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The growth of Christian churches in Virginia has been diverse and significant. From the beginning, Virginia churches, her clergy and her patriots, vitally impacted the development of our nation. Today, there are over 2,966,000 adherents to Virginia's churches. The history of Virginia church growth is the focus of this bibliography. It is intended as a starting point for research for the student or church historian, especially in Tidewater Virginia.
Works selected are those devoted to church history in Virginia in a general sense or works that focus on the history of one denomination. All materials are held in Tidewater Virginia libraries where the research was conducted for this listing. After a general section, works are arranged by denominations in Virginia: Baptists, Brethren, Disciples of Christ, Episcopalians, Holiness-Pentecostals, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, and United Brethren in Christ.
The focus is on church history; works dealing with the history of schools, seminaries, campgrounds, independent mission societies, or other para-ecclesiastical organizations are not included.
Each entry includes the total number of pages and the presence of bibliography (bib.), index, or illustrations (ill.). Holding codes for the Tidewater Virginia libraries, public and academic, cited in this work are:
|PEQ||- Newport News Public Library||VAK||- Williamsburg Regional Library|
|TW@||- TCC at Norfolk||VCB||- Regent University Library|
|TWA||- Chesapeake Public Library||VCJ||- Chrysler Museum Library|
|TWE||- Norfolk Public Library||VCN||- Christopher Newport University|
|TWF||- Paul D. Camp Comm. College||VCW|| - Colonial Williamsburg
|TWG||- Thomas Nelson Comm. College||VNS||- Norfolk State University|
|TWI||- TCC at Portsmouth||VOD||- Old Dominion University|
|TWK||- TCC at Virginia Beach||VPL||- Virginia Beach Public Library|
|VAJ||- Hampton Public Library||VWM||- College of William & Mary|
Brock, Henry Irving. Colonial Churches in Virginia. Richmond, VA: The Dale Press, 1930. 94 p. ill.
A charming, oversized portfolio of historic churches throughout Virginia, beautifully illustrated, with engaging historical commentary about each church building.
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Buckley, Thomas E. Church and State in Revolutionary Virginia, 1776-1787. Charlottesville: Univ. Press of Virginia, 1977. 217 p. bib. index.
A fine, well-researched history of the establishment of religious liberty dealing with both the religious and political aspects of the struggle with full-text appendices of Virginia's religious liberty documents from 1779-1786.
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Cary, Hunsdon. The Story of Religious Intolerance. Richmond, VA: Richmond Press, Inc., 1928. 40 p.
A short section on Virginia gives a concise overview of the history of religious persecution among Baptists, Episcopalians, Quakers, and Presbyterians, up to the final adoption of the "Act Establishing Religious Freedom" in 1785.
Clark, Jewell T. and Elizabeth Terry Long. A Guide to Church Records in the Archives Branch, Virginia State Library . Richmond: Archives Branch, Archives and Records Division, 1981. 271 p. index.
A marvelous annotated bibliography of individual church records arranged by denomination, including Baptist, Catholic, Disciples of Christ, Episcopalian, Friends, Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian. Introductions to each denomination section give a brief history of the denomination in Virginia, citing important printed sources for further research.
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Gewehr, Wesley M. The Great Awakening in Virginia, 1740-1790. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1930. 292 p. ill. bib. index.
A noteworthy, well-researched study, examining the tremendous impact of the Great Awakening revival on the Presbyterian, Baptist, and Methodist churches as well as Virginia society and government.
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Mariner, Kirk. Revival's Children: A Religious History of Virginia's Eastern Shore. Salisbury, MD: Peninsula Press, 1979. 704 p. ill.
A spirited, detailed account of the Methodist revival at the turn of the 19th century on Virginia's Eastern Shore. Includes "A Catalogue of the Churches of Virginia's Eastern Shore," arranged alphabetically by church name with brief histories of each church and maps locating each.
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Percy, Alfred. The Devil in the Old Dominion: A Fact Article and Two Short Stories on Early 19th Century Religion. Madison Heights, VA: Percy Press, 1952. 56 p.
