Posts Tagged ‘churches’

“Zion Baptist Church, among the oldest of the African-American congregations in Portsmouth, was organized in 1865, some two years after the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves was signed by President Lincoln. The original pioneers, numbering 318, having known a basement form of worship, were amicably granted a letter of separation from the White mother church, Court Street Baptist.”
— Zion Baptist Church, “Church History,” accessed September 13, 2021

Court Street Baptist Church was founded in 1789, burned down and was rebuilt in 1901. Two photographs accompany Virginia Historical Inventory survey report: VHIR/19/0219 which has been digitized and is available at the Library of Virginia.

Read Full Post »

This photograph of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church (2015) was contributed to FindAGrave.com by a person who goes by ‘AGraveStory.’

“[Shiloh Baptist Church] was organized in 1865, during the last tumultuous year of the Civil War by a small group of ex-slaves. They started worshipping God in a log cabin called Bethel near Cross Keys…. Eventually Bethel was moved to its present location at 30188 Shiloh Road and renamed Shiloh Baptist Church….Shiloh has birthed many pastors, preachers, teachers, deacons, clerks and trustees and helped grow five branches — Bryants, Odom Chapel, Zoar, Galilee and New Bethel Baptist churches.”

The complete article by Rev. Dr. William A. Scott is online at “Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church helped grow other congregations,” The Tidewater News, 16 February 2013 (blog) accessed 22 November 2020.


There’s more information about Shiloh Baptist Church on FindAGrave.com. A person called ‘AGraveStory’ contributed this photograph in 2015. The image features the older part of the building and a brief note explains that there are cemetery sections behind the church and across the road in front of the church.
The post is on Find A Grave at https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/2139288/shiloh-missionary-baptist-church-cemetery, accessed November 22, 2020.

Read Full Post »

Shiloh Baptist Church, the oldest African American Baptist church in Accomack County, is the mother church of three other congregations.

“Shiloh Baptist Church is the oldest African American Baptist Church in Accomack County. Founded in 1875, the congregation of Shiloh Baptist Church grew out of the “Colored Membership” of the Hollies Baptist Church in Keller, VA.

“The first church edifice was constructed in 1875, and, after twice being destroyed by fire, the second edifice was rebuilt in 1904. The current church building was completed in 1907, and a Building Fund drive is currently under way to raise money for a new church home.

“Under the leadership of thirteen pastors over a period of 131 years, Shiloh Baptist Church has grown and flourished, adding new souls to the congregation every year. Shiloh Baptist Church birthed three other congregations: the New Mount Zion Baptist Church of Painter, Virginia in 1881, the Holy Trinity Baptist Church of Pungoteague, Virginia in 1905 and the Ebenezer Baptist Church of Wardtown, Virginia in 1909.”

The complete article is online at Shiloh Baptist Church, Accomack County, Virginia ( http://shilohbaptistva.org/our-family/ ) accessed October 26, 2020.


Read Full Post »

Witnesses from Accomack County, Virginia spoke of a wedding and a funeral, health and employment, a benevolent society and a farm property. 

Invalid — 634,939 / 665,486
Widow — 895,178 / 681,407, Jane Collins

Declaration for Original Invalid Pension, James Collins, Sr., 2 January 1887 
65 years old; residence, Accomack…. post-office address, Pungoteague, Va.;  discharged at Hampton, on or about 3d day of June 1865, by reason of disability … treated at hospital near Hampton, Va. …. Also personally appeared R.W. Blackstone and John H. Joynes”

General Affidavit, James Martin, 16 October 1889
56 years old; occupation, farmer; residence, near Pungoteague, Va.; post-office address, Pungoteague, Accomack Co., Va.
“That he knew James Collins, Sr. before he enlisted in the army and has been intimately acquainted with him ever since his discharge; that  he has  lived upon on average within two miles of him each year from 1865 to 1885, and for the last four years has lived within 1/2 a mile of him; … that he has seen and conversed with said Collins upon on average 2 to 3 times a month from 1865 to 1885, and since then to the present time 3 or 4 times a week….that he has employed said Collins to work for him at different times for the last 12 years, and that he is sure said Collins cannot perform more than 1/2 so much manual labor as a healthy, strong man can.”

