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Rockbridge County
Virginia

Religion / Church History

Although there was no church in Rockbridge County in former times, so far as I am informed, I must not omit to mention a most successful effort of later years. About the year 1839 or 1840, the Rev. William Bryant, a native of Virginia, and a graduate of West Point, who had left the army of his country to enter the army of the Lord and become one of the great company of preachers, was induced by his friend, and almost brother, as well as fellow-student at West Point, Colonel Smith, of the Military Institute at Lexington, to come and seek to establish an Episcopal church at that place. Difficult as the work seemed to be, and most doubtful the success of it, especially to one of so meek and quiet a spirit, and destitute of those popular talents in the pulpit so much called for in such positions, he nevertheless, in humble dependence on divine assistance, undertook the task and succeeded far beyond general expectation. With generous aids from other parts of the State, and active exertions on the part of the few friends in Lexington, a handsome brick church has been built and a respectable though still a small congregation been collected. The Rev. Mr. Bryant was succeeded by one of our present missionaries to China,—the Rev. Robert Nelson,—who, pursuing the same audacious course and putting forth the same efforts with his predecessor, carried on the work with the same success, until in the providence of God he was called to a distant field in which he had long desired to labor. The Rev. William N. Pendleton has now for some years been laboring as his successor.
[Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia, Volume 2 By William Meade. Submitted by Sandy Denny]

 

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