The fact article in this collection is a short, personal, historical narrative essay focusing on the struggles between Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists and Episcopalians and the results of camp meeting revivals in the early 1800s in central Virginia.
Perry, William Stevens. Papers Relating to the History of the Church in Virginia, A.D. 1650-1776. privately printed, 1870. 585 p.
A significant and extensive collection of primary documents, largely Episcopalian, illustrating the growth, activities, and controversies of the Christian churches in colonial Virginia, including documents showing the struggle for religious liberty.
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Alley, Reuben Edward. A History of Baptists in Virginia. Richmond, VA: Virginia Baptist General Board, 1973. 414 p. index.
A well-documented history of Baptists, from colonial times up through the 1960s, dealing with every aspect of Baptist life and work, the struggle for religious liberty, missions, institutional expansion and organization, and education.
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Beale, George W. History of Baptists in Virginia. Lafayette, TN: Church History Research and Archives, 1976. 536 p. ill. index.
The author extends Semple's History of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists in Virginia into the 20thcentury; arranged by district association with historical and biographical sketches.
Howell, Robert Boyle. The Early Baptists of Virginia. Philadelphia: The Bible and Publication Society, 1857. 246 p.
Traces the history of Baptists in the 1700s, their struggle for religious liberty, and their impact on Virginia society and government.
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Little, Lewis Peyton. Imprisoned Preachers and Religious Liberty in Virginia: A Narrative Drawn Largely from the Official Records of Virginia Counties, Unpublished Manuscripts, Letters, and Other Original Sources . Lynchburg, VA: J.P. Bell Co., 1938. 534 p. ill. index.
Unusual, detailed, extensive, and documented collection of incidents illustrating Baptist persecution and the struggle for religious liberty during the 1700s.
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Ryland, Garnett. The Baptists of Virginia 1699-1926. Richmond, VA: The Virginia Baptist Board of Missions and Education, 1955. 372 p. index.
A well-researched, comprehensive history of Virginia Baptists to 1900, dealing with early struggles for religious liberty, denominational organization and growth, missionary activity, and internal doctrinal controversies.
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Semple, Robert Baylor. History of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists in Virginia. Richmond: Published by the Author, 1810. 446 p.
Thom, William Taylor. The Struggle for Religious Freedom in Virginia: The Baptists. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1900. 96 p.
TWK, VCW, VNS, VWM
Zigler, D. H. History of the Brethren in Virginia. Elgin, IL: Brethren Publishing House, 1914. 340 p. ill.
A detailed account of the migration and growth of the Brethren in Virginia, particularly those situated in the Shenandoah Valley, with attention to church organizational development and important leaders; includes chapters on the slavery issue, the Civil War period, and missions activity.
TWE, VNS, VWM
DISCIPLES OF CHRIST
Darst, H. Jackson. Ante-Bellum Virginia Disciples: An Account of the Emergence and Early Development of the Disciples of Christ in Virginia. Richmond, VA: Virginia Christian Missionary Society, 1959. 247 p. bib. index.
An important contribution tracing the development of the Disciples of Christ as a reformation movement within the Baptist Churches in the early 1800s; examines
the history of various Virginia localities, internal doctrinal disputes, and denominational organization.
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Hodge, Frederick Arthur. The Plea and the Pioneers in Virginia: A History of the Rise and Early Progress of the Disciples of Christ in Virginia, with Biographical Sketches of the Pioneer P reachers. Richmond, VA: Everett Waddey Co., 1905. 279 p. ill.
Almost half the book is devoted to eighteen biographical sketches of Disciples of Christ pioneers; Chapter 12, "Our Status in the State," is a survey of the denomination as it was in 1879.
TWE, VAJ, VCW, VWM
Abbott, Ernest Hamlin. Religious Life in America: A Record of Personal Observation. New York: The Outlook Company, 1902. 370 p.
Chapter two, "A Virginia Country Rector," is a charming personal account of the author's visit with an Episcopalian clergyman outside of Richmond, showing the condition of religion at the turn of the 20th century, denominational relationships, country circuit riders, and African-American churches.
Brydon, G. Maclaren. Early Days of the Diocese of Virginia: An Address. Richmond, VA: The Virginia Diocesan Library, 1935. 26 p.