Affidavit, James Collins, Sr., 14 July 1890
70 years old; residence, near Pungoteague, Accomack Co., Va. … private … Company I, 1st regiment of the USC Cavry commanded by Capt. Howard, and was honorably discharged at Hampton, Va., on or about the 1st day of June, 1865 by reason of being incapacitated for further duty by illness … Also personally appeared George Hack, residing in Pungoteague, Virginia, and John Hack, residing [in Pungoteague, Virginia]”

Questionnaire (Form 3-056a), Jane Collins, 15 May 1897
[When did you first see soldier after the war?] “In April 1866 we met at a Loving Charity [sic] meeting which started among us 31 years ago.”
[“Love and Charity” was a benevolent society founded after the Civil War. I’ve seen it mentioned in Freedman’s Bank passbooks and in obituaries published as late as the 1960s. More research! — Leslie]

Questionnaire (Form 3-402), James Collins, Sr., 4 June 1898
[married] Jane Collins, Jane Dennis
[when, where, by whom] 1885, month & date do not remember, near Pungoteague, Va., Rev. T. W. Nettles
[record] in clerk’s office
[previously married] Margaret Weeks died 1875 near Pungoteague, Va.
[living children] Nancie [?] born 1852; Sarah born 1855; John born 1860; Lauranette [?] 1857; Rachel 1862; Lelia, 1865; Maggie, 1867; James, 1869; Ella, 1870

Origin of Disability in the Service, James Collins, Sr., 1 June 1900
87 years old; post-office address, Pungoteague, Accomack Co., Va.
“That it is impossible to furnish the evidence of a commissioned officer of my regiment as none of them now resides in the county in which I live nor can I furnish the affidavit of a doctor that treated me in the service as they do not reside in this county. I was treated in McClennan Hospital in Hampton near Hampton, Va. and by Doctor Gray at Camp Lincoln, Va. I served under Lieutenant Gray. I do not know of a comrade living in my county that served in my regiment with me. Sergeant Reed residing in Norfolk, Va. is the last officer that I know anything of. I am very old and cannot go far from my home.”

Origin of Disability in the Service, John Major, 18 January 1901
69 years old; post-office address, Pungoteague, Accomack Co., Va.
“I have been acquainted with the claimant Jas. Collins from boyhood. We were raised together. We enlisted in the same regiment but assigned different companies. He was in Co. I and I in Co. F.”

Declaration for Widow’s Pension, Jane Collins, 14 May 1908
58 years old; residence, near Nandua, Accomack County, Virginia; post-office, Nandua, Accomack County, Virginia
“That she was married under the name of Jane Dennis to said soldier at her home [in 1885 or 1886] by Rev. T.W. Nettles …. That the said soldier died April, 1907, at home … Left no children under 16 years of age … Also personally appeared A.S. West, residing near Nandua, Va. and George W. Hash, residing near Nandua, Va. … their acquaintance with her of 30 years and 15 years, respectively”

Memorandum, Clerk of Circuit Court, John D. Grant, 20 March 1909
Accomack County, Virginia; I, John D. Grant, Clerk of the Circuit Court for the County of Accomack, in the State of Virginia, do hereby certify that it appears recorded in the ‘Register of Marriages,’ a record book in the Clerk’s Office of the said Court, that James Collins and Jane Dennis were married at Shiloh Baptist Church, in said County, on the 17th day of November, A.D., 1885, by Rev. T.W. Nettles. In testimony thereof, I hereunto set my hand, and annex the seal of the said Court, this 20th day of March, A.D. 1909.”

General Affidavit, Jane Collins, 31 March 1909
about 60 years old; post-office address, Nandua, Va.
“James Collins was married once before he and I were married and his wife died several years before we were married. I had never been married before I married James Collins and I have not married since his death.”

General Affidavit, George E. Hatton, 31 March 1909
53 years old; residence, Pungoteague, Va.
“We have no public records in our State that tells when a person dies. And in regard to the death of James Collins I know that he died April 1907 and was buried in the Baptist church burying ground near Pegueyville [sic], Va.  I was present at his burial.
“I know that James Collins and Jane Collins lived together as man and wife since Nov. 1885, at the time they were married, I was present at their marriage and have lived neighbor to them most of the time up to his death.”

General Affidavit, Augustus S. West, 31 March 1909
47 years old; post-office address, Nandua, Va.
“No public records of deaths are kept in my county. To my knowledge he has been dead nearly two years and was buried in the Baptist Church Cemetery near my home … claimant (Jane Collins) lives near me at present …. No doctor attended [James Collins] in his last illness.”

General Affidavit, Sarah Walker, 15 April 1909
55 years old; post-office address, Craddockville, Va.
“That she is the daughter of James Collins, dec’d, by his first wife and that she (his first wife) died on the 30th day of April 1876. She died near Pungoteague, Va. on the farm known as Shepperd Plains, and she further testifies that James Collins died on the 23rd day of April 1907.”

General Affidavit, James A. Collins,15 April 1909
44 years old; post-office address, Craddockville, Va.
“That James Collins late pensioner of the U.S. died on the 23rd day of April 1907. The reason why he knows the date of James Collins’ death so well is that he is a son of James Collins dec’d.”

