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Early Leadership

Four ministers made their professions of faith in Mechanicsville Baptist Church. One of the most prominent, on a state wide basis, was Dr. J. William Jones. In 1855 he accepted Christ during a revival at Mechanicsville, under the preaching of George B. Taylor. In 1860, Jones was ordained to the ministry in Charlottesville by the Goshen Association meeting and was set apart as a foreign missionary to China, at Mechanicsville, in September of that year. He was not able to go to China because of the Civil War, but in 1861, he joined the 23rd Virginia Regiment as a chaplain. He worked closely with Robert E. Lee, in time of war and peace. Jones was a pastor in Lexington, while General Lee was president of Washington University (later Washington and Lee University). He wrote several books including a major writing on General Lee, “Personal Reminiscences of R.E.Lee,” and one on religious life, during the Civil War, “Christ in the Camp.” Dr. Jones became head of the Virginia Sunday School and is remembered for the development of new Sunday Schools.

Dr. Charles Quarles was another minister, who made his profession of faith in Mechanicsville Church. Dr. Quarles grew up in the church and was baptized around 1830. He is listed as a messenger of Mechanicsville Church to the Goshen Association in 1833, which indicates that he became prominent in the work of the church by the age of 20. He completed work for his M.D., at the University of Pennsylvania and returned to his home, in Inglewood, to practice medicine. He had a lucrative medical practice, but felt led by God to become a minister. He was ordained a minister of the Gospel, at Mechanicsville, on Christmas Day 1854. He pastored Zion, North Pamunkey and Orange churches and then became pastor of his home church, Mechanicsville, in 1859. His pastorate at Mechanicsville was his longest lasting, from 1859 until his death on August 20, 1881.

Two other ministers, who made professions of faith in Mechanicsville and were related to Charles Quarles, were the Reverend John Rhodes Quarles, nephew to Charles and Dr. Henry L. Quarles. John Quarles was ordained at Mechanicsville in 1894. He was a teacher and associational leader, in spite of very poor eyesight. He served as pastor of Lower Goldmine and Waldrop Churches. Dr. Henry Quarles made his profession of faith at Mechanicsville in 1861 and is spoken of as a prominent minister, although very little is known of his ministry.

Following the Civil War, growth was slow at Mechanicsville, until 1876, when there were 138 members. A year later, in 1877, it is reported that 39 members were “dismissed.” Confederate General William McComb was a member of Mechanicsville and one of the church’s outstanding leaders.

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