A brief, but well-executed account of the history of the Episcopal Church in Virginia to 1841.
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__________________. The Episcopal Church Among the Negroes of Virginia. Richmond, VA: The Virginia Diocesan Library, 1937. 26 p.
A unique contribution tracing the early beginnings, eventual establishment in 1889, and activities of the Colored Missionary Jurisdiction of the Diocese of Virginia to 1937.
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____________________. The Established Church in Virginia and the Revolution. Richmond, VA: The Virginia Diocesan Library, 1930. 19 p. argues for the need of a non-partisan, more precise picture of the Episcopal Church's spiritual condition in colonial Virginia.
In response to Wesley M. Gewehr's work, The Great Awakening in Virginia, Brydon
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argues for the need of a non-partisan, more precise picture of the Episcopal Church's spiritual condition in colonial Virginia.
____________________. New Light Upon the History of the Church in Colonial Virginia. Richmond, VA: The Virginia Diocesan Library, 1941. 35 p. bib.
A provocative essay contending that a more accurate history of the colonial Episcopal Church needs to be written; "...new sources which have come to light within the past fifty years, reveal a more faithful body of clergy and a more spiritually-minded and influential church than 19th century critics allowed..." p. 33.
____________________. Religious Life of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century: the Faith of Our Fathers. Williamsburg, VA: Virginia 350th Anniversary Celebration Corporation, 1957. 51 p. ill.
A short history describing the establishment and development of the Episcopal Church up to 1700, with brief mention of Presbyterian, Baptist, and Quaker history in the last chapter.
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____________________. Virginia's Mother Church and the Political Conditions Under Which It Grew. Richmond, VA: Virginia Historical Society, 1947. 2 vols. bib. indexes
A marvelous, most comprehensive history of the Episcopal Church from its beginnings as the Established Church, its relationships with the Presbyterian, Baptist, and Methodist churches, and its disestablishment at the start of the 19th century.
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Cleaveland, George Julius, et al. Up From Independence: The Episcopal Church in Virginia: Articles. Interdiocesan Bicentennial Committee of the Virginias, 1976. 125 p. bib. ill.
A popular, well-written history of the Episcopal Church from its beginnings in Jamestown, through the American Revolution, up to the mid-nineteenth century. Includes a chapter on early Episcopal churches in West Virginia.
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Colonial Churches in the Original Colony of Virginia: A Series of Sketches by Especially Qualified Writers. Richmond, VA: Southern Churchman Company, 1908. 317 p. ill.
This is a collection of essays intended to underscore two points: first, the genuine religiosity of the early Episcopalian settlers; and, secondly, the permanency of
their churches, along with evidences of Episcopal Church impact on society.
PEQ, TWE, VCW, VOD, VWM
Dashiell, T. Grayson. A Digest of the Proceedings of the Conventions and Councils in the Diocese of Virginia. Richmond, VA: Wm. Ellis Jones, 1883. 431 p. index.
A detailed, documented ecclesiastical history of the Episcopal Church from 1607 to 1881; includes minutes of the conventions and councils, with extensive lists of delegates.
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Eckenrode, H. J. Separation of Church and State in Virginia: A Study in the Development of the Revolution. New York: Da Capo Press, 1971. 164 p . index.
An excellent, well-documented history of the Episcopal Church focusing on the political-religious question in the Revolutionary period. The author, an archivist with the Virginia State Library, well utilizes county records and parish registers.
TW@, TWE, TWJ, TWK, VCB, VCW, VHI, VNS, VOD
Fall, Ralph Emmett, ed. The Diary of Robert Rose: A View of Virginia by a Scottish Colonial Parson, 1746-1751. Verona, VA: McClure Press, 1977. 400 p. ill. index.
A richly informative day-by-day chronicle of events, 1746-1751, in the life and labors of an Episcopalian clergyman/entrepreneur in Essex and Albemarle counties, with commentary and cross-references.
