox Press, Richmond, Virginia, 1966 (originally published in 1850), p. 316.

[10] Russell R. Standish and Colin D. Standish, Liberty in the Balance,, Chapter 25: “Struggle for Religious Liberty by the Baptists in Virginia

[11] Ryland, p. 98.

[12] Charles James, Documentary History of the Struggle for Religious Liberty in Virginia, Da Capo Press, New York, 1971 [©1899], pp. 11-37, cited by

[13] 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, Richmond, VA.

[14] Ken Ringle, “The Day Slavery Bowed to Conscience”, The Washington Post, July 21, 1991. Ringle reports that the impetus to Carter becoming a Baptist was due to being shaken by an evangelical experience while sick with smallpox.

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.

[15] Robert Carter (of Nomini Hall) letter to members of Bull Run Baptist Church, February 28, 1783, Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) Archives. (Carter letter)

[16] Minutes.

[17] G. Thomas Halbrooks, Congregational Worship, The Historical Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Nashville, 1989.

[18] 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.

[19] Ryland, pp. 245-251.

[20] Church 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 Frying Pan Church.

[21] Minutes, May 13, 1791.

[22] Minutes, 24 Dec 1791.

[23] Minutes, 29 Dec 1796.

[24] Minutes, 28 July 1804.

[25] Minutes, 22 Sept 1827.

[26] Minutes, July 1831.

[27] Minutes, 13 Nov 1794.

[28] Minutes, May 1833.

[29] Minutes, 17 May 1828.

[30] Minutes, 16 Oct 1819.

[31] Minutes, January 1830.

[32] Minutes, June 1824.

[33] Minutes, July 1826.

[34] Minutes, April 1827.

[35] Minutes, 17 May 1828.

[36] 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.

[37] Minutes, 22 Jun 1805.

[38] Minutes, 22 Nov 1806.

[39] Minutes, 17 May 1811.

[40] Minutes, 15 Mar 1817.

[41] Minutes, 18 April 1818.

[42] Minutes, September 1868.

[43] Minutes, 10 Dec 1881.

[44] Minutes, 13 Aug 1880.

[45] Minutes, 8 Apl 1882.

[46] Minutes, 13 Nov 1886

[47] Spirit Filled Life Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1991, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, p. 1,742.

[48] Minutes, 9 Jul 1814.

[49] Minutes, 1794.

[50] Minutes, 10 Mar 1957.

[51] Minutes, 11 Dec 1948.

[52] Carter letter.

[53] Library of Virginia Land Office Grants, Book B, p. 145.

[54] 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.

[55] 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.

[56] Fairfax County Deed Book (FX DB) B3:417, 3 Dec 1838, Fairfax County Circuit Court Archives, Fairfax, Virginia.

[57] Prince William County Will Book W:11, 16 May 1832 (date written) Prince William County Circuit Court, Manassas, Virginia.

[58] FX DB B3:417, 3 Dec 1838.

[59] Minutes, 12 May 1838.

[60] Minutes, 13 Oct 1838.

[61] FX DB K3:179, 23 Dec 1845.

[62] FX DB K3:263, 03 Feb 1846.

[63] Minutes, 11 Dec 1847.

[64] Minutes, 13 Sep 1851.

[65] FX DB A4:296, 25 Dec 1858.

[66] FX DB G4:472, 01 Jan 1867; FX DB G4:476, 01 Jan 1867; FX DB J4:171, 01 Jan 1869; FX DB L4:37; FX DB J4:527, 04 Jun 1869.

[67] FX Chancery cff:288.

[68] Ibid.

[69] FX Court Orders (CO) A:123, 15 Jun 1758, Fairfax County Circuit Court Archives, Fairfax, Virginia.

[70] Minutes, 13 May 1791.

[71] Carter letter.

[72] John Davis, Travels of Four Years and a Half in the United Sates of America During 1798, 1799, 1800, 1801, and 1802, Henry Holt & Co., New York, pp. 374, 375,378.

[73] FX Road Surveys 1840-1860, Road Box 1, Road From Frying Pan Road at Gunnell’s School to Liberty Church at Dranesville, 1852, Sept 13, 1851, Fairfax County Circuit Court Archives, Fairfax, Virginia.

[74] 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

[75] United States War Dept., Official Records

[76] 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.

[77] United States War Dept., Official Records

[78] United States War Dept., Official Records

[79] Hugh C. Keen and Horace Mewborn, 43rd Battalion – Virginia Cavalry – Mosby’s Command, H.E. Howard, Lynchburg, Virginia, 1993, as cited by

[80] Virgil Carrington Jones, Ranger Mosby, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC, 1944, pp. 70,71.

[81] Hugh C. Keen and Horace Mewborn, 43rd Battalion – Virginia Cavalry – Mosby’s Command, H.E. Howard, Lynchburg, Virginia, 1993, p.26.


[83] This Week in the Civil War, Union and Confederate Edition,

[84] Charles Jacobs and Jarian Waters Jacobs, “Colonel Elijah Veirs White: Part II”, The Montgomery County Story, February 1979.

[85] United States War Dept., Official Records

[86] Minutes, 10 Aug 1867, Sept 1868, 07 May 1870.

[87] Semple, p. 384.

[88] Minutes, 16 Feb 1797.

[89] Minutes, 11 Oct 1797.

[90] Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Encyclopedia of Contemporary Biography of Pennsylvania, Vol II., Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Bethlehem, PA, 1868.

[91] Isaac A Sheppard Co, The Isaac A Sheppard Co of Maryland Excelsior Stoves and Ranges, c.1929, content cited at