General Affidavit, Louis Duncan, 1 May 1909
68 years old; post-office address, Craddockville, Va.
“That Margaret Collins is the first wife of James Collins (late pensioner of the U.S.) died on the 30th day of April 1876. She died on the farm known as ‘Shepherd’s Plains‘ near Pungoteague, Va.
“I know of the facts in this case because I was living in the same neighborhood at the time of her death. and what makes me recollect it so well I had an aunt to die about the same time, only about a week before her death.”

Read Full Post »

The New Willow Grove Baptist Church had her humble beginning in the Pleasant Grove District of Old Norfolk County, now the great city of Chesapeake, in the year of 1864. Known first as “Will You Grow Baptist Church”.​

​”She lived in the minds and hearts of those who fostered her birth. Reverend Charles Hodges, who later became our first pastor, donated the land in 1867. Later the land was deeded in the name of Willow Grove Baptist Church. Three trustees of our church made this possible: Henry Nimmo, Joseph Brown, and Henry Godfrey. The cost of this historical event was fifty dollars.”

New Willow Grove Baptist Church: Our History


Read Full Post »

This widow’s application provides insight into her close relationships with cousins and neighbors in the tightknit community of Berkley which was annexed by the city of Norfolk in 1906. She and her witnesses described slaveowners, a church affiliation, and participation in a women’s society. The intrepid researcher would benefit by applying FAN club methodology to learn more about the target ancestor. 

Widow — 417,759 / —  Catherine

Declaration for Widow’s Pension, Catharine Armstrong, 4 September 1890
America Armstrong married Catharine Old in 1863.  The ceremony was performed by Rev. William Lewis in Norfolk.  The soldier died 8 December 1871.


General Affidavit, J.E. Lovitt, 1 December 1890
53 years old, minister of Methodist Episcopal Protestant Church, Norfolk, Norfolk County … “I was acquainted with America Armstrong during his life time, visited him during his last illness and administered the Holy Communion to him during his last illness and verily believe that he died with consumption contracted during his term of service.”

General Affidavit, Catherine Armstrong, 27 January 1892
“… that before the war she belonged to a Wm. Olds and was allowed to live with and cohabit with soldier under Old Slave laws on or about 1861, that the cohabitation continued by consent of master untill [sic] 1863 when she was married by Rev. William Lewis in accordance with law.  Mr Lewis was a colored minister. There was no marriage certificate.  That she and soldier so continued to live as husband and wife untill [sic] his death in December 8th 1871. She is well known and her husband is well remembered by a large number of persons in this vicinity, and she was always recognised [sic] as his wife. That her husband America Armstrong died in Norfolk Co., Va. at what is known as New Rich and was burried [sic] close by. That she had no children to him by said cohabitation. That she cannot give record evidence of marriage either record evidence of death or burial as none was kept of colored people in the county or outside of cities. That she is entirely dependant [sic] on friends and comrads [sic] to prove her cohabitation, its continuance, his death and date her continued widowhood, and her present dependant [sic] condition and pray that the same be considered and accepted in proof of her claim for pension as his widow.”


Affidavit that the Claimant has not Remarried, and that She is with no other means of Support than her Daily Labor, Richard R. Johnson & Ann Foreman, 27 January 1892
[both residents of] Norfolk [and neighbors of the claimant] … “past 28 years to present time [years] we have been well acquainted with the said Catherine Armstrong.”


General Affidavit, Ann Foreman & Patsey Joiner, 27 January 1892
[Foreman] 59 years old; residence, Scott St., Norfolk … [Joiner] 71 years old; residence, 57 North St., Norfolk … “knew Catherine Armstrong … knowledge is derived from from [sic] having lived neighbors to, knew claimant before marriage … was present at [soldier’s] death and funeral.”


General Affidavit, Richard R. Johnson & Peter Fentress, 30 January 1892
[Johnson] residence, Barboursville; 56 years old; and [Fentress], residence, Norfolk, Norfolk County [no age reported] … that they knew both America Armstrong and his wife … from just after close of war to present time or to death of America in 1871 …Their knowledge is obtained from having been intimate with parties aforesaid, worked with the soldier for years, knew his wife and where he lived at time of death … Peter Fentress was in same company and Regiment and knew soldier during war.”


Deposition, Sarah Wright, 3 May 1894
50 years old; servant; post-office address Berkley, Va … “I was well acquainted with the claimant in this case … she died in July 1892.  I was present when she died and helped to shroud her.  I do not know on what day in July 1892 she died. The claimant was my first cousin.  Before her marriage she was Catherine Old and belonged to Mr. Geo. Old. She had no children by America Armstrong, he died a long time ago, was not present when he died.”


Deposition, Jane Jamison, 3 May 1894
52 years old, housekeeper, post-office address Berkley, Va. .. “I knew Catharine Armstrong … for about 6 years prior to her death.  She died in July 1892 in Berkley, Va. in a house located just across the street from me where I now live and where I lived at said time … She was a member of a W.A. [Women’s Auxiliary? Women’s Aid?] Corps of which I was also a member … I was present when the clmt died and helped to shroud her.”