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Goodwin, Edward Lewis. The Colonial Church in Virginia with Biographical Sketches of the First Six B ishops of the Diocese of Virginia, and Other Historical Papers, Together with Brief Biographical Sketches of the Colonial Clergy of Virginia. Milwaukee: Morehouse Publishing Co., 1927. 342 p. ill.
An in-depth account of the inception and development of the Episcopal church, including a "List of the Colonial Clergy in Virginia from 1607 to 1785," and an
alphabetical listing of counties, parishes, and ministers covering the period 1634 to the end of the 18th century.
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Hawks, Francis L. Narrative of Events Connected With the Rise and Progress of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Virginia. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1836. 332 p.
An older, detailed history tracing the early years with minutes of the conventions to 1835.
Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church . Austin, TX: Church Historical Society, 1932 - 1986.
Mason, George Carrington. Colonial Churches of Tidewater Virginia. Richmond, VA: Whittet and Shepperson, 1945. 381 p. ill. index
An engaging description, arranged by county, of the physical construction of each of the early Episcopal Church buildings in southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore.
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Shepperson, 1945. 381 p. ill. index
Massey, Don W. The Episcopal Churches in the Diocese of Virginia: Alphabetical Listing of Active Churches by Regions and Existing Churches Not Having Regular Services. Keswick, VA: Diocese Church Histories, Publishers, 1989. 208 p. ill.
An alphabetical directory of all the Episcopal Churches with short sections in the front designed for proselytizng: "What to Expect When You Visit an Episcopal Church," and, "How to Become a Member of the Episcopal Church." Each entry has a picture of the church building, a short historical sketch, parish name, rector, and time of services.
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Meade, William. Old Churches, Ministers, and Families of Virginia. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co., 1900. 2 vols.
An extensive collection of historical and personal reflections concerning the history of various Episcopal Churches, families, and clergy from 1632 through the 18th century.
PEQ,TWE, TWJ, VAK, VCB, VCW, VHI, VOD, VNS, VPL, VWM
_____________. A Brief Review of the Episcopal Church in Virginia, From Its First Establishment to the Present Time. Richmond, VA: Wm. MacFarlane, 1845. 15 p.
A short history of the Episcopal Church by a former bishop, along with pastoral admonitions for unity and doctrinal purity.
Minutes of the Synod of Virginia. Virginia: The Synod, 1800 - .
Raper, Derris L. and Constance M. Jones. A Goodly Heritage: The Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia, 1892-1992. Norfolk, VA: Pictorial Heritage Publishing Co., 1992. 292 p. ill.
A well presented and nicely formatted history of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia which came into being in 1892. The second half of the book is a directory of parish churches in the diocese, giving significant historical facts for each.
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Thomas, R. S. The Loyalty of the Clergy of the Church of England in Virginia to the Colony in 1776 and Their Conduct. Richmond, VA: Wm. Ellis Jones, Book and Job Printer, 1907. 22 p.
An interesting essay in defense of the integrity and loyalty of the Episcopal clergy, giving a county-by-county, minister-by-minister, account, as of 1774, with a short section of quotations illustrating Episcopal thought concerning religious liberty.
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Synan, Vinson. The Holiness-Pentecostal Tradition: Charismatic Movements in the Twentieth Century. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1997. 340 p. bib. index.
VCB, VHI, VWM
Cassell, C. W., W.J. Finck, and Elon O. Henkel. History of the Lutheran Church in Virginia and East Tennessee. Strasburg, VA: Shenandoah Publishing House, 1930. 401 p. ill. index.
Comprehensive history of Lutherans starting with early beginnings--the people, pastors, and organizations--including historical sketches of the congregations, educational activities, and women's auxiliary societies.
Eisenberg, William Edward. The Lutheran Church in Virginia 1717-1962, Including an Account of the Lutheran Church in East Tennessee. Roanoke, VA: Trustees of the Virginia Synod, Lutheran Church in America, 1967. 731 p. ill. index.
A detailed study tracing Lutheran beginnings along with chapters on denominational organization, educational institutions, and Lutheran social ministries; along with a significant "congregational sketchbook," alphabetically arranged by county.
TWE, VCW, VWM
Brunk, Harry Anthony. History of Mennonites in Virginia 1727-1900. Harrisonburg, VA: H. A. Brunk, 1959. 2 vols. ill. indexes.
Traces the migration of Mennonites from Pennsylvania into Virginia's Shenandoah Valley and throughout the state by denominational districts. Chapters include, "Early Mennonite Settlements in Virginia," "The Virginia Mennonites in the Civil War," and a history of "Eastern Mennonite College and Virginia Mennonite Home."
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Bennett, William W. Memorials of Methodism in Virginia, From Its Introduction into the State, in the Year 1772, to the Year 1829 . Richmond, VA: By the author, 1871. 741 p.
Detailed history filled with reminiscences and quotations illustrating Methodist beginnings and growth.
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Lafferty, John J. Sketches and Portraits of the Virginia Conference. Richmond, VA, 1901. 496 p. ill.
276 biographical sketches of Methodist clergymen who comprised the Virginia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South in the late 19th century.
Moore, Matthew H. Sketches of the Pioneers of Methodism in North Carolina and Virginia. Nashville, TN: Southern Methodist Publishing House, 1884. 314 p.Biographical essays showing the lives of 29 exemplary and influential Methodist clergymen in Virginia and North Carolina in the 18th and 19th centuries.
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Pell, Edward Leigh, ed. A Hundred Years of Richmond Methodism: The Story as Told at the Centennial Conference of 1899 . Richmond, VA: The Idea Publishing Co., 1899. 224 p. ill.
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Sweet, William Warren. Virginia Methodism: A History. Richmond, VA: Whittet & Shepperson, 1955. 427 p. ill. index.
Well researched, thoroughly readable history of the Methodist movement in Virginia. Sweet observes, "Colonial Virginia was the first important seed plot of American Methodism." p. 44.
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Brimm, Henry M. and William M.E. Rachel, eds. Yesterday and Tomorrow in the Synod of Virginia. Richmond, VA: The Synod of Virginia, 1962. 131 p.
A focused and pleasing study with six chapters dealing with various aspects of Virginia Presbyterian history and life, early beginnings, doctrinal controversies, moral issues including slavery, women ministries, education, and evangelism.
Foote, William Henry. Sketches of Virginia, Historical and Biographical (First Series). Richmond, VA: John Knox Press, 1966. 616 p. index.
A religious history of Virginia focusing on prominent Presbyterian clergy in the western and central parts of the state.
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__________________. Sketches of Virginia, Historical and Biographical (Second Series). Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1856. 596 p.
Historical essays, largely biographical, of early Virginia Presbyterian clergy illustrating the struggle for religious liberty.
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Graham, James R. The Planting of the Presbyterian Church in Northern Virginia Prior to the Organization of Winchester Presbytery, December 4, 1794. Winchester, VA: The Geo. F. Norton Publishing Co., 1904. 167 p.
Briefly traces the establishment and development of Presbyterian churches in northern Virginia up to the late 1800s; also includes individual church histories.
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Henry, William Wirt. The Presbyterian Church and Religious Liberty in Virginia. Richmond, VA:
Whittel & Shepperson, 1900. 18 p. ill.
A brief but well-written essay examining the establishment of religious liberty and the
part Presbyterian churches played in that effort.
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Hudson, William E. "The Least of These:" Beneficences of the Synod of Virginia. Richmond, VA: Presbyterian Committee of Publication, 1926. 152 p. ill.
To promote increased stewardship, this little study is a presentation of the 1926 statewide Presbyterian beneficent budget, so "�as to let our people see the unparalleled work which is being done and the tremendous need which it presents."
Irvine, Mary D. Pioneer Women of the Presbyterian Church, United States. Richmond, VA: Presbyterian Committee of Publication, 1927. 397 p. ill.
The chapter on Virginia starts with a brief history of Presbyterians in Virginia, focusing on prominent Presbyterian women, then offers a survey of the growth and accomplishments of the various women's societies by presbytery.
Johnson, Thos. Cary. Virginia Presbyterians and Religious Liberty in Colonial and Revolutionary Times. Richmond, VA: Presbyterian Committee of Publication, 1907. 128 p. ill. index.
