Exhibit 12

Union Baptist Church – amidst war and reconstruction

Union Baptist ChurchUnion Baptist ChurchUnion Baptist Church was organized in 1862 in the midst of the Civil War. Oral tradition within the church tells that the first church meetings were held under a cherry tree on Butler’s Hill. In inclement weather the church met in members’ homes. The organizing trustees were Armistead Bird, Marshall Norman, Simon Smith, Perryman Jones and Robert Jones. Union Baptist Church photo courtesy John Bragg.

Union Baptist Church ca 1912 The first church was built on land purchased in 1869 and located across the road from the present-day church building. The structure pictured here circa 1912 also served as a school. Courtesy Papers of Jackson Davis, MSS 3072, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library.

sketchOne of the founding trustees of Union Baptist, Robert George Washington Jones, was the first person of color from Charles City elected to statewide office. Jones ran on the Republican ticket in 1870 and served one term in the Virginia House of Delegates.

sketchRobert G.W. Jones appears to have been born a slave. Jones and his wife Francis Harris do not appear together in a census prior to 1870, and they were not married until 1866, at a time when they already had four grown children. Several documents appear to connect Jones to the Lawrence family. Ishmael Lawrence provided in his will for the emancipation of his slaves if his two sons and daughter died without issue. In October 1865 James Lawrence, one of Ishmael’s sons, sold a 500-acre farm to Robert Jones and Moses White. Nathaniel Lawrence (the other son) extended a mortgage for the full $900 purchase price. “Slave cabin near the Long Bridge sketched by Edwin Forbes, June 13, 1864, courtesy Library of Congress. Charles City County Will Book 5, pg. 296; Charles City County Deed Book 11, pg. 521; Charles City County Deed Book 12, pg. 544.

grave of Robert George Washington JonesAfter leaving the House of Delegates, Jones was employed as a mail carrier and taught music. He is buried in the Union Baptist Church Cemetery relatively near to the road. His headstone bears the dates July 10, 1826 – Jan. 23, 1899. Photo courtesy Judy Ledbetter.

next: Exhibit 13: Harrison’s and Edna Mills – and the underground market