Newspaper: The Charlotte Gazette, Drakes Branch, VA., Thursday,
December 10, 1925
Submitted By: Bea Adams King
"CENTENNIAL OF VILLAGE CHURCH"
The Pioneer efforts
which led to the establishment of churches of the Presbyterian faith in this
section of Virginia are generally credited to Rev. Samuel Davies, one of the
greatest names in the early history of American Presbyterianism. We read
that he came to Hanover County in 1747, and that in addition to serving seven
regular preaching points he made Missionary Excursions over a wide territory
and founded a number of the eldest Presbyterian churches in what is now known
as Southside Virginia. Among those was Cub Creek Church, organized about
1750. Prior to that time, in 1738, colony of Scotch-Irish had been
established in this community under the leadership of John Caldwell,
grandfather of the south Carolina Statesman, John Caldwell Calhoun, and a
preaching point had been in existence at Cub Creek before the formal
organization of the church. At the date of its organization it was in
Lunenburg County (from which Charlotte was cut off in 1765) and belonged to the
Presbytery of New Brunswick in the Synod of New York.
Like Cub Creek, Charlotte Courthouse was a preaching point for the Presbyterian Ministers of that day long before there was a regular church organization, just how long is not definitely known. In 1817 the "Court House Tract", belonging to the estate of Col. Thomas Read, was first subdivided into village lots and sold at auction. On the plat of the town recorded at that time in the proceedings of the County, Court, the Church Lot" is shown in its present location and the surveyor's notes state that it contains one acre, and "the center of the church is the center of the acre." Among the noted preachers, who are known to have preached here in this early period, are Archibald Alexander, founder of Princeton Seminary; John Holt Rice, founder of Union Theological "Seminary; Nash Legrand and Clement Read. The first building on this site was known as the "Brick Church" and the tradition is that it was torn down in 1834 to be replaced by the present building.
The minutes of Hanover Presbytery show that at a meeting held at Hampden Sidney College in October, 1825, a petition from certain members of the Cub Creek congregation was presented, praying that a church be organized at Charlotte Courthouse, and that Rev. John D. Paxton was appointed to organize the said congregation. This duty he performed at a congregational meeting held in the "Brick House" on November 12, 1825. The name, "Village Church", by which it has been ever since known, was adopted at this meeting. Thirty-one persons from Cub Creek, three from Briery, and two from the Chaney Congregation were enrolled as character members. The first pastor was Rev. James W. Alexander, son of the Archibald Alexander already mentioned; then a young man, but destined to become famous, like his father, as an educator and preacher. In the first decade the membership of the church more than doubled. Between 1855 and 1865 it increased to nearly 200, but this is accounted for by the fact that a special effort was apparently made about this period to have the negro slaves united with the white churches, and great numbers of them were received into membership
After the war, the negroes were dismissed to form churches of their own. The sessional records are complete from the date of organization to the present time, and contain much that might be of interest to the present generation, but in the limits of this article it is not possible to do more than give a list of the Pastors with the dates of their service, and the Ruling elders with the dates of their ordination.
1. Rev. James W. Alexander, D.D.; 1826-1828
2. Rev. Anrew (Andrew) Hart, 1830-1847
3. Rev. John H. Rice, Jr., D.D.; 1850-1854
4. Rev. Edward P. Terhune, D.D.; 1856-1859
5. Rev. Henry C. Alexander, D.D.; 1861-1870
6. Rev. Wm. R. Atkinson, 1870-1875
7. Rev. R.C. Reed (Read), D.D.; 1877-1885
8. Rev. James P. Gammon, D.D.; 1886-1889
9. Rev. Wm. H. Davis, 1890-1893
10. Rev. Wm. McC. Miller, 1893-1905
11. Rev. Robt. L. McNair, D.D.; 1906-1912
12. Rev. Cochran Preston, 1913-1920
13. Rev. Philip A. Michel, 1922-1923
14. Rev. Abner C. Hopkins, D.d.; 1924-
George C. Friend, Jr., Thomas Marshall and J.H. Marshall, 1825.
Dr. P.C. Venable and Col. J.P. Marshall, 1827.
A.C. Morton, 1828
Charles Hutcheson, 1835.
A.A. Lyle, L.B. Hagerman and David Comfort, 1841.
J.J. Wood, 1851.
Wm. G. Friend and Wm. Wirt Henry, 1856.
Jno. N. Schmidth, J.W. Marshall, T.J. Spencer and W.W. Read, 1862.
J.W. Daniel, 1867.
R.H. Gaines, 1878.
Samuel P. Daniel and Horace P. Lacy, 1879.
William G. Spencer, 1887.
Robt. F. Hutcheson, Sr., 1891.
John W. Eggleston and Thomas F. Watkins, 1894.
J. Cullen Carrington, Wm. H. Smith, Sr., Robert F. Hutcheson, Jr., J. Flood Morton, Wm. H. Smith, Jr.
At present the church has 106 resident members, and is organized as follows:
1. The Session: Rev. A.C. Hopkins, Moderator; R.F. Hutcheson; Clerk; Walter G. Williams, J. Flood Morton, W.H., Smith, Jr., Thomas F. Watkins.
2. The Deacons: C.M. Hutcheson, C.C. Griffeth, E.D. Robertson, Yancey Robertson.
2. The Sunday School: C.M. Hutcheson, Superintendent: Yancey Robertson, Assistant Superintendent; Miss Dell Wight, Secretary-Treasurer.
4. The Woman's Auxillary: Mrs. C.M. Hutcheson, President.
5. The Ladies Aid Society: Mrs. J.E. Novell, President.
Village Church contributed to all causes last year, over $5,800.00, of which $3,300 was for benevolence.