Exhibit 3

Ruthville – historic free town

A center of religious life

Elam Baptist ChurchAbraham Brown, son of the first Abraham, helped to organize Elam Baptist Church in 1810. The church survives today as one of the oldest, regularly organized African American Baptist Churches in Virginia and as the mother church of numerous other churches formed out of its membership. Photo courtesy Nancy Phaup.


memorialmemorial

The first church was built on Brown’s land on the east side of Old Elam Cemetery Road where the monument, pictured to the left, stands today. His son Samuel Brown served as a minister for this church. Because Virginia law forbade free Negroes and mulattoes to hold church services outside the presence of the white minister, the church’s official ministers came from Charles City and Mount Pleasant Baptist Churches. Reportedly, the ministers pocketed a dollar each Sunday for their attendance at church. Photo of old Elam Church once located on Old Elam Cemetery Road courtesy Papers of Jackson Davis, MSS 3072, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library; photo of Old Elam monument courtesy Nancy Phaup


Abraham Brown grave siteOld Elam Cemetery sign

Old Elam cemetery—located just down the road from the monument -- is probably the oldest known cemetery of free blacks and mulattoes in the county. Abraham Brown is buried here. Photo left courtesy John Bragg, right courtesy Nancy Phaup.


Revolutionary War Soldier MonumentIn 2008 the Virginia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution erected a monument to 26 men of color from the county who were patriots in the Revolutionary War. Old Elam Cemetery was deemed the most suitable site for this monument because the actual burial sites are unknown. Photo courtesy John Bragg.


next: A center of commerce