A well-written documented study of the contribution of Virginia Presbyterians to the cause of religious liberty from 1607 to 1791.
Squires, William Henry T. The Presbyterian Church in the Colony of Virginia, 1562-1788. [Richmond, VA?: By the author, 1938. 17 p.
A brief history, well-documented, of the Presbyterian Church from its earliest times to the first meeting of the Presbyterian Synod of Virginia in 1788.
_____________________. John Thompson: Presbyterian Pioneer. 1921.
The life and work of a prominent Presbyterian evangelist/pioneer in Virginia.
_____________________. The Rise of Presbyterianism in Tidewater, Virginia. Norfolk, VA: Rev. W.H.T. Squires, 1919. 7 p.
Focuses on the beginnings of Presbyterian churches in Tidewater and the Eastern Shore, largely due to revival that came into the area around 1800.
Tucker, John Randolph. Influence of Presbyterian Polity on Civil and Religious Liberty in Virginia: An Address Delivered Before The Centennial Meeting of the Synod of Virginia at New Providence Church, Rockbridge Co., Va., October 24, 1888. Richmond, VA: Whittet & Shepperson, 1889.
In a clear and concise manner the author analyzes the influence of Presbyterian pioneers on the development of religious liberty in Virginia in the 17th and 18th centuries
White, Henry Alexander. Southern Presbyterian Leaders. New York: The Neale Publishing Co., 1911. 476 p. ill. index.
Beginning with a survey of colonial ecclesiastical history, this significant study examines the contributions of many leaders of the day, including several Virginia Presbyterians: Frances Makemie, John Craig, John Blair, William Robinson, Samuel Davies, James Waddell, William Graham, and Robert Lewis Dabney among others.
Wilson, Howard McKnight. Presbyterian Beginnings in Lower Tidewater Virginia. [Staunton, VA:] By the author, 1973. 57 p.
A well-presented, insightful history of the beginnings of the Presbyterian Church in the Norfolk area, in the context of Virginian Presbyterian church expansion.
Gragg, Larry Dale. Migration in Early America: The Virginia Quaker Experience. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press, 1980. 135 p. tables bib. index.
Compiles detailed statistical data from Quaker church records showing age, gender, and marital status of Quaker immigrants in Virginia, with relevant economic and cultural factors related to their history.
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Bailey, James Henry. A History of the Diocese of Richmond, the Formative Years. Richmond, VA: Diocese of Richmond, 1956. 249 p. ill. index.
This well-researched study traces the history of Roman Catholicism in Virginia starting with early efforts of the Jesuits in the Chesapeake Bay area in the late 1500s and the development of the Richmond Diocese between 1820 and 1872 when it achieved its present geographic expanse.
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Guilday, Peter. The Catholic Church in Virginia (1815-1822). New York: The United States Catholic Historical Society, 1924. 159 p. index.
A detailed, well researched account of the "Norfolk Schism," an early movement advocating a separated American Catholic Church prior to the official establishment of the Diocese of Richmond.
Lewis, Clifford M. and Albert J. Loomie. The Spanish Jesuit Mission in Virginia, 1570-1572. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 1953. 294 p. ill. bib. index.
A most interesting and detailed investigation using the earliest records available, showing the early attempts by the Spanish to establish a Jesuit mission in the Chesapeake Bay region with maps and historical cartography of the Chesapeake.
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Magri, F. Joseph. The Catholic Church in the City and Diocese of Richmond. Richmond, VA: Whittet and Shepperson, 1906. 150 p. ill.
"...[this] must always remain a fundamental starting-point and an indispensable outline for any student of Virginia's Catholic history." From James Bailey, A History of the Diocese of Richmond, the Formative Years, 1956.
UNITED BRETHREN IN CHRIST
Funkhouser, A. P. History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Virginia Conference. Dayton, VA: Ruebush-Kieffer Co., 1921. 315 p. ill. index.
Traces the roots, migration, and development of the United Brethren in Christ congregations from Europe into Virginia from the early 1800s up to 1921. Includes a detailed listing of United Brethren in Christ clergy and "A Digest of the Conference Minutes," year by year.
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