Letter from John G. Teicher, Special Examiner to Commissioner of Pension, 5 May 1894
“From the testimony herewith it appears that the claimant died in July 1892, leaving no one surviving entitled to complete the case.”

Read Full Post »

122-0040_FBC_VLR_4thEdition_cropped_small“The history of the congregation of First Baptist Church, Bute Street in Norfolk, dates to its organization in 1800 by David Biggs and Thomas Everidge of the Court Street Baptist Church in Portsmouth. Made up of whites, free Negroes, and slaves, the Norfolk congregation by 1805 had grown considerably and had adapted the Borough Church — abandoned by Norfolk Anglicans with the disestablishment — as its worship place.  With the black population of Norfolk estimated at 45 percent at the beginning of the 19th century, a substantial portion of the early membership of the church was black. By 1816, however, several white members of the congregation became dissatisfied with the large numbers of blacks in their midst and left to form the Cumberland Baptist Church. The original congregation continued to occupy the Borough Church building. Although the congregation remained an integrated community and was led by a white pastor, the First Baptist Church became known as a “colored” congregation. In 1830 three free black trustees paid $250 for the present Bute Street site and erected a sanctuary there later known as the ‘Old Salt Box. In 1830 some Negro members left to form another congregation known as the Bank Street Church. From this time on for the remainder of the 19th century, the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church was known as the Bute Street Church.”
National Register of Historic Places – Final Nomination Form — First Baptist Church, Bute Street – Norfolk, Virginia – #122-0040


Read Full Post »

Nelson Tynes, Company B

After the war, Nelson Tynes settled in Berkley, an incorporated town in Norfolk County. It was annexed by the City of Norfolk in 1906.


Invalid – 652,523 / 497,048

Deposition, Thomas Brooks, 12 July 1890
50 years old, shoemaker, post-office address Berkley, Norfolk Co., Va. … “I have known Nelson Tynes, the claimant since in the early part of the year 1866. … We have been neighbors most of the time.”


Deposition, Nelson Portlock, 12 July 1890
51 years old, farmer, post-office address Great Bridge, Norfolk Co., Va. … “I have known the claimant Nelson Tynes since my earliest recollection.  We were reared in the same neighborhood … he hurt his back while on fatigue duty unloading commissary stores.  I was not on the detail with him at the time but was on camp guard at the time and heard of it at once and that evening.”


Deposition, Stephen Riddick, 12 July 1890
55 years old, laborer, post-office address Berkley, Norfolk Co., Va. … “I have known Nelson Tynes for the past thirty or more years…and since service for the past nineteen years we have lived continuously within hailing distance of each other and we have frequently worked together … he hurt his back while at Brazos Santiago Texas, in August 1865.”


Deposition, Anthony Bearman, 14 July 1890
46 years old, laborer, post-office address Berkley, Norfolk Co., Va. … I have known the claimant, Nelson Tynes from my earliest recollection.  We were reared boys together in the same immediate neighborhood and associated together as play boys and as fellow laborers up to the date of his enlistment in the US Army … When he returned from the army in March 1866 we became neighbors and have been neighbors continuously ever since, and we have worked together at times.”


Deposition, John Coy, 14 July 1890
61 years old, farmer, post-office address Berkley, Norfolk Co., Va. … “I have known the claimant Nelson Tynes for the pass [sic] thirty years and I served with him … a lot of us was detailed [sic] to store up barrels of flour.”


Deposition, Frank Sewall, 14 July 1890
60 years old, brick mason, post-office address Berkley, Norfolk Co., Va. … “I have known and associated with the claimant Nelson Tynes, as a fellow laborer and neighbor continuously for the past sixteen years.”



Read Full Post »

St. John's AME Church, Norfolk, Virginia

The congregation “began as an outreach effort around 1800 by the Cumberland Street Methodist Church, obtained its independence during the Civil War in 1863 and joined the A.M.E. connection in 1864. Thereafter, the congregation through its own efforts managed to erect what was then the largest black church edifice in Norfolk. They have taken an active role in Virginia A.M.E. affairs ever since.” —  National Register of Historic Places – Final Nomination Form – St. John’s African Methodist Episcopal Church – Norfolk Virginia – #122-0211

The illustration above is from Our Twin Cities of the Nineteenth Century (Norfolk and Portsmouth): Their Past, Present, and Future by Robert W. Lamb (1888).


Read Full Post »

PITT-Wm-Thomas_grave-2Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed November 9, 2018), memorial page for Sgt William Thomas Pitt (1835–1890), Find A Grave Memorial no. 61338585, citing Grove Baptist Church Cemetery, Portsmouth, Portsmouth City, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Mike Bogoslawski, USN (Ret) (contributor 46800216)

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: