History preserved at Mt. Zion
Published 5:50 am Thursday, September 1, 2016
Mt. Zion Baptist Church in New Canton, at the eastern most point of Buckingham County, celebrated its homecoming Aug. 7 with Dr. Fred Anderson, executive director of the Virginia Baptist Historical Society as guest minister.
Immediately after the 11 a.m. service, the church dedicated a special historical plaque recently installed at the front entrance of the long-standing 19th century building (established 1838; built, 1856).
Dr. Anderson spoke of earlier days, capturing a “sense of those who were here before us” and tying it to the present day, all to be passed down through oral history to children and grandchildren.
During the worship service, Anderson spoke of the evolution of the Baptist church in early America when “passionate Baptist preachers” would take great risks in preaching the gospel against the wishes of the Anglican establishment, known then as the Church of England.
This was of an era when church and state were one. He also included a brief history of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, mentioning the accomplishments of the Rev. Raine Chastain of 18th century Buckingham and, specifically, of the reverends Poindexter Smith and William Taylor of the 19th century.
He concluded his sermon with great optimism for the future.
The Rev. William Harris Taylor (Aug. 4, 1811-Oct. 24, 1889) preached at several different churches in Buckingham in the 1800s including Buckingham Baptist and Mt. Zion Baptist, where he preached during the last 40-plus years of his life.
A salute took place on the front lawn after the worship service to those who had the vision to create the beautiful plaque showing the locations of historical sites on church grounds and to those who had the foresight and perseverance to plan for, fund and erect it.
Those specifically recognized during the dedication were the Rev. Tom Reynolds, Kathleen Jones, B.L. Apperson, Wayne and Dianne Apperson, Troy Jones and Jim Cook. Drs. Fred Anderson and Don Campbell participated in the dedication of the plaque followed by the laying of a wreath by Kathleen Jones.
After the dedication, Mrs. Nancy Cauble, Rev. Taylor’s great-great-great-granddaughter spoke of her kinship to Rev. Taylor and what that has meant to her as she recalled family stories from her grandmother of and about him.
She also spoke of Rev. Taylor as one who was known to “preach in the fields” after his conversion. Cauble, who inherited Rev. Taylor’s mantle clock — an antique which still sits in her parlor mantle today in Richmond — offered the analogy of the constant winding of the clock to God’s ever-present nurturing of His children.
Following her remarks, Cauble laid a wreath on the fence-enclosed grave of her ancestor as the Rev. Don Campbell provided an appropriate prayer as the congregation and guests looked on.
The congregation noted Thursday, Aug. 4 was the 205th anniversary of Rev. Taylor’s birth. His wife, Mary W. Ferguson, died in 1881, two years after his death. Her burial site is unknown.